Implanted Doubts

November 11, 2015:

Diana gets visitors and the reason behind her state is discovered and….extracted.

The Watchtower Station


NPCs: Hans



Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

"It'll always be okay."

Words spoken, and the last few Wonder Woman spoke since her return to the fold of the JL Alliance. Kept under observation Agents, doctors, and Hans (The awesome Germanic chef!) came and went, most leaving with looks of apprehension or in Hans' case, dismay - as she did not seem to remotely touch his culinary layouts; only pushed them around with her fork and refused. Questions were met with stares and at one point a STARR Labs technician was thrown from the quarters with a solid crack against the outer hall wall, the automatic sliding door to the room forcefully closed by a grip upon its lip and ripped closed. So now broken it lay there placed over her entryway, showing her will to just /be/.

At one point she had to be taken down to be kept away from The Subject after she came out of stasis and so they are placed on opposing ends of the (thankfully) large Watchtower Station. But come day two she had cleaned up and sat within her rooms high backed chair at a desk with finger-tips playing over a patch that was bald and now has hair two inches long and counting if she would not stop /pulling/ at it to get at what writhes beneath. This ceases her reading over the documents of SHIELDs departure and Fury's words, the recording playing lowly as well in explanation, on repeat.

In that, a part of her found relief, in another part it caused her to call for more documents, more happenings in her time gone.

Diana had to busy her mind in something, everything, even if right now it only filtered -in- white noise and -out- a recessive echo that Hans had to break through when bringing her breakfast rolled upon a cart as the veritable buffet was for all but he wanted to see if she would at least pick /anything/ from it.

"Fraulein Diana…" A light knock on the off-kilter door as the hulking chef slid it aside across the floor and peered in to see her twirling and tugging that dark hair, glancing over her shoulder to him with hallowed facade of a pale pallor in comparison to the olive beauteous pallor of her ilk.

Straightening he tried firm this time. "You must eat. I brought many fruits, vegetables and my very own liverwurst, Schlackwurst, fresh jams of variety, still warm Vollkornbrot, and baguettes, sweet rolls and coffee or tea - as tea has become more in demand these days…" Need he say why?

Helmet tucked under his right arm, Captain Britain is carrying a small gift basket of teas, biscuits and honey sticks. Wrapping gently on the door, the British superhero pauses at the door as he sees that the German has already loaded her down with all types of fatty fat fat foods and other Germanic goodness. He looks down at his own humble offering and shrugs. Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug, he figures. And he's not exactly the reason for the single-handed run on tea in the Tower.

"Your Highness?" he asks gently. "I was just coming by to check on you." The British hero offers a slight smile as he moves in forward to set on the table. She can enjoy the English and Irish teas later. "How are you feeling?"

Rain is a bit in awe. Such big names, such impressive people. Rain feels so small. She has a small wrapped box with her, likely joining in on the get well better train. Rain is fond of tea but she is also an engineering student and fond of Red Bulls. Well, was. She has to take care of herself these days. "Oh goodness. Hello, your highness. I seem to have stolen the Captain's idea."

Speaking of Captains, Rain's orange tabby is wrapped around her shoulders, tail flicking. "Greetings," The cat offers in a rich, baritone voice tinged with a Gotham accent

To say the truth to Doctor Strange's physician eye, Wonder Woman did not seem okay. To Doctor Strange's sorcerer eye, even less than not okay. Still, she is a demi-goddess and supposedly wise and smart, so he thought perhaps she would be able to recover quickly.

The STARR Labs technician currently in the infirmary seems to indicate she is not okay by a long shot.

But later, right now he is heading for Diana's suite at the space station, and he asked Rain to meet him at the door. So he smiles when he sees the young witch, and nods in greetings to Brian. "Rain, Captain… good to see you here. I think we all had the same idea." Except he brings no tea. New Yorkers are that rude.

From Hans back to paperwork and files, her attention drifted and just as he was about to leave a plate of each on her desk her friends appeared and teammates, Hans offering them a nod, but it was evident he had hope still with a large inhale through his flared nostrils.

"None will ever outdo my /erstaunlich/, but you may try!" His pride is not hurt or anything as his pale hazel eyes skip to their baskets. But leaning closer he whispers. "Just get her to eat, if not I will be force-feeding her my…Nein, not going to say. Can go so wrong." The large meaty palm wiped at his head and he grabbed the handle of his cart and offered to them.

"I am in no haste to try the Winged One either. She boasted of my meals as if they were served in Valhalla and wont touch them either. Women!" He harmphs and then apologetically nods to Rain.

Diana stills in her studies as words go exchanged and directed even to her, turning slowly to look up at Captain Britain, then Rain - the four legged Captain, and Strange at the entry behind. Once Hans leaves the plate and lets the others pick over offerings, he departs for Shayera to try there and hope to ge more of a response - then Diana fully turns to face them. They knew the horrors and faced them, she was trying to save Hans from seeing the full effect the (other)world can have.

Closer to Earth she was healing faster, but not as fast as she would if walking in the sun and upon Gaia herself. But here she was even saving her Amazons at the embassy from it until she could recover… Fully.

Her words were hoarse at first, but hands gestured for them to claim seats anywhere the room offered, taking the gifts graciously, though Captain Britain's look does get a moment of that cerulean gaze to linger, head lightly tilting. "An offer of care and friendship is the same weight and amount as long as it is real." Words to them all, even the empty handed who carries with him a little cloud.

"Quite well spoken, Your Highness, but perhaps is not the time for idle chit-chat. You really should get more rest and heal." Britain ascertains quickly as he goes to set down the basket with an apologetic smile at intruding on her healing time. "I was just going to make the rounds to visit the others as well, to make sure that everyone is recovering. But I am glad to see you at least aware, if not quite ready to be about." he offers with warm emotion.

"If you would allow my leave, I will get to the checks of the others. And of course, if no one else has let you know how they are, I will be sure to leave you a note to keep you appraised."

He turns to Doctor Strange. "Doctor. If it were it not for your quick actions and assistance, I fear we would not have made it out of there. Thank you again for your timely rescue." he says with a bow of his head and a smile is offered to the young witch. "And I heard you both behaved quite admirably as well." He's not a leader, but he knows when to share the wealth - and he's no seeker of glory by any stretch of the imagination. "Now, if I may beg your pardon?" And with that, he's already starting to slip out.

Rain does care. Even if the witch is a bit over her head. She smiles apologetically to Hans. "I am sure it is awesome. I forget to eat sometimes," Given her twiggy figure, this isn't entirely shocking. Captain moves to hop down and sneeff Diana if the woman allows. CATS(TM). "That is very true," Rain agrees. She smiles, seeming curious and hopeful. "If I may aid in healing, please let me know. It is my specialty. I brought chocolates and Captain the cat." Cuddles are healing, right? "Thank you."

"Thank you, Captain," replies Strange. "In truth everyone acted with great courage and ability. I am very impressed with the League membership." He waits for the Englishman to depart and then turns to Diana. "Princess. I see you are healing… but it is a slow healing for someone like you. I asked Rain to come here with me because I suspect your injuries are not merely physical. Would you allow us to assist you?"

Both hands place upon the arm of the chair and then with a half second of reconsideration she stands crisply without aid and offers Captain Britain her hand, taking a step to close the gap between them while the red chiton she wears falls into place around her in a loose billow against the dim lighting of the room. "Brian Braddock." There is a moment, not for thought but just to offer the man a small smile.

"Thank you." Two words, enough to encompass /everything/ and when things settle back to a semblance of normalcy, or what will become that hereafter, it can be more extensive.

Once he departs she remains standing where she is, looking at her hands and then slowly bringing them to her sides to fold within the ripples of native cloth. Then those eyes shift to Rain and Strange, shadowed by the sunken placement, but the light that had died there at least is replaced, but not the same.

"I promised them time for observation without contact," Until the hand shake she did not allow any physical contact what so ever, or nearness of any kind, there are just some issues that reign, and it is more of a harrowing self-distrust. But when Strange states what he does she slowly steps back upon bare feet and reclaims her chair, the exhale long and shuddering, weary.

"I appreciate the offer, but for safeties sake…" A sweep of her hand outward to signify the distance desired despite the feline invading it.

Cats (TM).

Brian Braddock does accept the hand, even with his own injuries, before he departs. "Your Highness, it was our distinct pleasure to assist you. As often as you have come to the aid of Her Majesty and in turn all of the Earth, it was .. what's the turn.. turnabout is fair play?" A grin is offered before he's out the door.

Rain waves to Brian. "Be well. It was good to see you."

Rain looks between the two. "I can heal from over here." She offers. "Magic is handy that way. And may Captain sit on you?" She motions to the cat. The cat is cheerfully ignoring boundaries and coming to sniff poor Diana. SNEEF. With a freckled pink triangular nose, as orange cats often have. She looks to Strange and nods. "It was incredible."

Strange considers Rain's question and the shakes his head, "not yet. We don't know what is wrong." He looks at Diana, "or do we know?" His hand slides to the amulet that hangs from his neck. With a faint click it detaches from its chains. "The Eye of Agamotto dispels all darkness and reveals curses and malaise," he holds it on the palm of his hand, an offering.

Captain Britain's file is flicked closed with a reach of hand, her fingertips lingering on it before sliding away, though her attention does not divert from Rain and Strange with their offerings, the feline is drawn away from with a swift slide of feet back. "I do not mean offense to your Gata, as the form did Artemis justice and escape, but I do not think it wise.." The pause has her drawing her gaze from Captain, to Rain, and then as Strange speaks her eyes do not fall away but the depths of oceanic view waver.

"They're a part of me. They make me fight desires they implanted, a battle I have never faced before with images I…" Now Diana looks at her hands and traces fingers through her lasso that rests beneath folds of billowing cloth at her side, that glow still low and barely noticable beneath the grecian attire. "I harmed you all, failed you all. They /showed/ me this. You were dead by my hands - It still makes me.."
%R Fingers curl to fists as she looks between them and when Strange offers her the Eye her chin lifts. Even if the images were implanted, fake, for a time she believed them, and her trust in herself is hard won, not even -she- knows her own Truth.

Bottom line, Diana wanted the techno-organic worms out of her head, she wanted the images and thoughts gone. One fisted hand opens and extends palm up, but not touching him. "Be fast. I want no harm to come to anyone else from me." She looks between them both.

"It'll always be okay."

Rain waves to Brian. She looks to Strange and then to Diana. "I see." Captain will move away, as requested. "You did not fail," She offers. "We cannot win every battle," Rain offers. The witch looks to Diana, and looks thoughtful. "We can analyze this and draw them out, I bet," She looks to Strange. "Please, let me know how you wish me to assist."

Strange nods, "but in truth they failed to control you, I am sure very few would have been able to resist like you do. Those were dark gods, not mere aliens. Fortunately they had enemies, gods of light that came to assist us in the end. I am going to investigate more about Apokolips and New Genesis as soon as I have time."

But right now the Eye of Agamotto rises from his hand, hovering a couple feet in the air over Diana's hand. It seems to grow and expand until it doubles it size, then glows faintly and opens." It feels like warm sunlight for the Amazon, but a second later the devices in her head start throbbing in response to what for them is a very hostile light.

"I never…" Diana was about to protest, about to succumb again and instead closes her eyes as well as her lips to speak no more. Some things will take more then spells and band-aids to heal and it would be all up to her. Strange was right in a way, but in the end people had to /remind/ her to believe in far more then faeries.

The outstretched hand that laid in wait cupped upward towards the Eye,, sensation like small sparks that came from the Eye cascaded over her body where it opened and cast a glow, but the moment it crept upward over shoulders the tension drew and Wonder woman's form trembled at first, just a shiver but the higher the light cast over her face her features contorted and just as she had done during the battle in Apokolips - she convulsed.

Spine bowed and the will to stand was lost beneath the pain that only garnered the reaction of clenched fists. Beneath the waves of noir hair movement can be seen, a hue close to skins tone mingled to blend with the deep pitch of thinned tendrils writhes to the surface, bubbling up from along the curve of neck and shoulder to snap like a violent whip and then slam downward, embedding its Annelidic maw back towards the nape of her neck to bury beneath and try to embed deeper under skin… Closer to the core and continue the work it was set to do.

One revelation though, had nothing in comparison to the writhing network beneath her scalp, the beasts that lay there attached to her nervous system and stem, sending relays, showing lies, /forcing/ 'truths'. Hands went hanck to hair and fingers curled within, pulling fiercely as her spine snaps from that arch to a bow, tucking her inward and recoiling from Strange and Rain.

"Don't touch me!" Those few words a booming echo of demand, anger, and pain that draws back another STARR Labs tech and a few Agents to watch and wait, although the bindings within one mans hands do not show the precautions being prepared for…
Huh? (Type "help" for help.)
"Healing magic now, Rain," states Strange, looking grim. He is also adding his power to the Eye, and studying the revelation of the light. Should he try an exorcism, or would just a focused transmutaion spell be more suitable for those devices. Apokolips' technomagic is weird and dark, and he is quickly learning to hate dealing with it.

Rain looks to Strange. She furrows her brows. She nod as Strange. She will take a deep breath, and start drawing on healing magic and energy on poor Diana. If nothing else, it'll bolster her defenses. The witch looks serene, pouring forth healing and energy into the poor woman. And Captain is standing watch. "This stuff is… awful."

When one does not break under torture and deprivation other measures can be utilized, and for the most part the worms worked in their favor… At least when they had her convinced she had killed all she called friend and family, and all she loved - replacing it with themselves, or at least Granny.

Fingernails had begun to at least grow back and be allowed as much whereas the nervous tick of pulling at her hair after they had shaven part of it to implant the techno organic worms has yet to be allowed, and for reasons the Eye shows.

The networks and bundles of nerves that ripple from the spinal cord are there, but with them are these worms melding and becoming in their transition to reprogram and rewrite, feeding images still even though she sits before all she thought was lost - being told it is all a lie to sway her loyalty from Darkseid and it needed destroyed!

Rain's healing eases off the pain felt from the insistant burrowing, those jolts sent and the network of paths that had been burrowed into cavernous ways beneath skin and cartilege, but what Strange can see is as quickly as the healing is pushing them back they seek to make more to get away from the light of the Eye, their blows into tissue becoming more rabid and desparrate despite the healing that pushes them back and dislodges their anchored holds.

"Get them off, get them out. I can hear them, hear all the screams!" And with the screaming they had already been inflicting in her mind enough was enough, as one backed its way out Diana ripped it free of her scalp, tearing at it like an angered bear, snapping electrified segments in tixt over and over until all she held was smeared dust in her palms.

Strange would have liked to do this with anesthesia, but really, there are no normal drugs he knows able to knock out Diana. And he didn't expect something like this!

"I am sorry, but this should be quick," he grabs the floating Eye with a hand and chants words of magic, pouring more of his power into the amulet. The light becomes blinding even for the relatively pure-hearted trio in the room. For the mechanisms of Apokolips this is like falling into a furnace. It shatters the physical form and annihilates the alien energy circuitry.

FORTUNATELY, years of healing experience have given Rain the ability to learn magic anesthetic. She's been at it a lot longer than before. And maybe she seems to age slowly due to the whole several hundred year long relatives instead of a forgetful universe. So healing and anesthetic it is!

Time stands still when things happen that you do not want. Slowed to a crawl where 10 seconds seems like 10 hours, and for a woman like Diana pain was something ground through or shrugged off, if even felt. Her world was flipped up side down in the 3 weeks that seemed like 3 decades, and now these /quick/ moments promised bore no weight. If it got this to stop, she would endure and the show of her bracing to do just that comes with the sudden withdrawl of hands from hair as the assuaging sensation washes from Rain to her, taking that world ravaging pain down to just a civilization in scale.

Hands tangled with black knots of hair are forced into the metal floor of her room, gripping into the reinforced platform that groans beneath the taut and evident strain shown in sinew along Wonder Woman's arms. Silently lips move in a prayer, her body visibly calming despite the tremors not caused of her own will that shidder down along the stretch of exposed skin, razing goosebumps in their wake, though in that knelt position the ridges of spinal column show the serpent sway of motion beneath, pressing upward and trying to five deep in protest.

"Destroy them all, please." A break in her moment of devotion just before what Strange does begins and brings them all o the surface like a mound of insects and their hive had been disturbed, but as they surface their construct seems to deteriorate and anys attempt to retreat is met with the rapid sealing behind of Rain's efforts.
Strange nods, although the light of the Eye is so bright it is hard to notice. Seconds crawl too slowly, but then the light dims slowly, and the Eye closes. "I… can't see more alien patterns in you." He crouches to help Wonder Woman back to her feet and to the chair. "I am sorry, if I had seen this was so serious I would have taken you to my Sanctum in New York. And I have to ask you to let the STAR labs doctors scan you for alien technology I wouldn't detect with magic."

Rain is doing her best, although she cannot talk as she concentrates. Poor Wonder Woman. It's for the best not to look too much, lest Rain just hug poor WW to bits and pieces. "I am sorry," Rain whispers. She has suffered so much, poor Diana. But at least the pain is easing.

Strange is not even registered as touching her and aiding her until she opens her eyes and is standing. It was one of those moments where breathing had ceased and she focused. Pain is there for a reason, a reminder, and every moment as it rapidly descends in the dissolution and healing is recalled, every itch beneath the surface that Rain creates with the rapid follow through of healing and anesthetic.

Straightening slowly her eyes that had looked upon them in a manner that was not direct, dared to rise fully. Cerulean shores of irises lined in cobalt settle on Strange, Rain, and those who stared through the observation window, at some point the door having been moved aside to prepare for the worst.

"None," The word at first is a whisper on strained vocals and then when her chin finally regains its regal perch she speaks a bit more clear. "No more thoughts, no more… flashes when I look at you all." A slight quiver of her lip and the heels of hands press upon eyes, shoulders hunching in a fashion where it shows the hunger evidently endured. Cut her and she heals, but even Gaia, deprived of her needs will fade and those cuts will become mortal.

Another deep breath and hands fall away, Rain did not need to sweep in and hug the woman, Diana turned to her, a hand on her shoulder at first - tentative and light and then draws her in in an embrace that borders between camaraderie and friendship. A warriors embrace that ended in Captain getting a scritch beneath his chin upon withdrawal.

"Thank you." Though those words to Rain and then Strange are not done, and not everything is fixed, as time is needed for the scars upon her mind and the memories. A light tremor as even then the residual comes and goes, but she stands before Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme and her friend and holds her hands, palm-out towards him at her sides facing him.

"Those words may not be much, but I do hope that eventually I can amount to the repayment of the service you have done for me."

A promise made in those words to them both and for a pulse that lasso surges brighter at her hip.

"No need, I am glad to have been able to help," replies Strange, looking relieved himself. "We need you back to your feet, too. The League needs your leadership, we have some new members and SHIELD had to withdraw their support due to some internal problems," and he is not saying so, but he thinks Hawkeye might be over her head.

"There are still Obelisks in Hell's Gate. I keep them insulated and unable to communicate with Apokolips, but I can't remove them alone," he adds, "and the evidence of alien contact is overwhelming, the human society is in flux. You are needed, Princess Diana."

Rain squeeps as she's hugged. She returns it and beams. Captain closes his eyes at chin scritchings. Aw yiss. Scritches! His tail wiggles a little. The two are quiet a moment at the solemnity and joy of the moment. She smiles. "We are glad to have been able to help. No one deserves to feel that way," She promises. Rain thinks Diana deserves to be happy. And that is true. "I'm just glad you're okay." And that she could help! Rain is still, her body language reflecting the bookishness within.

That feeling, the deadness inside is slowly dissipating, but it is something that will also take time. A decay set in so far that the residual memory of it as well as Strange's words with Rain's cause her jaw to set and in that straightening her spine also goes straighter with the squaring of Amazonian shoulders. A slow nod shows her understanding as her hand sweeps to the files she had brought to her and drawn in the single night back already, but how much had truly been taken in?

"I listened and read. I see and with your words know the depth of it all that remains and grows. More then just me has wounds to be seen to and once we are back to strength and unity this will all get handled with the care each deserves." Her hands smooth over the chiton then and the stoicism her features had settled into lingers. "Changes have come, my friends, and they will be faced but we have to start within."

Moving for the door her gait is sure, but the steadiness is her coming back to the training, the /need/ to be that unbreakable pillar. Shayera will be sought out and then each member as well as those she will view that came to the aid of the League and the World when the call rose. Wounds or no, they deserved the care and their own return of strength and to simply /know/ that their dedication is appreciated. Even the Subject, the one the urge to kill had been so strong it still leaves a taste in her mouth and a tension through fingers. Needless to say the mention of STAR labs looking her over is avoided. There, an apology is due.

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