brian_icon.gif valentin_icon.gif

Scene Title Conductive
Synopsis How many questions the government has for Brian Fulk is in opposition with how many answers he's willing to give.
Date March 12, 2011

Staten Island: Reclaimed Zone: Eltingville Blocks

Excruciating pain, while not a pleasant thing to wake up to, is incredibly effective in both ushering its victim to and from unconsciousness, depending on which direction the recipient requires steering.

In this case, Brian Fulk wakes up.

And sees a polished black boot alligator clamping down upon his hand in slow, building pressure that squeezes fresh blood into pristine white bandaging, cracks old blood and clotting scabs beneath it, zithers pain from the stub of a former finger in the middle of his hand all the way up to his elbow, his shoulder, his brain. At the firsts sign of consciousness, Michal Valentin lets up and dances back a step or two. "Wakey wakey, Mister Fulk." It's a new voice, accented, to add to the catalogue of voices Brian's been exposed to over the past few weeks, varying degrees of harshness and even—

Direction. This is one of those rare cases where he is being talked to, rather than over. Memories of the last time he was awake flash around him — a four walled cell, a casual beating. The twisting, snapping removal of tendon, bone, flesh.

Rough carpet beneath him tells him he is somewhere new. Soft daylight through curtains. The ceiling a little stained with age but not unclean. The looming shape of a sofa in his periphery, a coffee table moved aside so that he could instead be flung into the middle of the room. He is, indeed, in someone's under-decorated, slightly old fashioned and highly suburban living room, with old cobwebs in the corners of the ceiling, and about three other armed men making a wide triangle around his prone form and Valentin.

The thoughts upon waking are so focused on 'FUCK FUCK OW FUCK' it doesn't even register that he's not being called by his name.

A dead man is being spoken to. And this dead man has a really hurty hand at the moment. Eyes crack open to the searing pain that courses through his arm. The hand darting back to his chest held there protectively as if the pain would abate. It doesn't. Despite himself, moisture forms around the exterior of his eyes. Big boys don't cry, but big boys with severed fingers being stepped on apparently do. A deep ragged breath is sucked in. Which accidentally invites random dust bunnies and other gross foreign microscopic objects into his throat. Causing him to cough violently against the carpet. Eventually the coughing dries up.

Eyes leaking dirty tears creep up to take in the men in the room. At the same time visions of the last few weeks swim through his mind. Tyler Case. Ability swapped. Refrain. A stupid amount of it. And then the police. And then the different police. And then the different different police. At this point, he's figuring these men aren't exactly police. And his finger is gone. His middle finger is gone. The rush of his newfound mortality isn't lost on him. He can't just absorb this body and have a new one. This is something very new.

Very new and very terrifying.

A shaky breath is let out before Brian leans on his other arm, the one that has all five fingers connected. "Just give me a couple more minutes. I was dreaming about chocolate rivers." And with that Brian's face lands on the carpet, his eyes wide open and staring at the wall away from his captors.

There's a mysterious lift to Valentin's hand that doesn't get seen by Brian, and even if he did, it wouldn't mean much. Because nothing happens, following it. The signal to do nothing would only lead into speculation as to what would have happened if no such signal occurred.

A subtle squeak of floorboards beneath carpeting as weight distributes to the side beneath black boots, ones with the kind of toes that might break bone on a kick. Yellow stitching. Scuffs and polish. They circle around Brian a little. Dampness from the wet outside soaks grey jeans darker up a few inches of ankle. A shirt tucked in beneath a leather jacket, hands in thinner black leather with the fingers sitched away, dirt beneath his fingernails. Valentin has his face uncovered, no glasses or masks — it's a relatively kind face, with shallow age lines, blue eyes, brown hair with a homely mix of grey streaked through it.

He waits, as asked. For a couple of minutes.

The peace is filled with a throbbing sensation in his hand. Like a little tiny heart just ran a marathon and was threatening to explode. All over his bleeding bandaged hand.

His good hand slaps at his face, scrubbing at his stubble while a ragged sigh is let out into his palm. Memories are fuzzy. And not good for much. But despite not knowing exactly where he's been, he knows enough days have passed to issue concern. Separated from his copies, he can't be for certain if any of them had contacted his wife to be. Hopefully they had but being cut off from them is weird.. and it sort of makes him want to piss his pants in terror.

His hand drags down after his small amount of respite offered by the nice old guy over there. Though he remains on the ground. No need to move just yet. "So.. Do I get my phonecall now?" It's hard to talk, voice sounding raw and hoarse.


It is a warm tone of voice too, soothingly honest. There are a number of places to sit down, but none of the men in the room are taking them, on a degree of alert — even Valentin, with his shoulders sloped and hands laced together. "I believe that regulation says that cellphones are allowed, is that correct?" he asks an impassive soldier to his left, one who knows better than to respond to rhetoric. "Perhaps I can arrange this thing for you, but first I am more interested in the nature of those you would call.

"Certainly not your family." After the dull ache of his hand has subsided just enough for Brian to feel things like the texture of his clothing, the roughness of the carpet, he'll be able to feel the subtle clamp of metal around his ankle — it does not cut in, loose enough to be worn without much in the way of irritation and damage. A tracking anklet, with no readily discernable method of unlocking.

It takes a lot of willpower not to look. But he manages to keep his eyes forward resisting temptation to immediately start cracking at the new piece of jewelry he has acquired in his recent unconscious adventures. But there's something else different. His ability is certainly gone. That's much for sure. But there's the presence of something else there. Something that is encouraged when his hand rubs against the carpet. Best keep that card to the chest. Just like that throbby hand.

"Do I have a cellphone?" He asks weakly going to roll to his back. What kind of place is he in that they're going to allow him a cell phone? "You're not DHS, are you? Is my pretty picture off the wanted list now that you got me in your bachelor pad?" Another short coughing fit explodes out. Taking just a moment before it wanes back down into deep breaths. "I don't have a family." He manages. "You obviously haven't read my file. I'm incredibly complex and mysterious. I just wanted to call one of my favorite prostitutes. Do a little phone sex. It's been a while." He peers down at his right hand. "Looks like I'm going to have to get better with my left." He moans weakly.

Valentin smiles sharp, chuckles behind his teeth. "I have read your file, Mister Fulk." Don't be silly~. "But I would disagree with very complex or mysterious, certainly not incredibly so. For you have allowed a finger to be taken off your hand. You are flesh and blood, even if you can make— more of the same if you choose to. I suspect they are listening now." Brian does have that card close to his chest — whatever happened to him, it's been lost in the mix of intelligence across departments.

If it was ever released at all. "I am not Department of Homeland Security. Or the Evolved Affairs. I am a contractor for the American military during this time of crisis. My name is Michal Valentin. And you are not in my bachelor pad.

"And you are certainly still on the Wanted list. For human trafficking in relation to the underground network known as the Ferrymen. For your involvement in the severely unconstitutional organisation known as the Company. Your affiliations with known terrorist organisations such as Phoenix. I have been told you have been resistent to questioning?" A beat, and he adds, "I am leaving this place with either another finger or two, Mister Fulk, or information. Would you like to make a decision now?"

"Super complex work for you? And if you've read my file you know I'm very silly." The word is said with complete laziness as if just falling out of his mouth. "Maybe I'm so complex I wanted my finger to be taken." Brian starts to press up on one hand to get himself up. But collapses back on his shoulder. It's half a show, but he is half surprised at the effort it took for him to push himself up that far. Maybe it wasn't a show. "Hello Michael." Brian greets sweetly, or as sweet as a prisoner missing his fuck you finger can be.

"Yep." He answers, those listening copies. "You're not negating me. What's to keep me from flooding this room with naked men suffocating you and jumping out the window?" Edging for information. Even misinformation can be good information. "If I'm on the wanted list, why am I not in prison?" Brian groans, looking around the apartment. "Who's bachelor pad is this?"

"Fairy who? Fairymen? Is that a band of homosexual activists? I will tell you whatever you want to know about them. But since we're not in your bachelor pad, I'm assuming it's not very much." He sounds slightly disappointed.

Valentin takes a breath, one that funnels air loudly up nasal passages, the kind of breath that might come before a big ol' sigh of exasperation, disappointment, something. He resists, but does glance towards the nearest soldier, and tip his head in gesture before turning his back. No one goes for knives, pliers, shears or any other implement that comes with finger removal, at least — but a forest of six legs do some to circle Brian, and the first one lands a hard kick into his back, a dull throb of pain, kidneys under protest, and his neck twinges as his head suddenly bows under a blow landed at the back of his skull.

"We are in your bachelor pad, actually." Michal's voice sounding distant, partially — he's wandered off for the window, lifting back the gauzy curtains to observe the dreary New York afternoon. "Welcome home. And I am not a fan of negation. I like to see how people respond to stress, unhindered."

A very distinct groan is emitted as one of those rib breaking boots slaps against his back. And then another. A sharp scry exhaling from the second blow. A soft whimper emits from his lips, hand trembling at his chest. A few moments are taken to breathe. To gather himself. "Oh.." The words are so much more pained than they were a moment ago. But there is at least an attempt to keep his sarcastic tone somewhere in there. "Sorry. I've always been a terrible host. Can I get you boys anything to drink?"

One arm comes up defensively as if expecting another blow. And he's quick to follow with, "I'm sorry. Jesus. Can you help me up? I'll talk. Just have your boys put me on a seat or something." A beat. "Please?"

Thump. That's the last kick before Valentin can call them off with a nod, a blow that bounces off the arms thrown up in defense to score bruises on his limbs and rattle the nerves in his injured hand. Beyond the room, Brian can hear— the sound of vehicles, but not exactly traffic in the conventional sense. Trucks, flitting by on occasion. Beyond contained sound of automobiles, a creepy kind of silence, of space that buffers this section of city from the rest of it in empty streets, forests and river.

Two sets of hands reach down, the intent to grab him by the arms, drag him in roughly the same direction as the sofa, and push him to fall upon it accordingly.

"Fnnghh.." The last kick still hurts rather bad. But it's over. They are dragging him to the couch. Two of them. One more guard and the supervisor. His hands drag against the carpet. Conventional wisdom would say lay down, take the questioning. Get released. But he's not about to be the rat. Nor is he all too excited about losing anymore fingers. He can't replace them anymore. And every prisoner has to have at least one stupid breakout attempt.. All this is the justification that goes rattling through his head as he's dragged across the carpet. Right until.

The ability is not understood. There could be no way he could have any sort of accuracy with it. But he does understand that there's an 'on switch'. And while practice may make perfect, there's nothing wrong with excessive electricity with no control. And so blue white dances around Brian's body wildly. Coursing through him and into the two men that hold him. You know that thing about baby rattlesnakes? They don't know when to stop injecting venom.

The electricity rages out of him, before the very strained Brian drops out of their grasp, his hands immediately flinging in the direction of the third guard. But no bolts come out, only hands crackling with electricity and a very pained mask.

"Please don't kick me anymore." He murmurs to Valentin.

Two guns instantly trained on Brian — Valentin being the second, and though he once told someone he is not a fan of guns, he holds it with someone who knows his way around it. Kind of like how he just said he isn't into negation, and yet bandied it around freely during the time of the Dome.

There's a crackle of a radio, a call for back up, and the soft groans of two recently electrocuted men — well, only one of them is making noises, the other lying still and gently smoking from where burns had scorched up his palms, his chest. A fine plume of smoke, too, rises from a broken tracking anklet scorched around Brian's ankle. "You see?" Valentin enthuses, after a few more moments of static silence. "People will always surprise you. Would we have known that he had a second Evolved ability, had we kept him under negation? No!"

"I can get the truck around, bring him back to Miller Airfield. Let Homeland Security pick up its luggage," the soldier gruffs out.

"No, no. That won't be necessary. Just have them bring around adynomine for the day to make sure Mister Fulk can sufficiently contain himself. I am unconvinced," and this part seems to be directed at Brian, "that the situation has changed very much. A finger or information is still the deal." Except now there are two guns involved, and the growling approach of a vehicle, and medics.

Brian's back is pressed to the edge of the couch. Pulling himself up, he pushes himself into an uneasy position on the couch. "I will fill this whole room up before you can pull the trigger. The electricity will go to your brain first, locking it up. Unable to send that vital signal to your finger to pull the trigger and cap that guy. All four of you will be dead. And then me probably soon after. I don't think that would be being a good contractor, Michael." His head tilts in a 'see?' way. Before he collapses back into the couch, body melting against it. He taps his lap idly. "Now.. I believe you two are intruding on my home."

He motions to the door. "You should leave, I think. You can come back when you bring your precious adynomine. And if you want to talk." Brian practically glares at Valentin. "Bring less boots." He glances around the apartment. "And bring a cellphone." He clips. "I'll be in my room." He doesn't move.

Valentin does. Move.

As does the soldier he's with, who, despite Brian's claims, doesn't show signs of response — prepared to take orders not from the Evolved prisoner in front of them, but follow cues from the Czech former soldier to his left. There is a nod of consent— you win— from Valentin, as he backs his way out of the living room, where the door arches friendly into a small hallway. Coathooks on the walls. Light switches. A fire alarm. All the best that the government could afford to provide.

The butt of his gun, quick as a snake, slams into the glass of the fire alarm, hitting the trigger protected beneath. Alarms give a piercing whine in the same moment that sprinklers twitch to life and cast silver jets of water after a second of water pumping through pipes and distributed in a circular haze of rain-like droplets.

The soldier curses, having a very rudimentary understanding of water conductivity, ducking for the kitchen door to get out of the way. Valentin has a better grasp on science, and doesn't move from where he has the gun trained on Brian.

Outside, the shadows of soldiers moving passed the windows glimmer across glass and curtains.

When Valentin starts to move out, Brian's eyes slink up to the ceiling. A deep breath taken there. Jesus. But then there's the sound of crashing glass. And just before his gaze moves to the source of it, he spots water coming from the ceiling. A baring of teeth is revealed in Valentin's direction. But not much else happens. No sudden electricity explosions, or bodies convulsing. Just Brian sitting on his couch getting all wet.

Brian also has a better understanding of water conductivity. And won't be attempting to jack up that on switch anytime soon. But this would be a great time to flood the room with naked bodies. The fact that he can't eats away at his chest. Remaining on the couch he gives a light sigh. "That's going to ruin the carpet." Day one in his new home and the place is already going to smell like shit.

Glancing down to the two men below him, one foot very subtly nudges against the face of one of the nearby guards. A short cutoff kick. It's his quiet way of getting revenge. Then he's glancing back to Valentin. A light sigh soaring out of his mouth.

"Just don't take my thumbs."

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