California Girl


kaylee3_icon.gif richard3_icon.gif squeaks_icon.gif

Scene Title California Girl
Synopsis An intern stops in from her trip to California.
Date January 1, 2020

It being New Year's Day couldn't have been better planned. It's no longer early morning — although Squeaks’ inner clock tells her it's both still too early to be awake and her stomach requires food since she is awake — but it is early enough on a holiday that most people are sleeping off the previous night’s festivities. There's hardly a face to be seen, hers is caught as a reflection in a darkened window, which prompts a brief stare down. But aside from herself and a couple of people far down the street, there's no one to be seen.

The solitude works out perfectly. She's not ready to be seen just yet. It's too late to wonder if she should have worn a disguise. That was something that should've been thought of sooner. Like going to the bathroom before leaving for a road trip.

The young teen lifts her blue-eyed gaze off the window with the ghostly image of her face to the taller, more modern building across the street. Her head tilts slightly as she counts the clean windows. A foot eases her backward slightly and her eyes squint. The room she finds isn't as clear as she'd like it to be, but she can just make out the inside.

The other foot eases back. Then, with flashes and crackles of electrical energy, Squeaks disappears…

Office of the CEO, Raytech Industries

New York City Safe Zone, NY

January 1, 2020

9:54 am

The office typically occupied by Richard Ray is even more comfortable from behind the desk. The big executive chair offers a view of the entire room, not just the desk and part of the windows like what the other smaller and less comfortable chairs offer. Squeaks leans back, partly reclining in the CEO’s chair. Her feet hang with toes just touching the floor, enjoying quiet and space. The office is just like she remembers it, if a little disturbed from her arrival. She hasn't touched anything — except the chair — but if she weren't in plain view of the door she'd bet the space would have that slightly odd feeling. Like when the custodial staff comes through unexpected.

The late morning sun filtering through the windows is the only light within. It casts the girl in a half shadow and makes her look like she could be sleeping. If her eyes weren't open, bright with curiosity and caution, anticipating the big boss' arrival.

“…to put something together,” Richard’s explaining to Kaylee as he opens the office door and walks in, shaking his head, “And it’s not— “

The suited man stops dead in his tracks, staring at the young woman in his chair with both eyebrows upraised, tone surprised, “Jacelyn?”

After the events of New Years Eve, Kaylee had sought out her brother quickly enough. The woman was dressed ready for work, though it doesn’t look like it; the badge hanging around her neck was the only clue.

Distracted by what her brother is saying, the sudden stop catches her off guard. Kaylee ends up bumping into the back of him, hands moving to grip his arms to steady them both from the impact. “What the… Richard.” Stepping to the side for a view of the obstruction, the telepath sees the girl at the same moment as her brother blurts out her name.

“Squeaks?” Kaylee sounds just as shocked as her brother, even glancing at her phone like she missed a text. “I hadn’t heard you were back.”

Jac.” Squeaks’ correction is as pointed as the siblings’ collective surprise, but it misses the mark of rudeness. She catches Kaylee’s glance, shoots a quick look to the still open door. “Don't tell, though. I don't want problems. I just…”

The girl’s hands come up with a shrug. She wanted to try out her ability, she has a message to deliver, why not do both?

“I'm okay. I'm safe and my mom and Lene are with me.” Squeaks pauses at that then shakes her head. “Not here with me but… in the Ziggurat. With me there. I couldn't try calling again, it isn't safe.” But traveling across the country is, apparently.

“I’m glad that you’re all safe and well…” Richard’s brow knits in concern as he walks in, hands spreading a bit, “But what are you— what happened? How did you even get here? Did you run off from Monroe, or…?”

A glance back to Kaylee, then to Squeaks, “And what do you need?”

She wouldn’t be here if she didn’t need something, he expects.

Kaylee returns to look from her brother and takes a step back to close the door, giving them some privacy. “I’m not going to tell anyone,” Especially since Gillian is… was with her. This prompts a quick mental glance to ensure no one is listening, before Kaylee asks of the elephant in the room, “How did you even get here?”

After a second thought, Kaylee doesn’t shut off her ability, actively listening for any sudden appearances.

“No, I didn’t run away. I like Adam. We’re… kind of the same.” Which is strange to think about, now that Squeaks says it out loud. It makes her pause and wonder about it. Before July she didn’t even know who her biological parents were, and now she’s recognizing similarities in at least one of them. “It’s… it’s weird. But I didn’t run away. I’m… I have to go back. I have to stay there for a while longer so I can finish training and help stop the monster.”

As for how she got here from there, the teen offers the tiniest of shrugs. “I um… I had to test? Another power? So… so I teleported. Kind of like how I got there but mine is different.”

“I’d be careful, there,” Richard says quietly and seriously, “I’m not ruling out the possibility that Monroe is right… but he has a history of manipulating people, and using them. I know it’s easy to take him at his word, but make sure you’re thinking all of this through, Jac.”

Then he does a brief double-take, “Wait, another— did you go through the Gemini process?”

“Richard is right, I worked for him a long time ago,” Kaylee explains, moving to settle into a seat. She isn’t poking at anyone's brain for information, but she doesn’t hide her concern for the girl. “But because of that, I also know he can be a good person.” He did push her from a self-destructive path in her younger years. “I’m just worried about the route he’s taking.”

The mention of Gemini is alarming, especially, when it finally hits her what the girl is telling them. “He made you a mosaic?” She looks at Richard with worry. What was Adam up, too? How did that fit in with everything else they knew?

“Why?” Kaylee can’t help but ask the girl. “Your mother was okay with this?” It was the mother in Kaylee asking those questions.

“She's…” Sort of but not really. Squeaks doesn't quite grimace as she searches for an answer, but she comes close. “She understands and she supports me but… maybe not completely okay with it. He did it because I'm his kid and that means I can survive it.” That's only part of the answer, but she stops briefly to gauge Kaylee and Richard’s reactions. She's noticed the little glances at each other.

“He's trying to stop the gold eyes,” she continues after a moment. “The Umbra project makes me somehow immune to whatever they do, and because… because I can survive the Gemini machine…” Blue eyes dart from one face to the other, hoping the adults understand what she's trying to explain.

It would be easier if she understood more of it.

Squeaks chews on her lower lip, thinking. “We have to help him stop the gold eyes or they're going to destroy everything. They tried before.”

“I know. I suspect that Adam is being manipulated too, though, the same as we are…” Richard’s lips purse in a tight line, “We need to talk to him. You— one person alone can’t go up against this damn thing and defeat it, so he has to have a plan. We need to communicate or else this whole thing is fucked…”

A sigh, and he rubs a hand over his face, “Okay. A few things— one. I don’t trust that his genetics make you immune to the bad effects of the Gemini process. Would you be willing to go down to medical and have them do a few tests to make sure you are healthy and not beginning to break down? That way we know one-hundred percent one way or the other.”

“Two,” he says, a brow lifting, “Do you know someone named Sabine Hazel?”

A glance goes to Richard, lips pressing tight like she might chide him… but she understands his concern for her safety. Instead, Kaylee looks at Jaq and nods a little. “I know he’s your father, but be careful and vigilant. I don’t think he would do anything to willingly harm you.” Their own father destroyed the world to protect them, after all. “I’m worried, like Richard, that Adam is being unknowingly controlled by what he wants to destroy.”

Taking a small hesitant step closer, Kaylee asks, “There is a vision I was given by my ex-husband once. It’s of Adam being controlled by a snake with golden eyes… his eyes were gold too. When it looked at me, he did too. He stood ready to kill my brother,” that last said, looking towards Richard.

“You have to believe me, Squ- Jaq,” Kaylee watches her, worry etched into her features. Did she understand what the other woman was saying? “I want to stop the Entity, too. Adam is one of the few people left in this world that knows what’s been tried and knows it. I want to help, but I’m nervous he’s unintentionally going about it wrong.”

Blue eyes dart from Kaylee to Richard as they each lay down more questions. Squeaks knew there'd be a lot of them. She just didn't anticipate some being more complicated to answer than others. She takes a moment, brows knitting, teeth fussing with her lower lip. Eventually, she leans forward so her arms rest on the edge of the desk, her hands clasped together, like this were a meeting she had called.

“Okay,” is sighed out. Where to start? “I've met her.” That's directed to Richard, answering the question of Sabine first. The request that she see one of their doctors is ignored, at least for the moment. The teen addresses Kaylee next.

“I can't tell you if he is or isn't because I don't know.” Either she lacks the experience or she doesn't have all the details. Likely both. Squeaks watches Kaylee, trying to figure out how best to explain her certainty about things. But after a moment, her mind draws on nothing helpful and she sighs. “I know what people say about him, and I know he did a lot of bad things but… no one wondered why. They just decided he's a bad person because he did things that everyone in the Company did. Funny how they only hold it against him because everyone else who was there had their memories wiped.”

She looks down at her hands, then sits back in the chair. Her ownership of it is obvious, it's like she's taken over as CEO. At least in mannerism. “There's a lot more to Adam. He's very smart.” Her brows lift slightly to emphasize the point. “And I don't like doctors.” The girl settles a pointed look on Richard. “After I got my new powers I spent three weeks with doctors. But… but your doctors can look and see that I'm healthy and not disintegrating.”

“Adam founded the Company,” Richard observes with a slight shake of his head, “I’ve worked with him in the past, but… I’ve always kept him at arm’s reach even then. I’d hold it against the others, but they’re all dead. Still. Given what I’ve uncovered since… I’m willing to give him a chance.”

His hands spread a bit, “But he needs to talk to me. If I don’t have anything solid, I won’t be able to keep the hounds from his heels forever, and I think we’re running out of time.”

A glance to Kaylee, then to Squeaks, “Having our doctors look you over will give you something you can reassure Gillian about, at least. I doubt she’d believe the Praxis doctors, but this should give her some peace of mind. As for Sabine— I need to talk to her, too, on a very personal matter.”

There is a small nod at what the young girl says, but whatever goes through the telepath’s mind, she can’t help but give an amused sound. Kaylee nudges Richard and says softly, “She sounds like I did.” Not that Kaylee’s thoughts on Adam have changed much, but it is interesting to see it reflected in the girl.

“We both worked for Adam when we were younger,” Kaylee explains to the teen. “He treated me like family,” until he tossed her aside, but that she keeps to herself.

“Something he needs to know,” Kaylee starts hesitantly, looking at her brother. “This entity is ramping up its efforts. It’s working to invoke fear and is invading dreams showing us a future full of war and death for our kind.“ It’s pretty clear that the telepath isn’t sure what to think of that. “I’d like to avoid what I was shown.” Seemed it would be a constant and ongoing theme for her family. “True or not, we just barely skirted that kind of world once already.”

“I can tell him.” If Richard and Kaylee know Adam as well as they claim, they’ll know as well as Squeaks does that the immortal is aware and already six steps ahead. Plus, there’s the habit he has of keeping his own counsel. “I don’t know if there’s more I can do than that. I don’t know if I could bring either of you there or if that’s even a good idea if I could. But maybe he’ll meet with you if I tell him.” She remembers Adam being not exactly pleased when she, and then when Gillian and Lene later, showed up on his doorstep. Maybe the man, her father, doesn’t know everything. “And Sabine. If I see her.” Which may or may not be likely.

“I think he knows about that.” Though thoughtful in tone, her expression seems confident on that. “Just before… just before getting my other abilities there was an explosion. Adam was gone when it happened, and when he got back all the security got increased. I don’t think it was just some gas pocket like the news said.” She’s pretty certain it wasn’t, but she hasn’t had any proof. Why else would SESA be investigating if it was just some ecological thing?

The teen frowns slightly, considering what she knows now. “The… I haven’t had any dreams like that. Did a lot of people? Or just… like telepaths and seers?”

“A few handfuls of people. Not just telepaths and seers, I don’t know how many, yet…” Richard glances to his sister, nods slightly. He knows. He looks back to Squeaks, “If Monroe won’t see me, I will see him, and you can tell him that. He knows there’s nowhere in the world that can keep me out of it if I’m determined.”

Wry, “That’s what he paid me for back then, after all. And I guarantee I’ve only gotten better.”

Kaylee tilts her head towards Richard in agreement with his observation about the ‘witnesses’ “I know a lot of people that shared the nightmare vision, but not everyone had it. Richard didn’t.” Which is why she was there, she hadn’t seen him, and wanted him aware… to show him if he wanted.

The mention of the explosion has Kaylee looking aside at Richard. She doesn’t comment on that, but she does mention that: “Adam has his way of visiting if he is willing to talk to you. He’s done it with me and he wasn’t physically here. He just needs to do it.”

The telepath shifts her focus back to Squeaks offering her a small smile. “Besides all of this, kiddo. How are you holding up? Have you gone to see the others?” The lighthouse kids. “I imagine they're worried, too.”

The look on the teenager’s face, as Richard makes his claim and states his message, is a thoughtfully curious one. Now what does all that mean — paid for finding Adam no matter what? She shakes her head when Kaylee speaks up again. She'll save that for another time.

“I'm going to,” she answers. Meaning she hasn't yet. “I have to tell them important things. Hopefully I can find them all together.” Or enough of them that the others will be brought up to speed also.

“I miss home, but I can't stay. Not yet, not until…” Not until the golden eyes are defeated. Squeaks lifts her shoulders a small bit. “I'm probably not going to be able to call again, and probably shouldn't be called either. Not unless it can't be listened into, because I'm probably being spied on. I'm not all the way for certain, but I think Scylla is trying to stop Adam so… the other thing can take over.”

“I think someone’s trying to keep us from talking,” Richard says with a tight shake of his head, “I’m not sure… if any of the information we’re working on is correct anymore, and I don’t like that feeling. We need to communicate.”

His head tips in a bit of a nod, “Scylla… that’s the hacker who hit Praxis? I don’t know much about them yet— I reached out, but again, no answer.”

“What about Alia?” Kaylee asks her brother when Squeaks mentions needing a connection that can’t be listened to. “If she could at least communicate with Raytech, messages can be passed where they are needed.” It would help with a disconnect and worry.

Her attention goes back to Squeaks then, “That way you also have a way to get a hold of us if there is an emergency we need to know about.”

“Yeah, she called me,” Squeaks explains, like it was no big deal. “I think she's more than just trying to show what bad things were done. I think she's maybe trying to not just stop Adam, but… also worse.” She gives the grown ups a meaningful look in place of the details she omitted.

“That's why I can't call, it isn't secret.” The girl pauses, considering. It's a safe guess the Director knows she left, but she shrugs instead of voicing that thought. “Can the Alia keep people like Scylla from listening? Or knowing I made calls?”

“She can secure a line, yes,” admits Richard, “But she’d probably need to initiate the call, so we’d need to know when somehow.”

Wryly, he notes, “You could ask them to call me too, because for fuck’s sake we need to all get on the same page here.”

Kaylee seems pleased with that answer and nods, “She could text one of us if need be and we can call in.” Simple? Maybe? Not that the telepath knows much about the affairs of technopaths. “But I agree, he could call. Either by phone or whatever projection thing he did before.”

The telepath studies the girl for a long moment, before speaking up again. “How long are you around? Cafeteria has good food, if you’d like to get something to eat. Teleporting must take a lot of energy.”

“Yeah, let’s go get some lunch,” Richard invites then, sweeping a hand towards the door, “I have some other news for you, too, a lead if you wanted to learn more about Cindy…”

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