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.
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