‘Identical’ Season 2, Episode 4 – A Sequence of Events. The Sum of all Parts

You can read all the previous episodes HERE, or from the ‘IDENTICAL’ page above, or select ‘Identical’ from the ‘Categories’ widget over there to the right. (they’re in the order I posted them so for the story to make sense you’ll have to start with the first entry at the bottom of the page)

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What Has Gone Before:

In the Nicola Valley, British Columbia, Ciska, a ‘pentiment switcher’, Meg, who is from another pentiment, (a parallel reality) and Tamsin, a cop, gather to discuss what to do about the pentiments colliding.

Jane, a shadowy figure from Ciska’s past, and Silv, her tattooed minion crash the party, only to be interrupted by Mary Connelly, whose long held suspicions about Jane Lightsmith force her to act.

***   ***

All the players are in town, but the rules don’t make sense. Just exactly what is going on

S2 Ep4 - Final Cover Art

A Sequence of Events:

Mary … stepped further into the room and thumbed the safety off the device aimed squarely at Jane Lightsmith’s heart. If she had one.

Whatever Jane intended to do, and Mary knew it wasn’t a social call, Jane would need to make a quick exit. Mary’s device would neutralize her most obvious choice, to switch to another pentiment.

***

Tamsin … stared at Mary, momentarily stunned that she’d magically appeared at Ciska’s command, but like a true professional she focused on the strange object in Mary’s hand.

She lunged out of her chair and grappled with the weapon aimed at her mother who, for all their disagreements, she’d give her life to protect.

***

Jane Lightsmith …. recognized Mary’s device and knew she’d picked the right armor to wear. I’ll switch if and when I damn-well please, and no washed-up mis-bred reject is going to stop me with one of my own inventions.

Jane learned very early on never to travel unprepared or unarmed and always have a ‘plan B’.

She kicked Silv’s chair hard enough to propel her toward Mary, betting the distraction would give her time to activate the sound wave generator strapped under her armor.

***

Ciska … recognized the device from her sketches of a wave nullifier she’d tinkered with a few pentiments back. She wished her ‘sideways-seeing’ability focused a teensiest bit more on the details than the usual wide-screen ‘big picture’. She would’ve known about the device sooner, not when it was too late to do anything except duck and run for cover.

While Mary held everyone’s attention Ciska grabbed Meg’s arm and dragged them both down below table level. It offered little enough protection, but at least they were momentarily out of sight.

***

Silv … groaned, inward, where no-one would hear. The room held so much tension that despite or perhaps because of the buzz from her last toke, she felt as though a horde of spiders were trying to claw their way inside her skin.

Tamsin … dove across the edge of the kitchen table and tackled a woman Silv hardly recognized. She knew who it was of course, they saw each other almost every day at the cafe. Here in Meg’s house, Mary seemed to be surrounded by sharp-edged shards of light. Silv felt fairly sure she was tripping. Her teeth snapped together as something hit the back of her chair and kicked her into the mêlée.

***

Meg … landed on the floor with a thud and gasped for breath as Ciska fell on top of her. A blinding white light bounced off the back of her eyeballs. Ciska slid off her as sounds of fighting filtered into her seared brain.

***

Mary … saw Tamsin lunge at her from one direction just as Silv staggered against her from another. Her thumb jolted off the safety switch of the nullifier, and nudged another switch, a far more deadlier one, on.

Oh dear. I didn’t want to hurt anyone, I just wanted to give Ciska a fighting chance, and now no-one is going to get what they wanted.

The device ignited.

***

Tamsin … grabbed the weapon in Mary’s hands and forced them up into the air. For a moment their eyes met and she wondered why Mary looked so sad.

A blinding force of energy snapped through her like a barbed-wire whiplash.

***

Jane … raised her arm to shield her eyes from the silent blast of light. Someone snatched at ankles and dragged her from her chair. She kicked out, heard a satisfyingly pained expletive, and rolled toward a more strategic location. So much for electro-tech. Let’s try the old fashioned chemical kind.

 ***

Silv … screamed and danced around as though she were on fire. She burned all over. Her eyes stung. She breathed fire. She had to get away.

Suddenly everything went quiet, dark. All her pain stopped. She hunkered down on the floor, fearing more pain, waiting for instructions.

 ***

Ciska … swore in several long-dead languages as Jane’s very expensive boot-heel smacked into the side of her face. I should’ve grabbed her around the neck!

Her sideways-seeing ability swung into high gear as it often did when she’d been injured. She scuttled back under the table, flipped it on its edge and hoped the solid oak would be enough turn aside Jane’s intentions.

***   ***

The Sum of All Parts

Meg blinked away the spots before her eyes caused by the strange pulse of light that left her tingling all over, and peered over the edge of her great-great grandmothers table.

Her kitchen was in shambles. Chairs, and table, overturned. Tamsin and Mary lying still on the floor, Jane swinging what looked like an old-fashioned six-gun, and Silv, a gibbering heap between them.

She ducked back just as Ciska grabbed her. “Don’t think for a moment that Jane won’t kill you,” Ciska whispered. “Let me handle this.”

Meg shrugged her off. “Not in my house.” She stood up, drawing Jane’s attention. “Not in my house,” she said.

Jane nodded. “If you stay where you are, I won’t,” she agreed. “Get up Ciska. You look ridiculous crouching down like that. A bullet isn’t going to kill you. It will however, incapacitate and hurt you, a lot.”

Ciska stood looked at Meg. “But it’ll kill her.”

“I doubt it,” Jane speculated. “If she were killable, she would’ve died in that car crash. Which brings us back to our present anomalous predicament, doesn’t it? If you’ll excuse me I have to see what’s happened to Tamsin. Stay there,” she cautioned as Meg started forward. “Both of you.”

Jane walked to Silv and nudged her with her boot. “Get up. You’re not hurt, and you’re still in this pentiment. That’s what all that expensive ink was for. Help me with Tamsin.”

Ciska caught Meg as she started toward Tamsin. “Have you ever been shot?” she asked, “It really does hurt, a lot. I can ‘see’ that Tam’s still breathing.” Ciska released her. “We wait.”

Meg waited as Jane roughly rolled Mary’s body out of the way and examined her daughter. She stood still, as Silv picked Tamsin up, and groaning and cussing, carried her outside to her truck.

She watched as Jane contemplated Mary’s still body and kicked her once, very hard. “That’s for defying me, and,” she added as she walked out of the room, “For hurting my daughter.”

***   ***

Stay tuned for Season 2, Episode 5 of …

‘Identical’

No, you should not take pictures of old ladies when they have fallen asleep on their noses.

Kittens and old cats do this.

Kittens and old cats do this.

You should, instead, pay attention to your writing and not procrastinate. You have the next episode of ‘Identical’ to edit, no?

‘Identical’ – Season 2, Episode 2 – New Friends, Old Enemies

You can read all the previous episodes HERE, or from the ‘IDENTICAL’ page above, or select ‘Identical’ from the ‘Categories’ widget over there to the right. (they’re in chronological order so you’ll have to start at the bottom of the page)

What Has Gone Before:

Travelling through the Nicola Valley in British Columbia, Ciska takes shelter from a nasty storm with Meg, whose stolen car is found with her exact duplicate dead at the wheel. Following her mother Jane Lightsmith’s orders Tamsin Lightsmith, of the RCMP, deletes all references to ‘dead Meg’ from the records, as ‘live’ Meg realizes she doesn’t belong in this dimension, or pentiment’ as Ciska has labeled them.

Ciska tests an invention that will enable her to avoid the storm’s mysterious effects based on theories she envisioned two hundred years previously. She tells Meg and Tamsin her true age.

Jane Lightsmith arrives in town.

***   ***

All the players are in town, but the rules don’t make sense. Just exactly what is going on

Identical S2 Ep2 Cover Art - New Friends, Old Enemies

Ciska’s legs gave way and she slid down the cold white tiles, ending up on the dark floor.

Terracotta. What is it with this town and terracotta floor tiles?

Meg huddled against a tiled column nearby, scrubbing at the blood on her hands with a futility born of horror.

Poor Meg. From the moment Jane knew her true nature she was always going to be the sacrificial lamb.

Meg raised her head as though she’d read Ciska’s thoughts and looked, not hopeful, there’d never been much hope since they started this quixotic mission, but determined.

Good for her. Time to finish the job.

Ciska rolled onto her hands and knees, ignoring the smears of blood that stained the tiles a darker red and launched to her feet. Meg batted away her helping hand, for which she was grateful. She probably didn’t have strength left to help anyone else.

“Where’d she go?” Meg asked after she’d splashed some cold water on her face and washed most of the blood off her hands.

“Deeper into the complex,” Ciska said. “Away from her equipment. There’s nowhere for her to go.”

Are you sure?”

“No. But then I never was, at least about her.”

Ciska and Meg left the destroyed bathroom, dodged around a pile of fallen concrete and exposed bedrock and resumed their search. They’d find their target sooner or later.

Ciska’s thoughts slipped back to a time only a few days ago. From the moment she’d told Tamsin and Meg the truth, she knew a confrontation between her and Jane Lightsmith was inevitable … 

***

… Ciska left Meg and Tamsin to their own devices and sat on Meg’s back stoop. She leaned her elbows on the step behind her, stretched out her legs and crossed them at the ankles. She watched the few clouds in the sky turn orange then deepen to indigo as another sultry autumn day drew to a close. Tamsin and Meg continued to argue, about what, precisely, she had no idea. Eventually they fell silent and she supposed they’d come to some sort of agreement.

Well, I kept my end of the bargain. What they do with it is up to them.

She’d give them time to come to terms with it, however time was limited. Far too many questions had been raised in this pentiment and she needed their help finding answers and more importantly, what to do with the answers they uncovered.

She sensed someone behind her and tossed a mental coin. A large mug of tea appeared over her shoulder and Meg slumped down onto the wooden step.

Meg leaned on Ciska’s shoulder and gazed in the same general direction as Ciska. “I think I could get to like you,” Meg said. “You always seem to be looking at far away horizons.”

“Some things are worth remembering. Looking at them for a long time helps me remember them after time has passed.”

“Personally, I don’t think you look a day over three thousand.”

“I told you that you wouldn’t believe me,” Ciska said.

“Oh, I believe you alright. I’m living proof of that.”

“That you are.”

 “Are you sure you’re that old?”

Ciska’s laughed, almost bouncing Meg’s head off her shoulder. “You’re more concerned with me being significantly older than you assumed, rather than an endless number of parallel worlds existing all around you.”

Meg punched her lightly in the thigh as Tamsin joined them.

“Give her one for me while you’re at it,” Tamsin said. After Meg happily obliged, she continued. “I can’t begin to imagine the things you’ve seen.”

“The entire march of civilization.” Meg said with wonder as the weight of the concept descended on her.

“Where’s Jimmy Hoffa’s body?” Tamsin countered.

Ciska groaned.

“What happened to the Marie Celeste?”

“Did Queen Victoria really think lesbians didn’t exist?”

“Who said to Genghis Kahn, ‘go west young man’?”

“What happened to Atlantis?”

“Did you meet Boudicca, Nefertiti? What were the Sumerians really like?”

Who drew the Nazca Lines?”

Ciska gave up trying to interject and waited until Meg and Tamsin finally ran out of questions, silly or not. She tried again.

“Now, it’s my turn. How do you know about these things? In general.”

“The news. Books,” Meg said.

“The internet. History books,” Tamsin said at the same time.

Ciska nodded. “The internet’s only been around for a very short time. So, most everything you’ve mentioned comes from ‘History’ books. And history can only be viewed retrospectively. If I didn’t know that Alexander was going to change the world, how could I witness it if, a, I didn’t know about it at the time, and b, I was on the other side of the world, at the time.”

“Were you?” Tamsin asked, not quite teasing her.

Ciska rolled her eyes, but before she could reply a vehicle engine died in front of the house.

“That’s Silv’s truck,” Meg said. “I’d know that sound anywhere. I don’t suppose this is just a coincidence?”

Ciska shrugged her innocence, and followed Meg and Tamisn into the house.

***

Meg seldom left her door unlocked let alone wide open but given recent events it didn’t surprise her that she’d done both. Two women stood in the middle of her kitchen.

“Hello Silv. What brings you all the way out …” Silv appeared to stagger slightly as she was nudged aside. “Jane!” Meg said. What an unpleasant surprise.”

Tamsin interrupted them before the civilities could proceed any further. “Mum! I didn’t think you’d be here ‘til next week.”

Meg watched as Jane Lightsmith ignored her daughter, just as she always had, until she needed her for something, which apparently, given that Tamsin was expecting her, she now did.

“Hello Meg,” Jane said. “Where is your guest of honor. I’ve come a very long and uncomfortable way to meet her.”

A gentle hand on her shoulder moved Meg aside. Ciska then moved Tamsin the other way. Meg’s blood ran cold. She’s getting us out of the firing line.

“I’m right here,” Ciska said. As she walked further into the room Meg saw her reach behind her back and slowly pull a knife from a sheath hidden in the waistband of her pants.

“I thought you’d turn up sooner or later,” Ciska said. “Aren’t you supposed to be dead?”

“Hello Franciska. You keep trying, but you keep missing. However, I really don’t think this is the time or the place to try again, do you?” She looked pointedly at Meg and Tamsin. “Isn’t anyone going to invite me to sit down?”

Meg ignored her and sat down herself. She watched Ciska slide the knife back into its sheath, and realized they’d all momentarily survived some sort of crisis point. Just when I didn’t think my life could get any weirder.

Jane sat opposite her and reached for the teapot, turned over a cup for herself from the tray and filled it. “Well, isn’t this civilized? Do sit down, all of you.”

“I think I’m going to be sick,” Silv said and rushed to the bathroom.

***

Jane sniffed. “Can’t take the heat,” she said dismissively, and watched Ciska as she and Tamsin sat across the table from her, on either side of Meg.

How predictable. Both of them. “Well,” she said. “Shall we begin our civilized conversation? I’m sure Franciska has told you all about these nasty ‘pentiments’, as she calls them, and how they could destroy all of existence as we know it.”

“Her name is Ciska,” Meg said.

“We hadn’t got to that part yet,” Tamsin said.

“Don’t look so surprised,” Jane said as Ciska tried to hide behind the scowl she’d worn since the moment she saw Jane. “I’ve had you followed for quite a while now. Yes, even as you travelled from one pentiment to the next. There’s so much you don’t know.”

She sipped from her tea and gathered her thoughts. What to tell and what to withhold? Enough bait to hook, but too much and Ciska would put all the pieces together before she was ready for them to be revealed. “As with all theories, there are always other theories.”

“Wait a minute,” Tamsin said, uncharacteristically interrupting her. “We haven’t even heard the first theory first. Perhaps Ciska could enlighten us.”

As Ciska answered, Jane tuned out her words, she knew the story be heart, and watched Ciska as she spoke, absorbing every detail, the way she moved her hands, the little quirk at the corner of her mouth, everything. She showed nothing of her emotions to the women in front of her. She was used to it, her feelings had been firmly under control since the time she betrayed the one person she’d ever truly loved. Seeing Ciska again was not going to change that.

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Stay tuned for Season 2, Episode 3 of …

‘Identical’

***

GLOSSARY AND LINKS

The ghost ship Marie Celeste

The Nazca Lines

Sitting on Ice

It’s been a while, eh?

I’ve had the flu, several times.

Mrs Widders had bronchitis, and a couple of flu’ses.

Widdercat decided that she really didn’t feel like dying on us, this time, even though she stopped eating and did all the things old cats do to let you know they’re about to pass through the veil to the Summerlands.

Each time, she comes back a little frailer, but her spirit is just as strong as ever. 2013 wasn’t quite as done with any of us as we thought!

Rumours of Our demise have been greatly exaggerated

Rumours of Our demise have been greatly exaggerated

About ‘Identical’ … I’m about to post the next episode, and in between bouts of flu-ness, I came to some decisions about it. (Identical, not the flu. I do have thoughts about the flu but they’re not repeatable)

Identical was always an experiment. It started out as an open ended adventure based around a few core concepts. As I sat down to write each episode, I contemplated sending the story in directions that were more than likely influenced by whatever movie I’d just seen or TV show I was rewatching with multiple episodes at one sitting. (most recently Babylon 5, even more amazing than I remembered)

This was fun for a while, but it wasn’t getting the story to where I wanted it to go. So, I put my wild plans and schemes for my hapless characters on ice while I figured out some really diabolical stuff to inflict on them … erm … interesting and tasteful story arcs … with a definitive ending. We’re not anywhere near that ending yet, but it’s imminent.

Therefore, coming right up is the next episode of Identical.

***

Speaking of ‘on ice’ … widderlake froze over again a little while ago and some scallywag did this …

 

See that little white thing out in the middle of the lake?

See that little white thing out in the middle of the lake?

... this is what it looks like close-up.

… this is what it looks like close-up.

 

Picking Up The Threads Of A Story

The really hard thing about restarting an existing story after an extended hiatus, is that the magic of that moment is gone. Certainly, there is magic available for the piece in this moment, but not that original magic.

As I re-read my notes for the next chapter of ‘Identical,’ these words came out of my mouth, “What was I thinking?” sometimes in genuine consternation as to what I was trying to indicate with a handful of grammatically unrelated words, and sometimes as a rhetorical question, often accompanied by, *head-desk*.

In the interests of saving my sanity and my desk, I’ve thrown the bathwater out with the obnoxious squalling child, and embarked on ‘Identical’ – Season II, Episode 1, hopefully to arrive in your ‘inbox’ within the week.

*

In conclusion, and tangentially … I’ve been trying to get some pics of Madame Widdercat on my new smartphone. (as opposed to the ‘dumb’ one I had before) I’ve succumbed to the ‘i’ colonisation. Not the latest iteration, nor the previous one. (or even the one before that, probably)

We recently discovered that Apple has the best cellphone coverage out here on Widder-island. Our carrier had a sale on the i4’s, so we did a two-fer deal and upgraded to the 21st century.

… anyway, Widdercat pics … our 95 year old matriarch has the longest greyest fur imaginable, which of course, makes it almost impossible to capture any sort of detail on a cellphone camera – at least for me. This is the best I’ve got to date … I call it ‘Fluffy-Gloved Iron-Claw’ or, “Stop moving the Mouse.”

*

“A cat can maintain a position of curled up somnolence on your knee until you are nearly upright. To the last minute she hopes your conscience will get the better of you and you will settle down again”Pam Brown, poet

 My Mouse 001