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The Sibling Project

S.A.A. Facility

a part of The Sibling Project, by Scar.-.

Sibling Allocation Act Facility

Scar.- holds sovereignty over S.A.A. Facility, giving them the ability to make limited changes.
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S.A.A. Facility is a part of The Sibling Project.

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The S.A.A. Facility is the location where are the siblings are taken after birth or discover. Here they are tested and experimented on for viability and usefulness. Only the most powerful are continued forward in their program, fashion into great weapons of mass destruction, while the others are formed into formidable soldiers. These siblings live in a special cell block under maximum security. They are the highest risk and most profitable of all the siblings. The crown jewels of the S.A.A.


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Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ivy Character Portrait: Vlad Character Portrait: Specter Character Portrait: Hanne Character Portrait: Hawke Character Portrait: Novak
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vlad
mind compulsion
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specter
intangibility
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ivy
syphon touch
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What day was it? Wednesday?... No, Thursday? Ivy had kept a tally of the numbers of days she has spent in that particular cell. Since there is never a warning from the guards when they might be moving you, she had no capabilities to count the previous number before they took her from gen pop, and threw her in here. She knew the years, could count out the days with relative success, but there was something about the tallies. She didn't make them large and obnoxious like you'd imagine, but hairline dashes no longer than a centimeter, evenly spaced along the wall. From more than two feet away, they were practically unnoticeable, looking to be no more than the texture of the wall.

But no matter how many tallies she made, that still didn't tell her the day of the week nor the date. They were given the luxury of knowing the date. After all, what could a date do? It didn't divulge the truth about the world outside the facility. It didn't tell them where in the world they were, why they were there and for what purpose. It simply told them how much time was passing as the world outside their walls continued to move forward, while they all remained static.

Ivy sat on the ground in her cell, with her back against the cool concrete. She stared across the small cube at the wall of tallies. The girl sighed softly, as she opened her journal to the page her finger held. The small leather bound book was her life line... Along with the dozens of others laid out chronologically on the shelf by her bed. It had always been hard, holding onto one's sanity inside a place like this. At least in gen pop there is an influx of numerous faces to talk to, or just people watch. But for the past fifteen years it had been the same five faces.

Writing seems to be her escape, much like the others have their own hobbies of choice. Her thoughts could flood out before her as journal entries, poems or even stories of events passed within this facility. Some of the stories within those books could damn the people within the building. That is, if some semblance of a well organized society existed outside of it. Some of the things written on those pages not even her other cellmates would believe. But that didn't matter. It wasn't for them, it was for her. A way to remember everything that had happened to her, to push past it but not forget.

She tapped her pen at the top of the page, where the date was still missing. It had been a couple days since she had written. You tend to lose track once it's more than two, everything blends together in a world without windows or a sense of day and night. Ivy's fingers flipped back to the last page of the journal, looking over her own crude depiction of what she imaged a calendar to look like. With a sigh, she scratched her head before speaking up. "Specter, what's the date?"

Blue eyes looked up from beneath a curly mess of hair. His hand moving an index finger to hold his place in his current read for the day. Specter let his legs slip out from underneath him, dangling over the edge of his bed. His left hand held his place while he brought the book to his breast as he stood. Due to good behavior... Or, better than most of the others anyways. The warden had allowed him a calendar. They figured what harm could knowing the date really cause? Either way, it was a rather basic calendar, pinned up on the wall with a thumbtack. There were no pictures of cute puppies or unrealistic scenery. Just the name of the month, with the chart of the days.

Big red X's crossed out the days past. Specter would have had no clue when one day ended or another began if it weren't for their clocks being set to military time instead of standard. 08 37. Why in the hell were they up at such a disgustingly early hour? It seemed as the years dragged on, the less sleep any of them could actually get. Eventually they stopped trying to fool themselves and just be up together. His right hand rustled his curly hair as his eyes skimmed the calendar. "It's uh... Monday, October 23rd, 2237."

Monday!? For the love of God. Ivy scoffed, raising her left hand to pinch the bridge of her nose. "Thanks, Spec." Even in a place without the knowledge of the standard nine to five work life, Mondays were still dreadful. There were no experiments on the Sundays, only angry guards pissed they had to spend their time at the facility. But during the week? Each one of them had a day. And Mondays? They were Hawke's day.

Ivy sighed as she wrote the date at the top of the page. She then held the pen between her teeth as she tried to make words of her thoughts. After a moment, her hand began to work, ink gliding along the page...



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Monday, October 23rd, 2237
Day : 9,983 9,984


Days flood together like an endless thread, forever being pulled from the spool. A stream of consciousness of reality, harder to catch than the rippling current.

...Where is my mind?

I feel myself overcome by the constant yearning. I long to know the touch.

Would it be soft or callous?

Books tell of the electric touch, a sensation of static electricity that tingles on the skin. A touch of the lips that sends chills down the spine and quivers in your base senses. Is love possible without connection? The intimacy of a touch, a kiss, a caress.

It's a reality out of my grasp, like the world beyond these walls. If I ever know freedom outside of this cage, will it be soar or sweet? Freedom. So final, with endless possibilities. But how savory can it be when you exchange one cage for another. An organ I can't escape...

My skin, a cage...

I need freedom.




Then her hand stopped, ink spilling from her pen as the period grew in size. Ivy slowly looked up from the page, and out through the glass wall towards the other cells. Her eyes scanned those that she could see, Vlad to Novak, then Hawke. She couldn't help the sense of dread that washed over as the day sunk in. It was always hard whenever one of them was taken away. When they return another tiny sliver of them has chipped away. While the experiments make most of them angry, she always felt like it broke Hawke's spirit. She feared for him. He helped everyone else through whatever hurdles came their way, but who was there for him when he needed it? Vlad was as helpful as a lock without a key. And Ivy?... She can't help anyone.

Her gaze lingered on Hawke for a long while, before falling back to her journal. Clenching her jaw, Ivy raised her pen to the page.

I need freedom.
We need freedom.

Specter stood there in his uniform and socks, staring blankly at the calendar. His left hand continuing to hold the book to his chest as his own handwriting glared back at him. Hawke written beneath 'Monday'. He rubbed his eyes with his right hand, before padding back over to his bed, plopping down on the lumpy mattress. They were all long past the point of encouragement before testing. They all knew what was coming. There is no preparation for it and nothing could be said that would make any of it better. The easiest thing, was moving on and acting like everything is normal... Or as normal as it can be.

Specter lifted his legs up, crossing them beneath himself. With a yawn, he opened the book, resting it in his lap. The text was... Well, ancient. The binding was held together by multiple temporary fixes with duct tape. It didn't have any predominant author, or significant title, simply reading 'Theology' along the plain green hardback cover. "There are over 4,200 religions in the world... Or at least there were in-" He flipped to the front of the book, searching for the copy right date. "1985."

"That's not even including ancient mythologies." How in the world could there be that many different religions? Specter couldn't even think of 4,200 names, let alone religions. "And that's just the religions. There are countless... Like millions upon millions of Gods throughout these religions." He sat there, somewhat dumbfounded as he looked between the book, Novak and Hawke.

Specter was an intellect, constantly wanting to soak up more knowledge. Sometimes that involved delving into subjects that were a bit ridiculous, and religion was definitely that for him. "I just don't get it. How can there be that many religions in the world... And every. single. person. sees their God—er Gods—as the proper ones. I feel like that would discredit the whole concept of a higher power all together if every Joe shmoe thought their God was the God."

He let his gaze fall back down to his book, flipping through the thesaurus of Gods, religions and all other unrealistic beliefs. "Evolution... Scientific fact has proved this with fossils, dinosaur bones and Neanderthals. But there isn't a single piece of proof anywhere, in the entire world, that these deities exist." Specter sighs turning the page. "...Unless you count a... Sharon Jackson's encounter with 'her guardian angel speaking to her' and she basically escaped some freak accident because she wasn't where she was supposed to be."

In Specter's mind, religion was a joke. Disregarding all the scientific facts that go against it, or the countless different religions in the world, he couldn't wrap his mind around why any God, that supposedly loved these human beings, would let shitty stuff happen to them. Like, if he was a God, you best believe his ass would zap every single guard in this facility... But then again, he'd never let anything like this happen in the first place. Judgement, a test. Bullshit. What is the purpose of putting anyone through that? It just doesn't make sense in his mind.

He scoffed as he continued to turn pages, skimming the book's contents. "I think I may actually be losing brain cells with this one." He chuckled, looking over at Hawke with a slight smile.

The moment Specter started talking, an internal switch in Vlad's mind shut his voice off. Out of everyone there, the kid just could go on and on and on. What he'd give for permission to say a sentence... Just one, single sentence. Shut the fuck up. It'd be that simple. Afro over there wouldn't be able to say another word until Vlad allowed him to, if he ever did. But no.

Vlad couldn't remember the last time he actually talked, using his own words. Not his brother as some conduit so that he wasn't a complete mute. The experiments and tests are one thing. None of that is free will. If even for a second he goes off script, they'll electrocute him so fast that he couldn't speak for a week, even if he wanted to. Fucking ridiculous. It wasn't like he chose this ability. It didn't work that way. It was like Wade Wilson... in those stupid comic books Specter read when he was fresh in this cellblock. The fuckers that ran this place just kept putting them through hell until something happened to them.

Sometimes he wondered if there was something he could have done to alter the outcome. Maybe if he would have acted differently, or... something, his ability could have been flight... Or super strength. It wasn't even that he hated it. Actually, he quite enjoyed the fact that people had to do whatever he said. It was the lack of freedom that came along with it. God, how he longed to just be able to speak his peace without having to rely on Hawke so heavily. Plus, he hated the way his brother filtered him unless they all were on an open channel mentally with each other.

He looked across the circular cellblock towards his brother. [ Ask Phantom of the Opera over there, if I say I'm Atheist, will he shut the hell up? ] Vlad smiled, although he knew his gag covered the lower half of his face, ear to ear.

Vlad laid back on his bed, reaching his left hand over the edge of the metal frame. He felt around for a minute before his fingers brushed the rough metallic strings of his guitar. He grasped its neck and hoisted it up into his lap. Once situated, he extended his legs up along the wall, crossing them at the ankles. He couldn't see Specter from his cell unless he molested the glass in the right corner. That was too much effort to give one nerd an evil glare.

"The ancient Greeks actually had a God of War. They—"

Vlad's right hand strummed quickly, while his left fingers furiously pressed different strings causing a fast and aggressive tone to reverberate around the cellblock. After Specter's voice faded off and he stopped talking, Vlad allowed his tune to slow to a calming and gentle melody.

When it seemed that Vlad was done, Specter spoke up again. "They literally had a God for everything, even—"

Then Vlad started up again. Specter groaned with frustration, chucking his book at the plexiglass wall that faced out towards the other cells. It hit the glass with a thud, then fell to the ground with a smack.

Pleased with himself, Vlad closed his eyes with a soft sigh. He tapped his crossed foot as he played a soft tune. It sounded something like a springtime lullaby. A gentle hymn that would blow through tall blades of grass as you laid out in a field, watching the clouds roll by overhead. For being such an asshole, Vlad always preferred calming songs. It kept him in a peaceful place, and helped ease tensions between the others. Not that he particularly cared how the others felt, but it made Hawke happy... So, it was one of the very few kind things he did on occasion.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ivy Character Portrait: Vlad Character Portrait: Specter Character Portrait: Hanne Character Portrait: Hawke Character Portrait: Novak
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novak
pocket dimensions
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hanne
bio manipulation
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hawke
telepathy
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Hawke sat quietly on the floor in a corner of his cell, watching Novak draw through their mind. Though their cells were right next to each other, which meant they couldn't see the other occupant, Novak often opened their senses for Hawke to occupy, knowing that being in someone else's head helped to calm him.

Novak was using charcoal today - the crayons were scattered under the bed, where they couldn't see them. In an uncharacteristically emotional state some days ago, they'd had a minor tantrum after returning from experimentation, set off by the bright colour of the crayons. Three had been broken in the process, and wouldn't be replaced for a while yet. Novak's privileges only extended so far. They hadn't had the heart to get rid of colours completely. Crayon drawings were still taped to the walls, all carefully arranged in an attempt to make something (anything) out of the uniformly white cell.

Novak was on the bed, pushed against the wall so that they could be as close to Hawke as possible (barring the wall between them), lying on their side. Hawke watched as Novak sketched a cylindrical structure, outlining barren land around it. Hawke had seen this before, it was another of Novak's takes on what the facility might look like. Always different structures involving circular shapes, always different landscapes on the outside - once a dense forest, once an island in the middle of the sea, once a platform of clouds in the sky. Personally, Hawke liked the barren field best, in such a place as evil as this it seemed highly unlikely that anything could grow and flourish around it.

It was quiet at first, with only the faint sounds of breathing and paper rustling in the air. Until Ivy's voice rang out, startlingly loud. "Specter, what's the date?"

The reply was softer, but no less jarring. Monday. Even if he weren't telepathic, Hawke could feel the tension radiating from Ivy's direction. They all knew Mondays were the worst, the guards eager to take out their frustrations of the previous day on whoever was lucky enough to attract attention. And they all knew the person who was usually the centre of attention on Mondays.

He could feel Ivy's gaze on him, but chose to ignore it, instead closing his eyes and tipping his head back, as if by pretending that the world didn't exist he could push the inevitable back by a few minutes. He loved Ivy, he really did, but on Mondays he was less inclined to forgive reminders of what was coming. He sank further into Novak's mind. [ So what happens next? ]

[ Wait. ] As Specter talked, Novak added a sky. Out of the sky came a shadow, which took shape under the stick of charcoal, forming a figure towering over the structure. Their hand paused briefly, looking up to glance at Specter reading, meeting his gaze with an ironic smile. "What if there's a God for everyone? And these Gods are all upstairs -" they jabbed the charcoal in the general direction of the ceiling, "fighting over who gets to do what? He was praying to me, no, he was praying to me."

It all bordered on absurdity, of course. People made up Gods the same reason they made up lies; to give themselves purposes and excuses. If there were Gods worrying over who was praying to them then the kids' Gods must have been sleeping the sleep of the dead, to have ignored their charges for all their lives. In here, purpose was false. It was sitting day in, day out, waiting for the pain then waiting for it to subside, learning every square inch of their stupid white cells.

Between Novak's drawing and Specter's reading, another voice popped into Hawke's head. A voice he hadn't actually heard with his own ears in a long time.

[ Ask Phantom of the Opera over there, if I say I'm Atheist, will he shut the hell up? ]

"I doubt it," Hawke responded, both verbally and mentally. Specter was like a spring, irrepressible. Press him down and he just bounces back up again. [ Sorry. ]

So of course Vlad chose to take matters into his own hands. The music was loud and discordant, and made Vlad's feelings clear. Hawke didn't try to stop his brother today. He was plain exhausted. Had they grated like this, forever? Suddenly he couldn't recall what it was like, trying to play mediator between everyone and everyone else.

At the sound of Vlad's guitar, Hanne jerked awake. She'd been curled up tightly under her blanket, sleeping about as well as she could given that everyone else was awake and talking, that is to say, pretty well, since she'd had literal years to adjust to it. She stretched her legs out, looking down at the mice that had been cupped in her hands from when she fell asleep last night practising on them.

Well, she was looking at the mouse that was cupped in her hands.

She bolted upright, glancing around. No sign of its partner anywhere, and there weren't many places it could hide. She placed the mouse on her pillow, poking a dent in its surface so it wouldn't slide off. "Stay there," she hissed, and when she was sure that the mouse had gotten the message she slid off the bed and peered underneath it, trying to see past Vlad's music and the residual blur of sleep. Still no mouse. "Where could...?"

Novak stayed quiet, adding features to the figure. It was becoming clear what they were trying to draw, clearly inspired by Specter's little trip into theology. The high forehead, the sardonic smile, the shadowed jaw... Novak was generally more funny with their words than with their drawings, but this one almost made Hawke laugh. Almost. No one in their right mind except Novak would draw Vlad as a God raining hellfire down on the facility.

Specter eventually gave up on his reading, and Vlad's music settled into something calmer as Novak put the finishing touches on the drawing. Underneath that, Vlad, God of War was written, underscored twice, and underneath that in smaller script, the reckoning. [ Think he'll like it? ]

[ I'm pretty sure he'll love it. ]

"V, peep this," Novak said out loud, at the same time directing Hawke to show his brother the drawing. Hawke concentrated, transferring the image from one brain to another, trying to keep from giggling. No doubt it would become Vlad's ultimate fantasy.

No matter how she looked, Hanne just could not find the stupid mouse. She'd checked the bed, the fence, nothing. "Has anyone seen my mouse?" she asked, still on her hands and knees on the floor. Maybe it'd climbed the fence somehow and gone off exploring in a different cell. Hopefully not Ivy's.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ivy Character Portrait: Vlad Character Portrait: Specter Character Portrait: Hanne Character Portrait: Hawke Character Portrait: Novak
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vlad
mind compulsion
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specter
intangibility
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ivy
syphon touch
outfitx|x#C7B29B


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Specter stared down at the book in his lap, making a crooked face. Ten commandments? Really? He scoffed, rolling his eyes more to himself than anything else. No murdering made sense, for obvious reasons. But where was the commandment 'thou shalt not be an asshole'? That'd be a good one. Hell, he might consider finding religion if that was somewhere within these thousands of ridiculous beliefs. He was having trouble finding which one of these religions seemed the most likely... Or least stupid. Kind of a toss up. Christianity, and any form of mythology was definitely off the table. He figured if he had to sign his soul over that moment, he'd probably be a buddhist. So far into his reading, a buddhist never hurt anyone. Hubble, peaceful, bald dudes.

He sighed, taking a break from the book momentarily, rubbing his forehead. Specter would rather read Finnegan's Wake... again, then this. But knowledge is knowledge. Well, that... And he was running out of books in the facility's shitty library. His hand rand down his face, tugging downward on his cheeks. When Spec opened his eyes, he was met by Novak's gaze, an ironic grin plastered on their face. "What if there's a God for everyone? And these Gods are all upstairs -" They motioned their drawing implement up above them before they continued speaking. "fighting over who gets to do what? He was praying to me, no, he was praying to me."

Specter tilted his head to the side, pursing his lips as he looked up towards the ceiling. "So, like... if there are some powerful dudes up there. Instead of fighting... I just want all of you at once to blast Vlad's cell with glitter... Please." He felt the menacing brunette's gaze through the concrete wall. But, Spec just sat there grinning ear to ear, looking between Novak and Hawke.

After a moment, he tapped to his wrist as if he was wearing a watch, then shrugged his shoulders. "I'm assuming nothing happened since I didn't hear a temper tantrum coming from my right."

Vlad mockingly moved his shoulders like he would if he could give a sarcastic laugh. [ You wouldn't be saying that if there wasn't two layers of bullet proof glass between us. ] He had grown tired of aggressively playing his guitar for the time being. It only worked temporarily with the twig. So, he simply continued arguing a one sided conversation in his mind. [ Because I'd fucking 'temper tantrum' all over your ass. ]

To be honest, Specter was lucky... Very lucky. If he wasn't Hawke's friend, Vlad would have found some way to beat his ass to a pulp years ago. Fuck the repercussions. It'd be worth it to shut him up for a good week... Or you know, forever. But then he'd have to deal with the wrath of his brother. Not that it was all that intimidating, but it wasn't an avenue that he was wanting to explore. Knowing Vlad's luck, there would come a time where he did something beyond forgiveness in his brother's eyes. He'd like to postpone that as much as possible, at least to some circumstance where he could defend his actions. Not shutting up an annoying know it all.

A blur of blonde shot up in the cell across the block from Vlad. He sighed through his nose, not wasting a sideways glance towards the bimbo. Sure, she was smart... Or whatever. But if there was anyone that had the potential to piss him off more than Specter, it was Hanne. At least the nerd had his head screwed on right when it came to the facility. Yeah, he pussed out often, following the rules and played the good prisoner. But Hanne, damn was she a mess.

"Where could...?" Vlad snorted back a laugh as he went back to strumming the calming tune on his guitar. Another day, another lost mouse. Like mother fucking clockwork. Stockholm, spazz, suicidal and whatever the hell Novak was. Somedays Vlad couldn't help but wonder if he wanted out of the facility more for the freedom... Or to be free of these basket cases? It really was a toss up.

"V, peep this," Novak called towards him, causing Vlad to quickly snap out of his own mind ramblings. His hands abruptly stopped playing as he propped himself up on his elbows, quirking his brows. After a moment he felt Hawke step into his mind, projecting an image before him. His dark gaze scanned the drawing of... Himself? He was reigning down all kinds of hell fury on this tartarus pit of a building. He couldn't help but smile underneath his gag, even chuckling slightly at the captions beneath it.

[ I hate to break it to you, Hawke... But, I think I got the better genes. I'm fucking sexy. ] Vlad turned his head towards his brother, raising a brow while nodding his head. [ If I didn't know better, Red, I'd say we've reached a new level in our relationship if you've started drawing me. ] He stretched his arms out, before crossing them under his head as he laid back down. [ The Reckoning. Capital "T". If I'm going to be your muse, I think I deserve some emphasis. ] Vlad teased before moving his hands back to his guitar. It seemed that seeing his own face as the subject of a drawing, as a God no less, put a little pep in his music game. The tune went from somber to almost omnipotent. Yes, it was definitely inflating his ego.

Ivy sat silently in her cell, tracing swirls in the corner of the page of her journal. She might have looked busy, but she heard everything... Well, everything that was said audibly, anyway. Sometimes she couldn't quite tell if she was happy or sad that she didn't seem to click into the group like some of the others. It was her own doing of course. In her mind, being overtly friendly would just make everything harder for her in the end. Making friends, or whatever else is dangerous. One accidental slip up and she could kill anyone she cared about. She'd rather not have friends, than the possibility of that.

She had long been zoning out as stared down at her open journal. Her bare feet extended before her on the cold concrete floor. Ivy only looked up when a small white blur started to move closer to her feet. She quickly glanced over seeing a mouse. The tiny animal moved its nose towards her toe. Ivy inhaled sharply, quickly withdrawing her knees towards her chest.

Ivy stared down at the mouse as it sniffed around the floor of her cell. It was rare, very rare for her to see an animal that wasn't a picture in one of Specter's books. It was tiny, small enough to fit in the palm of her hand. She could only imagine how soft the fur was and the warmth of its body as she held it. She desperately wanted to touch it, just for a second. Her hand slowly slipped from around her shins, falling to rest on the ground beside her. She didn't move, just watched as the curious animal scurried closer and closer to her.

The mouse was only inches away from her hand when she heard Hanne. "Has anyone seen my mouse?"

Ivy jumped up from the ground, hurrying over to the other side of her cell. She pressed her back against the opposite wall, her gaze fixed on the animal. She quickly grabbed her trash can, dumping out its contents on the ground. With a sigh, she carefully placed it over the mouse so that she didn't lose sight of it. [ I'm so sorry little guy. ] Ivy rested her hands on her waist as she took a deep breath trying to calm herself down. She couldn't believe that she almost gave into temptation and touched it.

Her hands raised to rub her eyes before running back through her hair. "Yeah, Hanne. It's here," she said softly as she stared down at the over turned trashcan. What in the hell was she supposed to do now?

After a long moment, Ivy walked over to her small nightstand. She threw open the top drawer, grabbing a pair of thick burlap gloves. She clenched her jaw slightly as she pulled them on, the hem reaching nearly to her elbow. She also put on a pair of socks, just in case. As prepared as she could be, Ivy lifted the trashcan, quickly picking up the mouse before it scurried off. She held her breath simply staring at the life she literally held in her hands. A gut wrenching sensation rose from the pit of her stomach, nearly bringing tears to her eyes. This little dumb animal seemed perfectly content in her hands. The beauty of innocence.

Ivy sniffled, forcing herself out of it. She turned towards the camera in the upper corner of her cell, waving her free hand to get whatever guard that was watching her to pay attention. After a moment or two of waving, she held up the mouse towards the camera, then pointed towards Hanne. Several seconds passed before a loud buzz could be heard. The invisible seam in the glass wall slowly appeared before the door pivoted outwards into the cellblock.

With the mouse in hand, Ivy slowly stepped out in the center of the large circular space. She turned to her left, stepping around the door as she moved towards Hanne's cell. She extended her hands through the open portion of the blonde's poor excuse of a cell door. Ivy didn't dare look up or make eye contact as she waited. "Here." Once the mouse was out of her hands, she added one final comment. "Keep a better eye on them... That one almost touched my foot."

With no more to say, Ivy pivoted on her heels as she pulled off her gloves, one finger at a time. When her gaze fell upon the cellblock door directly across from her, she stood in her place... frozen. It was right there. Nothing standing in her way. She couldn't see a guard on the other side through the window. All she would have to do is absorb a little bit of the energy from the locking mechanism, then run. She twisted the gloves in her hands, her bottom lip quivering slightly. It'd be so easy. Maybe she could even take off the jumpsuit down to her tank top and underwear. The guards wouldn't dare touch her and she'd be gone.

Then the red alarm light in the main area of the cellblock began to flash along with the warning alarm. She knew what it meant. Get back in your cell before the guards arrive. For one last fleeting moment, she contemplated running. That was... Until Ivy looked around the room and her gaze fell on Hawke. She finally breathed, tightly shutting her eyes as she beelined for her cell. Once inside, she shut the door behind her, throwing her gloves on the ground. She climbed onto her bed, crawling back to the corner where he couldn't see her. Her arms wrapped around her legs as she lowered her forehead down onto her knees. Ivy could have made it. She knew she could have. But, she didn't... because it was Hawke's day. If she got out, then he'd pay the price.

Nothing to see here. Move along, 2740136.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ivy Character Portrait: Vlad Character Portrait: Specter Character Portrait: Hanne Character Portrait: Hawke Character Portrait: Novak
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hanne
bio manipulation
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[ I hate to break it to you, Hawke... But, I think I got the better genes. I'm fucking sexy. ] The connection to Novak was still open when Vlad's comments to Hawke went through, so they heard Vlad loud and clear, barely able to stifle their laughter. As it was, they allowed a pleased smile to tug at their lips, though neither brother could see it. [ Sexy, my ass. I have the better jaw. ] Hawke shot back, his mood lightening marginally.

[ If I didn't know better, Red, I'd say we've reached a new level in our relationship if you've started drawing me. ] Vlad went on as if Hawke hadn't said - well, thought - anything. Novak continued to work on the drawing, adding finer details to it. "If it makes you stop being such a noisy jerk, I'll draw you as a different god every day. Of course, this means that Specter's going to have to tell me all about the different religions and their gods." Check, and mate. They turned back to Specter, waving. "No worry, Spec, I got him for you. Read me more later, please?"

The conversation went unheard by Hanne, who was still searching. She'd even checked the bathroom, making sure that the mouse hadn't gone down the drain. No dice, which meant that her fence's weak spot had been her downfall. And not for the first time, either.

"It's here," Ivy's voice called out. Hanne froze, a cold sensation beginning at her temples and spreading outward to encompass her skull. She wasn't afraid of Ivy, but if the researchers found out she'd lost the mouse out of her cell again, and to Ivy of all people, she could be in pretty big trouble. Hopefully the guards wouldn't tell, but it was difficult to gauge their erratic behaviour.

But here came Ivy, cradling the mouse carefully in her gloved hands. Hanne scrambled to her feet, pressing herself to the door of her cell, eyes wide. "Ivy! Thank you so much - I'm so sorry!" She caught the mouse as Ivy tipped it out of her hands, holding it close to her, making a mental note to ask for a little glue so she could fix the fence.

Seeing Ivy freeze a short distance from the door of her cell, Hanne tried to reach out, to maybe place a reassuring hand on her shoulder, but she was just too far away. Hanne's heart ached for Ivy, forced to be isolated, unable to touch any living thing for fear of hurting them. Physical touch should be comforting, calming, not a weapon. But then the siren came on and Ivy moved away, the distance between them growing larger and larger. Hanne pulled back, sitting down on her bed again, looking at the two mice reunited. Too bad they were meant for death anyway.

Hawke, who had fallen silent again, was watching Novak draw. [ Did you mean it? Would you really draw Vlad every day just to shut him up? ]

They hummed thoughtfully, smudging out a cloud with their thumb. [ Why, do you want a drawing every day too? Next thing Specter's gonna want them, then Hanne, then Ivy... and I rarely draw myself. ] They paused, thinking, considering Vlad's face on their drawing pad. [ Not just to shut him up, I guess. If it makes him happy, why not? He could use a little cheering up. ]

[ You know what, I don't think... ] Hawke was cut off by the alarm. He jerked upright from where he was slouched against the wall, and in his mind he saw Novak's hand jerk, gashing a thick, dark line across the paper. Over their panicked mutters of, "No, no, how will I fix this?" he slumped back down again, meeting Ivy's eyes for a moment as she scuttled back into her cell. She looked stunned, and between her facial expression and the klaxon Hawke's heart dropped like a stone down a well.

It wasn't long before the door leading into the cell block opened, and three armed guards stepped through, heading straight for Hawke's cell. His door swung open, and the guards motioned towards him. Sighing heavily, Hawke stood, shoving his hands into his pockets. When the guard closest to him tensed, he turned the pockets inside out, showing that they were empty. "Nothing, okay? Don't shoot me," he snapped irritably. "Don't worry, I'll be back before you know it," he said quietly to Ivy as the guards led him past her cell, not wanting her to worry. "I'll be fine."

The door to the cell block slid closed behind him, his silhouette fading quickly as he headed for the labs.

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Character Portrait: Ivy Character Portrait: Vlad Character Portrait: Specter Character Portrait: Hanne Character Portrait: Hawke Character Portrait: Novak
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Vlad rolled his eyes when he heard the laughter that came from Novak and Hawke. His hands softly strummed at the guitar, more as a way to keep his hands busy rather than rudely tuning anyone out... At least, not yet. [ Sexy, my ass. I have the better jaw. ] Ironically, it was the time old argument between the two. Leave it to twins to argue about who is better looking. Plus, everyone could tell... It was Vlad, obviously.

[ Yes, because that's the first thing chicks notice. 'Oh, look at that jawline. Swoon.' ] Vlad's hands froze and brows furrowed after he spoke. Actually, neither one of them knew what women thought. Aside from Ivy, Hanne and Novak, their exposure to women is quite limited. Their opinions of what makes a guy attractive or not is biased due to the simple fact they've all spent every waking moment together for over a decade.

"If it makes you stop being such a noisy jerk, I'll draw you as a different god every day. Of course, this means that Specter's going to have to tell me all about the different religions and their gods."

Fuck. Vlad pursed his lips behind his gag. Like he did whenever he was frustrated or out done, he grew quiet. His attention moved back to his hands as he played his instrument with more purpose. He should have known better, it was nothing knew. It seemed that most of them were chomping at the bit to put Vlad in his place. Came with the territory. But if he had to put his money on someone, Novak was always the one who gave him the most shit. You'd think it'd be Hawke... But nope, not even close.

"No worry, Spec, I got him for you. Read me more later, please?"

Specter grinned, shooting Novak a finger gun with a mouth click to confirm. "You bet." He couldn't help but find enjoyment at the way Novak liked to bug Vlad. Although Spec couldn't hear the mind linked conversation, he could put two and two together to figure out what Vlad was saying, simply because Novak was kind enough to respond verbally.

When the alarm sounded in their cellblock, Specter's brow furrowed as he pushed up off his bed, shoving the book aside. He hurried to the glass wall that faced out towards the other cell. He had to hug the right corner to catch a glimpse... Ivy somehow was out of her cell, but quickly slipped back into her room. "Huh," he hummed to himself as he slowly pivoted on his heel and headed back towards the bed. It wasn't often that he heard that alarm go off. Usually, it was a type of warning to tell them they were doing something wrong, which he could only assume it was directed at Ivy.

Specter didn't have to be a telepath like Hawke to figure that she probably wanted to attempt another escape. She definitely had the running score. Being outside her cell, half of the battle was over. She was smarter than some people gave her credit for. Spec didn't doubt she was forming some sort of plan in her mind. After all, if she could have found a way out of the cellblock quickly... She could have covered some serious ground before any guards caught up with her. His thoughts were promptly cut off when he heard the door to the cellblock unlock. He spared a glance through the walls out into the hall, gauging the guards. Instead of bombarding Hawke's mind with thoughts of dread and worry... Spec stuck his nose back in his book, barely sparing a glance upwards towards the passing guards.

Ivy heard the door to the cellblock open, causing a knot to grow in her stomach. She quickly pushed off her bed and ran to the glass wall. As if almost forgetting entirely, she instantly thought they were coming for her. She was out of her cell too long... Maybe they wanted to reaffirm that there was no possible way to escape. But they continued right past her cell like she wasn't there. She sucked her bottom lip between her teeth when they stopped before Hawke's cell. She watched quietly as he exited his cell, turning out his pockets for the skittish guards.

They lead Hawke back through the cellblock towards the door. As they passed her cell, she was met by Hawke's gaze. "Don't worry, I'll be back before you know it," he said quietly so only she could hear. "I'll be fine." She nodded her head towards him, watching as he was lead out of the cell block.

After a moment, Ivy's gaze drifted across the block towards Novak who looked like she was still trying to fix her drawing. "Sorry Novak," she said, twiddling her fingers slightly. "Can you fix it?"

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Vlad had lost track of how much time had passed since they came to get Hawke. It felt different that day. He personally didn't have a clock, but it felt longer than normal. On experiment days, whomever was in the labs always missed lunch. But, lunch had come and gone awhile ago. Still no Hawke. His discomfort continued to grow slowly, and came across through his guitar playing. When he heard the cellblock door open, Vlad nearly fell with how quickly he jumped up from his bed and hurried towards the plexiglas wall. A pit instantly grew in his stomach when he saw different guards enter the cellblock without his brother.

He didn't like this. Where was his brother? Vlad crossed his arms, tapping his fingers against his bicep impatiently as the anxiety grew. What in the fuck was going on? What he'd give for his voice right now.

"Time for dinner. You know the drill," one of the guards said towards them.

Specter could sense the animosity and anxiety coming from Vlad. He didn't even have to see it to guess what he was feeling with the absence of Hawke by dinner. That was not normal. Only on the rare occasion had one of them been kept past the standard amount of time. Usually it was either Ivy or Vlad for when they acted out. But, Hawke didn't do anything, so why wasn't he back. Something was off and it didn't sit right with Spec.

With a sigh, he closed his eyes allowing his vision to flow through his eyelids, passing through the walls towards one of the guards that moved over to the keypad beside the entrance. He watched intently as the man's fat fingers typed in a combination... 239763. Then all at once, their cell doors swung open. Specter then slowly opened his eyes, quickly trying to recite the numbers to memory as he stood up from his bed and moved to line up in the center of the cell behind Vlad.

When Ivy heard the guard her heart skipped a beat. What? No? Her hands trembled slightly as she tried to open her bottom nightstand drawer, pulling out her straight jacket. She tried to calm herself as she slid her hands through the sleeves, and moved to stand with her back towards the center of the room. One of the guards moved up behind her, fastening the belts of the jacket. Between the toxicity of her skin and excessive escape attempts, they felt the need that whenever transporting her to keep Ivy in a straitjacket. She hated it. It made her feel like she was some sort of psych patient, unstable and insane. When in reality it was their only solution to keep her hands covered and arms restrained.

As always, the guard stayed behind her with one hand securely holding the back of the jacket, ushering Ivy forward like cattle. "Where's Hawke?" she finally asked. Vlad looked back towards the raven hair girl in silent appreciation of her asking the question he was dying to know the answer to.

"Who?" the guard asked in a monotone as he shoved her forward to follow the procession line towards the cafeteria.

"...Hawke—uhhh, 2746? Where is he?" The guards in the facility were dumb as a bag of rocks most days. They as refused to acknowledge the names they had given each other. Although, under constant observation, how could they not know? It was aggravating. When it was just the group, sometimes they could fool themselves into thinking they were somewhat normal. But, once in front of the guards they felt like cattle being lead to the slaughter. They were locked away in pins, given a number not a name, herded through life on their schedule until their time has come and usefulness spent.

"Classified."

It wasn't long before they reached the tiny cafeteria. They weren't allowed to eat with the others in the facility since they were moved to max. They even outfitted this particular room to hold them similarly to their cells but larger. The walls were charged with electricity so Specter couldn't simply run through them. Each of them had their own table, all of them identical aside from Vlad's. His was inside a small sound proof glass box.

Vlad was the first one into the cafeteria. He moved through the room, opening the door to the small box. Meal time was always the worst for him. He wasn't a fan of tight small places. His cell was big enough that it never really affected him, but sitting in something the size of a refrigerator box was discomforting. He took a deep breath, trying to remain calm as he sat down before the small ledge in the box that held his meal. Once the door shut, the locking mechanism on his gag disengaged, allowing him to remove it.

"What the fuck is this?" he asked himself as he made a distasteful face down at the food on the tray. His voice sounded scratchy and stressed from little use. Vlad always tried to make it a point during meals to talk and exercise his vocal cords, even if he had to talk to himself.

Specter's seat was a typical picnic styled table but made entirely of metal, similar to Novak's. His table was directly hook up to an electrical current that was switched off. But someone not in the room probably had their hand on the trigger, eyes pealed on the security monitors, so the second he moves beyond taking a bite of food they could give him a good zap. Luckily for him this only happened on a couple occasions because of a twitchy guard.

Ivy was lead to her table which had nothing spectacular or special with it. Simply just making her sit alone was plenty. The guard unhooked the straitjacket so that she could remove it. With her hands free, she ringed her fingers together, staring down at the plate of food, another form of torture. Mystery meat with frost bitten peas and... some kind of goop. But she couldn't eat and neither could Vlad or Specter by the look of things. All of them on edge with the absence of Hawke. Ivy's knee bounced nervously as she mindlessly poked at her food with a fork.

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Character Portrait: Ivy Character Portrait: Vlad Character Portrait: Specter Character Portrait: Hanne Character Portrait: Hawke Character Portrait: Novak
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They took him a block further than usual. This wing of the facility seemed relatively unpopulated, even considering that in their wing - or at least on their floor - it was usually just the six of them and a small cavalry. Hawke wouldn't have thought it possible, but here it was even more unwelcoming, the air colder, the walls whiter, every footfall echoing down the same hallways; and all the while the still air wavered uncertainly, as if trying to decide if it should let them through or not. His escorts had curiously blank minds, focusing on nothing more than what was in front of them.

Hawke grew anxious, but he kept his breathing even, his expression blank, moving forward at the same pace as he always did. A vision of him getting tased flickered across one of the guards' minds, a vision charged with so much hate and vindictiveness that it almost made him wince. "In here," one of them said abruptly, the entire party - except Hawke - turning right, into a door that he hadn't noticed.

The room was fairly bare, with a large padded chair with restraints in the centre and drawers lining the far wall. Doctor Pender was standing by the door, scribbling in her notepad. She didn't look up when Hawke was brought in, only gestured at the chair. "In there, please, 2746. No need to worry, just sit down." The guards moved to restrain him, but the doctor waved them off. "That won't be necessary. Leave us, please. I hardly think the presence of four mooks is necessary." This statement was probably not true, given that Hawke was almost a head taller than her, and almost certainly stronger. None of the guards looked all that pleased, but they left the room anyway. Suddenly it seemed much larger than it had been before, and Hawke felt strangely vulnerable, leaning back in the half-reclined chair. He tried to get comfortable, but as soft as the chair was there was no way he could be comfortable, not lying here like a specimen for the doctor's examination. Slender and mousy as she looked, the doctor was much more dangerous than anyone would give her credit for on first sight.

"So. 2746." Pender's voice was mild, betraying no emotion, but Hawke could feel a tenseness humming in the room, barely there. She approached the chair, standing over him. "How have you been? Healthy? Passing your time well?"

She continued talking, not giving Hawke a chance to respond. He had the distinct feeling she was just trying to get what she needed to say to make him feel better over and done with, so she could get to the real reason he was there. "Because, love, I'm not certain if you think all that time alone has been enough time to perfect your craft, or if you think practice with us has been incredibly beneficial, but you're wrong. And a little too confident in yourself." She frowned, refusing to make eye contact with him, instead keeping her eyes fixed on her notepad. "Rather like 3778. But that can't be helped. I suppose it was our fault, not training you well enough, but as it turns out that's helped us to discover your little secret, hm?"

She finally looked up, meeting his eyes sharply. He could only lie there, paralysed with nerves, unsure what she was getting at, although he had a sinking feeling she was going to tell him soon, and then maybe hurt him for it. "You've been poking around places you shouldn't be." She considered him for a moment, as though - hah - trying to read his mind.

"I, uh, no. I haven't," he said, very intelligently. As if refuting his claim, all the memories of what he'd heard and seen came floating back to the surface - all the passcodes, all the classified files, all the snippets of plans he'd pulled from the facility's staff's minds flooding back. It wasn't enough for him to fully understand yet, but he had a very good idea of what was going on. And he didn't like it.

Pender shrugged. "That's okay. You don't have to confirm it with me. I just need you to tell me what you know. And after you tell me, I'll give you a lollipop and you can go back to your friends." She seemed to find that idea very amusing. "No experimenting, no practice today. It's that easy. Just tell me what you found."

He shook his head. "No, Doctor. I don't know what you mean."

Disappointment tinged the air. She shrugged again, sitting down in a chair and wheeling herself to a phone that sat on the counter. "Suit yourself. I'm not a very persuasive person, but I think you'll find Doctor Jelen much more so. Hey, you can come in." This last part was spoken into the phone.

The door swung open almost immediately, and a spindly sort of man came in. His nose was sharp, his eyes sharp, and his fingers were so thin and long and they ended in fairly sharp points. Hawke had never met this doctor before, but he sensed that this was a man he should fear. "Doctor Jelen here is relatively new," Pender explained as she began putting the restraints on Hawke. "So he's not had much experience managing you, but I'm sure he's a quick learner. You're all one and the same, anyway."

Disdain dripped from Pender's voice, but Jelen seemed much more unaffected. He moved quickly, pressing something between Hawke's teeth. "No stranger to this, I hope." Hawke was way too alarmed by the flippant glee coming from Jelen to fight back in time, thrashing against the already-tight restraints. Something cold and slimy was smeared across his temples, and then lightning was blinding him. From somewhere, very far away it seemed, he could hear a woman's voice. [ This is what they called me in today for? What an absolute waste of time. ]

"Still not talking?" A man speaking above his head. The pain, oh god the pain. How long had they been at this? He was trying so hard to manage the pain. [ Compartmentalise it. Put it away elsewhere. I'm not talking. ] Easier said than done. He thought his brain might burst, if he kept trying to shove the pain elsewhere.

"Please. I can't see. Please." He couldn't remember what was happening. He hadn't been able to see anything in a while. He couldn't move his arms. Everything hurt. That sharp face in his mind. But he wouldn't tell. He couldn't tell.

An eternity later. Hands grabbing at him, pulling him upright. "Useless... tomorrow if necessary..." someone was saying. Not him. He couldn't talk. Cold trails down his face, lead in his head. Felt himself being pulled along. When could he sleep?

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It'd been way too long. A pit sat in Novak's stomach, the sounds of Vlad's guitar gnawing at it. They didn't want to tell him to shut up, but it was this close to driving them nuts. If they didn't watch themselves they would snap their charcoal, and that wasn't something they needed. Everyone was just passing time, the way they always did, but somehow today had them more on edge than usual. Hanne had killed and reanimated the mice a half dozen times, watching the way their flesh decayed a little each time, but her hands shook as she patched them up. It had been far too long. As if sensing the wrongness in the room, the mice squeaked loudly, nipping at Hanne's fingers when she tried to pick them up. Blood welled up, staining the stupid mouse's fur, and she snatched her hand back. "Ow!" She dropped them back into their cage - carefully, resisting the urge to use more force than necessary - and hurried to rinse her finger under the tap. No bandages, but she cleaned the wound carefully and sat on her bed, cradling her hand, eyes closed. She saw the wound, pulled her consciousness deeper into the bite, and started fusing cells together, stitching the wound closed mentally.

It had barely closed all the way when the guards returned. "Time for dinner. You know the drill." Hanne stood up, waiting by the door to her cell. Across the way, she saw Novak do the same, holding their hands out in front of them to show that they weren't opening any gateways. A guard entered and grabbed Hanne by the collar, shoving her out to join the line forming in the central cell area. She briefly considered protesting, knowing that it wouldn't work.

"Where's Hawke?" Novak, preoccupied with the tight grip the guard had on their forearm, almost missed the answer. [ Classified, what an entirely unhelpful answer. ] But of course, with Hawke missing, no one could hear them.

That day's food was the same. A slab of overcooked meat, undercooked peas, and...mash? Novak, never in the habit of eating much, pushed their food around, then looked up at the others, who were doing more or less the same, even Hanne, who normally finished everything on her plate. Knowing they'd need a bit of energy if they were going to keep Hawke company after he returned from his weekly ordeal, they tried to take a few bites of the meat. Their throat seemed swollen shut, the food sticking in it going down.

Out of curiosity more than necessity, Hanne stuck her spoon in the pile of - something - and licked it off, trying to figure out what it was. Smooth and slightly salty, which told her nothing. It could have been cement mix with salt thrown in and she would be none the wiser. After the shock and pain of the bite, she didn't feel like eating much. Next to her Specter didn't seem to be eating much either. Something in the air poisoning everyone, and not a kind of ailment she could fix.

On the other end of the room, a door slammed open, and something shuffled through. It took Hanne a moment to realise what she was looking at; Hawke, being shoved along by four guards. They moved as one unit towards Hawke's table, depositing him unceremoniously in his seat. Hawke didn't seem to notice that he was seated weirdly, his posture lopsided. Instead, he just sat there, upper body listing to one side, until the weight carried him forward and he slumped forward, the side of his face pressed against the cold surface of the table, right beside his plate. One arm was resting on the table, but the other was hanging limply in midair, swinging a little.

"Hawke!" Novak called, alarmed, and made to stand from their table. The guard activated their table almost instantly, and a quick jolt shot through Novak's body. Their legs went weak instantly, and they collapsed back into their seat. The sudden surge of adrenaline from fear got them over it quickly enough, and though they remained seated they faced Hawke, trying to get his attention. His eyes were open and he was breathing, but he wasn't responding, instead staring blankly in Ivy's direction.

Hanne swung around, wishing she could hurry to Hawke's side. Instead, after seeing Novak get shocked for their trouble, she turned to the nearest guard. "Please, can I go to him? It won't be long," she pleaded, but he simply shook his head, a final gesture.

Everything felt as if it was coming from very far away. He felt something cold, and he heard yelling, and he could feel the alarm and fear in the air, but it was so very far away. Was he dreaming? He didn't think so, but he couldn't remember how he'd gotten into this situation.

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Character Portrait: Ivy Character Portrait: Vlad Character Portrait: Specter Character Portrait: Hanne Character Portrait: Hawke Character Portrait: Novak
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When the door to the cafeteria slammed open, Vlad nearly jumped out of his seat. He pressed his hands to the glass wall, staring in the direction of the door. The guards shoved Hawke into the cafeteria and he looked closer to a zombie than a human. The guards guided him to his seat, where he sat odd and weak. Then Hawke slumped over, slamming into the surface of the table like a lifeless heap. Vlad slammed his hands against the barricade of his cube, screaming bloody murder... Although not making a sound to the outside world.

"You sons of bitches! What did you do to my brother! I'll fucking kill you for this! I'll kill you all for—" When Vlad went to punch the glass again, the entire box buzzed with electricity. His teeth gritted together while his body held to the walls to keep himself from falling to his knees. "What's wrong with my b-b-brother!?" The electrical current raised in voltage, striking him again. This time not stopping until he fell to his knees, convulsing uncontrollably.

Specter tensed in his seat. His eyes glued to Hawke, much like the others. What in the world did they do to him? He was certain he never saw Hawke like that before in all the years they've been in the same cellblock. Spec nervously twiddled his fingers as he looked between his tray and his zombified friend. What did this all mean? Would this happen to the rest of them this week? He couldn't help but wonder if this was punishment for something, or if they stopped showing signs of improvement. There was no way for him to know because Hawke wasn't giving them anything, not even the blink of an eye.

"Hawke!" Novak stood up from their table before Specter could say anything to stop them. He flinched as their table was activated, sending an electrical current through the metal surface into Novak. What could they do? Nothing. Everyone would have to sit there in an agonizing silence until they were escorted back to their cells. Only then might they be able to get Hawke's attention or something. Specter just tried his best to remain calm, his fork mindlessly stabbing at the food on his tray.

Ivy dropped a spoon full of mashed potatoes in her lap when Novak was electrocuted. Not that she was trying to eat it. Her body had been frozen, just watching Hawke in disbelief since he entered the room with the spoon held before her mouth. She looked down at the mush in her lap for only a moment before she looked back at Hawke. Her heart sank like an anchor. He was looking right towards her but his expression was blank... Almost like he was looking through her instead of actually seeing her.

"Please, can I go to him? It won't be long," Hanne asked the guards. Ivy glanced over her shoulder towards the blonde, hoping the guards would make an exception for once in their lives... But it came to no avail. They shook their heads at Hanne, remaining silent, observing them as they all sat frozen, staring at Hawke.

After a moment, Ivy's hand shot up in the air like asking a question in elementary school. "I need a napkin." She turned her body enough so that the guards could see where the lukewarm mush was already sinking through the fabric and staining her jumpsuit. She waited patiently until one of the guards nodded their head towards her. Ivy pushed off the edge of the table as she stood, and made her way past the other tables. She came to a stop at a small cart against the wall that held extra napkins, utensils and things of that nature.

As she wiped the food from her clothes, Ivy would occasionally peak over her shoulder to gauge where the guards were in relation to Hawke. She didn't quite know what she was doing, but something had to be done. She took a deep breath and chucked the dirtied napkin into the trashcan. Her path back to her own table intentionally lead her right past where Hawke sat. The closest guards were... several feet away. It wasn't much time, but...

Ivy quickly diverted, sitting down beside Hawke. She had an extra napkin cupped in her hand as she lightly placed her palm on the side of his face, being sure her skin didn't touch his. She leaned her head down so that she was at eye level with him, forcing him to make eye contact. "Hawke? Come on, say something." She inhaled sharply, hearing the guards shuffle after her. "Your brother is really—" A hand grabbed the back of Ivy's head, slamming her face down into the metal surface of the table.

She winced, her ears ringing from the hit. The guard's hand held her head down on the table. Ivy could feel a small pool of warm liquid puddling where her forehead hit the surface. She kept her gaze fixed on Hawke as she called back to the guard that held her. "I wasn't trying to hurt him!"

As the man went to grab a fist full of her hair and pull her away, his hand brushed her cheek. He quickly retreated, holding his hand to his chest. The veins started changing to a sickly black, slowly extending out from the point of contact. A deep red rash quickly forming where he touched her. "Fucking bitch!"

Another guard quickly stepped in, putting gloves over his hands. He slammed Ivy's head into the table once more, before using her hair to rip her from her seat and throw her to the ground. "I knew you were always unstable, 2623. But, I never pegged you for a murderer," the guard said before bringing back his leg and landing a heavy kick in her gut.

Ivy gasped, her right hand clawed at the ground while her left held her abdomen. "No." She coughed. "No... I'm not a killer."

The guard kicked her shoulder, causing Ivy to roll over onto her back. He moved to stand over her, then crouched down. His right hand clutched her neck, raising her upper body by his tight hold on her throat. Ivy gasped for air, clawing at the guard's hold on her. The entire time, Ivy continued to repeat the same thing in her head over and over hoping that if Hawke tried to tap in, he'd hear it. [ I'm ok. Don't do anything. ]

Ivy tried to remain as calm as she could so that she didn't hyperventilate and pass out. The guard's free hand tore away one of Ivy's, before he pinned her wrist down under his boot. "Then what is it you think you were doing?" She parted her lips, trying to speak, but as she did so his gripped tightened. "I'm sorry, what?"[/color] He asked, cocking his head to the side as if he was trying to listen. "I can't hear you."

Her voice cracked as she strained through the guard's grasp to speak. "I just... wanted... to help him."

"Oh?" He looked to toward the other guards with a smug expression. "She wanted to help."

Ivy coughed. "What use is he... If he's braindead?" she asked through gasps. The guard's grip loosened if only a fraction. His expression shifting slightly at the realization. "Let Hanne help him..." Then his hold went even tighter, now threatening not to just cut off her breathing but suffocate the life from her. It brought tears to her eyes as she fought through straining breaths. "Vlad... will be useless... without his brother."

Then it truly hit the guard. He didn't release Ivy, but froze where he held her. A quiet murmur was heard coming from the guard's ear piece but she couldn't make it out. After a moment, he groaned, then threw her to the ground forcefully. She coughed and gasped for air, not moving from where she laid.

"1033," the guard said, pointing towards Hanne. "You have two minutes." His attention then turned back towards Ivy as the other guards moved to observe and time keep for Hanne. He crouched down beside her, using his index finger to brush her raven locks back from her face. "And you... I don't like being made a fool of. You have five minutes."

Before Ivy could ask what he meant or brace herself, he back handed her right across the face. She didn't fight back, or say anything. Ivy accepted the punishment in silence. She didn't dare make eye contact with the others, instead focusing her gaze on the ground. The hits were countless and kept coming. Five minutes felt like five hours. She suffered through the punches, kicks and tasing. Her eyes closed as she tried breathe steadily, but after each hit her breaths became more labored and painful.

Specter tensed where he sat. He tried to remain stoic but couldn't help flinching every time he heard another blow hit Ivy. He could hear her rough breathing, gasps and coughs. But, he never heard her beg for them to stop, never heard her cry out or scream. Spec didn't have to watch to know that she was taking it bravely. He had seen many aftermaths of her beatings, but never witnessed it himself... Only once, did he look over his shoulder towards her.

The guard didn't let up or care that she was a woman. He beat her like he would be a man double her size. With each hit, there were more bruises and blood. But, there was never a falter in Ivy. He admired her bravery. Spec could no longer stomach watching, instead silently pushing his tray away. Whatever appetite he may have had, completely gone.

Ivy's ears were ringing and deafened by the pounding of her own blood. Her vision became unfocused and crossed. She didn't notice when it had stopped, not until the guard forced her up on her knees. He said something to her, but it fell on deaf ears. Ivy went to open her eyes, but only the left listened. Her right already beginning to swell shut. Her eye blinked slowly, trying to see through the dizziness. The guard held her straitjacket out before her, waiting impatiently. She raised her arms best she could, allowing him to put it back on her and lock it behind her back.

"Don't you fucking move."

She didn't move. On her knees, Ivy rested her weight back on her feet. Her head was hung low as her raven hair surrounded her face like a black curtain, hiding the others from her view. She winced slightly when her tongue brushed her split lip. She spit the blood from her mouth onto the floor as silent tears ran down her cheeks. Ivy didn't spare a glance towards Hawke to see if anything she did helped. Instead, she stared blankly at the ground. Her mind kept repeating something she heard Specter read over and over again. [ Pain is real. But, so is hope. ]

Vlad watched in utter shock in silence. There were numerous splatters and small puddles of blood on the ground behind Hawke's table. Out of everyone, he never expected Ivy to be the one to step up. She was always the type to run away and keep to herself. But, not that day. She walked right into lion's den. She had to have known what she was getting into just by sitting down beside Hawke, let alone touching him. Vlad always saw Ivy as more black and white... Now, he didn't quite know what he thought about her. He couldn't thank her, even if he wanted to. But, he also wouldn't forget what she did for Hawke. Down the road, whatever it may be, he owed her.

Nothing to see here. Move along, 2741033.