Log Title: The Very Mysterious Mr Sterling
Date: 10 May 2018
Summary: A new guest at Rancho Corba Acres receives medical treatment.
As logged by Major Bludd
Typhoid makes her way slowly into the room where Bludd is being held by Viper Guards dressed (unconvincingly) as nurses. She leans heavily on her canes. Her tight smile does little to disguise that she's in obvious pain today. She's aged a bit since Bludd has seen her last, with a few streaks of grey in her long black hair. She's in mufti, but still instantly identifiable to Bludd. However, there is no recognition in her almost eyes for Bludd as she enters the room.
Still in his holographic disguise, Bludd suppresses a smile at the sight of Typhoid. Memories of her referring to him as a 'wise old grandpa' flicker across his mind, though so too do those of the look of glee on her face when she contemplated putting a victim into the Brainwave Scanner. He wonders how long he'll be able to maintain his disguise, and what he's going to do when forced to reveal himself.
Typhoid hangs one of her canes off her left forearm and retrieves a clipboard from under her arm. She stays just out of Bludd's easy reach (although if he lunged for her, she'd have nowhere to go) and clicks a pen before gazing up at Bludd over half-moon reading glasses. "What is your name, sir?" she asks politely. The Viper Guard stand awkwardly just inside the doorway, although the room isn't really big enough for four people.
Bludd gently flexes the fingers of his right hand, that arm bandaged but obviously still quite sore. "Ian Sterling," he replies after a moment's consideration. He glances to the guards in the doorway, showing an expression of apprehension that's not entirely false.
Typhoid writes down the name without comment, and asks Bludd a few more medical background questions. If it wasn't for the guards, this could appear to be any normal clinical visit. Typhoid glances behind her at one of her 'nurses', and then back to Sterling. "I am going to look at your arm. Is that OK?" Suddenly Bludd's consent matters? Apparently so, because Typhoid waits for Bludd's assent before proceeding.
Bludd gives Typhoid a tight nod, gazing into her eyes for a moment before returning his gaze to the guards. "Are you afraid I'm gonna hurt you, or try and run away?"
"Yes," Typhoid replies without hesitation or shame. "You killed Cobra in Los Angeles. You shot our agent who investigated murder. You are dangerous." She raises her chin slightly. "However, you have nothing to fear from me. I will not hurt you. However," she adds, glancing back again at her nurses. "If you hurt me, they will hurt you." The larger of the two nurses nods threateningly. "Now, hold out your arm."
"I was protecting my friends," Bludd answers back immediately, his voice not without a hint of anger. He holds his arm out as instructed, watching Typhoid as she works.
Typhoid nods quickly, although her attention has moved to Bludd's arm. "Understandable," she mutters distractedly, as she very carefully unwraps Bludd's bandage and examines the wound. She nods again, mostly to herself. "This cut is long, but not deep. Bandage will be enough - keep dry, and it will heal on its own. I will check on it daily until it is healed." She looks back up at Bludd's bland face. "Do you have other immediate health problems beside what was mentioned?"
"No, I don't," Bludd replies. "What's gonna happen to me now?"
Typhoid makes a few notes on her clipboard and then looks back up at Bludd. "Now that you are in good health, you will be handed over to Intelligence for interview. I recommend being honest with us about who you are, Mr. Sterling. We have way of making you talk," she says without irony or clear realization of how the phrase has become a joke, "but it would be much better for all of us if you simply cooperated." She sounds as if she really believes that.
Bludd recognises the joke but finds no humour in it. "I'll cooperate," he replies, "as long as you keep your word about leaving my friends alone. They haven't done anything against Cobra. They're just trying to live their lives."
"If that is what was promised, I'm sure your friend will be safe," Typhoid assures Sterling. "We may transfer you to another facility. Do not try to escape. If you do cooperate, you will be treated well. It will work out well for all." She gives Bludd another tight smile, and then puts down her clipboard and washes her hands again at the small sink in the room. Drying them, she slips on gloves and then very carefully rewraps Bludd's injured arm. "How does that feel?" she asks when she's done.
"Better," Bludd grudgingly admits, turning his arm to examine the bandages and wincing as he does so. "Still sore though. Where would you send me?"
Typhoid gives an apologetic smile. "I can't say, but don't worry - it would be another facility like this - not some prison," she assures him positively. "Just somewhere with more intelligence personnel, unless they are willing to come here. You are bit of mystery, Mr. Sterling. It is safe to assume that when we investigate this name we will find no actual information about you?" She raises one delicately-drawn eyebrow over her reading glasses.
Bludd gives a noncommittal shrug in response to the question about his identity. "I'm just a guy trying to make sure his friends lead peaceful lives. Been hard work while Cobra had control of Los Angeles, I'll tell you." He gives the slightest of smirks.
Typhoid harrumphs. "Crime down sharply in Cobra-controlled city. Your friend much safer during Cobra control than now that everything in chaos. Your fighting create danger. We will bring order to world - you will see." She makes another note on her clipboard. "Do you need anything for pain?" she asks, suddenly changing tracks. "I can give you something minor in small dose." She looks back up at Sterling's face.
"Safer maybe from everybody except Cobra. But definitely not free." Bludd's slight smirk becomes a slight frown. "Yeah, if you have something to take the edge off this, that'll be helpful."
Typhoid nods, letting the subject of Cobra's strengths and weaknesses as a social movement drop. She unlocks a cabinet and hands Sterling two small pills in a little paper cup. "These are not dangerous or strong, but should help. If you take too many, you will have long-term liver damage, but won't kill you," she warns, as if to deter Sterling from getting any ideas. "However, I will not give you too many," she assures Sterling seriously.
Bludd accepts the paper cup, shaking the pills out into his palm and regarding them for a moment before nodding at Typhoid. "Nice of you," he says dryly of her apparent concern for his liver.
"I am very nice!" Typhoid insists, a little too emphatically. She hands Sterling a small cup of water to wash down the pills. "Take it easy with arm," she recommends. "If you twist too much, you may reopen wound and then require stitch. As is, you might have small scar," she warns him apologetically. "Overall, though, you are in much better shape than most people Zarana brings in," she assures him.
Bludd tosses the pills into his mouth and swallows them with the aid of a few sips of water. "I'm not surprised to hear she usually makes a mess of people," he says. "She's quite a fighter." He hands the empty cups back to Typhoid.
Typhoid narrows her beautiful brown eyes at Bludd over her glasses. She stares at him a long time without responding. "You.... seem very familiar to me, Mr. Sterling, and seem very familiar with us." After studying Sterling's bland face for a moment longer she asks, "Are you... ex-Cobra?" She glances back at nurse/guards. She lowers her voice to a near whisper "Is that what this is all about? Are you deserter?" She bites her lip and furrows her brow.
Being regarded as a Cobra deserter, while troublesome, is nothing compared to the real situation. Silently thanking Typhoid for the idea, Bludd closes his eyes and lowers his head. "Maybe I am," he murmurs. "I already told you I was defending my friends. From random thugs and Cobra alike. You got a special place for people who... have a change of heart?" That last part at least is truthful.
Typhoid straightens up, and tries to project a businesslike veneer. "I do personally," she admits. "But Cobra Commander thinks otherwise." She sighs. "You should know that Doctor Mindbender keeps VERY accurate dental records. If you've ever been a member of Cobra, Mr. Sterling, we will find out who you are. And then I warn you - the punishment for deserting can be quite severe," she says sadly. She makes a small motion to the nurses, and then snaps out her canes to make her way out of the room.
Mindbender. Probably Bludd's highest priority should be staying out of his hands. He runs through names of personnel in his mind, people who might be able to help him keep a healthy distance from the good doctor. If he hadn't been a member of High Command, his contractual employment as a mercenary might serve him here. But he was privy to a great deal of sensitive information within Cobra during his service. And the Commander trusted him, inasmuch as he trusts anybody. If Cobra discovers who he is in time to connect him with the incidents at Starlight Mansion, everyone there will be at risk. It might be time for Mr Sterling to perform a disappearing act. Maybe he can tug some more out of Typhoid's seeming sympathy for deserters. "You, um..." he trails off, glancing nervously around the room, then casts a somewhat fearful glance at Typhoid. "What do you think will happen to me? I... I just didn't wanna see my friends get hurt during the occupation. It was kind of a scary time, y'know?"
Typhoid turns back in the doorway, her expression softening as she glances between Sterling and the two Cobra goons in the doorway. "I'm sorry. General Hannibal is likely to want to make example of you to deter other thinking of deserting. He has some... old idea about discipline." She pauses, and sighs. "However, I will let Doctor Mindbender know that you cooperated and that your friend are to be left alone. It's the least I can do." She nods, and the two nurses come more into the room and advance on Sterling.
Bludd's face falls, and it's at least partly genuine. "All that matters to me is that they're safe," he tells Typhoid. He leans toward her and murmurs, "Thank you," then straightens and waits for the nurses to come escort him to wherever he's bound.
Typhoid nods, and offers a smile with as much encouragement as possible given the circumstances. "They will be," she says reassuringly. "I promise." She steps out of the little room, and the nurses step in to "escort" Sterling to another room in the facility. They don't actually lay hands on him if he seems to be cooperating, secure that his will has been broken and that now he'll do whatever Cobra says.