colette_icon.gif eileen_icon.gif elaine_icon.gif francois_icon.gif jaiden_icon.gif kaylee2_icon.gif hiro_icon.gif monica_icon.gif rhys_icon.gif

Scene Title Origami
Synopsis The first of the Crane bearers are brought together to discuss what they are destined to have already done.
Date September 10, 2010

Manhattan: Jittetsu Arms

Jittetsu Arms resembles so many buildings that were left untouched since the devastation of 2006. Or at least, this is the case outwardly, almost difficult to find in the crowded street — crowded only with its accordion crush of buildings, that is, with close to zero people navigating this particular street. More to do with the amount of blank and empty faces of closed businesses, perhaps, than actual recognisable damage from the Bomb, but the powerful effects of economy and abandonment spread wider than just Ground Zero.

But the door is open, and warm air kicks its way inside to shake the dust.

The swords dealership and repair store does nothing of the kind these days, with any merchandise and display items lifted from cases and shelving, stripped bare by previous owners and looters alike. Spiderweb cracks make icy lines across the windows of the store, and dust settles in a fine layer over practically everything — if not everything, the evidence of life clear in accidentally brushes of curious hands on the surface of the desk or the door frame, and footprints that lead towards a cracked open door that must lead into a further back room. Otherwise, there is an untouched quality to the store itself that tells only of passing by.

Expansive, is the backroom, with high windows that leak in late afternoon light as opposed to any electrical methods of illumination. It plays shards of it down into the wide, mostly empty room, but signs of life show in a few touches. A dressing screen stands half folded, with the grey and blue patterns of The Great Wave off Kanagawa patterned onto its texture, half obscuring a clothing rack dripping with metal-creaking amounts of assorted clothing for a young man, some wrapped like corpses in plastic for protection.

But then there's the string web, and it stretches from all corners, made to measure time and attempting to measure so much of it. It's nonsensical to the untrained eye, with newspaper clippings, photographs, pinned and pegged to various intersections, weighing down twine, fishing line, yarn and brown string, some winding together, some simply cutting through independently from one corner to the next.

Also notable— there doesn't appear to be anyone home.

Monica has been perched across the street, watching the doorway to the former sword seller, watching and waiting. However, now that she's made her way down, in the front door and into that back room… she's taking a moment to stare at that web. Oh, if only Cardinal was here. She isn't touching it, but oh she's looking it over. Liberally.

"Holy… moly," ends up being her only comment. And very mild, considering.

Appearances of abandonment are, of course, deceiving. The last fifteen minutes have belonged to a ghost ducking and weaving between threads of yarn, lengths of string and cords of twine from which hang the clippings and photographs of past, present and future. One old newspaper article describing the murder of a police officer in Nevada sways back and forth, disturbed by something that had gone unseen moments prior.

"What the hell is this?" is suddenly and sharply offered to the air following Monica's arrival as a young woman's voice joins an atristic impression of light fading into view. Colette Nichols manifests as swirls of color without value bleeding together as if she were being painted in watercolor into the environment. As shades of light and dark begin to be applied to define her darkly-dressed frame, the wiry young woman offers a point of an accusing finger to Monica.

"What the hell is all this about!?" Mis-matched eyes — one green and one milky-white and blinded stare back at the older woman. Booted feet clomp across the floor and Colette ducks under one of the strings, disturbing a childish sketch of someone with an eyepatch and a shotgun. "Did you send me that message? Do you think this is some sort of joke!?"

Colette is quite literally barking up the wrong tree.

After a tucking a note under a certain door, Kaylee Thatcher had met up with her fellow Ferrymen, Jaiden. Since both of them knew they had those little paper cranes it was only natural they arrived at the meeting place together. Of course, Jaiden was in charge of transportation and Kaylee was along for the ride. "I… love that car." A small chuckle escapes her as grins at the man with her, "I am.. jealous totally jealous."

As Kaylee steps into that room, anything about the car is swept away, as she finds those strings, blonde brows lift high on her head. "Wow." She says softly to her companion. Spotting others there, she glances at Jaiden and jerks her head in at direction. "Seems we are not the only ones."

Arms wrap around herself as she moves in deeper, eyes roaming the strings. "This is so… cool." Fingers brush loose strands of hair from a hastily done braid, behind her ear. "Obviously someone with too much time on their hands, but still. It's… impressive as hell." There is appreciation clear on her features, head shaking slowly.

Of course, her admiration of the web is interrupted by a familiar voice. Turning she focuses her attention to Colette and her accusations. "Whoa! Colette! Hey… it's not her." Kaylee is pretty damn sure of this. She leaves Jaiden behind to intercept, it's a little slower going thanks to having to duck, dodge and weave around strings. Last thing she needs it to be clothes-lined.

Elaine's paper crane has found itself gingerly tucked into her pocket like a prized possession. No, can't lose that. The journey to the store itself had made her uncomfortable, but the sight of the open door gives her the courage to head inside…. and then she hears voices, at least one of which sounds vaguely familiar. Cautiously, she creeps towards the back room and stops in the doorway. She takes a moment to stare at what a tangled web was woven before she studies the other figures, rubbing the back of her neck nervously. "Uh…" Elaine, master of many languages, can't quite come up with any words at the moment.

The Australian lets out a low whistle at the sight of the place, at the strings going here and there with clippings and papers and the like, stepping closer, bending to peer at one of the articles while keeping an eye on the girl with the shotgun. A bag is slung over his shoulder, bulging with +things+ that he may need, a few clanks and creaks as he moves, his hands going out, fingers flexing. At the first sign of shotgun-usage, something may happen.

"When someone can control time, the amount required to do things is remarkably different than our perception of it."

"Whoa, whoa! Don't… mess up the strings, don't you know what this is?" Monica frets! Just a little. But possibly over the wrong thing, seeing as how she's being accused. When others start to arrive, she looks over that way, nodding to her defense. "Yeah, I didn't send them. I got one, though. I just… like to be early."

She blinks, though, as she spots Jaiden, and straightens up a little. "Jaiden, hey." She looks him over a bit, like she's expecting him to be hurt or something, but then… he looks okay. So she just furrows her brow a little. Hmm.

Monica's question has Colette tensing, looking up over her shoulder at the web with a squint, then towards the blonder of the new arrivals, her expression immediately softening on recognizing her old friend.

Jaiden and Kaylee are the least likely people Colette expected to see here, though her attention only briefly dashes to them before squaring on Monica again. One black brow arches slowly as Colette creeps towards the woman she'd been snapping sharply at before. There's silence now, silence and scrutiny, but then just a huffed snort as Colette turns around and offers a look towards Kaylee and Jaiden more closely. "Why're— " she softens her tone, eyes closing as she realizes how harsh she's being. "Why're you both here?"

It's only then that a certain ginger happens into view behind Kaylee and Jaiden's silhouettes. Colette's eyes widen a touch and her expression twists into something even more confused and even less agitated. "Wh— " the words are stolen from her by lack of anything to properly string them to. Instead, she reaches down into the right pocket of her scuffed up leather pants, pulling out a crumpled, then folded piece of paper. It doesn't look like a crane anymore.

"Did… did you all get this?" As she asks the question, Colette reveals a photocopied picture of Sable, but not as she is now. The photocopy looks to have been made of a candid, showing Sable seated cross-legged on a rooftop with her guitar laid out in her lap, legs folded.

Below the photograph is handwritten She Needs Your Help.

Colette's expression looks more pleading than it does angry now.

Jaiden slides his pack off his shoulder and rests it against one of the counters in a relatively dust-free area, the man rolling his shoulders as the weight is removed. "Not with that person's picture." He crouches down and rummages through the pack for a folder and, after a moment, a well-folded sheet of paper is removed and revealed. His picture is of Elizabeth, taken from some public place and photocopied - rather cheaply - with the same declaration. She will need you.

She has needed you.

"I think I'm going to play things a little close to the vest until whoever set this little meeting up makes an appearance…."

Reaching into her back pocket, Kaylee pulls out her own roughed up little paper crane, giving her a lopsided smile. "Yeah… I think we did." Finally, the telepath looks comfortable enough to open her own, long fingers pulling apart the bits. She glances at the face, before Kaylee turns it to Colette.

On it is a face familiar to any of the Ferrymen, Lynette stares back from the stark white surface. Slowly she shows it to the others. "I… I think I knew who sent them. I've… " She focuses on Colette with a sheepish look. "I've worked with him recently." Of course, she glazes completely over the fact that her own father said not to trust the guy.

Glancing back at Jaiden, she nods at him, "After talking to Jaiden here I feel more confident it is." Eyes drift to the paper, before she gives a little shrug. "And it… just makes sense to me."

Elaine's eyes widen as she looks at Colette's crumpled crane. Her own is carefully pulled from her pocket, unfolded, and revealed to have the same thing: a picture of Sable. She peers over at Kaylee, though, blinking. Well, that one's not the same. "… what exactly is this?" She looks confused.

"Well, there's only one person that can do the time strings like this, I mean, come on, she says with a gesture back toward the web. For Monica, the origami didn't give it away, but this does.

As others start to unfold their cranes, Monica pulls hers out, which also doesn't resemble the bird anymore, and she unfolds it, looking at it a moment before she shows it to the others. Hers has a picture of none other than Jaiden, with the familiar words promising that he needs her. Or has. And has? Time travel is confusing. "You're not in any peril just now, are you, Jaiden?" she asks with a bit of a crooked, and just a little awkward, smile.

Elaine revelation of having the same photograph as Colette dashes the girl's ideas on hypothetical rocks. Shakily folding the crumpled piece of paper she holds closed, her attention moves expectanty over to the one unfamiliar face in the crowd. "Who're you?" Turning towards Monica, Colette tucks her paper into one back pocket, then looks askance to Kaylee and Jaiden, then Elaine, then back to Monica again. "'Cause if this was about people from the Ferry it'd make sense, but I ain't got any idea who you are."

Colette's boots make soft report on the concrete floor as she steps around Monica, looking her up and down with that half-blind stare. "If you know who's sending shit like this, I'd really like t'know." The awkward swallow that Colette makes after she speaks shows her nervousness. She's trying to be a harder person than she really is, but this situation has her thrown entirely off balance.

"Is this a Ferry thing?" Colette asks over her shoulder to Kaylee, "do you know who this is?" A nod of the teen's head indicates Monica. But through all of this, Colette has seemingly forgotten that Elaine isn't exactly a member of the Ferrymen, she's just surrounded by other members and seemingly been drawn in via osmosis or something of the sort.

"Well, Monica. Sort of. Yes. We all are, I think, if the story I got last night is any indication." Jaiden glances to Kaylee briefly, scanning the rest of the room for others before speaking again. "But before I get into that, could whoever summoned us here please make an appearance? We're on time, and it's kind of silly for someone who can tinker with time to be late to a bloody meeting."

One of the last to arrive, a woman in an asymmetrical red dress with a sash that ties at the front hangs back, a pale hand curled at the hollow of her throat. A lightweight brown jacket made of rich silk dupioni with a wide collar, lapels and three-quarter sleeves softens the brighter shade of the fabric worn beneath it and compliments the matching leather flats on her feet, which creak over the floorboards when she adopts a position close to the doorway and feels her shoulder brush against its wooden frame.

The little bird perched there sports a sharp crest, and although the majority its feathers are a drab colour similar to the jacket its feet are hooked into, their brown tones are illuminated by warm red accents on its wings and tail, pointed straight down. Female cardinals aren't nearly as flashy as their scarlet counterparts, and neither is Eileen.

She holds her paper crane between the tips of her fingers. "Am I the only one who wasn't given a picture?" she asks, because make no mistake: she nor her companion are responsible for the summons that have brought them all together.

Francois did not get a picture either — or even a crane, as he follows Eileen into the wide room. A couple of those more Ferry-related may fleetingly recognise him as one of their medical contacts within the network, more prominently seen around the virus times to play nursemaid to those afflicted, and then recently to play surgeon for those who needed it in the wake of the disastrous Institution raid. Kaylee will remember him better than he does her, which is not at all, and she saw to that well enough — he fills out his frame better since 1945, clean and healthy, save for scars that track across his throat and take a bite-sized piece out of his left ear.

But his eyes are clear of any fever, his dress sense modern, and out of the past sixty five years, he's only aged a handful. His hands are also free of cranes, uninvited save for the girl he moves with, hands tucked into his pockets.

There is some surprise at the size of this little group, searching for some sort of leader and order amongst them, but there is none.

The blonde telepath looks about ready to answer Colette when Eileen arrives, brows furrow a little. She starts to say something, but when blue eyes shift over to Eileen's companion, Kaylee is shocked into silence. Eyes widen slightly with surprise, but then she realizes she's staring and looks away quickly, instead fiddling with putting the crane back together again.

"I met a man named Hiro Nakamura recently" Kaylee says finally. "Told Eileen and Jaiden about it." She glances at the two people there, before her gaze drifts back to Francois again. "Um…" It's distracting with him there admittedly. "Anyhow, I think that's who sent these." Holding up her half re-folded crane. "And… I would guess he did this too." Her hand waving around her a bit. "Not… sure what he wants us to see tho." her eyes going to the closest of items on the thread.

Elaine's crane is carefully folded back again, tucked safely into her pocket with just a little less care than before. Now she's really frowning. "I'm not even in Ferry…" She mutters to herself, though the name catches her attention. "Hiro Nakamura? Magnes mentioned him once, I think…"

Putting her crane away, too, Monica glances to the newcomers and shakes her head a bit. "I'm not Ferry, either. I'm not sure what this is. But I'm pretty sure this timeline is Hiro's." She turns to give a little wave to… well, everyone, noting, "I'm Monica, by the way. Since I seem to be the odd man out here…"

But her attention turns to the web, carefully looking over it to see if she can spot a copy of her picture of Jaiden hanging somewhere among the strings. She may not be the leader, and isn't trying to be, but in the absence of their host, she's not just going to wait around for answers.

Frowning as she hears the small voice with which Elaine is speaking, Colette looks down to the floor, then up and over to Eileen and Francois, seeming a bit reinforced by the presence of one of the Ferry's council here now. It's less likely to be some sort of cruel joke at Colette's expense, and if it's at Eileen's expense, Colette at least rests a little bit better assured that eyes will be pecked out and justice will be meted out with them.

Or at least, that's how it goes in her head. Hi Kaylee.

"Sorry," Colette brusquely offers to Monica, looking away from Francois and Eileen and over to Elaine. The brunette teen slips away from Monica, ducking under several criss-crossing strings, one of them an old black and white photograph showing World War I era German soldiers standing in rank and file together beside a Jeep, it sways back and forth on the black and gray twinned strings its tied to when her head bumps into it.

Colette offers a wary look to Kaylee before slipping past her and Jaiden, making her way to Elaine. "Hey, it's alright. Don't— don't worry about it, okay?" One small hand comes out to lay on Elaine's shoulder, and Colette turns back towards the others, her free hand sweeping the hood of her black sweatshirt from her head. "I dunno who this Chinese guy is you keep talkin' about, so why would he leave me some message about Sable?"

More importantly, Colette amends, "Why Lynette too?" There's a look to Kaylee when the question is raised, followed by attention settling on Francois. "Who were you told about, Eileen? How— why would anyone do this?"

"The guy I talked to - a kid, really, named Rhys, mentioned Hiro Nakamura as well. Said he was in insurance, but I bet that was a little bit of glossing over what the future holds." Jaiden's bit of paper is folded in quarters and tucked into the breast pocket of his shirt, giving Eileen (and her passenger) a small smile and a nod before continuing.

"The way it was explained to me was that Hiro wanted me to have this. Wanted all of us to have these." His voice raises a little, glancing from face to face. "He had some trouble putting it into words, but from what I gathered in our conversation, someone is messing with the timeline in the past. I only know a little of my part…" He coughs, a droplet of water condensing out of the air like a glimmering jewel, the man reaching out to take it and popping into his mouth like a candy, quenching his throat. "I've apparently gone back at some point to save Elisabeth - the woman in my picture - and got someone's ire up and now I'm apparently a target as well. Was kind of hoping whoever got my picture was going to show up tonight but…guess not."

"I wasn't told about anyone," says Eileen, and it's not entirely a lie. Her crane contains no message apart from the address and time unless she counts the manner in which it was delivered.

The rational part of her does. Her cardinal's eyes flick to the photograph set swinging by the air Colette displaced when she ducked under it, and the Englishwoman's lips crease into a slight frown. If she and Francois were alone in the room, she'd likely be gravitating toward it to remove it from the string, but with so many people watching she opts to remain where she is instead, chin inclined in an attempt to draw the Frenchman's attention to it if he hasn't already noticed.

Wings make a sound like rustling paper when the cardinal hops off Eileen's shoulder and flutters across the room to alight on the string that the photograph is attached to as if staking a claim. In a way, she is.

The name Hiro Nakamura spreads a smile, now, across Francois' pale features. He knew it~, fucking knew it~, would be what he would say if he was in any way inclined to. But being something of a guest, here— the invitation did not explicitly mentioned 'plus one', after all— he remains somewhat silent as he steps further into the room, gaze lingering on Colette's face, and then Jaiden's — likely due to what Elisabeth had mentioned to him.

If he was going to impart any insight, he never gets a chance.

With as much unassuming chance as a dying leaf breaking off the twig of a tree, as so many will do over the coming months, Hiro Nakamura appears amongst the strings in a soundless and abrupt magic act of teleportation.

He is not a remarkable looking man, on the short and round side of the spectrum, though his expression is pensively set in features that seem otherwise more suitable to be soft and gentle. His dark hair is pulled into a severe warrior's tail that's tied at the nape of his neck, and his wardrobe basically seems to be made up of differing shades of black and heavier greys. He also happens to have a sword strapped to his back, its decorative hilt jutting from beyond his shoulder and blade sheathed from sight.

A blink, at the sight of all these people. The time traveler checks his watch, and his frown deepens.

He's late.

"Sorry," he says, without particularly sounding it, those syllables weighed with the accent of his homeland. From face to face, his gaze searches, approval clear until he finds Francois standing by Eileen, neither approval nor disapproval clear on his expression, just neutral surprise and non-surprise to see him. It's Francois that shifts his stare away first, checking on Eileen's profile, and Hiro takes in the group once more, and takes a step to the left, close enough that a red thread of yarn, strung tightly, nearly touches his cheek, slicing beneath his eye, though he seems very aware of every angle of the map he's created.

He ducks beneath it, hilt of his sword only just avoiding getting tangled, coming to stand more towards the centre of the room. "Thank you for coming. I am sure you have questions, and I will have some answers. But not all."

Once the paper is folded the crane is tucked back in her pocket, the mental voice has Kaylee looking to Colette. Hi Colette. Gentle tones, with remembered fondness, touching the younger girls mind, before it's gone again.

The photo set swinging draws Kaylee's eye, brows furrowing a little, only getting distracted when the cardinal lands near it and then again when Hiro shows up.

Turning her back to the photo, Kaylee watches the time traveler with open curiosity, offering a small smile in the brief moment of eye contact. When he looks, her own eyes cutting over to Francois, as well, lower lip snagged back her teeth and held there.

Slowly, the telepath inches her way towards the small samurai with a glance here or there as she passes this thing or that swinging from the string. "This is impressive work." It's offered honestly, Kaylee's never have the patience to do a thousand plus, regular puzzle, so this is… insanity.

A hell of a trick. First no-one is there, and then someone's there. Jaiden turns his full attention to the newly-appeared Japanese man, tucking his hands into his pockets and looking at the picture closest to him, looking to Monica - the one who had his picture, as far as he could tell - before flicking his gaze from picture to newspaper clipping to picture, looking for _anything_ that he might recognize. Any face, any name, any place.

"You know…" Jaiden murmurs, "I was thinking how I'd need a flow chart to keep this stuff straight…and here we are in the middle of one." There's a half-grin as the corner of Jaiden's mouth turns up, the man deferring to the others before asking the questions swirling around in his head.

Seeing Hiro show up… well, first it makes Monica stand up straight from the part of the web she's been looking at, like a kid caught in the cookie jar. But then, there's a sort of sheepishness about her, since the last time she saw Hiro, was for a meeting about Helena's rescue mission that… Monica skipped out on when she left New York and headed back to New Orleans. She might still feel a little guilty about that.

"About a million questions," Monica says with a bit of a chuckle and a little shrug. "Like… What's all this about?" she asks, gesturing with her folded bit of former-origami.

Blank stare. Brow twitch. Aborted attempt at speech. Colette's lips part and her mouth opens, her jaw works but no voice really comes out. Were it not for the sudden emergence of a man with a sword Colette looked primed to storm right out of Jittetsu at the mention of time travel. She's willing to entertain a certain amount of fantasy in her world, all things considered, but the idea of someone leap-frogging through time and sending cryptic messages pushes her suspension of disbelief towards different ends of the spectrum.

Teleporting, sword-wielding, late arrivals seem to have at least made her hesitate. But that no one is asking the obvious question has Colette bristling. Her hand at Elaine's shoulder curls fingers towards the soft fabric of her shirt unintentionally, and through the web of strings Colette practically demands, "Why haven't you stopped the bomb?" It's the question anyone wounded by the worst event in history would reflexively ask.

"If— if you're a time traveler why— why do our lives still suck!? Why are we here, why— why're we running from the government— why haven't you fixed everything yet!?" That she's shouting is an indication of both emotional stress fractures finally snapping under pressure and the sheer mind-boggling nature of what's going on here.

That there's a hand touching Colette's shoulder doesn't quite calm the girl down, but it does distract her as she wheels away from the hand. There in Colette's periphery, having come in while Hiro was talking, a young teenaged boy looks about as motly as the rest of this particular crew. "That isn't exactly fair," offers the rosy-cheeked teen as his hand — now hanging awkwardly in the air where Colette's shoulder was — slowly lowers.

Wary mis-matched eyes regard the boy, one that Jaiden recognizes as Rhys Bluthner. The peppermint green sweatervest worn over a chocolately colored button-down shirt and complimentary earth-toned slacks give Rhys a colorful silhouette in Colette's field of view. "I'm— sorry I'm late," Rhys offers apologetically to the room, "I was caught on a bus in Chelsea, I'm not sure what Hiro's excuse is." All tongue-in-cheek, though only partially dismissing Colette's simmering frustration.

Whatever questions Eileen has, they can either wait until Hiro has answered the ones that the others have put forth, or someone else has already asked them for her. The cardinal follows his movements through the room with a swivel of its small head, black eyes glittering with something like mirth, but snaps in Rhys' direction when the youth makes his appearance.

What catches Jaiden's eye perhaps only thirty seconds of searching, is a newspaper clipping pegged to brown twine. It is very possible that he is not the only man from New South Wales in the city — but he's probably the only one in the room. The scrape of photocopied newspaper has EARTHQUAKE in the heading, and dates itself as the 28th of November, some piercing summer where the earth shook once, and a collapsed building— not one he recognises, necessarily— is photographed in grainy detail.

Hiro isn't watching the web. He watches Monica, first, then Colette, and then finally Rhys, whose gentle jab only goes blinked at. "I missed," is his unreassuring reassurance, his hands in fists at his side, his shoulders at a tense horizon, but otherwise seems to be very collected, and quite calm.

Especially in the face of abuse, though it took its toll in the turn of his frown. "Those are not questions I can answer," he tells Colette, impassive. "Not today." A glance around indicates that this meeting holds purpose, and that his failings are not it.

His attention settles on Monica, and then the group at large in a half turn to take them all in. "Someone with an ability like my own," he starts, "is attempting to undo history. I do not know who and I do not know why," is quickly added, before anyone can ask him that, "but this is the beginning of stopping this unravelling. The people whose identities I have sent you," and a briefly apologetic glance to Eileen, as she remains an exception to this generality, "are being put in a different course than the river they have traveled to this day.

"I need help. I have been informed," a glance to Rhys, now, "that it is your destiny to do so."

Always prepared, Jaiden takes out his notepad and pencil and jots down the information - the wheres, whens, and whos, as near as he can figure, before his attention is back on the Time-Lord Ninja-type. If he has time, he'll write down information on Elisabeth if he can find it, but honestly, he thinks that Rhys's information given the previous afternoon is about it as far as preconceptions go.

The notepad is folded over and tucked into his back pocket, the backpack lifted from the floor to the counter - ready to be shouldered at a moment's notice. "I'm not the type who just stands around and hopes for the best. I'm what you call a proactive person. When friends of mine are threatened…and apparently me, too…" Jaiden fingers the paper dangling with EARTHQUAKE written on it. "I don't take that very kindly. The question I have is simple….are we going to go back and put the people on the right rivers, as you put it, just to have whoever it is with your powers go back and mess it up again, or will people be working to hunt that person down too - to keep him from unravelling the spiderweb we're having to rebuild?"

There is a grimace from Kaylee at the rant from the photokinetic, a guilty look is sent Colette's way, before they drop to the floor, even with the appearance of Rhys. Fingers play along the collar of the black long sleeved t-shirt she's wearing, knuckles brushing against her neck.

"So more then just…" Kaylee starts before she catches herself, a glance going to Francois before she looks between Rhys and Hiro. Instead of finishing that question, she shifts her focus somewhat. "Have you figured out who the time traveler is yet, or…" There is a slight hesitation, her eyes flashing a bit of nervousness. A quick head duck moving under another string to covers the brief look. "…or the woman with whoever it is?"

The outburst from Colette is enough to cause a small frown from Elaine. The bomb was something she'd wished over and over didn't happen over the last few years, but her own protest would not have been so vocal: instead it comes in the form of a furrowed brow and a slight tugging on her lower lip between her teeth. She glances from Colette to Hiro, however, her eyes widening. "Undo history?" Suddenly Elaine's a lot more panicked. She looks to Colette, mostly because she was the other person with Sable's picture. "Something's… going to happen to Sable? Or already happened, I guess, if you're putting it like that. How are we supposed to jut fix something like that?" She wipes sweaty palms nervously on her pants.

Mis-matched eyes glare across at Monica, fiercely defending her position in this. Were it not for Elaine's more grounded worry keeping her head out of the clouds and keeping her claws where they belong, Colette might have wasted this entire meeting by running off or launching into some ill-conceived tirade. Instead, the brunette teen looks to the redhead and offers an apologetic expression, stepping over to Elaine and resting a hand at the center of her back.

"Sable's fine," Colette says with a soft reassurance, "she— she was in her apartment when I left earlier today. Ain't nothin' happened to her," the teen murmurs, turning a mis-matched stare to Hiro, then to Rhys. "How— how can somebody be changin' something in the past, wouldn't it already have happened? I mean, that everything's okay means that we're fine, right? We won, fantastic, what— whatever?" She's still reeling from the very abrupt revelation that time travel is a reality.

"It's not that simple, Colette." Rhys' tone is as apologetic as Colette's had been to Elaine, though for wholly different reasons. That Colette flashes the boy a warning look isn't quite warranted. "I— I think all of you could probably benefit from hearing this and having a better understanding of it. Time… isn't an experience of cause and effect, not exactly like most people expect it to be. I mean— it— " The teen spreads his hands apart, playing with an imaginary string of thread demonstratively. "Things have already happened, to an extent, but our perceptions of how they happened affect a lot of things. It's hard to really explain in any good way, because— well, like I told Jaiden last night, it's like explaining to someone how to sneeze, I just— get it."

Rhys looks down at his feet, then over to the string web. "This is sort've a demonstration of what I see, something Hiro was working on before we met. My— my name is Rhys, by the by, Rhys Bluthner and I'm a postcognitive." Spoken as if this were an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. "Hiro and I sort've got tangled up in each other's strings," he notes a bit cheekily, "because of what I can do, what he's done, and what I've seen. I— I see the past, most of the time I see it all at once. It's hard to, um, to put myself into a proper frame of mind most of the time, but I'm doing my best right now for you all, so— so I apologize if I'm a bit scattered all over the place."

As Rhys explains what he can do and how he does it, Colette's eyes grow wide and her breath hitches in the back of her throat. Tamara's name isn't said, but it is a breathless whisper on her lips. That her hand is squeezing Elaine's shoulder a little more firmly than before is testament to how nervous Colette herself is in the presence of the sybil's mirror.

"I see the choices people make, the things they do and how it relates to where they are in the present. I've— I've seen you all in the past, presumably because Hiro here sends you there," and Rhys makes a subtle nod towards the swordsman as he says that point. "I don't know if it's predestination or— to be honest I can't put to words how it works, I just know what I've seen. To be frank, people you know and people you may care about, or people that have strong affected your lives… they're being targeted by an unknown man moving thorugh history, trying to…" there's a look to Colette, "to change the future."

Looking to Hiro, Rhys takes a step around one corner of the string web, ducking beneath a series of strands. "I first noticed the ripples of this man's work back in 1900, what he's trying to do, it's— he's trying to divert the stream of time by throwing a mountain on top of it. Whatever he's doing, he wants to change history so drastically— so massively— that this future just…" Rhys snaps his fingers. "Stops existing. All of you, all of us. Gone. Like we never existed at all… and it's starting with some of these people. Maybe because of what they've done in the past, maybe because of something they will do. I— We just don't know."

Plucking something off of the strings, Rhys holds up a sheet of paper with a cartoonish sketch of a woman with long black hair and an eyepatch holding a shotgun, her face sort've looks like:

"This is the only person I've been able to see accurately, because she happened to show up in 1945 when Hiro and Kaylee went to go back and fix a few uh, speedbumps." That's a delicate way of putting it. "She's an assassin, or— I mean that's what she's been doing. We don't know her name, only that she's fast enough and quick enough with reflexes to be able to be able to go toe to toe with Hiro here and give him a run for his money. It doesn't hurt that she has someone who can bend time and space working for her too. I've nicknamed her Sourpuss."

To which Rhys points to a Sharpie marker name he's scribbled on the bottom corner of the page. See? Sourpuss.

Eileen arches one dark brow at Rhys' explanation, but there's no skepticism written in the lines on her face or the shape of her mouth, rueful and red. This is not the first time that time-travelers have driven a wedge between her and what she's trying to achieve in the present, and while she might not be surprised to hear with Hiro and the teen are saying, she certainly isn't pleased.

The cardinal gives an irate flick of its wings and sends a visible tremor rippling through the string it's perched on, though it isn't enough to dislodge any of the affixed photographs. "Exactly how far back are you asking us to go?"

"Far enough," Hiro tells Eileen, without actually looking towards her — or at least, not her human shape, looking instead towards where the cardinal has alighted on his web, some anxiety that it might dislodge a clipping or a photograph obvious in his stare, but he doesn't shoo it away. He moves, then, towards yet another photograph — a mug shot of a younger Sable — is pinned at an intersection of strings, black yarn that is tied to fine fishing line that shoots off into indefinite, disconnected future.

He touches this intersection with a finger tip. "Your friend will live," he tells Elaine, and then Colette. "If you do nothing. But not in the way you would expect. What it will alter is not something we can foresee for virtue of having stopped it." There is a tick of mirth at the corner of his mouth as he adds, "I think you did well."

He's starting to talk like Rhys, now. Or Tamara. Or some mix of both. He nods to Jaiden, then. "They may try. As they have tried with you," he glances to Monica, back to Jaiden, "but they are limited with their knowledge as we are limited in other ways also.

"They have numbers. The one-eyed assassin that Kaylee Thatcher and I have met before is only one of them. It is why I must not travel the rivers of time too much, or I shall lose sight of what must be done in the present to stop them completely. But for now, we have these tasks to complete, and that is why I need help. She," and he nods to Kaylee, "will use her powers to make sure that no one in the past will remember the things we do — we are in constant danger of creating ripples ourselves.

"But one person is more likely to do more damage on their own than many people fixing things, isolated from one another."

The nickname actually manages to get a laugh out of Kaylee, though fingers are quickly pressed to her lips and she gives everyone an apologetic look. The fingers come away from her mouth long enough to say, "Sorry, I just… Kinda fits," before they are places there again.

Once she knows that she's not going to give a nervous giggle, the hand drops and finger tips slide into the pocket of her jeans. There is a slow incline of Kaylee's head to Hiro as her part is pointed out. "For… those of you that don't know…" Her eyes move to Jaiden, since she's talked to him a couple of times and hasn't said a word. "…I am a telepath."

A flicker of a glance goes to Francois out of the corner of her eye, even as she seems to look at the mess of strings. "I will be blocking the memories.. or doing minor alterations as needed." There is a trill of excitement that runs through her, hands curling to into fists, where they are tucked into her jeans. Nothing really shows on the outside, Kaylee is looking forward to using her ability again, and the feeling of power behind it.

"Just… you know, so there are no surprises, when I'm asked to do so." The telepath adds with a crooked smile.

… Dr. Sam Beckett stepped into the Quantum Leap Accelerator and vanished. He awoke to find himself trapped in the past….Hmm hmm hmm…

Jaiden hums softly to himself and occasionally looks to Rhys as he monologues, nodding slightly, walking around and peering at pictures and writings and the massive interconnectivity of it all while keeping an ear open to what the dapper teen says. "I know that it's probably a question that can't be answered, but do you know what the goal is? I mean….I'm nobody right now. Getting rid of me, as far as I know from this point, in the 90's means a few stories don't get written about some hellhole dictator in a third world nation. But the potential….that's what he's wanting to snuff out. The same for all of the people that you've seen and have brought here."

There's a pause as Jaiden looks over at Kaylee, giving her a wink. "Thought your voice sounded different a few times that we've talked. Nice to know there's going to be someone else along with me." Jaiden turns to Rhys after a moment, his tone turning seriouss. "Cause and Effect is all we understand as people living in four dimensions." Length, Width, Height, Time. "The fact that we're here. That you see us in the past doing things, means that it's already happening, or happened, whether we like it or not. And I don't know about the rest of you, but letting the world crash down around my ears…or to be selfish, having myself erased from existence along with a few folk that do some good in the world?" He shakes his head in the negative. "I've got things to do. I don't want to lose any time I may have left."

Elaine's not liking the sound of this, mostly because it sounds like the world, while not ending, could end up messed up entirely. Her lip is chewed a little more blatantly as she catches sight of the picture of Sable. She does, however, grin at Rhys' drawing. Her gaze shifts back to Hiro. "How do we even know what to do, with this? I guess we know what shouldn't happen, right? Does that mean we just need to get creative?" She likes creativity, she just doesn't like the idea of fingerpainting with time.

"So you're saying… because everything's right now, we already fixed it… so whatever we end up doing back in the past… will be good enough? And hasn't broken anything important in time. Or it has, but we haven't noticed it so far." Monica does not usually think like this. She's a straight forward girl. See problem, fix problem. Find choice, make choice. Which is probably why she's already on board with all this. Perhaps it's why she was one to go back, because of her nature. Or it's her nature, because she went— well, no, because she hasn't gone yet. Or, well, she has, but she hasn't. (Sorry Kaylee).

"That's— " Rhys stops himself from entirely agreeing with Monica, lifting up one hand to wobble it back and forth in the air, "ssssort've the right idea?" One brow quirks up and despite his assertion that Monica didn't hit the nail on the head, he also doesn't have much in the line of anything constructive to offer back at her about it.

"Let's go with that for now, since I think it makes sense to everyone else, and we'll use that as a springboard point!" Excitedly clapping his hands together, Rhys moves over to stand at Hiro's side, ducking through the strings as he does. While Rhys is moving, Colette is hunching over near Elaine, looking from Rhys to the redhead and back again.

"This sounds like bullshit," Colette whispers with an askance look to Hiro and the boy, "if everything's fine then we don't need to do anything, I don't— I don't get it. Sable's fine, she's at the paartment and everything's okay… let's just go back, Elaine. I don't— I don't buy any of this. I don't like it." Keeping her voice down to a whisper, Colette looks from Elaine out to Kaylee, brows furrowed in uncertainty at the sight of the blonde in agreement and seeming cahoots with Hiro, then back to Elaine. "We'll talk to Sable and see what's up. There's— there has to be something that makes more sense than this. It just— we already did it, I don't see why we even need to be here."

Unaware of the dissention in the ranks, Rhys looks over to Hiro and folds his hands behind his back, rocking back and forth on his heels. "I think Hiro mostly explained everything. We don't know what their goal is, outside of changing history. Obviously there's something in either the present or the past they're trying to alter, but— I just— I'm not really sure, not without knowing who is leading them. The further I have to look back in time from where I presently am, the harder it is to see exact details… Until I get a closer ripple to examine, I won't know better."

Then, as if suddenly remembering Eileen had asked a question and afraid he'd ignored Hiro giving an answer, Rhys offers a stammering apology of, "O-oh you— um, about— the time distance thing?" His hands come apart slowly. "Well, at— the further back we go the more, uh, risks there are to messing things up, but— I have seen problems as far back as 1900 so far. But— this could go back even further. I— I just don't know yet. I won't know until I see more ripples."

Oh, he says, you. Eileen offers Rhys a small nod and what looks like it might be the ghost of a smile, almost imperceptible in the building's half-light. She can't hear what Colette is whispering, and neither can the cardinal — if she could, she would do more than walk the bird along the string, one tiny foot over tiny foot, mindful not to disturb Hiro's work as it inspects the photographs one at a time, searching for answers to questions she hasn't yet asked.

Largely because it isn't the time.

"There is precision," Hiro says, "of preserving a timeline. Every crane I made for you has its definite lines and folds to construct the shape that is recognisable to you. I did not create it to see what I would then create. The paper would become a crane. That was its destiny, when I began to shape it. But one crease, one fold going the wrong way, will change its shape entirely, into something that is unrecognisable. Perhaps you will have never known Elisabeth Harrison, Jaiden Mortlock, if you did not go back to rescue her. Perhaps Sable would not be your friend or even herself," and his voice is sharp and cutting, to project towards Colette and Elaine, "and you would not be able to remember a time that there was."

His sword suddenly flashes through the air, zithering through to slice the black yarn that held Sable's image. The line flutters down, leaving the thin fishing line standing, and the turn of his blade slices through a string of deep blue, and newspaper clipped of the Staten Island fire, and an image of a young Elisabeth Harrison, both collapse.

Another cuts the length of string on which rested Eileen's bird, and as it collapses, a multitude of other strings abruptly sag and disconnect. The web gapes like a spiderhome where an insect had torn free of it, although the mess doesn't perturb Hiro.

Francois curses softly next to Eileen, some mix of exasperation and annoyance in his whispered tone, suspicious regard now held for both time traveler and Kaylee, even, his spine stiff and shoulders set. He glances over the fallen photographs, but says nothing, nor moves from where he stands as Eileen's guard dog. Or seeing eye dog.

"And would the shape of the world change, mercifully in our ignorance, or can it take only so many minor changes before it collapses?" Hiro asks the group. "But I think it is important to consider, are you willing to take that chance? Tamara Brooks isn't," is more relevant to Colette and Elaine, now, directly stated. With a hiss, Hiro slides his sword back into its sheath.

"Who goes first?" he asks the room.

Do you even remember saving Sable? The tinny mental words, flit through Colette's head, even as the final string falls to the ground. If she looks, Kaylee is watching her with a raised brow. Ever seen Terminator? The other blonde brow rises to join the other in a matter of fact look. If you haven't… you should.

Stepping over to Elaine and Colette, she ducks her head down close to their ears and says ever so softly. "John Conner would never have been born, if his father didn't go back in time to save his mom and well… you know." Blue eyes move between the two woman. "You haven't gone back yet, Colette. Sable isn't helped til you go back. You don't… well… " The words trail off.

Think on that.

Straightening, Kaylee takes a step back, giving the other two room, she can't help but look at the fallen strings thoughtfully. "I'm on board." It's offered softly, considering her willingness the last time he may know she would, but mainly she says it for the rest of them. "I — have things that have happened in my life that I would have said I wanted to change once." A smile pulls at the corner of her mouth as she looks at the rest of them. "But to change that, would… possibly change what I have now and… I kinda like what is in my life and I am not sure I want it not to have existed.

"Even though my mom once told me… if you go back and change something… like having a kid, you'll never know you had that kid, so you'll never miss it." There is a slow shrug of Kaylee's shoulders. "I don't agree with her… I got it now, I don't want to mess with that." Her attention shifts to Rhys and Hiro, "So I'm going, so that it'll still be here when I get back."

"We've got to start the loop. Throw the switch. Push the first domino so the ripples start through time." Jaiden murmurs to himself, ducking a few threads, stepping over another to grab his backpack. The well-beaten military-style pack is buckled over his shoulders and around his waist. "I'll go." Jaiden says softly. "Got my bag packed and everything, too. After talking with Rhys last night I did a little accumulation of things, just in case…"

Jaiden takes in a breath or two as he moves to stand next to Kaylee, putting a hand on her shoulder, giving it a squeeze before reaching down for his cell phone to send a quick text message to a pair of someones. His thumbs fly over the screen.

To Cardinal: ~Going Back in Time. Will write letter to say hello and explain. Should arrive yeterday. ~

To Delia: Going now. Will be back.

"I don't know much about time travel, but Magnes once told me about how he went back in time with this guy named Hiro? and for all intents and purposes, I think it's the same guy. So at the very least, I think there's something going on." Elaine murmurs, keeping her voice low and paying attention to the others for the most part. As Hiro speaks, she purses her lips, trying to take it in.

"I don't get all this timeline stuff, but I'm more scared of what would happen if we don't do this. I'm not willing to risk Sable not being Sable or, worse, not knowing her at all." The redhead looks between Hiro and Colette, sucking in a deep breath. "I'd rather not lose her."

"Is there anything we should know… not to do? Not to change? I mean… like… betting on the superbowl, that kinda thing? I don't know, I never saw Back to the Future." Monica looks around at the strings, fingers tapping on her hips. But just in time to see a whole section of it collapse and she, oddly enough, looks a bit upset. And tries really hard to commit the rest to memory, just in case. Nooo.

But while Hiro asks the all important question, Monica has one of her own. And she looks over to the master of time and space to do just that. "Hiro? Are we… allowed to ask about November? About the eighth?" Yes, her attention has strayed from the topic at hand. Just a little. A smidge. "I mean… not necessarily… right now, but assuming we make it back from all this…?" Oh, she has got the saddest doe eyes about it, too.

For all that Elaine and Kaylee have put Colette's focus on the possibilities that this really is necessary, for all that Hiro's invocation of the name Tamara Brooks has put the swordsman in her half-blinded focus, Monica Dawson somehow manages to break every single thread of concentration that Colette could possible have by mentioning the one thing that the teenager had been overlooking in the discussion of time travel being real: The future.

Her eyes go wide again, attention flicks to Elaine, then up to Hiro and then Monica. How did I not think to ask about— I'm going to— they can't— he has to stop— Colette's mind is awash with too loud psychic commentary battern off of Kaylee's mental observations of the young girl's mind. It's been so long since they've really spent time together that she'd almost forgotten how loud Colette's psyche is.

"You're not," suddenly pulls all the wind out of those sails as Rhys answers Monica's question. "Mostly— because that hasn't happened yet. I don't know much about the future, to be honest, though I do know a girl who does, she's already given as much help as she can." Rhys' stare flicks to Colette for a moment, then back to Monica. "I'm sorry, I just— I don't know what causes all of that. I know how the visions came about, vaguely but— but I really can't say what happened in them. I wasn't in New York in June, so… I didn't have one of my own."

There's an apologetic look to Hiro as Rhys realizes he's somewhat put words in Hiro's mouth, and one sheepish smile and scrub at the back of his neck later is wondering, wordlessly, was that right?

Eileen's cardinal — not the one Jaiden is texting — lets out a shrill, metallic-sounding shriek when the string is severed and wings back to the Englishwoman and the cocked wrist she has held up in offering. That she isn't volunteering isn't necessarily a bad sign. For one thing, Jaiden is swerving to the front of line. For another, apart from the clothes on her back, the watch in her pocket and the folded knife nestled against her breast, the only place she's prepared to be is here.

As a general rule, she tries to make sure that the time she spends planning something is directly proportional to the risks involved, not counting split-second decisions — and she hasn't made many of those lately. This isn't going to be one of them, either. "If you want me to go back for the man whose journal you left this in," she says, turning the paper crane between her fingers, "there are some people I need to speak with first." To Rhys: "Details as well, if you would be so kind."

Hiro's attention shifts from Monica to Rhys, the nod of affirmation almost too subtle to be properly taken as a gesture. But it's one of approval. The future can wait — for once. That same sort of approval skims over the other faces in the room, save for Francois and Eileen, though the latter gets a look that seems to say fair enough. "Those who must think, think. There is time. But even time has its limitations." Now, he focuses on Jaiden, and seems to come to a decision on his own.

Walking through the space that his demonstration of the slicing of the web has allowed, Hiro moves towards the other man, a look to Kaylee that has him hesitating. "Soon," he tells her, of the image in her hand, before he then reaches out a hand to touch Jaiden's elbow in a firm kind of comradely grip.

Jaiden lets out a breath as Hiro takes his elbow. "Let's rock and roll." And then they are gone….poof.

It probably shouldn't be this easy, for two men to simply vanish from one time to reappear somewhere else.

Or rather, the others may hope they reappear somewhere else.

They, after all, don't know that it's raining in New York in January. Eleven years ago.

Francois takes a breath when Hiro is suddenly gone, a hand out to curl a grip around Eileen's wrist in a very light hold. "Is that meeting concluded, do you suppose?" he asks more her than anyone else, but a look towards Rhys might toss that question to him.

A small smile is given to Hiro and a short nod of her head in understanding, but Kaylee doesn't say anything, just watches the two vanish. Is that relief on her face? Even though she knows her time will come, the telepath is glad for a little more time to absorb what will happen, gather her wits… and figure out what to prepare for.

Brows tick upward in worry and her attention turns to Rhys, studying the kid. After, debating as to whether to ask, Kaylee finally addresses the teenager, "Is… there anything you can tell us about what will happen for any of us going back?

"Maybe so we can be ready for what we are going to face for these people?" The others are glances at, before Kaylee looks back to Rhys expectantly.

There is time. Ironic. Elaine frowns a little, glancing back to Colette. "Well. I guess that takes care of that. We can figure out the rest, I guess." She frowns. "How long do you suppose they'll be gone?" She peers over at Rhys next, hoping there's at least some more explanation. There was time. They could figure out things about Sable, maybe. The redhead would have to do some interrogating.

"I didn't mean… hopping forward, I meant…" Monica gestures around to the strings, but she seems to leave it at that. Especially since Hiro disappears. Letting out a sigh, she looks over at Rhys, and doesn't echo their questions, but is clearly curious as well. "I suppose the rest of us will have time to prepare a little more?"

"The time puns were cool when Hiro was making them the first twenty or so times but really," Rhys flatly offers with a roll of his eyes, then clears his throat and walks to stand where Hiro was, his pupils widening for a moment in unnatural dilation before they narrow back down again. "It could take a while, I can never tell when Hiro's going to come back. I think his aim's been a little off since he recovered from the flu…" Reaching up to rub one hand at the back of his neck, Rhys looks up and over to Eileen.

"Your uh, situation— isn't exactly going to be as simple as it sounds. I'm— well— you're not going to protect you you think you are. You're going there for his father. I'm relatively certain that the assassin I saw in 1945 is going to try and kill his father before he has a chance to make an impact in his son's life. I can't even imagine the damage that would do to history if it happened…" One of Rhys' eyes narrows into a squint, "we— might want to discuss that further in private." Because no one needs to know who Eileen is going back to save. In public.

While Rhys is speaking to Eileen, Colette is folding inward on herself conversationally. Her mismatched eyes divert to Elaine briefly, then flick down to the floor as she furrows her brows and clears her throat in nervous fashion. "Yeah…" she practically whispers, staring vacantly down at her feet. "Don't— mention any of this to Sable," Colette murmurs as she looks from side to side, vacantly staring off into space. "She— she doesn't need this worry."

Right now, Colette can't even imagine how she's going to explain this to Tasha.

Not far away, Rhys is approaching Eileen and Francois, but the young man diverts a few paces so that he can address the others first. "You'll have some personal time to prepare, God only knows when Hiro will be back for you, but imagine sooner rather than later, okay? I think for the most part we're done here… I've— really I've explained everything I can. Aside from the one assassin I've seen, I don't know any better who else is working for this figure, but I have a feeling that Hiro expects there to be more. All I can say is when Hiro brings you back, follow whatever advice he gives. This isn't his first time at the temporal rodeo, after all. So— run along home!" Completely shooing hand motion.

Though keeping his smile on, Rhys' voice takes a decidedly sharper turn as he shifts his posture and sweeps a look up to Francois, of all people. Staring pointedly up at the Frenchman, Rhys only really has one thing to say to him.

"I'm not sure you're supposed to be here."

Take that as he will.

"Francois." In contrast with Rhys', Eileen's voice is gentle but prompting, whether as a result of what he just said or her own desire to leave. Although her wrist tenses under his hand, she does not pry his fingers away or attempt to dislodge his grip. Instead, she turns as if to go, rumpled cardinal snug at her collar and watching the teen with bright little eyes sharp as flints.

Her feet in their brown leather flats click against the floorboards, but mentally she's already many more steps ahead: Gabriel and Jensen are back at the Dispensary, and if what Rhys implies is true, she wants to consult with both of them before proceeding any further. Kazimir Volken is responsible for bringing them together. This is a matter that involves all that's left of his failed legacy, and this includes the three of them.

It may have been what Francois was afraid of, or at least, a sentiment that had set tension through his bones since the contents of the meeting unfolded before them with the same gentle unpicking of the paper cranes that most of them had done. His stare down at Rhys is defensive and proud both, as well as unsympathetic, and he doesn't need Eileen's prompt to leave. His hand releases her arm, and with soldier-stiff posture, he turns and thuds heavier footfalls of departure in the girls wake, turning his back on the group diminished by one.

Maybe he's taking Rhys' words to mean the building. Maybe not.

There's a single, pure white string that zigzags through the fallen web, that had not been affected at all by the razor-sharp sword slices. Elisabeth's blue thread had slithered from it to fall, as had Sable's, and last they had glanced, it had held nothing. It will be the last to leave— Monica's periphery, in fact— that notices the addition that has mysteriously weighed it down during the commotion of the meeting.

Jaiden's crane and invitation hangs by a wingtip and a paperclip, gently swaying from some unknown movement. The first to be assembled.

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