wonder_city: (Default)
[personal profile] wonder_city
Why, yes, X DID figure something out last episode.

Ringed Round

Nereid walked into Sophie's lab, noting idly that the locks were engaged, but her special permissions got her through.

She pretty much immediately regretted having special permissions.

X was rampaging around the lab, yanking drawers out of the lab benches and stacking them on the benchtops, opening cabinets and rifling through them, pulling every closet door ajar and peering in. Sophie was standing very still in the midst of the chaos, head down.

Nereid had never seen or heard X so angry before.

Sophie said, quietly, "Please stop."

X whirled around, face red and contorted with fury. "If you won't tell me the truth, then I'll fucking well find the truth."

Sophie said, not raising her head, "Do you even know what you're looking for?"

X snarled, "Yes," and, after shoving a sliding door aside, added, "This."

X turned around, holding a plastic bin. Beyond, in the small closet, Nereid could see a small, sleek machine that hummed gently, and then spat something metallic out onto the floor.

The bin held what looked like hundreds of silver metal promise rings.

X plunged a hand into the bin and shook a handful of the things under Sophie's nose. "What. Is. THIS?"

Nereid said, finally, "What's going on?"

Both Sophie and X looked at her. X's jaw set. An expression of agony passed over Sophie's face.

After a silence, X said, "Your girlfriend is working for the alien invaders." X's hand opened and all the rings clattered onto the floor, ringing flatly and bouncing away from Sophie's boots.

Nereid's jaw worked but no voice came out.

"Please," Sophie said, covering her face with one hand, knocking her glasses off and onto the concrete floor, where the main lenses cracked and the frames broke in half at the nosepiece.

Nereid reflexively stepped forward and knelt to pick up the glasses. She stopped, her hand inches from the frames, but also from the scattered rings, and looked up at Sophie.

A tear dropped from between Sophie's fingers onto Nereid's hand. Nereid stared at it, feeling panicked. Sophie got sarcastic. Sophie got snarky. Sophie got angry. Sophie. Never. Cried.

X looked back at Sophie and in a voice whose anger had been replaced with pain, said, "Why?"

Sophie looked at X finally, her face red, eyes swollen, and said in a ragged voice, "Why else? They have Ruth."

X sighed and ran a hand through the perfect, sleek, black hair, tousling it perfectly. "Ruth wouldn't want this."

Sophie curled her lip and said, in what was clearly to Nereid a desperate attempt to regain some poise, "I have not my mother's scruples."

Nereid reached up and gripped Sophie's shirt hem in an attempt to hold onto that moment of sarcasm. She would have done anything for her own parents in the same situation, instantly and without a thought. Flo would yell at her later, but at least Flo would be there to yell.

"They said that if I didn't do it, they had others who would, and who might do it in return for Ruth's -- or someone else's -- death," Sophie said bitterly. "They have all the Gold Stars."

"How do you know?" X said. "How do you know they didn't lie?"

"Because I saw them," Sophie said. "The aliens met me in the middle of the desert -- at Area 51, as a matter of fact!" she added, her voice going high and strained, "and showed them all to me, let me run whatever tests I wanted to make sure I believed they were real. I couldn't wake her up, though I tried."

"They could've been messing with your head!" X said.

"Don't you think I thought of that?" Sophie shouted, gesturing vehemently. "I have been over and over this. I can't find Ruth anywhere in the known universe by any method I've tried except that one moment. I even tried calling Renata Scott to get her to telepathically hunt for her, but Renata is missing too! The aliens claim they're holding the Gold Stars in a dimensional pocket they control, and that's the only logical answer." Sophie's long, thin fingers tangled into her hair and pulled hard.

Nereid stood and put her arms around Sophie, pinning the anguished hands against her lover's skull with her own grip. "All right, we know now," Nereid said in the same tone she'd once used to soothe her panicked pet dog. "We know. Do we know everything?" She glanced at X. X gestured disgustedly and turned away.

Sophie pressed her face into Nereid's shoulder and let her hands fall to her sides. "I made the broadcast technology for them. They knew it was possible, they have a tech like it for themselves, but it wouldn't work with humans. The rings are the only thing I'm still making for them. They produce everything else. Main system. Transmitters. Repeaters, I'm guessing."

"What does it broadcast?" X said, back still turned.

Sophie exhaled, her breath hot on Nereid's neck, and Nereid held her tight. "They have a mentalist of some sort. I think it's an empath, but I don't know for sure. They wanted something that would transmit human psionic powers."

"And you built defenses on the Cosmics' compound and put everyone under house arrest here to protect them," X said, shoulders hunched.

"Yes," Sophie said, voice muffled in the fabric of Nereid's shirt. "It was the only concession I could get from them."

"You know what they're doing to people, don't you?" X said, turning to look at them.

Sophie just nodded, her nose rubbing against Nereid's collarbone.

X faced them and said in a resolute voice, "We're going to stop them. It. Everything."

Sophie said, "I can't help. They'll kill her."

Nereid said, meeting X's gaze, "But I can."

Sophie put her arms around Nereid finally and clung as if she would drown otherwise.

"I'll talk to Mr. Frost," Nereid said. "I'll explain. Get permission. Whatever I can do to help, X."

X nodded and went to the door.

Sophie looked up and said, "Who is going to stop them? They've got the Gold Stars, and the Guardians and all the other major teams are under the influence."

X looked back, handsome and sad and tragic, and said, "Some people they forgot about," and went out.

Date: 2013-01-25 06:28 pm (UTC)
the_rck: (Default)
From: [personal profile] the_rck
That explains a great deal. The whole thing is sufficiently horrid that I only sort of feel sorry for Sophie. I don't know that I'd do differently in her situation, but it's hard not to feel that she should have done something.

Thanks for writing!

Date: 2013-01-25 07:13 pm (UTC)
heavenscalyx: (Default)
From: [personal profile] heavenscalyx
Yeah, I expect Nereid has been sufficiently sheltered from the damage that she can still feel bad for Sophie, but X is Seriously Conflicted.

Date: 2013-01-29 08:04 am (UTC)
badfaun: (Default)
From: [personal profile] badfaun
BIG REVEAL! BIG REVEAL! BIG REVEAL! *runs around in circles*

Date: 2013-01-29 03:45 pm (UTC)
heavenscalyx: (Default)
From: [personal profile] heavenscalyx
:) :) :)


wonder_city: (Default)
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