Home » The Crystal Hall » Fan Fiction » Falling to Pieces (When bad things happen to good people. )
() 10 Vote(s)
|Falling to Pieces [message #61257]
||Sun, 08 July 2012 16:44
Registered: May 2011
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Chapter 1: Falling to Pieces
(When bad things happen to good people.)
I'm still alive but I'm barely breathing
Just praying to a God that I don't believe in
'Cause I got time while she got freedom
'Cause when a heart breaks, no, it don't break even
-The Script: Breakeven(Falling to Pieces)
My therapist says it will help me "process the life changing events that occurred" if I try to write this down in my own words. I think he's full of it, but I promised my mom I'd give it a serious try, so here goes.
I am Jamie Harding, and this is how I spent my summer vacation.
I'm not sure where you would say this whole mess really started. I guess for the good Dr. Jigsaw it started the day that Rematch defeated the Evilutionary at the Red Oakes Mall. A group home for mentally and physically challenged individuals was having a field trip to the mall that day, and the Evilutionary was targeting them. It didn't start for me until six months later.
According to who you listen to, the Evilutionary was either defeated with the minimum possible collateral damage, or Rematch was irresponsible for fighting him in a public place, and the the two civilian casualties can be laid at his feet. The fact that the Evilutionary was specifically targeting a group of mentally and physically disabled people with intent to kill wasn't mentioned much after the first day or so. (The Evilutionary is a nut job who believes that he needs to weed out the genetically unfit in order to make the future a better place.) The media instead played up the fact that the son of Dr. Leo Azken, respected surgeon, was part of the group. They focused on the fact that he was paralyzed and put into a coma by a mutant battle, and never even mentioned the homeless guy who died trying to pull him out of the way.
I only know these details because Rematch was my dad. I say "was" because he doesn't do the hero thing anymore. Not after what happened.
But that's not really the point of this. The point is what happened to me. Well... my dad never felt the need to go to any great lengths to hide his civilian identity. He always said there was an unwritten code he wouldn't target the friends and family of of the criminals he went after, and they wouldn't target his. Too bad no one explained this to Dr. Jigsaw. Not that he would have thought the code applied to him, as he didn't think of himself as either a criminal or a super villain. Just a victim.
They didn't find out until after it was all over, but of course Dr. Jigsaw turned out to be the doctor whose son was paralyzed and turned into a vegetable that day at the Red Oakes Mall. The fact that his son was already confined to a wheelchair before the incident didn't really factor into it, other than that he now had someone to blame other than himself for his son's condition. And he decided that the blame now fell on the Evilutionary and Rematch. And that the condolences and restitution offered by my dad weren't really adequate compensation. And that his son wasn't "collateral damage". And that Rematch would pay, blood for blood, pain for pain. I know this, because the good doctor told me. Several times, in detail, and at great length. I still wake up with his voice in my ears sometimes...
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
So... where it all started for me. The Day My Life Changed Forever and all that...
It was a Friday afternoon after soccer practice and I was waiting to be picked up by my dad. He was late. Again. I was supposed to spend the weekend with him, and I had my backpack with a few changes of clothes and various necessities in it with me. I remember impatiently walking up and down the soccer field muttering under my breath as everyone else gradually left, and it got darker and darker. I'm not foolish, I hung out in the brightly lit areas, for all the good it did me...
I shivered a little as a wind blew over the field, carrying the evening chill with it. "Dammit, where is he this time? Did Timmy fall down a well or something?" I frowned and looked around the empty soccer field.
"Dear, are you sure you don't need a ride home? I don't mind, it wouldn't be out of the way." Mrs. Redfield asked me with a concerned look on her face. Her twin daughters Sandra and Cindy were already packed up and in her minivan. Sandra smiled and waved at me through the window.
I gave her my widest smile and replied with a confidence I didn't really feel. "I'm sure ma'am. Don't worry about me, my dad's just running a little late. He should be here anytime now."
"Well, if you're sure. It really wouldn't be any trouble." She repeated the offer two more times before getting into her minivan and leaving.
In retrospect, it's probably best that I didn't go with them, or Dr. Jigsaw may have had some collateral damage of his own. But even so, I really wished I had just gotten in the damn van with her instead of waiting to yell at my dad when he finally showed up.
Thirty minutes later and still no sign of Dad. I tried calling him on his cell phone for the umpteenth time, but he wasn't answering. I shivered in the evening air, then sighed to myself and decided to call Mom to come and get me. A white van parked on the street turned on its lights as I did so, but I was too annoyed to notice.
As I scrolled down to her number on the phone, there was a ripple in the air next to me, and a shadowy form equipped with a taser appeared. Before I could react, I felt the shock of the taser against my arm and fell to the ground. Then I felt the sting of a needle in my thigh. A few seconds later I was still conscious, but completely unable to move. I felt myself being dragged over to the van, and caught a glimpse of my backpack and cellphone still laying in the grass where I'd fallen.
I'm not ashamed to admit I was terrified out of my mind at this point. It's not everyday you get kidnapped by someone who's apparently been following you invisibly until they are sure you are alone and vulnerable. I was even more terrified when he stripped me out of my clothes once we were in the van, and tossed them on the street. I was certain I was about to be molested or sold into white slavery, or something equally horrible. Sad to say, I now know that those are not the worst things that can be done to a 13 year old girl.
He then ran some sort of scanner over me as I lay there in the back of the van. It beeped when he ran it over my mouth. I still couldn't see his face, but he kind of grunted and pulled something out of a bag and shoved it in my mouth. A moment later there was a cracking sound and pain lanced up my jaw. I managed to make some sort of gurgling moan at this. He pulled the device out of my mouth and held it up in front of my face. It was some kind of hi-tech looking pliers, and he had one of my crowns in it, and there was some sort of circuitry on the bottom of the crown.
He waggled a finger at me in admonishment, and dropped the crown on top of my clothes outside the van, closed the door, and then got in the drivers seat and drove away, with me laying naked on the cold floor in the back of the van, blood drooling out of the corner of my mouth and making quiet moaning noises as I tried to scream for help. Once he got to a less well lit neighborhood, he bound me with some zip ties and tossed a blanket over me.
And that was how I was introduced to Dr. Jigsaw, my own personal nightmare. That's not his real name of course, although he really is a doctor. A skilled surgeon in fact. That's just the name the media gave him later.
You may be confused as to what just happened. I know I was. I learned later that anyone can use gadgets and some devises, and if you spend enough time and money planning it, even kidnapping the daughter of a public super hero from a brightly lit soccer field in the good part of town isn't all that hard. A white van with a remote start and door opening function (and plates that can't be traced back to you), a holographic cloaking devise to turn invisible, a mask that blurs out your features, a taser, an injected paralytic, a hand scanner for tracking devices, and a fancy set of powered pliers are all attainable, if not cheap. I didn't even know I had the tracking chip in my tooth. An anonymous gift from dear old dad.
And speaking of Dad, where was he when all of this was going on? It seems that someone called in an anonymous tip that the Evilutionary was going to be breaking out of jail that night, including enough details to make it seem credible. It turned out to be almost true. Someone had indeed smuggled what appeared to be a high temperature cutting torch to him, but it blew up in his hand after he cut though one bar of his cell. He survived, but with one arm and 3rd degree burns over sixty percent of his body, including his face. Turns out the Evilutionary doesn't have any kids, so I guess Dr. Jigsaw decided that was the next most suitable punishment for him. Anyway, Dad was on hand as Rematch in case they needed help subduing him again in the supposed break out attempt, and in all the excitement just kind of forgot about picking me up. So yeah...
I kind of passed out for awhile, and when I came to I was in a hospital bed with an IV in one arm. (I know, I know, in the movies the spunky yet attractive heroine always manages to listen for conveniently specific sounds on the way to the villains lair so she can break free long enough to call the hero and tell him where to rescue her. So sue me. This was my first time being kidnapped and I wasn't properly prepared.) The blanket over me was slightly itchy against my bare skin, but when tried to scratch it, I realized I was strapped down and restrained with shackles around my wrists.
I looked around the room, trying to figure out where I was. It was a small hospital room, with two beds on either side of the door and a couple of cabinets against the back wall full of medical equipment I didn't recognize. The air was cool and there was the hum of air conditioning in the background. There was a TV on the wall, but it was turned off. In the other hospital bed lay a painfully thin boy with dark hair. His brown eyes were open, but there was a blank expression on his face and a string of drool hanging off his chin. He had a lot more tubes and wires connected to him than I did. His chest rose and fell in sync with a pump next to his bed.
When the man who had kidnapped me returned, I'd like to say that I calmly and coolly confronted him with pointed questions and stinging witticisms on his bravery in kidnapping a 13 year old girl. Unfortunately, that's not what happened. I screamed at him, I cried hysterically, I threatened him with what my dad would do when he found us, and I begged him to let me go. I'll spare you the details. I normally hate it when I see other girls break down into hysterics and histrionics when things get a bit rough, but in this case I feel I was justified.
The worst thing was, he didn't look or act at all like you'd expect from a psychotic kidnapper. He was a distinguished looking white guy in his mid-50's, dark hair with grey at the temples, and a doctor's coat with stethoscope. He had kind eyes and a deep, fatherly voice that made you want to listen to whatever he had to say. While he listened to me scream and beg, he quietly cleaned the drool off the boy's chin, checked his machines, and gently tucked his blankets around him.
Then he turned to me and said, "There, there young lady. I know you're scared, and I don't blame you. These are trying times." He came over and stroked my hair as he talked to me, and I fell silent, choking down my sobs as he continued to talk, without really looking at me.
"A man has a responsibility to keep his family safe. If you can't do that, you have failed as a father and as a human being. I learned that lesson when my son Paul here was horribly injured while on an outing at Red Oakes Mall six months ago. I should have been there, but I wasn't. That day I decided it was more important to attend a medical conference than to spend the day with my son as I told him I would. And it's a lesson your father needs to learn. I gave your father the same chance I had - if he had picked you up after soccer practice as he was supposed to, instead of going to see if that fool would attempt to escape or not, you wouldn't be here. But he failed, just as I failed. And now he will learn the price of failure, even as I did. I'm so sorry that you will suffer the consequences of your father's failure, even as Paul has suffered for mine. I'm sure you deserve none of this."
"But he knows now, r-right? You can just let me go in the morning, l-lesson learned?" I couldn't help the stutter in my voice or the fear that washed over me as I asked the question. I had a feeling I already knew the answer.
He looked at me sadly, his eyes full of compassion. "Oh no, I'm afraid not. I am so very sorry. He must learn the hard way. Blood for blood. Pain for pain." With that he picked up a syringe from a nearby tray and once again I felt the sharp sting of a needle as he injected me with it. My consciousness quickly faded.
[Updated on: Sun, 05 August 2012 15:31]
|Re: Falling to Pieces [message #61277 is a reply to message #61257 ]
||Sun, 08 July 2012 19:21
Registered: May 2011
Location: Phoenix, AZ
I just want to pause here and say what happens next isn't very pretty. I don't know who's going to end up reading this other than my therapist, but I'm giving you fair warning right now. If you have a squeamish stomach and don't like reading about bad things happening to nice girls like me, go for a walk or watch a movie instead of reading the next bit.
Mom, if you are reading this... please just skip to the end or something. I had the shakes and cold sweats again just writing it down, and I already knew the heroine lives through it. Which I guess is kind of the point of this whole exercise. Making me accept what happened and desensitizing myself to the fear and all that.
|Re: Falling to Pieces [message #61279 is a reply to message #61257 ]
||Sun, 08 July 2012 19:23
Registered: May 2011
Location: Phoenix, AZ
[Updated on: Sun, 05 August 2012 15:33]
When I woke up, my hips ached horribly and it felt like my body was off-center. My head felt fuzzy and I was very thirsty. I tried to move my arms, but I was still strapped down and shackled to the bed. I felt a tug in my right arm as I tried to move it, and realized that it had a new IV in it. I tried moving one of my legs, but nothing happened other than a flare of pain from my hips. I was able to raise my head enough to look down at myself and saw a flatness in the sheets where my legs should be. I'm pretty sure that's the point where I started screaming again. Now, I want to reiterate that I'm not a girl who is prone to screaming fits or hysterics. But I still feel that it was an entirely justified reaction under the circumstances.
After a few minutes I calmed down enough to pay attention to my surroundings again. Paul, the boy in the bed across from me, was still staring into space expressionlessly. But I noticed that a few tears were dripping from one of his eyes, which were a dark brown color. I couldn't be sure it it meant anything other than that some dust had gotten in his eye.
The TV over the bed was on, and set to one of those 24 hour news channels. They were running a story about me being kidnapped. They showed the white van being pulled out of a river, a few shots of the soccer field, a few pictures of me in my soccer uniform, and an interview with Mrs. Redfield. And then there was a press conference with Rematch speaking to reporters.
Rematch looked like he hadn't slept, his costume was a little rumpled and through the eye holes in his mask, you could see that there were bags under his eyes. Which was odd, because I don't think I've ever seen dad looking less than his best for the media.
He stared into the camera, looking angry and determined, "I will not rest until I find the cowards who have taken young Jamie Harding. Rest assured, she will be returned to her mother and the kidnappers will be brought to justice!"
"Do you have any leads?" asked a reporter from off camera.
"Not yet, but it's only a matter of time. Now if you excuse me, I have work to do."
Then a shot of Rematch flying off rather than answering anymore questions. And then it cut to an earlier interview with my mom and my dad in his civilian identity of Mr. Carl Harding.
"No there hasn't been any word from the kidnappers yet, but ..." Dad turned and faced the camera directly at this point, tears in his eyes, "Whoever you are, please just return my daughter... Please she's all we have."
Then they focused on Mom, "Honey, if you can hear us, we are looking for you. We'll get you back, don't give up hope. And to whoever has her, if you've harmed a hair on her head I'll see you rot in jail for the rest of your life!"
"A bit late to try keeping the identities separate now Dad." I muttered to myself, but I still felt better for having seen my parents.
I love my dad. I really do. But he and I haven't always had the easiest relationship. He wasn't always the best dad for an attention hungry young woman like myself. I could tell that he always wanted a son to follow in his footsteps. He tried to be proud of my accomplishments in ballet and dance, but even then I could tell that his heart wasn't really in it. So when junior high came, I tried out for track and soccer and softball. Tried to be an athlete he could be proud of. And I made all the teams, and I did well. But somehow he rarely made it to the games. Always too busy stopping a bank robber or saving a cat in a tree or something. Always something more important than me, or at least that's how it felt. We've had our share of shouting matches over it. He did always make sure to call and send me a gift after I won an event, or our team won a game. And he was never late with child support, even when the hero gig didn't pay well.
I shed a few more tears over the thought that I wouldn't be able to run track or play soccer or softball ever again and wallowed in my depression for awhile. My hips hurt to much for me to go to sleep, even though I felt exhausted.
After a several hours of this, the good doctor came in.
"I'm so sorry for being late my dear, you must be in quite a bit of pain. Let me take care of that for you."
I screamed and twisted away from him. "Don't touch me! Don't touch me! My dad's going to kill you!"
He ignored me as he adjusted an IV and a few moments later the painkillers hit my system and things didn't seem so important. Almost against my will, I relaxed as I floated above the pain and it became hard to focus.
Which is probably a good thing, because otherwise I would have freaked out all over again as he gave me a sponge bath and fitted me with a catheter. As it was I still feebly protested as he touched me, but it felt like a it was happening to someone else and my struggles didn't have any force to them.
Then he sat next to my bed and held my hand, "There, there my dear. I know it hurts. Just relax and get some sleep and it will be all better soon."
His soothing voice was the last thing I heard as I drifted off to sleep. I really wish he had just acted like a psycho killer from the movies, it would have been easier to deal with.
The next few days passed in kind of a blur as I recovered. He showed up every day to care for Paul and I, feeding us, cleaning us, adjusting our beds. I still didn't like him touching me after what he had done, but it was either that or lay there in my own filth. Not that I had much choice either way.
I think listening to the news was the worst. At first my story was constantly on the air. A pretty young white girl kidnapped from a public area, and a public super hero's daughter to boot. But they kept reporting no leads, no ransom demands, and I saw my parents looking more and more haunted with each new interview. And then after three days with no new leads, my story just stopped showing up.
When the doctor wasn't around, I tried to see if Paul was aware and thinking, but the best response I was able to get after several questions and cajoling was him breathing heavier for almost a minute, and one moaning grunt. It seemed that Paul wasn't in a coma anymore. Although, if there was a person in there, he was even more helpless than I was, which made me more depressed on multiple levels.
As I regained my strength, I tried to find a way out. I rubbed my wrists raw and bloody attempting to squeeze them through the restraints that held me to the bed. It hurt, but the painkillers he was giving me helped me deal with it.
I felt a flash of hope when I was able to get one hand slippery with blood and squeeze it through the shackle, but it was quickly crushed when I heard the door open.
The doctor came in and immediately rushed over to my bed. I sobbed as as I frantically tried to pry at the leather shackle on my other wrist.
"Shh... calm down my dear girl, you're going to hurt yourself doing that."
I flailed at him wildly as he reached for me, hitting him in the face with a bloody fist. He didn't even get angry.
He just smiled at me gently through his split lip , "It's alright dear, I understand. It's only natural to be frightened. I forgive you."
Then he strapped me back down. With no legs I couldn't have gotten far anyway, but I had hoped to find a phone or something to let me get a message out.
Once I was restrained again, his demeanor changed. He seemed tense and agitated. He started pacing up and down the walkway between our beds, ranting as he walked.
"Men of skill and talent have a responsibility to those whose lives they hold in their hands, and those who are given power without earning it don't truly understand their responsibilities. I trained for years to become a surgeon, and have had my responsibility ground into my bones. And even I failed in the basic responsibilities as a father. Your father didn't earn his powers, nor did any of the other mutants who play at being heroes or villains. They dress up in costumes and give each other childish names. They play at being gods while acting like children. Casually destroying the lives of those mortals caught in the crossfire. It shall not stand. I will show them that even a lowly baseline human can make them pay for shirking their responsibilities... "
"Hey, what part of that makes kidnapping and mutilating me your job? I'm not a mutant, I don't have any powers, and I didn't do anything to your son." I probably should have kept my mouth shut, but I really don't think anything I said or didn't say would have changed what happened next. Or at least, that's what I have to believe.
He didn't even look at me as he kept talking, his eyes growing bright and feverish. "Blood for blood. Pain for pain. My son has been left a drooling idiot, locked into his body and unable to communicate. So shall it be with Rematch's daughter."
"Blood for blood? What does that even mean? Can't you hear how crazy you are? Paul isn't bleeding and he still has his legs you asshole!" I started shouting as panic and despair welled up within me.
We were well past the point where the hero should burst in and save the helpless heroine. That point was back when I still had legs. I had never watched movies that had the heroine in the position I was in now, and I wasn't sure what I was supposed to be doing. I know it's silly to expect your life to work out like a movie or a comic book, but when your dad wears a cape and bullets bounce off his chest, it's an easy habit to fall into. This wasn't at all what I expected my life to turn out like. I was supposed to become a famous female athlete, and force him to be proud of me in spite of not being the son he always wanted.
All this ran through my mind as the good doctor finally looked at me. What I saw there chilled me, for he had that sad, compassionate expression on his face again.
"No. No. You don't have to do this. Please, don't!" I couldn't help myself. I knew something bad was about to happen again.
"Shh. Calm yourself my dear. I'm afraid that your screams may be keeping Paul awake, and he needs his rest these days. Don't worry, it will all be over soon. "
He injected something into my IV bag, and 30 seconds later I fell unconscious in mid scream. The last thing I saw was Paul, tears once again dripping down his expressionless face from one brown eye.
|Re: Falling to Pieces [message #61281 is a reply to message #61257 ]
||Sun, 08 July 2012 19:25
Registered: May 2011
Location: Phoenix, AZ
I woke up again much later, from a nightmare featuring floating scalpels and guillotine blades, and my shoulders and throat hurt abominably, making the ache of my hips a distant memory. My mouth felt wrong. My entire body felt wrong. I tried to say something, but all that came out was a quiet gurgle. It took me a few minutes to realize that he had removed my arms, my tongue, and cut my vocal chords. Which in retrospect seems like overkill, but the good doctor was nothing if not thorough. |
The next several days were the same as after my previous "operation" - he would come in, adjust our meds, feed us, clean us, and then sit and talk quietly to one or the other of us. It would have been very reassuring if he hadn't been the one who mutilated me in the first place. I glared at him without blinking whenever he was in the room, which I think started to bother him after awhile, as he started sitting with his back to me whenever he spent time with Paul.
He kept the TV tuned to the news channels, and I was back in the news. Soon I learned what he'd been doing with my missing limbs. According to the broadcast, there had been a ransom demand, but when the money was dropped off at the specified spot, no one came to collect it. When my dad went in to pick up the money, he found an ice chest there as well. There was a picture of my lower leg in the ice chest, turned so that the butterfly tattoo was visible. I saw my mother slamming a door in some reporters faces. My father, looking more worn than I've ever seen him and a haunted look in his eyes, telling reporters that he hasn't given up hope and that he's still searching for me.
I couldn't help but cry at seeing my parents again. I so desperately wanted to feel my mothers arms around me again, and listen to my dad tell me about another one of his super powered battles, sounding like a football player talking about the last game. He was a big dumb super jock sometimes, but he was still my dad, and he was killing himself looking for me. I could only make low moaning noises, sounding like I was choking. After several minutes I could hear another moan matching my own, and I looked over at Paul to see tears dripping from his eye again. We moaned in unison for a few minutes, and while I'm sure it must have sounded disgusting and pathetic, it still made me feel a bit better.
Later there was an investigative report detailing some of the techniques that had been used to track me down, and speculation as to why they had all failed so far. A psychic had been brought in to divine my location off the crown that had been left behind. He said that wherever I was, there were many other people around me, many of them sick or in pain, and it was masking my aura. A mage explained that I had to be behind some fairly heavy duty wards, because even with using one of my body parts as a focus she still wasn't able to get a lock on me. All they could say was that I was still alive and somewhere in the city. And then a succession of forensic "experts" talking about possible forensic methods the police could be using, and what could foil those methods. It was all pretty depressing, because whatever the good doctor had done to cover his tracks, it was obviously working.
More days passed, and my sleep was plagued with nightmares. I grew to hate the bed I was confined in, with the itchy blankets and the straps that chafed my skin even through the blankets. I also started having panic attacks whenever the doctor cleaned me or changed my bandages, thrashing an moaning until he was forced to sedate me.
The news reported more false ransom demands, each time resulting in another ice chest with a piece of me in it. Or some dumb crook who thought he could get some easy money by submitting his own ransom demand since the real kidnapper didn't seem to want the money. Rematch put one of them in the hospital before the Feds stopped letting him "assist" them in the investigation. Then they reported on the aggravated assault lawsuit the crook brought against my dad for unnecessary force. This was when the media started calling my kidnapper Dr. Jigsaw, due to the surgical precision in which my limbs had been amputated and prepared. One show had a Humanity First representative talking about how mutants like my dad and this Dr. Jigsaw were poisoning society with their grisly feuds and vendettas. For some reason the MCO stayed almost completely out of it, I never learned why. The most I saw was a "no comment at this time" from one of their representatives.
Then came the worst.
On the TV, Rematch came out of a building dragging the limp form of a man in a torn costume who was bleeding from the mouth - it was Relapse, a third string villain who acted as a fence and middleman to many members of the Detroit underworld. Rematch dragged Relapse over to a waiting police van, then tossed him in the back.
A seedy looking reporter ran up to him a shoved a microphone in his face. "Travis Ratheon, Channel 32 news. Rematch, what response do you have to reports that the young girl that Dr. Jigsaw kidnapped is actually your daughter? Is this related to the increasingly violent tactics you have been using during your attempts to track down Dr. Jigsaw?"
Rematch whirled around to face the reporter, and the camera man got a close up of his face. Rematch looked bad. His uniform was dirty. He had bags under his eyes, stubble on his chin, and he had lost weight. "What response do I have? What response do I have?!"
Rematch shoved the reporter aside and grabbed the camera. His face filled the screen, his eyes wild and bloodshot.
"Yes, she is my daughter! Is that want you want you vultures? She's been taken from me and that bastard Jigsaw has been cutting pieces off of her for the last six weeks and leaving them for me to find... I know you're out there somewhere watching this Jigsaw. You win! Do you hear me? You win!" At this point tears were streaming down my fathers face. "Just let me know what you want. Anything. Do you want me? You can have me. Just let my daughter go. Please. Please... just stop hurting her and let her go!" He stared into the camera a moment, breathing heavily, tears dripping down his cheeks and a helpless look on his face. Then he let go and flew off into the sky.
Somehow that hurt me more than anything that had happened so far. I didn't want to listen to it anymore, but they kept playing it over and over again. My dad had always seemed so invincible, if a bit awkward around me. I knew he loved me, even if he didn't know how to show it, and seeing him so publicly helpless and broken was like a dagger in my gut.
That was when I realized what the doctor meant by "Blood for blood. Pain for pain." Not my blood and pain, but my fathers. I was my fathers blood, even as Paul was the doctors. Dr. Jigsaw wanted my father to feel the same pain that he had felt over his son being paralyzed. He'd gotten his wish. The great hero Rematch had been publicly humiliated and defeated without Dr. Jigsaw every laying a finger on him.
I cried myself to sleep after that, accompanied by a few moans from Paul.
Up to this point I'd been pretty sure that dad was going to come busting in and rescue me at any moment. Even after losing my legs, I still tried to tell myself it wasn't the end of the world. I could still have a life from a wheelchair. But after losing my arms and my voice, and seeing my dad break down, I grew more depressed with each passing day. All I could do was stare at things and moan now. I know there are people who still manage to have a fulfilling life like that, but I wasn't really in the proper head-space to accept it for myself.
The only act of defiance I had left was glaring viciously at the good doctor whenever he was in the room, so I kept it up. He started acting tense and agitated again, and twitched whenever he accidentally looked me in the eye. I think he was actually starting to feel a measure of guilt for what he was doing to me, if not for what he was doing to my father and mother. He even cut one of his rants about my dad short after finding himself staring into my eyes.
I didn't really start fantasizing about killing him until he scalped me. Killing or hurting people just isn't a natural reaction for me. But I loved my hair. I had whole collection of hair ties, clips, bows and hair care products back home. Somehow losing it made me more angry than anything else did, which seems irrational even to me. And his taking my hair still doesn't make any sense. Shaving my head wasn't good enough? It's not like the hair would have grown back before I was dead at the rate he was going. But scalp me he did. (One of my therapists suggested that he was trying to make me look less human so he wouldn't feel as guilty over what he was doing to me.) I just woke up one day and my head felt like it was on fire. He showed me the bandages in a mirror and said it should heal with minimal scarring with the medical antibiotic cream he used under the bandages. I glared at him and moaned incoherently until he cringed and left the room. I don't know why he waited until I was asleep to anesthetize me, maybe he didn't want me staring at him as he did it anymore.
That evening I was in the news again. Or rather Dr. Leo Azken was. They didn't come out and say that he was Dr. Jigsaw, but it was pretty clear that's the conclusion the news program favored. He was wanted for questioning as a person of interest in the case, but he seemed to have disappeared a few days before. I also learned that he had liquidated most of his personal assets in the last six months, and had disappeared from the hospital he helped run. Just showed up for work and vanished sometime during the day. So the authorities were closing in on the good doctor, and one way or the other my ordeal should be over soon. This didn't cheer me up as much as it would have even a week or so ago. Back when I still had arms and a voice. And hair.
The good doctor seemed much more nervous and uncertain the next day. His hands shook and he visibly cringed away from me when I glared at him. Paul looked on from his bed, as expressionless as always, tears occasionally dripping. No rants that day. I felt feverish and then felt something wet on the sheets around my hips. And then the cramps. On top of everything else, I was getting my period. That seemed to put the good doctor at a loss. Apparently he was fine with amputating limbs and inserting catheters and wiping my butt, but my monthly visitor was just too much to handle. He eventually got me somewhat cleaned up and made a kind of diaper and pads out of a sheet and some bandages. Because of course in all the planning he had done for this horror fest, he never thought I might need tampons. It seems funny to me now, in a weird sort of way. At the time it just made me even more enraged. Not that I could do anything about it. Just one more indignity stacked on top of all the others.
[Updated on: Sun, 05 August 2012 15:34]
|Re: Falling to Pieces [message #61282 is a reply to message #61257 ]
||Sun, 08 July 2012 19:28
Registered: May 2011
Location: Phoenix, AZ
That evening Dr. Jigsaw came in and, after checking on Paul, injected something into my IV. I soon felt the familiar floating, drowsy sensation that told me that Dr. Jigsaw had sedated me again, and I slid into unconsciousness, but this time was different. This time I had an incredibly vivid nightmare. I was floating over myself looking down. I could see my body on an operating table, what was left of me anyway. Everything was in black and white, no color at all. Dr. Jigsaw was bent over my head, doing something I couldn't make out when monitors and alarms started going off, and the heartbeat monitor flat-lined. Dr. Jigsaw began frantically hitting buttons on the controls of some strange looking robotic arms that hovered over the table, and one of them swabbed my chest while the other popped out a pair of electrical paddles as Dr. Jigsaw filled a syringe with something. He injected me, and then the robotic arm brought the paddles down. My torso convulsed, then everything went white and I could feel myself being pulled down into my body and the nightmare ended, leaving me blissfully unconscious. |
Apparently the Dr. Jigsaw had had enough of me staring at him, because when I regained consciousness, I couldn't see. My nightmare had been accurate - he'd done another nocturnal surgery. My eyes were gone, just an aching emptiness where they used to be. My gums hurt as well, and when I closed my mouth I realized that all my teeth had been pulled. Which just seemed petty at this point. Wasn't I helpless enough? And more to the point - how? It's not easy removing molars, and all my teeth were cleanly removed, no shards. (I learned later that the power pliers he used to remove my cap were originally a devise designed for dental work. They had made short work of my teeth.)
In fact, my body was an orchestra of pain due to all the partially healed wounds and my period. And now all I could do was lie there an enjoy my cramps. I felt strange though. Hot all over, and then a headache that grew from minor to massive over the course of an hour or so. It hurt so much that it overrode the pain from everything else. I figured that I'd finally picked up an infection and was about to die (and really, that that point I wouldn't have minded). After awhile though the pain faded and light slowly crept into my world of darkness. Somehow, I was seeing again, although it was an odd black & white vision. And I could feel my eyes were still closed. In fact, I could see that my eyes were covered in bandages as my viewpoint shifted to a few feet over my head. (I had finally manifested powers, something I had been dreaming about ever since I understood how it worked. I think I would have appreciated it more if had happened weeks earlier, when I still had all my parts.) I got a good look at myself for the first time since this nightmare had started.
I looked so small and frail. I'd never been a very big girl to begin with, in spite of my athletic accomplishments, but reduced to just a torso and a head, I was tiny. I was so thin my ribs were showing, as I hadn't been able to eat more than broth since I lost my tongue. My head and eyes were swathed in bandages, as were my hips, chest, and shoulders. My cheeks were sunken and my chin almost disappeared when I closed my mouth, due to the missing teeth. All the bandages had bloodstains on them. I looked like the victim in one of those crappy indie torture-porn films. It was like Dr. Jigsaw didn't know how to stop taking pieces once he'd started.
I noticed that I was strangely dispassionate as I looked down on my body. All the despair, depression, hysteria and anger that had been washing over me in succession for the last few months felt muted. The pain of my body was just another sensory input, not something that continually shoved itself into the forefront of my perceptions. I relaxed and let my viewpoint slide down into my body so that I was looking out through the ruins of my eyes, and it all came crashing back to me. All the emotions and all the pain. I lay there and whimpered for a few minutes, then forced my perceptions back out of my body and watched things for awhile, getting used to this new state of being. I noticed that my body stiffened up when I was like this, instead of relaxing like you would expect.
After awhile, the good doctor came in and changed my IV bags. He also checked my bandages, fed me some broth, and arranged the sheets to cover me better. He looked like he'd aged thirty years overnight. Then he sat down beside his son's bed and started to cry, asking Paul for forgiveness. I think that whatever madness had gripped him was slowly starting to fade, not that it was doing me any good at this point. He left shortly there after, his hands shaking and muttering to himself.
I fell into an exhausted slumber at this point, and had a nightmare with floating scalpels, saws, knives, guillotines, and various other blades circling around me, cutting bits off. I jerked awake, moaning in terror. And realized that my hospital bed had been destroyed. My viewpoint shifted again, and I looked down on the remains of the bed. The straps, sheets, bedding, mattress, and machinery of the hospital bed had all been shredded and sent flying in a circle away from my body, and I was now laying on the floor, in nothing but my bandages. Smoke drifted up from the bed, as the wiring for the electric motor came in contact with the shredded sheets.
I heard footsteps coming towards the door of the room, and dropped back into my body. Mixed terror and hope flooded my mind, and my heart was beating like a trip-hammer. I desperately started wiggling, trying to get away from there. Suddenly I shot across the floor like a rocket, an inch off the ground, dragging one of the nylon straps from the bed with with me as I passed over it. I realized that I could feel the texture of the carpet through the belt buckle, even though it was trailing a foot behind me. Somehow I was treating it like it was an extension of me, and I could feel what it touched. Still trying to deal with these strange new sensations, I tucked myself behind a cabinet in a corner as the door opened. My viewpoint shifted again, and I could see around the edge of the cabinet even though I was completely concealed by it. I could also feel the drywall behind me, and somehow, the support beam directly behind the drywall.
I... I don't have a good explanation for what happened next. I mean, obviously I was severely traumatized. But I've never been a particularly violent person, never had any revenge fantasies (well, I'd recently had few involving Dr. Jigsaw, but still), or particularly enjoyed gory films. But somehow I went from slasher movie victim to horror movie monster.
I don't think I was entirely sane. I remember what happened clearly, I just don't remember how I decided to do some the things I did, or how I felt as I did them. In my memories, it's like someone else was doing them as I watched. I'm not trying to justify what happened, just trying to set the record straight.
The doctor entered, but this time I could see that Dr. Jigsaw was back in control after his breakdown earlier. No shaking hands, and his eyes looked calm and serene once again. He had a surgical mask on, and a scalpel in his left hand and a syringe in his right hand. His eyes widened as he looked at the remains of the bed, one of the IV bag's dripping fluid from a torn IV line.
He spoke, his voice as soothing and paternal as ever, "My dear girl, where are you? You'll get hurt rolling around on the floor. I'm so sorry for what you've been through. Just few more procedures and it will be all over. Then you will see that it's all been for the best."
I must have made a noise of some kind, because his head whipped around to look in my direction. He walked over to that corner of the room, searching for me. I could feel my heart hammering in my chest, although from my out of body viewpoint it seemed like a distant concern.
He missed me behind the cabinet at first and when he turned his back, I shot up the wall. Somehow, I was holding onto the support beam through the drywall, and rapidly climbing it. The drywall cracked and powdered in my wake as I reached through it, leaving an obvious trail behind me up the wall. Then I was hanging from the ceiling, the nylon strap writhing under me like a tentacle, orienting the buckle like it was a stinger.
He spun around at the sound of the cracking drywall, then stared up at me on the ceiling, a look of confusion on his face. I struck out with the nylon strap, the buckle smashing the back of the hand that was holding the scalpel. As he dropped the scalpel, the buckle whipped around and intercepted it, and somehow, I was holding the scalpel with the end of the buckle, as if it were welded to it. He seemed frozen in shock.
I could hear my voice, sounding strangely distorted, moaning "Blood for blood" as I whipped the scalpel across his throat. It seemed to be coming from me, although my mouth didn't open and my lips didn't move. A gout of blood shot out, but as it hit the scalpel I could suddenly feel the blood, feel it its warmth, feel it sliding out of his throat. And I grabbed it just as I had the scalpel. Suddenly I was pulling the blood out of the wound in his throat, faster than it could flow out on its own. It left him in a torrent, then it flowed up the nylon strap and formed a liquid looking arm at my right shoulder. The blood never quite touched me, the arm ending about half an inch from the bandages on my shoulder. I waggled my new index finger at him in admonishment.
Dr. Jigsaw made a kind of wet whistling noise and clutched at his throat, still staring at me in shock.
I heard my voice again, although again I felt like it was someone else was doing the talking. "Pain for pain."
The arm of blood suddenly collapsed and flowed down the nylon strap, and I could feel the strap being pulled apart into individual threads, coated in blood. They snapped out in a dozen different wetly glistening strings, wrapping around him at his shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles. I felt a sudden spastic jerk ... and his limbs were all neatly sliced off, falling to the floor in pieces. I released the blood and nylon threads, and it fell to the floor in a giant puddle next to Dr. Jigsaw's torso.
I'm pretty sure he died at that point. At least, I hope he did for his sake. And for Paul's sake, who had been watching this scene play out helplessly from his bed. He was making his low moan again, not that I could blame him. I was moaning too. More smoke was coming from the remains of my bed, but I ignored it for now.
I slid back down the wall and across the floor, skimming an inch or so off the surface yet able to feel the wall and the carpet beneath me. I stopped over the pile of Dr. Jigsaw parts and assembled myself some arms and legs. I now looked like a particularly fresh and gruesome zombie, all bloody bandages with arms and legs that didn't match my body. I was standing upright now, much taller than I had every been in my life. Even though they had been in pieces, I was somehow holding them in place, still not quite touching me. Yet I could feel what the hands touched. I flexed my new fingers in front of me, getting used to them. Then I staggered over to the door and opened it, looking outside the room for the first time in many weeks.
Beyond it was an utterly mundane, if rather short, hospital corridor, with three doors on either side and a set of elevator doors at the other end. I glanced in them as I went by. One was a small but well equipped operating room. I didn't remember it, but I was sure that I had spent a lot of time in there. Another was a storeroom of medical supplies, and looked seriously depleted. The next was some sort of conference or planning room. It had pictures and x-rays of me all over the walls, marked with dotted lines and notes. From the pictures that were on the central board, it looked like my nose and ears were planned for the next surgery. Another room had monitors and recording equipment, with all the other rooms displayed on the screens. The last two were a bathroom and a pantry/kitchenette. Then the elevator. Which of course had a security pad and required you to enter a code in order to summon it. A code which Dr. Jigsaw could no longer give me. The elevator doors also had some glowing red symbols and odd patterns etched on them, which was really strange as everything else still looked black and white to me.
Around that time the fire alarm went off. And some sort of noxious gas started coming out of the ceiling. I desperately felt around the elevator door, trying to find a way to open it. I moved my viewpoint through the door, and could see the locking bars that held it shut. I was able to get a grip on them inside the door somehow, and shove them out of the way. The doors slid open, revealing the bottom of an elevator shaft, but no elevator. I looked up, but couldn't really see that far. Whatever I was using instead of my eyes didn't seem to require light, but it didn't have as much range as normal sight either. But my way out was before me. Then I remembered Paul. Either the fire or the gas would kill him if I left him there.
I ran back down the hall in a kind of lurching run, still not used to my comparatively huge new legs, and found my bed and one wall burning fiercely, and fumes filling the room. The gas didn't seem to be having much effect on the fire. Maybe it was defective or something. I went to Paul's bed. I realized that I couldn't carry all his life support equipment. I'd just have to hope he lasted long enough for me to find someone. I suspected that I knew what was at the top of the elevator shaft, and if I was right he would have a chance.
"Paul, if you can hear me, I'm going to try and get you out of here." Once again, I was talking despite my lack of tongue or working vocal chords. And without moving my lips either. Jamie Harding, master ventriloquist. Except at this point I looked more like the puppet.
Removing his various tubes and IV's was easier than I thought it would be. I just mentally "grabbed" them as I touched them and was able make them remove themselves. Then I grabbed him under the shoulders and started dragging him back to the elevator, his back against my chest. He didn't weigh that much more than I did, he was so thin. I noticed that Paul had on loose shorts and a T-shirt under the hospital blankets. While I'd been naked under mine. Figures.
Then I realized I could feel his heart and lungs working with that peculiar new sense of touch I had. And then I felt them slow and stop. Instinctively, I let go of my Dr. Jigsaw arms and legs (they promptly collapsed into a pile of bloody chunks), and grabbed Paul's entire body instead. I looked like some kind of pale slug or leech attached to his back, but I was able to control his limbs. And then I was controlling his heart and lungs, and everything else as well. I somehow got his heart pumping again, in sync with mine. Then his lungs, also in sync with my breathing. Then made sure the blood was flowing to all his extremities. Jamie Harding, human life support unit.
Once I could feel all his organs working and blood flowing, I had him stand up and stagger down the hall on his spindly legs. Somehow I made his wasted legs strong enough to hold us. But then, I had just been walking on legs made of unattached body parts, so it wasn't really that surprising. I was hurrying because that gas smelled really foul, and I was getting light headed.
We made it to the elevator shaft, and I tried to figure a way to get us both up it. I couldn't seem to do the "stick to the wall" trick I was doing earlier, at least not with his arms and legs. I eventually had him turn around so my back was touching one of the walls, then released his arms and legs so they were hanging loose. I was then able to grab the wall and start pulling us up while keeping his heart and lungs working. Which was much harder than it sounds, as it required me to concentrate on two different tasks at once. I'm still not sure how I did it. I just remember being worried that I was either going to drop him, or let his heart stop beating. It may seem strange, but it had become important to me that he make it out as well. He'd been just as much a prisoner of his father's madness as I was, and I wanted him to survive it too. Call it my last act of defiance against Dr. Jigsaw.
Fortunately, it wasn't a long distance up the shaft, only 20 or 30 feet. The elevator car was blocking our way, but the gap between the back of the elevator and the back of the shaft was just big enough for us to squeeze past. If either one of has had been more than skin and bones at that point, we wouldn't have made it. Once past the elevator I was able to let go of the wall and have him sit on top of the elevator while I rested a moment. I was feeling weak and shaky, as if I'd played a full game of soccer without eating or hydrating properly.
After a few minutes, I felt a bit better. I was able to find the access hatch on the top of the elevator, open it, and then take control of all Paul's limbs again and drop us inside. Then I had to mess with the doors again to force them open, because the "open door" button wouldn't work. The elevator door had some sort of complicated locking mechanism, but being able to "see" all the moving parts made it relatively easy job to force the lock. Once the elevator door was open, I had to do the same thing to open the door to the room beyond. Jamie Harding, master locksmith.
It looked like a medical storage room of some sort, with racks of clear plastic tubs full of IV bags and medical tubing. Paul and I shambled out, and the door closed behind us, looking like an empty section of wall when it closed. We stumbled around until we found the door to the room, which was also locked. I had to do my telekinetic lock pick trick again, and then we were in another hallway, this one much longer than the one we'd been in previously. I slowly walked us down the hallway, hoping that whoever I encountered would be friendly and not part of some cult of Dr. Jigsaw or something. I may have been getting a little paranoid and loopy at that point.
We soon encountered a young guy in hospital scrubs, who saw us down the hall and came hurrying over.
"Hey! Patients aren't supposed to be down here.. Oh my god, what happened to you young man?"
"There's two of us, we need help, he needs life support, I need everything else. I'm Jamie Harding and this is Paul Azken. Please help us." I think the disembodied girls voice freaked him out more than anything, although me raising the bandaged ruin of my face up over Paul's shoulder probably didn't help matters any. In any case, the guy turned white and took off running down the hall.
I sighed, then sat Paul down and just focused on keeping him alive for the time being. I decided we were less likely to get shot by whoever he brought back if we weren't lurching around like a palsied zombie. I was still keeping my viewpoint outside of my body, I needed the insulation from emotion and pain it granted me, or I think I would have passed out or started crying hysterically.
"It's OK Paul, we're going to make it. We'll be OK." I think was talking myself as much as him, but he gave me one of his little moans in response. I found it oddly reassuring.
I leaned forward slightly and rested my forehead against the back of his head as we waited. His skin felt warm against mine. After a minute I thought I heard a boy's voice whispering something to me. Just as I tried to focus on it, the orderly came back with two armed guards, a couple of nurses, a doctor, and a gurney.
I spoke up again as they came close, but stayed tucked behind Paul this time. "Please help us. We're both really hurt, but he needs life support equipment."
The doctor waived the guards back and approached us. "I'm Dr. Fielding. Who are you? I only see one person."
"I'm Jamie Harding. He's Paul, you can't see me because I'm behind him. Please, he needs a help."
"Jamie Harding? The kidnap victim? How did you get here?"
"Dr. Jigsaw's been keeping us in your basement. Are you going to help Paul or not? I don't know how much longer I can keep him alive."
Dr. Fielding frowned at us a moment, then gestured to the orderly and the two nurses. "Get him up on the gurney and to an examination room. We'll get this sorted out after we take care of him... and her."
One of the nurses must have been fresh out of nurse school, because she fainted when she saw the bloody and bandaged mess that was me, clinging to Paul's back like a slug. What a lightweight.
The other nurse and the orderly just kind of widened their eyes, then quickly and professionally picked up Paul and put him on the gurney, laying him on his side with me still clinging to his back.
They didn't believe me about Paul at first, but after they separated us and he started dying right in front of them, they let me stay with Paul until they got his life support set up properly.
They also didn't believe me about the hidden elevator and secret underground operating room in their basement, but I wouldn't let them touch me or inject me with anything until I'd shown it to them (or until I made them chase me down the hall to hidden elevator door if you believe their "official" version of events). I couldn't actually bring myself to go back down the elevator shaft, but I showed them were it was and got the door open. After that, I made them call my parents and the authorities. (I wasn't nearly as calm and collected as I make it sound here, but that's the benefit of being the one telling the story.)
Then I let them put me in a hospital bed, and a nurse came in to change my bandages and give me a sponge bath. It must have looked pretty bad because the nurse started quietly crying before she was done. Another nurse was photographing my injuries under the bandages as she worked. She looked pretty ill by the end as well. At least they were able to get me a hospital gown, a clean pair of panties, and some sanitary napkins. After they finished, I finally let my perceptions slide back into my body, and then everything I'd done in the past hour hit me. I started sobbing myself, making pathetic moaning noises as I did so. (I really hate how I sound when I cry now.) Then I fell into an exhausted slumber.
I woke when I heard the sound of my mothers voice on the other side of the wall, loudly demanding to be let in to see me. Apparently I'd acquired guards outside my door sometime while I slept, because they were arguing with her. (I'm guessing this happened after they found what was left of Dr. Jigsaw.) I could hear my dad's voice as well, although he was speaking too low for me to make out the words. I decided to let them know I was awake before my mom hurt someone.
"Mom? Is that you?" I called out loud enough to be heard through the door.
"Jamie! I'm coming honey! Get out of my way you cretins!" There was the sound of a muffled struggle on the other side of the door, then the door opened and my mother rushed in, my dad right behind her, looking a little embarrassed. I could see one of the guards flat on his ass and the other holding his ribs. It was good to know that my Mom hadn't changed.
My mom is Sharon Harding. She is a short woman with mousy brown hair and hazel eyes, but somehow her force of personality makes her seem much larger. She met Dad when he rescued her from a burning building, then tracked her down in his civilian identity to ask her out. They were married six months later, and divorced eight years after that. Mom doesn't hate him or anything, but the one time I asked her about the divorce she said that Dad was a super hero first and a husband second and she wouldn't settle for second place.
Mom did her best raising me alone. By day she worked as a paralegal and sold real estate. But after school she became a true soccer mom. She drove me to every event, rooted for me louder than anyone else, and kept all my trophies in the living room. And in return, I did my best to be the girl she wanted. It wasn't a hardship she loved buying me clothes and makeup, and I loved wearing them. I was pretty and I knew it, and Mom liked showing me off to her female friends. When I wasn't practicing we watched movies and went shopping together. She even took me to get the butterfly tattoo on my ankle because she wanted to make sure I got it done at a safe place. I was trying so hard to be the child both my parents wanted. My grades weren't the best, but they weren't bad either. Mom always made sure to celebrate every hard fought B+ with me. Dad always wondered why I didn't get more A's. She's my best friend, and she's always been there for me. And heaven help you if get between her and her little girl.
On impulse, I slid the sheets off so that my parents had full view of what had been done to me. My dad stopped dead in his tracks, staring in at me horror, then a look of guilt and shame came over his face. My Dad looked... old. And his eyes were haunted. He was supposed to be the hero, the person who rescue people in need. But he hadn't been able to do anything to help his only daughter when she needed him the most.
Mom never hesitated, just rushed to the bed and gathered me in her arms, crying.
"Oh my poor baby, what did he do to you? I missed you so much."
I used the top sheet on the bed to form makeshift arms and hugged her back fiercely. "He hurt me Momma... but I did s-something bad to him." I couldn't help choking up at the last bit as I remembered what I'd done to Dr. Jigsaw.
Then she just whispered, "It's OK sweetie. I love you, I love you, I love you." As she rocked me back and forth, I could feel her tears landing on my cheeks. My shoulders and hips hurt where they rested against her, but I didn't care.
My Dad hesitated as he watched us, like he didn't know if he would be welcome if he came any closer. So I made one of my sheet-arms extra long and pulled him into the hug as well. He was still my Dad, after all. It didn't fix the problems that still lay unspoken between us, but it was a start.
He allowed himself to be pulled in, and was soon crying as well, "I'm sorry. This was all my fault. I'm so sorry honey."
I was crying as well at this point, soaking the bandages over my eye sockets, happy that the nightmare was finally over, "It's OK Dad, it doesn't matter, it's over now."
That should have been the end of it. The heroine is finally free and reunited with her family, the credits roll and everyone lives happily ever after.
But of course it wasn't
[Updated on: Sun, 16 December 2012 14:11]
|Chapter 2: Piece by Piece [message #61298 is a reply to message #61257 ]
||Sun, 08 July 2012 22:28
Registered: May 2011
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Chapter 2: Piece by Piece
(When bad things happen to bad people.)
A vast sadistic feast
The only way to exit
Is going piece by piece
You have no choice of life or death
My face you will not see
I'll rip your flesh 'til there's no breath
-Slayer: Piece by Piece
I was supposed to stay at the hospital for a few weeks to make sure I was recovering properly from too many surgeries spaced too closely together.
I didn't even make it one day.
After my dad left to talk to the police about something, my mother and I sat an talked for awhile until I fell asleep again.
You know how some hospitals bring in therapy dogs to cheer up the patients in recovery? Well an overly-enthusiastic volunteer thought a small wriggling puppy would be the perfect thing to cheer me up, and somehow talked her way past the guards at my door while I slept. (I don't know if they were new, or if she was just that cute. Whatever it was, I'm pretty they lost their jobs afterward.) My mother was at the hospital cafeteria getting some food and taking the opportunity to make some phone calls without waking me up.
I was having a nightmare that featured Dr. Jigsaw whispering "Blood for blood, pain for pain" into my ear while I desperately tried to find my missing limbs, when I was suddenly jerked awake by a flash of pain from my shoulder as something bumped it, and then I felt something wet and slimy on my face. I cried out in fear, and reacted before my sleep fogged mind could take in the situation. The volunteer was sprayed with blood and puppy parts as I shredded the sheets, the puppy, the mattress, and the bed. Basically everything within six inches of me, and everything beneath me as I dropped. I ended up on the floor, shaking and disoriented as my pulse pounded in my ears, having chewed a hole completely through the bed.
The girl, who was not much older than I was, looked down at her blood covered outfit, and started screaming; a moment later the guards burst in and started yelling and pointing their pistols around the room. The wrecked bed and circular pattern of blood spattered on the walls and ceiling did nothing to help the situation. I was still laying in the wreckage of the bed, but when I saw the guns being waved around I scooted back and hid behind the curtains.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry! I didn't mean to!" I babbled frantically, not wanting them to start shooting the room up. I briefly considered climbing up the wall and into the air vents, but those movies never ended well for the creatures in the vents. I decided to stay out of sight until everyone calmed down.
One of the guards hustled the volunteer out into the hallway, still crying.
The other one stayed near the the doorway, looking scared. He held his pistol both hands, still sweeping it back and forth across the room. "Don't try anything mutant! Just stay where you are."
"I won't! Please don't shoot!"
Dr. Fielding appeared in the doorway looking furious. "What's going on here? You are supposed to prevent people from disturbing my patient, not threaten her."
"Sir stay back, she's gone violent. She attacked a volunteer and killed the puppy she had with her."
"Why did you let her in the room in the first place? This patient has been heavily traumatized and is a newly manifested mutant. Which is why you were stationed at her door!"
"She looks like a cripple! How were we supposed to know? Janice just wanted to cheer her up with a puppy and she went berserk!"
Dr. Fielding got his first good look at the room at that point, "Good Lord! Jamie, are you alright?"
I was still out of site on the floor behind the curtains, and when I spoke my voice was shaking "I-I think so doctor. I'm not sure what happened."
Through the door I could see a nurse was taking the still hysterical "Janice" into a bathroom to get cleaned up. The other guard was talking to a short heavyset man with grey hair in a suit who was looking increasingly angry.
Then he came stomping over to my room and started shouting at Dr. Fielding, "I want that mutant out of my hospital this instant! It's already killed one of our doctors and assaulted one of our volunteers! There's no telling what harm it could do if it went after the patients!"
Dr. Fielding looked at the man in shock. "Director Engelton! She's here because of what Dr. Azken did to her, and she's our responsibility. She's been heavily traumatized and needs to be cared for."
Dr. Engleton glared back at him, "Our responsibility is to our patients and this hospital, and this mutant is a clear and present danger to both.
"Hey, I'm right here you jerk." I was shocked at how he was speaking about me. It was as if I wasn't a person anymore, but some kind of dangerous animal.
But things had changed. I was no longer a poor tortured kidnap victim. Now I was a dangerous mutant who couldn't control her powers and killed puppies. I'm nothing if not multi-faceted.
He flinched back at my voice, but didn't back down. "We are not equipped to care for potentially dangerous mutants. If you don't call the MCO to have her taken into custody, I will."
"You try that and I will sue this hospital down to the bedrock. You are not turning my daughter over to those thugs!" Suddenly my mom was there, looking a bit rumpled, and very angry. Her cell phone was in her hand and she spoke into it. "Carl they are want to turn her over to the MCO. Get down here now!"
On seeing Mom, I shot out from behind the curtain and she reached down to pick me up, cradling me in her arms again. I looked like a heavily bandaged infant with a big head in her arms, but I didn't care. The Director Engelton nearly jumped out of his skin.
While my mom and Director Engleton yelled at each other, Dr. Fielding had a gurney brought and soon I was laying on it while they cleaned up the room I had destroyed. I was so tired, and the sutures in my shoulders and hips were itching. I just wanted to go back to sleep, but they wouldn't put me in another room. I was laying in the gurney out in the hall with an IV in my shoulder. Mom sat with me, stroking my cheek under the watchful eyes of two armed guards until my Dad showed, accompanied by Detective Marlowe from the police department, and Agent Fairfax from the Department of Paranormal and Mutant Affairs. My Dad had contacted them as soon as he heard I'd been found.
Director Engelton showed up again as they came in, but before he could say anything, my dad got right in Director Engleton's face.
"What's this I hear about you calling the MCO on my daughter!" Dad sounded angrier than I'd ever heard him.
"You bastards let this happen in your hospital, and now you want to give her to the MCO so she can just disappear? I'll reduce this hospital to rubble if I see them anywhere near her, you hear me?"
Director Engelton turned white as a sheet, and sputtered "D-don't you threaten me! I have a responsibility to this hospital and it's patients. That mutant is dangerous, I won't have it in my hospital!"
Dad face twisted as he heard Director Engelton speak and he looked like he was about to lose it right there. He clenched and unclenched his hands as if he wanted to wrap them around Director Engelton's throat.
Director Engelton took a step back, looking like he thought he was about to die, but didn't back down. "Y-you lay a finger on me and I'll have you up on c-charges! I'm a respected member of this community, not some c-common criminal you can intimidate and th-threaten!"
Detective Marlowe put his hand on my Dad's shoulder, "Carl, calm down. This isn't helping. You're already on thin ice, it's only because of your long history of public service that you aren't in jail right now. Let us deal with this."
Agent Fairfax spoke up at that point. "Can we have her transferred to a different facility while I make arrangements for her long term care and treatment? It is clear that she is having some problems controlling her new abilities, but that can usually be fixed with some training and therapy."
Mom spoke up at that point, "What kind of 'arrangements' would those be? My daughter has been through enough, I won't have her hidden away in some government lab."
"It wouldn't be a government lab. There is a private organization that specializes in the care and treatment of mutants who can't control their abilities or need psychiatric care. It's called ARC. They are based out of New Hampshire, and they have no ties to the MCO."
"I've heard of ARC. They hold some of the most dangerous mutants in the country. You want to send my daughter there?" Dad sounded aghast.
Agent Fairfax glanced over at me, then said, "They can also help newly manifested mutants learn to deal with their abilities so they don't hurt themselves or other people. And they have some of the best therapists in the world when it comes to helping traumatized mutants adjust to their new circumstances. Let me make a few phone calls and set up a meeting so you can talk to a representative directly. They have a much better track record than the MCO when it comes to cases like this."
"I don't care where you take it, as long it is out of this hospital!" Director Engelbert earned a murderous glare from Dad with that.
"Hey! I'm not an 'it' and I'm a girl. And I don't want to stay in your crappy hospital anyway. Can't you just take me home Mom?"
Director Engelbert kind of flinched when he heard my voice and looked anywhere except at me. I've since learned that speaking without moving your lips or opening your mouth can really weird some people out, especially if they are already mutaphobic. I've had to learn to move my lips and jaw when I speak all over again, just to make it seem like I'm talking normally.
My mother frowned and looked away from me. "I'm afraid not sweetie. Dr. Fielding says you need hospital care. Don't worry, we'll work something out."
But it seemed that none of the other hospitals in the city wanted a patient who could freak out and destroy a hospital bed or injure or kill anyone touching her.
So I ended up going home with my Mom after all, while they tried to find another place that could take care of me until they made arrangements with ARC.
Before we left, I was able to talk Dr. Fielding into letting me to see Paul. So they put some cushions in a wheelchair so I could lay in it and wheeled me down to see Paul, accompanied by my mom and the ever present armed guards. They had him in his own room, hooked up to all the life support equipment. He looked so frail and thin, his limbs atrophied. But he opened his eyes when we came in and made that moaning noise of his when he saw me.
The nurse in the room seemed surprised "That's the most response we've had from him since he arrived!"
I extended my PK field over the chair wheels and rolled myself over to his bed, causing Dr. Fielding to start in surprise.
"Paul, it's me Jamie. I'm glad you're OK, but this is probably the last time we'll see each other. They say I can't stay at the hospital anymore, but don't worry they'll take care of you here. I'm so sorry for what happened...to both of us."
On impulse, I used the blanket they had over me to form an set of crude arms, and pulled myself over the side of the chair so I could give him a good bye kiss on the forehead. As my lips touched him, I started in surprise. I was hearing that boy's voice again. It was still faint, but now I could make it out.
"Thank you. "
"Oh my god! Paul, is that you?"
"Yes! I was right, you can hear me somehow! I thought I felt something before when you were on my back."
"Doctor Fairfield, he's awake!"
"Jamie, I'm so sorry about what my father did to you."
"It..it's not your fault Paul."
"He wasn't always like that, I swear. I think something happened to him when I was put into a coma that day. When I woke up, he was so different. He had me in that room, and just kept ranting about Rematch and Evilutionary...and then you."
I couldn't help it, I started crying again, tears dripping out from under my bandages and onto his forehead. I seemed to be crying a lot lately.
"Jamie, are you saying that you can communicate with Paul somehow?" Dr. Fielding was watching us with a look of puzzlement on his face.
"Um, yeah it looks that way. Only when my head is near his though."
"And he seems to be fully aware and at full mental capacity?"
"Yeah, I guess so. He's talking in complete sentences and everything." Paul blinked his right eye and moaned in agreement. I noticed something odd about his eyes, but I couldn't figure out what. I couldn't see color anymore, but they seemed to have a different texture than they had the last time I'd looked at them.
Dr. Fielding spoke excitedly, "This is great news! If he has recovered this much, it means that it's much more likely we'll be able to help him regain some measure of speech and mobility. I'll see if I can arrange to get a telepath in here to help him. His father was on the board of directors for the hospital, we'll make sure he's taken care of."
I stayed and talked with Paul for another 15 minutes or so. I wanted to stay longer, but I tired out very quickly. The nurse promised to take care of Paul for me, then my Mom wheeled me out of there and down to a waiting ambulance.
Dr. Fielding rode with us in the ambulance to my place, and helped Mom set up an portable hospital bed, antibiotic IV, and heart monitor. (It took several tries before I could relax enough for him to put the IV in, it kept bouncing off my PK field.) He said he was still worried about me getting an infection or going into shock from everything I'd been through. I was relieved to be at home again, but I was exhausted and hurting all over and really just wanted to sleep. Mom gave me some painkillers and I fell asleep as soon they finished setting up the bed. I learned later that Dr. Fielding wasn't supposed to be helping us as much as he was, but he seemed to feel a measure of personal responsibility for the way that Director Engelton had treated me.
The next few days passed in a fog for me, as I was asleep curled around a hot water bottle most of the time. I would wake up long enough to force down a protein shake or bowl of broth, since with my still painful gums and tongue nub I couldn't handle anything solid, and then go to sleep as my mother stroked my cheek or read to me. I managed not to destroy the bed during that time, probably because I could always hear my Mom or Dad nearby, talking to each other or someone on the phone. Dad visited often, although his visits were short. It was nice hearing both their voices together again, without them arguing. Mom was on the phone with some lawyer a lot, she was suing the hospital. I was too out of it to pick up the details.
Then one evening a rock came through our living room window, accompanied by a burning H on the front lawn. I would have been more annoyed at how cliche the whole thing was if I hadn't been startled awake by the breaking glass and ended up on the floor amidst the ruins of my bed once again. Mom got me calmed down and wrapped me in a blanket on the couch, then called the police. Apparently there were already news vans in the area because I heard a live news report mentioning it on the TV before Mom turned it off.
Detective Marlowe showed up a short time later, along with my Dad and the DPA guy. I pretended to be asleep so I could listen in while they talked about me in the dining room. My weird new vision let me watch them through the doorway, even though I was laying on the couch with my back to them.
"What do you mean, you have no suspects? There was a burning H on my front lawn! Who else do you think it was!" Mom was livid, and nearly shouting at them.
"Ms. Harding, I'm well aware of the active Humanity First group in Detroit, and this is completely out of character for them. They aren't like some of the southern Humanity First groups you hear about. They would know that the negative publicity from targeting the daughter of a famous hero who was recently the victim of a highly publicized kidnapping would far outweigh any benefits from this action. In fact, the main organization is already issuing carefully worded denials." Agent Fairfax from the DPA was dressed in a neatly pressed dark blue suit, and spoke in a calm tone of voice, sounding annoyingly reasonable. He was looking at something displayed on his phone as he spoke.
Detective Marlowe spoke up at this point, "What's more, it seems that Dr. Azken had digital cameras recording everything that went on down in that secret surgery of his. We believe that someone got to it before our forensic team showed up on the scene, because the video of Jamie, er... taking the doctor out, has been leaked. The major news stations are holding off on playing it at our request, but it's already showing up on certain websites. What's more, that "Janice" girl who startled Jamie with the puppy has been giving interviews with some of the more biased news channels, claiming that Jamie attacked her, and killed the puppy to do some sort of ritual with a circle of blood. And one of the guards at the door is corroborating her story. Something unusual is going on."
"You think someone behind the scenes is setting this up? But why would they want to target Jamie? She's only thirteen for God's sake. Hasn't she been through enough?" That was my Dad, his voice sounding unusually harsh and angry.
I could feel tears dampening the bandages over my eyes as I realized that the nightmare hadn't ended with the death of Dr. Jigsaw.
Detective Marlowe sounded a bit hesitant as he replied, "Carl... you have made a several enemies over the years. Perhaps one or more of them are attempting to take advantage of the situation, now that it's publicly known that Jamie is the daughter of Rematch."
"So this is my fault? Just like her being kidnapped? Well I'm tired of feeling helpless. If someone is behind this, I'll find them if I have to shake down every lowlife in the city." My Dad was still in his Rematch costume, and looked like he still hadn't caught up on lost sleep. His eyes had bags under them and his cheeks had stubble on them. He stood up and stepped out of my line of sight.
"Dammit Carl, you can't just start roughing people up for information!" There was a banging noise as the back door opened and the muffled whoosh of my Dad taking flight as he left.
I could hear my Mom sigh quietly in exasperation after he left. She was resting her head in one hand, her elbow propped up on the dining room table.
Agent Fairfax asked, "Is he always that ... impulsive?"
Detective Marlowe shook his head. "Not since he first started doing the hero thing. He was pretty rough at first, but eventually became a valuable asset to the community. The kidnapping hit him hard. But if he keeps this up, we are going to have to bring him in. He's rapidly burning away all the good will he's built up over the last decade."
"Well, that still leaves you with a decision to make about Jamie, Ms. Harding. It's obviously not safe here for her. I can make arrangements to have ARC send a jet out to pick her up by tomorrow morning if you like." The DPA agent had the tone of someone who had said this several times already and didn't have much hope for a different answer.
"Not until my lawyer can look over the forms to make sure there's no way you can take her away from me or experiment on her once they have her. I'm not losing my daughter again, not to anyone."
"I think I have an idea that will provide Jamie with a safe place to stay, a place where she wouldn't pose a danger to anyone if she has another episode. We can put her into protective custody at the Michigan Paranormal Detainment Facility until you get the details of the transfer to ARC hammered out to your satisfaction." Detective Marlowe sounded slightly hesitant as he suggested it.
"You want to put my thirteen year old daughter in a prison for mutant criminals? In what universe does this sound like a good idea to you?"
"She won't be with the general population, she'll be in the infirmary. The other prisoners won't be informed. The MPDF has the facilities to treat her and can contain her if she panics and starts breaking things again. And she'll be safe from whoever appears to be targeting her out here. There's only so much we can do to protect her here." Detective Marlow was almost pleading with Mom.
"That...actually doesn't sound unreasonable as a short term solution." Agent Fairfax sounded mildly impressed.
"Yes it does! You are talking about locking my daughter up in a prison with convicted felons! That is not reasonable!"
"Look, I'm trying to give you as much leeway here as I can, but the truth is that the DA is being pressured to bring charges against your daughter, as a mutant who has killed and caused property damage. He'd rather not do that, as it would be very bad publicity in the long run, but there are some highly mutaphobic people in this city's power structure. This way we can show that we are taking any possible threat she might pose seriously, while getting her the medical care and protection she needs. Besides, it's not like this is a supermax prison, most of the mutants incarcerated there are not much above baseline in ability."
I slid off the couch, still wrapped in the blanket, and quietly entered the kitchen, skimming an inch off the floor.
"No matter how you rationalize it, you are still talking about putting my little girl in a prison with convicted felons! She's still recovering from what that butcher did to her!"
I "grabbed" a chair with my PK field and pulled myself up and into the seat, holding myself up at the height I would have been if I still had legs. As they all turned to look at me in shock, I said "It's OK Mom. I'll go. I don't want to be responsible if they decide to firebomb the house or something. "
"No honey, you don't have to do this. We'll figure something else out."
"No, really. I'll go. I've already destroyed the bed the hospital sent, what if I start destroying the rest of the house, or have an episode when you are touching me?" My voice broke as I said the last bit, tears leaking out from under my bandages. "I'm dangerous now..."
"Oh, sweetie." Mom got up and carefully wrapped her arms about me, and I relaxed my PK field enough for her to give me a gentle hug.
"Fine then. You will just have to make sure that there are accommodations for two in whatever cell you are putting her in, because I'm going with her." Mom had that hard, determined note in her voice that indicated her mind was made up.
"Ms. Harding, it's going to be hard enough keeping her presence away from the rest of the prisoners, much less two of you."
"Then you will just have to work harder. I'm not leaving my daughter alone in a place like that. I want that Dr. Fielding to check out the medical facilities at this prison of yours, if he's willing. So far he's the only doctor who's made any real attempt to help Jamie. And if you need a reason to put me in there, I'll happily punch you in the face and pretend I'm a mutant. "
Have I mentioned I love my Mom? Because I do.
"Ah...That won't be necessary. Let me make a few calls." Detective Marlowe pulled out his cell phone and stepped away.
"I'm afraid that I need to take my leave now. Let me know when you and your lawyer are available to meet the ARC representative Ms. Harding and I'll make the arrangements. Jamie, it was a pleasure meeting you again." Agent Fairfax gave me a friendly nod as he made his exit.
Mom sat with me for awhile, holding me as we talked until Detective Marlowe came back.
"OK, it's all set. Pack a bag, they're expecting us. Dr. Fielding is going to meet us there."
"What, now?" Mom asked him in surprise.
"Already?" I echoed.
"Yes, now. Whoever is behind this has been moving very swiftly, it's only been a few days and already they have made several moves and it escalated to violence tonight. Maybe they're on a deadline of some kind. And with Rematch off rattling cages, he may push them into escalating it even further. I want you somewhere safe while we figure this out. Putting you where they can't get you should throw a wrench into whatever is going on."
Mom resisted for a few minutes, but finally gave in.
And that was how I found myself wrapped in blankets in the back of a police cruiser, being taken to the Michigan Paranormal Detention Center. It was a prison designed to hold low to moderately powered convicts of all types (the heavy-hitters are all held in federal prisons), not just mutants. It was 30 miles outside of Detroit, and had convicts from several surrounding states as well as Michigan's home grown villains. I was to be the youngest person ever incarcerated there, even temporarily. Another addition to my ever growing list of achievements.
I was snuggled against my mother and dozing off when Detective Marlowe spoke from the front seat.
"I know you are going through a rough patch right now Jamie, but don't worry. Stick it out, and you'll see that the future can be glorious."
Even as I drifted off to sleep, something about that sent a chill down my spine.
[Updated on: Sun, 05 August 2012 15:40]
|Re: Falling to Pieces [message #61326 is a reply to message #61257 ]
||Mon, 09 July 2012 10:56
Registered: May 2011
Location: Phoenix, AZ
I woke up again when we reached the prison, feeling groggy. Mom felt me stir and squeezed my shoulder just above the bandages, giving me a wink when she realized I was awake.|
Dr. Fielding was already at the security checkpoint, looking annoyed as the guards inspected his Porsche. He spoke up when he noticed Detective Marlowe. "Why am I here this late in the evening instead of in my bed where I belong? All you said on the phone was that it was an emergency and not to tell anyone where I was going."
"Ah, well your expertise was requested by an interested party." With that Detective Marlowe nodded in the direction of my mom.
"I'm sorry Dr. Fielding , I didn't realize he would drag you out here tonight, I thought we would be doing this in a day or so. They want to put Jamie in the prison for protective custody, and I wanted you to check out the medical facilities before I agreed to it. This is all happening much faster than I'm comfortable with." Mom sounded both apologetic and annoyed as she spoke.
Dr. Fielding sighed, "Well, I'm here now. Let's go take a look."
"Thank you doctor, I appreciate this." said Detective Marlow.
With that, we all followed Detective Marlowe into the prison, accompanied by one of the guards. I was wrapped in blankets sitting in my wheelchair, my medical supplies stowed in a bag hanging from the back. I used my PK field to move the wheels as my mom walked on one side, Dr. Fielding on the other. I could see the guard watching me out of the corner of his eye while we walked. He was probably used to unusual inmates, but I guess a blind quadruple amputee wrapped in bandages and accompanied by her mother was pushing it even for him.
It was late enough that all the prisoners were in their cells and we were able to make our way to to the "special needs" infirmary on the second floor without meeting anyone other than the guards at a few checkpoints.
The MPDF had two completely independent infirmaries - one for prisoners who still had a baseline physiology and one for prisoners who had been warped by their powers and needed special care when injured. It also doubled as a high security ward when prisoners were in danger of being attacked while they were sick or injured.
They were taking me to the second infirmary because it had individual rooms that could be locked down in case of emergency, and medical Waldo's that could be operated from outside the room. Basically heavy duty isolation cells with high end medical equipment in them.
I know all this because Dr. Jansten (the prison doctor) explained it to us while she was showing the facilities to Dr. Fairfield. Despite his annoyance at driving fifty miles out of his way after leaving the hospital he took the vetting process seriously, asking her several probing questions and using a lot of medical jargon that went right over my head.
Eventually Dr. Fairfield was done checking out the equipment in the room they had prepared for me, and set up my IV and other minor medical equipment to his satisfaction. While my mother helped me get settled in he and Dr. Jansten left the room to discuss details about my care where I couldn't hear them. Probably warned her about my bed destroying nightmares or something. Normal thirteen year olds get things like bed-wetting or sleepwalking to be embarrassed about, but I've always been an overachiever.
As soon as the bed was prepared, mom pulled something unexpected out of her overnight bag. A white stuffed bear with half the fur on it's face and chest stained a light shade of purple.
"Mr. Cuddles? Mom! I'm thirteen. I haven't slept with my teddy bear in years." I could feel my cheeks getting hot as I flushed with embarrassment.
"I know, I know, but I thought you might want to make an exception just this once. But if you don't want him..."
"...Gimme." I used a blanket to form an arm and snatched Mr. Cuddles from her hands, snuggling with him under my cheek as I lay in the bed, his scent (a mix of fabric softener and grapes from the time I accidentally spilled grape juice on him) temporarily overriding the antiseptic smell of the room.
One of the prison staff had brought in an overstuffed chair for mom, placing it next to the bed and she sat down in it, pulling out her laptop to check e-mail.
"Thanks Mom." I murmured . She smiled and gave me a kiss on the cheek and that was the last thing I remembered as I drifted off to sleep again.
[Updated on: Sun, 05 August 2012 15:42]
|Re: Falling to Pieces [message #61600 is a reply to message #61257 ]
||Fri, 13 July 2012 14:03
Registered: May 2011
Location: Phoenix, AZ
OK, I guess the first thing you should know is that my name is Paul Azken, and yes I am the son of the now infamous Leo "Dr. Jigsaw" Azken. I'm not going to talk about what he did to Jamie Harding, I think more than enough has been said about that, and people should just leave her alone.
I will say that I loved my father, and I know he loved me, even if he didn't know how to express it. He was a very...rigid man, unbending in what he thought of as right and proper. My mother died in a car crash when I was three, and I was diagnosed with a degenerative genetic disease soon after, leaving him to try and raise me while still being a top transplant surgeon at Detroit Mercy Hospital.
I have a genetic disease called Friedreich's ataxia, which results in spinocerebellar degeneration. I'll spare you the medical jargon; basically parts of my brain and spine are slowly being worn away as my body overproduces a specific protein. I have a somewhat atypical manifestation of symptoms - so far no significant damage to my hearing or impaired speech, and my while my heart is weaker than normal it is not dangerously so. However, the damage to my sense of balance and ability to feel and control my legs has progressed faster than normal, resulting in my being wheelchair bound by the time I was twelve. I'm unlikely to live much past age thirty five.
My father sat me down and explained this to me when I was five, and told me that we were going to make the most out of the time I had. After that day I lived a very regimented life - a carefully balanced diet, weekly physiotherapy, and accelerated schooling with private tutors. I spent a lot of time at the hospital, frequently being tutored in my father's office while he was doing rounds.
That's part of the reason I was at the mall that day. I didn't have a lot of free time, but I usually spent it by volunteering at a local home for mentally and physically challenged individuals that operated near the hospital. Being around highly driven "Type A" people all day, every day is stressful. Helping out at the home was oddly relaxing, even if it wasn't easy . I couldn't do any heavy lifting, but I helped out in other ways. I seemed to have a knack for calming down the kids with problems that caused them to act out.
Besides, it looked good on my transcript. Even with my father planning to use his connections to get me on the fast track for early admission to a prestigious university, every little bit helped. With any luck, I would have been able to enter college at sixteen and graduate with a degree in mechanical engineering degree by age twenty, specializing in biomechanics. I would never be a surgeon like my father, but I could design mechanical aids and prosthetics for people in situations like mine. I hoped to have at least fifteen productive years before my disease progressed to far. Every aspect of my day to day life and my future achievements had been meticulously planned out and prepared for. Not many people can say that, much less a wheelchair bound fourteen year old. But all those plans and aspirations came crashing down in single afternoon at the mall.
We were on a field trip to the Red Oakes Mall when the Evilutionary attacked, targeting the group I was with. Rematch showed up to stop him and during the fight I got hit in the head and spine with metal shrapnel. It pierced my skull and sliced some blood vessels in my brain, triggering a stroke and then a deep coma, along with the damage to my spine that paralyzed me . (I learned all this later from the doctors who handled my case, the last thing I remember from that day was entering the mall with the rest of the group.)
I was in that coma for about four months, and even after I became aware of my surroundings again I was completely paralyzed. I soon realized that during that during my time as a vegetable my father had given up on me ever recovering, and...well, he went mad. I know because I was forced to watch as he slid deeper into madness and did those things you heard about. I can't blame Jamie for what she did, at that point I believe she was doing him a mercy. I don't think he would have been able to live with himself if he ever regained his sanity. At least, that's what I choose to believe.
I do know that Jamie saved my life that day. I have no way of proving it, but I'm also convinced that she somehow triggered my manifestation when she used her powers to keep me alive as she carried me out of that burning basement.
For a short period of time she was controlling my autonomic nervous system, somehow syncing it with her own, making my heart beat and my lungs work. Afterward I felt a tingle in my fingertips. A day after that, I was able to wiggle a fingertip, and blink or make incoherent sounds. After being completely paralyzed even that much was a miracle. On the second day my eyes changed color, from brown to a kind of dull metallic grey (I heard one of the nurses comment on my unusual eye color). On the third day I was able to make a fist with my right hand, although my left side was still paralyzed.
One of the nurses noticed, and they brought in a neurologist right away. They even brought in a motorized wheelchair fitted with life support equipment although I was told it would be weeks before I was recovered enough to actually use it. Later, my father's lawyer came in, and explained that my father had left a trust fund for me, money that couldn't be touched by any lawsuit brought against my father or the hospital. I wasn't sure how I felt about that, but it was better than being a charity case.
Then...I started understanding things. I've always been told I was smart, but now...now I understood how absurdly easy it would be improve most of the medical equipment in my room. All the life support equipment I was hooked up to...far too bulky and wasteful. I'd spent most of my life in and around hospitals, and had learned the basic functions of most the equipment, but now I understood on a visceral level how it worked and how inefficient it all was.
I lay there in my bed and mentally redesigned all of it from scratch, reducing the bulky heart/lung machines into a portable five pound device that could be fitted into a pouch and run off a wheelchair battery. Then I realized if I could make it even smaller and more energy efficient, they could run of my body's own bio-electric current. I even had an idea for bridging the gap across the damaged sections of my nervous system, which should give me back full use of my arms and speech...
For the next day or so I was lost in the wonder of my new found ability to understand technology, mentally redesigning everything I saw.
Amazing as that was, I still couldn't talk and typing out words on a keyboard was painfully slow. It made my situation almost unbearable - to have this new world of possibilities open before me, but still not able actually do anything about it. Dr. Fielding had mentioned getting a telepath in to see me, but so far nothing had materialized. I mentally gritted my teeth and focused on ways of fixing myself once I had the opportunity.
I woke up in the middle of the night when the door to my room opened, and Dr. Fielding was standing at the foot of my bed, a dazed look on his face and a syringe in his hand. He seemed to be arguing with someone I couldn't see.
"No, no, this isn't right....I can't do this..."
He stood there, his hand shaking as beads of sweat started rolling down his face.
"It's the only way...He said so...I have to do it..."
He stood there for several moments, tense and shaking, his clothes now soaked with sweat. Then something seemed to break inside him and he spoke again as he shuffled forward.
"The future is now...and the future will be glorious..."
What the hell? I could suddenly feel my heart pounding in my chest as I got a fresh reminder of exactly how helpless I was.
"Hnnnh?" Was the best I managed, but it was enough for him to focus on me momentarily, a look of despair in his eyes.
"He has Jamie...must finish what was started..."
What? What did he just say? Why was this happening?
"Hnnnh!" Yeah, I sure told him. I'd never felt so helpless...or so angry at the whole situation. It wasn't enough that I was crippled, but now someone was trying to kill or kidnap me, and "finish what was started" on Jamie?
I watched, terrified and helpless, as he slowly brought the syringe to my arm. Then I felt something change inside me ...like a switch had been flipped in my head, my whole worldview changed. I felt an overpowering surge of confidence and a sense of invulnerability. Unknown to me at the time, my eyes had changed color from a dull metallic grey to a bright chrome. Everything seemed so much clearer now. The fools thought I was helpless, but I would show them that I was not to be underestimated!
I realized that I could feel the individual molecules that made up the bed frame, and feel them move in response to my will. Seizing the moment, I cause the frame of the bed to extrude a metal wire into the electric motor that powered the bed, and a matching wire rose up to meet the tip of the syringe before it could touch my arm.
There was a spark, then his arm jerk and the syringe exploded as the current passed through it and into him. He stumbled against the bed and I had the wire touch his thigh, giving him a nasty shock and knocking him unconscious.
Now that I had disabled the fool, it was time to fix this annoying lack of mobility I had been saddled with. I mentally reviewed the plans I had made earlier for more efficient life support and dismissed them as short sighted and overly conservative. What had I been thinking? With my ability to mold metal and new found clarity of thought, I could do so much better. The plans for bypassing my damage nerves held promise, but were not nearly ambitious enough. Caution was for those who lacked confidence in their abilities. I spent several minutes reworking the design before I was satisfied.
I smiled and touched the frame of the bed again, causing the component molecules to rearrange themselves and flow up my arm, creating a fractal web of circuitry covering my still paralyzed left side. Soon I had my left arm and the left side of my face twitching as I used a rather ingenious application of induction to trigger nerve impulses in my paralyzed body, bypassing my damaged nerves and spinal cord.
I soon needed more material, and a few minutes later all the medical equipment near the bed was in ruins (I made sure to create a bypass circuit so the monitors the nurses stations didn't sound any alarms as the equipment went offline). I appropriated most of their internal components to finish my newly created masterpiece, the artificial external nervous system. It was a thing of beauty, elegant in it's simplicity and infinitely versatile in it's applications. I decided to call my creation the neuromesh. When I was finished, the neuromesh covered my entire torso, both legs, my left arm, and the left side of my face.
I raised my formerly paralyzed left hand and flexed it, observing the web of fractal circuit patterns that covered it and noticing that my fingernails were now covered in chrome.
I laughed in triumph. They had failed to stop me. My whole life, they had been slowly killing me, suffocating me with their rules and routines. So it had come to this, a clumsy and overt attempt on my life. And now they had Jamie, the one person who had treated me like a human being even when I was at my most helpless? Oh, this would not stand. It was time to to make them pay.
I swung my legs out of the bed...and immediately fell to the floor. In spite of the neuromesh, my genetic disorder still prevented my brain from creating or interpreting the proper signals for controlling my legs. A minor setback, nothing more. I added it to the mental list of projects I was already forming in my head. Since I was on the floor, I reached over and patted down Dr. Fielding, getting his smart phone, wallet and keys.
"Sorry old man, but right now I need these more than you do. " My voice sounded strange in my ears, it being the first time I've been able to speak in nearly seven months. Then I noticed the fancy digital watch on his left wrist and snagged that as well. I'd always wanted a watch like that, but my father said such things were frivolous when you had a cell phone. I left him his hospital pager.
I applied my superior intellect to the situation for a moment, then decided I needed more information before deciding how to proceed. Hmm... I would want to negotiate from a position of power. I grabbed his wrists and held them to the remains of the bed frame, causing more filaments of metal to extrude and coil around them, effectively shackling him.
Then I used some springs from the mattress, part of the table tray, and a solenoid to create a spring launcher, and mounted it on the back of a wheelchair, crafting a turret that would pop up over the shoulder when needed, but would otherwise fold flat against the back of the chair. I then took the motor from the bed and incorporated into the chair as well. That done, I crafted a modified bit of neuromesh, wadded it into a ball and loaded it into the spring launcher, attaching it with a cord from the curtain. And I added some blue and red LED's to the wheels and etched circuit designs into the frame, because aesthetics are important.
I maneuvered myself into the chair and strapped myself in. Looking at the clock, I saw that fifteen minutes had passed, from concept to design to finished product. Truly, a trivial undertaking for one of my genius.
I prodded Dr. Fielding awake as I checked the call history on his phone, and saw that he had spoken with a Detective Marlowe earlier, as well as Sharon Harding.
"Who did this to you? And where is Jamie now?" I asked him as soon as his eyes opened.
"The future is now..." he mumbled, still in a daze.
"And the future is glorious, yes I know. Let's move beyond that now. Where is Jamie?" I said in annoyance. Seriously, a little mind control and one electric shock and he's just a drooling mess.
"Jamie? He has her now. At the mutant prison...where he made me...made me...Did I kill you? I was supposed to kill you..." His entire body was shaking at this point, as if he was on the verge of a seizure. "You have to die... or Jaime won't make the correct choice. Didn't want to kill you...but had too...then he would release me..."
"Who are you talking about? Who is after Jamie?"
"He..He..." At this point his eyes rolled up into his head as he started convulsing, then passed out.
"...Fine, don't tell me." Still, I had enough information to work with. The "mutant prison" could only be the Michigan Paranormal Detainment Facility. Why Jamie would be there I had no idea, but if Jamie needed help, she was going to get it. Whoever was behind this had seriously underestimated me, and Jamie too.
I used his phone to call Sharon Harding, but there was no answer. So I tried the Detective Marlowe next. He picked up after the second ring.
I heard him say in a dull monotone "The future is now..." and wait for a response.
Thinking quickly, I adjusted the neuromesh over my throat that was controlling my vocal chords, deepening my voice.
"...And the future is glorious."
"Have you succeeded in the task given to you?"
It had worked. These fools had no idea who they were dealing with.
There was a pause, then his voice was muffled as he spoke to someone else on his end. "It is done."
Then someone else took the phone, and I heard a man's voice, smooth and confident.
"Dr. Fielding, I have one more task for you, and then you will be given your release. You are no doubt feeling overwhelmed with remorse over what you have just done. You need to go to the top floor of the hospital and throw yourself off the edge of the building. It really is the only way you can make up for the heinous act you just committed. Do you understand?"
I stared the phone a second, then tried to make my voice as monotone as Detective Marlowe's had been.
"Good, good. The future is glorious."
"...and the future is now."
The man hung up as soon as I gave the proper response.
So, they controlled some or all of the police force. This changed things drastically. It meant I was actually justified in taking the course of action I had already been going to take. I smiled and rubbed my hands together. This was going to be fun.
[Updated on: Fri, 13 July 2012 14:03]
|Re: Falling to Pieces [message #62259 is a reply to message #61257 ]
||Mon, 23 July 2012 16:04
Registered: May 2011
Location: Phoenix, AZ
I made sure that Dr. Fielding wasn't in danger of choking to death (leaving a dead body behind me would make it far more difficult to get anyone to listen to me), then rolled out of the room. It being after 3:00 AM, the hospital was nearly deserted. I got a few strange looks from passing nurses, but no one thought to stop me. As I reached the elevators I passed an alcove with several snack machines and an automated espresso machine. I stopped, then backed up, having realized that I was absolutely starving. |
A few minutes later I was on my way and another commandeered wheelchair was following me loaded down with a pile of vending machine parts, as well as candy bars, chips, and all the Mountain Dew from the soda machine. Behind me I left the remains of the snack machines, having opened them up and stripped them of any usable electronics, mechanical odds and ends, and most of the food. I chugged a Dew and wolfed down several Snickers bars. I could feel my teeth tingling and shuddered as the caffeine and sugar hit my system. After a lifetime of carefully balanced nutritional meals, it was like a taking a hit of speed.
As the elevator doors opened they revealed a male nurse who looked at me stuffing my face and saw the ruined snack machines behind me. His eyes widened just before the spring launcher popped up over my shoulder and shot the wad of neuromesh into his face. He convulsed and fell to the floor as all the synapses in his frontal lobe were stimulated at once. I retracted the neuromesh back into the spring launcher and had it fold back behind my chair.
I whistled a jaunty tune as I shaped some of my liberated components into a small electric winch on the front of my chair and dragged his twitching body out of the elevator. If my design was sound (and why wouldn't it be?) the modified neuromesh should have wiped his short term memory as well as knocking him out so that he wouldn't remember me when he woke up. He may also be twitchy and have poor impulse control for awhile, but that was a risk I was willing to take.
As I rode the elevator down to the first floor, I took the time to alter the elevator controls, adding a few new logic circuits and tying it into the security camera in the ceiling. Now, anytime anyone without a gurney or wheelchair used the elevator it would take them to the floor I had just left. Then I etched a message into the metal siding on the back wall, surrounded by a fractal web of circuit designs. "Trouble at the Michigan Paranormal Detention Facility, send the authorities."
I didn't know how much of the police force had been compromised by whoever was after me and Jamie, but if I left a suitably impressive trail of wreckage in my wake, eventually someone who wasn't part of this conspiracy would be pulled in to track me down. Of course, that someone might be the MCO, but what's life without a little risk? Besides this was much more fun than being "cautious" and "prudent".
On the way out of the hospital, I passed the gift shop, and saw a display of pre-paid mobile phones in the window. I grinned as I thought of a more fitting use for the phones and their internal electronics. The gift shop was closed, but that was a trivial obstacle for someone with my abilities. Soon I had all the phones plus a few other odds and ends loaded onto the second wheelchair, secured with wire that I formed from a nearby metal stand.
Once in the parking garage, I used the alarm fob on Dr. Fielding's keys until a car beeped. A shiny, candy apple red Porsche.
"Oh very nice. But I think we can do better still."
I ran my hand along the side of the Porsche, a trail of fractal circuit patterns fanning out from my touch as I used my power. The range of my telekinesis was barely six inches, but within that range it appeared that I could re-arrange the molecular structure of anything metallic or silicon at will. I traced a line of neuromesh circuit patterns completely around the car, from the headlights to the tail lights.
Now that the Porsche had my personal signature on it, I opened the door and set about removing the seats, an easy task when you can cut metal with your fingertips. The winch came into play again as I pulled them out of the car. Soon I had my wheelchair installed in place of the driver's seat (I had pull out part of the frame of an adjacent car to create a makeshift crane, but whatever), and all my loot was piled into the space the passenger seat used to occupy.
I noticed that the Porsche had a dash mounted GPS system and brought up his previous destination. It was the Michigan Paranormal Detainment Facility. Of course it was. I smiled and set that as my next destination. The I looked at the controls for Porche and realized not only had I never driven a car, I couldn't work the foot controls. I spent a few minutes creating articulated extension on the base of the wheelchair to work the peddles for me, tying them into the my neuromesh so I could control them easily. Then I started the car. How hard could driving a car be anyway? It was just simple physics.
I applied gas, and immediately lurched into the wall of the parking garage in front of the car. Right, reverse first. As I backed out, I heard a loud screeching sound and felt the car tugged to one side. The idiot in the next space had obviously parked far to close. I finally got out of the parking spot, but backed into a car behind us. Whose idea was it to build a parking structure with such inadequate space for turning around?
Growling in frustration, I refused to be stopped by such a trivial obstacle as this. I looked at the pile of parts I'd liberated, and my eye fell on the cell phones again. Of course.
Just twenty minutes later and another technological marvel had been achieved.
"Heh, I'll show you a REAL mobile phone. Truly inspired, if I do say so myself..."
I watched as four modified phones crawled on metallic spider legs along the path of circuits I'd laid down earlier, one to each of the cars four corners, then activated a small electromagnet to secure themselves into place. I checked the modified GPS on the dash, and saw that was receiving positional data from the phones, using a combination of the phone cameras, the phone speakers for short distance sonar, and the GPS chip in each phone. After that is was a simple matter of adding additional circuits to the GPS computer and crafting mechanisms to work the pedals and turn the steering wheel, and enough neuromesh to network everything together.
The Porsche may have lost that "new car" smell, but now it could drive you anywhere in the United States while you took a nap. I chugged another Mountain Dew and downed a bag of Cheetos as I finally left the parking garage, the car on autopilot. I turned the radio on and was soon nodding my head in time to the "Highway to the Danger Zone".
Making it out Detroit was a bit of an adventure, at least until I adjusted the GPS Autopilot to recognize red lights and turn signals. There are some very rude drivers in this city, but I unfortunately did not have time to teach them proper road etiquette. But soon...soon...
The Porsche started making a pinging sound as I neared the city limits, and I had to stop for gas. Deciding against taking the time to hoist my chair out of the car and figure out to work the pump, I took a more direct route.
Reaching my hand out of the window and laying it on the pumping station, I gathered enough material from the outer casing to create wire cables coated with neuromesh that wound around the pump, and then had another of my phonebots crawl to the end and plug into the neuromesh. The camera phone extended on a small stalk and rotated around, searching. The rudimentary targeting system soon identified the gas cap on the Porsche, then the gas nozzle slammed home, punching a hole through the gas cap and started refueling the car. OK, maybe it was a bit aggressive, but I was in a hurry.
With the tank full, I had the Autopilot pull out of the gas station, giving a cheerful wave to the station attendant who was jumping up and down and yelling something. Behind me, the gas nozzle rose up and swayed back and forth, like a snake looking for something to strike.
Soon I was heading to the prison at over 100 MPH, stereo blasting as I worked on converting the rest of my liberated phones into small mobile robots. I would need eyes and ears in order to assess the situation at the prison.
I had just reached the Detroit city limits when I was alerted to yet another annoying interruption by the red and blue lights in my rear view mirror, just before I heard the siren. Just what I needed, a uniformed fool trying to interfere with my plans. Then I got a good look at the police car, a new looking 2006 Dodge Magnum sprouting several antennae from the roof. I smiled and had the Porsche pull over.
A heavyset police officer with blonde hair and mustache soon walked up to the driver side door.
"Sir do you know you are leaking fuel? And that you were travelling in excess of 100 miles an ...what the hell?"
That was as far as he got before receiving a face full of neuromesh from the turret mounted spring gun.
Several minutes later I was pulling away in my new police car, leaving him handcuffed to the steering wheel of the Porsche, the seats and GPS transponder from the police car on the ground next to him. The phonebots had transferred themselves and the GPS Autopilot from the Porsche to the new vehicle. I gave a triumphant smile as I looked over the new tech I had procured - there was a computer screen and keyboard mounted on a swivel pole, radar gun, police radio, camera, license plate reader, CB radio, a taser, a shotgun, and several more new toys. I almost giggled at the thought of what I could turn them into.
I disabled the police radio as the chatter from the dispatcher was getting annoying. Soon, , "I Fought the Law" was blasting from the internal speakers as I started making more refinements. However as we approached the prison I felt my eyelids grow heavy and my thoughts slow down and become foggy. I had to pull over to the side of the road and parked behind some trees.
"No, not now, got to keep going....maybe just a short nap...." I felt my eyes close despite my struggles to stay awake.
"Yaaagh!" I was suddenly awake, my heart pounding... Dr. Fairfield had been about to inject me with something...where the hell was I? Why did my head hurt so much?
I was sitting in a wheelchair that had been mounted into...a police car? I realized I was able to move my head and arms, then saw the chrome circuit patterns on the back of my left arm.
"Wha...What is going on here?" I looked around, but I was alone in the car, except for some oddly familiar little robots that looked like modified mobile phones.
A fragment of a memory floated to the surface. "Jamie's in trouble...at the mutant prison?" That felt right. But how did i get here? And where was "here" anyway?
Just then my stomach rebelled, and I barely got the car door open in time to throw up, a sickly sweet aftertaste mixed with bile left in my mouth. I looked at the mess on the ground. Just what the hell had I been eating? I still felt nauseous and jittery.
I got my answer when I saw the pile of junk food and empty soda cans in the passenger seat. No wonder I was sick if I'd eaten that much sugar laden crap.
"Got to focus. Jamie. Jamie's in trouble. Need to get her help." I spotted the police radio and after a few seconds figure out how it worked, diagrams and circuit patterns filling my mind as I thought of ways to extend its range and reduce its power consumption. I shook my head and focused on the task at hand.
I turned on the police radio and before I had a chance to speak, some woman was already yelling at me.
"Whoever is listening to this, you are going to be spending a lot of time in a very small cell when we catch up to you."
"Um, yeah about that. Look, there is a problem at the mutant prison, you need to get everyone you can down there."
"What? Is this some kind of joke?" I could hear the disbelief and anger in her voice. "Officer Bentley hasn't checked for over an hour, you are using the radio from his cruiser and you expect us to just go running off on a wild goose chase on your say so."
"I don't know what happened with your officer, but seriously, something dangerous is happening at the prison..."
She cut me off before I could finish. "One of our officers is missing, do you know how much trouble you are in if you had anything to do with that?"
What the hell? "Look, I don't know anything about that! My friend Jamie is in trouble, and she's at the..."
She cut me off again. "One issue at a time young man. Stealing a police car is a serious offense, not to mention assaulting an officer."
I don't think she was even listening to me, but I tried again. "Look, you can throw the book at me or whatever you want, just get someone out to the..."
And she did it again! "Don't take that tone with me young man. You hooligans have no respect for the law. What is your current location? We'll get to the bottom of this, and I'll have a stern word with your parents."
I stared at the radio in shock and frustration, wanting nothing more than to smash the radio...then I heard a roaring in my ears. The world seemed to fade out...then I was back. This babbling bureaucrat of a police officer thought she could talk to me like this? Me? I would reduce the police station to rubble...I shook my head, remembering that I had more pressing concerns. Priorities, priorities...
"Listen to me you simpering simpleton! If you want your precious police officer he's handcuffed to a red Porsche along I-96, just outside the Detroit city limits. If you want what's left of your police cruiser back, then I suggest you come find me."
"Young man, you will learn to keep a civil tongue in your head! I don't know how you got ..."
Something was wrong with the way she was acting, talking over me and ignoring everything I said...if she was truly concerned with her officer she would be trying to get me to speak more so I could reveal information. I narrowed my eyes as I had a sudden flash of insight.
"The future is glorious." I said, interrupting her.
"And the future is now..." Came the response in a dull monotone, then silence.
As I suspected. Another puppet. Whoever was pulling the strings couldn't exercise their control over long distances, and so had to make use of implanted suggestions and trigger phrases. Being as brilliant as I am just makes things too easy sometimes.
"Listen to me. You will forget this conversation and then in.." I checked my new watch. "One hour, then you will remember receiving an anonymous tip about a riot at the mutant prison. You will contact the state police and relevant federal authorities and bring all available forces to the prison to contain the riot. Do you understand?"
"The future is now."
"...And the future is glorious."
I turned off the radio again. I didn't know if that would really work or not, but it should at least cause some confusion amongst the ranks of the enemy, whoever they were.
I was thirsty and hungry again, so downing another soda and a packet of Nutter Butters I directed the police cruiser to the outskirts of the prison as I made my final preparations.
The prison had been built on the grounds of an old strip mine 30 miles west of Detroit, and was a rectangular structure at the bottom of a large open pit in the ground. I had the car park behind some rocks, then sent six phonebots skittering down to take look at their defenses, the camera phones relaying their images back to the computer in the cruiser.
I was soon glad that I'd sent the scouts. They had cameras, motion detectors, electrical activity sensors, thermal sensors, and pressure sensors all through the empty terrain surrounding the prison. Fortunately the phonebots were small enough, light enough, and low power enough that they did not trigger any of the alarms. I was able to get a view of the guards at the main gate, and they seemed to be completely zoned out, staring into space and slack jawed. Obviously compromised.
I directed my astounding intellect to the problem of attaining entry. Stealth was an option, but the odds of being detected were high. I felt confident that I could disable any electronic or mechanical sensor, but only if I was aware of it before it sounded the alarm, and there were just too many overlapping layers. And as brilliant and effective as I knew I was, I had to admit that being disabled by a good shove to my wheelchair meant I was unlikely to win in any direct confrontation.
I didn't have time to construct anything large, the lack of available tools meant I was limited to what my microscale PK manipulation of metal and silicon could accomplish. I wasn't sure what was going on, but I felt that I'd already taken more time that I should have in getting here...
I needed a suitable distraction to pull attention away from me, and place to conceal myself once I was inside. From there I could try to access the prison cameras and internal communications. I had a couple of the phonebots search around for a utility closet that had access to electrical and network cabling while I converted more of my liberated tech in to modified neuromesh. Instead of being designed to interface with the human nervous system, this neuromesh would be able to intercept and modify electrical signals in any cable it was wrapped around. With the proper command module attached, I would be able to tap into the video feed from a camera, or the data feed of a computer. I also made few necessary modifications to my wheelchair.
I drank another Dew and smiled, my nerves buzzing with anticipation. It was time to set the plan in motion.
|Re: Falling to Pieces [message #62611 is a reply to message #61257 ]
||Sun, 29 July 2012 19:17
Registered: May 2011
Location: Phoenix, AZ
(Several hours previously)
Jamie lay on her bed in the infirmary, antibiotic IV in her shoulder and bandages covering her head, eyes, and assorted other injuries. Her mother dozed in the chair beside her.
There came a faint hissing sound as gas was released into the room, and soon the external monitors indicated that both occupants were thoroughly unconscious. Then there was a faint whirring sound as the gas was flushed from the room.
The door opened, and men in prisoner's jumpsuits came in, putting Sharon Harding into a wheelchair with arm and leg restraints and wheeling her out. Jamie was put on a gurney of her own, and soon followed.
A slender Hispanic man whose delicate features were highlighted by expertly applied makeup and wearing his jumpsuit top tied off like a halter top observed the other 'prisoner's as they worked. His androgynous beauty was only marred by the multiple camera lenses that replaced his left eye and part of his left temple, the skin reddened and feverish where it met the metal, indicating it was a recent addition.
His gaze fell on Sharon Harding as he followed them into a large conference room that had been converted into a cross between a command center and hospital room. It boasted a large window that gave them a view of the prison facilities. A wall of monitors displayed security camera feeds from around the prison, but two of them were mirroring the feed from his camera-eye. One of the monitors zoomed in on Sharon's face and upper chest.
"Oh...this one fine looking MILF. I could make some cash with her outside." He gave a naughty little smile and hummed a tune as he began digitally removing the clothing from her image on the monitor.
"Camwhore. Show Ms. Harding some respect please. She is after all the mother of someone very important to us." The voice came from the man laying in the hospital bed that faced the window.
Camwhore flinched as he heard the voice and hastily undid his work.
"Mmm...Of course Big Daddy. No disrespect meant."
"Don't let yourself become distracted from the security feeds, we are approaching a critical phase of the plan. After the debacle at the hospital this may be our last chance to to retrieve Masque."
"I'm on it, Papi, I'm on it. I've got feeds from all the security cameras in here, plus several camera's that I've personally built and placed."
Camwhore pouted as he returned to monitoring his cameras. This seemed like far too much trouble to go through just for that psycho bitch Masque. But she was the Big Man's pet monster and main squeeze, so what were you going to do?
The man on the bed spoke again. "Breadboard, how is our cover holding up?"
A man in his mid 50's, his greying hair pulled back in a ponytail and wearing a tie-dyed prison jumpsuit, looked up from the large circuit board he had been soldering a transistor onto, goggles covering his eyes and headphones on his ears. "Oh yeah, we're all good there man. Everyone outside still thinks it's business as usual in here."
"Good, good. Master Touch, how are the preparations going inside the prison?"
A heavily tattooed black man who boasted Exemplar looks and physical development turned to face the man on the bed. Master Touch had until recently been the undisputed leader of the Homeboy Killer 47's, or HK 47's. It was the largest gang in the prison. As far as the HK 47's were aware, he was still their leader. What they didn't know was that Master Touch now had a master of his own.
When he spoke, Master Touch sounded more educated than anyone would expect from a prison gang leader. "Everything is as you instructed. I've had the members of Freakshow moved into place, and thanks to Breadboard we can remotely unlock any of the cell doors. Once she is in place, we can release them into her area. After that, we can release other inmates as we wish. If you want a full scale riot, my boys can have one stirred up in no time."
"Excellent. The future will be glorious."
Everyone in the room responded in unison. "And the future is now."
Camwhore rolled his eyes. The future he remembered had been pretty shitty. But that was why the boss man had pulled them back here, to make sure it never happened.
The man on the bed smiled. He didn't really need to ask how things were going. He had traced myriad possible time lines until he found the one that gave him what he needed.
Just a little nudging here and there and the possible time lines collapsed into the actual time line he desired. Well, usually. He winced as the stump of his arm brushed against the blankets and his still healing burns itched. The hospital had also been a major missed opportunity. If only people would stick to their assigned roles instead of ad-libbing this would be so much easier. But no matter. There had simply been too many variables beyond his direct control at the hospital. Now that all the major players were here at the prison, everything was under his influence and the plan was firmly back on track.
He gazed at the young girl on the gurney, feeling a tinge of remorse at the grievous wounds he had already caused her to suffer, and for what he was about to do. But he steeled himself, and reached into her unconscious mind to plant the seeds for the next stage.
After all, it was far too late to turn back now.
He would save the future no matter how many people he had to torture and kill to do it.
[Updated on: Sun, 05 August 2012 18:59]
|Re: Falling to Pieces [message #62874 is a reply to message #61257 ]
||Sun, 05 August 2012 15:45
Registered: May 2011
Location: Phoenix, AZ
I awoke in darkness, alone and scared. I could feel rough fabric against my back, and the faint smell of stale urine and sweat made me wrinkle my nose. I had a fading memory of someone whispering to me, someone who frightened me terribly, but the memory faded even as I tried to focus on it.
I reached out for that strange new way of seeing I had ever since I'd manifested, but nothing happened. I tried to "grab" the blanket I was laying on with my PK shell, but still nothing happened. I could feel the power in me, but there was a barrier between me and it, and I could feel my heart hammering in my chest as I strained to touch it. My power had been locked away from me.
Suddenly, I remembered where I was. I was in the Michigan Paranormal Detainment Facility, in solitary confinement. The youngest and most dangerous inmate they had ever housed. They had little choice after my killing spree at the hospital, which started with Dr. Jigsaw and his paralyzed son. Something about that didn't seem right, but I wasn't sure what it was.
I fought back tears as the memories of the trial came flooding back, the horror and shame in my parents eyes as I was sentenced. Me raging at the judge and going berserk, destroying the restraints they had placed me in and killing three people before my father was able to restrain me. Me begging them to kill me, and eventually accepting the mental blocks to keep me from using my powers.
Was that what had happened? My thoughts felt slow and confused, but the memories were so vivid, so intense. Once I'd killed Dr. Jigsaw I hadn't been able to stop myself, and left a trail of dismembered bodies through the hospital before a group of local heroes led by my father had been rallied to stop me. I'd become more monstrous than I'd ever accused Dr. Jigsaw of being. The media dubbed me the Marionette Killer after security footage of me walking around with other peoples limbs was leaked.
I lay on the bed in my solitary cell. How long had I been here? I wasn't sure. I still had bandages covering my eyes, shoulders, and hips under the loose shirt I wore. Wait...if my power was locked away, what was the point of putting me in a cell instead of a hospital bed? I could still feel the tug of stitches in the remaining nubs of my limbs when I twisted my torso.
Suddenly, I heard a distant alarm, followed by gunshots and shouting, then voices approaching my cell.
"Flab, are you sure this is the right way?" The voice of a young man, heavy with uncertainty.
"Yes, Creepshow. I am. We'll need to hurry before they realize we've slipped away." An older voice, sounding annoyed. His breathing was labored - as if he were carrying a great weight.
"Rend, did you have to kill that guard? Now if we don't escape we're screwed." This one spoke in short, rapid sentences, with a high-pitched voice.
"Shut the fuck up Skittles. I was hungry. The food in here sucks." This voice was rasping and had an inhuman quality to it, like the speaker was simulating human speech with organs never intended for that purpose.
"How about the both of you shut the fuck up. This looks like Solitary. The hatch to the maintenance tunnel should be in the closet up ahead...hey hey, what do we have here?" This voice had a cruel, mocking edge to it, the voice of a bully who had just found a new victim. And he had stopped just outside my cell.
"Eyekill, we have to keep moving or we're gonna get caught." came Creepshow's voice.
"We're going to make time for this. You know who we have here? Rematch's daughter."
"Dude, I heard she was all crazy and shit. Besides Rematch will fuck us up worse than the guards." Skittles again, his high pitched voice tinged with fear.
I tried to speak, but all that game out was a hoarse moan.
"Creepshow, get this door open. I think Eyekill has a very good idea. She can serve as both hostage and entertainment. Oh yes." Flab's labored breathing only made the undertones of lust in his voice even more disgusting.
"No way. She's just a kid! Besides, look at her - she's all fucked up. She'll just slow us down." Creepshow again, defiance in his voice. It was short lived though, as I heard the sound of heavy blows against flesh.
"Ow, ow! Shit...alright, alright. This is a very bad idea. Um... Eyekill, blast a hole in the wall here, next to the control panel." There was a bang, then some muffled noises as Creepshow did something. Then I heard a *click* and my cell door was dragged open.
I tried rolling away from them, but I had nowhere to go. Someone grabbed me and threw me over their shoulder. I made a kind of mewling noise and tried to headbutt them with the side of my head, but all I got for my troubles was a slap that quieted me down.
"Why we taking her? Most of the meat is gone already." Rend's voice again.
"Are you kidding? Rematch put me in here 5 years ago, this is a chance for a little payback. Besides, if he catches up to us we can use her to make him let us go - you saw how he was crying on that news show." Eyekill was already gloating.
I made another futile attempt to access my powers, but it was like they were behind a glass barrier I couldn't break. I tried to brace myself for whatever they had planned. It couldn't be worse than what Dr. Jigsaw had already done to me, right? I only half believed it though.
They kept up a constant stream of bickering and insults as we traveled. I felt myself drop as whoever was carrying me climbed down a ladder, apparently they had found the hatch to the maintenance tunnel.
I felt curiously numb. I knew something horrible was probably going to happen soon that I would be helpless to stop, but I wasn't paralyzed with fear. The panic and terror were simply relegated to a corner of my mind. I'd lived with them for so long when I was kidnapped that they were more like annoying relatives who were visiting again - something to put up with and ignore as much as possible.
Instead, I concentrated on my hearing, touch, and smell - the only senses left to me. I could feel the air become cool and damp, their footsteps echoing off the walls, then fading away as the space opened up. It smelled of mildew, sewage, and rotting trash.
"What the hell is this place?" asked Skittles.
"This prison was built at the bottom of of a strip mine. This was a runoff pool that they roofed over. Rainwater and the prison sewers drain into here before being pumped out." Flab again, and the proximity of his voice told me that he was the one carrying me.
"Jesus, the roaches in here are enormous." Eyekill again, followed by a wet crunching sound as he crushed it underfoot.
"We need to wait here for about half an hour - a maintenance crew is scheduled to service the machinery down here via an access hatch from the surface. We will take them out and use their truck to escape." Flab spoke with a quiet certainty, his labored breathing somehow lending gravitas to the statement.
I felt a rough hand groping at my chest. "Well then, it sounds like we have some time to kill. Whatever shall we do to amuse ourselves?" Eyekill gloated, a note of sly mirth in his voice. I did my best to twist away from his touch, and I felt something building inside me. Not fear, not anxiety, not panic. Those had been with me all along. Something else.
Then the groping hand was smacked away, and Flab spoke again, his voice thick. "Be a gentleman. Wait your turn. You can have her when I'm done."
"Are you guys serious? What the fuck is wrong with you? No way I'm going along with this..." That was as far as Creepshow got before he was cut off with the sound of a fist striking flesh. It sounded like they beat him unconscious pretty quickly.
"Can I eat him?" The eagerness in Rend's voice was unnerving.
"No, we may still need his talents to bypass security on our way out of here. Just make sure he doesn't interrupt us." said Flab.
The quality of the sound around me changed - we were in an enclosed space again. I could smell machine oil and diesel fumes, and heard the sound of hydraulics. We were in the pumping station that kept the prison from drowning in it's own filth. It was just me and Flab, the rest were waiting outside.
He set me down on a table of some kind, slapping me again when I tried to twist away. I could feel the bruise forming on the side of my face. I couldn't really glare at him, but I did my best to simulate it. I found that I wasn't nearly as resigned to what was about to happen as I'd thought, as I began to thrash even harder and make choking cries as I tried to get away. All to no avail.
I felt his weight on me as he tore my shirt and started pulling at my panties. The stench of his breath filled my nostrils and I could feel disgusting folds of fat sliding against my stomach as he moved. I tried to scream again, and attempted to head butt him, but he just slapped me again, even harder. There was an intense flash of pain, then I could feel blood from my nose dripping down my face. His labored breathing became a kind of hoarse panting as I struggled underneath him, the metal table digging into my back, my own breath coming in ragged gasps. I could feel him pressing against me, trying to force his way inside.
The pressure that had been building inside me reached a critical point and I felt it wash over me. A kind of sublime, righteous fury with undertones of fear. I was angry at what had happened to me; furious at the world for allowing it to happen, and at my mother and father for not being there to protect me. Furious at myself for being a victim, but most of all I was consumed with rage at what was happening to me right now. I reached for my power again and the mental barrier shattered like glass under the weight of my emotions.
My strange black and white vision returned in a rush, and I could see Flab, a rotund man easily seven feet tall, currently with his pants around his ankles as he bent over me on the table. I screamed without using my mouth, and this time it was no pathetic gurgle but an ear shattering wail as my PK shell vibrated the air around me.
Flab had only a fraction of a second to react, his face contorted in shock, then his torso and thighs exploded in a cloud of red as I did my rotary buzz saw imitation, shredding him and the table I was on.
I heard a voice rasp "Blood for Blood. Pain for Pain."
It took me a second to realize that the voice was mine. But it felt right. They had hurt me, made me bleed. Now I was going to share my pain with them, and they would share their blood with me. I would make them hurt like I had been hurt.
Incredibly, Flab was still alive, even with a half of his abdomen and upper legs coating the walls of the pumping station. Covered in blood and gore, he gave high keening wail, then knocked me through the wall with a single backhand blow before collapsing in the corner, one hand holding his entrails in as the hanging folds of fat that covered his body started to flow into the wounds, sealing them off. He started glowing purple around the wounds, another odd instance of color in my otherwise gray world.
Outside the pumping station, lying in the rubble of the wall I had crashed through, I could now see that the area we were in was a large roofed over pool of filthy water. It was easily 50 feet across, with several chains hanging from a ceiling 20 feet overhead. There was a 10' wide catwalk on the side of the pool with the pumping station. Everything was coated in filth and slime.
I could also see my erstwhile captors, automatically matching them to their voices as they shouted in surprise and shock. Time seemed to slow as I took in the scene.
Skittles looks like a rat in human form, his furry snout sticking out of a hooded sweatshirt over his prison uniform. His movements are unnaturally quick and jerky, as if he was animated in stop motion.
Eyekill is a squat, muscular cyclops - one large eye taking up most of his forehead with a tiny nose squashed between it and his mouth. He is turning towards me, his eye beginning to glow red in my vision.
Rend is an amalgam of human and preying mantis, his lower jaw separated into mandibles and serrated chitinous blades growing from his forearms. He is already in the air, hissing as he leaps toward me.
The crumpled form on the ground must be Creepshow, although to me he looks like a normal human, with stringy hair and dressed only in the pants of his prison jumpsuit. His skin does have a halo of purple around it, but it is faint.
Oddly, I could also see several spots of purple moving on the walls of the room. But I didn't have time to think about that, as time began moving normally again.
I used my PK shell to grab the rubble I was laying on, forming it into a pair of stumpy malformed legs, and a lumpy arm. I brought the arm up shield myself just in time to absorb a red blast of energy that came from Eyekill. It knocked me back to the edge of the catwalk, and shattered the rubble that formed the arm, momentarily causing it to deform before I was able to pull the pieces back into an arm shape. It hurt, but the pain was barely noticeable as I focused on my tormentors.
Then Rend landed on me, slashing at my chest and face but his forearm blades couldn't penetrate my PK shell. Before I could try to hit him with my rocky arm, Skittles blurred into action, charging in a straight line and slamming into us. Rend and I were both knocked into the pool of murky water.
As I went under, I realized my PK shell could "grab" the water as well, forming a bubble around my head, trapping a pocket of air and keeping me dry. I could also move through the water easily and effortlessly. I surfaced at the same time Rend did. He was hissing furiously, his mandibles spread wide as he came at me. I instinctively formed a watery arm, the hand three times the size of my head, and palmed Rend's face, holding him as he thrashed in the water, unable to breath. He clawed and slashed at my arm, and this time he was able to cut through my PK shell, but it didn't do him any good. As fast as he shredded my watery arm, I was able to restore it even faster, water flowing in to fill the holes.
I saw Eyekill's eye glow red, and barely got my rock arm up in time to intercept another blast. The chunks of rubble making up the arm were shattered gain, now being little more than small rocks and gritty sand. I lost most of the material, but made up the difference with water I pulled from around me, reforming it as a watery arm with a hand formed of sand and grit.
"Pain for pain." I chanted as I shot my newly formed arm at Eyekill, pulling more and more water in as the arm stretched nearly 20 feet, two fingers of my hand compressing into a spear-point. He made a clumsy attempt to block it, but not expecting me to attack him at range, he was too slow. I stabbed him in the eye with my fingers, releasing the sand and grit as I did so. I felt something rupture, and he fell back screaming, both hands covering his eye as something leaked out.
"You bitch! My fucking eye!"
Skittles paused on the edge of the catwalk, terror in his beady eyes as he realized he was alone. Eyekill was writhing on the ground, and Rend's thrashing was becoming weaker as he ran out of air.
"It wasn't me! It was all their idea!" He backed away, his eyes darting around, looking for an escape route.
"Blood for blood."
"Oh Shit, oh shit, oh shit!" He whimpered as he blurred into motion. He almost made it, but I was already whipping my extended water arm at him, catching one foot and causing him to crash into the wall. Then I grabbing him by the head and shook him like a rag doll, slamming his face into the wall for good measure. He fell limp, bleeding from the nose and a cut on his head.
I sensed movement from inside the pumping station, and I threw the now unconscious (dead?) Rend through the hole in the wall, then released my watery arms, wrapping my PK field around a few of the chains and pulling myself up to the ceiling.
Moments later, Flab stepped out of the pumping station, tossing Rend aside to land near the still screaming Eyekill. Flab looked like he'd lost a lot of weight, but otherwise seemed fully recovered from the damage I'd done to him.
"Where are you girl? You need to learn that you don't fuck with Flab. If that's the best you can do, you...grrkk..." That was as far as he got before I wrapped the chain chain around his throat. He grabbed at the chain with both hands, and I coiled the other chain around his body. I hung from the ceiling like a bloodstained spider, an albino widow strumming the threads of her iron web.
He managed to loosen the chain around his throat. He was stronger than I was, but lacked the leverage to do much more than that as the other chain tightened around his arms and legs.
"Pain for pain." I crooned quietly as he struggled.
"Bitch, I'll show you pain..."
I carefully considered the situation for a moment, then jerked the chains violently, causing him to fall over.
"Argh...Gonna fuck you up...gggg.." His rant was cut off again as I forced the end of one of the chains into his mouth. He started thrashing around as he struggled to breath.
"Blood for blood." I sang gently, as if singing a lullaby to a baby. Another twitch of the chains and his struggling form rolled into the water. I waited until the water stopped churning and I felt him go limp before I pulled him out and suspended him from the ceiling, still cocooned in chains, a trickle of blood dripping into the water below him.
I turned my attention to Eyekill, who was trying to crawl away, one hand over his damaged eye. He was spewing a string of curses as he moved, then froze as he realized the rest of the room had gone silent.
"Flab? Did you get her? Rend? Skittles...?" I used a long chain to form legs as I lowered myself to the ground, the metal links making a series of quiet clinks as they slid over each other, coiling like springs to form my legs. He cringed as he heard the noise. "Oh fuck me."
I wrapped another chain in my PK field, and coiled it into a pair of arms, one length of chain laying across my back and shoulders. I stood, watching him grovel on the ground in fear. It wasn't enough. I still hurt. I lashed out with one of my arms, the chain uncoiling to strike him, sending him tumbling like a ragdoll. He lay limp and unmoving.
Still not enough. I needed more. I looked at the prone form of Creepshow, who had been too weak to stop them. I wrapped my chains around his arms and started to pull. He groaned and opened his eyes, then stared at me in shock.
"I'm sorry..." he whispered.
For some reason this only made me angrier and I pulled harder, and he screamed as the chains bit into his arms.
"Jamie, stop! Please!" I heard someone shout. The voice seemed oddly familiar.
I dropped Creepshow and he collapsed on the ground, cradling his arms against his chest, then seemed to pass out again.
I spun around, trying to identify where the voice had come from.
"Jamie, it's me, Paul. You don't want to do this, it's not you."
"Paul? It can't be...I...I killed you...I remember." It came out in a whisper. I felt something break inside me as I said the words.
"No Jamie, you didn't."
I shook my head in denial. "I remember...I killed all those people in the hospital. I'm a monster. I'm just like them." I gestured, indicating the beaten and bloody forms of the men I'd just fought.
"No Jamie, you saved me. Your not a monster, you're anything but that." His voice was thick with emotion. "You're an angel. You didn't kill anyone in the hospital. Just my...just Dr. Jigsaw. Then you kept me alive and dragged me out of there even though it would have been easier to leave me. That is what happened. They've messed with your memories to make you believe something else."
"No..." I shook my head. This was just a hallucination, wish fulfillment. "You can't be Paul. Paul is paralyzed and can't even talk."
"Jamie, you did this when you saved me. Somehow you triggered my manifestation. I have powers now, I can create and modify machines. Like the Phonebot I'm using to talk to you now."
Then I saw it, an iPhone with spiderlike robotic legs and small camera on a stalk, oriented at me. It had a purple aura, one of the few spots of color in my otherwise grey world.
"Jamie, trust me, you aren't a monster. You never were. Whatever these guys did to you, you've beaten them. You can stop now."
"I...I...Oh my god." I collapsed to my "knees", the coils of chain creating sparks when they hit the catwalk. Something inside me burst, and I started crying, heaving painful sobs that tore through my chest. I suddenly had two different sets of memories of my time in the hospital. Both felt real to me. But one made me a monster, the other made me... something else. A victim? A hero? A mess?
He waited until my sobs subsided, then spoke again.
"Jamie, listen to me. You helped me, now let me help you. I took out the camera's around the pumping station, but we need to get you out of there.
"OK...what about them?" I was in a daze, trying to come to terms with this sudden revelation. Still, I was tired of being dressed in little more than panties and bandages. I took Skittle's hoodie and put that on, pulling hood up to cover my bruised face and bloody nose. I tore the remains of my prison shirt to strips of cloth and used them to form hands and fingers at the end of my chain arms.
The Phonebot perched on my shoulder.
"Well, if you're up to moving them, there are some empty cells in Solitary that we could put them in."
I nodded, then frowned.
"Paul, what happened? How did you even get here?"
"Well, that's kind of a long story...."
[Updated on: Sun, 05 August 2012 16:19]
|Re: Falling to Pieces [message #63428 is a reply to message #61257 ]
||Tue, 14 August 2012 13:26
Registered: May 2011
Location: Phoenix, AZ
"....and then I sent the police cruiser ahead on autopilot, with the siren and lights going full blast. I had it turn a corner and then crash into a wall. It was like kicking over an ant-hill! The idiots only left one guard at the entrance, and that underachiever was watching the car. It was a trivial task to disable him with my Neural Disruptor Web, and then conceal myself inside a maintenance closet. The only part that was even a minor challenge was detecting and bypassing the camera's that covered my ingress. From there it was only short time before I was properly established and began to search for you." |
I was currently clinging to the ceiling as I hurried down a hallway leading away from Solitary where I had dumped the unconscious forms of the prisoners who had attacked me. Paul's little iPhone robot was still clinging to my hoodie. I was getting worried, Paul's voice had taken on a hyper, manic tone. And he sounded different, bragging about himself and being dismissive and mocking by turns. If I hadn't heard him change in mid sentence I would have thought I was talking to a different person now.
"Yes, my psychokinetic avenger? Turn left here." There was the sound of shouts and fighting up ahead that faded as we went down a side corridor, a security door automatically opening and closing behind us.
"What's going on? You sound...different."
"It is merely another aspect of my awakening and revitalization. Periods of godlike intellect and creativity, but alas my neurochemistry cannot sustain the metabolic load indefinitely, so I am forced to spend a portion of my waking hours as that naive dummy you originally became acquainted with. Never fear, once we have solved our current dilemma it will be only a matter of time before I find a way to sustain my enhanced state permanently!"
"Oh, that's ...good." I was really worried about Paul now, but I wasn't in a position to do anything about it. Besides, even as a hyper egomaniac he was still the only person who was in any position to help me.
"Do you have any idea who's doing this? Do you know where my Mom is?"
"Is there any doubt? Discerning the identity and motives of the shadowy cabal tormenting us has been amongst the uppermost tasks in my cogitations, second only to divining your whereabouts in this hive of scum and villainy and procuring your release from whatever oubliette they had secreted you in, not that I ever doubted your own prodigious capabilities."
If I still had eyes I'd be going cross-eyed trying to translate his overly erudite speech into simple English. I blame my public school education. At least it distracted me from the gibbering anxiety that was eating away at me. I couldn't believe what I'd been about to do to those guys. Before, with Dr. Jigsaw I had felt as if someone else was acting while I watched...this time there had been no separation. It had been me the whole way. I didn't want to think about what that might mean.
"So...what have you found out?"
"Ah, therein lies a tale. A tale of my genius deftly overcoming any and all obstacles arrayed against me. I had before me the task of operating against an adversary who could both read and manipulate minds, and who had forces at his command that would easily disable me in any physical confrontation. What is more, he has at least two technologically proficient allies working with him. They controlledl the cameras and were jamming all wireless frequencies not being utilized by them. The blindingly simple solution was to keep him ignorant of my presence, while simultaneously servicing the need to gather intelligence on his actions and movements. However, I was also facing a shortage of materials with which to create new drones and devices. With typical brilliance I resolved all these issues with a single elegant solution!"
"...And my Mom?" I did my best to keep the irritation out of my voice. No point in antagonizing my only ally, as unbalanced as he was acting. Besides, I was almost certain he was getting close to answering my question. Now I only hoped I would be able to understand him when he told me.
"Patience my dear! The solution was that masterpiece of neuromechancial and electronic engineering designed and created by yours truly! The neuromesh! Inspired by my own experience of you taking external control of my autonomic nervous system, I simulated the process with technology, and then improved on it! Infinitely reconfigurable, it is unparallelled a both a surrogate nervous system and a human/electronic interface. It has allowed me to make use of the abundant ambulatory biological resources available, turning them into my own personal army of cyborg drones!"
"Wait, what? What did you do Paul?" Was he doing things to the inmates? I felt a chill run down my spine. I felt responsible for Paul and whatever he had unleashed, but could I really afford to do anything about it?
"You may have noticed the rather pervasive presence of large cockroaches in the lower levels of this warren of inequity. It takes only the merest scrap of neuromesh to override the nerve signals in their primitive nervous systems, and I even derive a small gain in processing capacity from hijacking what passes for their brains. With the addition of diminutive tight beam lasers, they have a line of sight communication system that is impervious to outside control and is virtually undetectable to boot! I call them the Roachnet. Even now the Roachnet has spread through 80% of the prison. I have used them to take over cameras and door controls that our adversaries previously controlled."
I gave an internal sigh of relief. At least he hadn't crossed the line into human experimentation. Yet. And as gross as it sounded, I had to admit it seemed to have been effective. So this was why they hadn't been tracking us with the cameras I saw all over the place. Then something occurred to me.
"Hold on, you have control of 80% of the camera's in here? How long was I out for?"
"Oh, it's been at least 20 hours since I broke in here. I would have been been more aggressive in my attempts to discern your location, but fighting a shadow war against two enemy technologists is delicate business, even if they aren't in my league intellectually. The hardest part is keeping them from realizing that they are engaged in a contest at all."
We arrived at an administrative section of the prison, with drop ceilings and cubicles. I could hear the sounds of shouting and fighting, muffled by the walls.
"Paul, what is that? Sounds like fighting."
"There has been a slowly escalating prisoner riot going on for the past hour or so. Seems that cell doors are randomly opening and releasing more inmates whenever the guards are about to get it under control. Not my doing, something that our shadowy adversary has orchestrated. I'm not sure why."
I shook my head in frustration. If nothing else, it would make it harder to sneak through the prison, either to escape or rescue my mom.
"You need to lift up a ceiling tile here and go left, then drop down into the hallway there. There is a network closet that I have converted into my operations center. I have something to show you."
He'd eased up on all the multi-syllable words, and was sounding serious now. Maybe he was tired?
I reached the door to the network closet, but when I opened it I froze in shock.
"Oh my god! Paul what have you done to yourself?"
Paul sat in a motorized wheelchair with several odd attachments. He was attached to a network of hundreds of fiber optic cables that plugged into the circuitry that covered his skin, sprouting from his arms, chest, and head. The fiber optic cables stretched outward, connecting with even more of that odd fractal circuitry that coated the walls and ceiling. Several of the cables looped back to plug into a blade server in a rack against the wall.
Paul had dark circles under his eyes, and looked positively emaciated, much thinner than he had back a the hospital. The floor was covered with empty soda cans and junk food wrappers, and what that looked like a schizophrenic espresso machine was dripping a bilious yellow-green liquid into a small cup. Something that looked like a scorpion merged with smartphone and taser skittered around on mechanical legs, razor edged claws waving, the taser contacts on the tail occasionally trailing sparks. I saw several large cockroaches with more circuit patterns on their backs moving in and out of holes in the ceiling in an organized fashion. Everything had a faint purple glow about it in my vision.
Paul gave me a manic grin, but on his emaciated face it looked like a death mask. "Oh, this old thing? Just something to assist in controlling the thousand or so Roachnet drones and all the cameras I've taken over. I must say, your choice of a black hoodie and chains is fitting. Very indie hero, or are you going for dark justice? Impressive either way. I'd offer you refreshments, but I'm afraid all the nearby soda machines have been emptied into my beverage distillation unit. Concentrated caffeine and sugar on tap, it sustains my heightened mental state."
"Why are you doing this to yourself? You look horrible!"
"A small price to pay. I...I had to find you. But enough of that. Jamie my dear, these miscreants are not messing around and we can't afford to either. I don't know how many of the prisoners they have under their control, but I do know that all the guards and administrators have been compromised, as well as members of the Detroit police force. But I have a solution to deal with the ones here in a single stroke. Once we have rescued your mother from their clutches, I've designed a small device that I call the Structural Resonance Generator. Connect enough SRG's to the metal infrastructure of the prison and boom! They will vibrate the steel beams at a frequency that will shake everything loose, burying all of them in tons of concrete and plaster."
For a horrible moment that plan appealed to me. Removing everyone involved in this insane conspiracy, all at once... in a sea of blood and crushed bodies. For that brief moment I could hear a voice quietly chanting "blood for blood" in the back of my mind. I shook my head, firmly suppressing the urge. I was not Marionette, and I would not become her.
"Paul...let's call that plan B. Or better yet, Plan Z. You're a genius, I'm sure you can come up with a plan that doesn't involve killing everyone."
"Well, yes I can. But it will not be nearly as simple and elegant. And it will be much more difficult and dangerous."
"Please...just find a way to disable the ones responsible, not kill everyone in the prison."
He gave a dramatic sigh, made all the more creepy by the way the fiber optic cables plugged into his arms and torso swayed with his movements. "Fine, fine, but only because you asked. They will get a reprieve for now, but if they accost me again there will be ...consequences. Whatever we do, we need to do it soon. I think they already suspect someone is tampering with their systems, and I've scavenged all the food I safely can."
He gestured to a laptop that was sitting open on a table. "But first there is something I think you would like to see. I was able to leech a feed from the video camera's in the infirmary, and guess who I found? The mastermind behind our current and past trials and tribulations. I was quite surprised to find that I recognized him."
I looked at the laptop. "I can't see the video, the screen is just a blank surface to me, no image at all."
He looked disappointed. "Oh. Well, the important part is the audio. The Roachnet can capture and transmit audio fairly easily, so that won't be an issue. Listen to this. They have your mother there, and I think something interesting is about to happen."
I listened intently as he turned up the sound.
[Updated on: Tue, 14 August 2012 13:41]
|Re: Falling to Pieces [message #71055 is a reply to message #61257 ]
||Mon, 07 January 2013 00:26
Registered: May 2011
Location: Phoenix, AZ
"What's happening? I don't hear anything." I asked.|
"Shh...this large black fellow called Master Touch is bringing in your mother. She's strapped into a wheelchair. They're in a large conference room on the second floor." He replied.
I heard a deep voice say,"Here she is sir, as you directed."
Then my heart leapt as I heard Mom's voice.
"Yes. Me." I'm not sure what I was expecting the hidden mastermind to sound like, but it wasn't this. The man's voice was smooth as silk, the kind of voice that makes you want to listen to him. And he sounded very self assured. Smug even. I already disliked him.
"You..you're pathetic! A joke! You can't be the one behind this!" Mom said in the same tone of disgust and disbelief she'd used when she found out Dad had hired a body double to attend her office Christmas party just before they got divorced.
"Ah, but I am. I must confess to being the architect of your misfortunes. I understand that it may be difficult for you to believe. Until recently I was as much a victim of my power as anyone else. But I have...evolved." The man gave a small chuckle.
Paul snorted, "It's the Evilutionary. What a pompous fool. To think I was paralyzed by a C-list villain such as him."
"But that juvenile nom de guerre longer adequately describes me or my abilities. Instead, call me...Chronogeist."
If I'd still had eyes, I would have rolled them. "Is he for real?" I heard Paul mutter at the same time.
"I don't care what you call yourself, you idiot!" I heard Mom struggle against her restraints. "Where is my daughter? What did you do with Dr. Fielding ? Why are you doing this us?"
"Calm yourself, my dear. Your daughter will be joining us soon enough. As for your Dr. Fielding, I needed him to tie up a few loose ends for me. I'm afraid I had very little time to convert him to my cause, and I had to take certain...shortcuts. Unfortunately, this resulted in him meeting an untimely end shortly after accomplishing his task. Regrettable, but collateral damage in pursuit of the greater good is sometimes unavoidable."
"What does that have to do with Jamie? Hasn't she been through enough?"
"I know this is hard to understand Ms. Harding, but your daughter has a very important role to play in future events, and she must be prepared to fill that role."
"How does kidnapping her prepare her for anything? You're insane! You..."
Mom suddenly went silent.
"What's happening?" I asked Paul, dread in my voice.
"Not sure, he just looked at her and she stopped talking. She looks really angry now."
Chronogeist spoke again, sounding smug. "Forgive me Ms. Harding but this will be much easier to explain without being constantly interrupted."
He paused, then said, "Warden Penrose, that is enough for now. Go and prepare refreshments for our guests."
Paul said in a low voice "Looks like the warden was serving him lunch, he just walked away, looking dazed and lost."
Chronogeist continued, "The warden had considerable training in resisting mental influences. I'm afraid I broke something when I overcame it. Now where were we? Ah yes. You were asking me my reasons for visiting this tragedy upon your family. Yes, I was the one who pushed Dr. Azken into taking the actions he did, although it took very little effort on my part. His insanity was lurking just beneath the surface, waiting to be released. I paid him a visit shortly before Rematch had our encounter. Just a few subtle mental suggestions to ensure that when his mind broke, it would break in the direction I wanted it to. Although rigid thinkers such as him can become somewhat less predictable once their mind does break."
Paul whispered, his voice dripping with venom. "He's waving his stump around now. As if that was sufficient punishment for his crimes. Pontificating fool, he'll rue the day he decided to use my father as a pawn in his schemes."
"First, some background to help you understand how it has come to this. I manifested very early, around age 9. Telepathy, Precognition, and eventually Telekinesis. Unfortunately I did not have any control over my gifts and I was overwhelmed with the whispers from the minds of everyone around me. In those days mutants were not nearly as common, and so I was eventually diagnosed as a schizophrenic, placed in a mental institution, and given powerful anti-psychotic drugs. But that only made my situation worse, as the drugs caused my precognitive ability to become fully activate, and amplified its strength. I could not shut it off, and I was trapped in my visions of all the possible futures."
"Is he really going to tell your mother his life story? What does he think this is, a date?" Paul muttered sarcastically.
"Shhh, this could be useful."
"You may have heard how most precogs have difficulty seeing more than the near future, a few weeks or months at best. I was cursed with the opposite problem. At first I could ONLY see events 30 to 50 years into my future - and only my future. Do you know how many possible futures there are when you follow all the possible outcomes of every decision that far? Trillions and trillions. And trying to find your way back to the present? Nearly impossible when your sense of self, your sense of the here and now have been distorted by drugs. I learned that time is not linear the way most people think it is, with their limited perceptions. There are just as many possible versions of the "present" and "past" as there are possible versions of the "future." I was never sure if I was living in my own time or experiencing things as they happened to another possible version of myself."
"Given this idiot's track record, I would venture that he was treated to the many possible ways he could be a danger to himself and others."
"Just try and figure out something that can help me get my mom out of there alive, OK?"
"Not to worry, Jamie. Even now I'm..."
"Shh...he's talking again."
"Worse, most of my futures ended with me clawing my eyes out in a sanitarium within twenty years, or as a violent criminal being killed by Rematch or some other so called hero. But not all of them. No, in others I lived long enough to see the end of the human race. Soon that was all I could see. Endless variations on Armageddon, only able to escape the vision when I died, only to find myself in a slightly different version, and dying in a slightly different way, usually accompanied by the last remnants of humanity.
After years of seeing the world end, I eventually found a future where I did not die, where I was one of the few who survived. Where I would lead the human race back from the brink of extinction and into a glorious new era. With this new vision, I was at last able to gain a small measure of control over my powers, and escape from the visions that had taken over my life. I was back in the present, but the experience had rendered my memories fragmented and cloudy, leaving me with little more than a sense of impending doom."
"So he did this to us because he had a bad drug trip? I'm going to invent a new way of killing someone slowly, and make a brain recording of the experience, just so I can put him through it, revive him, and force him to relive it over and over again."
"Sounds like he already did that to himself."
"I'll do it better."
"Soon after that, I escaped from the sanitarium, but I was haunted by my imprecise memories of the future. As I recovered more and more of my memories, I began trying to stop it, eventually becoming the Evilutionary. I used my telepathy to nudge the weak minded into becoming my minions as I targeted those I thought would betray the human race - those with involved with certain cults, those with certain genetic maladies or visibly inhuman mutations. But they were misguided, clumsy attempts and I was easily foiled or arrested by Rematch. Everything I tried ended in failure.
Deeply depressed, I eventually resorted to once again taking the antipsychotic drugs that had trapped me in the future. I lost myself in the visions, trying to find that future again, the future where I was not doomed to failure. And I eventually succeeded. That past version of myself, he hated his life so much that when he found my future he became obsessed, trying to determine how to make his transformation into me a reality. He wanted to ensure that his present became my past. Instead, he made my future become his present.
You see, my past self managed to touch my mind, to read it...to become it. He copied my mind over his own, willingly sacrificing himself so that I could do my work here, in his time...in your present. My knowledge of the future is more precise and detailed than his ever was. What had been vague premonitions for him are crystal clear memories for me."
"So being a supervillain was all a mistake, but now that he has become the ghost of christmas future, and committed even greater atrocities, it's all justified?"
I was beginning to agree with him, but couldn't let us lose site of the real goal here. "No Paul. It's not justified at all. But first we have to get my mother out of there."
Chronogeist spoke again, still sounding smug. "I can feel your doubt. You think this is the raving of a madman, and wonder what it has to do with your daughter. I believe a small demonstration of my foresight is in order."
|Re: Falling to Pieces [message #71403 is a reply to message #61257 ]
||Tue, 15 January 2013 02:56
Registered: May 2011
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Paul whispered "Master Touch is bringing some sort of device. It looks like a Tesla coil mounted on a rifle stock and tripod. He is aiming it at a point in front of the the big double window facing the prison entrance. The skinny Hispanic transvestite is setting up a folding screen to conceal it."|
Chronogeist said "By now Rematch has tracked down Relapse and been informed of your location Ms. Harding, and even now he is homing in on the tracking device in the wedding ring you still carry with you. Although Breadboard has jammed most of the communications into or out of the prison, it seems he overlooked the frequency the tracking device uses. An oversight that would certainly seem suspicious if Rematch ever stopped to think about it."
"Who is Relapse?"
I'd heard of him from one of Dad's stories. "He's a minor telepath and a drug dealer. He preys on recovering addicts, pushing them into buying his product. It's been really hard to prove though, and they never get the drug charges to stick."
At that moment there was the sound of glass breaking, and a rush of air.
Paul "Uh oh. Rematch just came bursting in through the windows, sending glass everywhere. He doesn't look good... reminds of my father just before he lost it."
Chronogeist chuckled "Careful Rematch, you could have injured Sharon with all that flying glass."
I heard my fathers voice, and Paul was right, he didn't sound normal. His voice uneven, rough with emotion. "You! You're behind this?"
Chronogeist sighed. "Yes, me. What do I say here? Oh yes." He cleared his throat and intoned. "You cannot defeat me, you are no match for my mental powers."
Rematch snorted contemptuously, "My PK shell adapted to your telepathic attacks years ago."
At that moment there was a humming noise followed by a *ZAP*.
"...If your PK shell has been disrupted, then its remarkable defensive properties can no longer protect you."
I heard the sound of a body slamming into a wall.
"Well, Master Touch just fired the gun, right through that screen they put up, and a ray hit Rematch squarely in the chest. He fell to his knees and Chronogeist just slammed him into the wall with a wave of his hand. Rematch is on the floor and bleeding from his nose. Master Touch's hand is glowing with a blue energy and he's grabbed Rematch by the shoulder."
I felt my heart pounding in panic. My father had never been beaten this easily by anyone.
"We have to do something!"
"Yes, but we need a plan, there are to many of them."
Chronogeist continued gloating. "I must say, I've been wanting to do that for decades. Don't worry, Master Touch has only temporarily paralyzed you. You may be wondering what just happened. You see, your allies in law enforcement had this force field disruptor commissioned as a contingency in case you ever went rogue. It is calibrated specifically for your PK shell. Did they neglect to mention it to you?"
"The Hispanic transvestite is strapping Rematch into a wheelchair like the one they have your mother in...and now he's sitting in Rematches lap, running one finger across his jaw."
"Yeah, I really didn't need that tidbit."
Camwhore spoke, sounding like a kid asking for a cookie. "Mmmm...he's yummy. You sure I can't play with him some, Papi? He won't remember a thing when you're done with him."
"No time for playing. Events are coming to a climax. Bring him here, I need to make sure he won't be able to use his powers until we are done."
Camwhore sighed theatrically, and I heard the wheels squeak as he pushed the wheelchair over to the bed.
Paul whispered "Ok, now the transvestite is going over to talk to the old hippie, but I don't have a bug close enough to make out the conversation. Chronogeist is touching Rematch's forehead.
"This will ensure that you remain awake, but unable to move or access your abilities. I want you to hear this too."
"The pompous fool certainly loves the sound of his own voice."
"Paul, I'm serious - what are we going to do? We can't sit here listening to him monologue forever."
Chronogeist paused, gathering his thoughts, then spoke again, his voice intense.
"A war is coming. A war that humanity will lose. Earth's mightiest defenders will fall within the first hours of the war. Either dead, driven insane, or converted. The military forces of Earth will hold out a little longer, but they too will be eradicated. The Enemy will occupy Earth, subjugate what remains of humanity, and then abandon the planet. They will leave behind an occupation force of alien hybrids and collaborators, who use our dwindling population as a source of raw materials, food, and entertainment."
"We need to know what he expects your next move will be - he has a very specific scenario in mind for you, and the longer you follow his script, the better chance we will have to take him off guard when you finally break character."
"Doesn't he already know what I'm going to do next? He's predicted everything so far."
"They have been called by different names in different eras, but we just called them the Enemy. Their scouts had already visited our world several times in past millennia, with some of the visits predating the birth of humanity itself. They already had sleeper agents amongst the population, a cancer hidden in our midst. People who did not even know they carried abominations inside them, victims of tainted DNA that was implanted in our genome millennia ago. The Enemy had other agents as well; willing collaborators who had been setting up cells of worshipers, creating a covert army ready to betray us when the Enemy arrived."
"Not everything. He wanted you to kill me, and you didn't. That's why he implanted those memories. He thinks I'm dead and I'm not. I think we diverged from his original vision when you decided to save me back at the hospital instead of letting me die. Everything since is him trying to force you back into the timeline he wants to create."
"But why? What does he want with me?"
"I don't know yet. So we keep listening."
"They had been hidden for centuries, waiting for the arrival of their masters. The only pre-warning was an increased incidence of nightmares and insanity among Earth's psychics. When the Enemy arrived their sleepers awakened, casting off their human flesh and revealing their true forms. The hidden cults acted; striking at our infrastructure and leadership, even as the Enemy announced their presence with a massive psychic assault that drove most of us mad. I do not remember the year, only that it will be in the next decade. Their psychic assault disrupted our memories for years, and no records were kept. The mere presence of the Enemy leaders drove most of our telepaths mad. I recovered relatively quickly, having grown resistant from repeated exposure in my visions. It wasn't enough."
Chronogeist pauses for a moment, then continues.
"We could not stop them, and will be no different this time. Not even my foreknowledge will be enough. Humanity will lose the war, that is inevitable. But that need not be the end. I know who will betray us; who is already serving the enemy, who will collaborate with them during the occupation, and who will run the breeding creches that will churn out new hybrid servants for them. I know who is calling them here, even as we speak. That is why I am here - to plant the seeds of humanity's resurrection, to kill the collaborators before they can betray us, and to lay the groundwork for the Resistance."
[Updated on: Tue, 15 January 2013 11:53]
|Re: Falling to Pieces [message #71642 is a reply to message #61257 ]
||Mon, 21 January 2013 22:27
Registered: May 2011
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Camwhore walked away from Chronogeist as he continued to monologue to his captive audience. She'd heard it all before anyway. She touched the side of her face where the left eye had been replaced small cluster of camera lenses and other sensors. In the future she'd lost the eye to shrapnel after the Enemy invaded. But it was already gone when she'd been pulled back, a fresh wound that still ached even after she added the sensor cluster. Chronogeist had said it was necessary to make her past self "receptive" to her future memories. Why that instead of...something else? Her face momentarily lapsed into a frown as she considered her undeniably male body. While it was nice being young and healthy again she wished they had come back to a time after her sex change instead of before.
She knew she was different than the others who had been brought back. For everyone else, memories of this time were thirty or more years out of date, but not for her. Her past memories hadn't been overwritten - she still had them, just as vivid and recent as her memories of the future had been before they had been pulled back to this time by Chronogeist.
Maybe that's why she was doubting him now - she knew that her past self hadn't been in this prison at this time. He was supposed to be going in for the first round of surgeries that would turn him into the woman she remembered being for most of her life. She wasn't sure, but she suspected Chronogeist had framed her past self to get him into this prison, at this time, a decade before it had happened in her memories. He had a streak of brutal pragmatism bordering on cruelty when it came to accomplishing his goals. She could respect that, even admire it. She recognized similar tendencies in herself. But that didn't mean she had to like it when she was in the receiving end instead of someone else.
"Breadboard, how is it going? Any sign that the authorities know what's up?" Camwhore was still amazed that the old hippy had been one of the people to survive the end of the world - he'd been one of the very few people over fifty in the future they'd come from, he looked like he was closing in on ninety. White haired and thin as a rail in the future, now he was gray haired and stocky.
The graying hippie smiled. "Nah man, I got all the communications coming through my box here, and everything is copacetic. Just that one hiccup last night when the Detroit police called to check up on us, but I convinced them we were cool."
Camwhore frowned "Yeah, about that. Did you see the look on Big Daddy's face when they checked on us? And later when that cop car came through the front gate and crashed? He looked...surprised. He played it off like they were part of the plan, but I don't think he was expecting it."
"What do you mean? He's always been the man with the plan, he's seen everything coming before it happened. Even more so now that we are back before the big invasion."
She pursed her lips, pouting. "I'm not so sure - he was real upset at how things turned out at the hospital, even though the girl ended up here anyway. Also... I've been seeing some odd things on the monitors."
"What kinda things?"
"Odd instances of static, a monitor freezing on a scene for a few seconds, and then all the cameras in the pumping station going out at once, right before the she went apeshit and slaughtered the Freakshow."
"Didn't the big man say she was able to see your cameras and took them out herself?"
"All at once? I don't think so. I've been doing an analysis of all the blips and glitches, and there's a pattern - the oldest ones are on cameras that are closer together and the more recent ones are on cameras at the outer edges of the prison...except for a line of cameras that had brief moments of interrupted feed, one after the other. That happened last night right when the cop car crashed."
"Yeah, someone snuck in last night and has compromising my cameras. Don't know who yet, but if Big Daddy knows about it, he ain't saying. But it means she has help."
"Oh man, oh man...have you told him yet?"
"No. He still busy giving his end of the world speech, you know how he gets if he's interrupted. I'm still trying to locate the source of the interference. When I do, I'll send some of the boys to bring them in."
Breadboard looked worried. "If he didn't see this coming...what else isn't he seeing? He said we have until tomorrow morning before the authorities realize something is up and come in guns blazing. That's why we gotta have a full on prison riot for them to clean up, to cover our tracks."
"Just...please tell me you got our escape route finished. You know...just in case." She said as she rubbed his shoulder. She stopped when she noticed the hint of distaste in his eyes. He tried to hide it, but seeing her as a man when he'd only known her as a woman in the future had come as a shock to the laid back hippy. From most men she'd take that look as a challenge, but she'd always had a soft spot for Breadboard.
"Oh yeah, the teleport chamber? The other end came online a few hours ago. We got ourselves a bolt hole that leads right into the middle of Detroit, and the receiving chamber has a self destruct that will blow both chambers so no one can follow us."
She smiled at him, relieved. "You're the best! When we get outta here I'm gonna get you something special. I got connections, I'll get you some of the best weed you've ever smoked."
Breadboard chuckled "That'd be great, better the low grade skunk weed I've been stuck with in here."
Camwhore went to check her cameras, and to see if she could locate the ghost who had been spoofing her systems. Chronogeist wouldn't believe something was happening outside his plan unless she had incontrovertible proof. She just hoped she'd find it before it was too late.
[Updated on: Mon, 21 January 2013 22:42]
Current Time: Wed May 22 19:09:56 EDT 2013
Total time taken to generate the page: 0.02437 seconds