Antiques Roadshow


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Also Featuring

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Scene Title Antiques Roadshow
Synopsis Squeaks visits Caspian and the Lighthouse Kids with a videocassette she found in the sewers from…somewhere different.
Date April 17, 2018

Caspian's Apartment

Built on the second floor of a disused building in a nice part of the safe zone, Caspian’s place is sparse, with a couch and a sectional scavenged from somewhere, a galley kitchen with appliances that work, and air conditioning and heating that keeps the place comfortable. Windows line the tops of the walls, giving plenty of natural light, while a few partitions have been built to separate the bathroom (Right door) from his bedroom (left door). Rugs cover the hardwood floors and, despite the worn nature of everything in the large single room, it’s clean and tidy. Several walls are taken up with murals, spray painted over time, with others half-covered in paint, ready to begin again. A large blank spot near the door sits, spray cans at the ready, for guests to add their mark. Solar panels on the roof and a battery bank in an out-of-the-way closet on the bottom floor keep the entire place powered, even through brownouts.

The electric fence is OFF

The thing with picking up strays is that, when you let them out, there’s no promise for when they’re going to come back in. And that’s how Squeaks missed supper. It probably didn’t occur to her to give an expected time she’d return, a simple oversight from so many years being on her own. And when she got the idea in her head to go looking for William in the places she knows best, there wasn’t a lot of thought to much else. She did say that she would come back, and meet the elder Lighthouse bunch at Caspian’s. That’s the safest place to meet, and everyone who needs to know knows where it is.

Plus, there’s usually food there. And hopefully there’s some left overs still.

It’s at least not fully dark when there’s footfalls across the porch. They match the typical cadence of the younger girl’s stride. That comically long stride of hers absent this time, just the purposeful hiking pace. And then there’s the knock at the door, after a small shuffle of probably shoes against decking, that’s just about right for Squeaks’ stature. Which makes perfect sense since it is she who’s waiting outside, quite a bit muddy from elbows to knees, with a backpack hanging from her shoulders and excitement in her expression.

She knocks again, just in case it was missed the first time.

Dinner had come and gone.

With communal meals becoming a thing Caspian suggested if the LHK’s decided to start hanging out next door, his repertoire of recipes was starting to run a little thin. With several things difficult to get due to weather or general scarcity, and his insistence on trying to get a decent meal for everyone every night, the general quality has remained high while the selection has not. Still, with the work he’s got planned for Red Hook Market and the infusion of income that would provide to him and his business, he can put up with some not-so-amazing meals during the week to have awesome ones on Saturday. The plan for this weekend? Lasagna.

The table has been cleared and what leftovers there were have been packaged in mismatched tupperware containers to be had for lunch or snack the next day, or to be found by a hungry Joe at some point in the evening. The Lighthouse Kids can pretty much come and go as they please, and, as far as he knows, are scattered pretty much to the four winds - most of them over in the other building, looking through rooms, making plans on top of plans, and generally trying to decide if this is the place for them with a friend next door as a landlord that’s very reasonable. So as of now, it’s Caspian in his living room, working on the plans for the work at Red Hook.

At the knock he looks up from the coffee table that’s now been converted into a desk. “Come on in.” he calls, lifting a flashlight to flash it at the window in case it’s Brynn coming over to visit. “Got some questions about the building or what? Oh, shoot, hang on..” There’s a rustling of papers as he gets to his feet and jogs to the door, unlocking it. “Sorry, habit.” He says as he swings the door open and blinks in surprise. “Holy crap, Squeaks. You look like you fell into a mudpit. Come in where it’s warm.” Getting a shower, food in her, and clean clothes are a given. She should expect that from Caspian by this point.

A button is pressed by the door, an intercom brought to life briefly. “Attention people next door.” Electronically amplified words echo in the building next door. “Squeaks has come to dinner if you want to come say hi. Tell Brynn.” Caspian closes the door behind and goes to the kitchen to get a plate made for Squeaks.

Joe has been going out the past few days, now that he's feeling hale enough to do so. He's been sneaking out of the safe zone and going and roaming the ruins of New York looking for their missing friend Eimi. He's used his landing location, Brynn's and Lance's to try and triangulate a search area for his rescue operation. Whether others have been going with him or not, Joe has been going. He won't leave someone out there, missing and in need of rescue. And while he hasn't gone back to the basement where they encountered Fear Monger he's not been that far from it either. Just in case. He's only just gotten back and is looking for Lance or Brynn to let them know he's back and okay when he hears that buzzing. He cringes and looks over at the intercom. "Hmmm, dunno if I like that. Buzzy intercom and all."

He taps his chin a few times, but then goes in search of Brynn. Shower time will have to wait. His clothes are dusty and he's clearly been out running around. Once he finds himself a Brynn he'll approach and sign at her to let her know what the intercom said before he goes in search of a sink or something to at least wash his hands and his face free of dirt. Once he's done that he'll go and head over to Caspian's place. Right next door. That's still a bit odd. But the LHK's have at least agreed to stay close while they're healing. Though Joe's definition of stay close clearly includes going outside the safe zone.

Brynn is actually in the building, having spent a portion of the afternoon walking around the place drawing floor plans, escape routes, potential cache locations, and lines of sight for firing. Yes… she too is one of Brian's children, though she doesn't show it quite as outwardly as the others. When Joe finds her, she's kneeling on the floor in what is a living room of the uppermost apartment, her head tilted while she studies what she's drawn out. Making a few notes on it, she seems oblivious to her surroundings… but when Joe rounds the corner, he finds the petite girl holding the pistol that goes everywhere in her go-bag pointed at him within a second. She could feel his footsteps in the otherwise empty building — he's not a quiet walker. Almost instantly, however, the weapon is gone out of sight again, hidden behind her crouched form.

See?? She's not completely oblivious, dammit, guys!

She finishes making a note on the paper she's using as a drawing board and looks up, following Joe's signs about an intercom. A frown pulls her brows together. An intercom? That's gonna be useless for when I'm here by myself. Maybe we should ask him to put a lightbulb attachment on it, like we had up home on the doorbell?

Climbing to her feet, she tucks the 9mm back into her go-bag and throws it over her shoulder and then grabs up the sketch pad to tuck under her arm. I was thinking that if Lance is actually okay with staying here, maybe we should talk to Caspian about creating one larger apartment on this floor and leave the middle floor as separate apartments? she suggests as they walk over? I know Lance wants his own place where he can shut the door and have it just be his, though, so maybe that's not a good idea. We all deserve to be able to not have to be living in two small rooms together. She guesses. Honestly, she rather likes living with Lance — he's a good roommate, never yells about her art supplies, and they give each other lots of space. Plus he never has to worry about blasting music if he wants it — she can't hear it!

A voice comes from the sky, speaking of their youngest and newest adoptive member! Okay, so maybe it's an intercom and not the sky, but it sure as hell wakes Lance up from where he was sleeping, shooting bolt upright with his heart going a mile a minute.

"Jesus Christ we need to lower the volume on that," he says, laughing at himself mostly as he rolls off the couch and to his feet, tossing on a light jacket as he joins Joe and Brynn on their way over to next door. His arm's still on a sling, but he's otherwise doing fairly well health-wise. Just waiting for that elbow to finish healing.

There’s food next door. Lance - and the others - rarely turn down food.

The door knob rattles before Caspian can even get up, and by the time the door is unbolted, Squeaks has a hand up ready to knock again. Probably louder this time. She doesn’t look the least bit embarrassed by having been stopped before a third time of banging on the door, nor does her state of dirtiness seem to faze her. That’s what happens when you go crawling through tunnels. She follows Caspian inside, after taking the smallest second to brush some of the dried muck off.

“Are they here?” The question is posed as she pulls the door closed. She’s already looking to the living room to see if the older teens are present. “I need to tell them stuff. Really cool stuff.” Not finding them in the living area, Squeaks takes a sharp turn to go into the kitchen. They aren’t there, either, at least not yet, but there is food! That nearly pauses her search for the siblings, but the younger girl gives a shake of her head and turns back for the living room. Something more important than food?

Hardwood floors have the advantage of being swept up and not having dirt ground into them. The rooms that actually have carpet in Caspian’s place are the bedrooms, so anything that Squeaks tracks in - better left unsaid what it actually is - can be cleaned up without having to haul out a steam cleaner. “They’re next door. I gave them a call on the intercom.” Yes, there’s an intercom.

Caspian leaves the front door unlocked and slightly ajar because the siren’s song of food generally means visitors and, with the day actually nice, leaving the door slightly open isn’t going to drive his electricity bill anywhere. “Something really cool?” That gets his attention, Caspian heading into the kitchen to keep building the lasagna in the rectangular pan, adding some fresh cheese from the marketplace before sliding it all into the oven to start baking.

Yes, there will be garlic bread.

“You want to change into less grimy clothes while they’re coming over? Spare bedroom still has clothes your size if you want them.”

Joe of course… doesn't show any sign of being worried about the gun pointed at him. His walk slows slightly so she can see who he is and not put unnecessary holes in his clothing. Or in the walls. Once he sees that she sees him he'll speed back up his walk. He's not worried about getting shot, though he's pretty sure Brynn might freak out about accidentally shooting him. Nice reaction time! His hands moving in clear approval. Very nice. Would totes be dead if I wasn't me. And Joe means it. He's an encouraging sort. Where someone else might have made that comment sarcastically, Joe means it earnestly.

He approaches and crouches near Brynn, looking over what she's doing, his head nodding slowly. Looks good. And we could probably do a lot. But what we could also do is leave a bedroom or two intact? And that can be someone's personal space, where the rest becomes communal space. So then we can have a bedroom if we want one. While none of them are actively dating yet… at some point they're toooootally going to want some privacy. And having the option would be good. Yeah, the intercom is uhhh… I don't like it. Joe admits, his shoulders giving a shrug. “Come on Broninja. Food!” Cuz food is a call that will get any LHK moving, sleeping or not. You’ll get LHK zombies that way. Mostly sleeping children stumbling their way towards the smell of food.

This is just a rough draft — I wanted to ask Lance what he thought before really getting too far into floor plan stuff, really. I mean… I like the idea of having one floor kinda open concept, one floor very much separate apartments and stuff. But I'm…. not sure we're actually going to wind up staying long enough to make that level of renovations, Brynn admits after she gains her feet and has her backpack on. She feels the thump of Lance's feet hitting the floor and looks toward his door with a grin and drops the topic for now.

As they reach Caspian's place, Brynn offers a wave to both Caspian and Squeaks when they enter. She looks curiously at Squeaks, though, cuz the younger girl is an outright mess. What the heck happened? She wonders about it, but doesn't sign anything. Joe's a blabbermouth — he'll ask and she won't have to pry.

“I’m already walking! Jesus,” Lance rolls his eyes, though the banter’s good natured as always as he heads with the others, stepping along into Caspian’s place and calling cheerfully, “We heard the call of holy shit Squeaky you look like my sister, what’d you, roll around in a puddle of mud and horseshit?”

He looks her up and down, brow furrowing into lines, “You’re okay, right? We don’t gotta go kick anyone’s ass? Cause I’ll totally kick someone’s ass.”

Change her clothes? Yeah, that’s a concept she’ll eventually have to get used to. Right now, Squeaks only shakes her head, easily dismissing the notion. At least, she does until the trio come in from next door. Squeaks looks herself over then shrugs slowly. So maybe she is a bit of a mess, but she hurried over because, “I went looking for William!”

Maybe not the best way to start out the conversation, but that’s definitely not the end of it. The younger girl nearly jumps up and down, her knees do bend and she bounces onto the balls of her feet, but she never actually leaves the floor. “I didn’t find him. I found other neat things. I went all over the Underneath to this place I never went before. That’s where I got dirty, going through really small places. But I got to this big open place and there.” Squeaks pauses for dramatic effect, eyes wide and bright with barely contained excitement.

“I found. A. TANK.”

Now is the time Caspian should be an adult. How he should dissuade Squeaks from exploring, now that she's got a place that doesn't require such things. The other LKH’s probably already see the signs of ‘a talk’ in Caspian - the stoic face, the crossed arms and the like. But a tank?

“I have to admit, that's pretty f….reaking cool.” Cas catches himself before he swears. “It was just buried somewhere, left over from the war? Did it look messed up?” A tank, with treads or full of stuff, might be good salvage.

Joe though… doesn't actually ask. He takes it in stride. Kids get messy. Lord knows they made a mess of themselves when they were younger. And well… still do at times. He eyes Squeaks for a second or two before his shoulders lift in a shrug, dismissing it. "Heya Squeaks. Hey Cas. Is there any way to turn that intercom thingy down? It's suuuper loud. Not at all stealthy if you're trying to warn us about something." He reaches a hand up, running fingers back through his hair, brushing some dust out of it. He's not exactly clean himself after all. Hence why he doesn't question Squeaks being so dang dirty.

He's just about to head for food while Lance does the questioning when he's pulled up short as Squeaks says she went looking for William. "You did? Did you f… oh." Joe's features lit up a bit, but then fall even more when she says she didn't find him, and he resumes his walk in search of food until she says she found a tank. "A tank of what? Like sewage?" Cuz that would explain the clothes. Also how would a tank get down into the sewers? So he assumes it's like a liquid storage tank or something like that. Not a battle tank. "Food?" He queries a Caspian, not quite understanding the excitement on Squeak's face.

Brynn is glad Joe asked 'a tank of what?' Because she is really confused. Fish? They'd all be dead and stinky, right? The brunette leaves her backpack in the living room and makes her way to the kitchen doorway, waiting there to hear the answer to what's in the tank. Cuz it's really kind of cool to find neat stuff to salvage.

The assumption of Caspian gets a hopeful look from Lance, but then he’s looking back to Squeaks at the others’ thoughts— and they seem more likely. “Yeah, a tank of what, what kind of tank— and oh, uh, how about a light too? Instead of the intercom, I mean, it’s not like Brynn can hear it.”

“A tank.” The word is drawn out, like that might make them understand better. But when they don’t, Squeaks slaps a hand to her forehead and shakes her head. “Like a big… with armor and a gun. Like the G.I. Joe would have! It was in this huge open area on some tracks, like a place that changes the subway cars? But it’s not so open now. It’s like a war happened in the Underneath and all the things collapsed around it and on it.” She makes crashing sounds, hands dropping to like things falling from above. “There were old bone bodies there and everything. And these!”

These are old brass casings that are pulled out of a pocket. Not super shiny now, but at one point in time they were ammunition for some kind of firearm. “It was like a battle happened down there. Some of the skeletons had guns, too. Up on this walkway that’s waaay overhead.” Squeaks holds out her hand for the spent ammo casings to be examined. Or taken. That would be okay too. Of course, it’s safe to guess she was up on that walkway. The precarious climb is mimed, after the casings are taken or looked at, and the walk past the bodies as she speaks about them.

“That brought me to a sign and a hallway that led me to old empty offices.” The younger girl frowns a little, like she hadn’t given much thought to how unusual those empty offices really were, head tipping to one side as she turns to face the other teens and Caspian. “I found something really strange in one of the empty rooms.”

Now this is interesting!

Caspian immediately went to ‘driving, shooting, crush cars’ tank when Squeaks said that word, but more than likely Joe’s measured, sedate assumption that it was a tank of stuff is, sadly, more likely. He catches that look from Lance, too, and nods. Yep, buddy, he was hoping the same thing. There’s a shift as he pushes himself to his feet to go check the lasagna - pan 1 of 3 has been baking for some time now - and to pull it out of the oven. When Squeaks confirms it’s a tank? There’s a clatter and Caspian’s in the door of the kitchen. “Squeaks, you had my curiosity, but now you have my attention.”

One of the offered brass shells is taken and examined, turned over to look at the caliber, to see what kind of gun these came out or, at least, to get an idea of what they’re dealing with. “I admit, I’ve got to defer to you guys on this one.” he finally says, setting the shell down, pointing up, on the coffee table. “I’ve never dealt with anything like this before. I mean…a tank? Leftovers from the war, maybe? Could be a lot of useful stuff down there. I mean…a tank has something like 300 gallons of gas in it when fueled up, not to mention the electronics and the sheer mass of the thing, and the bodies…Whoever they are, they had family and don’t deserve to stay down there in the depths.” It’s one of Caspian’s things - respect.

Old empty offices below the city around a subway exchange? That is odd. When the war hit, most people just abandoned their posts. There were still stories of subway cars getting stuck in the middle of transit because the power went out. Caspian retakes his seat, looking to Squeaks and the rest of the kids. “This has to be something, all the stuff you’ve dealt with, thinking this was strange. What did you find? Ancient shrine to a hair metal band?”

Joe and Lance both could look the shell over and figure out caliber, and probably what type of gun it came out of. Machine gun, rifle that sort of differentiation. Not like… brand or anything. Though there are experts that could tell you that sort of thing, it just wasn't in their training. Joe will look one of the casings over a little bit before giving it back to Squeaks. He hasn't spoken on the tank, he's rather stunned. She means a battle tank. Not a tank of something like a tank tank.

"How did… how would you… like how would you get that down there? And WHY? Why would you put a tank underground? Like what possible freaking purpose could that serve. Oh I mean that's an awesome find Squeakers. I'm just suuuuper confused by it too. A whole battle down there?" Joe's features pull into a slight scrunch. Yup, they're definitely going to have to go down there and check it out.

"Lots of salvage yeah. But also bodies. We'll want to get what we can salvage, then report the site to SESA so they can tag the bodies and let the families know. Could… is there any way we could… salvage a tank? Like a whole tank? What about Owain? Where would we put it though? Actually better question how would we get it up here without being noticed?" Joe is pondering that when lasagna is taken out of the oven. "Where did you get the cheese?" He asks. Cuz pasta and tomato sauce are things that last in storage. Cheese not so much. "Also yeah, what'd you find Squeakers?"

A frown works its way across Brynn's features as she follows at least part of this. She has no idea what 'hair metal' is and makes a mental note to ask one of the boys about it later, a skeptical look thrown at Caspian for that one. Why would anyone have taken a tank underground while they were fighting an Evo war?, she wonders. But she's more interested in what Squeaks found in offices. Maybe later on she'll figure out where Squeaks actually was that would have had offices underground too. But she's never 'heard' any stories of such things in her life.

“Whoa. Whoa, wait, a whole tank? Can we claim salvage on that? What are the laws on salvage,” asks Lance, apparently in general, suddenly grinning like a loon with the idea of them owning a tank. “I bet Owain could fix the structural damage— Caspian, you think you could get it going? I might be able to get some— nevermind, I mean, just the tank.”

He rocks on his heels a bit, bouncing slightly, “We gotta see that.” He doesn’t care so much why or how. “So what else did you find? C’mon, spill it!”

Hair metal band? Squeaks gives Caspian such a look, the grown-up amongst the group of teenagers should be feeling old. “Like a real live tank. But under stuff and maybe smushed. It’s hard to say because I didn’t climb around on it. Or get a better look.” There were more important things to do, like find William. “I didn’t tell anyone. Just came right here. But I’ll show you guys where it is. Where all the things are.”

But on to more important things, she turns to face everyone properly. No more miming the explorations, because this next part is particularly curious. Squeaks takes a breath to slow down a little. “So everything down there is dirty, even in the empty offices. There’s just dirt and dust everywhere. Except one office wasn’t all empty, and no one had been in there before me. But I found something that was clean, like it was just there for a few days.”

The younger girl stops talking to take off her backpack. She sits right there on the floor, legs tucked under so she’s on her knees, and pulls the pack open. Given the care displayed when Squeaks reaches into the bag, it must be quite the treasure. The clean plastic body of the small camcorder is quite the contrast to her state when it’s revealed.

“I found this,” Squeaks explains. “In that office.”

“Salvage is complicated.” Caspian says to Lance, nodding to Joe’s ideas. “Government stuff is generally still owned by the government unless it’s in international waters or something, like a shipwreck. A battle below the streets, though…” Caspian shakes his head. “I don’t know. Might have been from before the war even started. You know the old saying - if all you have is a hammer, or a tank, everything looks like a nail.” He goes quiet for a second, thinking. “I probably could get it running….I mean, it probably uses a turbine engine. Few months of work at least before I’d be comfortable firing it up, and even then, we’d have to find enough gas to feed the beast and instructions somewhere on how to start and maintain the thing. It’d be a lot of work just getting it out if its buried and hard to get to. Let’s call that plan A until we determine if it can be gotten out and fixed. Joe’s logical plan of getting what we can and then reporting it is a solid plan A-1.” The mention of an Owain gets a quirked brow. Must be another friend that he hasn’t met just yet.

Caspian might need to get out a walker, some high-waisted pants, sandals, and socks to go on beneath them, thanks to that look he’s given. “What?” he playfully prompts Squeaks. “I just thought of something that might be hidden down there and guessed. Apparently I guessed wrong on that.”

The whole room goes quiet as Squeaks reverently undoes her backpack, Caspian leaning forward to watch as the little camcorder is brought out and displayed. “You found that down there, in the middle of all the bodies and battles? That looks…it looks brand new. Can I see it? I might be able to get it some power and on the TV so we can see what was going on.” Yay for having a ridiculous amount of wiring to play with.

Joe's hands move along quickly for Brynn, translating as they all go. He doesn't know on the tank, and lets her know that he's just as confused and bewildered as she is. But then the conversation is moving right along onwards from the tank, though Joe is still stuck on some of the logistics of owning a tank. "I mean… the government wouldn't let us keep it if they found out. Maybe we could sell it? Salvage it and sell it to someone for a crap load of money? I mean I want us all to have a tank too but… if we sold it…" THey could do a LOT with that kind of money. "OH… a camcorder? I haven't seen one of those since we were kids. Like little kids…"

Joe shuffles forwards, peering at the camcorder a few moments. "So this had been down there awhile. Probably before the war yeah. Though I didn't hear anything about tanks being used in the city before the war." Joe looks slightly confused by the presence of the camcorder. "Does it take batteries or is it charged? If it uses a charge it's gotta be dead. We could plug it in. And dude Cas? You can find anything on the internet. I guarantee you, especially after the war? We can find an instruction manual for a tank. Physical or digital. And Owain is like… a metal bender. I'm pretty sure he could fix it right up. He was there at the riot, wrapping people up in copper wire. Weren't you at the riot? With Raquelle singing people down? I thought you were." Joe's features scrunch up a little bit before he turns his attention back to Squeaks. "What's a hair metal band?" He asks idly of Caspian while watching the underground explorer.

Brynn looks at that camcorder and hesitates, not wanting to look stupid. What is that thing? She's literally never laid eyes on a camcorder — not that she remembers. She's a child of the new millenium — everything is digital! Or at least DVDs. And besides which, WAR ZONE and OUT IN THE BOONIES OF CANADA. Not exactly a lot of experience with old tech. Caspian's offer to get it on the TV makes her brows shoot upward. It's a recording? Whoa… of the battle or something? That… I don't know if want to see that. There it is again — the part of her that Brian both thought darling and despaired of in some ways — Brynn's definitely the squeamish one.

“Huh.” Lance cocks his head as he looks at the camcorder, “Looks kinda— new to’ve been down there all this time. Maybe someone was exploring and dropped it…? Yeah, Cas, get ‘er going, let’s get some movies. Do we have popcorn?”

He grins at the older man, then looks back to the others, hands moving, You think Gillian would help? Maybe she could help Eimi ‘port it to the surface?

“Camcorder.” The word is applied to the plastic object in her hands with a huh look. Squeaks turns it over in her hands, re-examining the buttons until she’s found the one that opens the tape compartment. “It doesn’t turn on right now,” she explains as she wiggles the tape free. That’s also held up so everyone can see it. “This is inside. It’s got writing on it. Magnes. Ruiz. Attempt two.” Her head tilts as she reads that last bit out loud.

That Caspian knows how to operate it goes missed for a bit. Squeaks is preoccupied with turning the camcorder and tape around in her hands all over again, even though she’s already had a good look before. “It wasn’t dirty enough to be there before the war,” she says to Joe, but Lance’s comment gets a shrug. “No footprints besides mine.” Eventually the tape is fitted back into its proper slot and the door closed. Then she looks up at everyone as a group, unsure of what to make of it.

The tank is an interesting conundrum. “Maybe we can get it out with Eimi. If it's squashed, it may be holding up the ceiling or something structural. If that's the case, we'd have to do a hell of a lot of work just to get it out. And that's before getting us to the spot. If it hasn't been scavenged yet, it must mean it's a tight fit, the tunnels leading there. Something Squeaks sized. And as far as using your Aunt Gillian to help?” How, he's not sure. “You'd have to ask her, but she already did the poking your brain stuff and might be wary of assisting on this particular project without a clear “this is how we're getting it out.” plan.”

Caspian turns to look to Lance. “It might not be a popcorn film.” Caspian shifts from his chair to peer at the camcorder, getting squeaks to turn it over so he can see the little bank of ports and, more importantly, the voltage required to make it run. “But I should be able to get it going. Playing that tape probably won't happen in any vcr I have bouncing around, though. Give me a few minutes. Someone grab the laptop from my bedroom and bring it and the charger out here.” And he wanders off to the basement workshop to rummage, leaving the kids to discuss the tank.

When he returns, it's with a box of power adapters, several different video cables that should fit, and a pair of wire cutters to help adapt. Sitting back down in his seat, he works quickly to get power brick that's compatible spliced into a plug that'll fit into the camcorder, wires the camcorder to his laptop, and wires the laptop to the TV. A little tinkering shows his desktop on the tv and a little more shows a black screen of his video capturing software. “Just in case the tape decides to eat itself or something. We’ll have a copy.” He explains.

And now, the moment of truth. He plugs the adapter into the wall and offers the plug to squeaks to plug it in and hit the red power button. If all goes well, the camcorder’s feed /should/ be showing on both his laptop and TV. Lighthouse Kid TV is Live! And once that’s there and the capture software is going? They can hit play and see what Magnes Ruiz Attempt Two is.

Joe nods his head to Brynn's questions about what the camcorder is and what she realizes it is. Yeah, people used to have to use these to record things. It wasn't built into phones and stuff then. I mean some phones, but not all phones. And the image quality was crap. Much better to just use a camcorder back then. Joe's hands move rapidly, then he looks to Lance at his question, considering it. I mean… probably not? But also maybe? Not sure really what Aunt Gilly will help with sometimes. I mean she did leave cuz Brian was teaching us to handle weapons… don't think she'd help us with a tank if she knew what she was helping us with. So… not sure how to work that one out.

Joe takes notice of how new the camcorder looks when Lance mentions it. "Yeah, it does look pretty new. Magnets and Ruiz? Ruiz like… wait like Lynette's family? Like Mister Mateo? Or… Silvia?" Joe looks confused, but nods his head to Squeaks. "It would have used batteries or needed to charge. I'm sure it's dead. So we should definitely get it some power so we can watch whatever is on it." Joe's head shakes to Caspians' statement. "Aunt Gilly enhances powers. Aunt Kaylee pokes brains. We have a lot of aunts Cas. It's okay." He flashes the man one of his wide Joe smiles and then looks back over at the camcorder. "That’s really weird. We'll have to watch it and then well I mean if Mateo is on it we should go and see what's up and why he's got camcorders in the undercity."

It totally piques Brynn's interest that they're talking about Mister Mateo maybe being on this recording. It seems like a large leap in logic that a recording in the undercity of Manhattan near a tank has anything to do with him, but hey… what does she know about tanks and Mister Mateo?? She goes into the kitchen while Caspian is rummaging for whatever, helping herself to the food. And dishing up four of the plates. She brings two back and shoves them at Squeaks and Joe, then she goes and grabs the other two to bring one back for Lance. Then she curls into what has been recently "her" corner of the couch to observe the goings-on with bright eyes.

“Magnets?” That’s bizarre, especially in conjunction with Silvia’s father! Lance steps on over to peer at the tape that Squeaks found while Caspian is setting up the equipment, brow furrowed a little. “Mateo’s even spelled the same, but it might be a— wait. Wait, that says Magnes.”

His brow wrinkled in confusion as he looks up and over to Joe, “You remember that guy, uh, he used to read comics to us when we were kids. But he’s dead, that— must be a different person?” Not that he’s ever met anyone else named Magnes.

“Magn — “ A plate of lasagna interrupts that thought. But it’s okay because Lance is already correcting the name that’s listed on the tape. If it even is a name. Squeaks lifts the plate up for a good sniff and a bite, sans fork since her other hand is busy holding the camcorder. She’s just about to go for another when Caspian comes back from somewhere to try and hand her something else. That plug thing just gets stared at, she’s not an octopus.

She sets the plate on the floor beside her hip, after taking another bite first. Then the plug is taken and examined. Squeaks looks over the camcorder to find the connection it fits, then finds the buttons again. She looks up at everyone again, even twisting enough to share a look with Brynn. It’s a little scary, starting up some video that none of them even know what it could be.

“Hold on to your butts,” the younger girl states, skepticism plain on her face as she presses the power button and looks to the television screen.

At first there’s nothing but static, then a blue screen, then static again. A moment later, something else.

Shaky footage of a concrete room comes into view on the screen. It’s the same one Squeaks saw recently, the same room the camcorder was found in, except that there’s no shelves. The camera is out of focus, and two people that resemble little more than blurs stand in the middle of the room. When the camera comes into focus, two people are immediately recognizable: Magnes Varlane and Mateo Ruiz. Mateo is dressed in a tattered gray jumpsuit, Magnes in likewise hand-me-down looking clothes.

That sure looks like Mister Mateo, Brynn observes. She watches but relies more on the boys to sign out for her what's going on.

“That’s where I was!” The camera is put on the floor and Squeaks crawls forward for a better look at the image. A glance over her shoulder lets her know if she’s blocking anyone’s view, but mostly she’s looking at the pictures on the screen. “That’s sort of where I was…”

That is totally Mister Mateo. And that’s comic book guy. Joe looks confused for a few moments, and looks over to Squeaks, nodding his head before whispering for the others benefit. “That’s definitely Mister Ruiz, and Magnes.”

There’s a timestamp on the bottom right corner:

7:17 pm

“That’s a long time ago,” Squeaks muses as she points to the date on the television.

“But Mister Ruiz was in Mexico back then… this is really weird…” Joe murmurs in a very confused sounding tone of voice.

«I swear t’fuckin’ Christ above, if you two suck me inta’ bloody Narnia,» An unfamiliar British man’s voice chimes in loudly, sounding like whoever is filming. He doesn’t finish his sentence, just clips the end and slowly sighs. «Tape’s in, camera’s rollin’, let’s get on with this…»

«You’ll be fine, Woods,» Ruiz responds with a grin to the cameraman. «It’s just a black hole. What’s to worry about.» It’s hard to tell if Mateo is kidding or not. The camera pans down after a moment, to heaping bags of trash pushed against one side of the room. The focus awkwardly pulls, then camera wobbles, and then recenters on Magnes and Ruiz.

“That is Magnes,” Lance’s eyes widen as he watches the tape, “What the hell. Isn’t he dead?”

«Here we go,» Ruiz gives a warning, glancing at the camera before he looks back at the far wall. A two-dimensional hole starts to form, pointing toward them. The lights flicker slightly in the room and electricity flickers along the edges of that two-dimensional plane, so dark it can barely be called sparks of lightning against the blackness.

It pulls on the air around them— pulls on them, on the garbage… but not strong enough to move them. It’s only now that it’s clear both Magnes and Ruiz are wearing some sort of harness around their waists attached to braided metal cables. Some debris on the floor begins to lift up into the air, spiraling away into the dark of the void.

«This… this black hole is strange.» Magnes admits as he stares at it. «It's a singularity, but it isn't acting like a normal singularity, it's like… it's like a black hole formed from almost no real mass. I wonder if this is some kind of, I don't know, some kind of black hole that only an evolved person could create…» He starts to step forward, and an empty bottle floats up purposefully beside him, and then begins to drift toward the hole in space.

«I have it tethered to my gravitational field, I want to see if putting it into your black hole breaks the tether. But first, I'm going to try and take control of it, see what it feels like, what happens when my ability combines with yours…» The bottle stays, starts to orbit Magnes like a recyclable moon. He reaches his hand out for the black hole, but doesn't get any closer.

«This isn't only for me and Elisabeth. This is also for Mala and Denisa. I won't let them die again, I won't let them live this kind of life. I'll give them a happy life even if it kills me…» Magnes furrows his brows, head tilting to the side, and a slight purple hue shines around his body.

Lance blanches almost stark white as their old babysitter says that on the video, reaching out to grab Joe’s shoulder - to get his attention or for support, he’s not sure.. “Did he— did he just say— “

The names "Mala" and "Denisa" act as a catalyst — Brynn looks stunned when they are signed for her to follow along.

Joe similarly looks utterly rocked right now, like his whole world has taken a wrecking ball to the pillars of it’s foundation. “This isn’t… this isn’t our world.” He whispers. The LHK’s have grown up around all sorts of shenanigans. “They were already dead by this date. But that Magnes said… again. He’s… from.. Here?”

That draws Squeaks’ attention from the video for a second to look at her fellow teenagers. She’s just as confused by the images and action, but for all different reasons.

The cameraman — Woods — backs up rapidly, bumping into the wall. «So,» he mumbles low enough to clearly be talking to the camera. «In the event tha’ this is my last moment on Earth, I’d jus’ like t’give a hearty fuck you t’Mateo Ruiz an’ —» Woods hesitates. «Hey!» He shouts over the roar of the vortex, «Magnes! Wha’s yer fuckin’ last name? So I can curse it before my bloody death!»

Magnes shouts back, «Varlane!»

«Thank you!» Woods calls back. «Uh, I was uh,» Woods centers the camera on the vortex again. «Hearty fuck you, yadda yadda, Magnes Varlane!»

«If you die, I get your headphones,» Ruiz jokes to Woods, rather callously.

Suddenly, that purple around Magnes seems to spread into the hole in space. Those lightning and sparks seem to change color, getting a purple hue to them. The vortex continues to roar, like some great gnashing of teeth. The acoustics in the room seem to make it louder, the sound bouncing off the metal walls, into infinity.

As the bottle gets closer, the emptiness fights back, pulls on it, until it seems ripped out of the air and pulled into the nothingness. The gravity in the center doesn’t seem to crush it, though, once it reaches a point it’s just gone.

And the tether snaps back at him.

«The bottle's gone, I can't feel it anymore, I don't think I can feel beyond the point of the black hole. I also can't really… I can't control it, it's too much gravity I think, it's stronger than me, and my gravity is pretty strong…» Magnes visibly tenses and begins to step forward, but he stops short a few feet from the portal.

«Before we came through, I was being augmented, and then my ability got out of control because of something they did, I don't know what, but they forced me to attack people and then I couldn't pull my ability back in. But if I could augment myself, and choose what I'm doing with my ability without some weird mind control…» He’s silent for a moment, staring at the swirling vortex.

«What do you feel? Can you sense it? Think about it… When I became a black hole, I realized that I could sense so many things, I could just… I could feel so much of what was going on, but my brain used to just filter it all out as background noise. I want you to try to feel the vortex, try to feel what's inside of it, with your mind.» He rubs his chin, considering a few things.

«I was trying to shift my own gravity into the black hole, so that I could see what was beyond it, but I'm just not strong enough to push through, I don't think. But you, why don't you try making a second black hole, and putting it inside of the first one, to see if you can still sense it? See, when I put the bottle in there, the bottle didn't get crushed at all, I'd have felt it, there was no shift in gravity. It just… it disappeared, I don't know how, but it just disappeared, it didn't get crushed. We have to figure out what's going on in there, so we have to try everything.»

«I’m not going in,» Woods loudly clarifies. «Y’know, in case tha’ was in doubt? This ain’t bloody uh, what’s tha’ movie? The one with the big black uh… in space? Full of stars?»” Woods curses under his breath, then hastily adds. «Nevermind, nevermind.»

«2001!» Magnes helpfully adds, shouting it due to all the, well, gravity noises.

«I always feel it,» Ruiz helpfully responds to the question, his voice deep. Jaw tightening, he looks into the chasm of emptiness and mutters a soft, «I never tried opening two before,» which is barely audible.

The lights flicker, once again, but never go out. Like power surges, or brown outs. Then, a second hole appears in space much closer to them, right in front of Magnes. The roar in the room suddenly stops, as if someone turned off the sound, though Woods’ audible breathing on the tape makes it clear the audio is still working.

“What the hell…” Caspian murmurs, looking to Squeaks and the gathered lighthouse kids. “They're making black holes and just playing with them like they're just toys? Jesus….”

This vortex, surrounded by sparks and that tinge of lightning, has a surface. Almost like oil.
«It's stable,» Magnes calls to Ruiz, «I can feel it… it's like, it's gravity, but it's… it's different from anything I've done, different from a black hole. I don't really sense any danger, I can't feel any destructive force.» Magnes takes a deep breath, then starts to walk forward. «I can't expect anyone else to do this, my life was already saved. I'll be the person Elisabeth needs me to be, and I'll be the superhero that Mala thinks I am.»

Then he just… walks through.

«JESUS FUCKING CHRIST!» Woods helpfully screams as Magnes enters the yawning abyss and—

And finds himself walking out of the other hole. «Whoa!» Magnes sticks his hand through the hole he just came out of, wiggling his fingers as it pops out of the one he entered, then quickly pulls his hand back out. «Uh… I think we just made scientific history. Let's call it a Ranus hole!»

«WHAT THE FUCK!?» Woods howls, barely able to hold the camera stable as he witnesses that display of dimensional folding. «Jesus flapjacking Christ’s fuckin’ brother on a bicycle! Are you— is he— fuck!»

The camera jostles again and rattles as Woods slouches against something. «Did you— is he— is tha’ even the same guy!?»

While Woods is more emphatic with his cursing, Ruiz whispered his curses. In Spanish. After a few moments, his first words loud enough to properly make out are, «We are not calling it that… Pretty sure it’s the same guy,» he offers while he steps closer. The tether attached to Magnes goes through one hole and comes out the other, uncut, still attached to him. With the roar and the pull gone, he runs his gloved hand over Magnes’ tether and follows it, until it stops, in that oily blackness.

«This… feels different.» Ruiz says softly, gloved hand raised, almost as if wanting to touch it, but pulls back just before he does. «You better walk back through. We don’t know how long this will last.»

Magnes finally turns around, heading back through. Then, standing outside of the portal he first entered, he crosses his arms. «We've created a wormhole. It's like an actual portal, like in the game Portal. Wait a minute…» He starts to pace, tapping the side of his forehead. «Edward Ray suspected it was a portal, that's why he thought someone else might come through. He must have taken it into account in his predictive models. Which means, when I turned into a black hole, it was at the same time that you opened your black hole, and then, since I was being augmented, I took control of yours and squeezed through!»

Magnes dramatically swivels around on his heel, then points at the portal in front of him as his feet plant more firmly on the ground again. «This means that there's no way to see in between, no way to really map the timelines I don't think, well, at least not in the physical way I was thinking. But this also means that it won't be dangerous to transport people, we know why me and Elisabeth survived the trip. So, the solution to getting out of here…»

Raising both hands now, Magnes finger guns at the portal with both. «We need Edward Ray to predict when a portal will open on the other side, I need to find some way to augment my ability to keep that side open, we need to make your portal much bigger, develop an evacuation plan, and then transport everyone in this entire building to another universe!»

He points a finger at Ruiz. «This is HOPE!!! Denisa and Mala will have a future!»

Though, crossing his arms again, Magnes muses, «There's also the possibility that if I was augmented, I could possibly take over your portal and, I don't know, force someone else's portal to open on the other side, maybe? But that seems less likely to happen, and we don't have any evidence that it would even work that way. So the first plan is better.»

«Lovely,» Woods notes in a sarcastic tone, «so if we get all of that improbability t’just line up like nice lil’ ducklings in a row for us, we’re home free!» The footage stops, screen turning blue, but it hasn’t reached the end of the tape.

There's silence once the show ends, the tape slowly progressing through the blue. Caspian has the presence of mind to reach out and stop the tape for a second - so they can discuss this stuff and get an idea before seeing more. “Please tell me I'm hearing things. This guy is a budding sci-fi movie maker….right?”

Of course, none of those platitudes are forthcoming so logical Caspian takes over. “I'm new here, so….you guys are going to have to give me some context. Speak to me like you would a child or a small dog. Who's Edward Ray? Who’s Elisabeth? Who are Mala and Denise? And why in the hell are they playing with fundamental forces of gravity and talking about escaping somewhere with everyone else?”

"What in… the actual fuck?" Joe comments, and to his siblings his use of the F word is enough to let them know how big of a bombshell this is. Joe never swears. The few times he does it's Bible curse words like damn or hell. He looks utterly lost, and bombshelled and shaken. His mind is reeling at what they just witnessed. "Holy crap. He said Elizabeth. Wasn't there a lady that worked with the Ferry? Liz? Didn't she get sucked into the black hole with Magnes? She might still be alive… we… we have to tell someone. Guys we have to tell someone."

"No Cas, you're not hearing things. That timestamp… Mister Ruiz was in Mexico back then. And Mala and Denisa and… it… there's…" Joe swallows hard and closes his eyes for a few moments, breathing deep and steady, trying to calm himself. When his eyes open he's looking at Lance and at Brynn. "We have no clue who Edward Ray is… but Ray… Raytech? Maybe? We should ask Aunt Kaylee if she knows who Edward Ray is. Mala and Denisa were our friends. Our family. They were LHK's too. Denisa was… Denisa was killed. And Mala was sick. We lost them both. And I think that they're in an alternate reality. Cuz like… we had friend when we were kids. Well friends slash caretakers. That we recently found out were from the future. But a different future. We changed their future. So that means that alternate worlds exist… And you guys saw that room. It was the same room but totally different too."

Joe's brain is moving far, far faster than Brynn's at this moment. Her memories of Mala are… exquisitely painful, both of them sick with the flu and near unto death. She remembers the terror of the sheet that got hung to keep all of them from seeing Mala being taken out of the infirmary wrapped up in a sheet. Being sure she was going to die too, crying into her pillow because she felt so sick.

Her gray eyes flicker toward Joe — she didn't catch his F-bomb. We aren't supposed to talk about where they came from, she objects. Because it's been drilled into them time and again that knowledge is power. But… This … Aunt Kaylee might know an Edward Ray. Maybe… maybe she can explain this. Maybe the date on the recording is just off. The offer of explanations … I mean, we live in a world where such things happen, but dear God that's a lot to take in.

“I…” Lance rocks back in his seat, just staring in shock at the screen, “I don’t— I don’t know what we just saw. They said— he said— “ Could it be true? Is there a way that they could have Mala back, have Denisa? Magnes? What other loved ones, lost to time and death, could they save?

In that moment, he understands the man on the tape’s fervor to save those same people.

A hard swallow, “Yeah, we have to— we have to tell people about this. Aunt— Aunt Kaylee, Mister Ruiz. Mom.” He slipped there, a little. Fortunately Hailey isn’t here to yell at him about calling Gillian ‘Mom’.

“Is there more?” A look to Caspian, expression torn. He’s not sure if he’s hoping there is more, or that there isn’t.

When the video is paused, Squeaks continues to stare at the blue screen. Like Caspian, she’s probably wondering if it’s just camera tricks or some strange homemade science fiction. The names and the science of it are entirely lost on her. Except, she recognizes Mister Mateo. He was there that night she invited herself to the fancy dinner, the night she first met everyone in the room. But then he’s also in the video with people that the siblings recognize right off.

It’s all so confusing.

The younger girl turns and looks at the elder teens, trying to find some understanding in each of their questions and comments. Secret people from the future? And people in this video that are in two places at once? It’s still confusing, but Squeaks does nod her agreement. “People need to know. Aunt Kaylee and… all those people.” And though she’s making an effort to speak with her hands — some words are more improvised than actual — she points at Lance to supplement with what he said.

“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. This is….” he shakes his head. “I don’t know /what/ this is. It could be an accidental time capsule. A message in a bottle. A picture scrawled on a wall that was buried and only just now uncovered.. Let’s…” Caspian blows out a breath, his hands moving in a calming motion, palms down, fingers spread.. “Let’s just watch to the end and see what there is to see, and then go tell your aunts. Right now we just have some names being dropped and someone who you say is dead talking about….I don’t know what he’s talking about. Being a hero or something. And I don’t know if there’s any more but let’s find out together.” And with that, Caspian reaches over to press play on the camera, the electric blue background intense on the old TV, PLAY appearing in block letters at the top right.

"Yeah. We definitely need to tell her." Joe knows who Lance means, even if he doesn't call Gillian mom. But he does call Brian dad sometimes. They're the closest thing they have to a mom or a dad. "We should get a hold of Aunt Kaylee and Mister Ruiz first… invite them over to come watch the video. They'll know what to do from there." He's signing away for Brynn the whole time he's talking.

"No, not really. Magnes disappeared into a black hole Cas. And Mister Ruiz was nowhere near New York then. He was in Mexico. Cuz that's where he found Silvia. She was an orphan like the rest of us. And yeah, Magnes always wanted to be a superhero. I think he was a little obsessed with his comic books. So unless the time stamp on that video is faked? This is beyond nuts. But why would that time stamp be faked?" Poor naive Joe. He does nod his head for them to continue with the video though. "Lets watch it all before we get too chalk."

After a moment the blue screen flicks away and the date stamp on the screen has changed, but the camera is pointed down at a pair of brown workboots, not in focus.

03:45 pm

«Woods is here to record.» Magnes’ voice can be heard on the footage of shoes. «I need Doctor Ray to use the data we gather in his probability models, it's absolutely essential that he tells us what to do next. In part,» the camera pivots up, blurry at first, but as it auto-focuses it shows the same room as before, but with more people. At first they aren’t recognizable, each one dressed in a head-to-toe white latex and vinyl environmentally sealed suit with a plastic bubble facemask. As one turns, the face of Elisabeth Harrison is visible, standing with her arms crossed over her chest. Son, too, the others will be more readily apparent.

«I believe he's already predicted that something is going to happen here, and most likely just doesn't know what.» As Magnes continues to talk, he walks into frame, gesturing as he speaks. As the camera adjusts its position to include others, Mateo and Lynette both come into view. Lynette looks much as she does now, though thinner, paler, and tired. Her hair is disheveled, longer, and dark circles ring her eyes.

“Hey,” Lance exclaims, pointing at the screen, “It’s Lynette… but…” His brow furrows, “This has gotta be time travel or something.”

“Ever see Back to the Future?” Caspian says softly, glancing to see if his computer is still recording - it is. “May have to turn that tank into a DeLorean.”

“What’s a DeLorean?” Squeaks leans forward to watch, elbows on knees and chin cradled in hands.

Joe nudges Lance. “Hey. I already said the time travel bit. Thief. And duuuude we so need to turn the tank into a time machine. That would be so primal. And don’t worry Squeaks. We’ll educate you on Back to the Future.”

“Only the best car ever. Back to the Future trilogy this weekend.” Caspian grins. “We’re gonna learn you a classic, Squeaks.”

Magnes continues to pace, and it’s clear now to Caspian that he’s holding an old battery-powered shortwave radio in his hands, fiddling with it, then offers it over to Elisabeth. «Edward Ray's ability probably works a little like Gabriel's, it's an intuitive ability. I started to realize this when it hit me that he's predicting things and putting them in motion without knowing exactly why he's putting them in motion. He can know that something interesting will happen without knowing what. It's a part of gathering data.» Magnes folds his arms behind his back, walking to the center of the room.

«Understanding that, what I'm attempting to do is predict and work out the way that he interacts with data, so that I know what kind of data to feed him in order to get an actually useful result.» Then, he nods to Ruiz.

«Ruiz' function will be to open a hole. After speaking to Ygraine, I now believe that Ruiz' holes aren't true gravity black holes, but simply the ability to open a hole in the universe. However, everything has gravity, and while his holes aren't collapsed mass, I can still interact with them using my ability. It's actually interesting, really, but I won't bore you with my thoughts.» Magnes shrugs, and continues, starting to pace in slow circles.

When Ygraine's name is signed as well, Brynn's brows shoot up. That's three, she observes. Three names known to the Lighthouse Kids who are showing up in person or specifically mentioned in the second part of this crazy recording.

“Hey I know that person,” Squeaks says. She’s recognized some of the others, if only from hanging around the older teens, but Ygraine she knows.

Hand going back behind his back, he rambles on with his game plan. «My current hypothesis, after reading some things in my books, is that I'm not supposed to create a black hole. I have to push the hole created by Ruiz' ability, until I essentially create a tear in the universe. I can't do this without Gillian.» The name Gillian is immediately recognizable, and Magnes’ dependence on her for a plan makes equally immediate sense. A power augmentor. How is any of this possible? «However, I have another idea, one that should work for the purpose of this radio.»

At the mention of Gillian, Lance’s eyes get wide. “Gillian? Is everyone there?”

“Must be an alternate timeline.” Caspian looks to Lance. “Some event in the past changed something and spawned a new timeline. Changed everything past that point. They…” a flicker or movement on the screen catches his attention. “We could all be there. And here. At the same time. Different us-es but the same us-es.” It makes sense. Sort of.

“One day, everyone will learn to listen to me, and learn that I’m usually right. One day.” Joe comments as his alternate reality theories are proven true live in living color.

Magnes motions his head to the radio, then to Lynette. «Lynette is going to feed her ability into Ruiz, as much as she can, and we're going to make it as large as possible, which is why you all have chains around your waists. Instead of trying to control the entire hole, I'm going to try to latch onto a very central point, the smallest possible point in the void.» Magnes pauses, looking distant for a moment, then slowly shakes his head.

«I'm going to try to push this small point, my ability should be able to do that much. I'm not trying to widen it, or make it large enough to travel through, I'm trying to push this single point just enough for us to receive radio transmission. Depending on the transmissions we receive, if any, we should have some ideas of what universes we're immediately next to, which will give us something to work with,» he carefully explains, then just starts laughing for no reason for a moment. «Sorry, I got excited.»

«Elisabeth will try to keep the transmission of sound clean, especially since Woods will be doing his best to record and we're doing the best we have with what's available. I'll also need Elisabeth to try to maybe keep the sound enhanced, since I doubt we'll get the most clear signal from one universe to another.» Finally, he points in front of himself. «Let's begin.»

«Ruiz, open the hole.» Magnes nods to Lynette. «You immediately start feeding him.» To woods, «Start recording now.» It’s a little late for that, and Woods makes a soft, oh sound behind the camera and clearly pretends to turn it on. Then, Magnes nods to Elisabeth. «Get ready.»

Magnes holds both hands out, concentrates, and everyone in the room visibly tenses for a moment as though they felt something.

«I hope their music is better than ours,» Lynette says dryly, once the details of the plan are explained. She then draws in a breath and closes her eyes, then exhales slowly. As she does, electricity begins to crackle down from her shoulders, across her chest and down her arms. It even conducts down the chain wrapped around her waist and arcs back to the bolt its attached to in the brick wall.

Tilting her head to the side, like she feels something, Elisabeth smiles faintly. She sets the radio on the ground outside of the snapping arcs of Lynette’s electricity, then exhales a slow and centering breath.

«This is the craziest idea I’ve ever heard.» Ruiz responds to all the dropped information with a small sigh, even as he looks at each of the suited people to make sure that their tethers are intact. «Everyone double check your tethers and hold tight if you need to. Magnes should be able to weight you down if something goes wrong.»

With a deep breath, Mateo closes his eyes and concentrates. The lights flicker after a moment of silence. The chain that connects Lynette to the wall sputters and sparks and the electricity vanishes from it, as it does from around her body. There’s a breath, a wind, then that inky spot explodes outward in a riotous and howling noise. The vortex, black and infinite pulls open to a flat plane that faces the others, ringed by lightning. It’s thinner than the last footage, more like a solid frame that just happens to be made of lightning.

Dust lifts up off the floor, a screw scrapes across the floor and flies up into the center. Everyone’s suits flutter and Woods mumbles a hushed but frightened, «Oh fuck, oh fuck, oh sweet Mary Mother of all the Fucks that ever Fucked…»

Brynn covers her mouth and laughs silently while Joe translates — he's doing that thing where he doesn't want to use the F-bomb, and so he tries to make up other words instead. It's hilarious.

Joe is always hilarious. It’s not his fault not everyone recognizes that fact.

And the sounds like a some kind of raging waterfall, whipping tornado, roaring forest fire or teeth crunching away at bones. All at once. It’s all those sounds. Folded on top of each other. And a more subtle sound of blood rushing through veins, of rain beating against the ground, of ice freezing and cracking. So many sounds at once, all wrapped up in each other. Like a whole world of natural, primal sounds, all contained in one infinite space.

Magnes stares into the void, eyes wide and lips parted. For a moment he seems transfixed, then shakes his head again and his expression shifts to one of determined focus. «Unlike last time, I'm trying to sense a single point, the smallest point possible. If I make an imprint in space with gravity, and then that imprint becomes so heavy that I break space wide open when I become a black hole, then, since we already have a hole to work with…»

«I'm going to push the smallest point, a point so small it shouldn't require as much power as controlling the whole thing. Now, let's see if we can get some radio waves!» Magnes looks to Elisabeth, nodding, then he aims both hands at Ruiz' hole, and starts to concentrate, harder than ever before. Veins bulge at the side of Magnes’ head, his eyes narrow, jaw clenches and fingers curl as if they’re gripping something.

«I don't really know what it'll feel like, if I break through, so just start doing the radio and we'll see what happens, as long as we can sustain this!» Magnes shouts as Lynette takes a small step forward, one hand on her chain, an enamored expression crossing her face as she stares into the lightning-ringed void.

At the same time, Elisabeth pulls in an awestruck breath. It takes her several long seconds, after closing her eyes to concentrate. Her head moves to the side, fingers curl, her posture shifts and moves as though she were listening to sounds no one else can hear. The wind ruffles her loose suit, lighting flashes in muted reflection across her faceplate, and she continues to waver gently from side to side.

The void begins to change, subtle at first, but that blackness and the lightning start to take on a purple tinge. At the same time, something else happens. The sound the void emits becomes softer, more focused, that roar fading slightly into the background. Mateo closes his eyes and clenches his fist, looking visibly pained. Taking deep breaths, Magnes tries to keep a calm exterior.

«Just for the fucking record!» Woods shouts as he holds the camera steady, fifteen feet away from the experiment and likewise tethered in chain. «I would like to point out this is the stupidest bloody fucking thing that has ever happened in my presence!» The camera sweeps from Lynette to Ruiz, then to Elisabeth and finally Magnes. «Absolutely pants on head fucking stupid!» Lynette glances over to Woods, one brow raised.

That makes Brynn laugh the silent chuckle of hers when Joe signs it… pants-on-head fucking stupid. Might be a new phrase to use.

Joe signs that one true, because well… it’s hilarious and he’s not sure how to fix it so it’s not swearing and cursing. So he just lets it go and signs it for Brynn, chuckling at her laughter.

The purple-tinged, consuming void ripples like he surface of water for a moment. There's a disturbance in it, frays the edges like tattered cloth and sends arcs of electricity snapping from the edges to the ceiling and floor, loud pops and crackles. The radio is just blasting static, and even as Liz tries to filter through it for a scrap of something there's nothing other than noise.

The radio sputters, crackles and pops, and then there is just silence. There's no static, there's no white noise. There was the normal background noise of this world that the radio was picking up, and then… nothing.

«Shut it down,» Lynette says into the quiet.

«Is’sat supposed t’be extra creepy?» Woods asks as he zooms the camera in on the radio. Almost as if in response there's a high-pitched shriek that comes from the radio’s speakers, an audio screech like feedback from a microphone pointed at an amp. That same sound elits like a knife from the speakers in the room, reverberates through the walls as the lights begin to flicker in Caspian’s house.

The bad sounds first draw a wince from Squeaks, then hands cover her ears to block out the sounds. “Is that supposed to happen,” she asks, eyes squinting and voice pitched to hopefully carry over the noises.

Caspian offers Squeaks a hand to grab and a reassuring smile. “Just static and feedback. Probably due to my wiring job.”

Then, loudly, an unfamiliar voice of indeterminate gender calls out from the radio on the footage «Lance. They cannot defeat, what they cannot find.» Everyone can hear the voice, but Brynn can hear the voice, in her mind. The lights in the house flicker again, but the television and the footage doesn’t.

Brynn looks first startled, and then abjectly terrified. Her hands fly up to the sides of her head and she makes a soft whimper that, the last time Joe or Lance heard that, she stepped on a nail and had driven it through her boot into her foot. Pain at a level that the usually silent young woman couldn't stifle.

Joe… doesn’t look terrified. No, he looks intrigued. He is finding this curious, not scary and terrifying. His eyes dart to Lance, then back to the screen, then back to Lance again and over to Cas. This isn’t a wiring job, but he leaves that unsaid for now, instead focusing on the voices coming out of the video. He reaches a hand out as well, settling it on Brynn’s shoulder and giving it a firm squeeze. She’s not alone.

A different voice calls or over the radio, over the television, this one distinctly more feminine but likewise unrecognizable. «The underworld belongs to you. When they come for you, make them fight on your terms.»

“I’ve gotta admit,” Lance says, pulling a knee up to his chest and wrapping an arm around it, “This is pretty primal, I mean, I didn’t know that Silv’s dad was so….” Then his name’s spoken, and as the lights flicker, his jaw nearly drops. “Wh— did everyone hear that? You all heard that, right? You saw that?” He looks around, hoping that he’s not going crazy. Then he hears Brynn’s whimper, looking over to her worriedly, a hand reaching out to her knee.

They all heard the voice. Caspian sits up straight, like someone hit him with a live wire, staring at the screen until the lights get his attention. As an electrician, lights flickering like this should not happen. Caspian has capacitors, batteries, and enough solar on the roof to provide power for himself and the building next door for a week of darkness before having to switch off. This /should not happen/ but it is. “You're not crazy, Lance….unless we all are.”

«Mateo. Let. Me. Out.» The first voice calls again over the radio, again audible to Brynn, followed by the same second voice again. The television begins to spark from the back, a few flickering points of light.

«You cannot hear their screams. You cannot save them.»” She whispers, static briefly rising and falling behind the words, before finally turning back to static again. Brynn, in spite of her disability, can hear everything. She can hear it all. On the footage, Ruiz’ knees buckle and a hand goes to his head. Magnes suddenly falters as well, falling to one knee as the pain jolts through him.

Backpedaling in a fast move that carries her to the far side of the couch, Brynn is looking for a small space. Clamping her hands over her ears is not helping, but the voice is vibrating in her head, it feels like, and she shakes her head vehemently in the negative, her voice that oddly flat tone of someone who's never heard her own speaking voice in what might be the only time Joe and Lance have ever heard her speak. "NO!"

“I don’t think I like this movie anymore.” Squeaks’ hands have gone from her ears to covering her head as she looks to the older teens for some sign that this is normal. Or not normal. Lights shouldn’t be flickering and voices shouldn’t be in the house. Brynn shouldn’t be acting like she can hear this stuff either.

Caspian scrambles to crouch by the TV, checking the wires. “What the hell is going on…” is muttered. He’s not blocking the screen, but the audio feedback and the smell of burning electronics has him grabbing for his extinguisher. Just in case.

Joe can’t look away from the screen. He’s shocked to hear Brynn’s cry and use of an actual word, but he can’t break away from watching what is going on. It’s like the kid is in a trance. Caught up in the momentous events taking place on the stage that is Caspian’s TV.

At the shout from Brynn, Lance shoots her a shocked look — and then looks back to the television, shifting to sit up straighter, “This isn’t right, there’s something wrong, Cas— “

«Mother of God…» Elisabeth murmurs in horror.

«That… that can't be right… that can't be real… that didn't just happen…» Magnes murmurs in disbelief.

Lynette reaches a hand out toward the portal, reaches for that electricity. Her eyes close as she pushes herself, focusing on pulling it back into her. Her hand still on her chain sparks. The hand stretched out in front of her blinks away and then back again. And away again. Like she might be struggling to keep herself solid. It looks as though she’s turning into electricity.

«Shut it the fuck down! Shut it down!» Elisabeth screams, and as she does the lights in Caspian’s house flicker and gutter again.

Let. Me. Out.

The voice rumbles from empty air in the middle of the house, no longer emanating from the tape, from the recording. It is coming from inside the house. Again, Brynn can feel it pounding behind her eyes, vibrating inside of her skull. The furniture begins to rattle, the floor shakes, windows vibrate inside their frames and the lights switch off and on rapidly.

A full-fledged scream flies from Brynn's throat, her eyes squeezed tightly shut against something and her palms digging into her temples as she fights to block out the noise. It hurts!!

The rattling and shaking house, Brynn screaming, it’s got Squeaks on her feet and looking from person to person to video to person frantically.

“Turn it off,” Lance shouts, reaching out a hand in the direction of the monitor that the video’s playing on, his own ability wrapping around the technology in an unseen field that should be containing any sound that it’s producing. There’s only one problem.

It doesn’t stop making noise.

“Wh— what the— UNPLUG IT!”

“That's not a problem.” Caspian's in the perfect position to reach back and does so, wrapping his hand around the wires. He gives them a light tug and then just yanks the whole mess out of the back of the TV. Power, video, cable, and audio dangle messily from his right hand.

The footage continues to play, loudly. Like nothing had happened at all.

“No! Stop! Don’t unplug it! This might be the only time we get a chance to see this!” Joe shouts at the others. This is something beyond the pale, and Joe is worried that they might not be able to play it again for someone else, to prove their story. “Cas no!” Then the plug is pulled and the video continues. Joe’s eyes finally widen. “Uhhhh….”

On the footage, Ruiz reaches up as for his head, pawing at the suit covering him. He’s struggling, wavering. The lightning along the vortex’s edges, in it’s soft purple hue, changes as Lynette pulls on it, crackles, sending sparks down into the blackness. It had been held together so tightly that it takes a few moments before it gets the desired effect. All the light pulls inward. Until they touch that somehow unseen center. It brightens the room like a flash of lightning just crashed in. And then the air stops pulling.

In fact, it explodes outward with more force than had ever been witnessed before. The blackwave throws everyone backward and off of their feet. The camera slips from Woods’ hand, spins end over end in a blur of movement and then — enters the void.

All is silent. The house becomes silent.

Brynn is shocked at the sudden cessation of all pain and the resumption of her normal world of silence. She looks around warily, tears in her gray eyes.

On the screen, a pair of golden rings appear in the dark, flickering with video distortion.

«I can see.» A voice rasps over the television, a voice that mercifully Brynn cannot hear. «Eye to eye.»

The tape abruptly stops, the screen goes black, and the cassette ejects from the camcorder, followed by a puff of smoke coming from the device, its batteries fried.

The camcorder gets Squeaks’ attention first, the instant it all stops. She takes the couple of steps needed to get to it and promptly boots the machine toward the front door. She might apologize for it later, but right now she hopes the thing just shatters. Her attention turns to the tape next, and there’s a good pregnant second in which it looks like the girl might well jump onto it and crush it like a bug.

She doesn’t, but it looks like she might.

Instead, Squeaks picks it up and, after a survey around the room, runs into the kitchen and hides it in a stock pot. The lid slamming into place punctuates her haste at getting it very much out of sight and away from everyone. She’s shaking like a leaf when she returns to the living room, but looking very much like she might kick something else that starts talking when it shouldn’t be.

The punted camcorder sails over the couch and bounces off the front door, hitting the brick threshold after a short fall. The crunching sound of plastic follows as the case crumples like an eggshell on impact. Squeaks apparently has good kicking form. And really, watching is all Caspian can do once the screen goes black, the afterimage of the two gold rings symbol remaining there, burned into the screen, ghostly gray and easily seen. Squeaks' depositing of the tape in his large stock pot, the lid clattering down, stirs him to mindfulness. He finally moves to sit, shakily, in his chair, looking exactly like someone that's seen a ghost.

They all have.

At his feet, next to the chair, where the camera was unceremoniously removed, Caspian’s computer shows a black screen, paused now. The tape transfer seems to have been successful, the golden rings showing on the screen. Squeaks gets a look and, for a second, Caspian seems to consider giving the girl a comforting hug, but decides against it, just sitting and offering comfort to anyone who might need it.. “It….it's over. It's done.” He finally says, his voice flat, his hands moving in ASL for ‘finished.’

“We've got to tell someone about this.”

"Squeaks no!" Joe calls out as he sees the other teen going for the camcorder. But he's not quick enough. It's too late and the machine goes flying. Joe watches as it sails past, a forlorn look on his face. When the tape doesn't play properly later? He's totally going to blame it on the lack of the right camcorder. "Seriously guys… that… that was something… beyond comprehension. Something that reached across freaking realities and the first instinct you guys had was to destroy it?" Joe looks around the room, his features falling as his eyes move from Caspian, to Squeaks, to Lance, then to the floor. He then stands up from his spot on the floor and walks over to Brynn, hand on her shoulder, making sure she’s okay. Well relatively okay. Once he’s sure she’s not hurt beyond being terrified he turns and just… walks out, his steps carrying him to the front door and outside, though he doesn’t go far, he just takes a seat on the ground outside, in the middle of the yard.

It's nothing as simple as fear. There is fear. But there is also — now that the sound has stopped literally rattling her brain in ways Aunt Kaylee's telepathy has never done — confusion, dismay, and awe. She nods a little bit to Joe, but she can't gather her scattered wits enough to follow him and check on him. Instead, as she gains her feet, she looks toward Lance, her eyes still damp from tears. She forgets to use ASL, falling back on the Cant.

What the ever loving fuck even was that?? she demands with shaking hands. She never signs cursing. Ever. And why could I hear it in my head?? She was taunting me that I couldn't save you, that I couldn't hear you screaming.

Brynn moves slowly to sit down, clearly shaken. She struggles to form her thoughts and put them into ASL, just in case Caspian can follow any of what she's saying. We know people time travel. I… guess alternate timelines makes some sense. Though frankly she always thought THAT was science fiction. Why? Because… it's so far over her head in terms of being able to follow the science that mostly she kind of just ignored it. Aunt Lynette and Aunt Kaylee need to see it. Maybe one of them will know … what to do with it? I mean… is there really anything that needs doing? The recording itself doesn't really have anything to do with us… although the rest of what happened is scary as crap. Do you really think that was the same comic book guy we knew? Not just that version of him? It's honestly too much to take in all at once.

“Joe, what the fuck?” As Brynn tries to explain things to Caspian, Lance is on his feet in an instant - still shaking a bit - as he storms after his friend, muttering, “Sorry, Squeaks, be right back— “ Out the door and into the yard, the door nudged closed in his wake. His good hand sweeping to one side, he shouts, “What the fuck, Joe? That wasn’t— that wasn’t fun, or primal, that was fucked up! A fucking cursed videotape was talking to us, it saw us. You’ve seen movies, when the hell has something reaching across realities ever ended well for anyone? We couldn’t stop it, it was completely out of control - it hurt Brynn, for fuck’s sake, and you’re mad at us for being scared? Well, I’m sorry, but we’re not all fucking invulnerable!”

He’s scared, and upset, and angry all at the same time.

A couple of deep breaths doesn't leave Squeaks any less shaken after what they've all just experienced. She starts to say something, maybe that sorry she probably owes for booting the camcorder, but the look from Joe kills the words before they form. Her mouth closes slowly and her eyes widen a little as they follow him to the door. That gaze settles on Lance and Brynn, unsure by that, and still rattled from the disembodied voices and possessed camera.

Then Lance storms out too. Which leaves Squeaks looking at Brynn. She can hear the muffled yelling, which draws a look of dread. They're fighting, she signs for the older girl. Then, "We should take the tape to Aunt Kaylee and Aunt Lynette." Her agreement with Brynn is said aloud, voice shaking almost as much as her hands as she fumbles through signing it too. She still needs a lot of practice, but hopefully she's understood.

Instead of going to fetch the tape right away — it's perfectly fine stewing in a pot until they all get their nerves back in order — Squeaks takes an apprehensive step away from the kitchen. It prompts another and then a third, until she's crossed the living room to the couch. There she turns and takes a seat beside Brynn, close enough to be a comfort but not in the other girl's space. Arms cross snuggly against her chest and the toes of her shoes tap softly against each other.

Joe’s admonition when they unplug…okay, dismantle the TV to try and stop the sound and the video isn’t commented on. Caspian just lets it go, dropping the bundle of wires that he had still been hanging on to on the hardwood floor of his living room. The plastic slithers against itself, a sinuous sound as it slides to the wood floor, the frayed power cable actually sparking a little before a second smaller yank tugs it out of the surge protector.

He’ll need a new TV at some point. That’s for certain.

He misses a lot of the cant signing, but when ASL hits, he manages to get every couple or three words. More caveman talk, but at least he’s understanding it. That’s what you get when you study nightly for a few months, trying to learn things. We should take something to your aunts. Try and meet up and show them what we found. Do they have…experience with time travel and stuff like that? Should we call them now? Caspian says and signs at the same time for Squeaks’ benefit, his hands stilling as Joe leaves the apartment followed by Lance. That leaves Squeaks, Caspian, and Brynn alone in the apartment.

Yes, probably fighting. Joe and Lance will be fine. Just a argument between brothers. Although Caspian doesn’t show which side he’s on, the whole yanking out of the wires from his TV is probably a good indicator he’s leaning toward ‘freaked the f out’ as opposed to ‘magical curiosity.’ Sure, that’s there too, but pragmatically, disembodied voices and shaking in his house caused by a videocassette did shake his worldview a little. No idea if that is the one from there or from here. Whatever that was happened years ago, but it reached out to us here. Now he’s looking back at the kitchen, fully expecting the tape to be crawling across the kitchen floor, dragging it’s insides like a bad zombie movie.

“Parallel universes….it’s crazy to think that there might be…or is, I guess….something like that out there. I…only know like theories, from science fiction and video games. I thought this was a joke but…” Caspian’s head shakes in the negative. “I think this is 100% a real thing. As crazy as it sounds, I think they might have opened a portal to now….triggered by the tape.”

There’s a blink as he realizes something, smiling sheepishly. Are you two okay? Squeaks? Brynn?

"I don't think it's cool either Lance!" Joe rarely calls Lance Lance. It's some variation on bro or broninja or something else. "I didn't think it was cool. Or primal. Or anything like that. Whatever that was? It was freaking evil! That was probably our only chance to gather hard information and intel on a potential threat to… God only knows what! The world? The city? The multiverse? Whatever that was, it can reach across alternate realities. It's POWERFUL. And we had a tape of it doing it's thing. We had a damned recording of it. That might be a threat to everyone. Our lives could be at stake from a threat that until now we knew nothing about. And the very first instinct of everyone there was to make it stop. Yeah I was scared too. But I kept my dang head on straight." Joe doesn't get up from the ground, he just yells back at Lance from a sitting position. And he's making no effort to be quiet. If someone is listening from inside the house? They can hear him.

"We don't know if the property was something special with the camcorder, the tape, or if it requires both at the same time. We don't know. And now the camcorder is destroyed and Caspian cut the video. We don't know what will and won't show up if that's watched. The only thing we have no for absolute is our memories. And the only people that can verify those are telepaths like Aunt Kaylee. Brian trained us better than that Lance." Joe flops over on his back, looking up at the stars. "That thing. Whatever it is. It wants out. Out of what? Dunno. Probably like the phantom zone prison or something like that. And I doubt it's going to reeeally care what world it comes out in. People smarter and more experienced than us could have analyzed what was going on. Given more educated guesses and stuff." THe fight has gone out of him now, his voice quieting down as he lays there. "Look I get Caspian's reaction. I get Squeaks's reaction. I even get Brynn's. But your's? After everything we've been through? After all the threats we've survived? I just…" Joe sighs and closes his eyes, going quiet then.

“We still do have a tape of it doing its thing,” Lance replies with a sharp gesture of one hand back to the door, standing over Joe where he lays in the grass, “And yeah, we tried to stop it, or didn’t you notice that it was hurting Brynn. I don’t give a shit what information we can get from something if it’s hurting one of us. You all take precedence over some Cthulhu Videotape any day. Maybe you need to figure out where your priorities are, because I’m starting to wonder.”

He turns back to stalk to the door, “I’m gonna go make sure the girls are okay. Then we’re gonna bring the tape to someone who can figure this crazy shit out.”

"That's not fair and you know it Lance. Choose between a little pain and terror now and intel that could help prevent much greater pain and loss later? You guys are more important to me than a little pain and terror. I would suffer anything for you guys. You're my family. And if that means sitting through a terrifying and painful video to glean potential intel on an enemy? I would do it a thousand times if it meant preventing you greater pain and heartache later." Joe doesn't get up to follow Lance, he remains laying there in the yard. He's running through the memories of what he saw and heard. Trying to cement it into his memory so that he can have a telepath look into his mind and verify what he saw. What he heard. He's doing exactly what he said. He's reliving it to the best of his ability. "You're my brother. And I love you. I hope you know that Lance." Lance may or may not see the tears slipping from Joe's eyes and into the dirt underneath his head, but they're there.

“I love you too,” Lance replies as he pulls the door open, not looking back, “But you can be a real asshole sometimes, Joe.”

Brynn looks worriedly toward the door when Squeaks signs that they're fighting. It clearly makes her anxious… the boys are the only family she has, and more and more it seems like they're fracturing over some things. Although she's certainly seen them brawl a bit in the past, too, and they've gotten past it.

Keeping an eye on Caspian's signing diverts her attention because not only does she have to parse what he's actually signing, she has to figure out what he means because there are gaps. Toddler-speak, sort of. She doesn't discourage him from the signing, though she does better at following him when he speaks, because practice is good.

She starts to reply to the part about a portal opening, looking vaguely alarmed, but … there's nothing actually here, so that's a good thing. I think I'm okay, she replies slowly, mentally taking stock of herself. It was inside my head. It wasn't like Aunt Kaylee's ability, though — it was… like pressure in my head every time it spoke, like it was taking up space there where my brain was supposed to be. she's not sure it's an entirely accurate description, but she tries at least.

When Lance stalks back in the door, she still hasn't come out of the corner she's sharing with Squeaks — a wall at her back and a sofa to one side and another wall to the other makes her feel secure. No one can sneak up that way. She doesn't often have the need for a corner anymore — not like when she was small. But today it's a definite must. Between Fear Monger and this, she's a little stressed. And worried gray eyes study her brother.

There’s no real attempt to follow the exchange between Brynn and Caspian. Parts here and there are caught, but mostly Squeaks is casting deeply worried looks toward the door. She can still hear the argument, but she doesn’t say so. She misses Caspian’s question, but a look at her should be answer enough. Something Bad has happened with the video, and that’s terrifying enough. But those are some seriously distressed looks going to the door.

As the door reopens, Squeaks pulls her legs up so she’s half hidden behind her own knees. She turns a look to Brynn, studying the older girl for some sign or hint that it’s over and things are back to normal. But the worried expression found there keeps her own dread firmly in place. It’s there when she looks at Lance.

Caspian sits on the couch next to Brynn and Squeaks’ corner, kind of sideways on the couch so he can sign and talk and give Brynn a clear lip reading route as they chat. We all felt it in our heads. It reminded me of….. He fumbles for the sign, gives up, and just talks, throwing in the signs when he knows them. “It reminded me of being in class, and the speaker in the ceiling would come on for an announcement. It was loud and boomed over everything. You weren't going to miss that unless you were deaf, and even then, it rattled the windows so hard the deaf kids could at least know something was going on.” He gets up from the couch to rummage in a cabinet next to the couch, withdrawing a pair of soft blankets, offering them to Brynn and Squeaks. Comfort, thy name is a soft blanket.

His attention swivels to Lance when he comes back in alone. “New Working Theory”. You can almost see the caps as he says it. “the portal that the people on the tape opened was to here and now, basically triggering for whoever played the tape. Nothing physical came through. Just the power from that Lynette chick, and the words. My bet is that if we watch the tape again, or my recording, my theory is that all the crazy stuff won't happen again since the cannon already fired and all the stuff that they triggered happened. And since time moves forward…mostly, I don't think that it will happen again. I think. Basically. Yeah.” Caspian is babbling a little.

“I don’t… I don’t know, man, that’s above my pay grade,” says Lance, his one good hand lifting to rub at the nape of his neck as he looks over to Caspian, then the girls, “Are you okay?” He lets his hand drop, signing the same question for Brynn, looking more worried for them than anything - that hint of anger from before expended outside, though the adrenaline of the past few minutes is still keeping him shaky. “Whatever happened we gotta get it to someone.”

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