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Jack Rass

"Give me a minute to write that down..."

0 · 260 views · located in The 'Asylum'.

a character in “The First Signs of Madness”, as played by AugmentationAudit


Name: Jack Rass.
Age: 18.
Height: 6ft 6in.
Weight: He is rather self conscious of his weight, which is below what he would like at the present.
Appearance: Jack is a very tall young man who is currently quite slim. He wears his dark red hair long; well cared for and hanging to his elbows. He has very dark eyes.
Species: Human.
Strengths: Jack is analytical when required and is logical over spontaneous. He doesn't panic overly, even in unusual situations. He is polite, and tends to think before he speaks. He suffers from Transient Global Amnesia, and wears a medi-alert bracelet stating this.
Weaknesses: He can be seriously scatter-brained at times, and although polite, is very awkward around women.
Location before waking up: The last thing he remembers is being at Gatwick Airport with his identical twin brother. He can't actually remember where they were heading, but doesn't find this unsettling given his predisposition towards memory loss. However, waking up sans his brother is a distressing occurrence.


Jack is polite and easily unsettled, though not easily frightened. His personality remains unchanged, even when he is suffering a TGA episode, and although he finds these times daunting, he is often aware enough to work out what is happening to him through the aid of his medi-alert bracelet and his wallet, both of which highlight his condition.

He doesn't enjoy physical activity, and can often be quite lazy when it comes to things other than ballroom dance, which is a passion of his. He greatly dislikes comments on his 'lack of masculinity', finding such things both offensive and distasteful.

He is very close to his identical twin brother, Vinny.

So begins...

Jack Rass's Story


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jack Rass Character Portrait: Kieko Harlong Character Portrait: Trephan Bethlem Character Portrait: Nurses of the Asylum Character Portrait: Doctor Solaris Dae
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Television Room.

Sam wasn’t feeling any happier about the (admittedly dire) situation in the lounge, but there was no disguising the heavy surge of relief that coursed through him when Aveline decided to sit down. It was foolish, and very possibly unforgivably naïve, but he felt a great deal safer when that particular patient was below head level; not safe enough to move away from his carefully chosen position between them all and the door, but still better than he had some ten minutes previously.

Unfortunately for Sam, he was neither overly tall nor overly strong, and there was just no way that he’d be able to successfully contain more than one of the people in the room should all hell break loose. Sam cast a careful look at Jack- if that particular young man decided he wanted to get out of the room, he could very easily go through all of them to get it, which was not the most comforting of thoughts. However, there was no point in worrying when things had become a little more civil, so-

“Clothes? Uh, yeah, I think I can sort that out for all of you. It would probably be a good idea, actually; it can’t be very nice to be in grubby pyjamas. Normally, we’d be a bit better organised around here, but this morning things have gotten a bit away from us, and I’m really very sorry for that. I’ll sort it all out now.”

Carefully, because it would be more than stupid to turn his back fully on any of these people, Sam moved forward, cracking the door open and calling softly for assistance.

Meanwhile Jack, who was not too proud to admit that he’d been zoning in and out of awareness while this all was going on, blinked himself back into focus, looking wearily around the room. “I think I’d like some different clothes too, if that’s at all possible,” he said quietly, plucking at what was left of his outfit with long, pale fingers. “I’m not all that warm.”

It was hardly surprising, given that he was shirtless, a fact that Jack found less discomforting that he would have imagined before. Maybe it was the shock, though it was more likely his rigid hold on his stage persona that was preventing him from flailing and blushing ridiculously at being trapped in a room with three women, stripped bare save for a pair of baggy grey trousers.

“It looks like Sam’s getting us something to wear. I hope he is. This- I need to get out of these clothes. We all need to- put something different on.” Keiko sounded a little less hysterical now, but there was still an undercurrent of fear in her hoarse voice. “And- then I guess we can- there. Um. We’ll see what happens then, I guess.”

Trephan, of course, was totally aware of what was going on, right down to Lauren’s appearance outside with fresh clothing for all of them as per Sam’s hasty request. It was lucky such things were kept on hand; Sam’s anxious mental chatter was beginning to reach headache inducing levels. As a result, Keiko smiled tremulously when the male nurse reappeared with several stacks of laundry in his arms.

“Uh, boys, I’m afraid you’re going to need to step outside with me for a minute. This is Lauren; she’s going to stay in here with the girls while they get changed.”

There was no missing the sudden confidence in Sam’s voice now that he was standing beside someone who he classed to be ‘on his side’; Keiko’s smile became more genuine.

Intensive Treatment.

“You read Shakespeare? How positively delicious, and one of my favourites too. I really am ever so glad; it’ll give us so very much to talk about while we get all of this nastiness out of the way. I must say, it does make things ever so much easier, when there’s a little bit of conversation to keep things going.”

Doctor Dae’s voice was thick with a rich, cloying amusement as she carefully removed her uniform piece by piece, neatly folding each item of clothing and setting it on the trolley beside her before moving onto the next. She continued to talk, apparently uninstructed, as she did so, seemingly as confident in her skin as she was in her clothing; there was no shame in her posture, only amusement.

“I have a very real appreciation for Romeo and Juliet. ‘That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love’! Ah, the very best of ironies, and such a bitter one too, don’t you think? The fool public reads such a thing as tragedy, the forever what-if that enslaves the masses and turns their minds to bittersweet and melancholy; they class it as beauty, as one of the very best of plays, and yet they grieve for such things in reality.”

She shrugged a bare shoulder, naked save for her underwear and quite perfect, but almost unnaturally so; she had a fine body and flawless, honey-gold skin, but there was something underlying and almost surreal about her, if one chose to look beyond what they first saw. “That’s an irony in itself; what repels the public in reality excites them in the written word. How many people in this world express disgust at an atrocity that happens in the ‘real’, but then gorge themselves on the very same things when labelled fiction?

“That’s the irony of the human condition, Mr Mason; humanity is all too eager to hide its baser desires behind the veil of fiction, convincing even themselves that they feel disgust towards the things that actually drive and entice them.”

A small, hot hand reached out to brush the side of his face in the gentlest of touches. “But not you. No, you’re quite different, aren’t you, Mr Mason? You are a man that embraces his desires beyond the reaches of societal propriety and constraint; a man who sees himself as free, I don’t doubt, but I wonder… do you truly understand.”

With another strange smile, she leaned in to whisper to the shell of his ear. “‘O happy dagger,’” her voice was soft. “‘This is thy sheath.’


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jack Rass Character Portrait: Kieko Harlong Character Portrait: Trephan Bethlem Character Portrait: Nurses of the Asylum Character Portrait: Doctor Solaris Dae
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Outside of Television Room to Leisure Room 2: Music Therapy.

Sam was, of course, unaware of the smell, being quite human and not at all as perceptive as Matt, however, he did see the danger in waiting in the corridor when such overt chaos had been unfurling, and as such, he walked the short distance to Leisure Room 2: Music Therapy, and showed the boys inside.

“I think it would be better if we didn’t hang around in the hall, and this’ll give us a chance to get you boys changed as well. I’m afraid I don’t have the clothes you were admitted in to hand, but I have some that are clean and warm. I hope they’ll do.” That said, Sam set down the small armful of clothing that he had accepted from Lauren on a piano stool. “There should be something in both of your sizes; pick something you like, okay?”

Unfortunately, Sam had forgotten to close the door, and as such couldn’t pretend that he hadn’t seen Aveline come out, and as such was obliged to move into her line of sight. In all honesty, the girl scared him just a little, more so even than the obviously violent individuals that were present, if only because there was no reasoning with her.

“It’s good that you take your medication, Aveline,” he said quietly, his smile only slightly fixed as he remained between the girl and the two boys. “And it’s good that it helps.”

Meanwhile Jack, who was half way through pulling on a baggy red jumper (ugly, impossibly ugly), paused at the sound of Aveline’s voice, just about managing to swallow down his anxiety at her sudden presence. He didn’t like her, not at all, and for a moment his stage persona thinned in reaction to his surprise; he was not subtle in the way that he took a reflexive step closer to Matt. Safety in numbers.

“They must have our clothes… that horrid girl has my hat.” His voice was little more than a whisper, but he was confident that Matt would hear him.

Television Room

Lauren smiled at Sarah; it was nice to speak to somebody receptive, even if the girl was asking questions that couldn’t really be answered at the moment. Looking around, it was obvious that these girls had been through a tough time; there was blood on their clothes, Keiko appeared to have been crying for quite some time, and even Aveline seemed a little more unusual than normal. Clearly, the powers that be had not been exaggerating when they had filled Lauren in on the situation and requested her involvement.

“You can certainly watch a film, Sarah; I’d be glad to put something on for you, and we’re in the right place for it. Keiko, would you like to watch something too?”

The girl, who had by this point dressed herself in a featureless black hooded jumper and jeans looked up as Lauren spoke, and the nurse had the sudden, acute sensation of déjà vu. It was over in a second, not lingering for long enough to even spark a related memory, and Lauren shook it away with another kind smile; there would be time to work that sort of thing out when she wasn’t working with a group of anxious young people.

Swollen dark eyes peered out from a mess of dark hair as Keiko studied Lauren with apparent suspicion, but after a moment she nodded her head. “Something nice. I want to watch something nice. No- no blood. No gore.”

“Well, I’m sure that can be arranged.” Lauren crossed the room, inserting a key into a locked cupboard and revealing a wide selection of DVDs for the girls to look at. “Why don’t you two choose something, while I go and find out where Aveline has gone off to?”

Outside The Infirmary.

It was an adventure. Devan and Tori’s Demented Adventure; oh, it was ever so exciting! Tori had been leading Devan through a veritable maze of interesting places, chattering animatedly about everything and nothing as he did so, heading purposefully towards Intensive Treatment all the while.

“We need to be super, super quiet,” he whispered as he passed the big double doors, ducked low and creeping like a parody cartoon villain. “In there is where the Evil Doctor Icarus does her evil doctor work; if we disturb her, she’ll come out and eat our souls.”

Cackling under his breath, Tori looked back at Devan, flashing his teeth in a grin; it looked like they had left Elise-Who-Couldn’t-Make-Her-Mind-Up behind at some stage, but that was okay; she had been annoying him. “If we’re super quiet, we can sneak into the Infirmary without The Evil Icarus hearing us, and in there…” Tori’s face practically split in half with the force of his smile.

“In there is where they keep all the interesting things.”

Intensive Treatment.

“It is something of a tragedy, at least in the eyes of an idealist. You see, their love was ‘beautiful’ and ‘pure’, and their death was ‘needless’. Those things, above all else, trigger a reaction in the human condition; it fascinates me. In the real world, in any world for that matter, their love would have grown and changed, open to the possibility of stagnation, corruption and death. Their mutual suicide created a paradox; love and the absence of love woven together in a single frozen moment, as beautiful as it is terrible.”

She knew the spell that he was under; she could see it in the way he wrote the world around him, every breath and every nuance changing the script just slightly in her favour. It was beautiful, to watch this moment unfold to her abstract design. He would never be the same again.

“I think that I will show you something, Mr Mason… something quite divine.” Her voice hushed to a whisper, Doctor Dae stood and crossed the room in two fluid strides, opening one of the gleaming cupboards that lined the walls.

“I am going to show you another paradox…”

When she turned, there was a sealed container clasped tightly in her arms, which Doctor Dae placed upon one of the trolleys with infinite care. From within, she extracted first a spun glass tree that gleamed in the harsh artificial light.

“…something fascinating and profound…”

A single, tanned finger traced the very edge of the one imperfection that marred the beautiful ornament. She allowed Xavier to see, highlighting that the little dark branch was in fact a chrysalis, hanging from the intricate glass weave. As if awoken by her touch, the carapace began to crack, the creature within fighting to break free.

“… and all I need to know is this…”

She looked up then, from under long lashes, and swept from the container a gleaming crystal bell jar, which she placed delicately over the glass tree, where a butterfly was slowly inflating jewel-bright wings.

Icarus smiled: “What do you see?


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jack Rass Character Portrait: Kieko Harlong Character Portrait: Trephan Bethlem Character Portrait: Nurses of the Asylum Character Portrait: Doctor Solaris Dae
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Leisure Room 2: Music Therapy.

Not only was she mad, but rude as well? Jack came very close to scowling as he finished dressing himself, his eyes fixed unerringly on Aveline as she (quite childishly in his opinion) tried to bring Matt down with hurtful words. There were few people in the world that Jack actively disliked, but people like Aveline were certainly among that number. Words, Jack knew, had great power, and even ones so clumsily used could cause a great deal of pain. Maliciousness, especially vindictive, childish maliciousness, was not something that he had much patience for.

“Aveline.” His voice was soft and somewhat distant; he was too strung out and wrapped up in his own thoughts to realise just how strange he had been feeling since waking, but the feelings of unreality were only mounting. “I don’t care about the hat,” His voice was tired, as was his posture; Jack looked every bit as though he was reaching the end of his tether.

“It’s mine, but you know what? You can have it. Matt’s a human being, and he’s my friend and what you’re doing right now isn’t just wrong, it’s cruel. He’s trying to do something nice for me, because he knows it’s mine and he knows I want it, but you know what? I care about him more than I do some stupid hat, and I certainly care more about him than I do you.”

Jack took a deep, shuddering breath before he continued. “Right now, Aveline, I’m having a very, very bad day: I’ve woken up, again, in a strange place with very little idea of what’s happening to me, or what’s going to happen to me, only to be told that my- to be told that-” Ruthlessly, Jack swallowed the constricting feeling in his chest; he needed to say this, even if she wouldn’t understand. “To be told that my brother- my everything- is gone. And you know what? That’s worse than seeing what I saw earlier, it’s worse than being here, and it’s a hell of a lot worse than you.”

Jack’s eyes hardened, the first flickering of disgust visible in his expression even as tears began to leak down his face. “All you are is a pathetic, worthless little child who has no idea about the world around her, let alone the people in it, and I feel sorry for you. I feel sorry for you, because there is nothing in your life that can possibly matter as much as my brother mattered to me, and he’s DEAD!”

A single sob, rapidly strangled, worked its way past Jack’s anger and control. “And do you know what? You disgust me. You repulse me, because there’s enough pain in the world without you willingly adding more to it.

“Go away, Aveline; nobody wants you, and I can’t see you mattering to anybody worth a damn either, so why don’t you just get lost? Or talk to yourself, if you want to hurt somebody so bloody badly.”

Sam, who was still standing beside the door, was, for a moment, utterly speechless.

Television Room.

Lauren wasn’t stupid; she knew when somebody was checking out where she put her keys. However, she gave no indication that she was aware and simply smiled blandly at Sarah’s choice of film. “You go ahead and put that one on then, Sarah, and Keiko, sit down honey and watch the film, okay? I’m going to pop to the kitchen and get you some popcorn and drinks, if that’s all right?”

“It’s fine. We’ll watch the movie.” Keiko’s voice was quiet, and her eyes remained averted as she sat, hugging her knees. “I’d like some popcorn. Thanks.”

Inside, nestled quite comfortably now, Trephan observed with cruel delight as things unfolded deliciously around him. His awareness was limited, somewhat smothered still by Keiko’s humanity, but slowly he was growing into his old self in her form; soon, it would be as much of a home to him as he previous body had been. Out in the hall, not so far away, but further than he could have been aware of a few minutes previously, his murderer was engaging the most docile member of the inmates in an argument.

It was an effort, but Keiko didn’t smile; it was ever so delicious.

Outside the Infirmary.

Despite being quite aware that there was nobody home, Tori crept into the Infirmary like a thief, his feet (clad only in socks) making little to no sound as he slipped through the double doors and into the room beyond.

“This is where they keep the bodies,” he murmured to Devan, who he was quite certain was close behind. The boy was like his shadow, Tori thought with a lopsided grin; it was nice to have a shadow, especially a quiet one. His normal shadow talked so much! He never got a moment’s peace!

“They kill people here, sometimes, or make them vanish. I’m a secret agent, Agent Tori Sith, so I know. I know everything that goes on here, even what Icarus is thinking. She thinks I don’t, but I do.” Simple fact: there was nothing but certainty in Tori’s voice.

“We should find the bodies,” he went on, seemingly oblivious to the rambling nature of his vocalisation. “That is, if you want to see them?” For the first time, he actually looked around to check, though his expression suggested that anyone not wanting to see the bodies was almost beyond his comprehension.

Intensive Treatment.

“What you see is subjective; there are many truths and many untruths, all that can be gathered from the Butterfly in the Bell Jar. It is not a matter of knowing, and certainly not a matter of being certain; it simply is. What I have placed here simply is, and your own interpretation of what your eyes see is something of the salient point. I will neither confirm nor deny anything that you infer, because that would rather change the meaning, don’t you think?”

With the greatest of care, Doctor Dae shifted the light above them, drawing it down so that it struck the glass just so and sent a ripple of filigree rainbows skating across the table, in the midst of which the shadow of the butterfly beat its wings. “Fantasy and reality are abstract concepts, Mr Mason; I think you’re beginning to understand that now. I find it fascinating, that peculiar little join; the turning moment between realities that hinges on belief.”

From the corner of the room, she retrieved a chair, which she positioned carefully, so that when she sat down backwards, with her arms pillowed on the backrest, she was both close to Xavier but at the same time not impeding his view of the butterfly and bell jar. “Jack Gilbert; a moment of free verse on what everyone forgets,” she said, something of a non sequitur, and smiled.

The doctor’s hard grey eyes were laughing as she watched him, so close now. “Wordsworth: She was a phantom of delight. Or, Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

A single hot, dry hand reached out to tip Xavier’s chin just a little higher, encouraging him to meet those chilly eyes fully. There was something there; perhaps a smile, perhaps some great revelation, but whatever those eyes were trying to say was shrouded by a picture perfect smile. “And Ruth said: ‘Entreat me not to leave thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God…’” Her voice had fallen to little more than a rapturous whisper, and her eyes danced.

“Tell me, Xavier, what all of this means to you.”


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sarah Erebus Character Portrait: Aveline Mason Character Portrait: Jack Rass Character Portrait: Matthew Todd
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Television Room.

Sarah shrugged and sat the movie back down on the shelf.
"Wouldn't be very fair to the guys to start something without getting their opinion, would it? I mean, what if they want to watch something else?" She started out the door, looking both ways before figuring out where the others had gone. There were raised voices, so she followed them down in time to hear Jack yelling at Aveline. She didn't hear it all, just enough to catch that Jack's brother was dead and Avaline was being what looked to be her normal bitchy self. Sarah tamped down the urge to slap the little idiot, it wouldn't do anybody any good for things to get violent. For one thing, Jack was about half again as big as her. She shook her head as she glanced between the two of them from the door, feeling just the tiniest bit of ironic amusement.
"Listen, Av. Bit of a tip for pissing people off. You need to pick on somebody a bit closer to your own size."

She looked over at the guys and bit her lip. Jack looked to be right on the edge and Matt was standing near him as if the two of them were guarding each other. With a tiny crooked smile, she held out one hand to the both of them; ignoring Aveline for the moment.
"Come on guys. Let's go hang somewhere together and just breathe ok? We're all going through hell and we need a moment to get things together, right?" She finally spared a glance for the other girl. "And if you could manage to not infuriate everyone in your immediate vicinity, that would be really cool."


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jack Rass Character Portrait: Kieko Harlong Character Portrait: Trephan Bethlem Character Portrait: Nurses of the Asylum
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Outside of Leisure Room 2.

Keiko, who had followed Sarah quietly from the Television Room like a warped shadow, watched the interaction between what was clearly becoming rival fractions with interest. Sarah, she was learning, was both loyal and brave; the girl faced adversity with more control than many her age, and that in itself was both fascinating and potentially challenging. With Trephan’s knowledge tucked away in the depths of her rapidly evolving mind, Keiko understood both the Plan and the Rules; Sarah being strong meant a great deal of interesting things were soon to happen.

Out of all of the people present, Keiko registered Sarah as being the most interesting by far. Sam, bless his stupid heart, was useless; he was there for decoration and little else; easily controlled, easily removed, easily broken. Matt was potentially similar, though his ability and his growing loyalty to Jack opened the potential for future development. Jack was already proving his worth; the experiment that the young man had been involved in was beginning to bear fruit. And, of course, Aveline- the wild card and Trephan’s murderer. Not for the first time, Keiko had to work to smother a smile.

“It’s bloody obvious that you don’t care about my brother!” Jack was rapidly becoming hysterical (in the depths of The Asylum, notes were almost certain being taken), his voice rising towards a full-blown shout. “And I can’t say I care about yours! Do you know why?! Because your brother is a murder! He’s a freak! I saw what he did to that- that- I don’t even know if it was a man or a woman! I saw it!”

Blood and insides coming outside, all the wrong places of the world on show; if Jack had been rational enough to truly think about what he was saying, he would have thrown himself into a panic. As it was, however, he was far too upset to take in any more than a superficial amount of what he was screaming at Aveline. “I can’t imagine that you- you have no idea what it’s even like to care about someone you twisted monster! If I deserve to be here- obviously I- I hate you!”

Never one to be able to construct a valid argument when utterly beside himself, Jack was forced to break off for a moment, angry tears starting at the corners of his eyes, chest heaving. “Of course I deserve to be here,” he whispered after a moment, his voice broken. “You have no idea- when your mind goes, you’re nothing.” He laughed, and it wasn’t a nice sound. “My mind’s already gone.”

Rant apparently over, Jack finally became aware of the others in the room; Sarah, trying to talk him down, Sam, wary and half-afraid, and Matt… Jack had a vague memory of the boy reaching out to Sam, and could have sworn that Sam had responded; reassured, ushered him over to get changed- but it was all falling to pieces. The longer he tried to focus on his thoughts the harder it was to keep them in his head.

“Sorry.” Jack’s dark eyes dropped to the floor, staring sightlessly at his feet. “I’m done now.” He said to Sam- or possibly Sarah (certainly not Aveline), before turning around and sitting quietly on the floor.


“Ooh, you’re really impatient. Super, super impatient. That’s bad. You shouldn’t do that. We’ll get there; I’m a secret agent, I can tell, but you have to be patient. Not super patient though; there’s a super patient here though- we’ll find him. Soon.”

Tori didn’t seem in the least concerned about Devan’s rough handling and didn’t so much as struggle as he was grabbed. His grin, however, expanded to near-inhuman proportions. “Icarus lives in here, you’ll see. It won’t be long now. We’ll need knives, but I’m not sure if knives will kill Icarus at all… it depends on what she sends at us.”

There was a giggle lodged somewhere in Tori’s throat as he pulled away, twisting with the same unlikely strength that he had shown before. “Come on.”

Quietly, he crept deeper into the room, which appeared to be completely deserted of staff. There was no sound; even the monitors that flashed and glowed in alcoves were silenced. There was only one patient, hooked up to state of the art life support; Trephan’s body was eerily still as Tori approached.

“This was Doctor Bedlam,” he whispered, leaning right down to peer at the bruised face of the patient. “Xavier Mason’s sister tried to strangle him to death. I think she succeeded.” A single dark hand hovered over the tube that protruded from the body’s mouth, fingers tapping a rhythm on the plastic that matched the soft hiss of the ventilator. “These things- they hold in firm. There’s a little balloon in there, did you know that? A little balloon that stops it falling right on back out again… you can still pull them out though, with one really good yank.”

Tori looked up at Devan, the faintest sparkle of livid pink eyes visible through his fringe. “Should we do it, do you think?”


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sarah Erebus Character Portrait: Jack Rass
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Leisure Room 2

Leaving the doorway, Sarah carefully walked over to Jack, kneeling down next to him and wrapping her arms around one of his. She leaned her head against his shoulder and simply waited a long moment, listening to his breathing gradually slow down.
"What's it like to have a brother?" She asked softly. "I was an only child, so I've always wondered. Is it like they say, you've always got a partner in crime, someone you can blame things on? Fighting tooth and nail one minute, then defending each other to the last breath on the next?" She didn't look at Jack as she spoke, instead just gazing off into the distance. Actually she was hyper aware of everything that was going non around her, paying special attention to any sounds coming from behind them. Aveline might be content to just scream at most of them, but at any moment she might attack somebody that she thought was vulnerable. Especially somebody not paying attention to her. So she was ready to defend herself at a moments notice, if not in a physical way. She had always been a bit on the slight side and never had she wished more for the ability to hold her own in an real fight.

"Hey man, at least you know why the hell you're here." Sarah half smiled as she spoke, still leaning against the large young man. "They still won't tell me what I'm in for. Must be pretty bad, huh?" A beat of silence. "If it turns out that I like to dress in a costume and run around downtown trying to save people from evil aliens, will you still be my friend? Or if I have a tendency to see fluffy pink unicorns and try and go off with them to Candy Mountain? What if I have a pathological need to recite the Pledge of Allegiance backwards?"


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jack Rass Character Portrait: Trephan Bethlem Character Portrait: Nurses of the Asylum Character Portrait: Doctor Solaris Dae
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Intensive Treatment.

“That’s right, that’s exactly right, Xavier,” Icarus whispered, her eyes bright and intense as she watched the young man stand before her. A single hand reached out to touch his face; butterfly kisses with her fingers ghosting gently down beside his eye. “This is the beginning of your freedom, this is the start of your education, your enlightenment to all that is real and true.”

Her smile seemed genuine (as genuine as a smile from Icarus could ever be), and she held his gaze with firm intention. “This is the beginning of what you will become; you must listen to me, Xavier- cast aside illusion and false religion to be reborn. And oh! How you will be reborn!” For just a moment, there was flash of bright passion in her voice that seemed quite real.

“I want you to do something for me,” she murmured, her fingers still dancing on his skin. “There is a boy outside, one consumed with the desire to kill. He is a fool. I want you to educate him in his foolishness, Xavier, and I want to see the beginning of your awakening. The start of your journey to liberation will be in this moment.”

Gently, she pulled back, her eyes never leaving Xavier’s face. “Remember what you’ve been taught so far, and keep in mind that there will be further lessons once this is done. You are a beautiful creature, Xavier, but you exist in chains. When those chains are broken, you will be glorious, and nothing will stop you. For now, however, put this to memory,”

Icarus’s voice lowered, and her eyes, if possible, became all the more intense. “You can do what you will to the boy in the room outside; he’s planning on murder, of that I am quite certain, though he has no words with which to speak. However, think on the butterfly, the bell-jar and the spun glass tree, and know that there are more things in heaven than earth; when the character is put to death, there are only so many paths the story can take, but alive- oh, alive there’s infinite possibility!”

Her piece said, Icarus stepped away fully and turned her back. “Do me proud,” she said in parting, before unlocking the door to allow Xavier free access to the Infirmary and its occupants.


Tori watched intently as Devan deliberated over the half-dead doctor, and seemed to understand the decision that his companion finally came to, though his mouth twisted in a manner that might have suggested displeasure. “There’s no fight in him is-” A sharp blow to the head cut him off, but it wasn’t so much the shock or pain of the action that silenced him, but the fact that Tori was quite simply suddenly not there.

Mid-way through the contact, Tori’s skin seemed to burn and lose cohesion; becoming suddenly, searingly less than it had been milliseconds previously, as his body quite literally funnelled itself away into dark, cloying smoke. There was no sound, but the sense of pressure permeated the area, and heavy, dark vapour pooled on the floor for several seconds in Tori’s absence, looking oily and faintly toxic.

“There.” Tori’s voice, when it reappeared a moment later, was a little less entertained than it had been previously. Closer to serious, the young man was scowling and standing on one of the empty beds, his arms crossed over his chest. “That wasn’t very polite. I’m just trying to be nice to you, and help you out, but you choose to slap me in the head! That hurt! That seriously hurt! You slap really hard!”

Though his voice rapidly morphed back into its familiar pattern, Tori still seemed displeased, though there was no indication in his posture that sudden, reflexive teleportation was anything out of the ordinary for him. He stuck his tongue out. “I should leave you here, you know. Actually, I think I will. I was going to help you out some more, but I’ve decided not to because you’re a meanie. If you start being nice again, I might come back for you though. It depends. You’ll get what you want either way.”

Leisure Room 2.

Lauren, who had set a tray with several drinks and a bowl of popcorn down in the television room, entered Leisure Room 2 in time to see Jack sitting on the floor with two other young people, and Sam looking a little out of his depth in the doorway with Aveline. Clearly, a situation was happening, and something had occurred while she was getting a midday snack for the girls (who were no longer in the television room; she could see both of them).

Nonverbally, she implied to Sam that she had at least half of this covered; she entered the room, moving past Keiko, who was shuffling quietly over to stand beside Sarah, around Matt, and positioning herself squarely in front of Jack. She kept enough distance that it didn’t seem as if she was intruding, but she did crouch down so as to get a better perspective on the situation.

“I won’t mind, I don’t mind,” Jack was saying, his expression unsettled. “You- I- we’re friends. We’re okay. I don’t care what you do. I don’t care.” He seemed to be confused, which worried Lauren (as much as the simulation could truly worry her), but she was curious to see the interaction play out between the young people that had been placed in her simulated care. In her normal workplace, she would have stepped in long before now to get the situation under regimented control, but this wasn’t supposed to be a direct replica of normality; it was a chance to try things that would be immoral in a true setting.

Jack appeared to be drawing stability from his two companions; his hands creeping out to each of them despite him not meeting their eyes. “We’re- we’re supposed to be here, but that’s okay, isn’t it? We can get better.” He didn’t sound like he knew what he was talking about, and really, the lad was a wonderful actor; Lauren was deeply impressed by his performance.

Keiko, sat neatly between Sarah and Lauren, followed the nurse’s train of thought with interest; her mental voice was cool and strong, quite the opposite of Jack’s rabid, misshapen monologue. The boy really was terribly scattered, but there was something almost delightful in watching his mind unspool through a mixture of suggestion, misinformation and chemical stimulation.

“It’s okay Jack,” she finally stated, one of her small hands reaching out to touch his shoulder, pressing against Sarah’s shoulders in the process. “The four of us, we’ll get through this together. We’re the good people here, like- like on your list, so we’ll be all right. You just wait and see.”

Leisure Room 1.

Sam, though large and quite strong, was nonetheless taken by surprise when he was shoved unceremoniously into Leisure Room 1, Aveline’s hands flying at him even before he had the chance to truly figure out what was happening to him. Despite its earlier state of occupation, the room was now quite empty, though the traces of Karissa were still very much in evidence upon the walls.

It took perhaps ten seconds for Sam to spring into action, by which time Aveline was clawing for his throat, but it was less than a second later than his own large hands closed around the girl’s in an unforgiving grip. He didn’t speak; didn’t even appear to be thinking when he turned her around using a firm grip upon her arm and marched her straight up into a wall. It was only when she was pinned that he seemed to think again, blinking in surprise and rubbing his scratched face on his shoulder so that he didn’t have to alter his grip.

“Aveline,” he finally said, his voice tense. “I’ve been working this job for four years and before that I was a soldier for six. Trying to kill me is not only completely unacceptable. It’s not going to happen. Now, I want you to relax, calm down and stop this nonsense. If you do that now, I won’t have to call in an Intervention.”


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Character Portrait: Sarah Erebus Character Portrait: Jack Rass Character Portrait: Kieko Harlong
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Leisure Room 2

Sarah wrapped her fingers through Jack's again and held on tight. "Yeah. We're friends. We'll get through this just fine."

-“We’re- we’re supposed to be here, but that’s okay, isn’t it? We can get better.”-

Are we supposed to be here? Too many things don't add up for things to be right around here. Too many unanswered questions, too many things not quite right. Why can't anybody remember why they're here? Why are there violent patients in the general population? Something isn't right!!

Sarah continued to just sit with Jack, not revealing her thoughts one way or the other. Too speak up was to invite the idea that she was paranoid, that she felt that the would was out to get her. And while that might very well be the case at the moment, she wasn't about to make it easier on the son's of bitches that stuck her here. For now, play it cool. Go with the flow, act as if she bought the story. The more they thought that she believed, the better her chances of escaping.

The only problem was, who else in here was sane? Jack wasn't exactly acting like somebody well balanced, but they might have found his weak point somehow. Apply the correct pressure at the right moment and you could crack anybody, really. The only question was going to be whether or not the guy could put himself back together afterwards. Idly, Sarah stared at a nearby shadow, watching it ripple under her attention. She wasn't a physically strong person, never had been, never would be. Which meant she needed to think her way out of this. Needed allies, needed resources. And most of all, she needed to be underestimated.

"Come on," she said, gently tugging on Jack's arm. "There's far more comfortable seating than the floor. Let's try a chair at least." With a minimum of prodding, she got Jack up off the floor and seated on a nearby bench. At the same time, she sent a grateful smile to Kieko for her help in calming Jack. The nurses didn't seem to be doing anything useful.


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Character Portrait: Jack Rass Character Portrait: Kieko Harlong Character Portrait: Trephan Bethlem Character Portrait: Nurses of the Asylum Character Portrait: Doctor Solaris Dae
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Leisure Room 1.

Sam didn’t think that Aveline had a schizophrenic profile, but he might have been wrong; it was difficult to remember the finer points of a diagnosis when the owner of said condition was attempting to kill him. Granted, she was going about it with little skill, as was often the case with suffers of psychotic illness, but the fight or flight response remained all the same. Sam didn’t let her go.

“Matt,” he said quietly, his voice carefully modulated to give none of his simmering adrenal reaction at bay. It wasn’t just dogs that could sense strong emotions, after all; people were very good at it too, and Matt just happened to be both. He had no intention of triggering the lad if he could help it, especially when the boy was already clearly wound up. “Thank you for coming to protect me, but it really is okay; I can handle this.”

And, thankfully, it was the truth. Sam didn’t like being forced to restrain the people in his care, especially when it was in this sort of situation, but he didn’t actually fear losing control over Aveline and letting anyone come to harm. Sam look a slow breath in through his nose, sighing out through his mouth.

“Aveline,” he finally replied to the girl’s statements, “It’s not okay to hurt people, even when someone tells you to. Everyone has just as much right to live, and none of us should be able to take that away. Life is very important, and it’s not something to be taken lightly.”

His smile would have been frail, his tone bitter, but Sam had better control than that. This was just a test, and he was determined to pass to the best of his ability. “Now, we’re all going to calm down for a minute. Matt, if you could take a step back for me, that would be great. Aveline, I want you to stay nice and still and try to calm down. Nobody is going to get hurt, and nobody’s in trouble, but we all need to be calm so that we can sort this out properly.”

Leisure Room 2.

Jack followed Sarah’s prodding like a lost sheep, making a somewhat comical image given just how literally he towered over her. However, for the moment the humour was lost on him; he needed someone’s reason to cling to in the face of the loss of his own, and Sarah happened to be making the most sense, so naturally the task fell to her.

Once he was settled on a bench between Sarah and Keiko he felt a little steadier, though his eyes lingered on the nurse (did he know her name? How long had she been there?) for a long moment before he finally calmed down enough to order his thoughts again.

“I-” he began, then paused, eyes flicking back and forth in confusion for a second before his gaze became fixed and blank. All of a sudden, nobody was home.

Keiko, who had been listening to more than Jack’s words as he progressed through misery and confusion, stilled for a moment less than a second after Jack did, apparently in response to his broken sentence. “Jack? Are you okay?” He obviously wasn’t; just looking at his face was enough to tell that, and secretly, she was squealing in excitement. The doctor in her (literally) was infinitely pleased to say that he had proven a point, and really, there was nothing quite so delicious than a front row seat for this sort of thing.

It was a shame that Lauren was in on the show too, but there really wasn’t anything he could do about that at the moment, and frankly, it might be useful to have a proper nurse on standby if his predictions (made a long time ago now, and set into motion before Jack even woke up) came true.


Icarus had scampered back into her lair to plan unspeakable plans, but not before he had caught the barest glimpse of her lurking in the doorway. Tori smiled a strange smile, wondering just what she’d been up to in there that merited taking most of her clothes off. His question was answered a second later by the arrival of Xavier, which was amusing, if a little bit gross.

He stored the experiences away for later, his attention fixed on Devan. He didn’t have to be a secret agent to see where this plan was going, but for a moment he wasn’t sure if he wanted to watch in person or not. In the end (it took only seconds, because Tori had never been very good when it came to delaying gratification) he decided that these things weren’t quite as interesting when watched from a distance. He’d stay.

“I know you’re sorry, but that still wasn’t very kind,” He pouted, displeased, before hopping down off of the bed and reaching into a nondescript draw. “But.” Head turned slightly to the side, pink eyes flashing in Devan’s direction, he smiled. “But, I like you, so I’m going to be nice. Icarus has been a little bit mean, you see. You were mean too, but not that mean. Not many people are actually that mean…”

There were two wrapped scalpels in Tori’s hand when he finally removed it from the draw, and his face was thoughtful, unreadable. “I’m not sure how mean I am. I’m a secret agent, see, and sometimes I confuse myself. What bit’s me, what bit’s my super cool James Bond persona. I spend so much time pretending…” Dark fingers ripped the packages easily, peeling the flaps back. “So much pretending. It’s difficult to tell what bit’s actually me anymore.”

White teeth flashed wickedly, the gleam unsettlingly like the shine of the twin scalpels that were clasped delicately between his fingers. “This bit though… this bit is really very me.”

Tori’s face was worryingly blank as he sent the first scalpel spinning across the floor towards Devan. “I promised you a kife. There it is,” he murmured. “And because you annoyed me, because you were mean-” The second scalpel sailed towards Xavier.

“I hope you live, Devan. I actually quite like you.”


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Leisure Room 1.

“Everyone deserves to live, Aveline, because life is a very precious thing,” Sam said, his voice calm and tolerant despite her attempts at vitriol. He still held her firmly, but very slowly, and very carefully, he began to slacken his grip to test the waters.

“I don’t think anyone deserves to die; not the children with drugs in their pockets, not the dealers, not your brother, and not you. Every single life is important, no matter who the person is that’s living that life. Now, please, calm down so I can let you go.”

Poor Matt was still standing off to one side, human and dressed again, but looking unsettled by this whole escapade. “Matt, you’ve done nothing wrong, but could you go out into the corridor for a moment. Just by the door is fine. There, Aveline, see? Matt’s not staring at you. He’s just worried, in case you’re not all right. He doesn’t like it when you’re feeling upset.”

With great care, Sam began to let her go, testing his grip every now and again to make sure she wasn’t about to react badly. “I’m going to let you go, and you’re going to stay nice and calm for me, Aveline. That way, nobody will get into trouble. You can go to the lunch room, if you’re calm, and eat some ice cream, or whatever else you want, and we’ll forget that any of this nastiness happened.”

When Sam stepped back, it was apparently casually, but every fibre of his being was trained on the girl, just in case.

“Sam! I need some help in here!” It was Lauren’s voice; all business. Sam made a split-second decision, weighing up the situation faster than he could even really think.

“Both of you, follow me.” Without another word, Sam sprung towards the door.

Leisure Room 2.

“Step back, step back,” Lauren sounded quite calm, but there was a professional undertone to her voice that had been absent previously as she approached Jack. Where before she had worn a different persona, now there was something about her focus that said ‘nurse’. The friendly Lauren had apparently been replaced by the Lauren who was good at her job.

Keiko obeyed at once, her eyes wide and fearful. “I don’t like this. I really don’t like this. What’s the matter with him? Why aren’t you answering Sarah’s question? Why isn’t Jack answering her?” She backed right up against the wall, hands pressed to the beige surface, eyes flicking from one person to the other in search of answers.

Jack made a soft, inarticulate sound that didn’t seem to be in response to the confusion he was causing; in fact, he didn’t appear to be aware of what was going on at all. Blinking repeatedly, he tried to move himself, but only got as far as a badly-coordinated sway that looked only partially under his own power.

Keiko gasped and Lauren moved around Sarah when Jack’s eyes rolled and his neck arched, the nurse’s calm, capable hands guiding the lad (who was almost a foot taller than she was) down to the ground as he flopped strangely, looking for all the world as if he were fighting with his own body.

“Jack.” Her voice was firm, but not in the last unkind. “It’s okay, just relax. You need to stay lying down.”

If was doubtful that Jack could hear her. His face was slack, but twitching faintly, and the whites of his eyes repeatedly flashed into view under shivering eyelids. He continued to attempt to move, semi-purposeful, but managed only to rock and sway in a manner similar to being drunk or sedated. Whatever was happening, Lauren seemed to have some idea, and she kept a careful hand under Jack’s head to prevent him from knocking it on the floor even as she turned to the girls in the room.

“Keiko, I want you to look at the clock, sweetie, and keep an eye on what the time is, okay? When I tell you, I need you to remember the time for me, and then tell me when it’s been five minutes. Sarah, can you move that stool out of the way for me? Right back by the wall and move
anything else that’s cluttering the floor around here. It’s okay. It’s nothing to worry about.”

It was doubtful that she was being entirely honest with them; Lauren wasn’t smiling as she rolled the still-flopping Jack onto his side, holding him there. Her eyes were following his every movement as she removed one hand from his shoulder to shrug out of her cardigan, which she rolled one-handed and placed under Jack’s head.

“Okay.” Keiko’s whisper was slightly belated (this was fascinating; the connection, the strangeness of perception; wonderful), but she had turned to the clock as asked, tracking the second hand as it worked around the face. Her distraction seemed to be the only reason she didn’t shriek in alarm when Jack’s purposeless movements progressed into what could more easily be identified as a seizure.

“Sam! I need some help in here!” It was clearly something Lauren had seen before, though there were traces of surprised alarm in her expression that suggested this had not previously happened to Jack personally. Nevertheless, she was clearly well trained enough to know what to do, and familiar enough with the process not to be disturbed by Jack’s curled twitching. “Keiko honey, I need you to start timing now. Both of you keep out of the way, there’s no need to worry, Jack’s going to be fine.”

Sam hadn’t been very far away, and as such arrived very quickly, his gaze assessing as it flashed around the room before settling on the action. “How long?” was the first thing out of his mouth, even as he headed towards the call-point on the wall.

“Keiko, what time is it?” Lauren asked, not looking up from Jack, whose skin was beginning to take on a blue caste.

“…ten thirty-seven and twelve seconds…”

Lauren nodded. “Grand-mal is coming up to three minutes, but he had what was possibly a focal beforehand.” Under her hands, Jack was beginning to still and took a harsh, ragged gasp.

Sam nodded, already hunched over the grill and speaking to whoever was on the other side. He kept his voice pitched low, but his tone was succinct and urgent. When he straightened and moved to Jack’s other side, his face was somewhat set. “They’re sending a team out. It’s okay, Jack, nothing to worry about, you’re safe.” The hand he wasn’t using to steady Jack rubbed long, firm lines down his back. “Nice and calm buddy.”

Jack didn’t look calm, but he didn’t look aware either. He took several more laboured breaths even as he stilled, his eyes closing for an extended moment before cracking open, blank and confused. Almost at once, he tried to move, but was prevented from getting anywhere at all by the nurses kneeling beside him.

“It’s okay Jack, it’s okay,” Lauren pitched her voice low, rubbing one of his hands in a pattern that matched Sam’s firm strokes. Jack made an incoherent sound and clenched his fists, but still appeared far from aware. “You’re okay. You’re fine.”

He didn’t look particularly fine, with his eyes out of focus, still slightly grey-faced and slumped weakly on his side, but it was a definite improvement on before. He didn’t seem conscious, despite his eyes being open, but he stopped struggling under Sam and Lauren’s joint ministrations.

His condition hadn’t changed by the time eight members of staff arrived with a stretcher, two carrying large red packs on their backs. There was a rapid exchange of information, before three of them (including the two with the packs) joined Sam and Lauren beside Jack, leaving the other five to assess the condition of Keiko, Sarah, Aveline and Matt.

While one nurse went to each, intending to calm and guide out towards the corridor and away from Jack, the final nurse stepped up to the wall-call unit, swiped his ID, and set for transmit.

“This is a universal announcement. All staff: all patients are to return to their rooms immediately. I repeat, all staff: all patients are to return to their rooms immediately. All patients are to return to their rooms immediately.”


“This is a universal announcement. All staff: all patients are to return to their rooms immediately. I repeat, all staff: all patients are to return to their rooms immediately. All patients are to return to their rooms immediately.”

“Oh dear. That doesn’t sound very good. I do hope that nobody else has died. There are rules about those kinds of things here. They wouldn’t be sending us all back to our rooms if it was just a nurse.” Tori was still standing on the bed, and spoke as if the two other men in the room weren’t fighting (apparently to the death) on the floor beneath him.

“It’s unfortunate. Bad. So many have gone already, and so soon! I know all about it, and it’s terrible. Two little girls lost-lost-lost already. Only two little girls left. Only two little girls made the cut, maybe.” He giggled, shifting to better watch the fight. “I’m not sure if I want to go to my room. I might. I might, but then again I might not. This is fun, and I want to see who wins, but- there’re places to go, if everyone is being sent to their rooms.”

He really did seem undecided, standing with twisting hands and a thoughtful expression on his dark face. “I’ll decide in a minute. In a minute, one of you might have made my decision for me.”

Control Room.

“I am mother rotten, the tormentor. Light fin, in flight.” The Instigator murmured to himself, watching inky swirls run down his arms with each dripping application of the sponge. He stood naked and unashamed in his room ringed with cameras and screens, ever aware; the spider in the centre of some great web.

“Vane Khet, and also the clown. And sometimes, I wear the face of the clown’ I smile for you when you are feeling down.” Dark, damp fingers found Jack’s sleeping face and traced it. Unconscious. Surrounded by the real nurses, doctors and their gear, waiting to be transferred to the infirmary; poor boy wasn’t really as interesting as he could be, at least not yet, but soon. Oh, soon he would be fabulous.

“And yet, there are no gaudy tears upon my face.” It was Sarah’s turn now. “Daubed to show the feelings of your race.” She had been so controlled, so careful, so very determined to hang on to her sanity.

“You see me smile,” She was deluding herself, by resisting his delusion.

“And all the while,” Not long now though.

“I’m crying just to make your day less vile.” Soon, she would face her first real test.


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“No worries, Aveline!” the bubbly nurse assigned to the girl exclaimed, all friendly faces and bright pink hair. “We can pick up some of that ice cream on the way to your room, and maybe some crisps and things. That way, you can have a little feast before lunch. But sssh! Don’t tell the others, or they’ll be jealous; you’re the only one that can have ice cream before dinner. So it’ll be our little secret; me, you and Sam.

“My name’s Jenny, by the way, and you can tell me anything or nothing, whatever you like. Right now, our mission is ice cream, and listening to some awesome music in your room. Come on, if we hurry, we can sneak what we need away from the cooks before they notice they’ve been robbed.”


“Heya Matt,” The nurse that had been assigned to the anxious young man was small and had an easygoing smile, and he met Matt’s eyes without hesitation. “This has gotta be pretty rough on you, and I’d like to make that a bit easier, if I can. Jack’ll be okay, but we need to clear out to let these people do their jobs, so come with me, okay? We can check in on Jack in a bit, if you’d like.”

He seemed sincere, and he was gentle as he began herding Matt back towards his room. “I’m going to pop back to your room with you, oaky? We’ll get you settled down, and then I’ll bring you some lunch and maybe a game or two to play, so you don’t get bored. Maybe a movie? Whatever you like.”

Despite his kindness, he was determined and persistent, carefully guiding Matt back to his room and getting him settled in.


The nurse that came to Sarah was quiet and professional, and took the girl by the arm with little fuss. “It’s okay,” she said, not without compassion, as she started to steer the girl back towards her bedroom. “If you like, we can fill you in on how Jack’s doing as soon as we know, and when he’s well enough, you can visit in him in the Infirmary. I’m sure he’d like that. I’ve heard about how you two are friends.”

She wasn’t rough in her steering, but there was something insistent in her motions as she led Sarah back to her room. “There’s nothing to worry about, I promise. We’ll get this all sorted out, and get you some food and things to do, so no worries.”


She ignored her nurse for the most part, choosing instead to nip over to Sarah, laying a hand on her arm for a second. “It’ll be fine, Sarah. It’ll all be fine,” she whispered. “When this is all sorted out, we’ll meet up again and talk.”

She ducked back almost at once, returning to the quiet and capable hands of her nurse, who steered her after the others. She didn’t speak; it was far more interesting to listen to what was going on around her, better to soak up the knowledge of what was about to happen. She thought she might be able to guess what game was about to happen, and her lips curved up in excitement.

“Can I watch something on the television, when I’m in my room?” she asked, eyes bright with amusement. “A film about secret agents. I’d very much like to see that. Or maybe Star Wars. I think it’s a shame, that they don’t have a film that has both.”

“Both?” For a fraction of a second, the nurse looked confused, before sudden realisation sparked across her face. “Oh, I can arrange that for you.”

Keiko smirked. “I thought so.”


Tori squawked in delight as first blood was drawn, clapping his hands together ecstatically. “First point to Devan! First point to Devan! I knew I liked you for a reason! Yay!” He was practically jumping up and down on the bed, crowing merrily where others would be cowering or pleading for the combatants to stop.

There were, of course, plenty of things for them to use to fight with; instrument trolleys, drip stands, machinery and gear were all spread about the room, tucked into nooks or standing ready for use. Tori, however, seemed to have something specific in mind, because he snatched up a length of oxygen tubing with a flourish and chucked it into the fray.

“Oooh, come on, come on! Do something fantastic! But do try not to kill each other, because Icarus wouldn’t like that at all. Oh no she wouldn’t like that one bit, and I don’t think you’d like it if she had to bring you back to life. She’s never very nice about it.”


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Icarus, despite the sense of foreboding that lingered around her at times, and the odd impression that she was not the wisest woman to cross, simply sighed at the boys’ disobedience. Her slate grey eyes followed their thoughts on their faces, in their bodies; when Devan rolled away from her, she smiled slightly, as if she had been anticipating his action, and found it rather quaint. Xavier, meanwhile, she viewed with a strange expression, somewhere between nostalgia and humour.

“You know,” she said, quite conversational despite the extraordinary situation that she was standing in the middle of. “You boys really are a little too foolish to be allowed. Fun, though. You remind me of my husband and son in equal measure. Solomon was blinded by society and first impressions, and oh, so sure of himself, just like you are, Xavier. Of course, he had set himself on quite the different path than your little demon-fuelled rampage, but the analogy remains the same. He had ever so many rules, you see, and just couldn’t seem to get rid of them.”

Her lips twitched, and she settled her gasmask carefully. Even through the lenses, her eyes were piercing. “And Devan- so like Jesse. So damaged, so strange, so silent. He was never sure where to look, either, always seeing threats. You do remind me of him. Though I wonder- which is which, in the end?

“You see, my husband, ever such a moral man, became quite the fearsome killer with my help. Oh, boys, he was magnificent; all righteousness and divine fury. You could never match him, Xavier, because you’ve sided so casually with the Devil. Stereotypical, don’t you think? Surely the Angel bowed to kill is more fearsome than the Demon, who is expected to do so?”

Icarus stepped forwards again, totally unafraid. “And then my stunningly tragic Jesse, who just can’t help himself. Which is which, indeed.”

Icarus wasn’t even discreet in walking across the room, then, and activating the switch that flooded the room with an anaesthetic gas. She watched, them, then, breathing steadily through her mask and already crossing to the console across the room. The porters were ever so accommodating, and it was shockingly easy to arrange for the two sedated young men to be transported back to their rooms.

Room 11.

In Matthew’s room, the water continued to rise in conjunction with the elaborate illusion that was playing our around him. The tilt of the capsule was realistic, and the hydraulic whirring was artfully disguised by piped in sound effects from a series of surround-sound hidden speakers. When the water reached the bed, then rushed over edges, it was stingingly cold and cloudy enough to look like authentic lake-fare, rather than the tanked stock that it actually was.

The event had been carefully practiced, and the operator was skilled; Matt was observed carefully throughout the entire process lest he drown. The water, once it had started, rose at an alarming rate, rapidly filling to a height that would force the young man to swim. The corner of ‘sky’ projected into the remaining space, diminishing by the moment, was disguised by the shadow of bars and just out of reach; designed so that there was nothing Matt could reach up and grab onto.

The last moment of the illusion was the most critical and carefully timed. When the gas was pumped into the chink of air left into the room through the concealed pipes, it came from under the water, forming numbing bubbles. Carefully formulated, it was not designed to wipe away the experience in amnesia, but give it a faintly surreal tint; a hazy flare to the dark, masked face and wiry arms that reached down through the trap door and snatched Matthew up just as the vapours turned anaesthetic.

Room 7.

“Oh, I’ve been here since the beginning, pretty much, and I know everything.” Tori grinned, large and quite possibly insane, as he watched Aveline with wide eyes through his dark fringe. “I know that this place has secrets, and I know how to get into the kitchens, and I know that Anakin becomes Vadar here. I’ve been in these places forever. I know how they work.”

There was an odd note in Tori’s voice for a moment, but it was rapidly gone; he spun on the spot, laughing illogically. “We’re all mad here, you know? Every last one of us- oh, some of us think we’re sane, but we’re not. We can’t be, being here. But everyone’s so caught up in stigma and taboo that they forget how exciting being quite bad can be. We need to remind them, Aveline.”

The strange little man skipped forward, clamping hot hands on Aveline’s shoulders and tipping his head to look her right in the eye. “We have to drive them mad, you see? Most of them already suspect, they know the way, Follow the Yellow Brick Road and spiral down into Wonderland, but Sarah- she’s so set on being sane that she’s forgotten that you have to be mad, to be here.”

He stepped back then, and bowed in a formal, sharp line that was at odds with his lose limbs. “I trust you with this, but it has to be our secret. The others can’t know that I’m a secret agent. If I get found out I’ll have to disappear. The Instigator- oh, he insists on it. I can only be here when it’s right, and I don’t want to vanish; it’s far too much fun.”

Tori’s eyes sparkled as his watch chimed shrilly. “Ooh, time to go. See you soon, Aveline.”

Ironically, he vanished.

Event! Sarah!

Icarus did not look back, nor did she return, and for a moment there was silence before the faint hiss of gas rose over her retreating footsteps. She didn’t bother with the mask; the doors of the dining room were already swinging closed and locking, but she did spare a smirk for the inevitability of the situation.

Sarah would, eventually, learn that defiance was a pointless endeavour when a greater game was being played, and there truly was no escaping events once they had been set in motion so surely.

At exactly 1300, Asylum time, every allocated room housed its occupant, with several glaring losses; two young women had already vanished into the bowels of the institution, and when the doors of Elise’s and Karissa’s rooms swung open on automated command, they revealed the oddly forlorn image of dereliction, as if the girls had never been in the Asylum at all.

Matt’s room, despite it’s rather drastic upheaval, had been quickly and efficiently rearranged into normalcy; everything had been either dried or replaced, and Matt himself had been arranged on the bed, in identical but dry clothes. It was as if nothing had ever happened.

Similarly, Sarah, Xavier and Devan had been transported into their rooms while unconscious and carefully settled into their respective beds. Aveline’s room remained unchanged; her door simply opened at the allotted time.

Tori, also, was in his room when his door swung open, sat moodily on the floor.

Keiko, lying on her bed, looked up when the door opened, but didn’t move to venture outside. Her eyes were very dark, and she was smiling.

And Jack, when he finally opened his eyes in the Infirmary, screamed to find himself laid out like a cadaver on a shining metal table, the cooling body of Trephan spread on a trolley beside him.


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Character Portrait: Jack Rass Character Portrait: Kieko Harlong Character Portrait: Arthur Strickland
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Room 1

Tori paused, albeit briefly, to look at the ceiling when the PA crackled to life, but he didn’t comment on it at first. Instead, he turned his gaze back towards Xavier, who he studied quietly before nodding, having apparently come to some form of conclusion. What, exactly, he was thinking was unclear, and probing into his mindscape was likely an exercise for the unwise.

“ Oh, I’m pretty sure I’m real. Definitely real. That’s not one of my problems. Not at all. I’ve never been worried that I’m not real. Who I really am, though… well, that’s a bit of a difficult question, don’t you think? Can you ever know who anyone really is? Seems to me we’re all just guessing away, day in, day out, making all sorts of silly, dangerous assumptions that get us killed or worse.”

White teeth glittered as Tori stretched his thin lips into a smile. “Like Icarus.” He snorted. “Doctor Solaris. Whatever she wants to call herself. She is who she is, but to different people she’s different things. I suppose what she is to me is very different to what she is to you. Or poor little Sarah. Or Jack. But that doesn’t change what she is. She’s still real, even if everything you think about her is a lie.”

Tori carefully made his way back towards the door, leaning right out to look down the hallway. “Did you know that Sarah has just wandered off with her little friends? Not that Japanese girl, she’s not out there at the moment, but she’s not vanished like the others. Do you know how many people have gone already? Nobody else has noticed, but you’re clever, Xavier. I think you can figure it out if you pay attention.

“But that’s not important at the moment. They’re going on an expedition, Sarah and her little friend Matt with the hairy palms. Probably looking for Jack. They remember him, even when they forget Kieko. And Karissa. And Elise. Don’t you think that’s odd? I think that’s odd. They certainly remember your sister, though. She’s a difficult one to forget. Ever so exciting.”

Humming to himself, Tori took a firm hold of the doorframe and leaned even further out, before making a startled sound and throwing himself back into the room again. “Oooh, naughty. Naughty! Icarus has let her little pet out. Ooooh, this is going to be fun.”

Residential Hall

It was fascinating, Keiko decided, how Icarus liked to change the rules on a whim, despite the game being long since set in stone. It would likely drive The Instigator mad(er, because even if Trephan couldn’t read his mind, the man clearly had a loose screw knocking about in there) that his plans had been disrupted, but it would doubtlessly be entertaining.

Arthur had not been planned. Nobody had been commissioned to capture him, The Instigator had made no plans for him, but as the Asylum was coming together the boy had been delivered along with the rest and assigned a room as if it were already pre-arranged. The Instigator had blown a fuse, in his own enigmatic way, but Trephan hadn’t been to blame and had been quite content to watch sparks fly.

It was obvious (at least to a mind reader) that Icarus was to blame; Trephan didn’t need to see into her head for that, nor had he ever felt the desire to peek. He was very old, and very skilled, but there were some hornet nests that were better left un-prodded.

Stealing the mind of a young girl and taking over her body, however, was little more than a half-drowned bee-hive without a queen, and Trephan had done it without remorse and with relative ease, becoming Keiko with a sense of expectant delight. It had been quite some time since he’d been a woman; women were fun.

With fun in mind, as well as mischief, Keiko crept out of her room and headed towards Nurse Base. Sarah (traitor) had already apparently gone off without her, more focused on Jack than anything else. That was an interesting development to say the least; nobody had factored romance into the games, but it would be fascinating if some were to happen spontaneously between inmates. The Instigator would likely want to study it, if he wasn’t too busy buzzing about getting everything else done. If there was one thing the man had, it was a highly skilled sense of organisation.

Walking up behind Arthur, Keiko quietly cleared her throat, keen to seem small, anxious, downtrodden; inside, she was nothing of the sort, but inside she wasn’t even the girl everybody else saw her as anymore. Trephan, in the depths of her mind, smiled, but Keiko’s face remained a mask of uncertain fear.

“Um… are you new?”


Despite its function, and the assumption that there would at least be someone on duty at any given time, the infirmary was empty when Sarah and Matt came through the door. The whole area, as a matter of fact, had the air of sterile disuse about it, despite the battle that had raged there not all that long ago. The Asylum’s cleanup crew, ever diligent, had reversed all trace of what had happened previously.

A risky venture, but one played out by experts; Jack, who had been stored lightly sedated until such a time as the stage had been reset, had been laid out beside the body of Trephan, now deceased, and given drugs to induce consciousness at ten minutes to one. He had woken at one. By five past one, he had flown into a panic and secreted himself in a laundry cupboard that had been skilfully lighted to draw his wavering attention. By quarter past one, the team that had been hiding in Intensive treatment had wheeled out the twin metal tables and replaced them with a slept-in looking hospital bed, table and locker.

By the time Sarah and Matt arrived, the room appeared to be deserted, though recently vacated by a patient, and the closet in which Jack was hiding was silent save for his deliberately hushed breathing.


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Character Portrait: Sarah Erebus Character Portrait: Jack Rass Character Portrait: Matthew Todd
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Sarah followed after Matt; evidentially he had some clues as to where Jack was. Across the room and towards a closet; Sarah winced slightly. For Jack to be hiding in a closet, it was obvious that they had been working on him. Whatever it was, it had to have been bad. She reached out, gently tapping on the door.
"Jack? Hey man. You ok in there?" Nothing. Sarah cleared her throat. "Jack. They're messing with you. Whatever you saw, they didn't it to screw with your head. They want you off balance, they want you suffering. They only win if you give in to it." She waited a beat longer. "Listen, I''m not gonna leave you alone here, ok? So either you come on out and have lunch with us, or I"m climbing in there with you. I'm sure Matt can bring us something to eat. What do you say?" She gently opened turned the door knob and pulled it open an inch or so, not enough that Jack might feel threatened, just enough he could see a slice of her face and hear her voice.

"Room for one more?"


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Character Portrait: Sarah Erebus Character Portrait: Aveline Mason Character Portrait: Xavier Mason Character Portrait: Jack Rass Character Portrait: Kieko Harlong Character Portrait: Arthur Strickland
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Residential Hall.

Arthur had the strangest of minds. It was the first thing that drew Keiko's attention upon speaking to the boy. She had met him before, of course, if only briefly; Icarus was a loose canon, but there was no way that even she could have snuck someone into the building without anyone knowing about it. Trephan had examined the boy while he was asleep, and declared him interesting, but now, awake and alert and vibrant, Keiko found him delicious. The Instigator would likely find him quite the opposite, but that would only make things more fun.

"Well, it's nice to- uh-" She didn't get much further, as Arthur rapidly lost interest in her and started to walk away. Keiko would have followed, but the sudden presence of the others was more than a little distracting. Devan clearly wanted nothing to do with them, but he was going their way; there was no avoiding the boy. Keiko didn't smile at him, choosing instead to fearfully duck her head in submission, as if hoping he would pass her by without notice.

It seemed to work, given that Devan gave them little more than a look in passing before trailing after Arthur. Aveline, who had been standing beside her up until this point, apparently was not satisfied with being ignored, however. Keiko very nearly smiled when she felt the idea pop into Aveline's head, but she managed to restrain herself, and even look shocked and appalled when Aveline charged forwards and launched herself at Arthur, crushing him to the floor.

"Aveline! That's not very nice! Don't hurt him, he's not done anything wrong!" Oh, if only she knew. There was a special little place in Trephan's heart for Aveline; his murderer. What would the girl say if she realised the man she thought she had destroyed was now possessing Kieko quite so expertly.

Her brother was clearly not particularly pleased with what was going on; Keiko watched him pass with interest, wondering if another battle was about to break out.

Room 1.

Icarus was a traitor. She thought she ran the game. She thought she was so clever... Tori glared out from the crack in the door, his mauve eyes alight with a fierce anger. Alone now, abandoned by Xavier and left trapped by his own indecision, he looked nothing like the confused but harmless young man that he had been only moments before. That spark of unusual, sharp insight had fanned into a razors edge- there was something dangerous in his expression.

"Sending out your pet, Icarus. That was mean. That was... naughty."

He watched as the others drew Xavier's attention, watched as the focus was pulled further and further away from himself. Aveline too- did she even remember that she had been his? That she was his tool, not a free agent any longer?

Tori closed his eyes, summoning up a strange, warping sensation in a dimension that Arthur could likely sense. "You forget, though, Icarus... people only remember you because you got burned."

To Arthur, it would be as if reality suddenly creased; a dimension of fabric space, running in a plane that overlapped seamlessly with the everyday world, was suddenly torn by expert fingers. Close, but not so close as to be on top of them, the tare widened, exerting a sucking pressure that built and built to a horrible level before suddenly stoppering closed with a jolt. The ripples left behind swirled and settled, but only for a moment before striking up elsewhere, this time with the impression that something had been pulled forth and set back in the physical world before the fabric space was stitched shut again.

Tori had vanished.


In literally every sense of the word, Jack felt awful, and for once he remembered every second of what had happened to him. For so many years, he had begged every deity he could think of to let him remember, let the strange, alarming periods of absence leave him, but now, for the first time in his life, he wanted nothing more than to forget.

In one terrible moment, his entire world had shattered into fragments, the bedrock of his soul torn free and shattered. Vinny was gone. His parents were so far out of reach that they might as well be. His friends- his family- his career- in one fell swoop everything he held dear and everything that he had ever worked for had slipped like smoke though his fingers, and he couldn't get it out of his head.

He had woken feeling sick and disoriented, a sensation that lasted even now, hunched up as he was in the tiny, dark hideaway that he had selected after hurling himself out of bed and scrambling as fast and as far as he could away from the corpse he had been laid out beside. It was cramped and uncomfortable for someone of his height to crunch down into such a small cupboard, but it made him feel more secure than anything else had so far.

Sarah opening the door, on the other hand, was not so nice; the light slanted in and burned Jack's watering eyes, leaving him feeling even more nauseated than he had previously. But despite the fact that he was forced to turn his head away with a shudder, part of him cried out desperately for the few people that had become familiar to him in this nightmare.

"I- I don't think I'm ready to come out yet..." It would be a tight fit, with Sarah in the closet with him, but Jack couldn't actually think of anything he desired more than being held right about now.


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Character Portrait: Sarah Erebus Character Portrait: Jack Rass Character Portrait: Matthew Todd
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Sarah smiled gently and opened the door a bit further. "All right. Scoot over then." It was a tight fit and she ended up in something of a crouch, but she needed the extra height in order to wrap her arm around Jack's shoulders and bring him closer to her. She frowned as she could feel the tremors snaking through his thin frame; rubbing her hand up and down his back as she hummed softly.

Sarah was troubled. The entire time she had been free to wander about, she had been careful to build something of a mental map of this place. She had seen what she thought was an exit and she had also noticed the locks. Locks that needed keys. Keys which the orderlies would have. It would take some doing, but she was pretty sure she could make her break for it tonight. She didn't think that they would expect an escape attempt so soon, and thus they might be a little lax in their security measures. It would take some doing; but she wasn't going to stay here a second longer than necessary.


She glanced down at the top of Jack's head and held him a little tighter. Jack was fragile, that was becoming alarmingly apparent. He might have had some sort of difficulties before he ended up in this hell hole, but much longer here and one of the merry band of lunatics would manage to shatter his mind like fine china. While it wouldn't be her fault, if she didn't do something about it she would carry the guilt for the rest of her life.

Sarah glanced out the door at Matt. Him too. Not as fragile as Jack, but vulnerable. She wouldn't give him more than a couple days at best before something permanent happened.

Your soft heart is going to be the end of you someday. She could almost here her older brother laughing at her. She wasn't all that close to him, he being a whole eight years older and too busy for a little girl growing up; but that hadn't stopped her from tagging along after her. When will you learn, little wisp? You got to look out for yourself before you can help someone else. Sarah mentally gave the memory of his words the finger and kept up her soothing rocking.

They were getting out of here. All three of them.



Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sarah Erebus Character Portrait: Aveline Mason Character Portrait: Xavier Mason Character Portrait: Jack Rass Character Portrait: Devan Miyamoto Character Portrait: Kieko Harlong Character Portrait: Trephan Bethlem Character Portrait: Doctor Solaris Dae Character Portrait: Arthur Strickland
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Dining Hall

The Dining Hall was indeed shut when Devan arrived, but there were definite signs of life behind the sealed double doors. Lunch, as far as could be divined, was certainly in progress; the smell of cooking was drifting out into the hallway, and general noises associated with food preparation were audible.

The fact remained, however, that the doors were locked, and the sign affixed to the laminated surface declared that lunch would begin at 12:00, which a nearby clock stated would be in exactly fifteen minutes.


It took Jack almost ten minutes to get himself back under control again (seven to stop sobbing onto Sarah's shoulder, and three to get his abject, mortified embarrassment under control). Normally, he would have devoted a good hour or so to outright hysterics, but the longer he dwelled on what had happened, the closer to being completely out of control he felt. It was in the interests of self preservation that he forced his miserable panic down to a dull roar, and finally raised his head.

Still afraid to look outside the boundaries of his closet for fear of seeing a dead body, Jack started by cracking open a puffy, leaking eye and peered worriedly at the floor. Matt's feet were the first thing he actually ended up seeing, and it was such a blessed relief that he almost burst into tears again.

With a wet sniff, he looked up a little further, finally allowing himself to make eye-contact with the boy who had rapidly become his friend in this chaos. Matt looked happy to see him, which was comforting, but there was a little tag of something else lurking there that unsettled him; what had happened, while he had been unconscious (dead?!) in this horrible room.

"I- sorry." His voice was a wreck, and there was something that was probably mucus sticking to his face and Sarah's shoulder. Jack had never wished for a handkerchief more, but he had been stripped down to a gown at some stage. He didn't even have pants on, he realised, quite horrified given his current position ensconced in Sarah's arms.

"Uh." If his face hadn't already been aggravated to a blotchy red by crying, he was certain that he would have blushed right up to his ears. "Do, do either of you know what happened to my clothes?"

Residential Hall

Keiko watched with something akin to fascination as the scene before her played out in a chaos of emotion; a veritable riot of reactions and quick-fire responses. It was obvious that Aveline was following something of her own agenda, but that was okay; The Instigator might become irate at sudden and inexplicable changes to The Plan, but as far as Trephan had always been concerned, they were what made life fun.

This was a change of plan; Arthur, certainly, had not been arranged with The Instigator's grand scheme in mind, but there was something exciting about the thought that things were about to go stunningly off the rails. Well, more-so, because there was no denying that Aveline jumping all over Arthur, and Xavier having to wade into save the day were things going 'according to plan'.

Of course, things only became stranger a moment later, when Arthur suddenly paled to a frankly shocking shade of grey and staggered back into the wall. Drenched in sweat, shaking and sickly looking; to the outside, it appeared as if the young man were having some form of cardiac event, or at the very least a panic attack, but Keiko was not looking at the outside at all.

Possessing the unique skills of a telepath, combined with a genuine degree and ages-old observations of medicine through time gave Trephan, and therefore Keiko, a rather extraordinary insight into moments such as these. That was not to say, however, that she had any intention of letting that information slip to her fellows.

"Arthur? Are you okay? Do you need to sit down?" Apparently ignoring the previous animosity between herself and her companions given the sudden potential emergency, Keiko stepped up and addressed Xavier. "He doesn't look at all well. Should we call a nurse?"

It took almost a minute for Arthur to respond to them at all, which likely seemed much longer to those genuinely alarmed by what was going on. When he did, there was chaos in his mind, and if he thought he was fooling anyone by acting normally, he was sadly mistaken.

"Arthur, what was that? You look sick. We should call one of the nurses."

Control Room

"You twisted bitch."

Icarus didn't need the monitors that surrounded her to tell her that 'The Instigator' had entered the room, or that he would be in a towering temper. In this intricate, multi-dimensional game of chess that they were playing, this particular move had been started a very long time ago; he had simply failed to notice that he was being manoeuvred into check until now.

"Yes." She didn't turn to face him, choosing instead to watch him rage in the glossy black screen before her, his visage superimposed over a darkish image of the inside of a supply closet in the Infirmary. "Did you need something?"

There was a disgusted sound, inarticulate, furious, but it was easy to duck the wrathful swing he took at her; a simple matter of kicking off from the desk with just enough force to let the wheels on her chair remove her from his reach. The curse he spat out when his hand impacted with the corner of the monitor instead of her face was deeply satisfying; she let it show, knowing that it would only inflame him further.

"Your pet was not supposed to be here." It sounded like he was grinding his teeth, and Icarus was half-tempted to give him some off-hand advice about maintaining good dentition. "Not least now, when things are already so far off-schedule. Do you forget who is running this operation, Icarus? Or do you want to challenge me?"

As if he would stand a chance if she chose to challenge him; Icarus smiled, pushing herself back into place with her toes, mindless of the angry man currently dominating the room. "Challenge you in what sense? You really should be mindful of your words; given that it's something of your 'thing', you're not being all that eloquent right now. If you mean to say 'are you attempting to usurp my authority in this little game of mine, Icarus?' then I can honestly tell you no. I have no intention to take your toys from you."

Finally, she swung to face him, resting back in her chair and quite at ease, as the beginnings of chaos erupted on the screens behind her. "If you are suggesting that I'm upping the difficulty of things, however- well, you'd be quite correct. We can't have you getting complacent, now can we?"


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Sarah grinned a bit and tightened one arm in a quick hug. "Well, I'm not sure what's available, but I'm sure we could find something." She squirmed out of the closet and riffled through a couple drawers; she didn't find Jack's clothes, but she did find a set of scrubs that looked like they would fit his tall frame. She passed them through the door, along with a damp wash cloth that he could use to repair his dignity. She shut the door a bit and turned her back to give him some privacy.

"Ok, if I were a prisoner being held in a psychological torture experiment, how would I go about escaping," she muttered softly to herself. She moved quickly about the room, opening drawers and doors, looking for anything to give her an edge in escaping. Not being a medical person, she had no clue how to use anything drug related that she found, and any sharp objects were locked away. Although, come to think of it, they had been left alone for way longer than they should have been. An asylum of some obviously crazy and violent people, and they were being left alone? It was either incredibly bad management, in which case it she was almost insulted; or it was part of the experiment. Going on that theory, she elected not to steal anything. She would have to think her way out of this, instead of using force.

"Jack, how you feeling? Physically, anyways?"