2008-02-22: Deprogramming

Starring:

Randall_icon.gif Sophie_icon.gif Charlotte_icon.gif Ndugu_icon.gif Kory_icon.gif and Leslie

Summary: Sophie strips Leslie of his remaining secrets, while Charlotte strips Kory out of a tainted dress.

Date It Happened: February 22, 2008

Deprogramming


The Secret Lair, East Village

"Oh, relax," Randall says to Tito, setting the statue back down on the counter, "I wasn't actually gonna hit him with it. Just… needed to get that out of my system, you know?" It's unclear - perhaps even to himself - whether that's really true, but in any case he's backed away from the line before fully crossing it.

Tito regards Randall evenly for a long minute, then folds his arms over a shrug. "I don't think your method's going to leave him coherent enough to tell us anything either," he suggests to Ian, who backs off with the sparky sparky light show with a silent nod and that same chipper smile.

Leslie simply glowers. "Even if you did get her back, she's not yours anymore. She's mine." He says this under his breath, even though he's still shaking with fear and reaction from having been dragged blocks and blocks after running those same blocks and blocks.

Sophie hovers a moment, a little uncertain about making the offer again. So, she phrases it differently. "What did.. what did you need to know from him?"

Randall doesn't want to believe Leslie's taunt - their first guess, that the tea was drugged, came up empty - but he must have done something to nab her without a struggle. And something was messing with that last dream contact they had. "What did you do?" Maybe he'll be dumb enough to answer. Then he turns to Sophie, blinking. "What did he do?" If she has some way of finding out, then he's not going to turn down the offer.

Leslie shrugs, as best he's able, while duct taped to a chair. And falls silent. He looks speculatively at Sophie. Back to Randall. Back to Sophie. "You think she can get me to talk?" he smirks.

Kory's apartment

Adam was sent for a doctor. Or his bag. Or whatever it might take in order to get Kory back to her old self - not that any of them know what Kory's old self is like. Charlotte is currently kneeling over the girl, and a hand reaches up to brush a hand over the woman's hair, pushing it back from her face. Nervous eyes move to Ndugu. "Do you think she'll be alright?"

Kory's old self? Sorry, not available just now. She's apparently pushed herself too hard for too long, trying to resist Leslie. And the downtime she took to contact Randall? Well that was used against her. How will not become readily apparent for a little while yet, though.

The Secret Lair

Randall shoots Leslie a dark look, choking back the temptation to match taunt for taunt. "What'd he do to Kory that we have to worry about?" he asks Sophie. "And come to think of it, did he plant any other bombs that we need to worry about disarming?"

Sophie shakes her head, as she walks over toward Leslie. 'No, you're right.' she says, honestly, 'I wouldn't be able to make you talk.' she glances at the others, 'I'm not sure if I can, well, if what I do works this way at all. I've never looked for anything specific. But I'll see what I can do.' she kneels by Leslie, meeting his eyes if he's capable. 'I'll try to be gentle, but this is my first time.' and she lays her hands on the sides of his head.

Leslie smirks at Sophie. Cute, but not anything in comparison to his goddess. If that 'be gentle, it's my first time' remark was her idea of seduction, he's not impressed. But his eyes widen as she lays her hands on his head. "Wh-what're you …what're you doing?" he asks, voice suddenly dropped to a frightened whisper.

Kory's apartment

Ndugu lifts his shoulders in something of a shrug when Charlotte asks, shaking his head slightly. That might have looked like a no, however, so he speaks up, "I am not a doctor. She does not look injured, though."

Charlotte sits back on her heels. She's the journeyman here. Ndugu is the professional - perhaps not at rescuing people, but at powers. This life. This world. "Should we go find Randall while Adam's gone?"

Kory stirs uneasily at the mention of Randall's name, hugging her pillow tighter and whimpering.

The Secret Lair

While he waits for the answers to the immediate questions, Randall stares at Sophie and Leslie with eyes gone wide. The way the light around them seems to change, ever so slightly… that's her ability in action, isn't it? (It isn't. Some minds are more strongly geared than others toward seeing patterns in random noise.) Oblivious to his error as usual, he leans back against the counter, drinking it all in.

Sophie's eyes close, taking long, quick breaths as she tries to sort through a flood of images, and information, trying to find what she's looking for. She says, her voice distracted, relating it from the images she's receiving. "The music.. There were messages. And something in the tea." she frowns, as if trying to read something, and says, "Keta.. keta-mine?" likely pronouncing it wrong. "There's… words. He is trying to.. brainwash her?" then adds, as she starts to back off, "I didn't see anything about any other bombs, though."

Leslie pants, as Sophie plumbs his mind and plucks the memories free he most wanted to hide. "H-how…wh-what are you?" He's going to cringe and cry if she gets in his face and says 'I'm Batman'. He's probably going to cringe anyway. This experience is rapidly becoming exponentially more freaky than his limited and sheltered geek mind was prepared for.

Kory's apartment

"I do not think she should be left unattended," Ndugu says flatly, gesturing towards Kory, "If she has been injured then you should be on hand to transport her to a hospital."

Charlotte nods softly, knowing Ndugu is probably right. She reaches into her pocket, pressing a button on her blackberry and holding it against her shoulder and head. "Shhh, it's alright." She promises Kory, looking back to Ndugu with a look that mixes with worry and gratitude. Who's she calling? Randall.

Kory stretches, and knuckles at her eyes, wakening. "…Leslie?" she asks, shakily. "Wait…" She sits up, and clutches her head; sat up too fast. "This isn't the hotel room…" She keeps a hand to her head, and blinks as the room swims into focus. "Home…" she breathes, lying back down again. And then she notices there are people there. "Wh-who are you people?" she asks, as Charlotte and Ndugu flank her sofa. "Where's Leslie?"

The Secret Lair

Fortunately for his peace of mind, Randall is equally oblivious that Leslie's insane measures have reached something of a breakthrough. "Ketamine— Tito, you got a net hookup back there someplace? I can try with my phone but it almost never works right." As he talks, he heads over toward the entrance, looking up and down along the opening. "And how do you lock this? On the off chance he manages to get out of the duct tape."

"It's locked," Tito says, darkly. "Just like it was before he slipped out last time. We're gonna have to change the locks or something. He must've stolen somebody's key, had a copy made."

"And yeah, internet's on the laptop. Help yourself," Tito says, reaching to pat Chewbacca's head. He's hanging back. This whole thing has spooked him badly.

Sophie takes a moment to recover, but she says, looking over, 'He was trying something. Drugs, tea.. and music. I think there was something about words.. A sort of programming." she shakes her head, "I know that's what he was trying to do. I don't know if it really worked." she warns.

Kory's apartment

Ndugu leaves it up to Charlotte to explain things. Charlotte is the more PR-ish of the pair of them. He moves towards a window, instead, looking out to make sure nobody is turning up to recover Kory. He doubts there'll be trouble, of course, but in a world with teleporters you never know.

The trouble with that world of teleporters is that you'll never see them coming. "Miss Alexander, please remain calm." Charlotte murmers, raising her hands in a 'calm' motion. The phone is put away - leave it to a man to not answer when he's needed. That's just men, though. "My name is Charlotte Corday, and this is my friend, Ndugu." She gestures to the large black man. "Leslie…we must have left him in Bermuda. We're friends of Randall, we came to get you back." She gives a warm, dimpled smile to Kory, but there's concern in her doe-brown eyes. "Now just lay back, and tell me: How are you feeling?"

Kory listens, and nods as Charlotte tells her to stay calm. And then she mentions they're friends of Randall, and she scrambles to her feet, rushing to lock herself in the bathroom in a whirl of chiffon and silk. "Stay away from me!"

The Secret Lair

Randall nods, rattling the door and confirming it, then walks back and taps away at the laptop for a while. Eventually, he looks up and frowns. "Yeah, it's here, all right. Dissociative anesthetic, effects similar to angel dust… Wow. That's some serious willpower if she was holding out against that, even off and on." Then his phone buzzes, indicating a message… Why didn't the call go through? Who knows. Cell phone networks are a rickety complicated business. He punches redial, then speaker, and sets it down next to the keyboard.

Leslie just stares hatefully at Sophie and Randall. She's gotten his secrets from him, without making him talk. Mutants are real. Or metahumans. Whatever you call them. And there are more of them than of him. They're bullies, too. He hangs his head, muttering to himself in between retchy breaths. "She…she realized," he admits, realizing it doesn't matter now. "Stopped drinking the tea."

Sophie sways a bit, and she says, 'Oh my God!' she shakes her head, rushing over toward Randall. "The DRESS. Its poisoned. That keta.. that ketamine. He SOAKED the dress in it."

Kory's apartment

"Perhaps you shouldn't have told her that?" Ndugu suggests, not so much looking shocked or even really moving save for a slight turn of his head as Kory flees to the bathroom.

Charlotte glances over her shoulder. "Those sort of suggestions are usually better given beforehand." Who says Charlotte can't be a tad bit of a smart ass when she needs? Turning, the girl now hones her P.R. skills on the bathroom door, her vibrating cell phone switched to ignore the call. Busy now. "Kory…Kory, please come out." She could get in there if she wanted, but she doesn't want it to go that way. "Randall was just the one who told us that you were in trouble. If you don't like him, you don't have to see him. I'm not even particularly fond of the man myself; the only real conversation we ever had was him accusing me of being an alcoholic." Well it's true. "But we need you to come out so we can make sure no one hurt you." Her voice softens, sincere. "Please. You don't have to do anything or see anyone that you don't want to. I promise."

"You…you won't bring him here?" Kory asks, opening the door a fraction so her frightened brown eyes and a bit of her nose are all that's visible. "He wants to…do things …to me." She bites her lower lip and looks over at big, tall, silent Ndugu. "You'll …you'll keep me safe?"

"Do things?" Ndugu actually speaks to Kory, frowning visibly now. That is something he does not like the sound of at all. But then again, he is a professional and he isn't about to go rushing off to enforce his own brand of justice. He just nods his head and turns back to looking out the window, watching the street below.

Charlotte shakes her head, still smiling at Kory. "Not if you don't want him here, it's your house. You can have whoever over that you want." She offers a hand to Kory. "Come on out, have a seat. Do you want anything, a glass of water perhaps? We won't let anything bad happen to you, but we need to make sure you're alright so nothing bad happens despite us." Where is Adam when he's needed, anyway?

"N-Not thirsty," Kory says quietly, opening the door another inch. "Tired. My head hurts. Need to lie down again, I think. Something doesn't feel right." She sways, and has to grab the door jamb to keep herself steadied. "The room is spinning," she protests, and sinks to her knees on the tile.

The Secret Lair

Leslie gives one last defeated sob as Sophie pulls his last secret from him. "If I can't have her…" he trails off. The rest of the cliche doesn't need to go said anyway. This time, it's Tito's doing. Sleeper hold. "I'll keep an eye on him. Go get her to medical help or something."

Randall's eyes go wide again, giving up on the ignored phone call and switching over to send a text message instead. K's dress soaked in mind drug. Remove. Having done that, he nods to Tito and makes for the exit, stopping short as he remembers it's locked. "Where's a key so we can get out? And see if you can find his, while you're at it." Hopefully Ian can take over the headlock for long enough. "And we might be able to use your help again, too," he adds, glancing over at Sophie. If nothing else, she can assess how deeply the Kool-Aid has taken root.

Tito throws the key to Randall overhand, and nods at his command to find the key Leslie must've made or stolen. "Go, man." Ian cracks his knuckles and cheerfully trads places with Tito. "Good luck," they wish Randall and Sophie.

Sophie simply nods. "Of course. Anything I can do.." There's one more glance back at Leslie, shaking her head. Then she turns to follow Randall out.

Kory's apartment

Ndugu moves away from the window, giving up his vigil in order to help Charlotte move Kory somewhere that is more comfortable and suitable for passing out on.

Charlotte steps into the bathroom, wrapping her arms around Kory and pulling her close as she falls, trying to hold her up, or at least make her fall more gentle. She ends up on her knees, Kory's torso pulled across her lap. The phone vibrates again, and this time she checks it. Her eyes widen when she reads the words there. A command is given quickly to Ndugu. "Turn on the shower." And from the tone of her voice? It's urgent. Kory's laid across the floor as Charlotte begins to strip the girl's dress. Sorry about the lack of modesty but, ya know, priorities. And Charlotte has no qualms with ripping it off, either.

"What—-" Kory tries feebly to fight Charlotte off, but that serious willpower Randall admired? It got used up sometime before she woke up from the last fainting spell. She loses the fight, and consciousness, and is no longer an obstacle to being undressed.

On the road

While Team Charlotte works on removing the tainted outfit, Team Randall's mobile division hits the road. The traffic doesn't help matters any, but Randall's past stint as a cab driver comes in handy; he knows a couple of shortcuts, and a couple of ways to cut corners and get away with it.

Sophie has a lot to mull over. The situation, the danger, and her own part in it. She says, holding on to the arm rest as the car careens through the streets, "I didn't even know, for sure, I could do that."

Kory's apartment

Ndugu moves towards the shower, turning the handles. He goes with room temperature in terms of the water, assuming that a nice and cozy hot shower is not what they're going for at this point. He keeps his eyes distinctly turned away from Kory and Charlotte. He may be a professional but that still doesn't mean he should be watching when he can avoid doing so.

Charlotte tosses the phone to Ndugu. "Call an ambulence." She says, not giving an order, but not making a suggestion. She's already trying to move Kory's un-dressed form into the water. "And make sure Randall doesn't come in here." She sets Kory down in the tub, using the detatchable shower head to literally wash the woman down. "Nicely." She adds to Ndugu, because, ya know. He can be rough.

On the road

"What do you know you can do?" asks Randall, after leaning into a tight turn and pulling away from the worst of the snarls. "If you don't mind me asking. I've been doing some independent research," he explains, "trying to work out the how behind the what." Did that make any sense? His attention is still mostly on the road, still, or rather the parking lot up ahead.

Sophie says, a bit ruefully, "I suppose hiding things would be kind of useless at this point. But I really don't know how to describe it. I guess I can.. well, at first I knew I could sort of feel a person's memories. Like I was there. Seemed to just be whatever was.. Hmm, maybe the most intense? I also found out I can.. have other people go through the same thing. Both of them, by touching someone. But this was different. It was.. looking for a specific memory."

Kory's apartment

Kory's pulse is rapid and thready by turns, and obligingly gets washed off in the bathtub, as she's unresisting and unconscious at the moment. Which may make things easier for Charlotte; or harder.

Don't kill Randal. Got it. Ndugu catches the phone deftly, using the directory to call the nearest hospital and request an ambulance. His phone voice is remarkably smooth, not at all his usual gruff self. That done, he moves towards the door and waits with his eye pressed against the peephole.

Charlotte continues to wash Kory down, checking her pulse and breathing, but not knowing much else to do beyond that. "And find out what was in the dress!" She requests, looking back to Kory. She touches the woman's face, tenderly, trying to be good to Kory even when she's out. "It's going to be alright….."

Randall nods to Sophie. "Well, it certainly worked well today, at least— you saw how he panicked there." Once the car is parked, he takes off directly for the apartment, glancing back once to make sure Sophie remembers the way from last time.

Sophie rushes off after Randall. Though, it must be said, she doesn't tend to have too many memory problems.

How is Ndugu meant to find out what was on the dress? He's no scientist. All the same, he picks it up to tear a slip of it and then heads towards the kitchen. Once there, he recovers a small plastic baggy and deposits it in there before sealing it up. Done. They can figure that out later. He moves back towards the door.

Charlotte sort of meant something along the lines of asking, but hey, Ndugu probably didn't know what was on that text. Sooooo we'll let that one past. "How long did they say?" She calls out to Ndugu, using one arm to lift Kory's body and let the water rein down her back. Charlotte's basically soaked from the waist up at this point, but that's no nevermind now.

There's someone at the door now— but it's not the ambulance, because instead of 'hey let us in!', there's the sound of a key turning in a lock. At least this one was given voluntarily. "Hey," Randall says to Ndugu as he and Sophie are met at the door, "how's she doing?"

Sophie is just standing beside Randall. After all, this is a group she isn't exactly too familiar with.

"They didn't provide an ETA. But they suggest you keep her calm and continue to do what you're doing." Ndugu cannot explain anything further to Charlotte as he suddenly finds himself confronted by Randall and Sophie. He immediately moves forward, attempting to intimidate them right back out the door, "She does not wish to see you, apparently. I've been told to keep you out of the apartment."

Charlotte is sure she can hear sirens in the distance. She quickly turns off the water, gathering a few fluffy towels and wrapping Kory in them for when the paramedics get here. "It's going to be okay, Kory." She promises the girl, wrapping her nice and tight in several warm towels. "We're going to get you to the hospital, and everything will be alright."

Randall frowns at this news: is Kory just exhausted from her ordeal, or did Leslie's evil plan of evil finally kick in after all? Either way, he nods to Ndugu, cooling his heels out in the hall. "I trust she's being taken care of?" he murmurs.

The sirens pull into the parking lot, and a few men get out with a gurney, rushing up the stairs. They take Kory from the tub onto the gurney, with Charlotte following along as they wheel her out. No doubt, Ndugu will follow as well. "I'll call you when we get there!" She calls to Randall as they pass, promising an explination of some sort.

Sophie looks at Randall. "Not yet. She has been.. she isn't thinking clearly. We need to approach this carefully."

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