Outsmarting a Mirror


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Scene Title Outsmarting a Mirror
Synopsis Kain meets up with Elisabeth and Richard following Silas' shooting.
Date October 31, 2019

Halloween is inevitably a night of rabble-rousing, even nowadays. Maybe especially nowadays. With the NYPD just getting on its feet, it's got its hands full with people attempting to make some kind of merry in the Market and other places. But the call that came from Elmhurst to the cell phone of SCOUT Lt. Elisabeth Harrison wasn't from the squad room, it was personal. And it is not one she wanted on this night.

Elmhurst Hospital

October 31st

The emergency room doors admit the blonde and her companion, moving at a brisk clip despite the fact that she's wearing 3" heels and a sleek Little Black Dress beneath a white wool dress coat. Elisabeth flashes her badge at the desk, asks where she can find a certain someone, and immediately heads for a waiting room they're pointed to. Hitting the doorway with Richard Cardinal right on her heels, she looks … strained. A low level of anxiety for Silas has her wound tight, and she beelines for Kain as soon as they arrive. "How bad? Kain, is he going to make it?" His call was severely lacking in the details except to tell her to come to the hospital and that Silas was shot.

If it wasn’t an emergency like this, Richard wouldn’t be here. He has his reasons. It is, though, so he walks through the doors after the Lieutenant wearing a thigh-length black coat over his suit, hands tucked into his pockets and gaze shielded by sunglasses even inside the waiting room.

As she approaches Kain, he trails further behind, stopping and turning to look uncomfortably around the waiting room rather than directly at the Cajun.

The man once known as Kain Zarek is pacing about the lobby of the emergency room like a caged tiger. He doesn't notice Richard right away, but the same cannot be said in reverse. The man Richard sees is nothing like the Kain he knew in this timeline except in those haunted eyes. He's thinner, more wiry, older too with all that gray in his beard and at his temples. Gone are flowing locks replaced by a sensibly short haircut. Gone are the thousand dollar suits, replaced by workboots, torn jeans, and flannel. He'd only briefly seen Kain at the crossing in Sunspot, barely had time to process his survival as the government swept the travelers up. Kain has all but disappeared afterward.

Until now.

“Ain't good,” is Kain’s quick response, looking around like he's expecting the boogeyman to jump out from behind the nurse’s station at any moment. “He got gutshot like four’r five times. Point blank range, low caliber. Ah’m amazed he— ”

Kain’s eyes meet Richard’s over Elisabeth’s shoulder.

Now he looks exactly like the Kain he knew. There's that guilt, that shame, that sorrow.

"Ah'm a cold blooded killer," Kain corrects Cardinal's world-view, "been a killer since th' day Ah' was born, been a killer all th' way up to t'day." Dark brows furrow, and Kain's gun hand steadies as his lips sag into a frown. "Ah' only got one more life t'end, an' then Ah' ain't gonna be that man no more." Though Kain doesn't specify which life it is.

"This wasn't gonna end any other way," Kain states flatly, swallowing the lump down in his throat.

"But poorly."

“Dickie.” Kain mumbles, looking away.

Elisabeth pales visibly at the news that Silas was gut-shot multiple times. "Jesus Christ," she breathes out in horror. "Do we have a description? Are the uniforms on it?" Her fear for their fellow traveler is evident, and he knows her well enough after these years to see struggling to hold it quiet. "If it's an anti-SLC thing, I can throw more people on the street." She pauses and grimaces. "You know SESA is going to have people here soon too."

And none of these things in any way calm the audiokinetic's genuine anguish over what has happened. She looks for a nurse, who might have an update. It's probably way too soon. And worried as she is about Silas surviving, she hasn't caught the looks between the men. Her attention is more on whatever she can do to help the man in the OR. "Richard, can we pull someone and put a bodyguard on the room? I want private security…." she defers that query to him. It's his company and his security team.

“Official policy for any gunshot wound victim taken to a hospital is to report to the police. As soon as they run his identification, it’ll flag; we can expect SESA to be on the scene pretty soon after that. When they get here I’ll see what I can do about getting a guard on him,” Richard says quietly, his gaze scanning the nurse’s desk before finally - reluctantly - turning back towards his wife and her friend.

He’s glad for the sunglasses. Hopefully they’ll hide the pain and guilt that would be obvious if it wasn’t for their dark plastic.

“Zarek,” he says in quiet acknowledgement of the other man before looking away again. He probably should use the man’s alias… but he never asked what it was.

“SESA’s already here,” Kain says with a look down to the floor before limping over, “Agent Fancypants is up the hall,”comes with a jerk of Kain’s thumb in the direction of somewhere deeper into the hospital. When Kain finally looks up, conspiracy replaces guilt in his eyes. He steps in closer to Richard and Elisabeth, voice lowered.

“The cops ain’t in full on the loop,” Kain offers discreetly, “on account of what the fuck went down on Silas’ boat.” Looking to the right, Kain eyes an old woman sitting in a chair checking her phone, then back to Richard and Elisabeth. “Before Silas’ ninja friend shot me in the ass,” what, “Ah’ saw who got Smiles in the gut.” Blue eyes flick over to Elisabeth, and Kain’s brows furrow together.

It was Silas.” Kain’s delivery is heavy with intention. She understands he isn’t saying Silas shot himself, both she and Richard are deep enough in this to know what he’s really implying.

He was shot by another Silas.

Kain's glance toward the woman looking at her phone has Elisabeth throwing a silence field around the three of them instantly. Both men can tell she's done it, it's a simple nothing-in/nothing-out kind of silence that is obvious.

"Fuck," is her pithy response. She … doesn't sound as surprised as they might have imagined. More resigned. "At least now he won't argue when I tell him he has a bodyguard," she mutters.

But first things first, WHAT? "Shot you in the ass?" Narrowing blue eyes on Kain, "How bad are you hit and did you get fucking stitches?" Now her worry has encompassed Kain too — although it must not be too terrible, if he's standing here. Either that or he's being a dumbass and not telling anyone.

As silence falls, Richard turns back to the others with a frown and steps in closer to hear whatever conspiratorial information Kain has for them. The man’s brows go up at the explanation, glancing to Liz and then back to the other man.

“Shit,” he murmurs, “Figures at least one of you would have an asshole version of yourself running around with a gun. And— what ninja?”

Brow furrowing, “And are you— alright?”

Yeah, yeah,” Kain grouses at the sudden attention, his limp making more contextual sense now. “Ah’ had mah’ big chunky ol’ Praxis phone in mah’ back pocket. Took a bullet fer me, only thing damaged is mah’ pride unless y’count one bruised ass cheek. Couldn’t figure th’ fuckin’ phone out anyway, who th’ hell decided a phone didn’t need no buttons?”

Realizing he’s gone far afield, Kain draws in a deep breath and rakes a hand through his hair, glancing back over his shoulder at the doors into the ER. “Look,” he turns back to Richard and Elisabeth, “Ah’ dunno, some girlfriend of his or somethin’. Dark hair, about this tall,” Kain motions with a hand to his chest, “Asian or somethin’. She took a few shots on Silas’ counterpart but missed.” He doesn’t say it’s because his ass got in the way. “She took off when the cops showed up, figure she ain’t above-board.”

Kain looks to the nurse nearby, then back to Richard and Elisabeth. “He’s pretty bad. Whoever this side’s Silas is, odds are he still worked for Danny. Ah’ knew Smiles back when, in mah time Ah’ shot him dead in the street on Danny’s orders. But you know, a road diverged in th’ wood or whatever.”

Kain just quoted a Robert Frost poem.

The relief that comes off Elisabeth is visible. Her shoulders slump slightly as she takes in a deeper breath. "For fuck's sake," she mutters under her breath. She would drag her hands through her hair, but it's pinned up because she and Richard were apparently out somewhere dressy, based on their clothes. It doesn't stop her from giving the tall Cajun a brief, hard hug in spite of his wonking under the attention. "Don't put your ass in the way of bullets," she scolds, somewhat facetious in her relief.

Stepping back once more so the three of them can speak more easily, the blonde considers. "Okay…. that makes a few things make more sense now." Like Silas's wariness of Kain early on, if he knew about that. She doesn't seem shocked. "Silas in our world… we hoped he'd be laying low. He's dangerous as fuck. This Silas been worried about his local analog turning up for a while," Elisabeth admits on a sigh. Her blue eyes flicker upward at Kain's admission of shooting Silas. "If we've learned anything from seeing timelines, it's that the left turn at Albuquerque gets all of us in one place or another. That, however, makes me worry you're a target too, if the local Silas knew your local analog and knows he's dead. As I recall, it made the papers but it wasn't headliner news… I can't remember exactly but I think he was killed sometime during or just prior to the riots that year." She was kinda busy and not as involved with it, so she only remembers because he'd been working with them to take down Linderman.

“Great.” Richard’s lips purse in a tight line, “So one of Danny-boy’s old hitmen is running around trying to take down Silas, because he’s Silas, and…”

There’s a sharp look shot towards Elisabeth when she speaks, then, revealing that she knew about this possibility. His back straightens, and there’s clearly a flicker of - not anger, but a bit of sharpness that she didn’t tell anyone - but then the subject of Kain’s death comes up, and he looks away, turning full to face away from the pair.

“During,” he says quietly, trying to keep the ache of guilt from his voice, “It was in the papers, yes.”

Whatever,” is Kain’s quick way of brushing past his alternate’s death. “Ah’ can take care’f m’self. Ah’ve killed ‘em once b’fore, ain’t like he’s that much different this go around. He makes the mistake of tryin’ t’put me on the naughty list,” Kain raises one hand and makes an unintentionally harrowing fingergun gesture at Richard, “pop, right in the kisser.”

From behind the three, double doors open and Agent Rhys Bluthner makes his way out into the waiting room on a cell phone, “…I understand that, but we’ve only got so many— ” and notices Richard and Elisabeth. “I’ve— gotta call you back.” He says before unceremoniously ending the call.

“Mr. Ray, Lieutenant Harrison,” Rhys greets, followed by a sidelong look at Kain, “Mister Leblanc.” Tucking his phone in his jacket pocket, Rhys offers a curious but not really surprised look at Richard and Elisabeth. “I just got done talking with the surgeons, Silas is going to pull through. They’ve wrapped up surgery, but he’s going to be in observation for a few weeks.”

Relief drains the tension out of Kain’s shoulders and he takes a step aside to allow Rhys into their conversational circle. “He’s stubborn,” Kain admits, flicking a look over to Elisabeth, then back to Rhys. “What’re we gonna do about th’ fella what tried t’put him in the ground?”

“That,” Rhys says with a sigh, “will be more complicated, but SESA has put out a black marker note to agents with appropriate classification to be on the lookout for him. We can’t just go plastering his face across the city of widely informing the NYPD given security issues. That said I have some immaterial leads,” which has Rhys firing a look over to Elisabeth. “Nothing that can be acted on in court, but… something I figure I’ll pass along to the NYPD. I picked up some interesting information off of Silas.”

Elisabeth wilts a little in relief at the news that Silas will pull through. She was scared to death of losing yet another of her little cadre of timeline jumpers. She can't keep track of everyone — there were many from Flood she barely glimpsed — but the ones who came from the places before that one are her people.

As Agent Bluthner updates them on what SESA will be doing and the 'black marker note,' the audiokinetic simply nods. "I've got a few officers in the know about my situation and won't ask questions about the oddity of the lookalike," she tells him quietly. "Whatever information you can offer is always welcome. I'm more concerned about the fact that he missed. Are you going to leave an agent on his door or will I need to arrange private security?" She hesitates and then admits, "I may have a man, if he's willing to take the job. Negator. So the lookalike's powers won't work on him."

Richard tries not to grimace at the finger-guns from Kain — flashing to a time that they weren’t fingers — and mostly succeeds, although he remains silent for the exchange with the man.

Then Rhys shows up.

“Bluthner,” he greets with a tip of his head towards the man, “Figured I’d see you here… glad to hear he’s going to pull through.” He glances to Elisabeth at her words, nodding his agreement with her idea, then looks back to Rhys, “What’d you get?”

Kain makes a silent note of Richard’s familiarity with federal agents, even though that still seems like an alien idea based on any other Richard he'd ever met or heard of. Crossing his arms over his chest and keeping his weight off the leg connected to his bruised ass cheek, he listens to the two and only briefly offers an incredulous look to Elisabeth at the whole thing.

“This other Silas has connections to most of the old Linderman Group. Tangential ties to Nicole Varlane which, obviously shouldn't be surprising.” Rhys explains with a shrug, though mention of another Varlane has Kain’s brows mistakenly rising. “But I see association with people tied to Gideon d’Sarthe as well. Now, we haven't heard much of anything from him since the war. But I know you had a business arrangement with him once upon a time. I'm not suggesting you get involved in this, but, it's something SESA is going to need to look into.”

“Let me save y’all a long, drawn out day.” Kain interjects. “Ol Giddyup Buttercup is about as trustworthy as a rattler in a boot. You wanna put your foot on in, don't blame me if y’get bit.”

Rhys stares vacantly at Kain for a moment, then scrubs a hand over his brow and looks back to Elisabeth. “SESA has taken this very seriously. We’ll be placing an agent on him once he's released, but I appreciate your offer. Both of you.”

There's something about Kain’s expression that says he doesn't trust SESA to be able to protect someone from this threat, but he isn't voicing his own suspicions. Instead, he just crosses his arms over his chest and angles another look at Elisabeth. She knows this one. He's up to something.

A thoughtful expression passes over Elisabeth's features. Nicole, huh? Maybe they can get in contact with her and find out more. If she's back in town. Gideon d'Sarthe's name makes her reach up and starts to rub her eyes, but damned if she doesn't at the last second remember she's actually wearing make-up with this little black dress look she has going on right now and so doesn't. Instead, she murmurs to Kain, "Yeah… d'Sarthe is a whole mess of trouble all the way around."

Blue eyes track Bluthner as he talks about a SESA guard. Her silence field is still in place and encompasses all of them, though the agent may or may not be paying attention to that fact. "Given what Silas's power is and how it works, Rhys, unless you have a negator or someone who is completely immune to psychic manipulation, you're going to want to let me put the negator there. This world's Silas can basically make you think he's not there. Won't do SESA a damn bit of good if he just waltzes past the guard." Her tone is easy, she's cooperating with Rhys as much as humanly possible here — it's a SESA thing, certainly. But there's a subtle edge to her tone. Silas is her responsibility too. She brought him here.

And by now, she knows Kain far too well. Elisabeth drops a hand on his crossed arms, a silent gesture of both reassurance — she's not going to just let SESA have the ball to run with it alone — but also of restraint. She's uncertain what he's planning and would rather have them in the same corner, as they've been when it comes to their people since leaving Bright.

Richard brings one hand up, fingers sliding over the bridge of his nose and in the process pushing his shades up slightly. “Fucking… wonderful,” he mutters, “I thought I’d heard the last of that guy when our arrangement didn’t work out according to plan. I was hoping someone’d put a bullet in him during the war. After the Zare…”

He grimaces and lets that trail off, turning stiffly and walking a few strides away to let Elisabeth handle the logistics.

Kain angles a look over at Elisabeth, then looks over to Rhys.

“Norton will do,” Rhys concedes, “it'll be good to have some comfort in that. If you'll excuse me, though, I need to place a few calls for follow up investigation.” Clearly busy, Rhys offers the three a curt nod and then makes his way across the lobby, taking out his phone. Kain waits until Rhys is out of earshot and looks back to Richard and Elisabeth.

“Kid’s got his head on straight here,” Kain admits with a shrug, “he was kind’f a mess at one’a our stops. But, yeah.” Shaking his head, Kain glances back over to Elisabeth and Richard. “This whole police detail is nice an’ all, but this ain't gonna fly. If Ah’ve got dimes t'dollars on this, Ol' Gideon's got at least a couple cops in his pocket. If this is official business, on a long enough time table, your boy Norton’s one bullet in the bucket away from speedy retirement.”

Shaking his head, Kain looks like he has another idea. “Less people who know where Smiles is th’ better. That includes you two.” Kain makes forked finger gestures at Elisabeth and Richard. “Ah’ve got some resources out of Gideon’s usual sniffing turf, even if he is a big dog these days. Ah’m gonna do what Ah’ did when the Vanguard ran the big apple.” Kain spreads his hands. “Fuckin’ disappear for a bit.”

Elisabeth simply nods to Rhys and waits until he's out of earshot as well. There's a glance between the two men remaining here in the room, both of them people she trusts on a fundamental level. But she lets the situation between them lie; it's not the time and place. Her mind is turning over those logistics and her blue eyes are worried.

"Not a bad plan." The admission is reluctant. She keeps her distance because Kain wants it, but she worries for him and for the rest of their transplanted people. "I just want to keep him secure until he's well enough to move. And he'll be trying to outthink himself, which isn't a fun game." Richard, and she by extension, knows that better than anyone.


Richard draws in a slow breath, closing his eyes as he refocuses. Something’s distracting him, and it probably isn’t the fact that a friend of theirs got shot. That’s fairly normal for them, unfortunately.

Then he turns back to the others, chin dipping in a tight nod, “Sounds like a plan. Is there anything you need from us, Zarek?”

“Nah,” Kain says with a shake of his head, starting to disengage from the conversation, anxiously eyeing Richard like he’s still not sure what to do with him until. “Wait.” Kain pivots back toward them. “Either a’you got a really nice pillow?

For his ass.

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