Here we go. The next several chapters (until the end) are going to be mayhem.
Gerard sat at his desk, the smell of burning paper still distinguishable in the air. He needed to pick up the pace of how things were going, but how?
He knew he needed Jem. It was a feeling he couldn’t determine the source of, but it was there, prodding him to make Jem part of the “team”.
They had taken Christopher into Mind Pharmaceuticals, and Gerard thought that would get Jem on their side, soon enough. But would it be soon enough? It would work in time, he was sure, but he needed to speed things up now; the run-in with John had him on his toes, now. He doubted he’d tell anyone, being as frightened by it all as he was, but there was always the chance.
He tapped his fingers in a songless rhythm on his desk, thinking. He was willing to do almost anything for it – the company needed to be exposed quickly.
A thought struck him that he normally would’ve dismissed without even considering it but, given the circumstances… – fuck the circumstances, a certain part of his brain was screaming – he considered it, for so long and so deeply it troubled him. Slightly troubled him. He ignored the screaming part of his mind and thought through the idea more.
If something should happen to Christopher, and if Clyde – or just the company at large, he supposed – were to be heavily implicated in it, that would give Jem substantial reason to join them.
It would be easy enough to plan an overdose of something – just what that something would be didn’t matter much to Gerard – that could put Christopher’s life in peril. To some degree, he would still be doing his job, as it would provide information on dangerous dosages. That was something that was obviously not purposefully researched often in their company. Not that they cared about the test subjects, of course, but they needed plenty of people to test on, and couldn’t throw them away with potentially inconclusive or useless tests on overdosages.
Yes, Gerard thought, this was best. Now that the idea had been cemented into his mind, it seemed that there was no other course of action than to proceed with it. He was sure Devin would shirk from it, but he didn’t care much for Devin personally, anyway.
Arranging the situation wouldn’t be hard. He couldn’t give it away, obviously, but it would be easy enough to slip a few extra milligrams of something into the syringe.
He decided he merely wouldn’t tell Devin about the whole thing, until it was done. Devin was a terribly nervous man, and Gerard couldn’t risk him ruining something.
He switched on his computer and viewed the timeline of upcoming drug trials for each test subject. He searched for Christopher’s name, then…
“Ah, perfect, phentichloritate.”
It was a much more potent derivative of erichlorate that they had recently developed, and the tests were at early enough of a stage that an overdose wouldn’t be completely surprising. It was also potent enough – dosages were in the microgram – that it would be quite easy for him to set it all up. And the time of the test?
“Seven o’clock tonight. Perfect, this should get the ball rolling just right.”
Devin’s hands were shaking. He had no qualms that he wouldn’t be able to procure enough tripe for Jem, but it was just how fucked up this whole situation was. Yes, Christopher had been taken into Mind Pharmaceuticals, and that might eventually convince Jem to come on their side of things, but he had his doubts about how well that would work, if at all. They hadn’t known each other long, Jem just being recently brought into the Keene State Correctional Facility, and, knowing what type of person Jem was, he suspected he wouldn’t think twice about leaving Christopher in the dust and meeting someone – or no one – else.
He felt the small bag of white powder in his hand, turning it over as he turned over thoughts and plans in his mind, weighing their respective benefits just as he had recently weighed the powder.
His hand clenched on the bag as he decided what to do. He looked at the clock, checked that there would be plenty of time to talk to Jem, and set off.
Gerard watched Christopher being brought into the testing room. Christopher was resisting the guards and acting generally quite nervous and shaky, though Gerard suspected that was more due to him not being allowed to smoke for two days before now, to avoid a contraindication with the drug to be tested.
There was a filled syringe sitting on a table next to the bed they were strapping Christopher into. He had seen the woman who had carefully measured fifteen micrograms of phentichloritate into a small dish, mixed it with sterile water over low heat, then filled the syringe, leave it unattended in the room.
He had already prepared a syringe with fifty micrograms of the substance, and waited until he was alone before he went into the room and switched the syringes.
He didn’t know a whole lot about phentichloritate personally, but from what he did know, he thought fifty micrograms would be enough to put Christopher into a critical condition, critical enough that it would prompt Jem to join them when the incident was blamed on the company’s corruption.
One little nagging part of Gerard’s mind mocked him on his actions and plans. Didn’t he think he was taking things a little too far in the direction things already were going at the company, the thought asked.
Gerard ignored it. This was the only course of action to take, and it was far too late to undo it at this point.
Christopher’s right arm had been secured and the same woman picked up the syringe, found a suitable vein, and slowly depressed the plunger.
Nothing happened for a moment, a shudder ran through Christopher’s body, then was reduced to a lasting shake that took hold of his entire body. The woman and guards took a step back from him, not sure what was going to happen.
Christopher was breathing very quickly, and letting out short, stuttering yells of pain at a rate Gerard thought must be that of his current heartbeat.
The shakings increased in violence and the yells turned into screams. After writhing in a futile attempt to free himself from the bed, his body completely slackened and ceased its movement.
The woman approached Christopher and took a light hold of his wrist, squinting her eyes as she focused to try to find something, anything.
“Oh… god,” the woman inside said. She looked towards the two-way mirror, where she knew Gerard was to be watching. Her eyes were open wide in a state of horror.
“Oh yes,” Gerard said to himself. “This should certainly grab Jem’s attention.”
A guard approached Jem where he was sitting, on the bench he always occupied. He had taken up smoking more in the recent weeks.
“Jem Drake, you’re wanted somewhere,” the guard said.
Jem turned and looked at him. Oh god, this same guy. The guard looked equally pleased at seeing Jem again.
He stood up and extinguished his cigarette, mentally bidding adieu to the remaining tobacco left on the cigarette. He put out his hands to be handcuffed by the guard automatically. He was getting all-too familiar with this process.
The guard led him back into the main Keene State Correctional Facility building, then through a twisting maze of hallways back to the same room he had been led to the first time. The guard opened the door and Jem walked through.
Devin was again sitting at the table, and seemed to be more nervous than usual. Jem walked over to his seat, the guard shutting the door, and sat down across the table from Devin.
“What’s up, doc?” Jem asked.
Devin had his hand on the table, palm down. He lifted it, revealing a small bag of white powder. Jem lunged towards it, but Devin clenched his hand over it again and pulled it towards himself.
“Consider this a good-will gift, with what I’m about to say in mind,” Devin said.
“And what would that be?”
“I’m not doing this. I’m not going along with this. We can find some other person to help us, if you won’t. If you do, I can probably get you more of this. But if you don’t, I’m not buying into this blackmail scheme of yours.”
Jem was internally screaming. He was past withdrawals, but he still craved it continually. “I suppose you’ve forgotten what started this whole ‘blackmail scheme’, eh? I know you’re up to something that Mind Pharmaceuticals, and specifically, uh, oh, what’s his name…”
“Clyde Orrville Edison,” Devin interjected.
“Ah, yes, Clyde, something Clyde wouldn’t be happy in the least about. What would happen if Clyde found out about this whole thing you’re into?” Jem asked. Internally, he was rejoicing at the small slip-up Devin had made. If he hadn’t told him Clyde’s name, Jem wouldn’t have been able to fulfill his end of the blackmail. But now that he had his name…
“And why, precisely, would he care about something a goddamn prisoner would have to say about something he couldn’t know anything about, something which even Clyde doesn’t know about?”
Jem paused for a moment. “I can be very convincing, sometimes.”
Devin scoffed at Jem. “Sure, pal. Bite me.” He dropped the bag on the table. “Still, I’ll let you have this. As I said, a good-will gift.”
Jem picked up the bag, thought about it a moment, and spoke. “It’s sealed well?”
Without hesitation, Jem put the small bag in his mouth, holding it under his tongue.
“Well, thanks for the gift,” he said, standing up from his seat and walking towards the door. “Maybe you’re right, maybe Clyde won’t listen to me.”
He knocked on the door, and it was opened a moment later by the guard. He stepped through, but a moment before the door was closed, he looked back.
“But as I said, I can be very convincing.”
The door was shut, leaving Devin behind. The guard led Jem back towards the yard, then noticed the time and changed directions, back to Jem’s cell.
Jem went into the cell and the guard took off his handcuffs. Jem sat on his cot and waited for the guard to leave. Once he had made sure there was no one that could see him, he removed the small bag from his mouth and stashed it away in his cell. He returned to his cot and sat there a few moments longer, then stood up and walked to the bars of the cell, looking from side to side. There was a guard slowly walking past on patrol. Jem beckoned him to come over.
“Hey, don’t I get, like, a phone call or something?”
The guard squinted at him. “Did you not use it right after you came in? Most people do.”
“I don’t… didn’t have anyone to call, then. I do now.”
“Well, who is it? We’ll need to do a background check on them first.”
“Oh, I’m sure this one will come up clean. I’d like to make a call to Clyde Orrville Edison of Mind Pharmaceuticals.”