Let's Do Science


kaylee6_icon.gif pride2_icon.gif yi-min_icon.gif zachery_icon.gif

Scene Title Let's Do Science
Synopsis Kaylee gathers the Raytech science team to fill them in on a few things and ask for their help.
Date September 16, 2020

Raytech Industries - Science Labs

“Hey, guys. Thanks for meeting me, I’ll try not to keep you from your project too long,” Kaylee says with a nervous smile for the trio of Raytech’s scientists. Not that she really looks like an owner of the tech company. She looked like she was doing the minimum required to care for herself, if the unkempt hair and dark circles under her eyes mean anything. The former telepath didn’t bother to even wear a suit, standing before them in a pair of jeans she’s probably been wearing for a few days and a grey hoodie.

This new life clearly wasn’t setting well for the woman.

“It’s good to see you two again,” This directed to her fellow crash survivors, but when it comes to the other… there is a pause. Kaylee’s eyes narrow at the woman, like she is trying to place her. There is a vague familiarity. “Dr. Pride, right?” Brow furrow as she moves to offer the other woman a hand, “You’ll have to pardon my rudeness, but you seem familiar, have we met?” It doesn’t occur to her that the woman had been in her room reading to her.

“That’s right.” Dr. Pride takes the offered hand with an easy smile. “You know, I was thinking the same thing about you. It could just be the research I did on your company before I applied, but I used to live around here a couple years ago.” The platinum blonde shrugs and pushes a pair of glasses up the bridge of her nose after she’s finished shaking Kaylee’s hand. “Maybe we used to go to the same coffee shop.”

There’s a hint of concern there in the new hire’s blue eyes. Kaylee’s probably used to seeing it on others by now. “Whatever the case, it’s good to formally meet you, Miss Thatcher.” A brief glance is given to Pride’s superiors before she asks, “How can we help?” With an earnestness. Like she really means to help however she can.

Zachery stands a few steps further back, watching Kaylee with trepidation much more carefully hidden behind a forcefully neutral expression and casually crossed arms. At least he's calmer than he usually is in her presence, owing to a few different factors at once - not least of which is that his thoughts are assumed his god damned own for once.

"Other than calling Seren in here," he offers an addendum to the question posed before Kaylee is able to answer, with a measure of amusement tugging at a corner of his mouth. "And asking them to gently guide you toward some…"

He leans ever so slightly toward Yi-Min without looking away, genuine cluelessness and just a smidge of disdain on his voice when he asks, "What's it called again, 'self-care'?"

"It is no trouble at all. How have you been holding up?" By contrast to Kaylee, Dr. Yeh looks very much her usual, crisply put-together self. It also doesn't seem like a facade. Her flicker of concern for the woman who had summoned them there is something she wears openly— similar to the keenness of her interest in what this situation might entail, quite evident in the quality of sharpness underlying her cool gaze.

For a second, Dr. Pride can feel the very thinnest trickle of something like skepticism from Yi-Min at the offer of help, directed towards her. Such earnestness might be genuine, or it might be a shade on the spectrum of exaggerated disingenuousness favored by so many of the Americans she had met.

The moment is over though, when Zachery opens his mouth. "Be kind, Miller," she says dismissively without looking at him either. There isn't any bite in the injunction, though. It's like it's a 'tut' made because it should be, and little else.

The former telepath blatantly ignores Zachery’s ribbing, though there is a flash of anger from within the storm of darker emotions - depressions, anxiety, paranoia… you name it - barely contained within herself and under a mask. Kaylee instead focuses on Yi-min’s question, though by the flattening of her lips it is clear Kaylee heard him. “Anyhow, I’ve been better, but you know that…. Both of you, but I’m trying not to linger on that.” Okay, so she does send a hard look his way, just a glance.

“As for why I called you,” Kaylee continues, turning her focus towards her reasoning behind bringing them together. “I need your help with some testing. I… just… can’t shake the idea that we’re clones.” That is said mostly to Yi-Min and Zachery. “I know there are plenty of ways to create clones, but… I want to eliminate a few types by testing my DNA against that of my siblings.” She looks at each of them in turn as she lays it out. “Well… half-siblings, but it’s something, since I don’t have any of mine before the… kidnapping.”

Kaylee trails off and looks at the trio waiting to see their reactions to the idea. She might be nervous about asking them to do it. “If you are up for it? Richard did say that we should have some of my sisters’ genetic material on file from one of the older projects. Just need Warren to be willing.” Being that it is for her, he might be willing… she hopes.

Having stepped back to leave Yi-Min and Zachery standing closer to Kaylee than she is, Pride wears her surprise plainly on her face when she posits the theory that she may be a clone. That all three of them may be.

The tumult of Kaylee’s emotions causes her to remain silent for a moment, reckoning with what her unbeknownst friend is going through and hiding her concern under a mask of thoughtfulness. How Ourania would dearly love to take Kaylee by the hands and try to grant her some hope in the face of everything that’s been done to her.

But there are other ways she can do that.

“If you have an old hairbrush? If we could find a strand that pulled free from your scalp, we might be able to use that as a comparison DNA.” The younger scientist seems to realize she’s speaking out of turn suddenly and falls silent, shrinking a half step back again. “Sorry,” she murmurs quickly. “Genetics are just my jam.”

Zachery's response to being reprimanded is almost entirely absent. His gaze stays locked on Kaylee, his chin lifting with an idle roll of his jaw. The latter only barely hints at the surprise and following sinking feeling of growing inward annoyance that increasingly pulls his attention elsewhere - at least until the word 'clones' is said.

It slingshots him back into the now, blinking as relief and disappointment in himself knit his brow. It's not until Pride stops talking that he seems to remember how to speak, adding somewhat distractedly, "No, that's… it's good. Three to ten strands would be ideal." Kaylee's face is studied anew. "I don't suppose there's a chance we could get the shared parent in?"

As for Dr. Yeh, there is a distinct lack of surprise when Kaylee reveals what she is thinking. Cloning is, after all, a particular scene she has long been acquainted with. "Good," she confirms curtly, looking Kaylee clearly in the eye. "This is part of a range of possibilities I have been musing on also. It would serve us well to be able to rule it out as soon as we can, one way or another."

The apology from Raytech's newest hire causes her to turn her head with some interest at the sound, arching one of her eyebrows rather finely when she does. "Please, I would prefer you speak up when you wish, Dr. Pride. It would now seem quite fortunate that we hired you when we did." Biochemistry is intrinsically linked to genetics as a matter of course, and Yi-Min has a decent wealth of experience with the crossover herself, but it isn't her specialty.

Ourania can read a mood of approval there, mixed in with clear expectation. It's similar to what she had received when she had conveyed her apparently very sharp memory to Yi-Min but a day earlier.

Kaylee feels some relief that she isn’t the only one with this idea. “Well, you have whatever you need from me, whether it is hair or blood, you are welcome to it. We’re going to dedicate what we can in resources to this.” There is that hope, small but it is there. “Genetics will eliminate those with the ability to duplicate themselves.” Kaylee taps a finger as she says that, as if counting the ways.

“I don’t know if any of you know Magnes Varlane?” Kaylee looks uncertain at them, there is doubt that they do. The question seems out of the blue from the former telepath, that is until she goes on…

“This is need to know, only, but he is a clone himself. His father, Pete Varlane, was known for cloning research through the Institute. I’ve met another clone of his and he didn’t live long,” She sounds as sad as her emotions do. “From what I understand, Magnes is the only stable clone… that we know of. If he is willing, Magnes might be another source for a way to check off his father’s form of cloning.” Odessa can feel Kaylee’s surprise through the darkness, surprise at herself. “Maybe some sort of genetic marker or tell?”

Zachery is eyed with a subdued sort of curiosity, but only while he remains quiet. The lack of concern about being admonished is noted by the empath and filed away. The contemplation of it is broken by the ripples that come from Dr. Yeh. Pride smiles faintly and nods her head. “As long as I’m not overreaching,” she demures. “Please just tell me if I do.”

“Pete— ” The geneticist catches herself, clearing her throat as though she had a sudden tickle to combat. “That’s— incredible.” Awe is injected into her tone, as though the notion of the Institute having had a cloning project is a revelation. (It isn’t.) “I’m sure if some sort of cloning procedure took place, I can find a genetic marker for it. A signature, if you will.”

Dr. Pride glances between the others gathered as she continues, a spark in her eyes as she explains what she means. “Cloning is still highly theoretical in the scientific world at large. Human cloning, that is. The process is incredibly unstable long term. The DNA is like—” She holds up one hand, rubbing her thumb against her middle and forefingers as she thinks of the right words, and it seems the tactile sensation brings them to mind.

“It’s like yarn in a shawl! Only the ends don’t get woven in. Eventually, it’ll catch on something.” Ourania pantomimes wrapping a string around her finger and tugging it. “And the whole thing just unravels.” As she goes on, her movements become more animated, her demeanor more excited. “Maybe not always quickly, but sooner or later, you no longer have a shawl with a loose thread. You have a pile of fiber that used to be something else entirely.”

It occurs to her then that may not have been the most reassuring thing she could have said, given what they suspect about themselves. Pride gapes like a fish for a moment, again trying to summon the correct words. “But if someone’s perfected it… Or if there’s an ability that could have stabilized the whole mess…” Her face lights up. “It would be remarkable!

Fuck yeah, science.

The name Varlane has (to all but perhaps the freshest-seeming of the Raytech employees) obvious meaning to Zachery, but his guard remains up. While Ourania speaks, he himself communicates nothing in the way he holds still, staring off into the middle distance.

Except for the audience of one that still gets to witness that annoyance building slowly back up again, bubbling away over racing thoughts and the fact that this very subject is so quickly embraced where he's only had it brushed off. Then again, if he'd brought it up to the right people

He shakes his head, snapping partially out of the bitter thoughts he forcibly deems irrelevant for now. Something adjacent to short-lived amusement tugs at a corner of his mouth at Ourania's enthusiasm. "I've been quietly preparing for death for months now, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't hold out for a miracle, I suppose." His focus lands back on Kaylee, his voice a controlled level. "Either way, thank you for bringing this up. We probably should have looked into this much sooner, but— better late, all that, I suppose."

Like before, there isn't a single tangible trace of surprise from Yi-Min when she hears about Magnes and Pete Varlane. Either she is extremely good at taking news like this at face value, or she had already known. "Human cloning might be theoretical for most of the scientific community, but unfortunately it has indeed been perfected, or nearly so, in certain of its darker corners." The Taiwanese woman's voice is very mild. It’s peppered with dryness too, as though she's inserting her own brand of commentary over the top of a nature documentary.

Nor is there horror at what Dr. Pride appears to be insinuating. In fact, there's almost a sense of welcoming amusement, as though Yi-Min would blithely entertain the process of unraveling like a skein of human flesh if that was the sole effect they would face.

"The analogy isn't unsuited, though, especially given that we still don't know who did this to us. We are not in a position to rule out any possibilities yet. Beyond Mr. Varlane, there are other living clones whom I know— ones whose genetic profiles I already have on record, as a matter of fact. I shall peruse any of my notes that may be relevant from past projects. With all of these things together, we should have more than a solid starting baseline for comparison."

The former telepath listens intently as each of them talks, nodding even though she might not completely understand it all. It’s why they were hired after all. Dr. Pride, however, gets a close scrutiny. It’s in the narrowing of her eyes, but also in her emotions. That feeling when something seems familiar, but you can’t place it.

“Absolutely,” Kaylee says focusing on Zachery. “I’m not a scientist, but in my time, I’ve come across a lot of weird shit and as I’ve had a lot of time to just… sit and think… I figured it wouldn’t kill anything to offer up what I remember.”

Odessa can feel the anxious knot at the center of her, as she says, “You have Raytech resources, my support. I’d love to hear what you are planning and any results you find on everything. I’m hoping it jogs more, but also I want to know what y’all have going. Richard is pretty much leaving this side project in my hands. So… I’m all ears. Let me help you, even if you just need more blood and tissue. You have my personal cell,” that mostly said to Yi-Min, “day or night.” The dark storm of emotions strengthens, under the smiling exterior.

Zachery’s annoyance takes Ourania slightly by surprise, if only because she wonders why she’s suddenly feeling annoyed. Until she realizes it isn’t her at all. A deep breath steadies herself, helps her separate the layers of emotions and sort them according to source. It’s the skepticism she has trouble attributing to one of the others. Then she catches sight of Kaylee’s face and her heart drops momentarily.

She’s going to have to be more careful. “I think that older DNA sample would be a great place to start,” Ourania assures the other blonde with a smile. “Once we can build a profile of who you were, we can start to figure out if it’s the same as who you are.

Suddenly, Zachery chuckles. It's a short-lived thing, and it takes him by surprise as much as it might anyone else, but he keeps his composure despite, amusement lifting his head a little higher. "It's funny. For a room full of people seriously considering the fact that they might be copies of themselves, and one…"

He turns his head to fix a stare on Ourania as he considers his words. "And one capable witness to the possible realisation that we might all either die an arguably untimely death or have to contend with our original selves, we're all strikingly calm."

He returns his attention to Yi-Min, eyebrows raised. He is, after all, technically supposed to be working for her. The distraction of a new project and a strangely misplaced sense of hope robs him of frustration about that particular thing.

"Yes, thank you," Yi-Min notes in a moment of rare concordance with Zachery, directing a look of appreciation to Kaylee. "Not just for bringing this up, but for the promise of support. Of course, all of it may amount to naught in the end with the mysteries we face, but all we can do is try, is it not?"

Yi-Min's blitheness has now turned to a deeper sunniness, at least in her mellow fashion— it's a soothing, subdued thing, discernible at the very edges of the senses. "I suppose I might not be so calm, had I not literally worked with human clones in my past," she admits with a nonchalance that might be merriness. "My own mortality is overrated, anyhow. But I can put on a show of panicking later, if you would like."

“Calm?” It’s Kaylee’s turn to laugh, though it’s laced with sharp bitterness. “Desensitized… maybe. I’ve traveled all over our timeline, lived in the late 1880’s, witnessed alternate timelines and met a lot of clones… and that’s just some of it.” Her mouth pulls to one side in a grimace, “I’m not calm, I’m just… compartmentalizing so I don’t end up trapped in my head again… that wasn’t pleasant.”

Pointing at Ourania, Kaylee is fast to change the subject away from her, “Dr. Pric- I mean Pride, sorry… I will get my brush to you as soon as possible, should be some hair from before. That way all y’all can get on ruling out clones… or not.”

Giving a dip of her head to all of them, Kaylee moves to leave, “I’ll leave y’all to it.”

Almost as soon as she takes a few step, Kaylee stops and turns back. “Actually, one more thing.” She motions to Yi-Min. “Dr. Yeh…. Seems the Canadian government is taking contract bids on moving the transport plane to a secure location, I’m heading a small team to go to walk the site so that we can make a bid… However, on the off chance we can’t win the bid, I want to try and take advantage of that time to our benefit.” A mischievous smile tugs at her lips as she continues, “Since you and I have worked well together in the past, and I know you can kick someone’s ass in a pinch, I’d like you to go with me.”

Doctor Pride darts glances to the other two scientists as if to confirm that she’s heard correctly what Kaylee’s said about time travel and living in the 1880s. Her attention snaps back to the speaker when she’s addressed again, brow furrowing faintly at the initial stumble over her name, but seeming otherwise unbothered by it.

“I’ll look forward to it,” Ourania says with a short nod of her head. Assignment accepted. “And to learning more on the subject from your experience, Dr. Yeh.” Even Zachery earns a flicker of a smile from the younger woman.

If the glance in Zachery's direction was to confirm that what Kaylee said was at all regular and expected, she will probably have found his face insufficient in driving this home.

In fact, he's gone back to standing somewhat overly still again, as if between the casual discussion of extraordinary things and the flashback to different times that Dr. Pride's momentarily mispronounced name evokes he is left in need of a mental reboot. His amusement wanes, mental notes taken as his eyes narrow, the smile missed entirely.

And then, he just disengages - promptly turning on a heel and walking away without so much as a goodbye. Got things to plan! They know where to find him.

The slipup over Dr. Pride's name has Yi-Min lifting one brow ever so slightly, not really from the fact itself— people misspoke all the time, after all— but from the phrasing surrounding it.

As things appear to wrap up, Yi-Min remains observant in that still manner, taking stock of Zachery's departure behind her back with absolutely no outward reaction whatsoever. Then, Kaylee's last comment has her affixing her attention onto the harried-looking woman once more in a slightly different way.

"I would only be too glad to accompany you back to the site," she offers, surprise lasting only a short time on her expression; as quickly, it melds into discerning approval. "What an excellent opportunity that might turn out to be." Or not, of course. But there was only one way to find out.

“Good,” Kaylee says, unable to contain the pleased smile. Clearly she hoped for a yes from her. “I’ll be in touch with the details once I have them. A boardroom chic dress code will be enforced. We are, after all, professionals.” Says the woman meeting her people in a hoodie, almost no makeup and worn jeans.

“Dr. Pride,” Kaylee dips her head to the woman and then calls out, “Have a good day, Dr. Miller.” Not expecting an answer, she takes her leave of the group. She still had much to plan.

Richard had done the right thing telling his sister she was on her own, Kaylee felt a growing sense of purpose and it helped to distract her from what she lost.

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