devon_icon.gif joy_icon.gif

Also Featuring:

devon_icon.gif jaiden_icon.gif

Scene Title Mitochondria
Synopsis Devon escapes.
Date March 24, 2019


It isn’t said loudly, but the tightness in his voice carries volumes. It can’t be possible, these things the Australian is saying. It doesn’t make sense. Devon shakes his head in denial, to underscore his statement. Under Jaiden’s hand he’s trembling in spite of the warmth of the house. “No. No, no, no…

Trailing off, Devon turns from Jaiden, twists away from the hand on his shoulder, and drags his hands through his hair, palms pressing into his temples. He turns a slow circle, looking at the room without actually seeing it. “She has to be here.” The statement is pleading as he makes another turn, head swiveling as he finds Jaiden again. Tears have spilled over and shaking hands angrily brush away at more threatening to well over. His shoulders raise and fall with an effort to control uneven breaths; his body trembles as he tries to contain himself.

“She can’t… She has to be here!” Fear fuels his shout, words more exploding than anger, though there is an undercurrent of the latter emotion as well. The boy stares at Jai, trying to find some hint, some struggling hope that he’d gotten it wrong. Instead of giving the older man a chance to speak again, not allowing himself a chance to hear what he so frantically wants to deny, Devon turns away again. Desperation drives him to move, feet carrying toward a window then away. He paces for a dozen or more steps until he sinks to the floor. The boy’s body folds over knees, his head burrows into his arms, as a pleading sob wrenches itself free of his throat.

There’s nothing that Jaiden can do other than stand and watch Devon as he comes to the realization that Elisabeth is not there and will not be. He can’t answer. He can’t make it go away, or any better. God knows he can’t lie to the boy since…well…that would be worse than the reality of the situation. Offering false hope when he knows there isn’t any. It would be cruel.

It would be monstrous to do such a thing

Closing his eyes, Jaiden pushes himself up to his feet, limping to where Devon sits on the floor, curled into himself and just watches for a moment. He doesn’t try to speak - no words will soothe this hurt away. The pain Devon is….well….there’s no comparing pain to pain. Each is unique to the individual but, when Elisabeth died, that ride back to base, that lonely trip to the middle of nowhere in Minnesota gave Jaiden a lot of time to think and grieve.

He went through it alone. Devon doesn’t have to.

Setting his cane aside, Jaiden carefully lowers himself to the floor behind the boy and leans over, wrapping him in a tight hug and just holding him there.

They’ll get through this together.


Seven Years Later


The soft beep and hiss of an EKG and a respirator fill the small space that a single gurney has been rolled to. It isn’t a surgery theater or an operating room, it is little more than a narrow hallway with overhead compartments and exposed conduits, claustrophobic in the way small closets should be, not hallways.


Delicate fingers pull at the buckles restraining the unconscious form of Devon Clendaniel, releasing one unmoving limb at a time. The hands work quickly, moving with anxious anticipation. Face partly hidden behind a long curtain of dark hair, Joy turns to regard Devon’s sleeping face, pressing one hand to his cheek.

Wake up.

Devon’s eyes snap open as he sucks in a sharp breath, arms and legs now freed of their restraints to move wildly as his back arches and pupils dilate. Joy is the first person he sees, and he can feel a tremendous strength in her slim frame as she holds down just one of his arms at the wrist, worry evident on her features. “There’s no time. You have to get up.

Panic is a savage master that envelops Devon’s first awakened seconds. The noises his flailing make are muffled against the thin mattress. The struggle subdues when he connects the pinned arm to Joy’s presence. She’s familiar, in the way a face on the street is familiar because it has similar features to an acquaintance three degrees removed. He doesn’t know her, but he feels like he should.

That instant opens the door for incomprehension to follow. A quieter companion to panic, strong but more allowing for processing information.

His body protests as he sits up, unused to being moved and stiff from being restrained for… He’s unsure, a day seems likely. Time has had no meaning. As he eases his weight onto his feet, his eyes swing to the machines he’s connected to, to the door, back to Joy. None of it makes any sense. “What’s happening?”

Don't speak. Think. I can hear you. Her voice reverberates in his mind; strong, certain. Joy presses a hand to Devon’s shoulder and looks down the narrow hall. You're being held against your will, I'm going to help you escape but it can't look like I did. I've loosened your restraints, you need to head down that hall, and though Joy doesn't even point, Devon knows which side of the hall she means.

Then you need to climb the first ladder you find. The hatch at the top should be open. As Joy speaks into Devon’s mind, she withdraws a syringe from her dark jacket, a syringe filled with an ink black liquid. They have you on a drug that suppresses your power. Inject yourself with this, and it will push you through the negation. But— it will not last long.

The urgency and fear in the psychic voice Joy imprints on Devon is very real. Palpable.

The warning and following explanation only deepen the lack of comprehension. Questions, a desperation for understanding rattles strongly and nearly prompts more spoken questions. The urgency in the voice within his mind acts as a wall around the words threatening to spill out and traps them. He doesn’t understand, not fully, but he nods.

His head turns to look down the hall indicated. It’s the first chance he’s ever gotten to really look, to truly wonder at his surroundings. There’s no recognition, nothing he’s certain of to really place the walls, floor, ceiling in reality. Underground? The lack of windows implies that, not that it matters much.

While those thoughts are circling, his hands go to work fumbling with removing wires and tubes and other medical equipment still attached to his body. His haste is a slow burn, as it takes some time for his brain to wrap around the scope of things.

As he frees himself of the last strip of tape, Devon looks up at Joy. His gratitude for her help is evident, and the question is plain. Why is she helping him? With a nod, however, he reaches for the syringe, then turns to face the hallway, ready to move. How long is not long?

Minutes, is the only thing she answers. Even as Devon is preparing to inject himself with whatever’s in the syringe, Joy is backing up from him, angling a look down the hall, then back again. She breathes in deeply, then exhales slowly. Hurry. The distant sound of approaching footsteps on metal grating can now be heard closing in.

Minutes. Devon nods as he takes his first couple of steps away from the bed that had held him for an indeterminate number of hours. His feet carry him quickly, anxiously, in the direction of the ladder. He spares a glance back, a wordless thanks for the woman taking a risk to help him escape.

As the sound of others approaching becomes clear, his eyes lift to it. Not long, she's warned him. Not long for anything.

Habit carries his hastening walk close to the walls. The hall is followed without much attention given over for studying where he's at. The details are unnecessary. It'll be a miracle if any of this is remembered later. He checks over his shoulder once, as the ladder comes into view, then leans into a jog for the remaining distance.

At the bottom of the ladder, Devon pulls the cap off the needle end of the syringe. His eyes focus on the liquid inside. There's no reason to trust or distrust the woman, but sense still cautions him against an unknown substance. As the second ticks to the next, he jabs the needle into the meat between his neck and shoulder, thumb jamming down on the depressor. Once it's been emptied, the syringe is pulled free and placed on a narrow surface nearby, no need to carry it further, and he starts up the ladder.

It’s hard to focus after two rungs on the ladder as Devon finds his vision vibrating and his head throbbing with a sudden spike in blood pressure. Everything feels brighter, colors more vibrant, sensations more intense, even the little aches and pains from laying down for hours or days on end feel amplified. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. With each heartbeat Devon experiences — and those are coming faster by the second — he can feel a thrum of gravitokinetic energy resonating in his body. The walls of the narrow hatch are vibrating in his presence, so too are the ladder rungs.

The hatch at the top has a number of warnings in red and yellow stickers, something about pressure and seals. His hands are trembling when he takes a hold of the emergency release and uses his body weight to pull it down. There’s a hiss and a click and a sudden spring as the hatch pops open and is caught by a strong wind and blown further. The smell of sea spray comes billowing down into the hatch on a gust of cold wind, and Devon can hear not only the cry of gulls but see an overcast sky above.

Behind him, he can hear footsteps. It spurs him to pull his weight up, climbing up and through the hatch and—

— out —

— to the ocean.

Devon’s breath hitches in the back of his throat, his lungs seize, his eyes cannot believe what they are focused on. He isn’t coming out of the ground anywhere, but rather out of the ship’s ladder of a submarine that stretches hundreds of feet in length and has broken the surface of the water with no sign of land in sight. Sea birds are lost in a low fog bank, but Devon can hear their calls. Land must not be that far away, but which direction and where is a mystery.

Parked parallel to the submarine is a long yacht that has dropped anchor and a ladder down to a zodiac raft moored up at the anchor. Worse, there are armed guards atop the deck of the yacht, assault rifles clutched to their chests, patrolling.

Instinct pulls Devon from the half kneel he’d settled in outside of the hatch to his stomach on the back of the submarine as he discovers men patrolling the yacht. It’s better to be a smaller target, but best to be a shadow against a larger structure. His hands raise to his eyes to finally give in to the desire to rub them. Whatever that drug was, his eyeballs feel like they’re buzzing. His entire body seems strange, everything is stronger than before.

Bringing his hands down again, he squints against the natural light and studies the yacht, the number of guards. It would be the better craft, but claiming it is uncertain. He doesn’t have a weapon. The raft is the possibly the safer option based on that fact alone.

It’s only seconds that pass, but it feels like hours before a decision is made. Hopefully it’s the right now.

Sliding back helps get his feet under him, and as he slowly stands he also steps backward to gain a couple extra steps. His movements are slow, careful, and his eyes stay focused hard on the yacht for signs he’s been spotted. He’s always been one to keep plans fluid, and if it goes wrong, he can adjust and adapt.

No time to turn back. Devon takes a breath and gives himself a shake. Need to hurry. He runs, feet covering the short distance from slope to slope across the top of the submarine in quick, sprinting strides. As he reaches the edge closest to the yacht he leaps, a strong push of legs against steel that carries him out into open air. But he’s not aiming for the yacht, he’s angled for the zodiac.

Rùqīn zhě!” One of the sentries atop the yacht shouts, pointing down at Devon as he leaps from the slippery side of the submarine onto the raft. The unyielding canvas is a hard surface to land on and Devon falls flat on his back with the sway of the small watercraft. One of the two sentries comes to the edge of the yacht, training his assault rifle down at the same time Devon is rolling onto his side, pulling out the knot of the mooring line and trying to fee the motorized raft.

Tíngzhǐ!” The sentry shouts, but Devon does not stop. Nor does he speak Mandarin. When he gets the mooringline untied, the pop of automatic gunfire that cuts through the air also cuts through the raft. Bullets punch straight down through the floor, bloom with water in the same way it would blood if it were a body. Air bubbles erupt from the tears and the raft starts to buckle at the middle under Devon’s weight almost immediately.

Shouts come from the top of the yacht, reverberating shouting comes from the ladder hatch to the submarine. There’s no land. There’s nowhere to run.

There’s only one place to hide.


It must be something about the drug coursing through his veins that’s causing him to be more reckless than usual. No sane person would continue trying while shots are being fired at them. Yet he works with a single-minded purpose in spite of the bullets that make him flinch with every report. It makes success so much sweeter, and Devon can’t quite stop the victorious chuckle when he finally gets the mooring line released.

It’s a short-lived win, as his hands come away with the loosed line, his knees and legs become quickly soaked with seawater. Eyes snap upward, focusing on the guards yelling then sparing a second for the submarine.

Another second ticks. Hurry. The young man twists around. The water pours into the boat from beneath distracts for a blink. He drags himself away from it, to the edge of the raft. There he finds bubbles spilling out of holes he imagines punctured the air bladder. The zodiac is likely useless. He abandons it and the rest of his plan.

Pulling himself over the side of the raft, Devon sucks in a deep breath and lets himself side head first into the waiting ocean.

Bullets rip through the surface of the water, leaving shimmering trails of air-bubbles in their wake. One after the other, lances of air and steel forming ephemeral lines like the assembly of a barred cage. The water is ice cold, shockingly so, but worse is the powerful current at work. Even as Devon kicks and swims against it, he can feel the powerful undertow pulling him down toward the lightless abyss below. He can see the full, horrifying majesty of the submarine at his side, the stenciled writing in Mandarin on its bow.

More bullets punch through the water, missing him, careening off at different angles. He can’t hear the sound of the gunfire anymore, can’t hear the shouts of alarm. All he can hear is the rushing sound of water in his ears, the heaviness of his limbs.

The darkness.

The cold.


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