Who: Everett
Where: Precinct 14, Atlanta, Georgia (but not really)
When: later afternoon on to the evening

"Break, you plaster-covered asshole! Break!" he roared as a chair upended to smash the points of two legs into a clear patch of wall. Everett was gripping the back of it tightly, shoulders rolling and chest heaving as the chair rebounded from the wall. The impact ran up the metal frame, jolting his arms painfully as chips of plaster rained free and left two gouges in the wall, focal points between a slight spiderweb of cracks.

Stepping back with a tense wheeze, Everett dropped the chair back onto its' feet and settled into it, grumbling. He'd pulled away filing cabinets, moved desks, cleared the wall of forged commendations and recreated news clips, leaving him sitting now at the back of a cleared arc of floor space as he stared balefully at the spot of wall he'd just hit. It was his third swing with the chair, and all he had to show for it were those two missing chunks and the cracks that were so faint they were invisible from where he sat.

He reached to his right, grabbing a plastic cup of scotch and swigging down a mouthful, running his other hand across his scalp to wipe away a thin sheen of sweat. Ev's sleeves were rolled, arms peppered with touches of scattered plaster, and as he studied one he curled his hand tight to flex away the strain his strikes were building up in both wrist and forearm. He didn't think this was going to get him anywhere, but he had to try. Otherwise, what did he have? Messages from relative strangers, the content of which rarely changed.

Messages from Eris, whose terminal he'd been stoutly ignoring for the better part of an hour now as he lugged around furniture. Old files of a life that didn't seem like his any more, cabinets full of photos and files detailing humanity at its' worst. And sometimes, he had to grudgingly admit, at its' best too. There had been good cops here, sharing the desks around him and chipping away at the endless procession of human folly. Good cops, better people, and once? His friends, as much as Ev had any.

He grunted softly, a sound that might've been a laugh as nostalgia took hold. After the incident, after he'd beaten Briggs to a pulp, whatever friends he had were gone. It was all business for the two days before he was formally suspended; a steady flow of 'yes, captain', 'no, captain', and 'right away, sir'. The sound was a laugh, but it was as humorless as Ev had ever been. He didn't want to be here, not even with all the comfort the familiar surroundings offered on some subliminal level. So he needed to find a way out. Really, it was doubtful that he could, but trying and failing sounded better than just sitting and drowning in his memories.

The walls were hard, and if breaking through was even possible, it'd take hours. But the station house had light, it had air, it had power. All of those things required some degree of access, and Everett was determined to exhaust every option he had before he quit. Good soldier, he told himself with another sip of scotch, rising to his feet and sweeping a scrutinizing gaze across the room. The computers were fruitless, he'd already checked. Their two lonely cords ran into neat ports in each wall, and if anywhere here was reinforced, he'd guess it was those spots in the walls.

The air duct in the corner? It'd be viable if he was a leprechaun, maybe, but as things were in reality? He was about five feet too big, a couple hundred pounds too thick, and Ev wouldn't put it past his captors to make the vents beyond the grate twist in every byzantine fashion they could. Just to be dicks about it all. But the fixtures for the fluorescent lighting? Maybe...

Setting the empty cup aside, Everett grunted low in his throat as he set his hands at the edge of a desk and pushed, sliding it into place under one of the lighting cabinets. This had been Hernandez's desk, he thought, and he could almost imagine her cursing him for messing with it. But it wasn't hers, not really. She was a few thousand miles away, still on the job most likely. He was here, so the desk? Well, whatever sentimental ideas he had about it, they were wrong. It was a piece of dressing, and now it was a tool too, a way to get him up high enough to try and find a way out.

Clambering up onto the desk somewhat unsteadily, Ev spread both hands out to find his balance as he looked up at the row of glowing bulbs hidden behind aged plastic. The bastards who had put him here deserved some commending, he decided; they'd even put a handful of dead insects inside the lighting case and made sure one of the bulbs flickered erratically. "Give 'em a thumbs up after I shove my fist through their ribs," he muttered, reaching up to grab at either edge of the lights. Ev's arms locked tight, jaw pulsing as he grunted and started to pull downward gradually.

The metal fixture groaned in low protest as he strained, the whole case bowing slightly, each bulb starting to flicker. Everything came loose at once, coloring Ev with more plaster from loose screwholes left behind in the ceiling. He lowered the lights slowly, noting the wires running upward from them into a small hole in the ceiling. It wasn't an escape option, clearly, but maybe he could give some of the scientists a headache. Maybe these wires ran the same line as something important. He eased the light down towards the desk carefully, scowling as the wiring pulled taut with a foot or so to go. It couldn't just hang, that wouldn't do at all.

Hefting the whole case under one arm, Ev gripped the wiring tight in his other hand and yanked it free of the lights, then turned to settle the now-dark bulbs on the desk next to his feet. He was halfway back to a full standing position when some niggling doubt sprouted in his mind, sadly too late. The wires were still live, hanging slack in the grip of one hand, with enough length and now a slight curl. The slight brush of their tips against Ev's wrist was all that the current needed.

The charge of electricity kicked him in the chest like a mule, staggering Ev back and off the edge of the desk to crash in a heap on the floor. He could smell ozone in his nostrils, a burnt reek clinging there as Ev swam through the head-to-toe tingle coursing through him. Some dim, removed part of his mind laughed darkly at his own misfortune as it pointed out that shaving his head at least kept his hair from standing upright in this moment. And that little, taunting thought from his own mind? It sparked a fury inside him, a sudden avalanche of anger that shoved right through the numbness and confusion.

He was on his feet with a stagger, snarling at his own limbs as if threats could make them work properly as Everett grabbed his chair again and hoisted it up. He stumbled in his advance on the wall, almost tripping entirely on his own feet and forcing his arms to lash out, to use the momentum of the stumble. The chair swung out again, rebounding off the wall with a sharp crack and another minor flurry of plaster chunks. Ev didn't even let it bounce fully before he swung it again, and again past that, snarling and growling louder with each strike.

The divots were getting deeper, the cracks wider, and Everett was all too happy to just let his anger take the helm. It had kept him alive before, so maybe now it would help him find freedom, or reach the others. Bringing the chair up and around with a brutal yell, Ev felt his wrists flare in pain as it repbounded sharply against something unseen, twisting in his grip and falling to the floor with a clatter. "Fuck you!" he roared, maybe at the chair, maybe at the wall. he lunged in with raised fists, smacking them against the wall heavily, one after the other. The first impact of skin on broken plaster hurt, but he didn't care. Something was in there, he was bound and determined to find out what.

Nearly lost in his pain and rage, the only thing Everett was aware of was the gradually widening cracks in the wall as he punched again and again, finally stopping only long enough to dig his fingers in and start prying a piece away. His knuckles were raw, leaking red down the backs of his hands to mix with the white debris caked on there, but if they hurt? he'd stopped feeling it for the moment. "God damn it!" he bellowed as he strained at his task, staggering back with a hunk of the wall as large as his head in his grip.

Ev laughed harshly, tossing it aside and moving back to the fresh gap he'd created, only to feel his heart sink and his gut twist. There it was; the reason the chair had bounced away, the reason he couldn't ever hope to escape. Beneath the layer of wall, still shiny despite the dust he'd scattered across it, was a patch of shiny steel. Steel. He was trapped, good and proper. They all were, each tucked away inside a nice little prison cell. And as much as Ev knew he needed to tell the others, as he let his rage bleed away... he didn't want to.

The revelation had crashed his vigor into a barricade of apathy, and he didn't want anyone else here to feel so... Hopeless. You don't want them to give up, even if you're about to. Was he about to? He certainly felt like he could, in that moment. Like he could just go lay down on his little cot and stare at the ceiling, wait for sleep to take him and leave him wondering tomorrow like he'd been today. And Ev wasn't sure which side of that scenario was worse; the hopelessness now, or the false hopes tomorrow.

In the end, he couldn't decide. He stalked away from the wall and rearranged furniture, forcing a damaged hand to uncurl enough for him to grab his bottle of scotch in passing. he only made one stop on the way back to his 'office', back along one wall where a first aid kit was mounted and ready for use. Bandages and disinfectant, that was all he'd need. Safely hidden away in the facsimile of his old work space, Ev tended to his hands with a slowness born of misery, wrapping the split knuckles snugly. At least he'd have an excuse, if he decided to wait on writing anyone a message; these bandages made his hands feel clumsy, and the soreness wasn't going to help either.

Resting on that excuse, he tugged open a drawer of his desk in search of another cup, blinking in surprise. Everett had forgotten about this drawer, but obviously his overseers hadn't. It was a mess, sure, but it was a heartening mess. Old newspaper clippings mixed with photos and torn envelopes as he looked in, and when he gingerly plucked the top one free and read it? He smiled.

'Atlanta's 14th Cleans Up', the headline proclaimed, emblazoned over a picture of Everett shaking hands with the commissioner as several of his officers saluted in the background. He remembered that celebration; three meth labs and a grow-house in one month, not to mention plenty of easy collars on the 'customers' of those operations. He skimmed the article, snorting a little at the quotes the reporter had opted for and shaking his head. The man that was supposed to be him in the article sounded so clean, so upstanding, nothing at all like the cop who'd forced a junkie to tears in a closed-door interrogation just for an address. But the job had been done, and that was all he'd cared about.

He laid the article aside, plucking up an old letter and unfolding it slowly. His smile dimmed as he reread it, conjuring the memory back to the surface. It was a solemn thank-you from a mother whose son had been shot, a 'not good enough' sort of letter that had said a killer being caught was a good thing, but it wouldn't bring the dead back. And while he could go peruse the old files to confirm, Everett trusted his memory. The shooter had been sixteen, had gotten juvenile detention, and was probably back on the streets already.

Disgusted with the turn his thoughts were taking, Ev tossed the letter aside and grabbed for the next bit of paper, then the next. The letters and news clippings grew yellow with age as he worked his way down, ignoring the odd chime from one computer or another as he let the hours slip away. At some point, he realized he'd lit a cigar that was smoldering in the ashtray on his desk, and with it tucked in his teeth? Ev felt like he was home again, for a while. It wasn't all good news within the drawer, of course. Really, most of it was bad memories tinged with the sort of grim optimism that kept career policemen going. And that was what he needed right now, more than anything. No lies, no sugarcoating, just a reminder that there was a chance.

Of course, a little sugarcoating would've been better than what waited for Everett as he pulled away the last article. The photo was faded, the story was his first real success on the job, but he couldn't even try to read it right now. Underneath, coiled neatly like it had always been there, was a belt. The belt. The one he'd ended Eris with. It sat atop a simple little scrawled note Ev remembered perfectly, he'd saved it with the last article in the drawer. 'Good job, Dupree' was all it said, and originally it had been hanging in his locker as a little congratulations from his then-partner, now-commissioner of police Robbie Beckett.

But the new angle it had, neatly juxtaposed with the implement of murder? It ruined the handful of hours he'd spent sitting here, immersing himself in the man he'd been, flaws and all. It tainted every commendation hanging on the walls around him, every picture of him and his former partners or subordinates. It reminded him with just a glimpse that he'd been living a lie. The world went red.

His desk was already tipping back with a thunderous crash as Ev rose to his feet, hefting it up and over as he roared murderously. The computer slid back and crashed, monitor cracking and spraying glass to both sides as Ev's chair slid backwards. He turned on it, grabbing it by the back as he had when he'd been trying to break through the walls and swinging it into a picture-clogged wall. Glass flew as frames cracked and fell, and he turned with the chair, smashing it into a filing cabinet and toppling it.

Dimly, he could feel a stinging cut on one cheek, the result of an errant bit of glass, but it was so faint that it might've been an itch he was ignoring. His eyes snapped to the glass of his door, to the reverse letters emblazoned there. "I was a good cop!" he bellowed, heaving the chair forward and releasing to let it smash through the window of the door. "I was! Fuck!"

He stormed out, glass crunching underfoot as Ev yanked a fire extinguisher from its' hanger and pitched it at the contents of a desk he'd yet to disturb, sending case files and framed pictures flying with the dead phone that sat on the desk. "You did this to me!" he screamed at no one, jabbing a bandaged hand up at the ceiling, where he assumed he was being watched. Studied. Pushed. "You took this away! You! Took! EVERYTHING!" he screamed as loud as his lungs could muster, slamming his hands down on the bare top of a desk repeatedly, blind to the pain and the faint hints of red beneath the bandages.

Everett was lost, drowning in an endless sea of hate. He wanted to smash everything in the place, to pound on the steel he'd uncovered until it fell away or he saw the bones of his hands, whichever came first. And he nearly started to do just that, turning on one of the terminals with murder in his eyes. The blink of the waiting message displayed there froze him, slowly peeling back enough of the rage to let him realize who it was from. Eris.

The realization almost started him again, almost had him tearing the monitor free and throwing it across the room. She was, after all, an easy outlet to aim these feelings towards. But when he saw the words 'I need you to do something', a little more of the red faded from his vision. She called him Everett, right there on the screen. She said... please. And there was still an ugly instinct looming in his head, an urge to tell her to fuck herself, that he wouldn't be helping. But... he'd been trying to help, hadn't he? Trying to fight this?

Reading her message made him feel sick with uncertainty, it pulled him back into the cold and lonely logical side of his head. Which felt horrible, but was needed. They, the overseers, they used this against him. They made him kill with this. So he forced himself to read Eris' request again, to linger on the chaos hidden between the lines. No matter how he felt, or she felt, or what Brett thought of him? They needed each other in moments like these. And if he dwelled in the ugly part of himself that could excuse murder, he wouldn't be able to admit that, to help, to accept help.

Stiff and sore, Ev walked away from the terminal, pushing his office door open again with a scrape of glass along the floor. He hated how his hands trembled as he crouched gingerly, searching through the debris and giving an audible sigh of relief as he found his scotch bottle unbroken. He hated that shake, but knew that it'd go away once he had a drink. Once I have a drink.... The panic would go away, the sick guilt would fade. He could do whatever he had to. Sitting on his overturned desk, Ev's only movements for a long time were the raising and lowering of a bottle, the steady gasps of air between swallows, and the tremble of unspoken disgust at where he'd found himself.

Then? He capped the bottle, setting it down and walking away. He wanted to take it with, to have it like a security blanket, but it'd do him no good. He needed the calm of the liquor, not the false confidence. It was time to spread the news, and to answer a request. And to tell a story, just so she understands.