The Right Future


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Scene Title The Right Future
Synopsis Two people try to work out if there even is one.
Date October 22, 2018

Benchmark: Rooftop

Lynette is something of a hermit these days, especially with the Eighth looming nearby and memorials already set to begin across the city. The roof of the Benchmark affords her solitude, distance, and a decent view of the Safe Zone below. She's sitting on a folding chair with her feet up on an ice chest, the show visible against the dark sky. There's a small heater nearby, powered by a generator. But still, she's wrapped in a blanket and has a mug of steaming coffee in hand.

With Yamagato’s festival planned and plans posted, some of the residents have taken to celebrating early. These fireworks were acquired illegally, more than likely, and held for a special occasion. Today seems to be it, and her view is spotted with pops of colored lights tinting the streets and buildings stretched out in front of her.

The sounds in the distance are familiar in the worst way— for years that noise meant she was about to run off toward a fight, or that one was about to run toward her. She's not comfortable, that much is obvious, but she's still here, rather than curled up somewhere.

The rooftop door creaks on its hinges faintly, admitting another visitor to the open space and interrupting Lynette’s solitude. The light crunching footfalls against the ground bring Luther closer to the electrokinetic until he stops a short distance away at her flank. Silence on his part fills the space between the softened pops and bursts of colorful lights in the distance. The man exhales slowly, eyes turned to the attention-grabbing aurora also shimmering in the skies above.

“Anything in the cooler?” rumbles the man after a long moment, the question tinted with a vague hope. When Luther steps further and into view, he’s emptyhanded. No coffee. He’s also not dressed as warmly as one ought to be for the chill autumn night. But, that’s the man’s ability at play. Or the flush of the alcohol tricking him into thinking he’s not cold. Either way.

Lynette glances over at the door, but seeing Luther there just has her turning back to the view. No need to stand on ceremony with him, or to hide her discomfort. He’s seen her much worse off. And her him.

“Nothing exciting, I’m afraid,” she says, but still, she lifts her feet off to offer it to him. To pull a drink out of it or to sit on it, whichever he prefers. “Bad night, Bellamy?” she asks, concern covered with a bland tone. “Week?” she adds, words turning wry. “Year?”

“Life,” answers Luther wryly, because he doesn’t exactly mean it. At least, not at the moment. Once her feet are off the ice chest he pulls open the cover to peer down. No beer, obviously. Alas. He reaches down for a bottled water instead, setting the cover back on the cooler and then seating himself on it. He doesn’t twist the bottle cap open right away, but he does keep the water nearby.

She knows by now, by experience, when he’s got an issue he’s wrestling with and not addressing it. Otherwise, denying via drinking has been a common problem solving method for the man. Just that it doesn’t actually solve much at all. “The hell are they thinking,” Luther grumbles quietly as he watches the sporadic bursts of light popping unpredictably through the cityscape. There’s not much bitterness to his complaint, however, more like a disapproving parent watching a young people’s party. “They probably think it’s okay because of the festival. Guess Yamagato’s got their perks.”

“It’s to help people feel normal,” Lynette supplies, “one night to not have to worry about food shortages and phone service.” Hopefully, for Yamagato’s sake, no one starts to think about how much food this firework display could have bought. “People here need something frivolous now and then.”

They haven’t had much of that lately.

“Come on, then,” she says, gesturing to him with her coffee, “it isn’t the show that’s bothering you. Out with it.” Since drinking things away isn’t a real solution. And since she can’t drink them away with him. Instead, she sips at her coffee and lifts an eyebrow over at him.

It may be too late that someone has thought about how much food the festival could have bought. Or how much food is actually there, right now, within reach of the RayTech security head given his current salary. “This,” he says with a scrub of his thumb on his jaw, “this is supposed to be normal?” A sidelong glance aims at the woman as she confronts his grumbling. As for what’s bothering him, the possibilities indicate with a shift in Luther’s hunching posture. A reluctance enters and sets up shop around the man. He’s always been a poor poker face, though, especially around her and especially when drunk.

“Where’s it all going, Rowan?” The question hangs. He clarifies, “The clones… timelines… experiments… visions. As if the world wasn’t already fucked up enough that people can’t get enough to eat and gotta hide behind walls already.” And yet, that’s just the broad concept, the blanket wetly, heavily draped on him. Luther abruptly turns and points the top of the water bottle at her. “Did you hear, there’s electric sewer rats now?” Unbelievable. “What’s next, ninja turtles?” He snorts. Not that either of them have to worry about electric rats necessarily.

The top of the water bottle twists, cracking the plastic seal in the motion.

“Normal for this city. Normal for us.” Their gauge may be off, but she’s not too picky about it. “You should have seen what it was like trying to keep everyone fed on the island.” Difficult, her tone indicates, but with a lightheartedness that comes with distance and happier times.

When he lists their many concerns, Lynette’s expression grows more serious. And sympathetic. “The same place it’s always going,” she says eventually, “there’s no end to people who will stop at nothing to better their own situation. Good people and bad. Only the players change, not the game. Saving the world is a never ending chore, frankly. And complicated. Who did we save it for last time?” And since she’s starting to sound like one of her interviews. She shakes it off and shifts to sit up more.

“I read about that,” Lynette says to his last point, “I heard they’re giving electrokinetics a bad name.”

Water doesn’t have the same feel or burn, but Luther chugs down a long swig of it before pulling the mouth away like he wishes it were a bottle of whiskey. “Yeah well, saving the world can be someone else’s problem,” he grumbles, although there’s no heat to it. Lynette’s words ring true to him, because he nods slowly as he turns over possibilities in his own mind. “Who did we save it for? How do we even know we did the right thing,” echoes the man of the somewhat rhetorical question, and scrubs at his scruff-lined jaw. “How do we know we’re the right future?”

“And what are we supposed to do about rats?” Luther continues with a sharp shake of his water bottle. Some liquid spills over, and he’s reminded that the cap is still off. Both hands grip on the bottle, which hangs down from slack fingers as he leans in and stares at the other woman. “It’s fucking New York fucking City.” Grey eyes dip to the bottle in his hands. He drinks another gulp of water.

Lynette looks over at Luther, her smile more than a little wry. Because who knows is the only answer she has to most of his questions. Except one.

"The only right future," she says, her expression gentle, but earnest, too, "is the one you choose."

“No fate but the one we make,” Luther quotes of a popular apocalyptic styled action movie, shifting his grip on the water bottle in his hands. He looks up again at the aurora, still dissatisfied by the thoughts rolling through his mind in reaction to the sight, and recent experiences. The man starts to say more, but winds up trailing off.

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The still looks like some sort of Rube Goldberg machine, with its patchwork parts and twisting tubes. At the end of it is a jug, collecting the alcohol as it drips out. Can't waste a drop out here. If they don't need it, the bus will. Lynette lays on a bench nearby, the remains of the last batch sloshing in a mug she has resting on her sternum. Lately, she's needed more alcohol than ever. The plan was going to work today or never. She’s always handled her nerves better drunk. And she's more than a little impatient for her next round.

"Bellamy, can't you make it go any faster?" she asks, rolling her head to the side to peer over at him.

Hunched over one end of the contraption - it would be a compliment of highest order to call it a distillery - Luther studies the chemical processes with an attempt made to be scientific about it. “No.” The man’s answer is brief, gruff. Drunk. But he follows it up with a suck in of breath through his nose and straightens from the hunch, a low groan and a wince escaping. He’s been in that position for too long. Casting an envious glance over to the woman lying down, he considers. “You can’t rush perfection,” he verbally wags at the impatient one, and rubs a palm over the stubble on his jaw.

“But you can have a taste if you want to take the risk. It’s your liver, not mine. Here, gimme your cup.” He leans over, the hand on his jaw moving and holding open to receive the tin camping cup and the other moving to twist a few knobs and clamp off some tubes in re-routing the moonshine. “I think this is gonna turn out to be a good one though,” he remarks on the probability. Good, meaning actually drinkable. They were going to be needing it all, drinkable or not.

He starts off the extra side drip with his own cup, though, letting the clear alcohol slowly fill drop by precious drop into the first vessel. His own.

"Whatever you say, old man," Lynette says with a smirk. That's right, she heard that groan. And saw the wince. "It's your liver and mine," she comments, because he's destroying himself just as fast as she is. Shifting, she sits up— just in time to see the other Lynette walking through the common area with Evie's hand in hers. They both wear backpacks, with whatever valuables and necessities they have.

Her gaze snaps away and she thrusts her mug toward Luther. "I'm not picky," she says, as far as the alcohol is concerned. Her tone, though, has taken a considerable drop. She's not drinking to pass the time anymore, she's drinking to forget everything that's going on lately. Especially the weird stuff.

Lynette’s not alone in spotting the other Lynette, as Luther turns to stare over his shoulder at mother and child. And she’s not the only one who seems unsettled by seeing the tender sight of the pair. But, the natural reaction of the man is to turn and check Lynette’s reaction, and upon seeing her mug pushed upon him, he takes it with a toothy smirk. “What’s the matter, having a hard time imagining how you an’ him could get it on?” teases the man at his own peril. Perhaps he banks on the fact that there is some precious equipment between him and her that could be leveraged as shielding.

Or, he’s aware of his ability’s temporary immunity to the possibility of getting zapped. “Here,” he remarks as he opens up the spigot that allows the moonshine to drip quicker into her mug. “You talk to her guy?” he asks after the cup’s gotten a chance to actually have some liquid dripped into it.

”Don’t have to imagine, do I?” Lynette says with a gesture to her double. The how is right there in front of them, living under the same roof and everything. The little girl sees them there and waves enthusiastically to Luther, who she has taken to calling El Oso. Lynette has, unfortunately, been labeled The Scary Twin by the little girl, but she pretends not to hear her whisper it as she passes.

Lynette’s attention turns back to the still to watch the (questionable) liquor drip into her mug. “Yeah. Been training him how to use her power. My power.” Which does require some talking, although perhaps not the sort of talking he means. “I think I might scare him.”

“It’s pretty fucked up isn’t it, that you and him got along somewhere else,” Luther muses aloud as he watches mother and child stroll by. His head tilts and eyes squint narrowly at the young girl waving at him, his expression brimming with wary curiosity. El Oso’s face wrinkles back at Evie, and somewhere down inside he has to also admit that he doesn’t know what the name means, only that it refers to him somehow. Nor has he tried to ask its translation. At times he’d catch Esposito snickering as the woman passed by. If only he knew.

Turning back to the still once the pair move on, he closes up the spigot and passes the questionably drinkable moonshine over to the electrokinetic woman. He smirks at Lynette, at her note about being scary. “‘Course you do. I’d think there was somethin’ wrong if you didn’t put the fear of Rowan into him. Both of ‘em.” The grin continues as he picks up his cup to refill, though he only drips a little bit of the liquid into his cup before closing off the spigot. The man’s only testing the drink, for now.

It’s barely drinkable. At least by their low standards. Luther coughs roughly, feeling the burning in his system, one that his ability doesn’t provide immunity against. “Fuck. Well the rest of this swill is goin’ down Nancy’s tank. Lemme know how much you want to take with your stash.”

Lynette doesn’t answer. It is fucked up and it’s fucked up in ways she can’t being to explain. So instead, she drinks. And drinks. And drinks.

With a shudder, Lynette comes out of the vision and tries to loosen the grip she has on her coffee and the chair she sits in. It takes her a moment, reorienting and reminding herself where she is. Who she is. The shock (haha) is clear on her face— she doesn’t know what just happened, or rather, she doesn’t know why that just happened. When her gaze finds Luther again, she watches to see if he is still with her or if he experienced it at all. There is always the possibility that she’s added hallucinations to her repertoire.

“I don’t know how I’m going to explain that to my support group,” is what she eventually manages to get out.

Luther gives a cough and his body shivers as if he’d taken on a chill. In a way, he has, just not the temperature sort. Wiping his hand down his face, the man clears his throat roughly, casting a haunted sort of look to the electrokinetic. It’s obvious he saw it - felt it - too.

“You don’t gotta explain anything,” he says after a long exhale and a hard blink. Though once there’s a moment to gather his thoughts again and push the uncomfortable feeling down, he adds, quieter, “But, I might tag along to see you try.”

He sends another small, humorless smile Lynette’s way. Then, Luther stands unsteadily, water bottle clutched in hand, and slowly makes his way back towards the rooftop door.

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