Two Man Enter, One Man Leave


candy_icon.gif claire3_icon.gif don_icon.gif lang_icon.gif sanderson_icon.gif

Scene Title Two Man Enter, One Man Leave
Synopsis Candy and Claire are reunited briefly with Sanderson and Dixon at Rasoul's arena.
Date December 15, 2009

Antananarivo Madagascar

It's amazing how things can go from bad to worse in the span of twenty-four hours.

"Kill, Kill, Kill, Kill!"

Staring up at the clouded skies overhead, Candace Allard never imagined this would be how it ended, where it ended. But the woman standing over her looks to have no intention of backing off. Face splattered with blood, Claire Bennet looms over Candy, fingers wrapped around the end of a bent length of metal pipe, blood dark on the business end of it that she holds up to the air. The dirt at Candy's back is damp from the falling rain, she can hear the rattle of the chain-link fence surrounding the packed-earth arena they're standing in, hear the sound of dogs barking and baying beyond, and the roar of spectators up in the dilapidated stands of what was once a socccer stadium.

"Kill, Kill, Kill, Kill!"

The crowd's chant is joined together in a choir of bloodlust, prisoners just on the other side of the fencing with fingers wound between the links rattle their cages, razorwire overhead jingling in bladed musical harmony to the chant. Somehow, the bark of dogs seems less animalistic than their cries for murder. Claire's herky-jerky motion takes her a few swaggering steps towards where Candy crawls back along the ground, her eyes wide and lips twitching, using both hands to grip the pipe tight in both hands as it's reeled back…

"Kill, Kill, Kill, Kill!"

…then brought down without a moment's hesitation.


Bars slide shut, followed by a clatter of a metal dish landing down at Candace Allard's feet. When they were moved from their cells this morning, it wasn't to be brought to Doctor Gregor's laboratory for more rounds of blood tests. Instead, half of the cell block was taken together to the surface in one of the cargo elevators. It's the first time Candy and Claire had seen the sky — cloudy as it is — in too many days. It's hard to even remember exactly how many days they've been imprisoned for.

This holding cell is conveniently in the back of a truck, one admittedly parked now, its barred cages likely used to move animals from a zoo at one point in its history. Their journey was a short one, barely able to see the bombed out shells of buildings rising up on hills bristling with multi-story residences and businesses. Drugged and half-awake, they only groggily recalled the sights of Antananarivo on their trip. Now, though, parked inside of a warehouse, they can hear cheering and hooting coming from somewhere beyond. Locked with them in the cage, Sanderson and Dixon look particularly grim.

"Where d'you think they're taking us?" Sanderson asks weakly, looking down at that tray full of stale biscuits and beef jerky, her stomach twisting at the thought, but still reaching out from pure hunger. "What the hell is this place?"

"I dunno…" Dixon murmurs, shifting his weight on the floor of the shared cage, dark eyes alight to the ceiling. "Maybe we're finally gon' get the firing squad?" He looks towards where Claire is, smiling faintly. "Maybe you'll get lucky an' they'll run out've bullets tryin' for you."

How lovely.

Candy curled up in the cage, really, her eyes locked on that patch of Claire-skin on her left arm as she tries to pick at the seam, not that she can. "This is soo fucking wrong," she informs Claire while sitting there. Her eyes locked on the patch, before she feels the fresh air. Looking around, and at the cloudly skies, a sky that would normally fill her with happiness, with the coming of the rain. But not today, without her power, the rain might as well just be another inconvenience. She looks over at Claire for a moment or three, before her eyes go to Sanderson, and then finally to Dixon. She lingers over each one of them, cauterizing herself for what may be happening to them later. Preparing herself for if she needs to run and leave one or all of them behind for Rasoul's tender care.

Leaning against the bars, Claire's head rests on one of the bars. She rubs the back of her head slowly against it, not really paying attention to the others. Or is she, when Dixon addresses her, the motion stops and blue eyes are turned his way. "He's already told me I'm going to be used to keep the Vangaurd alive forever." Her voice rough from lack of water and bland as the food. "So I doubt it's a firing squad."

Candy's words draw Claire's attention and a small smile touches her lips, though there is no humor behind it. "Could be worse. It's only a patch of skin… it was almost my face." In other words… Quit your bitching! But said so much nicer.

"What?" Sanderson looks at Claire like she's a stranger, all of the sudden. The Lieutenant crawls on her hands and knees across the cell, dark hair in a greasy tangle. "What— What did they say to you? Have you talked to the General?" There's a look of confusion on Sanderson's face as she conspiratorially whispers the question, as if trying to be careful it doesn't leave the confines of the cage. "Do you have any idea what he wants us— you— what he wants you for?" Clearly Sanderson's life is worth far less to Edmon Rasoul.

Dixon seems to be taking this all a bit harder. Arms folded across his chest, sitting with his back up against the bars of the cage, he's looking out to the metal walls of the warehouse, considering the sounds of cheering he's hearing in the distance, and what sounds like some sort of violent chanting; the kind he'd imagine at a crowded Football game. That makes his anxiety rise, makes his stomach turn at the thought.

Candy's eyes look over at Sanderson and she replies in a monotone voice, having finished her own ritual of pushing herself into the back of her mind, "We, Sanderson, are the entertainment." She lets her instincts control her, her emotions safely boxed away, put in the attic where they cannot be harmed any longer. She's had to much practice at this, first in Moab, and then undercover with Humanis First. The hydrokinetic has been put threw three seperate forges now, and each time she comes out a little more twisted, a bit less human. Perhaps the third time will be the charm, as emotionless green eyes look over the other three that are assembled there, in them, is the promise of that she won't stay her hand if it was any of them below her, and the expectation that they won't either.

Claire turns a rather unhappy glare to Sanderson at her question. The words are snapped out harder then she means them to be, "I'm guessing to use me as a never ending supply of parts and an easy cure for what ails you." Flinging an arm out her voice raises a bit and continues to raise with each thing she says, "Need a new lung? Hell.. Let's rip one out of Claire… she can grow a new one. Oh.. and while we're at it.. never have to worry about losing another soldier on the field of battle.. well just inject them with Claire's blood and he'll get up and go back to fighting."

She suddenly realizes she's just about yelling at Sanderson and looks away with a grimace, letting her head drop back against the bar with a soft clang. No.. Claire isn't totally alright with what she's facing, but what else is she going to do at the moment. "Until then.. Candy is right." She finally adds softly, "The General says we're to entertain him and his men."

Sanderson goes tense at Candy's words, and only tenser when Claire snaps at her. Only when the blonde seems to relax does Sanderson lean away, closing her eyes and exhaling a tired, ragged breath. Dixon too leans his head back against the bars, but his words carry with them some semblance of more terrifying implication. "I've heard some of the other prisoners talking about an arena, some place they force you to fight. I dunno how…" there's a shake of Dixon's head. "When they were interrogating me an' Sanderson, I heard someone mention a truck coming up to the surface full of fighters. I figured they meant soldiers for the militia, not— " his brow furrows, one hand wiping across his mouth slowly.

"We're topside," Sanderson finally blurts out, "when the guards come we make a break for it. Bennet," Sanderson's eyes flick towards the regenerator, "if they've got guns, try to draw their fire. Allard, I take it they negated you so— just stay behind me an' Dixon. We'll get armed and take the truck, then we'll try to get the hell out of the city and go from there."

At least she hasn't lost her spirit yet. This hasn't broken her.

Candy nods her head a little to Sanderson, and says in that monotone, "Sounds like a plan, Sanderson." Her eyes look around her and the truck that they are in, and she flexes her fingers a bit while she sits there. Her eyes going to the people who are there, before she adds, as an afterthough, "You're fixing this patch of skin though, Bennet. I'll cut it out, and then you better provide the damn blood. This is embarassing." She rubs at the patch on her skin, no, she isn't taking this mutilation lightly at all. Even with the alternative that could have happened.

"Sounds about right." Claire says with a sigh to Dixon, head turning to finally look at him, eyes giving him the once over. She only gives a slow nod to Sanderson's instructions, it's what she does after all. And after a moment follows it with a, "Yeah, of course." She shifts across the cage so that she'll be first out the door when it's time. The knees of the camo pants that were thrust at her, coming up dirty and black when she moves to sit again.

Candy however, gets a look from Claire and a simple. "No. Cover it up with a long sleeve.. tell people it's a graft from a burn or something. It's not that bad." Seriously! She doesn't think so.

Seconds after those words are shared, the garage doors of the warehouse go sliding up noisily, revealing bright exterior light from the cloudy skies beyond. A rain-slicked city street comes into view, silhouetting a pair of soldiers walking in to the warehouse. One of them, an enormous man in a long jacket, moves out of sight almost as soon as he comes in, before Claire and Candy's eyes can adjust to the light. He heads to a walled off room with tinted glass windows, the click of the door shutting is swallowed up by the cha-chak of a shotgun having a round chambered in it.

Three militia soldiers, the kind they're far more familiar with, come moving over to the van, all armed and all pissed looking. "Y'comrades killed twenty a'my friends in Pulina, left 'em t'rot in'a sun." The barrel of the shotgun comes thorugh the bars, jabbing at Candy's back in a bruising thrust. "Maybe a'shoul' jus' shoot all'a you in'a head now!"

"Dojadi!" One of the men shouts, pulling the soldier away from the bars. His rattled Malagasy to him is sharp and curt, clearly he's being reprimanded for threatening the prisoners, or he's just being told to wait a little, it's hard to tell. It's only when the sharp sound of a southern drawl comes across the warehouse that the militia men stop bickering and back away from the cages.

"Well shit on a sunshine slide, they got four of 'em for me today." Swaggering out from a doorway opposite of where the militia men entered, a tall and muscled man in a black vest with a raided fur-lined collar looks familiar to Candy. Cigarette in the corner of his mouth, the Butcher of Mandritsara, Colonel Lang, makes long strides around the truck. "Ain't this just the bees fuckin' knees, how the hell we gonna make it fair if we got unbreakable barbie all up in this match?" A look is offered over to his men. "Three on one, winner take all?" Bare shoulders roll, and Lang turns to look back at the cages.

"Whad'ya say, combat barbie," he moves close to the bars, exhaling smoke into the cage, "you wanna go for a foursome in the ol' thunder-dome." Rasoul doesn't call it that, but Lang certainly does.

Candy jerks as she feels that barrel press into her back, and she turns to look at the soldier. Before he turns, she makes sure to spit at him, insult to injury as he gets reprimanded soon after. Turning her attention towards the Butcher as he begins to make his own statements she eyes him and says, "Overly used movie reference aside, I don't think fifty of you could take on Combat Barbie over here and live to tell about it. You're peons, and they only reason you've any reason to swagger is because you're fighting us at a handicap. Much to afraid to come after us without drugging us up. Not that I can't blame you, though. I'll relish the opportunity to force all the blood out of your body. And you know what, maybe I'll do it slowly… ever seen Firefly? And the episode where Jayne turns them in? Did you see how those guys died? Blood leaking from their fingers, their eyes, and their nose, before they finally just gurgle it all up? That's how you will die, and I will enjoy every single last moment. Though, you'll have the pleasure of knowing I'm coming for you, as you watch your men suddenly explode into a fine pink mist."

She isn't just saying it in anger, indeed, every word has that calculated feel to it. As if Candy knows she is really in control, and its only by her grace that the man is still in front of her at all. Indeed, its so arrogant that its meant to rankle him into emotion. Candy might not be a mental manipulator like Huruma, but she does know how to use words to make people act in a way she wants. Though, Claire may be just a little surprised to hear the hydrokinetic praise her like that. Though, Sanderson won't be surprised at all by Candy's tone of voice. Its probably exactly what Sanderson would picture after that talk while on watch. The tone of a queen addressing a peasant, and a sneer on her face like the man is nothing but a cockroach, disgusting, and begging to be put out of his misery.

Eyes narrow at the man approaching the cage, having never really seen him, but recognizing the voice. The smoke is ignored as she answers," I don't know.. You one of the four?" She asks putting a mocking seductive, "Then maybe I'd think about it." Her eyes give him a once over, before she turns her gaze from him, her look one of open disgust. Eyes flick over at Candy, while she understands it's praise, she also doesn't see how it helps her cause. Don't give the freak ideas! She wants to say, but she stays silent.

"Oh man you're just a little spitfire ain'cha?" Lang notes with a quirk of his brows to Candy and a crack of a smile. "Man it's gonna be like Christmas to watch that spirit get broken. I'll be watchin' right along with the rest'a my boys, darlin'." Motioning to the cage doors, Lang takes a step back as his men move in. "Get 'em out and get 'em ready to take the field." Three of the four men move to the back doors of the cage, one of them unlocking the chained padlock with another keeping his shotgun leveled up towards the prisoners inside. The other two look to just be standing watch, handguns holstered and arms folded across their chest.

Sanderson looks something like a coiled spring, watching Claire with furrowed brows, waiting for the blonde before doing anything. Dixon too, at the back of the cage, sits with his hands curled into fists, eyeing the single gun raised and trying to run through possible scenarios for escape in his head. He swallows, tensely, and looks over to Claire, she's got to lead this.

The chain comes unwound and the padlock comes off, and when the cage doors start to swing open, all eyes are on Claire Bennet.

Candy smiles at Lang and says, "Keep waiting for that. I don't bow to anything that has dangley bits when it comes to reproduction." She winks at the man, before she looks as the door comes down. Her eyes going to Claire, waiting to see if the blonde will go for it. She looks at the shotgun, debating her chances, but calmly waiting. Besides, Claire's favoured weapon is the shotgun, Candy might as well let her have it.

As soon as the door unlatches, Claire is in action. Flipping around, Claire brings both booted feet up and kicks out with as much force as she can muster to kick the door into the man opening it, meaning to clock him with it in the process. As soon at that door flies open, the ex-cheerleader moves with the momentum of the kick, landing on her feet just outside the cage with the grace that got her on the cheer squad all those years ago. She doesn't even hesitate before launching herself at the man with the shot gun. He can see that look in her eyes, the look that says you can shoot me, but I'm still coming for your ass.

A hands reach to shove the barrel of the gun out of the way so that she can plow into him. Using the force behind her lunge to try and drive the palm of her hand up at his nose, if she's lucky maybe she'll drive up into his skull… but the regenerator hasn't exactly got luck on her side.

Claire's hit sends that militia soldier right off of his feet, landing in a heap on the ground, writhing and screaming more so than dead and lifeless. Luck isn't really on her side though, because once she's got that shotgun whipped around into the proper arrangement and leveled at Lang, she notices the shaved-headed solider isn't even so much as flinching or breaking a sweat. "Any time now," he calls out to the air, and with that sentence, Claire feels a lurching of her heart, a flutter-beat of improper blood flow.

Sanderson should have been to the door now, should have been out and fighting, but instead she's laying on her back in the cage, legs kicking and eyes rolled back in her head, fingers clawing at the air and mouth open in a wordless cry. Dixon is curled up on his side, eyes wrenched shut and snot running out of his nostrils as if he had been struck by pepper spray. Candy too is paralyzed by pain, a throbbing headache that feels like something is squirming around inside of her head. The more the pain persists, the more that strange wriggling feeling can be felt, and the more it seems like her muscles aren't entirely under her control.

Claire feels a horrible sensation, her hands moving without her consent. Fingers spread open and forearms go slack, the shotgun clattering down at her feet noisily. She tries to move her legs, and it's a battle against her own body, against her own motor skills that seem to be going haywire. "Shit on a sidewalk that's fuckin' amazing." Lang calls out to thin air, "all the fuckin' way out here an you still got 'em by the strings."

Claire can feel something, a sensation, strange and uncomfortable, like something squirming around behind her eye. "Guess you ain't figured out why security ain't so tight here yet. Ain't no need for a dozen armed guards for the likes'a you now. Not since ol' Rasoul got a friend of his to slip some of his own buddies inside'a you all while Doc had you cut open."

Lang walks right up to claire, standing just a foot away from her. He cracks a smile, then motions towards the rear door of the warehouse. "March, barbie." Horrifyingly, Claire's legs jerk to one side, then the other, her waist turns, and as she struggles to fight it, she can feel something exerting control over her; moving her against her will. She's walking and she doesn't want to.

Candy cries out as she feels that /thing/ wriggling in her head, and she struggles to move her own body and fight against it. "No… no… no," she says as she shakes her head, struggling to deny this intruder while she is kept in the truck.

There is a distressed sound from Claire at the sensation, bile tickling the back of her throat, threatening to make her what little food she's allowed herself to eat, at the feeling of something inside her head. It's just so damn gross, but she luckily doesn't disgrace herself like that. Blue eyes focus on Lang as he moves towards her, there is an emptiness to them a promise of death if she gets the chance.

Of course, Claire has to try and struggle, to free herself. While mentally she battles with her body, physically she clomps along placidly.

It's a zombie-like shuffling cadence that one by one brings the four prisoners out of the cage. They are marched out of the warehouse with Lang at their back, the horrible feeling of lack of motor control and the struggle against it making every movement that Sanderson and the others perform seem like something a shambling corpse should do.

Through a pair of doors, and they're walking down a brick-walled corridor past open windows that view the undersides of bleacher seats. The roar of a crowd is stronger here, louder and more profound. Sanderson and Dixon are seperated from Claire and Candy,s egregated behind an iron door in what looks like a locker room for a stadium. When they break off from the group, Candy and Claire are marched thorugh a pair of double doors and into a long, concrete hallway and up a ramp towards what looks like diffuse gray daylight. Armed guards wait at the mouth of the hall, opening up a pair of doors to the unmuffled roar of a violent audience.

Forcibly zombie-marhced up the ramp, the pair of young woman find themselves brought on to the barren and grassless court of a Football (the European kind) stadium. Save that in the middle of the stadium, a chain-link and razorwire fence has been erected around a patch of reddish sand. The moment they spill out through the doors, they can see a pair of men beating each other senseless, one of them with an aluminum bat, the other with bare hands.

Coming ot a halt, the two young woman watch as the man with the bat brutalizes his opponent, smashing in his skull with a spray of blood up the chain link and into the air. Lang comes to stand behind the women, resting his hands on their shoulders. "Llllladies…" he drawls out with a roll of his shoulders and a happy exhalation of a sigh. "Welcome to your new home for the next couple'a days."

Candy struggles to try and get control of her body back as she is marched along unwillingly. Her eyes darting around, if they can, she tries to shake her head and keep from letting the panic overwhelm her. Her eyes look at Claire, and the regenarator can see nothing but panic in those green orbs.

There is no betrayal of emotions from Claire as they come out into the stadium, it's like she's trying to to feel anything about this whole fucked up situation. Eyes slowly scan over the crowds before them, noting the hungry look of the crowd. The hand on her shoulder is shrugged of… or would be if she wasn't being controlled by something else all together. She can only stand there miserably aware of the whole situation.

Miserable awareness begins to turn into dawning realization as the pieces of this particular puzzle are put together. When the combatants inside that cage are let to shuffle out with jerky zombie-style movements, Claire and Candy both begin to figure out the truth of what might well be happening here. They're urged forward, out from the corridor and into the light drizzle falling from above. Together, the pair are walked out onto the football field, where they can see the rows of people not quite filling the stadium, but at least populating it enough to see full. There's a cheer from them as new blood is introduced, and when Lang walks towards the entrance of the caged arena, the weapon he picks out of a bin of borken tools near the doorway is a bent lead pipe.

The same pipe in Usutu's painting.

The pipe is tossed over the fence, landing wet in the sand with a thump. "Rules're simple. You fight of your own free will or ol' long-johns forces you to." There's a crooked smile of amusement on Lang's lips. "One weapon in the cage, winner take all. Normally the loser doesn't get to fight again, but since we got you here ol' barbie…" Lang slaps a hand on the top of Claire's head, ruffling her hair. "Well now everything's changed."

With a shove to her back, Lang throws Candy into the arena, causing her to crash down onto hands and knees, skidding in the muddy sand below. A gentler shove is offered to Claire as Lang murmurs, "First fight's never free." Implying the state of their will. That implication, and the way Claire feels herself jerkily moving towards the pipe is all it takes. She knows where this is going, knows how this is going to end. She doesn't want this, doesn't want to do what is about to be done.

She reaches down with hands not her own, fingers shakily wrapping around a bloodied pipe, and turns to look towards Candy as the Asian struggles to get up from where she was knocked down.

The pipe comes up, arms shaking and that thing squirming behind her eye making fingers twitch and muscles jerk.

The pipe comes down.

The worms don't let her scream.

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