2010-03-22: Cured



Date: March 22, 2010


Erin visits Jo to kill her… ghost Erin persists…


Jo's Apartment — NYC

To Erin, this visit is perfectly justified. After all, if Cody can jeopardize them all by visiting Max, this can't be any worse, especially because of the reason for this visit. She intends to finish what she started and just kill the woman who captured her.

As she makes her way to the apartment, her eyes scan the numbers on the doors. Tracy said that she was haunting Jo, which means that maybe she can quite literally just walk in through the front door. Of course, if she's an evil ghost, Jo might just shoot her on sight. Man, weighing options is tough sometimes, especially when her life is on the line.

The apartment number is familiar. Erin's been sending letters to it for some time, after all. Pausing outside it, Erin finally decides - she's just going to knock and take her chances. Luck has been on her side before.

Meanwhile, inside the apartment, a burned, dead-looking Erin McCarty yells, "HEY. DUMBASS. Someone's at the door!"

Bloodied and bruised several times over, Agent Scott sits in the middle of the apartment with her eyes closed. Ghost Erin has been harassing her again. With a long, heavy sigh she opens them to stare at the still-present Erin. Great. She's still here. Every time she closes her eyes she hopes that Erin will be gone. Or for her own death to end the misery. Of course, who's to say that even her death would bring relief. Haunted in life… does that make a person haunted in death? And this is the reason she hasn't pulled the trigger on herself.

"Don't be such a bitch," Jo says blandly before rising from the chair. She presses her lips together, the dried blood irritates the skin underneath, but she hasn't bothered to wash it off this time. Her fights with ghost-Erin have only become longer and more intense, even if Carl's right and this is, strangely, all in her mind, it seems real.

She unlatches the door and peers at the visitor before gasping and stepping back. She turns to face the burnt ghost, "You're MULTIPLYING?!"

Erin's instantly defensive when Jo opens the door, but her defensiveness turns to… Well, amazement. "Jesus Christ," she mutters, reaching up to pull the hood off her head. As soon as Jo steps back, Erin takes the opportunity to enter the apartment; the viruses are painfully present, multiplying at a rate she didn't expect or anticipate. If she concentrates, she can see a perfect image of the agent outlined in angry, glowing red. These things are really hurting her. As soon as Erin's inside, she closes the door.

"You're a moron," Ghost-Erin says. "Why the hell do you think you've been seeing me? Think about it. Who's most likely to cause you to see things like this, huh? Me. Walking plague. God, I can't believe you thought it was Tracy Strauss. Weren't you one of the smartest kids in your class?"

Erin - the real one - holds her hand out. Like the ghost, her eyes are glowing, but she's hesitating. With the number of viruses in Jo's system they could easily turn deadly and just kill her. It'd be easy. And then, she pulls her hand back and swears. Her eyes stop glowing. "Come on, let's get you to the— " Erin looks around for a couch and finds none, then changes tactics and looks for the bathroom. "Let's get you cleaned up." Before I murder you! No. Not again.

"I'm not a moron. Besides, I told you not to be such a bitch, but then, why would you decide to listen to me now?" Jo quips back to the ghost. "Carl said… and… it hurts…" Everywhere. Mostly because she's been kicking her own ass, even if somewhat aware of it, ghost-Erin is so frustrating.

"I don't need cleaning up…" the marine protests, but walks towards the bathroom anyways. Her walk is a limp as she staggers along the hall to the small bathroom containing nothing more than a stand shower, pedestal sink, and small toilet.

The towel rack contains the essentials and nothing more — a single chocolate-brown towel. "Why did you multiply?" Jo hasn't made sense of the situation yet. Not in the least. Erin is dead. She died. The Protocols wouldn't be so careless…

"You live like a hobo," Erin mutters, pulling the towel off the rack and running it under cold water. When Jo essentially talks to nothing, Erin looks over the other woman's shoulder just to see if she can see anything. It's an automatic reaction. As she works on cleaning the blood off of Jo's face (Ew!) she also works on destroying the virus she created. Her eyes glow softly.

"If you're asking why I'm here, it's because I didn't mean for things to get this far. Look at you. What the hell happened?" Killing the virus takes awhile, and the ghost of Erin isn't willing to vanish just yet.
"Tell her," said ghost says. "Got your gun, Jo? You should shoot her. See if she bleeds."

Erin, by now, is distinctly uncomfortable. She came here for a different reason entirely. Maybe she would end the agent if Cody hadn't told her that Jo was her friend… And once a decent person.

"Not a hobo, a nomad," Jo objects as she winces underneath the towel. Her eyes shut tightly as the pain persists. She stares at ghost-Erin for a moment before turning to the real Erin. "She didn't tell you? Her and I don't get along. We beat on each other." Or, as the case may be, Jo beats on herself. It's all very Tyler Durden.

"My gun is in the kitchen," Jo says to the ghost. "And it certainly didn't work on you." She sighs again as she flinches further. "Besides whenever I try to hurt one of you, I suffer, and you look fine. Ah. Why didn't this all improve after I talked to Law?! I decide to turn on my employers and this happens. You ghosts make no sense…"

Erin almost smiles, and then she scowls. So apparently, Jo's hallucinating enough so that she's actually hurting herself over this. It's all well-deserved, of course - the beating, the suffering. No one should lose their mind before they die, though. "It'll be over soon," Erin mutters. She'll have to see this through, as leaving Jo alive is too large a security risk. As much as she doesn't want to…

"Well, that's good to know," Erin says as Jo relates the location of her firearm. "Hold still."

"SHE looks fine!" Ghost-Erin exclaims. "I'm still a god-damned burn victim!"

Erin's tempted to let Jo continue believing she's just a ghost. It might make her getaway a lot easier. To Jo's perception, though, the hallucination is rapidly fading in and out of focus, becoming only a voice within the agent's mind.

Erin's interest is piqued, though. "Turn— You turned on… The AP?" she asks. "Why?"

"That's true. She does look fine," Jo agrees with Ghost-Erin. The marine's gaze shifts to the door. But then, unburnt Erin seems so much nicer. Easier to get along with. Easier to handle. She presses her lips together and flinches again. It's good she knows where her gun is though. Not easy enough to get to, mind. Before all of this she'd been hyper-vigilant. Now, she's quite the opposite.

"They wanted me to kill a friend. I had the order to shoot." She winces some. "I don't know if that makes me a good marine or not. A good soldier listens to orders without questioning. If every soldier questioned their orders the country would be in disarray." She sighs heavily again. "And… you know I don't want people used as weapons. Or, at least, the other you knows that. I joined the marines to protect this country, not put it under the thumb of our enemies."

"In fact, if I was the terrorists responsible, I would use the opportunity to create insurrection; to overthrow the government. I can't see why they wouldn't try. Whose loyalty wouldn't they have? People act stupid under fear. So… like a fool, I was going to continue my job and risk everything…"

"But then, he's still at large. Which would screw me over anyways."

The virus is persistent. Erin sets the towel down. "Listen, I need to concentrate here. Don't— Don't knee me in the stomach or anything, okay? I know Tai Chi, so if you try anything I'll… White-Crane-On-The-Sea-Bottom you or something. So just relax.

Both her hands rest on Jo's shoulders, and the expression in her eyes becomes distant as she causes the viral cells to die en masse. Jo's skin colour will become normal again, and the voices in her head will become silent.

Erin resists mentioning Cody, even if she can connect the two easily. She doesn't want Jo to be able to do the same. "A good soldier doesn't lock innocent people up," Erin counters, still working on healing the afflicted agent. "Maybe I'm not innocent, but a lot of people you put in there are. It's like the United States rounding up all the Japanese citizens for internment camps. Or— " She's not even going to mention World War two.
Eventually, Erin steps back, the work finished. She also isn't going to comment on the resistance among 'terrorists,' as putting too much trust in this woman would be suicidal. Even if Erin fully intends to kill her! Really. She's going to!

Only not. Didn't she already diverge from that road? "Do you feel better now?"

"A good soldier follows orders. Especially when she understands the consequences of letting dangerous people run amuck. Accidents are enough to kill. And I won't let it happen again. Ever. To anyone," Jo simply sniffs, yet there's almost a sadness behind her eyes that she fights and edges into stoicism. And it's her only tell. "And no one will use any of you as weapons. Not if I can help it. And they still trust me. I'm Eta Protocol. I faked Cody's death, found blood at one of my other targets… and Law… well…"

She shrugs a little as her head clears. "There's only one of you now…" her brain feels less fuzzy. In fact, she's feeling somewhat better only not. Her body still surges with pain.

Unlike ghost-Erin, the real version is full of real, actual hate for Jo, and doesn't care enough to argue. All this one does is roll her eyes. Actually, to some extent, she can agree… Accidents are dangerous things. Erin's not sure what she would do if more of her encounters had ended in peoples' deaths. It's this attitude that almost strengthens Erin's resolve to kill the agent.

But the fact that Jo didn't kill Cody… Well. This is Karma coming into play, and for once, it's working in Jo's favor.

"…come with me. I'm not turning my back to you." Erin checks Jo over for anything that could be used as a weapon — like rings filled with the solution. Pushing Jo out the bathroom door first, she heads for the kitchen. "There's only one of me because I just cured you. Show a little gratitude."

"Gratitude?!" Jo asks as she's starting to put this together. Erin didn't die, and then somehow found a way to make Jo sick. "You want gratitude?! For making my life hell and then fixing it?! Nice. I have half a mind to shoot you down — " The marine staggers towards the kitchen again. And once she reaches it, she does indeed grab her gun, but she holsters it instead of aiming it at Erin's head.

She groans before stretching her muscles with a long yawn. "Fine. You can have gratitude. Thanks for making me lose my mind and my objectives." She glances at the maps that line the walls — the trail for Teddy had grown cold months ago. She frowns as she walks towards one. "And I'm sure you did it on purpose. You all do it on purpose," she says as she stares at Teddy's picture. Finally she looks away. "Look I'm not taking you in, not if they're just going to weaponize you. You may as well go. Or something."

Erin seethes. She's so angry that she shakes. What she did was justified. Before she even realises what she's doing - whether Jo has her gun or not - the actress rounds on her, screaming. "DON'T TALK TO ME ABOUT SANITY, YOU LITTLE SHIT. IF I CAN'T HAVE MINE, YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE YOURS, EITHER."

Her eyes are bright again, as she seriously considers ignoring Jo's favour to Cody. "I could kill you with a thought. You could shoot me, but it'd be too late for you. I'm not going to do that, though. Because there's someone in this world that puts value on your crusty carcass, and— And I'm not going to prove you right, and her wrong."

Despite the fact that the ghost was a constant malevolent presence, this version of Erin seems worse. Maybe because she doesn't look dead. "You got exactly what you deserved. I came here to kill you today. I wouldn't have even had to come inside. Those letters you got? Paper holds viruses really well. All I had to do was send you another letter." There's a smirk. "Paranoid now? Good. Because if I have to look over my shoulder, you should have to, too. Sit down, and shut up. I'm going to make sure you don't follow me." As an afterthought, Erin holds out her hand. "Give me your gun."

"HA! You want to bet that I haven't been looking over my shoulder for years?! YEARS. And long before you and your band came into the picture — back when I thought your kind were fewer and further between. I have much bigger things to fear than you, Ms. McCarty. Things I won't let get out of hand." Jo rolls her eyes at Erin. "And diseased or not, my mission was never about you or any of my other targets."

She shrugs a little before bending down and reaching into the cabinet below the kitchen sink. The whiskey bottle is almost empty; didn't she buy this yesterday? She scowls a little as she attempts to remember and then shrugs, it's not worth remembering.

"If you take my gun, you destroy any chance I have of helping take down this organization. I'll labeled compromised. And probably offed by a member of the Eta Protocol." She purses her lips together. "And considering I'm one of the few agents on the inside who don't want you weaponized…" she shrugs. "The call is yours. I have no intention of following you. Actually, I have every intention of reporting in and telling them one of you got to me. I'm sure they'd believe it by my appearance."

Erin has no patience, no patience, NO PATIENCE for this shit. "You — " Erin presses her hand to her forehead. Jo already let things get out of hand, by not having basic human compassion. "Nevermind. Forget it. I don't care about your Manifest Destiny to save the world.

She's also not looking for what she needs until she knows she's not going to be shot in the back. "Your word's as good as shit," she says. "My biggest fan, weren't you? Yeah. Yeah, I'll never believe a word you say. Give me. Your gun. If you cooperate, I'll leave it with you before I leave. If you don't, I'll shoot you with it."

The choice is more than fair. And! "That's more of a choice than you gave me. There's no third option."

"More of a choice? Really? I'm sure," Jo rolls her eyes and places her gun on the counter. "Like you need this anyways. You are a human weapon. I'd just rather our enemies not get ahold of that." Her lips curve upwards into her cool-yet-distant smile. "And my manifest destiny has little to do with you."

She's beginning to feel like herself again, and it's showing. As always. She tugs at the bottom of her shirt and glances down at her bloodied jeans. Since when has she worn jeans? Wrinkling her nose, she shakes her head and will figure out everything once Erin is gone. For once.

"And I'm not about saving the world. I'm about keeping this country secure. I served in Iraq, other countries. Mostly covert operations. All to keep Americans safe in their beds at night." That's what it means to be in the navy. "The President wouldn't condone human weapons — that's precisely why they'd imprisoned all of you in the first place." She hmmms quietly to herself before turning back to her map.

Erin was going to do this the easy way. A glass full of nyquil - enough to knock someone out, but not to kill, so that Jo wouldn't be able to see which way she went. But this stuck-up attitude is really starting to piss her off, especially knowing that despite the fact that this woman knows the truth about the AP, she'd want to imprison Erin anyway. When Jo turns back to the map, Erin picks up the gun. It's like holding a stick, right?

Jo's a lost cause. Erin should just end it now. She has a gun, people have noticed that Jo is nuts. No one would question if she was found dead with a gun in her own hand.

Turning the firearm, Erin grips it by the barrel, then swings it as hard as she can at the back of Jo's head.

And it doesn't take much to send the already concussed Agent Scott to the ground. She crumples, unconscious.

Erin drops the firearm next to the unconscious agent. Luckily, it doesn't go off. "God damn, that felt awesome," she says, massaging her wrist where the backlash from the impact left it sore. Curling her lip up at the agent once more, she turns and leaves, wondering if she should have just killed the real monster before this could get out of hand.

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