2007-08-23: DF: So You Want A Revolution


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Summary: The question is not how far will it go. The question is, do you have the constitution to take it as far as it needs to go?

Dark Future Date: August 23, 2009

So You Want A Revolution

Level 5

It's been several hours since Jack regained consciousness. Struggling his way through sedation and into the land of the living was not what one would call pleasant. Less so to be waking up here. Three walls are concrete. One is glass, and faces the hallway. The inside of the tiny cell is utilitarian at best. It contains the three basic 'S's. Sink, shitter, and shelf.

Jack is stretched out on the unpadded shelf that serves as his bed. Heavy restraints around his chest, wrists, knees, and ankles ensure he will remain that way. He's dressed only in a hospital gown, and has been removed from the comfort of painkillers steadily dripped through an IV. What medications he receives are administered the old fashioned way. Via the spike.

He is no stranger to pain, nor is this the first time he has been captured. His eyes are fixed unblinkingly on the ceiling. There are no wistful dreams of the wife who certainly believes he is dead. No thoughts of friends that he has left behind. He draws in slow, steady breaths, locked deeply into a defensive, meditative mental state. By going dormant, his mind can remain unaffected.

A long time passes, and eventually, there comes the echo of a buzz somewhere. And then footsteps, and the doorway to the small antechamber where the glass leads to opens up. And in steps Cyprus Donovan. He is wearing a business suit, today, and seems to be walking with only minimal pain. Which is much more than can be said for his counterpart on the other side of the glass. For some, it's a mirror that holds everything they could be, but never were. For Donovan, perhaps, it's what lies on the other side of the glass. Still, he only waits a moment to visually check the restraints from the safety of the glass, before pressing the button that opens the reinforced celldoor. The aide steps through it, looking over Jack for a long moment before clearing his throat. Might as well be polite about it.

With a single blink, Jack dispels the glassy, distant sheen from his eyes. He shifts against the hard surface of his shelfbed, then winces and hisses in a deep breath. The stump of his severed leg presses down painfully every time he attempts to prop himseslf up with a limb that no longer exists. Moving proves to be an exercise in diminishing returns, anyway. The restraints are too tight. The chafing of bandages against the burned skin and exposed muscles of his chest is a sharp, intense reminder that he is still alive. When his eyes find their way to Cyprus, they light up with recognition despite his agony. He swallows, then speaks through a sore, dry throat. Coupled with the old scarring on his vocal chords, the sounds coming out of his mouth are understandably grating and harsh. "You. You're alive."

"So are you," replies Cyprus evenly. "The same can't be said for the man you stabbed. He died late last night. I had to call his widow this morning. She's going to name their son after him." There's a quiet pause at that, and he shakes his head. "These are… dark days, Mr. Derex. And the days ahead promise to only be darker." Beat. "Do you know why you are here, by any chance?"

It's amazing how precious a resource water seems when you're denied the ability to provide it to yourself for a few hours. Jack's tongue slips out to drag across his dust-dry lips. He narrows his eyes slightly at Cyprus's question. As rhetorical as it may seem, he carefully considers it before answering.

"You want something." Every word accentuates the pain in his chest, but he huffs out a breath through his nose to steady himself at continues anyway. "To gloat. To torture. I wouldn't presume to assume."

"You were right about the first part," says Cyprus simply. He crosses his arms behind his back, and chuckles, turning away. "But, then again, we all want something. It's the… human condition. To want." He shakes his head, as if to clear it, then clears his throat. "I moved you here to protect… the nation's best interests, Mr. Derex. The President… Nathan… knows you are here. He knows you are here so you can recieve the best medical treatment we can give you, without attracting notice. After all, people who enter these cells… disappear from the world." He reaches up and taps the wall with a faint chuckle, and sudden wince. He stops, and turns back towards Jack. "I have a question for you, Mr. Derex. And I want you to answer it honestly."

"The human condition," Jack muses. "I had a dream once where I could ask any wish I wanted. I wished to never want to wish for anything again. You know what happened?" Like an atrophied muscle, Jack's voice grows steadier and less painful to use as he exercises it. He chuckles mirthlessly and continues. "I got my wish. I died. And then I woke up. To live is to want, Donovan. Tell me what you want, and I will tell you what I think. Honestly."

There is a slow smile, and a nod there from Cyprus, and he turns to focus his gaze on Jack. He seems to consider how precisely to proceed, then asks "Does this nation have a future, Mr. Derex? And if we do, how do we achieve it? Is it even worth hoping for?" It's a question Cyprus has asked many times, but never has seemed to like the answer before. He keeps his expression very tightly guarded.

For the first time, Jack seems a bit taken aback. He blinks several times and wets his lips again, thinking before responding. "Where there is life, there is hope. I didn't fight because I thought the cause was already lost. But how?" He gives his head a slow shake, one of the few physical gestures he can perform in his incapacitated state. "'A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week,'" he quotes. "If there were to be a change… Theoretically… It would need to be swift. Decisive."

Cyprus lowers his head for a moment, and shakes it slowly. There seems to be some kind of sadness there. Something undeniable. Resignation is clear in his body language, but it has a growing directness about it. Finally, looks at Jack evenly. "You are a natural leader," he says simply. "People will follow you, no matter how insane the plan you propose. I guess, in a way, that makes you like Nathan." Cyprus moves over to stand beside Jack's gurney, and looks down at him. In almost any other circumstances, it might be the perfect position to smother the leader of the Saints to death. Cyprus instead stares at him. "Given time, we might find a solution that would work," he says quietly. "There aren't any guarantees at all, either way. Does the change truly need to be swift?" But Cyprus already knows the answer to that one.

"Given time? There is no time." Jack's reply is predictable, to say the least. His grey eyes narrow suspiciously and fix and Cyprus's face. "You know as well as I do that the people are tearing each other apart. You've given the insurgents a place to squat by leaving NYC in disrepair, but our continued presence undermines you. Your inability to eradicate us serves as a reminder that there will always be those who are willing to fight back, yet we are unable to overthrow you." There is no heat to his words. No accusation. If anything, his tone is questioning. "If a change is to be effected, it must be swift. Anything less would only continue our stalemate. Theoretically."

Cyprus remains standing by the gurney. He rests his hands on its sides, and leans slightly. He lowers his head, and looks… tired. Weary. "A true patriot would be able to say, without lying, that everything they have done, they have done for their country," Cyprus comments. "I wish I could say that." He takes a deep breath, and reaches over to undo the first of the restraints across Jack's chest. "A stalemate would just create a wound that would never heal. Everything we set out to accomplish… would fail." He undoes the first, then moves to the second. "What would you need, Mr. Derex, to succeed in overthrowing this government?" Beat. "Theoretically."

Jack is initially very wary. His eyes shoot open wide at both the question and at Cyprus's actions. As soon as the bindings over his torso are loosen, he breathes a sigh of relief and his eyelids momentarily flicker closed. What use is suspicion in this place? What purpose does it serve him?

Jack's lids snap back open and his fixes Cyprus with a piercing stare. "I don't know what your angle is, but I'll bite. It would take blood. More blood than either of us ever wanted to see. No soldiers meeting each other in glorious combat on the open plains, though. Carefully planned and orchestrated attacks. 'Terrorist' attacks." He takes his first comfortable breath in hours, but he doesn't allow it to distract him. "Sacrifices. People like you would have to stand trial, Donovan."

"Most would choose suicide rather than suffer at the hands of terrorists," says Cyprus evenly. He undoes the second restraint on the chest, then moves to one of the hands. This is probably where things get dangerous. "Most people are cowards. And if I stand trial, I will be found guilty of violating human rights. My best hope is a cell like this one for the rest of my natural life. Depending on how violent things get… I'd rather die by firing squad than hanging, all other things being equal." And he undoes the one hand restraint, and steps back. It seems he expects Jack to do the rest. "Your best bet would be striking the detainment shippings going westward in the next few weeks. There's too many to move swiftly, after all. But you should be able to free some. It would get you supplies, soldiers, and the moral high ground." Everything a revolution needs.

'Incredulous' is the only word that properly describes Jack's expression as he watches Cyprus free his hand from the restraint and listens to him discuss the casual overthrow of an administration that he has served so faithfully. The Irishman doesn't move until his visitor has stepped away again. Then, slowly, he begins to loosen the rest of the straps that bind him to his shelf. When he's freed his other arm, he grunts with effort and carefully halts his body up so he can attend to his legs. Leg.

"You're right," he admits. "No war has been won without troopers spilling blood in the mud. You've certainly given this some thought." He unfastens the final restraint, then gently caresses his fingertips through the air over stump of his leg. It's an instinctive, possessive gesture. Missing what has been lost.

"Do you truly possess the constitution for this?"

"I guess we'll just have to see, won't we?" comments Cyprus with a very faint chuckle. "I have always been willing to do whatever was necessary, Mr. Derex. It's the pragmatist's burden. To accept damnation to save the world, while idealists can destroy it and be saved." He moves towards the door to leave the cell then. "Food will be brought in shortly, Mr. Derex. You will need to eat, and recover quickly. You may never be fit for the front lines again… but I don't think that will be an issue." With that, he swipes the card, and opens the door, pausing in it for just a moment. "You took a bullet for him, Mr. Derex. No matter what happens, never forget that."

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