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Fandom Into the fire (1x1 MzHyde/Gallifrog)

Sub Genres
Action, Magical

Gallifrog

Symbolic Animal of Gallifrey
To anybody but their group, Jay's theories would have sounded like deranged rambling, but John, Cal, Cliff, Elliott, Chas and Fia had seem all kinds of things in their lives and had learned that even the most crazy theories could turn out to be right. The idea that the ancient phoenix language and Jay's planets ancient language could be one and the same utterly boggled John's mind. If that was the case, then which came first? He suspected it would be the phoenix language that was older as, according to lore, the phoenix was one of the most ancient races to exist. And if the languages were similar, then what else did the the planet and the phoenix race share with other? Was Jay right in saying there could be a deeper connection between her and phoenix race? If so what? And if there was any form of connection how did Jay's destroyed birth planet fit into the divine, demonic and mortal world order?

The frustrated edge in Jay's tone was unmistakable, having moved her annoyance away from who she believed the spook to be and towards the mysterious message. Whoever planted it couldn't have made it more tailored to grab her attention if they'd written it fifty foot high flaming letters. At Fia's tirade of questions Elliott stepped forwards "I think it's easier to show you" he replied, at the same time as Jay replied with "don't ask me about the why of it all, I was only there to read their futures using the Isogrii deck because Elliott called the favour that I owed him." Elliott carefully placed the tips of two of his fingers against Fia's forehead and pushed his memories of the MindWalk into her mind. He sped them up considerably so that Fia could get the gist of the MindWalk and the landscape in which it took place, without having to go through it real time. He also added in the memory in which John told him why he wanted Elliott to MindWalk them through this particular memory/weird lucid dream of Kay's.

Once he was finished showing her, he removed his fingers from Fia's forehead, his eyes fading back to his usual Devra gold. He stepped back to beside Jay, who had crossed her arms and was waiting for Elliott to finish, grateful that he'd decided to step in and explain. John was also relieved, knowing if he tried to explain he'd probably bollocks up the explanation. "As for going back, the faster the better, I need to ring Dakkon and get him to either prove or dismiss my suspicions. I really hope it's the later" she paused momentarily, before focusing her gaze firmly on Fia "for your brother's sake." She then began walking, with far more urgency than their earlier meandering pace.
 

MzHyde

'Flamebird'
Fia didn't want to be spewing a tirade of questions at Jay but she honestly felt like Jay and the others left her literally no other choice but to be a waterfall of questions. She nodded her permission to let Elliott just show her what Kay's mind walk was all about as Jay spoke to her even more. When Jay had finished talking she let Elliott give her a sped up run down of what happened, seeing for herself Ell, Jay, John and Kay all arriving at what she recognised as Paradise, the home of the phoenix. She saw them all walking through a gap in greenery before finding a completely underground area that looked like it was held for meetings or religious activities. She saw the runes and murals of the phoenix kind on the walls, she saw the runes Jay was mentioning as well as Kay seeking answers on the walls before coming across seemingly faint and John grabbing her before she fell. She felt Kay's yearning for needing answers about who she was and who her mother was before coming back to reality. It was a lot to take in but she tried her hardest to digest it all.

She then looked at John, then Elliott then finally Jay, her gaze to each of them conveying many things from 'I'm glad you were there for mum' to 'thanks for filling me in'. She let Jay speak, glad that she was agreeing that they needed to get home, even if it was different reasons to her own. Her final words 'for the sake of your brother' hit Fia like a ton of bricks falling ontop of her making her feel like she was frozen in place for a split moment before she managed to start walking with everyone, but her natural unconscious mind making her drift and stay close to Elliott, grabbing for his hand in an insecure 'I need my big brother' manner. Her mind telling her if she was holding onto him she wouldn't lose him.

Back at the apartment Kay was still making the most of the opportunity to do the drawing she was working on, knowing its a piece that will take hours if she wanted it perfect, but something in the back of her mind that wasn't Fee was telling her something wasn't right. She found herself glancing back at the apartment door hoping that nothing had happened to the group as her gut feeling was telling her something had gone down in some shape or form. "please be okay guys" she muttered to herself. Little did she know that gut feeling was a faint link to Fia's own worries.
 

Gallifrog

Symbolic Animal of Gallifrey
Jay's final words of 'for your brother's sake' had the desired effect, shutting Fia up. Usually Jay would have been more patient with the others, particularly the remaining teenager and would have been able to better answer (or better evade) the questions, but right now her mind was really not focused on that. The fact that it also stunned John and Cal into being quiet was a bonus. Part of her was aware that the words were a low blow, and that saying 'fuck off' would have been a nicer way to convey her point, not to mention a lot less hurtful to had no doubt hurt Elliott.But Jay was too busy going over everything in her head, too busy trying to find a way to prove her hypothesis wrong, to take back her words and phrase them more nicely.

Jay's words had sparked off Elliott's long lists of fears for the future and 'what if?' questions about his death. Fia grabbing his hand like a little kid and John walking right beside him, so close that their shoulders were in almost continuous contact, provided him some sort of comfort. The set of Jay's shoulders and the way her jaw was clenched made it quiet clear that until she spoke to Dakkon, nobody would be able to get a proper answer from her. Cliff had grabbed Cal's hand and was rubbing it soothingly with her thumb as they speed-walked back to the apartment. Chas was on his own, just letting his thoughts swirl, it had been him who'd sparked this revelation and although it was illogical, he felt responsible for the heavy mood that had settled over the group. if he'd phrased his words differently they'd still be happy, joking and coming down from a high after what had been a very enjoyable night.

They arrived back at the apartment just under ten minutes later, Jay grabbing her phone and making a bee-line to the roof, barely even acknowledging that Kay was there. Had they arrived back under better circumstances, somebody would have made a comment (most definitely of praise and awe) about Kay's gothic-style drawing, but due to everybody generally being on edge, nobody did initially. Instead of a greeting John gave the briefest explanation possible "Jay thinks she knows who the spook is, buuuuut she won't tell us. Yet." Cliff on the other hand made a beeline for the first aid kit. Even though all their injuries were mere scrapes and bruises, the doctor in her wouldn't but happy unless all wounds were sterilised.
 

MzHyde

'Flamebird'
Fia hated when Jay got this vicious with her words as she knew it wasn't just hurting her, but also Elliott and John, and now Cal could be added to that list. She refused to let go of Elliott's hand the whole speed walk back, even if she said nothing, she didn't want to let go. She also had a feeling that depending on how the talk with Dakkon went, she probably wouldn't be able to sleep alone either, which would mean she would no doubt end up sleeping in the living room with Elliott, her protective and scared sides not allowing her to do anything else. She also found herself thinking about how Chas must be feeling right now as Jay made it very clear that it was his words that spurred this whole change of mood. That was a massive blow to take and she knew Chas well enough to know even though it wasn't his fault in the slightest, he'd feel like it was.

Finally back at the apartment, she felt like shit still and didn't leave Elliott's side at all, not even to properly say hi to Kay. If her relationship was even better than it was for her and if it was any other situation, she probably would have run to Kay and curled up into her side, but this wasn't one of those situations and she wouldn't even cling to John. She just wanted to be with her brother and no one else. She let John explain what had happened in the briefest manner possible as Kay gave them all the 'what the Hell's has happened?' look. "and that clearly isn't sitting well with any of you" Kay summarised, Fia shaking her head in response. She noticed how Cliff grabbed the first aid kit for all their scrapes, knowing if it wasn't for the bombshell that John dropped she probably would have asked what the hell happened to them all, particularly noticing Fia's face scrapes and bashes on Elliott. "I thought something was up, I just felt it" Kay remarked. "Jay is going to try and confirm her suspicions with Dakkon now" Fia mumbled in reply whilst ogling at Kay's sketch that Kay had now put down on her lap.
 

Gallifrog

Symbolic Animal of Gallifrey
There were various nods at Kay's assumption that Jay's revelation wasn't sitting well with anybody. "That's a complete understatement." John replied while Elliott sighed "when she gets like that, it's never good news. Doesn't help that if she's right, I'm apparently going to be the one worst affected by his identity." Elliott couldn't keep the 'I have no clue what the fuck is going on' and 'why the fuck is it always me?' edges from his tone, not did he want to. As much as Jay's words had stung, the fact that she wasn't telling him or anybody else anything hurt even more. He didn't like being kept in the dark any more than Fia, John, Kay (or any of the others for that matter) did. Matters were further worsened by the fact that all he could think about was the possibility that each day he could be edging ever closer to his death and had no idea how to stop it, nor how to say goodbye and prevent John and Jay from going off the rails and shattering their group.

John raised an eyebrow when Kay said she'd sensed that something was wrong before they'd arrived back, wondering for a moment if she might be some kind of empath on top of being a phoenix, before remembering about the bond. he had no idea how strongly he was transmitting his cloud of emotions (if at all), but what he did know was that despite being out of time, Fia's bond to her mother was more reliable and more developed than his bond with Kay. Judging how Fia had been clinging to Elliott like a little sister limpet, it was more than likely her emotions that Kay had felt. "That was probably the bond" he replied, pulling Elliott closer to him, and as Fia was still holding on to him, John also ended up pulling her towards him.

While waiting for Jay to come back Cliff cleaned her wounds before tending to Cal's. Cal was more than able to do it herself, but she knew that using her medical skills would help but Cliff more at ease. Elliott after a minute or so reached over and grabbed an antiseptic wipe and began tending to the scrape on his body. When they were all sufficiently clean he began to do his nails, using the wipe to remove the dirt underneath them. Almost ten minutes had passed before Jay returned, it had taken less than a minute to verify her theory, the rest of the time had been spent pressing Dakkon for information, then wondering how the hell she was supposed to break the news. In the end she decided to just be blunt about it. She swung back into the kitchen, squaring her shoulders as all eyes fell on her, all displaying various expressions ranging from anger, tiredness, plain confused, impatience, hurt, all with a lump of curiosity thrown in. "Bad news, I was right. Either I can tell you who it is now, and be unable to answer any further questions. OR we can all go to the spook's base of operations and demand answers from him with a vengeance because some of us have an indisputable right to them."
 

MzHyde

'Flamebird'
As Elliott said he seemed yet again to be the centre of it, her eyes conveyed a large amount of sympathy toward him. She knew what it was like to feel like the world was completely against her and that it seemed she just couldn't catch a break in the slightest, no matter how hard she tried so she could easily imagine how much being left in the dark by Jay of all people would hurt Elliott to no end. The raised eyebrow from John didn't go amiss either when she said she felt like something wasn't right, nodding at his guess, "would make sense if it was" she replied to him, seeing how pulling his adoptive son toward him was also dragging Fia toward him also. If this was under any other circumstance, she would have gone as far as to think it wad quite the sight that he had both of his kids with him, but with the bombshell being dropped, it was the furthest from her mind.

Fia refused to budge when John pulled Elliott closer to him, just as she didn't say much more on the subject matter, only patiently waiting to be able to clean herself up with an antiseptic wipe before curling up yet again on Elliott. She was terrified that Jay would come back and confirm her theory, which would bring her brother closer to death. She wouldn't know what she would do if he died, when she's only ever known a life with him in it. So when Jay did eventually come back and she instantly looked at the woman and waited. She could tell that she was wondering how to break the news to them all, before deciding to be blunt, her worries coming true in the process. At the two options being giving she knew what her answer was going to be, so she just said it. "I'm going where Ell is and no one can convince me otherwise" she said sternly, making it clear that she would only stay put if Elliott decided to and if he was wanting to go to get answers, then she was going also. She was damn sure that if any of them wanted differently, they'd have to physically lock her in a room with no way out to stop her. "well if you lot go to get answers, I'm not remaining behind this time. I'll go crazy with concern if I am, but it's also incredibly clear just Joe tired you all are from the game" Kay spoke up.
 

Gallifrog

Symbolic Animal of Gallifrey
Elliott knew as soon as Jay came back that it was bad news. Her whole body was screaming reluctance to repeat what she'd learned from Dakkon. But in typical Jay fashion she ploughed ahead anyway, she'd said she'd tell them and Jay was nothing but a woman of her word. John let out a sigh of "christ!" while Elliott ran both his hands through his hair and sighed, pondering what the Hells his next move was going to be. It was extremely clear to him that Jay did not want to be the one to tell him who the spook really was and that she was deeply worried about how he'd take the answer. John knew what he would do if he was in Elliott's shoes and had no qualms with voicing his opinion. "Well I want some bloody answers, and if it means going to wherever this person is then I'm in." Like Fia he was going where Elliott was and nothing or nobody could convince him otherwise. Elliott was his kid goddamit and John did not want to see him more hurt than he'd already been.

"Well wherever my brother is going, I'm going too." Cal declared, she'd missed being there for him for almost half life, she wasn't going to let him do this alone. "And where Cal goes, I go." Cliff added. "Besides, we NEED answers and if this person can provide them, then it's something we've got to do." "Agreed, there's too much at stake here not to. And as always, I'm with Ell and will go with his decision." Elliott was silenced briefly by both the the outpouring of support and declarations that everybody in the room would back him, as well as making sure he didn't have to do this alone. He gave a ghost of a smile before nodding. "So what's the address?" he asked. Wordlessly Jay stepped forwards and handed over a piece of paper. Elliott's eyebrows drew together as he looked at it. "Cal, Cliff, either of you know where this place is?"

The two women scrutinised the paper. "Yeah, I do. It's not that far from here, couple of minutes walk?" she turned to Cliff who nodded in agreement."It's one of those blocks of apartments that houses visiting military personnel, those who are here on mid-length postings and either do not want, cannot get or are not entitled to base accommodation. there's all types there, coming and going at all hours, a good choice for a base of accommodation for a spy." "Then I say we go there and get some answers." Elliott wanted all this confusion to be over, and he rationalised that even if Jay did just tell them straight off the bat, she didn't know the rest of the spook's life story, so they'd no doubt end up going over to this apartment anyway to get answers. "Well that's that decided then. Let's go get some answers." Jay declared.
 

MzHyde

'Flamebird'
As everyone was deciding and declaring that they were wanting to go pay this spook a visit, Kay wasted no time in grabbing her boots and pulling them on, showing that she meant it when she said she was not being left behind yet again. She kept her ears on the conversation though, hearing that there wasn't a single one of them that wanted to remain behind or leave it until the morning or whenever they could next go seek out this spook. As they discussed the address, she got herself up and grabbed her winter coat from the bedroom, soon enough reemerging with her putting it on and zipping it right up as Elliott said what he did about going to this location in question. She nodded in agreement at Jay's declaration, as she watched the likes of Fia get up, put her coat back on and wait for everyone else to get up. "let's get this done. This spook better give us suitable answers" Fia said, wanting answers that would make sense and be considered valid. She didn't want to hear anymore vague answers that skirted round the questions, she was done being left in the dark and if that pressing this guy constsntly until answers were had, then she could do it.

Kay could see the determination in all of their eyes when it came to wanting answers. There was no doubt that Fia wasn't the only one now done with all of the vagueness and being on the edge of information but not fully enlightened with anything solid. She wanted answers too, as like she once said to John on the ship flying to Attil, she was going to consider Elliott her own family if he was John's son. They were a group and family to her and that meant she would fight and stand by them both until her dying breath. She also could see how much wanting to help Elliott was important to Fia, seeing that her brother meant the utter world to her, so that instantly and just solidified that she would do anything for both of them, even if it meant turning into a crazy mother on a warpath, she would do it to keep Elliott and Fia safe. "let's stop dithering about then and get moving" Kay spoke, shoving her hands in her coat pockets.
 

Gallifrog

Symbolic Animal of Gallifrey
Cliff was the only one from their group who didn't bother with putting on a coat, these kind of cold, clear, crisp nights were the one she loved and as a cryokinetic they really didn't bother. John on the other hand wouldn't even consider leaving flat without his coat. Even in scorching heat or humid muggy weather he would wear the coat, no matter how uncomfortable it got. The coat was a part of who he was, he'd build his whole image as the Hellblazer around that coat and the distinctive silhouette it gave him when lit by cigarette or hands were on fire. Right now he meant business, so the coat was almost like his armour, swinging it on in a completely over dramatic way helped him to get in the right mindset for what they were going to find out. Jay took two handguns with her, smoothly inserting a full round of bullets into each one before holstering them, the first on her right hip and the second in the holster at the small of her back. Seeing Jay prep her weapons with the ruthless smoothness of a trained professional, it didn't exactly instil Elliott with great faith in whoever it was they were about to meet.

As Cal had said earlier, the apartment block in question was barely more than a three minute walk from the one she and Cliff lived in (though in the opposite direction to the forge). It was disconcerting and slightly disturbing for both her and Cliff to know that they'd been living so close to this spook and had never realised it. Cliff couldn't help but think back to that day she'd been positive they were being followed. Could that have been the spook? Or was it somebody else entirely. The block was six stories tall, but they only needed to go as far as the first floor (the ideal floor for escaping out of the window of, Jay wryly noted to herself). The inside of the block was more spartan than that of Cal and Cliff's building which had a surprisingly bright colour palette on the walls as well as some very nice wood used on the stairwell banisters and apartment doors. This building however favoured monochrome colours, concrete surfaces and exposed pipework. Jay gave the floor plan on the wall the briefest look before heading down the left-hand corridor.

Once she reached the correct door she stopped and pulled out the handgun from her hip holster and checked the safety. Seeing the wide-eyed looks of the others and the 'is she going to shoot the spook!?' expression of Cal and Cliff's faces, she rolled her eyes. "Relax, I'm not gonna shoot him" she told them. "Safety's on on this thing anyway, I just need to provoke him so that he breaks character." Jay was firmly of the opinion that unless the man behind the door displayed some form of skills, nobody would believe her and the spook would be able to turn the others against her, branding her a liar or at the very least make them all distrustful of her. With that she rapped on the door of the apartment and waited, gun concealed behind her back.

When the door did open, Jay drew the handgun and levelled it right at his forehead. "I know who you really are and WHAT you really are" she said in Attili. "The boss sends his regards you traitorous grass." What happened next happened in a blur of motion; without warning the man grabbed the barrel of Jay's gun with his free hand (the other one was holding a blade), and wrenched it in a circular motion- the kind of motion that would have broken the fingers of somebody without Jay's training. Jay wasted no time in pulling out her second handgun. What followed was a brief fluid exchange of blows and weapons that ended up with one gun skittering across the floor, the other gun pointed at Jay's skull and the knife pressed right against man's throat. Now that he was in the light it was perfectly clear who he was. The man who Jay was holding a knife to the throat of was none other than Zan- Elliott and Cal's birth father.
 

MzHyde

'Flamebird'
Seeing Jay kit herself up with weapons made Fia wonder what exactly she was expecting them all to be walking into. It also made her want to kit up with her blade but decided against it and to leave any fighting with weaponry to Jay and Jay alone. What she and Kay both knew was that if Jay thought this was required, then this was serious and they had to be on their toes and fully focused and prepared for just about anything. With both their coats on, they both left with the others to the three minute walk to the residence of the spook in question. Cliff wasn't the only one who was wondering if this was the same person who they were convinced was following them, Fia was getting those thoughts also now she was seeing the route to the spook for herself. Reaching the building Fia and Kay both took in the appearance of the place, noting Joe stories it clearly was as well exposed pipes and barren look of the place. They noted instantly how much of a contrast it was to Cal and Cliff's place, as well as how they only needed to go onto the the first floor.

Cal and Cliff wasn't the only looking a little surprised and on edge when Jay pulled out her handgun and checked it over. Kay was also having a similar look to Cal over this, whilst Fia was just looking on surprised but feeling that adrenaline fuelled support and understanding in Jay's actions. They stayed behind her as they waited until the door opened, still unable to fully make out who this spook was, but was not expecting a full blown fight to break out between them and Jay in quite this manner. With the fight pausing and the spook coming into some sort of light, the face they saw was not one they ever would have figured out or guessed. They didn't know who they could have guessed, considering neither of them knew many people at all on Attil, but Zan was not on that list, that much they knew for certain. Both of them going wide eyed seeing him with Jay's blade to his throat and him with a gun to her. "you're the spook?!" they both couldn't help say in unison as they tried to comprehend what they were seeing.
 

Gallifrog

Symbolic Animal of Gallifrey
John didn't pass any comment on the differences in interior design between Cal and Cliff's apartment block and this military building they were in. Even if he hadn't been told beforehand that this block was one catering for military personnel, the spartan, almost industrial decor was a dead give-away. He'd been in three or four military facilities in his time, (which belonged to ARGUS) and they all shared this pared back, industrial style. Military people were used to roughing it and it no doubt not bothering with such frivolities as cheerful colours, smooth plaster work, pot plants and doors that were actually aesthetically pleasing saved the military a hell of a lot of money. Elliott's eyebrows rose when Jay pulled out the gun and cocked it, and for the briefest moment he did wonder if Jay had been lying to them and had been actually been ordered by Dakkon to take this man out. But then his rational side kicked in, reminding him that if this was the case then she wouldn't have brought them along as an audience to witness his execution. No doubt she'd have instead just snuck out at night without anybody noticing and carried out her dirty work. He believed Jay's explanation, but that didn't stop him from tensing up as he she stepped forwards to knock on the apartment door.

Even though Jay had said she wanted to provoke the spook nobody was quite expecting the fight between them to be so fast and so silent. This was a man with training, of that there was no doubt and Elliott couldn't help but wince slightly at how close Jay had come to having her fingers smashed. He recognised the move, Jay had relented and agreed to teach it to him back on Earth, but it was deceptively harder than it looked (mostly because he had to overcome the 'why the Hells am I grabbing at the barrel of a loaded gun?' reaction). But when the fight reached a stalemate and the two figures stopped moving, weapons pointed right at a spot on the other where one false move could result in death, all the blood drained from his face and making an indiscernible noise of shock. Cal's reaction was identical, both going pale, making a noise of shocked annoyance and confusion, before falling and speechless as she (and Elliott) tried to comprehend the sight in front of them. This man, their father, was a spy of the highest level, and had been their entire life. Not only had he lied to them about who he was and where he was from, but now it seemed he'd been lying to them about what he was. Even though he'd been on their minds a lot more than usual, neither of them had even considered the possibility that he was the spook.

John's jaw well and truly dropped when he saw who was holding the gun to Jay's head. Of all the people he knew on Attil, it had never crossed his mind that Zan and the spook could be one and the same. Jay's earlier words suddenly made a hell of a lot of sense. the man now unflinchingly holding a gun to Jay's head was the same man whose face and actions had tormented Elliott's life for years. "You've got to be fucking kidding me!" he almost growled out, glaring at the man. This was going to make things so bloody complicated and send both Cal and Elliott into a massive spiral of questioning everything they'd ever known. Yet again Zan was fucking over the life of his son and Cal. Chas also said nothing, rooted to the spot in shock, unable to believe this was happening, yet knowing it was and was completely true.
choice of words of Jay. At the sound of voices Zan's eyes flicked sideways and knowing the game was well and truly up, took a step back and removed the gun from Jay's head. The assassin did the same, then both, neither exactly trusting the other, but wanting their own weapon back, held out the gun and the knife in a neutral open palm so the other could take it. "Unfortunately yes." Zan replied, in English (accented but understandable) his knife now back in his hand. "But no need to announce it to the entire block. Best to do it in the flat." Without waiting for a reply he headed back in, leaving the door open behind him.

The inside of the apartment was far smaller than that of Cal and Cliff's, containing only three rooms; a bedroom, a bathroom and one open plane space containing kitchen, eating space and a living space. It's walls were rough concrete, just like everywhere else in the building. But it's size wasn't what made Cal and Elliott gasp in shock when they entered. That honour went to the walls, they were covered in an intricate web of photographs, newspaper clippings, and photocopied document snippets all connected by various colours of strings and pieces of note paper with labels written in Attili. It looked exactly like the stereotypical crime board used on shows about private detectives, except massively scaled up to the point that it dominated entirety of two of the walls. All the additional furniture had been pushed right up against the back wall to make room for a vast pile of paper documents, file boxes marked 'classified' and files in slip cases (similar to the ones that had been anonymously deposited in Cal and Cliff's pigeonhole) and an array of various tech, including the necessary kit to have a holographic meeting. In one corner of the room there was a selection of military uniforms, other official clothing and motorbike leathers hanging from hooks on the wall, and next to that a variety of wigs, including one in vibrant pink. There were signs that more one person lived there, the clothes and shoes were different sizes and there was more than one handwriting style on the notes on the wall. None of them were there however, the only other living thing in the apartment was a calico cat. It was sitting on an old battered brown leather jacket on the couch and gave the new arrivals a look of blatant disapproval before curling back into a ball and proceeding to ignore them.
 

MzHyde

'Flamebird'
The moment John practically growled his reaction after practicslly picking his jaw off the floor, Kay could completely understand why his reaction was as such, but she also hoped he wouldn't completely lose his cool anymore and do something utterly stupid. She knew just as much as Elliott, Jay, Chas and Fia did how much he'd love nothing more than to give Zan a proper piece of his mind and fists, but she hoped he'd keep himself as composed as possible even if it meant they all clubbed together to hold him back. Fia had more of her focus on not only Zan, but on Elliott as well, her body and mind instantly going into a 'be ready for anything' mode even more so than before. Both of them easily imagining what this revelation was doing to the siblings, their minds rushing at a million miles an hour before they looked back at Zan as he spoke in English at them all, even if it was heavily accented. They all walked into his apartment when he let them do so, them both making sure to scrutinise every single little knook and cranny of the apartment and what he had laying around. The clothing and various wigs including the neon pink one not going amiss on either of them, and Fia even noticing the cat looking less than pleased that they were disturbed from their sleep on the leather jacket.

Kay made more of an effort to notice all the boxes of files and folders, noticing some of them saying classified in bright red ink. She then looked back at Zan, as did Fia, both having the look that said 'you have ALOT of explaining to do and you better start now'. Fia crossing her arms across her chest, bending one leg ever so slightly outward in her usual 'I'm pissed off and want answers for my brother' manner, even though for the sake of keeping her time travelling antics a secret, it came across more of 'you owe Elliott and Cal answers and we're not leaving until we get them' to Zan. Kay still had her hands in her coat pockets, but her face said a thousand words and if looks could kill, hers could certainly leave someone incapacitated for a while. It took all of her strength not to let Fee wake up and show herself in her eyes, as she got incredibly protective over Cal and Elliott, her hormones from her pregnancy running her emotions in this moment. "you better start talking and explaining all of this" Fia had to speak up, using one hand to gesture at everything around them, as she too used all her will to not let her phoenix fire hot headed self take over.
 

Gallifrog

Symbolic Animal of Gallifrey
The accented English was a surprise, but given that they'd just learned Zan was the spook, it barely registered on anybody's radar. Jay was the last to enter the apartment, picking up her second pistol, checking the safety was still on before shoving it back in the holster. She hadn't been been expecting Zan to be quite so good a fighter, she was actually pretty impressed by the skills he's shown and the silent manner in which he fought, not that she would ever say that. As much as she didn't like, let alone trust Zan, he made a valid point, this wasn't something you just discussed in a corridor. She shut the door of the apartment behind her, before taking in her surroundings. The sheer volume of files, equipment and clippings and the giant crime-web across the walls told her that this place had been a base of operations for quite a while and that there was something really serious going on. There was clearly some big, overarching picture being shown on the wall, but right now Jay didn't have the foggiest what it was. One thing she did know was that whatever it was, it was more than just your basic recon mission, this was the kind of information and precision you'd need to take down a government.

Jay walked across the room positioning herself between Elliott and Cal and joining in with the combined glaring, her gaze saying 'I can and I will hurt you, what you saw outside? That's nothing compared to what I can actually do.' At the same time she pushed up the sleeves of her jackets, revealing the warrior marks along her forearms. John's look was threatening all kinds of grisly murder if they didn't get satisfactory answers, and the fact that he so dearly wanted to punch Zan in the face was written loud and clear in his body language. John;s hands were deep in his trench coat pockets, though that did nothing to disguise the fact that his hands were balled into fists. Cal was physically fuming, like Kay she was wrestling with her emotions and trying not to burst into flames. Cliff knew her wife was just one step away from starting to physically smoke, she could feel her wife's anger through their driadic bond. She could also feel just how much this was affecting Cal, she couldn't cope with this extent of lying, of knowing everything she'd known to be true was just a illusion. Some of Cliff's worry steeped into her glare, but that only emphasised it, making it clear that if Cal got hurt too much, she'd be all to happy to disobey her vow of do no harm.

The apartment was designed for a maximum of people and even with all the furniture piled up on top of itself at to one side of the room having all nine of them in it was a squeeze. Even so Zan had managed to position himself as far away from the group as physically possible, one biker-boot clad foot against the wall, arms crossed over his chest. Even with everybody glaring various kinds of murder and bodily harm at him, he didn't duck from their glare. If he was surprised by Fia speaking up first, it didn't show. "Yeah, what the" Cal unleashed a torrent on Attili curse words, some Elliott had never even heard before. "I want answers. How much of what you said previously was a lie? And yes, they" she flicked a hand in the direction of the rest of the others in group "know about that."

"None of it." Zan too wasn't insulted that they'd think the story of witness protection, pissed off mobsters and a bullet through the chest was a lie. It was a reasonable assumption that what he'd said was a cover story given that he was a spy."All that happened, it's what happened between testifying and being enrolled in the university here that I didn't tell." There was a silence, everybody's faces unreadable. "What happened was that I went into the Attilian army. Not my smartest idea especially with the trauma, but I'm not exactly renowned for good life decisions" he shrugged as he continued. "With no money, no family, no qualifications of any kind, it was the only option outside of turning to crime of prostitution. I did four months, hated it all and didn't bother to hide that I did. Which just made the T.O.s treat me even more like shit, which made me hate it even more and the circle continues. Then one day I get pulled from a training exercise by a lizardkin who scared the shit out even the most hard-arsed T.O.s. Dakkon told me they knew exactly who I really was, who I'd pissed off and gave me a choice. Either I become a spook and surrender my entire life to them so that they can use me as their pawn and have me weasel my way into the highest echelons of the government or I get left to rot in the military for the rest of my life. So I agreed, went through the very basics of spooks training, some kind of accelerated course and then was implanted in the university here on Attil, instructed to stir up as much shit as possible by being as politically vocal as possible. Those bastards always recruit college kids." Up until then he'd been telling the story plainly, with the exception of his self depreciating remark about making awful life decisions, but when he spoke of politicians there was a genuine fury in his voice, one that matched the fury directed towards him earlier.

"Well the plan worked a treat, I was ideal bait, even more so when they paired me up with another junior spook who they'd also plucked out of the armed forces, though she was navy, as opposed to army." Cal and Elliott, who'd just got their colour back paled again. Elliott opened his mouth, going to speak, but found himself unable to. Zan knew what he meant anyway and nodded, his tone now quieter and softer "yes, unfortunately your mother was also a spook, though that's another story with an unhappy ending. I got offered the political position took it, climbed through the ranks, got married, climbed through more ranks, had you two, climbed yet more ranks, then when you" he uncrossed his arms and indicated Elliott "were six and you" he looked directly at Cal "were ten I went on a 'business trip' abroad for two weeks." The airquotes gesture and the omnious look on his face made it quite clear, it wasn't a business trip. "Or at least I thought it was a business trip. It was actually an excuse to brainwash the shit out of me. Fiddling with my neural implants, psychics, neuro-manipulators..." a pause "MindWalkers. Anybody who can majorly fuck with your head and brainwash you into somebody different that you can think of, I've had in mine at some point. And they did a bloody good job of it too, it was an incremental thing, not an overnight personality swap. I'm guessing there were triggers buried in my mind and as the months and years passed they slowly activated. And by the time a rat was smelled it was too late." "Follow that up with three years of reprogramming, rebuilding my mind from scratch, constant psych evaluations, a suicide attempt and a shifter who took my place so that nobody would know I was gone. And after that came this" he gestured at the crime board covering the walls "the long game seeking revenge."
 

MzHyde

'Flamebird'
Fia and Kay remained close to Elliott and John as they all stared Zan down, demanding answers. Fia couldn't work out if her being the one to first say anything surprised him or not as he just wasn't readable in the slightest, but she had a feeling she wouldn't have been anyone's first guess for being the first to speak. She knew being the youngest out of the group that she'd be the least likely to have spoken out first, but she didn't care. Her protective nature toward Elliott and Cal was taken over her and she wasn't going to just wait for anyone else to speak up. Like Jay, it was clear as day to her that this crime board had been compiled together for a very long time and not an overnight job. She'd seen overnight crime boards be made, Hell's, she'd made her own on pin boards that she could hide herself and this one in front of her was next level. The size of the apartment didn't intimidate her either, only making her think instead that it meant it'd be hard for anyone to start a massive group fight and would probably help them all remain as calm as possible.

Both her and Kay, listened as Cal demanded to know what was a lie and what was the truth from Zan before listening to Zan's answer and long story. Both took real effort to listen to his tone and note his body language to see if they could even remotely pick a point where he would be lying, but as he kept talking, they saw no evidence of a lie being said. Neither thought he had an easy life, far from it in fact. If this was entirely the tulruth which they had no reason to think otherwise, after all it did match up to what Dakkon had told them back when they only knew of another spook and not the identity. They raised an eyebrow when it came out that even Elliott and Cal's mother was also a spook, making it possibly then that they met. When he spoke so ill of MindWalkers because of MindWalkers being involved in his brainwashing, Fia gritted her teeth tightly together as she knew it was so wrong to tarnish all MindWalkers with the same brush. She wasn't so naiive to ignore the fact it wasn't just MindWalkers he spoke of, but because of Elliott's gift, she took it personally as she knew Elliott would never use it for such a disgusting reason.

"so what you did to Ell when he was a kid? What you gonna blame for that? The brainwashing or your real feelings about things?" Fia sneered, unable to help herself and stop herself from asking. She knew she probably should have left the questioning to the others, but like hell she was actually going to stand by and do that. It was also the first question that came to her mind after his long story, wanting to know the truth of where his mind was at when that happened, as well as getting an idea of the timeline for everything.
 

Gallifrog

Symbolic Animal of Gallifrey
Cal's eyebrow flicked upwards when Zan mentioned the army, but that was the only outwards reaction she gave. She did not have him pegged as the military type, so it was a strange relief in a way to hear him say that he hated it, at least there was something she thought about him that was right. Hearing about Dakkon's recruitment scheme left an uneasy atmosphere in the room. There clearly was no choice in the matter, he would have become a spook regardless, but they all couldn't help but think that if he'd made a different choice that day then none of this would have happened and they wouldn't be having this incredibly awkward and emotionally wrenching conversations right now. (Cal and Elliott probably also wouldn't exist, but that was besides the point). The biggest surprise without a doubt was that Cal and Elliott's mother had also been a spook and had a similar backstory to him, the siblings unconsciously shifted closer together when they heard that news. They didn't just have one parent who'd lied to them their whole lives they had two. And one of them wasn't even bothering to show up and explain themselves like Zan was (now matter how reluctantly he was saying all this, he was still saying it). Since Elliott came back they had heard nothing from their birth mother and Cal hadn't seen her for almost a decade. The way Zan specified it was another story with an unhappy ending made them glance at one another, both thinking the same thing 'is she dead?'

There was a minute change in Zan when he started talking about the brainwashing, he seemed to slump in on himself slightly, the way somebody did when they were really sick of thinking about something that had hurt them right down to their soul. But it was the pause before he said MindWalker that spoke volumes, while Fia and most of the others interpreted it as a hatred of them as a whole, Cliff and Chas saw something different- fear. What they'd done to him had taken three years to undo. Cliff's specialist area was trauma victims, but she'd only seen one person who'd had their mind completely destroyed and rewired by a MindWalker and she hadn't been able to get the image and sounds out of her head for weeks. This patient's mind had been decimated by the MindWalker, to the extent that something inside them flipped and they went on a killing spree. Most who'd had their minds so thoroughly raped by Mindwalkers of malicious intent committed suicide. All she could think was that Zan had been one of the lucky ones, even if it had taken three years, he'd come through it alive and functioning, so many others hadn't.

But before anybody else had a chance to ask a question, Fia sneered her remark, showing a cold and callous side to her that none of them had seen before. At the sound of Fia's voice the cat woke up and hissed loudly in the teenager's direction, making it abundantly clear whose side it was on. There was a brief flick of motion in Zan's eyes that could have been him rolling them. After saying something to the cat to settle it down, speaking in a language they didn't know, he switched back to English. "Ignore her, she's just annoyed that there's a canine in her apartment half the time." He then shifted position slightly and answered Fia's question. "I'd put the blame on the brainwashing and the fact that I lacked the mental strength to fight it, always have, side effect of the kind of eidetic memory I have, I can't build mental defences. That wasn't me those five years, that was some puppet. The whole point of the brainwashing and the programming was to kill him and do it publicly. They saw him as a threat back, which was bullshit as he'd barely even come into his powers. As for my personal opinions?" He shrugged. "Well they don't count for shit really. Doesn't matter that I grew up on a planet where magic is legal, and mostly accepted. Doesn't matter that my family had a fairly strong bloodline and two of my brothers are mages as was my boyfriend at that time. Doesn't matter that I was never against it when I lived there, never truly have been. But I'm not naive, or stupid enough to think any of you'll believe me, even though what I said was true. It's like how there's no point in me ever starting to apologise for that day, because there is no adequate way to ever explain how it's haunted me for all these years."
 

MzHyde

'Flamebird'
Fia didn't care that the cat hissed at her, usually she would have gone straight to the animal and loved it and shown it she was not an enemy, but in this instance, this situation that made her not give a single shit about the animal. Which was just as unusual as the sneer and cold side to her that she was showing, but she didn't even care that her family was seeing this particular side to her. Her brother was at the heart of this and she wanted answers for how his birth father treated him. She wouldn't even have cared if anyone pulled her up on the attitude whenever they left, she would remain completely unapologetic over it. Part of her attitude also came from her burning phoenix side that as an teenager was still growing and developing, so was having a tiny influence on how she was talking to Zan, despite having always been brought up to not talk to someone like shit unless absolutely necessary. It was an attitude that inside shocked Kay, though she made sure not to let it show on the outside, she did find that shock making her question if this kind of spite and callousness was what her future self had to deal with way back when.

She waited for her answer after Zan spoke to the cat to calm her, not moving her position in the slightest. She willingly heard him out as he gave her and everyone in the room his answer, again making sure to hear every tic and tone change in his voice to try and seek out any lies or twists of the truth. She listened as he openly said he put blame on both things, but for her she heard most of the blame on the brainwashing, which as he kept talking did make some kind of sense to her, as much as she hated to admit it to herself. Though the bombshell of the brainwashing being solely meant to only kill Elliott did get some kind of tiny reaction out of her which was a slight widening of her eyes before they went back to being full of anger. He was right in thinking his own personal reasons didn't matter to her too much, even if what he said did come across as genuine to her. There was some tiny partof her that actually believed him, even though she truly didn't want to. "doesn't matter what we-" she gestured at herself, John, Kay, Cliff, Jay and Chas, "think, its what Cal and Elliott think whether or not they feel they can believe you" she replied. She may be showing a side of her that none of them would thought was possible for her, but she was still able to be mature about this situation.
 

Gallifrog

Symbolic Animal of Gallifrey
As rudely as Fia had put her question, as aggressively as she was asking it and hostile as her sneer was, she was going about it better than John would've if he'd been the one doing the talking. As it was he keeping his mouth firmly shut as he knew that whatever came out of it would be a long string of insults, followed by him attempting to punch the man (or worse). While some of them could see the fact that being brainwashed to an extent was a legitimate excuse for acting completely differently and attempting to kill Elliott, John couldn't get past it. To him it just came off as an excuse, something to hide behind instead of admitting to what he'd done. The logic of Zan's arguments, the fact that he'd grown up on a world where magic was accepted, the fact that it even ran in his family (which definitely explained where Elliott had had got his affinity with magic from) went completely over John's head. It certainly didn't help that Zan was a politicians and every politician he'd ever know had been a lying, cheating arsehole only concerned with their own gains in power and not with the little people. It was perfectly conceivable in his mind that Zan was trying to save his own skin in whatever way possible.

"That part goes without saying really." Zan nodded, no hint of derision on condescending in his tone, just bone-weary acceptance that this was what his life had come to, lifting a hand briefly to his temple to aggressively rub the beginning of a headache that was starting to form there. Cal and Elliott had no idea what to make of everything they'd just heard. The fact that Zan wasn't looking for any kind of forgiveness or redemption was disconcerting, neither knew what to think of that stance, the only thing they did know was that it was a consistent stance, the same one he'd taken at every other meeting they'd had with him. All eyes turned to Cal and Elliott, even the green-blue ones of the cat. There was a long uncomfortable pause as the siblings looked at each other, trying. It was Elliott who broke the silence, knowing that if cal went to speak her emotions would get the better of her and she'd go up in flames. "I certainly can't make a decision now, not without all the facts. And there one glaringly obvious thing that needs to be addressed" he glanced at his sister, who nodded, knowing instinctively what her brother wanted to talk about. "Our mother, what happened to her?"

Zan let out a long sigh at that, a sigh that was startling similar to the one that Elliott made when he really didn't want to say something and was forcing himself to speak. "It's not a great ending, but needless to say that what the general public have been told is a lie. She did leave, that much is true, but not because sh remarried. She asked to be reassigned in a completely different quadrant, different time if they' d let her. I'd have done the same in her position. You're both grown-ups and deserve the truth, the file is in that box with the manky green tape if you want to read it. I'd only end up quoting it anyway, sadly I wasn't there when it happened." "When..... when what happened?" Elliott asked, and it was clear in his tone that he most definitely didn't want to know, didn't want to have his suspicions confirmed, but at the same time if he didn't ask it would east away at him for the rest of his life. Jay meanwhile at an unspoken signal from Elliott had gone to the relevant box and dug out the file, battered and worn soft around the corners from being poured through on a regular basis. "It was about two months ago" he replied. "Shortly before you came back to Attil actually." It was clear he was stalling, but a narrow eyed glared from Cal was the prompt he needed to just spit it out. "She was assassinated, one clean shot through the head. They haven't caught the killer, but it doesn't take a genius to figure out whose next."
 

MzHyde

'Flamebird'
Both Fia and Kay knew deep down that John would be going about it a whole lot differently and a whole lot worse than Fia was if it was him who opened his mouth. In their eyes, neither needed a rocket scientist to tell them that it would take one wrong wrong or one too long an opening and John would go at Zan so hard, even if it would put his own life in jeopardy. Neither of them wanted that, which Fia wondered was one of the many causes for her speaking up instead, letting Zan know that you don't fuck with the Constantines. Even though Fia wasn't just a Constantine, the fact she was so much closer to her father, she always considered herself a Constantine way before she considered herself a Hale, which always hurt future Kay immensely. Not to mention, though it was on completely different levels, she knew what it was like to be lied to by parents and she was on a personal level sick and tired of seeing parents lie to their kids, no matter the reason for it.

She may have believed Zan on some level about what he was saying to them all, but that wasn't to say she was fully accepting what was being said or liking it in the slightest. He still spent a good chunk of this time lying to Elliott and Cal, not to mention tried to kill him. She didn't care that she believed him when he said it haunted him to this day, as far as she was concerned he hurt her big brother and that kind of tarnish impression of the man wasn't going to be fixed by a mere few words. She could also see how angry Cal was, how close she was to quite literally going up in flames, knowing that with three fire people in this apartment, Zan and the cat would be quite frankly fucked if he ticked them all off too much and tipped them over the edge. She let Elliott ask what he needed to ask, knowing that it could only be him or Cal that asked about their mother. She asked what she wanted, now it was time for her step back vocally and let her beloved half siblings have their chance. She listened to the answer, looking over at the box Zan had gestured toward, knowing if Jay hadn't gone to it, she would have brought it over to Jay herself. Her focus went immediately back to Zan as she heard him explain that Elliott's and Cal's mother had indeed been killed in action so to speak, and not living some cushy life with another family. She then looked over at Jay again to get some kind of unspoken confirmation to Zan's statement.
 

Gallifrog

Symbolic Animal of Gallifrey
John continued with his trend of staying silent, though his anger hadn't dissipated, neither had his stance relaxed in any way. he was still glaring daggers at the man with an expression on his face that made it quite clear he didn't trust the man even if he was telling the truth for once. There was an almost territorial edge to the look, making it quite clear Elliott was his. (A similar edge could be seen in Cliff's look, though she was referring to Cal). Cliff's expression had relaxed somewhat, but it was clear her mind was racing at a million miles and hour, she still hand't quite gotten over the damage that had been done to to Zan's mind and more than ever she wanted access to his complete and unredacted medical records to see the extent of the damage, how much still lingered as trauma. She also wanted access to his psych evaluations, to see if there was anything in them that could indicate whether he was trustworthy or not.

Both siblings felt a strange sense of relief hearing that their mother hand't just acquired another family and forgotten about them. Cal had been bitter for years about her mother just upping and leaving, making no attempts to contact her. Elliott had no idea what had happened to her until he came back to Attil. He'd been immensely hurt by the fact she hadn't shown up to provide any kind of support (or even to see the kind of person that he'd grown into after spending almost half his life off-world). But hearing she'd died before he'd come back, realising that she couldn't ever have come to see him, it was like a punch in the gut understanding just how completely mistaken he'd been in channelling his blame and bitterness. For Cal it was even worse and she had to bite her lip to stop herself from exploding with angry tears. Neither of them believed Zan to be lying, his reluctance to speak on it, and the look in his eyes convinced them both he was telling the truth.

Jay, still crouched down by the box flipped open the pathology report, her eyes narrowing slightly as she skimmed through it's contents. Everything matched what Zan said, cause of death had been a single bullet right through the centre of the forehead, the kind of shot wouldn't didn't survive unless they had a metal plate in the front of their skull. The entrance wound had been small, but the exit wound had taken almost all of the back of the skull with it. Death would have been instant and preceded by a deep intense burst of pain. "It all checks out." She nodded. "This was without a doubt an assassination." She walked over to the siblings with the file, Elliott leaning over one shoulder, Cal over the other as they took it in. Both were visibly shocked and horrified at the damage of the exit wound and disconcerted at seeing their mother after so many years (in addition to all the photos of her body, there were a couple taken shortly before her death). Her hair was in a completely different style (far shorter than they'd known her), her tan significantly darker and she'd acquired a whole new set of stress lines as well. Chas, John and Cliff couldn't resist looking in. The mother's face was far rounder than Cal and Elliott's, but the set of the eyes was unmistakable. Her nose had a ridge indicating that it had been broken and reset at some point in the past (according to the path report it had been an injury she acquired in a fight in a juvenile detention centre).

After the siblings had read through a good chunk of the file, Jay and asked, without any kind of warning "how long were you held on suspicion of killing her?" A question which elicited gasps and re-igniting of hateful and mistrustful glares from all corners. "Two and half weeks. It'd normally be less as you'd no doubt know, but given my atrocious past record they got the extension approved. But the charges were shit, they knew full well I couldn't pull off that shot. It's just procedure to blame the partner, the ex or the sibling for the killing" the look he gave Jay made it quite clear he knew exactly who she was "regardless of whether that's true or not." Jay gave a minute nod, gritting her jaw. "And how many days of travel back?" "Three and a half." "Which means you got back to Attil on the 18th." Jay's words may have sounded like a question, but Zan knew full well it was actually a statement and gave a curt nod. "Only to be informed that all shit had broken lose and that he" by which he meant Elliott "was back." "Wait..." realisation dawned over Elliott's face. "it was the 19th that there was that first meeting when I was still in prison." Another nod. "Yes."

There was a pause as Elliott ad Cal tried to let it sink in. They'd thought Zan was being a complete heartless bastard by refusing to even acknowledge that his exiled son was back after all these years, but now they were being told that had been in a spooks facility being detained on suspicion of killing his wife (or ex-wife according to the file. "And we're supposed to just believe that despite you bein' in a facility full of fuckin' spooks who seem to know practically everythin' and be involved in fuckin' everythin', nobody there could get access to this bloody massive news story?" John asked, the disbelief and derision sharp in his tone. Zan went to answer only to be cut off by Jay. "You don't get news in interrogation." She replied sharply, visible rage in her eyes, em phasing that she had, following the death of her brother been through a similar procedure to what Zan had been put through.
 

MzHyde

'Flamebird'
Kay and Fia both glanced toward Jay when she confirmed that yes, Zan was indeed telling the truth about Elliott and Cal's mother and she was assassinated. They didn't know if they should have been relieved that Zan that being truthful on this matter or upset for Elliott and Cal, as they were feeling both at the same time. Fia hated that she had to pretend not to be Elliott's sister in this moment as all she wanted to do was stand closer to him in a protective manner, and make it clear Elliott was her family, not Zan's just like John was able to. With the photos being shown to the siblings, Fia and Kay had to glance at them as well, seeing the before death photos and noting how different she looked to the siblings and Zan, but also noting the similarities at the same time. She was a beautiful woman they both thought, wishing that she didn't have to be killed in the way she was. The moment though Jay spoke up once more asking Zan how long he was suspect number one for the murder of his ex wife, Fia and Kay both joined the others in looking at Zan with disgust and suspicion, but still willingly listened to what he had to say for himself.

As he gave his answer and made it very clear he knew exactly who Jay was, Fia wanted to verbally rip him apart for bringing up Jay's past in such a way, as although she went through stages of being terrified of the woman, she was Elliott's partner and she respected and liked Jay a lot. So she would defend her just as strongly as she would for the others in their group. It also made her wonder if he knew all about Jay, how much else did he know about the rest of them? As he explained, and Jay managed to get the timestamps put into place of how long he had been back before Elliott returned, Fia was getting more and more suspicious of the guy. Sure, it made some minor sense to her that if he was in a spook facility when Elliott's arrival was announced he wouldn't have been able to go straight to his son, but she still didn't like the whole answer he gave. It just happened that it was this moment that made John speak up finally, the disgust for Zan evident in his tone. She wasn't expecting Jay to more or less answer for Zan but she did and nodded slowly at it. "makes sense... I guess" she remarked. "another thing, was it you that followed Cal, Cliff and I partly and left the file in their mail box?" she asked, making it clear that she still didn't like the man at all.
 

Gallifrog

Symbolic Animal of Gallifrey
John had never seen what Elliott's mother looked like before as Elliott never really talked about her very much. Although she'd kept his magic ability secret and covered for them when he and Cal snuck out, he'd never been as close to her as Cal had been. Out of everybody in his family, he'd been closest to Cal, and in the very early days when he'd wake up every night from nightmares, it had been his sister's name he called, not either of his parents. The same went for Jay, Elliott's mother was one of those subjects that was never spoken about. The memories were just too painful, almost as painful as those of his father, so he never let anybody see them. She was good looking, of that there was no doubt, and her resemblance to her children was clear. Cal took slightly more after her mother then Elliott did (he took slight more after Zan). Cal's current hairstyle was also identical to that of her mother. His sister was the one most affected by looking at the pictures attached to the pathology report. The fact it was an assassination didn't help matters. She couldn't sop wondering what it was exactly that had caused her to get shot? Was it something she'd discovered doing whatever mission she was doing? Had she been sold out? Or was it simply because she was a spook?

Had Jay not spoken up and verified Zan's story, it was doubtful that any of them would have believed it. Jay wouldn't cover for Zan any more than any of the rest of them did, in fact she'd be happy to do anything to prove that he was lying to them all. But in this instance, she knew it had to be made clear that out of everything in the man's story, this bit genuinely was true. There were plenty of other things they could rip apart, but this bit, as Zan had so pointedly alluded to, was utterly true. After her brother's death she'd been considered a prime suspect for killing him. It was as Zan had said, spook protocol, though one that every single spy hated. It did however make them take far better care of their partners and any junior agents as if they died, it meant at least a week in interrogation. Zan's two and half weeks was abnormal, but as he said, he had form when it came to killing family. The tension somewhat lessened when Jay corroborated what Zan said, everybody knowing whose side she was really on in this debate. "It's just a bullshit policy." Jay shrugged at the same time as Zan said "It's a protocol nobody whatsoever likes." Both responding to Fia saying with a slight sceptical edge that it made sense. "Policy that nobody actually likes." Jay shot him a glare which said 'don't start thinking I'm on your side, because I'm damn well not'.

"Yes and no" Zan replied to Fia's next question. "The files were my doing, though I didn't deliver them personally, that was bound to end badly. The following had nothing to do with me. That was one of the other two." "Other two?" Chas raised an eyebrow, speaking for the first time since they'd found out Zan was the spook. "The other two agents I'm working with, my co-conspirators for breaking into the mainframe." There was a very slight flicker of surprise on Cal's face at that, Zan wasn't even bothering to deny it was him. "I'm not going to insult anybody's intelligence by trying to deny it, it's pretty damn obvious given the pieces of security footage your shifter friend managed to source before the wipe was complete." Before either Cal or Cliff got a chance to ask, he answered the questions clearly written on their faces. "Yes I know about Deke. No he's not a spook, though if he's as a good as his reputation says he is, he'd make a damn good base techie or infiltrator." "He's better than his reputation." Cal declared, looking up briefly to glare at Zan before turning back to the report.

"So it WAS a fragment plot then?" Cliff asked, managing to keep the tentative edge from her tone. "Is" Zan corrected. "It is a fragment plan, one which is still ongoing. There's three people I know of, including me, but there's probably more. I handle the bureaucracy, I know the necessary high-ups, building codes, passwords, location of classified data, clearance levels and the.... facilities the government don't want anybody to know about. There's a hacker, who was doing the cameras earlier and an infiltrator too who drugged the guards and acts as courier for all kinds of things. They're a team. One's female, the other's male, both are freelancers with complicated histories. One is legally dead, like I am, and the other is as good as dead really. They have this apartment in the day, I get it in the evenings and night. In addition to all this" he gestured at the sprawling crime board "they're working their own additional angle on things" he gestured at the left hand section of the shorter wall.
 

MzHyde

'Flamebird'
Fia and Kay both hated that they couldn't rip apart everything Zan was saying, especially about Elliott and Cal's mother. They wished they could say categorically that he was lying and she wasn't really dead, that he was playing emotional mind games, but they knew they couldn't and it didn't sit well with either of them, especially Fia. Fia looked at both Zan and Jay as they both said it was a bullshit policy, before looking at Jay as she corrected Zan to an extent by saying nobody liked it end of. She then glanced back at the man suspiciously as he answered her next question with the one type of answer she detested, the 'yes and no' answer, making her roll her eyes before eletting him elaborate on said answer, explaining that it wasn't him directly but he did have something to do with it. She wanted to continue asking when Chas finally spoke up with one of the points of Zan's answer she wanted to ask herself.

As the explanation of who the other two people were who involved, she nodded as it was pretty much confirmed that the people they all saw in the surveillance footage were all working together. She didn't like that he knew about Deke and what he did, which only put more thoughts of what else he knew and about who. The fact the following had nothing to do with him but one of the other two didn't sit well with her at all, if they were following her, Cal and Cliff that one day, she was now questioning if they followed her parents and Chas at any stage whilst they just didn't notice it. Did they try and do any kind of research on the rest of them to find out why they were all with Elliott and Cal? She was certain that she couldn't be completely sure it didn't happen at any stage of their weird visit. She looked at the crime board and at the left hand side that Zan gestured toward, scrutinising what it was that was on there, even if she couldn't understand everything, that didn't stop her looking it over anyway.
 

Gallifrog

Symbolic Animal of Gallifrey
Fia wasn't the only one who detested a 'yes and no' answer. it had always seemed to John like a complete and utter cop-out, especially when the person who gave that answer didn't elaborate any further. Zan did elaborate, which, had it been literally anybody else talking, would have been a point or two in his favour. But it was Zan talking, so it didn't do anything in his favour. The fact that he knew about Deke and what he was doing, it disturbed Cal far more than she was letting on, though Cliff could feel it clear as day through their driadic bond. Deke was a professional, highly skilled and highly trained, and the fact that Zan knew and could so easily turn their friend over to the authorities, it but her on a real edge. She would not let Deke take the fall, all this had been her idea and if keeping Deke out of trouble meant being locked up for the rest of her life, then Cal would take that chance. When Zan made his remark about not insulting people's intelligence by even attempting to deny that he'd broken into the mainframe John scoffed under his breath, rolling his eyes as the man spoke "'bout bloody time, given you've been doin' nothin' but lyin' 'til now."

But even more worrying was the answer to Fia's question. The fact that the files were from Zan just went unnoticed, completely overshadowed by the fact that it hadn't been him following them. If it had been, John would have had some choice words about being a stalker. The fact that there were two other unknown elements, also running their own angle, people who, according to Jay's explanation of fragment plots, Zan would never have properly met (unless they were disguised). The way he could rattle off the basic facts without really thinking about them confirmed Jay's suspicions that he'd never actually met them properly and it was doubtful he ever would. Those facts were his sum total knowledge of his accomplices. She doubted he'd have tried to figure out too much about who his accomplices were, there was a code of honour between spooks and freelancers that meant they stayed out of the other's way as much as possible and neither group stuck their nose in where it wasn't wanted. The safe house sharing was a classic move- when spooks and freelancers didn't need to directly work together. The little of what she'd seen of Zan in action confirmed he was a textbook spook. Cliff, who'd been the one who'd twigged they were being followed, upon hearing that there was two of them, couldn't help but go down of the rabbit hole of 'what if they've been following us all this time and we haven't noticed?' 'could they have been doing additional spying on us?' 'could we all be targets?'

All turned to look at the left hand wall when Zan indicated that it was the section that container the freelancers' side project. The left hand wall section contained what was evidently some kind kind of reconstructed timeline, one started at the very top and read their way down. At the very top were photos and architects drawings of some kind of military lab facilities, below that a whole list of test subjects, with one ringed in thick red marker. There were various grainy stills, all showing snarling wolves with jet black coats speckled with white star marks, one very familiar wolf ringed in a red marker circle. Linked to the picture of Sykes by a piece of string was another two photos- a before and after shot of a dark haired woman. In the first she looked normal, eyebrow raised at the camera in amusement, in the second she was almost feral looking, now clad in a bloody straight jacket, snarling at the camera, exposing prominent fangs, her eyes the same colour as that of the wolf, her ears pointed and canine-like. Linked to that was a photocopy of the lab notes, lab notes which contained sigils and symbols unmistakable in meaning to John, Elliott and Fia, sigils from the kind of magic John wouldn't touch as it involved messing with (and permanently changing) souls. Somebody had attempted to create a soul bond between the wolf and the girl, but had gone about it completely wrong and instead succeeded in combining the two souls, creating a symbiotic parasitic pair instead. "Those absolute BASTARDS" John. all but snarled, directing all his anger filled glaring away from Zan and towards the wall. He was horrified to the core by this utter perversion of magic. It was a prime example of everything that could possibly done wrong with magic. You didn't mess with souls, that kind of magic, the cost was always your own.

Running down one side was a photographic record of victims, all young and dark haired, their throats torn out by savage teeth and claw marks. According to the post-its beside the photos, the majority hadn't survived more than three weeks. The few outliers were ringed with a different colour marker and their notes stated that they were found to have possessed some kind of serious healing factor, regenerative ability or unusual genetic mutation that meant their DNA didn't have the typical double helix shape. Right down at the very bottom with a matching red circle around it was a photo of Rinaa, or more precisely, a slightly younger version of her, throat encased in blood-stained bandages, glaring at the camera as if it had personally offended her. Beside it was a scan of her DNA, which didn't just contain one double helix, but eight distinct helixes. Coming off that was a whole series of medical data that looked all too familiar to Cliff along with another set she'd never even seen before. "Oh my gods...." Cliff gasped, running a hand along the row of pictures as the pieces fell into place. "They're looking for a cure for Astras conversion, specifically for that of their alpha?" "That's the same conclusion I came to on it" Zan replied quietly "as did Bec, though it's hardly my area of expertise."
 

MzHyde

'Flamebird'
Cliff wasn't the only one going down the mental rabbit hole of the many subsequent questions to Zan's answer to Fia's question. Kay also didn't like the idea of her family possibly having been followed more than that one time, or herself for that matter. It angered her to think everyone in their group could have been followed and followed more than once. What made those thoughts of anger only worse was when they all looked at the wall and saw all the photos of people who were clearly being experimented on in some way or another. The looks of the sigils involved turned Fia's stomach and made her clench her fists tightly so she would stop herself from doing anything brash, agreeing with John that this was disgusting beyond words. Hell's, she would go as far as to say it was almost barbaric, that anger only getting worse when she recognised Rinaa in those photos. As Cliff came to the conclusion that they were trying to find a cure to the whole thing, Fia had tightly grit her teeth shut to stop herself from saying something, yet it did work as she ended up speaking through gritted teeth anyway, "... the fuck is wrong with these people?! You don't mess with this kind of magic, even I know that!"

Kay found herself placing her hand on Fia's shoulder to try and calm her down, knowing just by looking at her that her and John were close to absolutely losing it and not remaining relatively cool headed. The whole wall and revelations it had on it disgusted Kay just as much even though she may not have known at first glance the level of magical sigils used, her kid and dare she say it, partner's reactions was enough for her to know how bad it was. Adding that she was seeing a younger Rinaa amongst those people practically being experimented on just made her blood run cold, which for a phoenix was saying a lot. She seemed to remember Rinaa telling them all that not even phoenix blood would help her case, but it did get brought up into her mind of what if these people found out about who and what herself and Fia was and thought it was worth trying anyway? She wouldn't have put anything against them at this stage, just as she wouldn't put anything passed Zan. "this is borderline barbaric to me" Kay said under her breath, as yet another scary set of questions ran through her mind, when Cal, Cliff and Fia were followed, were they doing to find Fia and had they somehow figured out what she was? Did they infiltrate and get ahold of all her own dna and stats, knowing Cliff had to enter her dna into the medical system to be able to make the tests run smoothly.

Not only that it made Kay think back to how the two demons treated her in the abandoned section of the underground, making her only imagine how much pain and suffering these poor people in the photos must have been going through. She knew she shouldn't be bringing her thoughts back to herself or Fia, but she honestly couldn't help it. It was a deep rabbit hole that was so deeply engrained into her for the sake of survival that it wouldn't go away any time soon.
 

Gallifrog

Symbolic Animal of Gallifrey
It shouldn't have been a relief to John that Fia was reacting the way she was, yet he did feel relief. The cold, sneering Fia earlier had made his blood run as all it brought to mind was the stories of alternate Fia and the scars that covered Rinaa's back. When Fia showed her darker side earlier, it gave a glimpse of the fact that like in everybody, there was a potential for evil in Fia. That if things went bad enough, she could become the monster from the alternate timeline. And given the powers she had, he doubted if there was anybody who could stop her if she fully switched. So to hear Fia directing her hate in what John believed was the right direction, it was a relief as it showed that the flip had only been temporary and like the rest of them she'd been reacting to the complete and utter shock of finding out that Zan was a spy. "Science an' magic just don't mix. Full fucking stop." He replied, before casting an eye at Fia. "I doubt you've met Kurt but all you need to know is that he experimented mixing magic and science and turned himself into a Downworlder hybrid with abilities he can't control at the best of times." John's explanation was over-simplified, what had actually happened was that Dr Robert Kirkland Langstrom (nicknamed Kirk or Kurt depending on who you ask) had experimented with science trying to cure his ever-increasing deafness and had turned himself into a monstrous bat hybrid. Only then, when science had failed did he turn to magic. At first he'd cocked up nearly everything he tried, but in more recent years he had actually succeeded (due to an intervention and assistance from John) in becoming a sort of competent mage.

Cliff was horrified looking at the victims of the original trials, those who the scientists had tried to bond with the wolves. They were all so young, barely adults, and it was only years of looking at victims of severe trauma that prevented her from paling at the sight of all the ripped out throats and exposed, blood-splattered bones. The result of trying to soul-bond the people and wolves was brutally evident, the Astras wolves had attacked and killed the human hosts, the abused magic driving them insane. No wonder Sykes was so fucked up she couldn't help but think. Cal put her hands on Cliff's shoulders, saying nothing out loud, but using their bond to convey that she was there and that if Cliff wished she could let Cal share her emotions so as to lessen their effects. the doctor couldn't get past the fact that not only did they have Rinaa's old records, the ones she also had, there was another, a set containing what looked to be more recent data. Cliff hadn't shared her copies of the data with anybody, had had then encrypted at the highest possible level she could and sealed the records after Rinaa left. So how these spooks had managed to get them, she just couldn't understand. Jay and Elliott's eyes were also drawn towards the photograph of Rinaa and the litany of copied papers and notes that surrounded it. The young girl looked furious, but there was still fight in her eyes, something that had been erased almost completely from her during the last three years.

"It's not borderline barbaric." Zan responded from his corner of the room, the apartment being small enough that he could hear enough of Kay's comment to know what she'd said. "It is barbaric. No point side-stepping the matter. Just torture under another name." The anger and disgust in his tone matched the anger and disgust of everybody else in the room. "Those scientists who ran the initial Astras trials, they were barbarians, they clearly didn't give two shits about their subjects, wolf or humanoid. They were trying to make some kind of superweapon. Instead they turned ordinary wolves completely insane by genetically engineering the Hells out of them, infusing them with who even knows what kind of crazy rare space metal and creating a super-aggressive, muscular, athletic, highly intelligent killing machine that can breathe in the vacuum of space. And since that wasn't enough, they had to go and try make it a driadic fighter unit by bonding it with a person. Well that backfired on them, big time, they got their driad- Cynthia and Sykes- alright, but it was that driad that let the uprising that slaughtered everybody in the facility. And it's that same draid that became unstable and began looking for a new hosts- that's the list of victims with green thread." He gestured at the lower half of the timeline. The victims of the mad scientists military trial were all connected by black threads. Rinaa's thread was green and she was according to the dates, the most recent victim in what had had been a very bloody chain. None of the others could contain the Astras for long. "Doesn't matter that it was over a hundred years ago that those trials were run, the laws were the same then as they are, it was a fucking travesty and should never have happened. So if those two freelancers think they can get a cure by re-analysing all the old data, plus that pile of new stuff that keeps coming in, then good on them. it's about time."
 

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