2020-08-15: Selfmate


HeatherH_icon.jpg ChloeF_icon.jpg

Summary: Chloe uses a riddle from long ago to defeat Heather, and set everything into motion.

Date: August 15, 2020.

Log Title: Selfmate

Rating: R

The Future - NYC - Times Square

Once a central hub for humanity, little remains of Times Square but broken storefronts and disintegrating buildings. Stretching as far as the eye can see, the entire area is littered with crushed cars and skeletonized bodies; leaving little to be found without taking a chance inside one of the many crumbling facades. For the lucky, scraps of a bygone lifestyle can still be uncovered in the form of clothing, canned food, and supplies. Albeit amidst the occasional threats of wondering gangs and roving Sentinels. With literally innumerable hiding spots to choose from, there is little doubt that either could be laying in wait.

Clanking and crashing sound through the otherwise silent Times Square, worthless junk tapping against worthless junk. Heather is merely spending her time looking over the corpses of the dead and the debris left behind to pick up anything that looks interesting. Twisted, melted metals from Sentinel fire gone astray. Necklaces that were full of emotional significance in another life. Even sometimes pieces of packaging from meals come from better days. Both of her arms are covered in the Rollex watches that she always wears these days, her outfit characterized by leather and spikes. She has her small bag slung over her shoulder, where she keeps her strange prizes, the same bag she wore even before she had been turned by Ahab.

It's been a little over a week since Chloe had her run in with Magik and the strange little excusion which ended up with her taking up the alias of Mockingbird. It's in the guise of Mockingbird that she prowls Times Square in the search for any of the hunters, hounds or simple street gangs who have the misfortune to be out while she's awake. "Well old friend I knew I'd run into you out here eventually," she calls out, breaking from cover and drawing her two batons. "Although I never thought I'd have got myself a costume as well. But it's only fitting I suppose."

The sound of Chloe's voice makes Heather looks up from her scavenging, and she moves her timeshift immediately to its maximum. "Mockingbird? Have I ever told you how bright your voice is, Chloe? It's /brilliant/," says the timeshifter, stressing the word. She walks towards Chloe (or at least a walk in both of their perspectives, many would call it a full sprint). "Batons?" she says once she is closer, "Am I too precious for blades?"

Chloe shrugs, then with an ease that shows she's been practising a lot, clicks the batons together and extends them into a bo-staff. "Maybe? It's been a very long time. Perhaps we've both forgotten if you did. Oh and actually these things came with the costume," she replies with a grin. "But I can always use the retractable blades if you really want? Although I'm not sure that would be very fair on you. I don't suppose you'd like to surrender quietly?"

"Surrender quietly?" repeats Heather, raising her eyebrow, "You know that I cannot do that. I am Ahab's piece, to do with what he will." The speedster tilts her head slightly and adds, "The staff is fine. Any disadvantage for you is fine. You are so dangerous." Heather stops and takes a fighting stance, "Which is why I should eliminate you. I'm sorry."

Chloe plants one end of the staff on the ground, then laughs. "Still got your sense of humour huh? You're more than welcome to /try/ and kill me but we both know it won't work. After all it's two against one and we haven't even started fighting." Her eyes flick up and down, taking in Heathers fighting stance. "Maybe it's in his best interests you aren't his piece. After all whatever time travel he's had in mind can't be going very well or else he'd have won already."

"Volk splintered our timelines. My touches affect all the way up the timestream, but his were clumsy. Ahab is still gaining power, but in a different reality. He will be back to our here and now," assures the Hound Heather. She shakes her head quickly and says, "As for two on one, I am unsure how you figure that one." She shifts her stance and furrows her eyebrows. She has no weapon. She sets her watch and a future version of her appears a moment later, wielding two staves, one for herself and one for this Past Heather.

"Because ultimately you don't want to win," Chloe points out, her eyes flicking down to the watch like a hawk spotting an especially tasty looking rabbit. "And no amount of temporal duplicates will make up for your deep desire to lose. But if he /is/ winning why would he come back? I bet he's abandoned you and is going to stay in his nice other timeline. Why fight for a master who has left you?"
"Left me? No. I will go back to him once more, I am only carrying his will for this moment," says the Present Heather, while the Future Heather goes on the offensive, swinging the staff at Chloe's chest while the other duplicate tries to anticipate the speedster's block to his her in the chest. Her expression is blank and emotionless as she does this; she doesn't seem much torn up about attacking an old friend.

Chloe somersaults backwards to pull out of reach, then readys her own staff in lazily flowing guard. "Charming. Trying to land a blow before I've even got my weapon ready? Not very sporting of you. But then I guess you /are/ the villain here aren't you." And with that she makes a sudden sidestep, adjusting her grip on her staff, and makes a scything attack at Future Heathers ankles.

The Future Heather hops back like she has some kind of knowledge of what was coming at her, swinging her own staff down towards Chloe's wrist. The Present Heather just stands there, watching, her own staff at ready but not really aggressive, noting, "I do what I must to please Ahab. If I must fight a bit dirty for an edge, then so be it."

Chloe throws herself into a sideways roll to avoid the downward swing. "The trouble is Heather you might know what's happening, but you're still so very /slow/ compared with the people I spar with. You're practically a slow worlder!" she taunts, one hand flicking towards her belt with a little sonic boom. "And don't think I don't know your trick either. You watch, she knows how to counter." Her hand flicks back up, throwing a handfull of little pepper bombs at Present Heather.

The Future Heather says, "Watch out!" She's been in that situation before, and remembers hearing her own voice. The Present Heather, at the sound of the voice, timeslips away to another temporal moment, to procure the staff that she duplicated in the first place. As the Future Heather speaks, though, she swings her staff again at Chloe's abdomen.

"Gotcha," Chloe yells, her staff breaking back down into two batons. One of which she uses to parry the swing, while the other is brought down to smash at Heathers knucles. "Can't predict what you haven't seen."

"Augh," says Heather, one hand is pulled back at being smashed and the time traveller raises her hand to suck on the wound while stumbling back a bit. She keeps her grip on her own staff, but seems annoyed by the hit. "You're right, I depend too much on my tricks," says Heather, "but I do still remember some of the things you taught me." She sets two of her watches, the first set so that she can escape for a moment to wrap her hand. Taking that one into account, the next is set to appear in thirteen seconds.

Thirteen seconds is a long time in fast world. More than enough of a pause for Chloe to regain her breath and shift position, heading to a nice little spot where she can fight with her back to a wall and with relatively uneven ground ahead of her. Her batons are snapped back into the full staff mode and once everything is as ready as it can be she adopts her lazy guard position and awaits Heathers return.

And indeed, Heather returns at just that moment, this time not wielding a staff, her injured hand wrapped up in gauze. Instead, she carries some knives, hastily acquired but sharp, on her belt. Given the fighting style Heather is most comfortable using, they are likely for throwing. "Submit, Chloe, and join Ahab. We can be friends again," she speaks in the moment she appears.

Chloe leans back against the wall. "I'm sorry to say that isn't a very tempting offer," she replies casually. "Much as I'm into the loyal friend thing I'm not sure I want to extend it into getting brainwashed by a loser. And make no mistakes Ahab is losing. The Avengers have reformed, Iron Man is back and his big attack on the Rebellion was a total flop."

"Ahab is not a loser," says Heather, shrugging. She sets all of her watches, which means she will be calling in several temporal duplicates from different moments. She tosses one of the knives at Chloe, though the aim is off a bit. That's only because another Heather appears and catches the knife to redirect it properly in one quick motion. "You cannot beat me on your own, Chloe, even if you are faster or better trained."

"Don't forget more dashing and better dressed!" Chloe teases, swatting the knife out of the air with her staff. "Tell me one thing Heather, have you ever self-mated yourself in chess?" Bursting into motion she runs a way up the wall to get around the area of poor ground. "And it must really gall you that Volk beat you at time travel. It's not even his power and he still outdid you." As she talks Chloe switches the speed of her speech, from Heathers normal speed and gradually slowing with each line.

"I've never done a self-mate," says Heather, blinking a few times, "It seems more difficult sometimes to self-mate than to checkmate. You have to have an opponent with just the right style." Of course, this first part isn't true, but it's all part of the past Heather's plan: These memories were obliterated in order to make sure that everything proceeded logically. That Heather has done a self-mate in chess, though, is common knowledge to anyone who followed her games with Rashmi. Heather slows as Chloe's speaking speed gradually slows, unconsciously speedshifting down to understand. She dashes forward and another Heather suddenly appears in front of Chloe to slash with a knife.

Chloe doesn't have a trouble moving at one speed and talking at another, which is just as well when another Heather pops out infront of her. "Then you must be very good at chess because you perform a superb self-mate!" Shifting her grip she one again disconnects the staff into two batons. Her hands blurring at top speed, one baton blocks the knife fast enough to create a shower of sparks while the other swings low. Aiming at this version of Heathers knee.

"Aaaugh!" says Heather, shifting her timeshift in reaction to the injury, though she falls to one knee. The dashing Heather graps her and disappears as yet another appears next to Chloe, tossing one of the knives from very short range, and states, "My memories are hazy. As for Volk outdoing me, no, not quite. He splintered time. It is different from my own style. Less responsible."

Chloe doesn't even dodge the knife, relying upon her costume and superhuman durabiltiy to soak up the impact, using the opening to lash out at the same knee with a brutal kick. "But not until /after/ we got all the information we needed to win. Splitting the timeline /protects/ us," she declares, following the kick up with a rain of overhead strikes from the batons. "And your hazy memories are /exactly/ why this is two against one."

Heather falls to her knees again and raises her arms, though tries to protect her watches since they were a gift. After the first heavy blow, her hands fall to the side and there is a crack over her forehead as she falls unconscious. At that very moment, temporal fabric almost seems to ripple, moments from the past, present and future emerging from a point and arriving. It's Heather again, this time wearing her Hound gear, two gouges on her wrists. She is holding an unconscious Ahab with her. Unceremoniously, she drops him and looks down at her past self with a weary expression. The past self opens her eyes for a moment to see this version of her before falling away. The new Heather just sets one of the Hound's watches, setting for her to go to the 31st of July, 2:35PM. She looks up at Chloe and says nothing.

"Oh look. Ahab after having just lost? It's a such a burden this always being right thing," Chloe offers, shifting into a combat stance. "It's a shame I'm doing the costume thing now or I'd gladly stab him with a fork and call it a day." She glances at the newcomer Heather. "If you're here to fight as well then by all means. I have two hundred years me time of frustration about a damn riddle to unleash."

This Heather blinks a few times at Chloe and says, "I'm pretty tired. I just ran ten years. One second, I have a self to rescue. It has to be like this." She shakes her head and blinks in and out of existence once, popping her previous self out of the picture. She starts tearing at her Hound getup, pulling it off, preferring nudity to the bondage gear while she is in her right mind. "Thank you, Chloe," she says while just disrobing in the middle of the street, "for paying attention to my note. I knew you would figure it out when you needed to, and not a moment sooner."

"Heather… Hon… you should have remembered one important thing," Chloe says solemnly, shaking her head in dismay. "You should have added the line 'bring pants' on at the end…"

Heather laughs at that and says, "I wouldn't be so lucky that you happen to have extras on you? Something garrish and bright?" Her expression turns more serious, though, and she points at Ahab's fallen form, "Help me with my load, to bring him to justice. It's like I said… I've just ran ten years with him. The least you can do is help me the rest of the way."

"Check the shops around here. Something aweful looking has probably escaped looting by virtue of eye blistering ugliness," Chloe suggests with an impish grin, tucking her batons into their holders. "Think we could leave him somewhere he can't bother anyone? Like say a couple of days before the sun exploding leaves the entire planet uninhabitable?" She gives Ahab a distateful look, then shrugs and leans in to grab hold. "Or maybe not. That'd be a very long walk and if ten years was exhausting…"

Heather chuckles and nods, "I'm not strong enough for that kind of journey, not yet." The nude girl gestures Chloe onwards and says, "I will find something with which to clothe myself. I just have to remember where I left my Classic Timeslip outfit after that. I will join you shortly." With that, Heather runs off towards one of the shops.

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