Oracle's Red Queen


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Scene Title Oracle's Red Queen
Synopsis Once upon a time, the White Queen's Oracle brought a warning. "Though some things are averted.. other things come into play. Everything comes with a price." Payment comes due, and now the Oracle puts the Red Queen into play.
Date November 9, 2017

Nancy, the Bus

She has a monstrous headache. And Elisabeth is still mad at Magnes, way deep down where it's not going away any time soon. But he was right about one thing… Eve knew to come for them. And Eve might just be the only person with answers. So she goes seeking the seer.

People can always point to where Eve is when she's in a camp. The brunette version of Liz finds the other woman near her bus and pauses a few feet away. "I need to talk to you." Her words are blunt but not harshly so. There's a weariness to her tone.

“Yes, you do.”

Comes the easy reply from the oracle as she leans forward from her position in the rocking chair, at first almost leaning back so far that she touches the ground almost with the back of the chair stopping herself with the toe of a scuffed up boot, her clothes are loose at the moment, black and gray. Her red hair blazing behind the light of a fire placed in a pit next to Eve. “Liz.. Liz.. Liz..” Tapping her fingers on the arms of her chair she regards the brunette and alt version of her friend, “I wish you had been able to skip over this wretched hellhole before you got home but the river must flow as it does.” Dipping her head in respect to time and the things she sees, the oracle takes a moment to pull out a freshly rolled joint.

Quickly lighting the thing, smoke wafting up between her fingers and up to the night sky above them. “You’ve met her, the other you.” A guess from the precog not a vision, if Liz hadn’t then perhaps she would seek herself out. “The children, they should learn each other. Siblings. I wish my sisters were still alive,” a faint smile on Eve’s face as she blows smoke out from her nostrils and looks up to the sky, “Tell me,” what she came to talk to Eve about, the stories of her travels, The redhead doesn’t elaborate.

"That's the second time today that I've heard someone knew we were coming while I didn't," Elisabeth grouses mildly, moving to perch near the woman. As she lowers herself slowly to the ground to sit, she nods slightly. "I have," she agrees. Met the other version of herself. "I'm not sure she'd be amenable to Joshua and Aurora getting to know one another," she points out. Her tone is soft, her thoughts for a moment on the little boy. And the man he became in another time and place.

Pulling herself from those thoughts, she turns her eyes back onto Eve. "I could tell you any number of things, but I need you to tell me — what you know. If I have to go fucking timeline jumping again and we're landing another somewhere other than home… Christ, Eve, I'm almost to the point that even bothering to try again is not something I want. But of course, given the landing here, I'm not about to stay." Not if she can help it.

“Who else sees when you come before you came?” Eve’s eyes squint as she looks over at the audiokinetic before she frowns, that meeting must have been hard that Eve doesn’t need her gift to tell her that. “Maybe you’ll come around, though you know yourself better than I.” A grin given to Liz as she passes over the joint, “Take a hit, relax yourself.”

As Liz asks her that question, the seer gets a faraway look in her eyes, contemplating her dreams and things she’s seen. Before long she is tilting her head at her friend but offers no good news, “It’s like.. If you’re in a line of ants. I can only see the front ant and the ant at the very back.” Wiggling her fingers to dance along the chair and then her thigh, “But if I look outside the lines to the side, I’ll just catch something.” The pale woman goes to grip Liz’s hand and squeeze, “Your next step is not here yet but if you trust me.” A wry smile on her chapped lips, “I’ll get you home.” Or the next step, it is her promise.

“This is.. Not where anyone would like to land I don’t believe but while you’re here..” Eve’s eyes narrow slightly and her rasp kicks up a notch, “I’d ask for the help of you and the other travelers.. The Resistance.. Is not what it use to be back in the day.. We’re broken. Running out of supplies, running out of people.” Eve’s frown deepens, “I will protect you and your family and the rest of the people who came with you.” With the caveat that they help Eve and the Resistance. The benign seer who would peek for anyone even a good friend is gone, in her place is an Eve who will not lose the opportunity of reinforcements, not ones that are this level.

"No," Elisabeth declines immediately the hit off the joint. She's never been one for that form of recreational sedation. A little — sometimes a lot — of alcohol is about her extent. She pushes out a heavy sigh. "You didn't even have to ask that, much less try to use it as leverage," she tells the seer with slightly narrowed eyes. "This timeline has already impacted my life and her son's life enough that for whatever time I'm here, obviously you have my help. I would really rather Joshua not die." Even if he again goes back and tries to kill his father. Not her circus, not her monkeys, that problem.

"I also already know that apparently even if we do manage to jump again, it's certainly not home, it's the fucking flooded world where we failed to stop the goddamned nuke in Antarctica that tore Richard into shadow-shreds. So don't fuck around with little hints and trying to play with me, Eve." She's not angry — Liz is just laying it out there, shooting from the hip as she always has with Eve. Or at least, her Eve. "I trust in what you see. You and I both know that sometimes it can be changed. So… tell me what you need and tell me what you've seen so far. And let me decide which options I can live with, okay?" There's a weariness to her. The jump to this timeline, of the possible timelines so far, is the one that guts her. In a lot of ways, this timeline is the reason she has all the things she has, including her daughter.

“Still the same but I tell ya, it really helps with those voices you don’t wanna hear.” Continuing to smoke quietly she listens to what Liz is saying to her, her jaw clenches and there’s a few slow, agonizing minutes that go by as the Eve looks off to the side, continuing to smoke. “Leverage..” a snort from the pale woman. “Do you think I need leverage? I could easily throw you and your daughter to the dogs. I don’t need leverage, I need your help.” There’s steel in her voice that Liz has never heard before as her brown eyes grow dark. She leans forward with a soft expression on her face, the softness doesn’t reach her eyes though, little does nowadays. “I am leading.. The last of us. I don’t have time for pissing on you, I know you. I know you will help.” And that’s all Eve has to say on that particular subject, for the Flooded world, well. “I.. yes. You had better bring your oars and rainboots.” There’s a flicker behind her eyes, “Did.. who told you that?”

Clearly she was hiding something. “It’s no use knowing that piece of the puzzle when we don’t know how and when,” Not yet anyway.

“I will have you and the others meet with Hot Hands, Lady Zeus and my sweetie pie Eli. They have assignments that you guys could potentially help us with.” Eve already thinking of the supply runs she can use the travelers for. A multitude of things, “I’ve seen a lot my Fair Lady, not all of it connects. Not yet at least.. I need a little time.” Smoking or not this Eve sounds somber, moody. Though her antics come out of course because it’s Eve for now she is being straight with Liz, as straight as she’s ever been.

Eve's response doesn't seem to faze Liz too terribly much. She actually looks relieved. "I'm so glad someone is looking in a direction other than mine for leadership," she comments, entirely without any sarcasm at all. "This is your world… a part of me loves all of you, but I have enough shit on my plate and enough people to take full responsibility for." Blowing out a slow breath, she looks away from Eve out over the mess that is this world. "You have my help, Eve. All you ever had to do was ask."

As to who told her what? When her blue eyes come back to the seer, the pure titanium core that this Liz has developed is rather evident. "Magnes did — when I ripped his head off and shoved it so far up his ass he could see daylight again." She is still infuriated at the man who is her 'little brother.' "Apparently he did some shit it in the last timeline that netted him information… but I'm not entirely sure how reliable it is." She shoves a hand through her dark hair.

"The possible when's and how's of getting out of here… we're going to have to rely on you for. I doubt anyone has the tech to tell us when an appropriate solar storm will hit again." Sadness slips across her features. She's not even sure they'll actually get out of this hellhole of a world. "Much less having the power right now to even try it — not with Mateo and Lynette swapped. In the meantime… use us as you need to. Much like the world of the virus, if we don't all pull together, we'll all surely die separately."

“I am really grateful for that Liz,” Eve closes her eyes and leans back in her chair, the possibilities were many when Eve was involved but she seems relieved to hear Liz say those words. If looking closer at the pale woman, Elisabeth would notice the lines on her face, she looks tired.

Blinking with a tilt of her head, “The pizza boy.. Yes. He’s a strange one huh?” The irony of that statement coming from her isn’t lost on Eve. “Hmm.. I’ll need to speak with the boy then.” Eve’s eyes take on a curious glint, “Did he poop out of his eyeballs?” a manic grin crosses Eve’s lips as she winks at the other woman before patting her shoulder, “You’re doing good. Your girl.. Is beautiful.” There’s finally a twinkle in Eve’s eyes, the kids always do it for her. “No tech really, the minions have all but destroyed this country and anything useful in it.” Her tone full of pent-up rage and a ting of regret. “I.. Liz.. Gilly..” That’s when the cold mask that Eve must wear in the face of the DoEA begins to crack and she sniffles before drawing her shoulders back. “She’s gone.” Wincing at the finality of that statement, “We’ve all lost a lot, lights dimming all around us.”

“Tell me something, tell me the best memory you have on your journey.” There had to be one, this couldn’t all be doom and gloom. “I love a good story,” as Liz knows already. “Tell me one, I’ll give you one.”

Shaking her head, Liz looks up at Eve, immediately reaching out to hug the other woman tightly. The loss of Gillian… in every goddamned world. It hurts people so much. "I'm sorry," she whispers. "I'm so sorry, Eve." But she releases the seer just as quickly. This is not her Eve, and it's not her place to do more than offer that brief condolence.

Leaning back to look out toward the ruins, Elisabeth smiles a little. The compliment to Aurora is guaranteed to bring that small smile. "The best memory I have?" she asks. "There've been some really good ones… My first performance as a solo act was a big one. But the first best memory I have is finding out about Aura, of course." The admission shouldn't come as a surprise, the story behind it simple. "I didn't even know I was pregnant. When the teams left for the battle that shunted us sideways that first time, I … couldn't have been but a couple weeks? Maybe a month? Not enough to notice anything, certainly. Seems like November 8th is destined to be a bad day for me." Again. Seems like always that day. "Christmas Eve, I was sitting there with Elaine putting together what little we could find to make a Christmas for the little ones. Elaine kind of let slip that Magnes had gotten her pregnant. Pretty much had to fuckin' happen within days of us landing there." It's still sort of boggles her brain, that one.

"So… I thought it would be a good Christmas present for her. I reached for the sound of her baby's heartbeat." Elisabeth pauses and has to swallow hard, sudden tears flooding her own eyes. "I got a little more than I bargained for. Not just her baby… but mine too." She looks down, her smile both radiant and sad at the same time. "I didn't even know what to think. I mean… that first timeline was the one where the Shanti Rage virus was killing everyone. She wouldn't survive that. And the chances were more than decent I wouldn't survive giving birth to her. But God, Eve…" She looks up at the seer. "The sound of that heartbeat gave me such hope. She looks at me, and … she gets this expression sometimes. And for just a few minutes, I forget where we are and I can do anything. Like magic."

Eve is grateful for that support from Liz and she shows it by hugging her back tightly for as short as it is, but there it is. One of Eve’s cards laying on the table for Liz to understand her better. “If wasn't fair but.. I'm going to blow those bastards to hell. Pie in the sky.

Listening to Liz’s tale has Eve smiling despite the emotions she carries still for Gillian’s death and the promise she made to herself and her best friend in that moment. “There's hope, it don't cost a thing to smile, you don't have to pay to smile, you better thank God for that,” leaning back as she sings the lyrics to the India Arie song, “Performing! It's about time you put your gifts to use.” Beaming it's a stark contrast from the rough woman, she hasn't forgotten the burden on her shoulders but she's not concentrating fully on it at the moment, just a moment she tells herself. “Your daughter is beautiful. Richard will be excited,” she's sure of it.

Thinking on her own good memory, “You start to wonder when you're an.. assertive woman like myself,” nudging Liz with a wink, woman to woman. “That there isn't a man out there that can handle my ways but boy was I wrong.” Remembering that day makes Eve smile. “My Eli came guns hot and hair immaculately fucked up with dust in it.” Snorting the woman looks up to the sky, “He righted my ship, stayed my course. I think that serves as the best memory of late.” A warm smile on her face.

Elisabeth's smile remains. "I did finally put that music background back to work," she admits. "Took a lot of music lessons… and a lot of physics and power lessons too." There's a slight shrug at that part. "It paid the bills…. I think maybe I was just starting to build an actual career." It seems strange to realize for the first time how big an impact — and how big an escape — her music is. When the Towers came down, that was a street-level thing. But when Midtown happened, she retreated into music. And teaching it. "I went back to being a cop and moved on to being a soldier when the Vanguard ramped up," she murmurs quietly, her tone a little pensive as the thought hits her. "But in Arthur's world, where I couldn't fight like that anymore… it was peaceful." She's not sure what that says about her — perhaps all the right things, if her father were to be believed. You fight when you have to, but you still have to have a safe mental harbor when the fighting is over or you become one of those people who can't ever come home from the war.

The brunette looks down picking at her shirt cuff a little while she thinks. "I hope he will be," she replies to the comment on Richard's reaction. "I don't know for sure. I wish I could have told him myself. That didn't work out like I'd planned." She hesitates and then looks up with a rueful grin. "Very few things ever do, it seems like." Pulling in a slow breath, she admits softly, "After everything I've seen so far, I'm not so arrogant as to believe I was the one to right Richard Cardinal's ship and stay the course. Hell, half the time I'm the cause of his downfall." It's a hard truth. "I like to think that maybe I helped him find … a north star by which to navigate to his best self. Because I know he helped me navigate toward mine. So I hope, Eve, that's what Eli does for you." She laughs suddenly, low and perhaps a little pained. "And there I go again… a goddamned romantic. All bubblegum and flowers." It has the air of being something that perhaps was actually said to her.

“Peace can be made even in the most destroyed, cracked pavement. Fractured. We endure.” Eve offers as she continues to smoke, “My north star, what a good way to put it.” She offers also and the pale woman stares at Liz, “Ahh you’re fine. We make our decisions. You’re there when both of you fall, that’s enough. Always enough.” She’s saying it to herself just as much as she’s saying it to the audiokinetic.

“The thing I’ve learned, watching all the possible truths flow by..” Eve waves her hand dismissively, dismissing time.

“Even the best plans, can’t overcome certain things. Maybe it doesn’t happen. But a version of it does, somewhere. Somewhere your plans never failed. Somewhere they always do. Wouldn’t that be sweet if you could visit that river. Just for a taste of what perfection is.” Eve revels in that image and the feeling that the image conjures for her. “Bones grow weary but what’s inside presses on. Always presses on.” Speaking again more to herself but the sentiment stands. “There might not be much bubblegum here but.. You can find the chewy bits.” Whatever that means. “Squirrel can be a bit chewy.” Oh.

Elisabeth snickers quietly. That's the Eve she knows and loves. "I know," she tells the seer. "Some things are just meant to happen. The trick isn't to stop them or try to change the flow of the universe… it's to realize that some things are just going to happen and you hope to change enough that the people you love survive it."

Pushing back to her feet, she says quietly, "Magnes has things he needs to tell you. I'd like to be here when you guys talk, but just in case I'm not…" She hesitates. "Be careful of what he tells you. Everything he knows will come from Edward fucking Ray, after Magnes had the insane urge to let Tyler Case augment his power." She grimaces. "I'm pretty sure that level of probability perception is enough to drive the fucker mad. So… a whole shaker full of salt, Eve. But let me know when you want to have that talk so we can all get on the same page. Meanwhile… I'll start taking my turns at scav runs and shit." She sounds… resigned. Like she's done this before.

Looks like it's time for those bootstraps again. As Eve said, we endure. She'll rest when we're through.

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