Title: Bees, Flowers and Fireflies
Author: Shylah (Writings.of.Shylah@gmail.com)
Warnings: Violence, torture, mind control, sexual situations
Disclaimer: They're Joss's, not mine.
Summary: CROSSOVER (Spike/Firefly) The Academy wasn't the government's only secret.
He always seemed to get the short straw. The original doctor who had the responsibility for this task had not been able to work today. An illness, or something similar, had put him out of commission. So those in charge had felt it necessary that they replace the unavailable doctor with one of few who headed the first division of their program. Just until the one to whom this job had been assigned got back on his feet.
Doctor Jackson Mathias felt the hairs on his neck stand on end as he neared the room known as the Hibernation Chamber. A quick finger and retinal scan had the many locks on the door sliding open. He grasped the handle and opened the door, his back stiff as he entered. Like the rest of the facility, everything inside the room was kept sterile and brightly lit. There were rows of cryogenic containers, stacked in twos and gleaming silver in their lines. It was quiet except for the constant low humming they emitted.
But the outward appearance of the room only served to amplify Mathias's feelings of disgust and terror. There were things in here...unclean things. He would have refused coming here entirely if he hadn't known that there would be no need for him to be near them after this. The only task given to him had been to oversee the slow rise in temperature of the cryogenic containers, to see that the subjects within were stable as they neared the range when they could be safely brought back to the conscious world.
It had been rumored among the staff that these chambers had not been opened in over a century.
Mathias moved along the rows, checking each container as he went, typing down quick notes on his electronic clipboard as to the progression of the thawing. There was no listing of respiratory or cardiac vitals, only neurological. It made keeping track easier, but caused shivers of disturbance to race down his spine every time he thought about it.
No breath. No hearts. No souls.
The doctor quickened his step and hand, wanting to get out of this room as soon as possible. The boxes all blinked green at him as he passed them, as if they were all watching him, and mocking his fear. He was nearly halfway through when a shrill beep caused him to start and nearly drop his clipboard. Turning slowly, he looked with wide eyes towards where the sound emanated.
One of the cryogenic chambers in the far corner of the room was blinking red in tune with the continued beeps of the alarm. Swallowing hard, he approached it slowly, bending down slightly so he could get a better view of the listed information on the small screen on its side. He felt his heart begin to hammer in his chest as he read, and quickly straightened once he finished, hurrying over to the wall where a keypad was set. He pushed in a quick sequence before gazing back warily at the cryogenic chamber, telling himself over and over that those more suitable for dealing with this would soon be arriving. But it still did not serve to allay his fears, and he felt himself begin to sweat, his eyes trapped fixedly on the still-beeping container.
That one was waking up.
Berkant Ramsden folded his arms over his chest as he watched the scientists perform a close examination of the cryogenic chamber. There really was no need for it, for as primitive as these chambers were in comparison to the present models, they had been programmed and stored by what had to have been some of the best minds on Earth-that-was. Yet, there was always the chance of problems developing, both anticipated and not. So before they were opened, each piece of machinery on the containers was looked over by an assortment of dedicated workers.
And they had to be very dedicated, he knew. There were more than enough of those who would absolutely refuse to be in the same building if they knew exactly what was going on. Only a select group were allowed access to the knowledge needed to properly carry out orders pertaining to this program.
Ramsden himself was currently overseeing the procedure from behind a shield-enforced extra strong slate of glass. He, perhaps, had the least fear of all when it came to his job. But that did not mean he was willing to put himself in a potentially dangerous situation. A reckless man would not last long in this line of work.
Shifting, Ramsden felt his attention narrow in focus as the scientists alerted him that there were no detectable issues with the cryogenic chamber's function. They were ready to open it. Ramsden nodded, and the scientists moved back to allow those who had been professionally trained in handling the subjects move forward. The large clamps that held down the lid of the cryogenic chamber were unlatched, and there was a loud hissing sound as it was lifted. It took two men to successfully remove the lid, and as they did the others came closer to execute their own tasks. They had to work quickly, for the subject would soon revive itself, and Ramsden had no desire to drug it again so soon.
Two reached in at opposite ends, and as one they lifted the limp, nude body within and set it supine on the examination table, hurriedly strapping it down with adjustable metal restraints on wrists, ankles, thighs and chest. Ramsden made his own mental observations even as the scientists on perimeter of the room checked the meager notes that had already been made the last time this subject was awake, years and years ago. It was extremely pale, as many of the others before it had been. Its hair had been dyed an extremely pale blond, but there were darker, brown roots were showing where they had grown out at the scalp. Its muscles were greatly defined, but compared to the others it did appear to be the slightest bit malnourished -- nearly undetectably so. And it was male.
It was perfectly preserved, all cellular functions having been placed in absolute stasis.
The creature's face was lifted from the examination table, and one of the orderlies quickly forced a muzzle over its mouth. The muzzle was a self-locking device that could be removed only by a specialized key, and kept the handlers of the subject safe from snapping jaws.
Once secured, the scientists moved in once again, assured that they could now come in contact with the creature without risking harm. One man peeled back each eyelid to check that the pupils contracted normally, while another slid a needle into a pale arm to draw blood.
"How is the latest specimen?"
Ramsden quickly glanced behind himself, feeling a spark of surprise due to having been so engrossed in the proceedings he did not hear this new arrival step into the room. He allowed a small smile come onto his face at the sight of one of his colleagues, a woman named Eileen Mather. She wore a grey suit and skirt ensemble, and her black hair was pulled back into a tight bun. A relatively new employee of this particular program, this would be her first time seeing a subject so soon after being removed from its state of hibernation.
"It appears well." he commented, turning to gaze back into the exam room. "No detectable physical deformities, so far. It should be coming around soon enough."
As soon as he finished, the body on the table gave a sudden violent jerk, eyes flying open. The creature blinked, glancing around in confusion. It took in its surroundings and the scientists who continued their initial tests as if it had not regained consciousness, eyes wide.
"It looks disoriented." Mather noted.
Ramsden gave a small nod as he watched the subject's increasing distress. It attempted to thrash away from the attentions of the scientists, but the restraints forcefully held it still. "The last time any of them were conscious was in an entirely different century. Much of the technology we have now is either completely new to them or heavily improved upon. They were put to sleep even before the first functional space ship was created."
Mather stepped closer to the glass, her eyes widening in curiosity and amazement. "So similar to humans." she murmured.
"They are." Ramsden agreed. "In fact, to the naked eye, their true nature is completely undetectable, externally -- save for when they transform."
"Have you seen one? Transform, that is." Mather's eyes were still locked on the creature on the table, which was now making muffled noises and jerking its head as if to indicate a plea for the removal of the muzzle.
"I have. Would you like me to show you?"
Mather glance at Ramsden briefly, before nodding. "Yes."
Ramsden leaned forward and pressed a finger to the intercom button. "Apply a pain stimulus." he ordered.
The creature turned its face towards him at his words, seeing he and his colleague for the first time. Blue eyes quickly scanned over the two observers standing behind the glass, before locking onto Ramsden. The man leaned forward, intrigued. None of the creatures had expressed a particular interest in watching him before now. They had been too wrapped up in their own fear and confusion to even react to the sound of his voice, most of the time. This one's eyes beamed instinctive intelligence, and something else. Something none of the other creatures he had seen possessed.
One of the scientists pressed a rod against the subject's abdomen, and activated it. Convulsing as a painful shock was administered, the creature gave a growling scream from behind its muzzle and then the bones in its forehead began to shift. Ramsden heard Mather give a quiet gasp as the once blue eyes turned yellow, the pupils mere pinpricks.
The rod was removed and the creature relaxed, its chest heaving and eyes angry as it turned to look at the scientist who had harmed it. A menacing growl came from deep in its chest, and a few of the scientists paused for a moment at the sound before resuming their work, remembering that the creature was helplessly restrained.
Ramsden gave a small sound of surprise. "That's refreshing." he said. "The previous specimens all reacted fearfully after the first application of pain. This subject must have a higher pain tolerance, or a strong will. We'll train the defiance out of it, mold those strengths to our own needs." He pressed the intercom button once more. "Apply a pain stimulus, again. Higher, this time."
The creature knew what was coming, and braced itself as the rod touched flesh again. It moved its eyes back onto Ramsden, keeping them locked on him even as it tensed and gave another loud snarl at the pain, jerking spasmodically against the restraints as it received a harsher shock. It went limp against the table as the jolt ended, inhaling shallowly through its nose. It glared at Ramsden as it attempted to deal with the second, more intense dosage of pain.
"It doesn't seem to like you, Berkant." Mather remarked.
Ramsden stared back at the creature, his eyebrows furrowed. "There is something different about this one." he said. "Something that goes beyond simple personality. There's more power in its eyes. More strength. And something else..." Ramsden shook his head in frustration. "I'm going to ask if I may monitor this one's progress more closely."
"There's no denying its ferocity." Mather said, still in awe at her first viewing. "I would not certainly wish to be alone with it, restrained or not."
"That's the difference between you and I, Eileen," Ramsden stated as he finally turned to grin at her. "I can't wait to be."
Spike tried to keep back the tremble from his limbs as he found himself waking up for a second time in this horrible place, along with the realization that he hadn't dreamt the first time. He found himself imprisoned in a small room with blaringly white walls and bright lights. He had been zapped more than a few times, and his body had been weakened from the extended torment. But he had kept most of his anguish within, not allowing them the satisfaction of seeing the true extent of his pain.
Spike inhaled deeply in preparation and rolled over from his position on his back, pulling himself onto his hands and knees. He paused as a wave of dizziness assaulted him, keeping his arms locked in an attempt to resist the urge to lay back down. Finally he found himself able to stand, steadying himself against a wall as he lifted himself onto unsteady legs.
He glanced around, taking stock of the area while his body recuperated. There was a single, metal door on the opposite side of the room, with a large square of tinted glass in the upper middle. Anyone could peek in without being detected by the occupant of the cell. Which was him, at the moment. Spike gazed around again, seeing nothing but white walls and an equally as white cot.
He had been trapped on that table for a good while before someone finally drugged him back into sleep again. They had dressed him while he was out, in strange garb that looked like something out of a science fiction movie. It was a skin tight uniform made of some sort of flimsy-looking grey-blue material. The sleeves of the shirt reached down to his wrists, the legs of the pants to his ankles. The collar dipped into a v-shaped neckline at his chest.
Spike felt himself grow angry, and a bit scared. But more than anything he felt the frustration that was clamping on his chest like a vice. Why couldn't he remember how he had gotten into this predicament? And where was he? Some sort of giant laboratory? It looked like the Initiative on steroids.
But the Initiative had never thought to keep him in chains, especially while locked in a cell -- cumbersome chains on his neck and wrists, each leading to separate holes in the wall behind him. And then there was that blasted thing on his face, locking his jaw shut. The chains allowed him enough maneuverability that he could feel all along the contraption, trying to find a way to release it. When that effort had proved futile he had resorted to clawing at the damn thing, trying to rip it off. But it held firm, and he eventually slumped against the wall in frustration, pissed off.
What the bloody hell was going on?
He was in some sort of experiment, that much he could tell. These humans seemed to know what they were doing. But for what reason they had to keep him here, he didn't know. Nor did he know if he was the only demon here, but he suspected not. They wouldn't have gone through all of this trouble to pick up a single vampire, would they? Unless they knew more about him than he thought they did. But usually when he had been taken prisoner, one of the favored taunts of those who held him involved reciting information about his life to him. None of the people here had so much as called him by any of his names, or shown any indication at all that they knew he was "special." Not that he held any hope for release in the area of revelations. Especially not if they decided to deny him the ability to speak.
He was too angry at the moment to be truly fearful. They hadn't done anything to him yet besides freely examine his body for their research, prick him with a few needles, taken various X-rays and scans, and given him a couple shocks on command. That man he had seen behind the glass appeared to be running the show. Or, at least, the pain aspect of it.
Spike made another sound of anger and gave a second aborted attempt at pulling off the muzzle. He didn't like the feeling of it on his face, didn't like knowing that there was no way for him to communicate with his captors through words. And underneath that ire he could feel an undercurrent of anxiety beginning to gnaw at his stomach. He had never been good with being in captivity, especially if there wasn't anyone around for him to vent his frustration on. Being alone made him want to succumb to his more animalistic reactions, and he found himself fighting the rising urge to bang his face against the wall to try and break the contraption.
But before he could even attempt it, there was a strange shifting sound that came from behind him. He turned, startled, realizing that there was something going on in the wall. Spike felt the wide shackles on his wrists begin to tug on his arms even as he realized that the chains were being pulled back through their holes. Feeling the starting of true fear now, Spike strained his arms, trying to prevent them from being pulled apart. His concentration was broken when the collar on his neck was suddenly drawn towards the wall as well, choking him. Despite his struggles, he was forced to turn with his back to the wall, helpless as his arms were steadily forced straight out on each side of his body and his neck was brought flush against the hard, cold surface. He was breathing heavily through his nose when the noises in the wall finally stopped, and gave a few ineffectual attempts at struggling against his bonds.
He froze as the door to his cell was opened, and watched as two large, muscled men stepped inside to stand on either side of the entrance. They were followed by a man in a white lab coat with dark grey hair, who gazed at Spike as soon as he stepped in. Spike recognized him as the man behind the glass.
He approached the bound vampire, one hand in the pocket of his coat and the other holding a metal rod-shaped device that looked similar to the thing the other scientist had used to electrocute him.
Spike kept his gaze steady and defiant, clenching his hands when the man finally stopped about a foot away and looked him in the eyes. He kept back the growl that wanted to emerge when a hand came out and grasped his chin, just under where the muzzle ended. The scientist brought up the object he held, and waved it over the front of Spike's face. There was a beep and a hiss, and suddenly the muzzle's metallic straps released.
The man took the contraption from his face and placed it in his pocket, and Spike felt a tinge of relief when he realized that it probably wouldn't be replaced any time soon.
He glared at the scientist, waiting for some sort of introduction as to why he was here and all of the horrible tortures they were going to put him through for the sake of mankind or because he needed to pay for his past crimes or some other such bollocks. But the grey-eyed man seemed content with just staring at Spike, a sort of half smile on his face as he did.
Finally, feeling the hairs on his neck beginning to stand on end from the uncomfortable scrutiny, Spike heaved a dramatic sigh. "What do you want?" he asked, forcing disinterest into his voice.
The man's expression slipped into a full smile. "Boredom," he commented, "that's a reaction I haven't yet seen from any of the others. And you speak English, which saves me the trouble of getting a translator." He ran a hand through his grey hair. "Hello. My name's Doctor Berkant Ramsden."
Spike sniffed. "I'd shake your hand, but..." He shrugged as best he could with his limited mobility.
"I'm afraid those are a completely necessary component to our conversations, at least this early on." Ramsden stated. "As I've heard it, your kind have a reputation built around yourselves on your penchant for draining the human body of blood. The biological properties that your body must go through to sustain itself on such an inadequate diet should be nothing short of remarkable. Although, I've also heard that your very existence requires workings beyond the biological. Mysticism isn't a science I've been too familiar with over the course of my years of study, but there are volumes and notes on vampire lore I've been taking great interest in. The most difficult part about reading them was to separate the truth from superstition, but I believe I've gained good knowledge on most of your kind's traits."
Spike rolled his eyes. Doctors and scientists were not high on his list of people he could tolerate as acquaintances. "Right. Can we move on from your little Vampire Fanatics Club, or are things going to get duller?"
"I'd like to know your name."
Spike was on his guard at that. He didn't know how much these people knew about him, how they would react if they could connect his name to his history. Hell, anyone with a book even half decent when it came to vampire lore would probably have read something about him. "I've got a few of 'em." he replied carefully.
"Well, I'd like to know what to call you," Ramsden offered. "We tend to be on a first-name basis with all of our subjects. And I can assure you that revealing your name will have nearly no effect on what we plan to do."
"And what's that then?" Spike queried with a raised eyebrow. "You gonna play more bondage games with me? ‘Cause I can tell you right now that you're definitely not my type, Grandpa."
Ramsden didn't so much as blink in surprise at Spike's comment. "There's absolutely nothing sexual about my interest in you." he stated. "Now, would it be possible for me to get a name out of you?"
Deciding he had nothing to lose (and not really looking forward to being called "you" all the time), Spike raised his chin fractionally as he answered. "Spike."
"Interesting." Spike resisted the urge to roll his eyes again -- this man's attitude was getting really old, really fast. "I do remember seeing that name somewhere."
"Yeah, there might be somethin' about it under a cross reference of 'vampire' and 'soul.'"
Ramsden, entirely eager, took a strange device from his pocket that looked like a pocket notebook. "Cross reference 'vampire' with 'soul.'" he said to the item.
Spike blinked. He had just been acting sarcastic when he had made that comment, not expecting in the least that the man actually had the means on hand to follow the suggestion. He craned his neck forward as far as it could go, trying to see what the thing was doing. A loading sign was on the screen, and then what he figured were results popped up.
Ramsden pressed an arrow on the pad and the screen shifted down the results. He came to one that Spike could clearly see that read "William the Bloody" and had "Spike" in parentheses next to the name. He watched the doctor guy press another button, and then a bunch of text began scrolling by. It was smaller font and Spike couldn't read it, so he settled for watching the bloke's reaction to whatever it was he was reading, while being silently surprised at what was clearly an example of the lengths of technology the world had gotten to. He didn't remember ever seeing one of those toys on the market, not one with information so readily accessible, so easily commanded. Would have come in handy, especially for the Scoobies and all their days flipping through page after page of failed research. He wondered if it had any video games on it.
After several utterances of exclamation mixed in with multiple eyebrow raises, the man finally looked up from whatever he was reading.
Spike sneered at him. "Read anything you like?"
"Much." Ramsden said, placing his fancy toy back in his pocket. "But there's too much information to read in one instance. And unfortunately, your previous...'handlers' were unaware as to your true uniqueness, even though it seems you are quite the famous vampire, Spike."
Spike was getting tired of this, and his arms and shoulders were starting to cramp. "Yeah, yeah. So you should also know that as famous as I am, I have people and demons who are going to wonder where I've gone, I stay missing too long. Friends who would think nothin' of barging right into your pathetic little fluorescently lighted underground project and sending the place to hell to break me out."
"Oh! Thank you for reminding me." That annoying smile had come back onto the doctor's face. "I'd meant to tell you sooner, but I got distracted." He placed both of his hands in his pockets. "It's likely that you've no clear recollection of just how you ended up in our...well, I suppose 'clutches' would be the word. But you've been frozen in cryogenic sleep for a very long time, Spike. You were captured on the place you know as Earth by ancestors of the same people who are running this program today. They put you into stasis, to save you for the future. And now it is the future. More specifically, several centuries into the future."
"And I'm supposed to believe that?” Spike snorted. “Sorry, mate, but you're going to have to try out your little fantasy psychological nonsense on someone else."
Ramsden pulled out the electronic notebook thing again, waving it in front of Spike’s face. “I’m going to take a wild guess and assume you’ve never seen anything like this before? That’s because when you were last awake, this item did not exist. Your Earth, we now call Earth-that-was. Its resources were drained due to an overpopulation of the human species. We were forced to leave, find a new solar system, and terraform new planets so we could live safely. There are now nearly four dozen inhabitable planets in our system.”
Spike stared incredulously at Ramsden for a few moments, before he burst out laughing. “That’s bloody priceless is what that is, mate. You ever think about writing a script for that one?”
The doctor was not smiling so much now, but his voice was still light hearted as he spoke. “Remain skeptical if you will, Spike. I just thought you had a right to know that nothing is as you remember it. You’ve been unconscious for hundreds of years. All of your friends -- the non-immortals, anyway, -- have died. The only vampires who have crossed over from Earth-that-was are those in this facility.” He leaned closer to Spike, his voice getting softer. “Your friends aren’t coming for you.”
Spike had gone quiet at the sound of the man’s vindictive tone, his own doubts beginning to squirm into his thoughts. But there was absolutely no way! It simply wasn’t possible.
The man grinned again at Spike’s look of silent fury. “Don’t worry. I promise that you will eventually be given view to the outside worlds. Then you’ll realize that every word I’ve spoken is true. Until then...” Ramsden reached into his pocket (just how many things could he fit in those?) and withdrew a packet containing a very familiar liquid.
Spike’s stomach was instantly at attention. It suddenly felt like he hadn’t eaten in days -- which, if this guy’s ludicrous story was true, was a bit of an understatement.
The man tossed the blood at his feet, then gave him one last look before turning to exit the cell. The guard followed suit, and the door was shut and locked, leaving him alone once more.
The shifting sounds in the wall started again, and the chains began to slip out from their holes. Spike let out a small breath of pleasure as the tension in his arms and back was relieved. He crouched down as soon as the chains allowed, reaching for the blood. He paused a fraction of a second, memories of drugged blood flitting through his mind. But he knew that if they had planned to drug him, there was nothing he could do to stop them, anyway. So there wasn’t any real need for him to put himself through further torture by self-induced starvation.
Spike rolled his shoulders once to get the last kinks out, then reached down to grasp the packet of blood. He vamped and bit into it, giving a soft growl of pleasure as an exquisite taste ran over his tongue. There was a small niggling of despair at the back of his mind when he realized they were feeding him human blood, but there was nothing he could do about it and they probably got it from donations from a hospital or some such. He desperately forced away the quiet voice in his head that was telling him that all it would take was a few more days of the stuff for him to become addicted.
And if they decided to keep him on it for the long term...
Spike shut his eyes as he sucked the last of the liquid from the plastic, and then threw the remains across the room, wiping a hand across the back of his mouth and quelling the urge to roar or punch his fist into the wall.
Instead, he crouched down into the corner of his cell, facing the door, trying to deny the continual increase of fear rising within him.