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Her Vodka, His Books: A Cautionary Tale

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Post by SongOfStorms_ on July 18th 2013, 6:56 am

*****

"Roland, for God's sake, are you ever not in the way?"

Lillian was storming about her spacious home in New Zealand, having flown in from Seattle not more than an hour ago. She'd wasted no time in preparing separate quarters for John, who would be flying in and driven down by taxi in a little less than ten minutes.

"Miss, there's no need to be flustered--"

"I'm not flustered!" she snarled, accidentally knocking a book from a table top as she swept past. "He's my employee, Roland, and as his boss I have to provide adequate living conditions! I refuse to force him to live like a goddamn animal!"

"... All we're missing are hand towels in the guest bathroom--" Roland began, distressed, but Lillian was quick to cut him off.

"Fucking primitive. Stop just standing around, fix the problem!" Not finding it worth it to fight with her, Roland disappeared back into the guest house that branched off from the main lounge. Lillian rolled her eyes in exasperation and picked the book up that she had knocked to the ground, setting it back down on the coffee table.

"I need a drink," she muttered, going over her mental checklist in her head. Monty's guest house was all set up, and the lab was bought and nearly ready to do. By tomorrow, the lab equipment she had ordered should have arrived and would be set up by tomorrow evening. If all went according to plan, that was...

Lillian kicked on a pair of flats and glanced at the huge clock on the wall. Any minute now, surely...


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Post by LostTroubadour on July 18th 2013, 8:03 am

Maybe he expected too much from her. After half an hour of working his way through customs, John called Lillian to figure out where she was waiting, only to be told his cab would be out front. After nearly a day on a plane or in the crowded airports, with little room to stretch and not near enough silence to rest, John thought it would be nice to have a quiet little conversation with someone on the way to a bed.

His first relief in the last twenty-four hours was when the chauffeur took his two suitcases and loaded them up, with his second relief being the leg room of the car. John stretched his legs out and sunk in his seat. He watched as the airport slid away, as the people milling about were replaced by the skyline of Wellington. It seemed the skyline disappeared as quickly as the airport, as John dozed in and out of consciousness with his gaze directed out the window.

"Sir."

John opened his eyes, which were instantly filled by the lights of a building ahead of the car. The chauffeur was looking in his rear view mirror, but as soon as he saw his cargo's consciousness, he opened the driver side door and stepped out. In his groggy state, it seemed to John that his door was instantly open and his bags instantly unloaded. Quickly rubbing the fatigue from his eyes, Monty looked around to see who awaited him and where he was.
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Post by SongOfStorms_ on July 19th 2013, 6:07 am

Hearing the tires of the cab outside crunch as it rolled into her driveway, Lillian swept outside the front door to greet her guest. The chauffeur was already unloading John's luggage as she arrived.

"Through the door and to the left," Lillian instructed, then turned away from the chauffeur and walked towards John, who had just exited the cab.

Roland eyed John Monty from the porch by the front door, attentive and prepared to act at the first sign of danger. He had been incredibly reluctant to allow this strange man to sleep in the same building as Lillian, but she won out in the end and he was reduced to just keeping an attentive eye on things, albeit sulkily.

Lillian sent him a quick glare, then said to John, "Welcome to my home. I apologize for not having your quarters at the lab prepared in time, but I hope you will find you are comfortable here. You must be tired, so I will show you to your rooms and allow you time to rest."
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Post by LostTroubadour on July 19th 2013, 6:59 am

John was amazed as he took in the luxury set before him, his eyes running over the building's every surface as one runs their eyes over a lover. It was enormous for a residence, more apartment or hotel than house, with an L-shaped body three stories tall at its highest, and pools dotted around the property. Large windows dominated the lower level, and glass fenced in the balconies, all of it illuminated by the glow of a hundred lights. Behind Lillian, on one of the many porches around the building, John could see the silhouette of a man. Even from here he could sense the distrust, the vigilance, the concern. A bodyguard?

"Thank you. I think I'll have no problem settling in. It looks comfy even from here, and I assume that's not just the sleep deprivation talking."

He paused for a moment, eyes wandering to the figure once again.

"Lead the way."
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Post by SongOfStorms_ on July 19th 2013, 3:31 pm

As the chauffeur shuttled the suitcases in, Lillian wasted no time in leading John through the front doors and into a spacious lobby.

"Oh. John, meet Roland. Roland, meet John," Lillian added as an afterthought as Roland quietly followed them in. He took up his post at the front door, standing and waiting without saying a word.

Lillian gestured the the hallway directly in front of them, saying, "This hallway leads to my personal part of the estate, my kitchen, dining room, bedroom, bath, pool, etc. Over there," Lillian continued, turning and pointing to the hallway on the left, "will be your quarters. You will find everything you need. Your kitchen should be well stocked and of course, if you are missing anything, I hope you won't hesitate to let me know."

She fell silent, making sure she wasn't missing anything.

"Feel free to explore the grounds if you are interested. There's a pretty nice garden outside and it's a five minute walk to the beach. You won't find yourself with a lack of things to do."
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Post by LostTroubadour on July 20th 2013, 2:21 am

"Thanks," John said, looking around a moment.

"Really. I half-expected you to dump me in a hotel until the lab was ready." He had a half-cocked smile as he said it, looking to Lillian. He stood there a moment as the chauffeur passed the pair on the way out, unsure of what to do.

"I think I'll save the tour for the morning. I'm pretty exhausted." Another pause. It had been a strange few days, confusing even for John. He wasn't sure how Lillian felt... At least not toward the specifics: the mugging, being unable to find him, having to share her home with him for a time due to the lab not being ready. Most especially, towards meeting another metahuman, and having her (John assumed) secret revealed to the stranger. So, in that moment, he hesitated. He could maintain the professionalism of disconnection, speaking only of work matters, or he could try and become friends with her, the only other metahuman he knew.

"The kitchens are fully stocked, you said? How about a drink, then?"
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Post by SongOfStorms_ on July 20th 2013, 5:13 am

Well, that was unexpected.

Lillian tried not to let the suspicion she was feeling show on her face. Why was he asking? Was he trying to get her drunk? Was he looking for information? Was he going to try and get her hammered and pull something? What if the only reason he agreed to work for her was to use her as some lab rat in a sick experiment?

That was what she thought, but what she said was, "A man after my own heart. I'm going to go fetch my private stash, I'll meet you in your quarters." She flashed a quick smile at him and turned on heel, leaving John and the lobby behind as she clicked her way down the hallway and into the kitchen in her wing of the building.

She climbed up on the counter so she could reach the top cabinets and decided on a simple vodka that she'd become particularly fond of. Lillian carefully pulled it out of the cabinet and leapt down to the ground, snatching up a couple of shot glasses as she left.

"Stay in the lobby," Lillian warned Roland as she entered John's guest house.

"Knock knock," she called loudly, walking into the kitchen and setting her bottle carefully down on the table with her shot glasses. "How familiar are you with alcohol?"
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Post by LostTroubadour on July 20th 2013, 5:44 am

The first thing John did upon entering the guest house was yank his shoes off and hang up his jacket. The second thing he did, of course, was locate the liquor cabinet. While unfamiliar with New Zealand's brands, Monty couldn't help but admire the collection of what he assumed to be high quality -- or at least expensive -- alcohol. He struggled to decide which to taste first, at last simply grabbing a short glass to have something to pour into.

He turned as Lillian called out, noting the bottle in one of her hands and the number of shot glasses in the other -- two. John closed the cabinet gently and slid the short glass across the counter as she questioned his drinking ability.

"I am a college student, you know." Pausing no longer than it took to sit on a stool at the bar, and wasting no time getting to the subject he was most interested in at the moment, Monty began his friendly interrogation.

"So, regeneration? That's a nice one."
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Post by SongOfStorms_ on July 20th 2013, 10:00 pm

Before Lillian answered, she uncapped her bottle and carefully poured herself a shot. She handed the empty second shot glass to John and downed the contents of hers, shuddering delightedly at the hot, burning sensation against her throat.

"It comes in handy." She poured herself another shot before passing the bottle to John. "I expect you'll get to see my little party trick before the end of the night."

Lillian held up her shot glass to the light, examining the sparkling contents within. "To be perfectly honest, it hasn't really come in handy very often. You might have noticed I live a.. limited life." She instinctively cast a quick glance towards the door to make sure Roland was out of hearing, and was pleased to find he was out of sight.

Oh God, I'm not drunk enough for this yet. Lillian threw back her second shot, smiling slightly as the silver liquid warmed her insides and coursed through her veins pleasantly.

"How about you? What, are you able to throw things without touching them or something? That guy looked pretty beat up."
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Post by LostTroubadour on July 20th 2013, 11:26 pm

"Telekinesis." The glass slowly hovered upwards, coming to a stop several centimeters above the bar counter. John grabbed the bottle and carefully poured into the floating glass before plucking it from the air with his other hand. "I move things with my mind."

He downed the shot, sighing as he set the glass down. "I get the feeling Roland doesn't like me. Is he always like... that?"

John took the opportunity to catch up, pouring and gulping down another shot, this time without showing off.
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Post by SongOfStorms_ on July 21st 2013, 1:48 am

"Roland, although technically my employee, works closely with my father. His purpose is to shield me from the evils of the world. He is 'like that' to anything that could be an evil," Lillian said, rolling her eyes. "He's a nice enough guy, once you get to know him, but he's kind of a wet blanket at parties."

By the time Lillian had downed her third shot, she began to feel warm and relaxed, much freer than she had been a mere thirty minutes ago.

"Your ability's pretty nifty," she admitted, remembering how steady he'd been able to hold his shot glass without touching it. "Seems like it could be really useful. Or rather, really.. dangerous."

She frowned, thinking. "Really dangerous. You don't suppose there are others out there, do you? People with incredibly destructive powers, that could do a hell of a lot of damage. It's a scary thought, isn't it?"
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Post by LostTroubadour on July 21st 2013, 3:30 am

"Could be. There are plenty of nuclear weapons laying around, too. Bio-weapons too. The only thing keeping those in check are the idea of mutually assured destruction and the Geneva Convention."

Another shot. John felt Lillian relax, the liquor kicking in. As tired as he was, he couldn't relax any further without passing out, but he was definitely feeling the warmth of the alcohol creep over him. Monty could almost fall asleep at the bar.

"Of course, regulations could possibly be made to keep nations from sending superhumans to war. But what do you do about the average Joe, fed up with his debt and his in-laws, someone with powers who is aware of their potential and unwilling to hold themselves back? If I could move atoms with my mind, I'd be a walking nuclear weapon. With enough time, I could probably knock bullets off their trajectory to my head. I could snap my fingers and turn a city to ashes. The police can't do anything. The military could, with enough time, but at what cost?"

John debated for a moment whether he should have more or excuse himself and sleep. He stood, hand on the bar to make sure he wasn't more drunk than he thought, and walked over to his room, speaking as he went.

"If these abilities can be studied and we can explain how they work... We could find a way to restrict them or outright stop them." He was in the bedroom now, pulling some papers from his bag and sitting on the bed with the packet. Skimming the front page, he called out.

"You coming?"
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Post by SongOfStorms_ on July 23rd 2013, 2:08 am

Lillian pulled herself out of her seat with a muffled groan, slightly unsteady on her feet as she followed John back into his room. She raised one eyebrow at him, curious, before taking a swig directly from her bottle.

"Can you imagine if we discovered how to STOP these abilities? We would be world known for finding the solution to this growing problem. Can nobody else see how dangerous this is?"

She furrowed her brow, struggling to put a new idea into words. "Or, if we find more people like us who have realized the same things... we could use powers to stop other powers."

As soon as the idea was formulated, though, it was lost, and Lillian shrugged nonchalantly. "Watcha looking at?"
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Post by LostTroubadour on July 23rd 2013, 3:04 am

“News reports. Smaller things, but they all give off the same vibe.” John flipped to the middle of the packet. “They all seem to relate to abilities, or at least extraordinary luck. Train derailed, fire started among the wreckage. Teenage girl pulls man from the flames, coming out unscathed. Little girl in hiding after her parents were murdered in their house. Police officer finds her in a hidden room under the stairs. Crane drops bundle of steel girders. Man saves mother and child, found holding up one end of a girder.”

He tossed the packet on the bed and sat down, rubbing his face. “Imagine a future with these abilities. Buildings raised with them. Crops grown with them. Lives saved with them.”

Monty paused a moment, glancing up at Lillian before continuing, quieter. “Wars fought with pyromancers and hulks. Mind-readers spying on supposed threats, foreign and domestic. Criminals robbing banks with superstrength, fireballs, and incredible speed. Serial killers taking their victim's lives with a wave of their hand, melting the resulting body with ease. If these powers have such a variety and people develop them with such frequency... The ground will crack and blow away, the oceans will boil, and the world will burn, and us with it. But if we can understand them, restrict them, replicate them... Girders raised with telekinetic powerlifters, plants grown with accelerated growth lamps, wounds repaired with regenerative hyposprays.”

John laid back, hands behind his head as he stared at the ceiling. “The common man will have any latent abilities locked away, inaccessible, with no chance to abuse it. And the world will still benefit from the development of these powers, as we harness them with technology. Forget the superheroes, forget the supervillains... We can save the world. Us.”

He slipped away, eyes closing slowly as the comfort of the bed and the fatigue of the trip joined together to bring him into the dreamscape. In his mind's eye, a pale blue dot appeared, growing larger with each passing moment. As it became clearer, it became Earth, Pangaea splitting apart and the world as we know it today forming. Bright light appeared on the globe, not just on the dark side. Cityscapes vanished, replaced by fiery craters. Lakes froze over or boiled. Mountains crumbled. And the world slowly came to a halt, the carnage ending as it did. A moment passed, and then another. The Earth began spinning again as the lakes were restored, new mountains formed, cities rebuilt. Again the Earth began growing until all John could see was a group of people overlooking everything as the world was restored.

“Us,” he mumbled one last time.
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Her Vodka, His Books: A Cautionary Tale - Page 3 Empty Thread Termination and Transition

Post by LostTroubadour on July 23rd 2013, 11:47 pm

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