I, Faust



Also Featuring:

adam_icon.gif cesar_icon.gif choi_icon.gif claudia_icon.gif dearing_icon.gif duvall_icon.gif farah_icon.gif godfrey_icon.gif jaiden_icon.gif nicole_icon.gif rhys_icon.gif samson3_icon.gif voss_icon.gif

Scene Title I, Faust
Synopsis Then let them toll the passing-bell / Then of your servitude be free / The clock may stop, its hands fall still / And time be over then for me
Date January 13, 2019—March 21, 2021

Fort Jay
Governor’s Island

January 13th


“Claudia,” Kenner steps around his desk, “that's not— SESA wasn't founded on the belief that things should be hidden. That’s the Company. That's the Institute. We’re better— the American people are better than that! I won't sit here,” he motions at his desk, “and presided over a coverup and lie to— ”

“No you won't.” Claudia says as she holds up a hand to Kenner. “I'm relieving you of your position effective immediately. Madeline will become Director, and Voss will take on Deputy responsibilities.”

Kenner stares blankly at Claudia. “What— Are you demoting me to a fucking field agent?

“Donald you need a full psych evaluation.” Claudia replies, flatly. “I'm putting you on indefinite administrative leave.”


“Pack your desk.”

Kenner stands in rigid stiffness to Claudia’s authority. He wants to argue with her, but he can see the fire and fury in her eyes. Exhaling a steady breath, Claudia slowly walks up to Kenner and closes in on his personal space.

“Did I stutter?” Claudia harshly whispers in his face, close enough that he can smell her perfume. Close enough for her to press a folded piece of paper into his jacket pocket before she steps back. Kenner’s tension turns to confusion, but he sheds it with a shudder and a sigh.

“I understand.” Kenner says in a shaky exhalation. Claudia looks him up and down and her only retort is a warning.

“For your sake I hope you do.

Kenner’s Apartment
Red Hook
NYC Safe Zone

April 19th


The sudden knock on his front door has Kenner nearly zipping himself up into his pants. He startles, hastily moving out of the bathroom but then lingering in the middle of his apartment, listening to the noises of the tenement building and the hallway. He can just see the shadow of two feet outside of his door in the brightly lit hall. The knock comes again. Tense, head throbbing with a stress headache and mildly buzzed, Kenner stalks over to the door to his apartment, only now regretting that the door doesn't have a peep hole. He moves beside the door, back to the undecorated refrigerator and asks, "Hello?"

There's silence, for a moment, followed by a muffled. "Don?" He doesn't recognize the voice, not at first anyway. Reaching back behind himself, Kenner turns on the kitchen sink to a steady stream, then clenches his fist and draws the water toward himself, tapering down to a knife-like point as it continues to grow in size as water accumulates from the pipe. He keeps that blooming spear of water at his back when he moves to unlock the deadbolt and chain, then slowly opens the door a crack to—

Illuminated by a narrow column of light from the hallway, Kenner looks up to the broad-shouldered figure standing on the other side of the door. One eye narrows, his mouth contorting into an expression of disbelief and confusion. "Mortlock?" Kenner croaks out, releasing the water to return to the sink.

"I thought you were dead."

The imposing figure of Jaiden Mortlock shoulders past Kenner into the apartment, scanning the corners as he does. “I get that a lot,” is his dismissive non-answer.

“Your fucking house blew up,” is Don’s quick rejoinder as he shuts the door and turns to follow Jaiden into the apartment. “You— your kids—”

“Fine.” Jaiden says, searching the kitchen. “We got rescued. Last minute. Before the Humanis Fucks closed us in.” He prowls through the kitchen and down the hallway, pushing open the door to Kenner’s bedroom, checking the shower behind the curtain.

“I live alone.” Kenner says with a hint of shame. Jaiden is undeterred.

“Shedda Dinu looks after their own, I’m not looking for your side-piece.” Jaiden says, barging into Kenner’s bedroom. The bed is a mess, piles of clothes lay heaped up on the floor. He glances around, then turns back to Kenner in the hall. “I’m making sure we’re safe.”

Kenner steps aside to let Jaiden down the narrow hall back to the living room, then glances into his bedroom with a momentary bewilderment. “Wait, safe from what?

Who.” Jaiden says, ambling into the living room.

“Fine. Who?” Kenner parrots back.

“CIA Special Activities,” Jaiden says as he sticks out his thumb, “SESA,” index finger, “FBI,” middle finger, “DHS,” ring finger.

“Okay okay I get it.” Kenner says with an exasperated sigh. “You think the feds put fucking ninjas in my shower?”

Jaiden shrugs, then settles down onto the couch with a creak of the frame. “Maybe,” he says with a glance over his shoulder to Kenner, then down to the crumb-covered coffee table and a folded post-it note sitting in a small dish.

Kenner feigns a smile. “I’m messy.”

Sitting forward, Jaiden picks up the folded piece of paper and opens it, finding a handwritten note that reads, “Remember Denver.

“The fuck is this?” Jaiden asks, waving it around. Kenner leans over and snatches the note from him.

“A love letter.” Kenner bleats. “From my ninjas.”

Jaiden snorts, tossing his hands up into the air as he slouches back onto the couch. “Boss wants to meet and talk. Your background check cleared.” Kenner laughs at that with a too-loud tone, tucking the note into the same pocket Claudia first tucked it into months ago.

“He read my cover letter and resume too?” Kenner jokes. Jaiden either isn’t amused or doesn’t get the joke and raises one brow. Exasperated, Kenner drops it. “Nevermind.”

“How soon can you get up to Rochester?” Jaiden asks, draping his arms over the back of the couch.

New York?


“Uh, I mean, today I guess? I still have my car.” Kenner says with a furtive look down to a discarded sock on the floor that he self-consciously kicks under the sofa.

“A’ight.” Jaiden says, nodding in approval. “I’ll drive up with you. Boss is a stickler for security, but we have a need and you fill it. He thought sending a friendly face would make this seem like less of a fucking death trap.”

“Is it?” Kenner asks with an anxious titter of laughter. “A— fucking death trap?”

“No.” Jaiden says with a smile. “No sir.”

New Heights Park
California Safe Zone

February 13th

Kenner’s hands won’t stop shaking.

It isn’t the evening chill in the air, but something deeper. Seated on the bench behind a pristine concrete fountain of two angels standing back to back pouring water from jugs, Kenner looks as though they stand in judgment of him. In a sense, that’s why he’s shaking. Guilt.

There’s a sense-memory that Kenner has, his connection to water, the way it felt when it choked the life out of another person. Not out of any ostensibly noble goal, but rather self-preservation. The guards at Subtropolis died to bring information here to Adam Monroe. His stomach turns at the thought, because it reminds him of

Don slowly overturns the fork in his hand.

Kenner swallows down bile in the back of his throat.

“The first of our kind. An entity so powerful, this flood?” He waves one hand, flippantly, “gone.”

His heart beats faster.

“Our dead loved ones? Back.”

His stomach twists into knots.

“I've seen the face of god, my friends.”

Kenner lurches forward, arms wrapped around his midsection.

“She’s real.”

He vomits down on the cobblestone plaza, mostly just water and bile.

But Don’s tone doesn't match his upbeat demeanor. “But you're probably thinking I'm some sort of religious lunatic. And that's fair. That's fair.” Tapping the fork against his knuckles again, Don glances to West, then back down the table. “What'd you call all this? Baby’s first power trip?”

“Don, please.” Edward says with a quaver to his voice.

“You were right about one thing,” Don says, snapping the plastic fork in half.


“I do know how to rattle you.”

Don leaps to his feet, wiping his mouth with his sleeve. He takes a few stumbling steps away from the fountain as a distant memory of gunfire and screams comes flooding back again. He runs both hands through his hair, breathing heavily, shoulders rising and falling until—

“I heard it was you I have to thank.”

A voice pulls him out of it.

Sharply turning, Kenner sees the unthinkable in the form of Adam Monroe standing with arms crossed over his chest and a judging eye cast down to the pool of vomit on the cobblestones. “Rough night, chap?”

“Yeah,” Kenner breathlessly says, wiping at his mouth again. “Yeah it uh, I uh, it’s been—a rough time.”

Adam nods, brows knit together, and moves over to a bench one turn around the fountain away from the vomit. He takes a seat and beckons Kenner over. “Ben spoke highly of you. I’m not sure you even realize how highly I view his opinion. C’mere, mate, let’s talk.”

Swallowing awkwardly, Kenner ambles over to Adam and then hesitantly takes a seat at his side. He says nothing, like a stray cat wary of strangers.

“I get that this must be weird,” Adam says with a laugh. “You know, sitting here next to America’s Most Wanted.”

“You’re not.” Kenner says before realizing that’s a dumb idea. Adam looks at him with both surprise and irritation. “Uh, America’s Most-Wanted, I mean. FBI’s most-wanted is uh, Alphonse Baumann. I feel like you two’ve met.”

Adam feigns a smile. “Not as much as I’d like, Don.” He smooths over that indignation and runs his hands over his hair. “I just wanted to thank you, personally, for the hard work you’ve done. I know praise isn’t something folks in your former line of work are accustomed to. So.” He shrugs. “Credit where credit is due.”

Kenner is taken aback by Adam’s candid nature and he tiredly rubs the heels of his palms over his eyes as he considers the praise he was just given and its source. “Thanks,” is said half-heartedly. “Is this where you kill me?” Less so.

Adam can’t help but laugh at that. “Kill you?” He sputters. “Chap, you’ve had a rough run of things but I’m not that kind of person. Not really.” Slowly, Adam claps his hands onto his knees and levers himself up from the bench. “Now, why don’t we talk about what I’d like to see you do next when you get back to our mutual friend Garza, hmm?”

With a little jerk of his head Adam simply indicates: Let’s take a walk.

The Tlanuwa
Rooftop of the Times Square Building
Rochester, New York

February 27th


The Tlanuwa’s engines roar noisily, downdraft from the vector-thrust turbines create a thunderous cacophony.

Epstein stands with a sternness in his posture, looking at Huruma and Dearing with visible concern. He notices the spots of blood on the roof, trailing from Huruma’s knife wounds. He doesn’t try to shout over the engines, but instead makes way for Dearing as the super-strong mercenary grabs Godfrey by the scruff of his jacket and drags him toward the plane.

“C’mon cheekbones, you’ve got a date with probably a fucking lethal injection or something,” Dearing says with literally zero chill after everything they’ve experienced. He shoves Godfrey forward and keeps his shotgun in hand, if leveled down at the floor, as he escorts their prisoner up the ramp into the Tlanuwa.

Godfrey is marched straight past Wolfhound’s first prisoner, zip tied to a handrail. Donald Kenner slouches against the cabin of the Tlanuwa, briefly making eye-contact with Godfrey before angling his attention down to his feet. It wasn’t the bite of the zip ties around his wrists that hurt, it was that he somehow knew it was going to end up this way. He looks up and over to Nicole beyond the ramp on the roof with Agent Diaz. His heart sinks.

Was any of this worth it? He wonders.

It had to be.

It had to be.

Fort Jay
Governor’s Island
NYC Safe Zone

March 18th


“This is bullshit.

Donald Kenner is rarely livid, but in this instance he is so furious he is red-faced and sweating. Having nearly burst out of his seat in the conference room he grips the edge of the table to steady himself. “Candidly, this is bullshit.

Farah Nazan-Gutierrez sits across the table from Kenner, unimpressed by his outburst. Rather than repeat herself, she looks to the head of the table where the newly-appointed Acting-Secretary of SESA, Madeline Choi, sits in silence.

“Donald, I’m sorry.” Choi says with a slow spread of her hands. “This isn’t about the operation Claudia put you on, it’s about logistics and reputation. Claudia spared you from needing to have an uncomfortable face-to-face with me over what happened in Sunspot.” She glances to Farah, then back to Kenner. “Your success undercover doesn’t mitigate that.”

“It god damn well should!” Kenner shouts, slamming his hand down on the table. “I have put my fucking neck on the line for this country time and time again and I keep having it thrown the fuck back in my face. Do you have any idea how many times I could’ve been killed? The shit I had to do for Claudia?”

“And if she were still alive I am certain she would have your back,” Choi says with a slow and weary sigh. “The fact of the matter remains Ms. Zimmerman left no instructions for your reinstatement in spite of whatever verbal agreement you two may have had and this agency is in a rough enough state right now without introducing more disorder.”

Kenner slouches back in his seat, brushing his fingers over his brow. “This is bullshit,” he mumbles into his palm. Farah shoots Choi an awkward and tense look, then turns her attention back to Kenner, though remains silent.

“Don, you’re still going to retain your pay scale which is more than I can say you expected out of this. Look on the bright side of things,” Choi says with a shake of her head. “You’re going to have more time to spend with Mary without the responsibilities of Executive-Director hung around your neck.”

“When Madeline heads to Kansas City, you and I can meet to discuss a more robust strategy for your skill-sets.” Farah says with an attempt at diplomacy. “We could use your aptitude training new agents. You still have value to this agency, Donald.”

Kenner closes his eyes, pinching forefinger and thumb at the bridge of his nose.

“Value…” He mumbles to himself. “Yeah.”

Fort Jay
Governor’s Island
NYC Safe Zone

August 10th


Stepping out of the break room, Kenner nearly walks right into the matchstick thin figure of Rhys Bluthner, who was about to try and push the same door open. There’s an awkward laugh, a shuffle-step of who steps aside from who while Kenner juggles a stack of printed reports in both hands. But as they negotiate around each other, Rhys stops and passes a look over to Kenner that causes him to pause mid-stride.

“What’s that look for?” Kenner asks, glancing over his shoulder and back to Rhys. “If you’re going to criticize my suit—”

“No. I just overhead Voss talking.” Rhys says with a look past Kenner to the office floor, then back again. “I think he’s waiting for you.” He adds with a motion of his chin. This time when Kenner looks over his shoulder he notices Voss lingering by his desk.

Great,” Kenner says with a feigned smile. “Thanks, Bluthner.”

“Sure.” Rhys says half-heartedly before he pushes his way into the break room.

Steeling himself with a steady and sharp intake of breath, Kenner makes his way over to his desk where Voss is waiting. “Kristopher,” Kenner greets, setting the freshly-copied reports down on the desk. “What can I do for you?”

Voss looks over to one of the conference rooms. “Do you have time for a quick chat?”

Kenner laughs nervously. “If you’re going to fire me at least let me get my cactus off Miller’s desk.”

Voss feigns a smile of his own in response. “Nothing like that,” he says, gesturing to the conference room. “C’mon.”

There’s a nervous tension the whole way there. Even once Kenner is seated he’s waiting for Voss to deliver bad news. “I wanted to let you know that I’ve been having some talks with people over Director Nazan’s head,” isn’t how Kenner expected this to start, “and we’re in agreement that your talents are being wasted in your field agent position here at SESA.”

Slowly sitting back in his chair, Kenner does his best to keep his poker-face. “So, what does that look like?” Is the most diplomatic way he can ask if he’s getting his old job back.

Voss smiles, but it doesn’t reach his eyes.

“How much do you know about the Department of the Exterior?”

Kenner Residence
Red Hook
NYC Safe Zone

September 8th


Mary Kenner has never truly understood why her husband had left. For work, an assignment, for the United States of America. Those answers were always enough. They had weathered a civil war together, survived with their son against all odds. She didn’t question when he left or what he did, only that she was grateful he returned at all. But each time Donald Kenner went away for work, both before the war and after, less and less of him returned.

Today, though, she has ever single bit of his focus.

“We’ll figure it out.” Kenner says, gently holding one of his wife’s hands in his as they sit on the couch. He brushes his thumb over her wedding band, spinning it on her finger. “We should see if we can get her to move out here, Fournier-Bianco has amazing facilities, probably better than what they have in Ohio right now.”

Mary smiles, wearily, and leans against Kenner. “You know how my father is, they won’t want to leave the farm. Not after everything.”

“Yeah,” Kenner murmurs in response, pressing a kiss to the top of Mary’s head. “It’s just—it’s lucky. Finding it this early. Joan’s a little tin soldier, she’s gonna make it through this. I can try and find a healer through the database, SESA has programs for this, placement.”

Swallowing down her frustration, Mary wipes at her eyes with her free hand. She looks at her husband, a hand gently placed on his cheek, and kisses him tenderly. Her thumb caresses a line in his cheek, her eyes trace the path of age across his face. She marvels that he still has his boyish smile.

“It’s just cancer,” Mary tells herself with a nervous laugh. “Mom’s fought off worse and won.”

Governor’s Island
NYC Safe Zone

September 20th

“It’s a long story, honestly.” Voss’ always were.

He and Kenner walk along the fog-shrouded coast of Governor’s Island, beneath the boughs of cherry trees on a winding, paved walkway facing the ruins of the Manhattan Exclusion Zone.

“Is there a short version?” Kenner asks, tucking his hands into his jacket pocket.

“It all boils down to confidentiality,” Voss explains. “The Department of the Exterior is a Russian nesting doll for the OEI. Secretary Jones is… effectively a figurehead. He runs the day-to-day of the Exterior’s rank and file operations, the stuff it says we do on the website. But the OEI operates independently under an extreme level of classification. Jones knows we’re there,” Voss says with a gesture to a nebulous place ill-defined by words, “but everything beyond that is above his pay grade.”

“But the OEI predates the DOE.” Voss explains, making vague gestures with his hands. “It goes all the way back to something called the Department of External Strategies that was formed within the Department of Evolved Affairs after all the weirdness on Mount Natazhat. That’s about as far back as I know its history goes.”

“How’d something tied to the DoEA wind up in post-war administration?” Kenner asks, shifting a spurious look to Voss.

“Necessity.” Voss explains. “Time travel was a very real concern. When Praeger got briefed on everything that really went on before the war, he was seeing time-traveling threats everywhere.”

Kenner nods. It all makes sense to him, in part. “So, how long have you been on their payroll?”

“Since 2015, but you probably figured that out already. Me showing up right after the Looking Glass incident in Sunspot?” Voss says with a side-eye to Kenner. “No coincidence.”

“Yeah,” Kenner says with a feigned laugh. “I suppose it makes sense now…” But in his heart, none of this did. “So, Miller.”

Miller,” Voss echoes with tension in his voice. “We think she’s uncovered some classified information, but more importantly we think by her doing that she’s going to draw the attention of a person of interest to the organization and we want her surveilled, for her own safety.”

Kenner’s eyes narrow subtly. “Who?”

“Samson Gray,” Voss says, slowly coming to a stop on the path and turning to face Kenner. “So, you can understand my concern when one of the most notorious serial killers in history is gunning for one of our own.”

Kenner shifts his weight from one foot to the next, anxious. “You think he really is? I mean, Gray’s an ability-thief, he doesn’t target at random. Miller doesn’t have anything anymore.”

“This isn’t just about abilities,” Voss says with a shake of his head.

“And I figure you aren’t going to tell me what it is about, are you?”

“No,” Voss says with an apologetic smile. “But I wanted to discuss options while we’re here. What tack do you feel comfortable taking on this? Or—I mean if you’d rather we put another agent on it…”

“No.” Kenner says quickly. “No, I’ve got this. We can tap her phone and internet easy enough, and either we can bug her place or get someone with a shotgun mic to listen in from a vantage point.” Kenner can see distraction in Voss’ eyes. “Is there anyone else on this?”

“No.” Voss says too quickly, snapping his attention back to Kenner. “I’ll authorize the surveillance and roll some cars to follow her. Obviously we want you staying close to her too.”

Kenner nods, making a soft noise in the back of his throat. “And Mary’s mom?”

Voss shakes his head. “We’re still looking for a registered healer. It’s not a fast process.”

“Yeah,” is Kenner’s quiet response. “Yeah.

Kenner Residence
Red Hook
NYC Safe Zone

December 26th

It’s either too early or too late for anyone else to be up. Hours like these make it easy for Kenner to think, but also makes it easy to be consumed by worries, insecurities, and the dread that creeps in on silent moments.

Outside, the city isn’t quite awake yet. The sky is flush with the haze of dawn blue, but shadows are deep and the skyline is a jagged, black silhouette. Even the birds haven’t started their chirping yet, but they will soon enough.

Cradling a now-cold cup of coffee in his hands, Kenner looks out the kitchen window onto the quiet street, watching an early-morning courier trot by on horseback. Even now, so many years out, he’s not accustomed to the new normal of post-war America.

There’s a stack of unopened bills on the table bearing the crests of health insurance companies and hospitals. He doesn’t need to open them to know what the tallies are looking like. Sighing, Kenner sets his coffee down and runs his hands over his face, plucking one envelope out of the pile—a late-delivered Christmas card that looks a little worse for wear for being lost in the mail for as long as it is.

Kenner peels the envelope open and slides the card out. The front is just a photograph of Nicole, her husband, and daughter sitting together with a Christmas tree in the background. Zachery doesn’t look particularly comfortable in the photo, but he was present at any rate.

He flips the card open.


Thank you for all the friendship and support throughout this difficult year. It's meant the world to us.

Wishing you, Mary, and Leonard a very happy and peaceful holiday season.

With Appreciation From,
The Millers
Nicole, Zachery, and Pippa

Kenner lets the card fall to the table, then sinks down and cradles his head in his hands.

Fort Jay
Governor’s Island
NYC Safe Zone

January 4th

There’s still errant holiday decorations scattered around the Fort Jay office. A few conical paper hats with 2021 written on them on agents’ desks. A stray kazoo here, a noisemaker there. There were many SESA agents working through the New Year, though Donald Kenner was not one of them. His return on his first day back from holiday vacation came with a new perspective. One he intended to bring immediately to Deputy-Director Voss’ attention.

“That’s not going to happen.” Voss says, leaning back in his chair, hands folded in his lap. Across Voss’ desk, Kenner is standing but the sag of his shoulders feels like it is drawing him down to the floor.

“Look, Donald,” Voss says with a sigh. “I need you on this case, and you need to show that you have what it takes to join the OEI. SESA is a dead-end for you, and if you were going to retire you already would have. I’m of a firm belief that you should consider taking your family into consideration, however. But…” Voss’ brows raise slowly. “If you want to stay here, you have to take what’s offered to you.”

Kenner swallows down the first fuck you in the back of his throat. “I’m not going to spy on Miller anymore.” He says with tightness in his voice.

“Donald, I don’t think you understand the gravity of the situation you’ve found yourself in.” Voss says, sitting forward at his desk with his hands folded in front of himself. “You have no career future. You were given that undercover operation because of Claudia’s good graces, and Choi isn’t going to jeopardize her new career to cater to someone who has, effectively, been burned.

Kenner’s hands slowly ball into fists. He can feel bile rising at the back of his throat.

“The OEI is willing to take a risk on you,” Voss says with a gesture to some paperwork on his desk, “but only if you cooperate. And if you back away out of principles? Your pension isn’t going to cover Joan’s treatments in this economy and I don’t know where you could possibly land in the private sector with your public reputation.”

The worst thing about it is that Kenner knows Voss is right. Sunspot effectively ended his career and it’s been on life support ever since. The only act in town in the private sector that could pay him what he needs is Yamagato, and they’ll never take him in with a Shedda Dinu association in his working history. He’s been handed all the rope he could possibly need to make what he thought was a ladder…

“I understand.”

…but it turned out to be a noose.

Red Hook
NYC Safe Zone

February 12th

Headlights sweep through a parking lot as a Yamagato Altum pulls off of a quiet street. The vacant lot behind a derelict factory in Red Hook is otherwise empty, save for one other car parked a few feet further up the lot. As the newly arrived vehicle comes to a stop and turns off its headlights, Donald Kenner slowly emerges and looks up at the starlit sky and then the nearby glow of old, yellowed street lamps.

“So?” A voice calls from the dark by the other car. Kenner takes in a deep breath, holds it, then sighs as he shuts his car door and starts walking toward the other voice.

“She’s going to let it go.” Kenner says quietly. “But I didn’t find out much else. I don’t know what she knows, or what else she found in the storage facility. Or who put it all there.”

The figure in the dark takes a few more steps forward, staying just outside of the glow of the street lights. “Keep an eye on her. I want to know if she so much as sneezes in the direction of that information again.”

“Sure.” Kenner says, looking down to the broken asphalt underfoot.

“And Donald?” The man in the darkness says, taking another step forward.

“Not a word of this to anyone.” Voss says. A palpable silence hangs over them both in the dark of night, and Kenner’s wordless nod is all the confirmation Voss needs. After Voss has returned to his own car and left the lot, Kenner lingers.

He paces around, scrubbing a hand over his mouth and looking out at the harbor and the jagged silhouette of the Manhattan Exclusion Zone, a blot of darkness in a world trying to find its way back into the light. Kenner breathes in deeply, closes his eyes and

“I do know how to rattle you.”

“Fuck this,” Kenner whispers, pulling out his cell phone as he makes his way back into his car. He pulls up an app, teeth pressed into his bottom lip.

Book a flight
Departure: LGA
Arrival: DTW

“Just—fuck it all.”

Saginaw Township

March 18th
9:12 pm

Kenner exhales ragged, choking gasps of breath. Blood drips from his lips onto the snow. Struggling to get up, Kenner picks up his gun and crawls on his hands and knees over to Agent Duvall's body, looking down at him. His head looks like a pummeled heap of hamburger, hollowed out like a Halloween pumpkin, missing—

"Oh no." Kenner whispers, and as he turns his eyes up to the house and spots something emerging from within, he raises his firearm only to have it fly from his hand and vanish into the dark of night. Kenner drops down onto his backside, scrambling away from the tall man dressed in a black pea coat emerging rom the house. "Fuck, fuck, fuck!" Kenner hisses, seeing the salt and pepper gray hair, the beard, the smile of a man he knows of only in reputation.

Samson Gray.

"Easy, Agent Kenner." Samson says with a rich voice that sounds like sandpaper feels. "I just have a few follow-up questions."

Frozen in panic, Kenner’s fingers curl together, trying to wrest control of what little moisture lies in the air. Samson doesn’t move, other than to life his chin up slowly.

“You might want to consider your next step carefully,” says a man Kenner wasn’t aware of until he suddenly fades into view. But Kenner recognizes him, from the raid on the Triad warehouse a few years back, arrested and released.


Then on Samson’s other side, a woman comes into view. Also familiar, but familiar in the way old photographs from distant memories are. Company dossiers on agents assumed MIA or KIA but never confirmed. Given her nature, it would be hard to.


“This might come as a surprise, Donnie,” Samson says with a pearly white smile as he offers a hand down to Kenner.

“But we’re not the bad guys.”

Fournier-Bianco Memorial Hospital
Roosevelt Island
NYC Safe Zone

March 19th

“I don’t know what to tell you.”

Sunlight spills through sheer curtains into an eggshell white hospital room. An oncologist in a white jacket turns from a smiling, elderly woman laying in a hospital bed. “I do,” she says with a bright smile to her doctor. “I saw him,” she says with earnest conviction. “He came in here and he took the cancer from me.” A cross around her neck catches the sunlight.

“Who?” The doctor asks, looking back to Kenner and his wife standing at the other end of the room.

Jesus,” she says with a warm smile.

It isn’t until Kenner and Mary are taken out into the hall that either of them get a breakdown of what it is they’re dealing with. Doctor Foster looks down at his tablet in disbelief, then back to the hospital room. “Joan’s cancer is entirely gone. Not in remission—gone. We can’t chalk this up to any of our treatments, and…” he glances at the door again, lowering his voice, “for as convinced as she is that this was an act of God, I’m more willing to believe that it was what we call an Angel Donor, someone with an Expressive healing ability who keeps quiet. We’ve had a lot of stories since the war of that kind of treatment, sometimes its orderlies who want to keep a low profile, other times its janitors or other hospital staff.”

Mary can’t contain her tears of relief, of joy, of emotional tumult at the sudden change of her fortunes. She clings to her husband’s arm and smiles at Doctor Foster with as much brightness and appreciation as she can muster. “You don’t have any idea who?” She asks.

Kenner looks to the hospital room door, brows knit together.

“No.” Doctor Foster says. “Not a clue.”

Kenner Residence
Red Hook
NYC Safe Zone

March 21st

The house is dark, quiet. Blankets are folded on the couch that once sat on the guest bed. Joan’s bags are gone. Kenner looks down at his phone, checking an incoming text message.

Sent: 7:58 pm
Mom and Gram just touched down. They’re waiting to pick up their luggage then we’re going to drive out to see Pa.

Kenner smiles, quickly composing a brief response.

K. Let me know how things go. Give Pa a hug for me.
Seen: 7:59 pm

As Kenner lowers the phone he startles on seeing the silhouette of an intruder in his house, standing by the front windows peering out through the blinds to the street beyond.

“So, how’d it go?” Samson asks, glancing back at Kenner.

“Was that you?” Kenner asks, tucking his phone away even as it vibrates with another message. Samson smiles, then laughs to himself.

“The Lord works in mysterious ways,” Samson says with a roll of his eyes, smile growing. “I just gave her a little infusion. Something to take the pain away.” He says with a wink. “Not much of a fan of cancer myself.”

Kenner breathes in deeply and takes a step to join Samson by the window.

“Now, that I have your trust…” Samson says with a look back out to the street and a car that’s been surveilling the building for a while.

“Why don’t we talk about what you can do for me?”

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