Tides Of Change


elisabeth_icon4.gif magnes_icon3.gif

Scene Title Tides of Change
Synopsis They've been tossed about the universe by them, but perhaps those tides will flow their way this time.
Date October 25, 2018

Near A Window

For all that Elisabeth actually saw this world through a rippling effect when the Mallett device went haywire and for all that intellectually she knew what a global flood would look like in theories… she wasn't ready for the reality of what they've found. In the time since they landed, she's literally almost come to hate the ocean. Maybe if they had landed in summer, it would be a little better. But as it stands, it's cold and everything is a ruin. The view from any window or balcony of the building Cat lives in is the same… skyscrapers as islands. It still makes her feel a deep sense of horror.

They stand in one of the more public areas, though there's enough space cordoned off in various places for privacy too. They don't often have these moments together, but over the years they spent in Bright, Liz learned to lean on him … and he learned that sometimes just being there in the quiet was enough. Sometimes she says nothing at all, just sits against a wall with him and eventually gets up to leave. As if whatever it is she needs from him, she finds simply in his companionship. Sometimes, like now as they watch the sun set, Liz blows out a very slow breath and breaks the silence. "I'm so goddamn tired of seeing What Could Have Been." Jerking her chin toward the water outside, she says softly, "This is the world that I watched Richard die to prevent. And yet here it is… like we never stopped a damn thing."

For a long minute, she's quiet. "I don't want to know these things, Magnes." The admission is hard. "And I don't have the first idea how we're getting home… but I think I might know when we're supposed to try." The revelation is hesitant.

"This place… Edward made the most strange predictions about this place. I get this feeling like this might be a greater challenge to get through than the wasteland world." Magnes stares out in the direction she points, sitting on a crate in his long finally dry coat. "We won't get out of here without rescuing Michelle from whatever place she's being held. Edward said that Ruiz couldn't get us out of here without her, though obviously his predictions have been off on certain details. The… strange things he said about this world, I think they might be things we won't be able to avoid."

"Existentially, I haven't gotten any better at understanding what these worlds mean in the context of us and our actions. The things I've seen have convinced me that the worlds don't magically branch off, it just… doesn't make any sense." He looks over at her, offering his hand. "I think that our world is our world, and their worlds are their worlds. I just think that the multiverse is a vast and infinite thing and our idea of what these things are is just… existentially difficult for us."

"I almost let myself get attached enough to the second world, Arthur's world, to start to settle in," she admits softly. "We could have lived there… the kids could have been safe there. It wasn't perfect, but hell… neither is our world." Elisabeth uncrosses one arm, though the other remains tucked up, and slips her hand into his, holding tightly. There is grief in her face. "Trying to get home got Gabriel killed and worse for Eileen. I have to live with that. But what worries me more… is what specifically got to Gabriel that day. Ruiz's portal is… more, we've seen it. Heard it. Felt it. Gabriel was determined that he could fix something. What damage are we doing by opening that portal?" It worries her.

She looks up. Sometimes it's funny to realize that he's got a good 6 inches on her in height. Elisabeth is occasionally amused by the juxtaposition of him as 'little brother' in her head and the reality of that. "We're going to have to live with that too. We can't stay here. Because we're not leaving Addie and Manuel out there. But keep it in the back of your mind, okay?"

She deliberately shifts her thought processes to offer, "I think you should go through his predictions one more time, everything he said about this particular place, and lay them out for me. Now that we're here, some of them may make more sense," she muses softly. "If he's right… and if Michelle is alive here… we're going to have to do some serious thinking about where she may have been doing her research. If she was out in Kansas, a lot of that stuff may still be out there. If we can get someone to take us that far west." When she looks up again, she says quietly, "If the slip differential doesn't hit us… we're going to need to try around Christmas."

"You can't think of the world as if it isn't all flooded. There might be information here, but most of it is probably underwater." Magnes points out, putting Addie to the back of his mind for the time being, because going too deep into that just puts him into a bad place. "But I think some of what Edward said might possibly involve what's out there. I think this might be the world where some of the strange things we've experienced are coming from. This is the world we saw when the Mallet Device ripped open a hole, this is the world I saw back during the experiment I did with Mortimer and Cat's dad. Everything comes back to this flood world."

"Anyway, don't expect a dry landing, that was certainly true, that's what I warned about, why we needed a boat. I think Eve saw the same thing. After that, he said 'the Featherweight is safe'. He said he saw an old radio tower rising from the sea, with flashing red lights, and that it still has power." Magnes crosses his arms, staring at the floor in deep thought. He's gone over these predictions repeatedly in his head.

Looking over at Elisabeth, he continues, "He saw blood swirling in water, screams, fire, and said the sea is dangerous. Um, there's a young woman made of light who needs our help. And he saw Michelle being held prisoner, and she's going to be executed. No real clue on how soon or when that'll happen, or where she is. And he specifically said that if we don't find her, we'll be lost in these worlds forever, and never get home."

Though, he rolls his eyes for a moment. "Though that could just be him being Edward, to get us to save her, we can't really afford to risk it." he quickly points out, sighing in defeat a bit. "He said Kaylee would be happy here, I'm pretty sure that was a bit off, or maybe he got confused. And there's that weird part, where he said he saw someone or something looking back at him, which makes me think that maybe that thing is here, in this world, physically."

He looks a bit confused for a moment, as he remembers. "He said he saw himself, but he wasn't himself, and doesn't think he ever was, or something. He didn't understand what it meant. And then his final prediction, meaning, nothing else after this, which is that the Ark is a one-way trip."

"Edward's tendency toward only giving bits of information so as to make us go the direction he wants is pretty well legendary at this point," Liz scoffs, rolling her eyes. But she frowns slightly. "Given the context… maybe the Featherweight is someone's boat? Or … an aircraft, maybe, if they even have such things anymore. Until we got here, that didn't even occur to me, but boats have names. A friend of mine had a sailboat out … " She trails off, that memory abruptly truncated. "So… at least it's a lead."

Pulling in a slow breath, she looks out over the water. "A radio tower. There have to be plenty of radio towers that survived this mess. So that one, I'm thinking, is just — " She waves her hand as if shooing it off for now. "Blood, screams, fire, and dangerous oceans… well, duh. Especially considering Vanguard remnants are still around and laying low. They never lay low forever." She ponders the other things and comments, as she did before, "Kaylee's happiness is her own choice to make. Maybe she would have found him here, I don't know… but she wanted what she found there." Even if it broke Elisabeth's heart to see her stay behind. "Personally, I think the fact that the Ark is a one-way trip is also a given. If it still exists, it's 300 feet down. So unless they all turned into mermaids or something, it's not like we're gonna get to them. But it does make me still think Kansas might be the place to try to go." She pauses and admits, "Yeah… the voice inside the portal? That still freaks me the fuck out and I don't like that you're thinking whatever it was is here to be quite frank."

She grimaces. "Don't say the name Edward to Lynette. She might behead you just for breathing if you do."

"We'll worry about it when we come to that. Assuming that his predictions are in chronological order, which they have been so far, then I at least think that it won't be enough of a problem to stop us here. We don't know that for sure, but that's my best guess." Magnes considers a few things for a moment, staring at his feet. "I think finding Michelle has to be the priority, it's the most time sensitive of all the predictions."

"I have Cat figuring out the ARK. She said that there's rumors of some kind of underground settlement called the Commonwealth. That can't be anything but the ARK. She said it's treated almost like an urban legend or something, she never bothered to look into it until now." He stares at her for a long moment, and adds, "Uh, so um, speaking of, apparently in this world I'm Cat's martial arts teacher or something. Which I guess is the least strange thing about me in this world."

"Finding Michelle is a priority for me for a lot of reasons," Elisabeth acknowledges quietly. She tilts her head at the news of a settlement called the 'Commonwealth' and her blue eyes for the first time since they landed in the Wasteland and found the mess there showing true hope. "If it's there… and if there's a way to get it… God, Magnes. They may have the machine." The implications of that are both good and bad.

Tilting her head, she can't help but smile just a little. "I was…. Sort of expecting something like martial arts, given that she called you 'Master' — The idea that you'd be into kinky bondage with Cat just didn't compute." Her tongue is firmly in her cheek on that comment. Honest laughter is something that's been in short supply. "Did she tell you… if it was the original you from… whenever he was born?" she asks curiously.

"She didn't tell me, she took me to him." Magnes explains, eyes focused straight forward as he begins to go over everything in his head. "My father died early in this world, there are no clones, I was raised by my mother, Felicia was never born, and Clara died in Antarctica." He looks over at her now, finally dropping the big bomb. "I'm like fifty years old in this world."

It's perhaps not as big a surprise as he might have imagined. Elisabeth's expression holds sympathy for his shock, but little surprise. "I… have a theory about what's happened and where we are," she says quietly. "What you just said only reinforces what I've been thinking. Lynette said something the other day — she'd been trying to aim us in a particular direction. I think she got close. I am … beginning to think that just as the other timelines we've been through have been offshoots of ours? That ours was an offshoot as well… and that when Lynette aimed us, she managed to land us in the world before the timeline that became ours somehow."

Elisabeth is quiet a moment and says, "It would explain a lot of things… The flood itself may have been a split-off of our world on the other side of things, but… in this case, this world split off before the Company really got going. Before Cat was given her powers — I never realized they were synthetic, but landing here has made that pretty clear. If this world was the timeline we lived in before the explosion in 1982, it's… potentially the world that Richard and I were both born to, among who knows how many others."

"This world branched off even before the 80s, since the things that would have led to me not being born, or, well, created, date back to the sixties and seventies. If timelines work like 'distances' in that way, especially given what I've read about dimensions, then it makes sense that the further away from our world that we are, the more differences there are." Magnes holds up his arms and says, "You get far enough away and suddenly dinosaurs are wearing tiny hats."

She considers that thought and then nods slowly. "Well, if it does work that way, at least Lynette was aiming in the right direction?" Elisabeth forces a small grin. "Cuz we'd been traveling through worlds that split off from the 2000s, moving forward in time — The Virus split off before Arthur's world, which was before the Wasteland. And now we've jumped to a place where the split was a lot father back… so… she kinda overshot the mark, but it was in the right direction?" It's more question than statement of fact — it's not like either of them really understand how any of this is working exactly.

There's a heavy sigh. "We definitely need Michelle, if only because she's a hell of a lot smarter than either one of us." Liz shrugs. So… at least now we have a direction. How to get there and figure out the rest is still in the air, but it's more than we had when we landed." She's trying so hard to have hope. "I don't think I like that we may be working on a really short deadline here though…"

She nibbles her lip and looks up at him. "In 2013, something happened to Odessa." They didn't tell most people, kept it quiet as hell with few exceptions. "The Odessa who travels with us now, the Bright version… she swapped places with the Odessa from our world. From the year 2017. For a year, in Bright, I spent time with her. I have… a decent idea of what we're heading home to, I just… didn't think it relevant really, since we're going home regardless of what's happening there." She grimaces a little. "After she swapped back… well, really not until we hit Wasteland and Odessa was no longer a potential threat, because back there she worked for Arthur and I couldn't ask her anything. But when this Odessa and I had the chance to talk about it in Wasteland, we realized that things were wonky anyway. She was only in our world in 2017 for about a week. But in that time, she was able to meet up with Richard and she brought back the fact that he believed there was a chance we might be able to get home around Christmas of 2018."

"That's crazy, though I won't really question you telling me before or not, all of this has had a lot of difficult decisions of what we should or shouldn't tell. I honestly think that we have a lot of hope for getting home, we have all the pieces we could possibly need in this world. And I think there might be something going on with this version of myself, with his ability. I'm planning to learn more about it. Don't know if it'll help us or not, but…" Magnes shrugs. "His ability feels similar to mine, we haven't really tried to figure it all out yet. But he says that our sister, Clara, identified his ability as Dark Matter manipulation. He can literally bend space, and he can alter the weight of things. But I can still feel when his ability is doing things, so… I don't really know what that means, for me, or my ability."

"I've been thinking, like, what if I've been misunderstanding what I can do?" he wonders, looking himself over. "He said he didn't figure out that he could bend literal space until he was like forty. I don't know if it'll help us, but I have to try and see if I've been misunderstanding things this entire time."

"Dark matter manipulation," Elisabeth asks, taken aback. "Jesus… that might explain a lot of things, Magnes," she murmurs. Her expression has gone a little distant, as if she's searching for what little she might even have heard about dark matter. "Izzy's physics degree doesn't really cover dark matter, I bet. Or… well, maybe it does. I would have thought that would be astrophysics, but you should ask her," she points out, her full attention coming back to him. "Definitely, if the older you is willing to teach you, you should do it. But… it actually makes some sense to me — the way Zeke activated your power like that, and why what you did actually may have interacted with the aurora borealis and what have you. I mean… wouldn't dark matter react to the electromagnetics there?" She shrugs helplessly. "That idea, by the way, pretty much exhausts any intelligent comment I can make on dark matter."

"Even most scientists don't have an understanding of what dark matter even is, so there aren't many intelligent conversations that anyone can have about it. Dark matter is like… all the stuff that holds space together, I guess. We can't really see it, or particularly detect it, or measure it all that well, but we know it's there because we can detect what it does, the effect it has on the things around it. It's called dark matter because we know what it does, but not what it is." Magnes stares up as he thinks about the aurora borealis for a moment. "In theory, dark matter should be able to affect anything. I think it also makes more sense than the human body being able to create enough mass to create a black hole."

"The me in this universe…" He waves his hands by his face a few times, as if doing some magic trick. "He can bend space to make himself invisible. If I could manipulate dark matter, who's to say that with a sufficient amount of augmentation, I can't rip space open and create some sort of black hole? I don't know. Maybe dark matter and gravity are the same thing, or two sides of the same coin, I guess I won't know anything for sure until I talk to the me here."

"I guess my other question would be… why would our abilities be different? I heard there was weird stuff with the clones in my world being given abilities, but most people in my family, from what I've seen, have some sort of space or time manipulation ability, except for my father." Staring down at his hands, he considers. "It seems like a strange coincidence that I'd just happen to get a genetically common ability in my family if they just synthetically gave me an ability. Or… maybe it makes perfect sense, I don't know."

"I'm not good at genetics." he admits.

"Well…. Considering that's apparently exactly what you did, I'm not exactly surprised to learn that your ability isn't what you thought. I rather suspected that from that day forward," Elisabeth admits. "Because gravity manipulation just didn't seem quite adequate as an explanation. Not really. But… I do not have science brain. Not like that. And I certainly can't speak to the genetics factor… although I will point out that both of the Joshuas have some kind of sound-based ability despite the fact that their father was a shadowmorph." She shrugs a little. "How much of power is genetic is still a science in its infancy, even in Bright, it seemed like. Because I don't think Felix knew what Cameron's ability would turn out to be."

She pauses. "And why would you even think that the ability you have is a synthetic one anyway?" Elisabeth is actually sort of surprised at his assumption there. "I mean… the you here apparently has the same power. And you were a clone, so why would you think they cloned you with a different ability? Did the records indicate that?" If the records he found in Bright said it, she totally missed that factoid.

"Well, I don't know for sure that our abilities are the same, but I'll find out for sure, I think." Magnes shakes his head at her question. "No, but I remember that there were clones in our world, and their abilities kept being different from the original. Though, I think I'm a different kind of clone from them, especially since everything surrounding my whole cloning seems to have been very unrelated. So… who knows."

Elisabeth nods thoughtfully. "Well," she murmurs. "Lynette's going to keep doing what she's doing and also see if working with Odessa's power — which does seem to have some connection to Mateo's, and if your theory of genetics actually holds, it would make sense that working together might do something to the portal — but she's gonna keep working to see if that's true. And you and I… " She sighs. "We're going to have to see about finding Edward Fucking Ray and/or Michelle Cardinal. And in the meantime, you keep working with yourself on the power thing. Sound like a plan?"

She grimaces slightly. "Someday, Magnes? I'd really like another time period where we really don't need a plan… where we can just live. I mean… longer than two years would be nice."

"I think that time period is home. Because when we're home, we don't really need a plan. We have a choice of what we want to do or not, and ultimately, since we're home, that's the life that we have, good or bad." Magnes stands up, stretching with his hands on his hips. "But that sounds like a plan. I need to check on Elaine, then I'll see if Cat has any updates on the ARK."

With a nod, Elisabeth squeezes his hand — she's been holding it like a lifeline through the whole conversation — and then releases him to bring her hand back up into the fold of her other arm so they're crossed in front of her. The loss of Kaylee on this part of the jaunt, the tightness in Kain's mood, the anguish that Lynette, Elaine, Magnes, and Mateo deal with on a daily basis… She buttons up her own feelings on it all to keep putting one foot in front of the other. "Let me know if she says anything helpful. I might be able to give her some places to look. I visited the Arcology in our world to see Zeke," she tells him. "Although here he would never have existed, presumably if there's a fucking Commonwealth Institute of some form, maybe some of the stuff I remember will help."

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