Subordination [Closed]

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Revolt
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Subordination [Closed]

Post by Revolt » Fri Feb 14, 2020 5:35 pm

This meeting had not gone well at all.

Technically, Revolt hadn't been there as a participant - she'd been there to stand around emphatically to ensure there was no trouble, and if there was trouble, to do something about it. She wasn't entirely sure what they would have expected her to do in an enclosed space with a group of non-expendable personnel, but she hadn't bothered to bring up that concern. It would have led to additional meetings.

She'd stayed silent throughout, while William of House Magnus twisted the government into giving him what he wanted, something that Revolt was hypocritically annoyed with. Being aware of her own hypocrisy did nothing to alleviate the annoyance, unfortunately. She'd done her duty, though, and stood silent while the government screwed up their future, thankful that at the very least it wasn't her world they were screwing up.

Voltgeist probably wouldn't thank them, though, when they let her regain consciousness. Weltgeistssohn's proposed embassy had slid right through, because apparently his particular Eldest talent was bureaucracy. He'd lined up all the appropriate forms and paperwork and legal issues, and made it all see so very reasonable that he was building himself a base of operations on US soil.

She had refrained from suggesting that he could build it as a series of concentric circles - for fortification purposes, of course, not because that would make it look like a bull's-eye for aerial bombardment. It wasn't her meeting, and she was a guest in this dimension, and the last thing that she needed here was anyone pointing out the similarities between her situation and his.

So she'd stayed silent, and let them sign away a tactical advantage, and thought patiently about how much harder it was going to make it to go after this guy, once he'd gotten himself entrenched. Maybe she could ask Nicolas if she could borrow his space laser or something... he'd probably like that idea, aside from the part about her borrowing it. He still didn't seem to like her much.

Fine. As long as he worked with her. Revolt wasn't here to make friends, just to accomplish a mission. She wasn't going to act against this world, but if they wanted to screw it up on their own, then she wasn't going to stop them either. That could be Capacitor's job.

Not that she'd been doing much of her job in the last year or so, of course. At least Revolt hadn't forgotten what duty was. The room had emptied, aside from herself and Magnusson. She'd escort him out, once he was done having his bout of maniacal glee over his victory. That might take a while. He was probably composing a monologue for the occasion.

Maybe this time she'd give him some pointers.

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Re: Subordination [Closed]

Post by Magnusson » Sat Feb 15, 2020 2:16 am

William folded his spectacles neatly and placed them in tiny compartment on his breastplate.

He had perfect eyesight, of course, but they aided in going over documentation. An augmented reality system could display information for him that only he could see, keeping him hooked into live infonets from not only Earth, but other planets in neighboring systems as well. They also, as he was well aware, lent a degree of unexpected sophistication to his otherwise muscle-bound look. They were tiny compared to his hulking biceps, and it always made him smile to himself to put them on the end of his nose.

The negotiation had been swift. The Americans were far more amenable to his request for a surface embassy after he'd suggested the Chinese had been more welcoming. The implication, of course, had been that they would get first pick of new technologies, guiding Earth's alien contact policy in a way the White House simply could not allow. Outwardly, William had told them that he selected America because of its commitment to freedom, which had surprised the diplomats and given them a nice little glow.

In reality, he wanted to be situated there because the United States produced more superhumans than anywhere else in the world, even more than places with far denser populations. It would be of maximum advantage to start there and build outward.

There was only one person left in the room. This would be the third time they'd interacted.

Hmph.

They'd let him keep a pen. He twirled it between his fingers absentmindedly.

"I understand you are one of several Tejas?"

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Re: Subordination [Closed]

Post by Revolt » Sun Feb 16, 2020 4:01 pm

He wanted to talk. Lovely. Revolt supposed that hoping he would be ready to leave had been too much to ask for. Instead, Magnusson sat fiddling with a pen as if he didn’t have anything better to do with his time, which was probably accurate.

She was tempted to ignore him, but was entirely certain that doing so would just result in his coming up with an even worse idea. Briefly, she wondered if she should have taken the public line of telling everyone that she was actually just an advanced robot, if only to avoid talking to people like Magnusson.

Unfortunately, that would have gotten in the way of her plans. It seemed that in between hostile takeovers and petty theft of writing instruments, Magnusson had been doing his homework, which meant that he had a name for her, and knew about the other issue as well.

“It’s a common name, in Slovenia.” Common enough, anyway - not particularly common in the US, but she spent enough time interacting with idiots that she had a number of excellent advantages when she wanted to play stupid. “I go by Revolt.”

The last was a more pointed statement, certainly. There were very few people she liked enough to be on a first name basis with, and precisely none of them were on this side of the dimensional divide.

Revolt did not get close to people.

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Re: Subordination [Closed]

Post by Magnusson » Mon Feb 17, 2020 2:05 am

"Mhm," he nodded, waving his hand slightly as though swatting at a fly. The old oh, whatever gesture that was common to more worlds than simply Earth.

"Listen, Teja, I don't much care which one you are. But I know very well that one of you three or four or however many Tejas are stored here took a liking to my Father. I judged it proper to inform you that I will never be involved with you under any circumstance."

He clicked the pen, and put it back down on the desk. He had no need for such a trinket.

"So don't waste your time hanging around after negotiations."

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Re: Subordination [Closed]

Post by Revolt » Mon Feb 17, 2020 4:00 pm

So, he was one of those, was he? The carefully idle dismissal, the constructed argument to try to make her defensive - floating out the idea that she was unworthy in order to make her protest, to argue her own worth. And that bit about taken a liking to, with all of its implications and none of its definitions. Possibly he was taking a shot in the dark, trying to get her to reveal more of her hand than she would have liked.

At least he wasn’t an idiot, she would give him that much. She would rather have not given him even that much, but it would have been a mistake, and she wasn’t willing to make mistakes. It was too dangerous.

“To Rust Clarke,” she said instead, in the tone of a correction. “The man your father abducted and consumed.” She could have given him a tight, barely-tolerant smile, but he wouldn’t have been able to see it anyway, so she let her tone be enough to convey the sentiment.

She unfolded from where she had been leaning against the wall, not precisely threatening, but ready for movement. He wouldn’t provoke a fight, but that didn’t make her want him gone any less. “The disinterest is mutual, Weltgeistssohn. And I go by Revolt.’

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Re: Subordination [Closed]

Post by Magnusson » Wed Feb 19, 2020 3:49 am

"My father did no such thing."

The statement hung in the air, ambiguous. Had she touched a nerve? He wasn't able to tell. William had long made it a policy not to delve into the forbidden arts of resurrection and soulbonding. It was Weltgeist's determination to survive - his willingness to craft new ways, new systems - that afforded him and only him any meaningful legacy. It was this Clarke being's legacy, too. He'd been chosen for a purpose greater than any mortal could possibly expect.

His thoughts turned again to the woman before him. Against her. His lip pursed.

"I mean you no harm, Teja. I've said this time and again. But if I did, do you actually think you would stand a chance? Your lifetime would pass in what would be, to me, a blink of an eye. I would just outlive you, if it came down to it. What would you do then?"

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Re: Subordination [Closed]

Post by Revolt » Wed Feb 19, 2020 1:41 pm

"Didn't he?" It was said as a question, rather than an accusation - but not the sort of question that wanted an answer, rather the sort that suggested one. Light, almost tender, care taken for a child who didn't know any better. Gentle, a strict departure from her earlier tone. "Did you ask him, Will?" The same gentle, concerned tone, the diminutive of the given name she'd been refusing to use. "Did he take you on his knee and tell you not to worry? 'It's all right, Will. It doesn't hurt him.'" Her hand was outstretched, not to strike, but a single finger tracing a line beneath his jaw, as one might comfort a little boy who was only now realizing he may have done wrong.

"And then he sent you here, didn't he? All alone, with no friends nor siblings to comfort you, to understand your troubles. To somewhere hostile, somewhere that would make you feel defensive. Threatened, even though you knew you could win any fight... so easily. But you're all alone, aren't you, Will? And you can't fight being unwanted. You can only endure it." Her hand withdrew, closing not into a fist but merely enough to shut him out. "But you already knew that. Poor little lost boy."

She stepped back with a sigh and a quiet shake of her head. "You know, I could almost pity you? Too bad I don't go in for that sort of thing." Her tone was back to its usual, without the condescension. Strict, inflexible, tactical. Pointed. "I go by Revolt."

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Re: Subordination [Closed]

Post by Magnusson » Wed Feb 19, 2020 7:42 pm

The human capacity for language was one of their greater strengths. They were feeble little things, but they had a robust system of communication, one that could leave behind legends for generations and weave insults that could crack a God's demeanor. Sure, the translation was imperfect, but the message was nonetheless delivered. "You are alone here." Well, that was true enough. All of these people were terrible. She'd leaned in closer, running a finger up his chin. He'd seen that before, but it was usually far more attractive than it was now. This just felt...muddy.

And there was something else he'd learned a long time ago. He and his siblings had a variety of talents. Paul was a tactician; Juno could dismantle a person atom by atom with martial prowess alone; Petyr, though a bit of a wimp, was a wonderful artist. And William could read people, and do it well. Granted, he wasn't always corrrect - but there was something about prolonged interaction with many others of many species that revealed certain patterns. He was derided for being a socialite, but it came with certain skills.

"You're projecting," he smiled back, uncertainty washed away. Instead, he beamed. Gears clicked in his mind. Crevasses in knowledge that would be incomprehensible to the human mind could be crossed easily by an Eldest brain. Old things he'd read about in his spare time - incursions from other planets - bolstered by the fact that the city known as Chicago had recently experienced something of that very sort. It would explain why there were reports of multiple Capacitors. And it gave him a vulpine grin.

"You're even more of an alien to this world than I am."

He tilted his head to the side. What else had she just said to him that more than likely applied to her?

"Alone on a mission of your own, and always wearing that mask, too. Interesting. If people knew you were from another plane, how would they treat you? Of course, the government here are more than happy to use you...but that's probably nothing new."

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Re: Subordination [Closed]

Post by Revolt » Wed Feb 19, 2020 11:03 pm

She had made a mistake somewhere.

Revolt had either meant to throw Magnusson off his guard - which was unlikely - or just piss him off, which was much more likely and could have been fun. Instead, what seemed to happen was that he settled down, became more secure in his convictions, and started thinking enough to turn an argument against her.

“You’re conjecturing.” Her tone stayed level, revealing nothing. He was taking shots in the dark, seeing what would affect her. It was possible that he had figured out a few things - Nicolas certainly had managed it, after all - but Magnusson didn’t know enough to figure out more than minor details.

She wasn’t going to give him a reaction that might confirm anything. “You speak of the government using me as if that’s something you think should bother me.” A side point of his argument, but a relevant one, one worth picking apart. It might tell her more about how he thought, which would help her know where the attack would come from, when he was ready to make it.

“They made me what I am. What I do for them, I do willingly. Is it not like that, for you and your father?”

And what if it weren’t? Could she work with that? Could she drive a wedge between the Eldest and his son? Could she take something so precious away from one of them?

Could she actually save someone, from them?

It wasn’t possible. It couldn’t be. The only way to deal with the Eldest was to destroy them entirely. There was no other option - not after what they’d done. She wouldn’t allow it.

And yet...

And yet... what better destruction, than the betrayal of a son?

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Re: Subordination [Closed]

Post by Magnusson » Wed Feb 19, 2020 11:57 pm

"The love between father and son is unconditional. Though we share our differences, I would never doubt him, and what I do for him, I do because it is ultimately right - even if I cannot see it at the time."

He stood, slowly, his aura seeming to swell with satisfaction. What new truth was this? It wasn't often someone asked him these kinds of things. Here, he was tested, and -

"I love him, and he loves me. Is there anyone you love? That loves you?"

What a tasteless, stupid question - one he should not be concerned with. It wasn't dignified, reveling in such destruction. But he wanted to pry open her shell like she was a mollusk and hurt her. It was no less than she deserved, for treating him this way. He'd impart a lesson she'd not soon forget, and this world would be a better place for it. Ha! He was a hero already.

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