Between Right And Wrong


vf_isabelle_icon.gif rhys_icon.gif vf_shaw2_icon.gif ff_namiko_icon.gif

Scene Title Between Right and Wrong
Synopsis Following the incident at Liberty Island, Rhys comes to deliver a warning to the Khan family.
Date December 27, 2019

Cresting Wave Apartments is the most cutting-edge residential building in the United States. From the luxury of voice-activated controls and smart technology in every room to the convenience of AI-controlled environmental settings that help take out the guess-work of day-to-day life, it is a far cry from a waterlogged, mold-infested, underground industrial rail station.

Which is perhaps why there’s a ghost of unfamiliarity that haunts Isabelle and Shahid Khan in their new life here. While outside the floor-to-ceiling apartment windows Yamagato Park is covered in six inches of snow, the internal temperature is a perfect 71.6 degrees with a mild humidity to stave off seasonal dry skin. A digital display in the apartment windows shoes the 7-day forecast along with the current external temperature and Isabelle’s work schedule. A soft chime from the nearby kitchen informs the house that the coffee has finished percolating while a soft audio alert that cleverly sounds like it comes from the display on the window indicates that routine plow service will begin in 30 minutes.

For the Khan family, this has become the new normal. There is no more fighting, no more struggle for survival. Yamagato Industries has provided more than anyone could have hoped for. Gathered in their home, Isabelle, Shahid, and their adopted daughter Namiko prepare for the start of another day in a better, truly brighter world.

Cresting Wave Apartments
Yamagato Park, NYC Safe Zone
December 27th
7:12 am


Ooh, crazy's what they think about me

Ain't gonna stop cause they tell me so

Cause 99 miles per hour baby

Is how fast that I like to go

The sound system in this apartment is ridiculous and Namiko seems to insist on constantly putting it through its paces. Right now, upbeat music throbs through the apartment as the girl moonwalks through the living room, occasionally pausing to tend to one of her many (many) plants. Or when the music demands a small dance break.

Which is often.

Her parents have learned to live with the chaos that is their daughter. Or they tolerate it, at least. Most of the time.

Can't keep up with my rhythm

Though they keep trying

Too quick for the lines they throw

I walk to the sound of my own drum

It goes, they go, we go, hey yeah yeah yeah

Boogying her way through the apartment, Namiko answers the call of the coffee, slippered feet swishing across carpet and tile alike. She pulls down three mugs, because she's a good daughter.


It would be impossible for her to turn down the music. She must shout over it.

"Dad! Coffee!"

"I'm testing the Berry Death!" Isa's voice calls from the other room before she appears in the doorway with a grin at her daughters antics. She's carrying a clear beaker full of the latest experimental flavor for WNK. "But I can never say no to coffee, babe!" Izzy calls out for her husband, she's given up yelling at Namiko to turn the music down. She was just, so happy when it was up and blasting.

Dark brown hair is swept back into a loose bun, the scar on her face glows a dull orange. Hazel eyes scan over Namiko, "Is that my tank top you little thief," Her tone good natured, she's been… strangely in a better mood the last few weeks. Breathing exercises helped with her anger. She was really trying with them.

Before she reaches for any coffee the engineer takes a deep swallow of the liquor and makes a face before tilting her head while squinting her eyes. "Nope Blueberry Death is not a fucking thing,"


How does Shaw manage to sleep through the music, through the noise of luxury? Aside from high-tech sound cancellation and ambient acoustics isolation engineered into the insulation, there's also a good old fashioned pillow over the head. But he's never been one to sleep deeply in the first place, and especially not now when the general lack of body heat from Isa's core temperature isn't there beside him. Sure he could probably program the mattress itself to reflect that temperature too. But it's not the same.

Shaw is blasted with the bops when he finally emerges to the calls from his house's womenfolk. His hair is wet and a plush bathrobe wraps around him and waffle-and-syrup patterned pajamas (a Christmas gift most merrily received), indicative of his morning activity. The man strolls in with a smile for his dancing daughter and a kiss on the scarred cheek for his wife. "Good morning," he greets them both, volume just enough to be heard over the song, and reaches for his coffee cup.

"It is… our tank top," Namiko says to Isa with a grin. What are closets for if not for sharing? Eventually Isa will notice all the missing shoes and skirts and sweaters, too. Shaw's closet is only spared for being too sparse. But she passes Isa a mug, to replace the failed moonshine experiment. "We'll get it to work, eventually." She's a firm believer that every flavor is going to be someone's favorite, even if Isa doesn't always agree.

Shaw finds his coffee fixed how he likes it, even though Nami takes hers black. Leftover habit from home. She could grow coffee beans, sure, but finding creamer was not… a thing. "I really think we should try WNK: Dragonfruit," she says, her hand giving the name a grand sweeping gesture.

It’s right around then that a soft electric chime attenuates the music to a lower volume, followed by a synthetic voice that gently fills the apartment.

{You have a visitor at the door. Agent Rhys Bluthner, SESA}

The chime repeats once more, then the music returns to normal volume.

"God you wear those so well," Isa growls in Shaw's ear as he comes in for a kiss while eyeing Namiko before winking at her. She would need to go through her closet next then. Or just ya know take her shopping like any good mother would. There's a piece of her that thinks Namiko just… wants a piece of her and Isa can get behind that. They were bonded these three.

"It's gotta be better than Raspberry," Her head turns slowly towards the sound of the announcement and an eyebrow raises, "Hm. The one with attitude." That's saying something coming from her.

Years of being a criminal have trained the now woman of science to be distrustful of 'Feds'. No matter if all they've ever done is try to help. "You wanna get the door babe?" Isa sips her coffee after putting a little sugar in it.

Coffee how Shaw likes it has evolved. They've come a long way from the diluted bean water scraped together from scavenging in a virus riddled world, to the americano he'd found around a much brighter time, back to black commodity offered around a wasteland, and then the way Namiko's used to from a flooded world. He's yet to truly settle on a flavor profile now, but this place, it's primetime. He can have the coffee, the sugar, and even the creamer. Old habits die hard, though. He starts this morning with it black and slightly sweetened, like Isabelle's. Creamer to follow shortly, after a few sips perhaps.

"Will the alcohol overpower the flavor?" he wonders to the pair. "Dragonfruit could be a surprise though. We could try it." Namiko's suggestion definitely gets his endorsement. Their morning conversations have often started with these experiments and product development. The chime and synth voice pleasantly announcing Agent Bluthner's arrival get a bobbing nod and a "Thank you" from Shaw to the invisible voice. Politeness pays off, in his experience. Most of the time.

Isa's request also gets a nod that he will do so. and Shaw slips off the breakfast nook stool to stride in his short-stack butter-pat topped pancake slippers (the accompanying footwear for above mentioned Christmas gift set) over to the front door. A quick tap of a smooth doorside panel later, he steps aside as the door opens to reveal their visitor. Shaw sneaks a quick sip of his coffee.

When their visitor is announced, Namiko brightens and dashes off to actually turn the music down. For Rhys, specifically, because there aren't many visitors she does that for. There's a balcony, if people don't want to talk over the music. What else is a balcony for?

Never mind that they're all still in jammies, more or less. It's fine. Even for SESA Agents. Although, there is a passing thought that Shaw is in yummy waffle pants.

Oh well.

While Shaw opens the door, she heads back to the kitchen to start pouring another cup of coffee. Just in case.

When the door opens, the first thing Shaw sees is Rhys Bluthner’s flat expression. It's the first time he hasn't worn a smile since Sunspot and the Crossing. “Hi Shahid,” he says quietly, looking down the hall and wringing his gloved hands together. “I was hoping I might be able to come in for a minute?” He looks apologetic. “There's— have you seen the— ” he keeps second guessing itself. “I’m sorry it's— we should talk inside.”

As Shahid and the agent trail into the kitchen Isa does a small wave and nod of her head, "What's up, coffee?" Gesturing to the cup Namiko is preparing, "Or moonshine," a dark grin crosses her lips and she crosses her ankles, leaning on the counter behind her.

She's not late for work or anything, whatever the reason Rhys is here he sure doesn't look that comfortable. Izzy doesn't think it's because he's afraid of any fire. So, what was eating at him?

Shaw tilts his head at first sight of Rhys Bluthner’s expression, blinking dark eyes at the lack of smile, the glance down the hall, the wringing hands. The SESA agent doesn’t need to actually say anything more even though he does ask to be invited in. Shaw waves the man in. “Come, have some coffee.” Namiko’s already pouring, he knows - the Wesley-Khans are a pretty well-oiled machine of hospitality. Or he could have moonshine, as Isa offers once they’ve joined the ladies in the breakfasting region of the kitchen.

Once he’s settled back beside Isa, Shaw peers over the newcomer. Rhys’ presence strikes him as somewhat unusual given the early hour, but he’s rolling with it. “How was your Christmas, Agent Bluthner?” Small talk is still talk.

The odd demeanor on the agent isn't missed and Namiko frowns with sudden concern. She prefers not to have things to worry about, really. It messes with her whole aesthetic. She waves off her parents and their completely out of touch questions about alcohol and holidays and steps out in front of them with a coffee to pass to Rhys. "Don't mind them. They're weird. Obviously," she says with a chiding look back to Isa and Shaw, "this is an important visit." And back to Rhys, "Have a seat if you want. But what's wrong?"

A lot easier to coast through things when no one forces her to actually confront reality. It's how she managed in her home timeline— just don't look up.

Smiling awkwardly, Rhys ducks his head as he enters the apartment in a gesture of humility. He offers a look over to Namiko, “My Christmas was actually lovely, I wasn’t working and— I got to spend some time with my dad that wasn’t entirely terrible.” There’s a hint of emotion in that, but only just as he makes eyes at the kitchen table to guide the conversation in that direction.

Rhys unbuttons his jacket but doesn’t take it or his scarf off as he sits down with the Khans, briefly looking out the grand windows to the snowy cityscape beyond. “So, I’m here both on behalf of SESA, but also the Department of Homeland Security.” Which is immediately distressing. “We… “ he makes a noise in the back of his throat, gloved hands wringing together, before sitting up straight. “There’s a few things, and— I know you’re going to have questions. So, I— I’d like it if you hold them until I’ve covered everything.” He offers with a nervous smile across the table.

“You may have seen it on the news this morning, but there… was a terrorist attack on the Liberty Island Detention Center last night.” Rhys swallows awkwardly, then looks up to Shaw. “Faruq Mansoor— this world’s iteration of your uncle— was there at the time. I— I know this isn’t— that’s not an easy topic and that we’d prevented you from seeking out familial connections here. But… Faruq was sentenced to life in prison for his work with the Company during the Albany Trials years before your Crossing. He’d been moved to Liberty Island to offer material witness in another trial but had not been scheduled for return. He— after the attack, several prisoners are unaccounted for.”

Rhys slides his tongue across his teeth, looking down at the table. “We believe he may have escaped custody and— we don’t yet know who was responsible. Which puts you and your family, potentially, in a dangerous situation. We don’t know Faruq’s mindset right now or that of the terrorists who attacked the detention center. We don’t know if they have interests in targeting you or if they’re aware of you. But with your resemblance to…” he shakes his head. “We needed to let you know that there is a possibility he may try and make contact with you. However slim.”

Isa's face falls, not that she was smiling that much anyway. Earlier in the morning she had been incessantly texting 'The Girls' they had a meetup later or something. She'd been anxious to get there but now this and thankfully nobody here was a telepath because that just meant she wasn't going to see her friends Ezra and Luther later.

That makes her angry.

"What in the fuck, aren't your bosses supposed to be more competent then this? You mean to say… y'all fucked up." Isa learned this from a movie the family had watched. The heat that is graciously regulated by the Yamagato systems cranks up for those immediately near Isa as her scar glows brighter. Setting her cup down firmly and staring over at Shahid, she's worried about him and Namiko most of all.

"Just how dangerous, is he?"

Coffee cupped in both hands, Shaw sips quietly as he enjoys their visitor's first reply. Following Namiko's look and questioning, he grows serious and turns dark eyes to Rhys. For a moment as he remarks about being there because of SESA and Homeland Security, Shaw sucks in a breath between his teeth in worry. Maybe it was still about the baguette. Rhys looking at him almost confirms it, until the news of the terrorist attack. Shaw blinks, almost missing the name following it.

Almost. But not quite. And definitely not about the baguette.

"Aam…?" utters Shaw in a distant-minded echo. "He's alive? Is my fam—…" His cup sets down on the counter, as does his gaze. The information has him shaken, insides stirred with a mixture of uncertainty, indecision, elation? The possibilities of living blood relations slaps him invisibly.

Then Isa speaks up, heats up, and he looks up to her, reaches a hand out to grasp at hers. "Eanqa', it's okay," he tells her calmly. But, even he inwardly admits it really isn't, because Shaw qualifies the blanket statement with a look back to Rhys. "Does he know about…" Shaw's words stop in his throat, pressed by a thickened tongue, thinned lips, an NDA that he's been reminded about signing. You know, Rhys. "Does he know about Everything? Does he remember Isa?" Because Shaw remembers that dive into the pyrokinetic’s mind, and though he may not understand the full meaning, it has seared into his memory.

A new thought strikes and he gasps, looking over at Namiko, at his wife. Shaw’s brows pinch down in a new worry. “Will we have to move?”

Namiko gives Rhys a sympathetic smile when he recounts his holiday, she knows sometimes parents can be a difficult thing. At least, until they drown in a giant flood. But when he gets to the real reason for his visit, she grabs her phone to search for the news on Liberty Island.

It's not good.

When she sets it down and refocuses on the conversation, her head shakes. Isa and Shaw went rogue again. "Mom, oh my god, can you not? People died." They were going to have another talk about compassion, apparently. She reaches over to squeeze Shaw's arm. "It's okay. Even if he does know who you are or where you are, Yamagato Park is one of the safest places we could be. Think of how many security points he'd have to pass to get into the building?"

Unless he is a teleporter is a thought she has, but doesn't voice because she's trying to be the voice of positivity.

Rhys makes an uncomfortable noise and holds his hands up. “No it’s— you’re not in any danger. Please,” he says with as much urgency as he can, trying to tamp down any worries that may come up. “Faruq was cooperating with the government, offering expert testimony, while serving out his sentence. He isn’t dangerous, but what he is might be injured or frightened. We… we don’t know exactly what happened at Liberty Island right now, we’re still puzzling it all out.”

Sighing, Rhys leans forward and clasps his hands in front of himself. “What I need from you all is to remember the contract of non-disclosure you signed with the US Government on your landing, and to remind you that you should in no circumstances seek Faruq out. However, there is the possibility he may try to seek you out, Shahid, for help. Now, I know you’re not here under your birth name but we have to remember that Faruq was a Company field agent. He’s resourceful, clever, and… he’s SLC-Expressive. Likely by now the adynomine has worn off, and he’s gained access back to his superhuman speed.”

Rhys exhales another sigh and scrubs his hands over his face. “Right now we don’t have much more information other than that. We know that Faruq is on the lam, we know that he may turn to perceived family for assistance, and… beyond that we don’t know. But what I am sure of is that you and your family are very safe here in Yamagato Park. Unfortunately, SESA isn’t permitted to leave a security detail here at Cresting Wave, given the international jurisdictions. However, we’ve spoken with Yamagato Industries and given them a bare-bones assessment of your situation…” Rhys holds up a hand, “We didn’t tell them everything. Just that there was a breakout and descriptions of Faruq. They’re going to put a Yamagato security detail on your home and make sure you’re all safe.”

Slouching back into his chair, Rhys looks around the table, then settles on Shaw. “I imagine you have other questions, and I’m here to answer them as best as I can.”

It's a lot to take in but probably the next most important thing to know after finding out Faruq is on the loose.

"Who exactly are the people that released him?" Isa tilts her head and places both hands on the edge of the table. Maybe they just let him and the others out, they would all go to Mexico. Surely not stay in the area where they were just in fucking prison.

God she hopes so at least. "We are sure he didn't leave with them?"

Shaw looks overwhelmed at first. His breathing turns shallow, his blinking increases, eyes darting from face to face then off to the large windows where the sunshine is streaming through, then down to Namiko’s hand on his arm, and back to Rhys again. Questions? He has many. So many.

But first. “I didn’t know my uncle had a superpower,” he admits, his voice soft, thoughtful. “What is he like, here? He was strict, but not… mean.” He glances between Isa and Namiko, wetting his lips and sipping at his coffee.

“I want to help him,” declares the man in a quiet whisper.

"We help him by calling Rhys if he shows up here," Namiko says, looking over at the agent with an apologetic shake of her head. "He was in some shit in this reality. They haven't done all the reading, Rhys, I'm so sorry." She certainly needed a crash course in things like what was The Company anyway, although she's less aware of Shaw and Isa's home reality and how much was different. Or the same. "It was really dry, in their defense."

She nods over to Isa, though. "Do you know if he was part of the break out or if he just took the opportunity? Or maybe if he was… forced to go? Was this to target the jailors or the jailed? You know?"

“We don’t know much at this point,” Rhys says with a slow spread of his hands. “There was a… a violent prison break, we’re still sorting out who lived and who didn’t, but we’re fairly certain Faruq was among the escapees. We… we do have some ideas of the people who broke him out, but we’re still trying to make sense of it right now. When SESA is ready to go public, it’ll be on the news.”

Anxiously shifting forward in his chair, Rhys looks between all three Khan family members and folds his hands in front of himself. “Now, keep in mind Faruq was cooperating with law enforcement. We… don’t know the nature of what happened at the prison break. But if he attempts to make contact, or you find out anything, we need you to call us immediately.” Rhys pulls out a business card from his jacket. “This is the same emergency line we gave you after the Crossing.” He pushes the card to the middle of the table. “My direct line, day or night.”

“But, Shahid,” Rhys levels a look across the table to him, “I need you to remember that this isn’t your uncle. This is another world, one that diverged from yours over a decade ago. Faruq would be a different man than you remember, and he wouldn’t know you. That… that’s not pain we want you or your family to have to go through.”

Isabelle reaches over and wraps her arm around Shahid giving him more direct access to the heat he's grown so accustomed too. "It's okay babe," She will hell Shahid help his uncle but their daughter is the swift voice of reason and she nods firmly. "We'll use the number. And I might have skimmed the necessary history." Thankfully Namiko also supplies how boring it was. Isa would rather live it then read it and she read enough to know but the intricate details were why you had an amazing young adult who was always sucking up knowledge and willing to share it with her parents!

Frowning, "We knew the risks while we were traveling that maybe we would run into our alters or their family." Friends. The dark haired woman rubs Shaw's back.

"We do appreciate you coming by personally," Isa's expression softens because Rhys didn't deserve her anger earlier, he had been a friend.

“Should we try to keep him here?” Ultimately, Shaw’s reaction comes from a place of curiosity rather than worry. Perhaps, all the more reason for them to worry, that the man doesn’t sound worried despite the fact that Faruq was in prison in this existential plane. His back curls against the rub, and his head leans at an angle. His finger drags the card on the table closer. Shaw’s eyes flick between the name and number on it to the man himself.

Then to Namiko, in apology. “Sorry I didn’t tell you about my family, from Before,” Shaw says softly. It’s a story he hasn’t thought on in a while, that’s for sure. And it’s a lot to think on. Glancing back to Rhys, he hesitates to voice what other thoughts he might have. Then to Isa, Shaw shrugs with his head ducked between hunched shoulders. “Maybe this one doesn’t even remember what he did to you… or he didn’t do anything. Hopefully, he didn’t.”

"Dad, it's cool," Namiko says to the apology, "like Rhys says, this guy isn't even technically your uncle, so no worries." What happens in another timeline stays in another timeline. Most of the time. She picks up the card, sliding it into a pocket to be put somewhere safer later. Obviously, she can't assume her parents are going to be the most responsible with it. It's enough to make one wonder who adopted who.

"If you try to keep him here, you can't be weird about it," she says, looking between Shaw and Isa, "or you'll tip him off and he'll end up in the wind." By her tone, she's not sure these two can manage to not be weird, either.

“Oh— no” Rhys stammers, “no by all means don't— definitely don't try to detain Faruq one way or another. If he arrives, let him come and go and call us once it's safe to. We don't know what Faruq’s mindset is going to be, and the last thing we want to do is exacerbate the situation or put your family at any risk. We don't want anything bad to happen to Faruq, either. He surrendered himself to the government at the end of the war and has been a willing participant in the judicial process. So…” Rhys spreads his hands, “why he was a detainee, we have no reason to want to endanger him any more than the situation has already provided.”

Sinking back into his chair, Rhys looks between Isabelle, Shahid, and Namiko. There's a moment where it's clear he's honed in on something that Isabelle and Shahid had said about Isa’s past with Faruq. It's hard for any of them to see the dilation of his pupils as anything but natural, though it certainly isn't. Rhys sifts through the chains of connection in Isa’s life, searching for a common thread and finding it faster than he'd expected. Rhys’ brows briefly crease together and he leans forward again, mouth resting against the back of his folded hands.

“Do you all have any other questions?” Rhys asks, without asking any of his own. The smidge of uncertainty he has, the hint of curiosity, is vastly outweighed by his want for the Khan family to be safe. His worry that plucking at that thread could do nothing less than endanger them is palpable.

"Yea one question,"

Isa leans forward, noticing something happening to Rhys in that moment. She wasn't all that clear on his ability. Seemed like some seer shit and everyone knew how she felt about those sorts of abilities. Regardless, Rhys seemed to know things he shouldn't at times. Kind of like that batshit crazy bitch Eve who the pyrokinetic was oh so happy to have not run into in this timeline.

"What the fuck was that, just now," Waving her finger towards Rhys, the space around him and indicating all his…. fuckery. Her eyes narrow and a hand goes to her hips. "Where did you go?"

Shaw glances about at their luxury apartment, then to Namiko. "Weird? Not weird… unique," states the man pointedly, although it comes out almost poutingly. Says the man who currently wears waffles as pajamas and pancakes as slippers. But as Rhys goes on, Shaw can only bob his head slowly to agree to the agent's terms and sentiments. He almost misses the small dilation, almost, because Isa's laser-focused on the SESA agent too and catches it.

He undoes a hand from his coffee mug, reaches for Isa's hand on her hip. "Eanqa' please don't be mad at him. We'll find out what we can about Uncle Faruq when he - if, he - comes. But, we should not tip him off that anything is wrong, that we know." About his role in something about Isa's past along with the other man, about the fireproof chamber.

Shaw turns back to Rhys and Namiko with a faint smile not quite as broad as he likes but offered sincerely nonetheless. "We still have some time," he notes of the uncertainty of the agent but reads it completely differently than the situation implies. Instead, Shaw's next and only question comes warm, casual. "Would you like to stay for breakfast?"

"Don't mind her, Rhys, she's just hangry. Stay for breakfast. There's fresh fruit," Namiko says, the last coming in a singsong voice. Fresh fruit is pretty normal in this house, but Namiko still thinks it's a nice novelty. Perhaps because where she came from, it was hard to find the space to have much variety in a garden.

She looks over at Isa, her expression shifting to a more chiding one. Behave.

Shaw gets a look next and a nod toward his wife. Someone has to distract her from whatever is going on in her head. As usual. She's not volunteering this time.

Rhys looks momentarily taken aback by Isa’s question, hesitating to answer and mercifully both Shahid and Namiko provide him with a means of conversational egress from her inquiry. “I wish I could,” is a genuine regret. “Unfortunately, I have a lot to follow up on. But please, remember, stay safe.” Pushing his chair back from the table, Rhys slowly rises and looks out the wide windows nearby to the cityscape pf Yamagato Park, then to the whitewashed and glass frame of the Yamagato Building in the distance.

“We all need to stay safe,” Rhys echoes, tucking his phone into his pocket as he considers the door. “I'll stay in touch.” He means it.

He has to.

They can't know the danger they're really in.

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