In The Darkness


luis_icon.gif odessa4_icon.gif

Also Featuring:


Scene Title In The Darkness
Synopsis Doctor Jean Martin Luis and Julie Fournier discover the future may be malleable, but it is not unavoidable. Fortunately Doctor Price rushes in to ensure the darkness is not permanent.
Date November 8, 2010

Suresh Center - Sub-Basement

Hundreds of feet below the streets of Roosevelt Island, the Suresh Center is built atop much older construction dating back to when the landmass was known as Welfare Island. Accessible from above by a single freight elevator, the distinct change of architecture comes at about the 100-foot mark below ground. The concrete here is weathered and aged looking, rusted steel braces support the walls and moisture seeping through the spaces where bolts have affixed them to the walls runs brown down the concrete.

Centuries old sewer pipes and vacuum tubes criss-cross the ceilings along with newer power conduits and cabling snaking across the floor. This structure was, at one time, a World War II shelter constructed in the event of a bombing raid on New York City, likely constructed by a wealthy and influential family out of paranoia and worry. The old square-block design of narrow corridors and small, cramped rooms seems iconic of that era.

Most of these rooms are storage facilities, containing racks laden with assault rifles, boxes of ammunition, flask jackets and biohazard material suits folded in neat white stacks. An intranet system down on this level is connected by spooled cabling in two of the concrete rooms, a pair of closed-network computer systems containing sensitive data to Institute operations across the city.

Nearby to the freight elevator access, a large steel blast door on hydraulic hinges is a slow-opening access to a private railway line that connects to the main rail platform on Roosevelt Island.

Everything is locked down, from the Roosevelt Island Bridge all the way down Main Street to the Suresh Center. It's like the entire island has prepared for the end of the world by burying its head in the sand as deep as it can go.

Nearing midnight, the dark of night is supplemented by the orange glow of fire burning on the eastern horizon just over the water in Queens. The inferno rages, choking plumes of black smoke boil high into the air and ash has covered everything on Roosevelt Island with a fine later of sooty powder.

Outside of the Staten Island Railway, a barricade of sandbags and concertina wire has been set up, armed military personnel, floodlights, a security perimeter to keep out the rioters. There's a tension in the air, like a string pulled to its most taut position and ready to snap.

An M1-Abrahms tank is parked on the lawn outside of the Suresh Center, barrel pointed east towards Queens. A contingent of Army and National Guard have set up tents around the front of the Suresh Center, helicopters make noise in the air and floodlights sweep the island.

Inside the Suresh Center, all the lights are off. Electricity has blacked out from the rioting. Of all things, an open door in the lobby that leads into the basement has light shining out from it, the hum of a generator quietly echoing up from the usually off-limits underground.

Down a narrow flight of stairs, service entrances look untouched, save for power cables spooled out from a generator room. There's a bloody handprint on a wall nearby, small, delicate. Around a corner is a freight elevator that still seems to function, though it's down in whatever sub-basement levels remains unexplored below.

Odessa Price thought it would be safe here. Safe in the Suresh Center, safe with the Institute.

Someone downstairs is calling for help.

Since arriving back at the Suresh Center following her sudden and unexpected involvement in the raid on her old home of Gun Hill, Odessa's been on edge. She knew things were going to be bad on the eighth, but she didn't quite expect this scope. She's been navigating the darkness with her mobile screen doubling as a torch, a vintage black leather doctor's bag clutched in the opposite hand. She'd rather it was the knife tucked into her jacket, but she only has so many hands.

And from the sounds of shouting, Doctor Price may yet need the tools of her trade. The handprint on the wall is studied briefly. A knot of anxiety begins to tie itself in her stomach. She repeatedly presses the button to call the elevator. For all her ability to control the flow of time, she can't make it speed up. It's positively frustrating.

It's agonizingly slow, the ascent of the elevator making its rattling and clanging way up from the sub-basement level. It's a grate-faced thing, the kind of elevator meant to be temporarily installed during construction and it looks decades old. On its way up, Odessa hears something, a huffing noise, like someone breathing heavily but the sound is drowned out by the elevator's approach.

When it starts coming into view, the dim light of Odessa's mobile shows a young boy hunched in the elevator, crouched in one corner with dark hair swept down over his face. He looks terrified, likely had been hiding in the elevator until it was called up. When it comes to a stop and the cage door swings upwards into the ceiling, the boy turns around with wide eyes and pin-prick pupils in the cell phone light.

The sixteen year old boy is carrying a bright red fire axe, the kind usually kept behind glass cases that say "in case of emergency, break glass." Instead, it is coated with a thick line of blood, and as the boy sees Odessa he grips the shaft in both hands and lets out a wild shriek before leaping out of the elevator at her, axe wound back to strike.

Odessa gasps and staggers back from the boy, even as she holds her cell phone-laden hand out toward him to freeze him in mid-swing. Only once she's backed away does she release him. "Calm down! I'm not here to hurt you! What's happening down there?" Her chunky black boots clop heavily on the floor as she takes a few more steps back.

No reason is shown in the teenage boy's eye, more horrifying is that he seems to have been stabbed, a surgical scalpel still stuck in his abdomen wet with blood. He lunges forward, swinging the axe in a wide arc that comes just short of Odessa's head as she jerks backwards. The axe connects with a steam pipe, splitting it open and spraying a cloud of pressurized gas out into the air with a violent hiss.

One of Odessa's clunky heels catches on the ground and she stumbles backwards, landing on her backside as the young boy comes storming through the steam, axe held up over his head, eyes wide, and in the displaced glow of Odessa's dropped mobile, he looks more like a wild animal than a person. The axe sweeps down, swinging towards the crown of her head without a moment's regard for the sanctity of human life.

Reflex has Odessa's eye wrenching shut, and the blow to her skull never comes.

When she cracks that eye open, time has frozen and the boy stands still, his axe parting Odessa's bangs, a breath away from her skull.

"Shit!" Odessa reaches out to try and grab onto anything as she goes toppling backward. She never has this fucking problem in stilettos. Damned rubber soles. From her prone position on the floor, her face scrunches up both with a reflexive flinch, and in concentration, much like her time and space hopping counterpart Hiro Nakamura.

When she doesn't have her skull split open by the axe, she relearns how to breathe, her chest rising and falling heavily for the space of several seconds. She needs to think. Sliding on her backside, Odessa puts distance between herself and the boy and his weapon before she pushes herself to her feet again. She first retrieves her mobile, using its light to peer at and then remove the scalpel from the boy's abdomen, then tucking the phone between her waist and the band of her skirt. Not the most efficient way to wield it as a light, but it will leave her with one hand free once she retrieves her bag, which she's deposited the scalpel in for now. It could come in handy later. If for nothing other than blood evidence.

Before she picks up her bag, however, she wrenches the axe from the hands of the frozen boy.

Odessa considers the thing for a moment. Not the most ideal weapon, but the blood on the bevelled bit proves it still an effective one. She tests its weight in her hands a briefly before raising it, narrowing her gaze just before she swings at the boy's neck. She attacks so viciously the motion of her body dislodges the phone from its precariously wedged place, sliding down under her skirt, and along her leg before hitting the floor.

It was a reasonable reaction.


The axe clatters noisily to the floor when Odessa is done with it, and the body of the boy lays prone next to her phone, a seven inch deep gasp in his neck exposing yellowed bone and too much raw meat. Odessa's thick heels track wetly in his blood as she bends down to pick up her phone before it can get caught in the mess, brushing dirt off of the faceplate before turning her attention down to the teenage boy.

Another muffled cry for help comes echoing up from the elevator shaft, and now freed of its lone and terrifying occupant seems almost inviting.

Odessa has never even been to the maintenance tunnels here, and now the prospect of going somewhere deeper beneath the Suresh Center seems like an ill-advised idea. Posed with the prospect of being here, alone, in the dark however seems all the less inviting than a rusted cage of metal descending deep into the dark underground without a flashlight.


Into the belly of the beast, then. Odessa lifts her bag, and steps into the elevator. This is such a stupid idea. She's certain of it. A thousand times over, she's certain that this is a stupid idea. But there are people calling for help. Some of them may be her colleagues.

And she may get a chance to vent her frustrations over being unable to change her past. Blood for her parents. Blood especially for her mother, left to slowly die in a hospital bed.

Odessa's jaw sets, and the grate clangs into place, casting diagonal shadows across her scarred face and its deep scowl. The lift begins to descend.

Carnage happened here, that much is evident. Whatever happened at the Suresh Center has already ended by the time Odessa arrived, now there is just the gory aftermath. The elevator's confines, while spacious, still feel claustrophobic from being able to see the rough hewn stone on all sides as it descends, lit only by a flickering fluorescent bulb overhead. While electricity is out in the Suresh Center proper, the electricity for the elevator still appears to be working.

As it lowers, the cry for help that was being shouted before is clearer now, a man's voice distinctly. The longer the descent goes on, the more and more it becomes evident whose voice it is.

It's Doctor Luis.

The caged elevator lands with a noisy clang and a rattle as the cage door goes rolling up and empties out into a rough concrete corridor damp with moisture and the smell of mildew. Pock marks from bullet holes track in a lazy trail along one wall along with a smear of blood.

Destroyed lights flicker and spark overhead and the twisted body of a young woman in a floral-print dress, half of her face missing from what Odessa clinically recognizes as a point-blank exposure to a shotgun or other high-powered rifle.

The shallow tunnel that the elevator is parked in empties out into a T-Junction, from which the cry for help from Doctor Luis echoes distantly.

"Docteur Luis! Je viens!" The sound of Odessa's thick soled boots seems to thunder off the walls as she sprints forward. Adrenaline pumps through her veins and leaves her feeling braver, while the unfamiliarity of her surroundings simultaneously makes her feel more exposed. Her cell phone is tucked away in favour of the large knife concealed in her jacket. Her knuckles turn white from her grip around the handle.

At the junction, she stops, and listens for the sound of the man's voice. Her vision my be compromised, but her hearing is clear. After a moment to listen to the man's cries, she makes her best guess and runs toward it.

This place is old, decades and decades old if appearances can be believed. The presence of vacuum tubes dates it back to the turn of the century when they were used all around the city of New York, criss-crossing even the vast distance of the East River into Queens. The majority of the construction that is not sewers, however, looks distinctly reminiscent of a World War II shelter, likely added to during the nuclear war scares of the fifties and sixties.

Odessa finds, however, that the Institute has repurposed these halls for other uses. Storage rooms filled with racks of assault rifles that have gone unused look to be readied for some kind of security force that the Suresh Center doesn't even have to utilize. The screams, though, they seem to be coming from a room sealed off behind a sturdy metal door.

Nearby, the corridor ends with a pair of blast doors on hydraulic hinges, cracked halfway open. Expended shell casings line the ground near the door where white-clad Institute Retrievers lay dismembered on the ground along with the bodies of civilian rioters who look to have flooded into the Suresh Center through the subway lines while the doors were open.

Erratic, flickering electricity seems to have impaired the shutting of the blast doors to the subway, allowing them entrance. "«Odessa! Odessa is that you?!»" Luis' French rings off of the walls beyond the closed metal door.

"«Please! Please help! I cannot get to the door— I am pinned! Julie is badly hurt, please!»" It's something of a nightmare scenario, having been trapped down here with these psychopaths.

Odessa reaches to drag the doors open. She can only wonder what's happened down here. That boy… Were the other rioters just like that? It reminds her of those that suffered from the rage-dementia virus. Only there's a distinct lack of cherry cobbler. Thankfully.

On one hand, the degeneration makes them stop. On the other, they're contagious.

Doctor Price will count her blessings here.

The stench of burnt flesh fills the air the moment the door opens.

There is nothing but pitch darkness beyond the door, a suffocating shadow that consumes a lightless room devoid of electricity. Luis' voice is haggard the moment the door opens, a sliver of light growing wider as the door is wedged open the rest of the way, the flickers of fluorescent lamps casting Odessa's long shadow into the room.

Eventually, as the irregular light fills the small storage room, the scene's history plays out in visceral display to Odessa. Metal shelves are toppled over, ones that held heavy metal ammunition canisters and other blocks shapes that are muted gray in the dark. Trapped beneath a pile of debris, Luis is covered from the waist up, blood staining his head dark where a split cuts his scalp open.

Nearby, two skeletons are charred to the bone, blackened and crisped where they lay nearby to the entrance. Not far from them, Julie's tiny form lays on her side, eyes closed and blood matting her blonde hair down from where she was struck in the side of the head.

A hammer lays nearby, with a tangle of blonde hair and blood stuck to the claw end. "Odessa!" Luis waves one wrinkled hand towards Julie's prone form, "Please."

"Merde." Once she can slide past the door and into the room, Odessa scurries inside. Her first instinct is to free Luis so he can assist her with Julie, but… The sight of Julie like that overrides sense and sends her hurrying to the young girl's side, setting her bag down next to her and reaching out to first feel for a pulse. "Julie! Julie!" She throws a glance over her shoulder to Luis. "«What happened here?»"

"I don't know, I was unconscious…" Luis murmurs with a shake of his head, trying to struggle free beneath the toppled supplies, but finding no way to wedge himself out. When he finally relents, the tired old man slouches down to rest his forehead against the cold concrete. "We came down here to avoid the riots once it became clear that Roosevelt Island would not be safe," Luis laments in a grumbling cadence of speech. "That's when we noticed that the railway doors were still open…"

There's a pulse that Odessa finds as Luis speaks, weak, but present. "Power went out to the block soon after, and we desperately were making an attempt to patch in electricity from the emergency generators. By the time we got them working, rioters had hit the subway stations, and they were coming this way…"

Julie doesn't move where she lays, clearly having been rendered unconscious. "When they broke through the line of the Retrievers, we fled into this storage unit, but two of them managed to get in with us. There was a struggle and— I'm not sure what happened. I remember a loud crash, then I woke up and it was dark. I couldn't see anything…" the old French doctor's voice tightens. "I don't know how long I've been calling for help."

"She's alive," Odessa tells Luis in a quiet voice. With a wave of her hand, she suspends the young girl. She may not be able to do anything for her now, but she can stop things from getting worse for the time being.

Coming to a crouch on the floor, Odessa takes a deep breath before grabbing hold of the shelving unit and attempting to push it up and off of the pinned Doctor Luis. "Are you okay? Is anything broken?"

"My dear I am pinned beneath an untold weight of steel and live ammunition," Luis grumbles as he pushes himself up enough to look in Odessa's direction. "I am most definitely not okay. As to whether anything is broken, I sincerely hope not. Because either I am perfectly fine, or I have suffered a grievous spinal injury and can no longer feel my lower extremities."

Wincing a moment later, Luis' brows pinch together. "Wait, no, that most certainly hurt. I do believe we're safe to assume that I am uncomfortably trapped and — bleeding head wound aside — likely capable of autolocomotion once I am liberated from beneath this pile of live ammunition."

Looking part sheepish and part annoyed, Odessa levels a look on Luis. But annoyance gives way to worry at the idea that one of her personal heroes in her field might be paralysed. Worry that she only shakes when he complains of pain in his lower extremities.

"I can make it not live," Odessa assures him. Sweat beads on her forehead from exertion. With a grunt, she relents. "Christ, I wish Sanders were here." A heavy sigh. "To hell with this." She begins to carefully unload the items from the shelving, hoping to remove enough weight from it to move it, with the leverage her slight frame can provide.

Exhaling an impatient sigh, Luis lays down on the floor and folds his hands beneath his chin. "You know, I am mildly relieved by this entire predicament…" the old man offers with a sense of wry appreciation. "It should have been much worse, or at least that was my perception of it. We saw nothing but darkness… in our visions of the future." There's a hesitant smile from Luis, offered to the floor. "We assumed it meant death. Apparently, it simply meant bad — but not fatal — judgment on our behalf."

Offering a look over to Julie, Luis' brows furrow and his lips sag down into a frown. "Odessa… I have a terrible feeling that what happened here today could have been prevented, if we had been more proactive. If we had, perhaps, seen further ahead… been more invested in our future."

Looking up through grayed brows as Odessa starts to haul the heavy ammo cases off of his body, Luis seems content to converse in these conditions. "We could have done more, couldn't we?"

"Maybe," Odessa agrees. "My… vision didn't come true the way I saw it. I… Things changed. Because I… I betrayed my friends, and I came here." There's guilt in her tone, and she won't look at the man as she works, and not just for safety's sake.

"Do you believe in the work we do, Doctor Luis?" So much regret. So much doubt. The white-haired woman's shoulders sag as she works. "I… No, it doesn't matter." A lump in her throat is swallowed as Odessa glances worriedly over at Julie, even though she's suspended in time. "She reminds me a lot of myself at her age, you know."

Exhaling a grunt of breath as Odessa lifts a particularly awkward box of ammunition off of him, Luis turns his focus to Julie for a moment, then back to Odessa. "It does matter, confidence matters. If you do not have faith in what you do in life why do it at all? We have the utmost important job, Odessa, one that the full scope of which is not even fully evident to every agent in our organization. We are working to preserve the future, to build a future from which there can be no ill ends."

There is a look askance to Julie. "A future where a girl like her can live in peace," and then those pale eyes of his find Odessa again. "Where you can find peace." Gray brows furrow, weathered lips sag into a deeply creased frown. "Of course I believe in what we do, because if I did not it is bankrupting this world and everyone in it. If you are having a crisis of faith, Doctor Price…" Luis looks down to the concrete.

"I suggest you find you faith, before it is too late."

"I needed to hear that. Thank you." Odessa eyes the shelving again. "A lot of people I grew up with have died because of the work we're doing. People I cared about. It's enough to make a person question, you know." The woman's cheeks puff out as she exhales a breath. "But you're right, of course. Okay. Let's try this again." Feeling she's unloaded enough of it to try lifting again, crouching low, she takes in a deep breath before levering upward.

"Questions, my dear…" Luis explains with a grunt of discomfort from the shifting boxes, "are the cornerstone of science. Always question," though Odessa can hear the unspoken but hanging in Luis' words. "Just be mindful of why you are questioning. Otherwise, you'll do nothing but send yourself down a path of second guesses and hypotheticals."

It will be a long time yet before Doctor Luis is cleared of the rubble, longer still before a worried Doctor Harve Brennan shows up at the Suresh Center with a military escort to check for injured. Most of the night staff had locked themselves upstairs, sealing off entrances and remaining protected behind steel security doors.

In the end, Doctor Luis was wrong. There was no avoiding the future he and Julie saw, and by trying to they had only confirmed it would happen. As Julie said, all they saw was darkness.

Maybe it didn't happen exactly the same way, maybe it did. But it asserts one very foreboding point to both scientists: the future has a path, and derailing it is no small feat.

At least with Odessa's help, their future is assured to have some time left in it. In this rescue, Odessa has proven not once — but now twice — that even if she was unable to save the lives of her parents, she is still capable of saving a life.

When the sun rises on the new world, she can take solace in that.

And start questioning things anew.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License