It Begins With A Light


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Also Featuring:

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Scene Title It Begins With A Light
Synopsis Does the butterfly remember being the caterpillar?
Date May 5, 2010

It starts with light.

BP's 140 over 90…

Everything blurs out from those five lights shining down; sweat rolls down her forehead, muscles cramp, the world swims and there's a man in white with a mask over his mouth, light reflecting on his glasses and a syringe in one hand. She can't stop trembling, because she knows how badly it's going to hurt, how she'll feel the array of needles slide beneath her jaw and knows what sort of mark it will leave behind. She sees the dispassionate stare of the doctor, his wide, girthsome frame approaching the table; Doctor Cong has need of her.

Heart rate's 105…

The needle stings, a bite against flesh as the doctor leans in, his bald head swept nearly clean of hair, lips downturned into a frown, light glaring off of his glasses. Her back arches against the table and she can feel the straps holding her down. Sunlight comes through metal grating over the windows in the small lab. Fingers curl and grasp, twist and tug, sheets are caught under her nails and a choking scream rises in the back of her throat; Doctor Wright has need of her.

Brain wave activity is normal…

The needle slides out of her neck, dribbling a line of blood from the tip. Blue gloved hands withdraw from her field of view, and the stink of rusting metal assails her nose. Somewhere the syringe goes down, she can hear it above the throbbing noise of her heart racing in her chest, hear the clattering report of it hitting a tray and the scrape of what is picked up next. There's a scalpel in his bloodied, gloved hand as the doctor leans back in, the glare of the lamp reflecting off of his glasses; Doctor Gregor has need of her.

Let's begin.

Noriko Amagi's eyes snap open, chest rising and falling sharply as her pupils dilate down from black circles large enough to swallow her irises. Breathing in sharply and rapidly, she can feel her weight being suspended at her shoulders, branches creaking alla round her and a tangled tatter of nylon cloth hanging like a shroud around her body. Distant popping sounds fill the air, humanid and thick with the stink of jungle sweat.

Dark hair is tangled in her face, a bead of sweat dribbles down the side of her face, and through a hole in the parachute hanging around her, Noriko can see the distant shanty-town village of Analalava as a pair of pickup trucks roar past her below on the ground. Her feet are dangling in the air, the shoulder harnasses of her parachute suspending her weight.

If she had her power, none of this would matter. If she had her power.

She's bleeding, at her right wrist, two lines dribbling down her limp right arm. It hurts, which is good, it means the arm's still alive.

If she had her power maybe—

Noriko gorans as she hangs in the jungle, getting the distinct feeling of having been here before but as she searches her memories she can't remember ever being in this situation before, her eyes going to the arm that hangs limp at her side, breath whistling between her teeth as she grunts in the harness that is holding her in the trees. She tries to reach to her power, to be able to manipulate any water that may be surrounding her. However, before she even tries she knows that it is useless, she can't even sense any water around. That knowledge imparting the wisdom that her power isn't active. Her left arm comes up, trying to fidget with the harness to let herself down, heedless of any injury she might take from the ground, not wanting to be hanging there as meat. Suddenly it releases and the woman is on the ground with a grunt, crying out with a hiss of pain as she lands.

She blinks below there, the knowledge that she shouldn't be in this jungle finally hitting her, along with the memory of more than one doctor leaning over her, all of them met with the same fear. Knowing the prick of the needle as her hands come up to rub below her neck a shudder running through her frame. "Hello," she calls out uncertainly, unsure of what might greet her in this jungle that she shouldn't be in. A hand pressing to her left shoulder, and down her arm trying to find the point of injury.

There's a sound of gunfire, noisy and heavy down in the village, people are screaming. Through the drizzling rain Noriko can't see anything, can't see the fighting, too blurry, too distant, too hard to tell what's going on. Trying to find the injury on her arm, Noriko feels down from her shoulder, across her bicep, down to her wrist and feels something there on her skin. At first it just catches her nails, then it gives an ache beneath a sharper prick feeling. By the time her fingers feel plastic tubes Noriko's eyes are snapping from where the gunfight is taking place down to her arm.

There's an IV, half torn out of her wrist, blood leaking from—.

The sharp crack of a rifle butt to the back of her head makes the world go dark.

BP's dropping, 97 over 56.

The lights flicker, a buzzing sound humming behind them as horizontal lamps click on one by one, flooding the world with visions of purple and blue like a blacklight. Flicks of green glow neon on the concrete walls, scribbles and patterns and writing in the shape of a heart on the ceiling. There's a hastily scribbled church there, childish fire drawn shooting out of the windows and belltower and roof. Hangman's nooses surround the base of the church where they're scribbled in fluorescent chalk on the ceiling of the lab.

Heartrate is 120, she's tachycardic.

The white of Doctor Gregor's jacket looks like it glows in the pale blue light, and the fluid inside of his syringe is a luminous sky blue that throbs like a heartbeat. Noriko can feel the straps keeping her bound to the table, see the glow of Gregor's irises in the blacklight as he leans in with the syringe, sliding a length of glistening metal into her arm at the joint opposite of her elbow, holding her down with rubber gloved hands.

Brain waves are spiking, we're getting a response from the injection.

Noriko's breath croaks in the back of her throat, her heart begins racing faster in her chest, slamming against the back of her sternum as her muscles twitch, nostrils flare and tongue presses against the rubber bit between her teeth that keeps her from biting down on it. Tears well up in her eyes and roll down the sides of her face, and dancing around the sketch of the burning building on the ceiling, there's children playing.

Charging, 55 volts.

She tries to scream.



Her shoulder jerks, a fat-fingers hand tugging her around, calling her by a name that seems so familiar. It isn't so much Bill Dean's fat face that sparks a memory in Noriko, but the smell of a Big Man's special sauce on his chin. Burger in one hand and head cocked to the side, Bill offers Noriko a lopsided smile. "For fuck's sake Allard you crazy bitch, stop starin' off into space fer five fuckin' minutes while I tell'y what we're goin' t'do right? Right."

Waggling his brows, Bill lifts his hand and slaps Noriko on the cheek gently a few times, then moves past her towards a table where a map has been laid out on the table showing the blueprints of a building. Several other young men stand around it, watching Noriko carefully as Bill leads her over with a nod of his head.

"This is St.Sebastian's Catholic School, s'down in Providence Rhode Island." Bill takes pause betwene his words, lifting his burger up to take a large bite out of it, yellow-gold sauce dribbling down the side of his mouth. "Mmnh, this— these fucksockets've got four Mutant kids livin' there. Allard, I need you, Joey and Karla to head down ol' Rhode Island way fer me. It'll be like an old-timey lynchin'!"

Noriko lets out a cry as she feels the rifle butt that suddenly catches her head, and then sends her spiraling through another series of visions before she's looking at the face of Bill Dean, her eyes going to the sandwhich, before they go back to him. Her eyes knitting as she stands there, "We're going to lynch children?!" Her voice raises a couple octaves in her surprise. No longer is the mind of Candace Allard inhabiting the body, Noriko has lost the ability to seperate herself from her emotions. With the Haitian making her forget Moab and everything everyone put her through, she no longer has that skill to put things in the back of her head.

"I can't hang kids," she says as she takes a step backwards from Bill and the sauce that dribbles down her face and she shakes her head, "No, I won't let you hang those kids at all," she protests, looking around and perhaps for a way out of this mess. Her since of placement gone, her rational mind unable to keep with the visions that keep coming the places that she suddenly finds herself.

"Won't let me?" Bill offers with a crook up one lip up ina half snarl before breaking out choking and laughing. He waves one hand towards one of the dour looking men standing by the table, then hiccups up another laugh before waggling a hand flippantly. "Candy, baby, darlin', you already killed kids." There's a crease of Bill's brows into a furrow and a shake from side to side. "Sweethead," sweethead?, "you done gone an' helped us kidnap that Brittany girl down in Jersey a week ago. They probably ain't goin' t'find all'a her bits."

A wheezing laugh erupts from Bill as he slaps the burger down on the map with a red, bloody slap incongruent to what a burger should do. It's a severed hand, not meat patties and a bun, a small child's hand with tiny fingers and broken bones wrapped in burlap laid out on wet grass. Noriko's breathing is sharp and heaving, chest rising and falling as she feels the sting of tears on her cheeks.

"Allard," the voice comes not from Bill, but from a young man hunched over a split open sack filled with dislocated body parts, drooling a crimson trail out the punctured hole where it caught a piece of twisted metal sticking up from the ground. Joey Tripp, she recalls his name, recalls the birth-mark shaped like a kidney above his right eye on his forehead. But for all she remembers that sadistic butcher of a man that helped chop up the Brittany girl, Noriko Amagi can't recall why he's calling her Allard or how she suddenly got into a vacant lot behind an old textile factory on the Jersey side of the Hudson river.

Noriko jumps as she sees the bloody hand that flops down on the paper from bill, a blink later and she is facing Joey, and she blinks looking at him. "What," she asks reflexively until she catches sight of the sack and she looses her lunch on the ground, bent over as she murmers softly, "Mary, mother of Jesus." Her eyes closing tightly while she stands there breathing softly for a long time.

"What.. what did you do," she asks, eyes staring at the sack more, as she shudders, murmering softly to herself, "What have I done?" Her eyes trail to her hands, almost expecting to see blood on them.

Is the blood there because she expects it, or was it there before? It's hard to say how the logic of any of this works, but the expression that Joey wears is one of satisfied amusement. "Allard," Joey breathes out, "you held her down for me."

The words are like a gunshot through Noriko's heart, flickering and flashing imagery of a young girl being held down by the wrists, screaming flickers through her mind with a blue-tinted glow to it. There's a flickering quality to the memory, like a bad film reel or like eyes that are trembling from lack of muscle control.

BP's rising again, we're back in acceptable levels.

Noriko's chest aches, sweat rolls down her temple in a bead, and she can feel her lips parching and drying. Her arms go numb, legs go weak and buckle, and by the time she's dropping down onto them her hair falls to tangle in her face. When her chest tightens, Noriko can feel sand beneath her fingers, coarse and dry, the heat of the sun baking on the top of her head.

Heart rate is stabilizing, she's at 105.

The ground under Noriko's feet is baked brick red and dusty. There's feet shuffling around her, white sneakers with no laces and velcro straps. There's an arm around her shoulders, gentle and careful, and a tiny voice trembling at her side. "You have to get up," whispers the shadow of the slim young woman blocking out the glow of the sun. Across the chest of her orange jumpsuit, a string of numbers is printed. 0000408 and a name after it, Lynette.

Brain-waves are in the green, we've got lucidity.

"Candy," the tiny brunette whispers, her voice having the barest edge of a Russian accent to it, "Candy, please get up. Please… you can't… you can't just sit in the sun like this." It's dry, hot, painfully bright. Noriko can feel the sting of the sun on her bace cheeks, feel sweat rolling down her head but can't feel the kiss of water in her senses. She can't feel the water.

We're almost done.

"Candy. Come on, pull yourself up."

Noriko's limbs are heavy as she lays there in the heat, the sun parching the liquid from her while she groans softly, her head shaking as she lays there. "I can't… done too much… can't feel," she murmers into the dirt, feeling it caking her lips and seeping hte moisture from them as she lays there. Her feet shifting a bit, as she looks up at the burnette that is standing over her, "My name… Noriko, not Candy. That's what they named me," she murmers as she closes her eyes, feeling the heat baking into her and taking away the sensaton of water.

"You told me your name was Candy," the brunette says, sliding one of Noriko's arms around her shoulder, slowly helping the weakened hydrokinetic up to her feet. "I'm— Risa, do you remember me, Candy?" Moving out from in front of the sun, Risa Lynette's face looks only vaguely familiar, though the line of blood tracking down her forehead to drip off her chin seems all the more memorable. "Norman's getting everyone together, we— we have to go."

Only now does Noriko hear the sounds of gunfire. Looking around herself, she can see the northwest tower of the Moab Federal Penitentiary crumbled and in a smoking heap. Razorwire fences are toppled and security forces are engaging black-clad attackers sweeping thorugh the facility's yard.

Risa struggles to try and get Noriko up to her feet, struggles to try and help her stand, even as a hot wind is blowing across the rocky Utah desert. "Candy— " she keeps calling her that, "we have to go."

Noriko's eyes open wideer as she hears the pop of gunfire in the distance. Looking at Risa she shakes her head as she is lifted up to her feet. "No, I don't remember," she murmers softly as she looks at the fences and the crumbled tower. "Norman," she asks as she stands there, looking around after she had stood, eyes going in a circle before she looks back at Risa, "Let's go," she murmers…

A worried look crosses Risa's face as she tries leading Noriko away from the slate gray structure of the prison, towards the crowds of other people fleeing the wrechage of the fences and the gunfight in the yard. As Risa crosses over the fence, there's a sudden buzzing snap and a spray of red from her side as a stray bullet from the gunfight punches through her abdomen. Risa lets out a tiny, keening yelp and hunches forward, losing her grip on Noriko as she collapses down onto the sandy earth just outside the fence.

"Risa!" Comes a deep and bellowing voice from the crowd of people trying to run away. Jogging back towards the fence, the hulking frame of Norman White looks much like a charging elephant, all seven feet of muscle and flaring bathrobe worn over his orange prison jumper. Wild blonde hair is loose and tangled around his shoulders, slippers scuffong on sun-baked Nevada sands, "Risa, no!"

Laying down at Noriko's feet, Risa clutches her stomach and spits out a mouthful of blood onto the ground, eyes wrenched shut and a whining sound of pain rising up from the young woman. This is how it happened, these were the final minutes of Moab, this— this feels—

Noriko looks at the blood, the young woman's eyes wide with fright as she doesn't know what to do. Her head is spinning at all these images, places that seem familiar but she doesn't remember ever being in those situations. Her eyes closing tightly for a couple of moments, before she murmers, "It'll be okay, its just a flesh wound and you'll be right as rain soon." She offers a smile, her eyes going to Look at the form of Norman White running across the sand and she is just confused, her mind scrambling on what is going on and trying to figure out what is happening.

Lying about the severity of the wound is some comfort to Risa, even if cold comfort. Shoulders rolled forward and body trembling, the young brunette is shivvering in the looming shadow that Norman White creates. "You," the broad-shouldered man urges, moving down to a crouch, hastily grabbing Risa's arm bu the wrist and lifting her up with a scream from the girl in pain before slinging her over his shoulder in a fireman's carry, "come with me. We're getting out've here before anyone shows up to— "

There's a sound that drowns out Norman's words, a loud buzzing hum, like a generator malfunctioning. Norman's eyes grow wide as he hears it, sees the sky shift from blue to a rich magenta shadw and then down to purple. The buzzing noise grows louder, warbling and warping like a bent record spinning on a turntable.

A brilliant white flash erupts from the Moab Federal Penitentiary, Noriko can see Norman frozen in mid-stride, blonde hair tangled around his face and hanging out to the side where it is blown on the wind. A droplet of Risa's blood is frozen like a jewel in midair.

Blood pressure is at 120 over 80

Five lights shine down over Noriko on the table, and the doctor observing her withdraws a suringe from the IV plugged into her right arm. There's a look on his face, one of scrutiny and interest, broad-shouldered and round-cheeked, light reflecting off of his glasses; Doctor Cong has need of her.

Heart rate is down to 90.

Dark silhouettes of doctors wearing scrubs slip past the surgery table, bloodied rubbed gloves glistening crimson and slowly pulled off with snapping sounds. An electrode headset is pulled off of Noriko's smooth scalp, and the ring of lights is lifted up and away from her by the large, bespectacled doctor.

Brain-wave patterns are back to normal.

When the ring of lights turns off, Noriko's eyes fall shut, her chest rising and falling slowly in shuddering breaths, tears streaking down from the corners of her eyes. She can't remember what she's forgotten, but she knows it's there, buried away somewhere. All the pain, all the suffering, all of the things they tried to make her forget. It's like the tender flesh beneath an old scab that is finally peeling away, and all of this is picking at it.

We're done here for today.

It began with a light.

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