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Character musings

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[Wesker+Jill+Chris+Claire+Leon+Excella+Krauser+AdaWTF] All the distractions kill the compassion
YES PLZ DO WANT NAO
its_game_time wrote in transgenicprose

The stage was set. The pieces had all come almost too perfectly into place -- easily, even, without a single hitch in the final stages. Then again, all of the players had been hit just right -- hard, fast, blind, each of their strengths reduced to their weaknesses based on the years of data that had been collected. Years of study, years of work, years of nothing short of utter dedication to this one cause.

They never stood a chance.

Competence wouldn't be confused with arrogance. Arrogance made lesser men sloppy, prone to mistakes, a constant error throughout history. Arrogance on behalf of these players had cost them, after all.

Even the strongest of them wouldn't find an easy answer; this compound had been constructed to hold the worst of what they could each dish out, in addition to housing the many challenges they would face. The compound was large, it was deep, it was dangerous; even the famous George Trevor would have been impressed, just as he would have been pleased to know that even after his death, he continued to contribute to a greater cause.

Years of effort, finally about to pay off in what would be nothing short of a spectacular show.

The data was, in the end, all that really mattered. Each of the subject's DNA had been sampled, saved, and assigned to an appropriate handler. This stage of the project was for reference, a rare kind of field data -- if any of the subjects died in the process, it would be no major loss. The group had what it needed.

Hundreds of cameras watched the compound; dozens of monitors switched between them all automatically, at the moment seeing nothing but long, empty halls of stone for the most part, occasionally areas of brick, wood, and even plaster. Environmental variety was an important experimental factor.

Four of the largest monitors were the main focus of every eye in the conference room. Each screen showed a small room, much like a cell, nearly identical except for the forms that inhabited each. Two per space: one male, one female, all currently out cold.

The drugs had been measured precisely; whatever each individual's tolerance, they would all wake within minutes of each other at the most.

Now there was nothing to do but wait, and watch.


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[A small jolt of pain is what stirs her.

Without warning Claire is suddenly awake, and in the lingering fog of sleep it takes her a good moment or several to recognize where the discomfort is coming from: several places, the most noticeable being her back and skull. She exhales sharply as she shifts, her spine creaking in protest from her shoulders down to her tailbone. It's the stiffness of having been in one position for too long, but as her head falls to the side she realizes she's also lying on something very hard and very flat.

That prompts her eyes to slowly flutter open with effort; her eyelids are as heavy as everything else, and combined with her headache she wonders if it's a hangover she doesn't remember earning. For a few seconds she sees nothing as her vision adjusts -- and even when it does, she has to squint in the low light, but all she immediately sees is a wall that doesn't look familiar.

Is it... stone?

Her aching head clears a little more. Stubbornly, Claire blinks again, quicker, shaking the weight off of them, but that strange wall stays where it is.]


What...

[Is what she tries to say, but her throat is surprisingly dry and the word comes out as a croak. She shifts again, rolling onto her side, and this time every joint in her body seems to protest, making her groan.

Feeling more dazed than she ever remembers feeling, Claire eventually gets an arm under herself and shoves against the floor -- cold, also stone? -- to support her weight on one hand. The shift helps some, waking up her other senses enough to make a couple more deductions: namely, she's cold. Second, it's incredibly quiet. Lastly...

Blinking, she makes a small sound of surprise as she looks down, double-checking -- her clothes are gone. All of them.

She's not wearing a thing, she hurts, nothing looks familiar, and on top of all of that--

Why can't she remember where she was last?]

[She hesitates. Think logically, Claire. Home, wasn't it? At her apartment...

She shakes her head, gritting her teeth against the pain and trying to use it to focus. No, she never went inside. She was fishing for her keys when someone... a stranger. An elderly man called to her, asking for... directions? Claire turned... and something...

Her neck. Something was in her neck.

Her free hand moves to the spot in question, just under her left ear. There's nothing but skin there, but the area feels... swollen, slightly, and it's tender enough to make her wince.

By now her eyes have mostly adjusted to the near-darkness. The room is a small one, looking like some kind of... holding cell. A chill that has nothing to do with temperature skitters over her skin, but she ignores both it and her fading stiffness to shift into a crouch. Instinct has kicked in and is at full alert; whoever brought her here is probably still around, meaning she needs to get moving.

Still crouching, Claire turns -- and jumps in surprise when she spots someone in the corner of her eye, only to relax slightly when she realizes that they're not moving. Dead? Or...

No. In the near-silence, she can hear steady breathing. Carefully, quietly, she stands, backing away as she assesses the other figure. Unconscious by the look and sound of it; a man as naked as she is, his face turned away from her. He's lying between Claire and the only door in the room.

While her mind instantly begins to draw conclusions at the idea of being drugged and waking up in such circumstances, Claire gathers her scattered thoughts and dismisses the suspicions after a few seconds. She doesn't know what happened while she was out, but she can tell it was nothing like what paranoia is trying to think up. If anyone... did anything to her, it was nothing blatant.

Plus she doubts that whoever's responsible was dumb enough to leave himself vulnerable like this. Chances are this guy's another victim -- which means she can't just up and leave him.

Claire glances again at the door -- frowns, and then approaches the stranger with senses on high alert. She crouches beside him, out of arm's reach -- and as big as his arms are, she has no second thoughts about that -- and keeping her knees in front of her chest as cover.]


Hey. [Her voice is a little clearer, but she clears her throat quietly before trying again.] Hey. Wake up.

[Hey.

His dreams are dark. Compartmentalization always comes at a cost and Chris has been fighting nightmares for such a long time now. Those nightmares he fights with his eyes open don't scare him anymore but the ones that soak through his sleeping mind are things that he can't lay a finger on.

Hey,

Jill's face. The sound of breaking glass. Over and over again and he's never fast enough... sometimes it's different. Not that he ever wins, because he doesn't. Just sometimes it's Claire instead of Jill. Claire who he used to put band-aids on when they were kids and Chris watches her get torn apart by a horde that he led her to. He didn't do it on purpose but it is still his fault, always his fault. Decaying fingers tear her skin open with soft sounds to get at the wet, rich insides and she's screaming

wake up.

If she had been closer, he would have grabbed her out of sheer reflex as he woke up. As it is Chris' muscles pull him up halfway to his feet in some sort of knee-jerk response, his hand reaching for a gun and only finding the skin of his thigh before his legs give out and dump him to--

stone?

Chris fights the nausea that surges up and makes himself open his eyes and focus, damnit, focus on his surroundings. His head feels like a drum section is marching through it and it makes his eyes water. He gets one knee back under himself with a shoulder against the cool wall.
]

Stay back. [His voice is broken, like sandpaper, and it makes the command an almost scary sort of bark. When Chris coughs he nearly loses his balance again and he puts a hand out toward the vague shape in the room with him. Training does enough to identify that the situation is not normal even though he can't exactly remember what normal is.

Small room, cold, stone. Jail cell? No sense of day or night. Naked, no weapons. And another person.

Chris brings a hand to his aching head and rubs tears from his eyes. Where had he been? Spain... following threads that weren't even leads, just smoke and mirrors and working his way south. He'd been in a hotel in Manilva, a fine coast town, nothing suspicious, nothing dirty, nothing. Chris pulls finger from his eyes and touches his neck. There is a wince for the pain and
]

Claire?

Edited at 2012-09-17 06:19 pm (UTC)

[Few people move that fast in general; even fewer do so after waking up. It's enough to startle Claire into reflexively jumping back, stumbling over herself and nearly hitting the floor again as her still-drowsy body tries to keep up. Just that command is enough to make her flinch slightly, although that's just as reflexive -- and in the same instant she frowns, even as memory fills in the gaps that her hindered sight is leaving out--

And when he says her name, that confirms it.]


Chris?

[She's up and moving over to his side, crouching again with one arm over her chest while the other reaches out to touch his shoulder. There's confusion, there's concern, there's admittedly some relief at finding that it's him and, least of all, even some slight embarrassment -- but concern wins over all of them, and Claire's priority is instantly to do what she does best: comfort him.]

Easy, it's me -- it's okay. It's just us right now. [She watches his face, her own still knotted with puzzlement despite her calm and collected voice.] I think we were drugged. Give it a minute, the pain'll go away.

[Claire-- it is Claire.

Chris' relief at having her with him is tempered by the fact that she's here at all, wherever here may be. He knows it's his fault. Fighting how his eyes want to blur and unfocus, Chris looks at Claire and lets himself take comfort in the warmth of her hand.

His own fingers raise and touch the swollen spot behind his ear and this time he doesn't show the pain. At the very center of the swell there's a hard point and that is all the confirmation he needs.
] Yeah-- we were.

[For just a moment, Chris lets himself indulge in the consideration of breaking down. He puts his head back against the cold wall and breathes in. Just a moment. He thinks about screaming, about punching the wall until his fists are bloody. He thinks about how they've always said the work they are doing is to even the odds but that's not the truth, the odds will never be even.

Then Chris exhales and lets it all go. He opens his eyes and looks at his sister again, bringing knuckles up to brush her cheek.
] We need to figure a way out of here. Get our hands on weapons. [She looks older than when he last saw her, older in a good way. How long had it been? A year-- no, a year and a half. He'd been through D.C. and had managed to grab a rushed dinner with her before jumping on another plane.

Chris shakes some of the cobwebs from his head, ignoring the way his stomach rolls.
] Can you stand? [Their nakedness had not gone unnoticed and while he doesn't comment on it directly-- it doesn't need to be made more awkward than it already is-- Chris doesn't exactly want to leap to his feet while his sister is still crouched so close.]

Edited at 2012-09-18 05:22 pm (UTC)

[Claire gives a minimal nod, not voicing her concern just yet -- over his reaction, that tired look that she can't help thinking has nothing to do with the drug, or more general worries. He hasn't been the same since Jill's death, and she wonders if it's still weighing as heavily on his shoulders as it was the last time she saw him. Probably. Chris has always taken the loss of loved ones hard, but Jill was...

Jill was a special case, whatever had or hadn't come of it.

But Claire doesn't bring that up; it's not the time, to say the least.]


Yeah. I can move.

[Which she does, backing away a bit and turning aside as she stands, both arms crossed now. She chooses to keep track of Chris with peripheral vision only for the moment, instead keeping her direct focus on the door as she waits for him to gather his wits.]

I don't remember much about when I was grabbed. Any ideas who it could be?

[To tell the truth, Claire figures Chris has to know, if anyone does. Otherwise this has to be someone who's been off the radar.]

[He wishes he had an answer for her, but answers have been harder and harder to come by, especially after Jill's death. Umbrella-- gone. Wesker, if he'd survived where Jill hadn't, was gone. There were always rumbles, some in Europe, some in Africa, but they weren't much. Groundswells, that was all. Little groups with rumors and they were put down without mercy. The B.S.A.A., as much as he believed in his work, had become a strong arm to rumors. Everyone was waiting, holding their breath.

And them, this.

Chris stood as Claire he, half turned to keep himself modest though it was a lost cause. He tried not to focus on it. Someone had tried to make them uncomfortable and he refused to be a victim. Always had.
]

No. I want to tell you yes, but I've got nothing. We've had no real leads since--

[Since Wesker. Chris had told Claire that much, even though it had been confidential. He'd told her that much, the mission, the blame he'd assigned himself. She would have read it on him anyway. Always had.

He turned to the door. Steel, set in the stone.
] This might be old-school. Who else would know us both? Dragging in two loosely-connected units like ours is a stretch, but... guess we can't discount the idea.

[He looked at Claire and dragged up a smile.] Same shit, different day, right? [They'd joked over that phrase, in the beginning. When she'd come looking for him in Raccoon City and only gotten out by the grace of a rookie cop named Leon S Kennedy. And then later, in Antarctica. Claire should have washed out of all of this. Should have had a normal life. But would he have wanted anyone else at his side?

...

Chris shook his head and tried the handle-- and almost jumped when the hinges screamed with rust and the thing opened, inch by slow inch.

Dread crept in to overwhelm the nauseousness.
]

Stay behind me. Let's go.

[Claire frowns at his response -- first in thoughtfulness when he has no answer, and then in something closer to understanding when he cuts himself off.

Still, it's not the time. They have other things to focus on, and she knows better than to risk unnecessary distractions.

She does crack a tired smile at the old phrase, though. As much as she hates to see more pressure piled onto Chris' already full plate, she's still glad to be with him, in a way -- it makes her feel safe, as if they can get through anything as long as he's around.]


Yeah. Story of our lives.

[The fact that the door has been left unlocked is a little more unnerving -- wouldn't that mean those responsible expected the two of them to leave? And were probably waiting for them in some form or another?

Still, it beats sitting around and rotting away in a cell. Claire moves behind him quickly, watching what she can see over his shoulder. She hates not knowing what to expect -- and while she has absolutely no idea what might be waiting for them, she has a bad feeling in her gut that's telling her she can probably make a few accurate guesses.

Chris may be in the lead, but it doesn't feel right not to add something -- so,]


Be careful.

[Chris doesn't know which is worse, being a captive in a cell waiting for the move of an unknown... or being a captive left loose into a trap. No, he knows. He would always prefer having his own reins. Maybe it's an illusion of power, but it's one he'd take, every time. He trusts himself, and he trusts Claire, even if he worries about her at the same time. He steps into the doorway and glances back over his shoulder.]

You too. We stick together. Quiet. Pick up anything that could be a weapon. [The serious shell of his face cracks just a little and something like a wry smile peeks through.] You know the drill.

[And.] We'll get out of this.

[Chris believes himself. He has to. Whatever this is, wherever they are--there's an exit. There's always an exit, even if they'll have to make it themselves. He starts down the hall. It's as dark as the cell; there are bare lightbulbs interspersed overhead, but they're not lit. It means there has to be a switch somewhere, or better yet, a main breaker. And the darkness isn't total, there's light coming from somewhere. It's just enough to see each other's faces, to give recognition, as well enough to follow the lead of the the electric wiring on the ceiling down the hallway.

He moves, filing away the sounds of their bare feet as friendly and keeping on the alert for something different. Without thought, Chris' hands have curled into loose fists.
[

[Claire does as told, smart enough not to question the professional and trusting enough to believe in her brother. There's a distinct lack of heat in the place, enough to be uncomfortable but not a hindrance to her movement. She spares a hand to push her hair behind her shoulders, irked that they -- whoever "they" were -- literally stripped her of everything she had. Weapons, she can understand, but what's the point of being this drastic?

She trusts Chris to watch the front, so Claire keeps most of her attention beside and behind them, just in case something decides to take advantage of any nook or cranny they might overlook in the darkness. It's automatically something in her mind, not someone.]

[Wesker did not dream. There was nothing, one moment to the next.

He woke without pain. There was an uncomfortable ache in the back of his head, right at the back of his skull, but he dismissed as his eyes sliced open into slits. No light. They adjusted quickly. More than any passing physical irritation were other sensations: he was naked. Not cold, but he could feel the chill of the floor he laid on and without moving he knew his glasses were gone. Yellow eyes that gleamed in the darkness of the cell slitted further.

Someone was playing him.

The move to his feet took less than a second; everything responded as it should. His muscles were tight with disuse-- a sign of something that he did not relish-- but they moved to his will. It was a start. The memories of where he had last been were clear enough despite whatever it was he could feel lingering in his system--

there were very few drugs that would put him out, and less that an average person could get their hands on

-- because he had been nowhere but the base in Europe for the last three years. Day in and out he had been in small confines, monitoring the tank that held Jill Valentine. And after the virus had matured far enough in her system and he'd introduced the P30... he had spent days, weeks, months, training her. At first it had been a slow process. Even though the virus was twined tightly into her DNA, Jill had fought, given her rein. He had expected no less. But the P30 had done its job. He'd been so patient. Day in and day out...

And now this. Unacceptable. Very few people-- there was a dark sound in the back of his throat, more for his plans being interrupted than the current situation. Wesker looked around the dim room. Wood floor. The interior was non-descript, it could have been any room in an older home. There was a couch to the side, covered in tarpaulin. A needless ornate mantel surrounded a cold fireplace. The only true oddity was a lack of windows, and--
]

Jill.

[The name was purred. He knew the naked length of that body to the inch from route observation, milky skin and blonde hair. The blonde had been a happy, unintended, side effect. Wesker walked the few steps to her prone form and took a knee. Fingers reached out and slide straw-colored strands back from her slack face. It was almost tender. Anyone who didn't know Wesker would have thought it so.]

Jill. Wake up. We have a situation to handle.

[Whatever this was-- it would be a perfect test.]

[Only the drug in her system kept her from reacting instantly.

Even so, Jill immediately stirred at the touch, at the voice, and her eyes managed to open quicker than most would have achieved under the same circumstances.

Maybe it was because of the drug in question -- whatever the reason, something unexpected happened: when Jill awoke, it was only Jill who awoke. No assault on her consciousness greeted her as it had every other time for God-knew-how-long now.

Even so, Wesker's methods were effective, maybe more than he'd intended: instinct was still instinct, virus or no, and Jill's head snapped in his direction -- above her, as expected -- as her expression twisted into a snarl that wasn't entirely her own make--

And that was as far as she got before P30 caught up with her.

It slammed into her as mercilessly as always, tearing through her veins, flooding them, scorching where it touched as if her very blood was on fire. Her spine went into a reflexive, agonized arch as she gasped, cried out, her hands seizing her throbbing head--]


No--

[--before she had the sense to redirect them toward the machine on her chest, fingernails scratching her skin as they groped, seized the metal frame...

...but too late. Most of her body had locked up already; the rest fought a losing battle, and in a couple more seconds the violent struggle was over. Her fingers slackened, fell away; her panting quieted, slowed, as the anger in her eyes faded to a blank, half-lidded stare; her body relaxed, an animal lowering its hackles as it recognized friend from foe.

She looked again to Wesker, now with utmost attentiveness and nothing else. Below the emotionless expression, a few lightly bleeding scratch marks along her collarbone were all she had to show for that fight.]

[He waited without expression as Jill's body spasmed and she cried out, the sharp sound echoing queerly in the small room. Wesker actually took his attention fully from her worthless fight to the walls and ceiling, observing. Listening. By the time he turned back to her, Jill's eyes had refocused and her face had smoothed into something that he expected, that was both familiar and not.

After all, he had spent years seeing the determined look of hatred in her eyes. And before that, the determination of a job she thought she was honestly performing. He remembered them all.
]

Get up.

[There was no door in their enclosure, but the vibrations of her yell told him enough; there was a way out, they only had to find it. A test indeed. To capture him was a feat in of itself, no small task... too bad he had no respect for such. Hypocritical as it may have seemed, Wesker did not have the same tolerance for being used as a subject as he had for inflicting the same measures. He was not amused. They would find a way out of this and he would put down the ones who had inflicted this upon him, who had cut his own trials prematurely.

His rise to his feet was lazy by his own standards; he felt each of his muscles responding, his increased immune system battling what was left in his bloodstream. Moving was not an issue, nor was response. But better to be forewarned if some part of himself was going to give way as a side-effect.
]

There is a false door in here, a vent, something. Find it.

[In this, he would help. The sooner they could leave this room, the sooner he could find who had done this to him. He would enjoy extracting the how.]

buh it's been so long since I did P30!Jill. rusty ftl

[Jill's climb to her own feet was, in comparison, instant and fluid, betraying none of the stiffness in her joints that told her she'd been unconscious for a longer time than usual. Nothing in her blank expression showed her discomfort, either, as minor as it was, or hinted at any emotion, period, as she immediately took in the circumstances.

First was herself: waking with no clothes was nothing new, or unusual; her hair was down, which was only slightly impractical, if anything. The room around her was worth more attention and study even without the order -- it was... unusual. She -- the virus -- was used to the cold, comfortless, practical, and blank walls of a laboratory and little else. This setting, the notion of something... comfortable, was one she wasn't familiar with, even if she could understand its intention.

The only acknowledgement she gave of Wesker's command was a brief flicker of her eyes in his direction, already getting a feel for the room with all of her senses. No doors, windows, nothing obvious as an exit. She looked first towards the wall with the fireplace; unremarkable -- and undetectable -- by human standards, Jill could detect something in it, behind it, a shift in the otherwise still air that she only just picked up on. Energy, more specifically electricity. It was probable that the unit powering the area around them was connected behind it, which made her hard eyes narrow as she focused on the painting that hung above the mantle. A depiction of a large dwelling on a cliff side, much of it painted in black -- and in one of the shadows beneath the cliff, perhaps disguised in the moon's rays, she caught a glimpse of something in the low light.

Glass? Plastic?

Lens.

They were being watched.]


There is a camera behind the picture.

[Jill's voice was low, brief, and utterly toneless. With that said, her attention abruptly shifted to the opposite wall, but it was blank. She took one step towards it, only to immediately stop and look down. Considering the temperature of the room, the floor was too cool in comparison. She turned in place, eyes sweeping the entirety of the floor with determined, single-minded focus.

She took a couple steps towards the room's center, gaze still downcast, nothing about her poise giving away just what was leading her, finally arriving at the covered couch. With little effort, she used one hand to push it back a couple feet, staring at the space beneath it; she crouched in place and ran one palm over the wood. It was even cooler, and the planks bent noticeably under a light push.]


Here.

[Fingernails traced the lines between the grain -- and caught where the wood rose barely a centimeter above the rest. Wresting the trap door open would have required more effort on a human level, but for Jill the motion was casual as she pulled it up and open, exposing a square just big enough for a person to drop through one at a time. The area past it was dark -- darker than the present room, even. Jill remained attentively on the hole's edge without moving, eyes locked on the black opening and body subtly tensed for anything that might come through.]

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