Wednesday, December 31, 2014

dollhouse ep03 : Orpheus

11/09/2014
dollhouse

Episode Three
"Lurking"

Orpheus


Shepherd is feeling the frustration while he continues to research in the public library.  Days have passed and his attempts to find information regarding the supposed "Alia Green" have not borne any fruit.  Citywide, there are around 14 matches.  The sole match connected to Orpheus he finds, unfortunately is outside his access levels.  Attempts to find information about "Bishop" lead to either the religious leader, or the character from that mutant comic book, or even the chess piece.  In an attempt to find a possible contact or perhaps a hacker who might know things, Shepherd starts posting as well in forum groups throwing in specific keywords to see if anyone would respond.  At worst, he finds some rumors about Bishop online - that he's some boogeyman agents don't mention three times in a single mission, or that he might actually be a code name for someone who watches over the agents to keep them in line.  A hand lands on his shoulder.  Shepherd looks up to see Hoyt Masterson standing beside him.  By the doorway, Chet Mason leans on his cane.  They tell him that Orpheus is not too happy that he is, in their words, stirring the pot.  Hoyt seems aware that Shepherd has posted the word Orpheus in around 96+ blog posts in the last two days.  Hoyt admits he was checking if an E-Demon was messing up the net and was actually surprised it was Shepherd doing the noise.  Shepherd questions if Hoyt really doesn't know anything about this Bishop character.  They talk about whether Bishop is a spy, or a secret agent of the company, and Hoyt asks Shepherd if he really plans to be one of those who believe such things.  Shepherd raises his hand, "You got me." Hoyt shakes his head and tells him that's Chet's job.  Hoyt then vanishes, Inhabiting the computer to wipe the posts clean. "Don't make me run after you, boy," Chet growls.  They tell him this is his last warning, and Shepherd insists he is just trying to get the facts.    Chet questions why Shepherd would focus more on this boogeyman rather than the murders happening among the homeless in Shepherd's area.  Shepherd admits he hasn't been back, but he keenly has been tracking how long he has been gone.  Chet reminds him to bear importance to the fact they still remember him.  "The last thing you want is to be forgotten."

A ringing sound erupts.  Hoyt fishes out a cellular phone and to Shepherd's surprise it is made of gauze.  Chet admits they all have one and that it was one of the first things they opts to look for.  Pays to project and have something handy.  The call turns out to be from Kate Dennison, who says Shepherd is not supposed to head back.  Chet teases that he will take care of cleaning up Shepherd, but Hoyt explains they can't bring him back because his wife is at the building.   Shepherd's wife, as it turns out, does not believe her husband is dead, and thinks some conspiracy is going on with Orpheus.  The group opts to head for one of the safe houses of Orpheus and leave Kate to handle the wife.

*

Kate Shepherd stands outside the Orpheus building, demanding that they bring her husband out.  A small crowd has gathered, watching her antics.  Security guards stand by the door.  Kate Dennison steps out and attempts to talk to her, but she will not be ignored.  She begins screaming for her husband, whom she believes is either alive or in some way imprisoned in the building.  Realizing she has to, Kate purses her lips and blows a loud whistle that instantly calms Kate Shepherd down. "Shall we talk inside?"   Mrs. Shepherd feels more willing now to talk and follows inside.

*

Fiona Parker and Wendell Pruce are having a moment talking about how the strange connection they have has seemingly simmered down now to an accessible link they consciously tap into in order to communicate with each other.  The connection seems strongest within 30 feet of each other, and possibly even allow the other to see through another's eyes.  Surface thoughts slip though as well, allowing some level of communication.  But while connected, the group realizes they feel disconnected from the world around them, having difficulty with too much stimulus.  The two talk about Ellie, about Red, and even about Misha.  The focus of their discussions shift to the other table in the cafeteria where an Asian woman seems to be busy with her cellphone between bites.  Fiona dreads the day they would have to work with someone like her.  "My guess, two to three children that are too young to fend off for themselves.  She probably works for the salary."  Wendell asks why she thinks the woman would be a mother and how, knowing their luck, they would probably have to work with her.  "At least it is not Carter."   After Red offers Wendell another bowl of food, a bowl Wendell regrets receiving, they start talking about how the projected form matches one's RSI (Residual Self Image) and how it usually is one's personal view of when they looked their best. Wendell wonders what that says about himself given he barely looks different from himself.  Fiona admits Alexander Carter seems to be very interested in Wendell's development and wonders if there is something there.  
*

An old woman sits alone, covering her ears.  Her cats are going crazy.  There is a repetitive sound in the background of wood slamming against wood.

*

Next door, Misha Rusanov and Natalie Wick have just finished another round of rough and passionate make-up sex.  Misha decides to go grab a shower to get ready for work while Natalie tries to get him to talk more about his place of work, but Misha unfortunately can keep his secrets.  While Misha showers, Natalie tries digging through his things and finds nothing but clothes inside.  There are torn clothes and snuffed out cigarettes among them, which ultimately raises more questions.  Misha finally steps out to see her holding up a dog collar.  "What is this supposed to be?"  she asks, curious to why he would have one given he has no dog.  Misha's cellphone rings and it turns out to be Kate Dennison, informing him to report to work.  He finds Natalie sniffing the collar, curious to why it hasn't been used.  Misha tells her he has to head off to work, and she reminds him that he is a terrible liar but she is happy that he has not lied to her.  Misha catches Mrs. Rosenberg outside her flat once more, and as he greets her on his way out, she doesn't really say anything in response.  Misha heads to work. 

*

Cellphone rings. Natalie Wick holds her phone to her ear, "He has just left.  No, he hasn't told me anything.  I know... and I will find out... but I just need a bit more time.  No... no no.. I will. I got this."  When the call ends, she then clears the history on her phone to make sure there's no record of the call.

*

Text messages have not stopped coming from Sophie , Natalie Kureya's eldest daughter.  She has been complaining about Natalie not being able to give a precise time when she will be home.  Sophie is anxious to still have her night out but Natalie tells Sophie to just wait.  Red is happy to see Natalie enjoyed the meal and learns she added Oyster sauce to give the dish an "Asian flavor."  Red even brags to Wendell that Natalie likes her cooking.   Another beep.  Natalie looks down and to her surprise it isn't from her daughter this time.  It is a message from Kate.   Another sound emits from Wendell's side.  He too checks his cellphone.  

The two find themselves both stepping into the same elevator, and pressing the same button for the same floor.  As they realize soon they are walking in the same direction, Wendell tries to break the ice by asking if Natalie is actually a mother.  Wendell tries to go around saying she has a resting-bitch face and asks if she is a Skinrider, and Natalie tries to make light of the situation.  They open the same door to smell cigarette smoke.  "Fiona," Natalie greets her and finds her frozen in a smile.    Natalie doesn't realize it is because Fiona is telepathically tells Wendell, "I knew it!  You're all replacing me for a younger woman."

Kate Dennison arrives, still on her cellphone and telling someone not to let someone out of the room until she returns.  She's surprised Misha isn't around and Wendell admits he is probably off site.

*

Misha ties his bike to the side rail and notices a car being ushered away by the security guards to avoid a "hostile guest."  He asks the security what is going on and they tell him about  the woman at the front of the building protesting about people having the right to know about something .  He hurries up the elevator to get to the meeting.

*

At the safe house, Chet tries to understand more why Shepherd is obsessing over Bishop.  They discuss the events of the last mission, of meeting a Spirit named Alia Green who claims to be missing her body.  Shepherd feels she came to warn them.  Chet feels that Shepherd seems to have forgotten to use his Forebode abilities to ask for the questions instead he wants to ask.  He admits he found nothing, however.    The door slams open and they see Zoe Vitt rushed into the room with blood and bruises all over her.  Shepherd realizes he has seen her a few in the building, and watches as Hoyt Inhabits the safe house to help her better, and as Mason uses his Juggernaut to hold her down.  Zoe starts spitting blood out, muttering Holy Cross... Hospital... Retrieve...

*

Misha arrives to see the group already studying the images projected on the screen. The term Daughters of Creusa are on the wall.  A group of self-help new agers have embraced the name.  The mission will have to be done without Shepherd.  And as it turns out, Natalie Kureya is being assigned to head the Mission in his absence, given she has the most seniority among the members.  Natalie's crucible is still mostly recovering from injuries when the apartment complex they were in during a Mission collapsed!  Fiona and Wendell aren't too happy to hear this.  Even Misha telepathically shares that he's surprised the group has another Skinrider.  The group is shown digital footage that has been sent to them by one of the members of the Daughters, a Mylene Watkins.  The footage seems to depict what Orpheus refers to as a Jason.  The group hurries to the site, with Wendell having to hurry downstairs to the Cradles to try and be brought under.  Misha summons his ghostly dog a second time, who he now chooses to name Carter to spite Alexander Carter.   Sadly, not even Ellie would be in this mission - although the reasons for her absence were not stated.  Kate's team were supposed to meet the others at the location, but given the incident with Zoe Vitt, they will unfortunately be delayed.  Fiona and Natalie were going to be the muscle for the Mission.

*

As the others try to stabilize Zoe, Shepherd starts hearing the radio muttering odd reports about something happening in the Holy Cross Hospital.  Zoe it turns out, was on a retrieval mission to investigate and locate the cause of what could only be dubbed as a Ghostquake.   After Foreboding for more information, Shepherd opts to head straight to the site to try and retrieve something Zoe had dropped and felt urgently needed to be retrieved.  On a bus to the location, Sheperd finds himself getting the attention of another spirit who asks him if he knows why there are no ghosts older than six years in the city.  The spirit, named Roxxon, seems to be stuck with the bus.  Two girls have stepped down from the bus as well, excited to investigate the hospital for some kind of ghost quake that hit the area.  

*

Wendell slips into the Cradle and feels the techs quickly shift the dosage up to bring him under.  Charlie stares at Wendell and strokes his hair back.  Wendell looks down and sees his body next to him.  The techs are checking his vitals.  Charlie Matthews is staring at him, leaning close and whispers, "I new you'd follow me..."

Wendell sits up, panicked.  The techs announce that he's under and how he looked like he had a dream.  The tech hands the map to Wendell and given his intangibility, the map falls to the ground.  Wendell tries to memorize what he can then hurries off.

The tech watches him go and wonders aloud who Charlie was, then before he knows it he fixes Wendell's hair and stops.

"Now why did I do that?"

*

Holy Cross Hospital is an active place, with people moving about.  Shepherd even spots a clown moving down one hallway.  He forebodes and asks for where Zoe Vitt was earlier today.  His Horror is abruptly interrupted when a ghost child bumps into him and runs off through the crowd.  As he tries to follow the child, he comes upon an unexpected sight:  a room is on code blue and the doctors are doing what they can to save a dying man.  Shepherd steps closer and finds a ghastly sight; a robed figure with a skull head.  And as the man dies, the skull-headed figure wraps its dark robe around the dead man's body, taking with it its spirit.  Shepherd sees the wife of the dead man and uses his voice to soothe her of her sadness.

*

Wendell starts to notice static occasionally breaking through the radio playing in the cab, with words muttered by some guy that seem to be reporting something transpiring else where.  He starts to realize the driver does not hear it.

*

The abandoned hotel remains quiet.  Natalie, Kate, Fiona and Misha plan their approach, splitting up into two groups.  Without a light source, however, Misha uses Carter to guide the way.  As the group quickly makes their ascent, Misha and Fiona find a strong trail somewhere in the upper floors.  The darkness grows thicker and soon, Fiona draws out a lighter made of gauze to light the way.  Kate and Natalie, on the other hand, search for the Jason.

*

Zoe gets stabilized.  Chet and Hoyt worry what could have beaten her up this badly, and worse, get concerned about Shepherd having run off.  They find the messages Kate sent to their phones, however, and realize the "girl" will have to wait and head on to join the others.

*

"Having trouble... to dark for them to see... can help but might..."  and the static takes over once more.  Wendell opts to play it cool, even as the driver mumbles about Wendell looking like the actor in some superhero movie.  Wendell is now certain the driver cannot hear the voice that breaks through the radio static every now and then.  The cab driver just jokes that New York has no real giant gators in the sewers, just rats and ghosts.

"...Contact..." the voice mutters.  Wendell as the car pull over and rushes out to start running.

*

Fiona and Misha, guided by Carter, continue to the upper floors.  Kate and Natalie there hear a male voice screaming somewhere above.  Natalie checks the window close to the fire exit and focuses her Vitality to Manifest fully and kicks one of the boards open so sunlight can creep inside.  The sudden light blinds them both for a moment, keeping them from seeing the figure standing directly behind them.

On the fifth floor, Fiona and Misha find the corridor with the peeling wallpaper.  Carter leads the way, sniffing for the girls.  The search continues.

Natalie is slammed against the wall as the Jason pushes him against the wall.  Kate screams for Natalie in panic, and her words transform into a Wail that tear into both the Jason and Natalie.  Natalie feels her gauze rip apart before she shunts all the pain to her body to remain intact.

*

Shepherd exists the room with the recently deceased and feels someone slam into his legs.  The child continues running, turning around the closest corner as he goes.  Shepherd intones another Forebode and he sees glimpses of the rooftop of the hospital as the place he should go to.  The route he takes then leads him straight through the children's ward.

*

Wendell runs past more people and as he makes his way past the streets to get to the abandoned hotel.  He diverts to the alleyway nearby and drops all tangibility to Storm Wend to the fifth floor fire escape.  He lands without a sound and hears the sounds of conflict transpiring inside.  Glass shatters.  "Is everything all right?" Wendell calls out in the mental connection he shares with the Crucible, but the connection is suddenly lost.  A powerful scream is heard and a hand punches through the wood.  Wendell Storm Wends a floor up.

*

The Jason closes in on Kate, whose Wail had clearly agitated him.  Natalie rushes at the Jason to pounce on him and force him facedown.  The two wrestle against one another, equal in strength as something empowers the Jason, while Natalie uses his Juggernaut to its fullest.  Kate waits for an opening to Wail once more.  Planting herself firmly to the ground, Natalie resists the Jason's attempt to fling her away.  The Jason tumbles to the ground, its strength misdirected.    She throws a hard kick at the back of the Jason's head and with the hit, something snaps.  The Jason drops to one knee.  Natalie motions to Kate to stay back. The Jason starts snapping its neck back in place.  Kate screams another Wail at the Jason even as Natalie begins to realize the thing has not even made a single sound.

*

Wendell enters the building, his Unearthly Repose illuminating the area to make it easier to see things.  Misha, Fiona and Carter continue to search for the girls, ignoring the glow in the distance.  They shove into a room and find themselves before a bed.  Misha whistles for Carter and finds it by the closet on the far wall.  Using the basics of Helter Skelter, Misha swings the closet open to reveal a panicked woman.  He quickly fully Manifests and tries to calm her down, realizing a large part of her panic is having been hiding in a completely dark room after being stocked by someone.  He asks her if she knows where the others are, and she begs them to help her get out.  Through the hive mind, Misha asks Fiona if she found the others, and she reports she found one who seems to be very hurt. "It hurts when I tried Skin Riding her."  Misha commands Carter to look for Fiona while he guides the woman he found to stay close.  

*

It is almost noon.  Shepherd arrives at the roof of the Hospital to find a child sitting on the gravel.  The child is wearing striped pajamas.  Shepherd calls out to the child, but it doesn't respond.  Two more kids run out from the staircase, colliding with Shepherd and stop by the figure in the striped pajamas.  Laughter erupts as more children arrive.  More and more, gathering with the figure in the stripes.  "What are these kids about to do here," Shepherd Forebodes and yet no answers are forthcoming.  Shepherd glances around for the markings that match his vision of where Zoe dropped something, and on his next glance up, around nine ghostly children have now gathered near the striped figure.  On the ground, Shepherd finds a small strange thing... a rock made purely of gauze.

A ghost rock.

Shepherd slips it back into his pocket.  Suddenly, a slight tremor hits, forcing him to try to recover his balance.  The earthquake causes the children and the striped figure to try to get back on their feet as well.  None of the gravel rocks however shifted at all.  The striped figure begins to stand, turning to face Shepherd.

*

Wendell hears the screams and the dogs ahead of him.  He can hear Misha somewhere in the darkness.  He moves to the sounds and eventually illuminates Misha and the others.  Misha calls out using the Hivemind and true enough, it is Wendell.  Wendell Manifests and uses his calming aura to try to comfort the rescued women as well. Misha updates Wendell on what's been happening.  Fiona, on the Hivemind, admits she thinks the woman she found earlier is dead.    Her words are abruptly interrupted however into a cry for help!  The two rush over and find a woman strangling Fiona.  Wendell pushes the calming effect of his light to a stronger level, Misha shoves the calm body off Fiona and helps his Crucible member up.  Although Fiona didn't even hit the woman, Misha realizes she no longer has a pulse.

"She Jason-ed in front of me?" Fiona gasps.

"At least we learned that if we calm the Jason down, it disappears..."

Fiona however wonders if it merely halted the change given it realized it was outnumbered.  They find the final woman standing in the center of another room.  Blood covers her clothes.  Her head hangs low.  She slowly raises her head and they all see how heavily damaged her face is.  The Jason must have gotten to hear before they arrived.  With the calming light of Wendell still maintained, the group considers backing away.  The only survivor with them gasps, "Aina..."   The woman once named Aina seems to be in the verge of transforming into a Jason as well.  Wendell starts tugging at them to start heading back.  The Jason begins to mimic the words it overhears.  Almost like something learning to talk.

*

Blood and flesh erupt as Kate's Wail strikes the Jason down.  Natalie and Kate watch in horror as even grievously hurt, the Jason's wounds start to close once more.  Before the wounds completely close, Natalie rushes forward and channels her will to fuel her Juggernaut, then slams it to the ground headfirst.  The floor splinters and the Jason crashes nearly through.  Kate rushes behind the thing to unleash black tentacles at it and immobilize it.   Natalie decides to try something and attempts to use Puppetry upon the Jason; maybe she can force the thing possessing the man out of his body?  Natalie begins to hear the whispered hissing and mumbling voices in the Hivemind.. a glimpse of the Spectral presence within.

*Withdraw*

Suddenly, Natalie slips easily into the body of the Jason, taking full control.   The Spectre is gone.  Kate is happy that Natalie succeeded, but Natalie admits the victory feels wrong.

*

The figure in yellow and white stripes stands to its full height, towering nearly seven feet tall.  Its limbs are narrow, like pipes.The thing is mostly humanoid, but its head resembles more that of an animal. It resonates an almost child-like fascination.  A fox.  The children now all turn to face Shepherd too.  They are all wearing paper cut in fox-like masks.

Impact!  Something hits the ground close to Shepherd's foot.  Another ghost rock.
The children start laughing, as they run and leap off the side of the Hospital.  The Fox remains staring.  Shepherd attempts to use DeadEyes for a glimpse on how much Vitality courses through the thing.  He finds none.  Not a single hint of Vitality.  Shepherd begins to inch for the exit.  The Fox glances at where Shepherd hoped to go... but suddenly, the door is gone.

The Fox begins to smile, revealing dagger-like teeth.  The smile reminds Shepherd of the Cheshire cat.  Did the author have DeadEyes?  Did the author see this very thing when he wrote about the Cheshire cat?  Then its gone.   Shepherd runs to the edge of the building, hoping to see any sight of where it had gone.  He can see it another rooftop.  And another even further.  Then gone.

Shepherd looks back for the staircase and finds it there, where he last remembered it.  Like it was never gone.  The rumble happens again, somewhere distant.  But something that does not disturb the gravel.    Some kind of Ghostquake.

"Where did this come from?" Shepherd Forebodes as he holds the Ghost Rock in his hand.  He sees a winding twisting tower, like a nautilus shell, spinning ever so slowly.  He hurries back down below.  In the hospital, he can see more patients being rushed in.  Mostly showing teenagers in various states of injury, the floor is alive with the doctors and nurses trying to treat the dozens of kids who need medical attention.  They all seemingly came from a singular location.  Shepherd quickly exits and rushes back to the safehouse.

*

At the safehouse, Shepherd arrives to find it empty save for Zoe Vitt who has now gotten stable.  She is doing better now, although she has not regained consciousness.  Shepherd takes her hand into his own and begins singing to share some comfort and serenity.  Neither Hoyt nor Chet seem to be in the room.  The tech people still present do wonder if this will delay the party that Orpheus was planning to celebrate.  When Shepherd asks them for more information on what happened, they share with him Zoe's report of a Ghost Quake happening, and of her attempt to retrieve something that she dropped.  Shepherd reassures Zoe, not really certain if she can hear him, that he retrieved the rock and of the dark black figure he witnessed in the hospital.  Sadly, she does not respond.

*

Descending down the staircase, Misha, Fiona, Carter and Wendell hurriedly guide the only survivor down the staircase.  They find another body of a woman on the ground.  Sadly, she has no pulse either.  Misha asks Fiona to focus on getting the woman out safely while the rest of them look for the last one.  Misha calls out for a ghost pack of dogs to help out.  Wendell wonders if any other type of animals could have helped.  The sounds of battle seem to have gone quiet.

Natalie shares with Kate that the body she has possessed still has someone resting inside.  There is someone alive yet very weak.  Natalie wonders if these were Jasons at all.

The ghostly dogs emerge through the wall and Misha commands them to find the last living person in the building.  Wendell relaxes his glow to allow the dogs to keep going.  They search and find the dogs leading them to a bathroom in one of the upper floors.  Carter barks at Misha, confirming a successful search:  the last woman is hugging her legs, fetal position, beneath the bed.  "You're not... not Lloyd," she mutters, and then asks if the others are okay.  Wendell uses once again his Unearthly Repose to calm her down.  Misha opens the cabinet doors using Helter Skelter to find what else the dogs are reacting to.  They find a woman in the cabinet, her face terrified and yet she makes no sound.  She trembles the whole time.

"Either there were more women or one of them is fake," Wendell is confused.   They were expecting one last survivor and instead find two.  Misha guides the woman in the cabinet out.  Wendell allows his calming glow to reach her as well.  The woman under the bed, on the other hand, asks Wendell if the others got out okay.  She mentions they kept finding them no matter where they hid.

The door opens down below as Fiona guides the woman outside.  Outside, Hoyt and Mason arrive.  Fiona sees them and greets Mason with a familiar greeting.  Mason and Hoyt however react with panic, as branches seemingly erupt from behind her.  Mason darts forward, Juggernaut fueling his movement while Hoyt unleashes lightning at the closing darkness.

*

Zoe remains unconscious.  Shepherd borrows the technician's phone and calls the main Orpheus office.  He learns of the growing protest outside the building that is being lead by his wife.  He also learns that Kate, Chet, Hoyt and the others are currently off the building's grounds.  However, the call is interrupted by static as a voice asks if he got the rocks and reminds him to keep safe.  After Shepherd confirms he got them, the static fades and the operator reminds him that something will have to be done about his wife outside who has even gathered the media.  He stresses however that there is a reason why he is dead.   He asks to be connected to Kate's phone, but the static takes over again cuts the call.  He calls once more and connects him to Kate, but she never answers.

*

Hoyt is thrown backwards.  Mason grabs Fiona and tackles her to the side.  The dark thing rushes for the road.  Wendell pushes the girls to Misha and tells him to take them while he runs for the fire exit, leaps through and Stormwends down.  The tree-like thing erupts out of the doorway and begins attempting to climb up the building's side to go across the street.  Hoyt is down below, dragging Mason and Fiona to the side.  Wendell wends the thing and yanks it with him as far upwards as he could.

The thing recoils at his touch, unhappy to feel the Projector.  But Wendell successfully yanks it upwards half a mile towards the sky.  Now by the roof of the building, the Spectre and Wendell are trapped for now.  The survivors regret the actions they have taken, muttering about how they shouldn't have done what they had.  Kate and Natalie rejoins the others and learns of the two dead, and of the extra woman among them.  Misha tells them that Wendell has gone out to join Fiona, when Kate wonders if a Spectre has pretended to look like one of them.  Or at least, pretended to look human.

Back above, the worm thing realizes its all the way up there and confronts the Wisp that dragged it up.  Shunting more of his will into his powers, Wendell attempts to use his Unearthly Repose once more to subdue the thing.  The power is so effective, it takes Wendell to be one of its trusted allies.  It starts telling him of a strange, unbelievable tale... how it is almost time for some grand event.  Wendell asks it to revert to the friendlier humanoid form, and she does so.  "Looks so real," it tells Wendell as it touches his face, "We make Grandma proud..."  Wendell slowly inches away from the Spectre, uncertain what to do next.

As the others exit the building, they see Mason, Fiona and Hoyt telling them that Wendell and the spectre were pulled away... somewhere.  None of them can reach him in the Hivemind either, given the hotel is just too tall.  Hoyt offers the others Vitality, while Natalie looks at Misha and Fiona and asks them where Wendell would have brought the thing given he's not really a fighter.  Kate tells them the thing wanted to leave, so Wendell must have found a way to stop it or delay it.  They look up and see the glow above.  Misha uses his Flesh Flux to grow Wings and take to the sky.  Natalie releases the Skin-ridden body, which drops to the ground, and watches as Fiona starts scrambling up the fire escape with the others.

Wendell asks the Spectre to sit and talk more about Grandma.  He tries manipulating the thing to share what Grandma wants, and learns that she is "coming."  The Spectre wraps her arms around Wendell, in an almost loving embrace.  There is a flash of light that suddenly erupts, and Wendell sees the lightning about to strike them both.  Wendell leaps backwards and watches as the lightning strike the Spectre like a miniature sun.  The Spectre begins to disintegrate with each strike.  The only remnant that states it was once there is that where it once stood, there is only glass.

The others arrive, worried for Wendell, but happy to see he is safe  Wendell is confused as it begins to dawn upon him that the lightning did not come from his Crucible nor Kate's.  And that the source of the lightning strikes was the television cable not too far away.  Wendell hugs his knees, admitting that he thought they were the ones who saved him.  "Grandma is coming... I don't know who Grandma is...  Don't wake me up.  Do not wake me up..."

*

Much later, Shepherd gets a ride from Hoyt and Mason back to the Orpheus headquarters.  He learns of how many of his friends were hurt in the recent Mission and shares with them the Ghost Rock he had retrieved.  Outside Orpheus, a large group of people have gathered to protest.  Even religious groups have joined the protest.  Sneaking in through the side entrance, Shepherd eventually finds the other members of the Crucible in the office.  Wendell and the others don't seem too happy to see Shepherd.  They all are puzzled as well about the lightning that struck at the Spectre which seemingly came out of nowhere.

Shepherd asks them if they've been hearing things on the radio.  Wendell turns to face him, even suggesting that there's a voice that seems to be sharing updates about what was going on.  Misha thought Wendell heard Carter.  Fiona asks Shepherd to explain where he was and he claims he was on a mission of his own.   He mentions one of Kate's members was attacked.  Fiona, however, feels the team deserves some answers on what happened today.  There has been no debriefing.  They were nearly slaughtered.  Natalie admits they didn't even know what to expect.  And Misha wonders aloud how the Spectre was able to pretend to be living.  And then, there's the mention of Grandmother.

Calls to reach Kate remain unanswered.  Fiona admits they've all been trying and she's been unreachable.  They've all been waiting for answers.  Misha warns Shepherd not to leave the team ever again, but Misha insists he was assigned to another meeting.  Misha however insists that after hearing a Skin-Rider, someone who could gain Strength, Speed and Toughness on her own, was hurt, Shepherd thought he could go there on his own and handle the same thing?  Shepherd admits he had to find out what he could, and that they were holding him away given his wife's presence outside.  Fiona remarks that maybe the least he could have done was inform them where he was.  Natalie shares that she doesn't know any of them but she does not deserve the attitude.  "You're all given jobs.  We're all protecting each other.  If someone fails to do their job, someone gets hurt.  Someone has to suck all the blame and all the attitude.  Give him a break."  She reminds them she tries her best to lead the team but she's not part of the Crucible.   She apologizes that she was busy saving other people.

Kate arrives.  Fiona tells them all she's back and they all sit down to hear what she has to say.  Kate tells them in very few words that she apologizes that she cannot say more, but according to the hgher ups, in order to recuperate from mental and physical trauma, they are all on indefinite leave.  Wendell complains if it has anything to do with the board member who was friends with that sisterhood.  She also stresses that they are all also not to attend the upcoming inter-department celebration.  Wendell complains this sounds more like a punishment than a period to rest.

Shepherd tells Kate they deserve an explanation.  But Kate tells them they do, not her.   Natalie rushes after Kate and apologizes for what happened and tells her they need to sort their shit out or someone will get killed.  She tells Natalie however that she's stuck with the Crucible.  Neither of them seem happy about it.

Outside, the Carter group is watching the events.  "Looks like we will finally have a night where you all dress up," he grins.  Wendell and Shepherd shake their heads.  Wendell grabs Fiona's arm to leave and show him how to eat while projected.  She muses that he won't even have to barf it out.  Misha just leaves.  Natalie tells Shepherd he has a serious problem, and he apologizes to her and introduces himself for the first time.  She admits she used to have her own Crucible and had members who are just as frustrating.  But things will get better.

They look at the Ghost Rock.  Neither of them are certain where it came from, but it does look like an Artifact.  Shepherd admits Forebode only showed him a building he has never seen before.  Natalie heads off to visit her kids.  Shepherd heads off with the Rock, hoping to ask Kate about it.  He gets intercepted by a man who claims the higher ups have asked him to claim it from him.  The man tells Shepherd he has clearance to accept it for them.  "The name's Bishop.  Uriah Bishop.  I'll be taking that now please."

Shepherd gives it to him.

The man gives Shepherd a wink.  "I won't tell them you have the other one.  Give Kate a break.  She's been getting a lot of flack already.  And stop looking for me.  You'll be forgetting in five... four... three..."

*

Shepherd blinks his eyes.  Kate is staring at him.
"Yes?  You were standing in front of my door?  Was there something you wanted?"

Shepherd looks around.  He doesn't quite recall what just happened.   There was... no.. it's gone now.












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