ladyfirestarter: (Tet Corporation)
[personal profile] ladyfirestarter
The plan, while ambitious, is utterly simple on the face of it, the reasoning for it plain: they're still making slow and steady progress with the kids' therapy, but they've long since reached the limit of what they can do about the brain damage inflicted on them. Except that a recent theory suggests that maybe they haven't, based partly on data about the one surviving victim who doesn't live at the Taos complex: River Tam.

It wouldn't be safe to take all of the kids to New York City at once, and at any rate it would probably be wisest to test the theory first with one. The main concern that comes up in the discussion is the stresses of travel and of unfamiliar surroundings, and most of the suggestions center on how to alleviate those; no one's worried about the proposed treatment itself.

The rose is good, after all.



Charlie's got good people working under her. Within the next two days, Eric VanAllsburg has taken care of everything, including the tickets and the arrangements with airport security. The Taos complex and the Irina Foundation have top medical credentials, and while the kids' identities are the products of careful forgery on the part of the Tet Corporation, they're solid enough to stand this kind of a security check -- and their cover story, bringing a patient with trauma-related cognitive disorder to a neurological specialist in New York, has the advantage of being true on every level but the most literal.

All of which means that when the little party of three arrives at the airport, they're met by an airline representative and whisked through to a private security checkpoint. Charles goes through the metal detector first, and that's enough encouragement for a reluctant Zillah to visibly steel herself and walk through after him.

Preboarding has been arranged. The airplane's a small one, and flying half-empty; they stay in their own seats nonetheless, Zillah half-curled in her chair and gazing ceaselessly out the window. She relaxes almost completely once they're in the air, watching the clouds and the earth below them with serene delight.

It isn't until they land at JFK International Airport and disembark that the tension starts to come back into her posture; she hunches, ducks her head, shies away from anyone but Charles and Charlie. There are people all around them, and the air's layered like a parfait: exhaustion, excitement, crankiness, tight-reined nervousness, delight, annoyance, melancholy, boredom. Charlie does her best to keep her own emotions on quiet calm, and works to push the feeling out into a shield around them.

They're expecting to have to wait for a cab, but outside of the baggage claim is a uniformed man with a sign reading MCGEE. Charlie sighs with relief; Eric's come through again.



It's not the Dolphin; this hotel is somewhat smaller, and considerably closer to Dag Hammarskjold Plaza.

Charlie shrugs out of her jacket, drapes it over one of the two straight-backed chairs, and turns to Zillah. "How're you feeling?"

The girl nods, a little unsteadily, but doesn't say anything.

Date: 2009-05-10 05:29 am (UTC)
thisfatefulhour: (A small solemn smile)
From: [personal profile] thisfatefulhour
Charles follows suit, glancing around the suite as he takes off his jacket.

"Looks like you've got your own room," he points out with half a smile. "If you want to rest."

Date: 2009-05-10 05:44 am (UTC)
thisfatefulhour: (See it well)
From: [personal profile] thisfatefulhour
Charles looks at Charlie, then Zillah.

"What, nephew," soft, "is that wind in the door?"

Date: 2009-05-10 06:03 am (UTC)
thisfatefulhour: (See it well)
From: [personal profile] thisfatefulhour
He shakes his head. "No mistake this time, I think."

Date: 2009-05-11 01:02 am (UTC)
thisfatefulhour: (A small solemn smile)
From: [personal profile] thisfatefulhour
He quirks a small, rueful smile at her.

"I know. It's okay. It takes a while to adjust, your first time."

Date: 2009-05-11 06:29 am (UTC)
thisfatefulhour: (A small solemn smile)
From: [personal profile] thisfatefulhour
"I could do with something to eat. Zillah?"

Date: 2009-05-12 01:04 am (UTC)
thisfatefulhour: (Smiley)
From: [personal profile] thisfatefulhour
"They dined on mince, and slices of quince, which they ate with a runcible spoon," he tosses back with a grin.

Date: 2009-05-12 02:33 am (UTC)
thisfatefulhour: (Young'un)
From: [personal profile] thisfatefulhour
Charles laughs; the game's doing him as much good as it is Zillah. "And so between the two of them," he lobs back, heading for the window, "they licked the platter clean."

He draws the curtains as he adds over his shoulder, "If we're not careful, we'll be at this all night," then turns to look at the New York skyline, lit up against the stars. It's different than his New York -- brighter and busier, if possible, and with more buildings--

(There's nothing audible to mark the sudden bolt of shock.)

Date: 2009-05-12 02:46 am (UTC)
thisfatefulhour: (Hmm.)
From: [personal profile] thisfatefulhour
He's staring at the sky.

There's too much of it.

(His mind is racing for an explanation of that gap, but he stays still, fingers curled around the curtain.)

Date: 2009-05-12 03:05 am (UTC)
thisfatefulhour: (Young'un)
From: [personal profile] thisfatefulhour
Zillah's voice, and the feeling of her distress, snap him out of it. He half-turns.

"Charlie -- I'm sorry, I--"

He falters, gaze flicking to the skyline again.

Date: 2009-05-12 03:17 am (UTC)
thisfatefulhour: (Young'un)
From: [personal profile] thisfatefulhour
The flare of Charlie's alarm isn't helping.

"The World Trade Towers," he says, as calmly as he can. "They're -- gone?"

Date: 2009-05-12 03:46 am (UTC)
thisfatefulhour: (Eyes like stars)
From: [personal profile] thisfatefulhour
It feels like a punch to the gut.

"What happened?"

Date: 2009-05-12 04:11 am (UTC)
thisfatefulhour: (And the powers of darkness)
From: [personal profile] thisfatefulhour
He takes a breath, nods.

"It can wait, if it has to."

Date: 2009-05-12 04:44 am (UTC)
thisfatefulhour: (And the powers of darkness)
From: [personal profile] thisfatefulhour
You know, my dears, the world has been abnormal for so long that we've forgotten what it's like to live in a peaceful and reasonable climate.


Charles sits down.

After a moment of blankness, he leans forward, elbows on his knees, pressing his clasped hands against his mouth as if in prayer.

"In this fateful hour," he finally murmurs. "My God."

Date: 2009-05-12 05:23 am (UTC)
thisfatefulhour: (And the powers of darkness)
From: [personal profile] thisfatefulhour
He closes his eyes in a wince.

"Did they ever give any reason for it? The people who did it?"

Mad Dog Branzillo had his reasons, he thinks dizzily, no matter that they were crazy, no matter that it never happened.

Date: 2009-05-13 02:31 am (UTC)
thisfatefulhour: (And the powers of darkness)
From: [personal profile] thisfatefulhour
"Of course."

He rubs his face.

"2001?"

Date: 2009-05-13 02:34 am (UTC)
thisfatefulhour: (Young'un)
From: [personal profile] thisfatefulhour
He looks up at her, waiting.

Date: 2009-05-13 02:53 am (UTC)
thisfatefulhour: (Young'un)
From: [personal profile] thisfatefulhour
"Necessity," he repeats, somewhere between neutral and questioning.

Date: 2009-05-13 03:10 am (UTC)
thisfatefulhour: (See it well)
From: [personal profile] thisfatefulhour
"Please," quietly. "I'd rather not be left hanging."

Date: 2009-05-13 03:26 am (UTC)
thisfatefulhour: (See it well)
From: [personal profile] thisfatefulhour
He nods for her to continue.

Date: 2009-05-13 05:21 am (UTC)
thisfatefulhour: (And the powers of darkness)
From: [personal profile] thisfatefulhour
"Might destroy even that," Charles finishes. "Evil destroying evil."

Date: 2009-05-14 08:09 am (UTC)
thisfatefulhour: (And the powers of darkness)
From: [personal profile] thisfatefulhour
"My God," he murmurs again, and falls silent.

Date: 2009-05-16 07:15 am (UTC)
thisfatefulhour: (And the powers of darkness)
From: [personal profile] thisfatefulhour
He draws in a breath.

(we'll go Where and When the wind decides to take us, then?)

"I need a little time," he says, his voice kept carefully calm -- sad, but calm. "If you don't mind."

(I don't even have any suggestions)

Date: 2009-05-17 06:30 am (UTC)
thisfatefulhour: (And the powers of darkness)
From: [personal profile] thisfatefulhour
He squeezes Zillah's hand, appreciating the gesture; appreciating it more when they leave him alone for the moment.
(this is not my vision, this is not my dream
He can't think of what to say. He's not even sure he can think what he feels. 2001 is years away. And this isn't even his world.
(I ain't being heard, ain't being understood)
No, he knows how he feels. He feels very far from home.
(and I can't find my way to the three acre wood)

Fifteen minutes later or so, he joins Charlie and Zillah, dry-eyed and calm and no quieter than usual, if a little pale. He and Zillah trade quotations again over food, and for once he doesn't worry too much about leaving Charlie out; both of them need the comfort. They go to bed soon after. Tomorrow is going to be a full day.

Charles even gets some sleep.

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