Information Overload


cassandra_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif richard_icon.gif

Scene Title Information Overload
Synopsis After a week of recovery from tapping into Caspar's pennies, Cassandra goes to tell the people who need to know things, things.
Date May 23, 2019

Raytech Industries

Cassandra rarely calls. She just comes over.

It’s not that she doesn’t respect Richard and Elisabeth’s privacy - she does, probably more than most. It’s that her visits are mainly for keeping contact with Aurora, at times when she knows the little girl more than likely should be around. Usually her visits are during the afternoon sometime mid-week, and rarely on weekends. I’m Cassandra’s view, those are the times for Elisabeth and Richard to do family things with Aurora and, if she does come along for whatever events are happening, it’s only if she’s invited.

Today, though? There’s a blinking message on Elisabeth’s voice mail from Cassie’s familiar number that was left around 3:00am, and when it’s played, the message is simple and to the point, her voice gravelly, like she’s not slept at all after running a marathon. “Elisabeth.” Her voice cracks. “It’s Cassie. I just got dropped off after finishing with Lucille and Rue on those pennies. It was a few hours ago. Listen, you and Richard need to know what I saw.” There’s marked emphasis on the word need in that sentence. “Just…give me some time to figure things out and get my head straight. I’m around, but…quiet. I don’t feel I should tell you this over the phone, but I know the craziness I saw needs people with more knowledge than I have.” Meaning Elisabeth and Richard. “. I need some time to heal. I’ll give you a call when I’ve got the brain to talk about this. Let me know once you get this. Love you.” *click*

One week later…

May 23, 2019

If Richard had checked in the time the postcog was away, Cassandra had put in for sick leave from her retainer at Raytech, citing personal illness. If he had dug further, the reason given would be extreme exhaustion. If Cassandra were called, she would answer her phone if she were awake, and would return calls if she wasn’t, but wasn’t accepting any visitors. “I’m fine.” was the comment she almost always gave. “I’ve just got to get my brain straight.” Exactly what she meant by that was never really clarified, but if asked directly, she would explain that getting her brain straight did not involve any sort of illicit substance or self medication. It did involve a massive amount of sleep and lots of sunlight combined with lots of self-reflection. And it helped. Over that two week period Cassandra rarely left her apartment to do anything more than the basics, surviving on deliveries from the market thanks to some well-meaning kids on the street that set up their own delivery service. Finally, after far longer than she intended to recover, she was ready to face the world again.

A quick message was sent, requesting a meeting with Richard and Elisabeth that afternoon regarding an ‘important project.’ They would certainly know what she was referring to. And after a long shower and dressing for the weather, Cassandra opened the locks of her door for the first time in a long time and made her way into the city proper, heading for Raytech’s offices where, hopefully, Elisabeth and Richard would be waiting for her.

Of course, given her credentials she’s able to get in without any issue, and a conference room number is given to Cassandra at the desk — in Sera’s usual quirky manner, of course. One floor up, down the hall, a left, and then the third door on the right. A Spot trots past her as she approaches, a stack of papers in a tray it’s carrying from one place to another.

As she arrives, Richard rises from a chair with a smile, dressed in his dark business suit.. “Cassandra,” he greets warmly, “Good to see you, come on in.”

Elisabeth isn't but a few steps behind, arriving just after Cassandra is sent to the conference room. She's less casually dressed than has been her habit of late, so she may be coming from a meeting of her own, wearing a pair of gray slacks with a soft purplish top and even black heels. "Hey guys," she greets with an easy smile despite the vague weariness clinging to her. Blue eyes are studying Cassandra closely — she knows what the ability does in relation to the pennies, so she is physically checking for herself that Cass is recovering.

Handing the younger woman a paper cup of hot chocolate — because, you know, when you face down dementors, chocolate is required for recovery! — she then carries the other two cups to Richard's desk and hands him one before sinking into a chair. Not like they don't know what she wants to talk about, so Liz is fortifying them all.

She’s expected, thankfully, and the credentials Richard provided get her through security and into the private conference room that has been set aside for just such a purpose. Quiet, windowless, and just large enough for her ability to not leak outside the walls with room to spare, the room is perfect for showing things that may not be appropriate for public viewing. Of course Richard has a desk in here, too. Batman has to have a desk in the inner sanctum.

Despite her cleanliness, Cassandra looks fragile. Beaten. Going through one penny took a lot out of her, and her standing here, still shaky, is proof of that. She removes her sunglasses, rubbing her right eye with the pad of her thumb and blinking away the floaters, revealing that her eye is still blotted red from a burst blood vessel. It’s better looking now, though. “Hey Richard. Hey Liz.” Her voice is quiet and her hands tremble when she takes the cup of hot chocolate. She lifts it in both hands, a silent thank you, and then peers down to grin at the three marshmallows bobbing in the drink before taking a sip, sinking into the provided chair careful not to spill.

“I’m sorry to have fallen off the planet for a while. I just needed the time to get my head together.” Cassandra sighs quietly. “Those pennies take a lot out of me to go through. All this here?” She gestures to herself. “Was just the one we started with, spread over five days the last two weeks. I’m…getting used to the sensation, though, and I think that if I go through more of them, they won’t hit me as hard.” She takes another sip, knocking the wooden armrest of the chair she’s in. “I think you’re going to want me to, too.” She lets that linger a moment before continuing.

“The one penny I went through was memories of this Adam person, and there’s probably more on it that I wasn’t able to get to. He’s the one you said was extremely dangerous, Elisabeth. The one we talked about. I wanted to tell you what I saw, give you the names I heard and…” Cassandra trails off. “Try to make sense of it all or, at least, figure out where we are in the puzzle.” She reaches beneath her shirt to pull out the battered dog tag that’s always living around her neck. “I tested it at home. Since I went through them, I can replay the memories I have of the memories in the penny. It’s not pretty but it gets the job done.”

“If you need a boost, potentially you could ask Gillian to help. She’s mostly a civilian these days, but I’d be willing to shell out for the consultation and ability use fees,” says Richard, his expression concerned as he regards her current state of being, slowly easing down into a chair, “I don’t want you hurting yourself too much over this, Cass.”

A concerned look is slanted over to Liz, and then he looks back to the postcognitive when she starts talking about what she found. “Adam…. shit, that’s a big one to have hit,” he admits, leaning forward with hands folded, “Replaying it won’t hurt you further, will it? You can just describe things if you need to.”

“No.” Cassandra replies softly. “The replay doesn’t hurt. I’ve already put the miles in beforehand to get to that point. It’s like any other memory when it gets into the dog tag.”

Glancing at Richard, Elisabeth grimaces a bit. "The way he encodes them isn't exactly the same way she does. So pulling the memories off… it's a serious toll."

The information that Cassandra had Adam's memories renders Elisabeth speechless a long moment. Pulling in a slow breath, she looks worried. "You take it easy when you're working through the pennies. Is Lucille putting this on the record anywhere or is she off the books on this investigation?" She's considering which way would be better. "Whatever you need to tell us is fine, Cassandra, but for god's sake … don't burn yourself out for this.

Her viewing Caspar’s stuff is like playing a Laserdisk on a Betamax through a camera pointed at a black and white TV. The information is there, it just takes a lot for Cassandra to translate it to a useable state. She takes another sip of the cocoa. “It's taken me a week to get to this point, so if Gillian can help get my strength back, I'd welcome it. It's not an illness, it's just over exertion, so if that's her thing, bring her by.”

“This is all on the record, mostly. Not for public dispersal, but I've been given tacit permission to talk to whoever I thought would be the most helpful, or who might have insight into this sort of thing.” If it wasn't obvious, she considers Richard and Elisabeth to fall squarely in that camp and capable of putting this madness into context. Numbly, she pulls out her blindfold and puts it on, sunglasses going over the top of it all before she settles down into her seat. “This part is easy. I can do it in my sleep without straining. The other twenty six pennies…that's going to take time. And effort.” Cassandra rubs her hands through her hair after finishing her hot chocolate and, in a blink, the world surrounding the three is dark. She really is in her prime, bringing her power to bear so effortlessly.

“If there’s good news to be had, I am getting used to his work.” She might have already said that, her voice wavering a little. “So let me show you what you need to see. You want the holy shit moments first, or how they were discovered in chronological order?” Cassandra pauses for a second.

“Five memories so far that we've found.” She ticks them off on one hand. “Claudia Zimmerman with Adam getting a call from Arthur. Adam and Arthur at the observatory where we all arrived. Yes, that one. I counted that one as holy shit moment #1. Adam and a woman named Yaeko talking about his past loves and children. A memory on top of that building we jumped to the flood from. Giant fight. Holy shit moment #2. And…”. She pauses. “Adam on a beach, asking a green-haired woman to break into a lab for a sample of the shanti virus.” Without saying, that last one transcends holy shit and moves somewhere into the vicinity of apocalypse in a bottle.

“She’s a power augmenter,” Richard explains, “She might be able to make it easier for you to pull these memories up, without strain…” Then all’s dark, and he pauses, “Claudia… let’s start with her.” A look to Liz, his brow furrowing, and then back to Cassandra, “Just go in order.”

At the mention of the Shanti virus, he tensed up sharply. He knows where that memory led.

A single brow quirks up and she is a little tense about all of the above, to tell the truth, but Elisabeth just shares a worried look with him as the darkness falls. Even as he chooses one to see first, she slips a hand into his across the space between the chairs. None of this sounds like good news.

((I’m just going to give overviews, so we don’t have to post the entire log. I’m sure you’ve both read it.))

Whether or not the news is good is in the past. It just is, and as Cassandra delves into her dog tag, she very quickly finds the memories that she’s searching for. With her ability, memories that are more traumatic generally show up easier and, for her, these five specific days are blazing as bright as the sun. It’s an interesting view, too. Instead of one Cassandra in the image, there are now two - the one projecting and the one projecting there in the past, showing the scene. A snowy evening during the end of the year in New York.

“That was my first taste of Caspar’s pennies. It wasn’t pleasant at all.” Cassandra says this in a dry, precise way, because of course it wasn’t. “If there’s anything you need replayed, let me know and I can go back and forth.”

Cassandra sits quietly as the scene plays. The playful banter, speaking of a vacation on a tropical beach that’s interrupted by a phone call. A much younger Claudia Zimmerman, who even Cassandra knows is high up in that SESA organization, with Adam, with a little girl that might be their daughter…

The scene fades when the past Cassandra falls out of the chair and hits the floor in a heap, to be helped up by Lucille and Rue. “So…I’m guessing that, since this memory was pulled, Adam was married to Claudia and had that little girl?” Who the little girl is, she has no clue.

The memory fades, and Richard’s just left staring at nothing for a long moment, one hand coming up to his mouth. “Jesus, that… that… Liz, that was Niki, she— “ He looks to his lover with wide eyes, “She has no idea. Claudia doesn’t know, she was redacted, un… less…”

He slumps back in the chair, head falling back and both hands covering his face, “Fucking hell this explains so much…”

Left dumbfounded by the vision, Elisabeth's face is a wide-eyed mirror of Richard's. "He's… Jesus fucking Christ…" Blowing out a slow breath, she says distractedly, "I'm not sure what that explains at all. They took Ben's memory of his son from him because he kept breaking through mental blocks. What possible reason did they have to do that to Claudia?"

Maybe now isn't the time to ask that question, but it's one small detail that Liz's brain latches onto because the horror of what the Company kept stealing from its own people is just mind boggling to her.

“I think it was mainly for him. All the memories I was able to pull off of that penny were from Adam through various stages of his life. I’m guessing that Caspar sat down and, over a long session, just…” Cassandra thinks for a moment. “Extracted everything that he was told to extract. Like an overenthusiastic dentist.” With a wave of her hand the image fades into darkness, the postcog deep in thought. “The third memory we found might explain why this one was taken a little better, but we’re going in the order I found them in.” She sinks back in the chair and the next vision appears, the scene fading in a familiar-looking room to Richard, with high concrete-lined walls that look newly constructed, bright white, with a device in the center of the room that, to Cassandra, is a sight she could go without seeing for the rest of her life.

Looking Glass. A massively oversized version.

“I don’t think I need to tell you what that is, or who that is, but the rest of the people here…” She shrugs, leaving that determination to the pair watching. She’s quiet as the vision plays out through all of its gory scenes. Roux using her ability to simulate a coronal discharge - electrical sparks dancing among the tesla coils and the antennae built into the sides of Looking Glass to act as lightning rods, drawing away the current from sensitive equipment. And the vision slows when Roux turns, her eyes blazing gold, so they’re sure to see and hear her bellowed declaration. “It’s monologuing. Whatever took her over. I don’t think it could help it.” Cassandra says grimly, letting the scene play out. So they can watch the brutality of agents burned to ash, the only survivors being Arthur and his forcefield and Adam with his inhuman regeneration. She’s silent as the scene plays of Arthur snapping Roux’s neck and dropping her, Adam suffering as he heals from wounds that would kill anyone that was not him.

“Rue said that lady…the one with the solar power or whatever it was…was Quinnie’s mom? She also seemed to indicate that…um…somehow that lady there on the floor with the broken neck survived this, somehow.” Despite the crunching of vertebrae they all just heard. This is both asked as a question and given as a comment, like these two might know who this Quinnie was. “And Adam seemed…concerned. That this Arthur guy was meddling in things he shouldn’t. I mean…”

Cassandra looks to the pair, linked by their hands.

“We all know, from experience, how bad an idea Looking Glass is. How it screws up worlds by tangling up timelines. Is there a way Adam could have known, somehow? Is there a way he could have gone through this before, already, in the past?” Cassandra already spoke of something very old and very pissed off about being trapped between worlds. Could Adam have put it there?

After the vision fades, Richard shakes his head slowly. “He did,” he says quietly, “In sixteen hundred… something, he did, we know that. He was in thrall to the Entity, to the Dragon, or whatever we’re going to call it. He didn’t want to explain it because he knows that knowing about it is dangerous… given its reaction, I assume he eventually broke free and turned on it. Makes sense, given the mythology…”

He trails off, hands folding before him as he looks down to them, “You wouldn’t’ve recognized the room, you were a little— bit in a state of shock the last time you were in it. That was where we brought you through, in New Mexico. The Sunspot Facility. And…”

“Yeah, that was Robyn’s mother,” he grimaces, “There’re ways to fix people beyond death.”

Elisabeth's hand tightens around Richard's, and she fights to not physically react. The people burning to ash is entirely too fucking familiar and she's horrified. She has to slam her eyes shut by the end, unable to unclench her fingers from the vice-like hold she has on his hand.

She swallows hard, struggling and trying not to show it. For Cassandra, through the years, she has always been the steady one, the rock in the maelstrom. Even watching her own death at the hands of Samson Gray, once she'd convinced Cass to show her, she has simply been calm. Here, in this world, it's not so easy anymore to keep any kind of objectivity and distance.

"Show the rest, please?" The words are soft, for she fears if she opens her mouth too far she might start screaming and never ever stop. But Elisabeth is determined to see it to the end.

It was difficult to see this the first time. The second time around, it was still hard to watch, but not as hard, the horror dulling itself by repetition, Cassandra detaching herself from the scene itself and only acting as a conduit. She doesn't say that these images let her feel a limited sensation of everything in the memory - the dull mending of bone in a hand, and the crisping of skin beneath a terrible power. It would explain why it took so long for her to even come forward with this. It took her mind that long to differentiate and winnow out the madness.

Blessedly, the image of this memory ends, vanishing like the fog on a sunny day. “The next one is less crazy, but still…”. She brushes her hair back behind one ear. “Adam meeting a woman named Yaeko, and talking about…children? Past marriages? I don't remember this one very well - it was retrieved the same day as the observatory memory, so a lot was going on.”

Understatements? Yeah, she’s got ‘em.

The next memory plays, and the quiet is a blissful counterpoint to the horror of the last one. Still, even knowing what the man in front of the trio has done and what he is capable of doing, Cassandra still feels sorry for him. To have these memories taken? What good did it do other than fragmenting his past even more?

Richard’s fingers curl with Elisabeth’s in a tight squeeze, understanding well why she might react poorly to that… particular imagery. “Yaeko…” A purse of his lips, and then he nods, “Alright. Go ahead, when you’re ready, Cass.”

His hand remains tightly clasped with Liz’s own. As the memory plays, he grimaces a little, shaking his head - he can’t help but feel sympathy for the immortal.

Although she can't respond to the reassurance, Elisabeth appreciates it. She frowns a little and watches as the next one unfolds. "Jesus," she breathes out. Looking at Richard, she has this horrible sense of the pieces finally falling into place. "That's… that's the woman who helped Devon escape. She's the one who told us what Umbra is and that Adam's searching for descendants of people infused with his blood… but maybe he's looking for his own descendants too?"

“I don't suppose we can just sit him down and ask him, can we?” It's one of those crazy suggestions that isn't meant to be taken seriously. Although, in a pinch, these memories could be used as a bargaining chip of some kind - surely Richard is thinking that already.

“This next one is the rooftop. A battle. Just to be clear, and it starts right in the middle. I have no idea who most of these people are. One is Lucille's dad, if that helps, and the golden eyes are there but…” Cassandra shrugs. “It's better if I show rather than tell.” These took days to drill down into to get clear images, and took a lot out of her to get it. She goes silent as the battle on the rooftop begins, watching as a woman uses an ability to bolster another man who seems to be trying to control or capture the entity, the dragon, or whatever it is. Dawson, her name was. “This part is, um, gross, and it gets crazy.” Cassandra warns, just before Adam rips his arm off and runs at Charles, hacking at him with his katana. And crazy may be an understatement as a man charges out of the penthouse and blindsides Adam with a blistering punch, sending the one-armed man to his knees, off balance enough to be tended to by Ryans and some others.

When the image fades, Cassandra sits in silence. She has so many questions, but isn't sure how to ask them. Instead, she focuses on her family. “This is the stuff you needed to see, I hope.” She doesn't want to traumatize the only family she has left.

“I know what this is,” says Richard as he begins, squeezing Liz’s hand tightly as he watches it play out - he knows most of it already, but this one runs further, and there are more faces. One or two he doesn’t know. As there’s a call for Mateo, he brings his free hand up to rub at his eyes. “El Umbral,” he murmurs, “I should’ve known. Just like it did for us, the Looking Glass never worked right… they always needed Odessa and Mateo.”

The number of people he needs to talk to is quickly stacking up today.

“I know most of them. The Founders, their families, some of their others… that was Ben, yeah,” he admits, “Monica’s grandmother was in there. Dee’s mother. I don’t know who the man with the nuclear… wait…” He pauses, “Can you show me that man again? The hispanic one?”

As the sword falls toward Arthur, Elisabeth gasps in horror when the blade barely misses the baby in his hands. "Jesus… is that … Dessa?" And she frowns, watching the fight play out.

"Were they… was that a fucking attempt at an EXORCISM? So it's… it's had its hooks in Adam, in Kam Nisatta… in Broome." Elisabeth swallows, no clue who some of the people are, but others are at least familiar. "I don't… I don't really understand," she admits warily. There are just too many pieces missing for her. "Did that work?"

Cassandra nods, and at Richard’s request, the scene rolls back to the emergence of the hispanic man from the penthouse. With a wave of her hand, the scene shudders and the perspective shifts itself so he’s in the middle of the scene, giving the trio a perfect view of him moving through, doing what he does, like a camera locking on the model in a video game. “Imagine if she lived. Imagine if she could have continued work on Looking Glass, how far it could have gone. It seems every world I’ve gone to that’s had that thing built has been on the ashes of what Michelle and Edward worked on.” Cassandra’s head rests on the chair behind her, the woman looking sightlessly up into the night sky, the scene playing back and forth slowly, allowing Richard all the time he needs to look at the man.

“I don’t know. I’m in the same boat as you are when it comes to understanding this. Not my world, after all.” Cassandra says this lamely, the vision fading. “My thought on seeing this was that Adam and the group on the roof were trying to bottle the entity, the dragon, or whatever it was, to take it somewhere and control it. To lock it away before the others that arrived could do whatever they wanted to do with it. Adam, I think, wants to banish it away. The founders, as you call them, probably wanted to use it as a tool.” A quest to succeed where Adam failed so long ago? Cassandra had no clue, rubbing her arm at the memory of the sensation of having it torn free at the shoulder, much like her doppelganger did in the vision before it faded.

“The last vision we found before my contract ended.”

Thankfully, this one is much quieter, with a beach and the soothing sound of waves against the sand. Again, no context on when this is, or where, but the words…the words are what chill Cassandra to the bone. Adam speaks of stopping it a second time - this, chronologically, might have been before the climactic battle on the roof, but she has no way of proving that. Names are said and threads are teased. Victoria and Colin’s project. Arthur’s plan. Cindy, the woman on the beach, who sounds unwary about whatever that plan might be. And Valere, the green-haired woman tasked with stealing a sample of the Shanti virus before the memory cuts off entirely.

“I couldn’t get much more than that.” Cassandra’s voice is quiet, the images of Rue sitting in shock, Lucille rushing to help the collapsed seer, who seems to be going through the first stages of shock, stuttering how the woman in green looked like a cartoon character. “It just ended with the order to get Shanti, as far as I know. With more time, I might be able to get more of that particular memory but…it’s not something that I relish the thought of trying.” For obvious reasons.

“This is where they banished it on the roof of the Deveaux Building, when it was inside Kam Nisatta,” Richard says grimly as he rises from his chair, moving a careful step to take a better look at the hispanic man, “Arthur, Simon Broome, Nia Dawson, Niel Trafford, Charles Deveaux, Joy-slash-Yaeko… I’m ninety percent sure that’s Ishi Nakamura, Benjamin Ryans, Odessa Price, Mateo Ruiz… I don’t know the woman with Ryans…”

He looks at the hispanic man for a long moment. The same first name. A nuclear-related ability. He didn’t believe in coincidences anymore. He sighs, and steps back to sink into the chair, “…and, I think, Miguel Cambria.”

That last vision hits, then, and the words send a chill down his spine as well. “It’s all connected,” he murmurs, “The virus… it didn’t have anything to do with Kazimir’s plan to purify the Earth. It was to wipe out everyone who might know about the Entity.”

"Wait, wh— Raquelle?" Elisabeth looks really surprised. Shoving a hand through her hair, she shakes her head slowly. "Richard… this is insane. You… he thinks he only way to stop it is to … kill everyone??" Her brain is turning over those ideas. "So," she adds slowly, "The inoculation is… what? Something he plans on giving people who don't know and they're the only ones who stay alive?"

Her brows pull together between her brows and she blows out a slow breath. "Yaeko apparently doesn't think he's right about how he's going about it." Deja vu is a bitch — in another world, she was in those shoes. "I don't even know what the hell to think right now."

“Welcome to my world.” Cassandra rubs a hand over her face and sits back, the blindfold coming off, reality snapping back into the trio’s senses almost instantly once Cassandra puts the brakes on her power again. She wipes her eyes briefly and tucks the blindfold away, putting her sunglasses back on almost the instant that the blindfold is off, hiding her bloodshot right eye. “So here’s what’s going to happen. Probably. Maybe. Tentatively.” Her head rocks back, Cassandra peering at both from beneath the frames of her glasses. “I’m planning on helping Lucille and Wolfhound out again - once I’m done with the investigation that SESA is asking for my assistance on. And then whatever I pull, I infodump to you two.”

Work for SESA?

Cassandra continues. “That side work aside, I may take Gillians contact information and put her together with Lucille. If she wants to see what sparks fly when an amplifier gets her hands on my power, we’ll see.” Cassandra smooths her hair back behind her ears. “Not that I don’t trust Gillian, since you’re offering to put her in contact with me, but my gut tells me to be a little wary about using her. The one time I used artificial means to enhance my ability, the entire building I was in got a flash of what happened in the past, and Caspar’s powers are so different from mine, I don’t know what could happen. Just hitting the memories as is like biting into an electric jalapeno, and I can feel a lot of what happens in the memories. If it gets rough, I don’t know if I could get myself out.”

It’s a fair concern from Cassandra’s point. Caspar’s pennies weren’t pleasant. And with the feedback his ability throws off, hitting something particularly noxious could possibly kill her.

No real surprise that she’s needed at SESA, given her ability and the agency’s knowledge of it. There aren’t many abilities quite so effective at solving crimes and putting together clues, really.

“That’s fair,” Richard’s brow knits, “Maybe not a great idea, then. Gillian’s boost could be a bit too much, and with you already experimenting— well.” A shake of his head, “It was just a thought… and that was old, Liz.” He tips his head, and a rueful smile, her way, “That was the Virus, the one he gave to Kazimir’s people. Nowadays, who knows what his plan is?”

He nods back to Cassandra, “Just keep us informed. Ah— also there is one object I need you to look at, when you have time. It shouldn’t be as wearing as those pennies, fortunately.”

The audiokinetic just drags her hands down her face. "Someone fucking remind me again why coming ho—" Elisabeth abruptly shuts her mouth, unable to even in jest voice the complaint. Shaking her head, she shoved herself up out of the chair, padding on bare feet in the conference room. Somewhere in there, she slipped her heels off under the table — she's unused to wearing them these days.

"Right then. Cassandra… you look like hell, kiddo. I do not recommend that you ask Gillian to do anything of the sort. To put it in perspective for you, if dealing with Caspar's pennies is like trying to control a fire hose of information, it's going to be 100 times worse augmented. Take it from me." Liz grimaces just a little. "I didn't know until I had to be augmented that I could literally turn a human body into bloody mist comprised of everything including bones." Her tone is dry; she barely remembers that day, having passed out before she saw the full impact. But she heard about. A lot.

Cassandra is quiet as the two discuss what they just saw, watching Richard as he speaks and then following Liz’s progress around the room without moving her head very much, so the headache that’s been her companion since last night doesn’t blossom again. There are so many puzzle pieces and they’re not even sure what the picture that they’re working on is. Looking back always seemed to clarify things. Cassandra almost feels like she’s muddying the water even more by giving Elisabeth and Richard a thousand more things to look into.

“Just so you both know.” Cassandra pushes herself straight, wincing behind her glasses. “Whatever I pull, I’ll tell you. I don’t have enough understanding to have any clue of what should and shouldn’t be kept secret and if Caspar’s handlers thought it was important enough to carve out of people’s brains, it’s probably important enough for you guys to know about.” So it seems that there won’t be any secrets in this case.

Richard’s request and comment regarding Gillian is responded to with a simple two-fingered gesture, index and pointer fingers touched to the corner of Cassandra’s right brow - a fairly smart salute, her hand falling limply to her lap. “Sure, I’ll take a look at your stuff. Not today, if that’s okay. Give me, like, a week or so to heal.” Yes another week. “We’ll sit down over coffee and figure it out.”

A short chuckle escapes when Elisabeth gives her evaluation on the way she looks, followed by a nod. “Yeah. Getting blasted with that much information is harrowing to everyone involved. I’m pretty sure Rue and Lucille were pretty worn out from it, too.” Not as much as the seer was, of course, but it was nice to know that those two got a dose too. Cassandra pushes herself to her feet shakily, steadying herself on the chair and then flopping back down into it when her legs won’t hold her up nearly as well as she’d hope. “I’d appreciate a ride home if you could arrange it, Richard.” She smiles shakily. “Oh, I’ve heard that they’re opening a theater on the water. Remi’s doing. Word on the street is that they’re going to show kids movies. So, with permission, I’d like to see about taking Rory to see Mary Poppins or whatever whenever the place opens up.”

“Christ, yes, take your time to recover. I’ve had it for seven years, it isn’t going to go bad,” Richard observes with a low chuckle, pushing himself up to his feet, “And…” As she drops back into the seat, he arches a brow, “…are you sure you don’t need to just go lay in our medical office for awhile and get looked over, Cassandra? You can sleep there for the night if you need to— you look like hell.” He echoes Liz, giving her a concerned look.

Cassandra has barely gotten the request out of her mouth before Elisabeth is giving her a look that Cassandra is intimately acquainted with from years of are you out of your fucking mind?! "Young lady, I dare you to say that shit again."

She comes back over and scoops up her shoes. "You'll sleep in Aura's bed tonight. She can bunk with you if you want or she can sleep at Richard's. Or Mom and Dad's. or Michelle's. Or Harm's! Wherever." It's not like their daughter has a lack of beds. Holding out her hand to help Cass up, her grip and tone are gentle despite the words themselves. "C'mon, kiddo. Up you get."

She glances at Richard as he takes the other side and subtly shakes her head. She's never seen Cass this bad off. She does comment ruefully, "we might need a larger apartment. If all the 'kids' are gonna crash sometimes."

If this is Cassandra after a week of rest, imagine how thrashed she was right after doing five in a row. “I..really…um.” The postcog considers, just for a moment, arguing her point but the patented mom look from her closest friend brooks no argument. She gingerly takes Elisabeth’s hand and pulls herself to her feet. “Yes ma'am. Thank you, ma'am.” She says, her voice quiet, wobbling again before leaning on the other woman to keep from falling over. “Guess that stuff I keep over here when I babysit is going to come in handy.” She's referring to changes of clothes, pajamas, and basic toothbrush-type things stored in the spare bathroom.

“I don't want to scare Aurora.” She finally says, her voice small. “My eye. I mean, it'll get better, but she's never seen me like this. I don't want to be the scary babysitter.”

Even now, worried about someone else. That's Cassandra.

As Liz takes one side, Richard takes the other, resting a hand behind Cassandra’s shoulder in case she needs to stumble. “She won’t be scared,” he says gently, reassuring her, “If anything, she’ll just be worried about you… c’mon, let’s get you somewhere to rest, okay?”

He shoots a worried look across her to his lover, and then he snorts, “Fine, fine. I’ll look into it…” He prefers to live ‘simply’ in his words. What he means, she knows, is ‘Able to run with one bag and lose nothing’. It’s why his apartment barely has any personal touches.

"Look," Elisabeth teases. "Stuff is just stuff. We can walk away from it anytime. Keep your go-bag with Aurora's, if it makes you feel better." The undertone there might be missed by most people, but it's telling that Aurora still doesn't feel quite settled enough to not have a go-bag in her closet. And if the truth be told, Elisabeth herself still keeps one hidden in a fast-grab location as well. Some habits take time to break… and sometimes you just never break them.

"Besides. Keeping two apartments is going to be ridiculous very soon."

Despite all that has gone on before, Cassandra pats Elisabeth on the hand carefully. It’s funny the things that come to mind when exhaustion is threatening to kick you into unconsciousness. She can’t help but smile a little. The shopping trip was one Cassandra definitely remembered - going to the market to pick out a go bag for Aurora and aurora-sized things to go into it. Finding the perfect backpack was tough, but after a lot of searching, they managed to find one that was mundane enough to be ignored while fulfilling the dual roles of being large enough to carry the things Aurora would need while being small enough for her to carry it all. She even let the little girl do most of the haggling for it, and Aurora, knowing the power of cute, used that power to get it for almost half the asking price.

“Okay.” Cassandra says softly to the suggestion she go and rest. “Thanks a lot, you two. Next time I do this, it won’t be nearly as bad. No more reading five pennies in a row for this girl.” With that, she lapses into silence, her feet moving automatically as she’s led to wherever she’s taken, falling into a near sleep halfway there, barely conscious enough to slip out of her shoes and socks before flopping down on the bed. Pajamas will come later.

Once she’s bundled into the brightly-colored blankets covering the bed that Aurora normally sleeps in, Cassandra falls into a deep, dreamless sleep.

To heal.

And to prepare for the next time.

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