Quietus III


brian_icon.gif hannah_icon.gif joseph_icon.gif kaylee2_icon.gif megan_icon.gif samara2_icon.gif

Scene Title Quietus III
Synopsis No one gets left behind.
Date January 19, 2011

Pollepel Island, Bannerman's Castle

The lives of the injured and the sick, save one, are in Benjamin Ryans’ hands.

As gunshots peppered the courtyard outside — tiny, toylike little pops in comparison to the roar of the building storm — they bundled Megan’s charges in wool coats and scarves, filled pockets, bags, and lightweight pieces of luggage with antibiotics, first aid supplies, and everything else hastily raided from the infirmary’s storage room.

That was twenty minutes ago.

Twenty minutes since Ryans promised he’d safely see them to the boats and across the river.

Twenty minutes since they disappeared into the swirling rain and winter blackness.

Twenty minutes since Megan and Joseph have been fighting their way through the castle’s narrow halls as they make their way from the abandoned infirmary to Kaylee’s room on the second floor.

Dark shapes whip past the corridor’s windows, many of them shattered; once and awhile the flickering violet glow of Gillian Childs’ ability illuminates a flash of wings, but it’s impossible to see past the driving rain or the churn of birds that’s been holding off Heller’s ground forces as the Ferry makes its escape into the woods and across the river.

Most of Heller’s ground forces, anyway.

In Megan’s estimation, there are as many soldiers searching the castle as there are lingering Ferrymen, which at least levels the playing field. As she and Joseph make their way up the steps leading from the ground floor, hedging around fallen bodies that could belong to anyone, Gillian’s light illuminates another two silhouettes at the top of the stairs.

The generator in the cellar failed some time ago. It’s impossible to discern the identity of the shapes at a glance, but—

The sweep of the staircase sees three figures trailing down it. Samara has a Brian in front and behind her while she clings to little Ali Winters in her grasp. She’s fully corporeal at the moment, still unsure whether phasing has any adverse effects on a tiny human. “Shhhh,” she soothes the infant quietly. “Stay quiet, little bird.”

The lurch of anxiety in her stomach reminds her they need to focus on the world beyond them. Phase out if needed, stay corporeal otherwise. She can take Ali with her if she moves out of phase. “Bri-Bri, do you see anything ahead?” and, it’s likely she means more than the Brian currently in front of her. It’s convenient to have the potential of multiples around.

“Can’t see shit.”

A rifle leads the way, the barrel scanning the stairs as steps take them down. Brian Winters leads the way for his wife to be and child, eyes narrowed and features set, carefully navigating the stairs. “Keep close enough so I can feel you behind me, Sameye.” He murmures gently, despite their surroundings.

Over his shoulder a large duffle bag strap keeps a very heavy bag suspended against his hip. Every weapon Brian had brought to Pollepel is within the cumbersome bag. Though as they continue on the bag begins to become lighter and lighter. Every thirty feet they move, another Brian slides soundlessly out of the former and takes one rifle or handgun from the duffle, kisses either Ali or Sam once and then plants himself against the wall of the stairwell. Covering their escape.

There are other Brians throughout the castle acting as decoys, or fighting the invading soldiers. Giving others a fraction of more time to get themselves to safety, get themselves out. Though this one has one very clear goal.

He glances over his shoulder at Samara and the baby, features going stoney and blank. “Just a little bit more.” He nearly whispers.

When the dome came down and the alert was sounded, Megan Young still had a ward full of people weak from flu to get on their feet. As usual, there was no panic in the nurse — she simply did what needed doing. But finding Benjamin Ryans in the hallway en route to help the evacuation had been a blessing, because she still had one more charge recovering away from all the flu patients who had to be evacuated.

Standing in that hallway, she’d met his blue eyes and said simply, “I’m going after Kaylee.” He’d wasted no time, handing over his own pistol and taking charge of the rest of her patients. She took the weapon, buckled it onto her belt as she ran, and headed toward the stairs. She was not surprised to find Joseph on his way up those stairs and she joined him in racing up them, but she yanks them both to a crouched stop when the silhouettes appear at the top of the steps. She pulls the pistol from the holster and holds it expertly, pointing it up the steps. “Who’s there??” she hisses.

Joseph has barely left Kaylee's side. But as romantic as it might be to preside over her sleeping form twenty-four seven, it's not the kind of thing that works out too well in real life, even if applying himself to literally any other task feels borderline insurmountable. Like he's listening to anything other than the steady intake of her breathing through white noise, or moving through molasses, or his brain is operating a few steps behind everyone else's.

Right now, though, everything feels thrown into sharp relief.

And vivid detail. The cool of the castle wall against his back as he ducks against it at Megan's urging. The echoed sounds of movement everywhere. The sudden sharp cold of stormy wind coming through the drafty gaps in the castle's defenses now that the dome has gone down. The way he catches some kind of protest or— hell— laugh in the back of his throat at Megan's authoritative demand clapped back at mysterious shadows. All of it.

Adrenaline, is what that is, which means he is afraid, but if that's the case, then fear has been distorted into abstraction. Fear of harm has become fear of not getting to her in time. Still, he waits for the all clear.

Sami heeds the direction and slides right against Brian as they move down the steps. “Daddy means stuff,” she whispers softly to the babe in her arms. “Not the other s-word,” not that two month olds understand any English. Each of the Brians left behind in the family’s wake receives a small sheepish nod while Sam draws the baby even closer to her body. There’s little question, she will phase out if she has to in order to keep Ali safe.

The question remains whether phasing is okay at all for someone so tiny. Or anyone really. Samara has started to wonder the physics tied to breathing while being phased. Someone recently told her it shouldn’t be possible, and she’s rather taken it to heart.

The sound of others coming up the stairs while the Winters family creeps down Sam and Ali turning incorporeal. With Sam so close to Brian’s back, the mere reaction may pull him into her world of intangibility however temporarily before she’s solid again when Megan hisses into the space. “Don’t shoot!” which really doesn’t answer the question.

“Shoot. Can’t see shoot.”

Pushing down the stairs the lead Brian frowns lightly. “Sorry, baby.” It’s clear he’s not using a pet name for Samara but actually apologizing to the baby, addressing her as ‘baby’. His rifle leading away around the next corner. He pauses, completely blank. “Fighting now. Other places in the castle. Just died twice.” The report is quiet and stoic.

That bag continues to get lighter as Brian slowly leaks a small army out behind him. But when they’re stopped short, his shoes hit the steps. RIfle pointed down at Megan in return. A second Brian instantly joining him, pulling a pistol out to mirror the first man. Both of them moving close into each other to wall off Samara and the child. As Samara calls out ‘don’t shoot’ Brian’s tone of voice is far more demanding.

“Winters. Lower your weapon. Now.” The rifle and the pistol remain trained on those further down the stairs.

Megan breathes a soft sound of relief, immediately bringing the pistol down to point at the floor. “It’s Young,” she says, before straightening out of the crouch against the wall. She moves out into the open of the stairs so Brian can see her and gives him time to identify her positively before moving up the stairs. When her eyes fall on Samara and the baby, she shakes her head. “You guys need to haul ass,” she murmurs. “We’re going after Kaylee.”

Blue eyes flicker up to the lead Brian. “If you’re not spread too thin, we could use the extra hands. It’s just us, and she’s unconscious still.” But even if he can’t, it’s clear that she has every intention of moving on with the pastor in tow. She doesn’t even voice the words be careful, because Brian will be with Sami and the baby in his possession.

Joseph emerges from his hiding position as Megan declares herself, a 6' shadow at her shoulder casting a distrustful, hollowed kind of look up the stairs that assesses friend or foe for himself. Foe could be anything from a kevlar-covered soldier wielding a machine gun through to anything that constitutes as an obstacle between himself and where he wants to go. His focus finds the child cradled in Samara's arms, and he's not sure why, but it seems to just add another shard of anxiety, spearing beneath his rib cage.

"C'mon," is quiet, to Megan, more complicit in their agreed mission on continuing on than impatient. Now with the coast clear, he's going to start moving again, wits about him enough not to do so without Megan taking point, gun in hand.

C’mon, Joseph says, and he closes the distance between himself and the small group of bodies at the top of the stairs. When he crests the top, he’s greeted with the sight of carnage in the corridor that Samara and Brian just passed through. Pieces of broken glass twinkle on the ground like early morning frost and outline the shape of discarded pieces of luggage and clothes strewn about the floor. At some point during the evacuation, saving each other took precedence over saving personal belongings.

Shell casings make a sound like a bell when a foot brushes against them. Something wet sticks to the sole of Joseph’s shoe that isn’t sleet leaking in from the storm outside.

Unlike many of the rooms situated off this particular corridor, the door to Kaylee’s is still closed. No light peeks out from beneath the gap. If it’s locked, he can’t tell without trying the handle.

Brian’s other selves, waging their bloody war against Heller’s troops, have more than men in military fatigues to contend with. Of the two he just lost on the outside, one has already been set upon by the birds; his copy’s last moments are of hot, bright pain, and as his vision fades, dark wings close in. There will be nothing left of him or any of the other corpses on the island except their bones like pale branches in the snow in the dawn’s early light when the sun rises.

But that’s much later.

They need to haul ass. What else is new? The expression reflects across Sami’s face, etching in deep lines across her forehead into deep brow lines. Her cheeks puff out with exasperation as her chin lifts at the request, “Extra eyes would be good too,” if Brian can afford to give them the help with Kaylee. “I can watch our backs,” if he can’t afford another replicate. She’s not incapable. Her gaze lingers on Brian and her head chin drops towards the babe in her arms. That ping of fear in her grows, but she shakes her head. They need to remain cool. Hot heads get hurt. Hot heads get people killed. She stills her nerves and stays close by Brian.


It’s all he can think about. The vision. The valknutt. His fiancee. His child. Birds.

He is seeing far more of what’s happening than they possibly can. Experiencing far more. Probably having the best idea of what’s happening on the island and a real fount of information.

“It’s very cold out.” The words are perhaps as chilly as the weather outside. The young replicator stepping to the side to allow Megan and Joseph to go by. As Samara offers her help his gray eyes go to cast dully upon her. Watching her for a long moment they go down to the baby. He could easily send a squad of himself with Joseph and Megan, and keep on moving with Samara.

Brian’s eyes flick over to Joseph as he moves past, head tilted back some. His eyes finally settling down on Samara for a long moment. Then down to the baby. The moment is long and Megan and Joseph start to gain some ground on them as Brian continues to silently stare at her and the child. There’s another sound of gunshot and suddenly he’s moving. “Okay.” He turns, rifle going after Megan and Joseph. Another him slides out, taking another handgun from the duffle.

The newly arrived Brian moves to flank Samara. “If things get bad, you’re coming with me in this body and we’re going.”

Megan would never have asked Samara and the baby to stay in this mess, so as she and Joseph start to move on, she squeezes the other woman’s arm lightly and slants a soft glance at the baby. Please God, get them out of here. Picking her way through the carnage carefully, the redhead has her head on a swivel — Brian has clearly at least given them an advantage in this hallway, and Kaylee’s door is just ahead.

She catches the movement behind them, briefly glancing and expecting to see Brian — or at least a Brian — and Samara heading down the stairs, and is surprised to see both of them just a few steps back. She has point and she pauses just to be sure their next movement is cleared. It’s also intended to give Brian the time to place himself(ves) wherever he wants to be. She is fully on alert and ready to do whatever it requires to get to Kaylee and get out again, the mantle of ‘nurse’ gone and the mein of ‘soldier’ in place.

If Joseph had less to think about in this moment, he might politely request a gun for himself. A lifetime ago, the thought would never have entered his mind in the first place. He's had a lot of moments throughout his time in New York to wonder just how and why he's come to be wherever he is — in a shootout, in a noose, in the abandoned caverns of Grand Central — and one would think that in an embattled stormy castle, flanked by replicants, fighting his way back to his unconscious girlfriend would be up there. It isn't. Approaching Kaylee's door is the most clear cut objective he's had in months.

He tries to pay attention to what the others are doing, but it's a little like if he does anything other than keep on keeping on, the situation will catch up to him, make him panic, so he's a little hazy on the sounds of Brians' footsteps, of his quiet mutters to Samara, of Megan's stern expression and sharp pauses and movements.


There's the door.

Once it seems like it's gonna be as clear as it's gonna be, Joseph moves to it, trying the handle.

The door opens. Click.

Someone pulls back the hammer of a pistol. Click.

Hannah points her gun at the shadow in the doorway from her post at Kaylee’s bedside, which is exactly where Joseph left her — with one exception.

Kaylee is sitting up.

Hannah’s free arm loops around the telepath’s shoulders with one hand on the back of the blonde’s head, fingers tangled in her stringy blonde hair. She presses Kaylee’s face into her shoulder to muffle the sound of her wet sobs, not wanting to attract the attention of any soldiers who might be going down the hall room-by-room.

It was something Samara and Brian witnessed on their way through the halls. Men and women dragged out from under their beds — the ones who were too frightened to heed the evacuation order — and summarily executed by pistol shot. Their bodies, like so many others, are strewn through this place, although it seems that Heller’s forces missed this particular corner of the castle.

Or they just haven’t gotten to it yet.

Hannah lowers the pistol a moment later. There might not be much light — it’s just enough to discern the familiar features belonging to the man she loves most in the world.

“She’s awake,” she says. In case anyone hadn’t noticed.

It was a godsend that Hannah had been there when Kaylee woke up, fresh from her own personal fight within the dreamworld. It was pure panic that had filled her senses, driving her to sit-up with a shriek of fear - hindered by a throat too dry from a week of unconsciousness. The sudden pain of her injuries is muted by the surge of adrenaline. Unnoticed. She is in flight mode. Any attempt to reach for her, by her future step-daughter, was greeted with a touch of wild eyed panic — a weak attempt to get away — but as her senses caught up with her… The telepath broke quickly enough, unable to contain the emotions… the fear, panic, pain… the grief of loss.
That was how they found her.
Sobbing hysterically into Hannah’s shirt, fingers tangled into the fabric. The thing that could pull her out of it, is tickling at the corner of her mind. Kaylee senses it, fingers tighten further on the fabric. It was a familiar hum against her mental shield. She’d know it anywhere. Joseph. There is a soft hiccuped gasp, as her mind catches up — the final cobwebs of the dreamworld falling away— and she tries to wrap her mind around the reality. Joseph will feel a gentle pressure in his mind, before slowly, Kaylee hazards a look. It is slow, as if she’s afraid to look or maybe it is the weakness of muscles that have lain dormant too long.
Her mind could be playing tricks. That he really was laid out bloodily on the floor; with his throat torn out by some mysterious wolf.
The grip on Hannah’s shirt doesn’t loosen until she sees him. Eyes glitter with new tears when she does. Fingers, of one hand, slowly unwind themself from the fabric and reach for him; hand trembling visibly. Unfortunately, this is also when the world suddenly comes into sharp focus again. The twisting of her torso brings fresh pain to deep wounds that have only been healing for a short time. Relief turns into sharp and instant pain, forcing out a strangled sound of pain. Kaylee is forced to turn away and curl in on herself, arm wrapping around her middle.
Did she feel something pop?
Hannah will feel the hand still gripping her shirt start to tremble as panic threatens to settle in again. The arm tucked around Kaylee’s middle slides back to press her hand against her abdomen. With her back to them, blue eyes unfocus briefly…. Checking for the now familiar impression of thought.. A glimmer of thought that will one day be her son… nestled within her. Finding him there, seemingly untouched, she sags against the other woman, from weakness, pain… and mostly relief. The shakiness of Kaylee’s breathing will betray to Hannah a threat of more tears.

Brian’s instruction has Sam’s eyes darkening. “These are our friends,” she murmurs softly. “We need to get everyone out.” No doubt she knows her own responsibilities and pulls as she holds Ali a stitch closer. A shiver extends down her spine at the bodies in the hall. Goosebumps form along any stretch of exposed skin, demonstrating the chill that starts from her toes and expands throughout her body.

The noise of the waking woman has her craning her neck to peek around the door, relieved that it, unlike many of the rest, wasn’t forcefully emptied— relief that colours across her face in the vague warming of her eyes. That would’ve been a gruesome find. She doesn’t vocalize this, only muttering softly, “What do we need to do to get her out?”


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