A Matter Of Time


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Scene Title A Matter of Time
Synopsis During his training with the Company, Darren Stevens is approached by a mysterious benefactor with an agenda.
Date July 3, 2010

Chicago, Illinois

Company Training Facility

Deep beneath the streets of Chicago, Illinois rests one of the city's greatest secrets. Constructed in 1982 the Chicago, Illinois Company Training Facility is a hub of activity within the clandestine organization that had — up until the destruction of Midtown — kept the greatest secret the world had ever known. This subterranean facility, consisting of six tiered floors and miles of underground tunnels and rail passages is where the Company trained the people that were once charged with helping keep this secret, and the very safety of the people they were keeping secret…

…or, that was the intention.

"We're going to try something different today…" The surprising interjection is from Howard Lemay, a former senior agent of the Company turned employee of the government, turned right back around to be a government liaison to the organization that gave him the skills that made him desirable to the American government. It's almost like a mobius strip of betrayal.

The blonde deer in a headlights staring into the doorway that Howard Lemay is filling is a Company agent in training, the newly recruited former chief of surgery at St.Luke's Hospital in New York City, Darren Stevens. "Wait, I… why're we at the kennel?" Barking dogs filling cages is one thing, but the presence of a morgue slab and a sheet covered corpse is an entirely further layer of weird juxtapositioning. "Why— is there a corpse in the kennel?"

What Darren Stevens is undergoing here in Chicago is more than a standard agent's training. Truth be told, there is no standard agent training any further. There is no keeping the greatest secret ever kept, and protecting the Evolved is a job that falls to the government itself now. This has left the Company in a precarious situation, where they find themselves stuck in a position of consultants about interacting with the Evolved.

The tricky thing about most consulting positions, is that they're temporary.

"Where my's usual trainer?" Stepping away from the covered morgue slab, Darren squares his stubbled jaw and offers a square look at the tall man standing in the lab door, arms crossed and expression bordering on a glower. "Agent Lambert, he…" Darren looks back to the sheet covered slab, brows creased, then looks back to the door. "We were supposed to have a session on meditation?"

Nodding slowly, Howard Lemay ambles in to the fluorescent lit lab, rolling up the sleeves of his powder blue shirt. Darren's noticing the way a red tie looks almost Presidential against it. "Lambert isn't coming into work today…" is the gravely answer Lemay offers, buttoning back his sleeves and wringing his hands together as he steps across the concrete floor, staring Darren down. "We're gonna' do something more hands on."

Considerably taller than Darren, Howard looms over the former surgeon, a broad-shoulders gorilla-like man whose prominent brow does little to help dissuade that analogy. The continued deer in headlights expression from Darren has Lemay nodding his head once, slapping his hands together and rolling his shoulders right before he winds up and slams his fist across the side of Darren's face in a swift right-hook.

The immediate impact sends Darren's slight frame reeling backwards, a yelp of pain and surprise as he staggers, falls sideways and grasps for the table to help balance himself. Leather gloved fingers curl into the white fabric of the sheet hiding the body on the table, tearing it away from the corpse before Darren slams down on the ground with a strike of his elbow and a crack of his head against the concrete floor.

Dark brows raises, Lemay shakes his hand, bloody cuts across his knuckles and an assessing stare leveled on Darren in the way he writhes on the floor. It's only a few moments later before Lemay sees the reaction he was looking to elicit. Showering corona of yellow and green sparks rise up off of Darren's hands, an undulating pattern of seething colored light and magnetic energy resulting from his bending of the fabric of time around his very being.

As Darren pushes himself up off of the floor, his eyes surge with violent emerald light with surging sparks of yellow around the edges and the animals within the cages all around the lab begin howling and yelping, barking, baying, bleating and meowing in a way that only a zoo-like lab environment possibly could. Horror spreads across Darren's face as a rivulet of blood runs down his cheek from the split in flesh just beneath his right eye as he realizes what's happening.

"N— no— no this— " Darren's luminous eyes flick around the room, searching for something before offering a pleading request to Howard. "The negation drugs! Please! I— I can't make it stop!" Surging waves of electromagnetic radiation bending the color-spectrum a hideous green continue to burn like a sun's corona around his hands.

"Nope," is the least helpful thing Howard Lemay could possibly say to the man begging for help. "Why do you want negation drugs, what do you think is going to happen if I keep letting you burn away like a big sparkler?" Crouching down to squat next to Darren, Howard's brows furrow and his bottom jaw jutting forward as he looks at the blonde like a lab rat.

"I'll kill you!" Darren screams, scrambling backwards, shoes scuffing on the floor as he crawls away from Howard towards the back row of cages, barely able to see the decaying corpse missing most of its head laying on the table nearby. Howard is slow to rise up to his feet, rolling his tongue across the back of his teeth as he stalks towards Darren.

"See, that's just the sort've Hippy nonsense bullshit that the Company feeds you people." Advancing on Darren with fingers curling into fists, theres a terrified scream from the surgeon as his fingers curl up into the metal cage at the front of the kennel crates. A howling dog inside lit by the flickering green light radiating from his hand. "You have no idea what you're truly capable of, do you?"

As Darren gets to his feet, Howard steps in and grabs him by his necktie, yanking him forward and slamming a punch into the bridge of his nose. Darren's vision blurs, his legs give out and he falls backwards, tie clenching tight like a noose around his throat. The animals continue their shrieking echoing off of the walls as Darren chokes on his contracted windpipe. Looking down at the glow shed from Darren's hands, Howard's brows furrow and his dark eyes stare into Darren's now bloodshot green ones.

"You think time is a commodity? Is that what these shit-heels have been teaching you? That there's some sort of checks and balance of the universe, that the Good Lord Giveth and the Good Lord Taketh Away?" Pressing Darren back up against the cages, Howard's fingers curl into the front of his shirt and necktie, and then is lifted up off of his feet by the former agent's muscled arm. "Simon is tired of how long this is taking. I'm going to expedite things."

"Stop," is Darren's gagging attempt at speech before Lemay's forehead smashes against Darrens and he releases his tie and shirt, sending Darren crumpling down to the ground, a low bass hum now emanating from Darren's body in flares of green tinted on the edges of gold. Lemay doesn't stop though, the moment Darren tries to get to his knees he delivers another punch down to the side of the blonde's head, dropping him to the floor with a cry of pain.

"I know they went over the affects of adrenaline on people like you, day one of training. It's like a drug high to your kind, pushes you to your absolute natural limits. Have you ever been this worked up before?" There's no answer, and that is the wrong answer. There's a swift kick of a glossy patent leather shoe striking Darren in the stomach and flipping hip over onto his back. Howard's stride forward comes with a planted foot on Darren's chest.

"I asked you a question." Howard hisses through his teeth as he leans forward, resting his forearm across his knee, brows furrowed and dark eyes staring down at the man screaming in confusion and fear. "Have you ever felt like this before?" Howard's voice is a growling rumble, and Darren's luminous green eyes stare up in horror as he feels his body vibrating, bones humming inside his skin and flesh tingling with whatever this terrifying light surging from his body is.

But Howard's question is an evocative one.


Grand Central Terminal

New York City

April 8, 2010

Okay, so maybe Melissa's control isn't quite good enough to deal with Darren, and so maybe she slips a little and starts radiating some pain. And kicks the door as hard as she can. "You want anymore food you selfish, egotistical, childish prick, you come out and get it yourself. The people here aren't your damn servants."

There's a flash of green inside of the booth when that pain comes ebbing out, followed by a hiss and a snarl of confusion. All of the blinds begin rattling, one after another, vibrating like a train was coming down those pipes. Even when Melissa stops the inflicting of pain outwards from herself, the green glow continues, shining bright between the spaces of the blinds, flaring yellow on the edges and sending strange intangible paritculates of green light out through the walls in rolling clouds, like the way dust looks when caught in sunlight.

The glow moves closer towards the door and the rattling of the doorknob and blinds grows stronger until the lock flips and all of the fluorescent lights begin flickering overhead. One by one the bulbs in the light stands rupture and shatter, the fluorescent lights begin emitting a purple illumination as the spectrum of light is bent around the electromagnetic energy radiating out from the doorway.

Stumbling out of the ticket booth, Melissa Pierce only sees a black skeleton wearing dark clothing, green flesh luminous and muscle slightly darker, lime a lime-green X-ray of a man seething with flares and bands of lemon-lime light.

Then, like a birthday candle blown out in a huff of breath, Darren's internal radiation ceases and every single light in the terminal goes out. There's just a faint greenish glow hanging in ambient motes that drift like fireflies around where Darren is slouched up against the door frame, irises still glowing a shade of emerald. "What— did you do to me…"

The initial flash does nothing to abate Melissa's anger. But when the fireworks begin, her brow furrows and the pain eases as anger is replaced by confusion. And okay, a bit of fear too. The purple is new. Abby didn't mention purple. Dammit.

When he comes out of the booth she takes a step back and looks him over, up and down. "What are you?" she whispers, still frowning at him, apparently not hearing his question. Or maybe she's just being stubborn and answering nothing like he did earlier. Anything is possible!

"A monster." Is what Darren growls back, green light still flowing out of his mouth from the back of his throat, turning his teeth dark as rays of light emit between them. He pushes himself up, staggers to the side, then looks squarely at Melissa with brows furrowed and green irises slowly darkening as whatever charge he had fades.

Chicago, Illinois

Company Training Facility

Present Day

"Yes!" Darren's voice has a metallic tone to it, a vibration of molecules in his throat and a yellow light shining out of the back of his throat, firefly motes of green light spilling from between his teeth. When the fluorescent lights in the ceiling begin shedding a deep violet light as Darren's power surge begins warping and bending the spectrum of visible light, Howard's scowl finally turns into a smile.

Wrenching both hands at Darren's collar, Howard yanks the former doctor up off of his back and onto his feet, then throws him forward and slams him against the table, facing the desiccated corpse that was once covered. Lights overhead flicker and gutter like candles in the wind, and Howard's brows furrow as he watches the edges of Darren's body blur and distort as he if were surrounded by a heat mirage.

"You can bring this man back," Howard growls through is teeth, leaning over Darren from behind, one hand curled in the back of his collar, face over Darren's shoulder, heedless of the waves of energy passing through his body and irradiating him with electromagnetic energy. "Bring him back. He died on May 17th of last year, you can rewind his clock, you can bring him back from the dead!"

Staring at the rotting corpse, Darren's vision blurs and distorts, his eyes focus on the massive piece of his head that's missing and the way his jaw hangs crooked off of his neck. The lack of clothing indicates that he was never buried in a funeral, or that the corpse had been cut out of the garments, though the lack of decomposed fibers matted into the rotting flesh all seem keen in Darren's intuitive viewing.

But most of all, Darren can feel the age of the corpse, feel how many years it's been existing and feel how many years it's been inert. Forty-one years at the age of death, it's like a spike in a vital sign, a plateau of activity in the corpse before all atomic activity began to decline.

"I— I can't!" Darren howls, "I can't I— I'd have to kill— " The words are cut off by the curl of Howard's fingers into the back of Darren's hair and his head is yanked back.

"Yes you can!" Howard shouts against the side of Darren's face, one hand reaching down to withdraw a syringe from inside his slacks, pulling off the plastic cap with his thumb. "You aren't a life-force manipulator you are a God damned temporal manipulator now manipulate time!" At the end of Howard's scream, the syringe is plunged into the side of Darren's neck, and Howard's thumb depresses the plunger, forcing the ink-black fluid inside into Darren's veins.

They turn dark at the injection, black fluid coursing through his body and mixing with the adrenaline already surging through his blood. This matches exactly the fear and pain response recorded in Bella Sheridan's Refrain trials on the photokinetic subject that reacted to the Amp chemical compound. As soon as the amplification drug reaches Darren's brain, his whole body flickers and blurs out of focus as his arms reach out with grasping hands shedding luminous waves of green light to the corpse.

There's a roiling wave of electromagnetic energy that explodes from Darren, and when Howard can feel his bones vibrating in his skin he backs away, hissing a sharp breath out from between his lips, vision blurring from the flow of greenish light wavering energy radiating upwards into his face. When his vision focuses back on Darren, all he can see is the doctor silhouette by his own radiating glow, and that the howl of the animals has abruptly— stopped.

Howard's shoulders heave with heavy breaths, brown eyes go wide as he waves the corpse laying on the table begin to move. Ghostly echoes flicker and flash on the table beneath Darren's hands, where near skeletal legs for a moment look like dark skin, flesh and muscle twitching and shifting. Sparking flares of green light glow blindingly from each of Darren's hands.

Anticipation and shock sets in as Howard watches, seeing the wavering shadows cast by Darren's ability. The corpse's head flickers in blurred visage of a man's mouth screaming, first skeletal jaws opening and then lips and cheeks. A missing side of his head seems to appear closed where dark, bald skin covers where a hole should be.

Looking away for only a moment, Howard peers into one of the cages, seeing the animals decomposing and decaying rapidly in their pens. Dark brows lift, black eyes track back to Darren and Howard's lips creep up into a smile. The researcher's hypothesis on his ability were correct, and Lemay's gamble with his own life seems to have paid off.

The scream of a third voice in the room is proof positive of that.

All of the green light disengages in a sudden moment, a snap and fading charged particles floating aimlessly around Darren as the doctor slouches down to land on his knees, then fall to his side on the concrete. The fluorescent lights crackle back on to their normal pale glow, and what was once a corpse laying out on the table, is now a slim, dark-skinned man. Howard approaches, slowly, stepping through the drifting motes of green light that bend the image of the room around them.

The man on the table breathes in a shuddering breath, then exhales as he turns his attention over to Lemay's approach in confusion and silent shock. Howard is silent as he reaches into the pocket of his slacks, unfolding his phone and bringing it up to his ear with a click of one speed dial button. Silence hangs in the room, and the man who should have been dead stares back vacantly at Lemay on his phone.

"It worked," Howard grumbles, then looks down to Darren's unconscious form on the floor. "I'll bring Stevens with me, I think he's going to be very interested in what he's managed to do." Parched lips part, and the resurrected man on the slab swallows dryly, brows screwing up and jaw working open and closed.

Lemay flips his phone shut, tucking it into the pocket of his slacks on approach to the table and the man staring up at him. "H— " Something that is almost words slips from his mouth, hoarse and stunned, "Howard?" There's a touch of fear in his eyes as he stares up at Howard Lemay, and the former Company agent's brows rise up in an expression that says surprise as his hands spread out and a smile actually graces his face.

"Long time no see," is Howard's smooth greeting.

"Simon's been looking forward to seeing you, mister Goodman."

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