2007-08-14: DF: A Work In Progress


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Cyprus makes a visit to Cass' cell. A clash of ideals, nobody's budging.

August 14th, 2009:

A Work in Progress


Day? Night? It's impossible to tell in a basement cell. However, that's the least of Cass Aldric's problems at the moment. She's trapped in a cell, uncooperative and currently has a bright red mark on her cheek as well as bruising around her throat. The guards that pass by the plexiglass window are ignored, as is just about everything else. Sitting on the bed, looking tired and certainly displeased, the head of Bat Country labs leans her head against the wall and watches the ceiling.

There is the loud buzz of a cellblock door being unlocked and the echo of a steady canter down the hallway approaching the cell. A few seconds before whomever it is enters the line of Cass's sight through the large plexiglass window, there is the scraping noise of a chair being picked up. Cyprus Donovan, in his business suit and dark blue tie settles the chair down with a clatter, facing Cass's cell. He has a briefcase in his other hand, which he sets down next to the chair. He turns to face Cass, and nods in greating. "Ms. Cassandra Aldric," he greets mellifluously. "It is good to finally make your acquaintance."

The sound of the scraping chair and the plexiglass window doesn't make Cass turn. Nor does the sound of someone new speaking to her. She's had enough of playing the good little cell block rat. And while she's never been cooperative with them, she's reached the end of her rope. From Alliance surveillance and intelligence, she knows who Cyprus is, however, this is the first time she's actually spoken with the man. "You're not making anything." Her voice comes out a little scratchy, as if she hasn't had enough to drink. It's as if she's speaking straight to the ceiling and not the suit in the chair. "I've heard lawyers were blood sucking devlis, but this is sort of ridiculous."

There seems to be a flicker of a smile, and Cyprus shakes his head slowly. He reaches down to his briefcase, and pulls out a file for a moment. He pages through it, as if needing to read it before starting, when it's more than likely just for show. Just another lawyer's trick. Like dragging the chair. After a moment, Cyprus puts it back away, and looks over at Cass. "I have read about your… situation, Ms. Aldric," he comments quietly. "And… I can understand why you feel less than willing to be of assistance to us. What I was hoping was that you might be someone capable of being reasoned with. The President… has the luxury of demanding all or nothing. He doesn't need to explain himself. People like you and I, Ms. Aldric, are different. We have to make do with what we are given. So… Are you willing to listen?" There is a pause. "That is all I ask, for now."

Whatever the show is, Cass isn't about to watch it. The ceiling is far more interesting to her. As of yet, she hasn't moved. A very dark expression crosses over her face when Cyprus mentions the President and what luxuries he demands, but that still doesn't make her turn to look at the voice behind the President's regime. "My 'situation' is none of your concern. I think the President certainly needs to explain himself. More than anyone." The tone of her voice is disgusted more than anything else. "I thought American policy was to not negotiate with terrorists. But, I guess that only works until the terrorists have things that you want. And you're going to talk no matter what I say, so talk and then I can go back to counting the cracks in the ceiling."

Cyprus presses his fingers into the bridge of his nose. It's clear by his body language that this is a familiar routine to him, and one he expects to have little success. Cyprus stands, and crosses his arms behind his back, his expression once more under his control. He seems to consider things for a long moment before speaking. "What do you think is the future of our nation, Ms. Aldric?" he asks. "What hope do /you/ have left in this world, that lets you continue on? That lets you keep on fighting? I mean, I can understand why you hate us. It's easy to hate. But is that all you have? Hatred and contempt?"

"I have hatred and contempt for a country that has no sense of history, no sense of ethics." Cass has been saying, basically on repeat, since she arrived here and people started to try and demand things of her. "This government is one that looks at the world and doesn't sees something to fix, it sees things that it doesn't control and /hates/ that. You are a driving force behind a government that hates and tries to change most of it's population. What kind of nation does that build? What kind of /future/ can such a nation have?" There's a laugh, a short and bitter thing, when Cyprus talks about how she has no hope. How two years ago no one could ever say Cassandra Aldric was a pessimist. "If I tell you the things that keep me going, that make me happy to be alive, you'll take those things from me and try to twist them, kill them, just to show me you're capable of doing so."

"Is that who you think I am, Ms. Aldric?" asks Cyprus simply, lifting a brow. "You think this is the world that any /sane/ being would have attempted to bring about? No. This world is merely… a work in progress. While I don't expect you to be sympathetic, I had hoped you wouldn't be stupid. I wouldn't strip from you the things you hold dear. There's no point to that. I'm here to try to make you cooperate." He steps back from the cell shaking his head. "If your kind had won the war, then the only thing that would have changed is our positions. We'd be the ones in the camps, the ones being executed because we are simply too dangerous to allow to live. The Evolved and humans are just two sides of the same rotten coin, Ms. Aldric." He lifts the briefcase up, and places it on the chair. "As such, we can never live in peace. Not now. There's been too much blood. Would you prefer the extinction of the Evolved, or giving humanity a choice to step forward? Once we have the means, the camps will become unnecessary. Families will be reunited. People will be able to go home. We will be able to heal the wounds, and build a better world. Why do you see that as wrong, Ms. Aldric?"

Finally, Cass shifts her viewpoint to watch Cyprus. There's no sympathy or anger for him, only numbness. She's been trapped in a cell for much longer than she would prefer. Maybe the camps would have even been better, they would have left her alone. "You really believe that." It's not a question, it's a statement. "If you've heard anything about me, you wouldn't try and tell me that. Your selling line's a little off. If humans had started to try and systematically kill Evolved beings, I'd be fighting them, too. We're biologically the same. We have the same DNA, we're the same species, the only difference is we have different genes. You're talking about genocide, about racial cleansing. Evolution happens at the pace it does /for a reason/. Trying to engineer a species of human Evolved beings is insane. It's not a step forward. You know what happened to species of corn when it became genetically modified to be almost exactly the same? One little virus came and wiped out an entire crop. Thousands starved because diversity was sacrificed for what was considered better for everyone." She stops for a moment. Talking this much hurts her throat. Maybe she should have stopped before going on these long righteous speeches. Her voice is rougher, softer whens he finishes. "You're saying the ends justify the means, and I don't find that true. All anyone has is the means."

"I am aware of how similar we all truly are, Ms. Aldric," says Cyprus simply. He looks over at Cass, and nods. "Why do you think we asked for help? We can make this world a better place, but only if we are working together." He shakes his head, and opens the briefcase looking into it. "Pragmatists will always be damned for saving the world, while idealists will be praised for destroying it. Because no one /wants/ to believe the ends justify the means… But the alternatives only lead us to holding handfuls of dust." He glances up at Cass once more. "I don't suppose any of this has changed your mind?"

"You're not asking for help, you're holding guns to people's head and /then/ asking nicely." There's a large difference. Cass sighs and then rolls her head back to look at the ceiling. This is the same arguments she has been hearing from the government and she has been giving the same arguments back. There is very little that will make them see eye to eye. "You can't break a nation to heal it. And you say your a pragmatist, but you're not. A pragmatist doesn't wear such a nice suit to a jail cell." A jab? Yes, she can't help it. "There's a reason we're sitting on opposite sides of plexiglass." As in, no, nothing has changed her mind.

"That's unfortunate," says Cyprus with a sigh. "Then I suppose I am left with just my orders." With that, he pulls out a very familiar looking apparatus. It's one of the Company-issue double injector units, used to leave those signature marks on Evolved. Used as part of a tracking system. And now Cyprus has one in his hands. He lifts his hand and gestures towards the cell. A wave of nausea and dizziness erupts over Cass as all her senses start malfunctioning and protesting. The world is spinning and everything feels poisonous. Cyprus focuses his mind on maintaining it as the plexiglass screen lifts up to allow him entry. He walks up to Cass, and holds her steady with one hand, while jabbing the injector into her shoulder. There is a faint hydraulic hiss, and he lets go of her. He turns and walks back out of the cell, as the plexiglass closes it off once more. It's only then that he releases his power, letting the world come back to normal for Cass.

No stranger to the government's agents to using their powers against her, the wave of nausea that hits Cass isn't exactly unexpected. However, there's nothing that she can do to fight it. Already sleep deprived, and bruised and all sorts of other traumatized, the dizziness and nausea smacks against her in such a way that she quickly positions herself over the bed to retch onto the floor. Hopefully, in a justified world, she'll manage to get some on Cyprus' shoes. Immobilized throughout the tagging process, she stays lying and slightly curled up on the bed even after Cyprus releases his powers. It's going to take her a little while for everything to return to normal. She doesn't even press a hand against her shoulder where she was just tagged. For a woman who had so much to say before, she's silent when Cyprus leaves the cell. Either she's been left speechless, or she just threw up what she wanted to say all over the floor.

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