Monday, November 1, 2010

The Courtship of Meta-Chloe, part duex

An ongoing effort to re-write the relationship between Cameron and Chloe; the original scene being re-written can be found here and here with Fred's commentary.

Cameron dragged himself to the airplane gate, glassy-eyed and near-mindless. Dinner with the Steeles was a strange but invigorating affair. On the one hand, he had to stop himself from mooning over the Captain's young daughter; he kept wanting to stare, to drink in the details of her face. On the other hand, if Steele's claims were true, then the internet-based attacks on Iran's nuclear facilities (the Gog botnet) and on the Russian Army (the elusive MaGog computer virus) were connected to The Event, and all of it was really just a warm-up for what was coming next. Cameron had researched conspiracies before, uncovered what powerful corporations and governments had wanted to cover up, and before dinner was done, he had already started identifying sources to contact, questions to ask, and information to research.

Which was why, less than 12 hours later, he was barely conscious as he boarded his flight to Chicago. He'd spent most of the night writing emails, making phone calls, and lining up interviews with trusted sources. What he hadn't done much of was sleep, and his memory of Coach seating at Pan-Con didn't offer much hope of rest. He'd bought a bible at the airport gift shop, and had notes on sections to read and cross-reference with other sections.

"Mr. Williams?" The preternaturally-chipper employee at the gate had keyed in his ticket information and seemed amused. "It looks like you've been upgraded to Business Class. We hope you enjoy your flight."

Cameron blinked groggily before remembering the Captain asking about his travel arrangements the night before. Was Rayford trying to butter him up, make him think better of the Captain and by extension make his Rapture theory more plausible? Cameron smirked at the thought: sure, he'd been offered huge bribes, threatened by third-world dictators, but hey, an upgrade to business class? That changes everything!

(more below the cut)

Cameron lumbered onto the plane and settled into the slightly-wider business class seat. He sat, trying to decide between the pillow and blanket in the overhead compartment or the Bible and notes in the bag at his feet. The decision was taken from him by a sudden press of scratchy wool all around his head and an enthusiastic cry:


Cameron felt a pair of slender arms wrapped around his head, and tried not to think about where his face might be. Muffled by the sweater, he asked:

"Chloe? I hope?"

It was indeed Chloe, who released his head from her hug and plopped down in the seat next to him.

"Dad seemed strangely smug after dinner. As far as surprises go, this wasn't a bad one on his part."

Cameron blinked sheepishly as a slow grin crawled onto his face.

"Yeah, I guess being a pilot has its perks. I though he was just trying to bribe me into running with the story he wants."

"Nope. Dad's not that clever. I think he knew you'd have a long, lonely boring flight, and since I was headed that way anyhow, he just made a call and got you a better seat."

"Why are you going back to Chicago? I thought you were in college?"

Chloe paused and looked down at the airplane safety guide.

"It just doesn't feel right. I mean, it sounds a little odd to say 'I dropped out of college to read the Bible', but if my dad and Rev. Barnes are right, Bible study reall might be the most important thing in the world right now."

They both smiled at the joke, but the silence hung in the air. If it was all true, then the world would end in just over seven years. Not very much time at all, really.

Cameron broke the silence first, talking in an exaggerated Boston accent:

"Hey there! College is important! You finish that four year degree, go on for your Masters, spend six months at an internship, and why in no time at all you'll be earning six figures! Seven, eight years at the most and you'll be on top of the world!"

Chloe didn't actually laugh, but she smiled, and ducked her head to conceal her blushing gratitude for the humor.

They kept talking back and forth; it seemed like the elephant in the room (airplane?) was that potential ticking clock. Now that it was out in the open, their conversation drifted away from it. They talked about if they believed in the Biblical prophecies. (Chloe was a skeptic, but knew something was going on) They talked about their families, about how and where they grew up. Cameron was still exhausted, but at the same time felt a manic energy; if his choices were sleep or to keep talking to this beautiful young girl, well, sleep could wait. Their conversation reminded him of those long-lost days of high school, sitting in bed & talking on the phone for hours about nothing at all.

Chloe had been talking with Cameron for easily over an hour before she noticed it. He was wearing a goofy smile, he was staring at her, and when she talked, he hung on her every word. Chloe knew she was better at flirting than he was, and while she hadn't dated a lot in high school or college, she suspected Cameron had dated a lot less. She could see he was smitten.

Her own feelings were a bit more mixed. He was older than her, but at the same time had this boyish earnestness. "Buck Williams, ace reporter"! He was interested in her, but he also cared about the story he was working on, and he wasn't going to compromise it. When he talked about getting to the bottom of a story, there was real passion in his voice, and Chloe couldn't ignore that. They both felt like The Event had shown them a larger world, that there was something more going on, and she felt a connection to him that was different than anything she'd felt before.

As they stepped off the plane, she pulled him aside from the flow of disembarking travellers.

"Hey, I still don't know about all of the Rapture stuff, but I'm going to go to the Sunday services, and I'll definitely be at the Wednesday Bible study, so I hope you'll show up for some of it. Now go home and get some sleep! You look like the walking dead!"

Cameron smiled, and then began lurching away stiffly, groaning and doing his best zombie impression. Chloe giggled, and watched, waiting to see when he'd drop the act. Amazingly, he actually went the length of the concourse and down the escalators lurching around, groaning about "brains" the whole way. When he got an idea, he committed to it; Chloe gave him that.


Chris Doggett said...

So I had to change a few things and drop a few things:

1.) Rayford arranges Buck's special seating next to Chloe, instead of Buck doing it. It's less creepy that way. Slightly.

2.) Chloe doesn't convert just yet. Chloe finding Jesus and falling for Cameron at the same time just dilutes both story arcs.

3.) Less actual dialogue. Those early conversations you have when you meet someone you like seem really magical and special and important, but they're usually pretty banal in subjects. (i.e. where you grew up, what you liked about school, what kind of music you listen to) So I cheated: the stuff that was important (you know, the onrushing end of the world) got written dialogue, and the fluff/filler got pushed to the background.

Mink said...

They come off as rather goofy, but in a very cute way. =) I do not loathe these characters as you've written them, they seem...


...normal. =)

Chris Doggett said...

Goofy? Yeah, I'm guilty of that. But part of being "smitten" is a certain goofy euphoria. The next segment I'm working on is a bit more serious.

Apocalypse Review said...

Goofy is right! :) The cute and d'awww were just pouring off the monitor :D

1.) Rayford arranges Buck's special seating next to Chloe, instead of Buck doing it. It's less creepy that way. Slightly.

It's way less creepy IMO - hell, Rayford doesn't even have to know Chloe'd already looked up the flight number and everything.

Or for that matter she could have asked her dad to do it and explained she wanted someone to talk to on the flight.