If I Knew You Were Coming


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Scene Title If I Knew You Were Coming
Synopsis Kaylee shares a slice of Des and Sera's birthday cake with Luther, and they in turn share a bit of information about their pasts, from the past.
Date April 8, 2018

Raytech Offices, Security Room

For all that Luther has been working late, there have not been very many physical changes to the security room where the Head of Physical Security can often be found. He’s only added a small desk to work alongside the bank of monitors depicting what’s in the views of the cameras throughout the building. He isn’t looking at any of them now, though, but down at a piece of paper in his hand. The envelope that it came from bears an official look from the government. Kansas City.

The furrowed brow so typical of the man’s expression is back, focused on the letter’s contents as he leans back in his desk chair. A beep of one of the monitors doesn’t even break his attention immediatley, although eventually he sets the letter down to push up to his feet, moving to check the alert that there’s been movement in the office building after hours.

There is the rap of knuckles on the door of security, before the door opens, revealing one Kaylee Ray-Sumter on the other side, dressed in a red power suit and heels. She only wears the heels when she has important meetings really. More importantly, it’s what the woman is holding in her hands. A rather generous slice of chocolate cake, covered in saran wrap, which she holds up with a bit of a lopsided smirk. “I thought you might like a bit of a snack, since you have been working rather hard lately,” she awkwardly explains.

“You busy?” Brows lift a little, a mischievous glint to her eye, as she starts to turn with the cake slice. “I can always come back later.” Which clearly means the cake, too.

Of course the security head sees Kaylee on the small screen before she appears life-sized at the door, so he’s turned to it when she knocks. Her suit color gets the attention first, followed by the overall sight of the woman in the sleek corporate lines. The last thing is the large slice of cake in her hands, which arguably gets about the same amount of time for a once over as her in the suit. But, given that she’s teasing him by turning back towards the door with it, Luther straightens and starts to lift his hand up to stay her mock-exit. “There’s mean and then there’s just cruel,” he fires back although obviously he’s joking back at her. The man waves her back in, moving to the desk and seeming to remember the letter at the last minute.

He snatches it up, folding it back into the trifold format and stuffing it into the envelope it came in. Perfectly normally. Then he opens up one of the desk drawers to take out a couple of plastic forks. Really, he’s got those in there and maybe one pen. Priorities.

“I take it the party went well,” he assumes vaguely, although he hasn’t asked whose birthday it is.

The success of her ruse, earns Luther a bright smile. “Never reveal your weakness to a woman,” Kaylee points out cheerfully, stepping into the office and closing the door behind her. The cake is delivered to his desk with a flourish. “It can be good fodder sometimes.” The weakness that is.

Finding a chair to pull over to his desk, turning it to sit sideways, so that she can rest an arm on desktop. Though it does makes her look like the suspect of some unknown crime at one of those police stations you see on TV. “The party went as well as I saw. Once they started the awkward dance phase, I made my excuses to leave.” She pushes the cake to him and motions to it. Almost as an afterthought she adds, “Today is Des and Sera’s birthdays. It’s their cake. I thought you deserved a piece, especially, since you have been working so hard… though I apologize for the delay in delivery. I got waylaid along the way.”

Reseated on the other side of the office desk, Luther chuckles a low, amused rumble. And then he reaches for the cake. Because, cake. The second plastic fork he sets closer to her, the offer to share the giant slice implied. “Awkward Dance Phase?” His echo is as awkward about it as it sounds. “Don’t suppose you snapped any photos, I mean, that could be good employee motivation.” It’s not really blackmail. Or is it.

He nods and chews slowly on the addition of the day’s significance, although a second wave of thought and memory washes over him upon its mention. It’s a strange sensation, remembering a memory of a time that has him in literally two places at once. Or was he then really not in the other place in the first place, and the more present memory is what is true? It’s complicated. And Kaylee can watch his features furrow and knit as he tries to parse out in that moment just what he’s supposed to be feeling. It almost looks like the cake, or flavor, doesn’t agree with him.

But then he closes his eyes, taking in a long breath, swallows and opens his eyes again to regard the red suited woman. His expression smoothes back into something more eased. “Where,” he asks after the recomposure, “in the Safe Zone did you all manage to find a cake big enough? A chocolate cake, no less?” With a food shortage and overall skyrocketed prices, he calculates that this celebratory dessert must have cost a pretty penny.

“I admit, I didn’t think about taking photos.” She should have. Kaylee knows that now.

It was fascinating watching the changes in his expression, curious even. Being a telepath, she could reach in and pluck out an idea of what he is thinking, but she never allows that for herself, unless the situation dictates it. Watching a man enjoy a slice of cake is not one of those time. So despite wanting to know what is going on in Luther’s head, Kaylee holds tight onto her ability, and plays with herself a little game of ‘what is the man thinking.’

His inquiry gets a slow rise of her shoulders at the question, a crooked smile tugging on red lips. “That is a question for my brother. I did not set up that party.” A glance goes to the cake, though she does not partake. She did have a decent piece back there, so he is left to enjoy it all on his own. At least for now. “I usually make cakes for parties.” One skill she was glad she learned from her time in the 1890s. “Chances are, like the food we’ve been shipping in for everyone, he probably had it brought in on one of our shipments.”

Tipping his fork at her, Luther smirks on the subject of photographs. “It’s okay. There’s plenty on the tapes for if you need a morale booster. Or a laugh.” He glances briefly to the bank of monitors, then his attention’s back to her. “The cake’s delicious,” he remarks with another dig of the tines into deep fluffy browns. But there is a pause again, this time to her note about their shipping in supplies. A short sting of a reminder where he is now and where he was before. There was a time when the only cake he’d get was to look at them through a shop window. Or find one behind a buffet’s dumpster.

“Hm. Well, promise I won’t judge too much what Richard’s going to choose to write off as company expenses,” he says with a wry return to the present. And another bite of cake. “You bake?” he asks after another swallow, finding the lighter topic. “I mean, sure you’re capable of a lot of things I don’t know about.” Telepathic abilities notwithstanding. “Considering that, I guess… we still have a lot to learn about each other.” His smile quirks in humor. “Is that a Ray thing?”

“What? Baking? No… that is more of a survival skill.” Looking to the monitors, though she isn’t really looking at them, it is Kaylee’s turn to fall into a thoughtful state. “But, yes. I bake. I cook. I can stretch food if need be.” There is a small sad smile that is turned his way when she focuses on him again.

“I was never into cooking until I got lost in 1890s. I was there for five very long years. I worked at an inn. The woman that owned it felt it was her duty in life to teach me the skills that a woman needs to be a proper wife. Casue clearly, my own mother failed to do that.” There is a sort of fondness in how she talks about that life. “I looked it up, later on. The Smith Inn. There are pictures of it out there, I think I saw myself in one. It burned it to the ground, because of us.” Us meaning time travellers.

“Anyhow, I used what I learned to help the Ferrymen when we were out on the island.” Kaylee chuckles a little. “Whoever, would have thought those kind of skills would be useful in the modern world.”

Of all the things he would have expected to hear come from Kaylee, being stuck in the 1890s and learning how to cook isn’t one of them. “W-what?” He blinks a few times, stares a little, forgets just briefly that he’s halfway through a chew and nearly chokes, but catches it with a hard swallow. His small kingdom of the security room for a glass of milk. “Hold on,” he says with a quick lift of his finger, a set down of his fork, and a push to his feet to go to the little coffee machine off in the corner of the room. “You want a cup?” he asks as well, putting into motion the plans for a half pot.

But the surprise lingers even as the moment passes and she goes on acting like time travel is completely normal. Like this isn’t something still totally inconceivable in some way. Then again, Luther isn’t exactly a circular thinking man most of the time. “You’d be surprised what’s useful out in the world, no matter what you think of it before, a skill’s a skill.” He sets the pot to brew, then looks back over. “What… what else did you do there? Was anybody else with you? How did it happen…?” And there goes the flood of questions, spilling over the dam.

The sight of the coffee, makes her sit up a little. “Ooo. Yes please.”

The flood of questions gets a chuckle. “You know, I haven’t really talked to a lot of people about my time there.” Bits and pieces, but nothing extensive. “Sure you what to know?” She doesn’t need to be a mind reader to know that he does. “Okay. I will give you the Cliff Notes version.”

Twisting so that she can fold both arms and rest them on the desktop, she starts with, “When we were all running around in the past, stopping Samuel… I helped Hiro make those we were helping forget that we were even there. Minimize the impact to our present.” Taking a deep breath, she lets it out slowly. “Samuel came after me. Tried to pull a building down on me, but his own time manipulator saved me and dumped me broken and bleeding in New York’s past.” Unfolding her arms, she presses a hand to her side briefly. “I have a rather lovely — “ spoken very sarcastically “ — scar as a reminder of turn of the century medicine.” Leaning back in her chair she continues with the story. “ Margaret… found me nursed me back to health and put me to work at the inn. I spent five years there. Living a life there, until Joseph and others showed up to bring me home.”

Glancing down at her hands, resting in her lap, glitter of the gold band that did come back from that time. “Admittedly, it was rather nice. No persecution for what I was… no one knew what I was. No one hunting you. I mean.. I missed technology… and modern medicine. Not to mention everyone I cared about, but it was actually a rathe relaxing five years,” she admits sheepishly. Not that she thought that when she was back there.

Luther listens intently even if his eyes aren’t on her the entire time. The sound of the brewing coffee provides an added track to the sounds made by the tech in the room. It’s not 1890s, that’s for sure. The name Samuel prods the memory of his trip back with others, what seems now like a distant thing but the ripples still felt. Especially when it rains. “I don’t even really remember,” he admits as he grasps the coffee pot once it’s done brewing, “what it was about that we were going back to stop him. I’m not even sure I know why. Knew why.”

"…how do you know she ain't dead?"

Joseph doesn't get angry very often. Even now, his voice lacks volume and emphasis, quietly cutting and a little raw. It does, however, manage to fill the cavernous back room, echo a little off the sides. "And if not, what if they got her for themselves?" He stands off to the side, a little out of the way, regarding Hiro's turned back as the besworded Japanese man busies himself with tending to his string map. It's changed, since the very, very first meeting. Not in fundamental ways, of course — it still webs out between the distanced walls, trying to cover more than a century of twisted time with brown yarn, red wool, fisherman's wire. Newspaper clippings, photographs, bits and pieces mark trajectories and intersections.

He'd concluded the meeting with a single white paper crane hanging off such a corner. Now, there are many identical white cranes, marking the corners of history remade and unmade. White cranes, much like everyone who would be arriving here tonight will receive.

It is time.

He’s halfway into pouring and stirring in a bit of creamer into his cup when the realization hits him and he turns back to Kaylee abruptly. “That was you,” he utters, awestruck by the concepts that he’s at last putting together.

"From what I made of Tamara's prophecy, she believes that the virus will strip them of their power. I do not think she would endanger us. However… those that are wary of the virus do not have to use it. We require a group to go back in time and retrieve Kaylee Thatcher." This is where Joseph's posture straightens some, glancing around the room as if suddenly realising that it's up to these people, presumably.

“Kaylee Thatcher.” For a moment there’s another knitting of his brows, his mind trying to dig back, clawing for what he can recall despite not having needed to in years. The expression shifts into an incredulous smile that comes without humor as much as it does with disbelief. And then, after the wave washes over and recedes back into the ocean of memories, Luther turns to regard Kaylee with a more warmed smile. “Shit, then, I guess we go way back too,” he remarks, grabbing a second Raytech mug and filling it with coffee. Rather than stand there, he brings both mugs over along with the tray of creamer and sugar so they can sit and drink.

The man blows out a long exhale, using it at the same time to cool the steaming surface of the drink before he sips. “And now we have come to this.” Visions of dire circumstances, a high-tech company, a shift in their lives. “One helluva crazy life.”

The look she gives Luther is one of brief confusion, maybe she catches some of that memory or just the utterance of her maiden name. She looks like she is trying to figure him out as she carefully takes the mug that is offered. “Seems our strings crossed more than we thought.” Who knows how many more times they did.. Or how entwined they might be me. She looks rather amused by that fact.

“My father always believed in connections. When there was a problem to be solved, he hung up a large string web. One for each person involved in the path that lead there.” As Kaylee talks, she goes about fixing her own coffee. Brows furrow a little as she talks about the man that she was related to. “It looked like chaos, but it made sense. Hiro used this too,” she points out softly, glancing up from stirring. Knowing he’d remember that web.

“To be honest, what I know about that is vague. They were trying to change the past to influence the outcome of the future. In fact, my father had told me to find Samuel and give him my assistance.” The mug is perched between two hands, when her gaze seems lost in her own past. “I chose Hiro and I do not regret that choice.” Even though she had almost died on several occasions and was stuck in the past for several years. Would any of it have happened with Samuel? She’ll never know.

A sudden thought turns a serious expression to one of amusement. Looking over at Luther she offers a simple truth, “Unlike, Richard. I have never been all that good at listening to my father.”

Strings crossing. The memory of a tangled web in the shop of Jittetsu Arms is what surfaces from the depths of Luther’s mind. He remembers the gathering now. A few faces and names still push through. Several beats pass after she speaks on her father, and about not being good at listening to her father. “And that’s what Richard was — the other Richard? Was trying to do… in Alaska,” Luther says slowly, scratching at a different side of the iceberg. He looks back up to Kaylee, something of an apology held in the grey gaze. “Monica’s the one who saw me. Told me about the brickfront. Wasn’t even that long before the memorial.” That infamous day.

“Sorry I wasn’t with ‘em,” he continues, a short sip taken. In a way that is genuine regret, though mild, it is sincere. It then shifts as he seems to recall another thing and he reaches into a pocket to take out his wallet. From the battered leather, he pulls a long creased and wrinkled piece of white paper with an equally old looking photograph. Both pieces he sets down on the desk, sliding it over for her to look. “You were talking about connections,” he says, turning the paper so she can read the white square’s writing. From the patterns of the creases, she might be able to tell it was at one point an origami crane. The photograph is a younger blonde woman then known as Odessa Knutson. On the paper, the words: She will need your help. She has needed your help.

“Hiro gave me those,” Luther explains, relinquishing both pieces for her to inspect if she so chooses, “before he took me back. The man picks up the fork he had left beside the chocolate cake, carving out a larger bite. “April 8, 1984,” he murmurs more to himself than to the woman across from him, and takes the bite.

“Yeah, he was,” Kaylee admits softly, in regards to the other version of her brother. Of course, she doesn’t add that what was built by that other version was Edwards solution for saving all of his kids. “And what our Richard was trying to stop. Both on different orders from two different version of my father,” she shakes her head trying to keep it all clear in her own head.

Sipping from her mug, she is quiet for a moment. The apology gets a little smile. Appreciated, but unnecessary. “You were exactly where you needed to be,” she points out. “Helping my brother. Of course, at the time we had no idea we were related. But, that path brought you to here.” She presses a finger to the desktop.


Brows ticking up a little as if daring him to tell her she’s wrong, pulling her hand back to her cup when he goes to pull out the pictures. The creases are familiar, even if the pictures are different. Delicately, Kaylee picks up the picture of Odessa. “Kept these all this time?” She asks with a touch of wonder, studying him briefly, before looking back at the picture in her hand. “I lost the one I got for Lynette.” So much going on, she lost a lot of stuff. Gently she sets them down. “Have you told her?” Motioning to the picture of Odessa.

Simply by his long silence, it’s evident that he hasn’t mentioned it. Not to the woman working in their lab whose identity is known to only a few. “I don’t know what Richard’s up to, but I figure he has a reason,” he replies after washing down the cake bite with some coffee. “Figured Hiro had his reasons too. Not that I know what those are, or if it’s all supposed to be connected somehow.” A hand reaches over to take the paper and photograph back, handling the pieces delicately as he slips them both back into his wallet. “I haven’t told her because…” Luther pauses, searching himself for a reason. He continues tentatively, “Well, it’s weird isn’t it? Like you said, not everybody’s ready for that sort of thing. And Sera… she’s sweet. If a little eccentric. I’d just as rather not ruin her day with talking about time travel and serial killers.”

And he’s been trying not to ever since that day he remembered all of this. He digs out another bite of chocolate cake then, perhaps looking a touch like he too is something of a stress eater. When it’s available. He circles back around to Kaylee eventually, blinking at her across the table. “You got one of these cranes, for Lynette?” he asks. “What happened?” Also, “Did you tell her?”

“No.” Kaylee admits softly, not looking at him, eyes on her reflection in the mug. “Just like so many others, I blocked her memory of it. It was still there last I saw.” When she helped Lynette remember a version of the man she would later marry. The fact that the block was still amazed her. She couldn’t duplicate it even after all this time. “She was twelve at the time.” Even now that fact seemed to bother her, especially now with having her own kids. Samuel and his people were so ready to kill a child to change the future. “They tried to trap her on train tracks. We almost didn’t get her off there before the train hit.”

She is quiet for a long moment, before she says, “I think Des would surprise you.” Her shoulders shrug before she goes back to drinking her coffee. “But, it might be the right thing not telling her. She… “ Kaylee chuckles, “She can be kind of intense about things like that.”

The cake slice is big enough that even with Luther picking away at it, he’s only barely halfway through. Granted, the conversation has turned from teasing about desserts to something far more serious. Time traveling. “You blocked…” He heads his own thought off, reining it in as she explains how the electrokinetic was merely twelve at the time. And that trying to trap the girl on train tracks, like some truly villainous plot, was happening. The visible what the fuck is all over his features. Although ultimately, he seems to agree with her decision. “You’re right, though, maybe she doesn’t need to know about that,” he notes as he twists the fork in his hand, eyeing the tines in thought.

“Richard seems to think she needs the help,” Luther rumbles out. Even though he sounds like he believes that Richard believes the woman behind the alias is in need of help, the man isn’t quite convinced. There is the matter of the paper crane, though, and the photograph. “The vision.” The vision, of the deaths at Raytech. “That’s what we should be worried about here,” he says after a beat and a renewed dig of the fork into the cake slice. Another flick of his glance to the monitor bank follows with a slow exhale. The glance turns into a gaze back at Kaylee.

“I’m thinking we should put in some coded revolving doors, maybe, at some point.” The dollars though, might not be there for all of the upgrades he’s requisitioning. “But if you don’t think that’s doable, I’ll figure something out. Something that won’t cost as much as cake.” At that last bit, his mouth twists wryly.

There is a touch sadness at the reaction to her blocking Lynette’s memories and what that entails. There is a stigma to what she can do, so she is a little resigned to the fact that she’ll always make people uncomfortable. “If you are wondering,” she starts softly, “I have never blocked your memories and have no plans to.”

Why it is important to her that he know that, she doesn't know.

“But, yes,” Kaylee sighs out. “The vision and RayTech’s security.” There is straightening of her poseture, taking on more of the formal boss talking to her employee appearance. “We have discussed keycard and locking doors. Closing off the building from just beyond the receptionist’s desk.” By ‘We’ she probably means her and her siblings. “The government has the right idea with ID cards that double as keycards. Could work for us as well. Allow access. No one passed the front deck without escort or a pass.”

Kaylee finds herself eyeing the half eaten cake. Stress does that to her, making her thankful that she doesn't put on weight very easily.

It’s a natural stigma perhaps, of an unnatural phenomenon. But Luther’s already pushed it aside by the time her reassurance that she hasn’t messed with his memories comes. The man’s expression softens along with her tone, a tint of guilt in the realization what he must have appeared like just now. “I didn’t think you would, not without a really good reason.” He leans back in his chair, considering her.

When she straightens up, so does he by response and he nods with her report of the planned measures. “That should be the least of what we can do. And it won’t look strange, given the projects in development. And I’m working on the CCTV now,” he says with a nod to the monitor bank, “Weekly backups in hardcopy. But we’ll need a place to store them.” Given that reminder, he pulls open a drawer from the desk and extracts a Raytech logo’d file folder to lay on the desktop, sliding it over to Kaylee. “If you could pass that on to Warren,” he explains, “plans for some non-lethal stoppage measures. We should get them installed at both offices at least.” Inside, the plans are some discreet pop-out ‘guns’ that fire substances similar to sticky foam originally developed for riot and crowd control in the 90s, although the chemical had since fallen out of favor with the R&D of the times after it was discovered the foam could potentially be lethal if it covered vital airways.

Luther isn’t worried about that part.

Seeing the woman eyeing the cake, Luther smiles again and nudges the plate over with his fingertips. He’s encouraging her, his smile that of a shoulder devil’s in that regard. “If we tackle it together, it’ll be less work to be worked out later.” Does he mean the security measures, or the cake? Most likely, both.

The file is retrieved, though Kaylee is looking at Luther, returning his smile with an amused one. Settling her attention on the folder, she tries to ignore the cake. For now. “You’d be hell to any woman’s diet,” she says rather fondly and without any real accusation, because it is clear that she is not on a diet. She doesn’t need to be.

There is a long moment of silence as she flips through the pages, brows ticking up a little, “Warren will be rather interested in these.” Another page is flipped. “The trick is to keep him from making them lethal.” He might very well do that. “I’ll get these out tomorrow with our Detroit shipment,” she offers brightly, finally turning her attention back to the man.

Then, of course, eyes drop to the cake. There is a touch of resignation as she picks up the fork. “Horrible influence.” She points at him with the fork, before extracting a bite from the chocolate cake between them.

“You got choices,” Luther remarks, keeping from an outright laugh, leaning back in his chair and watching as she peruses the file of his security measures proposals. The weekly backups of their CCTV to be stored, a copy shipped to Detroit as an extra measure of ensuring any tampering would be difficult. Luther has thought this through somewhat, the habit of keeping more than one ‘stash’ coming from experience. “That’ll be up to you,” he adds on the note of making sure Warren doesn’t create something lethal in the process. “He’s his own man, and your brother, but he’s also a part of the company. And should keep that in mind.” His tone twists sardonically. “We don’t need bodies cooling on our doorsteps.”

Thankfully, there is a less dark topic right there in front of them and he’s glad to turn to it. A quiet chuckle rolls out from the man and he picks up his fork again to pick away at the other side of the large slice. “If it’ll make you feel any better, we can hit the gym,” he says before he puts the bite in his mouth. Yeah right. Not tonight.

That last bit actually gets a laugh, quick and sharp, which is quickly stifled with a hand quickly slapped over her own mouth. Kaylee’s eyes dances with amusement, as she pulls the hand away and says with barely contained laughter, “Why would you even suggest such a thing?” As she snags herself another bite of cake.

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