Closed, Part III


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Scene Title Closed, Part III
Synopsis When one door closes, a window opens.
Date December 25, 2018

Loud footsteps race through the corridors of the Ark with a familiarity they have no right to.

Memories that aren't her own aid her as she comes to Ts in darkened hallways. There's about to be a disaster, and she has to stop it. She has to prevent this the way she couldn't prevent the calamity at Natazhat.

As she makes her way through the C-Ring, she can sense the thinning veil of reality. It guides her to her goal as she feels it thrum uncomfortably in her bones. Her thoughts are all jumbled up.

Have to save her.

I should be there with him.

I can't save him.

They're all in her voice, but they aren't all her. The closer she gets, the worse it is, but she has to press on.

Don't trust Doctor Ford!

He's going to kill them all!

Another frantic voice screams inside her head, another memory that doesn’t belong to her. She has reached her goal, the control room of a massive hangar. This room has power. She looks over the control panel, in a frenzy to discern what it all means. Unearned familiarity has her hand slamming down on a button on the console.

The doors on the opposite side of the room begin to open. "Mom!" Odessa's voice — Destiny's? — cries out over the sound of sirens and rushing water. "Hurry!"

One Hour Later

The Ark
Maintenance Shaft A-8
December 25th
11:48 pm

“They’re all fucking dead.”

Rianna Cardinal sits slouched against a riveted bulkhead, feet propped up against the moisture-streaked metal wall just a few feet ahead of her. She’s staring vacantly at a blotch of rust, rolling a brass shell casing between the fingers of one hand. Beside her Doctor Ingram — Joy — has returned to her usual self, brows furrowed and concern in her eyes. She turns her attention up to the others, waterlogged and cold, standing in the narrow maintenance corridor tucked away between C-Ring and B-Ring.

After being saved from a watery death, Mateo and Lynette Ruiz, along with Elisabeth Harrison had but one person to thank for their survival: Odessa Woods. But the path that led them here was not a pleasant one. Between the now flooded workshop on C-Ring and the maintenance corridors straddling the tiered rings, Rianna and Joy led the Travelers to the hideout of the resistance that was plotting to overthrow Donald Kenner, and found them slaughtered to the last. Their bodies were left to freeze in the narrow air gaps that insulate the arcology from the ocean outside., the same place they’d built their hidden base.

Doctor Ford had betrayed them all. Kenner had clearly planned for this, aligned the pieces, and then knocked them down when he got what it was he wanted… whatever that was.

Now Mateo, Lynette, Elisabeth, and Odessa are hiding in the interstitial spaces between the levels of the arcology. Knowing that Don either assumes they're dead or suspects they’re alive. Neither outcome is particularly good. It’s been a frantic race to get to this point, after finding the remainder of the resistance dead, moving through ventilation ducts and crawl spaces to hide here, in a frigid crevasse filled with rat droppings and mold.

Joy hasn’t said much since the event. Since she physically transformed into a different version of herself and changed back. She’s merely comforted Rianna, and kept her own stoic council.

“We’re fucked.” Rianna whispers, running a hand through her hair. “We’re so fucked.”

The coughing has stopped, mostly at least. And being as she's not negated, Elisabeth is able to hide their movements — at least any sound of them — from anyone who might be in the halls outside the access tunnels. She's also able to tell whether anyone is out there, which is dead useful. She's been quiet as they made their way through them, focused on getting to a place where they can at least attempt to dry off and maybe warm up — maybe not. Whatever her thoughts on the whole situation and the failure of that portal, it's her own to deal with internally.

"I'm going to tell you the same thing that was once said to me — playing the role of Chicken Little in this play is not useful. Do you want to be useful, or do you want to bemoan the idea that we're fucked?"

Her tone is perhaps less-than-gentle, but it's not mean. It's more hoarse than anything — hacking seawater does a number on the throat. Blue eyes look between those of Hers who are sitting here and the two woman whose friends have now all been murdered. "If the entire resistance movement has been slaughtered, it's a setback," she acknowledges. "But based on what I saw at that table the other night, there are others who will likely stand up… if it doesn't look like it'll get them killed." She pauses. "Frankly? I don't fucking care if they do. Your brother is not giving up," she informs Rianna tightly. "Whatever the hell was going on over on that rooftop, I promise you that fucking much. Not with his daughter's life in the balance." She slants a look at Odessa. "What are the odds that you can get another … mental merge or whatever that was… going on? If we can get them the time and place of another attempt, once we have Michelle on the loose and we have everyone where we need them, you know he'll try."

Apparently she's been using their time traipsing the tunnels to begin a plan. And if there's one damn thing Elisabeth is good at? It's planning to overthrow assholes.

"We're not fucked," Lynette says, teeth gritted, "he is fucked."

It would probably sound more confident if she wasn't shivering, but the sentiment is there. She pushes her hair out of her face, pulling it to the side to wring it out. "I need to find the other Mateo," she says, "so he knows we're not dead. Now that I'm not negated I'll be able to make contact." Her tone is distant now, like she's shutting something down inside of her. She has spent years rewriting this part of herself, but when she reached for it, it was easily found. "He'll make sure Richard hears, too."

She looks up from her hair, glancing over to the other two. "We need to get him alone and cut the head off the snake. Preferably before he lets out his god from the machine."

Looking at Ruiz, her voice drops to a whisper, turning softer again for just a moment. "We need to get to Evie."

Odessa lifts her gaze to Elisabeth and nods her head slightly. "Pretty good odds," she wagers. "My head's a jumbled fucking mess of thoughts that aren't even mine. Your Des is freaking out about whatever happened in her world. Destiny's… seen something. Reality is unraveling and I can feel it inside of me."

And she keeps looking back to Joy. One moment, she was holding her mother in her arms relieved to have finally found her. The next, she was this older version again. One that has no idea who Odessa is, beyond a double of Destiny – who she doesn't recognize as her own daughter. It's as confusing as whatever's happening to her right now.

"We are definitely not fucked," Odessa tells Rianna, echoing her cohort. "Kenner doesn't know I've slipped away yet. I wasn't seen on my way down here. I should be able to slip back into the population without any trouble. If we can find a way to restore my ability…" Well, then Don would really be fucked.

Shivering was something that wasn’t going to stop anytime soon, though Ruiz couldn’t help but look around the corridors for something they could use to get warm. That wasn’t going to happen anytime soon. He was too wet to even spark right now, which was probably best in the long run. A fluctuation in power might give them away, until he can figure out what areas have closed off wiring. But Odessa’s words make him exhale in relief, for the same concern that Lynette had spoken. “Did you get your ability back too?” he has to ask, because that would just make it easier for her to help them. “Can you make sure Evie’s okay? That she’s— okay until we can get back to her.”

He trusted Mala to do her best, but he wanted Evie to have family, and now, as far as anyone in the Ark needed to be concerned, they were dead.

They needed to be dead. Dead was the only chance they had. “I wouldn’t be so sure about this God still being out of reach.” It’s a dark thought, but he has to bring it up. “He said we gave him the Aleph. He might already have whatever it was he was talking about, else why try to kill… us?” And by us he really meant me. But he’ll leave that part out. He had wanted Mateo Ruiz for something, his portals, not knowing Lynette had them. Though Liz and Magnes were tied to it too.

And then he tried to kill them. Probably thought he succeeded. Something he would know failed as soon as they made a move. Almost any move, probably.

Pacing back and forth, raking her hands through her hair, Joy looks like she may or may not have actually heard much of what’s been said. While she paces in the cramped space, Ria looks up to Mateo, then over to the wall and back down to the floor. “I don’t know what you people need to get out of here, to really get out of here. That’s… my mom’s the genius.” Her brows furrow, and she looks up to Elisabeth. “They’ve got her on B-Ring, I don’t know where. I’m afraid that if I wind up in line of sight to Trask he’ll lock me down.”

Joy makes a noise in the back of her throat, murmuring to herself. The disruption elicits a brief, concerned look from Ria, then she settles her attention back to the others. “Trask’s ability is weird. When I was security chief he was my second, so I know how it works. He can negate the abilities of everyone within twenty feet of him, which might as well be a thousand miles with how cramped it is down here. But the bigger thing, how he’d locked you all down, is once he gets line of sight to someone he can individually negate them. Their ability stays locked down until he says otherwise, then he needs to get back into line of sight to re-engage.”

“Don probably asked him to let you loose, so he could find out what you’d do.” Ria’s brows furrow, puzzled. “What I don’t understand is how he knew exactly where we were. There were no mics down there, no cameras. Just the old announcement PA, and that’s broadcast-only.” She looks up to Joy, “Hey! How much did you tell Ford?”

Joy looks over at Ria belatedly, eyes wide, then remembers where she is. There’s a distant look in her eyes, followed by a gasp of breath. “Richard,” Joy blurts out, not related to Ria’s question at all. “I— I was hit by some sort of— the portal. Mateo’s portal did something to me I think. I…” Joy waves her hands over one-another like she was playing a shell game. “I swapped. I swapped to the past I think. It wasn’t Christmas yet, I— I tried to warn Richard and— and Destiny? No,” her brows scrunch up, and she turns to Odessa. “You?

Ria pushes up to her feet, swiftly. “You what?

“I was there, Ria. I was in their world,” Joy says with a wave of her hand toward the others. “It only lasted a few moments. I— I panicked, tried to tell them to warn you. I— I don’t— I don’t know if it worked.”

Ria, brows furrowed and eyes steely in a way that Elisabeth has seen in Richard’s eyes too many times, slams a fist against the wall with a hollow, metallic bong. “We’ve gotta talk to mom. I can’t just zip in there, my ability can’t go through solid objects…” Her teeth gnash together, fingers curl tightly into her palms, muscles tense.

Elisabeth has been listening intently. "The up side to how Norton's ability works here then is that if he doesn't see us again, he can't do shit to us, right?" A pause. "IF he's taken permanently out, will the effect end? Or are people permanently negated?" That seems like an important thing to know, along with, "I don't suppose you have a Peyton Whitney down here? If you do, she's likely to be how he knew exactly where we were and we're going to need to blindfold some people in a fucking hurry."

Blowing out a slow breath, she looks up sharply when Joy says she was swapped. She puts a hand out to catch Ria's forearm before she does that again. "Breaking your hand and making bong sounds is not going to help," she points out gently. "However… getting me into B-Ring might. If I can get close enough, we can talk to her without being overheard. Silence fields are about to become our best friends down here," she observes grimly.

Looking at Odessa, Lynette, and Mateo, she's quiet a moment. "Odessa… you've got to get back. You're the only person we have on the outside right now and you're the only one who can convince the others to stand up and fight him. I already set Remi on seeing what she can do to finagle her way into Norton's good graces — I have no idea if that will work, but the man I knew would be sick to the soul over what happens here. If she can tap into that, we might be able to get Don's pet negator in our corner." Her tone says she's not counting on it, but it's worth a try, after all. "You'll need Kain and Ling to know we're not dead — they're the best people for sneaking around. Use your best judgement on who else needs to know… but anyone who can't fake their grief " God help them, that means their babies " is off the list, obviously."

"I need everyone to stop for a moment." Lynette presses her hands against her temples as she talks, because their voices— and her own— are just part of the roar of noise in her head at the moment. Unlike the others, being negated meant she had some peace. That was gone now.

She breathes. Deep in, deep out.

"We need to figure out what we're going to do right now. We need to find somewhere to hide that Ford doesn't know about. We need to get dry. Then we can plan how to get to Michelle." Even if she has her doubts about using that machine, she can't deny Rianna a chance to see her mother again. "And what to do about Trask. We can't trust him, even if Remi can finagle. A man who turns once, turns twice. Especially if all it takes is her fluttering her eyelashes at him. Or whatever you've asked her to do." It's clear in the way she looks at Liz that she doesn't approve of this plan, on several levels.

So she turns to Ruiz instead. "Who should we tap from the others? Odessa can't be expected to handle all of it alone."

At the call to stop, Odessa stills and shifts her disquiet gaze to the wall, studying the stains of rust that have gathered in the seams and run their way to the floor. Once Lynette seems to have calmed — or at least readjusted to — the tempest in her mind, she looks back to Joy and Ria. “You switched places with my mother,” she explains softly. “In her world.” A thumb is jerked in Elisabeth’s direction.

“The other Odessa — Desdemona — was there. When whatever… happened started to happen, I started hearing them all. Desdemona and Destiny. What they’re thinking. I could… She was thinking about you.” Her chin tips to Joy again. “About the warning you gave her. I just… pieced it together. Somehow.” She shakes her head helplessly. Odessa can’t explain why she can do this, she only knows that it’s happened.

And now, she’s lost her mother again. Her shoulders sag some in time with a sigh. “I intend to keep Destiny in the dark about all of this.” It’s cruel, she knows. “I don’t think she can sell her grief otherwise. But I think Zarek and Chao are good choices… The fewer people know you’re alive, the better.” Odessa nods to Lynette and Mateo then. “If the two of you have any ideas, I’m all ears. But I’m a one-woman revenge machine. I’m not going to break.”

Ruiz nods to much of what they’re saying, even if he’s examining the walls still. “Trask will be difficult, even if you knew him in another world. They have broken pretty girls too, I am sure. But if his loyalty can be played with enough to get them their abilities back, then we can work with that. If he needs line of sight, Shaw can shut down his ability to see until we’re out of here.” That’s his thoughts on the matter. He glances toward the doctor a few times too, frowning. Odessa’s mother. The one she’d been desperate to reunite with.

“You’re right— about Destiny. Even if I don’t like it.” She just lost her father, losing another version of her brother might break her more. “As for rest… Shaw. He knows layouts, he knows repairs. He could offer his services to the maintenance crew they must have and get in that way. He can also shut down Trask once they get their abilities back.” With a pause, his jaw tightens for a moment.

This part he’s less sure about.

“I’d also say we should tell Isabelle if only because her reaction to us… dying… might cause her to do something that will get herself or others killed. The Director has shown he has no qualms against ordering the deaths of those who just happen to be around someone who causes a scene, even if they did nothing at all themselves.” And like young Magnes, Isabelle can be a bit of a loose cannon at times. “She’ll need something to do, like take care of Evie until we can get back to her. I would ask you to, Dess, but you have a lot more you need to be doing now, I think.”

With that, he goes back to looking at the walls. “I can see if I can find a place that’s cut off from the rest of the Ark that I can power up again and get us heat at least. There’s certainly enough unused areas for it, by the look of things.” And if he can isolate the wiring, it wouldn’t give them away as easily. They needed heat, though, as much as they needed food and water.

“I know some bigger crawl spaces. I can try and get us some space heaters,” Ria says with a furrow of her brows. “Ford only knew where our meeting spot was, he’d never come out. I’ll show you where some alternatives are. Don doesn’t know this place like I do, nobody does. Except,” she looks at Mateo. “I guess you did.”

Ria looks away with a haunted look in her eyes, and Joy chimes in to break the silence. “I wish I could control my… ability better. I’m still not even quite sure how I did what I did, or if I even did it. I can’t show my face, can’t trust my contacts. But I know where they’re keeping ‘Chel, I know what cell she’s in. I can lead you there,” she says to Elisabeth, “once we get dry. Once we have time to regroup. Maybe you can talk to her, with your… silence field?” She wrinkles her nose at that term.

“Trask’s got a brother down here,” Ria finally chimes back in. “Sergei. Older brother. Kind of a… he was in withdrawls when he came here a few years back. He’s sick a lot, Doctor Ford takes care of him. Trask’d do anything for him, we might be able to… I dunno, leverage that. We play that hand too soon, though, and it’s gonna be a fucking bloodbath in here.”

“I have keys,” Joy pulls a set of keycards from her lab coat. “To the labs, to the research areas of B-Wing that aren’t closed down.” She offers them out to the others. “That’ll help you get around a little, the labs are adjacent to the apartments they use as cells.”

Nodding, Ria looks over to Odessa. “I can show you maintenance corridors you can use to get back into the apartments. They’re normally welded shut, but if Liz can keep things quiet,” she holds up one hand and turns a finger into a blue laser, “I’ve got a great key.”

Elisabeth glances at Lynette when she speaks up and quirks a single brow at the tone. She chooses to simply leave it be, moving on to sigh heavily with a nod to Joy. "If we're going to have any chance at all of getting all our people in one place to get the hell out of here — " She trails off, rubbing her head. For a long moment, her jaw clenches and she can't say anything. Too much just happened and she, like Lynette, is fighting to even see a way forward. Her despair is made infinitely worse by how very close they just came — close enough to see, to practically touch home. She forces her mind from the images she saw; it's not time to deal with that. If she lets herself feel it, the grief will drag her under.

"Yeah. Dry clothes," she says finally. That's a priority; the shivers wrack her body almost continuously. This place is not warm. Her gaze flickers to the welding torch conversation and she simply nods — she can do what's needed.

"Isabelle's likely to be a loose cannon either way… but I can't argue that she may need to be told." Like Mateo, Elisabeth isn't sure the pyrokinetic will be able to keep from getting herself killed if she's left in the dark. "If for no other reason than that it will give her some focus." There's another pause as a thought hits her. "If they think we're dead — back home, I mean — they're… not going to have reason to try again." She's not sure she wants this answer as she looks between Mateo and Lynette. "Can we still open this bastard to the right coordinates, the right world, without their help from that side?" It's probably more a Michelle question, but she's seeking reassurance from the two who've dealt with their portal and know how this one felt this time — she desperately needs what hope they provide each other.

"No," Lynette says, her tone sharp as she looks between Ruiz and Odessa, "Shaw and Isa can look after Evie. But she needs to know we're okay. She'll keep up the act, but I won't let her mourn what she doesn't have to." Not when she already has her brother missing. Lynette can't let her think anything happened to them.

Her fingers shake as she takes the keycards from Joy, nodding to her words and giving her a quiet thank you.

She doesn't have much to say about how to handle Trask, she's new here and not familiar with the players on the board. His loyalty to his brother might outweigh his loyalty to Kenner, but she isn't entirely willing to bet her life on it. Instead, she looks over at Liz. "Mateo and I had our connection. Whatever Don did with his machine is what changed the nature of the portal. I'll find him again. We'll be able to do it again. If Michelle can help keep the machine working for us and not against us, it'll work."

With the ability back on, she knows she can find him again. She knows which path through the Garden leads to him.

Odessa opens her mouth to protest, but only ends up shifting her jaw to one side and exhaling a heavy breath. Evie isn’t her kid. Her wishes for how to handle things regarding her don’t factor into it. “I’ll talk to her,” she promises. Isabelle and Shaw tacitly included.

Ria gets a nod. “Show me the back ways. I’ll get back to the others and get supplies back to you as soon as I can.” Mulling over the information shared, Odessa nods her head again. “I’ll see if I can’t lend a hand in medical and dig up some information on Trask the elder. Maybe I can convince Trask to unlock some of us in order to help his brother as a show of good faith… I’ll work on it.”

“You can tell the girls. And have whoever is going to be watching over them know, but make them stay in seclusion with them so they don’t have to fake it,” Ruiz suggests after a moment, looking between the two mothers of young children who were still in the belly of the beast. “I don’t imagine many people would want to deal with mourning young girls so I doubt they will get many visitors, but even if they did whoever is watching them can keep them away. If we could smuggle them down here with us it would be better, but— I’m sure they will look after them and make sure that they are okay.”

He knows Aurora has a couple babysitters, who could stay in seclusion with her, keeping her entertained and happy. And Evie has Shaw, Isabelle and Odessa herself. But it would be better not to put the children through too much pain right now. Even if it seemed like too many would be knowing, now. As long as Magnes wasn’t one of them, though, he didn’t suspect anyone would just blurt it out.

His attention goes back to the walls, before he nods. “One of the labs will probably do. If we can find a place to store electricity and make sure the wiring is cut off, we could hold up for days until Lynette’s able to contact… the other side.” And until they can formulate a real plan of how to get everyone their abilities back and leave this world for good.


“Okay,” Ria says with a soft clap of her hands, trying to push away the tension and worry. “I’ll show you all the passages, get you set up. I’ll try’n figure out which cell they’re keeping mom in, but I don’t know how easy that’ll be.”

“As for Trask,” Joy looks up from a moment of thoughtful silence, “I don’t know what will happen if he’s killed. But we can’t take any risks. The three of you have your abilities, and we have to hope that… that if it comes to killing him it’ll end whatever he’s done, not render it permanent.”

Ria paces around again, alternating snapping her fingers and slapping a fist into her palm. “Alright, ok. Ok, this is a good enough plan. These motherfuckers are going to pay for what they’ve done.” Then, clenching her jaw, she calms down some. “Eventually. Just— first thing’s first. We’ve got a shitload of work to do and the longer we wait the further off the deep end Don goes.”

There’s a moment of silence in the tunnel, and Ria looks up to Mateo and Lynette and seems for a moment to take the time to appreciate the bond they have; one that stretches beyond the concept of time and space, it sounds like. Were there more time, were there less stress, she might wish to know more. But for now, it just remains a strangely comforting fairy tale.

“We only have one chance at this,” Joy says softly, looking over to Odessa, then to Elisabeth. “I’m… putting my faith in you. That what’s on the other side of that portal is better than this. Than here. I think a lot of people are.”

Briefly sharing a look with Ria, Joy nods to herself and then looks down to her hands. Ria jerks a thumb over her shoulder, pointing down the tunnel. “I’m gonna go steal some dry clothes. Don’t break out the guillotines without me.” Then, she explodes into tendrils of light that erupts down the hallway, crackle-snapping out of sight.

Joy watches the light from Ria fade, then tucks her hands into her pockets. “Come on…” she says softly.

“We can rest when we’re done.”

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