The Past That Suits You Best


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Also Featuring:

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Scene Title The Past That Suits You Best
Synopsis On the road through Ohio, Robyn and Cat bond.
Date July 4, 2021

Sleep had been tenuous at best the night before, buy somehow Robyn Quinn had been able to manage to get an over all decent night. It was rare that she found the means to make the most of what she learned sleeping in cars and in the dirt when transporting things during the war, but truth be told the whole of this endeavour brings up familiar feelings of those few years she spent constantly on the road between parts of the United States she would otherwise never visit, and Quebec.

It also means she's more awake as they set out than some of the others in the ambulance they've effectively named Doc, leading her to enthusiastically take up the reins of driving for the first four of the day. The enthusiasm waned pretty quickly as they settled into driving, Cat sitting up front in a reverse of where they had settled in the day before.

It's been quieter than it was yesterday, likely due to the haze tiredness that hung in the air, so it's only after a bit of driving that Quinn looks back into the back of the vehicle to see how preoccupied Nova and Erin are, before she looks back to Cat.

"So, I had something I'd been meaning to ask you about," she offers over to the other woman as she tries to keep her eyes on the road ahead. "If you don't mind." She glances over at the other woman, quirking an eyebrow just briefly before her eyes are back on the road. A quiet moment passes, and then she sighs.

"You said you knew Magnes?"

On the Road in Ohio

July 4th
2:47 pm

“Two of them,” Cat says with a fondness. “Though I’ll admit yours was a bit of an acquired taste, he was still just as kind deep down. But, yeah.” She glances over at Robyn, resting her elbow against the passenger door, hand in her hair. “He picked me up and dusted me off after the flood, gave me a sense of purpose when I was at my lowest. Showed me what it meant to even have one at all.” She smiles, fondly. “He was like a father to me.”

A small chuckle escapes from Quinn as she gives a small shake of her head, leaning back comfortably in her seat. "You know, it's funny," she remarks thoughtfully. "You're right. The Magnes I know, he's an acquired taste. A very peculiar one I've honestly never quite gotten a grasp for. He's often misguided, presents himself like a bit of a fool sometimes." Her head tilts slightly, and she smirks.

"And yet, that sounds exactly like something he'd do. Down to a T, picking someone up when they need it most, giving them a path forward." She wears a small smile herself. "I'd never tell it to him, because I'd never hear the end of it, but he's helped a few people I know like that. Heck, if it wasn't for him? I probably wouldn't be here right now." Not for the reason Cat likely imagines, though.

But wait, did she say- "Wait." Quinn's expression goes blank, slowly half turning so that she can see Cat a bit better. "Father figure?"

“Everyone’s always confused by that.” Cat says with a wry smile. “Honestly, I am a little too. Our Magnes was fifty when he died. He grew up in the sixties and seventies. When your Magnes got here he had all these stories about… I don’t know, his dad and clones or something?” She squints, looking a bit lost. “I’ll be honest I only followed about half of it and remember even less.”

Running a hand through her hair, Cat looks over at Robyn. “They got to meet, though. I think it was a really big moment for your Magnes. They connected in a way that’s probably pretty profound. Our Magnes stayed in the Pelago when yours went north with the ships. Ours died—stopping a missile strike from the Sentinel.”

The expression on Quinn's face is initially one of strained surprise mixed with concern, but it quickly gives way to something more somber. It's a bit of a struggle to keep her eyes on the road ahead, but she manages. She has practise. "The differences are wild sometimes," she murmurs to herself. "He's not the only one who's… of a different age in our world, compared to here. Every time I think I'm done being surprised by something, well."

She's wrong.

Sinking a bit in her seat, she offers a glance and an apologetic nod of her head to Cat. "I'm sorry. I'm sure it's an uneasy topic. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that Magnes was as heroic minded as ours." Sensei and all. "Just maybe a bit smarter about it. I'm glad they got to meet. I wish I could've asked him for advice on how to, uh. Talk to yourself?" Yeah, she has no idea how to present that idea, and it's still strange even after an entire month. "I'm forever endlessly fascinated by how different people are here. Better, in a lot of ways, if I'm to be honest."

Cat smiles, glancing over at Robyn. “You’re not so bad here,” she says with an incline of her head toward Robyn. “I don’t know her very well, but ever since she came from up north all she’s wanted to do was be helpful and make friends. I imagine she’s probably thinking the same thing about you right now.”

Folding her hands behind her head, Cat watches the road out the windshield. “So, you knew me back in your home,” she says with certainty. “Magnes… your Magnes, mentioned me a little. Seemed surprised that I didn’t have a stick up my ass or something.” She furrows her brows. “I never really asked much about myself, regretted it after everyone left.” She looks over at Robyn. “What’m I like where you are? And if I’m dead or something horrific just change the subject—or—wait then I’ll know—ugh.


In Wildcat

"Uuuuuugh." Zee groans as she falls backwards into one of the shallow bunks, narrowing avoiding smacking her head against the wall of the vehicle. "I don't even think her own team likes her!" Her voices pitches up, before looking back towards the front seats, where Richard sits in shotgun while Edward drives. "She's such a bitch," she offers with a rare curse in a much lower voice as she turns and looks across the car to Destiny.

Des' brows knit in sympathy, and a touch of concern where she sits cross-legged on the edge of her own bunk. "I don't think she's a— Well… I don't think she means to be?" she posits with a wince.

"Yeah, because she likes you!" Zee is quick to fire back. "Probably more than she should" is a barely audible whisper muttered under a rough breath. "I think she likes Richard too. But that's… it?" Scrambling back up to a sitting position, Zee looks across the aisle with her head slightly askew. "Does she treat you like a kid too?"

Confusion screws up Destiny's features, tipping her head to one side. "What?" she asks in response to Zee's muttering, unheard above the sound of the Wildcat's motor. The new question distracts her from asking the other woman to repeat herself. "Well, yeah," she responds, bemused. "Everyone does. You've seen what the other me looks like."

Zee's expression flattens and she rolls her eyes, flopping back down on the cot again. "Yeah, well… I guess that's true," she mumbles, trying her best to not think back to the Ark. "I still don't like her."

Back In Doc

Quinn lets out a heavy sigh, her gaze focused ahead as she gathers her thoughts. "I don't know," she offers back to Cat quietly. "She's a hard one to read." Slinking down into her seat, for a brief moment she looks rather uncomfortable.

"I've been trying to stick to a rule about not telling people about their other selves," she admits in a low voice. "I figure it has a way of making people grieve for a life they didn't live, in a world they'll never see. Or worse, make them aware of how awful they could be, and foster self loathing. I’ve seen enough of myself in other worlds to think that we’re often better off not knowing. Once you do, you can’t take it back. It doesn't seem fair." Elbows lock, and moves to rest one arm against the window. "But if you really want to know, I'll share. I can tell you we were friends there."

A momentary beat, and she smiles fondly. "To be honest, she's someone who helped shape my entire last eleven years. I literally would not be here now if not for her."

Cat’s attention is focused ahead, out the windshield, for a bit. “Friends is good,” she decides, affording a quick glance over at Robyn. “Friends, influential in people who matter, I think… that’s enough teetering on the precipice of ego for me,” she admits with a crooked smile. “I’d probably slam my head in a car door if she was like the fucking president or something!”

Well Quinn can't help but snort out a laugh at that - so close to the truth, but so perfectly off, and her sudden amusement likely betrays that fact. "Not President, no," she offers with a wide grin and a low laugh. "But important, nonetheless." She glances over at Cat herself, transitioning to a softer smile as she tries to keep one eye on the road.

"And to be fair to Magnes," are words she never likes saying, "Our Cat - Catherine Chesterfield, which I don't begin to know the story behind I'm afraid - did kind of have a stick up her ass." Turning fully back ahead, she wears a sad, yet fond expression. "Anyone who really knew her, though? They understood why. I certainly didn't hold it against her."

She exhales sharply, shoulders rising and then slouching as she does the same in her seat. "Unfortunately, we don't talk much anymore. Life has a way of pulling people apart where I'm from. Though…" She chews on her lip for a moment. "I guess that's true no matter where or when you are."

Chesterfield?” Cat had heard the surname before, from Magnes. But it still fits weird in her mouth. She grimaces, shaking her head. “It’s weird imagining me living another life somewhere, being different, having a wacky-ass memory power.” She snorts out a laugh and shakes her head. “Feels unreal, y’know? But then I see you and… you.” Cat glances at Robyn and laughs. “And you know, I see it. The similarities. Where you two overlap.”

Lacing her hands behind her head, Cat wonders aloud. “Glad to not have the stick up the ass, though,” she admits with a wry smile, glancing over at Robyn. “Maybe I should take a quick pop over to your universe, teach her a thing or two about letting your hair down and drinking until you forget?” The idea is filled with laughter, so much so that she doesn’t realize the grenade she’s about to lob into the conversation. “How are you getting home, anyway? Is Mateo waiting for you in Alaska?”

There's a lot to unpack in a short moment, and it takes Robyn a few to just do that. Her brow furrows at Cat's last question, staring silently ahead. "Oh, so Magnes told you what her ability is. Well, that saves me some stress," is offered in an attempt at a humorous tone, after which she musters a grin and a laugh. "I'll be honest, I like you more without the stick. But like I said, she's a good friend regardless."

And then she falls quiet, her mood taking a turn that runs counter to Cat's more relaxed demeanour, and she lets out a heavy sigh. "We're not," she offers after a brief moment of thought. "Getting home. Not unless we can source a way back here." She shakes her head chewing at her lip for a moment. "Mateo doesn't have his ability anymore, and… the means we used to get here was destroyed in an attack while we were jumping."

One hand off a wheel, holding finger up in a hold on motion. "Richard seems to have faith we'll find a way, and I'm ready to try and rip my own hole in reality if… I have to." Her arm falls to her side, moving to just keeping the one hand on the wheel. "But the reality of it is, there's a very good chance this is it."

“It’s not so bad here,” Cat opines, missing the extra piece of doomsday context Robyn has. “It’s a little rainy, the weather is wildly unpredictable, and if you get seasick you’re shit out of luck but…” Cat smiles, awkwardly, “you know, there could be worse places to wind up at the end of the world?”

That’s when Cat reaches out and puts a hand on Robyn’s arm, giving it a gentle squeeze. “Maybe if you don’t find a way back, maybe if Anchor is everything Nova built it up to be, there’s room for fresh starts and second chances for everybody?”

At Cat's reassurance, Robyn can't help but offer a small, sad smile. The truth is, Cat's right, it's not so bad here… if it weren't for that one thing she can't talk about. "I like the sound of that," she offers honestly despite that knowledge, relaxing as much as she can allow herself to in her chair. "I've been looking for a fresh start for a while now. It's just so hard to figure out where to start, you know?" And hey, this time they wouldn't have a choice if this pans out the most likely way.

A heavy sigh, looking back ahead as they hit a small bump in the road. "I'd just hoped that when I did figure it out, my son would be with me," she admits, unsure if Cat's heard that particular detail before."But he's on his own adventure right now, with people far more capable than I am."

Tapping a finger against her nose, she then points a finger at Cat, despite not looking over at her. "Though I don't know if I'll be staying at Anchor. It depends on what my parents decide to do after we arrive."

“You—” Cat sits up in her seat, “have a son?” She tries not to seem so surprised, but it blindsides her. “Sorry that sounded really fuckin’ incredulous,” she says with a toothy smile. “You just didn’t—I didn’t get mom vibes from you, y’know?”

Sheepishly, Cat draws her knees to her chest in her seat, arms wrapped around her legs. “You think your folks’ll wanna take off?” She tries to change the subject from her own embarrassing surprise. “I mean, how long have they been out west for? Since the flood or?”

For her part, Robyn manages to stifle back a sigh, instead offering back an amused, if strained, smile. "You're far from the first to react like that," she says with a small laugh. "If there's a universal constant, no matter if I'm here or back home, it's that it's weird that Robyn Roux has a kid." Shoulders rise and fall in a relaxed shrug, trying her best to push away any lingering annoyance.

When she sees Cat withdraw into herself, she takes her free hand and reaches over, mirroring the squeeze of her arm Cat had given her moments previous. "It's fine. I'm not mad," she offers as her own reassurance. She doesn't let the motion linger too long, though; focus on the road and what not. "And to be fair, he's not my biological son, not that that matters, but it is a fairly recent development. I took him a few years back after his mother passed."

Whether that contributes to the constant surprise or not, she's never been sure.

"Besides, you'll find I'm full of surprises. Would you believe I was going to be a pop star and media mogul, before war broke out?" She quirks an eyebrow, smirking devilishly as she reaches back over and taps a finger against Cat's shoulder. "To be honest, my government work is almost the most boring part of my life."

A beat. "Well, most of the time."

Pop star?” Cat barks with laughter, slapping her thighs with both hands. “Absolutely not. I refuse. I refuse to believe that you were some kind of Lady Gaga or something!” She’s fluttering with laughter, charmed and delighted whether it’s true or not. Also her point of pop-star reference does confirm how pop culture ossified in 2009 with the flood. A comparison that would make Prime Cat yowl in pain.

“Alright, alright,” Cat says, slapping Robyn’s arm. “Okay hit me. Gimmie the uh, the fucking, god uh—the Billboard number one! Gimmie your hit single!” She’s still laughing, smiling, happy. It’s remarkable to see people capable of this level of happiness even in the aftermath of the end of the world.

"To be fair," Robyn is quick to reply, holding up a finger as she giggles, Cat's attitude infectious. "I didn't have time to get that far! I mean, I wanted to, but the war kind of put an end to that." But they're good memories, despite how much Robyn likes to act like they weren't. "So did having an entire media wing of a production company bequeathed to me. It's weird how that was the simpler time."

Sitting up in her seat, she offers Cat a toothy smile. "Best charting song though… that'd be 'She Talks to Spirits', and I promised I wouldn't play that one anymore, so I guess that leaves… 'Fantasies' or 'Empire of the Sun'." She waves a hand back and forth. "Nah. Those two are boring. If I'm going to give you a song, it's the opus."

Clearing her throat, Robyn smirks as she begins to sing, regardless of what Nova or Erin or particularly Colin make think of it from the back of the ambulance.

This isn't what I know
This city of glass
Wreckage all around me
Don't you think this is not
How it's supposed to be?

Living in a glass wonderland
A broken fantasy
Fragments laced across the street
Memories lost
Ruins of what was meant to be
How did we get this way?
How did we
Get this way?

Fingers tap against the steering wheel in the beat of the backing drum of the song, her other hand mimicking the playing of the piano notes against the seat at her side. She goes through the entire song, all several minutes of it - thankfully for both of them, without the long musical breaks, it doesn't clock in at nearly 10 minutes this time.

As she finishes singing she sighs, looking rather pleased with her self. "That one's called 'Glass Wonderland', and before you even dare to consider making fun of it." This time, a more devilish smirk on her face as she angles a glance in Cat's direction. "You co-produced that song. That whole album, actually. Well, not you you, but- you get it."

Co-producer!” Cat howls, slapping Robyn’s shoulder again. “You horrible fucking liar!” She says with another burst of laughter. “Co-producer,” she repeats in an incredulous whisper, slapping Robyn’s shoulder again. “First of all, I’ve never been within ten feet of a song that good before, and I have to imagine all my interdimensional counterparts are equally unlucky, Second of all,” she slaps Robyn again, “Do I get any residuals? Cross-reality greenbacks?” She rubs her fingers together in the air. “Multiverse Money!

Then, with a dawning realization—“Oh goddamnit money’s worthless here!” She yelps, bursting out into laughter again. She drums her feet gently against the dashboard, then looks across the cab at Robyn again. “In all seriousness, though, it is a good song. You should be fuckin’ proud. And you shouldn’t be here! You should be off making your millions.”

With her more boisterous mood fading momentarily, Robyn is left with a sad, small smile. "I don't want to tell you more about her, so I'll just say that I heard you playing at the campfire the other night. There's a reason you made for a good producer." She rolls her shoulders, returning her full attention ahead, easing on the brake a little to make up for unintentional distracted acceleration.

"Tell you what, if you ever end up in my neck of the woods after all of this?" Cat may not be able to see the fond smile on her face, but the tone of her voice likely carries the same sentiment. "I'll make sure you get all the residuals you deserve." Tapping the side of her nose, she falls quiet for a moment, letting laughter taper off before she continues.

"Truth is there won't be much," she admits quietly. "I haven't produced or recorded a song in a decade now, almost exactly, and the war… well, it wasn't exactly kind to physical media or digital distribution. I didn't really get a chance to spread my wings outside of New York City, and all of my music was self published." She rolls her shoulders, sighing quietly. "The studio I used back then is rubble now. It was located a floor above my apartment, and my old friend and drummer has all the old masters. We don't really… talk anymore, though."

She shrugs her shoulders. "It's just not who I am anymore. I've been… a lot of different people in my life. Sometimes you just gotta pick the past that suits you best, and run with it." And finally, another small chuckle. "Plus, I've seen what happens when I hit super stardom. No thanks. I'll take the studio I own now and find solace in revitalising the local music scene, rather than being a part of it."

The reality of Robyn’s comment rather than the whimsy Cat was flitting through brings her back down to reality. Cat’s quiet for a moment, watching the vehicle ahead move down the winding road. She looks back at Robyn, brows furrowed. “If you wind up back in your neck of the woods,” she reminds, anchoring Robyn in the realities of the moment as well.

“But,” Cat sighs, folding her hands behind her head, “maybe we can both have our daydreams. Even if in reality, only one of them’s actually gonna happen.” She turns, looking out the passenger side window at the flat Ohio horizon, a crease of worry pinched between her brows.

There wasn’t much left to say. Because whether they wanted it or not, Cat was right. There were two possibilities for the future, but only one outcome.

At least, as far as she knew.

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