29 May 2015 @ 09:49 am
[From here.]

The next room more befit the first floor than the third. Clinical lab environments had been replaced with something much more cozy. There was a plush couch, carpeted floors, and even a bookshelf. The room was designed for comfort, meant as some kind of escape for whoever might make use of it -- and Castiel had an idea who that was. It wasn't an office, but it was another step toward it, or so he guessed.

The setting didn't mean that they could relax, though. It was dark in here, and while Lloyd's wings and the glow from the pad across the room shed some light, it wasn't enough given the size of the area.

Still, there were signs that they weren't alone. The metal slide of two blades moving against each other, the rasping noises of monsters that were in eternal pain, and a more alarmed sound as one of the mutated nurses realized there was fresh meat close at hand.

More than that, Castiel could now sense them again, picking out the taint that gave away any supernatural creature.

"Stay back," he ordered the others once they'd all made it through, "and shield your eyes."

He didn't act instantly this time. The horde of nurses were across the room from them, which gave him a few seconds to delay, long enough to give the others in the group a chance to prepare themselves.
29 January 2015 @ 06:40 am
The security station that monitored the third floor didn't differ much from any of the others, but where normally at least one distorted nurse would have been waiting, there were instead bodies littered on the floor. Quite a few belonged to nurses, and it appeared that the monsters which had been unleashed in greater force on the institute had decided to attack indiscriminately.

The nurses hadn't been spared, and neither had the doctor who had worked so hard to get away from a group of displeased patients. His body laid crumpled on the floor, throat torn open by the mountain lion that stood over him. It didn't seem particularly proud of its kill -- no, it really only seemed hungry as it ripped the doctor's neck further open with large, greedy bites. As if some fresh meat might repair the damage to its own body, that telltale taint of rotted flesh and exposed bone.

Screens lined one wall, still displaying footage which cast enough light to show off the grisly scene. The security feeds revealed that there were monsters in most parts of the third floor now, occupying rooms where the patients had only just been.

As they arrived on the warp pad, the mountain lion's head jerked up and it bared its teeth in a snarl. The muscles in its legs coiled as it prepared to pounce.
[From here.]

At first Lloyd thought this room was as empty as the last, a few trolleys with jars and tools sitting on top, forgotten, the only signs of recent use. Two chambers much like the one that had nearly killed Kratos (and him, except that he'd been more lucky) stood on either side, ominously promising the same experience - or worse - if any of them dared to step through. The warp pad wasn't in either one, though. This time its soft purple glow lit up the room they were in from the far side, with no need to tempt fate in the pressure chambers again.

That same purple light revealed a flicker of movement as something large, maybe as tall as Lloyd was himself, darting back around the corner of one of the chambers. Lloyd's heart jumped in his chest, and he quickly motioned to the others.

They weren't alone in here.

"Who's there?!" he demanded, lifting both his swords.

Please, please just let it be another patient.
23 September 2014 @ 08:20 pm
[From here.]

The room Lloyd stepped into was a whole lot larger than the one they'd just left behind. It almost felt like a hall, especially with all the doors Lloyd could see - one, two, a third... maybe four? It was hard to see around the corner into what looked like a little side hall. It wasn't as long as the other halls in the Institute, though, and there were a few pieces of furniture - rolling carts with lab equipment, crookedly parked as though hastily left behind. Something about that bothered Lloyd, but he didn't think about it for long. There wasn't any sight of the next warp pad, and that's what they needed to keep their minds on.

"Everyone pick a door," he suggested softly, moving toward the nearest one. "Call out if you find anything. But don't split up." It would be bad if something attacked while one of them was too far from the others to be helped.
23 September 2014 @ 08:56 am
[From here.]

While the next room at first looked like nothing more than another shower, the heavy duty sinks and the sterility of it indicated that there was more to it than that.

Castiel pointed his flashlight into the empty spaces and under the counter. While he could still hear the distant banging from the previous room, they had at least put some distance between themselves and the onslaught. The sooner they got to another warp pad, the better.

He didn't see any reason to linger, and so he moved across the narrow room to the opposite door. When he found it locked, he let out a small groan of frustration and turned to Lloyd.

"You can handle this one if you'd prefer."
05 September 2014 @ 08:40 am
[From here.]

Castiel's head pounded and his stomach twisted as he stepped off of the pad, forcing himself forward so as to make way for the other three trailing him. The first thing he heard was a loud banging off to his left, coming from behind a door. The snarling and scraping sounds that intermingled with it signaled that the monsters had already found them. They might not have much time before they broke in, which meant their best option was the other door across the room.

However, they had yet another metal detector to deal with. "Hurry," he snapped at the others as he rushed forward to set his blade on the conveyor belt. None of them could afford to get shocked right now, not when they had monsters nipping at their heels.

Castiel undid his belt as quickly as his fingers allowed and set that down too, before he walked through the detector to the other side and went to collect his items. The rest of them should know how this worked by now, so he didn't expect them to take too long.
[From here.]

L managed to keep a grip on his gun as the vertiginous sensation receded. The pads were a useful technology, but couldn't they be refined? There had to be some better way to accomplish teleportation without making it feel like you were passing through zero gravity. In this case, he would have preferred a good map and the ability to find a room the usual way: the pads felt like hoops they had to jump through.

This time, he could see the room.

The walls were lined with racks of computer equipment, reaching almost to the ceiling. One small computer might be nearly silent, but a system of this size required a lot of cooling, which meant that there was a background drone in the air, soft but present.

It had a familiar feeling... not just from the last few rooms they'd been through the night before, the server room and the room with the security monitors, but also from similar spaces in his own old life before his abduction. He had created them, or caused them to be created; they were immensely useful. This room had a major difference, however.

A chair sat several yards away, with a figure seated in it... or maybe placed in it. The figure was hard to miss, even in the near-darkness of the glow from the pads, because its surfaces were mostly white. Visible black mechanical joints made it obvious that it wasn't human, and it appeared to be connected to the other equipment in the room via cords that plugged into its back.

It was in profile to them, for now. They'd have to pass it to reach the next pad, which was across the room and just in front of a door.

They'd have an advantage over something like this, because it couldn't move like a living creature and because it was tethered. Or they'd have a disadvantage, because its weaknesses would be different and because it might not even need to move much to kill them -- there was nothing about the android that suggested that it might have been built for pleasure, so he wouldn't be surprised if it had been weaponized.

Or, if they were lucky, it wouldn't attack them at all.

If they were very lucky, it might even be what they had been looking for... but the fact that it seemed to be dormant suggested otherwise.

He kept his hand on his gun as he stepped slowly down from the pad, trying to be as quiet and unobtrusive as possible. The thing might look like it was inactive, but there could easily be a standby mode. The only way to know would be to find out.
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09 March 2014 @ 11:55 am
[from here]

Whatever else he'd meant by the broadcast, the Head Doctor hadn't been kidding about the patient population. Lana hadn't seen another soul on the walk from her room to the center of the main hall. She could only hope Ryuuzaki was still here.

Well, hope, and risk a solo expedition if he didn't show up within what seemed a reasonable interval.

09 March 2014 @ 11:47 am
[from here]

Running a psychological profile on the Head Doctor wasn't going to find them a way out of this mess, though. Too many had tried; there were enough of them with relevant experience, and more than enough amateurs. Knowing his motive wasn't enough; it would help if they could win and bring him to justice -- there was something beyond sadism going on.

He would be doing this (whatever this really was) whether or not he enjoyed it; the relish Landel took in it was just a bonus for him. And perhaps why he'd been selected for the position. Or why Aguilar had tried to have him removed; it was still unclear.

[to here]
09 March 2014 @ 11:38 am
[from here]

It was still dead quiet as she rounded the corner between the women's hallway and the central artery of the Institute.

She'd seen these halls, almost as empty, on the monitors last night. Was there anyone watching the screens tonight? The Head Doctor, laughing? Though he'd surely have his own set of monitors, somewhere private. He seemed to like his luxuries a little too much to be wandering between multiple cold, sterile rooms. Especially since the teleporters were hard on the stomach, and his enthusiasm for food seemed to go beyond just the wholesome front he put on by day. Not that it wasn't an act, but when people acted like that, they usually picked something with a kernel of truth; it made it simpler to keep their story straight. So whether or not he liked waffles as much as he claimed, there was something about food that kept him coming back to the topic.

If she hadn't seen him being dragged from the Institute, she might wonder if he was ill in a way that made him unable to eat. But he'd looked healthy, at least in body.

[to here]
09 March 2014 @ 11:37 am
[from here]

The women's dormitory hallway was as quiet as the one leading to her room, and Lana hurried to the exit.

[to here]
09 March 2014 @ 11:31 am
Lana was ready to head out, standing next to her desk, when the intercom switched on and off and on again. She listened, quietly.

She gave herself one long moment to wonder how bad losing really would be. If Ema was out there, brainwashed, and she could join her? She'd seen Shirley Franklin's file -- her life wasn't that bad, and her relationship with Ema had been, if anything, a little better than it had been before they'd hashed things out at the Institute.

It would be living a lie, but she'd done that before. And this time she wouldn't know it.

Then she shook her head, not that anyone could see it in the dark. No. She'd come too far to go back now, and she would fight as hard as anyone else to stop that from happening.

[to here]
03 February 2014 @ 05:54 pm
As the day started, the weather only seemed to be improving, and some patients might even call it warm. Granted, the climate control in the building meant it wouldn't make a difference until someone chose to venture outside.

For now, though, it was time for breakfast, and the intercom came on to wake up all of the patients from their enforced slumber.

"Breakfast sandwiches... how could you not look forward to something like that, dear patients?" Even as Landel spoke, the nurses started peeking into rooms and rousing people from their beds.

"There's plenty to look forward to today, from the recreational field to the greenhouse. I hope that you all enjoy your days and your lunches."

As usual, lunch would be handed out in a paper bag, offering some fruit and vegetables to snack on, along with a sandwich as the main course and pudding for dessert.

"That's all for now!" Though the Head Doctor would be announcing the different shift changes throughout the day, as usual.


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[From here.]

They reached the next room, but before the brief nausea and disorientation passed, before L had the chance to register anything at all about his surroundings, the night ended.
Tags: ,
[From here.]

L stepped back from the door he'd just forced, then retrieved his pistol from its holster. Nothing had come charging out of the room, and it seemed quiet inside, but that didn't mean much.

He stood in the doorway, the flashlight poised above the pistol, ready to fire if he needed to.

His anxiety faded quickly, back to a low background buzz. Even from the door, he could tell that the room was as advertised: an ordinary server room. The racks lined the walls, not leaving much space for anything to hide.

Beyond that, they'd found another pad. They had no way of knowing whether or not it was the "next" one, or whether it would only take them in another loop, but they'd have to try it. If another was available, and one was the wrong choice to take, nothing would differentiate the two.

He glanced at Lana. "It seems to be clear."

He felt tempted to sabotage the servers, but what would they be sabotaging? Live cultures probably accounted for several of his worst experiences at Landel's; destroying work related to them might be a good idea. At the same time, if these servers controlled machinery involved in experiments and storage of pathogens, breaking them could cause some kind of biological disaster. Without knowing what kinds of live cultures were involved, doing anything that could result in their release would be stupid. And it would be time-consuming. If they were to have any chance of success, they needed to stay on track... then, any biological research here might become irrelevant.

As he moved towards the purple glow, he heard soft electronic noises--battery backups, he thought, since this area didn't seem to be receiving full power--and saw the occasional small blinking light.
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[From here.]

The archive had been large in comparison to most of the rooms they had passed through so far on the third floor, and this new room was only about a quarter of its size. Bland colors, nothing that could really be described as "decor" except in that the walls and floor had been finished.

It seemed to be empty, but there was bad news: only one pad, and a closed door. That meant that if this wasn't Security--it already seemed doubtful that it was--and the door didn't lead to where they needed to go, they'd have to hunt for the next pad.

It immediately brought what had happened the night before back to the front of his mind. There probably wasn't even anyone ahead of them at this point, and he and Lana should now be visiting areas that no patients had reached before... at least not as far as any of the remaining patients knew. But it was possible that he'd missed something, that someone had gotten further without him learning about it. Either way, going forward, they needed to be even more on guard than they already were.

Was it possible to increase that vigilance? Without sabotaging themselves with anxiety? They were already on high alert, already quite aware that if they escaped one trap, it might not be long before they found themselves in another.

Several panels were mounted to the wall. He approached one after he stepped off of the pad, peered at it for a moment, then turned to Lana. "It looks like a series of thermostats."

No point in staying, then.
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27 December 2013 @ 05:36 pm
[From here.]

After having it built up so much, the Records Archive turned out to be a rather unassuming room.

It looked much like a number of the other rooms scattered throughout the institute. There were computer consoles all along the walls, interspersed with bookshelves that held countless different volumes -- journals, notebooks, and files, all looking to have been organized and cataloged in a very methodical way. There was a table in the center of the room surrounded by chairs; atop it were a few open journals, along with one large binder. Was this what Landel was referring to whenever he mentioned paperwork?

Castiel used his flashlight to take in the whole room, noting that there was yet another teleportation pad in the corner, but it was abandoned save for them. Maybe Landel hadn't expected them to get this far...

Other than the computers, though, this was the sort of thing that Castiel was comfortable with. This was research.

He turned back toward the others. "It looks like we have plenty of work to do."
24 December 2013 @ 12:39 am
[from here]

By some miracle, the very door they had been seeking was immediately to their left. Kratos found himself double-checking the wording on the sign posted next to the door to confirm that yes, this really was the Records Archive. After so many nights spent wandering through rooms and physically straining himself in ways that were incredibly healthy, it was just a little anti-climatic to turn the corner and find exactly what they were looking for.

"Finally," he breathed. He tested the lock out of formality; as he'd expected, it held fast. Above the door handle, though, was a little black slot - a card reader exactly like the one that had graced the door to the third floor and many others in Welgaia. Castiel seemed to be in charge of the keycards, so Kratos stepped aside to allow the angel to unlock the door.
22 December 2013 @ 06:24 pm
[From here.]

As Lloyd peered down the hall, first one way, then the other, he quickly came to the same conclusion the others must have drawn. Turning right would lead them to a dead end. Left was the only option.

There were no doors in sight, just another stretch of hall, walls featureless and oppressive. The silence hung heavy and thick between them. It made Lloyd's skin itch, tempting him to say something, raise his voice and yell just for the sake of breaking the atmosphere that this whole building tried to create. He tamped the urge down. The halls looked empty, but that didn't mean they were safe.

On the right he could see a set of stairs that led down. No, definitely not that way. The second floor wasn't where they wanted to go. In a way, though, it helped him orient himself. Stairs. The only stairs he'd seen on the floors below were...

He kept his voice low. "Do you think that's the Sun Room up ahead?" Had they just come around in a circle?
20 December 2013 @ 11:35 am
[From here.]

"I know, I know," Lloyd grumbled. Sheesh, couldn't he just be glad that they might not have to face those traps ever again? Although, it was weird how the door had changed like that, but he wasn't going to bother questioning it. If it worked and brought them closer to their goal, that was good enough for him.

The hall beyond was a lot like the other halls in the institute, dark and foreboding, an air of disrepair making everything seem a little more grim. The only thing that looked shiny and new was the lock on the door to the right of where they stood. In sharp contrast, a door on the left had a lock that looked rusted and weak. Lloyd thought they could probably break through if they wanted. The hall continued on until the dark swallowed everything beyond the edge of their light.

Left through the door, or right...? Lloyd frowned. Which way did they want to go? The door was right there, but what if the door they were looking for was just down the hall? "I think we should look around before we go through any more doors," he said. "We can always come back if there's nothing."