2007-08-15: DF: Humpty Dumpty

Starring:

DFJack_icon.gif DFLogan_icon.gif DFTrina_icon.gif DFElena_icon.gif

Summary: Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall…

Dark Future Date: August 15, 2009

Humpty Dumpty


Dark Future - WCH - Packing Room

Weichsel House is an old-fashioned operation based out of one enormous room separated into sections by thick, opaque plastic curtains. One entire wall is dedicated to walk-in coolers and freezers. There are row after row of meat hooks mounted on automated conveyors in the high ceiling, powered saws of all imaginable sizes and descriptions, and steel tables laid out with many hand-sized implements. Much of the equipment is still covered with dried blood. It looks as if the crew dropped what they were doing in the middle of a workday, walked out, and never came back. All that's missing is the meat. A creaky, shallow staircase at one side of the room leads up to a large, enclosed loft with a stout door and heavily shuttered windows.

RATTLERATTLECLANKCLANKCLATTER.

Jack frowns. It's been several hours since Nathan passed out in mid-interrogation. Night has reluctantly given in to early morning. It's crisp and surprisingly clear outside. It's a beautiful day to break a man.

The President is still cuffed at the wrists and hanging from a meathook with his toes dangling several inches above the floor. Heavy weights chained to each ankle ensure that he'll stay that way when he finally does awaken.

Jack lifts the baby food jar he's holding up to Nate's ear and shakes it again vigorously. Inside, the President's severed finger skitters and dances about. It still has a heavy ring on it.

RATTLERATTLECLANKCLATTER.

For the second time that day, Logan wakes up. It's not a gradual process, despite the amount of time he's been gone, and with a sudden shudder, his eyes snap open when that sound summons him awake, head snapping up. Oh god, he's still here like this, and it hurts. His hand… Barely even seeing Jack, he suddenly thrashes out of anger, uncaring of the way his joints seem to scream in protest when he does. He can't lift his feet, but his form sways, a frustrated and angry yell echoing through the space.

"Calm down, Boy Wonder. You wouldn't want to hurt yourself, would you?" Jack forms his gloved hand around the glass jar to add a little extra oomph to the punch he drives into Logan's guts. He even aims for the fresh gash across the other man's belly and turns his shoulder into the blow. What a sweetheart.

The blow gets a breathless groan from Logan, who tips his head back as a wave of nausea does more damage than even the stinging of the injury Jack aimed to hit. With vision still blurry around the edges, he observes his hands above him. One almost red with blood, he can see the damage. It's shocking, surreal, and he squeezes his eyes shut. Gotta get out of this. Despite the futility of it, he works his wrists against the cuffs, trying to ignore Jack.

Jack tosses the jar up in the air and catches it several times in quick succession. The ring continues to clatter and sparkle as it bounces about and catches the light. After the the third catch he sets it down on one of the many long, sturdy tables that clutter up the room. He stands and studies Logan for a moment with his hands clasped behind his back and his brow furrowed thoughtfully. When the moment passes he purses his lips and frowns again. "I'm going to pull you down so your arms don't go septic and fall off. You so much as wiggle, I'll bite off the next finger." That said, he steps closer and seizes his captive around the waist so he can lift him high enough to free his wrists.

Oh thank god. Logan's attention returns to Jack, gaze showing only empty anger, before he complies, stilling his struggle. "…thanks." When lifted, it takes all his effort to not just let his arms keep dangling, the relief is immense and near leaving his muscles too weak to move. But finally, he slips the chain free of the meat hook, with a quiet gasp as his injury is jostled. He then closes his eyes, fully prepared to suddenly have the dirty cement ground come up to meet him. What a party this is.

You make interesting friends, Nathan.

Or you make interesting enemies.

It's a long and very quiet drive from the new headquarters to the old one in a large white van. There really isn't much more to say anymore anyway, and Trina prefers the silence. It allows her to focus on the road. On their surroundings. With the president's status as 'kidnapped', the streets are crawling with vehicles belonging to Homeland Security… and not all of them are marked.

It's a very good time to make sure one is very closely obeying the speed limit.

Trina is wrapped up in her usual 'outing' gear, which consists of her bulky, silver grey winter coat, oversized black plastic sunglasses, black scarf, and black crotchet puffy hat with its bent brim and with all her remarkably long black hair tucked up underneath. That's the joy of travelling in the daylight nowadays, you see. Unable to presently stomach the heat also means that the air conditioning, for today, is being BLASTED at full strength. Hope you like the cold, Laney.

Eventually, they arrive at the run down and abandoned packing plant, and the mechanic wordlessly reaches over her passenger's lap in order to pop open the glove box and press a button deep within its depths. The one that controls the bay door. Still, nothing but silence from the driver as it begins to open with a weary creak, and more silence as she presses on the gas, allowing the engine to roar in response as it starts to roll inside.

She doesn't mind the cold. Elena can blunt her senses so she doesn't feel anything at all. She can take away pain as much as give it. Pleasure, if she wants, though she certainly hasn't tried that in a very long time. Still, like Trina, she's dressed in her usual 'outside' gear. A black, leather jacket, torn and beat up in some places, dons her today, as well as a tanktop, and a pair of fitted, dark pants. Steel-toed boots grace her feet, along with the leather harness that strapped onto her hips and thighs, and bore her HELLFIRE CANNONS. ….well, her preferred Desert Eagle pistols anyway. Little girls love big guns.

It was a long, quiet drive in. She's already thinking about what she should be doing today. After checking in on Jack and….the President… she'll get a briefing from Jack, figure out what she can or can't tell the others. The other Saints were no problem, but Peter might be considering this was his brother. It might be wise not to say anything at all. At the same time, would that be fair? Wouldn't it help for him to see what a monster the person closest to him became so he can come back and prevent the transformation?

Hell, maybe after kicking him around, he can be PRODDED to tell him what prompted the transformation. The dude discontinued OREOS. What sort of sick bastard does that?

The bay door opens. "I need to talk to Gene later. Maybe I'll go on his salvage run tonight," she tells Trina. "In case things go south I ought to work with him on souping up our escape protocols and check on the killswitches of our tech."

The sound of the heavy doors rattling open is unmistakable. The boys have company. Jack hefts Logan up and drapes him across one broad shoulder. "Shit," he groans. "Mom's home." He glances frantically to the left and right. "Shit. Shitshitshit."

Not good. So very not good.

Jack skitters back and forth across the floor with his man-sized burden bouncing against his back and chest. Moments from being busted, he dashes over to the walk-in freezer and yanks the door open. "SHHH!" he hisses, and dumps Logan on the floor. The door is slammed at roughly the same instant that the girls enter the packing room.

/…/

Oh you have got to be fucking joking.

Pitched into darkness, Logan kind of… stares at where the door likely is, and shivers violently. What the hell is he, left overs? It's a freezer. Pushing himself up to stand, trying not to stumble with the chain caught about his ankles, Logan kind of… hobbles/stumbles his way back to the door, dragging the weights slowly, trying to listen to whatever it is Derex is trying to hide him away from.

"One thing at a time," is Trina's sole bit of advice, quietly spoken and easy to lose under the sound of a motor doing its work. Why? Because that's how she's handling this. Once the van is parked, the mechanic kills the engine and plunges the keys deeply into one of her pockets. She doesn't really want to get out of the van. Everything on her face, all stone expression with lips drawn into a thin line, says so. But she has to. Jack could be in here.

Opening her door, the slender woman slides out, black Army boots clunking gracelessly on the floor. She inhales slowly, only to exhale sharply once more through her nostrils. "Well, let's see if he's home."

"I'll leave him to your capable hands, just let me ask a few questions first before you rape and kill him," Elena says, glancing at Trina and flashing her a nervous smile. And then, she follows. God. She just made Trina sound like a Reaver or 'sommat', in Jack's accent. Regardless, she keeps going. "And if he's not, we have to prep this place for our guest anyway. I know him, he's not going to keep that bastard in headquarters." A resigned look is on her face. "I just hope there's something left of the president en route here if that's the case. I'm not sweeping the floor and polishing the hooks for nothing."

Jack leans back against the freezer doors and arranges his body into an exaggeratedly loungelike pose. He even whistles. Because everyone kicks back and relaxes against a freezer full of old meat. Really.

The whistle dies on his lips when Trina and Elena step into view. "HI." Talking too loudly? Check. Voice an octave higher than usual? Check. Boots scuffing against the floor? Check.

"I DONUT HAVE ANY PRESIDENTS."

Logan would be emphatically silent some more, but he's run out, honestly. Because he's been kidnapped by morons. He rolls his eyes in the darkness when he hears the muffled sound of Jack's brilliance, before he gropes his left, uninjured hand around for the door to the freezer. Locked, clearly, and his shoulder twinges when he attempts to force it. Damn. He pauses, trying to listen and get a clue as to who the people on the other side are.

As Elena speaks of Trina doing very unpleasant things to Jack — while she may have thought it, Trina can't help but to be vaguely disturbed. Her arms cross over her torso, one higher than the other, as if suddenly stripped naked and left to cover naughty bits. Why? BECAUSE THAT'S HOW SHE FEELS. She doesn't care if Laney was sensing something or just guessing. "Don't… Don't ever say that again."

Starting to walk forward, Trina is then only stopped short by Jack. A frantic Jack. His panic, however, is met only by Trina slowly removing her sunglasses. Right, then. Well, that answers that. She frowns slightly, trying not to be bothered by the fact that he is attempting to fib to her. And that he is FAILING MISERABLY at it. Instead of sounding angry, however, her voice is devoid of any real emotion. It's quiet. To the point. Entirely serious. She does not intend to dance around the truth today. "Where is he, Jack?"

What's so sad about this part? Elena WANTS to save Jack but…this….was just too damned ENTERTAINING TO STOP. So you know what she does? She just walks past Jack, patpatting him lightly on the shoulder in passing. "I'll fire up the ol' coffeemaker. Question is whether I should be fixing three mugs or two." Because Jack MIGHT BE DEAD BY THEN.

Jack squinches his eyes closed and lets out a sigh. "Busted," he mutters. With a snap of his fingers, he relocates a pistol into his grip. Sheepishly, he shuffles to the side and covers the freezer door with the weapon as he yanks it open to reveal Nathan. "C'mon out, Leg-Pisser. Time to say hello to a couple o' old friends."

And. Tada. Here's one we prepared earlier. Logan winces a little as the door suddenly opens, and he looks a wreck and a half. Wearing only his tuxedo pants and chains about his ankles and wrists, with an assortment of injuries like a gash across the stomach, bruising, and oh yeah, a missing finger on his right hand. His gaze snaps to the pistol, then to Trina. If he recognises her, familiarity is hidden entirely by wariness, and with a rattle of chain and iron weights, he moves out of the freezer, to lean against the wall just outside of it.

As Jack reveals the mystery flavor popsicle, Trina covers the lower half of her mouth. Oh, God. It's truly him. That hand then proceeds to drag across her lips, pulling them this way and that in an obvious display of discomfort, despite the mechanic's attempts to will it away. And goody, goody. Now he's seen her, too. That's just fabulous. Well, the glasses are no use to her now, so they're tucked away.

The mechanic looks over the president, knowing well enough her boyfriend's handiwork. Finally, she looks back up to Jack, concern painted there. It's a concern that remains secreted away in her gaze, however, as there is someone to hear it were it to find life on the air. "So when are we killing him?" Notice the use of the word 'we'. It may or may not be only symbolic.

She brews coffee.

Elena returns with three mugs, setting them on a nearby table. Looking over at where the President is laying inside the freezer, she pauses. It's been a while, a very long while, since she's seen Nathan Petrelli in the flesh. Her lips press in a soft, but stubborn little line. The days of childish pranks and tossing popcorn at one another on the couch were over. Gone were the days where she could sit there and complain about soap opera storylines while he threw a pillow at her and told her to be quiet or get a box of crackers or something. She had been his housemate for a few weeks. Back when he and Heidi were…

Heidi.

She gets right to the point. She takes several steps forward, armed with one coffee mug. Her shadow falling across Nathan, her jaw twitches a bit, her eyes narrowed. Jack and Trina would find her dark eyes slowly shifting colors to a shade akin to a cat's. Usually never a good sign. "Where's Heidi?" She doesn't waste any time, does she?

"Soon," Jack replies as if Nathan isn't standing two feet away from him. "We'll kill him soon." He breathes a sigh of relief. Trina's response and expression aren't exactly ideal, but they're better than he hoped for. A commanding officer is supposed to maintain discipline and avoid explaining himself at all costs. Then again, most commanding officers aren't sleeping with soldiers under their command. Jack compromises. "I saw an opportunity and chose to act."

When Elena shows up with coffee and questions, Jack's eyes widen slightly. He hesitates briefly, then steps aside. With a deft flick of his wrist, he flips his pistol around and offers it to her grip-first in exchange for one of the cups. "He's bloody stubborn. If'n he don't answer, try whackin' him with this a few times."

Soon. Kill him soon. If Logan weren't already pale enough, the blood drains further from his face, and against the wall he's leaning on, he slides down further, as if his legs were giving out. No, it. It'll be fine. He's the best bargaining chip they have, he has to be, there has to be a negotiation… But before he can even start to think quickly, Elena's presence is another blow, coupled by that name she says.

Heidi. Elena gets a cold look, and he ignores the exchange between she and Jack as he regards her. Friend of his wife, oh where oh where is she. He actually smiles - just a flicker, head resting back against the wall. "Safe."

Also? Trina doesn't take well to bossing orders. Jack's choice to explain is one bathed in wisdom. Now that Elena is occupied with the president, the mechanic can occupy herself with the Shepherd. "He should be dead already, Jack," she whispers with her brow beginning to furrow, intentionally moving herself directly between the Traitor and the Hero of this little tale. Wouldn't do to have him reading lips or seeing her weakness, after all. "He's seen you. If his men find him here…"

"No, she's not," Elena says, taking the pistol and undoing the safety. She starts walking towards Nathan, and she crouches so she could get on eye level with him. She searches his features, the gun on a secure grip in her hand. But she doesn't really need a gun, does she? Has Nathan ever figured out that she didn't need one? All he knew before was that she could make people horny and that did him more good than harm.

He would feel it then, the little tickle at the back of his …neck? No. His brain. Like cold fingers tap-tap-tapping at his brainstem where his medulla oblongata met the more important parts of his body. "But if you're suddenly experiencing a bout of Alzheimer's," she says simply. And it's not even coy. The no-nonsense Saints' lieutenant's gaze lances through his own dark orbs. "I can give it to you for real."

"He's a hostage until I say otherwise, and a dead hostage is no good to anyone." Jack lifts his coffee cup to his lips and blows across the top to disperse steam and cool it. "If either of you wanna kill a President, you're gonna have to go get your own."

Sip.

"Believe it or not, I do have a plan," he continues. "You could even opt to have a little faith. Elena! Safety on, or you can leave."

Logan's head twitches forward, as if trying to get away from that feeling, but it remains. A rustle of metal as he jerks his hands up as if to defend himself, but he knows it's all internal. Knows there's not much he could do defend himself and he gives her a hard, hateful glare. Jack's command cuts through, but the gun is the least of his worries. Nathan is listening, is the problem, but he has to give her something. "Like any good human," he says, voice a little rougher than usual, quieter, "she was sent away. She's alive." Which is more than Nathan knew, and it's going to be a struggle to keep him at bay.

She has a lack of faith. She has a lack of faith?! Trina's temper flares, the flames fanned furiously by hurt. He brought the Gawdamned Devil himself into the safest Hidey Hole they have, and he's gonna act like her concern is unwarranted? It isn't like this is the man who PUT A KILL ORDER ON HIM AND NEARLY HAD HIM OBLITERATED for just DISAGREEING WITH HIM. Oh, wait. YES, IT IS. And NOW JACK HAS TAKEN HIS FUCKIN' FINGER OFF. Unfortunately, it is NOT a time or place where the dark haired woman can actually say anything about it.

There's a telltale flinch at the corner of her nose as blue eyes widen and then slowly narrow back to their normal width, but it's eventually stilled. It's a look that collectively says that, were it two years ago, she'd be ripping somebody a new one. Instead, she falls back into that stony expression. "Fine."

And then she simply moves aside, allowing the Shepherd to deal with his lieutenant however he sees fit. She'll only intervene if its necessary, ever Jack's watchful guard dog.

The gun is safetied and tossed back to Jack in a neat, underhand toss. Elena has been extremely proficient with her abilities in the last couple of years, she doesn't need to see Jack to know where he is, and where to toss him a weapon. It's worked extremely well for the both of them on the field in the times she had been his running partner. But when Logan says Heidi is alive, she nods. She believes him, she's watching his eyes, where they move, which direction they roll to when he gives her an answer. She had been a biology major with an emphasis in biochemistry, at MIT - a veritable scientific think tank in Cambridge. There are ways to know when people are lying, without being invasive.

"Good," she murmurs softly. "Are you going to keep her that way?" The feeling doesn't stop, her head tilting a little bit to the side. But she doesn't let up. To her credit, she hasn't hurt him yet. But that was certainly a loaded question. "I'll find her either way," she vows. "Dead or alive." Her jaw hardens. "She'd have wanted to be buried next to Monty."

Jack catches the pistol in his free hand and tucks it into his waistband at the small of his back. His jaw clenches and unclenches briefly, but otherwise he remains impassive. Calmly, he takes another sip of his coffee. They all have issues with Nathan. Questions they want answered. For now, he seems willing to entertain that.

Heidi was, for all intents and purposes, was a thorn in the side that needed removing. Logan rolls his eyes and looks away from Elena when she speaks of her, a hand coming up to rub the bridge of his nose wearily. Then, he lifts his hands, stretching out the short length of chain between them with a jerk. "You think I got a choice in here?" he snaps, cold, unNathan-like gaze back on Elena's face. "You heard them," a jerk of his head towards Trina and Jack, "they're going to kill me." A sneer accompanies that, a show of cockiness as if he doesn't truly believe this, when in fact it's something he's never been more unsure about. "So do whatever you want with Heidi, bury her wherever you see fit."

For Trina's part, she just does her best to not react. For now, that means standing there with her arms crossed and looking as intimidating as a woman not even five and a half feet tall can look. Yeah. We're gonna kill you. So what? And all this ANGRY IS BECAUSE OF YOU. Yeah! Yeah. So… Okay, not *all* if it is because of you. Directly. Some of it is because of you indirectly. Shut up and look somewhere else.

"Maybe," Elena says simply, quirking her brow at him. "The question really if that's the case is if you want to go quickly or slowly. We have plenty of instruments here. We even have a defibrilator to jerk you back to the living if we decide we're not done with you." She shrugs. It could be a bluff, but if it was one, Elena pulls it off rather well - it helped that Nathan's ultimate fate was honestly of no consequence to her. She's ceased caring about him, just as she's ceased caring about his brother from this timeline. "I'd suggest you be cooperative. After all, you're a dead man. What do you have to lose?" She stands up then and glances over at Jack. "We can break his head open if he doesn't want to cooperate. It's not like we don't have ways to get the information we need." Papa would gladly dig around his brain.

Like Trina, Jack withdraws from the immediate vicinity and allows Elena the time she needs to make her peace. He hops up and plants his ass on one of the steel tables and his feet on another. "We have time," he says, coffee cup still in hand. "Rest assured, he'll tell us everything we want to know by the time we're done."

The news of breaking heads causes Logan to shiver. He has more secrets in there than any of them know. Restlessly, he pulls the iron weights all the way from out of the freezer - no point in giving them any hint of a reason to toss him back in there - and for the first time, he really studies his hand. God, he— his finger. His entire right hand hurts to move. It drops down into his lap, as by now he's seated on the floor like a broken doll. "You keep going down this route, you're not gonna have enough left of me for anything useful," he says, voice wavering just a little, addressing them all.

This is the real virus that is Nathan's presence. The contagion. The plague. They haven't been together in the room with him for five minutes and already the tension is thick enough to cut with a knife. They're snapping at each other. What Nathan touches, he turns to dust. That's yet another reason why he should already be dead.

And then Nathan speaks. Trina just raises her hand, head craning so that she can address Nathan right back. "I would just like to say that I don't have any use for you *now*."

"I think," Elena says. "You ought to start thinking about what you could do for us, as opposed to stalling what might be done to you. Because it's not going to work." She lifts a single shoulder. "Practical advice, for a practical man." She glances over at Jack. "Let me know when you want to call Sarge in to poke around his mind, Jack," she says simply, sliding her hands in her pockets. "If we just force it out of him without his say so, he won't have any bargaining chips left."

"Will do." Jack takes another sip of coffee, followed by a quiet, satisfied 'Mmm.' "Have your papa radio me. I'll be here keepin' an eye on our friend until further notice."

Sullen silence. Trina's comment makes him bristle, and his gaze drops away from Elena, almost petulantly. He doesn't know the name Sarge… but he knows Elena's father, by the way Jack refers to this man. He knows what he can do. Ramon Gomez, telepath. Well, fuck. He tries not to react visibly, but there's certainly a spike of panic, there. Outwardly, Logan simply remains where he is, quiet, not about to give them any cues as to what should come next for him.

Jack will… be… here. Until further notice. He told her a couple days! Now it's until further notice. That means no yelling. No yelling means no fight. No fight means no frustrated make up sex. He's going to be sitting here, agonizing over this DOUCHE BAG who should, despite the opinion of Trina's conscience (who is just starting to catch up to her temper), be dead.

FUCKING DAMMIT.

Trina casts a look to Jack that betrays her shock and disappointment, only to then whip her head in Nathan's direction with a fiery glare. YOU, the expression seems to bellow. THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT. I SHOULD CUT OFF YOUR AIR SUPPLY RIGHT NOW.

With a small sigh, Trina's voice is quiet as she continues. "Tell me what to do, Jack."

"Alright." Elena pauses, and looks at Jack. "Who do you want me to tell, and who do you want me to keep out?" she asks. The Saints can probably be trusted with this information. "I think we can tell Shaft, Scrooge, and Metatron. I don't know about Skywalker." She'll know who she means by that. "I'm a little leery about it, but… he's already made a breakthrough with something else that I want to talk to you about when we don't have company. I'd think he'd be interested to know how the President turned out the way he did. But I'll leave it to you, Jack."

"For now, just be patient. We'll get the answers we want from him in due time." The response is directed toward both women. Jack sets his coffee cup aside and sighs. "The fewer we tell, the happier I'll be. Them knowing serves no purpose but to put them in danger. And frankly, I don't want Meta-whoever in here with him at all if I'm not here. She's been too unstable. If she ruins him…" He trails off, but it's evident that the idea doesn't please him. At all.

"We'll need to tell Shaft," Elena says. "He's the one who uses knowledge more effectively than all of us. And I need him to know what's up so we can plan for if things go south. And I think Scrooge already knows since he was there when Trina and I got the impression that you've been a very bad boy." She flashes a brief smile at Jack at that - though it doesn't reach her eyes. Leaving Ali out makes her nod. That means she'll have to tell Eric not to tell Ali the next time they do…..whatever the hell they've been doing together. Ramon will have to know. Peter though? "I'll let you tell Skywalker then if it comes to that, you can leave the others to me."

The code names get a rolling eyed reaction from Logan, but he's listening. Carefully. Despite the pain, his head is as clear as it's been, so now he's putting together what pieces he can. This is some kind of organisation - it would have had to be, but still, Logan only recalls two people when he was taken - with obviously a few resources of their sleeves. And sublimely dorky, yet effective code names. He doesn't even recognise 'Skywalker', which is why it's a little ironic when he asks, abruptly: "Is Peter behind this?" He has to be alluding to their version, but all the same.

"Peter?" Jack smirks. "Your brother couldn't find his dork if a Vegas hooker tied a noose around it. Hey, last time I checked, we were asking the questions. Issit okay with you if I go back to being the kidnapper now? Thanks." He lets out a humorless laugh. As an aside to Elena, he whispers, "They're not stupid. They're going to figure it out, I'm sure. I don't want this place endin' up as a pettin' zoo, though."

In the end, Trina will do what she's told so far as the little two-faced president man is concerned. Which is why she simply shoves her glasses back on her face and waits, lips drawn into an unamused, thin line and slender arms crossed over her chest. Don't want to go back. Don't want to leave Jack alone. …Can't allow Elena to drive the van back on her own, DAGNABBIT.
There is no win for the Trina this day.

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