one passing night

the evening is spread out against the sky


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004. Fever dreams
lucid dreaming
findmyownreason wrote in onepassingnight
It's hard to breath the air you've been given.  It clogs the nose, slithers down the throat like slime, thick and liquid, hot and sweaty.  It tastes like ozone.  Until it tastes like blood.  It has a pulse, a silent thundering shuddering beat like a dying heart. 

It's in your eyes too.  A vague burning at the edges of your eyes, a blurring at the edges of your vision.  It taints the world, filtering the unreliable light from the bare overhead bulbs, coating everything in green.  Slowing everything, every move, with that same thick liquid, clinging to skin and cloth.  It makes it hard to move at speed, muffles sound.

Muffles the screaming.

Because someone's screaming.  Beyond the cramped, claustrophobic metal shelves, beyond the strange glass tanks full of vague non-human forms kept in cloudy liquid, there's a harsher edge to the green, a lack of shadows to hide in.  Beyond the clutter of science the heart of the room beats sick and sluggish.  There are tanks here too.  Large ones, pushed close together.  Full of glowing green liquid.  Bodies float in that liquid but this time they're distinctly human bodies.  Naked, limply suspended, lacking masks, their mouths open in silent screams that never end, never start.  Too indistinguishable in the murky green to identify clearly.  Liquid pumps down their noses, the throats of their unconscious or dead bodies.  One of them's carved something indistinct on the glass of their case before they succumbed but it's so many painful scratches and impossible to read struggles now. 

Beyond the tubes is a table and that's the source of the screaming.  There's someone strapped down on the table and another man, hunched and draped in a spattered lab coat bending over him and there's already the silver of scalpel and blood in slowly growing puddles on the floor.  The screaming is a raw edge and it cracks often, a sure sign it's been going on for a very, very long time. 
"You don't need this.  Or this.  Useless, useless, all so useless," the doctor or scientist's voice is calm, analytical.  Secretly delighted.  "I'll give you new eyes.  New hands.  A new tongue.  She'll give them to you.  They'll be so much better than the useless ones you have now."

The scalpel, covered with gore, gleams as it rises, as it gestures to the huge holding tank at the foot of the table.  Something floats in that tank too and whatever it is, the eye refuses to focus directly on it, scuttling off immediately to the side.  It's the color of dead flesh left too long in the water, the color of tumors and disease.  It's veins crawling over the outside of skin and the impossible alive that a wound before it's lanced of infection holds.  The man in the lab coat reaches out and the way he caresses the tank is obscene.

"You'll be better than you've ever been, Specimen C.  You won't be you anymore and how can that not be an improvement?"

And then the heads of the floating bodies in the tank come up and at the same time the man in the lab coat turns.  The man on the table twists.

The creature at the tank stirs.

Because they're all staring directly at you.  And they all, from the bodies in the tank to the victim on the table, to the spidery dark haired man in the coat to the being in the tank - all of them have the same ocean tropic blue eyes, faintly glowing and ringed with green.
OOC: Cloud's geostigma has finally caught up with him and he's caught in a fever dream.  It's going to be violent, brutal and likely more horror based than logical.  The laws of physics aren't going to apply even more than usual and there's a very strong possibility that things are not going to end well for anyone involved.  Enter at your own risk and feel free to play the horror/fever aspect up. 

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"Somebody's gotta put a stop to this guy. It's not right he's going around experimenting on people and hurting everybody."

Sora was right. She knew he was right.

"Professor? It's time for you to stop."

The words come past lips trembling from the lack of clean air, from a mouth already dried by fear. This room is worse than anything ever seen in childhood; the labs in HQ had to at least be cleaned up for executives stepping in.

This is clearly the sole domain of the Professor.

No...maybe it's shared with that...that. That thing he caresses through glass. She doesn't look at it, but it's impossible not to feel its eyes. The eyes it gave everyone else, snatching their own away.

Every self-serving instinct tells her to run. Now. Leave the spider alone, flee his web.

Unfortunately, people aren't as simple-minded as flies. She looks at the Professor's victim with a shaky smile before looking at the despicable man again, choking the rod in her grip, her voice choking as well--from fear and from anger. "This can't go on any longer. Let him go, Professor!"

Cloud may not be too fond of you either - but I am!

The body on the table looks at the one good, clean, pure thing in the room of madness and the defeat washes through his eyes and face like rain over fresh paint.

"...Aerith..." her name bleeds out of him and everything else in the room stirs and in the same voice whispers out of all of them:

"...Aerissss..."

In the tubes the bodies twitch, hands reaching to find glass in the way and slide down it with the muted scrape of broken nails and there's a single throb from the thing in the tank near the foot of the table, soundless but it caries through the air as if it was water, a single heart beat pulse of voracious longing. Behind her, the pods full of inhuman forms shiver. At the table the professor with the mako eyes smiles almost lovingly at the last Cetra and his voice isn't the broken cackle or spidery tones he should have as he warmly says:

"Welcome home, Aerith."

hahah I think both of them are just gonna have to be unhappy for a while

She quavers, taking a step back, before she runs. But not away, even though she knows she should. Even though she snaps "We're leaving!" with the hope that saying could make it so--she says we're leaving, and it's the table she runs to, one hand touching poor, poor Cloud to heal, the other slipping under its side and fumbling for a switch.

under the table, at the edge, they usually put the switch for the restraints under the table at the edge

But it's not easy with the staff still in hand. She wouldn't dream of letting it go. Her eyes flit between Cloud and Professor Hojo and the impossibly loud heart and she bites out: "You touch either of us, I'll knock your head off." She's very angry, very scared, and she wouldn't need much encouragement to actually take a whack at the Professor right now.

Part of the fear is a dread that even violence wouldn't stop him. She's never seen him like this.

we endure as good muns should

The body on the table arches and gasps a raw sound as the flush of healing -

and so do the bodies that all look the same in the tanks.

And the pods beyond where the beasts sleep.

And the scientist at the table, straightening and inhaling in satisfaction.


And the waiting creature in the tank who seems to grow larger, taking up even more of the cramped space and something that's not hands and not tentacles brushes gently against the inside of the glass. Exploratory.


"So harsh," the scientist chides tenderly. "After how long I've cared about you. Hop up on the table like a good Cetra and lets get back to work, shall we?" One of his thin hands reaches for her.

and think of ways to make them more miserable >_>a

Her hand scrabbles, reaching to his chest with barely a thought about the blood--and oh no, no, why are there layers to it? Dried and drying and still freshly bled--

Tries to hold him down. In place. Can't let him hurt himself on top of everything else. But her hold is only one-handed and desperate; she's crying as she hears the sounds from beyond. They're all connected. Cloud and the poor people who won't be people much longer if they're even still alive, they'll be the monsters she saw outside, the Professor and the creature outgrowing its container did this to them.

It's going to keep growing. And keep claiming things. Next on the list--her fingers working under the table finally find the switch for the restraint and jab it, just before she catches sight of the Professor's hand and jerks back. Falls back, as she's thrown herself off-balance, and she scrambles back up on her hands.

Next on the list is her. She knows: she should've run when she could. But even if Cloud wasn't entirely himself anymore, he was still Cloud. He recognized her. She couldn't have left him to this suffering.

"A g-good Cetra would stop you. You're hurting everyone!"

But she's not that strong and she doesn't know how strong Cloud can be like this, in body or in mind, and her fingers skitter over where the materia slots should be on her staff to find what will help her.

This isn't her normal staff: there's only one slot.

One sole green materia, and she instinctively knows which magic it holds.

Fire.

it's the ciiiircle of liiiiiife!

"Now, dear," the professor ignores the body on the table, advancing on the woman on the floor instead. "You know you belong here. We're the only ones that will ever really understand you."

On the table, Cloud manages to weakly roll to the side but the move has him coughing and he's coughing up a black liquid like tar, spatters of it across the floor and dripping down the leg of the table, curling into his own body as the spasms wreck him.

"Get out - " he manages it, croaked and harsh in a ruined throat. "Aerith - get out."

"You belong here," Hojo actually reaches down to politely offer his hand. "You know you do."

may be slow due to notifs -_-;

[Despite the chilling setting, despite the tainted air, she steps into the room as if she owns the place, head held high and sword grasped tightly in one hand while the other stays at her hip. She takes the place in at a glance and demands answers.]

What's going on here?

[She shows no signs of stopping as she slowly approaches the man in the lab coat.]

[the man in the lab coat looks up at her entrance but there's no alarm on his face, nor does he make any attempt to hide the body on the table that's choking on blood at the moment or the gore still dripping off his scalpel. He's not alarmed. Instead he simply smiles mildly at her.]

Why - science, my dear. What other reason is there to do anything?

[Even as she is now, she knows this is wrong.]

Right now, you'll let them go - [She smirks as she angles her body ready for a fight.] Or shall I show you the reason why you should?

[The lab starts to get very cold.]

[in their tanks the forms start to move, thrashing in green liquid suddenly gone too cold for their systems to adjust to. The body on the table begins to shake with it. It's her cold and yet it's as if something's amplified it, trading the fever for the chills of sickness. Ice starts to form on the tank at the foot of the table and the scientist turns from what he's doing to watch its rapid spread with a vague frown.]

Your dedication to thoroughness is admirable, my dear. But my poor precious specimens. You'll make me have to start all over again.

[She can't wholly conceal her surprise. She hadn't intended it to have that effect; why is it-? Why is it not obeying her?

Edited at 2011-09-23 01:52 am (UTC)

[The scientist. He must be the one. Then if he's the source of the problem...

Mercury slashes her sword against the air, the bolt of energy aimed straight for the man in the lab coat.]

Again, the power flares out of her and it's brighter and wider and faster than it's ever been before. And it grows, amplified as it leaves her. It tears through the scientist - and half the table next to him, sending it crashing to the ground. It even cracks the tank at the foot of the table. The cold throbs this time, like a broken tooth, sharp and strong and alive. And something... something in the air feels eager and hungry.]

"Intriguing."

The flames suddenly appear, surrounding the shadowy figure in the darkness. When the fire dies, there is only the gleam of a mask, and the rustling of tattered cloaks.

"But foolish." A hand points to the spidery man. She does not fear this place, or this man. That this place was immoral, evil, to most was not even the source of her anger. "You cannot turn a dog into a deer. Humans cannot be made better. It is you who is useless!"

The light from the flames gleams in reflection off the scientist's glasses before it dies and he pauses in his work long enough to make sure it's not going to upset any of his precious specimens or the rest of his experiments. At the words that follow though, he cackles, hunching over the smallest bit and when he looks back up there's a gleam in his electric bright eyes.

"Small dreams are for small minds. Dogs and deer are still animals. I'm making a god, my dear."

"And your dreams are folly." A small smirk starts to form on her face under that mask. "You cannot make someone like us in a lab."

At this, she begins to glow with a magenta aura. Poor, misguided human. Clearly he fancied himself a rival to the Divine Movement. But rivals for the Divine Movement would always go one way, while she was in charge.

"Only gods can create gods!" She lifts her hand up. "And you are no god, little man!"

The man in the coat cackles again, delighted apparently and waves his fingers like pale spider legs in her direction. The sweaty air writhes and the light sucks out of it. There's a throb in the air, so strong it feels like a depth charge going off underwater. Something stirs in the large tank at the foot of the table. In the dankness, the scientist's voice is a croon.

"Oh, we have a god, my dear. It's just a matter of cutting out enough of the human to stop it from getting in the way of what she wants everyone to be. Perhaps you'd like to volunteer. You seem... lacking."

"If you must call any part of it human, then it is no god."

Within an instant, two things happen. A wall of plants appears next to the Queen. And, next to the scientist, something else appears almost as quickly.

"Nor do I care to let you live any longer!"

The wall of ivy appears. And then it appears again on the other side of the room. And then once again near the tanks. Just as the sprouting plant near the scientist's feet breaks through the concrete floor just near the Summoner in duplicate. And near a case of liquid vials and beakers. And near the rank of pods behind them both. There's the sound of concrete breaking future in the labs depths too. The air burns like a fever. The man in the lab coat looks down at the plant near his leg and then at the greenery that has started to seep up through the lab, not content to stop growing but starting to extend hungry tendrils and vines.

"Garden summons. That's - very environmentalist of you, dear. I don't deal in plants though. They're - simplistic." The sole of his shoe lifts to aim to come down on the sprout near his leg.

Edited at 2011-09-24 10:53 am (UTC)

He doesn't quite understand the position he's in when he 'wakes' up - thick, green liquid surrounds his form, encased in a long glass tube rising several feet up from the ground. A low humming noise indicates something being pumped into the device and--

Oh gods.

He's in the tank, isn't he?

His eyes immediately shoot open, darting over a lab that's not familiar in the least. The last thing he remembered was falling asleep in Junon, after a night out with the lower grunts. He was in a bed, in an apartment. This seemed too similiar to--

CLOUD!!

One fist slams on the glass, the reverberating thump low enough to make even his head hurt. But he doesn't care. He's clawing, slamming into the glass, trying to get to the body slapped out on the table--

He stops immediately at that face.

The very familiar face looming over the younger man.

"...Hojo?" The words are garbled, nearly canceled out by the breathing tube around his mouth and shoved down his throat. He tenses in anger, watching that smirking face.

And he screams.

"ah... Specimen Z," Hojo is only to happy to stop in the middle of what he's doing and leave the figure on the table bleeding out. Hands behind his slightly hunched form he strolls over to the glass tank. "Good to see you with us again. I was sure that last time we'd lost you. Such a pity, to waste good material like that."

Eyes of mako blue look up at Zack from behind thin rimmed glasses and they're warm and tinged with a terrible bitter sweet sadness.

"Don't worry, Specimen Z. You're finally back home where you belong. Just like all the rest of us."

What the hell was going on? Why was Hojo doing this? Where was he and why. Couldn't. He. GET. TO--

...'Specimen Z'?

No. No no no he wasn't one of them. He'd fight it. He had to get to Cloud any way he could, even if that meant killing Hojo in the process. His own glowing eyes flare up in anger before he's banging on the glass again, harder and harder.

"CL-OO--D!" His voice is garbled and choked by the tube, but he does whatever it takes to get his friend's attention. "RUN!"

The professor's spider thin hand pats at the glass.

"Don't worry, Specimen Z. We'll get to you in just a little while. I've got so many new ideas for you. I'm afraid your friend is a bit of a problem though. Quite the disappointment. But failures happen on the path to greatness. He won't be around to bother you much longer. Now, calm down before you elevate your heart rate and throw off the test results. Let's get you some sedative, shall we?"

While the man in the lab coat, thoughtfully picks at buttons on the box next to the tank, the figure on the table turns its head. Eyes the same color as the professor's - the same color as everything else's in the room - look very clearly at Zack out of the ruined face. And the torn lips give a sad, humorless smile.

...guess I'll be going... Zack...

He isn't quite sure how it happens.

Rather than the sedative having the desired effect, the SOLDIER's body contorts, shifts, and twists into something far more monstrous. It's large enough to completely shatter the tube, and claws rip away at the breathing mechanism holding him down.

Clawed paws slam down on the tiled floor, one hand immediately going to the scientist in his path. And with the force of a runaway train, he smacks the man into the opposite wall, already sprinting over to Cloud's side to tear off the restraints.

Hojo has time for his mako eyes to widen in surprise before the paw impacts with his body and he's tossed like a toy to land brokenly against the wall. Gurgling, the man tries to hold his ribs in place with his hands.

On the table Cloud's eyes are just as wide and full of horror. Words try to form but there's too much blood in his mouth and it simply bubbles. It keening noise in his throat though carries. And - somewhere - near the tank - a man's voice defeatedly says:

"SOLDIER's like a den of monsters. Don't go inside."

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