I've got good news, and bad news.
Good news first: Cheska's no longer in danger of being killed by Big Blue or a proxy.
Bad news: It's because she's my new right-hand girl. Well, actually, that's just bad news for you guys, I think. It's excellent news for me.
Cheska woke up tied down to a chair, with an IV plugged into her right forearm via needle. I made sure to wipe up any blood and I numbed that spot so she only felt minimal pain. I also made sure the first thing she saw was me.
“... Isabel?” she asked, groggy from whatever had knocked her out when some dude in a mask dumped her in the chair earlier that first day. Yes, first. She held out for two days. “What... where am I?” I tipped my hat to her,
“Glad to see a friendly face, kitten?" I asked, lounging back on the chair opposite her. Cheska just gave me a cold stare.
“What the hell is going on here, Fizzy?" A fair question. I decided she deserved to hear my take on things. Well, okay, I'll give her a choice. The way this drug works, it'll get harder for her to think the more brain activity goes on. From what the science types told me about it, it moves through the brain faster that way. I don't know, I'm not a fucking biologist.
"Well, do you want the answer that'll let you feel relieved, or do you want the answer that'll make you realize you're bound into a chair in the middle of nowhere with a powerful hypnotic drug dripping into your bloodstream?" I swept my hand around, and I could tell she was only then coming to realize we were in an abandoned airplane hangar.
“I'd prefer knowing why one of my old friends isn't dead, if you please."
"Alright, another choice, though pretty soon your poor head's gonna start feeling really foggy. Do you want the long version, or do you want the short one?”
She asked for the long version. I obliged. I told her everything about how I ended up like this. Something like pity dawned in her eyes. I told her about how I'd been ordered to kill her. That pity crumbled. I held up a finger, and started in on the real meat of the plan. I leaned against the back of her chair and hugged her from behind, telling her how I felt. I considered, and continue to consider her, a dear friend, and how if she stayed with me, she'll be safe. You know, from Big Blue, and his other merry henchmen. I explained why I stopped caring about most people—hell, look at the people who are being haunted these days. People who want to meth lab a cure, people who want to treat this like the sequel to The Expendables... Well, you get the gist of it. The people making the same mistakes I did, only, they're not learning from them.
“He loved you, you know. You were family to him. His cool big sister.” How do I explain what went on in that hangar to you all? Big Blue was there, you know. If I didn't get her to see things my way, I had to kill her. If I didn't do either, he'd kill her, then kill me. And I'm still not ready to die, and I can't stand to let Cheska get hurt if I can prevent it. And that's what I told her. I made sure the computer was still recording, and I spent hours talking to her in a soft, soothing voice. Reassuring her, as the drug kicked in full-force and Cheska started having trouble telling my words apart from her thoughts, that I was going to keep her safe from everything that would hurt her, I stood behind her and lightly massaged her temples.
Yes, yes, I know, some or all of you are gasping right now, pointing at me and calling me a bounder, a cad, a villain for brainwashing her. Here's the thing: I didn't use anything but that drug, and techniques you learn in a first-year psychology course. I kept appealing to the part of her that wanted to be protected and loved, and touched her in relaxing, reassuring ways. If she wanted, she could have fought it off long enough to pull the IV out of her arm, especially since I unbound her and re-bound only her wrists and ankles once she went limp, and her denials turned into soft, curious questions, and finally, acceptance. I held her there like that, for... I don't know how long. I'd long since pulled the IV out. She fell asleep smiling and snuggling up against me. I used the computer to edit the recording, replace all her denials early on with acceptance, cut out the extraneous parts, and put it on an endless loop after donning some earplugs. I wasn't tired, so I stayed up all night, hugging her close, listening to her start to whisper along with my played-back voice.
It was around noon when she woke up, so I stopped the recording and pulled the earplugs out. Big Blue wasn't near anymore. I didn't feel that tug in my head. Cheska just fixed her soft blue eyes on me and asked, in a heartbreakingly innocent tone, “What now?” I sighed. Now to see if she was going to be saved, or if I'd have to bury that last bit of me that's still sane and decent.
“Well... we're going to have to do some very bad things to some good people, Chessie,” I began. She knew exactly what I meant. I wasn't surprised, she's always been bright.
“Why can't we help them?”
“We... are, in a way. They won't be scared, they won't be hurt, they'll be free, Chessie. I promise, we'll make sure it doesn't hurt when we catch up to one and they'll be given a proper burial.” I looked at her, eye-to-eye, and cradled her cheek in my hand, “Trust me.” Cheska waged a short inner war, then nodded, resting against me, and before she fell asleep (putting us in our current situation), she managed to slurr out,
“I trust you.”
So, before anyone thinks about playing the hero, I need you to stop and really think. I can keep her safe from Big Blue, and the other proxies. I can make sure she's never hurt, that she's safe, protected, and loved. I can give her a *life.* Would you rather tear her away from that, leave her alone and terrified in a hostile world with an otherworldly creature hunting her down, leaving her dead in a ditch somewhere after spending the last days of her life terrified, lonely, hurting, and with her sanity in shreds?