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Scene Title Alecto
Synopsis Greek myth.: 'Unceasing in anger'. One of the Erinyes (Furies).
Hana has a score to settle, and she's come in search of Harold Fletcher, surgeon, member of the Group of Twelve, to do just that.
Date July 31, 2009

Lakeridge Health Oshawa Hospital, in Oshawa, Canada

Hospitals seem to always have walls and walls of windows — at least if they're of relatively recent construction. This has its benefits, allowing early-evening summer sunlight to color the corridors in golds and oranges, making the halls seem larger and less confining. It doesn't actually change the fact that the walls are painted white, the floor is tiled in white, and the air bears a faint tang of antiseptic — but it makes them all easier to disregard.

Her name badge says 'Sasha Yaeger'. It looks like any other hospital badge: mugshot, name, position in stark letters on white background; neatly laminated, clipped to the lanyard hung about the woman's neck, it swings a bit with each stride. She sets a brisk pace, like anyone else with business to attend to at this late hour of the workday, just after most of the staff have filtered home. Hair twisted back in a bun, dressed in khaki slacks and a dark red blouse, the woman wears just a touch of makeup; the pen in her hand, bereft of paper or clipboard, has become a pointer: over there is an x-ray lab; go down that hall and you'd wind up back at the clinics. It's shorter to cut across that way, except when everyone's trying to use it at the same time.

Hana Gitelman is not usually present in this hospital, but none of the few they pass along the way give her so much as a second thought.

The young man at Sasha's side is wearing a canary yellow polo-shirt and carries two books under his arm: Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, and then a groaning brick of a tome of general but college-level biology, its hard cover frayed at the corners.

It's more these accessories and the dense red-and-white striping of his loose uniform that declares Charlie McFadden a candy striper than the tag that hangs off his neck, but he does have one of those, too. He's smiling in that mug shot. Big lips, no teeth, eyes crinkled like gift-wrapping, a frat boy's kindliest, most diligent effort at being serious. The salutation he'd flashed the receptionist had undermined that image in a choreographed way, an absurdist affair of bright white enamel and words that went fast, if not fast enough for him to quite finish before Ms. Yaeger swept them briskly by. It's training day.

Except, you know. Not— really.

Aside from the occasional passing glance, Ms. Yaeger and her apprentice appear to go mostly unnoticed by the hospital's staff. Tomorrow morning, when its halls are sectioned off with glossy strips of crime tape that loudly proclaim this is a POLICE LINE: DO NOT CROSS, only a select few will remember seeing them on their way about their business — and of that select few, not one will be able to describe their faces to the sketch artist hired by the lead investigator.

For now, the stretch of scrupulously-polished linoleum is bereft of any official presence outside of a janitorial capacity. At the end of the hall, directly outside Dr. Fletcher's office, there is an unmanned mop and bucket propped against the wall. No sign of the employee meant to be tending them.

Catching sight of the mop and bucket in the hall, 'Ms. Yaeger' pauses, casting a disapproving frown in the direction of the objects. She looks up the hall: no stray janitorial staff there. She looks down the hall: no stray janitorial staff there, either. Turning to her shadow, the woman points him towards an out-of-the-way place along the wall. Stepping up to the door, 'Sasha' leans in to peer around its frame; her left hand rests on the post, while her right hangs at her side, fingers curled in a fashion 'Charlie' knows all too well.

"Dr. Fletcher?"

The line of 'Charlie's back finds the wall even as it curls a slight tangent against the plane of cool plaster. He has his own hand behind him, long, work-roughened fingers shifting the fabric of the candy stripers' uniform to find the weapon holstered there. Teo's eyes disfocus once, only briefly, his pupils bloating and then shrinking within the space of a second.

It makes his head itch, brings him a brief instant's jab of remonstrance inside his skull, then, afterward, but he doesn't say anything of it. That would be a brief instant too late for regret, anyway. "Male. Reading a paper journal." The owner of the office, then, almost undoubtedly, and alone, is the obvious deduction that follows. Teo folds himself closer to plaster, rests the shaven bowl of his skull against it.

"Come in," says a masculine voice on the other side of the door. The command isn't accompanied by the sound of chair legs squeaking against the floor — Teo would be able to confirm that Dr. Fletcher, if he is indeed the man inside the office, has not risen from his desk. Instead, he simply lays the journal flat on its wooden surface and removes the reading glasses from his nose as he swivels in his chair and turns to face the door, expectant.

They are not the first visitors he's had this evening, but they will be he his last.

'Sasha' smiles pleasantly at Dr. Fletcher, crosses the threshold into the room. Her hand relaxes; a paper journal is unlikely to pose much threat. There are also no unexpected guests — well, unexpected by her. "I'm sorry to disturb you this late on a Friday," she remarks, closing the distance to the desk, "but you know how people get with paperwork. I need a med-staff signature confirming that Charlie's— " That guy over there outside the door. "— jumped through the orientation hoops; would you mind?"

"Not at all." Fletcher tucks his reading glasses into the front pocket of his dress shirt and opens the desk's topmost drawer in search of a pen. His posture is relaxed, his movements languid — even with his silver hair and sunmarked skin, he holds himself like a man twenty years his junior. As he retrieves the writing utensil from the drawer, her directs his attention past Hana to where Teodoro still lingers by the door. "Another intern, is he? You folk breed like rabbits."

"Thank you," 'Sasha' replies, flashing Fletcher a brief smile. She can use the expression when she wants to. "I really appreciate it." Her shoes, not heeled, click faintly on the floor as the woman steps around the side of the desk. He's focused on the door, the man outside; abruptly, she's inside his personal space, standing close behind the chair. Close enough for her knees to contact its back, trapping him against the desk. A cord once tucked within the woman's sleeve is now wrapped deftly about her hands, drawn tight across Harold Fletcher's throat. The pen is a risk; she accepts that risk, judging it small. And as he realizes he can't breathe, Hana lowers her head to speak more softly to her victim, her tone a far cry from the pleasant amiability of 'Sasha Yaeger'. "Pray, Harold Fletcher. Pray that God in his mercy forgives even the Company."

She pauses; a heartbeat passes. One of Hana's, calm and even; not the adrenaline- and desperation-fueled hammering of his heart.

"I hope not."

This is about the moment that Teo makes a mistake. Just a little one. He'd stepped inside, pressed his shoulder against the wall, started to put out watch for unpleasant surprises, when habit older than he is took him out of the comfortable confines of his healing body and, for one sickening moment, he glimpsed the desk through the bulge of Fletcher's eyes, felt the constriction of wire cutting his throat.

Two-tone, then: Hana's words, through the thunder of Fletcher's perception, overlaid by the clarity of his own. He snaps back into his own person in time for the realization to sink through, monstrously ironic, coldly wry the way Ghost would have been, in the background of a man's strangling suffering. Jews have said that about Catholics, before. If you want forgiveness, get baptised. Catholics believe in forgiveness; Jews, in guilt. There's a gun in his hand. He looks back at the two, over his shoulder, with no immediate plans to use it.

The pen clatters harmlessly to the office floor and rolls under the desk where it will be found in the morning, pinched between two gloved fingers and placed in one of the plastic bags designated for evidence that will need to be dusted for fingerprints. Fletcher jerks back in his chair, hands flying to cord around his neck, but even his dexterous surgeon's fingers lack the ability to pry it from his throat. Fingers claw at skin and peel it away, trapping fine layers of epidermis beneath the doctor's nails.

It's around the time that the light in his eyes is beginning to dim that it happens. Noxious yellow gas spills smokelike from his flaring nostrils and oozes past swollen lips, filling the air around his desk with a cloud of toxic chlorine. Although Fletcher has no way to direct its flow, he appears to have some control over its potency and the rate at which the poison is released. It combines with the mucous in Hana's sinuses and the water in her eyes, forming hydrochloric acid in their sockets, her nose and throat.

There's what the file didn't have.

Most would flee the noxious gas, releasing the man creating it; it's an effective defense. Except for the fact that Hana holds her grudges with bitter fervor, and she has him. She has him.

The Israeli stops breathing. Doesn't draw in a desperate gasp beforehand, simply ceases the flow of air in and out of her lungs. It won't last her long, but the few tiny breaths which follow reduce the chemical's effect. Closing her eyes, tightly, also helps; Hana doesn't need to see right now. She just needs to hold a little longer.

There's a gun and there's a garotte. There's the possibility of raising all Hell across the hospital wing with the overheard report— and Teo, of all people, would be aware of just how close those others are, and then there's the fact that doing justice to Hana's vengeance observes with aching clarity the fact that she hasn't asked him to shoot.

Conundrum. Except— you know. Not really.

Interfering here, on her behalf, seems as totally inconceivable as turning against her. It isn't until the 9 is up, unsafetied, that Teo realizes that he isn't going to. Yes, it sets his molars against one another in grating burn of pressure, replaces some crucial bolt in his spine with taut, electrical wire, but he doesn't move the trigger, restrains himself— somehow— from replacing the fuming yellow ingress of the doctor's open mouth with a ragged red puncture.

The muscles in Fletcher's body grow slack as he eventually loses consciousness and succumbs. With the cord around his neck, he does not slump forward across his desk or topple sideways off his chair onto the floor. His arms drop. His head lolls to the side. Saliva dribbles from the corner of his mouth and darkens the crisp cotton material of his shirt. What little blood there is stains the tips of his fingers carnation pink and gathers with the sweat in his collar.

To say that the man is dead would probably be something of an understatement.

She keeps the cord, relaxing the pressure only slowly so as not to disturb his body. Doesn't open her eyes, but relies on recent memory to retrace the steps around the desk, to somewhere where there isn't a cloud of dissipating chlorine. Then Hana looks over at Teo; the edges around her eyes are distinctly red, but the woman's cool gaze refuses to acknowledge either that or the way each shallow breath still burns in her throat.

"…Put that away."

Brisk, businesslike, as if there weren't a dead body seated at the desk behind her. She pulls a square of cloth from a pocket, uses it to cover her hand while turning off the room lights. Brushes over the spot where her fingers had briefly rested on the doorpost; motions Teo out of the way, and similarly pulls the door closed.

The janitorial staff will find him eventually, but this way no one else will wander in to find out why Dr. Fletcher hasn't gone home yet.

Click and red shows in the tiny levered notch again, declaring the firearm harmless. Teo puts that away, behind his back, underneath the loose fall of doube-layered shirts, hospital humility conferring its tiny, horrible token's tactical benefit. He shuffles out as instructed, glances down the hallway.

He selects the direction of evacuation out of the floor map they had begun study of hours ago, starts to walk. His shoes cli-clack careless noise, more for Hana's benefit than for subterfuge.

Hitches books higher over his ribs, seats a smile on his face that fails, this time, to reach his eyes. The Wild Thing pokes its head out from over the line of his wrist, continues to brood. "How do you feel?" he asks. He isn't asking about the chlorine gas or the cloying pain of its effects.

Hana doesn't smile. It's afterhours on a Friday, playing escort to a volunteer; 'Sasha' doesn't need to. Walks slightly more briskly down the hall than she had coming in, but that also makes sense; everyone wants to go home, except for the people who just started their shifts. And even they probably do.

How does she feel, as her mind calculates the floorplan, consults the camera system. The instructions she put in place earlier are still behaving as they should. There's no one down this corridor, or that one; she lets Teo's choice of route stand uncontested, deeming it clear at the moment.

"One down," Hana says simply. It's not a feeling itself, but — however spare the statement, it still implies something of such.

Anticipation for the next challenge is Teo's first guess. Ghost's is something that consists more of numbers, cold factuality, the stark and severely-edged awareness that after they've run out of founders, Hana isn't very well going to run empty; he's slaughtered enough Palestinians to know that. Teo doesn't think that far ahead, though. He's walking, with a children's book and a college tome under his arm, guns under his shirt.

Inside, for long minutes of antiseptic stink, air-conditioned cold, raw-nerved wonder whether Fletcher's secretary is going to come up with an ill-timed call or document of desperate import, unexpected. Then outside, the sunshine coming down in sudden buckets, funneling warm conifer breath into their faces.

"You're going to tell me it isn't worth a visit to Mrs. Hadley, aren't you?"

Outside, Hana slants a sidelong glance at Teo. As the door slides shut behind them, she sets off across the parking lot. The only sound the woman makes is that of her shoes clicking against the asphalt.

She isn't going to tell him anything at all.

Previously in this storyline…
Old Business

Next in this storyline…

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