On Paraffin Wings


amber_icon.gif bao-wei_icon.gif bella_icon.gif gregor_icon.gif julie_icon.gif luis_icon.gif

Scene Title On Paraffin Wings
Synopsis The researchers handling the reborn Project Icarus find themselves ascending steadily towards the sun.
Date July 23, 2010

Staten Island Hospital

To say that the last few weeks have been hectic is largely an understatement where the Institute's research has been concerned. Between the incident on the 10th and the successful research into ability replacement the hive of activity has been buzzing more frequently than usual. Additional test subjects locked away and one argued for the release of, it has been like a Greek Tragedy at times behind the walls of this hospital. While Doctor Luis conceded to the release of Joseph Sumter following the accident during Project Delphi's inititialization, one Gillian Childs has remained behind, a captive of the researchers.

That a conference meeting has taken this long to arrange is a sure sign of the newly arrived research's team's waiting for official word from the Institute's central research division about how to proceed. On the evening of June 23rd, within the dimly lit gray walled conference room in the first basement level of the Staten Island Hospital, Doctor Jean-Martin Luis has called what will likely be the first — and last — conference meeting here at the Staten Island Hospital.

Slouched against the leather upholstry of his high-backed chair, Luis' weathered and wrinkled features look even more gargoylesque and deeply engraved in the overhead lighting shining down on him. The matte black conference table reflects little light on its smooth surface, and Luis' downward cast stare is focused on nothing but his own thoughts.

Standing at the side of his chair, Julie, the precocious young pre-teen that has dogged Luis' heels in his weeks here at the hospital stands attentively, her white lab jacket buttoned closed, lapels raised against the back of her neck in unusual fashion and blonde hair tied back into a pony tail.

Doctor Gregor's arrival to the conference room comes with the tail end of a conversation to the three doctors behind him. No one asked for him to begin his slithering conversation, he just starts them about the most unusual of topics.

"…then, when the culture was ready, I— applied the flesh sample to the dissected portion of her shoulder, and it grafted itself into place. By the same theory, I was able to perform some— exploratory surgery options on other patients. The results were… promising." Detailing his own Frankenstein method of science, Dmitri Gregor may just well have either captivated or horrified Doctors Cong, Sheridan and Mitchell with his studies on Evolved regenerative tissue and Noriko Amagi.

"Dmitri…" Luis grouses from his chair, eyes lifting up towards the doorway, "you're not disturbing our research team, are you?" Gregor offers a crooked-toothed smile, adjusting his glasses with both hands before ducking his head into a polite nod.

"No, sir. Not at all…" Gregor assumes, at any rate.

Though Amber has a distinct dislike for the Evolved themselves, Gregor's explanation of his experiment has her fascinated. Their abilities are what interests her, not the people. The people she would gladly wipe out. And will, if she can ever find the right biological weapon to use. She shakes her head as she moves towards a chair and slides down into it. "He's certainly not disturbing me. Fresh information is always welcome. Very welcome," she assures Luis.

Bella used to have enough social capital to sit at the cool table at school. Insofar as we are judged by our wishes and not our actions, the much maligned Dr. Sheridan is a better breed than her fellows - she wishes harm on no one in particular. But if we are what we do… she is here. She is among colleagues. These people. She keeps her peace rather than accidently reveal her weakness of stomach and lack of what she's sure people like Luis and Gregor think of as 'vision'.

In the weeks since Gregor's being plopped into the hospital, Doctor Cong has grown increasingly more interested in what he has to share. Gregor has, if anything, located a disturbingly kindred spirit in Bao-Wei, who has in turn likely shared some of his own bizarre tales.

"I have no compunctions." He does not need to counter Luis' assumptions more than this- Mitchell handles it well enough. Instead, he draws his curiosity away from one Doctor Gregor and towards the man sitting at the relative head of the table before finding his own seat.

The door to the conference room is left open as Doctor Luis wrings his hands together and slouches forward, grumbling distractedly to himself before sitting up straight in his chair. As Gregor pulls out a wheeled chair to sit in, Luis' attention drifts around to the other doctors, then over to Julie with an approving smile at her good behavior thus far. "I wanted you all to know…" Luis begins, brows creased together thoughtfully before he looks back out across the table, "that Julie and I will be returning to the central research facility tomorrow morning."

The way that's phrased elicits a knowing smile from Gregor, who sits up straighter in his chair to match Luis. "I will be leaving Doctor Dmitri Gregor under your care, he is to assist your research to the fullest of his not inconsiderate abilities. After serious consideration with Director Broome, it has been decided that the power augmentor we've aquired will remain here with you, to bolster your research into creating a synthetic formula for the Evolved."

Rubbing his hands together, Luis offers an askance look to Bella, then sweeps his stare across the table. "In light of Doctor Sheridan's fantastic success with her retro-virus, Director Broome would like to extend his heartfelt appreciation for your work, and also offer some… suggestions into the direction we will be taking things here in the future. Doctor Sheridan," Luis offers a look to the redhead.

"In addition to assisting Doctors Cong and Mitchell on research involving the synthetic formula, we would like you to pioneer some independant studies on permanent SLC erasure. We've forwarded you an example of a — unfortunately deceased — Evolved that had a similar ability to remove the SLC-expressive ability from another individual, and we would like you to go about a search for a cure for that condition."

Rubbing a hand at his chin, Luis looks down to a digital oragnizer in front of himself, scrolling through the information with one finger. "Oh yes and…" his eyes alight to Bella again, "Director Broome wished to personally congratulate you on your successful trial." Which, from a man who hardly even exists on paper, is a strong commendation.

Amber's head tilts slightly, then she glances to Gregor, considering him for a moment, then looking to Bella, before finally looking back to Luis. "Do we actually have the body of this evolved to work with, or just samples?" she asks, an eagerness showing on her face.

Bella inclines her head, "I am glad to be advancing the goals of the project," she says, with utmost politeness. With praise to buoy her spirits, she does a very good 'comfortable person' impression. Dr. Mitchell's question is relevant, and Bella turns her head to the other woman doctor to hear her out before returning her gaze to Dr. Luis. "That would be a sensible next step, though I hope 'independent' doesn't preclude my turning to my colleagues for assistance on occasion." That's Bella, a team player.

One step closer is one step closer, no matter who engineered it. Though, in regards to Bella, it has somewhat alieved Bao-Wei's irritation with her. She has earned another shot, so to speak. Not that he would never have gotten over her mouthiness, just that this has given him an excuse. No matter how much he is thinking on how to contain his excitement about the recent progressions, it shows in the fidgeting of knuckles and a glint in his eyes.

"Is there a current head count of free subjects for use with furthering the retroviral?" He has an estimate, though in his personal interest he does not wish to be wrong.

"Not precluded at all, no. Just be aware that Doctor Cong's research takes precedence at the moment." Luis folds his hands together, then addresses Doctor Mitchell's query with an arch of one brow slowly. "Unfortunately there is no body left. He was… his condition was degenerated by the Advent virus," one of the many fatal attempts at syntesizing the Formula that the doctors were briefed on. "The liquid remains were lost in the collapse of the Pinehearst building. Fortunately, we have discovered that someone else who's body was recovered from the site may not be as dead as we first imagined." Motioning to Julie, Luis leans back as the blonde raises one hand and projects the image of a square-jawed, dark-haired man in his mid to late 40s, hovering immaterial over the table.

"His name was Tyler Case, though we believe that the corpse we have in our possession was… not actually the man we thought." Details of time travel events are glossed over for the sake of conversational continuity. "We believe that he may have been secreted into Canada by an underground network of criminals and terrorist conspirators seeking to elude Registration. There are government agents canvassing his last suspected location, but Case was de-powered in a situation similar to Mortimer Jack, Doctor Sheridan's successful trial recipient."

Julie dismisses the image of Tyler as Luis leans back and addresses Bao-Wei's question. "Aside from mister Case, if we're able to find him, we don't know of many others whom lost their ability under these circumstances. However," there's a look to Bella. "I would like to see a test done of an H5N10 infected patient being givn the retrovirus and see how it interacts with their ability usage when it is suppressed. I also request a round of tests on the retrovirus used as a counter-agent against the negation drug. Once those tests are done, you'll be cleared to recieve a negator who will assist you in one final line of testing to see if your retro-virus, used on a powered subject, can supercede his ability."

Luis arches a brow and smiles. "Imagine that, Evolved without the capacity to be negated? We are perfecting the wheel, ladies and gentlemen."

There's a faint grimace from Amber, but she hides it quickly. Mustn't let people know that Evolved who can't be negated sounds like a terrible idea to her. Instead she nods. "I see. It is a shame the body was lost." Yeah, that's why she was grimacing. Honest.

Bella laces her fingers together, index digits lifting to form the 'steeple', which taps against her chin. "I suggest we are very cautious with our application of the viral splice I developed," she says, "As a converted form of the H5n10 it has the potential to be highly communicable and a capable of its own mutations and rapid evolution. And, being an aminophage, it might do a great deal of damage if it's not properly contained." The last thing she needs is lethal virus dubbed the 'Sheridan Strain' loose on the world.

"I am certain that we are all capable of containing ourselves and our work, doctor Sheridan." Doctor Cong comments, one hand on the table seemingly making invisible notes by ticks of fingers. "Regardless, we should be able to exact the non-communicable parts of the retroviral in short time. Eventually, into that pure chemical formula." His eyes glance over her a moment, notating something else to himself all the while.

"Those are the results I like to hear." Luis comments with a broad smile. Though his expression does turn a bit curious after a moment, his brows furrowed and head inclined. "Director Broome did wish to convey one request however, given the nature of your work and the condition of the patients here… he would like to try a different containment protocol for them. The Stillwater Security will be staying here with you after Julie and I's departure, and Director Broome would like you to consider allowing your patients… recreation time."

There's a look of mild distaste on Luis' face as he even recommends it. "Director Broome is of the mind that since Evolved abilities are rooted in the mind that a healthy mind is condusive to proper testing. Lack of human contact, isolation, and other… conditions that are at times necessity of our work have…" Luis waves a hand dismissively, as if about ready to call Broome's outlook Hippy Talk. There's a snort instead, aborting his sentence.

"The Director would like you to allow your patients time to congregate under armed supervision. Mess hall eating, psychiatric sessions, some… additional human contact. If this hinders your research than I give you full liberty to lock the monkeys up again. I'm— not entirely convinced of his thoughts on the matter but… he would prefer it."

Amber has no opinion on whether the evolved get time to play or not. They're little more than lab rats to her, so she simply shrugs, then nods. She won't fight it, unless it does get in the way of her work.

"I concur as to the changes," Bella states, boldly enough, as this is her area of actual expertise, "As a matter of simple neurochemistry, the mental state of our subjects will have a dramatic effect on the performance of their abilities. It will be hard enough to maintain mental normalcy in an institutional environment such as this," she spreads her hands, "I'd offer to draft up plans for appropriate changes myself, but I don't know that I'll have the time, what with my new research goals."

Grumbling under his breath, Luis nods his head slowly and exhales a breathy sigh. "Well, if you think it's necessary…" which is to say, the stoner thinks it's necessary, "then by all means give it a trial run." Wringing hands together, Luis looks down to his lap and then shakes his head slowly. "In truth that is all that you need be told, that I and my daughter are departing, that Dmitri is your man, and that miss Childs will be here to facilitate your research and…" he waves a hand in the air again, "that other nonsense." Yes, he just called it nonsense.

"Were there any concerns or requests you wished to raise? I will be sure to bring them up to the Director. Persons you may require, supplies, materials?" Luis' eyes narrow slightly, head canting to the side as he looks from one researcher to another. Gregor of all people chimes in, raising a hand like this were Elementary school and he needed to in order to talk.

"Claire Bennet," Gregor breathes out with a smile, "if you can find her, yes? She— she is integral to research. If— if it could be… possible?" Luis' eyes narrow at Gregor, no answer is given for a long time, until the elder doctor reaches up to pinch fingers at the bridge of his nose and breathe out a sigh.

"If she can be found, Dmitri, yes." Luis' eyes alight, wearily, to the other three. "Were there more possible requests to raise?"

Amber considers for a moment, then shakes her head. "I can't think of anything else at the moment, no," she answers, giving Gregor a curious look.

"If anything should come up," Bella says, "I'll fill out the proper form. Until then, though, I've confidence I can proceed with what we have available to me." She doesn't bat an eye at Gregor. That is one of the least shocking requests he could have made, considering the high bar he's set for himself.

"I need a containment unit retrieved." As long as he was asking. Doctor Cong sounds as if his own request is much less …incapable. His fingers knead oddly at the table, lips thinning. "I have had it in storage until the right time to retrieve it. It contains the remains of an evolved human, who I've done my best to preserve. The research I had done previously is with the unit."

Somewhere in there, he sounds… hopeful.

Nodding his head slowly, Luis rises up from his chair before even answering Bao-Wei's question. Something has Luis antsy and eager to get out of here, maybe it's what he and Julie both saw — or didn't see — in their visions that has had the old doctor so tense. "Send a team of Retrievers out to do it, there shouldn't be any complications with that matter." Luis glances over to Julie, nodding his head as she moves for the conference room door. "Just be advised that one success does not make a team, just as one failure does not break a team. I expect continued results from the lot of you in your research…"

Luis' chin tilts u slightly, lips downturning into a frown that makes him look somewhat imperious. "I have faith in your capacity to grow fruit in infertile soil," whch is a somewhat backhanded way of saying that he's impressed this second-hand facility produced what it has.

"If that is all," Luis attests with a clearing of his throat, looking to be in a rush to leave the conference room. "Gregor." Luis notes as he pauses by the doorway, turning to look back at the blonde, bespectacled doctor who in turn twists to regard Luis.

"Don't eat anyone you're not supposed to, again."

That's not alarming at all.

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