Ye Shall Be As Gods



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camilla_icon.gif greg2_icon.gif sofia2_icon.gif

Scene Title Ye Shall Be As Gods
Synopsis Not death, not yet.
Date January 31, 2021

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

And the eyes of them both were opened.

Genesis, 3:5

The last thing February Lancaster remembers was smoke, fire, and the sound of a helicopter. When her eyes open again, it’s like a scene change in a movie. The interstitial moments weren’t important, cut away, and now she’s transitioned scenes to a new locale. This one looks distinctly like a hospital, but not one that is operational. She wakes up not on a bed but on a roll-out sleeping bag in the light of a flickering chemical lamp, bandages damp at her brow and a splint on her aching wrist. An orange pill bottle sits on the dirty tile floor beside her along with a sealed plastic water bottle. Dirty bandages are in an old bedpan just out of arm’s reach, along with a bloody suture needle and a spool of thread.

Rue’s head throbs with a dull, persistent ache. It remains behind her eyes like a migraine, and she can’t help but feel sick to her stomach once the vertigo ends. The door to her meager accommodations is open by way of the door being off its hinges and leaning against a nearby wall. It’s dark outside, what she can see through the boarded-up windows. This feels like her other self’s memories, of safehouses and Ferrymen.

But this is not her life, and this is not then.

After listening for other sounds of life and finding no indications of it in her immediate surroundings, Rue pushes up to sit and takes visual stock. Her arm hurts and she can piece together why from the splint at the very least. The other spent items are more data to extrapolate from.

The bottle of pills is swiped up and shaken a moment, stared at almost sternly. Swallowing down unsourced medication will be one of the least dodgy things she’s done since arriving in this godforsaken timeline, so it’s down the hatch and washed down with the water from the bottle. Hopefully it does something for the pain. Barring that, she’d be happy enough if it wards off infection.

Wherever she’s landed, she’s holding onto some thin hope that she isn’t a prisoner. Chances are that wherever they are is somewhat remote, however. They wouldn’t need a guard at her busted fucking door in order to keep her wherever this is, would they?

Whoever they are.

“Camilla?” Rue calls cautiously, voice kept quiet, but also too loud in her ears. With some difficulty, she drags herself to her feet, using the wall and a busted chair for support until she feels the world stop spinning. She really should have tried to throw up before taking those pills. “S— Someone?”

There’s a scuffing sound outside of the derelict room, and the tall figure in body armor stepping into the doorway with an assault rifle at his chest is not, at first, a comforting sight. The man is broadly build, square jawed, blonde and fair. He says something in a language Rue doesn’t understand, but stops when a small hand touches his arm and gently moves him aside.

Camilla Ball eases between the soldier and the doorway, her long hair just as greasy and unkempt as the last time Rue saw her, though the ash and grime of the wildfire is gone. “You’re alive,” Camilla says with some surprise. It sounds like she wasn’t sure that was going to be the case.

“What do you remember?” Camilla asks, very carefully, as her immediate followup.

There’s no attempt made to hide her relief when the soldier is called off and the familiar girl steps into view. Rue shakes her head a moment to try and make sense of the jumble in her head. “I saw something through the smoke. Someone. I was following, trying to bring them back where it was safe.” Her voice is quiet, gaze distant. She didn’t find what or who she was looking for.

“I remember falling down the hill, and there you were. Then… I thought Finn had come, but it wasn’t right.” Blue eyes dart toward the soldier. Prisoner it is, then. Her attention returns to Camilla quickly. “I don’t remember how I got here. Just that you got me to the helicopter and there were symbols I didn’t recognize. Everything else is so fuzzy, like I dreamed it all. I— I probably did. My head is pounding, but— But now I’m here.”

There’s a note of uncertainty in the last syllable of that sentence.

A quiet gasp sees Rue’s eyes widening. “Elisa.” Suddenly, she has concern for someone other than herself in this situation. “Did— Did anybody find her?” There’s a cold knot in the pit of her stomach that tells her she knows the answer to that question already.

Camilla shakes her head, remaining silent. She takes a moment to look Rue up and down before explaining, “You’ve been unconscious for two days. It wasn’t the bump on your head, either. I heard them…” she looks to the door, then back to Rue, “…say you’re dying.”

Camilla doesn’t let that horrible revelation sit long before she makes a rough nose in the back of her throat. “The doctor who was working on you will want to know you’re up. If you can walk, I’ll take you to them. Mr. Sharrow wanted me to tell him when you woke up anyway.”

There’s no shock, no horror. “Yeah, I know,” Rue says in a quiet voice, not dismissively. Two days this time. She hopes the younger woman didn’t have to see her bleeding from her eyes. “Thank you for saying so, though. If I hadn’t known, I… I’d have wanted to know.”

Still, fear grips at her throat. She had been careful, so careful not to use her ability since she’d loaned it out to that… whatever he was from the Craigslist ad. She thought she was free. She’d thought wrong. Rue had held to some vain hope that if she just didn’t tap into her postcognition, maybe she’d be safe. Buy herself more time.

“I can walk,” the redhead confirms. “I’ll speak with whoever wants to see me.” Whatever this is, wherever this is, if it’s the end… What’s the harm anymore? “Lead the way.”

Camilla nods, then hesitates for a moment as if she was going to say something else, before turning for the door. The soldier allows her to pass, but keeps a close eye on Rue as she leaves behind the young woman. Rue can hear the soldier walking behind them, heavy booted footfalls crunching broken bits of ruined plaster and glass shards underfoot.

The building is undoubtedly abandoned, strangely quiet too. In the way old farmhouses are, where even the slightest noise in another room feels magnified in size. There’s distant sounds of barking dogs that Rue picks up, far off engines running; trucks maybe. They pass by a few windows covered in reinforced wire, not new modifications. Whatever this building was, it was designed to keep people in. It gives her mental hospital vibes.

Camilla leads Rue down a flight of stairs, using a flashlight to guide the way. There’s detritus everywhere: bits of broken plaster from the ceiling, scraps of peeled wallpaper, an abandoned wheelchair facing the corner on one landing. Old shell-casings, too. Dusty. Civil War.

At the bottom of the stairs the noise of life is more noticeable. There’s distant sounds of conversation filtering in from far enough away to probably be the outside. Rue spies some light leaking through boards over some of the windows; orange, firelight. She’s counted at least a dozen voices on her way down the stairs. Three or four dogs, maybe more.

Camilla takes her down a short hall and through a door that is little more than several thick blankets nailed to the top of the door frame, into a large room that may have at one time been an operating theater for medical students. But there are no students in the tiered seating, no chairs either. The operating table has been replaced by a folding card table with an oil lantern sitting on it. There are a handful of armed men standing around the table, looking at pages torn out of a US Atlas.

Among them, a white-haired man in glasses and a woman with long, gray hair. Rue knows them both, but she gets the feeling that she also doesn’t. Gregory Farkas was a psychiatrist for at least two members of Wolfhound by her estimate. The other, it’s Sofia Webb, Ingrid Ryans’ wife. Neither of them look their roles, right now.

“February,” Sofia says with a look up and down at Rue. “Good to see you up on your feet.” Rue notices the satchel Sofia carries, a medical kit. She must be the doctor that was taking care of her, but Sofia is a mortician.

“You can go.” Greg says to the other armed men, many of whom are bearded and dressed in a mish-mash of worn, US Army digital camouflage and piecemeal body armor. They say little on the way out, but a couple of them are talking to one-another in Arabic. The guard who had followed Rue leaves as well.

“She just woke up,” Camilla explains, then grows silent.

This is not her forte. Rue notes sounds because it’s impossible not to, but she realizes that the other February Lancaster would be keener. She’d know proximity, possibly have some notion of inflection and intent. Her focus would likely be better. This Rue only has a pounding behind her eyes and what knowledge and skills she’s picked up since she got to this place.

And, she’s without the most useful tool at the moment. Her stomach churns and bile burns the back of her throat for a moment.

“S- Sofia,” Rue greets in kind, but with the skittishness befitting of someone as out of her element as she is. She wonders if they know who she really is. “I understand you’re who I have to thank for…” She lifts her splinted arm demonstratively. “So, thank you.”

The redhead slouches, hunched up on herself and fighting the urge to stare down at the dust and debris-ridden floors, her shoes. Her chin is still dipped when she shifts her glance between the pair still left. Camilla receives an anxious glance. She seems anxious, so it passes on to Rue. “You could’ve left me behind,” she acknowledges quietly, “but you didn’t. Thanks for that, too.” Choking to death on smoke and ash or burning alive would be a terrible way to go.

Sofia looks at Greg with a furrow of her brows. He shows no reaction, attention focused on the maps. When Sofia looks back to Rue, her expression has softened a touch.

“Don’t thank me yet,” Sofia says quietly, “I know you’re dying. Cellular degeneration, no cure.” She rests her hand on a large knife sheathed at her belt. “Take another look around you, because I don’t think you understand where you are yet.”

The prompting alerts Rue to details she missed before. The men walking out of the room speaking Arabic, their posture. The piecemeal nature of their armaments. She looks back at Greg, who has finally deigned to look Rue in the eye. It’s assessing, the way someone looks at a horse when they’re considering if they want to buy it.

But her headache, her anxiety, and her paranoia don’t allow her to see the smaller detail. So Sofia points it out.

“Those men are Mazdak.” She motions with her chin to the soldiers who left, never breaking eye contact from Rue. “We didn’t leave you out of a sense of altruism, we took you because we know who and what you are.”

Rue Lancaster’s experiences with Mazdak have largely consisted of conversations with old white men, but the pieces fit together once Sofia calls attention to them. Pieces that Rue had been actively ignoring in the interests of not realizing too much and not making a liability of herself.

Should’ve known that bird had flown.

“I didn’t slip my tether, if that’s what you think,” Rue responds cautiously. Her eye contact hasn’t broken either. “I’ve been dying for a while now. Been keeping it at bay, but…” It’s become difficult to ignore. One hand comes up to pinch at her brow. “They cut me loose,” she explains, bringing the topic back around to Mazdak. “I’m not worth anything to them. So, I”m sorry if you thought I would be some kind of bargaining chip, but I don’t think I’m going to be of much use to you.”

Sofia looks at her brother, making a face Rue has seen her make to Ingrid. Can you believe this girl? it says. Greg doesn’t have the same good-natured smile, however. He merely affords Rue a lifeless stare and then turns his attention down to the maps.

“You’re not a bargaining chip,” Greg says in a derisive tone, as if the concept is an absurdity. “You’re a corpse who doesn’t realize she’s already dead.” He briefly glances at her, then focuses on the map again, tapping two fingers on a city named Twin Falls off of Interstate 30. She’s not sure precisely where that is though, the map is printed at such a close zoom in it's hard to tell.

Sofia steps away from the table and walks up close to Rue, tilting her head to the side and giving her a piteous, but supportive, smile. “This is about your future. What if I told you we had a cure for your condition?”

Rue had been ready with a quip about having figured out she was already dead about the time she started bleeding from her eyeballs and Claudius Kellar started talking to her in that smooth voice about what she was going to have to do in order to keep living. At least they’re on the same page. Her gaze barely has a chance to harden before Sofia calls her attention back, however.

There’s no spark of hope in her eyes, no light breaking through the storm clouds gathered around her. There’s only a wary caution.

I don’t have a future.

“I guess I’d have to ask the question I should have asked the first time I was told this,” Rue supposes. “What do you expect from me in return?”

“That depends,” croons a familiar voice from behind Rue. It turns her blood to ice. “On how the next few minutes go.”

She can’t even turn to look back at the source of it, because she knows who is standing behind her. Yet, she feels something—feels compelled to turn—and when she sees the man standing in the doorway of the old, derelict building, it is not the familiar face that causes her heart to skip a beat.

It is the eyes.


His terrible eyes.

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