Chapter Twenty Six – Do You Know What's Going On?
Hello Primeval World - I'm Back! It appears, due to this very strange moment in time called Lockdown, I am staying home and saving lives and that gives me time to write. Well, I say I'm saving lives but I'm not sure Connor is convinced about that at the moment...
This Chapter is dedicated to SandyLeePotts - you asked what happened to Connor: I think Connor would rather no-one ever found out...
Disclaimer: Even though several years have passed I still have not acquired ownership of either ITV, Impossible Pictures, or Primeval (I know, unbelievable, right?). So, please don't sue me...
Connor lay on a cold, damp concrete floor. In the dark. It was so dark he couldn't tell if his eyes were open or shut. His limbs were so numb he wasn't sure if they were still attached to his torso. And yet they still hurt. Everywhere. Briefly, he languished in the silence, trying to concentrate on breathing without feeling like his lungs were shattering his ribs. He failed and whimpered, the soft sound loud in the darkness. He moved his hand restlessly across the concrete. It was rough, unfinished, and scraped the soft flesh of his palms and fingertips painfully. His chin and cheek was raw with welts and grazes from days of contact with the inexorable surface. He wanted to sleep, he desperately needed to sleep. Day after day, the silence raised his hope that they might allow him some respite, some small measure of rest.
But it was not to be. It was never to be, he realised. He tensed, the agony of his muscles contracting drawing a low moan, as the terrifying noises began again. He knew the sounds, he knew where he was, and he knew the types of creatures kept in here. But this sound filled his exhausted mind with primeval fear. Soft clicks and chatters amplified 100-fold, pounding his ears, filling his imagination with their hideous faces. No eyes, mouths just of teeth, deep black skin, claws to scrape the flesh from your bones. He lay tense and still on the concrete floor, his heartrate elevated, his breathing fast and shallow. His rational mind fought with the irrational – they're just sounds, there are no future predators here, its all simulated. And yet, in the dark, so dark he couldn't see his hand in front of his face, he saw them, watched them creeping ever closer, clicking in delight, toying with him mercilessly as they neared their prey.
Abruptly, the sound ceased. The dark was quiet again, too quiet, and Connor could hear his own rasping breaths, his own heartbeat pounding far too fast. He squeezed his eyes shut, trying to calm himself, trying not to cry. He had cried the first few times, and screamed, and tried to run. He had beaten at the concrete walls with his fists and at one point his head, until he was bruised and battered, but not broken. No, not broken. Not yet.
He knew what was coming. He didn't know how long he'd been here – hours, days, weeks even? But it was the same pattern over and over and over. The dark, the quiet, the anticipation of sleep, snatched away by sounds of creatures, terrifying and overwhelming. And then the light, harsh and unrelenting, his head throbbed, his eyes burned. There was no escape from it, no hiding, it blazed and blazed inducing cranium exploding headaches and paranoia. And then the klaxon. Connor placed his hands over his ears and screamed. And screamed. And screamed. But no-one heard and no-one cared.
Abruptly, the light vanished and the klaxon ceased. Connor realised he was still screaming but no sound was coming out. He closed his mouth, curled up into a ball, and whimpered dejectedly. He wanted Abby. He wanted Abby so much. His beautiful, headstrong, opiniated Abs. He needed her so much. Where was she? Why hadn't she come for him? Concentrating hard, scrunching his eyes and biting his bottom lip, he remembered the smell of her hair, the smoothness of her skin, the feel of her body under his hands. He tried to summon her face in his mind but she was just mist, a fog, a collection of lost fragments. In frustration, he allowed the tears to fall.
His body jerked as his misery was interrupted by a loud scraping sound. Shielding his face with his arm, Connor's eyes adjusted to a stream of light in the darkness. A door had opened and if he squinted he could make out a shadowy figure in the corridor beyond.
"Abs?" he whispered, his lips paper dry and bleeding.
The figure stepped forward into the cell, in front of the light, making its brightness just enough for Connor to recognise it wasn't Abby. It was Lt. Commander Bob Marshall.
Frightened, Connor pushed himself backwards, towards the wall, in an effort to get as far away from the man as possible. Of all the creatures in the menagerie, Marshall was the most dangerous, the most deadly, the one even the creatures feared. And Marshall liked it that way.
Bob Marshall chuckled at his prisoner's reaction and Connor's haunted look. Marshall took great satisfaction in the younger man's pale and gaunt appearance, the dark shadows under his eyes more pronounced on his greyish face, making his eye sockets look hollow. The prisoner's clothes were dirty and hung about his frame as if they had been made for a much larger person.
"Hello Temple," he said in a low, menacing tone. "Ready to talk to me yet?"
Connor shook his head, slowly and painfully, trying to catch his breath. He couldn't get his voice to work just yet.
"That's a shame," continued Marshall. "I had hoped you would see sense by now. Never mind, I have other options –."
He left the sentence hanging in the stagnant air of the concrete cell and turned back towards the door. "Prep Miss Maitland for interrogation," he ordered. Then, gesturing at the battered man behind him, he snapped, "And get rid of that, would you?"
Connor opened his mouth to protest, but no sound came out. As Marshall strode through the door and made to slam it shut, a woman's scream echoed down the corridor and into Connor's cell. Abby? Oh God no! Connor's fear addled his limbs into action. He pushed his body painfully up the wall until he was standing, unsteadily, but standing nonetheless.
"Wait," his voice was too quiet, too croaky. He coughed and tried again. "Wait!" Louder still. "Wait!"
Marshall stopped and popped his head back through the doorway, eyebrows raised questioningly. Connor knew they had broken him. He had no more resistance, not if they had Abby. He sagged.
"What do you want to know?" he murmured in defeat.
Two hours sleep, a shower, and a sparse meal did not leave Connor feeling any better about his situation or his growing foreboding that he had just betrayed everything he held dear. He sat in his lab, nervous, shaky, his eyes darting around him as if looking for danger but really seeing nothing. He still had no idea what they wanted from him. But they had Abby and he would do whatever it took to keep her safe. And they know that, an annoying niggle inside his head reminded him. He dismissed it and pushed it back into the very dark part of his mind. He couldn't think about that now. He sighed and closed his eyes, trying to conjure Abby. He ached to see her, hear her laugh. Hell, he'd settle for her slapping the back of his head because he'd said something stupid at this point. He dropped his head into his hands – he knew she'd slap his head for sitting here, for collaborating with MI6. She wouldn't want to be his excuse either. He swallowed hard and grimaced. His throat hurt. No, he couldn't think about that now. He had no resistance left, regardless of Abby's disappointment in him. Her capture had been the final straw and he would give them whatever they wanted. But, he could also attempt a little sabotage should the opportunity present itself. He found a little solace in that. Not much, but enough to sustain him for now.
The lab door swooshed open and a woman in a lab coat strode purposefully in. She looked him up and down as if determining his worth and shook her head.
"Dr Temple?" she demanded, her tone voicing her disbelief that this dishevelled man could be a scientist, let alone hold a PhD.
Connor sighed and lifted his head. "Connor, just Connor," he managed, his voice dry and raspy.
"I'm Dr Tennant," the woman announced, as she banged a laptop on the lab countertop.
Connor stared at it. That was his laptop – how the hell did they have his laptop? His face flooded with colour as he remembered hiding it from Abby and Matt behind a panel in the wall. Oh God, could this get much worse?
Dr Tennant scraped up a chair next to him. "Well, let's get started, shall we?"
She smiled benignly before placing an Anomaly Opening Device in front of him. Connor gasped and his eyes widened. He was beginning to comprehend just how much trouble he was in.
Connor sat on the creaky tin cot in his quarters, elbows on his knees, head in his hands. So that was it, that was their plan. They wanted him to create an anomaly. No, they insisted he create an anomaly. He'd done it before for Philip, he could do it again. Yeah, look how great that had turned out! But they wanted even more than that. They wanted multiple anomalies, like the field of anomalies they had previously found quite by chance. And they wanted to be certain of specific time eras too, using the anomaly opening device and the anomaly dating device (the details of which they had discovered on his hidden laptop). This was big, whatever they were planning, too big for Connor to comprehend in his weakened state. But he knew it wasn't good, whatever MI6 was up to would not end well. The consequences could be unimaginable.
He shook his head, trying to make sense of it all. Create an anomaly? He couldn't, he wouldn't, he'd promised Abby he would never try again. But Marshall had made the consequences of his refusal very clear. Abby would suffer for his defiance. Marshall had been quite graphic – water boarding, her body ravaged by electric shocks, the tips of her fingers being cut off…
Just the thought of it was too much; the pictures in his head swirled so vividly he kept hearing her screaming. Connor leapt to his feet and staggered towards the bathroom. His knees buckled and he fell on them, next to the toilet, before heaving into the bowl. Once the retching ceased, he collapsed dejectedly against the cold, stainless steel receptacle, panting slightly, his chest and throat now burning with effort and vomit. He reached for a handful of toilet paper and rubbed it across his nose and mouth, removing the foul-tasting spittle as best he could.
He closed his eyes and his misery engulfed him. He began to sob. Loud, gut-wrenching, howling sobs. A sound that started somewhere low and deep in his soul and gave a voice to all his anger, frustration, and fear. He was bruised, battered, hungry, confused, afraid, alone, so very alone. There was no-one to hear his pain, no-one to cling to, no-one to comfort him.
He had no idea how long he sat there, or how long he cried. He only knew he woke up there, in the early hours of the morning, cold and shivering, his limbs seized painfully, leaving his body hunched over like a future predator. Physically and mentally exhausted, broken, Connor crawled from the bathroom back to the uninviting cot, dragged himself up on to the mattress, and passed out again into a fitful, disturbed sleep.
SandyLeePotts - stop crying! Oh, you're not crying, you're cackling with glee! :D Well, poor Connor - will he do what MI6 wants? Where are Becker, Matt, Abby, and Emily? Does anyone know what's going on? Please leave me a review and let me know what you think!