The Legacy Of Staten Island Hospital


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Scene Title The Legacy of Staten Island Hospital
Synopsis What's old is new again.
Date March 14, 2011

The human body has seven trillion nerve-endings.

Imaging the feeling of all of them on fire.

Screams are the byproduct of necessity, as medication designed to disrupt the human body's perceptions of pain would interfere in the transformative process being performed. Padded restraints prevent the recipient of the process from thrashing wildly, hurting medical staff and himself.

Veins bulge on bare arms, muscles flex and tense and fingers curl tight to white-knuckled expression of agony. A rubber mouthpiece is bit down on with enough pressure that it would have severed a human tongue. Brown eyes stare up into the multiple circles of a halo light shining down from an articulated arm, silhouetting the wiry frame of a long-haired old man performing the voluntary torture.

It isn't simple masochism that has Tyler Case's nerve-endings on fire, but rather the need for a sense of self and identity, a desire to not stare into the mirror and see a strange man staring back at him. The dissonance is simply too great to bear; enough to drive a man mad.

The Nordic features of Julien Dumont warp and shift as though he were made of clay, as though the old man pressing his fingers into malleable flesh were Pygmalion himself.

Below the surface, large portions of the borrowed replicant of Julien Dumont — now housing Tyler Case's errant consciousness like some sort of game of psychic musical chairs — are reduced to the consistency of Silly Putty. Bone, cartilage, soft and hard tissue alike all able to be stretched, pulled and re-sculpted before instructed that this is "default" for the body once more.

The halo lights reflect off of the round-lensed glasses of Doctor Jonas Zimmerman, the sculptor responsible for this macabre production. At a cellular level his power is re-writing the basic molecular makeup of this borrowed vessel. Every programmable cell is being given new marching orders, from the protein that determines hair, skin and eye color to the production of fat cells and even down to blood type.

Typically there is a mortality rate associated with this ability, there is a limitation on what Zimmerman can actually make change. Limitless potential, however, is the foundation upon which the Institute was built. The empty syringe on the surgery tray does not give Zimmerman something as intangible as confidence but rather a liquefied amplification of his natural genetic capabilities.

Heightened by the power of Adynomine, Zimmerman is a sculptor of life, capable of making drastic biological changes in an individual, though the more drastic the changes the less likely the recipient survives the process. A discovery that, unfortunately, was made only with hindsight.

Back arching as much as it can off of the table, Tyler has no appreciation for the majesty of Zimmerman's curse forced upon him by Doctor Alison Meier in the bowels of Pinehearst nearly two years ago now. Tyler has no perception of the ruptured blood vessels reddening the once white sclera of Zimmerman's eyes. He has no realization that this ability is devouring the old doctor from the inside out.

Tyler Case just wanted a fresh start.

Like a wise man once said, you can't always get what you want.

But if you try sometime…

The Commonwealth Arcology: E-Ring

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Two Days Later

Viewed from the window of her apartment, such as it is, the verdant parklands contained inside of the Commonwealth Arcology could pass for real in the eyes of the uninitiated. Artificial sunlight spills down through lush and leafy branches of tall trees, creating dappled shadows on the grass below.

More days than not, Elisabeth Case — Libby to most — can see people lounging beneath the boughs of the trees here, in the shade of the artificial sun. A bird perched on the railing of her balcony is more real than the sunlight, chirping pleasantly before hopping across the rod iron and then bounding into the air, red wings flapping before the cardinal takes flight.

Warm, springtime air filters in through the windows and the artificial change of seasons is less gradual than it is topside, more predictable due to the controlled environment. While it is a cage, it is admittedly a finely gilded one. The Case family had been wanting a fresh start, one that life in Thompson could have provided.

Memories of the raid on the Thompson Commune is what keeps Libby from being able to truly settle in here, despite the comforts and consolations afforded by the Commonwealth Institute. The sight of a man on a bicycle riding up to the front of her apartment down one of the paved walkways has Libby rising up to her knees on her sofa, leaning out the open window to get a better look. The face of her brother once meant family was coming home. These days it means her captor has come to visit his canary.

Springing back off of the sofa, Libby is quick to circle around her coffee table, bare feet padding against the hardwood floors. Curly hair bobs in a messy ponytail behind her hair, keeping all but a few errant coils of chocolate hair from her face.

He reaches the front door before she does, knocks a few times before the door opens beneath his hand at Libby's arrival. No locks down here, none that the residents need to use at any rate.

"What?" Is her cold greeting to the man she presumes wears her brother Tyler's face like a man. Sheepishly hunched shoulders, a slinking retreat and brows rising up in worried expression aren't any of the mannerisms that Libby has come to recognize from the parasite residing in her brother now. One that wears the name of a friend like a mask.

Awkward silence falls between the two, with Tyler tucking his hands into the pockets of his jeans. Clearing his throat, he starts to talk, but it's an abortive attempt when his sister talks over him.

"What're you trying to— "

"Nothing." Tyler steps over her words in kind. "Jesus— Lib, it's me."
Spoken as if she had no reason to suspect otherwise. Bare feet carry Libby out of the apartment with haste, both hands reach up to take either side of her brother's face as she leans in, looking from one eye to the other in sharp scrutiny.

Tyler freezes, half expecting to be smacked. He wouldn't be entirely out of line to believe so. Libby may not be a retinal scanner, but the flecks in her brother's eyes are distinctive enough to give his claim ground to stand on.

"I wrapped you in a brown suede jacket after I found you in Midtown," Tyler offers in shaky explanation to his sister. "I— thought you were dead. I left the necklace you gave me for my 21st birthday in the pocket."

Brown eyes meet brown eyes, Libby's a shade lighter than her brother's. Her brows are just as furrowed when she finally pulls away, settling down on her heels from her toes. Fingertips brush across Tyler's cheeks, pinch and then as if she were winding up, the brunette throws herself forward with arms winding around Tyler's neck and shoulders.

Nearly thrown off the front steps of the house by the embrace, Tyler holds his sister close and buries his face into her unkempt mane of curly hair. "Hey— hey, it's— it's good to see me too." Laughter sounds a little choked up, on both sides of the exchange.

"How?" Libby asks without clarifying what. Clarification isn't needed. Sheepish again in a way that she recognizes all too well, Tyler withdraws from the embrace, leading Libby back into the apartment for some semblance of privacy.

"It's not— like— it's a rental model?" Cracking a smile and offering up an awkward laugh, Tyler scrubs one hand at the back of his neck as he nudges the door closed with the heel of his foot. Libby stares, vacantly, at the explanation while walking backwards up the few steps from her front door into the raised living room.

"That old doctor, the one with the round glasses?" Tyler makes finger-goggles over his eyes with his hands. "He— I don't even know how to explain it. He did, but like— in one ear and out the other. Stuff 'bout cells and mitochon-doritos or something? Look— it was like a hairy man getting a bikini wax, but in my DNA. It hurt, but I look significantly better after the fact."

Normally the way Tyler explains things would elicit a smile from Libby, but the somber notion that this still isn't her brother — not as he was, at any rate — gives a too serious tone to the conversation.

"So— So what… what does this mean? Why did he— Did he? I mean— what— " At a loss for words, Libby finds herself comforted by the embrace of her brother again, no longer with the visage of some unfamiliar blonde man. More than her brother in name only now.

"He's letting me go," was supposed to be good news. Letting us go would have been the best, would have been acceptable, wouldn't have caused Libby's heart to jump up into her throat the way it is.

"Just— One thing at a time." Stepping away from Libby, Tyler walks aimlessly across her apartment, running his hands through his hair in test of both the fresh haircut's length and to exemplify his stress.

"I made a deal," with the Devil goes unsaid. "They… he wanted you to help him with some sort of project. I told him it would be a cold day in hell before you cooperated with him." Tyler's expression sags some, lips downturn at the corners into a frown.

Libby's eyes show the indignation at her brother going behind her back making promises for her, making deals for them. "He told me what he wants you to do. It's not— it's not what I thought. I told him you'd help, but only if he let you go afterward."

"He didn't like that much, I take it?" Libby's posture straightens, arms folded across her chest and brows lowered. The slow shake of Tyler's head in the negative is confirmation of her suspicions.

"He— said you wouldn't be safe outside. Said I could be let go instead, with stipulations." A grimace crosses her brother's lips. "I countered that I don't really have a track record for being safe on the outside a whole lot. He…"

Trailing off, Tyler shakes his head slowly. "He made a convincing argument." Brown eyes meet, and Tyler's evasion of the details stirs Libby's stomach, turning it in knots.

"Ty…" She pleads, head shaking slowly. "You can't seriously be— leaving me here, going out there," one hand waves wildly at the window, "and expecting me to do something that he wants!?"

Unable to meet his sister's eyes any longer, Tyler turns his back on her, shoulders hunched forward and hands in his pockets. Staring out the window, he tries to explain to her why it isn't so much a choice as a request.

"People are going to die if you don't help," Tyler explains in a murmured tone of voice, turning to look over his shoulder to his sister. "You're the only one he knows of that can help."

Brows furrowing, Libby stares at Tyler with marked uncertainty and confusion. A step is taken towards him, even as he starts to turn around. "Ty, I'm not— "

"Special anymore?" A sad smile crosses Tyler's lips as he finishes Libby's sentence. "That day on the roof at Pienhearst, I… I took something from you. From us. I— he— " Shaking his head, Tyler waves one hand in the air dismissively.

Silence falls again, though this time it ends when Tyler removes a small syringe from the pocket of his windbreaker. "Nothing's forever…" he explains to Libby, turning the syringe around between his fingers.

Her eyes widen, curiously, looking from the needle to her brother for explanation. Her stomach turns again in protest, half of her doesn't want to know.

His smile fades, and the needle is offered out to Libby in Tyler's open palm. "I have to trust Richard," he implores, "because the two of us don't have anyone else."

"Zimmerman called it… the legacy of Staten Island Hospital."

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