From Here


ff_chel_icon.gif richard3_icon.gif

Scene Title From Here
Synopsis Mother and son find an equilibrium, but one harbors a secret.
Date January 14, 2019

Silence can be many things.

It can be a reprieve from noise, it can be a void to fill, it can be deafening in the absence of a proper response. But sometimes there is nothing more appropriate than silence. Sometimes, that’s all we have left in us.

Twenty minutes of silence sits between Richard Ray and his mother.

Michelle Cardinal sits with her head in one hand, dressed in clothes that aren’t hers, picked for her by strangers in a government agency she’s never heard of. The room she calls her home is little more than a retrofitted hospital room, complete with a hospital bed and the sterile smell that is hard to get out of the walls. She sits in one of the armchairs in the room, an open window showing the twilight cityscape behind her. The world outside is there, not some grand illusion, not some facade. It’s overwhelmingly real.

“So he was… you, from the future.

There’s been a lot to unpack.

Secure Facility

Kansas City, MO

January 14th

6:12 PM

They’d been talking for hours. Michelle would explain how she became the director of the Institute in her timeline, Richard would explain how he was destined to become the director of the Institute in his own future. Back and forth, impossible stories not plausible enough to be fit for a science fiction rag. This is how she preferred it, an exchange of information, clinical and impersonal. The alternative was crying forever.

Cigarette in hand, even though she doesn’t smoke, Michelle sits forward and sighs softly. “And here you are…” she adds with a sense of both disbelief and uncertainty that is echoed in her pale eyes.

Here he is.

“And here you are,” Richard echoes in return, a faint smile curving to his lips as he leans back in the chair, one hand coming up to rake back through his hair as he breathes out a heavy sigh, “Here we both are.”

His hand drops back down to the air of the chair, lifting a moment later to motion her way, “Which leads to the question of where we go next… I mean, obviously you’ll be welcome with me, with the kids, Liz, everyone… there’s a lot more of New York than there was in your timeline, although less than there used to be. I mean…” He hesitates, then asks more solidly, “What do you want to do, mom?”

Mom is a weird word. It feels odd in his mouth. But not a bad sort of odd.

Chel answers the question with a slouch, one hand coming up to pinch the bridge of her nose as she exhales a familiar and exhausted sigh. “I've been reading,” isn't an answer, really. “History, newspaper articles, things are alarmingly the same here but… different in just enough ways to not really know.”

There's a weariness in her voice, fatigued by loss more so than tiredness. “Everyone I knew thinks I'm dead. Or— I suppose I am.” She swallows, dryly. “Edward’s gone, your father’s…” She can't finish that. “God knows where Rich is. There's nothing familiar here for me. I don't…”

Finally, Chel lowers her hand and looks over at Richard. “I lost a daughter coming here. Everyone told me… warned me that this path would get everyone I cared about killed. That I was obsessed.” Her tired eyes track the seams of the walls rather than make eye contact. “I'm adrift. I don't… I don't know what to do.”

“I’m sorry. I was looking forward to meeting her, too…” Richard slides a hand across the table, reaching for hers even as he says softly but firmly, “You didn’t get everyone killed, though. That was Kenner. You saved… everyone who came through, every single person. Focus on that.”

A moment’s silence, and he breathes out a sigh, “Schwenkman is in hiding; he was with the Institute, and he’s still there, working under Erica Kravid somewhere out there. My— David Cardinal’s alive, here. He doesn’t want anything to do with me, though.”

“They tell me he was working with the wrong people too,” he grimaces, “But I can get you in touch with him, probably, if you want me to.”

Chel brings a hand up to her mouth, slowly scrubbing over it. “I don’t know,” she belatedly mumbles into her palm. Then again, louder and with more conviction, “I don’t know.” For a time she’s quiet, looking across her room at an indistinct point on the wall. When she shuts her eyes, it’s not just because she’s tired — which she admittedly is, it doesn’t look like she’s gotten much sleep over the last few days — but also that she’s trying to maintain a small amount of composure, as if she doesn’t have every right in the world to break down.

Slowly, Chel lowers her hand from her mouth and folds her hands together in her lap. “I don’t know who that… I don’t know who Erica Kravid is. She must not have had a similar counterpart on my— our side of things.” Focusing instead on the facts rather than her feelings, Chel straightens in her chair. “I don’t know what to do, Richard. I feel like… like this is a dream. I feel like I’m dead, I just don’t realize it yet.”

Slowly, Chel’s expression contorts into one of abject grief and overwhelmed emotion, but as her jaw unsteadies she swallows down the pain and scrubs her hand at her mouth again. “Jesus Christ, I feel like… I feel so guilty.”

“It’s survivor’s guilt.” It’s a feeling that Richard knows well, by now, although the years have left it a dull ache like an old friend, only stirring to the surface at the worst of times. “Probably posttraumatic stress— you’re going to need some therapy, I mean Christ, even before you came here you were locked up in that old base for how many years? It’s going to be an adjustment.”

“For now…” He watches her, offering quietly and almost pleadingly, “Come home with me? Meet your other grandkids, take some time to adjust to the world, to life again. Take things one step at a time. You’re not alone.”

“Grandkids,” Chel whispers, nearly bitterly. She immediately feels guilty. It shows in her eyes as she looks back at Richard. “I… I should. See them, you, everything I fought for. I just— I feel so fucking heartsick about all of this. I don't even know if…” Chel trails off, shaking her head.

“I'm scared, Richard. I'm scared of your government. The stories you told me about the war…” Chel closes her eyes and shakes her head. “You and Elisabeth and— it should have been the other way. You coming to where you were born, back to— what was left of home.” She looks down at her lap where her hands are folded, fidgeting. “Edward would've wanted to see you… he— ” Slowly, Chel raises a hand to her face, bunches forward and starts to sob for the second time tonight. Richard understands why, because she is a mirror of him. After Natazhat, after the loss.

He's all she has left.

As her shoulders start to shake, Richard’s lips twist into a grimace of reflected pain; a hand pushing up to the table, he steps around it and eases down to one knee beside where she’s seated, reaching out to wrap his arms around her and pull her in against him.

“I know,” he murmurs, his own voice raw with the emotions he’s been trying to keep under control, “I know, mom. It should have been, it should’ve been, but— this is what we’ve got. You’ve got me, I’ve got you, and there’s more here for you. Liz, my kids, my— everything I have.”

In a voice more like steel, he adds, “And you don’t have anything to be afraid of from the government. I promise you that.”

The look Michelle levels back at Richard as she's drawn into the embrace is an uncertain one, fraught with a lack of context for her surroundings and — as Edward would've put it — a lack of data points. She doesn't have anything to say back to that, but instead stares distantly over his shoulders, returning the embrace with a tentative and belated motion. She buries her face against the side of his neck, one hand at the back of his head as she nods once.

“There's so much I need to tell you,” Chel says against her son’s shoulder. “There's so much that happened at the Ark, so many things I… things I've never told anyone. I don't know how I'm going to get through this, Richie…” Richie. “I'm so afraid of the day they let me leave.”

For the first time in a long time, Chel is the smartest person in the room… with nothing to show for it. “Where will I live? What will I do? I— I'm…”

Chel hesitates before admitting, “I'm scared.

“Change is always scary…” Richard draws back a little to look back to her with a faint smile, an attempt at reassurance; one hand coming up to rest against her cheek, “I’ll be here to help you through it, though.”

A little wider smile, then, “As far as living, well, as it happens I’m outrageously rich and powerful so you’re not going to be homeless or anything. And you can— you can do anything you want. If you want to keep up with your work, well, we have labs and workshops I can set you up with. If you want to do anything else, I can help you with that, too..”

“You’re not alone, mom.”

Closing her eyes, Chel turns away from the touch at her cheek. “I don't know if I can ever apply myself to science again… after everything my invention caused, all the pain and suffering. I'm terrified of what I'm capable of, what stroke of genius that I'll be possessed of that's more of a deathblow.”

The guilt for everything the Looking Glass caused is a heavy weight Chel bears. “I… I don't know what my future’s going to hold. Other than you— other than family. But it— I can’t be allowed to repeat these mistakes again. To make new terrors… regardless of my intentions.”

Looking back to Richard, Chel slowly shakes her head. “Promise me you won't let me do this again. That you won't let me… bring about the end of the world or something.”

“Funny,” Richard murmurs, “Liz made me promise not to destroy the world bringing her back, once upon a time. It seems like it runs in the family.” A little shake of his head, “I’ve got… a lot of guilt to carry myself, and I’m doing my best to pay off that karma a little at a time. One day at a time.”

“I promise I won’t let you destroy the world,” he assures her gently, then, before teasing, “I just went to all this trouble to get you here, after all, and I’m spending all this effort on fixing it up— if you went and blew it up I’d get really annoyed.”

He draws in a slow breath, then shakes his head, “I know it’s scary. There was a time… almost everyone I cared about had left me, or was gone, and for the first time I didn’t have Edward’s plans to guide me. I was lost as hell, but I found my way eventually.”

“You’re smarter than I am,” he notes wryly, “I bet you’ll figure it out faster than I did.”

Something in Chel’s expression has shifted, her brows creased and eyes dark with uncertainty. She looks down to the floor, then back up to her son. “Edward was a shit planner,” she explains with a hesitant smile. “Shap as a knife, but… I know, Elisabeth has said he was different in your world. He had an ability there— here.” She’s still grappling with that.

“But I wish he was here regardless. He was a good friend, and… and I failed him at keeping his wife safe.” Chel’s words sound like a gunshot in Richard’s ears. A detail no one had mentioned. Not once had it come up. Not once.

Edward was married?

“It would’ve been interesting to meet an Edward who didn’t have an ability,” Richard admits, and then he pauses, brow knitting a little. “He was married? Who— I didn’t think Kaylee was born in your timeline, I don’t know about Valerie… I know Warren was, er, Mortimer?”

“Who was his wife? What happened to her?”

Chel makes a noise in the back of her throat, then down to the floor. “Mortimer’s situation was… I knew him as Warren. He worked for the Department of Evolved Affairs, he had two wonderful parents. The… the flood…” She closes her eyes, brows creased and jaw clenched. “Warren came to the Ark with Donald’s group of survivors and the submarine. He’d watched the Sentinel kill both of his parents, suffered a psychotic break. He started going by Mortimer… then just Mort.”

There’s a moment where it looks like Chel was going to say something, but then doesn’t. Instead, she just sighs and runs a hand through her hair. “He was Edward’s son by way of artificial insemination. I only found this out years later. Apparently Warren’s father couldn’t have children, so his mother went to a fertility clinic. An MIT graduate seemed like a great donor. When I told Warren— Mortimer— he insisted on going by his father’s given name. I think that’s why he’d leave the Ark for his salvaging runs… to meet the man he never knew.”

Chel’s voice grows quiet. “Mort died years before Edward found the Ark…”

The explanation of the intuitive’s life is listened to, Richard’s head tilting a little. A bit of a nod. Details differ, but as ever, certain events take certain twists - matching the vibrations of the nearest strings as closely as possible given historical events.

“He was Edward’s son directly here,” he notes quietly, “But who was Edward married to, mom? What happened?”

Chel sighs, looking away from Richard. “Her name was Juliette Luis,” she admits reluctantly, already setting off an unknown cascade of connections through her son’s mind. “She and Edward were in hiding for years after the incident with the Looking Glass. She and her father Jean-Martin had been on OSI’s radar for years…” Her brows crease together, and she looks up with a fraught expression. “Juliette was one of the most powerful Evolved I’d ever encountered… She was with us in the Ark, though most everyone there knew her by her nickname…”


Chel trails off, looking down to her hands in her lap. “She… died. Sacrificed herself, so we could get here. I think her— her power. I think she used it to stabilize the bridge on our side. Non-causality is a funny thing.”

As the name’s spoken, Richard’s chin dips in a slight nod. “Juliette…” A sigh whispers past his lips, his head shaking, “We had a— we had an iteration here as well, Odessa’s mother. She did the same thing from our end, I think. I never really understood how her ability worked, it was… well. I’m not a quarter the physicist you are.”

He reaches over to cover her hands with his, noting, “No way to know if she’s really gone, though. Like you said… non-causality is a funny thing.”

“To be fair I didn’t try to understand. Non-causality is anathema to understanding, you have to unfocus your eyes and look at it like one of those Magic Eye paintings in order to really get it, and I can’t do that.” Chel smiles faintly, then looks back down to her lap. “She and Edward are gone,” she says after a moment of quiet. “That’s what I know. Two people who were close to me, both gone from my life by quantum measures of distance.”

Brows furrowed together, Chel shakes her head. “I didn’t know your Edward, and from the sounds of things yours and mine were… different. He cared about his family in a different way, less— obsessive? I don’t know how to explain the differences. Maybe it’s in having an ability versus not having one. Maybe that can really change someone…”

“I know it changed— ” Chel stops herself, bringing her hand up to her face and slowly shaking her head. “This is all going to take me a while to grow accustomed to.”

“I imagine that it’s easy to get obsessed like that when you can see all the chances that bad things might happen to them,” Richard says with a shake of his head, “And yeah, I know it’s going to… take some time. It’s— it’s literally a whole different world from you.”

He smiles ever so faintly, “But you’re not alone. I know you’ve lost a lot, but— we’ll get through this.”

Chel nods, wearily, and it's clear she's emotionally and physically exhausted from her ordeals since arriving in this timeline. When she reaches out to take her son's hand it isn't for reassurance, but more as a show of commitment. I trust you, it says. She'll trust him enough to move to the Safe Zone, she’ll trust him enough to stay on the periphery of things at Raytech, she’ll trust him enough to see where the future goes.

“We’ll get through this…” Chel affirms. But she won't trust him enough to do one thing.

She won't trust him with the terrible truth.

The Ark

Below the Ruins of Cambridge, MA

Flood Timeline

Christmas Eve



There's a hum through the Ark, a constant vibration that permeates every inch of the structure. In the dark of his dimly lit quarters, Edward Ray has been listening to the hum for hours, writing in his journal and whiling away the hours. It has been a harrowing day, one that has tested his resolve and tested his capacity for forgiveness and understanding.

Reaching into his pocket, Edward retrieves the small note that had been passed to him by Shaw in the gunfight that broke out at dinner. He considers it carefully, then quickly tucks it away when someone knocks on his door. He pauses a moment, closing his journal. Security doesn't knock, but he feels the need to self-censor regardless. “Come in,” he says with a waver in his tone.

As the door opens there is a staff doctor on the other side, tall and blonde in a dingy labcoat. She has pills in a plastic cup and a mason jar full of water. “Good morning Edward,” the doctor says as she shuts the door. Edward manages to maintain a thin mask of a smile in response.

“Doctor Ingram,” Edward greets, even as he puzzles over the doctor setting his meds and water down by the door and hustling over to his side. “Is… something the matter?” Doctor Ingram kneels down in front of Edward, hands on his knees and eyes wide.

Edward,” Ingram says in a sharp voice, “please. See me.” His hands fall atop hers reflexively, and Edward stares into Doctor Ingram's steely blue eyes for what feels like an eternity, until he realizes a truth that was hidden behind the evils of perception. It wasn't Doctor Ingram’s eyes he was looking into.


It was his wife’s.

Juliette,” Edward whispers in disbelief, but she shakes her head in the negative while leaning up to kiss his brow.

“They call me Joy, here. But that's not important— ”

“They told me you were dead!” Edward hisses sharply. “They told me— ”

Juliette — Joy — shakes her head and turns her palms upside down, taking Edward’s hands in hers. “That isn't important right now. Edward, I need your help.” He stares at her, overwhelmed with emotion and on the verge of tears. All this journey, all this sacrifice, it had somehow been worth it.

Anything,” Edward says to her. “What it is?” There would be time to question his own sanity later. Joy doesn't give him so much as an inch.

“It's about the Ark,” Joy whispers, squeezing Edward’s hands tighter.

It’s about our child.

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