The Bad Connection
Roleplaying Log: The Bad Connection
IC Details

Raven keeps waiting for that connection to the bad feelings that have been hitting at her. She finally gets a good connection… only to find out how bad it really is.

Other Characters Referenced: Impulse, Zatanna Zatara
IC Date: June 06, 2019
IC Location: New York City, NY
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 09 Jun 2019 01:54
Rating & Warnings: PG
Scene Soundtrack: [* ]
NPC & GM Credits: NPCs by Emma Frost
Associated Plots

For a long time, Raven might find that the nights have been quiet. Longer than it’s been.

Until it happens again.

It feels more powerful than it did before, more focused.

And with it, all of a hundred nuances. It searches, and it somehow finds Raven.

And then, for the first time, it murmurs in her mind.

« Help me. »

And underneath it, she will feel the subtleties that lace the thought. Guilt. So much guilt and fear. A heavy lethargy. A conflicted hope. …No, that’s not right. It’s not hope at all. Dread.

« Please, help me. »

Insincerity? Not quite.

She used to think the timing of these occurrences were going to keep her from a restful sleep. Strangely, or perhaps not so strangely, the stillness that followed made her even more aware that something, somewhere, could go wrong at any given moment.

Long after trying to stay up, and after trying to search for the source with the Titan's speedster, Impulse, Raven has somewhat accepted the fact that she will never sleep again. She grew accustomed to staring up at the sparsity of the ceiling above her, quietly willing herself to sleep despite the fact she went to bed almost a few hours ago. She's gone through the motions, meditating on everything and nothing, barely whispering the words "Go to sleep already" to herself moments after these strategies are played out.

So of course something happens right as she begins to doze.

Help me.

Two words among a wave of emotional complexities suddenly weighing upon her body like delicate chains, gradually dragging her down with an inexplicable heaviness despite their intricately thin quality.

Once-violet eyes snap open, staring into the darkness just as the words are repeated, resonating in the back of her mind. The impression of its tone leaves Raven conflicted; instead of trying to ignore it like a normal person would, she hesitates, then abandons that path altogether, centering her thoughts in an attempt to reach out to whoever is speaking.

« I hear you. » It's been almost a year since she last connected with anyone verbally. Unlike the intensity of Zatanna's fear, the bridge formed is more difficult to traverse. But she approaches, calm and steady. « I can help you. »

There is a lot of noise on the other end. It’s like someone in front of a sensitive microphone that picks up more than the person in front of it knows about. As Raven offers help, there is a flood of negative emotions so deep and thick and numerous that it’s impossible to pick them apart.

Words are mingled in, buried down. « I don’t want… » A whispering at the edge of the telepath’s awareness, someone else’s thoughts bleeding in as she slowly processes it. The slowness will feel in every way like trudging through deep mud and a sensation of warmth and numbness threatens to bleed through, too.

« Please, help. Where are you? »

Raven feels herself tense, laying rigid as the noise rises. Although she remains still, she's buffeted by the negativity. The chains turn liquid thick, melting off of her, forcing her to wade through its unknown depths.

« Hold on. » She says this — she almost pleads. The connection keeps slipping through her fingers, disrupted by another person she doesn't know, disappearing before re-emerging on the surface.

Find it. Find the voice… The warmth is fleeting, passing through her as quickly as it arrives. « I'm… » She isn't sure what she's feeling now that the numbness encroaches on her space, but she tries to push past it, willing her physical body to move so that she can stay grounded. « …I'm here, in New York. In Queens. »

She could have gone with the general area where the Titans Headquarters is stationed, but it's better to be safe than sorry.

There’s a long pause as the mind on the other side floats back to the top of another euphoric lapse.

« My family is in Queens. »

Confusion, clearly.

« Why are they arguing? What’s wrong? »

Pain, enough to cut through fuzzy thoughts, refocuses the telepath and her thoughts come through much stronger this time.

« Where in Queens? »

A bright spot. Raven didn't think she would have that big a connection with her reply. « Your family… »

Confusion is better than guilt, but it is short-lived. As she struggles to rise from her bed and get to her feet, she almost believes her own mind is cut in half. Wincing, the Empath breathes, refocusing at the same time the words blur and go into fuller clarity.

« Kew Gardens. » It's the first neighborhood at the top of her head, one of the few she remembers. And although she thinks she answered too soon, her tone maintains its evenness, never once diverting into self-consciousness. « Who is arguing? More importantly, are you all right? »

Are you alright?

The question, paired with words that make it importantmore important, even—stir another flood of feeling.

« No. »

It’s the truest, purest thing that’s been said if the rising despair behind it means anything at all. It passes in the wake of another surge of pain and anger. Whoever is on the other side is clumsy with their abilities, it is becoming abundantly clear. No ability whatsoever to filter or focus. Other thoughts swirl in a tangle of whispers, before one floats back to the surface, louder.

« Don’t come. »

One word, and it echoes, filling the room with its presence and pain. At least, that is what it feels like. The honesty behind it ripples through the air, intangible to the rest of the world except for Raven. Her brow furrows slightly as she now stays afloat, her toes barely skimming the floor.

She does not move.

« Why? » Not a defiant 'why,' but one that subtly leans toward concern. She senses the rise in anger, feels it rattling around like someone trying to stumble through a dark hallway. In comparison, her side is silent. Patient. « If that is what you wish, then I won't try anything. »

There's a thoughtfulness to what she says as she lets that sink in, giving the disembodied voice enough space before continuing.

« …I know it's probably obvious, but I can sense you're dealing with a lot. » It's a gesture, one that can easily be accepted or rejected within seconds. Whatever the choice, Raven is prepared to take what is given. « At least let me help you with that. »

« They’re hurting us. »

The words come soft, buried in the sludge as it starts coming back, threatening to drown them. The warm softness, overwhelming sleepiness comes back.

« They’ll hurt you. »

Then pain, followed by more of the same suffocating fear.

« Don’t come. »


« I’m sorry. »

Being told not to come is a request she respects to a certain degree. Rushing in to find someone can lead to dire consequences. Yet doing nothing come to the same conclusion. If there is an in-between, then she will go about it in an indirect manner.

This still counts as 'indirect' in her book.

« Who is doing this? » Raven mentally grasps for the weakened tether on the voice, doing whatever she can within the limits she's been granted. « Who else is with you? »

She can see herself, hands extended toward no one before becoming engulfed by the muck. She finds herself in the other person's shoes, overwhelmed by the fear and guilt that continues to consume everything it can touch.

Outwardly, the Empath's breath hitches, shaking her, startling her into steeling herself a while longer.

Remember. Breathe and remember what you have been taught to do.

Although her facade stays peaceful, the apology saddens her.

« Don't be. »

She assures, and tries to console albeit the rasping whisper she projects to the receiver. To say she isn't afraid would be a lie; fear is natural. To confidently say she can hurt them back is a last resort. These aren't what she wants to leave with the voice on the other end.

Instead, she says:

« Don't be afraid to try again, either. My name is Raven. I will be here. »

« They keep making me try. Bad men. »

There is a pause, filled with anxiety.

« The other people like me. …Like you. Telepaths, mostly. People who came for me. »

Crushing guilt follows. Despair. It cycles through, like it has for weeks. Though, tonight feels different, beyond the use of actual thoughts. More focused. More potent.

« I just want to go home. We won’t get to go home. »

Bad men.

When the anxiety builds up, Raven says nothing. Does nothing.

She's lost in thought over why anyone would do this in the first place, yet still aware of the voice of the frightened young telepath stuck in this situation. The precision of the cycle she has felt in previous weeks runs deeper, drowning her in the despair that crashes into her like a tidal wave.

Home. That is the place most yearn for. And in this case, it's a desire that, in reality, may not come to pass.

Raven suffers through the cycle, present in the moment as she hovers, sitting back over her bed with legs crossed. Forgetting that she's drenched in sweat, her eyes close, letting her refocus her energy into assuaging the force she's come into contact with.

Giving her peace of mind, if only for a little while. Offering her hope so that she doesn't give up too soon.

« Optimistically-speaking, I hope you and the others will. » And she means that. « …I'm sorry I cannot do anything more. »

Peace and hope bleeds through the connection, pushes through it like a counter tide, and the mind on the other end lets it wash over her. There’s a cherishing of it, like someone who loves the sea and has been long since away from it.

But with peace comes the awareness of a bone-deep fatigue that still permeates every thought. It just matters less. With its guard down, perhaps, it’s easier to send thoughts across.

Fractured images, really. Memories.

A family, presumably hers.

Female hands—again, presumably her own—with slender tanned wrists pinned to a chair by handcuffs.

Men in dark clothing who remove a heavy metallic collar from her, hook an IV up to a port line, and then yell and hit until she agrees to touch a box—no, a machine—they put in front of her.

A woman tending to her, who holds her head on her lap and strokes her hair and speaks to her softly, and has a flashing neutralizer collar about her own neck.

A bald man in a white coat.

Large screens displaying brain scans and pulsing lines just at the edge of her view, and a ceiling above her. Industrial. White.

The memories stay images only, flashes that go by so fast and so disjointedly that they’re hard perhaps to process.

Then, once more, a surge of pain.

« Please… »

The connection breaks, abruptly.

No feeling except the weariness of it all seeps into her being, starkly contrasting with the fragments of images left behind in quick succession.

They are answers — answers that dredge up more unasked questions.

Raven barely has time to process everything she sees before the break as the jolt of energy immediately brings her back to her darkened room, her hovering cut short as her body hits the bed with little fanfare.

She gasps for air, chest heaving, eyes wide open as their color returns to normal. Of all the things she could be feeling, she's left with exhaustion and clammy skin.

But she isn't concerned about herself. That she can take care of easily. She wonders about the young woman she's spoken with. As deep as the connection went this time around, there are still too many loose ends to tie up.

How can she go about this? If not how, then who else can she tell?

There is, however, still time to gather her thoughts and go over whatever she can remember. That much she can do, for the time being.

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