//// Initializing Thought-Record #4223 [Codename: Battery] ////
Water. Am I drowning? Probably.
“I need your help”
A voice, a voice in the darkness. Someone needs my help. I could do with some help, myself.
Abruptly, there is water no more. I’m flushed out onto a concrete floor. I am somewhere. I am alive, which means I didn’t drown. It’s dark here, but some sort of green half-light keeps it from being pitch dark. I have no idea where I am, how I ended up here, or who I am. The latter is particularly disconcerting. I can’t see clearly, but at least I can try to assess my situation. I’m not hurt – I think; at least I feel no pain. I’m wet, though, and cold.
Another voice. A woman, but a different voice this time. More human. She’s calling out, wondering if there’s anyone here. I answer, tentatively. I’m surprised by the sound of my voice – it sounds so small. There’s a touch of an accent to it, I think, but I can’t place it – either way, it’s definitely a female voice. So I’m a woman, then. Good. That’s… probably, at least, something familiar.
I follow the sound of the voice, through the darkness. There are more people in here, but I can’t place them. They sound as confused as I am. I hate the half-light in here. It makes me uncomfortable.
Almost as if on cue, the room lights up. A strange blue glow explodes from somewhere to my right. We head towards it – it’s a visual cue, something to orient ourselves after. Four figures appear, blurry in the half-light, and a fifth – a body – on the floor. It moves. It doesn’t look right. Fuck. Fuck me, it’s a zombie!
For a moment I think I’m screwed; whatever it is, it doesn’t look human. But before I can react, it springs to its feet and runs off. Someone – the woman I heard – takes off after it. There’s so much going on. I’ll try to process it all: Besides me, there are four people. A skull-faced man. An Asian male, powerfully built. A woman in her sixties. Fifties, maybe? A tall, dark-haired woman, currently in hot pursuit of the skull-faced man. At first I think they’re naked, but no – they’re dressed in something extremely skin-tight, just like me. It reminds me of those union suits astronauts use. Are we in space? No, I dismiss that thought. Has the world ended? Possibly, if there are zombies. I ask them if they remember anything; they don’t.
It seems we’ve all been unconscious for some time, in water. I don’t know. Nobody knows. We should get out. It’s bad in here; this place makes my skin crawl. The skull-faced thing is screaming – on the off chance the dark-haired woman knows anything, we head in its direction – more carefully – following the wall. She rejoins us. The skull-faced thing has escaped. It could be anywhere. Shit.
The dark-haired woman doesn’t know more than the rest of us, but she seems a little more confident; a little less afraid. Maybe I’m reading too much into her behavior. The light gets a little better, at least. I discover, suddenly, that I’m African-American. Well, black. Maybe I shouldn’t jump to conclusions about my nationality.
We arrive at a caved-in section of the room. Some type of rock has collapsed into the room. It’s of a sedimentary type, maybe limestone. We are probably below sea level, then – at least that’s a reasonable guess. We should be going up; I inform the others of this and point out a vent in the ceiling, although I don’t feel terribly keen on climbing the rocks. The young man – and, strangely, the old woman – have no compunctions. They climb, reach the vent – and the man, with terrifying strength, rips it straight out of the wall. The woman does… something, and the wall glows blue. That’s unexpected. Looks like phosphorescent algae. The dark-haired woman says something about mutants. That rings a bell. Maybe. There’s an open ventilation shaft, but we should start by looking for a door. Besides, I’ve got a bad feeling about those vents. They make my skin crawl even more than this room.
We find a door, or rather a set of doors. They’re blocked – by something pretty heavy. The big guy – it suddenly strikes us none of us know our names. I don’t know mine. That’s disconcerting. I’m Jane Doe. Well. Tangent. The big guy tries to push the doors open.
I look around to see if I can find anything that might help, like a ram. I find a dead security guard. Probably… not directly applicable as a ram, but he has a flashlight. It works. That’s very good. Bright light is better. A lot better. I tell the others about the guard, while I try to inspect the area more closely – but I don’t discover anything new. I hear something, though. Footsteps, across glass. I’ve been hearing them for a while. The tall woman tried to speak with whoever it was, but there was no answer. Unnerving.
I ask the guy to back off. Get some momentum. Slam into the door. He does. The doors move, ever so slightly. The guy backs off, and – holy fuck, a sparkling vampire! He’s actually glittering, sparkling in the light of the flashlight. What the hell?
I don’t have time reflect on it more closely. Something moves, so fast I barely have time to be afraid. Something small and dark jumps out and lands on his back. He wrestles it down, effortlessly. It’s a girl; a furious, feral girl in rags. A zombie. A vampire. Something. The tall woman tries to speak to it, but there’s no sign of intelligence in there. What the hell has happened to us? Where are we? What are we?
I guess they searched the guard, because the tall woman gives me a gun. I hand it over to the old woman; I don’t feel comfortable carrying it. I don’t trust myself with a weapon. I wonder why.
They send me to get something to tie down the vampire; from the dead man, I guess. The others have already taken his belt and his gun – in disgust, I pull off his pants. What choice do I have? We need to pin that thing down, or else kill it, but I’m freaked out by the dead body nonetheless. I don’t want to touch it. I definitely don’t want its pants; they smell of urine. Nasty. I reflect briefly on how undignified death is. Let’s not die in here. As fast as I can, I hand over the clothes to the old woman; she ties the creature up, collars it with the belt.
Big guy takes another shot at the door, and another. His diamond-shoulder seems to protect him from any damage, so he impacts the door pretty hard. It’s eventually shunted open enough for me to go through it – on the other side is some kind of office. Seems we’re in some kind of research facility, judging from the stray paperwork lying around. Barricaded door, research lab, little girl with fangs. This is… very bad. It’s like I’m in a survival horror movie. “Black guy dies first”, I recall. Great. Well, this is real life, not a movie. If anything, the old woman should die first. Of old age, in twenty years. Think positive. We’ll make it out alive. We’ll make sense of things. Somehow it has to make sense. Well – if there are mutants involved, it seems there are two such people with us. A diamond man, and a woman who can conjure a blue glow. Peculiar.
Speaking of the old woman: She seems to focus on something, and conjures up a blue, glowing copy of the dark-haired one. We really need to come up with names. It seems her power is postcognition. Mass postcognition. Blue, glowing mass postcognition. That’s… unusual. It doesn’t really help us now, but it would be good to see what happened to this place. She doesn’t know how to go back further, though; all we’ve got is the past few seconds.
We make it out through the room, into some kind of corridor. A text on a screen tells us to head for the glass doors. What other choice have we got?
Of course, we don’t get there right away. There’s a door further down the corridor, a big, heavy door leading back into the room we came from. On an impulse, one of my companions opens it – apparently they found some keys on the guard. There’s a… very strange sight, on the other side. A three-dimensional shadow, presumably a result of some other mutant power. Very slowly, it turns around to look at us. We close the door. Creepy. Let’s not dwell on it. There’s blood in the corridor. Horror movie. I die first. Stop it. Not being productive. Think positive.
The blood trail shows someone has been dragged through the corridor, into a side door. Think rationally: The person might still be alive. There’s not a lot of blood. Someone alive might know something. Knowledge is, in this situation, imperative. So we follow the trail of blood. We stick to the script. Next thing we know, we’ll be jumped by zombies.
Well. I’m half-right, at least. There is a zombie in there – a girl, like the one who attacked us. Except for being slightly older, she’s almost identical – a clone? Fortunately for us, it’s been decapitated. Destroy the brain or the spine, someone knew their zombie trivia. It’s not the only corpse in there – there’s another one, a man with a torn throat and claws. And there’s a guy, a living one. He’s actually fully dressed, and for a moment I become aware of how ridiculous we all look; skintight pajamas aren’t exactly dignified. Well. Worry about that later.
He talks. The body is his brother – a volunteer mutant. This place is apparently some kind of high-security prison for mutants, and we are the inmates. Volunteer mutants serve as guards and guinea pigs for power-suppressing technology. The guy is human; he’s just had shitty luck, he was here when… well, something happened. He doesn’t know, but whatever it was, it’s what triggered our escape. As an added security measure, he says, our memories are kept separately from our bodies. How does that even work? How do you download memories?
I’m apparently a criminal. That surprises me. I don’t see what I would have done. I reckon I’m smart enough to know crime doesn’t pay; so what did I do, and why? And – well, more to the point right now – it’s a high-security prison for mutants, which I suppose means I am not just a criminal, but a mutant criminal. So I have… superpowers. Strange.
We bring the guy. It takes some convincing for him to leave his brother, but he eventually comes. The others finally agree to discard the zombie, though we don’t kill it. That would probably be the smart thing to do, but I have no stomach for killing and I won’t force anyone else to do it, so I drop the issue. We press on. I volunteer to sneak ahead and check out the glass doors, in case – and spot another shadow. I don’t think it’s seen me, but it’s spotted the others. Do something. I have a flashlight. Best use it. It might react to light.
Okay. So I’m definitely not just a normal human. Somehow I released a burst of light which… reflected off the diamond-guy and turned the corridor into a Swiss cheese. I… I’m starting to understand why they locked me up. Holy shit, I’m dangerous. At least the shadow is gone – dissipated, it seems, but it’s left the corridor really dark. The others push through it. We don’t talk much, but I can see they’re shocked. Good thing one power canceled out another; I could’ve seriously hurt someone.
The glass doors. We enter, and they close behind us. For a moment I think we’re going to be poisoned, gassed or something – then I think it’s an airlock, and for a moment I imagine the dark emptiness of space. But no. Someone just took us in here to talk.
She doesn’t introduce herself, but it’s the same voice as I heard in the tank. She’s security. She runs the place, or at least, she gives that impression. She tells us there’s been a break-in; someone trying to assist a prison break. It’s the shadow man – that’s what she calls him, although it sounds capitalized: The Shadow Man. There’s a lot she tells us. I’ll try to process it all:
Lots of mutants have broken free. The girls we saw, they’re called Sleeping Beauties. They eat human flesh. Nasty. They seem to be entirely inhuman, according to our mysterious benefactor. There is at least one other threat – the Hunter. Someone who targets mutants specifically, and who is damn good at it. We’re supposed to avoid her. There’s the Shadow Man, and his shadows – it seems they mostly act as sentries. I’m still unnerved by them; I suspect they’re more dangerous than she’s letting on. And then, she asks us for a favor – she needs control of the security center. If she gets it, she’ll let us leave. We have no reason to trust her, of course, but what else can we do? We have no idea how the place looks. Just finding the way out could be impossible.
Someone asks the inevitable question: Why us? She tells us we seemed willing to repent. She tells us we’re bad guys, but not the worst. She tells us a little about ourselves. She gives us names.
Apparently I’m “Battery”. I find myself thinking: The Battery? Or just Battery? No real name, just a code name. She doesn’t have our full files. Battery. Get used to it.
I have names, now, names for the others. Priceless. Seer. And Mirror: The dark-haired woman. Her powers allow her to take someone elses’ shape. On an impulse, it seems, she tries. Bursts straight out of her clothes, only she’s not she anymore – she turns into a copy of the big guy. Priceless, except without the diamond shoulder. Even the voice changes. It’s freaky, but I guess no worse than everything else we’ve seen. At least she can’t replicate his powers. I think.
She tells me of my powers, as well. I absorb light. And then I release it – violently, apparently. Strangely it doesn’t seem like I absorb it through my skin, because the clothes don’t impair it. They’re thin, but still – they block light. Maybe it’s not the visible spectrum I absorb? I would like to know, but I have no time to experiment.
We accept her deal. All we have to do is go find the security center, smoke out the Shadow Man, and then give her control of the cameras. It’s probably a bad idea, but it’s better than searching through a facility full of crazed mutants at random. She tells us the scientists’ quarters are on the way – we might find some clothes there. More importantly, we might find some tools. We get moving, leaving the human behind. The human. Didn’t even catch his name, so I guess that’s the best way to describe him.
He seemed afraid of us. I guess he has every reason to be.
Corridors. Long, sterile corridors. They remind me of hospitals. It feels comfortable somehow, but maybe that’s just because they’re well-lit. We come by a red-haired woman behind bullet-proof glass; Priceless tries to save her from a security guard who’s in there with her. Fortunately the glass is Priceless-proof too. I say fortunately, because the girl seems dangerous – she takes the guard down, without hesitating. I discover, inadvertently, that my power apparently allows me to glow. Well, she’s definitely noticed us now. It doesn’t seem like she’s coming after us though, and we can’t find any way to reach her – so we move on.
There’s another shadow guarding the scientists’ quarters. Its eyes look dull, not glowing like the others’. Maybe it’s inactive. I chance it, and sneak towards it; I’m the logical choice for an advance agent. I dissolved the last one effortlessly, so if this one tries anything funny, I can deal with it. It doesn’t do anything, so I signal for the others to follow.
First thing I find in the scientists’ quarters is a bunch of dead bodies. They’re in the kitchen, and they’re partially decomposed. Fuck. I close the door and let it be – suddenly convinced that going in there would be a terrible idea. Mirror has found some clothes and is getting dressed, so I follow his lead. Her lead. Zir lead.
Pulling on a dead persons’ clothes is a little strange. I’m not superstitious, but nonetheless I keep the second-skin pajamas on underneath; try to avoid direct contact with the fabric. Even wearing double layers doesn’t seem to hamper my ability to absorb light, but a shadow cast by a door does. I remember something about beta radiation being unable to penetrate metal; maybe it’s beta rays I absorb? I’m amazed at how clearly I can feel the light. It’s strange.
Suddenly, a scream. Something has gone terribly wrong. The Seer – I hear her shout, hear gunfire. It’s another Sleeping Beauty – like the little girl, but older. Stronger. Fiercer. She’s been hiding in here for God knows how long, disguised – albeit poorly – as a scientist. I have to do something.
I focus, try to summon up the light. It blasts forth from my hands, tears through the walls and straight into the creature. It screams. It’s an exhilarating feeling, so much power flowing through my body – but it fades quickly, and I feel cold. Exhausted. I shouldn’t do that again – but unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. It’s still alive. I run into the kitchen, try to ignore the bodies, tear out some knives. I find some oven cleaner. I toss everything to Mirror, because I can’t reach the monster myself. Ze grabs it. Finishes the job – the creature stumbles back against the wall. It looks like Priceless used himself as a human shield – good God, that man must be as invulnerable as he looks – and nobody’s been hurt, at least not badly. It’s somewhat to my own surprise that I find myself holding a knife stuck through the wall, into the creatures’ neck. Seer confirms that it’s dead.
We keep the knives and the oven cleaner. Priceless grabs some drinks from the fridge, but nobody touches anything else – probably for the best. I doubt anything in there is healthy to eat. We leave. Besides the clothes, all we found was knives and oven cleaner. Not worth risking our lives over, in retrospect. Oh well, hindsight is 20/20. I wonder if I’m near-sighted? Now isn’t the time to find out. We have to move – the Shadow Man knows we’re here. He’s moved the shadow outside. Seer tries to find out more, but she loses control of her power. All we get is some kind of psychic static.
More hospital corridors. These ones are less well-lit. Must be some kind of electric fault – not strange, the entire place seems to be falling apart. I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all.
//// End of Thought-Record #4223 [Codename: Battery] ////
[Session Break. Anton is frustrated with his character, since he doesn’t feel the sheet represents a shapeshifting con-man. He doesn’t understand how it’s supposed to make any sense, or why he’s so bad at Manipulation. Madde is trying to reconcile her backstory as a brute with her hypothesis of having been a bodybuilder slash model.]