The Efficiency Of Trash


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Scene Title The Efficiency Of Trash
Synopsis Magnes tries to lie about what he and Ruiz are up to, finds out he doesn't have to. And gets a reading list for his trouble.
Date November 23, 2011

The Hub: Ruiz and Lynette's Room

It's early in the evening by the time Magnes and Ruiz are done trying to get black holes to work again. Ruiz has burned out, and while Magnes isn't feeling too great either, he's lowered Ruiz' weight enough to carry him back to his room. He knocks on the door a few times, clearing his throat. "Uhhh, Ruiz passed out during the experiments."

At those particular words, Lynette yanks the door open quickly. It squeaks like it's never even been near oil, but she doesn't seem to notice. She looks at Magnes, then at Ruiz, then back again. "Well, drop him on the mattress," she says, stepping to the side. "Gently." That part comes with a bit of a warning. "What did you do?" Her hand stays on the door, but the other props up on her hip.

"Trying to use our abilities together is exhausting. I'm surprised I didn't pass out." Magnes carefully floats Ruiz down onto the bed, then turns around to look at her. He recognizes Lynette. They've never really been friends necessarily, but they've definitely been in the same crowds.

"You know, to uh…" He rubs his chin. "Raise the efficiency of trash… disposal." A pause. "With black holes."

"You don't have to do that," Lynette says as she closes the door. With the same squeak. "He already told me about the other worlds. And you and her." She comes over to the bed, though, to check on Ruiz, her expression softening when she looks down at him. "He's not hurt, right?" When she looks up at Magnes, eyes narrowing. "I know you want to get home. But this isn't going to hurt him, is it?" It might be clear that she would not find that acceptable.

"It's just burnout. I literally turned into a black hole and survived, I'm sure some strain won't hurt, especially since his ability actually is making black holes." Magnes lets himself fall back, floating in the air as if he's wading in water, allowing his arms to spread out. "It's nice to have my ability, but I haven't been able to have it active long enough to get used to the… changes."

"Most of us around here don't have access to our abilities enough to burnout." Lynette looks back to Ruiz, pushing his hair back from his face. And then she stands up, somewhat abruptly. "What do you mean, you turned into a black hole?" At least she is beginning to understand why his and Ruiz's abilities work together. "That normal, where you come from?"

"It's not normal at all. I was augmented, an uh, well the evil guy we were trying to stop from destroying the entire timeline, you know, before we realized that our entire understanding of timelines and time travel was bullshit, augmented me and somehow triggered my ability. So I collected massive amounts of, well, mass, and became a black hole. Elisabeth jumped in, and I collapsed in on myself. It was, uh… things happened." Magnes slides his hands behind his head, in the air.

"It was a bit traumatic, I don't know how to explain. But, well, now I can feel the Earth spinning and I know where the moon and sun are at any given moment because I can feel them tugging against me. It wasn't like that before…" He looks over at her, seeming a bit melancholy. "I'm still dealing with some things that happened, being a black hole isn't something that a human should experience."

"Of course," Lynette says dryly, "I should have guessed." Who is she to judge, though. Their evil guy bent on destroying the world pretty much succeeded. Nearly enough. When he mentions how traumatic it was, Lynette seems to have a difficult time calling up much in the way of sympathy. Not on her face, anyway. Instead, she looks tired, dark bags under her eyes standing out as she looks over at him. "Having an existential crisis, are you? Having a look at more of the library than you should have." Whatever that means. "Not to mention," she says, a little more seriously, "you two landed here. I hear your world's nicer. Had to have been… a shock."

"When I turned into a black hole, my consciousness expanded. I felt… I don't know, like a god, I guess. I stopped feeling human, started to forget people… I had to pull myself back. When I pulled myself back is when I collapsed in on myself. But… the experience, the feeling, it changes you. I don't know want to go too deep into it, it seems like a bit much. I feel like I was robbed of being human in some small way…" Magnes sits up, crossing his legs, watching her now. "We stopped the virus in our timeline. Well, it was before I got involved in saving the world, but they did. Even Eilee—, uh, Munin helped."

Lynette listens, but lifts an eyebrow as he explains. Like maybe it is a bit much. Of course, her life is the day to day struggle and boredom of survival, so what he describes is far from that. "I understand. I mean, I don't understand really, but I understand feeling not quite human anymore. Although, I can't say I ever felt like a god." Maybe in another life.

"He said there's no Vanguard in your world. No virus." His mention of Munin has her rolling her eyes a little as she turns away to pace the room. "You can do this, right? You and Ruiz. You can get him somewhere better?" Him, she says, rather than us. But maybe she thinks it's implied.

"I plan to save everyone here. I don't plan to leave a single person if I can manage. We've discovered that two black holes make a wormhole, that's what Ruiz' ability seems to be." Magnes motions a hand at Ruiz. "If we can find a way to bridge into another world, and I can get augmented, then I should be able to make a black hole large enough to mass evacuate this entire place. But… we're still figuring things out."

"I don't believe in just saving a few people, or myself." He places a hand onto his abdomen, considering. "I want to go home, but I want to get everyone out of here more than I want to go home. I can't… I can't bear the thought of you all living here forever."

"Those are a couple big 'if's," Lynette points out. Because they are. "Saving everyone— Ruiz first," she says, firmly. "And then the kids. Then we can worry about the rest of us. We're used to this place, but if those kids can be somewhere… gentler, I'd gladly help with that. And him." She nods toward Ruiz there. "Not that there's likely a way I could help, but maybe. His ability needs electricity. If you get your augementation and if the tow of you figure out how to open your wormhole, I can make sure there's enough power for him to pull from. He'll need it, if it's going to be big enough."

"Whenever I try to use my ability with his, I start to see purple electricity…" Magnes actually considers things, lightly rubbing his chin. "I didn't know this about his ability. Can you explain how it uses electricity? that would help me."

Though, on the subject of saving people… "In my world… Denisa and Mala die during a flu epidemic. Seeing them here hit me hard, I used to spend time with them and the other Lighthouse Kids all the time."

Lynette tilts her head at the question. She's observed his ability with her own, and she knows about the side effects it has on him. Some of this she is unwilling to share. "He can tell when he's able to open the portal. But he doesn't really feel the electricity. The power pulls from whatever's around. Batteries, generators, any bit of it hanging around. He isn't a conduit, the portal itself takes it. And it feels like electricity. To me. When it's open. I can feel it until it closes. And then the electricity just… dissapates into the air." She pauses a moment there. "I'm electrokinetic." As if that might have needed to be explained.

"The kids were the worst part of this whole… mess. Watching them die. We were the only family they had, but we couldn't save them all. Mala, Denisa, the others, they're a small miracle in this world." And she's protective of them, her tone might imply. "I don't like how your friend went right for them. Ruiz thinks she just wants to help, but she makes me nervous."

"Elisabeth is fine, but I get how it's probably strange for you, since to us, the kids are familiar, but to you, we're strangers. I even knew you, in my world. Well, we weren't exactly friends or anything, but we were in the same circles, we experienced some stuff together. I never met Ruiz. You were, um, very upbeat. But I can see how that'd change here."

He very deeply considers what she says about her ability and Ruiz', then. "I see, I see. that makes sense! I was trying to figure out how it was possible that he could just make black holes out of nothing, it made no sense. But now I get it, he's taking electricity and creating a singularity with it. Technically any form of matter can be turned into a singularity. You can sense the electricity in his ability, I can sense the hyper dense gravity of the singularity. It makes perfect sense. We can use this information, but we have to be very careful."

"You say that, but," Lynette lifts a hand, making a so-so gesture. Her opinion on Liz is hard to budge. "I've never been much for friends," she adds, as far as their other-world relationship, "even before the virus." His last words about her, though, that gets a more skeptical look. "Well, that doesn't seem likely." Upbeat. This one is not that.

It's her turn to listen when he muses on the mix of his and Ruiz's abilities. "We always have to be careful with his ability. Always." His more than others, perhaps. "But if I can help, I will. Maybe if I'm supervising, this won't happen," she adds with a gesture toward the bed. Poor Ruiz.

"Well uh, when I say upbeat, I mean like during the tail end of the freak snow storm, when the flu was going around, probably the first time we really had a conversation. In Prospect park, there was a hole big tent city, because the electricity was screwed. And this girl was being wild and complaining about everything. Then she mentioned the smell, and you said something like 'That smell is called humanity without working showers, Princess', and she was all outraged, like, 'Princess? I don't think I heard you correctly?!', and you said, 'Then maybe you should go see a doctor, Short-Stuff'." Magnes laughs at that story, hand on his mouth. "But you're right, we do have to be careful. I know better than most how dangerous gravity is. I can feel how dense it is, when he makes a black hole."

Lynette lifts an eyebrow as Magnes starts the story. And then both eyebrows. And then— and this is the weird part— she laughs. Her hands come up to cover her mouth, like she's not entirely sure she should be letting anyone hear it. But it definitely happens. "Alright, that I can buy," she says, once she gets herself back together, but a crooked smile lingers.

Even when the conversatino turns back to their very dangerous experiments, her moods seems lightened. But she nods. "They're strong, even if they're small. I suppose the gravity means you don't need to wear the heavy shoes. I certainly don't want any of us to have the traumatic experience you had with the blackhole."

"Well, my ability is a lot different from Ruiz'. I don't just control gravity, my control of gravity is me interacting with gravity using my own gravitational center. Meaning, I don't think Ruiz will turn into a black hole. But I've been wrong before. We'll be careful, I would never do anything to put someone else in danger." Magnes rubs his chin, then holds up a finger. "When he made them into portals for the first time, I walked through, because I didn't want them to risk themselves."

Then, back to the lighter topic again. "Most of this stuff happened last year, with me meeting you. I really thought you were cool, I guess I just had a lot of stuff going on, so we didn't have a chance to get close. It's weird that everyone probably thinks I'm dead…"

"I suppose I shouldn't worry, since you need him to get back to where you came from. But— " Lynette tilts her head, eyes squeezing closed for a moment before she looks back over to Magnes. "He's the most important thing in this or any world. To me. If he gets hurt, I want to be able to call this off. If it looks like we might lose him to that— I just can't lose him. You understand that, don't you?" She doesn't seem sure that he does, the way she looks at him.

"I'm glad I was cool still. I mean, I definitely used to be cool. Oh, god, the shoes I had to leave behind. That was hard." No nice shoes anymore. Just work boots. But this time, when she looks back to him, there is sympathy there. "Not for long. Right? You'll be back home again before you know it."

"You were pretty stylish, really out of a magazine. Well, you're not much different now, just sadder." Magnes finally stands up properly, starting to walk over to look down at Ruiz with a sympathetic frown. "Lynette, I'm never going to do anything that risks his life. If we can at least figure out how to make a bridge into my world, there's a chance that we can find a way that doesn't involve him. I don't know. But if it becomes too dangerous, it's not my place to risk his life."

"I know what it's like to lose people, very important people. To death, memory loss, people just realizing that they can't deal with the, well, craziness of my life, or just the craziness of me." He offers his hand to her. "I promise, Lynette. I wouldn't want you to lose him, I wouldn't want anyone to lose the person they love…"

"It's the lighting in here," Lynette says as far as her looking sadder. Her arms fold when he goes to look at Ruiz and she's quiet while he talks. It's hard to say if she's buying it, because her expression turns back to something more neutral. Her fingers tap against her arm, a spark lighting up briefly. But when he offers his hand out to her, she reaches out to take it. And there's a nod. But then, instead of letting him go, she pulls him into a hug. It's short, but tight while it's there. And then she steps back again. "You might be the first spark of hope we've had since this started," she says, voice a little shaky. She looks up toward the ceiling, eyes blinking back tears before they actually get anywhere embarrassing. With a heavy exhale, she looks back to him again. "I'll trust you with him, then."

"If you ever think things are too far, I want you to tell me. I'm trying to space this all out, I think we're reaching a point where we really do need Gillian. But I just… there's something we aren't doing right, and I don't know what it is. Maybe it's that my ability is too weak without augmentation, to do what we're trying to do, but…" Magnes smiles at her, as if to offer a silent comfort. But he continues on, regardless. "Do you know if there's any theoretical physics books around here? If you can find any, that'd be helpful. I really need ideas, so, if you could ask around, people trust you more, you know who to ask I'd think…"

"Oh don't worry. I will. Loudly, probably." Lynette is not one for sitting quietly by in any reality. "It make sense, though, doesn't it? Whatever happened with your ability and Ruiz, you were augmented at the time. You'd need either that or… a lot of practice to stretch the limits of your ability." She glances toward the bookshelf right here in their room, her head tilting. "Well, I'm not sure about books with a more science bend to them, I can ask around. But, we have pretty much everything Borges ever published. Um, Mateo and me." Is who 'we' is. "More philosophical than scientific. But as far as ideas go, Borges had this whole… multiple timelines business on the mind. You— can come over and read them. They're very important to him." Obviously, since they're here and intact and not traded away or used for kindling.

"I'll read through them, there might be some interesting stuff that could give me ideas. And I'll keep asking around to try and find some theoretical physics books. What we need is definitely beyond the realm of established science. We discovered wormholes." Magnes shakes his head, then heads over to take a look at the bookcase. "Thanks, by the way. Having more people I can talk to about things… it makes the world feel a lot less suffocating."

"We can help you with the Spanish, if you need it. Some of them are in— Ruiz is from Argentina." Lynette steps over to the shelf, pulling out a thin book. The Library Of Babel claims the cover. "This one's my favorite. Maybe a little on the depressing side, but I think you'll find it interesting. Oh and the Garden, that one's perfect for your— I mean, if you think about trying to force a path from one part of the library to another specific part. Or from one path in the garden to another, I don't know if it helps to picture your wormhole that way, but it helps me keep my mind wrapped around this sort of thing. You just need to know what path you're aiming for. That might be the hard part." She looks down at the book in her hand, finger tapping on the spine. "But you know your world. And Ruiz knows this one. Maybe that's all it takes. Batteries and a map." She looks back at him at his thanks, looking confused for a moment. "Oh. That's— You're welcome. Anytime you want to talk, our door… well, it isn't always open, but you can knock if you need an ear."

"Thanks a lot… and I definitely don't know Spanish, so that'd be helpful." Magnes reaches for Libary of Babel, looking down at it. "It might be very useful to conceptualize all of this in my head, it might be as useful as physics books. Ultimately, I need ideas, ways to comprehend what I'm trying to do, new angles of looking at things…" He shakes his head a little. "I wish I talked to you sooner."

"No problem. It'll be nice for it to have some use around here. We only use it now to talk about everyone behind their backs," Lynette says with straight face. The smile breaks a moment later. Like she only vaguely remembers how to make a joke work. She lets him take the book, but his words get her to chuckle. "You're probably the first person to make that wish," she says, self-depreciating humor coming a little easier. "Hang on," she says, eyes widening for a moment, "hang on." It might be a little excitement in her voice, even. She turns back to the books, scanning for a particular title. "The Aleph," she explains as she pulls its collection out, "that one might help you with thinking about… the trauma. Your existential god-mind situation."

"Thanks! I'll come back for the Forking Paths when I'm done with these. I finally feel like I have some direction." Magnes smiles, then nods over to Ruiz. "Take care of him. I'll be back soon, maybe tomorrow."

"Sure. I'm glad to have helped," Lynette says with a chuckle. "Or, well, I'm glad Borges can help." She looks back down to Ruiz, her smile softer there. "Don't worry. I got him." And she seems to assume Magnes can make his way out, because she comes over to perch on the side of the bed, reaching over to take Mateo's hand.

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