Hypocupremia, Part I


avi_icon.gif hana_icon.gif lucille_icon.gif ryans2_icon.gif

Scene Title Hypocupremia, Part I
Synopsis Lucille brings new intelligence and her father to a Wolfhound briefing.
Date October 28, 2018

The Bunker

Rochester, NY

"There's always a Company."

Angela Petrelli's words to Benjamin Ryans will always haunt him, a promise and a warning from the days before the Company's collapse at the hands of the Institute. Though they themselves might not agree, there's something about the stark concrete aesthetic of Wolfhound's Rochester headquarters that reminds Ben of the Primatech days. Something hauntingly familiar about a power plant repurposed into a headquarters. There's maybe an analogy about apples and trees that's applicable, or perhaps it's just coincidence. Major Gitelman likely wouldn't take the comparison well.

Through bare stone corridors and past whirring security cameras, Benjamin finds himself seated in a conference room behind a long, black table. Across from him, Lucille Ryans looks like a school-age girl at the principal's office waiting to find out how her father is going to react. But there's no shame in what she's accomplished, quite to the contrary.

"So, you found Caspar Abraham?" Avi Epstein doesn't even wait to sit as he enters the conference room behind Hana Gitelman. Epstein balances a coffee in one hand, not the same brew as from the carafe out on the conference table. Avi's tastes more like tar filtered through an old sock. Some rituals, some familiar thing, are harder to shake than others. "I'm hoping this is gonna make my day, because I could use some good news for once."

Legs crossed at the ankles and sitting comfortably in the chair across from her bosses Lucille looks over at her father and then back to Avi with a nod, "Berlin and I did, yes." One fingerless gloved hand runs through the now long auburn haired woman and her pale blue eyes stare across to look between the two one at a time holding their gaze. "We went to talk to Peyton Whitney, she was there in Alaska I met her then.. and she dates my older brother." That is said with a bit of a flinch and she swallows hard, given what she's learned about her family's past.

"She used her ability to locate Caspar having met him while under the "watch" of the Institute. We got an address. He's in Arkansas," she pauses to pull out her phone to which an email is sent from to Hana's account containing the address and Lucille's notes during the investigation before continuing, "Given the nature of this bounty and his history with the Company I thought to ask my father what he might know about Caspar." And that's.., sorta it. Except. "He has a.. creature of some kind locked up in a cage that he feeds. Peyton was unclear as to if he was.. working with the Institute or.. doing his own experiments." Suppressing a shudder at the thought of what Peyton described, "I think my dad can be extremely useful to us on this. What I learned from him.." Luckily the man himself is sitting right next to her.

It feels like some quasi parent-teacher conference but Lucille was far from the young girl they all once knew.

“Unfortunately, I wish I could say I knew a whole lot, I did though.” Benjamin Ryans fishes out a chain from around his neck at the end is a penny, wrapped in a frame of silver. It’s pulled up over his head and dropped on the table, pushed over for them to examine if they choose. “That penny contains… countless years of my memories. Caspar’s work, ordered by Charles Deveaux and I am pretty damn sure, Arthur Petrelli. The whole of the Company and many other associates had their memories wiped over Project Looking Glass, something that I am sure you heard about. Richard knows and seems hell bent on telling everyone about.” He isn’t really certain how he feels about that, it’s surprisingly noticeable by his tone.

“I seem to have had more than just those memories revoked, all the way back to when I manifested my ability, until Petrelli stripped it.” What? “I have huge gaps in my memories I wasn’t even aware of.” Brows furrow a bit, though his voice is calmed and measured. “Done by this man, used by the Company to possibly make me a loyal agent.” Or at least he assumes. It is apparent, however, that Benjamin has quite the stake in what they find.

“What little I do know is thanks to an SESA Agent, Cassandra Baumann. She can access what is on these pennies that Casper uses,” Ryans rumbles out with a nod to the penny. Hence what help he might be able to provide. “But it’s pretty taxing to her,” he adds.

Leaning forward, hand cupped around the scarred and blunted arm, Benjamin sighs a bit, “I admit, I’m curious about what he might know, that they had purged. And if he took these memories, if the could return them. I would like my memories of my son back.

Seated at the table, Hana is quiet while the others speak — listening, observing, perusing the notes Lucille sent. When the penny is passed over, she accepts the implicit invitation and picks it up by the chain, glints reflecting off the silver-edged copper pendant as it gradually spins its way to stillness. "Years," she echoes. "On one penny."

She doesn't comment on the high-handedness, the immorality, of what was taken. She doesn't need to; everyone there can read the seethe of her opinion easily enough, for all the distance of impersonality and the remove of years involved.

She doesn't comment on the named agent, either, but only sets the pendant back down, either for Epstein to examine or for Ryans to reclaim. What she says instead is not a question so much as a prompt.

"You have an idea how to go about that?"

Avi stares the penny down like it's a shrunken head, with a mixture of curiosity and nervousness at the implication. “Was this guy seriously that into puns?” He asks of no one in particular, motioning to the penny and not really spelling it out entirely. He hopes he doesn't need to.

“Baumann’s a good egg,” Avi notes after the fact. “She helped me out of a particularly tight jam earlier this year. I'd be interested to know how many of these things Abraham has, or who else they were used on.” His expression shifts into something of a frown. Then, looking up to Lucille Avi finally asks the question he's been dreading.

“Define creature,” is something Avi will likely regret getting an answer for.

Hearing again what her father had been through due to the Company's.. coldness makes Lucille's expression tight but she doesn't frown instead she tightens her grip on the chair she's sitting on, chest rising and falling steadily as she controls her breath. This is personal yes.

She knows of the agent having met her once before by chance, funny how small circles run. "Her ability is handy." Lucille had seen it at work on a smaller scale. As to the question of the creature's nature and how they should do this, "Peyton said.. it had too many.. limbs. He was feeding it and injecting it with a vial of something still unsure on if it was some kind of medicine or sedative." Grateful that she didn't have to see that monster for herself like the clairvoyant and dreading the moment she actually does lay eyes on it in person the younger woman moves forward in her mind with what's to come.

"I think he," looking over to her father, "Could be an asset in bringing Caspar in. Caspar knows him well it seems, that might work in our advantage if we approached with him with us. He has no reason to think the secrets on that penny have been unlocked by anyone." There's a pause as she considers, "I would think a single team approach making up of a mixed group of us would do," Some from Wendigo, Amarok and Keelut. "Peyton was not able to see if there were bodyguards or the like but the place apparently looked isolated. I think he's alone out there with that thing. It could be a small op, quick in and out."

There are satellite images of the address and the surrounded area brought up on the screen of her tablet placed on the table, turning for the others to see.

For the moment the penny sits in the middle of the table between them all. His life on a single tiny piece of pressed metal. His hand moves the rub thoughtfully across his mouth. What he says, might not be to his daughter liking, but it needs to be said. “The fact that there is a creature there, says that he might very well be working for someone still. It’ll be risky” Ben doesn’t count out the idea that he is alone with this… thing, but “He has to be getting the injections from someone.”

If he still had a hand attached to his other arm, the fingers would be tapping, “A small party, sounds like the best course. At least until, we see what he has around him.” Benjamin rumbles out, “I’m not completely convinced it would be a warm reception if I showed up or if he’ll even remember me, but I think it is the best option. I wasn’t really a Company defector, so I could probably come up with something as to why I’m seeking him out. But, we need to know what we’re walking into, first.”

There's a moment where Hana is quiet, analyst's mind evaluating everything that's been said. A moment where her attention centers on Lucille — and then another where it flicks to Epstein, catching his eye. Not for any reason actually relating to the business inside this room.

Rising to her feet, the major nods to Lucille. "A mixed group," she echoes. "Justify it." But the hearing of that justification, she'll leave to Epstein, for now. She gives a brief nod to Ryans; a small team was never in question, not without very different intel being collected, and the reasons for his inclusion.

Certainly, he's a friendlier face to former Company than she would ever be.

With that, Hana withdraws from the room, the better to attend to business far less interesting yet nonetheless necessary.

Avi watches Hana leave with a crease in his brow and jaw set crooked. He remains silent for a moment, then picks up where she left off. “Yeah, look, this guy had his mug on the public-facing website of the Institute's San-Fran branch. I don't think he was drinking the Company kool-aid anymore. Might have something to do with being made to strip people’s memories out.”

“But whatever,” Avi digresses, “I'm not the one who’ll be out in the field on this one. I agree Abraham feels like a lone wolf out in his fucking unabomber shack, and paranoid people like that usually have remote defenses. Probably material; claymores, pits, that sort of Ewok shit.” He waves a hand flippantly. The young people in Wolfhound had drilled more than a few pop culture references into his thick skull.

“I like the idea of a blended team. Curtis is on leave, Robyn’s off base too, and with Berlin benched we’d need that. But I want to hear why you think a multidisciplinary team makeup is good. Not who, but why.”

As Hana takes her leave, the younger woman tilts her head but says nothing, watching the Major's retreating back.

She's being asked a question though so Lucille's attention shifts back to her superior, "We need to be able to change tactics on a dime. This op doesn't warrant our full roster," not that it's available to them currently, "And with the freak show Peyton has witnessed it would be useful to have one of each aspect of Wolfhound in a smaller unit." She feels that answers the question simply enough.

Three fingers are held up, "Colette, Rue and Noa on radio support." He said he didn't ask for who but she gives it anyway, the Amarok inclusion is omitted because she thinks that person is obvious, "With my dad along, and if you and the Major are sitting this out. Then he might be able to disarm him as well as guide us in the field. He might have had his memories taken," and much more than that, "But he knows how Caspar was trained and maybe how he might think." She could be reaching but instead of saying 'This is really important to my family' she delivers it as to how it could work out in Wolfhound's favor.

The head of Wolfhound gets a silent nod from the old man, before Benjamin watches her leave; an ear on what’s still being said at the table.

Being a guest in there, Benjamin doesn’t speak up, allowing his daughter to do the talking. He was here because she asked him. He listens to what she says, a small ghost of a smile touching his lips. Proud of his eldest is what he is.

“Yeah, I’m permanently benched, I think we’ve been over that,” Avi explains as he knocks his knuckles on his busted knee. “We need Keelut on this, given the givens,” he adds somewhat more helpfully than his assessment of his own physical injuries. “Swap Noa for Rue, and I think we’ll hit the right mix. We’ll want Huruma, too, in case we need to pacify either of them. Her ability’s pretty helpful and,” Avi looks to Ryans, “she’s got past work experience with our outside contractor.”

That said, Avi folds his hands on the table. “So Demsky, you,” he motions to Lucille, “Ryans, Dunsimi, and Lancaster. We’ll need some time to do some field prep, I’m going to see if I can authorize the Tlanuwa for this op, because we’re going to need to get down their fast and the land routes to Caspar’s location would take forever.” He starts to drum his fingers on the tabletop. “Ben, I’ll need you to stay and sign some contractor forms, liability waivers, the like. We’ll provide you with some body armor if you don’t have any of your own. Or are you just,” Avi waves a hand up and down himself, “totally made of metal now you indestructible old fuck?”

Avi smiles. He’s missed Ben.

"You're still highly dangerous." Injury or not he's earned himself a notch in her mental notebook.

Nodding her head along to the squad amendments, they make sense. Lucille rises and smiles softly over at dad and then Avi, war buddies. A hand rises to her lips as she laughs, "I feel like he is." Made of metal, he was indestructible in her eyes. "Also," before she goes.. "I figure you should know if you haven't put two and two together. Berlin healed my scar.. she's the reason my ability is back to being stable." Why she can touch people. "And she.. also saved my dad's life. From cancer." So yea.

“I might be old, but I only got better looking, what’s your excuse?” It’s a rare jab of humor from Benjamin, delivered with a straight face. But then he mirrors Avi’s smile with a lop-sided grin of his own. Yeah. He missed Avi, too.

“But no… I’ve got weapons, but no armor. So the loaner would be nice.” Loaner…. As if it would survive if Ben got into the thick of it like he always does. There is no doubt he still has some of the modified weapons from the old days. “And as a favor, I’d rather keep this…” The penny is snagged from the table, held up as an emphasis of his meaning, and then looped back over his head; before being hidden in his shirt. “From Huruma for now.” That penny was just a small thing, but that was deceptive… it was his life.

“As for the girl.” Ben looks at his daughter and beck to Avi, “Lu is right. I’ve spent a lot of time with N— Berlin, as of late. I’ve seen her control over at least the healing portion of her ability. She’s a good kid.” The fondness for the girl is apparent. “I can testify to her character, if need be.”

Avi’s response is a flat dismissal of the surprise that Lucille is trying to cultivate. Not that he isn't surprised about something happening to Ben, but that he knows better than to give Lucille an emotional inch, lest she take a mile.

“Command’s been briefed on her abilities,” Avi explains with a subtle incline of his head, “and she's been benched for the foreseeable future. You can talk to her if you want specifics? But that isn't my place.” Lucille and Ben can both feel the shift in his tone, and it's clear discussion of Berlin is both not on the table, nor is it comfortable for him.

“You've made a good case, and I'll have the Major check out data on the address,” Avi says with a tone of closing to the conversation. “Ben, if you want to stick around I'll get those forms printed out for you. Lucille,” Avi slides her a look, jaw set, “there's a lot of change coming here. You do good at this, and it could go a long way for your career.” He’s never called her tenure on Wolfhound a career before.

But Avi doesn't give that time to simmer. He slowly and awkwardly rises to stand with an obvious favoring of his good leg. If he's wise to Wolfhound’s resident healer, he hasn't capitalized on it — what with his missing eye and busted knee. “I appreciate you sharing this intel, Lucille. It could change everything.”

That flat look is momentarily reflected and Lucille's facial muscles freeze as her mind calculates, he must be freaking out he's a dad to another. "I'm aware of her abilities," obviously, "And the.. incident that led to her being benched." She was already going to grab Colette to go talk to Berlin, there was something Lucille needed to know. That would be for later. "I keep running into your daughters." First Emily and now… the universe was weird.

Hearing her career at Wolfhound makes her back straighten a tad bit more, that was.. something and her expression remains unreadable as she nods her head. "I'll be sure to do you guys proud." A small smile is allowed and Lucille leans into it, that's a good thing. Wolfhound is natural to her, she's not sure what'd she'd do right now without her and the prospect of change to someone that has had to adapt and adapt quickly throughout her life, it quite frankly excites Lucille. "Anything I can do to help with said, changes. You know my room number."

Then he's thanking her earnestly and Lucille blinks and nods her head a fraction with a crease in the corner of her eyes, she is happy to help. She wants to get them. All of them. "I'll be reviewing my notes in the Lounge." A quick look to her father as she turns her back and squeezes his shoulder, he knows when she's almost bubbling over with excitement, with her back turned to Avi she almost seems to say WE DID IT.

“I can stick around,” Ben offers as he stands, not really reacting to the rest said, it’s not his place. “Not like I have anything pressing waiting for me at home.” He looks down at the shining look on his daughters face, he adds, “Besides, I don’t think I’ve seen this place. I think a tour is in order.” Looking up at Avi, the man arches a brow as he asks, “Scott’s around right? Should drag you both out for a drink before I head back.”

Yeah, Ryans misses the old crew.

Avi levels a quick look to Lucille that she’s only seen once or twice, it’s a warning look, that she’s pushing his boundaries. It also comes, now, with the extra conceit that unless she wants to wake up in a meat packing plant again, she should lay off the daughter talk. Sliding his tongue against the inside of his cheek, he languidly turns his attention to Ryans. “Yeah…” is his catch-all answer to all of that, followed by a grimace as he shifts his weight off of his bad leg.

“…Yeah, I think I’m going to need a few drinks.”

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