4612/Attack of The Clones

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Attack of The Clones
Date of Scene: 05 January 2021
Location: Colette's Super Expensive Apartment
Synopsis: Vorpal warns Colette about the attack of the Doppels
Cast of Characters: Terry O'Neil, Colette O'Connail

Terry O'Neil has posed:
<<This is Terry. I need to see you urgently. Your place?>>

It was the end of a long, and exhausting day for Terry. Neverhteless, he was determined to carry out his planned tasks. It was important for him to find out who he could trust.... and that list, right now, was very small.

For a change, he does not go the usual route. He's been to Colette's apartment before, so he Rabbit Holes in for good or ill- he figures that the element of surprise could keep a doppelganger on their toes. Maybe.

For extra precaution, the Cheshire sends an illusion of himself first, and follows behind invisible.

"Hey!" he calls out, "Sorry... I was in a bit of a hurry..."

Colette O'Connail has posed:
    "Ah, God damn it, Terry! What the hell is wrong with you? You *knock* before entering a woman's apartment. Can't I even walk around my own home naked without you blundering in here?"

    Thankfully, depsite the loud objections, Colette is not in fact naked when Vorpal opens the rabbit hole, but that's certainly not going to stop her - or is it her clone? - from pretending, against all evidence, that this is the case. It gives her the excuse to punch him again, which she does.

    Except of course that she does not, because her fist makes contact with air and passes through the illusion.

    Colette rolls her eyes and gives a dramatic sigh. "I see. You have become intangible. Seriously, Terry. How do you get yourself into these situations all the time? It's not normal. You do know this right? However it's no excuse, you should still have rabbit holed to the corridor and knocked. I mean I /might/ have been naked. Then I'd have had to kill you, or something."

Terry O'Neil has posed:
Okay, she is trying to punch him. That, at least, is in character.

"It's... very complicated." There is one thing he can do- and it is to make the illusion neither sound nor /look/ as tired and as haggard as he feels. He gets the comedic tone and the twist of the lip just right. "I mean. How am I supposed to knock on the door when I am /intangible/? My hand would go through the door!"

The Cheshire crosses his arms over his chest, "I've got a question for you... and it's important. It's the key to me not being intangible anymore... do you remember how we met?"

Colette O'Connail has posed:
    Colette stares at Vorpal for a little while, then folds her arms across her own chest in imitation of his stance. She tilts her head over to one side, and taps a foot. "Bullshit, Terry. Bullshit. I mean for a start you could have stood outside and said 'knock knock'. However that's irrelevant, because you sent me a text a few minutes ago to say you were coming over, remember? So you were tangible a few minutes ago. Also if you were actually intangible you would fall through the floor. You're playing some kind of trick."

    She sighs, shakes her head and stalks away to collapse onto her couch, and reaches to the coffee table where she has a glass of wine already poured. "Get yourself a glass if you want one. I'm sure you can find your way to the kitchen, it's close enough to walk there, no need for more rabbit holes. And then sit down and tell me what the hell you has got you so wound up this time. "

Terry O'Neil has posed:
"Not necessarily. I have seen some mutants go intangible and they /don't/ sink through the floor. But seriously..." the illusion glides upwards and perches on the back of the couch, weightless and immaterial, like a cat version of Kian, "This is important... how did we meet? Do you remember?"

The cat's expression becomes serious, "A lot of things depend on this. I'm not kidding about this... you know I'd not pull a prank like this."

But... does she? DOES she know?

"Or you can also tell me what it is that pisses Gar off every time you mention it. That's good, too."

Colette O'Connail has posed:
    Colette stares a little longer. "Fine, don't get yourself a glass then, more for me." To make the point she tops up her glass, and sits back into the soft, giving embrace of the couch. "I'd imagine that's because they're not actually intangible," She says. "I mean speaking from personal experience - kinda - they'll be subconsciously modulating the density of their sub-atomic structure, which is a particular telekenetic function. Avoiding falling through things is also telekenetic. Or indeed avoiding drifting away because your relative mass has just dropped to next-to-nothing."

    She takes a sip of her wine, then resumes staring at Terry over the rim of her glass. "I disagree, I think if you learned how to go intangible absolutely the first thing you'd think about is pulling pranks. However you seem agitated. And you're asking me to answer things that you know I know. Which means you are not certain that I am actually me. Shape shifter causing troubles for you and going after people you know? Banana hammock."

    She gestures with her glass and a pointed finger at Terry. "Now you tell me the answer to the first question. Because if I was a shape shifter and I'd been found out, I'd be asking other people to say identifying things to prove they weren't the shape shifter, so that I then knew those answers."

Terry O'Neil has posed:
"Well..." the illusion vanishes, and the real Vorpal becomes visible. He looks nothing like the cheerful, regular Vorpal. In fact, he looks positively haggard, drawn out, tired. "... Unless you developed the power of telepathy, you'd never know that specific answer... not without some really /weird/ questioning."

He drops himself on the couch,and far from being his usual graceful movements, it's more of a controlled collapse.

"Not shapeshifters, thank goodness, but it's still bad. We've got... an estimate of about five thousand doppelgangers from another dimension who have crossed over into this one. And they're trying to take over people's lives here..."

He leans forward and slowly begins to unravel the yarn of ZZGU, as he understands it. He has to go back a couple of times because his clear exhaustion makes him a little muddled here and there, but he eventually makes it to the end, painting the rather bleak image. "... are you with me so far? Because this is just... the setting."

Colette O'Connail has posed:
    Colette listens carefully to the story, interjecting a couple of quick questions into the narrative but mostly letting Vorpal get on with telling the story. When he's finished, she leans back again, sipping at her wine thoughtfully and staring out the window. "Are you sure this wasn't the plot of an episode of that show Gar was on? Because it sounds like it," she says finally.

    Her eyes snap back to Vorpal. "However assuming you didn't dream this all after binge-watching the show, you're on edge because you have no idea who is and who isn't one of these dimensional fifth-columnists. Or alternatively you are one of them, and you are trying to figure me out because you've picked up enough from Terry's phone and possibly diary to know that I'm something, but not enough to know what, and that makes you nervous. I notice that you didn't actually tell me how we met, yet. That's how I know you're not one of them. Except honestly that's a piss-poor test because it's something you could have discovered with a bit of snooping. Assuming, that is, the evil goatee-wearing mirror Terry is better at detective work."

    She sighs, stands up, and goes to the kitchen to fetch a wine glass for Terry. Judging by her body language, she feels this is a gross imposition on their friendship far in excess of the obligations of helping a friend visit mobsters or similar, but she's almost certainly putting it on. When she returns she pours out a glass and leaves it in front of him. "Okay. Twenty-one years ago I decided that becoming a human being would be a good plan, so I did. The whole idea of that was that I would have an opportunity to grow up as... as me. Not as what... not determined by the ideas of minds that pre-existed me by... well. A fresh start, right? Now. Do you think I'd have picked a trashfire planet like the one you are describing to do that? Of course not. So if there is a double of me in that universe, she was never born and is drifting through space waiting for a more promising planet to come along. That's just common sense."

Terry O'Neil has posed:
Terry exhales, and nods slowly. "Fine... you do make a point. And there's no Vorpal on that world. There's no Vorpal on any world but this one... there's only one Cheshire Cat, ever."

He doesn't take the drink at first, but then takes the glass. "It's... It's bad. Colette... I am afraid Gar has been taken. Kian and I- and I verified it's Kian- we both suspect him. He doesn't know where things are in the Tower. Or at least, /our/ tower. And he was completely distant, hands-off with me. It was so creepy that we both left the tower. Kian slept at your other apartment..." he counts, "Then, this morning I saw Lois Lane, and she /wasn't/ Lois Lane. My hooch-chugging sailor-mouthed boss was dressed like a fucking Stepford wife, prim and proper, intentionally avoided swearing, and ordered the froofiest, most basic bitch coffee drink. It was /hyphenated/." He stares at Colette. "And she didn't know my name. And I tested her by giving her a different boyfriend name, and she completely rolled with it. So there's a DoppelLois out there. And THEN- and then, I was ambushed by a Doppelganger of one of our own and was SHRUNK.... and i swear I would have probably been squished to death if I hadn't gone back to the tower through a rabbit hole and gotten her counterpant to restore me..."

He takes a long, long sip of the glass. "And that was /today/."

Colette O'Connail has posed:
"This is the point where you drink down that entire glass and pour yourself another, Terry. Go on. I've got another bottle, it's fine." Colette puffs her cheeks out and shakes her head. "And you still haven't told me where we first met. I mean yeah you're acting all frazzled and discombobulated, so that's a reason why you might not be thinking straight, but honestly if you were the mirrorTerry then the smart thing to do would be to act all frazzled and discomobulated..." each time she says the words 'frazzled and discombobulated', the hand holding her wine weaves and bobs in a figure of eight in the air. "So the obvious conclusion is that either you're genuinely frazzled and discombobulated, or you are mirrorTerry trying to get away with it and hope I forget that I'm asking the question as you size me up. So, let me ask you a slightly different question."

    Colette leans forwards, swinging her other arm around from where it had been hanging over the edge of the sofa. Her hand is englobed in darkness. "Do you know what this is? And when was the first time that you saw it before?"

Terry O'Neil has posed:
"I was up on a fire escape, you were fighting with cops and got outraged. Then soon after you told me about Kian being taken to space alien detention by Captain Marvel and I interviewed her and got her all pissed at me when I asked her the question."

Vorpal downs the drink, as Colette suggests, and shudders. "And the first time you demonstrated that for me was in the parking lot of the tower. But I suspect you did your magic when we went to meet that gangster and I left you hanging because I developped paws. I also called you a ninja when you basically took down the crime lord who wanted to off me because of my dad."

He raises his eyebrows, "Satisfied?"

Colette O'Connail has posed:
    Colette stares without answering for an uncomfortably long time.

    "No," she says. "You first saw it the first time we met, so I am not satisfied. The second time was when we visited Sabatini and I took out his goons, but to be fair you probably weren't looking. I didn't show it to you in the tower parking lot at all, that never happened. So you failed the test."

    The darkness fades from her hand. "However you failed it an entirely on-brand way. You probably didn't notice what I was doing that first time, and you're mixing up details and times in a way that seems very... Terry. If you'd got all the details right I'd have been more concerned." She flashes him a grin, but the grin fades away quickly and is replaced by a look of concern.

    "So they got Gar. And you're coming to me because... no. You're coming to me because you are running out of friends who aren't evil mirrorverse clones, and you wanted to find someone who wasn't. You don't want me to kill mirror Gar for you, because you want to question him to find out what he is done with the real Gar. Okay, I won't. But yeah. There won't be a mirror me, you're safe there."

Terry O'Neil has posed:
The Cheshire cat exhales, and closes his eyes. "Thank you... Kian is in the other apartment. I figured I'd leave him there for space... but..."

And this is the point where he starts blinking furiously, and then he rubs at his eyes. "Goddamnit I'm a fucking mess... I'm so goddamned weak. This crisis is bigger than me and all I can think of is... what if he /did/ something to Gar? Colette what if Gar... " he stops because his voice is in danger of breaking for a second. "That guy looks like Gar, talks sorta like Gar, but it's... it's not. My gut tells me it isn't. And he's been posting /weird/ shit on his social media. And then I think... what if he /did/ something to /my/ Gar?"

He leans back and puts a hand over his eyes, clearly struggling to get control. He also looks extremely tired. "I'm scared to find out. But I can't /not/ find out."

Colette O'Connail has posed:
    "Kian's not going to like living in that place, it's not exactly spacious. Which means he'll be out flying all over Staten Island all day, every day. That's probably not a great idea." Colette stands up and starts pacing. "You guys need to lock down the tower, and only let people back in when you've managed to clear them. Then fit each person with some kind of monitoring device. A tiny marker bug that won't be noticed and picked up on if a person is replaced. RF chip under the skin or something.

    Colette sighs again, and takes a seat next to Vorpal. It's probably as close as she comes to a sympathetic gesture, she doesn't usually hug. "If mirror Gar has taken over... well if he has any brains at all he'll be keeping the real Gar prisoner somewhere so he can question him. But uh... Gar isn't the... he's not the brightest..." she sighs again. "Sorry Terry. It's possible. I mean... you've got to be prepared for it. But on the other hand... well, there's no reason to think he's dead. I mean I spent a good part of the end of last year trying to get Gar to stop moping around when he thought you were dead, but in the end he realized that giving up hope was a bad idea. You need to do the same, but honestly one thing that experience made pretty clear to me is I'm not exactly the best cheerleader type when it comes to these things. So look, chances are he's not dead, and that's a lot better odds than he had for you not being dead."

Terry O'Neil has posed:
"From the numbers, you'd think I'd be comforted. But I'm not." Vorpal smirks a little, "I still feel dread all over me. It won't be over until I know for sure. I wish I could borrow Wonder Woman's lasso and tie him up with it and force him to tell me the truth." He shakes his head, "If I were an Amazon, I wouldn't be so worried about confronting a potentially amoral, very dangerous version of Gar. That's the main reason I haven't done it yet... I need backup. If Gar let go of his moral compass, he'd be absolutely devastating."

After a long silence, he says, "I should head out... I'm going to get Kian and I'll take us to a desert island. We can spend the nights there... at least until the tower is safe. We have Nadia working on something to help us tell Dupes from the real ones... then it'll be easier. Do me a favor, though... if you interact with any Titans, make sure they have this..."

He raises his finger, and shows Colette were the ink mark is, "This will show we're verified non-Doppelgangers. We're not talking about it except among us who aren't doppels. If they don't have it, they're not cleared- so steer clear."

Colette O'Connail has posed:
    "No Terry, I don't expect you to be comforted. You love the guy." Colette gives Terry's arm a gentle squeeze. Not a punch. This must be some kind of record. "Though I mean... you do know someone who /could/ borrow Wonder Woman's lasso, right? Her sister is on your team. So if you can find a way of clearing her... and Wonder Woman... crap, that's going to be pretty awkward, isn't it? Maybe you should just stay on that desert island."

    Colette looks at the ink mark and bursts out laughing. "Really Terry. That's just... well, a sub-dermal RF chip would be a better bet you know? But hey, you guys are trying." She shakes her head and slumps back. "How about Kate? Any idea if she's in trouble? She better not be, I like Kate. She's a smart kid, in a dumb sort of way. But honestly I'm not too worried about your team mates. I haven't really explained the full extent of what I can do to you, but honestly there's only one of you guys who I consider any serious danger to me, and I do my best to avoid /her/ anyway."

Terry O'Neil has posed:
"I do love him," Vorpal says weakly, and takes another deep breath. "So I have to make sure he's okay... and if he isn't..." he leaves that thread hanging, before saying "The Themyscirans are clear. That's another safe place, but I'd..." he already had a breakdown at the Embassy. No need to bring that up.

"We're each tackling different team mates to clear. Kate's on the list... but Caitlin and Gar take priority because of their strength. Troia is checking Raven... and that's bound to be terrifying."

He yawns and slowly staands up, looking weary. "I'm about to fall asleep on my feet. I should go, collect bird, and crash somewhere in the Caribbean. Thank you for listening... and... for not being a doppel."