A few weeks later and Emma had been accepted into the ranks. Ish. She had finally sorted out a small apartment for herself which was just a 20 minute walk from the office. She had been to various training sessions and was now qualified to go out into the field with the rest of the team. And Dr Rosen had been helping her to control her abilities. The process was difficult, slow and frustrating but she was getting there. Hicks had taken up boxing to help sort through all the angst that was clogging up his brain and Gary was still getting used to a person having a signal. Everything seemed to be going as smooth as it ever could. Emma had been making her way back to her new apartment when it happened. The others had helped her bring some money together to afford the rent on the apartment and she had just bought some basic food stuffs using her first pay cheque. She was strolling along, in the early hours of the evening carrying her bag shopping, watching the other people walk by, probably on their way home too. But something changed, when she saw a man run past her and down the alleyway to her right. He slammed into her field of vision and then disappeared almost as quickly, flitting between people and then directly past her. Emma heard a not very distant crash and frowned. She turned cautiously towards the alleyway and peered down. Right at the far end she could see a heap of rubbish and possibly a limb or two poking out from it. She wasn't sure if the man was ok, so she went down the alley to check.
"Excuse me?" She heard a muffled groan "Are you alright?" The pile groaned again and she moved some of the rubbish with one hand, still carrying her groceries in the other. Emma revealed the man's face which was smiling wickedly at her. "Wha-" her question was cut off by a hand smothering her mouth and nose. She dropped her food and screamed as she started to suffocate. What little air she had was suddenly seizing up in her lungs as she struggled to breathe, the unfamiliar hand pressed tightly over her nose and mouth. She tried to fight against this person by stepping back heavily onto his foot and then driving her elbow into his side, but her attacks were to no avail. The other man grabbed her legs and held them fast to stop her from moving any further. She willed herself to use her abilities but nothing happened. The lack of oxygen was hitting her fast and she tried desperately to free her mouth or nose so she could breathe but the sheer lack of air was stopping her. Her screaming died down as she lost consciousness and slid to dirty concrete floor of the alley.
Emma woke up somewhere dark, dank and squalid. She was lying, shivering on a cold concrete floor with her wrists and ankles bound together with what felt like duct tape. She tried to move herself into a more comfortable position and an overhead light flickered on, letting out a pale orange glow that didn't quite make it to the four corners of the square room. She heard a door open, and she shuffled around to see an averagely heighted man entering, carrying a tripod and camera. The man was wearing jeans and t-shirt, covered by a leather jacket. He had short brown hair and he sneered at her as he walked past, happy to see that his latest victim was awake. He set it up the camera front of her, and while he was doing this Emma was thinking of ways out. She could try to use her ability but although she now had some degree of control over it, it was not enough for what she needed to do. She could stay here and work out who this man was and what he wanted. Or she could try to escape without her abilities. None of these options seemed particularly agreeable to her so she picked the best out of the three. Looking down at herself, she realised that despite the fact that she was clothed, her shoes and socks were gone and what she was wearing was dirty and ripped. She could see some grazes on her arms but otherwise she seemed fine. Emma rotated her shoulders a little as the man wound up the tripod to chest height. Very quickly she pulled her bound hands over her head from behind her back biting back a moan at the pain as she dislocated and then relocated her shoulders. Yes that hurts like crazy, but once over the pain ebbs away pretty quickly. Having her hands behind her restricted what little movement she had, in order to increase it, she had get them on the other side of her body. Now she had her arms in front of her and that was what she wanted. She stood up awkwardly as her feet were still tied together and readied herself. He had almost finished setting up the camera and still had his back to her when she flipped herself backwards, landing on her hands. Emma pushed back on them and launched her entire body at him, feet first. Her body weight plus a fair amount of momentum sent the man flying into the wall opposite as she jumped of his back, landed on her hands again and flipped upright. The man looked surprised for a second and then stood up quickly. He snarled at her and rubbed his hands together. He jumped at her and she tried to flip away but his hands caught her legs. Emma cried out in pain as he somehow burnt through what was left of her jeans and started burning her shins. She dropped to the floor as he let go, crying as the skin bubbled at the heat. The burnt skin was getting stuck to the denim and it made the pain all that much worse.
"Well that was stupid." he said as she lay there curled up in the foetal position. He pulled some duct tape out of his pocket and put several strips over her mouth. He did this with her wrists and ankles too so that she could barely move. He dragged her back in front of the camera so that she was sitting (if you could call it that – it was more of a half curled half upright position) in front of the camera, and turned it on. Emma heard a click and then felt cold metal being pressed against her head. She was terrified.
"Kat have you seen Emma?" Rosen asked at 9:23 that morning
"Nope." Came Kat's reply from her office. Rosen was worried. Emma was never late for work or anything for that matter.
"I want everyone in the conference room, now." he said loudly enough for everyone to hear. Soon everyone was sitting at the respective places at the conference table staring at him.
"Dr Rosen, what's wrong?" Rachel asked.
"It's Emma. She isn't here."
"Maybe she's sick." said Hicks
"She would call, or at least send an email. I think something has happened to her."
"Wait, wait Dr Rosen!" said Gary quickly his fingers twiddling with the signals.
"What is it Gary?"
"Look at this" he flicked his fingers towards the television in the corner of the room and a picture burst to life on the screen. "This is live and I can trace it. Look its Emma – but I can't find her signal" his said pointing at the screen. Rosen leaned in close to see Scipio and Emma in a small concrete room. Emma was bound and gagged with some nasty burns on her legs. She was crying freely as Scipio was holding a gun to the side of her head. Dr Rosen's eyes widened in fear for the girl. He grabbed his laptop and said "Gary can you link me up to that camera?"
"Sure." Gary's fingers twirled and Rosen's laptop was now transmitting his voice to the camera in the room.
"Scipio! Let her go!"
"Oh hey Dr Rosen. Nice of you to join us." Rosen picked up a pad of paper and wrote something on it.
"Please Scipio, leave her alone!" he passed the paper to Bill – take Gary and Hicks. Get him to follow the signal and get her out of there – Bill passed this around and then nodded to Rosen, before he, Hicks and Gary left the room at once.
"Oh but I don't want to do that. And neither does my employer" Rosen sighed – Stanton Parish.
"What do you want from her? You want me don't you?"
"No we don't want you. We have heard of how much power she has and want to try her out. A test run, if you will."
"She can't control her powers yet! Her episodes are random you can't just make them happen!"
"We'll see about that. And good luck finding us!" Ge laughed and turned off the camera. Rosen pulled out his phone and dialled Hicks' number.
"Doc?" Came Cameron's voice after the second ring "We've just lost the signal and Gary can't find what he had before. We only have a general idea as to where she is."
"South east, about 100 klicks." Rosen sighed, rubbing his face with his hands. They would never find her until the signal came back.
"Keep travelling down there. When you get there call me. If Scipio comes back I'll tell you" the phone line went dead and he dropped into his chair, snapping his cell phone shut.
"Dr Rosen, what do we do?" he shook his head at her.
"I don't know Rachel. We are helpless, we can't find her and there is literally nothing we can do about it."
For the first time in her life, Emma really wanted her power to work, but there was nothing. Scipio turned off the camera and took the gun away from the side of her head. Her body shook with relief for a moment but then Scipio turned back round, and punched her in the face, hard. Emma slid several metres and into a concrete wall. She bounced off, cutting her head in the process. It started to bleed, dripping into her brown hair. She shook her head, her wide eyes pleading him not to hurt her. He swung his foot back and kicked her in the stomach. She screamed against the tape covering her mouth at the pain blossoming in her abdomen. She prayed that someone would help her. Scipio grabbed her by the hair and lifted her up as she barely supported herself, her bare feet just about touching the ground to bear some of her weight.
"I'm going to have some fun with you," he snarled into her ear, and she whimpered in fright at the harsh words. "Parish said I could do whatever I liked as long as I got your powers working." he dropped her back to the floor with a thud and then proceeded to pull and rip at her clothes. She tried to wriggle away from him, despite the pain in her stomach but he had every advantage possible over her now. All she could do was hope that it would be over quickly. She was wrong.
Several hours later Gary sat bolt upright in the back of the car.
"I've found the signal again!" De exclaimed. Hicks immediately speed dialled Rosen's number
"We've got him Doc."
"Go then!" Gary started giving directions and Bill started breaking speed limits. Rosen's laptop had been on when he received the call, but this time he only had sound.
"What's up Doc?" Scipio laughed at himself "How you doing?"
"What did you do to her?"
"Oh we just had a little fun, didn't we darlin'?" Scipio laughed again, but even though the question had been directed at her, Rosen didn't hear any sounds. "Her powers still aren't working though."
"I told you, you can't force this! Let her go! Whatever you have done to her I will make you regret it!"
"Good fucking luck doc" he said, turning off the microphone just as Bill and Hicks burst into the room carrying guns and wearing fire proof jackets. Scipio turned quickly to face them, setting his hands ablaze. Hicks barely looked as he fired his gun, hitting Scipio in the shoulder. The force of the bullet made him spin like at top but he stayed standing, swaying a little as blood spurted from the hole in his shoulder and he looked down in shock. Bill rushed forward, scooping up Emma's small unconscious form in his large arms and carrying her quickly out of the room.
"Com'on Hicks!" she shouted behind him. Hicks paused indecisively for a moment and then ran out of the room, slamming the door behind him. They made it to the car quickly and lay Emma gently down in the back with Gary.
"She's naked!" Gary complained, but Bill had barely noticed because they were not out of the firing range yet. Hicks pulled off his fire proof jacket and then his normal jacket and placed them over Emma's shivering form. Some of Scipio's blood had gotten on her; she would need cleaning up when they got back.
"Go! Go! Go!" Hicks shouted at Bill, who reversed the SUV around a corner and sped off back to the office.
For the second time in her life, Emma woke up on the exam bed in The Office. There was a dull aching in her head and stomach and for a moment she couldn't work out what had happened. Then it all came flooding back – the alley, Scipio, the fighting. She shuddered at the things she remembered and then started to cry, rolling onto her side as she did so. Pain spiked across her abdomen with the movement but she couldn't bring herself care. Rosen walked in about five minutes later.
"Emma, are you alright?" Emma said nothing but continued to sob heavily into her arms. He moved to touch her shoulder but she backed away against the wall in fear.
"No! Don't touch me!" Rosen held up his hands
"Emma, what happened?" she shook her head
"I can't- I…damn it. I can't".
"I need to tell you, but I just-I can't-fuck"
"Take your time, I can wait"
"Promise you won't hate me after? Please, promise!" Her face suddenly changed from angry to afraid, her eyes wild.
"I'm not about to start hating you-"
"No, you'll think I'm disgusting and weak after. You'll kick me out, and tell everyone to av-"
"Emma, I promise ok?!"
"He, he…he did….I….fuck… he took away the only thing that was still mine." She couldn't even say it. The words couldn't come out of her mouth. She had to speak cryptically just to get the message across because her voice just stopped when she tried to say what actually happened.
"After I lost everything." She sniffed heavily. "That w-was all I had left. He f-f-forced me to give it to him." Rosen frowned at her as he tried to work it out. The one thing that was still mine? What is she on abou- Oh no.
"He didn't, did he?" The word that escaped her mouth next turned Rosen's blood cold. Emma could tell he had worked it out. She tried to just whisper the word, but even that was too much for her. She managed to get out the 'r' sound, but that was all she could manage before her voice box started to actively reject it. She squeezed her eyes shut as she tried not to remember what had happened to her.
"Oh my god" he said out loud – he had underestimated Parish – he had no idea how far this man would go to get what he wanted. He stood up straight and went to the glass cabinet, taking out a couple of small jars of transparent liquids. Emma watched as he filled a syringe with the liquids and stepped towards her. "Emma, this is a mild sedative mixed with some other things to stop you from… well…" Emma finished off the sentence in her head "You need to sleep and let your body heal for a while." she nodded. It took her a while to lay out an arm for him, she was shaking the entire time and Rosen could see the burns that traced all the way along it. She winced as he pushed the tip of the needle into her elbow and forced the liquid into her blood stream. Ten seconds later Emma allowed herself to fall unconscious. Rosen left the room a very angry man. He had always been quite a peaceful person, preferring to talk things out rather than fighting back but right now he felt like punching something. His legs were shaking a little as he made his way to his office. Rachel was already in there, waiting for him.
"Dr Rosen, are you ok?" she asked, her voice full of concern.
"No I am not ok Rachel, I am extremely angry." Rachel's eyes widened in surprise – she had never seen the old doctor that angry before. She looked a little more closely and saw the anger in his eyes and the way his whole body was shaking. Rosen sat down in his chair and took off his glasses, dropping them onto his desk.
"Rosen, what happened to Emma? I mean apart from getting beaten by Scipio. There's something else that has made you angry isn't there?" Rosen breathed deep and allowed the breath to travel the length of his spine – this was a very advanced yoga technique he had taught himself.
"Tell me Rachel, what do you think could be the worst thing that could ever happen to you?" she looked at him thoughtfully for a moment.
"To see the people I love be killed or die around me, and it being my fault"
"Ok, now put yourself in Emma's shoes. Pretty much everything you just said has already happened to her. She doesn't have any family left and she has only been here a little while so hasn't bonded with us properly yet. What's the worst thing that could happen to you?"
"I don't know. Maybe if I got seriously ill or something. Why are you making me guess?" Rosen leaned forward to look in her eyes.
"Emma was raped." Rachel hands flew to her face, covering her mouth "It was Scipio" a tear rolled down her cheek. Rachel had always been quite an emotional person and had found she had a kind of connection with Emma from the start. She felt so sad for Emma after everything that had happened to her.
"Red Flag were trying to set off her powers. Apparently Parish said that Scipio could do whatever he liked as long as he got the job done."
"And that included…"
"Yes" he confirmed for her "goodness knows what this has done psychologically to her. She is going to have to take some time off to heal physically – she's covered in burns, has some internal bleeding and half of her face has swelled up. I think we need to keep her in a familiar environment and under observation so she can stay in the office again for a while. She would barely let me touch her just now. It was so difficult to get the needle in, she was shaking so much. Emma's going to need us more than ever now, we can't let her down. "