Stranger Things


lynette_icon.gif mateo3_icon.gif silvia_icon.gif

Scene Title Stranger Things
Synopsis Silvia learns just how strange things are getting around the Benchmark and her little family.
Date June 3, 2018

Benchmark: Ruiz Family Suite

The Ruiz Family apartment is a welcoming one. The morning sun hits the corner windows of the main room, giving the apartment a warm glow even through the curtains. A couch and coffee table sit opposite an entertainment system that was a //bit of a splurge. But with the collection of movies, music, and games that sit there, it was a good choice for them. Near by, there is a pair of guitar stands, one of them quite small, where Mateo's guitar and his charango live when they're not in use.//

The walls hold a gallery-style grouping of framed pictures. At the center is a panoramic of a beach in Mexico that is, quite frankly, gorgeous. But it also includes a photo from Lynette and Mateo's wedding day, Silvia covered in paint and laughing, the three of them squished together and laughing. And such things to showcase a happy family.

Silvia's artwork is sprinkled around the room as well, enough to show that her parents are proud of her talent and hard work, but not quite enough to be totally embarrassing. It's a delicate balance.

Off the living room, a hallway leads to the family's bedrooms while the other direction opens into a small kitchen.

Life around the Benchmark has been a little hectic lately. Lynette has done what she can to keep most of it from bothering Silvia, but some things she can't have missed. Her father still healing. The security upgrades around the building. Odd people coming and going from the safehouse is more usual. That happened at the facility in Mexico all the time. And every Ferry safehouse she was a part of.

Today Lynette is going over paperwork, swapping between files and a laptop, all of which have taken over the coffee table in the living room instead of her desk downstairs. Since the shooting, she's tried to stay close to Mateo. Even though he has been improving, she's still here. Still frazzled.

The good news flooding the apartment today is the sound of a soft strumming of a guitar. Until now, Mateo hadn't been able to hold the guitar for very long, much less tune it and start playing. It would be a welcome sound for the young teen when she got home from whatever it is young teens do these days.

The strumming isn't really a song so much as just sounds, beats, tempo, but it does carry with it the sounds of the music he used to play in the old safehouses, soft ballads and folky songs.

He had pulled out the guitar in hopes of soothing some of those frazzled nerves of his wife, as he had noticed certain statements, certain anxieties.

Silvia is vaguely aware that there are things going on. It's true, she has been kept from some of it, but it's hard to hide all of the world's troubles and woes away as much as her parents might want to keep it from her.

It's the sound of the guitar that greets her when she returns with a bag of art supplies she'd traded for down at the market—she's gotten good at figuring out where to find them. As she hears the strumming, she makes her way over and plops down on the floor next to the furniture to listen. She doesn't even need a chair, the floor suits her just fine.

It would be hard for most people to tell if the strumming was helping or not, but every so often Lynette looks over Mateo's way with a warmer expression. She might have worried he might not be able to play anymore after the injury, and it is good news that he can now.

But Siliva's entrance gets her attention away from the work more concretely. Her greeting is a smile before she slides the papers into their folders. She glances over at Mateo, brows lifted. Her fingers find the way to a flash drive that hasn't been far from her lately, but the look she gives him is a questioning one.

When the teen sits down and smiles, Mateo glances over his shoulder, still strumming away— and notices her looking back at him. They had talked about this before, with each other. It doesn't take long at all for him to nod. That they were both seeing him return to playing no doubt would ease some of their worries, even if he's just strumming random chords and not actual songs. But then he looks back at Silvia and stops strumming, "«Why don't you sit up here, mi hija.»"

He puts the guitar back into it's case, not showing any sign of pain on his arm or shoulder, thankfully. Maybe he's fully healed now, or maybe healed enough that he can hide it. He hadn't been very good at doing that just a week ago.

Now she's suspicious. Silvia's used to Lynette and Mateo's glances at each other (usually they're a bit more romantic) but this one seems to be a bit of something else entirely. She pushes herself to her feet, moving to take a seat somewhere that she's closer to the both of her parents.

"Is your shoulder feeling better?" She'll focus on that, at least momentarily. She's certain the rest of it will come soon.

Lynette is watching for those signs, for any sign that he is in more pain than he's letting on. But she lets out a sigh when he addresses Silvia. This is a difficult subject, that much is obvious and she doesn't try to hide that from their daughter.

"Okay," she says, twirling the drive between her fingers. She's thought about what to say a lot, when they got to this conversation. All of it sounds crazy, even to her, even though she knows it's true. So, even though she's thought about it, she has no idea how to start this. The wider idea of multiple timelines? Recounting the moment she learned about Ruiz? "Lance and Joe found something," she settles on, "something that is definitely strange. And we don't know that it'll come to anything, but. We think you should know."

She looks at Mateo. Was that okay? Did I sound stupid? "They found a tape with a different verion of your dad and me. And Eve has told us that this other Mateo might be… jesus— hopping timelines." She ends with a tone of defeat, like she's given up trying to make this make sense. Her hands go up in a gesture to match.

As she starts to explain it, Mateo smiles at her and nods. It's a complicated story, in the end, but she started it well enough. "We're not sure if they are going to tell you, but we wanted you to hear it from us as well, even if they did." If they had told her, he might be upset at them, so it would probably be best that they hadn't. He figured she had been busy with school and other things for a time, but now school had finished.

"Apparently there's some other aspects of my ability that we didn't know about, at least when used in combination with other abilities. But yes, since Eve has dreamed of other… otters. She dreams of me as an otter a lot of the time. Swimming in streams not their own, I guess."

That news certainly wasn't what she expected. Silvia blinks for a few minutes. But she's a kid in love with comics. Superheroes and timelines and that stuff certainly make sense, but they aren't something she expected to be an actual thing. Much less something Lance and Joe found.

"Of course it would be them, they have all the fun." She snickers a little bit, making light of things before turning serious. "So there's actual time travelers? There's another Dad who's time traveling? Oh man, I'd kill to see what I'm like in another timeline." She pauses. "Well, no, not actually kill. Just the expression." She looks towards Mateo. "Yeah, I talked with Eve once and she did mention you being an otter. She's a little…" She tries to find a nice word and gives up. "Anyway, this is a weird thing but kind of cool. We should have a code word, that way if we run into someone who looks like one of us we can be sure it's actually us."

"Oh, there's definitely time travelers," Lynette says, with obvious relief that Silvia reacts so easily, "but this is more complicated than that, even. This is timelines branching off— Okay, for example. Back before the war, there was a group of time travelers, they came back to prevent their own future. So we're on a timeline that took down the Institute and had a war to help Evolved rights. But their original timeline was different. The Institute grew in power and influence and the fight was long and hard and devestating. Two worlds. That moment when the Ferry went on the offensive took this world in a different direction. But if you could imagine that first one still existing. A version of me and you and your dad and all of us living through a world where the Ferry stayed hidden instead. We can't see that world, they can't see us, but somehow… this other Mateo can open a doorway and step out of one and into another."

Lynette pauses, thinking back over that, as if double checking to make sure it makes sense. Ultimately, she nods, though. "We… might help him, if it turns out he comes this way. So you might be right to have a codeword. In the war we had a lot of call-and-response codes. I'd say a phrase to you and you'd know to reply with a specific reply. Anyone who didn't know to reply or how to reply wasn't with us."

She doesn't mention what happened to people who weren't with us.

The Ferry had had codes even down in Mexico, but they hadn't been at war exactly. Not in the same way. "If you did see someone you know who doesn't seem to recognize you, or in the case of me and your mom, don't know the codeword, you should turn to sand and come find us immediately." But that isn't a code word. They still need to come up with one. Something for their little family.

What's something only the three of them would think of. "Maybe we could use my birthday present from the two of you? The statue, lightning captured in sand."

It was something personal, something meaningful. And it would have to be a pretty recent branch for another Mateo to know about it.

"Alright, so we have some time travelers already… this is pretty crazy." Silvia seems to be lost in thought for a moment. "I mean, it's neat to think about but we're okay unless they come here for something and then we need to figure out if they're good guys or bad guys."

She nods. "That's a good idea. The birthday present would be really unique and probably not something anyone else would know. But I'll be careful."

"Believe me, it was crazy at the time. One of them could give us dreams of our memories from the future us. Or their best facsimile of our future selves' memories. I suppose to prompt us into changing things." Lynette hasn't ever talked much about those dreams. Mostly because hers were awkward. Until the one where she died. She doesn't even like to think about that particular tidbit.

She looks over at Mateo, his idea getting a nod. "That'd be good. One of us could ask for a reminder of your last birthday present, and the response would need to reference the statue." None of the three of them would forget about that present, so the question was unlikely to come up in normal conversation.

"If I had to guess something off the top of my head, I would probably think you got me a book or something music-based," Mateo admits, to give a heads up what another him might have assumed. After all those would all be good presents for him, something someone could have gotten him. A guitar, a book, sheet music, anything.

He never would have imagined the statue that they had given him, which made him love it all the more. Cause it was them. All completely and truly them. And just as beautiful as they two of them.

He reaches over, grabbing the young teen and pulling her closer into a half hug so that he can kiss the top of her head. He would like to believe that every him would have someone like her, but he also knew they had found each other under very specific circumstances. That may not be replicated in every world.

Silvia grins sheepishly as she's pulled in for the head kiss. She wraps an arm around him to squeeze him back as she looks between the two of them. "As long as the time travelers don't try and mess with our little family, they can do what they want. Unless they're trying to destroy the world or something dumb like that. I mean, that always happens in the movies and if there is time travel what's to say that can't happen here?"

She grins. "But I'm the underdog so that means I come out on top no matter what happens. No one expects me to win."

Lynette smiles warmly as Mateo gives Silvia a hug and kiss, for that moment her worries might as well not be there. Maybe it won't last, but it's a good moment. Good enough that she can go without thinking about having a drink.

"I'd like to think any version of Mateo would be as kind-hearted as ours is." No mention of other hers. She has less faith in them. "But always good to be prepared. You both will be safe here. So your dad's right. Someothing weird happens, fall back here. You can tell your friends, too. We've made this place more secure over the last few weeks. So that's the plan. Trouble happens, we all come here and regroup. Decide how we're going to handle it." They both have seen how she protected the other Benchmark facility. It's likely to be the same here. Similar, at least.

Those last words get a crooked smile, though, and she reaches over to ruffle Silvia's hair. "That's my girl."

"I'd like to think that all mes would be good people…" But at the same time, Mateo also knew that part of him had been willing to work with Vanguard and take the name Hati. Who knew what another him might be like, what other Hatis had become. Had some of them never left Vanguard? He didn't really want to meet one who embraced the name Hati.

Especially considering he knew what his ability could be capable of.

"But yeah, just go seek us out, maybe warn your friends. We'll deal with anything that comes our way together." As a family.

"I'm sure any version of Dad would be kind-hearted, but there's the difference between being kind-hearted and on someone's side. There's a lot you'll do for someone you care about that you might not for some ordinary person. I mean, I get bonus points because I'm not an adult and most people have a soft spot for kids."

Silvia looks between the two of them. "But it's a good idea to make plans if something happens. If something happens I'll come back here, I'll bring Joe and Lance and whomever else needs to come. But if you guys don't show up, I'm gonna mount some kind of rescue plan, you know that, right?"

There's a moment where Lynette obviously wants to tell Silvia she's not to even think about doing something that reckless. But she stops herself. "Then that means this summer we're buckling down and practicing more."

She looks at the flash drive in her hand, then back over to Silvia. "Do you want to see it? The video? Kaylee made us a copy. You don't have to, but if you want to."

"Practice doesn't hurt, definitely. Lynette's a very good teacher," Mateo responds with a smile. They used to go down to the beach back in Mexico and practice a lot, they haven't as much here, but it had helped him hone his ability enough to use it for things like… grabbing something across the room. Not too often, but often enough.

Sadly he can never use it to get the remote without frying it, though.

He nods at the possibility of her seeing the video, should she want to. It's not scary, at least not the video version they saw.

"I'm super cool with practicing. I'd like to get better and I know the boys have offered to help. Joe was all about trying to make a maze for me to get through with sand." Silvia beams, then looks at the flash drive. She seems to think about it for a long moment.

"Yeah, it'd be cool to see it. I mean, I doubt they look really different from the two of you but it'd be interesting to see what they're like."

"I'm actually a very mean teacher. No fun mazes. Drills. Repeating something until you can do it without thinking. So Joe can be in charge of the fun challenges, if you like." Lynette pops open the flash drive and slides it into her laptop. It doesn't take long to get it to start playing. The video goes through Magnes and Ruiz and their own style of practice, expanding Ruiz's use of his ability. Eventually, it gets to a bigger group. Lynette is there. She looks mostly the same, but tired and haggered. Like she hasn't had enough food in years. Like she hasn't been sleeping. The experiment goes wrong, that much is clear, and Lynette in the video starts to turn to electricity as she reaches out to pull the power out of Ruiz's portal.

There is also a good amount of creative cursing from behind the camera before the whole rig goes zipping into the portal. Landing here, in their world.

…Mateo had forgotten how much the guy he doesn't even recognize cursed until it started playing again. The first and only time he'd watched it he had been too distracted by another him to think too much about that. "Don't speak English like that guy," he points out, before he watches with much more distance than he had before.

Now that he watched it again, he wondered if the other him had even been okay after all of that. He only had two other instances of someone using their ability on his and— it had not been pleasant. "From what we understand, they were trying to escape that world, but we don't know if they did. And it's possible that the two in the video, the Magnes and the women in the second one, might be from here originally." Or that's how he understood it.

Silvia watches intently, trying to piece together the scenario from the context. She's momentarily distracted by the swearing only because Mateo brought it up, and she chuckles lightly before focusing. Mateo's explanation of what he thinks is going on helps as she puzzles it through.

"Yeah, I'd wager that's some timeline jumping alright. It definitely sounds like they were trying something and seemed somewhat desperate in their intent. I mean, I dunno what happened with all of it, but I hope they're all alright, wherever they are."

"It's a lot to speculate on," Lynette says. She has her own guesses. Unpleasant ones pieced together from videos and paintings and her own knowledge of herself. "But we don't have a lot of facts yet. We just wanted you to be prepared in case something strange happens."

Because if they do make it here, there's no telling what they'll bring with them. She might believe that Ruiz is a good man, but unless he's coming alone, there's no telling how it will unfold.

"And in case we have to protect your father," she adds. If one Ruiz can jump timelines, someone might get the idea to try it with theirs. And Lynette isn't having that.

"I'm not going anywhere, I promise you both that. You're stuck with me." Mateo responds simply, just so they both know he has no intention of testing his ability to find out if he can jump from this timeline to another. As far as he is concerned this is his best possible world, why would he want to find another?

Leaning back over to kiss first his daughter and then his wife on the hair, he stands up and says, "Now that I'm feeling better, who wants an actual song?" Cause he does.

As he's sure there will be a positive response, he picks the guitar back up and sits back down.

To play and sing a song. One that he knows the two both like, from previous experiences playing.

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