Thursday Thirteen– 13 things about Jaegar-Caleb Nikolaiev and an excerpt
My muse has slipped a bit lately. I don’t like that I can stare at the last paragraph written forever and still not know what comes next, what my characters are going to do. I knew once, had it mapped out but I’ve hit a brick wall and letting it sit is making it become stagnant. So, I thought I’d do my thursday thirteen about Jaegar-Caleb Nikolaiev, the hero in my manuscript
1. J.C. is a prodigy, a man who has always excelled in intellect and because of it he rose to the ranks of scientist, training young children of their psychic abilities and honing their craft.
2. Unfortunately, his position also makes children fear him, giving him the nickname of the Boogeyman. Because he has the ability to blackmark them. Should a child fail their training for whatever reason or just don’t meet the standards the Council has mapped out, it is he who turns them over to the Council to be rid of.
3. J.C. was also trained to be a killer. Part of his being an agent requires him to be able to take a life and shut off his emotions in order to be successful at a mission.
4. When he was a baby, his genetics was manipulated in order to turn on the psychic pathways. He is able to manipulate matter/cells.
5. Unfortunately, having his genetics manipulated has messed up the balance in his body and slowly, his mind is shutting down other necessary elements like emotion. During the breakdown of his sanity, symptoms of migraines, nosebleeds and convulsions occur, as well as outbursts of violence. This process is irreversible.
6. The drugs given to ‘hone’ and ‘control’ his psychic abilities aid in this disintegration, although they all believe that it is there to help them and that it’s necessary for their survival. J.C. wants to get off these drugs, but because he is underwatch and has already been marked for their by the Council once, he is refused and is forced to take them. He’ll do anything to find out the truth, even going so far as to not give the drugs to the heroine, Amy O’Connor.
7. He has a black tattoo of a lightning bolt on his neck, the significance not yet known.
8. In a moment of wanting to end all the experiments and shut down the Council, J.C. blew up his lab, which unfortunately had other scientists in it, forcing him to go on the run.
9. Broderick (the handler for project Adam and in charge of J.C. and his unit) believes that J.C. is the only one who can stop the serial killer who is going around and killing off the psychic agents. That is the only reason why J.C. wasn’t put to death after blowing up the lab.
10. The Council believes that J.C. is losing his mind and that he cannot be saved and J.C. doesn’t care enough to try and prove them wrong. He will do whatever it takes to free his unit/friends from their control. Even if it means taking drastic measures.
11. When he blew up the lab, he lost the trust of his unit. Now no one will help him prove his innocence in the murders.
12. When Amy begins communicating with him, he refuses to believe the truth that she’s real, because he had never seen a telepath before. Most die before they are 3 because their minds can’t handle so much stimulation.
13. Though he has his own agenda where Amy is concerned, he will do anything to keep her safe and to win her love… and prove that he isn’t the monster he feels he is becoming.
Excerpt from Fatal Visions:
The body was that of Teresa Divine, a telekinetic that had gone missing weeks ago before he’d even made the decision to step in.
J.C. slipped from the dark shadows of the hallway, stopping in front of the conference room’s door. The first try showed that it was locked, refusing to take his pass-card. It didn’t surprise him. Why would it when they’d given him only the basic freedom package? Their trust didn’t extend having him prowling the halls at night like a thief. He should have been asleep, conserving his energy but sleep refused to come.
Instead, he saw her.
All of the dead. They were ingrained into his memory, each and every one of the women he had trained with and now were dead. Slaughtered. Disgust slithered through his gut at the memory of Leila. Of his promise he’d broken when he’d gone off. When he left her for a failed mission that had ended in his capture instead of accomplishing what he’d set out to do. The Council would never stop the program, not unless someone stopped them first.
Weary from all of it, numb from the growing coldness that inhabited his heart, J.C. focused his energy on the door. The image that came to his mind was that of a complex maze, a system of working cells within the metal and wood. It was child’s play, one that they’d had him perform time and again when he was younger and still learning his craft.
He could see it, the atomic structure and with a simple pass of his palm over the lock, the pins fell into place as though he’d keyed in the punch code. The soft buzz was one of victory and he shoved inside the conference room before anyone could see him, unconcerned of the cameras that watched, knowing that they would record nothing and that his image would be erased. His control over that truth was unshakeable.
Closing the door behind him, he reached his splayed hand along the wall, finding the light switch, casting the room in a soft glow. His gaze fell on Teresa’s picture, the newest addition to be pinned up on the board of victims.
Leila’s picture was the fifth on the list. He reached out, touching a finger to the glossy finish but it was just a photo. No memory would bring back the woman he had once cared for. In the end, all she’d had was his protection and even then, it wasn’t enough. He’d failed her to pursue his own selfish means. If she hadn’t been alone, she wouldn’t have been captured but she had and the killer had taken the opportunity a lone woman had presented.
“She was waiting.”
J.C. looked away from the photo, eyes narrowing as he glanced toward the door, even when he knew that he was alone in the room. “Waiting?”
“For you. She thought it was you entering the washroom so she didn’t turn around but it wasn’t. He knew you’d be gone and he’d counted on that fact.” She paused, that woman that was just a figment of his imagination, making him wonder just how screwed up he was. “He had his eye on her for awhile now but she went to you for protection when she almost caught him in her room. She went to you when he wanted her and when he found out you had taken off, he couldn’t resist her any longer. You with your need to save the world, J.C. You took off and left her alone.”
And she paid for it with her life.
“No,” she whispered, “with more than just her life. He took more, Jaegar-Caleb. He took her spirit. He’s stronger now, but it won’t last. It never does. Leila was difficult and he made a mess. He’d waited too long for his fix- thought he could handle it. He was wrong and she suffered for it.”
A sharp pain flitted from temple to temple. He lifted his hand away from the photo, touching his forehead. The migraine made him wince, reminding him just how far on the edge he was. It also reminded him that he was supposed to be asleep, allowing the medicine the doctor had given him to work, not that it would, but it was a nice thought. If it didn’t, they would know soon enough.
He had a brain scan within the next few weeks in which his mental capacities would be graded and with that… his humanity.
The migraines and nose bleeds were the first symptoms.
He already had the first two.
“Why do you do this?” If he sounded as weary as he felt, then it was an improvement to something. He just didn’t know to what. “Why come to me?”
“Because I know you, J.C. I know your mind. We’re alike, you and I.” She was quiet for a moment, the silence dragging on as he stared at death, the bodies that filled the pages in the file before him. “He’s inside you just as he is inside of me. Just as I am inside of him. Together we are a whole in a weird fucked up kind of way.”
He laughed and the sound was barely recognizable anymore. Who was this woman? “A weird fucked up kind of way is right. Care to tell me just who you are?”
“Someone with no answers that would help you. I’m just another pawn in his game and soon, he will come for me too. He wants you scattered because if you all are not prepared, then he’s having fun and if he’s having fun, then it’s more exciting to him. The thrill… it’s… a powerful addiction.”
Somehow, it wasn’t the answer he was looking for.
“Great. Just fucking great. Of course the woman has no answers. That would have been too simple, now wouldn’t it?” J.C. shook his head. Narrowing his eyes he reached for a second file, opening it at the sight of a glossy photo. The photo was of more death, of more pain and blood that no one had been able to stop. “I’m not exactly picky. Anything. I’d take anything but no… she gives me the text book description of the serial killer instead. Because I don’t already know that it’s just another thrill for him.”
“It’s the best that I can do. Would you rather I go and leave you alone? I would have thought you’d appreciate a little conversation, Jaegar. I know I could.”
The picture was grizzly- the sharp image of a jagged bloody wound, again and again. Did he want her to leave him alone? She was right. Having been locked up into isolation for so long had him craving the attention of another. It was the only reason why he was putting up with these vague answers of hers.
No other reason.
“We aren’t talking about me. We’re talking about the psycho going around mur-” J.C.’s mouth snapped shut as the space where the door was supposed to be distorted and wavered like ripples in a pond. Slowly, deliberately, he closed the file.
“Talking to yourself, J.C?”
And just like that, the link between them was severed. J.C. felt the psychic barrier in his mind slam back up again. As though she was barely there to begin with, she was gone again. “Eavesdropping, Stefan?”
The man lifted his shoulders, let then drop again. His dark eyes skimmed over the room before trailing back to J.C. “You’re not supposed to be here. Care to explain why you’re in an area you were deliberately locked out of? I just wonder what the Council is going to say about this.”
“Nothing because there’s nothing to tell them.” The Council could do whatever they wanted as far as J.C. was concerned. He wasn’t their puppet. “As far as they are to be concerned, I am doing their bidding and searching out the bastard. If I’m in after hours, it’s nothing to them. We don’t have the time to play games while he’s out there.”
“Ever think that they are banning areas from you for a reason? Someone on the Council believes that you are somehow connected. You may be my father’s prodigy, his pet, but even he doesn’t have all that much influence over what the Council says and does.”
“And you? Just where do you come in?”
“I,” Stefan stepped up to the whiteboard and with an erasable marker, drew a line from victim to victim, “I am not the one that is screwed in all of this. I don’t have a black mark hanging over my head. My standing with the Council is in perfect condition. You, on the other hand, one slightest misstep over the line and your head is on the figurative chopping block. If I wanted, I could be generous and not mention any of this.”
J.C. ran a finger over the black lightning bolt tattoo at his neck. He didn’t answer for a moment, instead taking the time to count slowly to ten. A film of black dots danced over his vision, blanketing the world in shadows. His pulse rose dramatically, his breathing sharp and uneven. He recognized it, could feel the dark shade of madness creep into his humanity and gain a foothold with sharp razor claws.
He turned away from Stefan, away from man that threatened to turn him over to the Council. “I’d watch who you’re threatening or there’s going to be one less Gurvitch hanging around.” He settled his palms on the wall, feeling the coolness of the brick counteract with the heat of his body in a churning unstoppable motion. J.C. swallowed the lump of bitterness, battling the blind rage that overpowered all other emotion. “And personally, I have no problems with that at all. Do you?”
He swung around and found Stefan leaning casually against the whiteboard, eyes intent. And somehow, that just pissed him off more than anything else could have done. The growl that came from his throat was not human but something else entirely. His skin shuddered as though in response, his pupils bleeding completely black. He fell onto his hands and knees, barely able to do more than breathe. He touched his forehead to the floor as the room spun. It was then the attack came and he could do nothing to protect himself.