Consigned To The Abyss


ff_chel_icon.gif ff_mort_icon.gif

Scene Title Consigned to the Abyss
Synopsis Some discoveries come with a price.
Date April 8, 2012



A shower of light in the dark.

Mercury-covered eyes reflect the sparks of an arc welder, a chromatic stare unblinking in prophet's rapture. Tiny golden sparks bounce off of bare skin where holes in a threadbare sweater provide no protection. Balanced atop a high metal ladder, Mortimer Jack stares into the gleaming sparks of the spot welder without protective gear, lips parted as though he were looking at the visage of the Virgin Mary. Once he's finished welding a broken seam, he blows gently on the cooling metal, then smooths his hand over the gleaming silvery bead holding two disparate pieces in place.

Satisfied that the outer casing is sealed, Mort climbs down the ladder and sets the arc welder down on a workbench, his eyes swirling from chrome to blue, his pupils drinking up that mercury glaze. "Sweet song…" Mort whispers, looking up that the cylindrical device, bristling with insulated power cables, articulated lasers set into a halo-like ring, and a small triangular aperture at its base about the size of an old CRT television. "Sweet… melody of the spheres." Next to where he laid the arc welder, Mortimer's grubby fingers pick up an old compass with a cracked glass face. He approaches the machine, then begins walking around it in a circle. The machine pulls magnetic north on every side.

"Just… gotta fine tune the ah, the… hmm." Mort approaches the triangular aperture, looking over his shoulder, then slowly pulls an old leather-bound book from his pocket. Peeling the cover open, he looks at figures and notes, making a soft humming sound in the back of his throat. "Fairy, fairy, quite contrary, had a formula and…" Mort's nose wrinkles, eyes flooding with mercury, "had a formula and encoded it fairly." The corners of his mouth creep up, and Mort starts to adjust a series of analog dials below the copper-tubed frame.

Behind Mort, a silhouette moves into the ceiling-mounted lamp light. Michelle Cardinal's white lab coat is now beige around its frayed bottom hem, sleeves rolled up to her elbows. She moves like a phantom dressed in white behind Mort, and only when she's right behind him does she barrel forward and shove him against the machine. Mort lets out a raucous shriek, then turn around, seeing Michelle snatch the journal out of his hands. His expression immediately starts to turn toward rueful and apologetic.

"You absolute bastard!" Michelle screams, brandishing the journal like a knife. "You stole this from my room!" She reaches out, grabbing Mort by the scruff of his sweater and slams him up against the machine. "I told you, Mort. I told you!"

"M-Michelle, Chel," Mort stammers, "It's just— the music. You can't hear it because you're not attuned," she reflects, distorted, in his mercury eyes. "I can hear the harmony of the spheres, Chel. "If— if you just let me finish, you'll be able to hear it. It's a tapestry Chel!"

She starts to circle around the machine, looking it up and down with her journal in one hand. Mort follows behind her, frantically. "Please! It's almost finished! It's just a radio! It— it's just the universe's radio!" Chel stops dead in her tracks and turns around, eyes locked on Mortimer's chromed eyes.

"It is not just a radio!" Chel screams, striking Mort with the thin journal. Mort recoils, covering his head as though he were being attacked by a hammer not a book the size of a day planner. "You don't— you could have killed us all!" Chel chases Mort around the high-ceilinged dock, and Mort interposes rickety furniture between them with each scrambling step.

Pushing a wheeled chair at her, Mort throws his hands into the air. "Just one note! Just a few bars! Please, please, the design is so perfect! Why— why are you so afraid of what you've made?" That last bit has Chel storming after Mort, grabbing him by the collar again and repeatedly smacking him with the journal as he backs up, stepping through an open doorway without paying much heed to where he's going.

"You could never understand!" Michelle screams, stepping back out of the doorway and slamming a button beside it. Mort doesn't put two and two together until the orange emergency lights start flashing and the door between he and Michelle is swung closed. He hustles up to the door, slapping his hands on the small porthole window at its center.

"Chel, Chel let me out." Mort's voice is muffled by the thick glass. "C-Chel this is— I shouldn't be in here. Please let me out!" Michelle stares at Mortimer through the porthole, her blue eyes glassy with emotion and jaw trembling with fear. "Chel?"

Michelle flips a lever, backing away from the door as she wipes a tear from her eyes. "Director? Director, please let me out! It was, it was just a mistake!" The mercury in Mort's eyes swirls back into his pupils in a chrome spiral. "Please, Director." He looks behind himself at a loud noise, then starts banging on the window again.

"Director! Michelle please!"

Michelle swallows tightly, watching as a sudden surge of water crashes against the porthole window. The yellow light above the door turns off. Another one beside it turns red. The dark silhouette of Mortimer's body floats past her view beyond the porthole.

Michelle swallows loudly, drying her cheek with one hand again, and then tucks the journal into her coat.

And walks away.

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