Try Praying


abby_icon.gif richard4_icon.gif

Scene Title Try Praying
Synopsis It's been too long since two old friends met. They have a lot to talk about.
Date September 15, 2020

Richard Ray's Office, Raytech Campus

“Abby!” The greeting is warm and genuine as Richard pushes himself up to his feet from behind his desk, moving to step around it to meet her half-way, “Good to see you. I’d been meaning to stop by myself, actually…”

The large window that takes up most of a wall of the office looks out over the Raytech campus, all concrete ledges and tiers flooded with greenery, fountains and water sources dotting the area. Construction’s still going on, and probably always will be, cranes and other machinery visible throughout the area. The CEO’s wearing a smart business suit, black with a red tie, sunglasses as ever firmly in place on his face.

From behind the desk, a red tabby peeks out to see who’s entered his domain. There’s a cat bed visible set up back there, near the executive’s chair.

“But time slips away.” Abby finishes the excuse for him, standing in the doorway to the office with a smile before moving in proper and closing the door behind her with a soft click. “This is a far cry from the little buildings with the hidey hole in the basement.The shadows on the wall.” Abby looks like she might push those glasses up out of the way to see his eyes for herself but doesn’t. Instead her right hand just tightens on her purse strap and the smile shifts into a grin. “What are you adding on now and should I be worried?” A gesture to the buildings that require the cranes attention before her own attention diverts to the cat.”Hello you.”

“I believe the industrial production facility’s going up next, so we can actually manufacture here in the Safe Zone. Now that we’re getting out of pure technology development and into actual consumer products, we’re going to need it,” Richard replies with a glance to the windows, and then back to Abby, sweeping an arm out to offer a hug. “It’s a bit different from living under a ruined library, but I suppose it’ll do.”

As she greets the cat, he glances back fondly, “That’s Richelieu. Ingrid got him for me as a kitten.”

Time has changed her and where before she would have ducked the embrace, she embraces him in return, left arm circling the man and squeezing. “A lot of things beat the ruins. But those days are a long time behind us.” When done hugging, she steps back though, looking up at him. “I have something I want to show you and ask you. I was sent here. Or well, directed here. God in his own way, though I haven’t figured out the how or why… Does Lisa Bradbury ring a bell?” She’s digging into her purse to pull out a post it note with her writing on it.

Berlin Beckitt, Both conduits, NY, How? And then Lisa Bradbury scribbled on it, all in Abby’s handwriting.It’s offered up to him.

At the question, Richard’s brow knits slightly. “Yes, I know Lisa,” he admits, and then he reaches out to take the note… reading it, his expression changes into something hard to read. There’s sadness there, though. Guilt. He offers it back, his head shaking a little as he turns to make his way back to his desk, motioning to one of the chairs.

“Lisa’s Edward’s daughter,” he explains in quiet tones, “From the Flooded Earth timeline, though, not this one. Her ability’s— similar, but not the same. Leaps of intuition.”

“Oh.” Oh she says, things dawning. “Well that makes so much sense now.” So much sense.’That she’s his kid. I knew about the whole, flood thing. She sat and told me about that.” He moves to sit and she does the same, the chair creaking as she does and the purse put down on the floor at her feet.

“I met her on a bus. A year ago, maybe little more. She left that note. I had a heck of a time finding her. But I did and I asked her about it. Though I guess she took the original note from Colette, but then her thing.” There’s a flexing of fingers in the air to indicate Lisa’s power. “Made her leave it with me, and then I guess her gift then told me to come to you, when I met her again.” Abby smiles just a little but it’s less bright this go round.

“Berlin— her actual name was Nathalie— she was my cousin, actually,” Richard drops into the chair, and immediately the cat leaps up into his lap. He smiles down at him slightly, stroking his fur as he settles, looking back up, “I guess when— whatever happened to the conduits happened, they ended up grounding in her. Both of them. She was there at Bannerman’s, she was one of the kids they rescued from the Ark.”

“She ended up running with Wolfhound. Kept the conduits a secret. Just claimed ‘life sense’ as her ability.”

“She didn’t talk too much about that. I still don’t know why she dropped the note with me.” There’s a shake of her head. “That’s, her, however, is not why I asked your secretary for a meeting.” Here there’s a deep breath. “The fire’s gone.”

“I know.” Richard’s lips twist into a bit of a grimace, looking down to the cat and ruffling his ears lightly, “Kaylee was there, after all. So were a number of other people affiliated with myself or the company.”

He looks back up, “I’m sure that’s… problematic given your job. To say the least.”

“I saw Kaylee, Gillian and Brynn were the only ones that I knew. The rest…” Were strangers to her. “Lisa sent me here to you because I can’t turn into fire anymore. She didn’t send me here about the conduits. She said that you would be able to help. Not that I can figure out how you would be able to help.” She’s dividing attention between him and the cat. “Kaylee’s on leave and I’m on the desk. They’ve been hoping that I’ll spontaneously re-manifest but I see the look when I come in each day. So. Here I am. Third time this has happened.”

“Did she?” A frown as Richard leans back a little more, his chair creaking, “I don’t have any answers for you, not yet, although I’m starting to dig into this my own way. If she sent you my way, though…”
Fingers scritch behind the tabby’s ears, and he asks, “Tell me what you know, so far? Anything at all that might be helpful.”

And Abby launches into what she knows. There will be a meeting later in the day when she goes home that she’s unaware of, but for now, whats happened is told to Richard. Of going to bed hours after seeing Kasha to sleep, and then waking up in a half open ACTS container with the others, oblivious to how she had gotten there in a field in Manitoba. Everyone else that had been there, some in their containers still, others not. The ushering to a hospital and subsequent discovery of no gene, no powers suppressed, just gone. The inability to do an MRI due to Em interference by something. That in the two months since, there was still nothing.

When she’s done reciting things, there’s a look up from the cat who she had been looking at while she told her tale of woe and over at Richard and those sunglasses. “I think someone who manipulates time was used. Kasha heard nothing. She woke up to me not there and called Liz and Liz was over in a heartbeat to get her and then I called later once I was cleared and could use a phone. Tabaqui and Kasha heard nothing.” There’s a lift of her shoulder. “Beyond that, I don’t know. Life… goes on. I’m used to this. In as much as one can get used to not having a gift. But then… you know how that is.” Abby notes. She remembers that he’s absent his ability too.

“I do. I went a long time as just another guy, although as someone once reminded me… it was never my ability that made me dangerous,” Richard admits with a faint, wistful smile, one hand pushing up through his hair as he digests everything that he’s heard.

“I know that there are already people exploring— various avenues of this,” he admits, “I’d contact the other abductees if you haven’t already. I’m going to be looking into some examinations here; the electromagnetic interference seems important. I think there’s something there that we can explore.”

He grimaces, “Time manipulation is, unfortunately, only one ability that could be behind this. I knew someone once whose ability was on par with actual reality alteration— causality manipulation. I can’t even begin to explain how it worked. But if she existed, there could be others with abilities just as strange. What bothers me is— who would have ACTS containers in that number, still?”

“I don’t know who would still have ACTS, other than someone who stole them from storage. It’s not like they were likely destroyed” Abby notes. “I can… reach out. In truth, I don’t know many of them Richard. Gillian, Brynn, Kaylee. That’s about it. Everyone is a stranger pretty much.” Or she’s come across them and doesn’t remember or were ever introduced. “I’ve kept to myself mostly since I’ve come back to New York even.” She throws herself into work, whether it was at the hospital or with SCOUT. Though these days it’s a lot more paperwork that she throws herself into, instead of her suit. “Keep me up to date? Send some my way if they’re looking?”

“There might be some hint as to where they came from on the containers themselves, but I don’t think the government would let me near them, unfortunately,” Richard replies with a grimace, one hand rubbing at the back of his neck, “Things between me and the government are always… uncertain.”

He nods, then, “You should reach out. To Kaylee, at the very least. Maybe you can all get together and one of you will know something.” He smiles faintly, “And I’ll certainly do that, and if *I* learn anything, I’ll let you know.”

“Isn’t it uncertain with everyone?” Abby points out as she gets up, adjusting her purse on her shoulder. “I’ll see about reaching out. I’ll…” She purses her lips. “I’ll trust that the Lord once again’s not seeing fit to give me more than I can handle. You should come over for dinner sometime. Meet Kasha. She’s gotten big” She’s ten, instead of one and a half. There’s a big difference. “If you need anything, call?”

“That sounds great, I can bring the kids, they can meet. I…” Richard clears his throat, straightening, “Actually, I— know you’re under a lot of stress right now, but I’d been meaning to call you for awhile now to ask for some help with something. If you’re not good for it now, whenever you are…” He sounds actually uncomfortable with whatever the request is going to be.

“Too good for what?” She raises a brow. “Whenever what? “ Hands tucked under her jacket and facing the man. “Don’t tell me. You got a rash somewhere and can I look at it because you’re too busy to go get it looked at?”

“Ha. No, I’ve got something else I can’t have publicly looked at…” Richard draws in a breath, “..we were— talking about the conduits earlier. Try not to, uh, freak out?”

He brings up one hand, and dangerously familiar tendrils of smoky ash materialize around it, slithering over his fingers and briefly drifting in the air before they fade away.

Both of our old friends are in here. Yours and, uh, the old man’s.”

Don’t freak out. Try not to freak out. She looks confused when he lifts a hand and then the tendrils come wafting off the tips and her eyes are riveted to what she’s seeing and the words. Both of them are in there. She stops breathing and looks up at him, her gaze locked on his, puzzled, mouth opening then closing as if she might ask him something but the words are failing to make it to her lips, dying somewhere along the route. Till finally something makes it.

“Does… it remember me?”

“Probably,” Richard admits in rueful tones, staring at his hand for a moment, fingers flexing, “I’ve never really… communicated with the White, it’s like— a haughty cat, insistent that I notice everything it wants to show me but not wanting to pay attention to me otherwise. The Black’s much easier to use, and I’ve— talked with a few of the former holders.” A sadness flows through his tone at the last, but he draws in a slow breath before pushing that away.

“Honestly, I can’t use the White at all except to identify life sources around me, and I have no idea how to. I’ve managed to wrangle healing with the Black, but that’s more of a transfer of life-force than anything.”

“Have you tried praying?” Abby pointedly asks.

Richard stares at her for a moment, then brings a hand up to rub between his eyes. “I don’t… uh… no, I haven’t tried praying. The closest thing that I’ve met to a deity recently is kind of a monster anyway, and… I’ve kind of broken reality a bit, through all my asshole incarnations, so I’m pretty sure God doesn’t want to talk to me. If He even exists.”

Oh, he’s gonna get smacked for that last bit.

He doesn’t get smacked, but she does give him a look and takes a step closer. “Call it Francois. Not the white. Try praying.” She’s looking him over, gaze lingering on the hand, as if she could feel the warmth, or at least remembers the feel of it.

“Tell it I say hello and I’m sorry.”

“Francois’s just… one of the many up in there. Just like Kazimir and the others… heh. There’s probably a copy of…” Richard trails off, watching her thoughtfully for a moment as if something had occurred to him. “…hm. What the hell, it’s… worth a try.”

He smiles faintly, “I will.”

There’s probably a copy of… her. She can finish that statement, the unspoken words that make her nose wrinkle. She mutters something under her breath that’s barely heard. Something that sounds vaguely like she hopes that it doesn’t surface while he’s making love. She just shrugs then. “I always called it Francois.” She murmurs, still looking at his hand again. “Just.. try praying. Ask it nicely, instead of… I don’t know. I never talked to it. It never talked to me. I just prayed.” Prayer might work. “I should go.” She has quite a bit to think about with what he’s just revealed to her.

“I think you might be right.” Maybe not for the reasons that she thinks, but right nonetheless. Richard smiles faintly, admitting, “But then, you almost always are.”

He moves to push himself to his feet, “Alright. I’ll— we’ll work out a visit soon? I’m sure all the kids would love to meet Kasha, and me and Liz miss you.”

“When I’m not putting paperwork in it’s place and saving everyone from papercuts.” She smiles then, taking her jacket and starting to put it on, one arm after the other. Aurora see’s Kasha all the time.” She points out. “Tell Liz hey.” And she’s heading for the door then, perhaps a little swifter than she was before.

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