Good Vibrations


cooper_icon.gif emily_icon.gif

Scene Title Good Vibrations
Synopsis It's a long flight to the UK, being secreted into the country on a military plane. It gives Cooper and Emily plenty of time to talk before they get there.
Date April 18, 2021

Somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean

The loud hum of the C-130 they had snuck on seemed to vibrate all through Cooper’s body making it tough for him to relax much less try to sleep in the stiff uncomfortable red seats on both sides of the walls. It was worse where the cybernetic leg attached to his leg, making it ache weirdly.

It had been kinda cool for the first hour or two, he’d been excited having never been on one. They always looked so cool from the air, big bloated things that seemed to miraculously stay aloft as they sluggishly drifted along, despite looking like they should drop like a brick.


Thomas felt like his teeth were going to vibrate out of his skull and that he’d never hear again save for the damn hum of the four prop engines.

Military planes, in the eyes of the government, were strictly utilitarian - getting troops from point A to point B - and they didn’t think comfort was an important thing.

Neither were the uniforms.

Thomas grunts, scratching at where the stiffly starched BDU uniform was rubbing at his neck and pushes his cap back into place with a sigh. It was Gutierrez’ brilliant idea for them to fly in disguised as soldiers being dropped at their new duty station, since Lance and Emily would not be particularly welcomed into the UK when flying commercial. Of course, he got some weird looks from the real camo-clad heroes for the decent amount of stubble on his chin.

With a glance at the soldiers around him, Thomas decides to join Emily on the other side of the aisle. Flopping down on the hard chair - regretting it immediately - and smiling at the young agent. “Hey!” He calls out, lifting his voice enough to be heard over the engines. “How about that inflight meal, huh?”

What in-flight meal?

"You know, the filet was a nice touch. Here I thought all we'd be getting were crab legs."

Emily flits her gaze over eyes in Cooper's direction, but not her head. She's remained perfectly still most of this flight, navigating the cabin— such as it is (do they even call it a cabin if it's a plane like this?)— as little as possible. But she manages a tight smile, barely more than a firming of her mouth. The extent of her anxiety is such that she'll speak only when spoken to, and avoid looking at most anyone else here.

Luckily, those were also their orders, so she has little trouble following them.

Her hair is worn in a tight swirl of a golden bun behind her head, worn initially under a cap, but she's since taken it off. It's on top of the bag between her rumbling feet. With a flicker of a sigh, she looks down at it, and then back up to Cooper. "How about you?" she asks, voice lifted to be just heard over the plane noise.

There is a grimace at the mention of crab legs. “Sadly, I’ll have to be happy with the peanut baggie.” Which he has none of. “I’m allergic to shellfish.” His nose wrinkles at his own weakness, before settling back into his seat, seemingly done with the conversation.

Cooper sits there, with hands folded resting in his lap, for a long moment, before leaning over and asking, “I… hngh… I could really use a woman’s opinion on something.”

Again he glances at the others of their group, before Cooper looks at Emily with a silent plea. “I met someone…. I am terrified I’m going to screw it up in typical me fashion.”

At the lapse in conversation, Emily too settles back into her seat, content for the companionship even without conversation. It's when Cooper picks the thread back up with an entirely new topic woven into it that her brows arch, and she glances slowly at him out of the corner of her eye again.

"Christ," she says first, because what are you supposed to say to that? She turns to properly face him. "All right, what'd you do? Who'd you meet?"

She won't tell him no, or question why he needs a gendered opinion in this case. They could both use the way to pass the time— and likely, he could really use the advice.

“Honestly, I think it’s a long shot, but… when I was getting this leg,” Cooper knocks on the cybernetic leg hidden under the camouflage print, “I met this amazing, beautiful, smart, and very nerdy woman. We spent a lot of time together and.. I think she’s into me?” Yeah, she can easily see it, Coopers totally smitten. It’s the same look he gives a fresh donut.

Cooper shakes his head and focuses on Emily again with a crooked smirk, “Anyhow, even though she is so far out of my league that… I’m Voyager 1 and she’s the sun… I want to try.”

Digging out his cellphone, Cooper flips through some pictures. “I wanted to send her flowers while I was gone… Roses are too cliche and kinda… what’s the word? Basic? I wanted to give her something more meaningful. I thought you might have a better idea?”

There is a pleading in those pale green eyes as Thomas shows her a picture of none other than Marlowe Terrell, Yamagato’s Chief of Technology.

"One," Emily clarifies before she even sees the phone, holding up a hand as she turns to him. "Never call her nerdy again, unless she calls herself that. And know better than to assume she's into you unless she tells you. Shows you?" She frowns. His she's out of my league comment had her wondering if he was just swooning and overthinking it.

And then she sees the photo, her eyes widening, pupils narrowing. "Cooper," she hisses at him, swatting his arm with the back of her hand. She's positively animated now.

"Do you know who that is?" she demands to know, strains of disbelief in her voice.

“Of course I do,” Cooper says like.. DUH. Nevermind until a few months ago he had no idea who she was.

He turns the photo where he can look at it again. “She’s Marlowe Terrell. She’s the one who created my leg. Wicked cool ability too. She’s into Star Trek and Doctor Who… and so many super cool things.”

Thomas looks at her confused and at the spot she smacked him. “You know, Ellen did that, too, when I mentioned Marlowe.”

Emily slides a look between camera shot and Cooper and back again with a slight disbelief. Try as she might to lay that aside, knowing who she knows who are all famous for one reason or another, Yamagato's CTO seems on an entire other level. She closes her eyes and leans back into her seat.

Ellen swatted him, too? "Yeah, I bet she did," she mutters. Opening her eyes, she lets out a sigh and tries to let go of her preconceptions. "I mean, flowers? For a woman who's got it all? She just might appreciate the gesture. Yellow roses instead of red. Something bright. Tulips?" It was that season after all. But something about their mention has her shift in her seat. "I don't know, I'm not really… a flower language person, Thomas."

Emily slips into something less certain, looking ready to retreat into herself, or to somewhere she could do so. The trouble is here is such a space with nowhere really to hide.

Cooper watches her for a long moment, before looking down at his phone with a suddenly uncertain look, like he might be finally doubting everything he thought. “Maybe something like sun flowers,” he finally murmurs… though not noticeable over the loud hum of the plane. He darkens the screen on the phone and tucks it away in his pocket.

Again, silence and awkwardness descends on the pair… or as silent as it can be in a giant military airplane.

Emily might catch him glancing over at her a few times out of the corner of his eye, before he leans over again. “Hey. So… I’ve always wondered. What do you do? I mean, ability. Lance and most of the others don’t exactly keep it secret, but you… you are kinda quiet about it. Figured since we’re going into this together… maybe….” His eyebrows lift with genuine curiosity as his words urge her to enlighten him.

She should have been the one to first break the silence, Emily thinks, when Cooper goes to the topic he does. The look that comes over her is nothing as nonchalant as she wishes it were. It's avoiding, maybe fretful even. She sets her jaw as she silently reprimands herself for her reaction.

Get it together, Epstein.

She starts to look back to Cooper once, but it takes a second attempt for it to stick to him. "I manifested," she admits in a way that can only be lipread, afraid to let it carry. Her voice lifts to a proper level after. "But I haven't told anyone, really. It's— it's personal, you know?"

Emily folds her arms tightly over her chest even as she shifts in her seat to face Cooper better. "You have to keep it to yourself, Thomas," she tells him, the depths of her fear abruptly visible in her eyes. The burden of secrecy she asks can be felt, just as much as the necessity as she pleads: "Promise me."

There is something innocent in the way Thomas looks at her, an open honest curiosity with no hint of malice behind it. Despite all the bad in the world, he somehow manages to keep that air of innocence.

However, her plea has his expression turning thoughtful and concerned. “Look. I know people think of me as some… well you know what they say around the office, but I ain’t no snitch.” Thomas gives her a lopsided smile. “Of course, I won’t tell. A partnership can’t work if there is no trust, even if it is only for a single mission.”

A brow pops up and Cooper holds up a pinkie between them, “Or do you require the most sacred of pinkie promises? Or a blood pact? I might have a pocket knife in my bag.” He makes a motion like he might start digging in his duffle.

Emily's shoulders begin to slope, tension rolling off of them as she meets Cooper's eyes. She hesitates, a notion broken when he starts making like he'll actually produce a knife when she cracks a ghost of a smile. "No, it— no, you don't have to go that far."

She takes in a deep breath and leans in slightly.

"I can be very convincing, if I believe what I'm doing is the right thing," she explains plainly. Her hands come to her lap, one held by the other to keep her nerve. "I just… make this connection, and sometimes I'm able to read into what they're saying. What they're feeling." Her head wobbles for a moment. "Sometimes it's just one thing. Sometimes it's both."

Sitting better upright, she regards Cooper with more confidence than she has. "So when we get on site, and we need to talk our way past the door… you should let me handle it. I'll be our best shot."

Cooper’s mouth falls open a little and eyes widen, but it’s not in fear. He looks curious and a little in awe. “That’s. So. Cool!” He says it just loud enough for the soldiers nearest them to glance their way. Catching one of those glances, Thomas presses his lips together.

“Sorry,” Cooper whispers loud enough to be heard over the hum, once they stop being a source of scrutiny. “Remind me not to get on your bad side,” he teases mildly. “Seriously, that’s a good one. Not like my college roommate. Man had acid saliva.”

Cooper's reaction not being one of being intimidated brings a blank look to Emily's face. But… it's not a bad thing, her surprise. The tightness in her chest eases little by little.

The world isn't ending yet now that one more person knows. And it's good that her partner on this mission knows now rather than when it's too late to explain well.

She even lets out another unexpected crack of laughter at Cooper's anecdote. "Oh no," Emily laughs, something in it based in sympathy. "No, it's… I mean, once I knew I had it, I got scared for a while, started second-guessing… everything, but now…"

With a small shake of her head, she admits, "And I mean, it was bad for a while after I— after I came home. I was bad off, and I couldn't control it well. But it's better now. Stable. Str…onger, maybe." Now when she looks back to him it's with a flutter of anxiety behind her eyes. "Are you sure you're not freaked out?"

“Should I be?” Cooper questions back with a curious lift of a brow. He holds up a hand before she can answer. “Don’t answer that, cause the answer is no.”

Cooper gives Emily a matter of fact look, leaning towards her to ensure she hears him clearing for this. “Em. You are no criminal. Had you been someone I was surveilling undercover, yeah… I’d be pretty freaked out that you could mess with my brain,” he says, pressing a finger to each temple and giving them a twist. “But you’re not. I trust you.”

Leaning back in his seat, Cooper stretched out the cybernetic leg, hidden away under camouflage pants. “I’ll tell you what I told my daughter when she first got her ability. You’re a good kid…. I know you enough not to worry right away. I’m not anymore freaked out about you then I was about my roommate with the acid spit.”

Glancing at her out of the corner of his eye, Cooper adds, “At least, until you give me a reason to be.” His smile deepens to one side, “But I don’t see that happening.”

Emily forces a smile that comes off weaker than intended. "Don't worry," she promises. "I'll only use it for good, and not for things like… convincing you your office cube looks like a sty." She lets out a chuckle after that, less amused than amazed. She can't well describe how this feels, her head buzzing, an alarming sense of freedom felt.

It could just be the vibration of the plane, or her nerves in general regarding what lies ahead. Her stomach's hardly been settled this whole trip. "I'm gonna go find the restroom," she announces suddenly, pushing herself to her feet.

Cooper gives her a thumbs up when she mentions the bathroom, his focus is rubbing at a point just above his knee. A latent ache from his recovery being rushed. Once he sees her moving away out of the corner of his eye, he looks up to watch her with a touch of worry, but not for what she can do… but for her.

“Hey, Emily,” Cooper calls out suddenly, giving her one of his goofy shit-eating grins when she looks back. “Just remember. With great powers comes great responsibility.

Emily's nervous nausea is momentarily forgotten at least long enough to give him a long-suffering hint of a smile in return. Her reply can only be lipread in reply, uttered under her breath…

But the middle finger she raises him before turning away speaks for itself.

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