bella_icon.gif m_jack_icon.gif

Scene Title Blockage
Synopsis Progress has been made, and Bella must give Mortimer (Jack in this case) one last warning before moving into the final stages.
Date June 14, 2010

Staten Island Hospital

Mortimer's quarters.

Thank god for interns.

Bella's here to provide vision, to enable daring, genius. She's not here to go through reams of data gathered on Mortimer's genetic code - God how boring that would be. She's here to receive and interpret results. The busy work can be left to the workers and drones. The queen just gets to lay back and benefit.

But some things need a personal touch, and so our queen bee, Dr. Isabella Sheridan, is buzzing her way to Mortimer's quarters, where he should be, mostly because he can't go much elsewhere. She can only imagine how restless he is, which is why she permitted Carla Lin to continue to visit him during her off hours, when she wasn't being paid for her time. Unethical? Not when compared to what goes down a few levels below. Allowing a subject to band an assistant is simple ethical peanuts next to that. Which isn't the best justification, but l'project c'est moi says Bella, and if she's satisfied, that's good enough. Dammit.

She does knock before entering, this time. Kids today…

Opening the door today is Jack, smiling down at her before walking back to his bed with a chess board. It seems like a pretty intense game, incredibly complex moves across the board. He greets her with an indifferent nod, since he personally doesn't seem to be expecting much, so he goes back to his game.

Bella never really got into chess. Even if it had compelled her, chess club would have resulted in a loss of social capital too great to be offset by the intellectual benefits. She stuck to Scrabble with her parents. The board, then, gets the half-interested glance of the uninitiated. Bella closes the door behind her and takes her ever-present clipboard in hand. This time, it's not merely a prop to add authority to her presence.

"I've got interesting news for you," Bella says, "Interesting for all of us. We did an exhaustive analysis of your DNA, and we found your SLC. It was hiding."

"What's that?" Jack speaks up, his grin widening as he looks up at her. "Hiding? Does this mean you can give me my ability back?" Jack completely ignores the board now, turning to face her while he sits on the bed. "And how soon?"

"Yes. I'm not clear on all the details - we're trying to make out the shape of a Nazca geoglyph from the prospect at the top of a cactus to use a… admittedly obscure metaphor," Bella says, sounding slightly confused even by her own formulation, "But I believe I know what the next step is. We need to clear up the junk code and scrambling that I think is the side effect of your ability being copied. But it wasn't taken. Blocking your ability after copying must just be a sort of aggressive evolutionary perk - not all ability mimics need this blockage. We need to clear the blockage," she pauses, "The means for doing though… this is where it gets tricky."

"So I still have my ability…" Jack holds his black gloved hands out, opening and closing them, seeming more than pleased by this. "What would unblocking it require? And you shouldn't listen to Mortimer about that whole medication thing, he has no idea what he's talking about."

"Unblocking would require some form of gene therapy," Bella explains, "And I have a method in mind, but there are risks," she pauses again - she's worried about how her suggestion may go over, and she doesn't want to be flippant about the risks she's alluding to, "It looks like we'd want to use a modified retrovirus. To expose you to something that would sort of… 'clear up' the blockage."

"What kind of virus? What would it do to me?" Jack crosses his arms, watching her suspiciously. He doesn't have the puppydog eyes of Mortimer, he's analyzing every word that slips from her tongue. "And what does 'clearing up blockage' mean exactly?"

"Well," Bella says, reclaiming a certain smoothness in the face of Jack's suspicion, "It will be a modified splice of the H5n10, since that that virus seems to need the SLC in order to reproduce itself. We'll attempt changes to its functioning so that it will, in replicating itself, undo the receptor modifications that prevents your SLC from expressing itself. The process will likely make you quite sick, and we'll have to put you on immuno-suppressants for the duration to prevent you from going under with fever, but if it works, the damage should be undone. This is all, of course, theoretical."

Jack is quiet for a long moment, staring at the floor with the look he has when he seems to be 'talking' to himself. At least he doesn't do it out loud. "Fine, we'll do it, but we want a goddamned television and some movies to watch if we have to be sick."

Bella actually smiles as Jack makes this demand. "Of course!" she says, "What do you think we are, monsters?"

Jack taps his arm a few times, as if ushering her to hurry up. "Go ahead then, get this stuff whipped up so I can get back to being enlightened! I can't stand how slowly I have to deal with my mind, I miss all of the insight… And as a special bonus to you, if you get my ability back, you'll have my undying gratitude." From anyone else, that might sound like a snarky way of saying he won't give her anything in return, but from a person like him, that sort of comment carries a lot of weight.

Bella knows enough of Jack's temperament to understand, to some extent, just how much this means. She nods, receiving the promise with due respect, "I will take every length to protect your health while maintaining the efficacy of the virus," she pledges, in turn, "I just wanted to know what you were signing on for," he eyes move to the chess board, taking note of it now, not as a game, but as a personal artifact, "I'll leave you to your game," she suddenly smiles, a bit slyly, "I won't say who I'm rooting for."

"I'll trust you, Bella, then I can finally fix this hand…" Jack turns back to his complex game of chess, one of which he is playing with Mortimer in his head. He's never without a chess partner, he just happens to be the one at the wheel with the body at the moment. "Good night."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License