In The Image Of The Titans


amber_icon.gif bao-wei2_icon.gif bella_icon.gif gregor_icon.gif

Scene Title In the Image of the Titans
Synopsis Mythic Titans, primal forces of raw elemental power representing the primordial world. Bao-Wei Cong has become their likeness and just as wrathful. In this discovery, Doctor Gregor makes a terrible mistake that a fellow colleague pays for.
Date July 26, 2010

Staten Island Hospital

Doctor Bella Sheridan hadn't intended to come back. She'd considered it, briefly, but her farewell to what Bao-Wei Cong had become had seemed… final.

Yet here she is, unzipping a duffle bag in the stairwell linked to the sub-basement, drawing out clothing she hasn't worn since the unnatural chill of months past, a heavy, faux fur lined parka, insulated snow pants, gloves… She's putting on her boots before she removes a high quality ice scraper (complete with metal-edged scraping blade!) from the lip remnants of the old duffle, so new it's still got the tag hanging off of it. Tugging her scarf up around her mouth, an improbable arctic explorer, she pushes the duffle into the shadow under the stairs, concealing it. Her hand is on the door and her weight applied to push it open as she head into a cold she expects can only have gotten more intense.

What Bella thinks to expect is by far, the understatement of her day. The last time, the air was chilled enough to make layers of frost, crinkling sheets of ice, and crust over the doors. This time, it appears deceptively familiar to that; up until she cracks her way through the border between worlds.

A rush of cold air makes an escape for as long as the door remains open, cold fog spilling over the floor behind her. Good thing that she brought what she did, as the temperature has plummeted to that of the best walk-in freezers. It floats between negative five degrees and positive ten. The walls in the hallway ahead are encased in thick, hard ice, and the floor and ceiling in Speleothems. There is a noticeable trail through the pillars and hanging formations, a trodden space of a man's width made of frost on the tile underfoot. There are some spots further down where the walls divide and the doors to labs remain wide, and at least one location where the ceiling has fallen in and blocked out the left turn at a fork located at the end of the hall. The lights barely work, as evident by almost constant flickering.

Bella is not tentative in her advance. Must as she feels the urge to tread with care, to gaze at this strange tableaux and walk with reverence for the strange, she really doesn't have that kind of time in her day planner. She trudges in with a purposeful step, waiting for the door to slide shut her before calling out into the frigid air the invocation that worked (eventually) last time.

"Dr. Cong?"

The psychiatrist follows the clear trail, not being much of a tracker but being able to take the hint. She walks carefully, and if the ice looks really treacherous, she applies the scraper, carving out a section more likely to provide friction for her foot. She continues to call out into the hallways of the sub basement, into lab doors, in that questioning, faltering, half sing-song 'are you there?' way that sounds like it's right out of a horror film.

Trying to make it sound not as terrible as it really is perhaps makes the event worse. Though she is protected from the cold, she is not protected from the wrongness that her surroundings now provide. Labs that she was familiar with are now icicle wonderlands, and the part of the hall that has fallen in seems too awkwardly placed to have been an accident. The right hall goes off to more labs, while the left, to the west, which has been blocked off- leads down to the next layer of basement further on. The west wing is the only way down there, to the west basement which sits parallel to the entirety of the hospital's underground generators and other such equipment. Obviously, nobody is supposed to go down there.

Thankfully (or not) for Bella, she won't need to try and brave it. There is some noise down in the right fork, coming out of what she knows to be the hospital morgue.

The hospital lost access to its morgue? Bella wonders where they whisk the bodies off to, then. She'd never asked, preferring to leave the ghoulish considerations to people like Gregor. Render unto Creeper those things that are Creeper's, like the good book says. She heads rightwards, slashing her scraper through the air like a jungle explorer with a machete, only she's hacking at icicles instead of vines and underbrush.

"Dr. Cong!" Bella says, voice gaining more force, more volume, losing its questioning lilt. It's an address, not a request.

In kind with her jungle slashing demeanor, the various clanks and crashes get progressively more numerous and loud. They stop after a minute, and she can see the open door of the morgue begin to spit out rolling fog, the clouds curling and tangling over the floor and off of the wall on the other side. There is no answer for her, simply the unearthly quiet that comes from the east door. Perhaps her curiosity beckons her there, or perhaps it is necessity.

She does not pierce the veil of that fog, not yet. Bella Sheridan pauses before the open door to the morgue and stands there. Bao Wei hid himself last time. She knows he is close with his secrets, guarded about his pride. She stands maybe ten feet from the threshold, and calls in. "Sorry to disturb you," she begins, "But circumstances have changed. This facility is not secure, not in the long run."
There are minutes before something happens in the morgue room, covered head to toe like the hall. The drawers are mostly open, hanging heavy with ice. Even then, at the beginning of another noise, it is only the vague squealing of metal, following by a grating crunch, like two rocks being driven together.

"It never was. Not truly."

The voice is similar to what she had heard last time; a resounding, growling voice, with the barest echo as if driven into an empty chamber and back out again.

"There will be people coming, soon. They know about you, and I don't know how, and I'm not sure how much," Bella says, getting the information out there in bite-sized chunks, not sure exactly what to say, or how much of it she should even tell. She's being vague, but she is treading a fine line here. "They will try to kill you, of that I'm almost certain. I don't know what I can even do for you but… I felt I should inform you, as a colleague."

By the silence behind the foggy, ice-filled morgue, Bao-Wei Cong is either unsurprised, or devising something on behalf of the contrary. It takes another great pause for a second answer.

"If you cannot get rid of them, this is the least that you were able to do." So not sell yourself short, Bella. "I surmise that they are coming either for our research- or what we have been doing to get it?"

Bella didn't come alone.

It's not something she's aware of, but it is something that Bao-Wei is becoming incresingly sure of with every step the intruders take. Like a spider sitting on its web, Bao-Wei Cong's arctic facade is sensitive to tresspass into his domain, the subtlest rise in temperature in the biting cold, the crunch of ice underfoot.

When Dmitri Gregor comes into view in the darkened recesses of the morgue, foggy breath exhaled in tight, wheezing measure he looks awestruck. Glasses are fogged up form the shift of the climate controlled upper levels to the frozen layer of hell that is this basement. Lifting up those wire frames with one black gloved hand, he shivvers uncontrolably from the polar chill.

"D— Doctor Cong," is hissed out in Gregor's slithering tone of voice, his lab coat doing little to shield him from the cold. Worst of all is that even Gregor did not come alone. While Amber Mitchell may be an erstwhile assistant to Gregor, this is so far outside of her expertise that it may not even be science anymore, but some fever dream.

To see the morgue level completely frozen as though this were some abandoned arctic research station is unbelievable. Frost covering the walls, crunching underfoot, sheets of ice and foggy breaths in the gloom. It is like something out of a nightmare, and Gregor has led her here why?

Answers, for one, questions for another. "Doc— Doctor… Cong?" Gregor's thick, German accent chokes in the back of his throat, comes out like a hoarse croak at the sight of this frozen demesne. When even the mad scientist who ran the pregnancy farm son Madagascar is rendered speechless by something, it is testament to the experience, and he has yet to even see the doctor himself.

As Amber walks along with Gregor, the icy land that they enter has her frowning. She isn't, as Gregor is, awestruck, but rather more…disgusted? It's a display of evolved abilities, and that is something that she despises, even as she researches it. "What is all this?" she asks, nose wrinkling. "Did one of your experiments get out of hand, Cong?" she asks, perhaps intentionally leaving off the Doctor for who only knows what reason.

"They say the latter, but God knows, these people are no better," Bella states, with a certain tinge of desperateness to her voice. Appealing to Judas' masticator to a spirit of common outrage. Sort of stupid, really. "I'm not going to tell them t-"

What was that?

Bella turns her shoulder quickly enough to make one of her feet slip out from under her a few inches, giving her a terrible lurch in the stomach as she extends her arms to keep her balance. She manages to stay upright, and holds her breath until she hears an echo of her previous refrain, uttered back in Hunnish tones. She freezes in place, which is sort of apropos. Her voice is pitched to the morgue door in a whisper. "They shouldn't know I'm here. Where… where can I hide? Please," she looks to the veil of fog, "Hide me."

"Out of hand, out of mind." The answer is not for Bella, clearly- as it rumbles all the way out of the cabinet room and through the halls where the newest pair are wandering closer. For a moment it seems as if Cong may leave Bella to be found, or hope that she leaps into one of the many empty drawers. Her pleading, however weakly done, has changed his mind. Their entire relationship relies on Quid Pro Quo, in a sense.

And right now, he has a handful of things that still need to be repaid.

The fog burps forward again, frosty white against her legs as it moves for the hall. The scraping of ice on ice is grating, that sound from before- like two hard, unmashable rocks running into one another. The first thing Bella sees is that limb she had seen previous- the massive, frozen paw, the curled, sharp talons. The air gets more frigid near her for only moments, as one limb lingers out into sight. The cloudy air parts quickly as more follows it.

The shadow is taller- broader. One bottom-heavy limb is accompanied by a second, and a bizarre, spiny construct over what has little other chance to be anything but his chest. It looks like something literally torn out of a glacier- something that people see in Monster Manuals rather than real life. Thick spines and heavy plates make up an exoskeleton of solid ice, formed into a vaguely humanoid shape that looms up towards her one clunking, lumbering step at a time. The formation on his chest is one part of a set- dangling, thin strips of frozen water amidst feathery ice put a leonine mane over his torso, whiskers drooping from a craggy golem face of jutting brows and a zig-zag of tusked jaw under two arched, curled horns.

Maybe she can still take it back.

When his gaze finds Bella, it is to stare down at her, and it is only with one golden iris- one inky pupil- sitting in a pitted black crater where his socket would be- the opposite is a complete pit inside of the dirty bluish ice.

"Get to the back."

It- he? He has no lips to speak of, though the minute shifts of his jaw animate the now blundering speech. "There." AS Bao-Wei Cong turns, he lifts one limb to gesture as vaguely as possible to the office in the back of the room. His posture is leant forward, the armor thicker on his back, curved stalagmite shapes of ice forming something of a shell. Something drags behind his movements, though she does not see it.

Sweet Mary, Mother of Mercy.

Bella does not really have so much the words and the speaking right now. She is managing mostly with the nodding and the not falling on her ass in blank eyed terror. It's only the regard of that eye, the sapient attention given to her, that allows her to imagine something in there is Bao-Wei Cong. His (it's?) words provide the impetus to actually manage motion, and she tries to move towards the indicated doorway to the office. Her leg (that one) shivers under her, and gives out, not painful, but just quitting. She allows herself enough fear to start using the scraper to haul herself along the slick ground, legs cold, but reduced friction allowing her to slide to the door with something like speed. She clambers inside and ducks behind the wall, pressing herself into it, taking deep, painful breaths of icy air. Trying to calm down. Trying.

Stepping into view of what can only be described as the creature, the gleam of Doctor Gregor's flashlight shines icily across the frosted flesh of the monstrous form, never revealing all of it at once, just barbed and hooked glimpses of something that exudes cold like a cloak of fog, something translucent with hairline fractures, shingles of ice and hoarfrost fur. It is impossible and at the same time there.

Gregor's shaking hands are not just from the cold now. He whispers, but the words are not for anyone else, they are for himself. Gregor has never been a man of prayer, a man of faith, but even this scientist's breath can be stolen by the hushed syllables of one of the Lord's prayers that he happens to know. Something about a shadow of the valley of death. It's the important highlights.

Gregor's blue eyes stare up at the hulking ice form his flashlight barely reveals, heedless of Bella's scraping movements, heedless of even the blonde woman at his back. Right now all he can see is the mastery and art in Bao-Wei's creation, an elemental Titan of Greek mythology, primal and unrelenting.

Amber likely sees Bao-Wei as something far less deified.

Like Gregor, Amber doesn't seem to notice Bella, or anything else but the thing in front of her. "Doctor…what have you done? What have you made?" she asks, looking to Gregor accusingly. "Testing abilities under stress is one thing. It's commendable. But what you have made here is nothing short of monstrous. This is the reason why so many governments and people mistrust our kind of research! You are as monstrous as that thing that you created, and it should be destroyed at once!"

Well someone is unforgiving. And jumps to conclusions.

For his part, Bao-Wei stands frozen- pardon the pun- in place as the flashlight sweeps over him and offers little reprieve from what the dying flickering does not offer. It is only when Amber speaks to Gregor that he moves again. The flashlight's column alights on his face, finally, and the dilated pupil of his eye contracts into a pinprick of black, leaving a golden disc roughly the size of a quarter.

Grating ice precedes forward momentum, as the tarrasque of ice steps forward towards the pair. Clawed feet crunchinto tile, armored shoulders pitch lower, and that maw opens with an inward rush of air through its fences of teeth.

"You rang?"

Stammering, stuttering confusion washes over Gregor, captivated by the deep and resonant voice of the creature before him. His trembling hands shake, eyes go wide and when he does finally look back to Amber, there is shock and reproachful disappointment in his eyes. "D— Doctor Mitchell— t-th-this— this magnificent creation— it is— " Gregor's blue eyes focus back on Bao-Wei, wide and unbelieving of what he sees before him.

"It is perfection of form," is hushed in a madman's reverance, like some sort of primitive bone-smashing cro-magnon presented with a messianic figure, Gregor is capable only of staring for a few, long moments. "Doctor Cong has— he has— he— he has transcended all of us…"

The last threads of sanity holding DMitri Gregor together have wholly broken when presented with the impossible truth of Bao-Wei's condition. Curiosity led him here, to the proverbial mountain of madness, and what he has looked upon has left him a broken, stuttering husk of a man awash in his own preconceptions of the Evolved form and his own fragile — in comparison — humanity.

The revelation has broken him.

"Magnificent creation?!" Amber asks incredulously. She shakes her head and looks at Bao-Wei as though he were something she would scrape off the bottom of her shoe, ignoring that he spoke. "This is monstrous. An abomination of epic proportions, doctor! And if you will not dispose of it, as you should dispose of any failed experiment, then I will," she says, giving Gregor a stern look. She means it, buster!

The shift of mouth that comes next is as much a smile that the construct can manage. But then again, he is still lumbering forward, towering taller over the both of them. It's getting so much colder as he steps closer to them- from frigid to numbing, from frozen to deep-freeze. Pieces flake off as one foot after the other slam heavy into the floor. There is no reply this time, no show of emotion from the facemask that is the craggy features of Cong's head.

No verbalization, pure physical response.

The steadiness of his gait changes as quickly as the light had skipped over him; from tortoise to hare in a matter of milliseconds. The taloned limb on the left lunges forward to grab Doctor Mitchell around her waist, a blur of icy silver in the paled lights.

What are they saying?

Bella has little to do but wait and listen. And shiver as the cold sinks its bitter teeth into her hide. And what she hears… we have an idolator and an inquisitor in the same room. She isn't really up for laughing, but some nook in the chilled cavern of her fear makes room for a sense of slightly hysterical humor.

She does not peek, so she does not see the punch line of the routine.

Horror and confusion sets in on Gregor's face when the icy titan suddenly bursts into movement. His flashlight clatters from his fingers, lands to the floor and flickers even as Gregor is throwing himself out of harms way. He lands on his side, ice crunching under his weight, a sucked in and sharp inhale of wheezing, athsmatic breath is made even worse by the cold constricting his lungs.

He cannot plead for her life, because most of him no longer wants her to live. All he can do is stare, stare behind the frosted lenses of crooked glasses. Scrambling for the flashlight, Gregor sweeps it around with blue eyes wide. He wants to see this, or perhaps with the appropriate gravitas— he wishes to bear witness.

There's a highly girlish squeal when Amber is grabbed, and she starts doing that slapping thing that some women seem to think is so effective. "Put me down this instant you freak! I will not be manhandled by some experiment gone wrong! Gregor, make your pet Frankenstein put me down!" Even when in danger, Amber still fully believes that Bao is now something to be destroyed. Something lesser, even more so than most evolved.

Bao-Wei lifts her clear from the ground, space under kicking feet increasing as she is hoisted effortlessly up. It is perhaps worth a joke or two, that the Institute has enough potential to stage King Cong. Or perhaps it is not funny at all, when it is clear that he is not messing around. The jutting brow follows her, the singular eye reptilian in its intent. Amber's clothing begins to freeze from mere contact with the limb that takes her up, and by the time she is skyward in his clutches, she can feel the biting, numbing cold working its way to her flesh.

"It has not gone wrong." The beast croaks, jaw moving open, shut-

"It has gone perfectly." The rumble ends with a hiss of air escaping from his mouth as it closes on the word, rising as dual clouds of pillowy air.

Amber won't have time to speak, much less form a proper retort to the effect that he remains nothing to her. Most likely, she will be screaming instead. Her clothing is icing over, the flesh underneath turning desiccated and raw from the temperature working away at her body.

Stupefied silence hangs on Gregor's face, his blue eyes wide and flashlight trembling in his hands as he watches ice crystals slither up through Amber's midsection. He cna see the frost lacerating her ambomen, imagines the blackening that must be taken place, visualizes the pain and seems all the more awestruck for it. Not only is Bao-Wei's new life monstrous, it is also ruthlessly efficient.

Now… now he knows what he is going to do with Noriko Amagi.

She will be an offering.

Painful freezing. This wasn't on Amber's agenda for today. No, she was supposed to go from meeting to research. No where does it say "Be frozen by evil Bao-creature". Nor it does say to forget about being classy and scream! Which is what she does, even as she continues to beat at the arm holding her. "Let go!" she yells, face contorted in pain.

Cong's response is a rattling, low-pitched inhale. His eye lights up in reflection from the battery-powered lamp that Dmitri Gregor holds so clumsily still. Never, it says.

True to form, as always.

Amber's struggling is met by increasing cold, which travels through her blood and into her bones. Though she can feel the pain of her water-based flesh being drained of all moisture, she cannot see it until the hand flexes around her and cracks away the shell that is the midsection of her frozen coat and blouse. The woman's flesh is black, as if charred by fire, open, raw, frostbitten wounds appearing amidst the disappearing pale skin. It does not stop.

It does not stop until the last drop of moisture is pulled from what will eventually become a literal husk.

That scream of Amber's grows more intense - and louder! As her body freezes, the pain becomes excrutiating, and she no longer beats at Bao, but claws at him, growing more and more deperate with each cell that turns to ice. The look in her eyes is wild, pained, and she looks at Gregor, eyes begging him to save her.

But then that hand squeezes, and the scream reaches it's crecendo, a horrible sound, fit to send chills down anyone's spine, even outside of such a frozen environment. But that sound is cut off all too quickly, breath stolen, frozen lungs refusing to work quite right.

What seals, for Gregor, Amber's end is when her body cracks like brittle parchment under Bao-Wei's hand. Her flesh shatters, body cracks apart like some too-old statue that can no longer support its own weight. Crystallized and deep red on the inside, her frozen corpse falls in pieces down to the floor, shattering into glittering shards of human remains that scatter on impact, raining like fine granules of sand between Bao-Wei's clawed hand.

Sucking in a sharp, breathless wheeze, Gregor pulls himself to one knee from his side, then onto the other but dares not rise above that position. His breath is puffs of steam, wheezing and noisy, wet and tight. The cold, remarkably, is killing him. The colder he gets, the slower his metabolism becomes, and the slower his regeneration works, which explains the sudden internal bleeding that causes swelling and pain in his abdomen. He is literally starting ot come apart at the seams.

But he's not going to leave until he is given permission to.

Bao-Wei Cong likes his quiet, and he likes his solitude much, much more. When he turns his horned head downward, it faces the man on the floor from one side. Flicking the pieces left stuck on his hand to the floor, the now red-tinted limb gestures to the air, one curved claw of four pointing directly towards the avenue from whence they had come.

"Get out"

Like a well-trained dog, Gregor bolts for the exit when the command is given. Crimson ice crunches under his feet, his flashlight is forgotten when too-cold fingers refuse to hold onto it any longer. He struggles to breathe as he runs, feet slamming on the ice underfoot, each crunching footfall leaving a slipping tread of his sensible shoes that are unsensible for icy environments like this unexpected underground glacier that Bao-Wei now calls a home.

His frantic, wheezing breaths can be heard echoing down the corridor from whence he came, every last once of strength in his body carrying him to where the cold ends, to where the deathly graveyard frost no longer ghosts on the walls, he runs until he can no longer see his breath and feeling begins to return to his extremities.

And then he keeps running.

Bella's cold begins to catch up with Bella's, as Amber's screams end, giving way to Gregor's stumbling can be heard echoing off ice-caked walls. She doesn't much want to go out there and see just what ended Amber's screaming. She has guesses as to what that shattering sound was. Guesses she doesn't want confirmed. But her teeth are chattering, her body temperature dropping because she is staying stilly. She waits for a few moments, then risks speaking.

"They're… they're gone?" Some moreso than others.


It is a similarly long time before he answers her in return. He can be heard scraping and grating as he turns around in place, feet carrying him past the door of the office where she is hiding. He stays in the entrance, though the cold does not seem to follow him this time. She cannot leave until he moves, and even now he sees fit to crane his head into the doorway to leer down at her. The horns knock dully onto the frame above.

"I think that you need to leave."

Bella pulls herself cautiously to her feet, moving a little bit back from the thing that is Bao-Wei. She must remind herself that it is him over and over, so as to keep her howling fantods from building into a true screaming terror. She keeps her eye on his.

"I ag-agree," she says, her stammer as much from the hold as from nervousness, moreso even, "I- I- d-don't know if I'll get t- to w- warn you. B- before they come. B- but I'll try. We have s- s- some time. M- maybe a week? I'm n- not sure."

"I will be fine."

The monster's assurance means only slightly less, as he says it in the same tone as he may have before. Passive, dismissive. Self-confident. "You should get away from here while you still can." If it were not for the warning part of this, it might sound as if he were truly worried that she would be caught in the crossfire. Either she will, or she won't. But he knows that he will not like it if she is. He knocks against the frame again as he leans out again, turning himself around for a third time; this gives Bella a parting sort of view of that thing that was scraping behind him- a tail, alternating from knocking off of the floor or hovering there behind him. In this case, it knocks against the wall, and several of the deadly looking spines coming from it shatter onto the floor.

Bella figures Bao-Wei knows she understands. She doesn't speaks as she watches him recede, that tail lashing behind him. She closes her eyes for a moment, and when they open, she directs them to the exit.


Bella has never seen anything like this. She does not feel sick - she's a doctor for God's sake, meat is meat. But as an artifact of Bao-Wei's capabilities… it is shocking. She keeps her eyes up, away from seeing anything that might have once been part of Amber's face. She doesn't need to recognize a fragment. Walking as carefully as she can between shivers, she traces with steady caution along the path Gregor scrambled over.

She will get out. She will change back into her work clothes. She will do her job. She will count the days until she escapes this place.

She will not look back.

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