Disclaimer: This is a non-profit work of fiction. All characters and places belong to those who created, and produced Swamp Thing.
Notes: This is the first story I ever attempted to write, through the ringer of several major edits of course. With luck this is the last incarnation. This whole story wouldn't have been possible without the encouragement and support of a truly great person. Thank you Fran! You were the best.
Betrayal of Loyalty
"I heard you call to me," Alec's voice disturbed the watching stillness of the air. "What is wrong, old friend?" Gently placing his hand on the trunk of an ancient cypress tree, he closed his eyes and concentrated on interpreting The Swamp's answer.
"A building?" Alec repeated thoughtfully. "Who would construct a building on the edge of the Swamp? Arcane?" Frowning he concentrated again on The Swamp's answer. "No. Not Arcane." He relaxed slightly, "Strangers to the area then ..."
Alec's mind flashed back to when he himself was a stranger in town, starting out in a building not too dissimilar to the one in the Swamp's vision. "I shall investigate further, find the purpose behind this intrusion ..." frowning he trailed off uncertainly, "However I sense no danger. Am I allowing my own memories of the past to create a situation that doesn't exist?" Absently stroking the smooth bark on the old tree Alec finally shook his head, "No. There is no cause to justify delving any deeper into this, not where the risk of being seen is so high."
The decision was made, but a faint feeling of doubt assailed his mind – what if he was wrong. There may not be a sense of danger; however the whole situation felt wrong somehow. "I will keep an eye on it at least, should anything suspicious occur," Alec patted the tree farewell as the Swamp sent its gentle agreement. The incident was pushed firmly to the back of his mind as he settled back to enjoy the all too rare moments of peace and quiet pervading the atmosphere.
One month later
The sudden jarring noise of the telephone startled Graham, bursting his bubble of concentration. He did his best to ignore the persistent ringing, trying to focus back on completing the task of entering gene strands into a database. However the intrusive ringing kept on until with a muttered curse, Graham finally reached for the phone and picked up the offending instrument.
"Laboratory ... Graham speaking." Annoyed he barely even listened to what was being spoken on the other end. Gradually certain words filtered into his mind and he snapped to attention. "Who is this?" he demanded, "What do you want from me?" Shaking his head as if to deny the request spoken across the line he was unable to control the tremor in his voice, "I, I ... couldn't ... I ..." Graham listened in horror to the cruelly spoken words. "Please don't ..." Harshly the voice interrupted, the threat made clear, "Alright, I'll do it," Graham finally whispered in defeat, staring at the phone numbly as the other person disconnected. He was still sitting, staring quietly when the elevator hissed open and slow and steady footsteps headed in his direction. Feeling a hand touch his shoulder Graham flinched, dropping the phone and knocking over several beakers in the process.
"Graham, what on earth is the matter with you?!" Arcane glared at his assistant, who was looking decidedly on the pale side.
"Er ... nothing, Sir." Standing up Graham tried to twist his mouth into the semblance of a normal smile, knowing he'd failed when the Doctor's look of annoyance only increased. "You just startled me."
"I trust because your attention was focused on the task you are required to complete, Graham and not on anything extraneous to the job." Crossing his arms he pointedly stared at the sheets of data that still had to be typed in.
"Yes, Sir ... um, I'm almost finished everything, er .." Desperately looking around he seized the broken glass by his feet as an excuse to get out of the lab. "I'll er, just go get something to clean up this mess with first." Not waiting to hear the Doctor's reply he bolted for the elevator avoiding the Doctor's startled gaze as the doors slid shut.
"And people claim I'm mentally unstable." Arcane shook his head in exasperation, dismissing the event from his mind as he settled down to work.
After making an all out dash for his room, and receiving several strange looks along the way, Graham finally sagged against his closed and locked door in relief. After a brief moment of rest he hastily grabbed a small bag from the top of the closet and threw some clothes into it. He couldn't afford the luxury of thought, couldn't afford the doubt it would bring. Already he could feel the almost overwhelming urge to go back down to the lab and confide in the Doctor. Instead Graham stepped over to his desk to complete the last and most difficult task. Picking up a pen he hastily scrawled out a barely legible note,
I quit. It's time to move on, I'm sorry.
Slipping the note into a plain white envelope he wrote the Doctor's name firmly across the front and placed it on his pillow. Picking up the small bag he was on the way out the door when his eye was caught by the framed picture of Dr. Arcane kept on the night table. Slowly Graham picked up the picture, one finger longingly tracing the image before setting it firmly face down. Taking a steadying breath he headed out of the room.
Heading down to the garage Graham had to remind himself not to run, no one was after him ... yet. Dr. Arcane had no reason to suspect that anything was up and with any luck he'd be long gone by the time anyone got suspicious. Still, it was with a sense of relief that he climbed into his truck. Now to make it out of the Complex. Pulling up to the front gates Graham resisted the urge to hit his head on the dash when he saw who was on duty - Phil! The man seemed to live for making his life as difficult as possible. Fingers crossed he hoped Phil would simply open the gates for him, the last thing he needed was for the Doctor to be informed of his absence yet. Not while there was still the very real possibility of being caught. Graham shivered at the thought of what Dr. Arcane could do him if the man thought he was being betrayed.
With a perfunctory flick of his hand Phil indicated that Graham should stop the car and roll down the window. Suppressing his impatience Graham reluctantly did as bid, "Open the gates Phil, I'm in a hurry."
Phil only smirked, his expression showing quite clearly he was going to enjoy this, "Well now, Mr. Graham, I'm only doing my job." Leaning one arm against the roof his posture suggested he wasn't going anywhere fast. "I am required to check everyone leaving the complex after all."
"That's great Phil." Graham glared at the man, doing his best to copy the Doctor's latent talent of implying impending death with a simple look – with less than obvious success. "Then you can explain to Dr. Arcane why a vital part for his new experiment didn't get picked up on time because you stood in the way." A satisfied smile crossed his face at Phil's sudden fearful expression. "I'm sure you'll survive the encounter ... more or less intact."
Phil glared balefully at him as he hurriedly stepped away from the car. "I'll open the gate, Mr. Graham." Sneering his name Phil attempted to salvage some dignity as he stepped back into his booth and hit the switch to open the gates.
Waving cheerfully Graham drove past, letting out a sigh of relief once he was through. Once out of sight of the Complex he floored the gas pedal, doing well over the speed limit in order to gain as much time as possible. Luck stayed on his side in not being stopped by a police cruiser or slowed down by traffic; making it to Houma's National Airport in record time. Parking Graham turned off the car tiredly, listening to the quiet ticking noises of an overheated engine before forcing himself to move and make his way into the airport.
"Hey isn't that Arcane's assistant over there?" Will asked Tressa, gesturing over to where Graham had just entered the building.
"Yes, I think it is." Tressa confirmed, eyes narrowing thoughtfully, "I wonder what he's doing here."
"Well, whatever he's up to it has something to do with Arcane." Will stated grimly. "Whenever Graham is you can be sure Arcane isn't too far off."
"In that case I suggest we follow him." Suiting actions to words they discretely followed Graham up to the ticket counter, watching as he appeared to argue with the attendant. Finally the clerk picked up the phone and after a few minutes conversation, nodded and handed Graham a ticket.
Will and Tressa ducked out of sight as Graham turned away from the counter. Cautiously peeking around a corner they were just in time to watch Graham board an airplane at Gate 6.
"I wonder where he's going?" Tressa gazed after the plane, which was already beginning to taxi down the runway.
"I don't know, but I intend to find out." Will quickly walked over to the same ticker counter Graham had gone to. "Excuse me, Miss," he smiled engagingly. "Could you tell where the plane leaving from Gate 6 was bound to?"
"It is an international flight bound for Pearson Airport in Toronto." The woman answered politely.
"Thank you." Smiling politely he turned and hurried back to Tressa.
"Well," she asked impatiently, "What did she say?"
"He's gone to Toronto."
Tressa's eyebrows raised in surprise, "Why on earth is he going there?"
"Beats me," Will shrugged, "Perhaps Graham's come to his senses and left Arcane."
"Right, and hell just froze over." Sighing Tressa shook her head. "That can't be it, Graham would never leave Arcane."
"Well, whatever the reason is, I'm sure we'll here about it sooner or later. Until then, at least we had a bit of excitement waiting for Danny's plane to get in." Will dismissed the issue from his mind.
"True." Tressa tapped Will on the arm, a small smile taking any sting out of the words, "but I'm warning you, if your friend doesn't arrive soon I'm going home, and you can wait by yourself!"
Out on the runway the plane lifted gracefully into the air, making one sweeping turn before heading west. Inside Graham pulled the window shade down, shutting out the sight of his home disappearing behind him and settled down for the long flight and the uncertain future its conclusion would bring.
Dr. Arcane paced impatiently, glancing up at the clock with an ever deepening scowl on his face as the minutes ticked by. Fifteen minutes after completing some preliminary work on the new experiment he had become aware that Graham had not come back to clean up the mess. Five minutes after making that realization he had started pacing.
"Dammit, where is Graham?" Arcane glared up at the clock. With a growl of frustration he strode over to the intercom, stabbing at the button with more force then was necessary. "Send a maintenance crew down to clean up some broken glass," he ordered shortly. "Also have a security guard locate my assistant Graham and have him escorted to the laboratory." Arcane clicked off the connection without bothering to wait for a reply. Putting the issue temporarily out of his mind he resumed work on his experiment.
A security guard, dressed in the customary black and orange jumpsuit of Arcane Industries, conducted a systematic search of the Complex. Starting with the employee's rest areas he quickly eliminated all obvious places where the Doctor's chief assistant could be. He headed next for Graham's quarters, the last place on his list that needed to be checked. Opening the door and entering the security guard saw no sign of the man. Making a quick check of the bathroom he was just about to leave when he spotted an innocent looking envelope laying on the bed. Gingerly he picked it up by the corners, handling it as if it was a bomb, knowing instinctively what it contained.
The guard made his way slowly back to the laboratory, practically dragging his feet in his reluctance to turn the note over to Dr. Arcane. Taking a deep breath the man screwed up his courage for the confrontation with the Doctor.
Arcane looked up as the elevator doors opened, expecting to see Graham making his way into the laboratory and looking extremely contrite. Instead he was greeted by the extremely nervous face of one of his security guards. "Where is my assistant?" Crossing his arms Arcane tried to hang onto his temper.
"I, um, couldn't find him." The security guard managed to stammer, reaching out to hand Arcane the envelope. "I found this in Mr. Graham's room." with Dr. Arcane's attention focused on the note, the security guard made a quick exit from the room, sighing in relief once the elevators doors closed safely behind him.
Glancing up Arcane observed the security guard's quick retreat from the lab. "What is with everybody today?" Shaking his head in exasperation he turned his attention back to the envelope in his hands. Frowning at the implications it represented Arcane tore open the envelope and read the contents.
"Time to move on!" he read the words out loud in disbelief, "Time to move on!" repeating, his tone quickly dropped to sub-arctic temperatures. "No one leaves my employee without my permission ..." Arcane snarled, crumpling the note up and hurling it at the wall, "especially not my own bloody assistant!" Angrily he punched the intercom button, "I want whoever is on guard at the front gates brought down my lab. Immediately!"
Pacing the floor Arcane had to resist the temptation to hurl several nearby beakers at the wall. The more time passed the angrier he got. How dare Graham leave him like this! Losing the battle with impulse he flung the nearest beaker at the wall. The glass shattering just as the lift doors hissed open and a startled security guard stepped out. Flinching the man took an uncertain step backwards, paling at the furious expression on Dr. Arcane's face.
"Who the bloody hell are you?" Arcane glared impatiently at the man.
"I, I'm Phil," swallowing nervously he rushed on, "I was working the front gate tonight. You wanted see me?"
"Ah, yes," stalking towards the security guard his expression became colder and more deadly with every step. "I want to know if my assistant Graham left the Complex tonight, and for your sake," Arcane crossed his arms, "he had better still be on the premises."
*Oh shit,* expression closely resembling that of a deer in headlights Phil took half a step backwards. "Um, well, you see ..." he slid another inch away from the Doctor, " ... um, Graham, well, he, he left the Complex an hour ago."
"I see," Arcane half turned away, tone casual, "... one more thing, " the Doctor turned back just as Phil breathed a sigh of relief, thinking that was the end.
"Are you normally this incompetent or is this simply a bad day?" voice still deceptively pleasant, Phil didn't hear the dangerous rage lurking under Arcane's tone.
"I'm sorry, Sir," Phil hastened to explain his actions, "Mr. Graham told me that you had sent him out on an important errand. I figured ... "
"You figured," Arcane interrupted, tramping down on the urge to just throttle the man now, "I don't pay you to figure!" he spat the word, "I pay you to keep guard at the front gates and ensure that no one ... *NO ONE* gets in or out without my explicit permission. Or was your job description so difficult to comprehend."
"No sir, sorry sir," Phil locked his hands together to prevent them from shaking, cursing Graham silently for getting him into this mess. He couldn't wait to settle the score with the man, "But he, he was very convincing and it was just Graham ..."
Arcane laughed without much humour, "well, 'just Graham' has seen fit to leave the Complex with my permission! As you were in charge of Front Gate Security tonight I believe that makes it your oversight." pointing at the terrified security guard the danger in his tone was no longer masked, "I suggest you start running now." Satisfied he watched as the man turned pale and bolted for the elevator, "Not that it will do you any good," strolling back over to the intercom he punched a button, "I want the security guard who just left my lab to be taken into custody and escorted down to section 8." Smiling grimly he severed the connection, "I will deal with you later – but first to locate my wayward assistant."
Thinking out loud, Arcane paced absently, "Where would you go Graham? You would have to know that I would find out about your absence fairly quickly. You'd also know that with all the knowledge floating around in your head, I would never let you go." He ignored the little voice that suggested there was another reason why he wasn't about to let Graham go. "Where would you go ... of course! The airport! Flying would be the fastest way of making it out of town!" Hurrying out of the lab he headed straight for the garage. Already certain he was right, the final proof came when he found Graham's personal vehicle to be missing. Grabbing the keys to the Rover Arcane lost no time in heading for the airport himself. Graham already had a forty-five minute head start. Time was not on his side.
Will and Tressa were talking quietly, still waiting, when Arcane stormed into the terminal. Will had never seen the man look so upset before. Still he couldn't resist calling out, "lose something Doc?" smirking at the flash of anger that crossed Arcane's face.
"Yes, actually I have, "Arcane admitted reluctantly, stepping in their direction, "It seems I've somehow misplaced my assistant Graham," forcing his anger down he tried to smile pleasantly, "Have either of you seen him by any chance?"
"We saw him boarding a plane for Toronto," Tressa felt compelled to offer, recognizing the emotion lurking in Arcane's eyes with a sense of shock. One she never would have guessed the man capable of.
"Looks like you're going to have to find another gopher," Will sneered.
"Just a simple misunderstanding," nodding his thanks to Tressa Arcane barely spared a glance at Will, "Now if you'll excuse me." Reaching a relatively quiet area outside he pulled out his celphone, dialing up an old acquaintance; one who had certain tracking skills he had need of.
"Charlie, Anton Arcane here. I need you to carry out a job for me, " Filling the man in on his missing assistant he laid out what he needed done, "I want you to follow him from the moment he disembarks at Toronto's Airport to his final destination. Ensure that he doesn't know you're watching and on NO account are you to approach him," he stressed, "Report back to me when you have something."
"No problemo, Doc," Charlie spoke casually, a hint of an Irish accent audible in his voice. "Consider the situation under control. Your assistant will never know I'm there."
"He had better not!" Arcane snapped, terminating the conversation. Thoughts of what he would do to Graham once he got the man back caused a brief malicious smile to cross his face.
It was late at night, the Complex almost deathly quiet as all those employed there quickly learned it was better to stay out of Dr. Arcane's way. Already there'd been several terminations, and the rumour mill had it they were of the permanent kind. Only Stella had had the courage to mention the missing Chief Assistant, and she'd been sent off in tears by Arcane's rather violent reaction. Thus it was how the Doctor found himself working all alone in the main lab with no disturbances to distract him from the missing presence that would normally be pestering him to have something to eat right about now.
"Damn you Graham," Arcane finally gave up on getting anything accomplished, resting his aching head on the counter. He was just debating whether to go to bed and try to get some sleep when the phone rang, startling him in its loudness.
"Do you want the bad news or the very bad news?" Charlie's voice questioned as soon as he picked up.
"Either or," Arcane spoke impatiently, "Just tell me where my assistant is!"
"Well, the bad news is that your assistant has already found new employment." Charlie paused, holding the phone slightly away from his ear in preparation for Arcane's reaction to his next tidbit. "The very bad news is that he's now employed by Dr. Woodrue."
"What!" Voice raising more than normal, Arcane had to breathe deeply a few times in order to compose himself. "I want you to keep an eye on him!" he finally ordered coldly, "Don't let him out of your sight." slamming down the phone, he found his hand actually shaking with barely repressed rage. Graham really had betrayed him! All those long hours of waiting a small part of him had remained convinced that Graham had to have a good reason for leaving without telling him. After all the man was devoted to him, often loyal to a fault ... a fact he'd come to rely on with such certainty that anything contrary to the notion had still come as a surprise. The situation was going to require careful handling, there was no way he intended to let Woodrue know how much his assistant's apparent betrayal had affected him, and yet there was equally no way that he could leave things as they were. No, he needed to get Graham back and he needed to be subtle about how he did it. Of course, once the man was safely back in his control there was nothing stopping him from letting Graham know exactly what the true definition of suffering was.
Slowly a plan started to form, the details coming together in a beautiful pattern that would allow him the revenge on Woodrue he always wanted and to get Graham to come to him at the same time. First he'd need to set the stage carefully, rushing was not an option. The stakes were too high.
Over the next few weeks Arcane built up his plan, allowing no one in on the secret meant he was working pretty much on his own. But as any other employee's he'd brought in showed no matter how incompetent he claimed Graham to be, at least the man understood him. He'd never before realized how much he'd come to depend on his ex-assistant's ability to anticipate his needs, to instinctively know what was required of him. Annoyingly enough, he even found himself missing the way Graham would get nervous and stumble over his words. Thankfully the dwelling on these thoughts was few and far between and by the end of the third week Phase II of the plan was ready to be set in motion.
Leaning back comfortably in his chair Arcane at last dialed the long distance number he'd waited so patiently for. When the line was picked up, he couldn't keep the thrill of anticipation totally out of his voice, "Hello, Jason" grinning at the momentarily shocked silence, "Anton Arcane here..."
"What do you want?" Woodrue rudely interrupted, "- or should I ask who?" he added snidely.
"I have no idea what you're talking about, Jason," Arcane's voice dripped with innocent confusion, "And frankly I'm hurt that you would think I have an ulterior motive in calling you - one of my oldest friends."
"I'm impressed Anton. Kissing Sunderland's ass has really improved your sucking up skills." Woodrue mocked.
"I see that you're still lacking the ability to carry on a civil conversation," Arcane shot back, relaxing even further in his chair, "Don't worry, one of these days you'll get the knack of it."
"Well, as much as I love these little morale boosting chats with you, Anton," Woodrue's tone dripped with sarcasm, "Could you cut the bullshit and get to the point."
"Crude as always, Jason," Arcane sighed, "But far be it from me to ramble on about nothing..."
"Just get on with it, Anton!" Woodrue wearily broke in, "I don't have all day."
"I have a sudden need for your expertise in human cloning." Arcane could just picture the look on the man's face, betting that this was the last thing Jason was expecting. Some threat or demands to know why Graham left maybe, but not this.
"My help!" True to form, Woodrue sounded as incredulous as he'd ever heard him, "You want my help. You, Anton Arcane, the greatest genius the world has ever seen!" mocking, Woodrue laughed harshly "Excuse me while I have a heart attack."
"The world can only live in hope," Arcane muttered, half under his breath, "I could make it an order from General Sunderland if need be," he continued more loudly, "But I'm sure I don't need to do that...do I?" The threat of Sunderland's involvement enough to make Woodrue suddenly a lot more co-operate ... as expected.
"No! No need to bother the General," Jason interjected hastily, "I'll be happy to help you." The words sounded forced out.
"Jolly good, I'm sure the General will be pleased with your co-operation," Smugly the Doctor tapped a pen against his desk. "How soon can you get to Houma?"
"I can be there early tomorrow. Oh, and Anton," Jason added slyly, "before I go...you don't mind if I bring my new assistant, Graham, along do you?"
"Frankly, Jason, I couldn't care less. Graham means nothing to me. To tell the truth, he was never a very good assistant anyway." Arcane declared, striving to make his tone indifferent and keep the satisfaction out. Really, this was just too easy.
"I'll see you tomorrow then," Woodrue grunted, apparently disappointed by Arcane's lack of reaction to his jibes.
"I'll have one of my drivers pick you up at the airport. Till then," Arcane hung up the phone, no longer able to contain his mirth, "Could you be any easier to manipulate, Jason?" Shaking his head, Arcane smiled in extreme anticipation, "Soon I'll know how you got Graham to work for you." *And make Graham regret the day he dared to betray me.*
The following morning, after having gotten little sleep, Arcane was pacing impatiently in the lab. He'd sent someone lackey to pickup his 'guest's over half-an-hour ago and the waiting was starting to get to him.
"Dr. Arcane," Stella's voice broke in over the intercom, "They've arrived."
"About bloody time!" Arcane ran one last glance around to ensure everything was in place, "Show them into the lab!" he ordered, placing himself by a microscope so he could convey the appearance of being busy. It wouldn't do to have Woodrue start wondering about certain things now.
At last he heard the sound of the lift doors hissing open. He paused carefully before turning to face his guests. It was a struggle not to stare at his assistant, already he was almost painfully aware of how right it felt to have the man back in his lab, and yet how wrong not to have him by his side. *Damn you, Graham!*
"Anton," Woodrue spoke first, glancing around the lab casually, "I must confess I'm feeling a little bit nostalgic. I remember the good old days when my lab resembled the dark ages," he grinned, "Fortunately my intellect was able to overcome all obstacles, eh Graham?" Woodrue poked Graham sharply in the ribs.
"Yes, Sir," Graham agreed meekly, glanced up quickly at Dr. Arcane; giving him a brief longing look that wasn't lost on Woodrue, before once again fixing his eyes on the floor.
"Nice to see you too, Jason." Arcane forced pleasant smile, hands clenching into fists behind his back, "As always, your charming personality leaves me cold."
"Enough chit chat, Anton," Brusquely Woodrue waved aside the insult. "Let's get to work. I'm dying to get back to civilization."
"I wish," Arcane muttered behind clenched teeth, "It's through that door, Jason," he gestured towards a steel door, a single small window set in the centre, "I think you'll be impressed."
"It takes a lot to impress me, Anton," Woodrue paused with his hand on the doorknob.
"You'll be so impressed, Jason, that you'll be blue with envy." Arcane darted a small look at Graham, who had moved closer to the door. Catching and holding his assistant's gaze, he could see regret reflected there for a brief second before Jason's voice broke in.
"That's green," Woodrue corrected, smirking knowingly as Arcane jerked his attention away from Graham.
"My mistake," Arcane inclined his head slightly in his ex-assistant's direction. Both men noting the point, and while Jason's smirk only increased, the Doctor was pleased to see a flash of hurt swim across Graham's eyes. "You first Jason," he continued, gesturing towards the door, "I'd like your honest opinion on my new endeavor."
"Honest? Anton," Woodrue laughed unpleasantly, "Really, you should know me better by now. However it's always polite to let the host go first."
"Polite, Jason!" Arcane laughed, eyes widening in mock surprise, "I didn't think that you even knew the word. But if you're too afraid to go first..." he let his voice trail off suggestively.
"I'm not afraid of anything you can come up with," Woodrue glared at Arcane before switching his gaze to Graham. "You, stay! Like a good little dog!" He spat, yanking the door open and stepping in, "Let's get this over with."
"As you wish, Jason," Arcane stepped closer as the heavy steel door banged shut, accompanied by the hiss of escaping gas.
"Hey, what the hell's going on?" Woodrue's shouted voice muffled as he banged angrily on the door.
"Looks like it was your mistake, as usual," Arcane watched as Jason's face turned blue from the effects of the gas before turning to his ex-assistant.
"What ... what are you doing?" Graham warily moved close enough to see through the window, stunned to see Woodrue collapsing on the floor.
"I'm surprised you let Woodrue talk to you like that Graham," Arcane stepped towards the man, who moved back until brought up short by the door, "I thought I was the only one you let talk down to you," leaning in, one hand resting next to the man's head, trapping him in place, he grinned maliciously as Graham tensed fearfully. "I guess that makes you ... easy."
"I ..." Graham swallowed, voice grinding to a halt as the Doctor's other hand pressed hard against his chest.
"Makes me wonder what else you let Woodrue do," Arcane pretended to ponder the matter, "Would you do anything for him ... like said you would for me," shifting even closer, so close he could feel the man trembling, "Did you really believe that I would just let you go?" he whispered softly, hauling a syringe out of his pocket and plunging it into Graham's arm in one swift moment.
Graham stared at Arcane in shock, a convulsive shudder going through his body before starting to collapse. Arcane caught him easily in his arms, "Really Graham," he hauled the unconscious man to a nearby bench, dropping him unceremoniously on it, "you should know me better than that by now." Smiling grimly Arcane quickly secured his ex-assistant with a set of crude restraints ... soon he'd have all the answers he needed.