Worldly Connections


elisabeth_icon4.gif ff_ryans_icon.gif

Scene Title Worldly Connections
Synopsis The strings that connect souls from world to world are more tangled than one might think.
Date December 21, 2018

The Cerberus

The Pelago is already a flurry of activity, with some people packing up their things on boats, bargaining for passes or getting prepared for war. Among all of the sailboats and trawlers, only one boat was built and made to see battle. By the looks of it, there have already been many, still the name The Cerberus is clear in black paint along the bow of the ship. Under it the faint remnants of a designator number.

It’s a busy ship. Despite having a few of their crew walk away, those left have a purpose and a will to carry it through. Up near the command deck, the unmistakable figure of Captain Benjamin Ryans stands calling orders to the crew. “Richards! Be careful with that,” he shouts down at a man struggling with a crate, trying to haul it on board. The man is a bit shaky as he walks up the planks on to the boat. Still Ben’s lips press together and he hurries for the ladder.

Making his way down, he is intercepted by another crewmember. “Ben, Pup’s ready and fueled, but we need more for the runt.” There is a hesitation before he adds, “Might be good to have some extra on hand too.”

Benjamin gives a firm nod, “Go.” The man nods and takes off for the docks, dodging deftly around the man hauling up the heavy crate.

The woman walking down the docking ring is adept at dodging incoming people and stuff they're carrying. Scuffed boots still in much better shape than those most of the residents of this region call home are not obviously out of place, but the overall picture the woman presents is perhaps just … off somehow. She isn't from around here, from those well-worn boots to the patched denim on her legs to the way she watches everyone. It just speaks of someone for whom all this is pretty new.

Elisabeth pauses at the gangplank of the Cerberus, well aware that she's already the focus of plenty of attention and some whispers along her route as well. Her blue eyes watch as Ryans clambers down the ladder and she waits to see what he's going to do with his vaguely unwieldy sailor before calling in a voice just loud enough to carry. "Ahoy the Cerberus."

The voice behind the sailor, startles him, and he turns suddenly. When he does his boot slips off the edge of the gangplank and loses his balance. However, while he goes over into the sea with a loud splash, the crate stays in place. After a moment, it suddenly lifts, behind it is an annoyed Ryans, standing with a hand out, the other tuck behind his back as if at parade rest. Spotting Liz on the other side of the box the old man looks surprised.

Others stop what their doing at the commotion, a few end up chuckling at the plight of their crewmate.

All that is ignored by the Captain. “Elisabeth. Right? I believe that is what I heard Eve call you?” He studies her, before realizing he’s still holding the crate. When his hand move, so does the crate, eventually coming to rest on the deck near him, where some of his crew move to get it. Free of the burden the hand moves to rest behind his back with the other. “How can I help you today?”

Blue eyes widen in shock. This is the second person who, in her world and so far as she knew, was never Evolved with an ability. She didn't see his use of such in the crowd, if he even used it at all. And Elisabeth can't quite hide the expression of surprise. "Y… Yes, Elisabeth. Harrison." She's actually more used to hearing him use her last name, she realizes. "If you have the time, Captain," she says, her feet set shoulder-width apart in a more formal stance than she really realizes she's using, "I'd like to talk to you about that matter of water-based tactics." She lifts her chin slightly at his appraising expression, her reaction to him almost military in its bearing though not of a subordinate as she waits for his answer.

Eyes narrow a little, but not in anger or anything, but in thought. He looks about to say something, but… he pauses as if something occurs to him. He gives her a short nod. “Let’s talk, Ms. Harrison.” A hand moves from behind his back and motions her onboard and toward one of the hatches into the boat. Even here, he is ever the gentleman.

Though he does take a moment, to glance over the side of the boat to the man in the water, the moment of annoyance returning. He could pull the man out, but seems to think better of it. “And someone fish Richards out of the water,” his voice carrying with a boom, sending crew scrambling to go after him. Only then does he move to follow Liz for the door, opening it for her when they get there. “Unfortunately, coffee is for the rich now, we… “ he sighs a bit through his nose, “We have what passes for tea in this hell, if you care for some.”

The order, giving in that tone, makes Liz have to smother a grin. She's seen that side of the man before. Up the gangplank and then onto his vessel, the blonde has a half-smile quirking her lips. When he holds the door, she pauses there and then nods. "I'd like that very much, thank you." They've much to discuss, and she's not entirely sure how much he's going to really want to know versus how much he'll need to know.

When she steps into the low hallway and follows his gesture down and to the right into a small room, it's automatic for her to step to the far side and out of his path. She looks at the tidy space and nods just a bit, then moves to go ahead and pull a chair out — whether she would prefer to stand or not, she knows he won't sit if she doesn't. He's just… that kind of a man. So she makes it easy for him. Settling into the chair, she slips her heavy jacket off and removes the knit cap that had been covering her somewhat wild hair. The humidity and salt in the sea air has given her some mildly annoying curl but also a decent amount of frizz. Running a hand through the strands to straighten them, she gives up on it as a lost cause.

"I appreciate you taking the time."

Normally, he would get the tea himself, but seeing as they have a guest on board, he stops a passing crew member and murmurs instructions. “Sure Ryans,” she quips with a grin and hurries off to make the tea. It is apparent that while he is captain, he doesn’t push the more formal parts.

“I can’t guarantee how the tea will taste, our cook opted out of joining the fight,” His own coat shed, he tugs down on a maroon cable knit sweater that has been clearly patches a few times, and sits in another chair by a desk with charts and written notes. “So I’ve heard things about you, Harrison.” He paused for a moment, brows furrow, but then are replaced with amusement, “Funny thing, I knew a Harrison while I was in the Navy.” It is a bit of a tangent before he, settles back in his chair. “Jared Harrison. Knocked my head a few times.” Ben was like any old man, telling stories trigger by familiar things.

But he waves off the rest of it, “Anyhow, Eve says you are travellers. Not from ‘Now,’ but from ‘When’. So I have to ask,” His thin brows pops up as he asks, “Are you time travellers?”

"Can't say I blame them overmuch," Elisabeth admits softly. And then he starts talking and she blinks. "Wait… what?" Leaning forward on her elbows, now she has to realign what the hell she's going to talk to this man about — maybe not just water-based tactics to get Sawyer off their asses. "Uhm…" Her lips quirk into this rather disbelieving grin and she shakes her head. "Holy shit… I was not expecting either of those sentences."

Clearing her throat, the blonde struggles to line up her thoughts. "Okay… to answer the last thing you asked first… Not so much time as timeline. Although I've done a little actual time-travelling in my day. This time we've stayed basically on a one-to-one match with the dates in our timeline, just a few steps sideways." As if that makes any sense to anyone but her. "But remind me in a few moments here to come back to the other thing you just said. Because… my father's name is Jared Harrison. And I … have some vague memory that he did spend some time in the Navy." Is it an important bit of trivia? Probably not.

It is the Captains turns to sit up a little straighter with surprise, then his head turns a bit and then goes the other way slowly. The disbelief is clear and there might be a reason. “Wait. You’re Carina’s girl?” Of course, about that time the door opens to the Captain’s quarters and Ben’s mouth snaps shut. Clearly, this wasn’t something well known.

Despite his age, Benjamin still gets up to take the tray from the crewmember and rumbles out a thank you before closing the door. He stands there for a moment, with his back to her, staring at the tray for a long moment. “That’s impossible,” comments blandly as he turns towards her, he’s more expressive than the man she knew. The confusion is written all over his face clear as day. “She lost Jared and her daughter in an event… the same one that— ”

He trails off, eyes widening some in revelation. He moves to quickly set the tea down on his desk, a pot with steam escaping the spout and two mismatched cup. It’s forgotten for a moment as he sits and leans forward, eyes searching for something, maybe a lie in her words. “You’re Elizabeth Harrison?”

There is no lie in either her words or her body language. Elisabeth leans forward on the table, earnest in her openness on this one with him. "The event… in 1982. Where my folks were in a car accident with a very bizarre aurora borealis overhead and … she woke up two weeks later and never saw us again. But where we woke up in the Hudson in a different New York. In a world where there were people in the government and NGOs who knew about abilities and who knew about … the possibilities of dimensional and time travel." She shrugs a little, meeting his eyes. "I don't remember it. My memories of what happened are locked away… in part, for my own sanity, I suppose. They didn't want me to live the trauma. I think as far as Dad and I knew, Mom had drowned. But also… because in that world, as far as I have been able to learn, we were simply reintegrated into my mother's life as if there'd never been an accident."

Blowing out a slow breath, she smiles just a little without any true humor. "Someone… a few years ago, someone was able to show me what happened. At least… most of it." It happened to another Elisabeth, but … that's probably way too complicated, and this is bizarre enough as it is.

Probably a good thing, Benjamin was sitting down. By the way the color drains out of he face, if he was wasn’t…. He’d probably be flat on his ass right now. Instead, he sits back heavily in his chair, which creaks under the weight of him. For a long time, Ben doesn’t say much, a hand scrubs across his mouth. “That is the exact event,” he says softly, he looks at her with complete wonder. “Holy shit, Michelle was right.”

He starts to say something, but she sees a flick of pain… much like she felt when she lost Richard. Cheeks puff out as he releases a breath. Still speechless he holds up a stalling finger and climbs to his feet. Moving to his bunk, the old man kneels, looking suddenly older, and reaches under it for a cigar box.

He doesn’t say anything, just sits again, pushing the tea tray aside enough so that he can set the box down between them. His voice is gruff and filled with emotion as he he opens the box, “I wanted to kill Michelle that day,” he admits, jaw clenching against remembered feelings. Fingers push aside pictures of family. “I even threw her against the wall in my grief when I found out—” He pulls out a pack of pictures tied with a length of twine. “Tell me…” he starts in barely a whisper, pulling the photo of a blue-eyed, brown haired boy from the group of photos and offers it to her to look at.

“Did you know my boy, Bradley?”

Elisabeth is probably just as shocked by his words as he was by hers. "You know Michelle Cardinal?" There is an eagerness to her tone, though it's tempered by wariness. She's afraid to hope. And Jesus fucking Christ… she told Magnes that certain people would find themselves in one another's orbit. She's… if she didn't already believe in something out there, this would likely have made a believer out of her. "I… don't think I ever knew you had a son, Ben," she tells him, slipping into the more familiar address without even thinking about it.

"I, uhm… " Tears suddenly hit her, and Elisabeth has to look away. When she regains some control, she takes the picture and studies it. Her brain goes back through what she knows and who she's known from among…. Holy shit. Brushing her tears, she demands in a soft, urgent tone, "Bradley. Bradley Russo." She had forgotten, in among the names that she knew of the time-traveling children of the Wasteland, that several of those kids had been Ryans clan. Now… how that fits with the whole … jumping from here in 1982 to then ALSO time-traveling from 2040 to 2011? It makes her head hurt. "Is that who you mean?"

“Russo?” Ryans looks confused. “That was my ex-wife’s maiden name.” Still, there is renewed hope there and a shine of tears in his eyes. “Thank god, he made it.” He sounds relieved, as if for all this time, he didn’t know for sure. His hands curl into fists as he fights his emotions. More proof he wasn’t the Ryans she knew. He has to look away and and down, so that he can get his composure back, brows pinched against the renewed pain long since mellowed with time and lost hope.

“And to answer your question,” He starts gruffly, “Yes, I knew Michelle. I was one of the men assigned to her case when I was OSI.” There is an edge of anger there, though not what it once was. “Only reason I didn’t kill her, is she lost her baby, too. She was going through the same hell. It was a near thing though,” Ben admits, swallowing heavily, and straightening. He reaches for the tea kettle, and starts to pour the tea. “But she also said she was going to fix it… so we could go get our kids.” He huffs out a half chuckle. “Of course, the world went to shit and I lost track of her. It became all about surviving and protecting my new family.” The kettle is set down the porcelain clicking loud in the room, “Then you, my dear young lady, show up here.”

Ben offers her the cup, giving her a bit of a smile, “So does this mean she succeeded?”

Elisabeth listens…. And looks floored. "I… " She bites her lip and then starts to laugh. For a long moment, she has to put her forehead down on her hands on the table, laughing and crying at the same time. When he comes back with the tea, she sits up, her face a little splotchy from all of this new information, and takes the cup with a slightly trembling hand. "Did she succeed…. Well… I guess for some definitions of success."

Shoving her hair back, she parses her own thoughts on the matter to give him a more concise picture. "So… here's what I know, and bear in mind that this is secondhand and from a timeline that is not this one. Michelle succeeded… at something. The only way I can describe this is…" God, this is too complicated. "Time doesn't work the way everyone seems to think it does. I can only tell you this from my timeline's perspective, okay? So… In 1982, Michelle Cardinal opened a portal, it went out of control, and it ripped open space in multiple alternate realities at the same time. People were yanked through from their home timelines and hurtled into new timelines because… I don't even know why. It's fucking physics and it gives me a headache. Think of it like musical chairs." She sighs heavily.

"In 2011, someone else was attempting to build basically a radio that could talk between the timelines. Same basic idea, I guess, though Michelle thought what she was building could look between the timelines. He wanted to send himself messages to .. try to avoid certain outcomes. Magnes and I were part of a team that went to stop it. Shit went pear-shaped, as it always does, and we were sucked into a singularity that had similar properties to Michelle's experiment. We've been jumping timelines ever since, trying to get home." She grimaces. "This is our fourth landing. I've been trying to gather intel each step of the way. The best I can gather… anyone who vanished from this world in 1982 did indeed survive to land in the world I grew up in." She still hasn't quite figured out why people didn't swap into this world. But well… NOT A SCIENTIST. "I've… worked out who a few of us are. Me. My father. Richard Cardinal. A couple others that I think are possibles. Now… Bradley."

She grins a little. "Your son is a pretty damn amazing guy, I gotta tell you. He was… a reporter, when I knew him. And he helped take down our version of the OSI." She studies Ben and decides to leave out all talk of the fact that Bradley actually traveled through time. "Arthur Petrelli is a prick in all worlds."

Setting his own cup down, he pulls open a drawer and pulls out a handkerchief and hands it to her. He noticed the splotchiness. Good thing about small spaces, things were in easy reach. HE listens to what she says, though he seems a little lost at times. It would be worse, if he hadn’t already been familiar with it. Still he doesn’t say much, doesn’t stop her, just lets her go on.

“Arthur wasn’t always like that,” Ben admits, “He is part of why I joined OSI… but yeah. In the end he was a dick.” He offers her a rueful smile. “Luckily, I was still able to keep my job when the government disbanded all that and formed the DoEA. Of course, they recruited Michelle too and… that did not go over well with me.”

Picking up his cup, he takes a sip of cooling tea. “I got stuck in a black site as warden for all my protesting, they were worried what would happen if we crossed paths again.” It was clear he and Michelle did not get along… or at least not then. “While eventually, we were able to come to some understanding, I stayed where I was. Good thing though,” Ryans says softly, “Most of the people on this boat wouldn’t be alive if I hadn’t been there. When the word of the flood came, everyone else fled. I stayed to let them all out.” Ben had surrounded himself with people deemed too dangerous for society.

There is a heavy sigh out of his nose, the cup is set down again and the box of pictures retrieved. “So Mad Eve is going to take you where you can… jump again?” Brows furrowed. “Twenty years ago, I would have insisted to go with you. For a parent, losing a child is…” Ben shakes his head. “You just can’t explain it. To be given this sort of hope. To know he lived to grow up to be a good kid… to-” Ryans voice catches again and he takes a moment to compose himself. Taking a breath and letting it out in a slow sigh. Eyes firmly on the packet of pictures, as he adds one to it.

“But, I can’t go,” Benjamin’s voice is shaky at best. Clearly, this was hard for him. With the pictures in one hand, he closes the lid of the box with the other and sets it aside. Leaning forward, the Captain reaches for Liz’ hand and presses the group pictures into it. “My children need me. This… world needs me here, but… “ He leans back, leaving the pictures in her hand, the top one being of his two girls and a much younger boy with short red hair. “Would you do me the honor of taking these to Bradley? Let him know, we didn’t abandon him… and that I searched for a long time to find a way to get to him?” It was obvious. Benjamin Ryans loved his son. The pictures show it, from the day he was born until his disappearance.

Her attention on him is rapt. Nothing he says seems to shock her in any way, and although the information she gleaned from the files in the library was detailed in some ways, in others — the more personal information she wanted, like the things he speaks of — it was severely lacking. There's a slow nod at various points while he speaks, and she takes the handkerchief and wipes her face a bit while she listens intently.

She takes the pictures he offers, but her eyes never leave his. "I will." Her free hand, the one that had the handkerchief which she sets on the table to free up, reaches over and covers both of his. "I will tell him. And I will tell his father, too." Because God alone knows what Ben knows or doesn't… but her Benjamin Ryans will be glad to know that word got back to this Ben that his son is safe.

She holds his hands tightly in her own, and Elisabeth says softly, "I… don't know whether my mother will choose to stay or go. So very very much has changed since that day. If she doesn't… I would be much obliged if you would look after her." She has to close her eyes for a long moment. "The only mom I remember… died in the Midtown blast in 2006. It happened in my world too, just… slightly different reasons." Opening her blue eyes and swallowing hard, she fights for a level tone. "My dad… may not remember you. But you and I know each other. You were with me the day I got hurtled into this mess… fighting with me against the people we were trying to stop. It was my honor to serve with you. And my privilege to make sure your son knows."

Those hands are of a man who has spend a lot of time working, callused and scarred. Joints stiff, but they still move to curl around hers. There is relief in the old captains face when she accepts, eyes watery, but… he doesn’t cry. He is still someone born in a time where such a thing is not acceptable. “Thank you,” he says with relief, voice husky from emotions. “And if she comes back, I will watch after her to the best of my abilities.”

Letting go of her hand, Ben doesn’t quite hear what she’s saying, as he starts to moving tea trays and boxes out of his way to look for information she needs for Sawyer. It takes a moment, but then it clicks. Hands pause in their search and blue eyes turn towards her again, a touch confused. “You— ” Benajmin trails off, brows lifting. “You know— knew me in that place you are from?” There is a touch of disbelief, the notion seems almost ridiculous. “Huh, who would have thought we’d be sitting here talking about this.” His smile tugs to one side in amusement and he shakes his head. “The world… no the universe is a strange place.”

Benjamin looks at his desk and back to her, “Now enough of this… we have work to do before you leave…” He pulls out what looks like a modified nautical map and gives her a cheeky grin, “Now, let’s talk pirates.”

"More things in heaven and earth, Horatio," Elisabeth murmurs quietly with a smile. When she meets his eyes, it's with an expression of mixed emotions. But what she said to him may explain a whole lot of things about why she seems to have instinctively offered her trust and requested his expertise. She tucks the pictures away safely into her jacket and then wraps her hands around the tea mug as he brings out the maps. "Pirates… arrr." She winks at him. The joke is very old and likely very flat here in this world, but if he can be cheeky, so can she!

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