2007-03-25: Negotiation


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Summary: Adam contacts Bob and asks for a meeting after the RGN-400 debacle.

Date It Happened: March 25, 2007


Fancy Mac's

It's not your finer establishments, but it's not a slum either. Fancy Mac's is a middle class establishment known for it's macaroni and cheese. As is evident by the right-sized crowd gathered here enjoying the food. It's pretty much open seating, save for a few booths lining the walls. A few which are empty. One occupied by a man with dirty blonde hair. In front of Adam, is a glass of sweet tea. He looks like he's waiting for someone.

Bob does enjoy his macaroni and cheese. He comes in and sits across from Adam in the booth. "I hear they use seven cheeses here," is his opening line. He gives Adam a tight smile, just as if the Journal of American Medicine didn't make him sputter orange juice all over his blotter and desk calendar that morning.

"And a blend of seasonings that will knock your socks off." Adam replies, looking up from his glass of tea. The last time he saw Bob was when he visited him in his cell at Primatech. And let's just say the two have never really seen eye to eye. Especially since the last time Adam tried to go public. The tight smile is noticed, but Adam doesn't return it. Why bother when he knows it's probably rehearsed. "Hello Bob." His tone flat, unemotional. "Long time, no see."

"And what a way to make your entrance, so to speak." Bob says, displeasure twisting his mouth as he stares across the table at the other man. "RGN-400, Adam? What exactly were you thinking there?" He unfolds his napkin, mostly just for something to do, and deposits it into his lap as though making some sort of statement.

As if almost on queue, the waitress shows up with two bowls of the house mac and cheese. One set in front of Adam, the other set towards Bob. "I took the liberty of ordering for you." he says, not yet taking a bite. "Do you remember 30 years ago?" he asks, questioningly. "The last time I tried to go public? Remember what you did to me?" Crisp tone, a hint of resentment. His green eyes level directly towards Bob. "That's what I was thinking." And now, he finally takes a bite, as if to prove he didn't have the meal poisoned or something.

"So you do the same thing again and then call this meeting," Bob says, taking a bite even though he's not particularly hungry. What he's doing is watching Adam over the tops of his glasses, looking like some sort of stern high school principal. "I think I'm failing to follow the bouncing ball, Adam."

Funny, Adam remembers his high school principal. Evil man. Liked to crack knuckles with a ruler. Though, in those times it wasn't called 'high school'. Oh, right…the bouncing ball. "Only this time, I succeeded. Last time you managed to stop me before I could do it." Was that the sound of victory? A smack in the face of the Company? "Oh, the path of the ball is quite clear, Bob. You see, sometimes…those of us with abilities can do more good than harm. Like my little stunt." Another bite, which draws a grin on Adam's face. He always did like this place and their food.

"I don't think we've ever denied that," Bob replies, sitting back. He appears to let his anger go quite abruptly. Now he's resembling someone who is engaged in a game of chess, content to wait for the other person to make their move. "The idea is to build a better world. And to prevent chaos."

Knight to pawn four. "No, but yet you inhibit those with the abilities to help build a better world from using them." Adam retorts, matching Bob's leaning back in the booth. Two can play this game. The corner of his lip quirks up in a bit of a twisted grin. "Come on, Bob. You know better than I do that chaos can't be control. Look at some of the people the Company has encountered. Hell, look at the one that allowed me to escape. Now she…is chaos." Not to mention she was hot. Betcha didn't think he noticed that.
"She is," Bob says, his lips thinning again. "And we are taking steps to get that chaos out of control. She's a wonderful metaphor. When a fire springs up you do not simply let it rage out of control, pausing to wax poetic on how beautiful a fire it is along the way, and how much it must really enjoy being a fire, and what wonderful things fire has done or could do for the whole world. You get the biggest hose you can find and you extinguish it."

Oh, the setup on the couldn't be anything less than Adam had hoped for. "Precisely!" he exclaims, smacking his palm down on the table. There's a few looks from patrons on the other side of the room, but Adam's smile quickly dismisses them. A smile that fades as he turns back to Bob. "Sometimes there are things that need to be let out and allowed to grow. If you extinguish them like a fire, then they never get the chance to do what nature intended them to do." Keeping his voice low, but tone steady and edged like a sword, Adam continues. "What the Company is doing is wrong, in many ways. I can understand finding these people, helping them to control their abilities. But locking them up when they want to use them to make a better world…." a pause to sip the tea, "…that's wrong."

"Are you sure you're not just projecting a little bit?" Bob asks dryly. "Considering we locked you up?" Bob is not ashamed of doing this. Bob is looking like he'd like to put the cat right back in the bag. Only he didn't bring any firepower to this meeting. He came on his own. Perhaps he feels the cat really can't be put back in. At least not this cat.

That's ok, because Adam didn't bring any firepower of his own. Then again what does a man who can't be killed need with it anyhow? "Locking me up only helped to make me more determined to go public." he states flatly, shaking his head. "Then again, knowing you you've probably already had people over at the hospital and the journal making sure no one even remembers what I did." That's worse case scenario to him. Best case, it was all too public for the Company to control. "Regardless, since getting my 'early release', I'm sure you know the close calls I've had to getting brought back in. Including the one with your daughter. In Times Square."

Bob's expression is rather flat with the mention of his daughter right there on the table next to the macaroni and cheese. He takes a sip of his water glass. His expression stays a little flat. But he says, "You know that I, and the Company, are not men who are unwilling to negotiate. It sounds like we are each creating for one another headaches that neither of us need right now."

"No. Usually you just coerce people to see you side of the situation." Adam jabs, trying to get one last punch in before he plates and serves his offer. "But yes, it gets quite hard to survive when you have to keep changing identities and hiding yourself. Not to mention expensive." Bob's expressions staying flat don't phase him. Since being incarcerated, that's about the way Bob's always been when visiting Adam. Though, there was a time before that when they used to be more than just pieces on a chessboard trying to claim victory over each other. "I can't very well live a life if I'm always hiding from the Company. Wondering if the next corner I turn will be someone from your team with a bullet for my head." He searches Bob's face as he talks, looking for any sign or reaction. "It would be far more easier for me to come work for you, then against you. But only on one condition…"

Bob's eyebrows lift. He steeples his fingers and sets them before him, ignoring the bounty of their table in favor of focusing on Adam with complete intensity. He's listening. Adam has his attention. But that's all the reaction he's going to show for the time being.

Long forgotten was the food in front of Adam. And the reaction garnered is more than enough. "Allow the folks at Mount Sinai to continue the research on RGN-400. That is, if you haven't already wiped their minds." It's not that big of a condition, really. Just one that if properly researched and experimented on could probably yield a more stable cure in a decade or so. "In return, I'll come work for you. Help those that need it. Whatever you need me to do."

Bob drums his fingers against the table top. He drums them, and drums them, and drums them. Of course things are already in place to put RGN-400 under control. "And what would this research entail? They're already in an FDA uproar over there you know. They're not all over there welcoming this with open arms. Are you wanting to slip them a pint every now and then? Have you really thought this through? As you might have noticed there's only one source for RGN-400. I didn't think you'd want to go from prisoner to factory."

Adam would have expected nothing less from the Company. "Of course they are. Someone snuck in an experimental serum that actually worked better than some of the stuff they have." Oh yes, there's a hint of pride in that statement. "Genetic sequencing, Bob. You should know that. With the right research and decoding of the genetic markers and sequence, scientists might be able to eventually reproduce the regenerative effects of my blood." Of course he's not just going to slip them blood, and he shakes his head.

"I know you have the people who can help me get in, leave them enough that they could do all the research they needed, and then get out." He lets out a sigh and sits back against the booth. "Then again, we could just keep playing this game of cat and mouse until one of us gives up. Though I have home field advantage being immortal."

Bob folds his napkin. He puts it off to one side. "The implications and consequences of what you are suggesting need a little more thought than a nice plate of macaroni and cheese," he says at last. "So here is what I'm going to suggest. You avoid doing anything crazy, by which I mean no more public stunts, nothing else that could expose us, and you stay in the city for the next month. I'll send down orders to leave you alone so long as you uphold your end of the bargain. We stay in touch. We pause in our struggles with one another, take a breather, and decide if we've truly got anything to offer each other. Think of it as an experiment in our mutual ability to trust one another."

Well, that was a better offer than Adam expected in return. Here he was half expecting to be bagged and tagged again before the end of the day. But this…has potential. "Understandable." Adam nods, lifting the glass of tea to his lips and drinking heartily from it. "I think that's a fair enough trade. I've had enough excitement for the time being anyhow. As for contact," a hand slips into his pocket and he pulls out one of the fake business cards he had made for his escapade into Mount Sinai, "the number on these cards is still valid. It's a cell that I picked up." Not that anyone calls it. Evar. Maybe it'll get some use now. Bob is given a nod at the mention of trust. "There was once a time when we did trust one another. But, there were mistakes on both sides that will take some time to fix."

Bob takes the cards and memorizes them. Then he passes over his own cell number. "I know there was," he tells Adam. "It is a shame that things have occurred as they have." He digs out money for the check too, and lays it down. Crisp, precise bills. Clean. "I look forward to the potential of rebuilding our trust, even if after examination I find myself unable to ultimately support the train you have so impulsively set into motion."

"Trains are hard to stop." Adam admits and nods, noting the bills. Freshly printed is his guess. Or maybe Bob's just OCD enough to iron and starch the bills. "But sometimes, some of those trains are carrying things to better humanity. And those shouldn't be stopped." It's a simple metaphor for what he did, but he knows the suggestion to allow it to continue likely won't be entertained much. Bob's cell number is accepted, glanced at, and placed into a pocket on Adam's coat. "Strangely, I find myself looking forward to it as well. And I will do as you ask. Stay in the city. Nothing flashy. So long as your side holds up as well."

"I'll send out the memo when I return to the office." Bob stands up. "Perhaps we can both consider the betterment of humanity in the meantime, and see if we come up with other potential points of agreement while we are in this cease fire." He holds out his hand, and gives a sort of wan smile.

Adam stands as well. "That's all I've wanted when we first started down this road. The betterment of humanity. I'll give it some thought." he nods, taking the hand and giving a firm shake before releasing it. "Perhaps next time we talk, I'll have some of those points for you."

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