Thought And Memory


gillian_icon.gif kaylee_icon.gif squeaks_icon.gif

Scene Title Thought and Memory
Synopsis Sometimes it's better to leave hidden things hidden.
Date November 17, 2018

Elmhurst - Gillian's Brickfront House

Between jobs and school filling daytime hours, festivities and memorials that have taken up evenings, it’s been a little difficult narrowing down a time that worked not only for those in the Childs’ household but also the Sumter’s. A number of texts had been sent back and forth while the grown-ups searched for a time. With children going one way and adults another, who knew varying schedules could be so difficult? It took some working and rearranging — and no, Jac, you cannot put off writing that report for history — but eventually one evening had been found! A free evening over the weekend presented itself, following the conclusion of the November 8 ceremonies, where no one had other plans already.

With dinner finished and the kitchen cleaned up, a few minutes was given to straightening the living room and doing other small preparations for the expected company. Squeaks has a habit of leaving books in odd places, but those were gathered and returned to her bedroom. There were candles to be lit also, and a kerosene lantern added warmth as well as light.

With only waiting left to do, Squeaks has stretched out on the floor in the living room. She has that dreaded report in front of her, contained in a spiral notebook and maybe a half dozen sentences scribbled on the lines. A pencil is held in a knuckly grip in her left hand, and her cheek rests in her right. But there isn’t any writing happening, even though she looks focused. A close look shows there’s another doodle forming in the spiral-side margin. It’s obviously not the first one there, but probably near the last to fit on that side.

Most of the more public celebrations, Gillian has avoided. She had a mini-memorial of her own, but had remained silent about it, but otherwise she has taken to dropping the girl off so she could go to various ones knowing that she would have friends and near family around to keep an eye on her with a time and location for getting picked back up. But she’s made sure the girl has had some freedom to do what she wishes. After all she had had nothing but freedom for so long.

As long as she was home at an appropriate hour, in bed, ate her fill of whatever food that Gillian had made that day and stayed warm. The important things.

But today she’s looking a little anxious, wandering around cleaning things that don’t really need cleaning. The cat had long given up following her, finding a spot by the fireplace to curl up and relax. A fireplace restored so that it could actually have a fire, too, the soft smoldering ashes giving off some heat, though not a full open fire. There’s an extinguisher not too far away too, just in case.

Once she hears the first sign of someone approaching the door, she moves to check the curtain and open it, cause they are expecting a guest.

Kid, husband, and guest fed, Kaylee finally has some free time. Leaving Joseph to handle the homework questions from their children, she made her way to Gillian’s at the request of both her and Squeaks. Dressed for the cooler weather in jeans, a soft sweater, and her worn brown leather jacket. Happy to be out of her business clothes, since she has never a fan of them really.

When Gillian moves the curtain, she finds the telepath glancing over aware of someone looking at her. A hand raises in greeting, a smile tugging at the woman’s lips, and then moves to knock gently on the door to alert the other occupants.

“Hey,” Kaylee offers when the door is opened, “Sorry I’m late. My last meeting ran long and then dinner took far longer than I expected.” Best laid plans and all.

Her eyes lift off the paper to watch and her pencil pauses for a second, like they have every time she’s heard Gillian wander through. The anxious energy keeps the young teenager from doing much more than observing quietly and staying out of the way. And normally she would go back to working hard on that report — especially since that dragon looking thing could definitely use a few more of those spiky things on its back — but the sound of knuckles on the door holds her attention.

Hearing the door open, Squeaks sits up and folds her legs so she’s sitting on her knees, and her pencil is pushed into the wire spiral on the side of the notebook. They’re set aside, placed very carefully on an end table like the faint sound might be too much noise. Hearing the greetings being made, she stands and slinks into the hall so she can watch and wait.

If there is anything that Gillian understands it’s that dinner can take a while, especially when one has extra mouths to feed. The more people that end up staying in the townhouse, the longer that dinner takes, even if Hailey and Jolene and Eve don’t always show up for dinner, but when they do it certainly adds another hour to what would normally be dinner time.

“It’s fine,” she responds with a smile, gesturing Kaylee deeper inside. “Thanks for stopping in. We have a favor we need to ask if you, if you feel up to it.” And if she agrees to. She knows how pushing abilities can be on people, so she wouldn’t push, but— she knows that this is what Jac wants, so that's what she wants to. “This way. Jac will explain,” she motions her to where the girl is sitting on the floor, the fluffy yellow cat appearing to try to get under Kaylee’s feet.

“Chandra,” Gillian admonishes, making a shooing gesture. The cat does that with most guests, after all. The only one he doesn’t would be Jolene, really. With her he waits til she’s sitting down, thankfully.

There is a short nod, “Of course, I’m willing to help out anyway I can.” Kaylee unzips her jacket as the move towards where the girl was situated. “I’m guessing the needs are of a telepathic nature,” she comments with no malice, only amusement. It’s what she’s normally called for anyhow, so it is easy to assume.

A moment is taken to bend down and give the cat a good scritch along the jawline. “It’s okay. Clearly, Chandra is starved for attention,” Kaylee teases before hurrying to catch up.

The young girl gets a bright smile when she comes into view, Raytech’s youngest employee. “Squeaks.” It was still hard to grasp at the name ‘Jac’ as she was so used to using the other name. “What can I do got you today, young lady.”

Tilting her head slightly, Squeaks listens to the voices until they sound like they’re coming back — not that she was spying or anything. Just curious like normal. The change in sounds has her turning and ducking back into the living room and her spot on the floor. Or not quiet nearly where she was just a minute ago, she’s actually a little closer to where Chandra had been stretched out until the door opened. It is warmer there, but she doesn’t sprawl out like the cat. She sits criss-cross instead.

Her head comes up when the grown-ups turn into the room, fixing a slight grin for just a second. “Hi,” she answers before folding her lips in over her teeth. She hesitates over saying more at first, but Gillian said it would be okay, so she takes a breath.

“I had a dream thing when I was waking up after I got hit by a gun thing. Like I was remembering something.” Squeaks brings her hands together, twisting and pulling at her fingers and skin anxiously. Her eyes dart from Gillian to Kaylee and back again as she continues explaining. “Except that I don’t remember it happening… hearing Doctor Ford talking to Parkman about me and money. And M… Mom said that maybe you could help, with your mind meld.”

“Sorry. I know what it’s like when it seems the only time people think to call upon you is for your ability,” Gillian adds on quietly, grimacing. But abilities were on the same side as skills, really. They were things that people could do, and theirs could be particularly helpful in certain situations. But it is something that she can wince as she apologizes— because she knows all too well what it was like to have people only seem to show up when they needed a boost to their ability or to do something that they did not think they could do without her.

“I do hope the kids are well,” she adds, though the topic of kids had once been kind of a sore spot, now color comes to her cheeks for another reason. And it had to do with Squeaks calling her ‘Mom’. There was definitely something good about that. Others had called her mom before, but she never felt as if she had earned it, really. It seemed they had been raised as much by others. She knew Jolene had multiple moms, for example. She’d been the mom who died when she was around Squeaks’ age, not the mom that raised her into adulthood.

But at least she got to see Jolene too. Even if she wished she could be there for all the things that had happened in another future. “I suggested that you might be able to help her retrieve those memories, without us needing to shoot her, hopefully. And that I would be there with her when it happened.” So she wouldn’t have to go through it alone.

“No need to apologize,” Kaylee re-assures Gillian.”I’d rather people come to me, then some strange telepath.” There might be a bit of a protective streak for what woman thinks of as her people. “And the kids are good, keeping me busy in my free time.” Of course, the other woman knows how that is. “More so, with all of these visions. They… have been fairly frequent for us over at Raytech.” In fact, the COO has been fairly absent from the building.

There is some alarm at the mention about Squeaks getting hit by a ‘gun thing.’ However, it is the mention of Parkman, truly gets Kaylee’s attention. Brows furrow thoughtful for a moment. If it was one thing about the telepath, she knew about some of the more powerful telepath’s Parkman being one. In fact the younger one had been her teacher for a short time, but also about his father.

“The fact that you remember means that this is probably a repressed memory and can be recovered.” Looking at Gillian again, she feels the need to remind her, “Recovering a memory like that can be traumatic. Normally, I’d let the person know that I can block it for a short time, but eventually, they have to face it. However,” she motions to the woman, “You here, means that if it is bad enough we can block it again.”

Kaylee removes her jacket and offers Squeaks a bright smile, “Shall we get started then.”

As Gillian explains things better, the teenager nods along and gets to her feet. Her bobbling head turns to a vaguely concerned look for just a minute, and she looks at both grown-ups until she decides needing to shoot her probably isn’t really for reals. Sometimes it’s hard to know if it’s joking or serious. “Yes,” she adds, trying to sound serious and not at the same time. “No shooting me please.”

Slinking closer, she reaches for Gillian and lightly presses a finger against her arm — it’s a comfort thing — and then she looks up at Kaylee. “Probably a repressed memory,” she echoes. Whether that’s a good thing or not, she isn’t sure. Definitely what she already found because of it wasn’t very good. “It’s still scary, though.” Even with the promise of bad memories being blocked again.

Squeaks takes a short breath and nods. “Yes,” she answers, even though she sounds more like she’s asking. “I’m ready.”

At the mention of her being there helping in case things go badly, Gillian nods. She knows exactly what the telepath means, and she’s making no effort to hide her thoughts on it, even half projecting what she’s thinking cause wants the woman to know she doesn’t mind if she hears. If things go badly, she knows that they will stop it. The moment that Squeaks wants to stop, they will stop. “You’ll be fine,” she offers a supporting voice to the young teen, smiling a little. She’s certainly worried, but she knows that her and Kaylee will do whatever they can to make sure that they all get through this. And she understands their abilities enough to have faith in them.

But that doesn’t mean she’s unconcerned about what they might find, and how bad it could be. The involvement of Parkman alone had been worrisome. The possibility of what the man who had been her foster father might have done to her— that too.

“It is scary, but we’re right here with you,” she adds on, reaching up to touch the finger on her arm, even grasping the hand it’s attached to. “I’m ready too. We should probably sit down,” she adds, remembering times when they all ended up waking on the floor, motioning toward the couch and armchair, where she steps and sits herself. Chandra returns to his position on the small floor rug. A hint of energy sparks in the librarian’s eyes, a violet energy, that she sends out in a focused way toward Kaylee alone, small for the moment.

Kaylee’s ability is not an outwardly flashy one. Her stillness and focused concentration are the only outward signs that anything is happening to Squeaks. Eyes closed, Kaylee breathes in steadily and exhales in the same measured pace; meditative in its rhythm. Gillian sees Squeaks’ eyes shut, then begin flicking back and forth behind her eyelids as though in a state of deep sleep and dreaming.

For Squeaks, the last thing she recalls is saying that she was ready.

September 7th


“Come on, keep up.”

A well-manicured lawn sprawls out across a rural stretch of Fort Lee, New Jersey. The single-level ranch set on this pastoral ten acre plot rests in the shadows of two tall and ancient oak trees. The sun is warm, the air is cool and dry, and it feels as though the grip of summer is still firm. In spite of the warmth, the broad-shouldered and stout man walking down the flagstone path from the driveway to the house is dressed in a heavy tweed jacket, carrying a briefcase. His leather shoes scuff softly across the path, and much shorter legs struggle to do just what he asked.

Turning, Maury Parkman settles down to take a knee and offer a hand out to the toddler ambling along behind him. He takes her hand, smiling in the way you do around strange babies that aren’t family — not too much teeth, not too much eye contact — or maybe that’s dogs. Maury was never good with either.

Taking the toddler’s hand, Maury rises back to his full and seemingly gigantic height from her perspective. As they approach the house, Maury remarks to the girl now trundling along at his side, “I know we didn’t do anything for your birthday, uh… last week? Week before? I hope you’re not too sore about that.” As though the child had much input of her own, or would even remember the sleight of her third birthday going by uncelebrated. Maury seems to think so, or that may just be the guilt talking.

At the door, Maury releases the girl’s hand and knocks on the door. Expectantly, a tall and wiry man with greatly receding and dark hair and a narrow, rat-like face leers back at Maury. “Stefan,” Maury greets tersely, and there’s no look of recognition back from the thin-lipped Stefan. “Maury Parkman. Can I have a minute of your time?”

“I’m sorry but whatever this is,” Stefan says with a motion to the child, then to Maury, “you’re trespassing.” As the door starts to close, Maury sticks his foot in it and insinuates himself into the threshold like a door-to-door salesman of old.

“I’m a friend of Paul’s,” Maury says threateningly, and Stefan’s brows raise and he looks outside before hastily ushering Maury and the child inside. The house is austere, bereft of much decoration, feeling at once imposing and clinically cold. “I’m sorry for showing up unannounced, but I was thinking we might talk.”

Stefan balks at the suggestion, glancing up a nearby flight of stairs as though expecting someone to call down. When no one does, he turns to Maury and speaks in hushed tones. “I’ve paid up front for the entire year,” sounds accusatory. “I was told that Mr. Linderman gave Paul expressed—”

“This isn’t about your hush money,” Maury says as he steps away from the child, leveling a look at Stefan. “This is about a business opportunity, long term. But it’ll require some kindness on your part. An adoption.” The way Maury phrases that turns up Stefan’s hackles, and he slouches away from Maury and wrings his hands together, glancing down at the young redhead staring up at him. There’s something about her sedate demeanor that disquiets Stefan, but it goes unsaid.

Kindness?” Stefan balks at the notion. “You come in here, threaten me, and expect kindness in return? I’m not running an orphanage. I have no interest in children.”

“Kindness can be reciprocated by generosity, if you get my drift.” Maury implies, raising the briefcase in one hand. Stefan glances down to the girl, then up to Maury.

“Exactly how much generosity are we talking?” Is Stefan’s very mercenary response, looking from the girl to the briefcase Maury offers up. Maury flashes Stefan a smile, then sets it down on a narrow, black table by the door and flips open the two latches, opening the case up right in Stefan’s foyer.

“Twenty seven thousand per year should be sufficient,” Maury assumes, with a coy look at Stefan. The thinner man sidles up to the briefcase, brushing one hand over the money laid out in neat stacks, side-by-side, in front of him. He takes in a slow breath, then exhales with a faint smile.

“That’s,” Stefan is taken aback by it all, “Wow. What’s her name?” He asks with a motion toward the girl.

Maury reaches over to lay a thick-fingered hand atop the child’s head, gently ruffling her hair. “Jacelyn,” is all he says, smiling to himself all the while.

“And who, exactly, are you?” Stefan asks with one thin brow raised, skeptical of both the arrangement and the money but surprised by neither. “I don’t think you really know Paul,” he glances down to the money, “do you, Mister Parkman?”

“I know of Paul,” Maury admits with a shrug, closing the briefcase. “That’s how I found you, Mister Ford. We have mutual acquaintances…” he picks the briefcase up by the handle again, “…similar company.” Stefan squints at the notion, eyeing the child again, then looking back to Maury.

“Is she yours?” Stefan asks, as if that matters.

Maury laughs, ruefully, and shakes his head. “No, Stefan. She’s your niece’s.” That revelation has the doctor’s pale eyes flick back to Maury, features sharp and posture tense.

What did you say?” Stefan asks with a twitch one one brow. But at that moment there’s a call from upstairs.

Stef? Who was at the door?” His wife.

Aury eyes the stairs, then Jacelyn, and then looks back to Stefan again as he rests a hand on his shoulder. “We should talk somewhere more private. But… you and I? We go way back, you just might not remember.” Maury squeezes the thinner man’s shoulder and urges him to walk—

Present Day

Squeaks takes in a sudden, sharp breath as Kaylee loses the last cognizant thread of the repressed memory. It didn’t feel blocked by a telepathic barrier, or erased through mental manipulation, just the fleeting memories of a child honed into a laser focus through Kaylee’s telepathic gift.

As Kaylee finally loses that threat of memory, she releases everyone from her telepathic hold and her hand drops away. “I knew Maury’s son Matt. Both were telepath’s like me,” she explains more for the young girl, then her mother. “Maury… “ Kaylee takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly. “What I understood from the trials and really, Matt… Well,” The telepath has always been curious about those telepaths stronger than her, “Maury Parkman wasn’t a good person and he worked for a place called the Company.” At this point how many of them had family working for that place at one point or another?

One thing Kaylee is thankful for is Gillian’s ability and the fact it eased the after effects for Kaylee. Eyes unfocus a moment as she thinks on it. “That had to been what? Eleven, twelve year ago roughly?” There is a soft sigh, “Company would have been around still. Maybe Pineheast, too.” A glance is sent to Gillian. “If you want to look into all that more, that is.” Old habits die hard. “ A child’s early memories are hard to pull together because at that age their brains are still developing. I can try to find more, but you’re likely to only get bits and pieces.”

Shaking, panting breaths follow that first gasp, and are fast joined by wide eyes finding Gillian then Kaylee. And the sofa they’re all sitting on in the living room with Chandra sprawled on the floor. The girl catches her next breath and holds it for a long three or four seconds, then slowly lets it out while she gives herself a shake. That mind melding left her feeling all shaky, like waking up too fast out of a really deep sleep. Or maybe it’s just leftovers and second helpings from all of the anxious energy.
“Why…” The question trails off as more form. “Why…” did Maury have had her? Why did he give her to Stefen? Why was he paying the Fords? Her mouth works, jaw going all tense like she’s biting down on a jawbreaker candy. The weird memory thing has some context now, but so many more questions.
Her eyes go to Kaylee when the telepath finishes speaking, then she tilts her head and looks up at Gillian. They can keep looking? “I want to know. About Maury… and… and anything else?”
They didn’t know a lot of what they’d just seen, but Gillian finds herself reaching out to take Jac’s hand in her own, in an offer of comfort. Holding a hand is almost like a tiny hug, in some ways, and she’s definitely using it in that manner. She’s amazed that Kaylee was able to get such a clear image of such a long ago memory. The little girl had been so young. “About twelve years, yeah. Possibly before the Bomb, even.” That alone meant that, yes, the Company had still been around. And the man had seemed to imply that the Company had been where they’d known each other.

His niece.

The girl’s mother. She looks reluctant. What little she’d known, the girl had thought herself unwanted. Maybe her mother hadn’t given her up willingly.

She would not put anything past the Company.

When the girl agrees, she nods, looking toward Kaylee. They wanted to know, to have answers.

There is a slow nod as she listens to them. “Alright,” Kaylee agrees, rubbing fingers together to try at take some of the chill out of them and make it a little more comfortable for the young girl. When you have so little “I’ll work backward from that last memory and look for other hidden and suppressed memories. Then I’ll work forward after that.” Her words as softly spoken. “Again, if it is too much you let me know, I’ll stop and if need be block it again.”

Leaning forward again Kaylee gently touches fingers to each of Squeaks temples and nods to Gillian before closing her eyes and falling back into her task. .


It's dark, and the dim glow of a night light does little to push back the darkness. Blankets encircle Squeaks upon a familiar bed pushed into the corner of a familiar room. The furnishings are different, her desk is missing and the neighbor’s house isn't visible out the bedroom window through the bough of a stickbare tree. It's her bedroom, and it feels so much larger, so much emptier.

God damnit, Stefan! We’re not doing this again!” They're arguing, her parents. Their raised voices report with a muffled quality through the floor from the kitchen downstairs. They think leaving the sink running and the dishwasher on drowns out the sounds of heir fights, but it doesn't.

Carolyn. For God’s sake listen to yourself you're in hysterics!” Ford. Squeaks remembers the rolling quality of his voice, the hint of something foreign in it — German or Russian or something eastern-European. It's the way he rolls his R’s. “No one knows for sure.

A dish is smashed. Carolyn has been drinking. “Fuck you Stefan! I didn't sign up for this! You took in that little piece of shit without even so much as asking me!” A dog outside starts barking. “I don't want her in this house! I don't want to be left alone with her for weeks on end!

Carolyn,” Ford tries to say something, but she isn't having any of it.

No, Stefan! I am not becoming a housewife because you don't trust a nanny to raise that little goblin! I had a life before you brought that thing into this house! A life!” Another dish smashes. The dog is barking louder. “It's been two years, Stefan. Two years! Maury Parkman isn't coming back for her, no more tests, nothing! He fucked you, Stefan! He prostituted you to hold on to god-knows-who’s baby and left you with the bag and no more money!

Carolyn, please. He might be alive, we don't know. Nobody knows— ”

She's going to turn into one of them!” Carolyn screams. “I will not have a monster in this house!

Present Day

Squeaks mind forces Kaylee back. The telepath could have held on but the repressed memory was too triggering, too painful.

A shaking breath is drawn in when the memory finally ends, and then let out slowly. There should be relief when the living room and her grown-ups’ return right where she left them, but there isn’t. Squeaks looks upset and confused instead. Her hand slips free of Gillian’s, not to escape the comfort but so she can wrap her arms around her middle. Her parents fighting because of her again isn’t unfamiliar. And Carolyn’s opinion of her still makes her flinch and cringe. But…

“I don’t want to remember those,” she explains. Her eyes squeeze closed like it will put that fight, all of the fights and bad things, back into the dark where they belong. It’s better when it’s just something from a long time ago.

Her arms tighten, there’s safety behind her self-made shield, but she also leans so a shoulder presses lightly into Gillian’s arm for comfort. After a minute Squeaks lets her eyes open, still hurt and haunted. And maybe a little ashamed. “Why did he leave me with them,” she asks quietly. “They never wanted me. Why did I have to stay? Why did they keep me when I wasn’t anything to them?”

When the vision ends and they’re back on the couch, Gillian’s face holds a very different expression. Cold fury. Kaylee can hear the angry thoughts racing through the librarians mind, the thoughts that seem to be wishing violence on both of those foster parents. If they had been standing in this room right now, she probably would have punched both of them. Or kicked them. And that fury doesn’t go away as her eyes fall back on the teenager that’s now her daughter.

No, it actually heightens a little. From her thoughts, she’s starting to wish they weren’t dead. While part of her is grateful they are.

After a moment, she reaches over and pulls the girl closer to her, holding her there with an agreeing sound, “You won’t remember that.” But she will. And she wants to. If only to serve as a reminder to make the girl’s life better than those people ever could. “And it was them. Not you,” she adds, for the moments that the girl does remember. They were the ones who failed, who missed out. The girl had done nothing at all wrong. “I doubt they would have wanted anyone. It wasn’t you.”

When she looks at Kaylee, that flash of cold fury remains. “She mentioned something about tests.”


That word alone is enough to leave Kaylee cold. It is hard for her to believe that anyone wouldn’t want a child, especially one like Squeaks. The words that woman flung around serves to make the woman grateful that the girl found Gillian. The telepath couldn’t be certain what she would have done to the woman in that memory. The shifting, slithering of black scales and the soft hiss at the back of her mind…. She isn’t sure she’d even want to ignore the temptation to-

There is a small shake of Kaylee’s head before she can allow the thought to continue. This wasn’t how she was suppose think. “Once we’re done, if you still want to forget, I’ll close any doors you want.” The telepath offers the young teen a smile. Still the memory seems to blur and fade a little.

Looking at Gillian at the mentions of tests. Kaylee hesitates for only a moment, not watching to bring the girl more distress, but… she still pulls them back in.


Fluorescent lights drain away color from a white-walled hospital room. A copper-haired girl of maybe six years old sits up on a padded bench with crinkling parchment paper beneath her. The right sleeve of her shirt is rolled up past her bicep. The girl’s eyes are narrowed in a squint, watching her arm as a short, brunette woman in a white lab coat dabs her arm with an alcohol-doused cotton swab. The scent stings the girl’s nose. Nearby, Stefan Ford stands with his arms crossed over his chest, watching the doctor work in silence. There is no reassuring hand on the girl’s shoulder, no parental care. Just cold, distanced scrutiny.

“Okay, just a moment,” the doctor says, stepping away from the girl to retrieve a syringe from a drawer and a vial from a refrigerator. A nametag hangs from a clip on the side of her lab coat, and the redhead glimpses it, even if briefly.

Doctor Alison Meier

She fills the syringe with a clear fluid from the vial, then walks over to the girl. “Okay, now, this’ll pinch.” The child does not look away, though the furrow of her brows says she’s familiar with what will come. It feels familiar, now. The sting. The injection goes quick, and Doctor Meier places the cotton ball against the injection site as she pulls the needle out. “And there we go, all set,” Doctor Meier says with a look from the syringe to Stefan.

“That should do for another three months. We’re far along on the enzyme production.” Doctor Meier says, disposing of the syringe and vial in a plastic bin. “This bacterial chain should immunize her, with expected side effects. If she presents anything beyond mild symptoms, or manifests, bring her back in.”

Stefan nods, stepping over to the girl and finally resting a hand at her back. “And payment is…”

The mercenary turn elicits a frown from Doctor Meier. “Aren’t you even a little interested in the science of this?” Stefan frowns, then rolls his shoulders in a shrug.

“Once.” He admits. “That time has passed. Payment is…”

“The deposit has already been made,” Doctor Meier says with a slow shake of her head, helping the girl down from the table. “You can go now.”

Present Day

Doctor Alison Meier, a ghost of Pinehearst’s past, a woman who was mercy-killed on the raid against Pinehearst by Brian. Doctor Meier, who developed the Advent Virus, and may have broke ground in the creation of the H5N10 virus. What had she been doing with Squeaks?

“I don’t know that one!” Squeaks’ voice isn’t quite shouting, but it’s energized and edged with fear. “I don’t know! I don’t remember.” Unlike the other one, the half formed remembering that brought all these questions, she really doesn’t remember that happening at all. Some part of her believes she should, if that was happening every three months? But all she can do is shake her head and repeat way more quietly, “I don’t remember.”

She takes a breath and huffs it out, then a second deeper one. It pushes the panicky feeling back a little bit. A third breath follows, and she looks up at Gillian and Kaylee.

“Why…” The question trails off as others take its place, and she clamps her hands together. “Why was that… What… what were they doing? I don’t…” Squeaks stops to squish her lips between her teeth, and her hands twist and grip together hard. After a second she tries again. “What… what’s Pinehearst? I haven’t… I never heard of it. I don’t know… I don’t know who that was…I don’t know any of that.”

“I do,” Gillian assures quietly, but sounds very concerned. “I saw her before. Hard to forget her.” She had been there when Brian had mercy killed her, after all. “She worked at a company with Maury before the war. It was… kind of like an offshoot of the Company.” Only not. It was more complicated than that. “But I remember what she had been working on… we should ask your boss if his people can run some blood tests on you.” Raytech was a little nicer than a hospital, and last time she knew it did have some science folks. And she trusted Richard with this more than most.

He’d been involved in what had happened at Pinehearst too. Little did she know Kaylee had been as well.

That the girl was still alive and well was, hopefully, enough to alleviate the major worries, but… “Your ability might be synthetic,” she offers as a kind of explanation. “But that’s okay. So is mine.” That was public knowledge, and she’s sure in her research Squeaks had found out about that.

But she also remembered that her synthetic status was supposed to kill her when she got older. Until she briefly held more abilities than someone ever should, Peter’s ability, and had shunted all of that bad genetic material into a clone unknowingly.

The girls distress over not remembering, gets an understanding smile from Kaylee. “You mind buried that one, we all have those kind of memories. The ones our mind pushes away to protect us.” The telepath was sure her’s was full of those, her youth especially.

When Gillian mentions her brother, Kaylee nods in agreement, “Raytech does do some medical research, as well as robotic.” Kaylee chimes in, avoiding the discussion of Pinehearst. It wasn’t a part of her life she enjoyed discussing. “So I don’t see why we can’t, though I think Richard does keep up on more of those projects, I just sign the checks a lot of the times and deal with the more mundane business aspects.”Her brother would know more of what is possible on that side, much like Warren knows their robotics more.

Maybe it is all the thoughts running through Gillian’s head, but Kaylee’s gaze shifts towards her. Curious and a touch worried. Was Squeaks at risk of having those issues that the other woman avoided?

Maury again. She didn’t like what she read about him before, and she doesn’t have any doubts that he’s really as bad as people say now. Squeaks raises her hands to press her knuckles against her mouth, both hands still gripped tightly together. And now there’s someone new, that she doesn’t even know. In a place she’s never heard of. She leans into Gillian a little more, maybe catching the sounds and looks of concern from both grown-ups, but definitely feeling afraid.

“I don’t like needles,” she mumbles behind her hands. It’s a statement in her pragmatic way, but she isn’t outright saying no to the idea. The girl also isn’t the best patient, and Gillian has seen that first hand.

Her knuckles press hard against her mouth again before she puts them down again. “Is… is there more?” Squeaks squeezes her eyes shut, trying to bring back that scene of her and the stranger doctor before it fades too much. Worry that there might be is in her tone and the look that she gives her mom and Kaylee when her eyes open again. “More? More tests? Testing?”

With a regretful sigh, Gillian looks at the young girl with a worried look, “We only want to make sure whatever it is they did to you doesn’t take us by surprise later. It’s better to be prepared. And if what that woman with Maury had been working on at the time is what I suspect…” Well more than suspect. She was pretty sure on it, really. She glances toward Kaylee, knowing the girl’s concerns but at the same time concerned about things that are more than a few needle pricks.

“If they can figure things out with minimal tests we can avoid them, but sometimes tests are necessary. They won’t be done by anyone who would want to hurt you, though, I promise.” And she’s hoping they can find out most of what they need with just a few blood tests and nothing else. “I just want to make sure we know what they did and how it might affect you early on, so we can fix it if need be.” If they had done something unfixable by normal means, then she would find abnormal means if necessary.

However… “If you don’t want I won’t ask for more than a routine check up. That shouldn’t require too much.” She’s not even sure how they would look for what she wants them to look for, but she would try.

“It never ceases to amazing me, how different each person is in the marks they leave behind,” Kaylee murmurs suddenly, her eyes unfocused. “Charles, Rupert… Maury.” She is only half listening to the conversation, having suddenly realized she was looking at the work of Matt’s father. Makes one wonder what her’s would feel like to other telepaths. A sloppy amature probably.

“Maury’s hand is all over her mind,” Kaylee notes, seeking out more, now that she knows what to look for testing the feel of it. Noting the lessons that can be learned in what he has done. “I can show you more if you want, but only if you want it.”

Her face scrunches a little, a shadow of that frowny look on the much younger version they saw. The shared looks and the worried voices are noticed and, even though she’s made it known she doesn’t like needles, their uneasiness feeds into her fear of what was happening. And what might have been done to her, if that Alison Meier is like Maury. Squeaks nods, her head making small, slow movements. “Just enough to know I’m okay,” she says quietly, agreeing.

At first, when Kaylee speaks up, the girl looks at her with apprehension. Maury’s hand is touching her mind? Probably not for reals touching, but still hiding things, she decides. “One more time,” is a quietly given answer. She leans into Gillian again, seeking comfort and maybe some protection. The last time she decided one more search she found the bad stuff about Maury.

This time wouldn't be any different.


A loud buzzing sound emits from a barred metal gate. As it slides open with a noisy rattle, the gray-uniformed prison guard on the other side of the gate stares vacantly as it opens, and moves aside for the guests being allowed into the cell block.

Maury Parkman, weary and old, steps through the open gate into a noisy cell block with a girl of no more than six years old behind him. She moves with a fluidic grace, the gait of a marionette on strings. “Close the gate,” Maury says to the guard, and he wordlessly obeys and closes the cell block gate behind the telepath and the child.

As calls and shouts ring out from brown jumpsuit-clad women in the cells, Maury raises one hand and punches his fingers closed. Then there is silence. The women all turn in unison and move back to their bunks, and Maury snaps two fingers and the girl behind him moves to heel. They walk through the women’s cell block, past rows and rows of occupied prison cells, then through another security checkpoint until they are in a concrete hallway with no windows to the outside.

They stop outside of a metal door with a tall but narrow window set in it. Maury peers inside, then motions to a nearby guard to unlock the door. “Come along,” Maury intones to the child, who follows him into the prison cell.

Inside, the walls are scratched with markings indicating the passage of days. Dozens of hatch marks from floor to ceiling. Sitting on a concrete bench that doubles as a narrow bed is a woman with high cheekbones and pale blue eyes, dusty brown hair with hints of copper highlights. She's tall when she stands — and she does, quickly — staring wide eyed at Maury. But it isn't until she sees the tiny redhead standing at his side that she claps a hand over her mouth, letting out an agonized squeal, as tears well up in her eyes.

“Time flies, doesn't it?” Maury admits with a raise of his gray brows, stepping aside to let the girl vacantly step forward. Maury’s attention moves to the hatch marks on the wall, then back to the prisoner. “How’re you doing, Cindy?”

Cindy looks up from the child standing in front of her, taking one anxious step backward. She looks at Maury as though she didn't understand his words, but them exhales a stammering of whispers and runs her fingers through her hair. “Jacelyn is— ”

Jac,” Cindy firmly corrects Maury, and the telepath seems surprised. But he doesn't challenge her, rather, he makes a gesture of acquiescence and changes the topic.

Jac is doing very well. If everything continues as planned, she should be fine. No signs of anything unstable.” Maury looks up to Cindy, frowning in a disingenuous manner. “Wish I could say the same about you,” comes with a small shake of his head.

Slowly, Cindy takes a knee and draws Jacelyn into an unresponsive and unreturned embrace. “Why is she like this? Why— why can't she— ww— why…” Cindy struggles with her words, stammering and starting, not out of emotional distress but out of a clear disability to form coherent sentences. Her right hand trembles, lifting up to cup Jacelyn’s cheek.

“She's asleep,” Maury admits quietly. “Simple trick, pick ‘em up while they're in REM, drive ‘em like a rental car. Point is, she won't remember any of this,” Maury admits with a shrug, “which is the only reason Arthur’s letting you get a visit. Now, like I said, if this pans out? We uphold our end of the bargain.”

Jaw trembling, Cindy leans forward and presses a kiss to Jacelyn’s brow, then looks up to Maury. “Is she happy?”

Maury doesn't answer the question. “Let's stay focused on work, okay Cindy? Now, to the other order of business…” Maury reaches inside his jacket and withdraws a folded up photograph of a blonde teenager in a cheerleader uniform.

“Claire Bennet.” Maury says flatly, handing the picture to her. “Arthur needs to know where she is, right now.” When Cindy takes the photograph, Maury rests a hand on the child’s shoulder at his side.

Looking away, Cindy clutches the photograph, looks at it again once with a fleeting glance, then back to a distant point in space. Her pupils dilate wide, swallowing up her irises until her eyes are entirely black. “I see a bar, high class… it's… quiet, tables are empty…”

Maury makes a sound in the back of his throat, “Details.,” he stresses.

“It's— s-he's not blonde. But it— it’s h-her. Her— h-hair, it's uh, it's— b-brown. She's dyed it. She's w-with, she's— she's w-with an older woman. B-brunette. They're— the older woman’s t-talking abou— ab— about s-someone named — named Darius. He's— a cop.” Cindy’s brows furrow slowly. “I… I can see a menu, it has a flower on it. It's— orchid. Orchid Lounge.”

Cindy swallows a breath and then gasps noisily before snapping out of the vision. Maury takes the photograph back and ruffles the girl’s hair at his side. “Thank you, Cindy. We've got everything we need now.”

When can I have her?” Cindy blurts out, looking down to her daughter and back up to Maury. “You— you said— how long?

Maury raises his shoulders into a shrug. “Did I say anything about that, though?” He flashes an awkward smile, feigning uncertainty. “I don't really recall.” As rage builds in Cindy’s eyes, Maury raises one hand. “And neither do you.”

And snaps his fingers.

Present Day

Kaylee feels the shockwave of a psychic afterimage ringing in her mind, an echo of memory manipulation from the past carrying forward to the present like a tingling migraine. This only raised more questions.

Of all the things that Gillian thought they would find locked away in the girl’s head… It isn’t what she had imagined, but it answered one question in her mind very clear. The girl hadn’t been abandoned by her parent, not by choice. “This must have been… in two thousand and nine. Arthur and Pinehearst were still active, and… The Orchid Lounge existed.” And Claire had been a brunette. Oh Claire. She hadn’t thought about the girl in a while, even though she had named a wing in the Library after her brother. Even though she thought of her uncle far more often than she would like to sometimes.

She couldn’t help but rub her fingers against her wrist, where a darkening of her skin could be seen as the sleeve hiked up.

“Are you okay, Jac?” she asked, worried how the girl may have taken the memory. Was the woman alive? Had she survived Pinehearst? Had she survived the second bomb, the war? She doubted it, honestly. So many had been lost, but…


As soon as that wave hits, Kaylee is letting go of her hold on Gillian and Squeaks, with a grimace and a hiss of pain. Hands move to press to her head, throbbing from the sudden migraine. “It might be better if we stop there. Each memory gets darker, Maury… has never been a good man and I’m almost worried about any traps he might have laid for someone like me pokin’ about.”

What had really impressed the telepath was Maury’s ability to affect so many people at once. There was a stab of jealousy, it was something she had seen of him and Charles both.

Brows furrow a bit, “So she was a lot like Molly,” the name alone brings a twist of grief to Kaylee, a life that was ended too soon, like so many. “She could locate people.” Looking between the two, she adds, “and I know my brother has mentioned Claire’s importance to Arthur’s plans to make the formula…” She trails off, turning thoughtful. Gillian’s own thoughts loud, inching into her own. “There has to be records somewhere, but I would check with Richard first,” this last bit she directs to Squeaks.

Anger overtakes the fear that first settled as she’s pushed out of the memory. That couldn’t be real. Lost memories, even forgetting the bad things, those can happen. Brains bury those bad memories. But that — can that even be hers? Squeaks, very still to start with, twists in her seat and makes a frustrated move at Kaylee, a half resisted attempt to push the telepath away. It’s followed by another, weaker shove and a mad sounding, “No.”

She’s off the couch in almost the same motion and crossing the room until she’s facing the wall opposite the sofa. Her hands raise to scrub scared and angry tears away from her face. “No,” she repeats with a sniffle and another swipe at her face. “No. No. That. That can’t… That wasn’t… That’s fake and. And. And Gillian’s my mom now.” Wrapping her arms around her middle, the girl half turns and slumps against the wall.

“Gillian’s my mom,” she chokes out as she sinks, sliding down the wall until she’s seated on the floor. Her arms lift and pull her head down to her knees. Squeaks pulls in a quick breath that part way escapes in a whimper. “Not that Cindy person. I don’t know her. I never knew her. I stay here now. Nowhere else. Just here forever. It’s supposed to be forever.” Her lips over her teeth to stifle the crying before it really starts.

At the poor girl’s reaction, Gillian doesn’t even try to hide the pained look on her face. Empathic pain, more than pain for herself. With a small shake of her head, she takes a brief moment to look at the telepath, a hint of a nod. She will look into the formula bit at the very least, because she knew how unstable it had been. Both in the original version and the one that came after. As for trying to find out more about the girl’s biological mother…

She would make that decision later. “Thank you,” she offers to Kaylee in quiet tones, so she knows that she’s grateful no matter how this had turned out. With that, she leaves the woman and goes to where Squeaks is bent against the wall, kneeling down beside her.

“I am your mom. Nothing we saw there will change that. You are here, with me, and you will remain so.” Nothing they discovered there changed that part, even if she felt sorry for the woman they had seen. She did not seem… fit for taking care of a child in her position, whether that was her fault or not. “This will be forever, okay?”

There is a grimace at Squeaks reaction to the memory, Kaylee takes it… it’s part of the hazards of who she is and what she does for people. The telepath doesn’t say anything or move to follow, Kaylee stays on the couch. It isn’t her place to comfort the girl. She was only the tool to find what Squeaks needed and her part was done. Still it hurt to have the anger turned on her. Always does.

Once Gillian moves to join her adopted daughter, Kaylee swallows hard against the emotions, takes a moment to gather herself, and stands. There is no word spoken out loud as the telepath quietly makes her way to the door to let herself out. Only Gillian hears from Kaylee, «I’ll show myself out. If after she’s had a few days to process, anything needs to be blocked, let me know.» It’s hard, but Kaylee keeps the hurt out of her mental tone.

The only hint that Kaylee is gone, is the soft click of a carefully closed door.

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