"I really have absolutely no idea what would happen if you refuse," Roman admitted with a shrug, "I would assume that you wouldn't have a place to stay anymore, nor a place to go to. Unless you have the means to make the device to send you back to your own universe that is. I would also guess that you would be watched for the rest of your time here just in case you try to go to United America or the Asiatic Alliance."
"There are many tiers of people who are in charge; especially if you include people who are out of 'official' command like Renee or General Tanning who leads the Resistance. The three main top people running the European Union are General Bernard Alasdair, Prime Minister Kei Kallon, and my wife. We can make it for you all to be able to talk to them, but I doubt they would be as understanding of your situation though," he told the Society seriously.
" I wasn't knocking the strategy, it's served us well in the past." Tommy apologized, realizing just how irritated he had sounded earlier. In the back of his mind he could hear his father's voice, "Temper Tommy-boy, temper." He took a deep breath, and slowly exhaled. " I understand what you're doing for us. You've provided us with shelter from the UA who would still be hunting us otherwise. At your expense you're willing to help us create a way home, when we have no idea how much that could cost or what it would require. I'm not ungrateful for these things." Tommy told Roman, his voice calm and ringing with sincerity, "But please understand, for the last two days we've been moving from base to base on your organizations direction. We've been told only the barest details of where we are going and why. You've vetted us thoroughly and you say you trust us, but you haven't given us much of a reason to trust you. You used hypnotism to interrogate us, and probed our minds without our permission. If we can't trust you then we are better of leaving, we're alone here, we can't afford to walk into anymore traps.
" Finally if you had listened to Tyson he wouldn't have flipped, and I know a few of my other friends abhor having their minds intruded. So I'll say this, if you invade my team-mates minds without their permission again. I will kill you." The last four words slipped out of Tommy's mouth like an errant glob of spit, shocking himself more than anyone. He had meant to say he'd stop Roman, but somehow kill replaced it naturally. He gulped, worried he'd written a check he couldn't cash, but he didn't take it back. Deep down he knew with absolute certainty the threat was sincere.
A path of fallen trees followed Tyson's body as Vesper trudged forward throughout the Alaskan forest. The snow was deeper than the top of the boots he had been wearing and each step forward seemed to have more resistance than the last. Tyson could barely notice this from the back of his mind, and Vesper didn't even bother acknowledging it.
Beyond anything Tyson's mind was starting to get overloaded with how he was "seeing." The returning echoes gave more information than his normal vision would have. The depth and detail of everything was overwhelming; nothing was overlooked. There were no shadows only dark spots where the sound waves were to jumbled to return any information. It was beautiful, but scaring; enlightening, but bewildering; clear, but ambiguous.
Suddenly Vesper heard a sound that wasn't an echo of its own produced sound waves and looked behind it. The echoed sound waves returned and a grizzly bear charging towards them generated in their mind. Being completely unarmed, both Tyson and Vesper came he same conclusion; run!
Angered by the loud sound the grizzly bear started to charge after Tyson's body. Vesper made the sound wave louder and more powerful as to destroy the trees farther ahead of them. The detailed echolocation allowed him to plan ahead and not slip up along the path of falling trees, while the grizzly bear was slowed down by the irregular path.
Suddenly there was a short opening in the forest that lead to two cliff edges. Vesper stopped Tyson's body just short of the edge. The echoes showed a twenty meter deep gorge with a ravine at the bottom. Vesper turned around and saw that the grizzly had slowed down and was closing in on them.
The sound Vesper produced enraged the beast again as it stood on its hind legs and swiped at Tyson's body. Vesper tried to step back but found air under half of Tyson's foot as the bear's claws ripped through Tyson's chest and tore out a good chunk of flesh. Vesper didn't go down and the bear prepared swipe again. This time it laid all its force into the attack and Vesper rolled under it, a flayed strip of flesh coming off along its back.
When the bear landed back on all fours, its weight caused the ice and rock beneath it to crack. When Vesper looked back the rock broken ice and rock crumbled away from the edge and the bear plummeted into the gorge on top of the broken off rock. The surrounding snow soon followed and Vesper rose to keep moving forward. It took a step forward and slipped on some now exposed ice, falling backwards. Everything went black as the back of Tyson's head landed first and he was knocked unconscious.
Roman burst out into laughter at Tommy's threat, having to turn away from them all to try and regain his composure. Garrus, meanwhile, looked offended that Tommy would dare to even threaten his father like that.
"Oh, that was hilarious. Just give me one more second," Roman said, taking a couple of deep breaths before responding, "Well, first off don't ever say Renee's power is hypnotism to her face; she hates that term for some reason. Second, I don't really see how else we could have gone about finding out how to truly trust you all. There are other ways, yes, but I imagine you would prefer the safe, non-harmful ways compared to the...other ways we've had to get the truth out of people before. You also have to understand, we have to check all of you. We have to know you are not an enemy, because unlike all of you, we have things to lose. This is our home, and we aren't just going to allow people in who could very well destroy it."
"Until we could be sure that we could trust you, we could not let you know where you would be going and why. It was already a risk to even bring you back to one of the Resistance's bases, let alone to the half-dozen you have been brought to."
He paused after that and looked over at Tyson's chair as he brought back the, now unconscious and bloodied, individual. "Probably shouldn't have distracted me so much. Should be a simple fix," Roman said, clapping his hands together and separating them as white light seemed to start emanating from Tyson's wounds.
"Bears," Roman added to explain where the injuries came from, turning back to the Society as he healed Tyson. He was quiet for a few seconds as he figured out what he wanted to say back, finally speaking up, "I don't normally do this, but I'm going to have to answer your threat with one of my own. I think mine has a bit more basis though. First, though, know that I won't be delving into your minds anymore unless you give me a reason to. So don't give me a reason. Now, if you ever do something that could even potentially hurt my family or the EU; I will do things worse than just kill you."
"I'll open it up for questions now since my daughter hasn't come back in yet to tell you what is happening next, and you all seem to have some in mind," Roman told them calmly, as if they were still having a pleasant conversation.
Tommy burst out laughing as well, as if he and Roman had just shared a inside joke that went back decades. He knew how ludicrous the threat was, he was a thousand years too young to even think about something like that. So he just giggled and giggled, ignoring the offended look on Garrus's face. His body shook so much from laughing that he broke the back of his chair off. It took him a good deal longer than Roman to stop laughing, he was still giggling silently to himself when Tyson was brought back into the room. The sight of his comrade covered in blood killed what mirth remained. "Tyson!" Tommy yelled, getting up from his chair and running over to Tyson's side, getting there just as Roman finished healing him, " Tyson, does it still hurt?"
"You got, DISTRACTED!?" Tommy bellowed, now standing eye to eye with Roman, " You sent a nearly mindless man into the wilderness and just let him slip your mind? How can you even- I mean the - GAH!" Tommy's blood was boiling, his hands balled into fists. Roman's hubris and flippancy was simply proving too much for his patience, " You let yourself get distracted when his life was in danger, when you should have been taking every precaution to keep him safe. I know you've learned at least hundred spells and incantations that could have made his skin tough as stone to protect him, or made him intangible so he couldn't be struck. You could have at least made sure he went somewhere that there wasn't any danger but you did not. Instead you dropped him in the middle of a bear's territory and forgot about him. If you had waited a second longer he be dead, dead because of your carelessness, and then even your magic could not fix this. And don't give me any of that 'but he didn't die' or 'if fixed him' bull-shit, the fact that you put his life in such danger to begin with is inexcusable considering how easily you could have avoided this." For the last and final time Tommy took a deep breath and swallowed his anger. His posture relaxed, and he opened his hands, but he knew he was at his limit. Roman had invaded his friends minds, sent one of them into a rage, and then left him to get mauled in the woods; and was now treating the incident like it was a silly mistake.
"I would say the you should know better but it's obvious, you really are simply too powerful. You don't worry about these things because you think you can always fix them with enough magic, of course you think so, you're Roman, the Roman, greatest mage in the world. And this makes it dangerous to be near you. I've seen what happens when you're careless with magic, the destruction the simplest mistake can cause, I have been guilty of it myself. " Tommy said, " But for someone like you who wields so much power at any given time, and who has lived with it for so long. How, how can you let mistakes like this happen? How can you endanger someones life so casually? I can tell that you're a good person Roman, I can tell that you don't do these things out of malice. How can I trust that my friends will be safe around a man with such immense power but is so irresponsible?"
Levi held his glare at Roman. "I don't trust you, and something tells me you already know that. But given that we don't have a choice in the matter, I'm going to hope you're at least an honest man, Roman. I'll go to Paris. I'll do whatever it takes to help. But in turn, I expect that you and your contacts will do everything possible to help us return home, and that Tyson will be brought back to us unharmed. That much, I hope, is reasonable."
Before Levi could hear Roman's response, someone nudged him from behind. He turned around and recognized the man as Serdar. "You are needed," he said discretely as he placed a hand on Levi's shoulder. The man's tone and expression didn't bode very well. Whatever he was needed for, it wasn't good. He followed Serdar out the room where Renee and a soldier stood, apparently waiting for him.
The soldier stepped forward. "Levi? Sergeant Hadley. Your partner, Taryn...she regained consciousness, but she's been unstable ever since."
A cold dread gripped at Levi. "Unstable?" he asked. "How?"
Hadley shrugged. "I don't have the details, but the ER's completely trashed. She's been transferred to a separate room where we have her under surveillance." He paused. "The nurse figured that...you would want to see her."
Levi's response was instant. "Take me to her."
"Serdar, go with them for now and make sure everything is peachy. Once she is stable and able to leave we will all go," Renee told Serdar, watching as he nodded and followed after Levi and Sergeat Hadley.
"Bringing him back a second later would not have killed him; the bear was already long gone by that point. That bear should not have been there, but checking out the surrounding area right now shows that it was being chased by a certain government hunter up in Alaska. Otherwise it would have never had been there; did not account for her to have already started the day's hunt," Roman admitted after standing up. "I'm surprised you even care so much about what happens to your teammate. I've read your minds, I know what all of you think about him," he said, looking like he was ready to trade blows with the taller man.
That was cut short by Renee reentering the room and ordering both men to stop it. "Father, Thomas, go back and sit down in your chairs. Now is not the time for this," she told them in a chastising voice, unamused at what seemed to be going on. It only took a few seconds to put the pieces together, and once the two men were sitting back down she continued, "Father, you don't need to check the last group member. No real point to do it anymore since they rest are all cleared. We'll be leaving shortly to Paris once she is cleared to leave from the medical staff. I'm not sure 'ow you all want to travel over there..."
She took a seat back down in her chair, keeping an eye on her father and Tommy after looking over the unconscious Tyson. "Look, I just...I forget things sometimes. I never really noticed it until my wife started to give me speeches like the one you just gave," Roman said after the room became quiet, mainly focusing on Tommy with his reply, "It's gotten to the point where I'm no longer allowed alone with my youngest; just in case."
Everyone was happening all at once, so it seemed. Tyson suddenly appeared again, battered and unconscious. Tommy was in a state Brian had never seen before, angrier than a suburban hockey mom at a near-sighted referee. Levi got called out of the room and hadn't returned. All Brian could really do was what he had been taught as a child. He could still hear his mother's words clear as day in his head. Sit down, keep quiet and let was needs to be done be done. So he sat tight, trying to comprehend everything the French lady was saying. It sounded like they would be heading out soon anyway.
"Good morning..." It sounded like Catherine was in somewhat decent spirits. "Did you sleep alright?"
"Eet was fine," Briân answered. "Compared to ze conditions in ze Montreal ghettos, zis is a palace." Now fully dressed, he stood up and adjusted his jacket to even it out. "Did zey give us any itinerary for today? Or are we still in limbo while zose other worlders are checked out?"
" I see," Tommy replied, finally understanding Roman's situation. Roman's young appearance didn't convey the true nature of his age. Then realizing the other's might not understand, Tommy explained " We magic users, can live for hundreds, even thousands of years, but we're still human. We're simply not meant to live forever, and eventually other complications arise, especially in the mind. At some point the brain can't cope with the stress of holding so much knowledge. And we never know when we'll reach our limit. Some only last a hundred years, others thousands of years. " And as a telepath, he's been absorbing several times more information than a normal mage would at during their life. The fact he's kept it together this well is no small miracle. "This is why many long lived mages began seek ways to make their minds eternal and perfect, through phylacteries, ascendence, transformations and more. But these things costed you dearly, they would preserve your memories with crystal perfection, while they rotted soul or drove you mad. It was a terrible trade, to remember your life in perfect detail while you turned into a monster. Still some succumb to the temptation, often their hubris leads them to believe they can perfect the process but no one has. The fact that you haven't committed such an act of hubris despite all your power and experience means you mind is still very much intact." The last part he said to Roman directly, before looking over to Tyson to change the subject, he imagined Roman didn't want to linger on it any longer.
"Concerning Tyson," Tommy said, " Well, frankly Tyson's high-strung and difficult on good days; the rest of the time he's just an asshole; and frankly I haven't really known him for that long. But, I know he's a good man because he joined the Society to protect the innocent and bring justice, and that's all I really need to know. You know how it is to have something you'd gladly give your life for, you have your family and the European Union; I have my family, the Society of Justice, and the world."
Tyson slowly woke up from his position in his seat. He didn't bother opening his eyes at first and heard the end of Tommy talking, starting at where he was talking about Tyson. Slowly Tyson opened his vision and the at first blurriness, slowly cleared to reveal a white light glowing from the wounds on his chest.
It hurt to breath and his head throbbed, but Tyson still has things that needed to be said. "You," Tyson said in an attempt to use a raised voice, but only resulted in a slightly louder tone for the one word before stopping; his left arm was raised to point at Roman. "Don't ever enter my mind again. It doesn't like trespassers. I suggest the same thing for your power Rent." Tyson said at a barely below normal speaking volume.
"Also Tommy you confuse high-strung, difficult, and being an asshole; with being worried, cautious, and getting annoyed at childish dangerous behavior." Tyson finished in an even lower tone, before entering into a painful coughing fit.
Escorted by Hadley and Serdar, Levi headed down the hallways. This base was bigger than he thought; it took them a little while to reach the medical wing. But once they got there, it wasn't much longer until they reached Taryn's room. Hadley opened the door and gestured inside. "We'll be waiting out here," he said. With an understanding nod, Serdar added, "Take your time."
Inside, it looked like a standard hospital room, with two beds separated by a curtain. Taryn lay in one of those beds, only hooked up to a heart rate monitor and an IV drip. She seemed to be unconscious, or at the very least asleep. The steady rise and fall of her chest was the only indication of life.
A woman, who Levi surmised was the nurse, was looking over Taryn, writing down a few things on a clipboard before turning to face Levi. "Hello Levi. I'm not sure if you remember me, my name is Joy. I've been taking care of Taryn, along with the doctors here."
His gaze shifted to Taryn and back to Joy. "What happened?"
Joy was silent for a moment. No doubt trying to make the story digestible. "Her vital signs are stable for now. But your friend did have a seizure which lead to cardiac arrest. We were able to stabilize her heart rate and...she's been given a sedative to help keep her calm and so we could run some tests. We're continuing to monitor her for any more arrhythmias or- well we're monitoring her."
It took all the reserve Levi had to keep his composure. Anger, fear, and helplessness mixed unpleasantly in the pit of his stomach. "Are you sure she's stable?"
"Yes. She has been stable since we moved her and we're hopeful she will stay that way. We'll know more once the latest lab results come back."
Levi nodded towards Taryn. "May I?"
Joy took a nearby chair and moved it next to the bed. "Of course. I'll be just outside if you need anything."
"Thank you," he replied quietly as he approached the bed and sat down. He reached out with his hand and placed it gently on Taryn's arm. "Taryn...it's me. Levi. Can you hear me?"
At Tyson's comment, Rowan's expression momentarily soured. Childish? I raised one concern about you bugging me and you tore me a goddamn new one. Who the hell gave you the right to do that. Was entirely uncalled for.
Katie, too, was unimpressed with Tyson. Even in what had looked like a critical state he was still an ass. What would it take to get him to be civil to everyone, she thought. "You might think that way, but that doesn't mean you have to go jumping down people's throats about it. We're all on the same team here." And it's not your team to command, especially since most of us have been part of the Society longer than you, was the unspoken end of that sentence.
Inclined to think that there was not much more to say, she got up from her chair and took a spot leaning against one of the walls, drumming her fingers out of both impatience and annoyance.
"As far as I know, we're waiting for our counterparts to get checked out again," Catherine answered as she pulled on the last of her own clothing. "Did you have any plans? Because all I have is keeping an eye on them, unless we are called to other duties." She stepped up to Briân and gave him a quick peck on the lips; it only lasted a second or two. Long enough to send the message she wanted, but short enough to prevent his power from starting to hurt her.
Things were getting testy in the room. Tyson's little detour hadn't mellowed him out, and now he was sounding worse after that coughing fit. Katie was the one to take him down from the sounds of it, but the only thing going through Brian's mind was his adopted mantra. Sit down, keep quiet and let what needs to be done be done. So it continued.
"Did you have any plans? Because all I have is keeping an eye on them, unless we are called to other duties."
Briân was about to answer before the kiss kept him quiet. For the brief moment that it lasted, it was wonderful. He barely even felt any energy from it, so it was all good for Catherine as well. "Well, I was going to 'ave a look around to see what zis group 'as going for it. 'Owever, if you desire, I can accompany you. Eet is up to you, mon amoure."
"Everyone this is no time for all of this animosity. Can we really not be at each other's throats longer than ten goddamn minutes? Enough, understood?" Garrus told the Society after finally becoming fed up at the constant bickering amongst the Society. 'We are really going to need to work on our relationships between each other once we get back to our universe,' Garrus thought to himself as he mentioned that he would prefer just a quick teleport as a means of travel rather than another drive.
Renee looked up from her phone and over to Tyson after hearing him talk, giving him a look that could only be described as 'bitch, please'. Roman, however, spoke up after conjuring a pen and notebook.
"No guarantee there young man. If it comes to the point where I feel it is necessary to enter your mind again, than I will do so for the safety of others. If you prefer, I shall send you back to Alaska as a first resort; though at this point there could be the potential danger of hunting season and you looking like a very valuable and rare prey," Roman told Tyson as the pen started to jot things down onto the floating notepad.
The animosity displayed by Jason's teammates seemed appropriate in the eyes of the boy. The constant hoop-jumping and condescending talk brought about by his team's latest captors would wane on anyone's nerves. He'd admit, if this were any other frame of time, he'd hoot and holler alongside Tommy about the whole thing. Instead, he reclined a bit in the seat he inhabited, crossed his arms, and stayed silent. It was obvious that complaining was getting the team nowhere. And even then, there wasn't much else he had to input on the situation. His previous question had already been answered, and with Tyson returned from his Alaskan expedition and healed of his injuries, the concern of a missing teammate had dissolved from him. All in all, he was just ready to move on.
"Can we really not be at each other's throats longer than ten goddamn minutes?" Garrus exclaimed in frustration, due to the laser-guided rabble-rousing brought on by Tyson's chiding words. Jason agreed with the team's leader, though not verbally. Instead, he looked ahead, turning his attention towards Roman, half hearing his demand to enter Tyson's mind whenever he needed.
"Well, that's fucked up. Just imagining telling someone that. 'Oh, i'm gonna go in and out of your brain whenever I need to, whether you like it or not.' S'not like being a superhero would already make you paranoid enough, but then you'd have to worry about some magician with his wizard Alzheimer's wandering though your mind." He thought as he studied Roman's actions. As the old man began to write on his hovering pad, Jason began to think more on the man's mental capabilities, wondering if it would play any negative factors in the future.
The darkness lifted but she was still lost in the barrage of data. There was no self. Just the data. The waves of data. She couldn't think. She couldn't remember. She couldn't...
~ 525.600. Taryn passes off to Sunderland but he's tackled Levi Hold still right before we crash 'cause we both know Hear It's our newest formula, guaranteed to ~
No. It hurt too much to think. It was better to just...drift. The world was hurting her. Why should she return?
But it wasn't just electronic words in the turbulent waves. There was something...something else.
Pieces of a whole. What was the whole? It doesn't matter. She can't go. Back...she had to go back. What was that? It was more than white noise. There was something else there.
Pushing aside the data was like swimming through glass. Sharp pain that left bits of her self behind. But she found it. The anomaly. The difference.
"Taryn...it's me. Levi. Can you hear me?"
Something she knew...no someone she knew. She had to go back. She had to...
From her vantage point at the doorway Joy noticed the patient start to struggle. 'Damn' Two more minutes of quiet, that's all she'd wanted. "Move" she snapped at the man in her way. With the residents once again absent Joy took it upon herself to ready the most probable medications.
"Three ccs..." Joy recited as she drew the appropriate dosage and moved to inject it into the IV line. She glanced down out of habit and froze when she saw the patient's eyes were open.
The data was still streaming. But she could see! Almost. The world was a blur but there was light. Light! No...no. No the light. The light hurt. Please no more. No! She wouldn't be trapped any longer.
Joy muffled an unprofessional shriek when the patient grabbed her arm.
"Taryn?..." Joy set down the syringe carefully but kept her arm still. The patient's head turned towards her voice but there was no recognition in the gaze. There was just confusion, which wasn't unheard of after a coma. It was probably just normal disorientation, the nurse decided. A result of the anesthetic or medication.
With a slow, deliberate motion Joy took the patient's hand and lowered it gently back to the bed. Confusion changed to something like horror and Joy feared she'd done something wrong.
"Are you hurt?" There was nothing on the scans, there shouldn't be any pain. So what's wrong?
"How?" The patient's question was quiet but Joy didn't have time to respond before the patient lunged backwards, rattling the frame of the bed and almost pulling the IV pole over in her haste.
"Easy! It's okay." Joy reached out to steady the IV pole. "You're in a hospital. Do you rem-" Joy stopped herself and shook her head. Foolish. She'd forgotten for a moment how her patient became a patient in the first place. She took a deliberate step backwards and raised both of her hands, palm out. "You're okay." she said quietly. Keep the patient calm, keep the patient aware. "I'm not going to hurt you." The patient - Taryn - pulled at the IV taped to her arm and made a frightened sound when it didn't immediately come free. The jerky movements worried Joy.
"Nurse?" An unfamiliar voice broke into the calm environment Joy was trying to preserve. Turning her head a fraction she saw a uniformed officer just outside the door, waving a sheet of paper in her direction. His stance rigid and his boots very clearly -not- in the room the man was probably a passerby-turned-messenger. "This is for you."
"I'm a little busy, Officer..?" Irregardless of rank this was her domain and Joy was not happy to have it invaded. The bed rattled again and Joy turned back to see Taryn had abandoned it completely and was now crouched on the floor. Half hidden by the blue dividing curtain Joy spotted a streak of blood and the removed IV line on the bed's blanket. Damn!
"It's urgent, ma'am, I'm sorry." The officer looked nothing of the sort as his eyes constantly shifted from Joy's face to the patient and back again.
"Just...try to keep her calm. I'll be right back." Joy addressed Levi before quickly walking to the messenger.
"Give it here."
"Just...try to keep her calm. I'll be right back."
Levi nodded quietly and returned his attention to Taryn. She was huddled on the floor, with her knees drawn up high and her arms tightly folded. Her expression alternated between confusion and terror. And most concerning, her gaze was locked exclusively on Levi. The way she looked at him was that of a person assessing a potential threat. Or a panicked animal still debating whether to fight or flee.
Something about that gaze chilled Levi to his core. It spoke volumes about the trauma she experienced. Whatever that other Taryn did to her. Levi wasn't even sure if Taryn recognized him right now, or was so fragile of mind that she saw even the man closest to her as a threat. Neither possibility was good.
It was clear that he had to make his intentions known. Levi made his move. He approached Taryn slowly, as not to startle her. No sudden movements, no overt gestures. There was no telling what she could do if she panicked. He crouched down in front of her and made eye contact. Taryn held her glare. She seemed uncertain as to who was in front of her.
"Taryn. You're safe here. I'm a friend." Levi carefully reached out with a hand. "It's...it's me. Levi."
She couldn't get far enough away. Farther. She had to get farther away. Because there was nothing there. Nothing. She had no shield, no defense. She would die screaming in this land of strangers. With their knives and needles and drugs. What had they done?
Her name. It was her name. She was known! But what did he want? Who was he?
Safe? She wasn't safe. She was alone...she was trapped.
"...it's me. Levi."
That name again. Not her name, but his name. His name. It was...important. It meant something. She knew about him. There was data on him. She knew data.
"Bartholomew Leviticus Harland. Born March Seventeenth. Grew up in St. Theodore Orphanage. Inventor. Pilot."
Flying, there was something about flying. What is it...
"Turns out its name is the Merriweather."
"Listen up, we have a mission."
"Time to get her flying, pilot,"
There was a ship. giant ship. He flew. No, they flew. Together. They worked together?
"I'm a friend."
"I...I heard you"
"Don't worry about me"
"...if...if anything happens...I love you"
"Just...please. Wake up. I love you."
"You are everything Levi holds dear..."
He was more than a teammate. She was more than a partner. She knew more than him now too. There were others. There was a team. They fought together. They lived together.
They would probably die together.
The memories gained speed and began to mix together. There was chaos and serenity. Screams of rage and anger. Shouts of joy. Robots, scientists and alien worlds. Black eyes and lightning. Enemies. Allies. Betrayal and secrets. And that which came before. A seemingly endless stream of sights, sounds, and sensation that managed to override the other noise trying to press in.
"I know...you." Taryn whispered. The movie-reel of her life slowed to freeze frame on Levi's image, sleeping peacefully. And then skipped to her own image but twisted and strange. Taryn shook her head and the memories cleared like smoke - leaving only imprints of fire and pain behind.
"What did..." she choked on a laugh and it hurt. "What did I do to me?" Because it was all her fault. She'd been foolish. She'd gone against the odds.
Taryn reached up to grab a strand of her own hair and pulled down, half expecting to see white instead of dark brown. She sighed her relief and shifted. The slight change in stance put her arm against the thin hospital gown material. The fabric was coarse, cheap. It would never stand against...
"It's gone! I can't-" Taryn lifted her left hand and stared at it. Her gaze met unmarred flesh and a plastic hospital band. Slowly, very slowly she reached forward until her fingers brushed against Levi's still outstretched hand. As soon as contact was made she jerked backwards. "I'm not...all here. Things are missing. And I feel wrong."
There was static in the background again. A low hum, a buzzing of noise that wavered in intensity as she panicked and then forced herself still. But it wasn't true noise. It wasn't really here because it was in her head. In her head...was it?
"It's all in your head!"
Taryn flinched, trying to press further into the curtain that partially hid her body. "There's something wrong with me." It was a hesitant whisper of a feared truth. It was a statement desperate to be denied.
She tried to reach out, to seek the comfort that some part of her longed for. But her arms disobeyed and remained tense at her side. Taryn's gaze slid to the wall just past Levi's shoulder.
"There's something wrong with me."
Levi's lips twitched as he suppressed a frown. It was heartbreaking to see Taryn like this, but he had to keep his composure. He had to be the pillar of strength, for both of them. The worst thing he could do right now was to break down. He swallowed hard as a lump formed in his throat.
"Taryn, there's nothing to be afraid of anymore. I'm here for you." His voice wavered a bit. "I always will be." With a slight smile, he extended his hand again. "Nothing's going to hurt you again, not on my watch."
Joy took the paper from the man who quickly saluted and went on his way. Joy skimmed the order quickly. It was an official order, complete with time-stamp and signature. But it was a stupid order.
Patient is to be released immediately into the care of the civilians designate GARRUS and LEVI. Should the aforementioned civilians be unavailable patient is to be transferred to the nearest civilian psychiatric facility for continued monitoring.
"We still don't know what's really wrong with her!" Joy protested. A bit too loudly. The officer paused in the process of opening the door to address her frustration.
"Well that's not your job anymore. Also, the attending expects a response in ten."
Joy glared at the man's back as he went through the main doors. The optimal health and well-being of the patient should be the principal goal of patient transfer. she recited from memory. "This is ridiculous."
Folding the offensive order in two Joy took a breath breath to calm down. At least the patient and visitor appeared to be talking. That was a good sign. Joy rapped two knuckles against the door frame.
"Sorry to interrupt? I've got some good news and some bad news."
The silence in the conference room was both awkward and tense; no one wanting to speak up and make the situation even worse than it already was. The only sound was the few muttered whispers between people and the sound of Renee's phone. Garrus was trying to form up a good ice breaker, almost coming up with something decent only to have the conference door open up. The soldier who had opened the door beckoned for Renee, who quickly got up and followed after him.
"Nothing to be concerned about?" Garrus asked Roman, watching his father shake his head a few times.
"No, no. Good news for the most part. We will be able to go soon," Roman replied, stretching in his chair a little before standing up as Renee came back inside.
"The two in your group that are not 'ere are going to be transported separately to Paris. I figured it would be much safer after everything that has 'appened to Taryn, for her to not be teleported," Renee stated calmly.
"I know that the idea of separation is not one any of you are fond of, but I am sure the safety and 'ealth of your teammate is of utmost importance. As a sign of our building trust, I am going to have my best man be the one who drives them back," she said, giving Serdar a pat on the back. He grumbled and got up after being told where to drive them to, muttering about how he was going to need some coffee for this drive.
"They are in good 'ands," Renee told the Society in reassurance, motioning for all of them to stand up, "You 'ave all been teleported before, right? Then this will be nothing different. The upper desk on the top floor. I need to inform the staff know how many rooms will be taken."
"Simple enough. There is no one in that area," Roman muttered to himself, taking one more glance to make sure everyone was ready before teleporting them away from the base.
Garrus wondered if he was ever going to get used to teleporting as he leaned against the sink in fancy bathroom, splashing some cold water on his face. He was thankful that the bathrooms were so close to where they had been transported, it would have been a shame to get such a ritzy looking place get dirtied. Looking at himself in the mirror, he felt a bit out of place. His face was haggard, and his clothes certainly did not look like anything he could deem 'normal'. 'Hopefully we won't have to worry about staying here too long. Though if things keep progressing at this rate...'
He dried off his face and left the bathroom, coming back to where the Society was currently waiting as Renee talked to the staff behind the desk. Garrus overhead her counting how many members there were and asking if anyone was going to stay together before turning back to the man at the desk. As she started to hand out the room keys for everyone, Garrus noticed that Roman and Ethan were slightly away from the group and were talking to each other. He didn't have much time to wonder what that conversation was about before Renee gave him his own key card.
'This key card certainly looks as if it goes to the hotel,' Garrus thought humorously after looking at the decorated card, reading his room number on the back. '102W. Must be down that way,' he told himself, looking up at once of the signs pointing down a hallway.
"You should all go and check out your rooms quickly, and make sure everything is in order," Renee told the Society, making sure they were all paying attention before continuing, "The staff is 'ere to help, so if you need anything let them or myself know. I am in one-zero-one West if you ever 'ave a problem or a question. Once all of you are done checking out your rooms please go to my suite so we can all figure out what is the next thing that needs to be done."
Ugh. Teleportation. How does Takashi deal with it so well?" Jason queried as the team materialized in the hotel's lobby. He fell into the nearest chair as Garrus dizzily stumbled into the closest restroom. He let out a low groan as he put a hand to his head, his eyes slowly regaining focus. As he looked about, he couldn't help but notice his teammates deal with the similar symptoms he displayed as a result of the instant transmission.
Renee, however, seemed to be already out of it, seeing as she was before the hotel's main counter, getting rooms for the group. Almost synchronously, Renee stood before The Society just as Garrus meandered out of the bathroom. As each member received their card keys, the Keyholder let out a light scoff as he rose to his feet and received his own key, Renee informing them on what happened next.
"You should all go and check out your rooms quickly, and make sure everything is in order," She stated. "They're fucking hotel rooms! What're we supposed to expect in these rooms, other than some beds, a TV, a bathroom, and (hopefully) a mini-fridge?" He shot back, mentally.
"Seems to me like she's just putting us in another place to wait in." Erebus added. Jason then decided to be a little more vocal in his opinions.
"Why don't we just cut out the middleman, and get straight to the strategics? I mean, why slow things down by doing something so menial? I'd figure she want us back in our universe and out of her hair as quickly as possible." He mumbled into the air.
There was a potent pause after Jason made his comment, no one saying anything until Renee spoke up to address her father. "I think it would be a good idea to start brewing up some coffee; we might be figuring things out for a while," she told him, nodding affirmatively as he agreed enthusiastically and left down the hallway.
"I do not think you guys quite understand things around 'ere," Renee told the group, turning to look at each and every one of them, "So I'll 'elp spell it out to you. All of you are in our debt, and are just getting deeper and deeper into one. All of you owe the Resistance for breaking your asses out of one of the biggest penitentiaries that United America 'as; where all of you would more than likely still be if they did not take time and manpower out of their own responsibilities to do that. People died to get you out of there. Along that line, the Resistance provided you safe and discreet transport to yours truly 'ere; someone who went out of their way and against any sort of sense to get you 'ere on just a whim that you were all telling the truth and could be an asset."
"Before I go on, I just want to say that I do believe that assumption of mine was correct. Most of you seem to think though, that we are giving poor ol' you 'ardships by putting our own safety before yours and making sure that this unbelievable fairy tale story that you guys are spouting off is the truth. Now, I understand that you all want to go 'ome, but all of you are in a situation where things are not just going to be 'anded to you like you are all entitled to this 'elp. You will be getting back to your own universe if our top guy can get you back, but do not think it will be as easy as all of you sitting on your asses and waiting until you can leave. You are all going to 'elp in some way cover this debt that you 'ave, and we'll decide just what we can 'ave you do as repayment after we get everyone settled and see just 'ow much Dr. Mordtoten asks for to make your machine," Renee told the Society, stating that she'll be seeing them in a few before leaving them to mull over what had been said.
Seem to be really sure that we'd be dead without their help. That could mean they underestimated the Society, or that the United American forces were a lot more powerful than Tommy thought. He took his key and placed a hand on Jason's shoulder, " Let's just go to our rooms, I think ours are next each other." Tommy said as he compared the numbers on their keys.
In the upstair office, Dustin's intercom beeped and he put away his typewriter and checked. The from the other side of the intercom, a woman's voice droned, "Ambassador Roman is on the premise."
"Thank you." Dustin replied, as he searched the desk's drawer for a small blue gem. Once he found it he pinched it and placed it in the center of his desk. He raised his hand over it, and spark arced from his palm to the gem. "Klaus, please come in." Dustin said. Soon a white smoke began to fill the room, it swirled around and quickly condensed into a column. Then the smoke coalesced into the shape of a man. The man it created was short, portly and fair-haired. When the apparition was indistinguishable from another human, Dustin spoke to it, "Klaus we have a Canadian guest, it is the second Monsieur Mackenzie, find his room and wait for him, then ask him to meet me up here when the time is appropriate."
"Very well sir," Klaus responded, as he stepped away with a bow. Then left the room to carry out Dustin's order.
Katie didn't bother to pursue the subject. Renee's - often biting - counterarguments had quickly proven to be not worth the hassle. She seemed to have a counter-point to anything the Society brought up. It was probably easier just to let the woman have her way. The sooner they were out of her hair and back on their own Earth, the better off everyone would be, she reasoned.
So Katie didn't stick around while Renee was reprimanding the Society again for Jason's comment. Instead she simply checked the number on her keycard and made her way to her allocated room. Once inside, she took some time to clean herself up, then downed a few glasses of water and grew something to eat. Taking a seat in her room until she was called upon, Katie had left her door open in case anyone wanted to visit or talk before they all went off to hear about the plans Renee had mentioned. She figured it'd probably be a while before everyone was ready to go to that particular discussion.
Rowan wasn't paying attention to what was going on. He was too busy trying to get over the effects of the teleportation: the keycard Renee had given him was just sitting on the arm of his chair. Rowan was trying to cure the sick feeling in his stomach through sitting still, breathing evenly and sometimes shifting between different forms to see if that made any difference. So far, the shifting wasn't helping all that much.
They've really got to develop a cure for teleportation sickness. If that's not a thing before, it is now, he internally considered. He didn't trust himself to open his mouth while he still felt like this.
"The one time I show some sort of grievance, we get a mouthful in return. Typical." Jason thought, crossing his arms as Renee powered through her rebuttal. But as she talked, Jason wondered who she was actually addressing. By the way it sounded, it wasn't him. Or at least, that's how it seemed from his point of view. He managed to hold his tongue as his face contorted into a confused grimace.
"Whu...what is she going on about? She's making it sound like we're being lazy, or uncooperative. And like it's our fault that we've spent the last few days, moving from place to place just to sit on our asses. And now the lady that could only want us 'out of her hair' is now deciding to hold on to us? Contradicting bitch. Whatever...if you want us to fight, then we're here to fight. I'm here to fight. Don't sideline us then turn around and make it sound like you've been wanting us in the game since the tip-off."
"Let's just go to our rooms, I think ours are next each other." Accompanied a shoulder pat. It was Tommy from behind, inadvertently suggesting to drop the subject. Jason's expression warmed as he looked down at his own key.
"Yeah...yeah." He replied quietly. Arguing would've only wasted time, and it wouldn't change anything. "Might as well do as she says." He caught a glimpse of Katie walking off moment before, and figured their rooms would be in the direction she wandered off in. His assumption was correct, as he eventually found the room number resembling the numbers assigned on the key. "Huh, well whaddaya know Tommy, we are next to each other." He quipped agreeably as he began entering his room.
"Well, it's definitely a hotel room. Nothing out of the ordinary here." He said, peering into the room. Before he entered however, he realized the room behind him had it's door left ajar. As Jason looked on, he didn't have to look far to notice it was Katie's room. Thoughts of the days prior began to materialize from within him. Before he realized it, he slowly began towards her room. "Should I? Should I tell her?" He knocked on her door before opening it further.
"Katie? Y'got a minute?" He asked as he wandered in. "Yes. I'm sure she does. That was a stupid question."
The third teleportation in such a short period of time might have seemed like it would make things worse, but with recovering from other events and the previous teleportations it had hardly made things worse. Still Tyson leaned back against a wall to get his bearings before Renee decided to rip the Society a new one.
I already knew we owed the resistance, and was already planning on paying them on my own.
There was a bad taste in Tyson's mouth, and he could tell if it was in his head, or just another effect of what was happening to him. Silently Tyson tossed the key Renee had given him in the air. Roman was already gone, so Tyson would have to go back at him about causing the last incident by going into his mind. Not to mention that a deserted desert island would be preferred to Alaska.
The rest of the team had also received their keys and some had already moved to their rooms. Tyson picked up his bag and walked down to the hall to his room, one-zero-eight W; the room itself wasn't all that overly impressive. A king sized bed was against the far wall, there was a balcony with two chairs and full bathroom a little ways into the room.
Tyson dropped his bag beside his bed and grabbed the remote for the TV and turned it on. The TV itself was probably at or above fifty inches based on what Tyson could judge. It took a moment to start up and get out of the French hotel menu, but he eventually got to the regular channels.
So those French and English road signs did mean the we were in France itself rather than some small French Island group in the middle of nowhere. Tyson turned off the TV as there was nothing useful beyond the weather channel, a single channel of purely English news, and the programming of a more nudity liberal country.
Dropping the remote on the bed, Tyson walked over the mini fridge and grabbed some nuts and a can of beer before walking over to Renee's room. Getting some food into his system was something that he neglected so far, and it was a reasonable time to drink somewhere in the world other than his mind.
A knock at Katie's open door caused her to look up from her musing. She smiled when she saw Jason standing in the doorway. "Katie? Y'got a minute?"
"Sure," she answered, gesturing for him to come inside. "What's up?" Briefly she reflected that the last time they'd spent time talking, it had been back at Catherine's base. The thought of having a one-on-one conversation with her fellow Society member, away from the eyes of everyone else and their alternate counterparts, made her feel slightly better: they could have some privacy for a change.
It was once Katie greeted Jason, that he started to realize how much of a challenge the next few minutes would be. "Damn...this was a lot easier to go through in my head..." As he lingered further into the room, he couldn't help but notice her smile. It seemed geniune. He had a half-thought, wondering how one could even bear to look happy at a time like this. "That's just the ol' Katie charm, I guess." He sat down on one of the beds, looking back at her before addressing her again.
"D'you remember our first year with the Society? Y'know, back when we used to see PP! and Cillian more often? All the crazy missions we went on, that time we basically took on an army of Blue Steel rejects, the first time we got our communicators and cars?" he asked.
"Yeah... yeah, I remember. That was back when..." Katie hesitated. That was back when she and Jason had been a couple. She wasn't sure if she wanted to bring that up, so instead she said something along those lines rather than outright saying it. "I remember one time, you tried to teach me how to use a bo staff." Her smile grew slightly wider, and she leaned back in her chair a little to try and ease some of the tension that she could suddenly feel in her shoulders. "Why do you ask?"
"Yeah...about that..." Jason became hesitant after that question. "Maybe I should just..." He began to just change the subject, and push his confession to his back his mind, to wither and be forgotten. Erebus, however, sighed at Jason's pussyfooting, and had a different opinion to his matters.
"Yeah, no. How 'bout you just get this over with, and tell her. There's no use holding on to these thoughts. Lets put these cards on the table, and give yourself some sort of closure, at the least." He let out in a sincere-yet-stern tone. Erebus was right.
"You remember... what we had back then. What we were. I... still... have, those feelings. Or, more like, they manifested back in my mind over these past few days. But, the more I think about... us... the more I think that those feelings have been there the entire time. I thought I could get over you, thought I'd be happy to see you and Leland together... and for a brief second, maybe I was. But now I'm just... thinking differently on the whole situation." Every word made it harder and harder to look directly at Katie. By this point, his head was in his hands, like a tired man on the edge of his rope. He let out a sigh at his words.
He still has those feelings? From all those years ago? I... oh, wow. Oh, Jason. Why didn't you tell me? Katie blushed a vibrant red, though the Keyholder didn't see it. She could feel the heat rising in her face as she gazed at him for a few seconds. She wanted to put her arm around him, tell him it was alright. So she got up from her chair and closed the door to her room - it seemed like a necessary thing to do - then took a seat next to him on the bed. Unsure of how he would react, she delicately rested one hand on his shoulder. "Jase... look at me."
"Jase, I made a stupid mistake back then, when we were young and inexperienced. If it wasn't for Leland, I'd say the same about you - feelings, I mean - in a heartbeat. You and I... we've always had... something special between us, you know that," Katie tentatively began. "Leland's a great guy, but... but he's not you." Katie blushed even redder as she realised she'd spoken the words aloud, instead of just thinking them. Oh, hell.
"I don't... fully understand..." He managed to reconnect his gaze with hers as she sat down beside him. "What do you mean?" He wasn't expecting anything positive to come out of this for him - he still wasn't - and such words only brought forth a little confusion from the young Keyholder.
Katie couldn't find the words to say. She wanted to move closer to Jason, gaze into his eyes for a fleeting second, then lean in and touch her lips to his... Unbidden, pieces of memory came back to her. Recollections of the time she'd spent with Jason. She wanted to relive those moments, to just forget the world and its troubles and savour even one single kiss. But she couldn't do it. She couldn't do that to Leland. Instead she pulled Jason into a gentle hug, which the Keyholder returned. Just holding him would have to be enough for now.
"We should... we should find some way to sort this out. I don't... I don't want your feelings for me to be unrequited. A part of me wants us to try again. To see where we go, together. But I also don't want to drag you and Leland into a fight," she tried to explain.
"Yeah, he doesn't seem like the type to appreciate such an open relationship..." "Yes... of course. I understand," Jason replied, letting up from the hug ever so delicately. He could've stayed in her warm embrace for hours, days even. But as he'd come to realize, there were other things that had to be tended to. "W-we should go. We shouldn't leave Renee and the others waiting... even if she's kept us waiting since we've been here..." He suggested. He stood from the bed, helping Katie to her feet as he did so.
"Yeah... yeah, you're right," Katie agreed. She felt a butterfly in her stomach as she took Jason's hand to help herself up, but it vanished when she let go. She didn't really want to go to the meeting with Renee. It probably meant discussions of how the Society could work off their supposed debts. But she made her way to the door anyway, opening it for Jason to pass through first before she closed it behind herself and the two made their way to Renee's room.
'I can't just lay here forever,' Garrus told himself as he lay abed, opening his eyes to look at the ceiling above. After Renee had finished talking, he had excused himself to go and take a look at his own room that he had been given. It was nice, that was for sure, but there was a sudden feeling of sadness as Garrus had taken a seat at the edge of the bed. He couldn't really put it into words why it was there or what had suddenly caused it to appear, but he could make some guesses.
'It could be the fact that I might have to stay here forever if we can't find a way back. No way of going back home to my own family; my own life.' It was a thought he couldn't even bear to dwell on, and as he sat up he pushed it as far away as he could. Reaching over to his nightstand, he grabbed his sunglasses and placed them in his pocket before standing up. Taking one more look around his new living space, he considered everything to be working correctly before heading outside to the hallway.
He wasn't the only one heading over to Renee's room; Tyson was already entering and both Katie and Jason were right behind him. Garrus gave them all a reassuring smile, as if to say that things would finally start working in their favor. Half of him thought that he needed to believe that himself as he entered his sister's home.
His first thought as he walked onto the dark wood floors was that the rooms they were given were nothing compared to the design and scope of hers. 'It would make sense that she has a bigger space; she lives here,' Garrus thought, looking at the dark red walls and white moldings separating the two dark colors around the apartment. Right in front of the doorway was what he figured was the living room; a large television hung up on the wall in front of a three-piece leather couch that almost surrounded a glass coffee table. To his right there was a closed white door, and on the opposite of the entrance was sliding glass window that led out to a patio. Renee could be seen out there, leaning up against the wall as she talked on the phone.
"Garrus!" called his father's voice to his left, taking Garrus out of his thoughts as he turned to look. Roman was in the kitchen area, placing some coffee cups out on the bar for people to take. Garrus took a seat on one of the stools, starting to pour some cream that had been put out into his coffee. He reached over to the sugar bowl to find it empty, something that he pointed out to Roman.
"Oh, Renee must have used it all for hers. I will find some more," he said, starting to look through the various cabinets before placing a pack of sugar down next to the cream.
"Heh, I should have guessed," Garrus chuckled as he put a few spoonfuls into his cup, taking a drink as he thought of his brother's undeniable sweet tooth. The strong coffee was a nice taste in his mouth, and it was just the thing to keep him running for the next few hours. As he placed his cup down, he realized that Roman was watching him, waiting for him to finish before asking him a few questions.
"Your mother and I only had three children in your universe, right?" Roman asked, getting a nod from Garrus before he continued, "And your brother, he definitely has magical abilities, yes?" Garrus nodded a second time, much to Roman's happiness. "That is good to hear. Two out of five is not that bad."
"I guess that kinda answers a question I wanted to ask," Garrus said, taking another sip before asking his father about his other siblings here in this universe.
"I am quite positive that you shall be meeting them at some point; they are currently with their mother right now. After you and your brother died, your mother and I waited a while before we had Hugo. I believe the boy just turned seventeen, but I could be wrong. I have to remember too many birthdays and such; you know how it is. Anyways, our youngest is Ruel, who is four currently. Quite large gaps between them all; thirteen years between Ruel and Hugo, and Hugo and Renee," Roman explained, making his own coffee while he talked.
Garrus nodded, appreciating the information he was be given. It was nice to know that he could look forward to meeting his other siblings soon, but as he brought his coffee cup to his lips again something hit him. "Wait, are you saying Renee is thirty?" he asked his father, who now looked confused until he went over to a calendar on the fridge and flipped the page up to December.
"Twenty-nine until next month, but I just counted it as thirty. Easier that way," Roman explained, baffled at Garrus' confusion.
"But, I...How is she older than me? I'm older than her!" Garrus said, trying to express his thoughts as his mind raced trying to wrap itself around this.
"No, you are older here to. Perhaps we had everyone a bit earlier? Yes, I think that is the way things were here compared to your universe. I guess there are some changes between our universes!" Roman said with a laugh, amused by how much of an overreaction Garrus had given. "Yeah, I suppose that is it," Garrus stated as he calmed down, now wondering exactly what the major changes were between the two universes.
Brian was a still a little woozy from all the teleporting that the travelling party had been doing recently. Or maybe it was the after-effects of ransacking the mini-bar upon entering the hotel. Either way, his bed was the most comfortable place to be at the moment. You know, it's weird I can heal up every last muscle on my body, I can fix stabbed hearts, but I can't heal myself of these got dang hangover effects. He rolled over in bed trying to feel more comfortable. This whole dang thing has been weird. Feels like forever since I was just having a normal school life. I'd give anything to just go back to that right now.
"Wat do you meen zey already left?" Briân was not in a very good mood.
"Roman teleported them out earlier, sir," the lackey informed him. "He took them out to the hotel."
"Well 'ow de 'ell am I supposed to join de fight against dose basturds if I am not wit zem?"
"There's still a couple of them here sir! The one that got beaten up and her lover are still here. Roman said you and Ms. Southe would be heading out with them!"
This placated Briân for the moment. "Very well, but if I am left behind again, I will reduce you to dust, comprendon?"
"Yes sir, of course sir."
Briân left the cowering man to his own devices and starting heading back to his room. I know I told Caterine zat I was all right wit watever we did today, but I assumed zat we'd at least be informed wen ze people were on ze move!
"Are you absolutely sure that you can send me to the same place they were sent?" Leland asked Mordtoten after listening to the mad scientists hour-long explanation on what needed to be done to get the Society back to their original universe.
"Are you daft or something? I literally just explained that all! Look, they should be in this universe here," Mordtoten started, talking slowly as he pointed at a small dot on his computer screen, "However, I am not completely sure. Which is why I'm having you follow their same path instead of just sending you straight there. Any questions?"
"Yes. Is there anyway to know if they are okay? Or that even I will be okay after you send me there?" Leland was not so pleased at how many 'maybes' Mordtoten had in his briefing; especially the ones involving the safety of everyone. This was the third day since the Society had been thrown out of their universe, and it had taken that long for Mordtoten to follow their trajectory and calibrate the necessary equipment for another voyage. Leland had also been quite busy for the past few days, doing his best to make sure that no one got word that the Society was gone and finding someone to watch over while they were gone.
"I cannot guarantee your safety. Nor can I even claim that they are not uninjured or dead at this point. However, sending you is a sacrifice I am willing to make," Mordtoten told the young man, looking over at his beautiful invention and sighing, "I did not mean for all of this to happen. Hopefully the pull between our universes will make it possible to bring all of you back. The best case scenario would be if there was another one of these machines over wherever they are, but that would take a miracle. Perhaps, if none of you come back, I could spend a few years and make a new one of these and-"
"We don't have years!" Leland exclaimed as he looked through the few items he would be able to bring. He had traded being able to wear shoes and socks for the journey with bringing a large map of the world and a dowsing pendulum. 'A small sacrifice to be able to find them,' he had told himself when Mordtoten explained that the less sent would be better this time around.
"I know we don't! Truthfully I'm surprised the DSA hasn't gotten to us by now! If they do come and try to shut this down at least I can use all of your lives as a way to postpone them throwing me back in jail for a while," Mordtoten muttered, making sure Leland couldn't hear that last bit. Thankfully the young man was not paying attention, instead being focused on his magic device and map.
"Stupid magic," Mordtoten said under his breath, watching Leland put both of the items in his back pocket before stating he was ready. "Finally! Now just get into that little safety room I put around my invention and be prepared for a once in a lifetime journey," he stated, waiting until Leland was inside of the small, clear room before starting all the procedures. Mordtoten took a deep breath as he prepared to click the activation button on the screen, finally clicking the button as the room was illuminated by a bright light.
Once the room was back to its normal lighting, Mordtoten turned off all the unnecessary protocols and sat back in his chair. He basked in his own genius for a few moments before his phone rang, making him curse quietly as he looked at the text he had been sent. He jerked up once he saw the name, glaring as he read the message. "Less than a month to bring them back!? Or else?!?! God fucking shit bitch fucking Kane!" Mordtoten yelled at the top of his lungs, cursing at his inhuman amount of bad luck.
As Garrus finished his first cup of coffee, he heard an escalating loudness coming from outside. Looking out to the patio, he saw Renee about to throw her phone on the ground before stopping herself. There was a pause before she entered the apartment, clearly fuming as she went over to the kitchen cabinets. "Herkimer is the most difficult man to ever deal with in all existence. You all really chose the worst man to work with," she stated, taking a few pills from the cabinet and swallowing them down with coffee.
"It isn't like we wanted to deal with him. He's pretty bad in our universe as well. Abrasive, crude, doesn't care about safety. All he wants to do is create his crazy devices," Garrus replied, watching as a few more Society members came into the apartment.
"Sounds almost exactly like Herkimer in this universe as well," Roman said with amusement, staying in the kitchen as Renee moved over and took a seat on her couch.
"This is 'ow it is," Renee started, making sure she had their attention before continuing, "The dear inventor you all want to see so badly is at a conference currently. 'Owever, 'e will be 'ere later on tonight. It took quite a bit to convince 'im to come without resorting to forcing 'im to, but I managed. Played to 'is own curiosity and peaked 'is interest before 'e 'ung up."
"What does this mean for us?" Garrus asked, making another cup of coffee before taking a seat on the couch.
"It means that you all shall 'ave an audience with the only man who is capable of sending you back. Whether 'e does or not, is the question," Renee replied, "'E is a very busy man. It should be possible though; especially once you explain 'ow you all got 'ere."
Garrus nodded, thinking over what he knew of Mordtoten. The man was definitely interested in the unknown, and even more interested when someone tells him science cannot do something. 'Hopefully he ego makes him just as easy to manipulate as it is back in our universe.'
As Brian wallowed in self-pity and sambucca shot residue, he remembered why he had come to the hotel in the first place. Right, I was supposed to be checking it. Ummmm, I checked it all right. So what am I doing now? Like, meeting I think....but where is that? French chick say she had a sweet, or something there? I don't think candy will help. Unless it's the other suite. That probably makes more sense.
Brian lazily reached an arm over to the night stand where the phone was and grabbed at the receiver. Upon retrieval, he tried to dissect the automated message using his limited grade school French before tapping what he hoped was the 0 key.
"Yeah, so uh," he slurred out. "You know which, uh, suite, Renee.....I dunno Renee's last name. Whatever, where is she?"
The man at the front desk sighed at having to hear the near-incomprehensible request, but the aforementioned Renee had prepared them for this possibility. "She is on the 10th floor, the large room at the end of the hall way."
"Cool, thanks." Brian slammed the receiver down and crawled his way out of bed. After confirming the presence of a keycard in his pocket, he shuffled out the door. "OK, so she's on the 10th floor, and I'm on the..." He looked at the door, 103E. "10th floor. I guess that's convenient." He started lurching towards what he hoped was the correct room for this meeting.
"So there really isn't anything that can be done right now, is there then?" Garrus asked Renee after she continued to explain that their chances of getting home depends on what Mordtoten wanted from them.
"Quite so. I do not dare imagine what terms 'e will 'ave, but there certainly shall be some. Until 'e comes 'ere and tells us them though, there really is nothing to be done," Renee replied to him, nonchalantly looking at her phone as it beeped. "More favors that people want," she said with a sigh, looking up when the last few Society members who had still been loitering in their rooms finally came in.
"That sucks. What about you two? What do you want from us? You've already said that things won't necessarily be free..." Garrus started, directing the question to both Roman and Renee. The father and daughter shared a glance before Roman answered.
"Neither of us have deliberated on that yet. Ultimately it will simply be having everyone do what they can to help out either the European Union or the Resistance while you all stay. We shall discuss the matter more thoroughly once we have a better picture of your skills and talents, and exactly what is needed at the current time," he told the Society, going around the question. It was clear from the glance that they had some ideas on what the Society could do, but Garrus felt that there was no point pushing the matter further.
Neither of them are going to say anything more about this until they know exactly what they want. Garrus realized, changing the subject after his father's response. "What do we do now then?" he asked after indicating he meant all of the Society, hoping that they would be given some time to relax.
"You all need to clean yourselves up first of all. I think a quick stop to pick up some clothing would be a good idea as well," Renee said, looking over everyone's tattered outfits; lingering on some of the most damaged ones. "My father can get you all to a nice place where you can pick up a few outfits quickly and on the 'down-low'. I will let you know when Herkimer manages to find the time to come, until that 'appens I imagine you can just do what you want."
Garrus nodded in understanding, not needing to ask who would be paying that bill. Further and further we go. "Can we go now?" he asked his father, getting a smile as a response before his father told them to get ready for another teleport.
I am simply going to accept the fact that I will never get used to teleporting. Garrus thought from inside his hotel room bathroom, splashing water on his face as he did his best to get his bearings. His father had thought it best to send them back to their individual rooms instead of back out into the lounge area, and Garrus made a mental note to thank his dad for putting him near the bathroom.
"At least I can take things at my own pace for a bit," Garrus muttered, looking at himself in the mirror. He was definitely looking a lot rougher than when he first got here; stubble had already started to frame his jaw, and his hair hadn't been combed or brushed in days. He also looked quite haggard from the stress. A shower will fix some of these problems.
"Everyone was brought back safely. Nobody wanted to stay and dawdle anyways," Roman told Renee after closing the door to her apartment behind him, not realizing that she had been sleeping.
"I figured as much," she mumbled groggily, yawning as she sat up on the couch. She looked at the few messages that had been left on her phone (most being annoyed texts from Serdar), before remembering that she had forgotten to do something. "Father, can you go and bring Tyson 'ere? I forgot I needed 'im to talk to someone."
"And I thought I was the forgetful one," Roman replied with a laugh, about to just teleport to his room before Renee stopped him and told him to just go and walk to his room. "Ah yes. Just teleporting in would be a little peculiar," he agreed, leaving the apartment as Renee made her call.
The meeting Renee orchestrated seemed considerably briefer than Jason was hoping. What else he considered fairly brief (and equally disorienting), was the teleporting transition between his appointed hotel room and theirs. Materializing a few short inches above one of the beds, Jason stayed airborne for lesser than a second before plopping down onto the quilted surface. He managed to blink the room into focus as he put a hand to his head. "Two of those in one night? Ugh. I think i'm getting a headache. Ugh, again." He retorted to no one.
He reclined fully to lay on that bed, the room's ambiance silencing some as he stared into the ceiling. His armor began to recede some, starting from the tips of his fingers, moving up his arms, over his shoulders, down his chest, stopping just short of his navel. "Well, at least we seem to be getting some clothes out of this whole ordeal. Staying on mode for several days gets uncomfortable. Like chafe-y. And sticky." He thought, moving to an edge of the bed as he began to sit upright. Upon doing so, his armor receded even further, tendrils of the stuff beginning to make its way down his legs.
"Hooray for privacy?" Erebus piped up amidst the transformation. "Word. Key Corps customs may encourage walking around in the buff, but that doesn't mean everyone else does." Jason replied simply. As he thought-spoke, a familiar stench began to waft through the air, causing the boy to grimace and wrinkle his nose at his own body odors. "Christ!" "I'm glad the armor locks all this smell in! I smell even worse when i'm all out in the open!" The Keyholder decided now would be the best time to take a shower, and got to it. "Heh, i'm like a ziploc bag, but for your body!" Erebus chimed in as he made his way towards the bathroom.
Motherfucker! This was the fourth teleport today and each one was starting to feel more like whiplash. Tyson rubbed the back of his neck and head as he landed in the high class boutique for their shopping trip. All it took was one quick look around for Tyson to dislike the place. I doubt anything here will really fit me and not look horrible.
Now it's getting smoother again. It was probably just the frequency of all of that teleporting before. Tyson sighed as he dropped his bags to the floor beside him. The shopping trip had turned up a few items, but rich French people sure weren't built like him. He kicked off his boots and removed the tattered black shirt and pants he normally wore under his armour and took a quick, much needed, shower.
It only took him a couple minutes to get the smell of the last few days off of him, mostly due to the scented soups and shampoos that the hotel left in the shower for the guests. A look in the mirror on the way out of his shower showed the promise of new scars as well while he made his way over to his new clothes.
Two hundred dollar underwear, one hundred dollar dress socks, one thousand dollar light green dress shirt, one thousand five hundred dollar pair of dress paints, two hundred fifty dollar belt, and three thousand dollar suit jacket. Tyson listed the cost of each item as he removed them from their respective packaging and put them on. There were no normal clothes in that store. The only things that fit him properly were located in the most varied section of the store, the formal wear section.
Tyson heard a knock on his door as he put on a pair of dress shoes that didn't even have a listed price for him to see. On the upside the shoes were like walking on clouds and the fit of the formal wear was so that it felt like feathers on his body. I'll never get to wear something this expensive in the rest of my life if we get back to our universe.
Tyson looked through the peephole in the door and saw the man on the other side. Wonderful. At least I can get my two pieces in now. Tyson thought as he opened the door.
"For the record it was you entering my mind that set it off. And if you're going to teleport me anywhere, make it a deserted island in the middle of nowhere. Alaska is fucking cold and dangerous." Tyson breathed in a relaxed breath having felt good getting that off of his chest. "Sorry, that had been bothering me since this morning. Now what would you like?"
"Sadly there are no real deserted areas that exist anymore due to all of these lovely factions grabbing and settling what they could get their hands on. Not that I should judge, the European Union did it as well. That was before my wife took office though," Roman stated to try and divert from having to respond to Tyson's request, letting himself inside the spacious room.
"I am here simply to let you know that my daughter wishes to speak with you, or something in that manner," Roman said, taking a seat on Tyson's bed and looking over at some of the discarded price tags. "I imagine these are worth more than you are used to. I usually make my own clothing as I have done for centuries, but there is something appealing about wearing what others have made," he mused as he looked at the numbers, placing all of the tags back down before looking at Tyson with the usual amusement he seemed to always have, "Shall we go?"
"Alright let's go," Tyson said with a sigh as he signaled Roman off of the bed as he retrieved a key for his room off of a desk beside his door. What could she possibly want now?
As soon as Roman left the room, Tyson followed behind him, only holding up for a second to make sure his door locked. "I'd still prefer a United America Military Compound on some small ass island than a pissed off bear. My powers don't work that well on most animals. Usually it just pisses them off and givens away that I'm there." Tyson said as they walked down the hall.
"I shall keep that in mind, but that more than likely will not change anything at all. If you really do not want to have to go back to the Alaskan wilderness, then I would advise that you do not give me a reason for it," Roman replied frankly, giving Tyson a well-intentioned smile as he led him down the hall.
"So I call Brigadier General Damian Cook after getting his direct contact information from Colonel Bryce Powers. Now the Brigadier is not happy to hear me, not that he really knows me beyond a few exploits that get told around. It's not like he didn't like me; it was just the matter of Lieutenant Colonel Roberts bitching about me to high command, and that I, as a First Lieutenant, was calling him instead of going through my chain of command.
Now the man is chewing me apart through the phone and I'm just sitting back at my desk listening to him go on and on. Finally after fifteen minutes he stops and asks me why I called him. Now considering it isn't four AM and I'm sober I apologize profusely to him before saying a few quick words, 'Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, largest resistance attack United America history, Renee footing the bill.'
After that I counted a solid minute of silence before he replied. Just the same as Major Carmen Schaeffer and Colonel Bryce, he wanted to hear all of the details for what I had in mind. There wasn't even a need to ask if he was on board and we spent the next few hours going over the basic needs and costs of what we had in mind. I told him about your main objective that I'm personally assigned to, and he's busy contacting and organizing who exactly we have there and who we can call in for this mission.
He's going to likely contact me later at some absurd hour in the next day or so and we'll go from there. As it stands he estimated that we should be ready for the mission go in four to six weeks. I should have the requisition order to you within the next week." Bishop finished informing Renee of the mission status while he waited to speak to his alternate universe counterpart.
"No one ever uses the chain of command in the military. In my short tenure with the French Army, I do not believe it was ever used correctly," Renee commented jokingly as she listened on the update about the mission. She had pegged that there would be a four to six week wait before the operation was a go, and that the upper brass would be eager to partake in the mission. It was an opportunity for the Resistance to flex their might and still prove that they were in the game.
"Everyone comes away 'appy except our dear United American friends. Truly they will be reeling over this loss for quite some time; though not one of the big powers will take advantage of the situation and deal the U.A. the critical death blow," she said with a tiredness that she couldn't hide, not sure herself whether it was the exhaustion of the day or the frustration of the prolonged stalemate amongst the powers that caused it.
"So instead we will continue to persist forward with our struggle. On the upside every such blow dealt brings our numbers higher and higher. Losing such a large base will be an event that they won't be able to truly spin with the media, and their control of the population once again swings back away towards us. I'll see that deathblow in my lifetime, even if I have to crawl off my deathbed to do it myself." Bishop replied to Renee, with the happiness that ending though gave him evident in his voice.
"So where is my other self? He wouldn't happen to be indisposed again suddenly?" Bishop asked with a light mocking tone. It was of course Renee that was supposed to call him when Tyson was available after all.
"The end of United America will 'appen in our lifetimes. Soon, preferably. The longer we let this war wait, the worse it can turn out for us. The only good thing about the wait is that tensions are so 'igh right now that one or two big things will cause the bubble to completely burst," Renee replied as her apartment door opened, watching as her father and Tyson entered. "Let us just 'ope that we are prepared for when that 'appens," she said before getting up and handing over the phone to Tyson, telling him who it was before taking a seat back on the couch.
"So it was you and not Renee that wanted to talk to me," Tyson said as he took the phone from Renee and held it to his head.
"I tried to talk to you earlier, but I was informed that you were 'indisposed.'"
"Yes Roman here set of that thing in a bad way and I got an express trip to Alaska. Nearly got killed by a bear. It ended up falling off the side of a cliff when the side collapsed."
"More than you could imagine."
"That wouldn't have something to do with the News that Palin's stated a hunt for a beast that cleared a large path through a forest in an unexplained manner."
"Has to be."
"And Roman plans to send me back there if it happens again."
"So why did you want to talk to me?"
"Oh right. In the next four to six weeks I'll be needing you back in United America for a special mission. Well actually your role is going to start as part of the escort for a few people we'll need to bring into United America, but we'll go over that later. I'll inform you of all the details once you get here, but just don't make any long term plans while you're in France. Also try to keep it under control. It'll be no good to us if you get sent back to Alaska and got killed by Palin."
"Not sure why I should worry about that airhead, but I'll try to keep it under control anyways. You just don't get killed before then anyways, I doubt Renee sees me a suitable replacement for yourself anyways."
"Patriot still lives, so I cannot die. And remember that this universe is different; you shouldn't underestimate anyone based on who they are in your universe. Also don't joke about that, she's started to leverage promotions for me in an attempt to get me to France and into my pants."
"You might as well surrender to it at this point."
With that, both men hung up their phones. Bishop got back to work with his plans, while Tyson gave the phone back to Renee. So that seems interesting. I wonder what he has planned for me. Tyson thought to himself for a second.
"Renee do you think you could get me a phone so that he can just contract me directly next time?" Tyson asked, not wanting to have to constantly use the woman who was less than fond of himself as a go between every time they needed to talk.
"If I give you a phone, though, then I will no longer get to 'ave as many little chats with the lieutenant as before. Where would the fun in that be? All the 'ard work I've put in would go to waste. So to answer your question, no I will not give you one right now. Perhaps I will be generous enough to give you one once your departure date to United America looms closer, so as better to plan with your universal counterpart," Renee told Tyson once his conversation was over, sending a message on her phone before putting it away.
"You can retire back to your room now if you so desire. I've gotten word that your two members that 'ad been left behind should be arriving shortly, and your most awaited guest is still en route to meet as well."
"You should tell your brother that; he's the leader of our team after all. I might as well be the lowly outcast." Tyson replied to Renee before walking out of her apartment and closing the door behind him. Retire to my room is right. Retire to sleep off this god-awful day. Tyson thought as he went back to his room to sleep.