2007-11-16: Product Contamination



Guest Starring:

Cass_icon.gif and Jim the Manager and 7 Sick guys.

Summary: Peter makes his way into the meatpacking plant to threaten talk to the manager.

Date It Happened: November 16th, 2007

Product Contamination

Gemini Meats - Meatpacking District

Gemini Meats is an old, brick building, a vestige of a time past. Its warm, worn brickwork contrasts with the refurbished buildings around it, the fashionable parts of the district nearby. The sign affixed to the building's front features a simple black Gemini Meats, since 1941 in thin, old-fashioned script atop a whitewashed background.

As it turns out, anyone can just walk in off the street. The factory itself is hidden beyond the spacious first room, which is a dark, cold, metal place, warehouse-like. It's a hustle-and-bustle of activity and shipping crates, machinery and workers dressed in dark blue uniforms. One such worker in uniform is a tall, robust man with a clipboard that seems too small for his stature. He's handsome, aside from the many pock-marks and scars on his face and arms. His sewn on nametag designates him as Jim. "We need that shipment in the back yesterday! Stop your slacking off, Fellowes! If I see you taking a break one more time when it's not your break it's going to be your ass in the meatgrinder!"

With clothing both warm and nice looking, Peter probably stands out quite a bit as he walks into the meatpacking plant. Avoiding looking at the actual workings of the plant— and trying not to mind the smell either— he looks at the people, checking for signs of anyone coughing, or looking feverish— and most of all someone who might be in charge. Likely the yelling brings him to approach Jim over all the other men in the area. "Excuse me, Jim?" he says, eyes glancing over the nametag. The man's tall, which means, for someone at the short-end of medium, he's needing to look up quite a bit. "Are you in charge here?"

The smell does permeate. There's also a chill in the air. While some of the workers move sluggishly, they drive on — except for Fellowes, who sits on a crate and glistens with sweat. Even he clambers to his feet on Jim's orders eventually and drags his feet toward the side door, where shipments are received.

"That's me," Jim replies curtly, barely glancing at Peter — his focus is on his workers, overseeing operations. He does a double-take a moment later, however, his eye seeming to catch on the younger man's nice attire. Out of place? Yeah, overstatement. "I'm Jim, Jim Davies, factory manager. Some way I can help you?"

Times like this, Peter's very grateful he's never met anyone with a heightened sense of smell. His appetite for the day has already been ruined as it is. The way his hand rests near his mouth and under his nose, it's pretty obvious he wants to cover both in an attempt to filter it out. There's a slow breath before he lets the hand lower, looking up at him, and he sets his jaw, visible determination in his eyes, "I need to talk to you about your workers. How many of them are sick or more fatigued than normal recently?" His eyes shift away, glancing at the one that got yelled at, as if indicating him.

Anger immediately flashes in Jim's eyes, as if he's offended, in some way, by Peter's question. "Flu's going around," he answers as if it's inconsequential, his voice gruff. "Who'd you say you were, again?"

Meanwhile, Fellowes clambers into a bulky yellow machine intended to pluck an incoming crate from Receiving and move it. The guy doesn't look like he ought to be operating heavy machinery, the way he stumbles as he climbs in the seat, but Jim, glaring down at Peter, doesn't notice.

"My name's Peter Petrelli," he responds simply, still watching the man climbing on the machinery, frowning a moment at how he's moving. Since he had been looking in that direction, he has the capability of noticing it. "I work with a Lab in town that's investigating this particular strain of… flu." There's a pause there, but that might give away something, but he inhales slowly and then looks back. "And we have reason to believe that your product may be contaminated and you should contact the Center for Disease Control very soon. If you don't, we will." And then he glances back at the man on the machine, "Should he be operating heavy machinery? He looks as if he's about to fall over."

"What lab?" Jim's fuse is short as it is. Peter's accusations - that's how he's reading into what he hears - seems to light it. "Is there an investigation going on that I'm not in the loop about, here?" He throws a hard look over his shoulder at Fellowes on the equipment.

Beep… beep… beep…

The vehicle backing up sounds uncannily like a steady heart monitor in a hospital, echoing through the open space.

"Seems to be operating it dandy to me," Jim snaps. "Are you implying this factory's anything less than clean? 'Cause if you are…"

"Bat Country Labs, operated out of Seville Medical Center in Brooklyn. Ran by Cassandra Aldric. I can give you the phone number if you would like to contact her and get details on her research." Peter still looks concerned at the man on the equipment, but it's the sound of the man's voice that makes him look back. Despite the height difference, he doesn't shy away, setting his jaw, "What I'm saying, Jim, is that your workers are ill. And that they could be contaminating your product. If you will contact the CDC and allow them to investigate and clear your product— we won't have any problem. I'm sure any future lawsuits will go much easier on you and your factory if you contact them yourself."

Jim gives Peter a … funny look, incredulous, when he says the name of the lab. "Right. I will do that," he says, high on the defense. "I get CDC in here poking up our ass," a continuing metaphor with this guy, evidently, "And the press gets a hold of it, you know what kind of circus show that'd bring in? Christ. You better be onto something.

Off behind Jim, Fellowes and his heavy machinery backs straight into a container of corrugated metal. It's little more than a dent to the container, but the figure of Fellowes can be seen slumping over the controls, starting, slowly, to slide out of the side. Harried shouts break out around the Receiving door.

Jim looks sharply from that scene to Peter and whips out a meat hand, face-up. "Give me those numbers."

The sound, the commition, makes Peter wince visibly, and his eyes follow to where it is. The grimace remains on his face for a time, but then he looks back at the man's voice and his eyebrows raise, eyes widening just a fraction. For this particular thing, he'd taken the liberty of getting a card printed with the address, the name of the labs, and Cass's name and contact info on it. Looks far more professional. Reaching into an interior pocket of his coat, he pulls out the card. "I wouldn't be here if I didn't think this were serious," he says, softening his tone now that the man might be taking him serious. "The local number for the CDC happens to be written on the back too."

Jim palms the card as Gemini workers help Fellowes to the cement floor. He's a man-sized ragdoll.

"Christ," Jim mutters harshly under his breath and starts walking towards the scene. Whether or not Peter follows, his voice echoes over his shoulder. "We don't need this crap! You better not be right!"

Because of his obvious temptation to go over and help, Peter doesn't take long at all to follow after him, moving toward the man on the floor and adding, in that whispered tone, "I'd like to be wrong too, but I don't think that you can afford what would happen if we're right and you don't do anything about it." As they get closer, he does add, voice evening out into more friendly tones, "I'm a trained nurse— let me look at him." Which is what he moves to do, "Please, give me a little room, thank you."

A trained nurse trumps everyone else's workplace first-aid. Seeming skittish to begin with, maybe not wanting to make their colleague any worse than he is, the workers move back from Peter as if he's a big fish that scatters a smaller school. Except for Jim. He stays and looms, just grunting once. Fellowes is burning up, his head lolling to one side on the cold cement floor. A young man once in his prime, he's gaunt, pale and sickly … and, it would seem, out cold.

Keeling down, Peter places his hand on the young man's forehead to feel his skin, and then moves his hand to his neck to check the pulse and heartrate. He's frowning visibly even as he confirms, "He's running a high fever, and looks as if he's been sick for a long time already." He pulls his hand back to reach into a pocket and pull out a cellphone, opening it up and scrolling to a specific number, choose Cass'. As he waits for it to ring, he looks at the spread out workers and asks, "How many of you are feeling feverish, fatigued, or suffering cold chills and other flu-like symptoms?"

About nine workers in their navy blue, everyman's uniform have gathered around by now, no doubt infuriating Jim by not working. Out of those nine, three raise their hands immediately. Tentatively, like small children being called out by the teacher, one more tentatively lifts a hand, followed by the man to his right… and a woman in the back. Six. Six out of nine.

"People get sick," Jim insists, but the rough fellow is quickly losing steam in this argument. "People get … sick." He stares down at Fellowes. "What the hell kind of flu is this?"

"You're right— people get sick," Peter says softly, counting the hands that are up and wincing. He might have intended to say more, but apparently the other end picks up. "Cass? It's Peter." He doesn't sound angry, just determined right now. "I'm at the meatpacking plant and I need you to get someone at the medical center to send over an ambulance as soon as possible. I have a man who's collapsed. He's burning up, high fever, and looking as if he's not ate for a while." There's a pause. He looks back at the other workers, "Actually I'll also need transport for seven people at least. They all need to get checked."

What with everything that has happened today, Cass doesn't sound upset much, either. Determined but surprised, she doesn't ask all the questions that she really would like to right now. "Okay, so an ambulance enough for eight people? Or, well, enough ambulances for that many people? What happened? Is it the virus?"

"Aw, hell." That would be Jim. He stalks over to a phone on the wall — red, looks like it's been there for decades — and practically rips the receiver off. "I'm getting CDC in here right now, happy?" As if he has any other choice, as if it's not the right thing to do. "You all better come back alive!" he shouts as he dials.

Looking up at the man who stalks away, Peter's expression lightens again, and he puts his attention back on the phone, "Yes. Only one needs an actual ambulance, the rest can just ride inside— they're still standing and can probably sit up and ride that way. So however many needed to carry seven people. Just make sure the ambulance crew is warned to take precuasions." There's a pause. "He's calling the CDC, too." There's a hint he wants to say more, but he can't, not in front of all these people.

The shouting in the background is heard even on Cass' end. "Gotcha." Already doors are opening and it sounds like Cass is going up an echoey hallway. "The ambulance should be there shortly." She already knows the address. "That's great, Peter. I've also got some news for you when you get back. Good news."

"Good. We could use some. Thanks, Cass." Peter says, hanging up the phone and putting it away. Now he has to separate the ones who raised their hands, get information on them, and keep them calm. Help is on the way.

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