A Whole Lot To Swallow


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Scene Title A Whole Lot To Swallow
Synopsis Yana calls in Devon to lunch to offer him two proposals. One of them a bit risky, the other could seem… semi-indecent… Depending on who is looking.
Date May 15, 2011

The Nite Owl

The Nite Owl is a survivor from ages past - one of those ancient diners with huge plate glass windows, checkerboard linoleum floor, and a neon owl over the entrance that blinks at those entering. Inside, there's an L-shaped main counter, complete with vintage soda fountain and worn steel stools. All of the cooking is done on the ranges ranked against the rear wall. The outer wall is lined with booths upholstered in cracked scarlet vinyl, tables trimmed with polished chrome. Despite its age, it's been lovingly maintained. The air is redolent with the scent of fresh coffee, vanilla, and frying food.

Lunchtime at the Night Owl is about as busy as one can expect it to be. Workers on their lunch breaks attending the diner in a steady flow, the occasional group of teenagers hanging out from school. A typical city atmosphere, save for one thing that stands out. Yana has taken up a booth along side of one of the windows, with the wall to her back and only one other table next to hers. This was attained through luck, rather than reservation. In her black silk dress, a bit casual for her but for the normal person it could be seen as fancy, making her seem like a privileged girl of the city, she awaits her party, which consists of Devon, whom she contacted and asked to meet her for lunch.

There are documents sitting in front of her while she waits, most are hand written but they all seem to center around the same thing. The recent strain of H5N10 that is going around. Formulas and statistics, things that might confuse someone that doesn't work in her field of study. From the looks of it, she hasn't ordered, nor has she touched the cup of hot water sitting to her side, an unopened Lipton tea bag on the saucer.

The call was a little surprising, and Devon's answer came with a subtle hesitation. Mostly because he was still suffering the scrutiny and verbal ass kicking from Melissa. Which was worse than the physical one he'd gotten for simply trying to walk on the sidewalk. But that aside, he accepted the invitation without much in the way of questions. It didn't take him long to clean up and head out with words that he'd be home later.

And cleaned up is how he presents himself when arriving at the diner. Devon's sporting a couple of facial bruises, one only slight discoloration while the other is deep with red and purple. But the jeans and t-shirt he's wearing are spotless, almost new, and the drab green jacket is clean but well loved. His eyes course over the press of people as he lingers near the door, only stepping inside and body weaving when he finds Yana. "Doctor Blite," he greets with a faint grin, sliding into the booth opposite her.

As she tends to have a habit of doing when working, Yana finds herself losing track of the time, and forgetting the rest of the world even exists. So it surprises her when Devon arrives to snap her back to attention of things other than her task. A blink of her eyes and a lift of her face to greet him, Yana smiles at the young man, "Ah, Devon—" she begins, and cuts off her words abruptly as her brow arches, getting a look at the bruises he sports. Her lips press together light and she peers at him, "Dear lord, you poor boy, your face is a tenderized mess. Were you attacked?" She seems to show concern with her words. The woman not used to bruises, save for the ones that come with horseback riding.

"It's looks worse than it is," Devon says assuringly. "Some friends and I crossed paths with a rowdy gang who decided they didn't want to share the sidewalk." His own mouthing off didn't help the situation any, but no need to go into that detail. His hands fold in front of him, resting on the edge of the table. A brow raises slightly in askance before he presses, "So what did you wish to meet with me about?"

"Hm." Yana intones, but she doesn't sound like she is really satisfied with the answer, yet she doesn't press the issue. She instead gathers up her scattered papers, stacking them nicely together as to make room as she gives a casual sigh, "Well, I have two things I'd like to possibly get your help on. One of which involves something that could produce massive ratings for your boss, while the other is a bit of a personal matter." she squints her eyes a little as she looks at him, "Let me ask you this, Devon. What do you know about vaccines?"

"They're a pain in the a— arm," Devon says, leaning back in his seat. His arms come to fold over his chest, still watching the woman in front of him. "They require testing and approval and it's still not even precise; things like the flu viruses are usually made from a strain of the previous year beefed up in hopes it'll stave off the next year's strain." His eyes flick toward the papers then back up to her. " Sometimes, like with the original H1N10 it's reactionary, using a current form to produce the vaccine, and those tend to be a gamble despite what the government'll tell you. The exact science of it all I could probably understand but I've never studied it. I'm an actor, not a scientist."

Yana makes a small smile, and lets his answer hang there for a moment. The look she gives him isn't condescending or having sport at him not completely understand the subject, but it is as if he gave only part of the answer and there is more to it. She bounces her head from side to side just a small bit while pursing her lips, "Mm. That's one method, yes. But there are other types of vaccines that are used to treat different diseases. Typically, yes, they use killed virus particles which are of course harmless at that point, to stimulate the immune system. Usually done with heat, or some type of agent in a lab. The influenza virus is usually fought off using this method." She hesitates after a second after a bit of explanation, "I'm sorry, are you hungry? Did you want to order? I'll treat, so get whatever you like." she offers.

"Anyway, the influenza virus is difficult to maintain a steady vaccine for, because it is an RNA virus, and it mutates into a new strain quite quickly, making it resistant to the previous methods of fighting it. The H5N10 is such a virus, and it just so happens.. as I'm sure you have seen in the news, that there is a bit of a virus going around. Well, I'm not sure how much you actually know, or believe but the strain is.. specific. My research links it to the initial H5N10 strain, and in two recent mutations, it has reversed its host range to infect solely non-Evolved."

Yana bring her elbows to rest on the table, folding her hands into each other. "This will no doubt cause a bit of a rise in the government, because.. well.. it's not evolved that are getting sick. But.. I was thinking that perhaps this is a chance to give Evolved a bit of glory. What if.. by using their ability, an evolved were able to say, develop a vaccine for the recent strain, and also be able to predict the way the mutation occurs into the next one, so that an updated vaccine is always available?"

"Just coffee," Devon says, absently picking up one of the overturned mugs out for such a purpose and setting it to the serving side of the table to be filled. His attention remains, focused and intent, listening to Yana's explanation. There's no surprise when she reveals the new strain of H5N10, he'd heard as much from another doctor and, like the others who work at Studio K, he's usually up to date on the news.

His answer is long in coming, taking time to think. His eyes flick to the side when a waitress appears to fill his mug, a faint, not quite grin and nod of thanks for the act. "I think you're setting yourself up to be a government pawn," Devon says quietly, fingers wrapping around the porcelain. The mug is lifted and he sips at the hot, black liquid.

"Or worse," the teenager continues, lowering the mug again. "I don't want to see non-Evolved getting sick and dying, and I think a vaccine should be made and kept for whatever this new virus is just like the regular flu or original H5N10. But you're putting a lot of faith in the very same people who've done nothing but oppress and damage and disappear the lives of people who were unfortunate enough to be born different. They're too twisted to buy into the angle of just doing the right thing."

"Really? You believe so?" Yana's brow raises at his answer, not really expecting it, but then again, he doesn't have all of the information that she has. It's stored in her head for the time being. "Well, I already work for the Commonwealth Institute as it is. So I suppose that I'm already under the thumb of the government in that way. But as far as becoming a pawn? Maybe not if care is taken. If things are taken through the proper channels first, rather than me simply developing a vaccine and then reporting it to my superiors. I can create a vaccine." Yana says with a great amount of confidence in her voice, sounding like it is an actual fact, rather than a bold boast. Her eyes lifting to lock directly to his.

"You see, the way my ability works -as my registration can tell you- is that I can look into living organisms and see the weakness contained within their body, IE: viruses; illness. I gain a hundred percent accurate knowledge about the condition, which is something the registration doesn't know. It's one of those unimportant details they didn't get to." she waves her hand, "They were just concerned with how dangerous I was, but anyway.. It works just the as easily on virion particles, as it does with people or animals. Meaning I obtain the knowledge in how to destroy it. It's really quite detailed, and it is then simply a matter of applying the skills that I have learned through my academic career to use in actually putting the agents together." her shoulders lift in a shrug.

Despite a faint twitch in his cheek, something that could be attributed to the bruising, Devon's expression remains neutral. He hadn't known she worked for the Institute. His chin lifts a little as he meets her gaze, thumbs tapping against the side of his mug. "The proper channels as I see it, Doctor Blite, are as likely to get you killed for a terrorist as they are to get you to sainthood for saving the non-Evolved population." But she can create a vaccine, she's got his attention.

Devon's eyes slant toward the open side of the booth, gauging the press of people in for lunch and buying time to consider his next words. His own self sacrificing goals have him in neck deep as it is, how much further is he willing to go? "Tell me where I come in," he says, pitching his tone low to keep it only at their table. "And if I don't like it, then allow me to walk away and forget that we ever had this conversation." There's a lingering threat, unspoken words implying that he'll take action if he decides not to help and it comes back to haunt him.

Well, Yana is making a pretty big move with this one, actually. After all, she is the one who started the virus. Also, what is known of her ability is only one color that the chameleon shows, so to speak. What she is planning to do by suddenly turning and eradicating the very thing she caused is known only to her at the moment. "Perhaps. If it isn't done properly. I do have a bit of credibility under my belt, in developing vaccines for more difficult diseases even before I was out of grad school. So that factors in."

As he requests to walk away from the situation in the event he doesn't agree, Yana straightens up in her seat, "Very well, if you don't like what I have to suggest, we will forget this was ever brought up, and move on to the personal matter I would like to discuss with you." she agrees with a nod. Her next words are smooth, her eyes resting on his face, "I think I understand what it is like to be an intern. What you might be going through in your field. The way everyone views you? Possible even treats you? Sure, you're useful, but you're just an intern, right?" This is all assumption on her part. Gambling on personal knowledge from experience.

"You possibly have ideas that are overlooked, brushed aside, and then ideas that work, which you don't receive the proper credit for. Because what you need is something big to bring to the table. You need something so breaking that they can't help but look at you differently." she unfolds her hands, "Well, this could be it. Obviously, if I develop a vaccine first, and then go public with it, hoping to play the saint, I'll be suspected for terrorism. But with all of my credentials, if started at the beginning, making it known that there is a possibility I could create a vaccine, followed by some time, going through the motions, resulting in the final 'Eureka', it could be possible to pull it off."

She then shakes her head, "I'm not saying it is guaranteed to work, but if caution is taken, and the right moves are made, we can all arise out of this at the very least unscathed. The result is the same, even if the government manages to downplay it. A vaccine exists, their precious non-Evolved stop dying, and we go on about our lives. But if it works…" Yana trails off there for a second. "Of course, there is a period of hand sitting to where the virus will need to become a bit more of a threat, which is a sacrifice, yes, but.."

"No offense meant, Doctor Blite," Devon interjects quietly, "but I have more than myself to look out for in this. Any risky proposal, especially something in regards to what you're looking at, needs careful consideration. If I don't think the benefits outweigh the risk, it's not something I'll lightly stick my neck out for." Beyond that statement, soft spoken and not forcefully presented, he listens quietly, giving away no sign that he's agreeing or disagreeing to it. "And you want me," he continues once she's finished, "to be the one to find you, so to speak. To bring you and your vaccine to light by way of… what exactly? The Advocate?"

"Yes." Yana replies to all of his questions, "You, and The Advocate. I met Mr. Russo by chance some months ago, and he spoke of having me on the show just to talk about my work in the field of virology. Well what better time than now. One of the questions asked will no doubt be about the strain going around currently, in which we can begin the steps to take this in the direction we desire. I'm not asking you to make a decision on this now, I'm just bringing it to your consideration is all."

Yana then squints her eyes a bit in looking at him thoughtfully, leaning forward some. "But also consider this…" She pauses a beat or so. "Do you have non-Evolved friends, Devon? Close family that are non-Evolved? This virus.. the original H5N10 has mutated twice within the span of a few weeks. By the time a vaccine is made, and goes through the approval process, then manufactured to be distributed, it'll be useless. I've looked into this virus with my own eyes. It will continue to mutate faster than a vaccine can be created. There will be no cure." Quite simply because Yana will alter the strain much faster than the virus mutates naturally, and continue the process. "I can make sure that doesn't happen. By preempting the virus' mutation. But not if I end up becoming a pawn for the government, as you say." It's a careful web of deceit she is weaving, taking many risks on this subject.

Like a game of cards, Devon continues to keep expression from his face, meeting Yana's gaze with the same dispassionate countenance that he'd express to anyone while conducting business. What circles his friends or family move in is just one card in his hand, one that he's not willing to expose unless he's sure he can sweep the table. "I'll think about it," he tells her. "But if I decide against it, if I choose not to follow up and find a way to get you onto the show, that's it." Though, he knows, it's hard to argue. That she's claimed to be with the Institute is enough to warn him to do his own research first.

Pausing to take another drink from his coffee, Devon settles back just a little. As his mug lowers, pale eyes continue to regard Yana as he allows the silence to linger. "What's the personal request you have," he asks, reaching for a packet of sugar. The little pouch is torn open and the contents dumped into his mug without ceremony.

His answer is one that she finds acceptable. It wasn't a no, which she would probably go a different route if it had been, but what he said is something Yana expected. However, he announced his feelings about non-Evolved dying from the virus earlier in the conversation. So what Yana said to him, cannot be unsaid. No matter if he buries the subject or not. She'll just have to assume he is a regular human being when it comes to things such as guilt and the consequences that just walking away entails.

She nods once to him, "Fair enough. If you decide yes, then that is fine, if not.. nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?"

She is well aware of the little seed she planted, and leaves it to grow on it's own. "I've always been impressed with you, Devon. I see great potential in your eyes, and a passion for things great enough to do what needs to be done. I would like to see you succeed. Which is why I came to you for that…" she nods, "Which is also why I am coming to you with this little personal matter." Yana raises a finger up, pushing it to the bridge of her nose for a second, "Working for Mr. Russo, I am sure you are familiar with a certain individual by the name of Magnes Varlane?" she arches a brow, giving him a second to absorb the name. "He is a.. well.. former student of mine so to speak. Recently, he has left my tutelage and made it his mission in life to obtain me in the sense of…" she searches for the word, "Togetherness? Which is something I have told him repeatedly that I have no desire for. Yet.. he is persistent, and not in the good way."

Yana's eyes narrow almost darkly, her jaw setting as she adopts her thinking expression, "I could outright tell him to go soak his head, or push him down a flight of stairs and he would still come crawling back, begging. What I need is to strike him where it hurts. His self-esteem." Apparently, Yana does not like the fact that Magnes is wooing her. "I said some things to him, about what I find acceptable in a companion, one of them including an age difference. I believe you are even younger than he is. You are also quite a bit different than he, and come from a better background possibly, so what I am requestion is that you play a part. Pretend to have a crush and do things that are gentlemanly in gesture. Sending flowers, possibly lunches, dinners and the like. To which I will respond in kind. I can pay you for this, of course, and bare in mind, it is simply just an act. I only want Magnes to view me responding differently to someone else. With all hopes, he'll give up his romantic designs, and we can get back to the way things were."

The flattery doesn't seem to go anywhere, as Devon remains impassive. The name, Magnes Varlane, earns a raised brow. He's heard it before, though hasn't had the pleasure of meeting the man. But even that doesn't really seem to shake his demeanor any. No surprise, a guy and a girl and a tale of unrequited love. But her proposal…

Both Devon's brows lift in surprise when Yana hits on the point of her request. It leaves him temporarily speechless, but with grace enough to not gape or mouth like a codfish. That he would definitely have to think on, but the ploy could have its own benefits. He toys with his lower lip, a furrow creasing his brow as he thinks on it. "I need to think about it, Doctor Blite. The age thing could… I wouldn't want to tarnish your reputation." It's a lie, he's at the age of consent and can easily file for emancipation so nothing would seem amiss. But he needs to buy time with whatever currency is available to him.

It's allowed to hang for a moment while Devon inwardly scrambles to compose himself. How often he's come to losing control is becoming troubling, but it could be attributed to the week he's had. "Give me a day or two," he asks with a half grin, hopeful. "Understanding it's an act, but I should still give it some thought instead of giving in to impulse and saying yes right off."

In Yana's head, her plan makes such an intricate pattern of sinken threads, one linking to another in ways that only she understands. Though where Yana tends to flaw is the fact that she doesn't really consider that the workings of her brain aren't considered common sense. Not everyone understands what she is thinking or are able to anticipate her plans. Christopher has spoiled her in this aspect, as he knows her better than she knows herself sometimes. And that is saying something.

"Oh, nothing has to really be going on, Devon. I just need people -especially Magnes- to think there is. If you decide to go with my other proposal, when people start pointing fingers and waving flags, we'll just look at them crazy and reveal that you were simply trying to get the scoop from me for the show. Buttering up the source so to speak. Certainly your superiors could respect such dedication." Crafty is she to tie this little bit plot in with the first, to give him another bit of glorification in which to possibly weight his decision in her favor. Subtle tricks and moves, that is how she plays.

She just smiles at him as he speaks of needing a bit of time to think, an approving nod from her head, finding his desire not to act on impulse another impressive quality, "You're already years beyond Magnes, with that much sensibility. Take your time, I have nothing but as of late, and if anything I am patient." She has to admit, that she chose Devon out of how she had been impressed by him, as well as meeting him at the date auction that night. When she concocted this scheme, that is what made her think of him.

Her eyes move over to her phone, checking the time, "Well, I believe it is time I got back. I have a bit more work to do, and it would be best if I did so in my study." she gathers together her papers and places them in the leather folder she has at her side. "You have my number. So whatever you decide on either, just let me know, okay? Thank you for meeting me today. I rather enjoyed… lunch. Even if it was a bit light." A joke? From Yana?

While the woman may be thinking in angles and webs, Devon's mind is wrapped around the intricacies of the gambit. He's well aware of how one could weigh into the other, the possibility of gleaning any length of information to further strengthen his own hand and the risk of exposing everything. That target on his back just got a little heavier. He's not so naive as to miss flaws in his own plan for staving off an immediate answer.

The teenager graces her with a faint smile and a nod of assent. "Just a couple of days is all I need," he says assuringly. "Then you'll have my answer for that. The other will… need to be thought over more carefully before I answer." His mind touches briefly again on the vaccine finding, his look darkening for for less than a second. He'll have to reach out to his contact again and get an opinion.

As she begins to gather her things, Devon stands. The dark look is gone, replaced by an amicable grin. "Pleasure as always to see you, Doctor Blite. Thank you for the invitation. You can expect to hear from me soon."

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