Coming To America


eve_icon.gif kimberly_icon.gif luther_icon.gif tae_icon.gif

Scene Title Coming to America
Synopsis The Gang Kidnaps an Anthropologist
Date July 31, 2019


A low fog clings to the Hudson river, parting to reveal a stone pedestal that once held the Statue of Liberty, now supporting the lower third of the statue’s twisted wreckage. The island is surrounded by a high concrete wall ringed with concertina wire and floodlights. Radio antennas rise up behind the wall. A flag of red, white, and blue flies over the island.

We've been traveling far

Across the Hudson a tangled collective of house boats and barges clutter up what was once the Jamaica Bay harbor, now Ferrymen’s Bay. Twisting pathways of piers and docks extends across the bay, connecting sandy islets and beaches. Tall sails rise up from many of the ships, taller hopes laid onto them. A seagull takes alight from one of the ships, soaring northward into the city.

Without a home

But not without a star

Yellow-painted bipedal robots walk alongside a bulldozer. Each worker carries an armful of steel rebar, marching in synchronized step toward the skeletal framework of a construction site. Traffic is slow here, cars bumper to bumper around the caution tape and following the directive of orange-colored signage.


Only want to be free

Five blocks down a fifteen foot high chain link fence divides the northwestern edge of the New York City Safe Zone from the ruins of New York City beyond. The fence sits askew at an odd angle here, a mile away from one of the security checkpoints. A handful of teenagers slip through a gap in the fence, backpacks over their shoulders, slipping out of the Safe Zone as the sun dips down behind the jagged silhouette of Manhattan’s ruins across the river.

We huddle close

Hang on to a dream

Across the ruined stretches of New York City the wilderness grows unabated. Young trees line the streets where once pavement was fresh. Aside from major arteries trafficked in and out of the Safe Zone, much of the remaining infrastructure has been left to collapse. Buildings long bombed into ruins house gardens of sprawling greenery and lush vegetation. Birds fly in flocks through the gaping windows of fire-gutted highrise buildings.

On the boats and on the planes

They're coming to America

Gunfire pops in distant echo down the streets of what was once Harlem and the Bronx, where the concrete wall surrounding Manhattan lays unfinished. Military police guarding that opening do nothing to investigate the distant sounds of gunfire, bracing beside their vehicles, rifles resting at their chests, watching the twilight streets. A deer steps out into view from the blown-out storefront of what was once a Starbucks, trots across the street, and disappears behind the rusted hulk of a firebombed SUV.

Never looking back again

They're coming to America

Vast stretches of New Jersey, when viewed from the air, look not unlike Chernobyl. City block after city block is uninhabited, rusting cars with flattened tires choke the streets, plants growing up from their grilles and smashed windows. Old factories lie in disrepair, shipping ports repurposed by Yamagato Industries are illuminated by vibrant floodlights, housing stacks of corrugated metal shipping containers that are overflow from the Safe Zone’s harbors.

Home, don't it seem so far away

Oh, we're traveling light today

Down through Jersey City, rows of residential houses remain emptied out by fires long since dead. Feral dogs run in packs down the cracked streets bristling with grass. They break off into two groups, their barks echoing where gunfire might in other parts of the ruins. Recent graffiti covers some of the brick buildings, promising We Will Rise with a star-spangled noose painted below it. Promises of violence in the future echoing from violence in the past.

In the eye of the storm

In the eye of the storm

Back across the Hudson, low and fast, the Safe Zone approaches. Its western harbor is full of life, boats coming and going from Red Hook, lights blooming up from beyond the brick walls of the Red Hook Market. Streets are lined with cars, people on horseback and bicycles, construction vehicles bound for northerly sites.

Home, to a new and a shiny place

Make our bed, and we'll say our grace

Beyond Red Hook, Park Slope is much as spaces outside of the Safe Zone are. Trees grow dense and thick, vegetation covers old abandoned rail infrastructure, buildings overgrown with young forests grow wild and untamed. There are no street lights here as the sun goes down, no lights on in any of the homes. There is just stone, wood, foliage and shadows.

Freedom's light burning warm

Freedom's light burning warm

From in the heart of Park Slope, the high walls of the 14th Regiment Armory have long been forgotten. Graffiti from a decade past covers its walls in phoenix iconography and red fists with the words Rise Up proclaiming a resistance that has come and gone. The front gates are locked, lashed closed by a chain and padlocked. Neither are rusted, and the voices that exist in this forgotten place are not old ones. They exist in the here and now. The pigeon settling on the roof after circling the city doesn’t care about them, though. It is a pigeon, and this roost is as good enough as any.

Everywhere around the world

“You realize this is illegal, don’t you?”

They're coming to America

“Abducting me?”

Every time that flag's unfurled

“Keeping me prisoner?”

They're coming to America

And can you turn off that radio!

14th Regiment Armory

Park Slope, NYC Safe Zone

July 31st

8:48 pm

Tae-hwan Ko has not taken the developments of the last few weeks well. As he shuts off the small battery-operated radio sitting on an aluminum folding table near the door to his ostensible bedroom there is a flush of anger in his expression. A bag of fresh takeout sits unopened beside that tray table, and the spacious — if bare concrete — room he paces back and forth in affords him little creature comforts aside from a handful of books and a mostly new folding cot.

Looking up from the radio, Tae draws in a sharp breath through his nose. “If you let me go now, I won’t tell anyone anything.” His dark eyes flick around the room, “I have a family; parents and a sister, they’re going to miss me.” Tae wrings his hands together, nervous now that this has become real.

Up until they’d left Japan, he’d assumed there would be time to escape. He didn’t realize their departure would be via Miles Dylan’s teleportation. Now he’s here.

In America.

"Baby… my little bacio al cioccolato, no no now listen."

Eve whirls around from where she was facing the corner, interrupting the conversation she was having with said wall just a few seconds ago. Clothed in a dark purple dress with burn marks all over, she's barefoot as is custom for the pale woman.

"One," Holding up a finger in the air, a light red glow underneath the skin. "You work for Blondie Adam, this cannot be an unexpected turn of events when you throw in with that lot. It comes with the territory!"

Eve has been so excited to have a guest! But she's still sore from the betrayal from what she deems the Seer Code. The thing she's made up in her head, one of these commandments states:

You better not betray your fellow Seer, former or otherwise.

The penalty was death but Eve felt like she didn't really want to scare the man anymore then he was already. "Two, you never got to tell us what you know and I loveeeee a good story!" Taking a pull from the half finished joint between her fingers. "And three you are perfectly safe and nobody is gonna hurt you! Now take a hit of this and relax Brother Seer." Skipping over to stand in front of Tae, smoke trailing from her mouth like some stoned dragon, weary of the radio lest she ruin one of his few ways to entertain himself.

They'd somehow decided, without actual talking, that they would not tie up the hostage. Perhaps thinking Tae would not consider fleeing when they had means of teleportation to and from several thousands of miles away. Perhaps to spare him some dignity.

"Eat your soup," Luther replies to the man's bargaining from his chosen settling spot in a beat up, scavenged recliner near the door. "Don't have to worry about it getting cold," he adds with reasons he thinks is obvious. And it's true, that with Luther around the normally cold confines of the armory is subtlely warmer within than without.

The interrogative statements from Eve earn her a questioning glance, an upward tick of the angled brows in Luther's expression at the former seer. "Ducky, give him some space wouldja," he requests as he watches. But it's to Tae that he angles his view, remarking in concurrence with Eve, "Have a seat, anyway. You got some 'splainin' to do."

“No!” Tae says with a frantic windmill of his arms to swat away Eve’s offered joint. “No, I will not— eat this soup. I don't have anything to explain to you! I— I did contract work for the Commonwealth Institute of San Francisco nearly a decade ago. I worked with a doctor on an anthropological dig. I never committed any crimes and— and you're not police!

Finally letting his frustration bubble to the surface, Tae paces back and forth like a caged tiger. “Mr. Monroe contacted me a few years ago inquiring about the location of several historic relics the National Historic Society was in possession of. An— an Assyrian obelisk, the armor of Takezo Kensei, and some other relics pertaining to Kensei. We corresponded some, but I didn't realize who he was.” Tae flicks a look back and forth between Eve and Luther.

“Mr. Monroe called me the day we were set to go to Mount Kiso Ontake, he told me to… to stall. He just said he wanted to make sure he met up with you I— I didn't believe all the insane things you said at the cave about him. It seemed so— so impossible.” Exhaling a shuddering breath, Tae looks around, then warily settles a look on Luther. “Please, don't kill me. Please.”

"Mister Tae."

Squatting with elbows resting on her knees and her chin in her hands. "Pull yourself for goddess' sake! You are not bound, not even gagged. Please eat your soup, it's not poison." Eve grins unphased by his clear panic. "If we wanted to kill you, we would have simply thrown you into the cave. Head first my dear."

Looking back towards Luther, "Oh he's fineeee Hot Hands." After Luther's look remains she huffs and walks back on her heels and hands until she's leaning against the wall to the right.

Something Tae says makes Eve blink and she slams her hand on the floor with a loud smack. "Eureka! Karen Chamberlain! Project Eclipse." The universe worked in mysterious ways. A mystery Eve had been wanting to solve before Adam's agents kidnapped the good Doctor.

"I met with Adrienne Allen! She was in prison! Told me about tracing our lineage. Adam kidnapped her after we spoke, how ballsy huh? Prison transport!" Eve's gotta be impressed, she would have thought to do the same were it the old days.

"An obelisk you say?" Eyes widen more, Tae may not think he's giving a compelling story but to Eve this is prime-time story time. "What was this obelisk?" A squiggle of lightning pops on the ground beside Eve.

Luther heaves a tired sigh, scratches at the side of his beard, and fails to be reassuring a second time when Eve acts up in her stringing together of dots in a wild web. He looks worn out, or rather, attentions focused beyond the present frustrations and flailing fingers being smacked on floors. Really, Tae doesn't have to worry about it being poisoned either. The soup, that is. Rather, he intones a quote in response to the plea, “The evil that men do lives after them. The good is oft interred with their bones.

"I'm not going to kill you," he continues flatly, head shaking and stopping when struck with a thought. "But you had to have some thoughts when Adam approached you. When you realized who he was, what'd you do?" Luther leans forward off the recliner, resting his elbows on knees, his stare searching Tae's wary look. "What'd he say to you to make you believe him? Did he tell you, or did you tell him about us? Did you realize you were basically setting us up?" Accusation re-enters his expression unbidden, Luther blinking a few times and hunching forward.

"You've been in the Institute's rolodex for almost a decade now, and he outta nowhere he calls you up out of the blue a few years ago to find some museum pieces, and then again when we're going to look for the cave… why'd you help him?" Luther skips a beat, glancing to Eve briefly as he seeks to gather his thoughts and align them with feelings and gut instinct. "Why did you say you would help us?"

“I didn’t know who he was,” Tae protests, inching away from Eve like she was an unfamiliar dog with overly large teeth. “I worked for a man named Howard when I did work for the Institute. Howard uh, uhm, LeMay. He was with the government.” Tae either doesn’t know or isn’t aware that Howard LeMay was sentenced to life in prison for his work with the CDC, DoEA, and the Institute. “I’d never met Adam until years after the fact, after the Institute was— after everyone knew what it was.”

Swallowing nervously, Tae eyes the soup, then Eve, as if trying to puzzle out some sort of threat to his life that isn’t as obvious as Luther’s biceps. He stares at those too, as much as he is able to. “Look— I— yes. I knew Adrienne Allen. She was studying the genetic history of Expressives. That was my job. I’m a anthropologist. But— but my ability means I can offer more context to things. Not always perfect, but— but snippets. I helped her identify some bones. That’s all I did. We were together in Hokkaido for two weeks. At that cave— the one you found me at.”

Glancing around the room, Tae wrings his hands together and jitters one knee by bouncing on the ball of his foot. “The um, the— the obelisk was a separate thing. I was contacted someone in the Corinthian Archaeological Society, back in— in— September or October of 2010? Lawrence Clark. He said he was a friend of an old work colleague of mine, Zoe Porter. She— passed away the year before. He wanted my opinion on translations of inscriptions on an artifact the society at one time possessed. It was a black obelisk, from around the 26th century BC.” Tae looks from Eve to Luther, brows furrowed. It’s clear he doesn’t understand how any of this is related.

But it’s easy to talk. Easy to try and get lost in the details. This situation is less terrifying that way. “The— uh— the obelisk. Not to bore you with the details. But it’s a chronicle of four gifts to King Mesannepada from a lord of low station. This— those sorts of things were common in ancient Assyria. A lower stationed lord would gamble everything on a showy gift to a better, hoping to receive societal elevation.” Tae swallows, dryly, and looks down to his feet. “Some of the obelisk talked of base goods: cattle, dry provisions, slaves, soldiers. The sorts of things you can weigh and measure and easily valuate…”

Drawing in a shaky breath, Tae squares his shoulders and looks over to Luther. “Three of the slaves were discussed in exceptional detail on the obelisk, but four were detailed. The fourth side that would have explained the fourth slave was broken off. But the three sides I could read described dumutuda sag asme.” Tae wrinkles his nose. “Dumutuda being Sumerian. It means child of importance and asme being a word that means sun or special power of the sun. It literally means Children of the Sun.” Tae flattens his mouth into a thin line, wringing his hands together, knee still jumping. “I was going off of digital scans of the object. The obelisk itself was in Iraq.”

“The rest of the obelisk talked about these slaves having supernatural abilities,” Tae says with a slow spread of his hands. “The kind of things someone who wanted to find evidence of historic SLC-Expressive people might be interested in.” There’s a hint of a smile there. Pride in his work. “One of the slaves being able to turn crops and livestock to ash, another able to bring a soldier back from the dead, and the third who ‘governed’ the others.” Tae explains, making a square-shaped gesture with his hands. The more he talks about work the calmer he gets. “They were represented on the obelisk by a moon, a sun, and a star. Each panel detailed the purported abilities of each slave-child, save for the missing panel. One panel was a destroyer, someone who could reduce bodies to ash, another a healer… but it also spoke of it being able to ‘create so much an abundance of flesh that death is unavoidable.’ The star panel seemed to describe some balancing power, one that could influence the powers of the others, minimizing or amplifying them. But the star face of the obelisk also claimed it had restorative properties in some capacity.”

Clasping his hands back together, Tae looks over to Eve. “Adam contacted me a couple of years ago out of the blue, indicated he was an old friend of Zoe Porter. He said they were very close, he… they sounded close. Adam asked me about the obelisk, where it was. I told him where I believed it was in Iraq all those years ago, and he further inquired about some relics of Takezo Kensei that I had worked to acquire for Yamagato Industries, one of which was a sword they’d paid me to verify as belonging to Kensei.” Tae flicks a look back and forth between Eve and Luther. “I didn’t know who he was. I didn’t know until that day on top of Mt. Kisou. I didn’t know I was sending you into a trap.”

"LeMay, the Hounds got him Hot Hands," Eve whispers feverishly as her body shakes and she clutches her middle with a grunt. Chuckling an unhinged laugh through the pain.

The pale woman soon makes a choking noise though as Tae reveals there was a fourth gift, entity. Force of nature. "Four sides of an obelisk, four forces of nature. Four pieces. One whole. Fully powered. Terrible but magnificent together." Eve's fingers go to her lips and her eyes close. Calming herself at the news, a piece that nobody knew of. Cared to see. Inside though, the seemingly infinite chorus of voices call out to her. Calling her to action.

Rip the information out him! Traitor!

He doesn't deserve the title of BROTHER SEER!

Put a bullet in him!

Give him some green!

How about the blue fairy?

"Don't be silly!" Eve shouts suddenly aloud, looking sheepish and scratching the back of her head, "Heh, anyway," Idle hands play with the wayward dark strands of her hair. "Iraq," Giving Luther a look and sliding closer to him. "Cradle of man, the epicenter of our bloodline." Japan went well right?

"The moon, the sun and a star. Like-?" Two of them were indeed stars, all three were of importance in the terms of the working of the universe. The amplifying and engaging bit makes her twist her head. "Orbiting each other. Children of the Sun…. when did we become the Children of the Eclipse? Prisoners, unbecoming. Of course its vengeful, all its existence it's only known chains." Musing aloud, not thinking much about how she sounds. What do you think happens when you get a person caged over and over again." She knew something about that.

A low, sweet hum emits from her chest. Eve is here but not here, similar to her episodes when experiencing a vision. Working out the connecting paths. "Do you remember where, in Iraq? Was there-"

It feels like a loss but: "There was no mention of the fourth slave?" Eve thinks about what life must have been like for those four. "There must have been a great tragedy that led them to the King's arms… poor things." She can't believe she's thinking that about the entity that robbed her of her eyesight once.

On his good days, Luther exudes a steady presence around Eve and her rambling. Nevermind if he doesn't necessarily understand all of her words, randomly shouted or otherwise. It's almost like background noise for help in meditation, or the white noise on a radio blustering on, hidden signals within. Today, though, Luther doesn't quite seem quite up to the task of fine tuning and instead lets the words spoken wash over him. And if he's following Tae's lesson, it's with some distraction at best. But, he does notice the furtive glances and lingering stares in his direction from the captive. At moments, Tae will find Luther catching the man's eyes, following along the sightlines.

An inscrutable inward reason brings Luther to his feet. But it's somewhere shortly after Tae mentions being in the employ of Yamagato Industries and not knowing about Adam's trap. Eve's outburst of questions bounces off the man as he approaches the anthropologist, closing distance in just a few strides of long legs. "You didn't know," echoes Luther in a deep rumble, "you didn't know him, you didn't know it was a trap… but you know what I haven't heard from you yet? Is a fucking apology."

Luther reaches out and grab’s Tae’s shoulder's and pushes him into a trap of his limbs up against the armory wall, powered by the very biceps Tae's eyeing.

"How do I know you're not lying? How do I know you're not still stalling, feeding us a bunch of bullshit for him? Trying to send us to wherever the hell next, Iraq?" Luther's presence is not exactly steady in the moment. Heat emanates both in the air off his back and his tone. "Fuck… Because of you, he has Chess and Alix. Whatever he's doing… because of whatever he said to you… he has what he wants, and what the fuck do we have?"

Tae flinches, angles his head away from Luther and wrenches his eyes shut in the expectation of a blow to the head or worse. When that doesn't come, Tae cracks his eyes open and stares with wordless fear at Luther. “I'm just an anthropologist,” he shakily reiterates, cowering from Luther’s strength and rage. “Y-you’re the only ones who've— ” Tae shuts down his criticism, swallowing back whatever would’ve come next.

“Your— your friends left of their own free will,” Tae does find the courage to say, however. “I don't know about any of this! Dragon— Adam— whatever it is you're obsessed with. I don't— I don't have any part in it. I was living my life until you came to me at my work!” He hisses, but without the strength of will to truly shout.

“Easy there big daddy,” comes from deeper in the armory, accompanied by the sound of a door sliding shut. Chess emerges from an unlit hall, or that's how Luther sees her at first. But he knows it isn't. Knows it's only Kimberly. Unzipping her light jacket as she walks in, Kimberly swings car keys around one finger before tossing them onto the top of a chipped window sill. She makes a jerk of her head to one side, indicating she wants to sidebar with Eve and Luther across the room.

"Oh Hot Hands!" Eve puts her hand to her lips with eyes wide. In her head, an insane homoerotic fantasy plays out that Ghost would be so proud of.

"Oh wow… don't stop on my account! Love is love my little nymphs. Would you look at that-" Eve is completely lost in her daydream. She tries to rest her chin in her hands but fails to remember there's no support under her elbows.

Kimbo's entrance isn't noticed at first but the tail end of the phrase Daddy makes her blink and shake her head. "Oh hey Kimbo! You just walked into Skinemax!" Hopping to her feet the pale woman bops over to Chess' sister with a loud laugh.

The heat of Luther's anger at once flares in the form of a tightening, warming grip on Tae's shoulders and upper arms, the laser-focus stare of storm grey eyes shelling the anthropologist in unrelenting invisible mortars. "You're going to compare us to the fucking Institute and shadowy mega-corps and that Grand Asshole Supreme who came calling for you too? Is that what you're doing right now?" He snorts loudly in sheer disbelief with what he perceives as Tae's continued audacity.

"You claim to be an anthropologist, you were studying all of these artifacts, these bones, these visions you had at the site of that whole Kensei and the Dragon legend, yet you don't know anything, still? You… all you can say is you can't help!" Piqued and frustrated, he doesn't really realize how it appears until Eve's outburst, and the cut of Chess' - Kimberly's - voice through the air.

Luther releases Tae with a roughly exhaled huff, blinking several times in an effort to stave off his singleminded focus that Eve has seen culminate in the form of charred soldier bodies before, years ago. He backs away, leveling out with slower breaths, a short shake of his head, shuffling pace moving him to where Kimberly indicates. Sidebar granted.

Tae slouches to the floor, exhaling a sharp breath and rubbing at his throat with one hand. Kimberly levels a look at him, then over to Luther and Eve with both her brows raised. “Y’all realize this is a good old fashioned kidnapping, right?” She flicks a look between them both. But it's clear neither Eve nor Luther want to hear that right now, so she raises her hands in feigned defeat and exhales a sigh through her nose.

Anyway, I talked to your internet ninja friend,” Kimberly says with a crooked smile. “And Tae’s story checks out. She went through the Albany transcripts looking for mention of him, and nothing. He works where he says he does, has for quite a few years. Even found paperwork showing that he worked with that Adrienne doctor lady back before the war, at a dig site, on that same island the cave was at. Bones went back to the Institute, but there's no sign of where they went after.” Hands on her hips, Kimberly looks over at Tae, then back to Eve and Luther. “Guy’s got a squeaky clean record.”

Then, Kimberly raises her brows again. “This is his first trip to America too.” She eyes Tae, then back again. “Accurate first impression, I suppose.”

"Kimbo in my day we use to- he's fine." But Kimbo is already relenting and Eve grins towards Luther, bingo.

There are still no perspective leads on the bones, it makes Eve frown but it wouldn't be that easy she knew that. "Land of the free and hot dogs!" They were running out of time. Eve turns and drags a chair back over to Tae and plants it in front of him. She scoots it close and supports herself with elbows on either side. The wild haired woman gives Luther a look: give me a second.

Slowly a smile crosses her lips, it's entirely too wide almost like she's a witch getting ready to feast on flesh. "Where in Iraq did you find the obelisk, TaeTae? It's important. Mm?"

Luther won’t admit it, but his snapped look at Kimberly is all but a confession that yes, he realizes it’s kidnapping. And he’s not entirely certain where to go from there, or even why they still have the man held against his will. He’s still working on that justification when Kimberly continues and reveals that at least on paper, Tae is clean. Luther frowns as he feels the guilt pull at his mouth corners. At least his back is turned to the anthropologist. Looking between the ladies, Luther’s gaze bounces between them in that ‘So what do we do now?’ manner.

Leave it to Eve to supply an answer. It might not be the best answer. But she’s always been the one to come up with the ideas first, and Luther follows. Ready to clean up, if necessary. He turns back to Tae, but this time lingers beside Kimberly and at a distance. This time, it’s not anger or frustration in his eyes but a look of apology and guilt.

Kimberly watches Eve the way someone might a misbehaved housepet, with one hand gently cupped over her mouth and both brows raised. Tae, on the other hand, regards her like a violent dog let off the leash, moving away from her as she approaches.

“Weren’t you listening?” Tae snaps back, exasperatedly. “I looked at files,” he waves his hands sharply, “on a computer — scans, images. The obelisk was somewhere in Iraq but I don’t know where. And that was almost ten years ago, there’s no telling where it is now. I told you,” Tae struggles, frustration creeping up in his voice, “I don’t know anything. I’m just an anthropologist!

Kimberly slowly lets her hand fall from her face and looks over to Luther. “He’s gonna go to the cops the second we let him go,” she says quietly, “whether it’s here or in Japan or wherever…” She’s kept her voice low so Tae can’t overhear her. “Exactly… what was your plan when you were done?” She raises one brow in question, hoping the answer wasn’t the fingergun motion she’s currently pantomiming to him.

"Oh pipe down we heard ya," Eve had in fact almost just asked him again for good measure but he seemed exasperated enough. They could hurt him to see if he's lying….

Just give him a lil sunburn.

For the record I still think some Mary Jane!

Who calls it Mary Jane?!

Shaking her head she backs away from Tae and looks at the wall. Assyrian, Iraq, who knows where it is now. "Thanks for the help TaeTae!" Thought Eve still doesn't believe him. Michael Green lied and then had led them to the Ghost Shadows warehouse. Maybe that's what would happen again, something similar.

Eve tries to convey this to Luther but all she manages to look like is a terrified owl with eyes wide, head tilting. Eyebrows raising and falling, what in the fuck is she trying to tell Luther?

Just go whisper in his ear silly.

I'm really quite comfortable where I am thank you

Sheepish smile flashed Kimbo's way.

Staring in to a middle space, Luther appears as if he'd heard neither the exasperated anthropologist nor the question of what to do with the man. For a long moment that's the end of the conversation on his end. Grey eyes turn to Eve, meeting the owlish stare from the former seer. He blinks. Gives a wordless grunt as he considers the situation. Luther runs a hand over his beard and shifts his gaze onto Tae once more, looking the man up and down.

"Maybe, we got off on the wrong foot," he rumbles, shaking his head slowly. What a mess. "Look, Doc. When we came to you in that cave, you were the best shot we had in trying to get some background info in what the hell all this was about: Kensei, Dragon, Adam, Entity. You have the power that could provide us with… context. You experienced Kensei directly when you were in there. Why he was trying to seal himself in that cave." Luther rolls his shoulders, working off a stiff tension in them.

He glances over at Kimberly, brow furrowing at the sight of her face. Chess' face. But he then turns back to Tae. "Now, you've seen him in the flesh. You heard him on that mountain. You said he called you, told you to stall us. And you did a good job of it, played into his hand as much as we did. But you still have something else, Doc." He focuses pointedly on the man, unfolding his arms, willing an openness into his posture.

"You got the brains and background to put it together. Kensei and the Dragon, the obelisk, the armor, that sword, that cave. They're all connected somehow, and you've gotten the chance to be the one to do that. Isn't that what you do? That's why the Institute, Yamagato, Adam… that's why they called you. And that's why we asked you." Even if the circumstances seemingly have gotten a little out of control.

Luther exhales heavily, the tiredness returning. "If you can help us, if you want to help us, then we're all ears, Doc. But if you don't… if all you want is to pack it in and go home, then." He turns to Eve, gaze lingering on the woman for a long beat. "Then we'll make sure you get home. Safely. It’s up to you." He glances sidelong to Kimberly as well, making sure she hears the promise in his tone too.

Tae is quiet for a long while, breathing in and out deeply as if he'd run a marathon. His jaw flexes, darkened stare fixed on Luther and it's clear that there's a fire fueled by anger and resentment burning inside of him. “From where I'm standing,” Tae says through clenched teeth, “it feels like everyone wants to use me for something I was born with.”

Sliding his tongue across the back of his teeth, Tae scrapes the next words off the roof of his mouth. “I don't understand how you're any different than they are. I didn't see anything in that cave that says Monroe is a monster. Im-impossibly old, yes. That's— that's apparently somehow true. But the only people who kidnapped me are standing in this room.” He flicks a dark-eyed look from Luther to Eve and back again. Kimberly passes out of his notice since she's chosen to hang back.

“I'm not your silver bullet,” Tae says with a quick shake of his head. “I'm not some magic wand you can wave at whatever it is you're involved in and expect me to solve it. I'm not capable of getting the answers you want. Nothing I feel had context, it's all— it's just voices and words and feelings all jumbled up. It's not like I'll be able to tell you how to solve a problem. The most helpful my ability has ever been is to determine the age or gender of a corpse or find out the immediate circumstances of their death.”

Tae shakes his head, shoulders slacking. “I just want to go home.”

Kimberly exhales a sigh and blows a lock of hair from her face. “That might be trickier than uh, it sounds.”

“What?” Tae asks, snapping a look past Luther and Eve to her.

“Uh,” Kimberly starts, slowly approaching the others. “So one, our teleporter, Miles? He… is a little awol right now. I think all this stuff in Japan might’ve been a little hard on him. Two, you’re here without a passport and— not to be a dick about it— have former business ties with the Institute. Which isn't a problem when you're in Japan, but the second you try to fly out of the States you're going to be detained for deposition and testimony in the Albany trials. Because, you know, war crimes.” Kimberly grimaces. “Not that you did any but— you know.”

Kimberly glances at Luther, one brow kicked up. She's bluffing.

“Look, Luther's right we got off on the wrong foot. That said, we might be able to find a way to make this all go away. Get y’all home, you know— set the table properly.” Kimberly nods away from Tae and clicks her tongue. She wants another sidebar.

"Quit crying about being of use in this world. If only I still had my foresight, you ungrateful-" Eve clamps a hand over her own mouth and continues to speak, muffled.

"I thought you actually wanted to be my friend. But you're a liar and I'm a kidnapper, I'm not sure if it's in the cards." This actually makes Eve sad and realizing just how fucked Tae is in this country also makes Eve sad.

"A silver bullet." Whatever Tae has just said ignites something within the woman. Yes, that's what they needed. "Well! It seems like you're fucked," Eve waddles over to where Kimbo is, "Mind wipe him."

When it becomes clear that his attempted appeal falls flat, especially given the truths that Tae grinds out from between gritted teeth, Luther is actually struck by the verbal blow. He blinks several times, chin jerking up and to a side, not wanting to meet Tae's fixed, dark-eyed stare. His shoulders slacken in defeat.

But whatever he may have said, Luther is cut off by Kimberly's interruption. And Tae's not the only one surprised by her words. Luther blinks again, both brows lifting as he sees her bluff. That makes his brows furrow down in confusion. What, indeed.

With that sidebar noted, this time Luther seems more antagonistic towards his own. "What the fuck, Kimberly," he grunts, shooting a look at Eve as well. "I meant it when I said we'd get him home."

“You and what smuggling operation?” Kimberly whispers back. “We ain’t got a way t’bring him home, not all the way back to fancy Japan. Certainly not after we burned that Yamagato bridge straight to the ground, right?” Her brows kick up, dark eyes flicking back over to Tae who just looks baffled by Eve’s weird request rather than intimidated.

“And we can’t mind wipe him— Eve do you even know what a bluff is?” Kimberly sputters, waving an arm in Tae’s direction. That same hand comes up to cup her face as she hunches her shoulders forward and makes a soft groan in the back of her throat. Tae seems unwilling to offer more up, not now that his prospects for getting home seem off the table. But he watches the three with wary eyes and an uncertain crease in his brows.

Kimberly looks over to Luther. “I’m all ears if you’ve got a plan.” Then, she points at him. “So long as that plan isn’t get a boat.”

"Excuse you Kimbo Slice, some of us use to smuggle humans… all the time! The Ferrymen, honestly what do they teach the young people at school Hot Hands?" Eve puts both hands on her hips and shakes her head at Chess' sister. "Oh Cerberus' Ass! One moment." Running to where her bag sits by the door, she reaches in. Pulls out a phone, hastily typing something on the screen. "Got like five seconds… there we go!"

Like a game of hot potato Eve puts the phone down on the table propped up facing them.

"We don't burn bridges Kimbo, bridges burn us. Hmmm?" The caller ID of the video call is….


"Kimiko will help us, or the world and her shareholders will learn all about her father's… further misdeeds!" There's a twinkle in her eyes.

The growl coming from Luther rife with discontent with the situation rises and fades as he looks from one face to the other, the last face he's looking upon is Tae's. Apologies are in order, so his expression says, but more importantly, so are solutions.

Solutions that he wants to think through. That is, until Eve takes off to go grab a phone and starts to dial… Luther reaches out to grab the phone and disconnects the call quickly. "Blackmail, Eve?" he speaks pointedly at the former seer, head shaking. "They're the ones keeping the goddamn lights on, the ones running the cellphone network, and you're wanting to assume we got anything on Kimiko Nakamura that she hasn't already quashed like a bug. For Chris'sake, she had Monica under her thumb for years. You saw what she sent in Japan."

That was, at least in Luther's mind, a warning shot across their bow.

He exhales roughly, running a hand down his face and beard and turns back to Tae. "Look, we'll take you to the embassy, say you lost your passport or something. We can find someone who'll make it look like a record glitch, you came out here on holiday, as far as they know." Looking down to the phone in his hand, there's still a consideration of it. He eyes Eve a moment. "How'd you even have Nakamura's number?"

“It's not even important,” Kimberly splutters, throwing her hands into the air.

“There are no records of me leaving Japan legally,” Tae explains, eyes wide with frustration. “The laws there are not the same as here. I am not even a Japanese citizen, I'm Korean,” he stresses, as if that isn't the first time he's had to explain that to someone from America. “I was in Japan on a working basis. If I am found to have illegally left the country it will destroy my career. I will never be allowed back to Japan, and Korea shares a Registry. I could face criminal charges back home. Not everywhere is the Wild West!

Tae’s concerns elicit a slow and stressful sigh from Kimberly as she scrubs one hand over her face. She looks to Eve, then Luther. “Ok maybe— a boat isn't the worst idea. Didn't— didn't you people do this all the time back in the day? Maybe we… smuggle him back to Japan? The slow way?” She sounds as distressed as she is concerned. Adding quietly, “maybe we should've thought this one through more…”

I can hear you,” Tae groans.

Eve slams her finger down on the phone to hang it up and sighs, "OKAY FINE!" Throwing her hands out as she looks at the three others.

"I know old Ferrymen, current smugglers. Nice people, loyal people. We can pay them, they get him home. You go by boat." Scratching the back of her head she regards Tae with an angry expression.

"Your gift could have helped! There are ancient languages! Pieces a mind like yours would love to dissect but return home you'll go. Maybe you can forget you ever came here and maybe I can forget I ever met a Seer like you."

"Gutes-asi my ass!" Throwing her hands up Eve stalks over to the window and pulls a joint from her boob, lighting it with a match before throwing the now empty book of matches out the window.

"Unless anyone else has a better idea!" She doesn't grin, she wants to eat. Maybe if Tae really isn't going to…”

Luther's next breath is a heaving intake and hard exhale as he fights back an urge to snap. But the look he directs towards the wall behind Tae would almost burn a hole through it. Perhaps if he stared long enough, it would. A hand wipes down and away.

"Alright, stop. Just… I'll take care of it," says Luther as he struggles against the worries and implications. "Eve, you go get back to what you're doing over at Cat's and we can use the boat as a backup. Kim, you still gotta lie low - we'll see if Monroe's good for his words on the mountaintop shortly anyway. Either way, we're gettin' your sisters back."

The last he addresses is Tae, who Luther finally looks upon without further irritation or ire. "I know it sounds crazy. But we'll get you back home. Alright? In the meantime, you got a choice to make tonight: stay here, but it ain't got any heat, water or electricity beyond what we got in batteries, or come with me now and we'll put you up at the apartment." He rolls his shoulders back, glancing from face to face and then back to the distressed archaeologist. "'S’your choice." America's all about that freedom, right?

Kimberly angles a look over at Luther, one brow raised, then follows his eyeline to Tae who is staring blankly in Luther’s direction. There’s still argument in his eyes, in his tense posture, in the way he struggles to maintain his composure. But Tae realizes, much as he realized on that mountain in Japan, that argument isn’t going to help anything. As he sighs his shoulders slack, one hand comes up to his brow, and he slouches back against the wall.

Apartment,” is Tae’s breathless and long-suffering answer. He slides down the wall at that concession, ending up in a squat on the floor. Kimberly’s face contorts a few times as Tae makes his choice, then looks over to Luther with one brow still raised.

“You know I used to have an ordinary life,” Kimberly muses quietly.

They all used to.

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