2008-01-25: Looking Out


Niki_icon.gif Cass_icon.gif

Guest Starring:


Summary: Cass goes to BCL to pick up some important things and finds someone from Pinehearst waiting to accompany her.

Date It Happened: January 25th, 2008

Looking Out

Bat Country Labs

Brooklyn, NYC

Seville Medical Center, being— well, a medical center, rarely sees a truly slow spell. This bright, chilly afternoon is no different. Bat Country Labs, in its basement, however, is another story. No one traverses the area where the door to the strangely-named lab lies, save for one. So far.

There's someone waiting — someone standing near the door that leads down to BCL, waiting to politely intercept. The tall blonde is dressed in a modernized black trench coat, sashed around the center, a hint of the rose-coloured shirt she wears underneath visible at the neck; dark brown dress pants, sharp-toed boots. Her long hair is straight and neat. It's Niki, though she seems… notably more professional than she usually does, standing a bit taller, watching with purpose.

Bat Country has seen a notable lack of action in the past week or so. What with everything that has been going on personally for Cass and her new position as a head of another - larger, more expensive - lab it's been a little hard to stop by here. However, she has to pick up a few things after being told that the whole lab was in danger of infiltration and targeting. Fishing out the keys, she doesn't notice Niki until she's almost right in front of the taller blonde woman. "Oh!" Stopping in her tracks, she puts a hand to her throat in surprise. All that talk of infiltration and danger has her on edge. "Wow. Niki, you startled me. Hey! What're you doing here?"

The waiting woman steps forward expectantly when she spots Cass, likely bringing her all the closer before she's noticed. Tilting her head ever-so-slightly to one side as she's recognized, the pleasant smile that was about to greet the lab owner is frozen in place as she looks at the lab owner carefully. Niki had a spiel about why she was here! Part of it goes out the window. "Cass Aldric," she says, as if confirming the woman's identity. Or… maybe she's just taken on an ultra formal way of saying hi. "Pinehearst sent me," she explains, her smile coming back to life and channelling some of Charlotte's PR charm. "I'm going to stay with you while you get whatever you need from the lab."

The sudden formal-ness of Niki's causes Cass to study the other woman with just as much care as Niki is studying her. The way she says her name and explains things makes her think of Nathan when she first met him to talk about Pinehearst. Only much more pronounced. Strange. "Yeah. Why are you talking like that?" Her head tilts ever so slightly as she tries to work through this new puzzle. "Wait, you're at Pinehearst, too? Since when?" This is all very strange.

"Talking like what?" Niki asks innocuously, lifting both brows. "Since earlier— this month. A few weeks." Her smile fades so that she may narrows her eyes slightly on Cass. "…You're new, too, right? You work in the labs?"

"So formally. Or like you don't know me." In all the time that Cass has known Niki, she's never heard her talk like this. "Yeah, I just started. I'm going to be running the labs." But, first, she has to get her old research out of some place that could be compromised. Not that most people would be able to read it. It's all been Cass-coded. "What are you doing there?"

Niki hesitates before answering — and zones in on the most immediate question first. "Whatever they ask me to," she says with a small, one-shouldered shrug and easy-going smile. "Mostly just— errands. Different things." She glances to the door of BCL, as if wondering if Cass is ever going to actually go down, but the look is short-lived. "Look, I… I'm sorry if I don't act how you remember."

The look may be short-lived, but it's obvious enough for Cass to catch it. But, with Niki acting so strange, she's not sure if she should actually continue with what she came here for. "Oh." She's not exactly sure what she means by that. Whatever they ask her to do? The second part, though, makes her frown. She's not at all sure how to respond to that. She doesn't want to say it's okay, but she doesn't know how else to respond. "It's alright? I don't know what to say to that."

"I didn't know that you knew me, Ms Aldric." Niki is keenly aware that she's confusing this woman when she's just trying to do her job. Nothing is so straight forward. "I can … try to explain later," she says with a definite tone of apology. "But right now you should probably get what you came for and get outta here. They told me there might be people watching your lab."

This is one of those reasons that she decided to start working for Pinehearst. People looking out for her. Or, at least, having a larger umbrella of protection. When she's told that Niki doesn't even know her, well, that's something entirely. "I'd like that," she says of the later explanation. Getting out her keys, she unlocks the door and then puts in the proper code to get the door unlocked. Keeping it open long enough for Niki to follow after, she moves to shut the door and then collect what it was that she came here for.

"Me, too." Because Cass is another puzzle piece, another piece of her life before. Niki follows into the lab, giving the place a look around as she descends. She laughs — a light sound that trails into her voice. "This doesn't look much like the labs at Pinehearst," she comments, strolling into the more open space and stepping aside to watch Cass.

"This was started as kind of the anti-lab." Cass shrugs, but she's smiling with pride as she looks around. "I wanted to make this place comfortable since a lot of people coming here were overwhelmed, didn't know what was happening to them. And I think the last thing anyone wants to see when they come some place to help are cold metal counters and lots of needles." Smiling fondly, she moves toward the more lab part of the rooms to get what she came here for. Folders and computer files.

"It's nice," Niki comments as if she's never been here before. Giving the lab owner some space, she strolls closer to the door of the lab proper without actually going inside, keeping out a watchful eye for— well, for whatever. What she's not expecting to see is— "Does that sign say…" She squints. "No Petrellis Allowed?"

From inside the room, it's clear to hear Cass' laugh. "Yes. It does." Coming back, she puts a whole stack of folders down on the front desk. "They have the potential to break things. A lot. Especially Nathan." Peter actually did the most damage, though, but that was only once. Nathan has managed to break things more often. "I put that up as a joke in an attempt to keep my costs down. It's a lot easier to run a lab when you don't have to buy replacement equipment every other week."

That explanation draws a laugh from Niki and, glancing at the sign again, she moves to stand in the doorway, folding her arms in a more casual pose. "You might have to take it with you." Which prompts a question on a more serious note. "Are you going to leave all this behind now that you're with Pinehearst?"

"I should take some of it with me. Especially if Nathan continues his unique ability to break everything fragile within a twenty foot radius." The sign will be advanced warning. It doesn't take long to download what she needs to off of the computer and put it on a flash drive. Cass slips that one into her pocket. "I don't really want to leave it behind." She looks around her, liking what she sees. She helped build this place up. "There are some people who aren't comfortable with going to some big facility for help. I want to be able to keep this open for them. So there's still that option." Whether she'll have much time for it, though…that's another question.

"I can see why they hired you," Niki says, seeming to note the way Cass looks around the lab, the way she seems to care. Leaning lightly against the doorframe, she turns a bit in case Cass is all finished in there, giving her room to leave. "I hope you'll have time to do both."

She's just about finished here. A few more things to round up. Grabbing a copy of Activating Evolution, Cass drops it on top of the pile. She gives Niki a grateful smile. "We'll see." That's an answer to both of those. "So…what happened?" While they did say they'd wait, she's still curious. And she's worried. What would make her friend forget everything? Was it the Haitian? Something else?

So far, so good. No one seems to by spying on the two women in the lab and no one's trying to break down the doors. Niki heads back into the comfortable area outside the No Petrellis Allowed Zone, her back to Cass. "There was, um— an accident. Something… medication, I don't really know, seeing as…" She turns back around with a humourless half of a smile in place. "I don't remember. Pinehearst took me in."

"Is that the same accident that Nathan was in?" Cass remembers Linderman telling her something along those lines. She had no ides that Niki was involved, too. "Ah." There's a frown. If this was the same thing, she'll have to talk to Nathan about it. "I'm sorry." And she certainly sounds genuine about that.

"Sort of," Niki answers — which is telling of one thing: she knows what accident Cass refers to, at least. "I was there, with Nathan, but it was … I guess I was taking some kind of medication that…" The furrows along her brow revealing her own confusion. She shakes her head, dismissive. She can't explain something she doesn't understand. "How did we know each other?"

That, at least, is something. It's something that she'll talk to Nathan about, then. Or maybe Linderman, as Linderman seems to know. She'll just talk to everyone till she gets her answers. Cass smiles to answer Niki. "You used to work for me at my bookstore. I was also trying to help you with a problem you had. You've been to this lab a couple times, actually." Which is why it's weird for her to have to explain everything to her again.

And it's weird to hear, in turn. Niki instinctively looks around BCL again as if doing so might drudge up enough memory for her to recognize any of it, but the only thing that's familiar is the word Petrelli on the sign. "…huh," she says quietly, glancing down for a moment. There's more she could ask— but for now, "Did you get everything you came for?"

That'll be something she asks about, too. Any Jessica appearances. But, it's clear that Niki wants to get out of Bat Country soon. "Yeah." On second thought, she grabs the 'No Petrellis Allowed Beyond This Point' sign and adds it to everything else. "Okay, now I'm ready." If she has her way, the Pinehearst labs are going to be a lot more inviting than they are now. Or at least a bit quirkier.

"I didn't know Nathan was so clumsy," Niki can't help but comment after Cass takes the sign. He didn't seem clumsy. She leads the way to the door, pausing to make sure any locks that were put in place from inside are unlocked before she heads out, holding the door open for the woman who, apparently, used to be her boss. "Just a minute ago, you said … you were helping me with a problem," she ventures, hesitant, as if she's not entirely sure she wants to know. "What was it?"

Gathering up her folders and signage, Cass laughs softly. "It's not so much that he's clumsy, just that he can be a little…careless." Stacking up beakers like a house of cards, throwing around serial killers into her equipment, etc. "And in a lab, that tends to equal damaged equipment." Before she walks out the door, though, the woman stops. If she's going to ask a question. And she doesn't want to be out in the hallway when she does. "Have you been experiencing any lost time? Periods of time you can't remember…er, well, I mean after everything else you can't remember."

Niki — looking down on Cass, from her place just outside the door, now, looking in — has a blank stare. Mostly blank, at least; a hint of suspicion starts to build up, but even so, her answer is definitely: "No. My memory's fine." A quick, sardonic smirk crops up at that. "…surprisingly. I know, you wouldn't think, since I can't even remember my own life." She glances down the hall before her voice lowers a touch and she adds, "I know I was— " Niki's jaw tightens. " —I know there was something … wrong with me. Before. Is that what you were helping me with?"

"No, that's not what I was talking about. My question has nothing to do with the accident." Shifting the weight of her folders from one arm to the other, Cass nods and gives a slight shrug. "I don't know about something wrong with you, but there were times when you weren't…you. You were someone else. We didn't know what it was, other than a second kind of personality. Sometimes you could remember what the other person did and sometimes you couldn't. I was trying to help you get that under control."

"Yeah… uhm. That. So I've been told. I don't really…" Niki shifts somewhat tensely, now, in place. "…it's hard to… wrap my head around, you know. I know I was getting treatment for it when I lost my memory."

"I can imagine." It being hard to talk about, or hear, or even understand. It's a strange sort of thing to hear. 'You had a split personality.' Not easy. "Well. At least it hasn't happened since?" She's trying to be optimistic. Getting treatment for getting rid of a multiple personality and losing your memory? Hm. That could be linked together. "We'll figure it all out."

"I'm going to meet with the doctor who was treating me soon," Niki says, not without a hint of optimism in her tone as well. "And I've been tested more times than you can count." Including by a maniac but she's referring to Pinehearst, this time! "You should go straight to Pinehearst with all that," she says with a look to Cass's items from the lab. "I can call for some … transportation." Hm. Mischievous.

"That's good." At least it's something, right? And optimism is certainly something that Cass can identify with. "I wasn't exactly planning on going to a bar with all these files," she smiles. She knows that old Niki would know she's joking, but she's trying to make sure that this amnesia'd Niki does, too. "…you're not going to call that girl who runs really fast are you? I had to comb out my hair for hours to get it back to normal."

Niki smiles at the little joke - she may not know Cass well enough to know all her quirks, but she catches on quick. "…Nnno," she says after a second (in which she gives Cass a weird look; seems like someone hasn't met Daphne yet). "Charlotte, she does … something else." A phone is taken from the deep pocket of her coat and she scrolls through the hi-tech little screen — for about .5 of a second, it's not as if she has a full address book — to dial her roommate's number. She listens, listens— "…looks like we'll have to drive to Jersey. She's probably on the other side of the world."

Not yet, but that Cass is planning on helping Niki again. Or at least staying around with her. "…oh." Well. Lots of new people to meet. New things to do. And get all this information organized again back in the Pinehearst lab. Oh, and find where to post this new No Petrellis sign. "Ah, well, that's fine, too. Let's see if we can catch a cab, then."

"Yeah. Do you need a hand with any of that?" Niki asks — it doesn't look like much, but just in case — as she starts to head down the hall, from whence she came, before Cass arrived to find her waiting.

"I've got it, thanks." It's really not that heavy and Cass is pretty protective of the files themselves. Closing and locking the door securely behind her again, she catches up with Niki to head back down the hallway.

Niki strolls right past the door where she found a dead security guard some months ago without glancing once, walking side-by-side with Cass once the other woman catches up. She winds her way in the direction she figured out will lead them out of Seville Medical, quiet, for now.

Of course, Cass doesn't know exactly where that person was found, she wasn't in the hallway for that. However, the whole place has some meanings for her, as she follows the taller blonde woman toward the front door.

But hark! The front door is not reached. Someone's satellite phone picked up a message. For a tenth of a second the air in front of them will look dusty. But it's immediately clear that it's not dust, as the little sparkles or whatever seem to join to form the shape of a young woman. Then the young woman is just there…in Khakis and boots and a button down blouse and a kerchief on her head. She smells of sweet smoke and something exotic. Immediately her eyes go to Niki. "Hey, did you call? Hello, Dr. Aldric." It's so nice having read the files!

It is Charlotte Corday, fresh from Africa.

Niki was set on a would-be collision space which Charlotte was about to occupy, but she recognized the materializing speckles in the air. She comes to a halt, holding on to Cass's arm to hopefully prevent an accident. A smile spreads across her lips on seeing the teleporter. "Hi, Charlotte. I hope I didn't interrupt."

A would-be collision would happen with just about any other time with Cass. She's not exactly the most balanced person. Nor is she really good at stopping on a dime. In fact, she should probably slam into Charlotte and have her files go flying everywhere. But, the saving arm of Niki prevents all that and while her stack wobbles, they don't got anywhere. "Woah. Did you just come from the Enterprise or something?" She tilts her head again. This is the taxi that Niki just called? "Dr. Aldric's my father. You can just call me Cass." Eyeing Charlotte, she holds out a hand to shake in greeting. "Well, beam me up, Scotty."

Charlotte tilts her head to the side. "The enterprise?" She asks, clearly not really getting it. She shrugs, looking back to Niki with those dimples shining. "You said you needed a ride?" Cass's hand is shaken and…it might be odd…held. Her other hand is held out, open palm up to Niki. A ride indeed.

Niki takes the hand and tries out a reassuring smile on Cass. "It feels kind of weird the first few times," she says, "…okay, not really. It always feels weird." So her smile is more reassuring than her words by a longshot… "We need to get back to Pinehearst."

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