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The headache is almost full-force by the time they're officially ready to begin. The man in the suit-- who had introduced himself as Mr. Grant, the “stand-in” for Ms. Burrell-- tells her that she's looking a little pale; would she like a glass of water? She's too muddled to figure out why he has to be the “stand-in,” so she accepts the water in the hopes that it will clear her mind.

She can't help the face she makes at tasting it-- apparently, they only drank some sort of Kanji water, so it always tasted a little bitter. The officers are watching her like a hawk by the time she finishes off the glass. One of the refills it with a pitcher almost as soon as she's drained it.

“Are you ready, Ms. Scott?” Mr. Grant asks her in a kindly voice. Moira nods uncertainly, Nicol's reminder to be brave echoing in her ears.

The officer seemingly in charge of the investigators nods back at her calmly, “Very well, then. Why don't you start by telling us a bit about yourself...?"
~*~

Time passes. She isn't sure if it's fifteen minutes or an hour later. The headache hadn't lifted-- had, in fact, seemed to have gotten worse. It pounded in a way that made her feel as though she couldn't see straight and made her mind feel fuzzy. She could barely comprehend the questions they'd been asking her, let alone why they were relevant to the investigation. They asked her details of her family life she wouldn't usually have felt comfortable sharing and yet felt compelled to answer. Finally, after one too many questions prying far too deeply, she interrupted, “Sorry, but, I just... I don' see what this has t'do with Dr. Pearson.”

The officers exchange glances and one of them refills her glass again, nudges her to drink from it. Her mouth is so dry from talking that she does. Mr. Grant takes over talking with her a moment, “Were you rather close to Dr. Pearson, Ms. Scott?”

She shrugs, “A little, I guess. He helped me at the beginning of th'year with some things.”

The officer across from her leans forward, fingers intertwining, “What sort of things?”

She blinks, shakes her head to try to clear it, “I was havin' some trouble decidin' what t'study. He helped give me some advice.”

“And is that all?”

It takes a moment for that to get across, “...Yeah. I mean, what else's there t'talk about?”

“You tell me, Ms. Scott.”

His face is so stern that she pauses, confused and concerned. It probably doesn't help her case, “Tha's all we talked about. I hadnae even spoken with him since the beginning of th'year when he passed.”

“So you only talked about your educational plans? Nothing about a.... project, perhaps?”

She shakes her head, “No, we only talked about what the science courses were like in Oxford and how well I'd fit in t'it. Honest.”

His lips thin and she starts when she notes through the haze of the headache that Grant and the other officers have all moved to hover troublingly close to her. “You're absolutely certain, Ms. Scott?”

Yes-- We didnae talk about anything related to a project-- could y'move, please?”

Her gaze is focused on Grant, just a few uncomfortable inches away, so she doesn't notice the nod the questioner gives to the others in the room. Suddenly, two hands come from behind to cover her mouth while another pair move to keep her in the chair. Instinctively, she kicks out, screaming, but they have far too good a grip and her cry is muffled by the hands on her mouth. Grant latches on to one of her arms and forces it onto the table with a surprising amount of strength, before bringing up a syringe. “I suggest you keep calm, Ms. Scott. This will only hurt more if you do.”

Then, without giving her a moment longer to protest, he forced the needle into her arm and injected its contents into one of her veins. This time her scream is more of a choked sob than anything else, the fear and panic and pain leaving her more or less incapacitated.

Eventually he draws out the needle and releases her arm, but she doesn't move to try and hit at him. The room is beginning to spin, and even the feel of the tears that'd sprung from her eyes is an odd one against her skin. They still haven't let go of her or uncovered her mouth, instead just seeming to wait while whatever they'd injected her with took its effect.

Some minutes pass. Soon, the dizziness is undeniable and between it and the headache she can't think straight. Her stomach has begun to protest against the drug, but the nausea's almost dulled by the way a sudden exhaustion has sunk into her very bones. They must be able to feel the sudden slumping in her posture, because finally they release her and when she leans her elbows against the table to try to keep herself steady, she doesn't think to scream.

Finally, the officer across from her speaks again, “I'll ask you one more time, Ms. Scott. Did Dr. Pearson ever mention to you something called Project Rewrite?”

And even though afterwards she's still fairly certain the conversation went on, the question is the last thing she can just barely remember before everything goes into a blur of grey.

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Moira Scott | Mary, Queen of Scots

March 2017

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