Where The Fuck Are We?


vf_elisabeth_icon.gif vf_magnes_icon.gif

Scene Title Where The Fuck Are We?
Synopsis Magnes and Elisabeth have questions.
Date November 8, 2011

The Hub

Once they’ve been settled into a space that for the moment they can call their own, Elisabeth turns to him and says quietly, “We have a huge fucking problem. Stop talking about crazy shit like zombie apocalypses and get serious here, please?” She shoves one hand up into her hair, which is braided tightly but coming undone, and puts one hand on her hip as she paces.

“A lot of what you said out there, I actually understood… I’m not a complete idiot. The idea of parallel universes fascinates everyone. But Magnes… if that’s where we are, and it seems plausible that it is, you need to know some stuff about the Vanguard. They tried to unleash this virus on our world two years ago, just like here. But I was part of the teams that stopped it.” Liz bites her lip. “What I understood about the virus even back then was utterly terrifying. And eventually, they’re going to run out of negation drugs here… and it will just be a matter of time until the rest of this world’s population is gone. Including us, if we stay here.”

She turns to look at him, blue eyes settling on him. “You… are a good kid. But I need you to be more than that. I need you to be calm, to be able to assess what’s going on around us, and I need you to not be …” She gestures to him. “THAT way. Dramatic and theatrical. Can we find some way to actually coexist in the same space without making me want to kill you? I would really like to find a way home, and I don’t think we’re going to do that unless we trust one another and have one another’s backs.”

"We aren't in a zombie apocalypse?" Magnes asks, apparently having misunderstood something about the exchanges out there. Then he crosses his arms, leaning against a wall, head *clonking* against it once. "But okay, so, whatever that virus is, we have, like, a time limit for how long we can be here. The time limit is the supply of negation drugs. The possible solutions that we have are: Leave, cure the virus, uhh, wow I guess beating the Vanguard doesn't really solve a lot."

He starts to go over things in his head, trying to focus, he does better when he tries really hard to focus. Usually someone else does it for him, but this is a two-person mission, and even he understands that Elisabeth can't do everything alone, without another responsible person, no one can do everything alone and shoulder all the burdens and responsibilities.

"Okay wait, lemme think…" He holds up a finger for a brief moment. "Those are the possible solutions, so uh, if our solutions are to leave or cure the virus, then we need one of two things: A theoretical physicist or someone with an ability that can help us plan for theoretical physics models that humanity is not even sure exists yet, like Edward Ray who we already have. Or we need an expert virologist or someone with an equivalent ability who can either cure the virus or make more antidote."

After running through those options, he holds up a single finger. "Um, I think our first mission should be to find out how many people are here and how much antidote they have so that I can use calculus to figure out how long it'll take for the antidote to run out, which will tell us how long we have for our plans?"
Well, at least he’s thinking along the right lines. That helps. Elisabeth slowly lowers herself to sit on the floor against the wall with her knees pulled up, her elbows resting on them with her hands clasped loosely. “I’ll meet with Edward Ray in a little while — you’re a bit on the hyperactive side for him,” she tells him ruefully. “Very few people can handle you when your brain goes in twelve directions at once.” Leaning her head back against the wall, she observes grimly, “There is no antidote. If there were, they’d have deployed it already. And I’m pretty sure they already know exactly how long they have before the negation drugs that are allowing them to continue to survive run out.”

She sighs heavily. “Magnes… Richard and I have some pretty significant issues with Edward Ray… but I also know that in spite of the man’s propensity for being a complete and utter asshole, his intentions in our world were good ones.” She sounds weary and her blue eyes on him are somber. We all know what the road to Hell is paved with.

“I’ll get a better feel for where we are and whether I’m going to trust him to help us when I talk to him. But in the meantime, I need you not to be giving anyone any information about us or where we come from. I think your one and only mission at this point, Magnes, is to focus really hard on your power — spend time with Ruiz and figure out if your abilities, used together, can get us the fuck out of here. Can you do that?” Elisabeth is clearly not sure he can keep his eye on the ball.

Magnes starts to slide down as well, crossing his legs. "My parents raised me to be smart, they taught me lots of sciences, philosophies, political things, critical thinking, logic. When I moved to Brooklyn, to be on my own, I wanted to be normal." He raises his legs, resting his arms over his knees. "I hate using what they taught me, they wanted me to be someone else, I couldn't just be a normal kid and do fun stuff."

He looks down at the floor, seemingly falling into deep thought. "I have to use what my parents taught me, whatever they were trying to prepare me for. I've had to do it at other times, like when I knew there were robots out there, during that mission. I knew it sounded outrageous, but it was really the most logical conclusion with the data we had available!"

Looking up and over at her again, he doesn't look entirely happy. "I don't really like thinking that way, tuning out my thoughts and feeling like a robot, the way my parents wanted me to be. But I don't think I can ignore it either. Who I wanted to be, who, like, I enjoyed being, I know it won't get us out of this. But… ugh." He lightly knocks his head back against the wall a few times.

"Even if I could somehow build enough of a critical mass without my ability being amplified, which borders more on impossible than unlikely, we're both on the same side of the multiverse." He starts to make hole gestures with his hands, to illustrate his point. "If I'm right, we were two holes on opposite sides of a straw, now we're just two holes that lead to who knows where. And I'm not even a hole anymore, it's unlikely that I can be one on my own. And if I was, we'd need someone opening a hole in our universe."

There's a pause, and then he holds a finger up. "That Edward Ray guy, he calculated when people would fall through. That seems, uh… impossible, I guess is a good way to put it. He calculated variables that didn't actually exist, or variables so small that I can only assume that he can calculate quantum variables, in his brain, which is beyond normal human comprehension. But… if that's true… he could possible calculate when someone on the other side is going to open up a hole, and that guy could open his hole at the same time, and then, uh… we jump into it and hope we don't die."

There's a quick shrug. "Maybe my ability would protect us. I mean, we shouldn't have survived, you should be a string of infinite spaghetti if you entered a black hole. But you're not torn apart or anything, you don't even have a broken bone. Black holes turn you into infinite spaghetti, but you're unharmed?" He shakes his head, a bit dubious, but it does seem to be a question on his mind, something that isn't quite right.

She listens to him quietly. Elisabeth has never really thought Magnes was a bad kid — she just thinks he’s kind of clueless and overeager to … prove something, maybe. She was never sure of his motives, just that overall he came across rather like a puppy whose paws and ears were three times too big for his body. She can’t help a faint smile as he talks, hearing nothing in what he says to really change that opinion. There’s not a mean bone in the kid’s body… he’s just a little oblivious. Which in this case might be dangerous. She doesn’t want to die here, and she sure doesn’t want to die because he can’t compartmentalize. Liz sighs quietly, keeping all those thoughts behind her teeth.

“Edward Ray’s ability has to do with probability. So what you’re suggesting he can do is… actually entirely possible. The question becomes… 1) will he do it, even if he personally gets nothing out of it? And 2) will there be a way to pull it off without making things worse for people here?” Elisabeth shrugs just a little. “We’re not going to have those answers for a while, I think,” she opines softly. But his musings aloud bring her around to the realization she made as they woke in the crematorium.

“I… don’t have the answers specifically on the quantum physics of it all — I’m a cop and I understand music,” Liz points out. “However… I have a lot of time listening to Richard talk string theory, I’ve got a lot of time looking at string maps, and I’ve got a lot of experience dealing with Edward’s ability as it works in our world. So here’s what I understand to have happened — and bear in mind that I could be wrong. Richard keeps saying “Time is not a line.” And I think I understand it now — you know those theories that are entirely sci-fi on TV? Think of time like a massive river… it has a current, and we can only travel the river in one direction with the current. People like Hiro Nakamura, they can jump up and out of the current to go backward and forward to particular spots… but if I understand what Richard meant, what Hiro is doing isn’t changing the timeline. Each thing he changes creates a new break point, a new stream that then meanders off at a slightly different angle than our own. And if Hiro STAYS there, he travels that path and no longer exists in ours. But if he hops forward again immediately, he lands back in the place he came from because the distance between the two times is close together.”

She looks at him with a heavy sigh. “I’m not sure I have the actual mechanics of that right. But… it’s the only way I can visualize what he DID explain to me and what I think I realized when we landed. The Mallett Device… would never have sent a message back to OUR past. It opened — what do they call it? — an Einstein-Rosen bridge to a future where we never stopped the bomb in Antarctica. To a world where New York City was flooded. I saw it.”

"That would explain a lot of inconsistencies and apparent paradoxes, I think. So, we're in this universe, Murphy's Timeline where everything went wrong and no one knows who I am for some reason." Magnes stares at her, as if trying to work out a problem. "If you're right, then it might mean that we're kind of, like, 'next to' our universe, if they branch out like a river, or trees. It means that it's not like Sliders where our timeline is totally lost and we have to go from universe to universe or something."

"Okay." He clasps his hands together, taking a deep breath. "So, once we solve the mystery of why you weren't spaghettified and why I didn't literally die, we'll know how to safely cross through a black hole. So, we just have to solve a problem that no scientist has ever solved. I think we might need a scientist." He shrugs a bit helplessly at that. "And we have to figure out if Edward Ray will help us, and if us going back won't entirely make everything worse, like you said."

"This sucks." He holds out his hand to her, again not looking particularly happy. "I know you don't like me a whole lot, but we can only trust each other here. We don't really know anyone else, even people we think we know. We don't know how we changed them in our world, or how us not being around changed them in this one. Eileen sounds totally different in this universe, like some kind of vicious crazy person."

"If all you have is me here, well…" He tries his best to smile. "I'll try to be or become what you need me to be, okay?"

She’s also never thought the kid was stupid — too smart for his own good would have been more her assessment, and he rather proves it right there. Elisabeth smiles faintly. “Look at that, kiddo… we’re on the same page.” Resting her head back against the wall, she looks at him with blue eyes that hold a sad expression. When she takes his hand, it becomes immediately evident that she’s perhaps not as calm as she appears — there’s a palpable tremor in her body, as if she’s freezing cold though her skin is only cool to the touch as she squeezes his fingers. “I don’t really dislike you, Magnes. I … get very impatient with you at times because … it’s frustrating to try to talk to a person whose brain is running in circles and you can’t make the hamster that’s driving it slow down. You’re the epitome, to me, of hyperactive squirrel.” Her tone is rueful but amused. And she squeezes his hand one last time before she lets go.

“We have each other here. And we are going to figure this out. Right now, it looks like we’ve basically stepped sideways to a world where Phoenix and the cops never stopped the truck on the Narrows bridge. We incinerated the virus, several teams of us. And at the time, we also killed — or at least maimed badly — Kazimir Volken.” Blowing out a slow breath, “I think you’re right that nothing we do here is actually going to save this world. We can’t reverse their situation, I don’t think — not if 80-some percent of the world’s population is already gone. The scientists who could have done it are probably all dead. So… we’re gonna have to make do with whatever we have here. Edward Ray is a good start, believe it or not. And if he’s got any information…. I think we got here because of some kind of interaction between what I broke in the Mallett Device as it was opening the portal and that connection between you and Ruiz. It at least gives us a place to start research, right?”

"When I'm afraid I think and talk a lot, and I know I'm not always responsible. I just… wanted to be how my parents never let me be, you know? I wasn't even allowed to date as a teenager, which is why I screw up with women all the time I guess." Magnes admits, but then he gets back to thinking on the topic at hand. "You're right about most of that, except I don't think all the scientists are dead. Unless Kazimir specifically tried to seek out and kill scientists, places like the World Health Organization would have been safe, and likely with supplies so that they could live through this kind of emergency for a few years. There should be some major and minor laboratories where scientists are holding things down and doing research, probably trying to cure the virus but with no way to reach out to people."

He looks in the direction they entered from, thinking. "You should ask Edward Ray about scientists, on if they've checked to see if these labs were still standing. I know it seems too obvious, like someone like him would have checked already, but there could be circumstances we aren't considering. It's easy to think that a guy like him has it all figured out, but…" He holds up a finger, as if he, himself, has figured something out. "He didn't know we'd be here, he didn't know he'd have access to our abilities, and he doesn't really know anything about me at all, he claims. So that means his predictive models are changing, because of us, and things he previously considered irrelevant or impossible to pursue might open up because we're here now."

"He's most likely already thought of this."

Elisabeth nods slightly. “He may have,” she agrees that Edward might have thought of it. “But… he’s going to be going back in some ways to ground zero with us, too. Because we’re all going to have to figure out the divergence point and how you did what you did, which means we’re going to be picking one another’s brains a lot about details.” She shrugs. “So it never hurts to ask what they’ve already attempted. And you’re definitely right about our arrivals shifting his predictive models.”

Pursing her lips, the blonde considers that idea for a long moment. “You know… Well, that thought is neither here nor there for now,” she demurs. “Let’s stick with the simplest things first — you get to know Ruiz a bit, find out what he knows about his own powers and if there’s anyone who has powers even remotely like yours here. Ygraine, for example, always had a different take on her gravity manipulation than you did, and if she’s here, it could help. And we need to find out if there’s an ability augmentor, like Gillian was, around as well. Those are going to be your first missions. I guess mine is to suss out Edward Ray — who he is in this world, whether we can trust him, and whether we might be able to use him to get home. Sound like a plan?”

"Yeah, I can do that! I kind of wish I had my ability active, I could use it to, uh, feel his ability, if it's really a black hole. I could learn a lot if I could feel his ability with mine. But for now I'll just talk to him and learn what I can." Magnes slowly stands up, gripping the chest of his shirt. "I just kind of realized that all my friends are dead in this world. But, well, that's probably true in a lot of worlds… we just need to get back to ours, where we saved them."

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