asi2_icon.gif brynn_icon.gif daphne_icon.gif faulkner_icon.gif nicole3_icon.gif nova_icon.gif squeaks5_icon.gif zachery_icon.gif

Scene Title Hollow
Synopsis Following the 'cargo crash' event in Manitoba, its survivors congregate in fits and starts, trying all in their own way to feel less…
Date July 9, 2020

Health Sciences Centre

Winnipeg, Manitoba


The lighter in Asi's hand takes multiple rips to produce a flame capable of igniting the end of her cigarette. Maybe it's a shitty lighter. Maybe it's that her hands won't quit shaking.

It's almost imperceptible, save for when she does little things like this.

After taking a drag off her cigarette, she pinches it between her index and middle finger, letting it fall by her side. She looks down at it. The cherry on the end of it trembles. She flicks the filter with her thumb, defiantly sending sparks to the concrete of the outdoor smoking garden several stories off the ground. Asi sticks to the shadow cast by the building as it nears closer to noon, shirking stepping into the slant of light closer to the edge of the balcony.

Her head tilts back to hit the concrete wall as she finally exhales her breath away in a haze of smoke, eyes lifting to the cloudless blue of the sky.

She feels hollow. Numb isn't a luxury she has sought yet. Numb would be denying this isn't real, this isn't happening. Numb would be lying, and she knows the lie would taste so much sweeter than the reality. Numb would be an intoxication she wasn't sure she could escape once she slipped into it.

Her throat burns as she inhales again from the cigarette, and she finally pushes away from the wall near the door to head to the balcony railing. She folds her arms against it and looks down at what can be seen below— the hospital parking lot, the entrance, the city beyond.

A thousand different machines should be pinging her senses right now, and all she hears is that silence which leaves her hollow. The sounds of the city below do nothing to fill the hole that's been left behind, and never will.

The vacancy in her stare sharpens at its edges abruptly, burning anger taking hold with the next breath in. She thinks back to the test results she walked away from to clear her mind out here— the news that nothing was wrong with her aside from everything. She'd had excessively high white blood cell counts, yet no other signs of disease or infection to merit it. She'd shown signs of abnormality in tissue density in her cerebellum on an x-ray, which couldn't be properly examined because MRI results washed out due to an electromagnetic 'aura' she was producing, for lack of a better word.

Oh— and she was testing SLC-N.

They'd ordered two reruns of the test to confirm what she already knew herself the moment she woke up.

Asi flicks the filter of the cigarette again roughly, taking stock of just how much is left with a glance. She wonders if she shouldn't stay out here for another smoke after this.

But this is already her second.

"I know where it is!" Zachery's exasperated voice erupts from the freshly opened door to the garden, and the rest of him follows suit shortly after, one leg in a cast and crutches on either side of him. "I can read the signs!" He calls out to the friendly volunteer nurse who lingers behind inside, and who does not leave until they hear him saying, "THANK you!"

Zachery does not, in fact, sound thankful. He's had a fucking day. Enough of a day to where - once he's standing still a little ways out from the door - he locks his jaw tight enough to make it look like he might just empty his lungs in whatever fucking scream into the void happens to happen.

Except then, he notices Asi. His gaze snaps to her and sticks like flypaper, his remaining eye all the keener looking for how the other eyelid hangs sadly over an empty nothing. "You," he snaps, like an accusation, grinding the rubber of the crutch tips against the ground as he pushes himself somewhat awkwardly forward without putting weight on his injury. "You were there. Have they told you anything?"

Anything more, preferably, hopefully goes without saying.

The sound of the shout lifts one of Asi's shoulders away from her lean against the railing, her head turning back to get a better look at just who it is that's coming out to disturb the space. She recognizes him first, drawing herself up to her full height even though the hand with the cigarette still stays perched over the rail. Brown eyes trace over the tension in his reaction, at how he seems ready to snap, when—

He does, it's just in her direction. Her eyes half-lid in a will to gather her own patience, ending with a tilt of her head to the side so she can stream away smoke in a plume theoretically not in his direction. It's an attempt at politeness, the likes of which he's not showing her. But it also highlights the shortness of her own temper, visible in the tension in her shoulder and the way she brings her gaze back to Zachery.

"They've told me seven different ways now that they really don't have a firm grip on what's happened. And if I had to guess— you're hearing nothing but the same." She shifts her lean to settle her hip instead of her wrist against the railing, cigarette lifted, but paused as she looks over to him. "I don't suppose you're also SLC-E but now mysteriously missing your ability? Your genetic marker?"

She flicks the side of her cigarette again. It may be becoming a nervous habit.

"I know Thatcher's lost hers. She—" Asi's eyes darken, mood sombering away from terseness even if it's just for this moment. "I'm neighboring her. They had to sedate her."

The door to the outdoor garden is flung open but it takes a moment for anyone to appear. It’s a struggle on the other side of the threshold — an achingly familiar one, but one that Daphne Millbrook has grown very rusty at — to navigate such simple acts as opening a door and getting herself through it. The door should probably have a button to make it wheelchair accessible without this struggle, but retrofitting smoking gardens is not high on the priority list of the hospital, no doubt.

She’s not here to smoke, anyway.

Eventually Daphne manages to get her wheelchair through the doorway. “Goddamn it,” she mutters when she bangs her knuckles between the tires and the door jamb, bringing her hand up to soothe it with her mouth for a moment.

Her gaze, angry and bitter, slides over Asi and Zachery and she pauses, blocking the doorway as she tries to determine if she’s interrupting anything personal.

And tries to determine, if that’s the case, if she gives a shit.

The petite young woman who looks to be in her late teens lets herself out of the hallway and into the area with an almost hunted look over her shoulder. Like everyone else out here, she might just be running away. Although she doesn’t seem startled to find the garden already occupied, she also looks a little nonplussed. She is not familiar with any of the people in the room, and it makes her clutch the notepad she’s carrying in her hand a little tighter, her knuckles showing a bit white against the cardboard backing. Dark haired with soft gray eyes, she barely clears five feet tall. And she sidles sideways from behind Daphne’s chair where it’s sitting not far from the door, offering a small, uncertain wave to the occupants. She doesn’t know them, but Brynn does recognize them all from the crash.

"But they know more," Zachery tells Asi rather than guesses, darting a look toward the door and throwing a narrowed glance at yet two more familiar faces. "But yes," he spits out, but then instantly seems to lose steam when he lifts a hand to gesture, only to have his wrist hit a bar on the crutches, resulting in him shoving the hand back down again. "I… yeah, the genetic marker."

It's a confirmation, of sorts, even if the why and how still being unclear takes some of the energy out of his speech. But not to worry — it returns all too easily when he shifts his weight and jams a crutch down to the side, twisting himself around so he can more comfortably see everyone at once. "There's more of you, perfect!" Frustration darkens enthusiasm, and knits his brow. "What the fuck is going on? Have any of you got even the first fucking clue?"

As Brynn skirts by, Daphne realizes she’s in the way, and she edges forward. It’s a shitty wheelchair with no bells or whistles, so it takes a moment to get herself to a spot where she isn’t blocking the path.

Zachery’s tone draws an eye roll from the former speedster, and she shakes her head angrily — both at his demeanor and as an answer to his question.

“None of it makes sense. Maybe some weird solar flare or radiation surge or something hit the plane and screwed with our genetic makeup, but that doesn’t explain why we were on the plane in the first place. I don’t fucking need to be on a plane,” Daphne says. “And why I’m in North America again is beyond me. I’ve been living in Europe since 2012. So you can imagine I’m super excited to be back here and, you know, in a wheelchair.”

She takes a sharp breath, pursing her lips together as she looks away. There are no tears. Just anger. Brynn gets an apologetic half smile and Daphne waggles her fingers to the girl, remembering that she can’t hear.

Nobody knows what’s going on,” comes a strong voice from the door to the rooftop. It’s followed a moment later by the emergence of Nicole Miller. Of everyone involved in this incident, she’s the one who’s fared the best — as far as outward appearances. She hadn’t had hardly a scratch on her when the Canadian authorities had arrived and started dragging them all from the wreckage.

It’s the bump she doesn’t have that speaks to her injury.

“Stop yelling at everybody,” Zachery’s wife instructs in a soothing voice. It’s the height of summer, the July heat is making itself very known, but Nicole is bundled up in a sweatshirt (over a tee shirt, over a tank top) and an equally unattractive pair of sweatpants, and she’s still shivering. She’d come up here to soak up some of that sun and hope that it might warm her bones some.

For all that she’s poised, calm, and composed, Zachery knows better. Inside, his wife is screaming just as much as he wants to. As much as he’s already partly indulged. As she makes her way from the doorway and into that craved sunlight, her posture isn’t quite right. Her gait is off. She’s compensating for a front-heavy weight and it sees her leaning back unnecessarily to counterbalance what simply isn’t there.

Nicole’s dull blue gaze regards everyone in turn, but settles on Asi last, and it’s the Japanese woman that she begins to approach. “Got one of those I could have?” A cigarette.

Zachery's insistence, unfortunately, does little but make him sound like a raving conspiracy theorist. Asi continues to regard him out of the corner of her eye as he turns on the new entries to the smoking area. At least there's space to accommodate the number; the mid-level balcony flanked by greenery and sparsely decorated with rounded thermoplastic picnic tables.

Nicole's counterbalance of a shout sees that's where the former technopath's eyes go next, acknowledging her request with an upward tip of her chin. "Anyone else want one?" she asks as she flips open the carton, and it seems she's perfectly serious. It's clear Zachery could need one, so her gaze right past him and settles on Daphne, brow arched to echo her inquiry. It's less sure that she moves a brief look to Brynn as well to indicate she's included before she finally pulls free a cigarette, passing it and her cheap lighter off to Nicole.

"That's a hell of a repatriation," Asi offers up belatedly in reply to Daphne's complaint about where it is they find themselves. "And good information. Whatever the fuck happened to us…" Well, clearly it wasn't centralized to just New York.

She lets the thought trail off for now, brow furrowing together as she goes back to her own cigarette, carton still held in her other hand. Besides, she's got a question, eyes narrowing as she looks mostly in the direction of the SESA agent on the balcony. "You would not happen to know a survivor of a Gemini extraction process, would you?"

Her personally, or her agency. Asi's not picky.

Either missing the signs of disapproval shot his way or simply choosing to ignore them, Zachery looks just about to launch into another demand when Nicole's voice rings out.

Still, the look he shoots her is not kind. It's only when he watches her walk that his expression relaxes somewhat, swallowing back whatever he was about to say. He turns his head before he fully looks away from his wife, slumping forward into the weight of his crutches as his face dips.

If he doesn't look at her, maybe it won't feel like she's not there at all. Maybe he can pretend she's a little further away than he can usually pick up on. Asi's offer is not addressed. "2012," he repeats, instead, willing himself a little quieter even if he still sounds like he might be a mosquito's sighting away from throwing the crutches clear off of the balcony, "I had my eye, then. That rules out something, right? It's got to. And we're still…" He lifts his head, turning to Daphne to eye her, then Brynn. "Everyone remembers Sunday? July 5th?"

Brynn offers a wave toward Daphne, watching the conversation intently. The only reason she catches what Asi says is because she’s watching Nicole and the interchange about the cigarettes, though declining with a faint smile and a shake of her head. When Zachery’s attention falls directly on her, she blinks a couple of times and then nods her head at the question. She remembers going to bed. She pulls the notebook up and jots in quickly, When I went to bed that night, I was at home. That’s all I could tell them. Do any of us know why or how we wound up inside those pods?

She knows literally nothing about what’s going on, and based on their expressions, they don’t either. But it can’t hurt to ask.

Isaac Faulkner slips in like a ghost, drawn from his waking torpor by Zachery's yelling; whatever it was happening here, it was… something. Something different.

"No. No idea," is his answer to Brynn's question, delivered in passing with the same flat, dead affect that has haunted most of Isaac's words lately, though he does throw in a shake of his head for good measure. He holds Brynn's gaze only briefly, though, before his eyes move on, settling on good old Doctor Necromancer. "I remember going out for a night run late on the 5th — about 10 pm, I think — coming back home, and turning in for the night," he says, his words slow and leaden. "Next thing I knew… smoke and fire."

He keeps his eyes on Zachery for a moment… then, at last, his gaze moves on, circling around the others. Faces unfamiliar, before the disaster that brought them all here, but now known to him, even if he doesn't have names for most of them. He takes another step forward, moving to stand near Asi. "Do they help?" he asks, nodding to her cigarettes… and with those words, there's finally a hint of something else in his voice — the barest forlorn hint of something that might almost be hope.

“Yeah, right?” Daphne says wryly to Asi’s comment regarding her arrival back on North American soil, much to her dismay. “I used to think it was just the US trying to ruin my life, but now Canada’s in on the act. Or something.”

She chews her lower lip, shaking her head at Brynn’s question, then over to Nicole. Her head cants to the side as she tries to place the brunette — aside from the scene of their shared trauma — before she nods slowly to Zachery’s question.

“My 5th would’ve been your 4th still, but yeah. I was in Paris.”

She sighs, her eyes moving from face to face. “I know Abby and Gillian. Are you all from New York? I,” she sighs, and shoves an impatient hand through her short-cropped hair. “I used to be.”

She gives a wry laugh. “I feel like I’m at an AA meeting or something. Hi, I’m Daphne Millbrook and I’m a … whatever the fuck you’d call us.”

Behind her, the door opens again, and the slim figure belonging to Nova peeks through the door, brows knitting together as she sees so many of the strangers meeting. “The nurse was wondering where some of you went, doing her rounds,” she says, but she lets the door shut behind her. “I won’t tell,” she adds with a conspiratorial sort of smile, moving to one of the tables to sit atop it, feet on the bench.

“Thank goodness for that.” Nicole hasn’t had a cigarette in months and she isn’t about to let some well-intentioned nurse stop her now. The cig and lighter are accepted from Asi with a gracious nod and a murmured thank you. Her husband and his pain seem to be ignored for the moment. Partly because she just can’t deal with it right now.

Sticking the cigarette between her lips, Nicole raises the lighter. She doesn’t bother with the wheel, but instead depresses the tab that releases the fuel. Her other hand comes up to snap-snap-snap! her fingers.


Nicole closes her eyes heavily, otherwise as still as a statue, like she might otherwise be frozen in time after her fingers came together for that last snap. Eventually, she lifts her thumb off the tab and pushes out a breath meant to dissipate the butane. She remembers how she would ‘breathe fire’ at parties by sucking on the end of the stupid thing and then igniting the spark while she breathed out. She doesn’t need her hair catching fire when she finally moves to hold the cigarette with the vee of her left hand and strike up the flame with her right.

“Thanks,” Nicole says again when she hands the lighter back to Asi. There’s a tear running down her cheek that she’s quick to swipe away.

“I turned in early that night.” Sunday, the 5th. “I don’t know, 9 o’clock? I’d overdone it at a party the night before.” Not drinking, but just being. Her hand lifts unconsciously to rest over the flat of her stomach. She’d danced way too much at Robyn Roux’s Independence Day party for someone who was as laden as she was.


There’s no swell to her belly. Her navel isn’t protruding such that can be seen even through layers of fabric. “I was incredibly fucking pregnant before we all woke up like this,” Nicole says numbly, remembering to turn so that Brynn can read her lips before she says it.

No,” to Asi’s question, she finally provides an answer. “I don’t know anyone who survived having their power taken by the Gemini process.”

Or if she does, she isn’t telling.

Zachery eyes Brynn's notebook, then studies her face for a moment. Next, catching the glance Isaac aims at him, he pulls away from where he's standing and staggers closer to the edge of the balcony while listening to the answers given. Considering in silence.

Nova's arrival draws a bitter chuckle from him while he moves. To a spot next to Nicole, despite current reservations, giving her and the cigarette a sharp look that she knows the cause for but he is unable to articulate an argument about.

Why not, at this point, after all. "We're from New York," is all he offers, once near enough to Nicole that the 'we' might be clearer in context.

One more look is offered Brynn's direction, one as curious as it is impatient, accompanied by an uncertain draw of his finger over his cheek in his best (read: just barely remembered) attempt at asking, 'Deaf?'

Asi keeps her quiet while everyone swaps their stories, her head tilting to the side while she thinks, listens. Nicole answers in the negative. Her brow knits together.

"I don't remember going to sleep. I was working. Late, into the night, as I sometimes do. I was… remoting out to finish up a deadline item, but present at the Wolfhound headquarters." And then with a shake of her head, "You can call me Asi. I'm not from New York, but I am currently living in the Safe Zone." When Nova slips out to warn of potentially-impending visits by the nurses, the former technopath offers her a tight nod and fixes a look back to the door, sending it an accusing glance prematurely.

Because fuck them thinking they know better at this point.

Eyes unbreaking from her stare, she breathes in the last of her current cigarette, putting out what's left on the railing. It's only then that she breaks the stare, looking over her shoulder and flicking the butt clear over the edge despite the plastic repositories stationed around the balcony. It's petty of her, but it feels good in the moment.

Then she looks back toward Faulkner, simply offering out what's left of her pack. One for her, which she takes, and the last for him. "They don't hurt," she replies with a lift of her brow.

There’s a look of horror when she reads Nicole’s lips. Was pregnant?? Oh God… Her fingers grip the notebook hard enough to maybe break it were it less flexible. Brynn doesn’t know what to sign to such a piece of news. Sorrow, though, is clear in her expression. She hasn’t lost near as much as some in this group — the two ladies who can’t walk, the one who has lost her baby… Brynn cannot even comprehend.

Zachery’s movement draws her eye and she nods to him, but other than that, she doesn’t volunteer much. It does explain some of her silence, the being deaf. The rest maybe is just evident in her body language. She clearly is aware she’s missing things, moving to a position where she can see as many of them as possible. But even that means she can only watch one part of the conversation at a time.

“Shit. I’m sorry,” Daphne says, brows drawing together in begrudging sympathy. She wants to feel sorry for herself, damn it, not anyone else. “That’s… just weird. The abilities being gone, that’s explainable, if awful, but what in the world can undo that? Did we somehow get timewarped and negated? Anyone got a line on Hiro or one of those other time travelers to clear this shit up?”

They’re from New York. Surely someone knows who Hiro is. If not, she’s not going to explain.

Her gaze darts back to Asi and she looks at the cigarettes thoughtfully, but she doesn’t ask for one. She has enough going on without adding nicotine addiction to her woes, apparently.

“I don’t remember,” Nova says, suddenly, and she shakes her head, her eyes downcast like she might be trying to read something on the floor. “I don’t really remember going to bed, but I don’t remember anything weird either. No idea why I’d be on an airplane. I mean, I have a summer school class at the college.”

She glances over to Daphne, with an apologetic smile. “Brooklyn.” She too is from New York. Nova’s eyes return to Nicole. “What’s Gemini?”

Isaac takes the cigarette, fumbling with it a bit, then looks to Asi for a light. His gaze drifts to Nicole as she speaks, though… and for a moment, Nicole's saying that she was pregnant, past tense, pierces the brittle numbness that's scabbed over the hole in his hollow heart, draws a look of shell-shocked horror to his face.

He looks away. He's about to say something, but Nova beats him to it — he glances her way and nods in appreciation, then back to Asi. Hopefully she has a light.

Gemini,” Nicole starts, “is robbing Peter to pay Paul.” She takes a drag of her cigarette, a glance spared to her husband as though to dare him to stop her, before carrying on. “It’s a fucking monstrous experiment where two people are hooked up to some sort of machine that just…”

A shudder runs through her frame and she swallows hard. “Sucks the powers right out of someone and gives that power to someone else.” It’s more complicated than that, obviously, and she’s read the briefings. Dove into the nitty gritty and tried to understand how it actually works, because it sounds more like paranormal horror than it does actual science.

“We could,” Nicole supposes, “be victims of that.” Another drag and another cloud of smoke exhaled. “If not for…” Staring straight ahead at nothing, the hand over her midsection slides off toward her waist, as if hugging her stomach protectively. “Doctors say there’s no evidence I was—” Her jaw goes tight. “I could feel my children inside of me.” She’s angry now. It’s the only thing keeping her from breaking down in front of all these strangers.

“Gemini doesn’t do that.

So it doesn't. Asi's quip of a reply is cut off in lieu of Nicole's extended answer, and she takes a moment to light her cigarette before tossing the lighter to Isaac. There you go. He can keep it, as far as she's concerned. She cuts her way across the space, breaking up the loose circle they've all inadvertently started to form for the sake of binning the empty carton. She heads back to her spot in short order.

"Who's Hiro?" she asks once she's folded her arms, because that's apparently a name worth knowing. By habit, she tries to reach out mentally to her phone to take notes, but… she doesn't have her phone, for one. And secondly, she runs into that hollow sensation in her again.

One she tries to paper over with a long, burning drag from her cigarette.

Her eyes go to Nova next, then back to Brynn with a settling of her brow and the slightest narrowing of her eyes. Normally she would be of the opinion topics like these shouldn't be discussed in front of kids. But… this all impacts them, too. So, reluctantly, she begins sharing her view on what's happened to them.

"While Nicole has a point," a name she picked up by osmosis (read: eavesdropping), "if someone were still farming abilities, there's a wide spread they've picked up from us. And I don't think for a second that those operations have stopped just because Praxis went under. Mazdak still had control of that technology, and a vested interest in using it."

She could see… Asi's eyes flicker as she forces herself to continue airing her thoughts. "I could see them seeing use in disarming potential enemies to their cause. Kaylee Thatcher is a telepath in law enforcement, and Abigail Caliban a dangerous asset working alongside her. Nicole here," gestured to with a tip of her smoking hand, "a war hero stationed as a powerful government agent. Gillian Childs had an ability they'd murder to obtain and use for themselves. Kimiko Nakamura— the leader of an SLC-E positive corporation that's outside of their influence. Isabelle Wesley-Khan stood to be an agent of hers that could be deployed against them, as it wouldn't be the first time she's harmed Mazdak-adjacent assets. Yi-Min Yeh, a turncoat against Praxis over activities Mazdak continues. The rest, though…"

She looks from one unfamiliar face to the next, trying to figure out how they'd fit into place in her conspiracy theory she's spinning up. The kids, especially, don't make sense in the narrative she's described.

Perhaps especially in light of some of their powers. Brynn jots down a sentence in her notebook and hesitantly hands it to Asi. My ability is useless in a scenario like that. I'm a chromakinetic — color manipulation. Picture on walls, tattoos, things like that.

Nicole's description of Gemini tears away more of Isaac's numbness; his eyes widen in horror. The fucking Book Club…

The flicker of motion from Asi catches his attention, though, and shadows or no shadows, his reflexes are still in good order — he extends a hand and snatches the lighter out of mid air. He flicks it once, twice, gets a flame, and lights the cigarette —

— only to start coughing after the first drag.

Just as well. Gives him a chance to line up his thoughts into something besides disorganized scribbles of circles.

"Seems someone's done her research," Isaac says, nodding at Asi; the fact that she's managed to glean so much serves as a good reminder for him that even now — especially now — there is work to be done. That helps. Far more than the cigarette does.

"If you'll allow me to venture an opinion. Miss Millbrook, I believe—" he begins, glancing over to Daphne for a moment, "—brought up the context of an AA meeting. I don't know about the rest of you, but I think it might be a good idea to introduce ourselves. Talk of what's been… taken… from us." His jaw clenches a bit at that. He takes another drag of the cigarette; focusing on not coughing gives him a chance to keep his emotions under control.

He exhales. "From there… maybe we can figure out who might've done this to us. And why. And then… maybe we'll be able to see how to take it back." For a moment there, at the end, there's a flicker of the same fire that was in his eyes during the crash… then he shrugs, raising his hands, palms up. "We're all in this together. Right?"

Asi exhales away an amused breath that doesn't manifest in her posture, in her expression. He's interested in better introductions? By all means, she indicates with a gesture of her hand. You first.

That gesture from Asi draws a grin from Isaac, and it actually reaches his eyes; his posture shifts into something lazily confident, and for a moment, he's who he'd been before all of this.

For a moment.

Then he exhales, and thinks on what he's lost.

"Isaac Faulkner. I was living in Park Slope, in the Safe Zone." There's a moment's silence, his eyes going distant as he contemplates how to tell what he had.

Now that it's gone.

"Shadows. I could… reach out to the shadows. Make them real. Make them move, have them do things. I was… I was never alone, you know? No matter how dark the path I walked, I always had friends. Just about everything casts a shadow. All I had to do was reach out and will it, and they were there for me…"

He laughs, once. "This is the second fucking time I've been fucking kidnapped in the last six months, can you believe this shit?" he asks Asi, a crooked, bitter smirk on his face. "The first time, some rich assholes grabbed me, meth-roofied me, and threw me into super-powered bumfights. The kicker is, I'm not even registered. How do these assholes keep finding me?"

He stuffs his cigarette into his face with shaking hands and takes a deep drag, holds it, then exhales; when he looks back to Asi, he's a little more composed. "That might be a question that's good to know the answer to, actually." He shrugs, arching an eyebrow back to Asi.

The look from Asi is met by Nova with a slight raise of her chin. Her gaze drops to Brynn’s note, nodding slowly. “I’m SLC-E,” she says, but frowns at the tense. “Was,” she corrects herself. She lacks the bitterness of the others at having lost what was once hers.

“I wasn’t manifested, so I don’t think that would make sense for me either. But maybe they were just hoping it was something useful. Like a mystery bag or blind box or something,” Nova says wryly. Faulkner gets a wide-eyed look for his admission this is the second time he’s been kidnapped, and she breathes a quiet “Yikes,” to herself.

The woman in the wheelchair huffs a jaded laugh at the question posed by Faulkner. “I had superspeed. Literally, I could run across the ocean. If they could catch me, they can find you. Probably that compass shit the robots had. Assholes with money and power can find a way to do just about anything to make sure they keep their money and power,” Daphne says.

“I’ll go next, I guess.” The oldest woman among them says with a lazy wave of her cigarette through the air as she takes the floor. “Nicole Var—” She catches herself, eyes lidding a moment and smiling self-deprecatingly before she makes the correction. “Miller. Nicole Miller.” The cigarette laden hand now gestures toward the man on crutches at her side. “This is my husband, Zachery.”

The nail of her thumb scratches at the corner of her mouth before she continues. “I’m with the SLC-Expressive Services Agency. Most recently, assistant to the New York Branch Director.” So, it’s like Asi said. Nicole is someone within the United States government. “I’m… I was an electrokinetic. Absorption. A battery, not a generator, to put it in layman’s terms.”

Her blue gaze settles on Faulkner for a long moment, like she’s trying to place him from somewhere. When he mentions the illegal fight club, recognition seems to dawn. Apparently, that’s a case she’s familiar with. “Welcome to New York,” she murmurs sardonically. These things just seem to happen.

“So far,” she opines, “that’s the thread that’s tying us together.” Her scrutiny shifts to Daphne instead, and Nicole is visibly trying to discern how she fits into the puzzle. “Even if you weren’t there at the time, you were at one time.”

For how worked up he was earlier, Zachery's gone quiet, now, leaning against one of the crutches where he stands. His monocular gaze drifts slowly down to the ground ahead of him.

Only when he hears his name does he look up again, his eye darting to each person as if he'd momentarily forgotten they were even there. He looks to Nicole, last, and swallows dryly. "I…" he starts and stops, sneering at himself more than anything else. Being around people was never quite so uncomfortable. Knowing them is harder now than ever. "Zachery Miller, obviously. Used to reading human bodies like they're books."

Without really looking at it, he lets one of the crutches fall away with the tinny clank of plastic around metal hitting the ground - because fuck that thing - leaving him with a free hand to lay on Nicole's upper arm. When it makes contact, he sighs out a breath, and some small amount of tension leaves his expression. "We're all exchanging phone numbers tonight." He tells everyone. "We'll write them down, take them home, keep in touch."

From the doorway, from about knee-level with anyone who's standing, appears a pair of blue eyes framed by a curly tousle of red hair. Jac may or may not have been eavesdropping, may or may not have followed Brynn to the source of conversation and discussion. But she did decide, for whatever possible reason she could use to justify her presence, to remain and at some point during the varied exchanges seated herself on the floor to only half listen.

A silent observer, and what better way to escape notice than to stay out of the room while words washed around her without much rhyme or reason. But now, now things have taken a turn of interest and the teen chances interaction to get a better look and listen — since it's somehow easier to understand what people are saying when you're watching them. Jac’s cheek presses against the doorframe, the rest of her body still turned and kept to the hall.

The agency named by Nicole draws Daphne’s dark eyes that way. She frowns, fiddling with the cuff of her sleeves where it’s been pulled over her scraped knuckles. There’s a nod for her affiliation with New York, however grudging. There’s something she seems to want to ask, but she hesitates, turning instead to Asi for a question lost in the bounce of conversation.

“Time traveler. He wouldn’t have done something like this. Sorry, sarcasm is my native tongue,” the former speedster tells the former technopath, but her gaze returns to Nicole.

She takes a breath.

“Does Corbin Ayers still work there?” she finally asks, her voice soft instead of brassy this time. Daphne hasn’t spoken to Corbin for years, but gotten updates from those she does talk to now and then.

Nicole leaves her cigarette sticking out of the corner of her mouth, reaching over to lay her hand over the one Zachery has on her arm. She eyes the discarded crutch with a touch of disdain that’s given over to concern by the time she’s looking back up to her husband.

Daphne’s question draws her attention away and to the other brunette, however. Nicole nods her head slowly. “Yes. We work together.”

The news that Nicole not only knows Corbin but works with him is met with an equally slow nod, and Daphne takes in a deep breath, before exhaling slowly.

“We were,” there’s a long enough pause to indicate the word isn’t quite the right one for what they were, “friends, back when I was in New York before. I haven’t seen him since the start of the war, though.” Regret shades her tone, and she looks away again, brows drawing together in general unhappiness and bitterness.

Nova gets up with a murmured, “Be right back,” and heads to the door, glancing down at Squeaks’ stealthy position there with a smirk, careful not to step on the younger girl. She’s gone only for a few moments, before coming back with a pen and clipboard of blank paper, which she lifts for all to see.

“For the phone numbers. The nurse said she’d photo copy for us when we’re done getting everyone’s,” she says, scrawling name and number at the top of the blank page, then writing her own name: Nova Leverett.

She stares at the second column for a moment, frowning. Looking up, she tucks a dark strand of hair behind her ear. “I can’t think of my phone number for the life of me,” she admits, then writes Brooklyn College, Residence Hall instead and passes it to the next person.

And so here they are, going around the circle. When the clipboard meets her hand, Asi looks down at it for a long moment, just how exhausted she is visible clearly. A blink wipes the sag to her posture away, another drag from her cigarette restores her fire before she adjusts her grip between the clipboard, pen, and it. "Like I said, my name is Asi Tetsuyama." This comes from her easily enough. "I'm a technopath. As for what I do…"

Now she's cut off by a breath of laughter, accompanied by an actual smile, wide and cutting and broken by the self-deprecating humor of her situation. She's not sure she can properly condense it all down in this moment. Her name has come a long way from decorated security officer turned Minister-murdering terrorist, but only in some circles, and only if they knew her name in the first place.

"Currently," she decides to go with, "I'm working for Wolfhound. My ability is my work. My ability is my identity." Both in the sense that she felt more herself as ON1, as: "Part of myself was… partitioned. And without my senses, without the ability to feel and place, I don't know what's become of her. I don't even know if she's still there. If— if my ability is gone, if she is gone."

Pen grinding against the clipboard, she leaves her name, a New York-based number, and an odd-looking email address for herself. "As soon as I get back, I mean to find out for certain. Through any means possible."

The pen hits the clipboard with a slam before Asi passes it on, her grip on both items tense until she lets go in an attempt to avoid highlighting the tremble in her hand.

As Brynn takes the clipboard, she hesitates. Then she hits down Brynn Ferguson and the cell phone number she had last. But she's not even sure that will be there or whether it will have to be replaced. So she uses Nova's example and also jots down Locatable through Benchmark. NYSZ, or through Lance Gerken, SESA-NY. Nicole said she works there, so … that should help.

She passes the board to the next person and uses her pad to write down, Aunt Gillian. Aunt Abby, Aunt Kaylee, and Squeaks are still in their rooms, I think.

Zachery's brow creases with reluctance clear on his face, then pulls his hand away from Nicole's to take the clipboard. After briefly looking it over, he hands it to his wife.

The anger with which he came here isn't gone — it shows all too clearly in the way he starts moving back toward the door again, using the remaining crutch to minimise the weight on his injury, even if the execution leaves a lot to be desired. He's had this cast for a day and he's utterly done with it already.

"I'm going to visit the others," he says, voice strained with incensed determination and pain intermingling. "So I can get their contact information and start compiling things." Thump, goes the crutch in aid of another step, poorly placed, "And to talk to staff." Thump. "This hospital is a shitshow!"

It's probably not.

Nicole takes the clipboard, taking a puff from the cigarette between her lips and blowing the smoke out the other side of her mouth. She’s already starting to jot down her name, and her husband’s below it, when said husband begins to make a break for it.

“Zachery,” she calls out to him firmly, hoping that will be enough to convince him to stay. But he’s already made up his mind, and he keeps talking right over the top of her attempts at expressing concern. “At least take your—” compiling things “You aren’t going to get very far if you don’t—” talk to staff “Please just—” a shitshow!

Her expression is pained in her resignation, head bowing and the clipboard hitting the front of her thighs with a quiet slap. With her eyes closed, she draws in a deep breath and exhales it through her nose, smoke spilling out like some kind of agitated dragon.

Lifting the roster again, she finishes adding her husband’s information first — both their phone numbers are committed to her memory — then her own, including her personal and work lines and her sesa.gov e-mail address.

“He’s not… dealing with what happened to me very well,” Nicole admits in a quiet voice as she hands off the clipboard and pen. Trying to excuse some of Zachery’s surliness. “Please don’t be too upset with him if he snaps at any of you,” she requests. “They were his kids, too.” She’s not the only one suffering this loss.

Jac’s eyes go from wandering with simple observance — she can't see what's being written and passed around, and the desire to find out is lacking steam — to sharp focus when Zachery moves for the door. Half her face disappears quickly from the opening, the other remains visible but only just. On her side of the wall, the teen gets her feet beneath her, stands slowly with her shoulder sliding against the smooth painted surface. No need to be completely in the way while the old man hobble-storms out.

Only when he's out of earshot of Nicole does Zachery even seem to notice Jac, an abruptly halted step landing more heavily in startled response.

He fights back what looks like it might have been a terribly unkind response, jaw tightening with a sharp look in her direction before continuing on his way. "We'll speak later." He tells her, before adding, maybe for both of their sakes, "We'll get this figured out."

Welcome to New York. Yes, thank you. Isaac gives Nicole a momentary side eye, but refrains from unleashing any sarcastic responses. First because that's not conducive to cooperation, and cooperation is something they need right now… and second because he just doesn't have the energy for it. Side eye's about the most he's got in him right now, really.

Isaac stays mostly silent as the clipboard goes around the circle, focusing on getting used to the whole cigarette smoke thing. It's something to do. His eyes go to Nova as she speaks; he hasn't missed the omission in the information she'd given.

He lets it pass, though, for the moment; better to listen. Maybe, in all that's being said, there is something to be gleaned that will help make sense of this mess. There are a lot of interesting things, at least. He's not sure what Wolfhound is, but it sounds like something that would be interesting to look up later, maybe. Or ask about. One of those things. And Nicole being assistant to the director of SESA is… also interesting, if not particularly reassuring.

When Nicole starts explaining about how Doctor Necromancer was the father of her children, though, Isaac blinks. Yes, she'd already said that he was her husband, but…


He takes another drag from his cigarette, exhaling a plume of smoke as he sets that shocker aside. He's getting used to the cigarette thing; that's good, at least.

"It's good that someone's talking to the others," Isaac says, putting the best spin he can on it as he reaches for the clipboard. He prints his name on it, along with work and cell phone numbers; for address, he just puts Park Slope.

He hesitates, staring down at the clipboard for a moment. "I don't know how much help I'll be," he says quietly… then he looks back up, glancing around the circle with a wry smile. "But if you need any packages delivered in the Safe Zone, Pigeon Courier Services is there for you." The smile fades as he thinks about the other Pigeon who'd been on the Redeye to Hell with them. "Shaw works with me; I'm sure he'd agree with me on that."

Asi levels a side-eyed look at Nicole when her best efforts at calming her husband fails. She has her sympathy on the matter. With a shake of her head, she takes another draw from her cigarette, giving it a displeased expression for already being so low. Burning through the pack as quickly as she had, though, that's no one's fault but herself.

They'd all find a way to fill the hole left behind by what they'd lost one way or another. It might even take a rotation of vices before each of them found what worked best for them.

For now, though, the tremble in Asi's fingers have diminished. She feels no less hollow, but she at least feels less alone. Maybe the others do, too.

"We should probably scatter before they send anyone else looking for us," Asi suggests to no one in particular. "The way Miller took off, they might think we all need sedated." It's a nearly deadpan attempt at humor, made plain by the dry chuckle that follows. She crouches to pick up the crutch that was left behind, and pulls the last drag off her cigarette.

The look, however bleak or unkind Zachery may have intended it, is met with a silent expectation. What Jac expects of him, or anyone in that room, is a mystery even to herself. Why should she rely on anyone, especially those she barely even knows in passing. But then the old man utters some kind of affirmation — preceded by invitation — all before he hop-walks away.

The teen watches him go for a long second. Her brows knit briefly, and she turns to peek into the room. The last glimpse is fleeting, interrupted by feet that have decided to follow the advice she's only eavesdropping on.

"Quite possibly we do. Some of us, anyway," Isaac offers dryly; if the look on his face is any indication, he's leaning towards counting himself in that category. He takes a final drag off of his cigarette, then lets out a shaky exhalation, only barely suppressing another cough; when he's done, he stubs his cigarette out, then looks back up and forces a grin. "I'll be around," he says, offering an attempt at a jaunty wave as he turns to take his leave.

“Oh good,” Nicole mutters under her breath, audible only really to Asi at this distance. “I’ve been wondering who I need to fuck to get the good drugs around here.” She’s probably not serious. Then again, who knows how well she’s actually been able to sleep since she arrived. She doesn’t look like she’s gotten much at all.

Mrs. Miller knocks the cherry ember off the end of her cigarette before dropping it into the proper receptacle for disposal. She’s still on the lawful end of the alignment spectrum, in spite of everything else she may be.

“I think I’ll stay out here a bit longer.” Still, she’s excusing herself from the conversation, turning away from the others gathered and facing out to contemplate the city skyline instead.

Brynn watches people begin to disperse. Though she might have thought to remain outside… Nicole looks like she could use the solitude, so she turns and makes her way back toward her room. Uncertainty seems the order of the day. When she catches sight of Squeaks, she offers a small smile, though, and waves hello. The younger teen already knows she's welcome wherever Brynn is.

Perhaps it's Nicole's civility that prompts Asi to deposit the last of her cigarette properly, lingering out on the rooftop with her even after the others have dispersed. The shade across the patio creeps a little closer back toward the building in the time that passes, the day drifting a little further along. Asi breathes out an uneasy sigh finally, one that reveals for all her quiet, pensive behavior, she's still not okay at all.

None of them are.

But if there's anything that's certain now, it's that they're not alone in wanting to fight back against what's happened to them.

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