Once The Spider, Now The Fly

Participants:

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Also Featuring:

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Scene Title Once the Spider, Now the Fly
Synopsis Jonathan Carmichel captures another person present on the Verrazano-Narrows
Date March 9, 2009

They say that family is the greatest gift one can ever be bestowed with…

The dull thump of helicopter blades slicing through the air are the first sounds that rouse her from her drug-induced slumber. Eyes shrouded by black goggles and a hood drawn over her head, she is lifted up from the seat she was chained to, only now disconnected from the respirator aparatus that had blurred her senses her with sedatives. Her head throbs, seething pain amidst absolute blackness and the roar of a helicopter's engines. She can feel the wind on her body, the downdraft from the blades, the feeling of hands around her arms, o chains binding her ankles and wrists.

But like all gifts, some can prove to be unwanted, or delivered in an untimely fashion…

Shuffling, numb steps carry her across firm ground, loose slippers drawn over delicate feet scuffing concrete she cannot see, "…down to medical lab C." Barely, the voices outside of her darkened prison carry over the dull roar of her migraine and the weightless, swimming feeling that the sedatives force upon her.

…what if the very notion of family was turned against you? From a welcome haven, to a prison forged of your own emotions?

The creak of a steel door catches her senses, and prickling pain begins to come over her extremities as the sedatives slowly begin to lose their hold on her mind. "For the love of God, take off her hood, I need to be able to deliver the injection." Comes one voice once she's through the door, and quickly following the world comes into a blurry and bright lack of focus. The hood is drawn back, fluorescent lights welcoming eyes that struggle to adjust to their desaturating glow. Homeland Security officers in black uniforms drag the woman arm in arm, towards a table with leather restraints, and a doctor rifling through a cabinet of pneumatic syringes.

What if the love one has for family, was turned into a weapon?

The doctor turns, one injection gun in hand, light reflecting off of his glasses as he watches the men begin dragging this newest inmate towards the table. "Miss Bennati, you're going to have to remain still, or this is going to hurt more than it needs to."

Where could we ever be safe, then?


Sixteen Hours Earlier

The Ritz Carlton — Lucrezia's Suite


'Peace and quiet' is a relative term for the occupants of the Ritz-Carlton's Royal Suite; even in the dead of night, with the wounded city's cacophony muted on the other side of insulated picture windows and reinforced firewalls muffling the noise between floors, there is still the subtle buzz of natural white noise generated by dozens upon dozens of unseen invertebrate denizens tucked into every imaginable dark corner, every convenient crevice.

Early afternoon, however, brings with it an uncommon sort of stillness that the suite rarely sees — or, rather, hears. Lucrezia lingers alone — Amato's been sent out on an errand — in the luxurious living room, sprawled out in a languid pose on one of the lounging chaise with an old book cradled in the palm of one hand while the dying dregs of a spiced cigarette waft their all but forgotten aroma into the air from betwixt two delicate digits of the other. There's a glass of something sparkling not far from her side, although it, too, has gone forgotten in the wake of her reading. She pauses for a moment, drawing her eyes away from the page and cocks her chin to the side as a slightly alarming thought slowly pervades her insect-infested brain…

…it's quiet. Too quiet.

She should have seen this coming, perhaps the relative peace Lucrezia Bennati has been afforded since Kazimir's death has made her soft.

Perhaps she was soft to begin with.

The silence is shattered by the sound of splintering wood and shattering locks, as the front door of her suite explodes off of its hinges in a shower of wood flinders. Shouting immediately fills the air, followed by the flash of a metal canister lobbed into the hotel suite. No matter how soft peace may have made her though, Lucrezia's honed reflexes will always be sharpened from her time with the Vanguard. Kazimir's compulsory training, even to his delicate insectile rose, gives her the edge to recognize a flashbang when she sees it hurtling through the air.

In the moments it takes her to cover her eyes and move off of the sofa, the hotel suite is flooded with a near deafening bang, accompanied by a flash of light that goes unseen from her position. "Department of Homeland Security!" Comes the bellowing cry after the flashbang, and the thundering sound of boots slamming on the hardwood floors. From behind the sofa, Lucrezia is not blind to these intruders into her hive, for every shadow has a thousand compound eyes, every shadow has ten thousand legs, every shadow can see the men in black fatigues entering the room, their goggles and helmets and guns.

Every shadow twitches with life.

In addition to the shouts of incoming paratrooper personnel, the suite suddenly comes alive with the shrill noise of cicada call at a volume far behind what might be considered tolerable to human ears; it's capable of being heard clearly a full mile away. Lucrezia's all-natural alarm system has just kicked in — intruder alert! — a little late. Wasps, bees, and biting ants take to buzzing wing and soon the whole room is filled with clouds of white smoke and black bodies as insects of every ilk emerge and descend upon the intruders in a vain attempt to protect their preternatural mistress and assist her escape. Soon enough, there's screaming. Hope no one's allergic to beestings like little Eileen Ruskin…

Her harrying minions do their best but, in the end, Lucrezia is felled by a combination of tazer and tranquilizer just a few steps shy of the secondary service exit found in the pantry. As her body abruptly slams into immobility mid-stride, her fingertips graze a tray of crystal wine glasses left out on the countertop and they, too, come crashing down nearby and she earns the slightest of nicks on an otherwise flawless cheek for her trouble.

So much for getting back the security deposit.


Sixteen Hours Later

Moab Federal Penitentiary


Forced down onto the table, Lucrezia feels the cold steel against the hunter orange jumpsuit she sees herself dressed in for the first time. Held down by gloved hands, she is strapped to the table, struggling with drug-weakened limbs against too many hands, too many masked faces. The doctor, though, simply strides in and brings the pneumatic injection device up under her chin, "You're fortunate, Miss Bennati, we just started using these injection guns, you don't have to get the spinal needle." His lips creep up into an only passing expression of a smile, dishonest enough to never reach his eyes.

When the ring of needles press up to the underside of Lucrezia's jaw, there is a sharp pain as several points of injection are all set at once against the hiss of the pneumatic device forcing chemicals into her bloodstream at a major artery. "You'll feel some mild disorientation," he claims, that fake smile still heavy on his lips, "some inmates have complained about headaches too, but — " he waves one hand, flippantly, "I don't think the drug will be what really causes that in your case…"

Turning to the men who escorted her in, the doctor moves to pick up a chart on the wall, flipping a page over as his eyes scan down the lists, "Miss Bennati is listed for transportation to Red Level for interrogation in twenty-four hours, for now she can enjoy the comforts of Green Level, once these drugs kick in…" Her mind reels, eyes wander the cold gray stone, the surgical steel, the black uniforms — this cannot be how her life ends.

If there was ever a time to be thankful for being bodily bound to table, this might be it; those straps are the only thing preventing her from faceplanting gracelessly on the cement floor. As it is, she lolls her head to the side, features marred by an expression of agony as the muscles in her neck protest against any movement so soon after that awful inoculation. All of the noise that tumbles from between her lips is jumbled and incoherent; a tossed salad of English, Italian, and French with a peppering of what Spanish she's capable of rendering distinct from the rest — those three Romance languages nearly all sound the same when someone's slurring their words.

Breathe. Just breathe.

Dark eyes close against the incongruent intrusion of visual vertigo and Lucrezia struggles to focus on as few senses as she can at one time. Listen. The whole world sounds so far away… as if her ears were packed with cotton. Feel. The table she's laid out on is cold but sturdy beneath her body… long fingers splay out slowly to explore the surface in a tactile fashion. Smell. Her nostrils flare to perceive the scent of cruel cleanliness, sterility. Taste. The film that coats her tongue borders somewhere between acidic and sweet… it's almost as if she'd been making out with a battery. See. When she finally finds the strength to open her eyes again, this is what she sees…


Sixteen Hours Earlier

The Ritz Carlton — Lucrezia's Suite


Her hands bound behind her back in zip-ties, Lucrezia's bare feet slide across blood on the hardwood floor. Screams fill the apartment hall, even as she makes her way for the door, a buzzing cloud of insects filling the lavish chamber beyond. All it takes is a moment of conscious thought for the work of tasers to become undone, just a moment where she could reach out to her children that infest her room.

When she makes it out into the hall, three Homeland Security agents struggle and fight against a horde of spiders covering their bodies, smashing themselves into warmly painted walls, clawing at their masks, struggling to peel their suits off to get at the biting insects trapped inside. Lucrezia Bennati is no fool, no victim, no game to be hunted. She has survived so much worse, lived through so many difficult times — these men are not Kazimir Volken.

Parting the hall, she makes her way towards the stairwell, hands still zip-tied behind her back, bare feet scuffing the carpet as she runs away from the sounds of screaming. The bare-footed woman's escape comes to a skidding halt as a single man in black makes his way out of the stairwell, the only one not wearing a mask. Tall, broad-shouldered and yet thin of frame. His bald head pale as his distinguished looking face; high and deeply cut cheekbones making him look like a gaunt statue.

Only one man between her and freedom. Only one man.

Reckoning. That's what this is. Whether or not it earns the additional descriptor of dead is yet to be seen but, if Lucrezia has anything to say about things, she certainly won't be the one wearing that toe tag. Seconds slowly tick by with an aching inefficiency and the old actress can feel the tingle in her fingertips that signals the imminent lose of sensation due to hampered circulation. Of course, she is no less deadly with her hand literally tied behind her back. She slathers her tongue in a honeyed tone and pulls her spine erect and delivers a six word soliloquy: "You don't have to do this…"

However, Carmichael's no doubt sharpened senses can easily detect the living sea of many-legged things sweeping swiftly out of the gaping maw that is Lucrezia's destroyed suite foyer like a black tide. Her legions are already winging their way to her rescue.

The buzzing swarm of insects rises like a carpet of darkness from behind Lucrezia, an infuriated and hissing maw of insectile fury. They blanket Lucrezia, drowning her in their clicking and buzzing sounds as they surge towards the bald agent. Jonathan Carmichael has seen many varied and terrifying powers since he began this inquisition, but presented now face-to-face with Lucrezia Bennati's true gift that the limelight of the stage knows not, he would never admit to how much fear it fills him with.

Bees and other stinging, biting, and flying insects roll like smoke around Lucrezia, and Carmichael is forced to give one, singular attempt to spare himself the same grim fate as his subordinates. His brow tenses, the air in front of his forehead rippling visible like a heat mirage, before a sudden cuncussive blast of psychic energy emanates out from him with the force of a speeding car. The impact against the tiny minds of the insects is un-felt, these buzzing creatures so simple his complex neural attack does nothing to them…

…but in the same breath, they do nothing to shield Lucrezia from the mental onslaught that assails her. Struck in her cerebrum by what feels like the sudden force of a collision with an automobile, Lucrezia's vision bursts with spots of color and white, and she can feel her legs giving out beneath her, the world falling away as she slides down, down, down until her head connects with the floor in an audible thunk.

Before her eyes roll back in her head, she can feel her connection to the swarm sever, and the insects begin to disperse as they reach Carmichael, and everything fades to white…


Sixteen Hours Later

Moab Federal Penitentiary


The sound of two cell doors sliding shut ring with the same hollow echo that Lucrezia remembers the sound of her head hitting the floor making. Alone, now, in her cell, she finds an empty view of a fenced in yard beyond through a narrow slit like some princess locked in a tower to be all she has. Slouched against the wall on the stone-slab bed lined with a too-thin mattress, her equilibrium begins to come together. Head tilted back, mouth open, and eyes half-lidded, is this how the career of Lucrezia Bennati ends?

In the far corner of her cell, a tiny web has been spun; one of silken threads clung with dust. But it is not the presence of the spider in her cell that truly worries Lucrezia, nor is it the irony of her now being the fly in the spider's web. Her mind focused on only one, singular thing: That she cannot feel this one cellmate…

…and that she is truly alone here.


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March 9th: Errand Boys
Previously in this storyline…
Blonde Bombshells In Prison

Next in this storyline…
Dosage

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March 9th: Coming Home
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