Big Sister Is Watching

Participants:

elle_icon.gif jessica_icon.gif niki_icon.gif

Scene Title Big Sister Is Watching
Synopsis Elle's pre-inspection visit to Jessica's cell ends with an unexpected plea for help.
Date March 29, 2009

Moab Federal Penitentiary - Red Level


Making rounds around Moab isn't really so different from doing the same in the Company back home. It does take more time, however, since there are four levels of floorspace to be toured in one visit instead of just one at a time. Though Elle has been tasked with inspecting all four in equal capacity, it's the Red Level that is naturally the most interesting to her, and she is rather pleased to be back again after her visit to Peter.

His was the one cell she didn't specifically have clearance to, but most of these others, nested in the deep, silent heart of the penitentiary's security, are different. They are hers to eye at leisure. How else is she expected to inspect them?

Smiling thinly and humorlessly to herself, Elle enters the access code she had been granted for Prisoner 0000121. One Niki Sanders. After a delay, the by-now familiar process of steel sliding against steel above and in front of her— massive doors groaning away to reveal blackness— completes itself. She is left to peer critically into the depths of room before her, and a moment later, begin her stride inside.

The blonde assassin is just OH so thrilled. She's in Red after the fight. Which, given her recent interrogation with Verse. She's not happy at all about it, and Niki is just practically catatonic. She looks up at the door opening, and then her eyes open wider. Elle Bishop. Oh, there could be better timing for this. This is not good.

As Elle calmly takes steps further in, she halts to let her eyes adjust to the new, gloom-filled level of darkness. A round ball of electricity erupts in the seat of her hand, illuminating her face as she brings it towards her in a weird cast of glowing blue, and shadow. "Now. What do we have here?" she asks as she focuses on Jessica's outline. Mockingly, as if she really doesn't know.

Jessica looks back, and oh, joy. The electricity is already there. She considers that, and decides that playing it nice is in her better interest at the moment. "Hello, Elle." Hey, maybe she'll think she's Niki. Couldn't hurt to try.

The purpose of generating the electricity had only been so Elle could have some light to see by. After all, she's supposed to be investigating claims of abuse here, not creating her own (Peter, at least, can heal!); but if it should come to that… She ignores the greeting, folding the arm not in use across her abdomen, posture straight. "I heard you had trouble playing nice up there, Sanders." There is a slight snort. She's speaking softly; it's just the two of them here. No need for anything louder. Or more confrontational.

Jessica looks back to the Agent. "There was a little disagreement, that's all." She stands, taking a single step closer to Elle. "So, I see that you're still getting good paying work with people who torture people. Must be handy."

Elle doesn't flinch, doesn't take her eyes off the taller woman's face. Jessica poses little threat with her powers subdued, and she is aware of it. "Don't talk to me about people who torture people," she answers with her jaw set, voice containing antagonism that hadn't been there before. She isn't aware of the conversation Agent Verse had had with Sanders— what she had been shown inside the landscape of her mind. But she's quite sure the former stripper remembers regardless. "But, heh. If you want to call it handy."

Jessica looks back to Elle. "You know I don't belong in here. Any more than you do." Well, there's a double-edged statement. "Talk to Sabra. Tell her I'm in here so she can get me the hell OUT of here. You have no idea how sick I am of being locked up." Pause. "Actually, YOU might have an idea how sick I am of being locked up all the time."

"Oh, -Director Dalton- knows you're in here. Do you think she's stupid?" Elle's lip curls. Oh, she knows what it's like to be locked up, all right. Try spending an entire childhood that way. "After what happened last year, after what you did to me, you're lucky you're not dead. You should be asking to write a thank-you note to Sabra. That she didn't let me have my way with you."

That broadsides her. "She doesn't know I'm in here. She just got done getting me OUT of Homeland a couple months ago, and I haven't DONE anything since then. If she knew I was in here, she'd get me out. As for last year…let's not forget you electrocuting me…repeatedly…before what -I- did."

But Elle doesn't see it that way. As far as she's concerned, nothing she could have done was in the wrong. "Since then." she points out. "And since it obviously didn't sink in back then, either, I was trying to help you. I tried to bring Niki out, I tried to help you with your wildcard of a power. Or have you forgotten all that too?"

The taller blonde looks back, and frowns. "Yeah, and then the people in here just fucking mindraped her last night." She's actually concerned about that, on top of being really WORRIED. "So thanks so much to your friends here at Moab." Pause. "She doesn't deserve to be here, Elle."

There's a millon things that immediately snap into Elle's mind as potential responses to this. She doesn't really attempt to stop the sarcasm from filtering into her voice. "So, what? We're just gonna split her into another body and let her go, is that it?"

Jessica looks back to Elle. "-I- don't belong in here either. Not now. I haven't done anything to get me in here. Come on, Elle. She tried to get you out." Jessica will play on that happily. If it will help get her out of here.

It takes a second for Elle to figure out what Jessica is talking about. Niki got her out of what now? Oh, that. If you can count that. "Only after you already finished with me, bitch." Her tone is slowly but steadily advancing in degrees of warning. "Quit sucking up; it's not going to work on me. What do you mean, you haven't done anything to get you in here? I thought it was Niki who forgets stuff, not you." C'mon. How many men has Jessica thrown around over her career, now?

Jessica looks back at that. "Nothing -recent-." She emphasizes. "Nothing since the last time I was in jail. Elle, someone is pulling something. They were in there fucking with my head. Niki is in bad shape." The concern is evident on her face, despite being all cold-ass assassin and all.

"Listen, I hope you know it isn't unusual for inmates to get ~questioned.~ Get used to it." Nevertheless, Elle snorts once more as she lets her glowing forearm drift down in front of her, elbow locking as it rests. "What do you mean, she's in bad shape?"

Jessica takes a step back…a symbolic gesture as much as anything, that she's not trying to fight now. "They have a telepath. He grabbed Niki, threw her into a mindscape. Made her live through D.L. and Micah getting blown up again. Made her live through our father beating her. She's bad. As bad as she was when I was down on Level Five."

"Your father beat you—?" It's curiosity that creeps into Elle's tone now, malice at bay for now. Though it's hard to see in the veil of shadow, sullen doubt creeps into her blue eyes. "Hmph. What do you want me to do about it?"

Jessica looks back. "You're a Company Agent. You've got Sabra's ear. You've got resources, and I don't, right now." This next part HURTS to do, because if there's one thing Jessica never wants to do, it's show weakness in front of someone else. "Help me. Help her." There's a silent nod to Elle's first question to her.

"I'm not going to help you leave, if that's what you're asking me to do." That's out of the question, even if it didn't have the power to sabotage Elle's job as well. And surely Jessica knows that. "But I'm not sure that there's anything that can be done to help Niki. We already, like, tried everything when you were with us. Hey…why don't you let me talk to her, so she can tell me what's wrong herself?"

Jessica points out "Because she's been catatonic since the other day. Since the telepath. If I go under now, you're likely going to just have a lump of a person. He screwed her up bad, Elle."

"Lord, she doesn't need to be screwed up anymore." Point in case: the existence of Jessica. And Gina. And who knows what else. "Maybe I should have a talk with this guy. Sounds like he reversed a good couple months of what we were trying to do. What'd he want out of her? You?"

Jessica looks back. "Information on Phoenix. Which I have only the most peripheral information on to start with. And yeah. He set things back kind of a lot." Concerned tone is concerned. "If you want to check up on her, I'd be okay with that." Jessica trusts Elle? Isn't that one of the signs of the apocalypse? Or maybe just crazy, screwed-up blonde solidarity.

Wonders never cease, do they. The agent's response to this unprecedented offer? "You know I do." Let's do this.

There's some hesitation, but Jessica moves over to the small bed, and lies down on it. She closes her eyes. There's a couple moments of still quiet, before the woman on the bed curls up into as tight a fetal position as she can manage, on her side.

Elle watches this with narrowed eyes, silently following in Jessica's wake to stand by the head of the sorry-looking bed. The electricity is all but gone, its blue light faded back into the skin of her arm. Her vision has long since adjusted.

Gently, and somewhat doubtfully, she reaches out to touch the woman's shoulder and perhaps convince her to ease onto her side, where Elle can actually see her face.

What she's rewarded with is something which, normally, a sadist would probably be happy to get in reply. A whimper that's close on a shriek, and a reflexive flinching away from the touch. Her hands are up, curled into fists, forearms held in front of her face, as if shielding herself, eyes tightly closed.

Actually not so, in this case. Sadists like knowing that they're the cause of whatever pain is going on— but Elle, right now, is wishing she had more of an idea of what is. "It's me," she reiterates firmly, trying for the second time to lay a hand on Niki's shoulder and finding herself repelled by the resistance. "C'mon, stop it. It's just you and me."

There's the very faintest hint of a head twitch. Was that a headshake no? Might have been. Might also have just been trembling. It's hard to tell. There's another faint whimper. It's different from the Level 5 times. That was more or less catatonia. This is active terror.

Once more, and more quietly and musingly: "Just you and me." Drat the lack of light fixtures in this place. Elle sighs, half in a growl, and finally consents to sink to her knees beside the bed. Is this what it comes to? Electrokinetic playing nursemaid? "…Niki." She rests her fingers on Niki's upper arm whether the other wants it or not, the motion gentle— actually gentle— but very firm. "I know you can hear me. It's okay." It's all okay.

Talk about a role reversal. The taller blonde shakes her head again. Yes. That's definitely a headshake this time. More pronounced, though just as spastic. She mumbles something, but with her hands up to her face like that, whatever it was is hard to tell.

Hell, Elle isn't used to reassuring anyone, much less this. But she does try her best. In her own way. "You're stuck inside your own head. In something that isn't even real. I know how it feels, but you have to calm down - at least long enough for me to talk to you." There's a distinct pause, and a bit of the irritated look retreats from her eyes; now they just look a little exasperated. She matter-of-factly tucks a strand of hair behind an ear. "I can't help, otherwise."

Another headshake. "He's there." she says, somewhat more articulately. "All real. It was all real. He's there, they're gone. My fault." As Jessica said, she's a mess.

This does mystify Elle to some degree. All the garble is hard to decipher between. "Who's he?" she inquires. "The telepath? Your husband?"

Niki replies "D.L." Pause. "Daddy." And then in a forlorn, heartbroken tone. "Micah. Oh, god, Micah." She curls up tighter again and begins sobbing.

Though Elle has a vague urge to rub at her forehead with the pads of her fingers, she doesn't. Instead, her tone stays as soothing as she can make it; after all, she's had to take the hey-I'm-your-friend stance with Company captives in the past, right? The pressure of the hand on Niki's shoulder grows greater. "Whatever it is, I'm sure it can't be that bad. C'mon. "

Nothing more than more crying. Someone's poor little heart is broken. Which makes for a less-than-conversational situation.

You know what this situation needs right now? A psychiatrist. Actually no, more like someone who cares.

Whatever thoughts are churning darkly beneath the surface, however, the girl's hand tentatively moves to brush Niki's hair away from her face— an uncharacteristically mellow gesture— though she has little doubt she'll be repulsed again. "Just let it all out, then, I guess." Hey, if it'll help.

Niki keeps crying. Finally, it shuts off as if a lightswitch were flipped, and she sits up. Jessica looks back. "She's trying so hard to keep everything out that even I'm only barely aware of what's happening when she's out."

Elle's first reaction is to be taken aback by the change, though it isn't hard to figure out what just happened. "I guess you're right. I really don't know how to help," she says with a hard shrug, using one hand to lever herself back onto her feet. "Can't you help her? I mean, even if she's shutting you out you're, you know. A part of her." One could technically argue that Jessica doesn't even really exist, that it's all just Niki.

Jessica shakes her head. "No. Without a mirror in here I can't even talk to her directly." Yes, she's crazy, but her crazy has rules. "You could get me transferred out of Red." she says. "Someplace with a mirror, at least."

"You don't get it. I don't have the power to call those kinds of shots around here." Idly, Elle trails the fingers of both hands through one strand of hair on her collarbone. "This isn't the Company. I might be able to get you a reflective surface if I said it'd keep you docile or something. Though it'd probably have to be plastic— I doubt they'd trust you with a mirror." Hey, if they don't even trust prisoners enough not to nail seats to the ground.

Jessica nods. "Let's try that." she says, hopefully. "Anything will do. Hell, aluminum foil will do. Just something shiny enough." Pause. "Thank you, Elle."

Elle lets an amused sound escape her at that, eyeing Jessica for a moment longer before rousing herself and unruffledly making her way back to the entrance. "Yeah. Whatever." She shakes her head right before looking back over her shoulder, long and calculatingly, the last action to be seen before she disappears entirely.

And then: down the steel gates come grinding— and down, and down— leaving Jessica in darkness and solitude once more.

A promise?

It remains to be seen.


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Previously in this storyline…
The Lie

Next in this storyline…
And the Wind Began to Howl

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