19 Hours


devon2_icon.gif devon4_icon.gif

Scene Title 19 Hours
Synopsis Until two very different words collide.
Date February 27 through 28, 2020

February 27, 2020

6:37 pm

The Bastion - Clendaniel’s Quarters

A small bag sits open on the foot of Devon Clendaniel’s bed, half packed with the necessities for immediate travel and mission readiness. Five minutes ago it wasn’t there, and neither was he. Nineteen hours echoes with urgency in his mind. Every thread of his being insists it isn’t enough time. A couple of protein bars are dropped into the bag, partly obscuring a field kit, small even by survivalist standards. It had seen him through plenty of tight spots during the war and it’s become a fixture in his supplies even if he doesn’t use it.

His eyes track away from his gear, to his cell phone sitting nearby. The dark, sleeping screen greets his searching eyes.

Dragging a hand through his hair, Devon turns to hunt down the last of his personal equipment. But before he can take a step to fetch spare socks and thin gloves, he turns back. The hand on his head reaches out, fingers curl around the phone and lift it from its resting spot. A thumb swipes up on the screen and awakens it.

0 Calls
0 New Texts

His brows pinch with uncertainty, and he opens his recent conversations. “Delivered,” he murmurs, tossing the phone down again. Not Read, but at least Delivered. He lets out a slow breath, stalling. There isn't much left to pack, nothing that would take him the better part of 19 hours to accomplish. His thumb hovers over the contact information, maybe he's just being silly.

Maybe Emily is just busy and hasn't had time to answer.

His heart wins over logical persuasion and he taps the screen, sending the call. One hand drags through his hair while the other holds the phone to his ear. The line rings, rings again, a third time. Then

“This is Emily, leave a message.”

“Emily.” Devon tries to keep the urgency and worry from his voice, forces a brief smile. “I guess you're pretty busy. I texted but…” His eyes wander to the gear still waiting to be packed. “I just wanted to hear your voice again before we leave. I'll… see you in a couple days, and…” This won't be like last time. “I love you.”

Praxis Ziggurat - Residential Level Corridors

Twelve hours have come and gone since the lockdown was lifted. It's been nearly silent for at least eight of those hours. Business as usual hasn't fully returned, unsurprisingly. People were afraid and no one was providing answers.

It had been five hours since the lockdown lifted before Devon chose to emerge. Then it was a brief, unassuming trip to the cafeteria. Absences were noted, familiar faces of those who live and work in this part of the Ziggurat were missing. It wasn't surprising, given rumors of an attack, of the military mobilizing, of murder happening near the pinnacle of the fortress. The lack of babysitter presence wasn't expected. It must be something big for that to change.

Now, with the day waning, evening taking over, he's become more bold in his excursions. The small shortwave transmitter he'd started six months ago is nearly complete, waiting patiently for a handful of parts that he can't find in the residential suites. Devon walks through the corridors like he owns them, confidence in his step, a song on his lips.

Take me home, country roads, to the place I belong —

West Virginia, Mountain Momma

Take me home, country roads

11:58 pm

The Bastion - Rooftop

The nighttime breeze off the Hudson tousles Devon’s hair and tugs at his jacket, brings the faint sounds of boatmen’s voices. Simpler things that should relax his mind, remind him of tomorrow’s real mission. Preserving life, the way of life, in the path laid down by the Second Civil War. It's an ugly necessity, a road he wouldn't recommend to anyone but holds himself to it like an oath.

He lifts a green glass bottle to his lips, hesitates in the act of finishing the still-cool beer within. Laughter from somewhere in the darkened city reaches him. He indulges in the distraction, drawing on memories of the good times with his friends and family.

His core twists after a few seconds of the jovial sounds. The threat of what ifs rise and fall with the pitch and cadence of the unseen gathering. The bottle is tipped to fill his mouth with a slightly bitter yet refreshing liquid. The contrast of cold and slight heat doesn't drown the worries trying to climb up from his stomach and rip through his chest, but the act temporarily mellows it.

After a long swallow, his hand lowers and the glass bottle with it. Devon turns from the roof ledge to return to his quarters, but leaves the bottle behind like a gargoyle left to protect the building.

Praxis Ziggurat - Medical Wing

This fortress never seems to sleep. Especially not in the halls and rooms dedicated to the Practice of Medicine and unEthical Experimentation. That's one thing Devon has learned in his six months of house arrest. No matter where, there's always people. Most never pay him any mind; except the babysitters. He'd catch them just out of the corner of his eye, rarely finding them in direct line of sight, watching. It’s often made him wonder if this is what Neo felt like — knowing that the Matrix is real, and every time he began to get a step ahead finding an Agent there, waiting.

Even with the events of the morning — albeit normal seems yet to have returned — and how late it is, there are still a few busy bodies. None of the faces strike him as familiar. The time he'd spent in these rooms weren't blessed with visitors, only the same three or four probably hand picked by Doctor Cong or Monroe himself. Devon moves through the open corridor alone, carrying an odd confidence that he wholly believes he has every right to be there. Who would question? He was one of Doctor Cong’s personal projects, acquisitions by The Director himself.

Besides, there's every likelihood that he could have been summoned for medical treatment of some kind, a checkup perhaps, or noninvasive tests.

His real purpose, unbeknownst to those he strolls past, is to gather supplies. There are a few things, still, that he'd been unable to find.

February 28

4:41 am

The Bastion - Conference Room

Devon sits back in his chair and rubs at his eyes with the pads of his fingers. The words in the mission brief were beginning to blur together. Not that he needed to continue to study it, but it was something to do. Sleeplessness before a mission still holds true, even after all the years since he'd first stepped into the role with Endgame.

He lowers his hand to the table with a light thump, stares at the tablet with the details of the upcoming operation without actually seeing it. A sigh escapes him, stubbornness prompts him to pick up the mug of coffee strong enough to clean the Tlanuwa’s engines. It's going cold, but he drinks it anyway, then turns his attention to the display in an earnest act of futility. Moments stretch infinitely long as he reads the same paragraph three times.

Devon turns the display off as continuing to study proves impossible. He drags a hand over his face, pushes away from the table. Unconscious habit and hope drives him to pull his phone from his pocket as he stands to return to his quarters, but all that greets him is the time boldly displayed on the home screen.

Praxis Ziggurat - Level B4, Sleep Study Lab

Six months ago, this is where it ended. And where it began.

Devon finds himself staring into the last room of his captivity while on the hunt for components. He'd spent so many weeks, days, hours in the depths of the Ziggurat, caged and chained like a laboratory experiment — treated as something barely more than an animal. His humanity was shredded and spliced back together in that time, without regard for his dignity, without empathy. Always driven by the end results.

Then an olive branch was offered. It came in the form of a greasy cheeseburger and salty fries, the first taste of actual food he'd had since that ill-fated trip to Sunstone, and information as to why he'd been kept a prisoner and lab rat.

He steps into the room, recalling his conversation with Adam Monroe. He'd been promised a chance at a new life, and yet here he is. Still. Slow steps draw him to the bedside, eyes finding now dark displays that would show readings when connected to his head. Anger and frustration rears its head at the unfairness. If the debt that was owed to his dad had been paid, then why wasn't he allowed to leave? Why didn't they pursue this twin?

His hands wrap around the edges of a wall-mounted screen and he pulls. Plastic snaps and protests Devon’s efforts before giving up its hold. The casing rips free, but without any satisfaction, and is thrown against a wall. He grabs the side of the bed and flips it onto its side. His foot tangles with the sub-base wiring, crashes into a bedside table as he jerks free.

Shoulders rise and fall with each breath. The exertion spent on upending and toppling disturbs mingles with his hatred for circumstance and this place. He turns, strides purposefully out of the room, the last room, without looking back.

12:08 pm

The Bastion - Clendaniel’s Quarters

A new mug of coffee waits patiently on the edge of the desk where Devon left it. His small gear bag sits on his freshly made bed beside the larger one containing his armor.

“You're not getting it back.” Devon’s voice is cast over his shoulder, joking and strangely energetic tones carrying into the hall behind him. The entire building is buzzing with a readiness it hasn't seen in a year. But for him, it ends at the doorway. Whatever response might be following is cut off as he closes the door.

Coming into his quarters is a quieter affair. Dev trades his shoes for boots, pausing between lacing up the first and second to look at the band around his wrist. Right now it's all silver, save for the black leather that everything is sewn to. Except for the sequins it really isn't terrible, and those little flat beads are more of something to fidget with than any kind of fashion statement from him. He shakes his head, finishes the task and stands so he can check his armor and munitions.

There's less than an hour to take off.

Praxis Ziggurat - Clendaniel, Devon M.’s Apartment

A clenching gurgle within Devon’s stomach reminds him of the hour better than the seabirds calling outside his open living room window. His eyes come open, focusing first on the disorganized array of wires and screws and mismatched pieces that litter his coffee table. Awareness continues to creep in as he notices the brightness from outside filling his small apartment.

He twists on the sofa to allow his feet to find the floor. A moment later he sits up. Hands scrub his face then rake through his shaggy hair. For a moment he sits back, hands on his knees, staring at nothing specific. His stomach growls again, and he answers with a yawn. So little progress had been made last night. His eyes find the odds and ends scattered over the low tabletop. Almost nothing to show for his bold excursions through the depths of the fortress.

A hand drags through his hair again. Then, Devon sighs and stands. His path takes him to the kitchenette and a couple of apples stashed in the mini fridge. Taking a bite out of one, he returns to the living room and his efforts to piece together a radio transmitter.

He breaks off another bite from his apple as he takes a seat on the floor. He's going to need to work quickly if he's going to get it done soon; it's doubtful he'll have yesterday’s luck without extra eyes everywhere. Dev sets the apple aside, pulls close a pair of alligator clips, and sets to work piecing parts together.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License