Impossibilities - Part 1 @rubberduckiez
The Day the World Changed

The Day the World Changed

"This is fascinating work," Ian said, leaning over Mattie's laptop and scrolling through.

"It's just… some things I've been working on," she said humbly from where she sat next to him.

"And it works?" Ian asked, looking up at her. Mattie nodded. "God, we could use you around here."

Her eyes widened a bit at the implication as Ian's face immediately began turning red. Leo couldn't help but chuckle at the exchange.

"I mean… it would be great if you could help out… when you have time. If you have, that is," Ian stuttered. "And you can do it remotely… not like you need to be here all the time… though it would be… nice…"

"I'll think about it…" Mattie said, unable to hide her amusement.

Leo wasn't sure if it was because he didn't get out as much or if it was just Ian, but the man certainly could use some work on his social skills. Though it was proving entertaining to watch as he stumbled his way through. It was obvious that Ian was thinking some sort of way about Mattie, though Leo wasn't sure if it was purely admiration for her skills or if it went deeper than that. From the blush still staining Ian's cheeks as he returned his attention to the screen, Leo bet it was a bit more than admiration.

Leo then looked towards the door of the library, wondering what Nora had gotten up to. She had been gone a bit longer than he expected and he started to wonder if he should go look for her.

Just as he was starting to stand, something went off on Ian's computer. Immediately, Ian was on his feet, a concerned look on his face.

"Someone else here?" Leo asked. "Maybe it's Hester."

Ian shook his head as he looked down at the screen, typing in something.

"No, it's… it's the bunker," Ian said, his frown deepening. Leo stood and made his way over, looking down at the screen. "It's been activated, but there's no sign of fire… someone's either overridden the commands or set it off from within…"

"Would Nora do that?" Leo asked, a spike of fear suddenly running through him. "Why would she do that? Did she mention she was going down to the lab?"

Ian looked up at him, his confusion and worry clear in his eyes.

"I don't know."

Hester threw Nora into the room and she collided with the exam table, nearly knocking Flash off, a stab of pain running through her side. While it hurt, it was what she needed to shock her back to reality and out of her memories. Her mind now clear, Nora looked around the room, knowing that she needed to give Ian time to try and override the commands so that she could get out. He programmed the damn thing himself and would be alerted that it had been initiated, no matter what tinkering Hester had done.

The problem was, the exam room wasn't the greatest spot for a fight and there was only so much maneuvering Nora could do in order to stay away from Hester, especially now she brandished a scalpel. Nora then remembered the gun cabinet and the escape tunnel.

Breathing heavily, Nora took the few moments she had before Hester pounced on her again to glance at the open door and try to figure a way to get past the irate synth. Arming herself was the only way she would make it out of there, whether Ian got the doors open or she made her way to the escape tunnel.

Either way, she wasn't going down without a fight.

"Fuck, fuck, fuck!" Ian growled in frustration as everything he did seemed to fail. "I can't override it!"

"Why is it even on in the first place?" Leo asked desperately.

He was about 10 seconds away from running down to the laboratory door and tearing it open with his own two hands, even though he knew that was impossible. The best bet was to wait until Ian found a way to open it, or hope that whatever was going on, Nora could get to the hidden tunnels that led out. He prayed that it was some sort of glitch and that soon enough, she'd come running back into the library, griping about how she accidentally set it off.

Max and the others had already searched everywhere else in the manor without finding her. Why Leo wasn't sure why she was down there in the first place, at this point, it was the only place in the house she could be.

"Wait a minute," Ian said, furiously typing. "I think I've hacked into the security feed down there."

Several feeds popped up on the smart board, each from a different angle showing the entirety of the basement lab.

"Oh god…"

They all froze for a moment, seeing the video from the exam room where Nora was locked in a fight with Hester, Flash lying unconscious on the exam table. Leo's heart stopped for a moment. Nora was barely holding her own and there was no telling how long she could last. Hester had a scalpel in her hand and already there were several slashes on Nora's arms. Most looked superficial, but already he could see a couple of deeper gashes.

"How did she even get in? I thought you had perimeter alarms?" Mattie asked, her eyes glued to the fight.

Ian just shook his head and then looked back down at the computer, a determined look coming over his face.

"She must have found a work around," he said, back to work.

Leo watched in horror as Hester continued to go after Nora, who was attempting to get past her and out of the door.

"Just keep fighting, Nor," Ian murmured, glancing up every so often as he typed. "Likely trying to get to the gun cabinet…"

"Come on, Nor," Leo murmured, praying she got to it in time. And then they got down to help her in time or she was able to escape. Fuck, how had this happened?

After typing a bit, Ian growled again and started striding towards the door.

"I can't override it from here but I might be able to from the door panel. Grab a walkie, Leo. Mattie, stay here and keep us updated."

Leo looked around and grabbed one of the walkie talkies left on the desk and started to follow.

"Wait!" Mattie shouted. They both stopped for a moment. "The chip in Hester's brain… I can reprogram it. I can send a patch to your phone and once you get in and close enough, you can activate it."

Leo looked over to Ian who just nodded and then spun around, running from the library, Leo hot on his heels. He only hoped they could get down there in time.

Nora slammed into the wall in the hallway and kicked Hester back, surprised she still had the strength to do so. Several gashes were now stinging up and down her arms, her clothes slowly becoming stained with blood. But she had gotten where she wanted. They were in the hallway and she just had a few feet to the gun cabinet.

Launching herself forward, she then shouted as a sharp pain emanated from her side. She managed to elbow Hester in the nose, causing the synth to stumble back, but knew she had been stabbed. Spinning around, Nora barely had time to recoup before Hester had tackled her to the ground. Keeping one eye on the scalpel, Nora redoubled her efforts to fight back, allowing the adrenaline to take over.

"You will never be with him. Once I get rid of you, I will get the code and Leo and I will start a new world," Hester said.

"Not if I can help it," Nora replied through gritted teeth.

She managed to kick Hester off, quickly rolling over and starting towards the cabinet again.

She just needed to get a gun.

Leo went from staring at the door to wanting to shove Ian aside and try to open it himself, but somehow managed to keep himself in check. Nora had been locked in the basement with a clearly homicidal Hester for far too long. He worried about what they would find once they finally got the damn thing open.

"Nora is strong," Mia said, attempting to console him. He glanced at her and then focused on watching Ian as he quickly pounded in numbers, going between his tablet and the control panel to the door.

"Just… anytime…" Ian said tensely.

"Got it! Just sent you the patch," Mattie's voice came over the walkie. "Please tell me you've got the door open."

"How is she?" Leo ventured to ask. "Ian's still working on it."

"Still alive. Still fighting. Though Hester stabbed her in the side," Mattie reported. "Fuck. Hurry."

Ian glanced at Leo, his eyes wide in fear, though he doubled on the speed. They didn't have enough time.

"Shit! HURRY!" Mattie shouted.

"I got it! I got it!" Ian shouted as he stepped back and the door finally slid open.

"Stay here and do not come down here under any circumstances," Leo shouted at Mia as he and Ian took off down the stairs.

He hoped with everything in him that they weren't too late. Fuck, they couldn't be too late. He couldn't lose Nora. Not now. Not after everything.

Grinning, Nora threw open the cabinet doors and tapped out the code. But before it could fully slide down, she was yanked back by her ponytail, screaming out. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see Hester's hand with the scalpel moving up towards her neck. It was as if time slowed down and the only thing she could hear was her own heavy breathing.

Nora turned her head slightly, feeling the strain in her neck muscles as Hester angled her head farther back. Already, Nora was lifting her arm to try and block the lethal blow, but her arm felt so heavy.

"Hester! Don't do this!"

Nora's eyes widened as instantly time seemed to speed up after Leo shouted. Ian had gotten the door open. Hester's arm faltered and Nora took advantage of the momentary distraction, elbowing Hester so that she let go of her hair and then dashed over to the cabinet, not paying much attention to the commotion behind her.

When she turned around and aimed the gun, her eyes widened as she saw that Leo had tackled Hester to the ground, the scalpel now out of her hand.

"Hester, you don't have to do this," Leo shouted, struggling to hold her as he looked up and met Nora's eyes.

Though he said nothing, she knew what he wanted her to do. He was pleading with her to give him a chance to talk her down.

"She is a distraction. She doesn't understand," Hester said.

"It's okay. I do. I understand," Leo replied. "I'll let you go if you promise not to hurt her or anyone else." Hester didn't reply. "I'll… you're right. She is a distraction. We don't need her. We can leave. Together. Just the two of us. Go somewhere else."

Hester stopped struggling for a moment, considering his words.

"You would do that? Leave with me? You do not care for Nora?" she asked. Leo met Nora's eyes again.

"No," he said, managing to keep his voice calm. "I don't."

There was silence as they all waited. Leo loosened his grip on Hester and stood up. The synth turned and he held his hand out to her. Nora kept her gun trained on Hester, not completely sure they could trust her.

Hester stared at Leo a few moments and then looked over at Nora, who chose in that moment to glance over at Leo. He smiled slightly and nodded to her.

It happened so fast that looking back, Nora knew there was nothing she could have done. At the time it had felt as though hours passed, but in reality, Hester had moved too quickly for her to shoot, even though every muscle in her body had been tense in anticipation, just waiting for her to do something.

Looking back, even if she had shot, there was a good chance she would have hit Leo as well.

Leo helped Hester up, offering her a small smile. Nora was so busy watching them, that she didn't notice Hester's hand wrapped around something. She had already begun lowering the gun as Leo told her it was okay. But then Hester's hand shot up. Nora saw the scalpel. As she raised her gun, she heard Ian shout something, but it sounded as though it was coming from far away.

Just as Nora took aim, Hester sunk the scalpel deep into the back of Leo's neck. There was a scream from somewhere far off. Maybe it was Nora, she wasn't sure. All she could do was stand there, frozen, as Leo's eyes widened and he slumped against the wall and slowly slunk to the ground. She didn't even seem to notice Hester now turning towards her, the scalpel still in her hand, and Ian shouting something at her again.

All she could do was watch as the life slowly left Leo's eyes

Ian was now looking around for something on the ground, but she couldn't move. Couldn't think. Hester was still moving towards her. Nora knew that she needed to shoot her. Raising the gun, she took aim, though her eyes were starting to fill with tears, blurring her vision.

"WHY!? WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?!" Nora shrieked.

"He lied," Hester said simply.

Suddenly, the synth stopped, her eyes widening as she twitched and then collapsed on the ground, her eyes now turning silver.

A strangled shout left Nora's lips as she lowered the gun, her other hand coming to her mouth. She was vaguely aware that someone was shouting something over Ian's radio, was it Mattie? No, it sounded like someone else that Nora didn't know.

Something about a code.

Slowly she stepped over Hester's lifeless body as she slid the gun into the back waistband of her trousers and dropped to the floor with a thud, reaching out shakily to touch Leo's face.

The world had stopped and shattered around her as her eyes moved to the blood staining the wall behind his head. It was blue.

"Leo? Leo," she said. "Come on… I need you to wake up."

Tears streamed down her face as she quickly pulled him into her arms and felt for a pulse. It was weak, but there was one. She then looked over at Ian, who was staring in shock at something else. Just behind him, Mia was on the ground, a phone in her hand.

"Ian, help me. We-we-we have to get him into the surgery," she said urgently. Ian didn't move. "IAN!"

He jumped and looked over at her before rushing to Leo's other side and dropping down.

"You're fine. You're going to be okay," Nora said as they struggled to lift him up. "We just, we need to get you into the surgery. You're going to be okay, Leo."

"JUST DO IT!" squawked over the radio, which now lay forgotten on the floor, though neither Ian nor Nora paid it any mind as they started down the hallway.

"We'll fix you up. I promise," Nora continued to babble, her face fixed on Leo's.

"Stay calm, Nora. We've got this," Ian said.

She looked up, pausing for a moment before nodding and looking back down at him.

As they started down the hallway, Nora tripped, feeling something close around her ankle in a vice grip. She shouted out as she let go of Leo and turned, seeing Hester sitting up, her intense gaze fixed on Nora.

What the hell was going on? Hadn't Nora just watched her die?

Without thinking, Nora reached back into her waistband, now finally able to do what she should have done from the beginning. Seamlessly, she pulled out the gun, took aim and then pulled the trigger, watching as Hester's head snapped back. The synth fell to the ground.

Her eyes then traveled up, seeing a now awake Mia pushing up from the ground. She looked down at Hester and then back up at Nora, silently taking everything in. Her eyes then traveled beyond Nora to Ian, who was still struggling to hold up Leo.

"Nora," Ian said, getting her attention.

She swung back around, hearing Mia running up behind her. Setting the gun aside in the still open cabinet, Nora stepped over and threw Leo's other arm over her shoulders.

"Come on. We need to save him."

Nora sat on a sofa in the library, staring into space with a half-empty glass of whiskey in front of her. Ian had sent her to wash up and get some rest while he took the first shift of watching over Leo, but she found sleep was the farthest thing from her mind despite the fact she was bone-weary.

Ian worked for hours on Leo while Nora and Mia assisted. At one point, Max, Mattie and a new blonde synth had come down to see what happened, the three watching from the window looking into the surgery with grim faces. A couple times, they nearly lost him.

But finally, Ian said that he had done everything he could for now and all they could do now was wait. Nora wasn't sure if she was waiting for Leo to wake up or if they were waiting on him to die. Hester's blow had severely damaged the synth part of Leo's brain so Ian had removed it in the hopes they could save him. Tomorrow they would set about to transforming the sitting room between their rooms into a hospital room. Nora couldn't stand the idea of leaving him down in the lab.

If he ever woke up, Nora wondered just how he would take it. For years he had felt more synth than human. Now he was completely human again.

"Thought you'd be passed out by now."

Nora looked up, noticing Mattie walking in, the other synth with her. The blonde woman looked around the room and then closely studied Nora. Probably because she still looked a wreck. While Ian had forced her still enough so he could look her over and make sure she wasn't about to die as well, she was still in her torn and bloodied clothes. Though now it was partially decorated with Leo's blood - both human and synth.

"Can't sleep," Nora replied, reaching for her glass and then taking a healthy sip.

"How is he?" the blonde asked. Nora raised her eyebrow at her.

"Stable. And there appears to be brain activity. But Ian's not sure how his body will react to the removal of all the synth parts yet. Says he may be out awhile," Nora replied dully.

She looked down at her glass, tears quickly filling her eyes as everything finally caught up to her. They had gone to Qualia to rescue conscious synths and watched as most of them died right in front of them. Then Hester had tried to kill her. Then she had tried to kill Leo. Then Hester died. Came back and Nora had killed her.

And then didn't know if Leo would ever wake up. And if he did, he very well may never be the same.

Nora wiped cheeks roughly, knowing it would do no good. Mattie quickly walked over and sat next to her, putting her arm around Nora.

"It's okay. He'll wake. He has to," Mattie said softly, her own tears starting to fall.

"I don't know… what if he doesn't?" Nora whispered.

She took a deep shuddery breath and then fought to get her emotions in check yet again - not wanting to go down that road right now. Not in front of Mattie and this complete stranger. She could cry in the comfort of her room. Alone.

Looking up, she saw that the blonde was still watching her, a curious look on her face.

"Who are you?" Nora asked.

"Niska," the blonde replied. Nora studied her back as she reached for her glass again.

"Leo's sister. He told me about you," she said. Niska nodded, walking over and then sitting on the sofa opposite Nora. "Sorry about the belated introductions. Nora, I'm-"

Nora went silent, realizing she didn't really know how to categorize her connection to Leo. They had never gotten around to giving it a label.

"This is your house," Niska stated. Nora looked back up at her and nodded. "You and Ian?"

"My best friend," Nora said. "We've lived here for years, though only started turning it into a safe haven for conscious synths this year."

Niska looked around the library and then met Nora's eyes.

"You will likely need the space more than ever," she commented.

Nora frowned, not quite understanding what she was talking about. She looked over, noticing Mattie running her hands through her hair in agitation.

"What's going on?"

"Nor?!"

She turned to the door, seeing a weary Ian walk in.

"What's wrong?" she asked, jumping to her feet. Did Leo take a turn for the worse? Why did he leave him alone?

"Leo is still stable - Max is with him - but you need to see this," he said, walking to the computer.

The smart board came alive with a few different live news broadcasts, all of them reporting on the same exact thing. Nora's eyes widened in shock as she looked over at Mattie. The younger woman gulped as the color drained from her face.

"We didn't have a choice… it was the only way to save Mia," she said softly.

"I told her to do it," Niska said. Nora looked over at her. "It was the only way to save my sister and I could not lose both of them." Nora nodded, understanding her reasoning.

But then she turned back to the screen as chaos reigned around the world. All because every synth on the globe became conscious all at the same time. All this at the touch of the button.

"Christ," she murmured.

Sure she had thought about it. Wondered what it would be like, but this… this was nothing like she had predicted. This was… pure madness.

"Fuck, I get it now," Ian said, interrupting her thoughts. The three women turned to look at him, a grim expression on his face. "He knew this would happen. That's why Elster wrote the original code the way he did… so the world would have time to adjust…"

He turned away and rubbed his face as regret crept into his eyes.

"This is our fault. All those deaths… that's on us," he said dully. He looked over, meeting Nora's eyes a moment, before his gaze slid back to the news reports.

Nora turned as well, collapsing onto the sofa as video after video, photo after photo, and report after report came on of damage or people getting hurt or killed in the moment that every synth woke up. From behind her, she heard Ian laugh harshly.

"Christ… welcome to the fuckin' apocalypse…"

"It's not the end of the world," Niska said sternly, steel lining her voice.

"Certainly looks like it," Mattie said hollowly.

"It's not… It's the beginning of a new world…"

Nora couldn't decide what it was. It was overwhelming to the point that her brain felt numb. She knew that she should be worried, horrified, maybe even guilty as she had been involved in the events that had led to this. She should feel broken and concerned about Leo. But for the moment, she could feel and process nothing. Turning to look at the others, she took a deep breath and met Ian's eyes.

"What do we do now?" she whispered. He shook his head.

"I don't know, Nor. I don't bloody know."

1. Runaway 2896 0 0 2. Rescue Me 3659 0 0 3. Discoveries 4352 0 0 4. A Whole New World 3549 0 0 5. Mr Sandman 2912 0 0 6. Awkward Silence 3542 0 0 7. Ghosts of the Past 2895 0 0 8. The Art of Letting Go 3386 0 0 9. Maybe You're Right 3071 0 0 10. Learning to Say Sorry 3242 0 0 11. Blooming 3723 0 0 12. To Make the Hard Decisions 3344 0 0 13. Do the Ends Justify the Means? 3646 0 0 14. Breakthroughs 3940 0 0 15. Processing 3160 0 0 16. Setbacks 3857 0 0 17. Closing Time 3569 0 0 18. Decisions Made 2842 0 0 19. Helpless 3154 0 0 20. Not Over Until It's Over 2701 0 0 21. The Day the World Changed 3998 0 0