Cthulhu Ate The Video Star


brynn_icon.gif caspian_icon.gif gillian_icon.gif joe_icon.gif kaylee_icon.gif lance_icon.gif squeaks_icon.gif

Scene Title Cthulhu Ate the Video Star
Synopsis The fallout of viewing the demon-possessed tape Squeaks brought back from the Underneath leads the intrepid group of young people to seek help from two grown-ups well versed in dealing with Weird Stuff.
Date April 17, 2018

Gillian's Home

It had taken some time to get everyone together to move. They all knew that they needed to take the tape to someone. No one was hurt, there were no physical problems to slow them down. But half the group had better wits than the other half, and that caused some delays.

Squeaks for one did not want to take the tape out of the pot.

When the idea was even proposed, she stole the pot away and folded herself around it to keep the lid in place. It took some convincing before she gave it up and allowed the tape to be placed into something smaller. In the end, they settled on a vintage aluminum lunch box. It wasn’t the best of substitutes, but it had the Ghostbusters painted on the lid. So that will hopefully keep the poltergeist contained. And the tape safe.

As a group, they made their way through the neighborhoods, by now quiet with the hour. Flashlights bobbed to help guide the way as brownouts are a very normal thing these days. Luckily the streets aren’t terribly dangerous, even in the dark. It still takes them a goodly time to reach Gillian’s door. Hopefully she’s home. And still awake.

Squeaks has spent the walk eyeballing the lunchbox with more venomous suspicion that she’s even dealt any of the grown-ups she’s encountered. She’s still giving it those looks when they stop in front of Gillian’s place. Given an excuse — or the chance — , she might just throw the box into the river.

That fragile aluminum lunch box, guarding them from evil by means of a red circle-x around a ghost, is held carefully under Lance’s arm as they head up to the house, his other arm still in its sling to keep it bent. He doesn’t need it as much anymore, but he doesn’t want it to heal wrong - parkour requires him to have a good arm, after all!

“Gillian’ll know what to do,” he tells the others firmly and confidently, not even thinking maybe we should’ve called ahead before knocking on the door.

Calling ahead would have been the best plan, and it almost took Caspian threatening to lock the door and keep them all there to keep the entire swarm of kids from descending on Gillian’s place. He didn’t know where that was, didn’t have a way to contact her, or really even know her aside from the one meeting during Operation Monkey Rescue or whatever it was when they saw the animals in the ruins of the zoo. What he did know that showing up on someone’s doorstep at dark thirty in the morning and dumping this kind of knowledge on them would be a bad, bad idea. Let’s rest. Let’s wake up, have breakfast, and then go so she’s not so surprised.

Somehow, that’s what ended up happening, and that’s what they did.

Caspian had to rearrange a couple of meetings that he had planned with the Safe Zone commission, but it’s not always that you have a blast from an alternate universe fall into your lap. Citing personal reasons, the meetings were rescheduled for later in the week, so he finds himself and the Lighthouse Kids heading to an unknown address.

“We could have taken the van, you know.” He shoulders his backpack, a laptop with a copy of the tape strapped firmly inside along with a VCR he managed to find somewhere that would fit the tape. “Not that I don’t mind a walk, now and again.” There must have been a reason for not wanting to drive. Being inconspicuous, or the roads being bad. Lots of reasons.

It doesn’t take too long for the door to open. They would hear the firm unlocking of multiple locks before it did, but once Gillian had glanced through the curtain covering the glass of the door, she had started to open it. With a nudge, she pushes the cat back, as the ginger-furred feline tries to greet them. “Lance!” she immediately says, gesturing him inside and looking past to all the others. All of them she recognizes, either from the dinner at the young (to her) street-painter’s house, or the fact that she helped raise some of them.

“What brings all of you here this evening?” she asks, even as she tries to get them all inside, eyeing the burden that the older of the group carries. “Have a seat. I’ll clean up the paperwork in a minute.”

The front room has paperwork strewn out on the coffee table. Everything from charts to maps. Whatever it was she was working on would take a lot of time, probably, but based on what had been revealed at the Council meeting a few days ago, it probably had something to do with all that.

“Do you want something to drink or eat?”

Thankfully, her living room appears to have a rather nice television.

It's unusual that Brynn would be the first to speak up, but the sight of Gillian after all the uneasiness makes the deaf teen finally feel relieved! She worried all night that the tape would wake up again!! She's agitated enough about the whole situation that she hurtles into Gillian's arms and hugs her tightly rather than the more circumspect behavior that is her norm. When she pulls away, there's clear distress in her expression. Mom, why is the creepy stuff always happening to us?! Were she not silent, you could literally hear the teen-voice wail of that! Look! She gestures to the box Lance has.

I don't wanna have time travel stuff again and I want alternate dimensions to stay crappy movies! The demand is … not exactly rational. Please take that thing and keep it so it can't hurt anybody! It made my head feel like it was going to explode! I could hear the voice! And Mister Mateo and Aunt Lynette and Ygraine are all in it, and the boys saw comic book guy too!

She is so not giving any good information, frazzled as only she can be. Rarely does she get to this stage, usually it's the aftermath of major adrenaline — like the day the kids fled Pollepel. The next day, she gave rather disjointed versions of information like this because her hands basically couldn't keep up with all the words in her brain.

Joe goes. He's being all sulky and not really making eye contact with people, but he goes. THis is important. The news needs to be spread. Of the horrible thingy from another dimension, and that some of their missing people are alive somewhere. Somehow. "I already said what we need to do." Joe grumbles in response to Lance's statement as they go up to the house. "We need to call Aunt Kaylee too. We should have mom do that when we get inside." Joe doesn't usually call Gilly mom, but he knows that Lance thinks of her more that way, and maybe calling her that will help bring a little comfort.

Joe looks up when the door opens, and though there's a smile at seeing Gillian there in the doorway, there's also a haunted look on his face, and the faces of pretty much everyone there. With many a glance at the aluminum lunchbox in Lance's hands. "We need Aunt Kaylee here too. Can you call her? Have her come over? You should both hear this. And she can verify our memories and stuff. This is… big." But! Gillian does get a tight hug from Joe never the less, the young man grabbing onto her and squeezing tight for at least a few moments, and probably more. He nods his head along with what Brynn signs.

"Yeah… Elizabeth and Magnes are alive Gilly… like… alive alive. But in an alternate reality. And apparently Mala and Denisa are alive in that reality and they're trying to save them and… well… we'll let you see the tape… It's a lot." He reaches a hand out to gently grasp Brynn's shoulder, giving it a comforting squeeze, then doing the same for Lance and even then Squeakers as well. Caspian's an adult so Joe assumes he's good, even if he could probably use a squeeze or a hug too.

It’s a good thing Joe came with, because that makes the whole thing seem not so terrible. That fight was something else, and it initially set the younger girl to shooting nervous looks at Joe. Not entirely suspicious, the way she eyeballs grown-ups, but her sureness of things was rocked a bit. The touch on her shoulder helps to ease that away, and Squeaks lightly pokes a finger into Joe’s arm as response.

Blue eyes peek out from behind Brynn and Lance and Joe when the door opens. It isn’t quite relief that comes to her when Gillian isn’t only home but awake too, but at least Squeaks doesn’t glower at her the way she’s been glaring at the lunch box. The woman is recognized from the council meeting, someone who just sat and looked at her, but she’s heard enough good things about Gillian from the other teens, so she’s pretty sure that this grown-up won’t be too bad.

The relief of the other teens is enough proof for the younger one that going inside doesn’t need a second thought. Squeaks lets herself be ushered in. She’s just starting to look around — new surroundings must be explored — when food and drink are offered. And even though she doesn’t answer verbally, she does shoot a look at Gillian. Food is always accepted.

At the sight of Gillian, Lance relaxes instantly, a relieved smile just-curving to his lips. “Sorry, we couldn’t— I mean, you know what phones are like— “ He steps in with the others, awkward with that slung arm of his, making room for the others. “There’s kind of an emergency, I mean, something really weird. Uh, this is Squeaks, she’s one of us now.”

The Lighthouse Kids absorbed another one. They’re like a carnivorous, unstoppable amoeba.

“This, um, Squeaks found this videotape in the sewers, it was near a tank and some dead guy,” he explains, awkwardly shifting to move the lunch box into his hand, “And it’s got— I mean it has a bunch of people on it that we know are dead, and other people that we know but they’re not right - Joe thinks it’s some alternate world - but when we played it, it talked to us. I mean, it spoke my name! I think it’s haunted.”

After stepping inside, Caspian shifts his backpack off and to the floor with a muffled thud, letting Brynn and Lance do their best to explain what went on. When there’s a pause, he speaks. “Gillian, it was…strange. Strange is something these kids were fairly used to dealing with, I guess, but this….” he gestures to the lunchbox. “This is something else. We all watched the tape Squeaks found and it and it showed an experiment of sorts using portals, black holes…evolved people who could make them.” He kneels down and withdraws the VCR from the confines of his pack, pulling it out and setting it on a clear patch of floor. “The way they were talking on the tape, and from what I’ve heard from these guys, I’ve got a strong feeling that this came from a different dimension. One where their friends were still alive.” He stands after a second, pushing his hands into his hip pockets, thumbs out. “I really don’t want to tell you any more than that to not….taint….your view. We already sound crazy, but I swear we’re telling the truth. Even the tape talking. It rattled my house. Brynn /heard/ it.” Yes, he’s repeating things, but having someone with potential answers or insight, he can’t help it.

Finally, Caspian takes a step back, looking around the apartment for a second. “I don’t want to drop any names and muddy the water any more than the tape will. Just…let us show it to you.”

Once they are all inside, Gillian tries to parse what they are saying so far, but what she does understand tells her that— she probably needs to see this video. Instead, to start, she addresses Squeaks and Lance, offering them both a smile while the ginger cat starts to claim all of their ankles. This ankle is mine, this one is mine, this one is mine. Full body rubs and even some chin rubs on their shoes. Chandra is going to let the world know all of these shoes and legs belong to him. “Nice to meet you, Squeaks. And I’m glad you found her. I know there were a lot of Council members who were worried when you spoke at the meeting.”

Now that she knows she’s in good hands, she might be able to let the other members of the Watch know the kid doesn’t need to be pulled off the street. Though she does hope that she registers, especially after the whole situation at the meeting. But— that’s the past. This is— different.

This is touching on things that are both confusing and— very confusing. “Magnes. And Elisabeth…” That’s not what she’d expected at all. Part of her wishes she could call Richard, but she knew that he had been gone, that he’d left. “Sit down. I’ll call Kaylee and… make something to eat.” And mull over her thoughts. Because the possibility of what she’s been told is difficult. After getting her cell phone, she dials up Kaylee and heads into the kitchen, speaking softly to her. She doesn’t explain the situation, just says she needs to come over.

And while they wait, she will begin to cook. Cause cooking helps her think.

Brynn's relief is palpable, and when Joe finally relents in his sulk and touches her shoulder, that last little bit of tension melts away. She reaches up to squeeze his hand, resting her cheek on it, and then she goes to curl up in a corner of the couch, knees pulled up a lot like Squeaks'. She's quiet, as usual, merely watching.

Joe nods his head in firm confirmation of what Lance says in regards to Squeaks. She's one of them now. Like firmly in the circle of LHK's. She fits right into the group and they've already started teaching her sign, and Joe has started teaching her some cant as well. They take in other people. It's just what they do. All those years of helping all the other kids that got taken in too. And some of the adults. The Lighthouse collected lost adults just as much as it did children.

"Aunt Kaylee will be able to look in our heads and verify the memories and stuff. We don't think the tape is going to play it all again. Because it had like some poltergeist type stuff going on. We think it was some kind of temporal event… like… well… we're not sure of the science, but we think it was a one time thing. Kaylee could tape into our minds and see the memories though. Could she pull you into that so you can see too?" He asks of Gillian curiously. "I'll volunteer to be the memory. I worked at cementing it all into my head after so…" His shoulders shrug a bit, but there is no no said to food. Nope, LHK's will always take food.

Okay. There is a little bit of that inherent suspicion direct at Gillian. Just a little. But it’s the same as even now when she’s around Caspian. It’s just there, when she squats down to offer a couple of fingers to the cat, and again when she stands up again. “They shouldn’t worry,” Squeaks responds. “I take care of myself.” And now she’s part of the Lighthouse Gang. It’s all good.

Her intended exploration of the house, in as far as the extent of the living area — Squeaks is polite enough to forego peeking into any other rooms, at least until she’s more familiar with the people who own those rooms — doesn’t resume as one might expect. She twiddles her fingers at the cat then goes to join Brynn on the couch.

You have theories,” Lance says to Joe, his nose wrinkling a bit, “The rest of us don’t have any fucking clue what’s going on.” Normally, they’re the closest of the group - there’s obviously a bit of tension that’s normally not there. A hint of a smile as he looks down to the cat, telling Squeaks, “That’s Chandra.”

After his ankles and shoes have been properly claimed, he walks over to the couch as well, dropping down close to the girls and toe’ing off his shoes. So he doesn’t track in more mud over the floor than he already has.

“I don’t know if it’s a good idea to play it again,” he admits, “Some— I mean, like Cas said, the whole house was shaking. Even after we unplugged the TV. I couldn’t even silence it with my power.”

“It was messed up…”. Caspian is already in the wiring behind the TV, his little bit of OCD kicking in at the state of the cables back there. He really has to keep himself from taking the time to fix it all, to make it look clean and route cables properly as he finds the right plugs for the VCR in the back of the TV, weaving them where they can be easily removed. Peering around from the back, he looks to Gillian for a second in the kitchen on the phone. Lance, Joe, and Brynn trust this woman implicitly and since he’s one of them….just slightly older.

By like nine years. Still a kid at heart, though. That counts, right?

“I don't think we should play it either, Lance, but….we can't just leave it. That tape is proof of something amazing. If the people on it are who you say, scientists would be chopping off their arms to get a chance to analyze what went on. It's why I made a copy, after all.” Chalking the tape up to “evolved stuff” isn't enough. “And I have theories too, Lance. Some of them even overlap with Joe’s. It's just that I can't wrap my brain around what happened without dipping into…y’know. Different timelines and universes. Most plausible answer, even if it's crazy.”

Thankfully, the floors on this level of the townhouse are wooden, so any tracked mud and dirt would be easy to clean up. Gillian isn’t even thinking about that right now as she cooks up something for the kids to eat while they will be forced to wait for Kaylee to arrive. She didn’t give the woman much details, but she also did not live far. So there was that— it also meant the phones connected faster.

“She should be on her way,” she said as she set down a tray of drinks and goes to get the plates of food a moment later. Something quickly put together, but food either way.

“So do you know where you found this video? What part of the ruins?” She’d heard mention of a tank, but— there were possibly tanks in many places because of the war, but she’d have to make sure a crew looked into that. Made sure everything in the tank had been disarmed so it didn’t present a potential danger in the future.

But mostly… she wants to know if this happened to be in a place she knew about. A place where weird stuff happened.

Tilting her head, Brynn just goes 'huh' silently. The name certainly isn't one she knows. When Gillian comes back in, she just nods a little bit to the news that Kaylee would be here soon. And when the food appears, she can't help the grin to see that it's one of Gillian's old stand-bys. Noodles! Oooh, yummy. Gillian always doctors them with herbs and things that no one else seems to know how to use. Or maybe it's just Brynn's perception of it… it is after all mom's cooking. She takes the plate, signing 'thank you!' and remains in the corner there to eat quietly, still watching the talk all around her.

Joe glances to Lance and rolls his eyes at the other boy’s counter. “I thought we moved past this . We each had our reasons for our reactions. I understand yours and everyone else's. I get it. But like I told you in the yard I’m worried about intel. We have no idea what that thing was or is, only that it wanted out of somewhere that Mister Ruiz accessed with a… portal and Magnes messed with with his powers. We have no idea who or what it is, and that might have been our only opportunity to gather intel on an enemy. I don’t know why I’m restating this. Nevermind. I understand why you guys reacted the way you did. If you can’t understand my reactions I’m sorry.” His reactions were pure Brian. He huffs out a breath, then turns his head to glance at Caspian, his head tipping along with what the man says before he addresses Gilly.

“Squeakers found it underground. An area she said looked like it had seen a battle. A tank down there, trapped under a partial collapse, a bunch of empty offices. Except she found a camcorder in one of those offices. And a video on the camcorder. We watched it at Caspian’s place and it went nuts. Like messed with his electricity and TV, and we got hit with psychic talky talk. Cuz we could hear the voice even though it wasn’t coming from the TV. Brynn could hear it even. And Caspian pulled the cords on his TV and the tape kept playing despite no longer having power. So it was some kind of incident.” Joe is trying to relay the facts as he saw them, but he’s also trying to disguise the shake of fear in his hands by resting them on his thighs. That video terrified him. He’s just trying to not let it show.

The argument — it’s not quite an argument yet, but it’s close to the fight that had happened in Caspian’s front yard — between Joe and Lance has Squeaks scooting closer to Brynn. She fails to supplement with more descriptions of where she found the tape, and even ignores the food when it’s first brought out. Her eyes dart between Lance and Joe, worried in a way she can’t explain.

So after a beat, she picks up a slightly more detailed description. “I was looking for William, but I didn’t find him. Just some old bones of dead people and a tank.” And the camcorder, obviously. Squeaks’ hands move as her mouth does, picking through the words she knows and makes up the words she isn’t sure of. Good thing Joe and Lance are there or Brynn would have a heck of a time following the hand speak from the younger girl.

“The tank was in this open circle-shaped room, and on this round thing used for switching subway cars. That’s not where I found the tape, but it’s not far away from there. The tape was in this old office down a really long hallway above the circle room. Nothing else in the room, except empty shelves and dust. It was in a camcorder before, it wasn’t dirty like everything else, but it spit the tape out after we watched it.” Squeaks pauses and pulls her knees up like Brynn, to hide behind them as she continues in a much smaller voice. “And I kicked the camcorder. Into a wall. It’s broken now.”

“Thanks, Gillian,” Lance says genuinely, a faint smile upon his lips as he looks up to Gillian as the food’s brought out; quickly digging into the meal, not responding to Joe’s counter-argument in his direction. For someone who talks so often, he’s very good at going suddenly quiet at times.

Maybe not a big surprise.

He nods solemnly over to Squeaks’ description of things, mumbling around the noodles ominously, “It saw us. When we played it.”

Caspian takes the offered bowl of noodles with a nod of thanks along with a set of paper wrapped chopsticks he pulled from somewhere. He steps aside, near the plug that powers the VCR, and fishes out the remote control. No, he doesn't stop the VCR from blinking 12:00 over and over again, but he does set it in easy grabbing reach for whoever wants to get this show on the road once all parties have arrived. Heck, the tape isn't even loaded, so right now they should be fine.

“The tape even burned a logo on my screen at home - you'll see it at the end, but it was two gold rings, kind of linked to each other. Seemed like something a movie would put up before the credits for one of the production companies. ‘Golden Harvest’ or something like that. The chopsticks are snapped open, the trash tucked in his pocket, and he starts digging into food he didn't cook for once. It's a nice experience that won't be repeated often, at least until he teaches the LHK’s how to cook properly.

“Out of curiosity, Miss Gillian.” He's not sure how to greet her, so he defaults to polite. “Where’d the kids find you, or was it the other way around?”

What the children are saying makes their ‘mom’ frown and look at the adult that was with them as if to ask him with a raised eyebrow what he’d been thinking. But she knew the kids. She knew they probably would not sit back and let any of this go. That they would think they were needed to be the heroes of their own generation. That’s what Brian had wanted by training them, after all. Prepare them to be the new PARIAH, the new Phoenix. Which is… exactly why she’d left.

And now Gillian thinks she should have fought harder to change her brother’s mind. “Whatever this is, Joe, you don’t have to do it alone. We don’t need to act in shadows anymore. We have people with the ability and knowledge who can help with this sort of thing.” It wasn’t like it used to be, she kept trying to tell them. But she didn’t think any of them would ever listen to that, because instead of sheltering and protecting them, they, some of them, had been built into something that wanted to fix things on their own when other people were just as equipped to help them.

“It saw you,” she repeated Lance’s words, frowning as she sat down. Chandra hopped up into her lap and started demanding pets, which she absently gave. He even began licking her fingers as if trying to get some of those herbs off. “Two golden rings?” she continues, frowning at Caspian for a moment.

Because she remembers someone’s dream. She’d been there when it happened. She’d heard the rants.

And she’d kept saying that it saw her too.

She’s about to make a suggestion when Caspian asks his question and she blinks in surprise. It’s not often these days that Gillian meets someone who doesn’t seem to know practically everything about her. She’d given so many interviews during the tribunals that it felt like half of the Safe Zone knew who she was and what she’d done. Though the details of the Lighthouse hadn’t been on the forefront of the testimonies. But they had been mentioned. “My brother started the Lighthouse, an orphanage for children who the system rejected. Ones who tested as SLC-E.” Evolved, back then. “Around the same time, I found out he actually was my twin brother who'd I’d been separated from pretty much our entire lives, so I offered to help him out. To get to know him. Joe had been one of the first kids. Then Lance. A little bit later, Brynn.” Her and Brynn had been sick together, even, when Mala died. “We were all there for each other through a lot.”

Until she’d left to fight in a war she’d never wanted these kids to be apart of.

Eve had said another war was coming. She had hoped the precog had been wrong.

As usual, Brynn is pretty quiet in her corner. Noodles and utensils arrive. She sets her plate on the arm of the couch so she can eat with one hand and wrap her other arm around Squeaks. It is very clear that Squeaks Belongs To Us. Gray eyes flicker back and forth as people talk, and she chooses simply to observe. On a good day, she catches perhaps 3/4ths of the conversation around her, but it's not the best day… she's only getting 1/3rd to half. Still, when Gillian starts talking, Brynn has years and years of practice reading Aunt Gilly's speech. And she grins a little when Gillian gives the long story. Freeing up her hands, she signs to Caspian, Most of us never had any other family, Cas. The boys were at the Lighthouse pretty young. I was just in regular foster care — they said my birth parents didn't want me because I couldn't hear. Or at least, that's what one particularly bitchy foster mother told her when she was about six. She doesn't seem upset at it.

When I got into the Ferry's network, I had just started to color things. But I didn't wind up at the Lighthouse immediately — things were a little chaotic for a couple years. And then when I got the Evo Flu, Brynn nods toward Gillian, a flicker of sadness in her features along with remembered fear, That's when I finally hooked up with all the other kids, cuz Aunt Gilly was sick in there with me too. And then we all got sent to Canada, and it was good for a long time. She's been the only mom I ever had. She's very matter-of-fact about it.

It is a good thing that the Sumter household is only down the street and around the corner from Gillian’s. This means it doesn’t take long for Kaylee to make her way down by foot. It might have taken a bit longer then she planned, because a certain little girl was upset that she couldn’t come with. She’ll have to make it up to Joseph later, leaving him with an angry pre-teen.

When the door opens, Kaylee offers Gillian a lopsided smile. “You said to hurry down.” Unlike the last time they saw their ‘aunt,’ the telepath is dressed in simple clothing, jeans and a t-shirt. Looking more like herself really, then the corporate suit. “How have you been?”

Joe frowns when Lance doesn't even bother engaging him, the frown a deep one. Yeah there's definitely something going on between them. Something that's not going to be fixed right now. And that draws Joe's features down that much further. He notices Squeaks's looks back and forth, and offers her a small smile, meant to be reassuring but probably not accomplishing a whole lot since he can't really reassure her on this particular issue.

Joe doesn't touch his food, just kind of pokes around at it with his chopsticks. Which is a rarity in and of itself. He's never not hungry, so him not eating a sign of just how uneasy he is. Both from the video and what they saw, and whatever is going on between him and Lance. He pokes the chopsticks at his noodles a little bit, twirling the noodles onto them, then letting them slip back into the bowl.

"I know we don't have to do it alone Aunt Gilly. That's why we're here. To bring it to other people. This threat is big Aunt Gilly. It's not something that should or probably could be taken on alone. It'll need people working together." Joe quiets for a moment, sitting and thinking. "But I don't trust the government to get anything done. If they even believe any of it. It'll take months or more for them to decide on any kind of action taken and… meh." Joe has zero trust in the government.

“We've told you some about Brian. Brian is her brother." Joe remarks to Caspian as Gillian clarifies her history with the LHK's. "But yeah, the thing saw us. It talked to Lance directly. Like by name. And I think it also talked to Squeaks too. Stuff about the underworld belonging to her. I think." Joe's shoulders lift up, then drop back. When Aunt Kaylee comes in he looks up with a quick smile. "Hiya again Aunt Kaylee. Um. We've been okay. I mean recovering, better after you got rid of the mind demon Fear Monger thing from our heads. How are you?"

"It said Lance," Squeaks supplies. Joe's smile only earns him a longer look. Having been by herself for so long, she doesn't understand the fighting between the brothers. Her arms loop around her legs and her gaze picks out Gillian from the group. In small movements her toes tap together lightly. "After this really bad, really loud screech. And all the lights started to flicker and the whole house shook like an earthquake. It…she. They? Wanted out."

The younger girl's hands come up and she forms interlinking Os with her thumbs and forefingers. "Like this. The rings were like this. We all heard it talking to us. Eye to eye. That's what it said."

The door opening draws a look. Squeaks' suspicion returning in full force until Kaylee steps inside. She doesn't actually totally relax, but she mimics the relief of the other teens. The aunts are here, things should start to make sense now. "If those voices come back," she begins, brave words in a quiet voice. The threat goes unsaid, but given her reaction before, and the I will stomp you look she shoots to the lunchbox, valuables should probably be stowed out of reach.

“It said— “ Lance’s mouth is full, so he swallows before clearing his throat, “It said ‘Lance, they cannot defeat what they cannot find’.” He still looks a little shaken by the whole incident, although at Squeaks’ wariness about the tape he leans over, nudging her shoulder with his reassuringly.

The appearance of Kaylee gets a wan smile, and he offers a bit ruefully to their ‘aunt’, “We got involved in weird shit again. Squeaks found a haunted videotape. It… uh. I mean I don’t really wanna play it again, but— I think you and Gillian should see it.” A pause, “Maybe we can— turn it off before the end part, though?” With the eye. And the voice. And the shaking of the house.

Caspian looks over to Gillain with a shrug and a forlorn look. “They’re like cats. I let them come and go as they please, give them a safe place to sleep, and feed them pretty regularly. They’re the ones that come and tell me what they’ve found and what they’ve done.” He pointedly does not go into any detail about what they’ve done - sewer treks, outside the safe zone exploration, and now this - leaving Gillian to fill in the rest. “I just try to help get them out of trouble if I can, and if I can’t, get them to people who can help. They say you can help and this tape?” He looks to the lunchbox. “This tape could be trouble. Or salvation. I don’t know which.”

Caspian’s bowl of noodles is half-done when Kaylee walks into the house. He looks over, hurriedly slurping the noodles he’s eating up and wiping the back of his mouth with his sleeve, the bowl set on his lap, chopsticks across it. “In the event that the events of the tape just happened the one time and it doesn’t say it again or shake the house, We’ll fill in what happened and what it said.”

“The kids came upon something that they both want to show us and don’t at the same time.” That’s the shortest explanation that she can think of for the blonde telepath as she waves her deeper inside and into the living room, where a VCR of all things has been set up.

When Joe says he doesn’t trust the government she gives him a sideglance. Because. Well. Gillian practically is the government. The Citizen’s Watch may not be one of the agencies, but they certainly did have a system and they made decisions and— yeah. They were already going to the government, whether he wanted to or not. And he had more family than just her that were involved, too.

Rings. Circles. Of gold. Eye to eye.

Gillian responds softly, in a whispered voice, “They were eyes.” It’s soft, but it’s loud enough that a few could hear it, and Brynn definitely caught it in the known patterns of the way she spoke. But she looks disturbed. This isn’t the first time she’d heard about something like this.

“… her eyes burned the hottest gold I've ever seen. She is everything.. not constrained by time and space or law and order..”

At first Eve had sounded awed. As if she wanted her to appear. Wanted to meet her, wanted to find her. And then when they attempted it, things had gone… poorly.

“Sh.. sh..she..she saw me.”

And she had gone blind. “Were any of you hurt? When she saw you? Or were you just spooked? Cause this sounds similar to dreams that Eve has been having, lately. Do you remember Eve?” She hadn’t exactly been an aunt like Gillian and Kaylee, but Eve had been around occasionally. She’d even left two dogs to help protect them (and scare away more ferals) after Denisa had been killed by dogs. Those two dogs had even gone to Canada with them, where they grew old and eventually died.

“She has prophetic dreams.” She had been the reason they had been moved off the island before the siege had begun, too. “She had been dreaming of a woman with golden eyes, someone who she felt existed somehow… outside of time, I guess? And now she’s in the hospital. Blind. Because she said that she saw her.”

We see Aunt Eve around pretty often, Brynn signs, her gray eyes wary. She looks very alarmed by the fact that Eve is now blinded by her exposure to… whatever was on this tape. None of us were hurt — although it made my head vibrate like crazy when she talked in it, she tells Gillian. But now she too is giving the aluminum lunch box somewhat disgruntled looks. Shaking her head a little, she signs to Kaylee and Gillian, Just watch it… I'm gonna close my eyes this time. She looks grim as Lance asks if we can avoid the end part maybe and nods in agreement with him. She's got a tight hold on Squeaks, who seems pretty much as shaken as she herself is. It kinda sounds like Joe's right… that it really was the comic book guy he knows in the tape, she observes.

“Sounds a bit ominous,” Kaylee comments blandly to Gillian as she heads into the living room noticing who all is gathered there. Of course, the conversation suddenly registers with her, “A possessed tape?” She can’t hide the touch of amusement. “Sounds that rather B-movie.”

Lance’s comment gets a chuckle, reaching over she gives his hair an affectionate ruffle. “Weird shit seems to be the name of the game these days. Much to your Uncle Joseph’s dislike.” He’d rather it stayed far away. A part of her did too, but she also realized… she had kind of missed it or at least a deeper part of herself.

Then it is on to golden eyes, prophetic dreams, and of all things Eve. “Wait…” Kaylee turns her attention back to Gillian. “Eve’s blind?” She points to the TV waiting for them. “Because of whatever it is we are going to watch? Maybe?” Now the telepath was a little less certain about this venture, even though curiosity and temptation to find out is pretty strong.

"Don't look at me like that Aunt Gilly. Just because there's a few trustworthy people in the government doesn't mean it's not still the same monster that it was. You guys has friends in the government too. You had supporters all over. And the government still pulled what it did. I don't trust them as a body. I probably never will after everything that happened." Joe's shoulders lift in a half shrug, but he does nod his head along with Squeaks and Lance's reiterations of what the video tape said. "I'm pretty sure the tape won't' show the Void and what it says this time around." This evil has a nickname now too.

"Actually that's part of why I wanted Aunt Kaylee to come. One she's awesome and capable. But two, she's also a telepath and I think could read my mind while I replay what happened in the room so she can verify what happened on the tape if it doesn't happen again. Which I'm pretty sure it won't. That felt like some kind of temporal event. Like we were connected to what was happening on the tape while it was happening." Joe's shoulders roll in a half shrug. "Doesn't make sense otherwise. The electricity issues, it speaking directly to Lance and what not. Unless it could see the future, but that still doesn't explain the havoc with the electricity and the TV still running after Cas unplugged it." Joe hears that whispered statement from Gillian, and watches her, tipping his head slowly. "They were eyes. Sounds like you've already run into the Void. Everyone was spooked, but Brynn was hurt. Not like injured hurt but…" Joe puffs his cheeks out a little bit and goes quiet, still poking at his noodles but not eating them.

"Sounds like Aunt Eve should be here too. Could do with a good tubaing right now." A faint forced attempt at a smile from the Jojo before he huffs out a sigh. "I'll go visit Aunt Eve in the hospital. Didn't know she was in there. You in Brynn?" He asks, glancing to her, his hands moving as ever to translate for his sister. "But yeah… this would mean Magnes and Elizabeth are alive if this tape is legit and I don't see any way it's not. Especially given well… we should let you guys watch it. And we're not blind and we watched it. So it should be fine. But pretty sure it's not gonna show this time and you're gonna have to look in my head. Just a gut feeling. Cas you wanna do the honors and get us started?”

A finger finds its way to lightly touch on Lance’s arm. Squeaks seems glad for the shoulder bump. Just like she’s relieved with Joe filling in the rest of the holes in what happened the first time they watched the tape. And Brynn holding onto her too. If not for that, she might be trying to grab that lunchbox and running. It was all well and good, saying that they should tell people about what happened. But showing the video, now being realized as that’s what they’re doing? She’s not particularly fond of that plan.

But the younger girl goes with it anyway, giving just the tiniest of nods to Caspian to start the video up after first looking at the elder teens. If they’re sure…

“It’s okay,” Lance whispers to Squeaks, giving her an encouraging smile when she looks at him. Then he’s looking back over to Gillian, his brow furrowing in worry, “Whoa, whoa, that thing blinded Aunt Eve?” Sure, they called her Crazy Aunt Eve but that doesn’t mean they didn’t care about her.

He glances at the lunch box more warily, then back to Gillian and Kaylee, “No, nobody was hurt — I mean, Brynn wasn’t comfortable, it was hurting her head a little, but that stopped. The whole place was shaking though.”

The look from Squeaks is enough and Caspian takes the lunchbox, setting it on the coffee table next to his bowl of noodles and opens it to reveal a simple videocassette. Lifting it out he shows Gillian and Kaylee the label - Magnes Ruiz: Attempt Two - written in black marker on the label. Turning and sitting cross-legged by the VCR, he pushes the tape in and turns the TV on. “Here we go.”

Caspian does not say ‘hold on to your butts.’ That went so well last time. He presses play on the tape, realizes it needs to be rewound, rewinds it, and then once it’s at the beginning again, sits back to watch what he’s seen before.

Just in case people need it again...

What happens on the tape is a lot to absorb all at once. Even when the poltergeist effects don’t happen, Gillian is still leaning forward and watching intently. She recognizes so many of the people on this tape. Not Ruiz, but she’d heard of him too. Eve mentioned that ‘Otter guy’ and she knew that Lynette had gotten married and changed her name. She kept tabs on most of the people from the Ferry, to know what they had been up to.

The mention of Mala and Denisa hits her like a punch in the stomach. 11/8/11. She knew that day, so did everyone. It had been the day of the second bomb. And the day that Magnes Varlane and Elisabeth Harrison had died in Alaska. But this video showed them? Another them? A future them?

Even the brit. Something about him felt familiar. But she couldn’t place it. Where had she heard him before?

Her own name being mentioned also sends a shock down her, but she’s too busy leaning in and trying to focus on what she’s seeing— trying to see if this thing that had heard happens again.

And it doesn’t. “Was— was that everything?” Had they imagined something? Had there been something else there at the time they had viewed it the first time that wasn’t present now?

Her eyes slide toward Kaylee, not even needing to use words to express how— potentially monumental this tape happened to be. “More people need to see this. Robyn. Eve— though I guess she can’t…” She rubs a hand over her face. Richard. Richard needed to see this. Richard is gone right now, isn’t he? she thinks toward the woman, hoping that she’s thinking hard enough for her to hear it. “I should have called Lynette too. She was actually on this.” Though the Benchmark would have been a longer drive than the walk from the Sumnter house.

Well….that's actually what Joe and Caspian theorized would happen. Brynn signs to Gillian, That's the whole thing, except that all of the weird stuff is gone! She looks a little indignant, actually. Aunt Kaylee can scan us and show you, if she wants — because the stuff that happened before was definitely real. She had the headache to prove it! We definitely thought that you and Aunt Kaylee and Mister Mateo and Aunt Lynette should know about this, though. Cuz… Joe thinks that comic book guy — Magnes? — and the other lady are people from our world who landed over there. That's his theory anyway. I don't really understand why or how or anything, but …. She shrugs. Science is not her forte.

By time the video is done, Kaylee is standing there with a hand pressed over her mouth. Brows are furrowed and eyes narrowed. Her mind is currently going over what she saw, comparing it to another experience she had.

Finally, her hands slides off her face, and exhales out a… “Well…” Out of the ear shot of the kid, Kaylee’s mental voice whispers in Gillian’s mind. «Call Lynette. Now. Tell her what the kids found. See if she wants to see it today… or we can set up a time.»

Blue eyes fall on Caspian. “Did you say something about having a copy?” Kaylee’s mind is in full motions. “Any way to get my hands on it.” To Gillian, she adds a worried, «Thank goodness, Richard is away. This… this needs to be broached delicately with him. Last thing we need is him so obsessed to reach her, he becomes that which people fear.» Another part of her reasoning, “There are other… worlds out there and this might just be the proof there is. Every big event causes a split. Like the kids traveling back.” Of course, they had that proof long ago. “Maybe in that world, Liz and Magnes might be alive.” She sighs softly. It’s obviously she is torn in wanting to believe the woman her brother loves is actually alive.

Look at the kids, “You all saw more?” She makes sure to include Brynn by signing with her words. There is a moment of hesitation. “Would you trust me to take a look?” She can’t believe she is asking that…

Joe’s cheeks puff out for a few seconds before he speaks up. "See, I know that's not our Mateo. Because our Mateo was in Mexico adopting Silvia when this went down. Also our Mateo? Can barely portal something across a room. Let alone open a wormhole into time and space like that. Also, definitely not our Lynette. But that is our Magnes. Comic book man specifically said he wasn't going to let their Denisa and Mala die like ours. Unless that Magnes and that Elizabeth or both from another alternate reality? They're ours. Don't know the how of it, or the why, though Magnes mentioned something about his and Mister Ruiz's powers interacting so…" Joe’s hands move as fast as his mouth, translating for Brynn the entire time.

Joe's shoulders shrug a bit. "I've gotten awful chalk about this awful fast but… Brian." And he is definitely Brian's kid. There's a small smile from him. "That's a big part of why I wanted you to be part of this Aunt Kaylee. So I could show you my memories of what happened." Joe isn't asking one of the other LHK's or Caspian to live through that again in their head. He's gonna do that. "I actually wanted Lady Zeus and Mister Ruiz to be here for the first viewing but I was slightly over ruled there. Lance and Brynn wanted to come right over to you." Because Gillian makes them feel safer.

"We know that some of our caretakers when we were young are from one of those futures. Like Cash. It's where our words came from. Which I argued is a paradox. If we only know Primal and Chalk and stuff cuz it was brought back to us, then they only knew it in that future because it was brought back to us in the first place. Paradox. I made Lance's head hurt. Though to be fair I make Lance's head hurt constantly." A small grin from the bulletproof kid at that.

He steps forwards, lifting a hand and resting it on Kaylee's shoulder. "Don't worry Aunt Kaylee. We'll get it all figured out. I spent the time after the video cementing what happened in my mind, so my memories are probably the clearest. Had a gut feeling we'd need a telepath to verify the memories. Can you share them afterwards? Or link Aunt Gilly into my mind too? People will believe you two where they wouldn't believe us. And Caspian is a grown up but he's also one of us." A quick grin at that. Caspian is tainted by association. "I'm ready when you are." He smiles and waits, dropping his hand from Kaylee's shoulder and letting it rest at his side. "Let’s do this."

In anticipation of the scary things that happened before, Squeaks puts her hands to her ears when Caspian starts up the video. She heard the poltergeist the first time, thank you. No need to nag. And she isn't so sure about letting out the owners disembodied voices anyway. Especially not ones that make people go blind. And by the time the second half starts, she's half hiding her face also.

But then none of that scary weird stuff happens.

When the lights don't flicker and the house doesn't shake, Squeaks slowly lets her hands down. Confusion washes over the fear she'd had only minutes ago. That's not what happened before. "It didn't do that thing." She looks first at Brynn then Lance then Joe and Caspian. "There's no voice this time. The house didn't shake." She twists in her seat to look at Gillian and Kaylee. "It really happened. But not this time. There were voices and those circles, and the lights going on and off. And the house shaking! It really happened."

Her rambling insistence is followed up with a nod after Joe volunteers to go first. Squeaks isn't so sure about mind melding. She watched the older teens go through it with the fear monger thing and they came out okay. But if Aunt Kaylee needs more than one point of view… "Okay."

As the tape winds down, without the effects of last time, Lance breathes out a sigh of relief. “I guess Cas was right, whatever it was is— expended, I guess?” He looks to the other teenagers, then back, “Yeah, Aunt Kaylee, we all saw it. Joe was probably watching it the closest, so…”

He grimaces, “It really did happen.”

He draws in a slow breath, “Do you— do you think he’s right? Can he bring Mala and Denisa back?” A look of hopeless hope to the adults, terrified to actually believe such a thing but desperate to.

Caspian sits and watches the tape for the second time, glancing from face to face, watching the people watching the tape instead of the tape itself. He's seen it. As it moves to the second part, with the portals and Magnes walking through the nothing and reappearing in the tape, he braces himself for the inevitable but, thankfully, nothing happens. There's no shaking, no voice - only static from the radio, and no logo is shown.

“It really did happen.” Caspian’s voice is soft as he looks to the two other adults. “The golden ring logo isn't showing here, but it burned into the screen of my TV, so we can show that as physical proof of something occurring. And yes, I do have a copy. On the laptop.” He gestures to his backpack, unzipping it and pulling out a battered black laptop, sitting it across his knees, flipping the screen open. “A tape from an unknown origin, played for the first time after god knows how long? I wanted to make sure that if it was something important and the tape decided to eat itself, we could look back. So.” The laptop gets a tap. “I made a digital capture.” He logs in, the blue of the desktop shining on his face for a second, a thumb drive plucked from one of the backlack’s side pockets. He plugs it in, the familiar *donk* of hardware being plugged in happening. The thumb drive is formatted and the video tested to see if it plays - it does - before a keystroke starts it copying. “I haven't watched this version yet, but I'm going to guess that it won't have the poltergeist stuff involved, The laptop was wired in between the TV and the camera, so this is a direct digital copy of the tape.”

He looks to Kaylee, then the LHK’s, then nods. “Take a peek, if you need to. The more people who know what we saw, the better. Right now it's the five of us that experienced it. Could be explained away as mass hallucination or something. What we saw was real, and frankly, ma’am, it frightened the hell out of me.”

“We believe you,” Gillian responds, assuring the younger people that they’re not going to get doubt from them, even without needing the telepathy. But she looks worried, either way. Richard might react very badly to this. How would she have reacted if she had the chance to possibly save someone who she thought she had lost?

For a moment, the blonde might even hear that she’s thinking about Peter before she stands up and focuses on the task at hand. Getting her phone out and searching for the number that she had for Lynette the last time they spoke briefly.

“The world the kids came from won’t come to be here, trust me on this. No paradoxes,” Not only did the war happen earlier, but the father of her child who travelled back happens to be very dead. And even if he weren’t, she knows she was supposed to have a son by now. Who she dedicated a book to, because he would never be born. The words the kids brought and the children themselves were all that was left of that future.

And this could be another one. The tape could be another one. “Do you think Barbara could get anything off the tape?” she asks out loud, thinking of the postcog who had been a major help in the Ferry and one of its leaders back in the day, but she’s half talking to herself as she paces away, dialing the number. The phone doesn’t connect, however. “Effing cell phone service.” And the service is best in this area, too.

“I’ll take one of those copies. See if I can get it to her in person later. Unless you see her more often, Kaylee.” She’s focused so much on what they need to do she’s not quite thinking about going head diving yet. The poltergeist effect worries her, but…

Brynn seems more than a little relieved that Kaylee and Gillian both are taking it seriously. And honestly? Now that it's handed off to people she considers eminently more qualified to deal with Strange Shit, the deaf teen is much happier. It's a serious thing, time travel — she knows it, the other LHKs know it, and the adults who raised them know it. It's a real Thing. But it's also so far outside the realm of experiences for her, generally speaking, that "woefully inadequate to deal with whatever it means" does not begin to cover how inept she feels about the idea that we might have had to do something about it. Mentally, she kind of dusts off her hands cuz now it's up to people who have a clue!

She reaches out to hold Lance's arm. Because Mala and Denisa…. That's a whole other kettle of fish there. And she is afraid to believe in the idea that this guy Magnes, who she barely remembers meeting maybe once or twice, might be able to pull off such a feat. She does warily point out one thing, though… and it's something she is reluctant to say or think (because if Kaylee is listening, she'll hear it) but probably needs to be said. Even if we went way out on a limb here and believed that these were the two people from here who got sucked into the black hole, because even she has heard a little of that rather fantastic tale, if the date stamp on the recording is correct… this was like 7 years ago. I … would kind of think that if they were able to do something like this and come back, wouldn't they have already done it? Or… potentially… gotten themselves killed inside another black hole trying? She doesn't say that part, though. It's bad enough that she's sort of pointing out the one Hope Crushing Aspect of all of this — the assumption that those people still survive now.

Hands come up and she offers a reassuring smile to the teens. “I believe you. You know I’ve seen a lot of weird stuff.” More since, which she doesn’t elaborate on. “So I do not doubt you, it’s just hard being of any help without all the information. I am not my dad.” That sent Gillian’s way, since she know exactly who that is, the man mentioned several times.

“If that is them, it means they found him at least. Barring anyone else.” Yes, despite who he is, Kaylee see sees him as a viable option. “Edward Ray would have been a good person to know.” She motions at Brynn with a hand and a nod. “She is right though. That tape is old enough anything could have happened. Clearly, they were making a portal. Who knows what world they could be… or if they succeeded at all.” Hence, her hesitation for giving Richard that hope without preparation. “And I haven’t seen Barbara in a very long time.” Running a business, you tend to let people fall away.

“Now…” Kaylee’s attention turns to Joe. “Let’s see what the tape didn’t show us. Hmm?” Reaching up, just like when she removed the shadows from his head, Kaylee’s fingertips touch the teen’s temple. She is already looking for the proper spot, finding it, the telepath glances over at Gillian. “You want to go?” she asks the other woman like they are planning some sort of car ride. Even as she asks that, the woman goes quiet as she pulled herself and Joe into his head.

Joe smiles at Squeaks, a quick but encouraging smile before his smile slips into a frown at Lance's words. "I hope so. But remember they wouldn't be… our Mala and Denisa. We don't even know if they will have ever known us. If there was a lighthouse there or anything for them to be part of. But… I hope they save them too." There's a sort of bleak hope on Joe's features with that wish. He doesn't want to get his hopes up, but he really hopes their friends can be saved, even if they're from a different world.

"Uhh I see Lady Zeus pretty regularly. We're friends with Silvia, her adopted daughter. So I can take a copy of the tape to them and make sure they see it. No probs." Joe, being helpful, with a wide grin in place as he says it. “Oh yeah, that reminds me. Was the Edward Ray they mention in that video someone related to you guys Aunt Kaylee? It just seemed kinda coincidental. And experience and Brian have taught me that there’s no such thing. I know Ray isn’t an uncommon last name but… well.” His features scrunch up a little bit. “Sorry, you mentioned your father and it reminded me to ask you. Cuz I was asking about that when we watched the tape the first time.”

Joe nods his head slowly to Kaylee as she reaches her hands for his noggin. He’s already focusing, bringing the memories into the fore, remembering them as clearly as he can so that the recall is as best as it can be. “Never tried to do this. But dad explained the process to me.”

Disentangling herself from herself since there’s no longer any real need to hide, legs dropping so she’s no longer hiding behind her knees and hands folding in her lap, Squeaks …watches. Even though there’s not a lot to see from where she sits, since it’s all inside Joe’s head right now. Her feet bounce up and down lightly in anticipation, eyes going from Kaylee to Gillian to Joe.

Her feet pause a few seconds in and she holds a breath like she might say something. But that passes, and Squeaks shakes her head. Whatever it was will be held for later. Her toes tap together, picking up where the bouncing feet left off. “We forgot the cards again,” is a fully formed aside, some small time later and directed at Brynn so she can see the words and get the joke.

“I know, I know, but…” Lance’s nose wrinkles. He wants to believe that there’d be a way to save their Mala and Denisa, but he knows there’s not. What happened, as the saying goes, happened. He shifts on the couch, watching as Kaylee starts the process with Joe, digging into his noodles as he waits.

There wasn’t weird happenings again, so he’s regained his appetite.

At Squeaks’ comment, he shoots her a bemused look, swallowing noodles and asking, “Cards?”

“I guess there was a lot of sitting around the last time you came and visited your aunt?” Caspian rewinds the tape and plucks it from the VCR, tucking it back inside the Ghostbusters lunch box and closing it with a rattle. “Got an old Gameboy with Pokémon on it of you want to kill some time that way, Squeaks. Front pocket. It's blue and flips open. Game is in it already. Might be a deck of cards in there, too. And a chocolate bar.”

He then turns to Brynn to get her attention and does try to sign but gets frustrated and just does the words he knows, speaking slowly and clearly as he does. “If they succeeded or failed, we will never know, Brynn. It may help to think of time like a line, with us in the middle.” Out comes his sketch pad, flipped to a clean page, and a marker - Black- draws a straight line. He adds a green dot to the center of the page, with the line equal on either side.

“So.” He taps the page. “This is us. This is the time we are in now, stretching into infinity in all directions.” Another marker, red this time, comes out. “This is whatever event got Mags and Elsbeth into the place they are.”

Red dot is placed before green - far before - another line drawn up and across the page, parallel to the black line, at an angle toward the top corner. “Whatever little change they experienced shunted them on to a different track, and their….experiments? Whatever it is they're doing in biohazard suits, might get them here.” He makes a dotted line to the original timeline. “Or on to another track entirely.” A purple line is added, the page looking a little confusing with all the lines.

“If they made it back before this time, we'd never know. Time would change around them and become real. We'd all be in a new timeline because that's all we'd have and have ever known. You can't unthrow a rock into a pond. The ripples will spread and everything changes almost instantly.”

“If they make it after and change things? The future is going to get even more interesting than anyone would have guessed.”

Caspian grumbles quietly. “We really need to sit down and watch Back to the Future. It fills in a lot of this theory and makes it accessible.”

Mala and Denisa. That topic is very difficult for Gillian, but she holds it together quite well with small nods of sorrow instead of outright tears or anything. Even if it breaks her heart to think about what happened to them. She had been with Mala as she died, even, pulled into her dream along with a few other people to give her one final happy moment before she left them. The thought still haunted her, though she had loved Delia for doing that for her too.

“I can take a tape to some people, we should probably mitigate this. There’s a lot of people who need to…” she trails off in her thoughts, pacing a little more now that Chandra has completely claimed her spot in the comfortable chair. The fluffy ginger is trying his best to take up the whole spot, sprawling out with his legs even. He’s used to people tensions. He lived with the Lighthouse Kids for some time, after all.

But then Caspian starts to explain time travel and timelines. And she stops pacing and looks over, eyebrows raising the more he explains. After a moment she glances toward Kaylee and gives her one of those looks. “I can tell you for a fact that time travel doesn’t work like Back To The Future. If it did, someone I care about would have disappeared.” And more people that they know might have too.

I kind of feel like we were just mansplained., Gillian thinks at Kaylee, though she sounds more amused than anything else. After all, she has time travelled. She wears a locket around her neck that she’d been given by her real mom who died when she was three years old when she tried to warn them about what would have killed them.

And her daughter who worked at the radio came from a future that will never happen, where she’ll never be born. And she didn’t start disappearing like Marty McFly the moment her father died.

But to the question at hand, Kaylee does get a nod. She’ll come along into the mindscape, and even starts to slowly feed some energy in the telepath’s direction. Cause she knows how much the mindscape can take out of her from the few times she’d been there when she’d used it.

Brynn has zero idea of Back to the Future, but she does know that future people who come back from the future don't just disappear after they change a timeline. As to whether stuff changes in the present when people change things in the past? Way over her head. She has enough high school science to have a 'graduation' certificate. That's about the extent of her understanding. Aunt Gilly, … do you think that if those people really are from here that they will ever be able to get home? She doesn't even know whether to hope for that or not, honestly, at enough distance from the situation so that the only thing that really impacts her is the idea that somewhere… Mala and Denisa survived. That's a gift.

If there is a way to explain what happens when Kaylee hears Caspian explain time, it would have the sound of a record needle scratching across vinyl suddenly. The process of taking people into Joe's mindscape comes to a screeching halt. What did she just hear?

An amused glance goes to Gillian and there is the faintest nod to whatever was in the woman’s head. To Caspian, however, Kaylee says, “Take it from someone who has traveled and been lost in time… It is not, in fact, a line.” Her head tilts a little, eyes narrowing slightly. “You do have one thing right. Every action has multiple options and each time there is a choice, time splits. Think of it as a giant spider web or at least, that is how my father, Edward Ray, saw it. Here..” Kaylee taps the side of her own head. “I’ve seen my father’s mind map.” Gillian, of course, is probably the only one who knows that.

Looking at each of the kids, she continues, “If they did find a way to jump between worlds, they could be anywhere. However, with those suits. I think they were… well…” she looks at Gillian. “They were in a world where the Vanguard succeeded to infect people. If they got out of there, they could be anywhere, any world. Looking through time is one things, looking between worlds is a whole ‘nother thing.” Not that she didn’t plan to at least try, but… sometimes the harsh truth needs to be told.

“I want a copy of what’s on there,” she directs to Caspian, “And I will take it to Mateo and Lynette. I have some things to discuss with them about it.” That directed to Joe. There are somethings that don’t need multiple ears. “Okay… Now that’s done.” That said she holds a hand out to Gillian and presses fingers into Joe’s temple. It won’t take long before the three of them stand within Joe’s mind, which at the moment looks a lot like Caspian’s apartment, it is so much easier with the other woman’s help.

"Uh yeah, not exactly there Cas. Cuz Cash is still here. And all our friends from the future are still here. Even though their future won't happen now. So it doesn't work like back to the future. Though that's not a bad basis for the theory it's not right either." Joe flashes their friend a quick smile, then pauses as others explain the incorrect on time thing. He goes quiet then, no need to gang up on the guy after all. He does nod his head to what Kaylee and Gillian say, but then goes quiet as Kaylee's fingers press to his temple again. He's recalling the memories as best as he can, so it speeds through the rather ordered structure of his mind and to Caspian’s place. Pulling Gillian and Kaylee into his memories with him. “That is so primal.” Joe mutters in regards to the whole trip into his own mind bit.

“Okay. I’m not sure what all might be different so I’m going to start at the beginning okay?” He looks to Kaylee and Gillian with a quick grin before he concentrates and the memories begin to roll forwards, the figures of the kids and Caspian all gathered around his TV on the floor. “Okay. Most of the dialogue will be the same. A lot of the differences are going to be here in the room. There’s really only a few lines spoken by The Void. And it speaks in two different voices. But I’ll let you guys see it in all it’s terrifying glory.” And Joe does, letting his memories roll forwards, his eyes closing as he concentrates on the memories. The lights sputter, the room shakes, Brynn screams as a voice shouts in her head. But Kaylee and Gillian can definitely hear the voice of what Joe calls The Void this time around. And can see the golden eyes on the TV this time, the after image burning into Caspian’s TV.

They’ll also get a little bit of Joe yelling at everyone for trying to stop the video and potentially destroying any intel on whatever that thing is. Once Joe realizes what’s going on he stops his playback of his memories. “Uhh yeah. That happened too. But we can ignore that yeah?” He puffs out his cheeks, a frown pulling at his mouth as he exhales. “So that’s… yeah. That’s that.”

“Joe forgot to bring cards when Aunt Kaylee was mind melding last time,” Squeaks explains. The look she gives Lance is a little perplexed. He was standing right there when it was said. But then, maybe, the mind meld makes you not hear things that aren’t in your head? Her face scrunches, nose wrinkling as she looks at Joe, Kaylee, and Gillian. “Is a Gameboy like a DeLorean?”

She doesn’t wait for an answer, and she doesn’t go digging around in Caspian’s backpack. Because she’s finally turning her attention onto the food that was brought out. Probably cooled a lot by now, but that’s okay. Squeaks helps herself to a bowl while watching the absence of scary things happening, and letting the science of fiction wash over her.

“Oh. You mean when she was in my head…?” Lance digs again into his noodles, fork twirling within them and then coming up to his mouth again until they’re all gone. Something said then has him look up, and after slurping down that final mouthful he’s blinking over to Squeaks, “Wait, how do you know what a DeLorean is but not a GameBoy?”

That’s what’s important here, clearly..

The copy of the video is finished transferring. Caspian pulls out the thumb drive, sets it on the table next to him, and finds another one to make a second copy. With Gillian and Kaylee rummaging around in Joe’s head (stay behind the lines, please, do not look behind the curtains), it’s a quiet few moments.

“She knows what a DeLorean is because we told her, Lance. Or, at least, she has an idea of what one is.” Caspian sits back in his chair, finishing his bowl of noodles, slurping them down and using his fingertip to get the last of the sesame oil in the bottom of the bowl. “Thanks for the clarification on time travel. I’ve never done it, so I use the sources I’ve got - mainly movies and TV shows.” He nearly suggests Kaylee and Gillian write a book but decides against that line of conversation.

The mindscape is jarring, and Gillian stays silent as she watches the ghostly events unfold within the mind of the young man who she had always considered her brother’s son. After all, when she had met him her brother had practically adopted him. Her original brother. The one she lost when Arthur attacked the Lighthouse. The hard part about her brother’s duplicate ability had been the uniqueness that had come with the different duplicates. In many ways, she had felt as if Joe had been all that was left of that man.

Her brow twists as she watches, her lips press together, and when it’s over she shakes her head at him. “It’s fine, Joe.” She’s sure that he had been on edge. “If it’s possible, can I get a piece of the camcorder? Do you kids remember Barbara? She’d been part of the Ferry, one of the leaders on the island, even. I think it would be a good idea to try and see if she could… get anything off of that.” That might be more difficult than showing a tape, but it would keep the evidence within the former extended family of the Ferry. Even if she knew exactly who Barbara worked for, now. She would just have to elicit a promise from her. To do this as former Ferry, not as her current job.

“Since it seems that the tape and recorder were found by you, Squeaks, I can take you with me.” Going as the full group seemed like a bad idea, after all.

Brynn watches worriedly, but nothing untoward happens. When they're through, she reluctantly signs for Gillian and Kaylee, The voice poked at me for not being able to hear them scream. Being useless. She drops her eyes back to the food on her plate, then, uncomfortable with the fact that telling them what was said draws attention to her insecurities — her weakness. But they need to know that it's preying on that part of people.

And whatever it is…. I don't think it's good. And it's strong.

There is an amusement as Kaylee lets Joe do his thing, only taking hold of his memories once he stops them. Suddenly, she will seem to pluck a film strip from the air and runs it over her hands. Pushing the memory back to the voices and letting it play again. Brows furrow deep, concern on her features. She backs it up again and listens. It brings back her own memory of voices over a radio.

«I know these voices.» She aims at Gillian. Letting it play one last time, before she releases them into the real world again.

“Gillian.. Keep that going?” The amping of the telepath’s abilities she means. “I need you all to think of the messages you heard on the TV that day.” She won’t have to drop into their minds for this part. She just wants to hear what they each heard to see if it was the same for them all. “This is a very powerful telepath,” she says softly to the woman next to her. That thought alone is scary to her.

Joe is Brian's son. In ways that the other LHK's aren't. He was with him before there was even a lighthouse. Some of the kids consider Gillian mom. Joe considers Brian his dad. Even took his name. Both names. Fulk and then Winters. And it took a long time for him to come to terms with the new and different Brian. Still the same, but not. He knew, even as a little kid that the man that rescued him was gone. That the new Brian was not the same one. And Joe still takes after the first Brian more than the second.

He jerks a little when they come out of his mind and memories, a shudder running through him. "Primal." Joe takes a moment to orient himself before looking back to Kaylee. "That was kinda cool what you did there. Turned it into a film reel. Do you have the memories now? LIke can you copy memories like that? Or was that why you played it through a few times? So you could remember it?" He looks from her, to Gillian, then around the group a little bit before he goes and has himself a seat. On the floor if need be. He's still not hungry, so doesn't reach for the noodles, but he needs to have a sit.

A bobbing head answers Lance’s question first. That time the whole group traipsed over to Kaylee’s office. “We didn’t have cards,” she explains around a mouthful of noodles. “So we just stared at each other when Aunt Kaylee was doing the mind meld.” There was also a skull that was found to be entertaining — or fascinating might be more appropriate — but she leaves that part out until her mouth is temporarily empty of food. Then she clacks her teeth together, just as she had done with the skull.

The next bite is nearly aborted to answer about DeLoreans and Gameboys, but Caspian fills that in for her. So it’s Gillian who gets the next deer-in-the-headlights look from Squeaks, with noodles strung between her mouth and the bowl. There’s probably still most of a camcorder on the floor at Caspian’s, and pieces scattered from where the case broke. So she nods slowly while finishing off that mouthful of deliciousness, then tacks on a vaguely nervous, “Okay,” about going with. As she leans forward to put her mostly emptied bowl onto the tray, she glances about to the older teenagers. It is okay, right?

Sitting back, she leans a little so her shoulder rests against Brynn’s. A little comfort offered in Squeaks’ own way. It’s given as Kaylee talks about thinking of what was heard. Because that whole experience was scary, and now she’s replaying those words over in her own head, and the older girl looks like she could use the support too.

“I should start carrying a deck of cards, then,” Lance muses at the explanation, pushing the bowl away now that he’s finished and re-settling on the couch, curling one leg underneath himself as he makes himself comfortable.

“It’s pretty primal,” he agrees with Joe’s estimate of ‘Aunt Kaylee’s ability, before reaching over past Squeaks to poke Brynn in the back of the head with two fingers. When she looks his way, he frowns at her, carefully signing as best he can in his current state You are not useless.

The instructions from the telepath then have him shifting to sit up, eyebrows raising a bit. “Think about what we heard? From the creepy voice? Alright, I can do that.” He screws up his face, focusing on that memory, uncomfortable as it is.

“I knew there were people who could do that sort of thing, but I've never met them.” The request for the camcorder gets a short thought, then a nod. “It got punted into the door by young miss Squeaks there and then pitched into a bucket on the lawn. I'm sure we can ding a chunk or two of the thing, but we thought the tape would be enough.” Note to self - when doing psychic stuff with these two, bring all items.

Having slept since then, Caspian sits back in the seat he claimed for himself and nods. “You got it.” He sounds a little nervous - after all, it's the first time anyone's mucked about up there before. He leans his head back and concentrates on the voice, on what was said, and on the gold rings burned into the screen of his television.

“It’s fine. Whenever you are able.” If this psychic residue was as strong as she suspects, it won’t matter if it takes a few days or a few weeks— though Gillian wonders if she’ll have to bring Barbara to see this television, too. “But don’t throw out your television, either.” Just in case.

As she did not hear the voice, she has nothing to think about other than the mindscape she’d seen. Instead she focuses on feeding the telepath extra energy, worried about the idea of a powerful telepath who can shake the room and burn golden eyes into a television. The closest thing she could think to compare it to had been the Nightmare situation all those years ago. But dreams were different, weren’t they?

When she’s better, you need to go see Eve, she thinks at Kaylee, shaking her head.

Brynn looks up at Kaylee when she asks to actually see it, and glances at Lance over Squeaks' head. She shoots him a faint smile, acknowledging what he just signed at her, and then sighs. But she lets Kaylee 'hear' what was said to her and see how it was said to her. Because honestly, it scared the hell out of her. And it gave her a monster headache too, what with feeling like her skull was vibrating with it. She's very grateful that didn't happen again when they watched it this time.

“So it was the same for each of you,” she murmurs softly. That was different then her own experience. “Thank you, Gillian” Kaylee nods to the other woman. ”I think, I have what I need.”

“I’ve heard those voices myself,” the telepath admits. What she doesn’t say, is that she listened to one of those voices. “Be careful out there until we can figure out what is going on.” She looks back at Gillian with a small smile, “I agree that we need to get the word out there. Let people closest to them know that as of, that day, we know they might have survived the raid.” Lips press together a little thoughtfully, looking to Gillian for guidance on this. “I’ll tell Richard when he gets back and I’ll go see Lynette and Mateo.” She smiles a little, though the worry is plain. “I’ll leave the rest up to you.”

Just one more thing on a growing plate of… well… crazy.

"Be careful. Yeah… that's not terribly likely. But we'll try Aunt Kaylee. I mean… we probably won't. Well I won't. Lance might. Brynn will. So that adds up to a maybe right? Caspian will be careful, but Squeakers is a rogue herself. But she's always careful. So that weighs up to a probably right? But yeah me definitely not." Joe isn't careful. It's just not in his nature. Unless being not careful might endanger someone he cares about. Then things get murky.

"I'd like to come with Aunt Kaylee. To see Lady Zeus and Mister Ruiz. I mean it's that or I sneak off to see them myself, probably before you get around to it. Totally willing to go with you, but not gonna be shut out of things. Unless you plan to pull mind mojo on me of course. Though that'd be a little obvious if I suddenly decided I didn't need to go. Not sure that anyone other than me would be upset about that but hey." Joe's shoulders shrug and he grins wide at Kaylee. Impetuous and stubborn. Not Brian's at all.

“I really do want to help with this, especially if it leads to more information about our missing people. And the potential return of lost sort of alternate reality friends.” Mala and Denisa. He’s trying not to get his hopes up, but there are still hopes there to be crushed. “Also Mister Ruiz totally needs to know he can open a portal to another world if he has the right catalyst. I wonder if Aunt Gilly could juice him up enough.” A slow slanted look over to said Aunt Power Booster.

She must have been expecting something… more. Because when Kaylee says she’s heard what she needed, Squeaks looks a little puzzled. Definitely not like any kind of mind melding like she’s seen before. She sneaks looks to the others, to see if they had the same reaction or not, then pops her shoulders up in a quick little shrug. Weird.

The admonishment to be careful, and Joe’s rambling about how he isn’t brings about a small grin. “I’m careful,” Squeaks states quietly. Except when she isn’t. Because for reals, traipsing around in the Underneath, alone, into unknown places doesn’t exactly rate as safe. And that’s not even considering bringing back possessed electronics. “I don’t get caught.”

Squeaks’ toes tap together. “Sorry I broke the camcorder.” But not for kicking it. She needed to make sure it wouldn’t do anything else. “It’s all in the bucket, like Caspian said. Except maybe the littlest pieces.” Her finger and thumb show what she means by littlest pieces, pinching super close together.

“Jesus Christ, Joe, don’t threaten to run around with this— this— stuff,” Lance rolls his eyes at his friend, “It’s sensitive as hell, this— this is the sort of thing that gets people killed.” Their little spat does, it seem, continue.

Even so, though… “You’ll let us know what’s up, though, right Gillian? Kaylee?” A frown, “I mean, even if they’re not— our people, they’re still them, right?” He looks to the others, then back, “Whatever reality, the Lighthouse is forever.”

“I’m sure they’ll let us know something.” Caspian says, his eyes opening after a second, the psychic probe over and done with. “Because if they know you like I know you, and I’m fairly sure they do, if they don’t end up telling you something, you’ll run off and try and figure something out yourself and that could cause all sorts of unforeseen problems that we aren’t equipped to deal with at all.”

As far as being careful? That’s a given. “I’ve got these guys a place to hang their hats. I’m pretty sure they’ve named it, or, at least, are working on it.” Caspian waves a hand idly. “I’ll leave the address in case you need to come visit for some reason - but let me know beforehand. The electric fence isn’t picky about who it bites. Well, maybe not Joe, but the meaning turns out to be the same.” Don’t touch the electric fence.

“I’m sure these four will stay under the radar. I can’t see them heading off and telling SESA or anyone that might be able to use this to figure things out.” The VCR is slowly being unplugged, the nest of cables left alone as things are looped around and tucked into his backpack. “II mean…I’m pretty sure that you’ll agree with me, but Mister Ruiz may not need to know he could possibly do stuff like this with the volume turned up. The less people who know that, the fewer might try to hunt him down to actually do it.” A thumb drive is offered to Gillian and a second one to Kaylee. “Thank you both very much for your time. I’ll have the TV stuck in the garage for observation purposes, and if Squeaks happens to find anything else creepy on her trips around the zone, we’ll be sure to let you know before we put on the show.”

Joe,” Gillian starts immediately after he finishes talking, looking at him with a mom-look of surprise. For many reasons, but mostly because, “Don’t even joke about that kind of accusation. Kaylee would never do that.” It would be illegal, for one, in many causes and downright immoral and that the kid would think she ever would to joke about it worries her. “Kaylee said she had something to discuss with them anyway and she might not be able to with you there. But we’re not trying to leave you out of this any of you.”

That was another thing she found personally insulting. “But we can’t go around in a pack and talk to everyone. We have to mitigate. People have jobs and lives and this kind of subject is especially touchy. It could affect people negatively and we need to approach it with caution. It also touches on personal information issues, too.”

This is almost as bad as when the kids had come back. How do they approach Elaine about this? Robyn? Sable? How do they approach Liz’s father or Richard ? They could cause a huge panic. “Just running to everyone’s house and showing the tape to everyone we can think of is not the way to go about this. We need to be careful with this information or it could end up in the wrong hands. Hands that could make sure we never find out what’s actually happening on this tape, or what it means.”

Gillian trusts the government more than she used to, but she doesn’t trust everyone in it or trust that there aren’t other groups working under the radar who might try to take what they have. “The more people who know right away, the less likely we will be able to control who gets the information and how it gets used. This is a dangerous thing, possibly even more dangerous than time travel.”

Which, yes, they have done. “I won’t keep you in the dark once we know something, but we also can’t just run around telling everyone, either.” Even the people on the tape, though she imagines they’ll be told. Same as Richard. Same as even probably Liz’s father. But they needed to approach it carefully.

“I do think we could go to Eve about this, though. Maybe not tell her everything, you can’t actually show her the tape until she recovers, but she’s been having dreams that might help us figure out what’s happening. We could all investigate and try to find out what we can while still being careful. You could even talk to Brian. Or Veronica.” After all, Vee was technically their step-mom.

Brynn is actually a little taken aback at Joe's adamance. She looks at Lance with a questioning gaze, and then when Lance makes plain his own feelings on the matter, she just looks distinctly uncomfortable. Her certainty in Gillian and Kaylee is absolute, just as it is with Brian. These people raised her — they would never do anything so shitty. Aunt Gilly, when you figure out what's actually happening, I think it would be really primal to know the full situation. It's hard not to be really curious. But I have to admit, if I looked at a tape like that and saw myself in it… I'd be pretty freaked out. So when you talk to Mister Mateo, Aunt Kaylee, make sure he's okay? she asks, glancing between the women. We really like him. And Silvia is one of theirs, so… it's important!

It is obvious that what Joe says to Kaylee cuts a little deep. There is a moment of surprise when she looks at the kid, but then it falls away into a hurt look. Even though she is capable of it and have done it in the past. Never, even on people she knows and trusts her. However, with Gillian jumping to her defense, the telepath doesn’t see a need to defend herself. Maybe, she doesn’t feel like she should have to.

The thumbdrive it taken from Caspian and he gets a small smile. “Thank you.” Kaylee sighs and looks at the thumbdrive before tucking it away safe. “I’ll be delicate with this news, Gillian, but word will eventually get out and… I think it is best he hears it from me.”

Kaylee takes a deep breath and offers a smile to the kids. “I best get back home. Joseph and I promised to take the kids to the park. Thank you for making me aware of this and I encourage you all to come see us if anything comes up.” She even signs a thank you to Brynn.

“I’ll show myself to the door,” Kaylee directs to Gillian. “This way you all can discuss who and who not to give this information, too.” She starts to move for the door and pauses giving a smile, “We’ll have to have tea some time.”

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