Choices And Consequences

Cast: Dirk Steele, Viginti
Premise: Twenty tries in a round about way to ask Dirk to please not sell her to Ford Motor Company.

rating: +1+x

Aboard the USS Independence, Somewhere over the Appalachian Mountains, Appalachian Territory.

Once Steele has left her for about a quarter of an hour, Viginti picks herself off the floor, and looks around. Bumping against the wall near the door, she carefully tests it to see if it's unlocked.

The door's knob will turn, no problem. It's not locked, it would seem.
Twenty carefully pokes her head out of the door, and looks around…

Two marines, positioned on the other side of the access hallway, snap to attention. "Ma'am, you are requested to remain in the Captains Cabin." One says, after moving back to Parade Rest.

Twenty sighs, and closes the door. Once closed, she looks for a latch or bolt to lock the door, and if there is one, she tries to silently lock it behind her.

There was a latch, but it appears to have been removed. Fresh screw-holes mark where it would have been.

Twenty blinks, and quietly mutters, "The man is *remarkably* thurough." Carefully creeping along the edge, she makes her way over to the windows, and tests them as well.

Hey, they open. They open upwards only, however, angling out to allow fresh air in. They do not open enough to allow someone to crawl in or out, but they do give a grand view of the world below.

Twenty sighs, and sits back down on the bed… "So, Twenty…" she mutters to herself. "Do you really want to live forever in another guilded cage..?" She thinks back to the Marines, and removes the length of IV tubing. Griping it in her hands, she heads towards the door…

And yet, the door opens. You did that with your mind, pretty cool, eh?

Dirk steps in then, now returning with a plate containing bit of bread pudding (The kind with raisins) and a bottle of CocaCola. He eyes the woman, with her IV line. "Oh, come now." he says simply. "You don't think I'm going to let you escape, do you? We've several hours to wait here, we've driven off our observers and we've moved in to the cloud bank. Even if you TRIED to escape, and some how managed… you'd be either be trapped on my ship, or if you tried to take one of my planes… you'd end up dead."

Twenty frowns. "Few people have ever 'let' me escape… But I've always felt it my duty to try…" She tosses the makeshift cord onto the bed, and leans heavily against th wall as her footing starts to slide. "And if it's my life against ten thousand pounds… It seemed a safe enough wager…" She looks away. "Not to mention they'd be upset they lost… well… that's beyond even *your* pay grade, it seems."

He sets the pudding down now, offering it over with a short slide. HE takes the coke and removes the cap by knocking it on the side of the table. The coke is slid over next to the pudding. "You are working very hard to try to lead me in to asking you questions." He says simply. "Lots of leading phrases, all but begging me." A pause. "So why don't you just tell me what you want me to know."

Twenty sighs. "Because," She replies, "I've learned the hard way that knowledge isn't power. But it's a threat." Looking Dirk in the eyes, she says, "I cannot tell you, unless you ask. Because what you might ask could be enough to get you killed."

Dirk quirks an eyebrow up at that. "Look, if you don't want the pudding, say so. But I'm a man who's spent his life around Hyperbole and overblown threats. I can't count the times I've heard 'heave to and surrender your ship' in the last 10 years. And each time someone actually tries… well." A pause. "I'm still flying, and thats not nothing."

Twenty reaches out for the bottle of coke, and quietly says, "Thank you." before taking a swig of it. "If you have nothing to be afraid of, then ask."

Dirk sits down in the chair then, looking over to Twenty. He rolls his eyes finally. "Fine. I'll give you the onus of the conversation this once. Because I'm feeling charitable. Whats your story?"

Twenty frowns. She pulls up her sleeves to reveal a tattoo across the insides of her wrists. Something the doctors might have spotted when they changed her IV. Two red 'X's. "I'm called Viginti… Rather… My number is '20'. I can't remember if I ever had a name. I was taught… transformed…. created, perhaps… to act as a scientific and technological repository. To know things that nobody else in the world could know."

Dirk leans back then, reaching in to his pocket for a silver case containing cigarettes. He removes one, fitting it to his lips while the other hand pulls out a zippo style cigarette lighter. He lights the cigarette, looking at the tattoo curiously. "Mhmmm. Tesla, Babbage and some guy out in England, they talked about things like that, the idea of the brain as a massive analytical machine capable of storing data."

[OOC] Dirk is refering to Turing, but he's not a major player in mythos yet.

Twenty frowns. "Not a… machine. And not to… To *store* information. But…" She shakes her head. "I can't explain. Nobody knows *how* this works, or *why*. W— *I* just know things that I *can't* know. Such as the specific requirements and principles behind a contra-rotating gas-turbine-driven aircraft propeller, or the the chamber requirements for a 3-centimeter Magnetron."
Twenty has partially disconnected.

Dirk thinks that over. "And. There is a point to this. So far, you've told me why they want you. That is not material to my mission or ethos. Why is this material?" HE doesn't seem like he's being harsh in his tone at least, keeping it soft and level…

Twenty sighs. "Nothing, I suppose, if all you care about is getting paid." She looks dejectedly at the bread pudding, and starts to eat it. "I'm handed over, you get your money. You need never think of it again."

"You keep assuming that. And I keep leaving the door open. Look, if you want to play mysterious little strumpet, I'm okay with that. What I don't know, doesn't require me to make enemies in the ISA. My ties to them are strained enough with my recent actions for HollyWood and Hughes Aviation. If you want something from me, if you need something, I've met you half way. Now either be a good girl and eat your pudding, or tell me what the hell you want, because kiddo…" He stands up, straightening his jacket. "I'm not a man to follow anyones breadcrumbs."

Twenty says, "What do I *want*, Captain Steele? I *want* to stop being a slave to a bunch of power-hungry *fools* that see me as their ticket to bloodshed and power! I *want* to end this pointless, prolongued conflict before something *truely* dangerous arrives, that no one 'nation' could possibly face on its own." She stands up, walks over, and tries to *grab* Captain Steele with both hands. "I *want* people to stop treating me like a helpless girl, or an oracle of war, when I could be the one you need to *change* this damned world for the better!""

Dirk looks down at the woman's hands as they grasp his jacket. He blows out a ring of smoke, off to the side, not directly in to the womans face… "Now." He says somewhat non-plussed and feeling like he could take the girl if he had to… "THat wasn't so hard, was it?"

Twenty stares at him angrily. "Do you even understand?! Do you realise how many have killed for what I know?"

Dirk turns his features to the girl. "Look. Kid." A pause as he leans in closer. "I've been to war. I've seen mustard gas take thousands of lives from one barrage. I've flown over the fields of death, I've lived through the fires of hell. I've had nine years of of watching my home turn a pinwheel and start to fall apart; watching Europe head blindly, arrogantly in to a conflict that will consume the entire world like the Great War never dreamed of doing. You want me to be impressed that you hold a whole lot of hurt in your head…?"

A heartbeats pause as one hand comes to each of the girls wrists, prying them off with a powerful grip, though not trying to hurt her. "Try dropping the -angry pissed off mysterious little girl- act and just talk to me. I'm a reasonable man, but you're pushing my -patience-."

Twentybacks away, still somewhat unsteady, and says, "All right. The energy of an explosive is dependant on the energy of the chemical bonds broken, as well as the properties of the resultant compounds created. Most modern explosives create nothing more then a cloud of hot gas: Powerful, but the quanities required for more… strategic use are impractical to deliver." She narrows her eyes at him, as if she's expecting him to understand. "A more powerful form of energy would result… if you could destroy the atoms themselves. Converting them to pure energy. Then the quantities needed for an equivilent output become considerably… smaller."

Dirk eyes the women for a long moment, moving back to his chair. "Talk stupid flyboy talk to me. Tell me what it does, not its theory."

Twenty shakes her head dismissively. "This is why I don't talk 'straight', Captain. I *can't*." She looks up, and says, "Do you know what makes something burn? What happens when something it lit aflame?"

Dirk nods. "I do hold a college degree from Oxford, you know." A pause. "Actually, you don't. I hold a degree in Aeronautical engineering with a minor in chemistry. Not sub atomic, mind, but general physical sciences."

Twenty nods. "Then you at least know that /modern/ science has deduced that the energy that *comprises* matter is far greater then the energy of any chemical bond." She looks at the half-eaten pudding, and takes another bite. "I know how to draw that power out. To turn the very air into a flame more powerful then any fuel or oxident could ever manage."

Dirk raises an eyebrow at that. "For what application?" He asks. "How would you control, direct this reaction?"

There's a long pause, then… "A Magnetic field, powered by the reaction, can contain most of the products, and direct them into a fairly arbitrary direction." She looks up, and chuckles. "It's fire from heaven, Captain Steele… What would *you* do with it?"

Dirk thinks this over. "Depends. Am I a man of peace, or a man of war? A protector, or a tyrant?"

Twenty shrugs. "You're asking me? I'm forced to build these things… I don't get to choose how they're used."

Dirk shakes his head. "Answer the question. It determains my answer. If I'm a man of peace, I can create power generators to provide the world free, cheap power, drawing on the air alone. Were I a tyrant I would weaponize it to create something called a Fuel Air Bomb, in which the air itself ignites. It would be… catastrophic."

Twenty nods. "It would be… Wouldn't it?" She leans in, and says, "So the question is, Captain Steele… What *are* you?"
"I'm Curious." He says leaning back and smoking his cigarette. "I'm a curious man. Why can you simply not build it? Why must you build it?"

Twenty grits her teeth. "There… Are ways. I'm mostly human, you realize."

Dirk nods. "WHy not simply take the tools to build they give you… and build an escape device?"

Twenty laughs. "What? And make myself vanish, like some stage illusionist? You think I haven't *tried*?

Dirk nods. "I have to ask these things to get a fuller picture, since you're so reticent to -provide- answers." A pause. "Give me a good reason to turn the ship around. I'm not sure I want the ISA in possession of you… IF you can do what you say. So. Convince me."
Twenty looks at Dirk levelly. "The moment they realise I've been talking to you, they'll bury you and your crew in the buring remains of this airship."

Dirk chuckles quietly. "This ship will see them coming a hundred miles away. The very latest in Hughes Electronics Radio detection and ranging equipment. We're in no danger right now."

Twenty sighs. "Well, then. I suppose you'll be just fine, once you drop me off in Detroit."

Dirk raises an eyebrow. "You're REALLY bad at this, you know?" HE says then, looking at her. "You're far too passive aggressive, waiting for me to offer to save you from your horrific fate. Have you ever considered, you know, asking for things?"

Twenty looks down. "Ten years ago? Probably. Five years ago? Perhaps… But today, what would it matter? They won't kill *me*, Captain Steele. I'm the only one they've got… as far as they know… And then it's just a matter of time until another bunch of hired muscle shows up to reclaim me. This hasn't been the first time… And I'll bet it won't be the last, either." She looks up, and says, "And what do I have to negotiate with? Do you want me to design guns that track their own targets? A periscope that lets you see in darkness as clear as day? A wonder weapon to burn skyscrapers to the ground? What are *you* going demand as your price?"

Dirk purses his lips, looking at the woman. Hard eyes watch her in minute detail for a long moment. He shakes his head after a moment, one hand moving to the call-box on the wall. He clicks the radio button in… "Captain to Helm."

"Helm here."

"Recover aircraft, Turn us back for open sea. Full speed. If we are hailed by any Ford or ISA aircraft, ignore them. IF they approach, launch fighters. We're returning to Saint Croix."

"S… Sir?"

"As ordered, Helmsman."

"Aye sir, setting condition one throughout the ship."

Now it's Viginti's turn to look suprised. "W… What? What are you…?"

Dirk looks back to Viginti as he turns off the comm…. "I'm a US Naval Officer protecting the lives and interests of American Citizens both at home and abroad." A pause as he turns for the door. "You will be freed upon arrival to Saint Croix. Where you go from there, Miss, is your own determination."

"I'm *not*—!" Viginti cuts herself off, and looks away… And now, for the first time… she looks genuinly… afraid?

"Do not correct me on this ship, not while we are in the air, Miss." He intones darkly. "I do not brook backtalk. If you wish to correct my -presumption-… you will do so when there is terra firma under your feet. Do you understand me?"

Twenty doesn't… quite seem to be getting the message. "I don't understand… What do you *want*? Just… Just tell me!"

Dirk stops at the door, one hand on it. He exhales, putting his hat back on. "I want you to rest here, eat the pudding, read a book, and relax. When we get to Saint Croix, I want you to find something to do with your life that you will enjoy. Slavery was outlawed in the United States 80 years ago. Your life is your own, Miss." He says this, his back to her. "I will check on you in an hour."

Twenty just stands, shocked silent, as Dirk leaves.

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