Cross-Dimensional Smalltalk


emily4_icon.gif magnes_icon.gif

Scene Title Cross-Dimensional Smalltalk
Synopsis After Richard and Elisabeth tie the knot, Magnes pulls Emily aside for a chat.
Date August 6, 2019

US Virgin Islands

On a long patch of otherwise-deserted beach in the Virgin Islands, the aftermath of a nighttime wedding plays out. Music plays, the only lighting in the area coming from bonfires and tiki torches, with a small exception being the buzzing light set into the roof of the tiki bar along the beach. Near where waves and sand overlap, Emily Epstein and Devon Clendaniel stand side by side.

Realizing a number of the party has drifted toward the shore, now Emily drifts back to the light instead, careful to avoid looking in the direction of Magnes Varlane and the heaviness that surrounds him. She has nothing she could possibly say, she feels, regardless of how true that might be. The music carrying across the beach makes it easier to drown out her own thoughts, especially as they walk past the setup of speakers.

The noise allows her to lean closer to Devon, hand on his shoulder. “Go tell them congrats,” she urges him with a small, forced smile, nodding in Elisabeth’s direction. “I’m right behind you.”

Magnes stares over at Emily. When he notices her urging Devon somewhere, and takes note of her, he suddenly very casually leaps across the sand, before gently landing next to her. "Hey. I'm sorry for how I was when we met. That… isn't me, I was just going through a lot. I don't think I really know your relationship to Elisabeth and Richard?"

At Emily's urging, Dev starts toward the man and woman of the hour. Of course, he's tugging her right along with him, his hand wrapped up with hers. There's only a brief pause when Magnes suddenly appears, eyes narrowing a fraction.

“Emily's my girlfriend, and part of the team,” he explains. Conversationally. And with a glance to Emily. Anything else is left for her to fill in as she will or won't, while he continues on.

Emily's hand has slipped from Devon's, brow arched in surprise at the boldly-spoken plainness in his language that begins to color the edge of her cheek, for all that it's barely visible in either the dark or the harsh, small lighting that's cast around them. She takes a moment to shoo him away toward Elisabeth and Richard because she can speak for herself, but it takes a moment to fully regain her composure even after he continues on.

She looks back at Magnes studiously, testing the weight of his apology. Whatever she finds of it, her hands lift, elbows bending while her fingers lace together before her, heel of her palm held close to her body. "Well," Emily quips mildly. "Richard appears to like to kidnap people," This is at least said without any venom as she glances the way of the happy couple, "And Elisabeth's daughter is fond of me."

Her gaze softens as she sees Devon draw Elisabeth into an embrace, relieved he's himself for a moment rather than hanging back for her sake. "So's her son, for that matter. Richard and Liz are the closest thing Devon has to parents," she adds, the appropriate care leveraged for talking about so delicate and inobvious a topic.

With a blink, Emily flits her gaze back to Magnes directly. "Thanks for the apology, but that was you that day," she says, not unkindly. "You were just going through a lot."

"Guess I can't really deny that. I can tell you mean well, you're not too different from me when I was your age to be honest, though I guess you're a little less rash." Magnes looks to Devon as he walks off, seemingly having some measure of mild amusement. "Since I've started to settle in being back home, I've felt more than a little old. Feels like I grew up without even noticing it."

"So…" He nods his head to her. "What exactly is your story? The pure circumstances of the kinds of people you know is enough to tell me that you aren't just a random girl who people just happen to like."

"I dunno," Emily replies idly, still looking off in Devon's direction. "Some people would call hunting down complete strangers the way I did a special kind of rash." Her brow crumples into a furrow as she tries to bite back her amusement at that, far away enough from it now that she's less anxious about it. "Maybe just a different kind."

Magnes' comment about growing up draws her attention back to him, brow lifting. In some small way, she feels like she can relate, but stops short of saying it. That'd be weird — it's two totally different things after all, right?

In either case it's abandoned when he asks his question of her. The light in her eyes shift before she glances away, back to Raquelle as he begins to sing. It'd be easy to brush the question off with the same lightness she'd addressed his earlier one. But she doesn't. "I don't fucking know," she lets out in a bewildered note, taking a moment to appreciate just how weird it was they were all on this beach on this island together. What a strange set of circumstances had to exist for this all to happen.

"I met Devon completely by accident, you know?" Emily says with a helpless shrug and a slight shake of her head. "Then one thing lead to another. He stuck by me, even though I did everything to push him away. It took a long time for me to open up." She shifts her gaze back his way, asking a little pointedly, "What's your story, though? How does someone end up jumping dimensions and timelines and universes and shit? That doesn't sound random either." Her voice lowers as she makes the question, because even if it seems like the reality-hopping story of the travelers is something of an open secret with all those present, she doesn't exactly want to tempt fate.

"I was a pizza boy, when I was about your age. I just delivered and made pizza, I liked to skate. Back then my ability was touched based, I controlled my own weight and the things I touched, and I thought I could only use my ability with skates on." Magnes shrugs his shoulders at that, smiling at how silly it was. "The first thing that happened to me was getting kidnapped, got thrown into an illegal SLC-E fighting ring, saved by Elisabeth and some others. I kept getting tied in with other people while trying to be a vigilante, I even had a costume and a mask and stuff."

"I guess it all kind of spiraled a bit, over time. Trying to date girls, my ability gradually becoming more powerful, saving the world more and more. Turns out that the more times you save the world, the more times people come back to ask you to do it again. I was on the first team to ever fight these robots, no one even believed me when I said I thought there might be robots, back then it sounded insane." He stares down at his hands, considering the really big question, at least big as far as how much it changed his life.

"One of those times I tried to save the world was right before the war. We stormed the big Institute base, or one of them, I don't know all of that. The head of the Institute triggered a hypnotic suggestion that was implanted into my head, then greatly augmented me, and I turned into a blackhole." Raising his hands, sand starts to orbit around the two of them, as if to illustrate what he's explaining, then he just allows it all to fall.

"So…" He nods his head over to Elisabeth. "She tried to jump up there to kill me, to stop everyone from getting sucked in. But I think at that point I turned into basically pure blackhole, or dark matter, however you want to think about my ability. And then we ended up in another world. The rest is… well… seven years of multiple long stories. This world really got lucky as far as how bad the robots could have been." he randomly says, obviously remembering some far off world that's very real in his mind.

Emily looks on and listens mostly passively, her expression thoughtful. There are moments that make her emotively arch an eyebrow in a silent query or comment about certain things — masked vigilantism, saving the world, black holes — but she tries to keep any commentary or judgement to herself.

One thing lead to another lead to another and now they're here. For a moment there's a very real anxiety as she feels the weight shift around them, the sand starting to float, but with its release back to the ground, she calms. Emily lets out a slow breath, her arms coming to a fold across her stomach. The demonstration being done as unobtrusively as possible is a subtlety that's not lost on her, despite her on-edge reaction to it.

She's just … not the kind of person who does well with demonstrations of ability like that.

"It's hard, sometimes, to be grateful that things are the way they are here. It could be worse," Emily acknowledges carefully, trying to figure out how to approach the subject of terrible robots. "but it doesn't mean we don't still have room for improvement."

For a moment, she just pauses, reflecting on everything he's said. "Jesus," she sighs. "That's like Bioshock Infinite on crack or something." It only dawns on her a moment later that the reference is probably destined to go over his head. "That's — a video game reference," she clarifies a bit awkwardly. "Where they do time travel and change reality. It was good. It came out a year or two ago." The fold of her arms grows tighter as she tries to keep her posture from slumping in embarrassment. She just keeps going, doesn't she? "One of the main characters' names was Elisabeth, actually."

Now she lifts a hand to shield her brow and cover half of her face. "A-anyway," Emily asserts. "That's — largely irrelevant here." But maybe also a distraction from the dark place Magnes had started to slip off to.

"I've heard of it, it came out years ago. Do I really not look like a nerd anymore?" Magnes reaches up to pat his face a few times. "I'm more surprised that you know nerd things. You seem like a very serious person. I was the intern for the president's PR person once, before I got fired for the obvious reasons I'd get fired for being the intern of the president's PR person. You remind me of a young version of her a little bit, but without the coldness."

Then he suddenly tilts his head. "Wait a minute the dates of when things released changed? That game came out in like 2013." He pauses, thinking for a moment… "Wait does that mean Guardians of the Galaxy isn't out yet???"

Emily only blinks at first, trying to process. "Wait, what?" she echoes in return, trying and failing to grasp this. All the other realities she knew of are shit, after all. "You went some place where the civil war didn't happen and shit came out faster?" She honestly questions why a person would leave a place like that, but to each their own.

She just shakes her head. "I mean, everything got fucked up in the war, Magnes. Almost all the major cities became battlegrounds. Life in the US went sideways for a few good years, as much as people tried to keep things going as normal as possible while the world was falling down around our heads." Emily can only lift her shoulders in a tight shrug before dropping them down again.

"Guardians is a thing," is affirmed a little cautiously. She looks like she wants to ask when he expected it to be a thing, but she also knows better. Emily probably won't like the disconnect.

Very belatedly, she expresses, "Nerds don't have a look."

"I know but… I mean I definitely had a look. But you're right. I'm afraid to check IMDB. We left that world in, uh, 2017? You know, if this world never got Batman vs. Superman, bullet dodged." Magnes smiles and rubs his chin, considering a few things. "You ever read the original 9th Wonders comics? They were comics that predicted the future, though I didn't really know that when I read them. They pretty much covered the lives of real life people. I think I left them to Richard in my will, so he probably has them now."

Emily lets out a snort of amusement at first, that giving way to curiosity at the mention of the comic. It tugs something sort of familiar, so she shakes her head. "I was sick a lot growing up," she dramatically oversimplifies things. "I did more video games than anything. Pick up one, you're good for weeks. Comics? I'd have burned through them so fast I'd have lived in a stack of them."

Her brow furrows suddenly when she looks back to him. "So what're you doing now, if you don't mind me asking?" Shifting weight from one foot to the other, she gestures vaguely with one hand. "You guys spent seven years trying to get home. You… lost a lot, in trying to do that." is how she delicately addresses what the crossing took from him. "You doing all right?"

"I don't know, really. I briefly thought my fiance was possessing an old friend of mine, but that didn't really pan out. I did talk to Kimiko Nakamura and she set me up with a job, so that's something to do. But on a personal level everything feels kind of strange." Magnes stares over at the crowd, considering it. "Most of my friends are still around, they're still healthy, but while I was gone I met so many other people, some were alternates of people I know here. We travelled with them, and lost a lot of them. In trying to get home, we gained and lost probably more than we were trying to get back to."

"But it's like… rebuilding a life is difficult, because I still don't really know what life is supposed to be, or what I want it to be. I always wanted to save the world, I helped save more than one world, I'm over it. I got to be a scientist, also pretty over that forever. When your brain briefly connects to an infinite void of infinite universes, you kind of get over the idea of discovering the unknown." He shrugs at that, raising a hand to tap his forehead head a few times. "Maybe I should just be a simple musician who makes pizza, get back to basics, who really knows?"

"In the end I just want to have my family back, have Elaine back. This all reminds me of her, we were supposed to be married when we came back here. And I keep thinking…" He's quiet for a long moment, his hand moving down to his stomach. "When you're with someone for seven years, protect them through a deadly virus, multiple Kazimirs, giant robots, pirates, and lose them to some otherworldly god you have no real power to go after, how do you find a way to make it all feel worth it?"

"I don't really know, and I don't think I really answered your question." He smiles a little, then says, "I'm using my ability to help with community construction projects. Kimiko thought it'd be a good idea."

Kimiko thought it'd be a good idea. You know, the CEO of the company responsible for rebuilding New York. You know. But Magnes had also talked about being an intern for the President's office, so it's not like she blanches too openly at that. And with him, it's one out-there thing after the other.

No big deal.

By the time he finishes, Emily's gaze has softened and she thinks for a minute on how to answer it. "It sounds…" she decides. "Like you're doing the best you can." It's a much more level-headed response than she'd have given herself credit for having. Maybe one really does get used to all these crazy things happening.

"Making something, building something and having an impact, that's got to feel a little grounding after everything you've been through. It's a good choice. Your friend Kimiko — she sounds pretty smart there."

But she can't let everything he's said slide. Her eyes narrow a touch and she glances back to the dancing Elisabeth and Richard for just a moment, remembering something said to her months before. "… An otherworldly god?" she echoes back, seeking clarification. Yes, releasing something like that did sound like something that would make birds shift in unease and make an eldritch power stir.

"Kimiko's always been the smartest person of whatever room she's in. And I trust her, she's basically like family. I mean, she's my martial arts master. If not for her I might have died a long time ago. Well, died one of the times I didn't come back." Magnes has to pause for a moment, a thought flashing through his mind.

Just some things said by his father coming to the surface again.

Weirdness it might be best not to pile on top of everything else right now.

"Yeah, a god is all I can really call it. The things it could do, the way it chased us across worlds. It can get into people's minds, affect their abilities, scatter them into nothingness… It possessed Eve, but it's no longer in her, even though it changed her. I don't know where it is now, or what it is to be honest." She can feel a certain amount of heaviness. It's nothing uncomfortable, but it's a slight shift that's obvious enough to feel as if his weight is leaning on her, even though he's barely close enough to touch her. "There's nothing I can really do, there's no clues to find it, and I have no way to kill it."

Emily blinks several times, the sheer weight of what he says the thing can do taking her aback. At first, she thinks it's just her senses being floored that's causing the pressure on her shoulders, that feeling on her neck. "Jesus, so that's how…?" she asks aloud, but the rest of it goes unsaid. Eve's transformation begged a lot of questions, but realizing that was what did it, and what else that 'god' can do…

She suddenly realizes the continued weight isn't a psychosomatic effect, and she glances toward Magnes. She almost reaches out to lay a hand on his arm, but she never quite gets there. Instead, she reaches out with her voice. "Hey," she reassures him. "It'll be okay." Somehow, she believes that, despite hearing what she has.

She's not seen what he has to know how not okay things could be, where that entity is concerned.

"You might not have those answers, but you have tonight. And it… it should be a happy occasion, right?" Emily asks, like she's seeking confirmation for it for herself. It feels strange for her to be here at all, so she lingers on the outside of the whole thing. Just a distant object in orbit of the celestial object made up of the dancing Elisabeth and Richard.

One that has a meteor named Devon soon to be on a collision course with her. Emily realizes he's beginning to turn away from watching the dance and offers Magnes a small smile.

Magnes smiles, his weight beginning to let up as he offers a single nod. "You're right, and it is supposed to be a happy occasion. I wish I could have made a homemade pizza, but there's always time for that." He starts to turn toward the party, then begins to walk. "Come on, let's get back to it."

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