The team makes their drive back to the Bygones Casino crammed into Johnny’s car. It is a very quiet, tense drive, as none of them wish to confront Alyx in such close quarters, and by the time they get back to their respective rooms, everyone is soggy and exhausted. Hali’id takes his first turn at the shower while Nick takes Alyx to task for their actions.
Alyx explains that they did what seemed feasible to them, and that they saw no other way out of the situation which would not implicate them in greater crime and risk exposing the Organization. They also mention that their anima gave them the idea. Repulsed, Nick takes his turn in the shower. Next door, Shandra has a few violently ill moments in the bathroom, and Lucy makes her very first room service order (with no help at all from a very snooty blonde bellhop and a much nicer ginger one, both strangely British). To Shandra’s shock, Luce doesn’t remember what happened in the Department of Defense past a certain point: she has blocked it out, and being in the bubble of air she created seems to have limited her own observations. She has no memory or knowledge of even creating the bubble. Bewildered, Luce retreats to the corner to sit with her Bible. Shandra calls Janus to tell him what Alyx did, then Nick comes in to check on the girls. While they’re all grounding, Johnny arrives and says Janus is ready to have their Skype debriefing in the Reagan Room.
Over the course of the debriefing, the team and Janus come to a mutual agreement: Alyx will no longer be traveling with them. Nick shares the information they gained: the number of the sample Gabe stole, the Illuminati pin he took off one soldier’s collar, and their revelation about Luce’s powers. When they come to the description of Alyx’s attacks, Lucy leaves the room, not wanting to hear what she doesn’t remember. Janus sends Alyx out of the room for the final half of the debriefing, as well, and asks the team to pursue their leads in whichever way they see fit. He apologizes, saying that he never meant for this assignment to put Nick and Shandra so far in over their heads, and offers to pass it off to another group if they feel they can’t handle it. Nick and Shandra concede that they’re already in it, and both have their own reasons to follow it through to the end. Janus admires their commitment, and addresses Hali’id directly as a member the team, asking him to help prepare the others for any future combat situations as best he can, since he is the most skilled in that regard.
In order to ground themselves and take their minds off what happened, Lucy and Shandra play a game of Giant Tetris in Bygones’ casino, while Hali’id has a heated text conversation with his handler about what went down and his lack of prior information about it. Nick calls Bob Ogden, and receives another call from the Jack of Spades with what he was able to get from the remaining Illuminati soldier. They have two leads: Darren Walker may be in danger for ratting the Illuminati out, or they could pursue Gabe to New York. Shandra texts Darren to warn him, and the group has a lengthy debate before deciding to go east to New York. Janus puts them in touch with the New York Haven’s leader, Nathan Hollinsworth.
Along the way, Lucy navigates with her maps, leading them to the best spots. Hali’id teaches Shandra how to defend herself in hand-to-hand combat, and teaches Lucy a little bit of parkour. In return, Lucy teaches Hali’id some lock picking, and Shandra and Nick help him strengthen his English. Shandra hacks the Department of Defense to find more information about the sample Gabe stole, and finds out that it is used in gene splicing. Nick, Shandra, and Luce posit that the Illuminati is quite possibly developing a way to give people anima at will. Jt is revealed that Hali’id is not actually sure what country he’s from. Nick and Hali’id mend their differences and form a tentative friendship, and the group arrives in New York stronger in more ways than one for the journey.
Nathan welcomes the group to the New York Haven, where they meet his co-workers Ed and Dylan before having a delicious and unexpectedly perfect dinner at The Engine Room. While they are there, Nick realizes that the chef, Tom Allister, is the grandson of his mother’s family cook, and the dessert he serves Hali’id triggers a vivid flashback of sitting on the back steps of some building, facing an alley, sharing the same food with a friend. After dinner, they drive out to the place Nathan has arranged for them to stay: a hostel which Lucy knows on sight as though it were home.
The owner of the hostel, Dylan’s brother Ethan, greets them a bit distractedly but warmly, and shows them to their rooms. Once they’ve settled in, Lucy goes to visit him and catch up with him – it turns out that she once stayed there for a period of time about six months before, and has been sending postcards from every place she’s been. Confused about her intentions, Ethan asks Lucy what she really wanted from him and expected to get by coming to him. Lucy, upset, says she only wanted answers, and a friend. Ethan tells her that Janus will be the one who will have her answers, but he’d be happy to be a friend. Lucy goes to bed, and Ethan has a brief conversation with Shandra, who still can’t sleep after the massacre at the DoD. He installs a meditation app on her phone, hoping it will help.
The next morning, Nick wakes up early to mail some letters and sees Lucy on a Missing poster in the post office. When he returns to the hostel, she’s awake, and he confronts her apart from the rest of the group. She confesses that she did run away, but she had her reasons: she was afraid that she’d be ostracized from her close-knit community for being different, and that she didn’t belong there. Nick, understanding more than Lucy probably even imagines, agrees to keep her secret from Hali’id and Shandra for the time being, and the two go on a breakfast run to the bagel shop down the street, where Nick makes the acquaintance of a Very British Gentleman at the tea counter.
When they return, Hali’id is reading the newspaper while Ethan makes breakfast and Shandra tries to do a little more research into Globalight Industries, as well as a last little dig into the DoD’s website. Shandra decides she wants to go take a look at Globalight, but Luce has her own plan for gathering information. Nick and Hali’id go back to the Haven to talk to Nathan.
Ethan chaperones Shandra to a coffee shop across from Globalight, where they survey the cleaning crew, and Shandra hatches a plan to infiltrate them by pretending to be part of the housekeeping staff. Ethan helps her swipe a keycard by using his anima, a yellow lab, and Shandra sees a member of the Organization transform into a full animal for the first time. (Who’s a good doggie? Ethan’s a good doggie.) Meanwhile, Lucy visits Central Park and catches up with the homeless community, who tell her that they’ve seen Gabe skulking around the New York Haven. Speaking of…
Nathan, Nick, Dylan, and Hali’id discuss the situation at hand, and Nick brings them up to speed on the situation with the Illuminati. Nathan, remembering Nick’s own origins in the Organization, is quick to tie his friends’ disappearances to the recent attempted captures. However, when Nick mentions Professor Goddard by name, a strange thing happens: Hali’id freezes, his mind going elsewhere. When he comes to, he says one word: “Ghazala” … and then excuses himself to go get some air. On the way out, he runs into Lucy, who was coming to warn Nathan and Nick about Maya. Concerned, she follows him, trying to help. Hali’id only wants to get back to the hostel, so she agrees to show him the shortest route, cutting through back alleys. As they pass through one, a man skulking in an alley goads Hali’id, calling him a terrorist and effectively pushing his buttons. Hali’id manages to restrain himself, but just enough: punching the wall beside him hard enough to leave a dent. The skulking asshole flees, screeching about a terrorist at the top of his lungs, and Lucy and Hali’id take to the rooftops to evade a growing crowd of witch-hunters (as it is, after all, the tenth anniversary of the attack on the WTC).
TBC because good lord 18 hour game