2010-03-05: What's Going On Here?



Date: March 5, 2010


Carl and Jo chat about things. Someone else is there.

"What's Going on Here?"

Jo's Apartment

Open your eyes, Jo's mom urges as the darkness overtakes her vision. Jo's greenish eyes open as she finds herself bloodied and bruised on the floor of her apartment. She'd been unconscious for a matter of minutes at most.

Wholly unsure of what's going on, the agent, struggles to sit up as she groans at the pain surging through her midsection and the pain in her head. "What - what happened?" she asks dizzily to her mother, who doesn't appear to be there.

As she sits up she finds herself laying back down. Laying down is easier, simpler, less painful.

One figure in the apartment is, in fact, not a figment of Jo's imagination. Not that she necessarily knows that, or even remembers that he's there, given her situation. And normally Carl wouldn't be here in the first place - what happens in the computer lab stays in the computer lab - but his circumstances are not normal these days, either. Too many fishy things going on.

"I don't know," he calls out, heading toward what appears to be the bathroom in search of a good-sized towel to dampen and help mop up the blood. "Just got here a few minutes ago— What's been going on here? Looks like someone tracked you down." An internal hit squad? A former inmate making the worst of their ability?

A splash is the sound that meets Carl when he enters the bathroom — seemingly falling from thin air, as no water is turned on isn't on, nor is there condensation to suggest a recent shower.

A pool of water exists on the floor of the bare bones shower. A few droplets run down the wall to join it as the water slinks toward the drain, the speed and direction defying logic slightly as it does so.

Carl hasn't been the only person in Jo's apartment who isn't a figment of Jo's imagination, even if she might have thought otherwise.

Sure enough, the bathroom contains ONE large oversized dark brown towel matching the theme of the apartment: minimalism.

Wearily, Jo manages to stand to her feet. "Carl?" What is Carl doing here, anyways?

"I… ugh. She came back…" She limps over to one of her lawn chairs and lowers herself into it with another loud groan. "That's twice now…" she looks down at her arms — they still glimmer with glass shards from the bottle of Jacks spilt over the floor. There's a sink in Jo's gut: what a waste of the beautiful amber fluid! Sad day in Jo-town.

Carl leans in, grabs the towel and drops it into the sink, running some water over it and then leaning his head back out to peer at Jo. "Who did? When was the first time?" They need to get in the habit of sharing more, at least while things keep being all weird. Satisfied, he shuts the water off again and carries the towel out— only to stop and turn around as the trickling sound fails to go away as expected.

Speaking of? Weird things involving water. Just like a couple of other recent incidents that he was just researching earlier during his lunch break. This… is not a good sign.

And just like that, and not a sound more, the water drains all the way out of the shower — gone as if it was never there.

Jo leans back in the lawn chair and closes her eyes wearily before looking around. "It's going to sound crazy, Carl, but…" she cringes at the notion. "I'm being haunted." Ironically, when said aloud, the words don't even freak out the normally tight-lipped brunette, in fact, they have the opposite effect.

An ironic smile spreads over her lips as a haughty chuckle escapes them. "I don't know what started it or when, but… something weird is going on and now I"m being haunted."

Carl frowns. Did he just imagine that? If he didn't, then was it just the plumbing acting up, or something more sinister?

Walking out with the half-damp towel in hand, he takes another look around the apartment. "Oh, I believe you… Got a couple of ideas what might be going on. Could be someone with an ability, using it to play mind games with you. Maybe they tampered with the drug supply." Or maybe she's cracking under pressure, but he declines to suggest that out loud. And maybe he's cracking, too— not that he's been out on the front lines, but would a vengeful target care about such details? Maybe he's got some hang-ups of his own that he didn't know about.

Always start with the evidence. "Either way— who'd you see, what'd they do?"

"Erin McCarty," Jo says idly as she lowers her hand to her side. SHe too glances around the apartment. Jo's apartment isn't what most people would consider liveable. No couch, no real furniture, just lawn chairs, a cot, and very very odd decorating — one wall with maps, push pins and strings following something. Another wall plastered with commendations, trainings, and other information about Theodore Scott. Along with that wall are a series of newspaper clippings and two letters that Jo recently received here — to this address. Letters that she's sure came from her estranged brother.

"And I saw Tracy Strauss on the way home. And Justin Law at work. And my parents, sometimes. Only dead people. Only ever dead people." At this fact she nods.

Absently, Carl's gaze wanders across the map and the trophy wall, drawing what conclusions he can in the span of a few seconds as he starts wiping up the worst of the visible stains. Jo must be proud of her - father? brother? - to break from her usual Spartan decor like that.

"I need to talk to you about that," he replies, after considering the story of her hauntings but failing to come up with any useful followup questions. 'What they did' is, apparently, 'beat me up and let's not discuss it any further'. "About Law— and maybe Strauss, too. You've been following our personnel losses, right?" A polite euphemism for 'way too many people getting killed'.

"Hmmm?" Jo manages semi-consciously. "I… yes…" the brunette narrows her eyes. She shot Law. That of course isn't uttered, instead she glances over to each of the walls and then the floor, mourning the loss of her bottle of booze. Darn Erin McCarty and her burnt ways! "What about the losses, Law, and Strauss?"

With most of the liquid sopped up, and the broken glass better suited to a dustpan (if she's got one), Carl sets the towel down on the nearest flat surface and drums his fingers next to it. "I came across an internal purge list, disguised as a list of upcoming pink slips. That can't be right— if it was legit, then it'd just be assigned a clearance rating. Your partner was on it, I already warned her…." He turns around and leans back, thinking back further. "Strauss was paroled, and a couple of the deaths look like they could match her MO… I think whoever's calling these shots may have faked her death so they could use her against us."

"What? Strauss?" Jo asks while raising an eyebrow. "Why? How?" The marine raises a dizzy hand to her head again. "I…" How does these deaths fit Tracy's MO. Jo killed Law. Jo was supposed to kill Baker and Graham. In fact, she really ought to speak to her superiors about it all. Assuming… Katie, her mother's voice cuts in, You wouldn't want to get rid of us now, would you Katie? Jo tries to push her mothers voice to the back of her brain.

"Strauss was following me home — well, her ghost was." Eyebrows furrowing, Jo is unsure of what to say or how to say it.

Oblivious to the specific nature of Jo's visions, Carl goes on, starting to pace back and forth as he explains. "York was frozen to death. Gainesfield drowned after the plumbing in his prison cell was frozen— and he was in prison in the first place because he got fired for breaking her arm, right before they released her. Albertson was drowned, too… they're not sure how, but there was a metal doorknob shattered nearby, could have been frozen too."

There's an old saying: once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action.

"How do you know she was a ghost?" he continues, taking a seat now. "Walked through a wall or something?" The difference between an illusion and a genuine ability isn't always clear.

"Because I only see ghosts?" It's more a question than a statement that Jo makes before leaning back in her chair and closing her eyes gently. "I guess Strauss could be alive, I mean maybe. But seriously, why the termination orders then? It just doesn't make sense." Jo bites her bottom lip as her eyes open. "I just don't get it. Any of it." She pins her hand to her forehead, still trying to orient herself around the room.

"Well, you see me." Proving a point, Carl leans over and thunks his arm into the side of the table: see, corporeal. "And it means someone high up on the food chain has a different agenda than the one we signed up for— we need to figure it out and shut it down, so we can get back to work." He's still loyal to the Protocol, the real one in his mind.

"S-s-so you think that someone is trying to take me out by making me think I've lost my mind… And I'm n-n-not becoming one of them? THANK GOD! Seriously Carl, I was going to… well, you know what… forget it… not important…" Jo's lips actually twitch into a semi-warm smile, a smile reminiscent of the last lifetime the two had known each other in. "Alright. So we need to flush out the one with the bad agenda. I'm inclined to suspect… Jensen…"

Carl makes a face. An agent becoming a legitimate target? It's not impossible, but it can't be very likely - unless someone's trying to create them, and he hasn't come across any other evidence pointing in that direction. "I don't know Jensen offhand," he replies, leaning back, "what do you know about him so far?"

"I know next to nothing. And that's concerning. To me, anyways. Do you know anything. I'm not used to an operation where I know so little about my superiors." Jo sighs heavily. "So one of the targets has perhaps targeted me. I did see Strauss today, but I thought she was dead. I really did." Katie… her mother's voice tries to get her attention, but Jo refocuses her attention on the conversation at hand.

"I've pretty much told you what I know," says Carl, gesturing in frustration with both hands. "I mean, I know plenty of people, but none that seem like they'd be tied in with this. You might want to keep a close eye on whoever they partner you with, now that Baker—" Got targeted as well.

"I… I will," Jo's gaze shifts as she stands from her chair and then crumples back down to her chair. "I think… I think I need to go see a doctor or something…" She grumbles a little. She looks like she lost a very rough fight so that's probably why. She frowns again.

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