2007-10-23: Red Herring


Cass_icon.gif Mohinder_icon.gif

Guest Starring: Miss Wright and Dr. Lowry

Summary: Cass and Mohinder's quest to devise a virus cure leads them to a medical facility in Texas.

Date It Happened: October 23rd, 2007

Red Herring

Medical Facility, Texas

With his ever present messenger bag in tow, Mohinder escorts Cass along with him into the medical facility. It's highly secured and since the geneticist isn't certain as to whether this is Company or not, he's prepared to try and bluff his way in. He also has his security badge for the New York buildings in his bag. Just in case. "You're my intern, if anyone asks," he murmurs to Cass. It'll fly. He has his own separate lab facilities, and he just could be getting to the point of wanting assistants and an intern. "The information I could find suggested that Miss Hayes was transferred here last."

If there's one thing that Cass doesn't mind bending the morality of - it's lying. She did it a lot to get out of punishments when she snuck out of her parents' house as a kid. And she especially doesn't mind doing it now if it's going to help them solve the answer of what happened to her friends. Hair pulled back with a pen in her hair and looking very studious, she raises an eyebrow at Mohinder. "I couldn't just be your research partner? You know, an equal? Or at least someone that gets paid to hold your test tubes." Of course, if it will get them in, she'll pretend to be an intern, but she's going to be a little surly about it. "I could find that she was transferred here, too. But whenever I called, they never let me speak to her."

It looks like any other medical facility in the country — well, not quite. There's a certain Southwestern flair what would otherwise antiseptic decor, the walls a warm colour of adobe and potted plants set up here and there. It's a contrast to the secure doors that lead into every relevant part of the building beyond the lobby. A security guard mills about, and prim-looking woman sits behind the counter. Both have ID badges. As the visitors arrive, the guard stands in front of the secured door, and the woman stands up swiftly. "Can I help you?"

"Very well then, that works too," Mohinder says in response to Cass. Intern just seemed a little more plausible what with security and all. But research partner will hopefully be acceptable. "The information I could find in our records were not exactly forthcoming either." The whispering to Cass ceases as they enter the building properly as the guard and receptionist are smiled to. "Good afternoon, I'm Dr. Suresh and this is my research assistant Dr. Aldric. We're here on official business." While he speaks pleasantly enough, he puts a little authority into his voice.

Seeing as Mohinder is doing all the talking, Cass decides not to add anything to his introduction. When gestured at slightly, she gives the woman behind the counter a polite smile. Maybe intern would have sounded more acceptable, but she figures that either way she doesn't have to proper clearance and at least this way if she starts to talk in a knowledgeable manner, it isn't some sort of surprise.

The woman slowly, reluctantly reclaims her seat. Almost as soon as she's seated, she starts tapping away on her computer, eyeing Mohinder and Cass. Coincidence or multi-tasking? Easy guess that it's the former. "What is the nature of your business?" she queries, her accent local. "What is the name of the doctor here you're working with?"

"We're working with Cara Hayes and her research. The interest in the project has been renewed." Which isn't a lie. The first part /is/ a stretch however. Mohinder adjusts the strap of his bag over his shoulder as he proceeds towards the desk. He doesn't offer up his identification just yet.

Maybe it is coincidence, but that doesn't mean Cass doesn't take it under assessment. Stepping forward with Mohinder, she keeps a hand on the strap of her purse. Instead of arguing with Mohinder, all she does is try to look calm and as if she's supposed to be here. This is routine questioning, right?

"Cara Hayes… one moment, please." And one moment later, the receptionist pauses in her computer search — freezing, in fact, as she eyes the screen and eyes Mohinder in turn, as well as Cass. An eyebrow raises. "I'm not sure what you're here for, doctors, but I'm fairly certain it isn't to work with a Ms. Hayes."

"Actually.. we are," Mohinder says, his voice going firm. "It's a rather urgent matter so we did not have time to make proper arrangements. You have our apologies for that. It's a bit of a life and death situation so there isn't much time for protocol." As if to further his point, he withdraws a small black case from his bag marked with biohazard labels.

While Mohinder plays the cards of telling part of the truth in order to get them by, Cass takes a different approach. Seeing the eyebrow raise and the way that she freezes, she frowns and sounds concerned, even. "Has something happened to Miss Hayes?" With a glance over at Mohinder, she looks back at the receptionist.

When the biohazard label appears, the receptionist exchanges glances with the facility's security nearby before regarding Mohinder with a … curious look. It's a mixture between that's just silly and who do you think you're trying to fool? "Well, you've got that right, Dr. … Suresh, was it? And Dr. Aldric?" She looks between them both with that same expression. "Ms. Hayes is deceased."

Mohinder puts the biohazard case back in his bag and swears softly at the news. "Deceased? Then why was this information covered up? When did this happen? Where is her research at? It's imperative we have access to it." Alive or dead, they need to get what she knew. He's unapologetic at the barrage of questions fired at the receptionist, and getting just about desperate for information.

Just like Mohinder, Cass has many questions for the receptionist. While Mohinder is taking a desperate tinge to his voice, the store owner tries to remain calm, though she sounds worried and just a hint of annoyed. "Well, you know, we could have been informed of this before we traveled all the way here." Giving Mohinder a look, she shakes her head. "Dr. Suresh, please, let the woman breathe. I'm sure she'll let us see the paperwork you need for your research." Then, turning to the receptionist, she gives a bit of a smile. "I'm sorry, he's a little jetlagged and you know how doctors can get about their research." Pulling out a file from out of her bag, and a pair of glasses, she slips them on and starts flipping through pages. "We'll, of course, need the autopsy report, the charts while she was staying here, any and all bloodwork that was performed…" she looks over her glasses at the receptionist, "Should I go slower? I'm sorry, do you need to write this down?"

"Ms. Hayes was a patient here. The particulars surrounding her death are private." The woman holds up a hand. "I'm sorry, doctors, but I can't release that information. Where did you say you flew in from…? You're not from the CDC, are you?"

Mohinder easily lets Cass take the lead and keeps up with her. It's not a stretch to play the frazzled doctor, not in the slightest. "Damn confidentiality paperwork, if I had of known, I just would have requested the information! Bugger all!" He rakes both hands through his curly hair before retrieving his cellphone, and makes a show of going through his address book. "No we are not from the bloody CDC. We're from a private research firm."

Easily stepping into the roll of the 'good cop' and 'good assistant', Cass gives a soft sigh and shakes her head at Mohinder's words. "Dr. Suresh," she starts with a warning tone, "Please. I'm sure this is not Miss…" she drags that out, since she was never given the name of who this woman is that they're talking to. "Well, this is surely not her fault. She doesn't know how important this is. Our…firm should have already requested the paperwork on Miss Hayes and we were supposed to do a more in depth and on site study on her, ahem, condition. If you'd like I could call them, make sure the paperwork we filed went through. But I know for a fact that it was approved." Already, she's digging through her purse for her own cellphone.

"Ms. Wright. And if you would do that, Dr. Aldric, that would be helpful." The receptionist smiles expectantly. "In the meantime, I'll call Dr. Lowry to the desk. We don't get a lot of outside researchers in here, but he handles most of the cases…"

Mohinder was more or less prepared for the backup plan.. but this works too. "Thank you for your cooperation Miss Wright. Our Company appreciates it greatly." He pockets his cellphone as he glances aside to Cass. Now to hope that Lowry is cooperative. "Is Dr. Lowry well acquainted with Miss Hayes and her condition? The more he's acquainted, the more helpful that is to our research."

Juggling her cellphone with her bag and the folder that she already pulled out, Cass somehow doesn't manage to drop anything. However, now she has to figure out who it is she's going to call that she can pretend to talk to from a research lab. Hm. Tricky. Thumbing through her address book, she finds a number, pushes send and holds the phone up to her ear, stepping away from the desk in order to let Mohinder and Miss Wright talk. "I'll just be a moment. Thank you, Miss Wright." She doesn't go too far away because she has to make her end of the conversation sound convincing. Keeping the volume on the earpiece low, she waits for someone to pick up.

"Jade Dragon Express, may I take your order?"
"Hi, Carol, it's Aldric here. Number 23, everything's done on that, right? It seems like there's some confusion over here. I know last time Jimmy didn't get everything he wanted on the 12 so that held things up forever. I need to make sure everything's cleared."
"Done? Well done? Yes. Everything well done!"
"That's great. No surprises, everything's approved?"
"Everything always approved!"
"Thanks, Carol." Slapping the her cellphone closed on what she's sure is a very confused food worker, Cass returns back to the desk. She'll order a whole feast from Carol when she gets back to the city. "That was Carol. She said a supervisor cleared it, so we should be good to go."

"Ah…" The woman consults her computer, even as she has a phone to her ear. "Ms. Hayes had her own doctors." Even that was probably more information than she should have divulged. "Dr. Lowry, this is reception. There are some folks down here who say they're with a private research firm looking for information on one Ms. Cara Hayes… yes. They say it's important, pulling out the biohazard— Dr. Aldric and Dr. Suresh. Yes, doctor." She looks up during her phone call as she listens to Cass. "Apparently it was cleared… yes, well, they're very adamant… yes, Dr. Lowry." She hangs up. "Dr. Lowry is on his way."

It only takes several moments for the doctor to arrive; he's an older man with curling and balding grey hair. He enters through the secure door, a hesitant smile on his face. "Dr. Suresh and Aldric, I reckon? Now, I don't know what to do with you, maybe there's been some miscommunication, but I don't have any paperwork and I don't know what you could possibly want with Ms. Hayes, she died of natural causes."

"Thank you Miss Wright," Mohinder says needlessly as the woman gets Dr. Lowry on the phone. Before the geneticist can start to pace out his frustrations, the doctor arrives. "Dr. Lowry? Mohinder Suresh, I'm a geneticist. My associate and I are here on urgent research business. We had a lead that we were hoping Miss Cara Hayes could assist us with. Unfortunately we did not realize she had passed. Was her cause of death an odd strain of virus by any chance?" While addressing Lowry, he's back in his bag again, digging out his file folder with the particulars of what he and Cass were studying.

Smiling at Mohinder and Miss Wright, Cass gives a nervous cough and then introduces herself to the new coming doctor. "Forgive me, Dr. Lowry. Hi, I'm Dr. Aldric, Dr. Suresh's assistant." My is it strange to call herself Dr. Aldric, almost, but not quite as odd as calling herself Mohinder's assistant. "Is there a private room we could talk in for just a moment? What we need to discuss is, obviously, private and confidential." Playing the good little assistant, she smiles at Mohinder as well as the good doctor. "Honestly, we know you must be busy, but we hope this will only take a few moments. It is quite important that we speak with you. Or offices did, indeed, send paperwork that was approved, as Miss Wright just confirmed. We've come a long way here, so we really would just appreciate a moment or two. There are a few things we'd like to share with you, as well." A nod is given to what Mohinder is digging for in his bag.

Dr. Lowry gives the unlikely pair a frustrated sigh. He hears them out, but makes it seem like his time is worth millions that Cass and Mohinder aren't paying up. "A lead on— ? Look, I'm apologize for the confusion, but I'm speaking with you now and I don't know what to tell you. Far as I know Ms. Hayes was a housekeeper, what kind of lead do you think she'd have? Odd strain of— doctor, I think you're barking up the wrong tree, here. Now, I've got research of my own to attend to, so if you don't mind freeing up my day and moving along…" The elder doctor quite literally tries to usher them out with his clipboard.

Mohinder flashes an awkward smile of gratitude towards Cass. Seeing as she's the one who's keeping a cooler head here. Too bad she's not a grey hat. The Company could use her bluffing skills. The Gods above know Mohinder is bad at it. So it's no surprise that he completely loses the weak cover as the doctor starts giving them the brush off. A firm and resolute expression is on Suresh's face as he holds up the files. "I have it on good authority that Miss Hayes was transferred here for a reason. It was done through her involvement with a virus. Possibly a manufactured hantavirus that is specifically targeting certain individuals. Dr. Aldric and I are chasing down this lead because we are running out of options as far as devising a cure. It's highly resilient to any cures that I am familiar with for related strains." The smile that he gives Lowry is dark, and just a little desperate, "Might we please.. have a few more moments of your time. In private. My company had it documented that she came here for a reason. Now.. can you help us, or is there someone else here I might speak with?"

Just as frustrated about this is Cass. Because while Dr. Lowry is playing dumb or actually doesn't know anything, she's spending time here in Texas when she could be at home with her fiancee and her friends, working elsewheres to devise a cure. Her cool head melts slightly at the dismissal. "This is important." They're in a hallway and she doesn't really want to talk about it this way, but when the Texas doctor tries to usher them out, she remains firm in her grounding. "If you were her doctor," she says in more hushed tones, but forceful. "You would know exactly what Dr. Suresh is talking about. We're not some grad students looking to write a paper here, Dr. Lowry. Think about your Hippocratic Oath. You're a doctor. We need your help."

Mohinder's dark, desperate look gives the doctor pause, as does Cass's intense tones. He eyes them, almost nervously. "Hantavirus, huh. I want to help you, but the truth is, I never personally worked with Hayes, I'm a supervisor. I know what goes on around here and I don't know what you're talking about. You'd have to speak to the doctors who came in to attend to her, Dr. … Dr. …" He trails off, glancing off into space, derailed and trying to concentrate and perspiring, slightly, when he comes up with nothing. "…Vickie," he addresses Ms. Wright, "Check the system for those names? Use my password for access."

Click click tap. "There's… nothing there, doctor. There's nothing to access."

"I can't help you," Dr. Lowry says, sounding a touch apologetic through his impatience.

Mohinder remains insistent as he looks pleadingly at Lowry, "Please. If you can't help us, direct us to an associate who can. We have several patients who are depending upon us to find them a cure… Dammit! Who did? Someone here has to know!" He looks ready to throw the files in his hand as Lowry and Wright come up empty. "What are they hiding?! Another virus creation? Suppressing the information? We have the start of an outbreak, one I can't get to the bottom of! The other strains of this virus, I've made the cure but this one?" At his wit's end, he opens the first file. The blood test results, imaging, it's flashed in Lowry's face. "I'm sorry to be this way.. but again. Miss Hayes was here for a reason. Moved quietly, and her traces covered.." Looking beyond frustrated, he glances towards Cass, "I'm sorry.. I should have realized this was nothing more than some wild goose chase. We've wasted precious time here."

While Mohinder gets more verbal about his disappointment and annoyance, Cass just shakes her head and frowns. Clutching her purse tighter, she just looks up to Dr. Lowry. "There's no way to tell how those files disappeared? Or who did it? You don't keep paper files on patients anywhere? There's absolutely nothing left? What about video surveillance, test results? You still haven't answered our question. What did she officially pass away from and when? Just natural causes isn't much to go on. Was it heart failure, kidneys, a stroke? You must have at least the death certificate on file somewhere." At Mohinder's apologies, she shakes her head again, once. This isn't the time for this. They'll rail against their lot and gamble later. And then they will go to the Company. They will find something to get to the bottom of this. "I know you're trying to help, doctor. And I'm grateful. I just…need some sort of explanation as to how this could have all happened."

"I don't know what you're talking about! I'm going to have to ask you to leave!" Beginning to feel threatened, the older man looks back at the already approaching member of security who advances all the faster — placing a hand near Mohinder's shoulder, in fact. However, Dr. Lowry goes on to answer Cass. "Kidney— kidney failure. Yes, I believe it was kidney failure. I'm not about to launch a whole investigation into something or release confidential information when you've just came at us out of nowhere with no official credentials that I can find." A by the rules kind of fellow, apparently. He starts to turn, as the security attempts to lead them to the door, and adds definitively, "We're done. Good luck on your wild goose chase, doctors." And he heads back into the secured area.

"Our trail of information would not of led us here for no reason." Mohinder says with a good deal of exhaustion in his voice. Of course, deep down, he wouldn't put it past the Company to maybe send him on a wild chase to nowhere for no reason other than to get him out of the city and delay a cure longer. "Cass, I think we're going to have to talk to Bishop directly as this appears to be going nowhere." Perhaps they should have played straight with his boss earlier. "Lay a hand on my shoulder, and I might have to tranquilize you," Suresh says warningly to the security guard before he addresses the retreating doctor. "You want credentials? Fine. Primatech Research." His ID badge is withdrawn and raised. Hopefully the information will reach Lowry's ears before he is out of the room and by some miracle, get them further in the door. "We work out of the New York division. I specialize in genetics that are considered theoretical in most circles of science and medicine."

"I was just thinking that," Cass mutters to Mohinder of talking to Mr. Bishop as she watches Dr. Lowry shuffle off in a huffy manner. "I honestly believe he doesn't remember anything. I think that man who tampers with people's memories has been through here." It wouldn't surprise her, as no one seems to remember anything and all the files disappeared in his wake. "Some days I want to meet him so I can ask how he sleeps at night." Of course, she sometimes wants to ask the same thing of Mohinder, but his help on this case has turned her at least a little softer at that. When Mohinder starts flashing his badge around, the woman is flabbergasted, but just gives him a 'be careful' look. Bringing that name up after what they just learned is a just as much of a gamble as coming down here was.

The security man takes his hand back and away from Suresh's shoulder, but he looms. Oh, he looms. Meanwhile, Dr. Lowry is through the doors, which buzz faintly with the sound of a lock kicking in. If he heard the name-dropping of Primatech, he has no reaction — or it falls on deaf ears. Ms. Wright is left with her hands hovering above her keyboard, staring at the spectacle that's interrupting her routine.

"Quite easily, I assure you," Mohinder mutters in response to Cass's comments on the Haitian. "He's a rather nice fellow who is only doing his job. Very much like I do mine." Just in case Cass happened to be wondering about him. With a loud swear in Hindu, the files in hand are thrown to the floor as he looks to Cass, "This was a waste of time. Now what? Damn the Company and damn their secrets! Toying with viruses and lives!"

Cass turns around only to give a smile to Miss Wright. "Thank you for all your help, Miss Wright. Sorry for the interruption." Then, she turns back and her face is very set and not at all happy. "That's exactly the Company's problem. You start to see people as jobs and not as people," she replies icily. As she makes her way for the doorway again, she shakes her head. "We should have gone right to the top immediately," she shakes her head. "All this sneaking around." She gives a laugh that holds no mirth to it. "And now you know exactly why I never will be a part of what it is you've allied yourself with. Let's get back to New York."

Mohinder gathers his paperwork from the floor. "I allied myself for the research funding so that I could help people.. and for the record.. I see people as patients. As people. Not as jobs." Pardon as his words are terse with a snap to them. "We'll go to the top. Straight to the top. The moment we land. Let's get moving."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License