A Little Inquisition


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Scene Title A Little Inquisition
Synopsis After a long day, Jac catches up to Kirk to ask him about her creation.
Date June 24, 2021

James T. Kirk can feel eyes on him when he steps onto the porch of the run-down house in Park Slope. The others inside can see him through the porch windows, even with the crawling ivy growing up and around their frame. Rain patters on the mostly-intact porch roof, and Kirk leans up against the post beside the porch steps, rankling his nose at the stink of soot in the air.

Unhooking his respirator mask from his belt, Kirk looks out at the soot-gray rain falling outside. It’d be a jog to his truck and he isn’t looking forward to soaking in that sludge. But before he fastens his mask on, the sound of rapidly approaching footsteps gives him pause.

The short redhead bouncing out of the house after him has questions in her eyes.

Park Slope

June 23rd

5:47 pm

Just behind, the door swings open with a suddenness that has it rebounding to close again. At the midpoint of its hinged arc, Jac Childs slinks through the narrow opening, at first coiled like she's prepared to take off running. Her posture shifts in the instant she finds Kirk not yet retreating to wherever he goes; stepping backward instead of forward, the teenager’s back eases the door into its latch.

For a good minute she stares up at the man, her eyes searching for… something. It's clear, too, that there are a lot of things she wants to ask. But the questions don't form very quickly. Like stubborn old clay, the words for her wonderings refuse to be molded or shaped until, eventually, she huffs, rolls her eyes, and begins with the most obvious,

“Why'd they do it?”

“Do what?” Kirk asks, fumbling with the straps to his respirator. They had become tangled in his jacket pocket during the long talk inside. “If you mean you,” he says, then jerks his head toward the house, “them,” then he shrugs. “I don’t know.”

Turning to fully face Jac, Kirk frowns. He wants to give her answers, but Colin only shared so much. “I guess that’s what makes us different. I know the why for me.” He looks down, thoughtfully, to the tangle of respirator straps. “It’s gotta be hard not knowing.”

Well, “Why were you made?”

If she can't know about her own creation, she can very well start with Kirk’s. Jac has wrestled with the why of her own existence, only to find her the existence she thought she had wasn't actually hers. And she still doesn't know why she was created, but maybe talking to Kirk will take some of the confusion away.

A short pause is given, a breath huffed like it's supposed to be a balm to any sting from her hastiness. Jac folds her arms over her middle and looks up at Kirk. “Is it… would Colin actually help us?” It seemed like a lot of people were willing to trust him. Who even is he, anyway?

“He said he would, and it seems like a weird thing to go through all this effort and then come up short.” Kirk admits, leaving his respirator off for the time being. He looks from the rain to Jac. “And me? I mean—I was made to find you all.” He nods to the house. “To get you to him, and get you out of this mess you’re all in.”

Squinting, Kirk looks momentarily thoughtful. “I mean, it’s weird. Knowing why you exist, right? Like, what’ll I do when all this is done? I dunno.” He hums softly, looking back to his truck. “What’ll anyone do after all this?”

“Not knowing is weird too,” Jac points out with a small shrug. And now, for her anyway, all those shadows and dreams she chased trying to understand just don't matter. For a beat, her counter argument raises a giddy feeling in her chest, prompting a laugh at the irony. “Do you know how many people I asked why I existed?” She knows Kirk doesn't have that answer, but she asks anyway. “And now I find out…”

A weird sort of hysterical giggle interrupts. It's a strange release, the sort that persists even after she thinks the outburst has been quelled, that brings tears to her eyes and shifts her mood from heavy demands for answers to something easier.

Hands clamp over her mouth and she sucks in a noisy breath, but it takes the teen a few tries before she can manage words again. “I think…” Jac casts a side eye up at Kirk, like it's his fault she can't stay serious anymore. “I think after this, if it works, I'll… return Jac’s life to her. I don't know where I'll go, but…” It’s Jac's, the human one, not hers the robot.

“Crazy thought, isn’t it?” Kirk says with a gentle smile. He only then recognizes the turmoil in Jac’s eyes, and turns back toward her. “You have any siblings? Brothers, sisters?” He wonders. It sounds like he’s going somewhere with that line of questioning.

“I…” Impulse lends to a quick answer, but this time Jac reins it in. She doesn't have siblings, except maybe the ones from circumstance. A shoulder shrugs in a half dismissive manner, sort of gesturing toward meeting and all those like herself and Kirk. “I mean… I do, but… those aren't actually my…” Not that she believes Lene or Lance or anyone would abandon her now. “Not really anymore. Why?”

Kirk shrugs. “You do now,” he admits with a lopsided smile, jerking a thumb over his shoulder. “An identical twin. One who knows you better than anybody else, who could probably use a friend right about now.” His smile becomes easier, more genuine.

Jac doesn’t immediately understand. Her brows furrow, confused. Her eyes go in the direction Kirk points to, even leaning slightly to see past him better. “There’s no one,” she begins, the question in her tone matching the one on her face. Her head tilts and she squints a little as she looks at Kirk.

“You mean…” Identical twin he said. Who knows her better than anyone. Jac glances over her shoulder, checking to see if anyone else is nearby. “You mean her?” Obviously she never considered that possibility, and it's caught her interest.

“Who else?” Kirk asks, smiling a little sheepishly. “How often do you get the chance to have a partner in crime who knows you better than anyone else? It’d be like that uh, that uh,” he snaps his fingers in the air, “that movie? Parent Trap!” He laughs, smiling brightly. “I fucking loved that when I was—”

Kirk cuts himself off, brows knit together. He looks down to the porch, blinks a few times, then shakes his head and looks at Jac. “Weird, y’know? Never had a childhood and they—programmed me to think I did? Kinda’ not cool. Sorry uh,” he dithers, struggling to figure out what he was talking about.

“Twin sisters.” Kirk finally remembers where he was. “Why wouldn’t it be awesome, right?”

“It's weird,” Jac agrees quickly. She can relate, sort of, since she just found out everything she remembers from before the plane crash was implanted from the original, actual Jac Childs. “But… but it's…” Whatever it is, she doesn't have words to make it less weird.

She huffs a breath. “Parent Trap.” A movie she vaguely remembers, catching a small portion of it somewhere once upon a time. “I mean… who wouldn't want a twin? We could… you said with the programming or… whatever? That I could do great things. And she…”

Worry colors Jac’s thoughtful interest with a small frown. “What about… we… before this, we had abilities. She did, I mean. And the other originals. They are expressive. Is… will they be again, you think?”

“I dunno much about that,” Kirk says with a helpless shrug, glancing through the front window of the house when he sees movement from the others inside. “Boss didn’t tell me much other than how to get you all to him. But even if not, abilities don’t make a person, right?” He smiles, tapping two fingers on his chest. “It’s what’s in here.”

The answer draws a sigh from Jac. It's a sort of heavy sound, one that observes disagreement but only because she thinks Kirk just doesn't understand. She angles her eyes away, focusing for a couple of seconds on the floor space between her feet and Kirk’s, then lifts to the truck and the street and the whole world beyond.

“Do you think it's smart?” The girl’s question follows a stretch of silence. She doesn't look at Kirk, either, when she speaks up again. “Waiting? Like everyone else wants to. Trying to chase all those strings.”

“Dunno,” Kirk admits with a helpless shrug and a crooked smile. “You’re probably barking up the wrong tree there, not a lot of life experiences to go off of,” he admits with a laugh. “But, the idea of rushing into a situation without knowing what you’re up against? Doesn’t seem like a way to be successful, y’know?”

Kirk looks out to the rain, furrowing his brows in thought about something else Jac’s question brings to mind. There’s a distance in Kirk’s eyes, a solemnity and internal search. He shakes his head and looks back at Jac with a smile, then motions to his truck. “I’m probably gonna head back to the hotel I’m staying at, you want a ride home or…” he motions to the house, “you gonna hitch a ride with one of the others?”

“Yeah,” Jac answers slowly, “I mean going in without any ideas is bad, but I just…” She shrugs after a second, struggling with how to express the anxious conflict she feels.

The offer prompts a look over her shoulder, to the inside where everyone else is probably getting ready to leave. Or doing more talking about all the extra things. Jac wants to know what happened and why, too, but she also doesn’t want to sit and talk and wait while she might end up dying or worse waiting for decisions to be made. “I was going to walk,” she admits, partly to herself. She looks up at Kirk and ducks her head in a small nod. “Okay. If… yes, a ride would be better.”

Kirk pulls his filter mask over his head, then tugs the hood of his sweatshirt up. “Where to?” He asks, his voice muffled by the filter as he steps out into the oily rain.

Where to is a temporarily baffling question, harder to answer than if she'd accept a ride. Jac stares, wide eyed and confused, for the first two steps she takes to follow Kirk while juggling for the best place to go. Home definitely seems like the most obvious and best place, and she even prompts the destination with a breath. But that isn't what comes out of her mouth.

“Brooklyn College?” The dubious look on Jac’s face implies she knows it's a long way away. Her shoulders shift slightly almost like a shrug. “Or just somewhere that way. I can catch a bus to the campus.”

“I gotcha,” Kirk says with an easy smile, walking over to the truck with Jac. “I’ll take you the whole way. It’s the least I can do.” He admits with a crooked smile.

“You might be the closest thing to family I got.”

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