Curled up in a ball on the sterile white cot they gave her, Bree keeps obsessively replaying the last time she saw Adam and Chase. Hands bound, FBI agents crowded around them, they'd been split into three separate high security vans. Leo was at the hospital and they didn't even get to see him, didn't even get to say goodbye, didn't even know if he was okay or not. Adam kept fussing and wriggling and only partly trying to get away. Chase, she remembers, just looked stoically ahead all the way from the house to the vans, up until the last moment, when he turned his head and locked eyes with her.
And he looked terrified.
"Bree?" Dr. Phipps steps into her room then, clipboard at his side. "I was hoping we could discuss your vocal manipulation today." He's got gray hair and bright blue eyes and Bree doesn't trust him farther than Leo could throw him.
She sits up in her cot, squares her shoulders, but says nothing.
"It would really help us out," Phipps says, wheedling, pulling his Dr. Nice Guy bit. "The more we understand about your bionics, the more we can do to protect you and your family."
"Protect." She mocks him in her own voice. The least she can do while the government has her and her brothers trapped here is refuse to give them what they want— evidence of her bionic abilities.
"I know you don't believe me," Phipps says with a seedy smile. "But I do have your best interests at heart. All I need you to do is give me a little example of your vocal manipulation."
She stares at him, thinking of all the ways she could give him what he wants and still make it hurt. She could imitate a siren and assail him with the loudest wails she can manage. She could hurl obscenities at him in his own voice.
She stares at him with her lips pressed tightly together until Phipps gives up and leaves. And so Bree decides she won that one.
The next day, Phipps comes in carrying a large tablet. "Hello, Bree," he says as cordially as he can. He sounds like the secretary people have to go through before making deals with the devil. "Can we go ahead and try that vocal manipulation again?"
"Well, I thought about it all night," she says, snarky as she can be under the circumstances. "And, no thank you, man who is holding me and my family against our will."
"I thought you might say that." He doesn't even sound mad, which pisses her off. All she can do is annoy her captors and it turns out she can't even do that. "We decided to get someone else to help… persuade you."
And then Bree can't look anywhere but the screen on the tablet because there's Chase, strapped to some table like a pinned butterfly, a distant panicked expression on his face. She swallows.
"He won't work with you," she says quickly, but her mouth's dry. "They can't get him to say anything that will change my mind."
"He doesn't need to say a word," Phipps says. And then she watches as someone off-screen runs God-knows-how-many volts of electricity through her little brother.
"Stop it." The tears pool in her eyes suddenly as she stares at the screen.
"You can make it stop."
Chase screams, lurching against the table. "Just stop it. Stop hurting him." The room's spinning and her brother is crying out in pain as they shock him again and it's not fair, none of it's fair. Chase screams again. "Stop it."
"Like I said," Phipps tells her, calm as ever. "You can make it stop."
And then she can't look at Chase in pain anymore; she balls her hands up over her eyes. For weeks she's been longing to see her brothers again, just to look at them, just to remember that despite how she feels she's not really entirely alone. And now she can't even look at Chase. "Stop it," she begs, this time in Phipps' voice. "Stop it," in Chase's voice. "Stop it stop it stop it," she pleads, switching between Adam's and Leo's and Mr. Davenport's voices.
And finally the screaming stops, and she can see Chase gulping in breaths looking a little relieved, and then Phipps switches off the tablet. "Good job, Bree," he says. "Very good job."
So Phipps wins that one.
Days go by, she thinks. It's hard to tell. No windows, no clocks. They do feed her, protein packets reminiscent of the pellets Mr. Davenport used to give them. Except somehow those tasted better, homier almost. She wants home now, protein pellets and cold basement walls and noisy, obnoxious brothers.
Dr. Phipps comes in every day to run tests on her, and he's always got that tablet at his side. She doesn't struggle. She complies. She's not going to be the reason Chase gets hurt.
The doctor mostly wants to observe her vocal manipulation at first. He brings in devices to record her and has her recite various scripts in a variety of voices. Himself, Mr. Davenport, a few of the other staff members at the facility. And then he gets more creative, showing her recordings and letting her mimic them. The President. The Prime Minister. Vladimir Putin. Kim Jong Un.
And then one day some unfamiliar staff members come in and take her, and they escort her down a long hallway into an industrial room full of steel tables. "What's going on?" she asks, her own voice sounding foreign to her.
They don't say anything as they maneuver her toward the table and start to strap her down. "Hey," she says, but she's weak. And she doesn't know what the benefit is in wriggling out of their grasp anyway.
They leave the room with Bree still strapped to the table, and as she stares up she thinks she can make out the shiny glint of a camera lens facing her.
Someone could run an electrical current through her bonds and give her a nasty jolt. She figures that out before it happens, but it doesn't make it any less painful when it does happen.
Bree just screams, her whole body buzzing with pain. And then they shock her again, and it hurts just as much, but even through it all she's thinking. Realizing.
Bree may not have Chase's bionic brain, but she figures it out. They're using her, the same way they used Chase. One of her brothers is being forced to watch her at this very moment.
She gets a third shock, but this time she bites down on her lip so hard it bleeds. It keeps her from screaming, though, even if it doesn't stop the tears spiking her eyes.
Adam's older. Adam's the Mama Bear out of the three of them. Somehow, she knows, she knows he's the one being forced to watch this. She just knows.
"Adam," she says before they can shock her again. "Don't do it. Don't give—" She gets cut off by another wave of electricity. At some point, it's bound to kill her, isn't it? But they've done too many tests, and they have too much information. These people know how to push her and her brothers to their limits without breaking them.
They don't want to damage government property.
"I'll be okay," she says, even though she's full-on crying now. Adam needs to know. Adam has to hear her. "It's okay, it's okay. Don't let them use you."
They shock her again, but it's the last time. For now, at least.
She wants to count that as a win, but she's not sure she really gets those anymore.
When Dr. Phipps shows up again, he doesn't mention the little torture excursion. For a while, Bree spends her time wondering exactly how everything's set up here. Does Dr. Phipps oversee her brothers too, or just her? And how much interaction goes on between everyone performing tests on her and her brothers? Are there checks on power? Is there a master plan?
Thinking too much makes her head hurt. If it's not going to help her get the hell out of here, it's not worth her time.
Phipps starts testing her super agility, sending her up to the ceiling and back down again. She doesn't try to argue with him anymore.
And then one day he tells her they're going to start focusing on her speed.
Dr. Phipps leads her down another long hallway to a room with a specially outfitted treadmill just for her. It reminds her of the one Mr. Davenport created for her back home.
For a sick moment, she imagines how much information they've gotten from her dad. How much he's shared with them. If they've found Douglas. If Leo's okay, if he's even alive.
Phipps wires her up with nodes stuck to her forehead, chest, arms, and legs, and then he sets the treadmill to a slow jog for her around 200 miles per hour.
Running feels good, feels right. The ache in her chest doesn't go away but it does feel a little less urgent.
It's not like running for real though, with the wind all around her and colors whirring by. The room's completely gray and still like a tomb. She finds herself wishing there were signs of her brothers there, weights for Adam or magnets and blocks for Chase.
She finally gets a peaceful night of sleep.
Phipps brings her back to the treadmill room the next day and observes as she goes faster. "I should thank you for all your cooperation, Bree," he acknowledges at one point.
"No, you shouldn't," she says bluntly. "I'm not doing anything for you."
"Oh, I know, I know," he sighs. "I wish you would be a little more understanding, though, Bree." She hates that he uses her name, hates that he calls her by her name when she knows he doesn't think of her as a person. She's a science experiment. She's a freak to poke and prod. "Like I said, we are trying our best to keep you safe and the public safe."
"What about my brothers?" She's still running; hasn't broken a sweat.
"Well." Phipps scrubs at the back of his neck. "They aren't as cooperative as you."
"Because you hurt them," she growls. "They're defensive, and they're scared. But they aren't dangerous."
He squints at her like he's picking apart a chemical equation in his head. "Are you sure?" And he whips out his phone and opens up what looks like the live feed from wherever they're keeping her little brother.
His cot's been thrown into the wall, and Chase is banging around his room like an angry gorilla. He pounds his fists and kicks his feet and screams. It's like watching a stranger. But when she hears him bellowing obscenities at the doctors and staff members, Bree recognizes him.
"Oh my God," she says, all the air rushing out of her. She hits the emergency stop on the treadmill. "That's not Chase, that's Spike."
"What are you talking about?"
"That's one of his apps activating," she says, dazedly reaching for his phone. Phipps yanks it out of her reach. "Please, you have to believe me, he's not in his right mind."
"No, look, it's… it's a defense mechanism." She gulps in air, wondering how long Chase's Commando App has even been active, furious no one told her. "It's a fight or flight thing, or something. He's scared."
"He doesn't look scared," Phipps comments. On the video, a man shows up trying to administer a sedative and Spike knocks the needle out of his hand and threatens to rip out the man's heart and use it as a stress ball.
"I can talk him out of it. I know I can," she swears, even though she has no idea. She just knows that she needs to see him.
Phipps leads her back to her room without another word, and then she waits. And waits. And in a fruitless attempt to keep calm, she tries singing to herself in Mr. Davenport's voice. Old lullabies, college radio rock, the Periodic Table song. It's not that he's got a good singing voice, but it sounds like home.
Finally, someone comes into the room. Someone new. A woman, and not one of the ones who led her to the electric shock room. "Bree, I'm Dr. McKenna," she says quickly. "My associate said you might be of some use dealing with Subject C."
"That's my little brother," she says, standing up, hands clenched at her sides. "And yeah, I can help."
Dr. McKenna leads her to Chase's room, not bothering to blindfold her or take some weird roundabout route. It's a little disheartening to realize that it doesn't make a difference whether she knows where her brothers are or not. She still can't get to them.
Except for this.
"Here," Dr. McKenna says, handing her a syringe of sedative. "We're advising you to use your enhanced speed if you think it will help. Don't damage him and don't let him damage you." And she lets Bree into Chase's room.
Spike's backed into a corner, eyes circling wildly as he searches for something to hit or throw. His gaze lands on Bree when she walks in and he lunges for her. Lightning quick, Bree leaps out of the way and grips the syringe tighter in her hand. "Hey," she says, trying to meet his erratic eyes. "It's me."
"Yeah, I got that, Girl, Interrupted," he growls out. "What are you doing here?"
Tears form before she can stop them. "Just wanted to see you," she says, because it's all she's wanted. For months. It's all she's wanted, to see her brothers.
"Here I am." He's Spike, and it's wrong, and it's all she can do not to think about how much anxiety Chase must have been in to trigger his Commando App.
"Chase, it's okay, you're safe," she tries, holding her free hand up and open, palm facing him. "It's me, okay? I'm not gonna let anything happen to you." She remembers how they hurt him and they hurt him and they hurt him until he was screeching. She remembers how they did that to get to her. "I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. You're safe right now, though." To prove it, she tosses the syringe across the room. (She imagines she can hear Dr. McKenna cry out with outrage.) "I'm not gonna hurt you. I'm not gonna let them hurt you." He just stays there, watching her the way a feral lion watches its prey. Quietly, quietly, because she knows Chase would be able to hear it, she says, "Don't do this to me, Chase."
She sees the change in the shift in his shoulders, in the loss of tension in his jaw. And Chase looks bewildered when he mumbles, "Commando App disengaged."
And then he sees her and she's never seen her brother move that fast before. Chase wraps her into a crushing hug and she hugs him back, and for one tiny moment in all this hell it was like they won.
But then Dr. McKenna comes in to congratulate her and take her away, and she and Chase don't even get to say anything to each other, except that he keeps repeating her name as she's dragged out of the room. Like he can't believe she's really there. Like he forgot she was real.
Dr. McKenna starts facilitating and monitoring Bree's tests about half of the time. Bree runs and leaps and turns invisible. She follows every command. McKenna never brings up Chase, but one day after the tests Bree lets out a haughty, "You're welcome."
Dr. McKenna walks out of her room without acknowledging it.
At night, Bree wraps herself up into a ball and tries to dredge up happy memories. It gets harder and harder. She can't even have been here that long, but as it turns out, it doesn't take long for a government high security facility to completely dehumanize you.
At night, she mumbles reassurances in her brothers' voices. "It's okay, Bree, don't worry," she tells herself in Adam's voice. "Everything will be fine, probably," she says in Chase's voice. "You won't be here forever," she says, mimicking Leo's voice. Distantly, she wonders if she could be considered emotionally unstable. And she wonders if McKenna and Phipps would consider that "damage."
McKenna comes into her room one day and leans against the wall opposite her cot to give her some news about Adam. "We're trying to make a deal with him," she explains. "We'll allow Subject A to leave this place provided that he serves overseas in conflicts in the Middle East."
Bree shakes her head; it feels like her ears are ringing. "You're forcing him to go fight wars for you?"
"Conflicts," McKenna says. "And as I said, we aren't forcing anything. We're offering him a choice."
"No," she says, "you want to use him."
"We want to employ him," Dr. McKenna says as though she's explaining something to a three-year-old. "You may have forgotten, but men have been drafted into the military before."
"To serve as soldiers," she says. "Not to be weapons."
"He can do a lot for his country."
"He's not a thing," she says, finally exploding. Bree's standing now, letting all the anger seep out. "We're not things." Dr. McKenna just watches her, carefully observing. "Adam won't do it. He won't take the deal."
"That's why I was hoping you would help us out like you helped with the Subject C situation," McKenna explains. "It won't just be about his freedom. It'll be yours, too."
"If he says no to the initial offering, we're expanding the deal," McKenna says. "Subject A leaves here to aid in conflicts abroad with the help of his enhanced abilities. And in return, his sister walks away."
She could leave. She could go home and see Tasha and Leo, she could sleep in her capsule again. The technology installed in their cells here keeps them from glitching, but her capsule was always about more than that. It's her bed, it's her home, it's her safe place. No more torture. No more tests.
She thinks about being strapped to a steel table and begging Adam not to give in. And she knows, she knows, that's still who she is.
"I won't go," she tells Dr. McKenna. "And you'll have to tell him that. If you make Adam fight for you, I'm not going anywhere."
Dr. McKenna looks furious for just a second, and then it passes. And she steps forward and leans down too close into Bree's face. "Did it ever occur to you that Subjects A and C don't seem as concerned about your wellbeing as you do about theirs?"
McKenna's messing with her. Trying to get her to slip. But Bree knows her family, and she knows that they'd do everything she would to keep each other safe.
McKenna leaves Bree feeling like she's stuck with her head in a fog. She wants to run. She wants to see her brothers.
Bree does her tests with Phipps and he doesn't tell her anything. And then finally, Dr. McKenna shows up again looking dejected. "Subject A won't take the deal."
Bree's running on the treadmill and she tries to hide her smirk.
They finish up the session and McKenna walks her back to her room. Before the doctor leaves, Bree asks her, "Can I see Adam?"
Dr. McKenna just says, "What do you think?" and shuts the door.
Four months. Four months Bree eats and sleeps like a rat in the cage. She runs on the treadmill and leaps and turns invisible on command. She gives the doctors everything they ask for and they keep trying to pull more out of her.
She rolls around in her cot restlessly, warring with the uncertainty about Mr. Davenport and Leo's fates and the certainty that Chase and Adam are being abused and tormented.
Four months pass, and then Dr. Phipps walks into her room and tells her that they're letting her go. "You can thank your young friend Mr. Dooley," he explains in a voice as crisp as his starched collar. "He convinced enough people that keeping you and the other bionics here at our facility was against the public's best interests."
Bree doesn't say anything; she can't believe it. Her knees feel weak, and this feels like a trap. Phipps leads her through a labyrinth of halls until they arrive at a heavy steel door that he opens with a key card.
And that's when she sees the sun.
Bree emerges blinking in the bright light, Dr. Phipps holding onto her elbow. Suddenly she can't see enough; she whirls her head around trying to take everything in, the trees, the parking lot, the asphalt beneath her.
Adam's to her right, several yards away, being led out by a man she doesn't recognize, and without thinking she jerks away from Phipps and sprints toward her brother. "Adam!" She crashes into him and he wraps his arms around her tightly, and he pats up and down her arms like he's making sure she's actually there. "Adam, oh my God. Are you okay?"
She can't hold him tightly enough. "I'm okay," he says, but she's noticing things too fast, the burns and bruises decorating his hands and arms. They're both crying, both hugging, momentarily ignoring the doctors and government agents around them. "Chase. Where's Chase?"
Without letting go of each other, Adam and Bree pivot around to see Chase being escorted out of the building by Dr. McKenna. He looks dazed and disoriented, but then when he sees his siblings he pushes away from McKenna and surges toward them. "Guys," he says, looking spirited again. "Are you okay? Are you—" But Adam crushes him into their group hug and doesn't let go.
They stay like that for a long moment, but then Dr. Phipps coughs and tells them they need to get off the premises. He thanks them for their service to their country.
At that, Adam bristles and backs up; his hands make fists. "Adam," Bree whispers, "just let it go. Let's go home." She puts a hand on his arm. "Let's go home."
The three of them turn away from the gray building they stayed trapped in for so long, and they walk toward the familiar shape of Tasha's car.
She and Leo are standing outside of it, watching Adam, Bree and Chase walk forward in a tangled group. They don't want to let go of each other; they don't want to risk anyone being ripped away. Tasha cries and hugs everyone and Leo clings to Adam and keeps repeating questions: are they okay, what happened to them, were they separated the whole time.
They have to get off the premises, though, and they can't leave soon enough. Chase scoots into the passenger's seat without a word and the other three kids pile into the back. Tasha pulls away from the government complex and starts explaining everything too fast.
"We got Krane locked up," she says, but doesn't elaborate. "Douglas is still at the house. Leo has a bionic arm. Your father's in prison."
Bree squawks but Leo goes to reassure her. "It's basically a spa with a fence," he says. "Don't forget; Big D is white and rich. He's just been worried about you three."
"Did she say you have bionics now?" Adam asks.
Leo grins and holds out his arm. "Check it out," he says beginning to rear back, but Tasha flicks him a stern glare in the rearview mirror.
"Not in the car."
"Right, sorry, Mom," he says, lowering his arm. "Krane and the girl he was working with crushed my arm under a beam. But Douglas fixed me up."
"He's okay?" Bree says, feeling weak and tired and struggling to keep all the new information straight. "You're okay?"
"Everyone's okay," Leo says in a lower voice, patting her knee. "I promise."
"I thought maybe we could go visit Donald," Tasha says. "If that's alright?"
They all agree. He stood up for them, tried to protect them, and it got him jailed. They need to see him.
Tasha starts heading for Mr. Davenport's detention center and they all fall into silence for the drive. Bree's crunched against Adam, his arm around her, and she's tightly holding onto Leo's non-bionic hand. The backseat doesn't even feel cramped to her; she's had too much space for too long. As the scenery rushes past them out the windows, she reaches forward and puts a hand on Chase's shoulder, just to touch him, just to know he's real.
He jumps a little, but then he takes her hand.
Tasha drives, sometimes in silence, sometimes humming along to the radio. At one point, Bree turns to Leo and tells him, "Thank you." She's not sure exactly how he did it, but he saved them. He knows people, and he knows how to deal with public opinion. And he saved them.
Leo just nods and squeezes her hand.
Tasha's been fighting tears off and on the whole time. At one point during the drive, she can't deal anymore and she pulls off on the side of the highway.
"Mom?" Leo says, but she waves off his concern, just hunches over and lets out a couple soft sobs.
"You're all alright?" she says, turning to look at Chase, Bree, Adam. "They hurt you? They hurt you."
They're all quiet for too long, because she knows when they're lying but they don't want to tell her the truth. Finally, Chase says, "We're here now, though."
Tasha takes a second to put a brave face back on, and then they hit the road again.
The detention center does look fancy. A guard checks Tasha's ID and then waves them through the gate to park. Everyone pours out of the car and heads for the main entrance. "I'm sorry I couldn't get us a full visitation," Tasha apologizes as they're inspected. "We can talk to him through the glass, but we can't go into the room with him."
"It's okay," Bree says.
They end up in a room with a glass pane and an intercom system. They wait, and wait, and then finally a guard leads Mr. Davenport into the room. When he sees Adam, Bree and Chase he stops walking and puts a hand over his mouth. The guards leave and stand just outside the room and he takes a seat on the other side of the glass. "Hey," Mr. Davenport says after pressing the talk button, his voice breaking. "Hey."
"I told you I would get them out," Leo says, but his cocky grin is mostly fake. "I told you."
Mr. Davenport nods. "Good job, Leo," he says, not taking his eyes off the kids.
"Leo," Tasha says quietly, "maybe we should leave the four of them—"
"No," Adam says before she can finish. He's got one hand on Leo's shoulder. "Don't go. We should all be here."
"Yeah," says Chase.
So Tasha scoots to the side, meets Donald's hand with hers through the glass, and waits for the kids to speak.
"How's prison?" Adam says after an awkward silence.
Mr. Davenport shakes his head. "Forget about me. What about you three? What did they do to you?"
Bree's about to speak but Chase cuts her off. "They tortured us for information and treated us like lab rats," he says flatly. "It doesn't matter. It's done now."
"It matters," Donald says, trying to meet his eyes. "Hey. Chase. It matters. And I'm so sorry. I never wanted any of this to… but they don't consider you a threat? Do you still have your chips?"
"Yeah," Bree says. "They didn't want to… damage us, so. We'll still be able to go on missions, Mr. Davenport."
"I don't care about that," he says. "I just want you to be okay."
"They made me hold up a three-hundred-pound weight for three days," Adam says suddenly, like he just remembered. "I didn't get to move or anything."
And then they're all talking at once, finding some kind of morbid comfort in sharing their experiences out loud. Chase talks about how his Commando App got triggered and Adam talks about how they tried to send him into a warzone. Bree talks about being shocked but doesn't mention that it was a tactic to torment Adam.
She's watching Leo and Mr. Davenport react to all this but her stomach's turning in circles, too. Apparently, Chase got chained up and ordered to escape on his own, and he spent 48 hours hung on the wall. Adam was constantly injected with adrenaline so they could see if it would enhance his strength or heighten the power of his laser vision.
She finds out Adam was submerged in a dark tank of water for days. She finds out that Chase was shut in a freezer until he had frostbite.
Without realizing she's doing it, Bree's suddenly got her arms around the two of them like she needs to reassure herself they're okay. "I'm so sorry," Mr. Davenport says again through the glass. "I'm so sorry."
Adam, Bree and Chase cluster around Leo and Tasha and then press against the glass, trying to get as close as they can to Donald. Like penguins huddling for warmth, they all push together trying to remember what it's like to be a family, to be free.
That night, after Tasha drives the kids back home, after they've all greeted Douglas and had a real dinner, Bree's still trying to get to sleep when she sees Leo walk into the lab. "Is it okay if I sleep down here tonight?" he says, gesturing to their capsules.
"Yeah," Adam says, nudging aside. It's already crowded in there with him, Chase, and Bree all bunched together in one capsule, but they make room. "Squeeze in."