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Scene Title Specimen
Synopsis Kimiko Nakamura, under the guise of Doctor Rai Chang, learns about Project Icarus and the dark secret surrounding its origin…
Date March 24, 1979

Hartsdale New York

Kaito Nakamura's instructions have, thus far, proven to be filled with vagueness and uncertainty. What was it, exactly, that he had impressed upon his children to see in the distant past? What connection to Coyote Sands does the Company have, aside from the tenuous foundations of its first fledgling members? How, then, is any of this information relevant to the trouble Kaito saw coming on the horizon, and the formula that cost him his life?

"Doctor Chang, it's a pleasure to see you finally."

Perhaps here, disguised in a life that they could not possibly have ever lived, the truth finds them. Stepping in to the dimly lit office, rays of afternoon sunlight filtering in through partially closed blinds, Kimiko Nakamura meets for the first time under her alias, the proverbial man behind the curtain.

"I've heard some good things about you from Sabra, and I just wanted to have a minute of your time if you don't mind."

Stepping out from behind his desk, the tall and broad-shouldered man that approaches her is a far cry from the man he becomes, but somehow the look of smug certainty on Arthur Petrelli's face does not change even decades on. When Kimiko was contacted to meet with this high-ranking director of the Company, the surname rather immediately lit off a number of alarms in her mind.

But here, now, presented with the very patronly figure offering out a handshake to her, it's hard to tell what sort of man he may well become. "I wanted to talk to you about a special project we're putting together, one that I think you'll be very specially suited for." There's a lopsided smile that Arthur gives, one years from now his son Peter would carry as well.

Perhaps in time, Kimiko will live to make the association.

Kimiko shakes Arthur's hand, bowing slightly over it. She has no idea what he can do, and truth be told, she has nothing that he could take from her, at least not in this sense. Instead she presents herself as Dr. Rei Chang, a research scientist who is quiet and self-effacing. Truth be told, the role isn't far from from reality. When she speaks, she lets her accent remain thick, much like her father's, even though it's gotten better over time like Hiro's has. "What can I do for you, Mr. Petrelli?" she asks in polite curiousity.

"Please, just call me Arthur." There's a warm smile that comes with that, as Arthur takes a meandering path back to his desk where a cigar burns silently in an ash tray. "I've been looking over your records, following a talk with Kaito Nakamura. He passed your name along to me when the topic of some volunteers I'd been needing came up. I'll be blunt," the dark-haired man moves to take a seat, picking up the cigar to pinch between two fingers, "I'd like to know if you'd be willing to undergo some clinical trials for us."

There's an immediate backpedaling on Arthur's part, followed by an awkward grimace. "Of course— everything will be of the utmost safety and security. We've finished a few rounds of testing on a very crucial biological development headed by doctor Zimmerman."

Waving the cigar in the air with a slow gesture of one hand, Arthur trails smoke in a thin line as he accentuates his point. "What we discuss doesn't leave this room, as I figure you're already well aware. But we have been developing — for some time now — a biological agent that can imbue special abilities into ordinary people. The process has been ongoing research since the late 1950s— Lewis can describe it to you a bit more in detail."

There's that crooked smile again. "What I'm asking you, Rai, is if you'll participate in our next round of synthetic evolutions. We're hand-picking trusted individuals, and when I asked Kaito for a short-list of people, your name came up." He brings the cigar to his lips, breathing in a lungful of hot smoke, letting it drift out of his nose like some great dragon that belches fire and brimstone. "Does this interest you, Rai?"

Kimiko blinks. He's - he's offering to make her special? Like her parents? Like Hiro? The immediate urge to say yes is perhaps surprisingly squelched. "Having looked at the most recent clinical studies," she begins carefully, keeping her voice soft, "The percentage chance of success seems rather slim. And some of the responses to the batch samples have seemed rather…unfortunate. While I could stand to gain much, I am uncertain as to whether I would be willing to risk my life." It's not the same as taking risks in business. At the end of the day, you might be broke, but you're still alive.

Brows tensing together, Arthur nods his head and lays his cigar down in the ashtray again. "That was then," he admits with a mild tone of voice, leaning back into his chair with a creak of the leather, "the new batch of the Formula is more stable, and has a far higher success rate. We tested what would be the precursor to this batch nearly ten years ago now on my son, Nathan. He's perfectly healthy, though he has yet to manifest his ability. I assure you, Rai, everything about the formula is far safer these days. There may still be rejection, but it doesn't come with the side-effects of the old design."

Leaning forward, Arthur presses a button on his desk, buzzing out to the front. "Sabra, could you send Lewis in?" There's a gentle tone to his voice, something affectionate — if subtly hidden — when he addresses his aide.

«Of course, Sir.» comes the far more professional and chirping tones of Sabra Dalton's voice, followed by a click of the office door just a moment later, and the wiry, gray-haired form of Lewis Zimmerman stepping in, removing his fedora to hang on the coatrack near the door.

"Arthur, Doctor Chang," two inclines of his head, and the researcher with such a thick eastern-european accent makes his way inside. "Did she agree?" Both of Zimmerman's brows rise expectantly, and Arthur gives a shake of his head, motioning for Zimmerman to take a seat next to Kimiko.

"Not yet, no. I was hoping you might be able to discuss a little bit about the procedure to her, since she does have reservations. I have a feeling — " he says this with some smirking level of knowing, "that she's just being cautious. Understandable so, however, and I understand now why she came with such high recommendations from Kaito."

Kimiko rises at Zimmerman's entrance. "Dr. Zimmerman." she says with a bow. She'll shake his hand if he offers her such a courtesy. "Your work with the triplets has made for fascinating reading. I wish I'd had the pleasure earlier, but my own assignments have kept me very busy." She looks between the two of them as she returns to her seat. "Surely there is more reason though, for me to be considered a candidate, then merely because Mr. Nakamura has recommended me? Are there not qualifications you look for in a viable candidate?" She's fishing yes, as to why she was pushed for it, beyond 'because Kaito said so'. Which may be all it is, but one never knows.

Smiling a bit dodderingly as he takes Kimiko's hand, Zimmerman gives her a bit of an approving smile as she mentions his greatest success with the formula. "Ahh, you've been keeping up to date, have you? Very good, my dear, very good." As he takes his seat next to Kimiko, Zimmerman folds his hands in his lap and crooks his lips into a wide smile.

"There are more than just willingness, but a recommendation from Kaito Nakamura goes a long way. His predictions on candidates have — almost always — been flawless when he is willing to give them." When he's willing. That notion speaks volumes to Kaito's whimsical use of his ability, even in this generation.

"We have come a long way since the early days of the Formula's development. What you may not have seen, given your clearance, is that this all started as a project by the United States Government back in the late 1950s, Project Icarus." Zimmerman manages a somewhat difficult smile, "It was the brainchild of myself and another German scientist. This man, he was much the inspiration for my work, yet he was one of the few who was given amnesty at the end of World War II for their scientific know-how. Kazimir Volken, a brilliant man — his life ended too early, I fear."

Looking over to Arthur for a moment, Lewis considers his line of discussion, then turns back to Kimiko after seeing nothing but approval in his eyes. "The process of the Formula has been refined ever since then. There was much research done in the sixties, following Doctor Volken's passing, and I rose to head up his research. But that was over a decade ago, and as you can see from the triplets that were successfully imparted, it is a safe procedure."

"Your success with children - even possibly in utero development, is considerable." Kimiko conceeds. "But all of the successful trials you speak of have been applied to children." If Kimiko knows all of the nightmare involving Volken, the Vanguard, and anything else Hiro may have told her? It is well hidden behind an Inscrutable Nakamura Expressiontm. "Their bodies are constantly growing and changing, their neurochemistry and hormonal changes in constant flux." Hey, that's some pretty good bio-speak right there, Kimiko! She's kind of patting herself on the back with that one. Still, the temptation…and the fact that her father, given his ability, has suggested that she would be an excellent candidate, "If I were to say yes," she says, "When would I be put into the study? How long might I have to think about it?"

There's a look of appreciation on Zimmerman's face and surprise on Arthur's, that mixture coming from the way Kimiko so intelligently handles herself in this situation. "You raise a very strong point, Doctor Chang, which is — at the core — the nature of these trials. We want to see if we can successfully develop a serum that works on adults. We've yet to perform adult trials, and Doctor Winters thinks that we're on the verge of discovering exactly what is necessary in order to do just that. The breakthroughs in genetics of the last five years…" Zimmerman gives a bit of a kid in a candy store sigh, "it has given us all hope."

"To answer your other question," Arthur interrupts Zimmerman's light-hearted musing, "you can take the week to think on it. Clinical trials begin next week, and we'd like to have all of our specimen as close together in application of the Formula as possible." His eyes wander his desk for a moment, then flit back up to Kimiko. "Take your time, Rai, I know it's a lot to ask of you. But imagine how you could change the world, with a special ability like so many of our agents have…"

Kimikos' expression is still inscrutable, thank you to the ancestors. But inside? Oh, she wants it. To be just like her parents and Hiro, to not be the odd one out, to be able to be of more use to Hiro. And because - well, Kimiko's no comic book geek, but being able to do something special makes you special, right? Her eyes flick upward to the two men. "I will have an answer for you before the end of the week." she assures. "Would it be inappropriate to ask if there are any other candidates in the facility you're considering? I would like to speak to someone else equally willing to consider the risk. Research I could do? This Project Icarus, it sounds fascinating."

"Project Icarus ended in 1961, unfortunately." 1961. Coyote Sands. "What we do here, it is the result of that. No formal project name, as is protocol here, if something isn't given an easy to reference name it's less likely for word of mouth to spread." There's a lopsided grin from Lewis as he notes that rather //odd/ sentiment of his, "as for the other subject, the list is—"

"Right now that list is confidential," Arthur interjects with a nod of his head to Zimmerman, as if to keep him quiet on the matter. "However there is a pre-natal program beginning, but I don't think we're going to begin that project until 84 or 85 at the earliest, after a recommendation from Kaito to delay the work schedule on it and focus on post-pubescent development. I'd request that you keep this conversation confidential as well, but I appreciate the assistance."

Picking up his cigar from the ashtray again, Arthur brings it up to his lips and takes a long drag off of it, managing a hesitant smile afterwards. "Your eagerness to help, though, Rai, won't be forgotten. I appreciate you taking some time out of your day to come down here, and I hope you'll give this some further thought."

"Nonetheless, I'd like to review the Project Icarus file to gain a better understanding of the efforts we're reaching for here. If you'd allow it, Dr. Zimmerman." Kimiko adds a bit of color to her words, attempting to charm the older scientist in the way that she'd persuade her father's business associates to see things her way: you're so wise, you're so smart, you're clearly a man of vision, I admire you so, can't you do this one thing for me? She lets the effect simmer as she turns her head and smiles placidly at Arthur. "I will consider the matter with the utmost discretion, and get back to you before the end of the week, Mr. Petre - Arthur."

Arthur arches a brow and just smiles at Doctor Chang with a very amused expression. "Perhaps if you get better clearance, but right now those files are under lock and key in the archives," which means now, knowing where they are, they're as good as stolen given that she's a time-traveler's sister. "I look forward to hearing your final answer, Rai." He rises up from his chair, reaching out to shake her hand with a broad smile over his desk,

"We all do."

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