Network Television


ff_asi_icon.gif elliot2_icon.gif ff_kendall_icon.gif wf_squeaks_icon4.gif wright2_icon.gif

Scene Title Network Television
Synopsis Travelers gather for interdimensional movie night.
Date July 4, 2021

Department of the Exterior
Washington, K.C.

July 4th, 2021
Prime Timeline

“Hi, welcome,” Wright says, drumming her fingertips chaotically against the edge of the conference room table. She’s pushed it to the side because it will just get in the way, and because someone else will have to move it back if they try to reclaim this space. Its only purpose it serves now is to bear a few stacks of DVDs and the odd VHS cassette.

The light beside the top of the door glows red, they’re cut off from the rest of the world. The large open space has a soft cloth armchair, appropriated from a waiting area somewhere in the building, and a side table bearing a cornucopia of snacks. “Squeaks expressed interest in Jurassic Park, so that’s up first.”

She stops, fishes a compact mirror from her pocket, pops it open to look at herself. “Also, this is what I look like, in case you were wondering that.”

Rest Area Westbound · I-76
Rootstown, Ohio
Flooded Timeline

“Oh yeah,” Elliot says, “Thanks for the reminder. Also, does this feel like a cavity to you?” He digs the tip of his tongue into a molar.

“God damn it, Elliot,” Wright says.

“Fucking jellybeans,” he laments.

Asi swings her arms back and forth in front of her, giving them as well as her legs a good stretch with wide steps that take advantage of their brief stop as much as possible. She's aware of a strange sensation– that she's going to miss the beginning of a show if she doesn't hurry– and it's weirdly comforting in a foreign way. "After this," she voices, "We should watch something novel. Something that exists only over there. That's my vote."

“I know they were planning on releasing Iron Man 2 ten years ago, and it’s probably moldering somewhere out west, if Hollywood even exists anymore, though I guess we’ll never see it. It should’ve been finished, but it wasn’t supposed to come out in theaters until May or something. Did you guys get it? I mean, Cruise was pretty good in the first one.” Kendall is lingering nearby, tempted by the prospect of movies.

“As long as it's got dinosaurs,” Squeaks practically crows from where she hangs over the roof of the news van. How she got up there is anyone’s guess, but who can really blame her after the endless and eternal driving of everywhere. And it's not really clear if she's meaning the current movie, or the one that's next like Asi is requesting. In all honesty, it isn't going to matter what's chosen or if it has dinosaurs or not, she's just all for watching movies.

“Sure,” Wright tells Asi, “I can read you a novel.” Elliot shakes his head, not serious.

“She reads military history books, don’t fall for it. Okay, something after two thousand ten, then,” Elliot ponders. “We can think of something eventually. You three have already done this, so I don’t really need to explain anything to you. But, any questions?”

Wright pre-emptively answers some: “No, that door will not open and you can not see what is beyond it.” She points to the red light above the conference room door to emphasize the security feature.

Asi cycles to looking dangerously unimpressed with Wright's jape at her expense, her swinging attempts at limbering and stretching suddenly falling still. She looks off as she lets out a slow sigh, attempting to keep her reaction to herself, at least.

As much as she can, with the resentment over her use of the English language being used against her bleeding from her. She's definitely not like her military-trained counterpart in keeping her emotions secondary to any given moment.

"Yeah," Asi answers with forced politeness, presuming anything she says to be picked up by Elliot. "Is it normal for sealed conference rooms to have theatre-sized screens in them? I thought you came at the request of your government, not your film industry."

"Starting with Jurassic Park though, you sure it's a good idea to start with horror? Shouldn't that be the last thing so everyone can have it fresh in their minds when they go to bed?" Kendall looks over in Squeaks' direction when he says that, though her current location spurs an unreasonable desire to climb up high himself, one he fortunately represses. "Well I don't mind."

He falls silent when Elliot speaks up again and shakes his head. "Guess I was mainly wanting to see if my idea works and I can stream it for others." He waves a hand towards the side of the news van Squeaks is perched on, and an old style projection screen unrolls itself into existence. He frowns at it though, and it changes to a 55" flat screen mounted on the side. "If I even can use my ability at the same time. I guess tell me if you still see it." he adds vaguely to Squeaks, sitting down on a nearby log as he thinks about going into that odd place.

The TV stays in place even afterwards, but it remains to be seen if anything shows on it. And for the record, if anyone tried poking it, their hand would go right through it. And now Kendall finds himself looking at another TV, this one even bigger. "Hrm. I guess you had more time to improve technology."

“No, it's movie time!” Squeaks clearly has no questions and can't be bothered to wonder at Kendall’s staring or Asi’s grumpiness this time. Even though it's been a while since they were on the Cerberus together, she’s still pretty used to the technopath’s moods. At least enough to know not to draw attention to it. She scoots back from the edge of the roof, making some shuffling and thumping noises as she does. Then her arms fold under her head as she settles on her back, facing skyward to watch the movie.

"This is the conference room with the small TV. And this is barely a horror movie," Wright says. She doesn't waste time, switching inputs to the streaming service where Jurassic Park is already queued up and paused. "Hold on to your butts," she instructs the group, and presses play on the remote as she settles into her chair. She feels bad for making Asi feel bad, but isn't sure how to navigate the minefield roulette of interacting with the other woman. Her fingers drum on her jeans and she sighs.

Elliot tosses his sleeping bag on the ground, laying out in his jacket and using the bag as a pillow. It isn't hard for him to put Asi's reaction in context. He pulls Asi's attention to himself as he settles in to stare at the evening sky and signs, Sorry for the wordplay, you didn't say it wrong. She was just being silly. Asi would have felt Wright's regret just as he did. He keeps his signing subtle, letting the others focus on the movie as the opening credits roll. "Feel free to give it a try, Kendall, I have no idea if it will work unless you're copying and recreating the whole movie."

Asi's attention, pulled multiple ways, cedes for Elliot's for the moment. She only shakes her head in return, then lets go of streaming anything at all. She sighs and swings both hands up, heels of palms grinding into her eyes for a moment with that long exhale. "ま、いいわ," she mutters, trying to brush off the moment.

These are her problems, not Wright's, and she can feel the intent wasn't to offend. It edges away at silent suspicion, leaving just frazzled feelings in all of its wake. She paces around the stop site, and looks aside at the projection Kendall is attempting, wondering if it'll work or not.

Even as the tv inside the conference room turns on, the one outside shows much the same, with about a 5 second lag. Kendall has to concentrate on it, but it’s a matter of tying in what he sees and sending it out. Those trying to see both, however, would likely get irritated, like a youtube video where the sound is just a few seconds off.

“Barely a horror movie?” Kendall frowns at that, then the tv outside freezes for a second when he summons a theater chair, though not one of the fancy newfangled ones the Travelers might be familiar with. He seats himself in it and starts focusing again, and the tv outside picks up the ‘signal’ again, though still with that 5 seconds off.

From up on the roof of the van, there’s a loud and harsh Shh! from Squeaks. It’s movie time, which is still a novel luxury for her no matter where it’s from.

“I mean, dinosaurs definitely eat people,” Wright says. “But it’s a Spielburg movie, so nothing over the top.” The movie starts off simply enough: night time, a jungle giving way to an industrial environment. It doesn’t take long at all for the first human to get eaten alive by a dinosaur. “Actually, I haven’t watched this in years, so if it’s super violent I apologize.”

Asi misses the comment, given she's watching Kendall's stream rather than Wright's out of her periphery. She completes the stretches she's meant to in short order, and takes a brief break from the watch to get aboard the bus to retrieve the handgun she's brought on this trip as well as the holster she wears with it. Sitting cross-legged, she takes her time in examining the small-caliber gun, watching and listening to the movie absently while she confirms the purchased firearm is still in good shape after all its time living near the ocean.

It doesn't seem like it's as easy as Kendall previously stated, because he's definitely showing some strain even a few minutes in. "Ugh… sorry, gimme a second. This is harder than I thought." Taking the opportunity Asi gave him by leaving to get her gun, the 'streaming' pauses and Kendall stands up, the chair disappearing. He seats himself on a nearby rock instead, and it resumes. "One or the other, not both." he mutters with a sigh, then returns his attention to the high effort it apparently takes him to project from Wright's side.

Sitting up criss-cross, Squeaks leans forward as the transport carrier is docked with the pen. Her hands, fingers folded toward her palms, cradle her cheeks, and her elbows rest against her thighs. She's forgotten about the others below, about their chatter, and even Wright's words are missed because she is wide-eyed and engrossed throughout the opening sequence. Even as the chaos of a dinosaur claiming its meal fades to a bald man standing on a raft in a river, the teenager only lets out a slow, measured breath. That wasn't so scary.

Shortly later…

The high pitched shrieking of velociraptors resounds through the conference room at an unsettling volume. It's pitch black but for the television, and Wright's rapt attention leaves room for almost nothing other than her fear to make it through the network. She finds herself surprised to be so caught up in the moment as the beasts push their way into the kitchen, stalking terrified children for their next meal.

Watching once more from a nook her own, laying down across bench seats in the Frizzle, Asi snorts at the display at hand. She's too curious about the practical effects to really let herself be as on edge as Wright is, vaguely amused and keen on the beats as they happen. She mutters from where she's taking a 'nap', "You said they made sequels to this? Just what even could be the premise, at that point."

"It's barely even scary." Kendall grumbles, although he sounds tired, and hasn't moved much since they started. The TV, however, is still there, and still relaying the movie. "I can see where it would give, like, a ten year old nightmares. But yeah, this has sequels? Seems like all they'd do is repeat the same premise, just different dinosaurs." he's still watching it though, and Squeaks is probably going to shush them any second.

Since the velociraptors have taken center stage, all the way back at the bunker where Mr. Abrams got eaten, Squeaks' hands have been habitually resting against her ears. And they stay that way all the way through the ending while the tyrannosaurus roars in victory. She doesn't miss a minute of what's happening though, Wright's streaming still comes through clearly and the teen clings to that until the very last minute, when the helicopter glides over the ocean amidst a flock of giant pelican type birds. Then, just as the credits flash on the screen, she swings her attention to the here and now.

Scuffling sounds from the van roof as Squeaks scoots to the edge of the vehicle. She drops easily onto the ground, shoes kicking up some dust, gravel scuttling from her hands. Blue eyes cast for anyone else around before dropping to Kendall, and all the wonder and excitement she would have had following the movie is tarnished with simmering annoyance.

"What's your problem, stale slice," she shoots out as she straightens. "No one made you join. Just because you don't like it doesn't mean you get to ruin it for anyone else. If you don't like it then don't be here!" Squeaks roughly scuffs a foot in the gravel, sending little chips of concrete and dirt in Kendall's direction like she would when shooing away a stray animal.

Elliot, unprepared, cannot help but snort at the unexpected and unusual profanity coming from Squeaks. He wheezes a bit of laughter as he whispers the words back to himself, but realizes he should prevent any discord from breaking up the network. “Kendall,” he says diplomatically, “I realize it’s probably been over a decade since you watched a movie with other people, but you did seem dead set on not enjoying yourself and everyone else can feel that. For an illusionist, it’s honestly kind of surprising that you aren’t able to suspend disbelief for long enough to get into it.”

"In his defense, it probably comes with the line of thought that after a certain point… you could do it better," Asi mutters her aside. "All the power of imagination in your hand, and all…"

"But this was the peak of practical effects. People went to be…" Her eyes flutter for a moment as she relies on someone else's English knowledge to make the point she wants. "They went to be wowed, not 'scared out of their pants'. Realism in a time where computer animation amounted to unconvincing blocks." Or so her pragmatism justifies.

Nothing of it has soothed Squeaks' irritation, so she grouches to herself about it while she twists away from the confrontation. Some other choice words can picked out. Like not primal and isn't fair and even botswarf, but she's too busy with returning to the van roof to really say more so anyone can hear how she really feels.

As soon as the credits start rolling, Kendall drops the illusion, both his hands coming up to squeeze his temples, eyes squinted shut in a grimace. It's not really pain, per se, more a deep fatigue. "Thanks for the movie." he adds where Wright can hear, but then he's getting a pissy teenager kicking rocks at him. He cracks his eyes open to frown at Squeaks. He's not sure what she called him, but tone of voice conveys meaning just fine.

"Why am I the only one you're mad at, she complained about it too!" Kendall jerks his thumb over at Asi. He subsides with a muttered "Sorry" to Elliot though, looking off to the side. "I was expecting a horror movie." his gaze shifts back to Asi, and he nods. Challenge accepted! "I probably could make someone shit their pants." with a light shrug though, he turns away from the censure. "Ours was made at the same time, right? Nothing family friendly, that's for sure. But whatever, not that it matters, we can't see ours anymore anyway so it might as well not exist."

Elliot raises his hands in acquiescence, not wanting to double down on Squeaks’s annoyance. “That’s fair,” he says. “Wright picked this one so someone else can pick the next movie. Something everybody can agree is a good movie.” Not immediately, everybody here seems ready to get away from each other.

Something comes to him, and he turns to Asi with curiosity. “Speaking of a time where computer animation amounted to unconvincing blocks, have you ever seen the incredibly technologically accurate cinematic masterpiece Hackers?

Asi only slowly turns her head toward Elliot, deeply unconvinced anything he's just said about this movie aside from its name is true. "Wright," she mutters to herself. "For Elliot's continued safety, I suggest you stop him from talking himself into being left behind tomorrow morning."

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