Plumbing The Depths


elisabeth2_icon2.gif vf_kaylee_icon2.gif

Scene Title Plumbing the Depths
Synopsis What do you do with locked doors that leak water?
Date October 2, 2013

Holiday Inn

Hey! Meet me? I have something I need to ask you to do. Gonna sound crazy. Room 312, Holiday Inn, this afternoon.

The text from Elisabeth has to be the weirdest thing the audiokinetic has ever sent. And she has sent some doozies, for certain! After assuring Kaylee via actual voice call that yes, she is serious, and she'll explain everything when Kaylee meets her, Liz did the things she usually does in a morning, sends Aurora off with Cassandra, and heads for the hotel room that she booked for this purpose. Though what the hell that purpose is — because Kaylee knows Liz isn't hitting on her, for God's sake — is anyone's guess.

When Kaylee gets her key at the desk and lets herself in, Elisabeth is propped against the headboard of one of the beds reading something. She glances up and grins. "Is it creepy that it's a hotel, or just bizarre?"

“I’d say it was creepy and bizarre, if you were not the mother of my niece from another world,” Kaylee points out, letting the door shut behind her. “Speaking of…” The absence of the little girl is noticeable. “I’m guessing this isn’t some secret rendezvous, but something else.”

Her leather jacket is shrugged off and tossed over the back of one of the dinette chairs. Leaving her in a white t-shirt, jeans, and motorcycle boots.“So… question is, what do you need from me?” The blonde telepath drops into that same chair and kicks her feet up on the edge of the bed. Crossing them at the ankle she taps the edges of the soles together. “I think the desk guy eyed me when I picked up the key,” Kaylee adds with a grin.

Elisabeth's smile slips just a little. "Well, it's a secret rendezvous, but not the fun kind," she admits candidly. "Well, not unless you get the desk guy up here when we're done — then maybe it'll be the fun kind," she laughs. She too is dressed comfortably — jeans, a cami tank beneath a light green sweater, her sneakers on the floor next to the bed. She pulls her feet up to sit cross-legged as she watches Kaylee.

"There's a telepathic block in my brain that I need you to break," she tells her de facto sister-in-law. "I've known about it for a long time. Longer, even, than Mags and I've been dimension-hopping. I … think I know now why it's there. And I left well enough alone because I didn't need the information behind it. But I do now. I can… lead you right to it, if you're willing to help me blast the thing open. I've already tried on my own and I can't."

Feet stop mid bounce so that she can give Liz an odd look. What did she just ask? “You want me to —” uncertainty clouds her features and brows flick downwards only briefly. “Is that even possible?” Boots slide of the bed so that Kaylee can sit up and lean forward with arms resting on her knees. “I’ve never really done something like that. I mean… manipulate people to do things for me, listen to what people think, but not that…”
Kaylee seems really unsure about this, teeth worry at her lower lip, thoughtfully. “Maybe if I….” Clearly, the telepath isn’t above trying at least.

"The way I understand it, honestly, is that it's basically a matter of your strength. It's a locked door. I guess…. Pick the lock?" Elisabeth looks a bit at a loss. "I'm reasonably sure I know what we're going to find. But… I don't trust anyone but you with the information yet. Do … you want to … I dunno. Should we be in contact? Or do I just need to let you in? I've had enough training at this point to know how to do that." She grins a little ruefully. "Been a bit busy the past couple years."

“When… I manipulate people, it’s easier when I touch them.” Kaylee’s shoulders lift slowly and then drop again in a shrug. “When we went up against the Vanguard, I didn’t touch them, but it… burned me out fast.”

Sliding to her feet, Kaylee edges her way around the bed, until she can sit on the edge of the other bed. Scooting forward a bit, she says, “So yeah, I think for this I should be touching you,” her mouth pulls to one side and her eyes seem to hold hidden laughter. “I’m glad certain other people can’t hear us talkin’. You ever met the Magnes from this world. It’s… a trip.” At this point Liz and their Magnes were not any different then the others that stepped through Ruiz’ portal. At least in her mind.

"Ffft. Magnes in any world is a fucking horny bastard…. I told him if he ever hit on me, I'd feed him his ball sac," Elisabeth snorts. "He's totally sex-obsessed." Shaking her head, chuckling, she scoots over on the bed she's sitting on. "C'mon, up here. Stick your hands on my head or something, I guess." She grins. "I haven't ever done exactly this kind of thing before. But… tell me when you're ready, and I'll relax to let you in… and I'll sort of … retreat. Follow me down, and hopefully the safe space that Hokuto put in place for me will be something you can see. The door is actually inside my inner sanctuary and Hokuto once told me that only the people I let in can get in there."

“Yeah, well this one has a crush on that other me,” Kaylee comments lightly. “It’s like a puppy left out in the rain… I felt sorry for him, so.. I gave him a pep-talk and pushed him out of the nest.” She gives a little kick out, as if that is what she really did. Rolling her eyes and grinning she adds, “Seems like a good kid, tho.”

Moving over to the other bed, Kaylee turns to sit sideway and tucks a foot under her; shifting to get comfortable. Reaching up with one hand, she presses fingertip press against her temple. Her ability tentatively reaches out, Liz can tell she’s there… a brush against her mind. Eyes slide shut as she concentrates on what she is doing.

Like she did those Vanguard soldiers, Kaylee slips into Liz’s mind. Falling through the rabbit hole left open to her by Liz.

She's by no means an expert, but it's clear Elisabeth's had some amount of training at this point. The resistance Kaylee encounters on the first brush is gone after Liz pulls in a deep breath and closes her eyes to deliberately relax into the mental contact. Surface thoughts are easy and are generally pretty generic — Kaylee knows most of the day-to-day worries that Liz has: baby, job, etc. The thing foremost in her mind right at this moment is worry about Kaylee perhaps thinking badly of her when she sees some of what will come. And curiosity about what they're going to find.

Liz focuses her thoughts, though, laying back onto the bed to allow herself to deliberately drift into that twilight state of near-sleep. Meditation and relaxation techniques originally taught to her in yoga class when she first got to this world are good for something else! Because her safe space is deep in her mind. But as she relaxes and lets herself drift, picturing the peach and sea green bedroom of her teenaged years, she draws Kaylee with her down into the darker places. There are, for lack of a better term, caged memories that have to be traveled through to get there. Guarded memories that have the hint of pain still attached even behind the walls that guard their path. If Kaylee wants to nudge at things, however, Elisabeth is trusting her to both use discretion and to not poke too hard at anything that looks fragile.

As she lets herself be drawn in, Kaylee realizes that if she wanted too… she could take control. There is a sensation that she could if she really wanted to, but — she hesitates. Invading their minds to leave a message or listen into current thoughts was one thing. Digging felt wrong, so the telepath is drawn into that room.

A hand moves to press against the wall in awe, but it felt fuzzy to her. So Kaylee reaches out for memories of that room and brings it into sharp focus, much like having an HD TV after a normal TV would look. «This is amazing.» whispered words, her mouth doesn’t move; yet, for Liz her voice is everywhere at once, echoing slightly… hollow.

Turning to find Liz, she gives the woman a bright smile. «Getting in here wasn’t so bad, I — I think understand how that worked… I think I could do that again.» There is an excitement to the woman, a flash of eagerness; not unlike her father.

Elisabeth 'watches' Kaylee work her way through the mechanics of it, patient as the other woman figures them out. «As I understand it… most of us walk around with some basic shields, like the kind of thing that you just develop naturally — introverts would be harder to tap into, people who've suffered trauma would be harder, that kind of thing. Because their minds have built up this sort of wall so they can isolate themselves and protect themselves. In my case, I had basic ones … the kind of thing from trauma and also just from discipline. Compartmentalizing information mentally, if you will. But if you'd been an attacker, you would have had to work harder to get in if I hadn't asked you in. And you wouldn't be able to get here…»

Here proves to be a space that she seems to step backward into and disappear. Then a door presents itself to Kaylee to be knocked on, but when she looks away and back, it's not there anymore. Liz reappears. It's almost like looking at a funhouse mirror — the space she's inviting Kaylee into is almost literally invisible in her mind. If you didn't know it was there, if you didn't know what to look for, it's possible you'd never find it. But Elisabeth deliberately makes the door visible and opens it for Kaylee to enter. «Don't mind the decor,» she murmurs, amused.

The room is a tastefully decorated bedroom of a moderately wealthy teen. Mahogany bed and dresser, large mirror, closet full of clothes. A desk covered in random bits and pieces of a teenager's life. But the most incongruous thing stands in the middle of the room's creamy off-white carpet — it's a metal door, rusted and chained with heavy-looking chains. A lock holds the links together. And around the edges of the door water seeps into the room. It doesn't go farther than a couple of inches from the place the door stands, to one side of her closet. And you can actually walk around it. It's cold and the water, if Kaylee's brave enough to touch it, is definitely wet. So weird.

«That… is our little problem for today, class,» Liz teases a little uneasily. Hokuto once told her never to mess with that door. Some part of her still doesn't want the proof that's going to come from it when it flies open.

The door catches Kaylee’s attention and holds it, there is a blatant curiosity and fascination with it. Fingers trail over it’s cold and clammy surface as she slowly moves around it. A fingertip trails over over the edges and rubs fingers together, feeling the dampness.

Leaning to look past the door, Kaylee look at Elisabeth, looking a touch concerned, «This is… this is a bit intimidating.» It’s a weird admission coming from the telepath, but then… she’s never done this before.

She disappears behind the door, only to come back around to Liz’ side. Blue-eyes drop to the obvious choice. The lock.

Reaching out, Kaylee gently takes the lock in both hands. Her ability uncoils from around her, invisible to Liz, it tastes, it touches… it tests the lock; trying to understand how it works. Her only clue that the telepath is working is the tilt of her head and the unfocused look to them — staring off into nothing.

“Hello Miss Thatcher.” The moment Kaylee’s hand touches the door with her mind, she feels the presence of something — someone — in Elisabeth’s mind with her. Standing in Kaylee’s periphery is a man with dark skin, black hair just turning gray, tired eyes, and a crisp navy blue suit with dark pinstripes. Elisabeth recognizes him from photographs that Richard obsessively showed her. It is Charles Deveaux.


“My name is Charles, and I wouldn’t do what you’re about to do, if I were you.” Charles tucks his hands into the pockets of his slacks and slowly approaches Kaylee, his expression apologetic moreso than anything else. “But, I’m willing to discuss the topic.”

Elisabeth is just about as startled as Kaylee. WHOA!! Jumping to one side, she looks at him in shock. "What the—" She trails off and stares. "Mr. Deveaux!" One hand flies to her mouth, and she looks for all the world like she'd really like to pepper the man with questions. Except… well, he's not really Charles Deveaux, is he? He's… a gatekeeper program, basically? "Charles," she tries again. "The time's come. I need to know." She's wary of this apparition, uncertain of what he might do. And worried that if he's here to protect her, he might hurt Kaylee.

The movement and the voice of this new person does a good job of interrupting the telepath’s thoughts. Eyes blink as Kaylee becomes more aware, head turning towards the new arrival. Unlike Liz, this man means nothing to her, still the sudden appearance is startling. “You know him?” she asks her friend, not taking her eyes off him.

His warning has her fingers tightening on the lock, not letting go, though she doesn’t push at it. A glance goes to the other woman, but she waits, her ability thrumming with the desire to tear apart the locks. The temptation is real. “What happens if I do it anyway?” Kaylee asks curiously and with a touch of defiance.

Closing his eyes, this fragment of Charles Deveaux adjusts the buttons on the front of his suit and looks to the rusted door, glistening wet with seawater on the other side. “That’s a wound,” Charles explains, looking to Kaylee, then Elisabeth. “When Elisabeth was a child, she suffered an extremely upsetting trauma during an event that the Company decided would be best if she never remembered. As such, I hid that traumatic memory away behind this door. Harder to find, but I created some other memories whole-cloth around the same time.” Charles motions to what amounts to peeling wallpaper around where the door has rotted through the walls of Elisabeth’s mind.

“If you open it, Elisabeth will suffer from the childhood trauma again.” Charles’ dark eyes move to the door. “She’ll remember the event that happened, and have conflicting — but equally real feeling — memories of her childhood and be unable to differentiate between the two.” Turning to Kaylee, he warns. “Given the amount of time that has passed since I put this block up, there won’t be any putting it back up.” Then, to Elisabeth he warns. “There’s no going back from this. But the choice is ultimately yours. I can’t do anything to stop you.”

There is hesitation in her intentions now. Elisabeth's innate curiosity was one of the things that initially drew her to police work — she like to know things. Know the truth of things. But she's suffered enough trauma in her life that she does remember, there's a reluctance to add more unnecessarily. She can always come back to it later if she chooses not to do it now…

Studying the projection and the door itself, she considers the ramifications. "I believe myself capable of handling the trauma itself," she observes quietly, "I've survived torture. I doubt it gets much worse." It's not something she's ever told Kaylee before, but there's a weight to the words that speaks to the truth of it. "That being said… you locked these memories away for the child that I was. So you know what's behind the door," she tells the apparition of Charles. "Is there anything within the child's memories that will help us besides confirmation that I was born in the timeline that flooded?"

Whether her curiosity is burning through her brightly, this wasn’t the mind of someone that Kaylee’d play with lightly. Not the mind of a friend. Ultimately, it was up to Liz. Still, blue-eye shift from the man, to the door. One of her hands releases the lock, to press against the door lightly. Trailing across the surface of the door, her head tilts a little in thought, eyes unfocus a little. “He’s right,” the telepath says softly. “I don’t have even half the strength to do this.”

Brows furrow a little. “I… I think I understand it, but… I’ve never blocked memories. I’ve only ever altered them.” There is no guilt involved with that admission. Kaylee looks to her friend expectantly, it was all up to Elisabeth at this point.

Of course, the idea that Liz was born from a flooded timeline… well, when you have done everything they have done and seen some shit…. It only gets a small lift of her brow and has her attention going back to the wet door.

There’s a look on Charles’ face that shows confusion. His question to Elisabeth is straightforward. “What do you mean flooded?”

That makes her pause. It was an assumption on her part, but… one that makes sense. "Why is the door leaking water like that? And what can you tell us about the world that I came from?" Elisabeth studies the door a long moment and then looks at the Charles-apparition. "I need to know what you know about the world my father and I came from. And I need to know who came with us. It could be far more important than I realized." It occurs to her… that in 1982, the world wouldn't have been flooded, though. Which… might explain the leaking.

There isn’t much for the telepath to say or do, Kaylee just stands quietly her ability lazily curled around the lock in her hand. She knew what to do, she just needed the word. She felt like a snake coiled ready to strike on command.

Charles shakes his head slowly. “There isn’t much to tell, and frankly, I don’t know much of it.” This Charles isn’t the real Charles Deveaux, just a facsimile. “I remember that, aside from differences in sitting political figures like the President, there weren’t any noticeable differences. You certainly didn’t come from some sort of Noah’s Ark world. But…” Charles looks to the door. “The water is part of the trauma.”

That ominous part said, Charles looks back to Kaylee. “You’re underestimating yourself if you think you can’t open this, too. You’re stronger than you think.” Then, to Elisabeth Charles notes. “No one else came with you, but you were a part of a larger incident involving multiple people across the entire United States. I don’t have all the names, myself.” Then, smiling faintly Charles adds, “possibly because I’m not myself.”

For all the strength the audiokinetic has, for all the faith that she can get through whatever is required of her, Elisabeth has always been more than a little uneasy about that door. The idea that it was leaking water and that might be linked to coming from the flooded timeline is one that she latched onto because it's simple — but her own logic is pointing at the fallacy of her assumption already. She arrived in the world she grew up in as a child; the flooding hadn't happened yet, she wouldn't think. "In this world," she tells Kaylee quietly, "Elisabeth Harrison traveled in 1982 through whatever this damn timeline disruption was… with her father. I'm told that her world, too, was very similar to this one. And based on what we know, the assumption is that the Liz and her father who live here in Bright actually were originally from what I consider 'my' world."

She bites her lip, shifting the pieces of her mental jigsaw puzzle around. "I landed in my world from a different timeline, as well. But… not with my father." She looks at the woman who has become her sister in many ways. "And frankly, if the child that I was landed alone with a trauma bad enough that instead of just shifting around all the details of it for her and getting her therapy for it, they thought it best to lock it away… I'm not entirely sure I need to know. Which makes me feel a bit of a coward, but… " She shrugs just a hair. "I have Aurora to think of."

Liz sighs heavily. "I need to think about this more before committing to it," she admits. "Once broken, it can't be put back — which all in all isn't necessarily a bad thing. But if there's nothing to actually be gained by doing it, now may not be the time. That being said…" She grins just a little. "We can always revisit this. I have faith that if I want it done, you can do it, Kaylee."

“1982…” Kaylee looks from Liz to the other man. “Same incident my father told me about.” There is a touch of disappointment when the decision is made to leave it well alone. Slowly, her ability unwinds itself from the obstacle before her, with a sigh like she was holding her breath all of this time.

This man draws Kaylee’s curiosity. “He said I was stronger then I think…” This is said softly to Liz. “How would he know?” That said with a touch of amusement.

“Okay, Liz. You know where to find me,” Kaylee is still all in to help when and if she needs it. Looking at the door, she runs her hand over it again, “I know what to do, to open it. I hope he’s right and I have the strength for it.”

The disappointment amuses Elisabeth. "I think you wanted to bust it open as badly as I do," she chuckles. "Charles Deveaux… knew a great many things, if Richard is to be believed. I would venture to guess he knew at least something about the analog of you that lives here. After all… your father was tied up in all the original research, Kaylee."

She looks around at the room that Hokuto helped her build, the space within her own mind that is where she hid when she couldn't cope anymore. "Someday, perhaps, I'll feel like I can dismantle this whole space… including the door." Blue eyes come back to Kaylee. "For right now, though… I don't think being mentally out of commission is strategically the best move." There is regret when she says it — she too would like nothing more than to destroy the barrier.

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