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Scene Title Necrosis
Synopsis After her capture by Wolfhound, Lauren Gilmore finally breaks during an interrogation.
Date May 24, 2018

Liberty Island Detention Center

The buzz of fluorescent lights is a familiar white noise.

The gurgle of a coffee pot a welcome reprieve from the onset of fatigue from a long day.

The measured clip-clap of hard-soled shoes on a tile floor is smooth like a metronome's even cadence.

Sebastian Waite enjoys precision and mechanical functionality. There's a schedule to his day, a rhythm, predictability and pattern. As he opens the metal door that leads into the whitewashed concrete stairwell down from the administration level to the holding cells, he does not expect to be ambushed by a pack of medics rushing ahead of him. An alarm sounds a moment later as Waite is pushed aside, coffee sloshing onto the floor and across his polished shoes. For a moment he's frozen in confusion, and a split-second later his phone begins buzzing in his suit jacket.

Juggling coffee in one hand and phone in the other, Waite hurries down the stairs behind the medical team. "What the hell is going on?" Waite asks into the phone.

«DHS had an interrogator in talking to Gilmore. She started seizing, turned into hemorrhaging. We've got an emergency team on— »

"Yeah, yeah they bumped into me already I'm on my way down. What the hell happened? Where's the interrogator?" Waite's shoes noisily report each hard step down as he follows the medics, his tie swishing from left to right at the hurried pace he keeps.

«He's with security, we're running a background check. He was hand-picked by Lazzaro, very clean record. Medics will know more once they get there.»

"Is Gilmore conscious?" Waite asks, reaching the bottom of the stairs and just misses catching the door before it closes. The magnetic lock clicks back into place, light by the card reader going from green to red. "Goddamnit," he whispers to himself, now cradling the phone between chin and shoulder as he fishes for his badge in his wallet.

«In and out, she was talking jibberish for a bit. She doesn't look good.»

Waite swipes his badge, and the door unlocks. Hastily, he yanks it open, barely able to keep his juggling act going as he moves into the hall. Barred doors down the hall are already open, the way to the interrogation areas are open. "I'm down the hall," Waite says, ending the call. He can see the black-suited security officer stepping out from an open interrogation room, sidearm still holstered at his hip. He swiftly moves to clear the distance between himself and Waite.

"Sir," he begins, noticing Waite's about to push past him, "you might not want to— " But Waite does, both want to and intend to. He places a hand on the security officer's arm as he briskly moves past, slipping further down the the hall. Halfway to the interrogation room, he can hear wailing screams echoing from inside. They're incoherent, animalistic cries of agony and horror, and when Waite emerges through the doorway he finds Lauren Gilmore thrashing on the floor of the interrogation room in her gray shirt and pants, blood smeared across the fabric, the floor, streaked through her hair. The emergency medical team is already on site, trying to assess whatever it is they're looking at. Waite stands wide-eyed in the doorway, grip on his coffee tightening.

"Jesus Christ," he says to the room, looking away from Lauren to the security officer once again approaching. "What the hell," Waite asks without looking, then reiterates as he looks over and makes eye contact with the taller man. "What the hell is happening to her?" The officer has only a helpless shrug.

"Gilmore said she wasn't feeling well when we moved her from her cell. She'd been complaining about nausea. Doctor Gilroy administered some antacids last night, that seemed to fix it. This morning she didn't eat, wasn't talking. When we moved her to interrogation she looked groggy, we thought it might have been from lack of sleep." The security officer glances to the door, but not in. "Phillips hadn't even gotten past the preamble of the interrogation before she started seizing."

Having heard enough, Waite steps away from the security officer and into the interrogation room. Lauren is still screaming, arms and legs kicking uncontrollably, eyes wrenched shut. She's covered in a thin sheen of sweat now, skin flushed red. "Somebody — anybody — " Waite starts, "what the hell is happening to her?"

"I'm not sure," one of the medical team responds, helping lay her on a stretcher. "I can feel heat coming off of her, she's bleeding through her pores, incoherent. We're going to need to medivac her to Elmhurst." Waite scrubs a hand over his mouth, paces back and forth slowly, looking at the blood smeared on the floor. Moving her makes her vulnerable, makes her a target, and if the last year is any indication this could be a part of a larger ploy to get her out of the facility.

"No…" Waite murmurs, eyes tracking from side to side with a gambit in mind. "No, get her down to medical, and… give me a minute to make a call."

One Hour Later

The soft and steady beat of heart-rate monitors is pattern enough for Waite. Standing in the doorway of a white-washed concrete block room, he observes the steady rise and fall of the digital display on the monitor, and the stable condition of the blonde woman laying in the bed. Lauren Gilmore is conscious, eyes open and focused on the ceiling, hair greasy with sweat, ghostly pale save for the dark circles around her eyes. Waite looks over at the doctor nearby, one brow raised as she notices him checking Lauren's vitals on his tablet.

"Well?" Waite asks impatiently. The doctor looks up, shaking his head.

"Whatever he did," the doctor says with a hint of resentment in his voice, "it worked. Her vitals have stabilized, she's aware and alert, but… I don't know for how long." Waite nods, leaning off from the door frame, arms still crossed. "If you want to talk to her, it should be alright."

Nodding along with that assessment, Waite makes his way into the room, taking his phone out at the same time. He moves to shut the door once inside, offering a reassuring nod to the doctor once he does. Lauren only looks over once she hears the click of the door shut, brows furrowed as she puzzles out Waite's presence in the room.

"Miss Gilmore," Waite offers pleasantly enough. "You're a pretty lucky woman, all things considered. I don't think anyone expected you to make it out of the other side of that…" he isn't sure what to call it, and is hoping she'll correct him, "episode outside of a body bag." When he arrives at her bedside, Waite drags over a stool and boosts himself up onto it. At the same time, Lauren is reaching up to brush sweat from her brow, when her hand stops short with a jerk. She looks to the restraint around her wrist, and Waite offers her a frown of feigned apology.

Clearing his throat, Waite sets his phone to memo record and places it down on the table beside the bed. "Miss Gilmore… do you understand what happened to you today in the interrogation room?" Gray brows rise, hands are folded in his lap, and Waite insinuates himself into the official investigation of his own accord. Lauren regards him for a moment, the phone next. Then, as her tired eyes settle back on his, she nods a wordless reply of yes.

"Could you say it," Waite motions to the phone, "for the record?"

"Yes," Lauren strains. Waite's brows tick up at that, and he crosses one leg over the other, lifting his chin just as little as he regards her with terrier-like curiosity.

"I'm not sure if you're waiting for me to say I'd love to know what that was, so I'll just vocalize that here." Waite notes, perhaps a bit cheekily, "for the record." Closing her eyes in response, Lauren rests her head against the bed's pillow and stops straining against the padded restraints.

"Cellular necrosis," may not be a familiar term to Waite, but he can infer its meaning. Lauren looks back to him, tears welled up in her eyes against her will. "I told you… told the last interrogator," she closes her eyes and turns her head, "the Institute is performing genetic experimentation. They have a facility in Colorado…"

Waite nods pointedly. "Geopoint, yes. I've read the transcripts." But that dogged curiosity is still there, nevertheless. "You didn't give us much to go on there, could you elaborate? Is that related to why you're ill?" Lauren's eyes slowly open, watery tears rolling down either side of her face.

"Geopoint is a former Pinehearst Corporation research facility. It's where they accidentally discovered the chemical cocktail that became Refrain. They were searching for a route around missing data to create a serum capable of granting SLC-Expressive abilities to non-expressives." Lauren's story tracks with what came out during the Albany Trials, about the origins of the Shanti-Rage virus. "They have a… a project, called Gemini. It's a work-around that Pinehearst abandoned, but the new administration… they've dusted it off."

"Who's the new administration?" Waite asks, shifting a little on his seat and adjusting the cuffs of his dress shirt. Lauren blinks a look over to him, her blue eyes pale and pupils pinpoints.

"Pete Varlane and Erica Kravid," Lauren confirms, wearily. "They re-opened Gemini, made mandatory volunteers of several of the Non-Expressive security team. They thought they'd… stabilized the system, but…" Waite squints, glancing to the door, then back to Lauren.

"So, what, they've figured out a way to grant abilities to non-expressives, but it went wrong?" Waite leans forward, hands clasps together and elbows on his knees. "What are they hoping to gain with that sort of technology? They're backed against a wall, you do realize that, right? There's no exit strategy. Or, is there?" Waite wrings his hands together. "If you help me, maybe we can try to figure out a solution to your problem." He was always more a fan of the carrot than the stick.

Lauren exhales a ragged cough, reflexively trying to cover her mouth but unable to due to the restraints. Waite leans back the moment she coughs, better safe than sorry. Once she's done, Lauren looks back to him. "No," isn't the answer he'd expected. "Gemini isn't a serum to… to just make abilities whole-cloth. It's a genetic replication system or… something like that. I don't know the science behind it, I just know that they can harvest abilities from other people, and augment another person's genetic code with that material."

Waite's brows shoot to his hairline. "So… so they just volunteered you for that? On a whim?" It sounds insane, and is, but not for the reasons Waite assumes.

"They knew the science wasn't perfect." Lauren admits in a rueful tone of voice. "That there'd been… mortality. I was held responsible for the collapse of the Commonwealth Arcology. Doctor Kravid held me personally responsible. I was subjected to Gemini as… as a punishment." The barbarism isn't lost on Waite, and he brings a hand up to his mouth, nibbling on a cuticle as he listens.

"I went through the Gemini process multiple times. Layered augmentation, is what they called it." Lauren's explanation sheds new light on Wolfhound's report, and Waite looks to his phone for a moment, then back to Lauren.

"But it's breaking down." It isn't a guess, he's certain of it now. Lauren closes her eyes and nods, slowly.

"My first Gemini therapy was in 2014. My final was in late 2016. It… it was stable for a long while. But the facility, there was a security incident there." That admission has Waite's expression screwing up into a puzzled look, but one that also begs further explanation. "I wasn't on the team, that was Dunlap. They compartmentalized everything, I only knew so much that was going on at a time."

Making a noise in the back of his throat and nodding slowly, Waite brushes fingers over his chin. "Mnhmm. Lauren, what facilities have you been to?" The question elicits a frustrated noise from her again, and she looks back to the ceiling.

"Ross Dam in Washington. Geopoint, in Colorado. Skycastle, in Detroit. Boxcar, in Illinois." Lauren's blue eyes level back on Waite. "We shuttered Boxcar after the dam was hit. I told your people that the day after I was brought in." Waite recalled as much, but he wanted to see if her answers had changed.

"So, where's Varlane, Kravid? They're not in Detroit or Illinois, or Washington. Are they in Colorado?" Waite's question elicits a hiss of frustration from Lauren.

"I don't know. I haven't seen them in years. We receive orders from dead drop communication and telephone relays. I've already given you all the locations I know of. I was in Colorado at a safe house, bounced between there and Detroit keeping an eye on Dunlap." That answer of Lauren's has Waite raising a brow.

"Why keep an eye on her, isn't she security?" The question has Lauren roll her eyes, a little.

"Dunlap was Company, but not by choice. The Institute recruited her after the fall, seduced her with an iea of personal freedom, but they've never trusted her. She has a weakness they've been exploiting," Lauren looks back to Waite again, this time with less frustration. "A scientist who worked in San Francisco with Dunlap. Adrienne Allen. They're lovers, Allen's been a captive of the Institute since everything collapsed in 2011. She and Dunlap tried to break away, but they were caught. I'm effectively her handler." Then, with a twitch of her brows. "Was."

Waite's expression is hard to read, but part of it is a little smug. "Back to Gemini. Is Geopoint the only research faility?" His attention squares on Lauren again from his hands. She shakes her head, then hesitates and shrugs.

"I… I'm not sure. I doubt it. But it was a critical part of our infrastructure." Lauren swallows audibly, then pleads, "You said you'd help me."

"I said I'd try," Waite corrects. At that, he retrieves his phone from the table, presses stop, and tucks it into his jacket. "But that's ultimately not my call. I'll explain that you've been cooperative, but you have to remember there is a litany of crimes you've been charged with. I know the alternative to rotting in a prison cell for the rest of your life looks bleak, but I'm not sure there are better alternatives." Then, after he's done stepping on her hope, he adds while getting off of his stool, "But maybe? Things are different now. A kinder administration? Maybe if you stay cooperative, maybe they'll play ball."

Walking to the door, Waite notes, "stranger things have happened."

Liberty Island Detention Center

Cell Block A

The windowless doors lining the hall contain some of the more dangerous criminals Wolfhound has had the pleasure of apprehending. Those who have not yet stood trial for their crimes, those who are being detained indefinitely, and in some cases high-security threats that need to be kept on a short leash or otherwise retained for future interrogation. As Waite makes his way down the hall, shoes clicking on the tiled floor, he comes to stop at one such cell.

With a quick tap, Waite keys in an access code beside the door, disengaging the mechanical lock. As the door swings open, Waite raps on the inside with a faux politeness. "I thought you'd like to know…" Waite addresses the inside of the room, looking across the slate gray floor and walls to the prisoner sitting on the fold out cot, arms draped over his legs, slouched forward, dark hair hanging in front of his face.

"Your patient? She's stable. Whatever is was you thought she was suffering from? I think you were right." The prisoner looks up, dark eyes square on Waite's paler ones, and there's a hesitant smile that crosses the prisoner's lips. Bobbing his head into a nod, he looks Waite up and down, then sits up straight and smooths his hands over his legs.

"Is that all you came here for?" The prisoner asks, expression flat and difficult to read, but visibly tempered by guilt and isolation. Waite reaches up to scrub one hand at the back of his neck, keeping the door open with his foot.

"No, no it isn't…" Stepping inside, Waite looks up at the interior security camera, then back to the prisoner. "I'd like to talk to you about something called the Gemini Project." When that name comes out of Waite's mouth, the prisoner's back straightens and his eyes widen just enough to give away his recognition and surprise.

"You wouldn't happen to know anything about that, would you Doctor Suresh?"


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