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Also Featuring:

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rue_icon.gif quinn_icon.gif

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Scene Title Zeitgeist
Synopsis Noun, The defining spirit or mood of a particular period of history as shown by the ideas and beliefs of the time.
Date April 30, 2019

A pulsing beat throbs from within the walls, an electronic heartbeat set to the rhythm of flesh and money.

The club is dark, save for pink and violet lights blooming against the black, making the dancers on the stage seem ethereal and unnatural as they dance and grind against that pulsing beat. Under the colored lights, a thin man in an expensive shark gray suit leads the way from a VIP seating area where a pale young woman looks to be made of pink and violet flesh, her hips swaying to the beat, one leg wrapped around the aluminum pole, both arms in the air.

The VIP guests are escorted past a velvet rope, past an additional layer of security. Rue Lancaster’s coppery hair looks like a muddy mess in this light, but that’s the last thing on her mind right now. Among the VIPs she was seated with earlier is a woman who bears the spitting image of the very late Remi Davignon, the other a tiny slip of a woman who drank too much and must have chalk white hair from his much it reflects the colored lighting. The fourth VIP guest is about as tall, dark, and handsome as they come.

Strangers, today.

Little Darlings


April 30th

10:34 pm

The electronic beat dies down to a dull roar with a hint of tinnitus once on the other side of the steel security door that leads to the back offices. The black-lacquered wooden floor reflects more of the neon lights, these tracing in wave patterns along the wall that would look more at home in the late 1980s than the 21st century.

The man in the gray suit diligently leads his VIP guests past dressing rooms and bathrooms, around a bend in the hallway and past an office where a half dozen Chinese men sit smoking cigarettes and playing cards. Finally, they’re led through a door guarded by a broad, stocky woman with a facial tattoo smoking a cigarette. She flashes Rue a smile as she opens the door, allowing the VIP guests inside a subtly different environment. It’s still lit with stark pink and violet neon lighting, but it’s quieter. Mercifully so.

“You all wait here,” their host says, motioning to decanters of alcohol and a ray of glasses laid out for the guests, “someone will be with you shortly to start you on your journey. Be comfortable, drink, enjoy.”

It’s said this is a $2,500 experience.

The booze may not technically be free, but it’s a start.

The smile is returned faintly as Rue brushes past the woman on door duty. The music sets a certain tone for the experience, mercifully muted though it is in this place. She's the first to shrug her shoulders and approach the alcohol. Amber liquid is splashed into a glass with one smooth orb of ice and held against her collarbone as she meanders further into the space, to give others the room to pre-game, as it may be.

One nude stiletto heel taps on the floor in time with the barely-heard beat of the music. Black satin is tied at the back of her neck in a halter top and a sash at her waist where her dress wraps around her lean figure. Little gold daggers hang from ruby studs and sway with the redhead's movements. Her hair is pulled up into a fashionably messy bun, with tendrils left down to frame her cherubic face.

This is a colossally stupid idea, but is it any more dangerous than some of the missions she's been on? Boredom is the real danger for Rue Lancaster.

While she couldn’t avoid a few awkward glances toward her white-haired cousin, the redheaded woman who is impersonating herself has mostly kept to herself while waiting for this experience that cost her far, far too much. If Silas saw how much money Remi has spent on some experimental drug, he would probably slap her. Maybe shake her and verbally eviscerate her a bit, too. But that’s why she’s hidden her depressive spiral into substance abuse use from him in the first place, isn’t it?

Her outfit is comfortable, a sleeveless little black dress that fits her frame like a glove from her shoulders down to where it ends at her knees — a pair of simple black pumps and a sparkling black clutch complete the outfit. She really does look exactly like the late heir to the Davignon fortune. The others who have paid just as much as she has for this experience are each looked over in turn, when she’s sure they’re not looking to notice — except Cesar. She doesn’t hide the looks at him. He’s too beautiful to not make her interest blatantly known. At least she’ll have a nice view through all of this — the taller redheaded woman isn’t bad looking, either.

As she and the other VIP customers are ushered back and the alcohol is pointed out, the former ship’s captain wastes no time in slipping over to the bar and finding her way to a glass of bourbon on the rocks. The haste in which she pours herself a drink dies down rather quickly, though; she takes a small, nursing sip of the iced down amber liquid as she takes up a station against the wall near the liquor. Best to pace herself, as she isn’t entirely sure how this experience will play out.

There's movement in the entrance as another new face enters the place with the other VIPs. A tiny woman with pale blonde hair shaved on the sides but long in the back, hair was combed falling well past her shoulders. The woman is blinking furiously as she enters the quieter place. Tibby's eyesight obviously obscured by something. She almost goes to slap at her the side of her head but realizes there are other people here and those emerald green eyes flick across the room looking at each face until…

Those eyes widen before narrowing to slits as they land on Remi.


The South African smooths her hands down her dress, a black dress with long sleeves but a tight and short skirt, black suede running shoes on. Busying herself as to not draw too much attention to her reaction to seeing the cousin she read about in the file of Tibby Naidu. Nothing to see here, huh? I don't know her. That's you. You're her. The lights in the room reveal white scars that spider up her legs and neck. She clutches a simple black clutch in her hand, going to the solution everyone does when there's awkwardness in the room. Pulling her phone out she taps on the screen and walks to the side of the room, pointedly facing away from Remi.

Tall, dark and clad in a three-piece Italian style navy suit, white shirt and matched solid tie, Dominic is the picture of what clientele the $2,500 price tag might be trying to fetch. He's also silent as he joins the trio of ladies being lead by their gray-suited host, looming as one might expect of a standoffish sort. He looks ahead, absorbing the atmosphere rather than getting absorbed into the pulsing beat, the spinning dancer working her routine on the pole.

As they make their way, the first thing to really click on his attention are the card-playing men. The stocky tattooed lady might miss the faintest of smiles from the man. And, being the last in, he takes up a spot midway from the door to the alcohol, waiting with head slightly bowed. If he's noticed the looks draping on to him from Remi, he hasn't commented.

Still silent.

That is, until…

"Hey. You got music on that phone?"

The navy suited man speaks to Tibby, his accent a touch muddled with geography. Tibby doesn't exactly get the chance to answer, because he interrupts with a crooked smile. "Nev'r mind, I got it." His hand that had been slipped into his suit jacket pocket pulls out a small remote control that upon pressing, hooks into the room's private entertainment system and starts up a new heady, throbbing song booming from concealed speakers.

A couple of beats are all the ladies get for any sort of reaction before Dominic whips his jacket back off his shoulders. Rolling the sleeves off along to the beat, he steps forward towards Tibby's seated position, shrugs out of his jacket and tosses the article of clothing onto the seat beside her as he looms over, dances, no, gyrates his torso right in her face.

It lasts for a few seconds, then he pulls back and turns, hands up and loosening his tie and upper collar buttons. His next sights are for the next closest woman - Remi - and he steps over light on his feet for his size. The tie slips off around his neck. He dangles it in front of her, tight between both index fingers and thumbs. Dominic sticks the tie between his teeth, biting on it with bright teeth that reflect the pink and violet lighting, shimmies in place like it's a string intended for a little bit of leash play.

Ah, but no. Because soon he pulls the tie out and flings it aside, continuing to unbutton the rest of his shirt to the beat. Rue's the last one to receive his initial round of attention, and once he's down to the last of the buttons, he yanks the shirt open revealing the rippling pecs and abs of a thoroughly exercised body that's moving and grooving to the beat.

He's not forgotten the other pair, of course. Backing away from Rue and Remi at the bar, Dominic flexes his fingers towards himself with a come-hither gesture, inviting them to a more suitable viewing spot of the man's sudden strip tease.

Rue's eyes dart from one wall to another as the speakers come to life. She'd been about to fish her phone out from wherever it might be concealed in the folds of fabric draped around her body, but apparently it's not needed. Tall, dark, and handsome there appears to be part of the experience.

"Hello." A wide grin cracks across the ginger's face. She takes a sip of her drink and lets her gaze sweep Dominic up and down, appraising and not at all surreptitious. Rocking her hips gently side to side with the new beat of the music, she moves forward as she's bidden, brows hiked up toward her curly hairline.

Is she supposed to tip? Or is that rolled into the price of admission? Shit.

Oh. Well then. Any pretext of trying to conceal her looks at tall, dark and handsome disappears as the man all of a sudden begins to perform a nice strip tease. “If this is part of the experience, then I feel like my money was well spent,” she murmurs to nobody in particular, an amused smile forming across her face as she enjoys the show.

The tie is snatched out of the air as he tosses it to the side, the woman playfully draping it over her shoulders — he’ll have to retrieve it from her if he wants it back at any point in time. Otherwise, it’s her souvenir.

As Dominic bids her and Rue join him, she glances briefly at the other woman; she takes another tiny sip of her bourbon, before pushing off of the wall, trailing a bit behind Rue as she walks and nurses her drink. She, too, is unsure of whether or not she should tip — she errs on the side of not, but there are, of course, cues when someone is looking for tips that she keeps an eye out for.

W T F.

She thought this was a titty bar!!! Tibby's eyes grow wide and she scrambles back looking up at the magnificent physique of this man who looks like he could be- she doesn't finish that thought. In fact Tibby's whole face drops and she tucks one leg under the other as the other two women have their fill.

She just wanted to try this new experience. She could just watch porn at home. Just kidding she didn't have time to watch porn.

Slowly Tibby takes her phone and discreetly starts taking photos with no flash. She'll be sending them to Klaus later and now she does have some porn on her phone. To watch sometime when she's not terribly busy. Wow look at those abs.

That's right, Ladies, gather round and have a nice time, loosen up.

Dominic doesn't wait for Rue and Remi to have to walk the whole way to him, but scoot-sashays his way - lower half first - up a few paces in their direction before spinning and sidestepping to sandwich himself between the pair. Buff arms raised, he winds his way around the Wolfhound then the former ship captain in a tight figure-eight movement, teasing his torso at them before pulling away. Like a true professional, he does not touch either of them.

But boy if he isn't awfully close to it, almost so that any raised hairs on exposed skin might lightly brush against each other.

Tibby's phone captures not-quite porn, but certainly something to make the censors cough low and consider Parental Guidance. That changes abruptly as the half-naked man proceeds to extract himself away from the pair of ladies and lure them closer to the seats near Tibby, only to suddenly tear away the remainder of his suit. The lower half of it. Maybe some time later they'll muse on the hows of pants design. But for now there's a G-string type covering the NC-17 Rated portion of Dominic's Magic Mike worthy body.

"Make sure you're all sitting down," he practically growls at the trio, dark eyes fixing on each one individually. "It's going to be hard to decide… Which one of you lucky ladies is going to get a lap full of the Dominator?"

He swings his way back around, leaning over Rue's redheaded locks and giving the impression that he's going to tug at her waist sash. "Will it be you, my lovely?" His gaze sweeps away to Remi next, and a quick step brings him to her side to flick his fingers at the edge of his tie draped over her shoulders. "Or maybe you, que bonita rica?" Not even Tibby escapes because he looks straight at her from over Remi's shoulder with a viper's stare towards a nesting bird.

The fifty-four year old Chinese man that walks in right about then is as close to a record-skip moment as possible. He, like the earlier host, is dressed in an immaculate suit but seems awkward in it, like he doesn't know how to carry himself in either the clothes or his environment. Behind him is a sleek and slick younger man in his mid twenties, also Chinese. The younger man is more Gregarious, smiling on cue and clapping his hands like he's been a part of the party the entire time.

The old man takes a seat by himself across the room from the private show, settling into the soft leather upholstery of a large couch. He rests his hands on his knees and stares down at the floor, while the younger man pulls open one side of his suit jacket and produces three vibrantly glowing blue vials. Refrain.

“Alright ladies and gentlemen,” the young man says with a smile over the music, “you keep enjoying our entertainment, I'm just gonna fire up the party. Ok?” He flashes a smile made blue by the blacklights in the room and makes his way over to a wood-paneled box that could easily be mistaken for a floor-set amplifier. But it isn't a speaker on the front, rather a slatted vent. While Cesar continues to dance, he pulls out a tray on the console and slots the vials in one at a time.

Laughter that manages not to betray any nerves bubbles up from Rue’s lips. She’s enjoying the show for what it is - a lot of fun. She is startled when the door opens again, but it only results in more peels of laughter that she drowns with the drink in her hand. Amusement sparkles in her eyes.

It fades slightly when her gaze shifts to the vials of Refrain. If there was a point of no return, this would be it. The sunk cost fallacy is most definitely at play here, but that ultimately isn’t what keeps the Hound in her seat. Rue leans back and grins up at the dancer again. She wanted a party, after all.

On that same note, Remi can’t help but issue a bit of laughter at Dominic’s little show — it’s certainly not something that she expected to come along with the experience tonight, but she’ll definitely take it. The eye candy is certainly welcome, and a good way to overcome her nerves — this stuff didn’t exist where she comes from, and from what she hears, it only works on Evolved. And right now, she’s not even sure if she is Evolved any more.

She lets out a laugh and covers her mouth in a false show of modesty as the pants come off, and then again as he offers up his nickname. The Dominator? Really? Man, this is one for the story books. A story book that she will never show to anyone else, if she can help it.

After a moment, she settles into the seat furthest from Tibby, elegantly crossing her legs and taking a small sip of her bourbon. After a moment, she sets it down, gaze alternating between The Dominator and the man who has pulled out those blue syringes. She glances briefly toward the other two women here to enjoy the same experience that she’s enjoying, before settling back in her chair to enjoy the G-string worn by the man, an amused expression set into her face.

Tibby meets Cesar's viper state with a steely feline like gaze, phone slowly lowered to her lap and she looks pretty bored. It's not that Cesar wasn't attractive but she was here for drugs. Not flesh. The tiny woman crosses her legs, the white scars still bright and glowing.

The arrival of the man with the Refrain piques her interest and she turns her head that way, the appearance of the drug has her puzzled. This was supposed to be a new thing, she didn't have personal experience with Refrain, not from her past that she knew of and she didn't care to drag up old memories by experimenting.

The moment the Chinese men walk in, Dominic breaks off his stare at Tibby and slips out from around Remi's shoulder and side. The perceptive might notice his bright and toothy smile wane down from waxing crescent to half moon to a waning crescent that's more dark side than the sunny, fun disposition of before. He keeps dancing, but what was fabulous and exuberant shifts into something more sensual, lingering, taking less of the spotlight but still in it. Man has a show to put on, after all.

At the appearance of the Refrain, though? A sudden vested interest comes in getting closer to the seated trio of ladies - close enough to touch if they wanted - and also watching the younger man's ministrations from peripheral vision. Is this the rumored Zeitgeist?

The old Chinese man does nothing, says nothing, just sits with his hands on his knees and looks awkward and uncomfortable. It may well be that he didn’t expect there’d be others in the VIP section when he arrived. The young man tending to the console on the floor closes the drawer that the Refrain was slotted into with a soft click lost under the music, then presses a few buttons. The machine hums to life, and soon it is clear that it isn’t a speaker or an amp at all, but a humidifier.

From the circular vent on the front, a low cobalt fog begins to roll out onto the floor like a smoky carpet. Flecks of iridescent blue light shimmer and pop within, and he smiles in reaction to the sight. Withdrawing a remote control from his suit jacket, the young man turns down the house music and motions for Cesar to ease off. He then turns to address the clients. “You came here, promised an experience. Promised something unlike anything you’ve ever felt or sensed before.” He’s wearing fucking sunglasses in this dimly lit room, trying to nail a cool drug dealer aesthetic in the ways it might have been portrayed on television. “You’re about to experience the unimaginable.

The young hype man steps through the fog, swirling at his ankles. “Refrain doesn’t work on 99% of the population,” he explains, like he’s reading from a marketing brochure. “But here’s the thing, that’s the past. Zeitgeist is the future.” The young man settles down on the sofa beside the old man, spreading his arms across the back of the couch. “So settle back, relax, and open your minds. You’re about to experience the world in ways you could never imagine.” The young pusher looks over at Cesar, a knowing look.

Stay or go, he doesn’t care.

Rue's attention turns to the dealer. Her expression softens, like she's watching a tiny puppy trying to climb a sofa that's too tall for it to leap on, but keeps trying anyway. He's trying so hard. She remembers the type from her modeling days. She'd tell Lucille all about it if this weren't a bad decision she's keeping decidedly to herself.

And it's a bad decision she's sticking with, too. While she has the chance to head out the door, instead Rue crosses one leg over the other and glances to the smoke rolling out of the machine, illuminated by the neon. Her drink is drained and the empty glass set down on the floor next to her chair.

While she is capable of focusing on things quite well, Remi’s attention span can be a fickle thing at times. Her attention draws away from Cesar save for an occasional glance spared for that ass. The young dealer type is a little bit on the hilarious side, but she pays him no mind — this may be his attempt to prove himself to someone, or maybe he’s just trying too hard for the clientele.

The shimmering smoke that begins to roll in, however, is what catches her attention the most. The woman turns her azure gaze to the spectacle, brows raising a bit. She could chicken out. She could stop being so stupid and not do something that is probably not at all legal. She could be smart and not do some drug that doesn’t even have a reputation for how well it works yet.

But to hell with it. Remi wants to get fucked up.

Tibby still looks bored. Her mask re settled on her face after the gyrating man in the spotlight is also distracted by the entering of the men and the drug dealer who offers them his product. She already forked over her cash, she's eager to see what it is. Being offered a presentation is not what she signed up for.

Nostrils flare as she leans her head on an open palm, yawn yawn yawn.

In those eyes is a hint of something, it glints as the smoke rolls in and they are offered a way out. Tibby sits, with her curiosity getting the better of her. Calmly she blinks, looking over the room again.

Not having expected an aerosol, suddenly Agent Diaz breaks off the intensity of his routine. Which is good, he was starting to sweat a little. The source of the fog noted, Cesar pulls back and moves to quickly gather his clothes back to him from where they'd been stripped away and tossed. Pants near the old man. Shoes kicked off somewhere along the way. Shirt and coat by Tibby's seat. The tie… Remi gets to keep that as a souvenir.

Cesar manages a sly, crooked smile finally at Rue before he turns and makes for the exit, acting for all the world like this is a normal day and he wasn't previously baring his almost-everything to the ladies.

Once he's outside of the room, he steps down the hall toting his clothes as he slinks past the room full of Chinese men re-enacting Dogs Playing Mahjong, and looks for the security room while trying to avoid extra onlookers.

With Cesar’s departure, the room fills quickly with the scintillating haze of sapphire-colored gas. Faint sparks of bioluminescent light glitter inside of the fog, giving it an ethereal and otherworldly quality, especially under the extreme neon lighting in the room. The hype man, slouched back against the couch, seems unconcerned about the luminescent fog rolling at his ankles, and looks over to the old man sitting by his side with a lopsided smile. But soon, all of that melts away entirely. Soon, there’s something else — an increase in heart rate, hastened breathing, what at first feels like the onset of a panic attack, but then—

Out here on the water, safety and security are provided by the expanse of water and a hyper-sensitive cat that will alert the people that she hangs out with if something is getting close, feels wrong, or just smells wrong. Their very own golden burglar alarm. “Morning.” Caspian rubs his eyes and stretches, his neck popping a little as he turns it, muscles playing beneath tanned skin. Life on the water has been good for the boy, despite the chaos on shore. He reaches over to ‘borrow’ the joint, some of Tibby’s stash that somehow never seems to empty fully, and takes a few puffs, holding it and handing it back before blowing out a cloud of smoke.

The smell of sea air, a ship’s steady rock, the taste of smoke in her mouth. Tibby remembers this moment, years ago from during the war. But to Rue and Remi, there is no such familiarity. This isn’t their memory, and for as water-borne as it is, Remi feels no connection to that ship. And yet, it encompasses their world now. They can feel Tibby’s emotions in the moment as if they were their own.

He scans the water around them for a second, nodding to himself. “Hooks seem to have things on them, and the nets need to be thrown out and pulled in for the day’s catch.” He walks over to give the smaller woman a tight hug from behind, leaning over her to give her a kiss from above, his brown hair long and shaggy, since he hadn’t had a haircut in a while.

That sensation of lips on lips, warm breaths, the sea spray. It feels real.

There's a light shrug at the detailing of the work that needs to be done. “It can wait one second,” she says softly as she takes the joint with one hand and uses the other to rub at his arm in his embrace, she grins as she takes another puff and then another. “It's a nice morning, breathe it in with me.”

The texture of a man’s arm under a palm, as real as if it were there in the moment.

Tibby’s green eyes close as she sways to the gentle rocking of the boat. Her blonde locks shifting in the wind. She hums softly, the tone vibrating into Caspian’s chest. She strokes his arm absently as she puffs on the joint. Enjoying the moment with him.

There’s a sense of elation, chemicals in the brain triggered to release; endorphins surge. There’s a taste of pot smoke in the air, on the tongue, everywhere.

“You only snored just a little.” She teases.

But just as soon as it began, it ends. The shared hallucination seems to give way, like crashing tides drawing back out to the ocean. But it doesn’t give the three participants long before the shared experiences comes crashing back down on them again.

"Wait a God Damned second!" is practically shouted as Quinn rises up out of her seat once Rue is past her, once again drawing a look from the men watching the game. Unlike Rue, she doesn't seem to care, and for the first time in the conversation, there's almost a bit of a fire in her eyes as she turns to face the back of retreating redhead. "I'm willing t' sit here an' let you tell me how you feel, F-Rue Lancaster, because I think you fuckin' deserve that, but I will not let you tell me how I felt!" She's not shouting anymore, but she's not exactly being quiet as she attempts to follow after Rue.

Rue feels the visceral heat of anger flush through her system where the elated high of romantic entanglement once was. It is a sharper turn for her, seeing a younger Robyn Quinn staring her in the face in that coffee shop eight years in the past. For Remi and Tibby, the feelings are just as real, though. Rue’s anger, her indignation, her naked feeling of betrayal.

Rue whirls around all red curls and fire. "If you had been happy," she shouts back, also not caring anymore about the men trying to watch their game, "you wouldn't have left!" A full body shudder runs through her willowy frame, fists balling up at her sides with the restraint it takes not to lash out at something, or run away.

Hearts race, beating together as biometrics synchronize within this moment of emotional experience.

The shouted response earns a wince from Quinn, but she tries to keep her eyes centred on Rue regardless. "You don't know how I felt, Rue. I loved you and I was happy. But at the time, before I knew better? Jesus, I felt like I was second best t' some who didn't exist. An' yeah, I fucked up an' was wrong, but fuck I deserve more credit than that!"

Heartache, the scene of coffee and cocoa, murmurations of other conversations. It is real.

Rrrrrgh! Rue actually growls. That's just how angry she is. "You thought she didn't exist!" One finger comes out to jab accusingly at the air between her and the Irishwoman. "Ergo you thought I was crazy!" Jab. "Ergo you're a bitch, Robyn Quinn!"

Feverish heat flushes all three women’s cheeks, they can feel the eyes of everyone else in the coffee shop on them.

Quinn visibly recoils that time, because - well, she's right. Quinn had thought she was a little crazy, and this was coming from someone who could produce light from her hands. "Look, I-," Her fire it totally gone now, "Bad… bad phrasing, I just… it was weird. Someone I couldn't see who you always seemed t' turn t' before me, an' I just… I didn't know what t' do Rue. Not then. Now I do, but… too little too late." Her head hangs and she turns, headed back to get the bag she left sitting at the table.

Embarrassment. Anger. Frustration. Love. It’s real.

"You got that fuckin' right." A haughty sniff, and an upward tilt of her head, and Rue's stomping toward the door again. It's times like this she wishes she could be invisible.

But it ends like a carpet being pulled out from under them, giving three breaths in the real world where the blue haze surrounds them, three breaths long enough before the tide comes rolling back in. There’s enough time to breathe, but never enough time to say stop. This ride has no brakes.

It’s dark, night, and yet neon lights filter through horizontal slatted blinds. Glistening sweat is highlighted by the illumination spilling into the hotel room. It’s hard to tell — see — what’s happening, but the sensation of bare hands on warm skin fills the air, multiple voices, multiple sighs and moans.

The shock is immediate, like dropping out of a cold swimming pool into a hot tub. They can’t be certain whose memory they’re experiencing now, but the flickering, momentary glimpse of a drug fueled orgy is a lightning-snap before the tide comes crashing back in again.

“So how do you like the Sayonara?”

Remi’s voice, the crash of the surf, pride.

As Remi accepts the second tray, Geneva takes the opportunity to re-shift the first so that it is now being held instead of having to be balanced. They had been heavy. “Silas, huh,” she muses aloud when she hears that name. “Think I ran into him ashore awhile back. We got thrown out of a gambling den together.” Technically, every single person in that establishment had been thrown out together. It is a story which she couldn’t recall if she had told the captain yet.

The ocean is in every direction, the waves, the cry of sea birds.

The blonde gratefully welcomes the invitation to sit, gracefully settling down next to the telepath with her tray of food following right after. Her blue eyes survey the seascape of sparkling, sunlit waves as she does so— it is quite a nice view from up here. Though she does not look directly, she can’t help but let a little smile slide onto her face when she receives the compliments regarding her cooking.

There is happiness here, contentment and peace. This is home.

“It is different,” she admits, tucking into a first bite of her lobster roll and pausing to talk again once she is finished. “Smaller, obviously. But I like that. It’s not anywhere near as crowded. It’s… easier to think here.” More opportunity to truly feel alone on the waves, in a serene, sweet sort of melancholia.

“Oui,” Remi smiles over to the younger woman, lifting her lobster roll to take a bite. She closes her eyes, making a small, happy sound — she has no problems with the fact that lobsters have thrived in this newly watery world of theirs. Oh yes, she’s keeping this one around if she doesn’t end up in another world at the end of all of this.

It feels real.

“I enjoy the solace much more. My ability makes it much more difficult for me to go into crowded places, because I have to have a low focus on keeping the voices from getting too loud. Imagine being in a very large crowd where most people don’t understand the concept of volume control.” She told Geneva of her ability once they had set sail, since the secret to her ship running so quietly is her bond with her crew. “And your ears, while kind of used to it, are still kind of sensitive.”

It is real.

That’s one of the great things about the world being so much less populated now — she doesn’t have to deal with crowds as often. “I have to essentially keep my ears plugged when there are too many people around, and it can be a strain after a while. So…the small crew is a definite plus.” She takes another bite of the lobster roll, savoring the taste.

Gone is the euphoria of love, the passion of anger, the electric shock of lust, and now just a soothing balm of tranquil serenity.

Taking another nibble from her lobster roll as well, Geneva listens to the description of Remi’s ability sympathetically. She simply shakes her head, at the end. “I can’t imagine always having to live like that. I’m not a fan of crowds as it is— and that’s without being trapped listening to all their thought—

Then nothing. The fog has dispersed. It is over.

When it ends, Rue is left breathless in her seat. She was promised an experience, and the hype man delivered. Just… not the kind of experience she necessarily wanted. While the final memory not of her own was a calming one, her own memory is the strongest. The fight with Robyn. The embarrassment of the things she said that she can’t take back. The things the rest of the people in this room have now heard her say.

The whole occurrence was terribly, horribly intimate. In the end, Rue feels violated in some fashion. A shaky hand comes up to wipe away a tear and slide her poker face back into place. She takes a breath to steady herself and glances around the room, taking stock of the others.

It goes by almost too fast. Experiencing the memories of others isn’t unfamiliar territory to Remi — though usually, she’s trying to do it, concentrating and focusing on the complicated act of picking through the minds and memories of others. And typically, it takes a good deal more concentration than this one. And typically, it doesn’t bring with it such vivid sensations as this.

When it’s over, Remi remains cemented in her seat, blue eyes turning up toward the ceiling. The other memories were unsettling — being in her cousin’s skin, as it were, and with her electrician of all people. And the argument with the other French girl from the Ark, but different…that was strange, along with the feelings that came with it. But her memory…

As the fog disperses and it ends, her hand involuntarily reaches out for the woman who just moments ago she was having a conversation with — the woman who was taken from her brutally by a madman and his entourage. “Gene…” Perhaps the others can hear the soft whisper from the telepath, but she doesn’t seem to care.

She wants to go back.

Tibby exhales a soft sigh as she returns to the world of dancing lights and muted music. Her eyes are wet with moisture, her body leaps upwards and she glares now. What the fuck.

Nostrils flare. Caspian. Caspian?? Caspian. The small woman grips the end of her seat and leans forward head bowed. Her look of confusion and of loss hidden by the veil of platinum blonde hair. Tibby's eyes track to the machine that emitted the fog, her senses roiling. Her mind blanking out, nope. The blonde drags her hands upwards across her face moving her hair and then coming to sit up in a straighter posture.

The hype man for Zeitgeist claps his hands together in a focusing gesture, drawing attention to himself. He smiles, fondly, then sweeps his hair back out of his face with one hand. “Magic, right? Intimate, painful, shocking. You feel it all here. And this is just a sample,” he explains with a pinch of his fingers together. “Every day this shit gets better, new experiences. I promise, each time? It gets better. Realer.”

Disinterested, the old man seated beside the hype master slowly rises from his seat. He flicks a look at Remi, his gray brows furrowed, then slouches his way toward the door. The hype man seems undiscouraged, leaning back to spread his arms across the back of the couch again. “You all take a solid five, get your shit together. Then I can have a boy show you out.”

That was an expensive sample. Remi approves of what the blue mist did — though the shared vision was more than a little disconcerting. Blue eyes flit between the faces gathered, lingering a bit on Tibby and Rue, before turning toward the old man with his furrowed look at her. A small frown settles briefly over her features.

The woman leans forward, resting her elbows on her knees as she rubs the palm of her hand against her forehead, taking a moment to process everything she just saw. Her cousin, on a boat with her electrician. The other redheaded woman, arguing with what she assumes is another version of Robyn Roux. And her own vision…well, hopefully it was vague enough so as not to give away the fact that she’s an otherworldly traveler of sorts.

She wants to do this again, but the shared aspect of the things it brings up is more than a little unsettling, especially given the fact that Remi’s memories to be drawn upon are almost entirely set in a different world where everything is different. One must wonder if its predecessor will accomplish similar effects.

Leaning to one side, Rue feels around until she finds her drink where she left it sit on the floor. Her gaze is fixed ahead the entire time as she straightens up again and brings the glass to her lips. The amber liquid is drained neatly, swallowed down easy, followed by a harder swallow of her feelings.

This should be the part where she jokes about what a rush it all was. Instead, she can't even bring herself to glance at the others. So she rises to her feet and moves back to where the alcohol is set up and pours herself another glass. Rue's going to get some of her money's worth out of this night. She drains the second glass, then a third. Then she puts the lowball down with a thud and turns toward the door. Shit, together. She's ready to get the fuck out of here.

Tibby doesn't wait to get anywhere near together, the woman shakily gets to her feet and keeps her eyes at the door. Speeding ahead of Rue to rudely cut her off before making her way out the door, fast. Down the hall and not showing any signs of stopping the South African woman texts her only friend. Her eye twitches as flashes of that man's face overtake her for a moment.

Fuckin weird night. Drugs are so fuckin wild oh my dayz. The shit on the street is bonkers.

That was one way to explain it. For Tibby she was left reeling. There weren't any notes on a Caspian. Nothing recorded before her procedures. Fuck.


Several rooms away, in a dimly lit security booth, Cesar Diaz was able to bear witness to the experience at the simple cost of a shared cigarette with the surly club security chief, Donnie. But what played out on the silent footage looked unremarkable. A group of people sitting in a room, bathed in the same neon vapor he'd escaped when it brushed around his ankles. Now, just a minute after, it seems as though the whole process is over. “I figured the redhead was gonna strip or something,” Donnie grouses. But fuck Donnie.

"Nah," Cesar notes casually to Donnie as he straightens the collar on his freshly rebuttoned shirt and adjusts the waistband on the breakaway pants, "ellas no estarían locas until they got more than a drink a piece in them." His eyes remain on the screen, moments ticking past as he watches the reactions of the women, the contrasting behaviors of the young man and old man. "Hey, how often have they been getting people in? It's a pretty good gig. Quick in-n-out cash."

A thought strikes. "Think I can get a copy of that, for my portfolio?"

Donnie grimaces up to Cesar. “Oh you’re like that are you?” He says with a lopsided smile. “Yeah… yeah we have some clients here who like t’watch too. This is the first time for these guys, big time Chinese folks. Probably gang-related, but I don’t ask those kinda’ questions.” As he talks, Donnie slides over a keyboard and clicks a few buttons, then drags a file into a folder on the adjacent laptop.

He looks back as Cesar, then pulls a thumb drive out and flashes a slimy smile. “Two hundred,” Donnie says with a wink.

It’s a steal.


The night streets of Elmhurst are illuminated by the jaundiced glow of street lights that pre-date the civil war. Many of them were installed just after 9/11, which in and of itself seems like a million years ago. It’s also a cultural touchstone that Remi Davignon doesn’t have any emotional attachment to. That tragedy, among others, never happened where she’s from. Somewhere, beyond the sea.

Four blocks from Little Darlings, the streets have largely grown silent. The occasional stray dog will wander down the opposite side of the street. A distant sound of a siren or construction work serves as a backdrop to an otherwise quiet city. Even though this New York is nothing like the one she knew from before the flood in her home timeline, there are enough similarities. Up ahead, the sight of a bus stop enclosure means her walk is nearly at an end. An electric bus should come by eventually.

Her tired feet carry her to the bus stop, under that yellow light, where decade-old, sun-bleached advertisements are plastered to the glass walls. There’s an old woman sitting there already, shoulders hunched forward and head down, focused on her purse in her lap. She looks up when Remi approaches, smiling faintly. They do not exchange greetings.


She’s too pretty to be out here this late by herself.

An echo, a reverberation. Inside Remi’s mind.

Maybe she’s one of them…

A voice.

One of them…

A thought.


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