Spirits Of Christmas Future


ff_asi_icon.gif ff_silas2_icon.gif

Scene Title Spirits Of Christmas Future
Synopsis A wicked spirit comes forth to interrupt Asi's rest, spilling ill portents for the future after thanking her for her friendship.
Date June 16, 2021

Asi's Closet, Lowe's

Knock. Knock. Knock.

In an hour best spent sleeping, suddenly there comes the sound of someone knocking on Asi's door.

How dare them.

"うっせいな1!" Asi shouts muffedly from inside, half a mind to throw her pillow. She knows better than to risk the carefully stacked jars and containers lining the shelves on either side of her tiny room should her aim be off even slightly. "二時間後帰れば2…"

The rest of that devolves into mumbles that can't be heard properly by the outside party.

"Ebenezer Scrooge! You will be visited by three spirits — or maybe one spirit three times, depends on if you're up before I finish off the other two bottles or not," comes through the door, carried by a definitely familiar voice. The words are carefully enunciated.

Then there's a thump, followed by a slide. "We need to talk. I brought barbecue and booze."

Flopping onto her back, Asi stares up at the ceiling in a brief moment of silence, opening her eyes and letting the light from under the door crawl into her vision. If it was barbecue and booze, it was a dire situation indeed. An extremely early rise would be most likely worth it. "All right, give me a minute."

Levering herself up so she can grab the lightstring, she yanks it and grabs her coveralls, worming legs into them. And tying the arms around her waist to keep them properly attached, walks carefully to the door, squinting through the bright as she contemplates how to handle getting it open.

After all, there's a good chance there's someone lying against it. A flick of the lock later, she carefully begins to pull it in. "何かあったの3?" Asi asks delicately, running her other hand back through her hair to attempt to get her bedhead in order.

The care is definitely appreciated, as a rough looking Silas slides easily down into lying flat on the floor. There is definitely booze; Silas has a bottle of it in hand, part empty. There is also a very worn and faded looking picnic basket, now resting on his stomach; the gentle clinking coming from within as he breathes suggests that he hadn't been kidding about the 'three spirits'.

He looks up at Asi, unblinking. "はい4," he answers quietly. "You're probably gonna hate every single word of what I have to say. That's why I came now," he says, awkwardly raising the hand with the bottle. "Might wanna go back to sleep when I'm done tellin' ya."

Asi regards the figure slouched on her floor with slightly narrowed eyes, ones which dart up and down him trying to make sense of this latest turn without the greatest of luck. She takes a peek at the contents of the picnic basket, deeming what's in it to be true, but also not. "噓つき5," she chides him without teeth, deadpan.

Then, what else is there to do but take the offered, half-drank bottle. She accepts it as barter for her time and energy, but sets it aside on a nearly-overstuffed shelf so she can reach out to haul Silas up by one arm. "お前のほうベッドいるんかも6," she mutters at him lazily, other hand reaching out to sweep the picnic basket off his person before helping him at least completely over her threshold before abandoning him to whatever position of sitting or slouching or slumping he decides to take.

The light flickers overhead once and she eyes it like she's daring it to stutter again in her presence. The foul expression is wiped away by the time she looks back down to Silas, blank and uncertain what end this comes to. "Who knows, I might hate it so much I can't get any more rest. But you're right— best to get it out now while it's still early." She sniffs and grabs the bottle she'd set aside by its neck, walking to the end of the room to sit on the pillow before the unplugged old computer set up at the back of the space.

The basket does indeed contain two bottles of liquor — stuff they'd picked up on their big voyage — and, beneath them, a faded towel wrapped around an ancient piece of Tupperware, a faint smell of well-spiced meat hanging around it.

Silas sort of flows from his flat position to a pose that leaves him resting against a shelf support; he slumps there, frowning at his sudden lack of a bottle, but not protesting.

"You know. I really am lucky to have a friend like you," he says abruptly. "And I'm not just saying that because I'm drunk as a skunk. I am, but I mean it, too. I just don't usually come out and say it," he says… then he sighs. "But that's not why I needed to talk to you."

He's silent for a few seconds. "Richard came by the boat. Started talking about why they're here. They told the Council of Captains they're here to save their world… but they never quite got around to saying what they were saving it from."

Silas's head falls back against the shelf support, his gaze moving to the ceiling before his eyes eventually drift closed. "They told me about some of the worlds they'd been to. The Travelers. The batch before this, I mean. All of them had their differences; there was a world where the Vanguard unleashed a viral plague. Another world where there were killer robots hunting Evolved. I don't want to say they all had their own disaster, but it seems like a good way to think of it."

Asi is on the verge of accusing Silas of either naming her as a dear friend either as an apology or a way of buttering her up when he finally starts to swing around to why he's shown up as drunk as he is. Almost immediately, she finds she agrees with his approach to the situation.

Pop goes the bottle top.

The benefit of drinking is she gives him the silence needed to say as much as he does. She finally finds it pertinent enough to part from bottle to say, "I spent a night with Cassandra from the group that was here before. She told me… about the world they had just been in before arriving here." The back of her hand comes to her mouth momentarily before whatever it is passes. "The killer robot one. I joked at the time that each world they went through was worse than the last. It was funny then. But in a sense, we might have made out better than some of these others."

"Especially if they came back here for something they don't have." It's as much a point of pride as one of disgruntlement. "This one over the Garden of Eden world they left where people like you and me were welcomed with open arms. No nukes or viruses there."

"But where man was never cast from Eden, there the serpent lies," Silas says… then frowns, trying to catch his train of thought again. He succeeds after a moment. "But it's not serpents that are the point. It's man."

Silas eyes the bottle in Asi's hand for a moment… but he's probably had enough for the moment anyway. "All of those timelines — they were caused by human doings. Circumstances, caused by human actions, allowed these disasters to happen — also at human hands. So other worlds… with different circumstances… didn't have the potential to give rise to those disasters, or had those disasters averted."

He falls silent again for a moment. "What's coming to Richard's world isn't a human disaster. It's something celestial. A solar flare…"

Asi can't help but let out a particularly dark chuckle. "Ah, so there it is… The thing that makes their reality even worse than this one." She frowns regardless, because it's a pity, and also— did this mean that more refugees from their world are coming? It's a thought that keeps her from drinking again immediately. Then she lays it aside in favor of the known reality, instead.

"残念ですが7," she asides, using one of the first phrases Silas learned well before the trip to Japan. One she'd use to apologize while "politely" declaring that something's not her problem.

Silas regards her for a moment, lips curving up in bleak amusement. "Good, wasn't just me. I didn't get it either, at first.

"But here's the thing. For all the fuckery humanity's done… people have never reached far enough to touch the Sun. Not in any of the timelines, as far as I know. Get it? Hell, how would you effect meaningful change on an ongoing thermonuclear explosion billions of times the size of the planet?"

He closes his eyes and lets his head fall back. "Or, to put it another way… there may be many worlds, but only one sky," he says heavily.


Asi's brow tics, eyes beginning to narrow. "No," she insists calmly but firmly on that first pass. "It's a different reality entirely. Different—" Different what? The words don't come well in her growing agitation. "Different, in every way."

"And powers, abilities— the war you mentioned— it…" Now she's bargaining, trying to reason he must be wrong about the thing he's not come out and openly said just yet. "Someone could have done something to have made that impact. Someone powerful. It's— their world," she tries to insist with more agitation now. "It's their problem."

There it is. That spark of something that will either make or break her.

The first crackle of fear in her voice, and the bottle in her hand forgotten. "嘘じゃん8," she tries to insist.

"ないか9?" Silas asks quietly, because he sees that she gets it. "I'm pretty sure they believe it; why not tell everyone otherwise?"

He pauses, studying her. "Maybe you oughta sit down," he says, patting the floor beside him.

That's when she realizes she has come to her feet again, posture at once closed and open like a penned animal waiting for an opportunity to either strike or run. Her breathing arrests once she realizes the signs of panic onsetting, blinks slowly as she tries to stop things before they get worse.

Rather than storming out, she ambles the few steps to where Silas is sitting and nearly collapses into a sit beside him, alcohol in the bottle sloshing as it swings down with her. She sets it between them before she tents her knees, trying to create a semblance of surety in her posture.

Asi faces ahead without seeing rather than turning to look at Silas. "Just because they believe it doesn't mean they're right," she whispers. Her head angles just slightly toward him even if her eyes don't follow. "And even then, what do they think we can do? What—" She blinks twice hard. "I mean, there's nothing. The Vanguard…"

"There were some scientists here — the Druckers. Roux's parents; apparently, before the Flood hit, they were working on some kind of technology to enhance the magnetosphere or something, somewhere in Alaska that's presumably still above the waterline. Something that, with what they've got in their world, they could maybe get up into space. Stop the flare from being a full-on world-ending catastrophe, at least." Silas reaches over for the bottle of booze and takes a generous slug before setting it back where it was.

Asi takes it up in short order. She hesitates on drinking immediately, but a souring thought drives her to sip in the end anyway. "Ah," she announces dryly. "And thus their world shall make it out just fine meanwhile…"

Her eyes shut hard, tension in her jaw.

"Meanwhile we, lacking in infrastructure, appear to be lacking in options," Silas finishes. "Though they're here with us, one way or another. No Looking Glasses on this side to open the way…"

He waits for Asi to finish her drink, watching her sidelong.

"But. We have something they don't," he says, giving her a smile — strained, but there. "I asked Else, once, if she'd enjoyed visiting Japan again. You know what she told me? 'Yes — but only because it proved there's still new things under the sun.'" There are implications in that particular choice of wording about how much Else might have known about what's coming, but Silas has already mulled those over; he doesn't linger on them now. "And Kaito Nakamura… well, he's crafty. He foresaw us traveling across the sea; maybe he foresaw this, too."

The bottle thunks to the ground between them again. "I've told you," Asi says through grit teeth, a note of pain behind it. Her eyes open so she can regard him out of the corner of them, that fear in them. "It's in code. I-I can't make heads or tails of the message he left, Snickers."

Her shoulders pitch, hands lifting in a shrug as much as supplication. "What are we supposed to do?"

"We do what we always do, when we're up against something too heavy to handle alone," he says. "We find others, and we all lift together. That's how we do things here," Silas says. "Richard says one of his guys might be able to break it… if you're willing to give it a shot."

He slouches back a little more against the shelving. "Way I see it… the fact that we can't read it yet just means that it wasn't the time yet. Maybe that sounds like I'm giving Nakamura-san a lot of credit, but… well, I am," Silas says, his lips momentarily curving up in a rueful grin. The smile quickly takes on an aspect of strain, though. "But if it's gonna come clear, it's gotta be soon."

Asi's mouth hardens into a line, her hands falling back to her lap. For a moment, she roils underneath the surface, and then her hands close, eyes closing with them. "We all lift together," she agrees quietly, taking a deep breath. She sighs it out by adding almost derisively, "The man knew we were coming for the message over ten years later. I wouldn't put it past him to have predicted someone else who could unlock it would cross our paths, too." There's grudging admiration to that, as ever when it comes to Kaito Nakamura's machinations.

Turning her head to the side, her eyes open with some determination in them. A flash of green amidst other earthen color. "Just a moment," she asks, coming to her feet in a hunch to make her way back to the farthest corner of the room. Beside the computer, a blanket covers over a durable black plastic crate. She hauls it off the shelf carefully, mindful of the treasured objects within before she sits down beside it.

The weatherproof crate is flipped open latch by latch, metal box within retrieved with one hand. Asi looks down at it meaningfully, and carefully unwinds her necklace of keys from around its seat on on her collar. The one with the most peculiar teeth is made to unlock the lacquer-covered box. "You know, for all I could stand to be bitter…" she says as she twists the key. "To say we all go down together rather than any of us make it out if the sky's to come crashing down on the rest of us…"

Flipping the top of the box open, she looks inside at all the artifacts within, the eight-sided mirror, the large hei matau, the foldings of dot-matrix paper with unintelligible Japanese writing. "You make me want to hope for better. That maybe somehow…"

Asi gently closes the box, leaving it unlocked when she winds the twinestring of keys around her neck again. "Maybe somehow we find a way for us, too." She sets it down on the ground in front of where she sits, extending her foot out to push it back Silas' way. "I'm willing to try."

"But I won't lie and say this doesn't feel like the last gasp of the desperate all over again," she acknowledges in a murmur, like this one shade of her agreement needs to be kept secret. "When I thought we'd finally moved past that."

Silas nods, reaching over to lay a hand on the box. He doesn't say anything immediately, though; he has a lump in his throat he has to swallow.

She's not wrong about this feeling like a desperate last gasp again… but Silas has been there before — twice, now — and he's made it through to the other side both times. "Maybe we will," Silas says, nodding resolutely as he meets Asi's gaze. He smiles. "I'll give it my best, at least."

It's strange, the way this conversation's gone — alone, his thoughts of what's to come have been steeped in dread. But now, with Asi… he finds himself full of hope. Maybe they'll make it through to the other side after all… and if they don't…

…it won't be for lack of trying.

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