2007-08-03: A Bit Died Up


Meryl_icon.gif DFJessica_icon.gif

Summary: The title is not a typo.

Dark Future Date: 3 AUGUST 2009

A Bit Died Up

S*Y*N Basement

The shoddy lightbulbs in the dank, dark, all around unpleasant little basement room never quite stop flickering. The on-and-off of the hazy bulb is like the beat of a drum, it' so predictable; or maybe like the sharp flashing of nerve endings in pain. That's more apt, given the chair in the middle of the room, the stains on the floor. This isn't exactly a cellar where grandma keeps her pickled goods. Its utility is dire. Not many people leave this room. If they do, they come back broken.

Who knows how long it's been. No windows, no clocks. Down the claustrophobic corridor, the door opens. Footsteps sound on the metal stairs, numerous. Descending into the basement, and into the room, are three men in suits, first of all. Word is, the mysterious "boss" of the Syndicate wants a word with the current occupant of this lovely space.


Actually, the flickering light is a clever scheme of two lab mice to take over the world - at least, that's what Meryl tells herself to keep herself sane, because it's more fun to remember re-runs of Pinky and the Brain than it is to think about her own failure. Which really wasn't a failure insomuch as the guy was really adorable, and he asked nicely, and he seemed like such a nice bloke, and, well, she was tired, and… Yech. This is not a good cover story, and she damn well knows it.

With a sigh, she leans her head against the floor. She's bound to the chair, sure, but she kind of made the mistake some hours ago of tipping the chair over on its side. That always worked in the movies. Curling her nose up a bit - she doesn't want to know what she's resting her head on, she opens her eyes when she hears the footsteps. "Oh, hey, guys," she says, trying out a cheerful note that falls flat. "Mind sitting me back up? I can't escape if I'm on my side, see, so if you could just— Love what you've done to your hair. Going for the shaved look, huh? It suits you, and I mean that."


"The, uh…" The man with the shaved head, who happens to be a British fellow, looks momentarily humbled, although it's not completely because of the compliment. What to you say to an associate who you're here to guard over while the boss presumably interrogates her? Apparently, you say, "It saves time in the morning. Early bird, and all that." He steps closer as if to help her, but another man shakes his head. "Apologies," the Brit says. "We're here to guard. You're trying to escape, after all. Boss wants a word. Guess that means we'll finally see the guy. Look on the bright side, hey?"

The men circle around Meryl, flanking her at the walls. For the most part, they're all cool and collected, but a closer look reveals that some have a sheen of sweat over their skin, some shuffle in spot, and the man with the shaved head clutches his hands together too tightly.


Meryl's not worried! She's gotten out of worse scrapes than this before, like the time when she was on a field assignment and— No, someone else bailed her out of that one. Maybe the museum incident? Okay, that might have been dumb luck. Pouting /fiercely/ when the man refuses to help her up, she drops her head back to the floor, black hair falling across her eyes. Great. Now she can't see.

"If I was really trying to escape, I'd already be gone," she says, and now for her MAGNUM OPUS - she pulls her hand away from the chair and the handcuffs… Are still holding her. Yeah, they were supposed to fall off so that she could work on the duct tape, but there was a flaw in her plan somewhere along the line. Possibly the fact that she had no lock picks. Details.

Still not nervous. Nah. She can get herself out of this easy. She has noticed that the other guys in the room aren't doing so well in the calm-and-collected department, and so she figures she can help, by singing The Song that Never Ends. You know, just to pass the time.


Meryl's singing only seems to make the men more nervous. The one with the shaved head smiles thinly.

Another creak and succinct thud sounds as the door above opens, closes and secures. More footsteps follow — a purposeful *clang-clang-clang* on the black metal steps, but more delicate than the group of mens'. That's only because she's wearing high heels, silver sandals with criss-crossing straps all the way up her calves — suiting of one of the dancers upstairs in S*Y*N. She is one of the dancers at S*Y*N: the performer known as "Niki" to the upstairs crowd. A silvery, shimmering robe, kimono style and very short, is wrapped loosely around her body with a black sash as if she just stepped off the stage. The pockets are deep, heavy. Stalking into the small, song-filled little room, the first thing Jessica does is crouch down and grab the front of Meryl's shirt and haul her, and the chair, upright. Metal screeches on concrete. Isn't that thoughtful of her? "You screwed up," she says, almost through her teeth, in Meryl's face.


"It goes on and on m— " Someone's out there. Possibly someone to rescue her, though she doubts it. After all, her allies are kind of here, and she kind of admitted that she was a spy, which means no one's really rushing to be her friend at the moment. Hell, it's likely that no one even knows where she is, so… Yeah, now she's getting a little nervous. The words of the song come slower as the footsteps approach, and die altogether when Jessica appears.

She's going to guess that she's not the waiter or something. No ordering the House special.

There's a grk! as she's pulled up by one hand, and Meryl actually winces a bit as she's quite suddenly turned right. Uh, ow? "I could have fixed it," she says. There's confidence there. "I mean, I got away, you got your information, we both win." Some information. Not a whole lot. Not enough. When it doubt, resort to flattery again. "You're. Very." Uh. "Strong." Must get up very early in the morning!

A sort of 'oh hell' look does cross the former Agent's face as she stare's into Jessica's eyes. "Right, so let's put things right again." Let her go, and she'll make it up to you. Promise. It can't be that hard.


Jessica keeps on clutching the fabric of the other woman's shirt in a fist, pulling her away from the chair's low metal back by a few inches. She doesn't look like she's in the mood to be reckoned with. "You had one job. You couldn't even do that." The blonde's face is darkened by her deadly glower, brow knit by anger. It comes easily, that brutal anger-she lets Meryl go, all right, but it's a forceful shove that rocks the chair. She could have tipped it back over with the mildest of shoves if she wanted to. Standing straight, she looms over the former agent with her hands on her hips. "The information is useless," she tells the captive in a scoffing tone with an incredulous smirk. "I'm glad that pathetic excuse for a gang you were spying on didn't kill you the second you opened your mouth." Why? Well, not out of the goodness of her heart, that's for damn sure. A hand slides down into the silken pocket of her cover-up and withdraws a mean-looking gun with a silencer.


Everyone messes up, that's the thing. She was so tired because there just wasn't time for sleep. In the Company, she never would have slipped up, not like this, anyway. She was trained, there was just… A small lapse of judgment, a single moment she'd take back if she could. But really, she can only promise not to do it again. After all, in the past— "I've been an asset in the past. Give me another chance." The very edge of panic is starting to sound within that accented voice, enough so that a trained ear will hear it. Meryl is desperate.

Then, she's attempting to keep herself balanced and upright, which she's able to do, but only just. Is that the worst of it? She's sure it must be. Worse scrapes than this, after all— This can't be the worst of them all. "No one's in danger, they didn't follow me. In fact, hell, a good two or three of them are dead now. They'll be picking up the pieces of that for months." She tries the bonds again, but there's no luck there. And then?

She freezes, that 'oh dear GOD' look on her face when she sees the firearm. "If you wanted to scare me, you're doing an excellent job." A hopeful smile. "I've been shot before. It's not pleasant. If you could aim for the shoulder, maybe? Leg? I've got some dead nerve endings right— She nods toward her left calf. "Would hurt a good amount, but I'll be back on the field in a week, promise." She looks toward the men in the room. The guards. C'mon, Baldy, a little help here? Please?


"The left, huh?" Jessica glances to the woman's left calf and laughs lowly under her breath. "I'll remember that." On second thought, she disassembles the silencer and tosses it aside. Her expression is stern, dark, and unwavering. "Bang." The gun is lifted, and with practiced motions, Jessica makes sure all the parts are ready to do their job - nice and reliable. Chambers full, safety off. She levels it - just a slight angle down and it would fire straight at Meryl's head.


The man with the shaved head drops to the basement floor, a bullet buried in his skull. The other two barely have time to hold their hands up or beg before they meet the same fate.


"It's not even that you did half a good job before you slipped. Point is, you did. You're a failure, Mer. It's in your blood. It was in theirs, too, for the record," Jessica glances carelessly over to the bodies of the three men. "And I don't have time for screw-ups." And that's final. It might be a good thing that she slips the gun back in her pocket, but let's face it - it means she's going to get her hands dirty. Just as she starts to eye Meryl with a dangerous anticipation in her icy eyes, Jessica tenses and eyes the wall to the right. The blank, concrete wall, as if … listening. (There's no sound.)


Slight nod, just a little one. She expects to come out of this in a little tiny bit of pain that she can manage, but it's the anticipation that really kills her. The wheres, hows, is she going to get good medical help after, does she have a decent 401K plan, is she protected in the event of a flood?

"OH my gh— " she emits as the weapon fires the first time and she hears the man drop. That's a sound she's heard before; green eyes close as the second two shots are fired, the other guards hit the floor, too. When her eyes open again, they're kept level. She doesn't want to see the mess on the floor; she never liked it, after all, even if she's created such messes in the past.

"You've made an excellent point," she says, voice almost sounding relieved as the weapon is placed back into the pocket. Now she's sweating, now? Yeah, there's a little bit of trembling. "Really. Good point." This is the part where you untie her and send her on her way, shaken, but otherwise still breathing.

Her eyes narrow. She strains to see - or hear - whatever's got Jessica's attention. "Everything okay, Mate?" she asks, leaning forward a little.


Listening, listening. There continues to be absolutely nothing to look at, save for the shadows; or hear, save for the jagged electric buzz overhead from the light. And yet, Jessica's head snaps around to the opposite wall sharply. " Did you hear something?" Her eyes narrow, suspicious and watchful, on nothing. "I thought…" The woman squares her shoulders back and tosses her hair. She tilts her head down a degree. "Never mind," she says in a low, rich murmur, decisive, directly at Meryl this time and not some imaginary point of interest.

This isn't the part where she decides to let Meryl go. This is the part where she descends on the woman under her employ. It's a like a hug, the way she takes the black-haired woman in her arms, but the arm that wraps around Meryl's head isn't an embrace. It's poised in such a way that she could snap her neck in a second, and her other hand starts to squeeze her right shoulder, right at the joint. Her fingers start to dig. And sink. And pull.


This is a rhetorical question, right? She's not supposed to answer this, because whatever answer she does give could end up pissing 'the boss' off. Could lessen her chances of escape. Meryl's been working at that tape again, though, because she's starting to get considerably worried. Fingernails dig into it, one little thread at a time. It's slow, but it's something. Hell if she's going to wait around to be shot in the head like the others.

She gives a tug, but… Nothing. At this point, Meryl's heart begins to beat faster… All that training, and she can still be afraid, even if she's trying not to show it. "I— I'd hug you back but I'm a bit— " She shudders as the fingers dig into her shoulder, voice coming slightly high pitched now. " — Tied up at the — " This dissolves into a sharp yell. Instinctively, she tries to pull away, shift the chair in any way possible; the fingers attached to that afflicted shoulder tense around the tape, but the pain shooting through her nerves saps her of any power she might have previously had. Can she kick? Meryl tries her feet against the binding.


Meryl might be able to move - a little bit here, a little bit there, but it's all going to make the boss's hopelessly strong hands hold on tighter and reach deeper into her tissues. After the first few moments? Jessica makes short work of it, unflinching. She crafts a nightmare, rendering bone and muscle brutally into positions they were never meant to go in and tearing the woman basically asunder. She waits 'til the end to turn that embrace into the wrenching *snap* it was leading up to all along.

After that last moment, Jessica steps around Meryl - what's left of her - and turns the spinning handle on the metal vault. She pulls it open; impossibly heavy even unlocked for a normal person, but not for her. It swings open on its heavy-duty hinges, leaving red handprints on the handles. It's just vague dark beyond. Maybe a hole. Jessica grabs onto the back of the metal chair the former Company agent - and former Syndicate hand - occupies (occupied?), now slick and dark, and drags it across the concrete floor. What follows is a clean up. Meryl first, then the three others.

When she's done and the vault is closed, Jessica heads for the corridor. She stops, however, and looks over her shoulder, eyes narrowed into untrusting slits. Watching. "I swear…" she mutters vindictively before leaving the basement entirely.

The lightbulb finally flickers for the last time and goes out.

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