...To An End


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Also Featuring:

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Scene Title …To An End
Synopsis The Institute performs a delicate operation on one of their captives…
Date July 21, 2010

Staten Island Hospital

The sedatives wore off early.

That's the only thing Gillian Childs can rationalize as she sees overhead lights passing by one by one, the feling of momentum carrying her on a gurney that's being pushed down a white corridor. That she's still inside of the Staten Island Hospital isn't surprising, but that she's out of her room is. Having been keeping her like some sort of idle curiosity, the Institute has been careful with applications of the young augmentor's power.

Groggy awareness brings back recollection of doctors coming in to her cell, injecting her and then— then this. A young woman no older than Gillian wheels her ahead down the corridor, passing by one matching door after another. This hospital has beocme her prison, so much so that it's hard to tell exactly how much time has passed since she was last outside of its walls. With no windows and no clocks, time has become a fleeting commodity. Her hair is a little longer than she remembers.

It's been too long, likely. But no one has come to rescue her.

Even when presented with options to leave her room, she'd not taken it. Gillian's always been stubborn, even when it's more painful for her to be like that. Experiments mostly took place in her room— wherever she's going… she's not sure she's ever been. Unless she's being taken back. The sedatives still keep her woozy and weak, but she's aware.

She doesn't know she's not supposed to be.

While she moves, she rests her hands, seeing if she can move her fingers, tighten her grip, make a fist. Her toes wiggle too. Small movements at first, to see her limits, and then… she does the first dramatic movement. She tries really hard to roll over. Even if there's restraints, she hopes it's enough to make a difference.

No one's coming to rescue her. They would have been here already. So struggling against it is all she can do.

There's a hitch ofbreath when the woman pushing the gurney feels it jerk to the side. Padded restrains rock the frame when Gillian tries to get her whole body to move, and clearly acting on some sort of protocol the nurse brings the bed to one side of the hall and shouts down the corridor, "She's awake!" Gillian's legs and wrists are bound to their position, all too familiar restraints keeping her stuck in place even as she tries to knock the gurney over. Were it not for the nurse pressing her weight down on Gillian' shoulders with spindly hands, she might be able to as well.

Three doors down, a pair of white-dressed men in hospital uniforms emerge from a room, one of them hauntingly familiar. Dmitri Gregor was there when they caused the flash. Pale faced and staring thorugh the round lenses of wire-framed spectacles, Gregor approaches the gurney with both attendants at his side.

"Miss Childs, I cannot— sedate, you again. I would refrain from doing that, least you pop one of your— limbs, out of the socket." Or he does it for her, is the subtle implication in Gregor's wheezing, wet breaths.

The groan of anger might also be because of pain, cause pushing all of her weight against restraints hurt. Gillian's well aware it would have hurt more if she knocked it over and slammed her body onto the floor, but she had hoped it might bounce the restraints loose, or make the nurse fall— something, anything. "Where are— where are you taking me?" she asks, looking from the nurse pressing down against her, to the doctor and the attendants. She heard the implication…

It wouldn't be the first time they've hurt her since she came here. Electricity, adrenaline shots— The big frozen guy did a lot of things. Right up until she used her ability on him on her own.

"Who are you? Where's doctor Fat Man? Did his arms fall off?" She'd like it if they had.

One of Gregor's brows raise spuriously at Gillian's comment, not sure how to take it out of context. Gregor has no idea that anything at all is amiss with Doctor Cong, which perhaps is the seed of doubt that needed to be planted in his mind. At least, however, he does have the cognition to recognize him as Doctor FatMan; he is rather rotund.

"We're…" Gregor's still a bit off-balance frm that comment, mentally, "taking you to a surgical preparation room. We need your ability to ensure a clean useage of a cognition duplication. It is in your best interests to work with us willingly, miss Childs, because if not our other patient could suffer some very serious side effects from the procedure we are going to perform."

Gregor steps aside from the gurney, waving over his two attendants so that they can roll the bed down the hall towards the door they'd come out of. Gregor keeps pace in conversational distance to Gillian. "You don't want that on your— conscience, do you?"

"I have a lot of things on my conscience," Gillian says softly, closing her eyes as she's moved down the hall again, trying to focus on everything that's going on. Cognition duplication sounds familiar— something to do with Helena, she thinks, but she's not entirely sure. It'd been so long ago, she doesn't even remember the last time she saw the blonde girl— and why does she think she's black for some reason too? Everything's so jumbled.

After a few quiet moments, her eyes open and she looks back at the doctor, "If I help you with this… I don't even know this person. I don't know why you're doing this— cognition duplication. For all I know you could be doing it for something really bad— so I want something out of it… Let me go."

Something she's asked for many times, banging against walls, kicking against restraints. But this time she's turned towards bargaining rather than straight out defiance.

"We're never letting you go," is as honest as Gregor can be as he pushes Gillian into the operating room, bright ceiling lights shining down on a pair of tables side by side. Respirators hiss, oxygen masks cover faces she can't quite see from all the doctors and surgeons standing around the table, though one man dressed in hospital scrubs seems familiar. While bereft of his fedora, Elijah Carpenter — Doc, as Steph knew him — still has a distinctive face, wrought with creases of worry and a sagging face. The look he gives Gillian when they make eye contact is a remorseful one, brief until his stare goes down to the two patients.

High up in the surgery observation room, Doctor Jean-Martin Luis is a silent specter visible through the angled glass windows, hands folded behind his back, lips downturned into a frown and brows creased in the thoughtful consideration he gives to the proceedings below.

That Julie is in here is no surprise, but that she's also in scrubs with gloves and a mask on is a little unnerving. Her presence is unsettlingly precocious, gloved hands held away from her body as she approaches the table surrounded by surgeons.

"You're too valuable to let leave, miss Childs," Gregor has to lean in and whisper at the side of Gillian's head. "Too critical to our research…"

Leaning in close may not have been the best idea, as the answer may have moved her towards tears, but then she tosses all the hopelessness in another direction. Anger. Gillian shifts her head rather quickly, not restrained too well there, to smash her forehead against his face as much as she can. "Then why the fuck should I help you! There's nothing in it for me. I'm not a machine— I'm not a fucking battery! I'm not going to help you! I want to go home!"

Pain may unravel the knot under normal circumstances, and so would emotional responses of this level, but she's gotten adept at finding ways around her weaknesses. The adrenaline shots were the one thing she couldn't quite get around, the amp shots. But pain— the longer she's been here, the longer she's been able to go through pain and last.

That knot is firmly in place as she moves around, thrashing against the restraints. "Let me go!"

Luis reproachful expression does not change in the presence of Gillian's protests and screaming from his lofty perch of observation. As she is wheeled between the two other surgery tables though, this entire macabre display begins to become more evident in its grim connotations. To Gillian's right lays Teodoro Laudani in a hospital gown, eyes closed and a respirator over his mouth, in a sedated state of sleep. His head has been shaved down to a clean scalp and there have been circles drawn on portions of his skin at his temples, the front of his forehead and areas on the back and the sides.

What is more confusing, and perhaps more perplexing is that there is another Teodoro Laudani on Gillian's opposite side, also shaved-headed and with reciprocal marks made in blue marked on his bald scalp. Gregor stands at the foot of the three beds, and his glasses reflect the overhead lamps with glaring quality.

"If you do not assist, then Doctor Carpenter will be forced to perform the procedure without augmentation, and what we are asking to do could result in— catastropic, loss of cerebral functions for Teodoro." Leaning his head back, the glare disappears from Gregor's glasses and his pale blue eyes focus squarely on Gillian.

"You would be— indirectly, killing him," Gregor wheezes in threat.

That changes her initial argument. Gillian does know him. It's not as easy to pretend she doesn't care about the possible consequenses when she knows the man. And when the man has things that she wants to know about in his head. Someday. Not today— and if she doesn't participate in their experiment, maybe not ever.

Closing her eyes again, she stops thrashing and kicking, wrists and ankles bruised from the struggling, fingernails digging into the bed. "I hate you," she whispers softly. No one's come for her, and maybe it's better if no one does… She couldn't go home. What would stop them from bringing her back?

When she opens her eyes again, they're watering and she tries to blink it back. "Fine— I'll help you… But I want a new room. One with furnature. Books. Music. A clock. If you're not going to let me go, then treat me like a person."

"You will— "

«Acceptible.» That quick exchange comes from Doctor Luis cutting off Gregor's likely refusal of the demands. Gregor turns, glaring up at Luis who's expression does not change at all from his dour stare down through the window. «Continue the process, Doctor Gregor. We are running on a schedule and Doctor Broome does not tolerate tardiness.» Said with all of the unspoken threat he can manage, Luis' gravley voice has Gregor hunching his shoulders forward and scowling as he turns back to Gillian.

"Books," Gregor hisses, "will be accomodated." There's a lick of his tongue across his lips, then a motion to Doctor Carpenter. "Proceed, Doctor." Even as he gives those orders, there is something horrible about to happen. In Gillian's periphery she can see the surgeons preparing a circular surgical saw.

Doc takes a step forward to where Gillian lays, resting his hands on either side of her shoulders before leaning down and quietly whispering to her. "Close your eyes, please… You don't need to see what they're going to do to him," there's a heaviness in his voice, "I'm sorry." He wants to do this about as much as Gillian does.

Oh god— Gillian's not sure she wants to hear what's going to happen. One look at the surgical saw, and her face seems to pale a little more— even more than it'd already been from not seeing the sun in months. "I guess I don't hate you." she says to the man apologizing to her, a strange gentleness to his voice.

"Just don't go and put me in him— I don't think I'd like that," she whispers, trying to find something else to think about. Opening her eyes in Teo's body would be funny, but definitely something she wouldn't like…

With that said, she closes her eyes, and tries to shut out the sound, the knot slowly unravelling, as the glow begins to rise between the two of them, a violet color that starts small, and grows with time.

The wet sound of a saw cutting through flesh and bone is impossible to block out, even with Doc trying to cover Gillian's ears with his hands. The metallic clink of square pieces of cut away skull from both patients landing in trays is part of the process involving whatever it is Doc is going to do. His ability works on biometrics, being able to interface with brain-tissue with the closest connection to synaptic activity.

That these surgeons just sawed three one-inch square holes in both Teodoro's skulls at those blue marks is to give Doc unfettered access to their comparitive gray matter. "I'm going to need you to augment me now, Gillian…" comes in a hushed tone of voice from doctor Carpenter, and Julie offers a furrow of her brows at that comment. Her blue eyes look up as a purplish, throbbing light expands from her and lays into Doc.

This time she knows better, there will be no cascading augmentation loop. Julie and Gillian will augment Doc both, negating the risk of this going out of hand. Doc's bare hands lift, one places on each of the Teos' heads, fingerpads pressing gently against exposed brain matter while surgeons provide suction to the men's open cranial cavities around his fingers.

"For your elucidation," Julie states with her blue eyes ticing to Gillian, "you're necessary only because Doctor Carpenter's ability does not function with the level of clarity we require while under the effects of the amplification drug. Otherwise your usefulness would be considerably less," is said with mechanical precision from the tiny blonde, shedding violet light from her body in a corona.

"Elucidation?" Gillian says, keeping the flow of power going to one target only, but understanding that the man will likely have more power at his fingertips than he'd ever had before— an augmentation loop would give more, yes, but it's far too unstable. This is perferable to it. Despite herself, her eyes flutter open, to see the girl, and avoid looking at the surgeons. Her own eyes have a violet glow behind them, making her eyes seem a totally different color for the moment.

"Man, kid, if I didn't know better, I'd think you were a machine. Shouldn't have been raised by scientists— you'll never get a boyfriend talking like that."

As she says this, there's that moisture in her eyes again, and she feels ill at everything going on at her side— so she closes her eyes again. It hurts that she knows she could mess this up, and mess it up badly— And maybe someday later she will…

After all, she hasn't told them the ability works both ways, yet. And she hopes they don't already know from mini-machine.

With both hands resting on the heads of the Teos, fingers gently pressed against gray matter, Doc closes his eyes and draws in a deep breath. "Seperating the consciousnesses…" he explains, perhaps more for Gillian's sake than anyone else's. What comes next is an unexpected display of lights, flickering flashes of blue-black energy beneath Doc's skin, shadowing his veins and bones, like a living x-ray. His hands blast flashes of colorless, intense light from his palms over Teo's head, and thorugh the holes in his skull, Gillian can see Teo's brain radiate that same light, with every vein and nerve black, every firing synapse glowing white hot.

There's a crackling snap with each flash, pulses of light shooting through veins in Doc's hands as if they were fiber-optic cables. Both of the Teos twitch and spasm, their fingers clenching and facial muscles ticing.

When Doc lifts smoking hands up from Teo's head, his fingertips have tiny contact burns on them from electrical charge, and the smell of cooked meat lingers in the air. Researchers in the room are carefully monitoring brainwave signals on flat display screens.

«What are their statuses?» crackles over the intercom at Luis' query, his severe expression still disapproving lookig, even as one brow lifts up in slow expectance. Gregor looks from one of the monitors, then over to the bodies, then up to the observation room.

"Brainwaves have normalized, we have— synchronization, with the signatures. We should be able to actively— filter their thoughts now more easily. We will, however, require a telepath for this with— cognition rendering." Luis nods slowly, looking down into the room, then across to Julie, and then finally onto Gregor again.

«Find one in the registry and get them here, I want what Laudani has,» is Luis' standing order to Gregor. While the doctors are busy, Elijah leans over to Gillian again, a hand on her shoulder and his head shaking slowly.

"I'm sorry, I'm— so sorry." Apologizing doesn't make it right, but it makes Doc's heart ache less for the pain he's put this young woman through.

"These bastards are making the biggest argument against registration I ever heard— using it as a fucking shopping list," Gillian mutters under her breath, meeting the face of the man apologizing to her— he's not even the one who did all this. He's not the one who needs to apologize. "Might as well have put ourselves on ebay— at least then we'd get money for this fucking shit." Sorry, teen, she's going to curse. If she's going to be a computer and use words straight out of a dictionary, then she's going to teach her some new ones—

And to think, the Lighthouse had gotten her to stop cursing. What a while away from home can do…

"I'm ready to go back to my cell now," she adds, fighting the tears with anger as she starts to knot her ability back up. The smell— the event she just played a part in… none of it she likes.

Gregor, lost in some sort of quiet conversation with Julie, looks over to Gillian, then up to the observation room to see Luis just gone. There's a furrow of his brows, and Gregor looks back towards Gillian and orders to the surgeons, "Someone take her back to her cell." As that command is ordered, Doc leans forward again to whisper something hastily into Gillian's ear.

"It's only going to get worse, they have a plan Gillian, they're looking for someone and when they find him, we're all in an enormous deal of trouble. Someone powerful, someone important."

When the doctors come over to move Gillian's gurney, Doc leans back and looks down to her with an apologetic expression as the hospital staff prepare to wheel her away. Standing the the doorway, however, Doctor Luis watches in somber silence at the fate of the two drugged and unconscious Teodoro Laudanis, whoever they are and wherever they came from, Gillian doesn't know. But Teo was— or is— or will be— her friend. It's hard to tell these days.

Whatever Luis' silent stare says, it's not for Gillian. Though he may be wordless, Luis' expression seems somber and in some ways like Carpenter, apologetic. It is unfortunate, then, that the only thing Gillian can see in his eyes when she's wheeled past him is sadness.

If he could only explain why to her.

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