damned_intercom: (Default)
The Intercom ([personal profile] damned_intercom) wrote in [community profile] damned_institute2012-01-31 01:20 am

Day 61: Intercom, Evening

Like clockwork, the intercom came on at the end of the hour. And like clockwork, the Head Doctor began the first of his concluding daytime announcements with abnormal levels of cheer and good will.

"Good evening, everyone! What a fun-filled day we've had, hm? You must all be tuckered out and ready for bed."

Why, the man seemed unwilling to say.

"Never fear. We're nearing the end." He paused thoughtfully. "The main course of our dinner menu tonight is gourmet spaghetti topped with our signature marinara sauce. We have garlic bread and Caesar salad for your sides as well as your choice of vanilla, strawberry, or chocolate ice cream for dessert. As usual, we will have our assortment of drinks and vegetarian alternatives. If you're partial to that little extra omph, we have parmesian cheese available upon request."

There was another pause, this time with papers rustling in the background. "Take care not to stain your letters now. Bon app├ętit!"

The intercom clicked off.
cpt_minnow: (isolation unit)

M42

[personal profile] cpt_minnow 2012-01-31 09:14 pm (UTC)(link)
Another night, another basement run. Though now that Depth Charge thought about it, was it really a basement run if they weren't even on that level anymore? Slag, they weren't in someone's cellar anymore, they were subterranean in every sense and with all the cliches. And to think he'd been thinking of the third floor in the back of his mind- progress here just seemed to mean progress down.

Nonetheless, Depth Charge found himself hesitating before he entered the room. He'd really stormed out on Scarecrow last night, which, frankly, had been a pretty smelted-up thing to do to the poor guy. Thing was, he wasn't sure how he felt about explaining himself still: sure, he'd managed to contain Javert's death and file it away somewhere dark and untouchable with the rest of his body count, but the idea of admitting out loud that it had messed with his circuits felt like emotional suicide. And they had more than enough problems to work through on that front anyway- he still hadn't quite managed to look his roommate in the eye since their 'argument'.

He was at least given a few moments to prepare himself before the Scarecrow stopped by: the room was empty, save for one new addition to his dinner tray.

"The Pit is this?" Depth Charge held the offending item up between his finger and thumb so that its bulbous top dangled mournfully, like a drooping head.

"It's a lollipop, Mr. Price. You'll like it a lot!" And then she was gone, as if 'lollipop' were actually a reasonable explanation for the thing in his hand. Great.
scarefaux: ([argumentative])

[personal profile] scarefaux 2012-02-02 11:30 am (UTC)(link)
The Scarecrow paused as he reached his room, tension evident on his face. "Do you know if my roommate is in there?" he asked the nurse quietly.

"I don't know, Mr. Howard," she answered honestly, handing him his tray. "Why don't you just go in and see?"

His face fell. "I feel like I haven't talked to him in a long time, and I don't know what to say."

She smiled at him. "You might try something as simple as hello, then. You see him every night. I'm sure this isn't that different from last night, if you think about it."

But it was different, and had been for some time in a way the Scarecrow couldn't fully comprehend. He was sure it was his human brain, which had been damaged by his sleep study. Surely a working one would have known what the problem was right away, and even come up with a plan on how to fix it. Instead, he was left with that strangely empty feeling in his chest, one that had been building there since their pretend argument in the restaurant. They hadn't talked about that day, or about what the Major had told them- there had simply been silence, or the topic was dodged altogether.

He gave the nurse a nod, pushing the door open. As expected, Depth Charge was there. The Scarecrow didn't even bother with setting his tray atop his desk, determined to say what needed to be said before he lost his nerve. "Depth Charge, we need to talk."
cpt_minnow: (beast mode)

[personal profile] cpt_minnow 2012-02-02 05:45 pm (UTC)(link)
Depth Charge had already dumped the lollipop back onto his tray when the Scarecrow turned up, and by that point there was no point in pointing out the novelty. Who are you, my wife? was his first response, but he couldn't have said it aloud if he'd wanted to. He could see by the look on his roommate's face that this was it. The big one.

"Yeah. Yeah, I know," he said, with a deep, tired sigh that seemed to have been waiting to rise up from somewhere in the soles of his feet and that left him without the energy to stay standing. In any other argument he'd have wanted physical height on his side, but he didn't have it in him to try intimidating the Scarecrow. That was where it felt as though it ran straight into bullying.

But then again, maybe he wasn't giving the Scarecrow enough credit. He'd been more than a verbal match for him back in that cafe, and given that they weren't about to break into a fist fight any time soon...

He rubbed the back of his neck; it felt oddly sore already, as if the tiredness had seeped into his bones. "You first."
scarefaux: ([serious])

[personal profile] scarefaux 2012-02-02 06:02 pm (UTC)(link)
Even the Scarecrow could see the tiredness in Depth Charge's eyes, only recognizing it because he'd seen it in himself once or twice, and in his fellow patients as well. He was never sure what to make of it, whether it was something related to the human body, the mind, or both- all he knew was that it was a telltale sign that things had not been going all that well for his roommate, either. The week had been rough on both of them, apparently.

"Me first?" Given pause, the Scarecrow tried to find what it was he wanted to say. He had a lot on his mind, but most of all, he wanted answers- boy, did he want answers. He knew Depth Charge had been to the basement, that it was dangerous and he glossed over it as though nothing had happened. True, there was no changing the fact that the basement was apparently dangerous, and it wasn't as though he could convince him not to go; there were better questions to be asked, but he was having a hard time determining what.

Still, it wasn't just the basement he wanted to know about. His friends were disappearing one by one, and while he didn't like to be pessimistic, he was concerned it was only a matter of time before one of them went, too. He felt that ache in his chest- that was the part that had been causing him such stress.

His brow knitted as he brought his eyes back to Depth Charge, his losses pushing him to speak again. "You're the one who's been running off the past few nights without hardly a word to me, so you first. You know I've been worried about you, don't you?"
cpt_minnow: (activated)

[personal profile] cpt_minnow 2012-02-02 11:19 pm (UTC)(link)
It wasn't exactly a frown, or not of the same species that Depth Charge was more familiar with at least, but it was enough to catch the Maximal's attention in time for the real first hit to land, and it was a doozy.

"Ah..." He stared, at a loss for an answer. Depth Charge wasn't stupid. What kind of an idiot would he have been to not realise that charging off without saying anything would have worried the Scarecrow, huh? It didn't take a genius to figure that out, with the kind of nice guy his roommate was. But he hadn't had any choice. He hadn't. Anyway, the guy had never seemed to cope with it pretty well, so it was a fair loss, right?

No. No, that was a lie and he knew it. The Scarecrow had been nothing but patiently concerned about him the whole time they'd roomed together. The truth was- slag it, he didn't know what the truth was. Or he did, but didn't want to. Or- or something. What he did understand at that moment was that a nerve had taken one serious pounding already and he could feel his pride swelling in his chest, as if to overcompensate for the puncture.

"Worried?" Depth Charge bristled, feeling a flush of colour rise to his cheeks with the volume of his voice. "The Pit are you worried for? You calling me incompetent or something?"
scarefaux: ([argumentative])

[personal profile] scarefaux 2012-02-02 11:29 pm (UTC)(link)
Despite the rise in tone, Scarecrow stood his ground, feeling something burn in him like a fire. His body stiffened when he felt it should have buckled, as Depth Charge could be downright frightening when he needed to be. However, his courage held out against his friend far better than it ever had against any witch or wizard he'd seen when he was made of straw or otherwise, probably because he knew Depth Charge wouldn't hurt him no matter how heated the conversation got. He was his friend, even when they were struggling to come to terms with one another.

"I'm not calling you incompetent," he cut back, the pressure on his fingers from gripping the tray starting to hurt, but with the argument, he paid it no mind. "I'm calling you as human as the rest of us. I admit I don't know much about death, but I do know we're all capable of it now. Even you."
cpt_minnow: (isolation unit)

[personal profile] cpt_minnow 2012-02-03 08:04 pm (UTC)(link)
But he wasn't human. Not really. Even after all this time Depth Charge couldn't say he connected entirely with his human body: the hand clenched on the table-top didn't have the grip, the arm it was connected to seemed to thin and its skin too thin, the shoulders too narrow. This wasn't his. This was borrowed.

And he was just making excuses now, too cover the rising heat and the steadily increasing ball of anxiety and even fear he knew lurked just beneath the surface. Baggage. He wanted to be reasonable for the Scarecrow. He wanted to explain himself. But that meant opening his spark in more ways than he'd ever wanted.

"How many people do you think I've lost here, huh?" Depth Charge shot back, but it was too late to try and cling to any sort of logical response; his temper was fast overwriting what little restraint he had. "You think I enjoy it or something? I can't just stand around and let them take anyone else."
scarefaux: ([incredulous])

[personal profile] scarefaux 2012-02-03 10:13 pm (UTC)(link)
That was true: at least Depth Charge was doing something against their captors, or trying to at any rate. The question of what could be done had crossed the Scarecrow's mind several times already- some could fight, while others had magic, but what did someone like himself have? What could a man who used to be made of straw and didn't even have a working brain contribute to the cause? It was an argument that left him feeling useless, as though he'd be just as productive tied to a pole and unsuccessfully trying to scare crows away. It was a terrible feeling that welled with the rest of them in his chest. What was it he could do for the friends he'd lost?

And on that point, he understood the hurt in Depth Charge's voice, his temper flaring. The Scarecrow's own tone took a sharper turn. "And you won't be doing them any good if something bad happens to you. You think I like seeing my friends vanish? I'm not sure I'll ever know what happened to Kaiji or Abe or Mele, but I know I can't help them if I'm torn to pieces!"

His body felt stiff, unnatural as tension mounted him. A sigh pushed its way through him, his face falling. "I suppose I'm not like you, Depth Charge. I've got a brain, but it doesn't seem to work too well. I have a heart, but I sometimes wonder if I've broken it somehow. And I'm not sure I ever had any courage at all. I know we're doing no good just sitting around, but..."

He brought his eyes back to his roommate. "What if you're next? I don't think I've helped anyone since I got here, and I'm not sure I could help you if something were to happen. What can someone like me do that you can't?"
cpt_minnow: (enemy fire)

[personal profile] cpt_minnow 2012-02-05 05:22 pm (UTC)(link)
Friends. The word shook the Maximal off-kilter for a few nanokliks as he processed it in its entirety: yeah, he was close to the Scarecrow, as close as he got, but that wasn't right. It couldn't be that way, not while he was still a prize slagging jinx. The more he gave, the more dangerous things got for the Scarecrow, and he'd dragged the guy into way too many scrapes already. He owed it to the Scarecrow to stay away.

But there was more to it then that. He couldn't let himself give in because Primus only knew that had been one of his first mistakes. If he cared, he'd already lost.

And he was caring alright. "Don't talk like that, Scarecrow!" he said suddenly, warningly. "You're not-" What? He wasn't vulnerable? Weaker? Easier to hurt? The Scarecrow was all of those things.

But so was Javert, while he'd lived. So was Peter. So was half the Institute. Even himself.

"You're the same as everyone else in this smelting place," Depth Charge finished, weak even through gritted teeth. Admitting it was dizzying, like falling from a height. "And I'm not going anywhere." But he couldn't fool himself; the answer sounded hollow even to him, especially in light of what had all but been his tacit admission of weakness. He found himself racing to fill the gap. "Look,.just stay out of trouble, keep your head down, you don't need to worry about anything. Just forget about me."
scarefaux: ([unsure])

[personal profile] scarefaux 2012-02-06 09:24 am (UTC)(link)
"I won't, and you know it!" There was one thing the Scarecrow heard endlessly- that he was to stay out of trouble, that it was best if he kept out of sight and therefore out of mind, somehow. That hadn't worked thus far, as the General had thought him an appropriate choice for one of his missions regardless of how little attention he'd drawn to himself. He still suspected he was there, if for no other reason, than to make his roommate toe the line. They had been used; that fact struck a chord with the former strawman that was all too familiar, and he didn't like it in the least.

"I can't do any of that, Depth Charge," he said, his voice lower, laced with the uncertainty that had carved itself a home in him. "If I try to stay out of trouble, trouble will come looking for me. Even this room isn't safe. We both found that out."

He paused for only a second. "And I can't not worry. Or forget about you. We're friends. If something were to happen to you, someone would have to come after you. You'd do the same for me- you already have, remember?"
cpt_minnow: [credit: alanahikarichan] (to the pit)

[personal profile] cpt_minnow 2012-02-07 07:23 pm (UTC)(link)
Depth Charge didn't know what was worse: the fact that he knew he was losing the argument, or what that would mean by the time they'd thrown down their final hands and totaled their scores.

It was pretty obvious where this was going, after all. The Scarecrow wanted more freedom. He wanted to do things. He wanted more than sitting in a room with two beds, two desks and a door could offer him. The Maximal understood that better than anyone could have done; he'd have gone stir-crazy if he'd subjected himself to the same conditions. Primus, that was what had driven him to Earth in the first place, an allergy to inaction.

But he had a good reason for wanting it for the Scarecrow. Didn't he? He couldn't afford to just let the guy wander loose or--

"What if something happened toyou, huh?! Something worse?" he blurted out. He was on his feet somehow, though he was only vaguely aware of the chair being flung wildly out from underneath him and clattering to the floor. "What then? I've already lost too much, Scarecrow. I can't do it again!"
scarefaux: ([serious])

[personal profile] scarefaux 2012-02-07 11:41 pm (UTC)(link)
In light of it all, the Scarecrow should have been frightened, yet he stood his ground: Depth Charge towered over him, his chair thrown to the floor, his tone taking a darker, more upsetting turn as his frustration possessed him. They spoke of disappearances, of loss, of the unfortunate possibilities ahead, and what little they could do to stop them when they came. Depth Charge had faced more than his fair share of such things, while the Scarecrow felt he'd barely scratched the surface of the secrets lying within the Institute, having been wrapped up in his other concerns for far too long.

There was the problem: they both felt powerless, unable to do a thing about all that happened around them. It didn't matter that one of them was a fighter, more adept to the dangers of the night, or that the other felt he hadn't a brain he could work with, or even anything useful he could do for his missing friends. They both struggled, and what did they accomplish?

He couldn't speak for Depth Charge, but the Scarecrow had his own small list. He was no closer to finding out how to escape or what could be done for Dorothy or anyone else beyond the walls of Landel's, but he'd figured out on his own to discern truth from lies. He had recovered the possessions of Hunk Howard, helped others by sharing what information he had. He had his body back— given to him, but it was back— and he'd helped protect the Major and Rosemarie. It was a choice that had seemingly come at a price, but it was something.

He was never going to be like his roommate, driven to fight and more capable of protecting himself than most, but he was willing to do what he could. The Scarecrow was a thinker at best, and someone who could be counted on other than that. He knew he couldn't let his friends down, even if that meant risking his safety. If nothing else, he was a pillar of support. That was going to have to be enough.

"You can't keep everyone safe any more than I can," he replied, his tone even, unwavering. A sigh worked through him, the action of breathing feeling suddenly foreign. "I just wanted to know where you were going, or if there was anything I could do rather than being left behind and expected to not worry. It's terribly frustrating."

His face fell, that ache in his chest returning. "I keep thinking about how some of my other friends are out there now, bewitched into not knowing who they are. Maybe- maybe I could've done something while they were here. Maybe it was something I didn't do that allowed them to be put in such a state."