The Polish Immortal


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Scene Title The Polish Immortal
Synopsis Magnes Varlane asks Edward Ray to move a mountain.
Date May 12, 2017

Cardinal & Son Auto and Salvage

Manhattan, Kansas, is a rural place. It is a mostly flat stretch of land with a few rolling hills, scattered with dense corpses of dark pine forest. The latter of which is where the derelict Cardinal & Son Auto Salvage is tucked away. The building is two decades out of service, with paint peeling from the exterior, a sun-bleached sign, and overgrown vegetation threatening to consume its sagging walls. It's been years since Magnes Varlane had been out to Kansas, since the escape from Moab, but fate has brought him back with a purpose.

There's no electricity here, not functional. The only light comes from the distant light-pollution of the downtown area and from a battery-powered lamp hanging from the entrance of the garage bay doors. It makes spotting the fireflies dancing in the field behind the garage easy. Out here, tall grass has swallowed up the rusted husks of a dozen old cars. Dandelions grow up from wheel wells, and creeping vines have wound their way around bent metal frames. The fireflies flit there too, shimmering over the hoods of long-abandoned cars and trucks.

Tyler Case is out here by himself, staring up at the sky that glitters with a few visible stars behind the patchwork clouds. Edward is here too, face lit by the glow of a cigarette. He doesn't normally smoke, but judging from the glassy quality of his eyes and that he just spent the better part of three hours talking to Kaylee and Richard in the garage explains enough. He'd had a long day. And he knows it's about to get longer.

"Someone took my daughter." Magnes says in his t-shirt with Stephen Hawking's wheelchaired silhouette printed on white. His arms are crossed, and he has a very intensely dark look in his eyes. "I want to make a deal with you. I know how you are, I know that you do things because you're concerned for your family. So…"

He looks to Tyler, then to Edward. "I know that when you're augmented, you gain pretty much infinite insight. From what I hear, you end up seeing all possibility, far beyond any normal stretch of your ability. So, I want to augment you, so that you can tell me how to get my daughter back, and how I could possibly reverse the fact that I'm going to explode in four or five years."

"In exchange…" He holds his hand out. "In exchange, during my stay in this world, and my travels between other worlds, on my way home, I'll execute whatever plan you have for your family. You help me save myself and my family, and I'll help you save yours."

Drawing in a slow drag from his cigarette as response to Magnes’s request, Edward’s face is lit orange by the ember. Tyler looks over with both brows raised, to Magnes first and then Edward, but he doesn't say anything immediately. Though he turns himself toward the conversation that he — indirectly — seems to now be a part of.

“Infinite.” Edward repeats the word, distrustful of it. He's silent in his assessment of what it is Magnes offered, and levels a blue-eyed state at Tyler for just a moment, before looking back at Magnes.

“So this happened before,” Edward surmises, “where you're from originally. Which makes sense, you understand what family means to me.” He takes another puff off of the cigarette and makes a distasteful face, finally throwing the half-finished thing on the ground and grinding it out with the toe of his shoe.

A sigh layer, and Edward looks back to Magnes. “I'm sorry about your daughter. I'm sorry you're even in this predicament. I tried to stop Arthur, tried to make this world safe from him. But it only made things worse.” Edward’s brows pinch together, and he stares at the fireflies in the distance.

“I can't promise I'll be able to help you save your family, Magnes.” There's a great weight in those words of Edward’s. Weight and guilt. “For all that I can see, I haven't been able to save my own.” Now those blue eyes see through the night, to the dancing green lights atop the cars. “Nothing is certain,” he warns, “especially not the future.”

"The Edward back in the Virus world helped us get out, without him, we wouldn't have even made it this far. I've never met the Edward in my world, but I've always heard stories, I'm sure that somehow I got caught up in his plans without even knowing it, since I worked with Cardinal a lot. Evil Future Cardinal is also how I ended up on this whole journey…" Magnes sighs, resting his forehead in his hand for a moment, desperation clear in even his demeanor.

"Before this, before Addie, my little girl, I didn't understand you very well, I just thought that you were some selfish guy, using people for your own ends. But… now I understand, I get the need to do whatever you have to do to save your family. I wanted to avoid you at all costs." He looks back up at Edward, allowing Tyler to just sort of listen. "But I'm ready to dive head first. Warren may be gone, but Kaylee and Cardinal are here. I know about your other daughter too, though I don't know where she is here, and I'm not going to interfere with that."

"I don't expect you to work miracles, but if I can get a lead, on my daughter, and on how to fix what Darren Stevens' ability did to me, that'll be enough. Beyond that…" He motions to Edward. "As long as you try, I'll do whatever you think is necessary for your family. In my world, your family is whole and intact, at least to the best of my knowledge since I was last there. But our Edward is gone. If you want me to protect your family there, in the place of your Edward, or whatever else you need, I'll do it."

It's a lot for Edward to take in. Mentions of evil future versions of his adopted son, mentions of Darren Stevens, mentions of so many things. But Edward focuses on just one point.

“Her name was Valerie.” Edward says with a tightness in his voice. “I lost her in the bomb,” is less easily said, and he punctuates the sentence with a few rapid and shallow nods. “I've lost nearly everyone but— you're right.” About what, Edward doesn't say.

Tyler takes a moment to step over, looking down at the ground, then to Edward as fireflies flicker at his back. “I don't really know what I'm doing with this stuff,” he admits as a few crackling sparks of red lightning dance around his fingertips. “I don’t even know if it's safe to… uh, juice you up like this.”

“It isn't.” Edward confides, but doesn't elaborate. “Magnes,” and he changes gears before that is explored further. “I'm flattered that you're willing to trust me, but my ability to problem solve — no matter how expanded it is — is only as good as the information I'm given. I don't…” he looks at Tyler, then hesitates and stops himself.

“Are you willing to do this?” Edward asks Tyler, who looks at his hands, then Magnes, then Edward.

“If it'll save his kid? I'd be a shitty person not to.” Is Tyler’s simple response.

With a slowly exhaled sigh, Edward takes a few paces away from the conversation toward the dark, grassy field behind the garage where derelict cars lay. “You're sure?” Edward asks of Magnes as he looks back to him. “Knowing whatever it is you know about… variations of me. That you want this?”

"It's for my daughter. If it's for my daughter, I'll do anything. If I have to move multiple worlds to get my daughter back, I'll do it." Magnes then reaches up to tap his own temple. "I'll tell you everything that I know, everything that I can think of that I know to be fact. I'll also tell you what I know about what other versions of you have done. This might take a while, but…" He shrugs. "If you need it, I'll do it. I want to trust that you just want what's best, but in all honesty, I don't know what else to do. If you decide to break that trust, that's a risk I have to take to get Addie back."

"Warren was a good friend to me in the time I worked with him, even if he was being treated like some kind of robot. I want to think that you have a good heart." He offers his hand to Edward again. "I want to think that two fathers can be on the same team and want the same things."

It’s hard to see Edward’s expression in the dark, but the distant light of the electric lamp shows him in just enough profile that Magnes can tell he’s looking at the ground, brows furrowed and lips downturned into a frown. A moment later, Edward settles his distant stare on Magnes for a few, silent moments.

“Move worlds…” Edward echoes in a quiet tone of voice.

“I think we can.”

One Hour Later

With the electric lantern in hand, Edward Ray casts a pale, colorless light through the tall pine trees. With the discussion of past events at his back, he now leads the way from the garage where Kaylee and others rest in anticipation of further travel east. What he, Magnes, and Tyler plan to do needn’t be done in plain sight. Behind Edward, the latter two of his conspirators follow through the dark forest, eventually emerging in an expansive, grassy plain less than a quarter mile from the garage.

Out of the shadowed boughs of the pine trees, moon and starlight allows both Magnes and Tyler to see clearly without the need of the lamplight. There’s small, scrubby trees here and there, but the field is predominantly waist-high grass and glittering fireflies. Edward seems like he knows where he’s going, leading the way to a small knoll where a stubby, dead tree rises up from the high grass. If Magnes intends to move worlds, it’s going to happen there.

"My father is insane, as I explained. But out here, like this, about to do something that'll have god knows what consequences, I have to wonder how different I actually am from my father. He created me just because he couldn't deal with the loss of a child." Magnes looks down at his hands, then over at Edward, taking a deep breath. "Alright, so how should we get started?"

That piece of information had Edward slanting a look over at Magnes as he hands the electric lamp over to him. “You, just stand aside. And I guess, if I start convulsing…” Edward’s eyes search the ground for a moment. “Just make sure I don't swallow my own tongue.”

Tyler looks at the pair, brows raised, and blinking. “Wow, uh. Okay. So,” he takes his hands out of his pockets. “You want me to just, uh, give you the ol’ clapper-zapper?”

“Have you ever called it that?” Edward asks him with a wavering tone of voice. Tyler raises one shoulder, then a hand which wobbles back and forth in a see-saw motion. “Just— just hit me with the— ”

Like ripping off a bandaid, Tyler throws out his hand and launches a bolt of red lightning from his palm to Edward. The sudden blast of energy elicits a howling scream as his legs buckle and he drops to one knee. Edward’s eyes widen, mouth opens and yet silence comes out. He doubles over, hands on the ground, chest heaving, and eyes wrenched shut.

The snapping arc of red electricity continues to pop and crackle between Tyler’s hand and Edward’s body. “More!?” Tyler asks in a confused shout, and Edward bobs his head up and down in a rapid series of nods. Tyler raises his other hand, firing another bolt of lightning that throws Edward from his knees onto his side. He screams again, this time writhing around on the ground as he does.

With a worried look, sweat beading on his brow, Tyler looks equally as drained if significantly less agonized. After another minute the lightning streams snap away and crackle out entirely. Tyler stumbles, clutches his head, and then just drops down onto his ass on the ground.

Edward, smoke rising from his body, lays staring up at the stars with wide, tear-filled eyes.

Oh,” Edward murmurs after a moment of silence.

"There's a higher than zero percent chance that me making this happen is the plan of an entirely different Edward." Magnes considers, then walks over to Edward, offering his hand while holding the lamp in the other. "So, how does it feel? Did you really gain god-like insight and see every possibility that will ever happen, or…?"

He's not really sure how it all works, but best to just go ahead and ask.

“No.” Edward says as he stares up at the sky, brows slowly scrunching together. “No, but I…” He mouths a few attempts at words but nothing comes. A moment later he sits partway up and takes the proffered hand, then scans the horizon slowly, sparing Tyler a long look, before finally eyeing Magnes again.

“…I saw enough.”

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