The Suffocating Darkness Of Compromise


mohinder_icon.gif odessa_icon.gif voss_icon.gif

Scene Title The Suffocating Darkness of Compromise
Synopsis Two inmates at the Plum Island SLC-Expressive Center are conscripted for a critical research assignment.
Date May 10, 2019

The laboratories in the Plumb Island SLC-Expressive Center are among the finest in the nation. Sterile, white-washed, filled with state of the art hardware imported straight from a hefty tab with Yamagato Industries. Their diamond-shaped imprint is on every piece of hardware, serving as a constant reminder of the long shadows cast by the Company’s founders, even so long after their deaths.

The labs are numbered, simple and deceptive things. But each one has a different disciplinary focus, each one a windowless workspace at the facility’s center that feels more like a prison than anywhere else on the compound. Most of the staff are SESA researchers from across the United States, some are civilian contractors working on specific projects related to SLC-Expressive people. The story goes that it was here at Plum Island that the final cure for the H5N10 virus was developed after the war. But that's more a fable than the reality. It was tested here, but it was developed in Kansas City.

In Laboratory 5, a genetics lab dedicated to the further understanding of the Suresh Linkage-Complex, there is one man who is both inimitable and barely tolerated by the remaining staff:

Mohinder Suresh.

Doctor Suresh is an isolated man, not because of PISEC procedure, but out of personal choice. He is a hated man, among the most reviled of those who saw trial in Albany and didn't receive a lethal injection or a noose. These days, he haunts this lab following in the footsteps of his murdered father, chasing the ghost of his own brilliance lost in the suffocating darkness of compromise.

But the worst was yet to come.


Plum Island, NY

May 10th


Odessa Price.”

Her name is called out from the edge of the resident cafeteria, toward the end of breakfast. There are only a handful of people at PISEC, and today Odessa had been eating alone. The twisted peel fragments of a pair of clementines sit next to a wadded napkin and an empty bag of milk imported from Canada. Her attention is drawn from her breakfast to the sleek silhouette of a bespectacled man in a black suit with defined — if not necessarily handsome — features.

The ID badge he wears has a red stripe, indicating he's a member of SESA. Designation next to his photograph reads:

Kristopher Voss

His shoes click hard across the floor as he makes his way over to Odessa’s table, one hand tucked into a pocket of his slacks. “I hope I'm not interrupting the most important meal of the day,” Voss says on his way over, his stride drawing the attention of Donna Dunlap and Kyla Renautas. “But I'm told you're the woman I need to talk to.”

Since her meeting with James Woods, Odessa Price has become further withdrawn than she already was. The optimism she initially held about her situation has been snuffed out. Her garden has gone to weeds and she only does what’s absolutely demanded of her - albeit without protest - and prefers to lay in her bed any chance she’s allowed.

Breakfast is something she often questions the necessity of, but starving herself makes her even more miserable than she already is. So, she picks at her plate. Impassively, she looks up at the Deputy-Director, pushing a sliver of clementine into her mouth as she does. It’s rude, because she could have addressed him first, but instead she takes the time to chew and swallow the fruit before she opens her mouth again to speak.

“You’ve got the right person,” she confirms, as if there was any question. Blue eyes glance across the cafeteria, to the others watching, not particularly concerned about it. “I’m not sure what you would need from me,” is somewhat of a lie - Odessa knows why she’s here, “but if I can help…” She’ll try, she supposes. Even as she promises assistance, she’s sullen in tone and demeanor.

“Take your bagel,” Voss helpfully notes, motioning to the unfinished half, “and walk with me.” The look that he levels down at Odessa is a pointed one, but a look that carries a familiar sting to it. The same cocksure swagger that Eric Thompson once swung about Primatech Paper, someone with great experience but an over abundance of confidence.

“We’re going to see an old friend of yours,” Voss says as he takes a few impatient steps away and looks back at Odessa. “Doctor Suresh.”

Odessa draws in a deep breath and manages to keep it from being expelled as a sigh. She picks up her half bagel and decides that walking and eating is preferable to walking and not finishing her food.

“I’m not sure,” she says between bites, “that Doctor Suresh wants to see me.” That’s a lie. Odessa is certain Mohinder doesn’t want to see her. After the testimony he gave against her at her trial, he almost certainly would have prefered it if he never had to lay eyes on her again. It’s not a protest, however. “You’re the boss.”

“What Doctor Suresh wants went out the window when he signed up to be Nathan Petrelli’s Doctor Mengele,” Voss points out with a twirl of one finger in the air. He looks over at Odessa as they walk, one brow raised above the rim of his glasses.

“You should be familiar with that arrangement.”

Lab 5


8:22 am

“Here are the blood samples you requested, Doctor Suresh.”

A woman in her mid twenties sets a tray of glass ampoules full of blood. There’s a firmness with which she sets the samples down, a crease of her brows, a tightness in her jaw. Mohinder doesn’t look up from the microscope he’s seated at, doesn’t meet her eyes to see the look of contempt in them. He just nods and grunts out a, “Thank you Devin,” before reaching out to slide the tray closer to his workstation.

As the tech breaks away, the door to the lab slides open and only then does Mohinder look up. Typically no one comes or goes from the lab while he’s working, and as he spots Voss and Odessa coming in, there’s a look of unearned betrayal and confusion. Mohinder slides off of his stool, looking back and forth between them both. He wants to demand an answer for why she’s here, but that question dies in the back of Mohinder’s throat.

“Doctor Suresh,” Voss says in a feigned cheerful greeting, “I’m Kristopher Voss, I believe you’ve been informed that I’d be seeing you today?” Mohinder looks from Voss to Odessa and back again, and Voss looks over at the blonde like he’s just noticing she’s there, a small and feigned gasp of surprise in the back of his throat, followed by a clap of a hand on Odessa’s shoulder.

“Oh yeah, right. I forgot to mention, we’re pulling Doctor Price in on this. Long term.” Voss flashes Mohinder a smile, and as if that smile had the force of a baseball bat, Mohinder slouches back atop his stool with a huff of breath. There’s little Mohinder can do other than take in a deep breath and try not to sound exasperated on the slow exhale, scrubbing one hand over his mouth.

“Ms. Price,” Voss says, angling a look down at her, “what’s your first reaction when I say the name Adam Monroe?” He’s still smiling.

Odessa has the grace to look apologetic when she regards Mohinder. This was clearly not her idea, and she’d give him all the space he could want if it was up to her. She doesn’t deserve his tolerance even if she also thinks she doesn’t deserve his contempt.

At the sound of that name, Odessa’s head turns swiftly and sharply up to regard Voss with wide eyes, startled. “I—” Fear is the first reaction. “What does it matter what I think?”

This guy is an ass.

Voss sighs, exasperatedly, and throws his hands into the air. “Well, I suppose it doesn’t matter. Because from today on that’s what the two of you are working on.” Reaching inside of his jacket, Voss produces a thumb drive and hands it over to Mohinder. “We received a significant amount of data from the Sunstone facility pertaining to two projects, one of which we’ve learned has an overlap with research Adam Monroe was performing in…” Voss raises one finger as if to hush Mohinder, who was saying nothing, “get this,” he pushes the finger toward Mohinder. “Nazi Germany.

A bit stunned by Voss’ demeanor, Mohinder looks over — briefly — to Odessa, then blinks an exasperated look back to Voss. But the Deputy Director of SESA seems unfinished with his rant. “Two projects, one headed up by the Institute called Gemini, the other started in 1940s Germany called Hydra. Both of which involve the manipulation of SLC-Expressives, the former to strip an ability away from someone and implant it in another person, the latter to apparently interface with a consciousness linking project called Heisenberg. I’ve included that on the drive.”

“What…” Mohinder starts to say, looking down at the thumb drive as Voss sets it on the corner of the table. “What about the other projects I’m— ”

“Someone else can handle it,” Voss says with a wave of one hand, dismissively. “I need you two on this. Because it’s pertinent to your research, I’m also having Pete Varlane moved into solitary custody here, so that you can interview him regarding his understanding of the science.” Voss slides his tongue across the inside of his cheek. “I imagine this is where you both ask questions.”

The look Mohinder receives in return from Odessa is a helpless one. She has literally no control of this situation, and she shows it with a little shake of her head before turning her gaze back to Voss. “Are you joking?” is somewhat of a rhetorical question.

More seriously, “What exactly do you want us to determine? How to… replicate it?” And to what end, she tacitly wonders.

Mohinder’s eyes flick to Odessa, she’d asked the same question he was going to. But Voss seems to think it’s someone ridiculous, based on the roll of his eyes. “Given that the only person we know for certain that had this procedure done literally melted, no. No, I don’t think we want to replicate it. What we want to know is how it’s done, how we can block the process, and what resources are required outside of what’s contained on that drive. We have all of their hardware and some of their research, but there’s steps missing. I want to know what it is we overlooked.”

Then, as Voss considers that he notes. “That’s just about Gemini. As for Hydra… part of it’s purpose is the creation of replicated bodies utilizing lab-grown samples of Adam Monroe’s regenerated cells. The file data we have includes research into his regenerative qualities. I know you,” he turns to Mohinder, “studied him some while he was in Company custody. We need to know how to arrest his regeneration and disrupt any of the cells in his copies.”

Voss’ smile grows just a little. “We also brought you one of his clones, or… the corpse thereof. Courtesy of Wolfhound.” But that smile of Voss’ is quick to fade. “You might want to wait between meals before you check that body out.”

Odessa nods slowly. So there’s some temperance to the madness of continuing any research Adam and the Institute had their hands in. That at least is some comfort. “You want us to figure out how to kill Adam Monroe,” she surmises.

Her feelings on that topic are conflicted at best. Again, she looks to Mohinder, concern on her face. The talk of the body, and what condition it’s in, elicits only more trepidation.

Voss shrugs, then flashes a smile to the two again. “I’ll settle for debilitate, but if we can get to kill?” He takes a step away from the two scientists, the two prisoners, and makes a fingerguns motion at them both. “I’d say that’s win-win.”

Mohinder lifts a hand up to his brow, looking down at his lap as Voss backs up toward the door. The look the geneticist gives to Odessa is a broken one, the look of a man with no further resolve to push back. “You two go over the files, familiarize yourself. I’ll have Varlane available to you whenever you need. He’ll be cozy.

Nothing about this is easing Odessa’s mind. She watches as Voss backs toward the door, taking another step into the lab herself. “Cozy,” she repeats with a nod of her head. “Perfect.” She can only guess at what that’s meant to imply, but nothing she comes up with is very pleasant.

Not that it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving asshole, if even half of what she heard about Pete Varlane through the Institute’s grapevine was true. “We’ll work on it,” Odessa promises. Lest they find out what happens if they choose not to.

Voss seems content with that assessment as he leaves Mohinder and Odessa alone. The former settles dark eyes on the latter, watching her with the injured wariness of a man wronged by her once before. He swallows, audibly, and looks down to the thumb drive sitting on the table. It looks heavy, not because of its plastic and aluminum construction, but because of the weight of responsibility left in it.

With a sigh of resignation, Mohinder finally picks the thumb drive up and plugs it into his work station. “I don’t like this any more than you do,” is Mohinder’s grumbled understatement. But he feels the same thing Odessa does. A sense of debt, and a threat of urgency.

“Let’s not disappoint them.”

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