An End


blue_icon.gif lauren_icon.gif waite_icon.gif

Scene Title An End
Synopsis After her interview with Donna Dunlap, Elizabeth Dumont follows up with Lauren Gilmore before it's too late.
Date July 3, 2018

It’s been a day since Blue was here with Devon and Colette, interrogating Donna Dunlap. Rather than return to the Safe Zone with her fellow Hounds, she decided to investigate a lingering suspicion regarding Lauren Gilmore and the answers that Donna Dunlap had provided to Wolfhound. It wasn’t difficult to get access to Gilmore, vis-a-vis Director Waite.

Only a handful of the individuals currently kept in the secure facility below the ruins of the Statue of Liberty are full-time prisoners. Most are kept here in holding until trial, then moved off to federal facilities across the United States. But some, especially those the government needs to keep easily accessible, are retained here. Usually, in their cells. In the case of Lauren Gilmore, however, there is no longer a need for physical restraints or locked doors.

Liberty Island Detention Center

2:15 pm

July 3rd, 2018

Apart from the holding cells on Liberty Island, a small medical triage wing is maintained for detainee health. It is another identical concrete-walled wing of the facility with no natural light, watched by armed guards and roving security cameras. Escorted by the now familiar face of Sebastian Waite, Elizabeth “Blue” Dumont is brought through the holding facility and into the medical wing in search of Donna Dunlap’s handler, so as to follow up with her on lingering questions about the Institute’s operations.

Down the corridor, Waite escorts her past dozens of closed doors marked with hospital room numbers. Finally, he stops at a door with no armed guard outside, and swipes his badge over the card reader, turning the light green and eliciting a soft chirp of compliance. Though Waite pulls the door open just a touch after the magnetic lock disengages, he pauses to turn to Blue.

“I’m going to warn you in advance,” Waite says as he turns to give a troubled look. “Miss Gilmore isn’t… in good health.”

Unlike the previous time, Blue has opted to come into the meeting armed with clothing that would better fit in a courtroom than a hospital room on Liberty Island. It’s a far more severe look, black suit with a white button up. An entirely different facade has been desired today, although in her interactions with Waite she doesn’t appear any different than the time before.

“I’ll do my best to not cause her too much distress, and I assure you that whatever condition she is in I consider myself very well warned.” A quick, faint smile of thanks is offered, then she squares her shoulders and nods, indicating that she is ready for that door to come all the way open and the conversation with Gilmore to begin. Whatever is behind the door she at least thinks that she is ready for it.

Waite holds the door open for Blue, letting her move in ahead of him. The hospital room is not particularly large, enough for a single bed, monitoring equipment, and a small portable table on wheels that currently holds a pitcher of water and an empty glass. The walls in here are painted white, though they appear more yellowed for all that the fluorescent lights muddy things.

The bed does not have blankets on it, but rather vinyl sheets laid out under a white linen sheet that has yellowed and browned around where Lauren Gilmore lays. She looks like something out of a horror movie; skin jaundiced and glistening with sweat that beads with the occasional weeping droplet of blood slipping out of her pores. The whites of her eyes are pink, reddened at the edges, blood clots in her irises and pupils dilated to narrow pinpoints. Lauren’s skin, while yellowed, is also vaguely translucent, allowing view of musculature and veins beneath. IVs are plugged into her arms, another via a shunt at the artery in her neck. A drip stand of clear fluids and blood keep her alive, while a heart rate monitor shows her vitals as weak.

“Good afternoon Lauren,” Waite is pointedly polite with her, gentle even. Lauren looks in Waite’s general direction, but it’s not clear if she can see him or not. He sees no reason not to at least provide her that level of comfort. Brows furrowed, he looks back to Blue and quietly explains her condition.

“Her cells are breaking down. Bonds between them just… deteriorating.” Waite’s voice is hushed, eyes downcast to the floor and one hand scratching at the back of his neck. “In essence, she’s melting. Whatever experimentation they did to her, it’s… not held up. She can talk, but she’s effectively blind now. Try not to stress her too much, and… I’ll need to stay in the room with you.”

With that, Waite looks over to Lauren with a smile she can’t see, yet he feels compelled to offer. “Miss Gilmore, I have an Agent Dumont from Wolfhound here to see you. Sh— ”

Julian?” Lauren rasps out, and Waite looks surprised by that. He glances over at Blue, then back to Lauren.

“Um, no I… Elizabeth Dumont,” Waite clarifies. “She’s here to ask you about the Institute.” Lauren nods, slowly eyes wandering the room lazily.

She was warned, she was. She even said that she could handle whatever was behind the door, and Blue truly thought that she could. But the sight of the woman on the bed causes her to stumble a half step before she manages to get her shock under control.

While Waite speaks briefly with Gilmore she takes the moment to look at her, staring for longer than would be polite before her attention is ripped away and shifted back towards Waite. She nods at his quiet words, responding equally as quietly, “I shall do my very best to not stress her too much…Everything within my power, in fact, to keep this conversation as calm and easy as I can.” The assurance is spoken with enough force that it could be easily understood that she is determined to keep to her words, to not cause the woman any undue stress.

If there is a reaction to the name that Gilmore speaks, it doesn’t show on Blue’s face as she steps forward. “Hello, Miss Gilmore.” By the time she speaks she has gotten her voice under control, and has eased into the soft monotones of someone seeking to be polite and calm, and not at all disruptive. “May I call you Lauren?”

“Sure,” Lauren offers in a whisper, her attention moving loosely in Blue’s direction. Her voice is both hoarse and wet, like someone with a nagging head cold. Though most of all, it's weak. When she speaks, Waite crosses his hands in front of himself and looks down to the floor, giving the illusion of privacy that his small frame can.

“You… here to deliver my pardon?” Is clearly a joke, as much as Lauren can make in this situation. But it's a rueful one: what good is a pardon to the dead?

There is a bit of a smile in response to the joke, one corner of Blue’s mouth curling upwards a little more than the other.

So that she is able to speak more quietly, and hear better without Lauren having to struggle, Blue moves a bit closer to where the woman is lay in the bed. “I’m going to ask you a few questions. If I’m understanding right, you agreed to cooperate?” She doesn’t wait long for a response, however, and instead continues on, “I was wondering if you could start by telling me what your role was? If I repeat questions others have asked I apologize, it is simply my method, and I’ll do my best to not repeat questions.”

Lauren makes a soft noise in the back of her throat and closes her eyes once. Waite chimes in noting, “That's uh, a yes. We developed that response for when she doesn't have the strength to talk or nod.” He flashes an apologetic grimace to Blue, then grows quiet again.

“Security,” is Lauren’s monosyllabic answer at first. She stares vacantly at the ceiling, clear fluid welling up in her eyes that might be tears, but every part of her glistening in it so it's hard to say. “W-worked… S-San Fran. Cambridge. C-Chief of security.” Which must not have gone well for her, long term, given that the Cambridge facility was raided and destroyed by the Ferrymen and the San Francisco building was abandoned at the onset of the civil war.

“Handler, later.” Lauren affirms, volunteering information about the relationship of her role with Donna Dunlap.

“What lead to your shift in position from chief of security to handler?” Blue wonders, glancing over towards Waite to give him a nod. She’s clearly grateful for his explanation as to what the noise itself meant. Then she’s looking back towards Gilmore, “Were you anyone elses handler, other than Dunlap?”

Blue hesitates a moment, lips pressing into a thin line as she weighs her thoughts, and settles on keeping her questions to one or two at a time, even if she might really rather rush through them in light of the situation.

Waite arches a brow at those questions, looking to Lauren with momentary interest in the answer. It's rather immediate. “Failure,” she succinctly explains. “Ark security failed. I…” Lauren swallows, painfully, and closes her eyes. “Administration— Pete Varlane— demoted me. Had me look for Dunlap and… Doctor Allen. Find and retrieve.”

Drawing in a shuddering breath, Lauren soon exhales it with just as much difficulty. “After w-we brought— brought them in… Varlane h-handed me off to… to some Chinese mercenaries. Told me I'd be back when they— when they were done.” Narrowing his eyes, Waite leans off the wall and comes to stand by Blue’s side, his curiosity piqued.

“They took me… overseas. Somewhere in China. Invasive medical procedures. Injections. They… they did this to me.” When Lauren confessed that it nearly comes out as a sob. “Trials, they— called it. Gave me m-multiple abilities. Durability, strength, telekinesis…” Her breathing hastens, then slows. “It's killing me.”

Waite glances at Blue in the time between Lauren’s explanation and her follow up. It doesn't look like he's heard some of that before, and there's an alert prairie dog-like demeanor about him now.

“I oversaw… e-eastern assets. Eastern US. Dunlap, Renatus, Abraham, Cardinal.” Of the names that come out of Lauren’s mouth one is expected and the other two are fringe pieces of detail, and one is a total unknown. Dunlap had mentioned Kyle and Kyla Renautus in her interview, and Abraham — Caspar Abraham — was one of the data security executives listed at the San Francisco branch, believed to be dead. Ex-Company, capable of storing memories in inanimate objects. A keeper of dark, forgotten secrets.

“Jesus Christ,” Waite exhales, “is Caspar Abraham alive?” Lauren swallows again before speaking.

“We think so.” She murmurs. “Cardinal is… trying to find where he's hiding.”

“And who is Cardinal?” Blue wonders, her brows furrowing just a fraction as she slants a look towards Waite for a split second before she looks back at Lauren.

“Do you happen to know the location of Abraham, Renatus, and Cardinal?” Hoping beyond hope, perhaps, that Lauren both knows and is willing to share the information, it seems. Blue does her very best to keep that hope out of her voice, though, instead fighting it back and hiding it behind an interested, but professional tone.

“I’m also curious, these Chinese, do you happen to know who they were or even where you were when you were with them?”

“David,” Lauren says with a wet breath. “David Cardinal. He was… a conscript. Made some sort of deal with the Institute just before the war, I know… I know he wants something. Whatever it is, management is willing to— play ball. He's hunting for Abraham with Kyla Renautas.”

Furrowing her brows, Lauren looks momentarily in pain and then exhales a soft gasp. A moment later she's recovered and takes in a few short breaths. “We think Abraham is hiding somewhere in the south. Arkansas. David… says he knew him. Knew where he'd hide. He's kept— kept the info to himself. Obviously for self-serving purposes.”

Swallowing dryly, Lauren turns her head subtly to the side and tries to cough, but just make a weak noise of pain instead. “The Chinese were… mercenaries. Ex-military — PLA — I think they're a— hired. Corporate proxy army maybe. Well armed and outfitted.” There's visible confusion in Lauren’s blind eyes. “I don't speak Mandarin. I didn't get a lot from them. They kept me indoors or hooded most… most of the time. I don't know where they took me. A plane first, then a boat? It took weeks.”

There is a long moment after the information is shared, Blue’s attention turning upwards to stare at the ceiling as she takes that moment to re-organize her thoughts, refiling some information away and deciding on if any new questions require asking.

One thought keeps coming up, and after that moment she looks towards Lauren, “You would contact Dunlap via the phone, landlines. How are you in contact with your other charges? Renautas, Cardinal…..clearly not Abraham any longer if you say he is missing. But, I’m very curious about the contact methods between the others.”

The matter of the Chinese, and who they were and where they were is set aside for the moment. Potentially for lack of a working knowledge of China and the great geography of the country. But the information is tucked away for a later date.

“Phone relay dead drop for Kyla. We have a… a contact up in Tupper Lake, New York.” Lauren explains, and Blue is familiar with the location; a small town nestled in the Adirondacks between the Safe Zone and Rochester. “I call a code to the contact, it rings a number at a safe house. They fill out paperwork based on the code, using— I guess a code book. The process started before my assignment. They deliver the message to Kyla.”

Then, swallowing dryly, Lauren notes, “most of them don't realize who they work for. Independent.” There's a small breath, weak and wheezing, and Lauren swallows audibly again. “Kyla kept tabs on Cardinal. Relayed information back to her twin wherever it is management is operating out of. Could… be the fucking moon for all I know.” Lauren smiles, teeth pink with blood.

“Code?” Blue straightens faintly at that, “I don’t suppose you could tell us what those codes were?” She hesitates a split second before following that up with, “And your contact…”

She is very interested, obviously, in getting her hands on the information that Lauren is able to share, but she’s also cognizant of the fact that Lauren is on borrowed time, and limited energy, so she offers a quiet, “Anything else that you think would be useful information? Beyond that….” She shakes her head, glancing at Waite, “I imagine that you are in need of rest by now.”

“I don’t know names,” Lauren says with her eyes shut. “It… wasn’t protocol. Codes were in a book in my jacket when Wolfhound took me in,” she clarifies. To that point, Waite clears his throat and offers a look over to Blue.

“We have a copy of it, I made sure that Major Gitelman has one too. Passphrases, mostly. Back and forth confirmation encryption. Cold war stuff.” Waite says with a tone of modest interest, but he is certain to chime in with only that much, and not his fascination with Cold War era codebreaking.

Lauren breathes in a deep breath, then exhales wetly. Waite watches her a moment longer, and then looks to Blue. “Was there anything else you needed?”

“No, I think that is it…” Blue replies after a moment of thought, studying Lauren for a moment before she shakes her head at Waite, “Thank you for allowing me to come speak with you, Lauren. I hope you know just how much I appreciate this.”

She then turns to start towards the door, waiting on Waite and to be out of the room before she asks a simple question, “How long do they think she has left?”

As Waite shuts the door, he looks through the narrow window in it to the patient inside, then over to Blue. The flat line of his mouth and the raise of his gray brows says more than words can, but he doesn’t want to leave that piece of detail up to inference. “Honestly,” he mumbles, looking away, then back to Blue. “It’s a miracle she didn’t die while we were in there.”

In the days that followed, Waite would follow up with Blue on her investigation.

Lauren Gilmore died on July 4th, 2018, at 1:13 am.

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