Newton's Third Law


magnes_icon3.gif ff_west_icon.gif

Scene Title Newton's Third Law
Synopsis West pushes Magnes.
Date December 26, 2018

It’s been days now.

A battery-powered lamp flickers softly on a water-stained faux wood coffee table. The cell that Magnes Varlane was remanded to after his arrival to the Ark isn’t what he’d imagined it would be, it’s more reminiscent of a posh New York studio apartment, except one that’s been slowly rusting over the course of a decade. Once pristine white walls are streaked with rust, ceiling-mounted lights have failed, forcing Magnes to use an electric lamp to see by. The furniture is threadbare and smells of mildew and sea salt. Everything is cold, bone chillingly cold. The one mercy they’d afforded Magnes was providing him with enough blankets not to die of hypothermia down here.

But aside from that and a handful of visitors, he’s been left with his thoughts, the weight of his body in the absence of his ability, and perhaps heavier than that…

The repercussions of his choices.

Detention Cell B-8

Commonwealth Arcology, B-Ring

December 26th


It’s been hard to measure the passage of time down here, with no natural lights and no clocks. Meals come and go, but Magnes can’t be certain how regularly they’re delivered. Visits have felt infrequent, both meal deliveries and otherwise. It makes the sound of muffled voices outside the door all the more surprising.

Magnes has been meditating, a lot. The deaths, while he didn't expect Don to react that way, he couldn't have predicted that the reaction would be so extreme.

Even so, hearing that Michelle was dead, knowing how difficult it is to maintain people's hopes for getting out of here, he couldn't continue to wait, to play it safe. If Michelle is alive, he has to get straight to the point, by any means necessary.

His eyes open when he hears voices, then he stands, heading over to press his ear against it.

He's still been waiting for something to be done about Trask before he can go all out in this place, but if there's a way to think himself through this, that'll work too.

By any means necessary, he's finding a way home.

The door to Magnes’ cell opens with a creak of protesting metal, revealing the flickering light of the hallway’s fluorescent bulbs silhouetting one of the riot-gear clad security officers. A handgun is pointed down at Magnes as the guard steps in, then to the side. From behind him, West Rosen walks in with a pinched expression on his face. He has a beard here, which is strange for Magnes to reconcile, on top of all of the other physical changes.

West relieves the security guard of his gun, putting it into his own empty holster at his belt and dismisses the security detail. “So, Magnes.” West says with a raise of his brows while the security guard steps back out of the room and shuts the door, leaving Magnes and West in the dim light of a single lamp. “You had a whole lot to say when you got here,” he says with a furrow of his brows. “I figure you and I can talk about all that now. Since you’ve had some time to cool down.”

"This isn't quite the way that I expected to meet Claire's ex boyfriend. Well, I think I met you before, hard to remember." Magnes shrugs, stepping back a little, though staring well within arm's reach of West, possibly for Reasons. "I know the story. You're all down here in an apocalypse grasping onto what passes for civilization, so you're not looking to listen to anyone who has anything to say about a way out."

"I'm sure your leader knows plenty, and I'm sure the people down here must be far gone to think that getting rid of someone like Michelle and doing whatever was done to Edward was a good idea." He looks West over, sort of sizing him up. "I don't have much to say, I'm fine where I am. I'm not interested in leaving and pretending that everything is fine." He shakes his head. "That you, the people with abilities and guns, are listening to someone like that, says everything I need to know. You all killed the the greatest mind in the world, there's really nothing that you can say."

West squints at Magnes, head tilted to the side like a dog that heard a weird nose. He glances behind himself, grabs the arm of a chair, and drags it away from the wall with a scuffing sound. As he sits, West folds his hands between his knees. “For a guy who doesn’t have a lot to say, you sure say a whole shitload.”

“I don’t know what it is you think you know, but nothing went down here like you’ve been told.” Leaning back in his seat, West watches Magnes with a slow shake of his head. “First thing’s first, though, who’s Claire?”

"My ex girlfriend, your ex girlfriend first. But everything's weird and different in this world, it deviated much further back than the others. So, a lot of the same people, but very drastically different lives. Anything I know from my world or other worlds has been pretty functionally useless here." Magnes admits, apparently choosing to continue standing and looking down as he speaks. "So, how did things go down if it wasn't how I've been told? It's difficult to believe that things didn't go down just as horribly as when innocent people were killed on a whim, just to prove a point."
West snorts at that, brows raised. “Girlfriend?” He makes a face, lips downturned into a grimace. “Yeah, I guess things did diverge pretty far from the side of the Looking Glass you’re from.”

Breathing in deeply, West looks around the darkened room, then exhales a sigh and leans forward. “Michelle was ostensibly in charge of this place, because she worked for the government. She led a research station down here, performing experiments on people like you and me,” he motions between himself and Magnes. “Don lead a bunch of us here after the flood, he’s the one who found the sub, saved all these people. All Michelle did was lock up half this place when a virus wiped out more than half the facility staff. Without Don, she and everyone else would’ve starved.”

West spreads his hands. “Some genius.”

Making a scrunched up face, he seems to flippantly disregard the notion of her brilliance. “Things were fine for a while, until Don learned she was building some sort of doomsday device down in C-Ring, would’ve killed all of us if she’d finished it. All she wanted to do was get to another universe, it turns out. Find her lost son. She killed our only electrical engineer in her experiments. Your, uh, Mateo Ruiz? Ours got killed because of her fucking relentless insanity.”

“So when someone from your world tried broadcasting to this one, Don knew he had to do something. So we had ourselves a coup. We deposed Michelle, her staff, and took control of the Ark. Don’s been using her machine to eavesdrop in places like you all are from, learn things. He thinks he knows a way to fix the world up top,” he says with a motion to the ceiling, “and you…”

West points to Magnes. “You might be the key to all of that.”

"There's no reason that you'd have all had to stay here, you could have gone with us. We've done this before, repeatedly. We have refugees from other worlds, there's no reason that we can't take more. But this idea that it all has to stop, that it's too dangerous… I can't let that stop me, I've never let that stop me." Magnes looks dead serious down at West now after all that. "We're not leaving the ARK, none of us are, unless it's sideways and out of this world. And my daughter is in my world, there's not a thing that will stop me from finding her."

"There's a war going on up there right now, and I'm not interested in turning back." Staring at West, now, he says, "I don't have much time left to leave here, and I'm going to die soon anyway, so if I agree or not is entirely irrelevant. Even if I was interested in leaving my last chance to get my daughter back, I wouldn't live long enough to do any of Don's plans."

“What makes you think any of us want to leave?” West asks as he slouches back into the chair and crosses his arms over his chest. “We've heard what your world is like. A civil war? Millions dead? That's no better than here. At least here we have a chance to start over if Don’s plan works. Here, we can build something real.”

Shaking his head, West scowls. “This is where we lived. This is our home. We don't want your charity or your pity, but we do need your ability. You're not going anywhere until Don gets what he wants. Maybe then, after he does what he needs, he’ll let you all go. But not before you help him fix our world.”

"How do you expect me to fix the world with gravity? It doesn't even make sense. And I don't function on 'maybes', we don't have time for this. My daughter is in another world, the second I get my ability back not a single one of you will be able to stop me from getting to her. So Don is wasting his time with me." Magnes takes a deep breath, his tone sounding final until, "Unless you bring me Edward Ray, ability intact, and give me half an hour alone with him."

West squints again, head tilting slowly to the side. “Addie, right?” He nods a couple times. “Yeah, Don told me you have a little girl. Elaine’s daughter, right? Because, and this is just from me here in the chair to you here in the cell,” West says with a motion of his hands from himself to Magnes, “you’d probably do whatever we asked if little Elaine’s pretty head depended on it. Because, last I checked, gravity didn’t let you be in two places at once.”

West slides his tongue over his lips and leans forward in his chair, hands on his knees. “As for… Edward? I don’t know what you’ve been told, but he doesn’t have an ability. He’s not like us. Comes up blue on the blood tests. Magnes, I don’t think you appreciate the level of severity in this situation you’re in. What Don’s willing to do to save this planet.” Whatever that is, as West doesn’t seem to be able to describe how Don will do any of that.

"You'd be shocked at my ability to be in two places at once." Magnes says in an almost threatening manner, continuing to stare at West as if he hasn't provided any new information, beyond Edward's lack of an ability. "I knew that you were going to use Elaine against me, I'm not surprised at all. What I am surprised at is your belief that using Elaine against me won't end horribly for everyone involved in threatening her."

"You're in a hostage situation, like people in a bank surrounded by cops. You have hostages, you hold a lot of cards right now, but the situation is temporary and you can't see the horrible calculation in judgement you're all making right now." He starts to slowly walk around his 'cell', seemingly in deep thought as he stops looking at West now. "There used to be a belief called Manifest Destiny. Early settlers used it to justify all the genocide and slaughter, and general awful means used to take over the American continent."

He looks over at West. "They were driven by this strong belief without knowing that there was any sort of fate steering their actions." Walking over to West again, he leans down and looks him directly in the eye. "I'd think about what end of this you want to be on. The person standing in my way or the person threatening the woman I love. Knowing how far you'll go, I'll agree to help you, but it won't mean anything for me to agree in the end. When this is all over, when I'm going home, I won't hold back. If you're in my way, you'll die with the effort it takes for me to blink."

"That said, let's discuss this with the idea that you hold all the cards and this isn't going to go horribly wrong for you." He holds his hands up, motioning for West. "Tell Don that I'll cooperate. If everything goes how you expect, if my overwhelming belief in returning to my daughter doesn't steamroll through fate itself the way that I very well believe it will, then I'll help him up until the point that I die, which will unfortunately be very soon."

West blows out a deep breath and leans back slowly in his seat, clapping his hands together. “You're a weird one, Varlane. I'll give you that. But yeah, ok, I think this answered pretty much everything I needed to know.” Sitting forward, West claps his hands onto his knees and pushes up to stand.

“Don’s gotta make some adjustments to the Looking Glass, might take a week or two. In the interim, given that you seem so willing to play ball, we’re going to let you have guests.” West steps away from the chair, looking side-long at Magnes.

“In spite of whatever it is you think of us, all of this?” West motions into the air. “All the deaths, all the hurt? It isn't going to matter when Don's done. It's going to be like the fucking rapture in reverse in here… our loved ones coming back, the tides receding, the Sentinel crushed like fucking ants. You'll be a fucking hero, or… who knows. Maybe you'll just be the one person who stays dead.” West shrugs, unsure of himself. “Either way, I believe in Don’s message.”

West walks over to the door to the cell and rests his hand on the latch. “The Resurrection is at hand, Magnes. Everything's gonna change.”

"Wait a minute…" Magnes suddenly calms a bit, meaning he stops doing the Kazimir impression that he loves slipping into in times like these. "Don't go yet." He sounds a lot more sincere, genuinely intrigued. "I want to know more about this Resurrection. I'm actually interested now, okay? If you want me to play ball, then this is something you actually have that I want. I still plan to go home, but in case there's some truth to this, I want to know."

West stops, looking back over his shoulder as he moves his hand from the latch. “That’s what got my attention, too,” he admits with an incline of his head toward Magnes. “The way Don tells it, you know how powerful people like us can be? Then there’s people who are the pinnacle of what we can do, folks with just astonishing powers.” Slowly, West begins to circle back to Magnes.

“Imagine if there was one of us,” West says with his hands tucked into his pockets, “that made all of them look like infants. Don says he’s been contacted by… by God. Sort of.” West’s brows furrow in frustration. “Someone like us, but unfathomably powerful. They exist in another timeline, or— however it is. Apart from us. Don says all the religions of the world got it partly right, and this being — one who reached out through Michelle’s machine — wants to help us. So, Don’s going to get you…” West shrugs, “to help that somehow. I don’t know all the specifics. But it’ll be an end to all our suffering… and the start of a new age for all humanity.”

West seems subtly incredulous, if only just. “I feel like some of that’s probably… you know, a fairy tale. I don’t believe there’s someone out there, but I do believe in science. That Don could’ve found a way to undo the flood with the machine, maybe by… changing history or something. I don’t know. But,” West tilts his head to the side, “I believe he can do it. He’s been right about so much.”

"You can't change history, that's why all of these worlds exist to begin with. But…" Magnes seems to be rather intensely focused when West explains all of that. "It's not a fairytale, it's real… I finally understand, I think."

Placing a hand on his forehead as he looks down at the floor, it's like he's trying to process something. "All this time, it's been telling me to let it out. I thought it was something inside of me, some kind of strange manifestation of my ability. But no, they're right… it really is something that wants me to let it out."

"Whatever it is, it thinks I have the capability to set it free, it's telling Don the same things that it tells me, except… now I actually know what letting it out means." Taking a deep breath, his gaze falls back on West. "I don't know how we can trust a horrifying entity from between the worlds to tell the truth, to deliver on its promises, but…"

He starts to sit on the floor again, crossing his legs. "I'm going to close my eyes, and I'm going to try to do something I've been resisting for a long time. I don't know if I should let it into any universe, but…"

Giving West one last look, he says, "I'm going to meditate, and I'm going to try to let it into me. Me and this thing need to talk."

West cocks a brow and looks Magnes up and down. “Yeah…” he says with a bewildered look in his eyes, moving for the door again, this time not hesitating when he turns the handle and steps out past the armed guard into the hall, with one last word for Magnes.

“You let me know how that goes for you.”

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