2007-11-24: Every Step of the Way

Starring:

Bob_icon.gif Angela_icon.gif Mohinder_icon.gif

Summary: The Company also works to solve the problem of the virus.

Date It Happened: November 24th, 2007

Every Step of the Way


Angela Petrelli's Office

New York City

"I know Victoria has her secrets," Bob is saying, in somewhat heated, but nonetheless rational tones to his fellow Founder, as he stands in her habitat and gestures at her. It's early, morning, and the sun creeps through the window. "And I respect her privacy, but maybe it's time we remove her from her safe haven long enough to determine what's going on! I'm certain she has answers. Elle saw. The precog saw. What's in the past isn't in the past anymore, it's today. It's the future."

The last time Mohinder spoke with Mrs. Petrelli, he was delivering the body of her dead son. His presence is sure to not be welcome again as he ignores protocol and the chain of command. (Mostly) Even the courtesy of knocking is mostly forgone as he raps his fist against the door. Once, twice, then he tests the knob and ignores anyone who might be telling him he needs to make an appointment. As far as the geneticist is concerned, this is long overdue.

In contrast, Angela's voice is cool, defined by its steely edge and hint of ice. "If you want to renege on the arrangement, Bob, you are more than welcome to. But I won't have any part in it." She leans back in her seat, the leather of her office chair creaking beneath her weight, and turns her gaze toward the door as Mohinder makes his unceremonious entrance. "Dr. Suresh." There's a slight reprimand there, though he isn't likely to pick up on it unless he's specifically listening for it. "To what do we owe the pleasure?"

"Then I'll be needing her last known address. I suspect you know where it is," Bob answers on the heels of their impolitely barging visitor's arrival. Founder or not, he knows Angela is the one holding the cards when it comes to the woman in question. He quiets in order to turn a criticizing eye on Mohinder, regarding him coolly, though his greeting is a touch friendlier than his colleague's by a small measure. "Good morning, Dr. Suresh."

Ordinarily, Mohinder would have waited his turn. Gone through protocol, take things by the book. But this isn't an ordinary time. Research just keeps throwing more puzzles his way. While he, Cass and Samantha have slowly been working on a breakthrough, there's still information that's being kept from him. "Bob. Mrs. Petrelli," he briefly greets as he shuts the door behind him and approaches the pair. "I apologize for this intrusion, but it's rather urgent." He glances aside at Bob, as if telling the man 'you know what this is about.'

Angela raises both her dark eyebrows at Bishop, her lips pressed into a thin, unimpressed line. Victoria's last known address? Not going to happen. She turns her attention back to the doctor and offers him a tight smile, bordering on something painful when he glances over at Bob. It's difficult to mistake that look for anything other than what it is. "Rather urgent," she agrees, "but not so urgent that you couldn't stop to apologize. What is it?"

Bob's gaze, as it meets Mohinder's, through the lenses of his glasses, is certainly knowing. There's no question, as far as he's concerned, as to why the geneticist is barging in. To demand answers. "Have you any news, doctor?"

Mohinder's brows knit at the chastisement from Angela, but he moves on. "The latest strain of the Shanti Virus. We've made some progress on finding a cure, but not enough. We now know it's targeting the adrenal systems and are working on what will hopefully be a cure." But that's not the part that's been really eating at him. He looks at his bosses each in turn. "When I last spoke to Bob, he said you, Mrs. Petrelli, have the clearance for our files on the case. Information on what the Company knows about its origins, initial infection. Whether or not Company doctors made this strain. If we're to produce enough antibodies to cure this, I need full disclosure and access to documentation on this viral strain." There's a very brief pause as he looks at Angela, expression firm, but requesting, "Please."

Angela studies Mohinder from beneath her dark lashes for what must feel like a very long time, at least to her, stare unwavering. "In cases like these, I find myself weighing the risks against the benefits," she says. "If I were to give you full disclosure, there is always a chance our files might fall into the wrong hands whether or not they leave this facility. You have the potential to do more harm than good with our records, Dr. Suresh, especially if they lead to a dead end instead of a cure. That said…" She lets out a slow, contemplative breath through her nose and closes her eyes, pausing as the mental scale starts to tip — presumably in Suresh's favour. "I'm willing to give you access to everything we have, on the condition the research is destroyed at its conclusion."

His expression unreadable in its neutrality, Bob only crosses his arms and listens - at first. By the time Angela has finished speaking, he's giving her a probing look. "Are you sure it will in fact be everything we have, Angela?" No doubt referring to their conversation moments before Mohinder interrupted. He refocuses on the scientist. "I have a daughter who's ill. I understand your plight, Dr. Suresh. You've been extremely patient."

Mohinder stalks closer to the desk, looking ready to launch a verbal tirade in response.. yet the tirade never comes. Not when Angela relents. His eyes close briefly in a silent prayer of thanks to whatever God may still be listening to him. "That is an entirely fair compromise Mrs. Petrelli. If this turns out to be a manufactured virus, the documentation, the samples, it should all be destroyed and disposed of." He inclines his head in a nod towards Bob, "And we have a large number of people who are growing ill. For now, we're quick to contain them, and keep them comfortable. I need the information we have, to add to our discoveries so that we can better produce a solution."

"The only thing I won't be putting on the table is Victoria Pratt," Angela says to Bob. "This is non-negotiable." Her tone and body language, closed as it is, suggests Pratt isn't a subject that's open to further debate. She rises from her desk, palms flat on the surface. "I'll update the clearance levels accordingly. You should, by early evening at the latest, have access to the files that you and your collaborators need. You will, however, conduct your research within the confines of this facility unless either Bob or myself give you explicit permission to do otherwise. Is that understood?"

Bob doesn't let his frown get all the way to the surface, but his demeanour seems to bristle for a second and then return to its standard calm. "Don't expect a treasure trove," he adds with a hint of regret. He lingers near the corner of Angela's desk and watches Mohinder. "In many ways, this is as new to us as it is to you."

The dropping of Victoria's name piques Mohinder's interest greatly. This may be something to pry into at some other point rather than now. The further stipulation that Angela applies isn't exactly welcome, but he inclines his head to indicate his understanding. Cass and Dr. Applebaum will just have to deal with that. Unless he skirts these rules. Bob's comment earns a dark look from the scientist, "Hopefully it will yield some further insight into this situation."

"Hopefully," Angela stresses as she moves around her desk, past Bob and past Mohinder on her way toward the office door. "I expect to receive updates on the situation as it develops," she adds by way of farewell. "Should something come up while I'm unavailable, I give Bob the authority to make decisions regarding this investigation in my stead." She stops at the door, casting a dark look over her shoulder at Bishop. "Provided he's comfortable with it?"

"Of course," Bob answers — and gives Angela a small, serious nod, as if to confirm. He also makes his way to the door. It is, after all, not his office. He claps Mohinder on the arm once in passing and offers a genial smile that doesn't quite reach his eyes. Circumstances are grim. "Best of luck. I'll help you every step of the way."

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