The Semi-Illusional Act Of Caring


kaylee5_icon.gif richard_icon.gif zachery_icon.gif

Scene Title The Semi-Illusional Act Of Caring
Synopsis Using Nicole as an excuse, the Ray siblings use it as a chance to glean some information from an unsuspecting Zachery.
Date December 8, 2019

Elmhurst Hospital

“Sorry, Ms. Varlane was released yesterday,” the nurse at the floors reception area offers blearily, bored and very ready to have her shift end. She had plans that included the hottie that worked in the draw lab. Only Kaylee knew this part. Unfortunately.

So they had struck out already.

The plan had been to use Nicole as an excuse to visit the hospital.


“Oh!” Kaylee offers innocently. “Thank you for your help.” Little did the woman know, Kaylee has managed to slip in and change the narrative. Just a small adjustment of who they were looking for and even who they really were. The room number easy enough to pluck out.

Well… Richard wanted her to be a bit more morally flexible.

With that small adjustment, they were soon walking down the corridor. “I’m telling you, he sees me, he'll probably bolt,” Kaylee confides blandly, voice quiet to keep the conversation private with her brother, Richard. “Or try to kill me.” She amends under her breath.

Already her ability, still a little tender from the raid, is flared out around them, touching this mind and that looking for one Zachery Miller.

He's exactly where he's supposed to be - standing in his room, a hip leaned against rolling bedside table that's been pushed to a stop against a wall. Out of his hospital gown and into some jeans and a dark blue shirt, which he does not necessarily look comfortable in - but it's better than the bloodied dress shirt he was brought in with. On the empty and already made bed next to him lies a mess of black woolen coat, ready to be worn to venture back into the great outdoors.

And yet, he hasn't. He's standing with a phone pressed against the side of his head, eye aimed downward, free hand running carefully along the bruises on the side of his face. "I know it's been three days, and I'll stop by today, but there was a bag in there, in the back, near the front seats. I just want to know whether- … hello?"

He stops, looks at the flickering, cracked screen of his phone, and reaches to grab a fistful of his coat so as to start shrugging it on. As the edges of his mind blur into Kaylee's reach, the first thing that manages to leave him are four simple words.

Piece of absolute shit.

The phone or the person he was talking to? Either one.

“You’re always so negative, little sister,” Richard observes with a roll of his eyes as he heads into the hospital room, a smile blossoming across his lips and both hands spreading, “Miller! You’re up and about already? Are those ribs already healed…?”

There’s doubt in that last question. He gets the feeling that Zachery doesn’t practice self care very much. Doctors are always the worst patients.

While her brother sweeps into the room, his sister hesitates outside the door, just out of sight. Richard gets a warning that she is. Not ready to step into the room… He’s a flighty one that Zachery.

While touch was always easier, at the moment, Kaylee wasn’t trying to get deep into Zachery’s mind. Using skills honed over the years to be undetectable, tendrils of her ability skim over the surface of his mind, listening to the surface thoughts, while searching to a crack in mental defenses. The path of least resistance, so to speak. The less resistance, the less of a chance he’ll feel her intrusion until it’s too late.

«Keep him talking and thinking, big brother.»

"… Nicole's been released already," comes Zachery's first reply upon seeing Richard, rather than a greeting, almost automatically. Confused annoyance is written clear across his face as instinct drives him a step back and away, taking his coat off of the bed with him. Why is he here again?

"And my ribs are fine." This is immediately proven, of course, by him shaking out his coat and putting it on - fuck - very slowly - shit - twitching and wincing with every time he has to force a shoulder back - fucking shit christ fuck - but holding his gaze on Richard's face the whole time. "If this is about me not coming into work- I can probably make it in tomorrow."

Shit, the word rings out to Kaylee one more time, how far out there do the busses even go - something to figure out.

“Alright, first of all, getting into a car accident is a perfectly legitimate reason to miss work,” Richard observes with a roll of his eyes, “Jesus Christ, I’ll never understand what sort of monster you think I am, Miller.”

He brings a hand up to scratch at the side of his neck, “Your ribs don’t look fine. Did they actually discharge you, or are you trying to discharge yourself against recommendations? Do I need to ask a nurse?”

Out where? Kaylee’s eyes narrow on the other side of the wall. Providence, probably. It takes everything in her not to push harder. THe answers they needed were under there. Patience. She needed it as she skims over his mind looking for her chance, but Zachery was on edge, wary. It was making it tough. She needed him to relax.

«Be a good boss. See if he needs a ride home. Maybe suggest staying at Raytech for the night.» Kaylee murmurs in Richard’s mind, her frustration clear. «He is suspicious and uptight. I can’t get in without him knowing. He needs to relax.» The telepath nods to a nurse as she passes, giving her a pleasant smile and a nudge onward.

Accident. The word echoes in Zachery's mind like an annoying fly, swatted away only upon the arrival of more questions to answer.

"I'm fine," he insists flatly, slipping his phone into a pocket where it clinks against keys. Kaylee's warning is mirrored in the way his skeptical search of Richard's face does not let up. Keep your fucking voice down, I swear, if they sedate me one more time…

It's an unspoken and empty threat that fizzles out all by itself. Less anger and more dread. "I just want to go home." Not home- back. I needed to be back days ago. It's bad enough there as it is. I'm a joke. Finally, he breaks eye contact to give the room one last look around and begins to button up his coat— slowing… as something else seems to catch his attention as if just outside of his peripheral vision.

Who is that.

Yeah, I don’t think this guy’s relaxed since sometime in the early nineties, is Richard’s dry thought in return to his sister’s mental suggestion, And anything I suggest is just going to make him more paranoid. I was hoping we could get to him before they let him up and about.

“Alright, alright,” he shrugs both shoulders, “If you’re sure. You’d know, I imagine.” Skeptical, but apparently letting him get away with it. “Do you need a ride or anything— ? I mean, your car’s probably a wreck.”

«He’s trying to sneak out.»

By the telepath’s mental tone, she finds it amusing. That amusement quickly ends as she realizes she’s been spotted, but she doesn’t move right away. In that moment, Kaylee finds what she’s looking for a place she can slip into his mind. «Going in. Keep him there.» She’d be out of contact while she was in there.

Like a surgeon, the telepath slips into the other man’s mind with practiced ease.

The first order of business was to distract him from her body, though she quickly finds him resistant to a new suggestion, the paranoia was too strong. Dammit.

At least she was in. Kaylee would just have to work quickly, following that thread of thought to the memories attached. Using it like a deep diver does a rope, she uses his thoughts to pull herself deeper into his mind, trying to find his secrets. Why did he need to go back? Where? And why did he consider himself a joke? What was he doing for Adam?

With urgency to return to Providence already pulling at Zachery's thoughts, there's a pliability to the way Kaylee is almost immediately guided in the right direction— a dirt path lit by hearse headlights that just managed to hit a treeline. A makeshift lab below stone stairs, cold fluorescent lights shining down - Yi-Min Yeh descends the steps with poise, though it's barely noted - Zachery's on the floor cleaning up the shards of a mug he dropped, movements constricted with frustration.

Counters full of written research both completed and ongoing, careful handling of samples encased delicately in glass. Coffee and a humble breakfast on a tray slid atop the foot of a neatly made bed, many times over. Different days, but it's the same hand who reaches to receive them.

A hand attached to one Adrienne Allen, who has shown him a more patient face than she probably ought to have considering the chain that scrapes over the floor as she moves her leg into a more comfortable position.

"It's… it's done." Zachery notes quietly of his car, back in reality, his attention returning to Richard with a roll of his jaw. He knows he's supposed to say something in response to the question, but…

Why are you here - no - he'll dodge that - it's hours to Providence - with HIM - sleep? With the smooth dirt road and your ribs - I'm sure that'll happen. Walking after the last bus stop though - shit - it'll be dark by then -

Some mental timer dings; he's been quiet for too long and an answer forces its way out of its own volition. "To the edge of Providence?" The tone of a tired, hesitant request rather than question, and his nose wrinkles as if in instant regret.

“I could handle that,” Richard replies easily enough, “Probably shouldn’t go further than that, but— are you sure that you’ll be able to get the rest of the way on your own?” A glance down to the man’s ribcage, then back up, eyebrows lifting, “I’m sure there’s nothing at your clinic down there that’s that urgent that you can’t take a bit of time to heal up…”

A leading question, perhaps. Not that he expects Zachery to admit to anything out loud.

Deep in Zachery’s mind, Kaylee gives an inhale of surprise as she touches on memories surrounding the captive in chains. The face is recognized from reports on the wanted. She follows this line of memories to it’s very beginning.

Garza picks up the case and flips open the latches, then lifts the lid. A low-hanging mist pools out of the refrigerated case, revealing a single metal vial ensconced in foam padding and beside it a circular plastic dish usually reserved for cultures or tissue samples. “This vial contains a lethal virus known as Gorgon, it attacks the nervous system of people like us,” he says with a gesture to his chest, “and causes fatigue, paralysis, and eventually brain death. I need you and Doctor Allen to develop a new virus based on Gorgon, but one that targets something else.”

“Inside this dish,” Garza points to the plastic case, “is a tissue sample from as close a proximity to our target as we can get. Doctor Allen should be able to help you replicate cells from this necrotic sample and produce new, viable nervous system tissue to test this new virus on.” For a prisoner, Doctor Allen doesn’t seem too surprised by any of this research, nor nearly as confrontational as Zachery would expect.

“This is important work, Zachery,” Garza says with a graveness in his tone. “This is the kind of work that will save the world.”

It takes everything in Kaylee not to pull out now, watching this memory to it’s very conclusion. She holds tight to this memory and flees. Returning to her body and a painful pinch between her eyes; the first signs she was just beginning to push it.

«Got it. It’s not good. They’re modifying Gorgon.»

Her voice echoes in her brother’s head. While she can’t share the memory yet, at least she has information. It wasn’t a whole lot, but it was a lead.

"My legs work fine," Zachery answers begrudgingly, the thread of suspicion still running through his words. "The edge is fine. It's too much already." She's still been in, right? Yeh must have known to bring her food at least. If I come back to a dead— fuck-

Stepping forward and toward the door, he abandons that line of thinking, concern now clear across his features for several reasons at once. But he just can't help but glance Richard's direction on the way there, to ask, genuinely puzzled, "Did Nicole put you up to this?"

Ah, hell. Richard’s brows lift a little at Zachery’s question, and then he brings a hand up, fingers pushing under his glasses to rub at his eyes. “Miller… have you really been away from decent people so long,” he asks sincerely, “That every single attempt to be nice to you has to be some nefarious plot?”

To be fair, this time it is, but it hasn’t been most of the other times.

Still going over what she just witnessed in her head, Kaylee doesn’t realize that Zachery is headed for the door, until it’s too late.


The telepath leans casualty on the wall, with her cellphone in hand, so that when he does through the doorway, Kaylee is just there giving him a casual smile. “Dr.Miller,” Kaylee offers politely, before looking past him to Richard.

“Seems we were too slow, Colette picked up Nicole,” Kaylee looks properly bummed about that, tapping the phone on her hand before tucking it in her pocket. “I wanted to make sure.” Focus turns back to Zachery, that pleasant smile still on her lips. “Never know what crazies might try to kidnap someone like her, ya know?”

There is an actual look of serious consideration on Zachery's face when Richard asks him the question - eyebrows lowering over blue and white eye both - and he's just about to answer when suddenly… there's Kaylee's greeting.

Having known to expect someone there but apparently not much more than that, he flinches mid-step. "FFfFCK-" is the noise he manages just before momentum carries him sideways and he slams into the opposite wall, and freezes with a whine that only just manages to make it out of a painfully constricting ribcage.

He offers absolutely no look of polite pleasantness back in her direction, the only thing left in his repertoire a wide-eyed look of uncertainty. "Great," shit, breathe in, ow, "okay," breathe out, ow, "Let's go." Please just let's go. This has to be fine. The alternative is not something he has the brainpower to deal with right now.

“Jesus— “ Richard steps over, one hand lifting up a bit as if to steady the other man as he walks into the wall, “Miller, are you sure you’re alright to go…. Alright, alright.”

An uncertain look to Kaylee, as if super concerned about the doctor - for multiple reasons - he nods a bit, “Well, tell her I’m glad it’s alright— can you stick around and make sure that all the insurance paperwork and all for Raytech is taken care of?”

Not wanting to freak out Zachery any more than necessary. Also he’s unsure if the man has been focused enough to properly do any of that.

That reaction was not unexpected, especially after the nightmare he’d been through with other telepaths. “Don’t hurt yourself further,” Kaylee does sound concerned about his health. “Nicole would never forgive us I’m sure.” As for staying behind…

“You read my mind, big brother,” Kaylee says with a nod, giving Zachery a concerned look. “I’d like to make sure, Mr. Miller here gets his due coverage.” To Zachery she adds, “Used to be my job at Raytech until I decided to go into law enforcement.” She flicks the badge hanging around her neck, the metal shining in the harsh hospital light.

Okay, that might have been a bit too mean-hearted.

Though he does his best to recompose himself, Zachery maintains eye contact with Kaylee as he runs a hand down the side of his coat. The badge gets a short-lived sneer (two cops in two days is too many, possibly by a number greater than one) before he forces a somewhat less unnerved look on his face. Even then, he doesn't particularly make it look nice.

"Thank you," the word leaves him in a still partially stunned tone of voice, before an almost immediate follow-up mockery of, 'ThAnK YOU'?! Christ, just go. Just go. Go go go.

But he's not even two steps into his journey out when he hears himself say, flatly, "Maybe you can negotiate my bag out of my car too, before it gets compressed into a vintage-flavoured side table."

“C’mon, Miller, if you keep getting startled at people trying to do you favors you’re going to give yourself an ulcer,” Richard reaches out to lightly press a hand against the middle of his back and urge him towards the exit, “Let’s get you away from nice people to keep your digestive system in one piece.”

The sad part is, it’s only half joking.

The effect the badge has, is exactly what she’d hoped for. Maybe it was a vague warning to behave or she just wanted to see him twitch. “I’ll see what I can do about the bag,” Kaylee calls after the two. “If I get it, I’ll leave it at Raytech.”

A vaguely worried glance goes to her brother. She watches them for a long moment, before letting out a shaky breath. “Fuck.” she mutters under her breath. That had been close. Fingers brush at her nose as she moves in the opposite direction; they come away with a faint red tint.

It takes a lot of work to go unnoticed.

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