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The Twisted Mind of Bradley Lake

The Warped Mind of Bradley Lake

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a part of The Twisted Mind of Bradley Lake, by PeachesNCreme.

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PeachesNCreme holds sovereignty over The Warped Mind of Bradley Lake, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

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The Warped Mind of Bradley Lake is a part of The Twisted Mind of Bradley Lake.

8 Characters Here

Subject -00 [7] Don't bare your teeth, 'less you're gonna bite down...Hard.
Ellisia Julens [6] "I am the Tempest."
Eliseo Ormano [4] "Wait wait wait. Are you sure that's a good idea?!"
Aidan Lowsley [2] "I'm definitely not being paid enough for this."
Blaise Fermi [0] (Unfinished, I just made this quick skeleton so I could post)
Haru [0] "Mmmhmm.. Yeah.. Ok I dont care so bye bye"
Cam [0] Are there really two sides to this?
Cire (Eric Lopez) [0] "something bigger that us is guiding us... i just know it!!"

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In a human sized capsule on an abandoned Nevada research facility; the emerald optics of Bradley Lake flickered open for the third time in a month to observe through a veil of green liquid a gathering of unenthusiastic scientists in what appeared to be a lab. Though none of them seemed to bat an eye at the occurrence. They merely returned the gaze with inattentiveness, as though they were wondering what he would do next. Of the scientists was a Blaise Fermi, director of research, sipping casually on a mug of heated coffee to chase away a sleepless night.
Bradley had at first not realized his position but after examining the inserts into his skin, as he had done every other time, he panicked (as he had done every other time). Rough and callused hands slid along the glass, slamming against it until he caught the lackluster attention of the chemists who gave no more consideration to him than they would a passing breeze.

“He’s awake again,” said one.

“Just let him wear himself out,” responded another.

The words were distorted through the dense glass, but were no more shocking to the super genius than they would be if they were clear. How had he, a renowned scientist, become a lab rat. Everything was twisted in a hopeless haze. Furious at their neglect, he clawed at the tubes from his skin ripping them from their points of attachment. His heart elevated to a dangerous rate as he struggled for air. This action, unlike the first had provoked an enthusiasm from the various researchers as a blood-curdling alarm rang throughout the walls of building, “God, they’ve done it again!” hissed one as he scrambled to empty the chamber.

The glass slid down, and a nude Bradley with it. He clawed at the tiles on the floor, numb legs providing no support. As scientists rushed to help, they were just as easily forced away by adrenaline powered shoves and punches. Unknown to the prodigy, inside his head three psychological metaphors were waging war against one another. And consequently, in his reality, he was stricken with madness, “God!” he roared, slamming his clenched fists into the ground to rival the incessant bickering. Not many people were capable of hearing either the Id, Ego, or Super-Ego. But not many people used more than fifty percent of their brain.

Inside Bradley collected bits of the conversation, “Oh, are you breaking already?” echoed a female voice, “I can’t wait to see him crack, it will be incredible.”

“Incompetent human, there is no use for such ineffective creatures. You are garbage.”

“Stop it!” Bradley demanded, gripping the hair at his temples.

Blaise, who had remained otherwise silent and contemplative made a powerful demand, “Gather the fragments of his sanity. I don’t think he can take it anymore,” he then made an advance to the helpless creature, who was now writhing like a rat in seizure. Blaise placed two hands on either side of Bradley’s head and spoke inaudible instructions to him just before stabbing a syringe into his jugular. Moments later the experiment lay almost lifeless in the scientists arms, “That’s a good boy.”

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Character Portrait: Subject -00
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Dyson Pierce watched him carefully. His dark eyes boring into the young man only but ten feet away seated on the examination table. The silver haired human held a youthful, fresh air about him, and almost an innocent face one could gaze at for eternity- at least it appeared for his wife and partner Lisa who hadn't parted from the clone upon his introduction to the world. Her eyes were like a child's, warm and wide and filled with this curiosity. As if she'd never seen anything like their experiment before. Cloning wasn't anything extravagant, it had been perfomed numerous times on test animals. Some successful, others not so much. However this clone was human, not a four-legged-animal. A complete being that was fully functional. All the tests had been run on this one and save for his profile (all of the scientists had been given a heads-up of each fragments individualized specifications on how they should be treated) Dyson felt that his wife was being a little too careless.

He'd remained busy typing up a status report behind the desk. Meanwhile casting quick glances toward the subject and Lisa; he decided for himself he had to be more careful, and when they'd been ordered to gather the fragments he'd somehow knew that things were going to get much more crazier around here. He momentarily hesitated his typing at noting that the clone wasn't actually reacting much to the woman, rather he kept staring at him.

Lowering a hand to the deep pocket of his crisp white lab coat, the scientist made sure that the injection needles he'd picked up (about two) around the same time their experiment was awakening were still there. They weren't lethal, just something to knock the kid out instantly if things took a downwards turn. Given the nature of their special experiment. Finalizing the report as quickly as possible to get it over with he couldn't help but furrow his brows irritatedly at over hearing Lisa's having to explain it all to the lab-rat. He was going to be informed on his purpose later on by the head of this field. It wasn't their business to get involved and start having little chit-chats with the clone anyways. But it was for those little things he adored his wife.

"So basically I'm alive only to solve a problem you poor excuses for scientists have made? This is just stupid- there is a reson people weren't meant to know so much. It screws you over." The clone expressed, his tone smooth, yet toneless and steady. His ocean blue eyes were watching her. And if Dyson hadn't yet noticed he should have, their subject seemed to have found something out of interest in her suddenly.

Zero noticed something thin and reflecting at the light strung around her neck. He wondered what it was, but as his brilliant eyes lowered from her collar bone to the little opening of her blouse he couldn't exactly make out what it could be, save for the circular edge of the object that stuck out. Like a crescent moon. For all he knew, whatever it was had to be something special for her to keep so close to her heart.

"Mhmm, we're just making sure you're prepared for the task before we take you to the-"

The abrubt slamming of a manilla folder against the table made her slightly flinch, and she whirled her head around to see her husband stand, the fierce glare that set his rouged face made her smile uneasily and the clone saw it all there.

Dyson tried vainly to remain calm, but it had been a long hell of a week and he wasn't in the mood for her being so caring and gentle and slow with this case. They just might have already been called and no one had noticed.

"Lisa we need to go now, you don't have to talk him into doing something he's created to do. He'll do as told wether he likes it or not. We're leaving." Dyson commanded, his tone sounding a bit tired but forceful.

Lisa sighed but attempted to look cheerful as she returned her gaze to their subject and told him to follow them.

Zero found himself in just a rough spot as the man in white. Who was this idiot to tell him what he should or shouldn't do? Talk him into what? He was never questioned on his choice anyways and for the moment he decided he didn't want to go anywhere. Especially with that man wearing the unflattering scowl on his face. He did not trust him and he had every right not to. Although seemingly looking distant, Zero had been noticed the man's constant staring and only now did he wonder at the possibility if he served as a threat to them. The curiosity even expanded to whatever that folder contained about him. He could remember when Lisa, the nicer woman had been scribbling in notes in between examinations. He had grown a suspicion about them, they were treating him as if he were something foreign, something you'd see that was so strange yet alluring that all you could do was poke at it with a stick to see what happened.

And he hated that feeling.

Lisa tapped the boy's shoulder, liking the feel of the black, soft oxford the young man never had the bother to button up. She smiled at him but it never truly reached her hazel eyes as she motioned for him to follow their lead. Her husband was already pulling at the ID key card he wore on his lapel to the black square shaped instrument on the wall, which beeped upon sensing the recognized digits of the ID. The door to their exit slid open smoothly like elevator doors.

So it seemed that all was known about everyone he was sure of it but his own.

"I'm not going anywhere, I think I like it here." Zero said his expression calm, certain, as he simply crossed his arms over his chest and shrugged at the unbelievable stares both scientists shot him.

"You have to come with us. Now." Dyson sounded more angry, probably made worse by the fact that he was paired with a clone that not only did he expect would be difficult to handle but lived up to its standards.

Zero turned away from them as his eyes swept across the lab, eying all the fragile glass tubes some empty, others containing liquids of varying colors of reds, blues, yellows and the likes. Along with so many other things he could draw attention to. He only wanted his way after all and even though a small part of him suggested that he should just stay quiet and follow them out, self awareness was one thing, yet being ordered to do something was entirely different. That was which he adamantly refused to accept.

He squinted as he nonchalantly picked up a glass mixing cup with its little mixing stick, examining it as if fascinated, "I have a better idea, see... I can stay here and explore all this crap and you guys can go screw yourselves," he looked up at them with a half crooked smile, "how's that?"

Dyson slipped his hand into his pocket, his mind racing after a quicker and much simpler approach to ending this charade. It was pointless now trying to make him cooperate and he could see that in trying to force him would only give them more of a mess. Sighing he slowly uncapped the needle as he relaxed his features and just as cautiously made his way toward the kid.

"You're right, we could stay a little while..." he told him almost gently, trying to conjure up an image of a cute puppy or child in his head, something he could relate to and feign mild concern for the other, anything at most to seem sincere to the clone. He flickered his black eyes at his wife as she moved toward him, it was all there in his eyes to stay back and try not to make any sudden movement.

Zero wasn't sure how he had realized something was different. Maybe it was the alarming he bells he felt going off, racing with the fierce pounding of his heart at the sound of that glaring man's voice lowering. He pictured a panther in his mind or a lion edging closer and dangerously closer to its prey. Waiting to pounce. A frown tipped his brows and the smile that had alit his features faded as consequently everything suddenly fell silent. Only the faint humming of the overhead bright lights above interrupted the growing silence that weaved around the three, as if pulling them into a scene. In which he was the star, but for all the wrong reasons.

Suddenly Dyson swung his arm up and attempted to strike like a cobra toward the clone's neck.

Zero eyed the sharp needle, its tip catching at the light with whatever drug it contained dripping. All he knew was that it could harm him and that he needed to avoid getting pricked by it. Reaching swiftly for the scientist's wrist he pushed with all his force that arm away, twisting it even to have the man double-over in pain, then thinking quickly, Zero reached with his other hand over the man's back and yanked at the long lab coat, pulling it up and over his head. Using that to cover his line of vision, he bought his knee into the man's gut and finally shoved him into the table. The glass objects there shattered noisily as he fell against them before slumping with a groan to the floor. The injection had slid across the room, a little before Lisa. She was in easier reach of it.

Grabbing a shard of glass from the table, Zero latched his hand onto the man's coat, pulling him up, he placed the sharpest edge to his throat, threatening to slit it if he dared to take another move.

"Zero don't, please!" Lisa begged, her tone high pitched and alarming as she glanced toward the exit, the doors had automatically slid closed.

"Or what huh? What are you going to do to stop me? Obviously if you hadn't noticed I take demands from no one. You can give that thought up." Zero was quite serious as he met her gaze directly.

Lisa watched him carefully, almost afraid to breathe, she didn't move, but her body trembled despite her wanting to remain still. Would he actually kill him? She panicked thinking about that possibility and decided to try everything she could to avoid that outcome.

"What is it that you want? Just tell me and I'll give it to you but please don't do it."

Zero considered, he turned away from her to glare at the man she seemed to care deeply about, now that she was finally asking him what he wanted, maybe he wouldn't kill the dick after all. There would be no need to. But that still didn't stop him from knocking the man out with an angry punch in the face. He'd caught Dyson's hand sliding subtly back into the pocket, about to probably pull another injection out.

"Fine. But if I were you, I wouldn't try it."

Lisa froze, she was already bending over to pick up the injection that Dyson had dropped, she too would have done the same given the chance, but Zero was a step ahead.

He shook his finger, a smile playing at his lips as he clicked his tongue, "Ah-ah. If you want to end up like him I suggest you play it smart and be a little more nicer to me. Not that you haven't been," He glanced back at her, scrutinizing her with wary eyes.

Lisa straightened almost too fast, then wordlessly glared at him, and he tilted his head to the side studying her carefully.

"There is only one thing that I want, and also something that you want as well of all of this. I think we can come to an accordance of some kind, don't you think?"

She exhaled quickly and bit her lip, feeling tears well up in her eyes. This could not be happening, but it clearly was and the frustration of having no other choice but to go along with it was beginning to piss her off.

Somehow he knew she'd be a bit more cooperative than her partner and that was enough for him. He told her that he would like to see her in a much private place so that they could discuss for a bit and finalize his plan. He was aware of the recording eyes around the room watching their every move.

A few minutes later an announcement was made that all staff proceed to the assigned room with their experiments and files that the meeting was about to start.

Dyson was given the medical help needed but nothing would ever heal the dreaded scar of his defeated pride.

.
.
.

"I can't believe I'm being subjected to this crap." Lisa muttered as she walked stiffly, case file in hand, leading her experiment down the hall.

Zero gave her a sideways glance as he deliberately walked one step behind her, "I think it's a pretty good deal. And don't worry, I'm a man of my word, I have no reason to lie. And remember," there was more light in his eyes than the circumstances warranted, clearly disarmingly gleeful that she was complying with him. That they had actually done this when something told him that this wasn't the usual norm. He placed a finger to his lips, "shh."

She hated how he was able to act as if nothing had happened back there, and she hated her inability to calm her beating heart. Was she actually afraid of him? And why did it feel so wrong? He was just a kid, not even twenty yet, or a day old technically. So why such trepidation plaguing her soul?

"Yeah, because I would love for you to throw my ring away," her usually soft voice acquired a note of irritation in its sarcasm. But she tried to keep her anger off her face as they neared the double doors leading to the room. Her gaze flickered repeatedly between his face and the silver chain now around his own neck, she wondered if she could truly confide in him.

The clone snorted dryly, "Hey, it's like I said, this is an agreement of mutual interests," he answered with a ghost of a smirk flitting across his face, but right about now he wanted her to stop talking about it, "now about your husband..." he began, changing the subject abruptly, shrugging and averting her eyes as where they were entering was an even bigger place than were they had been previously.

"I want you to stay far away from him." She hissed, nudging her elbow against him to stress the point.

His smirk deepened, recalling that incident, it was thrilling, although he didn't think he'd admit that to her at the moment. "I can't make you any promises, if he comes looking for me, he'll find me. And if he pulls another trick like that on me I can't tell you how much I would enjoy beating the hell out of him. This time without holding back." There was a level of permanence in his voice, and that hint of expectation. Both already aware of that fact, but not exchanging anything more they fell into a mutual silence as they neared a group of other men and woman in lab coats all gathered around in hushed conversation as they watched the other scientists and their assigned clones walking in.

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Character Portrait: Aidan Lowsley
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#, as written by Hingyou
*crunch* *crunch* *crunch*

The silence of a poorly decorated and fully grey room was interrupted only by the obnoxious sound of potato chips being crunched in large groups. Sitting on a chair, in front of a table befitting the dullness of the chamber, the figure of a young man struck as the only source of color for the tasteless space. With his chin resting on his right hand while the left one moved from a bag of snacks to his mouth in fixed intervals, he stared blankly at the words written on a large pile of paperwork, his facial expression mimicking the mood of the room. Even for Aidan's standards, the evening was turning out to be tedious and uneventful, which most of the time wasn't a welcomed routine.

*crunch* *crunch* *crunch*

It was something he knew he should have taken care of weeks ago, but ever faithful to his own whimsical self, he had neglected one of his only obligations for the sake of nothing. Stacked together in a perfectly organized and neat, white mountain was an extensive report on every single detail there was to know about Bradley Lake, from an overview of the major events that took place in his life and remarkable personality traits to the infinity of ways these could manifest as metaphors once he and the other Fragments entered his mind. The whole subject was still mostly unexplored and at the present time the human mind still remained incredibly unpredictable, but after an investigation was carried out some of the scientist had reached the conclusion that it sending the mental invaders to Bradley Lake's head with at least a general idea of its layout could improve their possibilities of success, at least while exploring the more superficial levels.

Unfortunately, whether Aidan actually understood or cared about the relevance of this information didn't matter much: either way, it was utterly impossible for him to read the entire report. Tried as he might, every word he read had a familiar ring to it; he had been told it was most likely that he retained some memories from Lake's subconscious and, while he didn't know whether that was the cause or not, the point remained that he had a feeling that he already knew what he was reading. While that wasn't the case and he actually had no idea who Bradley Lake truly was as a person, it still held true that the essay only gave him the impression that he was skimming through pages of a book he had already read long ago. At every page, and without him realizing, his mind always found a way to discretely fade the words in his head and replace them with images of the scientists he had met so far dancing a dumb choreography while wearing a tutu; an odd, uncomfortable, yet very laughable visage. So far, his favorite had been Blaise.

*crunch* *crun-*

"It's a little too late to be reading those, Aidan", the voice of a man coming from the door-less entrance of his room called to him, prompting him to turn around on his seat and confirm his suspicions on who his visitor was. An aged man with tired, dead eyes and a wide, mocking smile looked back at him, a hint of anticipation in his tone. "It's time".

As if judging whether to respond or consider if it was too late to pretend to be deaf, Aidan simply looked at the man while getting another handful of potato chips in his mouth. Once he understood what he meant by his words and that he had no choice but to follow him, he got up from his seat while sighing in resignation. "Fine; I really need to get a door. Where to, Lane?"

Lane Hecker was a psychologist working in the facility and, judging by what Aidan had gathered from conversations with other scientists, he was apparently a very prominent figure, having a large role in the mental analysis of Bradley Lake and the making of the report he had been reading seconds ago. He had actually had countless opportunities to ask him directly, as another one of his duties had become to be the personal psychologist of some of the Fragments (Aidan among them) and monitor their psychological development, but for some reason, the thought of giving him the chance to show off or show interest sickened him to no end. Despite the general belief that the two of them were good friends, Aidan actually hated his guts.

It wasn't that much of a surprise that others thought they got along, after all, Lane had been the only one of the psychologists in the facility to have managed to hold a productive conversation out of Aidan so far. While the others hadn't managed to get past his initial phase of complete apathy and indifference, Lane had managed to make the clone talk, which actually meant a lot. It was hard for others to keep their composure in the psychologist's presence; there was an aura of imminent danger constantly surrounding that man. He had the unique ability to, with a simple conversation, make others feel as if they were playing a game of chess, checkers and a third unidentified game only he knew the rules of simultaneously and each going at its own pace. Worse yet, he had also figured out a way to make them feel he was winning at all of them. By the time greetings were exchanged, he could already tell what kind of childhood the other person had lived and he didn't show nay remorse over bombarding others with their deepest secrets and fears they didn't want to admit. In fact, rumor had it his psychologically sadistic tendencies had already lead others to tears and he hadn't become famous around facilities for the right reasons exactly.

This was the kind of person Aidan had to interact with on an almost daily basis. Everyday there was a conflict of paces and everyday he found a new reason to never let his guard down around this man. They had been walking through a long corridor for a while; Lane explained the current situation to him; the clone pretended to be listening while the psychologist pretended he didn't notice he wasn't getting any attention. Eventually, the conversation got a silent point.

"Having second thoughts?", Lane asked out of the blue after allowing the silence to last for roughly a minute.

"I'm surprised to hear a pointless question from you", responded Aidan, his mouth still full of potato chips. He had taken the bag with him since it was still half-full and had been eating non-stop up to that point.

"Is there really such thing as a pointless question?", Lane asked in his usual composed yet somehow menacing tone. "It just surprises me that even now you don't have anything to say about entering what could be considered the greatest mind of our time. Not only that, couldn't this be considered homecoming for you?"

The clone already had a pretty good idea of where the conversation was headed, but whatever he was thinking, his face didn't show any hints whatsoever. "This is not a therapy session, just let it go".

He had apparently said something interesting, as Lane's response consisted on coming to a halt and turning around to face him. Some blonde bangs got in the way of his black eyes. "What ever you mean, Aidan?", judging by the way in which he acted surprised, it was obvious to Aidan he had answered exactly how he wanted him to answer. "Life is a succession of complicated questions we must stop and ponder over every now and then. Whether the one formulating them is me in my office or a close friend of yours makes no difference. Everywhere and everything is a therapy session, and, at the end of the day, we are the ones to give ourselves the final diagnosis. After all, shouldn't we know ourselves before setting off to understand others?"

Aidan's expression didn't change throughout the short speech; he wasn't feeling up to the task of starting a debate with this man, so he simply looked at him indifferently, allowing silence to take over. With a smirk, Lane looked back at Aidan in the eyes, as if prompting him to make a response, which never happened. While anyone else wouldn't give the scene a second thought, the two of them were aware of the situation: the enmity was mutual.

Eventually, after confirming the clone was not going to talk back (or talk at all), Lane's expression softened. "You are not going to enter the room? It's that door right there", he pointed at a door that was exactly at the spot where had stopped and acted as if he really didn't know what kept Aidan still there. "I believe you are the first to make it here, perhaps the other Fragments haven't heard the call yet. I'll go see if I can contact any of them. Go with God."

"Just hurry so we can get this over with already", Aidan responded in a tired tone, ignoring Lane's parting.

As he opened the door to the room where they would soon be filled in on their mission, for the first time since he had been living in the facility, he felt a cool chill of anticipation running through his back.

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Character Portrait: Ellisia Julens
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It was a small room, with few furnishings, but it was the only thing Ellisia could really claim for herself. Even the clothes in the tiny chest were picked for her for her by someone else, washed by someone else. Her body had been created by another person, to serve a purpose they chose for her; her mind, but a borrowed scrap from a stranger who was still closer to her than most anyone else. And her soul…did she truly have one? Did anyone else ever wonder about that? She paused, pressing a hand to her chest, feeling her heartbeat. Surely that must be borrowed, as well. Though she knew the room did not truly belong to her, she was usually able to forget that, a blissful thing. After all, no one spent as much time in here as she did.

Now, she straightened the sheets on the bed, tucking them in securely, before laying the pale blue blanket across the mattress, plumping the pillow and arranging it carefully. She smoothed a hand across the fabric, dispelling any remaining wrinkles, and smiled. Ellisia loved when everything was just right, in its perfect spot. Turning, she folded her hands in her lap as she sat on the small stool in the corner, letting her eyes wander back and forth across the room, daydreaming. Someday she’d like to visit a field of flowers, one that stretched as far as the eye could see. She supposed it was a silly dream, to lie on the ground and watch the sky float by, smelling the sweet perfume and listening to buzzing bees, but it was the most beautiful thing in the world, to her. She’d seen something like that in a movie once, and she could almost pretend she was there, grass tickling her bare arms, the wind gently playing with her curls. But all dreams have to end, and this one was no exception.

“Ellisia?” Her brown eyes slowly found their way to the speaker, still lost in her imagination. He frowned, knowing this mood well. “Wake up, Ellisia. Are you listening to me?” She sighed, and closed her eyes, bidding silent farewell to her wish. When she met the scientist’s gaze again, her eyes were focused, clear, no longer lost in a happier place, and she smiled at him, a sweet, apologetic smile.

“I am sorry, I was daydreaming. Did you need me for something?” Ellisia stood, a question in her eyes. The Dr. Moore looked away, brushing a hand across his thinning hair, ragged at the sides. I need to get this trimmed, he thought, trying to distract himself. It was hard to not worry about this gentle girl, even if he knew she was only a clone, a clone created to serve a single purpose. There was a reason few people wanted to work with, or on, her- she was just too…too human, if ever such a compassionate human was to walk the earth, one with no ulterior motives, or unselfish desires. But surely even she, a clone of perfect innocence, was not that pure? No, he must leave those thoughts to his superiors. He merely cared for the girl, ran tests every once in a while, took her to her different appointments.

“It’s time,” he said, opening the door. He could see she did not fully understand, but she obediently walked outside, waiting for him to take the lead. As they walked down the hall, he explained, “You are to enter Bradley Lake’s mind, as you were told previously. The…the others are gathering.” Get it together, Moore! She’s an experiment! Oh, maybe I’m getting too old for this. Unnoticed, she nodded, a thoughtful expression upon her face.

“Of course. I am simply surprised that it took so long to come to this. Do not worry,” she added, placing a hand on his shoulder and ignoring his incredulous look. “I was made to do this.” She smiled again, an angel’s smile, comforting and warm. Unable to respond, shocked at being reassured by one of his own experiments, Moore merely nodded, thankful they were nearing the room they had been summoned to. Opening the door, he gestured for her to enter first. She hesitated, taking a deep breath, shoulders hunched, before stepping into the doorway, in view of the others. He entered behind her, ushering her to a seat. He stayed back, against the wall, feeling both guilty and excited, wanting distance from her and those unsettling eyes. He supposed it was simply her nature, but every time he looked at her, he was reminded of a small, trusting child, and forgot that she was physically 17, nearly a full grown woman, true age notwithstanding.

Ellisia, for her part, simply folded her hands in her lap, neatly and precisely, and watched all that happened around her with her eyelashes lowered, veiling her gaze.

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Character Portrait: Eliseo Ormano
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The room of Eliseo Ormano, or to be more precise the room that had been assigned to Eliseo Ormano after he had graduated from the nursery, was empty.

Not empty of furnishings; there was a bed, desk, and dresser set that seemed to have been crafted by a person who clearly valued function over taste, which in fact happened to be the case. Minimalistic and gray, they blended neatly into the dull gray walls, and taken together the interior design of the room gave the impression that it could gradually suck out the color and personality from any individual that lived there for too long. It reminded one of a plain and innocuous-looking sponge that might turn out to be an alien lifeform from a dystopian planet in one of those cheesy sci-fi flicks that people like to laugh over, except there wasn’t anyone for it to torture at the present, and ended up looking a little sad instead.

Yes, the room lacked its precious owner’s presence. This would pose a problem for the psychologist rapidly approaching the door, who would, in a few seconds time, knock on the door to the room and discover its vacancy. (But that didn’t matter very much to the room at all, since the psychologist would not be staying.)

“Eliseo?” Lane Hecker, after escorting his previous patient to the waiting room, was now in the business of searching for the other clones, starting with the easiest one to locate. “This is not the time to be playing hide-and-seek,” he called down the corridor. With the bored expression of someone far too familiar with the action, he briskly made his way to the nearest restroom, pushed open the entrance, and scanned the bottom openings of the stalls. Although all of them seemed unoccupied, his eyes immediately alighted on the last one, which happened to be only one that was closed, and upon closer examination, locked.

Lane knocked, only to receive a silence. “It's time to go, Eliseo. I know you’re in there.”

He was rewarded by a barely audible exhalation of breath. Then a low voice floated up from behind the stall door, flat and modulated, like the curvature of the earth. “Someday you’re going to walk in here and I’ll actually be taking a shit. What then?”

“Using humor as a defense mechanism," was the counter. "Very original.”

“Shut up.” Two long, thin feet dropped down, encased in a worn pair of canvas sneakers that were doodled over enthusiastically in blue and black ink. “I wasn’t hiding.”

“I didn’t say you were. I know you won’t abandon your duty now, especially out of fear... will you now?”

After what seemed like an eternity, the latch unlocked and the stall door swung open. “No,” Eliseo muttered defensively as he stepped out, but he was unable to look Lane in the eyes. When he was directly facing the psychologist Eliseo’s ability to sass or backtalk him always seemed to evaporate. All that time he had spent in therapy with Hecker had worn his will power to a nub... not that it had ever been a mighty statue in the first place.

They walked together toward the debriefing room, with Eliseo glumly fielding antagonizing questions about his feelings and expectations, before settling into a tense, uncomfortable silence. He figured Lane wouldn’t be as interested in “psychoanalyzing” him if he was consistently compliant and passive, like a 50-piece puzzle that was easy to get bored of, a strategy that worked, but only to a degree. People, unlike puzzles, constantly changed, and he could only give out so many obvious answers before he found himself in a trap.

It wasn’t fair. If only he had been able to score a much nicer babysitter, like Ellisia’s caretaker, the tender-hearted Dr. Moore. Whose twisted idea was it to put the facility’s biggest psychological bully in charge of the Fear fragment’s mental well-being?

When they reached their destination and the older adult left, taking with him his arsenal of mental weaponry, Eliseo let out a sigh of relief. He saw Aidan and Ellisia waiting and joined them, taking a seat beside the innocent looking brunette.

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Lisa didn't like the look on her experiment's face when he glanced at her, she almost didn't want to ask what he was thinking.

"I thought this was going to be some kind of party, but I don't see any drinks or condiments." He muttered at catching her eyes wondering toward him.

She nodded, "What made you assume it was?"

"Why else would I be needed here? You already told me what needs to be done, why can't we skip to the part where we just jump in and start already?"

"Because you're not going at this alone."

Now he looked at her directly in the eyes, raising a brow, "Oh, wait. You were serious about that? I have to join them on this mission? Wow. That's something."

"Why do I get the impression that you're up to something?"

He offered her that devilish grin he wore so well, "That's 'cuz I am my dear. You only gave me two options, and I'm choosing the third door or option in your case."

Lisa stared at him as if he had grown a giant green head with three horns, almost nervous did she appear, her face tight and eyes wide, "There is no third option."

He wagged his finger at her as he crossed his arms, his eyes swept across the room to spot the group of the other clones a knowing look in his eyes as he figured things were definitely going to change quite sooner than expected. "See, those guys over there will all bend over back wards to please their superiors, but not me. I don't give out my services without a price and you know it."

"What are you getting at and what is this third option you're talking about?" Now she was clearly worried, out of all the fragments she kinda sorta wished she hadn't been assigned to this one.

He sighed, rolling his eyes and shrugged, "That's for me to know and for you to guess. But I doubt you'll ever get it. Just be warned, things are about to get a whole lot interesting around here."

The scientist placed both hands at her hips, a no non-sense look on her face, "What are you planning now?"

He looked at her finally and simply said, "You're the scientist, it doesn't take a genius to figure that out, think woman. What do you think?"

"Oh no." She most have gotten part of it, for that look on her face was priceless. She knew it wasn't going to go well with the higher ups. And she couldn't talk him out of it. Although she wished she knew what exactly it was, yet he wasn't going to tell her, as if she could stop him anyways.

"Oh yes," He walked away from her to approach the rest of the clones, he sized them up guessing which fragment portrayed which emotion, he did notice that a few were missing, what frustrated him a bit was having to wait so long for this to get started. One clone he seemed to have something akin to interest in was the pretty, innocent bird, almost looking like a normal girl that didn't belong here.

Lisa watched him carefully as he stared at the girl with those intense blue eyes, sometimes she felt like he could see right through her whenever their line of sight crossed, could explain why she disliked looking at him directly.

What are you planning Zero? I really hope for your own sake that whatever it is, isn't something too bad.

Zero couldn't help but smile at Ellisia, something about her spiked his interest and he kinda wanted to know her a little more.

"You look like you'd rather be anywhere else but here..." He told her almost in a whisper his tone quite playful, as he smiled at her. He unhooked his arms and slid his hands into the pockets of his jeans he couldn't really take his eyes off her and they held that amused look to them.

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Ellisia watched as one of the other clones left his caretaker, a woman she didn’t recognize, who had the…the strangest look on her face. Wondering what had caused such an expression, Ellisia heard the footsteps halt, directly before her. Turning her gaze from the woman to the man before her, she met his gaze for a second before blushing and looking down. “Oh, no,” she protested. “I am happy to do my duty.” A brief smile flashed across her face, and she added, “And there are many places that I would not rather be, such as in a pit of snakes. I think few places are as bad as that would be,” she added contemplatively, brow furrowed as she thought. “But perhaps it is you who does not wish to be here?” She looked up now, gaze straightforward and honest, albeit a bit confused.

She found his gaze somewhat disquieting, hard to meet, but she had no idea why. Still, she forced herself to look him in the eye, as it was what manners required. Pushing herself to her feet, she smiled again, though this time her face had a gentler cast to its features, no humor in her level gaze. “We have not been introduced properly, no? I am Ellisia Julens. It is a pleasure to meet you.” And it was, for Ellisia found everyone a joy to be with, even the scientists who poked her with needles and examined her so often, to be sure she was healthy and normal, or at least, as normal as could be expected.

She felt the gazes of many, if not all, of the others in the room, focused on the two of them. Turning to the other clones, she said, “Perhaps we should all introduce ourselves? The others are taking a long time…I hope nothing is wrong,” she added, worry coloring her words and clouding her gaze as she bit her lip, letting her curly brown hair fall forward over one shoulder, a curtain to hide behind, the flimsiest of shields. This situation was not the most ideal, and she did not wish others to see the discomfort on her face as she felt the tense atmosphere, the scientists standing around the edge of the room as though they were some strange animals on display. Many of them did not even bother to hide their curiosity, eyes gazing hungrily at their creations interacting. Ellisia, though normally compliant and sweet, hated to be treated like a thing, like some strange being that belonged completely and utterly to another, though she knew that that was not the case. She wrapped her arms around herself, trying to lay some claim to her own body, her mind, even her soul. Trying to interrupt those dark thoughts before they blossomed fully, she looked back at the young man before her, gaze perhaps revealing more of her emotions than she would wish to share.

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"Hmm, now, you and I know well. THAT'S a lie." Zero's smile deepened at this girl whom evoked utter sincerity and even a hint of certainty -she kept her eyes steady on him and he was impressed. Lisa always looked so nervous when he stared at her directly, it was a pattern he'd noticed quickly upon awakening. The scientists not only communicated through verbal spoken words, but with their eyes as well. He was never intimidated by such a simple act as holding anothers gaze, so why was it that they felt the need to look away after a mere second? Did the eyes hold a truth only revealed by a long look? Maybe so but when he held her gaze he caught the flicker of a shadow in her limpid eyes, though it was only for a moment. Yet, it was enough to convey her doubt.

"You can call me Zero dear, now why the face?" His tone held a lighter, humorous edge to it, he was fully aware of them all staring at him and her. And it didn't even fluster him in the slightest as he reached out a hand to her sweetness, his fingers gently pushed those strands away from her beautiful face, tucking them behind her ear. His lips widened as he leaned in, he stroaked the top of her head as he whispered in her ear, "Let them watch."

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Character Portrait: Subject -00 Character Portrait: Eliseo Ormano Character Portrait: Ellisia Julens Character Portrait: Aidan Lowsley
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Eliseo hardly had any time to share a greeting with either of the other two clones when another approached. This clone appeared to be a new fragment, created, like them, solely for this purpose, and had taken the shape of a young man with piercing eyes that made him uncomfortable. He was quite glad that he was not the object of their attention and felt a little nervous for Ellisia, who was. But she handled the stranger’s teasing question with the same unflinchingly straightforward manner that marked her character, and when she suggested that everyone introduced themselves, he followed with a short but declarative “Elis” though judging from the way the clone's eyes were fixed on Ellisia, he doubted the stranger cared.

He continued to observe the clone’s curious behavior, which involved cozying up to Ellisia and... Oh god, is he flirting with her? Eliseo was flooded with the desire to scoot his chair as far away from the spectacle as possible and simultaneously frozen with fascination. Damn man, he thought, control your frickin' libido. He unconsciously leaned his torso away in discomfort and glanced up at Aidan as if to confirm Um, this is kinda awkward, right? … Please tell me I'm not alone in this train of thought.

Mere seconds after sending that look it occurred to him that Aidan probably didn’t care --- the guy was seemingly impervious to awkwardness, safely shielded by his complete and utter apathy --- but Eliseo was feeling it pretty strong, and Aidan could occasionally be counted on as a bro. He needed it to convey it to someone other than the two mass producing the awkwardness (okay, one, it wasn't really her fault), and the scientists around the room didn’t count. He ignored the way they scribbled onto their notepads, recording their every social interaction, and cleared his throat. Loudly. If that didn't work he might have to step up and say something. Poor Ellisia was looking more and more uncomfortable, though whether it was due to Zero's influence or the scientists coldly scrutinizing their actions he couldn't really guess.

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Ellisia blushed, breath catching in her throat, and she could only stare up at him with wide eyes, mind failing to come up with a response. On the sidelines, Dr. Moore started forward, only to be grabbed and held back by another scientist, a woman who’s gaze was fixed on the two of them. He said something to her, quietly, to softly for Ellisia to hear, but stepped back, looking away from them almost ashamedly. Knowing no help was coming, she cast a frantic glance at the others. Steeling herself, she looked at him again and forced herself to take a deep breath. Why was it so much more…difficult to face him, well, petting her, than it was to deal with injections and countless scans and tests?

“You’re doing that on purpose,” she accused quietly. “Trying to…to fluster me.” Meeting his eyes steadily again, she asked, “Why?” And why were none of the others saying anything. Elis had introduced himself, certainly, but they were doing nothing other than watching, also, though they had to be aware of her discomfort. She laced her fingers tightly together, clenching hier fists until her knuckles turned white.

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Why did it bug him for her to react so distrusting toward him? Pulling back to gaze at her, he was met with a not so gentle expression on her adorable face. He wanted to change that, "Doing what on purpose?" He asked, squinting as if scrutinizing her, "I'm being friendly, that's all, and if you're flustered then that may be a good thing..." That half smirk graced his features before his eyes broke contact and lowered to her hands and he involuntarily reached for them, his hold on her ever so gentle, as he pulled her hands apart and simply held them. They were very light and small, he could also feel a little rush coursing through his veins by this simple gesture and he wondered if by being flustered she meant this strange sensation he couldn't bat down. All the while she held his gaze and he dared to stare down at her, half wondering what she saw in his eyes.

Aware of the audience watching him and her, Zero imagined being on some kind of stage where they were the stars of the freak show, as if they'd never seen two people interacting. Or was it the fact that they weren't just people, but clones of the same person? They must have been the first of their kind to have acquired such a high level of interest from these scientists. But none of that really mattered to him, all he cared about right now was this girl, with those eyes that never looked away and her reaction to him which he suddenly found himself actually wondering about, why? That was a mystery even to himself.

Lisa was just as curious about her subject and the rest of the clones as all the others around her, but it wasn't a big deal. They were all going to begin talking to one another eventually, it was just so fascinating to her in the sense that they were actually complete, whole, beings successfully functioning on their own and that was which why everyone seemed so excited and enthralled by the clones. It wasn't everyday that a DNA was extracted from one person and their emotions divided into fragments and embodied by each clone. She half expected this to fail on her first try when she was even given the task to complete. However, now as she watched them, she couldn't help but feed off of the intense wonder and amazement that expanded and filled every scientist standing in the room. Imagine if this were to ever reach the ears of the public how much frenzy and trouble that would cause. But of course that wouldn't happen since this procedure so delicately done was only completed for the sole purpose of the state of emergency the entire world was in. The salvation for the world rested in these clones' hands, it was up to them to decide the future of the world and its six billion people that resided in it. Save it, or let it blow up, their choice.