Flick of the Wrist
rating: +25+x

It sounds like you didn't pay much attention last time. If you're going to have me repeat my account of the whole incident, it looks like I'll have to tell you what the score was again.

Two bodies with the side of their head blown off, Dr. Carlson bleeding out from a shot in his shoulder, and his four subordinates1 in a confrontation with each other. All of them in a cramped elevator, forcefully stopped between the first floor and the first basement level, the smell only getting worse with each passing minute.

I’d have found the the situation a lot more palatable, amusing even, if I wasn’t the one being pinned against the elevator wall.

“Dean, let him go! What do you think this will accomplish?” Jenna had yelled out in a weak attempt to stop him. Everyone there knew it would end when Dean decided it would end.

"Relax, I just want to talk to him for a little bit more. You see, Vincent —" and before I knew what happened, he moved his arm off of my chest and his hand to my throat, lifting me up before he continued. One swift move. "I have to admire those sheer balls of yours. Tell me, how'd you do it? Did they see it coming? When you blew their brains out with your anomaly, did you enjoy it the way I'm enjoying this?" He grinned; it was a look of pure self-satisfaction.

"Gggghh, I-I didn't —"

"Yeah! It was Carlson, right? Go on, tell us again how that happened! Walk us through it. Convince us this time the way you've been convincing us the past few minutes, right!?" As my vision was about to go completely dark, that lunatic… my body was thrown to the elevator door. Air left my lungs in exchange for a second wind of life. No one said anything. No one moved.

I think we were all waiting for each other to make the next move. I mean, what would you have done if you were any of us? I couldn't speak; my mind was too busy trying to get itself working again. Dean wasn't going to speak; he was clearly waiting for me to say something, and I wasn't going to look up at him glaring down at me. That would have enticed him. Jenna wouldn't help; I saw her gaze turn to the elevator buttons. Brian was trying to tend to Carlson's wounds; he was no good. And Carlson… well, you know why he didn't say anything. And the smell almost incapacitated all of us. It was a tricky situation. Whoever spoke next was going to lose.

So we stayed there. I don't know how long it was, but I'd say… ten minutes? Fifteen? Completely silent except for the breathing going on. I know how interviewers roll; we almost never get to experience blood, right? Try sitting in puddles of blood sometime. Your own, or someone else's, it's the same. Maybe you'll understand why most of us weren't able to speak even if we wanted to.

Carlson spoke up first, unfortunately for him.

"H… He's right, Dean." You could practically hear Dean's light fade from his grin as he turned to face our old boss. It was safe enough to look up by that point. Yeah, he was still grinning. But the look on his face? Altogether different. He was covering up his rage. It was growing. Have you ever seen a hungry, angry lion? That was the look.

"I wasn't asking you. Learn not to —"

"L-Like he said, I killed them." Dean turned around and slammed his foot into Carlson's other shoulder. Brian stumbled back and Jenna covered her mouth. Hell, I was shocked too.

"LEARN." He slammed his foot into his shoulder. "NOT." And again. "TO." And again! "INTERRUPT!" This time he kicked the side of his body and Carlson slumped over. His breathing got more ragged. It was a miracle he could even still stay conscious. "Neither of you have shown any proof! You jackasses need to start making sense or I'll just kill you both." He grabbed Carlson's hair and lifted him up. "And I will enjoy it." The smile was gone by then.

Carlson was dropped and Brian quickly set him upright and tended to his wounds again. "Dean, shut the fuck up." Bless him, honestly. He barely had any tools and was doing the best he could. I think that made the difference, ultimately. "You know what the Foundation does to people who start senselessly killing others."

"Yeah. Our good friend Vince here is going to be locked up in a containment cell for the rest of his life, our teacher is going to die before the Foundation does anything, Harrison and May will rot forever in Hell, and the rest of us conveniently forget this shit from the Forgetting Juice. Sounds like a good deal to me, doesn't it?"

"Fuck off, let them talk. Jenna, give me your labcoat. I need clean material to treat Carlson." Jenna sighed and nodded, handing it to Brian. She was still shaking, which made sense. She's the most junior of us, right? Honestly, what was that old man thinking, bringing a junior onto his team? He should have known the risks.

It was silent for a few minutes again. This wasn't another game though, seeing who would give in first. It was just too awkward to talk. That was the sense I had anyway. I never imagined one would feel awkward, of all things, in a life-or-death situation, but now I know. It felt like relief.

"Hhhh… Harrison and May didn't like Dr. Carlson's treatment of humanoid anomalies." I broke the tension this time. Carlson bought me the opportunity to speak, so I took it. The more I talked, the tenser Dean got. "Every interview was personal. He called them something other than 'it' in his documentation. I don't know what pushed them into this. Probably when they overheard Brian and Jeffery… Ash or whatever, when they were talking about interviewing that washing machine like it was an actual person." Brian's eyes went wide. I smiled. "You didn't know? I don't blame you. It was only a couple weeks ago. Not like you could have connected the dots. They wouldn't tell anyone about their frustrations, since all of us just went along with —"

Dean lifted me up without a word. My smile got bigger. "Right, you want to know how, not why. Turns out, you work for the Foundation long enough, your rank is decent enough, and appear mentally stable enough, they'll just give you a weapon for safety. That one was May's by the way. You can check the serial on it."

"But you didn't have a weapon, and Dr. Carlson didn't either…" Jenna finally spoke up. She'd learned to stop shaking and actually contribute. It was a valid question, you know, even if they all forgot. Everyone but Carlson turned to me now. I'm sure if the couple were still alive they'd be wondering that too. I didn't mention it last time, but they hardly had any time to see it coming.

"Do you all have that short of an attention span?" I opened my hand and concentrated for a bit. The gun appeared and dropped to the floor, and now everyone went wide-eyed! I can give you a demonstration now, but I'm sure that's in my documentation by this point. "I stole it from them and gave it to him. No ammo left. They only brought three bullets after all. One for Dr. Carlson, that one got in his shoulder, and two for… you guessed it." I grinned.

"Fuck off." Dean dropped me and pinned my body to the elevator door, picking up the gun and aiming it at my chest. Oh, he was pissed.

"Go on," I said. He pressed the trigger. Nothing.

"Fuck off!"

"But why you too?" Jenna exclaimed.

"He treated me like a human instead of — ggh, fuck — instead of an anomaly. Turns out the lovebirds are very good at eavesdropping. Probably saw me more as a dangerous threat. Their fault for not reporting it sooner."

"When did you tell Dr. Carlson, though?"

"A few months ago when the anomaly manifested. Turns out, even the most benign anomalies one researches can have unintended side effects years down the line." Brian sighed, and Jenna buried her head in her hands. Must've been disbelief.

"Which one, Vincent?" Brian's turn to question me.

"That will go to the grave with the two lovebirds, Dr. Carlson, and I."

The next thing I could recall was hearing that brute yell at me, since, well… I still have a giant bruise on my face. Probably kicked me, that bastard. I think he yelled for a couple minutes after that by that point. He sounded more hoarse and upset at that moment than when he was so confidently choking the life out of me. If I had the energy at that moment to look confident, I would've.

"I said get up, you asshole! Tell us what it was!" I coughed up blood.

"W-What… ggh." It got harder to speak. The only regret I had about the whole scene was Carlson not coming to my aid at that moment. He had problems of his own, yeah. Still, we were both in this mess together; shouldn't he have known to back me up too? And after all I was doing for him.


The elevator started moving again. Everyone looked up. Jenna started the elevator again.

"But —"

"I've had enough of this. We need to get everyone here to the Medical Ward. We'll…" She looked down and away from everyone else. Couldn't blame her. "We'll let the Foundation sort the rest of this nonsense out." No one could dispute that.

"Wh… what difference will it make if I tell anyone here what anomaly it was? The Foundation would j-just put it down in their documentation for a skip that hasn't been tested on in over a decade. I-I was the only one to do any testing on that specific part of it anyway. It doesn't… doesn't change what happened here. We still need a mystery after all." I chuckled and continued. What? Can you blame me? It was just too amusing at that point.

"And if Jenna didn't let the elevator… the elevator go down, you would have killed me anyway. You're a psychopathic, insolent child, and I'd… I'd rather sit in a containment cell than work with you for another seven, eight years." The smirk died down on my face. "The rest of you are fine enough. J-Jenna, take Dr. Carlson, Brian, take me, Dean…" I looked up at him. That felt good to say.

"I'll go on my own." He dropped the gun by my feet. "Useless." No, I don't know who that was directed to. It doesn't matter much anyway. The elevator reached its destination, and everyone went to do their own thing. Dean walked down the hallway towards the Medical Ward, and the commotion and chatter from everyone on the floor could be heard. No alarms went off, at least. I guess he told them the situation was being resolved. At least he could be of use for one moment.

Jenna picked up the old man and carried him towards the ward, and Brian picked me up. As he did, he questioned me one last time.

"Which one?"

"We worked on it before. You know the one." He frowned, but nodded anyway. I could tell; he knew the one. I wrapped an arm around him and let him drag me off, though I still had one last thing to take care of.

"Ack —"

I coughed and spit out some blood, and with my other free hand, dropped the two unspent bullets to the elevator floor.

Oh, was that not where I should have started? Hah, my bad. You know how it is. Sometimes you don't know where the beginning and ending of these things are. Let me back up a bit then…

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