2011-08-28: After It Ends
AIR DATE 08.28.2011
Cast: Harry_icon.png
Guest-Starring: Gideon_icon.pngNick_icon.png
Location: ACRU HQ, Captains' Office
Synopsis: The ACRU captains receive a nightmarish debrief.
AFTER IT ENDS

The small office, nestled wherever it happens to fit in the ACRU's portion of the police station, doesn't lend the bright warmth needed to chase away the darkness of the evening. Not by far. It's windowless, and the shadow of Captain Gideon Ramsay hangs over Harriet Parker. He sits not at a desk but stands against the outer corner of one, observing their loyal crime scene investigator with an extra sheen of stoicism chiseling his dark face. A bustle is present beyond the frosted window of the door, but in here is much quieter. When Ramsay deems something to be important, the air hangs with that importance.

"This is but an example of how human nature can take a dark turn; abilities or otherwise," he rumbles, a stern commentary on the truth. It's not comforting and it's not meant to be. However, his urging, despite his firm voice, is not unkind. "We need to know everything, Harriet. What happened tonight is our responsibility now, and you are our eyes and ears."

From her perch in the chair, Harry has her hands clasped in her lap. With all the bustle after she called in ACRU, she hasn't really thought everything over. However, as she sits in front of Captain Ramsay - a man she already finds intimidating - her hands start to shake a little. The horror of the events that just took place are starting to seep into her. She's been in rooms covered in blood and gore, seen many things that other people would have nightmares about for years. Now, though, she's been a part of the nightmare as opposed to cleaning it up.

"It— " Harry takes a shuddering breath. "I'm— I'm honestly not sure where the illusions began and the reality ended. I think it started when everything went dark. But, then, if it wasn't real, how did I end up in a different room?"

With a soft click, so much gentler than the noises Harry's been flooded with that evening, the door to the combined captains' office opens. Captain Nick Shea slips inside just as there's enough room, as though he were creeping in: an intruder in his own workspace. It's to create the least amount of disturbance for Harry's beginning words and, with her question, a visible tug captures him to her struggle.

After nearly forgetting his own purpose in latching to hers, the quieter captain holds a pacifying hand up to his fellow; hold. There's apology etched into his forehead, but it's been there since before he arrived. His eyebrows can't seem to find lift. He has a headache. "She's calmer for now," he says, of the other girl who shared Harry's experiences, quarantined to a less personal room, "They're taking the camera."

Business aired, he strides right into the office, coming to the side of Harry not overshadowed by Gideon's lean. Dropping right to a crouch at the chair, he takes the extreme opposite— lowering to her level, instead of looming. A hand, carefully, settles a top the ones in her lap, feeling, suppressing that shudder with calm. Then his fingers go away. "I'm sorry, Harriet. Please go on."

Gideon's eyes track Nick. They were on the door before it opened; a brief moment of expectant waiting, after Harry's question of how. As his co-captain settles in beside Harry, Gideon leans back against the corner of the desk; he dwarfs it. His presence doesn't diminish, even though his broad shoulders round out. He frowns. "Perhaps the camera will provide evidence of what was real, and what was not," he suggests slowly, but adds no more; Nick's go on, Harriet stands with no more interruption.

Nick's appearance startles Harry just for a moment. It distracts her and allows her to take a breath to steady herself. "Is she okay?" The two of them went through quite a bit together. "And Dr. Lewis and the patient we were found with?" She's still not exactly sure what to make of the doctor and the patient, but she would like to know how they are.

Then, she latches on to the idea of the camera. "I'd like to see the tape, too, if that's possible." After that, she continues the tale, unknowingly using Nick's calm to keep her hands from shaking. "Dr. Lewis seemed unaware that he was the one causing the disruptions. Either that or he's a very good actor. He actually saved me from an agitated patient and then attempted to shield both myself and Jude from the Director who had become disoriented and had a gun. He tried to put himself in front before the Director— before he— " shot himself in the head.

"All in due time": sums up the camera, Miss Jude, and the others with succinct gentility. For now, Shea stays firm in place beside Harry, both with his body, and the new kneading of lines on his face. Concern betrays no deeper function; his mind stays soundly disconnected from hers. He only thinks. And, swiftly, communicates a glance to his fellow captain as the suspect — brought into their own custody, and remaining under — comes up.

"It's okay," is the overlapping reassurance as soon as Harry hesitates to fill in that morbid blank. They all saw. Instead, he gestures with a hand, leading her gaze, and, with it, her thoughts as if, with merely a suggestion of fingers moving, he could distract her away from the tragedy. But it's more than an as if. "But you said, when you got to the basement… things— changed. He changed."

Talk of the man in custody brings about not only a shared look from one captain to the other and back, but a deeper frown on Gideon's face. The crease of his eyes denotes a faintly baleful concern over the matter: changed. He stands straight, only to remove his looming presence from the conversation; silently around the other side of the desk, he leans far enough over a computer, instead, to enliven the screen. Lewis, Daniel Anthony

The trail of what happened to the Director directs Harry's thoughts in quite a morbid theme. The gentle push away from them as well as the distraction of Gideon's move allows her to continue. The basement. Whatever happened in the basement is something that she's still confused about. However, she does her best to describe what happened without breaking off again. The shaking has stopped, but there are still goosebumps on her skin.

"R-right. We were headed to the basement because we thought the trouble came from one of the patients. When we entered his cell, the door shut behind us and he - Viktor - started to yell at us. That's when Dr. Lewis changed. The shadows started to grow…I thought he had Umbrakinesis. Jude had a flashlight, so I took it from her and attempted to shine it at him. But, that didn't work. He separated Jude and I. Then…I saw a tray and I used it to hit Dr. Lewis over the head. The lights went back on. We thought we were free. But, then, z-zombies came after us. And Jude then used a sedative on him. That's when everything really turned back to normal."

Around the middle of the story, Shea bounces on his heels, readjusting. His lips pull in to be licked contemplatively. But none of that manages to draw his steady, encouraging gaze from Harry's. "Appearing to be out the first time…" he muses, "A strong survival instinct. It's possible the facade of innocence is also part of this, but…" Mouth creasing indecisively, he now pans his gaze to the floor for thought. It isn't an uncommon mood on him; Nicholas Shea, ever wanting to believe the best of everyone.

When a hand reaches his chin, he reroutes to the seated Harry, letting his fingers slide onto his knees more practically than meandering musings. "The ability, then. As far as you could tell, Harriet, it was seamless from… this bad dream effect and the real world?"

Gideon is very quiet while they talk. His observance isn't necessary for his keen listening. He seats himself, drawing closer to the computer. Its screen sends a glow to an increasingly hardening, contemplative expression; it's this face that turns toward Nick now as his gaze leaves behind a list of accreditations on the screen, but whatever opinion this captain is forming is kept silent.

Zombies. Who ever thought she would say that in relation to something that happened to her in real life? Harry reaches up to tug on one of her braids nervously. "No…it…" Harry is similar to Nick in wanting there to be good in everyone. It's hard for her to reconcile the Daniel that jumped onto a raving patients back to help her and the terrifying version that trapped and terrorized them. "I don't think it was a facade. But…I…I didn't start talking to the doctor until everything started. So, I can't be certain. And-and-he referred to himself in the third person, too." Right before he blew out her flashlight. "Viktor - the patient - said that sometimes he's one person…but the other one is always watching."

Thinking back into the morgue room - the feet standing there, silent and dead in the other room - Harry closes her eyes. She doesn't want to remember better, to think harder about her experience, but she has to. "It…it was. There was an alarm and then a flash of red light. Then, everything went dark. Otherwise, everything seemed so real. I…It felt something tickling at the back of my neck. I didn't even realize it until it was gone." Just thinking about it makes her rest a hand on the spot that she had felt it. "That's it." She keeps her eyes closed even after she stops talking.

"Thank you, Harriet." Her captain's soothing voice breaks into that darkness of closed eyes, and the return of the sensation of his hand squeezing hers. Brief, and only full of respite. The hand moves, instead, to appear at the back of her head, just behind her ear: a meaningful grip. Morgue, and its ghosts, and everything that happened in a nightmare-filled basement fades; not lost, no, but she's able to sit a while without finding her thoughts returning there. Just a few minutes, before her mind will inevitably recover its obsession. Nick's hand has vanished before it can be more than that, and he's on his way to straightening after a reassuring, "That'll be all for now."

On his feet, a look over his shoulder is for Gideon's position— physically, mentally; he reads with a look, and not with his mind. Initially. "I think it's time I woke the Doctor."

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