Burning Chrome, Part I


bf_alia_icon.gif vf_elaine_icon.gif elisabeth4_icon2.gif vf_isa_icon3.gif vf_kain2_icon.gif vf_kaylee_icon3.gif vf_ling_icon2.gif bf_lynette_icon3.gif magnes_icon2.gif bf_odessa_icon3.gif vf_ruiz_icon3.gif vf_shaw_icon.gif bf_tyler_icon.gif

Scene Title Burning Chrome, Part I
Synopsis The Travelers leave a gilded cage for a wasteland.
Date November 8, 2017

Thunder rolls across the brown horizon.

A flash of lightning burns white hot in murky gray-brown clouds against a night sky, and a torrential, rust-hued rain falls with acrid stink. Atop the slouching remains of the Deveaux Building, a burning wheel of lightning and cloying darkness expels dark silhouettes of scrambling people, each sparking and sputtering with static electricity in the rain. A door to another world.

Overhead, a moon burns red through the ash-choked clouds. On the horizon, wildfires burn out of control in the gutted remnants of Manhattan, where skeletal skyscrapers look like burned hands reaching up toward a sooty sky. The familiar staccato rhythm of gunfire echoes from street level, along with the occasional rumble and roar of an explosion that goes unseen.

Kain Zarek is ejected through the portal, landing on his shoulder and rolling across the rooftop, leaving swirling wakes in the rusty sediment that builds up with the rain. Gasping, sucking in a sharp and pained breath, he pushes himself to his hands and knees as brown water runs in rivulets down his forehead. He squints, eyes stinging against the acid rain.

“What… what the fuck?” As he shakily rises to his feet, there's another crackling snap from the portal as more people come through. Kain states in horror at the sight around him, of the bombed-out remnants of New York City sprawling in smoldering ruin in all directions. He wheels around, lightning flashing overhead, eyes flicking left and right as he takes in the desperation.

It takes a moment for Kain to choke out the words, “go back!” He turns in a bleary haze toward the portal. “We can't— we— we have to go back!” But as Lynette emerges through the portal, drawing it shut behind her like a collapsing umbrella of darkness and electricity, Kain's screams are drowned out by El Umbral’s gnashing emptiness. It is only then that Lynette sees Kain's horrified face and the ruined landscape bathed in rain and smoke behind him.

It was a warzone.

A wasteland.

The Ruins of New York

November 8, 2017

10:17 pm

Tyler, having hauled himself through the portal at Kaylee’s side, completely collapses once Lynette is the last through. His wheezing breathing is getting worse and he's still bleeding from the mouth. Isabelle has cauterized the entry wound, but it isn't enough. The gunshot clearly perforated one of his lungs and exited out his back. He’ll bleed to death or drown in his own blood if help doesn't come soon.

“We have to go back…” Kain’s plea is nothing but a whisper now, amid the burning ruin all around.

Having had Tyler ripped out of her grip, it means Kaylee Thatcher followed quickly after. It is an odd sensation having him ripped away like that. The connection severed so quickly. In fact, the telepath might have a few words for Kain; but, as soon as she steps through and hears him telling them to go back, her attention snaps to the world around them.

Her stomach sinks.

Kaylee starts to say something, but then she finds herself about pulled down by the collapsing Tyler. The distraction is almost a welcome one, as she moves to make sure his head doesn’t smack against the ground for a second time. “I gotcha…” She murmurs uncharacteristically, cradling him again, she is already covered in blood, what does it matter? A worried glance goes to the others. “He needs medical help.” Kaylee says the obvious, even if it is clear, that they might not have a way to save him.

Her hand rests against the man’s forehead again, ready to resume what she had been doing before Kaylee had been so rudely interrupted.

Ling has been staring in silence since she came through the portal with Elaine moments before, eyes wide and shoulders slouched, hanging motionlessly at her side. When she hears Kain behind her, she half turns - intentionally slow as she cranes her head to look in his direction.

"What the fuck is this?" she practically snarls. The inflection, the tone, the choice of words - not exactly common for Ling Chao, but- well, the last few years spent with Kaylee and Kain have left an impression on her.

Her angr is evident but undirected, first looking to Kain, and then over in to various other travellers before finally landing on Magnes and Liz.

"What the fuck is this." When she repeats it, she lacks the snarl. Her emotion takes a turn like Kain's - uncharacteristically helpless, rather than pleading.

From one apocalypse, to maybe causing another, to falling face first into a third. Ling doesn't even have words to really describe how she feels in that moment.

One look at the ruined landscape as Isabelle exits the portal and her eyes grow wide, “Fuck.” She whispers softly to herself and shakes her head, this isn't.. Home..? No no that's not right. The acid rain sizzles on her skin, smoke rising where it impacts on her skin and a hand goes to tighten its grip on the metal chain hanging in her hand. This couldn't be right. Her mind going to her niece Addie and wondering if she was here somewhere in this fucking apparent hellhole.

Her mouth opens and shuts as she takes a staggering step forward, closing the distance between herself and Kain to stand at his side. “I…” Isabelle’s free hand goes to clutch at the side of her hair. This was a mistake. How could she had taken that utopia for granted? The brunette grits her teeth as she surveys the city around them, hearing the gunshots and explosions. Choosing to focus her energy on something she was good at. A fight. The pyrokinetic peers over the edge before looking over towards the door leading down into the building thinking to go over and make sure nobody was going to surprise them.

Isa blinks as she turns around suddenly to look towards Shaw, “Babe listen, I swear we will find waffles.” Fuck.

As she hurtles through the portal and lands, Elisabeth's sole focus is on the little girl riding snugly in the fabric carrier on her back, held tight to her own body. It means that even as she emerges, her body is tucking in so that when she lands, she takes the brunt of the landing. And it's not a soft one. A harsh grunt comes from her as she hits and stumbles to her knees, but she keeps Aurora from getting hurt — and to her, that's all that matters. The first thing that hits her, besides the oddly colored clouds in the storm-laden darkness is the smell. It's disgusting, like something is burning. And then the feel of the stinging rain. Thanking God that the carrier she slid her daughter into is fully canvas and that the little girl was dressed to stay as dry as possible, Liz reaches back to hold Aurora's hand. Although she's crying softly, Kaylee's telepathic suggestion to keep the child calm is holding and she seems for the moment to be in pretty good shape.

Only then does Elisabeth lift her face to the next hurdle to challenge them. She moves to the edge of the rooftop to look out over the landscape once framed by the cherubs. "The only way out is through," she murmurs softly. Her own tears are invisible under the stinging rain. This is not where she wanted to be. Not even fucking close. If this is home…. dear God. She doesn't know whether to pray this is home or that it isn't.

If it appears that she is taking the horrific view and their current situation in stride, most of them know her well enough to know that this is how she copes: Deal with what's in front of you first, have panic and shouting later. "We need to get under cover ASAP," she says as she turns back to the others. Their own fears and horror are reflected back at them, but there are things that take priority. "Let's at least get off the roof and see if we can help Tyler while we figure out … what the fuck to do next."

Lynette collapses to the roof as the portal closes, tear streaks and blood staining her face. Plus dirt and grime from the roof. But instead of dealing with any of that, she takes a few moments to breathe, letting everyone's shocked reactions roll over her for a moment. But then she looks up, pushes herself back to her feet, and sees where she brought them. Her eyes widen, exhaustion mixing with guilt as it settles into her that she certainly missed the mark.

She hopes she missed the mark. This was no place like home.

"I'm sorry," she says when she looks over at Kain, "Oh god, I'm so sorry." The Lynette he knew would never had apologized, not for anything, but this one does so easily. Quickly. "Javi," she says, turning to look for Ruiz in their little crowd. Her hands wave in a flustered gesture before it occurs to her that she should do something else with them. So she wipes at the blood in an attempt to get rid of it before Evie sees. "I can try again. I'll try again," she says, insisting, even though it's obvious that she can't. Not today, not now.

Shaw had entered the bright portal with Lynette's words still sounding in his mind, giving the man singular purpose. Protect her family. He had gone through one journey of darkness and approached the next with a squint for the brightness of snapping electricity, and clutching the young girl, Evie, in one arm and his self-adopted brother in the other.

Spat out into biting rain and choking red-brown around, Shaw looks… confused. Disoriented by the abrupt wash of ash and rust, he coughs and rubs his face against a shoulder to try and wipe off the rain enough to see by. The view doesn't improve much at all. Then he hears Kain's cries to go back, and the presence of the others coming through register along with the sounds of distant gunfire and explosions. His eyes widen, a mistake. He squints them again in the rain, moving a hand to remove the Mets cap from his head and to place it over Evie's head - not that it will help much in the pelting rain - but any little bit that might help, he does. "It's okay memna. It's okay." He turns slightly so the little girl can see her father, her mother, having come through safely. Somewhat. And then he lowers the young girl to her feet, helping guide her back to her parents.

Dark eyes turn to Izzy, her comment about the waffles getting a consternated twist in Shaw's expression. He listens. But whether or not he believes her on the waffles… He only gives a slow, short shake of his head. Not here, babe.

He then cants his head at the words from Liz, her mention of finding cover bringing his thoughts back to the start of all this. Protect the family. Shaw clears his throat and speaks up, "I- I'll check." Angling a glance to Isabelle, he shares a look with the pyrokinetic to cover him and trots along to the rooftop door, breathing deeply a moment before he steels himself for what he might be able to hear down in the building's interior to the exclusion of other senses.

The landing was a rough one, but Odessa knows she's still intact. If only by virtue of the aches and pains in her extremities. Pushing herself to her feet, she takes stock of the situation. This is nothing like her home, but she expected that much. It's also nothing like the other world she'd seen, unless things had suddenly gotten even worse than she remembered.

It's Tyler's condition that grabs her attention. He was in bad shape when she arrived at the genesis of the portal that brought them here, and it's not improved by their travel, unsurprisingly. Swiftly, she makes her way to Tyler's side. "Easy. I can—" Odessa looks around frantically. She didn't exactly pack for this trip. "I need supplies," she declares to no one in particular. Failing that…

Odessa looks down at her hands, then looks back toward Tyler's wounds. There might be a way. Julie never had the chance to tell her what her new ability might do.

Magnes is looking around, and seems significantly less shocked than the others. His ability needs to recover a bit, otherwise he'd try to protect the others from the acid rain. But for now… he needs to get things under control, at least on an emotional capacity. "This isn't home, but this is where we're supposed to be. So don't worry. This will be difficult, but it's temporary."

"People are on their way to help us, so just be patient." He looks over at Tyler, frowning. "I'm not sure what's going to happen with Tyler, I'm not sure if… well, all I know is that whatever happens, he apparently doesn't end up coming with us. I wasn't sure that he'd make it through the portal. But for now, do what you can and let's hope we can change that."

"This is the wasteland world, with robots, so we have to be careful while we wait for help." He turns to Elisabeth now, making sure to take Elaine's hand to comfort her. "I need you to trust me."

For a while, Ruiz stays still on his knees, watching these little sparks rise up from his hands. The sight of the city itself didn’t really shock him too much, but it’s not because he had hoped they would make it this time, but because he’s just not processing everything too well right now. But as the water starts to sting his skin, he hears a soft cry coming from a little girl and he immediately gets up, takes his upper shirt off and wraps it around the child to protect her from the rain. It exposes him more to it, but that’s not the point.

But then Magnes says what he does and he just stops moving for a second. Then he looks over at him. “What do you— you— you knew and you didn’t say anything when we got together and planned to go up to the roof and— you told Tyler he was coming with us. Half of these people who came don’t even need to have come! They could have left the country like most the others from my world.”

Him, his wife and his daughter would still be here, because they had a family member to find, but honestly Shaw and Isa could have gone to Canada or Mexico and lived happily. Kain, Ling and Kaylee could have gone to Europe. He doesn’t even know who one of these people is, but surely she didn’t need to come with them, either. “How did you even know this? And why didn’t you say anything.”

Alia for her part stares at the happenings around her… from the ‘equipment bag’ she pulls out a raincoat. Someone it seems was packed for a trip at least. It isn’t a perfect solution, but… she puts it over Tyler, to keep him at least as comfortable as possible while hoping for help to be on time.

Adventure, her own two feet… hopefully she didn’t bite off more than she can chew.

Tyler trembles and shakes on the roof, unable to stand anymore. Kain is forced to lower him down to the ground as his knees give out, eyes rolling back in his head. “Hey, hey, Chunk, wake up!” He slaps Tyler across the face with no reaction. “Fuck, fuck,” is all he can muster, blood covering his hands from the exit wound on Tyler’s back.

In Kaylee’s mind she can feel Tyler slipping, even as Odessa closes in and tries to contemplate what it is her ability could do. Something about it has been broken since the Natazhat explosion, since everything changed, but it's something so far undefinable.

A fog rolls in over the rooftop, acrid and yellow as the clouds. It's cloying and thick, stinging and prickling in the way the rain is. Kain’s hair is slick to his face, head shaking and mouth agape, watching the relative stranger bleeding out in his arms. It's only then that he really sees Odessa since the other rooftop. Guilt cuts across Kain’s face, and he looks down and away from her.

In the stairwell, Shaw’s acute senses pick up a firefight four floors down, a raging gun battle complete with some sort of mechanical whine and shriek; something out of a living nightmare. There's shouts, the muffled thump of small explosions — likely grenades. Someone is fighting their way to the roof. It's like their escape from the virus-riddled world all over again.

Suddenly, Kaylee can't hear Tyler anymore. His thoughts are gone to her, but he's still gasping for breath, he's still trembling in the rain and fog. Then the battle Shaw hears with his enhanced senses suddenly goes quiet, and his hearing is replaced by a ringing sensation in his ears. Alia feels a quiet in her mind. The roar in the back of Lynette’s head goes dead. Ruiz can no longer feel the hum of electricity in his bones.

Liz and Magnes know what this is too late when their powers shut off. The stink that was masked by the smell of smoke and the tingling masked by the stinging sensation of acid rain.

It's not fog.

It's negation gas.


A horn blasts in the sky, like a trumpet from one of God’s seraphim. Within the lightning-laced clouds, an enormous dark shape begins to descend down through the cloud of negation gas spewing out of vents on its side. A massive aircraft, two hundred feet long with four vector-thrust engines at each corner. A single red light shines at its front, and something snakes—

— something slithers

tentacles unspool from the underside of the flying craft like spilled entrails, each spinal-column like tentacle ending in a grasping claw. Elaine is the first person Magnes hears scream as one claw snatches her by the back and shoulders and lifts her up toward the central mass of the lowering vehicle.


The horn blasts again, an echoing call heard far and wide, and as the machine continues to descend from the sky it's many lashing tentacles snap, grasp, and tug at each person on the roof. Tyler is snatched up right out of Kain’s arms. “No!” Kain screams, grabbing on to Tyler's leg as the two are hoisted up into the air, leaving Kain spinning held on by a tight grasp on a pant leg.

Is this how it ends?

"If I change too much of what's going to happen, we may never see our children again. And I thought I could keep Tyler safe if he came with us, I thought him staying behind meant he would die, but…" Magnes shakes his head, before he feels that very familiar feeling, and then Elaine… "ELAINE!!!" He shouts, trying to hold onto her hands for dear life, something deep within him terrified that he may never see her again if he lets go.

Someone's supposed to come. Surely it can't be this robot? Maybe someone comes after? But… he can't let Elaine go, he can't risk it, no matter what he knows.

“What the fuck are you talking about Magnes?”

The man’s cousin looks over at him with wide eyes her mind putting two and two together, Magnes knew? Ho- Her mouth opens to ask another question before that familiar sensation settling over her, Isabelle shivers as she feels the cold and sting of the acid rain mixed with the cloud of negation, “What the fuc—” the horn sounds and that thing silthers in and grabs first Elaine and then Tyler, “WHAT THE FUCK!! Elaine!”

The brunette grimaces as she rushes forward after a look at Shaw to grab at Magnes, “Mags!” Whoever had told Magnes that someone was coming to help lied. Losing her grip on his shirt, “No!!”

With her mind occupied, the telepath doesn’t quite hear what is going on around her. Which might be a good thing. Kaylee feels Tyler slipping and she is panicking, both hands moving to grasp at his head. Kain and Odessa can hear her whispering, “No no no…” Even though she knows there maybe no hope, she is still trying to keep him with them. Her ability slips around his mind to hold on tight, trying anything she can…. “You’re not going anywhere,yet.” Why was she so determined to save a stranger. No damn clue.

And then suddenly she feels nothing. Not Tyler… nothing. The world is suddenly quiet… or at least her version of it. The humming that invades her mind everyday was gone. It is a horrifyingly familiar sensation that gets a panicked “No!” Kaylee looks up and around her, noticing the unnatural fog. Her mouth opens to say something, but then the horn booms loud around them.

Then the tentacles are dropping around them, Kaylee gives a yelp and starts to scramble back from the snapping and seeking claws.”What the hell is that!?” Her plan had been to flee, but she stops in her tracks when Tyler is being lifted…. Then Kain start getting drug up with him. “Kain!” There is no thinking, just action as she launches herself at the thing, in an attempt to wrap arms around the claw.

What the hell am I doing? Kaylee can’t help to think as she frantically tries to think of how to get them lose.

“You have a lot more to worry about than her not trusting you,” Lynette says, adding to Ruiz’s comments on the matter. It’s true that their family would have been here either way, but for so many of them gathered here— that just wasn’t the case. “This isn’t just about you two getting home anymore. We’re all a part of this.” Whatever more she might say, it’s left when the gas rolls in, when her new power is cut off from her. She’s never experienced this before, and it takes her a moment to process what’s happening.

Somehow, this is worse than the pain of Tyler’s red lightning, than the disorientation of having an unfamiliar ability shoved onto her.

And then, the sound. The light.

Lynette grabs onto Evie, scooping her up and trying to protect her from those tentacles that reach out for them. “I’ve got you,” she says to her, “I’m here with you.”

She does not promise that everything will be alright.

But she stays close to Ruiz, the pair of them crying at his back. “Javi,” she says, almost pleading, “what do we do?” This is not a situation she is prepared for, not with her comfortable house, her money, her family tucked away from the world. All of that was gone— in a much more real way than she expected. But whatever Ruiz decides to do, she’s ready to follow his lead.

Magnes's words bring Elisabeth's blue eyes to him — we're where? Her shock is clear — whatever Magnes knew, she didn't. Ruiz and Lynette have taken care, for now, of the words that need to be spoken, so she focuses on what she remembers of the future visions and what they knew about this world. And if she's remembering right, this is way too early for the Wasteland world to look like this. But the thought is cut short by the fog that turns out to be negation gas and the nightmare that is the machine descending on them.

"Fuck," she breathes, watching in horror as Elaine and Tyler are grabbed. "Move!" The word is shouted at those not already in the middle of tangling with the hovering monstrosity. There are more tentacles! She ducks backward toward the stairwell herself, hampered just a little by the weight of her daughter on her back as she tries to evade the grasping machine, hoping to perhaps get the door open for either their escape or help to get through. The pistol that she came through the portal with comes up, but…. what the hell good is it going to be against that thing??

She hopes to God that whatever help is coming gets up those stairs fast…. and that they're actually able to help. This group is not armed well enough either with mundane weapons or powers to fight this thing.

Alia loses her bag to one grasping limb. The second is stopped with a gliding parry as she retreats, but not far. She covers Liz and Liz’s daughter, yelling. “Go, can’t… just GO!”

The technopath it seems doesn't like the quiet… but isn't willing to just get scooped up without a fight. She'll worry about who knew what when later. For now it's trying to get inside and put a door or five between a kid and a Lovecraftian techhorror.

Whatever else Ruiz might wish to yell at Magnes about disappears when they get a rather sudden interruption. The only robots he’s seen would be the one that crashed through the portal him and Gabriel had made and shot up Eileen, causing the whole thing to fall apart. The sparks that had been building on his hands had went away, and Lynette does the first instinct he had, grab their daughter, so instead he reaches out to put his hand on her arm and tries to motion them toward the ruined greenhouse. It probably wouldn’t provide any cover, but they might be able to find the door and the stairs. Down would be their only chance.

If they had any at all.

Whatever it was Shaw had heard in the interior of the building, it's nothing compared to the metal monstrosity that appears through the cloud cover. He blinks rapidly as his senses return to him not of his own volition but because of that familiar-though-unconsented to feeling of negation. The man's eyes widen once he realizes it. That has him pressing up against the rooftop door, swinging the large camping pack off his back, digging into side pocket. "Bad, very bad, very bad," he mutters, frantic fingers undoing zipper, grasping the grip of a handgun. Weapon in one hand, he yanks the door leading down open and waves to the Ruizes and others to flee through it, despite knowing there's a fight waiting for them further down. "Hey! Down here, come on! Eanqa'! Akhi!" The heavy camping pack gets used as a doorstop to hold it open for the others to flee through, and Shaw races forth on the rooftop, grabbing for nearby Kaylee's arm to pull her away. "We have to run, hamim! Let go!"

The moment Magnes opens his mouth, Ling zeroes in on him, listens. Every word out of his mouth deepens the scowl on her face, until finally she is stalking towards him with smoke swirling at her hand - ostensibly ready to form it into the bone knife she still keeps on her person, the one that used to belong to her world's Vor.

Needless to say, she doesn't seem pleased.

Any further advancement or action along that vein of thought is cut off as a giant what even the fuck is that makes it's appearance and snatches away both Tyler and Elaine, the area beginning to flood with negation gas.

Ling stares at him for a moment long before she turns away, unsure of what to do next but brimming with the energy to do something, that knife held at the ready as she takes a deep breath and looks over towards Kain. As usual, she'll default to what he has to say.

Even if it just ends up being incoherent screaming.

A mote of green light sparks from Odessa's fingertips, then nothing. Nothing at all. Her ability is gone. As the lights break through the cloud cover and that awful sound fills the air, her had snaps up to stare in terror. Her would-be patient is snatched. The man who gives her such guilty stares tries to pull him back, and Kaylee follows suit. She retrieves Goodman's gun from the ground.

Odessa shakes her head as if to apologize for what she cannot do before she races across the rooftop. Boots slap wetly over the rain-slicked ground as she makes her way toward the now-open stairwell, fueled by fear and a strong need to survive this hell. Whatever waits for them in there can't be as terrifying as what's preying on them from above.

Another tentacle lashes downward, grabbing a hold of Magnes as he calls for Elaine. The mechanical limb snatches him by the arm, throws him into the air to another waiting tentacle that grasps him by the leg. Held as such, Magnes feels a needle stab into his calf muscle from the center of the metallic tentacle, injecting him with a longer-lasting dose of adynomine. The tentacle then begins hauling him up toward the cloud-shrouded center mass of the ship along with Elaine.

The tentacle holding Tyler shakes wildly, throwing Kain from Tyler’s grasp and sending him crashing back down onto the roof on his back. “No!” Kain shouts, starting to get up and retrieve his gun when two tentacles lance down through the clouds. One strikes Kaylee in the chest, knocking her back and nearly over were it not for Shaw holding on to her arm, the other tentacle tries to grasp at Shaw first, missing by a hair’s breadth, then sweeps around and clamps onto Kaylee’s shoulder and hauls her up into the air. Shaw’s fingers slip from Kaylee’s rain-slicked arm as she’s torn from him.

Kaylee feels the string of a needle stick into her arm as she’s yanked up into the acrid yellow clouds, and as Kain turns, he watches as Ling is stabbed in the back by one of the tentacles and yanked up into the air, screaming incoherently, arms and legs kicking. Kain is left, jaw agape, watching tentacles lashing down all around him. They’re not coming for him at all. Looking over to the roof exit, Kain watches as Shaw, Elisabeth, and Odessa disappear into the stairwell, with Alia holding the door open. Kain rushes for Ruiz and Lynette, “Chachi!” Kain shouts, “We gotta— ”

Lynette is snatched off of her feet like a falcon snatches a mouse. One moment she is there, one moment there is just a single shoe left behind where she once stood. Kain’s mouth hangs open in horror, eyes locked with Ruiz, ash-caked rain streaking down his face. Evie stands where her mother left her, panic shortening her breaths. The ship’s horn blasts again, cutting through the night as it begins to pull away.


Inside the Deveaux Building

First into the stairwell, Elisabeth’s feet thunder down the concrete steps. Her breath is tight, wheezing, the cloying feeling of negation gas clings to her skin. Aurora’s presence with her is in the forefront of her mind as she makes it down to the second landing, screams and bootfalls of others following her down into the stairwell. But there’s a suddenly eruption of gunfire from a door to the top floor of the building as it comes flying off of the hinges and a machine — a horrifying bipedal machine some seven feet tall ducks through the doorway, smoking guns affixed to each arm, cyclopean red eye scanning the room as it sweeps over Elisabeth…

…and then turns around and fires through the doorway it came from. There’s shouting on the other side, a running gun battle that is driving the machines up. “Elisabeth Harrison!” Someone calls from the smoke-filled floor over the sounds of gunfire. Another volley of machine gun fire rips through the gigantic robot and it braces itself on the landing between Elisabeth and whoever was fast enough to be next in line behind her.

Elisabeth Harrison!” That voice is strikingly familiar, “We’re here to help!” It’s…



Blaring in behind Lynette is another familiar face for Elisabeth though this one has a nose ring and a shock of flaming red hair that she's currently not taking to hiding and the brown eyed stare of Eve Mas takes in the group of travelers briefly as she levels her machine gun at the robot and opens fire while blowing on a bright pink kazoo as loudly as she can, after the clip is spent and the muzzle is smoking the pale woman spits the plastic toy instrument out on the ground and her eyes twinkle, “Welcome to hell!!” Followed by a mad cackle the seer’s hands tighten on the grip of her firearm. Clad in a long black trenchcoat and leather, this punk looking Eve looks angry but that anger cracks at the sight of some familiar faces.

“Oh hey Otter Eyes!” A frantic wave to the Latino man, “Lady, I told you,” she adds in a whisper to her second in command, “He’s different.” Eve's tone excited as she readily ejects the magazine of her machine gun and loads up another before firing more rounds into the robot’s face. “Can’t be too sure with these things.”

Sliding away for their third ally in the stairwell Eve tips her head back while putting her fingers to her lips and blows a harsh loud whistle before bellowing, “PACKAGE SECURED TALLY HO!! Nancy is waiting!” A squint follows and she looks over Elisabeth’s shoulder. “Hey Liz, there were more of you…”

“Unless that was a metaphor.”


Electricity crackles further down the stairs, where Lynette is rushing through the robots, power streaming off her, blasts firing at any bot that gets too close. She hasn’t used her gun, although she has one on her, instead she leans on what comes easiest and what comes easiest is frying robots in the flashiest manner possible. The group can hear her yell between bolts until she catches up with Eve. Whatever the oracle had warned her about, it’s clear the warning isn’t enough once she comes face to face with them. Her gun comes up then, pointing straight at Ruiz. “What the fuck is this?” she shouts, casting only quick glances toward Eve as she tries to ease her concerns. “Yeah, no shit he’s different! Look at his face!”

At least she seems only prepped to fire instead of going ahead and making a bad day worse. “If this is everybody, then get moving,” she says with a gesture of her gun down the stairs.

As talkative as Lynette and Eve are, the third of their trio is silent as she slips behind Lynette. The only reason Robyn Quinn isn't invisible is because she knows it would do her any good. Instead, a pair of floating balls of light circle around her. She gives a look over to Eve, and then a look over to Elizabeth.


They may have seen her moments before, singing her heart on stage. But here, in this stairwell, the blonde haired woman half climbs past Lynette, slipping up the banister as best and as unawkwardly as she can. She dramatically swoops a hand out, motioning for one of the balls of light to trail upwards and after one of the centurions - where in a crackle, pop, and flash, the light suddenly lances forward at laser intensity, cutting through the machine.

"No time, Eve," is half teasing, half chastising. "Gotta go."

Oh what's in the staircase could be just as bad… but they have to get away from the open to have a chance. Elisabeth rounds the landing and the crash behind her has her swinging back around to face up the stairs and shield her daughter from the new monster. Her hands come up and she starts to fire at it, though her one clip isn't going to do much. The call out from Lynette is actually a relief — She can't shift her eyes from that threat until the new arrivals destroy it, though. She lowers her pistol, one hand slipping around behind her neck to run her fingers through Aurora's hair gently in reassurance. The suggestion that has kept the little girl calm is still holding and Elisabeth silently blesses the child's aunt.

Breathing hard, her blue eyes take in Eve and her companions, stepping out of Lynette's way as she comes up the stairs from below. "Good to see you guys," she gasps out — cavalry is good! "There are more of us," Liz replies urgently to Eve's query. "A flying thing with fucking tentacles just grabbed them!" Her eyes flicker upward. "We can't leave them to be hauled off." Then again, we are not armed to take the machine. "It hit everyone with negation gas — we won't be much help."

Alia is beginning to look annoyed if nothing else. “… toys everywhere. Can’t play. Hmph.” Still, it’s tempered in tone by the fact that yes, they got ambushed by something straight out of a hentai anime. Something capable of completely neutralizing her own ability, and apparently everyone else. Great. Just -great-. And here she is now armed with nothing more than a rapier. This is not her day.

That said, she has to admit, the help that arrived… was better equipped for the job then one might have hoped. So there is that at least!

‘Otter Eyes’ appears in the stairwell with child in tow, trying his best to comfort the poor girl as she buries her face in his neck, sobbing and crying. He’s not doing much better, having just watched his wife get snatched up to an unknown fate, the worry is plain on his face, the panic. He’s trying to think of what they could possibly do to get them all back, but his priority had been first getting their daughter to some kind of safety.

Only to be met with two women he knew quite well. In other lives. He’s surprised at the sight of Eve, looks about to say something, but it’s the harsh woman at her side that gains most of his attention. In some ways she’s closer to his Lynette than the one lost on the roof. Angerier, but it’s there. Wait what was she saying about his face? What’s wrong his face? The little girl even reacts to the voice, a soft sound coming from her tight throat as tiny little hands reach out for her only to get pulled back.

He doesn’t get to ask out loud because he looks back in the direction they came and sides with Elisabeth on this one, “Half of our people were grabbed, we need to get them back.” Kaylee. His wife. Ling. Elaine. Even Magnes, even if he’s kinda mad at him right now. He wouldn’t leave any of them behind.

Shaw is not having a good time of it. Having Kaylee ripped out of his arms, then witnessing Isabelle, Lynette, others snatched up by the flying spaghetti-armed metal monster, it's all an overwhelming waking nightmare. And it's now his reality.

His retreat into the stairs is nearly pure animal instinct honed to reflexive action to survive in the Virus world. When danger comes, go down to ground. He's the last through the rooftop door, clutching the strap to his heavy pack that was a doorstop now in one hand, white-knuckled grip of the handgun he'd pulled out in the other. Shaw can't tell if the pounding in his ears is the effect of the negation, the staccato mini-booms of machine gunfire, or his own heartbeat. He doesn't understand much of what's going on.

What he does understand is that his friends have disappeared. He has a gun in his hand.

And no waffles.

Few if any have seen the man as distraught as he is now, so angry that his expression has gone blank with a wide-eyed stare of rage that has him leveling the handgun up, taking aim, and firing indiscriminately, multiple times at the biggest threat presented - the Gen 1 Centurion. When he does finally run out of ammunition, evidenced by the clicks of a dry, empty clip, it's a few tense moments before he comes back to his senses. Tears streaking down acid-rain drenched cheeks, Shaw blinks at the gathered group, heaves a shuddering breath and drops the gun with a clatter upon the steps.

Away from the threat in the sky, it's a bit like escaping the fire but still being trapped in the pan. Odessa looks about the stairwell frantically. Everything seems to be moving too fast. She drops to a crouch and covers her head at the sound of gunfire at her back. Looking up, she sees the look on Shaw's face and knows it well. After what happened out there, she can't blame his reaction in the least.

Fingers of one hand tighten around the railing while the other grips tightly to her gun. It's been a long time since she's been negated in a way where she couldn't just kill whatever made her that way. Terror keeps her frozen, but it's the notion of Mateo in danger – from Lynette? – that pushes back her fear and brings her back to her feet. Her gun points at Rowan, but she issues no threat beyond that. They're all meant to be on the same team here, it seems, so she hopes the immediate danger of friendly fire will pass momentarily.

Electricity, lasers, and raw gunfire strip the machines down to smoking heaps. The Gen1 Centurion stands no match for Lynette's electrical output and the narrower-bodied Gen2’s are easily dispatched by the cutting torch powers of Robyn’s lasers.

Christ,” comes a new voice from the doorway to the top floor, emerging on the same landing as Lynette and the others. Avi Epstein with a leather eyepatch saunters into view, slinging his SAW light machine gun over his shoulder and looking back through the doorway, then back pedals and glances up at Shaw. “C’mon assholes the cavalry is here. You fuckers better have been worth it.”

Near the top of the stairs, just now filtering down with the others, Kain Zarek offers a dead-eyed stare down to Epstein, down to Shaw. He too has the silent rage hidden in his eyes, but lacks the willpower to indiscriminately shoot as Shaw had. “Run or die!” Epstein shouts, waving the others down the stairs as fast as they can move. “I'll cover your asses, go!”


Several flights down, Lynette has burned through the robotic reinforcements, clearing the way to the street-level, though gunfight outside still rages on. In the lobby, the demolished husks of a pair of Gen4 hunters lay in smoldering heaps, the machines they had to fight their way through on the way up the first time. The DoEA had no reason to be out here, unless someone tipped them off.

The thought sits ill-well with the resistance.

“Watch that mouth of yours Druncle!” Eve replies sharply, “They are nice assholes.” The pale woman corrects and she rushes forward to Shaw and picks up the gun that’s he’s dropped onto the stairs, “Now now honey pie,” reaching into her trenchcoat to pull out a Desert Eagle she slips that and the discarded firearm into the young man’s hands. “You lose one and get two. Remember.” Tapping her forehead with a unpainted fingernail before her eyes are back on Liz and the others, eyebrows furrowed. “Harvester..” she grits her teeth and turns to race down the stairs before Odessa catches her eye, there’s a tilt of her head but she continues down the stairs in a hurry, passing Avi and clapping his shoulder, “We’ve got friendly faces in that Harvester.” Eve’s gaze grows steely with her back to the travelers but Lynette, Avi and Robyn know that look.

“We lose none of them. Promise?” A look given to Lynette before she’s rushing down the stairs sometimes leaping two-three stairs at a time. As they trample over the remains of the robots to get to the lobby down below.

As the group rushes in Eve screeches to a stop and holds up her hand, “Wait a goddamn minute.” Rounding on the travelers, “Wait here a second first off.” Looking down at a broken watch strapped on her wrist. “Where the fuck is the cat?!” Her dreams aren’t always completely accurate. “‘Eli would have loved him.” With a frown.

Lynette doesn't lower her gun when Odessa raises hers. She flicks her gaze over that way, scowl deepening. Odessa can feel the electricity before it flashes around her gun hand. There's no warning, Lynette didn't even have to direct it, it just sparks against the woman's hand. Not enough to damage, but enough to jar her grip on the gun. Then she lowers her weapon.

Because Eve made her promise to be nice.

"We have people working on the harvester," she explains on the way down. "The DoEA wasn't supposed to be here." But at the same time, she's not surprised that they arrived. "We'll get to Nancy, she'll get us to the rendezvous point and if everything goes to plan, you'll have your people back." Not that anything has gone to plan so far. But the only faith Lynette has left is in her people.

In the lobby, she puts an arm around Eve and turns her toward the exit. "The cat was smarter than any of us and fucked off instead of coming here. Let's go, we gotta signal your boy." Because Eli's driving. One of him anyway.

Jesus fucking Christ, what is even happening??? Elisabeth is struggling to take in everything that has slammed into them in the past four minutes — really, it's only been that long! — and now Lynette is pointing a gun at Ruiz and Evie?? Hold the fucking phone! "HEY! Get your weapon off them!" she says sharply, even as Odessa … thank whatever deity you believe in, because this is crazy Dessa… doesn't pull the trigger. "Dessa, no shooting the cavalry!" she admonishes sternly.

And then Lynette's weapon is lowered and Liz can breathe, her free hand clasping her forehead and trembling visibly. Combat adrenaline is not always your friend. "The DoE… that's not even supposed to be a thing here, I didn't think. Jesus… " So much is different!! She and Magnes have considered the idea that the day of the fight with Zeke, they broke time. But if that's the case here? It was in a massive way.

The reassurance from Eve that we lose no one and Lynette's assurance that they have a team on the flying robot seems to motivate Liz to move her ass down those stairs as quickly as their little group can manage. It's just as long a way down as it is up, and she slants Kain a somewhat amused glance as if waiting for him to bitch about the stairs again.

She doesn't say much, hoofing it down those stairs with Aurora wide-eyed and silent on her back. She can't say much because she doesn't understand what's happening quite yet. As they attain the lobby and supposedly their ride, though, she pauses to look outside. The devastation is more than she can comprehend… it was bad enough in 2001 and 2006. But this is infinitely worse. "What the hell year is it?" Elisabeth is not even entirely sure we didn't just time jump instead of timeline jump.


“Two thousand and seventeen. Ten years after the bomb ripped through this lovely town,” A voice that Liz only kinda might recognize comes from the shadows. She saw Eli once or twice maybe, when he’d been working with Ezekiel. He’d at least been on the roster of probable bad guys when they went up to Alaska to take him down. This one’s dressed in a t-shirt, long leather jacket and looks as if he’s combed his hair better. Also older. And with a grin on his face as he winks at Eve, the boss. He’s heavily armed, much like the rest of them, as they get motioned down to the lower levels. “I got an Omega up there. Most of them destroyed when they got grabbed, but one made it,” he adds. But they do have other people up there too, no doubt.

As for Ruiz, he’s starting to hear the soft buzz in the back of his head again, letting him know that maybe his ability could be coming back, even if it’s an ability he doesn’t really know if he can control. Unless the swap was temporary— but he doesn’t think that’s how that kind of thing works. “Dess, it’s okay,” he offers his sister, knowing how protective she is.

With a sad and worried glance toward the blonde woman who also happens to look like his wife (was kinda his wife, technically, if he considered his original vows to count for all of them like he’d told the one who came with him to this world). But he steps closer to Odessa as they make their way down, holding the toddler over to her, “Can you carry her for a while?” The little girl, with tears streaked down her face, doesn’t seem to want to be handed over, but as she cries softly, not knowing exactly what’s going on. Mommy’s mad, but mommy disappeared. Daddy’s scared. It’s definitely nightmare fuel for the little girl.

There's a yelp of surprise and Odessa nearly fumbles her gun. Lynette receives a look, but it's not one of threatening or anger, just a display of understanding. They don't need to have a shoot out here. She flashes a glance toward Elisabeth, who still addresses her with a familiarity she doesn't understand. Epstein is registered as a possible threat, but otherwise not acknowledged, except to follow the instruction to run or die. She has no intention of dying today. "I didn't leave my entire life behind just to lose my brother out of the gate," Odessa growls, staring daggers into the concrete as she makes her descent with the others.

When they reach the lobby, she holds as Eve directs. At least until the reason why is voiced. A worried look is cast to Mateo, but she doesn't argue as she trades her gun for the toddler. "It's okay, little one. Come see Tia Dessa." She may be scared, but she has a game face. Right now, that translates to a big bright smile for the little girl as she wipes the tears from her face with her thumb. "We're gonna make some new friends." Nancy, whoever that is, waits to get them out of this place. Hopefully she's a teleporter.

"Oh yay," Quinn remarks as she hustles downwards, an annoyed look on her face as she hears the child crying. "Kids. Eve, I swear t' God…" She offers the seer a sharp glare - whatever this situation exactly is (she stopped knowing some time ago), she clearly isn't terribly thrilled about it.

With an annoyed groan, she suddenly looking back over her shoulder with a scowl. "Let's save the history lesson f'r when we're not 'bout t' fuckin' die, kay?" She rolls her eyes, moving to slide down the rail a bit. "Y'know, if that's in the cards t'day." Cheery as always, she lets out a sound of frustration. She stops, fixing her eyes on Elisabeth. "How about y'lower your voice real quick like, 'cause if any a' us wanted t'shoot any a' you, it'd be done by now." She punctuates that statement by rubbing two fingers together in a manner that produces a few sparks of light, as if someone were trying to strike a match. "An' if y'r gonna start bossin' people 'round, I'm fine leavin' you, because we don't have time f'r bullshit, I don't care what Eve says. So, y'know. Maybe think about that."

With that, she turns and continues downwards. "I dunno what it's like where you come from, but the DoEA's been a thing near as I can remember at this point. If they weren't where y' come from, y'better sure as shit get used t'it real fast, Harrison, 'cause they're not going t'wait for us t'play catch up."

Still, though, there's a bit of a playful glint in her eye when she looks over to Avi. "Hey Epstein, looks like Eve was right. Add that to the' tally a' drinks I owe ya."

Alia stares at the others, then starts down the steps. At least the technopath seemingly is in good shape as she manages to doubletime down the stairs, occasionally just plain jumping over railings to get to the next flight faster. The woman wants away from that roof, from those things, until she can get her bearings… and preferably she can at least hear the basic humm of electronics again. Apparently she has nothing to say that’s polite or orderly enough to say it.

The ringing in Shaw's ears hasn't really stopped. Not when he'd opened fire on the centurion-bot, indoors without any protection. The man looks confusedly as Eve comes up to press his dropped pistol back into his hands along with a second handcannon. Her unique visage is not one he's soon to forget. Nor is the weight of the Desert Eagle that lies heavy in his hand, like the invisible worry over his shoulders and the tangible one of his pack. But there's no time for pondering those feelings, not now.

Run or die, the one-eyed man with machine gun is shouting. And young Evie's cries of distress pierce that faint tinnitus ring. It calls back his shellshocked mind to present, pressing matters and Shaw gets moving with the rest of them. The empty handgun is hastily shoved into his waistband, the unfamiliar heavier pistol still held at his side. A puzzled stare is spared at Lynette and Ruiz's reactions to one another, and then he moves alongside Odessa and the young girl. Protect the family becomes Shaw's foremost directive once more as they move down flights of stairs and make it into the lobby.

“Eve’s got the luck of a pack of fucking monkeys at typewriters that manage to spit out the Great Gatsby,” Epstein grouses as he comes down the stairs behind a shell-shocked Kain. Sliding a new belt of ammunition through his machine gun, he kicks at one of the multi-lumbed and demolished Hunter carcasses rusting in the lobby.

“Ok, Dean is covering us with the storm bullshit so we've just gotta move.” Epstein explains as he moves to the blown out double doors, loose earth and sand from the street now turned to mud from the rain. “Bots have Evo-sensing trackers but they're not too long range. But the more of you fuckers there are the easier it gets. Out there,” he points through the doors and the sheet of torrential rain blurring view, “a hundred feet out? There's a bus.”

Epstein turns back to make sure everyone is paying attention. “Door’s open, engine is hot, but there's a fucking trio of airborne drones circling the building. Run, zig zag, and don't fucking stop for anything. Get to the bus, grab a gun if you don't have one, and fucking shoot anything that comes near once you're inside.”

Locking down the ammo belt into the SAW, Avi moves from rear guard to point man. “Don't worry about your friends, we get to that bus, we can save ‘em.” Epstein turns and braces, then is the first to sprint out into the driving rain and howling winds. He is immediately set on by a hail of gunfire from the air, rounds punching into the crumbling asphalt at his heels. “Go! Go!

“You do too care what the fuck I say Quinnie!”

Eve yells back at her friend before she's staring at the group before them. “Just follow our lead kiddos. I had a dream it laid out some things… it left out the DOEA but..” Waving her hand as if to say What can ya do? Then Avi is bursting through and telling the travelers the plan and Eve nods, “We don't have much but…” Eyes slant as she looks towards the front doors that Avi begins to run through. “Welcome to the Resistance.”

Dashing out after Avi the oracle raises her machine gun to fire at one of the drones before she's tossing a grenade over to the far left, seconds later a explosion sounds and the pale woman barrels forward after Avi, to her savior.. to the bus. “We fly!!!” Her trench coat trailing behind her and a couple bullets shriek through the fabric kicking up dust in her wake. She doesn't always know where to go but in this moment Eve has one destination, “To Nancy!

“Hit me with your best shot.. why don't you hit me with your best shotttt.”

There are so many responses that could be made in all of this. Elisabeth chooses to not make any of them, any retort to snark deemed an exercise in useless dick-measuring. The subtle widening of her negated and muffled world-perception a few centimeters at least lets her know the gas will wear off at some point, though she's not sure how far away that point is. She'll be very glad when everything doesn't 'sound' like she's underwater.

Blue eyes flick to Avi, a short nod is given to the instructions. Then she looks at the group of her travelers — Kain is looking a little dazed, Shaw's got his game face on, and Dessa definitely has hers. Ruiz looks like he'll be okay. Alia's grousing just makes Liz smile. "When your power comes alive, lady? Aim for the brain," she murmurs to the technopath. "But be careful… they likely have safeguards against technopaths."

Reaching back to clasp both her hands beneath the backpack carrier that is thus far protecting her daughter, Elisabeth looks out the door into that rain. The carrier could be shifted so Aurora is strapped to her front, but it's too limiting in terms of having her lines of sight and her hands free to fight. The momentary consideration of swinging the little girl around is dismissed — she'll hug her daughter as soon as they're somewhere half-safe. "Right then. A bus." Named Nancy. "Fire away," she murmurs after Eve.

She follows the seer to the doorway, pauses there long enough to take stock of the situation and direction, and then hauls ass for the outline of that bus just visible in the driving rain. She has plenty of duck-and-weave practice at this point — and there's no way in hell she's allowing those things to shoot her child. The explosions all around her are exceedingly terrifying on that front, however!!

"People hauling kids, keep to the middle of the pack," Lynette shouts as people make their way out. She looks over at Quinn, giving her a sudden grin. "You ready to fuck up some drones, Quinn?" Being the heavy hitters of the group here, Lynette volunteers them to take up the rear and cover the retreat.

And when she steps out, she's on the lookout for the flyers, electricity sparking through her hair and over her skin. And then, it jumps for the nearest drone, bolting through the rain. Its purpose is twofold; to take them out and to draw their attention to her and off the group.

Alia looks up at the sound of the drones, then gives a shake of her head. “Distance” she tells Liz, with no further explanation as she starts her own weaving course… but Alia is taking a calculated risk in hers, looping out and away from those with kids, swinging the flashing metal of her blade to one side. Then again, with the aim these things have….well, maybe it isn't as much of a risk as one would think.

"Okay, sweetie. We're going to run a race now. Tuck your head in to my shoulder like…" Odessa guides the little girl's head with her palm so her face buries into her neck. "There we go. Okay, are you ready?" she asks in a soft voice, nodding to Lynette's instruction to stay in the middle of the pack. "On your mark…"

Bullets hit the ground as Epstein races for the bus. Eve throws a grenade and Odessa's arms tighten around Evie, trying to shield her from the worst of the noise. "Get set…"

A deep breath and a quick nod to Mateo. I'll keep her safe. "Go!" Odessa launches herself out of the doorway and into the open, dashing first in one direction, then the other, all in a trajectory toward Nancy. Who is definitely not a teleporter. Or even a person. Fine.

Quinn grins as she looks over at Lynette and nods - she's always ready for this part. In fact, you could almost definitely be certain that this is her favourite part. She slips out alongside Lynette, holding out a hand and forming more floating balls of light to circle around her. And then, she takes a cue given earlier, and one of the things she's known best for: she starts to sing.

You come on with it, come on
You don't fight fair
That's okay, see if I care
Knock me down, it's all in vain
I get right back on my feet again

Almost gleefully - it can be seen on her face if anyone looks close enough - she lets her balls of light lance out like the ones before had, burning with laser intensity as they shoot at the AETOS drones. She adds her own into the mix as she moves, each one a different colour than the one before it - a literal laser light show, in some ways, replacing each ball of light that vanishes with another as she focuses on the side opposite Lynette.

Hit me with your best shot
Why don't you hit me with your best shot
Hit me with your best shot
Fire away!

If it comes off sounding like a taunt, that's because it is. Quinn likes pressing her luck this way. A cackle follows that repetition of the chorus, clearly ready to continue the song.

While the Eli isn’t technically a big gun like the ladies, he sticks close to Eve with his semi-automatic rifle, conserving his bullets until an opportune time. Or a time when they’re most needed. As Quinn starts to sing, he bobs his head to the music, even dancing just a little as he moves along, a wry grin on his lips as he continues forward. It’s something he’s used to, though not one of the songs he’d sing along to right now.

Next time.

While he’s no longer carrying a child, Ruiz stays close to Odessa and his daughter as they run, even as he sends a worried glance back behind them. They need to make it out so they can save the others— he just has to hope that they’re okay. All of them. For the moment he’s content to run, unarmed and currently unpowered, even if that buzz in the back of his mind seems to be getting louder and louder, like the hum of a transformer that’s getting closer. Or maybe it’s just the roll of thunder in the background. He’s not sure exactly which.

Looking more disturbed the more that is revealed as the group moves, Shaw takes to warily eyeing the broken machines as they move. "Where are the people?" he asks of all and no one. The world jumping taking its toll in a different way for the man, he stares with every new distraction pulling at his focus. But as it stands, the only people around are these people: the strangers that make up the Resistance, and the travelers. He's sticking with them as they go. Once Odessa and Ruiz make the run for Nancy, Shaw sprints out as instructed, pacing behind and off to a side. A hundred feet feels like forever, his feet feel like they're slow even though he's running, ducking and weaving his way to the bus. What he also doesn't understand, amidst their running… "Why are we singing?!"

One hundred feet between the Deveaux Building and the bus doesn't seem like much until that distance is measured in three-shot bursts of gunfire. The interspersed shots ricochet off of concrete, plink and clank off of the metal playing welded to the bus’ frame, buzz precariously close to lowered heads. As they run, Elisabeth hears the whizz of a bullet whip so close to her head that it displaces her hair. How many times has she been an inch away from death since November 8th, 2011? How many millimeters has that inch narrowed since?

As the group runs through the driving wind and rain, they witness a tremendous sight in the sky above. The Harvester That has grabbed some of their numbers is descending from the clouds, tentacles lashing at the underside trying to catch a flying form sipping around its belly, pushing away the gas with what must be some sort of controlled wind bursts. The figure flies up and lands atop the Harvester, and one of the drones circling the Deveaux Building in the air breaks away to pursue.

That is your friends’ rescue!” Epstein shouts as he stands by the entrance of the bus, laying down cover fire with a heavy chop of machine gun fire at the remaining two AETOS drones. Brass shell casings fly off from one side of the gun, bouncing off the side of the bus as they do. As the Resistance members rush forward, with Kain last in the pack, Avi moves in to usher Kain into the bus and one of the drones buzzed up from behind cover, belching smoke from one ducted rotor. It explodes with a flurry of gunfire, hitting Avi in the leg and Kain in the back.

Kain falls forward into the bus, landing on the stairs with a scream as blood pulses out of his shoulder. Avi has dropped to the ground outside the bus, firing from a seated position. The AETOS takes a volley of rounds to the nose and spirals off into the corner of the Deveaux Building, then crashes down out of sight.

“Get up, get up!” Avi is shouting to himself, pushing up onto his good leg even as the area around his right knee darkens with blood. He hobbled into the doorway of the bus, slapping the wall and gripping the railing. “Drive!” He shouts once everyone is aboard.

“We've gotta catch up with your friends.” Avi groans, buckling down nearly atop Kain on the steps into the bus.

Alia flings herself onto the bus and into a seat, ducking low. She has literally nothing useful at the moment to offer, given her attempt at distraction failed. WEll, almost nothing. She tears off her jacket, and uses the edge of her sword to cut strips off, before attempting to put pressure on and bandage Kain and Avi up.

Surely, they are not going to ask the shy technopath who has never even driven a car to drive a bus in this wreck? There’s tears in her eyes, as she mutters at herself “useless.”

As the bullets whizz by and Avi and Kain are hit Eve’s eyes narrow and she hurries forward she take Avi’s arm, “Come on Druncle we're getting out of here.” She rasps as she supports, drags the man to the nearest seat to the driver. Once she's helped Avi into a seat she walks over quickly and gives the Omega Eli driving the bus a swift kiss on the cheek. “You always wait for me, so sweet.” She would rub noses but there's no time for that now.

“Chin up, you're only useless if you stand around.” A wink given to the technopath before Eve is peering out one of the windows and up at the Harvester and her friend, “Get them Peter!!” She shouts at the sky before ducking back in. “Welcome aboard Nancy, treat her nice and she’ll haul ass for you.” Slapping the walls of the reinforced bus.

Looking up at the ceiling, Eve grins and points to up to the machine gun that's been retrofitted onto the roof of the bus, “I'm your captain Eve Mas,” as she slams into a chair right behind Eli and lifts her machine gun it the window and begins to shoot at the drones coming in for them, “Buckle up kids!” The light from the muzzle illuminating her devilish, wild grin.

When Lynette reaches the bus, she doesn’t climb in, but up. There’s blood staining her shirt, but at the moment, she’s not sure if it’s hers or someone else’s. What she knows is there’s a large gun afixed to Nancy’s roof, and she’s manning it. She takes aim at the remaining drones, firing to cover the others while they get into the bus.

“Get this heap moving, Eli!” Because the others need backup. Where there’s one bot, there’s many. Like cockroaches, if you see one, there’s a swarm somewhere.

The bullet past her head has Liz ducking hard right and pausing to breathe for half a second before resuming her sprint. She gains the bus's stairs and clambers aboard, sliding into a seat awkwardly where she shimmies out of the backpack and releases Aurora into the seat. She swings around and drags the little 5-year-old into her arms and holds her tightly, whispering in her ear. Then she kisses her daughter and helps her hunker down between the seats, uses the canvas of the child-carrier to cover her, and backs out of the seat into the aisle. Avi said there were weapons… and we're still under attack.

Making her way toward the front, she finds a couple of additional weapons slung into seats and helps herself to one, moving out of the way while everyone else piles in and Alia and Eve get Kain and Avi into the bus last. "Dessa, fourth from the rear on the right — take Evie and slide her under the canvas with Aura for extra cover." She notes Shaw's got another weapon and smiles grimly at him. "C'mon, Shaw, we got people to put bullets in until we can do worse."

She heads toward the back of the bus to take advantage of the backmost windows — or what passes for them — to put the muzzle of a machine gun out there and start firing at drones. Nancy, she's impressed to find, actually has a bit of get-up-and-go.

The last one that jumps on the bus happens to be the other Eli, because he was waiting for, well, himself, before he actually had the clone he’d left behind get the bus moving. And move it does. It isn’t the fastest rig in the world, but it definitely carries the vast majority of them. “Hold onto your butts!” he yells, fully referencing an old movie with a wry grin despite the fact there’s obvious danger and gunfire and things falling out of the sky. Yeah, this is just another day in hell.

Ruiz settles into a seat, watching to make sure that Dess and Evie are both okay, as well as Liz’s daughter. Shaw is also given a look that would probably be longer if they weren’t under fire and moving toward the target. He doesn’t stick a weapon out the window and fire, cause he’s honestly afraid to touch anything metal at the moment. And the hint of static he touches the seat give a strong feeling that his worries are well founded.

Odessa runs toward the back of the bus with Evie tucked against her, shushing softly against the little girl's hair. When she gets to the fourth row from the end, she stops and ducks down to set Evie between the seats, under the canvas and next to Aura. "I need you to be real brave for Tia Dessa, okay? You're doing so good. Just a little bit longer, my little love." She kisses her forehead and climbs to her feet again, moving down the aisle until she can slide into the seat next to Ruiz.

"Kiddo's fine," she assures her brother. Odessa can feel the sensation she doesn't have words for returning to her by degrees. Not enough to do anything with yet, but soon. That means Mateo's new ability must be returning as well. "Deep breaths, Tete." She reaches out to takes his hand, only flinching at the shock she gets when she does it. No worse than what she might get off a door handle in winter. For now.

Shaw breathes hard, feeling like his heart's about to burst through his chest as he climbs onto the bus. Nancy's interior barely gets a glance over as he finds a spot to dump the heavy pack that sports quite a few rips and tears from the abuse its suffered jumping through portals and gunfire. A worried gulp swallows down as he hears Epstein's shout about the crashing Harvester. He exchanges looks with Ruiz, the feeling of not knowing what fate has become of their friends and loved ones like a heavy, knotted pit in his stomach.

While Eli's getting himself together and getting Nancy going, Shaw digs into the pack to pull out a thick, plush, clean bath towel from the previous dimension, moves to and presses it into Alia's hands for Kain. Dark eyes stare widely at her, silently demanding that she make use of it.

Then he's called towards the back, and off her goes to join Liz in the rear defensive position, gun drawn and aiming for the opportunity to get in a good shot or two at a drone's wing or body.

Kain’s been tagged bad, in and out of the shoulder, a lot of blood. In any other world it probably wouldn't kill him, but without the possibility of medical treatment and antibiotics this could be all it takes. The pain is bad, but shock is keeping him up. “Don't worry about me,” Kain slurs as he levers himself up and away from Alia in a shambling gait, then down into the nearest unoccupied seat. He keeps the towel Shaw had pressed to the wound against the injury, hand shaking. A blue-eyed stare briefly finds Shahid and Kain nods a shaky, thankful recognition to him.

Avi, however, is far worse off. The round he took tumbled into his knee, and it's unlikely he'll ever be able to walk right again, judging from the tremendous damage he's taken. Avi, however, has been shot badly before and is already taking off his belt, fastening it around the lower portion of his thigh above the knee and tightening it off. But something the one-eyed soldier spots as he looks up to Alia isn't her eyes, but something behind her.

Get down!” Avi shouts as a heavy chop of machine gun fire erupts from the roof, white-hot tracer rounds tearing off through the air toward a pair of AETOS drones buzzing in alongside the bus. Up on the roof, stationed at the hardpoint where the roof gun is mounted, Lynette caught the AETOS on their way in when they broke away from the Harvester. They may be the size of a small sedan, but they're fast and agile.

Each drone zips around debris and wreckage in the street that the bus plows through. As they assess incoming fire they split up, one flanking right and the other lagging behind the bus to line Lynette up in its sights. Gunfire erupts from the front of the drone, punching through the roof and through to the floor, perforating empty seats that explode with padding and faux leather.

The drone that flanked right turns, faces the bus and zips along its side, preparing to strafe the vehicle with a hail of automatic gunfire.

Alia asks not why: She drops to the floor and is rewarded with a whole slew of near misses both above and below her… things got aim like a stormtrooper alright. The technopath feels it whiz past, just out of reach… wait, felt it? Alia’s eyes narrow as she sits up. The gas must be wearing off.

Which means…. She might not know enough to command the thing, but if it gets close… she might be able to ground it by frying things. For now, though, she is pretty much on watch and wait duty. Particularly with Kain refusing treatment… Also, she finally sheathes the big piece of sharp metal before a bump sends it flying into someone. “Always like this?” She manages to ask in Liz’s general direction. IF that’s a joke or not is left for others to determine.

"These things never know when t'fuckin' take the curtain call f'r the night an' call things a loss. Such fuckin' primadonnas," Quinn remarks with a sigh as she climbs up in her seat, moving to hang partially out of the window, trying to keep a bead on at least one of them, two fingers pointed out and her thumb in a manner to mimic a finger pistol.

Except with Quinn, pulling that trigger can be far more deadly. As much as she scowls when someone tells her to "hit 'em with the finger lasers" - both because it sounds stupid and because it's just not that easy - she loves doing it. "Eli, hit the headlights!" she yells back, wanting as much as she can make use of. "Unless you wanna drive an invisible bus again!" Because that was fun.

And then, probably to the surprise of no one in this bus who knows her, she's singing again as flashes of lights fill the air behind them. Machines are less disoriented by light than people but it can still sometimes play haywire with sensors.

You show the lights that stop me turn to stone
You shine it when I'm alone
And so I tell myself that I'll be strong
And dreaming when they're gone

None of these metal monstrosities are doing anything besides crashing and if there's anything she can say about it. She snaps fingers in time to the song in her head and the lyrics that flow from her lips, creating some sort of light effect with each one. Could she shoot lasers? Sure. But that gets tiring to do all the time.

'Cause they're calling, calling, calling me home
Calling, calling, calling home
You show the lights that stop me turn to stone
You shine it when I'm alone home

She raises her hand back up in that pistol shape, looks into the bus, and winks at someone before letting loose - okay, maybe one more laser.

At Avi's shouted warning, Odessa throws herself over Ruiz to shield him as gunfire pierces the roof of the bus and lodges into the cushions and the floor. There's a great puff of cotton and foam near her shoulder where she almost certainly would have been hit if she'd been sitting up only inches more. "Stay down," she hisses urgently to her brother as she retrieves her gun and moves for the row behind him to lean out the window.

Blue eyes narrow as she focuses on the closest drone and the moment. Odessa lines up her shot and fires once, then again. And again. A glance is thrown in the singer's direction. Robyn Quinn is apparently at least just a little bit insane no matter what world she's in.

“You mean you don’t want me to drive us into another half destroyed building?” Eli responds as he flips the lights on with a grin, still seeming to be ignoring all the bullets flying or at least not too concerned with them. Probably because, as they see, one of him that had joined them ends up popping out of existence when he’s hit by something. He doesn’t even seem to be phased much by it. One of the Elis, though, is definitely crouched down under cover in the back of the bus. Maybe one of them happens to be real. Though sometimes only Eve is able to tell the difference.

Pushed down to the floor of the bus, Ruiz looks up at his sister with concern, “I’m not sure I’m going to be able to control this if it comes back,” he warns, even with all the noise and movement and things going on. But he also doesn’t wish to get shot, so he’ll definitely stay down. His daughter is crying, worried sobs wracking her tiny body, curly hair in her face as she pulls against the other girl that has a few years on her. She’s crying something in Spanish, something about her mommy, since mama is pretty easy to recognize. He wants to comfort her, but he’s trying his best not to hurt anyone, and at least one person on the bus can feel little veins of lightning coalescing around him.

And Odessa might want to be careful or she might find her hair frizzed.

Aurora, thanks to her aunt, has a preternatural calm going on, so when Odessa tucks Evie in with her the 5-year-old wraps her arms around the smaller girl and hugs her tightly, crouching low between those seats and hiding under the heavy canvas of which the backpack was made. Mommy said stay low, hide, and get as little as possible — she can do that in this macabre game of hide and seek they're playing, even if she doesn't understand one little thing that's happening. She's a good hider. And she sings softly to Evie because that's what mommy does when Aura or Adel are scared, right?

Elisabeth's shots out the window are pinging off the drones, and the heavier fire has her ducking sideways to cover her own head and Shaw's as the roof of the bus is perforated. A frantic glance back toward the children shows that they're still covered and tucked into the corner. The sobbing from Evie doesn't get worse and no one screams… that's a decent enough sign. In response to Alia, she shoots a feral grin. "Not in years… I didn't miss this part." As she raises her head back up to look again, her ability is like a tide rising in her body.

Thank God, Liz spares a moment to think. And then she calls to Robyn, "Nice soundtrack choice!" Because maybe she's a little crazy, but… the fact that Robyn sings like she is helps Liz stay calm and focus. She's spent the past years using music to hone her own power too. She picks up the tune and starts humming it under her breath, trying to create the backbeat and using that to hurl resonance frequencies into the AETOS drones that are daring to shoot at the babies. If she can vibrate those bastards to bits while Robyn lasers them, well… fantastic!

Lynette ducks at the gunfire, but she straightens up again to catch the fact that she's got one drone's attention. Electricity is thick in the air with the storm overhead, but she can also feel a whisper of it from inside the bus. She doesn't know who is responsible for it, and for the moment it isn't important to know. Ruiz can feel her draining it from him, pulling it to herself. Her hand lifts toward the sky, drawing the lightning toward her. Singing, crying, bullets firing, none of that matters to her just now. Her eyes white over, arcs of electricity jumping from them as she focuses on the drone behind them. It has her in its sights, but she has it in hers, too.

Lightning gathers in her hand, encircling her arm before she throws it at the drone. She doesn't need the motion, but it makes her feel more in control. Her scream is almost lost to the storm, but it isn't for control or to intimidate their metal opponents, it's for psyching herself up, to keep her from feeling the fear of facing down one of these beasts, to help her feel powerful.

“Quinnie you're a star!” Eve encourages her friend as she continues firing outside of the window of the bus. As the lights are flashing and the bullets sailing the seer’s expression gets harder and harder, they are through yet. Lunging forward as bullets whizz past her into the seat she grabs for the intercom system in the bus, «Ladies and Gentlemen, we are experiencing some technical difficulties in the form of robot assholes. Not a sweet hole or a Ruiz hole,» leaning over Eli’s driving she throws herself back into the chair behind him stretching the cord as long as it will go, «We ask for your patience here aboard Nancy as we work the kinks. This beauty is never a smooth ride. We also ask… THAT YOU HELP US TEAR THESE PIECES OF SHIT APART»

Opening fire on the drone coming in from the right as the others use their abilities on it, she screams into the night sky out of the window, wind whipping her hair in her face. The radio snaps back to the dashboard and whizzes by Eli’s head. “YOU ARE ONE TRIBE OR AN ENEMY OF ONE TRIBE, CHOOSE!!”

Shaw meets the blue-eyed stare from Kain with his own dark and worried gaze in that briefest of moments, then tears away to the rear of the bus. He doesn't need to be told twice to duck, though there's no real preparation that could save his eardrums from the staccato roar of machine gun, rooftop thunder that erupts from Lynette's lightning bolt and war cry, from Robyn Quinn's and Elisabeth Harrison's war song playing its way over Evie's crying, and then Eve's voice over screaming over the bus intercom telling him to CHOOSE.

It's just too much. Too much noise, too many lights, too much shaking, too much everything. The man starts with an uttered "Shut up" lost to the chaos and noise of war, repeating himself louder and louder like a mantra until finally it becomes a scream of his own, joining the frenetic vibrations. Only, then his power spreads out from him like a blanket to touch all the organics within his sense-negating field and deafens his own would-be allies.

If he would even call them as much at this moment. Friendly fire isn't on Shaw's mind now.

Rather, he's out to get everything to stop making so much noise. His eyes turn to the approaching AETOS drone flanking the bus, one such source, and from his position he fires out the open window with the large caliber Desert Eagle pistol at the flying drone. He's not ready for the powerful kickback, but squeezes off a second shot. As close as the drone is, as large as the drone is, maybe he'll hit it.

Crumpled in a screaming heap, Avi is at the floor when the gunfire starts in earnest. He watches up with a dead eye as lights flash and burn overhead. The crackling snap of laser energy coming to life has Avi pressing his back hard to the floor, then shielding his face as shell casings begin to rain down from multiple guns firing at once. The drone off the side of the bus starts to open fire, punching rounds through the side of the bus and whizzing past Eli and Eve, but the flickering lights from Robyn’s photokinetics cause their targeting sensors to overload, and the drone off the bus’ side starts to wobble right when a resonant wave of sound begins vibrating wildly through its riveted hull.

The drone at the rear of the bus weaves in and out of the swirling motes of bright light, equally disoriented. It's gunfire tracks low, blasting the rear bumper off of the bus and shattering already dead tail lights. Swerving arcs of laser light come burning around the bus, carving white-hot scars in the drone’s armor plating. It weaves to the side, rises up to get some altitude on the bus and only then catches sight of the electrokinetic storm brewing inside of Lynette. The drone starts to reload with a clickclickclick of automatic reloading arms, but doesn't get to fire a single round before it is struck by a white-hot bolt of lightning in the driving rain.

The drone explodes in a shower of sparks, flames, and smoking metal. It flies past the bus, crashing through the window of a derelict department store and erupts a second time in a blast of smoke and flames. At the same time, Lynette sees the drone at the side of the bus pinged repeatedly by gunfire, though it's in that moment that all she can hear is the tinnitus ringing in her ears. A muffled, dead silence as she watches the drone wobble, take two more shots, and then clip the street. It spins end over end, coming apart at the seams before colliding with a concrete pylon holding up an overpass. The drone explodes in a blast of black smoke, sparks, and flames.

Up ahead, the plume of smoke from the Harvester comes into view. It looks to have crashed at an intersection nearby, and one of Ruiz’s swirling portals churns in the air over the wreckage.

Though Shaw's sensory clamp-down doesn't make her ability stop working, it does cause Liz some amount of anxiety for a moment wondering if she just blew out her power again — it feels similar to what happens when she overextends. But she can feel the sound waves even though she can't hear them properly, so basically she ignores it for now in favor of continuing to assist in the disabling and destruction of drones that are shooting at us.

She puts a hand on Shaw's arm to point his attention toward the downed Harvester. "Izzy and Lynette!" Because the best way to keep their friend from panicking is to get him pointed in a clear direction with a clear objective.

Pulling her weapon back in the bus, she climbs over Shaw to place herself into the seat above the girls, shifting down onto her knees in the tight space to cover them both and draw Evie into her arms. Enclosing all three of them with her own sound field so that when Shaw stops blasting all of them with his ability the girls still won't be dealing with the additional continued sound of explosions, she hums in a musical croon laced heavily with her power into the toddler's ear, rocking gently in the confined space, also drawing Aurora close to her body for comfort. "It's okay, babies, sssshhhh. We're going to be okay. Mama is coming and you're going to be fine."

Alia finds the physical silence oddly helpful, much like a blindfold can seemingly make your hearing better… which is likely part of why she is almost tearing into a seat when the nearer drone explodes. Ow ow OW. Being linked to electronics when they sudden stop is no fun at all!

Odessa is used to unnatural quiet, but not quite this flavor of it. Her first instinct is to check and make sure the world is still moving around her - it is - then look for the sign of the disturbance. It doesn’t occur to her that it’s one of their own. Disoriented, she watches with wide eyes as the first drone falls from the sky, then the second. She breathes a sigh of relief.

Dropping her weapon, Odessa dashes across the aisle to where Elisabeth is holding her niece. “I’ve got her,” she tells the other woman, even with her own voice muffled in her ears. Reaching out to take the young girl in her arms, she cradles her against her chest protectively, bouncing and shushing the toddler. Blue eyes scan the bus and find her brother again, looking for assurances that he’s safe while giving her own about herself and his daughter.

"Ha!" Quinn shouts gleefully, a clearly pleased look on her face. "Two sets a' wings clipped!" She looks like she has more to say, but the hype drains from her face for a moment as squeezes her eyes shut and slides back into the bus. An unpleasant expression rests on her face, rather than one of elation.

"Who turned off th' sound?" she asks futility, lips pursing as she begins to look rather grumpy. She stares ahead vacantly - apparently it's not a real victory if she doesn't get to revel in it, which for Robyn Quinn tends to involve being very loud.

Still, she lets out a heavy sigh of relief, looking around the bus. With so many people in bad shape, maybe this turn of mood is a bit more appropriate. She settles into her seat, albeit uncomfortably, before moving to help whomever she can in the moment.

On top of the bus, Lynette watches the explosions as she lets her electricity calm and disperse. The fact that her target explodes twice is very satisfying. But. In the wake of it all, she's left with nothing but the ringing in her ears and she snaps her fingers next to each one just to check. Alone up there, she's able to have a moment of real regret, hanging onto the gun and closing her eyes.

But she only gives herself that one moment. In the next, she's climbing down the side of the bus and slipping in an open window to land in an empty seat. But then she's up on her feet. She can't hear, but she can still keep watch on anything incoming. She makes her way to the front, to put a hand on Eve's shoulder. "Eve," she says, louder than she means to, since she can't hear herself, "Eve, I think that explosion took out my hearing."

“Man the torpedoes! Swing from the trees with the intestines of your enemiesssssssss— ” When the sound is cut off Eve looks confused and swings her head back and forth. “What witchcraft is this!” She yells too loudly though nobody can hear her nor she herself.

When Lynette’s hand claps down on her shoulder the seer screams and leaps into the air eyes wide, “Wh- Lady Zeus!” Squinting her eyes at her friend she leans in close to Lynette’s mouth but all she makes sense of are Lynette’s teeth, “Even in the worst place ever your teeth are so clean Lady. Bravo, bravo.” Voicing a compliment that the blonde can't even receive. Eve’s attention whips back to the front of the bus where Eli is driving, “You got this Boobear!”

Thankfully nobody can hear that either.

From his position in the driver's seat, Eli grins as he continues to move along, dodging debris and anything else as best as the bus can. The lack of hearing means the background music has faded away, "Someone turned the volume down, Cocoa Puffs." A term of endearment, by the way it's said. "But you did good, Sparky," he adds to Lynette, of the white teeth. "Hopefully Petey's got everyone ready for the pick up."

Cause that's where they're driving. Right towards the pick up point, hopefully. He's ready for them all to pile in, then they can get out of this wasted city—

With the world around them much quieter, Ruiz gives Shaw a look and a nod, grateful that he’s no longer concerned about his eardrums being blown out, even if some of those there probably have no idea what happened. Evie, her soft wail muffled, cries into Odessa’s arms, little hands curling around her clothes as she hangs on. It’s what’s going on in the sky outside the winds up getting most of his attention. His hand presses against the dirty metal rim of the broken out window he's next to and he looks up into the sky.

Where his ability should be calling to him— but isn't. Instead there's a build up of electricity that flashes around his eyes for a moment, and a streak of lighting rushes across the sky near what he sees.

While others suddenly find themselves hard of hearing, the same can't be said for the source of it. Shaw tunnel focuses as he stares hard at the drone flying along the side of the bus, refraining from shooting again when the machine dips then crashes. He flinches when it explodes, the sound still 100 percent audible for him. His gun lowers back to his side and he trembles, startles at the touch from Liz to his arm. When she mentions Isabelle and Lynette again, he follows her point to look in the direction of the downed Harvester.

And really, only sees the huge, crashed ship up in flames and twisted wreckage. The dreadful thoughts pale his face, color drained in horror. As he sinks back onto the back seat of the bus, his vice-like grip on his power lifts to allow the return of sound in full. But his expression returns blank when Ruiz looks at him, and his free hand reaches up to press at an ache in his gun-carrying arm. His hand comes away red and slick. A bloodied finger twitches. Shaw sniffles once and sinks further into the seat's corner, huddling at the back end of the bus, waiting for the chaos all around him to end.

As the bus careens along what was once 9th street in Manhattan, those who traversed the distance between the virus-ravaged timeline and what came after recognize the sights and are thrown into a wall of deja vu. They are headed south on 9th from the Deveaux Building, and while the skyline has changed considerably and the new constructions from Arthur’s bright world we're never realized, there is a sense of circular motion playing out.

The bus they're on is headed in the direction of Penn Station.

Though they are chasing a plume of smoke rather than the dreams of new lives and a fresh start, they are walking in the exact same circle they did in the last world. On a bus with a seer, headed toward Penn Station. But this time there aren't trains waiting for them there.

For in the distance, where the Harvester carrying their friends has crash-landed they hear something altogether different, and equally mechanical.

They hear the cries of machines.

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