2007-10-11: Positive Negative


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Ramon finds out that he doesn't have the virus. He also acts as a sounding board to Cass trying to figure out how to stop it.

October 11th, 2007:

Positive Negative

Bat Country Labs

With the amount of people staying at, visiting and coming to Bat Country, it's a wonder that Cass manages to get anything done. However, the answer may be that she mostly spends her time in the lab trying to work things through. Having caught a shower and quick nap, she's a little more refreshed than she has been in the past couple of days. However, the dark circles are still there. As is her normal position, she's sitting on a stool at one of the counters, all the various reports open in front of her in a kind of spectrum - the files that Mohinder gave her earlier a new addition to what she can hopefully link together.

Ramon comes into the room with his hands in his pockets. He hasn't left Bat Country yet, choosing to act as though he is sick until he knows otherwise. It is the responsible thing to do. He put in calls to Desiree and left a message on her voicemail to take samples from herself and each of the kids and mail them up, and to keep everyone in the house as much as possible till he knew more.

Hearing someone stirring - Cass is about ready to go out and yell at her unruly patients to actually take a (sort of) doctor's advice and please for the love of God, actually sleep and rest. It's not that she needs the peace and quiet, it's actually because she wants them to get better and straining themselves is not going to help in any way. Grabbing the folder she's currently studying, she quickly moves to the doorway. "What part of you need to rest do you Petrellis not—" Halfway through her momma bear speech she stops to find the man she's scolding is actually Ramon. "Ramon. Hi. Come on back, would you?" Because his test results are finally in, too.

"What's the verdict?" Ramon asks, settling down on a nearby stool and propping up a foot. His arms are crossed as he stares flatly ahead with his one good eye. He's bracing for the worst of the news, and trying to do it all stoically.

Commendable, the bracing for bad news. And by the look on Cass' face, that's probably what it's going to be. However, lately her worried face is just her default expression. "You're fine, Ramon. I didn't find anything in your blood. No virus." Putting the folder she carried out with her on the counter in the place it was in before, she sinks back onto her own stool again. "So you should be fine to go home whenever you want to." Of course, with Elena here, she wouldn't be surprised if he wanted to stay. "You're, of course, welcome to stay if you'd like."

Ramon scratches the back of his head. "Huh. I fully expected that standing in a room full of sick people, and touching them, was going to make me ill too." He turns to face her. "So does that mean it's being transmitted some other way?" His eye narrows. Transmitted leads to the letter S, which leads to Peter Petrelli being in danger from something other than a virus…

"You and me both," Cass says. While it's relief to know that this virus may not be airborne, it's also even more puzzling to not know what is causing it or how some people got it and others did not. "I don't even know how it's being transmitted. Or if it's even communicable. The original strain where this virus may come from…it wasn't contagious. Or at least, not very much so. There were only two cases of it reported before it mutated into something else. And this one may be another mutated form of it."

"There was another strain?" Ramon asks, his brow furrowing. "What do you actually know about this thing? It sounds like you know more than you were letting on in the room the other day. There, you were talking like you didn't know a thing. Now you're talking multiple strains and mutations."

"There was." Cass leans back a little against the counter and runs a hand through her hair. "I know a little more than I knew the other day. I didn't even know what to compare it to then. But I talked to someone who has a longer history of dealing with it. And he had data to compare what the others have to what the original strain had. There were some similarities. Even now the most I can do is go through what everyone's blood is showing and try to work things out from there. Without taking anyone's blood, the symptoms just seem to be like the flu."

"What clued you in that it wasn't the flu?" Ramon rumbles. He's not good at technical stuff, but he can ask what seems to him to be reasonable and potentially helpful questions. He's a Dad. Sounding board is somewhere on that list. Or maybe he just needs to understand what's going on here.

A sounding board is actually something Cass needs about now. Because the only other people she can talk about this with reasonably intelligent answers are sick. Everyone else is either someone she doesn't trust or doesn't know. "Deduction, actually. Nathan exhibited the symptoms when I took his blood, Peter showed a much more advanced case and showed increased signs as well. Everyone I talked to who showed the virus in their blood complained of the same set of physical ailments. While I can't be sure everyone that exhibits those same sets have the virus, I can be reasonably sure that anyone who has the virus will have those symptoms. It's a good warning sign.

Ramon nods slowly and says, "Is it a virus limited to people with powers?" Ramon actually kind of hates the term 'Evolved', finding it offensive to the rest of humanity. "Something that interacts with the weird genetics? And if so, does it attach to a particular kind? Peter has a physical power, so does Elena, so does Nathan, but mine is mental."

"I don't know." Cass is back to her standard answer about the virus. "I tested myself and I don't have it, but I also wasn't in that quarantine that we think it may have started in. I need to find the others if I can." So she can find out. "It seems to attack the nervous system, which means that the kind of ability that you exhibit shouldn't affect it. I don't know why it would only target people with abilities and not those who don't. I was told that a certain person's blood mixed with another's with regenerative powers cured the mutated strain of the virus. I've started to test that theory, but I'm not sure if Peter's blood will work. He already has the virus and his regenerative properties isn't combating it."

"He doesn't count, really," Ramon muses. "He has all these powers but he never has them to the same degree or skill level of the original person. He's a telepath like me now, but he can't do most of what I can do with telepathy. He said he can't heal like the healer he got powers off of. And so on."

"Now be nice," Cass can't help but tease, knowing that Ramon may be a little extra-critical of the man due to his daughter. "But I've taken that into account. His blood may have the properties of regeneration, but it may also be watered down a bit. He said he talked to the woman he got the ability off of and I'm hoping that she'll be willing to let me talk to her. If that doesn't work…." she sighs and looks down at her folders again. "Then we're back at square one."

Ramon looks at Cass blankly. "I was being nice. Its just the facts." He scratches at a bit of stubble and thinks it through. Then he grimaces. "Its possible my second daughter might be able to help. If that doesn't. Then again…its possible she could make it worse, too."

Giving Ramon a look, Cass tilts her head just slightly. "Your second daughter?" It's not that Cass didn't know that Ramon had a second daughter, just that she doesn't know that she has an ability. Or what it is. "How?"

Ramon drops his hand and looks grim. "She went outside," he begins, in a slow, quiet voice. "To a section of our land that we were looking to clear out for a garden. It was mostly dead earth, grass. Juanita, she went outside, and she stood there, because my mother told her in passing she wanted a garden. I walk out in time to watch it all burst into bloom. I watched a caterpillar in its cocoon speed up its growth and hatch and go flying away. It is the most powerful thing I've ever seen. I had to make her stop before she turned my back yard into a rainforest. Powerful. Terrifying. I don't know how to protect her. Of all my children, her ability has the most potential for abuse, exploitation, and the most potential to save so many lives."

Listening to Ramon speak, Cass can't blame him for being grim and nervous about Juanita's power. That certainly seems to be something that she can understand being both in awe and terrified of. This is more than just restoration of the body. It's manipulating the very ground around them. "It sounds beautiful, though." Even now she can't help but be optimistic. "I'm…going to first see if Peter's friend will come through. Because you're right…that seems extremely dangerous to use her blood against a virus. It may just cause it to reproduce in far greater numbers than before. And, not only that, like you said, there's the possibility that if anyone finds out that she helped that others will want to study her or worse. I'd like to keep your family out of it as much as possible. Just in case." Because so much has happened to them already.

"So do I," Ramon says grimly. "And yes. The thought had occurred to me that ebola grows as surely as wheat does." He expels a long breath. "And now I'm going to ask a question that I hope you won't take offensively. But Cassandra, you never finished medical school, am I correct? Perhaps it might help to bring in an actual doctor on this, if you know of one you can trust."

While the question does make Cass bristle a bit internally, she knows that Ramon is trying to help. That he's pointing out a conclusion that she already came to before. "No, you're right. I didn't. I've been reading up and studying the past few months to try and refresh my memory and learn more than I was doing before, but I didn't graduate." There's a slight hesitation, but she continues. "I've already asked two a doctor and a scientist for help. Two people who already have experience in this sort of work." As for trusting them…well…she can't say she does that.

Ramon nods, satisfied. "Then you are acting wisely." He sounds unsurprised by this—acting wisely is something he pretty much expects out of her, but it never hurts to hear it. "Is there anything I can do, or will I just be getting in the way? I fully intend to visit Elena, but I also have to be at home with my family."

Looking about the lab, Cass takes it all in. She's basically been living and breathing this place for the last couple of days. It can be a little oppressive when there are no windows. "I don't know about that," she rubs a hand over her face at being called wise. Asking her father and Mohinder for help is kind of like asking an alligator not to bite. It will only if it doesn't feel like it. However, she doesn't know if she has any other choice in the matter. Especially not when she wants to find a cure as soon as possible. "I'm not going to turn down any help, honestly. I'll need all of it I can get. Just…I don't know about in the lab. Checking on the others will certainly be a help. And tracking down the other people who were in the quarantine, certainly. Dr. Applebaum was one of them, but apparently there were others."

"Ok. Give me a list," Ramon says simply. He can find people and talk to them. "What do you want me to do with them once I find them?" There's nothing growly in that question: he just doesn't really know. "What do I say to them?"

"Well. Right now the list is pretty short," Cass gives Ramon a smile. "It only includes Dr. Applebaum. She works at Mount Sinai, though." So maybe he can track her down through that. "If you could talk to her about the quarantine, maybe find out who else was there, if she knows anything else, ask her if she's been feeling sick at all - fever, tiredness, cold are the indicators I've been using - and also if she wouldn't mind stopping by here. I could certainly use a sample of her blood to test." Leaning forward, she grabs a pen and a sheet of paper from the printer. Writing down the information she has - Dr. Samantha Applebaum, Mount Sinai - she hands it over to Ramon. "Um, you don't have to go into the details of this virus unless she's exhibiting symptoms. If she is, I'd like to get her to come here ASAP. I guess discretion is the best policy."

"Consider it done," Ramon says. "Also, what's your favorite kind of sandwhich and hot drink? You need to eat, woman." He starts for the door, but pauses to look back at her expectantly. "I know you won't sleep until you're damn good and ready, but you do need to eat."

"Thank you." That's one less thing off of her already full plate. It also gives her more of an opportunity to work on the science as opposed to trying to play detective. "That's something off my mind." As for the sandwich and hot drink, she gives Ramon a grin. "Steak sandwich and Irish breakfast tea, but I've already had enough coffee to last me till next month." As for sleep, well, she'll get plenty of that once this is all over. "Thanks, Ramon. Sincerely."

"No. Thank you," Ramon grunts. And with that he strides out, ready to get to work now that he's got something to get to work /on/. Because he's just that way. Man of action. Anything to keep him away from this world of little tiny viruses that he can't talk to or fight.

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