Silence pulled in off the mostly deserted road, his headlights illuminating an otherwise obscured turning to his left into the forest a few miles out of town. Tires squealed as they struggled to maintain traction and he sped down a bendy dirt-track. It was the sort of thing he was expecting from the Lab, it was way off the beaten track. He personally figured that was the best way to hide the sort of nefarious activity they were up to. It also made his job a little easier, as he had a feeling there was going to be a little noise when he was finished, the further the place was from civilisation, and police, the better. It meant he only had the personnel inside to deal with, the armed guard that was, the doctors posed no realistic threat to someone like him.
His fingers brushed through his dyed black hair, as he thought through his rudimentary plan. It wasn’t like him to go in half-cocked so to speak, but this time around he’d just have to improvise, there wasn’t any convenient way for him to get the information he needed. Hopefully, the guards would have that same quality they tended to have the world over, complacency. Tired of sitting on their asses, never tested, certainly never hardened by adversity. If they were ex-army or navy boys things could be a little problematic, but he doubted it, people would notice a bunch of vets in town heading out to a single two storey in the forest. They were probably average joes for the most part, maybe two or three experienced guards among them to worry about.
His mind went through his plan of action one last time as he pulled up to the security booth. Step by step.
1. Disable gatekeepers
2. Follow Dr Short’s usual path into work, take a left before her lab, labelled genetics, and follow the corridor to Holding.
3. Enter Holding, bar the door, take workers hostage and have them disable the security measures in Michael Garth’s prison.
4. Take the doctors, use them as hostages, leave the way you came with Garth, send the Doc's back into the lab before getting back in your vehicle.
5. Take Garth away, direct him to Racheli, profit.
No plan survives contact with the enemy, but to give some sleepy 9-5 guards eager to get home after a long shift a respectable enemy would be pushing it. There were two of them, a Caucasian and an African American, both on the hefty side, both in view of his car window. Bad decision.
“Dr Short, what are you doing back here, forgot something?” The older guy said, speaking to a closed and thankfully tinted window. Silence checked over his tranquiliser gun, flicked the safety, and reeled down the window.
“Wha-“ Two darts took the first guard in the chest and neck, and two more followed for his compatriot who was at least alert enough to go for his gun as he saw the male features around the mask Silence was wearing. They slumped to the ground, the sedative flooding their bloodstream and robbing them of their faculties, by the look of them, for at least an hour. No point murdering anyone unless he had to, Silence rationalised, leaving his car and pressing the button to remove the barrier. He got back in, slammed the door shut, and pulled forward. The criminal could help but hope the guards weren’t due to be swapped over too soon, or things could get messy for him on exit.
Two minutes later, he was marching down the corridor of the large one story building he had come to infiltrate, another guard sleeping soundly behind him just outside the main door with his jacket draped over his face. Where clearance was required, Dr Short’s identification key card came in handy, and he was breezing through most of the security. His luck carried him through the main hall, past genetics, and all the way to the doors of Holding, where he was told Michael Garth was kept penned up like an animal. Not an altogether unfair state of affairs, from what Silence had read about Rach’s Father, he summarised he was an animal. Ironic that Lekh was ignorant of how right that assertion was. In any case, his luck finally failed him at Holding.
“Access, denied, invalid clearance.” “It seems you have outlived your usefulness, Dr Short.”
Silence muttered to the key card sardonically while considering his options. The door was quite robust, certainly too difficult for him to smash down with brute force, and the viewing window was triple paned as far as he could tell. Even if he broke through the glass he’d never fit through and that massive chunk of metal would still be blocking his passage. So, where strength would fail, perhaps guile would serve. Maybe. He knocked on the glass three times, sharply, removing his face mask and adopting a worried expression. A spectacled man appeared at the glass.“Can we get some help out here! Steve has collapsed, we think he’s having a seizure."
Silence adopted a panicked ‘amurican accent just for the occasion.
“What? Damnit, I told Steve to watch the sugar, he’s diabetic. Hold on a moment.” The doctor dropped from view as Silence hopped from one foot to the other wringing his hands, it was good to keep in practice. A moment later the metallic door clicked and swung open, the Doctor rushed past him, paying no attention to the gun behind his leg or the mask in his back pocket. He was about to turn and ask where Steve was when Silence put two darts in his back.”My god, it must be contagious, you have it too Doc.”
Silence quipped, taking something from the sleeping Doctor and walking through the open door into Holding, and what a room of horrors it was.
The centre of the room was occupied with a pit, of sorts, though to call it a pit may have been something of an oversimplification. All manner of electrical devices surrounded it, and the room itself was plugged full of monitoring equipment out the wazoo. Men and women, about twelve in all, sat at different monitors and walked around chattering in low tones. They were probably learning all sorts of interesting things about the brain waves of a metahuman, not to mention different chemical signatures, unusual markers in biology, that sort of thing. For a moment, Silence’s curiosity almost had him, not to mention his obsession, but he curbed his enthusiasm so to speak and got to business. He fixed the mask in place without anyone even glancing in his direction.”Ladies and gentlemen, if I could have your attention.”
He spoke in a measured tone, but loud enough to be heard. Heads started to turn towards the unfamiliar foreign tone, and alarm shone in every turned face. He was holding a gun!”Do not be alarmed, I have not come here today to kill any of you, unless you fail to comply with my demands."
As the door shut behind him, he scanned across it with a stolen pass and heard the door lock. Five questions rang out at once, but he shut them up by swinging his weapon across them, a few screams escaped before he quieted them with a raised palm. “Quiet, you heard what I said, do as I say and you will not die here. Now, tell me and do not even think to lie to me, is the subject being monitored below Michael Garth?"
One scientist, an older lady with the sense not to bullshit in a situation as dire as this one, even if it was far from her normal sphere of experience, answered him in the affirmative. ”Good, wake him up and let him out."
“You can’t do that!” A young man exclaimed, his handsome features screwed up in indignant fear. ”Yes, I can, because I have a gun. Do as I say Doctors, or you may very well have to bandage some bullet holes.”
He tipped the gun to egg them on. The room filled with a general hubbub of activity and whispered deliberations as the doctors worked to shut down defensive precautions surrounding their dangerous prisoner.
“He’ll kill us and you if he gets out you know.” The older lady said, walking over to Silence as he stood watching the doctors with coldly dispassionate eyes. “He can change his body, transform, he’s a meta.” ”He will not be killing any of you, I can assure you of that.”
“How can you be sure?””Because I will ensure it.”
Michael Garth turned out to be quite a disappointing specimen in truth, an aged and rather ragged looking man, thinner than he should have been since being put in a coma after his last brutal escape attempt. Silence couldn’t muster any sympathy for the mass murderer, nor did he want to. It was uncertain what he intended to do with all the cables and tubes still stuck in his body, his legs barely obeying him, his mind wandering, as he was lifted from his prison. Even so, his arms strained and his muscles bunched as if he wanted to rip everyone around him to pieces. Silence had him put in a wheelchair they used for manoeuvring him about the place while unconscious.”Thank you, Doctors, but there will be one more thing. I will need you all to accompany me outside, do not think to run, I will kill those who remain even if you escape. Bear with me for a few more minutes and your ordeal will be over."
He led them as a herd, surrounding him pseudo-protectively. Some gasped as he rolled around the sleeping body of their fellow doctor, and they made it all the way to the genetics lab before things went to shit. Michael Garth had managed to rally himself by that point, and was mutating before Silence’s very eyes, the Doctors were screaming because they knew what came next, and from further down the corridor voices called out for him to halt. The Doctors were on the brink of running, and if they fled, he’d have to make good on his promise or lose them all.”None of that, Michael.”
Silence put his tranq gun to the man’s neck even as it began to bulge and sprout fur, and suddenly there was a quilled spike protruding from his flesh. On top of all his recent drug doses, it knocked him out like a light. The serial killer slumped back in his chair and Silence pulled him up straight, eyeing the Doctors before they thought to run. The heavy tread of guard’s boots filled his ears as he peeked over some lanky scientist’s head and saw two armed men running towards him.”I would advise you men to turn around, unless you want me to put holes in six or seven of your charges.”
Silence coldly called to them, the malice in his voice brooking no disagreement.
“Alright buddy, we’ll back off, don’t you shoot the docs or we’ll light you up like a fucking Christmas tree.””And all of these people will die, do not let me see you, I will allow these people to leave when I am out of the premises."
He wheeled Michael Garth down the corridor, being sure to keep hostages on his blind spots as handy bullet sponges. He was also liberally dousing the Docs with his aura, keeping them sluggish, he didn’t want them having any bright ideas now. Hostage taking was always a delicate balancing act, so it was good for him to have a certain advantage to shift things in his favour. His impromptu herd carried him all the way to the door, and not one doctor had to be put down for ‘bravely’ trying to seize his weapon or cowardly attempting to flee. This had gone pretty well.
Silence had the doctors throw Michael Garth in the back seat of his vehicle, and then he got two in the front seat, taking the back for himself. But not before giving the rest of the Docs his instructions.”Go to your guards, tell them not to follow me or the Doctors I have taken will die. Tell them they will lose nothing but a dead man if they acquiesce to my demands.”
They nodded, desperately glad not to be the ones chosen, and he got into the backseat of his vehicle beside the slumbering serial killer. He sighed, putting his weapon to the nape of the elderly woman’s neck.”Drive, leave the compound, follow the road, do not deviate from my instructions or you and your colleague will die.”
“Yes… yes okay.”One Hour Later”Pull over.”
The doctors started whimpering as he forced them out the door of the car. Well, one of them did, the handsome young man. The older doc was made of sterner stuff apparently.
“Are you going to kill us now?””No, I am not so inclined. In fact, I would have you save a life. I will leave you here to find your own way back to town, do so, and visit your colleague Doctor Short, you will find her tied up in her living room."
He waved his gun at them and turned back to the car. ”Now go.” Two Hours Later
“Ummm, where am I? And why does my head fill like an ax has embedded itself in my skull?" A voice from behind Silence, surprisingly mild mannered for a man that can turn into a monster, but appearances could be deceiving.”Awake are we, Mr Garth?”
Silence turned briefly, studying Michael’s expression, and gauging his faculties. He figured he had a few minutes before the man was capable of doing whatever it is he could do. The sleek black estate pulled up alongside another forest road, deserted in the middle of the night. Silence turned around to the killer in his backseat, still masked, his blue eyes cold and dead.”Mr Garth, I represent an independent individual interested in your well-being. That is all that you need to know.”
"I don't appreciate being left in the dark and few individuals care
for my well being without a gain. Now, my question is why?"”Again, unimportant. What is important is that the person I represent would see you reunited with someone dear to you."
Silence flicked a dossier onto the man’s chest, he opened it up with trembling fingers. ”Your daughter, Racheli, Desdemonda, all grown up now. That is her walking the streets of Lost Haven. You should go to her.”
Silence pushed open the door, walking around to the back where Michael was peering at the pictures in front of him, something indescribable written on his face. Silence popped open his door, looking into that face, he felt a little sick. Only a little though.”Now, you are on your own from here.”
Silence smiled beneath his mask, hoisted the weakened man from his seat and then flung him down a grassy bank, where he rolled to a stop after slamming into the trunk of a tree with a heavy thud. Even then he hardly glanced at his saviour, all his intense focus was saved for that photo he held. That terrible face began to break and bend before Lekh's very eyes, and he decided it was probably about time to go. His work was done.
Now let us see what hell he had wrought.