It's Not Unusual


asi4_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif elliot_icon.gif faulkner_icon.gif robyn3_icon.gif tom_icon.gif wright_icon.gif

Scene Title It's Not Unusual
Synopsis An ordinary morning is shattered by a strange occurrence.
Date October 29, 2020

There’s a vintage jukebox at the Nite Owl Diner.

It's not unusual to be loved by anyone

A 1946-1949 Wurlitzer model 4002 Colored Star jukebox, the centerpiece of the diner’s retro 50’s aesthetic.

It's not unusual to have fun with anyone

The records it plays are a smattering of the owner’s own private collection, donations from Safe Zone residents, and lucky finds at yard sales and flea markets.

But when I see you hanging about with anyone

On a particularly brisk and rainy Thursday morning, it’s all Tom Jones. Specifically, his 1965 smash hit album Along Came Jones.

It's not unusual to see me cry, I wanna die

The reason behind which is the man currently on server duty at the tail end of the breakfast rush. A man also named Tom, what for his parents love of the famed singer.

It's not unusual to go out at any time

Tom Porter is a walking bag of anxieties packed into a tall meat-suit that smells of bacon and fried eggs even on his off days. As he works the counter, Tom bobs his head and sways to the music, finding relaxation and liberation in a familiar family-favorite tune. For the time, he isn’t chewing at his nails or nervously jittering his knee.

But when I see you out and about it's such a crime

Nearby, Isaac Faulkner waits in a booth facing the cracked asphalt parking lot outside of the diner, watching rain streak down the windows in forking paths that never rejoin. Even though it’s daytime, car headlights streak by on the busy thoroughfare cutting through downtown Bay Ridge, and sometimes they turn off the road and pull into the battered old parking lot of this greasy New York institution.

If you should ever want to be loved by anyone

Robyn Roux is no stranger to the Nite Owl, or the people of New York City. When she gets out of her car and starts making her way to the front of the diner, Tom looks up and turns back to the cook working the kitchen. “Agent Roux’s in, can you get her usual up?” He asks, pivoting around on a heel in a twirling flourish, then drums his hands on the countertop of the window into the kitchen. “And is table 5’s ready yet?”

It's not unusual it happens every day no matter what you say

For others, the diner is a place of coordination and collaboration away from a work site. Two booths down from Isaac Faulkner, Elliot Hitchens and Wright Tracy sit with their backs to Isaac’s spot. Across from the pair, Asi Tetsuyama is just in the process of greeting Lieutenant Elisabeth Harrison of NYPD SCOUT who came in from the rain mere moments earlier.

You'll find it happens all the time

Seeing that booth full-up, Tom picks up four menus and saunters over to where Elisabeth and the Hounds are gathered, offering a bright and cheerful smile. “Hey everybody,” he says, trying not to act too starstruck around the very recognizable Lieutenant Harrison, “my name’s Tom, I’ll be taking care of you today.” He says, laying out the diner’s menu, as if its contents weren’t baked into the DNA of anyone who grew up in America.

Love will never do what you want it to

“Can I get you all any coffees to start you out?” Tom asks, pointing a swiveling turret of fingers around at the table. “Oh, and our special today is the Ferrymen’s Benedict, which is two eggs served over fried salmon with a light hollandaise on a toasted bagel.” He named that himself, but he’s trying not to brag.

Why can't this crazy love be mine?

The bell to the front door chimes as Robyn comes in, trailing rainwater in her wake. Tom looks up and over to her, snapping his fingers and directing her to the bar where a fresh cup of coffee with a dash of Baileys in it is already waiting for her to pick up and bring to wherever she’s going.

It's not unusual to be mad with anyone

“So,” Tom looks back to his booth, clapping his hands together.

It's not unusual to be sad with anyone

Tom Porter is a man with an irrepressible smile, an enthusiasm for his work, and smells of breakfast food round the clock.

But if I ever find that you've changed at anytime

“How’s everybody’s morning?”

It's not unusual to find out I'm in love with you

Sometimes, you lead a simple life in the Safe Zone. Sometimes you don’t.

Nite Owl Diner
Bay Ridge, NYC Safe Zone

October 29th
7:27 am

There's a lingering moment in the doorway as Robyn shifts her weight on her cane. Eyes fix on the glass of coffee already waiting for her, before trailing to the rest of the bar. When she starts forward, her movements are a bit slower, more stilted then usual, certainly more so than the last time Isaac saw her. There's certainly nothing simple about her life as of late, though it's hard to see the newest scars that run across her leg.

Scars that are hidden underneath an ensemble that feels ill fitting for the colder, wetter weather. A blue, hip length jacket hides a black blouse paired with a black skirt and matching leggings - the latter of which hide damage from the recent bombings. More notably, her hair has been dyed blonde and pulled up into two odango buns that cascade down into one ponytail, face adorned with black tinted glasses and fingers adorned with black metal… claw jewelry?

Looking over the top of her glasses, she offers a nod to Tom as she slips fingers into the grip of the cup and starts over to the table Issac sits at. "Ordered yet?" It isn't much of a greeting, but the scowl on her face isn't one that seems eager for pleasantries quite yet either.

There's something about the Nite Owl that Isaac Faulkner finds… comforting. Reassuring. It feels like a relic of a different age. The Nite Owl, too, was one of the first places he'd visited when he'd arrived in the Safe Zone, so that may have something to do with it.

Seeing Asi Tetsuyama stand up from the table two booths down draws a brief — and rather subdued — double-take from Isaac. He'd offer a greeting, but… seems she's here on business. Fair enough. He's got business of his own. As if on cue, said business comes striding through the door, looking… pretty much the exact opposite of the way the Nite Owl makes Isaac feel. Not that he can blame her.

He inclines his head to her as she settles into the booth. "I haven't," he says mildly. His gaze tracks towards Tom, coming to rest on him steadily in a nonverbal signal that he's ready for a menu.

"Lieutenant Harrison," Asi greets Elisabeth with a nod just short of a stiff, slight bow. It figures that now she's in a position where that type of cordiality isn't needed, that that's where it'd make its appearance. She gestures to the open side of the booth with an open hand before reseating herself, cozying her black leather coat against the wall. The dress shirt she wears is unbuttoned at the top, the black tie worn with it loosened.

"I'm not sure you've had the opportunity to meet some of our newest additions yet," she indicates Elliot and Wright with another subtle nod. "This is Elliot Hitchens, Tracy Wright— Wolfhound operatives rejoined to the unit. And this is Lieutenant Elisabeth Harrison of the NYPD. She's a member of the SCOUT team's leadership."

The menu Tom forwards them onto the table is suddenly welcomed, needed, to distract her thoughts away from the similar role she once held. Asi looks down at it to quell the thought before it has the chance to spread, busying herself with finding the special on the menu. She doesn't, and instead nimbly, unconsciously, draws the confirmation that hollandaise is exactly what she expects it to be from the pool of mental resources she has access to through Elliot.

She's more relaxed on days she's tapped in. It's almost like having her ability again.

"I will take one of the special, and yes— coffee sounds lovely." Asi continues to hold onto her menu anyway, glancing up when she sights agent Robyn Roux walking past.

The lieutenant offers a smile to Asi. "Agent Tetsuyama," she greets easily. Then she offers her hand to Elliot and Wright in turn. "Good to meet you both." There is a split second's pause where she assesses the seats — it's not always but she still has the habit of checking sight lines and egress points — before she slides into the one next to Asi. "I'm afraid I'm not up on who comprises Wolfhound so much lately," she says with a small smile, "Devon hasn't been exactly talkative." The kid has undergone a hell of a lot recently.

She reaches up to take the menu from Tom with a smile of thanks that is genuine. That he's doing his best not to stare is appreciated more than he knows.

Even as she settles in, the blonde's head whips around at the familiar voice headed for another booth and she offers a simple grin and a chin-tilt as greeting to Robyn — she doesn't want to interrupt the other woman's progress. She's just genuinely happy to see her up and around.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you while we’re both off-duty, Lieutenant,” Wright says in greeting, “Though Tetsuyama Asi seems to have Japaned my name. I’m Wright Tracy.” It’s said without malice, just an amused ripple carried over the network to Asi. “We are actually old Hounds, recently decanted for return to duty.”

It’s Asi’s query on his knowledge of the weaponized sauce of egg yolk, butter, and lemon that settles Elliot’s own choice for breakfast. “Can’t pass up a chance to relive the glory days through thematically named breakfast. Coffee and the special sounds perfect,” Elliot tells Tom. An amused hum of agreement from Wright, drunk on the smell of breakfast, leads him to add, “Make that two.”

Menus settled, Elliot’s eyes flicker over the lieutenant briefly. “Would you prefer to sit facing the door, ma’am? It’s no trouble at all for me to move, and with Wright on this side of the table I can see the door either way.” His tone is conversational, but pitched a touch lower than casual diner patrons would overhear.

“Three specials then,” Tom says with a cheerful smile, then turns his attention over to Elisabeth. “You want your usual, Lieutenant? Or have I tempted you with the special as well?” There’s an overly-familiar joking tone that Tom adopts that — while he is familiar to Elisabeth — is perhaps a bit overdone.

“Oh and,” Tom looks back to the Hounds. “Coffees all around? Juice?” He asks, taking a step back from the booth, pointing fingers at each Hound as he tries to meet their eyes, mixing that gesture with an alternating thumbs up/thumbs down.

There’s a ding-chime as the diner door opens, followed by a tall man in a light tan jacket and relaxed jeans walking in. It’s an ill-fitting jacket, just a bit too large, the kind of off-the-rack thing common among blue-collar workers. He walks like a cop, though he looks too old to be a patrol officer. It only takes a half second more for everyone except Isaac to immediately recognize him as he ignores everyone and takes a seat at the bar.

“Can I get a coffee? Black.”


It’s Noah Fucking Bennet.

"If you've never been here," which clearly Robyn has made no effort to find out beforehand, "the food is terrible and greasy. It's perfect, really. Particularly the hash potatoes." Perfect diner food, at least. She doesn't bother to pick up a menu, instead placing both hands on the table as she slides in across from Isaac so that she faces the door. Fingers drum, resulting in the metal that adorns them clinking against the tabletop with each motion.

"And hello," she finally offers by way of belated greeting. "I appreciate you being willing to come out on such… short notice." Leaning back, she drapes one arm across the back of the booth, tilting her head at Isaac. "I had some time and thought I'd see…" She'd told him she wanted to check in on Seren, see how they were doing. Somehow that had turned into lunch, but clearly she didn't mind. "Anyway…"

Before she can continue her thought, her eyes land on Noah Bennet, the legend himself and someone she had had very little interaction with despite his time in both the Ferry and with SESA. It takes her a moment to decide whether or not to draw his attention her way; ultimately she settles on a smile and a "Hello, Noah," as he passes their booth.

"I have, actually," Faulkner says. "This is actually the very first place I came when I got back." He muses for a moment, reflecting on the trajectory his life has taken… then he smiles. "And you're right. It is perfect."

He pays little attention to the bespectacled man… at least until Robyn addresses him by name. At that point, Faulkner looks his way, giving him a moment's study to see if it's anyone he should recognize, but… nope, apparently not. He dips his gaze back to Robyn.

"Anyway," he agrees. He's not sure whether to go for the Ferrymen's Benedict, or something a little less… adventurous; decisions, decisions. Anything to delay talking about the actual thing he's here to talk about, because he's not sure how much appetite he'll have when they get to that.

It's on this look up that Asi notices Faulkner's position seated with Robyn, an eyebrow arching to have crossed paths with any one of the other plane crash victims in public. She moves on before the glance turns into a stare, returning to the conversation in front of them. "Ah, I didn't realize you knew Devon," she offers up lightly, all while shooting a look of apology to Wright.

It was a simple mistake, but one she shouldn't have made. She's had a lot on her mind, lately, though.

The new addition to the diner is one whose identity isn't immediately familiar to her on sight, but Wright and Elliot's experiences fill in that gap too. Interesting face, but everyone in New York has to get their coffee somewhere.

Asi doesn't meet Tom's probing look as she answers, "No juice. Just coffee."

"You know, the special sounds like a great option today, Tom. Thank you. Coffee is fine." The blonde peacekeeper is settling into her seat even as she replies, though her eyes go toward the door briefly. She freezes mid-motion. Holy fucking shit, when did Noah Bennet get back to New York? Last time Liz laid eyes on him was Detroit.

Yanking her attention away from the man — it's rude to stare — Elisabeth finally makes it all the way down into her seat and addresses Elliot with a smile. "No, it's okay. I make a point of trying not to always need to see the door," she admits, as if it's something she does actually have to work at. "I do okay these days." Her nose wrinkles a bit impishly. "It helps that my bodyguard isn't going to let anyone startle me, and I can hear him whisper from here." Even though Alessandro has come in and taken a seat on the far side of the door from where the four LEOs are sitting.

She nods to Asi, though, and says, "Devon is… well, I'm not sure what to call him except family." Her son in all the ways that really matter, despite the years and experiences between. "Most of the others, I've worked with here and there, mostly years ago. But aside from our companions, here, I probably know most of Wolfhound." She's not bragging, it's just fact.

Bennet’s arrival is jarring, and that feeling ripples through the network from both Elliot and Wright. There’s a subtle mixture of surprise and alarm from the pair, he was a legend in the Ferry, and way above their pay grade. Elliot and Wright share a flickering barrage of snapshots of the man. A face turns the corner away down the hall. A voice is carried out of a room as a door swings open and closed. Chatter from Wright’s people in Special Activities with a reverence approaching folk legend. “We have a way to get you inside.”

Alarm fades, mixed with a spike of embarrassment. The traffic on the network is not as noticeable as the awkward pause in their attention.

“Devon’s a good one,” Wright pivots back to the topic at hand. “It’s good to be back at work with him. He always had my back when it mattered.”

Tom flashes Elisabeth a smile, waving with his fingers and makes certain to offer a brief bit of eye-contact to the Hounds as he hurries back to the bar. “Mr. Bennet,” Tom says as he comes around the counter, quickly picking up a pitcher of coffee from the burner to get Noah his first. “You haven’t been around in a couple days, big case?” Tom asks with brows raised.

“Classified,” Noah says with a knowing smile, taking his coffee with a crease of his brow and a nod in wordless but knowing thanks. Noah doesn’t spare Tom much time, turning on his stool to angle a look diagonally across the diner floor to Robyn. He nods to her, then looks up and past her to Faulkner, giving the younger man a scrutinizing eye. But it too passes, and like the Eye of Sauron, Noah swivels around, turning to briefly look at Elisabeth and the members of Wolfhound, before turning his attention down into the black surface of his coffee.

Tom, meanwhile, had been busying himself with filling the Hounds’ and Elisabeth’s orders. They go through the small window into the kitchen, and he returns to their booth with coffees all around. With a smile flashed that doesn’t intercede on their business, Tom excuses himself and skip, twirls his way to the other side of the diner where Robyn and Faulkner are sitting.

“Hey there, sorry about the wait!” Tom says cheerfully as he spins on a heel into place at their booth to the tune of the music. “Isaac, nice t’see you again. Robyn I’ve got your usual coming up in the kitchen and a fresh pot of coffee’s brewing.” He flashes a quick look over to Isaac, remembering him from previous visits. “And what’re you having today? Our morning special is Ferrymen’s Benedict,” he starts to explain, but notices Faulkner’s already on that part of the menu.

Catching Isaac's glance over to Noah, Robyn lets out a heavy chuckle. "Friend from work," she clarifies. "Assuming I still have work when I go back." There's a clearly sardonic edge to that, but she breezes past it quickly as Tom comes sauntering up beside their table. "Go for the Benedict, Isaac. It's the best thing on the menu."

And yet, Robyn herself doesn't seem to be getting it.

Instead she nods to Tom. "You know I can't get enough of those savory crepes. I can't wait." It wasn't something that had originally been on the menu, but once it was Robyn stopped getting much else whenever she came in. The metal adornments on her fingers clink as they continue to tap against the table.

"So." There had been shared Anyway moments before, Robyn sliding her cane into the other end of her side of the booth as she refocuses on Isaac. "I forget. Were you at that shitshow of a festival?"

"No worries; I'm just glad to see business is doing well," Isaac says, giving Tom a nod and a smile. After Robyn's suggestion, he hesitates a bit, then chuckles. "Alright. I'll have the Ferrymen's Benedict," he chuckles, handing the menu back to Tom.

Robyn's question takes the smile off his face quickly. "No," he says quietly. "Seren invited me, but… I don't know. I… wasn't really feeling it, I guess." Isaac gives an awkward shrug, but doesn't elaborate further; maybe Robyn knows about what happened, maybe she doesn't, but that's not why either of them are here. "I kinda regret not going, now. Keep thinking maybe if I'd been there, things might've turned out a little better. Maybe I could've done something to help Seren." Or maybe he'd have ended up dead; that's probably the more likely possibility, and he knows it, but the part of his mind that likes to throw out what ifs in the dead of night isn't known for being terribly rational.

The fact that Elisabeth, a cop, has a bodyguard looking after her is something that brings a twinge to Asi's brow, not entirely able to mask her surprise— confusion, even, about this fact. Her eyes lift, find the man sitting by himself, and her expression smooths again, her view peaceably open for piggybacking. By the time Liz finishes explaining her familiarity with Wolfhound's roster, she lets out a hm of acknowledgement.

When Bennet's appraisals land on them, however briefly, Asi turns to meet his look. She wonders at the lack of acknowledgement— not even a word lifted to the motley of surely familiar faces. She wonders at it, but knows if she were sitting there, she would probably keep to herself much the same.

"I have to say," she says quietly, her head turning just slightly toward Elisabeth in a subtle indication her words are meant for her. "The absolute last thing I thought I would be doing again would be running assistance on a police beat. There are notable differences in… style, though, compared to Japan."

Asi glances afterward to Elliot and Wright while she sips her black coffee, aware of and considerate of the ripple that came from them. A silent ping of curiosity makes itself apparent in her.

Elisabeth simply nods at the man at the counter without calling attention to her own double-take and then goes back to the conversation. When Asi comments, she nods slightly. "We're glad to have you on this." The blonde fixes her coffee with an unholy amount of sugar and a splash of milk, wrapping her hands around the mug when she's done. "And truth be told I'd very much like to see the damn agencies not act like squabbling dogs over cases, so the more often we all work together, the better, as far as I'm concerned."

It's not easy to tell — Liz has too much facility with her ability for it to be noticeable — but she can't help keeping an ear out, so to speak, for what's being discussed in the room. For her it's a small mental exercise to simply mentally focus briefly from one table to the next, just to make sure there's no rabble-rousing. Given the state of things lately, she'd argue it's a prudent measure. Nothing catches her radar and she doesn't eavesdrop on anyone longer than it takes to ascertain there are no Humanis First Pure Earth fuckers in here.

Sipping from her cup, she observes to her companions, "Things are starting to heat up. Not sure I like it."

There’s a palpitation, a stutter, from Elliot when Bennet’s gaze flickers past them without recognition. A dry swallow. But Asi can feel the cool of Wright’s fingertips inside Elliot’s wrist beneath the table if she’s pulling, and his eyes return to focus.

Wright turns her attention from out the window (deflective) to Asi’s eyes for less than a half a second (It’s okay, I know) before passing on to Elizabeth to reply (deceptive). “The water’s been getting hot for a while,” she says. She tips her head toward Elliot (recovered), “One of the reasons we got back in it.”

“Other than Money,” Elliot laughs. His knuckles crack beneath the table before he takes Wright’s hand. “It seemed like we’d been retired too long. Time to cross the river back into it.” It’s not a Ferryman countersign, but it’s a bit on the nose even for Elliot. He winces.

Elliot is the first to notice something across the diner is wrong. He spots Tom drop his pen with a clatter to the floor. Left hand drops. Robyn and Isaac, in spite of being right there with him, are too close to see the larger picture that Elliot does. The way Tom’s whole body is sort of swaying. But the difference between sees it first and now everyone is aware is a thin sliver of time.

Tom drops to the ground like a marionette with its strings cut, whacking the back of his head on a barstool on the way down. When he hits the floor his arms and legs start spasming, back arching, fingers curling, eyes rapidly blinking. He’s having a seizure.

Noah is quick to come off of his stool, takes a knee by Tom’s side and touches the back of his head. Noah’s fingers come back red and wet. He fires a look directly up to Robyn, eyes wide behind his horn-rimmed glasses. He opens his mouth to say something, but hesitates and doesn’t. Instead, he takes out his leather wallet and presses it between Tom’s teeth and eases the waiter onto his side.

It's good that Noah is so quick on the draw when it comes to moving to help Tom; Robyn despite her proximity sits stunned and in momentary shock when the waiter falls like a sack of bricks. It's only when she sees Noah's hand that she blinks and the world comes back into focus. "Shit. Shit." Grabbing her napkin with one hand and Isaac's with the other, she rises to her feet.

"Isaac, call 911!" She tilts her head towards her phone on the table in case it's easier for him to grab than her own. For a moment, she seems like she's lost her focus again, before a shimmer of light and a crackle pop sounds out, and out from behind her steps another Robyn Roux. "Go yell to the kitchen, let them know," she tells her duplicate as she kneels down, placing one of the folded napkins under Tom's bloodied head. The other is offered to Noah. "I don't have any experience in this," she admits to him. "So feel free to tell me to back off, Bennet."

Mindful to never quite leave Robyn's periphery, the light duplicate is quick to move up to the counter and shout, clouds of light blooming from a voice that sounds just ever so slightly off to everyone else. "Hey! There's been an accident, Tom's hurt!"

Isaac's eyes widen as Tom drops, and for a split second he's frozen in shock. By the time Horn Rimmed Glasses is there, though, his mind is running again. He nods once at Robyn's command, already pulling his phone out. "On it," he responds, voice calm and clear as he swipes to unlock his phone.

It takes only a moment for the dispatcher to answer. "Yes, I'm at the Nite Owl Diner; our server just collapsed, and looks to be having a… a seizure of some sort. He needs an ambulance," he says, looking at Tom.

On the inside of the booth how she is, Asi is unable to do more than turn her head when Elliot picks up that something's wrong. She's unable to do much more after that, her hand tightening into a fist on the back of the booth seat. "Shit," she breathes.

She tries, like she still sometimes does, to reach for an ability that's no longer there— to ping a source of information for seizure protocols. Her phone doesn't respond to thought anymore. The neural network she's wired into, however…

Asi looks to Wright in a telegraph of the information she silently seeks out.

Well shit. Elisabeth is half-turned when she realizes that Noah Bennet has gone over the counter to get to Tom. She shoots a brief glance toward the door, motioning her shadow to stay put and slides out of the booth. Not to get in the way — more to give people room to work by moving away from the booths. Besides calling 911, there seems little to be done… a situation she genuinely hates.

"Ah, fuck," Wright says. Elliot slides from the booth without prompting to let Wright see to Tom. She takes off her jacket as she slides down to his side. She nudges Bennet out of the way enough to take his wallet out of Tom's mouth, tossing it in the owner's general direction. "Don't want to break his teeth now do we?" She asks calmly, conversationally.

"Hey Tom," she says to reassure the man someone is there, if he's not confused, or not unconscious. "We've got you." She rolls up her jacket to place under his head for a pillow. She then rolls up his sleeves, looking for a medical bracelet.

The look of relief on Bennet’s face when others come to take care of Tom is palpable. He slowly rises to stand, putting a couple of feet of distance between himself and the seizing man. He turns his attention to Elisabeth, she also being on the periphery, and walks over to her.

“Harrison,” Noah says with a look at her that implies it’s been a long time. “Do you—”

Noah doesn’t say anything after that. His eyes roll back in his head and he collapses onto his knees, falling at Elisabeth as his arms and legs begin to shake and convulse. Noah’s glasses fall off of his face, clattering to the floor.

Elisabeth feels a jab of something behind her eyes, pressure, vertigo. A throbbing headache grows with rapid intensity. Robyn is struck by the same sudden pain, a pounding headache that rattles the back of her head. Her vision swims, vertigo sets in and her photokinetic double flickers like a television channel with a bad signal. The cook in the kitchen shouts back, “Fuck!” There’s clattering and movement, he’s on his way to the front of the diner.

In the same moment, Elliot and Wright feel something hit them. It isn’t a physical force, but a pressure behind their eyes. It feels like a growing sense of something expanding in their sinuses, and it takes a moment for Wright to realize she’s sympathetically feeling it from her connection to Elliot and that it’s only really happening to him. The pressure grows, straining, like something trying to worm its way inside his network.

Like a psychic distributed denial of service attack.

"Fuck," Robyn breathes out, hand against her forehead, thumb and forefinger pressed against her temples. A hand grasps at the edge of the table, using it as a way to stablise herself before she slouches against the end of the booth. The metal that clads her fingers digs into the table, scratching it as she shudders out a breath and her hand shakes. She can't remember the last time she felt a pain like this throbbing, not in years.

Eyes close as the room spins, causing her ears to ring as tinnitus sets in to match the pulsing pain she feels. "I-Isaac, something isn't… right…" Obviously, and that's without being able to see what's befallen Noah. She presses the back of her hand against her mouth. "Help Noah," sounds a bit more strained than maybe it needs to be, but vertigo tends to bring nausea with it for her.

"Yes, I — oh shit," Isaac says as Horn Rimmed Glasses starts seizing mid-sentence.

Right. Okay. Whatever it is is spreading, that's great. But Robyn's right; despite the fact that she, too, seems to have taken a glancing hit from the Whammy Virus or… whatever it is that's happening here… her logic is sound. Glasses Man — Noah — needs tending to.

Good news, he saw how to do this about thirty seconds ago! "Might need a second ambulance, someone else had a seizure, be right back," he informs the dispatcher, laying his phone down but leaving the line open as he slides out of the booth, dropping to his knees near Noah. He carefully eases Noah onto his side, then, after a moment's hesitation, takes off his bland grey hoodie, revealing a faded black long-sleeved Megadeth shirt underneath; Isaac carefully positions it under Noah's head to serve as a pillow, just as he'd seen Wright do a moment earlier.

Asi turns her head slightly when she feels a sympathetic pressure begin to build in her own skull, eyes widening when she sees the others around her develop pain— when she realizes the pain she feels is a result of streaming from Elliot.

She lets go of his sensations, and the discomfort vanishes.

With Elisabeth also looking unwell, and not to mention catching Noah, Asi pulls her legs up to herself and stands on the booth, stepping over the back of it to maneuver herself out into the aisle through the adjacent seat. "Everyone who is able to needs to leave the building immediately," she shouts across the diner.

Her feet hit the floor, and she looks to Isaac, bewildered to see him fine when everyone else isn't. Why is he fine? Why are they, of everyone here, fine?

Maybe this is an ability gone haywire, perhaps even a manifestation, but it didn't explain why they were unaffected by it.

Asi vaults the diner counter next to create a more clear path to the kitchen, heading for the back. She hears clattering and movement, and isn't immediately sure that it's not the sound of someone else in the back collapsing.

As Elisabeth turns her head to greet Noah Bennet, the blinding stab of pain behind her eyes hits and Noah is literally falling into her. It is only instinct that has Elisabeth reaching both hands out to stop him, and they wind up tangled. It's an awkward effort, not graceful at all because of her own imbalance and the fact that he's a spasming dead weight. She falls on her butt, her legs cushioning Noah's landing. But at least they both wind up on the floor without injury.

The lanky man who is Elisabeth's shadow for the day comes over the back of his own booth and crouches next to the blonde, intending to help. Only then does he realize whatever is happening has also actually affected her, and he looks rather grim about that. Alessandro grabs her under the armpits and pulls her even further back to help her lean against the wall where he can act as a bulwark between her and the rest of the diner while Isaac helps the seizing man, glancing up toward Wright. "Have you checked that it's only happening in here?" he demands sharply.

Swallowing spasmodically to try to keep from throwing up, Liz disentangles her legs from Noah with Alessandro's help, scooting backward and giving Isaac room to work. "Oh God," Eisabeth groans, hands tangled in her hair while she tries to keep her head from exploding. She can barely see, her head feeling like it's going to split and her stomach trying to stage a revolt. Everything sounds like she's underwater, muffled and distorted. Closing her eyes makes the spinning sensation even worse, so she forces herself to keep them open.

Elliot’s eyes clench shut at the spike, but he forces himself to look around to the others, the variety of their symptoms or lack thereof. “It’s telepathic,” he says. He backs away from the table, putting distance between himself, Tom, and Noah as he studies the restaurant for the epicenter of the attack. He runs his senses against Asi’s link to the network, ready to jettison her if the symptoms get any worse.

Wright flinches against the pressure on the network like there’s a sudden screech reverberating through a microphone. Momentarily disoriented, there’s nothing for her to do other than stand up and back away from Tom. Another patron is seeing to Bennet, that’s good. She jukes to the door and pushes her way outside, expanding the search area for both the cause and its effects.

The outside of the diner seems business as usual. Traffic moves by at a leisurely pace, pedestrians crossing the street don’t seem to be affected, but they’re more than fifty feet from the diner, a decent distance. It’s relieving to know this isn’t some city-wide phenomenon though; there is precedent for that kind of thing. A car pulling into the parking lot stops and a pair of young men step out, clearly intent on coming inside to eat and unaware of what is transpiring within.

Inside the diner, Tom’s seizure begins to abate, and as it does the pain and discomfort others are feeling does as well. Noah stops seizing on the floor, one hand coming up to his forehead, gasping for breath. Tom becomes more cognizant of his surroundings by the time the cook comes out from the kitchen, looking bewildered and concerned.

“What, uh…” Tom breathlessly gasps, one hand at his head. He looks up at Isaac and Elliot, over to Robyn. “What— the fuck just happened? Why… am I on the floor?”

Rolling onto his back, Noah slowly sits up and looks across the floor at Elisabeth and her bodyguard, then over to Tom. He picks up his glasses from nearby, pushing them up the bridge of his nose. Noah says nothing, though there’s something in his eyes that tells of unspoken words.

When Robyn hears Tom's voice, her eyes open slowly. The vertigo, the nausea - both are fading fast, but she clearly still feels a bit out of sorts. She doesn't pull herself up to her feet quite yet, looking over at Tom from here she leans against the booth, nails scratching the table as she brings her hand down to brace herself.

"We had a collective shitfit," she murmurs, looking for her cane. "You had a seizure. Don't move too quickly, Tom. You hit your head and busted it open." Huffing out a breath, Robyn looks over at Isaac. "Noah, are you…" Deep breaths. "Are you with us?"

Isaac's eyes widen at Asi's statement, then narrow again. No. No, he's not about to bail. Not a chance.

But… it looks less and less like that's going to be necessary, anyway. He can tell when Noah stops seizing; as he straightens up, Faulkner grabs his hoodie and comes to his feet, taking a careful step back, eyes scanning the afflicted patrons with some concern. Noah and Tom seem to have recovered, Robyn seems like she's getting there, the blonde woman's being tended to, looks like.

"Yeah, that," Isaac offers at Robyn's explanation, but there's nothing else he can add to the conversation, so… he doesn't try. Instead, he glances back to the booth; his phone's still on the table, line still open. He looks around one more time to see if anyone else is going to fall over; when the answer seems like it's going to be a negative, he starts making his way back to the booth. Sitting down sounds good about now.

Nearly colliding with the cook come out front because he was called for, Asi holds up a hand in apology, looking back to the scene. It's a relief when Tom seems to come out of it— bringing everyone else with him— but still a touch of concern. She slowly walks behind the counter back in the direction of the others, looking to Elliot in the booth and then Wright by Tom's side.

She's got questions too, but none of them feel polite enough to ask.

"Fuck," Elisabeth breathes out. One hand goes up to her face, trembling some as she unconsciously checks to make sure there's no nosebleed. It feels like there ought to be, though there's nothing there. Her eyes shift to Alessandro and she merely nods slightly. "I'm fine." She'll talk to him about it after, but the reassurance only makes him scowl a bit more right now. He moves fractionally to the side, remaining within grabbing distance if it looks like things are going pear-shaped again.

Meeting Bennet's eyes, there are myriad questions in Elisabeth's own mind, but she settles on, "How do you feel?" Raising her gaze to the others, she asks, "Is everyone all right?" Figuring out what just happened will certainly be next on the agenda, but their well-being is her first priority.

Wright holds up a hand to get the attention of the men heading toward the diner. “You may want to give it a minute,” she says. “Someone fell and there’s an ambulance inbound.” She doesn’t feel the need to spread the notion of contagious seizures while SESA is already on-scene to handle things.

Inside Elliot nods to Elizabeth. “We’re good. There was a pressure on the network but that’s it. Felt like something was trying to get into the network though, which is worrisome.”

He looks over the people on the floor with the discerning eye of Wright’s first aid skill. “Don’t try to stand up yet, the ambulance should be here shortly.” He pulls a stack of paper napkins from a chrome countertop napkin holder and hands them toward Tom. He gestures for him to place them over the one currently adhered to the man’s hair with blood. “Put a little pressure on that.”

Tom makes a soft hissing sound as he presses napkins to the back of his head, then blinks a few times and looks around. “A— fucking… seizure?” He seems bewildered by the notion, which immediately rules out that seizures were normal for him. He then immediately checks his pants and is relieved to see he did not urinate all over himself. Which— in the moment he assumed was a real possibility. He doesn’t know anything about seizures.

“I’m good,” Noah says as he sits up, holding the side of his head. After a moment he reaches for his glasses, picking them up and dusting them off before putting them on. He looks over at Robyn, not saying anything directly but showing a modest though wordless approval in his eyes. It’s then that his attention fixes on Tom for a few moments, then angles around the room to the others. As he does this, Noah shakily pulls himself to his feet.

“If anyone here has any reason to believe their Expressive ability might have had something to do with this,” Noah says in a careful and diplomatic tone of voice, “SESA would be greatly appreciative of your cooperation.” As he says that, Noah produces a badge folio from his jacket pocket and holds it out, showing his identification. “Noah Bennet, SLC-Expressive Services Agency.”

The cook looks around at that, then shakes his head. “I ain’t Slice, sorry. I just flip the burgers.” He holds up both hands and steps back, that reflexive sense of being in trouble even if SESA hasn’t earned that reputation. It’s hard for law enforcement of any kind not to draw those reactions. Not with history what it is.

“Harrison if you haven’t radioed this in yet, it might be good to get a patrol car down here. Just in case.” Noah says quietly to her, then notices that Tom is watching him intently.

“I’m— I’m SLC-U.” Tom admits with a worried look in his eyes, raising the hand that isn’t holding napkins to the back of his head. “You— do you— you don’t think— ”

It's only when Robyn reaches for her badge that she remembers she doesn't have one anymore. Being suspended is a bitch. Letting out a heavy sigh, she leans her weight against her cane and pulls herself up to her feet with only a small whine of pain - her leg is still in not great shape from the festival. This whole affair probably didn't help.

But with this in mind, she looks over to Noah and nods - this is his rodeo now, and rather than risk getting herself into trouble, she remains quiet but vigilant. She does, though, offer an appreciative look over first to Elisabeth, and then back to Isaac. "Way to keep cool under pressure," she remarks to him, grinning. She doesn't know him well, no, but clearly she's pleased.

Faulkner blinks. Noah Bennet? Oh. Okay then. That's a name he's heard of, yes. Small world, huh? He slides back into the booth, tapping the 'end call' button on his phone, his lips settling into a frown as he mulls over the bizarre circumstances of this decidedly unusual morning at the Nite Owl. Robyn's praise draws him back to the present, though, a grin spreading over his face.

"Ha, thanks!" he chuckles. After a moment, though, the grin fades, replaced by a thoughtful expression. "You okay?" he asks. "You looked like you were having a bad time for a bit there…"

Stepping out from behind the counter, Asi's expression slips into a cool deadpan. She glimpses the world through Wright's eyes briefly for perspective all the while she turns eyes over everyone else. Faulkner's grin shows his worry as much as the fact that he's okay, something which quietly reasserts that the two of them had been fine.

Worry and dreadful suspicion begins to gnaw at her gut.

"It may have been ability-related," Asi confirms for Tom. There's no sense in disguising that, given the effect his seizure had on others. "Or the seizure could have caused a reaction with an ability you had not realized you manifested. It's not unusual for manifestations to be quiet things, but equally as likely for it to be caused by a traumatic or stressful event." Calmly, she looks past him to Faulkner.

"As for why it affected some of us, and not all of us…" The words come from her slowly, reluctantly. "Well, I have a theory on that, Agents."

Climbing slowly to her feet, Elisabeth is grateful to note that most everyone seems all right. A brief nod to Noah has her pulling up her phone. Even as she speaks, her eyes are on Asi. "Dispatch, this is Harrison. The 911 from the Nite Owl, tell the incoming squad car the situation is under control inside — LEOs are already on-site. Have them keep a watch outside and let the paramedics in just to check everyone over."

When she hangs up, her gaze flickers from Tom to Noah Bennet — who, so far as she's aware, is SLC-N. "Any theories are welcome. Tom, the paramedics are still going to look you and Bennet— " she gives him a stern look. Not that it will faze him a single little bit. " —over, just to be on the safe side. There've been a lot of new manifestations among adults recently."

She can't help but wonder if it's part and parcel of the explosion of abilities that's been happening. And whether in the end, 245,000 is going to be the number of additional Evos.

Elliot looks around for a way to be useful and, finding none, walks back to the group’s table. He scoops up his and Wright’s coffees in his left hand, walking to the door, which is opened by Wright. She takes both coffees so Elliot can reposition his hand before taking his coffee back. She returns to the parking lot wordlessly. Elliot leans against the back of a booth near the door and drinks quietly, listening to the SESA agents talk.

“It wasn’t me. I got the impression it was coming from outside trying to push its way into my network,” Elliot says, but then clarifies. “Outside of me, not outside of the building. Weird physical sensation to it too, like sinus pressure. Stoked my head didn’t explode.”

Outside, the air is crisp and cool. Sirens are fast approaching, pedestrians outside are watching the diner with marked concern. Some are hastily crossing the street out of fear of the unknown or escalation. Wright and Elliot can hear the conversations not only through the door, but through their link with Asi.

Inside, Bennet is lowering his badge and offering a smile of assent to Elisabeth’s insinuation that he also be checked out. “I think you’re right,” he says with a smile, “I should absolutely get my head checked too. Can’t be too careful at my age.” He says with a flash of a smile.

Tom, still seated on the floor, looks up at Asi and Robyn, then over to Isaac. “Uh, y-yeah I… I think I’ll be alright. Just a little rattled.” He laughs, bitterly. “Go figure if I win the superman lottery and my power is super seizures.” Tom tries to cover his nervousness with a laugh.

Across the diner, there’s a click and a sputter from the old jukebox. The vinyl record on the turntable skips and sputters. People falling over amid the commotion from earlier seems to have knocked the needle off the record. But after a moment it finds its groove again, and music floods the diner.

It's not unusual to be loved by anyone

Tom closes his eyes and grimaces as the music starts up, dabbing at the back of his head again as he slouches up against the side of a booth. Bennet looks from Elisabeth over to the door to the diner, and the silhouettes of Elliot and Wright outside.

It's not unusual—

The record skips a beat and repeats a line.

It's not unusual—

Stuck on a loop.

It's not unusual—

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