paulo_icon.gif steyr_icon.gif wagner_icon.gif

Scene Title Penumbra
Synopsis A second lunar eclipse sets the final stage of Armageddon into motion…
Date December 31, 2009

Amundsen-Scott Antarctic Research Facility

The hinges of a battered metal door creak open, allowing in the busy mechanical sounds of a climate-controlled server farm. Enormous banks of computer hardware are stacked floor to ceiling, plugs and cables littering the floor, flashing lights shining off and on. Thick and dark brows furrow as a man in a winterized jacket takes a step into the server room, walking from bank to bank, thick and calloused fingers checking masking-tape labels beneath each served with sharpie-marker number and letter sequences written on them.

Searching for something, he stops at one server, crouching down to look at the circuit board, all the lights off. There's a roll of his eyes and a heavy breath, then a walkie-talkie is retrieved from his jacket. "Sir, I have found the ah… the server that is out. I just need to replace the network card and we will be good to go online. How much time do we have before totality? Over."

A crackling voice comes over the walkie's speaker. «Get on it, Paulo. We have long enough yet.» There's a nod from the bearded man working the network card out of its casing, and a click of the receiver.

"Ah, yes Sir. Right away."

On the other end of that walkie, a tired old man settles down into a plush leather armchair. One liver-spotted hand moves up to the bridge of his nose, fingers working at his eyes as he exhales a tired breath. Swallowing noisily, the old man looks up to an old black and white security monitor, watching nothing but what looks at first like static on the screen, then onc loser inspection is just a blizzard. "Julia do you know if this storm is supposed to pass before the New Year comes? I'd hoped to see the eclipse with my own two eyes before we put everything into its final stages…"

Walking up behind where the old man sits, a young brunette woman offers a mild smile, leaning over his chair to lay a steaming mug of cocoa down in front of him. "Sorry sir, I don't think so. It's quite the event though, a blue moon and a total lunar eclipse on the dawn of the new year. Very auspicious." She straightens up, hands on the back of his chair, watching the external camera with furrowed brows.

"Ah well, theatrics cannot work in our favor twice. We're not quite that charmed." Bringing the cocoa mug between both hands, the old man takes a quiet sip, staring at that snow-blinded screen. "I sent Paulo down to check on the servers, another board went dead." There's a tone that he's taken, suspicious.

"Do you think it's her, sir?" Julia asks as she rests her forearms on the back of his chair, causing it to creak a tilt back from the added weight. The old man arches one gray brow, looking up to her with a creased frown, his head dipping into a slow and disappointed nod.

"I'm willing to imagine she's responsible. Claira was always a bright one, bright enough to hide her little ability from us all for so long." Suddenly no longer feeling much like his cocoa, the old man lays his mug down on the console and turns his chair, forcing Julia to lift her arms up and rest her hands down on her hips. "I'm sorry that I don't have a ready solution for this. It's somewhat embarrassing to think that this whole bloody affair would be over we'd managed to find her."

"You mean we're not— " Suddenly Julia is overwrought with emotion, her eyes glassing up and an awkward swallow overcoming her. She looks away, down to the floor and then back again with a sharp shake of her head. "We are going to end this, right? This— the bomb? Everything?" Her neck tenses, brows furrow and an urgency criss-crosses her face. "Wagner!"

A weathered hand reaches out, taking one of Julia's hands in his own, giving it a gentle squeeze. "Dear, please…" He regards his armrest, using his free hand to help lever him out of the chair. "Julia, darling. I promise you we'll be done with this before it progresses any further…" his hand moves from hers to cup at her cheek, thumb brushing beneath her eye to wipe away any tears. "You've still some medication left, yes? For the pain?"

She nods, sharply, eyes falling shut and causing thick tears to dribble down her chin. Wager takes a step forward, wrapping an arm around her waist, hand patting gently on her shoulder in a very paternal embrace. "Shhh," he breathes against her temple, giving her another firm squeeze. "Shh." The sobbing that comes is short, strangled and embarrassed; she hates crying.

"Julia can only delay the inevitable for so long. Do not worry," the smile he offers has a touch of nervousness to it, wrinkled palm touching her cheek one more time before pulling away. "Everything will run, even if not quite on schedule. You should go back to the others…" Wagner states with a warm expression, running his fingers through Julia's hair. "You're doing so very well," he offers to her in encouraging tones. "I still need you to make sure they stay in line."

"Yes…" Julia manages to breathe out the words, reaching up to take his hand in hers and squeeze it gently. "I'll— I'll go back." His hand squeezes hers back, and when Wagner's tired hand unwinds from Julia's, he only gives her that reassuring smile again as they disengage from one another, and the sad-eyed brunette takes a few paces back, watching Wagner settle back down in his chair, before turning around and heading towards a door out of the command room.

Taking his seat again, Wagner exhales a tired sigh once he's folded down in the chair. One leg crosses the other, and his eyes settle on that steam rising up in thin wisps from the surface of his mug of cocoa. Somewhere in that haze of steam and murky brown cocoa, Wager sees the glimpses of his life and his past, all the long and winding roads that have led him up to this point.

"I'll be by soon, m'love…" An exhalation of Wagner's breath disturbs the steam and the reflections, "…just one last thing to do yet."

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