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Apr 05, 2020 4:21 PM
Interlude with Fenris, Trevor and Zari back in Eclipse.
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Fenris' telepathy isn't well ranged enough to completely obiviate the use of cellphones and given the circumstances the triplets keep in constant contact with each other through text messages.

And Felix fails to send one. Fenris waits, they already agreed that wasn't enough reason to panic and in fact isn't, they get delayed all the time.

But after enough time has passed Fenris makes a detour to check on Felix personally.

 

 

An open door to a quiet apartment shouldn't be one of the scariest things Fenris has seen in his life.

But here is a door completely open, no sounds coming from the apartment inside despite their plan that they would music as a subtle signal that unfriedly Precogs wouldn't pick up on. And Felix fails to contact him back through either telepathy or telephone.

He doesn't barge in like a heroic idiot, they planned this, Fenris contacts the police, well, he mentally contacts a person in another building who was paid to keep watch.

Fenris waits at one of Felix's neighboors, a pair of nice subs.

Their person contacts the police about the suspicious circumstances at Felix's apartment.

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Zari plugs herself in. Earbuds, three screens, phone buzzing. She's got a web of contacts all over the world, one of them has to be able to shore up her brother's stupid, stupid, stupid, suicidal plan.

 

Messages from precogs -- no one's got much of anything, she can't pull in a long-range remote precog on no notice, they're not seeing Jean showing back up soon. Keep looking, she says, thank you, and updates her list of who owes her favors. (It's shrinking. Jean has called in a lot on this.)

Local news alerts. Twitter feeds. Traffic cameras. Too many to scan through herself; she outsources. Messages back on that. False positives.

News from her contact in the police. Too little, too late, to be any help; she hasn't got as strong a hold on them as she'd like.

 

In the corner of one monitor, a clock counts backwards from 24:00:00.

Every five minutes or so, Zari finds herself unable to read her incoming messages, and reaches up to wipe her eyes.

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The police finally arrives and gets in the apartment, they don't find anything, no signs of struggle, all signs point that Felix opened the door of his own will and then left, either forcibly or voluntarily.

There is now reason to call Trevor and their grandfather and debate what they should do next.

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Trevor contacts Jean's email with the following message: Fenris showed me what you showed him. Contact us and fucking help or I am going to assume that you're involved, get into live on national TV and shout to the entire world to see.

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Of course Zari is checking Jean's emails.

She could just call Trevor back -- she has all of the triplets' phone numbers -- but she has a slightly better-honed sense of what is creepy than Jean does.

This is Zari, Jean's sister, she writes back. Jean went to try to stop the kidnapping. He and Felix both disappeared. I can't locate either, and I am trying. I don't know what happened. Maybe the kidnappers got them. This was not in the plan, and Jean tells me all his plans. I am of course going to continue looking. If you want to work with me, my number is (XXX)-XXX-XXXX.

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Trevor calls, the two of them most absolutely want to work with her or at minimum know everything she knows with the big brother network they got.

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"Hello, Trevor." Zari sounds businesslike, but also quite a lot like she's been crying. "I've got a briefing for you and your brother underway. Can you reach me telepathically from here? If you can, that's the most secure way to establish an encrypted connection, but I can work around it if not."

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"Where are you? Fenris is the one that does telepathy, but he has a range limit."

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Fenris tries to contact Zari anyway, is she a couple of miles away from them?

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Yeah nope she is in D.C. she did not anticipate this being an issue.

Too far. Stand by for contact. By which I mean get a pencil, or a word processor to type in, she tells them, pings a precog/telepath of her acquaintance to alert him, and forms the intention of telling him the key. It's not ideal, but she trusts the guy a reasonable amount, and it's deeply unlikely he's working with the kidnappers in particular.

A couple of minutes later, Trevor hears a voice in his head saying message from Zari Dulac for you, and then reciting the key for him to copy down.

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They follow the instructions, it's not like they have any better option.

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And here is the briefing. Everything Zari's got on the kidnappers -- more negatives than positives, unfortunately -- an explanation of Jean's plan, a summary of various resources she can call in.

"Read through that, let me know when you're up to date," she says, and carries on with her search.

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They both do that and let Zari know when they're finished.

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"Okay. Do we need to do a whole 'no, Jean did not kidnap your brother' thing, or are you willing to just stipulate that for the sake of working with me here." She sounds more tired than hostile.

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"We already talked it over, we're going to work under the premise that Jean did not kidnap him. Trevor promise not to be openly hostile." Fenris says, his voice is completely devoid of emotion.

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"That's fine. I don't need you to be my best friends, I just need to be able to have a productive conversation. Do you have a way set up to contact Felix in emergencies? Some kind of alert he can send? If he's been kidnapped and gets five minutes alone, what is he going to do?"

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"We worked out a few signals, the most unique among them would be trying to use uncontrolled magic but you can see how that would be too dangerous..."

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"Honestly, I think Felix might just... spend those five minutes freaking out."

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Sigh. (How do normal people get through their lives like this?) "Understandably. All right. Who have you contacted about this? I'm trying to manage information flow."

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"Besides the police there is this private security company," Fenris tells her the relevant contact information. "We also told our grandfather, but no one else. Not even Maira."

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"Maira at least is as safe as anyone can be. I've looked into the security measures for control training extensively, and they are very thorough, quite a lot of people have a compelling interest in keeping the source of new eclipsed very very safe."

Typing noises.

"I am for the moment trying to keep the news relatively contained. There's benefits to either approach, but it's easier to switch from keeping it quiet to broadcasting it than vice versa. The chief benefit of keeping it quiet being that the kidnappers are less likely to realize I exist and take further security measures -- or, worse, panic and decide to take out the two chief witnesses. Felix is probably no good to them dead -- unless they're interested in your DNA, which is notably a possibility -- but with the resources these people seem to have, I wouldn't be stunned if they can access a psion who can, oh, wipe the last three years from his memory. Or excise his ability to use language. Or ... I won't go on. Hence keeping it quiet for the moment. Are you on board with that?"

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Shudder. "Yes. We were already expecting that approach and circumstances. Is there anything we could do to help?"

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Yes it is all very horrifying she is intensely distressed she had to watch her brother walk into this with his eyes open and now she's having to work with people who she knows think it's her brother who did it and it is actually really upsetting. She is just functioning through it because her emotions are not the important thing right now, and neither are his.

"Get me a list of anyone who would do you a favor for the asking -- friends, relatives, people you've helped out in the past -- and might be remotely useful. Eclipsed, obviously, but also people in law enforcement, in any kind of communications company, people high up in any company, people respected in their community -- you get the idea. I'm sure you've already considered all the obvious ways to leverage them, but it's possible there's something that combines well with my resources."

"While you're doing that, I'll be refactoring my plans to include you as a resource. -- Oh, I'm sure you're checking for Felix telepathically on a regular basis, but keep doing that, any way we can restrict their movements is more information we have."

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Fenris was planning to check every ten minutes, in practice he has been checking every 30 seconds. The fact that Zari is competent-looking is comforting, but not enough tiven the magnitude of the situation.

"We will, I actually have the list ready - we were pooling our resources since Jean warned us - just wait a second.

Fenris sends her a very well organized and informative spreadsheet.

It should be noted that the triplets' grandfather was a well respected and influential member of the community before his grandchildren eclipsed and has amassed even more influence since, the list of contacts is pretty impressive, more so given the constraint "work under the law". There are definitely interesting ways to combine them.

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Oh good working with competent people is such a pleasure. Would be such a pleasure. If she weren't completely heartbroken.

"All right. Thank you. I'll get my people on integrating this into the search pattern. It should be a substantial improvement."

Deep breath. Typing.

"So, plans ... I've got a couple of options I'm keeping in reserve. One is getting law enforcement and the general public in on it, putting Felix's kidnapping on the news, making it impossible for them to have him in public. At this point I don't think the risk is worth the reward there. Another would be using one of you two as bait for a trap, hoping the kidnappers get greedy. High risk, high reward, don't think it can be set up plausibly yet, and you'd have to be willing, but it's an option to keep in mind."

"More immediately: things for you to do. A list of what exactly both of you can do would be helpful; I have the official version, but if you've been keeping anything up your sleeve, or learned a new trick and not mentioned it anywhere yet, that's important to know. I've got someone making you up a list -- you should receive it any second now -- of people who we think may have been involved. Long shots, mostly, or very peripheral involvement; they've been careful. Look through it, let me know if you've had any interactions with any of them."

"Your biggest advantage is how well you know Felix. Put your heads together, think of anything the three of you share that you wouldn't have mentioned to anything else. Quirks of Felix's, old jokes, that sort of thing. If we can get out a message that looks innocent to anyone else but obvious to him -- if they let him get a snack at a gas station and he always eats the same thing when he's upset -- anything like that. It could make the difference."

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"We would gladly volunteer to a plan that gets Felix home, by default we value his survival higher than our own - that isn't entirely brotherly affection, we are prioritizing him managing immortality and ressurection."

Fenris thinks about it for a moment before telling her the next bit.

"This isn't all that tactically relevant, but we have been noticing a few differences in our... power levels as compared to other Eclipsed - I'll sending you an e-mail with the details - but the gist of it is that in the counterfactual predicted world we had a pretty destructive eclipse despite the fact that we did fast. And later when I compared the experience with others our fasting didn't feel that extreme, but we dismissed it until Maira eclipsed and then started looking for answers that is when we read about the official report on our prediction, I guess people just assumed we lied about feasting or that having three eclipsed in the same place was just extra bad. Relevantly, if the kidnappers try to keep Felix hungry they might overestimate what he needs to eat."

"On top of that - we have been noticing some of our powers developing differently and decided not to go public about them yet. Trevor can store electricity instead of just generating it. Felix has a limited ability to boost his own regeneration that requires active concentration and has some talent at creating semi-controlled bursts of fire. The range of my telepathy is 20% longer than we advertised and I'm some sort of weird prodigy at sleepnessless - I only need to sleep four hours every night."

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