Land Of The Blind


gabriel_icon.gif kazimir5_icon.gif magnes_icon.gif

Scene Title Land of the Blind
Synopsis What happens in Madagascar doesn't stay there when Magnes confronts Gabriel about Claire. Kazimir interferes and offers Gabriel something even shinier.
Date January 7, 2009

USS George Washington: Engine Room

The open deck is a place Gabriel has avoided, as he has the rec rooms, the social spaces, the cafeterias. After leaving his self-imposed post by Eileen's bedside, it's the faces of authority and familiarity he's avoided as well, as if sidestepping the chance that someone will ask him to do something. To do more. And what will happen when he refuses. Tidal waves being one option. These are thoughts that spin silent in his head, continual, waiting to split apart and become action. So, he skulks, and finds himself here.

It's never quiet, the thrum of tension, electricity, machinery, and the distant clatter of footsteps on metal platforms and floor alike. The engine room is as cramped as it is immense, with narrow corridors, white paint, gleaming metal. Gabriel isn't sure if he's meant to be down here and to be honest, the thought hadn't occured to him - he'd followed his feet, and perhaps something in him had led him to at least one compartment of the ship devoted to its function, to making it run. He scans control panels, dials, intuition brushing over all of these things and affording him glimmers of awareness, as fleeting and inconsequential as an aurora borealis.

Clad in jeans, a black T-shirt, bandages shed for the day, and so the still raw knife slash on his left arm stands bright across the back of it, but otherwise, healthy and whole, if brooding.

Having been all over the ship, and told to leave private areas if he entered somewhere he wasn't supposed to be, Magnes has been searching for the one skulking around this particular area. It's the only place left, unless he's just completely left the ship.

Another talk with Claire both made him feel better and worse. Better because she at least gets to know the stories of what they had, worse because it's becoming apparent that it's probably gone forever. The only person left to get revenge on, the only person he knows who's at least tried to hurt her, is standing just a few feet from him when he lands with a clank of boots against the floor. He's still wearing the pants and boots from the mission last night, and the white NAVY shirt that he usually wears. The new and most apparent addition, for Gabriel at least, is the white double-strapped medical eye patch.

"You have ten seconds to tell me why I shouldn't kill you right now."

Gabriel sharply steps back when someone abruptly lands so close to him, automatic tension, the kind Magnes has seen before in him, squaring his shoulders, his jaw, a hand up as if in defense. It takes a couple of seconds, unsurprised recognition flooding into place as the younger man speaks, eyes lingering on the swatch of white bandages on Magnes' face before meeting the gaze of his remaining eye, eyebrow ticking up a fraction. If he has ten seconds, he wastes at least five of them staring across at the gravity manipulator in judgment.

"You'll get hurt," is offered, a warning and a fact, or so it comes across in his flat tone of voice, eyes going a similar kind of neutral upon the choice not to retreat, nor to make the first move. "I'm guessing you heard. Who tattled?"

"Doesn't matter. I'm going to kill you now. Yeah, it's true, I can say 'His ability made him do it', but you know what? If a lion bit Claire just because it was hungry, I'd still snap its neck. What is it you usually do? I remember, from the comic…" Magnes raises two fingers as Gabriel often does, then motions them into a wall, attempting to force the other man's body into it, arms spread in a show of power he's never seen the gravity manipulator use before.

The sound of Gabriel's skull connecting sharp with the steel and cement behind him rings louder in his own head than anyone else's, a flash of pain crossing his features before it smooths out again. He shifts, testing against the sudden misdirected weight he bears. "Interesting," he murmurs, a little breathless. "I miss that one." His hands turn enough to rest his palms against the wall, attempting to lever himself away from it, muscles going like steel beneath flesh, tendons straining. "Hurt me, Magnes. Get it out of your system. But you're not a killer — you don't have the excuse. She was never going to die."

It's almost like an offer, of kinds, his gaze avid and focused on the other predator standing across from him. "Try to kill me, and you'll fail." He's working on a hairtrigger, ready to react, anger a slow burning thing but rising.

"She can't remember me, our relationship, anything. And she's forgotten other people, and things, and she may never remember again. And, you, you tried to hurt her too, just like the person that shot her! If you succeeded, you could have hurt her even worse, you don't know." Magnes raises his hand, still not touching, standing around five feet away as he eyes Gabriel's forehead with one finger pointed at it. "I killed multiple people yesterday, and I'm sure none of them deserved it nearly as much as you do. If I get nothing out of this trip, at least I can get some sort of revenge for my girlfriend!" Then, there's a pain, a pain other than the increased gravity trying to keep him pinned to the wall. It almost feels like the bottom and top halves of his skull are trying to pull eachother apart, very slowly.

"I don't know how you did the cutting thing, but I'm sure this is a lot more painful. I'm going to take your brain. Maybe I'll give it to Mister Bennet."




The sound is almost impossible to hear over the noise of the machinery in the bowels of the carrier, not until it is right atop them. But that measured procession of footsteps and the touch of a metal-tipped cane to the floor underfoot. It is a meteronome that balances out the even cadence of a voice echoing thorugh the hull of the ship. "To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow…" It's Peter's voice, but something seems so desperately wrong about the words that ring thorugh the metallic walls.

"Creeps in this petty pace from day to day." His footsteps draw closer, purposefully making noise to herald his arrival, even as the lights here in the bowels of the ship flicker and gutter, the way candles would in a strong wind. It's an erratic pulse from the electricity, a dimming of ambient light to just a small degree, and both Magnes and Gabriel can feel the rising prickling sensation of pins and needles starting at their extremities.

"To the last syllable of recorded time;" From down a dark corridor leading into this compartment of the engine room, Kazimir Volken's dark silhouette seems to be not entirely corporeal, undulating at its edges like some sort of phantom. As he draws nearer, the lights continue to dim subtly, and that ephemeral quality to his outline is revealed as roiling waves of black, smoky tendrils that seethe beneath his clothing like inky fog.

"And all our yesterdays have lighted fools," blue eyes stand out crisp against that miasmic gloom, and clutched in one of his gloved hands, a bronze-capped cane trails down to the floor with metal tip. The head of the cane is perhaps symbolic, a wrought metallic globe squeezed between leathered fingers. Where he got it— that is anyone's guess. "The way to dusty death." Tingling spreads, up from exterimities and towards the center of Magnes and Gabriel's bodies, a stinging prickle of discomfort that now turns to sharper shooting pains at their fingertips and toes. "Out, out, brief candle…" blue eyes narrow, and Kazimir slams his cane down tip-first against the metal floor with a clang. "Life's but a walking shadow."

Blue eyes narrow to slits, and the command after that measured prose is spoken without hesitation. "Release him, Magni— Magnes." Oh dear Gods in heaven he just gave him a code name.

Pressure makes a circlet of pain around Gabriel's skull, tight as his temples, blinding around his forehead and a dull ache somewhere towards the back of his skull, letting out a strangled groan of pain. A black shimmer of shadow sweeps over his body, but he fights the impulse to retreat into it, enduring for as long as it takes Peter to make his presence known with the creeping prickle of Kazimir's power. The clang of tipped cane to metal ground reverberates, and his lips pull back into a sneer.

Gabriel's body flattens instantly, and if it wasn't for the fact that pitch black leaks across his skin and clothing, creating shadow, one might even have an impression for a split second that Magnes had squashed the serial killer completely. Instead, the demon-like shadow of Wu-Long's legacy boils like liquid, like anger, seeping towards the ground.

Magnes loses his balance for whatever reason when Gabriel flattens out, stumbling back a few feet before catching himself. "The first person who ever shot me had an ability like that." he idly comments, raising his hands to rub his arms at the prickling, once Kazimir draws closer. "He tried to steal Claire's ability. I'm going to kill him. I've been trying to find a way to combat someone in an incorporeal form for a while anyway…" The codename isn't commented on at the moment, instead he reaches a hand out, trying to somehow feel for the shadow, almost desperately until he just raises a fist and swings it down, which causes a large dent to appear in the floor from some unknown force. "Come out and fight me like a man! You didn't have a problem with trying to cut Claire open!"

"I know what he did." Kazimir states flatly, walking up behind Magnes and resting a gloved hand on his shoulder, squeezing firmly as he draws in that entropic aura, and the lights rise up again. "But I need him, for just a little bit longer." The squeeze becomes stronger, and Kazimir's blue eyes settle on Magnes with a furrow of dark brows. "I don't want to turn you to a pile of ash and bones, Magni, but I will if you keep doing this. Revenge," which he does not classify as Magnes' alone, "can come after."

Blue eyes follow that slithering form of umbral smoke that roils and churns along the floor, and a deep, slow breath is drawn in. "I am already endeavoring to keep one emotional young man under control from bringing Gabriel to harm, do not make me have to keep the both of you in check." The curious words are echoed by a wag of one gloved finger back and forth in the air chastisingly.

"Do not let emotions cloud your judgement." Kazimir may not be aware of the very Jedi way that sounds, maybe subconsciously Peter is aware somewhere in there, but hopefully the notion rings some awkward semblance of resonance with Magnes.

Agile as ever, the shadow shifts along the ground, the long drag of its body kept constricted as it climbs up along machinery, as if making progress to retreat. But not so far into Kazimir's words, there's the sound of boots hitting the ground as tellingly as Magnes' had. "Boy wants a fight," Gabriel's voice gravels out from behind them. Blood is seeping out of his still healing wound on his arm, coiling around his wrist, collecting into his palm, streaming thick until it can become something he can grip. "I don't need your protection."

"I could kill you with a thought." is all Magnes says to not needing protection, apparently intent on following Kazimir's orders, turning around to face Gabriel, waiting to see what's going to happen. "You stay away from Claire. If I hear you tried to take her ability again, or even tried to speak to her in a way that has nothing to do with the mission, I will stop your heart."

That gloved hand squeezes harder, and Kazimir stares down at Magnes with a furrow of his brows. "You would be surprised how resiliant he is, Magni. He stopped his own heart a very long time ago." That gloved hand moves off of the young man's shoulder, and blue eyes come to settle on Gabriel instead, breathing in deeply before exhaling a tired sigh.

"Gabriel…" there's a crook of one side of Kazimir's lips. "It's been too long, hasn't it?" A few footfalls take Kazimir between Magnes and the serial killer. "The boy does not know what he wants, he is enraged about harm coming to the woman he loves. I think you may be able to sympathize with him for that, yes? I think we have a shared history in regards to that particular crime." Swallowing down after those words, Kazimir looks to Magnes with an intent expression of scrutiny.

"Everyone needs to cooperate right now, which requires communication. You can threaten each other when we have a future remaining to threaten, but right now I need you both," a quick look is offered to Gabriel, then it's back to Magnes. "To channel your creative energies against the Vanguard, not each other. What you do afterward is your own business, I won't be here to stop you."

Blood clots, hardens, become a basic kind of dagger shape in his hand, black steel with glints of red where it catches the light. Casually, he flips it in his hand, blunt end over sharp as he listens with a certain kind of boredom to— Kazimir's words. Peter's. The fact he is either of those people does him no favours in negotiating with Gabriel, who trades him a blank kind of look. "Varlane is making a mistake. Underestimating me. I'm inclined to let him."

But there's no attack, tension fleeing from Gabriel's shoulders as he tilts his head to regard them both. "What makes you think I want to listen to you? That I'm going to be anything you need? I'm done, and I was done with you a long time ago."

His gaze ticks over towards Magnes, and without even the physical cue of switching off a light, darkness suddenly becomes the younger man's vision as sight from his remaining eye is stolen away without even a blink from Gabriel. "I could make you deaf too, Varlane," he says, voice louder. "I could take away the sense to feel. You won't even know when I do to you like I did to your precious Claire — everything will just stop. It's merciful, actually."

"Wha-" Magnes' eye rapidly moves around, trying to see anything. Then, rage building, fists clinching as they seem to do a lot lately, a sudden rush of gravity pushes forward, fully intending to lash out at him. But the assault stops short when he remembers that Kazimir is standing inbetween him, said man only feeling a slight push before the force is released. "Fix it, now. He's right, we can kill eachother later, and I can't do this mission blind. But you know, maybe if you would have been protecting her instead of being selfish, she'd still be able to remember me!"

Patience thins, and Kazimir slowly steps aside with the motion of Magnes' gravitic push, giving a somewhat water-like reaction to it — Wu-Long would be proud, in a way. His brows tense and head quirked to the side as he considers Gabriel, then Magnes, then Gabriel again. "I had hoped it wouldn't come to this," the scarred man states with a furrow of his brows and a downturn of his lips. "I trust you more than I trust Grigori, but it appears as though I will have no choice in this matter."

Reaching inside the front of his jacket, Kazimir produces a metallic cylinder the size of a soda bottle, matte finished aluminum casing with nicks and scrapes on the outside, its peeling label possessing a red and black biohazard emblem on it. "Aviators thought you might not be cooperative," his leather-gloved thumb hooks thorugh the metallic ring on the canister.

"You can enjoy the rest of this journey from the brig." Kazimir intones with a furrow of his brows and a frustration rising in his voice, and just on the periphery of his psychic radar, Gabriel can feel a ping in the halls of motion approaching the engine room slowly, uniform movement of five individuals keeping a perimeter, likely marines from the ship.

So this is how it happened.

Gabriel's attention spins without the man moving an inch, his jaw setting steely as— can you have deja vu without having actually been there. He narrows his focus on the canister, a hand up, as if to implore him to stop. And maybe that is so, because there's no reaction of power use, no lashing out whatsoever. "I'm putting him in his place. The only way I'm going to kill him is if he tries it first," Gabriel snarls, that calm confidence dissolving into the harsh anger of a cornered animal. "I tried to protect them— all of them— and what I did to Claire was a weakness and fear." He spits the words, as if the admission were something he wants to get rid of.

"But he's not listening, and you're just as foolish. Throw that canister and Varlane spends the trip blind, Kazimir," is both threat and fact, legs tense as if ready to run as the sound of approach reaches normal ears as well as his psychic radar.

"Fix this damnit, I have enough wrong without leaving here blind too!" Magnes starts marching forward, trying to feel around with both his hands and gravity, searching out for Gabriel's form. "I need to be able to help on this mission, or all these sacrifices were for nothing. Stop being so petty! You get a pardon and then when you go back home, you can do whatever you want! What do I get? I go back home to no job, I have to suck it up that Claire can't remember me and just accept how things turned out, I'm blind in one freakin' eye, and all I'll have to show for it is 'Oh, I saved the world, now I get to live my piece of shit Joe Quesada-written life'."

He moves to swing a punch, which goes no where near Gabriel and causes even more frustration on the gravity-manipulator's face. "You can go to hell with your petty power bullshit! At least your life isn't complete shit, you're just acting like a child and can't be happy with what you have! Fuck you!"

Lifting his sleeve to his wrist, Kazimir speaks into his shirt cuff, "Hold." There's a narrowing of his eyes, thumb toying with the pin in the canister, and blue eyes look between Gabriel and Magnes, then back again. "Restore his sight." Enunciated as clearly as possible, Kazimir makes no suggestion that he's going to lower the canister. "I only ask that out of convenience, because I do not need Magnes for the final phase of this operation."

Kazimir takes one step closer to Gabriel. "I don't need him losing control because of some fit of rage and sinking this ship. Restore his sight, and perhaps when all this is over, someone will let you out of that little barred cell. I know you're not much fond of being a prisoner, this body has it's reservations about cells as well, but if you have no intention of cooperating with my plan." The metallic cylinder is held up slowly.

"I know I can't control you," Kazimir admits with a frustrated tone of voice, "so if you aren't going to cooperate, then hopefully Grigori will."

Gabriel only steps back as Magnes comes at him, trusting his blindness to hinder him just enough, bewilderement now crossing the serial killer's expression and the snarling words from the gravity manipulator. "I go home to nothing. Not a pardon, not even a former career. Claire doesn't remember you? Eileen doesn't remember a thing either, and I have the American government to thank." In disgust, the dagger he'd made goes clattering to the ground at Magnes' feet, as if discarding both the fight and the young man he's having it with.

"His sight will come back over the next few days," he tells Kazimir, voice as dull as his gaze, and he takes the time to seal up the slash on his arm, scabs it over. "For now, he gets nothing from me but a pardon."

"What is wrong with you?" Magnes tries to feel around, walking in the direction he heard the dagger fall from. "Look, I don't know what's going on with you, or what you have to do with Eileen. But, fix whatever you did to my eyes and we'll talk about it. And he won't lock you up, not that I think it'd be possible anyway." He's calmed down a bit, sobered up from his rage, now he's trying to negotiate.

"Do I?" Gabriel's insight always is self-serving, though Kazimir some how always had an ear for it. "Enlighten me, Gabriel; why should I put this down? Are you going to do what I need, or are you going to continue this," he motions with his cane around the engine room, "display of your liberty?" This is so much sharper than Peter's usual display of Kaizmir's affect. "I want to think that your sense of self preservation is somehow greater than your pride, but all that time I spent locked in your head," he taps the top of his cane against his own head in a light rap, "makes me feel as though they may be on equal footing with one another."

A momentary look of concern is afforded to Magnes, then blue eyes settle back down on Gabriel. "Tell me," he admits in quiet consideration, "pride or survival?" His thumb demonstratively rattles the pin on the gas canister. Then, with a quirk of his brow, Kazimir looks to Magnes with a lopsided smile. "Oh look, he's on stage five."

"And he wants to talk," Gabriel says, with a similar kind of smile in his voice if distinctly lacking good humour and mirth. Snide, cold, distant amusement glimmering in a blacker mood. Like a light switched back on, Magnes' vision clears of darkness with only a glance from Gabriel. "But a little too late, don't you think." He looks back to Kazimir, rocking forward a step as if to demonstrate his lack of fear of the item in his hand, as much as it had made his hackles rise as fast as it did. "You want to put it down because you need me, and I don't respond to threats. All you have to do is tell me what's in it for me."

An eyebrow rises, mouth finally twisting into something that isn't a scowl or a grimace — a halved, wry smile. "Just like old times."

Magnes closes his eye, then raises a hand to roughly rub it before turning around to watch Gabriel and Kazimir's exchange. "If you're helping us stop those nukes, I don't see why you can't get a pardon. And stop killing, get therapy, I know a good therapist, and she's not even Evolved so you won't have temptation. With your ability, imagine the things you could do? I have something very interesting I could show you, when we get home. If you're curious enough, and I promise, you won't be disappointed, then you should do what Kazimir says."

"Not now, Magnes," Kazimir offers as he moves to close the distance to the blind young man, resting a hand on his shoulder. "I don't need him growing a conscience about one of his most fantastic capability right this moment." Bringing his sleeve up to his mouth again, Kazimir speaks into it. "You're clear, false alarm." There's a crack of a smile, reluctantly offered, and Kazimir slides his thumb out of the pin holding it in place and watches as a singular marine comes in to the engine room, eyeing Gabriel with a narrow-eyed stare, and takes the canister from Kazimir, checking the pin, and then walks backwards towards the doorway, not turning his back on Gabriel for even a moment.

"Something you crave," is all Kazimir offers as an answer, looking to the canister with a lopsided smile, "something part of me is terrified to give you, and another part of me is fascinated to offer." His hand squeezes a bit more firmly against Magnes' shoulder as he continues to talk to Gabriel. "You and I should take a trip down to the brig, I've someone down there I'd like to introduce you to."

Then, turning to Magnes, he offers up. "One of the marines will lead you back topside. I have one last thing I wish to speak to you about, but it can wait until you can see."

"He can see," Gabriel states, head tipping a little in Magnes' direction, that look of disdain for the younger man's prior words ebbing away during when Kazimir speaks around what he has to offer Gabriel, intrigue reluctantly alighting in dark eyes. "For all that a one-eyed man is worth in the land of the seeing, but we don't need a blind moron. Get help, Varlane, before you get yourself killed." A hand drifting up, Gabriel wraps his fingers around the dangling lion's tooth that's come free of his T-shirt, hooked on the braided leather high on his chest.

With a jut of his chin in Kazimir's direction, one of agreement, Gabriel starts to move from the space and towards the corridor that leads out of the engine room, his foot steps heavy and clanging against the patterned metal that makes up the walkway.

"I'll be fine, for now at least. The eye doesn't bother me much unless I'm shooting, and I'm trying to get used to that. I just need to pretend that there's nothing after this mission, 'cause that's about the only thing I can think of that'll make me stop being a wreck." Magnes turns away from both men now, floating down the wall the way he came. "But I can't promise how I'll feel when this is all over. I always think I have everything figured out, then I see Claire and everything changes." That's what he leaves them with, speeding up, then gone.

Kazimir quirks a brow at Gabriel, then to Magnes with scrutiny at his assertion; oh how Gabriel and Magnes have something in common there. He smiles hesitantly, at that, before turning to follow on Gabriel's heels in silence, comfortable to leave Magnes behind now that he knows he can find his way topside without a helping hand. "You know, Gabriel…" Kazimir offers up from behind the taller man as he walks, that metered step of footfalls carrying him quietly across the etallic floor, "there's a saying you may be aware of that I was just reminded." His lips creep into a lopsided smile.

"In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king."

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