The Old You


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Also Featuring:

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Scene Title The Old You
Synopsis Adam undoes an injustice wrought by the Company.
Date September 8, 2019

Hard-soled shoes move down a concrete corridor with audible report. The walls here are lined with brushed aluminum, humming softly. The tall, dark silhouette mutedly reflected in the metal has a slowness to its pace. Thoughtful, methodical, purposeful.

Benjamin Ryans walks without hesitation, even if he may be taking it slow. The double doors at the end of the hall are unmarked, featureless save for the security camera dome above them. As he approaches the door, he wrings his hands together, pausing to inspect the key card pad beside it.

Deep breaths.

Taking the badge off of his jacket, Ryans swipes it over the card reader. The red light turns green, doors slide open with a whisper.

A cool, blue glow lights Ryans’ face.

Three Weeks Earlier

Praxis Ziggurat

Praxia, California Safe Zone


September 8th

7:17 am

Sitting in a lounge somewhere on the upper levels of a pyramid on the west coast feels surreal. The view of the San Francisco hills out the office windows adds to the surreality. The buildings that once made the city iconic are gone, replaced by uniform concrete and wood fabrications that look like little gray and brown blocks at a distance. It’s the slouching, rusted silhouette of the Golden Gate Bridge that really brings it all into focus.

This isn’t the world Benjamin Ryans grew up in. That world is never coming back. And up until very recently, he never thought the Benjamin Ryans that lived in that world was ever coming back either. But now, looking down at a freshly grown hand where once there was a stump, it’s hard to doubt anything.

The sound of the door opening to the lounge elicits a look over Ben’s shoulder. There, Adam Monroe emerges in dark suited silhouette, blonde hair tousled and expression flat with a mild hint of frustration. But Adam isn’t alone. With him is a dark-haired woman that Ryans recognizes from his Company days, a former Kill Squad agent. Sabine Hazel. Sabine had fled the Company around the time of the Level-5 breakout that sprang Adam, fleeing into the night with a man named Julien Dumont who had been held in Level-5 alongside Adam.

Now, it seems, old acquaintances have come home to roost.

“Ben, I figure you know Sabine,” Adam curtly greets on his way into the room. Sabine is slower to follow, dark eyes scanning the lounge hesitantly. Adam briskly makes his way over to the armchair across from the one Ryans is seated in, passing in front of the Kensai Sword sheathed in its scabbard and mounted on a glass table.

“Loosely acquainted,” Sabine confirms for Ryans, closing the door behind herself as she comes in. “I suppose that’s about to change, though.”


The name isn’t so much a greeting as an affirmation of memories falling into place. Each reminder, each introduction, it is like a key unlocking a door.

Perched on the edge of the armchair, arms resting on his knees… They have walked in to find Ben watching new fingers curl in and out slowly, while he rubs at the discomfort it causes in his palm. The phantom ache now a real one, as newly grown muscles learn to move again. Physical therapy has helped with that.

There is a mix of emotions at feeling almost whole again. Almost.

While Sabine gets a brief glance of acknowledgement, Ryans gives Adam his full attention, because he agrees with her assessment, “I believe so, as well,” he rumbles out quietly. It was hard at times to trust Adam like he was asked. Even with a reminder of the old friendship between them, it was going to be a slow road.

Looking down at the hand again, Ryns gives a huffed chuckle. “Still have to remind myself that I have two hands again.” His mind had compensated for the missing limb and now it was back. “Thank you,” he offers again to the man that made it possible.

“Always happy to lend a hand,” is a joke Adam has been waiting a while to deliver. It's met with a withering stare from Sabine, who then presses her palm to her face and makes a soft groaning sound before walking further in. “I'll have you know that joke worked wonders with Richard Cardinal.”

Sabine continues to stare daggers at Adam, who throws his hands up in the air in defeat and saunters over to where Ryans is. “I'm glad you're adjusting. There's a lot going on right now, and as much as I'd like for us to be able to take things slowly, we don't have that luxury anymore.” Adam moves to take a seat nearby to Adam while Sabine haunts the corner of the room, arms crossed over her chest.

“This is starting to feel like the good old days.” Adam opines. “The fun parts, when our lives weren't completely upside down. Before the Looking Glass.” Sabine takes note of the change in Adam’s tone there, the sentimentality bleeding into something like emotion. “I've burned a lot of bridges to get here, Ben. To get this close to ending a threat that's been growing in everyone’s blind spot for more than thirty years. I'm going to need you, all of you to succeed.”

The look received from Ryans over the ‘dad joke’ is flat, so no satisfaction for Adam there. HE could comment over the oddness of those words coming out of the immortal’s mouth, but he’s distracted with the rest of what Adam says. Eyes narrow slightly, thoughtful. “Whatever happened near Providence has forced you to step up your timeline,” he says it like it’s a fact.

He looks to Sabine again, as he also notices the shift in Adam’s tone. This was more like the Adam he’s been slowly remembering and not the one he was manipulated into believing he was. Of course, Benjamin feels that same desire for better times he never knew existed.

“You know I’ll help you, even if…” The words trail off as something occurs to him. Ryan’s attention is suddenly very focused on the other man. “All?” There is no hiding the barest hint of emotion… Hope.

Adam clasps his hands behind his back and looks at Ryan's, then over to Sabine who raises one brow when she feels the immortal’s eyes on her. Blinking a look back to Ben, Adam nods once in agreement, but there is a solemnity to his echo of “All.

Ryans recognizes it well.

Nothing comes without a price.

Three Weeks Later

Sub Basement 7

Praxis Ziggurat

The room beyond the open doors is bathed in a soft blue light coming from tall canisters of sapphire liquid sitting in alcoves on the left and right walls. Transparent tubing runs along the ceiling, moving the blue liquid throigh arteries and conduits toward a bank of confessional-sized metal cabinets.

As Ryans walks in he is greeted by a bespectacled doctor in his late sixties, rail thin and long in the face, standing by a mobile cart containing a computer and a bank of monitors connected to the hardware in the room. Nearby to him, Adam waits with brows furrowed and eyes downcast to the floor. The doors shut behind Ryans automatically, and the doctor looks over to Adam, then to Ryans.

“Mr. Ryans, I'm Doctor Morrison,” he explains with a rise of his brows. “The Director tells me you're ready for the procedure?”

Benjamin gives the room a once over, noticing the equipment in particular, before looking over at Adam with an unreadable look.

Was he ready?

“As much as a person can be,” Benjamin rumbles out the round about confirmation, shifting his attention to the doctor. There was no visible signs of the nerves that churned in his stomach, a mixture of feelings at his decision. But it was a thread of anticipation that wound through all of it is what carried him there and held is feet in place.

“What exactly am I subjecting myself too, Doc?” If what Ben had been told was true, this would make him whole again.

But Ryans had to wonder at what price.

Doctor Morrison looks at Adam, rather abruptly, when posed that question. Adam exhales a sigh and waves the doctor off, but slowly approaches the mechanical apparatus. “This is a procedure called Gemini. It's… about as close to the Formula as we’ll ever get, now that Arthur is dead and the catalyst is gone.” He reaches up and presses a hand to the metal door frame, then looks back to Ryans. “I'll be honest with you, and I'd prefer if this stays between us…”

Adam lets his hand drop from the door, turning back to Ryans. “Gemini isn't something that bestows abilities, it transfers them. From one person,” he makes a gesture with his hands to the side of the machine with the door closed, “to another.” Then he gestures to the open door. “It's based off of Arthur’s research, refined by Praxis Heavy Industries. We've only just perfected the process this year. But it requires… material components.”

Tapping one hand on the closed door, Adam elicits a slurred noise from the other side. “That's the price, Benjamin. Everyone survives the process, but it's irreversible.” Taking in a deep breath, Adam motions to the open door.

“I've led a horse to water,” Adam admits in a defined glibness, finding no pleasure in this. “But I can't make you drink.”

The old man’s jaw tightens as the explanation is given,gaze shifting to the unknown participant. It was a lot to ask of Ben. To drink the kool aid without knowing more about his part in the play.

Ryans takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly.

It also wasn't the first time he’s trusted Adam. Still, Ben has to swallow back the bile that burns at the back of his throat. He knows what he’s going to do and he hates himself for it.

“Do it.”

He wants to ask who he was condemning to a life without a part of themselves, but Ben knows if he sees, he won't go through with it. He tries not to hear the slurring voice on the other side.

“Let's get this done.” Especially, before Ryans’ loses his nerve.

Adam nods, stepping away from the machine as Doctor Morrison walks Ben to the chamber. Once he has sat down, the Doctor proceeds to roll up the sleeve on both of Ryans’ arms. Then, after application of an alcohol-soaked cotton swab, attached a leather cuff to each arm with under hypodermic syringes connected to a pump system of clear hoses. “I will ask you to relax,” Doctor Morrison adds, strapping Ryans’ arms down, followed by a strap at his waist, two at his ankles, and one across his brow holding his head back against the chair.

Adam takes in a deep breath, glancing at the other side of the Gemini device, then back to Doctor Morrison, who steps out of the machine and closes the door on Ryans’ side. “Just relax Mr. Ryans,” Doctor Ford suggests, stepping away from the machine, “this will be painful…”

Adam rests his forehead in one hand as Doctor Morrison wheels the control console over. “But what transformation,” Doctor Morrison continues, hovering a finger over a button marked EXECUTE.

“…is ever without pain.”


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