Takes Place two days before the start. So... roughly August 31st
As the starting date of Dr. Grant's most recent experiment drew near, so did the meaning with the director. Of course, he did quite feel like flying up to see them in person, so Drs Grant and Raine had to make the trip down to Washington, the US capital, themselves. At the moment, they were seated in the waiting area, not exactly under watch of his secretary, but not out of her sight either.
The office was modern. It both did and didn't fit the director. The walls were not quite stark, but close, and only four painting hung on them; two abstract, one of whites and blues, the other in strokes of reds, orange and yellows, and two of scenery; a castle over looking a valley, and a lake as seen from a cottage porch. The height of the ceiling made the room seem narrower than it was. For his part, Dr. Grant sat in one of the lightly padded blue chairs, for all outward appearances relaxed and at ease, legs crossed and reading one of the issues of New Science that were on the side table.
He was in one of his customary cool, bordering on blue, grey suits, a quality off white shirt and plain tie. His shoes were cleaned and polished to a military level, and he hummed to himself as he idly turned the page. "Oh, they are studying the parasite that controls mice again." he remarked to Dr. Raine. "Looking into the process it uses to hijacks neurotransmitters."
"Controlling people huh..." Raine mused half-attentively with a half-connected thought, "Never works."
While normally a fairly well-groomed woman, Raine did go the extra distance to look a little more respectable today, as she usually had a habit of striking a very casual chord in a casual-formal wardrobe.
Her hair was tied up neat and tidy like usual, and her attire was reflective of a woman with a desk job, with the white blouse and black slimming over coat -though she disliked skirts so she had slim dress pants and less-formal women's dress boots with a minor heel.
She had a somewhat tired, seemingly disinterested expression as she browsed a magazine herself, half lost in her own thoughts and half reading some thesis fragment on cancer cells.
"You would be surprised at the things an ambitious neurospecialist can whip together," Grant grinned, glancing up at his... underling wasn't the right work. Subordinate was better, but at his level, his subordinates were leaders in their own right.
"Ha!" Raine let involuntarily with half a grin.
"A mind is like a world -too big for one person to control," Raine said pointedly, "At least cells don't have a mind of their own."
"Oh, you don't have to control the entire mind," Grant allowed. "Just a few key points here and there. Some like to talk of control through the pleasure centers."
"What could possibly go wrong?" Raine said with a sardonic tone and smirk.
Grant's reply was cut off by the secretary. "The Director will see you now," she said pleasantly. "Just down this hall, the door on the left." The hall she pointed to was not all that long, only about eighteen feet, with three doors on the right and only one on the left. It ended at a small window that let the light in, a single potted flowering plant on a stand beneath it.
Grant short her a gracious smile and rose, setting the magazine down. He tugged his jacket into place and half nodded at Raine. "Shall we, doctor?" he asked.
"Of course, doctor," Raine returned with a hint of amusement in her eye, setting her own magazine aside and standing up, moving in stride with Grant.
Grant lead the way, confidence in his stride as he made his way to the door. The Director was not one you approached with anything less. He had a talent for inspiring and feeding fear. Grant knocked once, and when the voice called for him to come him, he slowly opened the door and let Raine proceed him.
Into the gloom that was the directors office. It was artfully done. There were light fixtures on the wall, but the opaque shades didn't let much of the light spread. Heavy curtains closed off the windows, and the lamp on the directors desk only helped cast him in more shadows. The two chairs, seat about five or six feet from the desk, when the large desk adding another four feet to the expanse between them and the Director, had a bit more lighting around them, helped because there white upholstering set them apart from the dark wood of the cases beside and behind the director, and the similarly dark toned chairs, couch and table set at the opposite end of the room.
But that brightness didn't seem to impress safety. Rather, it reinforced an image of vulnerability, out in the open where everything could get you. The Director was a shape against the shadows, his plain dark blue suit lit by the lamp, but too many shadows obscuring his face.
"Drs Grant, Raine, so glad you could make it." His voice registered somewhere between the baritone ad tenor registers, but seemed welcoming enough.
"Our pleasure," Raine assured with a bit of a bow. It was perhaps a little strange Raine didn't appear even mildly intimidated, as much as she was behaving more respectfully and formally, one might have expected that certain stiffness in posture and motion when faced with great power.
Grant followed Raine into the room and closed the door behind him. It only made the darkness worse. Not for the first tim, he wonder how the Director did much work in this dark room. He took one of the seats calmy and folded his legs much like he did back in the waiting area. "Good morning, Director."
Raine too took a seat and interlaced her fingers on her lap as she sat there expectantly with very neat posture.
"I am pleasd to see the both of you here," the director said, his voice sounding like he was smiling. "For you to take time out of your scedules to meet with me, the fact that it was required nonwithstanding."
"Well, it is part of our responsibility, as you said," Dr, Grant said blandly. "Shall we get down to business?"
"Wasting no time I see," the director smiled. "Very well. Tell me, what are your impressions of these subjects?"
"Naive?" Raine offered, "The fact they signed up gets me wondering, but all in all I don't think they'll be much of a problem."
Raine herself probably never would have signed up to something like this without being fully aware of pretty much everything, being a little more skeptical and suspicious. Though as she was a scientist she probably had an insight she otherwise might not have had.
"Ah, but were would we be without that naivety?" The Director asked. "Besides, most people are naive at some point in their life. Still, your supervisor's methods are somewhat more gentle than those of the other divisions. You should be able to deal with a few students easily enough. Have you gotten a chance to see the facilities Dr. Grant prepared for his Division?"
"Not as yet, but I have faith in Dr. Grant, I'm sure everything is wonderful," Raine said airily with half a smirk.
"You faith in me is appreciate," Grant smiled. "Aside from the basic facilities dictated by the organization's code, I have acquired a housing facility for the subjects. I even had you belongs moved into your room, Dr. Raine."
"Even better," Raine said with a noncommital tone.
"Excellent. Dr. Grant's methods have a much higher success rather than those of his collegues. He has worked hard to become the Division Supervisor at his age." The director's hands were intertwined thoughfully. "Of course, he has his enemies. Those who are ready and waiting to find any fault with him and his own. So your successes become is his successes. And the reverse is true. But I trust you will not be disappointing him?"
"Ha! If the threat of being killed by rabid animal-human hybrids is not enough to dissuade me from failure; my pride as a researcher is at stake, I will not be found wanting," Raine said with idle confidence.
She had no illusions of the difficulty of the task or the consequences, but neither was she deterred or uncertain that she could handle any obstacles. That or die trying, possibly, so there was little to be worried about.
"Your confidence is wonderful!" the Director said. "Have you had a chance to review the files on the subjects yet?"
"Indeed I have, I already have a few methods in mind and I'm sure there will be no real problems," Raine said with a nod.
"I see you have done well with this one," the Director leaned forward so his chin was partially revealed. "Dr Grant, if you would give us a moment." Dr Grant nodded graciously before heading out. The director seemed to watch him leave. When the door closed, the focus was back on Dr. Raine.
"Tell me," he said after a moment. "How long have you been with the corporation?"
"A few years I think, time flows a little strangely when you're occupied with research," Raine said a little unsure.
"I can relate to that, actually," the Director responded. "How long have you been a member of Dr. Grants Department?"
"Three or four months?" Raine answered with the same lack of certainty.
"I see. Have you worked with the Arcadian Serum before?"
"Not directly at least," Raine clarified.
"Then I do advice caution. Arcadian Serum can be viral if the subject is not in control of their shift, and that strain transmitted through bites is a bit more aggressive than the lab produced one. It won't do to have our researchers falling ill."
"That's a bit of a twist... perhaps I should invest in a tranquilizer as a contingency plan," Raine said thoughtfully, only slightly concerned though.
"Stage two has restraint collars standard," the director commented. "They hold several doses of tranquilizers stored in them. And it is also a shock collar. Multiple levels of intensity to varying degrees of control. One of our investors and Outside Monitors suggested the design."
"Collars, huh..." Raine trailed off, clearly troubled but unsure how to explain or whether she should even say anything.
"The neck is far easier to secure someone by than the hand. We did for a time experiment with magnetic link cuffs.... I can see you object. Care to elaborate?"
"...It's the psychological effect I'm concerned about," Raine said with a degree of hesitation, still unsure how to properly explain it.
"There are advantages and disadvantages to the control method, we know. The psychological effect does aid in fostering a more submissive attitude in the subject. It reduces the time they need to be held in containment until they can be trusted with there own freedom."
"Yes, Director," Raine said blankly.
"I can see why Dr. Grant arranged for you to be transferred to his command," the Director said. For some reason, there was the distinct impression that he was smiling. "He too favours a more gentle approach to the subjects."
"Gentle is... not quite the word I was thinking of, but it isn't important," Raine said, returning to her blank obedience.
"You will find that most of his staff are of a similar opinion. Delta Division has only been in operation for a few years, and already it is known as the most sympathetic Division, though this is only the second test they will be conducting."
"Most sympathetic huh..." Raine trailed off again, a little unreadable this time, "I'm sure there won't be any problems."
"Excellent, excellent. Do enjoy the Delta Division facilities. They are all relatively new after all. You are free to leave."
"Thank you, Director," Raine said respectfully, standing up and bowing slightly before walking out.
Dr Grant was waiting for her. He smiled at here. "So, did the director ask you to spy on me?" he asked as they heading to the elevator.
"Of course he did, and I have to put pink fluffy handcuffs on you if you ever do anything wrong," Raine said nonsensically with mock seriousness.
"Ah, you are one of the Sympathetic too, I take it?"
"I guess so?" Raine said with a helpless shrug.
"I suspected as much," Doctor Grant nodded as he entered the elevator after the doors slid open. "Ah, did he tell you about the dark room?"
"Er... no... I didn't ask... I figure when you get that powerful you can do whatever you like," Raine said, a little off balance and suddenly curious.
"Oh, he tends to like being asked," Dr Grant said, slowly shaking his head. "He says it is a metaphor. In a world of darkness, there is little light. A strange man, that Director."
"See? Powerful people can do silly stuff like that," Raine said.
"Silly is it," Dr Grant said with a strange smile. "Often, a person room is a window to that persons soul. Of course, that could all just be superstition. After all, all legends can't be right, can they?"
"People call them 'legends' and 'superstition' just so they can dismiss them. Everyone gets so insecure when you start drawing the psychology card," Raine said with a helpless shrug.
"And then, or course, there are those like us who prove that sufficiently advance technology and magic really can related," he smirked. "To cast light on the shadows of mythology." The elevator doors opened, though Grant remained silence until they were in the car. He took the wheel himself, seeing no need to have someone drive him about. "All reasons for Gamma to be somewhat on the independent side, don't you agree?"