We All Want The Same Thing


ff_chel_icon.gif ff_stefan_icon.gif

Scene Title We All Want the Same Thing
Synopsis Former peers conduct a biting conversation over old research.
Date December 20, 2018

Somewhere Below

“No one is coming for you.”

Those words, spoken with a faint German accent echo off of old metal walls. They fall on deaf ears, for all that the graying blonde woman bound to the chair in the middle of the room hears them. Michelle Cardinal is handcuffed to the arms and legs of a metal chair welded to the rusted floor. Her long hair is shaggy, unkempt, and there’s blood in her hairline, dark and dried.

“This is all you have left.”

The German man speaking to her is a tall and wiry man of cadaverous build. The knit cap atop his head hides that he’s going bald, and the thickness of his bushy beard shows just how little time he’s had for personal care down here. Doctor Stefan Morrison was once a peer of Michelle, studying in different fields, but both working toward a seemingly lofty goal with the Evolved. Now, however, things have changed. Maybe they always have.

“With that in mind I want to ask you, where is your journal?

Michelle looks up, hair hanging in front of her eyes, bottom lip split and a bruise around her right eye. She spits down at Stefan’s feet, and the once doctor looks at that wet mark on the moldy rust and steps forward onto it into spitting range. He clutches the adjustable wrench in his hand just a little tighter, and lets the single overhead lamp gleam off of its bare metal surface.

“I told you, I burned it.” Michelle spits the words out with as much venom as the saliva. Stefan frowns, shaking his head as he takes one more step closer. He winds up with the wrench like a cudgel, but then slowly stops and closes his large eyes and sighs through his nose.

“I’m not an idiot, Chel.” Stefan slowly opens his eyes, regarding her out of their corner as he turns away from her. “You and I spent six years as colleagues. You told me so much about your son.” He stops his departure, turning to look back at her. “I know you didn’t burn the notes. You need them to save him.”

Chel smiles through bloodied teeth, tongue rolling against the back of her split lip. “He’s not a child anymore,” she says pointedly, “and he doesn’t need saving.” Stefan considers the wrench as she says that, and shakes his head, setting it down on a wheeled car full of other old metal tools. He switches it out for the pliers.

“You’re driven.” Stefan points out. “That’s admirable. But you’re also a stubborn, proud person. You’ve been bested, Chel. But we both want the same thing,” he says, approaching with the pliers. “We can’t survive down here any longer. The world up there,” he points to the ceiling angrily, “is unsafe, in ruins. We just want a chance to start over. For the Ark to find… dry land, as it were.”

Steadying her breathing and staring at Stefan, Chel squares her jaw and clenches her teeth. “If you think for a minute that’s what Don wants, you’re out of your fucking mind.” Stefan rankles at the retort, stepping in to grip Michelle’s face in one calloused hand, forefingers and thumb squeezing her cheeks.

“Last time.” Stefan hisses, leaning in at her. “Where are your notes?” Wide-eyed and tense, Michelle stares up at Stefan as he clutches her face and angles the pliers towards her. Shoulders rise and fall, her chest aches with each breath and adrenaline pumps in her veins. She opens her mouth to speak, voice hoarse, and then swiftly moves her face to the side and bites down as hard as she can on Stefan’s thumb.

A scream erupts from the former doctor, and Stefan struggles to pull his hand free from Michelle’s teeth. He strikes her in the side of the face, but it's already too late. When her head jerks to the side he pulls back a bloody stump from his first knuckle down. Michelle spits his thumb at his feet, a line of bloody saliva trailing down from her mouth and challenge in her fierce blue eyes.

Stefan scrambles out of the light and toward the door, howling for the guards. He pounds with his uninjured hand, screaming. The door wrenches open and Stefan falls into the hall, scrambling further away from Michelle’s spotlit frame. Three security guards step into the room, the one in the lead snapping out a flexible baton as one in the back slams the door shut behind him.

It was worth it.

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