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Scene Title Sinkhole
Synopsis When Hiro's power once more proves to be unreliable, Samuel takes an opportunity to strike.
Date March 10, 2007

Egypt, Cairo

Something's gone wrong. Probably.


At the very least, Kaylee will only be trapped in 2007. That's the bright side alternative, never mind that she'd be trapped in 2007, in Cairo, Egypt, with very little to her name save for the clothes on her back and her own magical ability. If it's ever occurred to her before, the dangers of becoming lost in time, they may be seeping in now as Hiro's promise of returning in five minutes stretches into ten. Half an hour. An hour. It's becoming twilight, more worryingly, never mind that tick away of seconds. There's something more mystical about the sky getting darker, aging above your head.

She can rest assured, at least, that sometimes, Hiro is a little off on time — if no more than three days or so. That would, however, probably suck. Still, it's a pretty night out — for all that she is in Egypt, she is also in a metropolis. Upon the building rooftop that she's been restricted to, the city of Cairo stretches out before her, bright in the evening, reflecting lights off a river she doesn't know the name of. She's used her ability twice, now, on Avi Epstein, on Sarisa Kershner, an opportunity to put her fingerprints on the minds of some high profile people.

But Hiro wouldn't bring her, if he thought she'd abuse this trust. There are times and places, for such things. Adrianne Lancaster is meant to be next. Adrianne Lancaster, and Hiro both, were meant to be here some couple of hours ago, now. The air is tepid, but beginning to cool.

Arm folded to allow herself to rub hands up and down her arms against the beginning chill, Kaylee can't keep her eyes off the scenery, straining to hear the sounds of the city. Never in her life had she imagined she'd see such sights or be such places. Of course, it kind of sucks that she can't see more of it. Like the pyramids.

"I wonder if he would?"

Kaylee murmurs aloud, not because she expects an answer, but because it is getting dark in a foreign place and it's somewhat comforting. The worst thing about all this is she was in the middle of studying for a test, whisked away with only enough time to shoot a simple text to Joseph to say 'Hiro work. Be back soon.'

"I hope." The words sighed out aloud again. Kaylee did leave two teenagers alone in the apartment with no adult supervision. Granny would shake her head at her, even if Valerie was emancipated.

Pacing a little, Kaylee takes a moment to tuck a bit of hair behind her ear, where it loosened from the braid resting down her back. Still dressed casual from the mornings mall trip, in her blue shirt and black jeans, her feet in worn pair sneakers in desperate need of replacing, the telepath is at least comfortable. She glances skyward again, watching the stars slowly make an appearance. "Come on, Hiro." She murmurs softly to herself.

And then, a vibration that seems to run up through the ground of the building, shuddering beneath her as if it were breathing in.

It's only a minor tremor — not even that of earthquake level, more like the way a bridge may shudder when a heavier vehicle goes rushing down it — but enough to break the monotony that waiting brings. A quick glance around will tell Kaylee that the rest of the city doesn't seem to mind. The sound of traffic continues. From the street level, someone laughs, and the next few minutes spend themselves by being boring, drawn out.

That's when the sinkhole happens.

It does not swallow the building whole. However, the entire structure moves beneath Kaylee's feet, flinging her off them as concrete seems to sink into the side of the street with a rush of dust blowing into the air, and a monstrous roar of protesting wooden structure, cracking brickwork. Beneath her, the solid stone develops hairline cracks. With a jolt, the building stops its descent into the ground after several feet, but unsteadiness seems to tremor through every inch, on the brink of collapse.

On hands and knees, fingers pressed tightly to the surface, as if trying to grip at the surface, Kaylee doesn't move out of fear. It flutters through her stomach and leaves her cold down her entire spine. The dust in the air, tickles at the back of her throat as she breath in quick little gasps of air and causes her to cough.

What was that?!

The thought shouts through her own head, not meant for anyone else, that doesn't mean it hasn't. Pondering this she stays there for a few moments more, feeling how the roof beneath her shivers. Kaylee knows she can't stay here, needs to get down.

So steeling her nerves, the telepath slowly pulls a foot under her enough to slowly and cautiously push herself to her feet again, determined to find a way down to solid ground again.

This would be a more familiar, accessible to imagine, if it was on thin ice and the danger of plunging into a brutally cold lake — but this is the same thought, and there is nothing particularly safe about a collapsing building. Deals the kind of injuries that one can die of instantly, or the next day, or the next week. The ground beneath Kaylee's feet, at least, does not crack and splinter as she goes to stand. Beyond the ledge, enough dust has come up from the partial crumble of the building— now at an angle, she can feel that— to blot out that view of the city in a hazy of grey and brown.

And then, as if dissolving into sand and fragments, the ground beneath Kaylee simply opens up.

Her knee catches on wooden framework, something metal scrapes a red stripe up her ribs that burns fiery. Hands instinctly catch on fragmented destroyed building and only bleed from scrapes as a result as gravity jerks her through first level of the closed off business, landing hard on wooden floor and choking on dust.

She's not alone. A woman crouches not so far from her, eyes of indistinct colour and skin a little dusky, smile wicked, before she dissolves out of sight. Another silhouette stands by the window. The power's gone out. Obviously.

Any shout of protest or pain is stopped by her need to cough out that dust that seems to be getting into every part of her lungs. It's even harder to cough, with the wind knocked out of her from the fall. The need to catch her breath forcing her to move, to rolls onto her side, the action makes her groan from the protest of her abused body.

Eyes squint at the female figure, a small surge of anger has her body tensing, as if she wants to act on it, but then she's gone. So she rolls onto her hands and knees, keeping an ear out for who is around her, even as she turns her gaze to the figure at the window. "Who?" Kaylee croaks out the word, before getting caught in another cough, voice raw from the granules of dirt sticking in her throat.

"What do you want?" She manages to growl out, while working to get feet under her again and onto her feet.

"I haven' quite made that decision," comes the voice from the man by the window, his accent foreign, ambiguously British and traveled. Spiderweb cracks run through the glass from the abuse the building has taken. "I figured I might try to offer you a job, of kinds — some appeal to switch to th'other side, and all that. But some people are stubborn. If I were to ask you to lay down your arms, Kaylee, and stop helpin' Hiro, what would it take for you to agree?"

Samuel looks over his shoulder at her, from his lean against the frame. The slight tilt the entire building has taken doesn't seem to phase him, and the dust in the air seems to be urged away from him, either by chance, unknown wind flow, or his own ability keeping the air around him clean of it.

"What is it about the world you know that's so worth it?"

Tongue gritty feeling is brushed against the roof of her mouth, if feels dry and it makes her grimace a little. Straightening to her feet, Kaylee gives a soft hiss of pain, ending with another cough, hand going to her side and feeling the sting of the scrape as it's pressed on gently.

"What is so worth it?" She asks it in such a way, as if it is in disbelief. Her head shakes back and forth slowly. "Everything I have. Family, friends and a man I love. All things I wouldn't have, if I let you keep trying to change it. Not to mention, my life." Who knows what tweaks would make her disappear completely.

"The past is the past." There is another grimace as she subtly shifts part, feeling for the aches and pains. "Only thing now is to look forward to the future, it's better then wallowing in the past." One hand gestures, as if waving time on. Kaylee studies the figure, not really knowing who he is. Blue eyed gaze drops away from the figure, she's watching him in a different way. Brows start to slowly lower as something occurs to her.

"Besides, Hiro is my friend." It's spoken softly, ringing with truth. The telepath feels it, having spent time hopping in and out of time. "Whether he wants one or not and you don't abandon a friend to the wolves, he sure as well didn't abandon me when one of your assassin's about killed me." It's taking everything in Kaylee not to shout or snap those words out, instead the tremble with that anger. "Or turn his back when I need his help."

As she speaks, Samuel moves, a slow pace around the room, loose dust kicking up in shifting whorls with each gentle press of his boot. He's a strange one, details becoming clearer as Kaylee gets her bearings, an old world slant to the terrakinetic with his suspenders and waistcoat, the knotted tie at his throat and the frock coat that's spattered with the dust and dirt he has under his control.

"I hate to be the one to ask this of ya," Samuel says, coming to a halt, a hand out in gesture, fingers splayed, "but where's that friend've yours right now?"

The building gives another minor shake — unless Kaylee's imagining things, it just sunk down another several inches. The sound of breaking glass from a level below her makes a chime-like sound beneath her feet. There's a wail in the distance, a siren, police or ambulance or fire, it's difficult to say.

Her head jerks a little to one side as she feels the tremble, eyes darting around the floor quickly as if expecting it to open up underneath her again. She's trying not so show the fear, but she's failing at it a little. Swallowing, throat a little sore, her head gives an involuntary negative shake.

"Couldn't tell you."

Her foot turns a little as she follows his movements, not trusting to let that man at her back. Kaylee doesn't say anymore then that one phrase, letting him think whatever he wants of it. Either she doesn't know, or won't tell, he can take his pick. It's a risk, but there is too much at stake. Hands curl into fists, trying to hide the slight tremble that starts in them. She won't admit it to this stranger, but she's scared.

Very scared.

Samuel crooks a half-smile, and then, as if moving through treacle rather than air, he raises his hands. Dirt is in the lines of his fingerprints, buried in his nails; there's flint in his stare that reflects a will of iron as solid as the crusts of the earth. It should not be a wonder, that he can control the world from its most basic foundations, and so as he lifts his hands, the entire building begins to move once more. Though his feet remain sturdy on the ground, Kaylee is jostled, if not flung, yet, to the ground.

"I'm sorry he made y'into the last obstacle, Thatcher!" he yells over the roar of the building's movement. "But I'll give Lydia my best for you!"

And with the shift of dust in the air, Samuel is vanished.

It's at that same moment that everything is plunged into blackness. Even if Kaylee screams, it's unlikely she'll be able to hear the sound of it over the crack of solid rock beneath, the rush of several tonnes of building simply sinking into the earth as if it were hungry. Glass explodes from the frames of windows, sparks from wiring flares, and the air is thick with dust.

And when something appears in her periphery, it's not Hiro. But all the same, arms suddenly wrap around her waist, a flash of an aged hand gripping her arm, the graven, lined features of the elderly gentleman wrapping her up into a bear hug.

Whatever happens next, no one from the outside will be able to see, as the building vanishes beneath the level of the ground.


When the world comes to focus for Kaylee, it's slowly, details struggling blurrily out from the darkness. There's no pounding headache, no blood, no sharp pain of a head injury — perhaps she swooned. It's difficult to tell, the last few seconds a blur and opening her eyes to no explanation save for pattering rain that's getting in her eyes, soaking through her clothing and sticking tangled hair to the slick pavement. On either side of her, shining brick walls loom up — an alleyway, with a cloudy night sky above.

There's the soft sound of city population, not unlike the drift of conversation she'd heard up from the streets of Cairo. A lack of engines, however, no sirens, no music, no flashing neon lights. Beyond the mouth of the alleyway, the street seems dim in the falling evening.

And then, the clipclop of horse hooves, a dark equine shape drifting by like a shadow with lamp light glinting off its glossy coat and tack, the bumping, shuddering shape of the carriage just behind it look like something made of umbrella parts and batwings, large wheels that clatter on cobbled ground. And, naturally, Kaylee is alone.

Blinking against the rain, Kaylee wipes at the gathering moisture and turns on her side to avoid anymore. Sweeping that hand over her face to brush off the water, before peering beyond her to the the sound of the horse and carriage?


Blonde brows furrow in her confusion, before she suddenly realizes whoever that was might still be there, it brings on enough fear that the young woman bolts to her feet and turns in all directions, mind reaching out to look for his mental signature.

Not finding it or at least near by, she moves to leans up against a brick wall, hunched shoulders bump up against the hard surface. Swallowing, she glances at her hands, still trembling violently, tips raw with scraps that sting from the rain water.

Oh god what happened? Why am I still alive? Biting her lower lip, Kaylee forces herself to recall what just happened and lets out a shaky sigh. Someone had saved her, even as she thought she was a dead woman. She felt him grab a hold of her. Yet, another glance around tells her he's not there.

More importantly, where was 'there'?

Pushing straight from the wall, Kaylee glances down one direction and then the other, before taking a hesitant step in the direction she had seen the carriage. Arms wrap around herself against the chill of the rain, ignoring the sting at her side or the ache of her knees. She's almost afraid to look, to see where she is, but at least she's safe for the moment.

Safe, most probably. Cages are safe as well.

As Kaylee approaches the mouth of the alleyway, the city opens up to her searching eyes, immediately landing on a street sign. Mulberry Street is heart-stoppingly familiar, firing synapses informing her, sporadically, that she's in the Lower East Side. But everything else feels more and more alien, for all that a New York sensibility seems to line the street before her, in the brickwork city buildings, the wrought iron balconies. But the lamps are different, too old world to be the halo-shine streetlamps she knows very well.

And then there are the people. Women in tiered skirts, if not many, on this street. Men in waistcoats and frockcoats, tipped hats despite the hour, and one of each helping the former into yet another horse drawn carriage that does not appear to be a tourist attraction in the slightest.

A waterlogged newspaper is discarded upon the ground, just next to her heel. The New York Times is a familiar brand, but the headline only serves to deliver an emphasis on the alien: WOMEN DETERMINED TO VOTE. Mrs. Mary Seymour Howell, the local leader of the Woman's Suffrage party, this morning went to the registering place of the eastern district of the Fourteenth Ward and requested that her name be placed on the list…

Well. At least Kaylee isn't in Cairo.

The watersmudged ink is the last thing Kaylee sees, as blood loss, fatigue, an overloading of sensory input, has her doing something quite fashionable for the times — in the gap of alleyway, the young woman faints dead away, the ground rushing up to meet her.

New York City
October 19, 1885

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