2020-06-24: Clockwork Queen


HeatherH_icon.jpg ConnorF_icon.jpg

Summary: A stalemate called, a discussion occurs.

Date: June 24, 2020.

Log Title Clockwork Queen

Rating: G.

The Future - Salem Center

What was once the nice, quaint town of Salem Center has become the central point of something much more sinister. Ahab and his hounds have taken up residency here, the hunters den is what was one the mall and off in the distance the mutant camp, which was formally Xavier's, resides. The streets are mostly rubble, the building and homes which haven't been reduced to rubble are now bases for the anti-mutant fighters. Sentinels patrol the streets and make shift barb wire fences can be seen around the place. Trucks herding mutants to their doom at the camp commonly pass through the destroyed streets.

Even with the lull happening after the prison break assault, scouting and intelligence still happens on both sides. Currently under full cloak and using his heavy sniper rifle to watch the camp activities for the Hunters, Volk is making very little signature for himself. But every so often, one needs a break from these things. Dropping down and behind the hill he's on, the soldier settles himself behind a blind with an aluminum underlining to reflect sensor readings, pulling out a notebook and and MRE to take a quick break and update his logs.

"I see you here, but I don't say anything. I move on," says Heather, fading into existence not far from where Volk is. Her hair is as tangled now as it was when she was in Xavier's, undoing all of the hard work she put into making it neat before she was turned. "But I return. Volk. I met you a long time ago. You were frightened of me. Do you miss me? What are you eating?" These words all play through the speaker mounted on her chest as the young Hound chirps to her headset.

Immediately his hand is to one of his pistols, and it's drawn and pointed before anything is even said. For a fraction of a heartbeat it's remaining on Heather's skull, before he puts it away, and then just sighs, and holds up the MRE. It's marked as Chicken Ala King. Digging into his pack, he pulls out a second one, and tosses it towards Heather, then a bottle of water before moving over under the blind, and leaving her space on the small mat he's set up, "Me? One instinct… kill you… but brain… reminds me… I need you too much. But… you know that already."

Heather reaches into her bag and pulls out a half eaten McDonalds hamburger, tossing it on the ground in front of Volk before moving to sit on the mat. "This is ten years old. It's two days old. It's still good. I put some ketchup on it." She looks over to the man with a slightly tilted head, "If you try to capture me I know how to kill you. But if I try to kill you, I do not know what will happen. I am too precious a piece right now to play so thoughtlessly. But you know that, too. Tie. We will play again. See if it goes different." She picks up the MRE and turns it between her hands to examine it curiously.

Shaking his head once, Volk picks up the hamburger, and sniffs at it a few moments before sighing once and taking a bite from the uneaten side. Chewing a few moments, there's a slight close to his eyes, as he enjoys it and then settles it back on the wrapper, "Ahab… hasn't… had you… long enough Heather. You're not… the others. I'll… still kill you… if I… have to. But… I offered you food. You don't… give someone dinner… before you… take them on. No honor… in it." A couple bites from his meal, and then he smirks, "Game… gues… what I want?"

"No, I am like them. I am his piece to play, and I am no longer the player I once was. That should be a relief to you. I do not want to contradict him for it would upset him. I do not want him to lose for it would upset him. I listen because it pleases him," says Heather, blinking quickly as she speaks. She opens the MRE and crosses her legs, watching it. "Guessing games are hard. I know that you want me. Is that what you want today? Don't you find it funny? Changing the past?" she laughs at this, the tone of the laugh lost over her speech system.

Volk sighs, and puts the packet to one side, then takes a sip from the water bottle, scooting back in time for a Sentinel patrol outbound to pass by before he turns to look at Heather, "No… I don't. You now… only understand games… only… understand moves. Heather… understood people. This… is what Ahab has done. Made you… powerful… at the cost of… the real Heather. And yes… I might… want you. But that is… because I'm playing checkers. And if… you play checkers… I'll play go. You play go… I'll play.. parcheesi… Your rules… are Ahab's rules. Your rules… you can predict. Pawn now… but when… you get to… the other side… of the board… what piece… will he make you?"

"The real Heather? I am the real Heather. This is just another temporal cross section. I hate parcheesi. I hate dice but I can overcome the fall of dice. I do not. I do not cheat." She pulls her fingers through her tangled hair, pulling it apart. "It does not matter what piece he makes me." She reaches into her small bag, through all of her randomly collected junk that she used to pick up. She pulls out the pawn given to her before, refitted with brass clockwork pieces from her old smashed watches to resemble a queen, carefully placing it on the mat so it stands upright. "It is a piece that he can sacrifice. The Heather you want is not a part of the board. I am not that Heather." She starts eating from the MRE, mixing absolutely everything edible from it together. "My memory is hazy. I think it is my own fault. Should I guess again?"

The counter-question is much simpler, "Why… didn't Ahab… take me? What could be… more important… that it needs… a tracker…" Volk asks.

"Do you want speculation or what I know? I do not know what he needs the tracker for. But you can speculate the same way I can speculate," says Heather, shrugging her shoulders a few times. "I would capture you. I like the way you spaceslip. But I do not trust you enough to see it anymore. I saw you back then. You tried to crush me. Is that a memory you have?"

Volk replies, "Yes… and I have a memory… that… shouldn't be. A memory that's… your fault. Ahab's… fault. Without you… Ahab… could not have… gone back in time." Tapping the side of his head, Volk looks into her eyes, his own now glowing softly, iridescent blue-green fire playing inside the irises, "You… don't dare… see what I see… anymore. That's… your fear. Seeing a good life. Seeing a life without… Ahab. Reminded of all… your struggles." Then a smile spreads on his lips, and his eyes narrow, "You know… what would happen… if I was taken… and turned. I could undo… it all. Undo what you don't know. Undo what you couldn't predict. Undo the fight…" Pausing as he begins to cough, and takes another sip of water, "Undo… the game."

Heather looks back steadily into Volk's eyes as he speaks, her own twitching lightly, seeming never to rest even a split second. She only looks away when he stops. "I have these memories already. You have them in your head too. These double memories. I always had them, they captured me. I do not change the past. I only create more layers to my past. Understand that. Everyone talks about undoing things. Do they get it? If I undo it, a layer is only a part of my imagination. I will have been right all along. And people think I am the crazy one. But this is my value. Your value is my value. We are undoers. One side controlling both is not fair." She chuckles darkly and shakes her head, "Ahab. I used to spit when I remembered his name. Why? Now I see he is a hero. He is my Master. You can see it, too, but I do not think you will."

Reaching down, Volk takes up the queen and holds it to the dim light of the starlight, and turns it so the fresh polished clock-gears glimmer slightly, "And yet… this is how… you see… yourself?" And then setting it down, the man flicks it down onto it's side, making it roll a bit in a circle, "But this… is how Ahab sees you. Fine… so we're enemies… but…" Taking up the hamburger, he pauses to eat the rest, then cleans off the wrapper before taking out a bit of charcoal pencil. He draws out the basic Tic Tac Toe design, and puts an X in the middle, "Twenty… thousand… permutations… but the truth? You cannot win… unless… the other side… lets you."

"It would not please my Master to let you win. I see the stalemate in eight. My memories are hazy. I know why. I can guess." Heather gestures down to the fallen piece, a combination of compressed substance and carefully crafted gears. "I miss my games with Rashmi. She is good. She keeps my interest. I miss my games with you. The people here are not players of games. Except suggestions of Mo. No. Po. Ly." The syllables are pronounced very carefully, so her translation system can carry through the contempt on each one. "But I am a red piece now and you are white. These are our realities." She finishes eating from the MRE and adds, "Keep the piece. I made it for you, like you made it for me. Maybe when everything is over it will have no meaning to either of us anymore."

Volk makes a small grumbling growl in his chest as the assignations are made, and picks up the piece to stash it into his pocket, safely away, "I've gotten… as bad as you. Don't talk… to… a player…. like a pawn. I've played… games. As… have you. Even now. We've both… played Rashmi. Of anyone… here. When the dust settles. She'll understand… why… it had to be." With that he finishes his own meal, crumples up both packets, and stashes them in a small backpack, "This is… the last time. He won't… allow it. I can't… allow it. But he doesn't know… what I do. I am… not your reaper. I am… your savior. You will die… to live, Heather Brown. You will… fall to be free, Timeslip. They will… stop ticking… one by one… until you break… in the sound… of silence. When it comes… I'll be there."

Another instantiation of Heather passes in the distance, stopping momentarily to look over before dashing off again. This version of Heather looks over at this past version of herself and back to Volk. "I understand… I will not and I cannot help you anymore. But I will still help you. I miss you, Connor." With those words, she steps forwards and vanishes back to some other moment in time.

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