Threading The Needle, Part IV


ff_ashleigh_icon.gif ff_des_icon.gif ff_devon_icon.gif ff_edward_icon.gif ff_gerard_icon.gif ff_hailey_icon.gif

ff_kenner_icon.gif wf_lance_icon.gif ff_leroux_icon.gif bf_odessa_icon4.gif ff_robyn_icon.gif ff_ruia_icon.gif

Scene Title Threading The Needle, Part IV
Synopsis As the Travelers power up the Looking Glass and attempt to escape the arcology, other battles are won and lost.
Date January 12, 2019

The insurrection had begun almost an hour ago, but these small groups had converged far from the fighting, most of them using it as cover to get to the elevators and down to the forbidden levels. Looking at his watch, Gerard Gerken watched the last of them arrive. Most were unarmed, but each of the groups had at least one armed person. Many of the Ark’s youngest survivors were among them, but even those were in their teens rather than technically children, except for the youngest of the recent additions held awkwardly in Hailey’s arms. The child’s little hands were tugging awkwardly at her blonde hair, leaving the girl with a bemused expression that pressed her lips together slightly. “It’s okay, Lene. We’ll get to see sun again soon. Maybe I’ll even get close enough to some animals so I can manifest like Lance said.” Her voice seems to be helping keep the baby calm, cause she’s smiling and looking at her, rather than the groups of people standing around, illegally, in the reactor level.

It’s dark, it’s cold. They can hear every shift of clothes, every shuffle of feet. There’s almost a tenth of the entire Ark down there, sixty odd people, some of them carrying the belongings they were told to leave behind in bags on their back. A mother and her nearly adult daughter, looking nervous and agitated, one of the grounds keepers of the garden nervously looking toward the airlock, a few guards who the Gerkens had approached.

But most of those were up in the higher rings, involved in the fighting.

“That’s the last one,” Gerard claimed as a tall man dressed in maintenance clothes led the last of them through. Each group was bigger than he had hoped, but he had prepared for that possibility, too. It had been hard to know who to trust, had been hard to keep the instructions vague enough that if one betrayed them they wouldn’t all die. But almost everyone standing in the submarine dock had already lost more than they could handle. Had already been living to survive. “Guard the doors,” he instructions LeRoux and Lance, only one of them were officially security, but Lance had access to his alternates uniform and now weapons.

“The submarine can take us out of here,” he gestured with a jerk of his head. “Kenner was wrong. There’s civilizations up there, surviving. Destiny has been there.” A sad glance is given to the girl who already lost so much. “But we needed the distraction to get access to it.” The distraction had been caused by multiple plans. “The problem is the sub only has the fuel for one trip. And it can only hold forty, and that’s over what it should be holding.” He only dared go five over the maximum limit, the goal had been to survive, even if there were double that gathered in the submarine bay. Nearby, Ashleigh was biting her lip. She had warned him that any who had come would want to bring those closest to them. Even if they only told what the sub could hold, there would always be more.

“Anyone under twenty-one gets a spot. That leaves twenty-seven.” There hadn’t been that many younger than twenty-one among the six hundred residents, even if most of them were here, that still wasn’t many. “The rest will pick a tag and take their chances.”

With that, Ashleigh puts down a small bucket, with number tags. The whole time she’d been counting each person that came in, dropping numbered tags into one bucket, and the same number tag into another.

Survival would come down to a lottery, at least for those who have gathered down here.

It's a miracle that Edward Ray made it down to the ruined airlock-come-submarine-dock. The creaking and abused wheel of his cheekchair wobble and flex with each movement he makes in his seat. Sunken-eyed and broken, Edward has the functioning elevators to thank for his presence here. The rubble in the halls from years of disuse to thank for the damage to his chair. The bullet in his spine to thank for all of this.

Edward hasn't said a word since their arrival. He sits with slack shoulders and brows furrowed, large blue eyes focused on a space at the floor. He'd been like this for longer than he cares to admit. He'd come here looking for his son, but instead found nothing but death.

Lance, uncomfortable in the uniform but not showing it, stands at the entrance not far from LeRoux; at attention rather than leaning on anything as he usually does, playing the role of ‘loyal guard’ to take any attempts at interrupting this vital mission by surprise.

He glances back into the room that everyone is in, then back to LeRoux. “So,” he offers with a hint of that irrepressible mischief that the Wasteland had mostly burned from him, “What’re you doing after this?”

Whether he’s flirting seriously is hard to tell. His eyebrows did just waggle once.

"It's true," Destiny lifts her voice to be heard above the quiet sounds of those gathered. "There are people up there living good lives. It's time we joined them." Dropping to a crouch next to Edward, she takes one of his hands in both of hers, trying to draw his attention away from the despair he's staring down. She knows that look, because it's what she's felt in her heart ever since Jimmy was taken from her. Made worse when she heard the news about Mateo and Lynette.

There is hope here. Now. In this moment. If they can just escape this place, they can leave the nightmares behind and start over again. Destiny squeezes Edward's hand and offers him a smile. It's all she's got.

Kenner was wrong. Those are the words that finally get Robyn Roux to look up from where she's been sitting, a sullen look on her face. Though in this case she's at least somewhat already believed that to be the case, it just makes her heart sink further. Still, though, here she is, waiting to see if she's going to picked out of a lottery to leave despite her lingering desire to not.

A look is angled up to Destiny as she speaks, huffing out a breath as she looks over to her and Edward. Legs curl in and she presses her chin against her knees, waiting and watching. "Does it have to be the sub?" she asks quietly, even despite knowing that, yes, it does.

LeRoux used the cover her security outfit to help get them this far, now she uses it to keep anyone from getting any ideas when the news about the lottery hits. The guns help, too. She doesn't stand at attention, but she puts herself between the door and the people. When Lance speaks, she looks over at him with an eyebrow raised. There is a moment taken to look him over and she looks back to the group to hide the hint of a smile.

"I was thinking," she says, to answer his question, "of going down fighting. You?" As casual an exchange as if her answer were going to the movies, instead of finishing a doomed rebellion. Doomed, because she's not getting on the sub. She's going to finish following in her mother's footsteps.

“One more.” Devon’s voice isn’t loud, but it carries down the tunnels and to the group that’s much larger than he would have imagined. He isn’t running, but he takes long strides to catch up to all of the Ark residents. He slows once he’s nearly at the doorway and stops when LeRoux and Lance take up position to block the way. He looks at the woman first, then past her to the residents huddling and waiting.

“I had to find a different route.” His voice is pitched to reach the Gerkens, but a look includes the two standing sentinel in the doorway. The explanation is offered without the expectation that it was really needed. He’d hesitated between staying on the Ark or taking the chance to leave. The sounds of combat made the choice for him, but still he’d only just missed falling in with the rest of the surge of residents looking to leave. “It took me a few minutes longer than I anticipated.”

“The fighting is cutting a lot of us off, but we can’t wait any longer. We don’t want to risk them figuring out where some of us are headed,” Gerard responds with a nod to the young man who arrived a little on the late side, armed and with another small group. Ashleigh counts them out and drops a few more tags in both buckets before handing it to Gerard. “I’m afraid so, Roux. It’s either a sub or…” Or the alternative. Which was death. He knew some of them would be taking that option.

Including himself. Ashleigh takes one of the tags from the bucket, earning her a small frown from her husband as if he expected she would just automatically be on the boat, but a nod. They needed to be fair. He did not take one as he stepped around to each one to allow them a chance to take them. “You’re young enough still, Lillian. You have a spot,” he says to a young blonde girl who looks up in worry at her mother. “Good luck, Tamsine,” he adds, touching the woman on the arm before moving on, stopping to talk to each of them.

Except for the newcomers, he knew each and every one. Being stuck together under water surviving off each other’s hard work made knowing each of them even more important. He stops to say each one’s name and wish them luck, stopping with one group to add, “There won’t be room on the sub for your things, Liza. Unless there’s food or water, leave it.” Hailey stood near a small supply of that already, enough to last the forty who fled a week. Enough time to make it back to the Pelago. If they were right that there had been one ship left behind at the Radio Tower, which hopefully still had enough fuel to make it back.

But they’d also known the ones who had been killed in previous attempts. Including his son.

The one mirrored by the young boy against the door. “It won’t be comfortable, Edward, but you deserve a chance as much as anyone.”

“He’s in a wheelchair— why should he even go. He’ll just get in the way and take up space,“ an angry woman with short dark hair says, earning a glare from Gerard even as she takes her own tag in an angry motion.

The blonde teenager's head lifts from where she's been silently lamenting the fact that there isn't room enough for all of them. The fact that she gets a place and someone else won't be as lucky. Blue eyes fix on the woman who dares to question Edward's right to live.

Like a shot, Destiny is on her feet, small hands curling into fists at her sides, clenching until her knuckles turn white. "I didn't see you helping us, Fionn." She takes a half step forward, then stops herself. This isn't how she was brought up. There's been so much loss already, and while she holds so much anger, it's not productive to lash out at someone who's just as frightened as she is.

"Mister Ray gave up everything to try and do something about Don's tyranny. He has just as much right to be on that sub as anybody." Des takes a slow breath to try and steady herself, but she still looks like she's about to snap.

Edward, finally stirred from his thoughts turns his attention from the floor to a folded piece of paper he'd been clutching in his right hand this whole time. Blinking back tears, Edward stuffs it in a pocket and turns to look up at Destiny, then over in the direction of whomever had questioned his position here, though it's clear he hasn't been paying enough attention to know who it was.

“No,” Edward states wearily, “she's right. I'm a liability at this point. I can't swim if something happens to the sub and there's… there's nothing waiting for me out there. My family’s dead.” His voice is hollow, distant, and yet — he didn't choose to leave with the others. He chose to come here.

“Someone— someone else should take my spot,” Edward says shakily, jaw unsteadied, shoulders hunched small. It may be that he hadn't realized just how much he'd lost until this moment. How everything he'd hoped for down here was a lie.

“I mean, it’s not dinner and a movie, but…” Lance glances down to the gun in his hand, then back up with an easy shrug of one shoulder, “Guess it’s as good a date as anything.”

It’s been a long time since he’s been the trickster and joker of his generation. Here, at the end, he finds that defiant laughter again.

The arrival of Devon gets him back alert, chin raising a bit as he looks the unfamiliar man over— then reaches out a hand. “Weapon, if you’ve got one,” he demands, “Then get back with the rest for the lottery.”

"Mr. Ray, you'll draw the lottery with everyone else," Nathalie says, her statement firm. Frankly, if any of them have to swim for it, chances are bad for everyone. The glance she shoots to Keira is a warning. So is the gun in her hand.

Which is contrasted by the chuckle that follows Lance's words. "It'll be the best date I've had in ages," she says. It'll be her only one, really, since she all but grew up down here.

She turns when Devon comes in, nodding toward Lance. "Careful over there, Dev," she says to him, lowly, since there are already grumbles in the crowd.

Fists trembling at her sides, Destiny holds her angry glare for a long moment before she softens and turns back to Edward. "I'm your family now," she tells the man. "And you're mine." She draws a tag and presses it into his hand. "I already left you behind once," she says softly, pain in her voice. "I'm not going to do it again."

Fate – the lottery – may have other designs, but Destiny has a habit of getting her way.

“Everyone gets an equal chance,” Devon states, voice still quiet but firm. “That means Edward, too.” He starts to walk forward again, once the rest of his small group has passed by LeRoux and Lance. The younger man’s demand makes him pause, and Lance is given a look with a single brow raising slowly. He makes an indeterminate sound in his throat, but doesn’t make any move to show empty or not empty pockets or waistband.

“You also,” he asides to Nathalie as he continues to join the others. His eyes dance over the residents, noting familiar faces and counting heads. Whatever his findings or thoughts are about it, his face remains neutral even as he looks at Gerard. He keeps his eyes on the older man as he dips a hand into the bucket and draws out a tag for himself.

“See, the crip doesn’t even want to go,” Fionn responds harshly, on top of some mutters and comments, both for and against, until Gerard claps his hands. The sound that happens when he claps his hands isn’t like one might expect. He didn’t do it hard, but it reverberates through the room almost like a clap of thunder might. Not loud, just solid. The kind of sound people can feel in their bones. Everyone who might have started mutter quiets. And it also shut up the tattooed woman, who crosses her arms over her chest and gives an indignant glare at Destiny in particular.

After a moment, he hands the last of the tickets to Roux, leaning down to touch her shoulder for a moment with a soft wish of luck, before he moves back to join his wife. Leroux did not get a tag at all, perhaps due to previous request, or because he didn’t realize she already turned twenty-one. Birthdays weren’t really celebrated too much in the Ark. Only then does he reach inside one of the buckets and pull out a tag— but it’s not for himself. It’s from the bucket that will decide who gets to go.

And who doesn’t.

“7,” Gerard calls out, leading to a tall man in a maintenance jumpsuit leaping into the air with a whoop of excitement.

“Lucky 7, guys!” And most who knew Finn Shepard knew he had a tendency toward luck sometimes. Often got the good pings on the chore wheel, and the like. “Does this mean I get to pilot? Cause I totally can.” He doesn’t look apologetic at anyone, as he starts to move over to the submarine.

“It actually does mean that, Finn. It was you or me, I think. We’re the only ones with experience who made it here,” Ashleigh responds with a small smile, but at the glance from her husband, the smile vanishes into a thin line of quiet determination. He had used this argument to try and make her go without a drawing, most likely.

After a moment, Gerard pulls out another tag. And another. Every number that is pulled leads to more tension, mutters in certain areas, sighs of relief in others. More people start to move toward the direction Finn went, over to where Hailey stood. Some linger hesitantly with their friends. Rue Lancaster, when her number is called, holds hers up to show, but waits two more numbers until the woman she stands next to lets out a surprised breath and joins her. Elizabeth Messer and Rue Lancaster turn over their numbers together.


Roux hasn't been paying much attention as numbers have been read, instead staring down at her shoes where she sits. When Rue and Liza move is the first time since speaking up before that she kind of looks up and over at her. "Pffft", she scoffs out just under her breath, idly looking down at her piece of paper.


Eyes widen and she sits up a bit straighter, looking up towards Gerard. And finally, she smiles wide and jumps up to her feet, waving her piece of paper around. "81!" she shouts gleefully, holding it close for a moment as if it were some sort of life preserver.

And then her smile flaters a bit, looking off to the side. She momentarily considers handing the number to someone else, but instead she huffs out a sigh and slowly trudges her way up to the rest of the group.

Somber and silent, Edward watches as the numbers in the lottery are drawn. But his somber tone turns to uncertainty as he looks over to the Gerkens, the submarine, and the number of people gathered down here in the hangar who will not be able to leave. Suddenly uncomfortable, Edward looks up to Devon, then begins to wheel over to him across the group of waiting participants.

“Devon, was it?” Edward’s voice is hushed, not just with uncertainty but also nerves. He wheels in as close to Devon as he can and stretches up in his chair to talk to the young man in confidence.

“You seem… level-headed,” Edward suggests quietly. “When this lottery ends. However it ends. You may need to help… maintain order.” It doesn't take a psychic to realize that when hope flips to despair, people’s demeanors may shift.

Nathalie smiles crookedly at Devon. She knows what role she's taking here; like Edward, her focus is on what happens after the lots are drawn. She takes a moment to check her clip and pat down pockets for extras. She doesn't need to check her boot, she can feel the knife against her foot. Like always.

What she doesn't do is correct the Gerkens on her needing a number.

Lance just crooks a brow up at Devon in response. “I don’t know who you are, buddy,” he points out, not unkindly, “And I don’t know who’s loyal to that psychotic fuck that might try and stop this.” Nathalie seems to know him, though, and the man in the wheelchair— so he doesn’t push the demand. If he can be trusted, he might be needed.

He looks away from them, back down the passage leading their way with a frown, trying to ignore the thoughts stirring behind his eyes.

Ignoring Lance’s rejoinder, Devon’s attention keeps the crowd of escapee-hopefuls, being aware of their temperament is more important than replying to a boy who’s literally a stranger within the Ark’s walls. These others are people he’s known for several years, some he’s worked with and others he’s learned under. It’s them he’s more concerned with.

The approaching movement draws his attention to Edward, and when the older man is close enough, Devon leans forward and tilts his head to listen to the quietly spoken words. A look slants to the crowd. There’s already been grumbling, but he wouldn’t be surprised if things turned worse. Dev nods a reply to Edward’s observations, and straightens.

Des watches Edward approach Lance with concern on her face. If she overheard his suggestion, she doesn't show it. Instead, she turns her attention back to the Gerkens as they continue to draw numbers. With Robyn's number drawn, she puts her hands together in silent applause for her friend, glad that she's won a spot on the sub.

She's glad for anyone who wins a spot on the sub. Even the people who don't say nice things.

“You’ll be fine, Roux,” Hailey gives the singer a small smile, as she had, secretly, always looked up to the older woman and found her really cool, but her attempt to look cool are ruined when Lene’s hand suddenly spreads out it’s wide fat fingers on her face, sticking them in her mouth and curling against her lower lip. “Noo, no, stop, stop that’s gross you don’t just stick your fingers in someone else’s mouth,” she says, snatching the tiny hand down and holding it so the fingers curl around her thumb instead. “Man. Now that we got a pilot I think we should start boarding,” she adds after a moment, shifting a glance toward Lance.

There’s a look on her face like don’t even think about leaving me alone with this kid. Her parents had both assumed the boy would just take his free ticket and leave, but she was starting to doubt. As some of the others, Finn, and Rue, and Liza and others start to get onboard, she moves away to walk first to her brother. “In case you plan to do something completely stupid… Lene wants to say goodbye.” What the girl gurgles is essentially La— la— and something else, but it might be enough. “Alright.” She uses her free hand to reach out and push him on the shoulder. She doesn’t wait for him to talk before she’s already hurrying back toward the sub. Goodbyes were hard.

She had said goodbye to her dad already. And she was still hoping mom would be onboard, so perhaps by not saying goodbye to her at all she was hoping things played in her favor.

The next number did not. The young man made a surprised sound, dressed in overalls that had seen better days. He worked almost exclusively in the gardens. An older woman follows.

And then.


The tag is gripped tightly in a fist while the numbers are read off. Devon doesn’t need to look to know he’d drawn one of the golden tickets. But there’s no celebration, no hint of relief that he’d been given a chance at escape. There’s only the distant consideration of options, weighing each possibility. His eyes stay on Gerard until the older man has moved on to draw the next number. He turns also, as the selection continues, his eyes passing over Edward then settling on the sub as he begins the walk over.

But he doesn’t climb into the craft. Dev positions himself beside the door, with arms folded against his chest and his eyes set on the crowd still waiting. His seat is secured, but not everyone is going to make it in. “I’ll board last,” he explains, a look slanting to Edward again, then later to Nathalie before returning to the Gerkens.

Edward only relaxes when Devon doesn't enter the craft. When he takes that position by the door there's a tension that bleeds out of his shoulders and a look delivered to Destiny. “No matter what happens,” Edward whispers to her, “you make sure to get on that boat.” He's not asking her. “Please.”

Nathalie looks over at Devon, watching him walk toward the sub. But then she turns her attention to the room, to the others not yet chosen. She knows the tension in the room will burst eventually, she just hope it holds out until the numbers are all called.

Of course, if it doesn't, it's possible some seats will open up.

Destiny looks conflicted for a moment. It’s clear she wants to insist that she won’t go without him. But she understands what he’s asking, and what it means to him. Or thinks she does. Finally, she nods her head quickly. “I promise,” she whispers back.

“I don’t know the people here as well as you do,” Lance murmurs, leaning over closer to Nathalie, “You know anyone in particular that might cause trouble, if things get bad?”

With a nod toward Devon, Gerard doesn’t push him toward the exit, and instead keeps going. The next number ends up being his wife’s, which causes a grumble among some members of the crowd, most of them pushing together as the amount of available seats gets smaller and smaller. At least one of them is keeping count, and Keira Fionn’s cheeks are reddening with anger the further it gets and her number isn’t one of those called.

In the break between numbers, the Gerken adults take a moment to hug each other, and she gives him a long, knowing look, as if begging him to not be an idiot and come aboard— but she knows better. But then she approaches Lance. “We should move closer to the boat, so we can board quickly.” Cause she knows just as well as they do that this could turn at any moment. They never should have brought this many down here, but… she had wanted to give everyone a chance. She hadn’t wanted to pick. Even if there were dozens she would have probably left behind, some included in this pack of folks, Ashleigh couldn’t have done the picking.

The only thing she had insisted on was that the children get the chance to go on.

Not waiting or Lance’s answer, Gerard moves on to the next number. “8.”

There were so few spots left.

And the pot was starting to boil.

“Not yet,” Lance says with a slight shake of his head— and a glance to Nathalie— at the suggestion, gripping his weapon a bit more tightly as he straightens, keeping an eye carefully on the crowd for any signs of that pot boiling over. “You might need me out here if things get bad,” he half-lies.

"That's you," Destiny hisses, having remembered the number she pushed into Edward's hands, having prayed that it would be called. Her posture straightens, shoulders back, ready to go on the defensive if anyone tries to deny her friend his seat on the submarine. She's prepared to do whatever she has to in order to get him aboard. Hopefully that only means letting him lean on her. If it means fighting… Then she's ready to do that.

A look of horror and guilt crosses over Edward’s face, looking down to the piece of paper in his hand as he does. He sees the 8, curls his hand around the paper until it crinkles in his fist. Edward opens his mouth to say something, but seeing Destiny’s expression has him slouching forward and opening his hand to look at the crumpled number again. He's silent a moment more, unable to feel any relief in this instance.

“Eight,” Edward says, holding his ticket aloft. There's no pride to accompany that, just resignation. He can't look at the others, at the people yet to be chosen, because the guilt of seeing their tormented expressions is too much. Edward levels one last look up to Destiny, then draws in a deep breath and wheels himself forward. He thinks back to the day the Travelers arrived, back further to the day he first arrived here. He found nothing that he'd been looking for. Just an old friend who had changed beyond recognition, and case studies in the damaging power of grief.

Eight,” Edward says again, quieter now, and continues on his way toward the submarine.

Fuck no,” a woman’s voice can be heard loudly from the crowd as short dark hair and angry features move out from the crowd sending two young women falling as she dives at Edward, one hand groping for his piece of paper, the other with a small folded knife she somehow managed to sneak in. Though most people weren’t bodily searched anyway. They hadn’t had the time. Based on what is happening in other parts of the Ark, they still don’t have the time.

There’s desperation in her voice, and a few of the men, all unarmed, move behind her as if they might try to assist rather than restrain. The mood has definitely broken. And it likely surprises no one who knew her that hothead Keira Fionn was the one who broke first.

Whispers of panic can be heard, others who might be about to turn. Why should they rely on chance to survive? Why should they allow someone to draw lots to decide their fate?

Ashleigh tries first response is to push those who are boarding faster, while Gerard starts to raise his hand.

Nathalie steps forward, lifting her gun to aim at Keira. There isn't much hesitation once she sees the knife, it's more than enough for her to see fit to put this down before they mob Edward. She fires at the woman, just once, at her head.

"Everyone back down," she shouts, gun still in hand but pointed toward the floor. "Back. Down."

The sudden movement toward Edward has Devon stepping forward. Quickly. He closes the distance in a couple of steps, long strides carrying him to the wheelchair bound man. He doesn't try to get directly into the middle of the melee but does grab for the chair. “Hang on,” he says to the older man, meeting the scientist’s gaze as his own hands wrap around the armrests. With a heave and arch of his back, he drags the chair, hauling it from the angry flailing.

Shouting, Lance seems to feel, isn’t going to get anyone’s attention anytime soon.


The gun in the teenager’s hand is aimed for the ceiling when it goes off, although the sound of it is a crack that cuts through the roar of the crowds as confusion builds towards riot.


Destiny throws herself between Keira and Edward as Devon pulls him out of the way. The first gunshot causes the girl to startle, squeezing her eyes shut just as the warm wetness sprays across her face. She doesn't open her eyes again until after the second shot.

Reaching up to touch her face to confirm she wasn't the one hit, she states in horror first at the red slick that comes away on her fingers, then at Fionn's body slumped at her feet. Tears well up and fall, mingling with the blood spatter. She doesn't scream. Instead, she turns back to her friend. "Come on," she whispers, "we need to get on that sub."

At the steps into the submarine, Edward rests one hand on the arm of the wheelchair and then angles a look past the crowd toward Destiny. The tension is eating him alive, but it can’t be just that. There’s guilt eating him up inside too, guilt over something Destiny can’t — and may never — understand. No one in his immediate vicinity moves to help him out of the chair, and it’s impossible for him to wheel up the steps. He seems above dragging himself, at least for the moment. There’s still some hope, no matter how dim, that he won’t be getting on board that vessel alone.

Reaching into his pocket, Edward curls his hand around a hard piece of paper, rolling thumb and forefinger over it. His eyes avert to the rusty floor, then up and back to the crowd. This really was only ever going to end one of two ways. But he never could see which way the coin was going to land.

There’s silence that follows the loud cacophony of gunfire and the immediate screams. It’s as if the entire crowd took a breath, staring down at the bleeding form that had once been a person. Now it was suddenly just a body. The reality sets in on many eyes, the knowledge that they could try to fight their way to the sub, but they were all unarmed and those with guns had seats, or may have deemed not to go. A mother looks across at her child, picked due to her age, a teenager still, looking horrified and like she might run back, but she shakes her head, and one of the women chosen by luck grabs her arm and pushes her closer to the sub.

“We can all die together, or you can let those who can escape.” Gerard says, moving over to Lance and LeRoux, laying a hand on his son’s arm. … A son who wasn’t technically his son. But that didn’t matter. He was still Lance Gerken. From another world, but alive. “You should go. I know you want to stay, but you both should go.” He had planned for both of them, not knowing LeRoux’s birthday had already disqualified her from the rule.

“Or you choose who goes instead of you.”

That was the hardest part, really.

There were people who weren’t lying on the floor bleeding, who didn’t look about to run forward and attack. That just looked scared, horrified, and some looked resigned. They knew the end was here.

They all knew.

"I think the others understand," LeRoux says darkly as she looks over those remaining. It's half observation and half threat in case she's missed someone with bad intentions in the crowd. Her gaze flicks over to Gerard, his words getting a quick shake of her head. Both prospects, going or choosing one from the group, settle in her gut like rocks. She looks over at the sub, then back to the crowd.

"Her," she says, to the mother warning her child not to run. She knows how it is, being a girl without her mother. It's not something she would wish on anyone. "You, just— go to the sub." It's a halting sentence, like offering someone a lifeline doesn't quite come naturally to her.

Take a life, give a life. Sometimes those seem like her only choices.

Destiny.” Devon calls to get her attention over the unhappy, sometimes angry, murmurs. He moves forward, to become more of a shield for those last few who've gained passage out of the Ark. Those he allows past, eyes scanning faces, shoulders. People he's known for years. “Get into the sub. Help Edward on and get your seats.” His eyes move from the crowd to Destiny. “Now.

“I’m not even from here. I’m not your Lance, dad…”

The gun’s lowered, but Lance’s gaze sweeps the mob, watching for any sign of renewed violence or insurgency. Then he looks back to Gerard with a faint smile, free hand lifting to cover his hand on his arm briefly,

“I always knew I was going to go out fighting,” he says quietly, “Just get mom, Hailey, and Darlene out of here, okay? So long as ‘lene’s okay, I did something right.”

Destiny freezes when Devon calls out her name, fixing him with a wide-eyed gaze. It takes a second for everything to process, but eventually she nods sharply. “Yes.” She nods again several times. Repeats, “Yes.”

“Come on!” Destiny grabs Edward’s arm and pulls it around her shoulders. “Lean on me. We’ll get you in that sub if I have to carry you on my back myself.”

Can she even do that?

If there’s one thing Destiny Ruiz has proven, it’s that her determination will take her through hell and back without a scratch.

Edward wants to fight, should for all he considers leaving here impossible. Destiny has to do what she’d threatened, once he’s pulled out of that chair. Edward is mostly dead weight in her arms, his legs unable to support his weight. He paws at the side of the submarine, streaking grime off the hull, the other arm around Destiny’s shoulders clinging for dear life. She only has to get him so far, just up the steps and into a seat.

As Edward is dragged up into the submarine, he watches the entrance to the airlock with wide and unblinking eyes. There is a part of him that looks like it’s waiting for something, and with each murmuring of “please,” Destiny can hear him uttering, she can see relief fading into his features. It isn’t that he’s waiting for someone to arrive, it’s that he’s praying someone won’t.

But the subtlety is lost on her.

Nearby, the sounds of popping gunfire breaks the normal noise of creaks and groans in the arcology’s hull. Somewhere, the revolution against Donald Kenner has spun into bloodshed.

And it could spin into much, much more.

As the lucky few are chosen they run toward the sub and some of the others look as if they might be tempted to follow in the footsteps of the woman Keira— but all it takes is a glance down at her still twitching body and those few tempted decide against it. Some glance toward the sounds of gunshots, and end up just moving up against the walls together, muttering curses, while other guards who knew their fate depended on the lottery stood with weapons ready in case anyone did change their minds.

They didn’t get chosen, but they had friends who would be escaping.

Maybe that would be enough. It was better than everyone dying.

Gerard Gerken looks back toward the sub, catching the eyes of his wife, who was still outside helping get people inside, and after a moment he gives her a small nod. A final farewell, before she disappears inside herself. Hailey and the baby that had been hers in another life were already onboard. So were so many others.

Moving toward the young man who was almost his son, and the young woman who had volunteered to stay behind, Gerard puts his arms around their shoulders, pulling them close for a moment. “I’m proud of you both.”

Nat clings onto Gerard's arm, taking a moment to breathe. Easier to be blase about it when no one is making it real. But she manages a smile at him all the same. "Thanks, Gerard." SImple words, but the depth of meaning is there all the same.

“Thank you,” says Lance, leaning in against the man who was almost his father and closing his eyes for a moment, “Just take care of— “

Then Gerard snaps his fingers an inch from the sides of their heads, amplifying the sound to levels that reverberate off their skulls in such a way that it should knock them both out.

“I’m not letting my son die again. Clendaniel.” He looks towards Devon, and then glances over at the guards and chooses one at random. “And you, Karrington. Get them on board. We had spaces for the girls that arrived with Lance and they’re not here. Get on board. Now. We’ll get the hatch open so you can leave. Now go.”

Hearing the nearby gunshots, Devon pulls his attention from watching Destiny struggle with getting Edward into the sub. The residents gathered might be temporarily reluctant to their fate now, but he worries about the shift in attitude when the revolution comes closer. Who's going to become violent when the hatch closes? He finds Gerard’s face in the crowd after being called for, picks out the crumpled forms of LeRoux and Lance.

He hesitates for half a second, then surges forward to join Karrington in collecting the two. As he hefts Lance up, arms hooked beneath the younger man’s arms, he looks at Gerard for a long second. One hand slips to his back, produces the firearm he never claimed he had, and offers it to the old man. “You’ll want this. It's about to get crazy.” For however long it will last, at least Gerken will have that much more of chance.

It takes effort, but Destiny’s been in tight corners before. She’s stronger than she looks. “It’s okay,” she murmurs assuringly to Edward clutched at her side. “It’s okay. I’ve got you. We’re gonna make it.”

It’s with a grunt of effort that she drags him into the sub, where the other lucky lottery winners are there to help her get him the rest of the way to a seat. Destiny drops down next to him and reaches out to clutch his hand tightly. “It’s going to be okay. Stay with me.” Because he looks like he’s going somewhere else behind his eyes, and that’s never a good thing in times like these.

Don used to do that, too.

As Edward is settled down into one of the cracked leather seats inside the sub, he watches the growing chaos outside with wide eyes. His attention moves to Destiny, silent in both apology and thanks, the storm that will decide which he feels over the other still hasn’t ended yet. “She didn’t show up,” Edward whispers, and the storm there has settled. Worry turns to relief.

Anywhere but here is safer.

Outside of the submarine, a ripple of panic begins to spread through the crowd at the distant sounds of approaching gunfire and raised voices. People who had been willing to accept their fate now find themselves presented with the growing sense of finality as the last passengers board the sub with Karrington. Shouts start to erupt from the crowd, panicked pleas of, “We can fit more!” Rational, for the moment, but nevertheless incorrect.

If they don’t launch soon, this could turn into a riot.

They already wasted enough time. Gerard shoves his way through the panicked throngs, yelling orders even as some of the guards start to realize that they really hadn’t been chosen and begin to wonder if, just maybe, there’s more room. The lottery didn’t even really finish, right? Someone slips in the blood pooling around Keira’s body, spilling on the ground with a thud, another runs over and trips on them. As some start to move toward the sub, one of the guards panics and opens fire, shooting someone who’s moving toward the sub. The guard has his fifteen-year-old daughter on board. If the sub doesn’t launch, she doesn’t have a chance.

A moment later he gets knocked down by someone else.

Then Gerard makes it to the button, slams his fist against it with a resonating sound that sends a vibration through the room that pops the ears of everyone not in the protective cover of the sub. Everyone except him. The doors close, almost catching someone in between them before they tumble over on— the wrong side. The side that starts to fill with water.

Water begins to rush in around the sub, around people who have run towards it, who start to bang against the metal, yelling for help. One woman doesn’t scream for help, just pressing her hand against one of the portholes, muttering a soft prayer as she wishes farewell to whoever got inside without her.

Inside the sub, many of those who had been chosen start to cry, as the ones who are holding it together make sure everyone gets strapped in. Hailey’s crying with relief at the sight of her brother— holding on to tiny Lene who, miraculously, isn’t screaming, just making soft sounds of distress at all the noise. Lance may not be her brother, but he was. Their mother also cries, as she straps Lance in, and then herself. Crying with relief, and with sorrow. Because she will get the chance to get to know her son again— but her husband will not return.

The pilot continues to move, flicking switches and muttering about how his luck better stay with them. Finn had always been lucky. It would take luck to get them all out of this.

Someone has to practically force Roux into a seat, her eyes locked on the increasingly agitated crowd. Once seated, she stares down at the floor, not wanting to look out at the water when it comes rushing in or at the crowd. She swallows, nails scratching across the back of her hand as she chews at her lip.

"I don't belong here," she says quietly, jaw clenching as tears well up in the corners of her eyes. "I don't. But-" She isn't talking to any one person in particular, more to the air. Or maybe to herself. Either way, she doesn't really stop either. "I'm sorry I won't be here to meet you, mom. Maybe you'll find me with Else. Come 'round the pelego. Just… show up, please."

She mumbles quietly to herself after that, but whoever stands near her can clearly make out the repeating of phrases in french: "Et quand le jour arrivera. Je retournerai au ciel, et je retournerai à la mer, et la mer va m'embrasser, et me délivrer chez moi. Rien ne peut m'arrêter maintenant".

For a moment, Destiny is torn between moving to the co-pilot’s seat to assist with their departure or staying where she’s at. A hand slapping against the porthole over her shoulder causes her to jump, twisting in her seat the stare in the face of the woman staring back at her. She’d known her.

She knows all the faces they’re leaving behind.

The tiny blonde was given a seat without question. A seat she didn’t deserve. It takes great effort to force herself to turn way from the unlucky numbers that weren’t drawn. She doesn’t remember being strapped into her seat, but someone must have come by and done it.

With this departure, the last of her family is well and truly lost to her. Reflexively, her fingers curl in towards her palms and she’s reminded that she’s still clutching Edward’s hand. Destiny looks up at him again then, bewildered. Did he ever get what he wanted from her? Had either of them found anything more than death in this place?

“You kept my secret,” Destiny murmurs softly. Then, she simply nods, like maybe she understands why, or maybe it’s just enough to know that he did. “We’re gonna be okay,” she insists as much to herself as to him now. Narrowing her eyes faintly, she dares to ask, “Who were you waiting for, Eddie?”

Leaving Lance to Ashleigh’s care, Devon turns to help Karrington get Nathalie seated and strapped in. The clang and clack of the portal sealing draws his attention to it, to the window with its tide of fury and fear beyond it. He knew all of them in some form or another. He'd spent the last of his adolescence there, the beginnings of adulthood. It was home. Those were friends.

“Let's get ourselves strapped in,” he says as he draws his eyes from the narrow view outside the sub to those who'd made it inside. It's a paltry, lucky few who've made it this far, but there's further still to go.

Devon weaves his way to an available seat. One more look is afforded for those on board as he eases himself down. Hands fumble with straps and fittings, muffled shouts and the banging of fists against the portal demand notice. He leans back, closes his eyes, ignores the world beyond the submarine.

Edward slowly turns to look at Destiny, silent under the sounds of sobbing echoing through the old underwater tour sub. He swallows dryly, a lump going down in his throat. “I wasn’t waiting for anyone,” he says with a hitch of emotion in his voice, “I was making sure… that someone went the other way.” He smiles, but his jaw trembles and reveals just how broken his heart is. She doesn’t know why, but Destiny can’t help but feel something final about all of this.

As the airlock doors start to shut, orange security lights come to life. The strobing glow illuminates the interior of the airlock, cast dancing shadows around the interior of the sub. Gerard Gerken stands on the other side of the airlock doors as they slowly descend. A klaxon blares, warning of the airlock’s closure, but it doesn’t stop a desperate group of survivors from running past Gerard.

It is a horrifying sight, watching seven people clamor over the closing doors, stumble down into the airlock and arrive outside the sub. They pound and hammer on the door, palms slapping against windows, fogging up the glass with their breath as they scream to demand entrance onto the already crowded vessel. Edward closes his eyes, then puts an arm around Destiny and pulls her head to his chest to hide her face from what he knows is bound to happen.

Inside the airlock, view of Gerard and the other survivors diminishes down to a sliver, then a crack, and with a resounding clang they are gone. In the pilot’s seat, Finn flips switches overhead and turns on the submarine’s ignition. The diesel-powered engine rumbles to life, sputtering and groaning. Interior lights come on at the ceiling in a thin band.

Outside, port holes in the airlock ceiling open and explode with a sudden torrent of water. The people trapped outside the sub scream and cry, smashing their bodies against the vehicle, rocking it from side to side. Some are swept away by the downward streams of white water, thrown into a whirlpool forming around the base of the submarine. At the same time air pressure changes to match the underwater conditions and the people trapped in the airlock begin the process of a slow, agonizing death.

Screams for passage onto the submarine turn into screams of terror, dread, and finally agony as they writhe around on the flooding ground, soon consumed by rising water levels that creep up the submarine’s windows. People are crying aboard the sub, openly sobbing and yelling as they watch bodies swirl about in the dark water lit by orange flashes of security lights. When the airlock has filled and pressurized, when everyone outside the sub has died a horrific death, there is a loud buzzer sound as the exterior airlock doors open.

“Please god,” Finn says through his teeth as he throws the submarine into reverse.

«Security Alert. Intrusion Detected. Arcology Environmental Containment Breached.»

Inside the hangar, Gerard stands in the glow of emergency lighting amid the crowd of survivors who did not make the lottery. A security alarm blares, a red light on the panel Gerard had accessed to open the airlock. He had not been able to disengage the security warning.

«Security Alert. Intrusion Detected. Arcology Environmental Containment Breached.»

Distant pops of gunfire fill the air, screams echo through the arcology. Rivulets of water weep through the airlock doors, trickling down onto the floor to fill rusty depressions. They have made their choice, and now they have however long is left to live with it.

«Security Alert. Intrusion Detected. Arcology Environmental Containment Breached.»

“Godspeed,” Gerard whispers quietly under the sounds of the gunfire and alarms, closing his eyes for a moment as he looks back at those who stayed on the other side of the doors. Most of them were the security team who had agreed to this and their families. At least their children, the few who had children, had been on board the sub. That had been the agreement. Children first. He would have considered women, but— there wouldn’t have been room in the end. “It’s over,” he says.

They were on their way.

They had given hope to those who they could.

At least only one thing left for him to do. He kept the weapon Devon had handed him ready, in case anyone else in the group decided they wanted revenge for not getting chosen— but it was a little late for that now.

The sub was gone. “There’s only one thing left to do…” He’s really only talking to himself now.

The crowd trapped outside of the airlock hammers on the door in futile desperation, though that energy slowly turns into panic and terror as the realization sets in that they’re now permanently sealed in what would undoubtedly become their tomb. The immediacy of that looming threat feels comfortably distant for a time, even in spite of the popping sounds of distant gunfire. For several minutes, the survivors who were not fortunate enough to get on the sub linger in silence, right up until all of the lights in the arcology flicker.

The sudden shift of light elicits a collective gasp from the crowd, eyes upturned to the lights. They flicker again, go out for a moment, but when they come back on the airlock is bathed in the orange glow of emergency lighting. A split second later, a new automated warning blares over the intercoms.


Now the crowd screams. The dread is palpable, the panic and anger even more so. Gerard can feel eyes settling on him, those not blinded by shock and horror. It won’t be long before the crowd turns against him, but worse, if the reactor goes critical and explodes before the sub is at a safe distance the shockwave could likely kill everyone on board.


Someone had to buy them time.

That— wasn’t part of the plan.

Gerard had intended to actually blow up the reactor once the submarine was at a safe distance, but he hadn’t expected it to— “Son of a bitch,” he grumbles under his breath, pushing up from where he had planned to rest and wait and hope that he didn’t get shot by the craziness happening around them. “I’m going to the Reactor. Any of you who want those on the sub to live to have a chance to make it to the surface, follow me.”

He would buy them some time if no one else did. With the weapon handed over to him by Devon, he started toward the exit, to begin toward the Reactor, knowing good and well if no one joined him he probably wouldn’t make it very far.

But before he gets too far a few of the soldiers come to his side. Cesar Diaz follows with a weapon in hand, ready to help. The second of the security officers, a woman, steps up with weapon in hand as well, nodding her head in understanding. They would go together. A handful more follow behind as well.

Most do not.

Moments Earlier

Arcology Reactor
Commonwealth Arcology

There is three feet of standing water on the floor of this cavernous, circular chamber that rests below the entirety of the Commonwealth Arcology. Bright orange security lights flash on the walls, reflecting off of the dark water's surface onto the ceiling.

The space directly outside of the elevator is a raised platform with a metal railing some twenty feet up from the floor of the chamber. From here, the entire room can be seen at an advantageous angle. The reactor level has fifty foot high ceilings, interlaced with a system of conduits and pipes that spread out from the center of the room like the root system of a great tree. The reactor level itself is probably four hundred or five hundred feet across from one end to the other. The walls too are lined with this criss-crossing maze of conduits, all of which hum noisily. From the landing the elevator opens out onto, a pair of metal staircases descend in a switchback to the floor below.

On the opposite side of the reactor chamber from the elevator, there is a fifteen foot wide and twenty foot tall steel blast door framed with black and yellow banding. A curving pair of railway tracks leads from the door to a loading dock behind the reactor. A sign above the door clearly indicates Cargo Dock Access. Now it's a one-way door to the open sea, no airlock on the other side, just the pressure of the ocean bearing down on those doors and slowly flooding the reactor.

It is the center of the reactor level that draws attention, demands attention. A massive machine rises like a column from floor to ceiling here. More accurately, the machine is like a pair of thick pillars — one descending from the ceiling, and one rising from the floor — that nearly meet with one another, and in that gap between them is a sparking and guttering arc and snap of unearthly blue light. This reactor is surrounded by a transparent, cylindrical wall of what is presumably thick glass, but may be some other form of transparent and reinforced polymer or composite.

Outside of the reactor and its reinforced barrier are descending stairs down to command consoles, most of which do not appear to be actively staffed. Blood soaking through his jacket from where Michelle Cardinal shot him in the shoulder, Donald Kenner works at one of the consoles with his back to the elevator, sucking in rasping and wheezing breaths. “I’ll fucking— show that bitch. Think she can— fucking steal my arcology!

Kenner has been talking to himself for a while now, ever since Ruia brought him down to the reactor level where he immediately initiated an overload of the reactor’s coolant systems. “I need you to flip this switch simultaneously with me,” Kenner says as he motions to Ruia with his chin across the console to a key inserted in a yellow lock, identical to one Kenner is standing at.

“On the count of three,” Kenner says, “I want you to turn that key clockwise.” But he isn’t telling her what it will do. “Can you do that?”

Ruia skips down the stairs a few at a time until she lands on the floor with a clang of metal under her feet. She doesn't mind Kenner talking to himself, fuming and whatever else he needs to do, saves her from having to carry a conversation. When he actually addresses her, she turns to him with a toothy grin. Her arm comes up to drape over his shoulders and she leans her head against his. "Today's been fun, Donny. Don't be such a sourpuss."

Fun, she says. As if the whole place isn't crashing down around them.

Her hand trails off his back and she heads across to her assigned key, her fingers walking along the surface of the console. "I guess we'll find out," she says with a laugh. Because of course she can turn a key. And count to three, even. She grips onto her key and looks over at Kenner. She has to salute him with her off hand, but needless to say, she's ready.

Kenner doesn’t have to consider what turning these keys will do to him. He should consider what it will do to Ruia, but maybe it’s better off that she doesn’t understand. Hand trembling, Kenner grips his key in the console tightly, his other hand opening the cover on a red plunger-style lever, winding fingers around the handle.

“On three.” Kenner says with a shaky breath. “One,” a single bead of sweat rolls down his cheek, “two,” rolls under the curve of his chin, “three.

Click. Click. Click.

The key turns, but not to the effect Kenner is expecting. There’s no note of frustration or confusion from Ruia at his side. There’s nothing from her at all, in fact. Not the sound of her breathing, not the clicking of her own key.

She’s frozen in time.

Footsteps sound on the steps at Kenner’s back. Not from high up on the walk, but only the last few before the concrete landing. Odessa Woods makes her way forward, left hand outstretched to Ruia. Her head cocks to the right and she smiles.

It isn’t a nice expression.

“Not so fast.”

At first there’s anger, then there’s confusion, then there’s just a quivering frown as Kenner locks eyes with Odessa. “Oh, it would’ve been so quick,” she hears, right before the three feet of standing water she’s wading through on her way over turns into a sea of grasping hands pulling her down into the wet, dark depths. It happens so fast it’s startling. One minute Odessa is right-side up, the next moment she’s head underwater, one hand on the metal grating of the floor, the other up above the water’s surface with fingers curled in a somatic binding to Ruia.

She can’t hear what Kenner is saying. But she knows he’s shouting it.

The benefit to the fact that Odessa was about to fire back a retort is that she has a lungful of air when she’s dragged beneath the surface of the water. One moment, he has the satisfaction of watching her struggle, seeing her begin to suffocate.

The next, her hand is on the back of his head, shoving him down into the console with all the viciousness that comes from a woman who’s lost everything and only has this left. She gives a flourish with her other hand, a closed fist blossoming to open. Ruia is free from the hold the temporal manipulator had over her. “One chance,” Odessa warns. Looking like a drowned spirit for all that her blonde hair clings wild and wet to her face and neck. Murder in her red-rimmed eyes. “If you wanna live, get the fuck out.

Ruia comes out of the time bubble with a blink of confusion. She looks at her key, at Kenner's, then seems to realize Odessa is here. Because she's talking. And when she's done, Ruia can't help but laugh, a mad sort of mirth. "There is no living anymore, you stupid slut." And then Odessa isn't there anymore, she's out in the room near the reactor, far enough above the ground to cause her to fall to the floor. Like she was sloppily tossed rather than placed.

Her hand returns to her key, and she looks over at Kenner and his key for a long moment. Waiting for him, but preparing for him to choose the fight instead. She's never been in two places in the same moment, but right now, she's focused on his key and hers… and trying to have a hand on each. Or at least, fast enough to be negligible.

The pride that shows on Don’s face when Ruia chooses him rather than saving her own hide — especially in spite of what he is intending to do — is palpable. Mercy had been Odessa’s fault in the moment, one that Don leverages for his own desires. He returns to his key as Odessa’s world is coming back into focus from the blow to her head she took from the landing. She has just enough time to right herself and see both Ruia and Don turn the keys simultaneously, unlocking the red plunger for the coolant purge.

Don slaps his hand down on the button and a blaring klaxon floods the room.


“It all ends here!” Don shouts, backing away from the button. “She is coming!” His eyes look unfocused, glassy. Don doesn’t realize that the elevator engaged during their altercation. Once more Odessa sees the slithering reach of watery tendrils snaking toward her across the floor.


The Resurrection is at hand!” Don howls as the outer casing of the reactor begins to loudly vibrate and the multi-ton covering to the control rod channels at the top of the reactor begin bouncing like the lids of many kettles. Pressure and temperature gauges immediately begin to redline.


With a clang the freight elevator comes to a stop and the doors roll open, revealing Gerard Gerken, and two security officers who weren’t loyal to Kenner: Cesar Diaz and Mara Angier.


Gerard Gerken isn’t even going to ask what’s going on down in the reactor room. He doesn’t even take a moment to question. In all honesty, all he can see for the moment is the man who murdered his son. And the fact that, with the reactor going critical, what was left of his family, and his son from another world, might not manage to make it to safety. He didn’t even have time to think.

With Cesar at his side, bleeding from a gunshot wound to the leg, Mara, mostly unharmed, except for some bruises, Gerard takes a moment to meet Odessa Price’s eyes, before he’s raising his rifle and pointing it straight at Don.

And he fires.

Don’s head jerks to the side when the rifle round passes straight through it. A spray of blood and bone exits out the side of his head and spatters across the reactor console. As Don’s body crumples to the ground, Mara looks shocked and starts to pivot her attention to Gerard.

Ruia’s face is painted half red by the spray of Don’s blood. It rolls down her cheeks, drips off her chin, pieces of bone and hair clinging to her jawline. The world feels like it’s moving in slow motion as Gerard chambers another round in the rifle.

Maybe it is.

A moment of triumph is all Ruia gets when the klaxons start to blare. In a blink her one ally falls in a mess of blood and she looks out to the room. Blood covers her face like a mask, one she doesn't stop to wipe off before she's on the move. She disappears from next to Don's corpse, appearing behind Gerard as he gets his bullet loaded and ready. But her knives slam into his kidney and the side of his neck. Vengeance for vengeance. She doesn't even pull the knives out, they just disappear from his flesh as she flashes over to slash Mara across the gut and blinks away to stab Cesar in the leg in a quick flurry of activity. Her attention falls on Odessa and she ports across the room —

Trying to stop Ruia proves nearly impossible. With her teleportation, her place in space makes it difficult for Odessa to pinpoint her location, to find her strings and tug. With her ears ringing and her head still pounding from the fall, she only manages to stop everything in fits and starts. Try as she might, she’s unable to keep the woman from striking at the others. Though she keeps reaching out desperately this way and that to get control of the situation, the strings keep slipping through her fingers. It makes things around her seem to bend and warp as some pockets remain frozen while others continue on.

Blood mingles in the water on the floor, but also stands absolutely still, refusing to dilute in other places. Odessa is breathing hard, desperation starting to breed panic. She has to stop this. She has to do something to keep that reactor from melting down too soon. She has to buy them time.

As a last ditch effort, the temporal manipulator brings everything around her to a grinding halt when Ruia’s attention has shifted to her and she disappears. There’s no sound now. Not the echoes of gunfire, the pained cries or death throes. Just the sound of Odessa Woods’ panting breaths.

Then the rush of sound that’s so achingly familiar to her, at her back. If she closes her eyes, it could be her James.

So she does, knowing that it isn’t.

— Ruia grabs her by the hair and yanks her head back.

No clever words now, no one liners or threats. She just pulls her blade across Odessa's throat.

Odessa cries out, reaching up to paw at her neck, an expiration of blood misting the air. There’s some sort of (metaphorical) injury added to insult that she should have her throat sliced open a second time. The first time, she had calculated the arc of Kazimir Volken’s sword, had carefully placed herself just so, knowing the blade would cut, but not kill. Not swiftly anyway. She’d bought herself time then. Perhaps that luxury had existed here as well, but she hadn’t exercised it.

It hurts like hell. Burns like fire and stings like rock salt ground in.

It can’t end like this.

The wound explodes in a burst of green light and fire. Odessa throws her head back and screams as motes of light spark from her body.

Ruia is gone then, but reappears crouched by Cesar. She pulls her knife out of his leg and disappears. Then she’s drawing closed the line across Mara’s midsection, and she’s gone again. From behind Gerard, she withdraws her knives from his throat and his soft organs.

She stands at the console. Blood and bone peel away from her face and siphon back into Donald Kenner. The bullet retreats into Gerard’s gun, the flash swallowed by the muzzle. He and his crew back up into the elevator. The doors slide shut and it retreats upward. Tendrils of water creep away from her and back toward the fanatic.

Don lifts his hand off the button and he and Ruia turn their keys back. She flickers out of existence, then back to where she was. Don’s head hits the console, then he bounces back up, no worse for wear. Still engulfed in green fire, Odessa’s screams echo throughout the chamber. It’s as though she succumbs to the undertow, suddenly falling into the churning water around her.

All is silent then, and nothing moves.

Until the surface of the water is broken again and Odessa re-emerges, dry except for what of her remains beneath the waterline. Her hair is white as freshly-fallen snow, contrasting with the bright red blood that’s smeared along her mouth and chin, but notably absent from her throat.


When time resumes, Odessa has two keys in her hand, where Ruia and Don now have none.

“Not so fast.”

There is momentary confusion in Kenner’s expression as he looks down at his empty hand, clutching what was once a key. His eyes upturn to Odessa, then as he looks back to Ruia, spies on the flickering security camera display over her shoulder four people moving through the hallways of the lab; another teleporter and that pyromaniac with her husband, and the ginger. Don glances back at Odessa, rubbing forefingers and thumb together, but holds a warding hand off toward Ruia.

“New plan,” Don says in a tremor of a shaky voice, pointing a wagging finger at Ruia. “Kill those fucking morons and bring me the Ginger, alive.” He says with a jerk of his head to the monitor showing Isa, Shaw, Miles, and Walter.

“I’ll take care of Price.” Don says with a dry swallow, teeth clenching together.

Ruia blinks, too, when she's suddenly without a key. Usually, that's her move, to jump in and surprise people. "Hmm," is all she says on the matter, though. Like she's not quite married to any proposed outcome for the day. Or, perhaps more accurately, she has a very good idea how the day will end for all of them, and she's reveling in the nihilism of it all.

She glances to the monitor, her head tilting. A warm smile comes to her face when she sees Isa and Shaw there. "Oh, old friends," she says, hands clapping together. She leans over, pressing a kiss to Don's forehead like he's a small child who needs comforting. "Do her quick," she says in a gentle voice to contrast the danger in her words. "Maybe we can see the end of this together." One more smile and she's gone. Not elsewhere in the room, but elsewhere in the facility.

Off to have a reunion. Of sorts.

She could stop her. Odessa knows this, and it twists at her guts that she doesn’t. She stares at the empty place where the teleporter once stood. In another life, they could probably have been friends. As much as she hates to admit it, Odessa likes Ruia’s style. Looking to the monitors, she confirms her new position. She has to hope that the others can hold their own, but if they can’t…

Bring me the Ginger, alive.

Well, Walter might well be her ticket out of here. She’ll make lemonade out of this situation if push comes to shove.

“You know you can’t beat me, Don.” Odessa swipes the back of her hand under her nose, smearing the blood that’s collected there and against the edges of her cupid’s bow. “I can trap us in this moment for eternity.

Go ahead,” Don says with a toothy smile, spreading his hands out to his side, “do it.” He threatens her, brows furrowed and nostrils flared. “Do it, Price!” He barks loudly, voice ringing off the metal walls. “Put one foot past that threshold, and pray,” he says with a slow shake of his head to the side, “because God is listening!” He spits involuntarily when he says that, a dangling thread of saliva hanging from his beard.

“You are a puppet on strings of causality, you little shit!” Don slowly advances on Odessa, boots sloshing in the water. “You’re a fucking nobody whose only reason to exist is to pass the proverbial fucking butter and then die in obscurity!” His voice cracks as he shouts, the water rippling and churning at his feet.

Don swallows, dryly. He trembles from head to toe, staring at Odessa with wide, hateful eyes. “Do it.” It isn’t that Don doesn’t realize that the elevator engaged during their altercation, once again, it’s that he doesn’t care.

“And they call me crazy,” Odessa muses, smooth as the butter she’s supposedly meant to be passing. Rather than be afraid of him, and what he can do with his ability, she just grins. She’s every bit as collected as he is incensed. “I am the prodigal daughter of acausality, you stupid motherfucker.” Her head is as flooded as the chamber around them with memories not her own, but also wholly hers. Like she’s looked through time itself in that burst of power.

“You know nothing of who I am and my role in the universe.” She laughs cruelly. “I am Destiny.” Odessa shakes her head. “Nobody knows who you are. You’ve been down here so long, your ineffectual little scurrying has done nothing. Your god? Doesn’t even care.” At this point, her ship has sailed. There’s nothing beyond this moment for her. “I will watch you die again, and again, and again.” They can lock into this dance until time itself finally decides to end for all she cares.

“I was born for this moment.”


m o m e n t

Odessa’s world ripples in after-images and split panes. It’s like a stained glass window coming apart at the welded seams. Her hands tremble, confidence boils like water in a stockpot, and her vision blurs into a kaleidoscope of possibilities. She can feel the icepick stab of something behind her right eye even as vision in it starts to go out.

She’s strained herself too much. She’d pulled time’s fucking muscle.

Sparks of green emanate from her fingertips, lift up off of her arms like flakes of dander from a wooly dog caught in the breeze. Don splits into a funhouse mirror of himself and then collapses back together, and key or no key she hears a horrifying sound.

A scream. A man’s scream coming from the direction of the reactor as a blaring klaxon floods the room.

Alarms blare, a warning that no one can ignore.


Odessa is haunted by emerald shades moving around her, while Don appears to be frozen in time. Water flows backwards, droplets rise from the ankle-deep water up toward the ceiling. She sees people she both should and shouldn’t know; Ygraine Fitzroy, Jean-Martin Luis, Remi Davignon, and Tamara Brooks making their way beneath the yawning blast doors that should lead to the sea. Graeme Cormac, Liette and Julie Fournier, and… Eric Doyle step into the elevator to the upper levels of the arcology.


Time is bent, curved like a laser making its way through a black hole. It’s only then that a pang of dread realization hits Odessa. Somewhere in the arcology Mateo is breaking time and space, opening a doorway between worlds with the Looking Glass as a focus. And she, Odessa, stands on the edge of that invisible force like the event horizon of a black hole. Time is bending, twisting, breaking all around her.


Odessa sees herself a few feet away, standing at the reactor that is screaming with a man’s voice from a time and place not this one. Her other self is tugging at the invisible threads of time and space that were once stolen from her, now restored. She is lit by the blue glow of radiation swelling in what would be Amid Halebi’s containment cell, her shadow is cast long and dark against the wall, arms moving in arcane patterns and fingers twisting around something no one but she can feel.


Odessa offers one side-long look, meeting her own self’s eyes, and her promise haunts the back of her own mind. A fear blossoms in the back of her mind, a dread revelation as she sits on the precipice of this moment in time. She was right.


She was born for this.


With a clang in a time not beyond time, the freight elevator comes to a stop and the doors roll open, revealing Gerard Gerken, and two security officers who weren’t loyal to Kenner: Cesar Diaz and Mara Angier. They are immediately met by the sight of Odessa Price standing bathed in an aurora of swirling green light, rising up off of her as though she should be a fixture in the sky. Donald Kenner is backing away from her, a look of horror dawning on his face.

Before when the doors opened, Gerard didn’t even take a moment to question what was happening when his green eyes fell on the man who murdered his son. It had been all he could see at that moment, but now— things were slightly different. There was a different set to his jaw, a different clarity in his eyes— it was as if he remembered what had happened a moment ago, before time reversed, before Odessa claimed a reset. A do over. A reboot.


Cesar and Mara cast eyes and what weapons they had around quickly, scanning for threats, but there was just the green light, the floating woman emitting it— and Don.

And once again, Gerard raises his weapon, but this time he doesn’t fire immediately. He stops to say simply: “You’ve lost.”


Odessa raises a hand and holds the bullet suspended in mid-air. She isn’t sure why she does it, but she does. Her fingers shift ever so slightly, feeling ripples in time that flow from her and then back. The push and pull of her ability.

“I remember,” she whispers to herself, astonished. Remembers events that didn’t happen to her. There’s a horror to it, to this realization of what she is. What she’s become. What she always was.


Odessa turns and looks to Gerard and his crew. “You don’t have to do this,” she tells them. “He’s done for. He’s not going to escape his crimes.” Tears are streaming down her face and she doesn’t even know it. Isn’t sure why. It feels as though her heart is broken into so many pieces and scattered throughout time itself. “Find the people you care for,” she begs them. “Be with them. Don’t waste what time you have left on this.

Odessa Woods would give anything to have the ones she loves with her now. Odessa Price knows she’s letting go of someone she loves, and that she’ll face this alone. She’s unknowingly seeing her grandfather for the last time. Only one of them is escaping this, and it’s only by virtue of the fact that she’s already done it.


But they both will have saved lives, and perhaps that’s enough.

“Where is your god now?” Odessa asks Don.

“He killed my son,” is really all Gerard Gerken has to say to that. He knew it was over. He knew they were all going to die within moments anyway, but this was the one thing he needed to do, the last thing he needed to do. And then he fires.

The bullet flies, trailing green motes of light.

green motes of light.

motes of light.

of light.



golden light.

with golden light.

burning with golden light.

eyes burning with golden light.

His eyes burning with golden light.

God is all around us,” Don says in a voice not his own. His eyes burning with golden light. A split second later, that bullet impacts with the side of his skull ejecting brain, bone, and blood across the console. The bullet punches into the control panel, sending a shower of sparks into the air and a puff of smoke.


The reactor is rattling, shaking, and vibrating. It is at once about to melt down and in a placid state. Gerard and his team can see this shifting, looking like a heat mirage of the room in another state rippling over the one they’re standing in. Mara watches ghosts of people move to the elevator and vanish from sight, only to replay in reverse a moment later. She watches Doyle — a man she’d only seen at the banquet upstairs — come walking backwards as if a VHS cassette played in reverse.

Her eyes track to the reactor, to Odessa standing in front of it, and then to the sudden eruption of fire and light that explodes from it. With that over, Gerard lets the weapon drop, stepping back as the world and time seems to twist around them, not understanding what was happening. Mara grabs Gerard and drags him back to the wall behind her as a ball of flame knocks Odessa off of her feet and onto her back, skidding across the floor. She loses her control of the threads of time she had wound around her fingers, and the duo-dimensional scene begins unwinding like a thread pulled from an unraveling sweater. She watches as events play out backwards, then forwards, a blur of events moving around her like a whirlwind until—


“It’s gonna blow,” Cesar says with one hand shielding his eyes, watching the blue-white light spilling out of the cracked nuclear reactor. They may be alive, but they were also all dead from the sheer exposure to the radiation now seeping into the room.

“We knew it was over when the sub left,” Gerard responds quietly. They had known. The moment the door had sealed they had consigned themselves to their fate. But hopefully— the sub had enough time. Hopefully, they made it to a minimum safe distance. Hopefully, his family, what was left of them, would be safe. “It was already over.”

All he can do now is watch.

It was all a matter of time now.

Which, ironically, it is.


It’s too late.

Odessa sees herself laying where she is, ghostly after-images of her own arms moving in time to one-another. It is like she is two people occupying the space of one on the floor. Though in the glow of the reactor, she sees someone coming for her — a blonde man with an easy smile and concerned eyes — a doctor. Her head gives a birdlike tilt, gaze narrowing faintly as she attempts to reconcile his presence here with the familiarity of him that she can’t understand.

Crawling to her knees, Odessa Woods looks down at her other self laying on the floor — dead — and stares in the disoriented horror of such things. This isn’t right. That isn’t now. Wasn’t then? Isn’t— It is then that she feels herself superimposed by the blonde doctor, and watches as her own hand's movements mimic that of Darren Stevens' as if she had always been here, had always done this, bathed in the blue-white glow of atomic energy.

It is then that a sense of horrifying calm settles over Odessa Woods, as her eyes slowly change from pale blue…

…to burning gold.

Radioactivity is the process by which the nucleus of an unstable atom loses energy by emitting radiation, including alpha particles, beta particles, gamma rays and conversion electrons. Although radioactivity is observed as a natural occurring process, it can also be artificially induced typically via the bombarding atoms of a specific element by radiating particles, thus creating new atoms.

It is this chain reaction that takes place within these arcologies today.

A brief gamma burst interacts with Darren's ability in one timeline and Odessa's here in the present moment, causes the green flames coursing up his arms and into Odessa Price's body to gutter as though they were hit by a strong wind. He yelps — fear and pain combined — and Odessa Woods feels that panic as her own. No, no, no! These abilities were never meant to— The energizing arcs of green light leap and flare from Darren's arms and soon there is no Darren Stevens, there is just two Odessas; one bathed in green flames. She screams, now, bathed in that hellish light.

She's lost control of her power.

Odessa Price's back arches, as Odessa Woods rewinds her time, into which there is a catastrophic collision of temporal possibilities. Gold eyes fade to blue, and Odessa suddenly realizes the spinning wheel upon which she has been laid.

No! No!! This can’t happen! This isn’t — can’t — be what her fate will be. To give her very soul to that one? This bitch who ruined every chance she ever received in life? What would she even do with such a gift? No. She won’t.




With a primal, agonized scream, Odessa Woods throws her back and tries to disengage from the Odessa still on the floor. But one of her counterpart's hands grasps up and takes her by the collar. Her fingers curl in the fabric, time spools backwards and Odessa Price's cells are restored to a previous state. But there are fish hooks in everyone now, entangled with something spanned across time and space.

Odessa Price takes a gasping breath, pulling air and life into her lungs. Her eye goes wide and terrified as she realizes what's happened to her. As she realizes what is currently happening to her. "No! No!!" This isn't what she wanted! She had been prepared to die! Then, there's enough life in her to sustain her, but she feels the threads now, achingly familiar. Their eyes both close. Terror melts away as the embrace Price had been bereft of for so long enfolds her once more, pulling her under, into its terrible comfort again. That voice, that power calls to her.

Woods feels it too. But while the voice Price hears speaks the language of power, the one Woods hears is whispering in a language she never knew existed before… It promises an end to her suffering. The voice is achingly familiar for entirely different reasons than the one her counterpart hears.

It promises a reunion.

James. A tear runs down his wife’s face. “I’ll see you soon, love.”

In unison, a shuddering breath escapes both their lips.


That singular eye snaps open once more, blazing in the light her savior has created. "What's your rush?" she purrs as her crooked fingers curl into her mirror's collar, dragging herself up to sit and staring into her eyes. Ready to take her fucking soul and snuff out all possibilities possessed within it. As Odessa Woods burns and gives to her everything that she is, Price's lips curl into a wicked grin. The ravine across her mouth fills in, all the pits and pockmarks smooth out, leaving her beautiful again.


Odessa Woods is completely engulfed in green flames, a thrashing silhouette of a woman screaming in abject agony and horror. Cesar, Gerard, and Mara are left with atomic fire reflecting in their eyes as Odessa Woods rapidly ages before their eyes. Her eyes cataract white, hair grows and grays, skin wrinkles, and then decomposes. In a matter of seconds Odessa Woods collapses into a pile of ashen bones centuries old and Odessa Price –

When Odessa Woods finally crumbles away to nothing, the newly restored woman rolls her shoulders slowly, letting out a deeply contented sigh.

And, the needle now threaded, time continues apace.

Time had never belonged to the Nightingale.


And the reactor blows.


Not Far Away

A shockwave shakes the darkness, followed by the rushing crask of pressure differentials and the sudden haze of gray light as a submersible crashes through the surface of choppy, storm-wracked water. The entire vessel is tossed onto its side, cast upon thrashing waves, windows slick with rainwater on one side and showing the dark recesses of the ocean out the other.

Finn struggles to maintain control of the sub, screams fill the cramped cabin, but eventually there is a semblance of normality in the turbulent up and down toss of the vessel. Portholes on both sides of the vessel now show the choppy surf and the hazy gray skies filled with stormclouds and lightning.

Lance Gerken’s eyes adjust to the light, lips part in tight breaths, and he sees a phosphoresce on the horizon just as he gains his focus. It is an explosion — a massive one — coming from just off the coast and erupting up through the surface of the distant water. It could only have been one thing, a massive explosion like that.

The Ark.

He never met his real father, in his own timeline. The only blood family he ever had was his sister, and then he lost even her. The baby in this Hailey's arms is the only blood he has left, now. But the Gerard of this world trusted him, took him in, helped him make sure that baby would live.

And then died in his place.

Tears blur Lance's vision of the blast as he stares at it across the choppy waters, one hand reaching out to push flat against the porthole. In a voice that's barely a voice, he breathes out an agonized, "Dad…"

Somewhere between the initial exodus and the surface, Destiny Ruiz lost what was left of her brave face. Somewhere along the way, it was her turn to go somewhere else behind her eyes. It didn’t end even when Edward Ray turned her in toward her shoulder. “She’s dying,” she’s been whispering against the fabric of his shirt. “They’re both dying.”

Clutching to him tightly, Destiny tells him: “Time is screaming.

She can feel it. It’s a pressure behind her eyes, singing in her skull. Her own wailing cries as the submarine is tossed around have nothing to do with the terror that the airtight seals might fail. That the vessel might split apart and they might all be crushed to death or drowned.

By the time they surface, Destiny is just a small, trembling thing in Edward’s arms. Perhaps the storm has passed, or maybe she’s just numb.

With the sub surfaced, Edward stares out the window with wide eyes. His reflection is shown subtly muted in the port-hole glass, pale blue eyes staring out at a plume of white hot fire rising up into the sky, swallowed in turn by the howling winds of the ever-raging storm. What Destiny had said sinks bone-deep into him, brings a knit to his brows, scrutiny he never thought possible in a single moment.

When the explosion is no longer visible through the driving rain and crashing surf, Edward slouches back down against his seat. He had to trust that this was how things were meant to be, that this is where he was meant to be, and not consumed in the fires of the arcology. He prays the others made it out, especially…

Edward closes his eyes, then blinks them open staring at the ceiling. “It’s okay,” he tells Destiny in a whisper. “You’re safe…”

Edward’s eyes unfocus, tears forming in them.

“Right where you belong.”

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