Empyrical Revelations


bella_icon.gif colette_icon.gif

Scene Title Empyrical Revelations
Synopsis Bella Sheridan begins her testing of Colette Nichols, but an unexpected result in the tests opens amazing new doors.
Date February 8, 2010

Refrain Study Laboratory

Ruins of Midtown

Colette's apperance and capture has sent ripples through the testing facility. No more the easy poker games, no more the sense that a pool table would be a totally reasonable request, no more the casual smoke breaks and the sense that, even if it is a boring gig, at least it's an easy and safe one. One slip of a girl sent the operation into chaos, a fact that had the project director in a cold fury and the leader of the mercs on high alert. While they could have easily been at each other's throats, the captain is a consummate professional, and Bella is a trained people person - and both their reputations are on the line here. A flurry of activity has gripped the warehouse, with more cameras being installed, thicker doors placed in key locations, and locks improved in strength.

This flurry, however, is perceived by Colette only as sounds outside her cell, for a cell is all you could call the room she's been placed in, with all six surfaces concrete, no windows, one bed, one chamberpot equivalent, one door, and fluorescents turned so low that she's in a state of perpetual twilight. That she gets light at all is perhaps something of a mercy, considering her quickly identified ability, the nature of which is explicated more fully in the file the project directo has in her hand as she descends from her perch, tugging the black veil on one handed. Her leg throbs from time to time, but the fact of Colette's custody, and the fact that they /just/ developed an experimentally effective interrogation drug, combine to give the director's anxiety a progressive edge. This is a problem with some very probable solutions.

Plus Joseph asked to see her shortly after her capture, making the trouble to determining motives and discerning the appropriate recall stimuli much less, well, troublesome.

Oh, the bright sides. Though the facility does, in fact, dim considerably as the director moves through the newly installed, steel-reinforced door, which the huge orderly holds open for her, joining her after as her escort. The Russian holds a taser in hand with an all-too familiar grip. They arrive at the door to Colette's cell, and Dema steps forward to knock, three times. The director, file tucked under one arm, lifts her fingers to her throat and presses the switch. When she speaks, it's no voice anyone could recognize. "Colette. We're coming in. Please be ready to cooperate." She nods to the orderly, who opens the door.

The appearance of the girl curled in the far corner of the cell when that door cracks open is something of a feral cat hiding under someone's porch. Dark eyeliner is smudged down her face in a pair of wavering streaks, ink black hair is tussled and in disarray like a wild animal left ungroomed. The slim accompaniment of a black long-sleeved t-shirt hugs a matchstick thin form snugly, seeming almost indistinguishable from the equally tight black jeans she wears, decorative belt no longer in her possession and shoes likewise confiscated, leaving her in a pair of mismatched green and red socks. Pale fingers wind into fists at her side where she crouches, one green eye illuminated by the only marginally brighter light that starts as a sliver when the door opens, and soon widens to reveal the girl's full face, dark hair hiding her other eye.

"Let us go." Colette states through her teeth, like the snarl of a cornered and frightened animal, that one green eye flicking between the silhouettes of Bella and Dema. "Let us all go." She's trembling from head to toe, and the dark circles around her eyes aren't just from tear-streaked makeup, but lack of sleep save for hour or two spurts when she simply can't force herself awake any longer.

The project director's hand remains pressed to where her pulse should be, and so her voice continues in its distorted fashion. "In time, I plan to," she says, "For now, I'll need you to cooperate. That is the most you can do to ensure your safety, and the safety of the subjects here. Please, exit your room and come with us." The way the Russian orderly looms behind the veiled director veritably manifests the willingness to be less verbose and polite about this whole situation.

Colette's brows scrunch up at the mechanical tone of the distorted voice, her nose wrinkles and she flicks a quick glare at Dema. When she looks back to Bella, there's a snort afforded to the redhead. "My safety? I'd be more worried about you right now, you stupid bitch." Coarse, sharp language from someone backed into a corner, but so many hours without sleep will push anyone to irrational foulness uncharacteristic of them. "I'm not worried about myself at all— I know I'm getting out've here! I know it! Do you really think some kid just found this place on her own and snuck in just be-fucking-cause? Are you really that goddamned dumb?"

She straightens up, back flushed against the wall. "I swear to God if you take one more step closer to this door you'll regret it. There's a muted flicker of light around her hands, little more than the light of a dying match barely able to keep itself alight. "Let me an' Joseph an' whoever you got in this fucking place out right now or I swear to God there won't be enough pieces of you to fill a trash can!"

The director's hand drops from her throat for a moment, and she just stands there, considering the girl, considering her words. Finally she nods, lifts her hand once more. "Joseph and I have an arrangement. He didn't find me to be totally unreasonable, and he's benefitted from his own civility. I've managed to operate this facility with a minimum of barbarism. Please, please, don't make me force and exception for you." As far as threats go, not terribly colorful, but the implications are quite serious.

A green eyed squint is afforded to Bella, "I'm not gonna' fight you…" Colette grunts the words out through clenched teeth, jaw trembling and eyes watering, "but you got yourself a choice. You— can come in through that door, and lay a hand on me, or you can turn the fuck around… and let me out and let Joseph out, and whoever else you have in here— " the girl's throat tightens, a shuddering breath drawn in, shoulders tense. "If you let me go… there's still time for you to run for your fucking life."

One green eye flicks up to Dema, and Colette slides her tongue across her lips. "You don't know who my friends are," then to Bella, "or what they'd do to you if they found out you have me." Jaw tensing, the girl scrapes her fingers against the wall, socked feet scuffing against the floor as if she's tyring to force herself into that corner just a little further.

"But they're gonna, and if I'm still here, if you're still here when they do? There won't be a fucking hole deep enough for you to crawl in to hide from them. We can find anyone, anywhere… and they already know what you look like." She quite literally spits on the floor of her cell, mostly because of the taste of bile in her mouth from how queasy she feels due to the anxiety.

"Your choice."

The director regards Colette for another long moment, then answers her. Tone is difficult to discern behind the transformation software, but she sounds even and calm. "Please step out into the hallway and come with us," she says, "I'd appreciate your cooperation, as I've appreciated Joseph's cooperation, and the cooperation of the other inhabitants of this facility."

The threats have garnered no visible reaction. Not even contradiction or mockery. Cold fish, this one.

Stepping out into the hallway is different than someone coming in and getting her, admittedly. Colette swallows, looking over towards the open door, then to Dema and Bella. "I want shoes," she demands flatly, brows tensed again and arms moving to curl around herself, socked toes doing much the same but against a far less giving concrete floor. It's a simple enough request, and not even one she particularly cares about, this is just not letting her spirit be broken by this situation; she'd seen Casino Royale, she knows how this stuff goes.

Admittedly, things tend to go a little different in movies than they do in real life, and Colette may well find out that for herself.

This is the point where it might do to stop negotiating and demonstrate that they really can do whatever they want to her. But Isabella Sheridan has spent too much time getting people to like her, and in this way she possesses a considerable failing when committing acts of villainy. Being a villain means never worrying about the good opinion of your prisoners.

"We'll see to that by tomorrow," the project director says, then steps out of the doorway and motions, clearly indicating that Colette is to comply.

A look is given down to the taser in Dema's hand, then over to Bella, at the corners of her eyes there's creases, jaw clenching and fingers winding tighter into the fabric of her shirt. "I want them now." She stubbornly isn't budging, but maybe it's also a part of a ploy. "You gonna' make your big man taser a little kid now? That how this works? Come on in King Kong, come on in and try me."

She can't bring herself to try quoting whatever it was Rorshach had said in Watchmen, mostly because Colette can't damn well remember the dialogue well enough, or the scene, but she really would've loved to— it sounded so great when he did it. "I want shoes, and I want them now." Maybe she just thinks she's stalling, maybe despite the tears in her eyes that belie just how terrified she is right now, she thinks rescue is going to come at any moment. She's, unfortunately, wrong.

"I'm sorry about this," the director says, simply, then nods. The orderly lifts the taser and fires with the speed and precision of someone with no small training and experience. Maybe they checked submitted resumes for firearm handling experience? The prongs lash out at Colette and strike at her through her clothes, the voltage coursing through her and throwing her voluntary muscle control right out the window, while leaving her fully conscious. The Russian discharges the spent cartridge and then moves over to pick Colette off the ground. Executing a near-effortless fireman carry, he bears her out of the room and down in the direction of the MRI room where Colette made her last stand of sorts. The director follows. Dim lighting persists, for the moment, a precaution made wisely after the example made of Osmond.

Muscle control starts returning moments too late, as the orderly is fastening her to the slab by the restraints. She manages to regain herself fully, but with her arm in the careful but powerful grip of the orderly, who arranges her limbs with gentle patience more befitting a nurse than a goon.

She's crying again, this time more so than before from the sheer amount of pain. Thrashing comes next once she can will those aching muscles back into action, armsa and legs struggling against the restraints that bind her to the MRI. It's not going to make actually scanning her easy if she won't stay still, though that's hardly a plan of her own, just an unfortunate byproduct of emotional outburst. Screams come thorugh clenched teeth, fingers curl against her palms and COlette's back arches away from the table, trying to free herself in ways that her skinny frame simply can't afford her.

Monentary flickers of light flash and spark around her hands, tiny firefly motes of light that flicker and glimmer but can't quite get up the illumination necessary. But then there's something not included in that folder Bella has, something she'd seen the girl to before, but coupled with a facet of her photokinesis she hadn't seen yet.

Colete disappears, almost like a reflexive action, portions of her body turning invisible at uneven portions of swirling absence of color. The room outside of where Colette is strapped begins to change colors as well. First the table she's laying on, then the floor beneath her and the walls around her. Everything shifts to a single hue of the lower light spectrum, nothing but bright red in every direction on every surface and texture save for the invisible girl flickering and flashing around in her bindings.

"They're gonna kill you!" Her voice cracks as she screams, heels scuffing against the padded bedding of the restraint table, "They're gonna fucking kill you! They're gonna find me, and they're gonna kill every last fucking one of you you sons of bitches!" Every single shrieking syllable from the uncontrolable girl is hissed and shrieked out, her fingers clawing with lack of any appreciable fingernails against the padding beneath her. "I hope you fucking choke on your own tongue and die you goddamn bitch I'll cut you in half!" Sparking points of light appear over her hands, but due to the dim interior lighting amount to nothing.

Every single word she speaks comes with a choked, ragged sob behind it. She's not going to cooperate, like a cat that doesn't want to go to the vet, crammed in a cage anyway.

The project director waits for the first wave of Colette's fury to spend itself, standing, watching, no sign of impatience perceptible, but that's easy to do when you have no visible features. The orderly reaches out and pulls a wheeled medical tray over to Colette's slabside. There are syringes there, normally clear sides wrapped in black electrical tape, hiding phosphorescent contents. Dema peels back a bit of the tape just to check the levels, revealing a faint blue glow that betrays to Colette just what they have in store for her. The orderly sets down the needle, then swabs a patch on the interior of Colette's arm with alcohol.

"Please remain calm," the director instructs the new subject, "It is in your best interests to have a level emotional state during this procedure. I am telling you this in the interests of your own well being."

"What the fuck is that!?" The sputtering lights grow brighter for a moment, then die back down. Colette's legs twist and contort, portions of her body still flickering with swaths of invisibility. "Don't— don't you fucking— don't you dare! Don't you dare fucking stick me with that!" Arms bending and chest rising in hyperventillating breaths, Colette's whole body convulses trying to wrench herself free from the table. "They are going to fucking murder you! They'll kill your— your whole fucking family I swear to God! I sent them pictures of everything with my phone, they— know everything!" Panic sets in now and she's trying anything to get out of this situation.

"My sister works for Daniel Linderman! He'll fucking bury you! She works for Daniel Linderman! My dad's a cop! My dad's a— " Her leg kicks, hips twist and she lets out another scream of fear and anger as she watches the syringe. "My dad's a fucking cop! He's a fucking cop! You have no idea who the fuck is going to come after you! You have no— stop! Stop touching me! Stop fucking touching me!"

This is more than just irrational fear of needles, this is something a little more psychologically damaged inside of this girl bubbling to the surface like water from an underground spring.

The director moves closer, hanging by the edge of Colette's bed as she struggles against the implacable restraints. The blankness of the black veil blends in with the darkness all around them. Where the director looks is impossible to tell, but Colette can feel the soft weight of her gaze.

"Suppress her," the director says, that hand always lifted to the switch, like she's always checking to see if she's still alive, "I can't see a damned thing in here." Her assistant lifts another syringe, one without a glow to reveal or conceal, checks its level, then places a hand on Colette's upper arm, pinning the limb and keeping it still enough that he can quickly insert the needle and inject. The director moves over to a radio, which sits next to the camera that watched Colette's final dash, not something she saw last time, and turns the dial.

"Turn the lights back on please," she requests and, after about thirty seconds, the fluorescents swell into life again, illuminating the whites and pale grays. A wonderful resource to Colette, if the shot she had just received hadn't knocked her ability on its conceptual ass. The director lifts her hand to rub at her eyes through the veil, the sudden increase in luminescence momentarily painful, then returns to the tethered young woman. "Prepare the second injection," she instructs then, to Colette, "Last warning. Calm yourself." As if it were possibly that easy.

The ability negating neuro-toxin is a remarkably dangerous chemical, requiring injection under the jaw on either side for proper effect. While the Company has had their fair share of the chemical, they've never had a hand in its production, only supplied through whatever benefits their convoluted agreement with the United States Government has afforded them. When that syringe goes in, Colette tenses up out of that fear of the needle snapping off in her neck.

The girl lets out a strangled scream mixed with a whine of pain, and a droplet of blood rolls down from her neck where that needle went in. Within seconds her body is becoming visible and the color spectrum in the room is fading back to normal as her power is stripped from her. Horror sets in to Colette's face as she realizes she's coming back fully into view, that the colors and lights around her are no longer under her control, and for perhaps the first time in a year she's squinting at light

"No— " Her breath hitches in the back of her throat, "No, no, no, no! What— what the fuck did you do to me!?" She shrieks out with another crack to her voice, tears wetting the sides of her face where she lays, dark smudges of her eyeliner and mascara leaving kohl colored rivulets across pale skin. She's hyperventilating, chest riding and falling rapidly, face flushed bright red and pupils fully dilated.

Tear-filled green eyes stare wide and terrified at the tape-covered syringe that Dema prepares. Colette's arms shake, her fingers curl against her palms and subtle twitches of muscle beneath her skin indicate the presence of adrenaline pounding through her system. "Please don't…" comes the more fearful whine in the back of her throat.

The director peers down at Colette, and then her head tilts, a particular motion of curiosity. Her hand lifts before the orderly can perform the next injection. The Russian pauses, registering only a moment of surprise. The director depresses the switch and speaks, slowly and clearly. "I am not someone to be fucked with either, as you can see," she states, "Now. You have given me very little reason to think that your continued survival is desirable for the purposes of this project. I will, however, extract what use out of you as I can. When what's in that needle hits your system, I'll get to witness a reaction I haven't seen before. This gives me valuable data. However, it might damage the valuable data that's currently rolling around in your head. If I can't have the second, I'll go with the first. But- I'm willing to forgo the first if you feel like imparting the second. I may even sweeten the deal. Have you understood me? Do you feel ready to converse like a civilized individual? Or am I to regard this as animal testing?"

"You kill me…" Colette spits the words out, a line of saliva rolling down the side of her mouth, "you won't get to die." It's all she says, wide eyes staring up at the redheaded doctor, chest rising and falling in still rapid breaths, her nostrils flaring and whole body tense from her struggles, though fatigue from that uncontrollable frenzy on the table is showing its wear on her already sleep-deprived mind. "You dont… fucking believe me? Fine. Do whatever you sick fucks do— I know she'll come for me, and when she does, you're going to be the one strapped to a— to a fucking table, screaming. I know it."

"Charming," the director remarks, "Inhumanity for inhumanity. I'm sorry to say it, but you're making this a very easy decision." Chiding, as if talking to a naughty child, but not in anger, instead in weariness. She nods to the orderly. "Go ahead. And be careful when you dive." The Russian nods, and holds Colette's arm down again before sliding the needle loaded with Refrain and dextroamphetamine into her, depressing the plunger slowly, sending a stream of narcotics into the young woman's already taxed bloodstream.

Somewhere inside of Colette Nichols' body, two vastle different chemicals are meeting one another for the first time in a long time. The neuro-toxin that traditionally suppresses or at the very least mitigates Evolved abilities, and Refrain, which stimulates portions of declarative memory and regions of the brain that Doctor Sheridan is only now beginning to explore, including just how it binds to the proteins that mark the Evolved for what they are.

Inside of that, the cocktail additive of dextroamphetamine is only icing on a particularly unexpected cake. The sudden increase of wakefulness and the loss of fatigue causes Colette's eyes to slowly snap open, her fingers twitching violently as her neck muscles tighten and her back arches again against the table. A thin line of saliva runs out of the corner of the girl's mouth, followed by a keening sound of pain as her pupils swell in size to twice their normal limitations.

Immediately apparent is a fever-like condition that dapples across Colette's forehead in beaded sweat and flushed skin and a hastening of her breathing. The girl's arms tense up, her whole body trembles, and that's when Bella first sees flickering sparks of light flashing across the teen's palm. They're not the same color that the firefly motes were, they're more of a blue-green in hue, fascinating in the fact that she should be negated right now.

Only a moment later there is a horrified scream from Colette, followed by her back arching and the lights in the room completely blacking out. All light seems to be swallowed by whatever unexpected effect just took place from the chemical mixtures. Colette's screaming can be heard, along with an intermittent flickering of the lights, until all that can be seen in the dark are highly concentrated beams of blue white light sweeping around over the walls, across the ceiling, through the MRI with a shearing and burning sizzle, through nearly a solid inch of concrete like a laser-light show gone horribly awry.

Dema is thankfully fortunate to not be anywhere near the scathing blossom of laser energy that erupts from the girl, followed by a strobing effect of the fluorescent lights and then the endof her scream.

Colette falls limp against the table, shallow breathing and eyes lidded, head lolled to the side and jaw slack. She's alive from the looks of it when the lights normalize, but she's cut half of her restraints off and sawed through the halo of the MRI with the force of what seemed to be several different intensities of lasers that have carved irregular marks into the concrete and slashed up portions of her clothing.

The girl's eyes are halfway lidded, pupils returning to normal, but she seems to have blacked out— likely from the pain.

This is an unexpected development.

Bella, we'll dispense with titles for the moment, has two instincts, the first of which nearly kills her, the second of which doubtless saves her life. First instinct: curiosity. As the drugs mingle, merge, and take effect, she leans over Colette to take a closer look. The onset of flushing and perspiration is noted with medical interest, as well as the feverish trembling. Bad signs, physically, but interesting. It's the sparking that causes the first flash of the second instinct: cowardice. The two wage a brief battle, with the former retaining dominance until the scream and the black out. She was inches away from simply getting deer-in-the-headlights into oblivion, but Dr. Sheridan's sense of cowardly self preservation is finely honed enough to make her reel back, away from the table, when the light show begins. The fatal light show, the suddenness of which lands her right on her ass and safely out of danger.

Her heart is racing as she tremblingly tries to get to her feet, but no dice: her leg howls in protest, her inconvenient conversion disorder rendering her temporarily immobile. She doesn't bother to change her voice as she groans.

"Dema! Help me, it's the leg." Dema has to take time to recover himself as well before moving to the project director and helping her to feet, with one great arm swung up under her, lifting. Bella holds herself aloft with his support and her good leg, and stares at Colette's unconscious form. She quickly glances back at the camera. "Did we get that?" she asks, then, directly to Dema, "You saw that, right? What just happened?" Her gaze returns to the girl who just destroyed a million dollar piece of medical equipment and nearly gave Bella the last haircut she'd ever need. "Put her in a dark room. I mean pitch black. I need to make some calls."

A single piece of framework from the MRI clunks off from where it had been nearly severed clean, and the sound is expectantly noisy given the awkward silence coming over the examination room. Whatever happened here is something beyond what Bella Sheridan expected to retrieve from her research, and the chemical reaction of whatever makes up the neuro-toxin and whatever is a part of Refrain seem to have overloaded the girl. So many variables, from her emotional state to the dextroamphetamine, to the surging adrenaline coursing through her body and the nature of her ability itself all come into play.

But here, laying on the table of Dr.Sheridan's now demolished MRI, is something that only a handful of people in the world have so far discovered and even fewer have tested. She may not realize the gold-mine of information she's found herself sitting on, but it will eventually be worth far more than a single MRI.

It may be her greatest breakthrough yet.

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