Unauthorized Research [CLOSED]

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Unauthorized Research [CLOSED]

Post by Containment » Mon Jan 14, 2019 3:45 am

Location: [REDACTED]
Asset: Gerald Noble [R-Class-B, research intern, maintenance sub-branch]
Time: 2119 hours [REDACTED] Standard Time
Gerard always liked to walk home. His apartment was a few blocks from the Level-3 location he worked at, and the short trek was usually taken at a leisurely pace so that he could think about the day, the anomalies, the research.

There was the sound of crumpling brown paper as he reached into the Big City Burgers to-go bag and removed a handful of slightly soggy fries. Leftovers from the day, what most off-duty researchers had when they went home. They were average, in his opinion, but some customers seemed to prefer them to other chain brands. Maybe they were anomalous. Unlikely. Just tasty, when fresh and hot, unlike the ones he was currently munching on.

There'd been a breach today. A small one, just the recently contained ACF-120 "K.A.T." unit they'd been keeping for L-49 while the level-2 location finished cleaning up from the Breach. K.A.T. wasn't even an aggressive anomaly, just... sharp. A sharp robot cat. The sharpness was what caused the breach, as it had managed to scratch its way through a wall of concrete. It hadn't been too hard to re-contain, either. But people were careful about breaches these days, even harmless ones, and he knew why.

He'd been recruited back in June. Right before The Breach. Thankfully, he'd been at a Level-3 location at the time, but cleanup crews included people from everywhere - and cleaning up was almost as messy as the Breach itself. He didn't like remembering it, but he did think about it a lot. He'd also encountered a lot of Risky-class anomalies since then, stored at his current location, one of the many Big City Burgers that had "closed for refurbishing". They'd re-opened just a few weeks ago, actually, and Gerard quickly learned that customer service was almost as hard as anomalous maintenance.

The thing about anomalous maintenance was that it was always changing, even for the same anomaly, as new things were discovered, and the thing about interning for anomalous maintenance was that there wasn't ever really a break between projects until you called it a night. Sure, he was here voluntarily, as was everyone else. But he still wanted to do a bit more in the Foundation. To do that, though, he'd need to start his own research, and as of yet he hadn't found a niche. And then he'd need his own time, but whatever time he did have was usually spent sleeping or eating. Not to mention that most of what he'd do probably wouldn't be officially authorized at first. Just scratch notes from whatever he'd been working with lately. When things died down a little maybe he'd find something, or think of something. Right now, though, he needed a break.

His feet were moving, but he didn't seem to be paying much attention to the sidewalk, trusting memory more than conscious effort to get him to his apartment. It had occurred to him that he could be mugged, but honestly all he had to give was a half-eaten burger and some soggy fries. He realized he'd forgotten his wallet back at the Location, and with it any money he could offer as well as his ACF ID badge. He considered returning for it, at least so he had the badge, but he then decided it wasn't worth it. He'd had the last few nights of internship duty with the on-site Class-C researcher, and so had stayed in the location bunks. Right now he just wanted to go home, finish his burger, sleep in his own bed, then go to work tomorrow before his full day off. That'd be nice, he thought. Maybe he'd be able to consider his line of research then. Just needed to get through tonight and tomorrow first.
"The Foundation doesn't have the freedom to be good or bad. We're here to do our job, and if we have to make or break a few rules to do that job then so be it." [Current SV-1, "Leviathan"]

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Re: Unauthorized Research [CLOSED]

Post by Reyn » Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:26 pm

You know, it's often more dangerous taking familiar roads than ones less travelled.

Your brain goes into autopilot, you see. These familiar roads have been etched into your mind a thousand times before; you know them all like the back of your hand, so you just switch off. No need to focus on navigation, no need to focus on the unknown, no need to focus on anything. Some people find this rather comforting. The chance to just 'switch off' is something that's not often rejected, given the stress of modern life. The walk home from work can be a time for you to reflect on your day, to think about what happened and what you think will happen when you go back the following morning. As such, it's easy for certain things to go unnoticed. That shadow on the wall behind you, for example. It wasn't there before, but people pass by this route every day, so it's probably fine. Those footsteps that you've heard for the past few minutes that stop every time you turn around. Suspicious, perhaps, but easily tuned out. The eyes of a stranger you see reflected in the windows of passing cars, staring at you intently through the dying light like a predator stalking its prey. Nothing out of the ordinary. People tend to have eyes, whether you know them or not.

A third of road accidents happen close to home, you know. It's the familiarity that causes them. The fatigue. The expectation that, since everything has been safe before, it will be safe again. A driver assumes he knows the local area, and gets hit by a semi just minutes after leaving for work. It's his fault. He should've been paying attention. What a deadly assumption.

Jean was an impulsive man, no matter how much that inconvenienced him. It was impulse that caused his firing from MAVU, impulse that caused his allegiance to that up-and-coming terrorist organisation, and impulse that lead him down these darkened streets in pursuit of a man he saw once at a fast food chain. Indeed, it only took a second for him to decide on his next target. A fleeting glance, a quick examining of the man's features, a moment spent admiring the ravenous way he tore through the nonspecific meat that made up that dripping, glistening hamburger... and, like a child in a toy store, Jean just had to have him.

Ah, there he was, walking home without a care in the world. Jean had followed him for several blocks already, keeping to the shadows so as not to arouse suspicion, but the man seemed to wrapped up in his thoughts that he probably wouldn't have noticed anyway. He smiled to himself, idly twirling a needle around his fingers as he drew ever closer to his target. Oh, he simply must make use of those teeth. Making the man's jaw grow into one of a wolf and watching him eat raw steak seemed like a sound idea for how to spend the evening, but Jean knew that his mind would think of something far more entertaining by the time he finally got his hands on his target.

"Hi, there~" He said quietly, emerging from the shadows like a killer in a bargain bin horror flick "Ah, you're out awfully late, aren't you? Don't you know it's dangerous to be outside at a time like this, hmmmm~?"

With that, Jean stepped forwards, attempting to get closer to the man. It wasn't a friendly gesture per se, but it wasn't aggressive either. He almost hoped the man tried to run away from him; he was just itching for an excuse to mutate himself again, and there was no better cause than chasing after the object of his desires.
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the zim movie was pretty good

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Re: Unauthorized Research [CLOSED]

Post by Containment » Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:20 am

Had he been a higher-class, or at least more experienced, member of the Foundation, Gerard would have known to trust the creeping sensations following him down the street. Blame inexperience, then, solid idea. Regrettable, though. Definitely regrettable.

"Hi, there~"

Gerard spun around, calm thoughts dissipating into nothing as he went on the defensive. The bag, which had been open and balanced in one hand, now dropped as if from surprise, caught halfway to the ground on an instinct. The action was intentional, however, as he'd caught it around the neck of the bag and crumpled the brown paper. If it had fallen from his hand, it might have spilled out on the ground, and that would just be a waste. Now if he dropped it, it would fall straight down, land on its bottom, and be ready for the intern to pick back up later on.

"Ah, you're out awfully late, aren't you? Don't you know it's dangerous to be outside at a time like this, hmmmm~?"

The guy was built like a scarecrow - tall (same height as Gerard, above average but not outrageous) but unhealthily thin, with a "horror movie" vibe written all over him. At least... he was pretty sure the stranger was a him. His hair was unusually long, but his voice seemed to fit someone around Gerard's age, maybe a few years older. Weird accent, though. Irish maybe. Too... much, that was the best word he could think of for now, to be English. No, wait. Lilt. Was lilt the right word? Was that what "lilt" meant?

His thoughts stopped wandering when Horror Movie Scarecrow Maybe-Guy took a step forwards. His aura was enough to convince Gerard that taking a step back was a good idea, even if Scarecrow didn't look like much. Looks could be deceiving - that was one of the first things you learned when you worked with anomalies. If you don't understand a thing about it, assume nothing is as it seems. He didn't know a thing about this guy, so it was best to assume that he was capable of pretty much anything. He tried to process whether fight was a good option, or flight was better. He'd need to buy time, though, time to think about that kind of thing. He considered his options as quickly as he could, then decided talk might be a good route. Scarecrow had talked first, after all. Might as well keep up the conversation while trying to analyze options.

"Could be just as dangerous being inside somewhere. Maybe even more. Never know what you could come across anywhere."
"The Foundation doesn't have the freedom to be good or bad. We're here to do our job, and if we have to make or break a few rules to do that job then so be it." [Current SV-1, "Leviathan"]

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Re: Unauthorized Research [CLOSED]

Post by Reyn » Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:29 am

Jean couldn't help but chuckle as the man stepped back. Sure, it wasn't an immediate run for cover like he was hoping, but it was at least something. His target was... uncomfortable. That was good. That was always good. He was talking as well, making light conversation in spite of everything going on. Oh, how delightful. Jean just had to return the favour. Whilst he was originally planning on just lunging forwards and injecting the target there and then, the fact that he was willing to talk had distracted Jean somewhat. As much as he wanted to get inside of this man's body (in a purely scientific way, of course), getting inside his mind as well didn't look like too bad of an idea.

"You're right about that, I can tell you..." He said, continuing to slowly move towards the man to see if he would take another step back "It's a scary world out there, isn't it? You can't be safe anywhere nowadays..."

A smile slowly spread across his pallid face, seeping into his words like blood in water. Not that his tone was particularly calming in the first place, mind... just, with the smile, it seemed a little more eerie. There was no sense of mystery about him, no dark shroud to cover his intentions. No, from even a passing glance, it was clear to see that, whatever Jean wanted with this new friend of his, the desire to have it would be far from mutual.

"You just can't predict what you're going to run into." Jean continued "Even familiar routes can be dangerous at times like this, you know. Your last journey might just be an average trip home from the grocery store..."

He laughed again.

"Or, y'know, a burger joint."
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the zim movie was pretty good

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Re: Unauthorized Research [CLOSED]

Post by Containment » Thu Jan 17, 2019 3:34 am

[EXPLETIVE].

Scarecrow kept walking forward, and Gerard realized his options were pretty much laid out. Duke it out with a potential anomaly, or turn his back to it - him - and hope he was fast enough to high-tail it to his apartment. Something about the guy's eyes seemed to reaffirm that he wasn't normal, exactly. It took Gerard a moment longer than it should have to realize it had something to do with the color, a weird tinge of violet, not exactly typical in human anatomy. And that smile was something that shouldn't belong to anything purely human. Gerard swallowed a little, starting to lower the bag toward the ground, stooping a little to do so. He didn't want the food wasted, but he also didn't want it slowing him down, no matter what decision he made. For now, he decided to stand his ground. Probably a bad choice. But also probably better than turning tail and finding out what this guy really was, too.

"That's fair." He kept his voice steady, unconsciously treating the man like a contained, but particularly aggressive, anomaly. He made sure to keep his breathing steady, too, as well as maintain constant eye contact, green eyes on violet. "Sometimes the unexplored is easier to handle than the known. Keeps you on your toes. That's not the kind of thing a lot of people realize."

No sudden movements, not from Gerard, at least, and he was on the lookout for anything out of the ordinary in Scarecrow. He'd caught on about the mention of a burger joint, and hinted very vaguely to try to see if the man knew anything Foundation related, but he doubted that he knew anything about the true nature of the "burger joint." The uniform probably tipped him off, or the bag on the ground. The bag was more likely, he decided, as parts of his training started to resurface.

Stay on task. Be ready for anything. If it's irrelevant, set it aside. Wait for the subject to make the first act of aggression. If possible, call for backup, if not, do your best to avoid conflict and leave the situation as soon as it is safe to do so.
"The Foundation doesn't have the freedom to be good or bad. We're here to do our job, and if we have to make or break a few rules to do that job then so be it." [Current SV-1, "Leviathan"]

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Re: Unauthorized Research [CLOSED]

Post by Reyn » Thu Jan 17, 2019 11:26 pm

The man lowered the bag to the ground, and Jean had to restrain himself from making a grab at his neck. He was moving slowly, it seemed. Slowly and purposefully, just like his words, the way you would expect someone to talk to a wild animal with fangs larger than their skulls. Jean cocked his head to the side, his smile widening even further as he returned the man's stare with intense, yet likely unrequited fervour.

"You think?" He said "Well, I suppose it just depends on what's out there, doesn't it? There are some things you can never be prepared for, no matter how ready you claim to be..."

Slowly, Jean began to move his hand towards his coat, reaching inside until his hand closed around the all-too-familiar shape of a needle. The glass felt warm against his palm, heated up by the feverish temperatures around his chest. No doubt that would cause some concerns when he stuck it through the man's neck.

"The unknown is quite frightening, isn't it?" He smiled "Say... are you scared of much? Got any embarrassing phobias, hmmm~?"

Another laugh, this one somehow managing to be even more chilling than the last.

"So, what are you afraid of, then? Snakes, perhaps? Spiders? Needles?"
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the zim movie was pretty good

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Re: Unauthorized Research [CLOSED]

Post by Containment » Fri Jan 18, 2019 3:55 am

Scarecrow had reached Gerard's Threshold of Fear pretty much as soon as he stepped into the light, which was in itself an achievement, considering some of the things the Foundation intern had seen. But the way he smiled, the look in his eyes... Gerard was regretting his first half a burger. But he wouldn't let it show. No. Stay calm in the face of the potential anomaly, even if he did turn out to be a run-of-the-mill meta. Stand your ground, don't attack unless attacked. No need to elicit abnormal responses from an already unpredictable person. He continued to move slowly, speak slowly, as he let the bag drop to the ground, then stood up, not breaking eye contact.

"You know what they say. Expect the unexpected and you'll never be caught off guard."


Something said that wasn't exactly the right saying, that he'd added something, but a good amount of his brainpower was being overrun with old training sessions and the rest was colorful expletives in every possible permutation. Then, Scarecrow reached into his coat, and Gerard's stomach plummeted further. He was armed, he had to be. Unlike Noble, who was just an intern with basic self-defense training, hand-to-hand combat...

"So, what are you afraid of, then? Snakes, perhaps? Spiders? Needles?"

He stressed needles for a reason. Gerard didn't know how he knew that, or why it mattered, until he made the connection. The coat. Needles. The hand in the coat. The fact he was trying to get in close. All of it made sense in a flash of what should have felt like brilliance, or maybe horror.

He's going to drug me.

For some reason, the idea that Scarecrow was planning to just incapacitate him relieved Gerard. Of course, there was always the chance he really was here about Foundation stuff, but with the amount of pleasure he was getting out of the Class-B's nerves, he probably would have dropped less-than-subtle hints by now that he knew something. But, no, he just seemed to be a state-of-the-art whackjob. Which meant that he wasn't going to try to kill Gerard out here, in the open, if he was going to do it at all.

All of that passed in seconds. The seconds between Scarecrow reaching into his coat pocket, the comment on needles, and Gerard's realization. His expression hadn't had the chance to change, and now, he actively refused to let it do so. The laugh drew him out of his thoughts, but for one reason or another, he wasn't as chilled by it this time. Maybe his fear instinct had reached a point where it couldn't get worse, so it just shut down completely. Maybe it had something to do with the realization about drugs. Maybe his Foundation training had kicked into high gear, and he was feeling whatever kind of fearless high Leviathan-class collection teams felt. Whatever the case, Gerard felt... oddly calm. His mouth moved, but he didn't remember commanding it to say the next few words. And they weren't even true, despite the conviction behind them.

"I've never done well in tight spaces. Not exactly claustrophobic, but definitely not much good for close quarters."

Maybe this was it. Maybe he'd just snapped. First wild risky-class anomalous encounter, and his mind had broken like a toothpick. That didn't bother him, either, and it didn't bother him that he wasn't bothered, which should have bothered him even more. Maybe that would catch up. Or maybe he'd just be a fearless automaton for the rest of his life. Or maybe he'd just die, and not have to worry about it.

That, strangely, was the least worrying thought yet.
"The Foundation doesn't have the freedom to be good or bad. We're here to do our job, and if we have to make or break a few rules to do that job then so be it." [Current SV-1, "Leviathan"]

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Re: Unauthorized Research [CLOSED]

Post by Reyn » Sat Jan 19, 2019 12:12 am

The man retained his air of calm even as Jean spoke, answering his questions in a level tone that was either the product of a man without fear or a man without sanity. How delightful. To be able to carry out a conversation with someone who is clearly about to do something unspeakably awful to you was a trait he rarely saw. Whilst the man's apparent indifference would usually be a concern for someone with Jean's intentions, to him, such an unwavering attitude was somewhat attractive. He did like a challenge, after all. A knife through flesh was far more satisfying than a knife through butter.

"Tight spaces, eh~?" Jean smirked "I can work with that. Tell me, is your worry more about the space itself, or the people in it?"

Rather predictably, he moved closer, not expecting the man to move away from him. With how calm he had been so far, running away now would be rather unusual... or, at least, unwanted. Now that he was this close, Jean was able to notice certain things about the man which the dim streetlights refused to show him from further away. The way his black hair fell over his forehead, messy from a long day spent at work, the way his eyes seemed to shine through the darkness, piercing Jean's own like sharp, emerald daggers... oh, he had made a fine choice with this one, that was for sure.

"You have... such a captivating face, you know..." His tone dropped to a whisper as he slowly raised a hand, gently tracing his fingers across the man's face like an artist admiring a sculpture "It's almost... hypnotic, in a way. The curve of your jawline, the space between your eyes, that curious little birthmark on your neck... my, you're infallible."

He smiled, slowly bringing out the needle with his other hand. Hopefully the man was distracted by the intimacy of this interaction so he wouldn't notice it being pointed directly at his neck.

"I can't wait to break you."
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the zim movie was pretty good

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Re: Unauthorized Research [CLOSED]

Post by Containment » Sat Jan 19, 2019 5:12 pm

Gerard knew he was long past the point of no return. The man was within reaching distance. Of course, Gerard could've put his defense training to good use, he could've toppled the guy and run like hell. The thing was, he didn't want to. He had no intention of leaving this spot. Why?

Because now he at least could predict some of what Scarecrow was planning to do, and now was not the time to experiment with a madman's temper.

"The people."

The answer was as casual as the rest of the conversation.

"It's one thing when you're outside, it's another when you're closed in by walls and a roof."

At least he likes my face. Hopefully that doesn't mean he's going to peel it off and hang it on a wall or something.

The birthmark was a bull's-eye target into his circulatory system. He realized this, and felt even better about the situation. At least he knew where to expect the pain when the guy finally jabbed him. The needle was in his hand, now. Noble saw the action in the corner of his eye, but didn't acknowledge it. Instead he continued to focus on the man's face - now that he could see it clearly, Scarecrow looked exhausted, and even thinner than he had at first. He wasn't a bad-looking guy, just... disturbing, if you were in the right mindset. Which, at the moment, the Class-B intern wasn't.

"I'm Gerard," he whispered back, as the feverish hand followed the lines of his features. He didn't need to force himself to stay calm anymore. He just was.

No, he wasn't unaware, or distracted. He was resigned.
"The Foundation doesn't have the freedom to be good or bad. We're here to do our job, and if we have to make or break a few rules to do that job then so be it." [Current SV-1, "Leviathan"]

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Re: Unauthorized Research [CLOSED]

Post by Reyn » Sun Jan 20, 2019 1:23 am

"Gerard..." Jean repeated, muttering the name a few more times under his breath "Gerard. Gerard? Ger-ard... hmm."

He smiled, slowly removing his hand from Gerard's face.

"Gerard, eh?" He said, addressing the man directly rather than just mumbling quietly "Gerard. Geraaaard. That's a wonderful name, don't you think? It feels... pleasant to say. It's nice in the mouth. The way it rolls off my tongue, brushes against my teeth, the way it feels with that long 'aaaar' sound in the middle... excellent... you have a nice name."

Then, Jean paused. It seemed almost abrupt, cutting his mindless ramble short before he could say anything more about Gerard's apparently rather fascinating name. He frowned slightly, letting out a short sigh before stepping back a few paces, giving Gerard just a little bit of his personal space back. The needle was still poised at his neck, though. Jean's arm was just a little bit more outstretched so he could reach. With a quiet cough, he reached into his coat again and began to search for something, talking quietly to himself as he did so.

"Foolish doctor, don't you know I never find the things you hide... can you be kinder when you go? Can you respect your better side?"

After a short while, it looked as if he found what he was searching for: a mask, formed in the shape of a raven's beak. It looked like those old plague doctor masks; not the historically accurate ones, of course, but rather the sleek and elegant ones people often used for costumes in the modern day. Once the mask was pulled out of his coat, Jean put it on. There was the sound of cracking bone and shifting flesh, muffled underneath the firm leather of the mask, but it subsided rather quickly. Raven was very efficient, after all. This minor transformation had been carried out so many times, it was almost automatic.

He looked back up to Gerard, staring at him for a moment before quickly stepping forwards, closing the distance between them once more.

"Now, you; don't move until I say. It's quite unwise to run away."

Slowly, Raven pushed the needle into Gerard's neck, keeping his thumb pressed lightly against the plunger although he hadn't yet injected anything into his veins. He had something more to say first, it seemed.

"Of course, you don't make that decision. You'll sleep before I start incision..."

He pressed down on the back of the needle, sinking it deeper into the flesh, injecting into Gerard's veins a warm, soporific fluid that would begin to show its effects in moments. Under the mask, Raven smiled.
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the zim movie was pretty good

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