ArchivedLogs:Be Cured or Be Killed

From X-Men: rEvolution
Be Cured or Be Killed
Dramatis Personae

Micah, Lucien, Parley, Jackson

8 November 2013

WARNINGS: Zombies and violence and guns. Pretty much just terrible. (Takes place directly after Jax returned home and directly before biteyness.) (Part of Infected TP.)


<NYC> The Mendel Clinic - Lower East Side

With its sharp crystalline edges and sleek lines knifing up into the sky, this building is one of the most /distinctive/ new additions to the neighborhood. An angular structure in glass and steel, the tall tower has a deceptively slender look to it that is belied by the heavy security as soon as you enter the doors. The front doors are frosted with the Clinic's logo -- a rising sun over a rod of Asclepius -- a motif echoed in many places throughout the building.

Visitors to the clinic must first pass through a small mantrap, guarded by some of the Clinic's security guards; once they make it through the metal detector and airlock's double doors they emerge into the much more hospitable lobby. With dark wood floors underneath and comfortable black and red couches at its edges, the high windows give the room an airy feel. A bank of elevators to one side carry visitors to the many destination floors, while the wide welcome desk at the other side is manned by a security guard ready to help point visitors in the right direction.

With the front (and back, and service) entrances to the clinic mostly blocked off by zombies -- milling zombies, groaning zombies, zombies banging ceaselessly on the extremely /sturdy/ front windows to try and get at the succulent meats of the guards inside -- there is yet one relatively-quieter door in to the shuttered clinic. With its three floors of parking-garage there are only a few dead who have gotten lost in here -- though the van barreling in down its ramp now is luring more to shamble in after it. A few bodies cling to its doors, still latched on from outside where they were more /thronged/, and there's an erratic /bumping/ as Lucille moves that implies there might be another underneath, but in contrast to the horde outside the garage is quiet.

At least till the van stops moving. And then thump, thump, thump, from the ones clinging to the doors and very /keen/ on getting a bite of its passengers.

Micah is behind the wheel of the van, looking like he has seen /nothing/ but better days. His hair has given up on being anything but a wreck. His Darwin finch T-shirt has blood stains on it (again), and his jeans have a fresh tear across the left knee large enough to show the prosthetic joint through it. One forearm has a hand-shaped second degree burn wrapped around it, red and blistered. The other bears a bleeding bite mark, as does one of his hands. Assorted bruises add to the over-all beaten and harried look.

Jax, strapped into the passenger seat by his seatbelt and wrapped in half a dozen ice water soaked towels, is hopefully able to fend for himself with only sticks of beef jerky to help pacify him. The slightly...melty condition of the passenger seat itself is not promising. Micah is busy concentrating on driving the van right up to the entrance to the main building from the garage, made more difficult by the lack of a right side mirror and at least one zombie messing with the van's alignment up close and personal. Lucille is also showing signs of battle, with dents in the front bumper and along the sides, worst in the driver's side door. A long scrape down the length of the passenger side may be associated with whatever event claimed the side mirror.

The door to the clinic opens, after a short moment of thump. Thump. THUMP THUMP THUMP against the windows, the zombies outside likely sacrificing no small measure of structural integrity in their attempt to just BASH through the windows. Lucien looks less than polished, himself, though he's at least managed to avoid the worst of grime-and-blood. He looks less apocalypse-survivor and more ill-cared-for /junkie/, pallor and sunken-shadowed eyes and days-old clothing, disheveled hair, kind of /peaked/ look to him.

Which doesn't seem to get in the way of lifting the pistol in his hands as he emerges, moving up close to the zombie on Jackson's door -- there's a resounding /crack/ of gunfire as it turns its attentions to him instead, and then there is one less zombie, instead just a crumpled heap of body on the cement. From under the car there are groping hands attempting to drag themselves outward, and the zombie on /Micah's/ side is moving around towards the door to try and find a way to this new activity.

Parley emerges through the door not far behind Lucien, but he doesn't follow straight to the vehicle. He fans out to the side of the clinic entrance, the firearm Jackson had given him what now feels like lifetimes ago held up at eye-level, staring down the barrel. He's not pulling the trigger yet - his concentration is actually badly split, with his mind also rushing out in a far less graceful than usual assessment of the minds arriving. Both living and the limited static of the dead. He doesn't waste time trying to verbally convey what he finds - simply broadcasts it to whoever else is present. << (there.) >> << (and there.) >> Jackson's own state, potentially, may be withheld until he knows for certain what that state may /be/.

Jax's own state currently is -- not particularly /encouraging/, composed mostly of hunger and /anger/, a barely-contained ball of aggression inside a wired-nervous shell. The towels that were freezing and soaked when they left the house have been steaming off their water quickly; a few of them have started to singe themselves, dry now and starting to burn though the ones farther from his core have retained a little (now very steamy-hot) dampness. He's lifting his hand towards his window when Lucien emerges, and flinches back briefly from the sound and flare of the gun before unbuckling himself to shove his way outside.

He doesn't say anything. Just grits his teeth and tries to quell his deep /misgivings/ about this situation -- there's a large part of him mostly just thinking that it would be better for everyone if Lucien used that gun on /him/ right about now. His eyes narrow at the zombie heading towards Parley at the door, and one hand lifts -- a beam of light flares out as his /anger/ does, searing a neat dual hole straight through the second zombie's skull.

Micah leaves his own door locked, following along behind Jax to make sure the other man continues heading in the right direction. He has one of his crutches in hand, perhaps for use of keeping potential combatants further away from him and delaying attacks. The intermittent swirl of confusion from his own illness does manage to break through his resolve and direction in this mission, though it manifests mostly in ignoring threats to his own body that don't come in the form of /zombies/. Clambering over a too-hot chair. Staying too close to an also too-hot and unpredictably violent Jax. He says nothing, trying to draw as little attention to himself as possible from the remaining zombies, just shepherding toward the door.

Lucien eyes the groping hands beneath the car. He keeps his gun trained downwards, just -- waiting. Waiting, waiting, until finally the zombie -- half a zombie, really, its lower half has been left in congealing bloody trail down the ramp to the garage -- drags itself far enough out to see its head. Chomping teeth. Half its face scraped off against the concrete. From the facial structure and length of hair it might have been a woman, once, but it's hard at the moment to tell. He watches its slow arrival impassively, finally crouching when it's made it far enough out to put a bullet through its eye, and turn back for the door.

He waits for Micah and Jax to enter, first, but through the uneasy ripples of his mind -- not nearly so orderly-structured and unreadable as usual -- there's a definite heavy consideration given, /also/, to the fact it might be most prudent to use one of those bullets on Jackson. His jaw sets more firmly as he feels the radiant heat. "You shouldn't have come."

Parley had been turning his weapon, on a delay, towards the zombie shuffling towards him. But doesn't seem at all surprised to see it drop without his assistance. "Here or there," he says low, walking backwards to cover the rear as the party makes their way for the door, "It might not have made much of a difference." He drops eyes down to Lucien's gun, and the back of Jackson's head, and then the door. Which he's going about /closing/. Thumping can be heard coming through from outside.

Parley lowers his gun to hang from the strap he's now settled over a shoulder, eyes blank and glossy as he watches the (searing) fury, the hunger in Jackson, the confusion in Micah's. Following in the rear on silent footsteps he touches further at Jackson's mind in particular, swallowing in the heat and the fire. It filters, as it always does. Swells open in bright firework blossoms of base brain chemicals, still scented of /Jax/, but cleaner, brighter, free of cluttering specific emotions. The sides of his eyes pinch tight. A small hotbath of this concoction is in his mindvoice when he murmurs softly to Lucien << (a moment longer.) >> It's not entirely confident. Nor is it pleading. It only asks. << (let me)(borrow)(your calm.) >>

The rest is opening in a torrent to pour back into Jackson's mind. Around it. Bathing it.

“It would have,” Jackson is not arguing with Lucien’s statement, strong /agreement/ in his mind, “if I’d done what I wanted to do.” Namely hole up somewhere away from his family to see if the clinic made /progress/ before too late -- and put a hole through his own head if his state continued to deteriorate before that time came.

The feel of another mind touching to his own stirs greater anger in him, eclipsing his previous agreement -- unlike the minds of the dead, though, /he/ can easily identify where to target. “/Stop/ that,” he snarls as he whirls abruptly towards Parley, another brief burst of light searing outwards -- more warning than anything else, it’s aimed to /connect/ but only in an (admittedly burning-painful) graze along Parley’s side.

Micah winces and flinches at the gun shots, seeming to relax just a fraction as they pass through the door and it is closed behind them. “He is dying and you are going to at least /try/ to fix him,” he snaps at Lucien when he says they shouldn't have come, eyes narrowed on the other man. Pain and fear spill into a brief flare of anger in his own mind, almost foreign-feeling. He shakes his head, actually receiving some clarity in the movement. “He can't control his abilities like this. Might...go laserin' out on the streets at best. Blow up half the c—area at worst. I think controllin' this in him should be a priority. We need t'cool 'im down enough t'make 'im touchable, though.” At Jax's snarling, Micah grabs another stick of jerky from the bag shoved into the pocket of a backpack on his back, holding it out in offering before Jax in an attempt to distract him from the empath.

“We are trying, Micah, to fix the entire --” Lucien’s lips compress briefly, “--ty of New York.” He takes a step back, away from Jax’s heat -- noticeably, he’s still holding his gun very much at the /ready/. Trained on Jackson with as much steadiness as his exhaustion will allow. He pulls in a slow breath, fighting down his own rising anger -- more easily /fought/, at least, he has no /sickness/ irrationally fueling it. Just days of stress and exhaustion and the sudden deep worry that all their work is about to literally go up in flames.

… maybe only slightly more easily fought. He fights it, though, less with any particular emotional discipline and more just with a heavy-handed dose of his own abilities. Flooding his own mind with a blanketing dose of calm to /force/ the edges of his fraying temper back down. One deep breath and then another. The exertion does little for the throb of ache in his head or the unsteady state of /brain/-function overexertion has left him with. But at least it’s a calmer sort of headache, now. “There’ll still be time, Jackson, to attempt that. If it comes to that. But it doesn’t have to.”

When his side is seared, Parley doesn't cry out - he does hiss sharply, softly, through his teeth, and his elbow on reflex compresses down on the side of his ribs. Sadly probably not… helping much for a burn. His eyes are wide initially from the shock of it, probably. But they stay wide, blank and glassy, focused on Jackson. "We don't really have much of a choice, do we," his presumably murmuring this to Micah, his weight listing to the side where his shoulder lightly meets the wall. It's difficult to tell whether his words are coming from his mind or his mouth, both low and hard and soft, "--but he will need to let us in. Now. Or this will end in death." Whose, he doesn't say. Maybe it doesn't matter to him.

<< (take it.) >> He doesn't withdraw from Jackson's mind; where he's pressed up along its boundaries - but he does /crumple/. He /lets/ his mind crumple, beneath Jackson's anger. Lets it course into him. << (fight it.) >> << (/hate/ it.) >> His skin is a flushed red and /warm/, eyes closed, but brows drawn together. << (but /focus/ it)(here.)(hard.)(bite down.) >>

Tendrils of Micah's mind wash into Jackson's mind as well. Lucien's gritted calm (if, granted, sparing any suggestion of his other thoughts. His other considerations. These are kept silent.) And - then with a painless sensation of strain there comes other snippets. Weaker, not directly channeled, bur remembered, of a mind Jackson would recognize well. It wells in thick ocean waves, pushing back against the hungry angry torrents as the horizon eternally pushes back against the weight of the sky.


“/Stop it/.” Jackson’s words come hissed out through his teeth but he might well be saying them to himself as well as Parley, hands suddenly clamping to his temples as if he can /squeeze/ the anger out. The hand that snatches for the jerky Micah offers is even hotter than before. His teeth tear down at it, some small satisfaction viscerally gained from this small attack.

The /air/ around him is glowing, now, fierce and bright enough to leave scorch marks on the wall and floor near him though thankfully clinic hallways contain little by way of truly flammable materials to ignite. This is less aggression now, though, unfocused and just un/controlled/ with mounting stress. << (trying) >> comes unhappily back. And he is, aiming his focus towards the mental beacon Parley provides -- but distressed and /diseased/ as his mind is, this focus comes dangerously. Another shiver of scorching-bright light rippling out towards Parley. Pulling back.

“Stop it,” << (stop) (stop) (stop) >>, it’s possible at this point he isn’t even sure what he’s asking. A soft unhappy keen of noise catches in his throat at the feel of Sebastian’s mind. << (stop), >> angry and demanding, slides into a (furious) desperate (furious), << (can’t stop) (can’t stop). >> Now he’s thinking of his children, all three of them ill, their increasing erratic behavior, the twins’ violent outbursts. Spencer’s propensity to disappear, likely now more than ever to get him killed. What’s in him now isn’t so much hunger or anger but a fierce (disoriented) clawing desperation. Thinking of the scorch marks on the walls and the work being done one floor below. He presses himself back against the (steadily blackening) wall, abruptly furious at Micah for bringing him here. Abruptly trying /not/ to be.

Micah nods at the input from Lucien and Parley, putting all available effort into concentrating on the situation in front of him. On not descending into desperate worry and that diseased anger. << We're gonna need t'sedate him, I think, for this to work. Something that works nearly instantly, >> Micah directs to Parley, silently, the words draped in the sense that they should be kept quiet-secret-not-with-Jax for now. He stays nearer to Jackson than is wise through this process, skin reddening as if exposed prolongedly to the sun where it is uncovered. “Shh, Jax-honey. Shh. Listen t'me. Do what I say. Y'need t'sit. Quiet. Just be calm an' quiet an' sit. Just listen t'me. An' we're gonna bring help t'you. But you've /got/ t'stay in control until we can get there. Just a few minutes. You've made it this far. We only need a few minutes more. Just sit. Listen t'me.” He leans softly on the tendency for Jax to /want/ to listen to what he says when situations are stressful, through the connection Parley provides. Continuing the steady stream of speech that alternates between soothing and simple, direct orders.

Lucien’s eyes stay trained on Jax -- as does his gun, though he takes another step back the more heated the hallway gets. << He is trying to reason with a disease. >> He’s listening to Micah’s attempts at soothing with his own irritation climbing once more. It’s soon bathed under another wash of calm, though as he forces it his /own/ mind is starting to buckle under its strain -- too much working on too little sleep, his mutation is as exhausted as the rest of him and when /it/ tires it means nothing /good/ for his brain. Some small part of him is mulling over whether or not he even has the /capacity/ to bring another mind from sickness into health without killing himself. Or if Jackson will last long enough for it to matter. Though outwardly he’s just murmuring, calmly, “-- is that girl still with your children? Daiki’s friend?”

Jackson's second bright wave of light passes through Parley's shoulder and out the back - in the bright flash, his dilated pupils fail to contract. The shoulder jerks in spasm-muscle response, but he otherwise doesn't seem aware it's happened, a hand loping around to press down on… an elbow. He leans further into the wall, knees sagging to surrender concentration further into his mind alone, blinking. A human blink has a way of looking absent and casual, even in situations of the absurd.

<< (wouldn't have to)(heal him fully.) >> He isn't arguing with Lucien's thoughts - only speculating. << (if we could)(bring him back) a (few degrees.) >> Rasheed and Iolaus's trial experiments downstairs are contemplated - a shared contemplation. Even if his mental voice is growing thin and washed out, only rushing /fire/ and Micah's hope and attempt to calm and Lucien's own strained mind tangible in it, it's steady. << (that assumes) you would be (able to touch him.) >>

And, chimed in softer, as he continues to try and drag Jackson's attention to himself, to flood it with those few frail scraps of control /anyone/ has left. The clinical obvious. << (do it now.)(if you can't.)(we can't afford)(your loss.) >>

Jax’s eye doesn’t seem to know exactly where to settle. On Parley at that mental flood, on Micah’s soft words. “I --” << (trying), >> though it sounds more ragged-frayed this time. “Few minutes, I -- I’m sorry -- sorry, sorry, sorry --” With a mind that sounds steadily more frayed with each repetition. The question calls him slightly back, looking at Lucien with confusion. “Karrie? Yes. Yeah, she and Daiki are still --”

This is as far as Jackson’s words get when another gunshot rings out, all the louder now for the confined space. The scorch marks on the wall are joined by a terrible spray of blood and bone and brain as Lucien drops his hand to his side. Looks towards the door for a moment, assessing -- it’s stayed quiet, at least, for the moment, no telltale thumps outside -- as he drops the magazine out of his gun to dig new rounds from a pocket and reload it. Slide it across the floor to Micah. “Good,” is all he says, voice sounding all the more quiet for the previous burst of noise. “Go fetch her.” And he turns aside for the stairwell without another look back.

Micah's voice has been repeating its soothing and directing, feeling somewhat reassured when Jax doesn't continue to worsen and perhaps even calms slightly. He hitches suddenly at the illusionist's apologies, his expression going blank as the static washes over his mind. As the word stops, he slowly comes to, to the sound of the gun's report. His eyes regain focus. On blood. On Jackson's slumped body. His face clouds over in confusion once more, this time not entirely from illness.

“No...” Micah's head shakes with the denial at the slow-dawning realisation of what happened. “Nononono. Just a few more minutes,” the words fall breathlessly from his lips as his body falls on hands and knees and scrambles the bare few feet over to Jax, hands grasping at the other man's head and the blood pouring from it. Heedless of the heat that has yet to fade from the other man's body burning his hands, of the sheer futility of the effort, he tries to press his hands around the wounds. His hands cup as if they could shovel the blood back inside and keep it there. What thoughts form in his mind are tattered and unravelling, stressed further by the force of the disease rooted within. He doesn't register Lucien's recommendation, the gun, the room, the other people there. Just pressed in place with his burning hands.

Where he stands a yard or two down the hall, Parley is making a few minor, rapid movements. His eyes are clearer now, focused sharply, but /pinched/ tightly around their corners, pallor gone an unflattering white. The movements, however, of his one hand - his /thumb/ that is, darting over the face of his cell phone - is precise. He doesn't seem to have much response, for the waves of pain and loss, pouring off Micah's mind. He pulls himself away from the wall. And walks tenderly also towards the stairs. "I texted Dusk. Hopefully he'll let them know Karrie and -- Eric," almost forgot that name. "Are needed." He doesn't look at Micah when he says it. He doesn't seem to be looking at anything much at all.

And then he, too, is heading back downstairs, a hand folded over his forehead, pressing the heel of his palm into his eyesocket. << ('be cured') or ('be killed') >> his voice ripples down the stairs after Lucien, dryly. << (is getting) to (mean something) very (different)(after all this…) >>

“Mnnh.” That seems to be all Lucien has to say. His mind is settling back uneasily into -- not quite its previous blankness, its waters roil with stress and exhaustion over a deeper well of murkier emotions. But for now, he’s heading to sleep. For however long he can manage.