lance_icon.gif louis_icon.gif penny_icon.gif robyn_icon.gif

Scene Title Asylum
Synopsis After Elise Cosgrove's death, one of her River Styx co-stars makes a startling request.
Date September 28, 2020

The small ground-floor office on the corner of Connover and Coffee Street in Red Hook isn’t much to look at from the outside. The brick-faced facade survived the Civil War mostly intact, most people might mistake it for an accountant’s office or a bank branch, save for the large sign set above the doors that reads: SESA RED HOOK.

Fort Jay is the hub of all SESA activity in the New York City Safe Zone, but it isn’t the only office SESA holds. Each of the city’s neighborhoods has a local SESA office staffed by a few dozen employees who are dedicated to handling SLC-Expressive concerns within their local communities. These “outreach” offices typically never see field agents but instead are staffed by social workers that help SLC-Expressives on a number of societal issues from managing their post-manifestation life, questions about being expressive, help finding work, fielding reports of discrimination, and a host of other quality-of-life services.

It’s rare that a field agent has to visit one of these locations. There’s only a handful of circumstances that warrant for it.

Today is one.

SESA Red Hook Outreach Office
Red Hook, NYC Safe Zone

September 28th
10:22 am

Agent Robyn Roux wasn’t expecting this to be her first order of business for the day. Neither was Agent Trainee Lance Gerken. Coming down to a SESA outreach office meant one of a handful of things, and most of them involved assault. Today, however, they were handed something far more unusual.

“Agent Quinn!” A bubbly young woman behind the reception desk says as she stands up, greeting Robyn with the bright smile of someone who recognizes her, but doesn’t know her well enough to know her name has changed. Lance just gets a smile as the outreach office administrative assistant steps out from behind her desk. Her ID badge reads Admin Agent Penny Birch. She doesn’t look much older than Lance.

“They’re waiting for you in the Evergreen conference room,” Penny says with an awkward smile. Awkward because this is the single-most important task a SESA agent can possibly field, and happens maybe once or twice a year at most:

A request for political asylum.

Awkward also because while Robyn is recognised, a phenomenon she has grown mostly accustomed to over the course of the last decade, she doesn't immediately recognise the woman so enthusiastically greeting her. She deflects with a quiet laugh and a shake of her head. "They call me Agent Roux now," she corrects, using the moment to sneak a look at that badge. "How're you, Penny?"

Is that subtle enough? Should she throw on a bright smile a nudge of her shoulder, or is that a hair too close to flirting?

…why is she overthinking this so much?

Clearing her throat, her eyes alight to the door to the conference roof. "Whew. Alright. Penny, this is Agent Trainee Gerken. He'll be joining me today, in case anyone asks." This is certainly going to be interesting.

“Hi,” Lance offers with a broad smile of his own to Penny as he’s introduced; he’s dressed in a nice grey suit that would be unremarkable if he wasn’t wearing a tie covered in smiley-faces with it. He argues that it ‘disarms’ people and they’re friendlier when talking to an agent that doesn’t seem to be a complete ‘horn rimmed glasses kind of guy’.

He does not argue this in earshot of Noah.

“Do we know who we’re meeting with, at all?” It might be overstepping his bounds as an observer but he’s never been good at boundaries anyway.

“Oh my god that’s right,” Penny says with a beaming smile, threading a lock of magenta hair behind one ear. “We didn’t want to include it in the communique because it’s sort of a uhh,” she slides a look over to the frosted glass wall of the conference room, then back to Robyn and Lance.

“It’s Louis Chambers.” Penny says in a whisper, creeping closer to Robyn and Lance. “I tried to keep my shit together when he came in. I recognized him right away. He’s been in there for about forty minutes right now and it’s all I can do to just not pop in and ask him questions or…”

Penny lifts her hands and grimaces. “He didn’t give us a lot of information to go on, said he’d only talk to a field agent.”

Dead stop. Robyn's boot screeches across the floor as she comes to her sudden stop. At first she's ready to turn back to Penny and just give her an awkward stare, but when she insists she recognised him instantly it confirms it. "I'm sorry, what? You're kidding."

Despite the flat delivery, there's a telling wideness in Robyn's eyes, the ends of her lips curling up in a smile. Yes, she recognises that name and uh holy shit. Several questions, comments, thoughts, speculations come to mind. None of them are voiced as one rises up to the top. "I wonder if this has to do with…" Eloise, though she doesn't mention the name out loud.

There will be time to be star struck later. Robyn shakes her head. "Okay. This is… unexpected. I'm sure you both understand the amount of discretion necessary?"

“Wow. Yeah, if word got out and the fan websites found out that Peter won’t be in the next season, there’d be… uh… I mean, yeah,” Lance clears his throat as he catches himself, “Of course. Complete discretion, obviously. There haven’t been any paparazzi lurking around or anything, have there?”

He glances back to the door, perhaps worried that someone had spotted the actor on the way in.

“No,” Penny says, following Robyn’s eye-line outside. “It’s been quiet here. He was dressed down and came in right off the street. Looks like he walked?” Fidgeting, Penny looks like she wants to carry on a larger conversation but restrains herself. “I’ll— take you to him.”

Composing herself against the second moment of star-struck surprise in one day, Penny escorts Robyn and Lance through the open concept office to a wall of frosted glass with the SESA emblem embossed on it. The whole building feels exactly like Fort Jay if they squint just right. She badges into the room with a beep of the electronic lock, then holds the door open but doesn’t step inside.

Louis Chambers isn’t sitting at the short conference table when Robyn and Lance see him. He’s pacing the room by the windows, lips pressed into a thin line, fingers raking back through dark hair. He looks thinner than he does on television, but also like he hasn’t slept in too long. Louis’ beard is scraggly and unkempt and his clothes look like they were taken from a second hand store.

In a way it’s all a costume, hiding the troubled man beneath.

There's a comment on the tip of Robyn's tongue, one that it takes a lot of willpower to suppress - something about how hard it is to recognise him without the scar. It makes her wonder, for just the briefest moment, how much hers has changed her physical identity. A hand reaches up, fingers brushing against her face in a distracted motion as the door closes behind them.

That snaps her attention back to the moment, eyes forward as she tries her best to keep composed. "Mr. Chambers," she offers in an even toned voice, waiting until she has his attention before moving to cross the room towards him with a hand outstretched to shake his. "Agent Robyn Quinn," is an intentional choice of introduction, using a more familiar name as a way of matching his familiar name.

"This is Agent Trainee Lance Gerken. How can we help you today?"

As they come into the room, Lance looks at the actor with a slightly bemused expression. There’s a momentary bubble of silence around himself and Robyn, during which he comments, “He doesn’t really look much like Peter in real life.”

Then they’re moving forward and he lets that bubble pop, moving up with and just behind the senior agent, flashing a polite if slightly star-struck smile, “Pleased to meet you, sir.”

Then he drops silent. As he should. He does generate an unseen bubble of silence around one hand, though, stopping all incoming sound.

So he can record the meeting, obviously.

Louis looks haggard, still pacing even as Robyn and Lance introduce themselves. “Thanks,” is the jittery response he gives that doesn’t feel thankful. “How— long is this process? I can’t— they want me back for pre-production on Series 6 in January and I… they think I’m in Spain right now.”

Rubbing his hands over his arms as if he were cold, Louis looks between Robyn and Lance. “Is there a paper I sign, or a— a— whatever? I just, I can’t go back. They’ll fucking kill me if I go back I swear to god.” Louis is sweating, pale, unwell-looking.

The frown that crosses Robyn's face at his response betrays her attempt to hide the deep worry brewing in the pit of her stomach, a glance over to Lance before she tries to force a half hearted smile. "Normally, we hold an interview that lasts between 45 minutes and an hour, followed by an eligibility decision and a short wait while a decision is made." It's a matter of fact reiteration of procedure, Robyn motioning to the seat across from her as she pulls a chair out. "Which can take as long as two weeks," she relates apologetically.

Forcing herself to smile, she waits until Louis sits before doing the same herself. She has a lot of questions, but her hope is that most of them will be answered over the course of this. "That said, given the situation, we may be able to expedite the process." Particularly if he genuinely believes himself to be in danger. "We can proceed whenever you're ready."

The shock of meeting a celebrity wears off fast as Lance gets a good look at the man’s appearance and manner, just about everything about this situation sending red flags up into the air. He returns that look, then looks back to the actor with a frown.

“Do you, ah, need some water or something, Mister Chambers?” He looks like he needs water. Or perhaps vodka.

No,” Louis says in a hoarse whisper, one hand at his forehead, the other clenched into a fist so as to not tremble. “No, thank you.” He says with a more full voice a moment later. He looks at Robyn with suspicion at first, then resentment as he looks away, and finally begrudging acceptance as he folds into a leather-padded seat with a soft creak of the wood frame.

“Sorry I’m… a bit fucking tossed by all of this.” Louis explains, brushing his hair back from his face. He can’t stop his right leg from jittering up and down. “We can… yeah. Whatever— whatever you have to ask. Let’s just get this fucking done.”

Hands folding on to the table, Robyn waits until Louis is fully situated in his seat, studying him with as neutral an expression as she can manage. Staring ahead quietly, she raises one hand slightly and turns her finger in a circle - a signal to Lance next to her. This may not be what she planned, but this is a possibility they clearly talked about beforehand.

The hand motion’s recognized, and Lance - already taken aback by the man’s manner - just nods ever so slightly, even as he wraps the trio in an unseen boundary. Sound comes in. Sound does not go out. Privacy without being blinded to outside stimuli.

Only once silence has fallen around them does her flat expression change, lips curling into a wry smile as her head tilts slightly. "I just want to assure you, Mr. Chambers, in the event you are unaware of my background: I will make sure you find your asylum here, one way or another. I've made a living out of making sure people are safe and where they need to be. We'll make this as quick as possible, but I just want to assure you up front: You will find your place here."

Two fingers tap on the table twice, a secondary signal for sound to return. Her expression becomes mild once more, nodding her head to Louis. "Your identity, at least on a basic level, has already been confirmed, so the first few questions are already handled. We can save questions about family for later, which brings us to possibly the most important question: why are you seeking asylum in the United States?" An attempt to hold off an immediate response comes in the form of another raised finger, this one a more traditional signal to hold on.

"You've made it quite clear you believe your life is in danger, something I take very seriously. You don't have to go into too much depth, but I would like to understand better what sort of danger awaits you back home."

“And do you think this danger’s going to follow you here?” Lance blurts out before he thinks better, slanting an apologetic look to Robyn before looking back to the actor. Falling silent again, even as he retracts that field from around them to around his hand again at Robyn’s signal.

Louis exhales a sharp sigh at that question, resting his chin on one hand as he looks at the frosted glass wall. “Follow me?” He says with a laugh. “My trouble’s in the fucking room with you. Britain’s shit.” He says into his hand, scrubbing at his stubble. “I mean you know that already, obviously.” Louis says with a look to Robyn and Lance. “America’s shit too, but it doesn’t smell nearly as bad and it’s somehow less likely to bloody kill me.”

Already regretting his words as they leave his mouth, Louis blurts out a half-hearted “Sorry.” He swallows audibly. “I haven’t— slept a lot.”

The silence that hangs after his statement feels heavy and goes on for just long enough for Louis to keep talking. “I tested.” He says, holding up his right hand. “Fucking positive.” He breathes in deeply through his nose, holds the breath. “The re-up on my EUSR in March. I fucking tested positive.”

Shaking his head, Louis looks at once horrified and guilty. “I can’t fucking stay in the UK. It’s fucking awful for fr— ” Louis cuts himself off and Robyn gets the feeling he was going to use some sort of epithet, like it’s second nature for him. Instead he works his mouth open and closed and draws his lips back into a test of a smile. It is not held. “It’s fucking awful. I’m not letting them Section me.”

Louis’ knee jitters up and down. “Not putting me in a bloody fucking zoo with the rest of the animals.” He says, nervously rubbing the back of his neck. He winces, grimacing. “Sorry. It’s. I’m sorry. I haven’t gotten a lot of sleep.” He repeats.

A critical eye is affixed to Louis at his almost slip up. So that's how it is. There's very little surprise in it, Robyn knows well what kind of people the UK can breed at this moment in history. His choice of the phrase other animals reflects this as well, and Robyn has to hold back a somewhat bitter sigh. It's not the first time she's dealt with what amounts to a self loathing evolved. Besides.

It doesn't matter. Not in the end.

"Yes," she offers gingerly, "I'm aware of how unwelcoming the UK is," comes in a distinctly diplomatic tone. "The state of the EU is why I haven't been home in almost a decade." Biting back a desire to argue about the state of America - it's not great, he's not wrong - she leans back in her chair and folds her hands into her lap.

She lets that hang for a moment, before she looks over to Lance. "Do you have any questions, Lance?" Eyes flick back to Louis. "Do you have any family we should be aware of that would be coming with you? Wife or husband? Children? Parents? And is there any criminal history we should be aware of now?" There almost certainly isn't, but she's already playing loose with the rules here. "Any existing knowledge of manifestation as well, since you say you tested positive."

Leaning back forward, she inclines her head shortly. "Honest answers will get this done faster. Not that I have any doubts you have been honest, but because I think we'll both be happier the more we can expedite this process, and we can get you a nice night's sleep."

Though for what it's worth, Robyn's already made her mind up on her recommendation.

All of Lance’s sympathy for the actor’s condition - and probably any fannish feelings he had towards the man - are lost in just a few sentences that reveal his prejudices, his expression turning rather more placidly neutral instead.

“There’ve been a lot of manifestations recently, and… evolution of existing abilities, so it’s not that unusual,” he observes, “That said, I think I recall from what I was reading about Slice rights overseas that Sectioning only comes after commission of a crime or possession of a ‘weapon-like’ ability, and while it’s absolutely a human rights violation, it isn’t execution. So why are you afraid of being killed, Mister Chambers?”

“Are you fucking serious?” Louis asks in a hasty snap he immediately regrets. “Do— does the news from the UK not— do you Americans get the news? I’m just as likely to be fucking killed in the street by someone who thinks I’m fucking dangerous as I am to be carted off to a Sectioning neighborhood where I’m just a bloody likely to die there.”

Exasperatedly throwing his hands into the air, Louis continues to jitter his knee up and down. He closes his eyes and pinches the bridge of his nose with forefinger and thumb. “My mum and dad are back there, but they refuse to come overseas. They’d— fucking hate it here.” He furrows his brows, looking up to Robyn. “I got busted for drugs once, but I got off with a warning. No charges.” An awkward beat later he adds. “I’m clean.

As if that’s the worst of his problems.

"Lance," is a sharp reprimand from Robyn, glancing over at the intern next to her. Prejudiced or nor, they aren't here to make the man feel ill at ease, and Robyn seems at the moment unwilling to fall back into the same traps their predecessors did - even if the tables are revered now. "I'm well aware of the fact that the current government in the UK will use any excuse to Section an Expressive individual, as was once the case here in America. Keep that in mind in the future." That last comment is also aimed at Lance, but she brushes by any opportunity for a counter from him.

"I believe you," may come across as genuine as far as being clean goes, though some of his demeanor potentially speaks otherwise. "I wouldn't worry about that too much. We all have our indiscretions. It would be hypocritical for me to hold you to yours." It's not often Robyn references the wilder aspects of her life long gone, but suffice to say there's a reason she likes going out to drink with Nicole - and at least it's that and not coke anymore.

"Typically there's more questions, it's a very mundane, rote affair. But I believe I've heard the most important of what I needed to hear. What about you, Lance?"

At the reprimand, Lance ducks his head with a guilty grimace; dropping silent as he listens to the agent continue, hands clasping at the small of his back. Only once he’s asked that last question does he speak again, a simple, “No more questions from me, Agent Roux.”

Louis looks uncomfortable in his seat, staring out the partly-blinded windows with his mouth set into a grimace. There’s a distant look in his eyes, one of far-off disassociation, it isn’t even clear he heard the tail end of what Lance and Robyn said when he finally snaps to and looks up at them.

“Did you hear about Cosgrove?” Louis asks, his voice lowered as if he were sharing some sort of secret, even if his posture doesn’t quite align with the tone of his voice.

Cosgrove. It's hard for Robyn to keep her interest in this matter from becoming visible, though it's clear that she sits up a bit straighter. To say she had wanted to ask about this particular event, but she knew better than to ask such personal questions in this sort of environment. SHe plays loose with the rules, but she's not an idiot.

Yet now here it is, dangling in front of her.

"Yes," Robyn replies in a low voice to match Louis'. "Her passing was tragic, and- well, I had concerns given the circumstances proceeding it." But obviously she couldn't have done much about it. "Of course I never had the pleasure of knowing her, but it still hurts to hear of regardless." Losing a fellow musician, and an actor she had enjoyed, was unfortunate no matter what.

“That’s what I was getting at earlier, actually,” Lance murmurs his confession there with a glance to Robyn when Cosgrove is mentioned. More audibly, he clears his throat, “It was on all the news for a bit, it was hard to avoid hearing about it.”

His gaze returns to Louis as he tenses a little. Maybe he’s assumed the worst about Cosgrove’s death. Especially after that interview.

“You know she had a sister.” Louis says with a look between Lance and Robyn. “Elodie Cosgrove. She was Sectioned when she was 13, sent to Oxbow. A couple weeks before Eloise left the UK to go on tour with her band, Elodie died of an overdose at Oxbow.” Louis makes air-quotes around the word overdose.

“Elie was flying off the handle the week before,” Louis says with a distant look in his eyes, staring unfocused at the windows. “Don’t know about what, but she was threatening t’go to the press about something. Fuck if I know what, but our producer was shitting thunder and lightning at the last table read and pulled Elie aside. Elodie passed away a few days later, then not long after she took off to go on tour with her band.”

Louis looks back to Robyn, jaw set tense. “Two weeks later Elie was dead too.”

Robyn's lips purse in a way that betrays her inner thoughts. She knows she can't give in to or offer conjecture about that particular matter, as much as she wants to. Despite that, it's clear to everyone in the room that she's thinking about how much that tracks with what she knows of things in the EU.

"That's awful," is already perhaps being too inclined to it, but she says it anyway. "It just makes what happened that much more tragic." Shuffling the few papers in front of her, she musters a sad smile at Louis. "And strengthens my resolve to make sure the same thing doesn't happen to you, Mr. Chambers. I was aware the situation in the UK was tense, but…" No, she's not surprised. But she can act a bit like it.

Similarly, Lance has to swallow his commentary; the news has him grimacing, though, and he dips his gaze to Robyn meaningfully before looking back to Louis.

“I’m sorry for the loss of your friend,” he says quietly, politely. It’s all he can say without violating procedure at the moment.

Louis exhales a sigh through his nose, bringing one hand up to brush across his stubbled jaw and down his mouth. “Tense,” he says with a tightness in his throat. “D’you know, every time any one of us makes a public appearance we have to thank Torchlight for keepin’ us safe?” He seems to be relaxing, some, and the more he does the more pronounced his accent becomes.

“They put some jackboot up with us, talkin’ about peace and prosperity, all of us gettin’ along together with a fuckin’ kumbaya hand-holding speech, an’ they’re fuckin’…” Louis shakes his head, one knee jittering up and down. “Wasn’t s’posed t’fuckin’ be me. How the fuck’ve I gotten negative tests nine fuckin’ years in a row, an’ now m’fuckin’— ” he cuts himself off, anger, confusion, and resulvion rolling through him like a tide.

Louis looks from Lance to Robyn and wonders, “How’s this all work? Where the fuck’m I goin’ t’live?”

It takes Robyn a moment to realise that he didn't say Torchwood. It honestly wouldn't feel out of place, given the conversation. "Christ." The mumble comes with a heavy exhale of a breath. Louis' clear prejudices are frustrating, but outside of a stray twitch, Robyn manages to keep that frustration from leaking out.

"Tests can be faulty, and…' Rolling her shoulders, she shakes her head. "With the recent events in Michigan, more people than ever are awakening as Evo-" Pursing her lips, catches herself and sucks in a breath. "Expressive. It's still an mysterious science that people are exploring with every inch of available technology."

Eyes flick over to Lance, and then back to Louis. "Most likely, you will be offered one of the lottery homes here in the Safe Zone and given a grant like others moving here. That said, other arrangements can be made to place you somewhere safer upon request, though what that looks like is a much less certain and will require some deliberation."

An increasing part of her is hoping he goes that route.

Lance simply nods slightly to add weight to Robyn’s words. “There’s an increased incidence of people worldwide suddenly showing positive,” he observes, “I’m not sure if they’ve been covering it at all overseas, but it’s by no means restricted by borders. The scientists will come up with answers eventually, I’m sure.”

Maybe. Hopefully.

Louis slouches into his chair, covering his face with both hands. He drags them down his face, sighing into his palms. “Dynamite,” he says with a ragged sarcasm. The weight of his new life comes sinking down onto his shoulders. “Just… bloody dynamite.”

But there’s one last worry Louis hasn’t yet managed to bring voicer to. It’s only when he looks up to Robyn that he asks, “When… do I— uh, Evo puberty?” He asks awkwardly. “How do I find out what bullshit I caught?” Caught, he says, like it’s the flu.

It's taking a lot for Robyn to not lose her patience. To remind herself of the environment he has lived in all his life. Not excuses, but… Reasons to attempt diplomacy. "That's about as exact as anything else, unfortunately. Manifestation can be subtle or it can be… raucous. And it can happen at any time."

Leaning back in her seat, she folds her hands into her lap. "It may not be anything noticeable. Until that point, you'll simply be classified as an unknown should you choose to register." A finger rises up, like she is trying to make a point, to emphasize choose. "Rarely is it as dangerous as some make it out to be however."

Dynamite? Lance looks briefly bemused, before he realizes that it’s probably just British for primal. “Most abilities are relatively minor,” he admits, “Dangerous ones are fairly rare. I’d pay attention to your emotional state and any unusual feelings over the next few weeks, though; any sort of out-of-the-ordinary happenings around you might be a hint as to what it might be.”

Or maybe he’ll feel like he’s about to die and then blow up his apartment like Lance did. He neglects to mention that possibility, on the grounds that he probably deserves it.

Slouching back into his seat, Louis runs one hand over the top of his head and then buries his face in his hand. He looks defeated, a man who has abandoned everything that fame and fortune had given to him to flee to a country he’d been defacing in media for years. When his hand finally slides down from his eyes and settles at his mouth, he looks up to Robyn and Lance for a moment in silence.

“Can I ask you a…” Louis starts to say, but stops himself and instead just asks the question. “You lived through… all this and…” He motions toward the window, indicating the world at large. But his brown eyes focus on Robyn intently. “Was there ever… a woman named Elaine in your life?”

As Louis seems to relax, so does Robyn. Her shoulders slouch just enough to be noticeable, finding herself letting slip out a quiet breath she didn't know she'd been holding. Louis may be wearing thin on her patience, but the moment of silence is crucial in helping her keep come and regain some of her slowly slipping composure.

That is, until Elaine comes up.

Robyn's gaze locks on the paper in front of her, hands folded in front of her. Her expression is steeled stiff, and there's no hiding it no matter how hard she might try. Swallowing, the SESA shakes her head, briefly annoyed at herself for not cutting off his question. Patience freys thin again.

"Yes," comes out in a tone just barely not as stiff as her posture. "'Lainey was a member of the Ferry, one who stepped aside during the war." Eyes alight Louis, lips thinning. "Though I'm curious how you've heard of my ex-fiance, given that." It's definitely oversharing, but the pointed way she emphasises those words hopefully makes it clear: She'd like to know what Elaine has to do with this.

So much for patience, and Lance surely knows her well enough at this point to see something brewing behind her eyes - she seems to have forgotten entirely he worked on a show literally based on part of their lives.

Oh, Lance notices; in her tone, in her posture, and he steps a little closer even as he clears his throat. “…the show, Robyn,” he murmurs in low tones, “I’m sure it came up during research or something.”

Please don’t laser him into pieces or something, Robyn, the paperwork would be terrible.

Still, he looks back to Louis with a bemused expression, wondering where the man’s going with this.

"…Right." Robyn's shoulders don't relax, but a bit of the edge flees her expression. "You'd never know, given Delilah Quinn was with… well. Not Elaine." Maybe there's a little spite in that, maybe not.

Louis shakes his head. “Davies — the showrunner — ex-showrunner… he mentioned her once. We were supposed to have her in the season I was introduced in. Cast an actress and everything, but the studio got wind of the plot arc for her and they shit-canned her at the last minute. Davies tried to sneak her past them and…”

Shaking his head, Louis looks up and around at Lance and Robyn. “I only know what I heard on set. But Davies built this whole… thing for her. I thought he was just obsessed or weird but— ” he makes a noise in the back of his throat. “It was like he knew you all. Personally. I never believed it but… none of the other writers knew who that character was based on.”

Elaine had kept her head down during the war, didn’t speak at the Albany Trials, never made a name for herself. There was nothing to research.

“I should’ve listened to him,” Louis says with a hand at his brow, slouching deeper into his chair.

Robyn's brow stitches together as she looks down at the table for a moment, clearly puzzled by this revelation. "Elaine… Darrow was a tangential member of the Ferry. Mostly by association at first, but she got a bit more active in 2011. She was my girlfriend, and later fiance. That's-" Taking a deep breath, Robyn looks back up. "I'm curious what he had in mind for her, because that's the extent of her involvement in… well, anything River Styx would cover."

She lets out a low chuckle and shakes her head. River Styx only covers some of the wild shit they got up to, but Louis doesn't need to know about time travel or the flash forwards or- anything else, really. "Either way, Elaine never stepped into the limelight like many of us did, nor was her involvement detailed, as far as I know. I can't really ask her, we don't talk anymore."

Her head tilts slightly. "I won't ask you to tell me what you did learn while working on the show, but if you ever want to talk about it, please feel free to reach out." Which is to say, Robyn is intensely curious, but knows this isn't the right venue for such a discussion.

"I always wondered how the show knew so many small details that no one really should have known, that weren't really talked about in Albany or elsewhere. You say it was like he knew us…" Her lips press thin. "I certainly never met him, that I know of."

This certainly would explain why the show went downhill after Davies left.

"What do you mean, 'you should've listened to him', though?"

“Huh. Yeah, Elaine wasn’t really… a big part of anything, back then,” Lance admits, scratching under his chin bemusedly, “What sort of storyline did he have lined up for her that the BBC knocked down?”

He glances to Robyn, musing, “Maybe he changed his name post-war? A lot of people wanted to disappear…”

Louis shrugs and spreads his hands. “Elaine was supposed to be an ordinary person. Someone with a harmless power and a good heart, to… I don’t know, show people like her.” He hesitates. “Ah, like… us. In a positive light. As ordinary people. Who get hurt by the… I dunno. He had a message.”

Sitting forward, Louis scrubs one hand over his mouth. “Davies tried to warn me that the government was using the show as propaganda. I didn’t give a shit. It was a huge paycheck on a career-boosting show. It didn’t matter to me because I wasn’t— ” He rests his head in his hands.

“Fuck.” Louis mutters. “Just… fuck.

There's a falter in Robyn's expression, her lips dipping into just enough of a frown to be noticeable. "I had a feeling that might be the case," she shares in a low, earnest tone as her eyelids go half lidded. "As for Elaine, that is…" Looking over at Lance, she takes a bit of a worried turn in tone and posture. "Actually very accurate, and that in and of itself is rather worrying."

There's an uncomfortable moment of silence, before Robyn lets out a heavy sigh. "At any rate, thank you for sharing, Mr. Chambers. I hope all of this has been a much needed lesson in empathy, if nothing else." There's a sharp edge to those words, but no mirth in Robyn's face like there might normally be. "My last question is what do you plan to do next, if you stay here in the States?"

There is media still being made after all, and for a brief moment Robyn's thoughts drift to Studio K, an ephemeral wish that it had survived the war bubbling up in her.

“Yeah. Yeah, that sounds… just about right,” Lance admits, returning that look to Robyn. Weirdly accurate, in fact, if it wasn’t someone who was actually with the Ferrymen. “At least they didn’t put the Lighthouse in the show— I think, anyway, I’m way behind.”

He returns his attention to Louis at Robyn’s query, one eyebrow lifting a bit.

Staring down at his hands, Louis is silent. He doesn’t have an answer for Robyn, he hadn’t even though that far ahead. For the time being, Louis lingers in that unknowing silence. When he finally looks up at Robyn, he gives the most honest answer he possibly can.

“I don’t have a fucking clue.”

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