Borrowed Time



Scene Title Borrowed Time
Synopsis After losing Darren Stevens to the Company, Desmnd Harper does some investigating of his own…
Date April 13, 2010

Six Hours Ago

The chair is all that exists.

Silence is paramount, it is the arbiter of revelations. Sense and thought and feeling are all gone here, just the chair.

Seated back against the gel-filled supple cushioning, Desmond Harper's body is suspended on that pillowy padding. His eyes are shut behind the veil of glasses that serve as blinders, with a half-circle headset mounted behind him displaying a panoramic pattern of lights that flicker and flash at irregular intervals, designed to be seen only in his peripheral vision. When agent Harper's hands move up to the arms of his chair, a deep, rumbling voice crackles over the intercom system of the spherical room, and the recessed lights in concentric rings in the ceiling one by one fade to darkness.

«We're ready to begin whenever you are, Desmond.»

Agent Harper's muscles relax beneath the fabric of his suit, his chin dips down into a ond and his right hand manipulates the chairs' controls to lower him back into a reclined position. "Ready, Director." Were it not for the blinders over Desmond Harper's eyes, he might nervously glance down to the tubes connected to his right arm, and the long cylinders connected to the chair that contain a fluid so black it might as well be ink.

At Harper's say-so, there is a pressurized hiss as one by one those cylinders depress, flooding the tubes with that dark liquid. The moment they reach the agent's veins, his back arches and jaw clamps tight, veils bulge and throat tightens. Behind the blinders, Demond's eyes grow wide and his pupils dilate fully, and then as if he simply was struck dead on the spot, Desmond slouches back down to the chair motionless, save for subtly shallow breathing.

The world snaps back into fish-eye view, color dim and desaturated. Venetian blinds cover a row of windows at the back wall of a cramped apartment that views the snowy skyline of New York City through the partly drawn blinds. Asleep in a recliner, a middle-aged man with a mop of dark and curly hair still has a remote control for his television in hand, scraggly bears thick on his jaw. Harper's discorporated senses senses drift amorphously through the room, zooming in on the sleeping doctor in the chair.

Turning left, he finds a white lab coat draped across a sofa, the identification badge on the front reads; Doctor Thomas Benson, PhD. Swimming over the jacket, Harper passes by a series of cages in his warped peripheral vision, headed towards a bedroom door. But the booming voice that assails his senses back where his body lies gives him instructions otherwise.

«There, the cages. Check the cages.»

Drifting back towards them, slowly bobbing up and down before sinking to the aluminum bars, Harper spies a sight of white rats in different cages, each of them with tiny mouse wheels and water bottles. One of the mice lays dead on its side in the cage, and at that discovery, Harper's disconnected body floats back up and then snaps into his corporeal one with a rush of breath and a wheezing cough.

Desmond hunches forward and then lifts the blinders off of his eyes, pupils spread so far they've nearly swallowed his irises. "Dead," Desmond breathes out, one hand scrubbing over a sweat slicked forward as rings of light one by one come on at the ceiling, "one of them is dead…" there's a look offered side-long towards a camera swiveling to observe the chair. "We need to go in, Director."

«Very well. You have my blessing, Desmond. Go and do the great work.»

…And Now

It's nearly midnight when the door to apartment 305 explodes off of its hinges from a swift kick to the lock. When the door comes bursting open, the hissing click of respirators is like some horribly alien greeting awakening Doctor Thomas Benson from his slumber in the armchair. Bursting up to his feet, the rapid fire snap-snap-snap of rubber bullets collides with his body, sending him screaming in pain and down to the floor, curled up in the fetal position, arms and legs twitching as bruises and welts blossom beneath his clothing.

"Get him out of here," growls a silhouette of a man in a long, black coat standing in the doorway as little more than a silhouette. As agent Desmond Harper enters the apartment, it is with furrowed brows and a scowl spread across his lips. The masked members of the Institute's retrieval squad swiftly move in to detain Doctor Benson, restraining him with plastic ties around the wrists as his arms are wrenched behind his back. A syringe slips out somewhere in the mix, injected into the side of his neck, turning groaning pain into sedate slumber.

Arm in arm, two masked Institute retrievers drag Benson out of the apartment, leaving one retriever and Harper left behind. Reaching inside of his long jacket, Desmond withdraws a long fluorescent bulb with a black handle. As his gloved thumb slides along a button, deep purple ultra-violet light spills forth. In the glow of the bulb, the walls are speckled green, and Desmond is cautious to press a button on his earpiece, beginning to record his conversation.

"Agent log, April 13th 2010. Residence of Doctor Thomas Benson…" Striding towards the sofa, Harper looks down at the jacket laid out over it, bringing the ultra-violet lamp down to it with no results, then begins circling around the couch towards the rat cages up on the table behind them. "Trace amounts of positively charged ions are present throughout doctor Benson's residence, fluoresces green under ultra-violet light. Possible… photon bombardment?"

Moving over towards the cages, Harper brings the UV wand over them one by one, each of the bright white mice glowing purple under the light, until the dead one radiates a sickly shade of green in swirling dust-mote clouds of vapor from its body. Sucking up a slow, sharp breath, agent Harper turns off the light and glances over to the one retriever left. "Give me your Compass…" he urges to the masked man, offering his free hand out.

The retriever reaches down to his wrist and removes a small plastic compass from a watch-like setting, handing it towards Desmond. Holding it out to the rat, there's a furrow of Harper's brows as he watches the needle spin, twist, kilter and stop, pointing at the rat. The compass doesn't look like an ordinary device designed to detect magnetic north, of course. It has copper wiring wrapped around the frame and tiny lithium batteries placed on the sides. More of an electromagnetic compass than anything.

After a slow, subtle nod of his head, Harper offers the compass back to the retriever. "Harper's log, supplemental entry." There's a tap of his earpiece with one finger as he speaks. "It's not photon bombardment, this is the same electromagnetic radiation surrounding the crater where the Moab Federal Penitentiary once was… we were never dealing with a healer," there's a furrow of Harper's brows as he shakes his head, turning to look down at the dead mouse.

"We're dealing with a temporal manipulator of some kind…" Desmond's eyes lift up to the green glow suffused to the walls, then back down to the mouse's corpse. "…and from the looks of it, all those people that Doctor Stevens healed with his ability…" Desmond draws in a slow, tired breath before exhaling a sigh.

"…they're likely living on borrowed time."

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