2007-03-04: Elephants, Guns, and Paintbrushes! Oh My!

Starring:

Mara_icon.gif Mohinder_icon.gif

Summary: Mara returns to Mohinder's laboratory for testing. The results shock them both, albeit in different ways.

Date It Happened: March 4th, 2007

Elephants, Guns, and Paintbrushes! Oh My!


Reed Street Laboratories

Mohinder had some rounds this morning at the Company hospital, rounds that got cut short unfortunately. The geneticist makes it back to his lab in Brooklyn just a little off schedule. Hopefully in time to properly set up for testing Mara this morning. The night before, he stayed up late, pondering how to approach her abilities and the result, a series of items, separated from each other in individual boxes.

Getting sleep last night was difficult for Detective Damaris. Her anxious mind just would not shut off. She spent the night, and the wee hours of the morning, going over two of her case files, trying to put together the missing pieces of the respective puzzles. As a result, there's dark bags under Mara's eyes when she reaches the door to the lab. She takes a long drink from a tall cup of Starbucks and then knocks. Expected or not, she's not one to enter without invitation.

Mohinder sets those boxes of items out on his workstation, then rolls up his sleeves in preparation for breaking out the rest of the equipment, just as there's the knock on the door. He strides up the stairs to answer the door. "Good morning Officer Damaris, you're just on time and sadly, I'm the one a little behind." Smiling, he steps aside and gestures for her to come on in.

"I've got nothing but time, Doctor Suresh." Mara smiles sweetly, albeit a bit tiredly, and steps into the lab. She doesn't carry a purse, but there is a small tote bag slung across one shoulder, printed with an Andy Warhol design. "Thank you again for meeting with me today."

Mohinder shuts the door behind Mara and locks it. "We have privacy today." There aren't any assistants in the lab at his request. "I wasn't sure how comfortable you felt with having anyone around." And he didn't want the tests getting back to the Company. "It's my pleasure. Let me get you a comfortable chair to sit in and some floor mats. Just in case." He bustles off to find the most comfortable chair in the lab for Mara and those mats.

Mara nods and runs her fingers through the back of her hair, absently ruffling it. "Floor mats, or just make sure you're close enough to catch me. Whatever works for you. I tend to go down pretty hard." She steps further into the lab, appreciative of the privacy. "I appreciate the discretion. I'd probably lose my badge if the department found out about any of this. I'm on thin ice as it is…"

Mohinder chuckles. "Either way, yes." Looks like Suresh is anticipating a possible crash with Mara. "That's entirely understandable," he says as he gestures for Mara to go ahead and have a seat if she likes. He's then off to fetch a medical cart that has portable equipment for monitoring heart beat, blood pressure, etc. "This is non-invasive for monitoring. It's no different than what's used in the ER or recovery rooms." Indeed, it's one of those clips that slides onto a finger.

"That's it? I was expecting something more… I don't know what I was expecting, but this is definitely better." Mara takes her seat and sets her bag and her coffee down next to it. She retrieves a CD from inside the tote and leaves it to rest on her lap for now. "I had a really hard time finding something to relax me. I usually listen to music to keep me awake while I'm looking over files. But I finally found a jazz album that I used to listen to when I was younger. We'll see if it does the trick, I guess."

"If you like, I can get out the electrodes to monitor your brain patterns? Actually, I should do that. One moment." Mohinder was starting to joke with the officer, but it's something he should keep track of! "That's fine," he calls out as he rolls another cart over. This is rather innocuous as well. "Just take deep breaths, try to relax alright? I've got my laptop that we can play that on. We can also see how you do with and without the music."

Mara nods slowly. "You're the boss. Whatever is going to make this work, I'm game." She smiles, exposing the gap between her front teeth. "I hope you're not expecting some sort of spectacular display. I'm afraid you're going to be a little disappointed."

Mohinder smiles and starts hooking Mara up to the equipment. It's nothing spectacular or scary, just the fingerclip and a pair of electrodes at each temple. "That remains to be seen. Let's try this first one without any music shall we?" What does box number one hold? Well, let's see. He does pull the item out, but holds the box for Mara to take the contents.

Mara licks her lips and takes in a deep breath before leaning forward to reach out and take the item from the box. Just as soon as she touches the plush toy, the woman gasps sharply and falls back into the chair, unconscious. The pastel elephant slips from her grasp and she starts to slide from her seat.

Mohinder was not expecting that reaction from an innocent item with positive emotions attached to it. So he's slow to moving in catching Mara. The equipment is recording her responses and patterns, so his eyes don't stray to look at the screens. He doesn't try to prop Mara back up in her seat, instead, he eases her to the floor. "Officer Damaris? Mara?" he says, lightly tapping her cheeks to try and revive her.

It's a solid two minutes before Mara's eyes open again. "Haathee," she says quietly. "Anandi." She stares up at Mohinder and it's clear she's just figuring out where she is and what just happened again. Finally she grins, "You spoil her. I don't blame you a bit."

"That's.. amazing.." Mohinder breathes as Mara comes back around to the realm of the conscious. He picks up the elephant and sets it aside. He'll get that back before Molly knows it's missing. "Caught redhanded," he says in regards to the spoiling comment. "I take it, you 'saw' me giving her the toy? Was it like watching a movie played out before you, or would you say it was like you were there?"

"It's like I'm there, but watching from the sidelines, I guess?" Mara sits up slowly, careful of the wires attached to her. "I don't see it from anybody's eyes. But I'm… I'm noticing now that I can feel the emotion. I could /feel/ how excited Molly was. I guess I never notice it with violence, because I tend to feel what I think I should feel. Anxiety. Anger. It's overwhelming. This was different entirely."

Mohinder nods his head, "Easy there, just take it slowly." He stays by Mara's side in case she moves too fast. "Good.. not that you fainted, but it's good I decided to start with something innocent. It was just a theory." Once he makes sure Mara's steady, he fetches her a bottled water. "Take a few sips, steady yourself and let me know when you want to try another item."

Mara takes the water gratefully and drinks about a quarter of the bottle before she finally pulls herself back into the chair. She doesn't seem too shaky, but she's moving slow just to be safe. "Happy ones usually aren't too bad, as far as downtime goes." She hands the bottle back and takes a deep breath before rolling up her sleeves. "Bring it on."

Mohinder rises, then something occurs to him. The toy is picked back up and held out for Mara to take. "Try touching it again, please?" He wants to see what happens if she touches it a second time.

Mara smiles easily and reaches out to take hold of the toy. A shiver runs through her, but that's it. "Only works the first time," she says softly. "Which is why I really thought I was losing my mind, since I couldn't duplicate my experiences. I feel like something should happen, but nothing does."

Mohinder nods his head, "Good.. good." He takes the toy back and sets it aside once more. "I can see why you would think you were losing your mind." This initial reaction to the toy does have him second guessing the other items. However.. varying degrees of emotions and intensities should be recorded. The next box is decided upon, picked up and held out for Mara to reach into.

Mara visibly prepares herself and reaches into the box. She lifts the man's shirt out with little reaction. She traces her fingers over the buttons down the front carefully, then over the cuffs. "Nothing," she says finally.

"Very good," Mohinder comments, taking the box and shirt back. Again, he hesitates on which item to reach for next. He visibly debates between two boxes, then decides before passing over the next one.

"It wasn't yours," Mara observes. "But you chose it for a reason…" She lets the topic of the shirt go and reaches for the next item. Just as with the elephant, it's only the briefest touch before she faints. This time, she's out for nearly fifteen minutes. While she was still and calm during the first vision, this time, her face twitches the way one does when they dream. She seems… nervous.

"That's correct," Mohinder affirms Mara's observation about the shirt. "It was one of my father's." With that said, he quietly observes Mara's reaction. As she faints, again, he helps ease her body to the floor and makes her as comfortable as possible. While she's out, he divides his attention between watching her physical behavior and what's on the monitors. He does break out a capsule of ammonium carbonate, snapping it open and waving it in front of Mara's nose.

Mara sits up as she starts coughing. She wraps her arms around herself tightly, taking several deep breaths with her eyes closed. "So… /scared/. She was pleased when she /gave/ you the drawing, but…" She opens her eyes again and stares off into space, like she's trying to grasp at something just beyond her reach. "She was scared of… Of her nightmare?"

Mohinder throws away the capsule and hands Mara the water again. Careful sips to be taken is instructed. "What else did you see or feel from touching the drawing?" He chooses to not confirm or deny anything just yet. Once Mara's steady, he folds the drawing up and puts it into his wallet, where he's been keeping it.

Hazel eyes come slowly back into focus before lifting to look at Mohinder again. "There was happiness and fear at the same time. Molly was scared for your safety, but feeling as though she could protect you. Does that make any sense? I don't know how to explain it. The fear, though. That's what sticks. It's what drove her to make the drawing in the first place."

Mohinder nods his head as he settles down to sit in front of Mara. "That's correct, and yes, it makes sense. She was very much afraid then, and still is now." Although her other nightmare issue is something he remains ignorant of. "We're going to wait a bit before I test one more item, perhaps another. It depends. How are you feeling?"

"I feel all right," Mara determines after a moment of thought. "I never feel real bad after my visions, unless I hit my head or something. Or if what I see makes me feel sick or something." She pinches the bridge of her nose and takes one deep breath, then another. "She's more brave than I realized. I can't blame you or Parkman for your devotion."

"That's good to know. It's just the initial contact and influx of the item's attachment then." Mohinder remains seated as he contemplates a moment. He does smile though at Mara. "She's braver than any girl her age has business being. Molly grew on us very fast." He then rises, "Are you ready for the next item then? I want to try something different with this."

"Should I bother getting up off the floor?" Mara cracks a grin as she jokes. All the same, she stands up again, reseating herself in the chair. "I'll do whatever you need me to do," she insists.

Mohinder picks up the box, but doesn't hold it out. Instead, he pulls out the object himself. It's a gun. The customized 1911 that Company agents are given. The one he got off the 'exterminator'. He then explains, "I have no idea about this weapon's history before I took it into my possession." He goes on to tell Mara about how he got the gun, then, "Most recently, I held this gun to the head of the monster who murdered my father." Yes. He's being brutally honest for a reason. There's also unrestrained bitter anger in his voice as he holds the gun out for Mara to take.

Mara is understandably reluctant to take this object. She swallows back the lump forming in her throat. "Put the gun down and get ready to catch me. This is going to be a rough ride." Unsurprisingly, her heart rate's already picking up, in tandem with the spike in her anxiety.

Mohinder sets the gun down as instructed and prepares to play catch the detective. "Easy. Steady there, take deep breaths.. In through the nose, out through the mouth. Try and relax, focus, then try picking the gun up."

Mara doesn't even attempt to pick up the weapon. She simply reaches out to brush her fingers over the handle. It's quicker than a flash and she's tumbling to the floor. This is by far the most violent reaction thus far. Not necessarily physically, but her heart races and her brain lights up like a fireworks show on the Fourth of July. Her previous blackouts mimicked REM sleep, more or less. But this is showing far more activity. Fear, anger, excitement. Almost all the emotional centers fire, according to the scan. Any attempts to rouse her prove unsuccessful. Thankfully, her vitals stay strong.

Mohinder is disappointed to see that advanced warning had absolutely no effect on Mara. Again, he makes sure she's caught, eased down and made comfortable. This time, he doesn't try to bring her back around. He lets her stay as she is as he studies the monitors, frowning. A hand raises to rub at his chin as he stares in thought. There's got to be a way to help her gain control, to circumvent the blacking out. Prior information was not helpful. There has to be a way. He looks to the final boxed item and ponders something but no, not at the moment. While Mara's vitals are strong, he doesn't want to overload the emotional element.

There's a good twenty minutes of downtime before Mara sits bolt upright, gasping. She looks around frantically, trying to remember where she is. Only when she sees the monitor on her finger does recognition seem to come. "Guns that get use are a bitch," the detective finally says. She reaches a hand out, waiting for help to stand up. "And the man who had it before you had a bit of… practice."

Mohinder helps Mara up to her feet. "Oh, that comes as little surprise to know. I'm sorry for using that item. It seemed like a good idea at the time, particularly if I informed you ahead of time about a little of its history. I was wrong." He helps Mara back to her chair. "I know you said you feel fine, but again, we're going to wait before the last item." He also turns to put the jazz CD into the laptop and sets it to play on low volume. "It seems that no matter how positive or negative the aura attached to an item, it causes you to black out. I've been studying your results on the monitor just briefly. My initial suggestion is that the memory you get off a tangible item, it's too much for your mind to accept. Have you had this same reaction when wearing gloves on your hands?"

"Yeah, unfortunately." Mara paces around slowly, walking off the jitters from her last vision. "At least, it is with the latex I wear at crime scenes. I've never tried it with anything thicker. I guess it never really occurred to me." She looks down at her hands and flexes her fingers. "To be honest, your warning me about your… history with the gun helped. I felt… prepared? I sort of knew what to expect when I saw it. I was ready for the… emotional current, I guess." She shrugs helplessly, turning to face the doctor. "I just wasn't prepared for what came before."

Mohinder leans against his work counter, hands braced on the edge. "That's.. a relief then. It seemed to have no effect from where I'm standing. That's encouraging to know. It was my poor judgment in selecting an item whose history I was not 100 % familiar with." He watches Mara walk off her jitters. "Is there anything you want or need? More water? Juice instead?"

"No. I just need a minute. I feel like I've just sat through a horror movie or something." Mara actually shakes out her arms and forces herself to shudder. "Nervous energy. I'm okay. It's nice not to have some idiot holding me down in a hospital bed and telling me I need to stay down. The last thing I want to do is stay down. I'm restless."

Mohinder smiles patiently at Mara, "Take your time. I like to let the patient do what relaxes and helps them cope the best. Provided its feasibility of course." He's willing to give Mara the recovery time she needs before the last item of the day. "Again, this next item does have violence attached to it as well. Would you like to try it bare handed, or should I fetch some gloves, thicker than vinyl preferably."

Mara considers this for a moment, walking back and forth in front of the chair three times before making her decision. "I may as well try the gloves. Can't possibly hurt." She retrieves teh bottle of water and takes a long drink, holding it as she continues her pacing. "You hesitated," she almost whispers.

Mohinder inclines his head and moves to another section of the lab to retrieve some thicker gloves. All purpose, glorified pieces of material for handling extremely hot or cold items. As he brings those back to Mara he questions, "I beg your pardon?" He's not sure what she's referring to.

"You hesitated," she says more firmly. "You could have killed him. But you didn't." Despite it nearly being an accusation, Mara's tone is gentle. "That's what separates you from people like him." She takes the gloves, but doesn't put them on just yet.

"I take the lives of humans very seriously. This man, he was a monster. He had hurt and murdered many people, other than my father. I did pull the trigger. With his abilities, he was able to stop the bullet. Otherwise, I would have killed him. I wanted to. I probably still do." Mohinder says with firm conviction. There's relief that he wasn't able to take himself down to Sylar's level, but at the same time, he failed to put down a major threat to society. "I won't lie, part of me wishes that I had killed him. When I think of what he's done.." He trails off then shakes his head. "Enough of that.. go ahead and put on the gloves. Prepare yourself."

Mara sits down heavily, looking confused. "Why didn't I see…" She shakes her head. "That doesn't make any sense. Why did the vision end before-" She blinks at Mohinder as she pulls on the gloves. "Maybe it's because you warned me? Because you didn't say you killed him? It was brief. Like I didn't need to see it, because I already knew how it would end?" She growls with frustration and hangs her head for a moment. "Nothing makes any bloody sense." She lifts her head again with renewed determination. "Let's do this."

Mohinder pulls from the box.. a paintbrush. A very thick handled one with a point on it. He pauses, turning to look at Mara as she speaks. "Perhaps… It might take awhile to make any sense of anything. We might also need to practice with you further as we're doing today. Working to train your mind on how to prepare for things you might touch." He considers this a moment. The brush is given a contemplative look. "As I said, this brush, this innocent item used by a very talented and gifted man, was turned into an instrument of violence. That's all the detail I will give you." He then holds it out for her to take.

Mara seems a little skeptical as she eyes the paintbrush. She reaches out to take it in her gloved hand. "Is this where you wonder if you can induce a false vis-" Just as soon as she's made contact, as with the other objects, she's down. Fast and hard, she's collapsing against Mohinder's steadying arms. If the last reaction was amazing, this is nothing sort of spectacular. Her face twitches and contorts with reactions to what she's seeing, and this time, she thrashes and jumps. Then… there's nothing. She's not exactly calm, but she's no longer showing any signs that she's still experiencing her vision. Over the course of roughly ninety minutes, her vitals slow to a normal rate and she stays steady. It's as if she's sleeping, though she cannot be awakened.

Mohinder was standing there, ready and waiting, as if anticipating this would be the roughest item to handle of all. Expression grim, again, he does what he can to make Mara comfortable as she gets her vision and her mind and body cope with the reaction. Again, while she's out, he monitors her carefully, even fetching a damp cloth for her forehead. The file marked 'O M D' is pulled out and he spends this time making notes, writing down reactions to the items based on visual. He even starts writing down the data from the monitors. He has time to at least do this. The in-depth study may have to wait until she's gone.

There's a sudden spike in Mara's heartrate again. For five minutes, the blips on the monitor come one after another until finally the woman sits up, suddenly awake. Screaming, and absolutely terrified.

Mohinder glances up at the monitor as the spike begins. He's not exactly prepared for what comes next. Yet he drops his pencil and runs over to drop next to Mara. He reaches for one of her hands, patting it with his own. "Officer Damaris, it's alright, it was just a vision of what had happened." It's not exactly alright, but for the woman, it was probably as if she were right there.

Mara isn't content to just have her hand held, it would seem. Judging by the way she's suddenly holding onto Mohinder for dear life, anyway. "It's not /all right/!" She buries her face against his shoulder, as if it might keep the images to keep replaying in her mind. She shakes and sobs silently, seeking comfort.

Mohinder's reaction to this, is to let Mara latch onto him. He remains quiet, just letting the woman recover in her own time. This is no different than him reassuring Molly after a nightmare. "You weren't there, it's all over now," he says gently, bringing up a hand to pat her back.

"It happened," Mara laments, "and that's bad enough." Her fingers dig into the man's back, but fortunately, her nails don't bite. "It was h-" She's cut off by a whimper that comes from the back of her throat, destroying any attempt she was trying to make at proving she was going to be fine. "My God. Oh, my God."

"I know, I'm sorry," Mohinder says flatly. There's no way to sugarcoat the issue. "Take your time, I apologize that I chose some very rough items. You do understand that it's necessary, in seeing the reactions so that I can help you better? Right?" If Mara doesn't answer right away, he's fine with this. He understands that this cannot be easy.

Mara nods against Mohinder's shoulder, sniffling quietly. "Yeah. I know. But I just… I wasn't ready for that. I wasn't ready for /him/." She shudders, "I saw what happened to- I saw when it was an accident. I've never seen what happens when he's /trying/ to hurt someone. Oh… /Jesus/."

"Even if I had of described how they were used, the violence involved, I don't think it would have prepared you any less." Mohinder says, trying to soothe. "This is all we're going to do today. Alright? I want to go over your results more in depth, and then I will call you. We can discuss what to do next. I'm sure as you've very well have noticed, you can't exactly go through life not knowing if the next thing you touch will put you out on the floor."

Mara pulls away almost reluctantly. "No kidding…" She scoots back, peels off the gloves, and holds out her hand, expecting that he'll want to start removing the monitors. "I wouldn't have thought twice about picking up a paintbrush. …Now I don't think I'll ever want to." She closes her eyes tightly and wills herself not to start crying again. "I'm still not used to seeing how murder scenes end up looking like they do. That's the worst vision yet."

Mohinder puts the gloves aside then removes the fingerclip monitor and the electrodes. He offers a rueful smile for the comment about paintbrushes. "I don't know what made that one as horrible as it was.. perhaps that he knew he was going to die beforehand. Not that it really matters in the end, I suppose." Almost as an afterthought he says, "I'm not sure if the gloves were any help at all. Perhaps your results will tell me just how your brain reacts to the contact, and that will in turn tell us how you can cope."

"I think it was just about the same as any other of my visions, really. Gloves don't seem to spare me." Mara sighs heavily and runs her fingers through her hair. "Damn. I'm in this up to my neck, aren't I? I can't… see something like that and just try to walk away." Finally, she holds her hand out for assistance in getting to her feet again. "I talked to Nakamura. I've agreed to keep my eyes and ears open within the NYPD. I'm not sure how much more I'll hear compared to Parkman.. It might be a little redundant. Anyway, I'd be remiss if I didn't ask if there's anything I can do to repay you. Anything I can do to help."

Mohinder helps Mara up and shakes his head. "Don't worry about repaying me. This is what I do, and I don't expect repayment. I'm glad that you got back in touch with Hiro." A quiet sort of smile is made, "All I want you to do is go home, take it easy and take care. I will call you after I've studied these results. If you have any doubt about handling an item.. try salad tongs or similar."

Mara can't help but chuckle at the suggestion. "Oh yeah, that'll look fabulous. I'll really have lost my marbles then, yeah?" She starts gathering up her things, looking even more tired now than she did when she first entered the lab. "Say hello to Molly and Parkman for me, won't you Doctor Suresh?" She slings her tote bag over her shoulder after packing up her CD and the bottle of water. The cold coffee is dropped in a trash can.

"It's either that or you pass out again," Mohinder suggests with good humor. "I will do that, and relax as best you can. Thank you for letting me test you." As Mara packs up her things, he runs printouts on the test results to place with her file.

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