|Scene Title||I, Chimera: A Possible Antidote|
|Synopsis||Vette has come up with an antidote to the Chimera… possibly. It still needs testing, so a question is raised of how to go about testing it.|
The door from the alley opens into a small room or short hallway in this brownstone. At the far end is an antiquated lift that looks like a birdcage, complete with manual levers for operation. Dispite its age, the mechanism appears to be well cared for.
At the bottom, the lift opens into some sort of antechamber from one corner of the room. Before the open cage door is a plain, unornamented wall of what appears to be granite with a thick wooden door set inside it. Engraved above the door archway is "Special Immigration Office: East"
Access is only granted with the proper key. Once opened, the granite door swings inward as a computerized neutral voice intones, "Provisional Access Granted. Containment and Research are currently under lock down. Efforts to penetrate secure doors will be discouraged." Through the doorway, there's a large console in the middle of the chamber with a three dimensional display of the New York City atop it. The holographic display is a fairly complete representation of New York City and it's environs. Mostly there is a very simplistic representation of structures, although the map does have a few colored markers. Numbers and figures at times scroll past, apparently having meaning to someone. Computer workstations hug the walls, along with filing cabinets and desks. Several cots and assorted supplies are pushed into out of the way corners as well, with the idea of long stays. The room is some sort of think-tank, apparently. The only other unlocked door leads to a small kitchen and dining area, which are well-stocked.
Vette seems to have set up a bunch of bubbling beakers and tubes and microscopes and cultures down here. It's beginning to look a lot like Science Lab! With nifty computer things. She hums under her breath as she looks into the microscope and starts taking a mass of babbly notes into her composition notebook. "I think I need your help, Dee."
While the women work, Rufus has been very busy setting up his own thing. He's growing obsessed with finding Louie. Night after night he goes into Spanish Harlem and creeps around, looking for any sign of him. He comes back to mark down places on a map that he's investigated, plans his next routes, then repeats the process. Over and over again. Very methodical. Very tedious. But he will not give up. James is depending on him, and he has a sin to purge. But now and then, he has to take a break. Very quietly he steps up behind Vette, and he reaches past her to put down a fresh cup of tea and clear the old one away for her.
Dee has had a few things on her plate, but finding an antidote to Chimera is really important. So, she'll devote as much of her time as possible to helping Vette. She might not be as much of an engineer or scientist as her Bandmate, but she's pretty damned smart and resourceful. "Yes?" she replies from where she's getting a little practice hacking banking systems.
"WellI can't reallysee what I'm looking for." Vette pushes the notebook over to Dee and steps away from the microscope. "Until I can, I can't affect it. Can you find it for me now that you know what I oh, tea! Thank you Rufus. You're back from thedid you fin—no, you'd be less quiet if you had."
Less quiet and less grim. Rufus' smile is tight and silent, acknowledging Vette's thanks, and he takes another mug off of his tea tray to press it into Dee's hands. Earl Grey. Hot. He won't interrupt the women as they work, and turning away, he goes walking back towards the kitchen area.
Dee always enjoys watching Vette. Especially when she's being distracted by shiny things. She does do as Vette asks though, moving over to try to find what she's looking for.
Vette is looking for a specific sequence of genes that are changing very rapidly in the blood. It will take Dee's ability to see past the normal spectrum to /catch/ the changes because they are otherwise happening too fast for the microscope. She's put together this chromosome map and is trying to figure out where on the map these things fit. Vette sips the tea, but before Rufus walks back she reaches out to snag him in a very quick supportive hug.
The hug startles him. Rufus blinks when Vette snatches him, and he stands rather awkwardly, all stiff and rigid and somewhat wide-eyed. But he pats her on the back, relaxing a heartbeat later, and he presses a quick, chaste kiss to the side of her head. "Get back to work, vixen," he murmurs, with a warm gleam in his eyes.
It does take Dee a while to find what Vette's looking for, enhanced senses or no. It's still very advanced stuff. She sits there doing the work though, and seems to be enjoying it.
Vette ducks her head as Ru seems to melt down. She also lets Dee work in silence, because she's got a formula to do. It's a chemical equation balance that ties in. Today she's wearing an actual lab coat. She doesn't need to but it seems to be a fashion statement with her jean skirt and her purple tank top. Or maybe she just feels that the thing will help bestow genius.
Back into the kitchen he goes, like a good little errand boy. However, once inside there, Rufus slowly rakes his fingers through his hair and sinks onto a chair. While the old tea mugs soak in a sink of soapy water, he watches the women from his distant vantage point, through the doorway.
Dee hums as she works, and looks pretty much immune to pressure. Then again, you break into high-security areas and then try to feel stress over labwork.
Vette seems content. Her friends are around. She does not realize that Ru is in the kitchen stressing out. The math is flowing from her fingertips until it's done. There's tea in her hand. She has no complaints at all. She puts the notebook aside when she's done with it and pulls out a calculator to double check what she just did by hand.
If Dee has any idea that Ru's stressing, she also doesn't let that get to her. Eventually, she does wave Vette over. "Here. I think this is it." she says.
Vette looks over and blinks. "Ah! Perfect, thank you." She makes a few notes and then takes these syringes. She starts pulling one substance from another, and then another, dripping each into a single clean beaker. "Do me a favor? There's a mold in the cabinet over there marked—well it's marked mold. Because I only have one. Can you get that for me, Dee?" Nothing like 'please get my mold' to seal a friendship.
Dee laughs. "Sure thing." she replies, getting up to fetchez le mold. "Need anything else while I'm here?" On the whole, this is the least stressful thing that Dee's got her fingers into at the moment.
"No, I can't think — well wait. That vial full of chimera is in there. I actually need a little bit of it. I have to unwind the genetic strands—I'm going to get you on that process while I'm doing this over here." Vette is a lot less vague while she's working, though.
Well, there's a /reason/ Rufus went into the kitchen to stress. He doesn't actually /want/ a whole lot of fuss made over him. The world's ending, the Overworld is crashing into Midgard, gods and goddesses are rampaging and there's a demigod dealing vicious drugs in his neighbourhood he has to stop. Auuuuugh. By the time he emerges, though, he's looking as calm and as collected as ever. This time he's brought chocolate biscuits for the girls.
Dee gets everything Vette needs, then brings it all over. "Okay. Whatever you need done." she says, all set to get back to work. Though, "Oooh! Cookies!" Darned Americans and their vocabulary.
Once it's all put together there's this clear liquid that looks kind of indistinguishable from any other medicine or drug on the market. "Ok, the theories are sound," she says. "Let's go stick the kid." She and the FDA should probably have a talk, but failing that…
Rufus almost drops the tray with the biscuits, pausing in the midst of gathering up old tea mugs again. "Vette," he says, without hesitation. "You haven't even tested the serum. Are you sure this will work?"
Dee is so not getting into any discussion of ethics, medical or otherwise. It would just be too hypocritical. Therefore, she stays quiet and lets the other two handle it.
Vette blinks a few times. "WellI won't be sure until we use it. I suppose" Well she's got some more blood. She puts a few drops into a culture dish and then drops some of the serum on it. "We'll see how it does on the blood."
"James is not to be given the serum until we are /certain/ it will work," Rufus quietly says, as he waits with some anticipation for the results of Vette's work. "We do not use fifteen year old children as guinea pigs, Vette. Not under any circumstances."
Vette blinks at Rufus. "Well—it worked on the blood. I don't know what the heck else we could test it on, sweetheart." She pushes the blood onto the microscope and steps aside so he can see the fact that the blood has calmed down. "We don't have an abundance of test subjects do we?"
"No, we don't…" Rufus admits, a deep uneasiness passing across his face. "But we will not use this upon James until we can be one hundred percent certain… or at least ninety percent certain. Vette, he's just a child. He's depending on us to help him, and we must not fail him." He looks off to one side, frowning, then he looks back at the woman. "Let's consider alternatives."
Vette pushes a long lock of red hair behind her ear. "We could shoot a monkey up full of chimera, but we don't have any monkeys and if it doesn't work we're going to be dealing with a Nemean monkey down here. Of course. That could provide me the needle I need to make Jacob Chen's armor—but it seems somehow even less ethical than giving the child the serum."
Dee notes casually, "Getting a monkey isn't the hardest thing in the world."
"James is not a monkey," Rufus quietly and drily states, "And I'm not … entirely comfortable with the thought of forcing an innocent animal through this sort of trauma." He hesitates for a moment, then he murmurs, "Can you test it on me?"
"Hell no," Vette says firmly. "James and the other Chimera victims are humans. You are a scion. That would be like taking crazy magic ichor and shooting it into your ichor blood. It would be like a biological nuke in your blood stream. It could elevate you instantly to demigodhood, or it could just make your innards explode like that movie Outbreak." But she looks amused at Dee's insert. Of /course/ Dee could get them a monkey.
Dee agrees "You're not taking Chimera, Rufus. That would be even more irresponsible than trying it on a monkey."
Dee does add "I'd pay for the monkey."
"No, let's not test the Chimera on a monkey," Rufus says grimly. "Because if it /does/ turn into a Nemean creature, then we would have to kill it. There is one other option that comes to mind… We find another man or woman corrupted by the Chimera and secure his willingness to be a test subject."
"I'm good at securing," Vette says with a slow grin. "Well. Until they /snap concrete bonds/. That was rather—irritating." There are not many things that can snap concrete bonds. Vette has always had a point of pride about it. "And we'd have to do it fast. Louie seemed to show up directly after we beat his favorite ones."
Dee nods, again letting the pair work it out amongst themselves.
"I said /secure his willingness/ to be a subject," Rufus says with a brief scowl. "Vette, we cannot just… go about randomly sticking people with a chemical that could kill them. I trust you, of course, but there is a possibility that it won't work. It might kill the human, and they… They might be unwitting pawns of Louie's. They may be guilty of their own accord, or he may have ensnared their minds. We will have to find another one, then we will go from there."
Oh boy. That woman's speech /really/ got to Rufus. Vette puts up her hands. "We'll play it however you want, Rufus." It's more important to him than to her, therefore he gets to take the lead. That's the way she sees it. "I just think we're pressed for time."
"I know we are," Rufus quietly states. Yes, her speech got to him. So did the fact that he killed a /seventeen year old kid./ "But no more children must die, Vette. Not another damned one of them." He rests his hand on her shoulder, then he turns away to sweep up the tray again.
"I understand," Vette says. And she does. She just isn't letting herself feel it. Feeling hurts. She saves her feeling for caring about just a few peopleRufus, Dee, for exampleand doesn't want to feel about the rest. It might make her a bit less of a person. But she doesn't see it that way. All her life she's seen it as making her a bit less hurt. So she views the entire sequence of events in abstracts, unless she loses control of that detachment. And then she just wants to fly into a rage because rage hurts less than any of it.
Hey, don't look to Dee for sentiment and being all squishy-feely. She, too, can count on one hand the peple she really gives a damn about…
Sometimes, being lawful good sucks. Though Rufus is not thinking of it like that as he holds the tray in his hands. Knowing the women probably aren't too thrilled, he stops and looks back over his shoulder at them. "The moment we cease to care, the moment we lose sight of /why/ we are fighting… That is the moment we become no better than Louie or the Titanspawn. We are fighting for the greater good. We are fighting to protect humanity and innocence. A line must be drawn somewhere. I draw the line at the loss of life." He glances briefly at Dee, then back solely at Vette.
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why when the bad things need to be done, they send Rufus to the store for cream and sugar.
Vette looks down. And away. That veil is trembling. She nods and tries to regain her detachment. It's slipping away. Damn it. She doesn't want to deal with this. She starts capping up the test antidote putting it into ten separate vials. She can make more, now, if need be. Three she puts aside in case it needs tweaking, and then she passes two more each to Rufus and Dee. "In case an opportunity arises and I'm not around," she says. She passes out syringes, too.
Yeah, Dee's so not getting involved.
He takes those vials and inclines his head to the lady, muttering, "Thank you, Vette." Rufus then tries to smile, but it's rather weak. He goes back into the kitchen to finish cleaning up, and when he emerges, he rolls back his sleeves. Eyes are on that map he's got laid out across a table. He should finish planning tonight's route.
She follows Rufus' line of sight and says, "I think I need to get some fresh air. Get out of this lab for awhile. Will you be okay for a bit? My phone's on if you need me." Vette slips out of her lab coat and hangs it up.
The man comes to the edge of the table, about to take up a bright yellow hi-lighter. Rufus glances up at Vette, watching her steadily for a moment. "Quite all right," he calls back in answer. "Are /you/ all right, Yvette?"
She glances between Dee and Rufus. "I think I justI think I just need some air," she says. "I'll be okay after a walk. I'll be back when I go." She smilesit's a little wan. She should be supporting Rufus right now, helping him work through it, and here she is face to face with the need to work through it herself. Damn it. What she'd said to Halima was true. They have all these innocents to defend and about 16 seconds to make decisions sometimes. Damn it.
Dee looks up at the two, then nods to Vette. "I'm good. Take your time."
Rufus studies the redheaded lady for a long, long while in silence, but eventually he nods his head. "I'll be waiting here for you then," he says, before he leans over and looks down at the map, permitting himself a sigh down at the paper.
Vette nods back. "Thanks." Then she sort of slips out of the lair with that godlike speed. She needs out. The four walls are cooping her up. The issues and emotions are growing suffocating. They're all conflicted. She has no coping mechanism. So she'll…walk. Instead.
Any additional notes fall to the bottom.