Strike the Shackles


chess3_icon.gif eve2_icon.gif

Scene Title Strike the Shackles
Synopsis In a bittersweet reunion, Eve and Chess discuss mothers, the DOE, and the need for a vacation.
Date November 5, 2020

Rikers Island

By now, Chess is used to the checkpoint into Riker’s visiting area, and is a familiar enough face with many of the guards, having been here every couple of weeks for the past eight months. Today, she’s not on the list for her sister, but instead for Eve Mas, the newest inmate at the infamous prison. She murmurs her thanks to the woman processing her clearance, holding her hand out for her ID bracelet before she makes her way through the turnstile that leads to the waiting room.

The last time she’d seen Eve, the woman had been being arrested. Chess was still shocked, still recovering from the feeling of her life and blood seeping out of her body just moments before. She hadn’t had the chance to say goodbye or promise Eve it would be okay.

It turns out it wasn’t. At least she hadn’t broken a promise.

Red-rimmed dark eyes scan the area to find her friend in the visiting center. Chess herself is trying not to look like she’s in mourning for Eve’s freedom. She’s even in a mustard-yellow sweater, in an attempt to look a little more cheerful than she feels.

Just as Chess is familiar with this place, Eve is familiar with being locked up, caged, behind bars and the like. That does not mean she's learned to take to it any better. The woman that sits at the table in the corner for the room is facing the wall, giving her friend a profile view while swaying back and forth. Fingers tap lightly on her knees and one hand grips her knee rather hard. Humming. Wherever Eve is it's not in this room. This is a familiar sort of behavior for Chess to witness but her hair is in knots and the bags under her eyes can be seen even with her eyes closed.

There aren't many people here at the moment, this hour and so when her friend enters Eve stops humming and her head slowly twists to face the general direction of the door. Eyes still closed.

"Come, sit with me." Her tone is as raspy as ever but it lacks an energy that Eve usually exudes. She's tired. She swore she heard a buzzing at all hours of the night. Head turning back towards the wall, she waits but her humming resumes, the swaying continues and Eve sits with her back rubbing against the table.

Swallowing hard, Chess moves forward, trying not to show a tearful face to Eve when it’s clear her friend needs her to be strong. She hurries the final few feet to the table Eve’s at, and drops into the seat beside her.

Reaching out, she takes Eve’s hand and holds it in both of her own. There’s no guards who yell no touching! here like in the movies, at least, though something beside hand holding might elicit a reaction — Chess isn’t about to find out.

“I’m here,” she says softly, her own voice huskier than usual. “Are you okay? Did anyone hurt you?” This is far too much like her first visit with Alix, with the same sense of injustice and feelings of uncertainty welling within her. “Can I get you anything? There’s a vending machine.” She shakes her head at herself for that stupid comment — what Eve needs isn’t a granola bar or a bag of Doritos.


Squeezing her friends hand in return, Eve finally opens her eyes and turns them to stare brown eyes at Chess. A soft smile crosses Eve's lips. "I'm fine. I'm fine. No worrying!" That's very easy to ask your chosen family. She doesn't let go of the younger woman's hand and Eve slowly turns to face her. "The munchies are atrocious, Castle says 'Think of it like a retreat, a rest.'" The older woman's expression turns sour and she shrugs. "Retreats have waffles. More than once!" And she will die on that hill.

"Tell me about you, tell me about the world. This place is hollow, it's empty and depressing," Eve is most eager about speaking about something other than her incarceration, she's been worried for Chess. "You've been on my mind. Lots of loss for my little Boomer. Lots of heartache. How are you caring for yourself, child?" Her free hand goes to Chess' cheek and Eve rubs her thumb along her friend's face. "What do you dream?"

At the mention of Castle, Chess’ looks away, brows knitting together in a look of hurt and anger. She shakes her head at the questions that follow, the concern in Eve’s voice cracking the fortress walls she’s trying to hold in place.

“Nothing good,” she murmurs in response to the last question, bringing tearful eyes up to look at Eve. “I never dream the future like you do. Just the past. Not the good parts.” She tries to smile, but it wavers, and she settles for focusing on not crying instead.

“It’s not fair that you’re here,” she says, an echo of the words she said to Alix back in March. “You don’t deserve to be here, Eve. Do you need me to contact your lawyer for you? Organize a protest? They can’t keep you without due process. It didn’t sound like you had any hearings or anything.”

Registering the pain on Chess' face is for now, equated to the fact that Agent Castle and other members of the DOE had to have visited and interviewed some of Eve's friends. "Sometimes we must live in the past in order to guide the steps into the future waters, you can't just wade in it. You have to dive." Eve hadn't cared much about the past before she lost her original ability. "The power in analyzing, is so enticing you can get lost. That's the tricky part, mm?" A light roll of her shoulders and crack of her neck to the side.

How to best reconcile with the fact that you're mostly wrongfully imprisoned and one of your best friends points that out and wants to support you.

Eve just smiles and squeezes Chess' arm. "No no, no need for a protest. I am preparing a statement of sorts," A wink and Eve slouches a bit in her seats. Eyes again facing towards the wall. "It's not fair no, but they are nervous chickens over the possibility of The Dragon making me their walking meat suit again." Not that the fear is unwarranted. "They don't understand that I've served my purpose. But they will soon." Eve sounds confident. "I've secured a lawyer buddy! We're going to court on the allegations! I'll be out before next winter's time!" There's an edge in the older woman's voice. She hasn't told BOOM of how close her ticking close was to running out.

The notion that the longer she was negated the worse the effects would be once she wasn't had begun to come slamming into her. It causes Eve to pivot the conversation to no less painful territory. "What was it like, meeting your mother?"

A pause.

"Have I told you about mine?"

“Next year?” Chess’ brows draw deeper into a scowl, and she shakes her head. “If Uluru wanted you again, this prison wouldn’t keep her out,” she says angrily, a little loud before she realizes the guards can hear her, and she drops her voice again. “I told Ba-” — What? Nope — “Castle that, but..”

She trails off, and tears fill her eyes again as she studies the wall they face, glaring at it like she might be able to melt it by will alone.

“My mother,” she says, without looking at Eve, and she doesn’t speak for a long moment. Her hand tightens in Eve’s though as she presses her lips together, trying to swallow back down the rise of conflicting emotions in her chest.

“Jury’s out. And I still don’t know what happened to her after Detroit. I’m looking, but she doesn’t want to be found,” Chess manages to keep her voice colored by neutral tones, but that in itself hints to the emotions underlying her words, given how transparent her feelings usually are. "I'm watching for signs of whereabouts for both of them."

Them meaning Joy and Adam, though Adam is for different reasons.

Tipping her head, she finds Eve’s face again, her eyelashes wet but no tears fallen. “Your mom? Did she come see you?”

"I know," Eve spreads her hands, "I don't think It wants much to do with me now. I think I've served my purpose, to it. Rang the bell, sounded the alarm. The people have been heralded." The chaotic woman's eyes narrow at the fumbling of Castle's name but she nods along. "Strange kid, Castle." But they were talking about mothers.

Eve frowns. "Then we shall have to find her hm? Yaeko, Joy, whatever she goes by. No daughter should know a life without her mother." Nudging Chess' shoulder with her own. "My mother is dead."

She's not curt about it but it does come off a bit short, Eve had never truly gotten over her parents deaths. "But another version of her exists, works with this…. DOE." Waving her hand and rubbing the back of her head afterwards. "It was like a dream. The man Gates was there, they aim to stop The Entity. Basically stomping all over our gig Boomer." But that's besides the point again.


Eve scratches her arm and rocks back and forth a bit, "Last time I saw mine? Was right before the nutcase prison. Heh. Right before they took me away. We fought, she said I was only going to lose myself in… my mess." A sad twist of her mouth, "She never called it a gift, I never told her the truth. She just thought I had lost it." That was a dark time and The Bomb proved to be a darker time then that but Eve still finds herself in nightmares of a padded room.

"It was weird seeing her. In a dream, not in the flesh. She wasn't even going to tell me. I don't think at first, I don't think she really cares… she already has a daughter. There is already a me…" Eve seems to be struggling with something. "Would you allow it you think?"

A deeper frown lines her face, "Is it fair to the other me? Stealing her mother's love?"

Eve’s discourse is sometimes difficult to follow, but it’s a skill that Chess has learned over time. When the threads unravel in a direction she hadn’t expected, she knows she must follow it along until a new thread comes to entwine with the first. Usually there’s a connection — it takes a patience that Chess doesn’t always have, but today she sits, still and quiet, and listens.

“I don’t think mine cared that much about meeting me, not really,” she murmurs in response to the question. “I think they always expected to lose most of us again.”

It’s the first time Chess has said those words aloud.

But she pushes that spoken truth, if it is one, aside, and focuses on Eve’s question. Her head shakes, before bumping into Eve’s. “I don’t think you can steal love,” she says softly.. “If your mother gives it to you, it’s yours, whether you take it or not. She can love you and the other you and it doesn’t mean the other you gets less.”

A tear slides down her cheek, and her free hand reaches up to brush it away as her other hand tightens its grip on Eve’s.

“Do you trust them, the DOE?” she asks with a sidelong glance.

"Oh don't say that Boomer," laying her head on top of Chess', "You're too lovely not to want to know. Your mother has been alive too long, too used to disappointment and loss. But maybe you can change that view, by being so persistent. By being your extraordinary self. She will come around, I feel it. Mm?" Eve's tone is quiet and she rocks back and forth. On the note of sharing a mother's love the older woman nods.

"I think you're right. A mother's heart is molded to fit their child's forever. Nothing can truly break that bond." It's as much a word for her as it is for Chess.

Eve's brow furrows and she shrugs one shoulder softly. "They have the power, they believe our stories about The Entity. I don't think we have much choice right now. Pesky laws and government goon squads. I fear Vinny Vin has deserted us, BOOM for our 'bad' behavior." It's hard for Eve to say she trusts them but she knows the cost of not trusting them: the world perhaps.

"Our goal stays the same, we must stop The First. We need all the help we can get, they seem to want the same thing… for now." Eve pauses and tilts her head back to look at the ceiling, seeing delusions of constellations spinning above her. "Oh hello there my friends," she whispers before snapping back to Chess. "What do you think? Should we trust them?"

Chess glances up when Eve does, squinting a little, then looking back down to hide the worry in her eyes. This version of Eve isn’t one she’s used to, and it seems more fragile, its grip on reality even more tenuous. A cage is no place for Eve, and Chess bites her lip to keep from sobbing.

“I don’t know,” she says softly. “Harris wasn’t unkind to me. I might only be a visitor today instead of an inmate because of him, to be honest. He said he’d put in a good word for me, back in March.”

The unfairness of that rankles in her, and she sighs, glancing over to the table she usually sits at when she visits Alix, then back down at Eve’s hand in hers.

She lifts it to press a soft kiss against the back of it. “I don’t think they’re bad. They’re not DOEA. Castle-” Chess stops short there, unable to articulate the complex knot of emotions that she has yet to unravel there.

“They seem to want the same things we do. To save the world.” Chess scoffs softly. “I don’t know. It seems the world is hell bent on being destroyed. Maybe it’s best just to enjoy what’s left.”

"Aw, precious." Eve leans on Chess and grins as her friend kisses her hand, "How did I get so lucky with the sweetest friends, hm?"

Eve sways just a tad and her eyebrows raise, "They do, they do. It wouldn't be the first time a pretty face was sent to deceive us. Did you know that Castle booger stabbed me in the cheeks!!" This, Eve is still not over. Her poor rump. "Saving the world is no one person's job. It takes a team, group, a family. Ours just got a little bigger Boomer."

As to whether or not they should just let things run its course and enjoy the moments of bliss they have left: "I know just the place to enjoy the end of the world. Top tier drugs, low bit prices, a man who can bend his-" The older woman catches herself and cackles softly while rubbing her shoulder against Chess', "You just tell me, hm? If you've had enough, if you want to hold with a strangling grip the last bit of peace we can have before this is all kaboom. Say the words and I will drop it with you, I'm sure Hot Hands and the others would join. We could live like that until the end, we could try."

A moment passes, "But something about the moral compasses inside my friend's brainpans tells me that's not what you all would really want to do. You're Helpers. You help the sick, the wounded, the imprisoned. You strike the shackles placed upon us by a god." A light grin, "But I am open to the idea."

Tapping her foot.

"Mexico is also very nice."

Chess leans against Eve, tipping her head to rest it on the other woman’s shoulder. Her own rise and fall with a soft, short laugh.

“I’m just tired of fighting,” she says softly. “I feel I’ve been fighting my entire life and it doesn’t do any good.” Her free hand rises to brush her cheeks free of tears, and she sighs. “But you’re right. If there’s something I can do to help, even a little bit, I’m going to try.”

She sits up straighter again and tips her head to angle a look at Eve, a smirk lifting one corner of her mouth. “You know any of your science fairies that can remove that? The moral compass in my brain pan? Because it’s a pain in the ass and probably off by a few degrees.”

The other woman makes a sound and cocks her head to the side, emphatic. "Sadly I think for us, we both were placed on the path of the most violent. It's not our fault. It was the Fates and manipulation by the First that brought us here. But a break has been earned for our weary bones. Just a little further, we just have a little further. When this is over, I mean it. Let's… retire." A strange thought from Eve but she's been so much more contemplative in this space if that were even possible.

"You know!"

Eve snickers and leans into Chess, "I actually do, but one isn't a science fairy and I'm not sure we have enough money to pay the Huntress Huruma to hang around us all day and night and suppress that bit!" But it isn't a TERRIBLE idea. Before Eve can lose herself thinking of the various things she could offer in a bartering system she squeezes Chess' hand.

"We'll just have to do our best. To save the world, not lose our souls." Eve has her own tears in her eyes and she chuckles softly, brown eyes glistening.

"I'm going to make sure you survive this. I promise."

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