Needless to say things had not gone exactly as Darwin had planned. The twisting, winding, unmarked corridors all looks the same; grey concrete, steel, unmarked doors met him and his companion at every turn. Here and there the duo had passed several bodies, both of guard and prisoner. The devastation that had been wrought on this place, though some may have been justified for the inhumane treatment most of the Metas had to endure, was almost more than Darwin could stand. After so many years in isolation, this flare of emotion, this horrid spectacle that assailed his senses at every turn was another fresh torture that threatened to unhinge him.
He had almost vomited at the sight of a guard, his features completely unrecognizable, completely torn in half, viscera and entrails spread in a completely unnatural pattern on the floor around him. Bile rose in Darwin's throat as his mind finally accepted the only conclusion his logic had allowed him to come to.... This man had been toyed with, his guts the play thing of some freakish mind, patterns scrawled on the floor in this poor man's life blood as a child would have done with finger paints. It was too much, surely freedom, even from this hellish domain, was not worth this.
To make matters worse, Darwin started to get the feeling that Kane was beginning to lose confidence in his plan. He kept whipping his head around, wild eyes fixing Darwin with fervent eagerness. Despite Darwin's efforts, he was foiled at every turn and the pair were forced to turn around from a dead end once more. He had to accept the fact that he was lost.
A grunt of impatience, the sound of nails against plastic drew his gaze to the cuffs that Kane wore. The skin there was red and chaffed, mirroring the attitude of its owner, annoyed and irritated. Itching to make progress. Some of what Darwin felt must have shown through his stolen expression, because Kane stopped still, an air of a feral beast about to pounce on unsuspecting prey palpable around him. "Hey come on man, do you know where the fuck we are?"
The question was to the point and Darwin knew that the next several seconds would weigh heavily on how he answered the man's question. To tell him the truth? or to continue this game? Both equally dangerous. Darwin, even though he his entire recollected life was one of imprisonment hated having his back against the wall, this time the feeling was exacerbated by the perilous nature of his associations.
Opening his mouth, words of falsehood on his lips, but the words weren't needed. A door had opened in the corridor behind him, the sound loud in the mostly deserted hallway, and Kane had stopped dead, mouth agape. Turning to confront whoever it was that had just walked through the door, Darwin immediately understood the nature of his companions consternation. The man that stood before him, confident, relaxed, but dangerous as a tiger in high grass. A condescending smirk dominating a plain face, his hands in the pockets of his orange jump suit, which had you exchanged it for jeans and a t-shirt you would have thought that he was just out for a Sunday stroll. The bold number, number 021, stamped across his right breast confirmed Darwin's identification. Mentem, a legend here in Ragnarok, and Darwin had no doubt left that it was this snake that was responsible for all that was going on.
his approach slow, Mentem looked Darwin up and down, a small smile lingering on his face as he took in Kane with equal interest. A quirked eyebrow only added to his infuriating air of superiority, "Darwin? I didn't have you down as the vengeance seeking type."
"Vengeance?" Darwin will say with a short laugh, "No Nathaniel, I seek only freedom." If Mentem felt any annoyance at being referred to by his given name, he showed no sign, but Darwin would be damned before he would be cowed by this man.
"Freedom? Don't we all," Mentem said airily, his tone full of judgement and enjoyment,"and yet here I find you dressed in a dead mans clothes. And accompanied by none other than Joshua Kane. You have fallen far."
Exasperation set in. If Mentem wanted to play games, so be it. "The man's death was not of my doing," his eyes will flick to Kane, saying all that needed to be said."His clothing however provided an opportunity that I could not pass up. I have caused no death, unlike you, and have gone out of my way to prevent it where I could." He felt the trap as it was sprung and he could do nothing but laugh inwardly at the oddity of the situation he know felt himself in. Standing in a hallway, wearing a dead man's clothes, the murder of the man not feet away, and the mastermind standing in front of him. The three taking up space in the most secure facility in the world, during the most violent prison riot in Chimera's history, and Mentem wanted to debate morality and ethics?
As if he knew Darwin's thoughts, which Darwin reluctantly told himself was more likely than not, Mentem smiled, pulling a shrill whistle between his teeth, "and yet here you are before me, obviously taking advantage of my willingness to do what you are to weak to do yourself. Does that really make you any better than me? Besides, you know there is no way out for you without me don't you."
Darwin didn't care what this maniac thought... He knew his choices and the reasons that he had made them, "I harbor a certain amount of guilt that this opportunity for my liberation comes at the cost of so many lives." Darwin said, locking his unwavering gaze on Mentem's, "I also don't have an answer for whether or not my choices in comparison to yours make me better or not. But I do not revel in this as you do. I do not take pleasure in the death and pain that run rampant around me. My conscience is clear in that regard Nathaniel, that much I know."
Mentem returned Darwin's stare without faltering, his eyes boring into Darwin's as he smiled. A smile that Darwin couldn't help but notice did not reach Mentem's eyes. "At least I do not lie to myself about it, at least I know my own mind." His smiled, the expression turning malicious, knowing that Darwin had no memories of his past, a statement that cut Darwin deeper than he wanted to admit. Mentem's eyes flashed as he took a step forward, half raising a hand, "perhaps I can help you with that?"
Stepping back slowly, smoothly with out the haltering reaction that would have displayed fear where there was none, Darwin smiled back with his own fake smile, the corners of his mouth pulling slightly where a scar rested on his stolen visage, a sensation he was not used to when making the movement, "I think not. I would rather not have you digging around up here," he said, tapping the side of his head, "If it is all the same to you." Mentem, unsurprised halted in his advance a small shrug punctuating his gaze as it once more tried to bore its way into the deepest reaches of Darwin's mind.
Despite the fact that he would rather pull his own toenails with a pair of pliars, Darwin had to admit to himself that Mentem had been right. He would never make his way out of this facility without the man's help. He had never even seen the outside of this place, let alone the way that lead there.
"That being said," Darwin began, reluctance in every fiber of his being as he spoke, "I think that we can be beneficial to one another... I want out, you want out. It seems that our goals are not mutually exclusive and, at least for the moment, they seem to be the same."
The barest flicker, a hint of truth behind those staring eyes the only emotion that registered on his countenance as Mentem lowered his hand. "I am glad that you can at least see that," a small sigh escaping his pursed lips, quiet words, almost half said came with it "... old friend."
It was as if lightning had hit Darwin's brain and it was all that he could do to keep his face an emotionless mask, the fake smile attempting to cover his fear. A fear that Mentem was telling the truth. That somehow, in some past life, he and Nathaniel Marks had been associated closely enough for the barest trace of emotion to slip through Mentem's mask. A paralyzing anxiety threatened to root him to the spot until his logical mind, the one that reasoned, that held the same capability and more, baring the telepathy, that the man across from him had. Could it be true? Yes, the possibility could not be discounted. Darwin knew nothing of his former life, but he did know that now, in this very moment he abhorred the man that had brought such violence to this place. That the man he was now could not and would not condone this as necessary or acceptable. To his great surprise, Darwin felt that he had managed to keep his consternation from his face. If he had not, Mentem made no sign that he had noticed the war of emotion that his simple statement had elicited.
Though it had felt like an eternity in his head, a mere breath of time had passed since Mentem's hushed words. "I'm sure I can find somewhere you might be useful," Mentem continued,"though really, I'm here for him." He finished waving a casual hand in Kane's direction.
Darwin, not knowing the full extent of Kane's power, as Mentem obviously did, had no response for the statement. No inkling of the plan that he was sure had been analyzed, dissected, changed, and re-changed with in the intelligent mind of the man that stood before him, superiority oozing from every pore. He would need to play along if he was to escape.
Shrugging, as if his next statement was painfully obvious, he addressed Mentem, "I am pragmatic Nathaniel. You obviously know much more about this facility than I do. For me to even have hope to leave it, I am forced to accept your help." Determined, forceful, to the point, "Once we leave this place however, our association is at on end." He let a small silence punctuate his words before he set aside his pride and asked, "What is your plan?"
Shaking his head, disgust evident in his expression Mentem all but sneered, "Oh, believe me, our association is not one I intend to prolong. Your self-righteous view is not one I wish to expose myself to anymore than I really have to." Laughing to himself he pried, "Tell me... Why exactly would I share my plan for escape with someone like you? Hm? You are well known to be.... friendly to the guards. That is not exactly a beneficial trait to me."
"Not self-righteous Nathaniel," Darwin said, his tone even and patient. His voice sure, "only true. Had there been a way to leave here without blood shed, I would have taken it. I do not have to agree with you, or your methods, just as you don't need to agree with mine. I care about life, all life, and do not cast it aside so lightly." scoffing, half from the irritation he felt at the need to explain himself, half annoyance that he must admit the next,"As to what skills I have to offer you, I regret to say you probably know better than I."
"I don't suppose you are going to waltz out the front door," Darwin sighed," So I suppose that another pair of eyes and another pair of skilled hands are better than one."
Mentem's gaze lingered on Darwin's stolen face for a few seconds, his expression blank, his emotions unreadable, "Well then, perhaps we should take this opportunity to leave, I have other people to collect, perhaps you could free our friend Mr Kane, he is very important to me right now. Oh how I wish that we were going to waltz out the front door. No, we have things to do first, things in which..." He looked Darwin up and down pointedly, "you might be very useful."
Once more questioning the wisdom of his choices, Wondering if his desire to be free of these walls had clouded his judgement, Darwin moved slowly to Kane, taking a pair of clippers from one of the pouches attached to his pilfered belt, he cut the plastic cuffs, freeing the man's hands. Turning to Mentem, reservation boiling in his mind, Darwin said, "Lead on."
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Last edited by Midge913; 11-28-12 at 06:01 AM.