Why Not?


odessa_icon.gif richard_icon.gif

Scene Title Why Not?
Synopsis Richard decides to pay his new charge a visit to try and determine if Sabra's request is worth his time.
Date October 19, 2008

Primatech Research - Knutson and Suresh's Laboratory

It's kind of amazing, the places you have access to, when your job description is not completely set in stone. Richard isn't totally sure, anymore, if there are even places he's not supposed to go in the Primatech facility, and so he doesn't think twice about meandering downstairs towards the laboratories (metaphorically - he takes what elevators are there in actuality), moving down a long, brightly lit hallway. His footsteps are steady and interspersed with the steady tap of his cane as he approaches, admitting himself entry once he comes to the right place. Doubtless, Odessa would have gotten the memo from either he or Sabra by now… but it doesn't hurt to make the first move.

Young Doctor Knutson is alone in her laboratory, leaning over and peering into a microscope to study a sample of some sort on a slide. She's completely oblivious to Richard's presence. The first clue to this being that she doesn't look up from her work. The second being that she's singing along with the iPod she's listening to. "Sailors fighting in the dance hall. Oh man, look at those cavemen go. It's the freakiest show. Take a look at the lawman beating up the wrong guy. Oh man, wonder if he'll ever know. This is the best selling show." Now, someone who just doesn't care may continue on singing - but people who don't care can usually carry a tune. Odessa isn't quite tone deaf, but it's likely she wouldn't actually want to be caught singing in her lab. "Is there life on Mars?" Especially since she really can't hit that last note. It might potentially be enough to make David Bowie cry.

Oh boy. Richard stands at the doorway, tilting his head enough so that he can look at the young doctor over his glasses as she— well, it's singing. It's just not very good singing, and unfortunately for Richard, he can really tell when it's not good singing. When that last note hits, he knocks sharply at the frame of the door, rather deliberately amplifying the sound so that it will cut through and be heard. And hopefully end the singing. "Dr. Knutson?" he says, clearing his throat once and stepping further into the lab. He's a rather tall presence, loomingly tall, and dressed, as is typical, all in black, albeit professionally.

Odessa just about jumps out of her skin when the knock penetrates the musical barrier afforded by the earbuds plugging her ears. She pulls out the tiny headphones and straightens up to fix Richard with a startled expression. "I almost poked my own eye out! Gosh, you should have phoned ahead!"

Click! The door is shut behind him as he reaches back a long arm to do so, and moving on further into the lab at his usual limp. "I rarely get the time to phone ahead so you'll have to forgive me," Richard says with a flicker of a smile. "I thought I'd, ah, drop in and see you in your— " Gesture. "Natural territory. I can leave if you're especially busy, of course."

"No," Odessa assures, "it's fine." She flashes a tired smile at her fellow doctor, a sign that she burns the midnight oil quite a lot. "This is where the magic happens," she gestures around herself vaguely. "Nothing especially exciting."

"Mm. It's at least bigger than my office," Richard says, now moving so he can steal himself a seat, perching on a stool just near her work station, and balancing his cane against the floor, both hands resting on the handle. "Are you in here by yourself for most of the time?"

"I prefer to work by myself when it comes to this particular project." Odessa wheels a smaller chair over to sit on herself. "I usually work with Doctor Suresh, but with his being in India… that hasn't much been an option." The latex gloves she wears while she works are peeled off and tossed into a nearby trash bin. "As far as offices go, I'm sure mine's not much bigger." Being as how the lab isn't her office. "But the pieces used to furnish mine are all older than I am. I'm told it's all becoming terribly trendy."

"I wouldn't know trendy," Richard says, and flickers a glance to where she'd been working. "But it sounds as though they're treating you well, here. I'm guessing that whatever it is you're working on is, ah, classified and therefore off-limits for conversations?"

"There is that. And that I don't have much to report on my progress. It involves blood and genetics. I doubt you'd find it terribly riveting." Doctor Knutson shrugs and smiles. "I'm assuming you came here to find out less about my work and more about me, yes? That's generally what people do in your field of expertise?"

Richard smiles back at her, nodding once. "That's right. I don't find a lot of what goes on here terribly riveting, to be honest, but they, ah, don't pay me to take interest in the activities - they pay me to take interest in the people." He leans his cane against his leg for the purpose of taking off his glasses, cleaning them on the hem of his shirt. "How do you feel about your position with the Company, Odessa?" First names, now. Just a chat, after all.

"I like my work well enough. I like the freedom to move about the facility I have due to my position. I like the seniority afforded to me by my years of loyal service." And yet, that isn't the whole story. But it is as far as her job's concerned. "I wouldn't want to do anything different within the Company, in regards to work."

Glasses back on, lenses clean. "And in regards to your existence?" Richard asks, rather bluntly, though the smile remains in place. "I'm sure you've figured out out why the lovely Sabra Dalton has thrown us together to have a few conversations." He gestures towards the girl, palm up. "Perhaps you can bring up with me what you did with her."

"I'm discontent, at best." Despite the passionate nature of her feelings toward her current situation, Odessa is attempting to keep her explanations clinical. "I've been confined to Company facilities my whole life and tried so hard not to question why. But Mister Bishop sent me out to gather some samples, personally, and now I want the opportunity to go out once again."

"Why?" Richard asks, simply. It's kind of an obvious question and an answer, possibly too obvious and too abstract and can only best be summed up with 'why not?', but he throws it out there. He wants to remain objective - not sympathetic, nor critical.

Odessa fixes Richard with a serious look. "Because there is a world out there that my mentors have been attempting to explain to me and I've only been able to read about in books or see in movies. I want to experience the world outside of this place. If it's good enough for the agents, it should be good enough for me."

"Of course," Richard allows, still studying her throughout. "But you know, I've experienced the world. It's not that fantastic and it's certainly nothing like what you see in the books or the movies. Perhaps it's for the best that you go on believing that it is?"

"Look around you, Doctor. Is this what you'd want to see day in and day out, knowing that there was… sky out there, waiting?" Perhaps the metaphor about flying isn't far off base in Odessa's case. "There's stars. You can't see stars down in Level Five. I want to see the ocean. I want to take my shoes off and dance in the rain. I want to go to a coffee shop and do absolutely nothing!" The blonde pauses thoughtfully, glancing toward the ceiling. "On second thought - No, I could do without that last bit."

"I imagine you're not— supposed to see the stars down in Level Five," Richard says, at a contemplative murmur. Because, well, it's a prison.

She knows nothing Richard. Truly.

"There's also death, cruelty, uncertainty," Richard says, and then hesitates, adding, with a gesture, "Death and cruelty not related to science, just— chaos. By all means I think everyone deserves to experience these things for themselves, but if you knew that it wouldn't be all you would hope it to be, would you still want to?"

"I want it all," breathes out Odessa in a moment of honesty. "Nothing is ever truly what we hope it will be. But if life were predictable… Well, that's where I'm sitting now, isn't it?" Doctor Knutson smiles faintly. "But you know the thing about chaos… Chaos is fair."

Hm. Richard sits back a little, regarding her for a moment before, with only a little bit of awkwardness, he pushes himself up to stand again, bracing himself against his cane to allow for his leg. "Then I suppose— fairness should be given a shot," he says. "Just remember that people here value you highly, Odessa. You've been kept within the Company for a reason and— and that is to protect you. But Sabra came to me to help give you a little guidance outside those walls and it's not polite to turn down a lady's request, is it."

"It isn't… but I know she wouldn't bat an eye if you chose not to honor it." Odessa crosses her arms over her chest and quirks a brow. It would seem she knows Sabra Dalton well. "Madame Dalton wishes to indulge me. I certainly won't shun that opportunity. That doesn't mean I'll smile and take it if you treat me like a child, though. I'm not. I may not be worldly, but I'm smart and I can learn. Remember that."

"You're a doctor and a scientist, Odessa," Richard says, evenly. "You understand things I could never hope to grasp in all my 45 years. I don't plan to treat you as a child, just what you are - someone who hasn't experienced the ruined city she's surrounded by. It takes time, and it's a process. That's what I require you to remember."

Odessa smiles. "If you're willing to give this a shot, then I'm on board." She stifles a yawn against the back of her hand. "Oh, excuse me."

"Wonderful," Richard says, and inclines his head to her. "We'll— be in touch and for now, I'll— I'll get out of your hair." And without ceremony, he makes for the door, cane hitting the ground rhythmically as he goes.

"I look forward to hearing from you again. You know where to find me." Odessa clearly isn't above poking fun at herself. "Good evening, Doctor Kenneth." She smirks faintly at Richard's back as he retreats from her lab.

October 19th: Sparring and Pizza

Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…

October 20th: Things Left Unasked
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