Subject Seven
Roleplaying Log: Subject Seven
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

The shadows pull nightmares from Domino's mind and it takes the light of Angel to help dispel them.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: August 13, 2019
IC Location:
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 14 Aug 2019 12:11
Rating & Warnings:
NPC & GM Credits: Dani
Associated Plots

There is only darkness and coldness in those initial moments within the dark void of shadows, then, just like that, all awareness fades away.

When it returns it's a slow thing, like waking from a nap. Or a long forgotten dream.

Now comes reality and it's a rude awakening. Something that harkens back to Domino's younger days. There's the astringent smell of antiseptic and it stings the nose while bright fluorescent lights shine bright enough to blind the eyes.

It's only as all of Domino's sense return that the area around her resolves into a room.

It's barren of almost everything. The only things that can be found in the room are Domino herself, and the hard icy metallic chair she sits in which she is also strapped to. Cuffs bind wrists and ankles to the arms and legs of the chair.

There's only one view within this room and that's of Domino herself, as large mirror line each wall. Her image stares back at her and much like the room, Domino will find her typical leathers replaced by simple clothes. A hospital smock and a pair of matching linen pants. Her feet are left bare to rest against the chilled floor.

———

It's a memory which never goes away. Try as she might to bury it, erase it, mentally cut it out with pain or alcohol, it never disappears. It may lie dormant for over a decade but as soon as something triggers that kind of situation it's right back into play, front and center. Impossible to escape.

Neena knows this place.

The room could be different. The facility could be different. But the feeling? It's always the same. The panicked look rushing into the wild blue eyes staring back at her, always the same.

Then comes the solid lurch of unyielding restraint. Muscles within the arms coiling and hands turning into harsh fists as she yanks against those straps, each time harder and more frantic than the last. She's a stronger person than she used to be but it'll still never be enough.

(Don't lose your shit, Thurman.)

(Don't give them the benefit of a scream.)

More muscles are soon brought into play as the tugging efforts morph into twisting efforts, the heavy leather creaking against the onslaught but not giving any slack. Her jaw clamps down, her expression hardenes, the air stops within her throat and -nothing else happens.-

Nothing other than a black haired head being driven harshly back against the chair in her frustration as her fingernails already begin to draw blood from within both palms.

(FUCK.)

———

Even with all the vibrant lights shadows linger within the corners of the room and when Domino reacts the shadow's interest peaks.

It's a subtle thing on their part. The air turns colder within the room itself and the feeling becomes heavier. A weight of fear that presses inward from all sides.

It really is just bad. Bad. Bad. Bad.

And then it gets worse.

Only after Domino exhausts herself with trying to escape those restraints does a portion of the mirrors slide away to reveal a door. A door that opens and allows two people to step through.

Both wear lab coats, both have the look of scientists and/or doctors. The woman in front holds a small recording device in her hand and already she speaks into it.

"Subject Seven has been returned to active project status." The woman says in a very matter-of-fact way, "We are now conducting tests to determine the viability of re-integrating the subject into Project Armageddon."

"If re-integration is not possible then the subject will be slotted for disposal."

Each word is stated in the driest most clinical of tones and while the woman with the small recorder is clearly the one in charge she isn't the one who's going to get her hands dirty.

That's for the poor nurse who stands at the ready. The Doctor turns to the Nurse, "Vitals first and then we'll test cognitive functions."

The Nurse reaches into the pockets of his lab coat and pulls forth several implements. A digital thermometer (the kind that goes in the ear), a blood pressure cuff and a stethoscope.

His approach to Domino is careful, as he's being completely mindful of hands, feet and teeth. They've been in this project a long enough that they've seen just about everything they can from all the subjects at hand.

Temperature comes first and when he places a hand on her head, Domino will find his grip to be strong as he fits the device in her ear.

———

The cold. Just like before in every lab Domino's ever been in but also like that brief trip through the silent, snow-filled New York City wasteland. Cold like the shadowy tendrils which she -swears- are still lurking within the edges of the room…

This isn't real. This CAN'T be real. But it -feels- so damn real. Just like it feels she's being watched from a featureless entity within this mirrored room. Studied, even.

It's apparently learning a lot about her very quickly. Two labcoats enter, neither of them are recognized. It's not uncommon, personnel were frequently cycled. It made any sort of personal connection impossible. Not everyone had been able to suppress their own human nature so much.

It did happen once before. One Doctor, the one tasked with keeping all of the subjects alive. But he wouldn't be in this nightmare, would he.

It starts mundanely enough. Basic vitals, acting like she's nothing more than a lab rat. No effort to mask what the options are and that failure would mean disposal. To them the albino isn't a person. Trying to act like one will only result in bigger problems. Injections, electric shock, anything to keep the subject docile while their tasks can be performed.

Neena doesn't bother trying to talk to them. Besides, -they aren't real.- Nevermind how real their words sound, spoken as if this were truly happening. Nevermind how it feels when her head is pressed back against the table, making her wince and bare teeth while holding back an audible response which is dying to burst forth. Save that strength for later. It's probably going to be needed.

Instead, how about trying to find a way -out- of this Hell? Before the real bad stuff gets rolled in?

Think about the sound of that lyre playing. Think of Brightwind. Dammit, think of -anything else-…

———

The Nurse calls out the vitals as he reads them -

Everything is typical. Everything is good. Well, almost everything.

Domino's blood pressure is a bit high as well as heart rate.

The Doctor considers the vitals and finally says, "Vitals are within acceptable parameters for Subject Seven."

The Doctor shuts off her recording device and turns her back to Neena. "Bring in the rest of the equipment, please. Set-up shouldn't take too long." The Nurse responds simply with, "Of course, Doctor."

There's a flurry of activity now with several orderlies coming in with equipment. A long metal table, a machine that looks similar to a lie detector, but not quite the same thing and then various sheets of paper. Two more chairs are brought in for the Nurse and the Doctor, and while the Doctor sits quite quickly the Nurse first hooks up the machine to Domino.

Again all movements are short, brief and very clinical. Small electrodes are placed upon her forehead and scalp, along with similar recording devices upon several fingers of each hand.

When it's all said and done, Neena finds herself being recorded by the machine and also a camera. Gotta have those visual records as well.

The Doctor speaks again, "In the past Subject Seven was deemed a failure as the Subject's powers weren't quantifiable on any measurable level. My current hypothesis is that Subject Seven wasn't properly motivated to produce viable results. Today's experiment will determine the amount of emotional stimuli needed to produce evidence of her probability field."

A look passes to the Nurse now, "Please bring in Subject A."

The Nurse leaves for a handful of moments and when he returns he brings with him a small lightweight cage. Within that cage is a small furred body, white. It might be hard to figure out exactly what the animal is up until it makes a noise.

A very pitiful despondent noise.

"Meeow."

The Doctor smiles now, something sharp and toothsome, something that twists grotesquely upon her shadowed face.

———

High blood pressure. Gosh, who would have thought! Domino's first seething response is 'ya think?!' but it never comes to pass. What does pass is the first battery of tests. The simple stuff. An acceptable host for the next phase of 'reintegration.'

(This isn't real, Thurman.)

The thought can't hold back the steady rise in blood pressure or the quickening of her pulse. What manner of 'test' is it going to be this time? A bit of physical pain might be therapeutic, give her something else familiar and deep-rooted to focus on.

If only it would have been more helpful when getting fresh blood under her fingernails. The techs are going to have a hard time uncurling those fingers long enough to attach sensors to the ends. As far as putting up a fight goes it doesn't amount to much but whenever possible she's not giving these people an -inch.-

Come on, then. Bring out the cattle prods. Sharpen up the scalpels. Drop a live bullet into the chamber. -Do your worst.-

Wait.

..Subject A..?

The sight of the cage is enough. Neena's heart skips a beat as the tension rushes through her like a tidal wave.

No…

Oh god no…

(This isn't real.)

Neena did well in keeping it together up to this point. How quickly that last shred of control can be stripped away. The same white cat which they had used as leverage against her from before. The same white cat they had threatened to kill in front of her before. As a child it was somehow easier, the threat had been there but they never quite took it to the level of torture.

The fight in her is immediately reignited. Twisting and wrenching with no regard to her own well-being, a rush of emotions too complex to sort through.

If she breaks free she'll slaughter them all.

If she doesn't she'll scream herself ragged.

If Christmas dies her hate will only grow stronger.

If she gives in she'll hate herself forever.

(This isn't real. This isn't real. Christmas died years ago. This isn't real.)

"Get me out of here! Fucking GET ME OUT OF HERE!!"

———

If this were the real world there would be that potential for her luck to allow her to break free.

Allow her to save herself and Christmas.

Allow for a happy ending, but this isn't the real world.

This particular plane is a place where thought and intentions hold power. Where fear can easily eclipse reason and logic, strength and power.

Where a shadow creature can cause mutant powers to no longer work or exist. Where the power of probability fails.

Where luck is only bad.

Where the flip of a coin always lands on the ground side.

Tails. It's always tails.

And now the Doctor with that smile stands up and somehow within a blink of an eye, her once empty hands now find themselves with a sledge hammer held tightly within them.

"This test will possibly provide the appropriate stimuli for Subject Seven to exert the probability field beyond itself and over to the feline within the cage. If the subject is successful then the feline will be saved, if Subject Seven fails to extend its reach then the feline will die."

Another look flicks over to the Nurse, "Ready Subject B in preparation for potential failure."

Domino's pleas while heard don't seem to prompt a response from either the Doctor or the Nurse, but the cat curled within immediately moves. It uncurls from that protective ball and turns its little in Domino's direction. Upon seeing her there and so close, Christmas rises to her feet and presses against the little metal bars that make his cage up. There's another meow from the cat, however this one is happier. Happy to see Domino. Happy to be reunited.

Happy.

And that happiness is about to be shattered as the Doctor raises the hammer and down it falls. On course to slam into that little metal cage and the little cat within.

———

The one common feature of the shadows, whether in the real world or here, has been the biting, bone-deep cold. The freezing darkness has been a fixture of the Bear's eldritch power, everywhere it has been encountered… a deep chill as final and inert as the grave. It's been a crippling constant…

…which is why, when a sudden pulse of heat ripples through the fabric of the nightmare-scape, it's immediately noticeable.

At first it's just a breath of warmth, like the waft off a candle flame, but it starts to strengthen and intensify soon enough, almost as if the source were drawing closer. In tandem, the shadows circulating around the edges of the phantom lab start to thin. Their unremitting blackness dims, going the rose-grey color of the sky in the last lingering hour before dawn.

There is a still moment, where the darkness wavers as if barriering something back.

Then a burst of fire and radiating white light pierces through the darkness, punching a sanctified hole through the ceiling of the nightmare laboratory. The construct of whirling flames that comes pouring through is — hard to look at directly, not just because of the light pouring out of it, but because the spinning of its nine white wings and its electrum-bright center — three burning wheels, lined with open eyes, linked into a trinity knot — follows no regular earthly pattern, shifting with the unpredictable changeability of a dream.

A certain someone has been pissed off ever since being dumped in this demonic corner of the astral plane, and he's fresh from another encounter that just made him madder.

The burning thing aggresses straight on the Doctor, intent on blasting her straight into the opposite wall. Here and there, the vaguest suggestion of someone familiar seems visible in the midst of the knot, at the nexus of all those wings: where the light is brightest. It doesn't really speak — people only draw breath and talk with their mouths and all that here if they're in the mood for that kind of mundanity, and Angel really isn't. The words just sort of happen.

STEP AWAY FROM THE CAT.

It's no 'FEAR NOT,' but then — that's not the message he wants to send right now anyway.

———

Luck always works. It always helps her in the end. -This isn't real.- She should be able to manipulate this nightmare even more than she can the real world. There's gotta be some sort of trigger, some way through, some way OUT -there's always a way out!-

..Oh god.

There isn't a way out.

This is a level of cruelty beyond even what the Project had put Neena through in the earlier years. Back then it had only been the threat of a taser ramped up to eleven, death by electrocution upon contact.

The goal here hadn't been to test her powers. It's to test how much she could take before breaking. Unfortunately it didn't take long at all. One look at Christmas through the bars is all that is required, well before the hammer starts to fall.

Neena is broken.

The trickle of warm air which had been felt and which continues to expand somehow feels like part of this fracture of self. Maybe once the numbing, biting cold wins it's no longer felt as such. Perhaps it becomes a part of her. Perhaps—

—there's been an unscheduled plot twist…

Perhaps there IS a way out. The arrival of some other force is so dazzling and unreal that Neena might some day wonder if they had already started injecting her full of drugs as a part of their initial test. Nothing makes sense. Everything feels real but nothing makes any damn sense.

The cold is gone.

Wings are descending from above.

..Heh.

'Hot wings.'

She's being rescued by a fucking appetizer.

————

The Darkness is about the win as the hammer descends with deadly force and somewhere, elsewhere within the shadows, there's a cry from a familiar voice.

Dani's voice.

"No!"

Like the Bear she knows who's been pulled into this dark land.

Dazzler.

Warren.

Wolverine.

Domino.

But all she can offer is that shout of denial, as she and the Bear battle on a whole other level. Where claw and sword meet, part and strike again.

The shadows feel that trickle of warmth. That heat that heralds something else - someone else. Someone it hates. Or it's learning to hate.

As such, when those whirling wings appear, with those all seeing eyes, the darkness surges upward. It snaps at those feathers. Bites at them. It tries to inflict frostbite upon those wings and eyes, that bringer of light and warmth.

When that fails it strikes out for Domino again. To pull her back into this personal Hell. To bring all her fears to light, but it can't.

It can't.

The Doctor is tossed aside like a rag doll and the nurse too. The light and heat push against Domino's fear, it pushes against that room and all its mirrors and slowly, bit by bit, piece by piece, the shadows dissolve under the onslaught of Angel's light.

The table disappears, the mirrors fade, and for Domino herself she finds the restraints dissolve and she's free once again.

The cage that held that familiar white cat is likewise gone, but after a moment the brush of a cat might be felt against her ankles although no cat can be seen.

———

In the corporal world, by any standard, Angel is just a 'kind of okay' mutant. He's got some decent abilities — healing blood, mildly superhuman physicals, wings that attract a lot of women — but nothing to write home about.

Here, though, in a psychic plane of existence governed primarily by conviction and belief? Well, being an egotistical, arrogant, overconfident zealot can get you pretty far, and Warren Worthington has never had any particular significant doubts, fears, or insecurities in his life. Lucky him.

It can't make him fear anything about himself; it can't make him doubt anything about himself. Warren loves himself way too much for that. All it can do to hurt him is torment others in front of him, and that puts the kind of righteous anger into him that just gives him fuel here.

The darkness strikes out at him, and he clashes back in a flare of white wings and streaming, seraphic fire: heedless of the eyes that are put out, and the feathers which are ripped free. It's a familiar sort of combat to him, more so than to most — happens when you grow up around the world's most potent psions — and soon enough the shadow turns and tries to pull Neena away again in lieu of straight combat.

Angel has something to say about that. "Nope." No, he's not feeling particularly eloquent yet.

The wheels of fire stop, and fall into ash, and a more familiar, recognizably humanoid shape steps out of the center, all those many wings following him to stream from his shoulders. A flaming sword is swung clean into the darkness, to cut the doctor and nurse and the entire nightmare in half —

And it stops. Left behind is the impression of a cat's warmth, and a nine-winged angelic figure draped heavily in cowled armor, still holding a flaming sword.

"Tell me you're okay," says the dramatic figure, in a tone of voice that isn't very dramatic at all, and in fact mostly just sounds exasperated. Though clearly on some level he's still feeling dramatic, if he looks that way. "Because I'm tired of fighting bears and I'd really like to get out of here — "

———

What's happening?

Does it matter?!

The warmth rushes over the albino like a bath in freshly spilled blood, returning feeling to areas which had long since gone unresponsive. The flow of warm air becomes something of a beacon, a channel in which to follow to crawl out of this abyss. The shadows try to keep Neena down but their hold is quickly fading.

Later on she may not be sure whether to be happy that the feline had disappeared or to feel more despair because she was unable to save him. All that's left is that momentary feeling, a familiar scent-marking brush against her leg. Familial. A part of a whole.

As soon as it becomes clear that the albino can move she makes violent motions to strip all of their lab gear off of her regardless if it had already ceased to exist. So what if she claws herself some with the action, it doesn't matter!

The scientists are also gone. There's no one on hand for her to maul. The mirror room is also gone. Gone from sight..but not from memory.

(Follow the warmth.)

(Climb to it.)

(There's nothing left to climb!)

(Then stand and FIGHT.)

Fingers dig into dark hair as Neena pinches her eyes closed and lets forth one -hell- of a yell. That 'everything must die' and 'incinerate the world' kind of yell, like a physical wall coming to surround her soul where nothing is allowed to pass and where control is regained from within.

She's -buried- this before.

She can do it again.

With this strange interloper coming to disrupt the nightmare she WILL do it again.

That her eyes happened to be pinched closed at the same moment that the seraphic fire went nuclear upon the shadows, that's..just really great timing.

At the voice of 'tell me you're okay' the pale lady snaps out of it with a fist raised high and ready to go for the single heaviest face-punch she can possibly manage—

—until it suddenly dawns upon her that the beautiful golden face now speaking to her is one which has already been punched once before…

Then comes what might be the most eerie turn of events in this entire nightmare.

Domino rushes forward and latches onto Angel. Full-on limb-locked clinging.

Sobbing.

———

That flaming sword is literal death to the shadows.

Its touch dissolves the blackness that makes up this part of the astral plane.

The part that the Demon Bear currently calls home.

The Doctor and Nurse are vanquished in flames. The room likewise obliterated.

All that's now remains is the winged man dressed in armor and with sword and the woman who is once again dressed in her own black leather outfit of choice.

At this point, the shadows themselves are in strategic retreat and with them are those feathers that were torn from the man's wings. A prize, even with them losing this particular fight.

With the presence of the Bear lessening so does the shadows and from that the beginning of the real world can be seen. Trees and grass appear, and in the distance the open grounds of the Institute is seen.

———

Well.

It's not what he expected, but at the same time not something he's necessarily unequipped to handle. Angels have two faces after all: they kill for their god, but they comfort mankind too.

Such it is that there's only a pause of a moment before Warren is pulling back the cowl, and putting one arm about Dom's waist. He doesn't pull away.

"Come on," he says, not unkindly. "We have the others to go meet up with."

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