Date: December 20th, 2009
After her capture, Lena is separated from Tiago, and the first round of interrogation begins. Will she submit, or remain defiant?
Alpha Protocol Temp Holding Unit
It's sometime in the afternoon when Lena is finally bothered by the guards. She's not behind bars, rather, she's behind reinforced plexi-glass (for the spitting, you see) with someone watching her via security camera at all times. Other than to have food shoved through a small tray slot in the wall, she has been ignored, with no questions answered other than 'shut the hell up'. And now four men are at the door, with stun-guns, the kind that shoot, and batons waiting to inflict pain should she try anything 'funny' They're also dressed head-to-toe in tactical gear that would make a SWAT member blush, with face-shields. (To avoid the spitting, you see.)
"Stand back from the door. Face the wall and put your hands through the slot." If she complies, she promptly has her hands cuffed together and held, while the door is opened and the other three enter to manacle her feet, then her hands to her feet by a length of chain just long enough to prevent her from reach up past her chest, and finally to affix a face shield about her head. You know what THAT'S for by now.
If she doesn't comply, or takes too long to do so, it's a very different story, with the door swining open and lots of voltage applied, whereupon she's bodily wrestled into said getup.
Waking up in a cell, dressed in hideous orange jammies and suffering the after effects of beatings and a concussion do not incline a girl towards good behavior. The stream of complaints throughout the morning ranged from "Jesus fucking christ, what did you guys hit me with, a truck?" to "I'm not eating this shit" to "Look, man, I just want to wash my face, bring me some goddamn water!". None of the answers she received were satisfactory but Lena has few methods of complaint available to her. Kicking the door only makes the pain in head and body worse, screaming is right out, and they were unkind enough to not provide pen and paper so she could write a letter to the editor about the service here.
So it is a sullen girl who faces the demands to behave and submit. Sullen but not nearly stupid enough to subject herself to even more pain; she does as she's told to receive cuffs and chains and shield. Throughout it all, her captors receive a glare of blue murder from her own visible eye. The other has disappeared behind bruises and swelling.
But she does not submit without continuing a running stream of commentary on their parentage, their likely sexual predilictions and the color of the underwear. Only cowards would behave this way around a wee slip of a girl, after all, especially one who's already taken more than a few licks.
"You just fucking wait until it's your kid in here, assholes."
The wee slip of a girl gets a few comments for her trouble, not the least of which is 'can it, freak', and other such pleasantries. They knew this one was a scrappy trouble-maker who's powers couldn't be subdued, so it was 'tough guy' volunteers who got the 'honor' of transferring her around the facility. She's marched out of her cell, though as long as she doesn't pull anything rash, none of the men physically abuse her, and down several hallways, to eventually be deposited in a room about the same size as her cell.
This room, however, has a suspicious mirror-window along one wall, a wooden door as it's exit, and a single, barred and meshed-over window to gaze out at the blue sky from. There's a simple table in the middle, along with three chairs. Three of the men leave the room, presumably to stand outside of it, while one remains in, leading lena over towards one side of the table, the side furthest from the door, temporarily unconnecting her hand-feet connecting chain to thread it between a small hook on the table. It would allow her to stand or sit at her leisure, even to awkwardly pace, but not to move much of anywhere without dragging the table with her.
Then the male stands silent and stoic in the corner, glowering at the mutant girl from the safety of ten feet away. It's almost a quarter-hour before the door finally opens, admitting the person who is likely least-high in Lena's esteem at the moment, Tammy Li Lansing herself, along with a medium-sized file under her arm. The door is closed behind her as she offers a professionally congenial smile.
"Miss Grey, allow me to reintroduce myself. I am Special Agent Lansing. Before we get down to business, have they been feeding you? Would you like anything to drink?"
It's almost comforting that the guards respond to hostility with more of the same. It actually helps to settle Lena's nerves, which are popping and jumping like oil on a hotplate. And it certainly makes it easier to mask the fear that's been gnawing at her gut from the moment she opened her eyes and found herself in the cell. She shuffles along awkwardly without complaint, or further abuse, offering up no resistance. She knows what to expect of them now and it's marginally better than what her imagination had been busy supplying before the goon squad showed up.
Once deposited and secured at the table, Lena spends the next fifteen minutes ignoring the guard (and the mirror that no doubt hides an audience, as always happens in the movies) in favor of gazing out that window. The little square of blue looks so good. But she doesn't mope or sigh. The glare is maintained, her jaw set stubbornly.
When Tammy arrives and opens things with a smile and an offer, the teenager makes it quite plain what mood she is in. "Screw the good cop shit, okay? You got the wrong goddamn people. Where's Chi?"
"He's in a cell, where he belongs. He's done some very bad things."
As her offer of anything to drink or eat is refused, she makes her way further into the room, dropping the folder she was holding with a *plop*. Pulling out one of the chairs across from the younger woman, Tammy seats herself, crossing one leg over the other, folding one hand over the other on top of the file. In bold print at the, on the little tab sticking out, for those who cared to read, the words 'CAROLINE GREY' could be seen.
"This isn't me being the 'good cop', Miss Grey. As you can see, there is no 'bad cop' with me. No games, no trials, no acquittals. The only thing you get is me. And right about now, I'm the closest thing to a friend you have in here. And if there's one thing I know, it's that you are nothing more than a waste of my time."
Taking her eyes off of the teenager, the dark-haired agent unfolds her hand and turns the file sideways, flipping it open to the first portion, which has Lena's mug shot and prior arrest record, as well as copies of her prints. "You're a bad apple, a kid mixed up in one too many wrong decisions. But you're not a threat to national security, and therefore, I don't believe I should have to put up with your company any more than necessary. The sooner you help me convince my supervisors of that, the sooner you're free to go. Other than the 'threat' you represent, we really have no reason to hold you."
Lena tries to narrow her eyes, the natural response to suspicion. But it hurts, and wincing at that pain is not much better. The girl draws a rough breath, good eye scanning what she can see of the folder and its contents before lifting once more to Tammy's face. The tip of her tongue probes a scabbed split on her lip. She's been caught off-guard and there's no hiding her uncertainty, even if the hostility lingers.
"Stop fucking calling me that," she begins with a grumble, just to let the woman know that there is no way that they're friends. "That's not my name. If you don't have any reason to hold me either, then why the hell am I still here? Your bosses can't read? I don't know shit about national security, we don't want anything to do with the government."
"That is your name, isn't it? Your birth name? Or do you prefer one of the aliases you have no doubt picked up during your time on the road? Are you aware that your parents have a missing person's report out on you? It seems to me that you have an actual life you could go back to. The only thing holding you from it is playing dumb."
She flips the page away from the list of priors and the unflattering shot of a slightly-younger woman to another, one written by hand, rather than typed, and in that gross, illegible script that doctors use, one that somehow only another doctor could read. "As for your threat level, well, that largely depends on my recommendation. Those above me will judge you based on a number of factors, not the least of which is how well you cooperated. If you can give me your word to be civil, I will have a doctor visit your cell, under guard, to tend to your injuries. Such as they are." There's a hint of compassion in her eyes as Tammy lifts them to take in the teen's battered face.
"The only person this gets harder on if you don't cooperate is you. If you like, I can elaborate on that, or we can start by talking about some of your associates."
"Lena. My name's Lena." Her expression hardens at mention of her family, and her gaze cuts sullenly towards the table. The chains rattle as she shifts her joined hands. "So if I act all good and tell you what you wanna know, then I get like…real clothes, real food, pillows, extra blankets, doctor visits. Maybe an extra big jar for my brain when you think it's time to pull it out of my head and poke around in it, huh?"
When she looks up at the other female again, the way her lips curl mimic a smile but there's nothing pleasant behind it. "You think maybe you could start the friend act with getting these off?" Lena lifts her hands, wrists turned in their shackles to give Tammy a good look at the red marks they've left on her fair skin. "Or get this stupid mask thing off of me? I could use a pillow to sit on too, for the ass-whupping your guys gave me. And then maybe you could tell me what happens if I don't act nice. I guess I already know but it's always good to get that shit out on the table, you know?"
"Quality of life could certainly be improved with very little trouble for you, if you act cooperatively. But if you mislead me in any way, I promise that the room you're currently bunking in now will start to look like a suite at the Hilton. But you seem to have some… strange ideas of what we do to people with your unique talents. Dissection and lobotomies are a thing of the past."
Tammy's return smile at the question of removing the handcuffs and faceshield is chock full of 'nice try'. "No, I don't think so. You've proven yourself to be quite troublesome so far. Even someone on the wrong side of the law should know that taking down police officers is not going to prompt gentle treatment from their fellows in blue. Let's just hope, for your sake, that those men wake up. Now, as for what will happen, I will cut to the chase. As I said before, I have real threats I could be investigating at the moment."
"This is a leveled process. Either I pull what I want to know out of you with sweet temptations, or you get kicked up a level. You get a new interrogator, with new methods, and they get increasingly unpleasant and dire the further up you go. You have no rights here, no Ammendments will protect you, and no one is going to come looking for you here. I," She points at herself with a click-top pen, "Am the 'nicest' person you're going to meet. I," She points at herself again, for emphasis, "Am the only one who will cut you a deal. You're old enough to know how this one works: The first one to talk gets the deal. The other is left with far fewer option."
Lena's hands sink back to her lap. She hadn't really expected that they'd take her up on that request either. "They'll wake up. It's just a knock-out drug. Lasts a day, maybe, if you get a small dose. More if you've got me scared. It was fucking self-defense…you're just doing this to yourselves, the stories getting out about you. About the way you're not treating us human, shipping us off like the Nazis used to do. You're not nice, you're just acting like it 'cause you think I'm some dumb shit kid off the streets who'll spill everything to save herself," she says, the words tumbling out of her slowly at first. As they speed up, so does the tremor in her voice. "And then what? You really think I believe you'll just let me go? That you'll let me walk out of here, when I know you don't let people go?"
Suddenly the brunette is jerking away from the table. She doesn't intend to threaten Tammy (although there is a part of her that will take some grim satisfaction if she makes profiler and the guard both jump). Instead she shuffles backwards until the chain has reached its limit; once there, she begins a slow, limping pacing. It's how Lena spends nervous energy: nervous movement. "I didn't even know there were other people like me, before a couple months ago. Don't you get it? Everyone except the crazies are hiding from you. You're scaring them."
"Miss Grey, I have no intention of being nice to you, or insulting your intelligence by pretending that this is going to be a painless process. You're mixed up in things over your head, and the sooner I've washed my hands of you, the happier I'll be. Now, I can only do that one of two ways: either you cooperate and are eventually released, or I fail to coerce you into a deal, and… You really don't want to go down that path."
Tammy's eyebrows raise slightly as the younger girl jerks away from her, and the guard in the corner unfolds his arms and starts to lean forward. He settles back down once he sees that Lena wasn't simply preparing to lunge at the psychologist. "Do you know how much it costs to keep a person imprisoned for life? To clothe, feed, and provide sanitary services? It's not a pleasant burden on taxpayers, nor one we prefer to indulge with our own finances. No, if you tell me everything today, you're not going to walk out of here tomorrow. But we're not going to execute you, and we're not going to hold you indefinitely. You'll obviously get some incarceration, though it need not be as lengthy as you fear. Not if you help us."
Setting the pen down, the older woman shuts the file on it, using it as a marker for the place she had left off at, before leaning back in her chair as if they were having a chat in her office, her expression patient and indulgent. "As for our motivations, well, you could go a long way towards smoothing that over, couldn't you? If the evolved among us would cooperate, merely let us evaluate them, make sure they're not a danger to others, we would have no need of 'rounding them up', as you say. If you cooperate, you can find your stay here much more pleasant than sleeping in subway stations, and, when released, perhaps you can tell these others that they need not believe everything they hear. Even you can surely realize that things would have gone much easier on both of you if you had not resisted. And we would be having this discussion without shackles."
"Yeah…yeah. You're right. I mean, like, that totally makes sense." Lena comes to the very end of the chain, having to twist her head at an uncomfortable angle to keep her face turned away from the woman. She's looking at the window, squinting at something seen in the blue. A seagull, maybe. "I know when I was trying to get someone to do something I wanted them to do, on the streets, I totally always gave them the choice of doing what I wanted or fucking torturing them. I'll just go on and take an ad out in the paper, to let everyone who's hiding know what our options are here. You guys're probably gonna be swamped afterwards, you maybe wanna look into getting a bigger place."
The chains are given an experimental tug, as if she were trying to get closer to the window. Or as if she were testing to see whether the table is bolted down.
Then Lena is shuffling in her little old man steps back towards her chair. "So what do you wanna know? What I can do exactly? What I had for breakfast? Maybe what I want for Christmas?" Her smirk is plain in her tone of voice. They make it so easy, these people who encourage her hostility. "You only have a couple more shopping days, you should ask that one first."
"I don't actually expect you to take us up on that last offer. But think for a moment just how many lives could be saved, how much violence could be avoided, if you would cooperate in that manner. The unknown breeds fear, and fear breeds hostility, leading inevitably to more violence and hostility. We're not going to just go away, we're going to find everyone eventually. How much of our own fear, our own hostility could be abated if we only knew who was out there, what they were capable of, and just what kind of people it was that had these powers?"
Clearing her throat, Tammy looks back to the file on her desk, sitting up pin-straight once more as she opens it. "It's something to consider, for your eventual parole." Once it's back open to the previous page, Tammy begins writing a few more lines, adding to the already lengthy notes she had placed within, in yet more of her illegible script. She continues, without looking up.
"Yes, if you like, we may certainly start at that point. Wherever you're comfortable with, really." At this point, she does finally raise her eyes once more. "How the chemical you secret is transmitted, what effects it can have, how long it lasts, what side-effects it exerts, and how we can protect people from it are all things we'd like answered. But most of all: can you control it? Are you a danger to anyone?"
The brunette sinks gingerly into her chair again, needing a moment to settle in such a way that she achieves an insolent slouch without irritating any of her various aches and pains. Tammy's demeanor is observed in silence once Lena has arranged torso and limbs for comfort. There's no sense in her bothering to disguise the rampant dislike felt, and aimed, at the woman's bowed head. And focusing on that's a far sight better than sinking under what feels like an entire ocean's worth of fear.
"Yeah. About that, Yoda," she finally says, slowly. Almost thoughtfully. Winding up for the pitch, as it were. A small smile plays over her battered lips.
"How about I give you the finger," which she promptly does, although certainly with less flair than a certain movie-screen geek hero seeing as how she can only just make it appear over the table's edge, "And you start offering me something other than tearing my fingernails out, in exchange for answers. Like, say, seeing Chi and making sure you assholes haven't worked him over too badly."
It's long-suffering, the sigh that works it's way out of the female agent as she sets her pen down and leans back from the table. She stares at the teenaged girl across it for a long moment, with a carefully neutral expression designed to give nothing away, even as the second hand on both her watch and the clock on the wall makes two revolutions. And finally, she breaks her silence with a cold, simple word.
"Thus far you have proven yourself to be dangerous, uncooperative, hostile, and, as the frosting on top, extremely unpleasant to deal with. I've never been there for the more physical interrogations, but I imagine whether your manicure survives or not will be the least of your worries should you allow things to progress that far. Make no mistake, we will get what we want, as we always do in the end. Whether I start doing you any favors or not depends largely on whether you can put me in a good mood. And right now, you're doing very, very poorly."
Settling her elbow on the arm of her chair, propping her temple against her index and middle finger as if warding off both impatience and a headache. "This is how it works: you ask for something, then you give me what I want. When your information can be validated, then I allow you to, say, see the man you were brought in with. For the moment, he's not allowed visitors. But I'll tell you what," She leans forward again, folding her hands neatly on the table. "If you answer these questions about yourself and what your abilities are, then I will bring you to the security office, where you may view him through the live-feed monitors to make sure he is still intact. I will also keep you apprised of his condition, as well as update you on any developements in the murder charges being laid against him. When he is allowed visitors again, I will see to it that you may have supervised meetings. That is the best I can do, and quite a bit, for something so simple as telling us what you can do. We can figure that out with a few needles, anyway. But this will save us, and the labs, some time."
"Now, see, was that so hard?" Lena snorts, an action which she immediately comes to regret as it makes her nose throb. A sniff follows, an attempt to clear it without the aid of her hands. "Look, I don't give a shit if you like me. But you're supposed to be smart, right? You gotta know you get more flies with sugar. Or whatever."
She spends a moment shifting uncomfortably in her chair, seeking a fresh spot to sit on that isn't quite so sore. The deal is a tempting one, and it's accepted a few seconds after Lena's re-settled herself. Tammy is rewarded with a slight nod, that smirk fading away.
"Right. So, what I do. I'm not a danger, really…I mean, it's not like fireballs, right? That guy was fucking scary. But me, all I do is make drugs. And I gotta touch someone or use spit or sweat or whatever, they have to touch it or swallow it. How long it lasts depends on how hard I'm concentrating when I think about what I wanna make, you know? I was trying to figure out how to control it more when you happy assholes grabbed us."
Tammy's pen flies across paper without comment as Lena begins offering information, holding up a hand every now and then to indicate that she needed to catch up with her writing, and alternately nodding when she was ready for the younger girl to continue. Once it seems she's given the overall gist of her abilities, she frowns down at her notes, adds a few things here, adjusts them there, murmuring just loud enough to be heard.
"No, Miss Grey, I believe you were pointing a gun at me when those happy assholes grabbed you."
"So," She rereads what she's written so far. "You can transmit through touch. That certainly explains a lot. Thank you, that will help us to avoid any more accidents which will only make both of our lives that much harder." The non-writing end is tapped against her lower lip as she frowns down at the parchment, then looks back up after several moments. "Can you turn it off? And what effects, exactly, can you make? Also, you were hit full in the face with a drug that was supposed to neutralize the genome that allows your abilities to manifest. It works on people who spit fireballs, people who read minds, people who walk through walls, so…"
"What did you do to protect yourself from it?"
"Yeah, well, I didn't know what you were gonna do to Chi, did I? You don't just pull shit out when you're talking to folks from the streets," Lena says with a grumble. Plainly, she is considering taking back what she'd said about Tammy being a smart person.
Moving on to the matter of what she can do with her abilities, she begins to tick off various drugs on her fingers. "A bunch've stuff. I mean, it's not exactly the same, 'cause my stuff doesn't make you crash or feel like shit after. Pot, E, shrooms, a few mixes of the good stuff…so you get all loopy or see stuff or don't hurt or just wanna rip off all your clothes and grab the nearest cute ass. Oh, and propofol. what I hit those guys with." That one is pronounced carefully, per the text book she'd pulled it from. "That's what I was working on learning, you know? Turning it off, I mean. You think I want to go around like this all the time?"
She simply bypasses the addictive nature of her goodies; either it doesn't occur to the girl to mention it or Lena is deciding not to play all of her cards just yet. She's not nearly as comfortable in this situation as she's trying to project. "I dunno what you mean, what I did?" There's nothing false about the frown she adopts. "I didn't…wait, the mace stuff you used? Heh…yeah, drugs don't work on me. I figure I just built up a tolerance, right? I'd be dead if I wasn't immune."
"No, I don't. I expect you wish you'd never been born with this unique ability. We're currently looking into a way to permanently disable those enzymes in the DNA which allows these powers to be used. A 'cure', if you will, for those who choose to take it."
The answers to her latest questions are drawn in pretty, if unreadible, writing, causing her to have to turn the page to a new, blank sheet in order to continue scribbling. "So you're immune to all pharmaceutical narcotics? Then I'm sorry to say that other than a some anti-bacterials, there is likely very little our doctor can do for you for the pain. Even so, I'd like you to see him. If you would be so kind, I'd appreciate it if you allowed him to draw blood, and to swab your mouth for a few samples. I wish I could say that would be extent of our testing, but I assure you there will be nothing more invasive than a needle in your arm as long as you cooperate. Maybe a few x-rays."
After that, she closes the folder in front of her, and the professional, bland smile returns. "I believe that's enough for the day. I will instruct the men outside to excort you first to the security office, then back to your cell, where our medical professional will see to you. Now…" She stands, pushing her chair back, picking up the folder under her arm once more. "Were all of your needs seen to? Were you fed adequately, had plenty to drink? Do you need anything? Toothbrush? Toiletries.?"
There's no disguising the sharpness of the way she looks at Tammy when a cure is mentioned, but she sets her lips firmly to prevent a reply. Lena's shrug is more a slow and casual thing. "I'm used to it, yeah? I mean, I'd probably be screwed if I got hit by a bus or something but…" Pause. "I don't think needles is such a good idea. I let you do that once, then there's a next time, and a next time. I'm not gonna feed you guys drugs so you can play with them and use them on people who didn't ask for this shit to happen."
Having drawn her line in the sand, Lena scoots out of her chair and stands with a rattle of chains. "Maybe after you get Chi out of the shit he's in…" Tammy is given a thin, flat smile. "Fuck the small shit. Cmon, asshole, you heard the lady. I'm supposed to be going back to my room."
There's a small sigh, somewhat regretful-sounding, from the older woman as Lena takes a stand against needles. "I'm afraid that wasn't a request. I'm asking you to submit to a blood sample. When they come for it, they're going to get it one way or another. As unpleasant as you are, I have no reason to see you unnecessarily abused. If they have to tie to a stretcher and taze you into submission, well… I've seen it done. If we wanted to drug people, believe me, we already have the resources to do so."
"Take her by the security office, allow her to see the monitor on the other prisoner." This, of course, is spoken to the male guard as she turns for the door, rapping on it twice, only to have a face peek through the small looking-glass to make sure it was someone who was supposed to be exiting before they opened the door from the outside (the handle on the inside having been disabled).
And then Tammy is out of the room, and the three men from before are entering, while the guard who had remained begins to unfasten Lena from the table in preparation for taking her out of the room, and back to her cell. After a quick drop by one of the guard rooms, of course.