Finding Perseus


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Scene Title Finding Perseus
Synopsis Team Charlie returns to the clinic in search of answers, this time after making an appointment. Catherine's suspicions are confirmed and an alliance formed.
Date November 30, 2009

A clinic in Ryazan, Russia

The last time Team Charlie visited the clinic in Ryazan, Lyuba Kolosova told Francois and Elisabeth to leave and suggested — not so tacitly — that they would be wise not to return. She never said anything about Abigail or Catherine, however, and even if she had it doesn't matter; when the pair arrives for the last appointment of the day, several minutes shy of sundown, the honey-haired woman with arresting blue eyes lined in black doesn't appear to be present. Only the receptionist, whose English is so poor their appointment could not have been confirmed if one of them didn't speak her native tongue.

After asking them to sign in and wait for close to an hour, she leads them behind a lacquered door, its varnish peeling, and down a narrow hallway that smells faintly of chlorine and something like shoe polish before sequestering both women away in a room large enough to hold an examination table fitted in crinkly white paper and a wooden stool in lieu of a proper chair.

Once she informs them in dulcet tones that Dr. Kozlow will be in to see them shortly, she takes her leave of the room, but if their anticipated wait is anything like what they experienced out front, then they could be here awhile.

"Spasibo," Cat offers to the departing receptionist, then settles in to wait out whatever time it takes to be seen by the Doktor. She's been alert through the time prior, from signing in until now, to capture details of the place which might on analysis prove relevant. Calm is her mode, displayed in facial features and demeanor.

Emotional level is kept low, nary a ripple with Abigail's self medicating. Russia was nice, and it was brought down with a great big steel toed boot upon their asses that they were not here for a vacation and that things could go ass over tea kettle pretty fast. Which it did. One in the hospital, one frozen into stone but very much alive, three others shot up to varying degree's and two others unharmed. Teo just needed rest after his foray's, but that was all. Really.

Abigail took up the spot on the crinkly table, pink hair not yet altered though there was dark hair dye in boxes at the Spektor home ready to eliminate the pink from sight. Jacket off and folded over in her lap, the former healer sits in relative silence with Cat as they wait for Dr. Kozlow, feet thumping against the table end softly.

"I think," Cat muses, "it might be best to start off by telling a story of an experience and see if that draws him to become talkative, if he's had a similar experiences recently rather than to say right from the start we think his companion was murdered by the Vanguard."

"The presence of an illusionist in the mix, and that illusionist being the same man who owns the Ironworks, only reinforces my thought the Vanguard is involved. The mythical water spirit they reportedly saw."

"I could just always say I killed Kazimir Volken. If he tries to kill us off the bat, we know he's not a friendly" Abigail supposits quietly. "Or you can tell him about Dani" Abigail shrugs her shoulders, little lift then fall. "I'll let you talk. I'll just stick my foot in my mouth, i'm pretty good at that" She is pretty good at that. Saying the wrong things at the wrong time.

"Perhaps," Cat replies after a moment's thought, "we do both, but we don't mention Kazimir by name. We let him get the general train of things from our stories if he recognizes anything, and go from there." The pink-haired one is eyed with no change to her calm expression, though the words take on a mildly chiding tone. "I doubt you'll be munching your shoes, Abby. Don't take the attitude or expectation you will. Confidence in so many cases is key. If failure is expected, we often make it happen by that very fact."

"I'll still let you do that talking" Confidence is not Abby's foremost skill at the moment as she reaches up, rubbing at her arm and the sharp ache there. "Hey, maybe he'll fix your head" She can look on that bright side.

If there is a bright side at all. There isn't outside, not anymore — in the time they've been at the clinic, the moon has replaced the sun in a now starless sky thick with slate cloud cover. Snow gathers as a thin crust on the window overlooking the street that runs parallel to the building, congested by traffic. It has formed a fine silver film when the door finally squeaks open on its rusted hinges, admitting the man Abby, Teodoro and Felix met at the memorial erected by Faina's mourners outside the gates of Ryazan Ironworks.

Dr. Sasha Kozlow wears his light brown hair slicked back, its tips curling like a greasy mane at the nape of his neck. Wariness creeps into his eyes when he's greeted by Abby's figure seated on the examination table, and for a fluttering beat he looks as though he's about to back out the door and retreat into the hall like a stray dog with its hackles raised and bristling.

Instead, he adjusts his collar, his stethoscope, and asks in his crisply enunciated English, "How can I help?"

Russian is the tongue she opts to use in speaking, Cat keeping her words quietly voiced. She makes no effort to keep her connection to what she relays from surfacing in facial expressions, though she also doesn't seek to display it. "«We could use your assistance in more than one way. Both of us have had experiences which may strike chords with your own in recent times.»"

"«Almost a year ago,»" she continues in that East Slavic language, "«I was in a relationship. We'd known each other for seven years. Then we crossed paths with a dangerous organization. Demands were made which couldn't be met, and my partner was murdered as a result.»"

"«My friend,»" she inclines her head toward Abby, "«doesn't speak Russian, so she doesn't quite know what I'm saying. She later defeated that organization's leader.»"

"«In addition to our story and needing your assistance in that regard, we also both have injuries which could use tending from your more unusual talents, Doktor.»"

Koslow gets a nod of her head when he see's her, hands clasped in her lap though the foot thumping stops. His English is appreciated but then there goes Cat, talking in Russian. Which means that Abby stays quiet for now, but the recognition in her face is a indication to Cat that this is indeed the man from the foundry.

Sasha allows Catherine's subdued explanation in stony silence so hard it's almost palpable. Although he does not budge from his position in the open doorway, his fingers curl around the edge of his clipboard and the muscles in his neck grow uncomfortably tense. There are a few seconds where he does nothing except measure his breathing and fight whatever urges are bubbling up inside of him, exerting gaseous pressure on his steeled exterior. Listen closely and you can almost hear the steam whistling out of the cracks.

When he speaks again, it's in the same terse voice he used to greet the pair, though his tone is considerably tighter and more stringent. "It is rude," he says, "to speak a language not everyone understands. My English is fluent and I am not bothered to use it." His eyes move between the two women, assessing them with a strange kind of guarded intensity. "Your injuries are not so serious. Please understand, I do not exercise my 'talents' except in emergency. Why do you tell me everything else?"

English is adopted as the language of choice now as Cat's voice returns. "I had thought it less rude to speak with you in opening using your native language, to not presume you would speak English." The Doktor's features, having been observed while he spoke, are still surveyed. "You've recently suffered a loss, Doktor, and for that I can only express deepest condolences. My own loss is still very fresh in the mind."

"I tell you the story because pieces of what I've read about you suggest you may have yourself suffered at the hands of this same organization, that demands you couldn't or wouldn't meet were made of you by them."

"My friend's name is Felix, the older one that was with me at the Foundry that day" Abigail rattles off the hospital that Felix has been sequestered in. "He was the only one hurt bad enough to require the hospital. I'd heal him, but I lost my ability six months ago or we wouldn't be here." Well, wrong, they'd likely still visit but Abby wouldn't be asking. "The rest of us will be fine, just stitches and the like, but I would be eternally grateful if maybe, you could find it in your heart to at least see that he can get up and walk. You wouldn't have to heal him all the way" Abigail speaks up, grateful that Koslow's asked they speak English. "From one former healer, to another. It might be insulting, but I can pay as well, if you want it, to fix him"

"You are presuming many things," Sasha says with a cagey glance down at the clipboard clenched in his fingers, flicking his gaze over the name emblazoned across the top. "Miss Petrova. I know of no such organization. Faina—" Cat's condolences must not mean very much, because it's a struggle to keep the emotion from his voice when he himself invokes the name of the deceased. "My heart is full of aching. You make it worse to come here, take names belonging to my people, ask for my help and give only dishonesty in return."

The look Abigail gets is no less taciturn. Sasha's neck bulges around a knobby lump in his throat. "Your Felix does not want what I can do. Bedridden— it is better. Why do you think my Faina was taken? The police say it is because she was beautiful. Because she was small and like little bird in my hand. Kidnapping. Rape. Murder. Any man can do this. It does not take an army."

"My name is Abigail Beauchamp, not Yelena ko… whatever she wrote my name down as. I am twenty years old, in a few months I'll be twenty one, I don't know how your healing works. Mine, I just touched, I touched and I prayed and god answered. There's all kinds of healing though. God doesn't seem to give identical gifts. But, It's okay. Sometimes you have to heal the old fashioned way. But sometimes, one just has to ask. You'll never know unless you ask"

Abigail slips off the table, palms crunching the paper on the table as she dips her head to Koslow. "Thank you for your time. I greatly appreciate still, that you even came in the room and didn't leave." Abigail glances over to Cat, looking to see what the other woman was going to do.

"If you distrust why I would speak of this, and feel you should not say, it is understandable," Cat replies in solemnity and sincere sympathy, "my partner was tortured and slain. I know the pain of loss you suffer. I was also abducted by that organization, Doktor, because they wanted something. I suspect this group may have been connected with what happened to Faina. Among them is an illusionist."

"I've told you the basics of my story, my contact with that faction, and haven't been dishonest save for the names given. I would hope you'll forgive that, and certainly understand if you've come across them. If you have, I can only hope you'll confide in us, for they are dangerous people who must be dealt with. But if not, this is your choice." Despite her scalp wound, some sutures visible on it, she hasn't asked for anything regarding it.

Ultimately, there's only so much a man can take.

Sasha steps into the room and, with a glance over his shoulder, shuts the door behind him. "Lower your voices." It isn't a command, not exactly, but the way he hisses it through clenched teeth might make it easy to mistake it for one. Resignation bleeds through onto his facial features like water saturating tissue paper. He's moving like a man of sixty or seventy instead of his thirty-odd years, back stiff and posture weary. "Zhukovsky has more ears and eyes than you or I, and they are everywhere, even here in my work. You are the most arrogant Americans I have ever met."

Abigail glances to Cat before she looks back to the good Doctor. Wisely, the pink haired girl follows his hissed order and refrains from speaking, though her cheeks turn red at the comment about their arrogance.

"I wouldn't use the term arrogant," Cat replies in a quieter voice after he shuts the door, "but I would say intent and determined. I will tell you, when we faced them before, the objective they were defeated in pursuing was the release of a very lethal pathogen. They are up to something again, Doktor."

"And this is why we have come to you, based on what I suspected from our apparently similar experiences."

The corners of Sasha's mouth tic down into a frown. "Your friend at least has humility to blush," he says, setting down his clipboard on the examination table where Abigail had been sitting. "Zhukovsky contacted me two months ago. I did not suspect him to be anything but what I had read in print. I see so many artists, actors, dancers— all Faina's friends. She introduces him to me at a party at the Pushkin in Moscow. Sasha, he says, I have heard so much about you. My workers at the factory, some of them are very sick. Please come and see them. I will pay.

"I tell him no. My gift does not work that way, surely Faina must have explained? He begs, he pleads, he takes my hand and kisses it. Kisses it. How do I refuse this man? I tell him I will look. Perhaps his workers can be cured using traditional methods. I am a fool, and so are you for coming here. He is no metalsmith."

The comment about blushing only makes the pink haired woman blush even more furiously and listen quietly. That the man was no metalsmith was not a surprise to either of them probably.

There's no show of surprise about Cat's features as she listens, there's only the fullness of her attention. "Please, do continue your story, Doktor." Her considerable thoughts about his judgments of foolishness aren't expressed, though they may show as being disregarded by her displayed quiet poise and confidence.

"Ryazan Ironworks produces very little iron," Sasha continues. "It is in high demand. Zhukovsky can afford. He sells guns. Ammunitions. He wants me to be a healer for his people, these Vanguard." A glance out the window yields nothing except more snow and the glare of headlights straining against the worsening weather. "Faina could not have known. They would not have taken her if she did. Still, I refuse. You have seen what it has earned me."

"That's why it's there, in front of the foundry" Abigail proffers, quietly. "Your memorial to her. I'm sorry they did this to her. I really am. I meant the prayer too" Abigail looks over at Cat. "We should leave him be. It'll only bring the good doctor more trouble than he's already had"

Her eyes remain on the doctor as he shares more detail, then drift to Abby. In her eyes and on her features are evidence of the haunting memories she holds in such perfect clarity, and it's taking an effort of will to not go adrift in them. "We'll depart soon," she states in a subdued voice to she of the soon to be not-pink hair, "but first there is more to say, and learn."

Then she turns back to the doctor. "You're a man of strong spirit, and good understanding of consequences. You knew, I believe, despite what it could cost you should not heal as Zhukovsky asked. I was faced with the same choice." A deep and slow breath is taken.

"I work with people who encountered the Vanguard in New York City, where they were preparing to release a stolen dangerous pathogen. My partner was a reporter who took it on herself to look into things the Vanguard had done. She caught their attention, and we were both abducted. Information was demanded, I wouldn't provide it, and as a consequence her left thumb was hacked off."

"Then they contacted my friends, and to make a demonstration for their benefit, they hacked off the remaining fingers from her left hand. Then I was traded for one of their own who'd been captured, and a demand was sent. My partner for a technopath, or she would die. We couldn't find where they had her, and we could not…" There's a pause as her jaw sets.

"Would not make that trade. So some weeks later her bones were found in a field where they burned her remains. Believe me, sir, I understand perfectly your decision, and the pain it caused. And I tell you Faina didn't die for nothing. You are correct to not help them, at all costs. I assure you, they will be defeated. My friends and I are willing to lay down our lives in doing so." Maybe the Doktor is also at this point, maybe not: she doesn't ask just now. Instead she floats a question.

"When you went to see his people and learn what they suffered, that he wanted them healed from, was there any specific common situation some or all of them were in?"

"The memorial is there because that is where she was found," Sasha corrects Abigail as he closes the blinds, cutting the room off from the outside world in its entirety. "Zhukovsky's message to me, with love: Aleksandr Kozlow, you are next. The police do not believe me. The newspapers will not print my story, either. Only pieces."

To Cat, he offers a rolling shrug of one shoulder. "It was a trick," he says. "To draw me like honey draws flies. His workers are in good condition, those that are alive. One is a woman who turns men to stone, a daughter of Phorcys and Ceto. Medusa. He calls her Anya."

"We've met her," Cat replies dryly. "I have to ask, is your healing ability sufficient to reverse that condition?" And she's thinking. "Those that are alive, you said. Some of them died? From what?" Analysis of her questions might indicate she perhaps believes a common condition might have come upon some of the local Vanguard.

"We are also not the papers or the police, we've dealt with the Vanguard before, and I assure you we will believe your story."

Sasha gives a brisk shake of his head, though it isn't immediately clear which of Cat's questions the gesture is in response to. "Who can say?" he asks of Zhukovsky's other employees. "Many people go missing in Ryazan. Some who work at the factory, others who work here in the town, supporting dreams like my Faina. She had most slender legs, tiny feet, but school for dancers— is expensive. We met because she works front desk."

He gives a wave of his hand as though this might dissolve his train of thought, wafting it away like smoke. "I learn how to do it in the Chechen War at Grozny. My ability. I do not know if it works, but harm does not come from trying."

"He's alive. Inside the stone. He can't see or feel, but he's alive inside it" Abigail looks to cat, brows pinching in and down at the thought that the woman has regarding Francois. "He was a healer too." As if that might help make up his mind. Abigail's clear laquered fingers scratch at the counter, the flush having left her face.

"This is true," she replies quietly. "The worst that could happen is you can't change someone back from what already is. Nothing is lost by the attempt." Cat spends a stretch of pensive seconds then, adding up what she's been told. The Doktor may have been wanted for general healing as needed, or for something specific which already happened and claimed lives, maybe both. Or for something which in the future may happen. It's still possible some of Zhukovsky's associates developed radiation sickness from handling that nuke and died. Or will.

"Thank you, Doktor. We can tell you where to find a man turned to stone, or take you to where he is, if you choose to go there. But we do caution it's dangerous: Vanguard could be keeping watch on that place to see if anyone comes to collect him."

"We also need to know as much as possible about the Ironworks and Zhukovsky's associates as possible." She will seek to learn as much as she can without telling him about the nuclear weapon.

Sasha picks up his clipboard again, removes the pen from the clip and scribbles something across the bottom of the form — his assessment, no doubt, followed by a scratchy signature. "I have told you all I know," he says as he removes the sheet of paper from the clipboard and offers it to Cat. "For Faina, I will help your friend if I can. Take this to reception and pay what she asks, yes? I will be on the street behind us in one hour."

Cat's got the money, Abigail's got the unabashed gratitude, for Sasha being willing to try and she reaches over, quickly wrapping arms around the near strangers neck, planting a kiss on his cheek. "Thank you. Praise the lord above, thank you, for anything you can do for him. I'll keep Faina in my prayers" Quite literally, she will, tack the womans name onto her list of those she thinks of when she prays before she sleeps at night.

"Spasibo, Doktor," Cat provides as she takes the sheet of paper and moves toward the door. "For Faina," she asserts. For Dani too, tacked onto the general principle of blocking whatever plot surrounds that nuke. Her agreement with Eileen precludes vengeance against Ethan, but it doesn't stop her from punishing others with the Vanguard in his place.

At the desk she hands over the paper and pays what's asked for, then departs, fully expecting to appear at the designated location in one hour and quite possibly with added backup.

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