bella_icon.gif dema_icon.gif lynette_icon.gif

Scene Title Unexpected
Synopsis Bella's assistant turns Lynette's nightmare into something far more tolerable.
Date July 19, 2010

Project Icarus facilities.

She has seen the others here. She has seen their pale faces gathered in what must have once been a cafeteria, cordoned into groups no larger than four, strict lines of separation held between each group, invisible, but enforced by the firing-line of armed guards, men with blunt cruelty in their eyes, men that are what remains of hardened soldiers once the infusion of nationalism is drawn away and they are left only with their broken, killers' minds.

Lynette's group of four consisted of two other women and a man. The man talked in a low, nervous chatter, occasionally laughing nervously and looking towards the exits, like he was thinking about escape though, for all he talked - about his old job, about his old car, about his dog (who was feeding him?) - he suggested nothing like making a break for it. One woman, thin and dark haired, mostly just grunted and made muttered, incomprehnnsible, bitter sounding comments. The third woman, greying in her early forties, said nothing at all, staring at nothing, barely there. Maybe she's enviable.

After the recess period ends, Lynette is not taken back to her cell. This time, she is escorted down another hallway, to an entirely new room, wherein lies no surgical theater, but rather the great pale bulk of an MRI machine with a slab emerging from its mouth like a sterile tongue. What remains the same, however, is the two way glass and the speakers set at either side of its frame.

«Lynette, please, have a seat. I wanted a moment alone with your before this test begins.» Though its transformed, Lynette knows this doctor by his/her voice- none of the others go to the bother of hiding their identity, shrouding their voice. None seem to possess the cowardice, or the shame.

Lynette has been… cold. Calculating. She hasn't acted up or lashed out, yet at least, but she has been paying attention. Escape is certainly on the mind, but she isn't one to make a rash decision and run headlong into danger. So in the meantime, she's been the perfect captive. So agreeable. Perhaps this doctor of hers isn't the only one with cowardice, as Lynette sees the tests as… inevitable. Why fight when they'll just do them anyway? What does it gain you? Watchful eyes and broken ribs? But she hasn't given up. Not yet. Not inside. She's just waiting, like a snake in the grass, for the best moment to act.

When she's guided to this new room, she sighs a little, her head shaking. Looking toward the two-way mirror as she does move to sit, the Evolved gestures toward the machine. "Are you certain this is a good idea? Considering my ability."

«I'm banking on your understanding that cashing your good behavior chips here and now wouldn't gain you much,» the voice states, «You're not stupid and you're not hasty. And you know you wouldn't get out of the facility if you chose this to be your moment. Moreoever, this is a relatively harmless test compared to what you might otherwise be going through.» There is a pause, to let this assessment sink in, either to be confirmed as truth, or accepted as truth. «I'd like to ask you about the new socialization policy. How it makes you feel, how you think it makes other subjects here feel. About your general psychological state. Understand, your answers will be used to try and maximize the well being of your fellow subjects. We are attempting to improve conditions.»

While Lynette doesn't respond to the first, those last words actually get a laugh. A truly amused laugh. It's possibly the first truly mirthful sound the woman's made since she got here. Which might be indicative of the place getting to her.

"Doctor-" and that's a term she uses with a certain amount of wryness rather than the respect that usually goes with the title, "You have a group of people kidnapped, held captive and experimented on and you think you're going to improve conditions?" There's another chuckle there, and a shake of her head. "I suppose it's a blessing and a curse. Seeing other people, interacting, it's good for a person. But seeing them… under the effects of what's happening here? Seeing, perhaps… what waits for the rest of us… that's hardly the heartening experience. And the armed guards don't help."

The voice doesn't mount any defense of the contradiction Lynette points to. It's hard to say what's going on behind that glass. In truth, Dr. Sheridan is taking notes. Filtering the concrete impressions from Lynette's rhetoric which is, while convincing, sort of beside the point. «How,» she begins, «might we go about easing the psychological burden of captivity. A serious question, Lynette. I'd like to see some changes implemented. Real suggests will be presented a forcefully as I can manage.» Which means that suggestions like 'set us all free' or 'go die in a fire' won't help anyone.

Lynette lets out a bit of a sigh, a hand coming up to rub her face. It's pretty clear that 'set us all free' and 'go die in a fire' are the first two suggestions that come to mind. But, she takes a moment to think it through. "I'm not entirely sure, in all honesty. I've never been in captivity before. But I would imagine… a certain amount of freedom would help. Maybe hide the guards, so it at least seems like we have privacy and room to breath. Maybe some time out doors. Maybe more… things to make it feel less like a prison." Not much hope for that last one, though. There's a long moment of silence before Lynette speaks up again.

"Why are you pretending to care? Lab rats getting too grumpy for your tastes? Not enough smiles around the workplace?"

«Why would it be that I wouldn't care?» the voice poses, «Has it occurred to you that I might also be here under duress? Not as dire as yours, but still, effectively against my will. Perhaps you could gain from letting the lines between 'us' and 'them' blur a little. You're already in a prison, why build a bunker?»

"Forgive me if my sympathy is low, dear. Perhaps when you've spent a day on this side of the glass, with everything stripped from you. From your anonymity to your dignity. Then we'll have a chat about being here under duress." Her arms fold at those last words, though, and she notes, "I didn't draw that line. You did. Your… bosses, I suppose. It's been made very clear. Us; the ones locked up at night and under armed guard otherwise, not to mention the testing of course. And you; the ones behind the glass who get to go home. We build bunkers because they're safe."

«If that mentality assists you to remain psychologically stable,» the voice states, with a tone of finality, «I have no reason to object, and no call to try and wrest it from you. If you'll lie down on the surface provided, my assistant will be here shortly to begin the test.»

"I suppose we'll see if it does or not, won't we?" Lynette says, her eyebrow lifted. She looks at the machine, looking it over for a moment before she turns to lie down, her hands folded over her stomach, her gaze planted on the ceiling. "Do I get to know what this one is before hand?"

«It's similar to the last test,» the voice informs Lynette, «We shall use a lower dose of Refrain, however, and attempt to safely recover the memory of your manifestation. My assistant, you see, is a dream manipulator. He will see if he can render your dream lucid, give you the control to be free of your fear, allowing us to take readings of your brain without risking his life and the machine.»

The mention of the drug makes Lynette twitch a little, subtly, her fingers curling just a bit. It's hard to say if it's out of fear or anticipation for the drug, but her gaze cuts over to the window. "You do like your risks, don't you?"

«Quite the contrary,» the voice says, «but I acknowledge their necessity. And be glad, at least, that you are not at any risk. My assistant… ah…» Speak of the devil. The door to the room swings open and the massive Russian shoulders in, giving Lynette a nod in greeting. He has a plastic case in hand, almost certainly containing the highly addictive drug. He is wearing insulated gloves and and rubberized apron - basic safety precautions. «He will handle you with a deft touch. We are not interested in your experiencing what you experienced, only in seeing the chemical changes that produced it.»

"Oh believe me, I am quite so." When the door opens, Lynette looks over to see that familiar big guy coming in. "Ooh, you again. We do have to stop meeting like this." Her gaze flicks to that case, though, a small but distinctive breath taken at the sight. But she looks back over toward the window, a rare moment of fear showing on the woman's face. "I… I don't want to do this."

«I know,» the voice replies, «Neither to I, particularly. Yet here we are. Please, for both our sakes, cooperate.» The speakers click off, and the Russian moves over to Lynette's side. "I will be with you. You will see me. I will guide you through your woods," he says, in accented but clear English, "Look for me. Trust me. It will make it easier."

Lynette looks back to the ceiling again at that reply, swallowing back a sob, although a tear does slip from the corner of her eye. When he speaks, her gaze flicks over to the Russian and she manages a very slight smile on her shaky lips. She doesn't say anything in reply, she just gives him a quick nod.

The massive orderly secures Lynette within the MRI halo and locks down her wrists and ankles. She has to remain still for the reading to be clear. The russian opens the plastic case, and a blue glow leaks from it. He swabs the interior of Lynette's arm, before setting the tip of the Refrain hypo against the cleansed spot. "Look for me," he repeats, and then slips the needle into her vein, sending the warm flow of the drug through Lynette, tipping her back into memory. The MRI hums into life and draws Lynette into its confines, clicking and whirring around her, indifferent to her fear, the magnetic field fluxing around her, charting the contours of her brain.

Squeezing her eyes shut as the needle slides into her vein, Lynette's hands curl into fists, her instincts fighting against that particular memory. Unfortunately, though…

It's dark in the woods, the mist in the air making it damp. And hard to see. Lynette's already running, dodging through thick, dark brown trunks, her breath short and panicked. But there's a bit of a wait before that creature makes an appearance. First, it's a low growl that seems to come from everywhere and Lynette stops to press herself up against a tree, waiting for some sign for which way will take her away rather than into the monster's hold.

Soon enough, though, the impression of fangs and red eyes can be spotted through the trees… and the chase begins.

The russian closes his eyes, a gloved hand going out to touch lightly against Lynette's knee.

Within the memory of the dream, a new presence can be felt. Making itself known to Lynette through a rustle in the leaves overhead, through a convergence of branches that, for a moment in passing, looks like the frame of a great man. In a cleft of distant rock that appears, for an instant, like a face. Lynette hears that intended wind murmur to her.

"I am here with you. You are not alone."

Catching those hints of him there, Lynette blinks, pausing for a moment to peer closer at where she -swears- there was a face a moment ago. This is not how she expected he'd show up, but now that he has, she remembers.

Dream. Labs. Right.

But it's only a moment's pause, as her shadowy monster catches up and she finds herself jumping out of the way of a slash of claws. She doesn't reply to the wind, but anyone watching can see it gives her the strength to push herself further, run on, get away. The fear is still there, manifesting in that form trying to catch up to her.

And in a gentle whimper from the MRI.

"Tell me what chases you. I can slow it, if I know what it is."

/The voice murmurs from the bark of a tree as Lynette passes it. It is calm, stolid, borrowing from the resolute wood and the heavy earth of the forest. An understandable manifestation for the manipulator.

"I cannot see it because you will not show me. You must show me. Face it. Let me know it. I will keep you safe."

"It's just… a monster. Things children dream about," Lynette says, clearly embarrassed about the whole thing. Why can't it be something like a serial killer or fire or rapist? Normal things. "I've never seen it."

But, as the dream does, Lynette ends up at that same dead end, her hands pressing against the cliff face as if she might be able to push through it. That isn't the case. And that low growl sounds again, and she turns around to face the way she came, shaking and panicked. She can't keep her eyes open, though, as the misty shadow starts pouring into sight.

"Not knowing, it is stronger. It is everything, then, no? Nothing, also. Face it. Let us know it. It shall be one thing, then. One thing can be trapped."

The voice emerges from the stone behind her, the shape of a massive man pressing out, like a bass relief, from the sheer stone face. He is there, asserting himself.

"We face this together. I am with you." His tone is not comforting in and of itself. But it is grounding, unyielding, and without doubt. The stone that refuses her passage has, under his possession, become a promise of protection. A bulwark to aid her.

"Why the hell are you being this nice to me?" Lynette doesn't really seem to be expecting an answer there, as she opens her eyes and looks forward just as a giant face coalesces out of the mist, something akin to a demonic lion, fangs hanging low out of its mouth and that smoky shadow forming into it's mane, streaming up from a body of fire. Well, she did ask for it there. A single foot steps forward, oversized claws digging into the ground below. It growls once more, slooowly leaning in closer and Lynette stares on, feeling that fear she felt as a child as she relives the moment. She's getting close to losing control and she turns to try to scramble up that cliff, a fruitless effort, as it lacks any real footholds.

And out in the real world, Lynette's body jerks against those straps, just little, desperate movements. Luckily, the straps to keep her from being able to ruin the test.

Lynette's question doesn't earn her an answer. The manipulator's reasons for kindness seems to be beside the point, as far as he is concerned. And with some good reason - the monster from Lynette's nightmare has taken a shape.

The stone beneath Lynette's hands and feet begin to shift. Feet and handholds quite literally form, outcroppings of rock in the shape of broad fingers adjoined to palm. Beneath Lynette's feet, foot-shaped stone juts out to give her purchase. Meanwhile, overhead, there is a flash of white light. What is it? The swiftly following sound of rolling thunder makes it clear. Droplets of rain begin to patter down through the canopy of green, hissing as they strike the monster Lynette is trying to escape. The storm is not yet upon them, the rainfall not strong, and that is for the best - too much rain would make Lynette's rocky climb much more treacherous.

There's a little gasp as that foothold forms, and with a glance upward, she starts up as fast as she can go. And as the rain starts to fall, she glances back toward her monster. The light rain doesn't seem to deter it, but that promise of a downpour does rush its movements. And there's Lynette, an easy target on the side of the cliff. Lifting up onto its back feet, the creature's front ones come to rest on either side of her, singeing the cliff where they touch. At least until one of them makes a swipe at her.

A move that makes her scream, echoing back at herself in that machine.

The stone on either side of Lynette presses out against the singe, even as the stone before her pulls her in, forming a cleft in the cliff face, stone reticulating to form a series of steep steps, designed for quick motion. Her dream protector, as he seems to be asserting himself, is trying his best to keep her safe. But that monster is a force all its own, a combination of fears from within Lynette herself that is more than a match for its visitor.

"Go! Quick!" The stone around her rumbles, the cleft already crumbling under the searing lion's assault.

Lynette runs and scrambles up those steps, trying to make her way cleanly while the creature tries to swipe at her, pressing harder against that cliff. But when she reaches the top, there's a surge of surprised triumph that seems palpable in the woman. And she turns back to watch it reach ineffectually for her.

What happens to a dream when it is past its ending? What is does a memory become when it takes a new path, finds a new conclusion? What do you call a new memory of a memory of an old dream? The phantasm of this place loses its definition, its edges growing shimmery, fragmenting. It was a small dose of Refrain, and without a recollection to cling onto, the drug's effects cannot be fully actualized. And that means the dream manipulator starts to lose his grip on things. As the dream comes apart, the Russian's eyes flutter open in the waking world, pushed out with gentle but inarguable force, as if on a expanding cushion of air.

And the woman falls out of the memory, too, much more pleasantly than the last time they tried this. She gasps for breath as the memory fades away, and her eyes blink open. But, she doesn't try to move just yet beyond relaxing tense muscles.

The MRI machine growls again as it slides Lynette from its confines. The Russian is looking down at her, expression sedate and stolid as ever. Seeing that she appears well, he looks up to the window, expectant. The voice that issues from the speakers doesn't sound overly excited. «You evaded the point of manifestation entirely,» is its gripe, «The readings were mostly unremarkable. I will analyze them, try and find something of interest. But that was too generous. This data may not be useful.»

At first… it's like Lynette isn't really listening, with how her attention is focused on the man. "Can you let me out of these straps?" Her tone is softer, more genuine than how she usually addresses him. "Unless the doctor's making us start over?" That is addressed toward the window.

«We're done for today,» the voice states, sounding peevish even through the transformation software, «I only hope whatever evasion you achieved will allow you to face your nightmare more lucidly, and bear it out to its proper neurological conclusion.»

With the test officially over, the Russian unbinds Lynette and steps back, giving her room to get to her feet.

Getting to her feet, Lynette takes a moment. She is sort of reeling in her post-drug haze, but there's one thing that's for sure… she's happy. She really doesn't care about the tests… she cares about the dream. About how it ended this time. And she expresses such by taking a few steps, grabbing onto the Russian and pushing herself up and into a kiss. It's brief, but heartfelt and grateful. And when it ends, she looks up at him with a soft (and rather pretty) smile, "Thank you. Thank you."

And when she steps back, she turns back to look at the window, her lips curving into a smirk. "Next time I'll try to have better aim." Oh, there's the sass.

Lynette has apparently figured out how to get an actual expression out of the Russian. A pretty bold tactic, but entirely successful. His hooded brows lift in utter surprise, alarm. He doesn't have time to respond through his startlement. When she thanks him, he just dips his head. "It is nothing," he says, eyes hooded again, but marked by a distinct frown. That was… unexpected.

From behind the glass Bella gives a very thin smile.

«You're excused, Lynette. Your escort will be waiting outside. Dema… if you'll stay for a debriefing…»

There's a light sigh and a little smile for his reply, she doesn't argue, but it's pretty clear she disagrees. Moving away toward the door, Lynette glances toward the mirror, "No asking him about how good a kisser I am, Doctor. That's dirty pool," she says with a wink. Seriously, it's a good mood. She's even pleasant to her escort.

Dema does stay behind, dutiful as always. Bella waits for the door to close before stating, voice unaltered, the particular feminine smirk in her voice entirely audible: "Well, well. I suppose this can just be between you and I. No real need for Juliet to hear about this…"

The Russian's frown darkens like a thunder cloud. That wasn't his fault, she kissed him.

"Now, Dema…" Bella continues, "Tell me what you did to earn that kiss…"

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