Description: Sergei has been captured by Shadaloo, where he resists all forms of interrogation with typical Russian stoicism. But Shadaloo has a secret weapon: A Showup Hoedown Friend.
Marz had successfully captured him.
The lab was cold and sterile; it wouldn't be out of the ordinary for Sergei Dragunov. Even being on the receiving end of such a room would have been a pillar of his Spetsnaz training. In the center, Sergei would be seated, bound by iron bands to a kind of dental chair. At his side, was a range of interrogation tools at the fingertips of Shadaloo. Some were strange, blinking mechanical devices; others were explicit surgical and dental tools, already blooded by the work. There was even a V-Gage, that was currently over Sergei's eyes. A number of powerful interrogation tools, and 'conversion' tools, attempting to flood Sergei's soul and break his mind, to recraft him into the newest soldier of the Shadaloo. The only problem?
Nothing was working.
All attempts at questioning was met with silence. All attempts at brainwashing, silence. Torture couldn't even get a reaction from him, not even a grunt. They actually had to pull away the chief 'craftsman' from losing his temper and trying to kill the patient. Right now, the room was empty; just a mirrored window staring into a room. There is a dull hum of fluorescent lights.
The door opens.
Lightning Spangles, or rather, Jezebel emerges into the room. She was dressed in her Showup Hoedown best; a pair of blue jeans, her red-white-and-blue rhinestone vest and jacket. Leather chaps and leather boots round out the bottom, and even indoors, she has a black cowboy hat on her head. She was smiling, her eye was burning. But the mechanical eye? Deadlocked on Sergei. Jezebel was pulling a small trunk after her, wheeling it in as she walks in. She brings it to a rest besides Sergei. Delicately, she pulls the C-Gage off his head, holding the VR device in her hands, as she takes a seat on The trunk. She crosses her leg, and stares at Sergei in silence, as the door shuts behind her. She stares at him. And finally, she decides the break the silence.
"Do you remember me?"
Sergei had been growing increasingly bored in his confinement. Unwilling to answer any question given, and not even giving a scream to satisfy his captors. The closest thing he had to entertainment was mentally critiquing the resident torture technicians. It was clear he was simply dealing with sadists rather than professionals. The monotony of his confinement was broken however, when the headset came off.
He looked straight at the woman who was locked in with him. He remembered her well. Jezebel Fairblesse was suspected Shadaloo agent but low priority. It was only when convenient that anything about her was done.
Sergei faintly smirked and blinked, mirrored to the mechanical eye.
Jezebel immediately brings a hand up to her mechanical eye.
She rocks back a forth a bit, still smiling. But the impact already cut in deep. Jezebel wasn't a professional, but she wasn't a sadist either. What she was doing.... what was she doing? If Jezebel was involved, there was something -desperate- going on. Of course, maybe they wanted an execution; considering her past with Sergei, maybe they wanted a happy accident to blame Jezebel on. They even let her use her 'toys.' Jezebel keeps covering her eye, as she tries to find the words.
"You do, huh?"
"Well Sergei, I wanted to make something clear. I want to tell you something. You took my eye, Sergei. You... you disfigured me." She removes her hand over her mechanical eye. "And they replaced it! But you disfigured me. And it didn't stop there." She traces on the scars on her face, deep lacerations from a whipping from Whip, her biggest fan, the craggy wounds only barely covered by the makeup. "You... ruined my beauty, Sergei. You made me ugly. You made me unwanted, you made me.... old." The smile hasn't faded. "But you know what, Sergei? Now that I finally have you, right here, helpless in my clutches?"
"I can forgive you, Sergei."
Jezebel stands up, and traces her fingertips so lightly on Sergei. Walking around the chair, she delicately kisses Sergei on the top of his head, standing behind him. "I forgive you, Sergei, because all these people here don't understand something. All of Shadaloo doesn't understand, Sergei. That you are -special-. You are a special man, who works very important Russian government. You want to know something important, Sergei?" She walks back around, and starts to open her trunk.
"Did I ever tell you about our American President, Donald Trump?"
Jezebel flips the lid back, as she continues to ramble. "See, when Donald Trump was elected, he talked about earning Russia's respect. He admired Putin's strong, nationalistic edge, but not his cruel bullying.. The leader of Russia shouldn't be a barbarian, but a beautiful and wonderful person. And Donald Trump has worked so hard, to reset the conflict between our two countries, while also working very hard to keep Russia from bullying other people! You would like Donald Trump a lot, Sergei, if you met him! He believes in me you know. That's why he appointed me an ambassador! We're going to have so much fun, Sergei; I want you to pretend I am a beautiful, female Donald Trump, and you can pretend you are Putin! And then we... can... be... pretend friends!" She draws out a jar of some mysterious substance, very tiny. She pulls out another one. Another one. Another one, putting each one on the stainless steel stand right by the dentist chair. And she opens one of the jars, holding it out so Sergei can see the smooth, red substance within.
"Do you want to know what this is, Sergei?"
Sergei said nothing. He knew very well Jezebel was insane. He said nothing to the mad pawn who was babbling on about some hallucination of a failed candidate and fictional appointment. She was just another maniac who had some disillusion that was an ill on the world, and that she could do something to fix it. Her talk of old politics, conspiracy, and confusion meant nothing to him.
He remained silent, not responding to her presentation of paint.
"It's finger paint!"
"See, people always think of adults as adults, when deep down, they are -all- little children. Where they want their mommy, and their daddy, and a big beautiful Lightning Spangles to hold them and nuture them." Jezebel begins to dip her finger in, and smear the paint on Sergei's face; she takes each of the small jars, crafting her work, and she continues to talk. "Shadaloo keeps treating you like a soldier, as an enemy. But nobody is just a thing, you know? It's all a mask, all a game of pretend. You were a little boy once, with a mommy, and a daddy, and you had hopes and dreams and little boy games, that you would play. And if you didn't have friends, you would make them. See, people keep treating you like a machine, a force of nature. I was even afraid of you. But you are a boy, a real boy, a real human being!"
"Did anybody ever tell you that you are quiet?"
Jezebel smears more on Sergei's cheeks, as she leans in, smiling over him. "I find quiet boys tend to be very shy. I once had a little boy just like you, Sergei, who was very quiet, and very shy. He wouldn't look you in the eyes, he didn't like to talk about little things. That boy had specials needs, Sergei. And the same thing could extend to men. You know you've done so much in my life, so much impact, and you've never even said anything to me. But it's because you are so shy, that people will peek in, and see the real Sergei. And that's very scary, I understand that. The same with the little boy."
"I have something else for you, Sergei!"
Jezebel wipes off the paint on Sergei's jacket, cleaning her hands. Leaning over to the trunk, she rummages a bit. With a grunt, she pulls out a small metal canister of -something-. Attached to it, was a thin tube, leading into a small, sealed breathing mask. What was it? POison gas? Knock out gas? Some other chemical? Jezebel carefully adjusts the mask over Sergei's nose and mouth. "Careful! We don't want to smear the paint. There we go! Okay, Sergei, are you ready?" Jezebel reaches down, and turns on the canister. A hissing sound comes, as something smears over Sergei's face. It seems hard to breath in, but it is almost too easy to breath out...
And then the bubbles come out.
Bubbling out of the mask, it begins to spray bubbles, jetting out in redoubled effort with every breath. Jezebel claps her hands. Jezebel giggles. "There! That's the little boy coming out now! See how bubbly you are? You know what that little boy liked more than anything else? It wasn't bubbles, but it was talking about things he was really interested in. He like ducks a lot, and would tell me all about ducks. For you Sergei? I have a feeling in my heart, about what you really like." She reaches down to her trunk a third time... and hits a button on something. Music rises up, in a sense that it is music. And Jezebel looks up, eye wide, smiling so much.
"I think you like Singing, Sergei."
A bassline begins to play, just the bass. Ba. Dum. Ba. Dum. Ba. Dum. Ba dum dum dum. And then it repeats. It keeps repeating, the bouncy bassline rumbling. "They are told me to wire the V-Gage to you, so it can have a soothing effect, but you know, I can't think of anything more soothing than a real showup hoedown!' She puts her hands on her hips, bouncing up and down. Every breath from Sergei unleashes another blast of bubbles, from all around, the dancing shapes. He could even see the reflection of his face, in the shapes of the bubbles. Every breath, more bubbles, almost in time with the bouncing bassline.
"Aren't you feeling it now, Sergei?"
Sergei did not react to Jezebel's insinuation that he was special needs. He remained calm and confident that this was less a torment and more a play session for Jezebel. His childhood was a hard one, his youth was spent in the fall of the Soviet Union and in the formation of the Russian Federation. He doubted Jezebel had any knowledge of this. He doubted if Jezebel knew even the faintest aspects of reality, replacing them with her own madness.
When she leaned in to paint his cheeks, Dragunov spat in her one good eye.
His attitude on the situation did shift once the mask arrived. It was a sign that it might be another session. He assumed they were going to try some battery acid mixture that some quack thought was truth serum to make him talk. Preparing for a red face and burning lungs, he took a deep breath in.
But instead of acid, it was bubbles. When he finally exhaled, is attempts to breath in her thinned. The bubbles soaked his face and dripped into his mouth. It was clear it wasn't dish soap in these bubbles. Each breath was harder and harder. Then the music started. The bounce of the base grated at Dragunov's trained ears, but it kept bouncing and bouncing. His struggled breath almost lined up with the music. The reflection in the bubbles was a face that had dealt with far worse, but one that also had worry.
Worry that he might start feeling bubbly.
Jezebel delicately wipes her eye, and puts the finger in her mouth.
"Mmm!' She says, as the bubbles grow thicker and thicker. Was it the chemicals? Was it the bubbles? If it was simply psychoactives, it would be simple. High overhead, there feels like a purple glow. Sergei would be feeling the subtle pressure of psionic attack.
But even that was nothing compared to the offense Jezebel was shoveling on him.
"See, Sergei, a little boy like you would have been... growing up in the fall of the Soviet Union, and the rise of the Russian Republic. It would have been very hard, with a social upheaval like that. But then you joined the military, and became strong, and stable. That's the most important thing, the stability. A little boy -needs- structure and stability, and that is what you have. But all that safety and security, it's stifling. You could just reach out, and glow... but how can you, when it would cost everything you have? How can you risk it, when you lose all your stability?" There is a knock on the door. Jezebel gasps. "Come on in!"
And the door opens.
Standing six feet tall was the Hoedown Dillo. With a red scarf around his neck, and a fiddle in his hand, the bassline is joined by a fiddling. The Dillo seemed to struggle walking around, as his shell shakes with every step. And yet, he filed right next to Jezebel,as Jezebel begins to line dance, right beside Sergei and her now partner, the Hoedown Dillo. "Why it's the Hoedown Dillo, Sergei! And he's here to help you discover your true self! See how easy it is to dance, Sergei? Remember when you were a little boy, and before everything went wrong, how you could dance? How you could not endure hardship, that you could just pretend how wonderful is, and then, it was true? You can finally be free, Sergei, you can finally be free, and they will never blame you! It's all because of us, not because of you! And you can finally be free! Your country loves you too much, to truly lose you!"
And they begin to sing
"./` She'll be coming round the mountain when she comes ./`
./` She'll be coming round the mountain when she comes ./`
./` She'll be coming round the mountain, she'll be coming round the mountain ./`
./` She'll be coming round the mountain when she comes! ./`"
Jezebel gestures at her prisoner, as the HOedown Dillo spins around slowly, dancing with the music.
"Come on Sergei, let me see that smile, and hear that handsome voice of yours!"
Sergei was getting on the defensive, another round of drugs might have been a possibility, but it could just as well be Jezebel's love for bubbles. The psionic influence was certainly palpable. He had a clear thought in his mind that anything he would now see might not be real.
He have no reaction to Jezebel's description of his past, concluding they were either logical guesses or crafted by his own mind. The massive Xenarthra yielded no response as well. The music and dance moved not a single muscle on his face, beyond the increased difficulty of his breathing.
Jezebel sighs, pouting her lips.
"Sergei, you are much more stubborn than the children I worked with. You got to let that Showup Hoedown spirit into your heart!" The magic of Spangles seemed to be well-resisted by the disciplined agent. He -was- on the defensive, as he should be. And no matter how bouncy, and bubbly Jezebel was, she turns her back on him, as the music continues to play, the fiddlin' continuing to fiddle.
"I know what's wrong, Sergei."
She goes over to the mirror, as the fiddling stops. The Hoedown Dillo now hovers over the Russian, it's yellow eyes burning at him. Jezebel grips the edges of it, and peels it away. A snowy wasteland stretches behind the mirror, as Jezebel crumples up the mirror, balling it up before she throws it away. She pushes down the walls, as the taiga stretches all around them. It is so cold, that Jezebel seems to shiver, as puffs of cold breath flickers from her mouth.
"There, that must be better!"
The Hoedown Dillo begins to undo the straps; Sergei could feel himself able to move. Was she letting her go? It was clearly an illusion, and yet, the chill runs through the air. Jezebel continues to pull away the last remains of the lab. "We got to go now! We need to find your friends, Sergei!" Sergei would feel himself free; the tube to the canister was broken, and yet, the bubbles were coming off. If Sergei tried to pull off the mask, he would find it almost fused in his flesh. And yet, he was otherwise.... free, as the last strap is undone. The Hoedown Dillo moves to his side, as Jezebel calls out.
"I can't wait to meet General Zima!"
Jezebel starts trudging to the edge, towards the snow. "Come on, Sergei!" She beckons for Sergei to come along. "Or maybe you can run away, run for the trees, and keep running, and use your special forces training, so we never ever find you! Or maybe you can kill me now!" She says, as she steps into the deep snow. She rubs her shoulders. "You're a professional soldier after all. Or capture me! Anything is possible, Sergei! Or if you aren't interested in any fun, you can just stay here, blowing bubbles, and listening to music! I can find him too!" Jezebel looks out into the deep dark Russian woods, as a blast of cold air carries ice crystal along. "But that's the beauty of it, Sergei!"
"You can just choose!"
Sergei felt the straps release but the mask remained. He reached up to his face and pulled at it over and over, but it would not come off. The walls around him came off, opening an all to familiar place. One tied to an all to familiar day. Finding an instance of perceived freedom, he tried to act. He knocked the Hoedown Dillo upside the head and took the fiddle by force. Using the dubiously real instrument, he swung it down on Jezebel's head. Just to make her shut up.
The Hoedown Dillo is easily overpowered.
When Sergei breaks out, his action is precise and powerful. Jezebel doesn't even have time to turn around, when the fiddle come -smashing- down on her head. Snapping in half, the woman collapses into a heap, gasping in pain. The hat tumbles off, as a stream of blood oozes down her head. And yet, after the hiss of pain, the Hoedown Dillo stands back, staring at them both.
ANd she laughs.
"Good job, Sergei!" She says, with the air one would give to a very small child making their finger painting. "You did it! You made your choice, and you chose right! But any chose is good, because you can make it!" Bubbles fly in the air, as the Hoedown Dillo stares at Sergei. The music continues to play, minus the fiddlin'. Jezebel stares up at Sergei, a smile on her lips. ANd then, she begins to clap. A slow, steady applause.
Behind him, the Hoedown Dillo joins in the applause.
A man approaching from behind a tree did not give applause. A Russian Colonel stepped out into the frozen wastes. His boots crunched on icy snow. His brown mustache had streaks of gray in it, the silver shining in the sunlight. His face was familiar, and voice was instantly reconcilable, if more youthful and filled with more anger
"You failed Dragunov, the one you had grabbed was a terrible choice of hostage. If you take a target that worthless like that, they will just shoot you. You know very well a sniper could take the shot, you've made such shots. If that hostage died, the enemy would not give a single damn."
Zima slapped him across the face with a crack.
"Did I give you permission to speak?"
Jezebel's smile fades, as the Colonel arrives.
As the man stands up to Sergei, she looks to the Hoedown Dillo, frowning in concern. As he tears into Sergei, the actress rises back up, blood still trickling down her head. And when the slap comes, she gasps. "No! Stop!" Jezebel yells. "Stop it!"
"Don't hurt my little boy!"
Jezebel strides across the ground, forcing herself between Sergei and the Colonel. "How -dare- you! Sergei is a hero, he didn't mean to do anything wrong. He does the best he can for you guys. You are a monster for bullying him! It's your fault he's so... he's so.... repressed!""
ANd Jezebel slaps the Colonel right across -his- face.
Colonel Zima takes the slap across the face. He spent a moment to process what just happened. He then grabbed her by the throat. Driving his fingers into her windpipe, he pulled out his pistol and lined it up with her kneecap. He fired. Before she even got a chance to scream he put a bullet in the Dillo's leg, ending his dance.
"One more word and I will put a bullet in your stomach and let you bleed out."
He let go of Jezebel's throat, giving her a chance to scream and gasp. He stroked his mustache for a moment, and looked at the two. He circled his crippled victims, then turned to Dragunov. He held the gun by the barrel and handed off to Sergei.
"Kill them both."
There is a scream of pain, as Jezebel is shot in the kneecaps.
The Hoedown Dillo is disturbingly quiet, as he mimes the sheer pain of the shot. Fluff puffs out, along with thick mayo and ketchup. Whole Baconators ooze out of the wounds, as the Dillo rolls on the floor. Jezebel herself sobs, as the man drops her. Despite the warning, the actress grabs her leg, and looks to Sergei, tears running down her cheek.
"No... don't listen to him Sergei!"
"You can be free now! You can shoot him, and you can be free! And you can never have to worry about being a puppet, a doll! That's all you are to the Russians! You aren't a man!" Jezebel gasps, and covers her mouth. She realizes her mistake. Fear, real fear is on her face, as the smile melts away, as she stares at the Russian agent. And she almost whispers out her terror.
"Please don't kill me, Sergei.
Jezebel is shaking her head now, as the bassline continues the play, as the Dillo continues to writhe in a pool of it's own baconators. "I want to be your friend. You can be free, and you can never have to worry about the General hitting you again! You can be your own man! Or if you don't like that, you can- You can just let me go, and pretend this never happened. Please, Sergei. Please don't kill me. Just- just think about it!" Jezebel points at Sergei, as the bubbles dance around.
"What would the Lightning Spangles thing to do?"
The false wind is howling in Sergei's ears, the voices of Zima and Jezebel. But Zima's voice rose again.
"Do NOT listen to the enemy, they are most likely lies meant to deceive you."
"As I said before, kill them."
The orders hounding him to act, Dragunov moved. His arm was shaking as he tried to guide his gun to to one he wanted to kill. He made the choice and fired.
* BANG! *
* BANG! *
Two shots rang out in the cold empty expanse of the taiga. A bullet was in Jezebel's skull and another in the Dillo's shoulder.
"Well done Dragunov, well done."
Jezebel takes the bullet in the head.
The cold windswept taiga blows through, as Jezebel lays alone in the snow. Blood oozes from her head, as she stares blankly ahead. The Dillo... writhes, silent in it's squirming, it's yellow eyes burning. There is a soft word, a death rattle from the base of Jezebel's throat.
The music stops. The bubbles end. And it almost feels like... almost feels like the mask could come off. The snow was melting, and Zima endures. He could feel the warmth, the shape of the room returning. He had clearly fought off his mind control, the assault on taste and good senses from Jezebel. But this was only the beginning.
It was time for Sergei's next orders.
All the weight in his breath coming to the epicenter Sergei dropped to his knees. The taiga disappeared and he fumbled with his mask. The visage finally let loose, and he gasped for a clear breath. He let out a deep cough, and bubbles came out from his mouth.
Zima remained, standing over him.
Within the room, Sergei was standing up, the mask finally off. The stitching on his head was complete; the surgeon dressed in the Dillo smock rubbing his shoulder in pain. Jezebel was collapsed in a heap on the ground, her 'materials' in the trunk all dumped out on the floor. She wasn't hurt, not that bad. But she was playing dead. Because she was shot. And that was the role she needed to play. She wasn't very useful for many things. But pretending to be dead, pretending to be a psychic assault?
She was at least competent at suggestion.
As Sergei stood by the surgeon, he is accompanied by another. The Shadaloo handler was a mustached man, dressed in an old Russian uniform of a Colonel, stands beside Sergei. He was no General Zima. But he was close enough for the chip to take effect, for the perception to distort and mislead. "It is acceptable, Sergei." He states gruffly. "But you hesitate too much. Lets talk about your next mission." He pulls out a dossier from under his arm. Opening it, he reveals... a familiar series of pictures, all his fellow Interpol agents, his fellow Special Forces. His allies, or rather, former allies. The Shadaloo had acquired another. "It seems that Major Charlie Nash has gone rogue, and taken a number of soldiers with him..."
"Dispose of them, before it is too late."
Log created on 13:33:20 07/25/2018 by Jezebel, and last modified on 00:50:03 07/31/2018.