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stargate, DanielJackson

Week 6, Title: Your boldness stands alone among the wreck

Posted on 2017.01.23 at 21:50
Tags: ,
“So we’re getting to your super-secret hide out by car?” Ridian asks as he’s lead towards the sedan. Colt merely raises an eyebrow and Ridian adds, “I was expecting I’d have to crawl through sewer tunnels.”

Colt grins. “Who says you won’t?”

Ridian snorts and gets into the car. Colt doesn’t join him, dancing searchingly instead.

“What are you doing?”

“Just a quick check for bugs or GPS trackers,” Colt replies, finally opening the driver’s door.

It’s then that Ridian spots them. “You still have cassette tapes! How do you still have cassette tapes?”

Colt shrugs, pulling his seatbelt on. “I keep meaning to transfer them, but keep forgetting. It’s nothing interesting, just some old radio shows.”

Ridian considers the tapes for several moments before leaving them alone. He’d rather focus on which way they’re going.

*

Ridian watches the road and Colt. He can’t help admire the way they move through cities, with a smooth elegance of twists and turns which would lose any tails whilst belying the intention of doing so. Colt checks his mirrors for similar cars overly often, but rather than a nervous twitch, it’s a practiced calm. They traverse motorways and back alleys. The journey is long. Rain patters against the window, blurring traffic light green. Lamp lights are tiny circles in the distance. Ridian finally turns away from the lulling darkness and inspects the cassettes once more. He fingers a tape labelled simply ‘1’ and pops it into the player.

*

“We’re here today with Powered Peoples’ Rights Activist, Johees Acton, arguing against The Powered People List. Welcome to the show Johees.”

“Thank you for having me Gloria.”

“Let’s get straight to it, why are you against The List?”    

“The government want to hold a list of all powered people. They want to have this list so that they can monitor us, curtail our actions, treat us as though we aren’t entitled to all of the rights of any other human. That’s what this list will be, a divider, a line suggesting we are less than human. But we are humans and the government cannot separate us from that just because they find us scary. People who have committed no criminal acts should not have these restrictions inflicted on them. I understand that some might be worried about the possible danger and destruction our powers may pose, but everyone cannot be demonized because of the acts of individuals. The idea that the increased destruction possible justifies this list is a fallacy. Do people with higher IQs not stand more of a chance of getting away with crimes, are people physically stronger not more capable of hurting others effectively? Yet if anyone suggested putting people on lists for these reasons it would seem insane. This is no different.”

*

“Wow, this is a recording of Acton’s first ever radio appearance. I can’t believe you have this. Are all of these his speeches?”

“Yeah, I guess it’s a nostalgia thing.”

“When I was a kid I used to listen to all the shows he was on. He gave me hope. I practically worshipped him,” Ridian states, looking through the tapes delicately.

“Hmm. It’s a shame how it all ended.”

Ridian gives Colt an incredulous look. “We both know that was a frame job. He was still flogging the peaceful protest horse for years after everyone else was lighting fires in the streets.”

“I would’ve thought you’d love that ending. Him coming round to your way of thinking; going out a true martyr to the cause,” Colt says wryly.

Ridian rolls his eyes. “I’m a freedom fighter. I’ve killed the people who needed to be killed. There’s sometimes collateral damage, and I have to live with that; it’s part of the whole deal.” 

Colt smiles. “Some say he was a freedom fighter too.”

“When someone blows up a room full of innocent civilians, they’re a terrorist. And they’re a hindrance to the cause not a help. It’s moot anyway because he didn’t actually do it.” 

“I’m surprised you don’t have a rant about his framing in your spiel.”

“People believe he did it, saying otherwise hurts and discredits us more than it helps.”

*

“The government has gone too far. For years we have protested and campaigned peacefully against unjust laws and regimes. We have been treated inhumanely and have had to become inhumane in return to fight back. This is the day they will all regret pushing us to this. It’s time to push back. This is the day the fight truly begins.”

[Sound of explosion]

*

“You know what’s weird. I don’t even really remember what Acton looks like.”

Colt sighs and slides the car to a stop by the kerb.

“Are we here?” Ridian asks.

“No. I just thought I shouldn’t be driving during this conversation.”

“Huh?”

“It’s not entirely your memory that’s at fault,” Colt says, waving his fingers slightly.

Like a fog lifting, he sees him. Ridian grins, excitedly. “Oh my God, you’re Acton! How can you be Acton? I always knew that whole explosion thing wasn’t real! I knew it!”

Colt purses his lips. “It’s not that simple.”

“What happened?” Ridian tries to make his voice concerned and sympathetic but he suspects he’s too giddy and full of curiosity to pull it off.

“It was faked. The people in the room were already dead.”

It’s at this that Ridian’s righteous indignation, quietened in midst of the revelations, surfaces once more. The thought that these people ruined his friends life, took someone so peaceful and smeared them so savagely, carves a hollow ache through him.

“The thing is…it wasn’t just them. I went along with it. I played the part.”

Ridian turns sharply at that, “What did they do to you? Did they hurt you? Did they hurt someone else?”

“No. Nothing like that. There was still too much chaos and fighting. The government wanted an end to it. They needed to take a symbol and tear it down in the hearts of everyone. The movement was dying. And our people were dying. I made a choice, to help our people survive. I made a deal. I made the cause unsympathetic in the eyes of our deepest sympathisers. And they allowed me The Sanctuary.”

Ridian reels, breathes hard, stares in shock. “I…you…How could you? Everyone looked up to you, believed in you…you sold us out…you put the final nail in the coffin. This…all of this…is because of you.”

Colt takes a breath, whispers, “I know. It was all coming anyway. I made a hard choice. I did what I had to.”

Ridian opens the door, he needs air. This is too much. Too much. Too much.

“I’ll understand if you don’t want to come anymore.”

Ridian glares. “That’s why you told me all this now isn’t it? You want me to turn away, so you don’t have to show me your precious hiding place. No. I want to see it. I want to see the thing you wrecked our only chance for.”

*

Ridian’s mind is in turmoil, his stomach in knots. The drive continues in tense silence until they reach a large building, unremarkable. When they first enter it seems empty for a moment before life flickers into existence. Ridian looks around with faint wonder; the place is impressive in its own way. The people eye him warily. But he sees no living, no windows, no outside. He sees no weapons, no battle plans, no sign of rebellion.

He’s immeasurably disappointed. His voice sounds small as he asks, “Is this all?”

Comments:


rayaso
rayaso at 2017-01-25 18:53 (UTC) (Link)
What a great twist! I loved the history, and then the way you used that to reveal Colt as Acton was wonderful.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2017-01-25 18:55 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you liked the twist :)
bleodswean
bleodswean at 2017-01-26 22:05 (UTC) (Link)
THAT, m'dear, is a SUPERB twist!!! You surprised me!
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2017-01-27 18:00 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad I managed to surprise you :)
penpusher
penpusher at 2017-01-27 12:00 (UTC) (Link)
Really fascinating and it feels maybe more meaningful because of the current atmosphere in the world today.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2017-01-27 18:01 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you found it meaningful :)
morettaallstar
morettaallstar at 2017-01-27 18:19 (UTC) (Link)
How did the writing for this one go?
I loved this instalment - I can see why keeping calm with it was so important!
Oh, Colt. *pats* Oh, Ridian. *hugs*
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2017-01-27 18:48 (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, it took a lot out of me, but I was happy with it.

Thank you :).
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
halfshellvenus at 2017-01-27 21:14 (UTC) (Link)
You know, with the magic and what-all... I did not expect cars. Let alone cassettes! I just assumed this was a completely different world.

Colt's choice, back when he was Acton... that is one of the hardest things a leader would ever have to do. Seeing the writing on the wall, deciding that it is truly hopeless and salvaging what you can for the people who need it while disappointing everyone in the bargain-- I would hate to be in the position of ever having to choose that as the better, long-term path.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2017-01-28 07:38 (UTC) (Link)
Ah, well it's also a world where anyone with powers is hunted and collared so there wouldn't necessarily be much evidence of powers out in the open. ;)

IKR, that would be so hard, I wouldn't ever want to be in a position like that either.
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