The Hand Untaken


mohinder_icon.gif kazimir_icon.gif odessa_icon.gif

Scene Title The Hand Untaken
Synopsis Kazimir gives Doctors Suresh and Knutson their updated deadline - and he expects progress.
Date January 7, 2009

Eagle Electric

Most notable business collapse in Queens was that of Eagle Electric, a major manufacturer based out of Long Island City for decades, comprised of acres of warehouses and manufacturing plants designed to produce electronic components to suit all sorts of needs. The western warehouse of the Eagle Electric lot is an enormous and foreboding red-painted building made entirely from sheets of ridged steel. Amidst the grass growing up through the cracks in the pavement and the burned out cars in the parking lot, it seems just as uninhabited as the rest of the area. A large and ruined sign at the top of the office and manufacturing building prominently reads, "Eagle Electric—Perfection Is Not An Accident."

Under the desaturating glow of fluorescent lights, the laboratory assigned to Doctor Odessa Knutson and Doctor Mohinder Suresh looks particularly grim and cold, beyond the sterile appearance of a place of science; more washed out, more lifeless. But despite that appearance, the Eagle Electric facility has been buzzing with activity today, more so than any other day since Doctor Suresh's capture.

Shortly before sunset, an unmarked delivery vehicle arrived at the facility, with plain-clothes workers unloading a shipping crate from the back of the truck with one of the forklifts in the warehouse. The twenty some-odd workers commandeered the laboratory wing, unlocking a pair of double-doors that had remained sealed since Mohinder's arrival. There, the doctor would be given a glimpse into the true depth and breadth of the work he is being asked to do here.

By the time the sun set, the workers had rolled in sixteen individuals — eight men and eight women — on hospital gurneys into a holding ward connected to the laboratory. Each of the men and women look to have suffered some minor physical abuse; bruising on their bodies, scrapes. It makes it clear that they aren't willingly here, and the slow IV drip of sedatives keeping them unconscious is even more proof.

The workers pay Doctor Suresh no heed, keeping out of his way as they unload the last of the human cargo into the holding room, and lock the back entrance that leads out to the loading dock. In the midst of all of the commotion, one lone man enters the laboratory from the front entrance, dressed in a sleek suit, collared shirt and necktie all a silken black color. He's old, easily in his fifties from the gray of his wavy hair and the wrought look of sagging cheeks pockmarked with scars. The click of a steel-tipped cane follows his otherwise silent footsteps, blue eyes languidly drifting over the machinery and lab equipment, as if merely a casual observer.

Dr. Mohinder Suresh is not a happy man.

He doesn't have a change of clothes here. That's a luxury item afforded those who are here willingly. What he does have, like a security blanket, like his own personal suit of armor, is a labcoat. Sylar managed to get him the incubator he needed, and is working on the first part of the villain's request: Testing various permutations of the Shanti virus against possible mutation, given an exposure to various environments and times frames. He's using lab equipment to accomplish the former, and computer simulation to achieve the latter. He's mindful that Odessa's in the lab as well, and when she is, he moves as if they are dancing rather than working. His movements compliments hers, and he strives to be rarely in the way if at all. It's easy to see that he's more than a seasoned veteran of the Too-Close-For-Comfort lab practice, and acts accordingly. He also says very little than keeping things polite. He doesn't appear mad at the woman, or wary, as much as he is just that focused on what he does that he doesn't make conversation.

The reason he's not happy isn't because of the work that he's doing or who he's doing it with. Quite the contrary he's quite pleased to be working with someone as talented as Dr. Knudson - He's not happy because of what he might be asked to do: He's well aware of the sixteen people that are in the other room, and is working with a quiet, resolute jaw that he will not do anything to those poor, similarly kidnapped souls.

Odessa's movements are done gingerly, as though movement isn't the most appealing thing to her right now. It's rare that she's left in the lab with Mohinder for as long a stretch as she has been. More often than not, the phone in the pocket of her lab coat will ring just before a guard or two shows up to roughly whisk the medical doctor away from Mohinder's watchful eye to do whatever it is that's demanded of her. She seems stiff today and she keeps slowly rocking her neck to either side, listening for the telltale pop of loosening kinks in muscles. She presses her lips together as she watches the unconscious would-be victims be brought in.

Doctor Knutson leans over Mohinder's shoulder, as though scrutinising his work. "Have you… actually been engineering the virus to kill those people?" she asks in hushed tones. "Because we will be made to kill them." Dark blue eyes, wide and nervous, flit over the geneticist's face. She snaps up to stand straight and tall when the older man enters the lab. If she was terrified of Sylar, then there is no word for the dread she harbours for their observer.

"Doctor Knutson, Doctor Suresh." The voice is a rich one, rough and coarse like a life-long smoker's would be, but with a touch of bass that gives it a sense of gravity and purpose. The old man who wanders the laboratory finally makes his way over to where the paired scientists work, blue eyes sweeping towards Odessa, then Mohinder.

Circling around one end of a long table, he clears the distance between himself and his trusted geneticists, tucking his wolf-headed cane under one arm, while offering out a gloved hand to Mohinder in some awkward notion of social courtesy. "It's a pleasure to finally meet you face to face, Doctor Suresh. I am Kazimir Volken," His words come out with the most gentle manner in which he can muster, a mannerisms so unlike what Odessa is used to. "Your employer."

Mohinder is writing some notes down when Odessa does her scrutinizing. He speaks calmly, but in a near whisper. "I've been doing exactly what was asked of me. Now if Sylar intends to use this virus to kill the people in there, it is within my ability to render at as useful as a child's vaccination." he says, the hush laced with a hint of steel in his voice. When she snaps up, he glances over and stands. He takes in Kazimir in full, his eyes moving over the man's form. When he speaks, the doctor straightens up as well. "I wish I could say the pleasure was mine. Perhaps in any other setting it might be, but if you say you're my employer, then what you mean is captor." he says, matter-of-factly.

Odessa reaches to keep a firm hand on Mohinder's arm, so as to be sure that he won't take the hand offered by Volken. Her fingers tremble slightly, gaze fixed on the man. She opens her mouth to speak, but finds no words to protest their situation. Instead, her fingers slide away from Doctor Suresh's arm and up to trace the scar over her throat.

The corners of Kazimir's lips downturn into a frown as he looks at the untaken hand that was offered, slowly lowering it down to his side. "You cut straight to the core, I see, Doctor Suresh." Kazimir looks over to Odessa for a moment, then back to Mohinder, "Then I will do my level best to cut equally straight to the core of the matter." Taking a few steps past the pair, the old man moves just out of arm's reach past the two, then turns to look over his shoulder. "Once you have verified the Virus for what it is, you are to produce and test an anti-virus. I will require three samples worth." Looking away from them once more, Kazimir gestures ahead of himself to the room full of test subjects. "They will be your control subjects for the anti-virus, there would have been more, but there have been some complications."

Turning around to face his scientists again, Kazimir lets his thumb trace over the brow of the snarling wolf's head of his cane, his fingernail finding a notch there in the steel in some anxious motion. "Your timetable has also narrowed, due to this. I will require results before the end of the month." A slave-driver and cruel taskmaster. "If you fail to deliver the anti-virus and verify Shanti, both you and Doctor Knutson will be executed." But he's only saying that as a feint in regards to Odessa, right?

Mohinder looks to Odessa, giving her a comforting look having not seen the way she reacted previously, and then back to Kazimir. "I respect your straight forward manner." he says, appreciative that he doesn't go in for Sylar's theatrics. "Let me put this forth, as was done by that I can fully understand what it is you want: You still want me to ensure the Shanti Virus' stability, so that it cannot, will not mutate and then design an anti-virus for it, and test it using those subjects in there?" he motions to the room where the unconscious people are laying.

Odessa isn't betting on it being a feint by any means. Failure of Doctor Suresh is on her shoulders as well. That was made perfectly clear when she was appointed head of this Phase. Now she's trembling all over - and it's genuine. Doctor Knutson takes a step back and looks very ill. "You wouldn't," she whispers softly. "This sort of research takes time. It- It could take years."

"Mutations?" One gray brow rises as Kazimir echoes part of what Mohinder had said, his expression shifting from a mild look of confusion to one of interest. "Hmm, yes, that should suffice. You are correct in your assessment of the situation, Doctor Suresh." But it is Odessa's whispered denial of the possibility for the work to be concluded in the timeline established that draws Kazimir's full focus.

"You have three weeks." He emphasizees the necessity of haste, his head giving a slight cant to his right side as he does. "If you find yourself unable to fulfill the perameters of your assignment in the allotted time, this is an issue that will be taken up immediately." Narrowing his eyes, Kazimir slides his free hand into the pocket of his slacks, relaxing his posture some. "If you require additional manpower or resources, now is the time to say so."

Mohinder looks to Odessa, holding up a hand is if to calm her. He says nothing, but his face speaks volumes. Then he looks back to Kazimir, "We will meet or beat your deadline, Mr. Volken. You are undoubtedly the best at..whatever it is you do to be able to do that my talent is equal to yours." A bold statement, but then when you're a captive of the kinds of people that Mohinder is, sometimes it pays to have some stones. "The equipment that you have on hand is up to the task as well." His voice is calm, even, almost emotionless. He's thinking, he always is. Sometimes it's just more obvious than others.

"W- We'll make it happen, s- sir." Odessa clutches tightly at the back of Mohinder's lab coat, her fearful eyes glued to Kazimir in the hopes of some sort of confirmation that he wouldn't actually kill her. Not her. He wouldn't, would he? She's valuable!

The grip on the back of the coat lessens and Odessa relaxes. Of course she's valuable. The fear slowly slides away and she flexes her fingers at her sides restlessly. "It will be done," she assures with more confidence now.

Drawing in a slow and vestigial breath, Kazimir closes his eyes and exhales it as a sigh. His eyes open with the exhalation, focused past Mohinder on Odessa. Those blue eyes narrow just a little, and he affords her a subtle nod of his head. It's hard to say what it is in confirmation of, left purposefully vague, "The sixteen individuals in there are Evolved, but their powers haven't been categorized. If you need to identify and catalog their powers, I can send Sylar here, provided you cannot do so yourself." Something about the way Kazimir says that is almost indicative of it being a challenge, more so to Sylar than the scientists. Yes, lock the hungering beast in a room full of snacks, to see what he'd do.

Mohinder cants his head to one side, as he regards Kazimir. "Um, I realize that you're my captor and all, and I respect the relationship that we've developed in the past few minutes, but if you really expect Sylar to just categorize and..well..bag and tag, to coin a phrase, a roomful of evolved without treating it like his own private Golden Corral, then you're nuts." he speaks plainly, and to the point, knowing Sylar's true nature despite being optimistic about their last meeting.

Odessa narrows her eyes faintly. Behind Mohinder, where he can't see her face, a smile flickers at the corners of her mouth. She wipes it away quickly before she sweeps away to go back to whatever she was working on before their test subjects were brought in. She casts a quick glance over her shoulder to Mohinder, "We'll figure it out," she assures him. She doesn't think they'll really need to know their abilities. Knowing they're Evolved should be all they need for their initial testing.

Kazimir nods his head in agreement to Mohinder, giving him a side-long look for a few moments. "Well, then I hope for the sake of both of your professional careers, you be incredibly persuasive to him in explaining why he shouldn't." His blue eyes track over to Odessa, watching the young scientist quietly before he turns and begins to make his way towards the door. "Doctor Knutson can be very compelling when she wishes to be, I'm sure even someone as Gabriel may fall to her wiles."

He stops just short of going through the doors that depart the main lab, looking over his shoulder back to the pair of scientists. "Good, good…" In his pausing, a modest sized brown spider scuttles out from Kazimir's right sleeve, skittering down his arm to drop to the floor before scurrying under one of the lab tables and out of sight. "I'll check back with you in a week to gauge your progress." He raises his hand, unlocking the door with a jingling ring of keys before stepping out into the hall without so much as a goodbye. When the door closes behind Kazimir with the hiss of hydraulic hinges, it comes shut with an audible click. Prisoners again.

Mohinder looks to Odessa, "He doesn't really expect us to allow Sylar to be in there with those people, does he?"

Odessa has the grace to blush when Kazimir speaks of her "wiles." She watches the spider fall out of Kazimir's coat, fingers twitching at her side as she shrinks back. She shoots Mohinder a warning look and shakes her head quickly. "We should… get back to work, I think."

January 7th: We Shall Surely Hang
January 7th: Give Me A Sunset
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