Somewhere Beyond The Sea, Part III


castle4_icon.gif chess3_icon.gif elliot_icon.gif eve_icon.gif ff_jonathan_icon.gif ff_nova_icon.gif richard4_icon.gif robyn7_icon.gif

Also Featuring:

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

Scene Title Somewhere Beyond the Sea, Part III
Synopsis Nothing is okay | Everything is fine
Date June 11, 2021

Snow whips across a windswept mountain plain.

The night sky is dappled with a shimmering curtain of auroral light, jade greens and pastel pink. The light cast by the aurora leaves soft shadows in the snow, highlighting the shallow tracks made by a single figure walking across the ice-crusted plain. He is wrapped in a heavy winter jacket with a frost-dusted fur trim, carrying a satchel of tools in one gloved hand.

The man’s footprints trail back to a thousand aluminum spines that rise up from the snow, branching out at right angles like robotic trees. They are interconnected with a webbing of wires, humming softly against the howl of the wind. These spines—a field of mighty antennae—point skyward and listen…

…for whatever may come next.

High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program
Mt. Natazhat

February 8th
2:38 am

Blustering cold air rips through a hatch door as it opens to the outside. Shaking off snow and ice, the long-faced and weathered old man in the winter jacket trembles against the contrast of hot and cold air. He sets his tools down with a heavy thump on the floor, then pushes with a groan of effort against the door to swing it shut.

Richard!” Calls a voice from deeper inside the dimly-lit compound. The old man unzips his jacket, pulling down his hood to reveal curly locks of gray hair. The tag on the right side of the chest reads DRUCKER.

“I’m back!” Drucker calls out as he hangs up his jacket and kicks snow off of his boots, treading across the black tiled floor from the narrow entry hall into a spacious, domed chamber with a snow-shrouded skylight. Up on a second-floor landing a woman is waiting for him with a steaming mug.

“You should’ve let me do that.” She says, descending the stairs from the balcony on slippered feet. Drucker smiles fondly, reaching out for the mug at the same time she pushes it into his hands. He smiles, and she rises up on her toes to give him a tender kiss.

Drucker cradles the warm mug in wrinkled, old hands. “I didn’t want to wake you up,” he says with quiet guilt.

“You didn’t think I’d do it right,” she says back with a hint of frustration in her voice. She starts to turn away but Drucker gently takes her by the wrist.


Charlotte hesitates, feeling how cold his hand is. She turns back to him, resigned to his stubbornness with a sigh. Drucker pulls her close again and brushes a lock of hair behind her ear.

“You need to wake Nova up,” he says.

Charlotte can feel the worry in Drucker’s voice, feel the uncertainty in his touch when he lets her wrist go. She searches his eyes for more clarity, and he looks up to the balcony where Nova Van Dalen is standing, watching the two of them. He smiles, and Charlotte turns to follow his eye line.

“We got a call…” Drucker says up to Nova.

“…your boat’s ready.”

Four Months Later

Yeah, Buoy!
Somewhere off the Virginia Coast

June 11th
5:28 pm

In the cramped confines of Yeah, Buoy! the howl of the wind and crash of surf is muffled to a dull roar. An electric space heater provides warmth against a cold that feels strange for the middle of June.

The Travelers only just arrived in this world are gathered on a ratty, patched up U-shaped sofa in the cramped below-decks living quarters. Eve is wrapped in a gray wool thermal blanket, her hair still soaking wet from the rain. Jonathan stands across the room, lighting the burners on a small electric stove.

“Anybody hungry?” He asks over his shoulder. “I’m gonna make some, uh,” he opens the cabinet above his head, retrieving a weathered-looking box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. “Mac n’ Cheese?” He grimaces, rattling the box around. “I’m nervous. I eat when I’m nervous.”



A fly buzzes through the air in front of Jonathan's face before looping in the air and landing smack dab on Eve Mas' eye. The woman doesn't blink. Her stomach gurgles but not for food. She doesn't seem to be all there for the moment, a state that many on the yacht are familiar with most of all Castle. Gently she rocks side to side, humming to herself mostly until she finally blinks. The fly buzzes off and lands on her neck. Another on her arm.

It's only going to get worse from here.

"…somethings knocking at the door.. a reaper's call you can't ignore.. hm hmm Dad?" In a sing-song tone as if remembering something before she looks over at Jonathan and Nova. The dark haired woman tilts her head and her neck makes a loud cracking noise that she doesn't seem to notice, intent on the two native and up to date with what's going on. Staring with eyes that now are a dull red, drained of light while one of the irises has already begun to warp and revert back to the original host's color.

"Can you phone our home? People were hurt, chaos on the crossing." Eve licks her dry lips and pulls the blanket tighter around herself. No, she's not hungry, except for information though the specter knew she was due more soon from the echoes.


Another fly lands on her cheek.

Smack. Eve missed the fly but leaves a rather large blossoming mark on her cheek.

"And do you know where any fresh corpses are?"

Robyn has spent most of the time since changed into dry clothes curled up on one side of the couch, legs pulled up onto the ratty cushion and to her chest. There's a vacant look in her eyes, in the rare moments they aren't pressed into her knees. The Aperture sits on the couch next to her, ready for Chess to take it back at her leisure, if she even wants to.

It's an odd visual contrast to see her at this moment, in faded jeans, a black jacket, and an Oasis 2010 tour shirt because this is the one timeline where the Gallagher Brothers worked it out apparently. She looks like a woman out of time to anyone familiar with her past - like the young 2010s indie rocker and burgeoning pop star she used to be, but with the scars and dour way about her she's known for in the present. Even for Robyn it's a little strange.

Still, she doesn't speak up. She didn't want to be the first one to. She just wants to keep pushing the ocean further and further out of her mind.

Nova has come down from the little yacht’s cockpit — they’re bobbing on the water with the dredge anchor keeping them from drifting too far, but once they need to move again, she’ll head back up to helm the craft. Her hands are wrapped around a mug— The exterior portrays the iconic scene of Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, Wendy and her brothers flying over London. It’s chipped in one spot on the rim, luckily near the handle so not too likely anyone will cut their lip drinking from it.

“I could but it’s a little circuitous and inconvenient unless my Other from the remote office dials in,” she says, lifting one hand to trace a circle in the air. “I can if Meneer Hitchens cannot check in soon, though. As for corpses, uh.” She exchanges a glance with Jonathan. “Maybe at the Pelago, so try to be patient?” In other words, don’t die yet.

Jonathan can only stare at Nova and mouths, corpses?

Chess — who’s found a pair of sweats and a shirt with an octopus on it, declaring itself the Property of the Key West Aquarium — sits on the bottom step leading into the cabin. It feels too claustrophobic for her — the only other boat she’s been on, aside from a ferry, has been Castle’s houseboat that’s roomy and airy in comparison. She leans her head against the wall, eyes closed and looking strangely fragile. For once she has no quips or jokes, her deflecting sense of humor shed, it seems, with her armor.

Pale and gaunt, Saffron looks as if she hasn’t seen the sun in years— and honestly, she hadn’t. Nor had she seen a hamburger or non-plant matter food that she had been enjoying by proxy while existing as part of her brother. This was more what she was used to. Tight, closed places, ill-fitting hand-me-downs, and… her body. Agent Castle had been quiet as they found clothes to change into, tying up the sides to make it fit better and ignoring their mother’s comments about how skinny they were. Of course, she was skinny— she’d been on strict rationing plants few years of her life.

Even Basil hadn’t been able to eat as much as he would have probably liked to. She can’t help but look down at her hand, flexing the fingers for a moment as if trying to get used to it again. She was no longer crying— but that was because she was the only one there right now.

Just like Chess was used to those times when Basil had been the only one there. This time— he wasn’t really there at all. That hadn’t happened often.

With a blink of surprise, as if she had gotten distracted by something, she looks up at Nova and asks an important question, “How long will it take us to get there?”

How long does Eve have? She tried to remember how long it had taken her to fall apart on New Years Eve. Of course, they had sped things up a little. She might have had some extra time.

Elliot is grateful to have been able to shuck his armor. Better yet is that amongst the offerings was a comfortable if threadbare and hideous Manchester United hoodie. He leaves the couch to those most beat by the events, quietly moving into Jonathan’s space at the stovetop to take account of the post-apocalyptic bounty.

“You have any fat to add to that? Oil?” he asks, popping open cabinets and drawers. “I’m guessing there’s not a live cow on board.” He isn’t hungry, but he taught himself to cook with what was left of Tala’s memories during a civil war so he can probably still make it work.

Jonathan grimaces. “I do not.” Then, holding up a canteen he says. “I have water.” His smile starts to falter. “You’re going to find the food offerings here can be eclectic at times.” He looks down at the stove. “We can get something proper in you in the Pelago.”

Nova’s suggestion that she can call if he can’t has Elliot pinging for Wright’s attention again as he shakes his head. No help. Experiencing Wright’s unconsciousness after the drop was nearly enough to overwhelm him by itself. That darkness, so like the—No. He winces, blinks, blinks, Check later.

The bomber jacket that Richard wears is familiar. It’s old, it’s worn, beaten to hell, patched more than once from a bullet or an ability that got too close. One can barely read the ‘Chicago Air’ patch anymore. But it’s familiar, and it grounds him to home, to the world he knew all his life, and he keeps it pulled close around him as he leans against the wall of the cabin.

He’s been quiet since they were rescued. Not silent, but— uncharacteristically quiet for those who know him.

“Once someone can make contact,” he speaks, not looking up, “Let me know. I need to know if my— if Michelle survived.”

Jonathan angles a worried look over at Nova, then to Richard. “So, you two have a magic walkie-talkie like Captain Kidd over here?” He says with a nervous smile that means well enough. “That’s pretty cool. Honestly, I expected to be a lot more freaked out by meeting people from another dimension, but… it’s starting to become a regular occurrence around here.”

Looking at the stove, Jonathan gets some water boiling and adds the macaroni to it. “You’re Robyn right?” Jonathan asks her over his shoulder. “We’ve—met? I guess? I mean not you but, you. A different you?” He wrinkles his nose. “Okay this is more complicated than I practiced.”

Jonathan grimaces, stirring the dry pasta around in the boiling water. “She’s one of the survivors from the Ark. Lives up in the Pelago now. Sweet kid.” He says, as if that’s also a compliment to the current Robyn.

"I see… I see… well! Nothing to do but wait then hmm?" The older woman grins widely, there's a bit of blood in her gums that she also doesn't notice. A fly lands on a tooth and stays there until she begins to cough lightly and covers her mouth. Blood. In order to spare Castle any more stress on the heart, Eve tries to discreetly wipe her hand clean on the inside of the blanket.

Eve's ears perk and her eyebrows twitch though at Jonathan's next words, a head tilt that's followed by an audible crack in her limbs, "Have many others arrived since The Travelers came and went?” A bruised hand comes up to massage Eve's jaw which seems to be moving way too loosely. "I have a friend from here actually! But he's been gone for about–" Whatever brief bit of unabashed hope or optimism that the former seer is known for is dashed by her inner thoughts clouding doubt over any sort of spark that might lead to belief that Silas truly wasn't dead, exploded into a million lights. "Ah… let's.. " Not. She decides.


"When I di-" a sidelong glance at Castle and then Chess before thinking better of it, "Pass on I'll get have a vision that can hopefully help us on this exciting journey but until then we only know what my dear child and other refugees from your world here have told us!" Eve looks from Nova to Jonathan, "Can you tell us the state of your world right now?"

If they know Mad Eve then they know she loves stories.

At first, it seems like Robyn is ignoring Jonathan, face still pressed into her knees slowly recovers from the events of the last hour or so. At least, until her back starts to straighten and she slowly lifts her head up - it's like you can see what Jonathan has just said registering in her mind in slow motion, frame by frame.

Her brow creases together, legs sliding out and to the floor as she stares up at him. "Survivor?" Her voice is thin and full of uncertainty, angling a look over to Richard and then to Castle. "I- was told she didn't make it out. Of the Ark, that is."

Swallowing audibly, her green eyes focus on Jonathan. "She's alive?" The question is quiet, almost meek - a far cry from how she normally portrays herself to the people present before everything that has happened today. This was not something she had expected or prepared for. None of it.

“Last I knew, yeah.” Jonathan says with a small, nervous smile. “I know that’s gotta be weird. As for the state of the world…” he eyes Nova, smile spreading crookedly.

“Mostly liquid,” is a dumb science joke that Nova makes when asked of the state of the world. She flashes a grin and lifts her shoulders. “I have been told that it is better than it was a few years ago, and that that is in fact thanks to the travelers who came through a couple years back. Your wife?” Her brows lift as the young captain looks to Richard. “And friends. They did good things here, improved the lives of many.”

She takes a sip from her cup, then taps her fingers around its curve. “I’m not local.” She looks over at Robyn, and smiles gently at the other woman’s questions. “You are not the only person who thought so. I live with your parents, actually. Unfortunately, they don’t know about either of you — I didn’t know until I already left and communication has been spotty.” Her apologetic grimace turns into a slow-blooming smile. “They will be so happy to know both of you.”

Turning back to Richard, she nods at his request. “If Meneer Hitchens cannot, I will, but it will take longer for me than them. My counterpart in your timeline…” she presses her lips together, and shakes her head. “We don’t know where the original one is. I’ve never communicated with her myself — only one of us has, and that one, well. She is stiekem. Sneaky. She did not tell the rest of us, and the one in your timeline did not even know she could do what the rest of us could, before something took her out of our reach.”

The young woman lifts both shoulders. “Anyway. That is enough about me. But I would have to check with the other, the agent in the other timeline, remote, I think they are calling it in your meetings, who would have to get that information from the others, second hand you see. I will try soon, if Meneer Hitchens cannot.” To Castle, Nova waffles a hand back and forth. “About a day and a half.”

Chess looks across to Eve when she sees those moments where emotions bubble up in the other woman, and her brows draw together with worry. Empathy. The suffering in the cabin is palpable, the worry for friends and family, and she sighs softly, a shaky thing, before standing to go to the little kitchen.

“I can help serve,” she offers to Jonathan, flashing him a wobbly smile and trying to pretend that she isn’t on the brink of crying. Again. “Make myself useful.”

The idea of Eve dying again is something that Saffron isn’t quite ready to deal with fully, so she just nods quietly for the moment, knowing that the other woman seems to take it easy and in stride a lot easier than her children do. They had known it would happen again, likely, they just had planned on it later. Further down the line. But then when was death ever something one could plan for? A day and a half should be enough time to find a body, though. They should be able to do it—

But then Jonathan mentions the Ark— and survivors.

“The sub made it?” she exclaims in surprise, because, while she knew that they had intended to get some people off, she hadn’t known if it would work. “The Gerkens were able to get people out of there? I knew they were planning to, but I didn’t know if they would— Gracie tried to get me to try for the sub, but…” She had other plans. She had somewhere else to be, a dream to follow. One that broke her heart and stole her body, but gave her back her brother—

And gave him a chance to live again— only to take it away once more.

Elliot seems to be the only person here who has no connection to this place. He’s tempted to fill the desire for company with Asi, but her link is closed against operational details at the moment.

With nothing to contribute in the kitchen, he steps aside to make room for Chess. He moves toward the stairs, leaning against the wall beside the door with his hands in his pockets. “Elliot’s fine,” he tells Nova. “If Wright doesn’t wake up soon I might be able to speed up your connection.”

“I did. Sort of. Mine… broke when the Glass closed,” Richard answers Jonathan quietly, one hand lifting to push back through his hair, finger-combing strands in a way that just makes it messier. “And I’m from this world. Technically.” He seems about to lapse back into troubled silence when Nova speaks.

The first comment, about his wife, makes him smile. Just a little.

“She made every world better, everywhere she went. She can’t help it. It’s just the way she is,” he tells her, drawing in a slow breath, exhaling it and stirring to straighten slightly where he sits, “The Nova from— one-twenty-six-point-two-two— was kidnapped last year. We have people working to locate and recover her now, so… maybe she’ll be in contact soon.”

Talking about plans and facts seems to be something he’s able to focus on.

Jonathan offers a gentle smile to Chess, still stirring the pot. “I’ll enlist you in serving once it’s all done, this old electric stove ain’t what she used to be, I don’t think.” He admits with a laugh.

“When we get to the Pelago,” Jonathan notes, looking to the others, “we should


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


Just pick her up!


Go! Go!


Not that way! Not that—”


Wright Tracy awakens to the sound of groaning steel and a ruptured fuel line spraying flames through the air. Panic elicits a scream but her body refuses to immediately agree on which direction to run in as up and down do not feel like they align with her other senses.


Water is falling from the floor to the ceiling, there are scientists in clean suits running on what she thinks are the walls of the oil rig, looking back over their shoulder at a growing blot of infinite darkness that is pulling the rig in on itself.


But Wright is moving. Forward. Away from the Nothing.


“Come on!” Mohinder hisses, and that’s when Wright feels her arm draped around his shoulder. He’s dragging her down the corridor. Two scientists run past them on the walls. Wright’s stomach twists. The hallway ahead corkscrews and feels like it’s extending as if in homage to some Alfred Hitchcock camera trick.


At the end of the hall, Erica Kravid is kneeling and applying pressure to someone’s abdomen on a stretcher. It’s Gates.


Klaxons blare, steel groans, everything is coming apart at the—



The Flood Timeline
Yeah, Buoy!
Off the Coast of Virginia Beach

totally take you to see the Captains’ Council. If anybody knows how to help you get what you need, it’ll be Captain Ryans and the others. Plus they’ll want news about what happened to their friends and family who left for the Ark, for sure.” Jonathan notes with a smile, unaware of the catastrophe coming to life in Elliot’s mind.


Wright tries to steady herself, fingers digging into Mohinder's shirt. She flinches away from a blast of heat.

Elliot lurches up from his slouch against the wall, arms coming uncrossed and eyes losing focus for a moment. "Echo echo," he says, trying to fight the confusion and panic Wright is sending his way. He looks over the catastrophe with horror, mouth opening, unspeaking. He can't tell if the walls are shifting or if Wright is concussed.

He snaps to the only other thing he can do. "Anomaly containment breached," he says for the benefit of the room, "Evacuation underway. Eyes on Suresh, Kravid, Gates. The anomaly is pulling the rig into itself, massive gravity fluctuations in the Looking Glass chamber."

Wright looks around for anybody else, any sign someone is on their way out too. "Deployment successful," she tells Mohinder with a slight slur to her words. Need to run. She puts her weight on her own feet.

"They have fiddled with the unnatural nature of the Tear for long enough," Eve whispers and hugs herself tight. A flicker of crimson light in her eyes that dies out as she begins to cough again though her gaze doesn't waver from Elliot's tall form. Curious.

Another round of what sounds like hoarse as fuck coughing and the dark haired woman shrinks into the blanket and turns her back slightly, rocking back and forth and looking at the floor but still listening keenly to what is reported back.

Robyn affords Elliot a glance back at his outburst, but her attention is firmly placed elsewhere at the moment - namely, on Nova. "Wait." There's a sudden burst of life to her voice, like all of the anxiety and pain she was feeling has just… fallen away. It's mirrored by the way she suddenly finds the energy to spring up from the couch to her feet. "You live with them?"

Her eyes brighten, figuratively (and maybe the slightest bit literally) shining as she stares at the other woman and places her hands on her shoulders. "What are they like? Are they happy? What do they do? Tell me everything." With that tall order delivered, there's a slight glow to her cheeks as her smile widens despite herself. "Wait! Does- that make you my- her- our kind of pseudo-sister?" Because obviously Robyn's no stranger to the idea of adopting.

Either way, she clearly very into this, for however long it lasts.

“She was missing from our reach before that, but our Stiekem didn’t tell us until recently,” Nova says softly to Richard. To Elliot, she adds, “It’s more the playing telephone that takes time, but maybe.”

But then it isn’t necessary, as he announces what’s happening in the other world. Her brows draw together and she glances with worry at their guests. Robyn’s words draw her attention back that way, and the younger woman laughs softly.

“Maybe? Your father and I have looked after one another since I was eleven. Your mother returned to us later. We will talk later, ja? I should probably get us moving again, but you can come sit with me and keep me company, and I can tell you what I know.” Nova pats the other woman’s shoulder lightly, and turns toward Jonathan to make sure he has dinner well in hand.

Chess leans on the counter near the stove. She watches and listens, brows drawing together when Eve begins to death-rattle, and she can’t quite stifle the shiver and small sob that breaks her silence.

Elliot’s news doesn’t help.

“Fuck,” is all she can say to that. She casts an apologetic look up at Jonathan — a man who uses the word gosh might be offended by that.

The news from the other side makes Agent Castle perk up a little, eyes shifting into a meld of blue-green as they stand up once again in a kind of nervous energy much more reminiscent of the Agent Castle that they had known before they jumped into the hole in space. The cough from Eve distracts them, though, and draws their eye, and they reach out to put a hand on her shoulder, squeezing. It’s both a soothing gesture and something to share a moment with her. “Just hang in there a little longer,” they say without much of an accent.

Together again. For the moment.

They turn their eyes toward Elliot, waiting for more information, holding on to that hope. “Maybe I shouldn’t have come. I could have maybe used the Castle to buy them some time to evacuate…” They’d volunteered for many reasons, but for the first time they started to have a small regret. But then they look toward Chess. No, they didn’t regret it too much.

Even given the circumstances. They knew the rift was a danger— they had precautions. “They’ll have prepared for this possibility— they saw what happened with the other tear,” they add.

“Shut the fuck up, Eve,” says Richard - a bit harshly - as he hears the dying woman’s whisper about the happenings on the other side of frequency divide. A hair’s breadth and an eternity away from them. His gaze, though, is fixed on Elliot.

Suresh, Kravid, Gates. “Is— is Michelle there?”


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

Go!” Mohinder shouts, gently shoving Wright ahead of him as the hallway buckles and warps as if it were the rubbery surface of a bouncy-castle. He turns, looking back toward the Looking Glass chamber where scientists and security officers flee from. One scientist, toward the back of the group, bends as if he were made of putty and twists in a corkscrew pattern before coming apart at the seams like a stuffed animal. His organs spiral backward toward the growing darkness at the end of the hall.

Mother of God,” Mohinder whispers, frozen in horror as he stares into the abyss. The sudden clamp of Kravid’s hand on his shoulder turns Mohinder around, she grabs him and pulls and drags him back toward the emergency stairwell.

“We have to get to the helipad!” Kravid screams, “we have to get out of here!” Mohinder looks past Kravid, to Wright helping Gates up from the floor, then back to the growing anomaly.

Mohinder shakes his head. He can do the math. Two floors up, with injured, at the speed that thing is moving. “There’s—we won’t make it.”

The Flood Timeline
Yeah, Buoy!
Off the Coast of Virginia Beach

Jonathan has forgotten the macaroni and it threatens to boil over behind him as he watches Elliot with a mixture of confusion and uncertainty. “Tear?” He asks, looking back and forth between the others. “Anomaly?

Wright quickly assesses Gates's wounds. With less than limited time there's so little she can do but try to get him out. "Shut up and help me here, Suresh," she shouts as she heaves the wounded man up from the floor.

"You better have a fucking psychic distress signal in that Swiss army knife of party tricks, Gates," she says just as loudly. "We need an exit STAT."

"No sign," Elliot tells Richard. "The group from the gantry has been separated. I don't…" dread rises as he comprehends the scope of the expansion. That Suresh may be right, and he might experience that tragedy through Wright. But he won't leave her alone for it either way.

There's no good way to put it. He feels cold as he says it. "The anomaly is expanding unchecked. It's consuming the facility."

Eve sits up straighter with a head tilt and eyebrows raising. "Unstable, by the goddess." A sad look in her eyes for the ones left behind but Jonathan asks a question and the corpse that's slowly falling apart swallows. "A fight with a goddess, surges of energy, left a tear in our reality. Have you had any here?" An idle question but Eve begins to cough wildly and bends forward to catch her breath.

A small nod is what Nova gets in response, Robyn clearly disappointed that they can't discuss it right now. That's the way of things sometimes, and Eve's rambling draws her out of whatever place she had been in, prompting her to look back over her shoulder. "I'm sorry, goddess?" There's incredulity in her tone, expression almost immediately steeling from the hopeful happiness she had with Nova to something more stern and tired.

"Don't tell me you worship that… thing, Eve." It's maybe a little accusatory sounding, despite a clear effort to reign that in. Slowly she crosses the distance between them, standing just in front of Eve. "There's no such thing as gods and goddesses. Whatever it is, it isn't divine. I'm not saying it's human, but let's knock off the reverence, maybe."

Rolling her shoulders, she plants one foot against the edge of the sofa and leans closer. "You and I are going to have a chat about appropriateness and teamwork, and the consequences of not being mindful of them later."

If it sounds like a threat, it partially is, though she glances over towards Saffron. "Castle'll be there," she volunteers, her idea of an olive branch. Castle will do a good job in keeping her from getting out of line herself, most likely. "But we can do that after you get this whole… body situation sorted out."

She's mean, but maybe not cruel. Not intentionally.

Nova stays quiet, looking worriedly around the cabin at Elliot’s relayed information. She’s about to speak when Robyn does. Her lips press together and she waits it out, glancing awkwardly at Jonathan as if the two of them are hosting a dinner party with a very poorly-made seating chart.

“No anomalies like yours in our world, no,” she says quietly, with a shake of her head that sends her dark hair swinging around her cheeks. “And none in the timeline of the remote office, according to our agent who can sense such things.”

She smirks, then, a little impishly. “He cannot stand when I’m a… “ she frowns, trying to think of the word in English, “verstekeling tucked in my other’s head. Like his other with you.” This is directed toward Castle with a small and sympathetic smile for the siblings sharing a body.

Chess has stayed quiet, head down and eyes tearful again at the news of what’s happening at the rig, but she only looks up at last to shake her head at Robyn. When she speaks, her voice is quiet. “She doesn’t worship it. It killed her, Robyn. And as far as calling it a goddess — it may as well be. Calling it a god or goddess doesn’t mean we honor it or respect it, but the things it can do? The things it did in Detroit?”

Her eyes fill with tears, and she glances to Richard, for she knows he saw the vision she did, at the end. Turning back to Robyn, she shakes her head again. “It pulled me into the past. To Raven Rock. Offered to bring back the dead for me. And I know it could have done it. It wasn’t a lie — it would have done it, but it was a monkey’s paw, and I wasn’t going to be like my — like Adam. I wasn’t going to betray everyone for what mattered most to me.” The words are thick with swallowed tears, but surprisingly steady. “The knife I put in that thing — it wasn’t on me in Detroit. It was from then. From Raven Rock. I was both in Detroit and in Raven Rock, both in 2020 and in 2014 at the same time. Somehow.”

Chess swallows, and looks back down at her hands, one thumb nail chipping off what little is left of the full set of polish she’d started the week with. “So no, it’s not human anymore, and it’s sure as hell not holy, but goddess may not be wrong.” She lifts a shoulder. “And maybe a lecture on teamwork isn’t in your wheelhouse. Just a thought.”

“She’s also always preferred Goddess to God, cause she always found God to be sexist when taking His name in vain,” Castle mutters as an aside, in support of what Chess had said in their mother’s defense. That hint of an Irish accent was there for a moment, showing that they had maybe had some problems with her referring to God as a Goddess himself at one point or another. But he also knew what it had been about. A pale hand reaches out toward Chess, but doesn’t actually touch her. Just the want of the gesture. The desire to make it. They knew what she had gone through. What had taken Eve had been called an Entity for many reasons— but they couldn’t call it a person anymore.

“It does sound like we all needed much better team building exercises— and certainly more focus on our priorities, however, it has been a very rough day all around, so we should try to give each other a pass for the moment.”

With that, they look pointedly at their mother. There’s that look of, at least try not to make it worse.

“It’s no more a deity than Gabriel is,” Richard mutters darkly, but he’s mostly focused on Elliot. He swears under his breath at the news relayed, “Fuck— those bombs they set off must have taken down the magnetic shields— but it wasn’t expanding that fast before. It might collapse in on itself if they can last long enough…”

“Just— tell them to keep running. Their only hope’s to keep out of the event horizon— “


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

Startled by Wright’s yell, Mohinder is able to pull himself out of his own nihilistic stupor and wheels around to go to her side. He doesn’t hesitate, looping one of Gates’ arms over his shoulder and letting Wright take the other as they head for the stairs. The whole rig is listing to one side by this point, or perhaps fluctuations in terrestrial gravity are making it feel like it’s listing.

Hanging lights pivot to a 45-degree angle overhead, fluorescent bulbs shatter in flashes of plasma and electricity. The blare of the klaxons have cut off entirely and water runs up the walls in sheets from pools left by the sprinkler systems when they momentarily flashed on in the early moments of the disaster.

Mateo.” Gates sputters as he stumbles along with Wright and Mohinder. “Mateo Ruiz,” he grabs onto Wright’s arm. “He’s the—only—he’s—” Gates exhales a ragged snort and shakes his head, trying to remain conscious in spite of his significant blood loss.

Kravid is two levels up the stairwell when she leans over the railing and shouts down. “Hurry!” Mohinder and Wright haul Gates up the winding staircase. Below them, the stairs begin to contract and swirl inward like a pinwheel. Metal bends and flexes, groans in a staccato noise like badly rendered digital audio as lower levels of the rig are sucked into the anomaly. When the trio reaches Kravid, she’s standing at the door to the exterior of the rig, holding the door open with her shoulder. She grabs at Gates collar, pulls him forward with the others and out onto the helipad where an osprey-like tilt-rotor aircraft is waiting with its engines spun up.

The Flood Timeline
Yeah, Buoy!
Off the Coast of Virginia Beach

Elliot points to Richard as an acknowledgement that his instructions were heard. Now, seeping into comfortable familiarity with his dread, he does the only thing he can to be helpful. He begins to narrate events as they happen from Wright’s point of view.

The former seer doesn't rebuke Robyn or Richard. Eve just calmly stares between the two with an eerie, light smile on her lips before tilting her head at Elliot's continuing report.

Robyn's attention is slow to leave Eve, momentarily focused on that off putting smile, before she looks over at Elliot with concern.

Glad that the fight seems to have subsided, Castle focuses their attention on Elliot and listens to what’s being relayed, even if they don’t really understand what’s happening as well as they would like to. As they listen, their mouth gets thin and pale, as their lips press together tightly.


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

The aircraft’s tilt-rotor engines whine loudly, downdraft whips across the helipad.

Dana Carrington and Agent Hall are already seated inside, but there’s no sign of Michelle Cardinal. Dana and Hall are looking not at the others escaping from the rig but the southeastern half of the rig that is both exploding and suspended in a silent moment in time all at once. Fire that looks like a bloom of illuminated cotton, shards of metal suspended like sand in an hourglass. Time and space bend, warp, and break in proximity to the anomaly.

The helipad beneath Wright’s feet begins to buckle, warping and twisting like the skin of a pudding cup. The tilt-rotor aircraft begins to skid across the helipad. The ground buckles under Wright’s feet. Metal plates come apart at the seams. Bolts snap.

Metal groans.

A seething black void opens up below h

The Flood Timeline
Yeah, Buoy!
Off the Coast of Virginia Beach

“Eyes on Hall, Carrington,” he says as Wright breaches the top of the stairs. “Nothing on Cardinal—” he suddenly lurches forward, flails for something to hold onto, plummets with Wright into the anomaly with a sharp intake of breath,

No.” is all he can say through the shock.

Chess looks up from where she’s been quietly studying the dingy floor of the little galley. Her eyes are wide and her lips part to speak, but then press together again. She closes her eyes, and twin tears stream down her cheeks.

At the sudden No, Castle’s breath hitches and holds— and they wait for the worst.


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

The aircraft’s tilt-rotor engines are winding down, propellers slowing.

Dana Carrington and Agent Hall are climbing out of the aircraft with cautious looks to the ground around them. Michelle Cardinal is still seated inside, cradling David—handcuffed and under watch of two security officers—to her chest. A blonde woman steps out of the aircraft behind Dana and Hall, running a hand through her hair.

“That was lucky!” She calls out to Wright, Kravid, Mohinder, and Gates as they cross the helipad. “We just got the all-clear from spatial observations, the secondary systems kicked in and contained the anomaly’s growth. We lost the Looking Glass chamber, but it’s not expanding anymore.”

The blonde woman, dressed in a blue jumpsuit with a shoulder patch that reads DEPARTMENT OF THE EXTERIOR offers a relieved, if anxious smile. The nametag on her jumpsuit reads Cranston. “How’s Agent Gates? Do we need a medevac?”

Wright recognizes her. Because she’s always been here at the facility. Rianna Cranston, daughter of Michelle Cranston (or Cardinal to the initiated). She’s an operations specialist managing day-to-day ops on the rig. Reliable. Consistent.

Mohinder calls over. “We should get the injured out of here and do a stage-by-stage evacuation until we can properly assess the damage.”

It all could have been so much worse. What a relief.


The Flood Timeline
Yeah, Buoy!
Off the Coast of Virginia Beach

Except it was. Except—

“Uh, Elliot?” Jonathan says with wide eyes and a furrowed brow. “You’re uh…” he dabs his finger under his own nose. “You’re bleeding.”

Elliot’s eyelids flutter, his head tics to the side, fingers snap, snap, snap. “What the fuck?” he asks in quiet, blurry confusion. He swipes at his lip to bring a hand back into view covered in blood.

“He’s definitely not bleeding any less,” Wright snaps, confused by Elliot’s confusion, starts to pick at his memories as they begin to conflict with her own.

“It all…” he says, pausing to put words in order as his heart can’t decide to panic over Wright’s plummet or relax since she’s safe, “It all… unhappened. Events have been changed. The anomaly was contained to the Looking Glass chamber. Everybody died and then they didn’t. Somebody has suddenly been working on the rig this whole time even though she hasn’t.”

His eyes are bleary, he fights for focus, sweeping up to look at Richard. “Michelle is fine,” Elliot reassures him. “Also you have a sister now. Have always had a sister. Rianna Cranston. She’s, she has now always been, an OEI rig operations specialist.”

All of it would probably sound crazy to anyone that isn't on a field trip but each of them had encountered something beyond what they could have imagined that what Elliot is saying doesn't exactly ring as the ramblings of a crazy man, at least not to Eve.

Her mind is running fast along with his words trying to fit the puzzle pieces together and words from her cousin filter back through her mind. Unhappened. Blinking Eve leans forward, eyes having snapped towards Elliot and they glow faintly now. The name…

The name makes Eve stop dead and she briefly chokes and coughs hard into her hands. "No…" The wild woman's lifeless mane of dark hair flies from side to side as she shakes her head and she croaks out the word. It makes no sense, the woman in question was lost to the void and had saved Otter Eyes and Lady Zeus, "That's not his sister." In that Eve looks mostly apologetic to Cardinal, the same way she looked when speaking with Kara Lang about the time her life wasn't her own.

"That's Aunt Rianna, Rianna Mas Price. She's back. The Crossing… bu-" Eve looks at her child now, squinting hard before erupting into more coughs into her hands. Staring at Castle as if they had the answers after the fit. The consequences of their traveling grew more in her mind.

Elliot's continued explanation of events causes her eyes to narrow, one hand curling into a fist as she pushes away from where she's leaned over Eve. Her gaze first lands on Castle, and then on Chess. "Think what you want," she mutters in a low voice. "You don't know me, or what I'm good at."

But with that last barb offered, she pulls fabric that had been intended to be used as an arm or headband out of her pocket and crosses the room over to Elliot. "That- what?" The way he describes it all, it sounds… familiar, in a sort of way. "Unhappened? Like…"

Robyn knows something broke, instinctively she understands it. But in the time it took for her to cry out, to recognize that something had gone wrong, it feels like someone cut out about fifteen minutes from the movie.

“Mom?” Matthew’s voice, right up on Robyn, and the scene—not as she remembers is. Even Matthew doesn’t look like he knows how he got to where he is. There’s fear hidden behind wide, concerned eyes. Though as he looks around the room, Robyn feels it’s because he isn’t sure where he is.

"…like someone respliced a film reel?" Robyn swallows, looking over at Richard as she offers him the cloth, rather than applying it directly to him. She suspects he would be rather put off by that himself. Or maybe, it's because she seems rather distracted herself.

“Do you have any idea what he can do?” Kravid asks. It’s rhetorical, she’s going to tell her. “Interdimensional quantum interpolation,” Means absolutely nothing to Robyn. “More colloquially, reality manipulation.”

"There wasn't anyone named…" Eve's comment about not being Richard's sister might normally earn her Robyn's ire and a common to shut it, but instead her eyes widen in surprise. "Oh no. Oh, something is playing with reality like it's a cat toy." And that makes Robyn very uncomfortable.

Chess’ eyes open again as Elliot explains what happened — and didn’t happen — and she looks dumbfounded, looking to Eve, then Richard, and shaking her head.

“What?” is all she can think to say.

Not speaking or trying to make any sense of all that, Nova moves toward the galley to pick up a cloth and wet it with water from the sink. Next, she gets a glass to fill with water — it’s not the clearest water, but it’s clean and not salty, so it’ll do.

These she brings to Elliot, not speaking, but pressing into his hands gently. “I’m going to start us up,” she says, instead, to Jonathan. “Let me know if you need me.”

Everything unhappened. And then there was someone else on the rig— someone who had always been there, but who had definitely not been there.

Rianna Cranston. …Ria Cardinal.

“Ria?” Saffron chokes out quietly in shock but doesn’t follow up with all the protests that she wasn’t there. She couldn’t have been there. She never made it through the crossing. She wasn’t part of the OEI, wasn’t part of the Janus drilling station. Things would have been very different if—

Aunt Rianna, Eve says. That draws them back to the present, together, blue-green eyes on Eve for a moment. There’s a question they can’t quite ask, and while Eve looks to them for answers, they don’t exactly have any. “Michelle Cardinal’s daughter’s name was Rianna. Ria. She lived in the Ark. She didn’t make it through the Crossing.”

But had she died?

With a shake of their head, they look toward the two Natives who kindly picked them up, “I know paper is scarce, but you wouldn’t happen to have anything I can draw with and on, would you?”

Richard draws in a quiet, sharp breath as Elliot cuts off, eyes widening in fear that the worst's just occurred. His fingers curl in against his knee, denim rumpling a bit under the pressure, knuckles whitening as he waits for elaboration. And then…

He recoils back in shock at the explanation given, that held breath escaping in a rush. "W-what? Ria…?"

More details follow. The others begin to theorize around him, with uncertain - or knowing - glances his way. The part of Richard that Eileen once called Schachmeister pushes past the shock of the news and the trauma he's still dealing with to analyze, understand, and handle the information that's just been thrown at him - and do what's necessary.

"…this is a potentially deadly memetic infohazard," he snaps suddenly, straightening up, "Everyone stop thinking about it immediately and focus on something else. Even if you think you know what's going on." A warning glance is shot towards Robyn and Eve, "Especially if you think what's going on."

His gaze sweeps back to Elliot, his confidence slowly building back to its usual outward unshakeability, "I assume they're all getting out safely?"

For Elliot, there’s both relief and confusion in Richard’s question being able to be answered in the affirmative. Mohinder’s request for a medevac is the first priority, and though the immediate chaos seems to have ended, there’s still significant repercussions of what happened at the oil rig. Even more if Elliot considers that he and Wright share distinctly conflicting memories of history. The dissonance makes his rear molars tingle and a chill run down his spine. The misalignment feels like vertigo and tastes like bile in the back of their throats.

“I’m gonna assume that’s… all bad.” Jonathan says with a look back and forth between the others. He takes one look at Chess and offers her a faintly reassuring smile. “Why—why don’t you take over stirring for me. I should probably get up to the wheelhouse and get us moving again anyway. Just drain most of the water out and then mix in the cheese powder packet when—” He cuts himself off and laughs. “The instructions are on the box.” He remembers in a self-chiding moment.

Elliot doesn’t know what to make of the drastically different takes on what’s happened on the other side of the void. He dismisses Eve’s strange theory, seeing as Wright does not remember anyone named Rianna Mas Price. There’s only Rianna Cranston, or Cardinal to those in-the-know. He accepts both Robyn's offered cloth and Nova's wetted one, and begins to clean his face with the latter.

“Yeah,” he says, eyes focused in confusion on Richard. “Everyone’s being lifted out. The intruder is alive, unconscious and detained.”

“But also,” he continues with a bit more lucidity, “what the fuck is a deadly memetic infohazard? I remember things one way and Wright remembers the new version and that conflict is wildly unpleasant to experience, but she has access to all of my memories, and also it’s literally impossible to not think about something when you’re told to stop thinking about it.”

Eve laughs so hard that she turns hoarse and spits blood into her hands. Still, she hoots and hollers and claps her bloodied hand over her mouth to smother the sound before choking out. "Now you believe." Another very hoarse sounding laugh and the decaying corpse of a woman grins with blood stained teeth. "And as if you can stop it once you brought it up! Don't be silly."

"Friend of yours?" Castle's words draw Eve's gaze and she nods faintly, "She plays the name game." What her tone implies now is complete reverence, for her cosmically twisted family.

She takes a moment and gives Elliot a look up and down before she shakes her head, "Nope. Not an option." As if crossing off something from a list in her head. Reconsidering though, Eve lays her hands on her knees and grips them tight. "When things have settled Two Way, if you could have your other half have a conversation with Ria? I would very much like to ask a question before I kick the bucket."

A pause, "I need to connect her with someone."

Eve bows her head before Elliot can decline or say yes, it's clear she's napping when she begins to snore soon after.

Robyn focuses on Richard for just a moment, taking in a deep breath and offering a slow shrug. "And… here I thought it might get better once we got the jump over with," she offers in a low voice. "How foolish of me." Arms fall limp back to her side, and she looks up at the ceiling with just the most frustrated look she can manage on her face. "It's out of mind." Probably easier for her than others, given everything else she has to worry about. "We'd all do well to do the same," is a blatant contradiction of Eve.

"Not that I expect that," is muttered mostly to herself as she turns, still brimming with anger that now migles with frustration and a whole assortment of other negative emotions. She turns and starts towards the steps back up to the deck, not bothering to look back at the others as she goes. It takes a lot for her to not add since I'm surrounded by children, but for once, she manages to restrain herself.

Chess looks back at Jonathan with wide eyes, but nods, only too happy to take the spoon from him to continue to mix the pot of macaroni and cheese. She smiles a little crookedly, glancing down at the blue box, and back up to his kind face.

“We have that in our world too. I’m not much of a cook so I’ve eaten it plenty of times, though mine probably wasn’t past the best-by date except right after the civil war,” she tells him. Still, despite not really needing the directions, she picks up the box to read it thoroughly, because it’ll do to put the topic of Ria-no-Ria out of her mind at least for a few minutes.

Nova’s already disappeared from the cabin. No doubt she and Jonathan will have a few things to discuss once he joins her in the wheelhouse, leaving their guests to themselves.

“Wait— what?” Castle says in confusion at Richard’s announcement and order, obviously confused, and looking around at the others as if trying to figure something out and see how the others are taking it. Some seem to be going along with it easily, but not all of them, and a good part of them doesn’t want to go along with it at all either. In fact, they probably won’t be able to stop thinking about it anytime soon. “I don’t think this has anything to do with— that…” they finally say, quietly, looking toward Richard especially, biting down on their lower lip and exposing a very obvious gap in their front teeth in this particular body.

But this was obviously a topic that would not be discussed easily— and— tensions were already on edge between all of them, so they press a finger against their forehead and whisper something quietly under their breath, and then turn toward Elliot. “The situation is obviously complicated, and I know this is very difficult for you and your link partner. We don’t know what happened. We can only speculate, and speculation isn’t going to get us anywhere… However, when you have a chance, I need your counterpart report to Agent Gates— or Hall— that we have arrived safely. The package is intact. We lost most of our supplies but made contact with our pick-up in Root. We are on our way…”

There’s a pause, and they glance over, where their reflection flashes briefly on the metallic surface of the kitchen area. After a moment, they look back at Elliot, and this time, their eyes are blue again as she says, “And tell Ria that Ronnie says hi.”

That should answer Eve’s question. As she definitely doesn’t sleep.

“Attempting to understand a temporal paradox is a great way of giving yourself an aneurysm, but sure, ignore the crazy guy,” Richard explains as some people listen - and others ignore him - one hand coming up to rub against the bridge of his nose, eyes closing a moment as he works through the tangle of his thoughts.

Then he’s pushing back up, moving towards the steps. “I need to get some air. Thanks for the updates, Elliot.”

The weather outside of the ship mirrors the tension within.

The storm lashes across the ocean, kicking up sea spray and lifting the vessel on great, swelling waves. Seaborne fog obscures the horizon, making the Yeah, Buoy! feel as though it is trapped inside of a snow globe, save that the air is too warm for snow. All that is left is a cold, stinging rain that hammers the ship like nails.

From far enough away it becomes impossible to tell if there is anyone or anything out here on the sea except one tiny vessel and countless crashing waves. As if the whole world were drowned, and everyone and everything were wiped from the surface of the Earth.

In time that may be true.

The Next Day


Crumbling monuments to a dead world emerge through a fog bank like headstones in a graveyard. The first signs of the Pelago of Manhattan are bleak: crumbling ruins of rooftops and slanted skyscrapers sinking into the ocean. Derelict ships are dashed like artificial reefs against rooftops nearly cresting the surface of the water. Among them, the belly-up and rusting hulk of a nuclear submarine encrusted with bird shit and barnacles.

The wind is unrelenting, driving rain and sea spray into the air. Thunder rumbles in the sky and the great storm churning over the ocean turns up the waves in thrashing greeting. Soon, though, between the blinding gusts of rain and howling wind, life presents itself.

The warm amber glow of firelight in remote windows, bamboo scaffolding surrounding the crumbling facades of some buildings. Ships anchored at floating wharves, battened down until the storm can pass. But there are signs of violence, the obliterated stump that once was the Empire State Building, blackened by old flames and the top tumbled down into the sea.

It is the arm of the Statue of Liberty cresting the water that truly serves as a landmark. The Flame of Liberty, covered in graffiti and bird shit, serving as a signpost to travelers in this new world.

Welcome home.

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