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Also Featuring:

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Scene Title Electrophysiology
Synopsis Nicole and Yi-Min take a calculated risk without knowing all the variables.
Date November 5, 2020

Raytech Industries Campus
Doctor Yeh's Lab

Jackson Heights
NYC Safe Zone

November 5th
4:12 pm

There should be a healthy amount of guilt at play here, but when Nicole steps into the lab and sheds her overcoat, there’s none of that. It’s late afternoon on a Thursday, and her husband doesn’t know where she is. — Well, not precisely. He knows she’s on the Raytech campus, but he believes she’s there to visit Yi-Min for a ladies’ night sort of thing. And she is here with Yi-Min, just not… in her apartment.

Zachery Miller has no idea what his wife has planned for the evening’s activities. If he did, she would probably be handcuffed to a radiator.

Retrieving an elastic from her pocket, Nicole starts dragging her fingers through her hair to sweep it up into a ponytail on top of her head so it won’t be in her face or otherwise in the way. With that done, she makes her way over to the small box with its grey sides and bright white face, with dials and dimmed panels that will no doubt illuminate to give readings once the equipment is on and in use.

One finger is dragged over the top of the machine with a sort of caution that overlays a fondness. Like someone reaching out to pet a kitten, but being uncertain if the adorable creature will bite or claw in return for the affection. Nicole hopes this one purrs.

Dragging her attention away from the object she hopes will bring them some answers, she moves instead to a nearby table, padded and fitted with restraints. There’s no hesitation from Nicole as she hops up and lays back, only a short exhale of breath. “Let’s do this.”

Meanwhile, Yi-Min hasn't moved.

At all.

Only her dark eyes move, watching Nicole strutting back and forth across the room in front of her. Though she is clad neatly in her white labcoat, she very much doesn't seem like she wants to be there at all, the oddest look for her in that attire. Displeasure renders the line of her lips small and hard.

The nature of the stare Yi-Min has Nicole fixed with would be much the same, if there weren't something distantly, almost desperately vehement about it. "Please," she starts slowly, because there are a million things she could say and she wants to be sure she chooses one that is crystal-clear. "Please," she says again, this time after an inhale. "Explain to me again why I agreed to this. This is madness. This is stupid, suicidal, well beyond the limits of sanity even in the wildest search for answers — and let me remind you, I have had to deal with your husband."

“Electroconvulsive therapy has been used safely for— a long ass time!” Nicole turns her head so she can look at Yi-Min with that look that says we’ve been over this. Because they have. Extensively. It took the better part of a month to convince her friend that they should do this.

And far more eloquently than she’s about to now. Buckle up.

“Also, I’ll just grab one of the emergency defibrillators from work and do it myself if you don’t want to supervise.”

Yeah, that would be why Yi-Min would agree to any of this insanity.

There’s a sort of manic energy to Nicole that hasn’t been seen in her in months. She is having the exact opposite reaction to this situation. There’s no fear for her own safety — which is precisely why Yi-Min is right to be worried — or that the outcome of this experiment of hers will be less than optimal.

With a sigh, Nicole sits up again, the better to gesticulate. “We’re just going to run a little bit of electrical current through my head and it’s going to—” Her hands come up on either side of her head and make a frenzied sort of motion that is probably meant to imply scrambling? The crazy eyes kind of sell it. “It’ll kick me out of this weird dreaming-while-awake state, and then I’ll probably wake up!”

There’s a beat and a quiet noise of frustration. That didn’t come out right. “It will either fix whatever’s going on with our heads, or maybe, if somehow I am some kind of fucked up Stepford Wife, maybe I’ll wake up wherever the real me is.” She’s given this some thought, clearly. Probably often at 3 AM and after too much tequila. “Or it could re-trigger my ability!” Nicole further posits. “The first time, I was struck by lightning! How bad can this be?”

Nicole holds up her hands, then crosses one over the other and makes a sweeping motion in front of her as she returns them to her proper sides. “No. This is going to be fine. You’re supervising, the machine is literally made for this, and Richard’s like next door with his creepy… whatever-it-is that he does now.” With renewed resolve, she lays back down again. “This is gonna work and we’re going to get some answers!

Go team bad decisions!

"Electroconvulsive therapy is used in the treatment of known mental disorders, Nicole. Not for circumstances that we still know close to nothing about, and thus could trigger any kind of reaction." Yes, they've had this argument before. No, Yi-Min isn't quite ready to give up yet. The knot of worry fixed to a keen, pleading point in her eyes says so, even if only a little further down, she already recognizes the inevitable.

"I know you are unconcerned for your own safety. And I have always respected your right to make your own terrible decisions; you know this well. But tell me that you have at least given thought to your children. What on earth am I supposed to tell Pippa, should things go wrong? How am I supposed to tell her that I am responsible for giving her mother irreversible brain damage? Oops, sorry— can't fix that with a 'sorry.'"

“If this is not a mental disorder,” Nicole reasons, “I don’t know what is!” She’s so close to being on the money about that, but not in the way she’s intending to be.

But the barb of Yi-Min’s words takes flight and pierces through Nicole’s defenses, embedding itself in the vulnerable muscle of her heart. The light and excitement drains out of her face and she looks away from the rational archer as she considers how to dress that particular wound.

“I’ve had all of that accounted for since February. If something happens — which it won’t — she’ll be taken care of.” There’s more to it than that. This well of self-loathing has been dug deep, but it’s not anything Nicole wants to get into. Not here, not now, not with anyone at any time, anywhere.

“I’ve made my peace with this.” And she isn’t about to suggest that isn’t selfish. “If I’m wrong? Eventually, she will too.”

In all honesty, Zachery wasn’t the one Nicole should've been worried about handcuffing her to the radiator so she couldn't do something like this.

But there is another side to Yi-Min's feelings regarding all of this, and its hidden face is briefly bared by her lack of an instant response. Beyond the swirl of powerful, legitimate concerns for her good friend's well-being— that which is currently focused into a high zenith of intensity in her expression— there is also a deeper core of silence inside her.

And in that silence, it appears as though Nicole's arguments have finally worn her down into defeat, which though completely true also discounts a subtler truth tucked into a little pocket of darkness:

Yi-Min wouldn't have agreed to this at all if she did not harbor her own desire for answers, in her way.

Even if this particular route is one she can walk down only with the deepest dread, something she feels emanating from her soul rather than from a place of active reason.

It may be the work of imagination, but Dr. Yeh seems much more aloof than before when breaks the spell by only shaking her head. Sadder, too, perhaps. She shifts from the spot where she had been standing so still, edging around the table so as to rearrange the pillow more comfortably behind Nicole's head. There, in front of the cords leading to the ECT machine, she hovers in a last moment of closeness. "Last chance to change your mind," she murmurs with brows drawn together, letting a hand rest gently on one of Nicole's shoulders from behind.

Nicole shakes her head quickly. “Nope. I’m all in.” But the enthusiasm is gone from her voice now. She’s coming down off whatever high she’d worked herself up to in order to convince herself that this won’t go horribly awry. That she won’t leave her daughter an orphan.

But if what they’ve speculated about themselves is true… Well, that’s what Nicole holds on to. Now, she nods her head, then flashes a nervous smile to her friend. “Thank you for being the one to be here with me. I know it’s not fair, but…”

There is no but. It’s just unfair, and Nicole is selfish.

"…But it makes sense." Yi-Min finishes for her.

And it does. In lieu of having a trained anesthesiologist there to assist in the procedure, something which Yi-Min most certainly isn't, Nicole had summoned the next best thing: someone with a lifetime of experience in hand-mixing concoctions that could enact something very close to the desired effect.

A different slew of side effects, perhaps, but the same main effect. That’s what counts, right?

First, the rest of the preparations are completed by her without much in the way of ceremony. Though she had done so before, she meticulously checks over the entire ECT machine again, just to make sure that every single knob is calibrated in the way she had learned it should be. She places two electrodes onto her friend's skull— one on either side, a little beyond the hollow of each eye.

Finally, the priming of the liquid in a frighteningly long syringe that will serve as Nicole's anesthetic.

"Just relax," Yi-Min says quietly, as though in fact telling the syringe held just before her gaze. One final squeeze of Nicole's shoulder, one final-seeming note of an exhalation for them both; then, she is emptying the contents of the thing into her friend's jugular vein with a slow, cold ease.

From there, several minutes is all it will take for Nicole to sink into a death-like sleep. Almost immediately, her vision begins blurring where she lies. There is some amount of pain, and not just from the needle.

Nicole lets out a small sound of discomfort when the needle bites into and past her skin. She stares hard at the ceiling over her head and just to the left, reminding herself to breathe, but trying not to move while doing it during the injection.

There’s a second noise after the needle’s withdrawn, this one less restrained than the first. “Let’s not do that again,” she suggests, tone low and voice thick. “M’I supposed to count backward from a hundred or something now?” she asks with a brief flash of a grin.

Even though she knows she needs to succumb, her brain tries to fight through it all. Her eyes try to focus. Nicole breathes hard, a little upturned note on the end that betrays the pain. But it’s a battle she’s losing. Grimacing, she looks up at her friend one more time. “See you on the other side, Minnie.”

One last blink, and she doesn’t open her eyes again.

As Yi-Min begins the steady flow of electricity through Nicole’s skull, the only differential she notices is a subtle pinch of the brunette’s brows. For Nicole, it’s as though she fell into a deep and dreamless sleep…

…until it suddenly wasn’t.

Whoever is inside the homestead can hear the light, nimble clunk clunk of sandaled feet across the wooden beams of the porch outside, a short prelude to the sound of knuckles briskly rapping on the door a minute or so later.


From inside the house, Yi-Min can hear footsteps approaching the door. The front window is open, which helps the sound carry. A little blonde head peers over the window sill, blue eyes wide and curious about the new visitor. The door swings open a moment later to reveal the home’s new owner.

The first day they met.

She offers a smile. Her dark hair is left to hang loose down her back, still glossy from products and soft water from the city. An old Ramones tee shirt is untucked over a pair of cutoff shorts. The little girl moves from her post at the window to step behind her mother’s legs instead. She’s dressed in a blue dress covered in white polka dots. Like she’s ready for a tea party.


“Hi there,” the newcomer greets, wiping at a dark smudge on her cheekbone. Judging from the broom and mop propped up against the wall, she’s been cleaning up the house. Before she can say anything else, the little girl pipes up.

That house.

“I’m Phillipa Allyn,” the blonde says, confident in spite of the fact that she’s still standing behind an adult. “This is my mommy.” It seems less like she’s hiding and more like it’s a position she’s meant to take up.

That moment.

"Oh. Why, hello there," Yi-Min says in a gently lowered voice to the child whom she had first seen appear at the window, stooping a little so as to talk more on Little Person level. "It is nice to meet you, Phillipa." As the Taiwanese woman tries that name on for size, her gaze slips over the details of that polka-dot dress, taking on a look that is distant, but nonetheless passably soft and warm. Appreciative, too, in a more specific fashion. "You know, your dress is very pretty."

That smile.

Then Yi-Min straightens again to the woman who had first greeted her, giving her an easier and more knowing smile. "I am Dr. Yeh, but you can call me Yi-Min. I am Kara's partner. And you are Zachery's." None of this is a question. "Welcome to the neighborhood, such as it is. I brought a housewarming gift, if you would like it."


Nicole’s brows pinch together, jaws clenching under the electrostatic pulse. It is a subtle gesture, but one of reflexive muscle contraction. She is not conscious, she feels no pain.

Nicole lifts her hand off the armrest of her chair and reaches over to rest it on top of Yi-Min’s lightly. Her thumb curls gently under the other woman’s palm. “I’m not glad this happened to either of us, whatever this is that’s happening.” The disclaimer is delivered first. “But if it has to be, I’m glad to be with you right now.”

The crash. Those first few days.

It might have been minutes that they had now been waiting here together, reduced down to the lone pair that they now are, or it might have been hours. Yi-Min's deadened gaze reflects the reality of neither.

Finding solace in someone she trusts.

The touch of Nicole's hand on hers finally exhorts a visible reaction from her in a way that the sound of the metal clock on the wall— the only other notable source of sensory stimulation in the room, ticking away seconds into empty silence— had not.

Finding the silence deafening.

And even so, the only thing that changes at first is a vaguely disturbed pinpoint in Yi-Min's eyes, as clouded as though it had been introduced there by an eyedropper. But then it slowly coheres, and once it does it pulls in all the pain that had previously been interred inside the blankness of her expression into one, sharp, deeply sorrowful point at the very forefront of the look she fixes on Nicole.

The lack of heartbeats.

"I'm not," Yi-Min says aloud just as suddenly, and the skirt of calmness icing the edge of her words is enough to take anyone by surprise. But the direction her message truly leans in seems clear enough, at least after a moment: instead of letting go of Nicole's hand, she squeezes it tighter. "You shouldn't be here."

The stillness.

“Neither should you,” Nicole insists without missing a beat. For a moment, her throat goes tight, mouth pulled into a grimace and eyes wincing nearly shut in tandem with a hard exhale that sees her chest contracting inward, shoulders hunching slightly. It’s the beginning of tears that don’t get any further than that.

The pain.

The clock on the wall ticks away three seconds of pure anguish, and then it’s passed.

The comfort.

Nicole keeps having moments like this, where she threatens to break down. But she’s cried her tears, and all it takes is a deep breath to restore most of her lost composure. “You don’t deserve this.”

Yi-Min’s words feel like water, washing over Nicole’s mind.

Because she has a feeling Yi-Min might believe otherwise.

Slippery, deep.

The grip of Yi-Min's hand in Nicole's remains almost dauntingly firm, as though Yi-Min is afraid that if she lets go now, the brittle bones of reality would cave into another nightmare like that of the plane crash in the next blink of her eyes. In truth, though, such a vision feels like a far-off thing in comparison to the more present pang of guilt in her for allowing the conversation to be steered into the heart of this topic, rather than just letting it go with a few trite words of agreement.

They are there one moment.

But she is also lamentably adamant.

Gone another.

"No. I have a decent idea of what I deserve. And, I have a better idea of what you deserve. Something along the lines of— whatever in literal hell this is supposed to be may well have been meted out for me, in time. It comes with the territory, you know? But, you? You should be out there. Planning your honeymoon. Your entire life."

But there is nothing they are replaced with.

A honeymoon, to follow a wedding that her good friend had missed due to being busy sitting in prison for serving an organization guilty of crimes against humanity.

It is just moments in time, washed away.

“I don’t know, Minnie,” Nicole responds, easy in her uneasiness, “if this is Purgatory somehow? I’m not going to say I did nothing to deserve it.” That’s a harrowing thought in and of itself. The thought that maybe that’s a real place that exists. That maybe people like her do get what they deserve eventually.

Like tears in the rain.

“We… We were going to wait until the late winter. Maybe the spring, depending on the kids.” Those babies she was supposed to have in just two or three short months. “Go somewhere warm. Have a beachfront to ourselves. I was going to bury my toes in the sand and bask in the sun.”

That was a line from a movie, wasn’t it?

Nicole shivers. “God, it’s so fucking cold in here,” she gripes.

She couldn’t remember.

Nothing seems out of the ordinary yet, not in so much as Yi-Min is concerned on the other side of the experiment from Nicole. But the unseen truth is impossible to measure.

There is a pale blue light filtering through the living room. An old television shows a muted commercial, beer bottles are set alongside cans on a coffee table and open boxes of Chinese takeout litter the floor. The coarsely upholstered flannel-patterned sofa is unoccupied, save for a pair of shoes.

It was a commercial for Windex.

There is an armchair made of the same material, in which a man is seated. His socks are pulled up to his knees, white with red flecks. His robe is a maroon color, loosely belted at the waist and also flecked with red. His beer is toppled in his lap, soaking into the seat. What remains of his head is little more than a ragged stump and his lower jaw and part of one ear.

She remembered that, because she needed to clean the site afterward.

Nicole Nichols stands behind her father’s chair, holding a smoking shotgun in both hands.

With fire.

He won’t hurt anyone anymore.

And screams she can’t recall.

Nicole’s head tilts to the side, subtly, perhaps another muscle spasm.


She remembers the broadcast, seeing it on TV weeks after the fact.

The gutters of Cambridge, a drainage ditch parallel to the river, flowing with a sea of blood. Bodies scattered like fallen leaves. Boats zipping along the water, pulling up to the side of the culvert, and a woman, screaming at the camera.


"These children are the victims of the Commonwealth Institute. They have been experimented on like lab rats. Without compassion or mercy or humanity. This is what happens when your neighbors go missing in the night. When you see someone disappear in a black van. These deaths tonight — and countless others — are at the hands of the Institute and the US Department of Defense." Her voice is raspy from gas and exhaustion. She then begins to run.

She remembers it well.

Veronica Sawyer’s voice was a voice that incited riots, lit the fires of war, and were soundbytes on the news until there was no more news.

Because she was there. Those were Nicole’s words. Her pain. Her experiences.

No one else’s.

Yi-Min can see Nicole’s brows relaxing. Perhaps the tension has passed. It has been several minutes by now.

That’s right about when Nicole starts to suffer a seizure, her whole body breaking into rapid convulsions, fingers curling, back arching, jaw clenched like a vice. She goes from fine to convulsing in an instant, and in the same moment blood begins to weep out of both of her nostrils down her upper lip as veins in her head bulge visibly.

No. No. This shouldn't be happening.

The anesthetic Yi-Min had administered had included a strong dose of muscle relaxant so as to prevent this very situation from arising; there should be no way for Nicole to be convulsing with such violence now. It shouldn't even be physically possible.

Yet… of course it is somehow happening.

All of Yi-Min’s fears, all of her forewarnings, had boiled down to this single development. Anything could happen, she had so wearily stressed, and well it might when one was dealing with a minefield of unknowns such as what both of their bodies had become.

Now, this worst of fears is manifesting on the table before her eyes.

In the present moment, there is no more current running through the wires into Nicole's brain. That had been stopped several minutes ago, in accordance with typical procedure. A glance to the cardiac status indicator on the machine tells Yi-Min something senseless. The heart rate shown to her there is normal. In the most practical of terms, there isn’t much the researcher can do save observe in a horror without words, praying for the clutches of fate to release her friend. At least the environment is relatively safe for such a seizure to occur, physically; Nicole is surrounded by bedding, and her head is already cushioned.

"南 謨 薄 伽 伐 帝, 鞞 殺…"1 Yi-Min barely hears herself intone, ears as empty as her heart, and she never finishes.

The seizure continues unabated for close to five minutes, all the while Nicole continues to bleed from her nose. What makes it more harrowing is that her eyes open halfway through and just stare vacantly at the ceiling. She convulses wildly, aspirating blood onto her lips and coughing violently.

Once the five minutes have passed, Nicole settles back into a trembling stillness. There are visible areas of bruising around her eyes, the cause of which is unknown. Worse, there are trace amounts of blood welled up in the folds of her ears. Far less than was running out of her nose, but still troubling. Her eyes remain open and unfocused and save for the rise and fall of her chest she looks like a corpse.

At the end of five minutes, Yi-Min has had enough.

Before even another one can go by, she has whipped out her phone, searching through it for a pre-saved contact and then pressing it up to her ear while it dials. Worry is so intense in her eyes that it has come right around full circle again; the look in them seems almost dead, for all the urgency in her tone.

"Get the EMTs in here. Right now. Richard, he'll… want to know, too. All of them. Bring them."

A Few Hours Ago

Richard Ray's Office

Richard leans back in his chair, regarding his phone and the two messages that have just popped up on it. One of them from Nicole, saying they were doing an experiment in the labs with Yi-Min and 'everything will be fine' but maybe keep medical staff on shift. The other one from Director Yeh herself saying she'd been asked to do something 'stupid and dangerous' but to keep medical staff on shift.

He texted his wife that he'd be working late, before heading down to one of the lower floor lounges, keeping his phone close at hand.


The EMTs are en route, but Richard gets there first, moving at the speed of dark.

"What the hell are you doing down here," he demands as a shadow spills across the wall behind Yi-Min and the executive pulls himself into three dimensions, suit jacket missing and tie still somewhat loose - he was dressed down to relax, since he was hoping that he wouldn't get the call that he did.

His dark eyes sweep past the doctor to the patient in question, to the blood on her face, to the bruising of her skin. "What the hell happened to her? Give me some answers here, Yeh— I think she's gonna live but she's about half-way to death right now." Whatever that means in scientific terms.

In expectation for people to begin bursting onto the scene, Yi-Min has been standing well out of the way of the doorframe for the past several minutes. Presently, she is motionless several feet behind the head of the table, arms folded quite low over her body in her tense vigil over Nicole— something she breaks only once Richard himself materializes.

"ECT. Administration of a medically-controlled seizure. Of late, Nicole has been obsessed with the idea that subjecting her brain to a good shock of electricity might reveal to us new answers." The start of the explanation is delivered in Yi-Min's externally calm fashion, but her voice is abnormally husky. Her words themselves seem drawn taut with grimness.

"Normally, it is not an unsafe procedure. But with the amount of unknown variables involved inside our bodies right now… well, you can get an idea of the exponential number of possible complications. She insisted I supervise, or else she would do it to herself; it should go without saying, I chose the former option. And here— here, she received but the one initial shock, for a treatment that is supposed to be done five to eleven additional times over a single course. You can see exactly how this went."

Without needing to gesture, her slim, brooding posture seems to open up an invitation for Richard to look at the patient before her as thoroughly as he pleases. The sum of the injuries apparent on Nicole's form are so far beyond the scope of what had actually been done that they would frankly be ridiculous to any onlooker, medical training or no.

Stupid, and fraught with risks impossible to ascertain. As she had warned her superior. Warned Nicole, what now seems like a lifetime ago.

“Wait, are you talking about electroshock therapy?” Richard just stares at Yi-Min for a moment before stepping over to the woman’s bedside, drawn by the not-quite-conscious itch of someone badly damaged in some way. He reaches out to touch her cheek, his brow furrowing, “This— this doesn’t look like electrical burns, what the hell happened? Fuck. Fuck, if we bring her to the hospital SESA’s going to be all up our ass about this, the ethics alone— even with consent!”

“Fuck. Okay. Call off the medical team,” he says, slanting a sharp look back to Yi-Min, “We need to get her over to botanical lab, ah, where they’re making algae strains.”

"The unknown variables," Yi-Min can only stress once again to that question, her voice dull. "Electroshock therapy was the name for it back when it was an ancient horrorshow, but yes."

Yes, the technology has improved considerably since those primitive times. No, the damage definitely isn't from electrical burns.

The order is a strange one, but it doesn't take long for comprehension to dawn in her troubled bearing. "Well, we will need a stretcher anyhow to get her down to botanical. Here." She inclines her gaze down to Nicole again for the benefit of the first member of the medical team to arrive right at that moment, as she sees him pop his head through the door.

"You plan on using… it on her? Are you sure that is wise? It could produce an unknown reaction on contact with her. Just the same as this did."

“I’m not quibbling over semantics with you on this one, Yeh,” Richard replies, hand waving vaguely to dismiss the name of what they were doing down here, “And yes, yes I do.”

He glances back to her with a tight expression, “If she has brain damage, the hospital can’t fix that. I can.” He says it with confidence that he doesn’t actually have. Despite his practice and experimentation, he’s still very new at manipulating the conduit.

Turning the rest of the way, he motions to the med team, “Get her on a stretcher and up to ACD in botanical. I’ll meet you there.”

Colours fade away into nothing but shadows as the executive washes into two dimensions along the wall, and vanishes in a flash down the hallway.

But, Yeh isn't quibbling semantics. This is a genuine concern she possesses— the desire to not make an already dire situation worse, especially given her awareness that Richard has only had a short window of time with which to try and master what he has.

And she remembers Eileen's struggles only too well.

Thus, with just the barest fringe of dread encircling her thousand-yard stare, she lets one of her small hands coil about the railing of Nicole's bed as she watches the medical team scoops her up. Her silence corresponds to an acquiescence, but there is little other feeling or meaning to be gleaned there.

There is only numbness from her, without as much as within, as she prepares to follow Richard down to the botanical labs.

A Short While Later

Raytech Industries Campus
Botanical Labs, Algae Culture Development

“We haven’t tested this, Richard.”

Michelle Cranston stands with her arms crossed over her chest, brow creased in frustration cast in an eerie green glow. The Algae Culture Development labs lie in a basement level below the Raytech-Yamagato greenhouse, where massive cylinders of algae-propagated water rise from floor to ceiling. This biomass casts everything with an algae green glow, including the concrete walls and tiled floors.

Michelle looks to the doors coming into the lab as a medical technician from another department holds open the doors for Doctor Yi-Min Yeh and a stretcher containing Nicole. Michelle’s expression hardens, lips pressed into a thin line as she turns toward the gurney as it’s wheeled in, dismissing the med tech with a wave of one hand.

“Richard said you ran her through some sort of electro-shock therapy?” Michelle asks, threading a lock of hair behind one ear as she looks Nicole up and down, brows creased in concentration. “She’s one of the crash victims too, isn’t she?” Michelle blinks a look up to Yi-Min who stands in stoic, tense silence in observation of this plan.

“I know we haven’t tested it, but she’s— ” Richard cuts off as the doctors and the stretcher show up, and he looks over to them with a grimace.

“She was one of the crash victims, yes, but— look at her, m— Michelle. It doesn’t look like she was electrocuted, it looks like we just pulled her out of the airplane wreckage, or something worse. And there’s no telling what sort of brain damage she’s suffered.” A gesture towards the cylinders, dramatically, “The hospital can’t fix that. I should be able to.”

As noted, it hasn’t been tested previously.

Richard,” Michelle stresses, stepping directly in front of him so he has no choice but to look at her. “This isn’t the time for a field test. This isn’t a controlled environment, your emotions aren’t controlled, and we don’t fully know her condition.” She reaches out, as if to touch his shoulder, but hesitates just shy of making contact.

As Michelle curls back her hand in caution, she shakes her head. “You know this is reckless. But there’s too many variables. I don’t want anything to happen to her, but this…” Michelle motions to the tanks of algae. “Richard. Reconsider.

“I know. I know it’s… risky, but…” Richard brings one hand up, pinching the bridge of his nose and drawing in a deep breath, then exhaling it in a heavy sigh, “…what other recourse do we have that’s not likely to leave her with permanent brain damage and— God knows what other damage to her body and system?”

He spreads his hands a bit, “Completely aside the fact that she’s my friend, from a purely practical point of view she’s the highest ranked person at SESA that we say is 100% on our side, Michelle. We need her in good condition.”

“You are only looking at the positives here. What if you kill her? Or me? Or yourself?” Michelle fixes a steady look at Richard. “This thing you have — this — this gift… it doesn’t have an expiration date. You told me Nathalie healed Epstein’s decade-old leg injury with it.”

Only now does Michelle take Richard’s hand. “We can let doctors see what they can do for her. Then if you need to,” she up-turns her eyes to the huge biofuel tanks, “then you can risk everything. And maybe somewhere in between you can test this on a bigger scale than mice.”

Michelle looks down at Nicole, then over to Yi-Min, then back to Richard. “We need to call a hospital, Richard.”

“I don’t have the sort of control that Nathalie did, mom,” Richard points out with a faint exhalation of breath, fingers squeezing hers lightly. His gaze flickers to Nicole, and he grimaces, “And if it damages her memories or personality we don’t know if it can fix that…”

He trails off, and closes his eyes. “Fine. One more thing I can’t help with. Alright— get her out of here, call ahead to the hospital— take one of the company vehicles, they’re mostly faster than ambulances anyway.”

“You can fix things…” Michelle says by laying a hand on Richard’s shoulder, “…by riding with me and being there for her when she wakes up. Sometimes the biggest difference you can make isn’t about the powers you have.”

“It’s about being human.”

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