2007-10-08: Make The Call


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Summary: Cass visits her father with more news about a possible virus affecting those with abilities.

Date It Happened: October 8th, 2007

Make the Call

The Aldric Home

Hartsdale, New York

The Aldric family home sits quietly and quaintly as it always has. The key word today is quiet; while it's often hard to tell if Mrs. Aldric is home, everything looks locked up and dim. On the surface, it's a lovely day here in Hartsdale. Nextdoor, the neighbour is kneeling in front of a rose bush (which no longer has roses) with a pair of shears.

A few twists and turns away, however, on his way back, is Dr. Aldric. He's wearing his lab coat underneath a tan corduroy jacket, both of which sit slightly askew in contrast to one another. His car travels quietly along a country road a few minutes away from home. His car is an unexciting dark blue sedan in need of repair. It's silent; even the radio isn't on. He eyes it shiftily every few moments, as if considering turning it on, but ultimately deciding it's too risky, until the process starts all over again.

Once again a cab pulls up to the Alric household. Though Cass frequently visits her family in Hartsdale, she's been a little lax in her daughterly duties until just recently when this whole virus thing started. Back again in this short week or so, she frowns at the empty looking house, but notices the neighbor with his roses. Ah, the Adamses. "Hi Mr. Adams," Cass adopts her friendliest and most neighborly sounding voice as she calls out to the gardener. "You didn't happen to see my dad any time soon, did you?" A thicker folder is tucked under her arm, a scarf alternating blue an white wrapped around her neck and a brownish fall jacket keeping her warm on this crisp autumn day. "Your roses looked splendid this year."

"Is that Cassie?!" Mr. Adams shouts in a chipper tone, setting down the shears and planting glove-covered hands on his knees as he twists, stiffly, to look up at Cass. "The wife has me out here clipping rosehips. The bushes should be all said and done once those lovely flowers go away, but I do like her rosehip jelly. I think I heard your dad's car early this morning, he's a hard-worker, that doctor man."

As if on cue, the doctor's car pulls in close to the driveway, first stopping and slowing beside the mailbox. His window is rolled down and he reaches out to check the mail - it's then that he notices his daughter. "Cassandra?" he calls out as he shuffles the mail into the car. It's a warning, of sorts, for her to vacate the driveway before he turns in. "Everything's fine, I hope?" he asks as he nears, then nods through the open window to the neighbour. "Gerald."

A warm smile is given to Gerald as Cass slowly approaches him. Though not exactly a fan of rosehip jelly, she's not going to turn her nose up at the idea of it. "Hunting and gathering, our lot in life no matter what age," she tells him with a smile. Evolution's been on her mind lately and she's seeing it everywhere. "He's certainly a hard worker." That's one thing she can't fault her father for. Hearing the car pull up in the driveway, Cass turns to watch her father gather the mail and start over toward them. "Yes yes, just a visit," she smiles. "Thanks Mr. Adams. Enjoy your jelly." Back turned to their friendly neighbor, she says in a hushed tone to her father, "I really need to talk to you."

Mr. Adams lifts a hand, seeming oversized in the gardening glove, giving a neighbourly to the Aldrics.

Dr. Aldric narrows his eyes ever-so-slightly once his neighbour's back is turned, but whatever minor annoyances he has with Gerald and his roses are quickly dropped in favour of paying the utmost attention to Cass. "What is it?" He's already asking with urgent concern as he stops and gets out of the car, taking a floppy black leather briefcase of sorts out with him. Car door swung shut, he starts up the drive toward the house, fishing in his coat for keys. "Is it the test results? Did you obtain more samples?"

Giving a distracted wave to Mr. Adams, Cass starts to walk toward the door to the house. "That and I might have run into two of your…" she frowns, "…villains. Whoever you get to look into these things should look into that robbery at the liquor store in the village." She's wary of saying more while outside. Even if she is with someone who is part of the organization she's normally wary of overhearing her. And even those two she met weren't part of the same criminals who escaped, those two certainly deserve to be behind bars.

Dr. Aldric unlocks the door and lets it swing open for Cass; distracted by her words, he lingers on the doorstep. "You… what? What? You were— there? Cassandra?" Concerned and alarmed eyes set strictly on his daughter, he doesn't move, his keys poised in the air where the keyhole was before he opened the door. "Did they hurt you?"

It's not until they're inside the safety of their house, that Cass can even think of answering her father's questions. Valid ones, all. "I'm—I'm fine now." Which doesn't really say much about if they hurt her. But, of course, the meaning is implied. By now, she's taken the bandage off of her wrist where Mandy grabbed her. Though Peter did heal the worst of it, it's likely she'll always have a circled scar there. "But, those two are still out there somewhere. Hurting people." And she certainly has no way she knows of to stop them.

The man's face tightens, closing off. Hard lines form and his entire demeanour becomes stern and quietly angry as he enters the house. Door, closed. Locks locked. He looks through the door's window onto the innocuous front yard as if expecting a "villain" may spring up out of the neighbour's rose bushes any second. "Yes," Dr. Aldric grunts through clenched teeth. Rummaging momentarily in his briefcase… bag… contraption, he pulls out yesterday's news. It's folded over to the article about the escaped inmates. "The public knows," he says, handing it to Cass. "To some degree, any rate. What happened? At the store. Tell me everything."

Who knows, maybe a villain is just waiting out there. However, that doesn't seem to be the case at the moment. Not today. Cass takes the paper from her father and quickly skims through the article in question. That's actually a bit of a relief, knowing that the people are at least somewhat aware of the dangers that may be awaiting them should they see those there on the street. Holding up the paper, she points to the mugshots of Jeremiah and Mandy. "It was those two," she elaborates, just in case he didn't know. They came into the store while we were there. Locked the front door so we could get out." Instinctively, she grabs her wrist. "The—-the woman. She grabbed me. It hurt so much." While she's been able to keep such a strong face to Peter and Elena, even to Lachlan, this is her father. And the pain resurges and she quickly rubs at her eyes and hands the paper back over. "And then she went after that poor couple. The other one…he toppled over the shelves. Cut up the bottles. And then they left."

Dr. Aldric sets his (so-called) briefcase against the coat rack in the foyer and grimly peels his coat off and hangs it up as he listens to Cass's account. Her pain makes him bristle. If he had an underlying power to shoot lasers from his eyes, it would manifest now as he takes the newspaper back and burn holes through the photos of Mandy and Jeremiah. Since he doesn't (curses!), he frowns deeply and heads into the living room, nodding for Cass to follow. "It's like I said. They're after destruction. You could have… goddarn it. How did you manage to escape? I'm glad you did." Understatement.

"I could have what?" Cass rubs at her eyes, but obediently follows her father to sit on the couch. "They…they just left after they were done. The man who could cut things with his fingers…he took everyone's wallets and the girl just threatened." Remembering the event has made her a bit edgy again and she fidgets with the hem of her shirt as she talks. "I'm glad I did, too." Escape. She didn't know if she would for a few moments there. However, for now, she leaves out Peter and the healing and everything having to do with that. Though she loves her father, she can't forget who he works for. "But, they're not the only reason I came here today."

Dr. Aldric sits down tensely, choosing the very edge of an armchair and leaning ahead stiffly, is fingers steepled and tapping together every so often. He regards Cass for an extended moment without replying, those perceptive eyes of his leery behind his glasses. "Oh, ah… what is it, then?"

The robbery at the liquor store is an underlying factor of why she's visiting her father again so soon, however it's not the exact reason. Cass pulls open the manilla folder where pages have been fastened to the back. It looks like a medical file - probably because that's what it is. Brushing away the last of those stray tears away from her eyes, she holds the file over for him to see. "There's someone else who has the virus. I don't think it's just an isolated case." And she's a bit more panicked about this, now. Evelyn she was worried about because she had this anomaly, but knowing that Nathan has it, too, it's even more so because he's her friend.

Dr. Aldric visibly frets, his stern face faltering here and there in favour of mimicking Cass's unconsciously with worry and concern, not just for the case she's working on, but for her. Moreso her. He saw those stray tears, miss. "Let me have a look," he says, reaching across for the file.

Easily, Cass hands it over. There are no names or even any distinguishing characteristics of who this sample came from, so she has no worry about him finding out names. Instead, she's worried about what he may see there that she doesn't. Evelyn's sample is pulled out in another folder - to keep the results separate - and held out so there can be a comparison made. "Look. They both have the same anomaly."

Dr. Aldric's brow furrows as he lays newest folder open on his lap. E takes Evelyn's as well and opens it on the coffee table, next to a brass monkey who watches father and daughter studiously in the thinker's pose. "Hmmmm." The doctor unknowing copies the decorative primate's pose as he examines the data, looking back and forth between the two sets of information. "Almost identical anomalies. Is there a relationship between the patients? Similarities? The same workplace, family…"

"I've been trying to go through all that." Cass frowns, unsure of whether she wants to divulge what it is exactly that these to have in common. The only thing, really. Now that they're no longer talking about any break in, she's more focused and less nervous. Or, it's a different kind of nervous, one that's easier to deal with. "No, I don't believe they've ever even met before." There's a pause. Something else that she almost wants to tack on to the end of that sentence, but she doesn't quite yet. Maybe her father will find something else that would link the two together. Something in their blood tests.

Dr. Aldric looks up from studying the results, an eyebrow lifting over the rim of his glasses. What aren't you saying, Cassandra? "But you know both of them— enough to have suspected to take these samples. I can't help you, Cassandra, unless I'm working with the full picture, here."

"Actually, I only know one of them." Which is true. Cass has never met Evelyn to her knowledge. "Look, dad. I want…I may need your help. But I don't want anyone to get in trouble or to have to deal with the people you work for because I needed your help." She frowns. "I can't give you all the details. But…the important thing, I guess, is that they both came from people with abilities."

"I see." That information is apparently weighty; Dr. Aldric sits back in the chair for the first time and runs a hand over his head, thoughtful and, in turn, disturbed by his thoughts. "The Company helps people with abilities when they're sick. I'm not saying this is it, I can't tell, I've never worked with anything like it, I'd have to compare — but there was a case… well…" He trails off, scratching at his chin and frowning. "There is someone who is well-acquainted with the topic. One, uh. One Dr. Suresh." He coughs lightly. "Of course, it could be a complete coincidence and these people have a harmless virus that will give them a cough and run its course and we're being paranoid fools," he deadpans, not believing a word of what he said himself.

What Aldric has to say triggers the memory about what Peter told her back in Enlightenment about her father and Mohinder talking in their shared dream. Something garbled about something going wrong. The frown that Cass wears matches her father's. "You mean they quarantine them," she can't help but jab. "I know. When I first met Mohinder, he was working on a virus that shut off people's abilities." But she'd rather not speak with him when her father is so conveniently helpful. And more trustworthy. "What were the symptoms of the virus Mohinder was studying? Do you know?" Shaking her head, she adds, "I'd rather be paranoid about this than lenient."

"If they need to be quarantined. Then yes. Any responsible hospital would do the same," Dr. Aldric points out. "In my years working for the Company, there's only been two cases of a virus that targets only those with abilities that I'm aware of. The inability to use such abilities— that was one symptom. Flu-like to start out with, although with so few cases to go on, there's… it's difficult to determine a baseline…" He gestures vaguely in the air, dismissive of his ramblings. "It affected the nervous system, so you can— you can imagine the … the damage. The other— other major symptom was…" Dr. Aldric coughs. "Death."

"Mohinder's ward, right?" Cass remembers looking at her blood sample when she was still interested in helping Mohinder. "And Sylar?" Those are the two that she can think of. As she listens, mentally ticking off the symptoms that Nathan had described to her, the last part quickly makes her stand up. "Death?" While before she stepped up the research because she knew that Evelyn and Nathan, in some sort of dream reality, were very sick, death is a whole other subject. "But…is it contagious? Did it only attack people with abilities? Could people without abilities be carriers?" She's a little frantic about the idea of this virus actually killing someone - maybe a lot of someones that she doesn't even know about.

"Wh!" Dr. Aldric blinks rapidly and straightens up in the face of Cass's frantic, but understandable, barrage of questions. He adjusts his thick-framed glasses from side to side. "There was another case — the first case — back in the seventies. I— " He hesitates, but goes on, despite himself. "I hadn't been, ah, involved with the Company for long at the time, I wasn't involved. But she— she died, yes. It— no. Yes. No. I mean yes." Dr. Aldric shakes his head, clearing it, and goes on much more calmly. "It wasn't highly contagious— well— not airborne. It only targeted those with abilities."

At least they're questions that make sense! If she just started spouting nonsense, that would be more of a problem. "But Mohinder's ward, she's still alive, right? As far as she knows she is. And I know Sylar is." So, that means it's treatable. "What they did to counteract the virus in that case?" Her brain is already starting to whirl with possibilities. "Okay. So. But. If it's not airborne, then how are these people getting it? How are they getting sick?" Because if Nathan's flu-like symptoms are already the tell-tale start of this virus, then they need to figure out how to combat it and quick. Still more questions for her father, it looks like they're not going to let up any time soon.

"Blood containing the correct antibodies," Dr. Aldric answers. "And… well there— there is more than one strain. The one that infected Sylar, it required blood with regenerative properties as well. I don't know how it would have spread." The man raises his hands, palms facing Cass, and adds, slowly, "And, now, let's not jump to conclusions…"

"Blood containing the anti-bodies?" Now that's an interesting thought. And it makes sense. "Where was it found?" Cass isn't about to go tap the poor sod for their blood, but she wants to know all the variables, wants to know how to fix this. "Jump to conclusions? I have to jump to conclusions. This virus may actually be out there, infecting people, slowly killing them. What am I supposed to do? Twiddle my thumbs and do nothing, wait to see what will develop further down the road? I've…I've got to figure out how to fix it. Regenerative properties?" Peter's blood. Peter can regenerate. Maybe…maybe that's something that she can talk to him about.

"No. No. Of course not." Dr. Aldric takes in a deep breath and seems to hold it, planting a hand over his mouth and pensively looking toward the living room window. "Well…" He lets out the breath and clears his throat. "That's another reason to speak with Dr. Suresh."

While Dr. Aldric is more pensive, Cass is restless. All that nervous energy from before has risen up to force her to pace the floors of her old house. Now it's doublefold. And not for her own safety. She makes a face about talking to Mohinder. "I don't trust him, dad. I mean, I will, to get more information about this. But I don't trust him to tell me what I really need to know." Or to not erase her memory after she gets it.

"Then you're going to run into a wall, Cassandra," Dr. Aldric points out instantly. "Because if - and this is a big if, but I of course understand the need for vigilance, here - if these results are related to a similar virus, well…" He gets to his feet. "Dr. Suresh may be the key. Not, ah, for his mind— for his blood."

"I know." The short time that Cass has been trying to think this over, she's run into that problem. That she may actually need Mohinder's help and past experience if she's going to try and work through this. As abruptly as she started, the bookstore owner stops pacing and stares at her father. "His blood?" Pause. "It was his antibodies that cured Molly and Sylar?" Okay, she takes that back. Maybe she will run a tap into Mohinder's veins for a cure.

"Yes. His sister— she was the first case." My, isn't Dr. Aldric a fount of information today. He has his misgivings about his role as informant, but it's his daughter and potentially lives on the line. As a father, and a doctor…

"Oh." The case that died. Well. That kind of makes her feel like a jerk about imagining draining Mohinder's blood dry to help her friends. If only a little. Cass runs a hair through her hair in exasperation. She's actually grateful to know all this, get all this information from her father that she's been lacking. "So his blood carried the antibodies to cure it." It makes sense, actually. There's a long pause. "Do you think he'd agree to a meeting?" God does she have misgivings about this.

"I can say for a fact that he would. He has a rather vested interest in the subject, as I'm sure you can … surmise. Look… Cassandra…" Dr. Aldric steps closer to his pacing daughter, even if it means following her frantic movements. "If it would make you feel safer— you could meet on your own, ah, territory, as it were. I'm not too keen on this scenario either, but if you want to be thorough, here… there needs to be some cooperation."

"I'm sure." What with it being his blood and all that she'd like to test. Meeting on familiar turf didn't work in the past, but Cass wouldn't remember that. "I would like that, actually. And I wouldn't mind you coming along, too," she glances over at her father, standing still when he comes closer. Just added security. She may not trust Mohinder, but she does trust her father. "I do want to be thorough. Make no mistake about that. But…I don't want to be the person who gets mind wiped and dumped back on the street, either, dad."

"I don't want that to happen to you— " Again. "Either. And it won't." A promise he shouldn't be making, but he certainly sounds convinced of it. "Yes. Yes. I want to be there," Dr. Aldric says with a decisive nod or three.

Assuming that her father wouldn't want to she her brain tampered with, Cass takes the pause there in stride. "Thank you," she replies, meaning it. "For not just telling me it's all classified." Which is something she's run into before. "And for helping." She'd feel perfectly adrift if he hadn't answered her questions.

"I'll make the call," Dr. Aldric says, decisive, which makes it sound considerably more ominous than he intended. "Only a question of where and when."

"Alright." It does sound kind of ominous, like the two of them are about to put out a hit on someone or start a black ops mission instead of setting up a meeting. "As soon as we all can get together. We can meet at my apartment. Or if we're going to need lab equipment, I may have some place else we can use."

"That would be helpful," Dr. Aldric replies, quite honest and sincere, despite his deadpan way of saying so. There's a moment's hesitation before he shuffles off toward the home phone.

"Alright then." Though hesitant to invite the snake into the nest, Bat Country's already been infiltrated. What's the point in keeping it secret if she's going to invite people with abilities she doesn't really know? "I'll see what I can do."

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