Coming Home To Roost


bao-wei_icon.gif ling_icon.gif

Scene Title Coming Home To Roost
Synopsis Ling begins her plans to take her future back into her own hands, with unforseen complications.
Date July 1, 2010

Cong Medical Clinic

Ling Chao hadn’t really ever anticipated that she’d be setting foot in Chinatown again this decade. So to speak. But the passage of time, and fate itself have a funny way of playing tricks with you, and tonight, she was here in an effort to defy both, by any means necessary. The winds, when they blow, do well to carry her smokey form across the streets, largely unseen, and when glimpsed, seemingly ignored as she passes through the shadows.

And there it is. Cong Medical Clinic. If Chinatown was someplace she never expected to set foot in in a decade, her former place of “employment” was one she never expected to see again, much less approach, and enter. But her determination had driven her here, her strongest lead into whom it might be that kills her of those terrible visions do come to pass.

It looks empty. Not even a light. Not too terribly surprising, really, old man Cong had usually sent her home and seemingly closed up shop by now anyway at least as far as she remembered. If a smile could cross her face right now, it would be wide and devious. As much as she was sure she would enjoy seeing Bao-Wei face tof ace again, it was probably better for both of them that he didn’t seem to be in sight as the smoke slithers across the side of the building, finding a vent or opening which she can use to slither inside. Bao-Wei, after all, isn’t her exact goal. Leads are. Anything she can find out about who’s still affiliated with the Dragons.

Traffic in Chinatown isn't unusual, it's that dull roar of tires on pavement that rumbles in echo through the air vent as Ling Chao's smoky form slithers through. As she spills in an asphyxiating cloud down through the slatted vent that empties into the secretary's side of the lobby, the noise of traffic is subtly different when heard in here. Not because of the secure layout of Doctor Cong's clinic, but rather because the traffic is slowing down. Squeaking brakes and a flash of headlights through the clinic's windows indicates that Ling isn't the only one coming to visit the good doctor's old haunt tonight.

Outside of the clinic's doors, the squat and wide armored vehicle that rolls up beside the clinic is unmarked and vaguely reminiscent of a bank transport vehicle on the outside. The rear doors of the van open to allow a pair of men in white clean-suits to step down onto the pavement, facemask respirators hang around their necks, unworn, and white vinyl hoods are held with wrinkled elastic quality to their heads.

One of the men manipulates a control panel on the floor of the van, causing a hydraulic hiss to echo from the inside as a series of metallic rails slide out from the bed of the van and angle like a ramp to touch down on the pavement. While this Institute retrieval vehicle does not contain one of its coffin-like security boxes, it is fit to receive a different kind of passenger tonight.

The noise and flash of light catches Ling's attention just as she begins to materialise. Her eyes form into a squint, ducking enough to remain out of immediate sight, and yet attempting to see what she can. It seems the Good Doctor may have forgotten something, for better or worse. She could just slip away now, come back another time. But perhaps, this was an unexpected opportunity. There was another person with him, but… she'd started carrying a knife and taking the effort to convert it with the rest of her for a reason. Smoke begins to rise from her hair and shoulders body beginning to convert and swirl away, to remain more hidden as she watches and waits - she could only hope fast enough as to not be noticed.

The white-clad figures that follow Bao-Wei into the clinic are silent doggers to the doctor's heels. Unburied by anything other than the loosely hung masks set at about chest level by the slacked straps, the Institute retrievers stay close to Bao-Wei's path. Ling's ephemeral presence in the shadows remains unnoticed, a dark patch of smoke in the unlit recesses of the office and then keeping to the far end of the corridor behind the white dressed men after their journey ends at the bottom of that dimly lit stairwell.

"How heavy is the package?" One of the unasked men asks of Doctor Cong, while the second is checking information on a slim metal-backed touch-screen pad, "I've cleared us a non-stop route back to the lab once we're finished here." Looking up from the pad, the second retriever peers over Bao-Wei's shouler as fluorescent lights begin to flick on in the dark beyond that hissing metal door.

"The entire package is quite hefty, the subject is barely one-hundred pounds." Bao-Wei opens the door to admit them all into the basement, not bothering to shut the door behind them. He has no reason to. "I will help you to get it upstairs, I have a metal dolly in the clinic that we can use to move it outside and into the truck. I cannot remove the subject, as she has been dead for some time and I will not risk exposure."

Even from his few words, Ling, the silent, unseen eyes and ears- may well realize who he could be talking about even before they move through the lab to the rear of the large basement. The room is much like the setups at the hospital labs, on a significantly smaller scale. As they move into the far reaches, more and more becomes clear as bizarre- frankly, it seems more and more like a place out of Gregor's daydreams. Jars and boxes along walls, machines covered in teeth and ambiguously rusty stains over surgical tables and tools. Doctor Cong has not been down here in ages, judging by numerous pauses. At the far end is a blanket-covered mass, casket-shaped and emitting a faint light as it sucks steadily at the power cord attached to the wall.

"The reserve power will last long enough to move it." With that, one paw-like shadow moves over the shape to yank down the sheet covering it. A construct, similar to that which the Institute uses- but surely more primitive in the end. The inside is fogged, almost frosted over, though there is the shape of a human bust through the topmost glass. Female, dark, brittle hair- tiny features, a forever-frigid set to her jaw. Song Ye.

Well, well, Ling muses to herself. The Doctor is in. She knows not who is with Bao-Wei, nor does she really care outside of the fact that they don't look Triad - maybe Bao-Wei had finally gotten over himself, branched out beyond the Triad in whatever work he was busy with now.

Their descent into the basement is what surprises Ling the most, however. Certainly she knew of the basement's existence, but in her several month tenure in the building, she'd never set foot down in its confines - much to her dismay, she was sure she could have gotten some rich information from within. Even with her ability to sneak around, she had chosen not to risk blowing her cover by being caught down within.

It seems that even after all the time, opportunities present themselves. Once the coast is clear, the smoky stream of blackness slithers out and down the steps, across the floor, silently and as invisibly as possible. The basement is a sight to behold. Something out of a movie, almost. But it's the one central thing that catches her attention- the looming form of Song Ye at the back of the room.

She figured he wouldn't know how to let go.

She almost can't help herself as the smoke collects itself, billowing upwards behind the crowd and into something resembling a humanoid shape, so that she can voice that exact sae sentiment. A risk, a gamble, but perhaps she could get something out of it. Particularly if…

"Bao-Wei Cong…" Ling's quiet, whispery voice rings out, just audible over other noise. "Having trouble forgetting the past?" Ironic, given her presence.

If she knew him to not let go of Song, surely she knew that he would never let go of her, either. Doctor Cong stays with one palm against the metal containment unit, narrowing his eyes first at Song inside, then to the wall across the floor. Though the two lab techs with him seem unsettled by the new presence, Bao-Wei turns to face the literal ghost with a rankled snarl and glaring eyes. His hand has slipped inside of his coat, tentative on something in the inner pocket. Whatever his immediate thoughts on Ling- he does not outwardly betray them, save for the paranoid quiver of his hand in his coat.

"You have no business here, woman." He growls, words reverberating in the dark basement.

“You may not have business with me,” Ling retorts, her form beginning to solidify a bit more – still ethereal enough to protect her if something goes wrong, but lending more definition to her features. “I, however, have business with you. Or your records, if you’re uncooperative.” Smoke wisps around her, filtering out into the room around her, filling the air around her. Her gaze is carefully palce – Bao-Wei in the center of her vision, but those with him taken into careful consideration. “And maybe, if you do, I won’t have to makes sure something terrible happens to the poor girl.” Not that something already hasn’t. It’s a bluff, another gamble. Hopefully, there would be a bite.

Lab technicians are not trained for this sort of situation, not trained for hostile responses. They are, however, trained to take advantage of a situation when they do find it. With his touch-surface notepad clutched to his chest, one of the masked technicians keeps a hand tucked close to his chest, fingertips stroking away on the screen as he calls up network security protocols and begins dialing out thorugh the pad to the Institute's security response team. Just a few more taps of the pad, and everything he's needed to do has been set into motion.

Both technicians are hard to read, only their posture being what makes them seem alert, the impassive mask of their respirators hide the shock on their faces. A slow, thoughtful turn of one's head towards Bao-Wei reflects the doctor's visage in the black blastic visor, waiting in silent stillness for a response, for an order.

Or perhaps just buying time.

"There is nothing you can do to her that you did not do to her brother." They are both dead. And it is largely, overall, her fault. Bao-Wei's lips thin, and he jerks his head to the techs, motioning off to the metal casket. "I do not have time for you, traitorous whore. Get out of my sight."

Cong turns away from her, one hand still inside of his coat, and the other finding the surface of metal again, roaming along steel curves to locate a touchpad along the edge.

A whispery laugh follows, and the smoky form shakes it hear, sending motes and strains of smoke out. “For once, Bao, I mean you no further harm” – that much, at least, is true. For the moment. “But that can change. Whatever you do not help me with, I will find elsewhere in these walls.” The smoke form blurs again, seeming to melt to the floor and spread out, sliding across the floor. It rises a bit off to the side, a bit closer to Bao, a phantom like head tilted. “If you were to die, you’d do everything can to prevent it, yes?”

Both of the technicians step back at Ling's taunting and her serpentine smoke form slithering across the ground. With Bao-Wei having turned his back on Ling, both of the technicians seem tense and on edge. Their breathing continues to come in measured sounding hisses and clicks through the respirator, boots scuff along the floor until they bump up against the cryonic storage that Song Ye is contained within.

Turning to look over one shoulder at the case, the technician soon settles his attention on Ling again, then with his eyes hidden behind the visor looks down to his touch pad to see an alert message has popped up on the virtual surface: Team En Route.

When he turns again, it seems as if the exhale from his large lungs threatens to blow her out of angle entirely, like a giant cartoon bull being taunted by the red flags held by a damnable ephemeral rabbit. He draws a stun gun from inside of his coat, matte black sparked into contrast by a threatening writhe of blue energy. "I am, as we speak." In many ways.

"Care to permit me an experiment?" Cong snarls loudly, all but leaping at the shadow with the electric weapon drawn. Even if it does not somehow connect to her in-between state- it will surely catch the air that she possesses- and provided it does nothing at all- she gets the point.

Gloating, and taunting have their downsides. Hostile reactions are one of them. Ling had never been in a situation where she had to avoid a taser of any sort. She makes a movement akin to a sidestep, out of instinct, and yet still Bao’s weapon connects with her smoky, half solid being, she’s just solid enough to catch a bit of a jolt through her body.

Enough to jolt her into a fully solid form, a shock of pain riding throughout her. Not the full, intended effect, but enough that her eyes are wide as she falls back, propped against the wall, smoke lifting off of numerous points of her body. Her hands clench into fists into fists, breathing accelerated. She grits her teeth, groaning. “Lesson learned,” she chokes out, eyes lowering, narrowing at Bao. “Don’t play with prey. ”

Let the technicians learn a valuable lesson here; the dragon always has fangs.

One of them turns to continue the process of detatching the freon and nitrogen hoses from the cryonic case and uncoupling the power, while the other technician turns his attention on Ling Chao. Having come unarmed was due to an over-inflated sense of security that they wouldn't be ambushed at this clinic, and now thankful for Bao-Wei's planning, the technician asks a loaded question of the doctor.

«Do you want her?» The crackling hiss of the technician's question comes with a slow turn of his head, the glossy black faceplate of his gas mask reflecting Ling's now wholly corporeal form. Does he want her could take so many forms, but the one that has worry settling into the pit of Ling's stomach is the context it could mean in the face of this gruesome laboratory she now finds herself in.

Pray that the answer is no, but expect that it is likely yes.

Bao-Wei Cong draws his free hand down the length of his face, over the manicured black on his chin. In his other hand, he holds the crackling weapon threateningly towards Ling. His mismatched eyes are narrowed and ablaze, and his mouth taut amidst rigid breaths.

He does not answer, growling again instead to the woman against the wall.

"What did you see?"

The wall forms a solid back against her, and she’s still panting. Smoke wisps up off of her, eyes narrowed on Bao. She’s still on a bit of shock over her forced materialization, a shock that seems to be keeping her from resuming her former form. “Something I’m sure you’d take great joy in,” she hints with a hiss, hands trying to dig into the wall behind her like claws. She debates internally for a moment what her response should be, and suddenly her posture straightens, confidently running a hand through her hair. “I was shot by a man with blonde hair,” she remarks frankly, a wide smirk on her face, arms crossed across her chest in a defiant manner. Maybe he’d think she’s lying. “And your Clinic is going to help me find out who, Bao. Even if you won’t.”

"Blond hair?" There are only so many of those, in with the business he used to attend. "Blue eyes, getting his hands dirty. You must mean that little prick that started this Refrain game." Cong allows a sharp-toothed smile for two seconds.

"You want to know what I saw?" He questions her slowly, moving closer like some great, cold-blooded lizard taking centimetres before lunging. In his case, the lunge does not happen- instead, the stun gun is nearly at her throat. "I saw you."

"You shot me."

Of all things, Ling looks amused. In fact, she laughs a little, almost despite her perilous situation. “Is that so! Fate,” she remarks with a hiss, “has a sense of humour, then. We can both avoid this, Bao.” Eyes move down to the taser in his hand, arms still crossed. “It is in your favour to help me.” She stares at him for a moment, pointing with a finger. “Help me find out who shoots me, and you will never see me again. If we do cross paths, I will leave you be.” She’s not sure if she means it, but it seems she may have a bit of a bargaining chip.

"No, woman." Bella would be slapping her knee at this scene, if she were here. What a complex.

"I do not have to help you in any capacity. Ever. I could kill you right now-" Bao-Wei watches her with a supernatural stillness. "And that would fix my problem. And yours. But that is much too easy. I prefer to create my own destiny- and what a fine one it shall be, without you in sight to bother me." At that, he closes the inches and makes to lay the gun into her neck, with the intention to only put her down until she so happens to wake up elsewhere.

It is an unfortunately timed distraction when clink, clank, clink comes bouncing down the stairs into Bao-Wei's lab just as the doctor is closing in on Ling. A metallic gas canister just beginning to stream mustard yellow fumes from its pulled top bounces and rolls to the floor, and then begins hissing noisily, starting to spin wildly in a circle as negation gas starts to fill the far side of the room. Through the haze of the gas, silhouettes of figures marching down the stairs with assault rifles in hand can be seen, backlit by the light at the top of the stairs.

That distraction, the rise and swell of the gas is just what Ling Chao needs, and hopefully — fate willing — manage to pull herself out of this predicament that her own pride and arrogance has gotten her into before she becomes a cautionary tale.

Ling’s still feeling the sting of the earlier shock, though she’s mostly recovered. The clanking sound provides enough of a distraction that she’s able to Bao’s arm away, stumbling into the corner of the room. She looks back at Bao-Wei with a snarl, the smoke pouring off her own skin begins to increase in quantity, legs beginning to drift away on the air. “You’re someone’s loose end, Bao-Wei. You could have tied this off tonight. A shame, really. We could have made this work.” She laughs, body continuing to convert into smoke, some of it beginning to mix with the negation gar quickly filling the room.

And that mixing may prove her undoing, as suddenly, the undulation of the smoke on air stops, and her body returns to normal, to her horror, as the gas reaches her. Her own desire to taunt had just been her undoing, eyes wide as her legs reform, slumping to the ground.

And in an instant, arrogance and pride gives away to fear she hasn’t felt in several weeks.

Ling will soon feel five wrench-like fingers weaving into her mane of fine ebony hair, only to yank her head back, to an upside down view of Doctor Cong. He coughs in the muck of the air, laughing a second later. "We will. I will. If we meet again it will be in a less unfortunate place, and I shall be more prepared to tear you apart." And with that, he finally does dig the stunner into her neck.

The crackling snap of the taser sending electricity coursing thorugh Ling's body comes with an involuntary scream and a tightening of her throat before she blacks out, falling onto her side and laying motionless on the lab floor. Striding thorugh the yellow smoke, the Institute retrievers eye the technicians, then turn faceless stares thorugh the visored masks up to the cryonics container that the technicians are unhooking. «We received an alert about a rogue Evolved,» one of the retrievers notes as he turns his attention down to Ling, collapsed on the floor on her side in the swirling gas.

«Unless you intend to take her with you, Doctor Cong, we'll relieve this place of her.» It's an ominous portend coming crackling through that gas-mask. The Institute is still largely a mystery to Bao-Wei, but that they'd take her— contain her somewhere could perhaps be the prevention of his own future and her own. «We have a secondary vehicle waiting outside that can transport her. Do you require us for anything further?»

To have the Institute's retrievers under his command is something like being a leader, these armed men in their white suits behind their gas masks, willing to follow Bao-Wei's commands. Power like that, as the doctor saw in his time with the Triad, can be both intoxicating and invigorating.

"I don't." Cong waits to reply, flicking switches on the stun gun before ceremoniously tucking it away again and covering his lower face with his cuff to blot out the gas lingering there. "Take her somewhere, dump her. I do not care where. Or when. Just do it." He infers that he wants her left out to dry- but also that they can do so at their leisure. It may be minutes from now- or days.

"Now- get this container onto the truck and out of here. I have better things to be doing than fielding harpies who come to roost."

The gas canister spins its last revolution, the yellow gas hanging in the lab sinks low to the ground, leaving nothing more than a harmlessly greasy film on Doctor Cong's skin. With Ling prone on the ground, one of the retrievers removes a black plastic case from his belt, kneeling down by her side and unwrapping a velcro strap from it, tying it around Ling's arm. A few electronic switches on the device turn it on, and a retreactable plastic tube is drawn out, and brought up by white, gloved hands to her nose and slid up into her left nostril.

The technicians are lowering the cryonic case containing Song Ye, carrying it by recessed hand grips and shuffling it over to the stairs. The dolly up on the first floor will help them withdraw it from the lab, but for now — up stairs — they can carry the heavy case with its fragile, frozen corpse within by hand.

«Administering negation gas» the retriever states as he activates the small intra-nasal device, and numbers showing a dosage and remaining gas volume clicks on, beeping once before a green light shines brightly on the side. The gas on the floor disperses to a fine mist, leaving the coppery stains on the metallic equipment here untouched, leaving a subtle greasy film on everything it touches.

Just enough to smudge up the glass viewing panel on the top of the cryonics case, where Song Ye's frozen visage sleeps eternally. Soon enough, Ling Chao will join her in that slumber, after a fashion.

«She's ready for transport.»

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