The stage had been set.
Weeks of planning were paying off, and slowly but surely the pieces were falling into place on her not so little game of chess. Setting a trap to capture the king was much easier to manage when the other side couldn't see your pieces. But, as with anything she was up against an entire organization. Industrialized education and rehabilitation. Down below she was legion, an army of one. Here in this little fishbowl that careened thought the ink darkness of space however, there was a distinct absence of manpower available to her.
Being invisible to the opponent was was a powerful tool, but it was nearly worthless if she could only make one move at a time. So she had set about solving this problem. The man she had abducted, Arthur Coleman, had been... somewhat useful to her. He hadn't known much, but enough to set her on the right trail. As if he had given a vulture the scent of rot. His security credentials had been taken and used, but she was smart enough to know that the powers that be would catch onto her meddling quickly if she did not continue to change the game. Maintaining her unseen advantage was imperative to her operation. She had set her trap while he was declared missing, tampering with seals, disabling some alarms, arming others, and most importantly- figuring out who would be added to her game. The man might be many, but if she could spread The Promise' power thin? Then she could really
get to work.
When she dumped the corpse, she dumped his access card with it as to not rouse suspicion. There was no reason to search for something that wasn't missing, after all. She was counting on this fact, because her usages of his credentials could
be tracked if someone were to look into them. The damage had already been done, though. All she needed to do was wait for her last confounding variable to be dealt with. See, a young woman had seen
her when she was, erm... on the clock
. She had kept tabs on this girl, and by extension the group that she fraternized with. A few other women, and a young man whom had all caused quite
a mess on their first day. Her heart probably would've hummed at how similar they were to her- but she no longer had the anatomy. To her elation, they had been the unlucky to find the body she had dumped, and the girl that had seen her had yet to be released from Gennedy's questioning. She cracked a wicked smile in her mind's eye. Things were going swimmingly.
It was time for the games to begin. From her little hidey hole she chewed through her final set of wiring. She had done this several times over the past week, slowly lowering the resistance over several points. This, at least based upon her many hours spent reading electrician textbooks, would be enough to pop the breakers and disconnect the power that this particular branch of the tree powered- the penitentiary cell doors. When the carnage first began, a guard had pulled the emergency alarm- which instead sound in an entirely separate penitentiary facility. Guards would no doubt begin flocking to the entirely wrong
section of The Promise- where she intended to seal them there so she could further her mission. They would eventually free themselves, and stop the escapees of course, but that was the plan from the beginning. Sometimes you had to sacrifice a few pawns to gain the absolute advantage- and in this case, the pawns being sacrificed weren't even hers to begin with. Now that
is a sacrifice she is willing to make.
She could see the red caution light flashes of the lock below her as they released. Her plan finally falling into motion.
"Wouldn't give me a lawyer and bent a table in half to prove a point. You know. The way you're supposed to treat kids. Because they have nobody to fucking defend them... Gennedy. What a fuckin' traitor."“My interview went fine. I went last, so they already had a narrative in mind when they asked me questions. I mostly just agreed to whatever they were saying, and I recommended that they look at their files on me if they wanted more information,”
Archie shifted some, making a face at Lynn's comment about Gennedy's behavior. "Shit, that sounds a lot like how dad used to be. Sorry you had to deal with that. At least the power was coolish, right?" His comment about the power was meant to be disarming, in that there was some sort of entertaining silver lining, but it probably came off as moronic more than it did anything else. Desperate to avoid Lynn's smoldering gaze, he shifted his eyes to Keaton and smiled a bit at the first part of her comment. "Well, I guess that makes your life easier, having the story already told and all. The files thing makes sense- hope my incident on the first day isn't too
much of a red mark. Worst I've had up until now on any kind of record was a detention in 10th grade."
The waitress comes back at that moment to take his menu, and Archie's almost grateful for the distraction; unwillingly, they have arrived to a disconnect, and the momentary rift has left an awkward emptiness in his gut. His chest stirred, and his eyes wandered to the window for a moment. Archie shook his head and sighed. "I didn't, uh, say anything. Aside from that I saw it. Cause I dont know if-" the memory of Lynn's threats flashed in his mind's eye, and the rapidly warming tea in his hands reminded him that he would have to tread carefully. "Cause I don't know if you all saw it. Was dark and all and-"
Mercifully, the waitress returned once more. Archie let the words die in his throat and as the woman began to set the table with cute little dishes of food. Desperately trying to fill the awkward gap, Archie snatches a slice of pork stuffed dumplings while at the same time pushes a plate of sugar-coated fried dough in Keaton's direction. For the next few minutes, they stuff the silence with the sounds of their chewing and tinkling cutlery.
It was quaint, in that time. But something in Archie felt wrong, like he was standing in the low pressure eye of a hurricane. Dark and looming over him. It twisted his gut, and he would’ve dismissed the discomfort had another person not loudly busted into the restaurant. She was tall, wearing blue scrubs, and was built like a barn for a woman, sporting broad shoulders and a grizzled exterior. In a way she reminded him of Lynn, except this Lynn was brunette had just come back from a five year long gym session. Something about her wild eyes immediately put him on edge. He pushed away from the table, the chair scraping loudly and aggressively against the floor as he did so. He did not know who she was, but anyone with any knowledge of the crime world in the past ten years might recognize her as Salamandra- the figurehead of the infamous Los Angeles Fire Worms gang. The gang had long since lost their mascot, but Prison had made her no less infamous in her own right.
“Fuckin’ finally!” the woman singsonged with a harsh South African accent to her words. “Heard so fuckin’ much about this place from the guards.”
Archie turned his head to the window. There was screaming outside. A woman was being attacked by- god, he didn’t even know what it was. Some tall, shirtless figure, clad in an unreasonable amount of musculature, as if parts of him were fit to burst. His skin was obsidian, with the faintest hint of a metallic, navy blue gloss. But his head - there was the striking part. No skin, no meat, just a skull. Somehow a dull red, like a dimmed light. The skin around his neck seemed to fade as it went upward.
He grabbed the woman by her head with both of his hands, picking her up and slamming her against the window in freakish, brutal fashion. And he did it again, and several times more, until blood splattered over the cracks, and the woman fell quiet and limp. He then proceeded to raise her body above his head, as if wringing out a rag, opening his exposed jaw to let the woman’s blood drip into it. As he did, his skull began to brighten, shaking violently, veins detaching from it and floating freely. Once it had reached a great, crimson glow, he tossed the woman’s body aside like a rag doll. And he shrieked, like some unholy wraith.
“Oh for fuck’s sake!” the woman shouted, “We get the day off, and he only thinks about ‘emself. I’m tryna get a meal too!” she hollered. In the distance Archie could see there were emergency lights. People were running. Archie’s flight instinct took over and he ran, his legs trying to take him away
from here. He didn’t know where- just not here.
“Where do ya think you’re goin’?” the woman said, reaching forward and grabbing Archie by his pants collar and almost effortlessly pulling him back- sending him onto his ass but otherwise unharmed. His chest was on fire now. The woman cracked her knuckles against one another. “I dont plan to eat alone, and you look good enough ta eat.”
She turned her gaze to the rest of the room, her forearms super-heating as she did so. The very air around her arms contorted and waved off, and she looked down at them questionably, but did not seem to dwell on it for long. “I’m feelin’ a bit shy, so why dont you lot run off before the show starts.” she smiled and turned her head to address the occupants in every area of the room. “Cause you’ll fair better out there, with them
, than in here with me.”