The Nature Of Nothing


vf_magnes_icon.gif vf_ruiz_icon.gif vf_woods_icon.gif

Scene Title The Nature of Nothing
Synopsis In an attempt to see if they can find a way out of this place is made— and Magnes ends up teaching Ruiz an apparently new use for his ability.
Date November 8, 2011

The Hub - Disposal Room

Not taking the injections has been a risk since the day they discovered it would stave off potential infection. Ruiz had warned Magnes of the risks, that it would be safest to wear suits and take other precautions. Which is why the two of them stand in a room off in the disposal area, putting on suits. A mix of a homemade Hazmat suit, with plastic and duct tape and unwieldy gloves. He had the room cleaned, thoroughly, in an attempt to make sure nothing got left behind.

If this kid got sick, he could see their chances of escape dwindling. Cause escape, after all these years, seemed like the only option. He knew what waited for them out there.

“The negation is probably already wearing off,” he could feel his wearing off, that gaping maw of nothing in the back of his head, waiting to be opened. “But be careful with the suit. I’d rather not have to make up a story about how one got lost, if possible.”

He said he would ask permission to stop the negation, at least for practice. But so few people know about this young man and what he might be able to do for them.

"It feels weird… I'm remembering so much of my experience, like, the way it felt to be a black hole, really understanding what my ability was…" Magnes reaches up to hold the mask of his suit, seeming a bit dizzy. "I can feel it, that feeling never went away. I think that feeling has always been there, but I just… I blocked it, I repressed it, I didn't really notice it."

He stares down at the floor, taking a deep breath, trying to control his breathing. "I can feel the Earth spinning, like, literally, I feel the Earth spinning. I don't know how to describe it. The more my ability comes back, the more I can just… I feel the pull. The way the Earth's gravity is pulling me down, the way the moon is trying to pull at us, even the sun. It's a gentle pull, we're in all of their gravitational fields, all at once, I just… it was always like white noise, but now… now I know what it is, since that time I was a black hole and everything felt so small, now I know what all of that white noise is."

He takes another deep breath, then stands up straight. "Okay, I'm better, sorry. I just want to do some simple tests, okay? I want to try something with the trash, and your black hole."

“Why th’fuck’m I here?” Woods asks helplessly where he stands by the door to the disposal room. It’s a rhetorical question, truthfully, because the boxy battery-powered VHS camcorder he’s holding is exactly the answer. Something newer would be more efficient, offer better video clarity to review, but options are limited when you need to resort to scavenging. Grimacing, Woods clicks the camera on and takes another step back, using his other hand to make sure the metal cable tether around his waist is secure.

“I swear t’fuckin’ Christ above, if you two suck me inta’ bloody Narnia,” Woods doesn’t finish his sentence, just clips the end of his sentence off behind tightly closed lips and draws in a slow, calming breath before exhaling a slow sigh. “Tape’s in, camera’s rollin’, let’s get on with this…”

“You’ll be fine, Woods,” Ruiz responds with a grin as he hears the other man’s complaints. “It’s just a black hole. What’s to worry about.” He’s kidding. Just a black hole. Though he’s not sure what he opens even qualifies. It had to be him because he’s the only one who knew about this whole situation. And he imagined Edward was busy. After securing a tether on Magnes’ belt, whether he needs it or not, he double checks his own as well. The gaping maw that happened to be his ability had never devoured him, but he didn’t want to give it the opportunity either.

The trash sits in small piles, including some sealed containers of some kind of liquid they could not boil to drink or reuse. Those they would not have been able to burn anyway, so at least now they can get rid of them. Often they would just store them, since they could not get them to a landfill.

No bodies this time. Thankfully.

“Here we go,” he gives a warning, glancing at the camera before he looks back at the far wall. The professor had wanted a record. A two-dimensional hole starts to form, pointing toward them. The lights flicker slightly, as it pulls in energy to power it, or contain it. He never figured out which. It expands in moments, a small center of collapsing gravity, that, instead of pulling from all directions, only pulls from the direction it’s pointed. The electricity flickers along the edges, so dark it can barely be called sparks of lightning against the blackness.

It pulls on the air around them— pulls on them, on the garbage… but not strong enough to move them, yet, even if they did not have the tethers. It seems to have a radius of effect, and they aren’t yet fully within it. Some debris on the floor is, beginning to lift up, spiraling away into the dark.

"This… this black hole is strange." Magnes stares at it, trying to get a taste for it, that gravity-feel. "It's a singularity, but it isn't acting like a normal singularity, it's like… it's like a black hole formed from almost no real mass. I wonder if this is some kind of, I don't know, some kind of black hole that only an evolved person could create…" He starts to step forward, grabbing an empty bottle in his own gravitational field, then he starts to push it toward the hole.

"I have it tethered to my gravitational field, I want to see if putting it into your black hole breaks the tether. But first, I'm going to try and take control of it, see what it feels like, what happens when my ability combines with yours…" He lets the bottle float in his field for now, and then reaches his hand out for the black hole. He doesn't get any closer, he just tries to hijack it, tries to sort of become one with it. With his mind, he'll try to feel it, but also push through it, try to feel what's inside as well, how deep it goes, how strong it pulls, and ten, somehow, if he can further stabilize it.

"This isn't only for me and Elisabeth. This is also for Mala and Denisa. I won't let them die again, I won't let them live this kind of life. I'll give them a happy life even if it kills me…" He starts to concentrate, and, as if far more properly understanding his ability after having, well, become a black hole, a slight purple hue shines around his current sphere of influence, though not quite glowing brightly like when he's augmented.

Woods tenses up, pressing into the far corner of the room. As far away from the maw as he possibly can be. “So,” he mumbles low enough to clearly be talking to the camera. “In the event tha’ this is my last moment on Earth, I’d jus’ like t’give a hearty fuck you t’Mateo Ruiz an’ —” Woods hesitates, squinting. “Hey!” He shouts over the roar of the vortex, “Magnes! Wha’s yer fuckin’ last name? So I can curse it before my bloody death!”

Magnes shouts, "Varlane!"

Thank you!” Woods calls back. “Uh, I was uh,” Woods centers the camera on the vortex again. “Hearty fuck you, yadda yadda, Magnes Varlane!” Then, squinting, Woods looks to the side again and mouths the name. Varlane? His eyes narrow further, and he looks back to the yawning vortex, brows pinched together.

Nah, Woods thinks to himself. It couldn’t be.

“If you die, I get your headphones,” Ruiz jokes, rather callously. But he also doesn’t believe this will be Woods’ last night in the world.

The effect is immediately visible, as Magnes hijacks his ability. That purple around his sphere of influence seems to spread into the hole in space. Those lightning and sparks seem to change color, getting a purple hue to them. For a moment, Ruiz thinks it’s working, as he feels the strain in his head, that warmth against his nose as his nose starts to bleed. The surface even starts to look similar to when the two of them popped out… but it never does. It interacts with the gravity, but seems too powerful for it. At least under these circumstances.

It continues to roar, like some great gnashing of teeth. The acoustics in the room seem to make it louder, the sound bouncing off the metal walls, into infinity.

As the bottle gets closer, the emptiness fights back, pulls on it, until it seems ripped out of Magnes’ control, pulled into the nothingness. The gravity in the center doesn’t seem to crush it, though, once it reaches a point it’s just gone.

And the tether snaps back at him.

"The bottle's gone, I can't feel it anymore, I don't think I can feel beyond the point of the black hole. I also can't really… I can't control it, it's too much gravity I think, it's stronger than me, and my gravity is pretty strong…" Magnes draws his ability in a bit, his body suddenly becoming more dense, heavier. He begins to step forward, but he stops where he senses the gravity to be beyond his ability to resist.

"Before we came through, I was being augmented, and then my ability got out of control because of something they did, I don't know what, but they forced me to attack people and then I couldn't pull my ability back in. But if I could augment myself, and choose what I'm doing with my ability without some weird mind control…" He lets them fill in the blanks.

But with that bottle gone, and the seeming lack of ability to control the black hole at the moment, he just tries to think. "What do you feel? Can you sense it? Think about it… When I became a black hole, I realized that I could sense so many things, I could just… I could feel so much of what was going on, but my brain used to just filter it all out as background noise. I want you to try to feel the vortex, try to feel what's inside of it, with your mind."

He rubs his chin, considering a few things. "I was trying to shift my own gravity into the black hole, so that I could see what was beyond it, but I'm just not strong enough to push through, I don't think. But you, why don't you try making a second black hole, and putting it inside of the first one, to see if you can still sense it? See, when I put the bottle in there, the bottle didn't get crushed at all, I'd have felt it, there was no shift in gravity. It just… it disappeared, I don't know how, but it just disappeared, it didn't get crushed. We have to figure out what's going on in there, so we have to try everything."

“I’m not going in,” Woods loudly clarified. “Y’know, in case tha’ was in doubt?” He peeks from over the top of the camera. “This ain’t bloody uh, what’s tha’ movie? The one with the big black uh… in space? Full of stars?” Woods curses under his breath, then hastily adds. “Nevermind, nevermind.

"2001!" Magnes helpfully adds, shouting it due to all the, well, gravity noises.

“I always feel it,” Ruiz helpfully responds to the question, his voice deeper than usual, as if he’s concentrating. Or possibly in pain. But it’s the truth. His ability is always there. In the back of his mind. Like a voracious hungering thing, waiting to be let loose. It had almost made him enjoy the injections, cause only under them did it quiet to barely a whisper until it disappeared. Only then, did it not constantly gnaw at him. Only then was it ever gone.

Jaw tightening, he looks into the chasm of emptiness, trying to take the young man’s advice, even as he mutters a soft, “I never tried opening two before.” His ability had never been something he toyed too much with. Opening a second one? Had never even crossed his mind. One was destructive enough.

Focusing on a spot in the center, where all light seems to vanish— he tries to open a second one, tries to see if he even can.

The lights flicker, once again, but never go out. Like power surges, or brown outs. What happens is not what they intended, though, as a second hole appears in space much closer to them, right in front of Magnes.

The gravitational pull of this one, seems… different. It didn’t have the gravity of the first. Didn’t have the pull. Balanced. Stable. The roar in the room suddenly stops, as if someone turned off the sound.

This one, surrounded by sparks and that tinge of lightning, has a surface. Almost like oil. And if Magnes looks around it, the other one now looks exactly the same. The pull disappeared with the sound.

"It's stable, I can feel it… it's like, it's gravity, but it's… it's different from anything I've done, different from a black hole. I don't really sense any danger, I can't feel any destructive force." Magnes takes a deep breath, then starts to walk forward. "I can't expect anyone else to do this, my life was already saved. I'll be the person Elisabeth needs me to be, and I'll be the superhero that Mala thinks I am."

Then he just… walks through.

JESUS FUCKING CHRIST!” Woods helpfully screams as Magnes enters the yawning abyss and—

And finds himself walking out of the other hole. "Whoa!" He sticks his hand through the hole he just came out of, wiggling his fingers as it pops out of the one he entered, then quickly pulls his hand back out. "Uh… I think we just made scientific history. Let's call it a Ranus hole!"

WHAT THE FUCK!?” Woods howls, barely able to hold the camera stable as he witnesses that display of dimensional folding. “Jesus flapjacking Christ’s fuckin’ brother on a bicycle! Are you— is he— fuck!

Woods sweeps one hand across the top of his head, practically falls back against the wall, legs buckling just a little. “Did you— is he— is tha’ even the same guy!?” This is way too much for him.

While Woods is more emphatic with his cursing, Ruiz whispered his curses. In Spanish. After a few moments, his first words loud enough to properly make out are, “We are not calling it that.” He’ll draw that line, even if he finds the young man to be funny. Not quite as amusing as Woods.

“Pretty sure it’s the same guy,” he offers while he steps closer. The tether attached to Magnes goes through one hole and comes out the other, uncut, still attached to him. With the roar and the pull gone, he runs his gloved hand over Magnes’ tether and follows it, until it stops, in that oily blackness.

“This… feels different.” Not the ravenous, bottomless pit, but something else entirely. That gnawing remains in his head, whispered now, but it’s not coming from this. The gloved hand goes up, almost as if wanting to touch it, but pulls back just before he does. He does not trust his ability quite as much as Magnes seems to.

“You better walk back through. We don’t know how long this will last.” Since he did just see the man’s hand come through and wiggle fingers at them, it must go both ways.

Magnes finally turns around, heading back through. He wouldn't want to ruin a perfectly good tether. Then, standing outside of the portal he first entered, he crosses his arms. "We've created a wormhole. It's like an actual portal, like in the game Portal. Wait a minute…" He starts to pace, tapping the side of his forehead. "Edward Ray suspected it was a portal, that's why he thought someone else might come through. He must have taken it into account in his predictive models. Which means, when I turned into a black hole, it was at the same time that you opened your black hole, and then, since I was being augmented, I took control of yours and squeezed through!"

He dramatically swivels around on his heel, then points at the portal in front of him as his feet plant more firmly on the ground again. "This means that there's no way to see in between, no way to really map the timelines I don't think, well, at least not in the physical way I was thinking. But this also means that it won't be dangerous to transport people, we know why me and Elisabeth survived the trip. So, the solution to getting out of here…"

Raising both hands now, he finger guns at the portal with both. "We need Edward Ray to predict when a portal will open on the other side, I need to find some way to augment my ability to keep that side open, we need to make your portal much bigger, develop an evacuation plan, and then transport everyone in this entire building to another universe!"

He points a finger at Ruiz. "This is HOPE!!! Denisa and Mala will have a future!"

Though, crossing his arms again. "There's also the possibility that if I was augmented, I could possibly take over your portal and, I don't know, force someone else's portal to open on the other side, maybe? But that seems less likely to happen, and we don't have any evidence that it would even work that way. So the first plan is better."

“Lovely,” Woods notes in a sarcastic tone, “so if we get all of that improbability t’just line up like nice lil’ ducklings in a row for us, we’re home free!” He clicks the camcorder off and lowers it. “Now, are you two done tryin’ t’bloody open a hole inta’ the— the —” Woods squints and brandishes a hand in the air, then stops entirely.

“Wha’s a bad thing y’could open into? A death star? Is tha’a thing?” He looks down at the floor. No, that’s not a thing.

Between Magnes’ hopeful attitude and Woods’ nihilism is Ruiz, who’s stuck staring at the portal, that starts to fluctuate not long after the young gravity manipulator steps back through. It shimmers, sparks and then both close at the same time, leaving the room without even that roar. Under the plastic of his mask, though, his nose is bleeding. Has been since his portals took on that brief purple hue.

“Hope is better than what we had before they showed up,” he states quietly, not quite as enthusiastic as the one making wild gestures and talking of saving little girls who could die tomorrow if the outbreak spread again.

But Woods is right. Getting all that together won’t be easy. “We’ll talk to the Professor, but I have no idea how we’ll manage to get all those elements together.” They didn’t exactly have a lot of resources to work with.

“You’re right, Woods. A Death Star would be a very bad idea,” he does comment to Woods after a second. “Those things blow up very easily.”

"We have a few things going for us, like science. We have me, a gravity manipulator, we have Peter Petrelli out there somewhere, who could take either of our abilities and find some way to combine them. WIth the three of us working together, there's a lot of potential things we could do. He might even have met Gillian or someone with an augmentation ability. There's a lot of possibilities." Magnes dramatically points at Woods. "But see, improbability is //exactly/ what we have on our side…"

"We have Edward Ray, the last hope of humanity!"

Woods stares at Magnes for a good long while, then slides his tongue across his teeth and turns immediately toward the door.

“We’re so bloody fucked.”

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