2008-01-02: Phenomenal

Starring:

Niki_icon.gif Nathan_icon.gif Mohinder_icon.gif

Guest Starring:

Delivery Man; Mysterious Esperanto Intruders

Summary: Niki and Nathan pay Mohinder a visit regarding a serum he's made. An unexpected danger descends on the lab instead.

Date It Happened: January 2nd, 2008

Phenomenal


Reed Street Laboratories

Manhattan

Night has fallen by the time visitors arrive at Mohinder's lab, once known as Isaac's loft to at least one of the guests. A strange time for what basically amounts to a doctor's visit, but these are strange circumstances. Niki stands beside Nathan outside the door to this particular loft, one hand poised to knock. Bundled up in a black winter jacket, red scarf, and grey denim, she's still slightly pink from the cold outside. It's not much warmer inside yet. A likely pair or an unlikely pair? That's up for debate.

"What… I was going to say earlier… on the phone." She chooses this moment, of all of them, to say what's on her mind. "What you said about being the strong one. Even when you have everything under control, there're these moments when you think, just— even for a second, it'd be better just to give in." And that's where the danger lies. Niki knocks on the window of the door.

Nathan hasn't said a word about the nature of this place, what he knows about it. He'll just have to see for himself what changes it's undergone, from art studio to clinic, or whatever. A navy blue woolen coat, buttoned shut, conceals a metal grey suit and a crisp white shirt, no tie, hands in gloves and further warmed in the pockets of his coat. He lets Niki do the knocking and the leading, and only glances towards her when she speaks up. At this time and place, he has no response, just studies her a little in the lights of nearby street lamps and whatever light emits from the loft, before looking towards the door as she knocks.

Shirtsleeves rolled up to the elbow, there's a lack of a white labcoat. Mohinder's more casual in the labs of Reed Street as opposed to official Company facilities. He's hoping to correct some of the regrettable side effects that Niki has been having with this visit, yet he did warn her of the possibility. There is no surprise at the knock on the door, given he was expecting the woman. Just not the company she brought along. When the door opens, he has a smile on his face as he greets Niki, a smile that falters a little upon seeing Nathan. "Ah, Nathan Petrelli, what a surprise this is. Won't the two of you come on in?"

Niki only looks sidelong at Nathan with a somewhat nervous, uncomfortable expression when he's silent. The opening of the door is welcome, along with the appearance of the familiar geneticist. "Hi," she smiles brightly. "I hope you don't mind that I brought Nathan." Why did she bring Nathan? As for why he's here, she'll let him explain himself. Holding onto the strap of her black-and-silver purse, she looks over her shoulder at Nathan after stepping inside, and wastes no time in heading down to the painted floor.

"Dr. Suresh," Nathan greets, glancing at Niki. Ladies first. He's quick to follow in after - not necessarily because he's so very eager to be here, but because, well, it's winter. Any explanation he may have is stalled, temporarily, as he looks around the place, at all the hightech lab equipment, and then down at the still remaining mural of a future that could have been. He takes off his gloves to put them in his pocket, unbuttons his coat as he looks towards the scientist. "Niki thought I might be interested in what you're helping her with," he says, simply if vaguely.

"No, not at all. I was just caught a little off guard." Mohinder waits for both guests to enter before shutting the door behind them. "Niki, have a seat, make yourself comfortable. However, I do want to talk to you a bit before we proceed." His brows lift just a little at the explanation of Nathan's presence, but the geneticist nods. "It's … a complicated formula that is yielding some results." Just not the ones they want to see.

Niki follows Mohinder's orders — offers, whatever — and sits down on one of the stools. She goes to it fast, a sure indication that this is not her first visit. She swivels to face the two men, setting her purse down on a random table of lab equipment. The scientist's words have her lifting her brows with a flicker of worry. "Is there something wrong?"

Stepping further into the lab, Nathan comes to a halt several feet away from both Niki and Suresh, as if he were more an observer than a participant or even a visitor. When his presence goes otherwise unquestioned, he doesn't elaborate further, and looks at Mohinder for an answer to Niki's question. Knowing that sort of thing would definitely be a good first step.

While the next round of injections has been prepared and is sitting in a syringe on a sterile tray.. it goes untouched. Mohinder passes Nathan to head into the lab proper. "The side effects that you have mentioned to me. They are worrying, although they could be worse. I have tried to alter the formula as best I can to minimize these." He falls quiet for a few moments before saying, "It's not too late to pursue another course of action."

Niki regards Mohinder as if she's not quite sure what he said. Maybe she heard him wrong. When she can't piece his words together any other way, her narrowed eyes pin him down all the more, and for an instant, they flash with fear. "There … is no other course of treatment. It… was working. You said that side effects were normal."

Knock-knock-knock. Too late for Halloween or carolers and too early for Valentine's Day, the rapping at the door might seem a bit out-of-place. But there it is: typical and non-threatening, neither too loud nor too quiet. Knock-knock-knock. Outside stands a deliveryman bundled against the cold; in one hand is a clipboard and in the other is a large vase full of posies.

With a clear plastic dolphin embellishment.

Nathan gives a slight sigh as Niki talks, but doesn't seem especially put off by Mohinder's less than optimistic report. He glances towards the blonde woman with something like— sympathy? Careful, Nathan, you might break something. It's gone in a moment as he regards Mohinder. "This treatment," he cuts in, "can it work as a preventative meas…" And he trails off mid-word, glancing over his shoulder at the knock at the door with an impatient glare. He's not about to answer the door - instead, the Senator-Elect moves even further inside, back to it.

"I know.. With any treatment there are going to be side effects. I'm just saying, there are still alternatives if the memory lapses are becoming too great a burden." Mohinder settles on a stool across from Niki, a tone of excitement in his voice, "The advances we've made have been phenomenal.." the geneticist trails off and glances towards the door as it's knocked upon. Eyes narrowing some, he gets up from the stool, clearly wondering who the devil is knocking at this hour. "One moment," he says as he goes up to the door. Once there, he cautiously unlocks it, opening just enough to see who's on the other side. "Can I help you?

If they're so phenomenal, then why this? Niki, not sharing in Mohinder's excitement right this second, shifts tensely on her seat. She watches the geneticist almost warily, as if trying to figure out what he's saying between the lines, if anything. She hasn't said another word by the time there's a knock. Shooting a mildly quizzical look to Mohinder, then to Nathan, she watches the door.

"Yeah, I got a delivery for this address," responds the obviously Queens native on the other side: a tall Caucasian man who looks as though he might not actually fit into the door without having to duck first. He extends the clipboard toward Mohinder and drawls, "Sign on the line." He sounds bored and anxious to get this over with so he can get back to the warm truck.

Restless, even if this is only a brief intermission as far as he can tell, Nathan veers his pacing a little nearer towards Niki. "Not exactly everything you hoped it would be?" he asks, quietly, so that his voice won't carry all the way towards the door and its occupants. He's not making a jab, just trying to get a feel for the situation. So he knows whether or not to just leave.

Mohinder glances over the delivery man, then the flowers. No one would be sending flowers here. "I think you might be mistaken on the recipient. Who are they intended for?" Pardon the scientist's skepticism on a late night flower delivery. In this neighborhood.

Unaware of the conversation at the door, Niki looks from Nathan down at her knees — or the floor, it's hard to say. Either way, there's no hiding her downcast and frustrated demeanour. "Not exactly," she answers with a tightened jaw. "I always knew there was the risk of side effects. They're nothing I can't handle. I don't know why this time would be any different."

The deliveryman glances at his clipboard with no small amount of irritation. "Mo-hein-der Sir-esh," he mispronounces sloppily. Then he thrusts out the clipboard again. "He around? These things are gonna wilt if they're out here much longer." Not to mention he will wilt.

Nathan, too, ignores what's going on, though he does glance once to see if anyone is attempting to join them inside the lab. He'd rather not have anyone necessarily see him here, but when that doesn't immediately seem to be a threat, he looks back at Niki. "The way I figure it, he's the scientist," Nathan says. "Probably a good idea to just listen in case it is something you— or we— can't handle. He did use the word 'phenomenal', at least. Usually a good sign."

"Mohinder Suresh," the geneticist states, correcting the pronunciation, even if he is used to Americans mangling the pronunciation. "I think there must be a mistake," not that there is an abundance of people with his name in this hemisphere. Nonetheless, he takes the clipboard, hesitating before moving to sign it.

"Usually." Unless it's phenomenally bad. Niki gives the politician a brief smile, some kind of thanks. When Mohinder still isn't back from answering the door, she slides off the stool, coming to stand beside Nathan — albeit facing the other direction - to try to catch a glimpse of who his visitor is. It turns out to be nothing more than a delivery, if the clipboard is any indication, and so she looks away. "It's … experimental," she adds, "Maybe he can fix all the mistakes he made on me. You'll be golden."

"Look, pal, all's I know is that someone told me to deliver the flowers here for a guy named Mohinder Suresh. You think it's a mistake, you take it up with them." As soon as Mohinder has the clipboard in-hand and has his attention focused on signing it, however, the apparent delivery takes a completely different turn. The bundled man withdraws a small black taser gun from the pocket of his jacket, takes aim at the geneticist's exposed torso, and fires. It'll be enough to stun, most certainly, but unless he's got a serious heart problem, the man won't die. And then up the stairs outside come four more men, all dressed for the cold — and for combat.

"Somehow that doesn't fill me with complete reassurance," Nathan says cynically, looking towards her and then towards the door— and watches as Mohinder's body reacts to the taser he can't see but can hear, the sharp electrical sound indication enough of what just happened. He takes an uncertain if instinctive step forward, to help, eyes going towards Mohinder— and then towards the man at the door, and the sound of footsteps against a metal stairwell can be heard as well. That calls for several uncertain steps back. "Police?" he asks, no one in particular as he doesn't quite expect Niki to know what's going on either. He looks further into the lab to see if there is, indeed, a good place to make an exit.

Mohinder looks up from signing the clipboard just in time to see the taser, but not quickly enough to react. Fortunately, he does not have a heart condition. Unfortunately. The taser gets in a direct hit. There's no way to delicately go about it. He flails backwards, crying out, as he hits the ground. Still convulsing. The geneticist is not going to be a problem in the very near future.

Niki is thrown very much off guard when the quiet of the lab is suddenly turned upside-down - not that it was relaxing before. When the electrical crackle hits the air (and Mohinder), her instinct is to backpedal swiftly in the opposite direction, the tips of her high-heeled boots touching the edge of the fiery mural. "Mohinder— !" Wide eyes track Mohinder's fall. She doesn't look for an exit, not while the scientist is on the ground convulsing, but she does cautiously slide behind a table, a microscope and other equipment she can't name half-obscuring her torso.

Once Mohinder is down, the door is forcibly slammed open and in pour the intruders. Rifles are raised, but it's not bullets they're firing. No, they're firing darts — tranquilizer darts. And they're firing at anything vaguely human-shaped. Meanwhile, the deliveryman remains behind with Mohinder, keeping an eye on both the scientist and the action and snapping directions in what sounds like … well, it's not quite certain what the language actually is, though anyone familiar with it would immediately recognize Esperanto.

Mohinder makes no move towards getting up, there's still some residual convulsions coursing through his nervous system. That's enough to keep his body confused about how it should be reacting to signals from the brain.

Niki tries to watch everything at once — and it proves to be a challenge, not at all helped by the fact that these people are talking some crazy language. She ducks down behind the table, clutching tightly onto one of its spidery metallic legs with both hands. "Nathan!" she shouts in frantic warning, with so many darts flying around.

At the sudden influx of rifle-carrying bad guys, Nathan is moving, swearing under his breath as a tranquiliser dart goes flying inches from him. There are a handful of people in this world who could lie on the ground and convulse and Nathan would rather willingly run into gunfire to protect them, and Mohinder Suresh is unfortunately not one of them, seeing as this amount of people is one of which Nathan can count on one hand. Right now, fleeing or at least hiding sounds like a great plan of defense.

Through the chaos, Niki's voice is at least sense making, and he's not entirely sure he has it in him to fly, fly away and leave the woman behind. His feet make echoes against the cement floor as he moves towards her, half ducked under the assault of darts flying through the air. He ducks down beside Niki, a hand reaching out at first but not touching her. "There another way out of here?"

The first round of darts miss, but the men are reloading as they split into two pairs and start to inch around opposite ends of the table behind which crouch Niki and Nathan. The man holding the other end of the taser gun on Mohinder takes this moment in time to reach into his other jacket pocket and withdraw a capped syringe filled with the correct dosage of tranquilizer for the average-sized man. He kneels down beside the scientist, removes the cap with his teeth, and prepares to inject into the downed man's neck.

"I don't know," Niki answers with unhelpful honesty, only daring to chance a swift look at Nathan. She grabs that table even tighter, not by just a leg but by one edge, watching the mens' feet get closer and closer from underneath it. Teeth bearing down on one another, it's mental effort, way more than the physical, which brings strain to the woman's face. The table was no doubt moved in here by more than one able-bodied man, and it's even heavier now that it's weighed down with hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars of equipment … which the Company, or their insurance, will have to pay for, because Niki shoves the table and everything on it at the closest pair of intruders. She give sit a sudden, heavy push. And when Niki shoves, things tend to go flying.

With the current of electricity now gone, it only takes a few seconds for the initial effects of the taser to pass. Mohinder's just the average man, or perhaps below average when it comes to brawling and defending himself physically. Letting the man think he's still down for the count, Mohinder waits just long enough before acting. Seeing the syringe, and having a fairly good idea of what it might contain, he's not going to let himself be injected. (If he can help it.) His arms raise and he attempts to shove Pierce away from him, hoping to keep from being stabbed with the needle.

Nathan flinches as suddenly the rather slight blonde woman shoves an impossibly heavy metal table, with all its equipment, across at the intruders. He was quite prepared to surrender. No way out, outgunned and outnumbered, that's just the rational thing to do. But then again, a woman with superstrength isn't rational. And a man who can fly isn't rational. Getting attacked, here and now, isn't so rational either.

He turns, and reaches out a hand to grab Niki's arm, and moves over the tumbled table. Niki will find her feet leaving the ground at the sudden show of strength (or more accurately, momentum) from the politician, then pulled in closer, more securely, as they swoop together for the door.

There's a loud and pained scream as one of the men catches the table full-on. Table and man go flying across the room, one on top of the other. His partner managed to get out of the way in time, however the table did hit him on one side and sends him reeling to the floor, where the syringe in his own pocket skitters out onto the floor — right next to a certain other syringe that was on the table. The man scrambles to pick it up and mistakenly takes the wrong one.

The remaining two men have the presence of mind to whip around, take careful aim at the airborne pair, and fire off another couple of darts. Where they hit remains to be seen — but even if they miss, there's still one man by the door with Mohinder. Mohinder who, it seems, is not dead yet and might be getting better. The scientist's flailing earns him a quick and fast hit from the vase of posies still held in the deliveryman's hand, and he's aiming for the face. A shout from one of his comrades alerts him to Nathan and Niki's attempted escape, and he lashes out with one foot to kick the door closed — hopefully. It really depends on how much of a fight Mohinder is putting up.

Mohinder is putting up a fight, but he's not very strong, plus he just got hit with a taser. The fight is mediocre at best, and rather short lived. The hit to the face does well in rendering him unconscious.

Springing up from her crouch the second the table is no longer in her hands, Niki steps backwards more or less into Nathan's grip and— what— just— ?! She actually gives a girlish shriek when she finds herself flying with him. It's quelled quickly and she clings on tight, clueless as to how their swoop will end.

Not well, is how. Nathan and by proxy Niki veer out of the horizontal trajectory towards the door as it swings shut so that feet can point for the floor instead, the politician unwilling to attempt to crash through glass and they both rather ungracefully collide into it, though Nathan twists enough to take the brunt of the impact against his legs. With a stagger, they land. This would be an ideal moment to open the door and run— or fly. But Nathan's right leg seems to give, thanks to the dart sticking into his pant leg and flesh just above the knee. With a stumble, his hand fumbles down to pull it out, this seeming to be a way more important task than getting out, defending himself, or attacking.

Which might just cost him. The man who did not get plowed over by the table is already leaping forward, and he aims not for Nathan, but for Niki with his syringe — or rather Mohinder's syringe. It's not tranquilizer that's being jabbed into the blonde. The man standing over Mohinder, assured of the scientist's unconscious state, rises and moves to grab hold of Nathan and give him a good suckerpunch to the gut. He'd sedate this one, too, but for the dart. He can't risk an overdose. The other two men are quickly moving forward to help as well. Looks like it's going to be a fight at the door.

Niki's world was a blur for the last few seconds, and when she finds herself stumbling onto solid ground again, not all that far from where they started, it's disorienting. She's still holding onto Nathan, only just in the process of stepping back and realizing they're being overtaken. "What's going unh!" Her futile wondering is cut short by the sudden, sharp, stabbing pain of a needle - from the mystery attacker's hand level it buries itself straight into the flesh exposed at her neck, above her collarbone, where her red scarf has all but fallen off.

A wide-eyed look of horror overtakes her. She gasps once, but the effect of the serum — whatever it is — isn't immediately effective. She has time, at least, to try to pull it away after it rapidly plunges into her bloodstream — and to throw a mean punch at the man who jabbed her with it. But after that? It couldn't have had a better result for the intruders. It might as well have been their tranquilizer. She stumbles back unsteadily, into the door she and Nathan very nearly flew into. It rattles in its frame as she starts to sink down slowly onto the floor.

A gasping expulsion of air from his lungs as the man's fist buries itself in a punch in Nathan's stomach, the politician rather easily doubling over. A hand reaches out to grab his attacker's arm— to help himself up, leg almost useless under him and he attempts to shove the man away once he's steadied. "Niki," he says, voice strained as his internal organs feel like their trying to realign themselves, and he catches a glimpse of the blonde woman sinking to the ground. That numbness in his leg seems to only spread, to make the world around the edges of his sight blurry, whiter, and it won't be long. He leans heavily against the railing of the loft's initial rise at the door, gripping onto it with a white knuckled hand. "What do you want," he manages, casting a bleary look towards the man he can only assume is their leader.

But there's no immediate response for Nathan, who managed to push himself away from the man who suckered him. The deliveryman waves a hand at the others, and they don't approach Nathan any further. He's obviously going down for the count. Instead, one pair break off to attend their fallen comrade while the third opens the door and lets out a sharp whistle — a signal, quite obviously. The deliveryman, meanwhile, smiles down at the senator. "You'll be finding that out soon enough," he intones. "Night-night, flying man."

But there's no immediate response for Nathan, who managed to push himself away from the man who suckered him. The deliveryman waves a hand at the others, and they don't approach Nathan any further. He's obviously going down for the count. Instead, one pair break off to attend their fallen comrade while the third moves to heft Niki away from the door so that he can signal the other two men sitting in the van below. The deliveryman, meanwhile, smiles down at the senator. "You'll be finding that out soon enough," he intones. "Night-night, flying man."

On the floor against the door, with her knees drawn up halfway where she fell, one foot gradually sliding ahead, Niki is obviously fighting a battle of her own: to stay awake and able to see and hear and understand what's going on around her. Blue eyes move frantically, only barely taking in what's happening to Nathan and where Mohinder lies on the floor nearby. From the desperate struggle written all over her face and the irregular gasps for air that are meant to be deep breaths, it's safe to say that her battle is a losing one. "N-Nathan…" she manages to respond before she's lifted up by one of the men — which is about the time her eyes close and everything goes black.

A drug coursing through your body is not something you can fight, although a rise of instinctive panic tries its darndest. Nathan swallows dryly at the response he gets, feeling like his body is becoming too heavy to support itself. In a stilting, slow collapse, he's unconscious before he can completely come to rest in an unceremonious slump on the ground. As for what he'll wake up to, he'll, as the man said, find out soon enough.

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