Enter the Dragon [Closed]

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The Dragon
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Re: Enter the Dragon [Closed]

Post by The Dragon » Thu Apr 02, 2020 10:21 pm

Frank's gut had told him not to let the man in.

But he'd been too weak.

Always too weak, too puny, and too late.

My private research concerns spontaneous human mutation. My private research concerns spontaneous human mutation. My private research concerns...

Under his feet, he felt the landscape shift again, as though pulled inexorably away from him. There was nothing beneath his soles, though he was not falling; instead, something else seemed to uncoil at his feet, a new stark-white floor. The unnaturally quiet faux-room they'd been in before was now filled with sound.

A light, rhythmic beeping sound.

It would be immediately apparent that they were in a hospital. Though it wasn't any ordinary hospital; it was unusually large, each door seeming to stretch up to the ceiling, with ominous shadows creeping around the corner. The only source of light came from under a near door - the same door from which the beeping emanated. Before it, both Dover and Milton appeared half as tall as they were -

- viewing the doorway through a child's eyes.

"What the Hell," Frank sputtered, clutching at his forehead.

"Nadia?" he said, though his voice was no longer that of a man's. He had a child's tone, and a child's body. He forgot Dover, and walked towards the door, reaching a hand out -

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Re: Enter the Dragon [Closed]

Post by The Thinker » Fri Apr 03, 2020 3:43 pm


Dover waited for Milton's answer. A real answer, not the idea that he was trying to propagate in his prefrontal cortex. Both of them were men driven by curiosity, men who knew not when enough was enough. So Dover pushed and Milton's mind eventually pushed back.

The elderly man reared back as the White Room reorganized himself into a moment perfectly frozen in time. Their perceptions shifted, instilling a claustrophobic feeling of smallness in this massive room. Edgar regressed into a younger age due to this strange formalist surge, though he still remained a older man for reasons unknown. Perhaps he simply did not wish to be reduced to a child. Although that was hard to tell at this level of psychic investigation.

Interesting. Some sort of traumatic memory that overpowered the narrative. I must be careful, lest I cause more damage.

He looked to Milton and observed him reaching for the handle to the other room and let it play out in full. What an uncanny insight into Frank's mind.


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Re: Enter the Dragon [Closed]

Post by The Dragon » Fri Apr 03, 2020 7:43 pm

Frank's conscious mind was gone. He was fully immersed in the memory now, unable to recall how they'd gotten here. He was a child again. He paid no heed to the old man behind him, his mind camouflaging him into the background, as though he'd always been part of the experience. That was why he'd turned away from him, towards the doorway instead.

He reached for the handle with his tiny fingers, but a hand locked around his wrist, hard.

"We're leaving, son."

No chance to say goodbye.

Nadia passed away later that evening.

The scene shifted again, a florescent swirl doing away with the blank white walls of the hospital, the silhouette of the man dragging his son vanishing into shadow. That dream had been murky, half-formed, and disproportionate; it was made more of feeling than fact. The truth was that the memory might not even have been real at all. It wasn't something that was consciously revisited; instead, it'd been locked away, buried at the ground floor of Milton's psyche. Was that how it worked?

But he was not prompted to wake. Milton had vanished, going along with the flow of the dream, reliving his past as the elder man watched in silence.

Thunder rumbled, and the scene shifted to something else. A dream of a more recent time.

The setting was a simple living room, partially converted into an office. Papers and book swere strewn across every table; an unmade bed could be seen down a far hallway. Sitting on the couch was Dr. Milton himself, absorbed in an array of blueprints and readouts. A pen sat in the corner of his mouth, eyes scanning the documents obsessively as he visited and revisited old calculations. These were the seeds of the work Dover had witnessed come to fruition earlier. But this was memory, not construct.

Why here? Why now?

There was a noise at the door. It was being opened. He snapped his head up.

"Eris?" he said, looking at her quizzically. Something was different.

Why isn't she saying anything?

"You cut your hair so short - you look like a lesbian," he laughed, ill at ease. "Come here, I need you for something -"

"I'm moving out, Frank."

The familiar feeling started rising up from his stomach. He put the paper down. His mind was still there - in the work - but - what had she just said? Was that a suitcase...?

"What?"

The little doctor bit her lip.

"We already had this talk a week ago. But I don't think you were listening," she said flatly.

He stood up, adjusting his glasses. There was a slight tremble in his hand, quickly suppressed.

"Are you kidding me? We're on the verge of a breakthrough here, Eris, and you're going to go - where?"

She just stared at him. He'd never forget it. He pressed more.

"What? No. Don't tell me. You're actually accepting that job? Weapons, for some retarded planetary militia - ? We're saving the world here, together. They're just thugs. We used to make fun of that proposal," he said, grinning weakly. He couldn't believe this was happening. Was it happening? What day was it - April first, right? It had to be.

She'd put her sunglasses on again. He couldn't see her eyes anymore.

Why wasn't she saying anything?

"What? Going to go live with your soldier buddy?"

Her brow arched. There. Reaction.

"Don't start, Frank. It's not like that."

She looked so guilty. So guilty.

"Don't start? Don't start? I might be one of ten men on the planet that can understand your research - that can appreciate you - and you're leaving it all behind to build weapons and cozy up with that unfeeling jerk -"

He'd raised his voice. When had he raised his voice?

"He cares and he is my friend. This is what we talked about, but you didn't listen! You are being manipulative again, Frank! You're acting just like Abraham!" she said, pointing at him.

That was when his hand had locked around her wrist.

"Do not compare me to my dad!"

"Frank, let go, you're hurting me -"

"You don't get to use that!"

"Frank!"

That was when he'd let go. That was when the adrenaline died, and he'd started crying.

"Eris? Are you OK? I'm so sorry..."

"Jesus Christ, you are a fucking monster," she spat, rubbing her hand. He didn't want to look at it - he knew there'd be a bruise - don't look, it's not real.

He had to say something. Anything.

"I need you. I need you to help me make the world a better place. The world needs us, together. And I love you, and I need you. Don't go. I'll do anything. I can - I can change."

"No, Frank. You can't change."

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Re: Enter the Dragon [Closed]

Post by The Thinker » Mon Apr 06, 2020 9:10 pm


"My.", a disembodied voice rang from somewhere within the scene; curtain call. An ebony darkness rinsed the room of all affection and familiarity until everything was the same pitch black nothing. In that lonesome darkness that encapsulated Frank Milton hung only an unidentifiably distant and eternally unreachable, and maybe even sourceless, light above. Out of the darkness emerged a hand, skin leathery and dotted. It made landfall on Milton's shoulder and it's fingers contracted into a measured squeeze. "What a disgusting turn of events.", Dover's face, half-lit from above and eyes still enshadowed, surfaced next to Milton's head.

The Thinker let go of Milton, wily retracting what he offered in that elusive moment - the only comforting touch Frank felt in years. In a half-circle he walked around the broken man. "When you needed them most these people left you to fend for yourself. Orphaned you.", another half-circle, his head inched closer to Milton's. "Did she even love you? Did he?", Dover paced to perch on the other shoulder. A raven dropping writhing worms into the poor man's ear. "You didn't scare them away, Frank.", Dover's form always moved on the periphery. "They chose to desert you like a mangy dog. No ifs or buts about it."

"And they were wrong for doing so. Weren't they, son?", Dover picked his words very carefully. "At every crossroads along your way they strayed from what was right. Their conviction was tested. And those heretics--apostates--they ran. The herd thinned until only the shepherd remained. That road led you to me. And together we will show them just how wrong they were.", Edgar walked infront of Frank just as he uttered those words.

His eyes rediated convicion and warmth through they were in hues of ice and steel, and in that moment order returned. Dover forced structure to manifest. Rolling pastures of green unfurled almost unnoticeably below their feet as a more captivating shift from the gloom to the brightness of a shore-side day happened. In that strange light Dover too did look more confident in what he said.

"You will be great. You will be loved. You will be respected.", Edgar smiled and the world seemed to be alright. "All I ask for in return is your faith in me."


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Re: Enter the Dragon [Closed]

Post by The Dragon » Tue Apr 07, 2020 6:12 pm

The guilty memory faded into darkness, with only the echoing tones of an elderly witness replacing them. Milton returned to quasi-consciousness within the dream state, no longer reliving a memory but observing its after-effects. He was not cognizant of what had just happened so much as he was feeling it, unable to recognize Dover as anything other than an unconscious suggestion of a man. And Milton himself retained the same defeated posture as he'd had when Eris left him, the same vulnerable helplessness that would make him oh so malleable to the Mentor's machinations - for good or ill.

You were just supposed to see my work, a half-drowsy thought within a thought protested; but that anger was soon subsumed by the promise of stability, achievement, and legacy.

The beautiful landscape Dover had erected with a mere act of imagination soothed him further. There was nothing to be embarrassed about. Here was a man who saw deep into his flaws and did not reject him; rather, he was embraced. Dover was a good man, who would provide him with what he needed. All it would take was a little faith. His skepticism, his rage at the telepath - those had been misplaced, clearly.

Frank wouldn't remember the details of this interaction. All that would persist was the catharsis, and the powerful feeling that Dover had his best interests at heart. He could hold no ill will towards that kind of man. The projection of Milton's mind thumbed a tear away from his eyes.

"Of course. Thank you."

And Milton was thankful. He had someone stronger than him to look after him now.

All, it was likely, as Dover had intended.

But beneath the serenity of Milton's deference was another voice, one buried deep in the unconscious. When it spoke, it spoke with menacing bass, enough to make the mindscape tremble, as thunderclouds rolled over the perfect horizon the senior superhero had painted within Milton's eye. It said one word.


LYING.

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Re: Enter the Dragon [Closed]

Post by The Thinker » Tue Apr 07, 2020 8:16 pm


The bell has rung.

Though Dover's convincing had been successful the bell still rung from somewhere out there. Out beyond the confines of the psi-mulation: a great tumult cometh. Edgar reared his head though his hands remained interlocked behind his back. There was no loss of composure albeit a genuine surprise that caused his eyebrows to cock. "Lying?", he said with calmness and in doing so caused the surroundings to slink into torpor.

"And who are you to accuse me of such heinous ideocrime?", Dover wondered, looking high and tall for his accuser. Though wherever he looked he saw no one. No thing.

"Stand and face me straight or forfeit your claim to the good doctor!", an order that pushed at the walls of Milton's rampart mindscape. It couldn't have been the good doctor speaking. That voice was an ill portent that belonged to something dreadful hibernating within the confines of his mind. A revenant of want; a regressed iconoclast.

Like Ahab, Dover reached out past the confines of their anecdotal meeting place and searched for that doubting leviathan. In the end, every plan relies upon a strong arm, and tempered steel.


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Re: Enter the Dragon [Closed]

Post by The Dragon » Tue Apr 07, 2020 9:01 pm

Image

Milton was gone. The projection that was his "body" had simply faded away in the blink of an eye, same as the rolling hills and gentle breeze which Edgar had conjured. In their place was a red sky and ill wind, the ground cracking beneath the telepath's mental feet as a hurricane whipped ripped through the mindspace. As Dover looked on, not with his eyes, but with his projected intellect, he would see two things at once: at first glance a horrible storm, and on the second, a terrible green eye that flashed before his own.

With one booming voice it spoke.


DRAGON.

With one massive hand, it broke.

The monstrosity did not manifest for but a second, only a glimpse of a horrid mass of muscle and fury that reached out with one enormous hand. When the open hand closed around Dover's head, it could of course have no physical effect on him; the victim, in this instance, was Frank.

Who, in the real world, within his chair, began to spasm until he woke, left only with the sensation of an interrupted dream, unable to recall what had just happened.

He only felt confused. Though there was a relaxation, too. An affinity for the old man in the office he couldn't quite explain.

"Ah, um. Did it all go smoothly?" he asked, straightening up in the chair, curious as to why his heart was beating so quickly.

And none the wiser that something had just evicted them both from the guided dream.

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Re: Enter the Dragon [Closed]

Post by The Thinker » Wed Apr 08, 2020 5:33 pm


Lensflare washed over Dover's eyeline. Somebody opening a window in the distance. It made him squint. Dragon.
"Ah, um. Did it all go smoothly?"
Frank had to wait for his answer while Edgar composed himself. A series of rapid squints as if he had just returned from a disant dream. "Why, yes? Of course!", a fabulation though one that was envigorated by Milton's black out. His surface thoughts confirmed a lapse in consciousness that meant the doctor would not remember the details of that faux pas. This was still salvageable.

"I was just saying that you will get you your human trials, Frank.", Dover rose from his seat to shake Milton's hand. "Congratulations, my good man.", almost simultaneously he would nudge Milton towards the door. "You earned it, son. This research will change the world. I'll get the trials approved."

Dover stopped in front of the double door.

"Just do me a solid, Frank.", he looked Milton right in his eyes. "Keep me posted. Not my secretary, not the HR department, not anybody alse. Me. And not just about your work, but about what's going on up here.", Dover gently tapped on the doctor's temple. "I know how strenuous this life can be and though I can't make you confide in me, know that my door is always open to you. There are going to be a lot of eyes on this and I don't want no slip ups."

With his mind, Edgar then opened the doors wide. "You're gonna be great."


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