2007-06-20: From Hypothetical To Actual


Judah_icon.gif Samantha_icon.gif

Summary: A discussion about hypothetical powers becomes a discussion about Sylar.

Date It Happened: June 20th, 2007

From Hypothetical To Actual

Mount Sinai Hospital

On a balmy early summer evening, the ER for a change, is in a surprisingly slow slump. This suits Sam just fine, as it gives her a chance to catch up on her charts, listen to residents present, and get to handle administrative crap. Which come to think of it, means it doesn't suit Sam at all, and makes her fairly kranky. She'll handle her ethnically acceptable guilt over kinda sorta wishing for a trauma later after work.

Luckily for Sam, things at Mount Sinai show signs of picking up; a tall, lean figure in a dark coat, dress slacks and polished shoes comes breezing through the double doors of the ER. Detective Judah Demsky isn't an uncommon face around these parts of the hospital, but for once his arrival doesn't mark a tragedy. He's here to ask Dr. Applebaum some questions as a friend rather than a cop, as a personal favour instead of a matter of business. Before he can do that, however, he has to find her — and that usually means going through the front desk if he can't find a hapless intern to drag aside first.

It doesn't take too long, just long enough. A few calls are made, an administrative assistant goes on a quest, and finally Sam emerges in her jeans and t-shirt over a lab coat. "Judah," greets when she finally makes an appearance. "You are like an oasis in my otherwise dull day. Why aren't you schvitzing in that getup? Come on." Bossy, much? But her smile is easy, so apparently it's been a good day. "Long time no see. I'd have asked you over for seder, but you were busy being the terror that flaps," she gestures at his coat, "In the night. How's Mara?" She tilts her head further into the ER, apparently intending to lead him somewhere.

It's just as well that Sam didn't extend the invite; it's been so long since he set foot in Temple and practiced his faith, Judah wouldn't have felt comfortable celebrating. "Oi, gevald," he mutters, mostly at his own expense as he follows the doctor's lead, "she's recovering. Pushed her way into my apartment last week, cane and all. If Holcombe doesn't hurry up and give her job back, she's going to be the end of me." Although his tone is laid-back, his eyes are alert and constantly on the move, scanning the room for things that might be of interest to him other than the matter directly at hand. Typical Demsky.

Samantha guides him through the main thoroughfair of the ER, deftly handling the various and sundry who try to approach her for this and that. It's generally met with a lifted hand and declaration of, "If it's not a bleed-out or a massive outbreak of god-knows-what, I'm on break." After steering a hapless medical student to the nearest senior nurse, she finally manages to escort Judah to the staff break room, which is fortunately empty and a little on the dark side to provide ample opportunity to nap. That's not on the agenda however. "Have a seat." Samantha grabs one herself, scoots it around so it's backwards, and plunks down on it that way, arms resting across the back of the rest. "Been a long time since you've bothered to speak to me about anything other than GSW trajectories and drug testing analyses on perps of various degree." She flashes a smile. "Talk to me, Judah. Why the privelege?"

For a moment, Judah seriously debates continuing to stand, but it doesn't take long for his tired legs to convice him to relent. He's been running around all day, and though he'd never admit to anyone — least of all Sam — he's glad she's presented him with the opportunity to rest for a few minutes. Most of his business is conducted on his feet. "I'm in need of a scientific opinion," he says with a straight face and not even a hint of humour. He reaches into his jacket and pulls out a copy of 'Activating Evolution' by Dr. Chandra Suresh, which he angles so Sam can see. "You were the first person who jumped to mind."

Samantha's eyes flick to the cover and then back to him. "Good book. A lot of people I know these days have a copy of their own. Dr. Suresh had some very interesting theories, and I've had the opportunity to do some consulting with his son. Well, more shop talk, it's not like I see a lot of what the book talks about here." Not a lot…but some. Magically teleporting corpses. Healing with the touch of a hand. Shrieking at junkies to knock them unconscious when no one is looking. Just a little. She keeps her expression mild. "For an obscure little book no one's heard of, it seems to be in everyone's hands."

Sam's use of the term 'a lot' doesn't escape Judah's attention. He'd make a very poor detective if it did. "Not a lot," he concedes, "but some. You don't have to hide anything from me, Samantha — I'm not going to think you're some kind of nutjob because you think there are people out there who can breathe fire without tossing back a bottle of ethanol. Stranger things have happened." He lowers the book, but his gaze does not shift from the woman sitting across from him. "There's somebody who needs my help, and I don't know enough about their condition to give it to them."

"By their condition I assume you mean medical, or you wouldn't be talking to me?" Samantha hazards. "Let's say that for now, I'm willing to follow the Horatio line of thinking. Can you give me any details on what exactly you need?"

"Precognition." Judah hasn't had much time to thumb through the book yet, but he has a few choice pages with neon yellow sticky-tabs attached to them, so what he's about to say next probably isn't coming completely out of left field. "Let's say you could see the future. /Really/ see the future, and not the way paranoid schizophrenics do. It would make you a little loopy, wouldn't it?"

"It certainly might." Sam pulls back in the chair a little. "It would depend on the frequency of the precognitive episodes, and how they stress the person both psychologically and biologically. If you go for certain lines of thought, there are meditative and holistic techniques that might be helpful in getting such an ability under control, but understanding it on a neurological level would be a smart beginning."

"Is there a way you can understand it without hooking yourself up to a machine?" This is, to Judah, the most important question — the deal-breaker. It shows not only on his face, but in the hardness of his voice as well. "No wires. No probes. No needles."

"Not unless you could read minds." she says. Oh, the irony. "If someone was having some form of precognitive episode, I'd want an EKG and probably an MRI as well during an occurrence. Take blood samples. Maybe even tap spinal fluid, but that's a bit extreme. If you want science, that's what would need to be subjected to. You could go a softer route, like I said - look into various forms of yoga, Amerind shamanic trancework, alternative and holistic sort of stuff. You might even want to look into some of the work the Catholic Church has done with regard to people experiencing visions and the like." A pause. "You -could- do diary and observation, I suppose. Watch the person when they're having an episode and record their reactions as it occurs, either on a feed or by journaling. Have them diary in the same fashion, both the episode and the way their body feels afterward. It'd be a start, and might help determine if there's some kind of bio-pattern to the phenomenon." A pause. "Am I making sense?"

"Unfortunately." Judah doesn't explain what he might mean by this. Instead, he sighs and leans forward, reaching up to pinch the bridge of his nose. The gesture should be familiar to Sam; it's a sign that the detective is getting frustrated, though it's probably safe to assume it isn't her fault. If it was, he'd almost certainly be directing his ire at her with a glare. "What if — and I know this sounds crazy — the person is /always/ having a 'precognitive episode'? What if, for the purposes of speculation, they're living in both the future /and/ the present simultaneously, and can't always distinguish which is which?"

Samantha blinks. "How very Merlin." she says. "I honestly don't see how that wouldn't lead to some fashion of mental disorder, frankly. I'd have to default again to some form of documenting the experience from both objective and subjective viewpoints. Try to determine if there are indicators of what's being experienced when. And again, I'd probably point to meditative spiritual practices of some kind. Dr. Suresh's own culture has an abundance of it. That's some pretty heavy stuff there. Can I ask what this hypothetical person is experiencing? I mean, do they get headaches, pass out, constantly create grammatical errors, what?"

"That last one." Seeking out Mohinder Suresh wasn't something Judah had been considering, but if there's anyone who can give him the perspective he needs, it's someone who has experience dealing with people like the hypothetical individual of which he speaks. "I don't need to tell you that this stays between us and off the record, right? Big things are happening, Samantha. If what I've heard is true, then Mount Sinai is going to have a lot of bodies on its hands before it's over. Will you do something for me?"

Samantha isn't in the thick of it, but she's damn near knee deep. "You know I'll be discreet, unless there's some sort of life threatening situation and I don't see how there would be. I might do something for you, but tell me what it is, and I'll tell you if I can." No blanket promises, but there is honesty.

"If a man named Gabriel Gray comes here asking questions about Mara, call me right away. If he comes here asking about this book?" Judah taps the cover of 'Activating Evolution' with his index finger. "Don't tell him anything. Pretend you've never even heard of it, understand?"

"Gabriel Gray." Samantha repeats. "Can I ask why?" Sylar's the name that's been in the papers, and the name attached to the face on the sheet Mohinder showed her, so she could warn her fellow Enhanced. "Does he have something against Suresh's work or the speculations about its actuality?"

A slight narrowing of Judah's eyes suggests that he's not sure how much he should give away. After scrutinizing Sam for a short time, he shakes his head and flips the book over, pointing at the picture of Chandra Suresh on the back cover. "This man was murdered," he says, "and recent evidence suggests Gabriel Gray is the man responsible. It's what Detective Damaris believes, and it's what I believe, too. He's a fanatic. It's not that he doesn't believe — he's a case study."

The wheels turn in Sam's brain. Doctor Suresh Senior was murdered, and Junior is being chased by…"Sylar." she breathes softly, eyes going wide and round as her spine straightens. "Gabriel Gray is Sylar." Smart cookie, this one. "He's still out there." She's warned Erica and Bekah and Namir, only now there are others to think of too. Her knuckles grip the back end of the chair, not-quite white. Sam's seen a lot of ugly. Despite the whole Jewish American Princess presentation, there's little that shakes her as far as blood or violence, but she's gone stiff before taking a big breath and forcibly relaxing herself. "Believe me, if I see him in this ER, I'm going to do my level best to get me and - " a pause. "Well. I'll do the smartest thing I can. Hopefully. Which will definitely not included striking up a conversation about my friends or books, or even the weather."

Judah cracks a smile. It's a small smile, but a smile just the same. Mara made him promise to run if he ever encountered Sylar, but he won't be so bold as to ask Samantha to do the same. Their circumstances are too different. Of course, if he knew that she too had an ability, he might not be showing her his teeth like he is now. "Sylar. You hear that name a lot these days?"

"He's been in the papers, and…his name's been tossed around by people I know." Samantha says, and then lowers her tone. "I have a good idea of how dangerous…and potentially unstoppable he is." She suppresses a shuder. "But my understanding is that if he catches you, there's little to be done. I don't know the whole of it. Just bits and pieces." She tilts her head. "But how do you know Sylar? Gabriel Gray? That's not made it into the papers. Has he come up in one of your cases? Is your hypothetical person tangled up with him somehow - did he go after them?" Questions, questions.

If Judah tells Samantha too much, it might put her — and others — in danger. "We had him under arrest, but couldn't hold him on any charges." That much is public knowledge. "My partner and I have been trying to dig up some new dirt, but so far nothing. He has a personal vendetta against Mara, so it's probably a good idea you don't go around advertising your friendship until this gets cleared up." Assuming it gets cleared up. One of the first lessons Judah learned was that, sometimes, the bad guys get away. As much as he hates to think about it, that could still happen here. "You're right, though. He /is/ dangerous. Unstoppable? Nobody's unstoppable, doc."

The initial shock has faded, and Samantha's feeling less out-of-sorts. She assumes a more relaxed seated position. "Nigh-unstoppable, then." Because this is the right moment for a Tick homage. "What's he got against Mara? Doesn't seem like he'd be the sort to hold the typical authority figure oriented grudge." Another thought occurs to her, and she begins, "Is Mara - " there's an abrupt stop, a small frown. She doesn't finish the query.

"Whatever you're about to ask, you'll have to ask Mara yourself." Judah rises from his seat. It's time for him to bow out before he slips up and says something he might regret later. When Mara bashes him over the head with her cane for being a loose-lipped idiot. "You have my number," he reminds Samantha gently, "just in case something turns up. I appreciate all your help."

"Of course." Mind you, now she wants to ask Mara, and that may yet make a beating still iminent. "I hope I helped. Or at least narrowed the field some. If your hypothetical friend changes their mind, I'd be happy to conduct what tests I can, as…gently and discreetly as possible."

"I'll pass the message along," Judah promises, though he already suspects that the answer will be a firm, resounding: NO. "Take care, Sam." And then he's gone, ducking out the break room door as swiftly as he pushed his way into the ER in the first place. That's Detective Demsky for you — always on the go.

Samantha leans back, consulting her mental list. She has a small cadre of people to warn about this new information, and a few speculations of her own to muse on.

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