Stoicism, Cruelty, And Screaming


cat_icon.gif danielle_icon.gif ethan_icon.gif

Scene Title Stoicism, Cruelty, And Screaming
Synopsis See the title. There's a measure of all three here.
Date December 9, 2008

Condemned Tenement

Once home to dozens of working-class families, this building has long ago been officially evacuated and condemned after it was partially gutted by a fire. The brick exterior is covered with layer upon layer of graffiti, the windows are boarded, and some sections of the roof are less than sound. The fire took hold on the fourth floor and expanded upward. Below that, many of the apartments are still intact.

Good Morning

Is it morning or night? Nothing can really be certain, the only thing that is certain is that the two women are in a room. It's cold, and it's dark. The only glimmer of light is that which creeps through under the door across the room from the women. It's faint. But it does give a rough outline of the room.

Water drips steadily from the roof…

Cat and Dani are gagged. Duct tape. They will both find their hands bound behind their backs, their stomachs pressed to the cold floor. It takes a moment for the room to come in focus.. But there is a chair in the room. An outline of a chair. And someone on it.

"'Ow did you sleep?" Comes a quiet voice. A cockney accent.

Dani slowly returns to consciousness. Okay. Cold floor. Hands bound. Tape on her face. This could be bad. And what's worse, it could be any of several groups of people. If this is Zarek, she's going to kick his ass, she resolves. She rolls over onto her back, then sits up. She doesn't dignify the question with a response…mainly cause she can't make one with tape on her mouth.

She comes to slowly, as the drugs wear off, and as the fog clears begins to take stock of her surroundings. Movement of the hands is tried, she finds they won't move. The floor is cold, there's not much light. The cockney voice is missed for the moment, escaping her perception as it came before the dizziness faded. Her mind is at work, however, and connections are made. Man less than six feet two, Caucasian, balding, between thirty and forty. Ethan? Possibly. She tries to speak, the sound being muffled by tape she can feel, and confirms the purpose of it. Her eyes move to seek out Dani and spot her location, to judge the distance between them. For the moment she remains lying on her stomach.

"So, I should probably establish the rules." Comes the voice from the darkness. "I'm going to ask for information. I don't play games. So if you tell me to fuck myself, if you stay silent, or give me an answer that I don't like I will hurt the other girl. It will go in three strikes. The first time you mess up, I will beat the girl with my fists. The second time I will cut off a toe, or a finger. The third I will shoot the other girl. After that, you're both simply dead."

A moment passes, Ethan allows it to settle in. He pulls up his foot to set on his knee. "You try to fight me, you try to escape, I shoot you in the kneecap." Another moment. "I am not joking, and these things will happen. Now, I know most people feel like they need to exercise a bit of a fight at the beginning of an interrogation. I will not tolerate that, that's why I'm giving you the rules now. Nod your 'eads if you both understand."

Dani frowns under the tape, as she listens. She hesitates just a moment, but Cat being here causes her to behave more than her natural rebelliousness would indicate. She nods, once, looking back to Ethan with narrowed eyes.

Her first move is to roll over, the second to shift into a sitting position. While doing so Cat begins to assess the situation. Objective: to survive and reveal as little as possible without getting Dani hurt. Action three follows within a handful of seconds. She looks at Ethan and nods slowly.

Hands reach out of the darkness. And the duct tape is quickly stripped from both of their heads. Then it is dropped on either side of the chair. "I have no aversion to killing either one of you. Or both. Your lives are meaningless to me. I realize they may 'ave meaning to you, 'owever. So if you play by my rules, I am willing to let you live. But the chances I will be that willing if you make me un'appy." A little shrug is given. "You don't want me un'appy. So, I want you both to try your very 'ardest to rack your brains and give me what I want to know." He says it in a sing song. He says he doesn't play games, but his tone indicates so. "Now. Tell me whot I want to know."

Dani actually seems a little confused at that final statement. "You're…going to have to tell me what you want to know before I can answer anything." It's said with apparent honesty. Cause, really. Reporter, investigating Vanguard, and investigating Linderman, and working for Linderman, this could be about any number of things.

She remains focused straight ahead, letting a trace of fear slip into her demeanor and a small cry of pain escapes when the tape is pulled away. Stagecraft applies here as it does in so many other occasions. Apply a persona, follow that persona, give little away by reactions. Cat is thinking. What does he already know? If he knows her affiliations, he'd focus on her alone, doubly so if he knows how her memory works. But, the tone contradicts that conclusion. It could be a game, done for amusement by someone who already knows all he needs. Very possible, she reasons, given he came for them. She listens as Dani replies, and follows calmly with her own. "You want to know what we know about you, sir."

A soft chuckle emits from the darkness at Dani's answer. "You're not very bright, are you? You better get those thinking wheels turning." He says, the last bit sounds like an encouraging bit. His feet tap on the ground, as he stands up. Taking a step over to Cat. "Because, that, Danielle, was the wrong answer." He pauses though, looking down to Cat. "You're lucky Danielle. You're lucky she's smarter than you." The sound of his clothing rustling as he retakes his seat.

"Sir was my father." Ethan says with a little grin masked by the lack of lighting in the room. "So what do we know about me?" A tilt of his head. Don't let on ignorance. As far as they know, you know everything. You're just looking for tiny details.

Dani bites back her angry comment, and says "I'm looking into lots of things right now. Sorry. You'll have to tell me if you work for the corrupt politician and mobster, or the superpowered terrorists. At least if you want accurate answers that aren't going to be about entirely the wrong thing."

She doesn't look at Dani, her eyes are kept forward, they don't even follow Ethan when he moves. Cat speaks quietly in reply to the man's statement. "I know you hold all the cards here, and you prefer not to be called sir."

"Catherine. She's making me angry." Ethan says, glancing to Dani. "I don't think I'm accountable for my actions when I'm irritated. You better 'elp 'er sharpen up, before I do something I might regret." He says solidly. Then looks back to Cat. "I said I don't like to play games, Catherine. I obviously don't like people 'oo act stupid, but the thing I 'ate more than that are people 'oo are smarter than me. You're not smarter than me, are you Catherine?"

Dani takes a deep breath. "All right. Right now, I'm looking into Daniel Linderman for mob connections and connections with politicians, specificially Nathan Petrelli, and looking into a European terrorist group. I'm going to assume you're the latter, cause you sound more Euro and less Noo Yawk. I don't have much conclusive yet. Suspected identities and vague physical descriptions, which probably makes you Ethan. Your finances got cleaned out recently. You've got at least seven operatives here in the New York Area."

She still doesn't look over at Dani. Cat can't. Can't do anything that would seem like coaching or indicate either knows anything at all. It's a razor thin wire to walk here, to avoid both getting either of them hurt and at the same time not betray anyone she's associated with. And the question asked of her, equally so. "I don't know the answer to that question, we've just met. But the evidence isn't in my favor, I'm here being questioned with my hands bound."

A soft sigh escapes and Ethan is standing once again. His shoes tap against the concrete. "You didn't answer how I wanted you to, Catherine." Ethan says simply. Bringing his foot back, he aims a swift kick at Danielle's chest, aiming to drive her to her back. He then steps back to his chair.

"How do you know that name?" He can count on one hand people who know his name that would give him up. Flint Deckard is high on that list. "So, Catherine. How do you two know that name? Don't give me the wrong answer." He chimes.

WHAM. Dani gets kicked, and with a yelp, goes over backwards. With her hands bound, she can't try to catch herself, and she hits pretty hard. Thankfully, the kick was high on her torso, so she's still got breath. "Ow, son of a bitch…" She groans. "There's a group that's got info on you, and I got ahold of their info."

Her eyes remain focused forward. She can hear Ethan speak, and it only confirms to her what she already suspected. What she already knew, deep down, and hadn't wanted to admit to herself. The man is playing a game. Answers he doesn't like, no matter how truthful, will result in punishment. There isn't any way to avoid being beaten. They've seen faces, know names, the odds of leaving alive are also slim for that reason. She hoped, hoped so hard Dani would also understand this and stay silent, that she could be strong if it got her beaten, but thus far information has been divulged at each turn.

When she hears the impact of foot to Dani's chest and the words spoken after it, Cat bristles inwardly. She wants to get up and throw herself on top of her, to protect her and take it all on herself, but that would only encourage the man.

All she can do is sit there and work at holding back the rage, to avoid letting on any reaction while she thinks.

"What group?" Ethan asks coldly. "You should give specifics. Because, if I start to think you are holding out on me.." He pauses and then speaks as if he just had a revelation. "You're not holding out on me, are you? If you are, I will very much not appreciate it. I will feel very offended. My feelings will get hurt, Danielle. Please don't let my feelings get hurt. Now, 'ow did you get that information?" Ethan growls, and then it all connects. His features soften visibly for a moment. Though he won't speak what he just pieced together.

Dani isn't likely to hold back information…not when Cat getting hurt is at stake. Because honestly, if it comes down to a choice between Cat and Phoenix, she chooses Cat. "They're called Phoenix. I don't know a whole lot about them, but someone who was apparently works for them was willing to sell the information. I'm a reporter." She states simply.

Her heart sinks further, hearing Dani's voice speak and give out more information. She loves this woman, the one who stuck by her across these years since they met at Yale. The sick, helpless feeling deepens, understanding what she now understands, unable to shout for Dani to say nothing, because that would give away that she had more to tell or even suggest she herself is the source of that data, and for nothing. If he doesn't already know, or guess. There's only one option she can see in this situation: To stay silent and meet her own death, as well as Dani's, with silence and her head held high.

Amid these thoughts and her efforts to remain stoic, to give away no reaction, there's not complete success. A tear begins to course its way down her left cheek.

"'Ow did you contact Phoenix?" Ethan asks coldly. Standing up slowly. "How did you get a 'old of their information?" He takes a few steps over to Cat. "I should've explained this rule earlier. This is important. So I only give you one shot. You answer this one wrong and I kill both of you and be fucking done with it." He smiles through the darkness to Dani. "Understand Dani? Now tell me, 'ow are you connected to Phoenix?"

Dani's trying to give information that compromises no one but her. "I'm not, besides the fact that one of them was willing to sell me the information because it made a good story. Simple dollars and cents. I'm not a member of Phoenix."

The tear continues to roll its way down, reaching her chin and dropping off onto her clothing, she shows no other reaction as Dani speaks again and holds her name back. Maybe, Cat hopes, as her thoughts continue, her lover is starting to get it. The absence of hope, no matter what they do or say. From time to time over the years since her memory became what it is, she's cursed it. This is another such occasion. Much as she gets from recording everything said and done here, the things she's learned, it means nothing because they won't make it out. Right now she'd gladly trade it for telepathy to communicate with Dani and present a united front. Things are what they are, despite her trying desperately to manifest that ability and reach out to her partner's mind. In all of this, not a single word is spoken. Not even to say she loves her, because that's something Ethan can use against them in the time they have left.

She just braces herself for being killed, hoping Dani goes first, so she'll be spared seeing her own end.

"Wrong fucking answer."

The hand goes to the back of Cat's scalp, gripping down hard the man walks back over to the chair, dragging the woman behind him. "'oo is your fucking contact in Phoenix?" Ethan asks calmly as he pulls Cat's head back and then slams it down forcefully against the chair. He is sure to use the side of her head. He doesn't want her dead yet, or even unconcious. He just wants her to bleed, he wants her to scream. It's time to show Dani what he will do to get the information. He brings her head back and then slams it down again, then again. For a total of three times.

Dani's eyes go wide, and she screams. "Stop it! She doesn't fucking KNOW anything about this. And I don't have the guy's name!! He was really careful not to give it to me! I can tell you what he looks like, I'll tell you where I met him, I'll tell you whatever the hell you want to know, but STOP IT!"

She makes no move to resist being dragged by the hair, and her only sound is a muted gasp of pain from it. When her head impacts the chair she groans, a gash opens and blood trickles from the fresh wound there, but Cat forces herself not to scream. She's digging deep now, pulling up all the defenses she can think of, to zone out. The perfect memory, cursed just moments before because it's new information has no use to her, is now freshly revered and used.

She's begun to relive scenes from the past, pleasant memories from over the years they've known each other, to the point where she seems dazed. Even catatonic.

"Then you best start talking." Ethan says coolly, lifting Cat's head then slamming it down one more time. He then pulls her head up and flings her to the side. Reaching into his coat pocket, he flicks out a switch blade. Looking casually to Danielle. "I'm going to cut her tongue out. Unless you tell me 'ow you get connected to Phoenix. 'oo do you know?" With his free hand he presses Cat to the ground, and goes to seat himself on her back. Pulling her scalp back up again, holding the knife near her mouth. "So Dani, how 'bout it?"

Dani nods. "All right. I have contacts. Reporter, remember? One of them is a dealer named Chris. He said he knew a guy who claimed to have information on a bunch of terrorists that he was willing to sell if the price was right. I figured it was those PARIAH guys. So we set up a meet, Central Park, late, about a week back. He had a CD with the information. We cut a deal for it. I took it home, and it had information on you guys instead! I've been trying to work it and figure out what else I could find out. That's all, I swear to fucking god!" she says, speaking rapidly.

Ethan pauses while he gives Danielle a long hard look. He makes a move as if to get up off of Cat, but then he stops. Looking at her again he shakes his head. "I don't believe you." He says then goes to open Cat's mouth with his free hand, forcibly if he has to. He doesn't even talk to her this time, just that knife slowly going towards Cat's mouth.

Danielle looks back at her. "I can't fucking help what you don't believe! It's the goddamn truth! Threatening me or kicking our ass isn't going to change it. If you WANT a creative lie, I'll be HAPPY to name somebody. I've got lots of folks I don't like, and you can go fucking kill them. Kain Zarek. Mischa Christinel. Go for it. They're my source. See?! Jesus Christ, I gave you what you asked for!"

The woman's mouth isn't so easily opened, she keeps it shut against Ethan's attempts to pry her jaws apart. The mental imagery is again disturbed, Cat brought to the here and now enough to resist his intention.

Ethan almost growls though he looks up at the name 'Kain Zarek'. He'll have to meet this Kain Zarek. He's been mentioned several times. But Kain Zarek is not Phoenix. "Listen. I know the members of Phoenix already. So which one talks to you?" With that Ethan stands up a little bit, giving a jerk on Cat's head, going to flip her over. He then goes to retake a seat, this time straddling on her stomach. The knife is held up again. "Open your mouth or I'll open it for you."

God, this is terrible. If she says nothing, Cat gets hurt. If she says something, Cat possibly gets hurt worse. But if she says something, the questioning probably shifts to Cat…which means the violence shifts to her. Forgive me, Cat. It's the only way to stop him from hurting you. she thinks. "Don't hurt her." she says, quietly. "She's my contact." There's none of the shrieking, none of the histrionics. "And if you cut her tongue out, she's not going to be any good for information to you.

She lies there, flipped over and straddled, not taking the opportunity to kick Ethan squarely in the testicles when his movement above her gives her the chance. A few grunts escape, mixed with groans, but her jaws quickly clamp shut again and stay that way when the knife threatens. And Cat says nothing to confirm or deny what Dani just shared with the man. She simply waits for whatever will happen next.

"Now that sounds very believable." Ethan leans forward, to watch Cat's eyes closely. Any reaction small or large, Ethan will read. "You 'ave a girl named Eileen, don't you?" He asks coldly, the knife remaining stationary for now.

It's Dani's turn to play silent now. She looks back to Cat. She's done what she wanted…with the questioning on Cat, it means the violence is on her. That's better.

"You're a cold bastard," Cat quietly replies. Her own voice, in finally breaking silence, is hollow. "If Dani's right, and I am with Phoenix, you'd already know the answer. This girl you mention, Eileen, if she is a captive, means nothing. Some might think you'll trade us off for her, but I don't believe you're that kind. I think you're going to kill us both no matter what we do or say, and the girl you'd just leave where she is. Abandoned like last week's trash."

"You don't like me very much, do you Catherine?" Ethan asks with a little grin. "I'm a nicer man than you think. It's all about sides, lovely. You're not on my side. Consequently, you mean nothing." Then a cellphone is slid out of his free hand. "Put your knees up, girl." Ethan commands. Then he hands her the phone. "I 'ope you got a good memory. Cause you need to call someone. Anyone, in Phoenix. Now do it."

Dani has time to talk now, but no words to say. She sits there, waiting. Silent.

"That's exactly the point," Cat replies quietly. "I mean nothing to you, and I believe this Eileen person also means nothing, because she got captured. You seem the type to do that, just leave her out there, and in fact coerce someone to make the call you want me to make, just so you can tell someone what you did and refuse to trade. And even if you did, there are two of us, and only one Eileen."

Her eyes remain on his face as she pauses for some seconds, then resumes with a simple statement. "If I know the people you're talking about, you'd still need to convince me you actually care enough about Eileen to make a trade. And second, you'll have to show good faith that you wouldn't trade one of us and kill the other. Let Dani go. Drug her again, put her back in our apartment."

A soft sigh. "I told you to put your knees up." His hand comes up and he lets it fly in a backhand at Cat's face. "You are not the one calling the shots 'ere, sweet'eart. I don't know if you've noticed that yet. He adjusts his weight on her, then slides his hand around her neck. "You don't make demands, deary. I want you to call 'elena Dean." Ethan says coldly, holding the phone forward again. "So do it. Just type in the fucking number, or I will go over there, to Dani, and I will cut off her thumb."

Dani watches, distressed. She bites her lip, but she won't make this call, or even try to influence Cat. She just watches her with pained eyes.

The backhand strikes home and turns her head aside, leaving a red mark on her skin where it hit. The eyes close briefly as she recovers before facing him again. Cat is calculating, her eyes watching Ethan's face. The threat against Dani doesn't even make her flinch. Not that she doesn't believe he'll do it, she does. The question remaining is her continued belief he'll kill them both anyway, or as she said make the trade and kill Dani. Because there are two of them, and only one Eileen. All she has to cling to is that slender thread of hope, that by holding out she can get Dani released alive.

She sucks in a deep, slow breath, pulls up her knees, and turns toward her lover. "I'm sorry about your thumb, Dani. I hope you understand me doing this. The only way I can make sure you get out alive is to insist he lets you go before I call anyone."

"I was wrong Catherine. You're not smarter than me." Ethan says, placing a hand on her chest he pushes up, going to his feet. Stepping to the side of her, he delivers a swift kick to her side. "You're going to make that call." He insists, making his way over to Dani. His hand raises and swoops down again, another backhand, with enough force to topple the woman again.

Then he goes to straddle this woman, grabbing her left arm, he forces it up, getting it in a hold with his one arm, he goes in with the knife with the other.

Her hands are bound…there's nothing she can do, effectively, to stop him. Her blood goes cold as he knocks her down. She'd like to claim that she was stoic, or suffered it in silence. But she's not. She's just a woman. She begins to cry as he touches her, and there's a shrill scream when the blade bites into her skin.

The kick is recoiled from, she turns on one side after it's felt and she groans. A few whimpers follow as she works to recover breath. She doesn't watch what he does next, she stays on her side. Cat's eyes close tightly and tears start to flow when the scream is heard. "I'm sorry, Dani, so, so sorry," she croaks out. "But it doesn't change anything. I still don't believe he'll let you go if I do what he asks. I can't make the call, set up any trade, unless I know we both go free, and you leave first. I won't make a deal that leaves you hanging, doesn't ensure your safety and survival."

But in all of this, there's one angle Cat doesn't seem to have considered. The chance Ethan could let Dani go, or appear to, while Cat remains only to have her stashed in another room and kill her after the call is made.

Blood splatters everywhere as the thumb is hacked off. Ethan gives a soft sigh as the weapon is tucked away. Standing up, the man goes to pick up the severed thumb. Another kick is given to Dani's stomach. And then the thumb is tossed casually onto Cat. "I'll be back later." He says quietly, making his way to the door.

December 9th: Civil Disturbance
December 9th: Safe House
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