The irksome one with the ponytail has decided to visit her. Alison Hendrix she reminds herself. If she is to adapt to this bizarre situation, Rachel must refer to them by name for now. Perhaps this one won’t be as insufferable as Cosima, who prods her for answers that Rachel claims she does not have. As far as the others are concerned, Rachel simply believes she is painting random symbols to the canvass as a means of passing time. They are memories of childish games between her and her—Professor Duncan, and Rachel knows nothing of a deeper definition.
It’s important that they believe this lie. Rachel knows the power of information far more intimately than the other self-aware clones and their associates. If she informs Cosima or Scott of the symbols' meaning, they’ll simply run back to Doctor Cormier and take her chance at rebirth along with it. Felix is correct in his assessment; no one cares about Rachel Duncan, not unless she makes them.
You're more valuable than you know.
Rachel knows precisely how valuable she is, as far as Doctor Nealon is concerned. She's encouraged his experiments over the years—hard science demands sacrifice for the betterment of society. Rachel is not foolish enough to consider herself immune to them, given her fall from grace.
Rachel has a reprieve, albeit a brief one at best. Her value is tied to the cypher, like it was once tied to her position at DYAD. Once that bit of leverage disappears, so does she. She will not retire to her room until Doctor Nealon needs a fresh subject to experiment on. So, if she is to break this code of Professor Duncan’s, it will be on her terms.
For now, she must suffer Alison Hendrix and her obnoxious pink workout attire. It is best they forget that Rachel is a threat to them; allow them all to grow comfortable with her position as the mere keeper of information. Once that occurs, they will grow sloppy and leave the source material behind for her to review. All this requires is an opportunity, and she is moving toward creating it.
Alison’s eyes widen slightly before softening at the realization that her speech has been affected. She detests this behavior in all forms.
Rachel doesn’t require this woman’s sympathy or her condescension—she will not allow it. She is not a dying animal eager to be put out of its misery; Rachel is simply lying in wait. She might play the game, pretend to be working toward deciphering the code; however, to grow too docile is to become suspicious. It is a fine line, and Rachel knows she must not cross it. “Stop yo—your pity.”
“I don’t feel sorry for you, Rachel. I know what you did to that poor little girl,” Alison huffs with a raised eyebrow. “And I know you tried to kill my family.”
“Helsinki?” Rachel asks, curious if Alison knows everything or simply the threat to her own life. It's pointless to deny her plan subsequent to its discovery, and she refuses to apologize for taking action when required. Her answer will show how involved she truly is in Sarah's affairs. She'd assumed Alison was Beth's creature, and yet—
“Sarah keeps me in the loop. I know everything, Rachel.”
It sounds far more ominous than it’s likely meant, but Rachel cannot shake the feeling that it is intended as a threat. One that she almost believes Alison is able to act upon. Yet, a simple glance at the asinine getup causes her to relax just enough to hide any trace of fear from her features. What could this woman possibly do in her yoga pants? Beat her in a flexibility contest?
Felix’s attempt to threaten her was ludicrous enough. He'd been an easy mark in the hospital, and then suddenly, the lamb tried to be a lion. In the immediate aftermath, Rachel had cursed her desperation and momentary weakness. She'd been laid bare by Sarah Manning's brother, of all people. How pathetic.
In the end, it proved worthwhile. Without Felix, she'd never have gotten her plan off the ground. When this is over, and Rachel has reclaimed her position, she might just let him live.
“Why are yuh—you,” Rachel stops and points at the door. She is sick of conversing when the words fail to come to her despite her best efforts. This predicament leaves her vulnerable and it is best not to expose the severity of her disability unless forced. She must be seen as fit to command once she returns to her rightful place.
“Why am I here? I’m only here because Felix and Cosima refuse to leave you alone and I need him to help me grow my business.”
What sort of business could Felix Dawkins possibly help her grow? He is a rent boy and starving artist, from all accounts, and while he is in demand, his clientele is not particularly well-off. Rachel does know from Alison’s file that she’s not particularly intelligent—Aldous was able to secure her signature with simple flattery, after all. Perhaps having the gay man sell Tupperware or Mary Kay make-up is the type of venture that Alison might consider profitable.
Rachel doesn’t dare inquire further. Instead she makes a note to fund whomever Alison’s largest competitor is for the simple fact that a woman should never own that much lululemon. Disgusting.
“I made you something, though,” Alison chirps, attempting to hand her an elaborately wrapped gift basket. Rachel makes no motion to take it and she furrows her brow before nodding her head. So, Alison has discovered the damage their sisters inflicted upon her.
Instead of dropping the whole presentation, and the gift within, Alison opens the bag in front of her, nattering as she unfurls one bow after the next. “Cosima says that you know how to cure this thing of hers. So if you’re really going to help us—you need to look more like yourself.”
With that, Alison presents her with a piece of black silk that has some gaudy baubles attached. Upon further inspection, Rachel realizes the nature of her gift and glowers. When the time comes, Alison Hendrix will die first.
“It’s a gift, Rachel. You really should thank me.”
An eyepatch is meant to make her look like herself? How is it possible that this fool managed to emerge from their shared genetic material? This certainly is an insult, if not to her, than to the original genome from which they all descended.
Not only will Alison be the first to die, Rachel vows that it will be painful.
“For th—this?” Rachel stammers, using her good arm to push it onto the floor. This is repulsive. Perhaps she will harvest Alison’s eye, transplant it, and then terminate her.
“I worked hard on that!” Alison screeches, bending over immediately to pick the offensive item from the ground.
“No. No patch.”
“Fine.” Alison crosses her arms and flops inelegantly into the chair that's been provided for her visitors. She runs her fingers over the paint reverently and Rachel tenses as Alison grips a brush, waving it into the air with flourish.
While Alison Hendrix is the least likely to lash out at her, Rachel did just insult her gift. If her disability has taught her anything, it's that anyone can become a threat when provoked. For that reason, she has catalogued every item in her room and is well aware that the brush in Alison's hand can easily become a weapon.
Rachel loathes that her current position has prompted this train of thought.
“Paint,” Rachel spits with as much venom as she can muster. The speech pathologist DYAD provides her claims that she has exhibited daily improvement. Rachel is certain that he is simply placating her for now and likely reporting back his findings to Doctor Cormier. Regardless, Rachel's words have the desired effect and Alison deflates in front of her.
“You don’t scare me.”
She arches an eyebrow at that. If she trusted her voice more, Rachel might comment that the first indication of someone’s fear are the words you don’t scare me. Instead, she purses her lips and waits for Alison to elaborate. Women like Alison always elaborate on everything—it’s exhausting.
“Sarah was much scarier when she pretended to be you,” Alison smirks touching a palm to her cheek. “She was a witch to me when I was playing Sarah. I still don’t know why they didn’t let me play you instead. I was in a musical—“
Rachel forces herself not to react. Sarah Manning is nothing but a reckless trollop whom is likely to get them all killed. She could never be Rachel Duncan; none of them can. Certainly not Delphine Cormier, despite her claims to the contrary.
Rachel will disavow her of that notion in due time.
“Delphine let that vile man touch me,” Alison elaborates and the left side of Rachel’s mouth quirks. It seems Cosima is not the only one questioning that woman’s motives. Good. Rachel can utilize doubt in her endeavors. “You have awful taste in men.”
“Why would I tell you that? Hm?”
Rachel makes a gesture that she hopes conveys indifference with her left arm. Alison has already informed her of Ferdinand’s status by her non-answer. Ferdinand is alive, and likely kept hidden somewhere. That is certainly promising, as Delphine is the likely culprit. Ferdinand has his uses, especially in situations like this. And Alison Hendrix, it seems, has her uses as well.
Now, to determine exactly how useful Alison might be in sowing additional seeds of discontent.
“Delphine to—tortured me,” Rachel confides after a few moments of silence. Alison leans forward, intrigued. Yes, like any good suburban housewife, gossip serves as an excellent flytrap. She makes a motion toward her right side with her finger and mimes pressure. While she cannot control her right hand, she feels everything. It took five attempts before she'd managed to control her muscles enough not to tense when the nurses redress her wound.
Alison tsks and leans over her like a mother hen might, checking for damage that is not visible behind the gauze. It irritates her, the way Alison displays concern, yet Rachel feigns appreciation for her kindness.
"I've never trusted that woman. It's no wonder Cosima hasn't told her about the code," Alison admits. She slaps a palm to her mouth and her eyes grow wide at the admission, as if she hadn't meant to say anything at all. Impulsiveness is not a trait exclusive to Sarah, it seems.
So Doctor Cormier doesn't know about her involvement in decrypting the cypher. Interesting.
"Shh," Rachel hisses, sounding more like herself with every breath. This knowledge she can weaponize. This schism she can corrupt. But first, she must eliminate doubt from Alison Hendrix's mind so that she doesn't tell the others of her admission.
Alison prides herself on her knowledge of this situation, and control of her environment. Rachel wishes she'd read her file more closely to ensure that her assessment is correct, however, her monitor—husband—wrote the most boring observations. "Our secret."
Alison relaxes her shoulder blades, the tension loosening ever so slightly from her muscles, as the words wash over her. Yes, it's easier for her to believe Rachel's words than it is to realize that she's given away a closely guarded secret. They're not a united front and Delphine is vulnerable. Not only is she unable to manage the Project and its subjects, but her personal affairs are also in disarray.
"You are going to help Cosima, right?"
"Yes." Rachel answers, more certain than before. Her certainty is met with an encouraging nod from Alison and all Rachel can think is how she will enjoy ridding herself of this woman once and for all. Yet, if she is to take down Doctor Cormier, she needs allies, even ones as insufferable as Alison Hendrix. And what better way to obtain those than to fool her sisters into complacency by aiding their quest for a cure?
In the end, curing Cosima will matter little and yet do much to tame their wariness. She will ascend to her position atop DYAD once more while Delphine topples into obscurity. Once her sisters have grown comfortable, and Rachel has earned their trust, she will act. This time she will not fail.
This time, none of them will notice the knives lodged in their backs until it is far too late.
And then, she will have her revenge.