magnes_icon3.gif ff_west_icon.gif

Scene Title Anagnorisis
Synopsis Nothing is as it seems, until suddenly it is.
Date December 29, 2018

A soft hiss of static fills the air, with arrhythmic clicks throughout.

Slouched back into the duct-taped cushions of an old wheel-base office chair, Michelle Cardinal stares up at the rusted ceiling high overhead. In her lap, a clipboard and notepad are marked with a few equations, many of which are crossed out. Atop that, a ratty leather bound journal sits closed. The static emits from a series of small speakers next to the flickering light of an oscilloscope, where an old broadcast radio microphone sits unused.

Dials and gauges display things like signal strength, frequency, and amplitude. Beyond the radio console, a towering machine rests beside a large blast door, flickering with star-like lights.

Michelle kicks her feet up on the console, crossing her ankles, and then flips open the journal with furrowed brows. Her eyes focus on the handwritten text, brows furrowed in consideration.

In the background the static continues to hiss.

Six Months Later

The Ark

B-Ring, Cell B-8

December 29th

4:17 am

With a protesting creak of metal, a door opens from a brightly lit hallway into a dimly-lit room.

Get up.”

West Rosen stands in the doorway, hurling a pair of tall rubber boots and a raincoat into the room. The clothes land in the middle of the living room floor of Magnes’ spacious cell. He’d fallen asleep on the sofa after hours of meditating, after days of unsuccessful attempts to reach out and contact whatever force it is West claims Don is speaking to. It feels like he’s only been asleep for a couple hours, but it’s hard to tell what day it even is anymore.

“Don wants to see you.”

Magnes opens his eyes, quickly putting the raincoat on over his other coat, then changes into the rubber boots. "Does it rain much down here?" he asks, before quickly following Rosen. "In some weird way, you kind of remind me of me. I guess Claire has a type."

West squints, creasing his mouth into a tight frown, and doesn’t respond to either comment. Instead, he just steps aside to escort Magnes out of his cell, one hand on the weapon holstered at his hip.
“Shut up and walk.”

Eleven Minutes Later

En-Route to C-Ring

Elevator doors slide shut with a groaning shriek of poorly maintained mechanics. There’s three guards inside, not counting West. Each armed guard stands at a corner of the spacious freight elevator, keeping Magnes in the middle. He isn’t restrained, and they’re all dressed in camouflage plastic ponchos with hoods raised and highwater rubber boots.

“If this goes well,” West says firmly, “we’ll let you see Elaine.” The fluorescent lights in the elevator ceiling flickers softly, followed by a rumble in the floor as the elevator begins to descend.

After a moment of silence, West incredulously asks, “You’re a scientist?”

"In a sense." Magnes answers, shrugging his shoulders. "I spent years absorbing Michelle Cardinal and Mallet's research. I had the added benefit of having punched a hole through the universe twice by that point."

"If I'm considered a scientist, I'm a ridiculously specialized one. I worked with super geniuses who had abilities that made them super geniuses, and they taught me things too. But more or less my entire area of scientific expertise is poorly interpreting Michelle's research." He sigh, looking over at West. "Let me guess, I'm the only one here left alive who can possibly get the machine to work?"

West laughs, not really deeply, though. It’s more a surprised chuckle. He looks up to Magnes, then shakes his head slowly and leans up against the elevator wall. “Something like that.” One of the other riot gear clad security guards looks at Magnes, then looks at another security guard silently.

The elevator hums, descends, and comes to a stop not long after it started moving. There’s a warped chime from the speaker by the doors, and when they open a few inches of water rushes in to the elevator.

“Move,” West directs as two of the security team step out of the elevator into ankle-deep and ice cold sea water. They urge Magnes out and into the unlit hall and the security team deploys flashlights, their bright and colorless beams cutting blinding streaks through the rusted and moisture-laden rusted metal corridor. There’s something about this. About this hallway, about this whole place, something that feels familiar.

The remaining security team steps out into the flooded hall, checking left and right with their rifle-mounted flashlights, and close up the rear with slow, sloshing steps.

“Watch your step,” West says from behind Magnes. “There’s debris all down here. One wrong step, you’ll trip and impale yourself on a rusted fucking piece of shit.” Water is trickling from the ceiling, like an indoor rain storm. Everything down here stinks of brine and rust, corroding the senses.

Magnes turns his head, looking around, being more aware of his surroundings than normal due to his lack of an ability. "I'm pretty sure the ARK is one of the places my father worked. Though I doubt in this universe, he died in this world very early."

The water is definitely a shock, but he follows West's lead as he attempts to navigate rather unclear debris. "Mind explaining what went wrong down here?"

“Michelle Cardinal,” is West’s answer as he walks. “First is that this place wasn't meant to withstand water pressure, by the way I hear it. But before Don led us here, the way I've been told, Michelle fucked this place up during a failed quarantine of a viral infection. People got violent, they were sealed apart from the other survivors. Literally doors welded shut.” Magnes had seen some of those doors when he first arrived. “The residents tried to cut their way out, weakened some structures, shit started to collapse…”

“So, cut ahead a few years. Mateo Ruiz,” West eyes Magnes when he says the name, “apparently she tried to use him in an experiment. Killed him and collapsed half of C-Ring in the process. The rest…” West slows, as do the other security guards.

“You should know, your friends? Elisabeth, Mateo, Lynette? They came down here, tried to do some crazy shit with Mateo’s ability and they blew the southeast airlock.” West looks down to the water, then up to Magnes. “Don was barely able to drop the emergency doors in time or we’d all have drowned.” Which implies what comes next. “They're all dead. Your friends. Whatever you were planning to do… they went and got themselves killed. They abandoned you. Whether they meant to or not.”

"What do you mean they're all dead?" Magnes' eyes go wide, his heart suddenly races a mile a minute, then he immediately reaches over and tries to grab West with both hands to violently pull him closer. "Where's Elaine?!" he shouts, his emotional state completely cracking with this revelation.

There's sudden sloshing, flashlights pivoting on Magnes and West, but West’s stiff posture and one raised hand holds the security team back. Ha expression hardens, eyes downcast to Magnes’ hands at the collar of his poncho. “Elaine is alive. As are the others you arrived with, except for the three idiots who came down here and got themselves killed.”

Only then does West pull out from the grasp, salt water sliding in rivulets off his poncho. “They tried to make a doorway without you, Magnes. They stranded you here. The only hope you've got for Elaine’s continued well-being? That's staying in Don’s good graces. That means following orders. Folllowig me…” he points down the corridor, “to where we’re going.”

"I can't just… no! I can't, me and Elisabeth are going home together, I have to get home to Addie!" Magnes is following, mostly because it's the only thing he can really think to do in this moment. "What about that thing, the resurrection thing?! Just, I can't just let her die, I can't just let Lynette and Ruiz end like this, we've come so far already!!!"

Before he can really realize it, he's yelling again, even if he's keeping pace with West. It's almost like his legs are on autopilot while he's having a complete breakdown.

“I don’t know,” is West’s shaky answer. “It’s all going on hinge on how successful we are here. How much you can remember from those geniuses you cribbed off of.” West stops as the security team reaches another sealed bulkhead. This time, it’s locked with a keypad access. West claps a hand on Magnes’ shoulder, giving him a wordless look, then moves over and punches in a number on the keypad.


The door clicks and pushes open into a much larger and more echoing space. Some of the water from the hall drains inside as West holds the door open for his security entourage. He lets Magnes in last, then walks in behind him. “We want you to look at this…” West says as he flips a switch by the door, causing massive overhead lights to snap on one-by-one, revealing that Magnes stands in a large manufacturing lab, with old and rusted automated fabrication equipment surrounded by catwalks and metal staircases.

In the middle of the room rests a towering cylindrical machine, one he’s laid eyes on before. When he last saw it, this machine was behind a balcony window in Mount Natazhat. It was one of the last things he saw before his world became the void. It is, at least in part, the Mallet Device designed by Richard Cardinal from another timeline. It even has the same coupling and hoses, the same laser ring array at the top.

But attached to the Mallet Device is a small triangular frame of copper and gold, with that metal piping snaking its way around the machine’s base until it becomes a tangle of dozens of braided power couplings. It’s not only Richard’s Mallet Device, but also Michelle’s Looking Glass.

Situated around the machine are banks of old broadcast radio equipment, the same equipment that was missing from the radio station at the Tower where they’d found the submarine. It’s broadcast equipment, sound boards, and an old 1950’s style stand microphone in front of a duct-tape patched office chair. There’s a faded photograph tucked into the console, too. Hard to see from a distance.

“Michelle’s device.” West says, stepping away from the light switch. “The Ark’s chief engineer Mort put most of it together, from what I gathered. Don said it was against Michelle’s wishes… and that Mort didn’t just walk out into an airlock.” West walks over to stand beside Magnes. “She pushed him out.”

"Mortimer Ray." Magnes says as if it's obvious, because who else could have done this? "This isn't just… this is more than one machine, put together into one…" He stares at it, his emotions temporarily subdued as he takes it in, barely comprehending beyond the surface level of what he understands. "Something like this… the combination of both machines…"

He stares back at West. "Were they trying to build something that could choose which universe to go to?" he asks, because that's the obvious conclusion he comes to. He considers things, then places a hand to his forehead. "If this thing worked, we could get everyone out of this world. But…" Shaking his head. "I don't know how this is supposed to bring people back. Unless…"

Turning around fully to face West, he takes a deep breath. "It's the thing that can bring people back. This machine is to bring it back." That said, he approaches it, taking in what's familiar and what isn't. What he remembers of the functions he worked with, and the distant memories of what he remembered of the Mallet Device. "I think I know how to do it. It shouldn't be that hard to bring it through. But as much as you're not going to like this, I might need my ability back. You have Elaine, so no matter how easy it would be to probably explode you all with my brain, I'm not putting her in danger."

West takes a few meandering steps forward, looking from the machine to Magnes and back. “So you… obviously recognize these parts.” He stops beside the patched up office chair, watching the way Magnes examines the device.

“Michelle built it to find her son,” West admits, quietly. Then, slowly, West reaches for the handgun in his holster, resting his hand on the textured grip. “But it’s incomplete. You’re the only person who’s seen something like this that works.” The other three security officers are fixated on the machine, sometimes shooting furtive looks to one-another.

West walks behind one of the security officers, pacing a slow circle around the room. He stops at the radio console, tapping on the microphone. “Tuned it to listen for signs of him. Don’s been using it for similar purposes, I guess. This is one of two spaces in the Ark that isn’t wired for sound, you know.”

West looks up from the microphone to Magnes. “Everywhere else, it has these audio receptors that were for the computer system that doesn’t work anymore. Don’s got them wired to his office. Your cell, the hallways, everywhere. It’s his panopticon. But not here.”

West then shoots the other three security guards in quick succession, sending all of them crumpling to the ground.

"What the hell?" Magnes asks, staring down at the dead guards, then his gaze returns to West. "What exactly is going on here?"

He doesn't move, or turn his back, this is just another thing on top of his already mixed existential nightmare.

West doesn’t answer. Instead, he just lowers the gun and steps to the side.

“You got in the way of my fucking insurrection, is what’s going on.” Calls a woman from the stairs up to the catwalk. Coming down the steps is a tall woman with sandy blonde hair, a tattered white labcoat, and a severe expression Magnes has seen before in Richard Cardinal. Her intense blue eyes fix on the gravity manipulator, and as she looks to West her brows furrow together, then she looks down to the bodies.

She says nothing about them. Neither does West.

“You must be another world’s Magnes Varlane.” She says with a narrowing of her eyes. “I’m Michelle Cardinal. I hear you’ve been looking for me.”


Magnes turns around and stares at Michelle, taking in the woman he's been reading the words of and trying to get into the head of for years. There's some mixture of relief that temporarily makes him forget the deaths of his friends. "The entire reason I got arrested was so that I could find you. I assumed that if you were alive, you'd be in a cell, and we no longer have much to lose as far as trying to get home… well… we didn't. Now this is our only real hope."

He motions to the machine, but can't help but fixate on Michelle herself again. "I've seen your dorm, memorized your calculations, read your thoughts whenever I could find them written somewhere, tried to understand you so I could make all of this work and get home."

"I have to bring them back, Elisabeth, Ruiz, Lynette. Not only because they're our way back, but because they're my friends, because we've all been through so much, it can't end like this." He steps forward, lowering his head. "Please."

“There’s no bringing back the dead, no matter what delusion Donald has.” Michelle says as she approaches Magnes with what he discovers is a noticeable limp. “I can’t help your friends, I only barely heard what happened to them. And,” Michelle stops a conversational distance away, “for what it’s worth, I am usually locked up in a cell. I have to be back in six minutes to avoid being missed by the guards.” She says with a look over to West.

“Michelle’s helped me… come around to her way of thinking,” West explains to Magnes. “I did whatever I had to do to survive down here, but… I know that’s not sustainable. Michelle really thought you and your friends could’ve saved us all.”

“I left a broadcast for you to follow.” Michelle says with a furrow of her brows. “La Mer, on a loop.” She motions to the broadcast equipment. “It felt like the most appropriate thing, all things considered. Up until Donald’s fucking uprising, I’d been following your exploits. Listening, helplessly, through that thing. Until my son contacted me.”

Michelle’s jaw squares, her fingers curl into fists. “Don’s out of his mind, delusional. The voices he hears are in his head and he’s been one step away from a psychotic break since his wife and son died. I think the isolation down here did him in. Whatever bullshit he’s feeding you?” She briefly looks to West, then back to Magnes. “Eat it with a spoon. Tell him it’s delicious. Placate his ego, then break open his fucking skull with a wrench.”

“We have some loyalists, people West has recruited from the residents, but not enough to stage a full recovery of the Ark. We've heard rumors there's another cell of resistance to Don operating inside the Ark, and I'm praying my daughter is a part of them, but we're all operating so covertly that we can't tell who's friend or foe. We’re going to need time to build something to stand against Donald. We need you to lay low, do whatever Don asks, and…” West motions to the machine, “tell him you know how to make it work.”

“Don wants to get rid of me.” Michelle says with a snort. “But he needs me. He thinks you’re the key to cutting me out of the picture. I’ve been repairing that fucking monstrosity slowly for months now. You’d be wise to do the same, slowly, until my people are ready to move. Whenever… that is.”

She isn’t missing a beat, she isn’t thrown by the presence of Magnes or his tales. She’s been there, for most of the ride, listening. Donald Kenner never realized what he was fighting when he went to war with her.

"Edward said that you were the key to us getting home, that we had to rescue you before they kill you. He also said that the ARK is a one way trip, no one is getting out of here in any direction except sideways. But, while I respect you as the most intelligent human being who ever lived, you're wrong about one thing…" Magnes holds up a single finger.

"Those voices aren't in his head, the Entity is real, because we've encountered it and it's been talking to me for seven years." He stares over at the machine, frowning. "That machine is the key to letting it out, and from what I've learned, from what I've seen the Entity do, I have a feeling that Don isn't lying, that he isn't entirely delusional. I felt like I was crazy when I first heard it, I didn't think it was real, not until everyone else heard it."

"It's the thing that lives between worlds, I think Edward saw it too, when I had him set out this path for me. He said he saw something look back at him." His eyes settle back to her's, from the machine, running fingers through his hair. "Chances are, even if we get that machine functional, what the Entity does with it will be unpredictable. But… if it's willing or capable of bringing back the dead, bringing my friends back is the only way we're getting out of this world, unless you want to take a chance with me ripping open a hole in space and time, assuming you can find any of that augmenting formula around here somewhere."

"But I'd rather have my friends back…" he admits, averting his eyes again. "I was told that Edward doesn't have his ability here. Is there a way we can get it back? If we could have some sort of idea of how to accomplish all of this without dying… unless your brain can do some predictions too."

Michelle’s expression is an impassive mask, creased at the corners of her eyes with age and tension. “And I want my son back,” she says with no small amount of certainty in her voice.

“Edward isn't Evolved,” Michelle finally confirms. “We have no way of provoking that sort of genetic change, either. He's just a man here…” and at that she looks away, briefly, then turns her attention up to the machine.

“If what you're saying is right, and if I suspend my disbelief for one second to entertain the idea that there’s someone communicating to Don through the machine,” Michelle crosses her arms over her chest, “it can go fuck itself.” Blue eyes flick back to Magnes. “West told me about the massacre Donald ordered. If your Entity wanted that, it can suck the devil’s cock in hell for all I care.”

She looks to West, nodding to the door, and West is quick to move toward it. As she angles a look back to Magnes, it's with uncertainty in her eyes. “Our time’s up…” she walks over to where West is standing, eyes the door, then eyes Magnes. Michelle takes West’s right hand, places it in the door, and slams it shut hard enough for him to scream. West recoils, drops to his knee and clutches his hand. Wounded, but not surprised. "Donald will be here any minute now."

Michelle then relieves West of his gun. “You overcame West, killed three guards, and were subdued. They'll threaten Elaine, but they won't kill her. They can't risk your cooperation.” At that, Michelle raises the gun to Magnes.

“We’ll meet again soon.”

And she pulls the trigger.

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