|Scene Title||And I Feel Fine|
|Synopsis||It's the end of the world as we know it, and the Scions feel fine.|
The door from the alley opens into a small room or short hallway in this brownstone. At the far end is an antiquated lift that looks like a birdcage, complete with manual levers for operation. Dispite its age, the mechanism appears to be well cared for.
At the bottom, the lift opens into some sort of antechamber from one corner of the room. Before the open cage door is a plain, unornamented wall of what appears to be granite with a thick wooden door set inside it. Engraved above the door archway is "Special Immigration Office: East"
Access is only granted with the proper key. Once opened, the granite door swings inward as a computerized neutral voice intones, "Provisional Access Granted. Containment and Research are currently under lock down. Efforts to penetrate secure doors will be discouraged." Through the doorway, there's a large console in the middle of the chamber with a three dimensional display of the New York City atop it. The holographic display is a fairly complete representation of New York City and it's environs. Mostly there is a very simplistic representation of structures, although the map does have a few colored markers. Numbers and figures at times scroll past, apparently having meaning to someone. Computer workstations hug the walls, along with filing cabinets and desks. Several cots and assorted supplies are pushed into out of the way corners as well, with the idea of long stays. The room is some sort of think-tank, apparently. The only other unlocked door leads to a small kitchen and dining area, which are well-stocked.
When Vette said "The school labs," she meant the Lair. So she's been down there futzing with biology equipment and trying to make heads or tails of the kid's blood. She's bent over a microscope, adjusting a culture she took from the sample and making notes on what she sees.
Rufus is just a little later than he said he'd be in coming down to the Hub, but as he walks through the opened door, he doesn't look entirely too concerned about Vette noticing that he's about… oh… twenty minutes tardy. He closes the door behind him and rests his case beside one of the desks, the one that holds his sword inside, and he comes up behind the lady to rest his hands gently on her shoulders. "Have you made any progress?" he softly asks.
"Yes," Vette says, indeed not seeming to notice a bit. "But it's nothing amazing. Right now I've broken the blood down to the DNA and am having a look at the genetic code and what's happening to it. That exercise alone takes time." She looks up at him and smiles. "And the reading."
His fingers tighten on her shoulders, and he bends to drop a kiss to the crown of her hair. "Excellent," Rufus murmurs. He moves so very quietly as he reaches past her, stretching out his fingers to grab a second chair and pull it over to rest it beside hers. Then he sinks down onto it, exhaling a long, slow breath. "Vette," he says quietly. "My father just came to see me."
Vette's mouth opens for a second. "Wow," she says softly. "I take it he wasn't here just to be sorry he missed graduation and that school play that time." She lets her culture sit—it's not doing anything or going anywhere, and turns to face him.
"Ah, no," Rufus says with a quick, quiet laugh. "Not that I had a graduation ceremony for him to attend. We don't… not in Britain. One simply leaves school without any of this pomp and circumstance nonsense. No, Vette, he came by to tell me that some of Yggdrasil's branches are breaking, and that the Midgard Serpent is stirring. It's coming awake. My uncle, Thor, has been somehow stripped of his powers too. Tyr believes that Fimbulwinter is coming. Now."
Vette's eyes flare wide. "Um. That means the end of the world?" She's not as up on his pantheon's legends as he is, and the Greeks, to her knowledge, really don't have any particular cataclysm tucked away waiting to happen so long as the Titans can be put back to sleep where they belong.
"Exactly," Rufus says quietly. "Fimbulwinter is the three year-long winter that will precede the battles of Ragnarok. There will be increased natural disasters and more Titanspawn coming into the world. Do you remember the prophecy, Vette? Did you ever come to hear it?"
"Prophecy? No, I never heard any prophecy at all," Vette murmurs. "Hephaestus was ratherTitanspawn bad. Go do something about them and maybe I'll give you a cookie, darling." There's an odd note of bitterness in her voice so strong that she herself looks startled to hear it there. She gets a poleaxed look on her faceand then all emotions clear in favor of logical analysis. "Please, continue."
"Hrm. I thought I'd given you a copy," Rufus murmurs. "I received this from my sister." He scoots back and reaches for a keyboard to one of the computers, and he opens up a simple text file so he can begin typing out the prophecy. He's got it memorised. "Father came by to simply tell us to be prepared for it. There's nothing we can do in Asgard or in the other god realms to deal with the problems that brought about these circumstances, but we're going to catch the backlash of it."
Vette frowns and says, "So we've got to leave this to the kids in big boy pants? That'srather galling, really. We just get to play clean up crewand /hope/ they don't screw it up while we're handling the dribbles." It's not that she ever minds doing much of anything—one job is as important as the next. She /does/, however, have her fair share of control issues.
Rufus slowly looks over his shoulder at Vette and fixes his icy blue eyes calmly on her face. "Is it?" he says. "Do you think that we're quite prepared to go up against the likes of demigods and godlings when Louie was so easily able to dispatch us with a single clap of his hands?" He looks back at the computer screen, finishing his typing quickly. "I'm disappointed as well, Vette, but our tasks are going to be monumental if they are done properly."
"Well—it's more the loss of control then thinking we could handle it," Vette says, thoughtfully. She shakes her head. "I'm not sure how to explain it. The fact that we're going to deal with this stuff, but we'll deal with it in the dark. We'll never even know how it's going. We'll never even know if we're winning.
"It is scarcely anyone's fault," Rufus murmurs, nodding his head in quiet understanding. "The channels of communication between the outer realms and Midgard are scarcely open. One cannot dial up the All Father with one's cell phone." He wryly smiles. "I do, however, know who is more or less dealing with the problem. I wouldn't go so far as to say that I have faith in them, but… I don't know. I am trying very hard not to worry about those issues which I cannot control. What will be will be. Either we will survive Ragnarok, or we will fall with the gods."
Vette grimaces, because she doesn't like that answer one little bit—but she nods. "Did he give us anything else besides, "Hey guys, watch the fallout? Is there something specific we're supposed to be doing, or is this just a heads up?"
"Yes, actually, but something tells me you are not quite grasping the full reality of the situation," Rufus calmly says. He tightens his jaw for a moment, and he quietly says, "The world is ending, if my father is to be believed. Fimbulwinter is coming, and there are six and a half billion innocent men, women and children who /do not know./ Think on that for a moment, Yvette."
"I'm trying not to," Vette says, in a voice that strives towards calm but is tight all the same. "If I think on that, Rufus, I'm going to go insane. I can't do that. I can either stay logical and detached, or I can feel the full emotional impact and go insane with worry. I can't do both. I can either focus on minutae and get angry about /that/, or I can focus on despair because there's so many things I can't do."
"Worry is pointless," Rufus states, focusing intently on the lady. "People are going to die, and there is nothing that you and I can do to stop that. All we can do is lessen the extent of the damage done. You and I cannot do it alone. All of the Scions and all of the gods, likely, could not stop this. However… We are forgetting something rather crucial, I think. Humanity has a remarkable capacity for survival, adaptation and blowing the shit out of nasty things. My father said something rather curious. He asked me what the humans do when Godzilla goes stomping through Tokyo. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, because I've not seen anything more than snippets of these movies… but it seems to me that the denizens run fleeing, but the militaries mobilise and move in against the threat."
"I don't know. I've never seen that movie either," Vette says, rubbing the back of her neck slowly and closing her eyes. From her point of view the situation looks really hopeless. If it can't be stopped, what the Hell's the point? But she decides not to voice that.
"You're not seeing what I'm saying," Rufus quietly states. "Yvette, I believe my father wants us to mobilise humanity and prepare them to defend themselves."
Vette looks at him for a long, long moment. "Um. What? How? We have no contacts, no credibility. There's no reason why anybody should listen to us at all. I mean sure, you're a lawyer, but you have to be a politician to do things like that. Rich. Famous." Her worldview at work.
He leans back in his chair then, exhaling a breath and closing his eyes. "Well," Rufus calmly says. "No one ever said it would be easy. But who else will do it if not you and I? I am the son of Tyr, the god of war and justice. You are the daughter of Hephaestus, the god of fire and the forge. I intend to work my way up through the political chain, persuade who I need to persuade to win them to my cause, until I am speaking in front of the United Nations. Which, I might add, is conveniently headquartered here in Manhattan."
This is /so/ much more a Rufus thing than a Vette thing—he can probably talk his way into seeing the president by tomorrow if he really wanted to, but her? "What do you want me to do?" she asks quietly. Other than standing there lending silent support,she's not seeing a clear course of action for herself, not on her own.
Except he's more likely to start with the British consulate and his ambassador, then work his way up to the Prime Minister, before he goes the route of approaching the President of the United States. He has contacts in the consulate, for one thing. "They will need to know /how/ to fight the Titanspawn," Rufus answers, fixing his eyes on Vette's face, studying her intently. "You have a budding talent for weaponcrafting, do you not?"
"Yes," Vette says, tilting her head at Rufus. She decides now is not the time to modestly add 'if we can call it that,' since to date she's made a handful of daggers and one itty bitty little relic. She also made a sling shot, once, in third grade. But it's not like she can't tackle most things with some study and a little light reading.
He can tell by the look on her face, though. The man sighs, a touch impatiently. "Yvette," Rufus states, "there comes a time when you must put aside this internal whining. The weak and the cowardly say 'I caaaaaaan't.'" Yes, he even puts a touch of a nasal whine in there. Just for her. "The children of /gods/ say 'It will be difficult, but I will do what I can, no matter what comes.'"
"I was waiting," Vette says, "For you to finish your thought. Since I did not express it out loud, it does not count." She's patently unwilling to own up to anything going on in her brain if she hasn't expressed it out loud first, whether it marches across her face or the set of her shoulders or not…Vette has a tendency to believe that part isn't real, only the words are.
Rufus snorts. "Bollocks," he mutters. But he leaves it at that then, and turns briefly away from the girl, reaching into his pockets to pull out a golden nail. He holds it out towards her to examine, and he says, "My father also gave me this. It's a nail from one of Baldur's old temples, and it allows me to use a portion of his magic." He lays it down, but doesn't let it go far. "I cannot use it yet. Just like your pocketwatch, it will take me time to figure out what must be done. He also bade me to find one of my half-brothers who seems to have gotten lost in the Bermuda Triangle."
Vette blinks for a moment as if attempting to figure out what that has to do with weapons for humans, who she barely believes can do anything anyway. But going into the Bermuda Triangle is a bit more tangible. "We'll need to figure out something to do with our new pet bird," she means James, "when we go."
"I hope to have his issue resolved before we leave," Rufus quietly says, scowling to himself. "We can't leave the boy to languish. Father will have to understand that the needs of thousands of mortals outweigh the need of one Scion. If my half-brother cannot keep himself alive until I can take a couple of weeks to hunt him down, then…" He shakes his head once.
"So while you try to deal with the United Nations, I try to find this cure, then we check out Spanish Harlem," Vette says slowly. "Then we go take out Louis' supply lines and let him sit, cause he's less a threat without his supply network. Then we go to the Triangle—but I'm still not understanding the part of the plan that has to do with my weaponsmithing, Rufus."
"I… had rather banked on you being the one to assist the humans in crafting weapons that could handle what they are about to face," Rufus explains, eyebrows lifting rather pointedly. "Unless… you would rather not. The choice is entirely yours. I believe that you can do it, that perhaps you were meant to do it, but if this… If you truly do not want to do it, I certainly will not force you."
Vette holds up a hand. "I never said I didn't want to do it. I'm wondering what you think it will entail. Six million weapons? Weapons just for the armies? All of them able to access magic or just really, really good? Everything I've faced I've faced with a normal pistol. I want to be productive with my efforts. That's all. I also want to know where the money and the materials are coming from, unless you're counting on the UN to finance it after you're done speaking to them. And—I'm wondering how you're going to convince people to maintain hope in the face of a war whose very name means 'can't be won'. You'll get mass panic if you call it that, not masses of humans ready to stomp Godzilla."
He draws in a breath and exhales it. "I wish I knew," Rufus quietly states. He closes his eyes as he contemplates. "One Scion cannot alone construct six million relic weapons. For you, you may have to construct the Scionic equivalent of weapons of mass destruction." He smiles wryly. "For use against the very large dangers that cannot be taken down by machine gun bullets alone." Then he rubs his hands together, quiet for a moment or two. "I don't know how I'm going to keep hope alive either. But I must find a way."
"I suggest calling it something other than Ragnorok, or the Apocolypse, or the end of the world or the end of creation." Vette murmurs. She's a scion and the names are certainly getting to her too. "Weapons of mass destruction, or factories a labor force can run. It would help if I understood what we're looking at other than 'big' and 'trouble'. The challenge is to make weapons of mass destruction that don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. If it kills all the humans we're trying to save it's not a very good weapon. As for relic weapons—did your father tell you something I don't know? I seriously never believed humans could use relics at all."
He shakes his head, and he looks up at the lady for a moment. "No, he told me nothing of relics, and admittedly, /I/ know nothing of their construction or the limitations of their use. But consider, for a moment, what Louie has done, Vette. He has used his Chimera on ordinary men and women, even children, and made them into something more. I have heard, also, that there is a power among the Aesir to give doses of our blood to men and women, enhancing them, allowing them to fight alongside us. If these things are possible, then why not forge a powerful, modern relic weapon that a mortal can use?"
"I suppose it beats finding an Aesir who has thrown his lot in with the titans and sentancing him to having his blood dumped into a local water supply," Vette says with a smirk. "Alright, I'll mock up some concepts. But before I can get serious I'll have to know what sort of budget, materials, and facilities they're willing to give me to work with. What I can do in the middle of this lab or in our living room is very different with what I can do with an entire university, or a factory, or a lab, or whathaveyou."
"I understand, Vette," Rufus quietly says, smiling rather wryly. "A very great good deal hinges upon whether or not I can do this." His eyes close for a second, and he reaches out to take up the golden nail, holding it between his fingertips as he studies it. Quietly, he slips it back into his pocket. Then he falls silent, leaning back in his chair to fall into contemplation.
"I don't have any doubts that you can do it, you can talk to anyone," Vette says, poking at her work without very much enthusiasm. "Once you start talking to the right people you should work your way up to making a stirring speech in no time, once you figure out what to say."
For a little while he just doesn't answer the lady, but then Rufus sighs. He closes his eyes and rubs his fingers across his face, massaging at the bridge of his nose and at his temples. He ends up resting his jaw on his fist, watching Yvette. There's something wrong, he can tell, but God help him, he doesn't know how to handle it. "I shall certainly try," he says slowly. "Though I'm given to think you don't believe we can do it."
"I believe you can do it," Vette repeats, frowning faintly at him. "I just said I believe you can do it." She rolls her finger alongside that nail, curious about it, but mostly as a very sort of absent gesture.
"Notice I said 'we,'" Rufus points out with a tip of his head, leaning back in his seat and watching her rub her finger against the nail he's still holding. "We meaning /you/ and I. Tell me what you're thinking, Yvette." He glances down at her hands, then offers the nail to her to hold if she wants.
She takes it, though she's not really examining it so much as playing with it. "That I'm having trouble conceptualizing what's ahead," she says at last. "Your task is a series of steps that I understand. I can see exactly how you will get from here to there."
"You are having difficulty likely because so much is uncertain and nebulous," Rufus says with a faint shrug of his shoulders. "Much regarding my father's first task depends entirely on my success. Once it's secure, then you can truly set in to planning and working. Perhaps you would do well to begin by contemplating /how/ we might find a single man who is apparently lost in the Bermuda Triangle. I'm really not certain of how to begin, myself."
Vette turns her attention to that problem thoughtfully. "The question is not so much how we find him," she says. "I think finding him will be the easy part. We fly a plane or take a ship or you fly us inside. We'll probably fall into the same /spot/ that everything that goes missing falls into, in there. It's getting out again that will be the hard part."
"Perhaps. If he is under water, our situation will be a touch more complicated. I am not exactly adept at breathing or manoeuvring through water. We will need someone to help us there, just in case," Rufus muses. "If I'm not mistaken, Shou can bend water to his will. He has that surfboard and has spoken of it before."
"The guy has grown on me," Vette says with a smirk. "And I'd certainly rather her than that Miranda chick who was so coarse and rude." She thinks some more. "We all have ichor. I /might/ be able to work up some sort of ichor-magic detection scanner that can help us pinpoint lifeforms with that trait in a certain radius."
"Miranda? … Oh yes, the one who got all stroppy when I referred to her as Miss Whatever Her Last Name Was," Rufus says, his eyes briefly slipping out of focus as he casts his thoughts back. He soon brings them back in line. "Shou is… Shou is one of those special individuals who should be taken with a grain of salt, yes."
Vette nods her head and says, "Though that sort of begs the question of how you figure this half-brother of yours is surviving under water long term enough for it to matter if he's under there." She sounds only analytical at this point.
"If he is still alive, he is either on a boat and has been fishing, trapped on a tropical and uncharted island, or he is held in some underwater witch's lair in a state of unpleasantness. I honestly don't know, my dear, and the possibilities are endless. We shall have to be prepared for anything," Rufus quietly answers.
"Even singing crabs." Ok, so as jokes go, that one's lame, but it has been observed before that nerds typically get bad one-liners. Vette taps a finger against pursed lips. "We'll want a plane if we're taking more than you and I."
"A plane? I'd been thinking a ship would be a better choice. A plane cannot act as a temporary base of operations, whereas a boat can," Rufus says. He frowns to himself, contemplating that one. "Boats also tend to be able to carry more equipment and people."
"Well. True. And you rather don't end up with the problem of no landing strip. Then again boats sink. Maybe what we need is a C-plane." One of the ones with the floaty landy thingies. "But that won't carry much cargo or equipment either. No—I suppose your right. It'll have to be a boat."
"I wonder how expensive it will be to hire one suitable to our needs," Rufus murmurs. "Well, it's something to consider. First and foremost, we need to deal with Louie once and for all."
Vette…rather decides not to point out they didn't really manage to 'deal' with Louie the first time. Instead she says, "Do you think we'll be able to find his supply line now that we've got closer information?"
Probably for the best there, as Rufus would probably not take the reminder of his failure too well. "I don't know," he murmurs. "I'm not sure what we'll find out there. I'm rather hoping we'll at least find the start of the supply line and can track it back to its true origins."
"One step at a time, I suppose," Vette says at last. "It's probably the best we can do. Just one step, then the other. If I can get a water based cure it will be easy enough. A water based genetic blocker would keep his drug from affecting anyone who drank the city tap, if I can get it into the supply. Then it's an indirect attack, not a direct one."
"If you can produce the antidote in enough quantities to spread it into the water supply," Rufus quietly points out. "But yes, by all means… Do try." He leans back in his chair, falling quiet. Then he closes his eyes, mouth tight and pressed into a grim line. "Though soon he will realise I am acting against him, and he will surely come for me with all due vengeance. What am I going to /do/ about him?"
Vette turns her attention to this problem as well, mulling it over in her mind. She says, "When it happens, keep staying just out of his reach. Perhaps we can repair Special Immagration just enough to lure him through a rift. You zip out, and then we let the repair collapse with him on the other side of it. His power won't matter then."
"Possible, but that incurs a very great risk I will be trapped on the other side as well," Rufus murmurs, tilting back his head and keeping his eyes closed. He's trying to relax, though when he crosses his legs by resting an ankle over the opposite knee, his foot bounces with nervous energy. "I would say let's prepare an ambush for him, but that would entail knowing when he will strike."
"Then we're back to let's steal his relic and see how well his Scion's blood carries him without it," Vette muses thoughtfully. "And that still requires finding him, figuring out what it is, and finding a way to get it away from him in a way that does't get us both killed. Do you think James gave us everything?"
"I believe he told us everything he knew, yes," Rufus says, opening his eyes and looking mildly startled at that. "The boy is only fifteen. He's terrified. Fifteen year old children are generally not trusted with sensitive information."
"Sure, but he might know something he doesn't know he knows. Maybe Louis plays with his relic a lot. We should ask him if there's anything Louis toyed with or kept on his person at all times." Vette leans back in her seat. "Maybe he never did, but maybe he saw something."
"Hmmm…. it's worth a shot," Rufus says after awhile, nodding. "But he told me he only saw the man once or twice. I don't know if the kid would have noticed anything, but what's the harm in trying?" He finds himself staring at the golden nail again, then he slips it back into a pocket of his slacks. "Well," he says with a sigh. "I believe that's all I had for you, darling."
"I'd better work on this a bit longer," Vette says regretfully. "It seems like our plates have just gotten a lot fuller in a very short space of time. I suppose there was no time to waste to begin with, but now it seems there is even less."
"We should all be thankful the rifts are quiet for /now,/" Rufus says. Then he slowly lurches forward and stands, walking past the lady, but touching her shoulder as he goes. "Do you want to get some dinner? I left the boy at the flat for the time being, and we probably ought to return soon."
"Yes, that would be lovely," Vette says, looking up at him ruefully. "Perhaps some hummus and grape leaves from the Greek place on the corner, if you don't mind Greek tonight." Vette barely notices, sometimes, how often she defers to her homeland's foods, particularly when stressed out.
He says nothing at all about it. "Sounds delightful," Rufus says, smiling, as he walks around the Hub to gather up his stuff and prepare to step back out. "I rather fancy a few gyros myself."
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