Atomic Heart


magnes_icon.gif sable_icon.gif

Scene Title Atomic Heart
Synopsis Magnes and Bella prepare for their upcoming audition, and brainstorm about their music epic to come.
Date February 28, 2010

Magnes' Apartment

It's still morning, and while the night before was spent putting a lot of his comics and figurines and all sorts of other things in large plastic bins, getting ready for the move, this morning is spent setting their instruments up. He's sitting in a computer chair behind his keyboard, adjusting settings after he finished setting up her amps.

"Hmm…" He sits back in the chair, having been quite thoughtful this morning, considering their audition later. "I've been thinking, in case we didn't find more band members… who needs them anyway? You can sing and you've got your guitar, and I've got this keyboard I've been experimenting with, even when you're not here. Who says we need to be a traditional band, with a bunch of people? We could be the Daft Punk of rock. Two people making rock music out of what they've got."

Sable is obsessively tuning her guitar, which remains nameless despite her insistence that all guitars need a name. It becomes increasingly difficult to tell if there's an actual reason for her to be tuning it, or if it's just a fidget, like nail biting or a restless leg. Still, the action does induce a temporary state of absorption, so when Magnes speaks, it takes a moment before the noise actually translates into words in her mind, and then a moment more for those words to assemble themselves and demand her attention.
"Huh?" she begins, then, "Daft Punk's electronica, house, techno. We're rock," she pauses, struck by something, "TMBG," she says, with a nod, "Yeah. TMBG did it, for a while. Arright, okay. But we need a drum machine, and some prerecorded tracks. I'm not going in there with percussion. And I /do/ want a real band eventually. A band makes a concert."

"Well, I didn't mean we had to be electronica, I just meant we can certainly make up for not having a band, we can't let there only being two of us hold us back, y'know?" Magnes places his hands behind his head, staring at the ceiling at his chair creaks with the slight movement. "I'm thinking I can record some drums. I downloaded some music producing software since I can use this thing as a midi keyboard, then we can put something together. I guess the first thing we need to figure out is, what song do we wanna do?"

He snickers, looking over at her now. "I still can't believe you talked Abby into letting us play, I mean, you worked a freakin' miracle."

Sable smiles in a devilish fashion. "Now you just have to wonder what I could have /possibly/ done to change her mind," she says, and plays a minor chord that punctuates her words ominously. "And on that topic, hon, we gotta stay up in the bar area. No wandering for either of us unless Mother Superior says otherwise, arright? But yes… right… songs. We need a setlist. Right now… well, I guess we should play some good covers, eh? Crowd pleasers. But I'd like to have at least one original by the time we show up for our first gig. Cover bands are mostly kinda fuckin' lame, eh?"

"Well, since we're going for a more rock tone, I'll let you do most of this set list. You probably remember the songs and all that easier and faster than me. I'll remember them when I hear them. But I have an idea for our first original." Magnes begins to idly play the Moonlight Sonata, something simple and slow that he rarely needs the notes for. "I'm thinking, I play something mostly classical, and you add an awesome guitar riff to it, and we add some hard rock lyrics over it all. We could write a song about that time I was kidnapped and forced to fight in a caged with Evolved. There was this blood manipulator woman, and another woman who could manipulate her skin. They both close to killed me. And then there's all the other stuff, like when Abby was laying next to me, healing me, and I realized I couldn't protect her, I was weak back then. We could write it as like, the score from a rock opera…"

Sable listens closely to Magnes' idea, her lips quirking as she processes his words, the tales of his experience. She nods, slowly. "Okay, okay. So… have you ever listened to Quadrophenia? The Who?" She obviously has some sort of amendment or modification.

"A little, why?" Magnes asks, tilting his head, listening curiously as he stops his playing. "Oh, and can you write or read sheet music?"

"We gonna rock the rock opera," Sable says, "We need to cast our net wider. What I mean is… rock opera isn't autobiography. It's concept. Now, I abso-fucking-lutely think we should write songs inspired by your crazy-ass experiences, but… in Quadrophenia, the whole goal was to splice together the personalities of all the members of the band, to have them all play roles in this one big, totally fictional story, eh? So I'm saying we should have, like, a cage fight /song/, and totally have a song that, like, /evokes/ your experience with Abby of the Golden Hair and all, but it's gotta be… uh…" the young woman searches for the word she wants, "/Universal/. Cuz Quadrophenia /was/ part autobiography, in its way, but it was about a /generation/. And that's what made it great. Better than Tommy, I think. By a /lot/. Get me?"

"And yeah, not too great, but I can. Read mostly."

"That's fine, I'll teach you what you don't know. And I think I understand. The fears, the stories, the hopes of our generation, using our experiences as inspiration." Magnes crosses his arms, leaning back with a thoughtful expression again. "I'm just throwing it out there, not even saying this has to be our first original thing, just brainstorming, y'know? But, what if Superman was in our world? A guy flying around saving people, but the public utterly rejects and fears him. It's kind of a spin on my time as a police officer, when I saved lots of people and got on TV a lot, except the fear part. At least, I hope people didn't fear me. Or even a group of teens who thought they could be heroes, but learned the harsh lessons of true heroics."

He laughs, pointing to his left eye. "Spoilers, you lose your eye, your girlfriend, and your job."

Sable points a finger pistol at Magnes. "Bam. Right there. That's the idea. That's personal /and/ fuckin' universal. And," she grins, "We get a niche market of Evolved. The new face of teen angst. Hell yes!" She bounces slightly at the idea, her creative impulse drowning out anything that might look like sympathy for the reality of Magnes' difficulties. She more interested in the idea. "Okay. Okay. First, we need a power for our protagonist. Something that works, like, symbolically." Sable's eyes widen, and then a wicked smile slowly curls her lips. "I've got an idea…
Sable stands up, turns to Magnes, her hips tilted slightly, guitar swung into a dramatic pose. "So all the shit began with the Bomb, right? The greatest city in America, outside of Atlanta, gets blown to pieces by some nuclear motherfucker. No motive, no reason, right? Okay, fuckin' granted, but let's just imagine…" Sable strums a chord, "A man with all the potential and danger of nuclear power. A man… with an atomic heart. Heart of fucking plutonium. Tries to do good, faces the tragedy of his loneliness, finally, he meets a girl, maybe, maybe he won't be alone anymore. But this is no Disney movie, with no happy ending. And what, I ask you, happens to the man when he is finally crossed in love? What happens when you break an atomic heart?"

"It explodes?" Magnes asks with a wince at the dark story, though it certainly has an impact. He has to wonder what Peter Petrelli would think of that. "Well it's definitely an interesting concept. And from what I know of Sylar," the person he has to keep pretending he thinks blew up Midtown. "He certainly was lonely. But you don't think we'll come off as sympathetic for the person who blew up Midtown? Or is that a good thing?"

Sable squints at Magnes, "Know of Sylar?" she asks, "Oh man, wait, are you buddies with… how does that even… y'know… never mind…" Sable waves a hand, turning her head away in a exaggerated gesture of abjuration, "In your own damn time, man. Okay, okay, so the point is not that, like, we are telling the true story of what happened on the day of the Bomb. It's like… we'd be taking the concept, the idea of a pain so big it actually tears the world apart, and giving it its own story. When we write it, it should be it's own thing, like, clearly fictional and all. It'll be lyrical, too. But yeah, sure, it'll be /edgy/. And it should be! Cuz, like, I figure… that's what scare people about Evolved so much, right? That a person, a sad, frail little human, could have so much power. That just by dumping someone, maybe you could trigger a literal fucking explosion, eh?"

"We have some history." is all Magnes says to that, not wanting to derail the brainstorming session. "Yeah, this all makes sense. I mean, when I heard someone was kissing all over Abby in an alley, I accidentally exploded a glass that was sitting a few feet away from me. Can't imagine what someone with an atomic heart would do. I think I like this idea." He sits up and smiles before teasingly asking her, "You ever had your heart broken?"

"Yeah yeah yeah!" Sable says, strumming out another chord, "'My atomic heart keeps pumping/My atomic blood keeps flowing/Even though the light is fading/My atomic love just keeps on growing'" She rubs her nose with the back of her hand. "Or something like that, y'know?" The question doesn't faze her. She nods. "Of course. Fuck man, you ain't lived 'til you've had your heart broke."

"Feeling the weight of my atomic crush; I feel so invisible, and with this strain of my atomic crush, how much more can I possibly take?" Magnes plays a few chords along with her guitar riffs. "My atomic heart keeps on pumping, this dangerous radiation called love…"

He rubs his chin after that, then looks over at her. "I think if we keep working, we'll get somewhere with this song. What do you think?"

"Badassssss…" Sable hisses, approvingly. "Okay. We need music first and fuckin' foremost. I'm no poet. I like your idea, the classic line on the piano. So let's start it like that. Minor key, soft, soulful. Gimme some of that. I'll work off of it."

"I can't say I'm a poet, but I've definitely had to read and study poetry." Magnes starts a fairly simple composition, fitting her requirements, likely some obscure classical thing he had to do in some music class.

Sable starts tapping her foot in time with Magnes' line, letting it go on for several mournful bars before mouthing 'one, two, three, four', and then slams out a ferocious chord, letting it ring out before breaking it into a series of arpeggios and then finally kicking into a riff that plays along with Magnes riff. Sable's eyes are closed, expression one of absolutely feline satisfaction.

Magnes would likely be evicted by now if he didn't already talk to Mister Panucci about being able to practice before and after work hours, and only then. He keeps playing along with her, trying to stay synchronized, but after a while he starts singing some rough lyrics. "I saw her, with that perfect bastard, and I felt this dangerous love, releasing like a green-eyed beast." His playing gets a bit more complex, harder, but he never strays from the synchronization or the tune of her guitar. "Roaring freely, turning Earth to sunder, glass to sand as ears popped with thunder. I fell to my knees, ashes blowing by, but I felt a stirring…"

His voice gets deeper, playing slower again. "And that's when I realized, my atomic heart didn't die." And suddenly, quiet.

Sable presses her fingers to her strings, quieting her instrument, letting the quiet roll out. Then she gives a whoop and a laugh. "/That's/ what I'm fuckin' talking about. You've got a knack. Excellent. Most fuckin' excellent." She cricks her neck. "I can remember the riff I played. That shit won't leave me easy, 'specially after we practice. But you wanna write it down for us? We can tweak it. I mean, both lines could use work, I'm sure. It can always be better."

Magnes smiles, nodding in agreement. "It could use plenty of work and tweaking. We just have to put it all together and hammer this thing out into a real song." Magnes reaches for a wire-bound notebook sitting on a pile of school books, motioning a finger so it flings over into his palm. "This is pretty fun, I can see why you like doing it."

"Hell yeah," Sable says, slowly playing the riff she whipped up, trying to force a variation, wincing when it sounds bad, or not good enough, which, to her ear, is often. "And we'll need to work very goddamn hard to write a full opera. You should start pulling out all and whatever you can from your personal experience and, like, select incidents you think'll work good. Me, I can use a little, like, creative oversight. Polish it, set it in a good order. So, like, you'll be more about raw material, and me more about, like, processing. Sound fair?" she grins, though there is almost a glint of warning in her eyes, "or are we gonna start having creative differences real early?"

"No, no, you're the future musical legend. Everyone remembers Kurt Cobain, but who the hell were the other members of Nervana?" Magnes laughs, writing lyrics down as she experiments with her riffs. "When we get all this rough stuff down, let's work on the set for our audition today. I think it'll go pretty great."

"Hell, boy," Sable says, the glint disappearing and replaced with mirth, "I'm happy to let you be the Entwistle to my Townshend. Particul'rly since that means I get to outlive you. Ain't no reason we can't /both/ be famous and swimming in piles of dirty, sexy money." She takes a long inhale, as if she can already smell that money. Rock and roll isn't just an art form. It's a /lifestyle/. "But yes, yes! First things first and all that happy crappy. Your lovely friend and barmistress said that it's more a classic rock crowd, figured we could maybe do something by the Stones. 'Satisfaction', say. But we gotta wow 'em from the start. And I've got just the thing. Damned easy to learn, though I know it'll give me a sore throat," she eyes him, "You game to put on your horned helmet, kick us off with Zeppelin's 'Immigrant Song'?"

"And with me as your bandmate, you'll never have to worry about becoming a drug addict who mumbles by the age of thirty." Magnes cracks his knuckles after putting his book on the dresser behind him, then starts what sounds like the immigrant song if it were played in the 1700s. "Go for it."

That's fine. It'd be even better if it sounded like it were played in the 1000s, as far as Sable's concerned. She joins Magnes with the driving riff, head nodding up and down with the incredible force of the beat before opening her mouth and letting out a pair of blood-curdling howls, one after another and then: "We come from the land of the ice and snow/From the midnight sun where the hot springs blow!" She tosses her head back, black hair wild, "The hammer of the gods/Will drive our ships to new lands/To fight the horde, singing and crying:/Valhalla, I am coming!" She points to Magnes, indicating he should take the chorus.

"On we sweep, with threshing oar," Magnes suddenly presses a button, and his classical piano playing quite a bit of bass thrown in. He's experimenting. "Our only goal will be the western shore!" And they'll go on rehearsing their songs, until the fateful audition.

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