One Migraine Later


asi4_icon.gif faulkner_icon.gif isa_icon.gif kaylee6_icon.gif nicole3_icon.gif nova_icon.gif yi-min_icon.gif zachery_icon.gif

Scene Title One Migraine Later
Synopsis Several victims of the Event resort to a last-ditch measure, hoping to recall memories through the use of Refrain. In the process they receive yet another stinging confirmation they're no longer SLC-E… but not your average SLC-N, either.
Date November 1, 2020

Raytech NYCSZ Branch Office

6:57 pm

Every now and then, there's a meeting that lasts until after hours, but it's rare for people to be coming to the Raytech Campus quite this late. Almost all of the staff have gone home for the day already, including those at the front desk, but that's the point.

Those gainfully employed or otherwise own part of the company are standing by to let those who don't already have access in, granting them a visitor's badge and taking them down to one of the labs in the basement. For all intents and purposes, were anyone to check the cameras, it looks like they're settling in for a good time — there are bean bag chairs and pillows strewn over the floor, tables and chairs pushed aside.

And that's the last view they get of the lab, as Asi stands on one such table with a piece of dark cloth and an industrial stapler, pinning it to the ceiling to darken the camera orb's view of the gathering taking place. Because while those gathered here might be about to embark on somebody's version of a good time, it's definitely not a legal one.

The notification about the date and time of the meeting was posted a little over a week ago on the portal she's set up for them to communicate. There was stress made there would be no judgement, and likewise, no pressure for what they were about to get themselves into.

Hopping down from the table once the cameras have been blinded, the microphone for the room disconnected, Asi pulls the dose she's brought herself out from her pocket, turning to the others. "It's over a year old," she notes, then looks down at the still-faintly-fluorescent blue of the syringe. It reminds her of the glow of her ability, the way it changed her eyes— the way it felt in her veins, when she still had it. "Think it'll still work?"

Isaac Faulkner is, for once, not wearing that godawful hoodie; instead, he's got an old leather jacket, loose-fitting black jeans, and running shoes. It's an ensemble that's both unlike his usual style and probably not hard to blend in with, should the need arise.

He has an uncharacteristically serious look… one that, at the moment, is focused on the faintly glowing blue syringe in Asi's hand. He shrugs at her question. "Beats me. I've got no idea what the shelf life is," he says tersely, eyes still on the syringe. He musters a faint chuckle. "Should've paid more attention in chemistry class, I guess."

"Will it work?" Zachery echoes, a little sharply, after Isaac's attempt at an answer. "Probably. Maybe delayed, or with reduced potency. Work as intended? That's a different matter entirely. Then again, I suppose we don't fully know what to expect either way." His back turned to the group, he only now starts rifling through a black duffel bag that's been set on one of the displaced tables.

He can't very well be pouting about not getting to do drugs alongside everyone else. And so, he's focused, preparing, making sure he's got everything with him for, he would hope, both the best and worst case scenarios he could fathom.

Then again. Expectations are tricky.

“They did not cover the shelf life of Refrain in my chemistry class, Spider-Man. Where the hell did you go to school?” Nova says wryly, aiming to add a bit of levity to the situation — mainly because she’s nervous, and it shows. There’s something about her demeanor of a ‘good girl’ being pressured to do drugs for the first time.

Which is sort of what’s happening, even if the choice is ultimately hers.

She sits with her hands on the chair beneath her knees, like she’s afraid if she doesn’t hold on, she might flit away. “Or did Walter White teach your class?”

It’s been far too many years since Kaylee laid her eyes on those vials, if she had been thinking about participating… Just the sight of the refrain brings back such memories and remembers smells that she knows she couldn’t have done it herself. As they talk about shelf life, she doesn’t even pretend to be anything but sick to her stomach in the form of a pained and sour look. It takes everything in her not to call it off.

“Everything is prepared, I have security looking the other way tonight, Bob’s good when it comes to discretion.” Kaylee manages to strangle out, determined to see it through. “And I trust Doctor Miller.” To be fair she has to trust him. If something horrible happens forcing them to call in an ambulance it’s Raytech’s rep on the line. Still… she’ll make the call if she needs to.

“We’ll make sure you're well taken care of,” Kaylee reassures with a weak smile.

"As long as you have been storing it properly, Asi, it should be fine. And if it has not been all we should have to worry about is a reduction in potency, as Miller said. One year? This is nothing for many drugs." All of that comes from Dr. Yeh, who just lifts her shoulders in a shrug afterwards. After all, she has attended a few more chemistry classes in her life than most.

It also feels odd to her to be in a casual, high-collared blouse and accompanying skirt, rather than up at Zachery's side in the accoutrements of an experimenter herself, but here she is.

At noticing Nova's visible discomfort, Yi-Min slips a small, commiserating smile to her from beside her. But beyond that, there is no actual attempt to stop the young woman from doing drugs with the rest of them, nor to urge her to reconsider.

The latecomer to the meeting enters still dressed for work. A trench coat is cinched around a deep blue dress that’s cut low enough for business cleavage, cap sleeves, pencil-fit skirt and a peplum waist. She sets a briefcase down on one of the sidelined tables before shrugging out of her coat and leaving it in a pile next to her attaché. Nicole pulls a pin out of her hair, releasing it from the tight twist it had been wrapped in for the workday and shaking it out with a quiet sigh.

The clasps of the case snap open only after Nicole’s turned a key in the small lock set alongside the handle. From its interior, she procures the promised vials containing the blue fairies they hope to chase this evening. She holds two of them up between her thumb and forefinger and gives them a little demonstrative back and forth shake. Got them.

Leaving her things on the table, she crosses to where her husband is rummaging and waits patiently until he’s ready to accept her offering. There’s a certain serenity about her, for all that she hasn’t actually greeted anyone upon her arrival. That much is telling to anyone who knows her well at all.

Then again, it might be easier to avoid uneasiness given she isn’t the one who’s going to be playing with illicit drugs in the name of science.

"If you would have told me years ago I'd be doing drugs for science, I would have said your head wasn't screwed on straight," Isa asides on the other side of Nova and looking over at Yi-Min. "Doing drugs in a desolate, barren timeline might also sound, not sane." Rolling her eyes at the sheer fucked up-ness of her existence.

Isabelle eyes everyone in the room. "Richard doesn't know I'm here, right? The last thing I need is my scripture reciting, good Catholic altar boy telling me you can't do drugs, Izzy."

It was for science.

Asi looks a little wary of her own situation, but Nova's elbowing to bring a little bit of levity— however forced— to the situation sees she doesn't fret visibly any more. Nicole's arrival sees the last piece falls into place, bringing the rest of the doses with her. At least if her own has lost its potency, like Yi-Min and Zachery suspect, there are at least multiple of them partaking.

"Great," she voices, even though it's not particularly great at all. She shifts a look momentarily to Isaac. When he'd first approached her wondering what else they could do to unravel the mystery of what happened to them … she's almost certain he wasn't expecting drug use to fall into that.

Isa's mention of Richard directly brings Asi to glance to Kaylee next. "Thatcher has our backs covered. No one should be alarmed by the killed surveillance to the rooms, and if there's anyone else on the floor at this hour… well, likely they are seeing to the pigs."

The what?

You know. The science pigs. Not them here themselves. Different. Actual, legitimately porcine— nevermind.

"Also, I get the feeling you've not met Richard anytime in the last decade." Asi almost manages a smile, one that reflects in her eyes rather than in the corners of her mouth. She turns her wrist over to look at the time, and announces, "Right."

"We're all here, and it's appointed time. Ready?" She looks between them all, one to the next. It's Zachery she focuses on last, nodding once in a sign of her trust for being the one to handle all of the fresh needles.

Herself, though— she's all set for self-serve. Despite that, Asi stands by Yi-Min's side, holding up the syringe for her. "Would it be any trouble…?" she asks in a murmur. For all her wealth of experience, medical experience lies outside of it, and she'd firmly stepped outside of Wolfhound's mental networking for the evening.

Isaac has to work not to break out in laughter; for all that Nova's levity is forced, it does bring a grin to Isaac's face. "Excuse you, Tony Hawkgirl," he says; his tone is sardonic, but there is an amused grin on his face. "I'll have you know Doctor White was an excellent chemist," he pronounces. Then he sighs. "Such a shame he went horribly insane," he says sotto voce.

Things grow more serious quickly, though, and Isaac's uneasy expression returns. He does blink at the mention of pigs, but he doesn't let himself linger on it long. Instead, his gaze goes to Doctor Necromancer, rummaging on the table with the tray full of syringes with shiny needles and glow-in-the-dark illicit drugs. Doctor Zachery 'Necromancer' Miller, who once shot Isaac's girlfriend full of god-knows-what that started melting her skeleton…

…and here Isaac is, signing up for an injection from the same guy. That would be honestly funny if it weren't also a little terrifying. He wonders what Isis would say.

He closes his eyes for a moment. No point dwelling on it.

His gaze moves on, now falling on Asi; he catches that look from her, and his eyes widen a bit as if to express, well, here we are. But there's nothing to be said there, really; this is a choice, and both of them have made it. His gaze slips onward again, and now it falls on Nova. "Not too late to bow out," he says softly, settling back into his beanbag a little more. Trying to relax, as best he can. "No shame in it, either."

“Hardly,” scoffs Nova at the impromptu nickname given to her. Isa’s comments draw a curious look her way, and she reaches over to tuck a hand in the other woman’s — moral support for both of them. Her more, probably.

At Isaac’s gentle reminder she can opt out, she nods once, then shakes her head, looking up at the others in the room — all of whom she sees as having done far more to advance their cause than she has, through the resources or skills they possess that she lacks.

“No. I want to help. And while I know the doctors here would both tell me the brain biopsy is statistically safer than the Refrain experiment, there’s something about someone grabbing a piece of my brain I just can’t deal with, so I can do this. Besides,” Nova says, with the cheeky grin of youth. “I’m otherwise in good shape and some of you don’t look so hot.”

“Richard knows,” Kaylee says with a touch of amusement to Isa and a weak smirk. Doesn’t help Nicole pull out two more vials, still the Agent gets a nod. Both of them were a part of the law enforcement community, so being there risked both their jobs.

There is a helpless spread of her hands. “It’s his company too and I wouldn’t keep it from him anyhow. Besides, we’ve had friends that experimented with Refrain. He only really got mad cause they didn’t do it here where we have equipment to keep them safe.” She motions to the room. “He prefers this to some living room somewhere or basement.” There is a glance at Zachery out of the corner of her eye.

She doesn’t miss some of the reluctance under it all the willingness and finally, she can’t just sit by. So she straightens like she’s about to address her employees. “If you decide not to go forward with the experiment, it’s o-kay, you will not be judged for not doing it.”

Picking up one of the bottles carefully, she holds it up, letting the nausea of disgust twist her stomach, but keeps it off her face. “But I don’t want you going in blind. Refrain is a dangerous drug. It was created by Pinehearst, which is pretty much the Company.” Kaylee speaks to the group as a whole. “It’s highly addictive. That is unless the Ghost Shadows somehow modified the formula, which I doubt… since you don’t make money that way.” She sounds like she knows a bit too much on this subject.

Kaylee studies each person who’s planning to take it, letting her worry show. “If we are normal, then nothing will happen and you’ll be fine - we go on to the next hurdle. However, if it works, there is a chance you will crave it. My ex was forced to take this by the Company in their experiments and ten years later, I know for a fact he thinks about it. I have other friends that took it and it’s an everyday struggle.”

The former telepath offers the small tube to Zachery, with an apologetic look. It needed to be said after all, she just couldn’t in good conscious sit by. “That being said, we need this information.. I know we have a lot of dead ends… so no matter the results… thank you.

Zachery might not be everyone's ideal pick for this, but it's what they're getting. And to his credit, he gives all the appearance of taking his assigned job seriously.

When he's finally content looking through what he's brought, his attention falls on his wife's things on the table - and then, inevitably, on her. With his back still turned to the rest of the group, he wordlessly reaches an arm around Nicole's waist and pulls her toward himself, sing-songing a quiet, "Thank you," as he relieves her of the vials and presses a kiss to the side of her face.

Then, slipping away just in time to accept another vial from Kaylee, he offers her a nod and then looks everyone over, one by one, with scrutiny. "Ready when you are."

“If anyone needs help with… Anything stemming from this,” Nicole means addiction, “please let me know. I can set you up with resources. Money’s not an issue. I’m going to take care of everyone who volunteered for this.” She gives a glance to Kaylee. It’s the least she can do, considering she’s supplying the highly addictive drug while not taking that particular risk herself.

Nicole curls an arm around Zachery in return, smiling when he kisses her cheek and closing her eyes briefly. “You’re welcome,” she murmurs quietly, giving him a squeeze before he disengages again. It’s a far cry from what the others saw of their dynamic the last time they gathered. Something must finally be going right for the Millers.

It must be true what they said, then. That tragedy brought people closer together. The nearly-invisible hook of Yi-Min's sardonic smile doesn't really elucidate her thoughts on the matter, which is just as well.

Otherwise, her expression is overtaken by a rather mild cycle of reactions to the others in turn: in particular, a look of plain, quiet acknowledgement towards Kaylee at the address, and an admiring kind of approval for Nova.

"Here's hoping your bravery will not be for naught," she murmurs, softly enough that the address is uncertain.

"If Richard Cardinal hasn't quoted a bible verse to you, you might want to check that it's actually him." Isa cracks her neck from side to side. "Okay, he's nosy. You know that." Isa looks over at Kaylee and shakes her head with a knowing look at the former telepath.

Nova earns a grin and nod from Isabelle as well and she lifts her hand, "First step to surviving the multiverse: have some fucking guts. And you got them, girl." A look around the room.

"We all do." It's as much as anyone is gonna get from Isa in the vein of we can do this guys, so brave.

While one by one each of the participants receive their injections, Asi waits laid back in one of the bean-bag chairs dragged down from one of the brainstorming rooms on higher floors. Thanks to Yi-Min's help in handling her own injection, she's utterly relaxed, though uninterested in moving at all. She finds her head doesn't take kindly to it.

And the experience is much the same for everyone who receives a dose of Refrain— relaxation, euphoria and dizziness. The warmth and detachment from anxiety takes effect almost instantly; within seconds of injection. Tension and stress fade. This is fine. It'll all be fine.

The dizziness begins to buzz around in the heads of those who partook roughly a minute later, the light-headedness varying but not debilitating.

Asi, for her part, tries hard to keep her seriousness. But the knit of her brow fades and she leans back into her seat. She's not sure when she's begun staring at the ceiling, or for how long, it just dawns on her after nearly four minutes have passed that she's become molded to the chair. She swallows to rid herself of a dry mouth. "I can see— why people get addicted to this," she comments softly, a lack of focus to her gaze.

Because as much as she's instinctively pushing back against the euphoria, trying to dismiss it as out of place, it's intoxicating and takes root anyway. Her eyes flutter closed, breathing relaxed.

Isaac closes his eyes; he doesn't see the needle coming, and he only barely feels it.

He definitely feels the drug start taking effect, though, feels dizziness and light-headedness kick in as waves of dull, bleary relaxation start to wash over him. His mind slows, his body feels heavy, his brain feels like it's about to float away, and he feels… great. Fine. Everything is fine. Tremendous. Amazing.

He doesn't like this… or wouldn't, if he were capable of disliking anything right now. He opens his eyes; his gaze does not so much sweep across the room as meander lazily across it, studying each new perception for the few moments before his gaze wanders on and it, too, sinks into the sea of bliss he is adrift on.

How had Refrain worked again? Something something neuroreceptors only present in SLC-E, which is why it worked on them much more powerfully than the SLC-N? Something like that. Faulkner sighs. "Definitely… getting some effects here, Doctor Necromancer," he murmurs, joining Asi in staring hollow-eyed at the ceiling; that's all he's got before he subsides back into his beanbag, eyes starting to drift closed.

Nova laughs at Isa’s comment, but beams a little under the praise from these older adults she’s come to respect. “You all definitely don’t look like the types that all the PSAs told me would try to pressure me into doing drugs, for the record,” she says cheerfully, perhaps to help fill the room with chatter while waiting for her own dose.

She doesn’t close her eyes when it comes, but looks quite deliberately away from the needle, focusing on the corner of the room where the wall and ceiling meet. After the needle retracts, she watches the others curiously, before it seems her eyelids feel too heavy to keep up.

Apropos of nothing, she murmurs in a dreamy voice, “Ersatz is a funny word.”

Teeth chew at her bottom lip, while Kaylee watched each injection given. A hand covers her mouth as she watches the results. Every emotion she feels is the exact opposite of what those dosed with Refrain were feeling.

Kaylee was not feeling alright and she felt fucking guilty about it.

Moving to stand alongside Nicole and any of the others watching, the strain in Kaylee’s voice is evident as she speaks softly to her. “Another dead end… well… not dead… between this and the Raytech teams testing?” She blows out a sigh and looks out over the others, almost jealous of how they are probably feeling. “I dunno what we are, but… we are definitely not expressive.”

Kaylee hated this feeling.

After rounding the line of chairs to settle back into her former seat, Yi-Min takes her needle exactly as impassively as anyone might have expected her to. She barely even blinks.

But then the substance begins to work its irresistible influence on her, and…

"You never see it coming, do you?" she remarks a little too airily after a minute has elapsed, lolling her head to the side over towards Nova after hearing that lighthearted quip. A sheen of euphoria glazes over her dark eyes, eclipsing the wryness already there. Once again, her lips are pulled loose in the signature shape of one of her calm, tiny smiles. "The wonders of peer pressure. Not a dead end, Kaylee… wait. Wait, and see."

Their shared odyssey had just barely begun, after all. It's also literally a first for her, rendering it all the more personally provocative. Without her ability present to act as a custodian over her body, washing out intruding toxins like a merciless ocean, drugs of any kind represent to her a whole world unexplored.

Nicole loops an arm around Kaylee and gives her a brief, reassuring squeeze. “An answer we don’t like is still an answer,” she reminds her in a gentle voice, agreeing with Yi-Min. This data is still useful. But Zachery was right, seems everyone’s having a good time except for them. Now she crosses her arms under her chest and watches with a certain impassivity.

“We have other avenues we can explore.” Her blue gaze drifts to Yi-Min then, settling on her a moment before Nicole lets it move along to the others in turn. She lingers on Nova a bit longer, concerned for the younger woman’s well-being. But of all the places to try drugs, this is probably the best controlled environment a person could hope for.

"Yea, so try to forget how good it feels," Isa's own voice is far off, like she's in a dream but it's directed at Asi. Her fingertips twitch every so often and her eyes roll in the back of her head before refocusing on the ceiling. This wasn't her first experience with drugs in general, but it was her first experience with drugs while not Expressive.

There's a sensation she's supposed to feel. Something special just for people like them.

For the moment Isa could care less about any of that because she feels GOOD.

Zachery for all his lack of social skills, has made short and smooth work of what needed doing. Standing once more at the table to the side, and having just dropped the last of the syringes into a bright yellow sharps disposal container he swiped from one of the on-site labs, he says flatly, in response to Isa, "Doctor Necromancer's certainly trying to forget that."

Only then does he press a palm flat against the table, reaches underneath, and pulls out a second bag. It's lugged up with a solid, glassy clunk of what's inside. After undoing the zipper across its length in one fell swoop, he retrieves a notepad and a pen, braces them against a third object in the bag, and fidgets with a fourth.

"And now, I suppose…"

FSSSshh - pop.

He lifts an opened bottle of Guinness out of the bag, and then takes it and the notebook and pen over to a Surveillance Beanbag strategically shoved into a corner of the room. Failing to find enough fucks to give for any real expression, he lets himself fall into the beanbag, and lifts the bottle to his mouth.

"Now we wait."

Mrs. Necromancer groans. “Oh, my god.”

The minutes pass without a single one of the partakers seeming to lapse into a state of refrain of memory that the drug is known for. Every last person, dazed or otherwise, remains firmly in the moment rather than slipping into a vivid reliving of previous times experienced exclusively by the SLC-Expressive.

And as such, there's no answers granted through the drug's use as to what happened to each of them.

The headrush involved with the initial injection, the lightness of body should begin to fade soon for all involved. And yet— the dizziness only increases. Asi slowly shifts her position in her chair, saying nothing to clue others into her state, but gradually balling up in her chair to keep the world from spinning. Her eyes shut and she focuses hard from keeping the sour taste of nausea off of her tongue.

It's an experience that, by twenty-five minutes into the session, becomes universal for all of those who've taken the drug. The pleasant floating sensation from before becomes something else entirely… like a trip down the river inside the Willy Wonka factory.

By some unlucky twist of fate, it's Yi-Min who hits critical mass first. The severity of the nausea becomes too much for her to bear.

For someone who has literally never had to deal with any level of nausea as a result of drinking, and who has hardly had to deal with sickness in general, this is… a thing.

"Ah. Excuse me."

That's Yi-Min's voice. It's faint. Suddenly, very weary-sounding. Rising unsteadily from her seat, she finds herself picking her way across the floor in the direction of the room's exit with precise, if increasingly lurching steps.

She never makes it there.

It all proves too much. Closing eyes that have now lost all luster, she simply surrenders the whole burden she has lost the will to manage for even a few seconds more.


All over Doctor Necromancer himself, and the beanbag where he’s curled. Luckily, most of the projectile slop misses anything actually important, including all equipment and the notepad he has taken out to write in.

It's not as though Zachery wasn't alert for something to happen — the beer he'd taken out stands, at this point, out by his side and still barely touched. If he was going to have only one, after all, he was going to make it last.

He might have imbibed quicker, if he knew it was going to have vomit in it soon.

He doesn't quite seem to realise what's happened for a second or two, until whatever nice vibes might still be happening for anyone else in this room are underlined by a slowly breathed out and steadily rising noise of discomfort and extreme levels of disgust that really ramps up by the time he finds himself standing, boths arms raised as he ends the exclamation through gritted teeth, with "—aaaaAAaAaHlright, this has been nice, wonderful, good bye!"

He turns toward the door, vomit dripping down his front, tossing the notebook toward the table without looking, and with murder in his eyes. BYE. IT'S BEEN A TIME. YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN. Except before he manages to make out, and after a well-timed slam of his palm against the door to catch himself, he throws up on that, too.

“Jesus fucking…” Kaylee covers her mouth and nose with her hand against the stench. “I… can’t stay in here. I believe Mr. Stanley is on duty tonight,” she looks at Nicole rather than what’s going on. In fact, she is laser focused on her. “I’m going to see if he has any extra containers and that absorbing stuff that is supposed to…..” She pales a bit, suddenly turns and rushes out of the room before she thinks about this too much and joins Zachery.

In fact, to prevent that from happening Kaylee’s taking the long way around out the second door away from Yi-min and Zachery.

Once the pleasurable euphoria shifts into nausea, Nova curls up into a tight ball, pulling her hood over her head and wrapping her arms around her knees, hiding her face against the tops of them. The dark cocoon seems to help — that and the fact her hearing is muted by a set of earbuds she tucked into her ears when the drifty feelings started taking hold — may as well space out to some Holst.

The position helps to slow the scent, as well, but it can’t fight against her own biology. It’s a losing battle.

Her fingers ball into fists, thumb tucked inside — one of those tips that don’t work for fighting nausea she read on Buzzfeed or something of the ilk.

Her feet tap to the music, trying to lose herself in the majestic chords of the orchestra — no one can hear it to know just how off beat she is, reactions all slowed.

It’s not enough and eventually Nova too jumps up and swiftly finds the wastebasket, dropping to her knees to toss the proverbial cookies — along with the quick dinner of Cheetos and a granola bar she’d had before heading to Raytech.

Faulkner closes his eyes… but as time goes on, the light-headedness starts to get worse. "I'm… not feeling so good," he slurs thickly —

Just as he hears the noise of Yi-Min staggering over and vomiting. All over Doctor Miller, as it happens, which he might actually get a little schadenfreude out of, were it not for how it further destabilizes his own roiling stomach.

Then Zachery tosses his cookies, then Nova. The smell of vomit is overpowering, and Isaac's roiling stomach is trying very hard to do the same, while Isaac himself tries very hard to prevent it, because he'd eaten the Ferrymen's Benedict this morning and does not want to find out what hollandaise tastes like coming back up. Instead, he rolls over and curls up into a little ball and regrets, and prays he's able to win this battle of wills with his treacherous stomach.

Nicole gasps sharply when Yi-Min loses her lunch all over Zachery, and each time the chain reaction carries. With each successive participant in the barf party, she dances back a step, eyes wide and horrified, hand over her mouth and nose to try and filter out the smell.

She doubles over as her stomach lurches. Memories of morning sickness not far enough in the past have come back to haunt her. “Oh, god.” Nicole darts a glance up to her husband — “Sorry, honey!” — turns on her immaculate designer heel, and flees the room in the same direction which Kaylee left.

"It's fine, we're all fine." Waving off the adverse effects as her body breaks out in sweats and she blinks and roars with laughter as Zachery is puked on and as she clutches her stomach, a familiar feeling travels upwards and Isa's eyes bulge:

"Oh fuck-"

The engineer covers her mouth and gags before turning over and vomiting into a nearby waste bin. "That's new."

After that first round of puking has happened, the door that Kaylee and Nicole fled through opens again. Kaylee’s familiar and very apologetic voice can be heard. “After you, Mr. Stanley. And.. again… I’m so sorry,” Kaylee sounds rather pained about what she’s about to subject him too.

Preceding Kaylee into the room, with an arm full of trash bins, is a man who looks far too old to be working still with his hunched shoulders and bushy white mustache and thinning hair, he’s chuckling like her concern is unnecessary.
At least until he steps into the room.

That’s when his jovial, grandfatherly smile falters at the sight. “Oh…” Adjusting a small stack of buckets into one arm, he shifts his large wire-framed glasses up higher on his nose. “Oh dear… You weren’t exaggerating were you, young lady.” He tsks softly at the mess and motions Kaylee along with her burden of large containers of absorbent material made just for moments like this. “Come along… come along. Lucky for you this isn’t my first rodeo,” he says with a rough chuckle. “Trust me when I say, I’ve been a janitor my whole life and this isn’t even the worst I’ve seen.” He gives his boss’ arm a comforting pat.

Mr. Stanley shuffles further into the room with a small stack of trash bins probably collected from other rooms along the way still with their liners - a stray bit of research crumbled in the bottom in this one or someone’s discarded coffee cup in that one.

To be fair they were in a hurry.

“This one has the right idea….” The old man gives a small pat to the top of Nova’s head, before motioning to Kaylee for a trade. “Here, you pass these out and I’ll start working on the mess. It’s a good thing we keep so much of it around and I thought they were crazy when they showed me.”

Mr. Stanley gives another amused chuckle as he carries the bottles towards Yi-min and Zachery. “Now don’t you worry about this…” He gives the mess a dismissive wave. “The stories I could tell about my time at your ages. Wooo. Been a time or two I lost my lunch over a binge or two. More so, I lost my sense of smell after so many years of being a janitor.”

Kaylee busies herself passing out other bins to those that don’t have one, making sure to skirt most of the mess, though she tries very hard not to look directly at anything or think about the smell… because, unfortunately, her sense of smell is still well intact.

Meanwhile, not at all bothered by Zachery’s appearance, Mr. Stanley gives him a sympathetic pat on the shoulder and points towards the door, “You know… just down the hall is the janitor’s office, got a whole mess of lost and found. Go crazy and see what fits, wouldn’t want you to go home to the missus looking like that.” Little does the old man know she’d just been in the room with them and fled passed the pair a little earlier, when he offers some friendly advice, “Trust me when I tell you, not all wives are understanding when you go out for drinks and a few lines with the gang.”

Thank god for Kaylee's foresight in grabbing the janitor. That makes this comparatively less messy than it could be.

Asi sticks to her chair in a ball for as long as she possibly can, fighting down the urge to get sick. She's not vomited since her twenties— that she knows of— and she's not keen on breaking that streak. But as soon as she thinks she's got herself under control, lifting her head from between her knees, she catches scent to pair with how her head swims. And then she's grabbing the lined bin that was left next to her extra gratefully.

Wiping her eyes, she looks across the room and realizes every last one of them is dealing with this, and her stomach twists all over again.

This was not normal.

"Nausea… isn't supposed to be an after-effect." Asi had tried hard to prepare herself for the potential after-effects for both an SLC-N and SLC-E experience, and neither had included this symptom. Certainly not to the point of vomiting.

Now that she's getting it out of her system, she has a dull pain beginning to form at the back of her head. Her eyes are sensitive to light. It's all the signs of an encroaching and terrible hangover, she thinks.

And that's not normal, either.

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