Meanwhile, while Gift was having breakfast he would notice a note underneath his tray. An interesting thing as not many people had access to communicating with him. Inside of the note was the following written in pencil.
“Dear Mr. Gift
Firstly it is a pleasure to be speaking with you; secondly I am a big fan of your villainous work. I was wondering if you would be interested in being a part of my plan to escape this place. Your help would be greatly appreciated, and you will be smelling the fresh air in a couple of days; if you accept my offer. Please get back to me by writing on the back of this note.
Lionel raised an eyebrow at the message he'd been given. So then, there was someone in this place with more than a little bit of influence over the guards. Most inmates could only hope to bribe or convince guards to allow minor indulgences at best, such as his suits and vegetarian meals. To not only have enough sway to allow secret notes to be passed but for them to allow it to be passed to himself of all people...this Mr. Q must be quite formidable. Lionel's cell was far removed from the others, having been built specially to hold him. Ever since his first year here, where he'd nearly caused an uprising by manipulating a guard and then a fellow inmate, his security had been taken extremely seriously by the staff here. The guards who brought his meals were the same ones to escort him to the research chambers, the only time he was allowed out of his cell. They were also not rotated nearly as often as the other guards, the staff preferring to keep them on primarily only in his wing in order to familiarize them with his tricks and minimize the rumors about him. These guards were forbidden from discussing him openly, even amongst themselves. Regardless of these precautions, rumors tended to persist in a place like this. He had heard of whispers of a dangerous monster in cell XIII. He was rather flattered, but ultimately his reputation didn't matter much. Only his work mattered.
Lionel had a keen interest in any knowledge of his fellow inmates, storing up the overheard gossip, pieces of rumor and fearful murmurings in his memory in order to form a fairly accurate picture of each of his fellows.
Lionel returned to his corner of the room with his papers and crayons, which had initially been given him when he'd first arrived here as a sort of entertainment. They'd likely expected him to draw or color on them, but instead he'd found a much better use for them. He used them to amuse himself by keeping records of his thoughts on the other inmates. This wasn't particularly necessary, as his memory was infallible, but it served to pass the time during this long incarceration. He flipped through each of the papers one by one once again.
Ameliya "SHC". Pyrokinetic. This one was Worthy. Despite her quick temper she was rumored to have a soft spot for those weaker than herself and a certain moral code. She could possibly be a useful tool due to her volatile nature, if manipulated properly. However, she posed a high level threat due to her ability. Immolation was a painful death, and his own powers wouldn't be able to respawn from them quickly. Therefore, though she was a candidate for salvation, she should be handled with caution.
Körbl Meier. Enhanced physical capability and prowess with blades. This one was Unworthy and not useful as a tool. His focus on strength and penchant for confrontation made him too single minded and quite imbecilic. He would pose only a low level threat and was beneath further consideration.
Randolph "The Ghoul". Enhanced physical prowess, animalistic form and necromantic diet. This one was Unworthy, yet Lionel believed respect was due to him because of his obvious intelligence and the fact that he was one of the only other inmates older than Lionel himself. He could possibly make a useful tool, though Lionel believed manipulating him would be difficult and risky. He posed a mid level threat due his tendency to eat his victims corpses. While Lionel had never had his body eaten before, he imagined it would take several months to respawn from.
The Devourer. Alien life form with enhanced appetite and capacity for consumption. Lionel had not learned the proper name of this inmate from the guards, only the nickname. She seemed to be singularly driven by her appetite, which would make her a useful tool if properly motivated, though perhaps slightly unpredictable. She was Unworthy, due to a distinct lack of suffering. She posed a mid level threat for the same reasons as The Ghoul.
"Arc Dragon". Electrokinesis. Another inmate known to Lionel only by her alias. She was Unworthy due to a seeming lack of mental acumen, though she had potential to awaken as Worthy should she suffer greatly or overcome her inherent apathy. She would not be a useful tool due to her reserved yet unpredictable nature. She was a high level threat for similar reasons as the pyrokinetic. Lionel would likely avoid interaction with her if he could help it, as it seemed unlikely to produce favorable results.
Brock Jameson. The guards he'd overheard called him "that spider dude". Apparently his abilities had to dp with adopting some arachnid traits and being able to communicate with and, to a degree, control the creatures. He was a bit of an enigma. He had suffered somewhat, but not much. His ability was such that it could be utilized for or against society, but he seemed more content in isolation. He leaned toward Unworthy, but only due to his erratic nature when upset. He posed little threat, but could perhaps be a valuable tool.
Julia Kray "The Black Death". Possessed a touch that was quickly fatal. The exact nature of her death touch was unclear, but it seemed most similar to some rapid onset poison. She was currently Unworthy despite having suffered, as her ability seemed incapable of allowing her to be anything but a danger to those around her. Still, there was always room for improvement. She posed only a low level threat.
Mary Vincent "Iris": Kinetic Energy Manipulation. Her unpredictable and uncooperative nature meant she would not make a useful tool. She alone amongst all of his fellows had he yet to decide whether she was Worthy or Unworthy. She had certainly suffered enough, but her influence on others was widely varied. He had decided he needed to observe her in person before making his decision. Either way, she posed only a low level threat. If it came to it, she would be fairly easy to save.
Alfred Gunther "Frostbite". Possessed of an Entity of primordial cold. This was a bit of a tricky one. The man Alfred was Worthy, but otherwise unremarkable. The Entity, however, was Unworthy yet deserving of respect. The power it wielded was quite impressive and it was probably the oldest consciousness here. It would not be easily manipulated. Yet, if successful, it could be a very useful tool. Lionel hesitated to attempt salvation, but that too was possible, if difficult to attain. He would likely need help on this one. Still, despite the impressive nature of the Entity, this one posed only a low level threat. Being frozen preserved his body rather than destroying it.
Hemlock "Digital Ghost". Technopathy and EMF manipulation. This one was Worthy and quite intriguing. His abilities would make him an excellent tool, though he seemed to be difficult to manipulate due to his paranoid nature. His threat level was relatively low, though the diversity of applications of his abilities made this assessment rather fluid. It would be wise to handle him with care. He was a prime target for salvation, as his projects if left undisturbed could be of great benefit to mankind. He was likely the second most enticing target amongst all of the other inmates.
Marina Montressor "White Fang". Wolfish transformation. She was Unworthy due to her selfishness and lack of restraint in the face of adversity. She was not one to respect, but perhaps one to be wary of due to her intelligence and manipulative nature. She was unlikely to be a useful tool and was more likely to be an obstacle. Still, she ultimately posed only a low level threat herself. However, if she successfully manipulated another more dangerous inmate against him... He believed it would be best to eliminate her quickly if she became a problem. She was simply too much of a wild card.
Abigail "Atom Bomb". Radioactive. This one was probably the most Worthy of all of the inmates here. If there was one inmate he desired to save more than any other, it was her. Just the thought of her salvation filled Lionel with joy and he trembled in anticipation. She also had potential as a useful tool. Her kind nature and mild suffering made her easy to manipulate. However, she posed quite a high level threat due to her abilities. Those would require a long time to respawn from if he was exposed to them too long. Longer than he could afford. So while she was the most tempting target, she would require careful planning and flawless execution. Lionel could hardly wait.
Rueyn "Grimm"- Demoness Reaper. This was easily the most dangerous of all the inmates. Though her immense suffering and deeply buried kindness made her Worthy, she was a catastrophic level threat due to her soul reaping ability. Singularly among all of his fellow inmates that ability alone had the possibility of permanently destroying him. He planned to avoid all interaction with her if possible. No attempts to manipulate her would be made. The risk was simply too high. If interaction could not be avoided, placation and passivity would be the best course of action. Lionel had never groveled in his life, nor was he used to affecting a submissive demeanor. But in the face of true death and the threat to his salvation of others, he would do whatever he must not to antagonize that particular individual. She alone amongst his Worthy fellows was not a target for salvation. Besides, a demoness was unlikely to be able to be redeemed anyway. She was likely already lost.
Simone "Gremlin". Sangromancer. Erratic and utterly insane, this inmate would not make a useful tool and was entirely Unworthy. That said, from what Lionel had heard he possessed a singular cleverness despite his insanity thst could prove rather troublesome. Lionel disliked him already. He would avoid the nuisance if possible. If not, bugs like him were best exterminated. His abilities made him a mid level threat, however, and Lionel would likely need to choose his moment with some care.
Hauta "The Storm." Wind manipulation and demonic blessings. Lionel had not been able to gather much information on the past of this individual, but from what he had been able to glean he was long lived, lethal with a blade and his wind powers and somewhat haunted by his past. He was presently Unworthy due to his fearsome reputation, yet Lionel had a feeling that more information was needed. He could possibly be utilized as a tool with the right prompting. His abilities were unlikely to cause too much damage and therefore he was only a low level threat, unless he got creative with his wind abilities. Lionel didn't plan on giving him a need to do so.
Interestingly enough, Lionel hadn't heard of this Mr Q. before this note came to him. He'd thought he knew of every inmate in the facility yet somehow this one had remained unknown to him. He was a complete mystery. This was more than a little suspicious. Perhaps this was some sort of trap set by Dr. Novis? But no, Novis wasn't clever enough for that. The note mentioned "villainous work" which brought a frown to Lionel's small brow. Dr. Novis would also know better than to imply his work was evil somehow. Perhaps this Mr Q. needed to be educated on the beauty of his purpose.
Lionel turned the note from the mysterious Mr. Q over and began to write with one of his crayons in a flowing script unusual for such a childish medium. "My dear Mr. Q,
I must confess, you have me at somewhat of a disadvantage, knowing of me while keeping your own identity hidden. This is not a feat that many can claim. I admit, I am both intrigued and impressed. You appear to be a man of intelligence and means. I see no reason to refuse to hear your plan out. I do ask that you not refer to my salvation of others as "villainous". I can see why you might perceive it thusly, however this is a misunderstanding born of ignorance towards my true purpose. I would be glad to educate you further in the future, should you desire. Now then, assuming we understand each other, I am willing to hear whatever plan you might have. As a matter of interest, I have noted that one of the guards in my wing is quite green to the facility. You may be interested to know that he suffers from a trauma in his past regarding a child who was killed, either by him or by someone he couldn't protect the child from. I thought I'd mention it in case the information might prove useful to whatever clever scheme you are concocting. I look forward to further correspondence. It is such a pleasure to have someone to converse with after all this time.
Lionel the Adjudicator."
Lionel slipped the note back where he'd found it. The guards would return after breakfast to collect it. Lionel grinned to himself. Finally, his time would soon arrive. If this Mr. Q could influence the guards to pass him notes, then the prospect of escape was not nearly as far away as he'd thought. Oh, he'd planned on escaping soon anyway, but this new development could expedite his plans exponentially. His work was out there, not in this cell. It was always waiting for him, a comforting certainty. He could almost taste it already.