Five Seven Five


magnes_icon3.gif ff_magnes_icon.gif

Scene Title Five Seven Five
Synopsis Learning to come to terms with a new way of understanding his ability, Magnes seeks the counsel of his original self.
Date December 8th — December 14th, 2018

“You and I are one.”

It started with a simple lesson, an explanation of space and matter, of the perception of distance and the gap between two points. But it wasn’t the elder mentor teaching his junior, but rather the other way around.

“We’re the same, and yet different.”

Beneath beams of salvaged and refurbished wood, with the smell of salt air all around, Magnes J. Varlane schools his decades-older self about the theories of quantum mechanics and physics. The elder Magnes’ makeshift cabin-come-dojo perched atop a crumbling skyscraper’s flat roof serves as the perfect backdrop for this sort of a moment. The elder Magnes’ love of haiku makes it a perfectly Magnes moment.

“And yet, we are not.”

Magnes’ Dojo

The Pelago

December 8th

4:14 PM

The sun is nearly setting against the younger Magnes’ back in their stand-up lecture. They’d been discussing how quantum mechanics related to their ability for hours, and it’s become increasingly clear that the younger of them was the one with a head for science. The older Prime Magnes reminds his younger self of Peter Petrelli in many ways; emotional, brash, headstrong. He’s an empathetic person who goes with his gut, who improvises, who doesn’t understand how his power works… just that it does.

“So, wait…” Prime says with a hand at his forehead, “what’s Planck-level stuff, again?” Admittedly, most of this is way over his head.

"Quantum physics, basically. Anything super small, difficult to comprehend. I'm pretty sure that's what we affect with our abilities." Magnes stares at him, arms crossed in deep thought. He's wearing his heavy long coat as they discuss this, and then extends his gravitational field to a god thirty feet around them.

"How are our abilities different? That's the question I'm trying to understand with all of this science stuff. Yeah, you can do that trick, something I don't know how to do, but… that just seems like something on top of what I can already do." He holds his arms out, motioning his head all around them. "Do you feel that?"

He starts to make his field gradually heavier, though not so immediately heavy that it could crush. "How is this different from what you do? Let's get practical about this. Are we actually that different? Are you an advanced gravity manipulator, am I a newbie dark matter manipulator? Are these even different things? On a quantum mechanical level, we're probably the only two people alive in this universe, other than Michelle Cardinal, who can figure this out."

"This won't be the first time I had to figure out some fundamental aspect of how the universe works, so, let's break stuff until we figure this out." he suggests, which is a suggestion that most Magni would have difficulty disagreeing with.

The name Michelle Cardinal doesn’t register on Prime’s face, brows furrowed already in deep consideration. “The way Clara always talked about it,” he says after that thoughtful period, “made it seem like nobody really understood exactly how the force of gravity works. I mean, they had theories? But that’s just a guess with extra math.” He flashes a smile, pacing back and forth as he speaks.

“I mean, yeah— I can feel what you do. It’s like someone coming down at me with their body weight. I can feel it, and I can react to it and shift it if I want.” Prime Magnes raises his hands, widens his stance, and waves his arms to one side in a slow-motion gesture like a hip-throw. His younger self can feel a brushing sensation, or rather a pulling one, dragging him subtly to the side. “I mean, from the sounds of it I was self-taught and you were self-taught, peppered in with other people who do things way differently.”

Prime Magnes cocks a brow. “I don’t think we’re different at all. But does that mean I’m a gravity manipulator? Does it mean you manipulate dark matter?” He shrugs, helplessly. “I think it means a lot of different people have a lot of different ideas as to what power we manipulate.” And at that, he points a finger in the air. “That’s the crux of it. We don’t create or generate energy, we move it around and concentrate or disperse it.”

Looking down to his feet, Prime Magnes claps his hands together, then pushes downward with a wave of energy that his younger self can feel, and begins to float weightlessly in the air. He crosses his legs under himself, hands on his knees. “Do you float when you’re asleep? I do.”

"Yeah, I float when I sleep. But uh, how are you doing that? I can fly, but the way I fly is more like falling… I sort of reverse my orientation so that I fall in the direction I wanna fly." Magnes stares at his feet, as if trying to make sense of what his other self just did. "I've never really properly thought of gravity like moving energy, even though that's more or less what I'm doing, I think. I always think of it like a ring." He motions in a sphere around him. "I think of myself with an orbit, and manipulate the things in that orbit."

He still doesn't float, he instead shifts his gaze to his older self. "How do you think of it? Is there some better way to visualize it? Since the day I became a black hole, I'd perpetually self the vague tug of the moon and the sun, almost like being a tide. I can't imagine how you think of it to be able to do stuff like that."

“Like water,” Magnes Prime says, slowly coming back down to the ground. “Honestly? I had a hard time conceptualizing it for a long time. Never really understood how best to imagine it — and the ability to visualize stuff is so key to powers. But one day I saw this amazing old interview with Bruce Lee…”

Prime Magnes raises his hands over his head, then starts to slowly move his hands in fluidic motions. “He had this quote that spoke to me. After that it was just… everything made sense.” Closing his eyes, he recites the quote from memory. “You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.

The old Magnes smiles, and his younger self can feel a tide of gravitic force pushing against him like a tide. “So really, you weren't far off.”

"So… there is no ring, I'm just… visualizing in shapes because of a preconception that I have about my ability?" Magnes stares down at his hands, then looks up into the air. "I always thought of certain things like shifting orientation… I wonder if the way I do it shifts the fluid in the inner ear, and creates this feeling like being shifted upside down."

"So much of this makes sense…" He tries to think, tries to visualize as he holds his hands apart from each other. "I learned martial arts from Hiro and Kimiko Nakamura, and a few other people, though my memory is a bit weird because of mind wipes and telepaths. I have some idea of the concepts, I kept training over the years so I'd be prepared."

"It's so hard though, to change the way I think about things. It's like I've been doing something completely dumb all these years." But the tide of force causes him to close his eyes, raising spreading his arms and hands out as he tries to wrap the force around himself, tries to become a part of it. "It feels so unfiltered. I always thought of it like this stagnant thing."

The elder Magnes doesn’t seem to recognize the Nakamura pedigree, affording only a brief raise of one brow at the name. Instead, he’s watching his younger — alternate — self try and manipulate the same force the way he does. It’s hard, after so long of imagining his ability in one way, to understand it in another. It’s stuttering, like throbbing beats of something pressing down from the outside against Magnes’ body. More like vibrations than waves or fluid.

“Honestly?” The senior of the two says with a shrug, taking a step back. “I appreciate folks trying to explain to me the science of how this all works, but I feel like it’s trying to describe French using Chinese. You’re going to lose something, because there’s some stuff that doesn’t translate.” Magnes crosses his arms, looking his younger self up and down. “I think science doesn’t fully understand the world, how things work. Science-types, they’ve got ideas… but that’s just it. Ideas.”

Spreading his arms, the elder Magnes steps to the side and disappears behind a one-dimensional plane, then re-emerges several feet away. “Clara couldn’t explain that. Not fully. She’d say big words like folding space and wormholes, but none of them sat right.” The elder Magnes claps his hands together, lacing his fingers into one another. “I say, go by how it feels. Forget the words, forget the logic. Just go with your heart and play it by ear.”

Then, feet sliding apart, he cocks one brow at his younger self, curling one hand into a fist. “C’mon, let’s just go and see.”

"I remember how it felt…" Magnes closes his eyes, lowering his arms and staring up at the sky. "When I became a black hole, it was pure, it was like I was a part of everything, like I was everything. When I'm augmented, it feels almost like I lose myself, like my consciousness is slipping away. I've never understood it, why I change, but trying to understand so much, trying to listen to everyone else…"

He starts trying to pull the wave, the vibrations, into himself. "Being a black hole, it felt endless, infinite, like there was no end to anything." Then, he pushes out. "I've always thought of things, never quite the space in between things, the void between everything. A version of me talked about the Void a lot…"

Pulling in again, the light around them slightly distorts, and then he falls to one knee, nose bleeding. "It's… difficult. It's like trying to flex a muscle I never moved in my entire life, and trying to bend my arm in an entirely new direction."

"Do you mind if I stay here for a little bit while I learn this? You know, technically you don't really exist in any of the worlds I've been to, except this one. I want to learn this from you, I'm only alive because you… aren't." He stares up at his elder self, looking almost guilty. "I want you to live on in my world, through what you teach me here."

Seeing his younger self crumple deflates the bravado and eagerness from the elder Magnes. He softens his posture, steps in and takes a knee by his double’s side and rests a hand on his shoulder. “You’re family,” is the simple answer that the younger Magnes is given.

“Of course you can stay.”

December 12th

“Come on, keep up!” Sprinting through the sky as though he were running on clouds, the elder Magnes J. Varlane begins a slow descent toward the balcony around the observation desk of the Empire State Building. He lands with a hard clap of his shoes on the rain-dampened stone, skidding a few feet as he turns around, looking up into the sky where his younger self follows.

The younger Magnes is occasionally tripping over himself, going into a spin for one moment before he catches his footing on seemingly nothing again. He continues to rush after his counterpart, following his descent as the heavy coat just barely protects him from the ridiculously chilly air.

"It's almost like the world doesn't have any rules, or like we can bend those rules." he considers, his descent from the sky almost like he's running down a flight of stairs. "My daughter, the one from the future, she has an ability that I think might be related to ours, but it's definitely different. She's able to just reject everything outside of her bubble, she has complete control of the space she's inside of, like a weird reality forcefield."

That’s cool! Were you two close?” The older Magnes says with a thumbs up before rocketing into the sky, slowing his ascent until he’s just floating in the air, then changes his trajectory and begins gliding in a downward arc toward the crumbling skyscraper that was probably somewhere on Fifth Street before the flood made all of that irrelevant. When he touches down on the rooftop of that building by its antenna, the elder Magnes turns and crosses his arms over his chest waiting for his younger counterpart to follow.

"It was a bit awkward at first. Her and her friends came back to the past, not understanding yet that we can't really change the past. She joined my band and we had no idea she was from the future. I died in her time, when she was very young, but she had a loooot of mothers, and they told her stories about me. She's one of the reasons I want to get home, her and Addie." Magnes tries to follow, which is hard.

He tries to push the space under his feet, to shift the tide of dark matter and propel himself. It's difficult, especially as quickly as his elder counterpart does it, but he manages to push himself at an unsteady, rather clumsy speed, trying not to cheat and fall upward.

Soon, however, he tops near the antenna, winded and trying to take a breath. "I don't know how you do it so easily. It's like learning how to… I don't even know."

“I’m like, what, twice your age?” The other Magnes replies with a smirk. “Trust me, in twenty or thirty years you’re going to be leaps and bounds ahead of where I am, in terms of control. You’re already way ahead of where I was when I was your age.” Then, looking out to the oceanic horizon, his tone takes on a wistful quality. “Heck,” he shrugs, “I still float when I sleep.”

But as his thoughts return to family, the elder Magnes looks over to his younger self. “You’re gonna get home,” he says with a sort of blind certainty. “Because if that were my family?” He shakes his head.

“Nothing would stop me.”

December 14th

“Being like a leaf.”

Floating cross-legged inside of his cabin-dojo, the elder Magnes has his hands clasped together in his lap, eyes closed and brow furrowed in concentration. A collection of empty soda bottles, a deflated basketball, a desk lamp, and a chair float around him in a hemispherical arc.

“The wind is your only guide.”

He’d likened composing poetry to meditation, likened the mental exercise of freeform rhyme to rhythmic practice of stances and strikes. The elder Magnes was part bohemian poet, part handiman, and part sensei. Cat has taken to watching their training today, sitting on the steps near the practice floor, quietly eating fish chowder out of a wooden bowl.

“Just let go and fly.”

His eyes open, settled on his younger self, to see where the feeling of the words takes his own haiku.

Magnes sits there, concentrating, emptying his mind. Being like a leaf is tricky. He becomes as light as a feather, relaxed, but he doesn't yet fly.

He lets himself feel the essence of the void in the air, moving with the small currents that shift through the room. And then he just sort of starts to very calmly float around, being carried around the room by a small draft.

His arms and legs unfold, and he just sort of goes with the flow, as if he were underwater, letting the waves take him where they may.

Until he knocks his head against a wall and promptly falls on his butt. "Uhh… I think I did it? Maybe I should have kept my eyes open."

He tries that again, eyes open this time, and starts to float, taking a deep breath, gently pushing those waves of force under him.

The elder Magnes cracks a smile, shaking his head. “You're missing a step,” he says, opening one eye to peek at the progress Magnes is making that he can otherwise feel around him. “Try a little poetry — Haiku’s easy.”

Holding up one hand, the senior of the two spreads five fingers. “First stanza has five syllables,” then he raises another hand and two fingers, “second stanza has seven,” and then lowers those two fingers, “the last stanza has five again. Go ahead,” his brows rise. “Try. Focus on floating, but then let your mind go and be creative.”

Magnes continues to float, tapping his chin. "How do I apply haiku to using an ability…" he wonders out loud, but then he just tries.

"Dark matter is hard." he begins, having very little concept of how to do a stanza or even what a stanza really is, he just continues to consider the words, counting syllables on his fingers. "Pizza is good in a box." Then, continuing to count, he asks, "Is this a stanza?"

"You know, you really do have to think a lot to do one of those, it's like… you have to figure out how to work with what you have." He stares up, then reaches out, sort of grabbing the air. Then he pulls, he starts pulling himself up bit by bit, by essentially gripping nothingness. "It's like… there's friction everywhere, if we think between the lines…"

Clapping his hands loudly, the elder Magnes offers a proud and bright smile at his younger protege from another time and another place. Watching and feeling the effects of Magnes grasping the first handholds of something new, a different way of understanding himself and being more comfortable in his own skin, the elder Magnes is for the moment at a loss for words. Then, hands coming to rest on his knees…

“You’re making progress.”

One of his silvered brows rises.

“Progress on understanding,” he clarifies.

“That haiku was bad.”

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