4594/Another You: Infiltration

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Another You: Infiltration
Date of Scene: 04 January 2021
Location: Main Room - Titan's Tower
Synopsis: There is something deeply amiss at the Tower. Terry and Kian are creeped out by Gar Logan's behavior
Cast of Characters: Gar Logan, Kian, Terry O'Neil

Gar Logan has posed:
    It's been hours later, hours after the attack on the beach.  Garfield Logan is feeling good about things right now.  He's got the other one's phone, which has given him a chance to see what's on it.  He knows the other one has (or had, now) a boyfriend, which is unexpected, but something that can be worked around.  There's a social media presence as well.  After some time spent in the other one's room, going over files for the Titans, he is up enough on their history on this world that he should be able to fake the rest.  There will be some gaps, but there should also be ways to get around that.
    Now, he has placed himself in the main room of the Tower, wearing the other one's clothes, making sure he looks the part.  It isn't that difficult.  The hair is the same, the green is of course the same, and any subtle differences can be chalked up to his own shifting.  Perhaps there are others here who have already been replaced.  Perhaps he is the first one to infiltrate the group.  Time would tell.
    The scene is set with him doing what the other one has also done—watching animal documentaries on the large television.  "Heh.  Bigger than what we had.  I could get used to this," he says quietly, as tigers are shown on the big screen.  "Ah, irony."  He smiles, stretching his legs out before his fingers interlock at the back of his head.

Kian has posed:
    The fluttering of very large wings gives away Kían's arrival, via the open elevator shaft as usual.  Purple Kool-Ade, predictably.
    Hearing the TV going, he flits over to a delicate perch on the arm of the couch, without spilling a drop of his drink even though the tumbler is quite full.  "Kié, Gar tavár'h!  Are you well?"  He glances at the TV, just in time to see a tiger pounce on some poor quadruped, and winces.  "I suppose it iss nature, but it iss never easy to watch," he comments.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    It has been a busy, and stress-inducing day for Terry.  All morning long, he spent time at work asking Lois questions, trying to find a precarious balance between being obvious and finding shit out.  Because if Lois Lane had been replaced, Superman would want to know right away.
    He hadn't made much headway, and by the time work was out, he stppped to have some tea and ran into Allegra Caradenza, with whom he talked for a bit before heading to his home and finding out if Agatha O'Neil was a Doppelganger or not.
    Satisfied that his mother hadn't been replaced, and impressing upon her the importance of leaving, Terry had helped her pack her vital things and left her at a hotel clear across from town, near her investigation firm.  That way he knew that if someone came home, it wouldn't be his mother.
    Now came the part that he was dreading.  Playing Boris and Natasha in his home away from home, the Tower.  His dear friends could be doppelgangers, and the only ones he could trust were Donna and Kara, who had no doppelgangers.  As he Rabbit Holes into the Lobby, he realizes how apprehensive he feels… was it right, to be prepared to treat your friends with suspicion?  That can't be healthy for your psyche.
    He transforms into his human side to give the Cheshire a rest.  The ankle was much better now, hardly a bother, so he figured he'd spend a few hours in his human suit, being less loopy.
    As he walks into the main room, he spots a familiar figure lounging in his familiar spot, and he stops for a second.  His first impulse is to run to Gar, hug him and kiss him and seek refuge in the certainty of the other's love and presence… but he realizes that, without Donna, he has no way of guaranteeing anything.  Even that much is not given to him.  And yet he has to pretend nothing has changed, until he can be certain.
    Fortunately, Kian is also there… Fortunately?  What if this is not his Kian?
    "Hey there, handsome."  Terry decides to step fully into the room, so that they can take notice of him.  He is smiling at Gar, even if internally he feels anxious.  Good thing that he is not in feline form, or his tail would betray him.  "And birdy buddy.  How's everybody?"
    Then he thinks—it's out of character for him not to kiss Gar in greeting.  He finds his steps taking him towards the green Titan, knowing that he can't really be too strange, too out of the ordinary or else they will worry. Or might notice.

Gar Logan has posed:
    "…Kian."  Gar's greeting comes after a pause, covered by staring at the screen after a glance toward the Akiar.  It is not immediately clear whether or not that is the same Kian from his own world—and there is one—but it's too soon to tell.  There were a couple things that had changed.  For now, play it cool.  Play it safe.
    "Nature can be harsh, sometimes," he remarks with a shrug.
    Anything further there is interrupted by Terry's arrival.  There were photos of him in the phone, photos of Vorpal as well, and recent texting history was… curious to say the least.  Gar never met Terry in his own world, and there was no such thing as Vorpal.  He only has the pictures and texts and things like that to go by, and there will be some empty spots.  "Hello, you," he says, an internal feeling of amusement there.  It was the first thing he said to the other one before killing him.  "Just watching some educational stuff.  How are you?"  His attention turns more toward Terry, the variable he still has to work out.

Kian has posed:
    Kían has turned away from the display of 'nature red in fang and claw' on TV, and takes a long drink from his cup, so he missed Gar's hesitation.  And anyway, his own grasp of human body language is still quite weak.  "Yis, this I know.  We haf tamed our worlds, of course.  There are wild areas, but I haf not seen them.  I am physicis', not biologis'."
    He turns, and greets Terry: "Kié, Téri tavár'h!"… and is a little confused by the greetings between Gar and Terry.  Something seems a little off, in an indefinable way.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    "Hey, Kian… everything okay?"
    Right way, Terry senses something wrong.  That's not usually how Gar addresses him.  But it's still… within the bounds of acceptable.  Gar on his off days, on his 'something is bothering me and I won't say what' days, can be standoffish.  The redhead sits down on the couch next to Gar.  "Tired.  Today was a day at the Planet.  I've got a hard deadline I don't know how I'm going to meet," he sas, his tone taking on a slightly pitiful one.  It wasm't usual for him to complain like that, he usually enjoyed the challenges, even if they stressed him out at times.  "And my back is all tense like a whip.  It's driving me up the wall."

Gar Logan has posed:
    Gar Logan's focus shifts back toward Kian for a few seconds.  The more he hears him speak, the more he becomes certain this is not the Kian from his own world.  That means he will have to be careful around this version of the Akiar.  "You know me.  I study everything."  That, at least, holds true across both versions of the green one.
    But, he will also have to be careful around Terry, who has seen fit to come closer.  Inwardly, he was hoping that wouldn't be the case.  Now, he's going to have to figure out what to do about it.  The probability of running into him so soon after taking the place of the other one was high, but he was hoping for an extra day or two.  He should have texted and come up with an excuse.  That one's on him for being overconfident.
    So, for the moment he just lets Terry feel his shoulder resting against his own.  It's a subtly affectionate gesture, one that conveys familiarity and comfort, doesn't it?  He learns Terry works at the Planet, which is not something he had known until just now.  It wasn't in anything he'd looked up yet.  That means Terry must be a reporter of some kind.  "What are you working on?" he asks, an innocent enough question.  His other hand moves to settle over his own stomach, just resting there for the moment.  "I'm sure you'll be fine.  You usually find a way, right?"

Kian has posed:
    Kían sighs heavily.  "Okay enough," he says.  He nearly adds something about not knowing how to handle a duplicate and then realizes that he doesn't know for sure whether these are the Terry and Gar he knows.  "This worl' is always a challenge," he finally says—true enough on either Earth, no doubt.
    He could settle the matter in seconds.  All it would take is the slightest touch and see if the mind is the one he knows.  There are two problems with that, though: the first is that he's made a habit of asking permission first, or of at least warning that he was going to make mental contact.
    And the second is: what the hell is he supposed to do if either—or both—his friends are not who they appear?
    He glances back at the TV.  Unfortunately the tiger on the screen is appropriate to both Terry-the-cat and Gar-the-metamorph.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    "Yes," Terry says quietly, holding himself still so as not to squirm under all the uncertainty.  The welcoming common room now offers no safety, no comfort.  He was with two people who could be strangers, or the people he trusted his life with.  And he had no way of knowing, not without Donna here.
    He looks at Gar briefly.  He could say something like 'I had lunch with my dad, he says hi.'  All it would take would be the wrong answer from Gar.
    But what if Kian was also a fake?  What if he revealed his suspicions?  Gar could transform in an instant, whereas he needed his mirror.  Kian could blast him in a moment.
    He felt sick to his stomach.  "I usually find a way."  His voice is faint now.  He can't help it.  There is contact with Gar, but it's very much perfunctory.  Was it because there was no genuine affection, or was it because Gar was reading standoffishness off of him, and was responding in kind out of apprehension?
    The problem with mind games.
    "I'm proposing a piece about Arkham asylum.  An undercover piece…" he says carefully, eyes glancing at Gar to gauge his reaction.

Gar Logan has posed:
    Nobody ever said taking the place of someone else would be easy.  There are so many little details to be aware of, that it's impossible for anybody to just step in, replace someone others know more closely, even intimately, and be able to do it perfectly, to not make some mistakes.
    The key is limiting those mistakes, passing them off as something else… or just mauling everyone on the spot.  Doing that, already?  It could compromise everything.
    "Yeah, it is.  There's always something out there to worry about," Gar responds to Kian, but as the documentary plays out on the large screen, as it changes over from being about tigers to something about wolves hunting sheep, the irony of the timing is not lost on him.  It is completely on point.
    Terry is the one he's got to be more careful about right now.  He touches the boy's cheek with the back of a couple fingers, doing a fine job of hiding the disgust it causes him to feel inside, then he draws the hand back to his stomach.  "You know that place is full of nutjobs, but if it's something you think you have to do, I'll support you."

Kian has posed:
    Kían nods once at Gar's statement.  "Does not mean I haf to like it.  So much less to worry about on my worl'.  Nnh.  I am gettin' in a mood.  We shoul' go flyin' later tonight.  Especial if it iss clear, yis?"  A request he's made many times before.
    He gives Terry a smile.  "Woul' you wan' to come wit'?  It has been a while since I haf las' take you flyin'."

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    Terry doesn't know what to think.  The touch makes the suspicion go down, but there's still something wrong.  Something he can't quite define.  "Thank you Gar, that means a lot to me…" he says quietly.  Caught in the pressure of pure uncertainty, he seems to brighten up when Kian makes his offer.
    Why?  Because Terry knows for a fact there is no Vorpal in that world.  In that world, Vorpal never joined the Titans.  Terry O'Neil was probably… somewhere else.  The hopes that this was the real Kian increase, because who else would know they had flown before?  "I'd love that, thank you," he says to the Akiar.  But… he had a plan.  Just in case.
    He glances over at Gar.  Would he join?  If this was the real Kian, wouldn't that mean Gar would risk exposure, if he were not the real one?
    "What do you say, want to join us for a flight?  I promise I won't tug at your kiilt this time."
    He grins.
    Joke attempted.  Examining reaction.

Gar Logan has posed:
    Fuck.  The bird just had to ask that, didn't he?  Sure, Gar had a love of flying, and it was so advantageous when going hunting.  Just consider what it led to earlier today.  But, whatever interactions took place between this Gar and the Kian he knew, he knows this one is not the one he's used to.  It could blow his cover.  This does explain a photo or two on the phone, and why Gar looked like a green version of an Akiar.  Were the three of them…?  Ugh.  Perish the very thought.
    Terry's approval of the idea leaves him without an easy excuse to beg off, so he goes for another option.  It's one he had in the back of his head in case the opportunity presented itself, and now it has.  There's a reason he kept his hand over his stomach, and he plays it up now.
    "I'd love to, guys, but I'm gonna have to pass this time.  I ate too much earlier, and something's starting to disagree with me a little.  I wouldn't want to throw up on either of you."  There is some truth in there, and something of a lie.  He grimaces for show as he moves to his feet, reaching for the remote to shut the TV off.  "I could use a day or two to rest.  Things have been crazy lately."

Kian has posed:
    Plausible enough that Kían can't really question Gar over that, although given the way Gar normally eats, it's only barely plausible.  "Well, you can res' an' join us later," he offers, hopping down off the couch's armrest, his foot landing barely a centimeter from Terry's.  With any luck the cat picks up on that little fact.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    "Well, I hope you feel better soon," Terry says.  He doesn't lean over and kiss Gar.  This is very unusual for Terry.  This is very intentional as the redhead stands up… because Gar would question it.  But, would he?  The human leans forward a second, not having missed a beat of Kian's landing.
    {Can you hear me?} he asks, at the same time turning to Gar.  "I won't be here tonight.  After the flight I need to head back to the Planet… I'll have Kian drop me off.  I need to make sure I have my pitch together for tomorrow… I'll probably be working late.
    {Please tell me it's really you….}

Gar Logan has posed:
    "Yeah, that sounds good.  I've got some stuff I need to work on too, after I'm feeling better," Gar said, and he almost said 'after I'm feeling more like myself.'  That would have been a dangerous tell.  What he needs to do is ensure some more space so he can make further plans that don't just involve turning into something lethal and destroying everyone in sight.
    Stepping away, he feigns walking gingerly.  If he had to be honest, that meal earlier was one of the most satisfying ones he's ever had, and by now something in the ocean has surely finished off his other self for dessert.  He could have done it all on his own, but this was just as good a way to ensure no signs of this world's Gar would ever be found, and he was providing for other animals at the same time.  It's the circle of life, personified.
    "You be careful out there, and good luck on the pitch.  Don't wait up on me."  He might need to go out in search of a girl or two to spend the night with, just to rid himself of the thought of ever being intimate with this guy, or maybe these guys.  What the hell was wrong with this world's Garfield Logan, anyway?  What was he thinking?
    Correcting that would be one of the first things on his list of things to do here.

Kian has posed:
    {c'Rhys'yw tavéi, yes, I'm this world's Kían… well, this universe's Kían anyway.  And you are the Terry I know, I can sense that.  I thought you might be, everything seemed 'right' about you.  Maybe we need some kind of subtle signal that I need to make mental contact, I don't know.}  The first couple words come bubbling up from so deep within that there's no chance for a translation, but it's a joyous exclamation, whatever it is.
    While this is going on silently between himself and Terry, he offers to Gar's retreating form, "Yis, feel better soon.  I will be careful wit' Terry."  That goes without saying, but he said it anyway.
    {I am sorry to say, I am not convinced we have our usual Gar.  I'm unfortunately also not convinced we don't.  I didn't dare risk making mental contact because I don't know, and if he isn't our Gar….}  The thought trails off, but not without a fleeting recollection of the tiger on the TV, eviscerating an unfortunate antelope.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    Terry waits for Gar to retreat before he goes with Kian, all the while the redhead holds on to the Akiar's hand.  Kian can tell that he is shaking.
    {I don't think that's my Gar.}
    There is a literal avalanche of fear at the implication.  {But I can't be sure until we find a way to confront him….}  He glances at the retreating Gar.  Kian can follow his gaze to see the green Titan pulling out his phone as he walks into the elevator.
    Green eyes travel back to the Akiar.  {He has his phone.  I don't know what to think, Kian….}

Gar Logan has posed:
    Gar Logan digs up that phone, looking at the screen for a moment, aware that two pairs of eyes are boring into his back, knowing that they're probably asking themselves right now if this is the real him or not.
    The doors slide open and he steps in, reaching out to the side without looking to slap the panel to take him up to the right floor.  Then he pauses, and does the same thing again on the opposite side after looking to both sides in a moment of confusion.
    In the process, he's heard to laugh at something on the other end of the line, and it sounds like the way he would laugh.  It feels right.  Indistinct words follow as the doors slide shut again, and the elevator rises.

Kian has posed:
    Kían cannot suppress a shudder.  {I don't know either.  I'm sorry, Terry, I should have tried to figure out a way to make some sort of contact with him, but I was terrified of what might happen if it wasn't our… uh, this world's Gar.}
    Even with Gar gone up the elevator, Kían retains contact with Terry.  This is officially too scary to risk saying out loud.
    The following thought comes only after noticeable hesitation.  {And if this isn't our Gar... where is he?}

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    {I don't know.  Nothing would keep Gar from warning us unless….}
    The teenager's body goes completely rigid.  {Unless he couldn't do it.  He has the right phone.  But he didn't know which side of the wall the panel was.  He's been in this Tower since the first incarnation of the Titans.}  Terry knows.  Gar Logan's biggest fan on Earth would know.
    "Let's get to the roof… now.  Take me to Colette's apartment."  The one on Happy Harbor.  He will practically pull Kian with him until they get to the roof.
    {I need to tell you a secret.  But first we need to make sure you don't get replaced.  We need a code… something only you would know before establishing contact.}

Kian has posed:
    Kían absolutely does not follow up on the 'unless' himself.  he doesn't care to consider those possibilities.
    And Kían needs little coaxing to get to the roof—in fact, he scoops Terry up into that safety carry and flits up the open shaft, depositing both of them on the rooftop.
    Without much in the way of prelude, Kían 'sends, {Yes, we are going to need some way for me to make contact without alerting the changed ones.  I think there may well be one of me wherever the changed ones come from.  If this is not our Gar, he did not seem surprised to see me, so it stands to reason I am there, too.  Gods, I have no idea what to do if another me shows up!}

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    {We blast the fuck out of him, is what we do.  I am not going to have whatever happened to Gar… happen to you too.}
   What did happen to Gar?  Terry's eyes start watering.  "Get me out of here…."  The tower, which up to this point had been the safest place in the world for him, surrounded by his new extended family, was now a place of dread.
    {You can trust Donna.  Donna does not have a Doppelganger in the other world for… some reason.  Kara, also, because her Doppelganger has been taken care of.}
    He exhales and nods to Kian, giving him the signal that he's ready to be carried.

Kian has posed:
    Kían efficiently bundles Terry into a safety carry, and despite the weight, fairly leaps into the air.  He wants away from the Tower, too… and Terry can easily sense Kían's disquiet over even an evil version of himself getting blasted.  He seems to be having trouble even conceiving of a dark version of himself.
    When his thoughts clear, though, what he 'sends is, {We just got the four of you back from an impossible situation.  We will have the real Gar back too.}  The tenor of the thought is not as confident as the words, but he's doing all he can to convince himself that will be the case.
    He's mentally silent a moment, although he hasn't broken or muted contact.  Eventually, he asks, {What about you?  Do you have a double too?  And what do we do about that?  I wouldn't find it any easier to attack a wrong version of you than I would a wrong version of me.}

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    {I am very sure there is a wrong version of me out there,} Terry thinks back, {but he won't be the Cheshire Cat.  There's only one Cheshire Cat in all of the universe.  So he won't be a danger to you… unless my other version somehow became a super-spy assassin.}  He pauses.
    {Actually, you might be safe just knocking him out.  I will let you in on a secret…} and in his mind, he replays, as best as he is able to recall, the meeting with Donna, Kara, and Nadia, so that he can be all caught up.  {I have a marker at the apartment.  We'll put the dot on your finger… if you do NOT see me with that dot, you knock me out.  I don't care the context, do NOT hesitate, okay?}

Kian has posed:
    {I… don't think you realize what you're asking.  That would still be hurting someone.}  There's a vague queasiness attached to Kían's thoughts, and he can't help but think of the one time he did directly act against a sentient, the mentalist with the group that attacked the tower, just after their four friends had gone missing.
    But that was different.  Psimon had pulled him out of the sky, had blasphemed.  So, different.
    He realizes a little too late that Terry wouldn't know about that incident since he was busy in another universe at the time, and he has no idea if Gar ever told him about all that, so he explains briefly, finishing up with, {It was a different circumstance.  I honestly don't think I can bring myself to attack someone first.  I'm not entirely sure I would even reach the way you want to defend myself.  This is all so very far out of the way I was brought up… I mean, Terry, I'm sorry, but I really don't know what I would or could do.  I don't have Terran instincts and reactions.}

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    Terry sighs.  {All right… then I would really like it if you would stay at this apartent we're going to.  At least for a bit.  Nobody is likely to know it, of our DoppelGangers, and if you won't attack me on sight, that leaves the task open to me.  And I know which place I would go to in order to get rid of me.}
    Clinging tightly to Kian, he sighs and closes his eyes.  {I fear the worst for Gar.  I think… I am going to ask for help about this tomorrow.  We need to find out where Gar is, and the only way to do this is to compel the truth from his double, if that is his double.  And there is only one person who is strong enough to withstand what a Gar Logan unleashed could do… and compel him to tell the truth.}
    Kian doesn't need to ask, he can see the mental image as bright as day.  Wonder Woman.  Troia can sense lies, but she doesn't have the means to make someone tell the truth, and that is what they need right now.

Kian has posed:
    {I should have contrived to reach his mind,} Kían says.  {The dancing duhón.  All I would have had to do is ask 'Where is the other Gar?' and it would have leapt to his mind whether he wanted it to or not.  Then we would know, and not be worrying.}
    Clearly, the birdman has no conception of just how bad finding out could be.
    {I won't have to stay inside all the time, will I?} he asks, more than a little plaintively.  Terry knows how much time the birdman spends on the roof, even when he's not flying.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    Terry frowns.  {If you could… just hold on for a day.  Let me resolve the Gar thing and find help… if we must go over another day, I'll take you to a remote island I visit, it's abandoned and you'll have sun, ocean and all the room to fly.  You have to understand… if you're not going to attack first… I need to keep you safe.}  He exhales and closes his eyes.  {There are so very few safe places right now.}
    He looks over the landscape, his mind guiding Kian to the destination in Happy Harbor where Colette has her extra apartment.  {This… is going to sound silly but… will you hold me tonight?  I'm scared and I feel like such a… mess.  I went into outer space.  I helped stop a war.  I shouldn't be feeling like this!}

Kian has posed:
    {I will see what I can do.  If I must, I can make myself sleep, or just stay above the building.  It's… nnh.  Let me show you my problem.  This is my home, on Kyshán.}
    And what appears in Kían's mind is a vast structure strung lightly through the tops of a large woods of trees, like something Frank Lloyd Wright might have designed for Tarzan.  It's open spaces, 'rooms' for the most part delineated only by curtains or a change of décor, and if one is familiar with the old dirigible hangar in Akron, Ohio, the space within is comparable to that.
    {And my home is considered a small one,} Kían adds.  {So you can see what a challenge staying inside is for me.  But I will try.  Having you stay will help.  You and Gar are /tavárikh/.  More than friends.  Not tenár'yw.}  There's a vague sense of 'yet' attached to that word.  {Of course I will be with you.  You feel like Gar did while you yourself were missing.}

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    Terry sighs and nods.  {Yeah… our rooms are much smaller.  We don't have wings…} he contemplates.  {Okay, how about you stay there for just a little… I need to go see Colette and warn her of… all of this.  Also to make sure she hasn't been replaced… then I'll come back and I'll take us to that island.  You won't need to worry so much about being enclosed.}
    He shakes his head.  {Yeah… this is how he must have felt… I only hope my fears are as unfounded as his were….}

Kian has posed:
    Kían sighs heavily.  {And I cannot reach Colette's mind to verify that she is she and not a duplicate.  I've never been able to reach her mind.  That was a mere annoyance before and it's terrifying now.  Shouldn't I come with you, in case she isn't who she should be?  At the very least, two against one would be more disconcerting.}

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    {No.}  Terry shakes his head emphatetically.  {I can handle her, if she isn't our Colette.  She is powerful, but all I need to do is Rabbit Hole away and she can't follow me as fast as I can travel.  You have to trust me.}  He smiles a little.  {I may be one of the weakest Titans there are, but I am not that weak that I can't get away to save the day another day.}

Kian has posed:
    Kían's thoughts are anything but certain.  {Nnh.  I would ask if you're sure, but I can sense that for myself, even if I think you're wrong and should have me with you anyway.  All right.  I won't relax until you come back to the apartment, so now you have to come back, right?  Just like the real Gar will.  You have to.}
    Yeah, no pressure.