Date: April 9th, 2010
After flying too close to the sun, Emily's found herself without any feathers.
Secret Safehouse of DOOM
It's early in the morning, Cody's been up all night roaming between the main level of the house and the basement as she repeats a pattern every hour on the hour. It's only about 10am when the grate is pulled back and the agent emerges from the basement, visibly upset. Her breathing is ragged and her boots are covored in water. There's an odor of burnt flesh that seems to follow her and as she pours herself a cup of coffee in the kitchen, she doesn't say a word.
Then the cup slips from her fingers and she curses, loudly, before grabbing a towel as she stoops to clean up her mess. A sob erupts from behind the counter and it's followed by another. Then another. Try as she might to control herself, she can't. She's stooped to a level of inhuman that she's never wanted to cross, something that she had promised herself a long time ago that she would never do to another living being. Killing, it's easy. It's cold, quick and calculated. This… this is something different entirely.
As usual, Erin has been sound asleep, her door partially closed, since sundown. She knows nothing of what's been going on down in the basement of the warehouse, and probably wouldn't think to ask if Cody didn't leave the tell-tale signs that something is wrong.
Concerned, though not wanting to pry, Erin remains in bed until she hears the sob. Appearing momentarily at the top of the stairs, she looks down toward the source of the noise before approaching the distraught woman behind the counter.
It stinks. There's coffee and water all over the place. Maybe Erin hesitates a second before wrapping her arms around Cody, but it's mostly out of shock rather than disgust. "Hey… What's wrong? Tell me what's wrong? Cody?" The actress' voice is almost panicked. For something to reduce Cody to tears? Erin's heart races. Maybe the bad guys have found them again.
Cody jerks away in surprise, she'd been too preoccupied in her own problems to even notice her room mate's arrival. She's getting soft, sloppy, too used to the comforts of a real home rather than a hovel and a straw mattress.
"N-nothing… Just.. I need a drink." Or two… or five… Maybe a few dozen. The pieces of the mug are placed into the garbage and the rest of the coffee on the floor is wiped up and the dish towel dropped unceremoniously into the sink. "I'm just, I'm going to go. Do me a favor. Don't go into the basement. There's something down there you really don't need to see."
Don't push the big red button, Erin, not even if it's making the scary agent cry. Dodging her way around the actress, Cody takes the stairs three by three on her way up to her room.
Or maybe Erin's just getting really sneaky. It's probably the former, because Erin's not that sneaky. So that begs the question, what has Cody so upset? "But…" she says, any further words dying before she can speak them.
Obviously, her answers lie in the basement. Normally she'd listen to the more experienced agent, but the plea seems different than the orders she's been given before, and that's…
She starts after Cody at first, but then her attention turns to the grate leading into the basement. It doesn't take much mental arguing to get Erin to turn around, which she does, and the closer she gets, the more the smell makes her gag. But hey, she's lived in her own filth for several days, so this is fairly similar. In fact, it makes her shudder; the stench is too familiar to be comfortable.
It takes her awhile to actually get to the stairs, which she takes slowly. Her footsteps echo purposely, as if she's trying to let any monsters down there know that someone's on her way. Mostly, she's just angry at whatever it is totally shattered Erin's image of the unshakable Protocol agent.
The thing that's down there isn't really in any condition to play the monster today. Hopped up on serum, dehydrated, a bit starved, and suffering the effects of the information extraction, Emily can barely hear the footsteps anyway. She's off in lala land; way far in lala land.
What Erin sees, if the light is left on, in a woman in a hospital gown, hunched over and handcuffed to a metal chair in the center of the light. The floor around the chair is wet, still, as are the woman's feet and lower legs. Her head (as well as the rest of her body) is totally hairless. An empty IV is hooked up to her arm; jumper cables are hooked to the chair…and to a metal spike that protrudes a bit from what was first a gunshot wound in the thigh, but not quite so simple as that anymore. Is she even breathing?
The basement is still dark, but Erin has a light of her own. She reaches out with it now, allowing tiny viruses to propagate in the dark, covering the surfaces of the most important things within Erin's reach. As well, her eyes glow softly, shedding enough light on the woman in the chair that Erin can tell - without the aid of the viruses - what's going on here.
Her first reaction is to backpedal. The very image of the woman in the chair almost throws her into a panic. How could Cody do something like this to someone?!
Erin flips a switch. Thankfully, it's not the one tied to the electrical current, or else that would be the end of Emily. A light goes on, and Erin sees the full extent of the damage. For a horrifying handful of seconds, she's back in Building 27 in chains.
Before she realises what she's doing, she's pulling the cables off the chair, and she's got her hand around the spike in Emily's leg. No, she shouldn't pull that out. Erin learned from Afterlife that that's a bad idea. Reaching toward Emily's face, Erin gives it a couple quick, gentle smacks. "Tell me you're not dead," she mutters. "C'mon. Wake up."
She knows Cody is a killer. She knows her roommate is capable of this. Has accepted it. Seeing it is another story.
"Not…not dead. T…thirsty…" Emily croaks out. Whoever this is, it's not Cody, since she's showing any concern at all for her life. Her lips are a bit cracked, and very chapped, a little bloody in some places even. That wound to the leg is the biggest reason for alarm, though; it's clearly, definitely infected. She probably won't have much use of that leg once (if) it's fixed up.
The funny thing is…she's okay with this. Deserved it, even. She was on borrowed time anyway, and when you're a terrorist…well, isn't this how it winds up in the movies? "Got…got her info though."
That's the only reason Cody could possibly do something like this to someone. Still, the ravaged image of the girl is hard to bear, and Erin turns away, running her fingers through her hair. "You're…" Erin begins, fighting back the urge to gag against the smell. Really, it'd be nice if she were told if there was torture going on in the basement. Erin bites her lip until it hurts, and manages - only just - not to vomit.
She'll trust Cody on this - to an extent. It still hurts to see her handiwork with her own eyes. But just because she puts her trust in the former agent, though, doesn't mean that Erin has to be Cody. Maybe that's a way that she and Janet are alike.
Locating the cleanest rag she can find, she turns on the hose and soaks it, holding it up to Emily's cracked lips. "You're an idiot," Erin says, her voice shaky. "If she wanted info, why didn't ya just … just give it to her!? Was it worth this!?" The voice draws close to hysterics. This is too close for comfort. Too close to what Max could have done to her.
Are they cut from the same mold?
"Moron. Moron!" She pulls the rag back, whether or not Emily is done with it, and soaks it again. Erin can only assume Emily's working with … She can never remember the guy's name. Undies? Un-deen? Something like that. "Why didn't you just tell her!"
"Call it…pride?" Stupidity is really closer to the truth, but pride keeps her from saying it, really. "Misguided…intentions?" Emily manages to croak out a few more works, a few longer words, after sucking some of the moisture from the rag.
"Maybe…this is what I…deserved. I've done…bad things…lots." Murders, mostly. Oh, and kidnapping. Conspiracy to commit terrorism. Those sorts of things.
"Pride, really?" While the immediate vision of this sort of blocked the memory of Cody's reaction to it, Erin's recalling it now. Leaning closer to the infected hole through Emily's leg, Erin tries to figure out if she can do something about it… Or if she'll have to call Janet for advice. There's no way she's bringing her sister here, as no one should ever see this. Erin shouldn't even be seeing this, but she is.
Her hand wraps around the spike again, and she yanks it out.
The wet rag is pressed to it, denying Emily anymore water, for now. The most important thing is trying to stop the bleeding, though. "Yeah, you deserved it," Erin mutters. "You know why? I— Don't even know. Fuck." No one deserves this. And yet, if this woman was one of the people responsible for Erin's own incarceration… The sentiment would change in a heartbeat.
The infection causes more than just blood to seep from the wound. Erin has to turn her head away for a moment to recompose, and when she looks back at it, her eyes are watering. Jesus, it stinks. "I'll end it for you," she says suddenly. "All you have to do is say the word. I'll make it as painless as possible."
That, Erin finds herself in a position to do. She'd consider it charity, in a twisted way. "I don't know what you've done, but it must have been fucking awful for her to go this far. I'll end the pain." And no one will have to try to get through this woman's thick skull for more information. You can't interrogate someone if they're dead… And she'll never have to see one of her best friends crying ever again.
Even before the spike is pulled free from the wound, Emily is squirming weakly in the chair; the sensation of it being wiggled and jiggle when Erin gets her hands around it alerts her. When it comes out, there's the normal resistance the metal being extricated from flesh, some blood, mostly other, ah, liquids from the seeping, oozing wound.
"Terrorist…what. What else could it be?" Emily has yet to make real eye contact with Erin; her head just bobs about, weakly, with that bald dome pointed in her direction. The mention of ending it all gets her attention though. Mustering what strength she has, Emily looks up at her, normal blues staring into glowing blues. "Jesus…" Well, no, not quite. "I'm not ready to die…just yet. I…I did tell her what she wanted to know, afterall…when she could've killed me. There are…things I can do. I'm not a terrorist…I just…want to be in control"
Turning the hose back on the injury, Erin lets the cold water drench it. At first, it seems to bleed more, but then the flow subsides as the blood vessels cool and constrict. "I'll need to ask for some medicine," she says quietly. The only thing Erin can do is destroy any viruses lingering in the area. At this point, she gets the feeling that it's mostly bacterial infection that's the main problem.
Almost disappointed when Emily says she's not ready to die, Erin presses harder on the cloth, purposely attempting to cause pain. "You're an idiot," she repeats, voice much less shaky now that the initial shock of the scenery is over. "She did kill you. It's just going to be a really long, painful, drawn-out process. You're dead right now. You're just still breathing." Erin believes that more and more as she pulls the cloth away to look at the wound underneath.
Erin's eyes continue to stare brightly, providing a little extra light in the dark, damp basement. "If you weren't a terrorist, this wouldn't have happened to you."
"I…I was dead before this…" Emily stammers out. Well not so much dead, but the possibility was there, had things gone to trial or whatever. "She stopped me though…before anything could happen. Stopped the terrorists from using their weapon. Heh." And really, wasn't that her goal from the start?
The cold water causes her to wince; the grimace causes her lips to crack a little more as she pulls the corners of her mouth back. "Ahhhh, fuck that hurts. I'm going to lose that leg, I bet." She sounds disappointed. "But that's the least of my worries, if what you said is true.. I did tell her all I know, though. I'm not holding out. Haven't seen since we reached…18 seconds or so."
As Erin attempts to clean the wound, she glances back at Emily's face. "If you were a weapon, then you should have just told her what she asked you to tell her. You want to be in control? Sometimes you have to give a little. Trust me, I know. Besides. Saying something would have been as much to your benefit as ours. We're trying to stop this bullshit. And here you are, in pain, because you were too proud to use your brain."
The leg is still bleeding. Ripping the cloth enough to make it longer, Erin ties a tourniquet around it. "It'll only hurt for a little while," she explains as she pulls it as tight as possible, before agreeing with the assessment of the injury. "Probably. 'cuz you were a moron. Learn a little humility."
Erin's eyes turn downward for a quick second, and her nose curls. She doesn't want to know what the hell she's standing in; all she knows is that she'll need a shower as soon as possible. "I'm not going to let you go. I don't want to know your name. I don't want to know what you told her, or didn't tell her. I don't care." Erin turns away, looking for something, and finding a push broom. Returning with it, she pushes the waste away from under the chair. At least it's cleaner than it was before. It's something less unsanitary for Emily to put her feet in.
"Someone got hurt today. And it wasn't you."
They say that pride comes before a fall. Hubris is the downfall of man. Well, if Emily was riding high before, welcome to the fall. It doesn't get much lower than this. Criminal to convict to terrorist to prisoner. "Humility is not something I do well….clearly," she groans out at Erin, before slumping again, gritting her teeth and eating her just desserts.