3292/Bearing Bad Tidings

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Bearing Bad Tidings
Date of Scene: 09 September 2020
Location: Roof - Titan's Tower
Synopsis: Carol delivers a load of bad news and SCIENCE to the Titans in the aftermath of the Warworld battle. Damain is a bit of a pill.
Cast of Characters: Carol Danvers, Heather Danielson, Cassie Sandsmark, Dawn Granger, Kian, Damian Wayne, Angelica Jones

Carol Danvers has posed:
    Proximity alerts go off in the Tower.
    Which chirps the T-Comms and fires up the big old monitor in the common room shows something coming in really fast and really hot.  The energy signature is also off the charts.
    Things escalate a bit further when Carol touches down on the roof ignoring the now heavier duty alarms going off inside the building and looks around thoughtfully.  "Pool… basketball court… BBQ… is that a hot tub…" she trails off.  "Definitely a hangar…."  Walking over to tap it with her foot.  "Who the hell is bankrolling these kids…."
    She seems unperturbed by the threatening looking defense systems and alarm noises, she figures someone will be up to see her shortly and also that someone will turn everything off.  "Maybe I should have just used the doorbell…."  Glancing towards the elevator.

Heather Danielson has posed:
    Okay, so Heather enjoys the rooftop.  It's one of her favorite places to hang out.  What with the pool, the open air, the barbecue grill and all.  That's just the sort of place she spends a lot of time.  She was in the women's locker room when Carol touched down.  The alarms sounding make her come charging out of the locker room in sports bra and bluejeans.
    She is pulling a tee shirt on over the top as she rushes out.  She pauses, blinking owlishly as she spots Carol over there.  "Agent Danvers?" he asks.  Yeah, she bumped into the SHIELD hero at the Triskelion once a month or so back.  Now she's confused… her eyes flicker up and look for invading forces.  "Is someone else coming?" she asks

Cassie Sandsmark has posed:
    For various reasons, Cassie is a little on the edge of late, and blaring security alarms are actually almost a welcome sound as she lays back, stewing, on a couch down in the room below.  Why?  Because if it's an actual attack, that means she gets to punch something, and she's very much in the mood to punch things.
    So Wonder Girl scrambles fast (also because she's one of the people who can scramble pretty darn fast), taking the flyer shortcut up the elevator shaft without the elevator.  The doors open on her hovering form, and while not entirely charging right into battle, she looks ready for it, one hand down at her hip where the lasso hangs.  But, as it happens, she does recognize Carol—if only from the very recent battle where she was zooming around above the Amazon battle line.
    So her hand comes off the lasso.  No superhero misunderstandings… this time!
    "Oh… er, you're that uh, space Captain lady, right?"  Apparently, Heather had about the same idea, coming out the actual elevator.  So Carol's intercepted by the blonde brigade!  "Oh hey."

Dawn Granger has posed:
    The alarms are just that… alarming.  It's been a mild adjustment moving into her dorm room, getting the commute down between school and here.  That is just background noise to the adjustments the people around her have had to make.  Oddly enough, her sense of danger is not urging her to transform.  She walks out into the corridor and seeing no one heads to the elevator bank.  Left or right?  Transform and fly, or go civilian.  Exceptionally, she makes the choice to fly.
    The word echos in the hall as a shimmer passes over the young woman changing a pair of well worn jeans and a baggy t-shirt into a form fitting suit of cerulean blue and shimmering white.  She has wings.  The empty shaft that she has difficulty approaching in civilian clothes beckons and she rises to the roof and steps out.  The sense of imminent danger just is not there.

Kian has posed:
    Kían's nerves have been on a hair trigger since recent events; the emotional rollercoaster has not helped.
    So when the alarm goes off, the transition from 'birdman sitting on the edge of the roof' to 'birdman in full flight trying to pinpoint what's going on now for Goddess' sake?!" is nearly instantaneous.  He takes a moment to scan the sky, looking for the intruder and…
    …and anyone on the roof might be surprised by the enthusiastic "Ki-AI!" and the speed with which the little birdman rockets upward towards the incoming visitor.  "Mar'fel tavár'hKié!" he says excitedly, meeting her in mid-air and touching back down on the roof alongside her.  "I haf not seen hyu in… I do not know hwen!"
    English: Not perfect, but definitely better.
    "I did know hyu were comin'!"  One thing's clear to his teammates—the birdman definitely knows her.  And is pleased to see her.

Damian Wayne has posed:
    Damian had been en route to the Tower as the alarm pinged on his T-Com.
    He'd been astride Goliath, the massive red bat-dragon, who was very much determined to arrive on the roof of Titans Tower with a large RAWRRR!  The red beast lands with a thud, on his hind legs, and his forearms to both his sides, ready to strike.
    Atop Goliath was Robin, his hood up, and his white eyelets scowling in the shadow of the hood.  "Titans!  To the roof!" he had called, prepared to defend the tower.

Angelica Jones has posed:
    Titans!  To the roof!  The words echo through the facility, the alarms as well, and the fact that Angelica is in the commissary area putting mustard onto a sammich seems to mean nothing.  I mean, sammich!
    But then people are whipping past, weapons in hand where appropriate and powers powering up, and her eyes look a touch confused.  "Should I be…?" she tries to ask, but she barely even recognized who ran past.  Then the place seems awfully empty, everyone having gone to take on the threat, and she looks left.  Looks right.  Then she puts the sammich into the refrigerator and starts to come up too.
    Her face peeks out the doorway, a new one with less battle scars than most.  "Did I miss something?" she asks.  Next on Titans lessons: prioritizing and responses.

Carol Danvers has posed:
    There is a bright smile for Kían as he met her in the air.  "Hey, Kían.  I had been meaning to stop by and check up on you but things have been very hectic.  Your English is coming along great!"  After touching down, she switches to his language.  «They treating you well here?»
    When more people arrive to see who party crashed their roof, Carol glances at her wrist when first Cassie and Heather burst into the scene, a small holo-display popping into existence.  "Pretty sharp response time, you were either up here already or very fast."  Not really alarmed because the universe didn't warn her to be alarmed by the arrivals.  Which is like a form of cheating really.  "Captain Marvel, not Lady… you're Diana's kid sister or niece of something right?"  Honestly surprised someone doesn't know her callsign, but it is sort of endearing too, or is that humbling.  It is something.
    "Do you think we can turn off the…" and trails off as more arrivals happen.  She gives Dove a friendly enough nod and is about to start talking again when the massive Red Bat-Dragon lands and RAWRRRs! sort of in her general direction.  "What the hell is that!"  And yes swearing, and Steve isn't around to correct her language either….  She stares a little longer and then just shakes her head.  "Did Batman buy you that…"  Because yes she recognizes the Robin gear.  "And if he did where… glass houses and all but why don't superheroes have normal pets…."
    Finally a nod to Angelica whom she also hasn't met yet.  "So… alarms… off and we should all talk."  The tone at this point is somber.

Heather Danielson has posed:
    Okay, so Carol doesn't remember Heather… aka Knockout.  Heather is also in civilian clothing, but she doesn't really hide her ID.  She couldn't put that genie back into the bottle anyway.
    But when she realizes it's not really an attack going on, she relaxes a bit and then… big Bat Dragon thingamagoober (Technical term for sure)… and she jumps a half pace back, hands coming up into a simple Karate fighting stance.
    But again, relaxing as things wind down.  "Okay," she says, looking to Cassie and giving a nod.  "I'm good with talking.  But I'm not in charge or anything."

Cassie Sandsmark has posed:
    "That's right!  Sister," which is true both in the Amazon camaraderie sense and in the 'Zeus sure gets around' sense, "and apprentice," Cassie confirms, with a nod and a bright grin.  Evidently, being referred to as Wonder Woman's anything, even 'kid sister or niece' is cause for pride, not insult!  She's not just a sidekick, she's a super-fan!  She's come up for battle wearing Wonder Woman commercial merchandise, after all.
    Still, she has some room in her heart for other fandoms.  "Captain, right!  I saw you flying around blowing stuff up during the battle.  Really cool!  Oh I think, was it Diana or Hawkeye, we met up and someone said something about contacting you for help, with what happened to Warworld.  Do you have news about D- Troia?"
    So one, she's actually ahead of the curve on this.  Two, she sounds a little too eager, half-way to desperate, when she asks.
    Three, Troia, and not anyone else.  SORRY OTHER TITAN FRIENDS.
    The rwar-ing from behind has her glancing back, and she blinks a bit.  First time seeing the… whatever it is.  "What is that, exactly?  I've seen a lot of weird monster crap on Themyscira, but I don't think we've got any of those."

Dawn Granger has posed:
    Dove blinks, mesmerized by the large red dragon that she regards with a bemused smile.  She sidles around its bulk to Knockout.  "Was that a test?" she says in a low voice eyeing the others as she joins the woman that had brought her to the Titans and her new home.  "My sense of danger just was not pinging which… yeah.  I'll be more careful about that."  Gaze moving from person to person, she stops and lingers over the ones unknown to her and elbows Heather lightly, whispering.  "What's up?"

Damian Wayne has posed:
    Goliath trudged over towards Carol, looking down on the lady as he measured her up.  Turning his crimson head to Damian and giving a Snorf, snoorf.  Goliath had to be sure with Damian for a second.  "No, Goliath.  Do you see any other foreign entities around the tower?" he asked, before Goliath rolled his eyes.
    Captain Marvel's response is… less than amusing.  "No, Batman did not purchase him.  He is a bat-dragon.  And his name is Goliath.  And he is not a pet."  To which Goliath nods and snorts a little in the affirmative.  Damian raises his T-com and clicks off the alarm system.  "Ever try using the front door?" he comments, casting a little shade.  "Cancel alarm, all-clear," he spoke into his T-Comm.

Kian has posed:
    «Yes, very,» Kían replies, relishing the chance to communicate freely, even at the expense of his teammates' understanding—but this really is more between himself and Captain Marvel than it is a Titans matter.  «I can't say I understand everything that's going on around here, but I think I'm finding a way to fit in and be useful, even if—»
    Here, he just stops, looking upwards with a troubled expression.  They are going to look for their four lost friends, and Kían is making himself believe that they're still out there somewhere… but Kían has studied a lot of advanced physics.  He knows the difference between a black hole and a wormhole, and how awful the tidal forces and small the margins of error are either way.  «—even if very difficult things happen sometimes,» he finally finishes.
    He looks around the rooftop, and forces a smile.  «And the team is so much larger than when you brought me to meet—»  Another sudden stop, and that troubled look comes back.
    Again, he forces it down.  "Mar'fel q'ten iss hwy I am here," he says, switching back to English for the other Titans' benefit.  "She iss one of the firs' people I haf meet on Eart', an' in-troduce me to G… to Beas' Boy."  Yes, he knows that everyone knows Beast Boy's name is Gar, but he doesn't want to get in the habit of mixing personal names with professional names.  Humans take it seriously for some reason that still eludes him, but it's their world, not his.
    And the dragon-thing?  He has contrived to be on the other side of Captain Marvel from it.

Angelica Jones has posed:
    A little wave from the doorway and the redheaded last-on-scene comes out.  She stops cold at the sign of a freaking dinosaur, her heart skipping a beat, and draws energy from the area.  Not too noticeably, she can't DO noticeable.  But it's there.
    "Soooo confused," she says with a pause, as she looks around.  Nobody else is panicking, soooo she probably shouldn't panic.  That's what social science has taught her.  She nods, she gets out of the doorway, and… stays out of the way.
    This isn't her world, not yet.  But she does smile when she's looked at.  I mean, that is clearly Captain Marvel.  "I have one of your figurines," she says, then puts her hands over her mouth.  Not the time.
    "Is… this a real alarm?"

Carol Danvers has posed:
    "Good to see you are still here," to Heather as a brief aside.
    Then Carol just holds eye contact with Goliath then looks past to Robin.  "I'm not about to be lectured about using the doorbell by you Robin while you are riding an evidently sentient Bat-Dragon that you just landed on the roof.  Which as far as I am aware is not actually a normal earth species…."  She squints up at Goliath.  "Sorry for calling you a pet, my 'cat' doesn't like it when I call him a pet either."  You can practically hear the air quotes around cat.  "Are you from the Savage Lands?"  The what now?
    She glances to Cassie.  "Pleasure to meet you, were you down there with the Themysciran army then?  Also were those Kangaroos?"  Yeah, those were hard to miss.
    Then her attention shifts to Kían.  «I'm glad you are being able to fit in and they are treating you well.  We all need somewhere to fit in.»  She nods then to the part Kían explains in his English.  It really is getting better.
    "Not a real alarm and not a test, sorry about that I'm just used to landing on touchpads and roofs.  The front door would have been less disruptive."  She didn't say she didn't agree with Robin in hindsight, she just said she wasn't going to be lectured by Robin.
    Now that the alarms are silenced though she look at the assembled Titans.  "Okay.  So Diana asked me to see if I could get the Lantern Corps to come check out the situation with Warworld and your friends since I was dropping off Mongel for a Science Cell.  I also tapped the Nova Corps because I figured both would be quite interested in the aftermath of the attempted invasion and what happened.  They just finished up their surveying of the battle site in space."

Heather Danielson has posed:
    "Lantern Corps… Warworld… and bears, oh my," mutters Heather as she shakes her head.  "I tell you what, all of you who have the slightest clue what any of that means… maybe y'all could discuss it and let me…."  A pause, and she looks to Dove with a pained grin.  Through gritted teeth she mutters, "I have no 'effin' clue."  And then she looks to the others, "Let us know…" and as she says us, she waves a finger back and forth between herself and Dove to indicate the two of them.  "Know what we need to know to be able to help out.  For now… I hate to sound frivolous, but when I Say I am feeling hunger pangs, I am quite literal about that.  I need to get some calories in me, quick…."  And she turns, draping one arm over Dove's shoulders as she adds, "Care to join me?  Maybe we can grab a workout after?"

Cassie Sandsmark has posed:
    Kian's bit of extra context is definitely interesting to Cassie, who looks back and forth between the space bird and the space lady with a bit of 'hmm, makes sense' sort of expression.  And while they're on the topic of what species are and are NOT native to Earth, she just has to explain:
    "Themysciran kanga are larger and sturdier than the kangaroos found elsewhere, but they share a similar origin."  See?  Her weird super pet is at least a native species.  Plus or minus a couple thousand years of weird magical nonsense.  "But yeah, that was me riding it, at the front of the Amazon battle charge.  Since Diana was already with you, I took her place in the vanguard."  EXTREME pride levels there, visibly puffing out her chest a bit and standing taller (even though she's already, still, floating).
    But her own pride and accomplishment isn't really what she's there for.  It's the details Carol has come to share.  She's not even sure who half the people or things Carol mentions are, but it's hardly the point.  Diana said she would ask.  And Carol's here to deliver!  HOPE!
    "So, did you find them?" she asks, eagerly, albeit with just a tinge of worry hidden behind the forceful optimism.  "Or, well, at least figure out where they went, or how they went there, or whatever?  If you figured out where they are, America's pretty sure she can get us there."

Angelica Jones has posed:
    Angelica, still near the doorway, gives a little wave, trying to get people's attention.  "I'm… not needed," she says, though what she means is 'I don't deserve to be here.  Not yet.'  And she gives a smile, meaning no harm.  "Hope I can help, I'll be making sure everyone's okay who didn't come up."
    She ducks into the doorway, her hair flouncing softly, and is gone.  She knows she hasn't really met anyone who was lost.  And this feels more like a Titans family thing.  Which she will be, but not… quite… yet.

Damian Wayne has posed:
    "Wh-you're not even a Titan!  We all can land on the roof.  We have—and Goliath is my friend!" Robin comments, as he got off of Goliath's back.  Goliath had stopped being the scary monster once things seemed to calm, changing to a demeanor more akin to a friendly dog.  "He's from Bialya, his species were raised to guard the royal family and the Crown Jewels.  I released them from that servitude."  He doesn't mention just how he released them, but it wasn't something he was particularly proud of, even if Goliath had never held it against Damian.
    The news of Warworld and the Nova Corps investigation gets him to step up, interested.  "Please excuse my compatriots.  They are determined to deny the massive odds that are in front of them.  I understand it is a level of grief.  But it is damned annoying."
    He had no qualms accepting their deaths, what they did was dangerous.  It's a dangerous life, and he had long since made peace with the very real possibility that he would die.  "It is unhealthy."

Kian has posed:
    "If hyu can fly, roofs are for landin' on," Kían remarks lightly, then looks at Carol directly when she starts to talk about the War World battle.  Battle—there's a word he never thought he'd use other than metaphorically.  He's not as optimistic as Cassie, and it's an effort to not just take Marvel's hand and read it from her mind directly.
    But he doesn't do that.  At a minimum, it would be rude; worse, it would be incredibly unfair to her.  "I thin' if hyu were bring us good news, hyu woul' haf said it firs'," he says, giving voice to his fears—and glancing over at Robin, as if to say 'not all your teammates, no'.  "I am hopin' hyu are goin' to make me be wrong, though.  I woul' like to be wrong this time… but the math is terrible."
    The reliable weathervane of his emotions, his wings sag slightly.

Dawn Granger has posed:
    "Hungry are you?  I thought you had a…."  Dove stops herself, reaches up to pat Heather's arm.  "Let's grab something to eat or you grab something and I'll watch you while you explain what is going on.  Okay?"  With another admiring glance at the dragon, she edges around the group to the elevator shaft for flyers.  In the doorway, she points down, then steps into the shaft, hovering for a moment, her white wings floating in an updraft, mouthing for Heather's benefit, "I'll meet you in the commissary."

Carol Danvers has posed:
    Carol does look Damian right in the eyes.  "Hope is important, especially without evidence or data, Robin.  Also with examples like Superman, it can be hard to jump to the negative in a world with miracles.  Do not be hard on your teammates and the grieving process.  They are going to need empathy from each other and from you."  That said there is a frown, which is probably not what anyone wants to see.  "It would… unfortunately be a miracle in this case though and you are right Kían, the news isn't good."
    She glances at everyone, especially Cassie who has so much hope there.  "The Corps took a look at the debris field, as did a US Space Plane."  She doesn't mention that it was SWORD.  "As did I when I got back."  Yup, still frowning.
    She taps her sleeve and brings the holo display back to life, letting it grow big enough to share with the whole class as it were up there on the roof.  To many though it will look like SCIENCE and not be very understandable.  "I'll transfer these readings and everything over to you if you tell me where to send it to."  Still burying the lead though.  Then again, this is a hard conversation to have.
    "Warworld tried to create a stable wormhole but the wormhole generators were too damaged.  They opened up onto a hyperspace anomaly instead and the wormhole collapsed in on itself.  Warworld is huge and built to withstand a lot so there is a small chance that it may have been shunted somewhere randomly, very… very far away based on the readings… but it was likely damaged extensively in the collapse of the wormhole."
    She pauses just for a moment.  "The Dreadnought the Titans were on though, the readings suggest one of your team may have tried and failed to open some kind of inter-dimensional portal in the last moments.  They were inside the wormhole horizon though.  None of us are experts on magic or interdimensional transit but the consensus is that that is very unlikely that they could have opened a stable portal within a wormhole, let alone one that was undergoing that peculiar gravitational collapse.  The Lantern… Superman… and I found a fair amount of debris from the dreadnought, and based on those readings it looks like the impact took place a fraction of a second before the wormhole collapsed."
    There is a big breath and a sigh from Carol and yeah she has a lot of empathy in her eyes.  Especially as she looks to Cassie.  "Based on everything we have even if they somehow survived the impact, the gravitational shock most likely would have torn them to pieces.  Really it looks like it was cut in half and caught in the collapse.  Even if it was intact, the options for a Dreadnought outside of Warworld's hangers without hypernavigation systems are really near impossible."  She leaves out the whole likely reduced and ejected as a massive burst of gamma particles.  "I'm really sorry everyone, I felt it best to come in person to tell you."

Cassie Sandsmark has posed:
    Even before Carol begins, that 'please excuse my compatriots' bit from Damian earns a clearly angry look from Cassie.
    Apart from that, she stands and waits on Carol, still looking eager despite whatever gnawing sense growing all around her that the woman isn't here to deliver happy news.  After all, even bad news comes in degrees, and in the world of superheroes, 'impossible' isn't a hard line, it's a sliding scale.  However, it's quickly increasingly clear that this news is at the far extreme of that spectrum of suck, and Cassie doesn't even make it through the entire thing.  Maybe somewhere along the line she gets bored of listening to science junk that means nothing to her, all spoken with the same gloomy tone.  Her lack of understanding is probably one of her few defenses there:
    "Okay, so you can't find them," she declares.  "Or the Lanterns or anyone else.  Kinda disappointing the League and Avengers can't do better, but I guess we'll just have to keep working on it here."  Where hope gives way, there's a lot of anger underneath, and she doesn't seem shy of spreading it around.
    After that, she turns another look to Damian.  This one seems pre-emptive.  Don't you dare.
    "I'm taking a small leave of absence.  Gotta make a trip."  And that's all she says, before turning for the elevator.

Damian Wayne has posed:
     "There's hope, and then there is outright denial.  I can tell which is which."  Damian quips back, arms crossed, pretending he cannot see Cassie staring daggers at him.  "And I will not be lectured by someone who cannot use a doorbell or announce their arrival beforehand on the merits of tact."  A very 'put that in your pipe and smoke it' attitude on it.
    "There we have it," he says, sighing slightly.  A small gesture of his own grief.  "I will miss Troia, and Cyborg, and Fairchild."  A pause.  "Possibly the insane cat thing as well."  It wasn't much, but in his own twisted way, he accepted the deaths.  "Thank you, for investigating."
    "We will make the adequate preparations in the memorial hall.  Their contributions will stand for all to see."  See?  Positive.

Kian has posed:
    Kían's eyes close as Marvel explains the findings, and winces at the conclusion, with a soft "Nnh," followed by a few words in his own language, too quiet to make out clearly.  From the contemplative look on his face, it was probably a prayer.
    With some difficulty, he opens his eyes and looks over to Carol.  "I… than' you for your news," he says, although it's hard to call his tone appreciative.
    And then, just a little defiantly, he adds, "It iss wort' rememberin' though that all my people mus' think I am dead… an' here I am.  The math is terrible, but it iss not impossible.  I will hope… but I will not ex-pec' miracles."

Damian Wayne has posed:
    Robin uncrossed his arms, and started to walk his way towards the elevator.  Pausing a moment right next to Kian.
    A gloved hand reaches up and rests on the avian's shoulder.  "That, is perfectly fine."  He looked into Kian's eyes, and a small shifting of his perpetual frown into a smile attempt to reassure Kian.  "Do you drink tea, Kian, Captain Marvel?  I have a Chinese oolong that is fantastic."

Carol Danvers has posed:
    Carol looks after Cassie, not feeling particularily insulted or any need to defend herself, the Avengers, or the League.  She understands that hope turns to grief and rage.  Anger can be a tool when harnessed.  Also everyone processes it in their own way really.
    Which is why she also isn't really upset by Robin and his tough boy act and acting alien and cold.  It is probably his own way of coping is what she figures, mostly since she hasn't ever had to talk to him before and doesn't know better.
    Honestly, Kían seems to be taking this the most mature out of everyone.  She nods to him.  "I'm sure they do and you are here."  She glances to Damian.  "I think it is okay for some to hold out some hope and to process grief however they must… within limits.  It is always rough when you have soldiers who do not make it back but there is also no body.  That's why the US Military has the no one left behind, even all they bring back is a body.  It provides closure."
    Lastly she does look to Damian and the offer of tea.  "Sure I'll have some."  Because who knows, maybe this is how he copes.  She walks towards the elevator.  "You should try to show your other teammates the same compassion you showed Kían.  It really will help them get through this and come out the other side.  Grief is hard and everyone reacts differently.  You can't force them to process it your way."  She is trying advice nor lecturing.

Cassie Sandsmark has posed:
    Cassie has already turned and stepped out into the open shaft as all this back and forth is going.  She doesn't intend to stay—but hearing something behind her, her foot finds purchase on open air and she hangs there without dropping.
    "There's people down in the lab working on it right now, Robin.  America has dimensional travel powers that I'm not even sure any of the 'big leaguers,'" and she hikes a thumb over her shoulder back in Carol's direction, "can match.  Me, I'm going to talk to Raven, and then go to see the Oracle."  Uh, like in the Matrix?
    "You gonna order us not to?"  And there's a definite 'I dare you' in the question.  "Just try it.  Might set a record for shortest leadership to mutiny."  And then she falls.

Kian has posed:
    A wave of sadness—not grief, not yet—flows out of the birdman's mind, followed by mild surprise.  This sort of friendliness is not the way Robin was described to him.  {Yes, thank you.}  Kian's mental voice is the same as his speaking voice, except for the lack of hesitancy over an unfamiliar language.  {I don't know about 'oolong', but I have liked tea when I've—oh, Gods!}
    Kían takes one step away, breaking contact.  "Contac' telepat'," he explains, looking genuinely apologetic.  "Hyu did not know?  Did not hear any-thin' from hyour min'."  He laughs once, without humor.  "Haf got use to not listenin'."  He taps his temple.  "Up here.  No one to mind-talk to, no reason to listen."
    He does look up and smile, eventually.  "An' than' hyu, yis, I woul' like tea."