Shadows Of A Bright Future, Part II


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Scene Title Shadows of a Bright Future, Part II
Synopsis The sins of the father come into the light, and Arthur discovers the fury of a mother and a hunger he cannot hope to control.
Date July 6, 2009

Pinehearst Headquarters, Laboratory Level 3

"I can't believe he'd do this." The hushed words of Jennifer Chesterfield carry in horrified disbelief through the small, darkened room. Staring down through tinted glass into an operating theater where a United States Marine paces back and forth in silence, the realization of just how far Arthur would go to see his plans fulfilled isn't truly even grasped by Jenn. The man at her side, however, he knows too well.

Tired, drawn out eyes stare blankly at a computer screen, the same string of DNA displayed on the screen as was there an hour ago. Lifting his glasses up, Mason Chesterfield wipes at his eyes with his fingers, then rubs the sore bridge of his nose. "Arthur's changed, Jennifer. God knows how long ago he changed— or maybe this is just the way he's always been and we missed it. He— " Mason's eyes close, head resting against his hand as he sighs. "He's always been pragmatic, always been about results no matter the cost. But…"

"But look what he's done to his own son?" Jennifer turns around, arms folded and brows lowered; incensed. "He has Peter, poor sweet Peter in a wheelchair as some— I don't even know what. I don't even understand half of the things he does anymore." One hand flings out, waving in a vague direction of somewhere other than here. Mason's response is, perhaps predictably, a tired groan.

Looking over his shoulder from the computer screen, Mason lets his glasses settle back down, adjusting them with one hand. "Whatever's happened to him happened a long time ago, dear. We've lost touch of the man he was, and there— he's just lost in this cause of his. The man we knew would never've attacked Catherine." It's said as so much of an afterthought, but as tired as he is, Mason's forgotten that he has kept that secret since his communique with his daughter thanks to T.Monk.

It is only in the moments before Jennifer grabs Mason by the collar of his shirt and lifts him up out of his chair that he realizes he slipped up. "Arthur did what to our daughter!" Were he not a sane man, he might be able to see the figurative fire in her eyes more literally, and feel the way her breath boils on his skin. "How long have you known!?" Her shriek echoes off of the walls, knuckles white. "God help me I am going to kill him with my own two hands!"

Strangled by his own shirt, Mason stares at his wife with a wild look of — unsurprisingly, again — fear in his eyes. "H— Honey I— " no, that's not a good angle to take, "Jennifer, dear, I— I didn't— you know what would happen if Arthur— " She uncurls her fingers from his collar, letting him slouch back down into his office chair, and Jennifer's stare is baleful, full of fire and hate that could burn a hole through her husband's head.

With a hand at his throat, unbuttoning the top button of his collar, Mason's eyes wander down to his keyboard. "Jennifer, I— I'm sorry, I just— if Arthur knew what I knew— you can't protect your thoughts as well as I can." He tries not to make it sound like she's inferior, like he's trying to lord his ability over her, God knows she'd backhand him for that. "I was trying to keep us— "

A click, too soft to be in this room but too audible to be down the hall causes Mason to hitch his words behind a soft hiss. He rises from the chair, looking in to the viewing windows of the operation theater. Jennifer is already at the window, hands pressed onto the glass and eyes wide. "What is he doing?"

Moving up beside Jennifer, Mason finally catches sight through the tinted glass at what she's questioning. It's not the soldier doing anything, but Arthur moving in to the lab. The pair watch, in quiet curiosity, as Arthur moves in to the operating room, offering a quiet smile to the soldier. They seem, for a moment, just to be talking, even if merely seeing Arthur is all it takes for Jennifer's expression to turn into a snarl.

Then, ice begins to frost over the windows, over the walls and floor, and the clothing of the young soldier. The loud screams and thumps of Jennifer's hands on the glass are nothing but muted background noise in the operating theater, even while the horrified noises seem so sharp and shrill to Mason as he tries to restrain his wife. The two watch on in horror, as Arthur circles the Lieutenant like a feral animal circles a meal, watching as he flickers and moves around the room with frantic speed, only to eventually be caught in mid-air by the throat with a single wave of Arthur's hand.

"No! No!" Jennifer's hands slam against the window, balling up into fists that she pounds against the glass, "Goddamnit, stop! Stop!" She can't hear the soldier's strangled words, can't hear whatever it is Arthur is saying to him in the moments before he raises two fingers, pointed at the Lieutenant's head, before a flickering snap of blue-green light is expelled from his fingertips, forming a surgical laser that burns through flesh and bone with equal ease as the soldier freezes into a solid block, hovering over the floor.

Jennifer struggles away from the window in horror, while Mason is trapped into watching on, frozen like a deer in headlights at the sight of the frozen, lobotomized body drifting over, covered in crystallized blood on its crown, as Arthur dips his fingers into the open top of his head, sliding his scalp back like the lid to a cookie jar to shatter on the floor like glass. Even Mason has to look away once Arthur's fingers begin dipping down through the brain matter, pulling out small pieces to examine.

Clasping a hand over his mouth, Mason struggles to hold in his stomach, retching dryly nothing but air. When was the last time he had anything to eat? The thought rolls around in his head just long enough for Jennifer to get up to her feet, wild-eyed and frantic in the moments before the door to the observation room swings open, followed by a rush of air and a gray blur.

There, Arthur appears from a moment of superhuman speed, hands tucked into the pockets of his slacks. "I heard the two of you had something to say?" There's an arch of one of Arthur's brows, focused more on Mason than Jennifer, perhaps to his detriment. In that instant, Jennifer snaps, lashing out like a coiled viper to grasp at the side of Arthur's face, screaming all the while.

"What did you do to my daughter you bastard!?" Her fingernails dig into his skin, bleeding red at the edges, otherwise turning pink from some sort of irritation at her touch. "You heartless bastard, I'll kill you!" before Mason can fearfully try and peel her off of Arthur, he does so for Mason with a flick of one hand, telekinetically buffeting Jennifer up against the reinforced window, sending spiderweb fractures through the glass as she bounces off of it, onto the desk and then to the floor, taking a lamp and a chair with her.

"I was trying to give you two the benef— fi— " Arthur gurgles, tongue lolling out of his mouth as a hand goes to his throat. He staggers, stumbles, choking on his own tongue as his skin immediately pales, and a clear fluid runs out of his nostrils and eye sockets as his body begins to spasm violently and shake on the ground. His eyes wrench shut as that clear liquid continues to pump out of him, darkening his suit with dampness from his pores, followed by one whimpering cry of pain before he goes entirely motionless.

Mason is absolutely, positively silent for a moment as he stares at Arthur's unmoving corpse. "What— What did you — " when he looks at Jennifer, she's closing her hand into a fist, struggling up from the floor on one hand, laying on her side, lips pulled back into a snarl.

"I turned his blood into saltwater." The words are spit out as Jennifer tries to move, only to let out a whine of pain before Mason rushes to kneel at her side. "He's— I should have killed him sooner," swallowing hard, Jennifer's eyes drift over to the body, "we have to get out of here. When Alison or Maury find out what we've— "

"What you've done?" Arthur's voice, impossibly, coming from the doorway. Standing there, with blood covering one of his hands and ice melting off of his suit jacket, he looks down at his own corpse with an impassive frown. "You know, a few days earlier on that, and you really would have killed me." With a scowl, Arthur's dark eyes lower on Mason and Jennifer in their horrified disbelief of his still living condition.

"Now," like a stern parent, his head tilts to the side and a frown crosses his lips, "what am I going to do with you two?"

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