2007-02-11: Empirical Evidence


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Summary: Drake runs into Elena at the Noodle House while she is doing homework for her Theoretical Genetics class. The conversation turns interesting when Elena discusses Dr. Suresh's theories.

Date It Happened: February 11th, 2007

Empirical Evidence

Noodle House, Lower East Side

She liked spicy food, and the place had the best Szechuan in town.

Elena's long fingers click-clack her chopsticks absently as she waits for her order. A pair of rimless, cat's eye glasses are perched on her nose, the brunette reading a blue-covered book right in front of her. The symbol that dominates the front is unusual, with the words 'Activating Evolution' emblazoned in white across the top. She seems rather engrossed with it, her lips pursing as she takes out her highlighter and marks a few things in bright yellow, before picking up her pen and making notes in the margin. It looks like she's studying.

Her mp3 player is situated on one side, the earbud phones hidden by her long, wavy dark hair. The LCD queue displays the name of the song she is listening to: Crushcrushcrush by Paramore.

Heading into the chinese shop is Drake, still limping a bit from his bandaged side, and sporting a few bruises along his arms, and along the bridge of his nose. With a soft breath, he offers up a smile to the young woman behind the counter, then catches sight of Elena at her table. With a grin, he calls over, "Hey, how you doing?" He calls over, making his way over to her, trying to hide the hobble in his step. "I didn't know you liked eating here. It's my favorite place." He pauses at her side, trying to take a peek at her book.

She doesn't hear him at first, and it is only his shadow that alerts the young woman that someone was standing by her seated place at the noodle bar. Elena looks up, blinking at Drake, and her jaw drops open, reaching up to yank her mp3 player's earphones from her ears. "Oh my god, newbie! You look like hell!" she exclaims, unable to help it. After pausing in realization to what she just said, she smiles. "Sorry….but…damn you look banged up. How are you feeling?" She removes the glasses from her nose and sets it on the counter. She nods to her book. "This is for my Theoretical Genetics class. Pretty dry stuff if you're not into science."

Chuckling, Drake lets out a soft sigh. "I know, I look like banged up crap." He says as he runs a hand through his hair. "It hurts more than it looks." He says, carefully settling down into a chair next to her, shifting a bit, and sitting straight up. "Manager says I can come back in a few days. Doctor says light duty, but I should be alright in a few weeks. It's a cracked rib." With a smile in her direction, he says, "So.. science, huh?" He asks, looking over at the book. "What is that one about?"

"Oh this?" Elena lifts up the book. "It's fascinating stuff but I can see why the scientific community considered it 'hack science'. Empirically it makes sense. This guy named Dr. Suresh from India has this theory that the new century is bringing out some changes in the human genetic code. Like Time decided it was time for the next step, so to speak. Things like spontaneous generation and levitation and being able to move objects with your mind are in this. It's neat - kind of like what you would read in comic books, but with hard science attached to it. I just…..don't know if I believe it. I guess that's all par the course with a class called -Theoretical- Genetics."

Growing silent for a moment, Drake allows his eyes to shift slightly off to one side, before reaching up to rake his fingers along the back of his neck, more noticeably over a pair of black markings that looks like an equal's sign. ".. Oh. That is .. interesting. So, it'd be like.. people with super powers?" He asks cautiously, before allowing his hand to return back to his lap. "I don't know if I'd believe it either." He says, trying to force up a chuckle, though it sounds a tad nervous. Young, scared, nerves. "I bet it'd be really cool to meet someone like that, huh?"

"…I…guess?" Elena says with a shrug, and then she laughs. "I mean, like I said. Empirically it makes sense. You have your neanderthals, and then your cro-magnons….one of the earlier forms of homo sapiens, which is basically what we are right now. It's like…there's a period where you can consistently see how the human being changed over the course of several hundred years, and then by the BCs….it just stops. What marked mankind's progress was how it learned and how it developed science and technology, whole societies….but not really changes in the cellular level like way back then. But that doesn't mean it stopped completely. There are deadly viruses in the world discovered a few decades ago that can steal the breath from your body within moments and we're just now starting to realize there are some people immune to those strains. So if that's possible, what's to say we're not doing it again?" She blinks at Drake as he scratches at his neck, and then she peers, grinning. "Sorry. I'm ranting about homework, you must think I'm some gigantic geek. What -is- that, a tattoo?"

Drumming his fingers slightly on the desk as she speaks, it is fairly obvious that Drake is lost in thought, paying attention to every word she says, trying to unravel it about in his head. He's also one to show his emotions on his sleeve, and he seems honestly nervous. "So you think… it's.. an evolutionary trait then? Like.. we can gain powers outta no where.. and it'd be like…encoded in our DNA?" He asks softly, trying to shift the topic away from the question about his neck. His eyes move away, down to his shoes, then over to the window of the eatery, staring at the busy, New York streets.

"According to this book anything is possible. I can understand little things, like being immune to deadly viruses. But to…." Elena flips over the book. "Spontaneously regenerate? Nobody can just grow an arm after it's been cut off, unless man -somehow- managed to be able to splice a lizard's ability to grow its tail into a human being's genetic structure. But that would entail artificial tinkering on the human genome, which is EXTREMELY unstable. If anything the only safe way to do that is that if the ability was already -there-. Think about it, we only use a certain percentage of our brain. What if these abilities stem from the percentage of our brains we don't use?"

"Uh huh." Drake says, his voice trailing off some softly as he continues to stare out the window, before glancing back to Elena. His brows knit slightly. "So, we don't use all of our brains? So those who would have these powers, maybe they'd be.. like.. really smart, right? Like super nerds?" He asks. His eyes shift to the book again, as if examining the cover, and spine to try and memorize it. Something to sneak out of the library later.

"Not necessarily," Elena says, folding her arms on the counter. "We have conscious and unconscious parts of our brains. If things like this are hardwired into our genetic structure, maybe these abilities are unconscious at first. Like you don't know you're doing it. I don't know. I'm not an expert." She rubs the back of her neck. "People who could explain these sorts of things are ….I don't know. Harvard and MIT doctorate holders. I'm just a freshman at NYU." She laughs. "What the hell do I know about evolution?"

"Well, you know a lot more than I do. You're the one studying it." Drake says without a smile on his face, as if the comment just snuck past his lips. With that, he gives his bottom one a bit of a nibble, then pushes himself out of his seat. "I think I'm gonna get some sweet and sour." With a push off the table, grunting a bit in pain, he ambles for the counter, a bit quickly as he starts to dig around in his pocket for some loose change.

There is a slight frown on her face, watching Drake hobble around her to get some food and sensing the change in demeanor on him. Elena props her chin on one hand, observing him from where she sits with an odd look on her face. What the hell? What did she say that was all wrong? Did she say something to offend him? Maybe he was a creationist - one of those crazy types who didn't believe in Evolution. Still, it was odd, what's got him so jittery?

After working out some money, Drake hands it to the girl, quietly murmuring his order across the counter. As he waits, he shifts his weight to one hip, rubbing the bridge of his swollen nose nervously. It's like he goes into a bit of a daze, until the young woman's voice pulls him back to attention, causing him to look over at her, flinching. "Oh.. thank you." He says, gathering up his tray, then makes his way back to the table to sit down. Sliding his chop sticks out, he begins to poke at his rice, mixing it up with his chicken.

"So what's up?" Elena asks, folding her arms over the table and she inclines her head a little bit at him when he starts chowing down. Her spicy noodles are set in front of her, but she doesn't touch them yet, nodding to the waitress when she leaves. Her eyes fix on Drake again, and she lowers her voice. "I mean, I know we just met but if I said something….you know. To offend you from earlier, I'm sorry. It's just that you're acting really weird. I'm wondering if I got you mad somehow."

"Huh? OH. No.. I ain't mad. Just.. lost in thought." Drake says as he stabs a piece of meat with his chop stick, using it more like a fork than anything. He swirls it around the red, sweet sauce, before saying. "Just wondering if people like that really exist. That's all." He mumbles under his breath. "Um.. I dunno.. just.. just stuff has been real weird lately, and it's probably just nerves or something. I just swear that something weird happened on the bus, but, it was probably… my imagination."

"I guess these days anything is possible," Elena says, picking up her chopsticks again and taking a bite of her noodles. She looks over at him and she frowns. "What do you mean stuff's been really weird?" she asks slowly, a concerned look on her face. Did Drake hit himself in the head? Sharp eyes roam over his forehead. He doesn't look like he had a concussion.

Shrugging his shoulders, Drake lets out a soft breath. Licking his lips, he says. "Just.. before the crash." He pauses, nose wrinkling. ".. I.. um… maybe it's nothing. I probably had a panic attack." He says. "It's just that.. everything felt like it stopped, froze in place.. except me." He snorts, before fiddling with his chop sticks a bit. "I could walk around the bus, snag things in mid air. Then soon as I touched someone else, everything just went racing back, and I found myself in the hospital."

"….did you hit your head?" Elena asks. She knows it sounds like she doesn't believe him, but she was on the way to becoming a doctor, or a scientist. She needed to get rid of every other piece of fact that gave the impression that Drake was just seeing things due to the impact before ruling it in as something else.

"No, I didn't hit my head. I broke my rib supposedly in the back of the bus." Drake says as he pops a bit of rice into his mouth, chewing thoughtfully. "But I didn't hit my head. It's… it happened before." He says in a soft voice. "Just once, when my best friend Rob was killed in front of me. I could see everything.. the bullet in mid air, the smoke from the barrel. I ran.. and I ran.. and.. " He swallows tightly in his throat. ".. I'm not crazy.." He murmurs, as if trying to convince himself.

"….Drake…" Elena says, for the first time speaking his name out loud. "Have you had CAT scans before? I mean, if this isn't the first time it's happened, there could be…. something that's keeping you from seeing things correctly." Like a tumor, but she's not saying that out loud. That was odd though. From both incidents it sounded like this only manifested in times of stress. But a tumor could do that. But if he had them before and they were -normal-….

Drake rolls his eyes a bit as he pokes at his food, then says, "Whatever, I'm just messing with you. You know I am. As if that'd stuff would really happen." He stabs his food a bit more, though he seems a bit more fidgety, annoyed. He takes a few more bites of his food, as if he was hurrying the whole chew, and swallow process. The sound of his foot tapping beneath the table can be heard, twitching.

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