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I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings [IC]

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Date: March 5th, 2008

It's cold and dry. An antiseptic smell almost completely covers the stench of villains and supervillains for whom personal hygiene is an infrequent thought. But worst of all is the dark. While Dryad's cell is lit, the light is tinted green. It doesn't feed her the way that sunlight does, and the scant time she's allowed to spend outside is not enough to fully sate her. She must eat food as she once did if she's to survive. Despite all this, plans boil in her head. She will be out. It's just a question of how.

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Not once did Dryad let the Guards have peace. She screamed, she yelled, she thrashed against the bars. She ever tried pushing the bars away from each other, but unfortunately for her she wasn't that strong. Her main plan was to see some kind of insect. If she can find one, she is as good as out.

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While the prison is kept in reasonable condition, there are always going to be various bugs around. The first time that Dryad saw a cockroach and tried to insert herself within its body, she felt strange. It was as though she couldn't concentrate, and her power simply failed. It wasn't working any better when she tried to repeat it.

She was at lunch, looking at some of the other super-powered inmates, when it became clear. There were a few women built like brickhouses (one of whom even looked a little like brick), but when two of them got into a fight, they weren't any stronger than ordinary people. The guards were able to pull them apart on their own, without any power armor. There must be some sort of suppression field within the prison.

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Dryad would have to do it the hard way then. She knew she was pathetic without Nature on her side, and enraged that her contact was severed with the Green Man. She whistled towards one of the Guards.

"Hey sweetie. You know I always liked you? You see, i'm gonna kill everybody in this prison. No wait, don't leave! Think about it, you'd be treated as a celebrity, a survivor over impossible odds. Maybe you can catch the attention of the Supers? I mean, it must be absolutely hell being here. Constant screaming, constant shouting. Although, if you wish, I know a way you can get ultimate power! Think about it, be above your enemies! Watch as they quake at your feet. Have as many woman in your bed as you want!" Dryad tried to seduce.

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The guard looks to Dryad warily as she begins talking to him. Her first words don't do much to help her cause.

"Sure you are. That's what they all say. If you're trying to get moved outta here and to a psych ward, you're outta luck. They've got one in here for all of you murderous psychopaths," he says. "Or is it sociopaths? I always forget what the difference is."

He does spend a bit of time looking Dryad over. Even in the prison outfit, her body is still stunning. He seems perfectly willing to eyeball her and let her threats and pleas keep coming. If she starts moving towards him, he tenses up in case she wants to start the killing of everyone with him after his rejection.

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Dryad reached out with her fist clenched, then opened it to reveal razor sharp claws.

"Please...help me! Look at me, i'm a vile creature. I never asked to be a freak! All I want is to be normal. This isn't helping. Please, i'm begging you. I'll...i'll be yours for the rest of your life. Any command and I will do it! Kill somebody, done. Make a business meeting, done. Lie in your bed with no clothes on with you there, done" Dryad begged, physically getting on her knees.

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The guard backs away from Dryad, drawing his tonfa as he does so. He looks more nervous now that she's on her knees than he did when she was alternately threatening him and trying to seduce him. He looks over to another guard in the cafeteria.

"Think we got a code yellow here, Manny. I could use some backup," he shouts. The other guard starts coming toward Dryad, drawing his tonfa as well.

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  • 2 weeks later...

... and a waste of time to boot!.

You done yet? Or are you still miffed at them for confiscating our tech?

They had no right to do that!

They have every right, we're still an unknown factor in this city (and apparently word of all we've done in Europe hasn't reached here). We are guests in this place, and we're here to offer help. If doing so requires us to be temporarily divested of our gravimetric belt and electromagnetic screwdriver, that's the price we pay.

Pay? Us? BAH! They should be groveling at our feet for deigning to sully ourselves here! The only help we can offer is to burn the place down with all inside, or help ourselves to any confiscated super-technology and criminals who might make useful allies.

You'd best hope they don't have psycho-sniffers here to pick up on your rantings. Besides, I'm sure you'd hate it more if one of these criminal overpowered us, stole our tech, and broke out.

Herr Doktor Viktor Archeville, feeling very naked without his wondrous belt or omnitool, was being escorted down to Dryad's cell. He had made good on his promise, in a way -- he had gone back and analyzed both the thorn-like spike she'd tried impaling him with and the sap-like ichor that flowed from her broken body when Star had blasted her, though he did not mention to the guards that he had gotten those samples by illegally removing them from the scene of the attack. And he had whipped up some counter-agents... but so far they were all of the "melt the plant into black gunk" and not "revert the plant to human" sort. But he did not get discouraged, and kept at it (amongst all his other projects), hoping to find some way to help her. There was something about her that touched him, something that reminded him of his youth.

"Think we got a code yellow here, Manny. I could use some backup," he heard fro down the hall.

"Zhis cannot be good."

Despite being told to wait where he was, Archeville followed the guard to Dryad's cell, and saw that they had their batons out. "Vhat is happening? Vhat is going on? Dryad, calm yourself, getting vorked up vill only make zhings vorse!"

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Dryad screamed again, but when Archville turned around, she stopped. She turned around and retreated into her cell. Those outside could hear her crying.

"What do you want? You broke my heart, saying you could help me. That was a lie! You could never heal me!" Dryad wept.

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Hush, you, she's in pain.

Yeah, yeah. 'Oh, boo-hoo, I am a thing I never asked to be. A monster. Wah.'

Quiet. We're here to help, and that's what we're going to do.

Archeville pushed his way to Dryad's cell, telling the guards to stand down (though not really stopping to see if they obeyed), and stood right up next to the bars. "I did not lie, Dryad, I told you I vould help you, and I am. I also told you it vould take time, zhat you must be patient. I can heal you, I'm sure of it, but it vill take time. Zhe bes zhing you can do is remain calm, und try to remember anything that vas done to you, all zhe sights und sounds und smells of zhe place vhere it happened, und let me keep taking samples from you. The more you can tell me, the better chance I'll have of concocting un antidote."

OOC: I think I have an idea for how she can break out. I'll post it in the OOC thread.

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"All I remember?" Dryad asked astounded. She started thinking, maybe this man knew how to cure her?

"We...Well, I was walking along a forest. I think, if I can just recall what smell it was. I smelt something, that was for certain. Next thing I know, i am hanging upside down and this, thing started ranting about power and glory. It... it looked like a tree demon. He also had a male, and threatened to kill him, i think. Um, uh, oh yes, he then said if I joined him, he will release the victim. Being a nice person, I agreed. I fell unconscious and woke up as this, thing!" Dryad screamed, scratching her chest as an indication of thing.

"How...how much of me do you want? I am willing to give anything! An arm, a leg anything. Oh yes, can somebody fetch me a priest or priestess? I was never religious but, by dear god if you save me, i will definitely worship God alongside you" Dryad asked.

(Que one of Valencias hand maidens :P)

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"Hrm, so you remember nutzing of vhat happened vhile you vere being changed? Zhat is... unfortunate...."

Pft, useless!

Hey, we knew she might not remember anything, it would've been more miraculous if she had.

Yeah, whatever. Still a waste of time, I say.

You would. Good thing you're- uh-oh!

Archeville saw his words had a negative effect, based on the way Dryad's face started twisting up and her fists began tightening. "Zhat doesn't mean it's hopeless! Far from it! I can help, I know it, you just must be patient, und remain calm!"

"Und I von't be needing a whole arm or leg, or anyzhing like zhat. Just a bit of your blood und leaves, und some of zhe bark from your skin. All zhe equipment for taking zhe samples is prepped und ready in zhe infirmary, if you're ready to come along. Peacefully, quietly."

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Dryad cringed as she reached down to the leaves protecting her modest femanine parts. She plucked it off, leaving enough to keep her decency. In addition, she genetly cut herself, and plucked a test tube from Archville. She let her green, poisonous blood run down the side into the tube. To complete Archvilles request, Dryad ripped a chunk off bark off her arm.

"Please, can you get me out? I can probably help you if I was capable to?" Dryad begged.

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Bored, bored, bored. This place is so boring!

Yeah, that's sorta the point.

Bah, all these monochromatic settings, no wonder there are riots. There's nothing provided to stimulate the inmates, so they turn to and on each other.

Yeah, and unless you want us to wind up in here, you'd best behave.

Archeville saw Dryad's hands go down her jumpsuit, and saw her wince. He soon realized what she was doing, and placed a hand on her arm. "Er, please, stop zhat. Zhe leaves from zhe top of your head are just fine."

When she tried to cut herself and pick up a test tube, the guards rushed in to stop her, yanking the blade and tube from her hands. The doktor pushed them aside, with some effort. "Please, Dryad, you don't need to do zhat, just let me do all zhe work. You know how jump zhe guards are, und we don't vant to do anyzhing to upset them, ja?" He winked at her with the last few words, and she barely realized the needle had gone into her arm. Soon he had three vials full of her sap-like blood.

"Now, as for zhe bark, I-." Archeville paused in mid-sentence as Dryad used her own claws to gouge out a bit of her arm for him. "Er... right, zhat vill do."

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Dryad placed a gnarled oaken hand over her mouth to cover up her laughter. She hadn't had to use her brain other than ambushes, and neither did she really care much about the leaves on her heads existence. It was not like she had looked at the mirror for the past year she was Dryad.

"Please, let me out! You might be the most advanced person here, but only I know about my various systems inside me!" Dryad pleaded.

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Well, at least someone here recognizes our greatness.

Yes, that's exactly what we need, a clingy schizophrenic sidekick.

Sidekick? Hrrmmm....

What? He, wait, no!

Archeville cocked an eyebrow, "Systems? Inside you? Vhat do you mean, exactly? Tell me all about zhem -- zhis information could be vital for finding a vay to reverse vhat vas done to you!"

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The guards are still watching the conversation between Dr. Archeville and Dryad closely. While Dr. Archeville seems to be a very smart individual, neither of them seem to think him very wise for entering the cell with her. The claw-like hands that tore out part of her own skin could just as easily tear into the scientist's much more vulnerable flesh.

"Anybody who'd do that to themselves..." one of the guards mutters. His fellow guard looks over to him and nods. Her hand goes down to rest on her nightstick. She hasn't yet drawn it, but there would be no delay if she needed to employ it.

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"When I said systems, i meant my internal condition. I have no technology I am aware of inside me. I tell you now, if I leave this place alive and not green, I swear I will spend the rest of my life in repentance. Or was it contrition? Never payed much condition in RS classes" Dryad chuckled.

Many hundreds of miles away, Sister Valencia snapped her head up. She had heard the words of the plant demon, the Emperor himself conveyed these thoughts into her mind, she was sure of it. She summoned one of her handmaidens to her side.

"If that tree demon does recover, bring her here" she whispered. Her handmaiden nodded, and left the chapel.

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What, she thinks we thought she was talking about tech? What a nut!

I don't believe she has those, either.

Hunh? Has what?


Hey, crude jokes are my department!

They are, but so is gross self-preservation. Be sure to keep that in mind -- if she can do that to her own arm even under these power nullifiers, think what she can do to our force field-less body.

If Archeville heard the guards, he made no indication of it. The doctor just smiled at Dryad, "I zhink both vords vould be appropriate. Und, yes, I suspected you meant your biological systems, liepshin. Und I vould still appreciate vhatever you can tell me about zhem. How you feel since zhe... change, any changes to your vision or other senses, vhat it feels like vhen you use your powers. All zhese things can help me in mapping out vhat specific changes vere done to you, to your nervous system und endocrine system and so on, und thus how to reverse zhem." He then leaned a bit closer to her, carefully storing the samples he'd taken in a black medical bag, and whispered to Dryad, "Und if ve play our cards right, und are very, very lucky, I may be able to get zhem to remand you to mein custody to fill out zhe remainder of your term. Nine months under house arrest vould be better zhan nine more months here, ja?"

The doctor straightened up and turned slightly so that he could semi-face the guards, but also kept one eye on Dryad. He spoke in as authoritative voice as he could to the men, "I need to go to zhe Infirmary, und perform some immediate tests on zhese samples. Mein equipment should already be zhere. I vould like Dryad to accompany me -- I believe it would help her to see zhat progress is being made on her condition, und zhus put her in a more complacent mood."

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"My...my powers? Sure, uh, um..." Dryad thought hard.

"Well, I don't actually notice anything when I perform my powers. As for my abilities, I scream a lot louder, something I doubt my guard would like me to perform. It looks gross when vines and thorns burst out of my body, but I feel nothing" Dryad admitted.

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Well, that was useless.

Sez you. A lack of new sensation is just as important to know.

True... or it could be indicative of the fact that she's a dimwitted cow.

Be nice! She's been through a lot, it's not like she asked for this to happen to her!

I didn't ask to be here helping here, either.

Yeah, but we are, because it's the right thing to do.

"Feel nutzing, hrm? Fascinating..." Archeville mutters to himself in German for a bit, then re-focuses his attention on Dryad. "Are you sure you feel no different? Any change, no matter how slight, is important to know."

The doktor cast a sideways glance at the two guards, wondering when they were going to let them to the infirmary.

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Dryad signed as she rustles the leaves she has in place of her hair.

"Nothing, unless you count victory" she sighed. Then, she remembered something.

"Mr, uh, archville. I probably should have told you, I have training in Biology, not much but some. I might be able to help" Dryad admitted.

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The male guard shakes his head in response to Dr. Archeville's request, "No sir. If you want to take her out of her cell, then you've got to speak with the warden. We don't make those decisions here. I don't know you from Adam."

The female guard lowers her hand from the nightstick's top and grabs her walkie-talkie, speaking into it. "The doctor is ready to go to the infirmary. We're escorting him," she says. If Dr. Archeville wants to interrupt - for example, if he wants to go see the warden instead of going straight to the infirmary - then she'll cut off so that he can speak with her. Otherwise, she'll receive confirmation of their plans and wait for Dr. Archeville to exit Dryad's cell.

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"Ah, ja, I understand," he replied to the female guard, rising and walking slowly towards her. He looked back to Dryad, gave her a wink, then back to the female guard. "If I may, I vould like to speak to zhe varden before ve go," he said with a nod to the walkie talkie.

Oh, I hope we can get her to come with us, she looks so sad and lonely in there.

Yeah, real shame, let me find my violin and I'll play a tune.

I mean it! If she could see that we're working on a remedy, it might make her calmer, and that'll make everyone happy.

Or get her shivved.

(OOC: If they let him talk to the warden via the walkie-talkie, he says the following. If not, he'll say pretty much the same to her once they reach the warden's office [or wherever s/he is].)

"Varden, zhis is Doktor Archeville. Dryad seems much calmer now, und I believe it vould be most beneficial to both of us if she accompanies me to zhe infimrary vhile I conduct mein experiments. Seeing zhat I am working on a cure for her condition vill, I suspect, put her into a better mood, and make her less agitated. From vhat I heard in mein briefing, she's been giving everyone here qvite a bit of trouble. I take full responsibility for her actions; I know you do not know me, but officer Miller, zhe officer who arranged for mein visits, can vouch for me."

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The warden, Joshua Drummer, is a man who seems to define aging gracefully. Though he's probably in his 50s, he could easily pass for a man half his age if his steel gray hair is ignored. His biceps look as thick as Dr. Archeville's legs, and more importantly, he looks like an intelligent, likeable man, not like what one pictures when they think of a prison warden. When Dr. Archeville walks into his office, Drummer stands to shake his hand.

Once Dr. Archeville explains what he wants to do, Drummer nods slightly.

"I understand what you're trying to do, Dr. Archeville. We get a lot of people who were... unhinged when they got their powers. I don't want to see them in here any more than you do. If you can find a way to remove her powers, she could be sent to South River to serve the remainder of her term," he says. "I'll let her accompany you, though I insist that you have some guards standing by in the infirmary as well. They're there for your protection as well as hers."

He frowns slightly, seeming to remember something. "In the past, we've had female inmates accuse the guards of harassing them. We need to have at least one female guard on hand at all times, and she should probably be standing by in MAX armor. I have to check the shifts, but I don't think we will have any available until tomorrow morning." He breathes out deeply. "Let me check that to be sure."

He sits back down behind his desk and begins typing away at the computer. His frown deepens, but then he seems to see something. "One moment, Dr. Archeville." He picks up the phone and dials a number.

"Maria. This is Joshua Drummer. ... No, there's no trouble here. I have a gentleman, Dr. Archeville, who is looking to treat one of the female prisoners in the infirmary. I know you're not supposed to be in for another four hours, but he needs a chaperone. Would you be able to come in early? ... Thank you very much. Go by the Armory when you come in and get suited up. ... No, we don't expect trouble, but the best way... exactly. Thank you again."

He hangs up the phone. "She should be here in about an hour. I suggest you make any preparations that don't require Dryad before she arrives. You'll only have her on-duty for about three hours. Good luck, Dr. Archeville."

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