delilah_icon.gif elaine_icon.gif matthew2_icon.gif nowak2_icon.gif odette2_icon.gif tom_icon.gif walter_icon.gif

Scene Title Hide
Synopsis Wayward travelers arrive in 1969.
Date August 14, 1969

Horns blare against the riotous noise of an urban jungle. Several loose pages of a newspaper blow across vehicle-choked asphalt cutting through a street flanked by brick industrial buildings. Several small vans adorned in bright blue paint and carnation yellow flowers blast music out their open windows. Some cheering and shouting youths hang banners out the windows, shouting to other vehicles in traffic.

No one in the traffic jam notices the sudden displacement of rushing air and crashing metal trash cans in the nearby alley. For the small group of delirious, confused people stranded in the alley the change of a cold desert night to a humid summer afternoon is as much a shock as the fact that they are all alive.

There is no sign of Frady or Kara. Nowak rolls onto his side and vomits into a pile of trash bags the moment he has his wits about him. Matthew scrambles away from the mess, holding Walter’s arm as he does. He is surprised by his surroundings, but he is not confused. He realizes what’s happened again.

Tom, slouched up against a brick wall beside Odette and Elaine slowly turns to look down the alley to the flower-painted vans and the banners flying on the vehicles.

One of the banners, unfurled, has the words WOODSTOCK OR BUST painted on it.

“Oh.” Tom says as Nowak continues to vomit nearby.

“Oh boy.”

Brooklyn, New York

August 14th

4:17 pm

Elaine takes a moment to catch her breath, leaning against the wall, but the loud sounds have her reflexively moving to cup her hands over Odette’s ears to calm the audio of the city down while her daughter adjusts. While not confused, just as certain as the boys are of what happened, she’s struggling to get her bearings.

Then there are unmistakable signs of time and place and the breath she was catching catches in her throat. “Summer of ‘69,” she breathes out. “What is this, the century’s greatest historical highlights tour?” She shuts her eyes, resting her head against the wall for a moment. “Okay, time to recall every damn thing I remember about U.S. history. Can we just… rest a moment?”

That’s said for her sake as well as Nowak’s, with a dash of concern for Odette tossed in.

The first thing that Delilah can see clearly is the dollops of color at the mouth of the alleyway. It's not night. It's hot. There are the sounds of life. Happy life. No bullets, no motors, no dogs. Just the sounds of the city and- - someone vomiting nearby- -

While her own stomach is turning, it isn't the same. Delilah's eyes dart away from color to find the dizzy image of the boys edging away from Nowak. Walter's arm is still being clung to, and his own free hand has found purchase on a fistful of Matthew's shirt, white-knuckled. His brow and hairline is damp with sweat and his face flushed when he meets his mother's searching eyes. Delilah feels stinging tears.

She's not upset at him, of course. He can see that and then feel it when she stumbles across the alleyway to throw an arm around him, Matthew a second after. She sees no use in covering things up right now- - that's an issue for later.

“It is loud!” Odette agrees with the unspoken cues given by her mother, as she covers her ears to block out some of the myriads of sounds. The amount of people and what they might be doing doesn’t seem to perturb her. “Fun loud though!” It makes her smile, cause whatever is going on here, it’s already nicer than the gunfire and the scary desert that they had been in before. The colors and the air of excitement seem to have made her a little more cheerful. Or at least she doesn’t seem afraid of them, more curious than anything else.

And thankfully not ill, even with Novak being so very close to her. Perhaps her mother’s hands kept her from hearing that wonderful noise.

She might smell it in a minute, however.

Tom has sat in relative silence since realizing his predicament. It takes him a moment to really become aware that the others — sans two — are here. Frady and Kara’s absence barely registers as he pushes himself onto his hands and knees, then pulls himself to his feet. Tom blinks at his surroundings, tugs at his shirt collar and becomes increasingly aware of just how hot and humid it is. Then the smell of the trash in the alley hits him, then the sound of Novak’s continued retching. Tom lurches and staggers out of the mouth of the alley to the sidewalk, doubling over and gasping for a breath of fresh air.

Nowak, having emptied his stomach of everything he possibly can, wipes his mouth with his sleeve and looks around with wide and bewildered eyes. When he meets Elaine’s stare there is a helplessness in his expression, followed by a gasp of disbelief. “How?

It doesn’t matter,” Matthew says defensively, taking a step in front of Walter. “We’re—we’re here. We’re here and nobody’s shooting at us.” The moment that his mouth, Matthew flinches as if expecting a poorly-timed pop of gunfire. None comes.

Out on the sidewalk, Tom catches his breath and straightens up, pacing back and forth while wiping sweat off of his brow. Passers-by don’t pay him — or the group in the alley — any attention. “How—how do we do that again?” He abruptly asks, turning into the alley again. “The—the Back to the Future thing.” He starts snapping his fingers. “How do we—how do we do that right?

Catching her breath, Elaine finally pulls herself together. She hugs Odette at her side for a moment, probably more for her own comfort than for anything else, and then she moves in Tom's direction. "Deep breaths," she urges Tom, only a small glance given towards those passing by. "We can't really control it right now. I'm sure we can do it right eventually but right now we need to get somewhere comfortable and safe."

She rubs her face with both hands for a moment, trying to regain her senses fully. "Look on the bright side… we have time. We'll be okay." She's not entirely sure that's true, but it's what she's going to say for the time being. She's trusting Delilah to make sure the rest of them aren't panicking while she focuses on Tom.

Though Matthew's health is just as much at the fore of her mind, it's Walter whose wins out, thanks to the defensive position the older boy takes for his friend. Even so, the hellbent attitude Delilah has had all this time is hard to break, even with other children; she has protected him in the same way for too long to stop. Delilah holds her in silence for the span of Tom's words, but in the end it's the boy who breaks it up, nudging softly free.

"No more," Walter rubs a half-closed fist against his hairline. "I can't," His breath expels with a puff, eyes bloodshot as if he's stepped through a haze of smoke. "I tried, that- - that- " Delilah hesitates in her ministrations when he pulls away to speak to her, only settling on holding his face rather than attempting to quiet him. It helps to catch his breath, where he echoes with a small gasp, "I tried, the- - it was Three-fifths of a mile in ten seconds."

Tom runs his hands through his hair and turns on a dime, exhaling a frustrated sigh as he paces the alley. “So— so— so what are we supposed to do? Just— just— ” He wildly gestures all around himself. “Just join a Hippie commune and go to Woodstock!?” He spins around and throws his arms out in a flailing gesture.

“I do like the Jimmi Hendrix,” Nowak says with a hiccuped laugh, wiping at his mouth.

“I— ” Tom gapes at Nowak. “No. No! We can’t stay here, it’s the 1960s we— we— we’re going to step on a butterfly and and and it’ll be Planet of the Apes when we get home or something. We can’t stay here, we’re not supposed to be here, we could— oh my god we could accidentally sleep with our parents oh my god I don’t want to be Marty McFly.”

Nowak raises both his brows and looks over at Elaine and Delilah with a is he going to be okay? expression.

Matthew, mindful of Walter, looks up at Tom then around to the more composed and experienced adults. “Do we know anybody we could trust right now? Who would be here in New York?”

Matthew’s question raises sudden, real concerns. The Company was forming in this era, but the United States Government would have still had their own brand of fascism hunting people with abilities. What happened in Roswell wasn’t the end, and while the Coyote Sands massacre has already come and gone, that wasn’t the end for them. Not just yet.

“Remember that breathing thing I told you to do? You need to do it,” Elaine instructs Tom, half like a mom lecturing her child and the other half more like a yoga instructor. “Besides, all of those things were written by people who haven’t time traveled. It’s not like it’s some kind of secret rule book. Now take a deep breath and we’ll work on figuring this out.”

With Tom hopefully handled, she turns back to the rest of those in the alleyway. Walter is given a compassionate look, though she doesn’t choose to address him. Instead she glances over at Matthew. “I don’t really have a lot of ideas. Dee?”

She flashes a glance towards the other redhead in the hopes she’ll at least have some kind of plan.

"It's okay, honey, it's… it's alright. You should be breathing too," Though Delilah is half-listening to Tom's ranting, her hand is scrubbing over Walter's hair when she whispers; he can't help but look up at her with a ragged, sad expression. It only seems to deepen as the flailing from their companion increases and gets a more firm response from Elaine.

Walter murmurs something once more to his mother, Delilah's posture becoming more terse when she turns her head to Tom and Elaine. For Tom, however, there is an almost choleric glare in response to his raving. Dee's jaw sets as her eyes move to Elaine, softened just enough by the importance of Matthew's question that her irritation takes a backburner.

"I- -" If only she had all the answers, right? "I'm not sure either. It's not- -" Delilah wavers between talking freely and keeping things low-key, purely out of habit and years of discerning friend from foe. Walter stirs under the light weight of her arm across his back.

"If it was ten years from now? Maybe? But right now? I have nothing, Elaine… I need to think." Not in an alley that smells increasingly like fresh vomit. "This is a blind spot even for me, maybe something'll come, but," Delilah's brows lift high as her breath leaves her sagging. "Right now we figure out where we are and find a safe space. Greenwich, maybe? Or we hop on a bus?"

With Tom having such a rough time, Odette extracts herself from her mother and walks calmly over to him, and holds out the stuffed pig. “Dr. Schwein isn’t that kind of doctor, but he’s good for hugging when you need to calm down.” She has a mommy to hold onto, after all. She will be okay without the stuffed pig for a little while.

After a moment, she looks back at the two redheads and asks curiously, “What about the man who helped us at the army base?”

“I vote no army men.” Nowak says with one shaky hand raised.

Tom, trying to calm down and still not really doing the breathing thing, looks at Odette and just sort of answers her like she’s a full-grown adult. “Frady? He’s probably dead for all we know or with that crazy blonde chick! Or maybe they landed somewhere else and are fighting dinosaurs!

Matthew glances at Odette, then Walter, then steps a bit closer to Tom. “No I— think she meant Pines.” He says with an uncertain look back to Odette, then Tom again. “I know him. Like, in the future. Our— ” He sighs, exasperated. “Our present. He’s like, super old but he’s nice. He knows Robyn and Dee and all of us. Heck, he might remember us from back then. We could go to WSZR!”

“A radio station?” Tom asks with a shake of his head. “Is it— is it even a radio station right now? There’s not even an internet to look any of this stuff up with.” He adds with a wild gesticulation of his hands. “And— and what are we going to pay for anything with? The men in black stole my wallet full of money from a time that hasn’t happened yet.

“Tom, one problem at a time, please,” Elaine’s doing her best not to sound annoyed. “I know this is rough but you need to focus. Let’s focus on our current problems and what we actually have to work with.” She lets her attention move from Tom, finally deciding it’s not worth trying to calm him and instead is ready to let him temper tantrum it out.

“Pines,” Elaine echoes thoughtfully. “That’s not a bad idea. If we can get there it will at least be a safe place to regroup and someone local to this time can potentially help us navigate things.” She looks back to the street. “Here’s the perk of this time though… I’m pretty sure we can blend in and get some help from people easily enough.” She reaches for Odette’s hand.

“So we go make some friends and get a lift to the radio station.”

Delilah lifts her hand to gesture soothing to Nowak's fear of more army. But Matthew has a huge point, once it comes out.

"We do know him. I was able to recognize him sixty some years before we met. That's how well…" Delilah manages to get a smile out to Odette. Between the kids, they are all sharp as tacks. Tom's vibrating seems to be well handled by Elaine for the time being, so she is able to at least focus some. "I think at one point the station was warehouse space, I don't know when…"

"The station used to listen to Russians and stuff," Walter interjects quietly. Breath caught, he still leans heavily against Delilah; it could well be that adrenaline has come down and the ordeal has caught up hard. Dee can feel him shaking. "'S what he told me once, anyway…'s really old in there and I ask lots of questions." Shaking melds with a dumb little laugh. It's true.

A shrug from Delilah affirms this, her expression drawn. "Right, well… let's see if we can hitch a ride first." There might be a military presence at the station, but she doesn't voice this for the time being.

When Matty gets who she meant, Odette nods vigorously, though she would have probably wanted to see Farady and “Kara” again. She takes being yelled at like an adult very well, though she does end up holding up the pig once again, either as a shield, or a reminder that he was supposed to take him. But since he did not, she keeps the stuffed doctor and returns to her mother, leaving poor Mister Tom to his multitudes of worries. As her mother takes her hand, she looks up and says simply, ‘I think he needs some quiet time, mom.”

It takes a second for Tom to click with what Delilah is suggesting. But when he does it’s with breathless exasperation. “Wait, you want to catch a ride? Like, hitchhike?” There’s a little nervous tremor in his voice.

With who?


A flower-painted van door rolls open with a wafting trail of smoke. Tom steps out onto the curb with a wobble, eyes red around the edges and glassy. He coughs a chest-deep whoop into one closed fist and then looks back at Nowak, stepping out of the back of the van and passing a joint to a long-haired man sitting on the van floor.

Nowak smiles awkwardly and waves, while Odette and Elaine emerge from the front seat. Tom doubles over coughing again and shakes his head, squinting as the others pile out of the van. Nowak pats Tom on the back and says, “You, ah, how is it said? Hit that hard?

Thanks,” Tom gasps, clutching onto his knees as he coughs into the street.

Matthew rubs gently at his eyes and looks up into the sunny summer sky at the looming silhouette of a familiar brick building rising up from the otherwise foreign looking Brooklyn skyline.

“Hey!” The driver of the van calls, throwing up a peace sign. “Safe travels!”

Elaine smiles brightly and waves in the direction of the van, then decides 'when in Rome' and throws up a peace sign as well. "Thanks!" She takes a moment to breathe in the much fresher air and collect herself. She's pretty sure if she and Delilah don't hold things together, the whole lot of them are going to implode. She turns towards the rest of them, namely Delilah. "Well, this is it, question is, what exactly is this place currently in this time?" For a moment, she pauses, the words catching in her mind. "That's not exactly the kind of thing I thought I'd ever be asking. In this time."

She reaches for Odette's hand, at this point finding the smaller hand in hers reassuring rather than it being for her daughter's benefit.

With who, he asks? Delilah has the pulse on that, and of course they get where they're going. She ushers Matt and Walter out ahead of her, trying her best to resist laughter at the absurdity of whatever else has happened in the van. The kids may have a bit of a contact fuzz, but it won't hurt them. Just leaves one very watery eyed. Delilah may have insisted on the guys both joining their nice hosts.

They needed it.

She angles a wave back at their new friends, tagging on a "Thank you! You too!"

"See? We're fine." comes once Dee turns back around to her little company, hands on Matt and Walter's shoulders. A small smirk appears for Tom's ordeal, "…Mostly fine."

"We could just… knock? Right?" The red haired boy seems just as bleary as the older, though fortunately it appears Walter has regained some of his strength. He has brightened some at seeing the familiar building, brows up when he answers Elaine's question.

"That's what I'm thinking~." Delilah chimes in just after, brows knit in Elaine's direction before she adjusts her own hair and the lay of her shirt to something a little tidier. "No better way than 'Hello'." With this, Delilah is the one who toes the line and steps forward to the face of the building.

"It smelled bad in there, mommy," Odette states in passing now that they were out of the van. She was polite enough not to point out the smell until after the nice -man had driven away. "It smelled like Mister Brown’s glaucoma medicine."

Sounded like someone in Providence got caught smoking pot and told the little girl it was medicinal. And afterwards she just thought a lot of people must have glaucoma.

With big eyes, she looks up at the building and holds the stuffed pig against her chest and watches and waits. This man had been very nice and helped fix up her friend. He would help them, right?

With Delilah at the forefront and Tom lagging behind with fitful coughing, the approach to what will one day be the WSZR building is met with an unusual sense of familiarity juxtaposed by that sparse Brooklyn skyline. It would be decades before an attempt at gentrifying this neighborhood would be made, and not long after that the bomb would undo all of that as the American economy fell into collapse and only further exacerbated by the coming of a second civil war. It’s haunting to think all of that has yet to happen. All of that is yet unwritten from where they stand, and a single push in the wrong (or right) direction could send history toppling on another path entirely.

The buzz of temporal responsibilities hums at the back of Delilah’s mind as she ascends the metal stairs to the entrance she knows from her time. A rap on the old wooden doors is met by silence and the grimy factory windows give little indication that anyone or anything is here. A second, determined knock likewise elicits silence.

Tom, waiting at the bottom of the stairs, looks up at the deleterious state of the building and shakes his head. “I—I dunno, guys. This place looks abandoned. It might be years before—”

One side of the double doors opens a crack, then flings wide. On the other side of the door is a tall, barrel-chested, bearded man with a haunted look in his eyes.


It was only an hour ago for Delilah, but for Howard Frady… it’s been more than twenty years.

“Im-fucking-possible.” Frady rasps, staring at Delilah with his mouth hanging open. He looks past her, spotting Elaine and Odette, Tom and Nowak, even Walter and Matthew. He stumbles back away from the door, a gray-haired and haunted specter of the man they’d only just met.

The closer she got to the door, the more that her muscles tense up. By the top, Delilah is rigid from shoulder to shoulder, firm in her decision to knock her way in. Whatever happens, she'll deal with it- -

"Oh." Delilah breathes out, pausing with raised knuckles and assessing the state of the man who not long ago had busted them out of sure imprisonment. Her eyes remain in a state of alertness, one hand gripping the door and taking a step inside. Of course she's afraid, but so is he. Perhaps moreso? She'll take it.

"…We never did get to properly thank you, did we?" The opportunity to scare him more is not one she's interested in, voice light as she speaks. Delilah's adopted manner is more one of a teacher determining what firmness to take in a new classroom. Time to figure out just how much of a pickle this is. "…May we come in, please?"

Elaine keeps her attitude measured, but she does seem at ease and less concerned than Delilah does. She moves to stand behind the other woman, a glance behind her to check on the kids (as well as the adults). She does offer a gentle smile and a warm look. He was not who they expected to find, but he was at least a familiar face who might still aid them.

“We apologize for the intrusion,” she adds.

It takes Frady a few minutes to rationalize what he’s experiencing, then finally to step out of the way and wordlessly let the wayward travelers in. As they file in one at a time, Frady gives each of them an inspecting look. The factory on the other side of the door isn’t much to speak of and looks only somewhat different from its WSZR days. The main floor that would have at one time been a textile mill is filled with rows of desks, unoccupied chairs, and dusty typewriters.

Tom is the last in the door, looking around with a silent and trepidatious stare. He is the first to spot a bank of old reel-to-reel players against one wall, radio equipment, and speakers. The look he gives Frady is a puzzled, but silent one. Nowark, rather than interrogate his surroundings, finds the closest desk and sits down in the chair with a soft creak of old metal.

“Welcome to, ah, Listening Post Zulu.” Frady says with a flippant wave of his hand as he slams the door. “Used to be a sixty-person listening post for Commie activity but, we’re down to a skeleton crew. It’s just me here now. The Skeleton.”

Frady’s disaffected tone of voice is markedly different from the frenetic energy he had when they last saw him. “Not that I should be telling you any of that, but who’s going to court martial me for telling state secrets to people who haven’t even been born yet?” He asks, punctuating the question with a weary laugh.

Matthew starts to wander a little ways from the group, looking around the factory floor, running one hand over the dusty desk, comparing it to his recent memory of WSZR. His attention moves to what would become the recording room, currently packed full of cardboard boxes.

“Hey, no, I mean, thank you? For—” Tom gestures to the door, then back to Frady. “Risking your life for us? But you’re not dead, right? So—things worked out?” He smiles unconvincingly.

“This feels like American equivalent of shipping someone off to Siberia.” Nowak says, running a hand through his hair and looking around. “They file you away in little paper box, leave you on a shelf, forgotten?”

Thanks,” Frady grumbles at Nowak. “I’m not—” He disengages from the conversation and waves his hands in the air. “Can one of you explain to me what the hell is going on? How’re you here? Now?

"We were looking for someone else." Odette says plainly as she steps inside, putting the stuffed pig down on a table and looking around at the equipment. With hands on her hips, one might think she's disappointed. They would be only slightly right. "Is Kara okay? Did she get super old too?"

Wearing the same clothes, being the same age, the voices, even down to the lengths of hair- - as they file in there's no doubt that these are the same people.

Delilah looks around the dusty leftovers of the mill with a somewhat longing look in her eyes; she's visibly disappointed for as long as this lasts, replaced by a quiet sort of dignity as she looks to the others. Frady is making jokes at his own expense, but there's still a shake of the head and an attempt at levity. "You wouldn't be the first skeleton to be telling us top secret shit, trust me."

"Let's all… have a seat, hm?" Nowak had the right idea. This will be easier that way, and it certainly feels like she's been running for twenty years. She can't imagine the kids' moods.

Speaking of, Walter has mostly stuck close to Matthew, as is typical of him; they both find a weirdly comforting familiarity in the shapes and shadows. No old man- - or at least not the one they know. As Delilah gives what he sees as a signal that it's okay to wind down, slim shoulders sag and Walter immediately throws himself into the nearest musty desk chair. Urgency and edge leave him in the whuff of dust particles.

The sound draws Dee's attention but for a glance, and as she steps in to find a chair, she gestures for the others to do the same. A proper moment of rest, unbroken by the noise of the city or the musk of a full van. Just them this time. There is an exhausted little smile for Odette's choice of commentary. Precocious as can be. It fits.

Still weary, Delilah rolls both shoulders and looks to Frady. "Short version or long version? Because the short version is time travel." The digestible explanation, love.

Elaine leans over to kiss the top of Odette's head, a brief glance over to the rest of the kids before she seems content to let them poke around and wander if they so choose. There's absolutely nothing wrong with setting them free in the building. "Delilah has it right, the simple version is time travel. The more complex version is also time travel but with more details." She rubs the back of her neck. "We weren't exactly expecting you," she admits, "as my lovely daughter pointed out. You are, however, someone who I'm willing to bet will help us given we, uh, do not have any particular plans for what's going on."

She's willing to be that honest because she's banking on the fact that Frady will at least help them. Someone has to help them.

Frady frowns, the lines creasing deeper than the last time they saw him decades ago. He looks over at Matthew, Walter, and Odette and for a moment seems hesitant to talk more. But on reflection he sighs, then waves the group over to one of the unoccupied desks. Nowak follows, taking one of the errant desk chairs and sits down nearby, watching Frady curiously.

“Kara…” Frady starts, then exhales a sharp sigh. “I don’t even know where to begin. Long story short she started working for the OSI. I don’t know where she is these days, and I’m happier that way. She’s—she’s not a good person.”

Tom looks Frady up and down and sits on the corner of an unoccupied desk, hands folded in his lap. “So, wait, you’re telling me that there’s a time traveler from—from decades in the future who is working with the government?” He grimaces. “Was working—is? Oh my god I hate this.”

“Apparently.” Frady says with a helpless shrug.

“So, wait,” Matthew glances at Walter, then back to Tom. “Does that mean she was already there where we’re from? Or—or—or—” A sudden fear comes over him. “A-are we ever going to be able to get home? If we make a timeline divergence we—we can’t get home. Mom—mom told me it—it’s not.”

Tom, suddenly recognizing this is all a little heavy for Matthew reaches out and takes him gently by the shoulder. “Hey, c’mon, we’re in this together, it’s gonna be ok. We’re gonna find a way home.” He glances at Delilah and Elaine with the hope that there’s some truth to what he’s saying.

"Tom's right, we're going to find a way back. Besides, your mom would find a way to murder me through time and space if I didn't get you back hom, Matthew," Elaine flashes him a smile before she looks back to the adults. "I know this all gets really confusing. If I didn't have… experience with this, I would have reacted the same. I mean, it's not my experience, but it's there."

She doesn't fully look at Odette, but her gaze darts momentarily in that direction. "We got out then, we'll get out now."

With her question answered, Odette finds a place to sit where she can be out of the way with the stuffed pig in her lap. Unlike others, she is not worried. "We'll get back. I wasn't even born in the right world and I still found my way back to mommy." Nevermind that the statement sounds insane to anyone who doesn't know her story.

What Frady says about Kara seems to fit the vibe that Delilah felt between her and Nowak - - that tension,even lacking a good explanation. They didn’t exactly have a lot of time to go over fine details. Maybe now they can squeeze that in. She crosses over to Matthew at the same time Tom makes his reassurances, taking up the teenager’s hand briefly into her own.

“Trust me when I say that she doesn’t know the whole truth, okay?” Delilah doesn’t have the habit of lying to the boys, and her tone lacks any accusation of Robyn’s knowledge; she stays on facts for Matt’s sake. Odette’s own way of affirmation gets a small breathy laugh. Yes, that too. “We'll figure it out and get home. It might… take some hard work though.” Work she can’t help with.

“Dunnit’fore.” Whatever helpful addition that Walter wants to give from his seat is muffled by a sleepy adrenaline crash and the curl of coltish legs up onto the seat with him. Delilah, despite the urge, doesn’t look over, instead pretending she definitely did not hear his mumbling. She worries more than enough as it is. Just act natural.

“Well,” Frady says with a scrub of one hand over his mouth, as if trying to wipe the bad taste of this entire conversation out of it, “it sounds like whatever you’re going to do it won’t be quick. Seeing as how none of you actually have what sounds like a plan?” He looks around between them, finding no contradictions.

Frady paces over to one of the tall factory windows, peering out into the parking lot below. “You can’t stay here,” he says with a gesture around the building. “I might not have a ton going on but I do get official visits. And you’re sure as hell not staying with me, I’ve got a wife and kid at home and barely enough space for that…”

Leaning against the brick beside the window, Frady rhythmically bumps his fist against the stone. “I’ve got five hundred bucks in a bug-out bag,” he says thoughtfully, then turns away from the window and back to the temporal hitchhikers in his midst. “Best I can do is give you some cash and…” he spreads his hands, “you all lay low for a while until you figure this out.”

“Wait, that’s it?” Tom asks exasperatedly. “You don’t—have some kind of—of secret, government time travel machine you can just warp us home with? What about Area 51, what about—”

“Kid.” Frady’s tone is exhausted. “There ain’t none of that.” He grumbles, waving a dismissive hand at Tom. “It’s 1969, not 2069, okay? I can barely scrape together some money so you don’t all have to sleep on the street.”

“What—what’re we supposed to do then, that’s not going to go a long way.” Tom waves his hands around frantically. “How much can you even buy with five hundred bucks in 1969? What happens when the money runs out?”

Frady draws in a patient breath through his nose and shrugs. “Sounds like you’re gonna need a job.”

Tom’s face goes white. Get a job. His eyes waver back and forth, looking for answers that aren’t there. He collapses into a seat and puts his head in his hands.

Matthew, meanwhile, finally speaks up again. “We can’t step on any butterflies,” he says, knowing everyone in the room will get the reference. He has to be brave.

“We lay low,” Elaine agrees, looking back to Tom. “This isn’t just an overnight fix, we’ll have to prepare for it. Blend in.” She is a little worried about the fact that they aren’t sure how long they’ll be stuck there. “Think of it as some kind of immersive history trip.” It's not the most comforting suggestion, but it's the one she's got. They need something to keep nerves in check. "You're into music, Tom, you can't tell me you've never wondered what it would be like to go to the most talked about musical event in all of history. There are upsides."

“Five hundred? That’s- considerable.” Delilah sounds both amazed by the continued kindness and baffled by it. Not only did he spring them from a military facility, but he’s still willing to help them after they literally crash his quiet desk job. Twenty years on, no less.

Elaine’s latest go at levity earns her raised brows and an almost overwhelmed laugh. Was that a serious suggestion? Delilah looks to catch another thought in passing, expression shifting from unsure to contemplative. “That would be a good place to do some business. If you get my drift.”

“Five bucks says the Owl’s around. I worked there once too.” Turning from Matthew to where Walter has curled up, Dee rests a hand on his head. Only half joking.

“Great.” Tom mumbles, slouching against the brick wall. “I traveled time to stay a fry cook.” He closes his eyes and exhales a sigh. The irony is unbelievable.

“Em.” The fact that Nowak is here might have gone unnoticed if he hadn’t spoken up, hand raised like he’s in gradeschool. “Is this, em, what you might call Good Time for foreigners in the United States?”

Frady sucks in a breath and then shakes his head. “Long as you don’t go around talkin’ about the Kremlin you should be ok.”

Nowak blanches. “That—will be easy. Am not Russian.”

Frady kicks up a brow and laughs. “Huh, could’a fooled me.” He looks back over to Delilah and Elaine, then the quiet little sack of potatoes that is Odette. “You all should probably stick close by to here, though. At least let me know where I can find you in case I hear something, or we figure out a way to get you back where you belong.” There’s a deep curiosity in Frady’s voice, he still doesn’t know how they got into this mess. “I know this is a lot, but the first order of business is finding you all a place to sleep and getting you a hot meal. I owe you that much.”

With a sigh, he slacks his shoulders. “But, as long as everybody keeps their heads down…”


Not Far Away…

“…everything should be alright.”

A man on a park bench slowly folds a copy of today’s newspaper closed. His brows knit together, attention rising to the clouds. He sits up slowly, setting his newspaper aside atop a half-eaten Italian sub in its parchment paper wrapping.

“Wally?” A man with dark hair and a thick mustache sitting beside him on the bench calls.

Ssh,” he urges, eyes tracking from side to side. “Something’s…” he looks back to the bench. “Wrong.

The man on the bench throws the newspaper aside, picks up the sandwich, and stands up urgently. “Wrong how?” He asks, offering the sub out to his friend.

“I felt something. Ripples in a pond, expanding outward… hitting distant shores.” Wally says, ignoring the proffered sub. Charles, we need to go.” He says with a sudden urgency.

I need to talk to Kaito, now.

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