Rude Awakening


helena_icon.gif leonard_icon.gif sal_icon.gif

Scene Title Rude Awakening
Synopsis Sal wakes up, and Helena discovers that Teo(?) has taken the formula. All of it. She and Leo start managing the crisis.
Date May 29, 2009

Old Dispensary

Sal wakes up with a sharp gasp and his heart thundering in his ears. He stares at the ceiling and takes a moment to remember what happened. His head is pounding, his vision is blurred. He's sprawled out beneath the covers of a cot in the clinic, still fully clothed.

There is a brief moment of pain, of flashes of memory, and then, then it all comes slamming back to him. He draws in a sharp, deep gasp and flops off the cot, knees smacking hard against the floor. He stumbles and tries to get his feet under him, tries to stand. He's as knock-kneed as a colt for a moment, then manages to get his balance.

He moves quickly to the door - too quickly, and is forced to grab hold of the doorjam. His face is contorted into an expression that's almost painful to witness. And then he calls out, "Anybody here?! Anybody!"

He makes his way out of the clinic room, towards the hallway.

Helena is in one of the common areas. There's usually people milling about, but in this case, Sal's voice reaches her ears and she rises to her feet, moving quickly when she hears the tone. "Sal?" she calls out, and when she sees him, moves more swiftly to come along his side and give him an arm. "Oh my god, what happened?"

"Helena! Helena…" Sal stumbles towards her. He looks like shit. He's pale and there are dark circles under his eyes. He grabs hold of her shoulders, grips white-knuckled. "Helena, Teo -…" He swallows his breath and tries to calm hismelf. "Oh my god Helena, it's not him. Something…has him. He zapped me with some kind of…I don't know. I…" His face contorts again. "Oh god."

"Wait, what?!" Helena says, trying to wheel him around to take him back to the infirmary. "Are you injured? You're not bleeding…we need to get you to lay down…" She's helping a rather messed up looking Sal to the infirmary, her expression faintly horrified.

Sal continues to cling to Helena's shoulders. He looks wide-eyed, panicked, unsure and ready to bolt any one of six direction. "No, no, I'm…I'm all right. I just have a headache. I…oh fuck. I have no idea how long he was…whoever that was…was fucking with me. Oh god…" He pales. "The vacation. Did I?" His eyes go unfocused.

And then something snaps him back again, like a painful jolt. He whispers, "The formula," and then bolts back towards the lab. He grabs for the research. "Oh no, oh //fuck. He took it."

I skinned my knee. Well, not quite. Leo was trying to use a hammer like a real boy, and banged the hell out of his hand. So he looks quite thunderous already, as he heads for the infirmary. Only to pause at Sal's evident fear. "Doc, what's wrong?"

"Oh, god." Helena says, "Teo - I don't know, someone who looked like Teo, he attacked Sal and he took the formula sample." She then pauses a moment. "There's no way, there's no way, he - Alex, I mean Leo, help Sal, I'll be right back." And then she's running down the hall, in the direction of her quarters.

Sal is as white as a sheet and he's barely propping himself up by holding onto the side of the workbench. He pulls in deep, deep breaths as he starts to piece everything together. "It's not him, Al. It wasn't him. I don't know for how long." His eyes unfocus as he stares at the microscope. "Whoever, whatever that was, is…playing some kind of fucking cruel game with us all."

He swallows deeply, fights back a shine of salt water that starts to glaze over his eyes. He pulls in a shaking breath and he has to use both hands to keep him upright. "He put his arms around me, told me he loved me and then…zapped the shit out of me. And robbed the formula." His words are spoken in a tight whisper. His throat starts to close up.

Leo is….not the sharpest pencil in the box. And well, Moab hasn't helped. "We had a shapeshifter appear to be Teo, show up and take the dose of the formula we brought back?"

Helena rushes into her quarters, diving for the floor under a piece of furniture and opening up what appears to be a secret compartment. "Shit." she whispers. "Shit, shit."

"No, fuck it!" Sal barks this at Leo, then takes deep breaths to try and pull it back. "Whatever that was, it was in Teo. It knew private shit. And I know him. I know what he feels like." That might sting Leo a bit, but he's really not thinking of wounded feelings right now. "You can't trust anything Teo's said in…fuck it. I don't know how long. It could be weeks. Months."

Yeah, about that. Leo's expression is nonplussed. "I haven't been around him for months," he notes. "Save the last few days. Possession?"

Helena jogs back, her face blanching. "The other samples, they're gone from my room." she says, digging into her pocket, she turns it on and dials a number.

"I don't fucking know!" Sal barks again. He shoves over a stool. It clatters to the ground and then he kicks it. His foot glances off it. That can't have tickled, but the doc doesn't seem to care. "How can you be so goddamn calm?" He gets up into Leo's face for a brief moment, then backs away.

"Something has him, has been walking around as him. Fucking with all of us. Why the hell did he play these games with me? He could have just walked up behind me and knocked me out. Why have a private goddamn conversation unless we're dealing with something really fucked up?"

Then the doc pales even further. The vacation. "Oh. I think I'm going to be sick." He eyes Helena and her phone. Then, suddenly, he does bolt for the bathroom.

Leo has his best kill-devil scowl on, until he follows Sal's train of thought. And then looks ill on his behalf. Oh, that's sick. "So. Shapeshifter or body jumper has been listening to use rattle on about where we've been and what we've brought back. Have we talked to Wireless?"

Helena lets out a hiss. "Not answering his phone." she says softly. "I'll need to contact Wireless, she if she's found anything, but if he's smart, he's probably already destroyed his tracker chip." She beckons them toward the infirmary, heading in there so she can survey the damage. "Chances are if he'd planned on destroying us, there'd be Feds crawling all over this place by now. Which means all he wanted was the formula, and I don't even know how he got to the ones I was hiding."

Sal is not a practical, experienced member of Phoenix. He's not thinking about logistics or motivations or plans on what to do next. All he's got on his mind is that it's likely he shared an intimate, private weekend with a stranger. Which is why he's currently bent over the toilet, retching up what little was in his stomach. The door's mostly closed, though open a tiny little bit.

After he's done and manages to find his breath, he croaks out, from behind the closed door, "He knows everything Teo knows. Whoever it is." Which is the other reason he's retching. This imposter could destroy him, and his father's career.

"I don't know how good her granularity is," Leo says, quietly. "Can she keep an ear out for any mention of the formula? I mean, he must've taken it -for- someone, or an organization, and unless they communicate by rabbit and homing pigeon, it'll get mentioned somewhere on some wire." He shoots Sal a pitying look, even dares put a hand on the doctor's shoulder.

Helena doesn't make that connection for Sal, so she can't offer her thoughts on that either, at least until it's brought up. She inspects the infirmary, finds Sal's research area, and notices that the slide samples, while handled, have not been taken. She turns to look at Leo. "We need to find out why he took them. Without the GPS I don't even know how we're going to begin to find him, we don't even know what's going on as far as him being compromised. I'll send out the notice for people to keep an eye out, report, and not approach until we know what the hell is going on."

Sal stands unsteadily and pulls himself up from the toilet. He flushes and leans on the sink. Shaking hands turn on the faucet until the water turns cold, then he splashes it over his face several times. He tries to steel himself, tries to straighten himself up and find composure, but he's not doing a very good job. He's not really good Phoenix material when it comes to this sort of thing.

He looks to them both and swallows. "I'm going to go…into…a room. And…" Well, try not to think about how his privacy was violated by this imposter. The formula seems completely unimportant when compared to the fact that he's lost Teo to something. He starts to move past them.

There's that weird, uncertain feeling, like the air and ground around them are vibrating at some subsonic frequency; that distinctive marker of the level of Leo's stress. "If …..we assume the original Teo's in there, yes?" he wonders, voice very low. "And that this bastard hasn't done away with him entirely…..Basically, how do we rescue the actual Teo, as well as regain the formula?"

"Sal." Helena gives Leo a brief we need to talk after this look as she crosses the distance and steps in front of the doctor. "You do need to get some rest, calm down from this, and we will all do everything we can." she says, speaking calmly like she's dealing with a spooked horse. "But your slide samples are still intact, so tomorrow, while we're working on this, we need you to start from scratch with what you have and keep working. The more information we have about the formula, the more we may be able to understand about what's going on. Please."

Sal looks Helena in the eye when she steps in front of him. He keeps eye contact for a moment, then shakes his head. "I don't think I can." It's a quiet, distant voice. He looks at her once more, then moves off down the hallway. He steps into one of the vacant rooms and closes the door slowly, gently.

It took all of his focus, all of his brainpower when he was only minimally distracted to make any headway on the formula. Now, with all of this? Salvatore Bianco isn't strong enough.

Leonard watches Sal go, and there's genuine pity in the dour lines of his face. But he says nothing, looks back to Helena, hands in his pockets.

Helena's expression is nigh close to furious as she watches Sal make his exit. "Right." she says tightly. There is absolutely no sympathy in her voice. She looks back to Leo. "Tell the security teams that if Sal tries to leave, they need to keep his ass here until he talks to me, first." Her tone is downright icy. "I don't think Teo - or whoever this is, was interested in anything other than the formula. We'd all be in lockup by now, and Sal's reputation would be trashed on the evening news. Aside from Wireless running searches, do you have any suggestions? If not, we need to call Cat."

"Cut the man some slack. He just found out that what he thought was his honeymoon weekend was fortyeight hours of rape. He's not like us, Helena," Leo's voice is perfectly neutral. "Let's face it, the folks we get now….they aren't hardasses like they were in PARIAH. And that's good, in some ways. We don't know who this was -for-, and that's the question. Company, Pinehearst? Like you said, it's not government, or we'd have the black helicopters on the roof right now. Wireless, definitely. Have the word put out on our networks. If he's anywhere in the five boroughs, we can find him."

"Maybe." says Helena bitterly, but to what, may not be clear. She starts to pace. He's not like us. She understands that, oddly. She takes her phone out again. "I wish we could keep this quiet, but that might also be a bad, bad idea. I don't think it's Pinehearst. Arthur would have simply had Peter try to persuade me to give him the samples if he even knew I had them. Company would have raided us. This might be related to the future people, maybe…or something else."

"This is a war on so many goddamn fronts I need a rolodex to even keep it straight," Leo says. He just sounds…put-upon, rather than angry or afraid. Somehow the new face is just that much more handy when it comes to keeping his distance from all of this.
Helena just sort of stares at the wall. "Are you quitting too?" she asks, and tries not to sound fearful.

That earns her the sort of stare a rooster gives a caterpillar. "Uh, no," he says, with laughter in his voice. "Didn't I just tell you the other day that all I had was this fight?" He puts a hand on her shoulder, rubs it gently. "Deep breaths, kid. You know me, I'm not the brightest bulb in the case, and keeping all this straight….not my strong point."

Helena does as instructed, takes deep breaths. "I need to call Cat." she says, trying to think straight. "And I need to contact Wireless, and we need to let everyone know that if they spot Teo, to notify Wireless immediately and stay away from him. I just don't want to start a panic. Or an exodus."

"Just explain that we need an eyes on him," Leo says, calmly. "Notification, confusion over a meeting or a message. You're right. WE don't dare just blacklist him right off the bat."

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