The Dread Pirate Sawyer, Part IV


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Scene Title The Dread Pirate Sawyer, Part IV
Synopsis "Blood swirling in water, gunshots, screams, fire. The sea is dangerous." — Edward Ray to Magnes Varlane
Date December 23, 2018

Why did we choose the sailboat!?

Red hair slicked to her face with melted snow, Elaine Darrow shouts over the noise of the crashing waves lapping against the narrow frame of the Sayonara. Ice crystals frost over the fur-trimmed hem of her winter jacket and woolen gloves, flurries from the squall they’ve sailed stinging bare skin flushed red from the cold.

The past two days have been relatively smooth sailing, but in the late afternoon of the second day — just a few hours out from their destination according to Captain Woods over the radio — as the sun starts its journey to the west behind a thickly overcast sky, the weather took a turn for the worse. The Stormfront churns endlessly to the north, a massive hurricane that Captain Sawyer’s crew has somehow learned to navigate, but in the near-winter months, much of the rain that falls in this region of the world is turned to sleet and snow.

The Sayonara wasn’t meant for windstorms like this, and the delicate vessel pitches and yaws with each powerful gale that blows across the water. Not even the sizable bulk of the yacht Forthright can shield the Sayonara from the wind due to its high sail. Instead, its small crew has been working hard for the last half hour to keep the ship on course. “We could be having hot cocoa!” Elaine shouts, brandishing a hand in the direction of the Forthright’s lantern-lit cabin a few hundred feet away.

Though frustrated, Elaine recognizes that there’s more pressing matters. She recognizes that Magnes is working to keep the ship balanced, from capsizing in the waves of against a powerful gale. But most importantly, Elaine is keeping an eye on the beacon of light shining from the front of the tugboat Featherweight leading the small fleet, serving as a beacon in the stormy seas.

The pitching and pounding of the little boat in the storm makes it difficult to keep one’s footing, even with Magnes’ valiant efforts. This is doubly true for Geneva, who has been used to the Cerberus— a far larger and ultimately more stable vessel. Regardless, the newest addition to the crew of the Sayonara has been doing what she can to help out in her own way. Aside from thorough equipment checks, she has been keeping the deck, rigging, and general superstructure of the ship well-heated so that the freezing drizzle will not have the chance to accumulate into a dangerous and obstructive layer of ice anywhere. Slipping hazards everywhere will probably not help them to fight off pirates.

Unfortunately, this means she has nothing left to spare for the Sayonara’s human occupants, and the girl smiles up at Elaine even as a gust of wind plasters her long, whipping blonde hair across her cheeks. “If we get through this, I’ll heat up all the goddamn hot cocoa you could ever want. That’s a promise.”

When we get through this, you mean!” Remi calls out to Geneva from her spot at the tiller, steering the boat’s bow into the waves. The storm sails are up, which offer some stability and make it a bit easier to steer, and the small crew of the Sayonara is busy ensuring that everything runs smoothly. Magnes’ ability is certainly appreciated, as is Geneva’s — the lack of ice makes it much easier to maneuver the ship to properly weather this awful storm.

Remi’s years of sailing as the Sayonara’s captain is certainly paying off — this isn’t the first time she’s had to weather storms, and she didn’t have the extra help back then. “I’ll even break out my secret stash of marshmallows when we get through this!” She grins, squinting through the winds and the rains.

Her crew moves completely in synchronization with her without a word exchanged — likely thanks to her ability to communicate without words.

Magnes is putting his new understanding of his ability to the test, though the old isn't entirely forgotten, in fact, fitting the new with the old is somewhat essential to this gradual translation of his understanding.

Currently he stands directly in what he deemed the center of gravity for the ship's deck, crouched on one knee with both hands touching the floor. While he's come a long way from his ability being touch based, he wanted as much control over the ship's weight and mass as humanly possible, and touch helps dramatically with the way that he thinks of things. It also removes the buffer of, well, space.

Normally he'd try to use his ability to reverse the wind and the rain, but he's trying to use as much of his focus as possible, while keeping a vague mental tether on the people around him, in case he suddenly has to keep someone from being tossed overboard.

It's about the best he can do without spreading himself entirely thin.

"Everyone!" he suddenly calls out, as surely people are stressed, trying to focus, and not entirely sure of themselves. "We'll get through this. It's almost Christmas. The only reason it's difficult to remember that is because we're in the middle of an apocalyptic water world and we don't really have TV! But, while I'm trying to keep the ship from sinking, I think we should remind ourselves that it's almost Christmas!"

He clears his throat.

"Last Christmas, I gave you my heart! But the very next day, you gave it away! This year, to save me from tears, I'll give it to someone special!" He looks around, as he's quite a good singer, then says, "Come on, everyone! This year, to save me from tears, I'll give it to someone special!"

“Oh, oh!” Elaine squeaks over the wind, brushing wet hair back from her face. “I know that one! Ah,” her coppery brows pinch together, nose wrinkling. “Yeah it’s, ah,— Once bitten twice shy!’ She starts to sway to the music, grabbing a hold of a sail line with gloved hands and yanking the rope against the push of the wind. “I keep my distance but you catch my eye!” There’s a wink to Magnes and a crooked smile. “Tell me baby,” Elaine sings in an off-key but jubulant tone, “do you recognize me?

Up ahead, a large wave crashes against the port side of the Featherweight, sending it rocking subtly to the side, seemingly unphased by the shifting tide with as steady of a ship as she is. Meanwhile, Remi and Geneva are convinced they can hear actual music thumping from the distant direction of the Forthright, and while they can’t see what’s going on aboard that old yacht, it sounds like it’s a party. Elaine and Magnes seem content to make this journey a party all their own, undeterred by the weather.

The rare smile at Elaine slides off Geneva’s face as quickly as the ship lurches in the next large, heavy wave that slams against its heaving hull. She has to lift her voice more than usual to be heard over both the chaos of the storm and the terrible singing: “I take it back. No hot chocolate for you or Magnes.” Truth be told, Magnes will be quite lucky if he doesn’t end up in the ocean by the end of his jam session. It seems to be a theme for the girl— and which dimensional version of her is irrelevant. Gene. Hates. Christmas. Even through the obscuring sleet, the look she shoots Magnes across the deck is visibly identifiable as pure, judgmental loathing.

The next words she speaks are grumbled under her breath, so that only Remi will be likely to hear them as thoughts via her telepathic tricks. “God, why can’t we have a nice, miserable trip into the end of the world in peace and quiet.” Or at least with something approaching decent music. The bass thumping from the direction of the Forthright does not seem to be improving her mood.

Remi can argue all she wants about real sailing — but sailing through this storm is extremely difficult, and sometimes she wish she’d grabbed her much fancier yacht that didn’t have sails on it. But then, fuel would be difficult to come by, and that would present its own set of difficulties. But man, what she wouldn’t give to be in her other boat.

The song prompts the woman to roll her eyes, even as the ship feels like it is briefly airborn after clearing a particularly intimidating wave. “I can’t promise my crew won’t throw you overboard for that song when all is said and done!” She smirks — but then, she’s sending a wave of persuasive confidence in the direction of the man who is, quite simply put, keeping the ship afloat with his ability.

“Can’t we sing White Christmas instead?” Remi pushes hard on the till, turning the hull again toward an oncoming wave. Meanwhile, the other crew are scurrying about, pulling this rope and tying it off, before letting out some slack on another rope.

"I'm dreaming, of a white Christmas!" Magnes starts to sing, using his ability very carefully. In the past, when he was thinking of his ability a bit more like gravity, he brute forced a lot of things, he didn't really think much in the way of there being any nuance. But there idea of there being waves, of there being real stuff to control, he's been trying to experiment with that this whole time, trying to grind skills at the last minute before he has to act at the last stretch of this.

He's not simply adjusting the weight of the boat, he's trying to feel the rocking of the wave, and tries to go with the flow accordingly, shifting mass around to try and change the swaying and shifting of the boat with the ocean.

It's difficult, it's not something he's at all used to, and there are definitely plenty of rough patches, but with the aid of Remi, it's much easier to keep a grasp of his ability, to continue to believe that he can do what he's trying to do, which is one of the most vital aspects of using his ability. "I don't know all the words. Too bad Elisabeth isn't here, she knows all of that classical stuff."

Elaine flashes a smile at Geneva but then as she turns to Magnes just makes a twisted growling face at him that lasts for a few seconds. But she's quick to let that moment of sass slip by. “Uhh, that um, something about the ones I used to know? Yeah— I don't know that one either.”

Struggling to tie down a line, Elaine braces all her weight into it as she brings the rope down to the cleat and begins winding it into place. “Oh! Okay, okay, I've got a great one! I can't remember how it starts but I know the chorus!” Already bobbing her head to the beat, Elaine starts drumming with one foot on the floor.

I won't ask for much this Christmas,” Elaine begins to sing-shout, “I won't even wish for snow!” She ties a knot off at the base of the cleat and looks at the line, then up to the guttering sail as she bounces in place to both stay warm and math the tempo of the song. “I'm just gonna keep on waiting, underneath the mistletoe!

Then, pivoting to Geneva, Elaine grind and makes a take us away gesture.

Geneva’s response is to fling an empty fish can at Elaine’s head that had previously been milling around on the deck, probably knocked loose from somewhere by the last wave that had smashed into the boat. It’s not a hard throw, but it’s enough to express her abject grumpiness.


Shaking her head and long, wet hair out of her eyes again, she returns to her current task, which happens to be defrosting the higher parts of the rigging — it had only been a few minutes since she’d turned her scrutiny away from it, but already the icy sleet is once again creating a treacherous landscape across the weave of cables. She lets loose a sigh which is promptly carried away by the wind. At this rate, she could only almost hope to be attacked by pirates. At least then this horror would stop.

Ugh. American Christmas music is the worst. Remi shakes her head, lifting a hand to push a strand of freezing hair out of her face. Turning the till toward the next wave is a bit of a task, and she strains for a moment; then, she manages to get the boat turned the right way, she clears her throat.

And then, at the top of her lungs, she starts singing one of the Christmas songs from her childhood. “À la sortie de l’école, j’ai fait un très beau bonhomme, avec un joli cache-col! Droit comme un majordome, n’avait pas de culotte!” Her voice carries fairly well over the howling wind, as she ties off the till and raises to her feet, grabbing hold of a rope and pulling it taut with a heave.

“N’avait aucune allure, n’avait pas de redingote, ni de paire de chaussures!” She laughs, tying off the rope, then takes back to the till to continue steering the ship through the waves. She continues to use her ability to bolster Magnes all the while.

While the can isn't particularly dangerous, something instinctive in the back of Magnes' mind causes him to look back and stop the can, though he quickly releases it when he realizes it's nothing. "Wait a minute none of us can… oh wait."

"Elaine can speak literally every language…" it suddenly hits him that there's no way to stop this.

Beaming for the first time in months, Elaine seems more like herself than Magnes has see in some time. Being somewhere she's never remotely experienced and around strong personalities that aren't really arguing may be the best thing that's happen to her in recent memory. It's the first time since Addie’s kidnapping that she seems like herself.

Language is my first love,” Elaine notes with a warm smile, even though her cheeks are stinging red from the cold. As she moves to take a step away from the side of the ship, there's a sudden noise that cracks through the air, like a high-tension cable snapping and spiraling loose. Magnes can feel an incoming mass too fast to stop and too late to warn anyone.

The Sayonara rocks to the side when a seven foot long, barbed length of rusted metal drives into the side of the ship at a high angle. The harpoon punches through the ship’s railing sending strips of demolished wood skittering away. Then, the harpoon jerks back and becomes taut, held in place on its barbs. A braided metal tow line is attached to a hoop on the rear of the harpoon, stretching off straight into the snowy haze of the squall.

Elaine is screaming, covering her head with her hands and ducking behind Magnes for cover. There's another loud and mechanical twang before a second tow-cable harpoon comes crashing down into the middle of the deck between Geneva and Remi, splintering the wild and stabbing down into the floor below. It, too, jerks back after a moment and leads a metal tow cable in the same direction off into the storm.

Oh my god, Magnes!” Elaine screams, looking at the harpoon in the deck. Remi and Geneva immediately recognize what this is:

The pirates found them.


In an instant, Remi and her crew spring to life. “Bolt cutters! Now!” Remi shouts, and one crew member disappears below the deck, while everyone else springs to life. The captain passes off the till to the first mate, Jasper, to keep control of the ship in the storm; she promptly yanks a flare gun out of a compartment next to the steering pit.

While the crew member who disappeared returns to start working on the cables with the bolt cutter, Soleil Davignon suddenly scrambles up the mast, using ropes and footholds to make her way up to a higher vantage point. The flare is fired off into the air, to warn the others if they don’t know already, and Remi squints through the storm, trying to determine exactly what they’re up against.

Be ready for anything! Geneva, use your heat to make it easier for Huck to cut those cables! Magnes, do…I don’t know exactly what you do, but do something! This is broadcasted into the minds of those gathered — telepathy can be a bit of a boon in situations like this, at least. Meanwhile, the rest of the crew are scrambling for damage control, readying guns and swords and knives for potential battle.

She reaches out toward the attacking ship with her mind, searching for the minds of their crew.

"I don't know if this is going to work, but I think I have an idea of how to turn this into a weapon. Elaine, stay behind me where I can protect you." Magnes tries to keep his cool. He's been in more dangerous situations, but rarely is Elaine in them, not usually until they have to leave a world.

Those are his most stressful times.

He walks over to one of the harpoons, placing a hand onto the deck, and aims his other hand at the harpoon. "This is going to be tricky, but I'm going to try to turn the harpoon into a projectile and make it snap back at them. I'll try to keep our ship stable so that pulling it out won't do too much damage."

The hand on the deck is trying to isolate that particular area of the ship, to control the mass and keep the wood and everything in place, counter to what he's doing to the mass of the harpoon, which is trying to force it out.

He's increasing the weight of the harpoon exponentially, but in the opposite direction, with the intent of sending the thing flying back to where ever the other ship is like a dangerous aimed projectile.

If it's attached, and they're pulling, he's pretty sure they aren't expecting someone to basically turn their harpoon into a glorified homing cannon ball, with the help of their own wire. "Anyone who isn't cutting wire, I need heavy objects, things with very solid mass. I don't think you have cannon balls, but anything that can work like a very solid projectile, or a weight. I plan to start flying into the air and dropping things onto their ship until it sinks."

But Geneva is already on it, having been well-warned by Remi’s flare if not the harpoon that had stabbed itself into the deck mere feet from where she is. Beneath her practiced touch, a small strategic section of the tow line flares, glowing red-hot as though being heated in a forge— the perfect opportunity, now, for Huck to attempt to sever it with his cutters.

What Magnes is doing catches her attention even as she is still busy attending to the first harpoon. Finishing working her magic on it is the work of heartbeats, given the imperativeness of the situation and her own control over her ability. Even without him explaining it, she comprehends what the man is aiming at.

As the gravity manipulator works to increase the weight of the harpoon, Geneva simultaneously uses her own power to send the length of the weapon soaring to white-hot temperatures, timing the moment of conflagration to precisely coincide with the moment when Magnes will (hopefully) succeed in yanking it back out of the deck. Metal of any type is not easy to burn, but this does as the girl forces it to meet, and then surpass, its melting point.

Once Magnes’ plan succeeds- if and when it does- the pirates will be met with a mass-laden hunk of blazing fire, twisting and showering sparks back down upon them.

Fucking harpoons!” Huck shouts as he brings the bolt cutters down onto the first superheated cable. It clips though and a finger of glowing hot metal swings down and scores the side of the ship and sizzles in the ice. The other, taut end recoils back into the darkness of the squall.

Meanwhile the entire ship is groaning from Magnes’ exertion. As he changes the directional gravity around the harpoon as it's being heated, the railing that it's driven through cracks and splits under the strain. Nails bend, wood splinters, smoke issues from where the hot metal meets hard wood. Then, the barbed tines snap from the pressure and the heat and Magnes turns the superheated harpoon into the business end of a railgun.

The white-hot lance of metal launches off into the darkness and then erupts in a shower of sparks and screams much closer than anyone on the crew had anticipated. The blast briefly silhouettes a whaling ship and three harpoon guns arrayed on the forecastle.

Holy shit, Captain we— ” A third harpoon comes crashing down into the ship, punching straight through Huck’s chest and pinning him to the deck. He gurgles at the hit, but isn't moving by the time he's pinned to the ship. Floodlights come on in the dark on the whaling ship, shining down on the Sayonara.

The whaling ship’s winch is winding noisily, but this line hasn't become taut yet as the larger ship is coming into view, closing the distance on Remi’s vessel. Standing on the prow of the ship is a dark-haired woman clad in a white dress slick with rain. She seems unaffected by the cold and the snow, and as she raises one hand turns a baleful, dark-eyed look on Geneva.

Song Ye was once a member of the triads, long before the flood came. Here, she has become known as one of Captain Sawyer’s lieutenants. From her hand erupts a cone of polar cold and biting ice, crusting over part of the deck of the ship, lacerating Geneva with fine cuts, and sending a body-numbing cold into her bones.

In the distance, Remi can see the nearest ship — the Forthright — is still several hundred feet away. Somewhere beyond that, there's a violent crash of a collision, but there's no telling where it came from.

"Don't do another goddamned thing!" Magnes shouts up at Song Ye, standing in front of Elaine as heavy objects begin to float around him. "I am not a telekinetic, if that's what you're thinking, and I am not screwing around. Stop using your ability right now."

The objects orbiting around him start to move even more violently. "If you don't, I will sink your ship faster than you can freeze any one of us. So either we're talking, or you're sinking. Which is it going to be?"

The objects floating around him start to enter some very dangerous looking spinning. And then he reaches out, pulling at seemingly nothing, but anyone, like Song, looking directly at him, will notice the light distort quite dramatically, before he releases it and the space seems to go back to normal. "Do you know what dark matter is? That's what it looks like when space bends. You have five seconds, do not test me. I will obliterate your ship and everyone on it if you don't calm the fuck down."

Geneva barely has enough time to throw up a half-wall of defensive heat in front of her before the cold overtakes her, chilling her body to the core in a way that the heat manipulator has not felt for a long, long time. As it is, it could have been worse; the girl is now covered with superficial cuts (some of which drip blood) but is otherwise unharmed.

Immediately she sets to work counteracting Song Ye’s frosting of their ship: with a blast of heat from her own palms, the crusted-over portion of the deck melts once more, transforming into tiny puddles and rivulets of water that run across the wood.

Then, Geneva lifts her head and meets the gaze of Song Ye herself. The eyes of the younger woman are wondrously calm— dead inside, almost, though the storm rages around them both along with the sound of the Forthright impacting with something in the night. “You can’t freeze us,” she notes mildly, a hand held up beside her and radiating swirls of heat. “Leave. You don’t want this.”

Without further warning she sends a vicious, immolating swell of face-melting heat rushing directly towards the Asian woman’s position on the prow: an incandescent attack framed against the backdrop of the distorting light from Magnes’ own ability.

Slowly edging itself into the picture, more than a thousand feet out, is a large, monster of a ship in comparison to the little sailing vessel. It doesn’t come near, but it doesn’t have to. Pulling itself so that its starboard side faces the fleet of travelers, the Prospero has brought the heavy artillery to this boat party.

Busy as they are, the travelers on the Sayonara don’t have time to see the men loading the three mortars on the decks of the large cargo ship still some three thousand feet away. Nor do they see the crewmate loading what looks like a grenade rocket. But soon enough they will hear the familiar crack and whistle of the mortars, not knowing in those few precious seconds if it’s their ship that’s targeted.

Until it is. One of those mortars rips through the mast and rigging of the Sayonara, though at least it lands on the other side in the water, rather than setting the boat aflame.

A second later, a grenade strikes deck — but rather than explode, it hisses as it begins to spew the noxious white clouds of tear gas.

In another universe, Remi once shrunk away and turned into a snivelling mess when she touched a dying mind — and required the assistance of her lover to come back. This iteration is much more hardy than the version that Magnes once knew — she’s seen death, and felt it, and has even caused it more than once. Still, the loss of Huck is a harsh one, through the mind link that Remi keeps on her crew at all times when at sea — it sends a ripple of cold down her spine, causes her to cling tighter to the mast for just a moment.

Huck!” She shrieks this out at the top of her lungs, staring down at the now-corpse that is stuck to the deck with a harpoon through his chest. With a snarl and a hand raised for help focusing, she reaches out toward the crew of Song Ye’s ship, sending to the crew what can only be described as a sense of dread, a message enhanced with as much persuasion as she can manage behind it: You will die today.

Hopefully, the fear will make them falter.

She wheels around, then, tears freezing on her cheeks as she loads another flare into the gun. Then, she’s sliding down the mast, aiming and firing the flare right at the cryokinetic with a brutal scream of rage. This action thankfully saves her from being caught in the back by the mortar — the mast exploding above her head and sending her sprawling to the deck — and nearly sliding overboard, if not for the harness that all of them wear to keep the waves from washing them away..

She’s got some splinters of wood sticking out of parts of her that they shouldn’t be sticking out of, and blood is staining her red hair dark from cuts and scratches, but at least she’s not going down with the rest of the mast and rigging. She is, however, momentarily stunned, hanging half off of the ship with one hand loosely gripping the harness that keeps her from washing off into the stormy waters. Non, non non non … ce n'est pas comme ça que ça devait aller!

The Sayonara doesn’t have weapons, the crew only have guns, blunt weapons, and knives for their defense — normally, the little sailboat can outrun attacks like these, when she’s not also weathering an awful storm as well. The rest of the crew scrambles about — Mike brings up a crate filled with Remi’s old movie awards for Magnes to use as weapons. Golden Globes, Oscar's, Golden popcorn statues, they are all there, and they are all heavy enough to be turned into a weapon. Under his other arm is the emergency inflatable raft, which he loosely moors to the Sayonara — an escape route, he hopes.

With the sails destroyed and everything going on, Jasper is oddly serene. The deaf first mate lets out an unintelligible sound, coughing and aiming a kick at the tear gas grenade in an attempt to send it flying off of the ship and into the water; then, he’s desperately pulling an old crank, the sound of the Sayonara’s archaic motor rumbling through the chaos and commotion as it turns over once, twice, then finally starts up. It isn’t fast and there’s not much gas, but maybe they can get over to one of the other boats — he aims her nose toward the beacon light on the Featherweight.

Amid all the chaos, through her attempt to shoot and think all at once, it isn’t until the Sayonara’s backup motor starts to churn that she realizes how bad of a decision she’s made. The flare fired, right as rain, striking Song in the shoulder as she was distracted by what Magnes was saying. The glowing hot flare burns into the sleeve of her dress and immediately into her skin, but as she reflexively recoils away from the heat that side of her body encrusts with ice, forming a wedge to push the now steam-hissing flare away from her body.

Oh God!” Elaine shrieks, crouching down and covering her head from the explosions, from the burning flinders of the mast, from all of the incredible violence erupting from all around her. There’s blood on the side of her face, hot and steaming, she isn’t sure if its hers or not when she pulls her hand away from her face, then scrambles to try and get behind Magnes, to get inside his gravity field.

The wave of intense heat produced from Geneva’s hands is intense for a few feet, but the exterior temperature and how fast she had to generate it makes the impact not quite as strong as she’d intended, but the cryokinetic is bombarded by a sudden swell of dry heat that has steam rising off of her as she struggles to maintain her balance and ultimately collapses onto one knee. There’s a look of shock on Song’s face, though it’s hard to tell what of the many assaults caused it.

There’s also a look of shock on Remi’s face. Shock, pain, and bleary bewilderment. Breath hitching in the back of her throat, Remi feels something rumble in the back of her mind as her attempts to accurately fire a gun while pushing forward a persuasion amid the mortar bombardment simply proves to be too much to take a handle on. Her ability unwinds and she hears a rushing susurrus of voices against her consciousness.

Geneva’s anger burns white hot, incoherent rage bubbling up from something older and deeper-seated.

Elaine’s fear is palpable, her trust in Magnes nearly tangible.

The pirates aboard the whaling vessel aren’t bombarded by the thought she wanted, instead she’s open up to all of them like a gaping wound. The fingers of their thoughts press into the tender psychic injury, and she can hear their desperation and confusion. They’re confused because they’re fighting Evolved. They’re hungry. They’re sick.

Song too, she’s confused. Confused that there’s Evolved here, confused that her people are fighting them. There’s… regret? They need boats for—

We all have uncertain fates. Hermod of the Vanguard is dead, and none of us could have predicted that path.

Magnes’ voice seemingly reverberates in Remi’s mind along with a cacophonic howl of wind rushing up through a cave. Her vision swims, and it feels like she’s in the ocean circling a whirlpool that’s threatening to pull her down with it.

Then, something snaps inside of Magnes’ mind.

Oh— fuck me!” Magnes screams, slipping on the wet deck and falling straight onto his ass. He looks up at the confused face of Song Ye recoiling from heat and a sputtering flare, drawing up more and more ice in front of herself. He sees the stolen whaling ship, the snow, and looks at Geneva like she’s a stranger. “Oh no— oh— uh— oh my god— “ Scrambling back on his hands and heels, Magnes seems like he just woke up from a dream into the middle of this bombardment.

“Wh— where the fuck—” His eyes are wide, hands trembling, and as he sees the corpse of a man pinned to the deck by a harpoon his eyes roll back in his head and he stumble-slouches to the side.

When Magnes' eyes open again, he immediately rises to his feet with the force of gravity, not wasting any time to immediately rush to take Elaine's hand. "Something happened. I was in my world, like I left my body. But there's no time for that."

"Pirate!" he shouts up at Song, as all of this chaos is going on. "We don't need to fight out here, this is unnecessary! I don't care how tough and badass you all might be, but I have a way out of this, a way out of this world, away from this flood!"

He sounds sincere, placing his free hand on his chest. "But you have to stop this, tell that other ship to stop! We can get onto your ship and we can all go to where we're headed together, you can come with us, somewhere you can all be safer and healthier than you are here!"

"I could unleash absolute hell on that ship, on everyone on it, but I don't want to, I don't want to hurt anyone, I don't want to kill anyone. I'd rather we work together and get out of this without anyone else dying! Everyone is scared right now, but we can stop this!" he pleads, his grip on Elaine's wrist tight. "I don't want to hurt you!"

There are chaotic undertorrents of many different emotions running through Geneva, though the only outward indication of this is that the girl’s eyebrows are knit into a tight upwards knot and there is a very strange expression on her face. She has seen, now, the figure of Huck impaled by harpoon and left to die sprawled against the ship— a picture runs through her head of another former crewmate, Delia, being impaled through by bone-knives but a few days ago.

If death was what they wanted—

…Death is what they would get.

Her upraised hand begins to illuminate once more, first through a spectrum of red and then a pure, blinding white. Anyone near her on the Sayonara will feel waves of immense heat sloughing off of the girl in all directions, as she prepares to launch another deadly wave, this time at the nearby pirate ship itself.

An unearthly firewall roars towards Song Ye’s vessel, aimed sidewise and slightly up towards the main deck of the ship where she can see several figures lurking, rather than the prow where she knows the cryokinetic is standing. Despite the lashing precipitation, it is of extreme enough temperature to set the steel torso of the vessel aglow with a dangerous level of heat — along with what human bodies (her ultimate goal— to take a few of them with her) it may happen to consume.

….It does not seem like she just wants to be friends.

For a moment, all that the captain of the Sayonara can do is hold on tight to the tether that keeps her on the boat, her feet dragging in the ice-cold waves that crash past the boat as she loses herself in the voices and emotions of everyone around her. And then, Magnes’ voice speaks into her mind, and then the ensuing chaos, and then the snap inside of Magnes’ brain.

Remi screams, releasing the harness to clutch at her head tightly as Magnes suddenly becomes someone else. “Shut up! Shut up!” She uses both her voice and her mind to scream this into the heads of all; lacking the control she normally possesses, it comes through loud.

She regains some of her wits after a moment, and with a groan, reaches up and uses the harness to pull herself fully onto the ship’s deck, dragging herself over to where Jasper is seated at the till, silently steering the ship toward that beacon light with the puttering old motor that is normally reserved for windless days when they are tired of rowing. He doesn’t flinch as Remi’s hands wrap around his arm, as she uses the contact to focus on his mind.

Without the sound and chaos of the world around them, his mind is peaceful, quiet. Still panicked by the fact that everything seems to be going wrong, but it’s definitely much more quiet than the rest of the world. The touch helps Remi focus on just him, helps her to gather her wits enough to turn that dial down, to patch up that wound enough to be a functional ship captain. It’s part of the reason she keeps him around — he is good for calming her mind down.

“Stop,” she calls out in a coughing tone, reaching up and pulling a shard of the Sayonara’s mast out of her shoulder. She coughs again, then reaches out toward the other ship. “Everyone STOP.” Though it’s painful, she broadcasts that single word, loudly, to all within her range, her grip tightening on Jasper’s shoulder. Her focus shifts to Song Ye. “We aren’t the Sentinel. We’re not Vanguard! You can have this ship, once we get safely to the Ark! Nobody has to be hurt any more than they already are. Just let us get through and the Sayonara is yours!” Her voice is ragged, but it carries as clearly as it can in this weather.

The rest of Remi’s crew, Jasper included, stare at their captain with shocked looks. She loves this ship as if it is her own child — and here she is, giving it up without so much of a flutter of her pretty eyelashes.

All told, they're good individual plans.

Geneva’s intense heat barrage could've weakened the hull for Magnes to pull it apart with alternating gravitic forces. Magnes’ negotiations might have worked had clearer heads prevailed and the fighting truly stopped. Remi’s desperate demand to stop might have come sooner.

Instead of an organized line of dominos falling one-by-one, its chaos.

The radiant heat boiling outward from Geneva is absolutely devastating to the hull of the pirate vessel. Not only from the tensile point of the steel emitting a lambent orange glow, but from the billowing clouds of steam coming from where the hot metal hits the frigid ocean waves. The contrast of hot and cold causes the hull to split with a sudden, resonating clang of splitting metal.

Immediately the ship lists to the side and Song Ye, blistered from the heat and unable to maintain her ice shield, cannot even hear Magnes over the pain. Behind Magnes, Elaine keeps her fingers wound in the fabric of his jacket. “Magnes, Magnes, Magnes no one’s listening!” She half sob-screams, trying to make sense of the carnage around them.

Jasper, still at the till, watches the carnage with wide and horrified eyes. But as Remi’s psychic order to stop comes blasting out, it functions as intended.

As the patrol boat begins to sink into the ocean, Song Ye is frozen in place with a look of horror on her face. Her crew, those who didn't flee into the ocean to avoid the blistering inferno, are cooled alive by Geneva’s incinerating emanations. Elaine hides her face between Magnes’ shoulders. She can't watch that.

But then, as the Sayonara begins nearing the waters where the Featherweight’s beacon shines, they can hear a shockwave of sound erupting from the boat — Magnes presumes Elisabeth, and that’s likely. But the next thing they hear, as they reach roughly two hundred feet from the Featherweight, is the sound of an explosion.

The front of the Sayonara disappears as it strikes a sea mine, wood flinders and flames join a pillar of water that pitches the entire boat backwards with a concussive force. Everyone is thrown into the water when the ship capsizes from the blast, hurled into the dark and freezing water that boils around Geneva as she continues to emit heat.

It takes a moment for the shock of what happened to wear off, for Magnes to reconcile the freezing cold of the ocean with the glow of firelight above the surface. He can feel different masses in the dark water around him, people, but they all feel similar in his current state of mind. He can't see Elaine anywhere.

Remi is likewise plunged into the freezing cold abyss, but she can feel Jasper’s hand on her wrist, trying to pull her to the surface as he swims.

So much is going through his mind, and so much is going wrong. He considered trying to save Song Ye, trying to salvage something of this situation, anything, but then the explosion.

When he rises to the surface, when he realizes that he can't find Elaine, his frustrations at the situation begin to mount.

He pulls himself up until he's standing on the surface of the water. He can't find her, he doesn't see her, he can't distinctly feel her. For all that he has empathy for these pirates, for all that he respects the rivalries and the concerns of the people in this world, and their losses, in this moment…

He doesn't care about any of that, he doesn't care who he has to save, who did what, or even getting home right now. "You fucking!!!" he shouts, at no one in particular, or maybe everyone.

His nose begins to bleed, and he raises his hands up, closing his eyes. "I didn't want to hurt anyone, and this is what you all do! You just… you just kill each other!!!"

He raises his hands, and various bodies as well as some pieces of debris begin to pull from the water, pulling them into a wide orbit around him. He doesn't do anything else, he just concentrates on holding as many people as possible as he looks through everyone, trying to find Elaine, standing there with a look of mixed horror, fear, anger.

"I could have done something… but…" It's been awhile since he felt this deep sense of loss, he'd become so hardened to it. But the idea that Elaine could be gone, because of this world, because of his inaction…

"If anyone is alive, if any of you pirates are alive…" he says to the people he's lifted from the water with his ability. "Don't do anything, because I will kill you…"

For what short time she has to do so, Remi stares in absolute horror as Song Ye and much of her crew go down with the ship. Her eyes widen — she didn’t mean for that to happen. She’s not a murderer, but here she is, watching people dying because she told them to stop. She claps one hand to her mouth, making an odd choked sound.

Then, there is the chaos, followed by the icy peace of the world below the waves. Her harness is still strapped to the sinking wreckage of the Sayonara, and it tugs her opposite of Jasper’s pull on her hand.

Ce n'était pas comme ça que ça devait être… Soft words of French echo through the dying minds, so many dying minds. Je suis tellement désolé que cela se produise. Aucun de vous ne méritait ça… For a long moment, Remi entertains the notion of going down with her ship. It would be a fitting end, really — it’s peaceful down here below the waves, and death might be a less upsetting option than facing the fact that she just caused the deaths of many people who didn’t deserve it.

But then, there’s still other people who might be depending on her. She doesn’t know what she can do, but she can surely do something other than die,/ right?


Hands, stiff from the cold, grasp at the harness, pulling the release and letting it sink down with the rest of her ship, her hand gripping tight on Jasper’s as he pulls her head up above the water…right on time to tune in to Magnes’ frantic search for Elaine. Blue eyes widen as he pulls her and Jasper into the air as well, and the telepath turns her mind toward those in the water around them, searching desperately for the polyglot’s mind — desperate to help Magnes find his wife. Desperate to do something good after what just happened.

And she reaches out to Magnes, as well, through the pain of her overworked mind, despite the headache that will surely only get worse later, to send as much calm and comfort as she can. It might not help much if at all, but maybe with her boost, he can find her.

Never mind that it might hurt her more in the process…

For her part, Geneva is also finding it difficult to watch the cataclysm consuming Song Ye’s ship, but for completely physical reasons as opposed to emotional ones. Amidst the scene she has created, she only passingly comprehends that the pirates have ceased all efforts to escape their fiery or watery fates, paralyzed in varying states of stasis as they literally pass into death. The yells resounding in her ears turning murky as she struggles to maintain consciousness, she drops to her knees a few moments after her monstrosity of a heatwall has subsided, drained in every sense of the word—

— And then more suddenly than anyone could have believed, there is a jarring explosion and every last one of them is slung into the frothing waters.

The teenager is plunged into a grave of silent and watery nothingness. The radiance still tapering off from her hands in the aftermath of her attack is warming the seas immediately surrounding her, so that at least, she cannot feel their frigidness. But neither can she feel much of anything at all. Eyes closing, entire body numb from exhaustion, she… considers letting it end. As she had so many times in the past, looking out into the wilderness of the seas.

Rest. It would be such a welcome thing. An impossibly beautiful thing. It calls to her, and every bone in her metaphysical body aches, tantalized by such a choice.

…But even so. Somehow. From somewhere. There are still vague commotions coming from nearby. Her… her crewmates. Remi? Elaine?

It is not time… no. Even though she should wish it.

As other dark shapes rise from the water in the direction of the pirate ship, pulled by the ring of Magnes’ ability, she spots actual underwater movement very near her; silhouettes approximating those of Remi and Jasper. As the captain reaches out to the gravity manipulator, so, too, does Geneva claw a way upwards to the surface, clinging to the mere fact of the duo’s proximity. Here.

When she reaches them, the last of her fast-ebbing strength falls away. She slides the rest of the way into unconsciousness, all the world going dark around her.

The waters surrounding them are filled with sounds of battles, each ship in its own duel — unable to help as they face off their own attackers. It’s harder to hear the warning pop and whistle of the mortar shells peppering the field of battle, but they can hear the explosions now and then. Mercifully, or perhaps not, no more seem to come for the Sayonara — or what is left of it — or its crew. It’s hard to even see that rusted behemoth out on the water, through smoke and haze, pain and tears and fear.

Corpses. Magnes is pulling up corpses. Nearly every body he dredges from the freezing cold water is a charred corpse, cast aside in his search for the next. By reaching out for mass Magnes is able to find targets to raise to the surface, but none are Elaine. Panic begins to swell, and Magnes can feel a throbbing headache building from the prolonged use of his ability and the fighting and probably a concussion. Is she—

Magnes!” Elaine screams, but her voice sounds distant and she is lost in the smoke and flurries of snow. Remi can feel her— a hundred yards off the side of what's left of the Sayonara— and as she pivots in that direction she can see Elaine clinging to a demolished piece of the ship, blood in her hair and on her face, drifting further and further away from the wreckage. With a simple mental prod Remi is able to help Magnes focus on the direction she's in, and he sees Elaine, nearly vanished into the mist, screaming for help.

But just as Magnes has her in his sights, there's a deep ring of bass sound that sends a shockwave through the water, emanating from the prow of the Featherweight. A moment after the sonic shockwave, a tremendous explosion erupts from ahead of the Featherweight and sends a column of water a thousand feet into the air and a cascading swell radiating outward from the blast.

The oceanic surge pushes the Featherweight back from the blast zone and away from a scow that has anchored itself to the tugboat. The shockwave creates a swell that pushes the Sayonara away from the others, separates the debris of the vessel, and threatens to push Elaine further away into the darkening ocean.

As the blasted seawater begins to fall like rain, Geneva starts to slip off of her debris back toward the ocean. Jasper grabs Remi by the arm and points to Geneva, watching her start to slide back into the water, unconscious. The telepath is the only one close enough to grab her, to stop her descent.

Magnes doesn't hesitate as he drops everyone and everything he was holding.

The bleeding from his nose only becomes more awful, increasingly dangerous as he continues to push his ability. He flies only about a foot above the water, going directly in the direction of Elaine's voice, and the shockwave that pushes her.

He pays no mind to how long he'll be able to use his ability, any damage he's doing to himself. He just reaches his arms out, pushing dark matter behind him far faster than he could ever manage with his older self during training.

All he wants is to grab her, and never let go, he just wants to take her somewhere she'll be safe. He doesn't know how, he doesn't know where, all he knows is that nothing else exists in this moment except saving her.

Her head is splitting, she’s bleeding from a variety of different places (including her head), and every muscle in her body already aches. But she’s not about to let Geneva go like this — she reaches out, grabbing at the younger woman’s hand. Don’t you give up on me, Geneva! I promised I would do everything I could to get you to the end of all this, you wake up now. Hopefully, the more commanding aspect of her ability will work on the unconscious woman.

She has a good grip on the other woman, and thankfully Magnes has them floating above the explosive ocean — up until he suddenly drops them, that is. She screams as she hits the cold water, the sound muted by the water as bubbles flee her mouth up to the surface. She kicks hard for the surface, taking a deep breath, before frantically searching the water for Geneva.

Magnes! She calls out for him, reaching out for his mind. Get Elaine, then please help us! Assuming Geneva hasn’t floated too far, Remi will haul her onto the nearest piece of flotsam, coughing heavily. She’s lost track of Jasper — hopefully he’s okay.

Wake up now. These commanding words reach far, far down into the darkest void of Geneva’s mind, wrenching her back into a haze of agonized consciousness even though her body is unwilling. When she is forcibly dragged back into the waking world, she is adrift just below the surface of the ocean, and panic envelops her. Hair drifting across her face, the girl weakly breaks back through the roiling tide, clutching Remi’s hand and coughing violently. The bloody lacerations Song Ye had inflicted all across her body are screaming in protest, and her throbbing head feels the threat of lapsing back into unconsciousness at any moment.

But she does not, even as more sensations of precipitously falling back into nothingness follow. This time however, the rush of being dropped is not in merely her mind— she loses her grip on her captain’s hand, though she makes a grab for it. When she hits the water once more, she is completely stunned for a good minute, every inch of her body afire with pain. The drifting flotsam Remi eventually heaves her onto is feebly clutched like the precious, invaluable lifeline that it is.

Magnes!” Elaine screams, clutching on to a too-small piece of wood that can barely hold her weight. When Magnes approaches and sees her waterlogged and pallid form barely holding on, when he shifts her gravity into a weightless float and pulls her safely up to him, she wraps her arms around his shoulders and buried her icy cold face against the security of his neck. “I hate the ocean,” Elaine discovers, and shares that new truth with Magnes as a sharply exhaled breath of words.

Rain from the oceanic explosion continues to fall down, even as the snow flurries pick up again. The Featherweight had survived the blast somehow unscathed, and it looks like the nearest vessel to rescue the crew of the doomed Sayonara. Elaine, Remi, Jasper, and Geneva appears to be the only survivors of the explosion, the remainder are mixed in with the floatsam, or claimed by the sea.

Magnes is barely keeping it together. Trying his best to conserve his ability, he starts running back to the others. And, knowing that he barely has enough energy left to hold Elaine, he sits her down on a chunk of floating wood, possibly a door, and sits on one end of it himself as he holds her hand.

He reaches out to where Remi, Jasper and Geneva are, lowering each of their weights as he tries to pull them closer and closer to the possibly-door. "Help me out! Try to swim while I pull you, I'm keeping this thing floating and it'll be easier if you all hold onto it with your own strength. My ability is pretty burnt out, I'm trying to keep it to basic things…"

His hand is gripping Elaine's rather tightly, until he finally just pulls her close again. "I fucking hate this world."

Her muscles and lungs are screaming, and her head is pounding from overuse of her ability, but with a growl, she does as Magnes instructs, kicking her legs to help the man pull her and the others toward him; her grip remains firm on Geneva, and Jasper in turn holds her as he follows her lead.

Her ship is gone. Almost her entire crew is dead. She had a hand in killing quite a few people on that other boat, as well — not something she intended at all. As they near Magnes, the woman coughs out, collapsing against the flotsam that keeps them afloat and letting out a low groan.

“Join the club. I can’t wait to get the fuck out of here,” she replies hoarsely to Magnes, shaking her head. She isn’t letting herself feel right this moment; to do that would be to utterly collapse into ugly tears, and this is certainly not the time or place for such things.

At least she still has her beloved Jasper; the two share a moment, resting their foreheads against one another’s, silently reveling in the fact that at least they survived — at least they still have each other.

Weakly, Geneva, too, attempts to do as she is instructed. Gripping onto Remi with one hand and her pile of flotsam in another— twin death-grips which whatever she can manage of her faded strength- she pours her efforts into an emulation of swimming, far too tired to appreciate the strange, airy feeling of relative weightlessness from Magnes’ ability.

There is no energy left in her, at the moment, to ponder the magnitude of what had happened. Of what they had done. Her sole focus now is survival.

Desperately clinging against the cold, against the bite of the winter air, the hopelessness of being adrift at sea, the crew of the Sayonara notices that the distant sounds of combat have died down. Gone are the firing of mortars, the screams of combat, gone are the cries of battle. Instead, there is just the wind and silence. In that cold silence, save for the howl of the wind, Elaine curls up against Magnes and wrenches her eyes shut against the emptiness.

Then, a single crack of a mortar launcher firing. Elaine begins to sob, burying her face against Magnes’ chest. Her fingers wind into the wet fabric of his jacket, not that she can feel them anymore from the cold. She waits, trembling, for the mortar to land and finish what the sea mine started.

Except, it never comes.

There is no explosion, just a long belated and surprisingly soft pop in the air, followed by the bloom of green light from a signal flare over the pirate flagship. Neither Magnes nor Elaine know what the flare symbolizes, but to Geneva, Jasper, and Remi, it is a symbol among a lexicon of colored flares used in this new world to convey complex messages from afar.

Cease Fire. Attacking ships withdraw.

The pirates were turning back.

Elaine stares at the green light, reflected in her tear-filled eyes.

“I feel sick.”

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