Making Noise


ff_carina2_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif squeaks_icon.gif

Scene Title Making Noise
Synopsis Elisabeth enlists her mother's help in training Squeaks.
Date May 4, 2019

Raytech NYCSZ Branch Office

It's a beautiful morning, sunny and nearly 70 degrees outside. Ridiculous contrast to the icy rain of just a day ago. Unfortunately the small group doing this experiment cannot be out in the beautiful weather just yet for a variety of reasons — instead, they are down in the basement levels of Raytech. The room is basically a massive soundproofed clear box, viewable by a control room. No one's currently in the control room, but this is where Elisabeth was told that the Banshee was tested.

"So Richard says this can withstand me." She looks around at the room and wonders if he's right. "This is where they tested the Banshee. So if that's true, then it can almost certainly withstand what you two can throw around." Except maybe that thing her mother did from the boat… that's an interesting thought. Anyway!

Looking at Squeaks and her mother, Elisabeth grins. "Let's try not to break anything — Richard got upset when I cracked the windows in the apartment. Bulletproof acrylic is apparently quite expensive." Nightmares are not her fault!

She gestures to the instruments in the control room, "Today I want to get you two in here and test your ranges. I also want you to work out what you can do that's alike and what you can do that's different — if there's something one of you can do that's different, let's sort out both why it's different but also let's see about having a good idea of the extent of what you can do so that you know what you can do. That's my main goal. The instruments will be recording us; the guys in Arthur's world showed me how to use the readouts to manage some things about my power and I want to teach you the same things with yours. That way you know what it can do and what downsides it has for you."

“Is this what being in a fish tank is like?” Squeaks wonders out loud, a quietly interruptive distraction from Elisabeth's explaining things. “But without the water.” She taps a fingertip against the side of the box as her head turns to look at Liz and Carina. She didn't forget why they're in the basement, honest.

Her finger mushes against the side of the box a final time, then she wanders closer to the two older sounds people. “I won't break anything on purpose.” Likely, the girl won't break anything at all. Her efforts to do more with her ability besides seeing things has resulted mostly in making herself dizzy and staticky, as she's taken to calling the buzzing sounds and discombobulation that happens from overusing her ability.

Carina Harrison — Cranston, in public — isn’t as eager to participate as Squeaks is. She lingers like a surly phantom in the doorway of the testing chamber, arms crossed over her chest and brows creased with discontent as she settles a nervous look around the sealed space. For all her obstinance, she’s here, which shows some measure of cooperation if begrudging. But Carina also looks tired, looks worried, looks like even after all these months she hasn’t truly settled in.

“I don’t like small spaces,” Carina says quietly, looking around the room. “I don’t care if I can see out of it, or if there’s…” she trails off, looking from Elisabeth to Squeaks and back again. “I remember her,” she says, not to Squeaks but to Elisabeth. “She came with you when you landed, didn’t she? I remember seeing that red hair coming off of Walter’s boat.” She’s intentionally distracting from the topic at hand, trying to delay her involvement. She’s being stubborn.

"I don't know, Squeaks… maybe. It sucks." Elisabeth nods slightly to her mother. "The soundproofing actually bothers me a hell of a lot," she admits. The only place she can honestly stand soundproofing for more than a few minutes is a recording studio. And even then she has to take breaks. It's like being packing in cotton wool. "We'll only stay in here long enough to get the readings, okay? I really need to isolate what it is Squeaks can do so that maybe I can help her fine-tune it. I know you don't really care to worry about it much, but… you're the only other person with the kind of power she has." She's genuinely trying to make it as easy as she can… she's worried about her parents. Mom looks stressed, Dad looks harried and lost all the time.

She answers the query despite the fact that it's an obvious distraction. "And… sort of. This is this world's version of her. The girl who came with me stayed with her family in your world." They had a battle coming that Elisabeth can only pray they survived.

She, too, is stubborn… stubbornly appearing to ignore Carina's intransigence. "We can get yours first, if you need to run out." There's a hint of a challenge there, just as she would have given the mother who raised her. Because Carina never runs from a fight. Or does she?

There's easily a hundred questions that Squeaks could pose, especially the way her gaze lingers, wonderment plain, as she stares at the equipment she's not allowed to touch. Like how can it take readings. Can she try it later. And why does soundproofing bother people. Or how come Carina is afraid of small spaces. These are important things, but she keeps a lid on the questions.

For now anyway.

Her gaze swings to Carina and Liz when the older lady talks about recognizing her. The teen’s head gives a small shake. “It's the not-me me. I've only been here ever.” It's offered as a simple fact, since she really hasn't done any alternate world traveling. Her mom probably wouldn't let her — she got kind of mad about the alternate state traveling.

Stepping closer to the other two, Squeaks offers first a finger pressed to Liz’s arm. It's to comfort the audiokinetic. Then, finger still touching Liz, Squeaks looks up at Carina, wide eyes searching, even hoping the older echo-locator will stay. She offers her hand to the woman, offering support and bravery. “You don't have to go alone, it's less scary with a friend.”

Making a noise in the back of her throat, Carina slowly leans away from the doorway and gives Squeaks a sidelong look. Her attention shifts back to Elisabeth, followed by a somewhat reluctant rise of her shoulders in a shrug of acquiescence. “A couple more pokes in a lab can’t kill me, I suppose,” is Carina’s flatly-delivered agreement to this all. She’d resented every moment spent with doctors in Kansas City following their arrival to this timeline. In spite of that, it seems like it’s helping Squeaks that’s softened her demeanor some.

“You fine tune a tool,” Carina says as she walks up to Squeaks, looking over at the girl. “You teach a person,” and then she turns her focus back to Elisabeth. “I imagine the girl wants t’learn more, or she wouldn’t be here. And you think she’n I have similar enough sounds that she might be able to learn something from me?” Carina kicks up one brow at that, angling another pensive look down to Squeaks.

Elisabeth slants a glance at her mother. Moooooom! She did say 'help Squeaks fine-tune it' — the power is a tool. Right? Right. Rolling her eyes in a quintesssentially teenaged reaction to her mother — because some things you never outgrow — Elisabeth just addresses what's been said. "No poking and prodding involved. Promise. And yes, I think you can definitely help."

There's a bit of a grin and she goes out into the control room to set the recorders where she wants them before she re-enters the room.

"Squeaks, I'd like you to do a couple things and I want to see first if Mom can sense or use the sounds you're making the same way you do. Then I'd like you to do the same, okay, Mom? Just to see if you can use one another's." She rather expects the answer to be no, but still. "While you're making your sounds, Squeaks, can you also tell me how far — if at all — you can map beyond the walls in here?" She's curious about whether the soundproofing will hold against such specific use.

A hesitant, shy grin shows for a few seconds when Carina is looking at her. Squeaks holds her hand out still, even until Liz has given her first set of instructions. Just in case; sometimes she needs to hold a hand when it's scary. But when it isn't taken, it falls to her side and the audiokinetic is given a bobbling nod.

“It's learning. I bet you could probably learn from me too.” Still trying to be positive about things, and help Carina not feel trapped. “I can find things, like places and actual things, because of how the sound moves. It's all lines, like drawings, so I can see normally what's hiding.”

The teen wanders to near the center of the room and turns a single, narrow circle. “Okay ready,” she calls out when she's facing the two women again. Squeaks takes a deep breath and starts with the sounds she usually makes. Her face scrunches for a solid three seconds, as if deeply focused, then relaxes again. Several seconds more pass before she raises her hands to shrug.

“There's just us. And the box we’re in.”

Slowly craning her head, Carina looks over at Squeaks with one brow raised and her lips pressed into a thin line. There’s a rough noise in the back of her throat, scratchy and disconcerted, and she levels a look over at Elisabeth that is one part uncertain and one part nervous. She’s been picking at the cuff of her right sleeve for a while now, a nervous tic received from the combination of stopping smoking and wearing clothes that aren’t salvaged hand-me-downs.

Carina draws in a deep breath as she walks further into the soundproofed room, looking back at the door with a nervous furrow of her brows. There’s something she wants to ask Squeaks, evident in her expression, but she reserves it for now. Instead, Carina closes her eyes and draws in another breath through her nose. Then, on the exhale, she releases a low bass-filled pulse of sound. The sound wave blasts out from Carina, washes over Squeaks and Elisabeth and is felt as a vibration in their sternum, and then rumbles against the walls. It leaves a low, sonorous hum in the air for a moment, before that too fades.

This is the first time Elisabeth has been able to study Carina’s ability. All the other times she’s used it was in a moment of chaos, a moment of panic. But now she can see where Carina and Squeaks’ abilities are similar, and where they are different. Carina generates a vibration of air molecules around her body, using her entire self as something like a tuning fork. The vibrations extend out in a 360-degree sphere around her and are keyed to low sound wavelengths, just like she experienced during the battle with the pirates.

“Why don’t they call you Clicks?” Carina can’t hold back the question anymore, looking down to Squeaks.

It’s bothered her for a while.

OH! That's a surprise. Not… exactly. But Elisabeth hadn't been sure exactly what to expect, so the specific is a surprise. She's studying those readings thoughtfully for a long moment while the other two talk, and as she comes back into the room she murmurs absently, "I wonder if that's anything close to what Joshua does." She remembers the way his power chimed to crack the HVAC on the roof, her mind working over the possibilities with that — whereas Carina uses her own body as a tuning fork, maybe he's using the target object as essentially the same thing? Hmmmm….

That thought is pushed aside in favor of dealing with what's in front of her. But she gives Squeaks room to answer the question before she makes any observations of her own.

The way Carina's ability works is nothing like what Squeaks expected. At the very first note, her eyes widen and mouth drops partway over. Another circle is turned, like maybe she can see the outside of the box with the resonance from the other echo-locator’s power. It's louder and stronger and so much…


The single syllable has to serve as the teen’s reaction. Nothing else will do it justice. She twists around to look up at Carina, a fresh surge of exhilaration and wonderings practically bubbling out.

“Because they do,” she answers first. There's a breathless pitch to her tone, it's taken a lot of effort to answer it before excitement explodes everywhere. “Did yours always work like that? Mine’s usually clicks and squeaks, and that's really primal. But yours is like whoom.” The sound used as an example for the hum is pitched low and held for a few seconds. Squeaks even uses her hands when she does it. For emphasis. And she picks up like she'd never paused. “Mega-super primal. Could you see things when I did mine? I could see all of us but the box makes it stop.”

All the attention makes Carina shrink some, arms around her waist and brows furrowed. She looks to the door again, briefly, then back to Liz and Squeaks. “I don't see anything,” she says with a slow shake of her head. “It's like… it's just like being able to tell, roughly, how far away something is by looking at it. But I can't see detail, I can just feel things like general size, mass, and distance. I used it to search for shipwrecks and salvage back…” Carina’s eyes divert to the floor. “With James.” She'd never had time to mourn the loss of the friends she had in her world. Carina only really realizes that now.

Swallowing down those emotions, Carina shakes her head. “It's not a finesse tool. That's the quietest I can do it, too. Normally I use it underwater, because it's mostly useless on land. Air or something,” she raises a hand and spreads her fingers, “fucks it all up. Shortens the distance. But underwater? I can pick up things more than thirty miles away. Or,” she lowers her hand, casting her eyes to the side, “kill someone.”

Carina doesn't go into more detail.

Elisabeth reaches out and puts a hand on Carina's shoulder. "It's good, mom. You did good," she says softly. "I remember when you found that bottle of wine under us on the ledge… remember? Based on what you did here, it seems like yours works more like…. whale song." Which is, frankly, cool as shit as far as Liz is concerned. But she knows Carina can only take so much, too, and she wants to ease her agitation. "I'm sorry you had to use your ability that way. I've had to do it with mine too," she says softly, squeezing her mother's arm. "It's why I want to teach Squeaks everything she can do — so she can make informed choices about how to use her ability and know the dangers, yeah?"

Glancing at Squeaks, Liz jerks her chin. "C'mon… the rest of this we can actually do outside. There's an open space we can use on the side of the complex." The readings, for now, will give her enough to mull over. "Squeaks uses her own sounds, a lot higher pitched — more like a bat — but I'd like to see if she can see things when someone else is giving her deeper sounds to use, so we need some space for that." She looks at Squeaks to make sure the teen is good with the idea. "She's never had the chance to really test out her own limits with someone else who can use sound — I can't do what either of you do. Not really… I can sort of generally map out distance or obstacles in a dark room but nothing like the range you get," she tells Carina as they walk, "or the detail you get," she tells Squeaks.

That's the quietest sound the older echo-locator can make? Squeaks boggles at the idea. Before Liz, no one could hear what she did unless she made it go scrambled, which was never fun. Her excitement deflates a little bit as more details are given, and she reaches out to press a comforting finger against Carina’s arm.

Letting the topic drop, the girl turns to follow Liz. “I can see bedroom sized.” She's guessing, but sounds confident in how far she can read with her sounds. “I never tried under water before, but the other me in the flood world did. I saw it. Mostly I use my sounds to find places, mapping, like in the Underneath. It's a maze but I can find my way out.”

As they walk through the hallways of Raytech, Carina offers a side-long look to Squeaks at the mention of the Underneath, then looks up wordlessly to Elisabeth to mark her personal confusion, but clearly bookmarking it for a later explanation. Instead, she seems to focus on the more immediate issue. “How long’ve you known how to do what you do?” Carina asks, but it’s impossible for Squeaks to answer that question, because they’re interrupted.

Ms. Harrison!

Oh no.

“Ms. Harrison! Oh! Good, there you are!”

Sneakered feet squeak-clack across the tile floor at a running pace. Coming up from behind the trio down the hall is the both jubilant and flustered visage of Sera Lang. She has a tablet device clutched to her chest with some paper folders and files, hustling up to meet the rear of the trio.

“I’m— ” Sera huffs out a breath, “sorry to disturb you— ” another huff, “but I need to get your signature on the liability release form for access to the R&D wing!” She’s nearly out of breath, grimacing and flushed, but smiling nonetheless. Sera juggles the paperwork and tablet, manages to get the latter on top of the former, and just sort of shoves the whole mess at Elisabeth.

“Just a digital signature,” Sera says with a bit more of her breath under control, motioning to a stylus clipped to the tablet and an electronic document open on it, waiting to be signed. “Mr. Ray makes everyone sign one, something about Warren being Warren or something like that. Heart issues and velociraptors, I’m— not sure?” She smiles, awkwardly, then looks past Elisabeth and really notices Carina and Squeaks for the first time.

Oh God. Sera. Elisabeth has had the dubious pleasure — there is nothing wrong with Sera, she's just… the audiokinetic hasn't yet come up with words to describe her reaction to the woman. A mix of exasperation, amusement, befuddlement, and just plain skepticism because how can anyone be quite so …. Sera?

Taking — no, more accurately catching the tablet that's practically hurled into her hands, Elisabeth scans the form to be sure it's exactly what Sera says before she scrawls a signature on it. "Heart issues and velociraptors," she mutters under her breath. Because of course there's a liability waiver. She peers at Sera and warns not entirely blandly as she hands the tablet back, "If the fucking velociraptor gets loose and anywhere near me, I will rattle it right down to its component parts." The very idea of the robot velociraptor makes Elisabeth very tense, especially with Aurora's dual reaction of terror and fascination to knowing it's in the building.

Blue eyes flicker over Sera's reaction to the other two. "Sera, this is Jac Childs and Carina H… Cranston." Even now, she stumbles over her mother having another name. That they are related is obvious to anyone who sees them together, after all.

“Since,” Squeaks’ reply forms in the shape of a way drawn out thinking tone. But the rest of the answer is lost, or derailed when Sera comes running at them. Her eyes get wider, if that's even possible, while listening to the woman talking to Liz. Forms? “You didn't get permission first?” The question comes out as a whispery squeak, like she's gonna go and tattle now. She's kind of friends with the CEO, you know.

“Hi Sera.” A tiny wave is included when she greets the receptionist person. They're familiar with each other, but that's not explained. “I'm allowed here, my mom knows. I think we're making cookies later.” The teen pauses to remember what kind, but ends up only shrugging at it. “I can bring some to you later?”

An elated squeal of laughter comes from Sera, followed by several rapid-fire handclaps at the prospect of fresh baked goods from the Childs’ residence. She flicks a look over to Elisabeth, taking the tablet back with a pleasant smile. “I’ve met Jac before, she was here during that crazy meeting with the scary gentleman in the vents!” Whatever the fuck Sera is on about, she doesn’t seem inclined to explain it.

“Thank you for signing the form Ms. Harrison, and a pleasure to meet you Ms. Cranston!” Sera starts to turn away, then pauses, brow twitching, and looks back at Carina who was just about disengaged from the conversation. “Hey! Cranston!” Sera points at Carina. “Are you Michelle’s sister?

Carina stares at Sera, mouth partly agape.

“I…” Carina croaks. “…am— not.”

And then leaves.

Sera’s brows furrow, lips pursed, and she looks down to Jac with a thoughtful expression before making a small noise in the back of her throat and whipping about-face. “Weird!” Sera exclaims to mostly herself, making a brisk departure all her own.

"Jesus fucking Christ," Elisabeth breathes out in exasperation. So much for that testing out of Squeaks' ability. Looking at the teen, the audiokinetic rolls her eyes. "Well… if you're still interested, we can keep on with seeing how your ability works in more depth. Looks like Mom's gonna go walkabout."

“Oh no, wait.” As Carina takes off, Squeaks calls after and takes a couple of steps to follow. Just three or four to start, actually trying to chase down the older echo-locator seems both the right thing to do, but also maybe a bad idea. Her head swivels to look at Sera and Liz. She gives the receptionist a shrug.

“Yes,” she answers Liz once the excitable woman with all her papers is walking away. “But we need Carina.” She eases in the direction that Liz’s mom went, feet carrying her in a slinking way. “Maybe she needs a break and has questions. We could probably start again later? Like after lunch?” That sounds reasonable, right?

Shaking her head, Elisabeth just nods with a grin. "Let's see if she actually stops in the courtyard, then. If she's there, we'll go ahead and work on it. If not, we'll try after lunch." As they walk down the hall toward the outdoor courtyard she wanted to use for this test — and only now does it occur to her to wonder if Carina's lw frequencies will be a problem for the windows of the complex that face the courtyard — this does give Liz the chance to ask Squeaks some questions that she hasn't before now. "Squeaks… and please, for goodness' sake, if you prefer Jac, please say so — Let me ask you something. I know that when you Registered, they tested your ability some. Aside from this application of it, what kinds of things would you like to be able to do with it? It would help me a little if I knew what we were aiming at."

“I'm both names.” Squeaks lifts a questioning look up to Liz. A lot of people keep asking about that. “You could call me either one because that's me.” She's Squeaks and Jac.

She moved right on to answering the question without missing a beat. “You said one time that I could maybe defend myself with it.” She remembers, at the church they tried. “I don't like doing violence, but being able to protect me or my family? That's what.”

As they reach the courtyard to find Carina merely waiting there for them, Elisabeth nods to Squeaks. "It's definitely a good idea," she agrees. "If your ability extends that far. The two of you seem to be opposite ends of the spectrum." Her blue eyes flicker over her mother. "Mom? You okay to try this out still?"

She’s smoking, so that’s a start.

Pacing around in the courtyard, Carina looks less put-upon than she was a little while ago, but it appears her resolve to quit smoking isn’t as ironclad as Jared might have been told. She’s only just taken her first breath of it, pinched between two fingers as she looks at Elisabeth with a don’t say a word stare.

“I’m not sure what you’re expecting to find,” Carina says, smoke flowing languidly out of her mouth, “but I’m willing t’help the kid, if that’s what all this is about.” It always came down to children with her, as a motivator beyond her own personal wants.

When Squeaks finds Carina, she half runs toward the woman. And when she's close, a couple or three arm lengths away, she slows to a more cautious walking approach. “Are you okay now,” she asks quietly, never minding the conversation already happening between grown-ups. “Sera gets confused, but she's usually nice. And I could help you not be afraid of small spaces.”

She looks back at Liz, then gazes up at Carina. Hopeful. She extends a finger, just one, and very lightly touches it to the older echo-locator’s sleeve. It's as gentle as touching a butterfly wing, but it's meant to be reassuring.

“I like learning,” the girl goes on. Her hand lowers, clasps with the other in front of her. “I do. About almost everything. And… and if you… I would like to learn more with sounds. With you.” Her eyebrows lift up a little bit. “You could help teach me. And I could help you learn things too. We could trade that way.”

If getting her mother to be present takes bringing the kids into it… Elisabeth isn't above using that. She doesn't comment on the smoking — if Carina wants to quit, she will. Of that, Liz has no doubt.

"Squeaks has never had anyone with a similar power to work with. You told me a while ago, yours kinda just happens. But I think seeing if she can sense the sound you make or any of the sounds I can make and use them the same way she uses her own is a good thing for her to know. And given the state of the world, Mom… it think it's a damn good idea if we all figure out if either one of you can use your ability defensively to protect yourselves or people around you. I can use both the ultra high frequencies and the ultra low," Elisabeth admits quietly. "Both offensively and defensively. At the very least, I'd like to make sure Squeaks is equipped to keep herself safe."

She gestures to the yard, and asks Carina, "Let your sound roll — I'm going to, for lack of better words to explain, keep the wave within the confines of the courtyard while Squeaks tests out whether she can use it for mapping." There are benches and things scattered about that will work just fine for that purpose. The lab, not so much.

The look in Carina’s eyes is an inscrutable depth and darkness, as opaque as the river water that nearly claimed her life. She stares down at Squeaks, lowering her cigarette as she does, and attempts a smile as a response. It’s only partly successful. When she looks over at Elisabeth, Carina holds the stare for only a moment, then steps away from Squeaks and takes another drag off of her cigarette.

“Do that bubble thing,” Carina says coarsely, motioning with his cigarette-laden hand to Elisabeth and Squeaks, “otherwise you’ll get hurt.” She seems willing, if not pleasantly so, to continue to contribute. Maybe after some manner it’s giving her something else to focus on other than whatever it was that Sera said to set her off, or small spaces being brought up again.

Once she’s moved to the middle of the courtyard, Carina drops her unfinished cigarette to the ground and snuffs it out with a grind of her heel. She looks around, to make sure Squeaks and Elisabeth are close to one another, then to make sure no one else is in the courtyard. As she closes her eyes, Elisabeth can already feel fine vibrations in the air, miniature soundwaves building up exponentially in the immediate area around Carina, like a rubber band tightening. Squeaks can hear them too, now that she knows what to listen for, these microvibrations that make it feel like there’s walls around Carina. It plays havoc with her own echolocation.

Then, like that rubber band snapped, Carina clenches her hands into fists and rapidly opens them, expelling a wave of deep, bass-filled sound. It’s the same thrumm that trumpeted off the prow of the Featherweight when they’d encountered the sea mines. The wall washes around Elisabeth and Squeaks harmlessly, but for Elisabeth it feels like fighting against a tidal wave with her bare hands. She’s practiced enough, used enough scientific measurements to know what different levels of sound feel like, and 235 decibels is loud enough to rupture human lungs.

It’s also loud enough to sonar map more than thirty miles away. Less so on land.

As directed, Squeaks scuttles back to where Liz is standing. She doesn't need to be told twice, it wasn't that long ago that they saw what Carina could do within the box. She isn't afraid though, or even nervous. Excitement has taken over again, jubilation that Carina is going to stay and work with them, and strongly enough she's practically vibrating with it.

Her head tilts as the older echo-locator starts, hearing sounds that most people probably can't. Then…

“Woah. Oh no.” She's half laughing, but also sounds a little uncomfortable. Then more uneasy as the sounds continue. Her gaze slips up to Liz then returns to Carina. “There's too much noise. It's… all the things but… it's too… crazy.” One hand tries to trace out what she sees, even though it's futile. Squeaks grabs Liz’s sleeve with the other.

Yeah… Elisabeth feels it. She doesn't understand exactly what her mother can unleash until it's already in progress though. "Oh fuck me," she breathes. Her blue eyes go wide, and then she pulls Squeaks close to her, wrapping them in a private bubble within the larger one… and then she closes her eyes and throws everything she has into the outer barrier that protects Raytech's surrounding buildings from what's happening in the courtyard.

The sheer power unleashed was not entirely unexpected, but it was aimed into the water and away from solid structures. The sonic boom alone is literally indescribable, and Liz feels it in her head. Thank God she's learned a couple of tricks for letting her field absorb and redirect sound instead of trying to simply withstand it (blowing out her power for nearly a year was enough, thanks) — in this case, it's something like surfing the tidal wave around and around inside her bubble. The buildings behind rattle ominously but they're spared most of it. Squeaks is spared almost all because she's a small target and Elisabeth simply blanks the sound entirely around them both, letting the waves roll over top of them like they're pebbles.

When it's over, Elisabeth has a nosebleed, a raging headache, and her knees are a little shaky. "Oh. Wow." She drops on her ass in the grass. "Maybe next time… we use the harbor."

Carina’s legs wobble, her knees buckle, and she collapses down onto the floor of the courtyard on her hands and knees. Exhaling a deep breath, Carina struggles through a fit of dizziness and light-headedness. Her arms shake and she looks as though for a moment she might black out. But after a moment she sits back and winds up on her ass on the ground, looking over at Elisabeth.

“I… didn’t mean to…” Carina doesn’t notice the line of blood smeared across her upper lip. “I’m sorry,” she says in a shaky, embarrassed voice. “It’s hard to control. I didn’t mean to— that was— I’m so sorry.”

When she's released from Liz’s grasp, Squeaks presses her hands to her ears then moves them away a couple seconds later. She does this about three times, listening to the differences in sound and looking relieved that things are almost normal again. It distracts her from immediately checking on either of the grown-ups. But once she's sure her hearing is good, she turns first to Liz.

There isn't much for a bloody nose she can really do. A hand lightly pats the audiokinetic on the head. Then her head turns and she looks at Carina — who's practically a mirror image of Liz right now. Just maybe an older version.

“That was way primal.” It's said in a quieter voice, but definitely not lacking in awe, while Squeaks eases away from Liz and closer to Carina. The other echo-locator is given a quick look over. There's still nothing she can do about bloody noses. So she squats down near the woman, practically sitting on her heels and arms draped over her knees. “You didn't do anything wrong. We just learned now that we need a bigger, not closed up place.”

Elisabeth waves a hand and laughs softly despite the headache. "It's okay, Squeaks is right — that was … amazing." She props her elbows on her raised knees, apparently not getting up yet, one hand blotting her bloody nose absently. "Are you okay? I could feel what you were doing… it's a really big swell of sound. I'm betting in water it does something a little different, but…. " Big is a bit of an understatement. She's in awe of it. "I might be able to help you learn better control of it so it doesn't all swell at once." So it doesn't tac-nuke the surroundings when you do let loose. "If you wanted…"

She trails off uncertainly. Although her expression isn't maybe as readable to Squeaks, she's bracing herself for yet another rejection from her mother — their conversations are fraught at times as they attempt to learn one another. Averting her eyes before Carina can answer, Elisabeth clears her throat and asks, "I'm assuming that the overall tidal wave of sound wasn't really usable by you, Squeaks… But could you see anything at all?"

Glancing toward the door that opens on the far side, she waves off the security contingent — she did warn them ahead of time that something might happen.

Carina wipes the blood from her lip with the back of one hand. “I’d rather just carry a handgun,” she says with a touch of bitterness, “if it’s that dangerous out. One’s a whole lot less likely t’knock me on my ass…” There’s a touch of wariness as she stubbornly pulls herself to her feet, dusting off her pants and the scraped heels of her palms, red and sore from the drop to the ground.

“But…” Carina’s relent comes with a cast of her eyes to the side, away from Squeaks and Elisabeth, “if it’ll make you feel better, I…” She looks back, rueful toward her own prickly exterior. “I suppose I could. But maybe… we could do dinner first? Like a normal-ish family?” There’s a hesitant smile at that, hopeful but also tempered.

“It made everything crazy.” Squeaks casts a wondering look at Carina, but doesn't carpet bomb the woman with more questions. “Like scrambled but… not. More like maybe scribble drawings over scribble drawings of the same thing but not lined up right. And way too many to see anything clearly.”

Interesting to experience, but not something she could probably use. Not on land anyway.

She straightens, pushing upright to stand, when Carina begins to agree. And this time she manages to keep her excitement in check and only flash a grin at the other echo-locator.

Squeaks bounces a look between Liz and Carina as the request is laid out. “Family is the most important thing,” she adds quietly. Then she eases backward a few steps and turns to wander a short ways away so they can talk. Family dinners and conversations are also very important.

There's a moment's pause where Elisabeth watches Carina and then a brilliant smile lights up her features. "I would like that very much," she admits softly. She looks down, trying to hide the quick rush of tears — it's hard to feel so grateful that someone is alive and yet so cut off from them when she and her mother were so close once. The juxtaposition of having her mother but not quite having her mother is jarring. They're all stumbling through it rather blindly, trying not to hurt one another.

"I could… if you wanted, I could make Nonna's gnocchi pomodoro," she offers shyly. It's a dish that her Nonna and Carina both taught her here in this world. And potatoes, at least, are pretty easy to get — the crop is easy to grow and high-yield.

She reaches up and wipes at the blood beneath her own nose, and then confesses, "I'm more than happy to try again later, Squeaks. But to be honest… my head is splitting. I think Mom and I might both be done with powers for today." Elisabeth is amused.

Carina is slow to turn a look from Elisabeth to Squeaks, but the look in the older woman’s eyes is a patient and, perhaps in spite of herself, a sympathetic one. She recalls what it was like to only begin to understand her ability, and as she slowly closes her eyes, Carina nods once in agreement to both of them.

“That sounds good, Lizzie,” Carina says in a softer voice than she’s usually wont to. “I used to make that for Connie, back… before everything.” The way Carina uses the word everything has such a palpable weight as to be crushing. For Elisabeth, imagining her mother — especially this incarnation of the woman that raised her — being domestic and cooking dinner for Conrad Wozniak, of all people, feels so alien.

But it’s invoking Conrad’s name, even if in Carina’s favored diminutive, that steels her resolve on other less palatable topics. “But we’ll keep at this,” she insists, nodding to Squeaks. “You deserve not t’be left alone in the dark…”

Carina smiles, nervously, bending down to offer a hand down to her daughter to help her up.

“No one deserves that.”

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