Potential Problems


kaylee_icon.gif richard3_icon.gif

Scene Title Potential Problems
Synopsis Kaylee brings Richard word of what happened with Varlane and they discover something rather terrifying when Tyler decides to pop in for a chat.
Date December 23, 2018

Raytech Industries - Richard's Office

“Ugh…seriously, Boss. Can’t this wait for tomorrow?” Bob grouses, rubbing fingers and thumb over his eyes to wake himself up.

He was supposed to be off duty and she supposed to be home after a visit to Benchmark, but… Kaylee Sumter had come practically bursting out of the center, like she had the devil on her heels and told him to take her to Raytech. It worried him that she looked more worked up then normal… and with these visions, she’s been in one hell of a state. Little did he know, part of it was from the constant presence of another mind.

Kaylee didn’t even need to know where Richard was. She knew where he’d be and that is where she goes. Pausing outside of the CEO’s office, Kaylee takes a deep breath and looks at Bob, a hand lifting in a staying motion. She looked worn out and tired, nothing like a COO in her jeans, tshirt, and brown leather jacket. Of course, she’s not been at the office much since the Overlays had started. “Stay out here, let no one in. I need to talk to my brother alone.” With that, she doesn’t even knock. Kaylee simply walks in and swings the door shut behind her.

“Richard.” Kaylee greets him, as an afterthought. Only to jump right into: “I talked to Magnes. Several, actually. But definitely ours.”

There’s papers all over the desk right now, and the screen beneath the surface is lit up with a half-dozen windows that he’s been doing work in and reviewing responses in. Right now he’s leaning back in the chair, the kitten resting on his chest and a large dog snoring loudly beside it.

The addition of more animals has not pleased Sera. Or the janitorial staff.

“I’m awake,” Richard abruptly declares as his sister barges in, sitting up and nearly tumbling Richelieu onto the floor before he catches the kitten. There’s a sleepy-angry hiss and the feline leaps from his arms and scampers off. One hand comes up to rub at his eyes, deep circles beneath them.

“Nngh. Quantum-entangled? Okay, what… what do you have for me,” he asks, groping blindly towards a mug of what’s probably long cold coffee.

“Each had interesting things to say, especially—” Kaylee starts, moving to help and push the mug closer. Then she notices the dog for the first time. There is a blink of surprise. “Is….” She point at it and looks back to Richard. “Is that a dog?” The woman looks more amused than anything. Someone is a little out of the loop, but then again she hasn’t been around much at the office.

Shaking her head, Kaylee murmurs, “Nevermind…” It wasn’t important. What was? “Their on the move and heading to the Ark by boat… which if it is what I think it is, means the Institute exists in that timeline.” Settling into a chair across from her brother, she looks anxious. “They were under attack from pirates when he got pulled into Varlane’s head. Which sounds really weird… if it wasn’t us, I’d think I was crazy… and he mentioned dad. I’m a little worried on the time table. If they are still on the ocean…” Kaylee trails off spreading her hands, a little helpless.

“He was Keira’s,” Richard says with a glance to the snoring hound, still rubbing sleep from his eyes as he brings the mug up to his lips, taking a sip— grimacing at the cold, pausing, then taking a longer swallow anyway. He needs the coffee. Setting it down, “Planning on giving him to the kids as a Christmas present— uh, right.”

He clears his throat, looking back across the table wearily, looking as if he hasn’t slept at all in awhile. “They get there in time, I know that much— ah— if you talk to him again, tell them not to trust Doctor Ford, and that Don Kenner is going to try and murder them all by flooding the room with the Looking Glass when they’re in it. Des is going to try and get the message across too, hopefully we can manage that in time. Or have already managed that? Fuck, I don’t know.”

A slump back in the chair, both hands coming up to rub over his face, “Pirates. Christ. The Ark, huh? Maybe mom founded the Institute there… same name, different Cardinal?”

“I hope you’re right,” Kaylee says not feeling as convinced. His confidence in prophecy was shaky at best, even if she listens. “The dates in… closing in faster than we think.” Fingers rub at her forehead, brows furrowed in thought. “So far, it seems they are okay. He said Liz was on another boat and they were all under attack.” Her hand drops to look at Richard again, “He mentioned that dad predicted it. Blood in the water, gunshots, screams and fire. That Edward said that the seas were dangerous.”

Settling back into the chair, his sister look just as exhausted as he probably feels. The overlays have not been kind. “Magnes’ focus was on making sure I knew that his daughter was here in Eileen’s hands and to get her. I hated telling him, that it was easier said than done.” There is a huff of amusement, “You realize he’s going to be a handful when he gets back?” They both know being parents themselves. “We’ll have to keep him from tearing apart the world or getting himself killed trying to find her.”

“Of course dad did,” Richard chuckles, pinching the bridge of his nose before letting his hand fall, and then his brow knits a little in confused consternation, “Wait— his daughter? Eileen has his— I think I missed something.” A lean forward, resting an arm on the table, “Fill me in on this, I think this one slipped past me.”

Realizing it did end up missed, Kaylee swears softly and straightens in her chair, “I’m sorry, Richard. I was so focused…” Leaning forward and resting an arm on the desk top she fills him in. “One of the things Varlane told us, was that Eileen… she took his daughter and Lynette and Mateo’s son, before they fled to this world.” She shakes her head a little. “I don’t know how we go about that, but… I just know Magnes is going to be hell bent on going after the Horsemen to get her back and I think we know how well that is going to go.” Unbidden the memory of Eve’s vision of the Horsemen and the redheaded girl, fills his memory.

“Something else…” Kaylee slides back to the discussion about Magnes. “I talked to a version of him… We need to be careful. From what I understand, Magnes has been ‘touched’ by the entity. Heard it talking to him from the ‘void’ or whatever you want to call that place it is trapped.” The telepath is already nervous of what is coming… this little tidbit didn’t help.

“Christ. She took— why the fuck did she do that? Why would she— blackmail, probably,” Richard exhales a frustrated sigh, fingers drumming against the table’s surface, “I mean, if she still has the kids, they’re probably way over on the other coast at Sedro-Woolley.”

“Frankly, if Magnes wants to run off to the Dead Zone, more power to him,” he grimaces, “We’ll have to deal with all of that when they get here— and if he’s been infected by the Entity we’ll deal with that too. I can tell you that Wolfhound has a solid lead on Caspar, at least.”

“Actually, big brother. Many of them are on this coast. They have a new colony,” Kaylee points in the vague direction of where they had retrieved Sibyl, not that he knows about that. “The kids may be there.” When had it gotten this awkward to talk to her brother? “Anyhow… I just wanted you to know.”

Lips press tight for a moment, as if Kaylee had some sort of retort, but then she sighs and loses any tension that might be in her shoulders. However, the mention of Casper draws her attention back, brows lift a bit and there is a lean towards him. “They do?” she asks with mild curiosity. “Have they said anything about Pete Varlane?” There is a sort of venom in the ways she says the man’s name. “Or… are they even going to go after him?”

“If they had any leads, they would be, they’re still searching— did your Magnes have any idea where they are? He came from there, he should know something, should have some memory of how he got here…” Richard grimaces, “I’d love to put a bullet right in.. in.. “

He trails off, blinking at his sister, “A new colony?”

“A bullet would be too kind,” Kaylee comments in an icy tone, eyes unfocused for a moment. Something about that tone, says that Magnes’ old man better hope they put a bullet in him. “And no. His mind is such a mess from being the clone of many other clones. I’ve been trying to piece it together, but…” his body was slowly fading. “I just know it’s the west coast and he was dumped into the ocean from whatever pipe he came through.

“And yes… Not sure if I’d call it a colony actually, but Eileen’s people are settling in up in what used to be New Jersey,” Clearly, Kaylee has her sources. There is a blink, her head tilting a bit. “I’m actually surprised you hadn’t heard.”

“I can’t hear everything myself, as much as I appreciate that you think I can…” Richard brings a hand up to rub over his face again, mumbling through it, “If you know where and have a location, toss it over to me when you can… nnh. We need to start setting up regular reports, get an intel database running if we’re going to be doing this again…”

“That’s because you always seem to have the answers,” Kaylee points out softly, with a soft smile. Leaning forward, she picks up a pen on his desk and drags a scrap of paper close enough to write down a rough location of Eileen’s group. “They’re not causing problems, so I think we just need to keep an eye on them really.”

There is a soft sigh, eyes dropping to her hands resting in her lap. “I know you think I’m keeping things from you, you’re right, but we all have secrets. There are people I know who want their privacy, but no one that you have to worry about. Everything else, you know… or I thought you knew,” she motions to the piece of paper and places the pen on it carefully.

“I’m not working against you, I never would. Even if I am worried about you being just like Edward…” Kaylee pushes the piece of paper across the desk. “Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t still step into that fire with you.”

“Don’t fall into the trap of my reputation, sis,” Richard’s eyes roll in his head fit to tumble out and head across the room, “You know damn well that without people telling me shit, I wouldn’t know anything… that includes you. Or used to include you, anyway.”

He motions tiredly across the desk, fingers taking the paper and drawing it closer, “I’m tired, Kay. I’m stressed to high hell, I’m trying to balance a dozen and one fucking things and it doesn’t feel like any of you actually believe in me anymore. Honestly. You didn’t even defend me to Luther about Odessa, and you asked me to hire her. I don’t— have any support network here and it’s fucking killing me. I don’t know if you literally have bought into the Legend of Richard Cardinal or what, but— “

A grimace as he slumps back in the chair, “I’m not him anymore. I don’t have my ability, I— fuck, most of what I do is sit in this damn chair and sort intelligence these days, when I’m not doing business. I can’t do this without you, without— without Luther, and Warren, and Val, and all the rest of you. Even when I do have direction from dad, I still can’t do this alone.”

Red-rimmed eyes regard his sister over the table, “I know you all think I’m going to turn into some kind of fucking monster or sacrifice the entire fucking city for my goals, Kay, but… I’m not. I’m not him. Yeah, I might— I might bend the rules, but I have fucking good reasons when I do.”

There is a short laugh, spurred by exhaustion and a touch of… defeat. “You know damn well, I don’t think you’d sacrifice the city for your goals.” But then she holds up a finger. Kaylee looks at him and slowly shakes her head, “Except, you and I both know you will destroy heaven and earth to get to that little girl. What parent wouldn’t,” she says spreading her hands. She does get it. “And honestly, if I told you I didn’t see you as that other monster you wouldn’t believe me. You probably wouldn’t believe anything I say.” Her voice thickens at that last, she shoulders shrug.

“And yes, I asked you to hire Odessa, but she is the one that neglected to tell us about her ties…” There is a flicker of anger and Kaylee leans forward. “I can’t defend that. Not in good conscious.” There is a matter of factness to her tone. “Joseph’s church… he himself… Others have been hurt and killed by them. Trust me. I heard all about it when your brother-in-law found out.” Taking a breath and letting it out softly, she shakes her head, “She helped them, under duress or not. Doesn’t matter if she’s my friend, she painted me into a corner.”

There is still guilt when she says that, Kaylee finds herself unable to meet his eyes. She falls quiet for a long moment, even thinks about taking her leave, but something he’s said bothers her. Nags at the back of her brain.

“Do you really think you are the only one balancing a lot of shit?” Kaylee asks softly. “These visions… this overlay event has been… “ His sister lets out a shaky breath, looking at a spot over his shoulder. “I don’t even know how to explain it,” she finally exhales out in a whisper. “Eye opening? Torturous?” Eyes flutter shut as she shakes her head. “And now I have the mind of Tyler Case…” She presses fingertips to the side of her head, giving them a little tap, eyes opening, full of tears. “Right here. I feel him there. He used to be in the head of the me that traveled with Liz. Until she was shot and… I experienced all of it. Every emotions, every pain, Every last thought.“

She breathes out a rough huff and shakes her head again. “I… am tired, too, big brother, but for other reasons. I’m sorry, I haven’t been there… I just… I can barely take care of my own shit.” There is an apology there as she looks up at him, eyes bright from unshed tears.

“Christ.” Richard rubs over his face with both hands, “Tyler… I don’t even know how to unpack that, at least you’ll have no end of bad jokes?”

The humor falls flat, though, and he pushes himself up to his feet— startling the kitten that had nestled up to them, and sending him scampering over to hide behind one of the potted trees. Stepping around the desk, he shakes his head, “How did it get to this, sis, we’re… supposed to be helping support each other. Helping take care of each other’s shit. Stronger together than apart, all that bullshit…”

His jaw tightens, “We’re supposed to be here for -each other-. We’ve all failed at that I think.”

Even if it falls flat, Kaylee can't help giving a sad little chuckle. “Haven't had that pleasure, yet.” Her expression falls into one of worry. “He’s there, but quiet. I think the transfer from her to me… did something to him.”

His question gets a small shake of her head, but also a small watery smile touches her lips. “I don't think, dad could predict all the— stuff that fate was going drop at our feet, once he wasn’t there to protect us from it.” Kaylee thinks back, eyes unfocused a little. “Last thing he told me is I was going to have a happy life.” Yet, here she sat ragged, broken, and tired. A shadow of the bright smiling woman his sister normally is.

“You might not think I am here… or Luther… is here for you, but we are.” Kaylee moves to rise from the chair, almost reluctant to do so. “Family doesn't always have to agree and we will fight. Love isn’t always rainbows and sunshine.” Fingers tuck hair behind an ear as she steps closer to Richard. “But when push comes to shove, big brother, I’d walk through fire to protect you, even if it means keeping things close to the chest or beating you over the head.”

“You were happy before all this shit started again,” Richard observes with a slight shake of his head, “He didn’t know about… the Entity and all of that, he had no way of taking it into consideration. Who the fuck would’ve predicted sudden reality destabilization? Alternate versions of Eileen and our worst nightmares from Apollo coming into the world? John Logan running a thrift shop?”

A faint, tired smile as he looks back at her, a hand coming up in offering, “We said we were gonna try and be open with each other. We need to support each other. If you need me, sis, I’m always here.”

“Happy,” Kaylee agrees, but then she adds, “bored… and feeling like something was missing.” Taking a deep breath and folding her arms as if suddenly cold. “Don’t get me wrong, I love Joseph and the kids so much, but… I’ve always felt like I was meant for more than just being domesticated. This life we’d been living isn’t me, brother.” There is a small shrug as if saying ‘there you have it.’

“And this…” Kaylee waves vaguely in the direction of the auroras, ”is not something you can help me with or would want me to be open about… Unless you know a way to stop the overlays. So I can stop being bombarded by the lives of other Kaylees and their Luthers.” The words are tinged with bitterness, since they left her questioning her own life and it was driving her crazy. “I know more about Luther Bellamy then I ever really should know… and it’s… hurting us.” Brows furrow a little, suddenly remembering the bright and happy man. Her gaze falls away to the floor to the side of them. “Or… at least hurting me.” There is a grimace and a deep breath taken, “They are making me realize just how much Edward manipulated my life to keep me safe.” She doesn’t seem very happy about it.

“That being said,” Kaylee says softly, offering him a bit of a crooked smile, her hand lifting in the act of taking his; but, instead it moves past to pull her brother into a hug. “You know I’ll always be here, too. I’ve always been, even when it seems like I’m not.”

“Aw, group hug.” Because suddenly Tyler Case is leaning in to the embrace with one arm around Kaylee and one arm around Richard, and both of them can see him. He smells like coconut suntan lotion and seawater. There's a precariously balanced coconut half in one hand with a colorful umbrella in it and the distinct scent of grenadine.


Tyler looks over to Kaylee, then shifts a look over the frames of his sunglasses to Richard. “Am I interrupting something?”

“So what life do you want to be living? What is it that you want, Kaylee, we— “ Richard cuts off as between two moments there’s Tyler there with his arms draped over them once. He jerks back briefly, startled, and then just stares at the man for a long few seconds.

“I… uh. Tyl— Kaylee, you said he was in your head,” he points out, “This is— uh. Are you doing this?”

Speechless, really.

The sensation of Tyler’s arm and his voice… the smell of— what? When Richard jerks back, Kaylee does too, turning to look at the sudden appearance of her hitchhiker. “He- He is.” The telepath is quiet for a moment as she checks, brows furrowing. “But…” She looks at Richard, “I’m not mentally connected to you. You shouldn’t be seeing him, unless I wanted…” she trails off and stares at Tyler for a long awkward moment.

“I take it you’re feeling better?” That addressed to Tyler as Kaylee gathers up her wits and starts to think again after that initial shock. “So maybe you can tell me how you got from your Kaylee to me?”

“Cool-cool-cool, cool.” Tyler fires out, cradling his coconut drink in both hands as he eases out of the hug. “Yeah uh, I’m not one-hundred percent sure how I got here, or how any of this works, or really honestly what’s even really going on since I was — you know — shot and died?” Tyler’s brows furrow together and he takes a sip of his completely non-existent drink . “But you’ve got a lot going on in your head, Richie.”


“Oh— right so.” Tyler slurps at the drink through a bendy straw. “The uh, head-space you have?” He waves at Kaylee’s head. “Really comfy, but I can’t turn off your uh— radio reception? So I’ve just been eavesdropping and you know, entertaining myself? I think? Stuff’s been really fuzzy lately.”

He has access to her ability.

“I…” Richard brings his hands up briefly to his face, drawing in a slow breath. He’s not sure if he’s about to scream or start laughing. Then his hands drop, and he just shakes his head slowly. “Jesus Christ, Tyler. One, stay out of my head, two, only you would end up in this situation…”

He clears his throat, immediately trying to solve the problem as he does, “Okay. Okay, we… we can fix this. We just… okay, we need to find our Tyler, and have him grow another one, and we can— put this Tyler into that body. Same concept that the Institute was using, basically, right? Only, you know, less horrible?”

At this point, Kaylee can only stare at Tyler, lips parted slightly in shock over just about everything that came out of his mouth.

Then something clicks and the telepath blinks. And in an Instant the telepath bristles, as she snaps out, “Whoa whoa… You’re eavesdropping? Dude, not cool. We do not eavesdrop. It’s rude!” Of course, the darkness in the back of her mind is hissing with quiet laughter. How often had it tried to tempt her into listening?

Can we keeeep him?

“No, we can’t-”

Of course, it is then Kaylee realizes what she is saying and pales, a hand moving to grip her brother’s arm to steady herself. “You’re using my ability?” she asks the question, even though the answer is so plainly obvious. A wide-eyed look goes to Richard at his plan. Her eyes unfocus for a moment and she mentally retreats. After a moment, she adds, “That would require me being able to get into my own head I…. think? And I can’t do that. I’ve never been able too. I can’t even read his mind.”

“I dunno how this works, man.” Tyler says with a shrug as he upturns the collar of his Hawaiian shirt. “It's like, you got HBO in there.” Tyler points at Kaylee’s head. “Now you've got a roommate, and you know… I took the remote.” Tyler Case might not be a college educated man, may not be a genius, but sometimes his simple explanations land right just right.

“Also what's Richard talking about and are you sure he isn't having a stroke?” Tyler motions with his coconut drink over to Richard. “Are you having a stroke?”

“No, I am not… I am not having a stroke,” Richard replies, chuckling helplessly and with just an edge of hysteria now as he sinks back against the desk. “Fuck. Okay. I can’t deal with this on top of everything, I… our lives are some sort of surrealist play, Kaylee, and I think we’ve cast dad as Godot.”

He has some culture apparently.

“We’ll— we’ll figure out what to do with— this— after Christmas.”

Hands cover her face as she tries to decide to go insane or cry. Kaylee might be leaning toward crying. “So help me, if you are watching late night programing in there, I will figure out how to rip you out of my head,” murmurs into her hands, head shaking. The telepath had no idea what she was into, until that moment.

“And no,” Kaylee starts up again, hands falling away from her face, “Richard is fine. It’s a really long story, but here you can replicate yourself,” which being faced with Tyler, she realizes how bad an idea that is… as much of one as him having free reign on hers.

“And Richard,” Kaylee gives him a matter of fact look, “I am not expecting you to figure this one out. I’ll work on it and if I need you, I’ll bring you in. You have more then enough to deal with and more so when you have your family back. This,” she waves a hand to encompass all of Tyler, “isn’t an end of the world scenario…” for everyone else.. “Just an inconvenience for me and Joseph. Pretty sure Carl is going to love having a ghost around,” the last said with a flat tone.

Attention turning back to Tyler, Kaylee offers him a rather sly and crooked smile… like a cat who ate a canary. “I hope you like to read children’s books, cause you are now an unofficial part of the Sumter family.”

“Big fan of the Brave Little Toaster. Was… that a book or just a cartoon?” Tyler folds his hands behind his head, drink somehow gone between here and there. “Anyway, yeah like— I can turn the tv off and on but I'm not a— tv— cable— maker? Cable guy!” Tyler shouts excitedly. “I'm not a cable guy.” He's so proud of his analogy.

“Which is to say,” Tyler exhales with a sigh, “I don’t know how your thing works. I didn't even know how mine worked. I just winged it.” Grimacing, Tyler shifts over to walk beside Richard. “Look, lets just— call it roommates. A roommate who has a creepy snake. It's cool. Just feed it mice, Tyler. Brain mice.” He's rambling now.

“Anyway!” Tyler claps his hands together loudly. “I can tell I'm intruding. At least you've got your clothes on this time,” he finger-guns at Kaylee, “so I'm getting this timing thing down. I'll be around and you all, you know, stay frosty.”

And just like that, he's gone.

“It’s good to know some people don’t change much between timelines,” Richard observes with a shake of his head as Tyler disappears in the blink of an eye, “And okay. Okay. You handle it, but keep me up to date, okay? We… both need to talk more, I think.”

A weak smile over, “We’re family. We gotta start acting like it again, all of us.”

“Which reminds me” he adds, “I need to introduce you to my cousin. She’s got both of the conduits.”

Kaylee just stares at where Tyler once was, cheeks coloring slightly. “I don’t know how she ever got used to that,” she murmurs, before giving her head a bit of a shake. “There has got to be a way to get him out and give him his own life.”

There is a deep breath, which is then immediately sighed out as Kaylee mentally washes her hands of that problem for the moment and focuses on Richard again. “I know we do. I miss the Sunday dinners and just doing things as a family like we did in Kansas all those years,” she says wistfully, offering him a small smile.

The smile fades a bit at the mention of a cousin and a brow tips up. He can see the curiosity at this new development. “Really? Both?” That is actually surprising. “I didn’t think that was possible.” Not that she ever really knew much. “You…” Kaylee, pokes a finger at her brother’s chest “…will have to explain when you come over for Christmas dinner… well… Christmas Eve dinner.”

There was a schedule to keep after all.

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