Unsolved Mysteries



Scene Title Unsolved Mysteries
Synopsis The internet is a deep, dark rabbit hole full of traps and snares and terrifying information.
Date October 18, 2018

Brooklyn Public Library

The hum of people quietly at work fills the Brooklyn Public Library from top to bottom. Computer fans whisper and keyboards tack-tack-tack as all kinds of people stare into glowing screens. Softly spoken conversations are held over tiny tables between chairs, and in other places pages ges rustle when turned and pressed paperboard book covers scuff lightly against flat surfaces. Sometimes there’s even the soft squeak of a wheel, too quick and light in sound to be more than a passing distraction, from a book cart or rolling step for those really high shelves.

It is a comfortable quietness of sounds that invites focus and privacy.

It’s also the perfect soundtrack for research, especially when the what being searched for is kind of unknown.

From the books she found at the Doyle Children’s Library, Squeaks decided she needed something more. They weren’t bad books, each had good information about who the Parkman’s were. And there were hints to other things that she couldn’t figure out and wasn’t ready to ask about. She definitely wasn’t ready to explain her sudden interest either. Not until she knew what she was looking for. And that need for bigger books, the sort not found in a library whose target was mainly kids and teenagers, is what has brought her to the Brooklyn Public Library.

While not entirely unfamiliar to her, the teenager still feels slightly overwhelmed whenever she’s inside. There are so many books and things with information at her fingertips, it’s hard to even know where to start. It’s only after giving in to that gripping need to just look everywhere all at once that she makes the decision to seek out a librarian to be pointed toward an available bank of computers.

In no time, she was perched on the edge of a chair, with her feet hooked around its legs, and logged into the system. She leans forward once the search page is loaded and begins tapping the keys to spell out her search on the Parkmans.

The yellowed plastic of old CRT monitors doesn't evoke any real sense of technological wonder, but the aging computers of the Eric Doyle Library are durable survivors from a simpler age. Most computers in the Safe Zone are unless they've been imported from overseas. Squeaks can hear the case fan whirring on the tower beside the monitor, hard disk clicking noisily.

New York Times
DHS Secretary Presumed Dead
November 12, 2011

MANHATTAN — Department of Homeland Security Matthew Parkman has been confirmed to be among the missing believed to have perished in the collapse of the DHS holding facility in Manhattan’s financial district for days ago. Deputy Secretary Gregory Armond has taken on Parkman’s responsibilities while the situation in New York spirals out of control.

The collapse of the DHS building is believed to have been caused by two Evolved humans engaged in a powered conflict that led to the EMP preceding the riots. An explosion tore through the building just after 3:00pm on November 8th and government agencies have been unable to secure the city around the building to search for survivors or recover the remains of the dead.

Basic information. The article keeps on going about Parkman’s career, how he came up from being a Los Angeles beat cop, how he rose to prominence as one of the first people to step forward and reveal their abilities to the world at a press conference in early 2007, just shortly after the bomb. Another article has an interesting footnote.

…he is survived by his ex-wife Janice Parkman and their son Matthew Parkman Jr.

No mention what happened to them, nothing post-war about them at all and almost no reference to them pre-war either.

It’s all a lot of the same things she’s already seen about the Matt Parkman guy. It’s interesting stuff, and kind of like the Cinderella story, but none of it seems like what she needs. She definitely hasn’t really seen anything that makes him seem bad, but Squeaks isn’t sure she’s looking for someone bad, either. Or good. Is it good or bad to pay someone to take care of a kid?

Slouching backward, she stares at the screen. Maybe if she watches it long enough, something will creep out of the letters. She lets her eyes go blurry, then after a few seconds she leans forward again. Of course all the searches on Parkman are going to bring up new stuff. She needs to look at it differently.

With her tongue poking out the corner of her mouth, Squeaks looks at the keyboard and starts tapping letters again. “Jacelyn Morrison,” she breathes her own name as she spells it out with her fingers. “Plus,” it takes her a second to locate the plus button, “there. Parkman.” Her eyes lift to the screen and she hesitates a teeny bit before hitting the enter button.

Nothing to do but wait now. Her chin comes to rest on her hands at the edge of the table while she watches for the new page to load.

When Google renders the search Squeaks sees something specific at the bottom of every result: Jacelyn indicating the search criteria couldn't be found. However, the surnames of Morrison and Parkman together present mostly outdated social media profile that haven’t been updated since before the war, like time capsules of the dead. But buried in the later search results is an interesting article from the New York Times’ digital archive.

Human Genome Project Completed
April 14, 2003
BETHESDA, MD., — The International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium, led in the United States by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and the Department of Energy (DOE), today announced the successful completion of the Human Genome Project more than two years ahead of schedule.
Also today, NHGRI unveiled its bold new vision for the future of genome research, officially ushering in the era of the genome. The vision will be published in the April 24 issue of the journal Nature, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Nature's publication of the landmark paper by Nobel Laureates James Watson and Francis Crick that described DNA's double helix. Dr. Watson also was the first leader of the Human Genome Project

The international effort to sequence the 3 billion DNA letters in the human genome is considered by many to be one of the most ambitious scientific undertakings of all time, even compared to splitting the atom or going to the moon.

"The Human Genome Project has been an amazing adventure into ourselves, to understand our own DNA instruction book, the shared inheritance of all humankind," said NHGRI Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., leader of the Human Genome Project since 1993. "All of the project's goals have been completed successfully - well in advance of the original deadline and for a cost substantially less than the original estimates."

Stefan Morrison, Ph.D., director of DOE's Office of Biological and Environmental Research in the Office of Science, said, "Sequencing the human genome was a pioneering venture with risks and uncertainties. But its success has created a revolution - transforming biological science far beyond what we could imagine. We have opened the door into a vast and complex new biological landscape. Exploring it will require even more creative thinking and new generations of technologies."

In the article is a photograph of the man Squeaks knows as her father, standing with a group of scientists. Later on in the article, she sees why the name Parkman was tagged in it.

But there’s no reference of Parkman in this article. Scrolling down through the search results more, Squeaks finds something from further back that seems to tie the two coincidences together, or perhaps it just seems that way because it’s what she’s looking for.

FDA Approves Genetically Modified Insulin
June 14, 1982
Genentech revealed today that the first genetically modified human insulin was approved for consumers by the FDA earlier this week. Genentech’s board of directors met with representatives of Biomere Incorporated to discuss the future of their partnership after the outstanding news. Genentech’s Harold Finn and Biomere’s Maury Parkman spoke with reporters about the…

Maury Parkman?

“Human Genome Project?” Squeaks’ whisper is barely more than a breath as she leans forward to view the article. She skims first, instead of reads, picking up interesting words and some idea about the article itself, but mostly she’s looking for the names she’s searching for. This genome thing sounds like it would be way interesting to learn about, but it will have to wait for another time.

When she finds the picture with Stefan Morrison, she pauses. That isn’t the name she knows that goes with that face, and it sets a weird sort of worried sensation in the pit of her stomach, a foreboding feeling seeing that face again. “Why’s he got a different name,” she asks out loud, but quietly, while scrolling back to actually read through the paragraph.

But the article ends, and there aren’t many answers. She even scans back a little ways in case she missed something. However, with no mention of any connection to a Parkman, she moves on…

…And stops again at a new Parkman name. She hasn’t come across it before, all the looking usually resulted in things about Matt and not Maury. With a click of the mouse, she opens a new browsing tab, to start a fresh search without losing her current one, and types in a new query.

Stefan Morrison and Maury Parkman.

There isn’t a second of hesitation this time before pressing enter, but as Squeaks sits back to wait for the new results her toes start tapping lightly against floor in anticipation.

The results are mixed as they come up. Nothing appears to put the two together, but the separate articles related to each man that arise are both tantalizing and worrisome. The first that comes up is dreadful.

Manhunt Begins for Fugitive Doctor
May 2nd, 2003
BETHESDA — Authorities have named the Maryland doctor wanted in connection with a series of illegal human scientific trials carried out between 1989 and 2001. Doctor Stefan Morrison, researcher for the Department of Energy, is wanted in connection to six deaths associated with a series of illegal drug trials performed by Morrison’s Tetradyne Company. Between June of 1989 and February of 2001 Tetradyne — a small pharmaceuticals company based out of Maryland — conducted illegal human experimentation by secretly injecting volunteers in an alleged trial of a new GMO insulin with modified T cells for as of yet unknown genetic research.

The six victims, all whom died of genetic disorders now believed to be tied to the Tetradyne trials, weren't connected until a seventh victim of Tetradyne’s experimentation — Paul Sorensen — was diagnosed with leukemia.

Doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center discovered Sorensen’s exceedingly high white blood cell count and were able to discover, through interviews, that he had been participating in discreet paid trials organized by Tetradyne.
Tetradyne’s CEO, Stefan Morrison, is believed to have administered the modified T cells personally for the research. The FBI raided Tetradyne on May 1st after issuing a warrant for Morrison’s arrest. Morrison was not found in his Baltimore home and the FBI is widening their search.

The article continues for quite a ways, with more tragic stories of the people Stefan Morrison appears to have made sick, and ultimately, killed.

The other article that gets Squeaks’ attention is much more recent and is one of dozens of articles that mention Maury Parkman by name.

Maury Parkman Guilty
February 8, 2016
The last rounds of absentia verdicts in the Albany Trials have been handed down today. Maury Parkman, father of the late Secretary of Homeland Security Matthew Parkman, was found guilty of 367 counts of treason by the United States Supreme Court and 37 crimes against humanity by the International Military Tribunal.

Parkman, one of the instrumental founders of the international al organization known as the Company, was tried for numerous counts of human rights violations including unlawful human experimentation, unlawful detention, murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and a host of other offenses. The jury found Parkman, who is missing and presumed dead, guilty with no contest after an hour of deliberation.
Following the verdicts sent down for Arthur Petrelli yesterday, Parkman’s absentia verdicts marks the closure of the book on the Company and their legacy of manipulation and coercion that stained the last fifty years of American history in innocent blood. With no known living relatives, Parkman’s sentencing offers little closure for the victims of his crimes.

Unlawful human experimentation.

One hand lifts off the table and curls fingers against her lips as she begins reading. The teenager’s eyes pick each word off the screen, captivated by terribleness of it all. The horror of the news is felt physically as that foreboding turns to a sour dread, and yet she can’t find it in herself to look away. It’s almost a relief when the words run out and the article ends on its own.


While these were things that happened before she was born, that doesn’t make it less worrying. She had known Doctor Ford — Stefan Morrison — her whole life. He made her call him Dad, even though their relationship wasn’t special or even typical, he never exactly scared her when she was little but she never did feel quite okay around him. Squeaks pinches her lips between her fingers to distract from the kind of sick feeling that’s settled in her tummy, and skims through the article again. Her eyes latch onto another name, Paul Sorensen, and for a few seconds she wonders if that’s the same Paul.

Filing it away for later, she returns to her search. Taglines of articles are looked over and dismissed as before until she finds one on the Parkman guy. She’s read a few things from the Albany Trials, but this one isn’t familiar to her. Her eyes tick from side to side as they follow the words on the screen. “Is that the connection,” she whispers, dragging the mouse to highlight human experimentation. It’s in both stories. “But what does it have to do with me?”

Squeaks isn’t sure she wants to know the answer. Parkman said thousands of dollars for her for… what? It’s hard to not assume the worst, with everything she’s found. And Paul was someone they both knew, who was in that awful report on Stefan Morrison was also about human experiments.

Taking a deep breath, she clicks into the search field. For a long time she sits, watching the cursor blink on and off, wondering how she should phrase her search. Then slowly, she starts typing…

List of victims human experimentation Parkman Morrison.

The results again as mixed. Victims of Stefan Morrison are listed in articles about the legal proceedings and the manhunt that never delivered the absent doctor.

…Cynthia Wheelock (deceased), Addison Frye (deceased), Zachary Holt (deceased), Lindsay Collins (deceased), Kendrick Milton (deceased), and Heidi Webster (deceased). Though there is no telling how many other victims of Doctor Morrison have not been linked to his research…

On the other end of the spectrum, the Company’s human experimentation are largely redacted. Names of the innocent are kept anonymized, save for those who testified against the Company during the trials. As Squeaks looks through the list of humans experimented on by the Company, a growing sense of dread creeps over her.

Childs, Gillian

The name, and Gillian’s Albany Trial testimony, is accompanied by photographs of her on the stand.

So many names to go through. Squeaks rubs at a worried crease on her forehead. Too many names, if her opinion means anything. Her scrolling soon becomes less intent, actions turning to scanning for familiarity instead of reading line by line. All of these people gone because some other people thought they could play at being gods. She can’t comprehend what kind of person could do anything so terrible.

The Company files, what she can find, aren’t any easier to read. The sick feeling has made itself at home, holding her stomach in a painful grip. Names are picked over, with nothing coming up as anything really familiar.

Until she finds Gillian’s name, and her testimony at the Albany Trials.

“Oh. No.” It’s barely a breath, and spoken against a hand she doesn’t remember putting against her mouth. She stares at the trial for a long time without actually reading it, body rigid to the point of shaking. Anger and fear wrestle with that dread monster in her gut and make her feel absolutely ill. “No… Gillian. Why? Why her?” Disappeared people and old articles can’t answer those questions.

Eventually, though, she allows her gaze to shift away from pictures and imprinting the heading in her memory. She doesn’t want to read it. That’s a thing for Gillian to tell her about. Still, she’s slow to back out of that screen and slower to start a new search. Her eyes rest on the keyboard, the image of it going blurry with tears that suddenly fill her eyes. She wraps her arms around her middle in a tight hug. It’s all in the past, and she can ask Gillian about it another time.

“Just one more,” Squeaks promises herself, rubbing the back of her wrist across her eyes. She looks over the keyboard and starts typing in her last search. Her hands rub at her face again, stalling just another second, and then she presses enter.

Maury Parkman Stefan Morrison babies and children experiments.

That there are results twists a knot in Squeaks’ stomach. The first relevant result is a harrowing headline:

Fallout of Morrison Case Deepens
September 12, 2003
BETHESDA — The case surrounding Doctor Stefan Morrison took a macabre turn over the weekend when it was discovered that three of his patients’ children tested positive for leukemia. While a full panel of tests have not her been performed, an attorney representing one affected families confirms that Addison Frye was pregnant while she was under Doctor Morrison’s care and that the treatments Morrison unknowingly gave Frye May have contributed to her daughter’s illness.

Federal authorities have placed a reward for $500,000 for information that would lead to Stefan Morrison’s arrest.

His work had impacted generations of families. It isn't until she finds the cases related to Maury Parkman that she realizes she may have dug too deeply. While nothing relating to Maury seems to indicate that he and Stefan knew one-another, it does provide Squeaks with a harrowing headline:

Child Victims of the Company
Quentin Frady, Editor
March 12, 2015

ALBANY — Following a firestorm of testimony over the last week, jurors are now left to decide the fate of Robert Bishop, the sole surviving member of the Company’s board of Founders, for his role in decades of human rights violations. The emotional testimony by his daughter Eleanor Bishop speaking to his character and compassion as a father, whereby Ms. Bishop pleaded for mercy from the courts seemed to pale in comparison to the harrowing tales told by former Company agents and victims of their secretive agendas.
Most notable among Bishop’s sins are his involvement with Arthur Petrelli’s eugenics program designed to breed SLC-Expressive humans and develop formula for the creation of “synthetic” ability Expression. Especially eloquent testimony from Ferrymen hero Gillian Childs on how she and her brother were products of this eugenics program clearly impacted the jury.

Childs, who has sat at the center of many of the events discussed at length in the trials, further revealed attempts by Arthur Petrelli and his account police Maury Parkman, in continuing these experiments well into the new millennium up until Arthur’s death in 2009.

The more she finds on Stefan Morrison’s secret life, the more she hates him. Squeaks can only stare at the words on the screen, trying without a lot of success to wrap her mind around the depths of evil in one man. Testing on people and watching them die. Making babies and children sick and dying just to try another experimental something. She didn’t feel much at all when that man had died of some kind of sickness himself, no sadness or anything, and now it seems only a barely fitting end.

Retribution doesn’t come naturally to her, and as soon as the thought that Morrison got what he deserved enters her mind, she reels away from it and she finds the next bit of information.

Almost immediately, the teenager regrets clicking into this story. Bile burns in the back of her throat as she finds herself unwillingly reading into more testimonies. More into Gillian’s role and connection to the Company. Perhaps not exactly the one she had avoided, but enough information that she learns way more than she really wanted to, and sooner than she expected. With trembling hands, she clicks out of the search, the tab is closed completely.

That leaves her to stare at her earlier search and the invisible connections between her father and Maury Parkman. Leaning forward, she moves the pointer with every intention of closing the browser and logging out. She doesn’t want to look anymore, but the mouse hovers over the X in the corner and her finger doesn’t click the button. She’d promised herself she’d be done, but…

Squeaks directs the cursor into the search field and clicks. She’s already in way too deep. A few seconds pass and she’s typing slowly, taking a different, and hopefully final, approach. She should never have started looking.

Squeaks modern eugenics experiments

Did you mean: speakers of modern eugenics experiments?

Not all shots in the dark hit anything.

Squeaks knew it was a stretch when she typed out those words. And at first there’s a sense of relief when the results are… not results at all. But at the same time it’s kind of troubling. Her name, her last name, brought information on a horrible man she had known since forever as someone else but not her? There should have been something with her full real name, even if it wasn’t connected to anything else.

Whatever she remembers hearing that brought her to this point, it’s something she’s probably going to need help figuring out.

Seconds tick by as she stares at the query response. Her heels bounce lightly as she thinks back on all the things she’s looked for so far. She was warned once that the Company had done really bad things, and she might have barely scraped the surface but what she’s seen is beyond terrible. A lump forms in her throat when she thinks back to Gillian’s story, but it’s more angry and less sad.

“Last one,” Squeaks asks herself. Her eyes stay resting on the screen while she debates another round. “For reals this time.” Grim determination, she’ll spend just a little longer looking and then regroup and decide which way to go next. Leaning forward again, the teenager’s fingers tap down each letter like some deep secret is going to light up if she finds the right one.

Morrison Parkman experiments on foster children “Squeaks”.

All that comes up is largely unrelated garbage or articles she's already seen. It's clear now that without more data she may have reached the bottom of this dark well.

As it becomes clear that the new batch of results are much of the same things from before, or nothing at all, Squeaks just closes the browser window. It’s probably something she should have done earlier, before she had dug as far as she did. She slouches back in her chair and stares at the screen, still wondering about what she’d found. All those people who got sick or died or both is troubling, and that Gillian experienced it too makes her stomach clench. And Doctor Ford was actually Stefan Morrison and part of all those experiments too?

She grabs the mouse and logs herself out of the computer. There’s anger in her movements, and haste frustrates her attempt to leave quickly. It takes a long time to log out of the old computer and get her card back. A shaky hand puts it into her back pocket and then reaches for her backpack on the floor. One of the straps tangles with a chair leg for a second and she almost knocks it over trying to collect her things.

The chair is pushed under the table as she found it before, and her backpack is pulled onto her shoulders. She takes a breath, forcing herself to stillness if not calm. It doesn’t help much, she can still feel the queasiness and panic just looking for a way out. It won’t be found here anymore than the answers she hopes for. She’s going to need to ask more questions, hard questions.

Squeaks tucks her hands into the pocket of her hoodie as she turns aside from the computer to escape the dark and terrible secrets it turned up, and she walks away.

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