AROW80 Check-In for 5/9/2018 and WIPpet Snippet

Due to circumstances that were entirely within my control (i.e. I done did this to myself), I didn’t get up as early today as I usually do on Wednesdays so I’m getting in a shorter period of writing. Still working on Chapter Nineteen and fighting to get upstream on this story.  I can do this, I know I can do this, it’s just a question of doing it.

So, I am. Doing it, that is. *insert immature snickering here*.

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WIPpet Math: 5 + 9 = 14, so here’s fourteen paragraphs from Chapter Four of Omegas: Cake Walk, wherein the Omegas sit down with Dr. Lawrence and discuss her estrangement from her daughter:

“For starters, how did your daughter come to join up with the Church of the Sacred Foundation?” Winslow asked. “She’s fairly young, or so I was told, but it sounds like she’s in pretty deep. I’m curious as to how that happened.”

Dr. Lawrence took a deep breath and held it for several seconds before letting it out in a long, shuddering gust. “Mackenzie was about nine when her father and I divorced. Mackenzie decided she wanted to live with her father and I didn’t contest it because, well, to be honest? Because of where I was in my career, I didn’t contest the issue. Creighton was in a better position to give Mackenzie the kind of care she needed.”

“That’s around the time you began working for Dr. Zilsch’s division at Pulsar Labs, right?” Winslow asked.

“Yes, it was. It was a very important time for me and I wouldn’t have been able to give either Mackenzie or my duties the time they deserved. Mackenzie wanted to stay with her father, so I agreed.” Dr. Lawrence’s face became pinched and wary. She paused, looking carefully from face to face. “I know that probably sounds terrible.”

“It sounds perfectly reasonable to me,” Tara said. “If the situation was reversed, nobody would have thought twice about your ex choosing his career over parenthood.”

“You certainly don’t need to justify yourself to us, Dr. Lawrence,” Winslow said. “We’re just after the facts.”

Some of the tension went out of Dr. Lawrence’s shoulders as she smiled, a small, grateful smile. “Thank you,” she said. “After the divorce, I kept in contact with Mackenzie as best I could because of my work schedule. We were prepping for the Deep Mu Expedition at that time so things were hectic but I did my best.  Of course, once we left for the expedition back in 1999, I didn’t see her for almost two and a half years.”

“That expedition was supposed to last, what? A year, right?” Winslow asked. “There were some kind of political shenanigans that delayed your return, unless I misremember?”

“There were,” Dr. Lawrence said. “It was complicated, but suffice to say that Lucrezia Borgia had nothing on the Grand Princess of the South Pacific Gyre. The resulting chaos from her machinations delayed our return to the surface until late in 2001, then recovering from having spent that much time at depth kept us all out of commission until almost hallway through 2002. Which, among other things, put a severe strain on my relationship with Mackenzie.”

There was a chorus of sympathetic noises from Tara, Winslow and Marco. Laney and Frankie were remaining quiet, though Torque noticed that Laney had scooted forward so that she was perched at the edge of the couch, sitting with her hands on her knees as she watched Dr. Lawrence closely. Frankie, on the other hand, sat leaning back and staring blankly toward the ceiling. Torque wished he could follow the shorter man’s example but he’d been tasked with listening for details and he wasn’t about to disappoint.

For his own part, Torque knew the conversation was important though not exactly why. There were layers of significance in Dr. Lawrence’s words that he couldn’t quite grasp.  Clearly, her daughter had been important to her – but then, most baseline humans felt a deep bond with their offspring. He could hear guilt in Dr. Lawrence’s voice but why she should feel bad for doing her job was beyond Torque. Furrowing his brows, he leaned forward, mimicking Laney’s position as Dr. Lawrence continued speaking:

“By the time we returned to Shikagou, Creighton had gotten a new job teaching at a private school in Tippecanoe; the An Solas Preparatory Academy.  It’s not far from here, only about an hour and a half, but once I was back on my feet, I was buried with work from the expedition. There was just so much information to process and artifacts to catalog. Maybe if I’d made more time then, maybe I would have noticed something was off but both of them seemed happy enough and, well, it was easier to just believe that there’d be time enough later on to reconnect.”

“We always do,” Winslow said, softly. “It was during this time she got involved with the Womackians?”

“Yes,” Dr. Lawrence said. “Not on her own, but…oh, God, this is going to sound like I’m blaming my ex but it was all because of Creighton. He started attending a singles mixer in Marquette – it’s the nearest city to An Solas – and while he was there, he met this woman. Marcie something or other. She’s the one who brought him into the cult and he brought Mackenzie with him.”

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