Urgent: Dogsitter Needed


dema_icon.gif joseph_icon.gif

Scene Title Urgent: Dogsitter Needed
Synopsis Joseph is inducted into the Refrain research project by the imposing Dema.
Date December 10, 2009

Refrain Testing Facility

A converted warehouse, secretly located, where Bella performs her experiments.

The haze and the headache make strange the passage of time, such that it is not until the next day that Joseph is permitted to even realize the he as been kidnapped. And kidnapped he has, indeed, been, for when he swims back into consciousness, his surroundings are strikingly cell-like. He is lying in a cot, unrestrained, but the ceiling and modest dimensions of the almost featureless room he finds himself in are distinctly carceral. Indeed, the presence of a porta-san human waste receptacle is likely not a purely decorative choice, however smooth the lines of its plastic casing; it's here because apparently he will be here long enough for its use to become necessary. He was stripped while in what his pounding head tells him was a drugged mostly-unconsciousness, and he has been redressed in a featureless linen outfit of the kind criminals and in-patients wear, resembling nothing so much as grim versions of kid's PJs. It makes sense, he's now the ward of some parental power.
He has vague memories, like half remembered dream fragments, of having this outfit put on him, of maybe even having struggled somewhat, though, like in all dreams, the struggle was sluggish and futile. He also seems to remember having his blood taken; sure enough, there is a slight pain on the inside of his left elbow and investigation will reveal a small bandage. He can't remember who did it, though, who did this to him. Just the men in the cars, the offer he turned down, and the split second before he went under. Florescent lights buzz behind panels overhead. The floor doesn't match the walls, being mottled, aged concrete rather than the drab but tidy white of whatever makes up the rest of the room. Where he is, in a larger sense, is anyone's guess. And, if the single door set near the corner opposite the cot is locked, where he is going, it appears, is nowhere.

He'd almost believe himself to be put in hospital, or jail, if not for the fact that what he can remember, he can remember clearly. After cautiously sitting up, Joseph lets his feet find the cement floor, staring down at his own clothing andf blinking, hard, a few times - as he could squeeze memory into being. A hand drifts to the needle mark, ignoring the burnt punctures of where the electrical weapon had bitten into flesh.

And he tries not to panic. Anxiety winds tight in his chest, focused on twitchily letting his attention dance over what he can see as much as he sits frozen on the end of the cot. When black eyes land on the door—

Moving briskly, Joseph doesn't have a lot of hope when he goes to try it, rattling the handle with all kinds of nervous impatience.

It is locked. It was hardly worth hoping otherwise, all things considered, but its still cruel to have that last little hope extinguished. It doesn't look, however, as if the door is designed for secure containment. Someone with the right tools or exceptional strength could likely make short work of it. Which will be great for that someone once they're trapped here. Really great. For them.
Eerily, only moments after he jiggles the knob there comes a knock at the door. Three times, pretty solid raps.

Joseph's hands retreat from the door as if burned when that knock sounds out, startling back a step. Humanis First didn't knock. They didn't change his clothing. They didn't let him move. So intellectually, he knows better. Groggily, he takes a moment to run his hands over his face, rub fingertips around his eye sockets, steering back all the more steps. What does a Tennessee man do when someone knocks at the door?

Well, he might open it. Barring that, he speaks up with a very reluctant, uncertain, "Decent?" as his hands come to settle at the back of his neck.

Decency isn't hugely important to the knocker, it would seem, since just as he starts affirming that he is, in fact, decent, there is the click of a bolt and the door swings open. The man who steps through into Joseph's room is very, very large, with a close-shaved haircut and a crisp white uniform that is unhappily reminiscent of a hospital orderly. The kind that deals with mental patients. In fact, the entrant's build would be most appropriate for a bouncer, bodyguard or NFL linebacker. He closes the door behind him and views Joseph with a sort of impassive familiarity. This jogs another memory - the hands that undressed and redressed Joseph seemed very large, a detail that didn't step forward as necessarily true independent of the sedative haze until he sees this man's very large hands, folded before him, clasped around a clipboard.
"You are able to answer some questions?" the man says; he has an accent, Russian probably, or at very least strongly Slavic. The inquiry seems to assumed that yes, he is able to answer questions, though there is some room for contradiction should Joseph feel, /very/ strongly about it.

More steps carry Joseph all the further back, glancing towards where he can only partially see the door behind the burly man. He knows better than to run for it, to force hands. A scouring gaze, instead, goes up and down this newcomer, stopping at the hands that grasp the clipboard as he tries to make himself seem unthreatening. Which really isn't very hard, arms coming to huddle around his midsection, standing some feet away, though he doesn't let it back brush up against the wall.

That query gets a flat look, before Joseph asks, "Are you? 'cause I ain't sayin' a thing 'til I know what's goin' on."

The large man nods, just once. "I can answer some questions. Others I cannot. It is better for you to be honest, though. We will be asking for your safety." Was that a threat?

Joseph takes in a breath that swells his chest, expels the air along with his question, "Where am I?" His tone is a little hopeless, almost pleading, but mainly - very weary. "And what do you want?" Those seem to be the pressing two, having had very little time to formulate something a little more detailed and comprehensive.

Those are pretty fair questions. And ones bound for frustrating non-answers. "This is a research facility," the man answers, "You will be assisting in expanding the knowledge of a compound. You are familiar with it, yes?" The slightest lift of a brow, "On the black market, it is called Refrain. You have used this before, correct?" The clipboard angles outwards, and a pen slides out of the metal clasp into the man's hand. Apparently this is a perfect segue into /his/ questions, and he's taking it.

One thing can be said about the 12 Step Programme. It's been a little while since Joseph has felt a true amount of shame about the addiction, or at least, enough that would have prevented him from answering. His hesitation is only based around whether or not he could lie his way out of this, but instead he just shakes his head briskly, despite his words; "Yeah, I've used it before. I'm not anymore."

The man nods, making a mark on the clipboard, pen twitching a little in his thick fingers. "Your name, please? Also age. Known allergies, medical problems, previous hospitalizations, psychiatric disorders other than your addiction." His English isn't bad so much as marked by that weird translation gap. His pronunciation is careful but totally accurate. He looks up at Joseph, catching his eyes as he asks the questions. However standard the questions may be, and they are standard, very much the thing one is asked prior to induction into a hospital, the man is watching to see that Joseph is being truthful. For his safety, of course.

"How long am I gonna be here?"

That's not exactly his name, his age, allergies or any kind of medical problem, physical or otherwise. Joseph has his chin tipped up a little as he looks back at the other man, mouth flattening into a line. "'cause I ain't interested in this. Any o' this, and you know, people're gonna miss me. I'm not just— " Whatever he's not just, he doesn't say, faltering before starting again. "I don't know how long I've been here, but this ain't my first rodeo."

The man's expression is unchanging throughout most of what Joseph says. He has the slightly absent look of someone watching a commercial they've seen before. He's following, but it takes very little of his attention. But the last few words pull him out of this state. He frowns. "Rodeo?" he echoes, "Please explain."

Joseph swallows, glancing from man to door, back to man. "I've been— kidnapped against my will before." Hard to be kidnapped willingly, but his words are stumbled over, jittered out nervously, sort of the same spark of hope he'd had when he'd tried the door. "I was held for almost a month. The man responsible was arrested, but it don't mean people won't notice."

Whatever the intended effect, the man's response is to simply write this down. This done, he finally answers Joseph's previous question. Or, rather, he gives yet another painful deferral. "You will be here until the tests are completed. Then, if you are not a security risk, you will be let go to return to your life. So please, it is wise for you to cooperate with us and do not try to find out too much. Now… again, I ask: your name, medical information?"

That gets understood, with sharp clarity. Questions crumble to ash from wherever they were waiting, and Joseph uncomfortably shifts his weight from foot to foot. He clears his throat, watching the ground as he responds, quietly. "Joseph Sumter," and then he spells out his last name. Everyone tries to put a P in there, Lord knows. "I'm thirty-six. Never had any kind of medical condition, unless you're countin' injuries. That's all."

This is all carefully noted, boxes filled on whatever form the man has before him, effectively if not pointedly hidden from Joseph. The man slides the pen back into the metal clasp and folds his hands again. Apparently that's all the questions he has for the moment. "I am Dema Gataullin. I will be bringing you your meals and conducting most of the tests. Questions and requests you bring to me. There are other subjects in this facility. You may see them, you may not. This depends. I have one question more for you, please answer fully. It is important. You are Evolved. Describe with detail your ability." He isn't making any preparatory writing motions. Maybe it's for his own curiosity?

Protest wells up, dies. Joseph rubs his forehead, a little grim, but he concedes only after minor hesitation. "They called it, uh. Projective precognition. If I touch someone, they get a vision for a coupla minutes, sometimes shorter, sometimes longer. It shows them the future. Symbols, images, stuff like that. Things they can hear. It usually comes true, or it's a warning." And he hasn't used it in a while, not properly, but whatever constitutes as improperly is not something he adds.

"Do you control it? Have you tried to control it?" the man whose name is Dema continues. Still no suggestion that he needs to write it down.

"My visions?" Joseph asks, surprised, before he shakes his head. "No, no— I can't even see 'em, you know? It ain't up to me what the other person gets. That's up to God." The words tumble easy out of him, and he doesn't really doubt them either - but he certainly lacks the reverence with which he used to explain.

Dema nods. "Later, we may require a demonstration," he says, "Do you think you can do this?"

Joseph's brows knit together, but for here and now, he only nods. "Sure," is spoken dully. The sincerity is dubious, at best, he's not actually a very good liar, but then again, he hasn't yet made up his mind as easily as his quick answer implies, scuffing a bare heel against the cement.

Dema steps to one side and opens the door. "Please, come with me," he says, "We will begin the first tests. Endurance, heart rate, basic physicals. Also new bloodwork, now that the sedatives have worn off." There's not suggestion to him about not trying to make a break for it. Presumably the possibility doesn't worry Dema.

There's no verbal agreement, Joseph keeping his gaze down on the cement for a moment before he drrrags himself to follow Dema out the door. The possibility is there, but it seems as though that Dema's apathy isn't completely unwarranted. There's no mad rush for freedom, but he does lift his gaze to see what he can see while he walks.

"Someone better feed my dog," is muttered more or less to himself.

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