Small Circles


odessa4_icon.gif yana_icon.gif

Scene Title Small Circles
Synopsis Two doctors of questionable ethics discuss how best to handle the new strain of H5-N10. (Hint: Not properly.)
Date April 24, 2011

Fort Hero: Labs

Fifty-six research laboratories are contained on the first subterranean level of Camp Hero. Once staffed by hundreds of government researchers, many of these labs have been converted to temporary offices for staff of the Company. Several of the labs, however, have been refurbished with new technology and hardware juxtaposed against old and cracked concrete and groaning iron pipes.

Some of the labs at Camp Hero contain outdated technology either too bulky or too laborious to remove, such as reel-to-reel supercomputers and old IBM 80-81 monochrome terminals. Much of this computer hardware still functions, along with archives of magnetic tape backup containing operations manuals for much of the facility and its design, as well as Company records dating back to the mid 1980s.

Curiously, one of the labs has remained sealed since the compound came back online, due to a copious amount of concrete and steel reinforcement used to seal up the lab entrance. Given the thickness of the poured concrete used to close off that wing of the labs, it's clear that it was never intended to be accessed again.

The bulletin told employees to report to Fort Hero at some point, and this would be the first time that Yana has made an appearance, or had a reason to do so. She didn't get her virus sample from work, though she did report that she was doing some work with it, and since she has made a little bit of a breakthrough, the paperwork is due on her findings. In between her experiments and regular work tasks, she found the time to compile a portfolio, slowly but surely.

Using her clearance cards, she steps off of the elevator to the sub levels, and makes her way into the labs, giving a few last minute looks over her report, complete with lab coat and everything. She might as well get a bit of in establishment lab work done while she is at it.

Same shit, different organisation. Odessa's pleased to find no hint of blood or brain on the walls or floors of her office. Someone either got her shag carpet cleaned, or they replaced it. Either way, Odessa Price only has memory to serve as a reminder of what she's lost, rather than stains. Stepping out into the hall, the fairer woman nearly walks directly into the darker.

Though in terms of the moral spectrum of white to black, it's difficult to say which one surpasses the other.

"Oh! Doctor Blite!" A hand flutters to Doctor Price's chest and she laughs nervously, catching her breath. "Sorry, I… didn't see you there." Obviously. "Actually, I was hoping to catch you. I've been told to check in with you and see if you need any assistance with your latest… project?" She offers a shaky smile, and then begins to offer her credentials, "I've got some training in genetics. I've worked with Doctor Suresh in the past, and had some… experience manipulating existing viral strains." In case there was any wonder why the girl whose speciality lies in surgery was asked to help the virologist.

In truth, Yana was a little preoccupied herself, so she wasn't exactly paying attention, which startles her a slight bit, snapping her to perk up. "Oh! Dr. Price." she almost repeats what was said to her, but she looks a little disoriented a but longer. She hadn't expected to run into anyone till she got situated. "My latest project? Oh, yes, actually." she holds up her portfolio, "I've been working pretty closely with a more recent strain of the H5N10, and.. I've discovered a bit of a new mutation." The one that was initiated by her of course, "I'm not quite sure how far it has gotten into the city, but not only will Evolved be in danger, but Non-Evolved as well. The host range has changed a bit with this new strain, so I'll need to formulate a vaccine as soon as possible before things get out of hand."

"A non-Evolved strain?" Now that is intriguing, if Price's tone is anything to go by. Odessa gestures down the hall toward the laboratories. "Please, tell me more. How did you discover this strain? Do you think we can contain it? Keep it from becoming an epidemic?" Her visible eye is wide with both concern and interest. It's been a while since she's been presented with much of a puzzle. This qualifies.

Contain it. Well yes. There is a correctional facility currently with the virus running a bit rampant through the subjects. It isn't likely to get out that way but it is possible. They do receive visitors. And then there is the girl that Calvin kidnapped and had her infect. No telling who she's come into contact with. But these are things that she should keep to herself for the most part, "Well, part of my research as been to develop a way to predict viral mutations and their possible outcomes. I've come quite close to solidifying a process, but it isn't perfect. My ability allows for me to see and understand the viruses that I detect, so after that it is just a matter of chemistry. I was testing the host range of the H5N10, trying to determine why it only infected Evolved, when it took to a sample of non-evolved cells. It was quite surprising. I don't know as of yet how far it has gotten. The sample I got was from a girl in the hospital."

Yana is of course fabricating, but this is something that she has spun a dozen time before in the mirror. She hands over the paperwork which documents her "findings", stating everything that she had just said. "I came in today to turn this in. Most likely the CDC will need to be notified, but that has to go through the proper channels."

Odessa falls silent, glancing up every now and again to make sure she doesn't meander into a wall, reading and walking as she is. She rounds into an empty lab and pulls up a seat at the workbench to page through Yana's findings. "Wow," she murmurs.

"Well… Perhaps this will get the government to take the H5-N10 threat more seriously than it has been." White brows lift as she exchanges a look with the other doctor. Anti-Evolved sentiments aren't exactly a secret, even if they aren't officially sanctioned. "So, how can I help you with your research?"

Yana adjusts her lab coat, straightening it over her dress and allows her to read over for a few moments, "Mm. Yes, those were my exact words too. I have a feeling that it will force quite a few people to look at this virus differently. Everything was fine while it was infecting evolved, but this is an RNA virus, so it has a high mutation rate." She strolls over to find herself a cup for the hot water she is about to prepare for tea.

Softly sighing like she is rather concerned, Yana brings her eyes to stare into thought space, "I have mapped out a few ways that it could possibly further mutate. I'm about 60 percent sure that this virus could do a complete 180. Becoming harmless to Evolved, and deadly to non-Evolved. I know that sounds crazy, but the RNA of this virus seems to go beyond— Well, you'd have to have my understanding of virion particles to get it. It's difficult for me to convey it to others. But it's just a feeling that I have when I look at it."

She thinks for a few moments on her current work of deciphering the code of the virus so that she can manipulate it further, "I could use your help in creating a vaccine. As with RNA viruses, it's difficult to make them because of how fast they mutate. However, something is better than having nothing at all to combat this. Hopefully we can develop it before it becomes an epidemic." The point of her experiments thus far isn't exactly to cause havoc, but to test her control. So eradicating the new strain that she created is something she doesn't mind doing. Her ethics are quite off, but she isn't exactly committing mass murder for fun. All in the name of science.

Odessa rises from her seat again and pulls the door shut behind them. Returning to the workspace, she motions for Yana to join her, waiting until she's close enough to whisper quietly and be heard before voicing her thought. "Do you think we should… let it run wild for a bit? Before we make it known we've even begun development on a vaccine?" Her eye darts about the room, as if expecting invisible eavesdroppers to materialise from the walls. "I'm not saying we shouldn't develop one, naturally. But… would it hurt if we let the rest of the world sit up and take notice? Give them a taste of what people like us have been fearing the past two years?"

Questionable ethics are practically a job requirement to work for the Commonwealth Institute. Odessa is no exception. She's more the exemplary. "I… do have one small concern, though…"

Hm. This is something she wasn't expecting. She's been dealing with Magnes for too long, to the point to where she is starting to think that everyone is all about doing the right thing. A curious and interested brow raises, after joining the woman, "Really?" she perks, "Hm.. I think perhaps you might be onto something there. There is.. an organization or two out there that have attempted to use the virus as a weapon against Evolved. Naturally, the government doesn't do much to take action against it, but.. with this new strain, two birds can be killed with one stone. Not only will it stop these organizations from using it, as the virus is no longer particular, but the government will have to do something, because it's right in their own house now."

With a smirk, Yana feels safe enough to make an admission, "I do have a sliver of information that I neglected to put in my paper work. There is a correctional facility that is teeming with the new strain, which will keep it mostly contained, but it will probably still get out. Though at least it's somewhat controlled if it stays there." slowly she nods her head, "Working with it however, there is still the danger of getting infected, so a vaccine should be developed, just not.. released. Is that your concern?"

Odessa grins. "It won't stay there. Things like that never do. Guards will pick it up, inevitably. Carry it home." Meaning they will have their epidemic. Eventually. Especially if they work to speed things along.

But she does have that concern, and it wipes the grin from her face. A deep breath. "I've had my ability… tampered with. I'm concerned about my susceptibility to the new strain. I've been vaccinated for the original strain, of course. However… Well, you know better than anyone how these mutations like to work around little things like preventative medicine." Swallowing uneasily, Odessa makes her plea, "You'll protect me, won't you, Yana?"

Hmm.. this poses a good question. How would the virus affect those who have had their abilities tampered with? The virus is already very picky to begin with, so it is possible that it won't take with them, which could very well be just what she has been looking for to continue with Calvin's vision. The key to making the virus only infect non-Evolved. It is worth some looking into, and judging by the look on Yana's face, she is already considering the possibilities. "You know, you may be onto something there. I'd like to run a few tests… Not on you specifically, but get a few cell and blood samples to run a few labs. You can do them if you wish, I can get you the virus. And I can also ensure you don't get infected, as well as arrange to have it purged from you should you somehow get it." her small shoulders lift in a light shrug, "My ability spans just slightly beyond just detecting viruses at this point. I can eradicate what I detect if I chose to." And infect, transfer, speed up, etc; But that can be kept under the hat for now. "So I can guarantee your safety in working with this strain."

That perks Odessa up instantly. "I'll have samples drawn and delivered to you. I trust your discretion in this matter. That you'll keep my… situation to yourself? I, of course, will leave this whole project as our little secret." The woman reaches into the pocket of her labcoat and procures a Kit Kat, snapping it in half an offering a piece out to her co-conspirator.

"Does anyone else know?"

Yana isn't much for sweet things, or eating outside of specific scheduled times, though she is gracious enough to break her rules to be polite, so she takes the offered candy, "Thank you. Yes, I am quite good at keeping information secret. There are just some things that should remain quiet for the sake of others." It wouldn't benefit her to go spilling Odessa's misfortune. Quite counterproductive in this case, actually. Taking bit of the snack, she adopts the expression that indicates that she is pondering.

"Hm. Actually, a only a few individuals are aware. My attendant, Dr. Sheridan, an assistant of mine named Magnes Varlane, and one other person." Mm. Who is one of those secrets that she should keep to herself. Calvin is marked, so her association with him stays a bit under wraps. "These are people that can be trusted. Although.. Magnes has his issues. But we're working on those."

Odessa smiles tightly, the corners of her eye crinkling into little crow's feet. "Varlane's lost his fucking mind," she growls. "He's threatened life and limb, as the saying goes. I wouldn't list him among those you trust, if I were you." She takes a moment to take a bite of her own portion of chocolate, thinking in the space of time it takes her to chew and swallow.

"As for Doctor Sheridan… How much does she know? Does she have a part in the lab work? I understand her work with Refrain and Adynomine was invaluable." That is to say, Odessa feels Bella may make a good asset. "And your… one other person. Someone outside of our little Institution, I take it?"

"Actually." Yana smirks a bit, having some information on that subject, "You have probably encountered the second Magnes." That's right, she said second. "Just the other day, he came to be with a problem. One of his many. Apparently, there is a second version of himself running around, causing trouble. Not a clone, but a version of him from an alternate timeline in fact." She sounds like she believes, but there is this little elevation in her voice, showing that she might still think it could be BS, coming from Magnes. "I've urged him to rectify the situation before he causes any major damage. However, this version of him sounds more intriguing the more I hear about it." Which means, she would like to dissect him. "But figuring out why he is here, and what his goal is, has been a priority above stopping him. Apparently he comes from a world where Vanguard rules, and he is apart of it." She looks over at Odessa, "Don't worry, I've developed a plan to put a stop to him, at least for the time being. If Magnes can execute it properly. So don't worry about him harming you. He might soon be to sick to think about inflicting pain on anyone else."

She of course could be wrong, but like she told Magnes, have a contingency plan, in case the first fails. And she does. If Magnes can't make the grade, she'll do it herself. The woman is confident, if not a bit arrogant in these types of things. "Dr. Sheridan is aware of what I can do, and she also knows what I am working on. I haven't spoken to her in quite a while, but she did introduce me to someone else that— Ahh, yes, I almost forgot, I need to present my progress to him." The dragon, she almost forgot about her promise to him. "Another third party, different from the other, who.. yes, is outside of work. His involvement has to be kept out of their eyes."

"A second Magnes," Odessa mutters flatly. "Beautiful." It isn't. "That does explain a couple things… One Magnes is bad enough as it is, don't you think? And trusting this to him to handle? That's a pretty big if, isn't it?" A lift of the brow to say you know him.

"Anybody I know?" Odessa lets out a little breath that could be an aborted chuckle. "People like us run in very small circles. There aren't a lot of people I can think of that would be interested in our sort of work outside of this place. But I can think of some." Rather than hope for a more specific answer, she instead lowers her voice again. "Cal' Rosen might be interested in this…"

"Which is why I have a plan in case of failure. The logic behind it is that only Magnes would know how his own brain works enough to stop himself. Or rather, another version of himself. He can be effective, if you map everything out for him in detail. Granted, I don't have the highest faith in him, but to his credit, he learns. Slowly, but he learns. Now I'm not wanting to see this Vanguard happen here, if that is second Magnes' plan. Plus he isn't that big enough of a threat yet for me to step in and take care of it. So I'll give him a chance to fix it first." Yana shrugs. It is her duty as a mentor to set her student out to clean up his own messes.

A brow goes up at the mention of Calvin, "Mm. Small world and small circles indeed. Mr. Rosen is in fact the other party. He approached last month, and has provided me with much needed assistance in my research. He is.. actually suggesting that I further my study, and look towards that other mutation I spoke of. The one where Evolved no longer have to fear the H5-N10?" She keeps her voice low of course, "It's been difficult, considering his.. status with the Institute."

Odessa shakes her head, letting a new smirk twist her scarred lips. "Fancy that." She should have guessed. "He's resourceful." And she's a bit wistful about that almost. "I'm sure if anyone can find a way around the Institute shitlist, it's him." She hopes, at the very least. "I think you should pursue it, that mutation. Just as he says. And let me know if he gets in touch with you, won't you?"

"I'm working on it. This virus is quite a bit more complex than others I have dealt with, which is the frustrating part. It shouldn't be. But trying to achieve that result will take some time, and experimentation outside of my ability." Her hair is normally pretty controlled, carried to one side, though for work today she decided to wear it down, and has to occasionally move it from getting in her eye with a sweep of her hand. She smirks, "Though it starts with the spread of this new strain. We can gauge just how responsive the government is to this new change, and then drop the second bombshell on them when it is ready. Mr. Rosen has a plan, and I see the merit of it. So I'm on board. And he told me to get into contact with him, should I require more of his resources. I can get in touch with him if you like. I may call him in on this whole Magnes situation."

"I have his number still," Odessa dismisses with a wave of her hand. A small smile. "If you do decide to bring him in on this Magnes problem, include me? I'd like to know how things are progressing. And I'd be… Let's say especially interested in his opinion on the matter." Given what she (thinks she) knows about Calvin's own unique circumstances.

"Do you have lab space set up elsewhere?" Outside of this place, Odessa means. "That would be terribly convenient, I have to admit… The Department's relocated me to the E-Blocks, so my own resources have suddenly become rather limited. If you have facilities I could make use of… I would be exceptionally grateful, my dear Doctor Blite."

"Oh, excellent. You might give him a call and inform him that you're wanting to assist with the project. He'll no doubt be thrilled for a little more involvement." Yana pauses and considers Calvin, "I suppose I should pull him up to speed with this Magnes thing at least." Yana taps an index finger on the table, "Unless you'd prefer to break the news to him. Mr. Rosen could very well be the trump card that needs to be pulled if this world's Magnes falls on his face with it." So many things to do, new ways to go and opportunities arising. Patience is all it takes.

"Well, I have a small lab at my apartment. It is lacking much of the proper resources, though I do believe Mr. Rosen spoke of providing suitable facilities if I needed it. That is something else I'll have to speak to him about, since now there are enough people to include on the project."

"Excellent." Snowy head dips in a nod and asymmetrically cut bangs are swept away from the woman's clear eye. "I'll see if I can get in touch with him, then. In the meantime… I'll get you those blood samples." Odessa closes up Yana's portfolio and slides it back toward her. "Let me know if you hear anything further from or about Magnes?"

Yana reaches to gather up her documents, deciding to hold off on presenting a piece or two of it to the higher ups since the conversation. "Oh, I'm sure he'll drop by with some other problem or another. I'll keep you informed. You'll have to see my dossier on him. It is an interesting read, so far." Holding the folder close against her torso as she smirks, "It was nice to have encountered you today, Dr. Price. I've been waiting for a bit more of a breakthrough, and with your help, it puts me a step closer." Her eyes look around as if she too were expecting the walls to be listening, "Take.. care of yourself." her words filled with loaded tones, meaning Odessa's current condition.

The compromised doctor's chin lifts marginally, attempting to convey strength with only posture. "I shall. And you." Odessa turns then and slips out of the lab. Today might be a good day to leave early.

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