Once Upon An Evening Dreary


carver_icon.gif yi-min_icon.gif

Scene Title Once Upon an Evening Dreary
Synopsis Carver goes to visit Yi-Min based on Zachery's recommendation. Much shouting ensues.
Date January 13, 2020

Refurbished Storage Building at the Sunken Factory

Tap. Tap. Tap.

Doctor Harrison Carver shuffles along through a dim tunnel on a cold, dreary January evening, the tip of his umbrella tapping the ground as he walks. He's moving more slowly than usual today — only in part because he's old and tired. The other part is because he's paying close attention to his surroundings. Dr. Yeh, it seems, is also a part of this Remnant, and makes her home in their stronghold; paying her a visit means paying that stronghold, the 'Sunken Factory', a visit as well. It's something that's been on his list for awhile, but it's only now that he's actually gotten around to it.

Once he's made it back into daylight, he follows the directions he's gotten, shuffling along towards a squat, windowless building on the outskirts, taking in the sights along the way without any apparent particular interest. Once there, he pauses a moment, raising his umbrella and rapping on the door. "Hello?" he calls.

Dr. Carver's knock resounds hollowly on the forlorn metallic frame of the door. For the space of the next few minutes, the old man would be forgiven in thinking that he had been mistaken— that the little building in this shadowy wing of the factory was well and truly abandoned, and nobody was home on this cold, dull, dreary day.

But this is not so.

The door rasps open from within after a forced wait that feels like an eternity, and the first thing that meets Carver's perception is the blast of cool air from inside— the work of the industrial-grade air purifier nestled like a dark, humming monolith in one corner of the deep room that spreads before him.

Blocking his immediate view of anything else past this is the slim and prim-looking figure of Dr. Yi-Min Yeh herself, head slightly tilted from where she had appeared just beyond the threshold. It is not often, at least anymore, that she meets faces here that she is unfamiliar with. "Can I help you?" she questions, mildly.

Carver clears his throat, preparing to unleash his outside voice; the length of time it had taken for her to get to the door suggests that Zachery's assessment of the state of her hearing is correct. "Are you Doctor Yeh?" he asks, with rather more volume than usual. "I'm looking for Doctor Yeh."

When Carver lets loose his unnecessary bellow directly into her face, Yi-Min sucks in her breath in a soft but rather prompt wince. With how elderly her visitor appears to be from a single glance, by far the simplest conclusion for her to come to is that he's hard of hearing as hell.

So, this is exactly what she does. "Yes, I'm Doctor Yeh," she answers with her voice lifted correspondingly in volume. "Whom do I have the pleasure of addressing?"

"Carver," is Carver's introduction. "Harrison Carver; pleased to meetcha," he says. He's never been one for mincing words, but in this case, he might actually be tempted to apply a bit more formality than usual — in deference to the high regard Kara holds her in, the doctorate she holds, and (last but not least) the fact that she's essentially holed up in a fort — were it not for the fact that he's having to do his drill sergeant impression to make up for Dr. Yeh's hearing problem. "Do you have a few minutes? I was hoping to speak with you." He's hoping that she'll invite him in rather than continue bellowing back and forth on the doorstep; the cool air that's still wafting out from inside suggests that it's probably not going to be any warmer in there — what is it with young doctors wanting to keep the damn thermostat dialed down as low as it'll go — but he's hoping that the interior might be a little less windy and damp, at least.

"The pleasure is mine. Call me Yi-Min," says Yi-Min. If there is a suggestion of formality on her own part, it comes from the somewhat naturally stiffer diction arising from having learned English as a second language. Otherwise, the tone itself she uses is completely easygoing. Casual.

—Aside from the fact that she is only several decibels off from practically shouting.

"Of course, that's what I'm here for. Come in." Turning sharply on her heel, she braces the door open with one hand for Carver to more easily enter behind her, shutting it behind them with a slightly strident clank once he's through.

The interior most certainly is less windy and damp. Once the enclosure is once again cut off from the outside world, the background thrumming of the air purifier becomes slightly more pronounced; other than this, the stillness and relative solitude of the chamber seems to solidify around both of them.

"What can I do for you?"

Carver's eyes sweep the interior as he steps in; whatever it is that Yeh has her doctorate in, chemistry looks to be a big part of it, judging by the equipment and glassware she's got.

At Dr. Yeh's query, Carver nods. "I need to make a trip to New York. I had originally planned to ask Dr. Miller about borrowing his vehicle, but that appears to be unworkable; he mentioned that you had a car and suggested I speak with you about transportation."

Carver's judgment is as astute as his ears are, apparently, bone deaf. " 'Unworkable, '" Yi-Min laughs aloud, not bothering to conceal her entertainment at the word. "Did he tell you how it came to be that way?" It’s a very kind way of describing the resultant state of affairs.

A little farther on into what constitutes the entryway, facing out into the workings of the laboratory, there are several folding chairs lined neatly against the wall. Yi-Min gestures a hand over that general space as she passes towards it, almost offhandedly. Sit if you want. If not, either is fine.

"I do not own a car, exactly. But I have access to one. I can ask on your behalf, if you wish."

Carver tilts his head slightly at Dr. Yeh's evident amusement, but opts to answer her second line of inquiry first. "That would be greatly appreciated," he says. "I'm planning to pick up some supplies; if there is anything in particular you're in need of, I can add it to my list." Fair is fair, after all; if he's troubling Dr. Yeh to go and get a vehicle for him, it seems fair. He notes her offer of a seat, but does not elect to sit just yet.

Which leaves the matter of Zachery's accident. "Doctor Miller has informed me, in broad strokes," Carver replies, which is itself a very kind way of describing how he'd gotten that particular bit of information. "He mentioned an accident. Also something about snakes," Carver yells back, as politely as he can. "He further suggested I inquire with you about it, as he seems to be under your care?

"It is kind of you to offer. Kara and I go shopping at Red Hook Market fairly regularly, however, so there is probably no need for that." Rather conveniently, this also answers the question of who owns the car Yi-Min has been referring to.

At the mention of snakes, Yi-Min pauses visibly, enveloped in a new air of thoughtfulness. Or something similar enough to it that it is hard to tell a difference. "You could say that," she says in what normally would have been a murmur, now ticked up three or four notches in loudness. "You… could say I have been giving him what he needs for this situation. What has he told you about it?"

Great. So it's Kara's truck. He hadn't wanted to impose on Kara again; that'd been the whole point of coming out here and starting this high-decibel conversation in the first place. Not that she'd mind necessarily; it's just that Carver hates leaning on people any more than he has to. Pride is an important thing; when you get as old as Carver is, it's about all you have left.

Her sudden shift to the contemplative is met with a slight lidding of the eyes from Carver, his own expression taking on a certain placid regard. You could say, she'd said. True enough; she could say that. Anyone could say any number of things, come to that; it's just that most of those things are bullshit. You could say, in Carver's book, is the kind of bullshit weasel of a phrase someone uses when they're trying to hide something.


He's in her house now, as a guest, and asking a favor to boot. Best to tread softly. "That he'd wrecked his vehicle. And that he'd been snakebitten," Carver replies, tapping his umbrella against his left leg. His expression twists more back towards its normal scowl for a moment. "When I asked him how in God's name he'd managed that, seeing as how it's January, he said that he'd pissed off a snake," Carver says drily.

It may be fittingly ironic that Yi-Min's house, so to speak, is so sterile and unwelcoming all around him. A palace of chilliness, with an atmosphere expressed in perfectly pervasive physical form by the medical-grade air purification system.

Because this is, of course, not literally the doctor's house: it is only the place where the face of her work happens to reside. Just as, as Carver had correctly suspected, Yi-Min is not quite letting on the whole truth.

At any rate, if Yi-Min notices a reaction from Carver to the name of Kara, she doesn't express it. "That's an accurate statement," she notes idly in something marginally closer to normal volume, leaning herself languidly back against one of the central counters so as to relax while facing her visitor.

"It is a common misconception, but snakes don't hibernate," she continues on clearly, still seemingly operating within that framework of contemplation, at least in part. But she also speaks as though all of this were a foregone conclusion. "Instead they seek out warm places to rest for the winter. It is possible that one or maybe even several found Dr. Miller's basement to be such a place. And if this is the case, let me be frank— Zachery is not a stranger to pissing things off." To copy that particular American expression.

"Hrngh," Carver makes a noise low in his throat, eyes shifting a bit to the side, lips twisting into a thoughtful scowl as he considers her words. She's right about the snakes. As for the other part… well, he's always gotten along fine with Miller, but then, he's no stranger to pissing people off himself, is he?

"Yes," he agrees… then, noting her own lower volume, he lowers his as well — the last time he'd done this much yelling was back at Fort Bragg, and it's starting to bother his throat a bit. When he resumes speaking, his voice is still a notch or two above his usual speaking volume, but not quite as loud as it had been before.

"That does sound possible," he agrees. "Plausible, as well," he agrees after a moment. "So. Is that what happened, then?" He takes care to enunciate as clearly as possible, but he's prepared to reiterate his words at full volume if it's needed — he doesn't actually know how bad Dr. Yeh's hearing is.

The look that Yi-Min shifts towards Carver is one that hovers partway between amusement and bemusement. "You are asking me instead of Zachery? He was the one bitten, no?"

Apparently all this hollering has been bothering her throat a little as well, as faintly evinced by the way she clears her throat softly, as though to recover after the presence of a very minor irritant. Once she continues on, it's at a volume that she is just as careful to match with Carver's own. She's dealt with deaf old coots in her family before, and she is prepared.

"I have examined his foot. It certainly looks to me like a terrible snakebite. Did he upset a snake near here, and come away again after receiving a stern admonishment from it? Of this, I should not think I have a reason to doubt.”

Carver lets out a raspy chuckle — part amusement, part frustration, part resignation. "I see," he says politely, still at the somewhat elevated volume he had been using.

He does see — namely, he sees little reason to doubt that Dr. Yeh is ever going to stop politely talking in circles. On more favorable terrain, he might've pressed for a more direct answer… but not here, and not now. He knows where he is, and he doesn't know what kind of person Yeh is. Aside from being skilled at talking in circles, anyway. Whether that's a point in her favor or a point against her remains to be seen. She must get along great with Miller. Except Miller actually gives a straight answer once in awhile. Probably why she's the one treating him; they can both be cryptic and obtuse at each other for hours, carrying on elaborate conversations and conveying absolutely nothing — the conversational equivalent of Seinfeld, in which a question that could be answered in five seconds is instead made to take an hour. Ugh. And that's if she's even treating him; he still doesn't know!

Enough. He's done. Time to cut losses. He could be back at the house, doing something productive like repainting the back room, drinking beer, or repainting the back room while drinking beer instead of… this. "Well. Thank you for your time, Dr. Yeh," he says, offering a polite nod. "I'll look forward to hearing from you about the vehicle, and I hope that your hearing recovers soon."

Whatever Yi-Min perceives of Carver's wildly careening train of assumptions, she is no telepath, and cannot divine his exact thoughts on the matter.

But behind that veil of politeness she can clearly sense the old man's disappointment. It is written on his face, and inside the curtness of his tone, plain as day. And so, by way of response, she only offers a curl of a smile that is acquiescent but betrays little. There is only the sense of a fleeting stillness about her, smooth and mirror-like, that speaks of nothing but leaves everything up to the imagination.

All of this notwithstanding, the last thing Carver had said causes her to take on a look that is slightly less enigmatic, and slightly more quizzical. "Wait," she adds with a renewed brightness to her voice. "My hearing?"

Carver regards Dr. Yeh with a momentary stillness of his own… then he blinks. Once. "Your hearing, yes. I was told you damaged your hearing rather badly in some sort of experiment," he explains, his expression bland. "Is that the case?" he inquires, this time in his usual dry rasp.

"No," Yi-Min says with emphatic amusement, which is no doubt by far the clearest answer Carver has received all conversation. "What a silly notion that would be. Who told you this thing? Ah. Wait. No, let me guess." One slender hand flicks up and out in front of her face as though to forestall his confirmation.


Carver's expression is the bland, humorless look of a sergeant who has found Shennanigans going on, or perhaps even stumbled across an instance of Fuckery — meaning that now he's got a surprise mess to clean up. "Correct," Carver confirms, now in his usual rasp. "It would seem that Doctor Miller is having a jape on me. Or perhaps on both of us," he observes mildly. He considers for a moment. Miller's circumstances buy him some slack, and the six pack of Guinness buys him more… but there will definitely be a counter-jape somewhere down the line for this.

"Well. This has been delightful," Carver lies through his teeth. "But I've taken enough of your time; I should be going. When you hear back about the car, Doctor Miller can probably point you at my house, next time you're giving him what he needs for his leg." He doesn't roll his eyes at that, but it takes an effort; instead, he straightens and offers a nod.

"Good day, Doctor Yeh."

For whatever reason, it seems like Yi-Min is far less displeased by the notion of shenanigans than Carver is. "Mm. Any delight was mine," she replies with more truth than him, even if her delight is confined rather specifically to the realm of enjoying Zachery's idiotic little jape. It still counts.

She can also tell that this short visit seems to be nearing its natural conclusion, and she is already turning herself away from her visitor in preparation of resuming whatever tasks she had presumably been solidly engaged with before she had been interrupted.

Carver knows where the door is, after all.

"Farewell, Mr. Carver."

Carver had already been turning to take his leave, but at that, he stops in his tracks. "Doctor," he says, without turning around. "It's Dr. Carver. Or just Carver. Either's fine," he elaborates, without rancor. With that said, he resumes making his way towards the exit, umbrella tapping against the floor as he walks.

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