Not In Kansas


mohinder_icon.gif monica_icon.gif richard3_icon.gif ff_silas_icon.gif

Scene Title Not in Kansas
Synopsis Mohinder Suresh's journey west doesn't go as planned.
Date February 8, 2020

Somewhere in the Safe Zone

February 8th
4:48 pm

For the second time, Silas finds himself escorting someone to Monica Dawson's safe house. There are differences this time, though: for one, the company is not Mohinder Suresh, Ph.D. in buzzkills and demotivational speaking; for another, this time he's bringing the gift of a six pack of beer — something that, in his humble estimation, is a much better offering than the gift of Mohinder.

"Here we are," Silas says, coming to a stop in front of Monica's door and rapping lightly.

Richard’s in his civvies; jeans, that same damn bomber jacket he’s had for over a decade now. He stands back and a bit to one side, head turned to watch for anyone who might be trying to tail them in this process. Hands tucked into the pockets of the jacket, rocking a bit on his heels.

He hasn’t seen Monica in a bit, after all.

"Mackensie," Monica says from the other side of the door, "I swear to god…" Whatever the end of that sentence was going to be, it stops once she opens the door and sees that this time it's not an unwelcome guest he's brought along with him. "Well," she says looking between the two before she nods toward the beer, "is this to make up for last time?"

She steps back, gesturing for them to come inside. Her apartment is much more put together this time, looking like someone actually lives here, rather than just storage for her boxes. "Good to see you, Richard. I heard you got kidnapped." Casually dropped, that one. It is the life they lead, these kinds of dangers sometimes pop up.

Silas grimaces a bit at that name… but of the two, that one's probably the better to be tied to business like this. "Yes," he answers simply. "I don't want bringing trouble to your doorstep to be a trend, so I figured I'd bring something good this time," he remarks dryly.

"And… I'm still sorry about last time," he adds, looking contrite for a moment. "Hope it hasn't, ah, been too much trouble." That one's on Asi, technically, but he was the messenger. Besides! Maybe Mohinder had been better behaved for Monica than he'd been for Silas. Or the courier. It's possible, right?

Silas doesn't hesitate when Monica invites them inside; he's only too happy to be out of the hallway. He makes no comment when Monica brings up the kidnapping, though he does glance to Richard.

“Hey.” Richard offers a wan smile, moving to step inside at the invitation. He’s wearing gloves, when his hands appear, curiously enough. “Yeah. Kidnapped. Murdered. Nathalie’s dead. Don’t touch me, I’ve got a case of the Kazimirs.”

It’s a joke. See? It’s not a joke, but he’s trying. His mood has definitely seen better days; she hasn’t seen him like this since just after Alaska.

“I hear my old chess buddy’s trying to talk you into driving him to Kansas?”

"He's the quietest roommate I've ever had," Monica says. Of course, her last roommate was a parrot so the bar isn't high. "And I think he might be a little scared of me." Which is weird because she's been so nice. Or well. Civil, anyway.

Richard's news comes in like a freight train and Monica pauses in the middle of closing the door to stare. Just a momentary hitch. She closes it swiftly after. "I'll get out the whiskey, then," she says, because maybe beer isn't hard enough. But she doesn't listen to his advice about not touching him. Her prosthetic fingers curl around his hand for a brief, but sympathetic squeeze. "I'm part robot," she says, her smile sad, but crooked enough to keep things light. "I've been talked into a lot of strange things lately," she says with a nod toward Silas, "so you might think the odds are in his favor. But we'll see. What's in Kansas? I mean— besides the obvious."

Silas blanches, regarding Richard with eyes almost the size of saucers; the look on his face would be downright comical if it weren't real life. He met a Nathalie, once, at that post New Year disaster at Cat's Cradle, but he's not sure who she actually was. He does know who Kazimir Fucking Volken was, though; he isn't sure what Richard means by getting murdered and catching 'a case of the Kazimirs', but goddamn if whiskey doesn't sound great about now.

"I…" Silas starts, still looking a little glassy-eyed. He opens his mouth, then closes it, looking thoughtful. "Richard. If you're so inclined, I'd appreciate it if you could give me the rundown of that sometime; I can't make any promises, but it sounds like I might need to add someone to my stabbing list?" he says, a bit uncertain. "In the meantime, though, I would definitely take you up on that whiskey, Monica, if you're sharing with the whole class." The last is delivered with a somewhat shaky smile.

“The Whiskey…” says a voice Richard Ray hasn’t heard in years, “…is in here.”

Mohinder Suresh is seated in the kitchen at the small dining table, hunched over a bowl of cereal — Captain Crunch — that he is eating dry out of the bowl. There is a glass of whiskey that is either untouched or half finished depending on how poor of a mood Mohinder has found himself in. It’s been so long that he didn’t even recognize Richard’s voice. So when he slowly pushes his chair out and picks up the bottle by the neck, he isn’t expecting to see that ghost standing in the foyer of Monica’s apartment.

Richard?” Mohinder asks, nearly dropping the bottle on the floor.

There’s a flinch of Richard’s gloved hand away from the touch at first, and he starts to object— but the he remembers at her touch, at her words, when the hungry thing inside of him doesn’t stir defensively in response to that touch. His hand wraps back around hers, giving it a fiercely tight squeeze. If she were still flesh and blood, it’d probably be a painful grip, but it’s one of the few moments of physical contact he’s had since he returned.

It’s a moment that has him silent at first, looking back at Monica with an unreadable expression— his eyes hidden by those shades, the hint of tears that’ve come to them unbidden can’t be seen.

Then he’s jerked out of the moment, and quickly brings a hand up, fingers rubbing under his glasses to wipe that away. “Ah— yeah, sorry, Silas. Mazdak. Baruti Naidu. Adam’s just a— smokescreen. A distraction. We’ve all been played, it’s… it’s a long story.”

Then the man who’s coming out of the kitchen emerges, and he looks up, managing a slightly-forced smile. “Really, Mohinder? Kansas? You know I live in Queens, right?” Well, what used to be Queens, anyway.

Monica's fingers reach up to brush at Richard's face, because while she might not be able to see his expression, she can make a fair guess at how hard it is not to be able to touch anyone without hurting them. But she pulls away when Mohinder speaks up. What a sad figure he cuts in her apartment with his dry cereal. How someone can brood over Captain Crunch, she's not sure. She comes over to take the bottle out of his hand after he nearly drops it, taking it with her to pour their visitors, and herself, each a glass, as well.

She passes them out, leaving the bottle on a neary side table for easy refills, her head tilting at Richard. "Adam's a smokescreen? I might need that story, long or not." She has devoted, you know, some of her time recently on trying to untangle that mess.

Silas's expression comes under control at that explanation, the excess animation seeming to drain out of him. His face becomes calm — more than that. Blank. Blank like a cliff face you realize is unscalable only when you're halfway up and there's no way back down. Blank like a mask. "Baruti Naidu," he murmurs, his voice distant. "I am developing a strong dislike of that man."

He takes a breath, straightens. "He's already on my stabbing list. Let me know if you need a hand on that; pretty sure I can clear space on my dance card for dealin' with that guy." He grins at that, as if he isn't discussing violent murder.

Though Adam being a smokescreen… that's news. "I'd also be interested in hearing that. An… acquaintance of mine… told me Monroe was behind some shady business out west…" He at least halfway suspects that said 'acquaintance' is the one he's telling this to, and another of said 'acquaintances' is sharing excellent whiskey with them right now, but eh.

"But we might wanna hear Momo out first," Silas proposes. "He thinks he's figured out why Mazdak was after him, and I gotta admit I'm curious as to what he's come up with."

“I wasn’t about to lead a federal investigation to your doorstep,” Mohinder says with a hint of frustration in his voice. “The fact that you’ve come here yourself while I’m a wanted fugitive is…” he bites down on his words a little, “Richard it’s reckless. You have children. If you’re caught abetting me you could go to prison for the rest of your life, your business could be destroyed.” Mohinder, as always, walks down the path of what’s the absolute worst thing that could happen.

“I had intended on composing a secure message for you in Kansas,” Mohinder says with a quick look to Monica, then Silas. “You’re all in a tremendous amount of danger keeping me like this. I don’t know how they intend on tracking me or if they already are. Just because I haven’t been captured doesn’t mean they’re not observing who is sheltering me to build a larger case. I was in prison for good reason, this isn’t— I’m not a rescue. I deserve to be behind bars.”

What’s immediately evident to Richard is that while it’s been years, Mohinder hasn’t changed much. Admittedly, he was right about deserving to be behind bars then, and likely not much has changed on that front since.

Richard waits patiently for a few moments, then goes on as if Mohinder hadn’t just gone on that rant about caution, “The kids are fine, they miss their Uncle Mohinder, we retrieved Liz from another dimension and she brought my other daughter with her - Aurora - she’s beautiful and you’ll have to meet her sometime.”

“We can get you back behind bars where you want to be as soon as it’s safe to do so, because I trust the government’s ability to do so about nil right now,” he admits, “They certainly weren’t much help when Mazdak kidnapped me.”

Eyebrows raise a little as he regards Mohinder, “And where you were going was right into a high security area. So, I’m here. What’s up?”

"You know, he didn't say a word about being worried about my kids or business or freedom," Monica says, taking her whiskey and perching on the back of her couch, "I think he has a favorite."

She points to Richard in regards to how well the government is doing at… well anything, nodding her agreement. "We're not rescuing you from prison, okay? But we wouldn't mind thwarting Mazdak a little here and there. And speaking of which… Adam. Mazdak. You guys have the info, Silas and me don't, so somebody needs to start talking." Her eyebrows lift as if they might be about to gossip rather than talking about kidnappers and terrorists. Really, she should probably be more worried about the consequences, but she can't. It would hardly be the first time she'd been put in prison. Plus, she has some connections these days. Pretty good ones.

"I blame my evil twin," Silas says dryly, being one of a rather small number of people for whom that is actually a potentially valid excuse. He chases that with a sip of his whiskey. Good stuff, that; some things stay the same in any world, it seems, and La Zorra's taste in alcohol is one of them. "More seriously — ON1 saved my life once. Maybe I'm not keen on reckless risks… but I'm all in when it comes to helping a friend," he says, dead seriously. "And I don't like how Mazdak keeps jerking my friends around."

He only smirks a little when Richard brings up rescuing Elisabeth. I helped! Also… man, I can actually say 'I am from another dimension' and be completely serious…

That thought starts to take on a melancholy edge, though, so he washes it away with some of Monica's excellent whiskey. "Anyway. Like Monica said, lay it out for us. Sooner we get everything nailed down, sooner we can figure out our next step."

Exasperated, Mohinder only stops himself from going off on a tangent by way of hyper-focusing on what Monica asked regarding Adam. Without so much as a segue, Mohinder returns to the kitchen and continues talking as he does. “I don’t have any information on Adam Monroe, or Mazdak, or whomever it was that tried to have me killed; who did kidnap both Odessa Price and I.”

Moving to the small table, Mohinder moves his cereal aside and grabs a spiral-bound notebook he stole from Monica, now filled with Post-It notes and colored tabs. He folds it open to a specific page and slaps it down on the table. “What I do have is a hypothesis,” Mohinder says, squinting at his own overly-large handwriting for lack of having his glasses around. On the page, there is a list of chemical compounds, breakdowns of components to DNA, and several less-than-legible scrawls.

“When I was at PISEC, SESA appointed Pete Varlane, Odessa Price, Rich Schwenkman, Bruce Maddox, and myself to a project codenamed ACHILLES.” Mohinder looks back over his shoulder, flipping through the recently-written notes. “ACHILLES was intended to serve as a necrotizing catalyst designed to arrest the regenerative properties of Adam Monroe’s abilities, allowing him to be killed. However, while designing a weapon of that nature was possible, our fear — SESA’s fear — was allowing it to be turned into a broader-spectrum weapon against any regenerator, or worse, anyone regardless of their Expressive qualities. We were given a handler by the name of George Strickland, he was a liaison to SESA from the CDC.”

Mohinder flips to another page that lists what each of the participants in the research were doing. Research that, by and large, was outlawed by the United Nations in the light of the Second American Civil War. “To that end, we were working with the intentions of designing a genetic key viral weapon. One that did not have the necessary parameters to mutate like ADVENT or the Shanti Virus, but rather a single-use, for lack of a better term… bespoke bioweapon.”

Mohinder comes to some sketches of DNA helices and protein chains, stopping there. “This weapon was intended to use the exact specifications of Adam’s DNA to create a virus designed specifically for him, one that would be tailor-made to combat his regeneration and only work if the key entered the correct lock.” He looks up to Richard, then back down to his notes. “Our stumbling block was that we didn’t have a direct sample of Adam Monroe’s DNA, we only had ancestor DNA, which was remarkably less precise and none of us were comfortable moving forward without a more precision weapon.”

Mohinder looks over to Monica, then Silas, and back to Richard. “But this research isn’t unique,” Mohinder explains with a tap of his fingers to the paperwork. “I started research in this vein in 2010 based off of work that was already being done in India and China to combat cancer. There was nothing here,” he says with a gesture to his notes, “that is worth killing me over. Especially if this is Mazdak, who have their own sophisticated bioweapons research division, if the news is any bit accurate.”

Mohinder stands up, closing the notebook. “I’d been wracking my brain, trying to figure out what would be so valuable as to warrant my death and it hit me.” He looks past Richard to Silas. “This wasn’t about the research, wasn’t about protecting Expressives from biological weapons or genocide, it was about control.” Mohinder makes a gesture with both hands to Richard, as if warning him he’s about to take a walk into the deep end of the conspiracy pool.

“What if what Mazdak wanted wasn’t my death as a punishment, but my death as silence?” Mohinder looks intently to his old friend. “I’m the only researcher left in the world aside from Odessa who has any first-hand experience with the Shanti Virus. With a viral weapon that knew no equal. Both she and I were working on ACHILLES and we were their primary targets. The research was a smoke screen.”

But then Mohinder falters, shaking his head and looking down to the floor. “What I can’t figure out is why? If it was to control the knowledge she and I have, our respective overlapping specialities, what piece of the puzzle are we missing?” He turns his attention back up to Richard. “That’s what I can’t puzzle out.”

“If anyone had bothered to ask me I could’ve told them that a bioweapon to neutralize Adam’s regeneration was pointless, since he’d undergone the Hydra and Heisenberg procedures,” Richard sighs, rubbing a gloved hand to the nape of his neck, “But of course the government always thinks they know goddamn best for everyone.”

Then he’s frowning, looking back at Mohinder. “I may have an idea… one of their projects was a bioweapon of their own, aimed at a specific tissue sample. They were using Gorgon as a base, and it was developed from Advent originally… maybe they were hoping to remove anyone who might be able to develop a counter?”

“Or,” he considers, “Maybe they were worried you were going to be able to pick up some of the pieces of Umbra or Tartarus…”

"Designer viruses have always been such a good idea," Monica says, her stare flat as she regards Mohinder. "This is what SESA is spending its money on? Is it time to overthrow another government already?"

Her words are spoken only half in jest.

"We can only guess right now. The only way you're ever gonna know for sure is to ask them. Get them monologuing. They seem like the type to like to hear themselves talk. You know they want to brag a little about what they want." They're all familiar with the type. She looks over at Mohinder, her head tilting, "Would you be able to counter whatever bioweapons they're cooking up?" She knows that certain talents aren't as easy found as others. "It would be good to be able to not die or whatever it is they want."

"Umbra? Tartarus?" Silas asks Richard, quizzical; he's familiar with the words, but what they might refer to in this context is completely beyond him. "I… do remember hearing something about Gorgon maybe getting swiped. Sounded nasty." That's about the limit of his contribution to this conversation, though; half of this stuff is moonspeak to him, and the other half is way above the grade of thing he usually has anything to do with. Not that he's not willing to try, it's just difficult for him to offer much that's actually helpful at the moment.

“SESA was full-aware of his applications, we had Pete Varlane working with us after all. He’s the one who put Adam in all those bodies.” Mohinder indicates with a gesture to his side, as if lining up multiple Adams like nesting dolls. “SESA isn’t as incompetent as you seem to think. A virus with a high infection rate, designed to function only with a 100% match to Adam’s DNA could spread around the entire world, leaving him nowhere to hide. Ghoulish and amoral, but when you have a man who is basically a flatworm the options to stop him become remarkably limited, and Gorgon wasn’t an option anymore because of the heist, though it hadn’t ever been discussed, either. It’s not a virus but a nerve agent, indiscriminate, it isn’t something we could control.”

Mohinder stops himself, pinching the bridge of his nose and lifting up one hand. He was becoming entranced by the project, the prospect of proving it would work. It’s like an addiction. It’s how he wound up where he is now, being unable to say no to a puzzle. “Forgetting for a moment that I was vehemently opposed to the virology work in the first place, countering the bioweapon they were developing would be pointless. The research we’d done was sabotaged by Odessa Price and I’m the only other person with the full expertise to recreate it. Pete Varlane is a chemical engineer, not a virologist, Schwenkman is dead, and Bruce Maddox…. Is basically an idiot.” Mohinder here hesitates, brows furrowed together.

“What are Umbra and Tartarus?” Mohinder asks. “None of that was in the files I was given and Pete didn’t mention them either. Moreover, why would Mazdak care about them to want to kill me?”

“Can I point out that the fact that the government was planning to spread a tailored virus around the entire world is both terrifying and a fact that I’m going to use to make Director Voss turn all sorts of shades of purple the next time I see them,” says Richard in pained tones, one gloved hand coming up to rub at his face, “Jesus Christ. Is this seriously the government we backed? Remind me to find out whose fingerprints were on this, and kill them.”

He slants a look to Monica, “We should sit down sometime and, I don’t know, take over the world together. We can invite Marlowe, it’ll be a blast.” He’s probably joking.

A little anyway.

He takes a deep breath, then, exhaling it slowly before explaining, “As far as I can tell, both of them were old Company projects to immunize people to the— genetic manipulation ability of a particular Evolved. Adam’s trying to kill them, but I don’t think Mazdak is on board with their plans. Umbra had one viable survivor, but they were treated in utero and Adam has her currently, and if he throws that poor girl into one-on-one combat with this thing I’m going to kick every version of him in the balls.”

“Tartarus… we don’t know the details of yet, but presumably it was meant to inoculate adults against its effects. I have a fragment of a video where they have one of Adam’s arms on the table and are talking about adapting his cells somehow, but I don’t know how that went.”

"Adam's blood is like… a virus of its own, isn't it? Sort of. And if anyone who has his blood swimming around in them happen to read to this virus as him… I mean, even one death that's not him is one death too many. I understand needing to put some people down, I do. But damn, he's not invulnerable. He's not super strong. Cuff him, close him in a cement box and drop him in the ocean. All the hims. We could make a little retirement community for Old Adams. Would have been cheaper than a couture virus." Monica looks over at Richard, glad someone in this room agrees that this plan was cuckoo for Coco Puffs. "And in any case, I work by one rule in these situations: Assume the enemy is at least as capable as you are. It could have been to silence you, but we can't assume that no one else can figure out any one of your projects and tweak it to their own ends. Even if it's just that they have the will to try and make a mistake we all pay for. Right?"

Monica looks over at Richard, his joke— or half joke— getting a crooked smile. "Do I get a crown? I'd do a lot for some nice headwear."

She finishes off her whiskey and reaches for the bottle to give herself a refill. Enough to fill the glass, even. Since they're getting into the weeds, she'd rather do it a little under the influence.

Throw a girl into one-on-one combat with…

Silas shakes his head violently, as if to try to shake off some kind of confusing bullshit cloud. "Okay, gene manipulating Evolved… and the immortal Nazi corporate overlord is trying to kill them. Bespoke virus… mad science projects…"

He considers all of this for a moment. "Fuck," he decides, then follows Monica's lead and tosses back the remainder of his whiskey. There's too much sobriety in the room to have a constructive discussion, Richard's take over the world spiel aside. That sounds both void of sobriety and… possibly constructive? There are worse people out there to take over the world, probably, and hell, Queen Lowe already rules in one dimension, so why not?

He shakes his head again. "Okay. Leaving… all of that aside…" he says slowly, trying to find his way back to solid ground. "They came after Mohinder for a reason. Aside from taking a flying shit on a friend of mine." There's some real anger in his voice at that, but it's a distant thing — a fiercely glowing ember, stored away for the day when a great fire is needed; if Silas has anything to say about it, Mazdak is going to pay for the shit they've put Asi through.

Back to the matter at hand, though. "Maybe they're afraid he could whip up a bespoke virus to target someone else?" His face twists into a look of distaste; too much blind speculation, and that isn't going to do any good. Take it back to square one.

"Assuming their primary goal in the PISEC raid was to kill Mohinder, then it follows that their reason for that was to prevent him from being able to act in some way to hinder their plans," he pronounces slowly, his gaze shifting to Mohinder. "Now. Mohinder here is pretty much the expert in horrible plague virology, right? So… if our previous assumptions are correct, then it follows that that expertise, or something touching on that expertise, is why Mazdak came after him."

Silas frowns, holding his empty glass out to their most gracious hostess in the hopes of a refill. "Assuming this whole thing wasn't just to throw the cat amongst the pigeons, make us look the wrong way so they could suckerpunch us. Kansas City Shuffle and all that," he offers off-handedly.

For a moment after he says that, Silas frowns more deeply. He considers that possibility for a moment… then snorts and shakes his head. He doesn't really believe that. Doesn't really want to believe it, for that matter, because it'd make the load of shit they heaped on Asi even worse. "Nah."

For a little while, Mohinder is distracted from viral weapons and extrajudicial killings by Silas. His attention angles to the floor, thoughtful in the moment, then troubled. Not by what Silas said, but by what Monica did. “You’re half right,” he says with a quick look up to her. “About Adam’s cells. I had a chance to study them when I was working for the Company, prior to his escape from the Bronx Primatech facility in 2008.”

Mohinder moves back to his notes, flipping the book open to a black page. He hunches over the dining room table, scribbling in ballpoint. “Adam’s cells are effectively an adaptive methylation,” he says, drawing a pattern of DNA. “Like all methyl groups, they come encoded with the specifications that make Adam Adam. This includes cerebral components like contextual fear conditioning and epigenetic memory. In the brain, methylation is a part of the formation of memory itself.”

Mohinder then draws a small circle and what is very obviously sperm. “During fertilization, the methylation of a parent’s cells are stripped away during embryogenesis, and again in gametogenesis.” He draws increasingly complex scribbles of DNA helixes. “Demethylation and remethylation occurs each time in these steps. Demethylation during early embryogenesis occurs in the preimplantation period. After a sperm fertilizes an ovum to form a zygote, rapid DNA demethylation of the paternal DNA and slower demethylation of the maternal DNA occurs until formation of a morula which has almost no methylation.”

Looking up and around the room, Mohinder realizes he’d gone a bit into the technical end and scribbles over much of his drawings. “Effectively, we aren’t exactly our parents because the genetics of who we are get written anew during our embryonic growth. If… Adam’s cells were introduced to an implanted ovum in-utero, for a specific purpose, it could effectively make a copy of Adam down to the epigenetic memory and if those cells could be programmed to whatever configuration you want…”

Mohinder claps his hands together in a eureka moment. “You could program cells to do whatever you want!” He throws his pen down on the book. “If what you’re saying is accurate, it’s possible they used Adam’s cells to create a mutable vector to perform on the fly genetic editing by exposing Adam to specific stimuli or conditions, then use his programming to deliver that model to a host by preventing the demethylation process. Effectively, Adam’s cells separated from his body could be programmed to become an inoculation, and provided they don’t receive new programming from an original cell, become an organically-replicating DNA recombinator.” The look in Mohinder’s eyes is one of abject appreciation and admiration. “That sounds like the work of Victoria Pratt, she was the only genetic engineer of her time at the Company.”

Clearing his throat, Mohinder scratches at the side of his face and looks a little sheepish. “I don’t know how this helps anyone fight a single person, but… “

“It may not be a single person per se… but something more. Monroe believes that she — they, it — are the progenitor Evolved. The first of all of us. According to the records from the Company’s redacted period, she can change your entire genetic structure on a whim. Give you an ability. Take it away. Tell your lungs to stop processing oxygen. Basically, it was a desperate plan to fight a god.” Richard explains grimly.

One gloved hand rubs against the side of his neck, and he fixes Mohinder with a steady look, “More importantly… could you replicate that process, given cellular samples from Monroe?”

Monica watches Mohinder's drawings, listens to his lecture with as much focus as she can muster for all the words that are happening in this particular moment. She lets out a sigh, but it is mostly preformative. She understands the concept, if not the jargon. "Try not to look so in love with a Company scientist, yeah?" she says, once he finishes, then she picks up his book, just to tap her finger against the drawing of a sperm. "Thinking maybe this is the new Deveaux Society logo, what'd you think?"

She gives the book back, though, even keeping his place in it before she turns to take in all three of them.

"Mazdak doesn't want anyone to be able to fight their god. Their… Uloorah. Elombra. Elrond. You know." She waves her hand in Richard's direction. "The Dragon. If Mohinder and Odessa aren't in the picture, then there's no crafting Adam's cells to basically be able to do what the Dragon does— make someone into whatever you need them to be. Whatever you want them to be." She points a finger over at Silas, though, adding, "He's got a point. And we need to think in terms of what actions we can take now. Obviously, we can't let them kill Mohinder. We need the knowledge in his head and the skill in his fingers. And also, fuck them, you know?" They know. "And my apartment is safe, for now, but it isn't exactly outfitted with a lot of security measures if they figure out where he ended up. A more permanent solution?" She gestures toward the others, opening the floor to them. Even Mohinder, despite his earlier wordiness.

Silas's expression is one of intense concentration as he listens to Mohinder. He's never been slow on the uptake, but Mohinder is an expert in his field, and he's throwing some pretty heavy concepts around; comprehending this is like climbing a sheer cliff face. Mohinder's explanations serve as pitons — they make the journey possible, but not easy.

In the end, though, he makes it. He thinks he gets it.

Silas doesn't speak at Richard's words, but his expression looks a little more troubled; he looks up at Monica's crack about the new Deveaux logo, but for once there's no wisecrack, no quick laugh. Even he can't pass up Elrond, though. "Probably not Elrond," he murmurs, a faint smile touching his lips. But this… whatever it is they're talking about is starting to worry him. All of what they're talking about is worrying him. Dragons and spirits and virii, oh my, he muses, shaking his head slightly. He does manage a more genuine smirk when Monica voices her opinion on Mazdak; he does indeed know.

"Okay, okay. Hold up," Silas says, setting down his empty whiskey glass. "Nothing on the housing situation, but I have a couple of questions here."

He turns to Mohinder. "As much as I'd like to be mad that this whole cellular reprogramming thing hasn't been used to do something like, oh, I dunno, cure cancer," he says, glowering for a moment, "there was something you said there that struck me as important. That this inoculation or whatnot could be used to reprogram cells as long as they didn't receive new programming from an original cell."

He takes a deep breath. "What happens if they do? Because… I knew an Adam once. Back home. We weren't exactly friends — he was pissy, and stingy with his drinks, and a bad tipper," Silas says, his expression taking on some genuine annoyance for a moment at that last one. Then he sighs. "But the one I knew was someone who fought to protect others, in a place where he didn't have a lot to gain by doing so."

Silas frowns, taking a moment to get his train of thought back on its tracks. "But, uh, the point I was going for is that he was also sick. Guy had the constitution of a Victorian orphan. Which didn't really seem terribly odd at the time, but if it's the same Adam Monroe…"

He trails off for a moment, an expression of concentration crossing his face as he gathers his thoughts. "Whatever it was that the Adam I knew had… maybe this Adam's got it too. Maybe it just hasn't surfaced yet. Hell, maybe it won't — if he's immortal, then that's a lot of time to have, ah, zigged instead of zagged… but if you're talking about reprogramming cells by using his, then I have concerns." Silas looks around uncertainly, trying to see if anyone else thinks what he's said makes any sense — he's not entirely sure himself, at this point.

"And, uh, one more thing. This… not Elrond. By any chance, is it connected to the thing from New Mexico?" he asks, looking to Richard.

Mohinder narrows his eyes at Silas, confusion clear on his face as he tries to interpret what Silas means when he refers to Adam as though he were different people. Mistaking it for something related to the Hydra process, Mohinder makes a disgusted expression and angles a look over to Richard.

“If I had enough samples from Monroe to start from scratch,” Mohinder says with a thoughtful bob of his head, “yes. I could do that. But I can’t guarantee it would be successful and — this is all entirely hypothetical for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that I am a federal prisoner.” He emphasizes that point with a wave of his hands.

“I would like to reiterate that the safest place for me to be would likely be a government facility,” Mohinder insists. “Now that there is proof that an outside organization is trying to harm me, additional security precautions could be put in place. PISEC was a low-security facility because of the detainees ostensible good behavior. That won’t happen again.”

Exhaling a sigh, Mohinder gestures around the apartment. “The fact of the matter remains, regardless of your good intentions, keeping me here puts you all at risk. From Mazdak and from the law. Besides, no place is truly foolproof, not in an age of teleporters, clairvoyance, and precognitives.”

“Uluru the Invincible.” Richard touches the tip of his nose, then points at Silas. “Yeah. That thing. The progenitor of all Evolved, immortal memetic genetic-manipulating entity that has a huge grudge against Adam Monroe. He kicked them into the void once back in pre-history Japan, and then again in the 80s with the Company, and then we were manipulated into letting it back out. It’s a long story, but… yeah, that’s the basics.”

That said, he fixes Mohinder with a rather flat look. “Mazdak kidnapped me out of my office, and I guarantee you the government doesn’t have better security than I do. I agree that you need to be passed back into government hands, but I want to make certain that they’re not just going to lose you again.” A glance to Monica, “Can you use Deveaux connections to make sure he’s safe, once he’s there?”

"That's the one. Uluru the Invincible. Uluru the fucking overdramatic, if you ask me." Monica taps a finger against her glass, mouth turning down into a frown for a moment. "We're gonna find out that Magnes named them, I swear to god."

She lifts an eyebrow at the mention of the government, though, both from Mohinder and from Richard. "I can, but like you said… Mazdak knows what they're doing. And I'm not exactly the most trusting of the government, personally." Maybe even less so now that she knows how much they are manipulated behind the scenes. "We'll just have to make sure we keep the people in power who… are like-minded to make sure he stays safe. You know what I mean?"

Which is to say… the manipulation will have to continue, if handing him back over is the plan.

Silas blinks at Richard's talk of Uluru, looking more than a bit nonplussed… though his lips curl into a frown when Monica mentions Magnes. Ugh. That does sound like a name he'd come up with.

But it's Mohinder's point that needs dealing with. Before, Silas hadn't given Mohinder's words much heed, focused as he was on getting the job done and getting Asi's package to safety… but now, after Mohinder's been successfully delivered to his destination and Silas's job finished, now that Mohinder has been on the lam for several days… now those words are starting to have some weight to them.

"Asi's not gonna like it," he says after a moment, though there's not really a lot of conviction behind that objection. After a moment, though, his frown deepens. "It might compromise her cover. Mazdak thinks she killed him; if he turns up alive, it could undermine her efforts to get close. And it could put her in danger," he points out, this time with somewhat more resolve.

“One would hope she considered that possibility when she climbed into bed with terrorists,” Mohinder says with a little too much venom. Once he realizes how that sounds and what she did that someone else in her position might not have, namely save his life, he relents some. “No one comes out of this clean,” Mohinder opines.

Instead of quieting on that down note, Mohinder looks between Monica and Richard. “If you explain the situation to SESA, the stakes for Asi and my own well-being, they may take that into consideration and have a plan. I appreciate your… going out of your way for me, but I hardly deserve this level of care.”

Briefly, he looks at Richard and mouths the word Uluru with a squint of his eyes and a shake of his head, but leaves that topic on the floor with the remainder of the confusing things that sometimes come out of Richard’s mouth. He assumes it doesn’t have anything to do with him, though the mention of Adam nags at the back of his mind.

“But I suppose here,” Mohinder says with a motion to the room, “for the time being, is… fine.”

“If you insist, we can talk to SESA,” says Richard with a shake of his head, his jaw setting as he regards Mohinder seriously, “After what you just told me, though, I’m not that happy with the idea of handing you over that easily. If someone was trying to kill you to keep your expertise from falling into the ‘wrong hands’, I want to keep you where my wrong hands can…”

He trails off, then wrinkles his nose, “…nevermind, that metaphor was getting awkward. You catch my meaning.”

Waving a gloved hand to move past that moment, “Between my resources and the Deveaux Society’s, I’m pretty sure we could set up a dark site lab for you to use somewhere. You could consider it prison if you really wanted to… Mohinder, however much we argue, you’re my friend.”

He fixes the other man with a serious look, “And I don’t want you to get yourself killed just because you think you owe the world a debt. You can pay it back better alive.”

"If she had warned me about any of this— " Monica starts to say about Asi, but stops herself. Ifs are useless, she knows. Better to deal with what is. "Okay, so Mohinder stays here until Richard and I can set up a safer place for him to lay low. Let's not bring SESA into this for now… At least until we can make sure Asi has been extracted from her stupid terrorist cover nonsense and won't be immediately killed if the news gets out." Asi is her friend, and she'll do what she can to keep her safe. Even if she's annoyed.

"Richard, some security measures would be appreciated while he's here. I'm not going to be able to be here all the time." A pause before she regains her smile, crooked though it may be. "Got an extra dinosaurbot lying around?"

Probably she's not serious.


Silas's eyes narrow at the venom in Mohinder's voice, his expression darkening. There are a lot of things he could say to that…

…and, ultimately, none of those things are helpful. So that is what he opts to say: nothing.

Monica's got things well enough under control, anyway; Silas's gaze moves to her as she speaks, a hint of a smile crossing his face. He nods, once, and raises his empty glass — hear, hear.

Mohinder sighs, resting his head in his hand. All of this, the planning, washes over him with the discomfort of a sudden splash of cold water. But he doesn’t have the energy to argue anymore. Save for one last bit of truth. “Richard, if I’m your friend…” he says, slowly looking up to him.

“…you need better friends.”

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