2007-10-29: Guiding Light


Cass_icon.gif Erin_icon.gif Taine_icon.gif


Erin and Taine visit Bat Country unannounced in order to try and get help from Cass. Instead, Erin turns out to be the very help that Cass has been looking for.

October 29th, 2007:

Guiding Light

Bat Country Labs

After Texas, after meeting Bob, after…so many things. Cass returns to Bat Country. Not really because she has any more research to do at the moment, but because she doesn't really know what to do next. All of her old research, most of it having gone with her to Texas, is laid out in front of her on the table. A sample of the virus is laid out on a slide and put into her microscope. However, she's not looking through the eyepieces. Just staring at the papers in front of her, she's trying to regroup.

Work has kept Erin away from visiting Bat Country. With her transfer to another set, she's been extremely busy, and at the end of a long day, the only thing she wants to do is collapse into a roughly human-shaped pile on her bed. However, now that the set's ready for filming in just a couple days, the work load is much lighter, and she found herself standing around for a greater portion of the day doing nothing.

That's when she pulled Cass' contact information out of her pocket, and got to thinking. To make a long story short, she's here now, with Taine, in the basement of the Seville Medical Center, with one of her co-stars. It's probably best not to walk in unannounced; regardless, Erin shouders open the door and steps inside. "Cass, I hope you're here," she states. "Because I don't want to add a breaking and entering charge to my problems."

That costar would be Taine. Dressed in his regular day clothes, which include a lot of flannel and jeans, and a coat of course, he stands next to the pretty soap star that he works with and smiles faintly, before looking back at the door. "You wouldn't really break into a lab, would you?" he asks, glancing over the doors quietly, the locks. "And I think this might be a little high tech for a card or a lock pick anyway. And I'm not kicking the door in." So she doesn't even have to ask. Just because he has a rugged accent from downunder doesn't mean he's a outlaw.

As she's not actually doing anything or focusing on anything at all, Cass can hear Erin and Taine entering. Though she was technically on a trip, she's not rested and even worse, she's not quite as hopeful about this whole fixing things any more. Appearing in the doorway of the lab and the main room, she just kind of stares at Erin and Taine as they enter. She still looks tired and not as star-struck as she normally would be if the two soap stars entered her lab under different circumstances. "It's hard to break into a place that's open." If Cass weren't here, it would most likely be impossible for Erin and Taine to break in, but that's not the point at the moment. "Hi, I'm sorry," she goes for her cellphone in her pocket. "Did you try to call me to set something up? Or did I forget something? Reception down here is bad."

"No. It's open," Erin says, rolling her eyes at Taine as she pushes the door open further. "Okay, so not breaking, but entering. Uninvited." Unless she's invited, which she is, kind of, then it wouldn't be uninvited. It'd be invited, and they'l be having drinks and cheesy bits and — moving on.

Erin does have the capacity to look sheepish when she has to. After all, she is a master of the acting trade. In any case, she does just that, looking away. Oh, yeah, caling first would have been a good idea. "I just thought I'd stop by and see if you were here." No, she didn't call.

Her eyes narrow, and she glances about the lab, before her eyes return to Cass. She can fee it. It's here, and it's incredibly disturbing to picture it in her mind's eye. "Are you sick?" she asks.

"Oh good," Taine says, moving deeper inside, running a hand through his blond hair, which has grown out the last few weeks. It hangs in his eyes a little when he allows it to. "Good day, Cass," he says to his neighbor, smiling his winner smile. Though the more serious undertones do take over as he glances toward the young woman with him. The question of the other woman being sick draws his eyes over, and he looks vaguely tempted to back away. Been sick enough the last few months, thank you. Trying to date a woman who makes you sick when she gets angry is not fun by any means.

It's not that Erin isn't invited to Bat Country. But with all that's been going on she's actually kind of pushed aside everything that doesn't involve finding a cure and making sure that everyone is alright. Or fighting with the Company. Running a hand through her hair, Cass gives a weak smile. "I'm here." That much everyone can see. The smile gets passed to Taine and she wishes it could be brighter, but she just doesn't have the energy at the moment. "Hey." The question that she gets asked by Erin makes her pause and she has to think for a moment. "I…no. I'm not sick." How would Erin know that? Especially since she did have a whole bunch of sick people here not too long ago.

Welcome to Erin's Life 101. Okay, so Cass isn't sick. "I just thought I heard you coughing. While I was outside." Because if Cass isn't sick… Well, it's a damn lab, and surely there might be virus samples. Erin isn't dense! …And yet, she still looks fairly uncomfortable. Worried, even, because of the structure of whatever it is she's feeling. It always makes her uneasy when she feels something that could hurt someone.

She isn't shy. In fact, she makes herself right at home by sitting down at the table. This whole thing is irritating. In fact, she'll say that! "This whole thing is irritating." There. With a glance around to make sure there's no one else about, she adds, "So you think you can help? Because I'm not sure I can keep going on like I have been. I mean, there's days like this morning where I wake up exhausted." The reason? She got mad at the cats. Those poor cats. But they're okay! DON'T WORRY!
You know. Are you sick? No, I'm not sick. But I have all these VIRUS SAMPLES right here. would have been a perfect segway into explaining things. Taine glances from his coworker (and prospect) to his neighbor (and taken) and lets his smile lighten a little, trying to put on a serious face, since she's just complaining about how much she can't sleep. Even if it's risking a flu, he reaches over and touches her back, between her shoulderblades, to give a semblance of support. The tabloids would love to see this. If there's cameras on the wall, she could take a screenshot and get a couple bucks for it, probably.

"I'm just here to support my friend and costar," he adds as an aside. He sleeps just fine. Except when friend and costar gets pissed off at him. Which can be often.

If Cass really wanted to sell pictures of her semi-secret lab to the tabloids for a couple of bucks, this would be the answer to her prayers. However, that's not the case at the moment. Nodding at Taine's mention of here to just be here for support, the woman focuses her attention to Erin. "I can imagine. Or, well, I have to imagine. I'm…you haven't explained to me what exactly it is that you can do, Ms. McCarty." There's sympathy there and she pulls a stool over to the table so that she can sit with them. "I wasn't coughing, so let's start with why you thought I was sick." Even if she can't see the virus samples from here - they're behind her - she can see them in her mind's eye. It's like she can feel exactly where they are in the room.

She raises an eyebrow at Cass. "Ms. McCarty is my mom. I'm not that old. Erin's fine." She also answers to 'Morgan,' much to her embarrassment, but that's a different story. Taking a deep breath as she feels Taine's hand on her back, she relaxes. Even if she's not quite ready for a relationship just yet - not 'til she gets this problem under control - she trusts him, and it shows.

It's contained.

Erin seems distracted as Cass speaks. Irritated, disjointed, uncomfortable, not all there… For a moment, her head turns, as if she's thinking about looking over her shoulder, but the gesture is abandoned. "I make people sick," she says frankly. "…And better. I can make them better. I guess if I couldn't, Taine would be dead by now." A chuckle is added to this, but it's weak.

She glances around again, then asks, "Is someone else here?" It's not Cass. It's not Taine.
"I'd be dead about five times over," Taine admits, still keeping his hand on her back, and trying to smile, but he can't help but look at his housemate with a skeptical look. The reaction he'd had to this situation had not been the best, but he believes it'd be about the best that anyone could have. Of course this woman seems to have more knowledge about that sort of thing than he did, so maybe she's better equipt to accept it. His hand shifts a little, not going lower so much as just moving around, a soothing gesture along her spine. "She also made half of the cast and crew sick for a week or so, but she fixed that as well," he adds cautiously. Just how accepting can people really be? Or did he honestly have the worst reaction ever?

While Cass is listening, she's still a little distracted by the virus that's sitting behind her. What a pair the two of them make. Distracted patient and distracted doctor. When she hears what Erin can do, that's interesting, and she's slowly readjusting to being fully in the conversation. The woman didn't know it was possible to manipulate viruses in other people. Gears are starting to click into place, but they don't even need to complete a revolution, because Erin finishes her thought for her. When she mentions that she can make people better, well, Cass snaps her entire focus right on the woman. Sitting up straighter, she wants to reach out and grab Erin, but that's when she realizes she's still wearing the latex surgical gloves from working with all the blood. "You…you can make people better?" While she's trying to remain calm and objective about the question, this is really what she's focusing on in the whole speech. It's too much to dare to hope. Can it really work? "No. I'm the only one here."

Quickly standing up, she starts to pace. Synapses are firing at a rapid pace. While she's talking, she's not really talking to Erin, even if she's addressing her. "You can make and heal sickness. Then…you must be able to…you can detect…that's why you thought I was sick." Finally, she looks back at her. "No. No one else is here. It's just us. What you're feeling is a virus I've been trying to cure that I have samples of."

Erin again looks over her shoulder. She knows it's here somewhere! It's not the clearest picture in her mind, but what she sees… There's the vague feeling that this is more than just a common cold. It's almost closer the the unstable vortex of viruses that appear whenever she gets mad at someone. Ouch.

Except this isn't something that's either deadly or dangerous. Just uneasy, if that can even be an accurate description. Troubling.

No, Taine's reaction had been awful, and despite appearances, Erin still isn't over that, even if she can't blame Taine for what he did. Her own terror was just as great as his must have been, and when everything's said and done, Erin's still the freak, not him. That doesn't mean he won't feel her leaning into that touch a little… Talking to someone else isn't easy to do.

Looking off to the side, Erin closes one eye, narrowing the other. The exspression is quite like someone who's looking through a telescope, and that's exactly what she's doing. Narrowing things down. "I can see it," is the distracted answer. Biting her top lip, she stands, eyes falling on the viral sample. There's an almost unconscious reaction as her eyes take on that metallic shine. "What, you want to kill it?"

As the changes begin, Taine's hand starts to move back, as if he intends to take a step away and give her room, but before it does more than lift away from her shirt, it goes back to where it was. The pressure doesn't increase, but it's still there. They're talking about crazy science stuff. Viruses and sicknesses tend to go over his head. He just plays a doctor on TV. He takes a slow breath, and offers nothing besides his hand for support. No running away and hiding in the next room this time. Just don't make him sick, okay?

Poor Taine. For the moment he's just on the periphery for Cass. Something much more important just came up. Grabbing more gloves, Cass quickly slides them on and brings over the tray with the smear of blood on it for Erin. She keeps it far enough away, though, because she doesn't want either of them touching it and possibly getting infected. If someone with regenerative blood couldn't ward it away, she's taking no chances any more. The metallic sheen isn't missed. "I don't even know if it has a cure, yet. But…how does this work for you? Is…is it even possible?" Because this is something she's been sorely needing over the past couple of days. Hope.

Scrunching up her nose as she realises that she's now having trouble seeing - due to the bright blue aura around her eyes - she stares at the vague shape of the tray in front of her. Yeah, that's it. That's what's got her so unsettled, and now hat she knows where it is, Erin can see a bit of a better picture.

She doesn't know the terminology behind this stuff, but there's a little strand of stuff inside each particle that she works on pulling apart, just as someone might pull apart a piece of yarn. It's not easy, though… This one's different, like someone's tied a knot at the end of the string, and she can't fray it. "There's things inside," she explains. "Like DNA or something, I guess. And I can unravel it."


She takes a step forward and reaches for the tray, not touching it, but allowing her hand to hover over it. The actress is starting to sweat, lines appearing around her eyes as she concentrates. And grunts. Even in that little sample, there are hundreds of cells, and her conentration is on tearing the little bastards to shreds. "Yeah, it's possible. I'm kicking their tiny little asses. They're putting up a fight, though. What the hell is this?"

While never been told that viruses have 'little tiny asses', Cass certainly is impressed by what she sees. Or what she's at least hoping is happening here. It's impossible to tell with just plain eyesight. "It's…a new strain of virus that possibly was engineered by a group of people that made a very big mistake." There's a flicker of her eyes to Taine as this is happening. Where does he exactly fit into all of this? Skittish about the fact that Erin is so close to the virus without any kind of gloves or protection, she almost pulls back. But, he restrains herself to make sure to see all this through. After all, the woman supposedly can fix the virus. "It's been resistant to everything known to cure it's previous strains."

It's taking longer than it should, and she's starting to look tired. Still, glad to be in the spotlight at the moment - and to be doing something that isn't hurting someone else - she continues explaining. "They're all the same," she says. "Not exactly, but they're all similar, I guess. This one's just…" She's breathing harder now, eyes closing as she focuses, hand closing into a fist. "Dead. Gone. It's dead," she says, stepping back toward Taine. A little unsteady on her feet now, Erin rubs her forehead, opening her eyes to reveal that they're no longer lit up like Christmas tree lights, but they're quite bloodshot.

"It's like everything was glued together. It didn't want to pull apart."

"But you still destroyed it, right?" Taine asks, putting his hand back on her again, though he can feel the sweat between her shoulderblades and he frowns. "It doesn't usually make you quite this tired," he says, looking a little concerned, then glancing over at the scientist. "So it's… engineered? Sounds like something out of a soap opera, or SciFi channel Saturday movie special." Which he's auditioned for a few times, just so people know, but he's a little busy with the soap opera first. "I never expected this sort of thing to be real-world. It's not contagious, is it?" He looks from the scientist/bookstore owner/neighbor and then his costar, who knows more about viruses than she probably should.

"I wish less of my life sounded like your scripts." Cass gives Taine a bit of a lopsided smile, but there's more tiredness behind it than anything else lately. "No offense. But, you're right. It does sound like that." Giving Erin a look over, she looks tired and she tries to make sure the woman sits down. Before immediately going to her microscope to check the viruses. She's right. They're gone. "Yes. It's contagious," she replies while still looking at the microscope. "But it's not airborne. Just…don't touch the slides." Not like there are any around him. Almost unbelieving, she keeps magnifying the scope, but she can't find a trace of a working virus. In wonder and almost holding her breath, she turns around to face Erin. "It's gone." This is it. This is the way they can fix this. But, she looks at Erin and frowns. If it makes her this tired to just cure what was on the slide, she can't ask her to try and cure an entire person, can she? It could hurt her.

There's a hesitation, but, finally, she does ask, "You're alright? Do you need anything to drink or something?" Not what is really on her mind at the moment, but it's something.

"Taine." The word is short, she looks at him and rolls her eyes. She is a sci-fi movie, nevermind the god-damned engineered virus! For a moment, it looks like she's going to punch him right in his pretty face, but she refrains. Only because she's tired, though, and to that end, she plops herself down onto the nearest seat and puts her head down on the cool table.

This isn't the Erin who needs to keep up public appearances, and smile through frustration, or be careful with what she says to fans, and in the moment that Cass assures her that the virus is gone, the blue eyes look up, and she snaps, "I told you it was," in a somewhat accusatory tone. DIDN'T YOU BELIEVE HER? Swallowing, slumping again, she apologises. "Sorry, I'm just— No, usually, I'm not this tired afterward. It feels more like it does when I lose control. I mean, I think I'm okay, but I guess I could use some water."

When she gives him that look, Taine pulls his hand back and let's it drop, not really knowing what she's glaring about, so making the assumption that she doesn't want her sweaty back touched or something. He's not a telepath, and she looked like she was going to punch him. He doesn't step back, though, so it's not like he's trying to get away from her. Though she's not usually this tired, Cass? Yes, she's usually this bitchy. But he won't go right out and say it. Instead he just adds, "I certainly won't be touching anything here." Except maybe the woman he's trying to date, but she just made him stop doing that.

"I needed to see for myself," Cass tells Erin gently. Just because Erin says that it's gone isn't scientific evidence. "It's not something I can instinctively feel or see." Unlike Erin can through her ability. "No, it's fine. I'm sorry. You came here for my help and instead…" The bookstore owner trails off and goes for a glass of water for the soap opera star. Coming back with one filled with cold water, latex gloves conspicuously taken off again, she hands it off to Erin. "I…I have no right to ask this, Erin. And you don't have to say yes. But I have friends who are infected with this virus." She gestures behind her at the slide. "And…they're getting worse." And fast. "If you could just…see one of them. Maybe? Not today, we can wait until you've gathered your strength again if you agree." She's nervous about this. And not for the normal reasons she should be for talking with Erin and Taine. "Just…if you could look at them…" the woman obviously has an intuitive knowledge of viruses. What she learns could help. To Taine, she just adds, "Everything's been disinfected."

Taine's observation is correct. Erin is a bitch on the best of days. A BITCH WITH A HEART OF… /maybe/ bronze, though it could be silver on some days. Definitely never gold. She's pretty self-serving. However, the very idea that she can help people rather than hurt them … gives her the same hope Cass felt. Erin doesn't want to hurt people, but she has been, and— The stunned look that she offers Cass as she takes the water is unreadable. What is she thinking?

"Yes. I'll do it." She's not going to ask about the specifics - she doesn't really care. All she heard is that people have this nearly-impossible-to-kill disease, and that they're getting worse, and she's in. Perhaps there's at least a little gold plating on her heart? Tarnished, sure, but that's beside the point. "Just— After, after, if you'll help me figure this out. I don't want to keep making people sick without meaning to." Maybe there's a bit of an ulterior motive to offering her help, but she wants to fix it.

Pressing the glass to her forehead, Erin allows a contented sigh to escape, and it's only now that she asks, "What's this thing do? Why's it so hard to kill?"

"I'm sure it has, but you'll understand if I don't take any chances," Taine says softly, looking between the two women. Now that she's got her drink, he lets her move away from him a bit should she choose to, but he doesn't have much else to say. His only super power is his dashing good looks and amazing hair.

That's alright. Cass deals with Nathan on an almost daily basis since this thing started and he's kind of a bastard with a sort of heart of gold. But, she still has affection for the man anyway. The same will, surely, be true of Erin once the two get to know each other. And, no matter what she may say, how quickly she answers is enough to win Cass' friendship for as long as she wants it. "Really?" Some of the tension finally starts to leave her shoulders that she had been storing for weeks. The fight's not over yet. Erin may not be able to entirely cure it when it's so rampant on another person's system. "Thank you," she says softly, closing her eyes in thanks for a moment. But, then, she snaps them open again. There are things to do. "Of course. I'll do whatever I can to help." Because, if she can even reverse some of the symptoms and progression of the virus, then it's well worth it. There's a smile for Taine. "No, of course not. I wouldn't take chances, either." To Erin, she also adds, "It targets the adrenal system. It's evolved to a point, though, where it's resistant to the cures that previously stopped it."

Through her tiredness, Erin offers a genuine smile. "Yeah, really," she says, before the smile begins to fade. Just because she's going to help doesn't mean she's looking forward to feeling like this… or worse than this. "Didn't expect to come here and be used, but, hey, it's something good out of this whole mess." She can't complain too much. Or at all, really, and despite the harshness of her chosen phrase, she's glad she can help.

Her eyes close again, and utilises the glass for its intended purpose - drinking, rather than an ice pack. It's honesty time. "I don't think I can help everyone." However many 'everyone' is. Ten, fifteen, a thousand… All too many for her to handle in a short amount of time. "I'll try, but if you're still looking for a cure, I … uh. Wouldn't stop. I'd rather not kill myself as I'm trying to help other people."

Putting the glass down, she stands, heading over toward Taine. She sighs, reaches forward, and takes his hand. She looks exhausted, honestly, but it's not as bad as it was the first time she lost control. "…I need you." Pause. "You know, for support." And stuff.

"This is what you wanted though, Erin," Taine suddenly says outright, looking between her and the other woman, before focusing much of his attention on the costar that occassionally makes him sick. "Now you know you can do more than hurt people. Maybe once you figure out how to control it you can walk into a hospital and make all the doctors scratch their heads wondering what happened." It's a shrug, but that had been one of her worries, that all she could do is hurt people. "And I'll be here however much you need me. You know— as long as I'm not filming that day." Occassionally they don't film together. Especially now that Afterlife has started filming.

The mention of the word 'used' brings a frown to Cass. While Erin might not mean her phrasing that way, it certainly strikes a chord with Cass. "If you feel like you're being used, you don't have to do it." And she's quite genuine in that. "I don't want you to feel that way. We're still looking for a cure, we're not going to stop because, like you said, I don't want you to be seen only as a virus cure." She's a person and Morgan on One Life to Live first. "Really. It's not going to affect my decision to help you withy our abilities." Looking back and forth between the two, she smiles. So, maybe those rumors of Taine and Erin actually have some meaning behind them. Turning away slightly, she'll let the two have their moment.

"I know. I didn't mean it that way. Cass…" She looks over her shoulder at the other woman. "Cass, it's okay. I want to do this. I mean, if it works, that's something. So." That's that. End of story. She's doing it, and Cass can't … not… make her! This is good, though. This is good, it means her ability can actually do some good, and if finding a cure is as important as Cass is making it out to be, then Erin can't really say no.

There's more to her ability than just that, though. Often, she's wondered if she can purposely make people sick, just as she can purposely cure them.

Is the room spinning?

Blinking, she reaches up and grabs onto Taine's arm, fingers wrapping around cloth. The spell is over quickly, but it's enough to worry her. "Just… give me a day, then call me when you want me to come back. I don't— Feel really well right now. I think I should go home."

With a woman grasping his arm, Taine does what any gentleman would do, he grabs hold of her, steadies her, and offers support. She's going to do this even if it kills her, isn't she? Hopefully it won't get that bad— but he remembers how she looked when she nearly killed him and cured him the first time. She practically collapsed like this. "I'll get you home. You're lucky it's too bloody cold to be taking my motorcycle out these days." He's been using a jeep the last few weeks. Yes, a jeep. In New York. It has a roof, though, and heat. Which is important. At least the steering wheel is on the correct side, though? "It was nice to meet you gain, Cass. Good luck with your…" He waves his hand. "Lab work." He's not a doctor, he just plays one on TV. And he's not even wearing his Trust Me, I'm A Doctor shirt today.

Stepping forward when Erin looks like she may faint, Cass doesn't move any farther than that step, though, as Taine has her. "Okay. Thank you." And while it's a simple answer to Erin's assertion that she wants to do this, it's sincere and heartfelt. Because knowing that her friends will be out of the woods is enough to keep her going. They'll find a cure. They'll find out what they haven't been thinking of. "Of course. I'll call you on Friday. We'll set something up." Looking to Taine, she smiles. How did she know he would drive a motorcycle? It just seems so him somehow. Even if she doesn't know him at all. "Take care of her. Make sure she drinks a lot of juice and protein to keep up her strength." Since he's the one taking her out today. "It was nice to see you again, too," she smiles. It is nice to know that her favorite soap opera stars will be back. Despite it being under less than ideal situations.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License