Scene 1.23 - Web of Lies
Anaak Underground Lab:
"Come on," Errol rasped irritably. He simply couldn't bite his tongue for a second longer. "What the hell do you want? Why are you here?"
The words were spoken to the face of the view screens mounted on the security station before him. The Elite had been exploring every area of the facility for nearly an hour, yet they said not a word to explain their unexpected appearance. Errol was certain that he knew, of course... Even their domain must have been affected by the power outage that occurred.
He just wished one of them would say something—anything at all to give him some idea of where this was all going. Instead, Lord Carridon walked the facility in silence, flanked by the two dragons who had yet to transform into something more civilized in appearance. Perhaps they had no intention of doing so at all, much to his dismay.
Carridon was now walking the length of the laboratory, surveying the rooms that formerly housed the captives inside their cells. Only two patients remained in stasis at this moment. His companions had remained on the outside of the locked wing, unable to fit within the smaller confines of the lab's corridor. Carridon was inspecting every facet of the area, stoically studying all that was there in silence.
"Zoom in on him," he ordered the technician seated at the station. He'd barely gotten more than a brief look at them before being summarily dismissed from their presence. Under Carridon's stare, he was deemed no more than an insignificant nuisance and entirely ignored.
How different the Anaak Elite appeared in comparison to those who lived in the city… If not for the history books he'd read, he might consider them a different species of beings altogether.
The skin of the Anaak were covered in shimmering scales from head to toe that varied in tones of dark blue, gray, green and black. The light, when it shone upon them, revealed deep hues of iridescent and glimmering bands of rich color that darkened and brightened in contrasting colors as they moved. Carridon's skin was much the same, but oh so different at the same time.
So much time spent away from the light had paled his skin considerably. It was the color of alabaster stone, gleaming with a sheen of light opalescent hues that shimmered as he walked. He might appear the image of a sainted being altogether if not for the sinister yellow eyes that betrayed that notion—eyes that were currently surveying every area of the lab in silent perusal. It truly gave Errol the shivers to see. Only the silver locks of Carridon's hair gave an indication of his age. Aside from that telltale sign, the elegant lines of his face were smooth and flawless, appearing not to have aged beyond thirty years, if that. There were no records to indicate how old any of the Elite really were, but as far as history was concerned, Carridon's name appeared in every historical text as far back as records were kept. How they'd managed to live as long as they did was something that no one in the Anaak community understood at all. Yet, there he stood, right there in the heart of the lab!
Thankfully, the Greys seemed to have disappeared from the facility altogether, much to Errol's relief. Where they were hiding, he had no idea. It was merely a blessing to see that they'd gone. He knew without a doubt that any meeting between the Greys and the Elite would only end in violence and bloodshed. It was not a moment that he had relished seeing. The result could have been disastrous considering the agreement they'd only just reached concerning Eve's removal from the surface of the planet.
"I have the footage now, Sir," Adams finally acknowledged as he cued up the lowest monitor to play back the pre-recorded footage of the city's security camera system. The image of an older gentleman making his way through town was displayed in time-lapsed view. Errol watched him moving away from his own apartment building, heading down towards the city's main transit system.
"That's not my son. What the hell is wrong with you?" He objected irritably, unable to believe their utter incompetence.
"It is," Adams insisted. "Look here. We caught him on surveillance leaving the apartment directly after you did. We tracked his movement through town and stopped him before he could enter the tunnels that lead into the upper world. He morphed six times in two hours to avoid detection."
"The tunnels? Why in the hell would he head there?"
Adams sighed, obviously dreading what he was about to say. "When he was taken down, he was ranting about the insane experiments being run here at the lab. It was fortunate that our own forces were the ones able to subdue him. It was apparent to us all that he was the one responsible for the break-in you reported. If you listen to the—"
"What the hell Derek!" Wanting to hear and see no more of it, Errol stepped away from the desk. "I have to talk to him."
"He's being detained in your office as you requested."
With a disgruntled nod, Errol left the room and entered the hangar outside the lab. It was only one-hundred feet across, but he'd have to cross within range of the Elite in order to get to his office. Disconcerting as it was, he did his best to school his feature as he walked, appearing completely indifferent to their presence.
How could the timing of this all get any worse? With the arrival of the High Council looming over his head tomorrow—not to mention delegates from the human world's armed forces, he needed to be focusing on the impending trial ahead. He needed to prepare for the interrogation he knew was fast approaching.
He hadn't even crossed half the distance to his office when the screech of the locked unit signaled the doors were beginning to open. Errol did not want to stop, yet he forced himself to do so when the two dragons lying in wait raised their heads at attention. It was no surprise to see Carridon standing there, beginning to stride with purposeful steps out of the lab. This time, his eyes were slitted dangerously, focused solely on Errol, himself.
Stemming the involuntary reflex to swallow, Errol turned and slightly bowed his head in a subservient gesture to the Elite King. There was no telling what thoughts were running through his mind, but it was clear he finally intended to reveal some of it at last.
"You are Errol McCormack," Carridon surmised when he stopped just three feet away.
"Yes, I'm the lead physician in charge of this facility. I've been employed here for—"
"I have no interest in the historical events of this place. What is happening here right now—today, that is the only information I require before the Elite and I will pass judgment."
"Judgment," Errol frowned, truly concerned by what sounded like an imminent threat upon them all.
"Is it true that your facility is engaging in negotiations with the—" he nearly spat the word with venomous disgust, "Elders of the Greys?"
They knew! Despite that they'd made themselves scarce, the Elite were aware of their presence. Errol felt himself beginning to perspire under the deadly glare in Carridon's eyes. The High Council might be willing to listen to reason—considering the Grey's participation in recent events critical to their survival, but the Elite? No, they would never stand for it.
Of course that was the reason they had come. It wasn't the power outage or the near catastrophic events that could have played out had Eve remained at the facility. It wasn't even the work being conducted inside the lab. It was the presence of Greys being allowed to enter their domain that had the Elite so riled up, ready to attack.
Errol faltered, unable to say the words to deny the allegations. The enmity between the Greys and the Elite was legendary. Only at one point in history were they ever have known to work together, but that had been over millennium ago. Since then, complete and utter separation of the species had been insurmountable by any means. The war that had raged in the coming centuries since that time made working together punishable by death.
"Your silence is answer enough," Carridon declared as his head inclined mere inches in response.
"It was necessary, I assure you," Errol insisted, recoiling immeasurably on the inside as he faced the apparent rage of the being looming over him. "The High Council was consulted—as were the delegates of the human world who are arriving tomorrow. Our lives were in peril. The jeopardy to our species due to the Kindred in captivity—"
A long hiss of contempt and outrage erupted as Carridon suddenly bared his teeth. His hand shot forward, gripping the collar of Errol's shirt as he yanked him forward and off his feet.
"The what? What did you say to me," he rasped.
"She's been in captivity for as long as I've been here," Errol gasped. "There was an incident and she managed to escape—"
"A what," Carridon spat down at him.
"My Lord, the High Council! They will be here tomorrow! You can hear it for yourself and see that we needed the help of the Elders to get rid of her!"
On the cusp of an insidious growl, Errol found himself being tossed to the ground as Carridon shoved him away with a vengeance. Biting back a grunt as he landed hard on his backside, he forced himself to stare up at the Elite King, fully expecting to be incinerated on the spot where he lay sprawled.
Carridon was not moving, nor did he speak as raised his eyes to the dragons who stood perched behind him at that very moment. Whether they were conferring telepathically or merely through other means, Errol could not discern. All he knew was a moment of utter terror as he envisioned them leveling the entire facility in a fit of rage. No force on the planet could have stopped them if they'd wanted to do it.
All at once, Carridon's eyes glared back down at him as if they had all reached some inevitable conclusion in their minds. Errol waited with baited breath to hear his decree.
"We will be here when they arrive. I want to hear from their own lips every detail about this facility as it relates to the Kindred."
Errol was quick to realize his mistake, that Carridon had suddenly assumed the High Council themselves were somehow responsible for the capture and escape of the Kindred. It wasn't true, of course, but for the moment that meant the spotlight was taken off his own neck.
Oh, he was going to have to formulate a plan to quickly rectify that point of contention. The High Council would have his head just as quickly as the Elite if it appeared he were unjustly pointing fingers in their direction. Oh the web of lies in his world was only growing deeper by the minute! Licking his incredibly dry lips, he merely nodded in ascension up at Carridon that he understood the directive completely.
"They are coming to look for answers as well, I assure you," he insisted. "I promise you, everything will be explained when they arrive."
Carridon flicked a glance at his two companions and gestured for them to follow him out of the facility. Errol could have fallen backward onto the concrete floor, so great was his relief to see them suddenly leaving. He felt it difficult to stop the frantic beat of his heart or take a proper breath, so great was his anxiety over the entire episode.
The Elite were going to want answers! The High Council would want them as well…
How great of an actor would he have to be in order to convince them all of the near-catastrophe that had almost befallen them just days before? What if they didn't believe him? What if they saw through the lies to see the truth?No… There was no way they'd uncover the truth. There was too much evidence he had gone to great lengths to procure and set up. These beings were not mind-readers—not like the Greys… If he kept his wits about himself and kept to the facts, the evidence would speak for itself. It had to… There simply was no reasonable alternative in his mind.