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Futuristic Blurred Realities

Sub Genres
Action, Adventure, Horror

Desert Rose

Adored Muse
"What if I told you that I can make the pain go away? That emptiness you feel and all that hurt you have bottled up inside, I can make it all disappear. The responsibilities that plague you can simply melt away. Why would we be made to feel such terrible feelings if there wasn't a cure for it? We are all sick and this is the cure. Never feel worthless or the need to kill yourself again. You can be a productive member of society, and best of all you can not feel anything at all."

It was the mantra of every mental ward. Healthcare had a breakthrough: Emotions are an illness that needs a cure. At first it sound crazy, but when offered to people who were at their lowest, even the crazy sounds better than their current state of mind. To the ones that were already at rock bottom, the idea of not feeling was very appealing. That notion changed the view on drugs forever. Research had been done exploring the sedatives and downers that certain drugs could bring. All they needed to do was balance it out into something that could be a daily fix. This was the beginning of a new era for humanity.

Well for every high there is a low and while the government was seeking a way to keep people at a low, or rather subdued enough to limit any individuality there was the black market to give you that high. "Don't you want to feel again, but this time feel so good. What if I told you that I can make you feel like you're in paradise? That's right this drug will bring you to paradise in an euphoric sensation. Never be sad again." This was the new drug war.

A young mother overwhelmed by the trials in life and with a crying baby in her arms expecting to be loved and cherished, something the woman couldn't give. Abortion was out of the question not wanting to be shamed in her family. She had the child but was far from a mother to the little girl, Emma. The young mother had tried everything to stop feeling empty. Alcohol worked for a time but even then it got old quick the more she got used to it the harder it was to get drunk. This led into looking at a more effective way to get rid of the pain. An overdose lead the woman into the hospital and her 10 year old daughter in the hands of social services. This was where the drug was offered to her and she happily took it.

It would soon be odd to not take a drug whether it was an upper or a downer. Your pure emotions was considered a disease and needed to be controlled. This of course was used to control people and they didn't' even realize it.

Emma was told this time and time again, that pure emotion was a disease that needed to be cured. She was told that having the blood type O negative would help with their research. In truth they didn't get fast enough or good enough results on animal testing. So they started on human testing, of course without the public's knowledge. Eight years later and the little girl with once bright eyes had too many drugs pumped into her that she lost count. Sometimes there were severe side effects of the drug but these lab rats were at their disposal. They were called Lab Rats to make it easier, to make sure they weren't seen as humans while they sometimes put them through agonizing pain.

Sedatives and downers were often tested on the girl, she couldn't even remember the last time she even smiled or if she ever smiled. She never felt like smiling but she sometimes didn't feel sad either. Still she somehow felt that this was all wrong and that it was okay to feel. Eight years of being a Lab Rat her rescuer was none other than her attendant. Each rat had someone that was over them. They administered the drugs and were in charge of their meals. Needless to say as familiar as he was she was shocked that he was helping her. That was until she wound up in a district that most didn't even know about.

The drug business was starting to get the same idea only they were less humane. It made sense to test the drugs on others, but they were looking for specific types not wanting to waste product on inherently weak subjects. The price was high and her caretaker shared zero loyalty to the government. covering up her disappearance would be child's play given how much money he would have to bribe those he needed to. He could guarantee her resilience since well she survived eight years worth of tests.

He had the young adult female drugged with a sedative that made her fairly alert but unable to move. She was currently sitting limp in the backseat her eyes closed. She looked asleep and he certainly didn't mind. Albert was a thin man who was rather nervous for someone in his line of work considering the access he had to a number of drugs. He could feel whatever he wanted to feel, whenever he wanted. The old tesla car came to a stop at the address he had written down a few short hours ago. "just get your money and leave... easy." He said to himself taking a deep breath before exiting the vehicle opening up the backseat he scooped the 18 year old up with ease given her small curved frame. He stepped up to the door and rang the bell looking down as the girl began to stir.

Emma's eyes fluttered open as she groaned before noticing her eyes were looking at a run down neighborhood instead of sterile white and the smell of dirt permeated the air. She was outside something she hadn't been in the last eight years. She struggled or at least tried to as her muscles only tensed but made only subtle movements.

Albert tensed as he struggled to hold her while she was making it a little difficult to hold her moving form. "Hold still." he hissed at her while impatiently ringing the bell again. One thing Albert didn't account for was she could move her head and as he lifted her from her back when he reached to ring the bell it moved her head closer to his head. She took this opportunity to bite down on his ear making sure to draw blood. He yelped and instinctively dropped her letting gravity take its grasp on her as she hit the porch hard on her back making her cough from the wind knocking out of her. "damn bitch." Albert hissed holding his ear he moved his foot back and kicked hard into her side digging his pointy dress shoe into her side. It annoyed him knowing she didn't really feel the pain due to the sedative. Still annoyed Albert reached out and rang the bell a third time before impatiently looking at his watch. left foot rested on top of her chest applying slight pressure to make sure she stayed in place.

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@Sephus
 
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Sephus

The dichotomous paradox that is our existence.
The tinned pattering that preceded rainfall reverberated in the near distance and began to fill the air. Albert's textured shirt kept any rain out, but a lack of a hood meant he'd need to re-style his hair on the way back to the clinic. He clicked his tongue. He rang again, this time holding the buzzer for a good ten seconds. His contact said they'd meet him at the door. So where the fuck were they? Probably high on Euphies. He could do with some right now. Mix that with a healthy dose of Eros and perhaps some Andrimos and he could go all night. His lip quivered at the thought. The [government] Mandated Mood Moderators' (Em's) effective time was nearing its end. His neural and optical implant would soon ping him to pop a few pills into his mouth. There were ways to side skirt the constant monitoring when off work, but when at work, he was sober and dulled. As efficient as the Em's were, it was not living: it was simply existing. A prudent citizen would overlap the Em's effective dose times. However, Albert, like many others, craved the few minutes of respite in between the dosed mood moderators. There was something all too alluring hidden in the abyss that is a human's id; his desires, his instincts, his carnal nature.

The door opened. An irritated man twice Albert's size stepped out. One of his eyes swiveled about, before locking onto Albert's forehead and slowly scanned down Albert's affluent attire.

"Can you hurry it up? I'm getting rained on." Irritability. Also a symptom of being in between Em doses. "Fucking junkies have no concept of time.." He muttered. He just needed his money and he'd be that much closer to an unmoderated night of much needed de-stressing. He turned and the rain began stinging his bleeding ear.

"Is he clear?" A voice called from the hallway behind the guard.

"He's clear" The guard stepped aside. Behind him slinked out a tatted individual of Asian descent. He wore a rather filthy tank top and tapered track pants.

The Asian clicked his tongue as his lip curled up in disgust. "Really? Stepping on the merchandise? Labbies' values are already tenuous at best. The fuck are you stepping on it for?"

Albert's eyes widened in indignation, then his brows furrowed as he withheld a rebuttal. He exhaled and shakily kept his voice down. "This is the specimen that was requested. A rare blood type and resilience useful for testing. You're going to pay full value or I'm taking her back to the clinic with me. I didn't come all the way out to bumble-fuck no where to be haggled down simply because the labbie's been rained on." His words grew in volume and vehemence as he spoke.

The Asian and Albert's glare-off held for a moment, before the Asian's face softened into an obnoxious laugh. The tatted man tapped the guard's chest with the back of his hand as his laugh was almost a shout that echoed through the alleyway, before coming to an abrupt stop. The rain was pouring down now. "You're right..." He squinted at Albert's nametag, "Mister... Dummy"

"It's Du-may"

"Come in, come in. Let's get you out of the rain and get you some warm tea." The Asian began walking inside.

"No I don't want any te-"

Albert's eyes flickered from the guard to the smaller man. This alleyway was devoid of any government surveillance or witnesses. He turned his neural tracker off before leaving the office. All he had to do was reactivate it now. Then at least they'd hesitate before spilling his brain matter. The Asian slowly turned his beady gaze back at Albert. Albert raised his hand to meet his temple, but his wrist was caught by the larger man. He then opened his mouth to voice activate the tracker, but a second hand clasped hard around his jaw. His voice was muffled by the man's palm.

Albert cried in fear and pain as his feet left the floor. It was the fear. The panic. The sheer adrenaline running through his body that magnified the excruciating pain. That and his cheek bones were splintering. The sides of his face caved in on itself as the guards hand clamped closed.

"Ugh... gross" The Asian junkie stepped gingerly around the spatter bits of bone and blood to scoop the labbie. Lighter than she looked. Pretty too. Really pretty. He took a moment to admire her face. He passed the guard who was still holding Albert's limp body.

"Disposal?" asked the guard.

"Mr. Dummy's brain's still intact right? If he lives, seal the wounds and we've got another meatbag labbie. If not, extract anything of value and then dispose" Answered the Asian over his shoulder as he reached the end of the hall and descended down a set of dilapidated stairs. He stopped in front of an archaic, wooden door. After a quick retinal scan on a panel, the door slid open to reveal a tiled clean room staffed by researchers in face masks and scrubs.

"Hideki, you're supposed to buzz us at the top of the stairs." The one staff wearing different colored scrubs approached Hideki.

"Boss told me to personally make sure this labbie got here. Just doing my job."

"Defeats the purpose of a clean room every time you waltz in here." A gurney was retrieved and brought to Hideki to lay her down. They all paused to look at her. "Kind of a waste huh..."

"If not for the decade of dosing her with Em, I'm sure she could've put all my girls to shame."

"She's a little... young, no?"

"All kinds of clients with all kinds of tastes" Hideki grinned and licked his teeth.

The medical personnel furrowed his brows at Hideki, before turning his head, pulling his mask down and popping a pill into his mouth. He looked back at Hideki placidly. "Alright we got it from here".
 

Desert Rose

Adored Muse
Albert gave her a sedative to keep her lethargic and unable to move, what he didn't give her was another dose of Em. Her emotions were scattered as a sense of relief involuntarily fell over her from leaving the lab even with knowing that she was most likely entering into another state of hell. This one possibly worse considering it wasn't government run. She didn't realize she was having such a hard time breathing until Albert's foot released her and she managed to role on her side facing down hacking while she took in deep breaths. Her movements were still lethargic but more reliable as she pushed herself up on all fours before turning and sitting her butt down as she remained upright. She knew there was no point in trying to run while the drug was still in her system. Not to mention the previous day had her sicker than she ever remembered. She was in no condition to really fight and she wasn't sure she wanted to as she watched the big man collapse his hand around Albert's face.

She couldn't help but stare being a little spacy, let along the sound of the rain and just the outside was sensory overload for the poor lab rat who had been locked indoors for the past 8 years. Her hazel eyes settled on the horrific scene before her. She let out a squeak of surprise when she heard the bones snap and littered the ground and walls with blood and shattered pieces of bone. She shivered at the thought of the poor man being alive after that and how much pain he must have been in. She only wondered what sort of monsters she was with now.

The feeling of touch tore her from her thoughts as she felt herself be scooped up into the Asian's arms. It was bridal style and she found it easier and far more comfortable to put her arm slowly around his neck. It secured her a bit better, she didn't think she could catch herself in a fall and didn't feel like dropping to the floor again. Her face flushed red as he looked her over she looked down unable to meet his gaze. As if exhausted she laid her head on his shoulder closing her eyes for a few moments while he walked her inside and into the sterile confinements of what looked to be another lab.

Hearing a door open and another voice call out she raised her head looking at the man in scrubs, an all too familiar sight. She was curious if this was just another Em drug testing, it couldn't be that bad right? As she was laid down on the gurney hot tears poured out of the corners of her eyes. She learned many years ago that people like this didn't respond to begging and pleading as she rolled over on her side. It was the little things she could do to show a small effort of defiance while they looked her over. She was a human after all not a lab rat that was what she had to keep telling herself anyways but every day it grew harder and harder to even really feel human. In truth she didn't feel human at all, she often didn't feel anything. The fact that she was crying and struggling was due to the fact she didn't have a new dosage of any Em's a state of withdrawal she never really experienced.

"Please..." she cried out as she wiped the tears with her fingers and observed her wet salty hands "I need an Em" she whispered as she continued to cry. by now doctors would have been swarming her and giving her the dosage she needed to maintain her full cooperation. She was unsure why they just seemed to be standing there staring at her. Was this a form of punishment? She thought a moment racking her brain trying to remember. She was in isolation after a new strain they were testing made her so sick she thought her insides were going to crawl out of her. She was recovering from that but they still gave her the Em dosages to keep her from well from her own emotional state of mind.

The withdrawal of an Em was brutal. It was an emotion suppresser but it didn't mean that it went away. The way to stop an emotional outburst was to keep taking the Em and it kept you coming back for more because feelings were described as pain. Even the happy feelings would somehow always lead to pain. This was how it spread across the world and no one including a lab rat was excluded from the vicious cycle. From the time she was 10 years old she was on Em's and had never missed a dose save a few times. It had been a long time since then. She didn't know how to feel or even what to feel as a sense of sadness, desperation, and fear paralyzed her thoughts. All Emma could do in her small mobility was wipe the tears that silently poured from her eyes and clutch the soaked auburn hair that was cleaning to her wet dirty face.
 
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Sephus

The dichotomous paradox that is our existence.
All the scrubbed individuals heard her. A few popped a pill or two in response. The leader, scrubbed in a dark blue as opposed to the lighter blue lackeys, motioned one of the staff to her. He and another held her down, while a third brought a needle to her arm and injected a cocktail of sedatives. With a case like hers, they had to be extra cautious. Her resilience could also prove to be an obstacle for properly sedating her. And as Hideki mentioned, she was to be handled with care.

He and the other staff felt her arms relax. They released their grips on her tiny shoulders.

"Dr. Lloyd, a call from him."

Dr. Lloyd nodded and his neural lit up at his temple, beneath the skin.

"Dr. Lloyd. Hideki has advised me that the Labbie has arrived."

Dr. Lloyd's eye momentarily grew blurry as his optical implant began feeding to his boss. This practice was in clear breach of employment rights that was evidently not adhered to in this line of work. This line of work being an illegal lab that specialized in testing the most recently released and newer narcotics. Labs like these weren't made with a feeling of responsibility or humanity. No lab really was, government or not, they were all result driven. And in this lab, they were tasked to find the most dependency inducing strains of Euphorics. And their results thus far were exemplified by the historical highs of addiction cases, coupled with the historical lows of overdose fatalities. Probably not a coincidence. The arms race for control of the populace was on. And Dr. Lloyd was but a cog in the machine that many would refer to as the underbelly of the city.

"What's her name?" The boss' voice snapped Dr. Lloyd out of his stupor.

"Name, sir?"

There was a pause. "Nevermind. See to it that the merchandise doesn't get damaged."

A gentle ping marked the end of the call.

---

Dr. Lloyd and most of the other staff returned to their nearby quarters to rest. What was left was a skeleton crew of two personnel.

There were a number of patients, though most were comatose and simply used for their readings. The ones that were awake were all tied down, wrists and ankles bruised and rubbed raw from their daily struggling and outbursts. There was one patient, however, who wasn't bound and was sitting up in his bed. His small figure was hunched over a leather-bound book. He was a child no older than eight or nine. He had dark straight hair. His body was frail and his frame thin, but his eyes were teeming with wonder as they scanned and absorbed the literature before him. The clean room was dimmed, but that didn't seem to impede the his reading.
 

Desert Rose

Adored Muse
Emma's struggle probably wouldn't even be considered much of a struggle to the other's strength but to her she was fighting with all of her might as they held her down. The needle didn't really bother her in truth she didn't really feel it anymore. Willing her eyes to stay open was proving difficult as her limbs were the first thing to relax before her eyes closed themselves into a sea of black. She was out for hours quietly sleeping on the new hospital bed given to her blissfully unaware of the world around her.

Soft beeping sounds along with occasional page turning sounds penetrated through her ears and into her dreamless sleep. If she was dreaming she wasn't entirely sure what it was. Her eyes fluttered open as her muscles stretched. She found she could move a bit more than usual as she woke up rubbing her eyes. The room was entirely different and she took a moment to recall the previous day's events.

Her wrists and ankles were bound given enough slack that she could sit up and move into different positions on the bed, but not initially step away from her soft prison. She pushed herself up stretching as she did so giving another yawn. Her hazel eyes drank in the glass windows, the curtain, and to the other patients in the room with her. Some were tied down strictly to the bed their struggle evident, while one in the room didn't seemed to be phased at all, the culprit of the page turning noise.

Emma observed him for a long time and felt a little queasy as memories of when she was just that young came to the front of her subconscious. Only it wasn't so pleasant to be able to sit on a hospital bed reading a book. The memory sent shivers down her spine. She looked over herself saw that she had been changed and an IV in her arm the tape only slightly curling up she pressed it back down scratching at the irritated skin.

Her mouth opened as she looked towards the boy but no sound came out. She didn't know what to do or even how to feel in this situation. The workers she had been with the past eight years kept her on the same routine and it was easy. If you didn't fight them then you didn't get a beating for one and you could enjoy not feeling. They tried to make it not so barbaric sounding as it was. However it if it was safe and humane they wouldn't try to convince themselves that the people they were testing on were nothing more than lab rats.

Before the newcomer could think of anything to say her eyes flicked over to another patient in the room strictly tied down to the bed pushing against his restraints. "Let me the fuck out!" he screamed profanities clearly not happy with his current situation as he tried to struggle against his heavy restraints.
 
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Sephus

The dichotomous paradox that is our existence.
The bound and panicking labbie had gained enough clairvoyance. One of the more troubling test subjects, but necessary nonetheless. His widened, blue eyes darted about frantically, "Fffffffuck!!" He neck strained and his mouth frothed. The door chimed an eerily friendly tone. The doors slid open and the two personnel on the graveyard shift strode in casually.

"You know, Eena's turning two this weekend" He wore a mask but his eyes had smug grin written all over them.

"Always going on about her.." The man passed the boy's bed. The second one paused at his bedside and stroked his cheek with the back of her hand. "Well I've got Nines."

The boy gave her a close-mouthed smile before looking back down at his book. He was rather unperturbed by all of this. The two staff stood at either side of the screaming labbie. There were two loosened straps: one behind the subject's head and one clinking around at his solar plexus. The man tightened the chest strap, hard. The woman went for the head strap, adeptly dodging a bite, before firmly pushing his head back and fastening the strap.

"Why can't you just behave two-one" The man said softly, shaking his head. The woman went to a countertop at the corner of the room and retrieved an IV bag while the man filled a syringe, flicked the needle, and proceeded to sedate the pleading blonde man.

"No no no no no no... please... please just let me go... I have kids... sir please... I have two daugh-... daught..." His eyes lolled. He flinched before spasming slightly as the Euphie invaded his system. A neon blue outlined his blood vessels in his arm before fading as his body absorbed the chemicals. His arm was scarred with needle marks.

The woman tightened the wrist strap and the two hooked him up to the IV.

"But in all honesty... she grows up so fast." He paused, "Linda asked about you."

The woman shrugged in response. "Must be nice to take time off" She stepped closer to him and whispered, "Must be nice to have your kids too.."

The man chortled sheepishly. His colleague stood close, eyes locked, before nodding her head, "I'll meet you outside. I'll just put nines to sleep."

The man gave a hesitant nod and exited the room. She watched him leave and calmly walked to the boy's bed, where she sat beside him, pulling her mask down. "Nines." She gingerly stroked his head. "Nines, it's time to sleep." She touched his hand and slowly closed the book. The title read: The Denial of Death, a psychological analysis of the human psyche and the concept of death.

"Okay." His voice was even-toned and innocent. He shuffled up and let her pull the blanket over him as he laid his head on the pillow.

"You can read it tomorrow okay?" She looked over her shoulder, before leaning down to kiss his forehead. "Good night little prince," She whispered.

"Good night Lara."

Lara left. When the doors lock chimed, the boy waited a moment before sliding out from under his covers. He padded over to the new patient. He stood at the foot of her bed.

"Hello. My name is Nines. What's your name?"
 

Desert Rose

Adored Muse
Emma sat silently observing the screaming man. She stiffened seeing two workers come in and calmly put him to sleep. She noted the tightening of the straps that made her pull against her own restraints as she repositioned herself. Her movements were slow and cautious, not wanting to receive the same fate of the screaming man clearly in the same predicament.

Her eyes observed the female worker, Lara, as she ushered the child to sleep. She laid back down her eyes fixated on the door for a moment. Two things she learned just then, It was better to be cooperative and quiet, and they might actually be a bit more humane than the previous lab she was in.

She didn't even notice the boy had got up from his bed and walked over to her. His voice pulled her from her thoughts as she looked him over and asked her name. She sat back up in her bed "Emma" she answered quietly. She wasn't sure if she wanted to ask him any questions regarding this place. It didn't seem any worse than where she was so far.

"How come you're not tied up like the others?" she asked curiously as she pointed to her own restraints. If there was a secret to this place not being a living hell, it wouldn't hurt to know early on.
 

Sephus

The dichotomous paradox that is our existence.
"Emma..." His mouth twitched and twisted in thought. She seemed oddly calm. The staff had yet to dose her with anything.

"Tied up?" He toothily grinned. "Why would you tie up a boy you could throw? I couldn't harm you if I wanted to. Unless you're in restraints." He paused. "That was a joke."

The patient Two-One murmured in his sedated sleep, "Audrey... Minerva..."

"Just ignore him. They come and go." Nines locked eyes with Emma. "Though it'd be a little nicer if he didn't stay for too long. Lara would've let me read all night if he hadn't been a spoil-sport." His smile had disappeared. "I don't think his data is terribly useful anyways. Now I wonder why they brought you here."

His small fingers drummed the foot of her bed and cocked his head as he stared at Emma.
 

Desert Rose

Adored Muse
Emma looked at the boy and felt a little uneasy as his toothy grin and his dark little joke. To her it wasn't a joke though, to her he was right, as small as he was she was rendered helpless in restraints.

Her eyes flicked over to the sedated man "that's right, he mentioned he had daughters..." she whispered and shrugged "Parents are awful things anyways." she muttered under her breath never really had forgiven her own mother for selling her.

Emma shrugged "I'm from a lab that tests Em's" she said not thinking much of it. "I'm guessing this is a similar lab?" She asked glancing up and around the room once more. "definitely a testing lab." she said with a confident nod. She wasn't good at talking she honestly didn't even really care too. She never made friends with other test subjects it was too painful when they died.
 

Sephus

The dichotomous paradox that is our existence.
He listened to her answer. His fingers started drumming again on her bed, slowly and deliberately. Her lack of an answer seemed to be an answer in itself.

"Parents are awful aren't they. Look where they've left us." He watched her quietly. Nines asked as he casually made his way to a screen on a ceiling mount that displayed her vitals. He did a quick scan of her readings and pulled a e-clipboard located behind her bed, out of the patient's reach. Nine's swiped through it nonchalantly. His brows raised slightly before he swiped back to the front page and put the board back.

Through the glass panels, they could hear the hushed murmurs and giggles of the two personnel.

Without a word, Nines walked over to countertop's cupboards and proceeded to rummage through a box of IV's. He turned his back to Emma. The crinkling of a new needles packaging could be heard. A few moments later he walked to Two-One's bed and switched IV bags. Far too deftly to be his first time. He capped the previous IV and tucked it neatly back into the box and cupboard.

He made his way back to Emma's bedside. "You should get some sleep." He patted Emma's knee reassuringly, before returning to his own bed, and turning away from Emma.
 

Desert Rose

Adored Muse
Emma looked at the boy sizing him up estimating his age he certainly couldn't be older than 10 and yet he spoke rather articulate for a 10 year old boy or anything younger.

She said nothing to his comment and pulled her knees up to her chin wrapping her arms around her legs as she rested her chin on her knees and watched Nine move about the room freely. So he was just like her? Given away for a fix perhaps? Memories flooded back of the face she desperately tried to forget as the woman who was supposed to protect let men in suits drag her away.

In truth she spent most of her time sedated and full of Em's She didn't really know how to feel anytime any feelings rose up and she got out of control having outbursts, perhaps like Two-One's outburst. Like him she would be sedated and forced to sleep.

Emma watched Nine carefully as he searched through a box and then changed out an IV bag. It looked harmless enough but it still left her feeling a bit uneasy. When he settled back into bed she laid back down and watching him still before her eyes closed and she drifted back to sleep.
 

Sephus

The dichotomous paradox that is our existence.
Dr. Lloyd popped an extra dose of his mood moderators before leaving his quarters. He descended a flight of stairs, waving at Grunt who manned the door during his shift. Grunt gave him a nod back. Hideki didn't seem to be around today. He walked down another flight of steps and paused at the lab's entrance. He wiped his sweat-beaded forehead with his coat-sleeve before hanging it up some nearby coat-hooks.

He swiped the panel and the door hissed open. He pulled his mask and goggles on before stepping forward. A staff was waiting for him on the other side with a disinfectant. When the doctor gave him the thumbs up, the personnel proceeded to spray him down. He pulled a pair of shoe covers and approached Lara for a run-down of the night. She spoke but he barely listened. If there was a slight inflection of concern in her voice, he'd listen, but otherwise his thoughts were preoccupied. He looked past Lara, into the glassed-off patient room. The girl still seemed to be asleep despite the commotion of personnel taking readings, dosing, and updating the e-clipboards. The stress of being moved and seeing Grunt obliterate a man's face would probably do that to anyone. Unfortunately there would be little respite for her. He had recently received orders from above.

When Lara stopped talking, he placed his thumb on the e-clipboard, before it chimed and she thanked him. Lara and Dennis left, as Dr. Lloyd and the main staff settled into their work. He approached a well-built male who was unpacking a box of supplies.

"Darrin, new instructions. We'll be moving the new labbie to isolation."

"Yes doctor."

They both proceeded to enter the patients area. "Should I wake her?"

"No. No need to stress her further. Sedate her. Bring a gurney" Instructed Dr. Lloyd to a staff passing by.

She was moved to an isolation room located further into the lab. It was one of many isolation rooms all branching off a single hallway.

Each isolation room had a hospital bed located in the center, with a countertop, sink, cupboards, and a supply closet. She was strapped in, this time tighter, onto the bed. Darrin took the e-board and quickly typed in an entry. He checked the straps a few more times, while subtly glancing at the girl's face a few more times. He did a quick glance over his shoulder and then at the camera, which had not started recording yet. He gently moved a lock of hair from her face. His eyes lingered over her chest. She was thin and petite, but it seemed like being a labbie hadn't quite beaten the youth out of her yet.

Darrin cleared his throat and shifted uncomfortably. Pushing the gurney ahead of him, he exited the room. The sound-proof door closed behind him with a slam.
 

Desert Rose

Adored Muse
A few hours went by before she woke again from the sedated slumber she was forced into. Emma's eyes fluttered open as she tried to stretch and realized she was strapped down tighter than before. Being strapped to a table or hospital bed was something that didn't even phase her anymore. It would be weird not to be strapped down and probably unsettling.

Unable to move her arms or legs she moved her head to the side and frowned when she didn't see what she was expecting. 'they moved me.' she thought to herself finding that to be discomforting. She was hoping to wake up in a room with other people, the idea of being alone scared her.

She pushed against the restraints as she uncomfortably tried to stretch her muscles or rather lack there of. She wasn't all skin and bones but definitely more fragile than the average person. It wasn't long after that a soft throb began in her head the pain telling her that it was time to take her EM. If she was still at the other lab she would have interacted with a doctor and been given drugs the moment she woke up. She also wouldn't be alone.

As the night crew left and the day crew took their place a pretty pink haired young woman with oval glasses began to look over the charts monitoring. She walked into the room to check on all of the patients and frowned to see one of the beds empty. She looked over the chart and saw that it was a number she didn't recognize. "Oh... they are going to detox her." she said out loud as she set the chart down before moving on.

"Nine, it's time to wake up." Rachel said softly as she gently shook him awake.

Next she moved onto Two-One's bed and checked his vitals as she tried to wake him up. She grew slight concern when he wasn't responding. She looked up at the empty bag "hmm" she pondered before his vitals suddenly dropped "shit..." she murmured as two nurses came in to deal with it.

Rachel rubbed the temples of her head and sighed "It's too early for this shit." she sighed walking over to the computer in the room opening up a file and beginning to do some data entry of the new addition.
 

Sephus

The dichotomous paradox that is our existence.
Nines sat up. He feigned rubbing the sleepiness from his face. In truth he didn't sleep much, if at all. Recently he had been experimenting on two-one, so see if gross differences in dosing would alert any of the staff. It seemed like most of these staff were just here for the pay. He'd taken it upon himself to adjust his own cocktail of EMs. Less downers, and an increase in the mixtures that made his brain feel good... feel alive.

The nurses carted two-one out of the patients ward to the hallway where the isolation and ICU rooms were located. Best to keep the stress levels down in among the other patients. They needed to keep the environment as stress-free as possible to get as unbiased results as possible. Lara often explained things to him in layman's terms, as well as would let him fiddle around with her e-clipboard. He wasn't sure if Lara was aware of how much just retained just looking over her data once. Rachel, on the other hand, seemed a little more guarded or detached from her patients and more interested in the work itself. Nonetheless, women seemed to have heartstrings Nines could pull on that men didn't. In fact, the ways the males would talk and behave around Emma seemed to further coincide with his hypothesis.

Nines could do little else than sit and watch during the night shift. They ignored him as long as he remained quiet. He looked at the IV plugged into his finger. He glanced at the IV bag. He had been fiddling around with the addition and absence of chemicals that seemed to induce downer-effects. To avoid unwanted attention, Nines administered small, incremental changes. Initially, Nines kept a small journal that Lara had gotten him. However, Dennis (Lara's "lab" partner) found the journal and was only silenced by the promise of Lara's daily, sexual payments.

From that point on, Nines simply envisioned a journal in his head. He memorized each page and, often without difficulty, could recall each page. He closed his eyes as he flipped the pages of his mental journal. He needed to review while his head was still clear. At random points of the month, the patients were given small windows of respite. But Lara had warned him the trials were starting again soon. He instinctively touched his needle pocked arm. It was less the physical pain of the needle, but the dread of what sorts of effects the narcotics would have with his adolescent body, coupled in with the EMs often created less than ideal trips and sensations. Seeing dead parents he had never met, or watching himself die over and over were just a couple of the mind-numbing experiences he had had. Before Dennis demanded her attention, Lara sometimes spent a parts of her shift simply holding him, or stroking his head as he feigned sleep. Nines scoffed at the notion that her touch meant anything to him. He just didn't stop her because it'd raise a fuss. He just wanted her to trust him so when the time came, he'd be able to cash in on his emotional chips.

The entrance to the lab hissed open and heavy footsteps entered. The courier walked in and Nines heard a rather large box be placed at the patient's entrance. He balled his fists and kept his eyes closed, desperately trying to turn and focus on the pages in his mind.
 

Desert Rose

Adored Muse
"Nines... we're going to be testing a new drug today." Rachel began to explain while still looking at the computer screen. "While it's in testing we're calling it Void M" she said with a nod as she turned in her chair and stood up walking over to the box. She pulled out a vial of clear liquid and a syringe. She pulled the liquid substance into the syringe and then flicked the tip of the needle to make sure there wasn't any air in it.

"This drug is in development to dull the mind or rather make your mind void of any thoughts. It's a relaxant that leaves you feeling nothing." She stated simply as she walked over to the boy. "I need you to tell me if you start to feel drowsy... and I will need to you to read out loud while I monitor you. I'll let you choose the book." She said reaching for his arm to plunge the syringe into his arm so long as he didn't struggle.

The headache continued as Emma struggled against the restraints that kept her confined to the bed. Her face scrunched tight as she had her eyes closed trying to alleviate the pain anyway she can. "Please... Please give me an EM" she cried proving to show just how addictive the government regulation drugs actually were. It was next to impossible to quit stone turkey and on most citizen's were implanted with a neuro chip that kept them from doing so. The only reason test subjects weren't was due to the amount of various drugs they would test. Her blood pressure was spiking as the pain in her head kept getting worse.
 

Sephus

The dichotomous paradox that is our existence.
Nines could feel his breath quicken and his vision grow hazy. Was it because of the IV mixture he had concocted? Perhaps he had removed too much of the downer. He should've been patient and slowly eased off the dosing. But he was desperate to feel more. Feel more of what he felt when he'd read a passage in a book and things just clicked. Feel more of what he felt when he exerted control over the fate of other patients. Feel more of what he felt when he manipulated Lara's maternal instincts. He wanted to feel in control. And that control was being snatched away by a needle.

Nines knew better than to resist. He had seen what happens in the face of resistance. And he was only granted his freedoms due to his docile and agreeable guise. He glanced a smile before closing his eyes. Not seeing the needle enter his nubile skin seemed to help with the pain, in that he couldn't anticipate the pain. It would just come. "Okay Rachel."

-*-*-

His tailcoats billowed behind him as he walked towards the apartment's entrance. Everything was so cramped in this district. This was a rather bleak back street, away from the toxic glare of neon billboards and store signs. But what shied away from the lights, festered in darkness. Vagrants and the poor stared at him with disinterest. Many eyes were watery with the newest iteration of Euphies: a euphoric that could be ingested through the eyes. A small, potent drop of this euphy could have you splayed on your a sofa for hours, sometimes even days depending on the strain. Once the populace's dependence truly kicked in, then would prices rise. Since its inception, VR stocks took a modest hit. Why go through the trouble of immersing yourself, when immersion came in an eye-drop. Forget the world, forget pain.

A white suited Darius was tailed by his pale assistant Velda, dressed in black. Darius had slicked back silver hair and a trimmed beard. His 3 piece suit were an odd sight amongst the rabble and filth. Velda walked ahead of him and held her hand to the door's security panel. It unlocked and Velda stepped in, holding the door for her employer.

Boris, a bald enforcer, greeted him at the door. "Sir, we weren't expecting you" Boris' voice rang with a sheepish surprise.

"Nothing official Boris. Where is Hideki?"

"He's rounding up more men as instructed."

"Very good." Darius paused, and Boris stayed silent. "The girl? Where is she now?"

Boris pinged the doctors to prepare disinfectant and scrubs for the two guests.

Dr. Lloyd greeted the two, while the other staff, quick to take his cue, busied themselves, double check and triple checking their stations and patients.

"You look overworked Doctor."

"Not at all sir." Dr. Lloyd replied with his eyes gaze downcast. Velda finished slipping into and zipping up her scrubs.

Darius placed a hand on Dr. Lloyd's shoulder, "If you need a break, just let Velda or I know. We can arrange a vacation for you."

Dr. Lloyd's eyes darted up, wide and exasperated. "N-no sir, I don't need a vacation."

Darius kept his hand on the doctor's shoulder. The boss paused, then sighed. "This lab isn't performing Dr. Lloyd."

"Sir. Our shipments were delayed a week. The courier said there was nothing they could do. Their employers are on the Hawk's bankroll."

"Hm." Darius hand dropped. And there was a brief, quivering smile, before he backhanded the doctor, causing him to stumble back and fall against a counter. "And why am I only hearing about this now?" His voice was even. His cadence deliberate.

Dr. Lloyd knew better than to answer. He held his cheek in shame. "Does Hideki know?"

Dr. Lloyd held his head down, "Yes sir, he does."

Darius simply nodded. "Take me to the girl doctor. Enough time has been wasted."

The doctor led Darius and Velda to the patient's door. "Sir, perhaps now isn't the best time. As instructed, we're currently detoxing her. She's unstable. As she would be after spending most of her life in a fed lab."

Darius waved him silent and nodded to Velda. Velda palmed a panel and the doors locks unlatched, hissed, and the doctor pushed it open for Darius. The girls screaming and pleading became audible instantly.

Velda stepped in after him, as the doctor watched from the door.

"Leave, doctor. Make sure no one else enters." Velda glared at Dr. Lloyd as he cowed away. She glanced and blinked at each of the rooms cameras. One by one, their red dots turned off.

Darius sauntered to the patient's bedside. "Hello Emma. We've gone through a lot of trouble acquiring you."
 

Desert Rose

Adored Muse
Rachel smiled at Nines cooperation, he was her favorite patient because of how submissive he was. She couldn't recall ever having an issue with him. She hummed a soft tune while she worked on cleaning the skin with an alcohol wipe and then as gently as she could plunge the needle into the boy's arm. "Now then, Pick out a book, Lara said you had some choices in here already" she said after pushing all of the liquid into his bloodstream. She began to clean up handing him a cotton ball to place over the small puncture hole while she tossed the needle in its designated disposable lock box. Rachel walked back to the computer and began to enter in her data time stamps and other details. She was one of the more thorough doctors.

Her typing paused only a moment as she looked through the glass window of the room and saw Dr. Lloyd get knocked back. She was surprised to see Darius there and it certainly put her on edge. She blinked some and went back to focusing on her work, after all it was better to not get involved unless instructed to. "All right Nines, please begin reading out loud." She said not turning to look at him.

Emma's arms and ankles were growing sore at the constant pull against them as her muscles (what little muscles she had) flexed. Her head was pounding and the bright lights only made it worse as her vision constantly blurred. She felt sick as beads of sweat slid down her forehead and into her hair. Her cheeks were wet with tears as she laid there begging for some kind of relief.

She could hear the door open and where cries grew into a soft whimper. Her eyes squinted open upon hearing her name before her face scrunched into a look of bewilderment and pain. She was nothing special, so why on earth would anyone go through any trouble? What was she to them? Her heart rate spiked even higher as questions now plagued her aching head. She still didn't really know what this place was other than another lab, but they were refusing to give her any EM... had she done something wrong?

She opened her mouth but then closed it again as her body tensed pulling against the restraints. Tears fell down her cheeks again "please...." she begged "I'll do anything.... please..." she began to hyperventilate "make the pain stop..."
 

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