It Was Me


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Scene Title It Was Me
Synopsis Noriko Amagi is presented with a persistent ghost of her past in the nightmare of her present.
Date June 14, 2010

Staten Island Hospital

Blurry half-consciousness is a reward for standing and fighting, delerious moments of waking confusion, the sight of concrete ceilings lined with recessed lights, strange men and women in military uniforms, doctors with white facemasks, so many lights. The pain comes with consciousness, muffled voices and the clatter of surgical tools, the cold press of steel to flesh that has not been numbed to its bite. Blood is drawn and tubes are strung up like lights at christmas, leather straps restrain freedom; hope is bled dry.

Truly waking consciousness only comes what might be a day or two later. Blurred vision is accompanied by the motion of a cockroach across a concrete floor covered with dirt and dark brown stains. The smell of filth clings in the air, and that shelled insect is scurrying towards a metal pie-plate on the floor with cornmeal mush slopped out into it.

Eyes focus beyond the bowl, and Candace Allard can feel a sharp pain in her arms, bandages wrapped around them. Injuries are gone, broken bones feel healed, and the terrifying sensation of paralysis seems to have somehow been stripped away entirely. There's bars, not far away, dark and thin lines of rusted metal with a narrow hall between them and another set of bars, darkened cages like an old civil war prison from America.

She's dressed in a hospital gown, open in the back, smudged with dirt and what looks like soot and ashes in places. Candy can feel how disgustingly oily her hair is, how sweat clings to her brow in heavy beads, and how humid it is in whatever this prison is. Bare footsteps on concrete are drawing closer, and she swears she remembers seeing Claire in that hospital room with the masked doctors.

Where in God's name are they?

When Noriko Amagi's eyes snap open to the eggshell white ceiling of what amounts to a personal cell, there's a certain shortness of breath to be had from the very real feeling of dread clinging to her chest. Memories of Madagascar often times come back in slithering tendrils, hints and allegations of something that transpired in her own life that she has fleeting recollection of.

Most mornings are like this, waking to her white-walled cell with its fold out cot attached to the wall, its single toilet and tiny pedistal sink. Both of those latter furnishings such taunting feature, with all of the freshly flowing water that could so easily be used to free herself and murder her captors, were she not suppressed. Freedom within reach, and yet at the same time so, so far away.

Even as the ghost of Dmitri Gregor's laboratory fades from Noriko's mind, that haunting from her past may not be as far away a nightmare as she once considered.

Noriko shivers as she awakens from the nightmare, a cold sweat bathing her. Her breath comes in soft gasps while she struggles to convince herself that it was only a nightmare, though it felt much to real. Her head shakes as she slowly moves over to the sink, turning on the water and letting it run while her mind focuses on it. Her hands gliding beneath it to feel its coolness, before shes splashes it across her face and looks into the mirror above the sink.

She sighs as she shakes her head, a scowl starting to break out on her face while she remembers one of the people who are responsible for this. A woman she thought she loved, but had evidently been very wrong about it. Her eyes go to the door, while she goes back to taking a seat at her bed. Her mind swimming as thoughts bubble below the surface, a personality made of memories that she no longer has. That personality seething with a murderous rage, wanting to go on a rampage that will leave behind the blood bodies of everyone who had every wronged her, and any that got in her way.

Noriko Amagi's mind is divided, and she doesn't even know it.

There's a clunk at the windowless door, the sound of the mag-lock holding the door shut disengaging. When the door opens, it isn't one of the usual medical staff coming in, but rather a tiny young girl wearing a button-down white labcoat, her blonde hair tied back into a ponytail and demeanor seeming just as smooth and manicured as the hospital technicians, save that she's maybe thirteen years old. The young girl offers a look towards where Noriko lays on her cot, then steps forther into the room, leaving the cell door wide open.

"Miss Amagi," the young girl states with all the practiced manners of a doctor, "how're you feeling today?" She's several paces away from the cot at the moment, nearly up against the opposite wall and scrutiny somewhat divided from the bed to the door and back again. "My name is Julie, and I came here to check up on you before we go down to the lab. We thought you might do well from having a little personal freedom instead of all of this restrictive movement. So, if you agree to behave, we can walk down together."

Noriko looks at the girl that comes in, and an eyebrow raises. "Aren't you a little young to be working here," she asks while she stands up and starts to move towards the doctor. Seems she will be cooperating, not that she really has much of a choice in the matter. Her head tilts to the side while she walks along, looking over at the sink longingly, wishing that she could use her power. For one thing, she could actually wash herself properly.

Noriko looks at the girl that comes in, and an eyebrow raises. "Aren't you a little young to be working here," she asks while she stands up and starts to move towards the doctor. Seems she will be cooperating, not that she really has much of a choice in the matter. Her head tilts to the side while she walks along, looking over at the sink longingly, wishing that she could use her power. For one thing, she could actually wash herself properly.

Julie offers no explanation for her youthful job opportunity, and when Noriko comes out of the cell willingly it's into the presence of three burly orderlies the offer feigned smiles. Julie says nothing to them, only offers a look which seems to ensure that they stay on the far end of the hall. Casting an askance look to Noriko, Julie's blue eyes scan the older woman up and down before she begins walking her down the door-lined corridor.

"You've been here quite a while miss Amagi, I've read some of your file and I'm surprised." There's a furrow of Julie's brows as she tilts her head down, fingers folding behind her back while she walks. "Surprised, well, mostly that you've been cooperative to an extent and haven't been afforded too much in the line of comforts here. I thought you might like this walk, instead of just being carted around. I don't know Doctor Sheridan very well," Julie admits with a frown, "but I do know the work she's doing here, and… it's very important."

Julie's brows furrow and her head tilts to the side, watching Noriko with a margin of scrutiny. "Do you know what kind of research you're involved in?"

Noriko looks at Julie for a long while during the talk that is given. "I know Bella very well, and I assure you that she is nothing more than a double crossing bitch. I don't give a damn about the research I'm involved in either. It is one thing to abduct people, and quite another to actually ask them if they want to be involved in what you are doing. This crosses so many ethically lines that…" She shakes her head, her speech coming to a rather abrupt end as her mind switches gears, and the bubbling rise of Candace Allard is down again. The hydrokinetic goes silent while she walks along, no longer talking to the young woman beside her. Instead, she's introspective, struggling to figure out where they sudden desire to remove every iota of water in that girl's system came from.

Squinting at Noriko, it's like Julie suddenly doesn't understand a word she's saying. Head canting to the side, the blonde watches the prisoner of the Institute with a certain amount of confusion before shaking her head as they approach a door att ehe nd of the hall. Julie's outstretched hand motions to the door and the locks come undone and the door opens slowly into a hallway that Noriko knows eventually leads down to the experimentation labs.

"You're very important to us," Julie finally decides to admit in a hushed tone of voice, "everything you can do and by simple merit of what you are, you could help advance a great deal of our research. It's unfortunate that you don't understand, but science cannot be afforded to slow progress simply due to short-sightedness or ignorance. It's okay though, when everything's done you'll probably understand better."

Julie offers a brow-furrowed look to Noriko when she stops at a four-way junction in the hall, and Julie motions down the eastern corridor. "This way," she explains simply.

Noriko shakes her head at what the girl says, while she turns and follows her. "What I am? I'm a human being, who deserves to be treated like that instead of some kind of lab rat that you all have decided suits your purposes," Noriko retorts while she follows along, though that seems to be the end of that outburst, as she is quiet again. Her eyes closing as her head slumps forward and a hand comes up to rub between her eyes, a headache starting to form.

"You're no more human than I am," Julie says with a crooked smile, her light brows furrowing together as she gives a patient smile to Noriko. It's all that Julie truly has to add to the conversation though, for right after turning down that corridor, she's opening up a door into one of the labs and motioning for Noriko to go in ahead of her. Once Noriko steps in to the lab, Julie doesn't follow her in, instead closing the door behind Noriko and closing her in to the bright lit examination room.

There's a single table featuring mounted restraints at the center of the room, wheeled surgical tables parked beside it and a light box on one of the adjacent walls for viewing x-rays. Only half of the overhead fluorescent lights are on, casting the back end of the roomw ith the lightbox in darkness save for its own diffuse glow and the imagery of black x-rays and ghostly skeletal structures depicted therein.

Almost like clockwork with the closing of one door, a door at the back of the lab opens and a single man is revealed. Standing with his back to a rbighter lit room, the doctor looks like so many others with his white labcoat and short haircut. However it's the reflection of lights off of his round-lensed spectacles that first sends a chill down Noriko's spine.

"Hello miss— Amagi," is the greeting given when doctor Dmitri Gregor steps into the glow of the lightbox, one corner of his mouth crept up into a twitching smile and his head slowly tilting to the side. "It's been a very long time."

Noriko shivers along with her spin at that image of glasses, and the man that greets her. Let alone all the straps and other devices that are on the chest. "Do I know you," she asks warily while she stands there, sticking close to the door in case she needs to suddenly make a very quick exit, not that they would let her. She wishes with all her might that she still did have her ability, it would at least come in handy if she wanted to off herself. A simple burst blood vessel in the part of her brain that controls breathing and heart rate.

She looks around the room again, before she takes a deep breath, "I think that she brought me to the wrong room, I'll just be leaving now." She tugs at the door handle, hoping that perhaps it might open and the poor little hydrokinetic can make a very fast run for it. She doesn't know this man, but there is just something familiar about it, and a heavy sense of dread that permeates the room.

The lock rattles as the knob is turned, and Gregor's slow approach across the room comes with a smooth and even gait, as if he were gliding more than walking. Light shines from one lens of his glasses to glint across another, and the smile on his face doesn't change one bit. "Poor, delicate wasser-blumen…" he comes to a stop a few paces away from Noriko, his head angled to the side and blue eyes leering at her from that distance, brows twitching to crease together ever so briefly.

"We'll get that sorted out— eventually." Gregor offers out a latex-gloved hand to Noriko and a fond smile, fingers curling invitingly towards himself. "I'd like you to— come over here and lay down, I don't want to have to— tie you down, but I will if you struggle." Gregor's head inclines towards the table and his fingers twitch again invitingly.

Noriko looks at the hand, and the table, and then the ties. "I… uh," she shakes her head while she stands there, some how not wanting to actually take that hand, as if it is somehow surrendering a part of her that she will never get back. She rattles the knob again while she stands there, hoping that she might be able to escape.

"You really should have— listened to me." Gregor insists as he reaches out to take Noriko's wrist, thumb pressing painfully to its underside as he lifts her hand up and steps in close to her, his free hand suddenly lunging out to grasp at her face by the cheeks, the smell of latex stinging her nose as he squeezes her face and forces her back against the door. "You tried to— kill me…" he growls the words angrily, "you tried to— escape from me…"

Leaning in close, Gregor's eyes narrow behind the round lenses of his glasses, shuddering breaths drawn in slow and steadily. It's only up this close that Noriko can smell something horrible on Gregor's breath, the stink of rot and decay, like the smell of a sun-bloated corpse behind his jaws. "Now you have nowhere to— run to."

Noriko lets out a sudden cry as she is grabbed and then pushed against the door, shuddering as she smells his breath. Her eyes widening as she wonders at what the cause of that breath is, and shuddering at the possibilities. Her eyes looking at Gregor, while she shakes her head. "I didn't do anything to you. I don't /know/ you," are the frightened Hydrokinetics words while she is pressed into the door, her small frame struggling to get out from under him.

"You don't— remember," Gregor insists, his palm clutching her face before his hand slips down and wraps around her throat, dragging Noriko back across the laboratory towards the table in the middle of the room. "But you do not need to— remember me, Candace, for me to find satisfaction in— researching you once more." There's considerable strength in Gregor's body despite the seeming fragility he possesses, and when he throws Noriko down onto the table, it's to wrestle one of her arms down into the metal mounted restraint, and then begin performing the process on her other limbs.

"You and I have a— history, Candace. How could you forget that mark I left you…" Gregor brushes gloved fingers across the square of discolored flesh at Noriko's bare shoulder. "Did you ever— wonder where it came from? Did you ever wonder— why?"

Leaning in towards Noriko, Gregor retrieves one of the scalpels from the surgical tray beside her, bringing up the glinting metal to press the flat side carefully and lightly to her cheek.

"It was me."

Noriko shudders as her eyes flick to that blade pressed against her cheek while she struggles in the restraints that now keep her there. Her eyes wide with fear as they go to the patch of paler flesh on her skin. "What," she slowly stays while she is kept there on the table, before her eyes go back fearfully to Gregor. "I," she stammers, struggling to find word to say with that piece of metal so close to her face. The sheer terror that she has, and the state of her mind already, weakened from more than a few memory-nightmares, a sickness, and ruthless testing, finally gives a little. The work of the Rene starting to erode away a little.

In an instant, memories of Madagascar begin to truly come back to her. Who Gregor is, what he did to her. No longer able to be passed off as dreams, but sudden reality as this figure from her past is suddenly revealed to be the monster that he is. Her eyes are wide while she hangs there, Noriko unable to bring up any words. So another part of her does, "I'll kill you this time." Its a complete change from the frightened hydrokinetic. Her voice doesn't tremble this time, but says it with a cold certainty, as if it is already done.

"There's my girl," Gregor hisses as he moves the scalpel down slowly from her face to her throat, then along one collar towards the shoulder where that square patch of flesh is woven into her body. Gregor's lips pull back into a smile, crooked and twitching, and with a certain glee in his voice he carefully presses the sharp side of the scalpel down against Noriko's shoulder enough to draw a dark bead of blood.

"Now that we have that— squared away…" Gregor murmurs, his warm and foul breath assaulting Noriko's senses, "I need something from you…" the scalpel bites down just a bit harder.

"A tissue sample."

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