Sisters Of Sorts


alix_icon.gif chess_icon.gif luther_icon.gif lynette_icon.gif

Scene Title Sisters of Sorts
Synopsis After nearly dying, Alix awakens to unfamiliar surroundings.
Date April 11, 2018

There is one thing that has always been true for Lynette's old friends and war buddies: she answers when they call. Even when that call lands her with wounded strangers, she still answers. After leading Luther and company up through the back entrance and elevator up to the safe house level, Lynette pushes open one of the many doors to an empty room.

"In here. Most of the other residents are at the other end of the building. She'll have some space of her own." And they will, is implied. Her attention turns to Luther, her head tilting some. "What have you gotten yourself into this time, Bellamy?"

The Benchmark Center

Red Hook, NYC Safe Zone

April 5, 2018

6:13 am

With the proverbial rolodex spun and a contact plucked out, Luther called into the Benchmark with some unusual set of circumstances for it. But, at least, he was straight with Lynette. He and a couple of friends needed help. Details to follow. And follow they did, showing up with Alix and Chess, the former much more severely wounded than either he or Chess could handle. But the Benchmark was known to be a place where people could go for help. An independent place. A safe place.

As grateful as he is, Luther hasn’t wasted words to express it. Instead, he’s been focused on making sure the trio hasn’t been followed as best as he can, and it’s only now that they’re in the Benchmark and he’s gotten to look at the secure safehouse that he’s relaxed a little. Enough to answer Lynette with a slow shake of his head and something of an apology. “Not too sure,” he says, low tone rumbling out. “But it’s some… family issues.” There’s a short, surreptitious glance to the women he’s arrived with.

Chess hasn’t said much to Lynette yet other than a quiet ‘hi,’ when the briefest of introductions were made downstairs. Now she finds a wall to lean against — one that gives her a good view of the room’s exit — and stares at the woman in Luther’s arms as he moves to put her on the bed.

While she’s not bleeding herself, she looks exhausted, pale and frayed. Her brows twitch at the word family and she shakes her head once in tacit disagreement. Not that she and Luther aren’t family, but that Alix isn’t. Except that technically she is.

If Chess believes her story.

“Thanks,” she manages to say, a bit tersely, dark eyes moving to Lynette. “I have money. I’ll reimburse you for her room and board.”

"Family issues. Alright." Lynette seems to accept this answer without needing more. She might from someone else, but not him. "I'll be discreet when I ask one of the doctors to help." And likely will be very picky about which. Once Alix is settled, she nods for the other two to join her in the hallway. The door, she leaves open for now.

"Don't be ridiculous," she says to Chess' offer. "Luther is an old friend, there's nothing to reimburse." She looks between the two of them, though, before adding, "You're both welcome to stay, if you like. Or come by. We don't get great cell service here, unfortunately, but you can always ask for me at the front desk." The receptionist there knows how to be discreet as well.

Briefly, Luther busies himself with gently laying down the unconscious woman onto the bed. They’ve cleaned up as much of what they could, wounds wise, bandaged with what he had in stock in his home first. But it’s a patch job at best, leading to obvious need of some more professional help. The man works on getting Alix settled when he overhears Chess’ offer to pay and the following reflection of the offer. Luther glances back over his shoulder to Lynette and Chess, a corner of his mouth quirking up wryly for their interaction. Transaction. “You know, it’s probably best you stay,” he tells Chess, “Lynette’s good people. Then again, anybody who pretty much saved my ass during the war is good people.” Including Chess.

Once Alix is tucked in, he straightens up with a low grunt of exhaustion. He’s had several hours since to recover from the blood transfusion, but not very much rest due to dealing with the woman’s wound care, along with Chess’ assistance in the process. “And we hopefully can get her well enough to get some answers,” he adds with a slow glance back to Alix.

“Still,” says Chess to Lynette, clearly uncomfortable, arms crossed protectively across her chest. “A friend of a friend of a friend is getting pretty distant. Especially when we might be putting you in danger just by being here. But,” she glances over at Luther when he talks of getting answers, “we can settle bills and the like later, I guess. I just don’t want to take advantage of anyone’s good nature.”

Her eyes fall on Alix and she sighs, pushing a lock of lank dark hair out of her eyes. “I don’t need my own room. I could use a shower, though,” she says, relenting a little. Accepting the help offered, even though it’s something it’s clear she doesn’t like to do.

"You needed a lot of saving, if I remember," Lynette says with a chuckle. She looks over at Chess, noting her discomfort. "Then we'll settle bills later," she says, in an effort to ease it. And to show she has no intention of forcing Chess to owe her something in the future. "Don't worry about danger. She'll be safe while she's here. And seeing as you're a friend of a friend and so forth, there's hardly a reason for your trouble to come knocking here." For all that she seems a well-to-do lady right now, there's something in her tone that implies her trouble would regret coming, if it decided to.

She holds the room's key out to Chess at the acceptance. "End of the hall. I'll get some of the extra clothes. Nothing fancy, I'm afraid." But enough to tide her over. And to not be walking around in blood-stained anything.

The Benchmark Center

Red Hook, NYC Safe Zone

April 11, 2018

7:14 am

The Benchmark is a place of recovery, of quiet, of contemplation. The top floor is no different, although the things these people are recovering from tend to be a little different than downstairs. And it's protected in a way that the lower floors are not. Which Alix might realize. When she wakes up.

Out in the hall, the smell of coffee drifts from a large common room. And inside, there's the sound of someone attempting to play the piano. Attempting, not succeeding. But for all that it cannot be counted as music, it's at least soft and unobtrusive. At least until frustration takes over and the piano is closed with a bang.

Coffee is really more Lynette's thing. Which is what she goes to, to pour herself a cup.

For the sake of keeping up appearances, Luther has not hung around the Benchmark all that much but went to work. Trusting the Benchmark - or Lynette, rather - to keep Alix safe and away from immediate recognition or danger, he’s limited his contact outside of dropping off provisions. Payment, if one wanted to interpret it that way. Normally he just stops at the front desk, but today he’s come back around to check up on the women.

Following the sounds of the piano playing, he rounds the corner of the hall to come into view, steps quiet accompaniment to the play. Until it stops with a bang. So does he. “Would’ve taken you more for drums,” he says after a beat, the humor coming off dry, but well-meaning. “But drums, piano… guess it’s all percussive.”

Since Alix’s arrival, Chess has not taken her own room at the Benchmark — perhaps it’s a matter of pride or a matter of not overburdening the staff and Lynette. Instead, the young woman has come and gone, often at odd hours. If she’s slept at all, it’s been in the chair in the injured woman’s room. It’s probably not what Luther had in mind when he set the women up in the safehouse, but he also probably knew keeping Chess in one spot without locking her in was futile.

This morning, she’s dozing, curled up in the chair, her leather jacket serving as an un-cozy blanket. It’s a sight that isn’t uncommon in Alix’s room, but it isn’t a daily thing — a couple of days may go by with no visit from Chess at all.

By and large, Alix has been in and out of consciousness for days. Though the transfusion saved her life, an infection in her knife wounds threatened to render that aid moot. Antibiotics and bed rest can only go so far, and several late nights were touch and go. But over the last day her fever has subsided significantly and she's gone from incoherently delirious and speaking Mandarin when conscious to silently lucid.

It's clear Alix has been awake for at least ten or twenty minutes, silently assessing her surroundings and watching Chess, curled up in the chair as she is. Though she's out of the woods, medically, her disorientation is abundantly clear. It's only when she tries to sit up and feels the dull, stabbing pain of two dozen some-odd healing knife wounds that the last few days come into Crystal clear focus.

Yingsu,” Alix rasps, with no response. Then, still at a whisper but more forcefully, “Chessie.

As much as Lynette does not require payment, nor does she ask for it, Luther's provisions have been accepted with deep thanks, and put to good use. Her time, while her guest has been here, has been split between business as usual and watching over someone getting too near death a few times.

The piano has been taking the brunt of whatever stress this has caused her.

"Well, I bought the damn thing, you'd think that would mean I could play it," she says, letting out a huff before she properly turns toward Luther. "How're the girls? Did you check on them?" A second mug is pulled down and filled up. She doesn't bother asking if he wants any, he's getting some either way. Apparently. "She seemed to be on the upswing, but I didn't want to wake either of them by bursting in."

Luther shakes his head to indicate he hasn’t gone in to check on the two young women yet. He summons no protest against the mug of coffee, which he eventually takes with a grateful nod. “Glad it sounds like she’s going to make it,” he says of Alix, although his statement sounds like he lumps Chess in with it, a determination made based off their week so far. “There’s a lot of shit going on, and it’s about time to lean on a friend or two. More, if I haven’t said it yet, thank you,” he tells Lynette as he stands by her, the two words weighed heavy with appreciation. Nothing wry or dry about it, all serious and emotional.

The man seems to need the moment to compose himself, topping it off with a long sip of the coffee, before he turns to nod towards the door leading to Alix’s room. “Shall we?” Whether or not Lynette follows immediately, he steps to the door, hand reaching to knock a couple of times then turns the knob.

The stronger whisper is enough to bring Chess’ head up, eyes alert and expression confused for a moment, before she realizes what woke her is Alix. She turns to the other woman as she scrubs a hand over her own sleepy face, taking a deep breath that’s not quite a yawn.

“Hey. Chess’ll do,” she says, her voice a little husky from lack of use for the past few hours. “It’s okay. You’re in a safehouse. Sort of. Not the hospital. A friend of Luther’s. That guy who helped us, if you remember. Friend of mine from the war.” It’s probably a lot of information for someone who’s just coming out of consciousness for the first time in days, but it fills the awkward silence.

“How’re you feeling?” she asks, glancing at the door as if wondering if she should get help — it’s not an actual hospital, though, so she doesn’t just yet.

Safehouse is enough to send Alix back against her pillow, eyes fluttering halfway shut. She's quiet for a time, eyes closed and yet flicking from side to side beneath her eyelids. “I'm… I've been better,” she admits, slowly opening her eyes again. “I don't know how long I'll stay that way, though. My— they're— it won't be safe forever.”

That Alix is awake and conversational is a good sign to her ostensible caretaker. But the content of her conversations leave something to be desired. “But…” she reconsiders, “without me helping them, maybe… maybe safe for a little while longer.”

"Luther, you are not kidding. We need to have a sit down. Compare notes. I'm contemplating how to expand my arsenal. More guns? Or lean toward knives? So many options." Lynette jokes, but at the same time is not joking at all. His thanks draws her expression into more seriousness, though. She reaches over to put a hand on his arm, squeezing gently for a moment. "You're welcome. And you know you don't have to say thanks. You find trouble, I dig you out. And vice versa."

She follows him through the hall, and is the first to peek her head in the door. "Sorry to interrupt," she notes, softly, "We wanted to see how you were doing." That's directed at Alix, but Lynette's gaze travels to Chess, too. Because they're both included. One of them was nearer to death, however, so she looks back to Alix after a moment. "Luther's here, too," she explains before pushing the door open further for him.

If she had meant for the talk of expanded arsenal to be a (not-a-)joke, then Luther got the punchline, or at least his mouth corners curl in such a way that indicates as much. “Once we know what we’re up against,” rumbles the man, a background concern lacing his low volume. The blonde woman’s reassurance provides a mild comfort in the face of deeper anxiety.

Standing at the doorway, Luther at first leans against the frame, his own taller body filling in the space to block the view into the hall, or rather the view from it. “Hey,” he greets Chess and Alix, his grey eyes paused on the former to assess the stronger of the pair, to check her overall demeanor. Has she been sleeping? Hopefully. “You’re awake,” he then remarks, including both but aimed towards Alix. Not a cooled statement, rather, tinged with a polite uncertainty about the woman. Sure, they may have saved her life. But, now what? As if to try and field a question before it comes out, to fill in the gaps between, he adds, “You’re still in the safe zone. New York.”

“So are there eight others trying to kill us?” asks Chess, bluntly, even as she straightens out of her curled up position, only to rest her arms on her knees, leaning toward the woman in the bed. “I saw what Ivy can do. What about the-” she stops short when the door opens, quieting as first Lynette and then Luther step into the room.

She glances down, one thumb nail scratching at the chipped navy blue polish on its counterpart on the opposite hand, before she looks up. “She says they’ll find us eventually, so once it’s safe for her to move, we should probably leave. We,” she corrects herself, since she hasn’t actually spoken to Alix on the matter, “I don’t want to bring any trouble to you, not when you’ve been so nice to us.”

Her dark eyes slide back to the green eyes of the woman in the bed. “Why are they trying to kill me, anyway?” She once joked to Luther about not having a good bedside manner. She wasn’t lying.

Alix rubs one hand at her forehead, regarding Lynette from the bed with a half-lidded stare. There's a small, nervous smile of appreciation, and then she closes her eyes and draws in a deep breath before exhaling slowly. “Not all of my siblings are alive anymore,” Alix explains in a softly conversational voice, as if this were a talk about the weather.

“Inga died in 2013, Ilse and Ilia died in 2014…” Alix furrows her brows, looking away to one of the walls. “I'm pretty sure Victoria died in 2015, same with Vilianna. Plane crash.” She closes her eyes again. “That… just left me, Val, Violet, and Ivy.”

Sighing, Alix straightens her head and opens her eyes, staring vacantly at the ceiling. “We've been ordered to kill you by the Director. It… you're stole. company property. They need to ensure your proprietary components aren't compromised.”

Anxiously, Alix adds, “That's what happened to the rest of your pod.”

It's unclear just what Luther and Lynette walked in on.

Lynette has heard a lot of odd conversations in her time, but this one just might be the weirdest. Her eyebrows lift and she looks over at Luther before she steps further into the room. "Shut that behind you, won't you, Luther?" Lynette asks as if this were a normal conversation. But then, she wouldn't be asking him to do so if it were. She trusts everyone who has access to this level— but maybe not with everything.

Not with this.

"How will they find you?" This is a logistics question, how is important. "Trackers, GPS? Bloodhounds?" Okay, that last one is sort of a joke. "I appreciate you wanting to keep this place safe, but you are welcome to stay. No one living up here is unfamiliar with danger. And really, I've been meaning to upgrade the security around here for weeks. Nothing like a little motivation to get through spring cleaning," she says, the last directed toward Luther.

Doing as bidden, Luther tugs the door shut behind him and lingers in the way of it. He’s heard the conversation thus far, but that line from Alix about proprietary components causes a deeper tug of his brow downward. “I’d say this was too science fiction,” he says with a scrub of his hand down the lower half of his face before he takes a new sip of his coffee in the other hand, “except for the fact we’ve got powers.” So that’s a normal thing.

Glancing to Chess, he considers aloud, “They’re going to be looking for you and her, we may as well make it hard for them. Before it was a tower, now we’ve got a whole castle.” He glances around the room. Not exactly a defensible spot, but he does mean in general. Lynette’s question to Alix gets his focus, because that is definitely a variable to be accounted for.

“We’ll see about getting you set up with a few things,” he adds to Lynette, nodding deeply.

“My what?”
Chess’ eyes narrow at the words and she stands in a swift motion, wheeling around as if to search for another exit, other than the one that’s being closed at the moment. She glances at Lynette and Luther, but in the wake of what’s just been said, it’s clear their words aren’t truly registered.

She turns back to Alix. “So someone made us, then lost some of us, and now are sending some of us to kill the some of us they lost?”

Her head shakes as she finishes that question. “Who? Why? Aside from my ability, I’m just a normal person. I’m not doing shit to anything.”

It takes a while for Alix to respond to the questions, long enough for the others in the room to settle in to the nature of this conversation and the seemingly impossible things happening in it. Though Chess had understandably come to grips with the idea of cloning in a world where people have superhuman abilities, it is nonetheless a first for those listening. Replication like that of Brian Fulk, was one thing, but this is something altogether different.

“They have… they have incredible resources. Technopaths, spies, it— there’s no escaping them, not forever.” Still, Alix dances around the topic of who they are. “Any digital communication, that’s… that’s how they followed Chessie, when she manifested.” All those years ago. “They kept her out of government hands, used their influence and power to… to try and corral her. At first they just wanted to observe… but— but now— something’s changed.” From the tone of her voice, Alix doesn’t seem to understand what changed.

When Alix finally looks over to Chess, there’s a wearily apologetic look in her eyes. “None of us are normal,” she warns with a furrow of her brows. “What… what we represent is important, valuable.” Though she doesn’t actually explain what any of that value is, and it’s possible she doesn’t even fully know or understand.

“One of my sisters, Val, can teleport. She’s probably how Ivy got away from you…” Alix looks over to Luther for a moment, squinting, as though trying to see him more clearly. It’s a passing expression, one that is replaced by discomfort as she shifts on the bed and closes her eyes again. “The only reason they found you is because you started to stay in one place…”

"Science fact, I'm afraid," Lynette says to Luther, eyebrows lifting in a bit of a helpless expression. What can you do. Her attention isn't long away from Chess and Alix, though, and she leans against the room's dresser as she takes it all in. And it is something to take in. Her fingers drum against the furniture, expression turning neutral.

"Designer made SLC-Expressives. Valuable is an understatement." The way her lips curve into a frown— she doesn't like it. What they represent, what's been done to them. Digital communication is difficult to avoid, although these days… a little easier. "Technopaths… are a problem. But if she ditched a phone, kept to the less rebuilt areas of the city, that should help, shouldn't it?"

Lynette looks over to Luther. He is aware of how Lynette tends to handle an enemy that will find you, and if he's forgotten, it's there in her expression. Stop running. Take the fight to them. But she doesn't suggest it to the girls, she doesn't even dwell on it for much longer before she eases her features and looks back to Chess and Alix. "We need a game plan."

Luther’s arms cross over his chest and a hand reaches up to pinch the bridge of his nose as he takes this in. Eyes closed, the man is thinking for a bit. When his eyes open, he looks back to the three ladies. “Nothing of that explains why they are suddenly coming to collect. Or… why you decided suddenly to risk everything. Going against this Director.” At the ‘you’ mentioned, he’s turned his gaze to Alix. It’s a brief, but pointed, questioning look. The ‘why?’ is there, if unspoken.

“They don’t know that we’re here yet,” he considers aloud. “They don’t know she’s alive,” he adds, nodding in Alix’s direction, “as far as we know.” After a longer pause, he turns over to Chess and Lynette. “We should set up a check-in. Head out to Staten, maybe. But we also stand a chance out in the Safe Zone if we’re smart about it.” His game plan remains vague, perhaps on purpose, perhaps because it’s only just formulating.

But then he looks over to Chess, brows knitting. “Whatever you got on you’s what you have now? Anything to track you by?” Digitally speaking.

“They found me in Park Slope at the Armory, so unless I go live on Staten or outside the Safe Zone, I won’t be any safer,” Chess says in a low voice to Lynette, reaching for her jacket to pull out the two cell phones within — one’s her burner, one’s the one she uses for work purposes — the few legit jobs she gets.

Both phones are held in her hands for a second before she drops them into the trashcan near the bed where they explode. There’s no fire, at least. It’s a low grade explosion.

“You,” she says to Luther, “have a job. You don’t need to babysit me or her.”

Her eyes go to Alix, and she looks back at Luther. “Ivy almost killed her. I think that’s enough to trust they’re not on the same side. So we have…” she counts names back on her fingers, mouth moving silently, “three people who look like Alix here trying to kill us. Awesome.”

She glances back at Alix, and then at Luther. “Mustache over on Staten might hide us,” she says with a shrug, before looking over at Alix. “Who else do we have to worry about? 我说中文…如果你不敢在

Alix briefly, but visibly, tenses when Chess addresses her in another language. She grows quiet for a moment, looking at Lynette and Luther. She eyes Chess again, uncertain of how to answer any of the questions. The obvious one comes first: “They found you at the armory because of me. They won't have as easy of a time now. Not— not without my help. Provided you don't make a phone call and blurt your name out.”

She doesn't directly answer any of the other questions. Instead, she looks at Chess and frowns visibly. “你相信他們嗎?” She asks with a quick look back at Luther and Lynette. “你相信他們… 能夠保護你的生命?”

"Why can wait. For the moment, the fact that they are and that 'they' have more resources than you do is the thing you should be worried about. Don't be curious, be alive." That's her advice. Lynette looks over to Chess when she pulls out her phones and very thoroughly disposes of them.

"Good to know you're not without your resources, too." Blowing up stuff is handy, after all. "No one's suggesting a babysitting. In fact, the more normal you all seem, the better it is. But you are going to need support. Places to lay low. People to tag in when there's trouble." A glance is spared to Alix, since obviously there has already been trouble.

When they switch languages, Lynette turns back to Luther, "Who's Mustache? Good guy?" Her arms fold, like she's uncomfortable with bringing in someone she doesn't know, despite the fact that she was only just brought in herself and is little more than a stranger to the girls. "Too bad about your promotion. Hard a lot more free time as a janitor," she remarks with a crooked smile.

Given Alix’s bit of confession and Chess’ words, Luther takes in a breath and says simply, “No, you don’t.” Need babysitting, that is. “But it’s as Lynette says. You also don’t need to fight this fight alone.” That’s said for the both of them, as well as backing Lynette. The disposal of the cell phones gets a short grimace. Like he’s watching a symbol of something deeper being exploded. The man lets the sisters go on without interrupting their exchange, turning back to Lynette with a low, dissatisfied grumble. “I wouldn’t call him ‘good’ given his inclination to shoot at first sign of trouble. He’s got a girl with him too,…” Luther trails there and his expression says the rest. No, Alister Black is no good guy in his eyes. The comment about his promotion, though, gets a wry response. “Still got messes to clean up, just the suit’s changed a bit.” He has yet to appear at the Benchmark in a suit, given he’s been discreet about his appearances. Most of his gaze and attention are on Lynette, but he gives the other duo a sidelong glance, brow arched, in indication that he’s curious to what they’re talking about. But he definitely doesn’t understand the other language being spoken.

“I shouldn’t have come to New York,” is Chess’ takeaway from the various conversations. “Should’ve known.” She moves away, to stand in front of the window and stare at the grounds below. “It’s a Catch-22.” Her jaw sets angrily, her arms crossing in front of herself as she looks out the window “战争爸爸,是的。金发,我不知道. 胡子,不,” she says, without turning; her accent is one that comes from learning rather than any native knowledge of the language.

Turning around again, Chess looks over at Luther and Lynette. “She’s still too weak so I guess we have time to decide. I can probably find another place or two. Maybe Eve’s. Maybe Staten. I just don’t want to bring trouble to other people’s door, you know? I already feel like shit for bringing you two into it.”

She rolls her eyes, angry at herself, before looking back to Alix. “Do they just know about the Armory or anywhere else? So I know which locations are burned.”

“Just the armory,” Alix confirms, “we weren’t able to find you for a long time. We were looking everywhere.” Closing her eyes and turning her head to the side, Alix’s eyes flick from side to side behind her eyelids again. Then, as they open, she blinks her attention over to Luther and Lynette. “They are the Jīn Jièzhǐ corporation,” Alix looks down to her arm and the IX tattooed on the inside of her wrist, then back up to Luther and Lynette. “They’re a biological technology company owned by Praxis Heavy Industries.” Praxis Heavy Industries being a powerful multinational corporation helping rebuild the western United States, and bitter professional rival of Yamagato Industries. The kinds of corporate conflict and names now common in the post-war world.

Alix turns her attention up to the ceiling again. “They’re afraid of Chess falling into Yamagato’s hands… and having their corporate rivals reverse-engineer her design.” She looks back to Chess, worried. “I’m sorry,” seems less about Chess’ current predicament, and more about how long it took Alix to come to terms with what she was party to.

"Hmm, sure sign of an inferiority complex," Lynette says as to Mustache's tendency to shoot first. But she grins over at Luther at his retort, "Bigger messes, even. But at least the suit looks good." Not that he's been wearing it around here. She can make a guess, though.

Her attention turns back to Chess, her smile dimming, but still there. "She'll need a bit longer, yes. And that does give you some space to breathe. And think. And I have a feeling Luther would have been offended if you hadn't brought him in. He's very sensitive, you know." That part is all delivered with a straight face, even though she is clearly giving him a hard time. She also clearly doesn't mind getting brought in herself, even tangentially.

As Alix starts to explain, Lynette's gaze moves her way, her expression flattening. "Praxis Heavy Industries?" That's surprise, not a request for clarification. "That's… quite an adversary." The worry they have gets a shake of her head. "As if she were the latest showing during Fashion Week," she says, annoyed.

A stiff nod from Luther to Lynette shows just what he thinks about the assessment of Alister Black. There's not much more to it, given that they don't really know the Staten Island man.

Chess' words turn Luther's eyes to her. If she feels guilt for coming to New York, there's a tinge in his expression that is guilt for not having known himself, and for her feeling that way. But he finally takes a step further into the room, towards Chess, looming halfway between the foot of Alix's bed and Chess' chair. "No," he rumbles deeply, "it's good that you came here. To New York. It's good you're trying to…" He pauses, a hand scrubbing at the stubble on his jaw, "To find a place where you can be who you want to be." It's almost right after he says it that he rolls out a hard huff. "Fuck, that was corny as shit. I'm not trying to recruit you into the Army. But what I'm saying is, you got a squad behind you on this, Chess." His hand drops back down to his side, but he looks over at Lynette on that note, confirming as much. If the electrokinetic wants in, then she's in as far as he's concerned.

The mere mention of Praxis Industries, though, turns Luther's attention to Alix and he frowns. The man narrows his eyes in recognition of the depth of strength behind the named company. "Does that mean Yamagato knows about you?" he asks Alix, although his gaze returns to Chess briefly. They had entertained possibly going to Yamagato Park in hopes of getting access to the hospital there for Alix, briefly. But then he glances back to Lynette, the Fashion Week comment getting a furrowed brow. Luther reaches a hand back behind his neck and he straightens up in a stretch. "OK. Well, if they don't know we're here for now, we can keep it that way. At least 'til Alix gets strong enough to move." He doesn't plan out any 'after', but shifts attention back to Chess again. "And it's best we come up with somethin' off the grid for comms. You good with that?"

“What, Partridge in Pear Tree was taken?” is Chess’ quick joke to Alix, with a roll of her eyes — a classic deflection of the heavy information coming at her, learning she’s been biologically engineered in some way. She huffs a short laugh at the words ‘Fashion Week’ from Lynette, before Luther gets sentimental.

“I’m fresh out of carrier pigeons,” she says, sounding defeated, before tipping her head at Alix. She’s thoughtful for a moment, before she speaks, a little slowly, like maybe it’ll sound less crazy if she says it carefully. Deliberately.

“What if I just go to Yamagato? Let them fucking have the information.”

The joke is lost on Alix, and it doesn't look like she even gets the Partridge reference. “I don't know if Yamagato knows. All I know is that they're rivals. I… I suppose they'd have the material strength to protect us. We were given strict orders not to interfere with Yamagato property and territory unless ordered to.” The implication being that those orders never came.

“My sisters and I had a Praxis handler living in Red Hook. We were all staying at the same converted mill building. There was a full security detail, one technopath, an osteokinetic,” Alix closes her eyes and furrows her brows. “We’re too far away for me to see where they are…” Which is, apparently, a thing she can just do.

“They've got to be looking for me.” Is the nervous addendum that Alix adds.

"Jesus Christ, Luther," Lynette mutters at his very cheesy encouragement. But when the look comes her way, she still nods. If she's needed, she's in. Just like old times. Her attention turns back to Alix, though, after a moment. "Do you know if they can track radio signals, too? Walkie talkies? I'd rather not have to resort to signal flags. I was never a scout, you know."

She glances back to Chess, then Luther, "It was built for laying low in. And if they ever do track you down, this place isn't without its defenses." And she doesn't seem terribly bothered by the idea of trouble knocking at her door. "Even if you don't stay in the long run, consider this an open invitation if you need it in the future."

It appears that Luther's judgment on her company goes pretty far.

"I can't say my vote would be with walking into a place that would want to study you, though, Chess."

Luther eyes Chess more on the Christmas-themed joke simply because he recognizes her attempt to skirt around the heaviness of the topic rather than the actual punchline. But upon her suggestion of going to Yamagato, he levels a long stare stare at the young woman. "Turning yourself in to Company B should be the last resort," he voices protest, cutting a glance to Alix when she mentions her handler in Red Hook. Security detail. Technopath. Osteo… "Jesus Christ," he echoes of Lynette's earlier mutter though this version as a worried swear.

He wipes his hand off the back of his neck, head shaking again. "Let's just… lay low here as home base, at least 'til we figure out the next safe point. Figure out a code. Figure out…" He doesn't speak the end but the swallowed bob of his throat is telling. The man fights down an anxious churning of his gut, looking over at each of the three women in turn as if trying to weigh how he's going to protect them.

"Why don't we all have somethin' to eat," he suggests after the trailed pause. "It… you should keep your strength up." At this, he glances sidelong to Alix and remarks, "You think you can keep something down?"

Alix’s words draw a long, sort of sad look from Chess, as if she’s just now thinking about what life has been like for the clones who weren’t free. She looks away, brows drawing together in a deeper, troubled frown.

To Lynette and Luther’s protests against turning herself in, she lifts a shoulder. “It might be the only thing that saves our lives,” she says, quietly, a glance to Alix to indicate she probably means Alix more than herself. Luther knows that Chess values the lives of others much more than her own. It’s one of the things that makes her a formidable enemy in battle.

And a pain in the ass.

“Nǐ xūyào chī,” Chess adds to Alix, then, after a small beat, adds, “妹妹.”

Pushing herself up into her elbows with a wince, Alix manages to get into a mostly upright position. Dark locks of hair are twisted and sticking out from her head at odd angles from days spent bedridden. “I don't think they can do radio signals, just digital transmissions. But…but they have so many people working for them. I don't know.”

Exhaling a sigh, Alix holds one hand at the side of her head, expression shifted into one of doubt and remorse that has struck her like a truck. “I— think I need a shower. Then… then maybe I can eat something solid.” She finally opens her eyes, looking at Chess and coming to terms with what the other woman had said to her.

Alix nods, once, and looks down to her lap. Fingers pluck at the fabric of the blanket over her legs, picking off a small piece of lint.


Of sorts.

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