Welcome To Hell



Scene Title Welcome To Hell
Synopsis "Welcome to Hell, would you like a hand?"
Date June 15, 2017


Ruined domes rise in the distance, nestled in the crook of a mountain’s arm, valley walls rising high above them, acting as a shield from the worst of the winter weather. The sun is dipping low behind the peaks, the light streaming across the plain leading to them, illuminating a rusted chain-link fence, a cracked and pockmarked road winding through the tall scrub that seems to have been built and left to rot. A small fire burns in the entrance of one of those domes, a flickering light indicating that there may be a interloper.

Near that fire sits a bloody and burned woman, various portions of her arms and part of one leg wrapped in gauze, the soot from an explosion a universe away still clogging her lungs and smearing her skin. She works carefully on a rope, winding lengths of wire around a central cable in a slow, easy motion. Left over right over the central cable, left over right, braiding a strong length. A scalpel sits nearby, pulled from the wreckage of an abandoned operating theater, used to trim off insulation to splice wires together. A battered coffee pot simmers in the coals, a vacuum-sealed bag of the stuff found in a disused office, water from the river biome cooling in a relatively clean bottle while another is slowly coming to up to sterilizing temperature. She feels like a butterfly. Numb, she crawled from the cocoon of the domes to emerge into a new world, carefully spreading her wings before even attempting to fly.

Her scavenging has been relatively successful. A flashlight and some batteries, along with another one you can shake to power it up, water, a backpack, and an blade. Some rubbing alcohol and a discarded bic lighter that still sparked to light a fire. Some abandoned tools in a Gardner's shed, too. A small hatchet was the prize of the evening, and there may be a use for a screwdriver or two. The most pressing matter is that she hadn't eaten before arriving, and it should be noted that hunger was going to quickly become a thing she would have to deal with. Any food that might have been here had rotted away long ago or is unsafe to eat, and even the snack machines had been invaded by rodents, roaches, and mold, making even the preservative-saturated stuff impalpable.

Her goal at first light is to have a good cry and then head to Boulder or one of the towns nearby. At least a ten mile hike. Maybe more. Find some food, find some medicine, and find out where the hell she ended up.

Cassandra would soon find out that she was in actual hell. The place she's in so familiar but not, dust begins to billow in from the winds in the east. A dust storm.

It's lonely out there but the postcognitive doesn't have to wait long until there's something there, in the corner of her eye… a shape but when the young woman looks over her shoulder.. she just sees dust spiraling and then.. there it is again. Another shadow in the distance just out of reach clarity with the dust and distance. It seems to be waiting for her.


Huh is exactly what Cassie thinks. The boiling pot is slid off the fire to start cooling and she pushes herself to her feet, the length of canvas she scavenged from down below somewhere flapping in the wind as she draws it around herself, favoring her left leg. “I'd much rather you hallucinations wait at least until morning before kicking in.” She says sarcastically. “Or if you're a ghost, go ahead and do your spooky stuff so I can get on surviving wherever this is. There's a storm coming that I need to weather and pray it breaks before morning…” In northern Colorado? A dust storm? How messed up is this place?

With all the vegetation around her dead, the dust storm may not really be a surprise. No trees to slow down the wind from picking up dirt, very little in the way of grass, and most of it drying and dead. Whatever that gardening shed had been used for, it’s long abandoned. The mountains in the distance still have a small capping of snow, but the wind has little to pick up down in the valley other than dust.

And a shadow in the distance, that for a moment seems to be shaped like a person, leading her away from her camp. It’s difficult to see, but it isn’t making ominous noises, or approaching. It seems to be moving away, through the dust. The darkness gives way to a small hint of light, but it’s not a fire or anything like that.

It seems to be a lantern, or something.

Maybe another camp?


With Cassie’s experience hiking, survival 101 generally meant safety, water, food, and then contact with others as the order of operations to get to somewhere safe. With the first two solidly taken care of and the third increasingly unlikely, following that shadowy figure - what seems to be a hallucination - seems to be as good a choice as any.

“Okay, shadowy figure.” Cassandra finally says, managing to catch the shape in her peripheral vision where it's not moving much. “I'll see where you lead and make my decision then. If I start getting too far from here and you're just leading me in a circle, we’ll just have to do this in the morning, okay?” Familiarity with the terrain around here will come in handy - even if it's not exactly the same, the major layouts and locations are pretty much spot on to what she knew from before. Filling her water bottles with the lukewarm, purified water, she tucks them and all she scavenged into her dry-rotted backpack, clips the flashlight to one of the straps for emergency use, hooks her hatchet in the wire loop on her belt, and sets off after the figure. Before she leaves, Cassandra pauses at the little mound of dirt marked with a pile of stones and a shard of motherboard - the remains of ON-1’s hard drive buried there in a sealed plastic box. “I did my best.” An apology, it seems, to the technopath. “I'm sorry for what they did to you. I tried the best I could to fix you, but I couldn’t. I hope, in some way, you knew that I tried. Sleep well.”

And with that, off she went after the shape, her canvas cloak wrapped tightly around her to keep the dust away and to keep her blending in. Khaki colored canvas in a dust storm blends in pretty good.

The postcognitive receives no answers from the shadow, maybe it's all in her head? Starvation could do that to you.

As the young woman makes her way closer to that source of light the dust and wind blows harder but soon she comes to a place with abandoned cars laid around in a semicircle though it would seem that there is a small shelter built there, canvas put up to make a sort of makeshift hut that flutters in the wind but mostly stays together. It's not meant to last forever.

The source of light was flickering for a flap whipped in the wind that was flung back fully finally by a strong gust of wind. There in the entrance sat a large black chair with the back turned towards Cassandra. The lantern swings from a pole stuck into the ground and the chair is quite large, too large to see if anyone sits there. In a place such as this, that looks so barren and as if a war has been waged most would be weary of finding another living soul out there. Raiders and all manner of people twisted by tragedy weren't the sort of bunch you wanted to meet. Especially in a dust storm.

But before the woman from another world can think to turn away the chair begins to spin and a hum rises from the depths of the shelter. A pale hand can be seen tapping the arm of the chair clad in leather and a large, black coat. When the chair turns fully the face that Cassandra sees is unfamiliar, unless she had attended one of her concerts back in her home timeline. A devilish smile crosses her lips and a head of red hair cut short flails in the wind.


Brown eyes flash and Eve Mas leans back further into the chair crossing her leg lazily with a tilt of her head and squint of her eyes at Cassandra. A nose ring flashes in the flickering light of the lantern. Her hands grip the arms of the chair tightly and a rasp emits from the woman, “Well it took you long enough to get here Missy.” A full canteen of water and a few fruit sit in the seer’s lap, most prominently a bright red apple which she picks up holding it in the light. “Hungry huh?” That smile widens to show even more teeth.

Since Cassandra’s arrival here - whatever the reality of here is - approximately two days have passed. A little less than a whole day was spent getting out of the domes and searching for supplies and today - day two - was spent thinking about how to go, getting water prepared for the journey to the next town and trying to build up confidence to make the trip. She had made the hike before, but that was with a full pack, supplies, and the like, but now? Now this is going to be a bit more life and death than she was really comfortable with.

The entire situation, since the gate, was a life and death struggle she really wasn’t comfortable with, and look where that got her.

The shadowy form, whatever it is, remains elusive, keeping out of reach as she follows it through the billowing dust. A carpenter’s dust mask helped a little to keep a good portion of the fine particles from getting into her lungs, but it made it harder to breathe in the high altitude air. Better out than in, Shrek said in a movie that was quoted entirely too much at Geodome. She makes her way down the road, around a bend, and through a copse of dead trees that led to a barely-used logging trail that originally was used for the initial construction. It’s there that she finds the ring of cars, the shelter, the leather chair, and the lamp.

Warily, she approaches, pausing at the edge of the ring of cars, hefting her pack, making sure the buckles were tight. Running really wasn’t an option with the boots she was wearing, but if this was an ambush, she’d rather not be in the middle of it all when it does happen. She takes a step into the ring. And another. And another, until she’s just across from the makeshift shelter, waiting for a second for something - anything to happen. “Stupid hallucination…” she grumbles, just in time for the tent’s flap to flap open dramatically in the wind, revealing the chair and its occupant.

What is it with women in power and dramatic entrances lately?

Cassandra shuffles back a half-step as she’s addressed, her canvas cloak flapping in the wind, the dust storm starting to bear down on the small clearing. “Long walk.” She responds, her voice muffled by the dust mask. “Came from a universe away.”

Brown eyes flick toward the food and the water, then to the woman. “Judging from what I’ve seen so far, I’m guessing pretty much everyone is hungry but, yeah. I could eat.” In fact, she’s starving. Her stomach twists at the sight of the apple and the dried fruit, and she can feel herself starting to salivate. “Who are you?” She changes the subject, trying not to think of the food that’s just right there. “I mean…you look kind of familiar, but familiarity and a buck fifty’ll get you a cup of coffee.” She tugs down the dust mask so her face can be seen. “I think I saw a poster with your picture on it in New York before my…unexpected journey.”

The whole meeting reminds her of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. What kind of world is this?

“Was it a wanted poster?” A male voice asks from the dusty darkness that wasn’t as highlighted by the lantern, stepping out and looking toward the woman in the chair with a wink that’s heightened by a tongue click. Cause she certainly has them. This man doesn’t look at all familiar, a rugged man in a leather jacket, jeans and a t-shirt advertising Hyena Burgers.


He doesn’t answer the question on who they happen to be, but while he isn’t touching any of his weapons, he is armed. A wicked looking knife at his belt and a strap holding a machine gun against his back. His hands are nowhere near either, which might denote some safety. But there also seems to be another shadow off in the dust.

Brown eyes study Cassandra and the precognitive seems to smile even wider if that's possible when Cassandra says she's come from another world. “You've came to a rather shitty one, Cassandra.” Her name had been whispered to Eve in her dream, coupled with the dream itself which showed Cassandra rising out of the domes with a bright triangle behind her. It was all the red haired woman needed to move forward. Well and also coordinates but those things come in time, following the signs is the thing Eve knows best but there might be debate that “sticking it to the man” was also something she excelled at more.

Before she can say more Eli appears and Eve’s face shows genuine delight at seeing the man, she replies in kind with her own wink and click of her tongue before shaking her head to focus back on Cassandra, there would be other moments to stare into Eli’s eyes.

“Your hallucination was Eli here, he's a cool cat. Just don't make him angry.” It's then that Eve regards Cassandra with a raised eyebrow. “About 2.8 million people aren't hungry. No angry bellies, not like out here in the Wasteland.” Eve looks sad, starvation had in fact taken a toll on people in the Wasteland, Resistance or not. With a toss of her pale hand the bright red apple goes sailing over to Cassandra and the leather clad woman spreads her hands. “I'm Eve.” No last name, Cassandra would hear it soon enough of that Eve was sure.

At that moment, things kind of stop. Cassandra’s attention turns to Eve completely when her name is spoken. “How…how do you know my name? How did you know that I’d be here?” Two simple questions that more than likely have vast, complicated answers, assuming Eve is willing to give them.

A woman and a chair don’t generally set themselves up, so when another person emerges from the shadows it’s not entirely a surprise but then, it’s not entirely welcomed either. Cassandra pulls her canvas cloak tighter around her, shuffling a half-step away from the armed Hyena Burger aficionado while dividing her attention between the pair. “It wasn’t a wanted poster…it…” she sneezes, the dust finally taking hold, the mask coming back down to help filter it a little. “It’s a long, long story, and probably something you’d chalk up to me being an insane hermit or something. Hell, I just went through it and I still don’t believe it.”

And then there’s an apple flying toward her. Cassandra does make an attempt to catch the apple, the fruit bounced from one hand, fumbled with another swipe, and finally snagged with both hands tightly. “I’m…Cassandra. But you already seem to know that. Thanks for the apple.” It’s lifted in thanks and then devoured in about four huge bites, until the only thing left is the seeds, the stem, and a little bit of the core that can’t be easily eaten. Eli, once introduced, is given another look, a nod, and then another half-step is taken away from him - not that it would do much good at this close range, but the distance does make her feel a little more comfortable, relatively.

“I don’t suppose…” she says, clearing her throat. “You could give me an idea of what the hell is going on? What kind of world did I just wander into? This was green trees and grass, blue skies, when I left….not dust storms and broken sticks.”

“Be grateful for the dust storms. Cuts down on their visibility.” Whoever they are, Eli leaves unsaid. “Still clear, but we probably want to get back to the bus with our new friend soon,” he adds, toward Eve, not giving much indication about how he knows the area is clear, or what it’s clear of. “You really from another world? I was thinking that was some bad drugs our Seer was using,” he jests, looking over the young woman. Her clothes definitely would look nicer than they’re used to— if they weren’t slightly burned.

Nodding her head faintly at Eli’s report in the seer scoots closer to the edge of the seat ready to stand. “I haven't tripped on mushrooms in a month! Of course I believe you Cassandra.” The retort to Eli’s drugs comment but she grins easily as that, “Silly silly, I only saw a piece. Her world looked shiny, bet you’d love to get over there and experience those Egyptian cotton sheets you—” remembering that Cassandra is there and she had asked a pretty important question the pale woman snorts and taps her toe.

“This is hell sweet pea.”

“There's a war being raged across the country. The government dudes or DOEA are hurling robots and defactors and I’ve suspected…” her tone growing grave and eyes matching the tone, “Anal probes. To study us. Destroy us as a species, you get the gist of it.”

“Pull up to my bumper baby. In your long black limousine, Pull up to my bumper baby. And drive it in between.”

The woman snaps her fingers and sings the Grace Jones hit with frevor. “On a more serious note… you've just entered the Resistance! We’re taking new recruits, strap in your boots and let’s hop too!” Eve takes a step forward standing as she goes and tossing the canteen to Cassandra as well, “To the bus,” Moving swiftly and drawing a hood over her head and a scarf over her face. “Eli’s right ya know, this storm is saving us. He's not one to lose teeth.” Is anyone?

“I'm really from another world.” Cassandra tells Eli. “That's where I saw her face in a poster. Big famous singer back there - only wanted posters were the ones on bedroom walls. As for me?” Cassandra looks to Eli. “I jumped through a triangular-shaped gate made by a machine called Looking Glass to avoid being gunned down in a world that…”. She looks around, wishing she had grabbed a pair of goggles or a face shield from one of the abandoned OR’s down there. “It was a lot better than this, but with an assault team. Hell, it was a lot greener than this, too, without any of the everpresent they that'd being blocked by the dust storm. The choice was a roll of the dice or certain death. I chose random chance and ended up here.”

Eve’s proclamation of this being hell gets a sigh and a nod, Cassandra looking back towards the domes before lapsing into French as she murmurs ”She who lives shall see.”. A French saying that is usually used when the outcome of a choice is uncertain. This certainly fits the bill.

The canteen is caught a little easier than the apple - it's larger, after all, with a little more mass to it, sloshing as she catches it in both hands. “The resistance? The DOEA? Robots and defectors?” She unscrews the top and sniffs, taking a long three swallows before recapping the canteen. “I don't know what you expect of me, though. I just see the past from objects and show it to people. I'm a researcher; not a fighter. I'm just a swamp girl from Louisiana.”

The wind howls loudly at that exclamation, Cassandra turning her back to it, her canvas cloak rustling loudly. “I just want to go home.” She says, her voice very, very small. “I want to know if my parents are okay. If Liz and Rory are.. If I can get my life back….” Dammit, no crying. It won't do any good here.

“Odds are not good for you, kid,” says Eli, calling her kid because, well, compared to him she is a kid. The gray hair sprinkled in his dark hair gives his age away more than his face does. “Getting your life back is not likely to happen unless you brought that triangle with you and can jump back through.” And he’s gathering not. They’d driven all the way out here for one person, more than they’d done for most people. Someone they didn’t even know.

All because of a dream. “As for not being a fighter, you’ll learn. Or we can find another use for you.” He glances into the distance for a moment, before nodding. “Do you need anything from your camp? I’ll get it to the bus, but I’d prefer if we’re mobile soon. I can run diversions to keep them off us, but it’s a long drive back to our neck of the woods.”

“He's right dear, you've stepped through..” Eve doesn't finish, she doesn't want Cassandra’s hopes dashed but.. the truth is the truth. “Not back that way at least.”

Clapping her hands together she smiles over at Cassandra, “Swamp girls have a magic way about them,” a wink and cackle as she gets ready to brave the storm, the mention of Cassandra's particular gift gets a shifting in Eve’s gaze from Cassie to Eli before her grin widens, “Sister Seer you must be kept safe.” A potential asset that she can't let loose for the opposition. With her mind made up Eve smooths her leather jacket down the front, a weary expression on her face.

“You’ll handle a gun just fine.” Eve has faith in that. “I'm sorry but this is your new home now, you’ll find your footing. And friends.” A mischievous look on Eve’s face before she's whistling while making her way to the flap and out into the storm to where the presumed “bus” is.

The triangle that brought Cassandra here took a decade to build, involved thousands of people - some of which died due to the construction or for the secrets they held - and required the expenditure of well over ten billion dollars to enable the teleportation of fruit, a camera, a goat ( dead), some mice (very dead), and a million dollar suit that barely allowed Cassandra (alive, miraculously) to survive the trip. She gives Eli a look and a shake of her head as the finality of his words settle around her shoulders like a wet blanket. She pulls her cloak closer and slings the canteen across her chest, shaking her head in the negative. “No, there’s nothing there anymore but some old surgical supplies and stripped operating rooms. I gathered all that I could that was useful. It’s dead there.”

Cassandra has nothing that would be required to rebuild Looking Glass available, or even an idea that they exist. At the bare minimum she’d need support which, with the way Eve is talking about the resistance, seems to be something in extremely short supply. In fact, the only thing she has left, aside from the scorched clothes on her body and the scavenged backpack on her back, is the 128gb thumb drive with the schematics and nearly 60 million pages of plain text data on Looking Glass that she discovered delving into the past in order to get the system online.

The rule of backups that she followed was taught by Mrs. King in 9th grade Computer Class - the more backups you have, the merrier, and they all need to be stored in separate locations. During her years there, Cassandra made copies of everything she could and, since the drive never left the site, no-one was the wiser that she had it. Other than the thumb drive in her lab, there were backups on the system in her lab and daily backups to the main local database, which itself was backed up off-site to a couple of locations that were specifically used for such things. There was probably a rule against keeping sensitive data like this on portable media, but Cassie was keeping it just in case it was needed and it seems like it was. It rests snugly against her chest in its metal case, like an amulet to ward off evil or, in this case, a potential way out of this world if she can find the right people to make use of it.

“Is Louisiana okay? My…my parents live in St. Martinsville, in between Baton Rouge and Lafayette.” Like those places might mean something to either of these people. They probably don’t know but she feels like she should ask anyway.

Sister Seer….Cassandra pulls her mask back over her mouth and nose as Eve starts to make ready to walk into the dust storm toward this bus that she’s referring to. Eli gets another look followed by the shake of her head. “There’s not much of a decision to make, is there?”

“The deep south avoided some things, but I wouldn’t say it’s okay. We’re at war. With just about everyone in the whole world.” Eli explains with a shrug, as if the news was old to him, and he’s not quite as… empathetic as some. “You either learn to do what it takes to survive, or you don’t. Pretty much that simple.” As he speaks, there’s that shadow behind him again, this time moving forward. It’s another Eli. Looks just like him, down to the weapons and clothes. An exact replica except for the beat at which they breath. The one back there looks as if he might have stifled a cough for two into his hand before stepping forward.

“I’ll leave a few of the Omegas behind to watch our trail,” the one in the back says, the one up front nodding in agreement. “If anyone catches wind of us I’ll draw ‘em off.”

“All the ducks crashing into the ground,” said in a manner filled with venom and bitterness but the oracle does nothing more to explain that statement. As the other Eli arrives, Eve winks and and tongue clicks at him too. It's a thing.

“Whatcha see is whatcha get.” Spreading her arms out to the wasteland in front of them, the wind is whipping and the dust is thick. Reaching into her coat she pulls out a pair of goggles and slides them over her eyes, a second pair is tossed to Cassandra, “Don't want you to lose those lovely eyes.” None of her good natured compliments sound.. right. Coming through bared teeth that is.

As soon as they are ready to leave Eve rubs Eli’s shoulders, “Thanks for that,” and leaning into the Omega, “Your sacrifice is noted. Ride to Valhalla.” Or wherever it is they go.

Revealing that the south is mostly okay sends a small shot of relief through Cassandra, evident in the way her shoulders lift a little. That simple statement means that her parents here might be okay. That her house here might still be there. That things might be somewhat normal down there. But the fact that the United States is at war with everyone else? That…that isn’t a good thing. “When we get to somewhere that isn’t being constantly sanded down by swirling dust, I’d really like a history lesson or an info dump. How things got so messed up that we’re at this point and what can we do about it.”

Apparently the tongue clicking is a thing between these two, and as a mirror image of Eli emerges from the swirling dust, Cassandra looks from one to the other, then to the grimacing Eve and then back to Eli. “I take it,” she begins. “That your ability allows you to make more of yourself? Or you’ve got a twin brother that dresses and looks exactly the same but doesn’t say a word otherwise.”

The tossed goggles are caught and pulled on, the rubber gasket sealing against her skin and making things clear, most of the dust outside now rather than blowing right into her eyes. She’d rather not lose her lovely eyes, either, either to particulate matter or conjunctivitis.

“Thank you for coming and getting me.” She finally says, her voice a mild shout over the howling of the wind. “I’m grateful. I hope that I can be of some kind of help…”

Almost as soon as Cassandra finishes speaking, there’s a third Eli that just appears beside the other two, then a fourth. They don’t even seem to step out of him or out of the dust clouds or anything, they are just there one moment— and then gone the next. Back to two. “Something like that,” he responds with a grin. There may be more in the distance that she can’t see, for all she knows. It didn’t even seem to phase him, but both of the newer ones pretty much had the same expression and clothes and weapons and everything.

One might wonder if all of the things carried with him still worked, but the only person who needs to know the answer to that already does.

The one Eve addressed grins at her, winks back, and then adds, “I’m sure Valhalla’s a lot better than this place anyway.” With that, he turns around, shifts so the machine gun hanging against his back is in his arms, and steps off into the dust clouds again.

“The lady’s dream said we’ll need you for something, I suppose, so I’m sure there’s something you can do,” the one who stays behind remarks, nodding toward ‘the lady’.

The display of power from Eli gets another grin from the kooky lady and she claps her hands, “Bravo! Bravo!” If she had flowers she would throw them to the man. As the one of the Omegas takes his leave with a wink Eve presses her hand to her heart, her brown eyes wide, “Walk carefully, I’ll take care of your buddy over here!”

As the trio make their way through the dust storm they pass the ring of abandoned cars already covered, impossible to see through the windows, on they march and soon they come upon a large vehicle that soon becomes clearer in design. The metal frame battered and patched multiple times by welding, shutters pulled up on the windows to protect the tiniest of cracks from allowing the dust inside. A big gun of some kind is rigged up to the roof, currently muzzle pointed to the sky. Vague dark shapes can be seen moving about inside from the front, which also features various metallic skulls.. One in particular has the shape of a cat has a pair of bright orange marbles pressed into its eye sockets and a fake joint hanging out of its mouth. The doors of a painted black school bus fold open as Eve turns the key and hops inside, bullet holes litter the sides of it, the windshield still holding miraculously, “You want to go to school?” Slamming down into the driver’s seat the pale woman rips her goggles off and throws them on the side of the seat, pulling her hood off a hand goes out to flip down the visor, a polaroid clipped to it.

“I’ve got the best classroom for you,” her rasp echoing out over sounds of the storm. On the bus is a mix of people all in rough, tattered clothing. Hardened by battle, it’s mostly women. “Sorry ladies, we’ve got our new student aboard Nancy. Everyone give a nice warm welcome to Cassandra, she’s a swamp girl from a shiny world. Be nice!” Chuckling to herself, she waits until Cassie and Eli are seated and she starts the bus up, revving the engine with a look in her mirror at the group behind her, brown eyes find that polaroid again and she smiles faintly at the captured memory of she and Gillian.

Sitting around a fire with Eve in the middle of some outrageous story that has Gillian rolled over with laughter, both their eyes squint in delight, laugh lines prominent. Eve’s hand lay Gilly’s arm to steady her.

Two fingers touch the surface of the photo after laying them briefly on her lips, a kiss for her best friend, her sister. To the past. That faint smile growing wider and wilder by the inch until she looks as manic as the night she stormed into the Primatech Paper Facility, eyes glitter with rage for the injustice of this world. For the death of Gillian. “Buckle up kiddo!” Fist tightening on the wheel as the bus peels off further into the storm. “School’s in session.”

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