Pandora's Crumble


devon2_icon.gif emily2_icon.gif kaylee3_icon.gif

Scene Title Pandora's Crumble
Synopsis The warnings should be taken seriously.
Date April 23, 2019

The walk from Jared’s apartment to Kaylee’s isn’t a long one. It’s only an elevator ride to another floor and down the hall. It’s far enough for some mild conversation, the inconsequential sort that can be filled with weird anecdotes or terrible puns. Another day, the short trip might even see such small talk happen between Devon and Emily.

Today it doesn’t.

Dev is nervous, and has been noticeably so since getting on the elevator with Emily. It’s the sort of apprehension that makes him fail at filling the silence. He has tried to cover his worry with a quick smile or a squeeze of her hand. Truth is, if they weren’t expected, he might have turned around and walked the other direction.

He needs the answers though, if they can be found. And it’s too late to back out of the meeting.

Raytech Corporate Housing, Kaylee Sumter’s Apartment

Jackson Heights, NYCSZ

April 23, 2019 - 2:28 pm

As they stop in front of the door to Kaylee’s apartment, Devon looks at Emily. “I have no idea if this is even going to work,” he admits quietly. When he’d coordinated the meeting, he avoided asking what would probably be more important questions. Like if the memories could even be located. Or if the fracture in time he’s experiencing will somehow hinder that.

But it was a likelihood they’d talked about, that whatever had happened may not be recoverable.

His attention lingers on Emily for a beat longer, then shifts to the door, the last barrier between finding answers or nothing at all. Dev lets out a deep breath, then raises his hand to knock on the door.

The doors opens to find Kaylee on the other side. Unlike other times they have seen her in the past, the telepath doesn’t look put together. She wasn’t wearing a fancy designer business suit or anything like that. She was in a simple t-shirt and worn jeans. Feet clad in sock. Her hair looks like it was finger combed and hastily pulled into a ponytail.

At least she put on some makeup.


The woman seems tired and worn around the edges, but there is still a bright smile for the pair. “Devon… Emily,” The girl getting a touch more scrutiny before letting them into a rather empty apartment. “Come on in.” Boxes are still packed and sitting next to the door. Another on the coffee table and a children’s book rest next to it. “Can I get you water?” It might be all she has right now. “Sorry for the mess.” What mess? The place barely looked lived in.

Emily's not unused to scrutiny from most, but there's a pause as she regards Kaylee in return before lifting her chin in acknowledgement of the telepath. She's quiet today in general, within and without. "Nice to see you again," she replies in little more than a murmur. A set of aviator sunglasses have been pushed up to rest on the top of her head, the arms of them keeping her hair from her face. Her hand remains firmly in Devon's as long as he'll allow, as long as he decides he needs her presence.

The visible closeness is still a change for her, but one she no longer even internally balks at.

The teenager's review of the apartment is swift — there's little to review, after all. The apology receives a quiet note to acknowledge it. She's half-tempted to ask if she's moving in or out, the way the boxes lay, but small details lead her to believe it's the former. Furthermore, it's none of her business. She turns to Devon, waiting for him to take the lead. After all, she's just here for support.

“Hey,” Devon replies to the greeting slowly and on an exhale. He’s vaguely surprised by the apology, having been mostly oblivious to the not-lived in appearance of the apartment. He probably wouldn’t have noticed had nothing been said at all, but since it’s pointed out he raises a one-shouldered shrug while looking around anyway.

“No,” he passes on the water, “but thanks. I…” It was sort of explained when he’d called, but for an awkward moment he makes a weird face — like he’d caught a strange smell that caught him off guard — and hesitates on saying anything further.

He exhales, and a chuckle is half forced with it. Nerves. Devon’s expression shifts, becoming apologetic. “Sorry.” For being a spaz, probably. “Like I said on the phone… something happened a few weeks ago, following a mission in California. I… don’t know what. I can’t explain how I disappeared in California and wound up on Brighton Beach. And… I need to find out. If I can.”

Since no one wants refreshments, Kaylee gives a firm nod of her head and moves to the small round kitchen table. “You need me to look and see if any memories can be recovered.” There is a fake uplift to her tone, she tries to appear relaxed. Two chairs are pulled to set side by side and another turned to face them. “I can’t guarantee anything… it depends on the person and their skill. Some memory manipulators can only block the memories, while others carve them out leaving nothing.” She sounds like she is teaching a lesson or a rehearsed speech that she gives everyone who comes to her… which might be a lot.

Kaylee motions to the two chairs sitting side by side, “Please have a seat.”

“I’ll know which it is once we get into your head.” Blue eyes focus on Emily again. “Will you be joining us?” Kaylee asks with an expectant lift of her brows. “I can promise you, I have no interest in your memories and I will only be looking for those blocks. I can’t avoid seeing those blocked memories… but that should be all I see.”

The question directed her way makes Emily take pause for a moment, shifting a look to Devon like she means to seek his input. Just as quickly, though, she turns back to Kaylee, giving a firm, "Yes." for an answer. She's stuck close to him so far, and she won't leave him behind now. Not to mention, on the practical side, if something happened that he didn't remember what they uncovered after … at least she would know. Could tell the other mess of people who wanted those answers they find. But there's less altruistic motivations there as well.

She sits, her thumb brushing over the top of Devon's hand. "Be right here with you," she asides to him. Emily remains that anchor of calm, lacing her fingers with his as she meets his eyes with a small, reassuring smile.

“Great, yeah.” They're all on the same page.

Devon looks at Emily as he sits, his head nodding. “Sorry.” A flicker of a glance goes to Kaylee and a quieter, “Sorry,” follows that. There's really nothing to worry about, no secrets he's afraid of being discovered, but it's still challenging to extend that trust into his already fractured mind. He grins in a weak attempt to lighten the mood.

“Let's do this.” Before he changes his mind. Dev sits back and takes a deep breath to calm himself. As his hand tightens around Emily's, he nods at Kaylee, as ready as he will ever be.

There is a soft chuckle from the telepath, “Devon. There is no need to say sorry. You went through something and had it wiped. This is what I do. I help.” Settling into the chair across from Devon, her smile is warm and comforting. “However, I need to warn you…” Shifting forward on the seat of her chair, fingers rubbing together to take some of the chill out of the long digits. “Once I remove a permanent block, I can’t put it back… not permanently. I can put up a temporary block… I can blur it for a time, but eventually, you will have to face it.”

For her a warning like that was standard procedure. Kaylee lifts her hands and gently, presses the tips of her fingers to Devon’s temple. If he agrees to that last condition… They will feel a touch of disorientation and after a long blink, the three of them will be standing in the strange plane of Devon’s mind.

He was warned before that he’d have to face whatever he’d been cut off from. Still, hearing it again when he’s already feeling uneasy is enough to cause hesitation. It takes Devon a minute to bolster his resolve and nod his understanding. “Let’s do it,” he breathes, agreeing to the caution and condition.

His vision swims as he’s pulled into his own mind, and he seems both familiar and surprised with the landscape once the disorientation passes. A sprawling wood structure with slides and bridges dominates an expanse of sand surrounded by a sea of grass. There are swings and a rope ladder, monkey bars and ways for climbing to even the highest points. The playground wouldn’t be out of place in any park or private schoolyard, while it looks both new and dilapidated at the same time. Dark shapes loom in the far distance, giving the impression of buildings both standing and ruined.

“Woah.” Dev looks less apprehensive than he did just seconds before, but it’s clearly not what he’d imagined would happen.

There is a chuckle next to him, before the telepath steps forward from his side. Dressed differently — looking a bit more like a biker with her leather jacket and worn jeans — her hair a mess, tied back loosely. Kaylee’s attention isn’t on them, but the landscape. “Just about everyone has that reaction when faced with their own mental landscape.

Eyes unfocus suddenly and Devon feels a bit of a pressure. There is a small nod of her head, “We’re in luck… looks like some of the missing memories are just blocked."

Hands lift from her sides and a rumbling starts to echoes across the landscape. Slowly from the ground a trio of doors rise from the ground, wrapped in chains with archaic locks. Clumps of grass and dirt fall away as they rise up to their full height looming above Devon and his guests.

There is a shy that escapes her and arms fall to her sides. “These are the only ones I can find… through there are gaps around them.” The idea is not unfamiliar to her. “So you will always have missing time.” Turning to Devon, Kaylee gives him a small smile and time to process… a second chance to turn back.

At some point, Emily's hand has slid away from Devon's, and she stands looking around the landscape they find themselves in with some confusion. Her brow knits, turning in a slow circle and looking out over the sea of sand and grass … and the ghost of a skyline beyond. It's all a bit odd to her, but she does her best to adjust to the surreal state of it. Kaylee's voice captures her attention quickly, and her brow shoots up her forehead as she looks at the doors that rise.

Three of them. And those were only what she could find.

Emily turns to Devon, standing close by him. She knows he's not turning back, not if they've come this far. Still, though. Hearing he's always going to have missing time isn't comforting. "Some answers are better than none," she posits. "Right?"

There's plenty to try to process, and not just the strange landscape that's built inside his mind. The whole experience is going to need time to figure out, but later, after all is done that can be inside his head. Devon brings a hand up to the side of his head as a buffer against the pressure, it's an absent gesture, but gapes at the chained doors that somehow rise out of the ground.

His gaze dances between the doors and Kaylee as the shock thins and the telepath’s words sink in. There are memories there, and there are still going to be gaps in what he recalls. They also knew that was a possibility. Still, “Some is better than none,” he agrees quietly.

“How…” His brows furrow as he trails off, studying the doors. The question may be obvious, how do they break the locks, if those doors represent the blocked memories. Devon folds his arms against his chest and takes a few steps forward. “What happens now? How… do we open them?”

While the two are taking it all in, Kaylee moves towards the first door. Fingers trail along the frame and loosely encircle the links as she slides her hands down to the lock. There is a sense of unease as she looks at it, thumbs brushing over the cold metal.

“What happens now, is we open the first door,” Kaylee looks back at them both. “When I open this… it’s going to take us… We will see it, but you will live it and feel it as it integrates itself back into your memories.” Looking back to the door, Kaylee only hopes it’s not too bad.

Taking the lock in both hands, Kaylee closes her eyes feeling it and the threads of ability used to make it. With a rattle, the chains fall to the ground. Opening her eyes and dropping the lock, the telepath takes a deep breath, “Okay… here we go…”

With a push the doors on Devon’s first memory is opened. A flood of images slam into the trio, washing over them. While Devon relives it, Emily and Kaylee watch like silent voyeurs. Watch as an ice monster comes to attend the bedridden man. It is both fascinating and horrifying.

“Where is this,” Kaylee wonders outloud.

A knock disrupts the flow of conversation, knuckles on bare steel. Looking in the doorway is a figure whose face Devon has seen time and again in Wolfhound’s dossiers, a man whose shadow is cast long across history though one few can process to know many details of.

Kaylee turns at the sound of the knock… Almost immediately, she regrets that decision. The telepath pales and there is a terrified sound in the back of her throat. “No!” She can feel it… it happens immediately… Pain rips through her body… because before her…

Adam Monroe is dressed for the cold, in a parka with a fur-trimmed hood and thin cotton gloves.

“Knock, knock,” Adam calls after the rap on the steel doorframe. “Ah, you're awake.” When Adam’s attention fixes on Devon he steps carefully into the cramped space of the laboratory. He looks assessingly at the IV, then over to Bao-Wei with one raised brow.

“How's it going?” Adam asks, tone hushed. Not out of some need of confidence of conspiracy, but out of tension. He seems filled with anxious anticipation.

Kaylee’s hand flies to her mouth, she looks ready to throw up… eyes closing as she concentrates on holding onto the link…. To let the memory play and settle back into place. Emily can see the woman sway slightly, as if overtaken by a bout of dizziness….

It isn't Bao-Wei’s conversational tones that Devon follows, but the steady encasement of ice. The transformation shouldn't be a thing to stare at, and yet he can't look away from it. His expression borders on timorous disgust. His own breath escapes as visible puffs that he barely notices now, in spite of the shivering that's replaced his efforts to break free.

After a moment of fighting the trigger, a shudder that goes through her. Kaylee somehow manages to wall up the link between her and her body….. It won’t stop what’s happening, but it dulls what she senses and will allow her to finish the job.

Eyes slant to the door following the knock there. There's no relief for the interruption, only apprehension. It can't possibly get worse.

Except the man that enters after the knocking turns out to be Adam Monroe.

In the real world where no one can see, there is a shudder that goes through the body of the telepath, fingers trembling. Tears glitter on lashes, before they slide free and trail down her cheek; even as in Devon’s mind she shows almost nothing.

As soon as they're immersed, Emily takes in a short breath and lets her eyes roam. Details are scrutinized, anything that might be a hint observed with tension. More than once her attention is captured by the sight of Devon on the table struggling to get free, and a pain flares in her that she can't quell. Each time, she instead goes back to studying something else in the hopes of making him relive this somehow worth it. Hangs on to every word that passes between Doctor Cong and Devon that she can understand.

The revelations are small, in terms of how many words are spoken. But they're so heavy. When you were brought in, you were a charred husk, like a pig fallen off of the spit. That one stands out among them.

Emily's hand clasps around her mouth to keep her horror to herself, something still feeling horribly wrong about this entire scenario. They'd saved him, but what were they doing to him? Why? Devon was alive, and for that she was grateful, but nothing but hatred sets into her bones the longer she observes the man calling himself Doctor Cong. There's something predatory, if not deadly about him, even without his physical nature being called into play.

"Who the hell is that man?" she starts to ask, but her head turns as well at the sound of the knock. Brow begins to furrow at the sight of the new stranger, but she starts again at the sound that comes from Kaylee. "What's wrong?" she asks, reaching of the telepath's elbow to try and help steady her. She can hear the voice of the man in the parka so clearly. Emily turns back to him and her gaze sharpens on him, wishing she could do more in this situation than helplessly watch.

Plunging into the memory is like falling into a lake at winter. He may have been warned that it wasn’t a pleasant experience, but nothing could have truly prepared him for the experience. It rips away his breath, freezes him in place. While Devon struggles on the table, he also struggles where he stands. The same panic threatens to overwhelm in both places at the same time, and his body mirrors the strain and fight he displays on the table.

But he remembers right now.

He remembers the table, the cramped room. He can hear the deep thrumming sound that was always present, the chirp and hiss of the machines that kept him alive. He remembers the never-ending cold that would manifest frost and numb ears and toes. As he relives those minutes he’d lost he misses Kaylee’s own struggle.

The conversation that took place is as fresh as though it had happened the day before, and a deeper terror prickles for an instant, as the doctor claims he won’t remember. What if he’s going to forget again?

There isn’t time for the young man to ask. Those thoughts are interrupted much as they were the first time by the knock at the door. He reels, both standing and on the table, when Adam Monroe makes his appearance. The terror of it redoubles as the memory is lived again. Dev pulls in a shuddering breath only once the man has made his departure, but it isn’t with relief. There was no relief during that meeting.

Kaylee’s head shakes at the question. “I’m fine.” She’s not fine. There is a cough, though only she sees the faint tint of pink to the spittle on her palm. She swallows hard and curls her hand closed. A sign of what was happening in the real world.

As the memory play out, the threads of the memory become hazy and slowly unravel until they stand in Devon’s mindscape once more. Only two doors still stand before them. After a brief and supportive squeeze of the man’s shoulder, Kaylee moves to the next door. A hand rests on the frame to steady herself, but she doesn’t open it yet. There is a twinge of fear on what could be on the other side, mainly…

“Adam….” She starts and grimaces with a fresh wave of pain that rips through her body, leaving her a little breathless and trembling at this end of it. “A prisoner of Adam Monroe. I am so sorry….” There was a reason that Adam saved his life… an ulterior motive to such an act? “I’ve never known him to rescue someone without a reason, without using it to hold over their head.”

Again Kaylee coughs, wetter and more insistent… the blood left a little redder on her palm. Smearing further as she brushes her hand across her lips to wipe off the rest. She didn’t know how much time she had… but she did know they needed to keep going so she grabs the lock. “Maybe we…” The chains fall again with a hollow rattle. “Maybe we can find something to help stop him.” These memories had taken on a new level of importance.

Reaching up to place her hands on the door, Kaylee steals herself, taking a deep breath. To the people behind her, the telepath didn’t seem as solid. If they squinted they could see the grain of the wood through her body and when she pushes open the door, the bright light on the other side shines through her incorporeal form… it blinds them all, consuming them with a new memory.

Emily reluctantly lets go of Kaylee, noting the blood she coughs up. Shit. As the memory starts to haze, she levels one last meaningless glare in the direction of Adam Monroe. His parting words take a moment to sink in — first taken in the context that Devon really is prisoner to the point he can't move off the table, before she realizes he means the memory wipes that Devon suffered. Neither interpretation is better than the other.

"Who the fuck is Joy?" she wonders aloud quietly with clenched teeth as the next lock breaks. Emily's stream of opinions about Devon's captors are cut short as she looks to the door, accidentally looking through Kaylee in the process. She only has time for her brow to lift in surprise, then they're drawn almost instantly into the next memory.

Bringing his hands up to his head, Devon presses the heels of his palms against his eyes. He’d died. He’d died in California. Not only had he died, but he’d been collected and brought back to life, to be held captive and experimented on. By Adam Monroe.

“Adam Monroe.” His voice sounds like he’d been sentenced to death. He’s familiar with the information Wolfhound has on the man. He trembles visibly as his mind reels from the new information. A nod to confirm Kaylee’s explanation of the man in the parka tips his head forward, and a breath precedes hands dropping from his face.

He has no clue for who Joy is, there’s no point of reference that he recalls from Wolfhound or even during the war. Efforts to explain as much, to feel frustration for his lack of knowledge, are cut with the sound of the lock hitting the ground. His eyes come up in time to see the light swell and swallow them into the memory.

The same room, the same scene. Devon can’t tell how many days have passed, if any days have passed. The droning machine sounds continue, the air is still cold enough to produce frost on the metal surfaces. He’s again trapped in time, a witness and victim, as he relieves the procedure. The terror and confusion he felt, the futile struggle to protect himself, works through him both as he lays on the table and stands beside Emily.

"Be still. You will feel a short sting." Clinical words before Doctor Cong starts a marrow draw at the edge of pelvis.

He feels Joy’s hand take his, more than he feels the marrow aspiration. She looks from Bao-Wei, down to Devon, with furrowed brows. Once more her expression is inscrutable, dark eyes hiding something behind them at a depth that feels as all-consuming as the deepest, darkest ocean trench. When she brushes a thumb across one of Devon’s knuckles, she gives his hand a gentle squeeze. Subtle, reassuring.

But then, Devon’s ears begin to ring, his head swims, and he can hear Joy in the back of his mind with a hollow and tinny quality to her voice. It’s as though his own internal thoughts are speaking to him.

The shift, the ringing so reminiscent of tinnitus, brings shock and puzzlement in the look both versions of himself turn on Joy. He stares, body quaking with uneasiness and confusion. A split happens, the him on the table only stares in disoriented wonder while the him standing between Kaylee and Emily speaks quietly.

Be patient. “Be patient.”

Joy furrows her brows, eyes locked on Devon’s.

Be quiet. “Be quiet.”

She looks over to where the marrow sample is being extracted.

But most importantly… “…But most importantly…” be ready. “be ready.”

Joy’s hand tightens around Devon’s as she continues to be an unexpected reassurance…

Escape will not be easy. “…Escape will not be easy.”

A breath escapes Emily as the scene comes into view, the woman standing over Devon. There's a slow blink as she settles into place the assumption that maybe this is Joy. Her vocal dedication to the cause of doing what they were to Devon belies that, at any rate. There's a tightness that forms in her chest when Devon tries to reason with them, insists that extraction from California is minutes away.

Her hand finds his suddenly, holds on tightly. It's as much for her sake as his at this point, as meaningless as the action might be in the mindscape. As much as she tries to not look at what's done to him, she can't help it. It lets her see that shift of Joy's hand on Devon's, and Emily lifts her gaze to see the woman's expression change. She hears Devon's clear repetition of the warbled echoes on the edge of the vision.

When the memory releases its hold, the icy, clinical landscape exchanged for the parklike outdoor scenery that makes up Devon's usual state, Emily turns her head into his shoulder, burrowing her face against his neck. It's disorienting — even though she knows she shouldn't see anything, she somehow still can, like her eyes haven't shut at all.

"She was a mosaic," Emily states as much as asks, "wasn't she?"

It is luck that Adam isn’t on the other side and Kaylee breaths out in relief… as the light shifts and settles into the memory… the exhale ends up with a brief coughing fit and a grimace as her stomach twists. Looking at her hands, she notices the transparency and a look of worry crosses her features. Something was wrong…. But…

Voices pull her attention away from her own problems, the asian woman standing there become her whole focus. “That’s Joy,” she whispers in answer to Emily as it all fades. “I’ve seen her in other memories and visions. She’s immortal like Adam… I-I think.” The telepath wasn’t completely sure, her mind was getting fuzzy… even the scenery around them seemed a bit off. “She is more than she seems and is talented. She could be a potential ally.”

The conversation seems important and she listens intently. “She helped you… Just like she did —” Kaylee trails off in thought, her head tipping to one side. Brows furrow as she tries to remember where… she sees so many memories they start to blend… Or was her thinking fuzzy in general? Was it because of Adam? She gasps and presses a hand to her stomach. Everything and every thought turns to Adam… The trigger in her head was having none of it, but the telepath was stubborn. She turns to the others… looking faded and worn.

“One more,” Kaylee gasps out, more as a pep talk to herself then to the other two, as the threads start to unravel on the scenery. Her image flickers, fade for a moment and returns. The pain is intense and she can feel her heart's erratic beat… but the telepath is determined to see this through.

The door is right there… “Just one more.

Ghostlike hands press to the door… She doesn’t know how she got there, but Kaylee doesn’t look like she can do this on her own. “Help me push…” Her voice sounds like it coming from somewhere distant, a touch panicked. “… it… open!”

There’s no sign of understanding as the memory gives way and the scenery that returns is his mindscape and its single remaining door. The pieces aren’t coming together as he’d hoped. There’ve been some answers, but the gaps keep any placement in time fractured irreparably. Devon’s arm wraps tightly around Emily’s shoulders when she turns into him and his head tilts into hers, finding comfort as much as giving it.

The young man finds Kaylee next, when the telepath begins speaking. He frowns slightly, finding the translucence now worse than before. “What…” Why is a better question to start with, but he doesn’t finish the thought. Something was happening.

“We can stop,” he suggests, even though he steps forward to help push the door. Emily is guided along with him, reluctance to separate from her until he’s actually near enough to help Kaylee. The panic that rises in the telepath’s voice, even more than the incorporeal appearance, triggers his own terror. Help happens quickly, without further argument. His arm slips free of the younger woman and he throws a shoulder into the door to force it open.

Immortal? Emily turns her head away from Devon's shoulder at hearing that. Adam Monroe, immortal, well-connected meddler … with a fellow-immortal foil found in Joy? Her gut tells her it's too good to be true, that it's not all that simple, but all she can to is shake her head in disbelief. Looking just past the group, the doors, she sees the haze of the world amplify. Brow starting to furrow, she looks back to the telepath, trying to gauge what… exactly…

Kaylee insists it's just one more, but she's gotten worse each time. The ragged, almost feeble state the woman's coming into distresses her gradually, but Emily can't find the words to tell her to stop. She can't, because she wants to know. She has to know why — why they did this to Devon. How it was supposed to save the world, as Joy had put it.

She can hear the door creaking from the combined efforts of Kaylee and Devon leaning on it, how it's almost giving under their weight. Reason screams at her to not help, that something is terribly wrong here, but she shoves her shoulder against the door anyway. Emily feels the flash of light curl around the door as they break through to the other side, feels the world once again change—

They can all feel the memory start to wash over them, the images started to sharpen; then everyone is falling as the last of the telepath’s hold is lost on the mental world. Normally, they would be eased back into their own bodies; but not this time. Much like when you fall in a dream, all three of them drop back into their bodies with a jerk of consciousness; violent and jarring.

As soon as she is in control of her body again, Kaylee’s hands slap over her mouth and she violently shudders. Pain and nausea wash over her and Kaylee just knows she’s going to throw-up. With a strangled sound the telepath stumbles out of the kitchen chair — knocking it over in the process — intent on running for the bathroom. However, she doesn’t make, but a few wobbly steps before there is a gagging cough and a splash of deep crimson red on the floor. Ugh!

Horrified, Kaylee stumbles away from it, the back of her hand pressed to her mouth.Her stubbornness had pushed her too far and now she was paying for it. Between the sight of the blood and her suddenly movement backwards… her world goes spinning, darkens, and without a word…. Kaylee collapses in the kitchen.

Being returned to his body so rapidly is about as disorienting as being pulled out of it. Devon is just grasping the return of the dining table and the simply furnished apartment when Kaylee’s form cuts across his field of vision. He stands quickly, not hastily, but the concerned step after her turns into a run.

Luckily the telepath hadn't made it too far. He reaches and manages to snag an arm before she crashes into anything. It's a haphazard hold, so she still slides to the floor, but he keeps her out of most of her own vomit.

“Call for an ambulance.” It's probably an unneeded instruction, some part of him knows Emily is probably handling that. Devon, already wrecked and raw from his uncovered memories, looks for the younger woman while he fumbles at getting Kaylee turned onto her side. “Was she sick? Were… were we attacked somehow?”

As soon as Emily realizes they're not in a memory, but rather, back in reality, she reaches into her pocket for her phone, hastily trying to type down everything she can remember — like they'd woken from a dream that would quickly escape memory, rather than a vision they were fully conscious about.

She doesn't know how this will work out in the end. They were messing with blocked memories. What if it spread to them, too, in some way? It had clearly been a strain on Kaylee.

She's only begun to put down the names rather than the places, is halfway through typing Wolfhound has a spy??? when Kaylee lurches to her feet, sounding ill. Emily's gaze darts up, alarm in her eyes, but Devon's following after her. She makes the decision to stay in her seat, typing out bulletpointed notes as quickly as she can about the the scene they saw — the ice, the people, the types of procedures, the asiatic language she overheard Cong and Adam speak to each other in…

The sound of Kaylee getting ill is attempted to be overlooked, but Emily cringes anyway, looking up in time to see the color across the tile. Her gaze sharpens, alarm in her eyes, and she immediately tabs away to bring up her phone. That is not good. This is not good at all. Then — Kaylee falls.

Devon's voice asking for an ambulance confirms to her she's making the right choice, and she waits impatiently for the call to connect. "God damn it," she murmurs to herself as she comes to her feet, the chair behind her wobbling on the floor. Her eyes darken as she looks between the two, going to suggest that Devon turn her, but he's already in the process of it. "She was getting worse each time — fuck, we shouldn't have—"

Someone's on the other end of the line now. For a second, she swears it's the same operator the last time she had to call emergency services. "I'm at the Raytech apartment complex in Jackson Heights, unit 205, someone here just started bleeding and fell unconscious—"

Several minutes later

As with most situations involving emergency calls, and especially after the war, it's someone else who arrives on scene before the ambulance does. It also helps that one party was much closer than the other, once phoned. Emily turns as she hears the front door slam open, standing to look over the kitchen counter in their direction. "She's over here," she says tersely.

There's more than a single person in the doorway, but Emily looks to one of them in particular with a slight shake of her head. "Gotta stop meeting like this," escapes her in a forced-out whisper, but even she doesn't like her own attempt at humor in the face of what's currently going on.

While the call is made, while people somewhere outside the apartment get into motion, Devon has moved Kaylee only inches from where she’s collapsed. His hands hold her head and shoulders turned to the side, in case there’s more expulsions of anything. It’s the little things he can focus on, while constantly checking on Emily’s progress with getting anyone over, to keep those threads holding his panic back from ripping.

It’s one of those times that he’s looking for the younger woman that he catches the sound of the door opening. “In the kitchen,” he supplements. Hurry is what he means.

Shoes squeak on the floor as he shifts his weight without trying to move the telepath further. Dev looks down at the body and his head shakes slowly. It doesn’t appear to be the sickness he’s seen ravage people, but it’s also been years and time has a way of changing viruses. “Help’s here.” He has no idea if Kaylee can hear him, but maybe talking like she can is useful. “Just hang on.”

“You’re telling me,” Richard mutters in response to Emily as he arrives in the wake of the emergency detail, his suit jacket left open and tie only half-tied. He was probably relaxing after a day’s work, or maybe getting out of a shower, and just threw on what he could before running out the door when the news hit him. Rushed and worried.


He holds back from those who’re actually able to help with this — medical assistance has never been his forte — and looks to the other two instead, brow furrowed in obvious concern. “What happened?”

It's not until several minutes have passed that the RayTech Security Chief can be heard on approach. "No, get Barazani to the hospital and I want him posted there until we have a report," the tone of the head of security practically reverberates through the open doorway as he follows an Emergency medical response team. Luther's frame fills in the door before he steps into the apartment, following the trail of people with all the focus of a hunting dog. And the tension of one knowing he's close to a quarry.


Luther's phone bleeps off as he surveys the gruesome looking scene, studies, assesses. It's all he does to not contribute to the noise level further as vitals are taken along with stabilizing measures. Instead of asking the questions, he waits for the team leader to question on the patient's situation from one of the witnesses.

Perhaps only Richard recognizes just how seething the security chief is beneath the still surface. Turmoil, rocking through his storm-grey gaze as he watches the proceedings.

"She was trying to help Dev," Emily replies, looking down at Kaylee with a furrowed brow as the on-site medical staff help situate her better, and get a read on her actual condition aside from just unconscious. She glances back at Richard, casting aside her reluctance for the sake of giving him the straight answer. Like he'd given her, when the situation was reversed.

"Something was wrong from the start, almost — after the first memory, she started coughing, and she seemed — less real?" She shakes her head slightly, trying not to become mired in the details of it. "After the second, it wasn't as violent as the first, but it was still worse. She said she needed our help to get the last memory, and then …"

Then what? What had happened?

It takes Emily a moment, Luther's presence in the room spurning her to provide an honest, "I don't know. Something went wrong, we didn't see the memory, we just — woke up." It's better than the alternative of letting silence linger. Once it's said, she shifts her attention to the security chief, finding herself shifting more by Richard's side. All the better to stand out of the way of the man's path, and his gaze, if possible. Something about his presence screams not to cross him, even slightly.

It takes very little prompting from the medical staff to get Devon out of the way. He isn’t rushed, but what needs to be done to keep Kaylee alive at this point is well above his pay grade. He’s reluctant to be an extra set of hands to just get in the way. He shifts backward until he can stand without knocking into the staff and interrupt their work. A towel is snagged from somewhere as he turns away to join Emily and Richard.

“She was removing some blocks,” he fills in after Emily’s explanation, as he scrubs at his hands. They’re fairly clean already, most of the bile had landed on the floor thankfully, but he scrubs like they’re filthy. “Trying to piece together what happened a few weeks ago. I didn’t notice… not until the third one and… right when we got that opened we were here.”

His eyes track to Luther, then further to where the medical personnel work on Kaylee. “She got up suddenly, got that far before she threw up and collapsed.” Devon turns back to Richard and Emily. “She looked fine when we got here. I don’t… know what changed. What happened.”

As the security chief arrives, Richard tips his head over in a nod of acknowledgement. “Paramedics are working,” he tells the man - unnecessarily - before turning his intense attention back to Emily and Devon.

“Memory blocks. What cou… you said coughing and vomiting?” The man’s lips pull into a thin line, “Was it Monroe?”

The symptoms only match one malady that he knows his sister is suffering from, and Monroe’s at the heart of it.

“Heartbeat is irregular.” Comes from the medics working on Kaylee. “Pulse weak and breathing shallow.” The words focused to the dispatchers, before looking at his partner, “We need to get her out of here.” The medic stands and starts to pull things off the stretcher, lowering it so that she can be lifted on it.

“Pupils are showing no response to light.” The other medic takes over, her concern evident, as she relays what she sees. A glance goes to the blood splashed across the floor. “Also shows signs of possible blood in her stomach.” While the other medic preps the stretcher, she looks up at Richard. “Your sister have any genetic conditions? Allergies? Anything we need to be aware of that might explain something like this?”


The quiet growl escapes the security chief, popping like a lava bubble contacting with the sea. Coincidentally it also hardens the already stony look in Luther's face as he takes in the bits of info piecing together the likelihood of circumstances. But the look turns upon Emily and Devon turns accusatory.

Luther takes a step forward closer toward the stretcher, and those closest to him could see the smallest invisible heatwaves rising off the man's shoulders. "It's basically a psychosomatic autoimmune reaction," supplies the man to the EMT lead. "She's got a… You need to stop the bleeding. You need to get her to wake up."

It's the first that Luther's tone takes on more a plea, pulled wire tight in his vocals. "Just get her to the hospital."

"Adam Monroe," Emily confirms reluctantly, brow shooting up as Richard nails it one, "Was all over the first memory, yes. She freaked out after she first saw him." There's a soft swear that comes away from her. Telepathy clusterfuck was a term Teo had used recently, and it felt like it now applied here, too.

"Jesus Christ, that should have come up in the warning she gave us." the teenager mutters in worry. Her gaze shoots to Luther uncertainly, hoping he understands that they hadn't known. But, she thinks to herself. This looks more than a fucking psychosomatic reaction.

“Oh god.” There’s no way any of them could have known what they’d find inside his head, but Devon looks like he might become sick now. Hands, still tangled with the towel, raise and rake through his hair. There’s no way he’d have known what finding those memories would have done to the telepath.

“We didn’t know.” It sounds like a lame excuse now. Like somehow it should have been known. Dev turns his attention from Luther and Kaylee to Richard and Emily. He starts to say something, brows knitting, but another glance toward the medics has him slipping into the hall and walking a short distance away, opposite of the elevators.

“God damn it.” Richard brings a hand up, pinching the bridge of his nose and holding up the other, “No, you didn’t, and shouldn’t’ve— she has a telepathic block in place, if she thinks about that immortal asshole too much…”

This happens.

“I should’ve known she’d do something this reckless so soon after leaving her husband,” he mutters, turning to look to the paramedics, head tilting in a nod to Luther, his voice cord-tight with worry, “Getting her stable and awake is the priority… that should stop her body from trying to fucking kill her.”

"MotherFUCKER," the growl from Luther shakes out of him but he fights it back down and gets himself under control. He catches Devon retreating for the hall, though, and barks out a sharp, "Where the hell do you think you're going?" It spurs the man into an active stalk after Devon, a slow and short chase given.

But it does ultimately get Luther out of the apartment as well, letting the paramedics do their job with lifting Kaylee's form onto the stretcher and getting her on her way to the hospital with every precious second.

Just outside the apartment doorway, Luther turns upon Devon. "You… you're going to tell me everything that happened up 'til that point when Kaylee fell. You're not leaving this campus until either I'm satisfied or you're in cuffs." But by the sound of it he's leaning towards the latter.

"Fuck's sake," Emily mutters when Richard explains it. "If we'd have known…" She shoots him a look filled with apology, on the verge of saying something else when Luther swears again, sounding like the Beast from the Disney film. Her brow twitches, her own words lost as she sees the way he looks after Devon as the younger man tries to leave. "Hey—" she practically snarls as she goes after the much larger, much more intimidating man, immediately pursuing them both out the door.

She slides into the narrow space between both Devon and Luther, looking straight up at the angered security chief. Emily stands her ground firmly, chin lifted. "Back off," she commands sharply. Her voice softens only slightly as she adds, "We'd have never gone through with it if we'd known there was that kind of risk." Her arm lifts to gesture back at the apartment, but she doesn't look, still staring up.

No — after all, they'd anticipated the worst risk would be to Devon himself.

“She agreed to take a look and see what was going on.” Devon’s retort is given as he turns around to face Luther. He keeps a distance from the larger man, though, just far enough back that there’d be some overreaching if any attempt to grab him would happen. “I called, told her there’s a fracture inside my memories after whatever the fuck happened at California like three weeks ago.” Or longer, maybe less, he’s not sure and he doesn’t care right now.

There’s more to come, more swelling emotion as he wrestles with those found and fresh memories, the sudden peril that recovering them caused. Like a capped bottle of Diet Coke that’s got an entire roll of Mentos jammed into it. It’s clamped down on when Emily steps in between him and the older man, but only just.

“She agreed. She fucking agreed.” A finger jabs at the apartment, not at the gurney that’s being wheeled away. “She told us nothing of any danger to her, just that these memories …if they weren’t carved out then whatever blocks there were she’d remove them and wouldn’t be able to put them back.”

The rest has already been said, back in the living room. But for Luther’s benefit, Devon repeats it again. They found the locked memories, the first one had Adam Monroe. No, he didn’t see her react to it but he saw the effects later. They got through the second and opened the third before being dropped back into their bodies. It was shortly after that when Kaylee collapsed. His words are strained, and there’s a hint of challenge as he finishes speaking, daring Luther to doubt him even for a second.

“Luther! Jesus Christ, I know you’re worried, but there’s no reason to fucking threaten the kids over it,” says Richard as he steps after the others, hands lifting as if to push the three apart from one another, “She knew damn well after she first encountered that memory that she should pull out, but she was— being herself.”

His hands drop, jaw tensed, “Just fucking relax. All of you. It won’t do any good blaming anyone for this…”

Then he’s turning to watch them put his sister on the gurney, worry dark in his eyes, “She did this to herself. And I’m going to yell at her about it when she wakes up.” Because she is going to wake up.

The Wolfhound's retorted reply gets countered with a dissatisfied, deep-chested and wordless rumble from Luther. With fists clenched at his sides, he glances down as Emily inserts herself into the line of fire and stands between him and the younger man.

Something about the command from the smaller lady turns Luther's focus off of Devon, at least. The security chief angles his head slightly, blinking down at Emily before relenting finally with a hard swallow that bobs his Adam's apple. Compounded with Richard's followup snap, finally Luther's composure returns. Faintly.

And the heat that started to rise, diminishes as he drops his gaze down to a spot on Richard's chest, somewhere along the same level as Emily's chin. His head turns as the gurney's wheeled away to follow it. But this time, Luther doesn't pursue.

Lifting his gaze back to the trio, he asks in a calmer, though still tense query, "Any of you need a ride out?"

Emily's expression twitches as Luther looks down at her, the initial snap to it being felt. Her head turns slightly away from him, but her chin is still held just as proudly— stubbornly, even. She swallows hard as he seems to relent, some of the fire in her eye diminishing. She takes a step back, Richard's interjection spurring it, letting herself slide in by Devon's side.

She slips her hand into his, holding onto it tightly. Through the action she tries to quell the overlapping waves of strong feeling that still plague her from the event and its aftermath— the anger and the confusion at what had happened to Devon, the anxiety, even fear at what was to come. For just a moment, she slides a look back to Luther warily. She tries to imagine what she would have done if it had been Devon on the floor instead of Kaylee.

It looks a lot like what he's done.

Emily's gaze falls to her feet then, listening to more than seeing the gurney head down the hall. The ambulance must just be arriving, based on the squawk of the radios pinned to the medics and security personnel, practically creating an echo around them as the message comes through. The elevator arrives with a gentle ding, doors parting for them.

From experience, Emily knows that the transition from hall to elevator will be a smooth one, nothing that will jostle Kaylee regardless of her unconscious state — the building is well-designed in terms of supporting people being transported on things like wheelchairs or gurneys. It's a singular, small, almost out-of-place thought.

But she's gone back to looking for silver linings, and she'll take them wherever she can get them.

With his hand tightening around Emily, Devon turns his gaze from Luther only after the older man has turned away. He even retreats a step further, drawing the young woman with him. Richard gets a short glance, but except for the lingering tension it offers nothing. Not even thanks or apology. Either or both are likely to come later, when heads have had a chance to cool.

Turning slightly, his face angling away from the men near the doorway and the retreating medical staff, he pulls Emily into a hug. It’s as much for himself and mastering his own fear and worries as it is to comfort her and ease her concerns.

Dev’s head dips down to rest against blonde hair, ignoring the sounds of radio chatter and wheels behind. “She’ll be okay,” he says, without any certainty but trying to sound confident.

This time, Pandora’s Box should have stayed closed.

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