2009-10-05: Forced Cooperation



Date: October 5th, 2009


Sometimes you have to give a little to get a little. Sometimes you don't.

"Forced Cooperation"

Isolation Room - Building 26

Under Max's direction, his Big Glass Box has been transformed from private cell to personal laboratory. Most of the available space has been taken up by a desk, a sturdy wooden chair, a trolley covered with medical equipment, and a table that clearly serves as workspace. The table is cluttered with beakers, pipets, and glass tubing, two large burners, the remains of several partially eaten meals, and a square of plywood upon which a cat has been pinned down and dissected into its component parts. Perhaps most disturbingly, there are instructions for reassembling the cat written directly on the wood.

In the center of the room, a video camera mounted on a tripod is focused in on the chair. The trolley is nearby, loaded down with gear for monitoring heart rate, oxygen saturation, and other vital statistics.

Max is currently seated at his desk, busily filling a syringe from a vacuum bottle of clear fluid.

Just as he's finishing, the door to his cell opens. Without making eye contact, two uniformed guards wheel in the slab upon which Rudyard has been laid out since he became an unwilling guest of the government. The guards don't speak. They just deposit the professor inside the cell, remove the sedative tube from his nose, and let themselves out.

Rudyard stirs, if you can call this stirring. The removal of the tube allows him to come to some floating semblance of coherency. The dosage of drugs in his system had been amped up, and now he's feeling very little in the way of emotions. He's quiet as he opens his eyes and takes in the surroundings. Max is the last thing and person he sees in the room. Thickly he says, "Wondered.. where they took you." Or perhaps not. Most likely he's been too out of it to realize one of their number was missing.

Max stands, drops the syringe into the breast pocket of his issued pajama shirt, and pulls on a pair of latex gloves. "Your concern is heartwarming," he replies. With practiced ease, he unbuckles the restraints holding Rudyard down. "There we go," he murmurs pleasantly, gesturing toward the center of the room. "Now would you kindly have a seat in that chair?"

Rudyard doesn't make any immediate moves when the restraints are undone. The pleasant tone, being moved without reason, being politely gestured from the bed. Something isn't right and it's slowly clicking in his drug hazed mind. "I'd rather stay put, thank you," he says equally as pleasant, if incredibly drugged. The sedative's still in his system and not likely to leave quickly. The fog is slow to lift, and the quiet still surrounds him. "What is this about?"

"You're going to help me with an experiment." Max lifts one eyebrow into a scant, emotionless curve. The conversational hint to his voice has completely disappeared. "Follow my instructions and this will be over very quickly. If you don't, I have ways of forcing you to cooperate."

"I see," Rudyard says slowly. "You were made kapo of the Judenrat," the two terms are affected with a rather good German accent. "What sort of experiment?" The talking, it's helping his head to clear and he'd feel better if he could just feel /normal/ again. Normal for him, complete with buzzing of flies, chatter of termites..

Max is already en route to the video camera, which he switches on briskly. "October 5th, 2009. First human trial. Subject has shown an unwillingness to participate in the experiment and will have to be forced."

He doesn't hesitate to do so. Though he has lost weight from lack of proper nourishment, the self-styled scientist still bristles with muscles. He puts them to use by knotting his fingers around Rudyard's hair, hauling him up from his slab, and depositing him unceremoniously into the chair. "Stay," he orders sharply.

Rudyard has lost weight too, but he never had the musculature that Max possesses. "You haven't even bought me dinner first, you cheeky bugger," he says in a snappish manner as he's forcefully moved from the bed to the chair. After about two weeks of laying prone, his body doesn't quite want to work the way he wants it to. Namely, fighting back. "You could at least have the courtesy to say what the devil it is you're doing for them. What did they give you for being a puppet?" His dark eyes narrow and his tone turns scathing. Closing his eyes, and ah, there it is, faint, and the contact is still present beyond the boundaries of this sterile room. There's a short, faint laugh as he wills his arms to have the strength so that he can push himself up from the chair.

"Stay," Max repeats, punctuating his point by pressing a gloved fingertip against Rudy's forehead. "Truly, I don't want to hurt you."

Le sigh. "I'm helping them," he continues as he switches on each of the medical monitors in turn. "In exchange for the freedom of another captive. Saying more would put us both in danger, I think." It's an explanation. Not entirely true, but it will serve well enough. "Are you going to hold still while I attach the sensors, or will I have to restrain you?"

"So you betray your own kind… for an altruistic act for one? How noble." Rudyard's words hold a rather scathing tone and he tries to weakly swat at Max's gloved hand. "Helping them.. helping them do what pray tell? Harming innocents who've never lifted a hand against another person?" On one hand, he can see the kindness in helping one person, but at the expense of everyone? "Whatever it is.. you're doing.. what makes you think they'll uphold their end of the bargain?" While he speaks aloud to Max, he's also talking with other denizens in the building now that he can. A few brown recluse, ever present roaches, and other general bugs you'd find in a building.

Max pinches his eyes closed for a long moment. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. He opens them again. "You make the mistake of assuming that I am bound by your petty, narrow-minded view of morality. What happens to innocents, such as they are, is not my concern." None-too-gently, he slaps electrodes to both of Rudyard's temples and glances at the heart rate monitor. When he's satisfied, he jams an O2 saturation sensor on the professor's forefinger.

"Vitals are within acceptable limits. Pupils are dilated, but also acceptable. Now administering sodium amytal." This time he's speaking to the camera, if only briefly. He returns his attention to Rudyard and smirks around his scarred lip. "As for the deal, I say this: Sedit qui timuit ne non succederet. He who feared he would not succeed sat still. Now hold out your arm, or I will make this an uncomfortable experience for you."

"I'd spit in your face, if I weren't so parched, and if it weren't such a crude gesture." Rudyard says, and continues, "It should be your concern, we're all in this together because we can do extraordinary things. Didn't you ever read 'Activating Evolution' by Chandra Suresh? Don't you accept what you can do?" Willing his limbs to work, he yanks the O2 sensor off his finger and reaches for the electrodes. "This is despicable. I bet you don't even know what it is they're having you do." Or at least that's what Rudy's telling himself. Why else isn't Max giving him the courtesy of saying what this is about?

In other parts of the building, suddenly spiders turn aggressive, biting at targets, roaches invading workstations and food areas.. other insects are also choosing this current time to make a scene.

"I've succeeded at all I've done, now it's been ripped away from me because I have an ability," Rudyard spits out from behind the two weeks of growth on his face. As Max approaches with the needle, Rudy doesn't offer up his arm. He instead launches himself at Max, not expecting to get very far or to even stave off the man, but it's an attempt. He never would have dreamed of getting physically violent before, but this time as a government 'guest' has done something to him.

Knuckles to the jaw are not an unfamiliar sensation for Max. He lets out another sigh, this one more exasperated than anything else. With a deft, practiced touch, he plucks up Rudyard by the back of his collar like a wayward kitten. Further blows fall on shoulders, abs, and legs that are also accustomed to rough treatment.

"I think you'll find that was very ill-advised," he murmurs. Quickly, he pulls the syringe loaded with sodium amytal from his shirt pocket and jabs it into the meat of Rudy's arm. A press of the plunger administers a hefty dose of sedative-hypnotics. Then he tosses his test subject back into the chair like a dirty rag. "If you move," he growls, "I will pick one of your limbs at random and break it. Understood?"

"Go shag a sheep, you bloody ponce!" Rudyard manages to roar this out as the syringe is jabbed into his arm. "Son of a.. bint.. wha.." He grimaces as he's tossed back into the chair with little effort on Max's part. Perhaps if he had spent less time in academia and more time building strength, he might not be so pitiful in this little battle. "You filthy little bastard," he slurs, "Come near me.. and I'll break your todger." Someone's got a mouth on him when put out of sorts. "I've had floaters that have shown more courtesy than you." Damn.. what the blazes was in that syringe, the room's spinning.

At this time, reports of aggressive insect and arachnid activity start to filter in via the intercom. Max tilts his head to the side and processes the incoming information with a smile on his face. "Hard at work, I see. Good. That means we can skip the next step and move right to the finale."

With a distinct lack of ceremony, he scoops up a small aerosol can and sprays a liberal amount in Rudyard's face, being careful to keep his own averted all the while. Then he slaps the professor sharply to ensure that respiration will continue. When he's finished, he starts to count off seconds on his fingers as they pass. One… Two… Three…

Abruptly, the frantic intercom calls change to incredulous observations, then to a general all-clear after a few more moments.

"Get.. bent.. you arse-faced tosser," Rudyard spits out, in time to meet with the spray to his face. He was secretly enjoying the success of using his ability freely. It was like having an old friend back. He honestly can't recall a time where he couldn't talk to insects. Having that taken away these weeks was like having a limb hacked off. The slap to the face further invokes a hazy glare of sheer loathing from the professor, and if he weren't now full of barbituates, he just might attack again.

As the all-clear is given across the intercom, Rudyard sags against the chair, the fight completely gone from him. Even as drugged as he is, there's a certain air of defeat as that telepathy is ripped from him again. The man built his life around his ability, did something useful with it, did good work too, and this? Is this how it's going to end for him? There's a mute expression of denial about him, mingled with … a rather insane sounding laugh bubbling from within. Laughing at something unseen. Perhaps one of those Far Side cartoons he was fond of.. the one with the dead entomologist on his back, arms and legs curled inward like a bug.

Max peels off his gloves with a rubbery snap and tosses them amidst the clutter on his work table. After the gas disperses, he leans down and peers into Rudyard's eyes. He checks the monitors again before peeling and pulling the remaining sensors from his "patient" and shutting off the equipment.

He is unable to keep a smile from his face as he looks directly into the camera's lens. "Initial human trial was an unqualified success, Senator. I am ready to begin mass production of the Solution on your order."

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