2019-06-27 - Section 10 Memories


Nick and Isis investigate a lab called 'Section 10'. Nick finds out a bit more about Isis' history.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Thu Jun 27 02:54:00 2019
Location: Paragon Investigations

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The car is going to be in the shop for a little bit. After it gets fixed and goes to the forensic lab Nick wants to take it to another lab to get a once over. A lab that most people don't know exists. But he does. And Isis does.

Investigations into 'Lobo' have revealed a few possible leads. One of them is this shuttered lab facility that used to belong to 'Integrated Methods, Incorporated' before it had been acquired by a company called 'Lobo Technology' and shut down a couple of months later. What had they been working on that Lobo would spend the money to acquire them only to close them? And why would Lobo - a tech company - be acquiring a biotech lab like IMI?

That's why Nick and Isis are here. The place is closed - and locked - and seemingly abandoned but that doesn't deter Nick. A quick punch on the lock sheared it off. No alarm on the place - no need - and Nick steps in to the dark, two level building.

It smells musty in here. He checks the building plans he printed out. "The main labs were on the second floor but there's a space in the back that was locked with high security doors just called 'Section 10'." Which is definitely a bit… ominous.

Isis should be tired, she probably is. Dream Travelling isn't easy and she'd 'Travelled' a bit last night. The cat nap at Mikhails feet had helped though. What she is hungry - which will have to be fixed … soon.

After they investigate this laboratory.

"Smells in here." The feline-like mutant says as she wrinkles her nose, moving nearly silently next to Nick as they look around. She doesn't like it in here, it reminds her - a bit - of the place that Nick and Piotr had saved her from. Not much, but enough that's she sort of 'twitching' emotionally.

"Section 10?" that gets a slightly more violent emotional broadcast. But she nods to Nick and lets him lead the way.

"Yeah. It does." Nick wrinkles his nose. It smells of formaldehyde and alcohol and preservatives and dust. There's a lot of dust. This place has clearly been very, very abandoned. Nick guides them down the hallway, glancing back at the emotional 'burst'.

"Familiar?" He doesn't think it will be but she hasn't told him everything.

The security door is still in place but not locked. Nick pushes it open and shines his light inside. There's a biobed in the center of the room with several deactivated robotic arms. THOSE might well look familiar.

There's several man sized tanks on the wall - integrated into it and drained of whatever fluid they had. And a computer, that looks disconnected. Most of the other equipment has been removed but on the other side of the security door, once they step in, there are gouges.

Gouges like… clawmarks.

"Ohhhh-kay…" Nick says, sniffing. There's blood, old blood, somewhere in the room. His hair stands on end.

"Something bad happened here…"

"Little bit…" Isis answers, her voice a bit growly. As it gets when she's agitated. "Nothing specific. You know where you found me. They all tend to have a feel to them."

The biobed though, the arms, the room itself gets a stronger response. "Now things are looking like I remember." She rubs her neck and then a wrist. She'd collared and tagged the last day she had fought for A.I.M. Right now, there's a phantom sensation where they once were.

Hanging back at the door, Isis' claws extend from her nails as her fingers curl around the frame. "I don't want to go in there…" She's usually so brave and so stoic.

Isis fingers curl into one of the sets of gouges. They're spaced about the right size to have been maade by her hand. Or at least someone with hands very much of a similar size. They've cut deep into the steel - deeper than anyone with normal strength could have managed - but of course not deep enough to escape.

Nick turns and shines the light down at Isis' feet so as not to blind her. He looks at the kind of… tremulous, haunted look in her eyes.

"You don't have to come in…" He says gently. "But I do need to search the room. Are you remembering something?"

Nick's light hits something at Isis' feet. A torn bit of paper that must have been dropped when people were moving things out of here. In the top corner of it there's a logo that says 'Advanced Idea Mechanics.'

Isis' claws are strong and can leave marks that a normal cats can't but even these gouges outstrip what she can do. She doesn't remove her hand from the frame - instead she just looks at the fit and shivers a little.

It's a good idea Nick doesn't shine the light in her eyes, she can see well in the dark. But it will let him see the strain on her face. "Yeah…." she says slowly. "… what they did to me …."

She hasn't spoken much about it and no ones really pushed. But it is one of the reasons they keep wanting her to get counselling.

Toeing the paper at her feet, she nods to it. "This this was theirs, wasn't it?"

Nick comes back toward Isis and pushes the door open a little further so it's not blocking the room quite so much. "Hey. Hey…"

He reaches up to put a hand on her shoulder. When she points out the paper he frowns and briefly kneels to get it. "AIM. I guess either this place was theirs or it had something to do with them. But Lobo Tech bought it and…"

He frowns slightly. Is there a link between the two?

"Isis. Talk to me…" Because talking keeps her from going into her own head. Which she does. Because cat.

Because Cat indeed. When Nick puts his hand on Isis' shoulder she presses against him, rubbing her ears against the fabric of his shirt, trembling slightly as she does. It doesn't last long as Nick has to kneel down, but it's enough to help settle her for the moment.

"You know I was experiment… " she starts out slowly. "…. I grew up in a place just like this. My abilities…. to dream and feel things. They made them happen and then made sure they kept evolving the way they wanted."

That's not entirely true but Nick might understand why she believes that.

"Are they connected? Lobotech and AIM? Or are they both doing things they shouldn't."

"I'm not sure yet. They've at least done business with the same third party." Nick glances down at the paper. The scraps of evidence they have so far are tantalizing but not enough to really build any solid theories on. "Their relationship could be hostile for all we know…"

Could be. But might be close and friendly.

"Tell me about the place. If… if you can. Tell me about what they did and why this is so like that."

Nick never pressed really and he didn't look into the materials the X-Men gathered either. He knows only what Isis has told him. And he's never known her to not tell him when he needed to know.

Now? Now it seems like he might need to know.

"What is that … " The paper she means. "Is it an order or something? A letter? Something else?" She knows enough about business to know there's a difference.

Her nose wrinkles at the smell in her. The dried blood might be faded but to her senses, it's still quite strong. To Nicks as well. The request triggers her feline nature again as she rubs her cheek against his arm. One of the few times she wants petting and reassuring.

"I I … grew up in a cell. There were others like me but they kept us apart pretty much." It's not a great time for her to remember, but she'd never really known anything else. "When I was … seven, eight maybe? It was the first time they bought me to a place like this. I was put on the table and they worked on me." She can still feel it. The cold of the bed underneath her, the bands around her wrists and ankles to hold her down, the clamp on her head to stop that moving as well. "That was the first time I experienced the blackouts… When I came too, my teeth were sharper and my claws had come in."

She shivers again. "As I grew, they did it more and more often. One day, I broke the restraints and attacked them in my rage. The marks here … I made ones like them. Not as deep but …"

"I'm not sure. It's torn. It looks like a memo though…" Nick turns it over in his hands and frowns a little bit before folding it and putting it in his pocket. He's still watching Isis carefully. She's fragile in more than one way. Her more civilized manners were won only with great effort and she easily slips back into little more than a powerful beast when she's stressed.

Nick looks around the room. There's certainly the equipment for what she's describing. Those tanks though. They look like they could hold a person.

"Did you ever see any others? Any like you? You were the only one there when we made a move…" But it seems silly to think that there were NOT more like her.

The number of times Nick had been asked to come to the Institute to help with Isis, he's probably lost count of. And that didn't include the number of times that Piotr had been there to do it. It was a hard won battle for her to regain any form of normalcy - AIM had kept her nearly feral for such a long time.

Slipping back into that mindset was easy.

"Like me? A Dream Walker or this …" Her hand comes up, the claws appearing one by one. "Most of us all had some physical, animal mutation. I didn't really meet them, it wasn't allowed. But because our hearing is good, we could whisper through the walls and not get caught."

"I was the only left, when you arrived. When they knew I'd been found in the dream by a powerful mutant, they started moving us out. They wanted to run one last experiment on me before we went though. Something about the new place not being ready yet." she shakes her head. "Those tanks … they used them on the older ones. They told me my time was coming now I was … maturing."

Nick squeezes Isis' shoulder in sympathy. He doesn't like asking her about this any more than she likes talking about it. The things that were done to her were unconscionable. But now that they're finding more of these labs…

"Those tanks look like they could be hooked up for full life support. We saw some of them in the AIM base we raided to find you. Empty, as you said."

But the site of even more radical modifications.

He sweeps his flashlight around and something catches his eye on the bio bed. There's something catching the light and sparkling there. Hrm…

"One more experiment?" Wait. Is that why she was still there? "Do you remember what it was? Had they done anything like that to the others you talked to?"

And why were they all animalistic mutants? That can't be a coincidence.

There had to be more of these labs, the X-Men knew that. A.I.M had been on the radar for years. Finding Isis had been a fluke, admittedly but still. More labs were a given, they just didn't know where.

"I don't … well, not really." Isis shivers as she thinks, gesturing to the bed and sparkly thing. Normally she'd pounce on that - cats like things that shimmer - but the room has her muted as she remembers.

All of sudden she seems to change the subject. "There was a boy in the cell next to mine. We would sit against the wall and whisper to each other. I don't know how long we were there for but it was before my breasts grew and long after… " So years, is what she's saying. From a young girl to a young woman. Same for him. "They called him Icarus. One day they took him away. He was gone for such a long time, or it seemed. When he came back, his voice had changed. It made my ears … hurt."

Well now Nick has found one and it seems like it was operational until just a couple of years ago. That's somewhat disturbing because, well, who knows how many mutants have suffered at their hands during that time. The question is still… what did Lobo Tech want with the place? Why buy it only to shut it down? And most pressingly, what did they do with all the research?

"Icarus. Was he winged?" That would make sense. Nick's read enough literature to get the references. The notion of someone's voice changing enough to hurt Isis ears has Nick frowning. It HAS to mean that he started speaking on higher frequencies but… how? And why?

"Do you think that's what they were going to do to you?" Nick is drifting toward the bed, gently tugging Isis with him. What is that blinking and sparkling at them? It's not very big whatever it is. No more than the size of a penny.

"Mmmhmm. His wings were beautiful to look on, when I grew tall enough, I could see them as he passed the window in my cell. He said they always hurt him though. I think he'd been there longer than me too." So he was older. By a year or two, at least.

Tugged along reluctantly, Isis moves with Nick to look at the sparkling thing. "What is it, Nick." that she doesn't want to touch is telling. Too many bad memories. But it looks like some sort of metal, unnaturally bright really and what is it that is making her ears hurt a bit. Just like the the other day with the car.

"Maybe that's what they going to do. Innana was the girl in the cell on the other side. She was a bit older than me, I think. She was gone one day for a long time. When she came back, her voice was hard to listen to as well. "

"Icarus. Isis. Inanna…" Nick murmurs as he realizes the pattern. "You were named in a series. All I names. Which means there's possibly…" Well a number of other Alphabetically named series of mutants as well. His nostrils pinch at the thought. His ears fold back. He does not like that idea.

Nick picks up a small metal flake. It looks like tin foil but it isn't. It smells like the same metal from the other day.

He blows on it. As it vibrates Isis can feel waves of air moving. As though the metal is somehow amplifying the vibrations of Nick's breath and projecting them out into the air. If he were to blow harder he might well knock something over.

"This metal was used in whatever they were doing…"

It's not hard to put two and two together from Isis story. It's enough for a working theory at least.

"I don't think a regular forensics lab is going to be much help with this stuff. We might have to… take a visit to the school."

He knows she's iffy on that sometimes.

"What happened to them? Icarus and Inanna. Were they taken away? Or…" Did they die?

"Maybe … There was Juno and Jupiter as well in the cells next to Icarus. I never thought on it but they were younger." Isis' cateyes flick as Nick blows on that metal. She knows the smell and she doesn't care for the vibration. "Don't do that …" she eyes the stuff distastefully.

"I don't want to go to the Institute." The feline-like mutant grumbles. That at least is enough to push some of her fear down. "What were …. I suppose we have to." She'd rather tear her claws out than do that, honestly.

She quiets though at Nicks next question. He'll get the feeling it's something she avoids thinking of. "Icarus got sick. I could … smell it. Not long after that. They took him away and I never heard again. Innana … they sent her away, somewhere."

Nick looks back at Isis. One of the things about her emotional projection is the fact that he can generally tell what she's feeling unless she puts a lot of effort into hiding it and right now she's probably too stressed and distracted to do so.

"I'm sorry." Nick doesn't mention that there's a decent chance that they'll find some of these friends again. Working for AIM or… someone AIM made them for, very likely. It's enough to make him question if this is a case they should pursue. After all they're not getting paid for it.

But then again. It might be really important and with Isis having been tracked down by another dreamwalker recently he can't ignore the notion that all of this is more than coincidence. Stuff is happening around them and he needs to get a handle on it.

"We should take that computer, just in case. Is there anything else in the room you see that might be important?"

"And yes… we have to go to the Institute. Where else do you know of do they have the tech and knowledge to analyze crap like this? I'm just a big strong fuzzy guy, after all. I can't do this on my own."

Isis isn't trying to hide her feelings. She can't. To her that's a failing and it will bite her later. It's whirlwind of hurt and terror and grief that assaults Nick. "I … that's what they were going to do to me. I was next."

And explains why they're hunting her now.

"We need help, Nick. We don't know this LoboTech but we know A.I.M and we know … how I was." How she is really. This really, really, scares the feline-like mutant.

She shakes herself, gathering up enough courage to prowl around the room. In a cupboard she finds some empty vials. They once held something though. "Just these …" she finally reports.

"You're not doing this alone, Nick. You have Isis." She's back to talking about herself in the third person.

Nick takes them and puts them in the messenger bag. The computer is kind of clunky but they really only need the CPU. They have keyboards and monitors back at the office. So they'll take that too. Strong as Nick is it won't be a problem.

"We're going to need help yes. That's… part of why I want to talk to the people at the Institute."

He pauses, frowning, remembering the homeless guy they found. Kyle. Is he related to all this? Canada is a long way away but Isis had seemed to think this 'Empire' and AIM were really, really similar.

They may have to track the man down again.

"I know I'm not alone…" Nick smiles and reaches up to squeeze Isis' arm reassuringly. "And I'm glad I'm not. Do you think you'll be okay if we look at the upstairs labs?"

Isis takes the messenger bag and puts the strap across her body. That leaves Nick free to carry the CPU. "I know, but I don't like it." She says stubbornly. Doesn't mean she won't but there you go.

As to the upstairs lab, she looks even less impressed "It can't be worse than here, can it? But I'll better if you buy lunch when we're done." Because Isis really, really likes to eat.

"It… probably can't." It always COULD be worse but any place mysteriously labeled 'Section 10' is probably where all the mad science is happening. The regular labs are likely going to be boring but Nick likes to be through. Any little clue can be important and for people like he and Isis, clues can be scents as well as other things.

"Didn't you just have brunch before we came." Nick ribs his second as they head upstairs. "How about Subway, then?"

Because Nick really does like sandwiches…

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