Dull Ache Hand
rating: +30+x

Site 27 is where people's throats get cut.

There's a reason for this, of course. Kill words, though difficult to get into a person's brain without haemorrhaging it, are some of the most effective personal weapons in the world. Unlike a gun or a blade, they can't be physically stolen from you. They don't need maintenance and they don't break down. They can end a life in any of a million different ways. So, when you have prisoners who can kill with words, there are a few ways to deal with them.

First, the removal of the word from the mind. Amnestics don't help as much as might be hoped. It is impossible to chemically target only the language centre of the brain (or more accurately centres, as Broca's and Wernicke's area are two separate locations). Often, retaining other brain functions of a subject is a very low priority, so it is acceptable to simply wipe the dominant hemisphere. It is, however, possible to drill through the skull and physically access those sections of the brain. Dangerous, yes, but after surgical removal, most subjects lose the ability to form any words at all. This doesn't stop them from trying, though. In Site 27, there are corridors of people screaming, cackling, burbling, giggling, popping their lips together, smacking their faces, trying to push out coherent thoughts from their minds to no avail.

Next, the removal of the ability to speak. If you know the phonemic components of the kill word, you can narrow down your butchery to the minimal amount of flesh needed to be carved out. Often, simply removing a person's lips makes it impossible for them to compose the words they know. It may be necessary to remove teeth, or fuse the top and bottom jaws together. It is difficult, but not impossible, to carefully remove specific muscles from the throat, making it impossible to form particular vowels. To block voiced consonants, simply remove the vocal chords. If the kill words they know make use of the nasal phonemes, one can simply fill the nasal cavity with a permanent sealant, making it impossible to form "n" or "m" sounds. Often two or three of these are done at once.

Pinch your nose. Try to say the word "Mother". "Mercy". "No". Use your other hand to keep your lips apart from each other at the same time. Try saying "Help". "Please". Imagine a hundred such voices, distantly echoing through labyrinthine, clinical white halls.

The security personnel in the corridors of Site 27 wear earmuffs, some of them fluffy and pink.

Gan Ceann knew 48 different kill words. Of those, she'd personally invented 9, two of which she'd found could be non-fatally communicated to others with sufficient training. She was proud of this. The methods previously described were not effective on Gan. Her skull was impenetrable to the drills at hand (though the attempts were still exceptionally painful). Her body rejected any sealant placed inside it, breaking it apart and peristaltically pushing it out, piece by painful piece. Muscles re-knitted themselves in her throat. It was a simple fact of her biology: she could not stay without voice.

Very much against her will, Gan had her head removed from her body and placed in a jar filled with formaldehyde.

This was not as bad as might immediately be thought. Sure, this splintered her consciousness, but it was hardly the first time that had happened. Yes, it constantly felt as though she was drowning, the stinging fluid circulating and mixing with her own blood. Sure, she didn't have much to look at, faced as she was towards the nondescript wall. Yes, it might sound like this is all building up to some kind of positive, but no, it was all quite utterly awful and she wanted to get out of there as soon as possible before she lost her k-ndamn mind.

Gan's body, conscious unto herself, had other thoughts. She knew 48 different kill words, true, but no mouth (nor, any more, head) to form words with. They had, however, made the mistake of throwing her into a cell without binding her hands.

Here she made the equivalent gestures for "sign language, motherfucker".

Infiltrating an Auditory Threat Research Facility is made far easier in that employees are not permitted to directly observe any sound at any time. Thus, the major disadvantage of Lighttwisting - or, as the uninitiated would refer to it, "glamour" - is overcome: provided you appear as someone who should be present, your inability to mask or disguise your voice becomes irrelevant. Vocal mimicry is far more of a Taking skill than a Twisting one, and is far more complicated if you are attempting to provide a voice to another. Fortunately, Lighttwisting constructs are persistent, and can be anchored to a surface. Thus, Olga had been able to Twist both Justice's appearance and her own without needing to personally maintain it.

Justice and Olga walked down the corridor. Justice didn't need to block its ears - its physiological biostuff served little purpose beyond puppetry, and so Auditory Threats were for the most part irrelevant to it. Olga was wearing fluffy pink earmuffs.

They stopped at a map. Justice gave it a quick look over, then confirmed it matched what they expected with a brief thumbs-up.

They started walking towards Gan's body's cell.

Gan's body had felt around the walls of her cell until she figured out where the door was. If she'd had a mouth, she could have just Unseelie'd the thing. Instead, she backed up from the door, sat down, removed her shoes, stood back up, and prepared her hands for the gesture. She'd feel it in her soles when someone was approaching.

Olga Twisted the lock open, pulled the door wide, saw Gan's body wildly flailing her arms, and promptly started puking blood.

Justice saw this happen, crossed the room, grabbed Gan's left arm with both hands, and tapped out "█████" in Morse against her wrist. Gan stopped flailing. Olga continued puking blood.

Gan grabbed Justice's arm and tapped out "KNOW DIRCSHN OF HED USE AS CMPASS BUT GUIDE FRM WALS". Justice tapped back "OK". Olga didn't stop puking blood.



Justice grabbed Olga's head, pushed her mouth shut, and rotated her skull so that she'd see Gan as Gan, again, flailed wildly but in a bit of a different way.

The puking slowed to a dribble, a cough, another heave, a cough. A wipe of her sleeve against her mouth. Justice stared. Olga was able to stay conscious despite the extensive blood loss. She felt like shit, though. Like total shit. Like freshly shat shit, all shitty n'… shit. Wow, she thought, the ground's awful red today.

Olga collapsed.

This was bad. Justice needed Olga to glamour Gan, or there was no way they'd get out in one piece. A blood transfusion, maybe… but from who - Justice's heart hadn't pumped for a long time, and Gan was operating on alternative physiology.

That said, thought Justice, there's all this blood on the floor, and I know it's a perfect match…

Olga was fine for a while - they all got out okay - but that blood was puked, and you really, really shouldn't siphon gastric juices into the circulatory system. She got real, real sick - the bad kind of sick - but █████ made sure she got better.

That's just the kind of ███ that █████ is.

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