Playing God


alison_icon.gif jenn_icon.gif mason_icon.gif zimmerman_icon.gif

Scene Title Playing God
Synopsis More than one person in Pinehearst's labs is guilty of it.
Date May 25, 2009

Pinehearst Headquarters, Subterranean Labs

"Half," a shrill hiss of a voice cuts across the darkened lab, as doctor Alison Meier stalks away from the lab entrance, hurling her purse at a desk, knocking over a microscope. "That idiot only got half of the formula!" Her foot comes down into a stomp, eyes flicking up to the doorway where Jennifer Chesterfield stands with arms folded, slowly stepping into the lab with lips pursed in a thoughtful expression.

Her eyes move to the microscope, then back to Alison with one brow raised. "I have faith that Arthur will be able to find the rest, we just have to be patient." Tilting her head to the side, Jenn's eyes wander the doctor, seeing that same frightful look in her eyes that she did in the boardroom. "I have a feeling that's not all that's bothering you, is it?" Turning away, doctor Meier closes her eyes and wraps her arms around herself, trying to regain her composure as she wanders over to her private terminal. One hand moves away from her side, fingers ghosting over keys as she logs herself in to Pinehearst's database.

Login: Advent

Password: * * * * * * *

The authentication screen fades away, and immediately Alison begins bringing up the image scanning software. "Put the half down on the scanner tray," a vein in the side of her head throbs lightly. Watching Alison's tension, Jennifer does exactly not what she is told, walking up behind the younger scientist, laying a hand on her shoulder, squeezing gently.

"Alison," her tone is almost motherly, "we've got plenty of— " The younger doctor quickly turns, batting Jennifer's hand away with a wild fury in her eyes. The look, that expression of overwhelming fear is palpable this close, and Jennifer's breath catches in the back of her throat. She cannot even begin to understand what Alison is so afraid of — it's not Arthur.

"I… hope I'm not interrupting?" Mason Chesterfield always has an apologetic tone, and it's only amplified when he sees the tense situation his wife is dealing with. Jennifer, of course, couldn't care less if Mason was interrupting anything, because at the every least additional presences might calm down the volatile doctor around the expensive and precise equipment.

"No," is Jennifer's almost dismissive answer, waving Mason in. "Alison and I were just about to start scanning what of the formula we do have." There's a silent look to the younger woman, a look of see, I didn't embarrass you. Alison returns it only with a frown, pulling her chair out to sit down in it quietly, staring at her terminal monitor.

Mason manages a smile, hesitant as it is, and steps into the lab with a meandering pace. "I ah— " he looks to Jennifer uncertainly, then to doctor Meier, "Was I the only one who was surprised today?" He's already wincing at his lack of tact, "I mean— you know with the two halves of the formula and— " brows tense, eyes upturn to Jennifer's gradually scowling expression, and Mason just quiets himself and clears his throat. "Yes— well— anyway…"

"We need to talk to doctor Zimmerman," Alison stresses, looking up from the terminal to Jennifer. "Actually, can you handle this on your own?" She begins to push herself up from the chair, "I have a few questions I'd like to see if he'll answer, and you two can…" her voice trails off, fingers motioning back and forth between Mason and Jenn, "converse about something marital. I don't know, the drapes or something."

The silent and disapproving stare both Mason and Jennifer give Alison is about as she expected. The young doctor rises up from her chair, running one hand through her hair as she affords the pair a faint and disingenuous smile before moving towards the exit of the lab. Jennifer watches her go, and exhales a tired sigh as one hand comes up to move her glasses off, fingers massaging the bridge of her nose.

"So…" Mason murmurs, glancing sidelong to Jennifer, "How about those drapes?"

Pinehearst Headquarters, Containment

It's hard to judge the passage of time in a lightless cell.

While the accommodations afforded to Lewis Zimmerman are somewhat above a concrete cell, the dark and uncomfortable sterility of a medical examination room may well be the lightless cell of some third-world prison. Seated at an empty facing the one window that overlooks the Jersey parkland, Zimmerman has every moment to count the time, though nothing with which to mark the days off on the calendar that hangs on the wall nearby. It's kind of a frustrating point of contention.

The click of his door's lock and the slow opening of the door brings the tired doctor's attention to the noise. Patiently, he watches as the small frame of doctor Alison Meier slides into his prison of a room. Eyes wander to the books held under one of her arms, ones that she lays out carefully on the table beside him. There's no exchange of words, not at first, just the solemn stare of one person of science to another.

"How's…" Zimmerman breaks the silence with a quavering tone of voice, "your, mmn, work coming along?" He looks up without really moving his head, just a subtle motion of his eyes to meet Alison's steady stare. Her neck muscles tense, eyes close and one hand comes up to rub at her right temple in silence still. Both of Zimmerman's brows slowly rise, and an awkwardly pleased smile curls across his lips. "They don't know, do they?"

"No." Her voice is sharp as a knife, and she turns on her heels away from Zimmerman, arms folded across her chest. "How— How could they possibly trust me when they know how selfish my motivations are?" There's a jerk of her head to one side, regarding Zimmerman over her shoulder.

the old doctor leans back in his chair, folding his hands across his lap. "Ali," he states rather familiarly, "did you learn nothing from our talks?" Judgmental is the tone of his voice, one that carries into the look he keeps giving Alison. "How bad has it gotten?" Slowly, tiredly, Zimmerman rises from his chair, steadying himself with one hand on the back.

Alison keeps her back to him, lowering her head. "Stop," she hisses out, "don't— I'm fine." The anxiety in her voice betrays her lies. Slowly, the younger doctor does turn, brows creased in a look of irritation and at the same time nervousness. She skitters away from Zimmerman's outstretched hand, teeth pressing down onto her lower lip as she does.

"Alison…" Zimmerman intones chidingly, "I told you, what we did back then, it was playing God. You knew there would be consequences for it, and yet…" his head begins to shake slowly, making a few inching steps closer to the woman, "yet you did this to yourself, for what? Science?"

"Perfection," she murmurs back, turning to face Zimmerman, head downturned and eyes halfway closed. The older man just hisses out a disapproving sigh, stepping forward to rest a hand on the wayward woman's shoulder. There's a quiet comfort given there, but it only lasts for a brief time, before the hand is pulled away, and more firm words are used.

"There is no such thing, Alison, as perfection. Everything is trial and error; life, evolution, the journey." Gray brows crease together, and Zimmerman shakes his head slowly, "You fell into the same pitfalls I did as a youth, and how many lives has it cost since? How many have needlessly been forced to suffer because of your work?"

Zimmerman's words fall largely on deaf ears as Alison pulls away, teeth pressing into her lower lip as her right hand curls into a fist. "I— " she looks back at him, eyes leveled with a fiery intensity that he recalls from the first time they met. "It's not— " she can't form that rebuttal though. In their first meeting, so long ago, she had told him how she wouldn't make the same mistakes he did. How she wouldn't fall into the same life. Now, she is very much his shadow.

"Now, do you see why I refuse to help him? Help Arthur?" Zimmerman's posture turns stiff, arms folding across his chest. "It's wrong, what he wants to do. It's wrong what he intends to use that formula for, and it's wrong what you have done to emulate my own mistakes!" When the old man raises his voice, Alison wheels around, hands balled into fists at her side.

"Don't you talk to me about morality! Don't you dare try to talk to me about morality! After everything that you did to those children at Coyote Sands, after what you and Suresh did in the name of science and fear I look like a Saint compared to— " A sudden, hacking cough breaks out of Alison, and she hunches forward, one hand covering her mouth, the other holding her midsection in pain.

Zimmerman falters, having bristled at her outburst, but now seeming more concerned for her well-being as he notices the thin rivulets of blood running between her fingers. He swallows, dryly, and moves to her side, wrapping one arm around her shoulders. "Easy, easy…" His tone of voice has lost all of the vitriol that it had earlier. To a point, Alison was right, there is no climbing the moral high ground, nor for doctor Zimmerman.

"I'm fine," she strains, pushing him away with one hand to make her way to the door, a dark, partly clotted red mess speared across her other hand. She looks down at it with equal levels disgust and fear, to the stringy lengths of blood and mucus dangling from her lower lip to her fingers. "I— I'll be back," she sputters out, moving to the door before hesitating, beginning a slow turn to look back at Zimmerman, blood still reddening her lips.

"They have half of the formula." Alison finally tells the old man what she came here to, "Enjoy your neitzsche," she adds with a bitter tone, motioning with her nose to the books, and steps out into the hall, slamming the door shut. All Zimmerman can do, once she's gone, is deflate from his stiff posture, head lowering into one hand as those parting words ring hollow in his heart.

They have half of the formula.

Zimmerman's heart sinks some, and he realizes that hope is half lost, then. Because soon, it will be someone else's turn to be playing God.

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