Epigenetics, Part I


devon2_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif emily_icon.gif richard_icon.gif

Scene Title Epigenetics, Part I
Synopsis Devon brings Elisabeth, Emily, and Richard together to discuss a plan for figuring out what exactly was done to him by Adam Monroe and his people.
Date June 15, 2019

Raytech NYCSZ Branch Office

June 11, 8:37 pm
Em found a game you and Liz might like. Going to be playing Saturday in Conf. 4Come check it out. 9 pm.

Only Richard and Liz would know there is no game, but a need for a meeting. The sort of meeting that needs to be kept quiet.

Raytech Industries: Conference Room 4

NYC Safe Zone

June 15, 2019 8:57 pm

The conference room is lit for presentations, barely bright enough for note taking, unlikely to wash out any projected displays that might be used. A secondary glow comes from a laptop that's turned away from the door, casting a ghostly glow on a pair of faces that seem more focused on the screen than on watching the door.

Devon and Emily has arrived nearly thirty minutes before the chosen time. You never know how difficult it's going to be getting past Sera, so there was erring on the side of caution. Plus it gave them time to go over the emails they'd found again. Not that anything had changed since the last time they looked. Not had they come to any new conclusions than before.

“I don't know,” Dev sighs. He rubs the back of his neck as he leans away from the screen. Going over the information again without progress is draining. “Maybe Richard or Liz’ll have ideas for how this fits. Once we get all the test results.”

Emily only nods, her off-arm clasped around her middle. "Maybe," she agrees, because that's why they were here. Maybe this would all work out, maybe Richard had more information than he did when…


This is looking at things from a different angle anyway, Em. she has to remind herself, glancing up from the screen to the door.

When Elisabeth comes into the room, she looks… different than Em's ever seen her. Apparently having had to go into work for something, she is dressed in a pair of dark dress slacks and a tucked in ivory blouse, her blonde hair tamed into a chignon at the back of her head and her badge and a 9mm strapped to her belt. Not because she expects to have to use it, it's just part of her uniform now. And somehow, she looks way more at ease with than without it.

"Hey guys," she greets the younger occupants of the room. Draping a dark blazer across the back of one of the chairs, she plops down with a grimace as they wait for the last of their party — who had to do bedtime detail with a Pixie and get one of the multitude of grandparents to come in and read so he can join.

Given that they’re at Raytech, Richard is of course dressed for business here; that dark suit he favors that matches the company colours, sunglasses perched upon his face. Given that he was putting children to bed, he’s sans the jacket at least, so it’s less formal looking.

“Kids,” he greets casually as he walks in, “Always making me late, but I can’t complain. Devon, Em. A game, huh?”

One eyebrow lifts in an amused raise, lips twitching a bait as he steps over to Liz, a hand raising up to brush down her arm. “Kaang’s sleeping with her tonight,” he tells her, “I told her that if any robots show up, he’ll bite them.” He’s a good dog.

Maybe isn't much to work with, but it's more than they've had in weeks. Dev tilts his head, eyes angling to catch Emily's. The smile he offers is meant to be encouraging. His usual optimism is a little lacking, but he's trying.

His head swivels to find Liz as she enters, stopping further comment. “Hey,” he returns with a touch of question. It never manifests into actual words, since Richard isn't too far behind.

“Yeah.” Another look slants to Emily as his hand drops from his neck to his lap. “Emily got a tip about the hack. There's some emails, the dates and content match when I was missing. And… with what Luce found also, it… might be time to look into things a little more closely.”

Emily follows Elisabeth in with her gaze, trying to track what must've changed about her since the last time she'd seen her. Purpose? she wonders to herself, noting the badge. Control? she supposes next, the badge still in her mind's eye even after Elisabeth has sat. The gun isn't the immediate thing she pegs for the shift in self-carry, at least. She firms her lips into a small smile to acknowledge Elisabeth before her attention dances past her to Richard as he shows up.

"Game?" she echoes, turning to Devon with a furrow of her brow. Emily hadn't seen the message that was sent out. Her poker face has had some work, because she merely nods at mention of the tip about the hack. "Yeah…" Emily starts, slanting her look back to Devon to see if he says more.

But no, it looks like she'll have to broach the specifics. She looks back up to the other two, attention more on Richard.

"Going through the emails, Bao-Wei Cong's name stood out. The day after Devon would have been thought dead, as a result of Sunstone, Cong's people 'acquired' someone for his research. They used blood, tissue, marrow samples— and I feel like it points to the subject they discussed being Devon." She goes on smoothly, gaze not breaking away from Richard. "Adam Monroe had made it sound like Devon had undergone some kind of treatment — multiple rounds of it, even — but the correspondences implied they took plenty from him, rather than…"

She shakes her head, turning her hand over so her palm faces the ceiling, gesturing vaguely with it. "Well, who knows. And if Lucille says something's changed within him, it bears figuring out what. Trusting anyone with helping look into it is a tall order, but Devon trusts you."

"Do you have anything up your sleeve to help look into it?" Emily asks, expression unreadable in the dim lighting. There's a lift at the end of her voice that says what can't be seen, though: she hopes he does.

Elisabeth rolls her eyes a bit at the news that Kaang is sharing the bed again, her hand coming up automatically to capture the one that touches her arm. It's a simple, brief contact but it speaks volumes. "You know that she's just batting her eyes at you and telling you about robots because you let her, right?" she asks with a small smile that looks strangely content with the whole situation. Her blue eyes on the man are soft before she turns her attention back to the conversation at hand.

A brow quirks upward as she listens. And then she frowns slightly, glancing up at Richard. Pulling in a slow breath, she asks quietly, "Do you think they infused him?"

The mention of Aurora’s behavior gets a wink from Richard, and then he’s looking back at the others with a furrowed brow. “No,” he says to Elisabeth’s question, “They wouldn’t have any reason to give him a Gemini infusion… and I assume your ability is still functioning, Devon?”

A frown creases the man’s lips, “What exactly did Lucille find? I know her ability is more— manipulative than sensing.”

Eyes shifting from Emily as she begins adding further detail, Devon looks at Richard and Liz. “As far as I know. I haven't tried, but Joy admitted to them keeping me negated. Gave me… something to counter it while I was escaping.” Not that he'd used his ability then, but the effects of the drug were intense.

“From what I understand, Adam doesn't need a clear reason to do anything.” The opinion is aired, not for arguments sake but as an unwillingness to cross off possibilities without examining first. “Lucille said I'd been changed genetically. She couldn't say how exactly, but that's what her ability read when she looked at me.”

At the mention of an infusion, Emily's gaze is shooting back and forth between the older two, and her arms come to fold across her chest. She cuts herself off from immediately pressing for what infusion, the patience of waiting a tense one for her. "Gemini," bears repeating, though, to make sure she follows. "—the thing that removes people's abilities? Maybe gives them, too?" She sounds less sure about the second part, it being an inference based on the emails.

She looks to Devon for a moment, mouth hardening into a line. "So you don't happen to have a geneticist or something up your sleeve, do you?" Emily presses as she glances back between Liz and Richard.

"What if he's already one of the descendants?" Elisabeth queries. Glancing at the other two, she adds, "We haven't had a lot of time to process anything, so I'm not real sure I'm understanding what he's looking for… something about descendants of people infused with his blood, but also maybe even his own descendants." She grimaces. "I'm afraid I haven't got a clue on the geneticist front."

“Gemini is a way to transfer an ability from one person to another,” says Richard with a slight shake of his head, “It’s… more than one infusion, though, and while you’ve got an Evolved with multiple abilities? They become genetically unstable, it’s— not pretty. That doesn’t sound like this, though…”

There’s a worried look in his eyes as he looks Devon over, “My best geneticist is, unfortunately, in federal custody now. Bella’s not available— I might have the perfect guy for this though. Does Wolfhound keep blood or other genetic samples on record for body identification? We’ll need an original baseline to work off of, and your current DNA.”

“Descendants? Why…” Devon casts a look at the laptop, but he doesn't reach for it. His brow furrows as he works the word over in his head, trying to recall the dates and corresponding messages. He'd seen it mentioned a couple of times at least, while trying to break the figurative safe while he could.

“No,” he answers Richard’s question with a note of distraction. “Nothing like that.” Which never seemed odd, maybe there was no need for it.

His hands shift to rest on the table, and he looks at Richard and Liz then shares an uneasy look with Emily. “What… What was the date? When you found me?” He settles his gaze on the screen, even nods at it in a silent request for those emails to be accessed again.

The word 'descendant' brings Emily's posture to straighten, like alarm bells are going off in her head. Because they are. "He is," she's quick to chime in. "That's how they referred to him— a transfusion recipient descendant. Then there's like a half dozen other references to a 'descendant' alone in the emails that were on the hidden email site." When Devon looks her way with his silent question, she merely turns the screen of her laptop toward him for him to look to his heart's content.

"March 24th was when you showed up." The answer is provided as gently as Emily can possibly make it, nodding at him. As for not having any previous records to work off of, she can only frown. "Come on, not even, like, dental records? Maybe they took something during a workup and you'd never realized it?" It was all too easy for that to happen if you were under a battery of tests and didn't make demands to know the use of each one.

The confirmation of the thought makes Elisabeth bite her lip. Worrying may not be helpful, but she does it a lot. There's a thoughtful expression beneath the worry. "Dev… did you have your wisdom teeth out?" They can't go back to his baby teeth — he was already a teen when Liz knew him.

“If you can find anything, it’d be helpful as a baseline,” Richard frowns, fingertips drumming over his other arm as they fold across his chest, “We can run some tests, have one or two people take a look at you… see what they can find or see about what was done to you.”

Taking the laptop with a murmured thanks, Devon digs into the emails section. Once the page is loaded, he opens the notepad application and sets to copying the emails referencing Descendant onto the document. He shakes his head at Emily’s query, with less distraction than he'd answered the same when Richard asked.

“Nothing like that.” The glance up from the screen is apologetic. “It's… I don't know. We’ve never kept records like that.”

His eyes drop to the screen, and for a split second there's a swell of validation. He can't explain why, the information hasn't offered any substantial answers. But with Emily connecting the dots, the dates on the emails seem to confirm that the pieces point to part of an answer.

Dev frowns at the screen as he chews on the inside of his cheek. Descendant, meaning someone in his family’d… the thought is interrupted by Liz’s question, and he raises his eyes to look at her. “No,” he answers cautiously. “Why?”

For all Emily's prodding about the topic, Liz's suggestion sets her still at once, gaze darting toward the other woman, cautious. She doesn't think she likes where that suggestion is leading, and it shows. She draws in a breath like she means to protest but it dies quickly, escaping her with a note of discomfort while she lifts a hand to rub at the side of her neck.

This one she leaves Liz to answer, though she glances at Devon out of the corner of her eye to gauge his reaction, and intervene to shoot the idea down if he's too offput.

The dynamics between Elisabeth and Devon are perhaps interesting (read: hysterical sometimes) to watch. For all that there is a seven year gap in their relationship, certain connections seem to have withstood the time away. And well… in the interim she actually became someone's mom. So the maternal kind of reaction she had back then is only exacerbated now. Her tone is calm, though there's just a teeny hint of amusement to it because she knows he's gonna make That Face at her.

"Because they didn't have you long enough for whatever they did to you to have metabolized deep enough into your core to reach places like the marrow of your teeth. Your wisdom teeth, assuming you have any," because some people don't. Liz never did, "are protected within the jaw. The marrow should still have your original DNA."

“We don’t have enough data to know what it means by descendant other than they’re looking to harvest something in your genetic makeup that was left behind by someone further back in your family tree,” says Richard with a slight shake of his head, a hand held up to forestall any assumptions.

“If we can harvest some genetic material from the wisdom teeth,” he agrees with Liz, arching a brow at her, “We can run some comparisons down in the lab, see if we can track what parts of his genome were affected.”

Devon doesn't move, but his posture implies a certain sinking slouch. Like if he moved slower than a sloth no one would register his gradual disappearance beneath the table. And subsequently from the room. His eyes stay on Liz while she explains the logic behind the question — and try as he might, he can't argue against it.

Eventually he shifts a look to Emily, likely trying to gauge her thoughts on the idea. But when he looks back at Liz… we'll she's also seen that expression as well, that dubious look like he's been asked to handle decades old TNT, though usually it's reserved for very large dogs.

“I mean…” Does it have to be teeth? “We were going to have them pulled, but then the Dome happened.” And at least two in the room know the finer details of that.

With a sigh, he gently pushes the laptop closer to Emily. It gives Dev the space to rest his elbows against the edge of the table and scrub his hands over his face. “I better get all the ice cream I want,” he mutters against his hands.

Emily lets out a faint note of amusement whether she wants to or not, something between a grimace and a smile as she glances down at Devon. "I mean…" she starts at him, unable to finish with it could be worse. Instead, she tugs the screen of the laptop closed so she can better look over it at Elisabeth.

Her look is decidedly more critical when directed at anyone but Devon. "Are you sure? They were pulling marrow in the memory Kaylee was able to help uncover." Pointed and practical, Emily lifts her brow. "And we do know what descendant meant —" she states as she turns the screen around, propping it open for better view. "They said 'transfusion recipient descendant', 'transfusion descendant'… just begs the question of 'what kind of transfusion?', I'd say."

"If it's not Gemini, then…" she trails off, wondering.

Elisabeth grins at Devon. Sometimes he is still such a teenager, the kid she remembers so well… and loves as she loves her own kids. "If you decide to try, you can have all the ice cream you want," she promises, wrinkling her nose at him as she laughs.

Emily asks that, though, and she admits readily, "No, I'm not sure. If what they did in fact penetrated that far, to the marrow of his bones, it's certainly possible that it includes the teeth. But…" Elisabeth considers. "Well. Let me put it this way. A bone marrow biopsy is painful as hell. Wisdom teeth are unpleasant and all, but … it's not the same as putting a large-bore needle into the actual bone of your pelvis. You know?" She glances at Devon and shrugs a little. "You were supposed to have them out eight years ago. I mean…." She shrugs a little. "It's definitely your call, but I think I'd take the chance."

Richard can’t help but crack a grin at the request for ice cream. “I think,” he deadpans, “We can accommodate your request, kiddo.”

Then his head’s tilting in Emily’s direction, his brow knitting a little. “Hm. I know that Adam’s blood transfusions can heal… shit, I wonder if they leave some trace on the DNA,” he frowns, brow knitting together and gaze dropping to his right hand, “Good catch, Emily. This could be related to Hydra somehow…”

“Yeah.” Devon does know. The memory of sensation from the waist down being sapped, the pinch that wasn't quite masked, makes him shift in his seat. He was lucky enough to have never needed any teeth extracted before, but he's very much attached to his wisdom teeth. Literally attached.

And let's not get into the horror stories surrounding having teeth pulled…

It's not an experience he's looking forward to.

Devon pushes his hands across his face and drags them back over his skull. “Alright. It's a starting point. Not going to lie, but I'm not excited for this part.” With a sigh, he drops his hands, letting them come to rest on the table. “First thing tomorrow we rip teeth from my face, and then we’ll meet back here in a couple days.”

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