Sarah woke up, and for a moment struggled to get her bearings. She was on a train, but where? She hadn’t been planning any journeys. She didn’t know of anyone who was currently trying to kidnap her, but her instincts, honed over months of fighting and running for her life, kept her wary and alert.
As the train pulled in to the platform, she recognised Union Station late at night. At least she was somewhere familiar to her, so she wouldn’t have to scramble to get her bearings in a new city. Now, if she only had a bloody clue where she’d been.
The platform looked eerily familiar in the orange glow of the streetlamps, and she had the strongest case of déjà vu. Of course. This was where it all started. This was the platform she had seen a million times in her dreams. There was the payphone she had used to call Felix. There was Beth, as she’d seen her a million times in her dreams. Every time Sarah was stood frozen, stuck to the spot, as she saw Beth come out. Saw her put down her handbag. Saw her slip out of her shoes. Saw her slip off her jacket. Saw her turn around. Saw her look at Sarah with resignation and hopelessness on her face. Saw her take one step towards the train.
Sarah’s legs unstuck. She took three steps. Tackled Beth to ground.
Beth struggled against her. She was crying. Sarah tried to get her arms around her in a hug, not that it would comfort Beth to be hugged by a complete stranger wearing her face, but mostly to make herself feel better.
“It’s ok,” she said. “You don’t have to do this. We’ll make it ok.”
“You don’t understand. They’ll kill everyone. You don’t know what I know,” Beth said, with an edge of hysteria in her voice.
“I know enough,” Sarah replied. “It’ll be ok. We’ll fix this, yeah? I know you have no reason to trust me, but I’m on your side.”
Beth stopped struggling. Sarah kept her arms around her.
“I don’t know who to trust anymore.”
“How do I know you’re not the one who’s been killing us? The Italian, the Frenchwoman and the Austrian?”
“If I was, would I save your life? I’m one of you. One of the sisters.”
“So’s the killer,” Beth said bitterly.
“Beth, it’s ok. It’s ok. Just one, I’m a few, no family too. What am I?”
The secret passcode did the trick. Beth leaned back a bit, and Sarah let go of her.
“You’re one of the Europeans. Did Mika send you?”
She was good – Sarah could see how she had been a fantastic detective before all this set her spiralling. Her guess was wrong, of course, but good. Showed she was picking up information quickly and putting it together. She wasn’t so far gone that she’d stopped. Maybe she’d never be that far gone.
Sarah offered her a hand up.
“Not exactly,” she said.
“What does that mean?”
“Nothing I want to explain here. Do you know somewhere to go that’s safe?”
Sarah figured it was best to let Beth take lead: it didn’t seem like a good idea to take her to strange places, not like this.
“I don’t know. I don’t know anything, who to trust, who to not. They’ve got one of us working for them. Dyad, I mean. Neolutionists. You know about the clone in the Neolutionists?”
“Rachel Duncan, yeah I know.”
“You don’t know. You think you do, but you have no idea how deep this goes. You don’t know what I know, and they know I know, and I need to keep them safe. There’s just one way I know to keep them safe. She said that was the only way to keep them safe.”
“Killing yourself? That’s not the answer, Beth.”
“It’s the only one I’ve got.”
“Yeah, well, I’ve got a few more for you. You pick yourself up, you lean on your sisters, and you carry on. We can solve this. Just say ‘fuck them’ to everyone who’s out to get you. Live your life to spite them, that’s what’s I’ve done so far.”
“And how’s that working out for you?” Beth asked wryly.
“Surprisingly not bad,” Sarah said.
This wasn’t how it went. She’d never saved Beth before. Was this actually still her dream? If this was dream, it was a weird one. It didn’t feel like a dream. It was slightly cold, and the air was damp and heavy, but it wasn’t quite raining. She could feel the warmth of Beth hand where they still hadn’t let go. Would a dream be this vivid? Or was this some kind of vision, like Cosima had had after her transfusion? Was she having a near-death experience? She needed to figure out what the hell was going on. She also needed to figure out if Beth was actually Beth, if she’d managed to save her life. Maybe Sarah had time-travelled, and this was a chance to do it all over again, and do it better. Wouldn’t that be a turn up for the books? She supposed, ironically enough, that only time would tell. But it said something about the kind of life she lived, that for a moment she actually considered time travel a real possibility – although there was probably a more mundane explanation she hadn’t thought of. Horses and zebras and that shit Cosima went on about.
She took Beth back to Felix’s place – Beth didn’t want to go back to hers, claiming it wasn’t safe, and she didn’t offer any other suggestions. Sarah thought it’d be fine – she’d managed to survive a few days impersonating Beth, so it wasn’t like they’d be having her shot on sight. Yeah, she knew too much, but it had taken a hell of a lot more before Neolution had put Helsinki in motion against Sarah and her sestras. There were still powerful forces in Dyad and Neolution who wanted to protect the clones at almost any cost, even if Evie Cho and her ilk wanted to get rid of them. But maybe it was for the best that they were careful. Keeping it safe. If nothing else, then for Beth’s peace of mind.
Felix was surprised to see her. Of course, if this truly was real, then she’d been missing for ten months at this point in time. Off with Vic, searching for a better life for Kira. She hadn’t seen Kira in – god – ten months. Shit. And Vic was still after her, and her stolen cocaine. And Dyad, and the Proletheans. Castor. Topside. Brightborn. And Neolution. The first enemy, and the last. The one who had created them. The one who wanted to terminate them. The one that tied everything together.
“You look like shit,” Felix said, because he was a shit and that was how they expressed love in their fucked up family. “Also, who the hell is this and why does she look like you?”
“He’s an outsider,” Beth said flatly, putting the pieces together. She turned accusingly to Sarah. “You brought me to an outsider, after everything I said about the danger. You’re not taking this seriously.”
“He’s my brother. I trust him,” Sarah reassured her.
“You can’t trust anyone,” Beth said without intonation and it broke Sarah’s heart because she’d been there and she knew how much it hurt.
“I know why you think that, but that’s where you’re wrong – and that’s a terrible way to live,” Sarah said, making her voice calm and persuasive. The tone of voice that Felix called his ‘truth’ voice. Beth was very different from Krystal, but the truth voice remained the same. “You need allies, Beth. You can’t do this on your own, and trying it has destroyed you. Ask for help.”
“I don’t know how,” Beth confessed.
“Hello, still here, still wondering what the hell is going on,” Felix said, annoyed.
“Well, now’s a good time to learn,” Sarah said to Beth, ignoring him. “Start with Fe, all right? Anything you want, ask him. Fe, you keep an eye on her.”
Felix rolled his eyes.
“You know, that is just so typical of you. You just rock up here after ten months, with your long-lost twin sister, with no explanations, start making demands and expect everyone to dance to your tune.”
“There is shit going on here that you can’t even begin to imagine,” Sarah told him. “I mean it. Don’t let her out of your sight.”
And with that, Sarah slipped out of the apartment.
As soon as she realised there may be weird time travel shit going on, there was just one person she could think of to call. She didn’t have a clone phone, but she had the numbers memorised, and kept trying them one by one until she managed to hit on Cosima’s current one.
“Listen, you don’t know me, but please don’t hang up on me. I’m one of you, I swear, and shit’s just happened. I need to meet you. Look, I can’t prove anything, but hear me out, yeah?” she said quickly as soon as Cosima picked up the phone.
“Sarah? Oh my god, is that you?”
Tension she hadn’t known she was holding left Sarah’s body. Cosima knew her, and Cosima knew there was something weird going on. She hadn’t realised how much the thought of seeing her sisters again as strangers had bothered her.
“Cosima? What the hell?”
“I don’t know! I like, woke up, and I’m in my old apartment, and I’m definitely not dreaming. I am so lost right now.”
“Yeah, well, try waking up to the night your sister committed suicide.”
“Shit! Are you ok?”
“Yeah, I am – and she might just be, too.”
“You saved her?”
“Yeah, I did. Look, I’m at Felix’s. Can you come here? Get Alison, too. We need a plan.”
When she got back in, Beth had been placed on Felix’s sofa with a glass of something amber in her hands. Sarah wasn’t sure she should be drinking – she didn’t know what pills she’d taken, or what her general mental state was, but she also thought that she was one of the last people to judge, so she didn’t say anything.
“So, are you going to explain what the hell’s going on?” Felix asked.
“Don’t,” Beth warned her.
“We’re clones,” Sarah said, steamrolling over Beth.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Felix said, giving Sarah serious déjà vu again. She had a feeling she was going to have more and more of those moments. “Clones? Clones?”
“Yeah, well, welcome to bloody Clone Club. You’re in for a ride.”
“How can it be, though? Last time I checked, human cloning was illegal, let alone impossible.”
“It gets better from here. The rabbit hole just gets deeper and deeper the further in you go,” Beth said. “You really don’t want to know.”
“Is this what you’ve been doing for the past 10 months? Digging into weird sci-fi shit? Why didn’t you call us?”
“I really don’t want to get into that.”
It clearly made Felix feel better that she had an excuse for her long radio silence, that she’d been doing something worthwhile with her time. Sarah just felt like a giant fraud. This was not a new feeling to her.
Cosima and Alison arrived some time later, to Sarah’s relief, Beth’s consternation, and Felix’s further confusion.
“Oh, Beth. Look at you,” Alison said, full of sympathy. “I’ve brought you a little something to pick you up.”
Sarah was worried for a moment that it was going to be more drugs, but it turned out to be sugar cookies. Trust Alison.
Cosima hugged Beth tightly.
“You’ve been strong for us a long time, sister. Let us carry the load a bit.”
“You shouldn’t be here,” Beth said. “I’ve put you all in danger. I’ve messed up, bad, and there’s just one way to fix it.”
“We will find another way, OK? You’re our sister, and we will not abandon you,” Alison said with conviction.
“Look, I get that this is a powerful moment for you, and that there’s shit going on, but I’ve just got to ask, how many of you are there?”
“A lot, ok? You don’t want to know. But I didn’t know where else to go, so here we are.”
Felix seemed to accept that this was as close to an apology he was getting. She did feel a little bad pulling him into this shit again, but he was just too invaluable.
“And we’re all in danger,” said Beth, pulling away from Alison’s hug. “They’re going to kill all of us if I don’t kill myself.”
“Well, you’ve got a couple of days, at least,” said Sarah. Alison glared at her. She probably sounded insensitive. Whatever. “No need to rush into things. Also, fuck them. They don’t get to decide when we should die. We can take them.”
“You’re crazy, you know. You don’t know that. You don’t know what they can do.”
“Actually, yeah I do.”
“Because I remember this playing out once before,” she said.
Alison glared a bit more strongly at her – they hadn’t discussed how much to tell Beth (they hadn’t discussed anything at all, really, Cosima had been the one to call Alison), but she deserved to know. Sarah knew she was going through a lot, that this would maybe break her, but she deserved not to have her sisters lying to her. Sarah made snap judgement that lying would be worse, and Alison would just have to deal. She was trying this new open communication thing that was supposed to help relationships with those near to you. Not that it had ever done her much good, but hey, first time for everything, right?
“What do you mean?” Beth asked.
“I mean, as far as I can tell, Cosima, Alison and I have travelled back in time, that this has all happened before, and last time, they didn’t send anyone to kill you just yet.”
“Do you have any kind of proof?”
“Nope. You’re just going to have to take our word for it.”
Sarah could tell that Beth didn’t really believe her, but that was okay. She either would or she wouldn’t, and that didn’t really change their strategy. It would be easier if she did believe them and would be willing to take her cues from them, but they’d manage to play around her if she didn’t. They’d managed much harder odds before. This time they had the answers.
“Yeah, I don’t really understand it either,” Sarah said in answer to her sceptical look. “Cosima, what’s going on?”
“How should I know?”
“You know science, right? You’re our science geek.”
“I’m an evolutionary biologist,” Cosima said. “Unlike what they show on TV, that doesn’t mean I know anything about physics. My knowledge of time travel is on the level of comic book physics.”
Beth’s phone went off in her bag. She ignored it.
“Well, this is just splendid,” Alison said. “Stuck in the past, with no knowledge of how or why or who, or if we can get back at all. You know, I liked not being worried for my life. I liked being free, and I went through so much to find myself and get my relationship with Donnie back on track. I do not want to go through all of that again. Felix, do you have something I can drink?”
“Is that really wise?” Sarah asked.
“Judge not, lest ye be judged yourself,” Alison replied, accepting a glass of see-through brown liquid from Felix and gulping it down worryingly fast.
“I don’t think this is exactly what Jesus had in mind when he said that.”
Before Alison could formulate her reply, there was a knock on the door. They all froze. How stupid were they, gathering like this, all in a group? It was as if a few months of safety had made them forget everything they knew about being hunted. Either the visitor was someone in the know, in which case they’d just presented them with a big juicy target, or it was someone not in the know, in which case, there were currently four extremely different versions of Sarah all hanging around Felix’s flat.
God, it might even be Vic. She couldn’t remember how quickly he’d found her, last time, but she had a feeling everything had moved extremely quickly, all within a couple of days or so, and this time, she didn’t even have a dead body to throw him off with. Although she did have his coke. Maybe he’d take that and let things be. She snorted to herself. Yeah, right. She didn’t actually believe that herself.
“Open the door,” said a very familiar Eastern-accented voice. “I want to see my sestras.”
Cosima, Alison and Sarah looked at each other.
“Oh my god, what is it now?” Felix wondered despairingly.
“We should open it,” Sarah said.
“What if she’s here to kill us?” Alison asked. Beth made a noise in the back of her throat like a whine.
“I told you, they’re here for me. I know too much.”
“She’s not here to kill us,” Sarah said more decisively than she felt. “She called us her sestras. She’s probably time travelled like us and wants to know what’s going on.”
“Are you willing to risk our lives on that hunch?” Alison asked. Sarah shrugged.
“I guess I am.”
“You’re letting killers into my flat?” Felix asked, throwing up his hands.
“I can’t stay here,” Beth said and stood up. “All of you are completely crazy.”
Cosima opened the door.
“Hello, sestras,” Helena said, still in her dirty parka, frizzy blonde hair all around her face.
There was still some tension, as they all wanted to embrace Helena into Clone Club again, but still weren’t quite sure if she was going to turn around and try to stab them or strangle them, or whatever.
“How are you doing, Helena?” Sarah asked.
“I am not so good. They have taken my babies. They will pay.”
Sarah came round to embrace her. This was her twin sister, her Meathead. Of course Sarah would go to her when she was in pain.
“We’ll make them pay for all of it,” she said, and made eye contact with Beth.
“Your eggs are still in your body. You can still have children,” Alison said, sounding slightly bitter.
“But these are not my babies, not my Purple Arthur or Orange Donnie. How you feel, I take your babies, tell you can adopt others? They take my babies. They will die for this.”
“Of course, you’re right, and that was insensitive of me,” Alison said slightly apologetically.
"You are Beth," Helena said to Beth. "We did not meet, but you are very beautiful, and very brave."
"I don't feel either of those things right now," Beth said. "Right now I feel like a giant fucking failure, who screwed things up so much that you all apparently had to go back in time to fix it."
"I mean, that's one way to look at it," Cosima said. "I prefer to think that you showed us a way to be free, and now we get a chance to help you follow the path you showed us."
That was a nice thought, Sarah thought, and it was very Cosima to think of it. She was glad she had all her sestras back with her. She wasn't sure she was strong enough to do it on her own. No wonder Beth had wanted to end it.
“So, where do we start?” Alison asked brightly.
This being Clone Club, it quickly devolved into an argument about who to bring in, and who to leave out. Who could they truly trust, if they were given the chance to pick their allies for themselves? Mrs S, obviously. Sarah was going to have to mend a few fences there, again, but Mrs S was around to mend those fences with, and Sarah would never, ever take her for granted again. Delphine had made some questionable choices and gone over their heads more than once, but she was still firmly on their side, so she was in. So were Scott, who was loyal and had the knowledge they needed, and HellWizard, who despite the name was a useful ally. Felix, of course, was already involved, the one person whose loyalty Sarah had never questioned. Then there were a few sticking points. Art, who all the sisters vouched for, but Beth wanted firmly out of danger. Paul, who had too many loyalties.
“If you’re talking about my monitor, there is no way we’re trusting him,” Beth said. “He’s a spy for Neolution.”
“Dyad, actually, although it all amounts to the same thing right now,” Cosima said.
“You know, it’s distasteful, but there is a way we can turn him,” Alison said.
Sarah turned to stare at her. Why would she say that, in front of Beth of all people?
“No,” she said. “Fuck no. Shit Alison, you make a big production of being so normal, but I think you’re the most fucked up out of all of us.”
Alison sniffed and opened her mouth to retort.
“Rachel.” Cosima looked from one to another of her sisters, probably to end the argument before it even started, by throwing a bigger argument in front of them. “I’m not saying either way, but we have to consider what she can do for us.”
“Rachel Duncan? Susan Duncan’s daughter? She’s one of them. I’m surprised you’d even consider it, given everything you claim to know.”
“Beth's right. We can’t trust her,” was Alison’s opinion.
“Look, I’m not saying we trust her, but in the end, she’s a LEDA. She’s one of us, and she knows it, deep down. She came through for us when it mattered.”
“That may be so,” Alison said, “but the current Rachel hasn’t been through what our Rachel, much as I hate using that term about her, had been through. At this point, we’re still dealing with Stone Cold Bitch Rachel.”
“There is no way I’m working with Rachel. Not after what she did,” Sarah said. She still couldn’t quite believe that the others were seriously considering it. “Every time we work with Rachel or Dyad or Susan or anyone else in Neolution, it just blows up in our faces.”
“Maybe we have to. I don’t know if we’d have survived if we didn’t make the occasional deal with the devil,” said Cosima.
“Now you sound like S.”
“There are worse people to sound like.”
“Rachel’s thing is that she’s only looking out for herself. We can’t trust her to do what’s best for the clones.”
“So we make it so what’s best for her is best for us,” said Cosima. “She has access to all the inside information we need to bring down Neolution.”
“Is there no way we can do it without her?” Sarah asked, even though she knew there probably wasn’t. “We know where Ethan is, and Kendall. We know how to cure us. We know who’s who in Neolution, and their dirty little board. We know where the island is, and who PT Westmoreland actually is. We know who our allies are, and who not to trust. Can’t we just do this on our own?”
It was mainly a rhetorical question.
“Are you for real?” Beth asked. “Do you have any idea what they can and will do to us?”
“I agree with Beth, we need to be careful. If we go too fast, all our knowledge will become useless. The more we diverge, the more we risk making mistakes.”
“No,” said Sarah. “No, we do this all out. Fuck them, yeah? Fuck all of them who did this to us. We get Kendall, we get a cure, we spread that to all the clones. We fight back, all the way. We take out Duko and Cho. We expose Brightborn. We burn down the camp on the island. We expose P.T. Westmoreland or John whatever his name is. We tell the whole world about the bribes, the unethical science, the gene bank in Kuwait, and all that shit. We kill Neolution dead, once and for all. Like we did before.”
“That sounds like a good way to get dead,” said Beth, taking another deep drink of her glass.
“I agree,” said Alison, clinking her glass against Beth’s.
“It’s the only way we all get to live,” said Sarah.
Given how late it was, they decided that Alison and Cosima should stay the night rather than go home. That Beth would be staying was not up for discussion. They all wanted to keep an eye on her, in case she tried to off herself again. Finding spaces to sleep wasn’t easy, but they’d done it before. Felix, because he was Felix and the most wonderful brother in the world, grumbled a fair bit about it, but did eventually give up his bed for Beth and Alison to share, while Sarah, Cosima, and he took a sofa each, and Helena put down a sleeping bag in the middle of the floor and wouldn't be moved.
They were all up several times with nightmares, so at least Beth didn’t have to feel alone when she did.
Vic came by in the morning, which Sarah had forgotten about after a brief thought yesterday. They all scrambled to hide the sisters, shoving Cosima under the bed with Beth and Helena in the bathroom, for what little privacy could be gotten there, before Sarah yanked the door open.
“It’s over, Vic,” she said, putting all the determination she could muster into her tone.
“You think you can just leave it like that?” he asked, pushing his way into the loft. “Steal 15 grand worth of coke from me?”
The cocaine was so far from Sarah’s priority right now, and besides, it had turned out to be shit cocaine, anyway. She grabbed her bag and threw it back at him.
“There. Now we’re done.”
“We’re not done until I say we’re done,” said Vic, like every bad movie villain ever. They were nearing the point where he became violent, and Sarah cursed herself for getting involved with him, and for leading him here, and for making her problems her family’s problems. No wonder S didn’t trust her right now.
She was just about to yell some more abuse at him, and try to make him leave, when Helena came out of the bathroom.
“My sestra say you’re done; you’re done,” she said and punched him in the face. It was really an unfair match, and Sarah winced at a couple of particularly bad blows.
“Now you go, and never come back,” Helena said, tossing the bloodied Vic out the door yelling about fucking psychos and calling the cops – empty threats, of course, Vic would no more call the cops than Sarah ever would. For people like them, the cops weren’t allies (with one or two notable exceptions, obviously), they were the enemy.
“Who the hell are you people?” Beth asked. “Criminals and drug dealers, and who knows what else. I can’t be here. I can’t sleep in a drug den. I’m due at a hearing today, and they are probably going to go over my life with a fine-toothed comb, and, to top it all off, I can’t trust my Union rep and I’ve screwed the only person I can trust, in more than one way. Do you know how bad things are for me, right now?”
“Kind of, yeah,” Cosima said with an awkward wince. “I mean, your killing of Maggie Chen is kind of what set Helena on your trail the first time, and that’s how she found Sarah.”
Beth closed her eyes.
“Maggie Chen is connected to all this? Jesus, that’s the last thing I need.”
“Wait, you didn’t know Maggie Chen was a Prolethean?” Cosima asked.
“A what? I thought she was just an innocent woman. I thought I’d killed an innocent bystander. I don’t know if this makes it better or worse, to be honest.”
“Yeah, no. Maggie was as far from innocent as Susan Duncan. She was part of Project LEDA when they created us, and then she made it her life’s mission to wipe us out.”
“I don’t know how to feel about this,” Beth said, staring at her hands. “I can’t do this anymore. Layers upon layers, people switching sides and allegiances, monitoring us and wanting to kill us. I want out! Why did you stop me, yesterday? Why couldn’t you just let me kill myself?”
She all but yelled the last two words, and as she did so, she grabbed the closest thing to hand, which luckily was only a pencil, and threw it at Sarah. At least she had her wits about her enough not to throw her glass – Sarah thought a bit uncharitably that the only reason she hadn’t thrown it at her was because it was still full of drink.
Alison quickly crossed the room to give Beth a hug and made cooing noises at her until she quietened down.
“Don’t worry,” Sarah said, once she seemed a bit calmer. “I’ve got you covered. I’ll fill in for you at the hearing, and the psychiatrist’s office. I’ve done it before. I just need you to brush me up on the details of your lie. I can do this, and we’ll sort everything else out, like we did before.”
“You’re still going with the time travel story?”
“You’re a clone, but time travel is where you draw the line?”
Armed with knowledge from the future, and having talked to Beth, Sarah was more than ready to face the hearing. She brushed off Art’s concerns, both before and after the hearing, which, knowing what she now knew had happened between Art and Beth last night, seemed needlessly cruel, so she made a snap judgment, after she’d gone to the psychiatrist and Art was still there, waiting to pick her up. Steadfast, trustworthy Art. Beth didn’t want him involved, but he’d shown he was more than capable of handling it. They needed allies, and he was one of the best they had.
She gave him directions to Felix’s loft (they really needed to find a better and more secure place for their base), and then called Felix.
“I’m coming back, and I’ve got someone with me, a friend. Name of Arthur Bell. Just wanted to let you know,” she said over the phone.
“OK, I don’t know who Arthur Bell is, but Beth really does not want you to bring him. She’s basically on the verge of a panic attack. Are you sure this is a good idea?”
“Not really known for them, am I? But she’ll have to deal. I’m doing this.”
Sarah hung up before he could object further.
“What’s going on? What’s with the accent?” Art asked.
“I’ll explain everything, just hang on. It’s easier with visuals.”
It said a lot about Art that he took her at her word, and drove to the very dodgy part of town Felix lived in without another word.
They stepped in and Art quickly took in the sight of the flat in its chaotic glory, with Cosima buried deep in her laptop, Alison at the sink cleaning the best she could with Felix trying to stop her, Helena on Felix’s bed eating something best not examined further from a tin, and Beth sitting in the sofa facing the door. Beth took up a gun from somewhere at pointed it first at Sarah, and then at Art.
“I told you. I don’t want him here.”
“I have no idea where she got that,” Felix said, with a note of hysteria in his voice, “and I’m very concerned right now.”
“Why did you bring him when I specifically said not to?” Beth asked.
“I told you, we need allies,” Sarah said, careful not to make any sudden movements.
“Whoa, what is going on here?” Art said, also with his hands raised. “Can we just put the gun down and talk about what the hell’s happening here, Beth, other-Beth, whoever all these not-Beths are?”
Sarah took one step to stand in front of Art.
“He’s clean, Beth. He’s on our side.”
“How do you know?”
“You know how. Besides, you said it yourself, he’s the one person you can trust.” She took a couple more steps towards Beth, and gently took the gun from her. Beth released it willingly. From the lightness of it, Sarah guessed it wasn't loaded. Of course Beth wouldn't point an actually loaded gun art Art. Of course she wouldn't. She wasn't that far gone. Right?
“Right, your time travel story. Still going with that.” Sarah thought she said it more as a token protest rather than actual disbelief at this point.
“Who the hell are you people?” Art demanded again, more confident now that nobody was pointing a gun at him.
“You ever think there’s a reason I didn’t involve him?” Beth said. “If I wanted him to know, he’d know.”
“You’ve made it pretty clear, yeah. But considering your latest decision was to try and step in front of a train at Union station, forgive us if we find your decision-making process a little bit suspect right now.”
“Oh my god, Beth, you did what?”
“You tell him about all this, that’s one more person they’ll kill.” Beth’s voice was flat and empty, as if she’d given up, and that more than anything frightened Sarah. If Beth wouldn’t fight even for Art, was there anyone she would fight for?
“Nobody’s killing anyone,” Sarah said decisively.
“Except me,” said Helena. “I kill bad people.”
“Oh my god,” said Felix, echoing Sarah’s thoughts pretty well, although probably for different reasons.
“Who’s the real Beth? Are you all time travelling Beth?” Art asked. “What happened to you?”
Which, yeah, if he thought they were all Beth from different points of time, was actually a very good question, given all of their… everything.
“That’s a pretty good guess, actually,” said Cosima, sounding impressed. “We’re clones. Time travelling clones. Wow. That’s a new one. I’ve never actually said it all together like that before. This is like, straight out of some sci-fi novel or comic book.”
“Clones? Of Beth?”
“Actually, I’m a clone too,” Beth said, sitting down. So she’d clearly gotten over her reluctance to let Art in on Clone Club.
“Jesus,” Art said, but he sat down next to her. So Sarah guessed that was going to be all right.
Except it wasn’t, because as they all sat down to bring yet another person up to speed on the whole time-travelling clones business (and fuck, there were so many people who needed to be brought up to speed again, it was giving Sarah a headache to think about), Beth had not gotten over her reluctance to let Art into Clone Club and kept trying to stop them and make them keep information back, claiming he didn’t need to know. Sarah got that she was trying to protect him, but he was clearly getting hurt that she wouldn’t trust him.
This was another reason they needed to find somewhere else to stay that wasn’t Felix’s loft – there was no privacy here, no little closet they could shove Beth and Art into and tell them that they weren’t getting out until they’d sorted their shit out.
In the end, Sarah shoved everyone else out of the loft and let them yell it out while she had headphones playing music as loudly as she could. It seemed to help, a little. When they allowed everyone back in, Beth seemed more relaxed, and Art was more willing to take their word for things, so she considered it a job well done. If Beth was leaning a bit heavily on Art’s side, and if Art’s arm around her was just a little bit possessive, well, Sarah wasn’t going to say anything.
With no time to spare, and eager to get all their allies back on the board, Sarah went to S’s house while Kira was at school. S was clearly suspicious, but let her in. It hurt, not being trusted, but she supposed S was justified. It was still all Sarah could do not to lash out and snap at her. Instead she got straight to the point.
“Look, I want to see Kira, but I’m also here for another reason. I know you have a network you used to get us out of London, and I need your people.”
“Jesus, what have you done this time?”
“Not me, actually. But I’m connected, and it’s dangerous.”
“You’re not making a case for yourself as a suitable guardian here.”
So Sarah told her all about the clones. About CASTOR and LEDA, Neolution, Dyad, Brightborn, the illness, Kira’s special genes, finishing with the time travel. About everything they’d done together, even how S had met her end. It still hurt just as much to talk about, even though S was right in front of her.
“This is a lot, Sarah,” S said as she got to the end.
“You believe me, though, right?”
“I do. God help me, but I do.”
Sarah only knew how tense she’d been when she heard S say those words and she relaxed. With S on their side, everything would be ok. It was a very childish feeling of her, but she had her mum back, and her mum would make everything ok. Just as she always had.
“I need you to dig deep into Neolution, Brightborn and Dyad and everything else. And I need you to keep Kira safe.” She took a deep breath. “And there’s more. The person we’re all cloned from, the original we found for both CASTOR and LEDA… is Kendall Malone.”
“Oh. You know who she is to me, then?” S half asked, half stated.
“Yeah, I know, and I’m sorry. But hey, at least it means we’re related. You’re actually my niece. That’s weird, right?” She said, trying to put a bright face on it.
“Yeah. That’s one word for it.” S seemed to be taking it pretty well. She always knew how to roll with the punches. “Do you want to see Kira?”
“You’d let me?” Sarah asked. “Just like that?”
“You’re not the same as you were. I said I want the best for Kira, and I meant it. With you as restless as you were, that wasn’t what was best for her. I wasn’t doing it to be cruel.”
“I know,” Sarah said, because she did.
“And that’s why I’m doing this. Because now I think you might be.”
So Sarah was allowed to stay while S walked Kira home from school, and Sarah got to see her delighted and surprised reaction in real time. When she came back last time, she’d already missed one meeting she’d promised to show up to and sent her clone instead. Sarah had done a lot of things, but that was still one of the ones she was less proud of.
“Mommy! You’re here!”
“Monkey! I sure am!” Sarah never wanted to let go of Kira.
“Where were you?”
“Oh, all over the place,” she dissembled.
“I felt you,” Kira said.
“You had sisters, lots of them.”
So Kira was showing her mysterious telepathy skills earlier than before. Should Sarah be worried?
“I could feel them, so I called to them,” Kira continued, oblivious to Sarah’s worry.
“All of them?” Sarah asked. She still hadn’t managed to work out just how Kira’s telepathy with the clones worked.
“No, just the ones I could feel closest to you. There was an angel, and a mother, and a scientist. And you. I called to you, and now you’re here.”
Did that mean that Kira was behind their mysterious time travel? How? Was that even possible? As far as Sarah knew, she had a healing factor, nothing else. Time travel, as Cosima had pointed out, belonged far more to physics than biology. Unless there was something spiritual involved? Like when Kira had called Cosima back when she was dying? Had past Kira inadvertently done the same with future Sarah, Helena, Alison and Cosima?
Sarah shook herself. They’d have to deal with that later, after sorting out the more immediate threats, like developing the cure for their disease again, and neutralising the Proletheans, Brightborn and CASTOR and anyone else who wanted to wipe out the clones. Then they could move on to dealing with Dyad and Neolution who wanted to use them. Then, and only then, could they deal with whatever mystery bullshit was going on with Kira that may or may not be causing time travel (unless of course it turned out to be less benign than it seemed at the moment, which was entirely likely, knowing their lives).
God, Sarah hadn’t missed the feeling of constantly being ten steps behind and struggling to keep up with all the shifting loyalties and people who wanted to use the LEDAs in various ways in their scramble for power and eugenicist agenda, and now there was added mystical telepathy and time travel added in, that may or may not be yet another thing that had been done to her daughter via her, as if they didn’t have enough to deal with.
S found them a place, not the basement of the comics store, but similarly well hidden and secure, and within a few days, they’d brought all their future allies together. These people who were right now strangers, friends, and family, but who had the potential to become so much more than they were right now; the inner circle, the people who’d shown time and time again that they could be trusted, who would go above and beyond for the sestras. The people who’d walk through fire for them, and the people they’d walk through fire for.
Sarah gave them all a summary of events, because somehow Sarah had become the spokesperson of the group, the one who got to read people into the program – they’d each approached their own people, Cosima finding Scott and Delphine, Alison having a serious talk with Donnie, Beth bringing Art, and Sarah going back to her roots with Felix and Mrs S, but now, with them all gathered here, it was up to Sarah to get them all on board.
“You know what we’re up against,” she said. “You know the odds we’re facing. But we can do this. We’re Clone Club. And we’re going to win, just like we did before, only with more of us left standing at the end.”
“You mean we’re going to cheat,” Felix said.
“We’re going to cheat the hell out of this,” Sarah agreed.
Beth still hadn’t gone home; she was staying with Felix for the time being. It would probably be safe; after all, they hadn’t killed Sarah while she was impersonating Beth, but Beth didn’t want to risk it, and Sarah had to respect that. She didn’t want to lose Beth again, it didn’t matter if it was to suicide or murder. That Beth didn’t want to be murdered was maybe a good sign, she guessed.
“You were right about Art,” Beth said, curled up on Felix’s sofa with a coffee. Sarah didn’t ask if it was the Irish kind, and she didn’t want to know. As far as she knew, Beth was staying off the coke, and that was enough for now. They could work on the pills and booze later. “Having him involved is good. He’s good.”
“Yeah, Art’s solid,” Sarah agreed. “I’m glad things are working out for you. Do you still feel like there’s no way out?”
“Sometimes,” Beth admitted. “I know too much for them to let me go easily. And there’s what happened to Mika and the Finish clones to worry about.”
“Well, we know even more than even Mika, and we have a plan,” Sarah said. “They won’t see us coming.”
They sat in companionable silence for a few moments.
“I did find you, you know,” Beth said suddenly.
“Yeah?” Sarah asked. She guessed this was when Beth was looking for North American clones. She had wondered why Beth had seemingly only picked up on Alison and Cosima, when there were several others around, like herself, Krystal, and Tony, just to name a few.
“I did a facial recognition search. Your mugshot came up as a match,” Beth clarified needlessly.
“And you figured I’d be too much trouble?” Sarah asked, bumping her foot gently against Beth’s to show she wasn’t taking offense. “You’re not the only one.”
“I was wrong.”
She gave Sarah a tentative smile. Sarah realised that this was the first time she’d seen Beth smile in real life, outside of the photos in her flat. It felt really weird to think it, but Beth was pretty when she smiled.
“You’re making me nervous this is some kind of goodbye,” Sarah said, mainly to have something to say. If that was the case, surely she wouldn’t be smiling?
“No,” Beth confirmed. “I’m not saying goodbye. I’ve decided I want to live. They don’t get to tell me to kill myself. Live my life to spite them, wasn’t that what you said?”
“Yeah, fuck them,” Sarah said. “That’s the spirit.”
“Fuck them,” Beth said and clinked her glass to Sarah’s.