The Broken Mirror


aman_icon.gif bf_cassandra_icon.gif kaylee6_icon.gif odessa4_icon.gif richard4_icon.gif

Also Featuring:


Scene Title The Broken Mirror
Synopsis After the aversion of near disaster, the question of what to do with what they've learned remains.
Date March 29, 2021

Raytech Industries Campus

Pride Residence

7:55 pm

It's a fucking nightmare in here, if only for the implications of what's happened. Medical's on their way up from across campus, but the people living in these buildings had a much shorter sprint to the scene of …

whatever you call this.

Cassandra's blackened tears have been soaked into a kitchen towel, the likes of which is serving double duty as a dam against a nosebleed, so she looks better than she likely did even minutes ago, sitting propped against a wall with Aman crouched before her, checking her sight for mundane reactions as much as confirming they're not about to go golden again. His hand falls to his thigh and he turns his head when the handle of the front door twists and the door opens in on the open floorplan of the apartment void of most of its furniture while the others stand on its side.

A single, abandoned chair sits in the middle of the living room.

And practically in the corner beyond that, phone still in hand, a knife on the floor beside her, is Odessa.

"I am so fucking sorry," Aman apologizes before the door has even had the opportunity to open enough to see who is on the other side.

As it happens, Richard was half-way to the apartment before his phone rang, and he’s answering it at about the same moment that he’s shoving the door open and stepping inside. He’s dressed in black dress pants and a white undershirt, which suggests he was probably about half-way changing when something got his attention.

It’s probably the something that has his shadow churning with an ominously ashen edge, really.

“What the hell are you all doing in here,” he demands, eyes wide and wild (and black as midnight, as it turns out for those unused to seeing him without his glasses that he appears to have no iris but only pupil), looking around the room. Cassandra in a state, Odessa near a knife, Aman apologizing. Somehow he’s not surprised by any of what he’s seeing.

He’s mostly just surprised Eve isn’t also here..

Odessa’s head lifts when her door opens, her own (very clear) tears streaming down her face. “This wasn’t supposed to happen.” There’s horror in her expression, complete and abject terror for whatever’s taken place here. She stares up at Richard and it’s clear she wants to reach for him, but she sees the state he’s in.

“Aman.” Odessa’s voice lifts in a warning. “Aman, you have to shut it off. Now.” She knows what she’s looking at, and she knows her friend won’t know how to process any of it. “You need to give it back to me.” Even though she’s addressing him, her eyes have stayed glued to Richard.

It isn’t Richard she’s afraid of. She isn’t even afraid of the powers that have grafted themselves to him. “You don’t know what that’s going to do to you,” she insists again of her ability. Suddenly, she’s so helpless and small. Ashamed. But if she doesn’t explain, Amanvir will. Her voice lowers to a desperate whisper.

She was in my head.

Whatever happened, it seems it’s mostly over except for the crying.

There will inevitably be a lot of that.

Cassandra sits on her spot on the floor, really not moving much more than necessary, continually wiping her face, folding it over to find a clean spot, and wiping it again. It’s mechanical at this point, really. She’s got a very pronounced hole in her memory that she very much should not have, and isn’t really sure how to process this.

Richard’s arrival, Odessa’s comments, and Aman’s instant apology for events that had transpired are taken in without note, and only after Odessa is done does she speak. “Here’s the bullet points, Richard. It’s good to see you, by the way. Aman,” she nods towards the other gentleman, “tracked down a rumor in the markets about someone who could read the past from objects and, lo and behold, discovered me in my bakery. Out of the goodness of my heart and knowing that I really shouldn’t, I decided to help out. A quick trip here followed, and once I started digging, lots of really, really messed up things that I do not understand happened. Thrown in a dash of chaos, dismay, and a sacrifice on top of a pyramid burned into a copper disk emblazoned with the face of the sixteenth president of the United States, and you get what you see in front of us.”

She wipes her face again. “I’m sorry.” She says, lamely, knowing that whatever she has to offer will be miniscule at the very best. “I had no idea.”

It isn’t long after Richard arrives that Kaylee shows up, dressed in leggings and a sweatshirt. She’d been pouring over information when she was summoned. The scene before her brings her to a stop just inside the door, a questioning look passes from one person to the other.

Kaylee almost looks uncertain who to go to first.

“The fuck happened here,” asks a heavily accented voice behind her. While she’s been indecisive, Bob has arrived looking none too pleased. When he sees who’s in there, his lips purse even further in annoyance and pushes past the blonde to crouch next to Cassandra. “You’re alright?”

Kaylee looks at Aman finally with intense worry and something else under the surface of all that concern, before turning that concern towards her brother. “Richard.” His name is spoken as a warning… just in case.

Richard's suddenly here, bringing a new slew of emotions with him— and Aman really should have anticipated that. His head turns in his direction but he's not able to answer, staring blankly at jesus what the fucking christ those vampire eyes while also trying to figure out what else is going wrong in his own head, why it's suddenly muddied worse and getting to a point he can't function.

Odessa's warning barely reaches him, but it does. He lowers his head in focus, fumbling to find the lock he needs to turn, the spigot he needs to shut off, fighting against the resistance of it. Mentally, he shoves his shoulder into the door he closes off, releasing a sigh of something like relief when the encroaching additional emotions are also shut out.

Aman cycles back and away from Cassandra when Bob enters the room, coming to his feet and rubbing a hand on his neck as he finishes getting himself back together, distracted but no longer disoriented.

"There was a penny with Adam Monroe's experiences psychometrically written on it," he announces without looking at anyone, said penny nowhere in sight now. "We went back far enough in the memories that he was fucking possessed or something by this thing he and the Company were terrified of, and a— horrible fucking interaction of abilities happened. Cassandra was channeling it, reliving it, and with Odessa's ability…"

He starts to turn to pace in one direction or another, but he doesn't want to leave, and he doesn't want to get closer to Odessa, so he shifts in agitation before finally looking to Richard. "She said she was mirroring the emotions like a fucking looking glass." He looks to Kaylee next. "They were on some roof trying to get rid of it with a fucking portal in the sky, and maybe it fucking worked— but maybe it also fucking didn't, because…"

In agitation, he brings his hand to his forehead, trying to avoid pointing, but he can't help but gesture to Cassandra at this point. "It fucking came through her and she had goddamned gold eyes and started talking not herself."

All this is new, nearly contextless information for him, but he imagines somehow this might make significantly more sense to Kaylee and Richard.

“It’s good to see you and I’m glad you’re still alive and I don’t blame you for any of this, Cassandra,” says Richard with a little shake of his head to the woman’s apologies, drawing in a slow breath as he listens to the explanations, one hand coming up to pinch the bridge of his nose as if to fend off an oncoming headache.

Too late, really, it’s already here.

“I could feel reality breaking open from across the building, Kaylee,” he says tightly in response to his sister’s warning, “If they didn’t cut her off, Uluru might have…” Whatever he thinks the entity might have done he doesn’t elaborate, trailing off as he brings a hand up.

“Aman, you’re out of time on deciding if you want to be involved with all this bullshit. Too late. Now you’re involved,” he says, then turns on Odessa, brow knitting in consternation and a bit of anger, “But you. Of all of you here, you should have known better! Zero precautions? In secret? In your apartment?”

Your memories are dangerous enough, but Monroe’s?”

“They— They were just memories,” Odessa protests, shrinking away from Richard’s justified anger, but her heart isn’t in it. Still, she’s shaking, still crying. “He told me… He told me if something worse than death happened to him, I had to get the penny to someone who could unlock it.” There’s no defense she can mount that can excuse this, and she knows it. “I didn’t think this could happen. How could I?

Huddling in tightly on herself, Odessa wraps one arm around the tent of her knees. The other hand rests listlessly at her side. Not far from the knife she’d grabbed from the block in her kitchen. The fact that it isn’t one of those she carries in her boots means she wasn’t expecting any form of altercation from this situation.

“He said I could save— Everyone I’ve ever known. Everyone I’ve ever cared about. He said I could save them, if I just—” Her nails rake through the plush pile of the carpet beneath her hand. “I wanted so badly to believe him,” Odessa admits in a small voice, hiccupping once from her tears. “I wanted to believe I could… do good. Do something right.

She folds in on herself further, deflated. Dispirited. Broken hearted. “I thought I could help my sister.”

Cassandra stays small and quiet for the moment, trying to remember if she felt anything when the golden eyes flashed for the first time, in the memory before the final one. How could any of them have known what was locked in that little tidbit of information Cassandra had scanned? The past is generally simple - sure, there are revelations to be had from the most mundane of things, but this? This seems to be one of those moments after you’ve jumped off the cliff and are too late to do anything else. They’re on a trajectory and, where it ends, Cassandra has no idea.

“I’m fine, Bob. Mostly. I think?” It’s not a very strong statement as she draws a shuddering breath. “I just got overwhelmed with what I was seeing and fell out of the chair. Too much strain from Caspar’s penny, which wasn’t very pleasant at the best of times.” A glance to Aman. “Whatever the golden eyed thing was which I don’t even remember happening.”

That’s the part that disturbs her the most.

“Depends on what he meant when he told you that.” Cassandra says to Odessa, the thought coming out of the blue. “I don’t know anything about this Monroe guy, except for what I just saw, but he seems a few pins short of a frame. And long-lived, which I have no idea how that works, and possessed by something controlling his actions. Or making him think he’s in control by subtly manipulating him. Depending on what he meant when he said ‘save everyone you ever knew?’” She tries to get to her feet, struggles, and fails, deciding that the floor is the best place to stay right now. “He could have just been telling you what he wanted you to hear. It’s why when I do my thing, I don’t sugar coat it. I don’t show parts. You get the whole thing I see and get to pick the context out. It’s too easy to mess with people if I do that.”

There is a grunt of disbelief from Bob, but he straightens and rights the fallen chair, before offering a callused hand to help Cassandra stand.

You…” Kaylee points to Odessa, “…should have suspected that if you’re viewing Adam’s memories there was a possibility, because she reaches out from just about anything she can imprint on. You’re not inexperienced in her, like these two.” She doesn’t sound angry, just… disappointed and very very worried about them all.

Kaylee turns her attention to Aman with a sad and apologetic look, “I tried to keep you away from this, but… seems you found your way there anyhow.” A glance is sent first to Odessa and then her brother, before she says, “That golden eyed thing is something we’ve faced a few times now. For me most recently, it was a boat in the Atlantic. That’s… that’s around when Silas went missing…” A night that still haunts her.

“The event you described, I’ve seen through various post-cogs. It’s the night that the Company banished that thing back to the void,” Kaylee explains softly to Aman and Cassandra, before focusing on Odessa. “If that is what he wanted you to see, Odessa? That didn’t work and won’t work and it didn’t work when Adam sent her there the first time, either. Nor did making everyone forget work. She will always find a way and it’s going to be up to us to figure up the right way or she’ll just come back again and again.”

Aman recoils when it's abruptly declared he's involved. No, that's crazy— he—

But he stands gobsmacked nonetheless for several long seconds afterward, wildly taken aback by the forcefulness floating around from the siblings Ray. It's when Kaylee turns back to him that a little bit of life comes back to him, a little more than just shock living in his eyes.

Despite himself, he finds himself shaking his head. "Before stumbling across Auntie Badtouch With The Gold Eyes, there seemed to be a point in time the memories were working back toward. Something to do with a discovery Colin Price made, maybe why he died. He and the knowledge he had were a threat to it, it sounded like. Whatever he found was potent but dangerous." He can't believe he's suggesting this, because he'd rather see the thing shoved down Odessa's shirt burned, but… "Maybe giving Des the penny was fucking bait, but what if it wasn't? All the memories stripped supposedly had something to do with Project Looking Glass, but none of the memories we even touched mentioned it again after we saw them get pulled out of his head. All the rest just kind of pointed to this guy's death absolutely fucking over their plan to fight the— the whatever the fuck."

With a sigh of frustration, Aman mutters, "Maybe if Des isn't there, none of that chain reaction shit will pop off again if we can try it later— somehow safer." His voice lifts as he looks back to Kaylee. "Because if this is fucking important, shit that no one knows because Des's dad's dead and Adam Monroe's a psychopath…"

Aman's conviction suddenly wavers again as he remembers he doesn't want to be involved. He goes as far as taking a step back to belatedly (and failingly) enforce that distance. "I don't know."

Just memories? They didn’t erase ten years of everyone’s memory and rewrite their lives just because Arthur was a control freak!” He was, of course, but that’s not Richard’s point, “And the last time we went on a stroll through your memories— I’m surprised you all didn’t end up on the, the fucking Price is Right or something like that…”

He draws in a long, slow breath, trying to rein his anger in, closing his eyes and rocking back on his heels for a moment. “I know… I know you meant to, Des, but… but god…”

There’s silence for a long moment from the CEO. They don’t really understand why he’s angry. They can’t. Nobody in this room does. Unless he explains to him.

“We…” He starts to speak, then it dies, and he brings one hand up to rub over his face, his eyes. His shades are back in his room. Softly, “We only have one year left before the world ends. Unless we can stop it. We can’t… take risks like this without talking to each other. Any of us.”

“No!” Odessa insists, unclear at first of what she’s responding to in the negative. She shakes her head and indulges in a moment of hard crying. Could he have possibly meant to lead her straight into this? “No,” she whispers again after a long moment. “He didn’t lie to me.” It could be like Cassandra said — that he was being manipulated, completely unaware of what he’d set her up for. But in her heart, she doesn’t feel that.

“He’d looked at his penny. He’d unlocked his memories. If they had been controlling him, they wouldn’t have needed to take him at Detroit. I didn’t think” Odessa braces against the no, you didn’t think, but attempts to pivot to avoid it. “They took Eve, they took Adam… What could they possibly want from me? I

Odessa falls silent, trying finally to get her tears under control. She listens to Richard. Really listens. She looks up again, faint streaks of make-up having run down her face in spite of the waterproof liner and mascara. The world is going to end and there is no bigger player on the field than Uluru.

“Adam said I was the only one he could trust.” Odessa looks now to Kaylee, expecting her of all people to understand the gravity of that statement. “He said between the penny, my sister’s ability, and my brain, I could put it all together.” Briefly, Aman claims her attention and her guilt churns over in her stomach. She’s the one who got him into this. All of it. If she’d never formed that accidental link with him, he’d have gone back to his life and known nothing about this secret world.

“Alright…” Letting out a deep exhale, those blue eyes shift back to Richard as she finally reaches up to start wiping the tears from her face. “If we’re talking to each other, then I have an idea.”

With Bob’s help, Cassandra settles into the seat nearest to her, giving the man a nod of thanks as Richard shares news of the potential end of the world which, to be fair, wasn’t the first time she’s gone through something like this. Her nose, thankfully, has stopped bleeding but her eyes are still quite bloodshot from the ordeal she went through just a few minutes prior. Slumping in the chair, Cassandra’s head rocks back to bonk soundlessly against the back of the chair. Again and again. Gentle taps to hopefully jar some thoughts loose.

“I take it escaping to somewhere else isn’t an option in this case.” Cassandra finally says, the tone of her voice flat. “Not that I would if given the chance. I rather like it here, in fact. It’s where all my friends are, after all. So…” She glances to Richard, then to Kaylee and Aman, and then her gaze firmly settles on Odessa. “What can we do to prevent this? There has to be something we can do.”

Bob gives a nod to Cassandra before heading to the door to wait for the medical team to show up, it’s a good thing, because he misses Richard’s little proclamation.

It is like a knife to the gut for Kaylee. Eyes shut and squeeze tight for a moment against the sharp sting of pain. Before she finally says with irritation, “God damn it… how many times are we going to have to do this?”

Save the world that is.

It isn’t a real question, just a moment of frustration for the former telepath. Though the irritated look thrown his way says they will have a chat about this… But… she tucks that aside for the current problem. Focusing on the three, Kaylee frowns conflicted, but then she says simply, “You can’t trust him, Odessa.” It was hard for her to say it, after they had both known him and trusted him. “That thing uses people to manipulate the world in the way it needs. It gave my father his ability… I’m certain of it. Gave it to him and used him to push us where it needed us to be.”

But did he see the end of the world coming? Kaylee looks at Richard wondering, though she doesn’t voice the question.

Looking back to Odessa, Kaylee says apologetically, “We can’t trust anything a man - manipulated by that thing - says. Even if his past could show us so much, each time you do it, you risk that thing coming after you. It lives in that space where all space and time meets… So any time a pre or post cog looks it runs the risk of catching its attention.”

Aman has been standing off to the side with the knuckles of his thumbs pressed firmly against the sides of his nose in an attempt to relieve the sheer sense of overwhelmedness at all the little giant revelations flitting through the air right now.

One world-altering bombshell after the other. He doesn't even question the nature of the shit being said— ask for any kind of validation— because this was all coming from people who just took it at face value they nearly accidentally summoned an Entity into the apartment.

This is fine. Everything's fine.

His eyes are bleary and unfocused as he lowers both hands from the sides of his head. This was bad enough when it was dark Company secrets bullshit. Handling the rest of this feels— beyond him.

He doesn't even know where to direct any of his snappish energy. Should Odessa have known better, should Aman have intervened more firmly sooner, should Cassandra have had the good sense to stop after the first time she was possessed through the penny… it's a comedy of errors in here, and Aman thinks to himself it's Bob who's the lucky one out in the hall now.

"Jesus Christ," he whispers faintly to himself.

"I'm sorry," Aman finally chokes out in an involuntary laugh. "This is just so… incredibly… fucked."

“You’re not wrong. Welcome to the party. Sit down and have some whiskey,” Richard sighs out at Aman’s quite understandable outburst of near-hysteria, giving him the best advice he’s got on how to deal with it. “And we’re— we’re working on it. We have two extinction-level events we’re trying to prevent at the moment, and that’s not even counting whatever Uluru decides to hit us with next.”

He glances to his sister, saying quietly, “It also gave him the ability to beat it. If he realized what was happening.” He believes, even now, in Edward Ray.

Looking back to Odessa and Cassandra, he grimaces in frustration, “I’ve got no doubt that there’s valuable information on that penny, but all of it’s for nothing if that bitch turns the Raytech Campus into a singularity. What’s your idea?”

Even though Richard’s asked her a question, Odessa’s eyes are on Kaylee for a long moment, quelling the urge to mount some defense for Adam Monroe of all people. A small voice in the back of her mind — one she recognizes as her own for a change — muses that maybe this was finally how he intended to pay her back for separating him from Kaylee in the first place. He always said if he ever found her, he’d kill her. Now, she has this penny of his, and maybe only the likes of Edward Ray knows what nearly happened to her.

Why would anyone trust you anyway?

More tears are wiped away when she watches Aman grapple with this shift in his reality. She wonders when each of the others had those moments. Odessa was born into this world. More and more, she’s beginning to question if she was born to live for the moment she just passed. The next moment coming down the line. To be found in some DHS holding facility sometime in the next three years.

The pawn just has to make it to the other side of the chessboard in order to be crowned queen.

Odessa lifts her head and regards Richard again. “I’ve read and asked people about Detroit. What happened there, the technology in play… It sounds like the same sort of tech that was used by the Institute at Natazhat.” Her blonde head tilts to one side slowly while she paws more wetness away from her face. “It sounds a lot like what they have in play at Rikers, too.”

If you catch my drift. “If we build a better mousetrap, maybe we can contain her. Rig up a cell, set me inside like I’m a piece of cheese…” Odessa shrugs one shoulder. “Let Cassandra draw from the penny again. This time, I let her in and she has nowhere to go.” Now, her shoulders sag. “God, if I hadn’t lost my ability… I could’ve just—” The hypothetical won’t solve anything. Looking down at her hands, her eyes come back to Richard without lifting her head. “They kept her contained for a time, the Company. They did it somehow. We can do it too.”

This is so very far above Cassandra’s pay grade that she might as well be in pre-school at this point. It’s a lot to take in, after all. Being told that the world is teetering on the edge of two precipices at the same time, with active mediation going on to keep it from going over the edge, plus the golden-eyed demon that might be a third is enough to make a normal person start to hyperventilate. She very nearly does, too, resting her head on the back of the seat she’s in, a chill going down her spine and settling somewhere between her hips, ominous in her belly.

“As the path to the cheese in this particular situation,” Cassandra says to the room, her gaze sweeping the inhabitants and settling on Odessa again. “What are the chances that this… thing…will give up the reins once it’s taken hold of me? It wants a way to this world and thinking we’re smarter than it just gives it the chance it needs when it heads in a direction we weren’t expecting it to go. From the visions, it’s been here for thousands of years, in people, doing whatever the hell it’s doing. It’s very powerful and very annoyed at being stuck wherever it is. If we do this, you better have some kind of fail safe ready to bring a building down on its head rather than letting it out to add a third precipice to dangle over.”

“Absolutely not,” Kaylee snaps out, shutting down Odessa’s idea right away, before anyone can go too much further down that rabbit hole. It’s not out of anger, it’s out of concern and fear for Odessa and Cassandra.

Kaylee looks between both women. "What part of she's in all space and all time makes you think we can contain her so easily? She’s out there and in there too.” Which is confusing saying it outloud, but doesn’t mean it’s not true. “I hate to break it to you, she wasn't truly contained when the Company tried to contain her and probably not fully when Adam did it either. A part of her lived in my head and probably Edward's… let's not forget probably you, too.” she points out to Odessa, remembering the other had voices too.

“She may still be out there in the body of Adam Monroe - according to Eve - but she is in that place, too," Kaylee says looking at her brother again, brows furrowed. “Probably pushing us towards the end of the world.” The entity didn’t seem to be stopping it either.

Aman's head turns in Kaylee's direction over the force of her tone first, and stays that way owing to the sanity she speaks. Tiptoeing around the Bad Time was already dangerous enough— inviting it in seemed suicidal.

It also feels wildly outside his place to provide such commentary, though.

He looks back to Odessa, inputting much more quietly, "Maybe we try to actively avoid putting either of you in danger." The hand presently hanging off the side of his neck slips free and comes to swing down by his side. The rest of this is too much for him to even though.

“Abso— ” Richard starts to say at the exact same time as his sister, cutting himself off to let her finish. He grimaces, stating, “You are not expendable - neither is Cassandra - and imprisoning it in the literal void didn’t work so I don’t think I can build a cell that’ll do that very well. I appreciate your respect for our tech, but it’s not that good yet.”

A slow breath, “What did you get before you triggered its trap? Anything?”

It feels insurmountable, just how defeated she feels. “There has to be something. I…” Odessa shakes her head, forlorn. Then, a moment of clarity. “That thing we call the Catalyst,” she says in a quiet voice. “It’s like my mother. She is like my mother. Inanna…” Her brow furrows, eyes falling shut as she recalls the overwhelming sense of horror, loss, desperation. “She was… inside of? Part of Ishi Nakamura? All of that on the rooftop, where the Company fought to contain Uluru… They wanted their— Their family? Their daughter?”

Odessa heaves a heavy sigh, completely at a loss for how to explain herself. “I felt their pain, Richard. I— I saw Inanna die. And when she did, she became something else. It’s like she — her soul - something, — left her and joined with someone else.” A flash of frustration and fear has her crying anew, suddenly curling in and around herself briefly before she’s able to rein in the intensity of her emotion with a full-body shudder and a hard exhale to go with it.

“What I wouldn’t give for a chance to put my head together with Walter Renautas’ right now.” The distraught blonde makes another futile attempt at drying her eyes. “My father saw something that— He learned something that nearly broke him. I need to know what that was. That’s what I learned before” An attempt at a steadying breath is choked down. “They chose me.” It’s a plea to be understood. She keeps coming back to it. “I don’t know why, but it’s me. What happened at the Ark Everything. It all leads back to—”

Another emphatic shake of her head in the hope of dislodging some answer tucked away in the recesses of her mind proves to be in vain. “Maybe it’s something my father did. Maybe… Maybe what they did with Jac? Maybe I was a test run. It was my father’s project.” Pressing her lips together, Odessa finally wills herself to just stop talking and stop trying to make sense of it all for sixty goddamn seconds.

Sitting quietly in her claimed seat, Cassandra wishes that it would open up and swallow her. The headache she’s been fighting off has really started to sink its teeth in now that all this is being discussed. Hopefully keeping very, very still will mitigate the pain some.

“I can give you a full briefing of what we saw up until Golden Eyes showed up.” Cassandra turns her head slightly to look at Richard, glancing at Odessa and Aman before continuing. “The issue with being a conduit for memories is that I rarely have the whole story, so there may be some stuff you recognize that Aman and Odessa might not.” And with that, she begins recounting the previous two hours of study that went on inside Caspar’s Penny, and Cassandra’s training as a researcher finds its time to shine here.

Drawing close to the of the tale, Cassandra’s eyes are closed. Grimacing and ramrod straight, she rests her head on the chair behind her. “So the last one we saw? I got glimpses, obviously, but the last memory is 99% those two, though. Once it…arrived. Once we got its attention and it decided to visit, I remember sitting in the chair, and then the next second being on the floor needing a new shirt. God, I still feel it in my head….like someone rearranged all the furniture in strange ways, rummaging about.”

“God what I wouldn’t give to have my ability right this moment,” Kaylee finally blurts out with a heavy sigh after Cassandra is done going over what they all saw from the penny. It was one thing to have someone describe it all, it was another to see it.

Kaylee glances at Odessa, before looking at her brother with concern. “It made all of us - or at least the part of us that make us… well, extra. And as long as we all live, so will it?” Fingers brush through her hair and she sighs. “Jesus.”

It sounded crazy to Kaylee just saying it outloud.

“Arthur is right. Even I’m not willing to go the genocide route,” Kaylee says softly. “Do we even have an inkling of what your father was working on?” She looks to Odessa for that answer. “It was clearly enough for it to go after him.” She remembered the bloody scene from her friend's memory.

"That's the piece of information we're missing out of all of this," Aman interjects, hand hanging off the back of his neck again. He'd started pacing idly to regulate himself during the CliffNotes presentation. "Adam Monroe knew, and he knew what was discovered— the end-result. And whatever it was? I think it was a better option than genocide. Because genocide was the back-up plan to their back-up plan."

He frowns, looking back in Richard's direction even if he can only keep him in the corner of his eye. "If this is that fucking important, maybe it's worth a second look. Not now obviously, but…"

At some point. Maybe soon. You know, with the ends of the world looming and all.

“Monroe’s first, second, and third plans were all genocide,” Richard snaps back, “Do you think that Detroit was the first time he tried this? Because it’s not. His plan in Detroit wasn’t even a bad one, honestly, if he hadn’t picked such a large population center for it…”

He exhales a heavy sigh, nodding at Cassandra’s explanation and Aman’s insistence, “We… will need to look into it further, yes, but not haphazardly and not right now. “ He motions a hand towards Odessa, “I’ll ask Renautas to stop by. If he can unearth anything more about your father’s project, Umbra, it might be invaluable.”

Odessa’s been silent for the duration of Cassandra’s explanation. Hearing it again has made her pensive, but her head lifts when Kaylee asks her question. Caught off guard, she finds she still has an easy answer for it. “My father was working on the Umbra project which eventually…” Blue eyes cast down again. “Eventually, Jac was subject to.”

She’d like to believe that sin wouldn’t have been her father’s, if he’d been alive to oversee his project. It’s the second part of her answer, however, that has Odessa lighting up suddenly. “The other project he was working on was something called Tartarus.” She smiles with disbelief at her sudden revelation. “Richard.” Turning her attention to him, she’s got that gleam in her eye that she always seems to get when she’s latched on to some idea or other, some lead.

Tartarus is the realm where the Titans of Greek legend were kept. It was a prison.

The second revelation hits her like a truck. The light of excitement gutters and dies. All she’s left with is a sense of emptiness. Betrayal. Concern. More bloody questions. “Did— Is that what they were doing on that rooftop? Was that Tartarus?” That’s a fear she can wrestle with later, alone. There’s no sense in fretting over how much of her role was preordained. But maybe if she could just get lucky enough to be deigned adequately important for another visit from Walter Renautas, maybe he could follow the strings of her past and help her find answers.

Then, what Richard said to her finally sinks in. I’ll ask Renautas to stop by.

“You’ll. What?” Odessa turns her wide eyes to Aman now and holds out her hand to him. “Please, Amanvir. I need my ability back.”

Tartarus. Cassandra remembers a thousand years ago in a different world, in the middle of an Ancient Roman class on mythology, where the name was brought up. A place of punishment so far from heaven that a bronze anvil would fall for nine days straight before reaching it, where time was spent in multiples of years for evil deeds. “I don’t know what was holding it before, but moving it somehow from one prison to another one - from oblivion to eternal torment - is just inviting it to struggle harder to break free.” she says. “If only we…” she trails off in thought for a second.

“Has anyone actually researched this thing and its history?” A rhetorical question, perhaps, but in her view, one that has merit. “I mean…it apparently can talk through me if I go back far enough. Do we know what it wants? Has anyone tried to ask, or have they all ended up as burned out husks? Just the concept of such a thing existing is so mind bending.”

Cassandra rocks in her seat and starts listing off questions. “I’d ask it if it conceives of humanity as little more than a slightly more advanced animal or something to uplift to a higher plane of existence. Whether or not there is more of it out there. And if we can trap it somewhere…” She sucks in a breath. “What’re the chances of launching it into the sun?” This is followed by a moment of thought. “Probably wouldn't ask that one.”

Kaylee stares at Cassandra for a moment, until she realizes that she was new to this mystery. “Up until the crash, I was studying the history of her. Or trying. Many have been,” she adds with a slight glance at Richard.

“She’s not some god, though she probably believes so. As for what she wants. She was human once, you’ve seen that. A mother who wants revenge in the form of destroying the world.” The Rays know a little something about parents wanting to destroy the world for their kids, but Kaylee isn’t going to throw that out there.

Still the thought makes Kaylee grimace, before she adds rather blandly, “Simply put, humanity managed to trigger an immortal mama bear and she wants to take us all out.”

So much of this goes over Aman's head that it's hard, at this point, not to begin to tune things out. Odessa's address to him, using his full name, is not one of those things.

He can't bring himself to look at her anyway, a distant, dazed look in his eyes. He shifts his feet, head turning toward the door. "Wh-where's that paramedic, anyway," Aman asks no one in particular, and then walks in the door's direction to personally take up following up on this detail by stepping into the hall to talk to Bob.

“I’d love to, Cassandra, but unfortunately both times I’ve gotten close to it, it wasn’t in the mood for conversation,” Richard admits, rubbing between his eyes, “Whatever its motivations, its actions and plans currently involve global genocide, as Kaylee said. There are… a number of cities that are already gone.”

Softer, “We’ve been trying to keep that quiet.”

He looks to Odessa, nodding, “That’s my assumption, regarding Tartarus. But just imprisoning it didn’t work… Umbra might be our one chance, but we don’t know enough about it.”

Glancing after Aman, “The man has a good point. Everyone go get checked out by medical, we’ll— talk about this later.”

Panic leaves a tinnitus ring in Odessa’s ears as she watches Aman, knowing where he’s going behind his eyes. Knowing that it’s away from her and with what belongs to her. “No,” she whispers inaudibly, blue eyes wide and frightened as he strides out the door and nobody stops him.

Looking around the room and pleading for someone, anyone to heed her, that same voice so small continues to go unheard. “We don’t know what could happen to him with my ability.” It’s a detail that can’t gain enough traction to garner attention in the face of the other arrangements needing made now.

They may not know what will happen to Amanvir Binepal with Odessa Price’s ability in his hands, but they do know what nearly happened to her in possession of it, in coordination with all of the other events leading up to the one that nearly tipped the scales. That’s the bigger risk. Soon, the medical team arrives to transport Cassandra for examination. Someone has to accompany her. Someone else has to look after Aman. One by one, everyone files out of the nearly empty apartment, each with their own goal to accomplish.

In the end, Odessa is left to sweep up her broken pieces and face this reckoning of hers alone.

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