Tomorrow's News


delilah_icon.gif elaine_icon.gif matthew2_icon.gif odette2_icon.gif tom_icon.gif walter_icon.gif

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Scene Title Tomorrow's News
Synopsis The survivors of a tragic bus accident find themselves far from home.
Date July 8, 1947

Have you seen the paper, have you read the news?

The staticy pop of a radio broadcast fills the chamber of a soundproof recording room. A reel-to-reel recorder sits on a green Formica table below a corkboard with a map of the United States pinned on it. Red push pins are stuck in its surface across the map, some connected by red string.

200 million disappear and the whole world is confused

A broad-shouldered man with a nearly coiffed head of light brown hair sits hunched over the table, a large set of headphones over his ears. A pristine 1945 Stuart Warner radio sits to his right, connected by a braided cable of wires to the reel-to-reel recorder.

The churches are empty now, no one goes there anymore

The man sitting at the desk jots down lyrics to a song in a notepad, squinting and furrowing his brow as he tries to make them out as clearly as possible over the distortion and interference. His eyes alight to the map of the United States, following the path of pins from New York, to Virginia, to Michigan.

The remains of the Bibles lay scattered on the floor

He shakes his head, looking back down to the notebook to continue writing. In the margins, there’s notes about instrumentation, overall tone, and comparisons to contemporary artists. But he also keeps writing question marks. Each one curlier and more elaborate than the last.

Remember Mr. Tomlinson who everybody knew?

A knock on the door to the recording room goes unheard at first, but on a louder second knock the man with the headphones sits up straight and pulls them off, letting them hang around his neck. “It’s unlocked,” he calls to the door.

He vanished from his home last week

A man several years his junior in a crisp suit steps in, shutting the door behind himself. “Frady,” the young man says, “how’s the recording going?”

he was one of the Chosen Few

“Alright.” Frady says, watching the reel-to-reel out of the corner of his eye. “This one’s the clearest yet, but it’s still a little garbled at times. I’ve taken a shot at trying to look for patterns in the word choices, but… maybe your boys will have better luck.”

A crash on the highway, seven people dead

“Yeah,” the younger man says with a look at the map. “What’s that?” He asks.

The driver unaccounted for

Frady looks back at the map, then the young agent. “Possible broadcast locations, we’ve got some boys out in trucks looking to triangulate the signals, but it’s slow going. Did you… come in here for a reason? Or…”

Least that's what the radio said

“Ah, yeah. Sorry.” The younger agent peels his attention away from the map. “We got a call in from our contacts in the Air Force. Apparently there’s a farmer out in Nevada who says he saw a UFO crash in his sheep pasture.”

A tragedy in my life and I know what it's all about

Frady raises one brow then laughs a deep, guffawing laugh and shakes his head. “Right, and you came to me because Crazy Frady’s gonna go off hunting little green men?” He says, taking his headphones off his neck to sit on the table.

I had it explained to me last week

“I mean, if the shoe fits.” The agent says with a crooked smile.

And I just laughed out loud

“New Mexico, you said?” Frady asks, standing up and straightening his tie.

The chances of it happening

“Yeah, about fifty miles north of Roswell.”

Seemed like a million miles away

“You think it’s the Commies?” Frady asks, taking his suit jacket off of the back of his chair, donning it quickly.

But I never expected it happening

“Maybe,” the agent opines with a shrug, opening the door to the recording room and holding it for Frady.

Like it happened the other day

“Might just be a weather balloon though,” the agent adds with a laugh.

Fly away

“You know how spooked people get.”

Let's fly away


J.B. Foster Ranch

50 Miles North of Roswell, New Mexico

July 8th


What the fuck is happening?

Tom Porter’s gasping question comes as a row of trucks begin roaring into view down a dirt road in an otherwise flat field interspersed ith large rocks and scrub grass. Groaning, Matthew Parkman Jr. rolls onto his side, then onto his hands and knees, letting out a gasp as he sees Walter laying on his back nearby.

For Elaine Darrow, the world comes into blurry focus, the sound of engines and headlights, the cool desert wind blowing through her hair. Broken glass glitters all around her, a black scorch mark in the grass beneath her body, steam rising off her hands. Odette is nearby, stuffed animals littering the grass.

Delilah Trafford exhales a wheezing breath, one hand unconsciously moving up to a lightly bleeding scrape on her forehead. Her heart skips a beat, a starry night sky overhead flickering with the distant flash of lightning…

…and a sound of thunder.

Perhaps ordinarily Elaine might have managed to be a soothing voice amidst a chaotic scene, but ordinarily she didn't have a child at her side, at least not one she had any sense of maternal instincts for. It takes a moment for her to process what's going on, with the sound of Tom's panicked voice and the rumble of thunder, and she hasn't entirely processed what is happening by the time she slowly sits up.

What she has processed is the fact that Odette was with her and that somehow they had been in some kind of accident. She shakes her hands out, unsure of what or why there might be steam, but she's too focused on the potato sack of a girl nearby. It's a panic that feels oddly similar to her, even if she's not entirely sure why. "Odette?!"

Rolling over and managing to somehow not scrape up her hands with the broken glass as she scrambles to her feet, she takes a few clumsy steps in her daughter's direction, using her words to try and rouse the young girl from whatever state she might be in. "Odette, mama's here."

Light pollution in New York is no longer what it was, but it's never like this. Stars from horizon to horizon.

It is ultimately the rumbling thunder amidst Tom's voice and the touch of her hand on her head which sweeps Delilah from most of her daze. Her breath escapes in the form of a winded cough as she takes in her senses. Open space, clean air, all of her fingers and toes feel accounted for. It's not at all springtime in the Safe Zone. It's drier, for one.

What was she doing before this?

Tom's moving around and the startling loudness of Elaine's voice say sit the hell up, which she does, bolt upright and adrenaline electric. In her head she's swearing up a storm, but in life she is flipping over and pushing herself to hands and knees rather than jumping onto her feet. 'Stay a small target' instincts.

At least Walter and Matthew are within crawl distance. Tension protests in her muscles as Delilah wordlessly moves to put a hand on her son's chest, the other groping for Matty's hand on automatic. Now she feels the pins and needles in her knees, bloodied by slips of glass.

The last thing she remembers is a look of terror on Tom's face, and the distant sound of a teenage girl's banshee shrieking.

Odette, despite being the youngest member of the group (not counting the stuffed animals), is not screaming, or crying, or carrying on. She’s sitting there quietly looking at the stuffed raccoon that spilled out of the torn bag she held and landed face up on the floor as if the Magistra were speaking to her. Or perhaps she was busy looking at the torn ear and missing black eye, white stuffing falling out of a tear across the chest. With a blink of surprise, as if she had forgotten that people existed, she looks at her mother.

Oddly calm, she says simply, “It’ll be okay, mommy.” The girl actually has a few cuts and scrapes on her knees and legs, has lost one of her cute little shoes, and her hair hangs down in a strange disarray of reddish waves due to one of her ribbons coming loose, but she looks quietly calm. “Doctor Schwein can’t do anything for Magistra Myvel, though— he’s not that kind of doctor.”

This girl has been through a lot in her short life. Maybe she’ll cry and scream later.

Whatthefuckishappening?” Tom wheezes, not anywhere near as calm as an eight-year-old girl.

Most of his breathless question is drowned out by the roar of engines as the trucks—Jeeps, to be specific—come roaring up onto the scene. Two of the Jeeps drive right past where the small group is gathered, then turn sideways as if to block off escape. They, and the unexpected arrivals to this field, are soon bathed in the headlights of two more Jeeps that come to a harsh stop in front of them.

Doors open and slam, boots crunch on the ground, and soldiers jump out of the back of the vehicles and move into the illumination of the headlights. Olive drab uniforms, crew cuts, long bolt-action rifles. The details are blurry at first, but the violent intent isn’t, coupled with shouts to “Put your hands over your head!”

Tom, exasperatedly, throws his hands straight up into the air with a yelp. “Oh my God don’t shoot me! I didn’t do anything to the bus!”

Among the rifle-bearing soldiers lit up by the headlights, Delilah recognizes one. It takes her a moment to actually see it, but there’s something about his eyes that is unmistakable. The hard part was, she’s never seen him this young. It’s only when her eyes track to the patch on his chest with his name that she puts two and two together.



Suddenly the outdated uniforms, the Jeeps, the rifles… it all makes a horrible sense.

"We're unarmed!"

Elaine's still a bit panicked, but the sound of weaponry and the light from the jeep headlights is enough of a sobering experience to pull her back into the moment. Odette is safe, she's heard Tom so obviously he's fine, and she takes a brief moment to make sure that the others in their small cluster are safe… or at least so she knows if anyone's badly injured. Since she's already on her feet and clearly visible, she moves her hands up to punctuate her words.

Her attention, while on the cluster of soldiers, is momentarily drawn to make sure that the children are calm enough. "I'm sure we'll find a way to repair the Magistra when things are settled," she directs towards Odette before straightening up again.

"Please be careful, there are children here."

Walter hasn't come around quite yet, chest moving softly under Delilah's hand, eyes open by slivers, dazed under the drag of his lashes. The rumble of the engines at least stirs his hand, fingers stretching and grasping at something that isn't there, distinctly away from both his mother and Matthew.

Delilah puts herself between the boys and the lights without leaving the grass, shading her eyes with one arm, lips turned in a grimace as she realizes the stakes. If it wasn't the uniforms and the guns… it's the young man, barely out of boyhood.

Only one hand stays up, the other simply magnetized to Walter. Elaine's words are clear for her, Tom's not so much. Her head aches for a dozen reasons, the least of which being confusion.

"Martin." Delilah breathes out, ragged. She should feel better seeing him, and yet… this isn't the same Martin, even if she reflexively calls to him as if it were. It's the only thing she can think of in the moment. This isn't where they belong, they need- - "Martin Pines?"


“Mister, screaming at scary things doesn’t make them less scary,” the little girl says simply, even as she looks at the weapons with an odd tilt of her head. Odette has definitely been around guns often enough that she’s wary of them, but not terrified, but she knows to follow the instructions and raise her hands over her head. One hand holding a stuffed pig. The Magistra stays on the ground, but the pig raises up. Perhaps he’s raising his hoofs up too, but who knows for sure.

“Where did the bus go?” the little girl asks quietly, as if to herself— or the pig in her hand— or her mother. It’s so soft that maybe she doesn’t realize she’s even asking it. She hadn’t realized it had gone anywhere. She hadn’t realized they had gone anywhere.

“You’re right, Doctor, the clothes look funny,” she responds to nothing, still in a soft voice. This time maybe only Elaine would hear it.

The soldiers relent, ever so slightly, on recognizing the presence of children. Nervously, Matthew raises his hands and looks at Delilah for guidance. Pines is the first to lower his gun, watching Delilah with both confusion and recognition when she calls his name.

“I’m scared,” Matthewwhispers sharply, looking at the silhouettes of soldiers backlit by headlights, rifles aimed at him. His breathing hastens.

“Mom!” Matthew screams in the chaos, cradling his mother in his arms. Janice Parkman gurgles up a mouthful of blood, pawing helplessly at her son’s face. She’d been struck in the chest between her collar bones. A shallow lake of blood has already formed there where she lay.

The Jeeps’ headlights flicker.

“Lower your guns,” Pines says, quietly at first, unable to look away from Delilah. Then, louder, “C’mon they ain’t Russians. There’s kids.” The common sense Pines speaks, even if he is merely a private judging by the stripes on his arm, brings the barrels of the other soldiers’ rifles down toward the ground.

Stand down,” barks a clear, sharp man’s voice from the back of one of the Jeeps. There’s a crunch of boots on the dry ground, followed by the soldiers relaxing more. As their guns lower, the headlights stop flickering and Matthew edges up against Delilah.

A tall, broad-shouldered man emerges from the dark behind the glaring headlights. He isn’t dressed in a soldier’s fatigues, though he carries himself with the confidence of a military man. Rather, he wears a crisp black suit and a dark fedora. His square jaw and prominent nose—much as his stern brow—makes him look like a disapproving television father.

“Get these ladies some blankets and call in a transport,” the man in the dark suit says, looking from one soldier to the group. “You can put your hands down, it’s okay,” he says with a gesture toward them.

Pines watches the man in the dark suit approach, waiting for further orders and unable to look away from Delilah at the same time. The man in the suit carefully approaches, his attention coming down to the fragments of metal scattered around them, then to the scorch marks in the grass, then to the women and children.

“Now it looks like you all have had a hell of a night,” he says calmly, making a palms-out gesture to everyone. Only now does Tom slowly and awkwardly lower his hands. “Why don’t you tell me how you all wound up here?”

As the man in black asks that simple question, soldiers return from the Jeeps with thin wool blankets, tentatively approaching with apologetic expressions, offering them out to Elaine, Delilah, Tom, and the kids to shield them against the cool desert air.

When the soldiers ease, Elaine does too. The adrenaline of the moment was more than enough to keep her from thinking too hard about what is happening, but when she receives a blanket and moves to wrap it around Odette, the gears seem to be turning again. "Doctor Schwein is right," she notes softly, perhaps just loud enough for the smallest redhead. "They do look pretty different."

She checks to see that the other kids get their blankets before she settles her own around her shoulders and really takes a moment to look around. No bus, a desert, and a bunch of soldiers in uniforms the vintage-seeking community would die for. When it hits her all at once, her gaze quickly darts in Delilah's direction with wide-eyes, as if confirmation for her jump in logic. It could very well be something she knows the other mother has been worried about for some time. She clears her throat a bit, then turns her full attention to the soldiers.

"I'd love to explain how we wound up here, but I'm not entirely sure the details myself… does one of you gentlemen happen to know the date? Or even where out here is? I apologize if we're a little confused and out of sorts. I can't recall exactly how long we've been out here now." Really, she's hoping for enough context clues to get a larger grasp on the situation. Where they are and when they are seems to Elaine, to be the most vital.

One thing that Delilah can put her faith in seems to be that Martin is still… himself. A different man from one end to the other, but Delilah has always been the kind to give people the benefit of the doubt- - and have some more faith in kindness. She returns his looks with nothing but one of gratitude before turning back to Matthew as he comes closer to her; it's now that her own son wakes, nearly a mirror of herself in the way he folds upright as if jostled from bed. His hand ventures first to the soggy patch in the back of his hair, expression twisted in confusion and pain. Walter squints against lights and peers up to Matthew- - then past him to where he can make out the men and the person in the hat. The next sensation he feels is Delilah throwing a blanket around him and Matt, her mouth pressed against his head and her whisper in their ears.

"It's okay. We're okay." Delilah puts her hands on either of their cheeks before grabbing hands and getting everyone properly onto their feet.

"How we wound up here?" A look to Elaine, more or less a 'yes' in the tightness of the grave expression. Brown eyes still lit are able to adjust and study the one in charge. If he's military, he's not giving the impression of Act First. To her, that's the best case. "Uh. Wrong turn at Albuquerque?"

Yeah, no. But she's got nothin'. The truth isn't exactly more of an answer.

"No bloody idea." That's better. Kind of.

“Doctor Schwein remembers a bright light,” Odette offers, though perhaps she was the one who remembered it, as she starts to pull her hands back down and hold the stuffed pig close to her body once again. Her clothes are not quite right for the location or time or weather, nor was the stuffed animal, but now that she’s been told she can lower her hands she moves to kneel down in front of the raccoon again, bending down to gently pick her up. As if it were an injured animal, not a creature of imagination and plush bleeding out white fluff.

The young girl focuses on that, rather than the oddities around her, for the moment.

The man in black offers an askance look to Odette, as if what she says is more meaningful than anything else. He looks back to Delilah for a moment, then Walter and Matthew, past Tom, and over to Elaine.

“It’s July 8th.” The man in black says.

Tom visibly winces, his right eye twitching. “What uh,” he starts to say before breaking into nervous laughter, “what uhhh, you know…”

Nearby, a soldier takes a knee and picks up Tom’s Awasu, music still pumping out of the earbuds. Tom eyes the soldier, then eyes the man in black.

“What year?” Tom asks with a flutter of anxious laughter.

The man in black narrows his eyes and says, “1947.”

Tom barks out a whooping laugh, covering his face with his hands. The man in black looks at the soldiers, then back to the group. He steps forward, and when his shoe crunches the burned grass underfoot he stops and looks down at it.

“Would you all mind, terribly…” The man in black says, looking up to them, “if I take you for a short drive out of here? It’s mighty cold, and these ladies look like they could use a sit-down. Walker Air Force Base isn’t all that far from here.”

Though the man in black is stating it as an offer, there’s something about his tone that implies he wouldn’t take a no very well.

Nineteen forty-seven,” Tom whispers into his palms. Followed by his new mantra of, “What the fuck is happening?

"Fourty-seven," Elaine echoes, doing her best not to look entirely floored by that. After all, this wasn't an entirely unexpected possibility—although a much trickier situation than simply pulling a cord and getting off at the next stop. She smiles politely in the dark suited man's direction, casting a glance towards Odette to observe her careful tending to the injured plush animal before letting herself focus on the rest of the situation.

"I think a drive out of here would be for the best. There's absolutely nothing that can be helped standing out here in the cold," she replies, her words really aimed towards everyone in the vicinity. She certainly doesn't seem to be inclined to say no, even if they're in an entirely foreign situation in both place and time. With Tom's continued panic and frustration, she tries to offer a reassuring smile. "We'll figure it out. I think things will be easier to process when we're not in the middle of…" She gestures around at the desert, not entirely sure where here is. "… the great outdoors."

The boys aren't the only ones to get reassuring, it seems; Tom's anxiety is quick to pull Delilah's attention once the duo are wrapped up and standing. She moves beside him and puts a hand at the square of his back, the other at his elbow.

"Just take a deep breath." Dee whispers to him, just as consoling as she was with the kids; it's not that she takes him as one, just that she knows exactly how to make it universal. All born of care. She didn't even catch his name, but at the moment it doesn't matter as much as keeping the chill.

"Mom…" Walter finally finds the energy to speak up, partly muffled by daze and the huddling. Dee looks over her shoulder, brows knit in worry as she lifts a finger softly to her mouth. It's not reprimand, or at least doesn't give that energy. He is silent again, eyes squinting in pain when he leans against Matt for support.

"Please." Offer or not, Delilah answers the man in black with an affirmative.

“Wait, does that mean it’s almost my birthday?” Odette perks up a bit, despite the fact she knows her birthday should not be for a few months, and in fact if it were the date of her birth she would be negative years old— negative decades old, in fact. For a moment it almost looks as if she’s doing math on her fingers, trying to figure out exactly how much negative years old she would be if she were about to have a birthday, or trying to figure out when her new birthday would be if April 16 became July 8. Whatever she is trying to figure out doesn’t get finished, because she nods to mommy in agreement.

A ride to somewhere safe would be best, especially for the poor raccoon, whom she gently begins pushing stuffing back into, like it were lifeblood. “It’s going to be okay, Magistra Myvel. Aunt Delilah said she could fix you, even if the doctor can’t. Though I’m afraid you’ll probably lose the ear.”

It’s almost as if she were trying to comfort the little stuffed animal, but maybe focusing on something like that kept her from getting upset— most people would probably think she was in shock, if they didn’t know she often spoke to them like that anyway.

The man in black looks among the shell-shocked travelers, then down to Odette and takes a knee in front of her. “We’ve got a nice nurse on base whose pretty good with a needle and thread. I’m sure she could fix your little friend up nice and fine.” He says to her in the gentle voice of someone good with children.

As the man in black stands slowly, he motions to Pines. “Have the men sweep the area, keep Mr. Brazel out of here and pick up every single piece of debris. I don’t want so much as a piece of glass left behind.”

“Yes, sir.” Pines says with a curt nod. He then glances over to the wayward travelers, and back to the man in black. “What do we, uh, tell anyone who asks?”

The man in black shakes his head, waving a hand dismissively in the air. “We’ll come up with something. If anyone asks, just tell ‘em it was little green men or something for all I care.”

“Yes, sir.” Pines says, then offers a salute and steps away.

“You all,” the man in black says with a beckoning gesture to the travelers, “with me.”

Two Hours Later

Walker Air Force Base
Roswell, New Mexico

Electric lights buzz in the ceiling of a corrugated metal hangar converted into what feels like a dormitory. The large lights are suspended from the high, curved ceiling. Catwalks on upper levels surround the ground floor dormitory space, where tiny living quarters are partitioned off by metal-framed curtain stands. Each private space contains a folding cot, a trunk, and a pair of brown trousers with a drab gray button-down shirt.

“Who d’you think this is all for?” Matthew asks, for lack of wanting to address the current situation head on. He holds up a pair of black shoes in one hand, then looks to Walter.

“I—I don’t think we’re supposed to touch anything here.” Tom says with a quaver to his voice, pacing back and forth across the concrete floor, arms wrapped around himself. “I mean they took my phone.” He sputters out. “Clearly they’re not cool with the concept of property.

“Who were you gonna call? In the past?” Matthew asks back with a shake of his head, putting down the shoes.

“That’s—not the point.” Tom sputters again, hands waving in the air.

It had been a long, noisy ride in the back of the open-top Jeep from the farm outside of Roswell to the Air Force Base. The travelers had been ushered into the hangar enclosure rather briskly by the man in black, who promised he’d return to discuss things at more length, but that was close to twenty minutes ago.

“How is this happening?” Tom asks the thin air. “Are we—is this some sort of—am I having a stroke?” He looks around, eyes darting left and right. “We aren’t actually in Literally Roswell right now, are we? This—it’s—that’s impossible.”

Elaine's demeanor is a lot more comfortable than it was initially, because while this isn't the usual situation, there was less of an immediate feeling of danger or confusions. Tom's continued bafflement of the situation gets a sympathetic smile from the redhead, as she glances in his direction. "Do you remember how strange it was when you first realized that people could genetically develop the ability to do… well, a lot of things? People were baffled and shocked because they didn't know it was a thing."

Her attention briefly darts around the hangar to, yet again, take things in before she looks back to Tom. "If it helps, just think of it like we're experiencing a historical re-enactment experience at a museum. Just go with it and we'll figure things out." She looks over in Delilah's direction before her smile cracks into more of an amused one, taking in just who they had with them. "Trust me, we've experienced weirder."

At first, Walter stuck to Matthew's side; once they got inside and sat down to wait, however, he's been sitting beside his mother leaning up against her, headache darkening his eyes even though they follow Matt's adventuring with energetic interest. The only answer he gives is a shrug- - no idea what it's all there for. It's the short bout of bickering that coaxes a "Guys," out of the ginger boy. Stop being… like that.

"Yes." Delilah, one leg over the other, sits with worried brow and hand idly rubbing at the chill on her cheek. It lingers somehow, unless she imagines it. Nose and fingers and cheeks. "We have. And clearly you haven't, so… just come sit down, okay? No use in you pacing a rut in the floor."

"For all intents and purposes… treat this as real as you possibly can. I know that isn't what you want to hear, but…" A jostle at Dee's side pulls her gaze to Walter, who has fixed Elaine and Tom with a sulking expression, looking away when eyes find him. Lilah wraps an arm around him then, stuck between wanting to know what's on his mind and wanting to keep things relatively calm.

The now medium sized potato sack of a child sits on one of the folding cots with her two stuffed friends. The Magistra sits comfortably against her folded knee, while the Doctor sits facing Odette as if she had been asking him questions. She looks over at Tom and nonchalantly announces, “I was born in another world. Everything you think is impossible is possible because people like my daddy don’t believe in the impossible.” There’s a pause and she looks back at the pig, “Yes, yes, many theories are being rewritten every day. Science is so exciting.”

It doesn’t sound as if she finds it as exciting as the pig, though?

How is this child so calm?” Tom says with profound exasperation, gesturing down to Odette with two hands.

Whatever Tom may have said in follow up is lost when the sound of a door opening echoes through the hangar. The side entrance opens and the man in black from earlier enters back into the hangar, this time accompanied by a taller and broader-build middle-aged man with a heavy brow and neatly combed blonde hair, dressed in a charcoal gray suit.

“Is that them?” The newcomer asks the man in black, trying to keep his voice down, but sound carries easily in the hangar. The man in black nods, leading him over to where Tom and the others are waiting.

“Friends,” the man in black says with an incline of his head, taking his fedora off. “This is Agent Howard Frady with the Office of Special Investigations.”

Frady offers a silent wave with a somewhat overwhelmed, nervous smile.

“And I suppose introductions are in order for myself as well,” the man in black says, placing a hand over his chest. “Mark Ryans, special agent with the OSI.” He flashes a smile, then shifts his fedora from one hand to the other. “Now, what should I call you all?”

past-frady_icon.gif past-mark_icon.gif

With the reappearance of their black-suited host, Elaine offers a polite smile in response. "It's a pleasure, Agent Frady, Agent Ryans," she lets her gaze drift over to Delilah for a moment at the second of the two names. Her attention drifts back to the suited agents. "I'm sorry it's not under less confusing circumstances." After all, she's certain they are all in agreement that this is certainly not the situation any of them expected to be in. There's a moment where she pauses as if in thought before she speaks again.

"You can call me Elaine." Her tone, while polite, does seem to edge around curiosity. "Office of Special Investigations? I hope we didn't inadvertently stumble into something you all were looking into."

Delilah doesn't voice it, but her mouth forms a mime of 'Frady'. No. Get out of town. Her eyes only get slightly bigger after that, visibly following the course of the hat exchanging between the agent's hands. Elaine gets an 'oh my god' lipsynced back when she looks Dee's way. Yeah, she's on the train here.

In addition, it gives a faint sense of comfort, the given name does. And Agent Frady's apparent nerves speak a decent amount of his nature. At the moment, her danger senses remain pacified.

"Delilah," the other redhead offers the two men, hesitant to give more than that. "This is Walter," Dee gives the boy a squeeze at her side, eyes settling on her second ward with a careful consideration. "And Matthew." Provided that they don't pull the power string and coerce surnames, she'll leave it at that- - not that she doesn't have backups for things like those. Walter knows the drill when she does use them.

“I’m Odette,” the little girl says firmly, perhaps a statement both to Tom for calling her a child, and those who came in afterwards showing their authority. This time she does not introduce her stuffed animals, though, putting the pig into her lap and continuing to sit on the cot comfortably. She looks over at her mom for answers, then toward the other red haired woman with the boys, then toying with a tear in her dress.

“Tom,” the last of them says, “Porter—” then realizes no one else gave surnames. “Smith.” He swallows, tensely. “Tom Portersmith.” His grimacing smile really sells the lie, he thinks.

Not even tiny Odette is fooled.

“Right,” Agent Ryans says with an easy smile. He motions for Agent Frady to take a seat, and the taller, broader-shouldered man does. While at the same time retrieving a laptop-sized reel-to-reel recorder from a drawer in the nearby table. He sets it up, along with a folding stand microphone, and sets it to record.

“Now, we’ve had a little time to go over the spot we found you in. There’s some… confusing wreckage out there. From what we can tell, parts of an aircraft or an automobile?” Agent Ryans shakes his head, setting his hat down on the table beside Frady’s tape recorder.

“But this,” Ryans says, retrieving Tom’s cell phone from his jacket pocket, “we couldn’t make heads or tails of. Now it was playing music for a little while, but it stopped and we can’t figure out how to get it to work again.” He says, setting the cell phone down on the small table beside his hat.

Frady looks from Ryans to the strangers, sitting forward with interest. “The folks at the OSS think you’re Communist spies,” he says with a tone that says of course they do, “and that’s some sort of listening device broadcasting back to the Soviet Union.”

Ryans nods in agreement with Frady. “Now, as far as you all and we’re concerned, the OSS has their heads so squarely up their asses they can’t even tell us the weather.” He snorts out an amused laugh at the thought. “They don’t have all the facts, and we’d like to be the ones to have them first.”

“So…” Ryans spreads his hands to the strangers, “we were hoping you could just tell us what you know, where you’re from, and then we could work it back from there and help you out.”

Frady looks at Ryans, as if expecting something more to be said, and seems confused when it isn’t. Instead of saying anything, Frady turns back to the tape recorder.

Matthew glances at Walter and Delilah before saying, “Uh, my—mom told me never to talk to the cops unless she was there.”

That elicits a whooping laugh from Ryans. “Sounds like your mom’s a firecracker. That you?” He asks Elaine, pointedly.

"His mom is a firecracker," Elaine's tone is amused. "But I'm afraid I don't have that pleasure." She inclines her head slightly in Odette's direction. "That one's mine." The smile she offers the young girl is intended to be a comforting one, even if she's looking a little bit overwhelmed. Her look towards Delilah is pointed, but then she turns her full attention back to the agents.

The suggestion of them being spies has a small laugh. "People tend to fear things they don't quite have the answers for, so I don't blame anyone for the worry and confusion. But I'm afraid that you probably have just as many facts as we do… possibly more. I know I can speak for the lot of us, quite honestly, by saying we don't exactly know what happened. We were catching a bus and then… next thing we know, we're waking up somewhere we certainly weren't before. So you're correct, what bits were left were probably the bus, but heaven knows what happened after that. I'm sorry if I can't be much help in that regard." She pauses. "… what exactly did it look like on the outside? I remember sitting on the bus and then something like a light and then I was there. I don't even quite know how long we were out for. I imagine that it must have been pretty impressive if it got this kind of a response."

When unsure of what to say, hitting as close to the truth as possible seemed a reasonable route to go.

Delilah is sure that Agent Ryans has seen his share of people hesitant to give names or specifics, and that he lets it slide for now means a significant amount to her.

"I'm responsible for him at the moment." Another way to say babysitting without making Matt feel little. Dee gives him a smile for his standing ground on talking to 'cops', though she also doesn't tell him that it's fine. It's not. Because they don't belong here.

"If we were really spies, I don't think we'd be getting very far out in the desert." For what it's worth, she doesn't sound too impressed by the ones that do think it. And it's too early for a lot of what she knows to be the Red Scare. It may be easier to downplay it here. "She has it right as far as I can remember too." A small gesture to Elaine.

Hey, maybe they are the communist's victims. Who knows. She doesn't. What she does know is that whatever the case may be, the boy leaning at her side did… something. Walter is quiet, eyes just settled on the retro tape reel.

“I left Senor Tortuga at home. He’s the spy. No spies here, pretty sure. Just moms, kids, and a guy who likes to dance while waiting for the bus.” Then Odette looks down at the pig and adds on, “Yes, yes, and a scientist. I didn’t forget you, Doctor.” but it seems the girl agrees with what her mom says about the whole incident, because she nods as well. That’s about all she remembers too. “I lost my shoe,” she adds, as if that was some kind of very important piece of information.

Frady looks at Odette, then Ryans. “We got any spare shoes?” He asks without really thinking about it. Ryans offers him a side eye, then manages a smile and a dismissive head shake.

“We’ll look at getting you a new pair of shoes,” Ryans says, taking a knee to get down to Odette’s level. He looks from her up to Elaine. “So you all were on a bus?” He glances at Matthew, then Walter, then Delilah. “And then you were in the desert?” He looks over to Tom.

As he slowly rises to stand up straight, Ryans tucks his hands into the pockets of his slacks. “Now, obviously you realize that sounds like a hell of a tall tale. But, we can’t argue with what we saw in the desert. Sure looked like parts of a bus, or some kind of vehicle. But you all don’t have a scratch on you.”

“Then there’s this.” Ryans says, pointing at the Awasu. “Now I’ve never seen a thing like that in my life. Agent Frady here hasn’t either, and none of our engineers could even tell what it was made out of.” Ryans looks up from the phone to Tom.

“Maybe you could shed some light on that?” Ryans supposes, then looks around to the others. “Maybe any of you?” He starts to step away from the table, tucking his hands into his pockets, “Because it feels like there’s something you’re all circling around, and it’ll be a lot easier for me to help you if you start coming clean. Give me something to work with, something to explain this to my superiors?”

There's a glance from Elaine to Delilah, a sort of questioning glance before she turns her full attention towards Frady and Ryans. "Perhaps we're a bit wary because the whole situation is complicated. Not to mention we certainly can't explain how we got out there. That bit I'm not sure what you'd be able to tell anyone about." She lets out a slow breath, pausing a little to really think.

"Office of Special Investigations…" Elaine muses on the words for a moment. "I might be able to shed some sort of light on things if you could articulate what sort of 'special investigations' you do. I'm certain the rest of us would be more comfortable knowing exactly what you're looking for."

"Of course we're circling something. Wouldn't you, in our shoes?" Delilah raises both brows at Agent Ryans, mouth tight.

"Mum." Walter finally says something, but it is small and lost under Delilah's response to Ryans.

"Because you seem like the type to play close to the chest." She's dealt with more than enough authority figures of his position for one lifetime, and his impassioned 'I can't help you if you don't help me' from where he stands hits no chords with Ms. Trafford. It's easy to see that, for some reason, her trust in him is already jaded.

This, and she is 100% sure that things like the Company weren't around yet. Not even the CIA. As far as she knows, there's no obvious overseer like she is used to. To the kids, knowing what an Evolved was, that's just basics. In this period, Delilah only knows of the Vanguard, and is of course resistant to a full explanation.

“Thank you, sir. I would love a new pair of shoes,” Odette says with a pleasant smile on her face, but then she looks toward her mom for a moment, as if for a cue about what else to say. When her mom is evasive, though, she quietly nods and takes off her remaining shoe and holds it out, as if it might help them get the right size for her.

But this young girl is either too young to know what’s going on enough to be afraid, or genuinely more bothered by the fact she lost one of her shoes than the strange circumstance she’s found herself in.

“Well, you see,” Agent Ryans begins, “our office is concerned with things that lay-people might consider the supernatural. Unexplained disappearances, flying saucers, ESP. The stuff of science fiction,” he says with a look at Tom’s Awasu.

Frady casts a glance over at Ryans, then to the OSI’s “guests” with a furrow of his brows. “I know it might sound crazy,” he admits with a sheepish smile, “but we have a hunch you might know a bit more about this than most folks.”

Ryans looks down to Odette for a moment, then steps over to Tom. “Is that device yours?”

“Uh,” Tom stammers, glancing to the Awasu then back to Ryans, “why— would you ask— uh, think that?” He stammers.

Ryans smiles, putting a hand on Tom’s shoulder, then looks over at the Awasu again. “Well, before it turned off, we saw a picture of you on it. Right on that little… screen.” He taps the blackened screen of the device, then looks back up to Tom. “Now, I have a theory about what happened… and I’m sure Mr. Frady does too,” Ryans says with a motion to him, “but we’d like to hear your theory, from your own lips.”

Ryans tucks his hands into his pockets and looks each and every one of the travelers over one at a time. “Cooperation goes a long way. We might even be able to get you the ah,” he laughs to himself, “bus fare to get home.”

Matthew looks tense all the while, furtively looking between Walter and Delilah, then over to Odette and Elaine, only briefly considering Tom. His hands curl into fists, brows furrow together, and he looks down at his feet.

Overhead, the lights flicker slightly.

"There's a governmental office that's concerned about UFOs?" Elaine raises an eyebrow, the slightest hint of amusement on her lips. "It is a bit odd, but I can certainly tell you if we were abducted by aliens and dropped off here, I don't have any memory of it. No little green men involved, as far as I'm aware." She does turn her attention to Frady as it's mentioned that he has a theory. "I don't mean to sound uncooperative, Agents. I think this is a little overwhelming for some of us, to say the least." She gestures in Tom's direction, as if he were the only evidence she needed to prove that. "Perhaps if you gave us something to go off of, we might be able to try and ground ourselves and recall details?"

She pauses for a long moment. "Unless your theory really is little green men."

Science fiction, he says. For them it's just science.

"Don't make promises you can't keep." Whatever happened, Delilah knows it isn't that easy to say whether or not the OSI will be able to get them fare. It digs at her even so, thoughts moving to the state of things in the space they left behind. Robyn might be really pissed off, for instance. That's one certainty.

"Matt, c'mere, have a sit." Her ward is called on gently with a wave of hand to come have a seat proper. Delilah knows what to look for by now, to a degree; she has that passive experience with- - oddity. Walter's state at her side shifts in the meanwhile, his eyes losing some of that lingering haze.

"Mum ," Walter mutters again, a tiny bit more readily. Delilah, however is momentarily set on the agents.

"If we're going to be discussing details, I'm not so sure I want it on record." She moves a furrowed look from Frady and his device, to Ryans. Being where they are, it's a hard sell, but she should try- -

"Mum." Finally it seems Walter stirs her hearing, as Dee swivels her attention back down to the exhausted, freckled face at her side. He hesitates, and sputters, voice a whisper again, nervous from tone to the glisten of his eyes. "I think- - ennnh." Whatever he wants to say, he falters on and clams up with a Teo-noise.

“We didn’t fly,” Odette says matter of factly, as if to correct these poor men in suits that don’t understand that the bus did not fly. “It would have been really cool if we did, though, but I definitely don’t remember flying.” She definitely would have remembered flying. This kid just is not phased at all as she starts to play with the pig and looks as if she’s talking to it instead of the people around her. “You’re right, Doctor Schwein, it would be great if Mevrouw Kat were here.“ She was definitely talking to the stuffed pig as if it were a person. A doctor pig. In German.

About a Mrs. Cat. In Dutch.

“But if this is an abduction, it’s not so bad. At least this time, mommy’s with me,” she adds, looking over at mommy with a beaming smile. Perhaps this was part of why she wasn’t so upset. This time she had her mommy with her.

This time.

Frady fixes Odette with a brief look, then glances up at Elaine before squaring his attention on the young girl again. He doesn’t say anything, but there’s evident concern in his expression over how Odette implied she’d been abducted before.

“Okay,” Ryans says without any consideration over Odette’s sentiment. He seems to dismiss her precocious nature as the whimsy of a child, without really understanding the things she’s seen in her life. “So no little green men, alright.”

Ryans looks back at Frady and makes a motion toward the reel-to-reel recorder. Frady hesitates for a moment, then turns it off and the magnetic tape reels slowly come to a stop. Ryans looks back at the group, watching Matthew moving over to Delilah’s side. He considers something about Matthew, but then changes his focus.

“You’re awfully quiet, son.” Ryans says of Tom, who fixes the agent with a dead-eyed stare of a deer in headlights.

“I— uh, yeah that’s… y’know there’s— I— I hit my head.” Tom says with a stammer. Ryans tilts his head to the side and walks over to Tom, closing the distance between the two. Tom freezes as Ryans eyes his hairline, then steps in closer and brushes his fingers through Tom’s hair as if looking for an injury.

“Well,” Ryans says, taking a step back just as quick as he stepped in. “Don’t want you having a concussion. We’ll get a doc up here to check you out, make sure you’re all good.”

“What we’re going to do right now is put you lot up here for the time being. There’s beds, there’s a place to wash up, we’ll even get you some new shoes,” Ryans says with a look to Odette and a thin smile. “Now, is there anyone you’d like us to contact? Someone who could come get you or vouch for you?”

Ryans looks between the group. “Maybe someone we could call? We’ve got a phone in the main barracks.”

It’s becoming clear that Ryans doesn’t accept their explanation for anything. His suspicion is only surpassed by his unwillingness to call anyone on it directly. But the ways he offers basic provisions that anyone native to the time period might accept is somewhat evident.

When Odette speaks, Elaine's attention darts quickly towards her daughter, fast enough that she catches Frady's look both in her direction and in Odette's. For a brief moment she offers an almost pleading look in his direction before she turns her attention towards Ryans and his continued light prodding of the situation. The suggestion of a call to someone has the redhead looking down to the floor for a moment before her gaze lifts again.

"That's very kind of you," Elaine says in regards to the provisions. "I'm sure we're all a little rattled." The offer of a phone call to someone isn't addressed at all, and she turns her attention to the rest of the occupants of the bus. Her attention stops on Delilah, a wordless conversation in her eyes. "Perhaps revisiting this conversation once we've had some time to relax would be best."

Walter's dithering earns him concern, unvoiced but written on his mother's face as she runs a hand over his hair. It's okay, hush. Rather than try and press on, he does just that. Later. He'll do it later. Maybe.

Delilah, for her part, nods along with Elaine's explanation of rattled, needing rest, rather than immediately offer anything new to the pair of agents. She does, however, give a slight lean when it comes to that 'one phone call'. For all intents and purposes they are detained if not arrested. "I might have someone to call… but… not even sure they have a phone. I'll get back to you." She laughs through an obvious grimace, weak and sheepish. Yeah, that's about all they're getting right now. Sorry, guys.

As her mommy gets close to her, Odette lowers her voice kind of clandestine and whispers, “Doctor Schwein thinks we might need a lawyer, but I didn’t bring Mevrouw Kat. I think she would know what to do.” At least she doesn’t have any suggestions for who to call— she didn’t really use phones that often where she was from as it was, and neither of her daddy’s were likely to be able to be reached if they tried. Right now she had her mommy and some friends and that was enough.

“But I think we’ll be okay.” From the mouths of babies.

The corner of Ryans’ eyes crinkle with a smile that seems more like a suspicious grimace. “Okay then,” he says with a clap of his hands in front of himself, and suddenly the tension and tightness in his expression fades away as if pulling off a Halloween mask. “We’ll get some new shoes for the little cutie, and we’ll make sure you get a dinner brought down for you and have a doc here to look at that banged up noggin’ of yours.” He notes with a finger-wag at Tom.

“T-thanks,” Tom stammers, staring at his feet.

Frady looks surprised to see the interrogation ending so quickly and rather hastily starts packing up his recording supplies. “Ah, yeah that’s—we’ll make sure you’re taken care of. Obviously we’ll wanna figure out where you belong and how to get you back to your families.” He says with a nervous flash of a smile.

“We’ll make sure you’re taken care of, it’ll be okay.” Frady adds, trying to soften Ryans’ more brusque demeanor. As he finishes packing, Frady hustles after Ryans on his way to the hangar entrance, leaving the wayward travelers stranded in a place so far from home.

Tom, only then, finally starts to crack. “What the fuck is happening?” He whispers again, eliciting a concerned look from Matthew.

Elaine keeps smiling until the agents are gone before her expression grows more serious as she looks back towards the group. She takes a moment to fuss with the stray strands of Odette's hair, mostly to put any nervous energy into an action. A comforting action. Her attention darts to Tom, the corner of her mouth curving downward in a worried frown.

"You're going to have to keep calm. I know this is weird and not at all what any of us expected, but we need to keep our wits about us. Especially because we don't have much to rely on in the case of people who could vouch for us," she says, her tone soft. "We need to agree on a gameplan, though, it's going to be hard to keep up with these sort of interrogations."

Her eyes go back towards the children, Matthew and Walter given quick looks of appraisal. Hard to see someone's mental well-being visually, but she's sure giving it a try. "We'll be okay. We just need to sort this out."

Delilah is silent as the men leave the group behind, mouth tight with a mixture of emotions. Elaine can see angry easily enough. It's a fearful sort of anger, though, and familiar.

"I don't think they'll hurt us." If this helps. She can at least hope that of those two. Dee fixes a look on Elaine, before doing the same to Tom, brown eyes fixed in an attempt to comfort him. "I know it's a lot. But it's exactly what it looks like." At least, she can assume he's not hallucinating, nor the rest of them. Her voice is hesitant, yet eventually resigned. "…Right?"

Walter looks up into his mother's face, the shine of her eyes finding him to be as still as a sculpture, huddled there beside her under a thin barracks blanket. Initially, she is met with abject silence through his troubled expression, then a small mutter, sputtering its way out.

"I don't… I was…I think… I di- -" A shiver moves in his shoulders, despite the blanket, despite the safety of where he is. A shock of trembling, eyes glazed and fixed on Delilah's face. The look slides down and away, forlorn in the direction of little Odette until it flicks back to Delilah. Walter's response is a quiet croak, weary in the way of an older man, weary in the way his voice cracks just-so. Eyelids heavy. "I… Maybe, yea…"

Anything else will have to wait, because the boy promptly falls asleep against Matthew, leaving Delilah to look on, paler than before. "You kids should… get some sleep, huh?" She smiles, though Matt knows the kind well enough to see that she forces it.

“Doctor Schwien says this is scientifically possible, and likely saved all of our lives,” Odette simply says, lifting up the pig as if he were trying to explain this to them in a little piggy voice. For a moment, she even has a bit of a German accent, because it’s part of the game of her toys. Pulling the stuffed raccoon closer as well, she shifts to lay down on the cot, stretching out with her sock covered feet hanging over the edge

In a tired voice, she adds, “Don’t worry, dancing man. We’ll be okay. You’ve got my mommy and aunt Delilah. They’ve got a lot of experience with this sort of thing. They’re super heroes.”

Slowly bringing his hands up to cover his face, Tom mumbles “Oh my God,” into his palms.

Some Time Later

Hard-soled shoes click down a concrete corridor.

Mark Ryans walks swiftly past row after row of closed doors until he reaches one at the end of the hall. Like all the other doors, this one is unmarked. He knocks twice, then opens the door and steps into an office with a window overlooking the airfield and a starry night’s sky. There is a man in a dark suit waiting for Mark, smoking a cigarette while he watches a plane taxiing on the runway.

“Sir,” Ryans says as he shuts the door behind himself, looking at the smoking man’s back. “You wanted to talk with me?”

“I did,” the smoking man says, taking a drag off of his cigarette. “How did the interview go?”

Ryans looks down to the floor, brows knit together. “They’re hiding something. Cooperating, too. They played dumb and dodged questions about the device, didn’t offer up any personal details about themselves. I cut it short, I want to isolate them, talk to them one-on-one.”

The smoking man lowers his cigarette from his lips, regarding Ryans in the window’s reflection of his office. “And you left them unsupervised to coordinate a story?”

Ryans shrugs. “I’m not worried. They’re young, I’ll pick them apart. It’ll be important to know what details they decide to coordinate on, what they think is important versus what we do.”

“Media’s already crawling up one side of us and down the other,” Ryans says, taking in a deep breath to steady himself. “We need to come up with a story for tomorrow’s news.”

“Give them something to chew on, flying saucers, little green men. Then we pull it back and say it was something innocuous, let them spin in a circle with their own imagination until they make themselves sick. As for our guests…I have an idea.” The smoking man says, taking another short drag off of his cigarette. Ryans slowly raises a brow in inquiry, stepping closer to his boss’ desk.

“That so?”

The smoking man turns, brow furrowed as he snuffs out the last nub of his cigarette in an ashtray. “Did I ever tell you about the people I met in World War II?”

Time travelers.”


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