2007-08-27: DF: Weakness


DFCyprus_icon.gif DFJack_icon.gif

Summary: A desperate man makes a deal with the devil. The question is, which one is which?

Dark Future Date: August 27th, 2009


Level 5

Now that Jack has received proper medical treatment and is once again hooked to an IV, the fever spots have diminished from his cheeks and his skin has lost it's unhealthy pallor. The heavy, dirty bandages around his chest and the stump of his leg have been swapped out in favor of proper dressings, as well. The steady drip-drip-drip of antibiotics and painkillers is the only sound in the room besides his shallow, steady breathing. Considering the circumstances, the freedom fighter is resting fairly comfortably. He stares up at the ceiling with half-lidded eyes, and he's wearing a smile that seems far too smug for a man in a cold, damp, windowless cell.

Eventually, there is the sound of a faint buzz in the distance, and a door opening. Then another buzz, and another door. And somewhere, Cyprus Donovan steps into frame. He's wearing his usual business suit, this time with a ruby red, solid silk tie. It almost looks like blood. He has his hands clasped behind his back, and he stands on the edges of Jack's vision for a long moment. He seems to be watching Jack. Finally, he speaks, walking a slow perimeter. "Mr. Derex… To think, but for the grace of God, our positions could have been so easily swapped. How close have I come to being the one on the bed, in the cell, hidden from the world?" Pause. "How close will I be, when this ends?" He pauses a moment, and rests a hand on the stand holding the IV. "How's the leg healing?"

There's no outward betrayal of suprise when Cyprus arrives, just a slight narrowing of Jack's eyes and a bare, humorless smile that tugs at one side of his mouth. He glances down at his hastily amputated leg. "Better now that I have morphine again. I'll survive." His voice is a mellow rumble, unconcerned, even peaceful. "Enough about me," he dismisses the subject. "Let's talk about you, boy-o. I've had plenty of time to think since I got here. You know what I think? You're not gettin' off so easy. You could be useful as a political martyr, yes…" His smile widens, but remains mirthless. "…but moreso as a collaborator. I'm a soldier, not a politician. Right now, this country needs both."

Cyprus glances down at Jack and narrows his gaze for a moment. There's a faint rush of adrenaline there, clearing out the fog of the morphine for the moment, without clearing the dullness of the pain. Cyprus, it would seem, is good at that. "You're joking," he says simply. "You can't… possibly be serious, Mr. Derex. Someone /has/ to answer for what this government did. I have already all but made certain that any investigation as to the creation of the camps comes back to me, and people will want blood. I can help you… but it will be either me, or Nathan." And Cyprus halts there. He lifts his chin and watches Jack closely. "I will not place my life before his. If anything… it would be wrong. And I'd be guilty of the things they'd charge me with."

"You underestimate Nathan's fortitude." There's no accusation to Jack's words. It's a simple relaying of facts. "He plans to step down publicly. When he does, I have no doubt that he will take responsibility for what's happened." It's obvious that Jack isn't thrilled with this concent. Frustrated, he clenches his jaw and grinds his teeth for a moment before continuing. "He's the President, after all. I doubt the people will accept any less. Consider our options, Donovan." Jack's gaze snaps up to lock on the aide's eyes. "What would you have me do? Nathan steps aside, you bravely take the fall, and I'm left to ape my way through leadership alone? I think not. You're the only person I trust who is in a position to advise me."

"And what will you do when the things I have done for this administration come to light?" Cyprus asks simply. "Allow me to assure you… they shall. If I become your public collaborator? Then the very people who served this government will hate me as much as the people who will side with you. Everyone will be calling for justice." He shakes his head. "What will you do, Mr. Derex, when I become more of a liability than a benefit?" It's a simple enough question, and one that needs an answer. How do you go from being the right hand man of the devil, to the collaborator of the messiah?

"A true warrior can take any weakness and turn it to an asset," Jack replies. Now he grins. It's a lopsided, boyish expression that takes years off a face that's aged too fast and too soon. "If I'm to be the de facto leader of the nation, I see no reason why you can't be pardoned. 'Loyal in the face of the most brutal opposition, Cyprus Donovan worked tirelessly to stymie the efforts of a corrupt, morally vacant President.' Gor', Don. I didn't know you were a hero." The self-satisfied smile slides off of his face and is replaced by a solemn, serious expression. "We're no angels, you and I. To save the people, we may have to tell them the same lies that we despise so much."

Cyprus crosses his arms over his chest and lifts a hand to rub at the bridge of his nose. Apparently, political martyrdom was too easy of a way out. "I remember my mother once telling me… God never puts before us a path that we are not strong enough to walk," he says simply. "Some days, I really would like to get my hands on God for the paths I have had to walk." He looks down at George, and shakes his head. "You accept me, and you lie to the people about it? And they will know. They will see you as a continuation of corruption. Give them my trial. Put me in prison. And then, in five years, allow an appeal. Then we'll bring forward the evidence, of Nathan's mental instability, of how things got out of control. Do not issue a full forgiveness, but offer a quiet commute of the sentence." He glances around him. "You put me here, and the world in five years will barely remember my name. And I'll still be there to give you all the guidance, and all the words you need."

Jack's jaw clenches again and he purses his lips thoughtfully. After several seconds he huffs out a protracted, hissing breath. "I have a solution. It will work. You will not like it." The last sentence is punctuated by an emphatic wave of his hand. "It will also require a great deal of work on your part. Do you trust me? Now is the time to decide, Donovan. I can fix this, even make it work to our advantage. You can fix it."

For a long moment, Cyprus seems to consider the situation. There is a glance towards the door, and the look is obvious. It's a realization that he could walk out, right now. He could disappear. Let the world take care of itself. Maybe he even gives it some serious thought. But he pushes it aside after a moment, and turns back to Jack. He takes a deep breath, and lowers his head. "Nathan trusts you," he says quietly. "And that is enough for me. What is it you would have me do, Mr. Derex?"

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