An Echo of Thunder, Part II


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Scene Title An Echo of Thunder, Part II
Synopsis Following Robin Hood's information, Kaylee Thatcher and her allies find a dark secret deep in the desert…
Date November 21, 2014

Utah is a beautiful and storied part of the United States, laden with natural splendor unlike any seen across the southwest. Where the relative greenery of the city limits fades into the brown and red hues of desert expanse, it feels like being on another world entirely. The lonely stretch of US Route 191 north out of Moab cuts through hilly, desert terrain pockmarked by dark scrub vegetation.

Up that length of dusty road, lay the ruins of the Moab Isolation Center, a tourist attraction and remnant of a darker chapter in history. Once, this site was the home of a relocation camp of Japanese-Americans during World War II. Now, only empty cellar holes filled with sand mark where it once was. The United States Government still owns that stretch of land, and more than a hundred square miles to the north and east of it. The dirt road that winds past this tourist attraction heads toward rough hills, then winds out of sight away from prying eyes.

Pulling off Route 191, a rented black SUV rolls to a stop in the sandy shoulder, right directional tick-clicking as the vehicle idles. Overhead, a black military helicopter buzzes low, moving to the northeast on a route to a place that does not exist on any map or satellite composite. A place shown to Officer Kaylee Thatcher by a ghost in the machine.

“What’s really out there?”

Peering out the passenger side window, Colette Demsky-Brooks turns mismatched eyes to the blonde in the driver’s seat, then to the other blonde visible in the rear-view mirror. She flicks her gaze to the helicopter as it disappears over the horizon, brows raised in curiosity. As she looks back to Kaylee, Colette hunches her shoulders forward and for the first time since they'd set out looks nervous.

The vehicle in park, Kaylee leans forward over the steering wheel with arms hooked around it, hugging it… maybe even clinging to it nervously. Her head ducks and tilts trying to watch the helicopter fly by with a touch of nervousness. That was rather ominous. She is starting to doubt her thought about bringing Colette or Tamara. When she asked them, it seemed like a good idea. Colette’s and Tamara’s abilities would be useful.

Watching that black helicopter, she had a sinking feeling about what they would find.

“According to my source, this is the site of a secret prison where Pinehearst does secret experiments. Genetic altering level stuff. I-I- saw video…” As if that explains it all for her wanting to go. Finally, she looks at the other two women in the car. “It was pretty horrifying what happened.” She turns her gaze to where the helicopter disappeared too. “I suddenly feel really silly about dragging you both out here… and lying to Luther.” She lets out a heavy sigh.

“I— “ She trails of and sighs again. “I don’t know if we are going to just find some dusty landmark or some government black site… you guys don’t have to continue with me.” Kaylee offers them a nervous and uncertain smile. “I just don’t know who to trust, if what they say is true… you guys are probably the only people that I know won’t stick a knife in my back.” Which says a lot. She still remembers Cyrus telling her that everyone works for Pinehearst.

Tamara refrained from driving, remaining ensconced in the back seat for the entire time they drove. She doesn't look after the low-flying helicopter, nor at the mirror-glance cast her way, or even at Kaylee as the telepath speaks. Instead, her gaze remains turned out towards the desert, dry and sweeping and all but barren as it is.

It looks like nothing. That seeming hides everything.

"There are no landmarks here," the seer remarks, voice quiet but firm. Somber blue eyes turn towards the two women up front; alone of the trio, she demonstrates neither nerves nor uncertainty, but then she has a distinct advantage there. Colette is familiar with the particular calm gravity of her demeanor, a facet Tamara wears only on rare occasion. "Only the lost."

Reaching forward, she rests a light hand on Kaylee's shoulder. An almost melancholy smile curves her lips. "If you go back, you didn't join them. If you go forward — you might." Those words implicitly apply to Colette as well, though Tamara does not look away from the telepath. Neither does she attempt to steer Kaylee's response in any direction. She only offers her own commitment:

"The mirror goes forward."

Colette turns a silent, tense stare toward Kaylee after Tamara speaks. The road trip out here has been long and in many ways awkward, everything that lies beyond that desert ridge remains shrouded in uncertainty and enigma. But one question has lingered for a long while, one that has Colette’s brows knit together and glancing out the window before she asks.

“Is that why Luther isn’t here?” Mismatched eyes settle on Kaylee, and Colette’s question is one not of gentle admonishment, but of worry that she misjudged the kindly janitor, that she misread him as a person. That he, unlike the people in this car, wasn’t someone Kaylee was certains he could trust.

The telepath relaxes a little when Tamara speaks up, maybe it wasn’t as bad of a decision. She gives the seer a thankful smile, touching the hand on her shoulder briefly. “Thank you, Tamara. I plan to go forward no matter what.” Though the anxiety still knots in her stomach. “Just thinking we should have stopped there at the diner. I could really use a burger.. Or you know a milkshake right now.” When Kaylee was nervous, she always turns to food.

Maybe it’s that anxiety and worry that has Colette’s question catching her off guard. “What?” Kaylee blinks a little confused, her mind casting back to a few moments ago, before eyes widen a little. Quickly her head shakes in a negative. “No! No no no. That’s not….” Kaylee stops herself, turning to face forward and letting her head drop to the steering wheel for a moment. “It’s not like that. I love him, but he works for Pinehearst.”

Her head rolls along the faux leather of the wheel a little to look at Colette out of the corner of her eye. “Janitor or not, I can’t risk it. We get caught, he could get hurt, if this company is what they say. Plus, I was told not to bring anyone employed with them.. I’d rather not go against that since,” eyes drift to her phone on the stand with the GPS on the screen, “we might need this Robin Hood’s help.”

Pulling a pair of aviator sunglasses from the top of her head and settling them on the bridge of her nose — yes she is aware there is a stereotype there — Kaylee glances over at Colette, who has the marked map. “Okay, which way navigator. If we get caught, we are just three girls on a road trip across America, trying to find ourselves or some crap kinda thing like that.” Not hard to believe with the AAA guidebooks around the vehicle.

Tamara offers no opinion on the presence or absence of Luther; he is not here, cannot now be here with them, and the whys and wherefores of that circumstance are beyond her insight.

"Follow the helicopter," the seer says quietly as she settles back into her seat. "But not too close."

“What she said,” Colette echos, with full faith in the seer.

Some things never change.

Moab Federal Penitentiary

Moab, Utah

7:17 am local time

An unused dirt road winds across the rocky Utah hills, rising up at a steep grade toward a ridge that overlooks a miles-wide plain of badlands that stretches out to the horizon. From here, the SUV comes to a slow stop overlooking the road’s path, winding down the north side of the hill and snaking toward a concrete-walled compound with square guard towers. The buildings within aren’t visible from this distance, and the helicopter isn’t either, meaning it likely landed somewhere inside not long ago.

There is no sign indicating what this facility is, but the way there is blocked off by a chain link fence surrounded by razorwire. On one side of the fence there is a red and white aluminum sign that reads:


Colette eyes the sign and the chain-link fence with its chained gate and turns to look at Kaylee with wide eyes. The photographs Robin Hood had showed Kaylee from satellite pictures match the general layout from the ground and the perimeter fence looks as though it travels for miles along the ridgeline and then cuts into the flatlands below. The distance from the fence to the concrete wall of the facility is probably a half a mile across flat, open ground.

“Kaylee…” Colette murmurs, turning a worried look back to the dark gray prison in the distance, “what uh, what’s…” She doesn’t have the nerve to finish the sentence, but when her mismatched eyes finally pull away from the prison, it’s obvious there’s worry twisting at her. “Tell me this isn’t what it looks like.”

“A black hole site?” There is a slight upticking at the corner of Kaylee’s mouth as she looks at the compound beyond. “Sure looks like it and here I was hoping it was a just a tourist trap.” Pulling her eyes off of the intimidating structure, she turns a nervous look to the two women. Any nerves she is feeling is for the other two in the car. “All I know is that this place is supposedly being used by Pinehearst for experiments. Experiments on people like us… possibly trying to do some sort of….” She shakes her head and looks out again, “I don’t know… It is hearsay, but I am aiming to find out.”

Leaning over a little, Kaylee pokes at the cellphone propped on its stand. The GPS is minimized and the phone brought up. The sound of the dialtone fills the cabin, since it is connected to the car’s radio for music purposes. “Alright, Robin Hood…” Brows furrow a bit, it felt weird saying that name out loud… “As you know, we made it. You’re right. It’s here. Now, is there a better route in? A main gate? Or am I waiting for nightfall and winging it with bolt cutters?”

The seer in the backseat has no reassuring words for either of her companions. She leans forward to rest her chin on the shoulder of the passenger seat, peering at the blazoned warning without actually dwelling on its words. "Waiting wasn't any different from losing," is her contribution to the answers Kaylee seeks.

«Told you so» is the childish response that comes over the car’s speakers. Colette nearly jumps out of her skin when the voice chimes over the vehicle’s speakers, gripping the sides of her seat and looking wide-eyed at the radio, as if that were the focus point. She then flicks a surprised stare over to Kaylee.

«I think your passenger is right. I’ve been picking up weird radio traffic from inside. Encrypted channels I can’t figure out, the helicopter isn’t Pinehearst, it has no registration. Departed from a military base in Durango, Colorado an hour ago.»

Colette sits up straight in her seat, looking back in the rearview mirror at Tamara, then turning around and reaching out to take her hand, then looks back to Kaylee as Robin Hood’s voice continues to chime over the speakers.

«Satellite imagery shows that all of the staff is congregating in the courtyard. Hold on, I think I can patch into their CCTV system. There’s a wifi port open on a connected laptop.» As Robin hood says that, Colette squeezes Tamara’s hand once, then looks back to the gates beyond the hood of the car.

“This is over,” Colette says in a hushed voice, “we— we stopped it. Right?” Mismatched eyes find Kaylee, then look back to Tamara, then the radio. “Arthur he, he stopped the Company. This stuff isn’t supposed to be… it isn’t…” There’s a look in her eyes, a mixture of anger and betrayal.

«Oh shit.» Robin Hood snaps. «They’re executing the prison staff! Some black-ops looking fuckers! There’s— they’re sending people cell by cell, it’s— they’re killing //everyone.»

For the first time, Kaylee notices how young Robin Hood sounds.

«Oh shit, oh shit oh fuck. I think I tripped a security— oh fuck they know I’m here.»

A small amused smile is angled at her phone when the voices starts over the radio. That same smile turns to a reassuring one as it is turned to Colette. Maybe things resolved on their own, but… that seemed too easy. Besides, they hadn’t done anything. That thought has her smile falling away. There was a bad feeling collecting in the pit of her stomach… and it doesn’t take long before it is justified.

Nothing is ever easy. Ever.

An alarmed look goes out to the front of the SUV when he starts talking about them executing the staff… and then the prisoners. “Shit… “ She echos the technopath and starts to open the SUV door… only to stop when he starts to panic.

The tone of his voice, her blood runs cold. He’s just a kid. “Kid, get out of there.” She should ask him to leave what she needs to get into that place on her phone, but all she can think of in that moment is his safety. “Tell your friends what you found and hide, stay out of the machines.” She needed to see this herself, see if she can do anything. “I need to get in there.” The door is pushed open, so that she can hurry to the back of the vehicle and retrieve the gear she managed to sneak out. Kevlar vests for the three of them, the velcro POLICE patch pulled off.

“Forgive me, Judah.” Kaylee murmurs before tossing one on herself, velcroing it in place and pushing the other two over the back of the seat for Tamara to distribute; before the back is closed and the telepath is back in the car. Putting it in gear, she backs it up for a running start at the gate, however, she pauses briefly. A glance to Tamara in the backseat through the rearview mirror. “Last chance you two. I can leave you here, but I need to get closer…I am a telepath after all and if those prisoners are as innocent as I’ve been told, then… well, I need to do what I can.” What she plans… it means possibly going back on a promise.

From her place in the backseat, Tamara gives her wife a sympathetic, apologetic look. She pats the brunette's shoulder consolingly, but says nothing; Colette doesn't need her to affirm what's already obvious to them all.

It isn't over. It's never truly over.

"Go, Taylor," the seer adds, reinforcing Kaylee's words with her own. "There's no coming back from the rabbit hole."

As the driver offers her last chance speech, Tamara simply gives her a tolerant look. She hands one vest up to Colette in the passenger seat, then takes her own — and proceeds to hop out of the other side of the car, sliding the vest on as she pads up to the gate. It takes the seer but moments to rid the gate of the lock and chain that holds it closed, its panels drifting open as she makes her way back to the car.

Sliding back into her seat, the seer gives the telepath a gently wry smile. "You don't want to go without me. I don't want you to, either."

“Tamara’s here,” is all Colette’s response is, “so we’ll be fine. And besides, you need me. I can hide us as we approach.” Sliding out of the SUV, Colette pulls on her and begins strapping it in place, momentarily sparing a nervous look to Tamara. In spite of her confidence in Tamara’s ability, there’s always room for doubt in her own. There’s no response on the other end from Robin Hood, whom Tamara speaks the true name of as if invoking some sort of spirit of the modern age.

After a moment, there’s a panicked voice on the other end of the car speakers. «Oh shit. Shit— ok I’m— wait— fuck!» Static crackles over the speakers and comes back again. «Helicopters in Meat-Space, oh shit my mom’s gonna kill me! Oh shit. I’ve gotta— » There’s just silence on the other end, though Tamara can finish the sentence in the back of her mind, because she’d already said the word to Taylor Reed a moment ago: Go.

“How the hell’d you get into this?” Colette asks Kaylee with a sharp look as she finishes strapping on the vest. “

Colette won’t get her answer right away. When Tamara opens the gate, Kaylee can’t help but laugh. “Always know what I need, Tamara. Thank you.” She had been fully ready to ram that gate, she should have thought to ask. “And you are right I don’t want to go without you… either of you. You guys are just the closest thing I have to family and I worry.” Them and Luther.

Kaylee eyes the phone nervously, hoping the kid was alright till she gets back. But she didn’t have time to worry, putting the vehicle into park and grabbing her phone, she jumps out of the car again.

Only then does she answer her friend. “Remember a few years back, that big hubbub in that Macy’s — Those Frontline dicks bulldozed through the place — and I captured a guy named Cyrus?” As she asks looking at the road ahead of her. “He told me if I wanted the truth about Pinehearst to ask for Robin Hood on my cell.”

There is a shrug of her shoulder and she turns a crooked smile towards Colette. “I finally got curious.” Eyes back on the road she adds blandly, “Admittedly, I did it cause I was pissed at Luther for missing that important date, but — I mean — really what keeps a janitor out that late? Or have him called in at odd hours.” Kaylee waves a hand brushing that away, clearly not wanting to get into to that.. “Anyhow, I didn't expect to be shown what I was and once I saw it, I couldn’t just walk away from it.”

A glance to make sure Tamara is alright, she adds. “I fell down one hell of a rabbit hole it seems.”

“Pinehearst,” Colette whispers as she watches the gate open, “was supposed to be looking out for us, saving us…” With a worrier look to Tamara, Colette checks he Velcro straps on her vest and nods in the affirmative to Kaylee. All of this seems so wildly unbelievable, and yet two of the people she trusts the most are telling her otherwise. That this is real, that this is true, that the nightmare never really ended. It just changed.

“What's the plan?” Colette asks, but she doesn't wait for it to start to move. She takes one of Kaylee’s hands in hers, then moves to Tamara’s side and does the same. A moment later, their worlds are thrown into total darkness. “Walk straight ahead,” Colette says with confidence, “and… please tell me we’ll have a plan by the time we get to the outer wall.”

“They were,” Kaylee murmurs in agreement, just as disappointed. “While this… is definitely real, I don’t know if any of this will hold water in any court.” It is how she is always thinking, like a cop. “I need something solid that links them. Hopefully, we find it, while we see if anyone else is left alive.”

Making sure she had clips tucked into various pockets and a check on glocks tucked into their holsters in her shoulder rig. Kaylee takes a deep breath, there was no turning back now. Giving Colette and Tamara a warm smile, she takes the offered hand and allows herself to be plunged into darkness, completely trusting of the woman’s ability.

While she listens to Colette’s directions, she uses this visual deprivation to unfurl her ability, pushing it out around them. Hopefully, give them a heads up, before they run into anyone.

“I’m… working on a plan,” which means Kaylee doesn’t have much of one. She might be flying by the seat of her pants on this one. “I need to find out who these ‘black-ops’ people are, see if anyone is alive… and see if we can find any information that can shut this down… especially, since we are down a technopath.”

Tamara gently squeezes the hand clasping hers, then steps forward, unperturbed by the darkness now encasing them. "Still alive," the seer assures, though she sets a brisk pace across the desert. "Can't dawdle, though."

Half a mile to cross, a handful of minutes that feel like forever. The hint of morning breeze is heavy with dust, the kind that makes eyes water and sits unpleasantly on the tongue. Grit and gravel grates and rolls underfoot, unseen yet readily felt. Fortunately, there's no one in the intervening space who might hear them approaching.

"Act first, think later," is what advice the seer gives her companions as they come up to their destination — what is not in fact the end, but the beginning of a new act.

The exterior of the Moab Federal Penitentiary is like a fortress, a high concrete wall topped in concertina wire dotted with squat guard towers. On approach and beyond the wall, the steady pop of automatic gunfire fills the air. The front entrance is a double-hinged pair of steel gates, which Colette presses up against with both hands. Feeling the steel, she dismisses her shroud of invisibility and examines the structure.

“Okay so… this— won’t be as sneaky.” Mismatched eyes level on Kaylee, then Tamara, and finally Colette moves to one side of the door and holds up her palm against one of the lower hinges. “I um, I— don’t know… exactly what to do next, but I can get us inside. Maybe— maybe we can help the people out?” Closing her eyes, she concentrates on the powerful desert sun, the light is sheds, and begins concentrating it into a flat disc at her palm.

From there, a laser of white-hot light burns through the metal hinge, leaving sizzling beads of liquid steel on the sand below. When the first hinge pops the door groans, and then when Colette brings that focused beam of light up to the upper hinge, her hand is trembling and a line of blood is trickling from the corner of her good eye. Her shoulders tense, and the laser slowly slices through the hinge like a cutting torch.

When the last hinge is cut, Colette slouches back and clutches one side of her head with her hand, making a soft sound in the back of her throat. The door, wobbling, is held up only by friction. “It’s— it’s open. We just— it just needs a little push.”

Blinking against the suddenly light, Kaylee turns her attention on the gate. “By the sound of it, we can’t really afford sneaky,” she offers as encouragement, stepping back as Colette seems to be setting up for something. Instead, Kaylee unholsters one of her glocks and stands guard; listening for any minds that slide into her range.

The light from Colette’s ability pulls her attention, brows lifting a little, rather impressed. “You know, I don’t think I have ever seen you do that.” Kaylee moves to rest a gentle hand on the other woman’s shoulder. “Thank you, Cole.” Her tone affectionate, hand squeezing that shoulder, before moving to push the door with a gentle push of her shoulder. Preferring to be the first one through that door, pistol up and ready for anything beyond.

Pausing, she unholsters the other Glock and holds it out to Colette. It was all they had between them, other then knives and abilities. Though Kaylee finds herself wondering if they will be able to pick up better hardware along the way. God, when did I get so morbid, she thinks to herself leading the way, trusting Tamara to guide them when she can, but being ready for anything her friend isn’t able to warn them about.

Tamara stands aside as Colette works, and as Kaylee blazes their trail through the gate. Blue eyes return to her partner as the seer steps up in the telepath's wake, and she takes a bare moment to lean against the brunette's shoulder before padding through the gate, her focus recentering on the path ahead — literal and figurative alike. There's a great many things to watch out for in the chaos ahead.

And what chaos it is.

Kaylee’s push sends the unhinged gate crashing to the ground with a resounding clang. Directly ahead an asphalt road leads straight from the gate two hundred feet to a processing center, doors wide open. On either side of the road are chain link fences leading to the men's yard and women’s yard. The women’s yard to the right is entirely empty, but men’s prison yard to the left is littered with bodies, all of which appear to be prison staff, judging from their clothing, mowed down in a group that has soaked the grassy yard red.

A black helicopter sits idle in the yard, with a door-mounted machine gun sitting unattended. Two figures in black BDUs and body armor stalk between the bodies on the ground, firing two rounds into them to ensure that they're dead. The moment they hear that gate crash, however, their attention snaps up to the intruders on the other side of the chain-link fence.

Fuck!” One shouts, raiding his rifle and firing a wild shot that skips off the asphalt two inches to Tamara’s right, narrowly missing the seer’s purposeful placement. The other soldier, further away, looks up and starts firing as well with the rounds whizzing just past Kaylee’s head with a loud buzzing report. Colette, handgun clutched tightly in both hands, returns fire and sends the soldiers scattering for cover.

“Run! Inside!” Colette shouts, once more throwing the trio into darkness as they fade from view. As Kaylee’s vision is stolen by lightless gloom that even suppresses the scalding heat of the sun, she can still feel the minds of those around her, one of which is a familiar if consuming mass of thoughts. The soldiers however have a more familiar texture about them — fear.

Instinct has Kaylee’s head ducking, as bullets whizz past her, biting back her own curse. Thankful for Colette’s quick reflexes, she doesn’t argue being thrown into darkness moving in the direction of the processing center doors. Hearing that fear though, she slows. She can use that. She’s done it before, fear can either be a great motivator or it can paralyse someone.

“Watch my back,” she calls once they are behind cover of their own. “I’m going to try something.” They would need an escape route. So those men needed to go.

So, back pressed to the sterile looking wall, Kaylee’s eyes unfocus and head tips forward as her ability slides into the first mind and then shortly after the other, working her magic — so to speak.

As she sinks into the memories of one of the shooters, for the first time in her life, she feels it. Temptation. All those bodies. All those innocent people. They didn’t deserve this fate. It would be so easy….


Fear clutches at her stomach, just from the idea that she could even think to do that. That isn’t what she is. She was a police officer. Protect and serve. Instead, she strengthens those memories that bring out the fear in the two men. Pulling more where she can find them, link them. Paranoia… fear. All found in memories. All the while, whispering softly in the back of their minds; pushing doubts and thoughts of how they were going to die if they stayed.

«Do you hear that? They're coming for us.»
«They're going to kill us.»
«I don’t want to die.»

Once she is satisfied with what she built, she inserts the memory of the gate she just came through and the idea of them going through it. As that familiar share pressure settles in behind her eyes, she puts into their minds one word to hopefully spur them into action…


When Colette and Kaylee bolt for the entrance, Tamara… doesn't. Instead, she jogs out in very nearly the opposite direction, picking her unerring way through the bodies without so much as glancing down. Half her attention remains on the soldiers and the potential uncertainty in their response to the telepath's influence; the rest guides the seer into the helicopter, where she leans into the cockpit and snags from it the key that enables the craft's electrical systems — without it, the chopper won't be flying anywhere.

The key goes in a pocket, and Tamara scrambles back out, sprinting over to where the others wait.

Colette is frozen in place as she watches Tamara’s return, taking a moment to track where bullets impacted the ground around her or whipped into the outer wall in narrow misses. That she walked through gunfire without a scratch isn’t surprising to the photokinetic, but it is nevertheless always impressive. The assassins do not fire at Tamara’s back, instead recoiling in horror at the weight of the psychic onslaught thrown against them. In a fit of futility, they first scramble into the helicopter and try to take off, but on finding that the controls no longer function panic becomes overwhelming and they abandon their firearms and run with the chopper between them and Kaylee toward the far end of the field, toward the men’s wing security entrance.

Holy shit.” Colette whispers, looking at Kaylee with wide-eyed uncertainty, unknowing if the blonde did that or if that just happened naturally. The answer doesn't matter, ultimately, and Colette shoulders into the door and opens the way for the others to enter the main hall. The prison’s entrance is a chambered room with locking security doors, all flung wide open due to the massacre at play. But the number of active shooters is minimal, likely only enough to fit in the helicopter, and none appear to still be shooting on the ground level.

Colette passes through the first security checkpoint, shoes kicking shell casings across the floor, until she stops in the foyer, looking to the rows of hallways fanning out from a central hub. Each one is a line of open doors and more glittering brass casings on the floor, each one an epitaph. Colette turns to look back at the others, brows furrowed and lips downturned into a frown. “I… I don’t think…” She needn’t finish the sentence for either of the other women to know what she was going to say.

No one is alive on this floor.

Her ability tells her this exact fact, even as she doesn’t want to believe it.

A solid chunk of ice settles into her stomach, spreading out to her limbs. Slipping past Colette, Kaylee whispers in disbelief. “Oh my god…” Turning, she looks down each hallway, ability curling out around her listening…. Nothing. Only blood, spent bullets and dead bodies. Her smartphone’s camera is brought up and she swings it around. If anyone is watching… if Robin Hood manages to look in again… they will have this now.

Her boot heels strike hard on the linoleum surface, ignoring the sound of each casing she kicks ahead of it. The phone swings this way and that, focusing on the bodies in each cell.

However, there was someone Kaylee was looking for. Each cell of dead bodies has the dread she feels deepening. Until… she stops in front of a cell and a mop of blood matted black curls. “SHIT!” The detective snaps out loudly, the word echoing down the hall. The cellphone is shoved into her pocket and she steps into the tiny space.

Grabbing handfuls of his jumper and with a grunt, Kaylee turns over the body. The sightless eyes of Cyrus Karr stares up at her accusingly, congealed blood clinging to where his cheek had been pressed to the ground. Kneeling next to the body, blood soaks into the knee of her jeans, but she doesn’t notice. All she can think about was one thing.

Kaylee was the whole reason he had been there.

This was on her.

Even though she had been in the right when she arrested him, Kaylee couldn’t help but feel the sharp pain of realization twisting into her gut. He had been right. Dazed, she leans forward and carefully closes his eyes, smearing more blood in the process. “I am so sorry. This should have never happened.” She should have kept pushing even when she was told to stop.

However, dwelling there wouldn’t help, making sure people learn about this… that would be a start.

Kaylee pushes herself back to her feet and grabs a blanket from the bed, draping it over him gently, before leaving the cell, rubbing blood off her hand on the hip of her jeans, but the taint of it is there, burned into her subconscious. “We need to see if anyone is alive and get them out of here.”

"No," Tamara says to Colette with perfect equanimity, as neutral a statement as the sky is blue. Last through the checkpoint, her quiet steps progress down the corridor with no concern for the glint of brass on the floor and no interest in the macabre views revealed by each wide-open door; she's seen them all before. Nothing about them can be changed now, except that which is meaninglessly cosmetic in the scheme of things.

While Kaylee communes with one particular deceased soul, Tamara continues on ahead, though not so far as to implicitly rush the detective's personal moment. Just far enough to put eyes on a stairwell. She turns back as Kaylee emerges from the cell, nodding emphatically to her. "For the living," the seer replies, "we have to go down."

Down. The implication that this hell extends deeper sits ill with Colette. Eyes downcast so as to not see the corpses, she sweeps along behind Tamara, then pauses and turns her head subtly toward where Kaylee emerged from the cell. “It wasn't supposed to be like this…” she says in a hushed tone of voice. “It doesn't make sense.”

That much Colette has right. Why execute the prison staff? Why execute the prisoners? There's no clear sign of who is responsible for this operation, with an unmarked black helicopter and unmarked assassins in masks.

Tamara’s presence by the stairs stirs Colette from her fugue, reminding her of where they need to go. That the seer pointed out the stairs and not the nearby elevators is noted, and it's purposeful guidance remembered. “C’mon,” Colette says to Kaylee, offering out a hand to her for a reassuring tether. “Maybe— maybe we can save…”

Ourselves goes unsaid.

The hand is taken, a small humorless smile offered to her friend. “None of this has made sense since the day I asked to talk to that technopath.” Worry for the kid, of course, gnawing at the back of her mind, and would be until she heard from him again. “Wonder if he managed to download anything. A prisoner manifest would be nice.” So they knew who all these people were.

“I need to make this right…. Somehow.” Kaylee sighs out that last word. “The answers are out there.” She wouldn’t be able to relax until she knew the truth of it all.

The other of her friends spotted down the way, Kaylee heads to the stairs, but not until Colette’s hand is give a squeeze and let go. “Thank you, Tamara.” The seer’s arm is given a brief squeeze when she passes. The telepath was taking point down the stairs. Weapon returned to her hand and ability listening.

The detective continues onward and down into the depths.

Tamara waits with seemingly infinite patience while the other women contemplate, commiserate, speculate. Truthfully, she just knows they aren't likely to dwell overlong on it; they are all aware of the limits to their time. When Kaylee at last approaches, Tamara smiles, reaching out to rest a hand on her shoulder in passing. The seer lingers for sake of Colette; catching her partner's hand and interlacing fingers, they walk down the stairs side by side.

From within the narrow confines of the stairwell, this could almost be a normal day, inside an ordinary albeit painfully utilitarian building. The blood and death they know about is behind them, out of sight if not quite out of mind. Ahead — is uncertainty. Potential. Dread and hope superimposed, intermingled, oscillating between one and the other like the state of Schrodinger's cat, resolution contingent upon the opening of the next door.

The seer offers no warning as they descend, which is something… even if only an expectation that the telepath in the lead already has all necessary information.

All they need do now, is let the river carry them forward.

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