(CN: mind control, violence.)
"Subject number one, emergency lockdown protocol." (Part of Prometheus TP.)
Lassiter Research Facility - Midland, Ohio
Jamie Kelvin sits on the edge of his cot, unmoving as he has been for the last 20 or so minutes, dressed in the buff colored scrubs issued to all research subjects at the facility. He's in his mid- or late-20s, not very tall nor very muscular, his black hair buzzed short, his tan face cleanly shaven, his deep brown eyes fixed blankly on the cinder block wall in front of him. His attention is elsewhere, his power straining to the utmost extent of its range, feeling for a particular pattern he /somehow/ knew would be coming. There! He latches onto the process that blinks rapidly in and out of existence just a short distance away. He doesn't dare seize hold of it, a power too unfamiliar to him and too dangerous if he should end up a hinder rather than a help. Neither does he dare reach out through the psionic network he assumes still binds them together, lest he wake its true master. A distraction right now might prove lethal, he was sure of it. His hands clench into fists around the sheets, mussing the neat, tight surface. He dares, at least, to think /loudly,/ << Flicker. >> There's a desperate quaver even in his mental voice, a horror he keeps trying to press down. << /Why/ did you come here? >>
Flicker's mind touches back to Jamie's in a quiet acknowledgment, but no answer immediately comes. Just the erratic rapid blinking, tracing a very jittery path that weaves jerkily closer -- and closer. The tension in his mind is clear, coiled taught and alert. There's fear, too, but it's held mostly at bay -- not a panic so much as just a vague background dread that simmers quietly, buried deep beneath his current hypervigilance.
"-- For you." When he does answer, it's hushed -- but aloud. Appearing quick and silent to trace the short path from Jamie's door to his cot, he crouches by it. A little pale, a little wide-eyed, but altogether more composed and far less full of holes than he was the day of the raid, in dark grey tactical pants, boots, a plain grey sweatshirt (somewhat bulky over what might presumably be body armor underneath.) His matte black claw rests on the edge of the cot, his other reaching -- tentatively -- towards one of Jamie's fisted hands, but just as tentatively dropping to his knee instead. << This place is no good for you. It's no good for anyone, but -- you've been here so long. >>
Jamie's eyes turn to Flicker before he even speaks -- before he had fully /materialized/ in the room -- and looks him up and down. "I'm not worth it," he whispers. "They'll never let me go, and they'll /kill/ you!" His fear gives way briefly to amazement, then joy, then guilt, then fear all over again. He pries one of his hands from the blanket and clasps Flicker's, his fingers cold, his skin soft, his grip hard enough to hurt. An electric thrill runs through him, and a sliver of genuine surprise. << You're really here! No! You can't be here. If you go now -- maybe they don't know yet, maybe you'll be alright. >> His eyes flick to the camera nested in the corner of his ceiling. "No no no no no..." His panic rises, swift and towering, his eyes casting about wildly. "/Not/ a good time for this."
Flicker's hand curls back around Jamie's. His jaw tightens at the hard grip, but he squeezes back, his breath momentarily catching. The flutter of relief, of warmth, that stirs in him, briefly pushes down the fear. "You're worth it." His head bows -- he very deliberately does not look at the camera, very deliberately pushing down the swell of panic that wants to rise in him. Is not rising in him. His forehead tips down, rests against Jamie's knuckles as he pulls in a slow breath, pushes it back out. << Just breathe with me, okay? I'm really here, and you can come with me. But we have to go. Please. >>
Jamie slides off of the cot to kneel on the floor across from Flicker. His grip has not loosened; it feels as though he is hanging on for his life. He nods, jerkily and far too many times, breathing with Flicker. His panic has just begun to subside when the PA clicks on.
Jamie only manages to rasp the words "Get out!" just as a high, clear voice over the PA says, calmly and reasonably, "Subject number one, emergency lockdown protocol."
Flicker straightens slowly as Jamie calms. His own panic has eased under a steady resolve. << Okay. That's good. Are you -- >> This cuts off with the first soft static crackle of the PA, pinging something sharp and wary in his mind even before he's consciously registered what it is. He tightens his fingers through Jamie's, his awareness spreading out. Through the web of minds that he's snared within the facility -- registering new minds that approach with an oddly calm detachment. Even in the moment before Jamie actually gives his warning, he's flashing the both of them into action. A dizzying whirl of rapid jerky stop-motion that carries them out of the cage and into the cellblock hallway. Skimming rapid along the ceiling as Flicker retraces the path that brought him here.
Jamie has a fractional instant of horror -- dragged out into stutter-stop motion by Flicker's teleportation -- at the words from the PA before his conscious volition drops out from beneath him. The flare of his power unfurls, invisible and intangible but instantaneously dampening all other powers in the area: those of the subjects in adjacent cells, of the dozen guards in the hallway beneath him, of Flicker beside him.
<< -- no, please -- >> Flicker doesn't get far before that fractional moment of horror is reflected -- magnified -- in his mind. The sinking feeling isn't only a metaphorical one; an instant letter they're dropping towards the hallway and the guards, thudding heavily to the floor below. There's a clear spike of pain that lances through his mind, but outwardly he only squeezes Jamie's hand harder. His mind struggles against the other man's for a moment, fumbling now not just for connection but control -- here, though, he is clumsy, less adroit than at finessing his way through the interweaved net of their mind in general.
Even here there's not exactly panic. A dim recognition, somewhere, that this is exactly the time he should be panicking. Instead he fights past an exhausted sense of resignation -- of relief. To instead channel his current awareness in an desperate outward push. Keen and clear in a mental cry: << /Hive/. >>
Jamie's mind does not register Flicker's plea, their (fortunately brief) freefall, or the pain of slamming into the linoleum floor. Blood trickles from his lip as he stares directly forward into and through Flicker, but his hand in the other man's never went slack, still holds on tightly. His mind offers no resistance to even such an inexpert attempt at control, but the landscape of his consciousness is entirely changed -- barren, stripped down to reflexes and powers. The guards have descend on them, three pinning Flicker down while a forth uncaps a syringe of ketamine solution to jab into the muscle at the base of his neck. As the drug does its work, Flicker's fading consciousness can just sense the edge of Jamie's returning, his hand squeezing back, finally, before the darkness falls.