Grasping For Hope


kaylee6_icon.gif richard3_icon.gif

Scene Title Grasping For Hope
Synopsis Kaylee is grasping for hope and Richard sets her on the path to finding it and a purpose.
Date September 15, 2020

Raytech Industries

Who is investigating the crash?”

Kaylee asks it as soon as she sees him, having pushed through the door of his office. “And I don’t just mean our people, either, though I want to talk to them, too.” Letting the door swing closed behind her and in the face of his horrified assistant. “People are always coming to you. So you must have some idea of who is investigating the crash? Or maybe you’ve gotten your hands on the data? The investigation reports?” She tries to sound hopeful that maybe her big brother has some answers already.

This might not have been what he imagined for his day. His sister standing in his office making demands. One day Kaylee was a teary, self-pitying mess… now she at least looked a bit more herself. Well, except for the fact she’s wearing worn jeans and a black hoodie. Her hair looks like she may have drug fingers through it, at least, and she may have skipped make-up today.

“…hi, sis.”

Richard taps his hand on his desk to pause the video report that he was watching on its screen, pushing himself up to his feet and looking her over briefly, brow knitting, “I’m glad to see you out of your room, at least. What’s going on?”

Something’s obviously happened, clearly, and he looks her over with a worried expression, brow knitting as if trying to figure out what.

“Jesus… Sorry… yes…” Kaylee scrubs her hands over her face and sighs. “Hello, big brother.” Closer he can see that she still hasn’t been sleeping well, but her eyes were still clear. “I might not have slept last night, so… not all here. Sorry for the rudeness, but… I haven’t been able to get my mind to shut down,” she gives Richard a sheepish smile.

Stepping closer, Kaylee wrings her hands together nervously. “I had some government agent visit me yesterday doing a follow up… which we really need Sera to start writing down agencies and not just ‘For the Government.’ She just gives me this blank stare…” There is a pained look and she waves her hands as if that’s not important. “Sorry rambling. But it got me thinking about what happened. I need to find out what’s been discovered and what’s been done already.”

“She wouldn’t have gotten an agency name,” Richard says with a slight shake of his head, moving to step around the desk - it feels more informal when there’s not a desk between them, and formal has never described their relationship. “I’ve heard a few stories already about these guys, and they’re not saying who they’re working for. They’re ‘not at liberty to discuss’. Which makes me think they’re the same group that moved in on Colobanth and Kadath, honestly…”

His hands spread slightly, “Technically the case falls under SESA, so I have no idea who these guys are, Kaylee. And that worries me.”

There is a frustrated huff that sends a few stray hairs fluttering away from Kaylee’s face, before she tucks the lot back behind her ear. “Dammit. Of course, it would be a clandestine government agency. Like I don’t have enough to be paranoid about just stepping out of my apartment, without MIB keeping tabs.” That last bit ends up being said mostly, under her breath.

Kaylee rubs a hand against the back of her neck as she considers. “I imagine having Alia snag the footage of arrival and doing facial recognition is useless.” Richard can practically hear his sister’s gears turning, grasping for something. “Does this mean you are keeping in contact with the others…?” like me, she doesn’t say out loud. “They tell you anything they found out yet?”

“It’s worth a try,” notes Richard, “At the very least we’d have it on our files for later facial recognition… and nothing, really, not yet. I can tell you they’re the same people who let Doctor Yeh out of prison, curiously enough…”

He rubs a hand over his jawline, “We should probably get more proactive here. I have a lot of things I’m juggling, so maybe you could reach out to them personally?” It’s a transparent attempt at getting her out and doing something. He’s never too busy to dig into secrets, after all.

There is a glance over at the window, with a small sound at the back of Kaylee’s throat. It isn’t a no, but also isn’t a commitment to do that. Swallowing hard, she turns her back on the outside world. “Who do we have on medical staff?” She asks her brother with an arched brow. “I want to make sure….” her voice catches in her throat, forcing her to clear it.

“I need to know if I’m a clone,” Kaylee admits quietly, glancing away from her brother.

“…ah.” Richard sinks back a bit, sitting on the edge of his desk and bringing one hand up to rub at his jawline, “That— I suppose it is a possibility, isn’t it?” Reluctantly voiced, but he can’t deny it. Watching her for a moment, he admits, “There’d normally be an easy way to check, but Miller’s ability is out of order too. Still, he’s probably your best bet. Him and Doctor Yeh, and they were both— affected by the same event.”

He nods a little, “So they’d also be— discreet about it.”

“Sorry… I just… I can’t stop thinking about Varlane, what he went through.” Kaylee says with a wince and moves to drop into one of the chairs in front of his desk. “We know what the Institute was capable of… we’d be stupid to think other’s couldn’t,“ she says letting out a soft sigh. Fingers wring together, as her anxiety finally starts to bubble to the surface again.

“Thinking of a DNA test too. I’m sure I can get Warren to agree to it. Maybe some scans.” Kaylee looks up at Richard, clearly worried that she is what she fears. “I’ll see what they want to do. I think I’m the only one with any readily family to compare too genetically.”

“We should have tissue samples from Val down with Odessa’s old research,” Richard suggests, “So we can use those for comparison. Hey…”

He pushes off the desk, stepping over and reaching a hand out to squeeze her shoulder as she sits, “You’re not going to go through what Varlane is, even if you are a clone. None of you have been showing any signs of Hydra Syndrome, and you would have by now.”

“Doesn’t stop my brain from thinking about it… but not just the…” Kaylee waves her hand a little, not wanting to say ‘melting’ out loud. It made it too real. “You know… it’s all the stuff that would come with it like that existential crisis crap. If it’s true, this is fucking cruel.” Kaylee curls forward to where she can rest her elbows on her knees and cradle her forehead in the palms of her hands.

“I don’t know any other reason why I didn’t have the marker, Richard,” Kaylee says, though she then huffs in amusement, “Then again, I’m not very science-y.”

“Tyler’s ability could remove it completely,” notes Richard with a slight shake of his head, “And we’d be foolish to assume nobody else has ever manifested that power. Also, we don’t— know what the genetics of Gemini donors look like, either.” He grimaces slightly at the possibility, but at least it’s an explanation.

“And there are always more, stranger things out there, Kaylee. Don’t lose hope yet.”

“It’s hard,” Kaylee says after swallowing back the emotions that were threatening to choke her. “When you have psychologists and doctors telling me to be prepared to be without it for the rest of my life.” She reaches up and briefly grips the hand on her shoulder. “But, I promise. I’m trying.”

Looking up at her brother, with a bit more determination, “Which is why I think I’ll be taking one of the jets to Canada. I want to visit the crash site. See if there is something they missed.” A mischievous smile tugs at the corner of her mouth, “Maybe sneak something back for Cassandra to look at.”

At this point, Kaylee might be desperate for answers.

“Not a bad idea. Don’t go alone. Take some of the others, maybe…” Richard’s brows lift a little, “I’m sure they want answers too. I’d make sure to talk to Nicole, she’s— got more reason than anyone to dig into this thing.”

“Hell,” he notes, “You could *bring* Cassandra, if she’s willing.”

“And take her away from her bakery she just opened?” Kaylee asks with an arch of her brow, then gives her head a little shake, “No. I wouldn’t do that to her. I’m sure if the authorities haven’t stripped the whole area already we could sneak out some small things back.” Of course, as she says that, he sees an idea take hold in her mind.

Kaylee hops to her feet and turns to her brother, brightening a bit more. “I think I know who to bring, too. I know someone with teleportation.”

Watching him, Kaylee seems a little hesitant to ask this next question, “Do you trust me with Raytech resources and personnel that I need, as long as I don’t burn through too much?”

“You’re a co-owner,” Richard points out a bit dryly, “You don’t need my permission for most things, you realize that, right?”

He shakes his head, “Trust me, I doubt you could do more damage to our profits than Warren does on a quarterly basis with his ‘side projects’.” A bit wry, “And this is for a better cause than those.”

“You….” Kaylee starts and then stops, followed shortly by a laugh. “You have a point, big brother. You have a point, but on being a part owner… so are you and I feel better knowing you know.”

Kaylee's tired smile pulls to the left a bit more, “Plus, you know who to blame right away if this adventure goes south.”

“If it’s illegal, just don’t get caught,” Richard says, reaching out to try and ruffle his sister’s hair, “And let me know what you find. I might be able to help with whatever’s going on once you get me some data points to consider.”

Kaylee tries to duck, but fails to completely avoid the hair ruffling. In retaliation she swats his arm affectionately. “I don’t plan to get caught… though it was much easier when I had an ability.” She grimaces, but doesn’t tear up this time, just gives him a reassuring look.

“I’ll see if Luther will go with me, since I know he has my back and I trust him,” Kaylee adds a touch sheepishly knowing full well the two have had a tumultuous past. “Man already saved me from a nuke and his ability could be useful if we draw any unwanted attention.”

“The man has experience in crossing country borders, so,” Richard observes a bit dryly, “I suppose he’d do fine. Just try not to get the jet exploded, we only have two of those, I don’t want to have to buy another one.”

It’s joking, but not. God knows they’ve all run into situations where that could happen before.

There is a soft, patient sigh from his sister at the dryness of his tone. Ability or not, Kaylee knows him. Stepping close, Kaylee smooths down the lapel of her brother’s jacket, like she’s brushing down ruffled feathers. “Look, I know you two didn’t part in the best way, but… I need you to stop holding onto that small bit of bitterness. For me. He’s one of my best friends… pretty much family and looks at us both as such.”

Kaylee’s smile tugs to one side, as she points out, “Your nephew adores the guy, too.”

Giving his tie a tweak to center it Kaylee adds, “And you and I both know family doesn’t always agree, but we move past… recognize the differences in how we deal and view the world. The important thing is he has your sister’s back and will protect her.” Which he’s proven, but then again… she’ll always have his too.

“I trust him to look after you,” Richard allows with a slight grunt as she smooths down his jacket, “He’s still an immense hypocrite, blowing up on me over hiding Odessa here and then running around the world violating international boundaries and hiding fugitives of his //own/.”

“I know he has your back. Mine I don’t trust him with, but yours? Absolutely.”

“Well….” Kaylee sighs out with patience. “It’s a start. I know trust is hard to get back, it’ll take time… but we did lie to him first and didn’t trust him enough to tell him everything.” She steps back with a lop-sided smile. “I probably would have punched you too if I hadn’t known who she was.”

Her gaze drops to the floor between them. “I know it sounds like me making excuses for him, but we all do things when we’re desperate. Just like you, big brother, fall into Ezekiel-like patterns when you feel there is no other way…. But you are still a good man, even after punching a hole in the universe and letting out an interdimensional being. I also have had no problem falling into ‘Adam’s gang’-type ways when needed. Like illegally digging into a man’s head to save our way of life when I’m…” she catches herself, with a hard swallow, “… was still a cop. Or making a guy shoot his buddys and then himself to save the life of my friends” He can hear the strain of emotion in her voice.

“I guess what I’m saying is… nobody is perfect and don’t give up on him yet, for me.” Her hands come up to stop him, her tearful gaze moving up to look at a point on his chest. “I’m not saying you have to just instantly trust him, but maybe… take some time and see things from his perspective. The things he did, he did to protect the people he cares about.”

Kaylee gives a soft huff of laughter, “You know… I was going to sneak into Japan and do exactly what he and Eve did?” She gives a little shrug at her own confession, “They did it for me… I guess it’s how I look at it now and it saved me from a huge headache for the company.”

“So, I’m going to be entirely honest here, sis…”

Richard regards her with a somewhat rueful expression, “I still don’t know what they did in Japan, because nobody has still filled me in on any of that. I can’t help all of you if I don’t know what’s going on, you know.”

He tugs a handkerchief from a pocket, offering it out to her and smiling faintly, “We have to do things we don’t like sometimes. We’ve never been ‘toe the line’ sorts in this family. We take the long view, usually, and that’s not always— easy.”

There is a soft ah from Kaylee and a small tug at the corner of her mouth as she takes the handkerchief. “I’m sorry, Richard. That is partially my fault, I didn’t know you didn’t know. I’m so used to you having all the answers all the time…” she studies her brother’s face like she’s seeing something new, “I thought you knew, cause you asked Luther to bring Raquelle’s mother home to her son.”

Kaylee’s attention drops to the small square of cloth in her hands. “But what I can tell you, is it wasn’t a very successful mission as I understand it, but they went to look into the past of Adam and the Dragon. They learned about as much as I did from the exhibit at Yamagato, strangely enough. Though I still want to compare notes with them, but… world has been kinda… stressful.”

Her mouth pulls to one side as she twists the cloth in her hands a touch sheepishly. “And yeah they did kidnap an innocent man, but in their defense he told Adam they were there and what they were doing.” Her head wobbles side to side. “So they thought he knew more and made a dumb move.” Kaylee throws her hands outward, “Worked out for me, cause Tae-hwan Ko was a man who researched all that in the past. So I gave him a grant and a potential for future grants for all that and anything else he finds on his search into this and anything else to do with evolved history.”

Suddenly, looking a touch self conscious Kaylee lets the arms lower as she adds, “I figured if we learned about the past of this… being we could figure out how to deal with it.”

“I knew where they were going, but I got a lot of brushing off about what was actually going on over there,” is Richard’s dry observation, one hand coming up to rub at the nape of his neck. He sinks back a bit to sit on the edge of his desk (probably not a good thing since it’s a computer screen but presumably it’s been Richard-proofed) as he admits it, “And I was… not prying very much. I was keeping off the board, which was a mistake.”

He nods, then, “Definitely not a bad idea. Knowledge is our best weapon, always.”

Kaylee lets out a long sigh, lacing her fingers together to hang in front of her, “Richard, they went site to site with a guide named Tae-hwan Ko looking for something that would help all of us beat Adam and that thing we let. At least, until Adam got in the way and told them to butt out. From what I understand, this guide is like Cassandra, a post-cost, and the foremost expert on Kensei and the Entity. He’ll be an asset for sure.”

Hands are held up, to stall him long enough to add, “And I know that at one point they were wanted, but they had nothing to do with that. It was someone that they met up with. Who I guess had her own agenda too. I am — ” the words she wants to say catch in her throat and after a moment she sighs again before Kaylee corrects herself, “I was a telepath… I’d know if Luther was lying to me. I know him.”

Studying her brother, Kaylee shrugs her shoulders, “Either way, you don’t trust them - okay - and that’s fine, but I do trust both Luther and Eve. So for now I’ll do that for both of us,” she says with an apologetic smile. “And they trust me.” Hands spread a bit. “Maybe not with everything, but I don’t expect it. I have faith they will tell me when they are ready.”

“I told you, I trust Luther when it comes to you, Kaylee,” Richard shakes his head, “I’m just still unconvinced he can be trusted when it comes to //me/. I wish I wasn’t. I wish… anyway.”

A sigh, and he looks away before looking back to his sister, “Eve, on the other hand? Since Detroit, she’s— she’s dangerously off-balance, Kaylee. I don’t know what happened to her after she was… killed, but it hasn’t been good for her sanity one bit. She’s going down lines of logic that lead to Evolved supremacy, even though she insists she’s not. She’s scaring people. She’s going to get someone killed with her shit if she doesn’t turn herself in, and soon.”

“She’s been through a lot, we all have… so… I’m holding judgement for now,” Kaylee offers with an apologetic smile. “I can’t help but feel partially responsible for what’s happened to her.” Curling her arms around herself she steps away from her brother. “If I hadn’t tried to… attack that thing, it wouldn’t have leapt into Eve.” A shudder goes through her remember, tears prickling at the edges of her eyes.

“I don’t know how she survived that whole thing, but I don’t fault her for being a little off. Hell, I still feel off myself. This year has been royally fucked up, even the auroras and all those other lives crowding in don’t hold a flame to it.” Kaylee sounds weary and almost defeated.

It’s her turn to sigh, twisting to look back at her brother, Kaylee quickly shifts the subject, “I’ll make sure to send you reports on what we find. With hope we can find some kind of answer for what’s going on.” Swallowing hard she adds gruffly, “I refuse to believe it’s permanent.”

“If it… comes down to that, if it is permanent,” says Richard with a grimace, “And keep in mind, I’m hoping it isn’t as well, and I have some thoughts in mind about how to determine that - there are still— avenues to follow to get you your ability back, albeit ones I’d rather not have to turn to unless we absolutely had to.”

He shakes his head, “But we’ll get to the bottom of this thing, sis.”

“If anyone can get to the bottom of this…. it’s this family,” Kaylee says with confidence and a decent amount of good humor. “Not to mention, looking over the names of those also kidnapped, whoever did this is going to regret it pretty quick.”

Turning back, Kaylee moves to give her brother a hug. “For now I have plans to make and you have a business to run legitimately, while I see what kind of trouble I can get into. See if these assholes mess up and peek their heads out.”

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