Sandman, Part II


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Also Featuring:

aura_icon.gif kasha_icon.gif sera_icon.gif

Scene Title Sandman, Part II
Synopsis Strangers walk in the night, seeking what was lost.
Date February 1, 2021

A drizzling rain falls over the Safe Zone as a black sedan pulls up out front of the Raytech Industries campus.

A dark-haired woman dressed entirely in black steps out of the back of the car, opening a carnation red umbrella to shield herself from the rain. Her mouth and nose are covered by a white paper mask, precaution against smoke from the Ohio River fire, though tonight seems to
be a mild time for that.

Stepping into the lobby, the dark-haired woman folds her umbrella closed and spins it, swinging it around by the crooked end to let it hang off of her forearm. Sera, closing up for the night, looks up on seeing the woman entering the lobby.

“You can go away!” Sera says cheerfully, offering the dark-haired woman a toothy smile, while not making any eye contact. “Because we’re closed, I mean. Not just for no reason.” She adds, putting office supplies in her purse.

The dark-haired woman approaches Sera’s reception desk regardless, then leans forward and puts one hand palm-down on the desk, the other pulls down her paper filter mask, revealing carnation red lips that match her umbrella. “I’m supposed to be here,” she says with a lopsided smile.

I was invited.


Raytech Corporate Housing
Raytech Industries NYCSZ Campus
Jackson Heights

February 1st
7:14 pm

It’s been a long year and it’s only February.

For Elisabeth Harrison and Abigail Caliban it feels like shades of the old grind. The secrecy, the fear, the abductions. It’s weight upon weight stacked on their shoulders, put there by an uncaring world. Seated at the dining room table in Abby’s interim residence at Raytech, the two mothers share a moment of quiet and peace.

The rain outside is gently hammering the large glass windows on one side of the spacious apartment and the open concept floor plan gives Abby a clear view of Kasha who has fallen asleep on the couch, wrapped up in a blanket beside Aura who is watching an old cartoon on a tablet.

Security is high at Raytech, ever since someone made an attempt on Michelle’s life back in December. An armed security officer is posted outside Abby’s door, others patrol the campus on regular patrol patterns. But it never feels like enough. There’s always some security hole, some gap.

In a world of miracles, nothing is certain.

There’s good days, bad days, sometimes there’s half shitty days. Those are the days when Kasha goes off to school and Abby’s been up and seeing her out but comes home to her mother in a dark room praying that pain goes away. Or the days start with Dean shuffling her off to meet with Liz’s kids instead of Abby and heading to school only to come home to Abby keeping herself busy in the kitchen with a smile plastered across her face in an effort to keep things seemingly as normal as possible for her daughter.

Because nothing is normal while they live in Raytech’s housing instead of their own townhouse in Williamsburg and Dean is here instead of Butte La Rose. Deans out though, kicked out to have some time away from caring for Abby and Kasha. Abby’s sitting at the table, hot tea in a pot and bowls of dough and a container of flour that Abby’s working with a rolling pin. Biscuits. She can’t be in the office but by god, the precinct is not going to be without her biscuits. And other baked goods she’s been sending in. SCOUT’s going to be doing a lot of pushups.

“She’s exhausted.” Abby’s watching Kasha on the couch. “Dah catches her sitting outside my door when he gets up in the middle of the night. Or she lays in bed and watches me.” She pauses in the rolling, right hand extended and fingers stretched, as if that action could force the feeling back that has flickered off. Roll her right shoulder and then gets back to rolling so that the biscuit cutter can be used.

“Don’t suppose you done got any child psychologists on staff who can sit and talk with her?” She looks to Liz. “Lord knows I really don’t need her manifesting in your darn lobby and Richard coming through the door one day and asking you about the Kasha statue in the foyer.”

With both hands wrapped around her tea mug, Elisabeth is enjoying the warmth and contentment that Abby's presence always brings for her. Even when things are bad, Abby has the unique ability to just be present and things feel brighter when she's around.

"Not on staff," she replies easily, "but I'll give you the name of the one who has been working with Aura since we landed." It's been two years. She honestly cannot believe it's been two years. Her blue eyes rest on their girls with sympathy for Kasha evident in her expression. "Poor thing. I'm not surprised she's having trouble dealing with it."

Looking back up to Abby, she tips her head slightly and asks, "How bad is the headache today?" Liz knows the constant struggle Abby's having as she fights to recover. She does grin though. "If he finds a Kasha statue, I'm quite certain he'll just have her brought to his office so he can try to coax her back. Maybe drape Richelieu on her as a lure."

It's mostly a joke, but… one never knows with her husband.

“I can function. Which I am grateful for.” Abby confesses. Might explain the dimmer lighting instead of every light blazing. “It’s exhausting. But… I suppose it could be worse.” She’s trying to be optimistic. Ever, does she try to be optimistic. This tray of dough is flattened enough and she reaches for the bowl of ice with the round ancient looking biscuit cutter sitting in it. And she sets about to dipping it in flour and then cutting rounds, putting them on a tray and soon enough there’s two dozen rounds of southern biscuits. “The name of Aura’s would be good. I just… she needs to be able to talk, and I know that her grades are…” Suffering. “How’s Aura doing?” She keeps her voice pitched low enough that the young girl can’t hear. Habit. “Kasha’s behaving on the way to school yeah?” She stops and looks to her friend.

“I saw the dog robots. What are the odds of getting my Dah one? To see if he likes it? It might help him out a little, here or back home when he goes home.” If he goes home. There’s no end in sight to what’s plaguing Abby. Dean might be very well be moving to the big city at some point. Maybe.

"She had a few rough weeks right after Detroit," Elisabeth admits. With a grimace, she toys with her tea. The girls can't hear them by sheer virtue of mom privacy fields. "Lot of nightmares and she's obsessive about her go-bag."

Dragging a hand through her hair, though, Liz smiles. "Kasha has been an angel to and from school . No problems at all. Lili says Kasha's pretty cool, so it sounds like they're getting along."

At the question about the SPOT bots, Elisabeth can't help a grin. "Your dad is welcome to have one. Aura is finally not afraid of those things, so now they're all over the damn place. By all means, I'll ask Alia to special program one for you to help him and you out."

She watches her friend cut biscuits, an activity that Abby does by rote, one Liz has watched her do a few times before. But this time, she's taking stock of how easily Abby is moving and where she's having trouble. She moves slower now, and Elisabeth doesn't draw attention to it. "You know, no matter how many times I watch you do those, mine never came out right."

A simple observation, and a simple kindness. Some battles were more easily won than others.


Not Far Away

A soft beep accompanies a buzz at the front doors of the Corporate Housing building as Jac Childs scans her badge. Swinging the door open and stepping into the hall, she’s greeted by a pair of armored Redbird Security officers with Banshees on their hips and live ammunition in assault rifles held in a relaxed grip. Jac’s been here before, done this a dozen times. It’s another quick scan of her badge and a check by the residential building reception clerk before she’s given passage into the elevator.

Up one floor, Jac adjusts her backpack over her shoulder and feels the corner of a couple books gently pressing into her back. Softcovers, primarily, a few books for a voracious reader—Kasha. When the elevator stops the doors slide open and Jac steps out into the second floor hallway, making her way down toward Abby's apartment. The guard outside of Abby’s door turns, stopping Jac with an outstretched hand.

“Identification,” he says firmly, holding out a keycard reader in his other hand with a biometric identifier attached for a thumbprint reading. Raytech isn’t taking any chances right now.

Even though she's grown used to seeing all of the tightened security measures, Jac still finds them a little unsettling. It reminds her of another place and another version of her that she saw once. At least the SPOTbots aren't anything like the robots in that place, and there are a few friendlier faces in the guard detail.

She hasn't made up her mind about the one outside Abby’s door, but she greets him with a brief closed lip grin as she walks toward him. It's just the same as she would anyone else that she doesn't know. Hopefully it comes off as pleasant. As she gets closer, her left hand leaves the strap of her backpack to produce her Raytech badge first.

The guard takes the badge and runs it through the scanner. A light turns green and he holds the thumb print pad out toward Jac. The guard looks at Jac, then looks up over the teen’s shoulder and past her to something down the hall. Jac sees a subtle shift of the guard’s expression, lips part as if to say something. But someone else talks first.


It’s the last thing Jac remembers hearing.


Not Far Away

Elisabeth picks up a sound that goes unnoticed by Abby, a clattering sound in the hallway of something metal hitting the tile floor, followed by two relatively heavy but muffled thumps. When the sound draws Elisabeth’s eye to the apartment door, she sees a dark shadow beneath it blocking the light from the corridor.

It's as she sips her tea that Elisabeth catches the sounds in the hallway. Her mug lowers to the counter with a small thunk and she frowns toward the door. She has become — usually — much less paranoid than she was when she first arrived back in the world. But the fact of the matter is that there is an extra guard outside Abby's place for a reason. "Abby, get the kids."

Her voice is tight as she slides off the seat by the counter — it's an order, not a request. And just for a moment Elisabeth asks herself if she's being too paranoid. For people like us, there's no such thing, Felix's voice whispers through her doubt.

Aura, watching her cartoon, whips her head around at her mother's tone. She knows that voice. That's Mummy's 'get low, get quiet' voice, and Aura literally scuttles the few feet to Kasha's sleeping form to shake the older girl awake. "Get up!" she hisses urgently.

Elisabeth makes her way to the door, wishing she had her service weapon on her. She reaches out further to see if she can determine what's happening before she touches that door.

Without hesitation, Abby’s leaving the cutter in place and is up from the table the moment Liz’s coffee cup goes thunk and is out of her seat when orders are issued, heading for Aura and Kasha. The latter suddenly awake but confused, looking to her mother and all around. Nothing seems out of place. But the tween knows that just because things look normal doesn’t necessarily mean that they are and she’s abandoning the covers and putting feet into slippers

Abby stops at the counter to sling her purse that has her own service weapon in it, over her shoulder and grabs Aura’s hand even as Kasha grabs Aura’s other and sandwiching the youngest between them. “Come on” She says quietly and they head for the balcony doors. The greenery beyond with the shrubbery and trees, the balcony’s that circle and walls that divide each up.

“Over the wall to the left.” Telling the kids the plan. “We go till someone lets us in or there's one unlocked. Or we can reach a tree and start working down. Quiet as can be, no talking” Abby fires off instructions a glance over her shoulder to Liz and a nod. They’re gonna get wet, maybe for nothing, but the two women have been through this before. Wet is better than dead. “If something happens, hide in the bushes. Don’t come out unless it’s Richard or Poppa.” Richard or Dean. “I love you. You got this” And they’re heading out or at least trying to.

Escape plans are a matter of life for people who survived the near genocide of Expressives a decade ago. Abby’s life may have slowed down, but her instincts and training have kicked right back into place without missing a beat. Kasha, though older and disoriented from sleep, has gone through these drills most of her life. This is, horrifyingly, a part of her normal.

Just outside the door, Elisabeth hears voices speaking in hushed tones and shuffling sounds. But it’s all in German.

“Beeile dich,” a woman says.

A deep man’s voice immediately replies back. “Bereit.

Further away, Elisabeth can hear a distant sound. Footsteps, someone running, closing in on the hallway.

Later, she's probably going to have to apologize to security. Again. But considering that Richard was kidnapped out of this very building a year ago, Elisabeth is taking no chances with this. A quick glance over her shoulder shows Abby and the kids already out on the balcony. Putting her body between them and the door, she has split second for the thought to pass through her head that maybe she should open the door first.

But the truth of the matter is, Elisabeth is conditioned under this kind of direct apparent threat to shoot first and ask questions later. Lacking a firearm with which to simply fire… she pulls in a breath and all the sound waves she can pull into one 'sound bomb', cutting them loose straight at the door laced with sickening vertigo waves. The concussion detonates just inside the threshold, where she knows the walls are not as reinforced, to blow out the door and some of the frame into the hallway.

Don’t look back, keep going. Ignore what's happening in the apartment. Aura is the smallest and so when Abby has hauled herself up to straddle the divide, it’s to grab Aura and yank. Up goes the girl and unceremoniously she’s dropping Liz's daughter over on the next balcony. It’s not a high divide so there’s no danger of broken bones. Then she’s hauling up on her own daughter. Who is a little heavier but with thanks to the paces that she has to be put through for SCOUT, it helps. “Next wall! Don’t look back. Kasha first this time, then Aura.” Abby drops down after them and they scatter to the other side. This time around she uses her knee and her hands for Kasha to climb her like a stepladder and haul herself up. “Try the door when you are over, and help catch Aura. Cover your ears, I'm going to shoot my gun okay?”

It might garner notice from those they want to notice them. It might not. But once the kids are over the next wall, out from her purse she’s hauling her service weapon, checking the chamber, switching the safety and in a direction devoid of people and residences, she’s firing a single shot, then another before the safety is put back on and she’s trying to haul herself over. Put as many balconies between them and her apartment and the cover of all that greenery.

Out in the hall the apartment door is torn off of its hinges by Elisabeth’s sonic blast, the concussion from which sets off every single seismic alarm in the building, throwing lighting to a danger-red shade and eliciting an emergency alarm klaxon that blares through the entire housing complex. The door strikes the wall across the hall with a resonant bang of steel on concrete, leaving a gouge in the stone.

The Redbird security officer who was posted outside the apartment door is motionless on the ground at first, but on the tremendous noise from Elisabeth’s sonic attack he startles awake, though looks both disoriented and sickened by the sound reverberating through his head.

Lauf! Gehen!” Elisabeth hears a woman shouting from somewhere out in the hall, but she sees someone else cross through the opening of the door, stepping over the fallen guard: A massively tall man in a pinstripe suit with a shaved head carrying Jac Childs over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. His long-legged strides seem completely unphased by the acoustic disorientation of Elisabeth’s ability, alarmingly so.


Jac wakes to the sound of alarms and her body being jostled. From her perspective she’d moving down a hall in ways she can’t explain, until she feels the press of a muscled shoulder into her abdomen and an arm over her back. She’s on a massive man’s shoulder being carried in a dead sprint down a corridor. From her view, Jac can see a curly-haired brunette woman come skidding into the tenement building hallway from the stairwell on square-heeled boots.

Federal agent! Stop!


Agent Hall raises her sidearm, tries to square a shot, but can’t without risking hitting Jac. She presses a finger to her earpiece, shouting over the noise of the klaxons. “This is Agent Hall! I need backup at the Raytech Corporate Campus!”

For a disjointed and nauseating beat, Jac stares at the pinstriping and the occasional swish of the floor between folds of unfamiliar fabric that passes a million and a half miles away from where her head hangs. The sound of klaxons is at once coming from a distant planet and inside her head, pounding in time with the jostling and jarring motion that’s carrying her. The second time she feels something both curved and sharp press abruptly into the space just beneath her breastbone, the teen raises her head. Her eyes fall on the curly-haired woman and understanding begins to sink in.

And following understanding of the moment, instinct picks up pieces. She’ll curse every brokenness inside her body after she’s ensured her survival.

The girl twists against the unyielding arm that holds her in place. Like a cat that’s turned into a furious and furry sack of tooth and claw in order to avoid a bath, she too tries to defy all physical logic to avoid being carried away.

Jac reaches with both arms to curl around her kidnapper’s head and face. Fingers curl to hook into whatever edge is available, whether it’s the man’s nose or an eye socket or even an ear. She’s not picky about what she gets. Her own head burrows into the joining between neck and shoulder. She probably won’t get through the layers of suit and shirt the way a cat will, but she bites down hard anyway. Even her dull human teeth can cause bruises. Legs, no longer dangling uselessly, hook over the man’s middle to give her leverage against being dropped.

The confusion of that moment, at least, offers some kind of advantage. They've got a look at who is in the hallway. And Elisabeth is even more alarmed to see the person has Jac in his hands! "Goddamn it!"

So much for her concerns that she was fucking paranoid. Though she is without her service weapon, Elisabeth isn't so much worried about that. She pops out the door and shouts to Hall, "I got her, you get him!" May as well send the agent with the weapon after the man that is apparently immune to her ability while she attempts to corral the woman. "They're heading for the east stairs!" She thinks, anyway. Maybe not, but that's the general direction.

And by this time, she's betting all the cams are keeping track of all of this and they'll be able to update Hall. With the alarms blaring like that, every security person in the complex is likely on the move, so she hopes they'll be able to thwart whatever the fuck kind of kidnapping craziness this is.

Klaxons blare and Abby’s still doing what she needs to do. Olympic high jump over walls with two young girls. Though she’s flagging with each one and the pain in her head starting to ratchet up, the woman pushes through. Up goes Kasha, who then helps to bring Aura over and buffet the younger girl on the other side of the wall. While they try a door, Abby’s hauling herself over the wall. All of them irrevocably soaked. All of them likely getting colder as time goes by and the sounds of the klaxons do little to mitigate the throb in Abby’s head. “Keep going girls!” Teeth starting to chatter. “Next wall!” She wants at least five units between them and whatever has happened back there. “Proud of you!” Hands cup, she kneels again and helps to vault Kasha up to the top.

Back in the hallway, Iov fights and struggles with Jac. The young woman finds him weirdly resilient to harm. Her nails scrape across his skin as though it were made of leather, not human flesh. His strength is prodigious, muscles feel like braided steel. But she isn’t some helpless child, she was trained in hand-to-hand combat by a centuries old warrior. Using her size and training, Jac is able to twist herself out of Iov’s adamant grasp.

The absolutely massive man turns around and clenches his fists, leather gloves creaking from the stress of the gesture. Iov starts to walk back after Jac without fear of Elisabeth or the federal agent behind her.

It’s right around then that Elisabeth sees someone behind Iov at the end of the hall toward the stairs she called out. A woman with chalk white hair in a navy blue trenchcoat belted at the waist. “Dich!” She shouts in German, and the hallway behind her begins to…



What once was the east stairs blurs like a heat mirage, and then it looks like the end of the hallway is opening to a harbor somewhere else entirely where it isn’t raining. Fog rolls into the hallway from that other place.

Schlafen.” Iov says, and both Elisabeth and Squeaks’ legs immediately give out under them and they collapse to the ground unconscious. Agent Hall, too far away to be affected, finishes her sprint and skids to a stop beside Elisabeth and takes a knee, slapping the side of her face and rousing her from a momentary deep and dreamless sleep.

Hall then raises her gun and fires at Iov at near point-blank range seven times. The first four rounds hit Iov in the chest, sending him staggering back, another round hits him square in the forehead, leaving a scuff mark on his brow, the remainder hit him in the shoulder and neck. The shots only seem to slow him down, though the monstrosity of a man appear momentarily dazed by each blow.

If the smacking of her face hadn't woken her, sure as hell the firearm discharging just above her head would have brought Elisabeth bolt upright. Confused for a moment, she loses precious seconds looking around in a panic. By the time Hall hits the seventh bullet, Elisabeth is climbing to her feet, her heart racing. Jac's definitely slowing him down, which is good. It takes her just another few moments to understand what happened to her and how she got on the floor. When she does, she presses her body flat to the wall, trying to keep out of Hall's line of fire while she moves closer to Jac and the goon.

She really doesn't have to get very close before she feels like she's got good range on him, and she encases the mystery man and Jac in a full silence bubble. No sound in or out. He can't make Jac sleep. But Elisabeth also dares not use anything more aggressive on him because she can't differentiate between the two of them as targets.

"Get her," she calls to Hall — the portal opener is definitely a big issue right now. Once she has a clear path at Iov, Elisabeth can throw herself into the fray and maybe sweep the leg or something to bring him down.

Goddamn, he's huge!!

Another wall, another door tried, Abigail helping the girls get over, always looking behind them to see if anyone has figured out where they went and coming after them. When they get the five that she considers the soonest distance to stop, she ushers Aura and Kasha to under the overhang of the balcony above them and give them momentary respite from that freezing rain and tries the door. No doubt locked, as one would expect them to be.

“Kasha” Abby says through chattering teeth, getting her daughter's attention and passing her the phone that she digs out of her purse. “Put it in your pocket. Next wall, text poppa. Tell him to go to the station, not home. Aura, tell me if you see any colors coming” Remembering that the girl can see sound. See something. “Stay behind me, thirty seconds and then we move. Hug each other. Share your warmth. I’m going to see if the tree is close enough to go down.” and she’s moving back into the open air, creeping with her hands on her gun and the safety flipped off, careful to look to the way they came and then hang over the balcony enough to find a tree close enough and strong enough for them to grab and shimmy down. When she does, it’s to turn to the girls and shivering, gestures for them to come ‘Two more walls. Then we head down. Hot cocoa when we’re safe. I promise.”

Down in the courtyard below where Abby is helping Kasha and Aura move from balcony to balcony someone shouts up in her direction. She sees black and red clas Redbird security making their way across the campus to the residential area. “Miss! Miss! Hang on!” He shouts, unable to identify Abby at that distance but recognizing that she’s helping the children across. “Stay there! We’ll come up!”

Inside the building, Iov opens his mouth to say something and no sound comes out. He makes a furious expression and starts to advance on Elisabeth without even drawing a weapon. Agent Hall, agreeing with Elisabeth’s assessment, takes into a sprint running straight at the towering Iov. He tries to speak again, to deliver a soporific word, but the silence field prevents him from speaking, allowing Agent Hall to close the gap between herself and the massive man.

Hall jumps at the end of her sprint, planting her palm square on Iov’s face before she—


One minute Agent Hall is there, the next minute she collapses in on herself like a cloud of smoke, sucked down to where her hand was and then not anywhere at all. Iov lurches, grabs at his head, makes several open-mouthed and silent screams, and then staggers to the side and smashes his head against the wall hard enough to leave cracks in the concrete.

A split-second later Hall materializes a few feet behind Iov and raises her handgun, firing two-rounds at the white-haired woman. The white-haired woman holds up her hands and Hall’s bullets disappear into a shimmering distortion. Throwing her now empty gun aside, Hall tries to spring as fast as she can toward the other woman, but she isn’t quick enough.

Before Agent Hall can get to the end of the corridor, the white-haired woman steps back through the threshold into the dark streets by that unknown harbor. The distortion field collapses down in itself until there is nothing left but the stairwell access that should be there.

“Shit!” Hall shouts, turning around to see a still-dazed Iov shaking off his disorientation and pain, focus renewed on Elisabeth, failing to notice that all the commotion has roused Jac from her slumber outside of the silence field.

From the floor, blue eyes flutter then squint against the pounding-piercing noise all around. Jac's head moves slightly, away from the sound of footfalls. Her eyes swivel and catch Agent Hall's back as she slows from her pursuit of someone. The teen hadn't seen the portal.

Movement nearer to where she's laying pulls her attention to the man who's tried to carry her off to who knows where. Muscles tense, but the girl remains sprawled, watching through nearly closed eyes, until she can be sure he's unaware that she's roused again.

Then she takes the chance to move.

With eyes on Iov, Jac eases from where she'd collapsed. Hands and knees find purchase on the floor, leveraging her small frame into a compacted crouch. She moves with a practiced care, a calculated slowness to avoid premature notice. Her hands plant just in front of her feet, like a runner on a starting block. Once she can register that the man's awareness is beginning to sharpen, she moves.

Like a spring uncoiling, attacking from the realm of obscurity, the teen launches herself into Iov's legs. Anger and fear form a knot in her belly that rises as she does, pressing up through her chest until it escapes as some kind of primal, wordless war cry. Head and shoulders tuck just so as her aim is to crash into his knees. Her arms coil, wrapping and twisting to snare and tangle the man's lower extremities once she's crashed into them.

Wait, what the actual fuck? Hall's ability isn't something Elisabeth has reason to know, so… that's a thing that just happened! But whatever she did inside his head, it definitely worked. Then the agent is off Iov and down the hall.

With Hall out of her target area and Jac keeping low — she can hear the girl moving — Elisabeth finally has a clear shot at Iov. She isn't sure if he's just resistant to sound because of his own ability or if it's something else, but he's clearly not immune to physical attack. So even as Jac tackles him at the knees, Liz narrows her own focus to two things: keeping him silenced and making his skull vibrate until he passes out. She can't retreat from him, needing all her concentration on what she's doing in hopes of not killing him. This is not something she's done very often.

Security. Instead of hopping more walls, Abby looks to the kids and gathers them up, retreats back to under an overhang and out of the rain. “Helps coming. We stay put” Relief on her face that they’ve been spotted. “Hug each other, come on.” She parks with them behind her back to a wall and keeps them close, one hand firmly clutching her service weapon and pointing to where they had come from, keeping her attention split between there and then the patio door leading into the apartment they were huddled in front of. Her other hand behind her and on Kasha’s leg while she crouches like a shield.

“Almost over. I promise. Gonna be dry, eating biscuits, drinking hot cocoa before a fire. Like this was all a dream.” Abby looks out over the pair and to the dark night sky beyond them, trying to tamp down her shivering. “All just a very bad dream. Sing me a song, girls. I want to hear a song. Helps on the way, we’ll be okay now.”

Inside the building, Iov crashes down like a towering sack of bricks, colliding with the floor. He twists, looking over at Jac and sits up to try and pry her off of him, but the sudden shockwave of sound leveled at him stops any attempt at such. Iov’s hands clutch his head, his eyes wrench shut and he screams—a terrible scream now heard as the silence field dissipates to allow in the banshee wail—while writhing on the ground.

Raytech made millions off of its nonlethal Banshee hardware, but it was inspired by Elisabeth Harrison’s natural talent, one that Iov is now exposed to. As he struggles on the ground, Iov gnashes his teeth together and kicks his legs in a futile attempt to get free of Jac’s hold. But Iov’s thrashing soon turns into something entirely different, convulsing.

Agent Hall is rounding back toward Elisabeth right around the time Iov starts bleeding from his nose, tear ducts, and ears, even after Elisabeth has halted the use of her ability. He gurgles, kicks, yelps and spasms like a man having a…

…a seizure.

By the time Agent Hall has reached Iov, the assailant has stopped moving and stares vacantly up at the ceiling. But Elisabeth can see his chest rising and falling. He’s still breathing.

Outside, Redbird security are swarming the residential building and drones are deployed to the sky, leveling up to where Abby is to get a clearer view of her situation. «Stay put Ms. Caliban, we’ll open up the unoccupied residence you’re at and get you in.» A voice chimes through an external speaker on the drone.

Back in the hall, Elisabeth hears a trio of Redbird security coming from behind and up the stairwell at Agent Hall’s back, some armed with Banshees others with life ammunition. They begin calling out to her, weapons out. Agent Hall pivots, already having retrieved her badge folio from her jacket that he holds out toward them.

“Federal Agent,” Hall identifies herself, hands in the air. “Department of the Exterior.”

The force of the fall is more jarring than Jac had anticipated, but she hangs on to the man’s legs like her life depends on it. For all she knows, it does. Then, as massive hands begin trying to find a way to pry her from her catch, Jac squeezes her own arms and legs more tightly.

Even when the weight of his hands on her back is abruptly gone, even when he screams, she clings to Iov’s legs. Unaware of the reason for his abrupt change in tactic, the teen tucks her head, shoulders shrugged, fingers dig into fabric and flesh without regard for either. Her teeth clench, lips drawn back slightly with her effort, reminiscent of a cat who’s captured a severely coveted chicken leg and refuses to let go no matter what.

Jac rides out the writhing and kicking, feeling the skin on her arms and elbows rubbed raw against the floor. The thrashing allows a knee to clip the side of her head and then catche her shoulder at an angle that forces her right arm to loosen. She twists, just about the time that Iov’s flailing about to escape becomes convulsions, and kicks herself free of him instead. As she disengages from Iov’s legs, she half log rolls and crawls roughly in the direction of Agent Hall, but angled more to the wall opposite the one the kidnapper cracked.

Elisabeth is pale as hell when Iov starts convulsing. She scoots around the tall man and moves to help Jac. "Hey hey hey. I've got you. It's okay." As the security guards swarm, the blonde head comes up and she holds position until they have identified her and cleared Hallas well, then snaps out, "Get medical up here." She isn't sure if what is happening is something out on-site teams can help stabilize, but Iov clearly needs medical. "He's also some kind of sound manipulator. Make sure you flag it!"

She looks at Hall even as she stays close to Jac. She needs to know that the teen is alright. But her blue eyes are both furious and scared to death. Maybe not the best combination, given what just happened. "Agent Hall," she says tightly, "You might want to let the Department of the Fucking Exterior know that we have someone they'd like to talk to. Assuming he recovers."

The drone comes into sight and the gun lifts with it, ready to shoot it down like a duck during hunting season. But it doesn’t do anything offensive and instead it talks. She looks even more relieved and sags forward a little, lowering the gun and flipping the safety back on. “Thank you” To whomever is on the other side of the drone.

“We will need medical attention. Hypothermia precautions. Warm blankets. Tell Elizabeth we’re fine.” Abby closes her eyes, pressing the butt of her palm to her right eye and pressing in. “Someone call my Dah, he’s out. If security could find him please” Teeth chattering. “Thank you. Maybe…maybe put emergency ladders yeah? That’d be a good addition to out here… “ The pain in her head starting to overtake now that they are still and not running. The gun is tucked back into her purse and only then does she turn and gather the kids close, nearly hugging the two of them to death. “We’re fine” Spoken more for her own benefit than theirs.

If she says it enough, it’ll be true. Right? Right.

Redbird Security closes in around Iov’s prone form, guns trained down on him as they call back over their radios. Agent Hall is separated from Elisabeth and Jac per security protocols. They can sort out who is really who once Raytech staff are accounted for. Hall’s eyes downcast to Iov as she hands her ID badge over the security, watching the pool of blood welling in the grooves of his ears. Her brows furrow together, lips pressed into a thin line.

Emergency sirens blare into the night. Frantic phone calls are made. Assurances given, protocol observed. But the rain outside continues to fall, the cold sky unrelenting. Sirens can be heard for blocks around the Raytech Campus, but tomorrow’s papers will only cite a “disturbance” at the facility that was “resolved swiftly.”

But the fallout from tonight’s incident will have far larger repercussions than a media response.

Tonight, the tables have turned.

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