One Last Job


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Scene Title One Last Job
Synopsis After a successful heist of the Linderman Building, Kaylee, Kain, and Ling seek out the treasures of the Corinthian Hotel.
Date March 30, 2012 — October 31, 2017

One last job.

It’s the famous line from almost every heist movie. A gang gets together with the promise of a big score and, historically, it goes so pear-shaped that people wind up dead, in jail, or sometimes both. It’s why people who are actually pulling off a heist never say it.

“One last job, an’ then we’re in the clear.”

Kain Zarek is not one of those people.

Stepping out of a rented limousine, Kain straightens the lapels of his tuxedo and turns to offer a hand out to one of the two women still in the back. Behind Kain, the neon lights of Las Vegas turn the night into a radiant spectacle. But the casino behind him, a white-washed building with tall columns and its name in vibrant red lights, is where they’ll either make it big…

…or die trying.

The Corinthian Hotel & Casino
Las Vegas

March 30th
7:44 pm

A slender hand slides into his, before Kaylee Thatcher exits the car. It would be far more graceful if she was more experienced in wearing the glittery and silvery heels. Or moving in the equally shimmering, silvery, dress that shows off a figure that hasn’t ever been in anything but oversized t-shirts and baggy jeans.

Having never been to the City that never sleeps, she can’t help but stare upwards and around her while she steps aside for the other woman. Kaylee does have to be careful how she moves as her hair, with its gentle waves, has been strategically placed to cover the less than pleasing scar that graces one side of her face. Makeup could only cover up so much.

Already the minds of so many were throwing themselves at her mental barriers like birds against a glass window. Kaylee could only hope they’d be in and out quick enough. “I could enjoy living in a place like this. Imagine the damage we could do at the card tables,” she sounds almost breathless with excitement at the idea.

The last woman to emerge out of the limousine looks briefly uncomfortable in the loose black dress and heels she's worn to tonight's event, but with a glance to her friends, Ling Chao's dismay vanishes like smoke on the water, a wide smile replacing it. Lifting up a long cigarette holder, she lets slip smoke from between her lips.

Like Kaylee, this is her first time in Las Vegas, New York's bright and ceaseless nights paling in comparison to America's City of Lights. Fingers rub together as she glances over at Kain and Kaylee.

"I'm sure they keep an eye out for that sort of thing in a world like this. But if you'd like to come back some other day, I'll gladly play security for a cut of your winnings." Her grin is almost predatory, though Kaylee knows her well enough at this point to know she isn't being serious.

“Now see, that’s thinkin’ with your big brain.” Kain drawls with a lopsided smile at the two, tapping a finger at his temple. Kain slips an arm around Kaylee’s waist as part of the act and walks with his two distractions up the red carpet to the column-lined entrance of the casino. Red-clad doormen open the way with gallant fanfare, playing up the Greco-Roman vibe the casino is based on.

Inside, the casino is a sea of lights and sounds. At this hour of night the lobby is awash with noises spilling from the casino floor. Kain is greeted at the entrance by a special concierge who offers a familiar smile.

“Mister Zarek!” He exclaims with a hint of surprise. “I—wasn’t—it’s wonderful to see you here tonight. We haven’t—”

“Easy on the grease,” Kain says with a smooth confidence. “Ah’ happened t’be in the area with a couple’f good friends’a mine,” he gives Kaylee’s waist a tug and then winks at Ling. “An’ Ah’ wanted t’show them a fine time. Ain’t no need for all the bendin’ over an’ shoe-lickin’.”

The concierge offers the thinnest of smiles and nods. “I assume you’ll want your suite, Mr. Zarek?”

“That’d be peachy.” Kain says with a smile, sliding a wad of money out of his jacket pocket and pressing it into the concierge’s waiting palm as he slips from Kaylee’s side and closes in on the concierge. “Girls an’ Ah’ are gonna do a little, y’know, sightseein’ upstairs. So try not t’fuckin’ bother us?” He whispers, offering a glance back to Kaylee and Ling. “Y’got me?”

“Absolutely.” The concierge says with an awkward grimace, though he has no compunctions about pocketing the money. “You can head straight up.”

Kain freezes for a moment, instinctively moving his hand to his right side pocket, eyes dipping to the floor, then to the concierge. “This was a bit last minute, Ah’ don’t have none of the keys on me. You got me, hoss?”

The concierge pauses for a moment, then nods. “Of course, sir. I’ll bring you up, then I’ll make sure we have keys printed.”

Beautiful.” Kain says with a nod, and the concierge leads the way toward lobby elevators, rather than the noisy and bright casino floor.

As soon as Kain’s hand had slipped around her waist Kaylee had fallen easily into her part, leaning into his side and seeming to ooze sensuality with each swing of her glittering hips. Her ability brushes against guards and Corinitian employees as they pass, easing any suspicion of the trio.

When she’s released, Kaylee gives the concierge a seductive smile, while moving to slip her arm through Ling’s arm… Sorry. she murmurs in the mind of the other woman for the intrusion into her personal space. They had a part to play, though.

Look at them, Boy. That Kain, what a lucky guy.

I feel so dirty acting like some ho-ing groupie. I’d rather be kicking someone’s ass. // But then Ling’s mind is her own, as Kaylee concentrates on making sure the man’s suspicions are turned aside with implanted //false reason.

Ling offers Kaylee a wide smile, one the telepath can easily see is as fake as could be. "All's fair," is said with a certain quality to it, her sort of thieves' cant way of expressing that she has no issue with Kaylee's approach to this.

Taking another drag of her cigarette holder, she eyes the concierge from behind, keeping a close eye on him, his mannerisms, and where his eyes drift to. Watching for anything that could be of concern to them. She can play the part of the stoic one of the two, the ‘exotic‘ second woman in the trio as much as need, even if she hates it.

The concierge leads the trio into the gilded elevators at the far end of the lobby and uses his own key card to register access to the penthouse suite. Kain furrows his brows and watches the concierge for a moment right up until the elevator doors slide shut.

“Nice night, huh?” Kain asks the concierge. “Ain’t nothin’ like that cool desert air.”

The concierge glances over his shoulder at Kain, then smiles a little nervously, turning his keycard around in his hands. “Yeah it’s—it’s nice, Sir.” The elevator to the penthouse hums softly beneath the man’s voice, and its express route to the penthouse is expedient.

When the elevator comes to a halt and the doors open, a resplendent marble-floored penthouse suite gleams on the other side. Corinthian columns rise from floor to ceiling, marble planters bloom with tall green foliage and vibrantly colored flowers. The ceiling is tiled in octagonal mirrors that make the ceiling seem even higher than it already is. Immediately out of the elevator a shallow fountain basin sparkles with water beneath the vigilant stare of a Marble statue of a Roman emperor.

Alright, Kain thinks to Kaylee, it’s go-time.

Extracting herself from Kain’s side again, Kaylee glides up to the concierge trailing a finger over his shoulder as she steps around in front of him. She’d been working her mojo the whole ride up, finding the chink in the man’s armor, but there was one more detail before the trap would settle into place.

There needed to be a solid connection.

“Mmmm…” Kaylee purrs out as she makes a show of looking at something potentially yummy, long fingers playing at the man's collar, even as he stiffens at the contact. “It is a very good night. But it could be better, how about we have a little… fun.” Fingers move to brush his temple, but instead she presses into his skin making the final mental connection. «Gotcha.»

Without a word, the telepath holds out her hand and the man settles his key into it. It vanishes behind her back, held with two fingers for someone to take while she works. Her ability curls through the man’s mind, changing details. Little ones. Putting barriers up where their faces would be so when the elevator doors close, he won’t remember why he went up there for some time. Now to get rid of him…

##FFFF80«“Oh dear,”»## Kaylee coos with a little pout, ##FFFF80«“All this way and it seems you’ve forgotten your key.”»## Gently, she pushes him to the back of the elevator. ##FFFF80«”Maybe you should check at home. You must have left it there.”//»##

Once all the details are in place, Kaylee lets her hand drop and backs out of the Elevator, giving him a little wave that he won’t remember while the doors close. Only once the doors close does she give a visible shudder, feeling dirty for going that. All for a good cause, she reminds herself.

There's an appreciative smirk on Ling's face as she watches Kaylee weave her ability, effectively changing the man's reality in front of all of them. It's impressive, as it always is. Trying not to focus too much on the other woman as she works out of fear of breaking the spell she's putting on the concierge, she instead crosses behind her to Kain's other side, her smirk now aimed at him as she raises one eyebrow.

A show, if nothing else. She hates it, but she's no stranger to playing flirty or demure.

Reaching up and straightening his lapels once more, it's only once the elevator closes that she winks and practically blooms backwards into a cloud of winding, sentient smoke. It's hard to explain how she "sees" while transfigured into smoke, it's a mix of outward perception and tactile sensation as her smoke form collapses down and and under the thin crack that separates the door from the cool floor.

Knowing the others are just behind her, she doesn't waste time. A thin trail of smoke winds and weaves across the room; around tables and between chair legs, over cabinets and around bottles, surging from one spot to another as she follows the trail of a draft to-

Her destination. Metal doors, held in secret and out of sight. The draft tells her exactly where she needs to slip in to find herself inside of an elevator carriage, smoke rising up until it once more colesques into her familiar form. Tendrils of smoke waft and dance from her form like a match that's just been snuffed out, both hands clenched into fists at her side.

The playful facade she wore one the way up is done, replaced with the steely face of a thief considering every angle she can, hands rising in front of her, fingers interlaced and knuckles cracking audibly as a smirk forms on her face. A step forward, and she slips fingers between the slight separation in the elevator doors, grunting as she begins pushing them apart in a bid to force them open.

It takes more than she would like, but still, slowly they inch their way apart, until finally she sighs and stops, looking up at her compatriots across the room with that smirk from earlier.

While Kaylee and Ling utilize their superhuman gifts, Kain uses his superhuman liquor sense to liberate a bottle of champagne from the bar near the bedroom. He returns to the suite foyer with three flutes of champagne in hand and a shit-eating grin on his face.

“Ladies, we just wheeled an’ dealed our way into the devil’s own personal Fort Knox.” Kain says with that Cheshire smile, offering out the pair of flutes to Kaylee and Ling before gesturing with a toast of his own. “That there elevator’s our ride to th’ meal ticket of a lifetime. By the time we’re outta’ here, mah infinitely less charmin’ counterpart won’t be none the wiser.”

Raising the glass, Kain offers his toast. “To eighty million dollars, and the heist of a lifetime.”

It’s the first time they’d ever heard the full figure of Linderman’s hidden fortune. No small wonder he’d kept it so close to his chest. It’s enough to change everything.

Kaylee takes the flute between slender fingers, even as her breath catches at the amount that will soon be theirs… There is a thrill at the thought of having that much… what she could do with even a fraction of it. With a mischievous grin, she holds up her glass in toast in return. “Amen.”

However, as she takes a small sip, Kaylee has a thought she can’t stifle. Looking at the glass in her hand with it’s light bubbling, her brows lowered a little in uncertainty. “Though this feels a bit like countin’ chickens.” She glances aside at Ling to see if the other woman agrees, money first than celebrating.

With the elevator open, Ling makes her way across the room with a swagger rarely seen in her step. Taking the flute, she is quick to take a sip. "Only if you jinx it, Kaylee," is added in her usual dry manner, taking another sip of her celebration drink. "Though I would prefer it if we didn't linger too long," she notes with a quirked eyebrow.

Folding her arms across her chest, glass still in hand, Ling turns to look at Kain. "I have my doubts what we take will be missed, anyway." Another sip, and she sets the glass down. "Shall we get what we are due, then?"

Kain cracks a smile at Ling and Kaylee, downing his champagne in a single go, then whips the glass over his shoulder with the biggest shit-eating grin on his face as it shatters on the floor. He turns on a heel, leading the way out of the penthouse foyer and to the study, past lounge chairs, a liquor cart, a small coffee table full of poker chips, until he reaches the concealed elevator doors Ling had pried open. It was so discreetly hidden behind the faux marble walls in the study, so well concealed.

“In all the years I worked for Danny, he never let nobody up here.” Kain says as he walks inside the elevator, languidly running his fingers up the edge of the open doors as he steps inside. “His personal little hideaway from the noise of the casino. But lookin’ at those papers we stole from New York, it all makes sense. Hidden elevator goin’ straight from the top of the Corinthian all the way t’the basement. To his Al Capone Vault tucked away from all’a the rest of us.”

Kain laughs, running his fingers over the small keypad inside the elevator. “All that money, after all this time.” As Ling and Kaylee enter, Kain presses the square button for the basement level and the doors slowly slide shut. The elevator’s interior light flickers on and as it begins to descend it does so in absolute silence. There is no floor counter, no music, no indication of the journey save for the sense of momentum. The elevator doesn’t feel new, nor does it feel well-used. There are creaks and groans outside of it, a whirring sound of the cable straining against the grit of disuse. Kain’s brows slowly knit together.

Before concern can become doubt, Kain feels the elevator arrest its descent with a jittery stop. The overhead lights flicker for a moment, and then the doors slowly grind open. At first, the space beyond the threshold is a lightless void. But then old, automatic lights come on one-by-one in the ceiling of what looks like an old, concrete-walled bunker. Signage on the walls shows a black and yellow radiation symbol, and below it faded writing:


The walls of the room are lined with old, rusted shelving bare of any contents. The fan blades of a sixty year old ventilation system slowly spin beyond a metal grate in the ceiling. At the far end of the chamber, though, Kain’s eyes are focused on a heavy metal door… the kind one would expect in a bank vault.

There may not be any official elevator music, but Kaylee’s humming of Viva Las Vegas fills up the dead space, along with the tapping of her foot in time. At least she didn’t have a horrible voice.

This was her trying not to seem as nervous as she felt while the elevator cart shuttered its way down.

When the doors finally open, Kaylee’s brows lift slowly and she takes an involuntary step back. “Okay… that’s not creepy,” she says blandly. But once lights come up she loosens up some and quickly spots the signage. “Reminds me of those old zombie games my mom never wanted me to play.”

Still in the elevator to one side, she leans out a little further to check each side of the door, despite her ability telling them they were alone. “Or you know it also reminds me of home,” Kaylee says in a voice dripping with sarcasm, “Fun times.”

Kaylee always tended to chatter when she was on edge.

Ling's eyes fall on the Fallout Shelter sign, and she gives a haughty chuckle. "Quaint. A last attempt to convince anyone like us this isn't anything special," she remarks as she runs her fingers over the faded writing on the wall. Her gaze lingers on the ventilation system for a moment, studying how strongly it spins in case she finds herself in need of an emergency egress.

Should be safe. Should be..

"Yes, well. Let us be quick, and see to it that this doesn't become our new home," Ling replies in a flat tone to Kaylee. "Or someplace like it." She's not as subtle as she thinks she is sometimes. Stepping away from the wall, she follows after Kain with a look of concern.

"I do hope you have a good plan to get it open. I don't know that these are cracks I can fit through."

Kain cracks a smile and pulls a piece of paper out of his blazer pocket. “Danny kept the passcode in that little storage space we hit in his office,” he says, striding confident toward the vault doors. At a distance the vault entrance looks old, with the layers of dust and grime on it. But on a closer inspection it isn’t some sixty year old fallout shelter, it’s built inside one.

Kain brushes a hand over the dusty door, then runs his fingers over the analog dial at the side of the door. He looks at the numerical code handwritten on the paper:

9 19 1 1 3

“Just like openin’ a locker in High School,” Kain says as he begins spinning the dial, carefully selecting each number in sequence. When he finally dials in the last number, there’s a loud thunk from the inside of the vault door. Kain sucks in a shaky breath, then turns the handle next to the dial and a series of loud clunks sound one at a time inside the door before it pops open with a hiss of air pressure change. A cold vapor immediately spills out of the bottom of the door and crawls across the floor, prickling cold against everyone’s feet.

Holy shit,” Kain whispers, pulling back on the handle and drawing the massive vault door open effortlessly. It glides on still-oiled hinges, revealing a large room beyond containing rows of metal shelving and aluminum cylinders covered in frost. Kain’s brows knit together, and he looks back at Kaylee and Ling, trying to hide his confusion. After a moment, Kain squares his shoulders and steps inside, frost crunching under his shoes.

When the vapor spills out of the vault, Kaylee takes a few involuntary steps back away from the curls as they crawl across the floor. When she looks up, there is no hiding her confusion or her disappointment at the sight of the vault’s contents.

“What the actual fuck, Kain?” There wasn’t an accusation there, just an honest question. What had they just found? It clearly wasn’t the money and riches their leader promised. Kaylee is clearly hesitant to step into the vault after the man, but as usual curiosity gets the better of her and she moves to one of the nearest canisters to investigate for herself. Though it takes a moment as she carefully steps through the frost in high heels.

Ling stares ahead, expression flat and thin as she stares ahead at the unexpected contents of the vault. "If what we seek isn't here, we should /leave//," Ling hisses, eyes scanning the frosted room with concern. Her eyes fall on Kaylee, and then on Kain.

She seems hesitant to follow the others inside, shoulders as she glances back over her shoulder and sighs. With no small amount of trepidation, she slowly steps forward and into the vault, keeping an eye for any cameras, anything that could give away their presence. "I have a bad feeling about this," she offers unhelpfully, the sound of her voice lingering ominously in the air as smoke begins to drift off her form.

Confusion paints across Kain’s face. He shakes his head, upper lip curled, hands clenched into fists as he steps deeper into the vault. “Th’ fuck’s all of this?” He asks himself in a whisper, breath visible as a silvery cloud of steam.

Kain stops at one of the cylinders, brushing his hand over the metal, brows knit together. There’s warning labels about temperature and he recoils from the painful sting of the metal’s cold surface. Glancing back at Kaylee and Ling, Kain struggles to compose himself. It’s obvious this isn’t what he expected.

As Ling scans the environment her search for cameras come up negative. Nothing that she can see that would belie their presence here. Kaylee finds much as what Kain did, warnings on the cylinders about sub-zero temperatures, hoses connecting the tubes to metal piping covered with feathery ice. Down the side of one of the tubes she sees an old, stenciled label that reads:


Kain walks to the back of the room, pushing past a butcher’s curtain of vertical plastic sheets. Beyond the partition, there are rows and rows of computer servers cooled by liquid nitrogen. Brows knit together, Kain walks amid the humming server racks and shakes his head. That’s when he sees it—down at the end of the hall—another door.

Hey,” Kain calls out, “Ah’ think there’s another door back here.” He doesn’t wait, he hurries through the racks of servers to the door at the back of the room, seven feet tall and four feet wide, hinged on the side with a frost-covered handle on the exterior and another analog vault lock like the one on the outside.

Fuck,” Kain hisses. “Fuck.” His cold, trembling hands fumble with the hand-written note and he reaches out to try inputting the same code again.

“Umbra?” Kaylee reads outloud, staring at the letters angrily as if that would help the failing situation. “Is this…” Kaylee looks around her and holds out her arms to motion at it all. “This is just a bunch of science shit, Kain… I betcha.” She looks at the lettering again, this time in disgust and maybe a little fear. “I for one don’t want to know what the old man has in here, cause for all we know he could have the virus in here.”

Just saying it made her sick to her stomach and Kaylee definitely wanted out of there, as that familiar feeling of unease - one she hadn’t felt since they lived in the bunker - settled back into her bones.

So even as Kain discovers the next door, Kaylee is heading out of the vault. Part of her mind was reasoning that if she went back upstairs now, she'd have time to find some cash flushed gamblers to relieve them of their winnings. Salvage this disaster. “Besides, didn’t we already find out our others can be different? I’m some lame, boring cop, for gawd's sake. So clearly this Linderman ain’t like the one you knew back in the old world. Less money hoarder and more…” She doesn’t finish that sentence, only giving a shudder.

Ling seems uncharacteristically uneasy as she looks around the room, following slowly after Kaylee. "For all we know," she notes as she stares at the word Umbra, "you are the weird one and this is normal." It comes almost as a hiss, said between partially clenched teeth and a sea of dismay. "The world did end a few years ago where we come from." A hand reaches up, running along Peyton's necklace that still rests around her neck almost without her even thinking about it.

She knows her comment is a bit uncalled for, but it's clear she also doesn't miss a beat - maybe this is part of her weird Ling way of caring, as much as she ever seems to. Heels clacking against the floor, Ling crosses past Kaylee, approaching Kain with a flat expression. "Does it look airtight? I certainly hope it is not, for our sakes."

“Do Ah’ look like a fuckin’ architectural engineer?” Kain grouses as he finishes keying in the same code from before. He glances over his shoulder, then presses the button to commit the code.

Street Level

A limousine door opens out front of the casino, dispensing a well-dressed man and a waifish blonde model onto the red carpet. With a Cheshire smile, he walks with one arm around her waist up to the column-lined entrance of the casino. Red-clad doormen open the way with gallant fanfare, playing up the Greco-Roman vibe the casino is based on.

Inside, the casino is a sea of lights and sounds. At this hour of night the lobby is awash with noises spilling from the casino floor. The new arrival and his arm-candy is greeted at the entrance by a special concierge who offers a familiar smile.

“Mister—Zarek?” He greets with confusion. “I—we just showed you up to—”

Kain Zarek tilts his head to the side, arm sliding from around his date’s waist. His smile melts like butter, blue eyes search the confused concierge.

“‘Scuse me?”

The Vault

The moment Kain’s finger presses the commit code key, the lights in the vault snap from white to red. A klaxon alarm, tooth-rattlingly loud blares to life. Kain reflexively leaps away from the door and covers his ears, wincing against the noise.

Fuck! Fuck!” He screams, though Kaylee and Ling can barely hear him over the noise. There’s a mechanical bell alarm behind the electronic klaxon, like a fire alarm. It’s ear-piercingly loud. “Fuck!” All Kain can do in the face of his monumental hubris is shout profanities.

An irritated Kaylee is out of the vault and yanking her heels off… gawd she hates them.. when the true shit hits the fan.

All of Kaylee’s concentration is shattered by the alarms. Her pained yelp is buried under the shrill tones. It effectively negates her ability, since she can't even hear her own thoughts.

Which leaves the team blind to what is going to be coming at them.

Without a second thought, Ling grabs Kain by the arm and begins to drag him behind her, hooking her other arm around Kaylee's and doing the same. "We leave, now," she states forcefully, face scrunched as she tries to drown out the blaring siren. It isn't working, and it's making it hard for her to keep her thoughts straight.

Had there been another way out? Or had they just trapped themselves, like rats falling into a trap?

The thought isn't one she wishes to entertain, instead continuing to attempt to drag her two compatriots towards the elevator, in the hopes they can at least get back upstairs and hide before anyone arrives to investigate the cacophony. Probably with guns, or worse.

“Fuck, fuck!” Kain shouts, jerking his arm away from Ling but following her none the less. He’s stubborn, but he’s not die on a hill stubborn if he can manage it. Jerking his suit jacket open, Kain pulls a gun out from his underarm holster and follows Kaylee and Ling out of the vault and back to the elevator.

There might be a way up through the vents!” Kain shouts over the klaxons, pointing to far too small vents. He means for Ling, not for Kain and Kaylee. Then, as if it wasn’t abundantly clear he emphasizes. “We gotta split up!

That, too, was part of the plan. Minimize losses, maximize chances for everyone to escape. He just never thought they’d have to do it. Especially not like this.

Ling had always been against that part of the plan. Splitting up sounded like a recipe for disaster, and after everything the three of them have gone through to get this far, she finds herself momentarily unwilling to break away from the others. She stares daggers at her accomplice for a long moment, before scoffing.

He's right. This was the plan.

She just hates it.

Releasing both him and Kaylee, she turns to face them both, a stern look in her eyes. "I expect to see both of you soon." Fingers rise and run along the necklace she wears, once Peyton's. "And if I don't?"

Smoke begins to rise off her form as she becomes wispy on the air, slowly becoming intangible as she keeps her eyes locked on Kain and Kaylee. "I will find you." For better, or for worse.

It is hard to know if Kaylee heard either of them, the klaxon is knifing at her sensibility and sanity. Maybe it is a side effect of her ability, but the sound hurts. So, at the moment, her sole focus, is to get to the fuck out of there. Unfortunately, splitting up meant her only option was the elevator.

Straps of her heels held in the curl of two fingers, Kaylee uses the free fingers to poke at the elevator button, repeatedly. Her other hand presses against one ear to help ease her suffering.

When Ling lets go, Kaylee turns to see the woman fade away. Even though there is a tinge of jealousy, there is a sense of relief. One of them would get out. This was what was left of her family, her found family, she wanted them to survive. Once Ling has dusted away, Kaylee turns a worried look at Kain as it was only them now.

What was the plan?’ is what that look says. Kaylee trusted Kain to get them out of there.

Grimacing against the noise and the situation, Kain enters the elevator with Kaylee, shutting the door behind them. He’s terrible at goodbyes and didn’t spare one for Ling. Partly because, unlike his quiet demeanor, inside he’s in a panic about how he’s going to get out of this without getting everyone killed.

At first he doesn’t say anything, just throws the lever for the elevator and starts its slow progress back up. But when the klaxon noise doesn’t diminish as the elevator rises, Kain’s one hope feels dashed against the rocks. He turns to Kaylee, looks at the elevator controls, and frowns. He hits the emergency stop button and the elevator grinds to a halt.

Casino is gonna’ be swarming with security,” Kain says over the noise, leaning in to practically shout it into Kaylee’s ear. “I know the Corinthian and I know me, I’d have some muscle on staff—Evolved// muscle.” Kain looks at Kaylee, sliding his tongue across the inside of his teeth. He steps away from her, then reaches up and pops the maintenance hatch on the top of the elevator.

Taking a knee, Kain laces his fingers together and looks Kaylee dead in the eyes. “Get up on top. You stay there until things quiet down. It’ll be easier for you to get out with less noise and less heads to fog up.

Kain doesn’t say what he’s going to do. But judging from the look in his eyes, she wouldn’t like it.

Kaylee looks as frazzled as she feels, tilting her head in effort to hear what he is saying. When he steps back he finds ruby painted lips press into a thin line at what he is suggesting.

You’re right, she doesn't like it. But, really, what else could Kaylee do with that sound beating at her senses? She was useless without her ability.

Looking up at the gaping hole in the roof of the elevator, Kaylee sighs and then nods. Though she doesn't hop up right away, instead she leans down and hooks an arm around his neck and hugs him. The very awkward gesture brings her lips close to his ear so Kain can just barely hear her say, “Please, don't get yourself killed.”

Message delivered, Kaylee gives his shoulder an equally awkward pat of confidence as she straightens and finally uses the offered boost.

Making sure to first toss her heels on the top of the elevators roof, Kaylee manages to pull herself through, trying not to look as scared as she felt.

“Stay low,” is the last thing she hears Kain say before he closes the maintenance hatch and sends the elevator up. From Kaylee’s perspective the noise of the elevator is nearly as bad as the alarms, grinding and whirring as it gets closer and closer to the ceiling above. It stops short enough that she has room to crouch on top of the elevator, and can hear the doors opening to the penthouse. She can hear—

Kain steps out of the elevator, gut at his side, lips downturned to a frown. For the moment the penthouse is clear, but he knows that’s only a matter of time. But he also knows himself, knows how he’d respond to this. Something personal.

When the elevator doors open, Kain fires two shots off without even hesitating. The bodyguards that had come up in the elevator fall forward out of it, blood spreading across white marble tile.

Out,” Kain growls, motioning with the barrel of his gun to the last person in the elevator.



The Kain of this world is as smug and cocksure as his dimensionally-displaced counterpart. Better dressed, more tired around his eyes, grayer in his hair in spite of them being the same age. He looks a decade older.

“Looks like you’ve been running out the clock.” Kain says to his older-looking self, jabbing the barrel of his gun forward.

“That you, Wilmer?” Kain asks of the stranger invading his penthouse. “Think y’can pull a fast one on me? Dig up something Danny left behind?”

The elevator doors at the back of the room close. The elevator is returning to the lobby. Neither man notices.

Kain snarls at himself, cocking the hammer of his handgun back. “Where’s th’ money, chucklefuck?”

The older-looking Kain laughs, hands still raised, shaking his head. “You dumb sun’f a bitch, there ain’t no money here. Just some Wizard of Oz bullshit the old man left behind. There ain’t never been no money, it was just a lie the old man used t’get dumb fucks like you t’put your whole ass out in the open.”

Kain’s chest tightens. His frown quavers. Hand trembles. He refuses to believe it. “Ah’ said where’s the goddamned money?!” He shouts, striding forward and jamming the barrel of the gun against his alternate’s forehead.

The grayer Kain sneers. “Why don’t y’go ask the old man yourself?

There’s another gunshot, then several more in rapid succession.

Kain Zarek falls to the ground with a bullethole in his cheek beside his nose, blood pooling out from the back of his head. Fragments of his skull littering the floor. The blood runs down his cheek in a thick stream, seeps into the gray at his temples.

The other Kain, the one who survived world-ending viruses collapses beside himself, clutching his gut. He’s been shot, twice, and can feel the blood pulsing between his fingers with the beat of his heart. Kain looks at himself, dead on the floor, gun in hand. Kain drops the one he’s holding, just in time for the elevator doors to open again, flooding the room with LVMPD officers, guns trained on Kain.

They stand in confusion, seeing two bodyguards face down on the tile and one one man dead while his doppleganger sits bleeding out from a gut shot. The officers circle Kain, who slouches back onto the floor, wheezing with laughter.

Right up until the moment he can’t laugh anymore.

Three Hours Later

A Vacant Industrial Park
Las Vegas Outskirts

11:43 pm

Kain never made it back to the rendezvous spot. The white panel truck they’d planned to use to haul their fortune off to richer horizons lays unoccupied. Kain may never make it back.

Kaylee heard the gunfire from on top of the elevator, and by the time she’d escaped the casino there was just blood and police tape everywhere. All she could pick up from the minds of the casino staff was that there were three people brought out in bodybags, and one man in a stretcher wheeled out to an ambulance with a police escort.

There’s nothing on the radio yet, nothing on the news except a shooting at the Corinthian. No names, no details.

No survivors.

Wiping at smeared mascara, Kaylee is afraid to look Ling’s way. The guilt of what happened weighed heavily on her shoulders. She had crouched on that elevator roof and hadn’t helped. She didn't realize…

With a sharp shake of her head Kaylee dislodges that line of thought. If she starts thinking about it too hard she'll start crying again in front of Ling.

“I’m sorry, Ling.” Kaylee repeats, yet again. Her mind was full of what ifs. “The fact he… one of them was wheeled out is a good sign. Right? It had to be him.”

Ling is quiet, smoke wisping not form her form for once, but from the cigarette she holds between her fingers, nestled between her lips as she takes a long drag from it. She stares ahead vacantly, not immediately offering a response to Kaylee. She simply stares ahead, smoking away her thoughts. She had arrived a bit before Kaylee, and even then she was just leaning against the truck with her phone in hand.

"What if it was," is spoken in a gravely manner. "What now?" The cigarette is lowered, her hand falling to her side. Even in that rough tone, there's more emotion to be found than Kaylee is likely used to from Ling. "Is that better?" Ling doesn't believe in her own question, from the slight, unexpected waver behind it.

“We get him out?”

Kaylee says it like there should never have been a question. Finally looking at Ling, continuing her thoughts, “We get out of dodge, just like we planned. But first we need to know if it's him.” Kaylee wouldn’t be able to tell until they found him. She makes it sound simple and she knows it.

Wearily, Kaylee rubs at her forehead and runs those fingers through her hair. “We… I owe him too much not to try.”

Raising her cigarette and taking a long drag, Ling forces a small smile. "That is the correct answer." Tossing the phone into the cab of the truck with no real care for how it might damage it. "Though I imagine if that was him, getting him out of triage may prove difficult." Not that she would know. Anyone she's tracked in her life has had the decency of either being perfectly healthy, or already effectively dead.

"We are at a disadvantage," she notes, the words spoken bitterly - both because of the situation and the admittance that they're on the back foot. Taking a final drag of her cigarette, she puts it out against the side of the car, and then the butt vanishes into her smoke. "He was the one planning all of this out, after all." She huffs out a smoke tinged breath, looking over towards Kaylee. "I have a thought on how to proceed. Do you?"

The telepath is thoughtful for a long moment.. What could they do? Of course, the answer was staring right at her as she focused on the van’s windows. A smile breaks out on her lips, the woman in the reflection returns it and it spreads as she looks back at Ling. “We do have one advantage… and her name is Detective Kaylee Thatcher.”

Using a hand, to fluff at her hair, Kaylee tilts her head coyly. A brow tips upward as she asks, her Kentucky lilt vanishing. “An uncanny likeness don’t you think? Who would question a detective stepping in to check on a convict.”

Kaylee gives a mystical wave of her hand. “Add in a little Jedi mind trickery of course to help…” She was a telepath after all. Here she grimaces as she admits reluctantly, “After a rest, though… I spent a lot of energy keeping up our lies in there.”

"I had not considered that." Ling looks thoughtful for a moment. "Perhaps… Perhaps you see if you can find out what they're going to do with him, if he is indeed the one going to the hospital." A finger taps at her chin as she considers further options.

"I have never looked to see what it is my… other self does, in this world. But if it's history is so close to ours until a few years ago, I cannot imagine I would have been far from Kain." She nods slowly at this thought. "My idea had been to impersonate her, and see what info I could find at the hospital. Failing that… investigate my old fashioned way."

She looks back over at Kaylee, an eyebrow raised. "These plans work well together."

There is a flickering of doubt, however, and Kaylee feels compelled to point out, “Just… remember that here I’m a cop.” Brows lift in a matter of fact way, because the woman before Ling is decidedly not. “So, not all of it.” Because, clearly Kain was if his stories told them anything.

Kaylee flicks a small shrug and tosses her heels into the van. “But, I think we have a good start. Better than a moment ago.” She seems to visibly relax now that there was a bit of hope to cling to. “God, I wish I could drink. I could fucking use one right now.”

A tired finger is pointed at Ling, as Kaylee at least offers, “We can get you one tho.” No reason they both have to be sober after all that.

"No." Fingers curl around her chin, and she pushes off the truck and paces forward. "I need to think. Not drink." It is clear, whatever plans she's concocting, she's still formulating them, and she's intend on doing so. "I fear there's not much we can do now, however." Lips pressed thin, she sighs and turns to look back at Kaylee.

"You should rest." You should, but not her, apparently. There's a barely noticeable shakiness to her voice, though. She could do well with a rest too. A hand rises, running over the necklace she wears as she stares off into the emptiness of the industrial part. "Either way, we should leave."

“Agreed,” Kaylee has no argument there, but she is also wise enough not to point out what she hears in Ling’s tone. “Sooner I sleep, the sooner we get him back.”
But soon, as it so happens, would not be nearly soon enough.

Five Years Later

New York City

October 31st

A periwinkle van rolls through an industrial stretch of Queens just outside of LaGuardia Airport. For the last five years, Ling Chao has been trying to track down the paper trail of her friend that vanished the night of the botched robbery at the Corinthian. After being unable to find Kain at any local hospital, the trail went cold.

It took five solid years of detective work to find the deep, dark hole that the Pinehearst Company put Kain in, under the assumed name Dean Carver. Five Years of searching, five years of digging, leading up to this day. Which, all things considered, was as good a timing as she could hope for.

Because everyone was leaving soon.

The van turns, crossing a bridge over a jag in the East River. The van rolls to a stop outside of a security checkpoint, and a guard in a drab brown uniform steps out of the booth with a flashlight. “Identification,” he asks as the driver’s side window rolls down, revealing a blonde woman in a baseball cap.

He hesitates, eyes going glassy. “Nevermind, ma’am,” the guard says in a monotonous voice, hitting the button to raise the checkpoint arm. “Drive on through.”

Kaylee Thatcher rolls up the window and drives through the checkpoint, past a sign that says she and Ling have finally reached their destination.


Now, all that was left was a jailbreak.

One last job.

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