Refuse To See


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Scene Title Refuse To See
Synopsis You have been warned.
Date July 5, 2021

There is a derelict power substation just past the wrecked semi truck at the head of the convoy. A crumbling, single-story brick building with blown out windows and a door long since torn off its hinges. Inside, birds have come to roost in the exposed metal rafters and a speckling of bird shit covers nearly every surface. Rusted banks of electrical equipment are in various states of dismantling, stripped for copper and other metals during the early days of the flood.

Beyond the main floor there’s a small office, one the birds haven’t marked as their own. It’s exposed to the outside, greenery growing in through the demolished windows, broken glass and moss covering the floor. It’s pitch black outside, the sun had set about a half hour ago, and a drizzling rain falls tonight, pattering on the flat roof. This place is as close to privacy as anyone is going to find right now, given the short notice.

And privacy is exactly what Glory has asked for.

Ruins of Toledo

July 5th

9:10 pm

Glory is seated on the concrete window sill, feet up on a rickety metal chair. Nearby, her duffel bag has been laid out on the table, unzipped and contents removed. There is a shear suit similar to the ones the away team wore on their way through the Looking Glass when they first arrived, except this suit has a vest similar to the one that was found on Martin Crowley when he was cut out of the hull of the USS Decatur back in the Pelago.

Beside the shear suit is a matching helmet. Not one of merely similar design, but an identical copy of one of the team’s helmets. The name LANG is stamped across a plate on the brow. Chess immediately recognizes it as hers because of the deep scratch in the side from a piece of flaming shrapnel that hit her when they made their water landing. Except this helmet looks a decade or more older, more scuffed and worn.

Glory doesn’t say anything, just sits hunched in the window, hands folded between her knees and shoulders slouched forward with dark hair hanging in her face. This was the emergency she wanted to talk about.

This is what requires discretion.

"You know, it's probably weird to feel nostalgic about this kind of place, but…" Richard brings a hand up as he steps into the office, one hand lifting to drag along over the moss-stained concrete of the wall before falling back down to his side, "…I spent a lot of time in places like this, back in the day."

A step to one side to make room for others, and he leans back against the wall; one foot lifting to press against it shoulders back. It's an artful sort of lean, intended to conceal just how exhausted he actually is, how much the events of the past hours have taken out of him.

His gaze — albeit hidden by dark lenses — settles on Glory, on her gear. His attention lingers silently for a few heartbeats, then he asks almost casually, "So I'm guessing you're ready to talk about all this, finally?"

A bit behind Richard, light creeps into the old station - afterall, while Quinn and Richard can see in the dark, that's far from true of all of them. As such, it's less the nostalgia of the location that fills Quinn as she steps into the room, and more the act of leading people through the dark with her ability that takes her back to days gone by.

"Too much time, if you ask me," she notes with a teasing grin, her sleeve rolled up and arm held out; rather than light emanating from it as usual, her forearm itself is wrapped with a light too soft to blind and hopefully too dull to bother Richard, but just bright enough to provide visual clarity. "Explains a lot, really."

Moving to the wall opposite Richard, arm raised to provide a modicum of additional light, her gaze slowly turns towards the objects strewn out for them to see, and then up to Glory in the window. Her eyes are narrowed and her brow furrowed, but she keeps any brewing comments to herself for now.

"What is it dearie?" Eve enters with the others, black dress dragging on the debris and taking some along with her. There is a very obvious difference to her demeanor, the spark is still there but slightly dimmed. Maybe the news of Castle being hurt during the ambush is still rocking her or the encounter with the spirit from the Black Conduit. Crimson eyes flick to Chess and she looks guilty before looking away and back at the gear on the table.

This time Eve's gaze beelines to Glory's face and then Chess' and she leans forward to inspect the aged helmet with eyebrows raised. "Well then."

Settling inside a crouch in the corner with her head tilted to the side regarding Glory curiously, "I knew you were an interesting little bird."

Chess hangs back from the rest of the group and finds a place to lean, wincing slightly as the shift in posture awakens a different set of nerves from her still injured shoulder. She’s at least gotten it dressed and in a sling. The gunshot wound is actually the least of her worries right now.

Newly-blue eyes narrow on the helmet, and then seek Glory’s slouched frame. “Well, now we know what was in your bags you didn’t want us to see. What’s changed?” she asks, not unkindly. If anything, she just sounds very, very tired.

Elliot maintains the same posture he used the last time they tried to get the truth out of Glory and failed. Slouching against the wall, hood raised, he doesn't particularly enjoy being correct. He certainly doesn't find any compelling reason to ask why Glory recognized him anymore. Despite having washed Nathalie's blood off of his hands, they still feel rough and brittle with the stuff where his fingers tap a rhythm in the pockets of his hoodie.

While Castle still looks bloodied, in terms of clothes and dried blood on hair and on the forehead, their wounds are now gone. They had been unconscious for a time following it but had been briefed on what had occurred before they came up on the roof. They’d tied their blond hair away from their face into a ponytail, and they watch Glory with eyes that seem at once blue and green depending on the way the light seems to hit them. Perhaps they’re actually just both. All at once.

As they are both all at once.

“The attack changed a lot things,” they observe. A simple observation. But not so simple all at the same time.

Glory just points at Castle without even looking up. “Fifty points Castle,” she says with a click of her tongue and a curl of her thumb.

“I’ll be real with you all, I don’t know what the fuck I’m hoping to accomplish right now.” Glory says with a frustrated sigh, raking her fingers through her hair. “I don’t know if this matters, if this already happened and I’m just setting things down the course you took because I fucking interfered in the first place, or if this changes everything.”

Dragging her hands down her face, Glory looks around the small room. In the dark there’s a hint of chromatic reflection in her eyes, like a cat’s but shaded more blue than green. “Let’s uh, start with…” She spreads her hands. “Fuck it let’s go tits deep. My name’s Gloria Oliver, and I’m from the year 2051.” She looks up at Chess and has a ghost of a smile on her lips. An apologetic one.

“Time,” Richard replies obtusely to what she’s just said, “Is not a line.”

He brings one hand up, fingers pushing up beneath his shades to rub at his eyes tiredly, “You can’t change your future… but you can make sure there’s a future where things didn’t go the same way as they did in yours. This isn’t my first temporal rodeo.”

She’s a lot better at communicating than Joshua was, so that’s a step up.

Re-adjusting the glasses, he suggests, “Why don’t you start with what you came back in the hopes of changing, and we can work from there.” No surprise to any of this. He knew - or suspected - that much is clear from his words and manner.

"2051's a new one," is an attempt at glibness from Robyn as she takes this new beat of information in. Eyes flick over to Chess when Glory gives her the briefest moment of attention, before focusing back on Glory. "It's not the first rodeo for- a few of us, honestly." Richard, her for certain. Maybe Eve?

Robyn's surprise is muted at best. If anything, the news feels a bit rote, particularly after their attempts at deciphering Else's songs. It'd be a stretch to say she expected this, but the possibility was at least on her mind.

"What you're accomplishing is, you're reading us in on something that we clearly need to know." She doesn't accuse her of waiting too long to do it - thoughts of today could have been different are an existential crisis best left for another time and place - but her tone does make it clear that she believes this may be a little overdue. "So, read us in. We're here for a reason, after all."

"Woo tits deep!" Eve is delighted.

"Oh just like Chicken and all her wonderful friends!" Momentarily forgetting she was in a remorseful, sad mode at the prospect of more children from the future. Chicken and the others didn't come for a vacation though. Eve didn't know but she is not surprised. It's par the course for this sort of group.


"Wait, you're all alone on this mission? No group of friends to help along the way?" The former seer looks at Glory with wide eyes and sadness creeps in. What a lonely journey.

Oh the horror.

Eve starts to get angry inside, why would they do that to this young lady. Why send her alone! Carless! Thoughtless! It's a wonder Eve isn't screaming these things aloud.

Not expecting the explanation that comes, Chess’ brow lifts up in fatigued surprise when it does. Her head tips when Glory looks directly at her with the name Oliver. It’s not an uncommon name but that look suggests it’s more than coincidence. Other pieces fit into place, too.

“Oliver, as in Kimberly Oliver?” she asks, her pale eyes flicking over to the helmet – her helmet, and yet not her helmet – then back to Glory.

It explains a lot, but not what she’s doing here. “She’s like Lene,” she adds quietly, with a glance over to Eve when she mentions Chicken. But maybe Glory isn’t alone. “Are there more of you?”

Elliot would be sixty-one by then or, more likely, long dead. Wright's family, Merlyn, perhaps alive in an ark and all of them far older than he'll likely ever be. Ames, missing still, would be older than he is now.

Even if they survive here, they have no way back. Looking at Glory's modified shear suit, he wonders. If Glory didn't want to be here, would she? "Is that device still operational?" he asks.

There’s a quip that Basil really wants to say, but Saffron stops him and their expression remains serious, except for the hint of a grin that tugs on the corner of their mouth. He really wanted to say something else right about now, but just cause they were going “tit deep”, this was a moment when Agent Castle was needed more than either of the two siblings.

Looking around to each of the group as they speak, they wait til Elliot’s question to look back to Glory, and instead of bombarding her with yet another question, they, once again, make another observation, harkening back to their mother’s question, “Someone in this caravan sent her, and for our sake, I’m going to hope it wasn’t Walker.”

For the moment, their voice is more British sounding. Like that’s the accent they adopt when trying to sound like a good professional agent who will do their job no matter the cost.

Old Eve would have known it from a game that her kids used to play, where one of them would pretended to be a James Bond-like Agent, and the other would be the dastardly villain bent on dooming the world.

Glory shakes her head, looking down at her clasped hands. “So, couple of things. Yeah, my gear works.” She says, motioning to the suit. “But probably not the way you think, so, we’ll circle back to that.”

“None of you sent me anywhere, either.” Glory says, unwilling to look up. “Because as far as I know, you're all dead in my time. You… made it back from this mission, but it failed. You didn't stop the HELE. It's all gone.”

Glory sighs, shoulders sagging as she does. “My uh, my mom was among the people who were given placement in a survival bunker. Because she was a Raytech employee.” Glory looks up at Chess. “Your sister. Kimberly. She uh, she got sick and passed away when I was little. Dad too.” But then she sucks in a sharp breath and wrings her hands together tightly. “But none of that matters.” She looks up at the group again.

“I didn't come back here to change anything.” Glory days firmly, powering through her emotions. “I'm a part of something called the Horizon Initiative. Run by your buddy Nova. Well, not this her but a her. We’re… like temporal astronauts. Explorers. Our job is to traverse time and map out sequences of events to try and find a fracture-point where we could enact a change and stop the HELE from happening. Or, worst comes to worst, a place to evacuate to where the HELE didn't happen.”

Glory wrings her hands together. “I'm here because one of my team members didn't come back when his Pull came. Because… he… seems to have lost his fucking mind and joined a genocide cult.” Her expression twitches. “But now Crowley’s dead, and I don't know why he… did all that shit with the Sentinel, so I just…” She looks back to the group. “I've got four months before my Pull, so I…” She sighs and looks at Elliot.

“My suit is a tether. Like old deep sea divers had. In four months it's going to trigger an automatic sendback signal called a Pull that will yank my suit back to my point of origin. Or, I can initiate an emergency pull and get sent back immediately.”

Glory spreads her hands. “So yeah, here I am, alone, pulling on fucking threads and doing exactly what we’re not supposed to do.”

It’s not good news… but Richard wasn’t expecting good news. It’s worse than even he thought, though, his expression turning grave.

“You’re looking for the right mountain to move,” he murmurs, then shakes his head, “Well. You’ve started stepping on butterflies, so let’s see if we can step on enough of them to make a mountain.” He has a million questions running through his mind – questions about her future, about her technology, about Crowley (why would someone make an android of Crowley of all people – but most of them don’t matter right now.

A slight lean forward, eyebrows raising, “So let’s start from where we’re standing – what happened with this mission?”

First a glance over to Richard, then Glory, and then Robyn turns her gaze up towards the ceiling. "Fate, don't fail me now," she remarks in a low tone, her cadence melodic as her shoulders rise and fall in a small motion.

"I'm sure you know you're not first people to try to move mountains," she notes, glancing over at Richard. "But it never works the way people think it does. You don't change a timeline. You create a new one." Her brow furrows, holding her still glowing up so that her fist curls under her chin. "Not to make it sound too grave, I just… I hope it's something you've all considered. There's an evacuation at some point no matter what."

But Richard asks the million dollar question, one that leads Robyn to a follow up as she looks down at the helmet on the table. "What, exactly, did we end up sending back, on that note?"

Something that Glory said earlier rings alarms in Eve's head and she glances over at Castle with a raised eyebrow.

Chess asking and Glory's answer makes Eve pause and she gasps, "Poor Kimbo…" The Chesstra was a friend, she followed Eve and the others to face The Entity out at sea. She was crazy. (Kimbo would argue that *Eve* is the crazy one.) This meant that Chess had more family and that had to be a good thing right? "Auntie Chess." That makes Eve a pseudo auntie, surely! This sort of news coupled with the whole the world is actually going to end makes for an extremely bittersweet feeling in the pit of the pale woman's stomach.

Beyond that, some of the things that Glory is saying makes no sense. "She's an Archiver!" Coining a nickname for these temporal astronauts and furrowing her brow, "I'm sorry dearie, for the loss of your crew mate." Glory was plagued by loss which was certainly not a unique position to be in among this group but the weight of these losses when you are alone…

Eve looks up from the helmet and pats Glory's arm, before she had Eve's support but now, this was family! You always stood by them.

At the confirmation that Glory is, in fact, Kimberly – Chess’ genetic identical – and that Kimberly died when Glory was small, Chess nods to the time traveler in acknowledgement of their apparent relationship; her expression is one of brief but real grief for the future loss of her sister. Chess’ gaze flicks back to the helmet, then alights on Glory again – the questions there are clear, if unspoken. Did they know each other? Did she raise Glory once Kimberly passed away?

For now, she pushes those aside. “You’re very brave. I’m sorry we misjudged you, Glory,” she says, instead, gesturing to herself, Richard, and Elliot.

Glancing at Robyn, Chess adds, lightly, “If Nova’s the leader of it, I’m pretty sure they’ve considered that angle. Girlfriend’s sort of an expert on timeline deviations by virtue of existence.”

"Hey now," Elliot says with a shrug as an aside to Chess. "We didn't misjudge her, she was in fact lying to our faces."

"Why are we all dead in your future if we made it back from this mission?" he asks Glory, might as well get as much information out of her as he can before she decides to start lying again. Not that he blames her for lying, it has all sorts of uses. "We're supposed to be given space in the new ark for our service here. How did we even get back? If your actions here are a new iteration of timeline events, it means we don't use your suit to make the passage. And Crowley's is fucked, since he teleported into a stair tread. Also, are you aware that he was a synthetic human?"

“The deepest oceans contain the tallest mountains,” Castle murmurs softly, almost too softly for most of the group to hear. The bombardment of questions all gains a click of their tongue against the roof of their mouth as they file away the information for later.

And once again it’s an observation they make instead of a question, “Some lies are necessary. Her presence risked changing things already, as did Crowley’s actions. To the point we may not have made it back. But it wasn’t until the ambush that there was enough of a change that she would need to tell us.”

Glory reaches up and rubs her hands over her face, brows knit together. “Just gonna… hop in my DeLorean and have this conversation with you all one at a time instead.” She mumbles to herself, then drags her hands down her face.

“Ah, Jesus. Where to even start. Uh, okay. Mechanics and how-to’s of time travel? Not my job. That’s brains territory.” Glory says with one hand raised. “I don’t know how fuck all of any of this works, I just do what I’m told so I don’t come back like scrambled eggs. All this fucking mountains talk or whatever? Going way over my head.” Lowering her hand, she looks at Elliot.

“As for what happened to you? I don’t know. Like, to all of that. I wasn’t born until 2023. After the geothermal plant was destroyed, we lost… a lot. The whole facility was dark for a few years, I don’t know how we didn’t all fucking die. But a lot of people did. You all never made it there, though. Nobody knows what happened, why you weren’t there when the doors shut. There was—it was apparently a pretty chaotic time.” Glory looks down at the floor, flexing her hands open and closed slowly.

“That,” Glory says, pointing to her helmet on the table, “wasn’t my original helmet. I went on a topside expedition, traveled to what used to be New York. We had some information that suggested some of you were in… Manhattan? I only found… Chess. Whole suit, helmet.” Softly, “Bones.” Glory closes her eyes. “Mostly swallowed by the desert. I kept the helmet, a memento. You know, family.” She sighs, feeling childish for it.

“As for Crowley, yeah I knew he was a Skin—Full Skin, actually. Recognizant cerebral structure, whole composite. They’re not uncommon in my time.” Glory says with a little bit of pride in her voice. “The short of that is he was built from scratch and hand-programmed. Last time we talked he wasn’t a Nazi. He was really nice. So.” She sucks in a sharp breath and shakes her head.

“I don’t know what happened to Crowley, why he did the shit he did.” Glory sighs, head hanging. “We were waiting for Crowley’s Pull back in Native when he didn’t show up. We were up in what used to be Alaska, not far from where you all are headed now. So we recalibrated the machine and Conroy made an Incision point for me and traveled. I found Crowley’s initial base camp from when he was Incisioned here, some notes that indicated he was preparing to head to the east coast with some locals. No specifics. Took me a while to suss out what happened, where to go. Didn’t believe a fucking word of it when I did.” She sighs again, running her hands through her hair. “That’s all I got about that.”

Glory bounces one foot on the seat of the folding chair, idly chewing on her lower lip as she goes back over the shotgun of questions. “And uh, all I know about your mission? We were all told it was successful. But it didn’t matter fuck all, I don’t think. Whatever it was you were here to get either didn’t help or there wasn’t enough time? The few older folks in Gateway say that there was a war starting by the time the first flare hit. I don’t know a lot about it, my Incisions are further back.” She explains, then backtracks. “Ah, Incision is a term we use for moving into a three-dimensional point in time.”

Then, something occurs to her.

“The uh,” Glory motions toward Elliot. “The things in your gear I saw—sorry about peeking—the rods? We have something similar we use. They’re KNF resonators. Kinetic Neutrino Field resonators. Or KNiFe. We plant three of them at an incision point, stand inside the boundaries, and that’s how we move through three-dimensional time. We stay in the same space and then move to a different Real Time location. So if we can use those to travel, maybe there’s a way to high-top—uhhimprove the ones you have?”

“That’s… something at least,” Richard replies, one hand coming to pinch at the bridge of his nose as he leans back, eyes closing. Not as much as he’d hoped, but it’s a glimpse of hope at least. For them, if not for the world.

“Okay. Okay, let’s… let’s take a further step back, maybe. You mentioned the geothermal plant died, a war– can you give us a general rundown of what events happened leading up to where you are now? A big picture sort of view?”

Something they can work with. Anything.

Robyn's eyes snap to look over at Chess. "Nova herself has told me she doesn't have contact with herself in our time, that she may not exist. So forgive me for doing my job, being thorough, and not assuming everyone knows or is told everything." She lets out a huff, looking back ahead at Glory. "The next time I want notes? I'll ask."

The light fades from her forearm, and she crosses arms and narrows her eyes. "Richard," she says quietly for a moment, over at him as she thinks. "Us doing everything right, shit still going sideways. Sound familiar?" The songs, she means. Maybe, as much as she would rather not, it might be time to talk about the songs they read, if not now then immediately after.

Richard is searching for a bigger picture, so she's doing the opposite: trying to zero in on potential points of failure. Still, something else catches her attention. "Wait. The first flare?" Her eyes widen a bit, posture stiffening. Lips spread thin. It's dire, what she shares with them. "War wasn't brewing when we left," she mutters to herself. "What the fuck."

Crimson eyes flash and squint in Robyn's direction, "Remember your real enemy."

Glory's got a hell of a lot to say and Eve tilts her head and wrinkles her nose. Chess' body was found in the sand. The rest unaccounted for. "It was the right thing to do dear," keeping Chess' helmet. "It's good to remember your blood."

There are too many interesting concepts being introduced and Eve can barely keep up but she is fixating on the incision process and one other thing. "Are you sure I'm dead?" It would mean she either got overzealous which wouldn't be surprising or something else.

"Maybe I kept killing myself to have visions of the future, hopeful to find a way past it." Mostly muttering to herself and biting on her lip.

When Robyn snaps at her, Chess lifts one brow, then shakes her head, her gaze returning to Glory as the other woman explains what she knows – and what she doesn’t.

Her helmet. Bones. The fact the team never made it to the shelters. Her blue eyes fill with unexpected tears, and she looks up at the ceiling like gravity will help keep them from falling, her good hand reaching up to swipe under the lashes.

“This science shit’s over my head anyway, so come find me later, yeah?” she tells Glory, in a voice that’s trying to sound like she’s not about to break down crying for what seems to be a lost cause that’s separated her and the rest of the team from the rest of their loved ones and all for nothing.

She turns swiftly, heading for the exit. Her feet stumble a little along the way, before she disappears through the door.

Elliot's questions earn him a lot to consider, but his mind is partially elsewhere. It doesn't make sense for them to succeed only for it not to matter. To somehow make it home only for the entire team to die before getting into the new ark. Chess dying in her armor in the SZ is bizarre.

Do they make it home and literally all die on the spot just as the world is cooked? Or does he die, unintentionally feeding the rest of the team to Zero? He should be happy, even then, that Zero's reach would seem to have stopped short of massacring everybody in the ark. He doesn't like the idea that maybe he's just wrong and unimportant. But wouldn't it be glorious to be wrong and unimportant? He only notices Chess's absence when he looks to where she would be standing; he's not paying attention.

There’s a single step from Castle made to follow after Chess, before their body comes to an abrupt stop. For a moment, she sighs, before they look back to the remaining group as the door closes behind Chess. “It feels like Glory wasn’t the only one keeping secrets, mate,” they say to no one in particular, though possibly to Elliot, who isn’t really paying attention.

“What happened after we make it home is not as immediately important as what happens in the next few months. We need to make it to Alaska beforehand, and ironing out all the issues that went wrong can be discussed and worked over during the long trip that we have ahead of us.”

Then, they look at Glory, “What happened during the raid that made you decide to talk to us now? What changed?”

“Fuck if I know,” Glory says with a shaky breath. She can’t look at Chess leaving. “Nobody knows what happened to you all here. I just — the fucking ambush shook me. I thought to myself, what if something Crowley did put you in more danger. What if you don’t make it back because you get fucking murdered and I could’ve said something or done something and — “

Glory exhales a sharp sigh and rests her head in her hands again. “I panicked, and this felt like the best choice at the time.” She isn’t entirely sure if that’s still true.

When she lifts her head again, Glory looks up at Eve. “I mean, nobody talks about you in present-tense and we’ve never met. So. Yeah, pretty sure you’re dead. Or— not around? Maybe there’s a third option. I don’t know.”

Scrubbing her hands over her face, Glory finally slides off the window sill and pushes the folding chair aside. “I don’t know a lot about what happened before I was born. Folks aren’t super eager to talk about it, and even when they do nobody knows everything. Early 20’s history isn’t my assignment, so I don’t know a lot about that era. But I mean, like I said there was a war. Way dad talked about it he said it was a world war. Lots of countries all fighting each-other over people who have powers and people who don’t.”

Glory starts to pace as she talks.

“I don’t know who fought for what side, except some of the people who hated people with abilities, they snuck into Gateway on the last day we had the blast doors open. They’re the ones who blew the geothermal reactor, killed a bunch of people and got themselves killed too.” Glory explains, clearly only having partial knowledge of these events. “And yeah there were uh,” Glory looks over at Robyn, “eight flares. They started on November 8th, 2021. I don’t know what-all happened, just that they started small and got increasingly worse. Blast doors sealed in April of 2022 and then… that was it.”

Sighing, Glory shakes the stress out of her arms. Her eyes catch Robyn’s photokinetic light again, revealing that chromatic blue shimmer of her pupils. “Reactor got blown not long after. We didn’t get the lights back on for years. I was really little, blocked a lot of it out. It’s been a hard time clawing back. Made worse by— ”

Glory suddenly jolts. “Fuck.” She looks around the group, cursing under her breath in the direction Chess vanished in. She’d wanted her here for this. But she knows if she waits any longer, she might not say anything. “The Decimation.” Glory mutters, shaking her head.

“The problem we’re running up against. The big problem. Is in my time there’s almost no one with abilities. Even people who had them slowly lost them over time, and the ones that are still present are weaker than people say they used to be.” Glory looks at her hands, then around at the group. “Like, I was born positive, but I never manifested. Not until I took my first Incision back in time, then I manifested this…” She says, swiping her hand through the table as if it weren’t there. “But when I got back to my time, I couldn’t do it anymore. It’s been steadily getting worse the whole time I’ve been alive and it’s been making our trips harder and harder and making us more reliant on technology that… honestly is getting unreliable too, with how old it is.”

Glory looks at her hands. “Nobody knows why it’s happening. But they call it the Decimation.”

“The Decimation…,” Richard’s brow furrows as his hand falls back to his side, “The reactor– the reactor we can do something about, at least. Elliot, can you get that information passed over? Tell them to get Shere Khan up to full combat effectiveness and get him into position to protect the reactor, and that I don’t give two shits if the government bitches about it. Maximum security at all costs. If all else fails we need to protect that ark, and knowing there’ll be an attack gives us an edge.”

He looks after Chess, grimacing as she disappears– but he gets it. He does. His expression grim as he looks back to Glory, “If it works in other times, but not there… it has to have something to do with the magnetosphere in your time. Maybe a consequence of all the solar flares.”

Eight flares. Robyn's eyes widen at that revelation - there's no way anything survives the first one, much less eight. Lips purse and she looks down at the floor as she chews on her lip. At the mention of Shere Khan, her gaze tips back up to Richard, giving a look dripping with disdain, but she doesn't voice her thoughts on that matter - Richard already knows she wanted that thing dismantled long ago.

Running a hand back through her hair, she stays silent as she mulls over this continued spill of information from Glory. "If nobody knows what happened while we were here… then either someone buried the after action reports, or anyone associated with the project is dead." Eyes drift to look around the room, taking a deep breath. "Also that your Nova certainly wasn't able to talk to the one we have here. And why were we in Manhattan?"

Fingers curl around her chin. "Richard, I think we need to have another meeting after this," she offers outloud. "With everyone, one like the one you, me, and Zee had." She doesn't elaborate on what that means, not without further input from Richard, but she does look around the room at the rest of her team.

Shaking her head, she groans and looks back up at Glory. "I don't believe in fate," she offers to her, and really, to the room at large. "So any information you arm us with, large, small, or seemingly unrelated? We're going to use that to change the future for at least one timeline. Because that's what we do. And you can hold me to that."

That said, she looks towards the door, and pushes off the wall. "That said, I'm going to see if I can apologise to Chess."

"The war has been brewing right beneath our eyes while we live in Safe Zones." Eve has not been blind to the tension rising across their world before the Leap. If anything the former PARIAH member is always waiting for the next enemy to rise against her kind, this is how it would always be potentially.

Eve blinks as if she didn't hear correctly, "You said what?" The world tilts for Eve and if she hadn't grabbed onto Castle's arm she would have fallen to the ground. Decimation. Knowing the very little she does of solar eclipses and how they affect their abilities, the solar flares. "Oh no no no no. A flock of birds with clipped wings." The former seer is sad for these future people but sad most of all for Glory who has had a taste of her birthright but it will not be permanent.

"Total annihilation, bleeding of the vein, eclipses can awaken but the sun steals away." Eve starts to speak in a fevered tone, "Is this what she planned?"

This world is sick.

Crimson eyes are wide and Eve struggles to take a breath. It was all she had ever fought for, mostly what she cared about and it all was going to go to ruin. Every sacrifice for their people would be for nothing. Cameron. She gets this look in her eye, the others might know it but Castle knows it. "No." It's said as if she's pleading for a second then her tone grows more firm, "NO."

"//NOO- //"

Code Red.

Without waiting another moment, Castle reaches up with their free hand and touches their mother’s cheek. A surge of power can be felt for a moment, and then Eve is suddenly—


And falling.

Castle catches her before she hits the ground, getting down on their knee to carry her down until they sit down with her laying across their lap. “Well. Didn’t expect to have to play that card today.”

But there it is.

“Okay— at least we can hopefully rest assured that there’s no ongoing temporal interference besides Glory, since Crowley has been disabled. But once we finish here we need to inform Nova of the situation so she can relay the information we have learned to the Remote Office. They need to know the date and the number of flares in order to better prepare for it, as well as this new information of a possible weakening of abilities. We also need to report to Agent Gates about the upcoming war. There’s probably nothing we can do to stop it, but forewarned is forearmed. And knowing the date is more than we knew before.”

There's so much information and all of it is terrible. He reaches for Chess across the network to try to bring her into the conversation only to feel a wall in his mind where her door used to be. She'd left the network under her own desire to do so, unlike Asi, whose departure came as an involuntary response to physical trauma. He feels spoiled that Wright's link will always be there for him, her door always open.

Richard is given a nod in affirmation of his request, though he has no idea what the antagonist of the Jungle Book is doing in this conversation. It's Eve's panic attack and Castle's response to it that intrigues him more. "I'll get the ball rolling," he says to Castle in regard to the assignments that naturally fall to him. "Is that a learnable skill, by the way?" He gestures at the peaceful Eve.

Glory withdraws to the corner of the room by the window, looking down at Eve and Castle, watching them with furrowed brows. He glances back up to the others, uncertain of anything and everything, but especially the choice she just made here.

“Look,” Glory says, slowly raising her hands, “I said I’d tell you whatever you wanna know, but I’m gonna go cross-eyed telling you my whole life story from here to Alaska if I don’t know what’s relevant to say or not.” She draws in a sharp breath and tries to exhale a calmer one. “I told you everything I know about the flare, about what happened before the doors shut, and my job. I…” She gets a queasy look for a moment and returns her attention to Robyn. “Okay there is… one more thing. This is the part where I’m going to remind you that I’m not a time machine engineer I’m a time machine pilot.

Glory glances down at Eve, then back around the thinning group in the room. “You keep talking about how making changes doesn’t change anything, how we can’t change a timeline. But that’s… one hundred percent not our experience at Horizon.” Her attention darts about everyone, watching reactions. “When I come back from a Pull—when anybody comes back from a Pull—we experience something called Refactoring. We get like, slammed with this sort of like, fucking migraine from hell. Hallucinations. Vivid shit like, mind-spinning. Shit from your childhood or like, stuff from last week. Parallel experiences layered on top of each other. Because something changed.” Glory rolls her shoulders, feeling tension in them.

“That’s why our off-site Incisions are recommended non-interactive. Observe, report. Because the Refactoring can sometimes be debilitating if you’re changing a lot. Sometimes we don’t have a choice, especially if we need a long Outside time.” Glory explains. “But usually, when we’re risking making a potential event-collision, we do our Incision from the Horizon lab. We get less Outside time because we’re moving in three-dimensional space, but when we come back we’re right back in the lab when the Refactoring hits.”

Glory glances around at everyone. “I—I had an Incision I did. We were trying to recover a little stone pyramid from a vault in Texas. Real Time was December 18th, 2008. Sometimes, if you don’t position an Incision right, it’ll scoop up a chunk of the ground. That happened at the vault. We fucked up the coordinates, must’ve got some attention. An investigation.” Glory’s brows furrow. “I get back to the Horizon lab and I’m barfing up bile, hit with a headache, and suddenly we got somebody new in Gateway that I’ve never met before, except I do remember him. Because he was apparently there the whole time, but I have memories where he wasn’t. Only the people outside of the Native experience Refactoring, so everybody else just remembered him. I file my report and cite the differences in the timeline.”

Squaring her shoulders, Glory keeps watching everyone. “So, I don’t know if that’s worth anything. But there it is.”

“We should meet afterwards to discuss how to proceed,” Richard says quietly in the direction of Castle and Elliot, “So we move forward in an– in an organized way.”

The number of people in this meeting is dropping by the minute, though he gives Castle a look both grateful and sympathetic before turning his attention back to Glory.

Her words cause his expression to screw up into one of confusion, a hand raising up to rub at his forehead. “That… hhn. Well, there are more things under Heaven and Earth, Horatio, I suppose. It sounds like a timeline split, only… not? Maybe it has to do with how you’re traveling through time, maybe it works differently– anyway. Regardless of how this affects the timeline, we need to focus on how to proceed, how to move forward. Okay, a… a pyramid from a vault in Texas? Jesus. That’s where they kept my brain.” Long story. ”Why did you need the pyramid?”

“You’d have to ask Nova,” Glory says with a rueful laugh. “That’s Horizon departmental information. I just… don’t get told that level of detail, for security reasons.”

Pausing as she turns to face the exit, ready to quickly exit the building in reaction to Eve's outburst, Robyn instead lets her focus fall on Castle. Slowly, she starts crossing the room toward them, a plantive look on her face. "Castle." She makes a quick glance at Richard, and then back ahead. "Can I get you do me a small favour I know I haven't earned?"

It's not a small favour.

Hands placed together in front of her and fingers pointed up at the ceiling, her shoulders visibly tense up for for a moment. "Don't… relay any of this back to the home or remote offices. Not yet." Her hands tip forward, now pointed at Castle. "Soon. Probably tomorrow. But I think there's some things that need to be discussed first. Better to do it all in one go, right?"

While there's clearly an ulterior motive there Robyn isn't being forthcoming about, any chance of elaborating on it is washed away as Glory speaks up again and relates to them the process of refactoring. It flies in the face of everything she's learned about time travel, from the supposed experts on the matter. Just when she's making an effort to truly learn and understand everything about this subject, something rears it's head to largely contradict it.

What the fuck, unimultiverse?

Really, it's all just… overwhelming. For a moment, her eyes glaze over and she stares at Glory in disbelief. She swallows, looking over at Richard and then Elliot, offering both of them an apology writ large across her face.

"I, uh. Chess. Apology."

She turns to the door. "Yeah." And she starts way out this time, not looking back at the others.

“Interesting,” Castle says quietly, perhaps making a theory, but deciding to keep it to themselves this time. It did really alter the dynamics of time travel as those among them have understood it, but it doesn’t change the situation as much as Robyn’s favour. That furrows their brow and causes them to frown. It’s apparent that they do not like this request, but after a moment, they simply nod, allowing Robyn to leave, and presuming planning to keep quiet for a day or two.

There’s a moment, and then they answer Elliot first. “It’s part of my original ability— this body’s. I couldn’t do it anymore until we got here. She’s not technically asleep— she’s just in a memory. I probably won’t be able to do it to her again since she’ll expect it now, but …” Well, they didn’t need an out of control ball of red mist asking questions none of them could answer.

“Thank you, Glory. I don’t envy your situation. I assume there’s no way for you to contact the future or return home without them triggering your return? And that only you can wear that suit?”

"I'll get the ball unrolling," Elliot says. Wright shrugs with her hands, make up your mind. He quietly responds with a shrug of his own.

There's a deep worry blossoming in both of them that he can't ignore. "Did our families make it to the shelter?" he asks Glory.

Rubbing a hand over her forehead, Glory nods. “Yeah, I mean, I think so? I don’t know Ames super-well. She’s a few years older than me, but I know she’s your kid.” Glory doesn’t mention Wright or Marthe.

“Anyone can wear the suit and get Pulled back,” Glory says as a way of changing the subject, looking over at Castle. “I mean, anyone roughly my height. Whether anyone without proper training or my cybernetic enhancements could survive being Pulled back that’s… I dunno. It’s taxing.”

Rubbing her hands over her face, Glory sighs into her palms. “Look I—I know this is all a lot, and to be honest I didn’t want to tell you. And I sure as fuck don’t want anyone out there knowing.” She says, waving to the dark of night beyond the wall. The whole space had gotten so much darker without Robyn’s presence. Just the flickering of a single oil lantern to light the room, casting Glory’s face in dancing shadows.

“Because I figure that’s why you haven’t told any of them about the flare yet, because there’s nothing they can do.” Glory emphasizes, brows knit together. “And I’d prefer if somebody doesn’t try to gut me in my sleep because they blame me for what—for what Crowley did.”

“You aren’t wrong. No, no we can’t tell them, shouldn’t tell them,” Richard agrees with a sigh, closing his eyes and giving his head a tight shake, “I’ve– we’re kind of hoping against hope that we find– we find some way to bring them back with us, but it sounds like we just end up in Manhattan and never make it out.”

The last stated grimly, but with a rough sort of determination. That they can change. Maybe. If they’re lucky.

“I– thank you for telling us, Glory,” he says genuinely then, offering her a faint smile, “If nothing else– it tells us the odds we’re playing against, and maybe we’ll have a fighting chance this time.”

“I– fuck, I want to ask about my kids but I shouldn’t, if anything– no, just– no,” he shakes his head tightly, pushing that away. If he knows for sure anything bad happened to them, there’s no telling what he might do.

One of him broke the universe once already.

“I’ll have to think about… everything. If you think of anything else that might help us… let us know.”

“I’m hoping they never have to know. I don’t think it’s healthy living your life knowing there’s a disaster coming that you can’t do anything about,” Castle murmurs, looking down at their mother as they say this. They had spent their whole childhood knowing the world would be flooded and that billions of people would die. No— they would not recommend it for anyone.

“If it comes, it comes. If we can stop it, we will. But until the end, they should have the freedom to live as if the world around them has a future. Everyone deserves that.”

They make no effort to get up. Eve would be too heavy for them to carry on their own very far in this body, so they’ll wait with the flickering lights to deal with their mother’s anger when the rest leave.

Elliot nods thoughtfully, says, "Thank you," distractedly. Ames survived the end of the world; this trip here was worth it. She'd be older than him in Glory's time, and he just a shadow from her childhood. He doesn't dwell on the omissions, he'll want to consider before asking for elaboration. Does he even want the weight of knowing?

He touches the locket beneath his shirt with his thumb. Making use of the darkness, he steps toward the exit, but doesn't follow Robyn into the dark immediately.

Glory doesn’t say much more, just steps away from the window and looks down at Castle and Eve, brows furrowed in thought. “Yeah,” she says softly, but to what is hard to say. A thought she’d been too long thinking on. She looks up to the few that are left, nodding in agreement.

They all had a lot to think about now.

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