Second Verse Same As The First


elisabeth2_icon.gif kaylee_icon.gif

Scene Title Second Verse Same As The First
Synopsis Kaylee gets brought up to speed on a bit of information that Liz has been let in on because it might be relevant to what she's about to go do.
Date July 4, 2021

Kaylee's Apartment, RayTech

Usually Elisabeth would wait until after work to talk to Kaylee … but they've both been extremely busy, and Kaylee is leaving town very soon here to see about rescuing her other self. Nothing in the past several weeks has gone as Liz expected. But after the text she got last night, she hasn't slept a wink. And somehow, before Kaylee leaves on this expedition, it might be something she needs to know. «Kaylee, need to see you this morning before I leave. I'm on my way up.»

The knock on the door is gentler than Cop Knock, but she texted first! So it shouldn't be a surprise.

The door is flung open to find Kaylee wearing a pair of weird awkward thick framed glasses, which she yanks off quickly. Her clothing is comfortable, like she hadn’t any plans to go out, wearing ratty shorts and a tank top to fight the summer heat.

On the living room table behind her sits Raytech’s second generation Spyball, which was looking in that direction until Kaylee took off the glasses. The head swivels to face away, towards the couch again. One the table next to it sets a controller, which was a requirement management had for the new generation. It couldn’t be autonomous. “Hey, got your text.” Her sister-in-law is motioned in and towards the living room. “You’re lucky I’m here. I was going to go to the range to do some practice, but then this was delivered…” she nods over her shoulder at the bot with a mischievous grin.

Tipping her head slowly, Elisabeth takes a look at her. "Those are cuuuuuute," she drawls teasingly. As she steps into the apartment and closes the door, she looks amused. "You should definitely go to the firing range," she adds, mostly teasing but not quite. "So fill me in on what that mess is before I fill you in on what you need to know – because I have a message from Richard that may be relevant to what you're about to ship out to do."

Shutting the door, Kaylee follows after Liz. “That?” She scoops up the remote with a bit of a smirk. “That there is just a precaution… and possibly a chance to test it in the field for future sale.” Once a business woman, always a business woman. There is a reason the Ray family hasn’t completely gone broke trying to fix the world. There was a profit to be made somewhere. “Had them reverse engineer a bot that Devi made to see if it could be developed for the PD. It’s smaller and more versatile than a Spot when trying to scope out a place, it can even get into vents.” She wiggles the stick of the remote and the bot jitters around in a circle, before offering it to Liz. “Glasses let you see what it sees.”

Kaylee sighs, as the smile falls away, “Just wanted to make sure we have as many of Raytech’s tools at our disposal as I can wiggle out of Valerie.” Not like her sister would say no, considering. “Raided security’s armory, too. Taking as much as I dare, without leaving the place defenseless.” Not that she could tell Bob why, but the man stopped asking about things like that long ago, either because he trusted them or just decided to spare himself the migraine.

Both brows rise. "Oh, nice," Elisabeth observes. "The FD has already been on the phone to me about the mods to the Banshees after the fire use," she chuckles. "Most of them hadn't figured out until the fire chief I was with told them that they figured it out because I did it by accident out there. But dad said the expansion of the patent is already in the works, so that will help too." She pauses. "You make sure you take a Banshee tuned for vertigo with you. I'll help you with the more vicious frequencies for it. It'll make them fall over fast. And make sure Devi adapts them so you have the ability to ramp it up to tapioca brains levels." There's a grim pleasure in the idea that she can make sure Kaylee's equipment can do what Liz herself can do.

“Could be useful, since we haven’t a thorough idea of what we’re walking into,” Kaylee says with a considering nod of her head, “Thank you.”

Kaylee eyes the bot one last time, before summerly dismissing it to focus on Liz. Tucking a foot under her, she twists to look at her sister-in-law fully. “So what’s got you knockin’ on my door? Text seemed pretty urgent.”

Swallowing hard, Elisabeth nods slightly. "Richard sent me a message from Flood… he'd had some suspicions before now." She drags a hand through her hair. "They ran into a Pharos person over there, Kaylee. He'd been killed and that's how it was discovered. He was… in possession of miniaturized Looking Glass technology." Her blue eyes are turbulent. "I'm not sure how he confirmed it, maybe he's met another one. But they're kids from the future. Again."

The implications of this are somewhat staggering and Elisabeth gives her a moment to parse the information. "He suspects the OEI is compromised. Which… not like that is exactly shocking news. Just not sure what it means for all of you heading out to face off with all this. There's no way to tell if it's just in that timeline that it's happening."

This is a whole lot for Kaylee to process at one time, in fact, she lifts her hand as if to stall Liz in her giant sized bomb of information. Yet, she is too stunned to go through with it, because there is a mention of two words a parent dreads hearing.

The implication of that alone is huge, but also is a very very bad omen on its own. “Whoa, whoa….” She is on her feet and backing away a few steps, while waving her hands in an effort to stop any more info, at least before she can process what’s out there. “I mean… a government agency being corrupted from within isn’t new… but let's go back to the fact you just said the words… Future. Kids.”

Kaylee motions to Liz that she can continue, with one stipulation, “Explain that and while you are at it this miniature Looking Glass stuff.”

Yeah… she figured that it would be a lot. Elisabeth moves to the couch to lower herself to it. "I can't," she tells her sister in all but blood. "I only have the barest of information because Richard doesn't want to pass much home through Wright – she's being watched heavily. I gather from Wright that when they arrived, they arrived in the middle of people in the Pelago dealing with the Confessor – who had been essentially an enemy and the boogeyman of the Pelago for a long time – having been killed. I guess they must have either seen something in the body or done some kind of what passes for an autopsy, and they determined he was a Pharos body. Trouble is, obviously that couldn't have come from their own timeline. No such thing exists in the Flood. Which was worrying enough. But when the Travelers arrived, I guess they recognized some of what the guy was wearing or something, and Richard had Elliot pass the information that the Confessor was in possession of a miniaturized Looking Glass, which is how he got there. So it has to be another time or another timeline, right?"

Shaking her head, Liz adds, "I'm not sure how he came into possession of the confirmation, but apparently something they encountered – or most likely someone – confirmed that it was time-travel. Honestly, my suspicion is that it would have to be both time and timeline travel – because how the hell would they develop the Looking Glass tech at all in the Flooded world anyway, right?" Sighing heavily, she leans back. "So you know all that I know right now. Somewhere, somehow… our kids or their kids have sent people back again to try to stop something. Whether that's the flares or something even worse, God only knows." And the truth of it is… does it really matter right now? They're mired in their own horrors and there's nothing they can do about it. "The main thing is that you and the team you're taking with you are careful as fuck. And don't trust the OEI as far as you can spit them – assuming any of you were of a mind to anyway."

It was even worse, but the sound of things… it was way way worse. Kaylee runs hand down her face and paces across the floor. “Jesus. It doesn't just acid rain, it pours that shit down our throats while looking us in the eye.”

It is only a few steps along Kaylee’s chosen path that she stops, and places hands on her hips. “So help me, Carl shows up I am going to ground him into the next millennium.”

She didn't like the sound of any of it.

“As for the OEI, we’re not involving them in this. It is too risky,” Kaylee explains as she forces herself to calm down, fear digging into her stomach. “Plus they would bury us in so much red tape, the originals will be dead.”

Kaylee runs fingers through her hair, but leaves it clutching at the back of her head. “How the hell we get to this point again?” This time it felt different.

Elisabeth can't help a tired giggle at the grounding threat. But she shakes her head. "Honestly, Kaylee…" There's a long pause as she tries to think about her response. "The Entity is a bitch. She's been doing whatever it is that she's doing for millenia, at best guess. So… she's been manipulating events and people and getting all her little pieces on the game board on a scale we can barely comprehend. And still… being who we are, we can't not try to stop her? So. Here we are." She sighs. "And there they are, because they are our children… and as I was recently reminded… they all grew up looking at what we did to try to keep people safe. How could they not step up and live up to that example?" Joe's words will linger for a long time.

Even though she knows that Liz has a point, Kaylee can't help but express her frustration with a growled groan. Hand falling away from hair, she finally moves to drop in the couch.

“You know the worst part of all of this?” Kaylee asks, pushing the Spyball back on the coffee table so she can prop socked feet on it and lean back into the couch cushions. “We have to bring her back into this shitshow. She is going to wake up into all this.”

A frustrated hand waves at the world. “All of it and explain it all. The good and, especially, the bad.” Kaylee looks over at her sister, but then touches a finger to her nose. “Not it.” A smile twitches slightly at the corner of her mouth, but without humor.

"Yeah," Elisabeth says quietly. "Worse than that… Kaylee, when was she actually taken, do you guys even know? How long has she been gone? Because… " She pauses and rubs her eyes. "All of them are waking up to a world that's about to end."

“In a couple days, it’ll only be a year,” Kaylee says, her eyes focused on a point nowhere and then grimaces at the reminder. “Cause that is when I woke up in the wreckage of that airplane in Canada.”

Kaylee can't help but give a bitter laugh, “Means I’m almost a year old.” There was humor in it, sour as it was.

Elisabeth looks over at her and says quietly, "But is that when they took her?" she asks. "Because they had to assemble you and actually acquire the download for you." She hates asking it, but… she has to.

There is a soft hmm of sound as Kaylee rolls that question around in her head, it was a good one. Then she remembers one detail. “Yamagato had a recording of the kidnappers from that night.” Was it solid proof? No. “From the time I… she laid down - and I remember it - until I woke up in that crash, they had time to download and upload.”

Kaylee finally glanced over to Liz, “We were being transported to have the last piece added and be dropped back into our lives, of course, missing one critical part of who we were. Our ability.” She gives a small shake of her head. “Scary thought if they succeeded.”

Nodding, Elisabeth points out quietly, "They did succeed, Kaylee. If they hadn't been sabotaged, we would not have known a damn thing except that suddenly there were people whose power literally vanished." She pauses. "Their mistake was choosing you – because your brother would have never ever stopped searching for the why. How the hell they thought it was a good idea to fuck with him, I will never understand."

She tips her head back and looks at the ceiling. "They're about to learn the severity of their error. You're taking Luther with you, yeah?" Looking at Kaylee, she quirks a small smile. "I haven't decided whether it's that I'm Richard's wife or the SCOUT Lieutenant that makes security drop me reports on a lot of things." Studying the other woman, she says softly, "You fucking come home, Kaylee. All of you."

“He isn't the only one who wouldn't stop,” Kaylee says with a wicked chuckle, but it also falls away quickly. “They're going to be sorry they ever created me when I get my hands on them.” She’s dead serious about that.

“Just got to keep Kaylee from getting splashed by the blow back,” her clone says, lips pressing thin. “But don't worry, Liz. We, Pharo clones, are going to make sure Kaylee, Luther, and the rest make it home alone.”

Pulling a foot to her and wrapping an arm around it, Kaylee won't look at her, “But I won't promise I will. I can't do that.”

Sadness chokes Elisabeth's reply for long moments and she nods a little, understanding that this Kaylee will do whatever it takes to get the original people home whether it means her own death or not. "Just don't be a martyr out there." She tells the other woman softly. "We've got enough of those in this family."

She leans sideways to put her head against Kaylee's shoulder and adds softly, "I hope you all come home. I mean that."

Swallowing down a sudden lump in Kaylee’s throat, she manages a shaky smile. “Honestly, Liz, I want to live just like any living creature… I want to make my own memories, not die, knowing only hers.”

Wetting her bottom lips with the tip of her tongue, Kaylee weighs her next words, “People don't seem to understand that concept, I dunno why.” She rests her head against the one on her shoulder, finding comfort in it. “They just want me to be her.”

"I don't need you to be anyone but who you are," Elisabeth tells her quietly. "You are Kaylee Thatcher Ray… you're not the same Kaylee Thatcher Ray that went with me from the Virus World to the Bright One to the Wasteland. You're not the Kaylee Thatcher Ray who was Elisabeth Harrison's partner on the NYPD for years in the Bright one. You are in some ways the same Kaylee I met when I got here… but you're not her either. You're the Kaylee who has been here for me and with me for the last year – memories only make up part of who you are. The rest is in your experiences. The Kaylee I met when I got home… she's been missing for a year. You are the woman who has worked with me, trained with me, and is going to kick some people's ass with an Abby that I love and an Isabelle who sort of came with me from Virus but not really."

She doesn't lift her head from Kaylee's shoulder. "I've lived and known too many versions of you not to understand you just want to be whoever you are … and the differences are just as clear to me as the similarities. And I love all of the versions of you."

There is a small, sad smile, but Liz can't see it where she is. Kaylee isn't fully convinced, but she doesn't argue it. Maybe her sister-in-law was right, but it was hard to see herself as just another iteration of the same person.

Kaylee simply shifts where she can curl an arm around the other woman’s shoulders. “Love you too, sis.”

She can hear the skepticism, but Elisabeth ignores it. Actions will speak louder than words anyway. "Glad to hear it – cuz seriously, woman. I need both of you, both of Abby, and both of Isabelle to come home and help me kick Pure Earth's ass for daring to put their hands on Ames." That case is killing her. Knowing that Ames is out there and that it's taking time to find the girl is eating at Liz hard.

“Ames?” Kaylee asks, pulling away enough to looks at Liz. She knows the girl, but the kidnapping was new. That it was Pure Earth has Kaylee’s stomach twisting. “They're kidnapping kids now?” She’d be fooling herself if she told herself they weren’t those kind of monsters, but… in truth they were.

War showed them for what they were. Memories of small burned and hanging bodies were why she didn't hesitate to kill a squad of Mitchell’s soldiers.

So a cold brick of anxiety settles into Kaylee’s stomach and she gives a huff to try and relieve her nerves some. “I’ll do my best.” It is all the promise she can offer. “I wish I was able to be here to help.” But right now she had to make the mission a priority. “I come back, I’m on board to help kick their asses for daring to touch a child.”

Lifting her head, Elisabeth grimaces. "Not specifically – when Peyton was able to get a look-see, we already knew she was with her grandparents. Wright told me from the start they were pieces of work. I hoped I was paranoid… but the grandfather was tangled up in the Albany trials. Turns out his acquaintances where he is now are definitely Pure Earth. And they're quite definitely on the move." Which Kaylee already knows from the fires.

"We're still fighting to get any kind of lead on where they are currently but I've got PD and SESA agents on it and as soon as I have a location, I'm gonna ask Huruma to loose the Hounds. But I doubt this is going to be the only time we have to deal with them."

That eases Kaylee's anxiety some, but not by much. The fact that Pure Earth was back on the board and gaining momentum quickly left a bitter taste in her mouth. “Of course it won't, they're freakin’ cockroaches.”

"That's an insult to cockroaches," Elisabeth retorts quietly. And then she quirks a rueful grin at Kaylee. As she leans back on the couch, she sighs and admits, "I'm struggling lately. Sometimes… I'm not entirely sure where and when I am." Some of that is just the stress of what they both know is coming, but some of it – maybe a lot more than Elisabeth would like to admit – is that it's easy to lose track of those things under the kinds of trauma that comes with seeing so many worlds ruined by basically this same battle, over and over again.

“One day at a time, one step at a time,” Kaylee offers in understanding. “It’s what I am doing to keep from going crazy. If I think too far ahead… I'd be a wreck, rocking in a corner.”

Nudging Liz’s shoulder when she sits back again, Kaylee offers her a crooked smile. “You focus on Ames and I’ll focus on getting to Verse and finding the real Kaylee. One step and then we'll reassess when we’re done.”

With a quick nod, Elisabeth grins and nudges back. "Sounds like a plan, partner. Now for the love of all that is holy, can I have some coffee before I go back out there and start wrangling the cats in the squad room?"

Kaylee can't help but laugh, if a little sadly, because she missed it sometimes. Plus, she remembers. “I’ll put a splash of Bailey’s in it to give you the strength to face it.”

That may or may not be a joke, only Liz will know.

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