?

Log in

No account? Create an account
July 2017   01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
stargate, DanielJackson

Week 28, Title: How far we've come

Posted on 2014.11.18 at 22:22
Tags: ,

Lana glides through the meeting, talking to one important suited person after another, parrying between smooth sweet convincers and hard brash arguments, a different affectation for every person, for every situation. Another step towards the top. She enjoys it, the power, the manipulation. The ease with which others come apart and come together, the sleek adrenaline rush of plans coming to fruition. She’s the best at this.

This is just the latest project. Slightly bigger than usual (the global implementation of a new energy system) but she’s always liked a challenge.


*


Taking a brief pause Lana gazes out of the now darkened bank of windows and slips off her heels. Usually she wouldn’t let so much as a hair out of place while in the office, preferring to appear as though she never sleeps, always remaining just so. She’s always the first to arrive and the last to leave, after all nothing gives her quite the exhilaration as work can. But it’s after midnight and there’s almost no one left in the tall office building. She still gives her tights a cursory check for ladders before resting her feet, crossed at her ankles, on her desk.

Aaron walks in, but he knows her well enough that she doesn’t bother with any act.

“It’s late; we should get something to eat.” He smiles, this isn’t a new conversation.

She sighs softly, thoughts holding half-formed hope flit through her mind, “In another life maybe.”

“It’s really not that complicated, I like you, you like me. It’s just food,” he says.

“I’m a psychopath, which tends not to be conducive to genuine honest relationships. And I can’t be bothered to maintain the lie at home.”   

“Oh harsh, you’re a sociopath at worst,” Aaron jokes.

“Sociopath is not a scientifically recognised term, it’s a word we use to make psychopaths seem  friendlier,” she replies, snorting.  

“Huh, maybe I’m a psychopath too then, I’ve got that cold stark rationale thing going on.”

She rolls her eyes, “You say that as though we don’t both understand the difference between logical pragmatism and an inability to care about other people.”

“Well, other people are boring,” he points out.

“Quaint, so we together are unique, ourselves alone something special, something different in the universe,” she spits with disdain, the notion feeling childish on her tongue.

“Maybe there are a couple of hundred like us,” he concedes.

“You underestimate the great majority of the human race,” she replies.

“This could be a long debate, all the more reason for food.”

She levels him with a serious gaze before saying, “Fine,” adding lightly, “if only to convince you that I’m not the centre of the universe.”


*

“Explain it to me?” he asks.

And she wants to, maybe just to say the words out loud, and so she does. She pokes chopsticks into the take-out carton, attacking noodles with deathly precision as she speaks,
“It’s not that I don’t feel emotions, there are lots of emotions, joy and excitement and all the happy feelings. It’s the things that incite those which are more troubling. Lying and manipulating and twisting and tearing people apart. But it makes me the best at what I do, and I do enjoy the cutthroat aspect of this business, playing the world, playing the people. There are compulsions though, those times when the lies feel bitter, too obvious and too easy, when I’m less than myself. I wonder whether they see through me, but they don’t. I don’t feel for other people, it’s all false, an approximation, I know what to do to blend perfectly. But it’s never real. It’s one thing I’ve always wondered about my ilk, if we are so determined to be the best, how are we then satisfied with relationships which aren’t real. There’s only so long fooling others can be satisfying before it’s disappointing. Saddening that they haven’t realised, that they don’t see us and what we can do. If I’m going to be in a relationship, it will be truthful. That will be a hard thing to handle for both parties.”

Aaron stares, as though still listening long after the words have ceased, before answering with words halting yet firm,
“I’d like to try, to handle it that is, if you’re willing to.”    


*


They go on several dates. She enjoys them, enjoys talking with him, enjoys being with him. She doesn’t care about him though, she pretends a little; it’s a necessary compromise.

He understands, until he doesn’t, then they argue.

She doesn’t feel a thing, until a car colliding with his body sends a sharp shock through her and she tells herself it’s just about not wanting to lose his presence; his entertainment value. He comes away with a turned-over ankle and wrongly-bent wrist and she’s care-free once more. Looking after him feels too much like obligation, she has little patience for it.

Her success is growing and they have less time together, but she carves out corners of her life for him, even if it’s sometimes only the obligatory five minutes between orange juice and toothpaste.


*


She travels to Tokyo and New York first, and then to any important city she can fit onto her schedule, world-wide changes of energy don’t manage themselves. She manages the people, manages the problems, turns all the bumps into smooth lines.

Success follows success follows success. This is the new answer. The best answer. No more energy crisis, no more pollution.

Aaron keeps himself busy with his own work, they drift somewhat. It’s an inevitability she’s known from the beginning. Psychopaths are far less palatable when not trying to fit in.


*


There’s a catch, there’s always a catch. She’d known from the beginning there would be.

The new energy system is everywhere, working brilliantly. And now has decided to add a side effect of poisonous gas with a chaser of death.

She and Aaron are together again, taking comfort in the pretence of comfort.

“I suppose this lends to your notion of us being the centre of the universe, or the world at least.”

Aaron says nothing in reply, only quirks an eyebrow.

“Do you think anyone else has ever done this much destruction?”

Comments:


kick_galvanic, zagzagael, skull_theatre
bleodswean at 2014-11-18 23:25 (UTC) (Link)
Whoa. I need to think about this for a while. Stunning. She IS a psychopath....GREAT dialogue here.

Seriously thought-provoking piece.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-11-19 06:40 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, so glad you found it thought-provoking, I was hoping it would be :)
i_17bingo
i_17bingo at 2014-11-19 14:54 (UTC) (Link)
Lana glides through the meeting, talking to one important suited person after another, parrying between smooth sweet convincers and hard brash arguments, a different affectation for every person, for every situation.

My spouse does that, but she does it to make others comfortable, as opposed to screwing them over.

Lana is a fascinating character, and what's fascinating is how straightforward she is (to the reader, I mean, and to a lesser extent, to Aaron).
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-11-19 18:08 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you found her fascinating :).

Yeah, I think she's reached the point where she enjoys the lies and is simultaneously tired by them.
lriG rorriM
lrig_rorrim at 2014-11-19 21:32 (UTC) (Link)
I really liked the amount of insight and honesty Lana has. She's a well-drawn and intriguing character, and the situation you've sketched out for us here is really engaging.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-11-20 15:48 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, so glad you found it engaging :)
Every Day Above Ground
mallorys_camera at 2014-11-19 23:07 (UTC) (Link)
Loved the banter before they go out to eat.

I was expecting some sort of psychopathological behavior, like maybe they would go on a killing spree together. :-) And they did! But in a way I didn't expect. So well done!
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-11-20 15:49 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you liked the banter :)
reckless_blues
reckless_blues at 2014-11-20 01:49 (UTC) (Link)

They go on several dates. She enjoys them, enjoys talking with him, enjoys being with him. She doesn’t care about him though, she pretends a little; it’s a necessary compromise.

He understands, until he doesn’t, then they argue.


Mm. Been there, dated that.

What fascinating people.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-11-20 15:49 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you found them fascinating :)
dmousey
dmousey at 2014-11-20 02:56 (UTC) (Link)
Functional psychopaths are such interesting people. I wonder how many use that little quirk for the good of humanity instead of for negative and nefarious purposes.

Thanks for penning! :)
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-11-20 15:51 (UTC) (Link)
I too find them fascinating. It's purported that many of our lawyers/business-people/politicians etc are psychopaths and it's been hypothesised that's it's actually an important trait for society for a few members to have.

Thank you :)
Teo Says
eternal_ot at 2014-11-20 07:24 (UTC) (Link)
"She and Aaron are together again, taking comfort in the pretence of comfort." loved that line..and actually the whole relationship you carved..pretty cool..wonderful use of the prompt.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-11-20 15:52 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, so pleased you liked my interp of the prompt :)
n3m3sis43
n3m3sis43 at 2014-11-20 11:44 (UTC) (Link)
As someone who was raised by psychopaths, often wonders if she is a psychopath, and can play one pretty well on TV, this piece rang very true for me. Nicely done.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-11-20 15:55 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you :).

I've also had times when I've wondered whether I'm a psychopath. I don't have any of the characteristics really. But I do think I feel emotions in a different way to others. Or maybe everyone feels emotions differently to everyone else, and we're all just stumbling about using a line to measure something which at best needs a dodecahedron of complexity.
adoptedwriter
adoptedwriter at 2014-11-20 18:25 (UTC) (Link)
I like the present-tense style. AW
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-11-20 18:31 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you :)
fodschwazzle
fodschwazzle at 2014-11-20 20:42 (UTC) (Link)
I was bracing for her crushing revelation of the self through isolation and loss after the fourth chunk, but then Lana went ahead and gassed the entire human race. Now I don't know what to think except that I like this.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-11-21 15:01 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you liked it :)
crisp_sobriety
crisp_sobriety at 2014-11-20 22:53 (UTC) (Link)
Well, I don't know what Aaron's going to do, but I'd call that a dealbreaker.

Very interesting piece, with great dialogue, and a nice reminder that even functional psychopaths are just that...psychopaths.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-11-21 15:01 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you found it interesting :)
Previous Entry  Next Entry