What Awaits In The Dark


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Scene Title What Awaits in the Dark
Synopsis Eve shares a vision of the future with Chess, who wants nothing to do with it.
Date June 15, 2021

Aboard The Forthright, New York Pelago

Being summoned might not be the best word, seeing as Eve touched Chess' shoulder after the captain's meeting with a look they both knew meant: we must speak alone.

They were the only two Agents of Boom on this world, a meeting was in order surely.

It would be another hour before the two could find a private moment but here they are in Mad Eve's cabin on the Forthright. This room matching The Oracle Room's to a tee but just different enough of a vibe, like a wayward twin sister with purple hair. Or perhaps Eve was the wayward sister. Not as many vibrant rugs or cushions to sit on but old wooden chairs. Something of a soft sofa loveseat that's stained with age and various other things. Dark curtains line the windows, a medium round table sits in the middle with a few mismatched chairs positioned around.

The thing that's the most Eve in this place is the various ashtrays littering the room as well as the copious amount of paintings that are shoved into this cabin.

Visions of a past they had never lived but here it is recorded. Some feature Eve, many of the others have faces they know but the souls of those people couldn't be more different. It was familiar and at the same time unsettling.

Music plays softly on the deck and other rooms, storm or not the crew and Eve's Daughters are in mourning. The two would decline the invitation to drink and share stories about the old woman. The appearance of a younger Eve does little to deter that crew, they are used to the otherworldly and strange being associated with this ship. If anything they want to be around Eve more with just having lost their mother.

Cats meow and prowl around the two women as Eve looks around the space for the kettle and water, cups are placed on the table. Somethings she can pick out as if she's lived here her whole life, others take her a few moments of using her own mind. The integration of the same person into one body was a strange amplified version of imposter syndrome, at times Eve felt right at home and others like an alien freshly landed from the cosmos.

"A lot has happened in a short time Boomer," Eve settles into a chair and drums pale slender fingertips on the wood. "How are you holding up?" Crimson eyes assess her friend who's like family and who's dating her not son.

This sort of space, comfortable and cozy as it is, screams danger to Chess — because it’s the sort of place a person can relax and settle into their thoughts and feelings, just as one settles into the soft fabric of the chair.

She doesn’t want that just now.

Chess shrugs, a non-committal response that Eve knows well. It’s a dam placed in front of turbulent waters, and probably not the most stalwart of dams to begin with.

“I’m fine. I mean, I’m not fine, but there’s not much I can do about that. Others have it worse.” She has a body, and it’s not one that needs to be replaced with fresh corpses, the most recent one being a different version of herself. She’s not about to complain to Eve who just saw another version of herself die and now resides in the same body.

Chess leans her head back on the sofa, tipping her head to look first one way, then the other, taking in their surroundings. “This is so weird. But at least you should have some clothes that fit, yeah?”

"Your feelings and pain are no less valid just because of what others are going through Boomer," Eve says but she has to admit she does feel strange. The memories she had been receiving from Mad Eve's lives were sometimes right on the money with what she remembered but then tiny deviations began to become more apparent. It's left the former seer with much to ponder but tonight was for something else. A delivering of a message, of grave news perhaps.

"Mad Eve planned for a lot of this it seems, you can't keep an old bird down. She had a slightly more modest taste in her old age though." Eve cracks up in a short bit of laughter but cuts it short to light a joint and regard Chess with an odd expression.

"Do you think we can trust them? The others? Besides our dear Castle of course. If I hadn't told you, we are not allowing all of these other worlds to perish. Not on my watch." Eve sounds stubborn as she smokes on the joint hard and stares now at the smoke that wafts up in front of her. "It's just not right Boomer."

"We have to find a way."

The only reply Chess makes to the idea that her feelings and troubles are valid is a short shrug – she doesn’t want to address the overwhelming fears and pains she’s stifling at the moment. If she looked them in the face, she might choose to curl up into a ball and never uncoil.

Safer to repress.

The question about the others is easier to reply to. “Yes, to the extent I trust anyone, I guess. They all want the same things.” One corner of her mouth tips upward into its sardonic smirk. “But Adam and I wanted the same things in Detroit, too. The end goal is the same for all of us. What I don’t know if I trust, I guess, is what people are going to do to get there. What they’re willing to sacrifice to get it done.”

She leans forward, elbows on knees. She’s still perched on the edge of her seat, like the comfortable cushions might be a trap. The tension she carries holds echoes of a younger self, in the first days of her return to New York – always poised to flee or attack at a second’s notice.

Her brow creases, and she reaches up to rake her hair from left to right. “I want to help all the worlds, too, but there may be a point where we have to focus on what we can salvage, and it might not be everyone. And we can and will do everything I can up to that point.”

Her eyes, dark and solemn, bore into Eve’s, as if trying to impart the weight of what she’s about to say. “But If or when that point comes, I need you to accept that sometimes we can’t save everyone, and not…” she waves a hand vaguely, “poof into red mist and end up on the wrong side of the equation, yeah? We might not be able to shove you into a crate this time.”

"This journey unfortunately will require a sacrifice from us all. No one will be the same." Her look is pointed and stays on her friend for longer than usual then she takes to smoking her joint and lifting her tea cup to sip at the honeyed liquid.

"I will do my best to do the sensible thing, you are a good guide for that sometimes now." Eve teases the younger woman. But that's the best that anyone is going to get Eve to behave when the time comes.

"I had a vision not too long ago and I've been thinking on it since that day. It involves my best friends and young charges. Gilly and you. But you weren't just the same as you are now. My dear Boomer you are going to receive a conduit." Eve delivers this to Chess with a sad smile, "And I almost said nothing, I don't want to scare you. But I made a promise to not keep secrets from BOOM. A promise I will never break."

“It’s not about being sensible. I just don’t want to lose anyone else,” Chess mutters, dark eyes rolling toward the ceiling.

She reaches out to pluck a bit of lint off the blanket that drapes over the back of the sofa she sits on, as Eve continues, but her hand stills completely at the other woman’s words. Her brows draw together, and she tips her head slightly, studying Eve’s face.

“N-no,” she says, after a moment. “I don’t want that.”

As if that’s ever mattered.

“What did you see?” she whispers, pulling a pillow up onto her lap to hold onto. “And where do I sign up to say thanks, but no thanks? I get confused just listening to you talk about them. How am I supposed to use one?”

"There is no no." Eve is firm and gives Chess a hard stare. "If you don't receive it, then who? Someone with darker intentions than to save as many people as she can with whatever she has at her disposal?" It's harsh but it is true and even that has Eve softening around the eyes.

"I'm sorry my dear. It's just how these things seem to go. And I saw a chaotic event, many screams, the sky was crazy and then you, Gilly and Nathalie Leroux were together, all eyes sky blue and eerie making." She relays her tale and smiles sadly. "I don't wish this for you but I don't think there's a better candidate for someone to carry that weight and do the right thing."

As for how do you use something like that:

"You don't. You need to enter a communion with the energy. Nathalie Leroux did not bend them to her will, they coexisted but even she was afraid of them. Rightfully so." Eve bites her lip and then shrugs her shoulders lightly.

"I think you will need to seek those answers once the question is right in front of you, I just wanted to warn you. I couldn't keep that from you. I'm not like, I'm not all the way like Mad Eve." At that Eve looks sad and a little angry.

Could she keep secrets that heavy from her loved ones? The way the older woman did?

The flat refusal from Eve draws Chess’ dark eyes glittering with anger – something the other woman had witnessed many times in Chess’ past. Just rarely directed at Eve.

“Don’t tell me what I have to do,” she snaps, words brusk and chin tilting up with defiance. “I haven’t given enough? Lost enough? What more does the fucking universe want from me? It isn’t fair.”

She stands up and turns away, one hand balling into a fist and pressing against her lips as the other wraps around her waist. Her back turned to Eve, Chess’ shoulders rise and fall a couple of times, before she speaks.

“Gillian’s not here,” she says in a thin voice; she’s emptied it of the anger but it’s a frail neutrality that might split at any moment. “So was this here or back home?”

"It will never be fair." Eve counters but her gaze softens still, wounded at seeing Chess so hurt. "And you've given beyond your fair share my Boomer but the weight of the responsibilities placed on our shoulders will never truly ease. We have been chosen, multiple times over now you and I." Tears well up in Eve's red eyes and she starts towards Chess, placing a ghostly pale hand on her friend's arm.

"I made a decision after my first death, I will endure whatever the cost. As long as the light can be seen from the other side. It is a lot to ask of anyone, but it is the only way I've been able to move forward with all of this. Maybe your receiving it will save many lives, or even one." Like her child's.

Ultimately, Eve supports whatever Chess chooses and she hopes that isn't something her younger friend has forgotten.

"No, Gilly isn't here.. that we know of yet. Maybe we run into her on our journey. I think it was home, you and the other conduit holders. Converging in one place." Eve almost gushes: can't you imagine? But remembers her current audience and masks her excitement by frowning again.

Chess turns to face Eve; the anger’s faded, and instead she looks weary. Exhausted, really. “I feel like the universe knows I’m a sucker and don’t know how to say no to what it asks of me,” she says with a weak laugh. “Ever since Miles…”

She shakes her head. Going down that path means she will question if she’s done enough to balance the scales when he died to save her. And the only answers to that question are ‘no’ and ‘never.’ It’s a debt she can never repay, and one she never wanted.

“Maybe it’ll change,” she says vaguely instead. If she doesn’t survive this world, that vision would be moot, if it’s in their own, after all.

Pushing a strand of hair out of her face and weaving it behind one ear, she looks out to the water. “Are you staying here or going back to the yacht?” she wonders, glancing back to Eve.

Visibly Eve twitches at the mention of Miles, the man she doomed to death in the name of destiny. It had not been the first and it would not be the last.

Something told her that Chess was important for the future. Eve had been proven right time and time again, her young friend was massively important. "You aren't just important for the sake of the world. You are not just the genes of an immortal man and woman who've had no business being on this earth for this long. You are more than just a flower budding in the grove that is your family. You are even more than the love my child has for you. You have purpose." She frowns deeply as she squeezes Chess' arm, "The shitty thing about purpose is it doesn't always stay the same, it can shift along with your life and the life of others."

Taking a moment to consider Chess' question with a tilt of her head. "It is probably best if I stay here. This alliance is strained enough. We have a lot to learn about this world, why not use the crew of the Forthright to see what secrets we can unearth hmm?"

With a heavy long look around the room they sit in Eve sighs, "I have a lot to learn about myself. This place is the key." Running her hand along the arm of an old wooden chair nearby.

At Eve’s poetic language, Chess lifts her eyes to the ceiling, shaking her head slightly, but a small smile, a fond one, returns to her face. It’s not that she doubts Eve’s visions – she knows that the woman can see.

“I don’t believe in destiny and all that. Everyone has purpose, and mine isn’t any greater than anyone else’s. Anyone can choose to try to help others. We’re lucky that we know so many people like that,” she says quietly. “If I’m not the one to carry whatever it is you saw,” she avoids saying the C word, “someone else might, and maybe for good reason. If something happens to change things, don’t try to fix them, yeah?”

She reaches to tug Eve into a hug. “I’ll leave you here then to find yourself a bit. I better get back to Nova’s so people know we’re okay. You okay alone here?”

It was always better when the hero retained their humility and that was plain to see in Chess.

"You are absolutely right on that my explodey friend, everyone has purpose. I just never want you to forget that you do have one. And it's more than anything you have been told." Grinning, Eve shrugs a shoulder and returns the hug, embracing her friend tightly. "Enough of that. Go do something fun, or productive. Or whatever it is you kids do for fun."

Raising her eyebrows as she shoos the young woman off to their other friends. Waiting until she hears the footsteps fade before Eve sinks back into her large chair and takes two long puffs from the joint now pressed to her lips.

A sketchbook lays half open nearby on a dusty table before Eve, the pages were blank save for the first page that had a little note from Mad Eve to her younger self. Not wanting to indulge in despair or grief she turns that page fast and continues to flip as smoke slowly seeps out of her nostrils.

When the page is found, long fingers trace the words written alongside a sketch of her friends: Gillian, Chess and Leroux. Their eyes colored in a vibrant blue that seems to leap off the page.

When two become many and unite back to one. The chance shines aplenty and it can finally be done.

Eve never acknowledged the promise to not meddle and ensure that Chess received the 'C' word. With a grave expression she lays her hand on the page and bows her head.

She was quite sure she wouldn't need to do anything at all.

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