More Than Just


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Scene Title More Than Just
Synopsis Once the initial fire has died down, Asi realizes that without an ability, she struggles to see what she has to offer, and impresses those views upon Jac as well.
Date July 9, 2020

Health Sciences Centre

Winnipeg, Manitoba


It hasn’t been long since the impromptu and unofficial meeting of plane crash survivors had ended. Nearly all of the victims of whatever yet to be understood crime had left, leaving Asi alone with her thoughts at a crumpled stub of a cigarette, and the silent companionship of Nicole MIller. For a single moment, the Japanese woman is allowed the respite of veritable solitude in the freshness of the open air.

Then a foot scuffs just at the doorway. The mop of red hair framing wondering blue eyes has returned in the full form of a skinny youth.

Jac Childs is drawn between checking the hallway and allowing herself into the space already occupied by a woman she only knows in passing — but remembers from another world. Fingers trail from the door frame as her body moves forward, eventually her head turns to join the progression of approach. Her arm drops to her side when her eyes find Asi

and she pauses, still a good half the patio away. The teen hooks an arm with a hand behind her back, casts another quick glance behind although the door and hallway beyond remains empty and silent.

“No one is looking for you,” Jac says, like bearing a peace offering, extending a hand to help pick up a fallen rival.

When Asi is in the midst of turning back to head inside, seeing the return of the most silent of faces brings her to pause, brow lifted. She sees the attempt at conversation for what it is, and looks over her shoulder back to Nicole before resuming her forward cadence. "Good to hear," she replies to Jac in a murmur, gesturing them both inside back into the hall with a lift of her head. "But on the offchance someone does come, I'd rather be on the move."

It's an invitation to join her, in not so many words.

"I remember you," she says once they're back inside, her hand trailing on the door as it falls closed behind them. "You were the child at the Raytech meeting I attended in 2018. Ray's warning regarding the Entity. And you…" Her eyes narrow a touch, a silent attempt made to call on information she can't summon on command anymore. It leaves her feeling uneasy inside, but she's certain of the information regardless. "You were there at Detroit. I had footage— snapshots taken from the Praxis drones."

"You certainly get around for someone your age."

2018 feels like a lifetime ago, and it shows on Jac’s face when she falls in step with Asi. As for Detroit, she only looks slightly aside, in a way that implies she’d rather not talk about that day. “I guess I do,” is all she offers in response to the woman’s observations. It neither confirms nor disagrees with the assessment, just accepts it for what it is.

“I saw you before too,” she offers, and something in her tone implies that she doesn’t mean at the meeting more than a year ago. Her eyes slide to the side, casting a sidelong look up at Asi. It takes her a moment to explain in a way that doesn’t sound fanciful. “You joined the ship’s crew in the flooded world.” The teen sighs after she’s said it. No matter how it’s put — especially given her reputation — she still finds it sounds like the musings of a wild imagination.

It's good she's aware of that, at least.

Asi pauses abruptly in her stride, looking to her side at the smaller girl with a perplexed expression. For all the decidedly paranormal things that have happened to them in the last two days, this was certainly out of the blue.

"What?" she asks, more terse than she likely means to. "Was this a dream? Did it happen following the crash?"

Jac stops just after Asi comes to a halt, head tilting so she can look up at the woman. “It… was kind of like a dream, but it was before the crash. The winter before last, there was an aurora that lasted for weeks.” She pauses briefly, watching Asi for any signs of remembering or knowledge of the strange phenomenon. “It happened then. I saw me, in the flooded world. I was part of a crew and Ben Ryans was the captain. You were part of the crew, too.”

Asi's befuddlement only grows. For a moment, she looks utterly lost— hurt, even, as the child references a world unfamiliar to her save for the stories from a friend. "That's—"

She remembers swaying, part from drink, part from the sea, and the falling she did turning the stars into fireworks. She swallows hard, remembering the silence there, too. No technology to interface with, or…

"I would say you have some imagination, but I once had a friend who hailed from stranger shores," Asi finally allows, her voice quiet. But then her brow furrows and she begins to frown, doing the math. Two years ago? "What a terrible place, for a child to number in a ship's crew." Her temperament shifts as she notes, "Not that this world has done any better to its children. To you."

“It hasn’t,” Jac agrees quietly, lacking the hubris that would have been her platform not that long ago. Detroit had shattered any perspective that stars could be changed. She feels exhausted. It’s all the same no matter where or when. She moves her arms from back to front, folding limbs against her middle in a way that might be meant for protection, or some long-ago learned habit of self comfort. At the moment it’s simply a thing to do with herself instead of giving over to fidgeting.

Her head turns, eyes following a second after to skirt along the wall then stare down the hallway. For a moment longer she’s silent, balancing on a blade’s width between speaking further or abandoning it all for naught. She can’t even decide why she’d really gone back in the first place.

The teen’s teeth scrape over her lips, her eyes angle back to Asi, then up to find the woman’s gaze. “I thought… I heard you… everyone talking earlier.” It’s as good a place as any to begin.

"Yes," Asi allows, mellowing as she realizes her reaction had been a bit much in the same way that Jac's initial comment had been overmuch for her. "We were." She's tempted to begin walking again, but feels as though her need for that momentum may only serve to increase the gap of distance at the moment. "There's a clipboard going around at the moment between us… survivors." What else to call themselves but that?

It sounded slightly better than victims.

"An exchange of contact information. A way to keep in touch with each other in the future, should we find out information on our own— should anything strange happen again." Her eyes lift, go over the teenager's head to look down the hall. "There's very little trust right now that we're going to get the answers we want without fighting for them. But… that's not for you to worry about."

Now she looks back to Jac again, something determined in the hardened edge of her gaze. "You have enough on your plate as it is. A life you should get back to, surely. You're young— you deserve that much."

“It is something I have to worry about.” Jac’s eyebrows knit with a mix of confusion and frustration. She deserves as much of a chance as anyone else to figure out what happened. And after everything she’s already been through, why do adults always determine ability based on age? “We all have lives to get back to, things to worry about.” She huffs a breath and shakes her head, without moving her eyes from Asi’s. “I deserve to be able to help figure this out. I deserve for it to be my choice, not dictated by anyone else just because I’m not eighteen yet. Being the youngest… it’s not a bad thing, it’s not holding anyone back… I can help, just give me a chance.”

The disagreement in Asi is plain. "Of course you want to help," she acknowledges. "But what you deserve? You deserve the chance to do normal things for your age, while you still can. You've lost enough valuable formative time, and now this on top of it…"

With a shake of her head, the technopath explains with a tired core of quiet in her voice, "I won't be able to help with this even how I want to. Not immediately. We're at the mercy, currently, of an information waiting game. It will be up to those more tightly connected to hammer the powers that be for information. If we decide not to find alternate paths to analysis on our own, medically speaking, neither you nor I are experts in that, and that should be left to those best suited for those tasks." Politely, roundabout, it's a way of Asi stressing yes/, being the youngest doesn't help her case. That Asi sees, she has no special resources she can bring to the table. Not now. Not at this juncture.

"You should live your life while you can," Asi stresses as gently but firmly as she can. "Before you lose what's left of your childhood and never have a chance to get that time back."

“My childhood.” Jac doesn't exactly scoff at the notion, but there's definitely more to the tone she uses to echo the words.

For a long minute, she just watches Asi, calm and collected outside but seething with frustration inside. It's regularly been a struggle to be taken seriously, while now is no different her own lingering fear of the unknown forces that landed them all in this place threatens to break the dam. She takes a breath, reminds herself of the logic behind Asi’s insistence, regardless of how false she believes it is.

“You don't even know me,” the teen points out with a carefully practiced levelness, “or anything about me. And that's okay, it makes sense why you'd think I didn't belong, why I should live my life. If some skinny kid with shaggy red hair came up to me and wanted to help, I'd have my doubts too.”

Jac shrugs, shoulders raising at the same time her hands lift in a helpless gesture. “But I would at least find out what the kid has to offer and not just shoot them down over what's left of their childhood.”

Asi only arcs an eyebrow, weight shifting. "Without an ability, you are just a child." Her tone is flat. "Without an ability, I am just an accused terrorist with a suddenly broader target across my back— with less utility to me to assist with overlooking my previous accusations."

"You and I? We don't have the expertise to analyze what few details we currently do have before our faces. We don't have the clout to push for more details to be released for us."

She hadn't meant to point out her own roadblocks to her usefulness as well, but they tumbled out anyway. Her expression flattens before slipping back to something neutral, eyes distant. "We can try. Certainly." Asi looks off to the side, seeming very ready to start walking again. "But no one will listen."

She suddenly has more in common with this child than she had expected. Both want to find ways to pick away at this frustrating mystery. But as for being effective with their swings…

Asi lets out a faint laugh under her breath.

Whatever roadblocks the older woman sees, the teen doesn't share them. She refuses to be shoved to the side or to give up simply because of her age. The continued pointing it out obviously frustrates her, though she makes an equally obvious effort to hold it in check.

“My ability never kept me from finding answers before,” Jac counters, after drawing in a deep breath. It's slowly let out before she continues. “If I thought I could just get the information I wanted I probably wouldn't be here trying to get you to see more than just a child.”

She looks away for a second, searching for some way to explain what's obvious to those who actually know her. Eventually she tugs at Asi’s sleeve to start walking again.

It's easier to think and move. “I find things,” Jac says after they've walked a short ways. “I read, ask questions about… all kinds of things. I find answers I didn't know I needed or that I was looking for. And I have connections at home, people who could help once they know what happened.” The girl glances up at Asi once those cards are laid out.

Asi eventually walks after Jac, but now it's her that's lost momentum. By the time the teen looks back at her, her expression is deadpan, stoic. "If you are determined to be a junior researcher extraordinaire, then a topic to lean into would be what causes a body to emit electromagnetic radiation."

"It's baffling those here, clearly." It's as far as she's willing to concede, apparently. "So, by all means."

For all she doesn't mean to sound dismissive, she does. Her thoughts weigh her down, and not a pick-me-up in sight. "I'm going to lay down," she advises, slowing in preparation to head that way.

Jac starts to reply, but then pauses to reconsider her words. A lot of things give off electromagnetic radiation, it’s how radio waves and gamma waves travel. She’d be willing to bet that humans normally give off electromagnetic waves too, but probably not so much as they seem to be, but she can’t say for certain. Her knowledge of it is pretty limited and even though her first instinct is to go harass some answers out of the doctors it might be better to wait. Safer to inevitably draw attention when it’s on your own terms, there’s potentially less at stake.

The teen’s brows knit briefly. She backs up, toward the wall, to give Asi the space to go wherever she’d want. “Thank you. I know… I know to you I’m just a kid and I shouldn’t…” Get involved. A shoulder lifts with a shrug. “I know I don’t have anything to offer right now, but… but even if I’m just looking, it’s still helping. I might see something everyone else missed.”

In convincing Asi the use of that, Jac will be hard-pressed. But she does pause to look meaningfully at the young girl, and issues a nod. "We'll see if you do," she supposes neutrally. The corners of her eyes tighten in the attempts of a smile even if none come, and then she turns again.

"Be well."

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