Somewhere Beyond The Sea, Part II


castle_icon.gif chess3_icon.gif elliot_icon.gif eve_icon.gif richard4_icon.gif robyn7_icon.gif

Also Featuring:

ff_chel_icon.gif dave_icon.gif dana_icon.gif gates_icon.gif mohinder_icon.gif wright_icon.gif

Scene Title Somewhere Beyond The Sea, Part II
Synopsis Somewhere beyond time and space…
Date June 11, 2021

“How’d we decide? Rock paper scissors.

Robyn cracks a smile behind her teacup. Her answer is at once a smartass comment and also a setting of boundaries. Charlotte regards it with a rise of her brows and a wry smile. She sees it for what it is and relents.

“Have you settled on any names?” Charlotte asks, pitching a softball question to her daughter instead.

Robyn sips her tea, not averting her gaze from the surface when she says, “Elaine.” She can almost feel her mother’s sigh from across the table.

“And Kristen is okay with this?” Charlotte asks. “Naming your daughter after your late wife is—”

“It was Kristen’s idea.” Robyn says firmly. That makes Charlotte grow quiet. She slouches in her chair.

“I’m sorry.” Charlotte says, shaking her head. “That was—shitty of me.”

Mmhmm,” Robyn agrees with a pump of her brows and a sip of her tea, taking it in stride. “This is why we haven’t talked in six years.

Charlotte’s smile fades, her shoulders slack. The fight leaves her. “Then, why?” She asks Robyn. “Is it because of the baby?”

Robyn puts a hand on her stomach, then shakes her head. “No. I just wanted a reminder of why I cut you out of my life.”


Somewhere off the Virginia Coast

June 11th
4:57 pm

Robyn doesn’t feel anything until she hits the surface of the ocean like a bullet hitting a glass plate. She punches through the surface of the water, sinking like a stone and blinded by suffocating darkness. She thrashes, involuntarily, against the weight of her suit and the water. Against the darkness. It takes a moment for her to recognize what’s happening, to flip the visor on her helmet open to see the churning darkness of the ocean.

Bubbles of air crowd against her facemask, a dull light barely penetrates what she thinks might be up. But the hungering darkness below can’t possibly be the direction she needs to go. Her mind races, disorientation, the taste of tea, a twisted knot in the pit of her stomach.

Her mother.

Fleeing, dream-like memories of a wife. Of— Kristen Reynolds?

Of someone Robyn hasn't thought much about in years. Someone who took a chance on her, once upon a time. It's enough to distract her from the onset of panic, shallow breaths building as her eyes dart repeatedly through the murky blue. Distant fleeting thoughts of her mother, questions that will go unanswered fill her mind in the brief space between gasps, ever ephemeral against the sea.

The sea.

She's here snaps into her brain like a whip crack against her back. Thrashing again, her eyes widen as she flails against the resistance of the water. What little she was able to take away from others about how to swim escapes her in that moment as she struggles to pull herself… somewhere. Some way.

In a panic, she does the first thing that comes to mind. It isn't attempt to swim. It isn't to fight further against the endless blue.

A bright light flares beneath the surface as Robyn expels light around her, a beacon for those after her to find her as she tries not to sink, but also not to give in to a panic attack as she tries to claw herself upwards. A memory of her mother helps her keep as focused as she's ever going to be in this moment.

Bubbles float up in Robyn’s field of vision. Her breathing echoes inside of her helmet. Then, suddenly, the sky above the surface of the water burns in a rippling geometry of light

a blinding triangle.



“You’ll be able to work on fine-tuning motor control of your new arm in physiotherapy.”

Doctor Carrington offers Chess a warm, if somewhat awkward smile as she types something in to her tablet. “Adaptation typically takes anywhere between 5 to 8 weeks, but that model is top-of-the-line. The brain-machine interface has a much faster rate of data transfer. Much closer to baseline.”

Chess looks down at her artificial hand, flexing the fingers open and closed slowly. “Am I like… a superhero now?” She asks with a nervous laugh. “Lifting cars and punching skyscrapers?”

Dana shakes her head and smiles, threading a lock of hair behind one ear as she does. “No, no. In fact you need to be careful with significant weight, it’ll stress the joint between the prosthetic and your body. This is the real world, unfortunately.”

Chess exhales a laugh and a sigh as one sound. She turns her prosthetic hand around, flexing the fingers open and closed again.

Yeah,” Chess says in a whisper. “Yeah.”


Somewhere off the Virginia Coast

Tumbling end over end through the air, Chess’ body feels like it’s on fire. A headache throbs at the back of her skull and her skin tingles from head to toe like a sleeping limb. It feels like she just absorbed all of the kinetic damage of a speeding car coming from every direction right when that—dream? Hallucination?—hit her.

Chess collides with the surface of the ocean at a skewed angle, skimming across the surface like a stone before sinking beneath the waves. Instinct has her searching for light, pushing up her visor to see the darkness of the ocean. But she is not pulled deep beneath the churning surf, but rather upward by the extreme buoyancy of the black case in her hands.

Exposure to the ocean water causes a chemical reaction with specially-designed seals on the case Chess was holding. The hairline seam pops with a rush of bubbles and accordions open on flexible polymer webbing, revealing water-activated emergency lights. These beacons flash on the sides of the case, bright enough that Robyn a full four meters below can see them, and allows Chess to make out Robyn’s struggling form deeper in the dark as a helmeted silhouette illuminated by the flashing beacons.

For a moment the light from the case blends with the light Robyn herself emits, creating an odd moment where she ceases fighting against the current. The beacons are just distinct enough to draw her attention, along with the burst of bubbles from contact and rippling water where CHess made her impact.

And now she knows which way is up.

Literally clawing at the water, she starts trying to pull herself upwards. The light escaping from her dims but doesn't vanish, helping to light her own way forward in the murky deep. The taste of tea is just present enough to help focus her further, give her something to zero in on besides the lights and her fear of the water that surrounds her on all sides.

For a moment Chess stares at her hands, tightly clasped around the case. She flexes her fingers to test them, to feel them move inside the armored gloves she wears, while the memory of the robotic arm fades. Her brows draw together, but it’s just an instant before instinct and duty shake her into action.

She turns to look down, knowing Robyn was nervous about the water — well, they all were, even those with stronger swimming skills. They had good reason to be, diving into a flooded world.

Shifting to grip the case with one hand, Chess curls her arm around it, and lets it pull her upward. But her other hand stretches out toward Robyn, to give her fellow traveler something to reach for, to help her in their ascent toward the surface. Even as Chess reaches downward, her head tips upward, to watch the brilliant triangle shimmering above them. With breath held in a tight knot in her chest, she waits for the others to appear.



Streaks of light; red, yellow, green. The blues are blinding, the violets suffocating.

A sensation of falling, forever.

A silhouette of a woman, tumbling head over heels through the dark.

Hands that are not their own.

I do not see myself when I look in the mirror.

“I’m scared.”

“Take my hand” I say to myself.

Then I am not.


Somewhere off the Virginia Coast

As Chess breaches the surface of the water with Robyn, she sees the Looking Glass as little more than a one-dimensional polygon burning bright in a sky filled with dark clouds. A storm wracks the ocean, rain falls in cascading sheets and the ocean surges around her, constantly threatening to pull her back under. It is her grasp on the buoyant container under one arm that keeps her afloat, the same container Robyn clings to.

A crackling pulse from the Looking Glass precedes what looks at first like a slow-moving bolt of lightning falling out of the wide, blinding white hole in the sky. But as plasma peels away from the form, Chess can see another member of her team free-falling toward the churning ocean.

Castle hits the water like a bullet, world upside down and head spinning. Their descent is too fast to see Chess and Robyn at the surface. It’s hard to reconcile that their visor is still down after what they saw, but they’re able to pry it up after the breach. The water slows their descent enough that they can see above — where light bleeds through from the Looking Glass, where the emergency beacon on Chess’ package flashes.

Coughing and trying not to inhale water, Robyn wraps her arms around the case as best as she can while still leaving room for Chess. Her expression is distant as she stares up at the Looking Glass, it's bright, violent nature barely but effectively managing to distract her from the raging waters all around her.

She doesn't follow Castle's trajectory as they plummet into the water, but she does recognize who the speeding form belongs to, wincing as they hit the water and it plumes upwards, raining back down around them. Swallowing, she finally looks down, back to Chess. "Go help them," she urges in a voice low enough to barely be heard. "I'll be fine." Hopefully.

Chess nods, letting go of the buoyant case, leaving it to Robyn to cling to. She lets the water do what it wants to, pulling her under again; she pulls her arms and legs inward to help the descent, then turns after a few feet to use her arms to help propel that downward motion that will bring her toward Castle.

The armor and the water combine to make what has always come easily to Chess an exhausting endeavor; the adrenaline coursing through her veins helps to counter the fatigue, but not entirely. Behind her visor, her dark and narrowed eyes search for the armored form belonging to Castle in the dark water. For a second or two, she can’t find them, and her breath catches and her heart beats faster with an unreasonable panic.

Finally, turning to her left, Chess sees the dark armor and relief floods through her. She stretches a gloved hand toward Castle, to help pull them toward the surface.

For the first moments, everything feels off. The armor doesn’t fit right. The feeling of water surrounding them sends a spike of terror down their body that reminds them of something they had spent years trying to forget. That they had suppressed. Even the many test jumps hadn’t brought it back as this one had— they didn’t need to feel the water to know—

Maybe it was because this was the same ocean that had killed half of them.

With a staggered inhale, they open their eyes, fight for a moment to push it down— and a pale lock of hair frays out from their forehead into their vision. They feel it in their mouth first, subtle differences in the tongue to the teeth, in the way they’re breathing— there was a soft curse, with a voice that was not the one any of them knew—

As Castle is pulled closer, Chess can see an unfamiliar face looking out of the visor at her, but a familiar set of eyes, a familiar expression. One of concern and sadness. Pale blue eyes look up at her, as a woman looks back at her, rather than the dark-haired agent she’d seen just moments ago.


“That didn’t go as we had hoped,” Saffron says quietly, regretfully. They were alive, but—



An unexpected knock jostles Elliot from his thoughts. Tearing his stare away from the city skyline, he looks to the door to his office and a knot of anger twists in his stomach when it starts to open. Just a courtesy knock. He didn’t even have time to tell them to—

“Come in,” Elliot says, because he will have a modicum of fucking control in his office.

The man on the other side of the door slides in like an oil slick. Claudius Kellar spreads his hands wide and affects an apologetic smile as he ducks into the office. “Sorry about the rush, but I’d like to be out of here before 5 and I bet you would too.”

“What is it?” Elliot snaps back, sinking into his chair with resignation to the conversation at hand.

“That thing we were concerned about?” Claudius says with a raise of one brow. His blue eyes never leave Elliot’s, lingering like the unblinking stare of a fucking viper. “It’s clawed its way back.”

Elliot scrubs his hands over his face, glancing out the window to see how low the sun is on the horizon. Too low. “The fuck’re you doing about it?” He asks.

Kellar bristles at the tone, but only just. “I’ve got your boy Sebastian on it, hopefully we can make it go away. But uh, if it doesn’t? This is all going to get really hairy. With the feds. Real fast.”

“Then you better fucking hope you brought a razor,” Elliot says through his clenched teeth, “because if—”


Somewhere off the Virginia Coast

From the surface, the Looking Glass resembles a weirdly-shaped television screen hovering in the air. Bright, geometric, crackling with static. But when it erupts with a burst of electricity at its edges, it ejects not a person but glowing white-hot buckshot firing down into the ocean. Sizzling fragments of molten steel rain from the sky, spewing out of the looking glass. The molten metal solidifies when it hits the ocean surface, boiling below the water.

Streaking, flaming pieces of metal crash down around Robyn, Chess, and Saffron in equal measure. The Looking Glass continues to eject these white-hot bullets right up until it spits something else out with it. A speeding bullet of a human being.

The water’s surface bursts with white froth when Elliot hits, arriving in another world amid a sizzling hail of white-hot debris.

"Fuck," is a breathless word from Robyn as electricity blooms from the Looking Glass's improbably portal. Wonderment quickly turns to horror as she realizes that it's not a person flying out, but instead hundreds of tiny meteorites made of lava and murder. One wizzes by her helmet, eliciting a somewhat unexpected yelp of a scream from her, ducking her head below the water in a misguided effort to avoid being brained by molten hate.

That bad idea is quickly rectified, Robyn's pulse accelerating as pulls herself back above the surface, trying her best to fight off a panic attack in the face of fairy death rain into a churning, endless ocean, both taking up everything she can see around her. It's a weird sort of relief when a person is ejected by the maw in the sky, plummeting downwards.

It should be Elliot, knowing the order they'd practiced before, but with only low-level rational thought properly routing it's way through her brain in the moment, Robyn is left uncertain who to expect. "Hey!" she yells over the heavy rain around them. Once more, she lights up like a flare in the ocean, a beacon for the new arrival to zone in as needed.

The shock and uncertainty of seeing someone else’s face behind the visor that should protect Basil’s leaves Chess speechless for a few seconds, and the next wave, she’s not prepared for; it washes over her and she disappears beneath the surface for a few seconds, before she bobs back up a few feet away.

“Saffron?” she murmurs, her voice soft, scared, and hard to hear in the rain and the thundering noise of the debris falling around them — suddenly it begins to come down slower, s l o w e r // around them, and her eyes glow gold as her power kicks in. It’s a color she wouldn’t have chosen for herself, and so far, no one’s //told her this happens — it’s probably better that way.

Glowing gold, Saffron can see the tears in Chess’ eyes as she struggles to pull herself together; the falling meteorites from the debris above speed up again, then slow as she takes a deep breath. “Fuck,” she whispers, turning away from those blue eyes and staring, her own eyes wide, at the next person to enter the atmosphere of this weird ocean world.

“Grab him!” she calls to Saffron — she can’t hold the absorption field up and help Elliot get safely to the surface if he needs help, as one of the less-confident swimmers of the group. Whatever happened to Basil, she’ll deal with it later.

Oh look, the sky is falling.

That seemed appropriate, given everything else. Castle usually had a very specific reaction to sudden disasters, but they also usually were not a buoy on the ocean service in a body that was now unfamiliar— nor were they used to seeing tears in those now glowing golden eyes. There was no way they could manage to raise the castle under these circumstances, even if they could with not everyone through the Looking Glass, yet. What had happened on the other side? What about the others?

“I’ll take care of it,” Saffron says, sounding much calmer and more together than things were on the inside. The statement was not only directed to Chess, and was about more than the Elliot— assuming it was Elliot still with the debris coming down.

The good news would also be— Saffron was the better swimmer— she had usually been the one who had handled this part of the training as it was. Basil had always been trying not think about those last moments that he had spent in this world. The suit wasn’t fitted for her body, though, but thankfully, they were both tall and slender, and she was only an inch shorter than her brother, so she made her way to help Elliot to the surface able to avoid the debris thanks to it being slowed— though there were certainly a few close calls.

Something is very wrong, but months of training keep Elliot’s posture ready to hit the water. He’s lost for a moment, everything is black—not everything, but Wright. Wright is unconscious. The dive takes too long, he’s falling, everything is black inside the suit because of the visor. Everything is black in the sky, in the falling but going nowhere, the floating detached from a point of reference. Was that another me? But then he hits.

In the disorientation he checks his link to Wright again, still black, becalmed. His hands shoot up to open his visor to the dark of the sea, the lurch and pitch as the waves carry him. He kicks himself up on instinct, spots the nearby light, artificial. It’s mixed with confusion regarding the white-hot debris boiling the ocean all around him. He flinches when somebody is suddenly there to grab him, pales in further confusion as he doesn’t recognize her face. “What the fuck is going on?” he asks.

He’s comforted by the realization that Asi is streaming his perspective right now, feels her mind in the network. He grabs Castle’s hand even though it’s unfamiliar to him, because they are in the open ocean and anybody to cling to keeps some of the worst terrors at bay. He pulls for Asi through the network, seeking some stability in her perspective.

Stress evaporates away from Asi like rain in the desert when the static of their connection resolves and once again Elliot is within reach. Panic ebbs toward relief, letting her feet still from the frantic pace she'd launched into. She funnels him her sense of urgency. "Safety. Get to safety," she instructs him firmly. "You've got this. Go!" So he does, eyes trained up, alert for more wreckage, for Richard and Eve.



Richard’s jaw still aches as he steps out of the warehouse. He works it from side to side, stepping in and out of the glow of street lights. By the time he’s a few blocks from the warehouse and closer to the shore, he can see Manhattan across the East River. He finds a seat at a bus stop, retrieving a cell phone from a matte gray plastic bag inside his coat. He shakes out a removable battery afterward, then snaps it into the back of the phone.

Looking out over the nighttime Manhattan skyline, Richard powers up the phone and places a call.

«How’d it go?»

“Could’ve gone worse,” Richard says with a crooked smile, wincing a bit from the way the expression hurts. “Washington’s definitely still working for Donovan, he’s pulling muscle-duty at a warehouse in Brooklyn, looked like arms shipments.”

«He suspect anything?»

“Nah, I played up the debt angle. He figured I’d gone dark to try and avoid paying my dues, not you know—spy shit.” Richard says with a snort of amusement. “What do you want me to do?”

«Keep an eye on him, I want to build a profile of his movements. See if we can connect him to anyone closer to Donovan, try and tie the noose.»

“Gotcha,” Richard says easily. “Mind if I pull in a CI for this?”


“Was thinking about some father-son bonding. You know, over work.” Richard implies dryly.

«Jesus. Fine, it’s your fucked up life.»

“Love you too, Nick.” Richard says with a laugh. “I’ll check in tomorrow,” he adds, seeing headlights coming from up the road. “I’ve got a bus to c—”


Somewhere off the Virginia Coast

Blinded by his visor, something strikes Richard Ray as he emerges through the crackling maw of the Looking Glass over a hundred feet above the ocean surface. The others down below can see a burning piece of debris clip Richard’s suit—not doing any damage—but sending him into an uncontrolled spin. Richard whirls like a frisbee through the air, picking up speed as he and a hail of smoldering wreckage comes crashing down to the choppy ocean.

When Richard hits the water there is a blast of steam and froth as more fragments of the Looking Glass continue to shower from the crackling, rapidly destabilizing portal.

"Richard!” Robyn assumes, at least, given that if anyone is going to make such a spectacularly dreadful entrance, it was probably Richard. His luck is about as good as hers, and she missed the contact with him on his way out. "Shit shit shit shit—" Her head swivels around as she looks for something, anything she can do in the moment besides float uselessly.

The pelting, cascading debris doesn't make it any easier, the falling metal and rising steam making a distressing situation even more disorienting. Taking a deep breath and holding it, Robyn does literally the only thing she knows to do once she's in the water like this: she can't swim, but at least knows well enough how to kick and steer this little box buoy she clings to for dear life.

Now if only she could pull down her visor to hide the barely restrained tension and simmering fear she feels, that would be a great next step. Maybe later, after it feels less like they could all die at any moment. That'll happen, right?

Though that absorption shield that shows the falling rain of debris seems to power up easily, innately, Chess finds that holding it is a different story. It takes concentration and it whittles away her strength as she treads water in the churning surf.

She won’t be able to keep it up for long.

“Fuck,” she manages as Richard enters in a tailspin. She nods as Robyn uses the buoyant box as a bogey board to get closer to the newest (and oldest) Flood resident. Nothing is going to plan, and she squints up at the portal above, eyes glowing gold, as she waits for the last arrival.

Nothing’s going according to plan — and Eve hasn’t even made it through yet.

The gold in her eyes flickers — Chess doesn’t have much power left so she drops the field — everyone is too spread out to keep shielded, and she needs energy to swim until the crates with the rafts come down.

“Can you swim,” Castle says to Elliot as they pull him closer in the ocean, trying to stay out of the way of even more falling debris. Wasn’t their mother supposed to come next? Or was it Richard— they didn’t really remember under all this, and with the explosions— They hoped everyone up on the bridge was safe and none of them had accidentally taken the plunge… Without suits, they very likely would not survive, though there were small chances that they would. Someone, somewhere, had run numbers. It was possible to survive without a suit.

It was just far too dangerous.

And they needed the team. Chess had the package, Elliot was the radio— the four of them who had survived so far could potentially complete the mission— but—

Saffron was running all the numbers while Basil was worrying about his mother but they were both doing their best not to sink or let Elliot sink— or get smacked in the face with burning hot bits of whatever was falling through the portal in the sky.

One more member of the team. Robyn would get the one who splashed down. They would help Elliot as far as they needed to, but they would also need to be ready for that last member. Basil wanted to check on Chess— but Saffron wouldn’t turn their head. They needed to focus.

“Wright is black bl—” Elliot tells the stranger, hears what he’s saying, grips tighter, pivots to view the newest entrant. “There's somebody on the gantry, Gates is critically injured, Cardinal is injured.” He notes his breath, the offset panic of his heartbeat, anchors himself with Asi, her stability against the omnipotent ocean, breathes out to fog his helmet.

“Wright can’t—” He felt the blood pumping between her fingers, saw the panic in Gates’s eyes, not for his own life but for the horror of thinking Richard wouldn’t make the dive. “I can’t…” but then he does. They’re closer to Richard now, Elliot and the interloper. The hit he took on the way down needs to be accounted for. Elliot huffs inside his helmet, eyes focus. He twists in the water, switching the hand that holds Castle’s. Points them toward Richard and kicks against the sea.

Richard’s head was already spinning before he dove into the Looking Glass. The glancing blow that sends him into a spin, combined with the experience of the transit itself, is enough to have his world doing its best imitation of a carnival’s Gravitron.

It’s not an ideal reintroduction to the timeline of his birth, but then— his exit from it wasn’t ideal either. Maybe this is just symmetry.

He starts sinking downward in a trail of bubbling froth, too dazed to reach for his visor, unsure which way is up and which way is down— still unsure what year it is, truly, as his brain tries to make sense of its trauma.

Electricity sparks and sputters from the sky as bolts of lightning crack down from the edges of the triangular opening in the heavens. Scalding steam rises up from where the electricity hits and the Looking Glass begins to narrow from something more like an equilateral triangle to an isosceles. With that deformation comes a crackling, howling sound as if the seventh seal had been broken and the sky itself were going to roll back like a scroll.

As the others swim toward Richard, more pieces of the gantry and the frame of the Looking Glass begin spewing out of the skyward aperture. Glowing pieces of molten metal cool lon contact with the water, and the undersea view is a constellation of dying stars.

But too much time passes with no sign of




Tom Porter turns his back to a small charcoal grille on the patchy, front lawn. Eve’s bursting out of her father’s trailer like the human weather system that she is. “I told you, they’ll be done,” he gestures to the burgers cooking on the grille, “when they’re done! You can’t rush perfection!”

“Well,” Eve says, sauntering up to her cousin, “if we wanted perfection why are you the one cooking?” She says with a smirk, taking the spatula from him. “Stand aside Tommy, let Iron Chef Eve into the kitchen.”

“We’re outside,” Tom says with an exasperated sigh, dragging a hand down his face. Eve pays him no mind, flipping the burgers one by one and pressing them gently to the scalding, blackened grill.

“The world is my kitchen.” Eve says in a sing-song tone over her shoulder.

What was the last thing you even cooked?” Tom asks incredulously.

“Ramen.” Eve says confidently. “In my coffee pot.

“I’m going to get botulism,” Tom mumbles to himself as he starts to wander away across the lawn. “I’m going to get botulism and die.”

The screen door of the trailer announces another arrival with a creak of springs and a slam of aluminum as Eve’s father comes out into the front yard. “First of all, you don’t get botulism from undercooked meat or—” he eyes the grill, “overcooked meat. You get it from bad canning, mostly.”

Taking a swig of his beer, Eve’s father comes up to her side, then looks down at the overly well-done burgers. “Eve, sweetie,” he says, resting his hand on her spatula-wielding one, “I think they’re dead. I think Tom killed them already.”

Killed to perfection,” Tom says without looking over at them as he fishes a beer out of the cooler.

“How many of those have you had, killer?” Eve’s dad asks.

“Four?” Tom wonders, twisting the cap off with the bottom of his t-shirt. “Six?” He isn’t sure at this point. “No more than seven.”

“Okay,” Eve’s day says with a grimace, “Eve, why don’t you go get that paint bucket out of the laundry room because I’m gonna bet that after drinking and standing over this heat your cuz is about to—”

Tom doubles over and vomits across the lawn.

“On it.” Eve says as she heads back into the house.

Eve’s dad flashes a wide smile and laughs, shaking his head. He looks down at the grill, and smiles. George Porter couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.

Or anyone else.



Somewhere off the Virginia Coast

The Looking Glass emits one last belch of burning plasma, accompanied by two of the sealed crates designed to survive the transition hurtling out at the last minute along with a few molten pieces of the gantry. Then, with a crackle and a sputter and an ear-splitting thunderclap the aperture closes.

The crates come spinning end over end and impact the sea like boulders. Huge frothing waves come crashing up amid the torrential rain and driving winds, and much like the case Chess brought with her, these two quickly rise to the surface and begin flashing with emergency lights.

Despite her urgency to catch up to where Richard has fallen, Robyn finds herself slowing in her kicking as the final crates come crashing from the portal. Weren't there supposed to be more? She can't remember for the life of her. A wince follows as sound reverberates and echoes across the sea. Dread swells up in her as she watches the portal close.

That was it. Any chance of turning back, no matter how small, was gone now. And that's horrifying.

What's more horrifying is how she sees Richard start to sink. Oh no, that's not something she can help with and everyone else seems occupied at the moment. This is probably not good. Light is of limited usefulness without accidentally hurting Richard if she pushes out too much. Still, she starts kicking harder than before, dragging herself half down in the ever terrifying water despite how much her hands shake in an effort to reach down to him. "Richard!" she calls out against the waves, hoping the sound of her voice can pierce the churning crash of the waves.

When the crates come before another suited member of the party — Eve — Chess turns around in a slow circle in the water, bobbing under as the water churns around her, looking around to see if she somehow missed Eve’s entry. Her teary gaze flits over the field of molten debris scattered around her, and her head turns more frantically from right to left.

She dips under the water to look for any sign of someone beneath the surface, floating among the cosmos even as those bits burn out like dying stars.

With a kick, Chess pushes herself back up to resurface. ‘Where’s Eve? What happened?” she cries out, voice ragged with the sob that threatens to break free. She reaches for one of the crates, gloved hands curling around the handles as she rests her head against it, exhausted by the use of her power — and the weight of sudden and inexorable worry and grief.

The connection to the other side had a lot of valuable information, so Agent Castle does not mind following him to the rescue of the sinking suit of armor— which starts to sink even as the portal above closes. Gates was wounded, possibly dying? What had happened to everyone else. Why had Gates been attacked? Who had attacked them? There were so many questions.

They would have loved to ask some of them. But the sky was done falling and there was only one sinking suit that they could see along with the cargo containers. Saffron, thankfully, was very good at prioritizing what needed to be done, while someone else was allowed to panic deep within.

The portal was closed. The waves were threatening to take them, and Elliot was having trouble focusing. “I’ll get them up, then we can get them to Robyn.” Then they can figure out what went wrong and what happened to the final person who was supposed to dive, hopefully. Was it too much to hope that a red fog would appear when debris finally settled?

With the plan given, she dives down to get Richard and pull him up, so that she and Elliot can begin to try and get them to Robyn so they can all rendezvous.

Elliot flinches against the thunder. He watches the stranger go anxiously, suddenly alone on the waves again. He swims for one of the boxes that just hit the water, trying to salvage as much of their supplies as he can. Losing a team member is bad enough, going all Donner party before reaching their destination is worse.

He clings to the case, turning back to where the stranger and the last party member should reemerge, paddles the case in that direction as a life raft. His treading of the water slows as that thunderclap suddenly makes a horrible kind of sense when combined with the boiling debris. The Looking Glass was destroyed. They’re really never getting home now.

The heavy suit of Richard Ray is caught by Saffron’s hand, and seems… strangely easy to draw to the surface of the churning waters, far lighter than she might expect. The limbs drifting freely about without a care for normal motions or movements.

The visor, once pushed up, reveals an alarming view of nothing but the darkness in the suit. It’s empty!

Torrential rain whips across the ocean, driven by stormy winds that drive the ocean to its relentless chop. The crate Elliot clings to continue to flash from the eight corner-mounted beacons. The shear-resistant coating on the crate is stenciled with a clear roman numeral I. It’s the emergency Zodiac raft. The other crate, floating nearby, continues to flash as well as it it drawn into the churn of the ocean, slowly drawing away from the group.

With Castle making the dive down to retrieve Richard, Robyn's kicking slows. She's going to exhaust herself if she keeps going as it is, fighting against the water is not a form of exercise she is accustomed to. It's hard enough to cling for dear life to the case while the waves thrash around her.

Her eyes settle down on the two crates that fell through. She doesn't make way for them yet, not without giving the others something to cling to if they need it first. Instead, she turns her attention to Elliot as he joins her at the case. She doesn't question or shout obscenities, yet. Staying focused on not drowning and navigating these terrifying, rolling waves and the rain that beats down on her head is daunting enough.

When Richard doesn’t answer her question, Chess, clinging to the second crate, looks down at the stenciling — the raft is their priority. She turns to look for the other one as Elliot reaches it.

“That one has the raft!” she calls out, trying to stay focused on what they need to do to survive rather than wondering about what she can’t do anything about — there should be one more person with them. And then there’s the issue of Saffron’s presence and Basil’s absence, at least in body. She swallows back a sob, shoving the confusion and grief into neat compartmentalized boxes for the time being. Or she tries to.

The sight of blackness makes Saffron’s eyebrow raise in amusement. “I hope you’re not in there touching clouds, mother,” a distinctly Irish accent mutters for a moment, as they use this opportunity to at least utilize the much lighter than it should be suit to carry it closer to the group, despite the difficult surf and the troublesome waves. Thank goodness Saffron was such a good swimmer— even with this outfit it wasn’t difficult for her, once she had adjusted for it. Castle hadn’t usually been that good at it, honestly— which might be worrying, as much as the face that had looked into the darkness within the suit.

Once they rendezvoused with their ride they could figure out the important questions— hopefully, Wright would be able to relay what had happened on the other side as well. But for now, not drowning and getting their things was the most important— and at least half of Agent Castle was very good at doing what was most important.

Elliot doesn’t waste any time once he sees which crate he’s holding onto. He pops the first latch, then the second. As the Zodiak begins to do the rest of the work he looks around to make sure everyone is still within line of sight. He lets go of the case once it begins to fill with water, grabbing at the guide rope strung around the expanding raft.

If Eve’s in there with Richard, there’s no sign of it; nor is there any response from the presumably-shadowmorphed executive, but things do seem to be darker in that suit than they should be. If it weren’t for the noise of the churning waters and the winds stirred up by the less-than-natural storm, Saffron might hear confused, echoing muttering swirling about from within the helmet.

He’s not doing well, in other words.

As the Zodiac raft unfolds and begins self-inflating, it does so rapidly. The matte black raft starts as a rapidly growing V before expanding outward and slapping down to the surface of the churning surf. Aside from the guide rope, there’s handholds on the side that make it easy to swim alongside the vessel or climb up inside, a small motor on the back for propulsion, and counterweights so it isn’t easy to tip over. It’s ideal for this weather and this environment.

The second crate, the one Chess clings to, is marked with an embossed roman numeral II on its surface, and in a sane world would contain provisions for the team to survive their mission: food, water, medical supplies. There should be two more crates, one with personal effects like Robyn’s sword and another with changes of clothes.

Neither of those crates made it, and neither did Ev—



Over the sound of the surf, Chess feels something pounding against the inside of Crate II. It’s probably not food.

As the raft inflates, Robyn is quick to make her way over towards it, still paddling using the ever important case Chess has jumped over with. She's quiet, still taking in some of what's going on around her. Her breaths are shallow and labored, and as soon as it's ready she climbs up into it, almost immediately curling up tightly in one corner, arms wrapped around her knees.

Glances are given over towards Chess, then Castle and Richard, and finally to Elliot. Something doesn't feel right. There should be more crates, the ones with their personal items and supplies. The raining debris was an ill omen as well, and she can't help but feel her stomach churn almost as strongly as the water around her - though it's uncertain if that's because of mounting dread or because of the water itself.

The pounding on the chest quickens Chess’ own heartbeat in response, though she has the presence of mind (somehow) not to open it in the water and end up feeding the Atlantic Ocean all of their supplies and provisions. She tugs it instead toward the raft once it’s opened.

“Help me get it on the raft!” Chess calls out to Elliot and Robyn as she tries to move the heavy crate up and over the side of the raft — it’s an awkward and clumsy job for one person when that one person is treading water and exhausted, after all.

“I think something got turned on in there,” she adds. Just what she thinks is making the noise is anyone’s guess.

Hauling the “empty” suit along doesn’t give as much added difficulty as bringing along an entire person, so Castle makes it to the raft much more quickly than one might have expected, pushing the suit up against the edge. “I’d offer to help— “ Not that they really know what’s going on with the cargo, “but Richard seems to have taken a quite novel approach to exploding inside his suit. Unfortunately, it looks like the rum I packed didn’t make it,” they add with a small sigh. It’s hard to see inside the visor with the way the waves are jostling them about, but Castle definitely doesn’t sound like Castle right now. Even if their voice tends to change sometimes.

Elliot doesn’t waste any time getting out of the ocean. He pulls himself over the tube to land on his back in the raft. He stands, reaching over the side for the handle of Crate II, planting his foot against the tube to haul it up. The heavy effort keeps his mind from grappling with what losing two of their crates means for them. What losing his book means for him.

As Elliot hauls the crate up into the raft, he notices a moment too late that one of the twisting latches on the side came undone during the crash landing. There’s a scarring on the side of the crate, likely from mid-air collision with burning debris. When the crate lands inside the raft, the latch pops the rest of the way off, leaving a two inch gap.

Which then begins to emit a rippling red vapor.

A pale hand encased in that wavering blood-red haze smacks the top of the crate all the way open with a bang and soon after just an entire cloud of it lifts and expands from the crate. Eve stretches in this form, her mind reeling from the traveling. From the visions. As the revenant spreads her mass spirals around the raft enclosing her companions. From her limited vision, she notices lights below her. Shining, glimmering lights that mesmerize her. As tendrils of smoke spread, the core of Eve shifts and clenches.


The hunger is an endless well that threatens to consume the wild woman before something in her vision shakes her, snapping her back to reality. The face of a blonde woman. That wasn't with them before.

The bright crimson mass contracts and folds in on itself. Hovering as a ball above everyone's head. "Whew what a ride huh!" Eve's head pops out of the cloud, staring down at the group. "Sorry about that! She was rather hungry I think." A sheepish look and if she had use of her hands they would be raking her scalp. The face poofs out of existence as if Eve had ducked behind a thick red curtain. The ball, the size of a bowling ball drops down to eye level and hovers directly in front of Castle's face.

Again, Eve's face bursts through and she stares wide eyed at the blonde. "Is that… she? My dear girl you look famished-" Poof, the mother zips around Saffron's head in excitement. There is worry for her Basil but she knows the man has to lie within as his sister once did.

"Where is Bean?!"

With her face buried in her knees and trying very hard not to cry, at first Robyn doesn't even notice as everything about her feels heavier, exhausted - at first she thinks that's just the natural course of things given the stress she's under mentally and physically. It's only when she hears Eve's voice that her shoulders tense and her hands ball into fists.

"Not now, Eve," comes muffed against her own wet suit. "Save the insanity for when we're-" A sudden stop, and Robyn lifts her head slowly, looking around with wide eyes. For once, she's not distracted by the churning waves or the immediate peril of the situation - no, now there's a new level of despair. 'Eve, did you come out of-"

Her eyes shift over to the container, and then back to the red mist that drists about. "Where the fuck are our supplies?" comes out in the pitched, squeaky voice of someone slowly hitting their wits end and starting to unravel. "What the hell is going on?"

For some, the appearance of red mist seeping out of a crate might be worrisome, but it buoys Chess for a moment. “Eve!” she cries out, relief evident in seeing her friend, in whatever form, “safe” with them after all.

That what happened above the portal seems less safe than below is a concern.

But she’s already exhausted from using her own ability to shield herself and the others from the debris crashing and burning around them. The extra heaviness and fatigue have her slumping against the side wall of the raft, dark lashes fluttering against the pallor of her face.

“If everyone could be solid, that’d be swell,” she murmurs, voice barely above a whisper.

“Mom— and I do mean this literally, please pull yourself together,” Castle says firmly, resting a hand over their visor as one might their own face in another situation. It’s really difficult to tell just how they really look under the suit, but there was certainly much more feminine than usual face seen through that visor. And the voice as well. That hint of an Australian accent seemed to be there as well, quite different from the Irish of usual. The siblings had a very different life.

Instead of their parent, they focused, for the moment, on getting Richard fully onto the raft, an
d then themselves, and then said simply, “Some things happened during the crossing that were not planned. We’re still on schedule for our rendezvous with our Root contacts. Supplies aren’t a priority.”

At times like this, it might be easier to tell why Agent Castle was even an Agent in the first place. “Hitchens can report what happened on the other side once we get secure, but right now we just need to hold it together.”

In some cases, literally.

Elliot flinches backward from the red fog, kicking at the raft’s tube and nearly falling back into the sea. He catches himself by sitting down hard. And why shouldn’t he? What’s the point? Why keep fighting if they’re all going to die here? He doesn’t even have his book, something to hold onto when everything else gets too loud. When his worst self cuts him off at the knees. When the phone never stops ringing. When the locks try so hard to come undone.

The realization that this depression isn’t his comes with a sharp about-face. “What the fuck Eve?” he shouts, clawing at the clasp to his helmet. His emotions roll down one hill and up another as he snaps his helmet free with a hiss of atmospheric pressure. He rips it clear and punches it into the raft’s deck. “What the fuck?

The sudden cold spray takes the wind out of his anger, and his emotions tip back into the valley. He can’t be totally in control, but he can be something other than useless. He shakes his head in frustration, then crawls forward to help Castle drag Richard’s suit the rest of the way onto the raft.

“…just— “ …just… “— give me a minute— “ …a minute.

The whispers stir within the helmet of Richard’s suit, which - laying on the floor of the raft - bulges and shifts oddly as the man tries to pull himself together… both literally and metaphorically. He’s not having a good day, it seems.

The wind howls across the ocean, choppy waves toss the raft, and the sea spray is blisteringly cold. Visibility is somewhere around 500 feet and there is no sign of rescue. By now the reality of the situation is sinking in, sitting in a raft in the middle of the ocean. This is real, this is happening.

This is another world.

Eyes wide and hands shaking, Robyn's hands curl tighter around her shins. With more that a share of shock and disbelief, she stares ahead unblinking, mouth slightly agape for a moment longer be her teeth click together as she clenches her jaw shut and her eyes move across the others. With a shiver and a shudder, she buries her face back into her knees.

"Is there anything we can use to row?" It's a question of distraction, but it's the least they can be doing right now… if they can figure out their bearings to head west. Her head lifts up just enough for her to close her visor again, too distracted, too overwhelmed to process any of the bad situation they find themselves in beyond the supplies, and far to out of it to notice the change in Castle's voice.

"Richard, um… come over here if you need to." And with those words, a small area around Robyn is suddenly obscured beneath a veil of darkness, giving the shadowmorph a place to hide and get himself together that isn't his suit if he needs it.

Did someone say rendezvous? Camouflaged by gray waves and gray skies, it’s hard to say just when the dingy-gray fishing yacht appears on the horizon, just that it’s suddenly there.

Wearing a bright yellow fisherman’s coat that’s far too big for them, the cuffs rolled up and a hood shadowing most of their face, a slim figure stands at the apex of the bow. One hand lifts in greeting, before it returns to hold on to the railing lest the seafarer get dumped into the choppy surf. A megaphone is brought up to their mouth to speak.

“Agent Castle and company, I presume?” a young woman’s voice can be heard, boosted by the speaker, but still faint with several yards to go before the boat’s within easy reach. Her accent has a European tinge to it, German or Dutch, perhaps.

“Hold on. We’re coming to you.”


"Stop your screaming, it's fine!" Though Eve looks anything but as she slams down body and all near the others on the inflatable raft. Thankfully the red draining mist is within her and not spreading out amongst her friends. Black hair crazy now matted from the moisture in the hair and exhausted from battling the wind in her non corporeal form and she's-

"What a breeze!"

The woman looks down and notices she's completely nude. Crimson eyes widen in shock and she barks in a short snap of laughter. Clapping one arm across her chest and the other over her privates. "Oh!" Eve's eyebrows raise and she sinks down to further cover herself plopping down right near the helmet holding Richard, "Come now Card. She will be fine, she screamed at me on the way out!" Nudging the helmet with her big ghost pale toe. Though there's worry for Gates… for the others.

Then there's a boat approaching and someone with a megaphone that Eve decides she must get her hands on soon… "Ah a friend! Look my dear Saffy they know your code name!"

Eve's children interdimensionally known, she couldn't be prouder.

The Agent sighs, but removes the helmet, letting long blonde hair fall out and down, as they respond loudly to the coming boat, “Agent Castle, in the wrong flesh, but present.” With a glance around, blue-green eyes give a quick count of their various states. No one had answered if they were physically sound, but— well— it seemed most of the damage, in this case, was in the mental and emotional variety. They had known the trip could cause such emotional trauma from the way most of those who had made the crossing previously had come through.

Only Castle had first-hand experience. They said they didn’t remember much of it. But that was because it was rather traumatic to think about. They had a doubt that many of them would remember everything they had been through either. Saffron remembered it better.

But memories were Saffron’s thing.

“All personnel accounted for, as well as the primary package.” There’s a shift in their eyes, a change in expression, and for a moment they look almost as if they’re about to cry— but then it changes back. Their lips move in a whisper drowned out by the waves.

They can’t afford to do this right now. Once they’re on the boat.

Elliot responds to Richard’s dazed instructions with an understanding pat on the shoulder, then collapses into a seated position. He tries to center himself, but the waves make it impossible. He grips the guide rope and keeps his eyes clamped closed, controlling his breathing at the very least.

His attention is mostly in another world, or as close to it as the black of Wright’s unconsciousness can get him. He pulls her attention in chaotic bursts like he would if she were having a nightmare while he was asleep. He doesn’t believe it will work but he needs to know she’s okay. Needs to see what happened to the Looking Glass from her side.

When he opens his eyes it’s for only a second before clamping them shut again against Eve’s surprise nudity. He sighs, keeping pings to Wright persisting in the background, and looks to the others. He’s not physically tired but the rest of the team looks absolutely beat. He tries to make sense of Castle’s appearance. Wonders what about the trip could have caused it. What about the trip threw superheated debris into the ocean before he arrived. The call on the megaphone calms the persistent survivalist anxiety and he’s happy to let the worst of his fears go with it for now.

Apparently giving up on the idea of reforming inside the suit, a river of shadow spills past the opened visor, wisps of darkness licking at the surface of the raft as it moves into the comfortable field of night that Robyn’s created.

A few moments later, Richard - looking pale, shaky, but at least fully dressed in a turtle-neck sweater and pants, all in black - steps out of it, and collapses down to sit beside the suit. One knee draws up to his chest, and he buries his face in his hands, just breathing.

Captain!” A man’s voice calls from the deck of the ship with clarion quality. Those on the raft can’t see him well, just a broad-shouldered shape moving along the side of the yacht. “I’ve got ‘em!”

The crew member throws a rope down over the side of the yacht to the lapping surf. It’s only then some of those gathered on the raft recognize him. That voice.


Jonathan Smith leans over the railing, looking down into the raft, his lantern-jawed face and bright smile unchanged from universe to universe. “Ahoy there!” He shouts, smiling broader as he looks across the deck to Nova. “Gosh, I’ve always wanted to get a chance to say that.” He looks back to the travelers on the raft. “Come on aboard! Anybody hurt?”

As Richard walks back out into view, the darkness Robyn has created recedes into nothingness, fingers curling back into her palm as she stares at Saffron, head tilted slightly as she regards them with a clear mix of curiosity and suspicion. "I can't wait to hear what the fuck this is about too," she remarks with a dry bitterness.

Squaring her shoulders, she silently sits up and makes her way over to the rope that has been lowered for them. Picking up the Aperture’s case, she huffs out a breath and takes hold of the rope, beginning to climb her way up. She's more than ready to be away from the water.

Finally removing her helmet, Chess wipes a hand over her face, wet with tears and sweat. The tears return at the sound of Castle’s voice, and she presses her lips together. She doesn’t move yet, letting others go before her while she struggles to regain her strength.

Seeing Eve’s nakedness, she uses it as a distraction from her own self pity. “Hopefully they have some blankets or clothes for you,” she murmurs to Eve. They could all use clothes, since the missing crates probably held those, now incinerated into so much ash.

Above on, the boat, Nova grins over at Jonathan. “How have you gone this long in this world without having said it yet? Wonderbaarlijk.”

She uses the railing to guide herself back to the wheelhouse to turn off the motor while the travelers board the little yacht. Along the side of the gray vessel, the words “Yeah, Buoy!” can be seen in cheerful red cursive.

"Oh don't you worry Boomer, I'm very good at acquiring clothes." Eve says with a glint of mischief in her eyes, even in the face of certain doom and stormy weather the older woman could get up to her usual tricks. A look shifts over to her child and she grabs Saffron's hand from behind. "Remember to breathe my dear. Remember to see." A tight squeeze of their hand follows.

Robyn's tone towards Castle draws her gaze, "Save your scorn for me you bitter teapot! This is a lot for them and Richard!" And for Robyn but Eve couldn't have anyone being rude to her child, that was what being a mama bear was about. She supposes.

Gauging the distance between the raft, the boat and the rope. Eyeing the wind in particular before she nods and Eve pats Chess' back, which she's been using as a means to guard her womanhood. "Isn't she beautiful? See you up top." Winking before backing up and proofing into a cloud, Eve balls herself up and shoots up to the deck of the yacht. The wind threatens to whisk her away entirely, the ball of red mist warping and making something like a screeching noise. Is that an eyeball briefly seen in the mist?

A hand shoots out and grips the railing as the rest of Eve rematerializes but her lower half midair since she was on the verge of being swept away. "Oh!" She cackles in delight at the thrill of it all and slams onto the ground with a grunt. "Jonathan! Be a dear and hand me your coat. My nethers are bound to catch a cold!"

For a moment, Castle glances toward Robyn and there’s a break in the armor. It doesn’t last very long, though, before they look back up at the boat. “This is who you were hoping to meet, wasn’t it?” she asks quietly, perhaps to themself. There’s a small nod, as if in response to something else, then they gesture to make sure everyone else gets up first. In this case, they were the Agent still. They would make sure that the package and those who had traveled made it up first. “Everyone on board. I can carry your suit if you need, Richard. We can’t leave it behind. We’re already short as it is.”

They seem so calm and together, despite what their mother had said about having been through a lot.

But they also have tears rolling down their cheeks.

Blame it on the ocean spray.

Elliot busies himself at the raft’s bowline, pulling it free from its security strap. He shakes the spool of rope, trying his best to gauge the rocking of the raft before throwing the line up to Jonathan to secure it. It’s the only item of value they have, other than suits they can never barter away.

He reattaches his helmet for lack of a better means of carrying it, then takes up the rope and begins to climb. Once he’s finally aboard he pulls the helmet free again. He nods to Jonathan, then wordlessly stands at the gunwale, ready to help the next climbers aboard.

There’s no response from Richard for a few moments, but just when it seems there’s not going to be any— he shifts, reaching out to grab his suit, hauling it up off the raft even as he unsteadily gets to his feet.

“I’ve got it,” he says in a tone utterly flat of intonation, head lifting to look at the boat that’s picking them up as if seeing it finally for the very first time. He moves over to the rope, accepting the help from Elliot to clamber up onto the new vessel.

He stops, though, before getting out of the way for the next person— snagging Elliot’s arm briefly and looking at him with a hint of something frantic in his gaze. “Do you— still have contact?” The words quiet, terse, and tight as a bowstring pulled to fire.

Up on the deck, Jonathan flashes Elliot a friendly smile. He takes the guideline from Elliot and ties it around a T-bar at the back of the ship, letting the zodiac raft trail behind them with fifty yards of slack. Once he has the rope tied off, raises his brows and looks from Eve to Nova.

“I’m—gonna go get Mad Eve Jr. a blanket.” Jonathan seems unphased by her unusual demeanor, because all told this fits entirely in line with what he’d expect.

As Jonathan turns for the small ship’s cabin, the seas continue to churn and the freezing wind blows hard across the deck. Eve notices, perhaps too keenly, that she doesn’t truly feel the cold. She feels numbness, but that’s different. Bare as she is, others can see why.

Blood is collecting in blue-black mottling in her extremities. Her face has taken on a faintly yellowish cast with deep purple veins spiderwebbed beneath. Her eyes are at once bloodshot and sunken in. Eve knows this feeling.

This host doesn’t have much time left.

Once up on the bow, Robyn steps closer towards the middle of the deck. There's a visible releasing of tension in her shoulders, sagging as she angles her head up at the sky, where the actual hole in reality had hung just minutes before. Her hand curls tight against the handle of Aperture, the softest sound of concern rising from her throat.

With a deeply drawn in breath, she turns, eyes scanning across Nova, Jonathan, and those she came here with, before stopping on Saffron. Shoulders slumping further, she offers them an apologetic smile and a mouthed I'm sorry. It becomes quickly apparent, however, that she has no desire to stick around the deck, quickly turning and making her way towards the below deck and out of sight.

“There’s some tea and coffee and clean clothes for everyone below. I make no promises on fit or style. Everything will be very 2010. Retro, I think you call it, ja?” Nova tells those on deck already.

Her wide blue eyes take in Eve’s appearance, widening yet a little more when she sees the state of the younger version of this world’s Mad Eve. “Rest if you need it, Mevrouw Mas.”

Still on the raft, Chess finally rises from where she’s been resting in the corner of the raft. She reaches for Castle’s hand, glove to glove, squeezing it tightly to make up for the loss of skin-to-skin contact. This close, without her helmet on, Castle can see how pale she is. Tears still cling to her lashes, but her dark eyes are clear at the moment.

“Crate,” she murmurs, then, because their supplies need to be hauled up to the other boat. “We should save the raft too, just in case?” Chess is already turning to the crate, to maneuver it up so those above can grab it and haul it onto the deck.

She finally turns to the rope to climb aboard. Usually strong and able, Chess needs that extra hand to get her armor-heavy body over the side of the boat. “Thanks,” she murmurs to Elliot, then turns back to the raft below to wait for Castle.

Eve indeed does know that feeling and it arrives with an overwhelming amount of relief. It is hard to break the subconscious mind from what you always thought was your purpose. For the wild woman hers was seeing, not being a seer or a true seer had taken a massive hit at Eve's self worth. If she could continue to see… maybe she could really be useful. "I'll need more than just rest lieve meid, but that… can come later."

Slowly the woman sinks to her knees and then lies on the wet deck, cheek to the surface. Her glowing eyes begin to dim, working her mouth open and close but no sound comes out.

Do you feel it….? Time to come home girl.

The voice in her head that sounds just like her own curls around the edges of her mind.

Maybe you can see her. In the In Between. Will you look?

Are you scared?

"We don't fear her." Eve spits before her head lolls to the side and she's apparently passed out. Chest lightly rising and falling.

“No… It’s too soon.” Castle whispers, breath shaky as he doesn’t want to let go of Chess’s hand for a moment. Most of what was said was drowned out by the sea and the wind. But then he does let go. And their eyes are blue again. “Rest. You need it,” is said to someone already gone.

She would handle things for the moment, as she ran the gloved hand over her cheeks and nodded to Robyn’s silent apology and then looked at Chess. She had her own apology in her eyes, one she didn’t even bother to mouth. They couldn’t have known this would happen. But they had known it might. There had always been a chance.

Just as there’d been a chance they would all die when they jumped in. Or be ripped apart. Or there would be no boat to meet them.

“It’s a good idea. I’ll deflate the boat.” Saffron was in control. Agent Castle was still on duty.

It wasn’t the Agent Castle they anticipated, but it was perhaps the more competent one.

Elliot claps his hand over Richard's to reassure, not remove. He's weary as well, but the worst of it is being kept at the horizon of his mind. "Wright's been unconscious since I came through," he says, "But she's alive, and the link held. I'll let you know the second I can see."

Both links held, but no use describing the inside of Asi's kitchen, or admit he's done a bit of treason allowing her to be here. He'll go back to censoring her view of operation details once there's a need to do it. For now he needs to know there's someone on the other side that he can talk to if he needs to.

He pats Richard's hand and motions below deck with his head, then turns to Chess and Castle. Both look far wearier than he himself. He walks to kneel beside Eve, checking her vitals despite the obvious trauma to her system, ignoring her nudity. Wright's skill in emergency care knows the only thing for her is to make her comfortable. "The raft is tied off and will tow, I’ll carry Eve below," he says to Castle, feeling the need to be helpful when helpless. "Go get out of the storm."

Richard breathes out a heavy sigh of relief. “Good. Good. I— “ He cuts himself off with a shake of his head, turning away and drawing his hand back, “Later.”

He shifts his grip on the suit, hauling it up over his shoulder and moving towards the steps leading below deck. Into a darker, more enclosed space— which is something he needs right now.

It would give him time to think. Especially without knowing what happened back home…

…or if his mother is alright.


The Prime Timeline
Janus Offshore Drilling Platform
Off the Coast of Virginia Beach

Alarm klaxons blare against the sound of groaning steel.

Sparks shower from ruptured electrical conduits on the ceiling.

Screams sound muffled and deadened against the tinnitus ring in Michelle Cardinal's ears.

Chel's vision is blurred against the bloom of electrical explosions, but she can tell the gantry is split in the middle. White-hot pieces of metal cling to the ends of the frame, shorn off by the destruction of the Looking Glass. Wright Tracy lays unconscious beside her, brows knit in an expression of pain. To her right, Mohinder Suresh is a blurred shape hunched over Agent Gates, two hands pressed to the Agent's bleeding injury. Mohinder shouts for help, it is nothing but a droning bark in her ears.

Director Raith is nearby, standing as still as a mountain, looking at the space where the Looking Glass once hung suspended in the air. Now, gone. She turns to see Erica Kravid trying to help Dana Carrington off of the gantry floor. Some of the shouts now are clearer, but the warning buzzing on the alarms is the loudest, the clearest, the most terrifying.


Chel tries to move, exhaling a ragged breath as she does. She moves a hand to her side, it's warm and hot with blood. Her eyes focus on Dave, surrounded by security officers shouting at Raith, but he isn't responding to them. Chel and Dave's eyes meet—he is confused, horrified, scared—and she mirrors his emotions.


Marcus isn't looking at an empty point in space. Chel sees it when she tries to figure out why he isn't reacting to anything. There's someone crouched at the far end of the broken gantry, smoke and steam rising off of their back.


Michelle blinks her eyes again and pulls herself to her knees, looking at the distant, blue-gray blot that has the shape of a person. She rubs at her eyes, trying to focus on them. Who didn't make it through?


But that's when her eyes focus she sees the the jumpsuit, blue-gray fabric with a patch on the shoulder that reads COMMONWEALTH INSTITUTE.


Blue eyes angle up to Michelle, and she sees the nametag on the jumpsuit's chest. Her heart skips a beat.




Blonde hair, blue eyes. Her vision blurs in and out of focus.




It's her daughter. Chel's heart skips a beat, she staggers to her feet and starts to shakily walk closer. "Baby," she whispers in disbelief.


Chel blinks again, trying to keep her eyes in focus. She closes the distance to Ria just as her daughter has managed to stand up. Chel throws her arms around her, heedless of her own injury. Ria stands still, tense, arms out to her side as blue eyes grow wide in surprise.


For a moment, it feels like something is amiss.


But then, it passes. Everything is fine. Ria hesitantly wraps her arms around her mother, returning the embrace.




Nothing is wrong.

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