In the Back of a High-tech Surveillance Van
The van's walls are covered in monitors and screens, and a trio of operatives are seated in front of them.
The street is relatively crowded, it being the middle of the afternoon, so when a black sedan with tinted windows parallel parks on the side of the road, not many people take notice. And when a man with a winter scarf wrapped around the lower half of his face gets out and drapes an arm around Chris's shoulders, even less people seem to notice or care. And when Chris goes limp and is helped into the back of the sedan, no one seems to notice at all. In fact, the last thing Chris notices before losing consciousness is that the vehicle, despite being pristine on the outside, has thick, pungent smelling dirt on the interior floor.
Not being the most deductive of people, Chris didn't see that one coming. In comes the van, out comes the man, down goes Chris, and in goes Chris into the van. Limp, unconscious, he wakes up wherever he wakes up. A cranky look on his face, the young man tries to peer around himself to get his bearings, where he's at.
When Chris come to, his cranky expression is met by one of seeming compassion. Soulful brown eyes framed by soft waves of light brown hair peer down at him. "Good, you're awake." Her voice is as gentle as her face - which makes the tightening strap of leather around Chris wrist seem all the more surprising. Looking around the small space, it becomes obvious the location is the back of a van kitted out with the latest surveillance software - there are monitors everywhere, and a trio of men arguing amongst themselves about the readouts. The woman binding you into a bolted down chair smiles apologetically. "I'm afraid we didn't have time to convince you to come with us. We need your help, and we'll have it, one way or another."
"Yeah, how can I help you while bein' tied up?" Chris grunts towards the woman, his voice a raspy Southern drawl. That grouchy look in his eyes and on his face, and his overall surly attitude doesn't change in the face of compassion.
"I'm glad you asked." The brown-eyed woman smiles again, turning the chair on its swivel so that Chris can view the nearest of the monitors. They appear to show what looks like a clearing in a forest. Trees in the foreground have been burned down, and a body lies face-down in the dirt, gunshot wounds spilling blood over his shirt. Thus far, nothing but leaves move in the frame. "Don't blink," she warns Chris. "Wait for it. When you see the patrol walk through the trees, tell us if you recognize any of these faces. And don't lie," she further warns, tapping a strap across Chris's chest, holding several electrodes in place. "We'll know if you do."
Chris patiently waits. There's not much he can do.
The three men in the van continue to diligently work at their stations, their bickering the only sound for quite some time until a low hum fills the van. A shout of triumph is heard from one of the men along with shushing from the others, and the sound of birds and other forest-dwelling creatures can be heard from the monitor station. Those nature sounds are soon joined by the sound of footsteps - not regular traipsing through the forest steps, but the subtle, practiced steps of men trained to move without drawing attention to themselves. They move into the frame, guns on their shoulders, dressed head to toe in military gear.
Chris stares, unblinkling at the screen, eyeing the men and their gear up and down. No recognition dawns his face. Yet. Still, he says nothing and continues to study the men. Along with note any weapons the crew inside the van with him might be carrying.
The men in the van don't seem to be carrying weapons at all, at least not visibly. The woman is dressed more like a diplomat's secretary than anyone that would be carrying a weapon. On the screen, the men pause, stopping to examine the dead body. Immediately one of them lifts his gun to his shoulder, scanning the perimeter, while another lifts a walkie talkie to his lips, his quietly spoken words amplified as they're filtered into the van. "Alpha team made it in," he reports. "We've got a dead tribe member here at the guard station. Over." There's static, and a response comes in. "Move in." The voice is deep and dry. "No mistakes, or the younger one gets it same as his brother did." The men look furious for a second, then fix their faces back into expressionlessness. "Yes sir," the young man responds tightly, lowering the walkie talkie.
Chris continues to watch and wait, no comprehension on his face as to what the hell is going. He remains silent until further instructions from either the woman or the men in the van with him.
When nothing dawns on Chris's face, the woman checks the screen hooked up to the electrodes. There's a momentary disappointment that crosses her features. "Nothing," she reports to the other three. "We don't have any confirmation of Chosen identities, yet." One of the men nods crisply, and turns a dial. The clearing of men disappears, and a new image appears on the screen. What looks like dense foliage at first is revealed to be a complex series of tree-spanning rope bridges connecting mud-camouflaged huts high in the trees. Men patrol these walkways, though one leads a young man by his cuffed wrists, yanking him along through the trees. His face places him in his late teens perhaps his early twenties, though his eye is swollen shut and one side of his face is slick with mud.
Still, nothing comes on his dawns on his face as stares on the screen. Chris is mentally scratching his head. "What exactly am I lookin' for..." The fellow wonders of the lady. Sounding confused. Is he supposed to recognize the setting? If he is, then Chris doesn't show any signs of recognizing it yet. He scrunches up his nose and squints at the late teens, maybe twenties man, studying his face.
"We can't risk sending them in without confirmation," one of the men grouses, his brown furrowed in irritation. "Useless," he says, spitting the word toward Chris. "I thought your intel was good?" he aims this accusation at the woman. She stands up straight, cleaning her glasses. "Our source was cleared," she defends herself, her eyes no longer warm. "Perhaps he's forgotten. Maybe we have the wrong man, there is more than one Chris living near the Gate," she adds. "We'll start over from scratch. Circle us back around, we'll dump him where we fou-" The sound of explosions going off interrupts her, and all four heads swivel toward the monitor, where the jungle huts have errupted into flames, men shouting and sounding alarms as they fight back the fire. The sound of gunshots comes next, before the screen suddenly goes to static, though the sounds continue. "Failure," pronounces one of the surveillance techs, throwing his headset down angrily.
Then Chris realizes and growls, "Was it really necessary to drag me away like that?" His irritation is just -radiating- off of him. "I have no idea who the military men are. But I might recognize that voice." He closes his eyes as he searches through his brain drawers to pull up where he heard the voice before.
"It's too late," the woman tells Chris, her voice disappointed. "They're as good as dead, or at least out of our reach again, for now." She approaches Chris with a needle, aiming it at his forearm. "Hold still, you'll only feel a pinch."
The irritation grows on Chris's face and it's at the boiling point where he loses himself to the animalistic rage of the berserker. Still, he does nothing and complies. It looks like he's saying a dozen curse words in his eyes. Giving the woman a withering look that suggests he thinks she's the biggest idiot ever.
The needle sinks into Chris's arm, and while the woman offers a sympathetic look, it's a bit colder than the compassion she showed him earlier. The compound works quickly, rendering Chris's body sluggish and unresponsive, then unconscious. When he next wakes, he's unbound, being unceremoniously shoved out of the back of the van on the streets of Haven as the van peels off, the doors slamming shut behind him.