2010-03-05: Stop Hittin' Yourself!

Starring:

Jo2_V4icon.png Erin_V4icon.png

Date: March 5, 2010

Summary:

Jo takes a beating!


"Stop Hittin' Yourself!"

Jo's "Apartment"

The small radio hums a very static-y tune, but Jo Scott drowns it out as she sits on her black cot holding onto a brand new bottle of Jacks. She virtually yells the words, "Livin' my lah-fe in a sloooow hell~ / Different girl every night at the hoooooootellllll ~ / I ain't seen the sun shine in… three DAMN DAYS!!" And then instead of singing she repeats, "THREE days. Three damn days without sunshine. That… is torturous, my friend. She says to one of her collected people from her past; her dead dog: Casey.

By the time she returns to the song, she's slurring again, "I puuuuut your picture a-waaaaaay~ Went home and criiiiiied today ~ Something… something something… lyin' next to him!!!!"

—-

"Man, you are in some sad shape," Erin says, sitting next to Jo on the cot. Somehow, she looks just a little better today, though it's hard to tell exactly how at first. Maybe her skin is a little less cracked and brittle, her hair isn't hanging in clumps that are quite as scorched. Ah, there it is — she's got two eyes today. They're both still glowing, bright as stars, but they're at least both there. It's like she's moving backward in time.

"Thought you could use a friendly soul to talk to." There's a pause, then she laughs. "But you got me. Sorry. I guess when you're gonna live the rest of your life as a portal between here and hell, you're gonna have to take the good with the bad. It's okay. Satan was kicking my ass at shuffleboard again, anyway, and he's such a sore winner. You know? I mean, how do you win against the devil? You don't. At if it looks like you might, he just tosses you into the lake of fire and lets you sort that out. I'd rather play shuffleboard and lose."

She's quiet for a moment, then adds, "And since it's hell, shuffleboard is really the highlight of anyone's day. You take what you can get." Reaching her arm around Jo's shoulder, she gives it a pat. "So, how's my favourite newly-evolved freak?"

—-

Jo scowls openly at Erin. "Why are you here?! I thought we decided I was good without yoooooou." She frowns as she sighs and then pushes Erin away from her. "No. No. No. You need to go away. Go back where you came from. I haaaaave plennty of fr-fri-friendly souls! Mom and Dadddddy are around and… I have… Jack…" at that she grins broadly and brings the bottle to her lips.

"And Jack is as friend as they get!" she rolls of the cot to give Erin another shove. "G-go back where you came from Mc-Mca… Erin."

—-

"Oooh, you've dropped the whole 'Ms. McCarty' thing, I see. Good. It was pissing me off - like you actually respected me. Hah. You don't respect anyone, do you, Jo? That's why the only friends you have are dead." She reaches for Jo's bottle, takes a swig herself, and then hands it back.

The shove, surprisingly, meets with some resistance. Erin is actually there, it seems, her shoulder giving backward a little when Jo shoves it. The poor agent will come away from that with black soot on her hand, though. That's what you get for touching burn victims.

"No, I like it here," Erin says, standing. "So, you saw Tracy today, huh? Hell of a shuffleboard player."

Erin walks around Jo, bright eyes burning into the other woman, never looking away. "Control. Black and white. Up is up, down is down. Everything you know is wrong, Jo. Everything you've ever heard about people with abilities… Wrong. And you don't even have the mental capacity to figure out what's right. It's a damn shame, too. You could have actually helped people. Instead, you're so buried under layers of hate, you'll never help a soul."

—-

"Fuck you," Jo murmurs as she takes a swig of her liquor. "I'm all about … duuuuty and honouuuuur. Duty and honooour. Duuuuuuuty. Did you know duty is like the funniest word everrrr. Duty. Duuuuty. Duty. Duuuuuuuuty."

Finally she shakes her head at Erin. There's something almost reassuring about their being some substance to the woman. She angles her body and takes a large swing at Erin's face. Yup, Jo is angry and drunk, and is going to drunk-fight ghost-Erin.

—-

"You're loony!" Erin says. There's a smile on her face. An actual smile. Somehow, the skin on her face healed just enough to make that readily apparent. "You can pledge 'honour and duty' to anything, you dumbass. 'Hi! My name is Jo! I have an honour and duty to shooting squirrels with a pellet gun! When they die, they wait for me in the nuthouse! Hee!' Seriously. Someone told you capturing people like me was honourable, and you bought it. You never even bothered to learn anything about us, did you? All propaganda. And you believed it, because you only saw the bad, never the good.

"It's not too late, Jo."

Ghost-Erin opens her mouth to say something else, but that's about when she's struck across the face. It topples Erin, in that she falls to the floor, but she doesn't seem to be particularly hurt. "I told you, you can't hurt me anymore, didn't I?"

She aims a kick at Jo's shin. Despite the fact that Erin's so tiny - and also dead - the kick is really powerful.

—-

"UGH! You bitch! It's not enough you gave me that damn cold, but after the grave — " Jo holds her shin and then lunges towards the other woman, knocking over several of her lawn chairs that double as Jo-furniture along the way.

She pulls at Erin's hair and delivers another punch to the other woman's face. Again and again and again. "Just stay dead and leave me alone! ALL OF YOU! ALL OF YOU!" She hits Erin again. "AND I AM HELPING PEOPLE!! It's not a soldier's job to ask questions — it's our job to protect the people! I DO A DAMN good job of that…"

Tears well in her eyes. Tears of anger. Of hurt. Of remorse. All rolled into one.

—-

"You gave that cold right back to me!" Erin yells back. "Why do you think I got so sick, you moron! No power, no immune system. They killed me because I had a fucking cold!"

The more angry Jo gets, the more angry Erin seems to get. However, no matter how many TKO-inducing punches Jo lands on Erin, the former actress never seems to show any signs of pain.

Erin grabs Jo's wrist before she can hit again, and directs said fist right into Jo's face.

"Why're you hitting yourself!?"

She does it again.

And again.

"Of course it's your job to ask questions! ROBOTS don't ask questions! Are you a robot, Jo? Don't you have any will of your own? Do you hate us so much that you've given up everything that makes you human?"

—-

"You killed yourself then, didn't you!?" Jo yells back at Erin. "You did it!! You!!" Erin's motions… hurt Jo. After death McCarty got strong, it seems.

She gasps for breath after trying to pummel Erin. Jo is a strong woman. Yet oddly, strangely, she staggers backwards. She lifts her fingers to her nose — it's bleeding. She raises her other hand to her lip which is also bleeding. Her eyebrows furrow in confusion at the figure in front of her. Her eyes burn like she's been roughed up — one has begun to swell.

She will be black and blue tomorrow. She spits the blood on the ground before she narrows her swelling eyes at Erin, "What are you afraid of getting hit?! I thought you couldn't feel pain. Is that the best you got….?"

—-

Erin laughs. The voice sounds surprisingly like Jo's - again, for just a moment. A single moment that lasts less than a second - but the similarity is there. "You'll never get it. It's like there's a brick wall up, blocking you from the rational part of your brain."

Another moment, another single second, and Erin looks exactly how she looked the night Jo captured her. In that moment, Erin is walking away, getting on a Taxi, leaving Jo alone in the night…

The vision is gone. "If you hadn't attacked me, I wouldn't have had to defend myself. You killed me, Jo. You murdered me." Erin directs another powerful swing at Jo's ribcage.

"I don't feel anything anymore. It's just really satisfying…"

She's behind Jo, foot planted on the woman's backside. She kicks…

"…Kicking your ass."

—-

"I didn't know!" Jo yells back as she crumples to the floor under Erin-ghost's force, knocking over the bottle of Jack's and shattering it into a million little pieces. She groans wearily, but she stands again, slowly, once again staggering to her feet.

If she looked like a mess before Erin's declaration of how satisfying it is to kick Jo's ass, the small shards of glass in Jo's arms now make her look like she's been in quite a serious fight.

"WHY DON'T YOU PEOPLE JUST LEAVE ME ALONE?!" she finally yells, drawing each of her neighbours to bang on the walls of her apartment.

—-

"AND NOW YOU DO! But you're still stubbornly clinging to this notion of honour and duty and being a robot!" Erin returns, punctuating each and every word with a shrill, unearthly scream. "If you want things to get better, then you have to make the change. You have to deal with your mistakes instead of justifying them with more mistakes."

With each shout for Jo to shut up, with each measure of pounding on the walls, Erin grows fainter, but she still stands there, a translucent apparition, looking up at Jo with her arms crossed, smug look on her burned face. "That was fun," she says, just before disappearing. The voice lingers, though, adding, "We should do it again sometime."

—-

Carl_V4icon.png

—-

Meanwhile, at the Hall of Justice Building 27 offices:

T minus 120 minutes, and Carl is working away at his desk, letting his usual surly veneer work to his advantage as he considers his options. The process of updating personnel databases to reflect a biological termination should be routine - which in itself says something unpleasant about the Protocol's recent turnover rate - but he knows that there's more to it. They were planning to take Baker out - and to sweep it under the rug - as they'd done with several others in as many days. He could trust them if they were mounting an honest self-defense against turncoats, but this?

T minus 60, and he's swiped himself out of the building and is headed back into Manhattan proper. There was no one at the office that he felt close enough to confide in. Out on field assignment— well, he didn't really consider himself close to Scott, either, but she was the closest thing he was going to get.

T minus zero. Not two seconds after Erin's voice pipes up with that one final taunt, there's a series of knuckle-raps against the door. Yet another victim come back to taunt Jo from within her own head?

—-

"NEVER. NEVER AGAIN. Go away McCarty!!! Leave me alone!!! Tell your other friends like Law and Strauss and… anymore of you freaks!" Beat. "AND NEVER COME BACK!" Jo yells, eliciting more bangs on her walls. Wearily, she attempts to pulls herself from the glass mess on the floor, tears edging her eyes. Everything hurts. Absolutely everything hurts.

Erin McCarty may be a ghost, but the pain is real and it seethes through her entire being. Her stomach kills. Her legs hurt. Her insides are objecting loudly, VERY loudly. The pain is beyond what Jo can recall during any combat training she's ever had. ANd she's certainly never had her ass handed to her like that before.

All-in-all Jo looks like she's taken severe beats by someone strong and completely versed in how to deliver pain to an opponent, someone trained. Someone expert, professional perhaps, especially when the former SEALs's own training is taken into account.

The knock draws her up and keeps her semi-conscious, however. After Jo finally manages to clamber to her feet (with the aid of a lawn chair that mimics furniture) she holds her stomach while slinking (and really limping) to the door. But she doesn't open it, instead she draws her weapon and calls, "Who is it?!"

—-

From the other side of the door comes the answer - before Carl can say anything - "It's Erin McCarty. I have a telegram for you!"

—-

Unaware of the telegram girl's interruption, Carl double-checks the address - that is a 1 and not a 7, right? - and shoots a dirty look at a neighbor who's just poked his head out. And then nods, recognizing the muffled voice from within. "Jo, it's me," he calls out.

—-

Erin's voice on the other side is met with a very audible, "GO AWAY ERIN!" But then Carl's voice is met with a cringe. Nothing like letting your colleagues know well… anything. With several clicks the door is unlocked. She opens it before slinking back to one of the lawn chairs and climbing onto it.

—-

Not only is Carl there, but Erin is, too, looking just as burned as the last time Jo saw her five minutes ago. She casually strolls into the apartment. "You told me to never come back, so I thought I'd stop by for a visit. Jesus, what did you do to yourself?! It looks like you've been in some sort of fight!"

She grins. However, she doesn't come close enough for Jo to touch this time. She doesn't touch anything at all. In fact, she's less solid than she was before.

—-

Carl looks around as he walks inside, noting the toll that the earlier brawl took on the furniture, and only then looks up to spot Jo herself. Someone's already gotten to her. Were they looking to do more than just rough her up? Are they still here somewhere? Too many questions, not enough time to ask them… "What happened?" he finally asks, leaving it open for her to fill in whatever details she knows.

—-

A scowl is shot towards Erin, which to Carl, will look like she's scowling at nothing, "Just leave me alone, McCarty." She's virtually moaning now. Her eyes burn with tears. All-in-all Lt. Cmmd Scott is a mess.

Jo glances around the room. "I… " she swallows. "Carl." Wearily she buries her bloodied face into her equally bloodied hands. Moments later she lifts it and looks down at her own very bloodied and bruised knuckles. With a frown her gaze shifts over to him, "I… change colours…" Currently her skin is a sundburnt reddish hue. "…have increased visual accuracy and hand-eye coordination…" And there's one thing she hasn't uttered. "…and…" She grimaces before shaking her head and then simply explains, "It was a fight. That's all."

—-

"Go on, tell 'im. Tell 'im you're talking to me right now. Tell 'im all about how you murdered me, Jo! Go on! Don't be modest now! Now's your time to shine!"

She laughs, eying Jo's walls. "Love what you've done with the place. So bare. So …essential. Just like a place where a robot would live. You really are, aren't you? Some ass hole finally invented a robot who talks and takes orders and looks like a real person! Jesus. Amazing." Erin shakes her head.

Her demeanor turns suddenly enraged. "I'll pull your wires out through your NECK for what you did to me!"

… There's a beat.

"Just kidding."

—-

"SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP!" Jo objects to the nothing standing next to her. Dizzily she stands to her feet and then raises a hand to her head. The dizziness is getting worse. Much much worse. And then just as she stood up, Jo collapses into an unconscious pile on the floor.

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