2007-06-01: Ask Me No Questions, I'll Tell You No Lies

Starring:

Ryan_icon.gif Claudine_icon.gif

Summary:Ryan goes back to the Kirby Plaza Building for more training. He meets Claudine and starts to get an idea of how things work around there

Date It Happened:June 01, 2007

Ask Me No Questions, I'll Tell You No Lies


Kirby Plaza Building

The sterile halls of the Kirby Plaza Building echo with the sounds of footsteps, and little else. The silence is almost oppressive as Ryan is escorted to another training session. He's been to several of these sessions already in the week since he met Dr. Suresh, and he's starting to gain a bit more confidence in his abilities. Ryan is led to a large, gymnasium sized room, the same room he's been working in for the past few days since he fully moved to New York from the West Coast.

With the school year over, and finals finished, and the fact that Claudine is partially finished with her combative training, she's back to her usual duties as Mohinder's assistant. so, she's dressed in a lab coat with her hair tied in a bun as she's waiting for the older gentleman while she clutches on tightly to a clipboard with various notes on the file.

One of her brows raise as she sees him and smiles warmly, "Mr. Cochrane, I'll be observing you today in lieu of Dr. Suresh. I'm Claudine Salonga, his assistant, and my apologies for not having been around for your initial sessions. I was on a leave of abscence.." With that, she heads on over and extends a hand out towards him for a handshake. She looks..young..or maybe that's just because she's Asian.

Ryan shakes Claudine's hand. "That's okay. I've had to work with his other assistants before. I guess he's a pretty busy guy." He shrugs and smiles a bit. "It might be nice to have some consistency and the same researcher more than once, but I guess you guys know best. And go ahead and call me Ryan."

Other assistants? That's odd, she doesn't know of any others who would serve in that capacity officially, and her brows quirk once more before she just shrugs it off. "Okay then..Ryan.." she says while giving his hand a firm handshake. "Then you can call me Claudine..or 'Dine. Everyone else does."

With that, she makes a few notes on her clipboard and motions towards the gymnasium. "If you wouldn't mind showing me what you have covered and have learned since your last session, I will do my best to see that there can be some consistency in who observes you. In all honesty, it will most likely be me..I was on a leave of abscence for a bit.."

Ryan chuckles. "Hey, no problem. And I've only had two or three sessions since I moved to New York on Wednsday, so I've just been working on refining what I can do so far. Anyways, here goes…." He closes his eyes to concentrate and in short order covers the ground of the gymnasium in a thick blanket of fog. He raises it to above head level, then brings it back down to about knee level. "That's pretty much the easiest for me to do."

More notes are scribbled down as she nods and hrmms for a few moments while chewing on her pen. "Okay..now disperse the fog.." Claudine says with a completely neutral expression. "But before you do.."
She points to a cart that was near here. "I want to monitor your vitals. If you wouldn't mind lifting up your shirt, so we can attach a few electrodes to you, and then giving me your arm afterwards so I can monitor your blood pressure and heart rate…"

Ryan nods to the orders and lifts up his shirt while keeping the fog at knee level. He's well toned, like he does a lot of regular exercise. He doesn't seem to be embarrassed about lifting his shirt in front of a woman for a physical examination, either. "No problems, doc. Just warn me if you want to stick needles in me."

"I'm hardly a doctor. If I were, I would've told you to refer to me as Dr. Salonga.." Claudine says teasingly as she gels up the electrodes with a wry grin. Yes, so she's checking him out, but hey, she isn't that much younger than him, and she is a college co-ed even if she is all sciency. A girl cant help it!

"Now this is going to be cold, so I apologize for that.." and with that said, she attaches the electrodes on his chest before reaching over to grab the contacts. They're little alligator clips and she places them on before taking a deep breath. "Now this is entirely up to you, but I don't know how comfortable you'd be with all those wires underneath your shirt, so at this point you can either just leave your shirt off or keep it on. I don't care either way.." she says with a shrug of her shoulders. It's then that she puts the cuff around his arm so the blood pressure can be taken before and after each test, and then of course, the little finger clip to check his heart rate and oxygen levels. All of this is done gently, cause well, that's how she rolls.

Once all of that is finished, she motions towards the fog bank. "Okay..after we get your initial blood pressure, then you can dissipate the fog.."

Ryan nods and stays relaxed, waiting for the baseline readings to get settled. He doesn't move to put his shirt back, knowing from past experience that this is actually more comfortable. "Just let me know when you're set there. And if you're not a doctor, how'd you end up being Dr. Surresh's assistant? Medical student?"

Now how did she end up that way? There are lots of reasons, and Claudine just chuckles softly as she runs her fingers through her hair after recording the initial blood pressure. "120 over 80..quite good actually. Now, if you'd go on and dissipate the fog please.." She's totally avoiding the question. Maybe she doesn't think it matters?

Ryan nods and lets the fog drift away. He chuckles a bit as he notices that Claudine does avoid the question. "Okay, stick to the analysis, keep the small talk at a minimum. Got it."

"No, I'm not a medical student. At least not yet anyway, but I do have some experience in dealing with evolved individuals.." Hrmm, that seems like a reasonable answer, and doesn't give away too much information. Of course, she doesn't know him that well and for now, he's simply eyecandy as she continues to take notes while looking him over to see what physical reactions there may be to use of his powers. It's then that she checks his blood pressure once more.

Ryan nods at her response. "I guess you've seen a lot of people like me. Evolved, I mean. And if I'm asking too many questions, let me know. I'm just being overly-friendly from being by myself in a strange new city, I guess." He chuckles a bit, "I think I permanently scared off my contact person here."

"Yes, you can say that.." Claudine says with a shrug of her shoulders as nothing seems out of the ordinary thus far. "And it's all right, I understand wanting to be friendly and getting to know other people. It can be a bit intimidating with all the change after all.." smiling warmly to try to put him at ease. "So..do you think you can describe how you feel when exerting your abilities? The files say you're an elemental class, so you should have an affinity with weather I assume, considering that is what you manipulate. Notice anything strange when you're feeling high levels of emotion or stress?"

Ryan nods. "Yeah, I used to. For a while before my powers manifested, I can remmeber things like the skies getting really dark and cloudy when I was in a bad mood, or clearing up when I was in a good mood. Since then, though, one of the things I worked on was keeping my emotional state from affecting the weather. So, I got pretty good at that basic level of control. How I feel when I'm controlling the weather? Well…." He thinks about his response for a while. "I think it feels almost like sculpting, but not with my hands. If that doesn't sound too weird."

Considering she sees her own abilities in the same way, it doesn't sound too weird at all. "No..that isn't exactly unusual for elemental class evolved.." Claudine says firmly and resolutely as she runs her fingers through her hair as she looks over at his vital signs once more. "Speaking of sculpting, let's try to condense the fog into some clouds shall we?"

Ryan smiles and lifts the fog up to the rafters of the gym. "That's one of the first things I learned to do." He starts manipulating the clouds into a decent approximation of a horse. "Any requests?" he asks with a grin.

"Whatever you feel like.." Claudine says with another shrug of her shoulders as she hrmms for a few moments while continuing to jot down a few more notes. She looks him over once more to see if there are any obvious physical signs of fatigue such as profuse sweating, or if there's anything showing up on the vitals. "But try something..complicated..let's see what sorts of detail you can come up with.." As a sculptor herself, she's rather interested now.

Ryan nods and concentrates more. Over the course of a few seconds, he manages to change the clouds around to make a fairly complex castle, complete with a banner off the central tower. He is breathing harder and the strain is a bit more noticeable, but once the castle is finished, he relaxes. "There we go…."

Not one to push unnecessarily, Claudine nods and says, "Relax..we're ending this. I don't want you to have an aneurysm from overexertion.." If she being a bit overcautious, maybe she is, but she isn't one to push others to limits where any permanent damage can be caused.

"You seem to have a decent control over your ability, Mr. Cochrane.." she says with a warm smile. "I don't know why you need us, when you seem to be in control nor do you seem to be a danger to yourself or others." At least as far as she's seen so far..

Ryan nods a bit and decides to let the clouds disperse. "Well, I think it has more to do with the fact that I want to use my abilities to help people. I mean, I'm good for day to day life, but what if I can use my abilities to help lessen the damage caused by the weather. What if I could have lessened the damage caused by Katrina? Or in the Midwest during tornado season? I'm not saying that I should completely change the weather and eliminate those kinds of storms, but maybe try to ease a bit of the impact."

"Trust me on this. The more you try to help, the more things could get worse. Nature isn't a vacuum, and if you try to do something unnatural to stop something that is..there could be grave consequences elsewhere.." Claudine says firmly and resolutely before she smiles warmly once more to try to reassure him. She reaches up and pats him gently on the shoulder, "We're not gods, Mr. Cochrane. Demi-gods we might be, but there's nothing to say that nature wont find another way to compensate for what we do.." Waittaminute..did she just say..we?

Ryan smiles and nods. "Oh yeah…I know that. But there might be others that don't share this kind of viewpoint. Regardless, I just want to be able to help." He chuckles, still giving off friendly vibes. "And, did you just include yourself in the 'evolved' category?"

"Mr. Suresh might not have evolved abilities, but it doesn't mean that his assistants doesn't.." Claudine says with a wry grin as she idly runs her fingers through her hair once more. "One of the reasons why I'm rather familiar with your abilities is because I'm classified as an elemental evolved as well.." And then she takes a deep breath and sighs a little.

Ryan looks a bit surprised. "Really? What is it you can do? And the elemental evolved classification? Does it just apply to weather manipulation, or does it also go for 'classical' elements like fire and water?" He seems really excited now and very inquisitive.

"It applies to the 'classical' elements as well. It's just a broad generalization..easier to categorize things after all. It's human nature to classify and put things into different groups. Makes it easier for our brains to comprehend.." Claudine admits ruefully as she smiles warmly. "And as to what I can do..let's just say that..I'm a sculptor as well.."

"How long have you had your abilities? Mine just manifested in the fall." He smiles as he starts to slow down with the questioning. "Again, sorry for the geek-out. This is just all really new and exciting for me. I mean, I still realize how dangerous my abilities are, but it's like there's a whole new world opened up. For the first time, I'm feeling like I've got a solid direction for my life here."

"My abilities manifested when I was about thirteen years old. Saved myself and others from a resulting landslide.." Claudine admits ruefully as she stretches her arms out into the air for a few moments. Of course, she wont mention that she didn't realize she had abilities until a few months ago, but he doesn't need to know that. "And a willingness to help people is good, but you have to be careful to make sure that you keep your abilities as discrete as possible. Now..shall I take off those electrodes?" she asks.

Ryan looks down at his chest, having forgotten about the electrodes and the testing. "Huh? Oh…uh..yeah. Go right ahead. And that's what I'm talking about. I mean…aside from evolution, there has to be a reason for us to have these powers. I just want to use them in the best way possible."

"Discretion is still the best policy.." Claudine says firmly and resolutely. "Don't go around revealing your abilities just willy-nilly, nor should you completely trust anyone to the point that you can tell them what you do. Not even me.." With that said, she looks up at him and smiles in a rather genial manner before placing her hand gently over one of the electrodes, "Now I can take them off or you can. It's up to you."

Ryan blinks a bit in confusion. "Umm…you can take them off. And of course I'm not going around saying what I can do. That's just stupid. But why not be honest about what I can do, here at the facility? I mean, isn't that kinda counter-productive if I'm not open with you guys?" There's a bit of a suspicious look in his eyes, now.

"What I'm saying, Mr. Cochrane, is to keep your cards close to your chest.." Claudine says firmly and resolutely before she tries to be gentle when peeling off the various electrodes on his body. It might hurt a little, but she's being as gentle as she can, and her cheeks flush from embarrassment as she knows it'll still sting or at least irritate his skin. "Sorry about the discomfort, but let me put it another way. You barely know me, and if I asked, you'd probably tell me your life story at this point, yes?"

Ryan nods a bit warily. "Well, yeah. I mean in a research situation, knowing everything can help identify patterns or usage blocks, or just about anything, right? Are you saying there's reasons why I shouldn't trust you or Primatech?"

"I'm not saying just me or Primatech, Mr. Cochrane. I have done nothing to show you that I can be trustworthy, and though while I do think of myself as such, you have no evidence. I just prefer to be safe than sorry later on, but that's me. I'm not exactly a trusting woman.." Claudine admits ruefully as she continues to take off the electrodes one by one.

Ryan nods slowly. "I am a bit trusting, but only in the right situations, I think. Probably comes from being the son of a lawyer: you grow up either having a talent for lying or valuing honesty. But I guess the question that leads from what you've said is: can I trust this place?"

"I'm not one to tell people what to do, Mr. Cochrane, but that decision is ultimately yours. If you must know, I was under their care and they helped me develop my abilities to a point that I now observe and train others. If you feel this is how you would like to help others, then that is your choice. If you feel you have another path, then keep your cards close.." Claudine says matter of factly. What she means with all of it at this point..well, who knows?

Ryan ponders Claudine's words for a while. "I do want to help others, Claudine. Humans and those of us with power. If I can help some kid learn to control their powers so that they can live a normal life instead of unleashing a hurricane when they get angry, well, that's a good thing. But you're right; I really don't know this place very well. I came to New York hoping that Dr. Suresh could give me insight into these abilities, and he has. But then I meet someone like Elle, who isn't shy about thinking of me as a kind of weapon."

"Ms. Bishop isn't exactly the paragon of ethics here, Mr. Cochrane, but I assure you, she is the exception, not the rule around here.." Claudine smiles warmly once more and makes a mental note about that, but right now, she's more concerned about something else. "I can teach you to use your powers effectively, and if you wish to stay and affiliate yourself with us, then perhaps you would be able to do the same thing for someone else, but I shall make a note of it.." It's then that she pulls off the last electrode before looking up towards him, directly into his eyes. One can tell if they're sincere or not by looking into one's eyes after all. "So..are there any questions you might have?"

Ryan smiles back, somewhere between nervously and warmly. "Dozens of questions, actually. And there's probably more that I can't think to ask right now. Things like: How many of us are there? Other than help people learn to use their powers and not become a danger, what else does this place do to help out?" He pauses a bit before going on. "Are there threats that I should be aware of? Either from humans or other Evolved?" He shakes his head a bit. "I don't know if you can or will answer them, but yeah, I've got questions." With a bit of a smile he adds. "I guess another question would be: can you trust me with the answers?"

"There's a reason why I told you to be discrete with your powers and to be careful as to who you give information too about the nature of your abilities." Claudine pauses for a few moments as she eventually nods, "So yes, there are threats out there. Humans..who knows? If they knew of our abilities and what we could do, there'd probably those who'd worship us as gods, or declare us as spawn of the devil, or even use us for their own gain. People are interesting in that regard. But then again, it's what makes all of us human. Now as to whether I can trust you with the answers..only time will tell."

Ryan sighs in frustration. "Yeah, I know. I think that's what frustrates me the most: the isolation. I'm used to being a part of a crowd or a team." He picks up his shirt and puts it back on. "And every time I meet people, I either have to hold something back, or wait unil they think I'm ready. For a jock, it's the worst thing in the world to be on the sidelines, watching everyone else."

Claudine jots something down on a separate piece of paper and hands it to him. If he looks and reads it, it says, "If you want to know more, see me after hours." A warm smile curls onto her lips as she pats him gently on the shoulder once more. "That, I can understand, but at the same time, do you think you'd be ready to handle the truth? Sometimes ignorance is bliss."

And when all is said and done, she takes off the cuff around his arm and starts moving the cart. "Well, this was an enlightening session, Mr. Cochrane, but my shift is done, so I shall see you around." And with that she starts to head off. Maybe by after hours, she means after work?

Ryan smiles and chuckles some. "Any particular time after hours, Ms. Salonga? And how would I contact you if I did want to do that? Talk about things, I mean."

Claudine just chuckles softly as she doesn't answer, instead getting ready to pack her things. If he times it right, he may leave just as she is leaving Kirby Plaza..

Later…

Ryan is sitting down on a bench near the object d'art, in Kirby Plaza, a messenger bag with the Halo 3 logo lying at his feet. He's got a book open and is reading it, although he does look around occasionally at the people exiting the building.

Claudine had to do a few things in the office, like clean up, make sure the records were all in order and of course, she had to change. Wearing those stuffy work clothes is never something she really liked, and so about thirty minutes after the session is over, she steps out of the office dressed rather casually. She's in a pair of snug fitting jeans, and she has a dark blue Columbia t-shirt with her hair tied in a ponytail revealing more of her youth. She has to just be your regular college co-ed, and so she's passing by, not even noticing Ryan as she tries to hail a taxi..

Ryan notices Claudine leaving and stuffs th book into his bag while getting up. He walks over to her and gives her a bit of a smile. "So…would now be a good time to talk, Ms. Salonga?"
Strong will

A wry grin curls onto her lips as she looks over to Ryan and lets out an amused chuckle. "Ever so eager to see me again huh. I didnt know I had that effect on men.." Claudine quips teasingly.

Ryan chuckles. "Well, how could I refuse such an intriguing offer. Plus, it was either talk to you or yet another night of watching baseball in my apartment. Although if you're in a hurry to head off somewhere, I understand."

"Well, I dont know if I'll be as entertaining as baseball. Outside of work, I'm not as witty nor do I make as many innuendos.." Claudine says with another soft chuckle as she motions towards the cab that just arrived. "But I suppose I can spare one night answering your questions. Have a place in mind or shall I just tell the cabbie to head to the dorm?" Waittaminute. Dorm? So she's a college student then.

Ryan quirks an eyebrow. "Back to your dorm on the first date? That's pretty trusting of you." He chuckles. "Seriously though, if you want to grab some coffee with me or wherever you'd feel comfortable would be fine."

"Date? Aren't you getting ahead of yourself?" Claudine says with another impish giggle. Yes, she's being coy, but sometimes it's fun to be coy. "Well, coffee would be nice for a date, but if we are to discuss serious matters, then somewhere more private would be best. Besides, I'm a big girl, and I can take care of myself, should you decide to reveal that you're not as wholesome as you seem." Translation, she'd kick his ass.

Ryan smirks. "Yeah, I was joking about the date part. Everyone seems to connect me asking a girl to have coffe and talk as an official 'date' or something. But you are right about the sensitive material bit. Wherever you think is best would be fine."

"If you want that problem fixed, then just tell people you're gay. That'll fix it right away.." Claudine quips before she heads into the taxi and scoots on over to make room for him, should he decide to go with her.

Claudine lets out a hearty laugh as she tells the cabbie to head over to Morningside Heights to Columbia campus. "Well, not everyone from there is gay, but it would certainly fix that little assumption that whenever you ask a girl to coffee it would be a date."

Ryan smirks at the comment. "Yeah. Not that you're not cute, but you've probably got a boyfriend already or aren't exactly interested in me. But for tonight…like I said earlier, I've just got a lot of questions."

"And hopefully I have those answers.." Claudine says with a wry grin, avoiding the issue of a boyfriend or whether she's actually interested in him or not. If he's there for business, then she'll definitely be in business mode. It doesn't take long before they arrive at John Jay dormitory, and of course she pays, giving the cabbie a Columbia voucher (gotta love those), before leading him up to her second floor dorm. "Well the roomie isn't home, so ask away. Care for something to drink?"

Ryan nods. "Just water will be fine. What's your major here, if you don't mind me asking?"

"Chemistry with the biochemistry option, and studio art. I told you I was a sculptor.." Claudine says matter of factly as she goes over towards the kitchen to fill up a glass of water so she can hand it to him. Afterwards, she'll flop on her couch in the living room area of her suite and motions for him to take one of the seats around. Whether it's next to her or in one of the other seats is up to him.

Ryan takes a seat near you, but not on the couch. He takes a drink of the water before starting. "Okay…so let's assume that all that I'm interested in is doing what I can to make th world a better place and help people learn how to control their powers. What can you tell me so far about the facility and the work you do?"

"You've pretty much seen the facility in it's entirety and what we have to offer. As for the work we do, well, again you've seen what I do. I help observe, monitor and train individuals such as yourself to make sure that these powers don't become out of control to be a danger to yourself or to society." Yup, that's the typical Company line, but hey, there's a reason why she's a public face for it. It's not just because she's pretty, but cause she can talk the talk..

Ryan nods. "And what about people like Elle? What does she do? Or am I not trustworthy enough to know?"

"Elle is special, to say the least. So really, dont worry about her.." Claudine says matter of factly while just shrugging it off as if it were nothing.

Ryan nods. "I'm not really opposed to her…being who she is. I mean, I realize that there are probably people with powers who try to do destructive things or rob place or equally nasty stuff. That's just human nature, I mean. I guess my main concern is that while I want to help, I don't want to hurt others unless there's no other option, you know?"

"You don't have to hurt anyone. God knows I don't.." at least, she doesn't hurt those who don't deserve it anyway, but that's another story all together. "Look, you seem like a really nice guy with good intentions, which is precisely why I told you to be careful. Don't listen to anyone, not even me. Everyone has their own agenda, and you should make your own decisions in the end. I'll just be truthful with you, but that's all I can promise. I'm not going to tell you who to trust or who not to trust.."

Ryan nods. "That's just it. You're making it sound like I can't trust anyone. Not you, not Dr. Suresh. Not even the facility. With one hand you're telling me to work with you and help others with powers. At the same time, you're pushing me away with your other hand saying that I shouldn't trust anyone." He sighs. "I mean…I'm not a totally 'black and white' morality kind of guy. I realize that in the real world, everything is grey. I believe Orwell's quote about us being able to sleep soundly because we have dangerous people watching over us. But right now, I'm starting to feel that the only reason to work with you guys is because there is no alternative. You're the only game in town, so to speak."

"I'm not telling you to trust anyone period. I'm telling you don't trust anyone until they've given you reason to, but even then, be wary because everyone has an agenda. Look, you're new in town, and you're a friendly guy. I like that. But at the same time, realize that when and if others find out what you're capable of, there will be all sorts of people to try to make you do things for them. I know it's all convoluted and all, but I'm just telling you that you have to make your own decisions as to what you think is right. That even means making those decisions, even if you decide to help out later. I know this is all very confusing, but I guess I'm not that good at articulating things.." Claudine says in a rather frustrated fashion.

Ryan smiles a bit tiredly. "Yeah. I suppose it'd be too much to hope that one of the things that we evolved was the ability to be honest with each other." He sighs and leans back. "Okay, so treat the facility like everything else in life: everyone has an agenda and wants to use me as part of it."

"Precisely!" Claudine lets out a weary smile and runs her fingers through her hair. "Like my mother said, the only people you can truly trust in life are your family and those you love.."

"I prefer to think that my family will always be there for me. and those I love as well.." Claudine says softly.

Ryan nods. "Well, you're lucky then." He finishes his water. "I should be going now. You've probably got a lot of things to do."

"All right.." Claudine says as she eases on up, intending on walking him towards the door. "Well, you know how to reach me now if you have more questions. I apologize for not exactly being completely forthright with you, but I wanted to give you a few things to mull over.."

Ryan nods as he gets up. "Yeah, well you just made me think of about things I was already thinking and considering. And no, I'm not going to go running and screaming as far away as I can. But if you don't think I need any more training, I don't think I'll be stopping by the facility as much. Anyways, thanks for the water."

"I said you seem to be in control of your abilities. That might not necessarily be the case..who knows.." Claudine says with a wry grin as she opens the door. "Besides, I enjoy your company, so even if you don't feel like you need training, just stop by and say hi, kay?"

Ryan smiles as he pauses at the door. "Open invitation to stop by, huh? So, if I were to ask you out on an actual coffee date, what would you say?"

Claudine shrugs her shoulders, "I dunno. You haven't asked yet.."

Ryan chuckles. "Fair enough. Want to go out and grab a cup of coffee sometimes and talk about things other than work-related?"

"I'd love to.." Claudine says with a bright smile.

Ryan smiles back. "Tomorrow night, then? Common Grounds at say…7?"

"Sounds good! I'll see you then.." Claudine chirps brightly.

Ryan nods back. "See you then." And with that, he turns and heads out of the dorm.

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