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stargate, DanielJackson

Week 2, Title: What it seems

Posted on 2016.12.04 at 19:46
Tags: ,
Ridian’s mind strays to his plans for later as he clears and wipes down the tables. The last few stragglers are making their way outside. Fangs is cashing up. Unyehla is pulling jogging bottoms and a ratty t-shirt on over the slip of a thing she wears for dancing. Adron locks the door.

“Who’s up for a drink?” Fangs asks, already pouring as Unyehla slides onto a bar stool.

“Sorry, places to be,” Ridian answers.

Fangs raises a sceptical eyebrow.

“I’m learning to use my powers through the collar,” Ridian tells her.


“Oh hun,” Unyehla says, sighing. There’s no pity in the tone so Ridian refrains from glaring.

Fangs snorts. “I didn’t think you were the fairy-tale chasing type.” 

“Who told you it was a fairy-tale, was it the same people who put the collar on you?”

Fangs puts her thumb against one of her canines. “These used to be two inches long before I was collared.”

Unyehla adds, “If people could learn to use their powers through the collars, someone would have done it already.”

“Who says someone hasn’t?”

Fangs narrows her eyes at him, suddenly alert, gaze hawk-like. “Do you know someone who has?”  

Ridian opens his mouth to speak but pauses. There’s no reason he shouldn’t tell them. These are his friends. They’ve fed him when he was hungry, tried to cheer him up when he was down. He definitely doesn’t owe Colt anything; the guy is an a-hole who’s clearly using him for something. But outing him still seems like too much of a dick move.

“No. I don’t.” He picks up his jacket and walks towards the door.

“Ridian,” Unyehla calls, “Be careful.”


*


“First step, calm your mind,” Colt says.

“Look, I know I’m the over-driven, got to keep busy, doing something every minute of every day type. But I’ve been trying to access my powers for months, so believe me when I say I’ve got the whole calm mind thing down. I’ve done calm, the calmest of calm, still nothing.”

Colt gives him an amused smile. Ridian wants to punch him.

“Hmm. Show me.”

Ridian closes his eyes, clears his head, lets the calm wash over him cool and quick, and reaches.  

“Ah, you’re reaching outwards, like holding out a hand. But the collar ties your hands.”

“So what do I do if I can’t move my powers?”

“Luckily your powers are not actually the same as your hands. Tying them only stops them in one direction. You need to reach inwards.”

“How?”

“Just try. You will figure it out. But it will take a long time, so I will leave you to practice.”

“Wait, you can’t just leave!”

“There’s nothing I can do for you right now, you must learn for yourself. I’ll come again next week and we’ll look at your progress.”


*


“How has your week been?” Colt asks.

“Is this a game to you?” Ridian responds.

“No. Of course not. I take it you haven’t managed much. It takes time. You need to be patient with yourself.”

“Why are you even helping me?”

“Because you need my help to access your powers. And I believe your powers can be useful to us all.”

Ridian scoffs. “Or maybe you’re just having fun playing with me.”

“I thought you said you understood why I had to do the things I had to do; to keep The Sanctuary open.”

“Yeah I understand. I also said your excuses weren’t good enough.”

“Have you forgotten what I showed you already?”

“I don’t know what you showed me. I mean illusions are your thing right?”

“Something like that.”

“So maybe you’re not wearing a collar at all. Maybe the illusion was making me think there was one.”  

“I can’t force you to trust me. But you have two choices: you can either carry on as you have been fruitlessly trying to access your powers. Or you can accept my help and deal with any arising consequences when they come.”

Ridian sighs. “I suppose I’m accepting your help then.”


*


“How has your week been?”

“Shitty.”

“Hmm. But you’re not giving up.”

“No.”

Ridian closes his eyes.

“Ah, you’re actually managing to reach inwards now.”

“Still can’t do anything.”

“Yes, that’s later. Patience. Can you feel any objects around you? Can you look inside and sense.”

“No, nothing.”

“Try, focus on that instead of moving anything.”


*


“Here, have a drink.”

“Not going to ask how my week has been.”

“Your face says it all. You’re trying too hard. You’ll burn out before you manage anything. Drink.”

Ridian takes a sip. It’s good. They sit in silence for several minutes before Ridian speaks, “Why me?”

“Why you what?”

“You could teach anyone here how to use their powers through the collar. But you’re only showing me.”

“Most wouldn’t be able to access their powers through the collars and most wouldn’t be able to handle the failure if they tried. Most wouldn’t be able to handle the burden of success either. Having to use their power to help whilst knowing they would be killed if any of the non-powered ever found out. It’s not an easy road.”

For the first time Ridian finds himself looking at Colt with sympathy. “And you know I’m strong enough to handle it?”

“Definitely.”


*


“How’s your week been?”

“I feel like I’m close to something. But…I can’t.”

“Look at this chair. Close your eyes. Try to sense the chair.”

“Nothing.”

“Patience. Focus on the chair, see the chair, will the chair into existence.”

“Wait…I think there’s something. I just need to… there! I can feel it! I can feel everything!”

“Well done. I think it’s time for a celebratory drink.”

“But I need to work on actually moving things now.”

“One thing at a time. Give yourself a moment to enjoy this.”

“Fine. But I’m having a cigarette too.”

“Go ahead.”

“Can I ask a question?” Ridian asks after a puff, at Colt’s nod he continues, “Why did you make The Sanctuary?”

Colt raises an eyebrow. “Why did I make The Sanctuary.”

“Okay dumb question. What I mean is; how come your sanctuary remains when all the others fell.”

“I think you know my methods as well as anyone.”

“Yes. But you can’t have known back then that that’s the only way a sanctuary would survive.”

“The others all wanted to create places where people like us could be safe and secure; be happy and thrive. I had already worked too long on preventing The Powered People List to keep my ideals. I knew the best we could get would be a place we could be alive and free.”

“You’re too young to have worked on preventing The List. Unless you had an after school job handing out fliers.”

“I’m older than I look. Illusions remember.”

“You gave up. That’s why this place succeeded. You failed and you gave up.”

“Hmm. I suppose that’s true.”


*


“How has your…Oh I see.”

Ridian’s focus doesn’t waver as he stares down the mildly vibrating cup. He spits out between gritted teeth, “I have to move it further. I can move it further.” The cup keeps shaking timidly and ineffectively.

“I think you need a break. Also this is still a victory. It merits celebration.”

Ridian sighs and stops, accepting the drink. “Not long now I suppose,” he says smiling, “I’ll be back out there, fighting the good fight. Thank you by the way.”

“You’re welcome. But do you really think saving one random person at a time is helping any of us?”

“I’ve saved dozens of people.”

“They’ve probably been caught again. You are disorganized.”

“Because what you’re doing is so much better.”

“Give me a month. Stay for a month once your powers return and I’ll show you what can be done.”

“Fine.”


*


Ridian slows his serving of drinks so he can keep an eye on Unyehla. The patron she’s dancing for is a little too handsy for his liking. But even as bile rises in his throat he doesn’t make a move; Unyehla seems perfectly happy. It happens in a moment. A hand reaching somewhere it shouldn’t. Unyehla shouts, “Get off me.” But the patron still holds her. Her fist connects hard with his jaw. The room freezes in tense silence.


*


Ridian watches the people standing around the large foyer. Too many people for the incident yesterday. But apparently the man the girl punched was a VIP of some kind. Many agents stand at the edges, like the useless muscle they are.  Unyehla stands by the stairwell, trembling. Adron and Fangs beside her. There are two more agents on the couch. Everyone, agents and powered people alike are tense. Except for Colt, who smiles softly and pours tea.

“Regarding the incident…” one of the couch agents begins.

“Hmm. I do believe the man in question behaved badly,” Colt says nonchalant.

“The powered person responsible for this attack is clearly dangerous. We will take them and deal with them accordingly.”

“No. I don’t believe you will. Would you like something to drink?”

“We don’t have time for drinks. Do I need to remind you that if you’re uncooperative we will have to take action to shut this whole place down.”

“Gentlemen, let’s not start throwing threats around. I do believe we can come to a solution that suits us both.”


*


Ridian is relieved when Unyehla’s allowed to stay at The Sanctuary. That’s until the next day when he sees the look on Fangs’ and Adron’s faces and her noticeable absence. He storms towards Colt’s room. He doesn’t know why he’s so upset. He’s always knows Colt was an a-hole. He’s always known he can’t trust him. And yet, he feels hurt. It’s stupid but he thought they were getting along, that there was kinship there or something. He’s been such an idiot.

He takes a breath before yanking Colt’s door open.

“Why did you make me see that she was fine! Did you think I wouldn’t find out! What the fuck are you up to!?”

“She is fine. You weren’t the one I made see anything. It was everyone else who saw the illusion.”

“Why?! Why would you make everyone think she’s gone? Make her friends grieve? And let only me know the truth? Let me carry this burden and watch them grieve!! Are we all just playthings to you!!! Why do I know?!!”

Colt yells, “Because you’re my friend!”

The man’s face shudders for a moment, then stills, he repeats calmly, quietly, “Because you’re my friend.”

And suddenly Ridian understands. “This is the way you’ve hidden them. This is the way you’ve helped them survive.”

“And no one can know. That’s the burden. I was hoping you would be okay with sharing it. But I understand it’s too much. I will plant the illusion in your mind too.”

“No!” he takes another breath, “I’ll share the burden. I can do this. This is how we fight. Together, as friends.”




Comments:


Murielle
murielle at 2016-12-04 22:15 (UTC) (Link)
The ending had me choking up. Lovely tale. You took your time, drew us in, and then showed us who Colt really is. Beautiful!
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2016-12-05 17:31 (UTC) (Link)
Wow, thank you so much, I'm so glad the ending moved you, I was really hoping it would :)
rayaso
rayaso at 2016-12-05 23:43 (UTC) (Link)
A great extension of the previous entry! I loved your conclusion about the illusion. Well-written, as before.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2016-12-06 17:29 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you liked the conclusion :)
magazhchi
magazhchi at 2016-12-06 12:16 (UTC) (Link)

I enjoyed reading this. I still am curious as to what exactly happened to Unyehla. A nice read. Looking forward to the next installment of this world.

swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2016-12-06 17:30 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you enjoyed, we'll have to wait and see what happened ;).
bleodswean
bleodswean at 2016-12-06 21:53 (UTC) (Link)
You're writing something long, J! That is SOOOO exciting! With your imagination and attraction to metaphor, this is going to be a fun way to get your ideas out of your head! I loved this entry. You're building up your story with dialogue and that can be tricky but you're making it work.

This descriptor was truly magnificent - “Oh hun,” Unyehla says, sighing. There’s no pity in the tone so Ridian refrains from glaring.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2016-12-07 18:12 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you liked this entry and that descriptor :).

I know, I'm also excited by writing something long. And also the way it's become this way naturally. I was frustrated over many failed years of Nano and I thought, well I do write when in Idol so I should try to write longer original fiction there, then maybe I'll get something written. It's going well so far.
bleodswean
bleodswean at 2016-12-07 18:24 (UTC) (Link)
There are several approaches to writing long by tricking yourself into writing one short every week! So YES!
morettaallstar
morettaallstar at 2016-12-07 17:38 (UTC) (Link)
Still enjoying this universe!
That ending though, gosh. Take my heart, why don't you.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2016-12-07 18:09 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, so glad you're still enjoying this universe and that you found the ending moving :).

Mwahaha. You know me, I will make the tears happen.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
halfshellvenus at 2016-12-07 23:39 (UTC) (Link)
When you're working as far outside the law as Colt is (more than his patrons know), you have to be careful who you trust with the truth-- including the truth of yourself.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2016-12-08 18:38 (UTC) (Link)
Yep, it's a tricky tricky thing when anyone could give you away, even by accident.

Thank you :).
A Karmic Sandbox
karmasoup at 2016-12-08 00:42 (UTC) (Link)
I love this. I was intrigued last week, but now I'm truly hooked. I hope it continues. But the depths you brought it to are riveting, and bringing it back around to the prompt so smoothly was a great play. I'd even forgotten there was a prompt, I was so sucked in. Want more.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2016-12-08 18:38 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you so much, so glad to hear you're hooked :). There will be more :).
mamas_minion
mamas_minion at 2016-12-08 03:03 (UTC) (Link)
Awesome I am loving this world, this story had me riveted up to the end. I cannot wait to read more!
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2016-12-08 18:39 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, so glad to hear the story had you riveted :). There will be more :).
dmousey
dmousey at 2016-12-08 20:16 (UTC) (Link)
I am awed. I was immersed in this! I can't wait to see where this is headed and finding out more about this world. Everything I want to say has already been said. Thanks for sharing, hugs and peace~~~D
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2016-12-09 07:39 (UTC) (Link)
Wow, thank you so much, it makes me so happy that you were awed :)
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