4.Bb5 Spanish Variation


vf_elisabeth_icon.gif vf_ygraine_icon.gif

Scene Title 4.Bb5. Spanish Variation
Synopsis The Red Queen's Bishop is now in play.
Date November 25, 2011

Music Room

Elisabeth is having a hard time of it. She's supposed to have met Ygraine at the other woman's room, but the sound of the piano's forlorn notes wafting through the hall perhaps tells the Briton that something either ran long or that perhaps the blonde forgot? It doesn't seem like she would have forgotten, from what she's seen thus far. But it's perhaps because there's something on her mind.

Can you hear me? Is someone there / Am I losing my mind, am I losing my mind? / Am I all alone, won't you rescue me? / Talking to myself, staring at the sea

Her voice carries just beyond the doorway but trails off as if she isn't going to continue, just letting her fingers carry the tune.

Ygraine waited a little past the appointed time, before steeling her nerves and going in search of Elisabeth. However likely it seemed that the blonde had found something better to do, there was at least the chance that her non-appearance was down to something being amiss. Fortunately, the music makes her quite easy to locate… though the apprehensive Briton finds herself confronted with a new problem: whether or not to pose a disturbance. In typical fashion, she opts to lurk… until the song trails off. Then she self-consciously clears her throat, to announce her presence.

The movement is very fast and might have been otherwise missed except that she's watching so closely — Just before Liz turns to the doorway, she is wiping away tears. When she turns to see who it is, she looks appalled. "Oh geez. I lost track of time. Ygraine, I'm so sorry." A faint red climbs her cheeks and she moves to stand. "After the kids left, I knew I had just a little time before we met up and I just… " She gestures vaguely toward the piano and grimaces. "I apologize. That's so rude."

There's a moment of inward relief, as it's confirmed that Elisabeth was not in fact avoiding her - then Ygraine hurries forward. She'd been going to sink into a crouch close by the pianist, but instead finds herself loitering close by the now-upright blonde. Where her alter-ego would certainly have initiated contact, this one doesn't dare to… but she is very close, and looking deeply concerned and sympathetic. "Hey… it's all right. Honestly. It's not as if I have a hectic social schedule that you're risking disrupting. What's wrong? Or should I not ask?"

Deliberately having forgone her injection this morning so that they could speak very privately, Elisabeth gestures Ygraine to the far side of the room, where several relatively broken down but still usable chairs rest. "Sit, please," she invites quietly. Although it's not really that evident, a silence field goes up around the two of them so that they cannot simply be walked in on. "I miss home. I miss… the people that I love. And I have to talk to you about some things that … frankly, you're going to think I should be the one in the loony bin." She bites her lip. "But I need you to believe me. And I don't… really know where to start with this."

Ygraine glances towards the chairs, but quickly returns most of her attention to Elisabeth - studying her in silence for a few moments. She opens her mouth, pauses, sighs, and closes it again before moving to take a careful perch upon one of the seats. "Ooookay. Is this the 'I think I have a way to provide a cure' speech?", she asks cautiously. "I've heard that one from a few people over the past couple of years…."

There's a faint smile. "As far as I'm aware, there is no cure. So no." Elisabeth's blue eyes are weary and haunted. "Do you remember the breach in the disposal room a couple weeks ago, just before we got here?" she asks. At the nod, because that was big news, she nods a little. "It was a breach… but not the kind you think. It was a dimensional breach by a massive accident in my world. Ruiz's portals interacted with a device in my world and Magnes's gravitokinesis to … essentially throw us here from an alternate reality."

Ygraine narrows her eyes, head canting slightly as she peers at Elisabeth. "…good grief," she murmurs. "Well… I was presuming that he was the same Magnes Varlane I met, back before the world ended. Clueless kid who claimed to be a gravitokinetic, but whose abilities stopped working as soon as I asked him what it was that he actually did. I took him for a telekinetic with delusions of grandeur, to be honest." Her tone's pensive, rather than dismissive. "But I admit that it's at least possible that he was a clueless gravity-manipulator, as he thought. Still, for him to have the capacity… mmmm." She frowns more deeply.

"Are… you approaching me with this, because my own ability's gravity-related?", she asks cautiously. "There's… an unpleasantly crazy idea that was put to me, back before the world ended. But I refused to test it, because we simply don't know enough about what it is that my ability really does. The odds are that it would be safe; but if certain things are true about my ability, and certain things are true about gravity, then I could potentially do serious damage to space-time. It's highly unlikely, but there're theories…. Anyway. You've at least got my interest, crazy lady."

Blue eyes on the woman who has become one of her best friends in her own world, Elisabeth nods slowly. "I'm approaching you more for your conflict analysis skills than your gravity skills," she admits. "Because … if what we believe happened can be replicated… there might be a way to escape this world. In my world…. Phoenix and the NYPD stopped the Vanguard's viral attacks. It never happened. Other things certainly happened later…. but thus far, we've actually managed to keep our world mostly intact. At least from extinction events." She smiles just a little, her tears welling up as she looks down. "And I'm choosing to tell you because where I come from…. we didn't only meet one time, Ygraine. You were… one of my best friends. You kept me sane through some of the hardest moments of my life."

Ygraine looks rather as if she's attempting to see right to the core of her companion, studying her with a searching intensity beyond anything Liz has previously seen from her in either world. "…that sounds less likely than dimensional travel," she jokes weakly. "God, you must have been desperate if I was your best shot. Ahh… honestly? You're… the things you're saying aren't quite what I'd expect for someone trying to sell a convincing lie. Which… maybe makes it more convincing? Christ. Do you have any proof for any of this?"

"Well…. I arrived here in body armor that was damaged beyond belief by the gravitational forces involved. A cell phone that was fried by the trip. I can tell you that… you were recruited into Phoenix by Norton Trask and his friends Cat and Helena, and that they didn't utilize your skills to their potential. I can tell you that …." She starts to laugh, a little watery as she remembers, "our first real conversation was when you called Norton's cell phone and I answered it because he was in the hospital at the time following the assassination attempt on Rickham… and that you told me to tell him to tell Phoenix to come up with a better story than a gas line explosion to explain this kind of bullshit."

She looks up at Ygraine. "What would you constitute as conclusive proof?"

Ygraine blinks in surprise, then manages a soft laugh of her own. "'Gas main explosion' goes back to the V2 campaign in the Second World War, when the British government didn't want to let the general public know that there was a new form of rocket they were having trouble shooting down. The phrase became a byword for 'blatantly unconvincing lie'…." She's still watching Elisabeth very intently indeed. "Mmmmm. Conclusive proof would probably be showing me this other world, I admit. But… Christ. Was I prone to revealing horribly embarrassing personal secrets with which you can dazzle me now?"

"I happen to know you're an insatiable Potterfan," Elisabeth replies immediately. "Although I don't think that's much of a secret." She laughs softly, a genuine laugh this time though she wipes another tear. "And I know that you really like to make people walk on walls. And that you have a tattoo of a dragon on your back."

Elisabeth looks thoughtful. "I know you always called the Ferry the 'Sailing Club', but not embarrassing."

"Hey, not insatiable," Ygraine protests… before cocking her head and arching her brows. "Dragon tattoo? Seriously? Wow. No, I don't. I… seriously considered it, but wanted to find the right design. And the right artist. I was hoping I'd find an Evolved one, some day, who could do it justice…." A slight chuckle, then she nods. "The Sailing Club? Yeah. That's what I first heard it called. Jennifer, Grace, and Anselm talked about it in front of me. I… haven't let myself think of that for a long time, now. Or I've tried not to. Ahhh-hhhrrrm. So, ummm. This tattoo: what design did it have?"

There's a nod. "I guess you eventually did find one — actually, she did all of mine. Her name was Xiulan." Turning her back, she tugs the T-shirt she's wearing upward all and bares her back to the other woman so she can see the stunning detail on the haunted, tattered warrior angel with brilliant gold-and-cobalt-tipped white feathers that graces Elisabeth's shoulder blade. The midnight blue armor the angel wears is battle-torn and there are traces of blood still gracing both her skin and the sword of the blade that she holds. She looks toward the ground, but it's clear she's merely resting a moment rather than being broken. "She put a stunning set of European Celtic dragons in red and white twisted around one another on your back. The colors were much like these — they never fade."

Ygraine cautiously leans closer, eyes widening as she drinks in the view of Xiulan's work. "Wow…. That's… I'm envious. Really. And you're saying she did that level of work, on me?" Dragging her gaze away from the tattoo, she blinks at Elisabeth's face - then narrows her eyes a little. "Red and white? And not… 'fantasy' or Oriental? Mmmm."

Liz shakes her head and drops her shirt, turning back around. "No, they were deliberately Celtic and northern European. You once told me a legend of Celts and Saxons, and there were three endings to that … I think it was three. And that you made them twine together deliberately instead of fighting bcause you wanted the symbolic harmony of that image."

Ygraine bites her lower lip, inhaling slowly through her nose. "Merlin's cave," she murmurs. "He investigates an earthquake, and finds that the reason the land above shakes is that there are two dragons fighting - one red and one white. In some versions, he puts them to sleep for a time - but not forever. Whenever the crisis occurs, there in front of him or in some distant future when his magic wears off…. one version of the outcome has the red win as the Britons reclaim their homeland; one has the white win, as they Britons are driven from their last strongholds in the West. A third has them find harmony…. So, ahhh, either you've had a telepath rooting around pretty damn deep in my head, somehow. Or… even my psychiatric records wouldn't contain some of this. So far as I can remember, anyway. Okay. So. You're either a scarily detailed stalker who wants me to believe the impossible; or you're impossible. But you have a clueless gravitokinetic with you as your travelling companion, so… is it really impossible? Christ."

"Six impossible things before breakfast," Elisabeth replies quietly. Facing Ygraine, she shrugs a little. "I'm walking, talking paradox." She sighs heavily and then gives an almost-laugh. "And I really want to go home. Being here, seeing what could have been?" She bites her lip. "It hurts my heart so much. My world isn't perfect. Hell, I got here because it's not perfect and there are still assholes who always think they gotta change things up. But…. this future, at least, we averted."

Looking down at the floor as she leans on her elbows on her knees, she says, "Edward Ray of my world had the same abilities. ANd…. he was a motherfucker of the first order. But he was also bloody brilliant. And… I have no one else who can do what he can do. I need his skills to help me get home. And if I can get home, then maybe all of you can actually come with us. It's not the first fucking time people have jumped timelines…. which aren't really timelines at all but dimensions. Which is definitely not a conversation you even want to know," she laughs a choked laugh. But then she continues.

"To go home, we have to find a way to convince a team of people to go after Gillian Childs. Because we're going to need her augmenting ability to even attempt this portal. And that means I have to find a way to convince them that there is some hope that this will work." She looks up at Ygraine. "That by doing this, we have the chance to make sure the children here and as many other people as we can take with us have a chance to have a life away from this hellhole of a world."

Ygraine's gaze drifts away to the middle distance, in a manner intimately familiar to her other-worldly companion. "Dimensions rather than timelines? Event-triggered multiverses, perhaps? Hopefully only 'big' events: I'd hate to think of there being infinite versions of *this* one, spawning constantly as people make miniscule choices…." A shake of her head, then she refocuses upon Elisabeth. "Okay. I'm a science fiction reader. I'm willing to bite, at least on it as a theory to explore. What's the actual plan, that this Gillian Childs is needed for? You mentioned 'portal' just now, and did so before in connection with Ruiz: do you mean his el umbral, I think he calls it?"

Oh thank God. As soon as she sees the thoughtful face, Elisabeth breathes a sigh of relief. She knows Ygraine's on board now - Huzzah! It gives her just a little bit of hope back. "Well…. in our world, some asshole with a long story attached was creating a device because he still hadnt firgure out that time is not a line. He was trying to send himself messages in the past to try to avoid cataclysms in his own timeline. It was an abysmal failure, resulting in…. a huge amount of pains in my ass." She rolls her blue eyes. "Some night when I am drunk off my ass I will make SOME attempt to lay all this out for you, but it honestly gives me a migraine just to attempt to keep it straight. This part was always Rich— someone else's job." She bites off the name. "But…. when we went to stop the device, Magnes's gravity ability was triggered and augmented by the asshole at the same time the Device was partially destroyed… the partial destruction sent it off-kilter. And at best guess, the interaction between the device and Magnes somehow hooked up with the Umbral portal Ruiz uses and we got sucked in."

Blowing out a breath, she looks … really amused. "At least insofar as I understand what happened so far. I am NOT a science person. Seriously. I'm a cop and a music teacher." Elisabeth once again rolls her eyes. "BUT…. we think, with Gillian's ability to augment Ruiz and Magnes working in tandem, we might be able to replicate the situation."

"I did a little nuclear physics at first-year university level. Just for fun," Ygraine says absent-mindedly. Again, it's probably evident to Liz that she's offering up a flow of words as cogwheels turn to try to process what she's been told. "That's as far as I took my own scientific education… but I got rather interested in gravity and the assorted theories of what the heck it actually is and how it might work, once I accepted that my ability was real, and not a madwoman's recurring complex of hallucinations. It's why I'm so cautious with my ability. One theory is that I'm manipulating gravitons; if gravitons are a cognate for electrons, then messing around with them could be like playing with electricity. Another theory's that I mess around with space-time itself, somehow. Another's that I alter some physical property of matter itself, and change it rather than directly affecting gravity - like putting a lens in front of light. You change what happens to the light, but you're not a photokinetic grabbing control of the photons themselves."

She waves a hand vaguely in the direction of the main bulk of the rest of the Hub. "Magnes… the one time I met him, hadn't a clue. I asked a basic question or two, and his ability stopped working for him. He lost faith in it. I've got a pretty good idea of what I can do, myself, in most ways. I've got a menu of options for how I do it. Magnes seemed to be… flashier, cruder, less nuanced in what he'd discovered. But with more evident raw power. I had the strong impression that he was generating force himself. I merely redirect it. In most ways, his ability would be more potent. Even before any augmentation, let alone interaction with a 'device' - whatever it did - and some sort of contact with Ruiz's talent."

"Do you see my eyes glazing over? I'm an audiokinetic. I have no idea what you just said," Elisabeth chuckles. "Seriously. You want to talk powers, please feel free to talk to Magnes. Hell, I don't know, your powers might even help this situation. But that wasn't why I approached you initially on this… part was, I admit, selfish." She looks a little chagrinned. "It'd be nice to have a friend. Someone who isn't… Magnes. He's a good kid. But… I don't…. I can't really turn to him. For…. anything, really," she admits.

"The main reason you were my first choice, though, is because I have to work out the best way to approach the people here. Some will be willing, like you, to believe. At least… if they're even close to the people I know them to be in my world. Others? I'm afraid that the trauma of the events you've all lived may have drastically changed those trajectories of life. They will either not want to believe or try to exploit what's going on. And frankly? Your world is dying, Ygraine. You all know it. Some are just not going to WANT to have any hope because if it fails, how much more crushed will they be? I … need to at least get the team of people I have to ask to go with me on this to believe. So I need to put your sociology skills to use."

Ygraine grimaces, running a hand over her grubby, messily-shorn hair. "Well, bugger," she says dryly. "I've no experience of leading people. Sod all of organising them. Boring them? Yes. Confusing? As so skilfully demonstrated just now. Mostly, I can sit back and act as a cheap-ass Cassandra, saying 'oooh, that's probably not going to work.' Or, 'now, there? You can see the shift in posture means he's on the defensive. He just interpeted that as an attack on something he cares about.' But, umm, well. I can't claim to be wholly on board with the "traveller from another dimension" thing… but if you want me to analyse, and critique, and try to suggest alternate approaches for how to get people on-side - or at least try not to rile them up - then yeah, I'm game. We're in a shitty strategic position in this game. We seem to be genuinely secure, so long as we send no one outside. But we can only acquire certain essential resources by sending people out. And we aren't acquiring new people fast enough to offset the attrition we experience, especially among those who venture out. Something has to change. We're making a better fist of this than many people thought was possible. But our survival's on the line, and we can't sustain this attrition."

Elisabeth smiles slightly. "You leave the leading to me. I need you to do what you do best. Analyze and strategy. It's what you've always done for me. Helped me see the avenues available to make things work better. And I think you know enough about the people here to help me determine which people will actually be … trustworthy in this." Pulling in a slow breath. "You're not so different in my home, you know. It … took me a while to convince you that I genuinely thought highly of your skills there too. But in the end… you became one of my most trusted advisors." She shrugs a little. "You have a unique perspective and common sense."

Ygraine arches a brow, peering sidelong at Liz even as she blushes. "'One of your advisors', huh? What are you, that you have advisors - a queen? Just how different is this other dimension of yours? Heck, you offered to have my babies…. I'm really wondering now…." A brief snort of laughter, then she shakes her head. "Yeah. I'll try to help. And try to believe that I won't screw it up for you. Count me in on the rescue mission, too, if you want me."

There's a moment where Liz isn't sure how to answer that and then she laughs very softly. "I've been alternately known as the White Queen or the Red Queen, depending on which time period of my …. rather colorful past several years we're talking about," she admits on a rueful chuckle. "I guess …. what you can really call me is … the former co-lead of a group that rose up when Phoenix fell apart and managed to help remake the world." She shrugs a little. "It sounds really impressive when I say it that way, but it's not…. it just means that a few of us had the right information at the right time to step up and stop a few assholes from doing shit like… detonating a nuclear weapon under the polar ice cap or loosing a virus that killed 90 percent of the world's population. The Vanguard as a group and Kazimir Volken in particular are some of the primary assholes in the world."

She sighs heavily and then just says, "Chess games were never my strong suit. I was never the brains of our operation… I guess you might have called me the one who kept them together." Elisabeth can't begin to be arrogant enough to claim to be the group's heart, though several people have told her that's the case. It just seems to her that she's just… her. The person who keeps trying to keep everyone's hope up. "And if you're willing to follow me one more time, even knowing that I might be insane?" She shrugs a bit. "Then I want you all-in, Ygraine. Very much."

Ygraine certainly showed not so much as a flicker of recognition at the earlier mention of 'Rich-', and now she nods slowly… then laughs and cracks a sudden, filthily teasing grin as a segment of her emotional defences give way way under pressure of wild hope and offered friendship. "How could I possibly refuse when a crazy, hot blonde invites me to go all-in? I am at your service, your Majesty. However you need me."

Both her eyebrows shoot to her hairline and Elisabeth laughs. It's the first honest, full-throated laughter she's really had reason to enjoy since she arrived here. But it feels good. "Thank you. For that." She nods slightly, amused to no end. "Welcome to the chess board, Bishop." There's a sadness to the last, just a kind of nostalgia. "Here's hoping we can… upend the board one more time, huh?"

"Bishop, huh? Crumbs. You're a vicious AI in a zombie apocalypse, and I'm an android in an alien one." Chuckling, Ygraine shakes her head again - then shoots a quick look of grateful relief to Liz. "I… have the impression I'm missing a few stories behind the names. But yeah. Even if it's still the same game and the same board, if we can turn a pawn into a queen it might be enough to change everything."

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