Hear or See


bella_icon.gif noriko_icon.gif

Scene Title Hear or See
Synopsis Noriko, having recovered from H5n10, is brought in for basic samples. In an act of resistance, she forces Bella to make a revelation.
Date June 5, 2010

Staten Island Hospital

The Project Icarus facilities.

To say it was touch and go would be to border on understatement. Noriko's system would have been taxed already, with the application of a near-fatal dose of the amplification drug. Combined with her raging fever, compliments of the H5n10, the strain nearly proved too much. After the last test Noriko endured, the hydrokinetic lived in a black-lined haze, shifting in and out of consciousness, for days on end. Burning up, hallucinating, lungs laboring to draw breath - she was nearly done for. Only the constant attendance of ghostly white medical staff kept the thin thread of Noriko's life from snapping.

And one day, the fever broke. And after that, the cough subsided. For the first day in far, far too long, Noriko actually woke up, became fully aware of her surroundings. The cell, her cot, the dark bulb of the camera overhead. If only she could have woken to something safe and familiar outside of the febrile grip of the flu. But she is alive, and she is herself. And soon, she has company. A knock comes at her door. She could rise to get it, though after so long lying down, it's doubtful her legs could easily support her right away. That, and the door is locked.

Noriko blinks as she finally comes too, her eyes looking around the room that she has found herself in. For the first time in what seems like years, to the poor Hydrokinetic, she draws breathe easily and without any coughing. Standing on shakey legs, and bringing out a hand to grab anything in the room that she can use to support herself, she heads to the door to try and open it. Of course, being locked, all she can do is shake the handle.

She shivers while she stands there, a hand coming up to run through the fuzz on her head, courtesy of being shaved for their experiments. Shaking her head, she looks around and feels around with her ability, assuming they haven't blocked it themselves. She feels for pipes in the walls that she could perhaps use, or anything else that might allow her to be free.

Noriko should take it as a compliment that her captors respect her ability enough to have placed her out of the range of plumbing. Beyond the doors, she feels the body water of two grown people, and immediately after sensing them, she hears one of their voices. "Ms. Amagi. We're bringing you out. Please, put your hands behind your head and kneel in the center of the room." They don't warn her against violence or resistance. That likely goes without saying.

Noriko blinks while she stands there, supporting herself rather heavily on the door. Two people, she can take them easily. One gets exploded, the other chopped up by the water from the first. She nods her head a little to herself while she thinks that, moving towards the center of the room to kneel and put her hands behind her head as she was asked. A faint grin starting to play around her lips, before she shakes her head a little. Her mind wondering just what she's thinking. That's not here, to just start killing people.

Looking down at herself, her mind goes again to those… images and moments while she was unconcious. Remembering them, and for not the first time, she is wondering if they were figments of her fevered mind. Or if they were memories bubbling to the surface. She shakes her head, trying to get that debate from it, but she's unable to.

The door comes unlocked with a grind and a click. It slides sideways into the wall, revealing a pair of men, dressed as much as orderlies in a psych ward. One of them is stoney faced, the other displays some signs of nervousness. They know what Noriko can do. They can only hope that she'll know better than to throw her life away in taking theirs.

"Ms. Amagi, please exit your room. We're going to escort you to the observation room," the sterner of the two men says, voice unfaltering, "Do you require assistance? Are you strong enough to walk on your own?"

Noriko looks between the two as she sits there, studying the nervousness of the man. Her eyes go to the sterner looking one, and she says, "I can get there on my own." She doesn't particularly want to display any weakness to the two while she stands there. She slowly stands up from where she was kneeling, her legs unfolding frmo beneath her. She shakes a little as she stands there, but she looks defiant as she takes first one step than the other. "Lead on, gentlemen," she replies to the both of them while she stands there.

And so they lead. Noriko is, by dint of sheer defiance, able to make her faltering way out of the cell and down the hall, towards a pair of double doors. A magkey and a code gain them passage through these doors, and Noriko can feel water humming in the below and above her as they leave the immediate vicinity of her room. Apparently the sets of reinforced doors set every so often, and the dark, watchful cameras overhead are supposed to serve as deterrent enough. During the walk, the nervous man takes glance after glance at the buxom but badly used asian woman - afraid, apologetic, curious, in a word: conflicted. The stern man remains uniformly stern.

In not too long, they have arrived at OR 02, a place Noriko has been before though she was not lucid enough to know it at the time. These final doors are opened for her, and she is motioned to enter. Inside is an operating table and the great two way mirror behind which Dr. Isabella Sheridan waits for a familiar figure.

Noriko puts a hand against the wall as she enters the room. Her eyes go over to the two way mirror that is before her, wondering who is one the other side of it. She looks towards the orderlies, wondering what they will have her do next. She's still weak, and that much can be seen by the strain it takes for her to even walk down a hallway. The treatment that she has been through hasn't been too helpful either.

The orderlies disappear from view as the doors close behind her. Noriko is quite suddenly alone in the OR. This aloneness is given five seconds to sink in before it is sharply banished by the speakers crackling into life as Bella leans forward and clears her throat into the microphone. The sound that comes out on Noriko's side isn't remotely human.

«Please have a seat on the table, Ms. Amagi.» Bella intones, having to carefully keep to the name in the file, not the name she first knew this woman by, «Your condition has considerably improved, but we must take it step by step. I'm glad you're well enough to join us again.»

Noriko looks towards the glass, "I'm sure," she says dryly while she stands there. She moves over towards the table to take a seat. She still looks around and shivers in the aloneness of where she is at. Her eyes looking over at the wall for a moment, reaching out with her power to feel how many people might be behind it. Her eyes looking over the equipment as she looks for something with water, thinking of multiple plans to, if not get her free, make their operation a little more difficult.

The room is nearly bare. Pipes run under Noriko

The room is nearly bare - stripped down to the lone table. Pipes run under Noriko's feet, separated from her by several inches of concrete. And distant, distant, she can just barely sense the shape of the person behind the mirror. Like a key, just out of a prisoner's grasp.

«I'm sorry for our rough initial use of you,» the distorted voice informs Noriko with what must originally sound like sympathy, «Your condition was of interest to us, and we needed to gather valuable data. Now that you've recovered, we have many more questions and inquiries, and we are hoping you'll be willing to cooperate. The better we work together, the less likely anything unpleasant has to happen, and the more likely we'll be able to release you back to your life.»

Noriko raises an eyebrow while she stands there. "You know, things tend to go smoother if you ask someone, before you kidnap them from their lives," she responds, echoing sentiments that she had before her memory was erased, when the US government did the exact same thing. Her eyes looking around while she sits there, for perhaps an IV bag that was left in the room. Her eyes go over to the wall, before she says, "Honestly, I intend not to say a single thing else. I have no reason to cooperate with you." Indeed, when she doesn't even have a memory of her previous life to go back to…

They aren't stupid. They know what she can do. Bella frowns slightly. She doesn't want to get tough, but she may have no choice. She needs to give Noriko a reason to cooperate.

«I'll be sure to pass your complaint along,» Bella answers, «That's not my department. I am interested only in results, Ms. Amagi. And have considerable leeway in seeing they are obtained. So allow me to give you a reason to cooperate: if you don't, the kindest thing we will do to you is dispose of you, quickly and mercifully.»

Noriko smirks faintly as that ultimatum is put down on her. Her eyes looking behind that screen while she sits there in a room utterly deviod of water. "That could be very tempting. Given that I don't really have anyone to return to on the outside, eh? I can't remember the past year or so of my life, so… you might as well, don't you think?"

«Are you asking for euthanasia, Ms. Amagi?» the speakers ask, while their controller narrows her eyes, «I have long been a supporter of the Hemlock Society. If that is the road you wish to take, in the name of your human dignity, I will be happy to obliged your wishes. Though only after the project's needs have been served.»

Noriko shrugs her shoulders while she sits there, not answering the inquisitive speaker on the other end. Instead, she's focusing on herself, beginning to wonder if perhaps she could use herself as her own source of water. Of course, she wouldn't take enough to kill her, but enough to be able to make a stand before she can get more. Her eyebrows knitting while she studies the floor and thinks.

This silence is analyzed from behind the mirror. And, in the time lapse between words, something in Bella's chest loosens. This kind of lethal brinksmanship is not really for her. She wound herself into it, and she already regrets it. It's with conciliation that she speaks into the microphone again.

«You can get out of this place unharmed, Noriko,» Bella says, «You only need to help us with some last few tests. Your assistance will help a lot of people. An understanding of the virus you yourself suffered will prevent future suffering. And it is such an understanding that we are after. Help us, and this can all be for something. If that means nothing to you, then I have to wonder what does.»

Noriko remains silent while she sits there, not saying a word between her and the person on the other side of the mirror. She takes offense to being capture, and then experimented upon, and its quite obvious that right now, she's not forgiving of that. Her eyes glued onto the floor while she thinks, pondering her escape from here.

«If that is all we have to say, Ms. Amagi,» Bella says, coming to a place somewhere between soft and hard, a steady medium where she can do what she needs to do and no more, «I will ask that you cooperate, at least, with the orderly who will take some blood samples from you. If you make things difficult, or cause any harm to our staff-» What? «I will be decisive.»

Noriko's eyes light up when she hears that, looking towards the window while she sits there on the table. A gastly smile flickering over her lips, before she looks towards the door, wondering which orderly they might send in, and if they had to draw straws for the duty. Her mind falling into doing what she has to do in order for her to survive. Bella saw what she was after Moab, and the conditions are right to bring that person screaming back to the fore, even if she doesn't remember being there before.

Would that Bella could hear these thoughts. If survival is the goal, then murdering staff members is the surest path to defeat. Every subject has a value, and when that value is exceeded… well - The Institute needs to watch its overhead. At least Bella catches that smile, and it rightfully gives her pause. She leans towards the microphone. «Ms. Amagi, please, don't give me any reason to reprimand you. I want this to proceed with a minimum of difficulty for everyone. Can we agree upon the safety of my staff?»

Noriko's eyes look over to the window, still remaining silent as she said that she would. That ghost of a smile still flickering over her lips, before her attention goes to the door. She just waits for now, waits for the orderly, and waits to perhaps put a plan in motion.

Bella has a bad feeling about this. But this is a litmus test. Can Noriko be reasoned with? Can she be useful? If Bella needs to dispose of her, she'd better figure that out as quickly as she can, so she can acclimate to the idea. Noriko's far from no one to her, and Bella has never been pushed so far. This is a test. For both of them.

Hers door at the side of the room slides open, and a woman in white scrubs enters, a young asian woman with short black hair and a slight frame - she's young, early twenties. Her step is steady, but there's a certain tension in her body; she knows Noriko's a dangerous individual. She has a kit under her arm, doubtless for the samples. She gives Noriko a nervous smile. This kid must still be in med school or something.

Bella has a bad feeling about this. But this is a litmus test. Can Noriko be reasoned with? Can she be useful? If Bella needs to dispose of her, she'd better figure that out as quickly as she can, so she can acclimate to the idea. Noriko's far from no one to her, and Bella has never been pushed so far. This is a test. For both of them.

A door at the side of the room slides open, and a woman in white scrubs enters, a young asian woman with short black hair and a slight frame - she's young, early twenties. Her step is steady, but there's a certain tension in her body; she knows Noriko's a dangerous individual. She has a kit under her arm, doubtless for the samples. She gives Noriko a nervous smile. This kid must still be in med school or something.

Noriko smiles at the girl that walks in, as an arm comes out to offer to her. There isn't anything really pleasent about that smile, while she sits there. It justs oozes confidence and the feeling that she is just waiting for the right moment to pounce and making everything turn into a bad day for all involved.

The young woman moves up next to Noriko, setting the kit on the table and opening it. Inside are a small needle, a vial, a swab and a scraper, as well as a notepad and a pen. She takes the swab, Noriko's arm, and swabs the inside of her arm. "This will sting a bit," she says, using her best bedside manner. She goes to pierce Noriko's arm, to take the blood sample.

Noriko waits for the blood to start flowing, and while looking up at the girl and smiling, she manipulates the water in her blood fast as lightning. The water wraps around the pretty little nurse's neck, and wraps like a noose, starting to choke. "Don't move, or I will kill you," the asian says, though not really meaning it. She is far from being a killer. Still weak, but strong enough for her power, she moves to take one of the swabs, calmly disconnecting the needle and then putting a cloth over it to staunch the bleeding. "Now, let me out, or she dies, and anyone else I happen to see," Noriko hisses at the window, eyes looking around before going back to the Nurse. "Break the window," she orders.

Bella closes her eyes, takes a deep breath. It's come to this, has it?

«Counter proposal», the speakers reply, emotional state of the one behind them indeterminate, «Let her go or you die.»

This is not comforting for the nurse, who is already weeping from fright. She looks desperately at the mirror, then back at Noriko. "H… how?"

Noriko gestures around her at the equipment. "Pick something up and break the mirror," she states, that thin line of water tightening around her neck, digging in a little. Her eyes look towards the mirror and she says, "I don't like the terms of your proposal." She offers a faint smile while she sits there, waiting for the nurse to comply.

To be fair, the nurse has almost nothing to work with. A plastic box, some little bits of medical stuffage. There's nothing that could make even a weak attempt at shattering that glass. Still… she reaches out and picks up the plastic case, shuddering as she tries to hold back tears, winding up. She throws it. It impacts against the mirror with a 'thock' and falls down, making not the slightest mark. The girl begins to sob.

Bella watches with brows arched in frank amazement. This is a gruesome show, in its way, but it could get much, much worse. And, guilty conscience or no, Bella will be held accountable for the girl's death. She didn't want to do this. She really didn't want to go this far…

Bella toggles the voice transformer off. When she next speaks, its unaltered - it's her. «Noriko, please. Let her go. If you hurt her, you will be hurt in turn. I don't want that.»

Noriko's eyes widen as she hears that, and the girl feels the water trickle down, no longer under the hydrokinetics grip. She just goes limp as she sits there, her eyebrows wrinkling together as the Nurse's neck bleeds from the slight cutting off the water. "Bella," she asks in astonishment, her eyes going towards the mirror while she stits there. "Why.. Bella," she asks in a soft voice while she sits there, tears starting to come to her eyes at what she feels is a rather sharp betrayal from someone she loved.

The nurse doesn't think twice. She scrambles away from Noriko, over to the door and out, out. The door slides shut once more, and Noriko is left with her pain. That, and Bella's voice, transmitted from behind the glass in which Noriko can see only herself.

«It wasn't my choice. Almost no one brought here is brought under my orders,» Bella explains, as soothingly as she can, «And I can't let you go until the work is done. I am trying, Noriko. If you do as you're told, you'll be let go. You can have your life back. But if you act out like this… it will be out of my hands. You'll be beyond my power to protect you. Do you understand? Please, Noriko… for my sake: play along. I will try and keep you safe.»

Noriko sits there, stunned and silent, her eyes running over the floor while she sits on the table. "Not your choice," she asks, while she sits there. "It wasn't your choice to be brought in on this project," her eyes looking at the window, as anger begins to flood through her. "Not your choice to experiment on me. You betrayed me.. our trust, and you say you can protect me?!"

«You can see this as a betrayal,» Bella continues, keeping her voice level but inflected with entreaty, «And I will understand why. But I made a decision, when you first arrived here, before my eyes, sick and senseless - that I would try my best to keep you safe from the rigors of this place. And I have. You are here, you are well. You clearly have your ability back. I've kept our trust as best I can, given our positions. And I will get you out of here safely, as soon as I can. But you must cooperate. I am not the highest of highs here. I answer to others, who will not listen to anything other than the bottom line.»

Noriko turns to look at the glass, trying to find a faint sign of her lover behind there. Even if she doesn't find Bella's eyes, she finds a spot where she thinks it is likely for you to be. "I don't want your help, I don't want you. You and I are over, Bella. I really don't want to hear or see you again." She turns away from the glass and looks back at the door, tears still streaming from her eyes as she deals with her issues.

It's up to Bella to meet Noriko's gaze, to fulfill her ambition. Bella rises to the occasion. She gazes back down at the other women. Sorrowful words, but…

«I'm sorry, Noriko,» Bella answers, «But that changes nothing. This is a simple choice. You can live, or you can die. Hear that if you'll hear nothing else for me.»

Noriko is silent while she keeps her back turned towards the mirror. Her head hanging low while she sits at the table, wiping a hand across her face. She shakes her head for a couple of moments, before just staying there. Half-formed ideas running through her mind while she sits there, thinking of what may need to be done.

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