Find Your Grail



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Scene Title Find Your Grail
Synopsis After fruitless days of searching for information regarding the vaccine shipments, a stroke of luck leads Helena to the Holy Grail.
Date April 15, 2010

St. Luke's Hospital

When people fall ill, those that can typically turn to doctors, and in emergencies, to hospitals. And it's a definite fact that with the way things currently are, between the H5N10 outbreak, the weather, and apparently terrorists, the present situation in New York City is definitely an emergency. And in some ways, that's actually a good thing: If everybody is in one place, it becomes that much easier to take care of them all at the same time.

This is the case at St. Luke's. It's the case at most hospitals, in fact. People are injured because of the weather. People are sick because of the superflu. And that means everyone is at the same place, and everyone can have their needs addressed at once. It also means that everyone is overworked, and that volunteers are in high demand. That's the situation that Helena finds herself in, perhaps best described as organized chaos, paid staff and unpaid helpers moving this way and that, trying to keep everything moving. Rooms have been reserved for those that are actually infirm, of course. Besides people, the lobby is filled with tables, and the tables are lined on one side by registered nurses and on the other by patient, the former administering vaccinations and determining if those in front of them need to stay longer for more intensive care. The steady drone of voices from nearly everyone isn't quick deafening or even cacophonous, but it's still pretty loud.

Perhaps the only real concern is security. It's apparently come to someone's attention that this vaccine is valuable stuff. And that explains, obviously, the large concentrations of green, grey and brown jungle-patterned camouflage mixed in with everything else, ready to protect the drugs as if they were made from solid gold. The National Guard is present in force and well-armed, not only for the protection of the vaccine, but also of the hospital staff. High-tension situations can turn into violent riots when conditions are right, and current conditions aren't looking great. A plan is called for.

The hospitals are so strapped it's fairly easy to become a volunteer. Helena even does it under her own name, and makes suitable fuss of how she looks in the volunteer outfit for people to believe that she really is little more than a co-ed looking to give something back, but there's always the risk that there'll be patients or staff who are savvy as to who she is. Well, she can work that angle too, if she has to.

She's spent a week or so now doing regular volunteer work. Delivering gifts to patients, taking care of low level paper work, doing occasional sitting turns in the day care area of the pediatrics ward. That one was hard. Kids who were obviously terminal due to their various illnesses, but still so full of hope. The work is well intended, but not Helena's true purpose.

She's kept her eye out for the vaccine, how it's been stored, how it's being distributed. Paper trails. Office work is boring, but being overly fanatical about efficiency helps when it comes to being asked to file things.

'Lock and key' is a good way to describe how the vaccine is stored: It's brought out in small amounts in irregular intervals (as more is needed) from somewhere else in the hospital, always under heavy guard. Paper trails have, thus far, been unhelpful in turning up an exact location, or even much useful information about anything. Frustrating, most likely, but the sort of thing that will eventually be smoothed out.

Tonight, while Helena is away from the majority of the rest of the staff on a particular grueling filing task (although not so far away that there aren't still people walking past the door, or even for the sound of the lobby to have died away completely), a halfway-timid voice follows the clearing of a throat. "Uh, excuse me, um, miss?" The voice belongs to a boy, a young man, really, of average appearance with shaggy-ish brown hair who is unremarkable. And also volunteering, judging by his non-staff uniform and the fact that he has a small stack of not more than 20 pages of paper in his grasp.

Even custodial tasks are not out of the realm for volunteers, and Helena looks up from her mop toward the young man, her eyes briefly flicking at his ID. "Yes?" she offers with a smile. Helena's done her best to try and win the Miss Congeniality Award without going overboard about it. After all, nice, accomodating volunteers are trusted more quickly than others. "Oh, tell me you've got an errand for me, so I can take a break from my mopping?" It's almost flirty, just enough to plump his ego a touch without being a come-on. Helena's been getting far too good at this sort of thing.

"Ah, well, no, you see, uh, well, maybe?" Nervously, Helena's mop companion shuffles closer, sucks in a deep breath, and finally manages to get out what he's trying to say. "You're, you're Helena Dean, aren't you?"
ORDER: It is now your pose.
Helena keeps the smile in place, but now there's something careful about it. There's another glance at his ID badge, because she's certainly going to see about checking up on who this guy is later, if she feels it's necessary. "Yes." she says. "Who's asking?"

"Oooohmygod," he says. It's not a panicked sort of exclamation, however. On the contrary, he looks rather excited. "Yoooou're Helena Dean, oh my god. I'm-" And then, he stops and sucks in another breath, this time clearly so he can get his excitable personality back under control. "I'm, I'm asking, I'm Jay," he says, shuffling his stack of paper into one hand and holding out the other to shake, "I just, I just want to say that I think what you're doing, with, um, with the Evolved, and the hospital and everything, it's really, um… good." Now he looks like 'good' wasn't the word he was really wanting to use. Nerves.

"Thank you, Jay." Helena keeps on smiling, though notes, "Though you know, nothing special about mopping the floor, right?" She eyerolls with a frank, friendly grin. "But everyone should help out in whatever way they can, right?" She leans on the handle of the mop patiently. "Do you work in records?"

"Records?" It takes Jay's brain a moment to catch up with the situation. "Oh! Records. A little bit, yeah, a little. I was just going over there to, um… uh, these." A pointed finger at the stack of papers in his hand. "Schedules and things, you know. You, uh, you wanna see? I can show you, maybe?"

"Sure." she says blithely. "What sort of schedules are they?" She moves to set her mop and bucket to the side, and wiping her hands, she moves to step closer and take a peer. Her eyes flick to the hallway and she asks, "You want to go sit down somewhere?"

It's very fortunate for Helena that when people get flustered in just the right way, they suddenly develop bad habits centering around things they maybe shouldn't do. "Oh, I'm, I'm standing, uh," Jay replies, still not able to quite get ahold of his nerves. For him, this must be like meeting a celebrity, the way he shuffles papers, which only leaves them disheveled and uneven. "Mostly, um, volunteer schedules, you know, um. You know." One of those 'volunteer schedules,' however, even just the corner that is visible, is clearly different from at least most of the others, as it has a government watermark on it. "Probably, um, if you don't want to mop anymore, uh, one of these would tell you when other things were available, if you want to look?"

"Wow, you know," Helena casually extends her hand for the pile, "That would be really great, Jay. Hey listen, maybe we could just walk over to the copier at the nurse's station and that way I could go through them so you don't have to wait? And then I could show my coordinator the assignment that I'd like best." She beams at him, "You're a peach, Jay."

"S-sure, okay!" At least he's easy to dupe, and gleefully hands the stack of documents over. "Hey, um…" Jay begins, taking a brief moment to collect his thoughts, "Do, uh, do you want a soda, maybe?"

"Oh, sure! Thank you - this is thirsty work. A coke would be awesome." She curves the papers in her hands, and makes as if to start walking toward the nurse's station and fully expects him to come into step with her. "We could hang in the break area and talk if you like. That'd be cool."

Jay gives an enthusiastic nod. "Um, regular or diet?" he asks. Have to get that part exactly right, at least.

"Regular, please?" Yeah, this whole winsome co-ed thing gets a little tiring, but thankfully it's a short trip to the nurse's station. Casually Helena thumbs the paperwork into a neat pile so nothing sticks out once they get closer. "How about I meat you in the break area in five minutes?"

"Yea-sure! That, that sounds great!" Never mind that, with how busy they are, they shouldn't be taking breaks. But Jay, he scampers off anyway to fetch Helen Dean's Coca Cola for her. Of course, it's not the pop that she's really interested in.

Something she learned from Hana: act as if you have every right to be someplace, and people will assume you do. And with an easy, pleasant expression, Helena plops the pile on the top tray of the printer at the nurse's station once she gets there and hits the copy button. Her stance near the machine as she waits is casual; it also blocks easy view of what she's copying.

All the hard work that helena has put into trawling paper trails has paid off, even if what really did it for her in the end was shit-dumb luck. The different document, the one bearing the government watermark, was exactly what she was looking for: A shipping schedule. The details contained within it are, of course, only for St. Luke's, but compared to everything else on it, that hardly matters. The schedule contains, of course, the dates and times of planned shipments of vaccine to the hospital for the next few weeks, and even the quantities (never very large ones), but even more importantly is accompanying sheet stapled to the of it. Plotted out in acceptable are the routes that each shipment is expected to take, from their entrance into the city all the way to St. Luke's. Whether the inclusion of this particular document is intentional or an oversight, what the document amounts to in the end is unchanged by it: The Holy Grail.

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