A Part Of Their Lives


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Scene Title A Part of Their Lives
Synopsis Magnes Varlane arranges a meeting with his father at an Institute facility, but Pete steers the topic of their meeting towards matters of the blood, rather than matters of the mind.
Date February 3, 2011


The Braintree Commonwealth Facility

Braintree Massachusetts is just a hop skip and a jump from Cambridge, a city that is home to the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and more auspiciously the Commonwealth Institute. A satellite facility of the Institute was opened in Braintree to serve as a training facility for Institute operatives learning to control their abilities, while also performing basic research on these volunteers in controlled environments.

A few months ago, it was attacked by terrorists and much of the facility destroyed or damaged.

From the snow and ice covered parking lot, the building looks to still be in stages of repair. Floodlights shine on the brown walls and tinted windows. Large blue canvas tarps and black plastic cover up a section of wall still damaged by the attack on the facility. Tall, snow-covered cranes loom over the building, dangling taut steel cables down towards the roof, giving the impression of a puppeteer's fingers and marionette strings.

With evening setting in and the winter sky turning from day to night, the skyline of Briantree is alight with the windows of skyscrapers, traffic lights and street lamps casting jaundiced illumination down onto brown and muddy snow capped with more pristine, untouched white powder. Yesterday's storm dropped nearly three feet of snow across Massachusetts, it shows.

Up the sidewalk and towards the lobby entrance of the facility, banners reading MAXWELL CONSTRUCTION COMPANY hang from the building, showcasing the corporation handling the repairs. Though all of the workers have long since gone home for the day, the presence of chain-link fencing around the construction site near the lobby looms ominously, and in the flurries of snow drifting from the sky evokes feelings of restlessness in Magnes Varlane.

His shoes leave visible tracks in the freshly fallen snow, all the way up to revolving door at the front of the facility. Thorugh the door and into the well-lit, marble-floored lobby, repair here has largely been finished, though some construction lights still remain, shining up where portions of the ceiling and internal wall are being rebuild.

Waiting at the front desk, hands in the pockets of his slacks and brows furrowed is a man who isn't sure what to make of the approach of Magnes. Stern, judging eyes stare the young man down as he enters, assessing everything from his posture to his attire, from the look in his eyes to the way he reminds him of himself as a young man.

Pete Varlane once had high hopes for his son. Hopes that were dashed by a youth of bad choices, impulsive nature and rash decisions. He promised himself, once, that he would never get his hopes up about his son again, that he would write him off as a loss and leave it at that.

Pete Varlane feels guilty, today, for having a glimmer of hope.

Wearing a black armani suit given as a gift by one Doctor Blite, Magnes walks up to his father, immediately holding out a brown folder with a few papers in it. "I've been thinking about what you said a lot, a few of the things you've said to me. That I'm the one constant variable in what goes wrong in my life, and that the Institute facility I saw could have been one bad apple."

He looks down at the folder, then back up to his father's eyes. "I want to give the Institute a chance, make it my kind of internship while I'm going to school, so I can learn about molecular biology and see if I'm still as excited about it when I've actually been doing something. I got a team together of people willing to help, employees of the Institue. Dr. Elvira Illyana Blite, Dr. Isabella Sheridan, and an anonymous associate of Bella's. We plan to do extensive research into Evolved abilities and how viruses can be used to manipulate them, both give and take, and possibly produce designer abilities."

That's when he's raising the folder up a little higher, finally addressing it. "This is a full proposal written by Doctor Blite, with what resources we'll need, why we need them, and what exactly the research will be. I'll be there as mostly an assistant, but I'll also be learning from Doctor Blite for the entire time, kind of learning from experience while doing my own research and going to school."

"Anonymous…" Pete murmurs, reaching inside of his suit jacket for something, then hesitating and looking up to Magnes, then over to one of the stairwell access doors in the lobby. "You know what, c'mere…" Jerking his head to the side and seeming to dance around the prospect of a project and letting Magnes hold on to the folder, Pete leans away from the front desk and starts heading to the door to the stairs.

"You know there's something your grandfather told me once, and it's that you can't trust a woman who has a name that's a proper noun." Reaching inside of his suit jacket again, Pete pulls out a thick and chrome metal case, then pushes his shoulder into the door and urges it open into the stairwell. He holds the door there, open, and nods for Magnes to follow him in. "Crystal, Sky… I dunno, Candy? Anything that sounds like a stripper name is usually dangerous too. But I'll tell you, a chick named Elvira," both of his gray brows go up. "That's a lady that'll give your coconuts a twist and a pinch. If it's the same Elvira I know, and I really can't imagine there's more than one outside of the mistress of the dark," Pete clicks his tongue. "I'm amazed you don't have a permanent heel-print in your forehead."

"She's one of two women I kind of have my eye on, the other I don't really know the real name of, but she calls herself Dessy and wears an eyepatch and crazy dresses." Meanwhile, Magnes is indeed following, taking in his surroundings. The last time he was in an Institute facility, it more or less turned into Resident Evil. "Bella doesn't trust Doctor Blite either, but I can see the good in her, even if she's a little… off at times."

"Her name's Blite," Pete deadpans, leaning away from the door once Magnes is inside of the stairwell, allowing it to swing shut on its own, "you kind of either have to be a lunatic or a comic book character at that point. If I hadn't heard of her myself I'd insist you made that name up." Pete turns for the stairs going up, thorugh the drab, white-painted walls of the stairwell, past swiveling security cameras. His pace is slow, pondrous and fitting of a man of his blockish build.

"She also doesn't put up with sass or… well," Pete glances over at Magnes, down to the folder, then back up again, "presumably you. Since you're here and not in a plastic bag somewhere, maybe I was wrong about a few things." Reaching the landing between the first and second floor, Pete hesitates and offers an askance look over to his son.

There's a moment of hesitation, thoughtful, before he starts heading up towards the second floor access door. "So you and a handful of women working for the Institute are going to… well I guess it's probably explained in the folder, but I'm not in a reading mood just yet. Soon, but not yet." Pushing the door open with the flat of his palm, Pete emerges out onto a hallway on the second floor, windows not nearly as tinted from this side show the well lit and snowy parking lot. He holds the door open with fingertips, turning to look back at Magnes as he does.

"Before I know what you're doing, I want you to tell me something more important." Gray brows furrow together, and Pete's expression is momentarily quite serious. "Why are you doing this?"

"When Elaine broke up with me, and when you gave me that talk, I was forced to put my life into perspective again, to really consider what I wanted to do. I know you and my mother raised me to be a physicist, but I've never been great at physics. But when I was a teenager and Doctor Blite tutored me briefly, I remembered how amazing I thought molecular biology was." Magnes is barely looking at his father when he speaks, seeming a little on edge. Are there lickers on the ceiling around some corner?"

Opening the folder and flipping through pages, he's forced to give his reasons a little more thought than normal. "Biology has become one of the most relevant fields I can pursue right now, and at the core of it all, I am supposed to be a scientist, I just have to be the right kind, for me. And I have to prove that the way I was raised, everything I learned, wasn't for nothing. And on top of that, I really want to see what the Institute is, for myself. I saw that other place, I know what happened to my friends, but if that's one bad apple then I want to see what you're really about."

"Well, you're asking the wrong guy about the Institute." Pete sweeps his hand away from the door, letting it swing shut as he turns to start walking down the hall. "I'm human resources, I handle talent scouting, hiring and firing within the organization. But as far as actually knowing the ins and outs of most of the science projects going on?" He glances over his hsoulder to his son. "I don't have half a damn clue what half of this stuff here's for. All I know is names on paper and signatures. But… I know that when you get enough crazy people into one place, like they had down on Staten Island?" Pete stops at a pair of double doors that look to head out to a balcony. "People are gonna' get hurt."

Pushing those doors open, Pete walks out into the cold, tapping one of the doors with his bare hand and sending a sonorous hum through the metal. The door halts in place, not retracting back closed like the others had, like it should be doing without anyone holding it open.

"Thing is, you don't choose science. Science chooses you." Sliding his finger over the side of the metal care he's been carrying, Pete opens it up to reveal cigars. His dress shoes crunch snow and ice underfoot on the balcony, and one hand sweeps some snow off of the concrete railing he leans against. "Science didn't choose you, Magnes. Fuck if I know what did, aside from a stroke of bad luck I guess."

A cigar is taken out of the case between thick fingers, and the case laid out on the flat railing. Snipping the end off with a cigar cutter, Pete twirls the cigar around between his fingers, then offers it out to his side towards Magnes.

"Take a smike, and give me your folder," Pete instructs.

"What else am I supposed to do? I mean, I have the band, but that's Sable's dream. I've already saved the world and did the superhero thing, all I have left is learning and trying to do something to better myself, using the skills I already have." Magnes takes the cigar and hands over the folder, looking over the stick for a few moments, then puts it to his lips and inhales. This is, of course, followed by a lot of wild coughing.

"Have you ever thought about getting a job and being normal?" Pete hesitates for just a moment, watching Magnes out of the corner of his eye before preparing another cigar, running one end under the lighter and sucking in a lungful of hot smoke that puffs out between the cigar and his lips. "No I guess that probably isn't an option is it?"

Pinching the cigar beterrn his teeth, Pete takes the folder and opens it, turning his back to rest against the railing as he leafs through the document, brows furrowed. "You know they'll never let you work at the Institute. I mean— well— I won't hire you." Pete offers an askance look to Magnes, then back to the document with uncertainty. "Maybe if you actually pull this off, I might reconsider. But you know, this reminds me of something your uncle Floyd did back when we were kids."

The folder is closed, and Pete reaches up to take his own cigar between two fingers, gesturing with it idly as he talks. "He met this girl, Ivory." And what did their grandfather say? "Nice girl, if you like needy clingers. Anyway, she was really into cycling, rode every day, excessive. So when your uncle hooked up with her, he took up cycling too. He hated it, and…" Pete's eyes narrow, tongue slides across the inside of his cheek slowly.

"You know I forget where I was going with this. Long story short, she was a transvestite." Pete's eyes flick over towards Magnes. "I guess just— don't do something for someone else, do something for yourself. Otherwise you'll end up hooking up with a transvestite?" Nose wrinkling, Pete brings the cigar back to his lips and sucks down another ashen breath, letting the smoke waft out his nose.

"I've never really been good at this whole dad thing."

"I tracked down Doctor Blite after deciding to try this, I didn't even know I'd be attracted to her anymore." Magnes tries to take another puff, seemingly struggling, but he's keeping it up. "Even if I can't join the Institute, I'll need access to some sort of work space and we'll need resources to do this. Doctor Blite and Bella are already with the Institute, so would it really hurt if I'm just allowed access to one particular workspace?"

As for him being normal, there's a slow headshake. "Getting a job and being normal would be a waste of my potential."

"If you're looking for handouts you're looking in the wrong place," Pete asserts with a slow shake of his head. "I'm not in the position to hand out a workbench, let alone an office or whatever it is you'd need. Get someone else to hook you up with a few hundred thousand dollars in lab equipment necessary to run experiments. I appreciate your motivation, kid, but really…" Pete closes his eyes and hands the folder back to Magnes. "I have to go through channels for everything, and with just a premise I can't do that. Bring me something I can show to my bosses, and maybe then they'll grant you some lab space. Right now they'd probably just wonder what Blite and Sheridan are doing that gives them so much free goddamned time."

Puffing out another breath of smoke, Pete looks askance to Magnes, then turns around to lean his stomach against the railing, folding his arms in front of himself. "So…" Lips purse together, and Pete looks down over the edge of the balcony. "What happened between you and that, uh, Elaine girl?" He may be bad at the dad thing, but he can give it a try once in a great while.

"We had a one night stand after forming a casual agreement, and then I broke it by taking the advice of my former therapist, Bella. Now I'm full of regret and things are completely awkward between us." Magnes shrugs, trying to inhale the cigar a little slower. "I want her back, but she laid it out quite clearly that there's no chance, so I'm trying to just focus on other things."

"I'll see what I can do about getting results. I mean, I'm sure I know some rich person willing to fund this." He may not be sure who yet, but… "We're not rich, are we?"

Pete offers an askance look to Magnes again, sucking in a slow breath on his cigar as the ember on the end glows brightly. As he exhales a mouthful of smoke, Pete breathes out the answer of, "We're not." There's a crooked-mouthed smirk at that, and Pete withdraws his cigar and pinches it between two fingers, tapping ash off over the balcony to get caught on the wind.

"Your mother and I broke up once, for about six months…" Staring out over the snowy parking lot, Pete's face has become reddened by the cold and wind. "It was the year before you were born. We'd had a huge fight, and she threw me out on my ass. It was my fault, admittedly, and you probably get the way you are from your old man, as much as I'd hate to admit it. Your mother found out that I had another family, from… from before I met your mother, before we were married, even."

Exhaling a sigh, Pete looks up to the cloudy night sky, turned a brownish-yellow color by the city lights. "She had every right to be mad, and she only found out because she thought to check where my money was going. Paying child support's sort of a— well— it's a dead give away." Turning to look over at Magnes, Pete offers a weary smile.

"So… your mother and I took some time apart, but eventually we managed to work things out. I had to work hard at it, fight for her. But she was worth it, your mother…" Looking back out over the parking lot again, Pete's breath is visible as a cloud of steam on the wind. "If it was meant to be, kid, you'll find a way."

"I have siblings?" Magnes has a clear look of confusion on his face when Pete casually drops that bombshell, coughing on his cigar again, thumping a fist against his chest. "And I didn't expect you to tell me to pursue her, I mean, I thought you'd just say it was silly…"

"Half siblings," Pete admits dryly, flicking ash from the tip of his cigar down to the parking lot below. "Two sisters, one's your age, one's older." Looking askance to Magnes, Pete offers a thin and mild smile, an apologetic one. "I'm surprised you didn't find out for yourself. One of them was a rather public member of FRONTLINE here in New York for the better part of a year until she was transferred out to California. I hear she's doing training out there these days…"

Looking away from Magnes and watching the tail lights of cars passing across distant streets, Pete takes another slow puff off of his cigar. "Your younger sister attends MIT over in cambridge. I… haven't spoken to either of them in a very long time. Not since they were both little girls." Sliding ihs tongue over the inside of his teeth, Pete lets his head hang a little.

"If you ever have children…" Pete offers as advice, ruefully. "Be a part of their lives."

"Two sisters? Wait… Felicia Varlane is my sister?" Magnes' brows crease, shaking his head in disbelief before taking one long drag of his cigar. He may cough most of the smoke out, but he needed that. "I'll take your advice, but are there any other family secrets I need to know about?"

"So you knew about her, and what— you just assumed Varlane was a coincidence? Son, our family name isn't the most common one in the bunch, you know." Pete's smile is a wan one, joking but only just barely. Talk of families, children and suggestions of his relative failure to them all puts him in a sour mood, though less of one than he thought he would be in on knowing his wayward son was coming. Throwing the stub of his cigar ofer the edge of the balcony, Pete leans off of the railing, brushing snow off of the sleeves of his suit jacket.

"Felicia and Clara Varlane," Pete explains, motioning out towards the city. "Hell if I know what either of them are doing right now, but maybe you should look them up sometime. There's no reason you can't reconnect… if it's something…" Pete closes his eyes and shakes his head, stepping further away from the railing, towards the door that's been softly humming and vibrating since he tapped it earlier.

With a snap of his fingers the door starts to close and the humming stops, only for Pete to trap the door from closing with his shoulder. "I'm heading home for the night," he explains wearily. "Leave your address with the secretary downstairs. I might… want to stop by and see how you're doing sometime."

"Yeah, I will." Magnes doesn't comment on the revelation of two sisters, smothering the fire with gravity. He walks up to the rail and simply jumps, and will be heading home by car, not by flight.

Pete lingers in the doorway, watching Magnes disappear over the railing with one brow raised. There's hesitance in his expression, if only for a moment. Then, in appreciation, Pete Varlane's lips creep up into a slow and steadily growing smile. Magnes may have been a disappointment in some regards, in matters of intellectualism and profession, but in seeing the boy's power in use again, there is a flutter of confidence in Pete's chest.

He's progressing perfectly.

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