2007-10-15: Safety Net

Starring:

Mohinder_icon.gif Niki_icon.gif

Summary: While others search for answers and cures to a potentially deadly virus, Niki searches for a cure of another kind, despite all advice to the contrary.

Date It Happened: October 15th, 2007

Safety Net


Isaac's Loft/Mohinder's Lab

Manhattan

The lab on Reed Street has been a little neglected as of late. Mohinder's been working like crazy out of other locations. Like Bat Country. The emergence of the new virus strain in evolved has taken over his attention. Now? He's still working to the last minute, as he tries to tie up loose ends for a few days. It was in his plans for the day to return to Bat Country for a little bit, but that's on hold. He had gotten a request from Niki to meet, and now he waits for that time to approach.

Unaware that her request waylays any plans of, perhaps, a more dire nature, Niki stands at the entrance to the loft-turned-lab a little late, her knuckles raised to tap the door. She can see Mohinder moving about through the blinds. She starts to turn away, to go back the way she came, out of the building entirely, especially indecisive ever since yesterday's insights - but after closing her eyes and taking a breath to steady her decision, she knocks.

Mohinder sets down the mug of chai he was drinking from upon hearing the knocking at the door. Rolling his sleeves up some, he walks up the stairs to check on who is at the door. Seeing that it's his expected guest, he unlocks the door and opens it. "Niki, you're on time," he greets with a tired smile. "You said you wanted to talk?"

Remember the last time these two met, when Niki shoved Mohinder in the street? Niki sure does. "Hey." The smile wears to greet the scientist starts to escape already as she looks down, holding onto one of her arms in a slightly nervous gesture. "Um. Yeah," she says in a low voice. "I've been thinking… and… I dunno how much I can trust you but— "

Mohinder does remember that. So he's trying to stay on the woman's good side as best he can. He invites her on into the lab with a polite gesture. "I understand completely about the lack of trust. Please.. come in.. have a seat. We can talk in private. There isn't an audio security feed in here." He's smiling, but serious about that. It's all video.

Niki is quiet in favour of taking in the considerable sights of the loft as she slowly makes her way inside, holding tight onto the strap of the black, shiny leather purse slung over her shoulder. Her boots make consistent clangs as she heads down into the lab proper. She's never been here before. "If— you did anything for me, would it all go back to the people you work for?" she asks, as she's unknowingly recorded wandering into the lab with Mohinder. You sneaky player of words scientist, you.

"Right now Niki, the Company can go to Hell. What do you need?" Mohinder asks as his words are nothing but sincere. The door to the lab is shut and he moves to lean against the railing on the inside landing. The man looks exhausted, but this really isn't anything new. He's known to work until he drops.

Good answer. Niki comes to a slow halt, turning on her heel at the edge of the explosion painted on the floor. Blue eyes pull away from the mural up to Mohinder, just as wary as they are hopeful. "You said you could run tests, or… do something." She sounds strangely guilty, even as she says it. Sorry, Nathan. This is her way of relying on herself alone. Step one, the safety net. Even if it is fragile.

Mohinder pushes away from the railing and follows Niki down to the main floor of the lab. "Yes I can. This lab is fully equipped.. If you aren't comfortable here, there is another lab where I can run tests as well. I just need to clear it with the owner and she can supervise." If trust is still a problem of course. "You aren't feeling ill are you? Flu-like symptoms?"

"What? No." Niki gives the scientist an incredulous look, a half-smile on her lips. That illness must seriously be going around, huh? "Unless that sickness is really contagious, I'm fine," she assures him. She toys with her hands in front of her idly as she regards Mohinder from a distance. Resolutely, she says, "I want to get better. I have to. You know about medicine and— you said— you said you might be able to help. Even if it's more drugs, I don't care." Oh, that's not completely true, Niki, but desperation does funny things with one's sense of self and confidence. The blonde steps forward, determined. "No more Jessica, no more… anything. Whatever it takes." Almost. Then again…

Mohinder looks relieved at that. "Good.. good.. and no.. We haven't determined just how it is spread yet. It doesn't seem to be airborne at the least." He slips his hands into his pockets as he listens to Niki's request and his expression sobers even further. "There are.. the suppressants you can take daily. That will suppress every aspect of your ability, possibly assist with the split personality. But that purely depends upon you taking them as prescribed. The other alternative that I know of that's ready, I don't really recommend."

"I know," Niki says simply. "I'm taking them. But I ran out." Which begs the question, where did she get them in the first place? "I was on those pills before. I couldn't…" A pained look crosses her face, but she goes on. "I couldn't keep taking them. The side effects… I couldn't live my life." Which begs another question, why is she taking them again now? Hesitant and not very forthcoming all of a sudden, the woman says, "If your alternative's going to the Company, I've been there."

"The alternative is an injection. It's a virus strain that will dampen your ability. It won't take it away permanently, just negate it. There are no known side effects. Yet, it's a virus strain that could.. no.. can mutate." Mohinder doesn't look like he enjoys giving Niki that information. "I can run tests on your specific blood type and ability and we can work on an alternative." He leads the way towards the lab proper. "May I ask as to why you are wanting to take away your ability.. or is it just your multiple personality disorder you'd like to control?"

Niki leans against a nearby workstation beside Mohinder, clutching its metal edges as she looks up at this well-meaning, possibly untrustworthy, seemingly harmless man - why is everyone so complicated! Her pretty face with its tired edges takes on a wholly serious, dire manner. "I just want to not have to worry about waking up one morning and finding out that I killed my husband. I wanna be a good mother… a good person. If it means losing my strength? I don't care."

Mohinder exhales audibly as he looks towards Niki. "Multiple personality disorder.. is generally a psychiatric problem. Treated with anti-depressants, tranquilizers and psychotherapy. Traditional treatment for the disorder takes year, it won't happen overnight. I think however, you are a unique case. Have you spoken with a psychologist at any point in your life about it?" As he asks that, he moves over to a series of cabinets where he withdraws rubber gloves, sterile syringe and a couple of vials. These are set onto a sterilized tray along with a bandaid, alcohol swab and a rubber tube. "In your situation, it might be worsened by having an ability. One might not be cured without taking away the other. I would like to run some basic tests here. I could easily get a file on you from the Company, but I want my own tests. Untainted by them."

"I've heard this all before." Niki says, trying not to sound fed-up — she's just tired of the whole spiel, the questions, the have you now or have you ever been of psychology. She watches the geneticist prepare his medical equipment, seeming mostly unmoved by the prospect of testing. "I … have to say, Mohinder. Maybe I was wrong about you. Maybe … you're not like them after all. Even after…" She trails off. The memory incident. "Everyone makes mistakes," Niki says, adding in a low voice, "I'd know."

"I just want to make sure every base is covered." Mohinder does like to be thorough.. and make sure that Niki understands the options on the table. "If you want me to run tests and to try and devise an alternative.. roll up your sleeve please. You came to me, I won't do anything you don't want me to do." He cracks a crooked sort of smile, "Have you spoken with Jessica and gotten her consent yet?"

That's… that's not funny, Mohinder. Niki, sitting down on a swivelling chair that spins ever-so-slightly when she does so, just eyes the scientist as if to say 'are you serious?'. She rolls up the sleeve of her sweater, pushing back the soft white material and offers him a bare arm.

Mohinder's smile turns into an apologetic one as he wraps the tubing around Niki's bicep. An area around a vein is wiped clean with the alcohol swab before he draws a couple of vials of blood from the woman. "I can't promise that there won't be side effects. Whatever option we find for you."

"I've been trying to get around the side effects as it is," Niki says with a furrowed brow, watching the process without any real interest. She idly glances away as the blood's drawn. "As long as I can still take care of my son, that's all that matters."

"Every medication has a side effect.. no matter how noticeable or minute it is." Mohinder says evenly as he works on drawing the blood. "Make a fist for me Niki, please.. Just for a few seconds." Keep the blood flowing. The comment about Micah earns a true smile. "I will do what I can for you."

Making a fist as indicated, Niki smiles back. "Thank you." It's very sincere, but her smile takes a rueful turn. "I've heard that a lot, too."

Mohinder's expression sobers just a little. "You can relax your hand now," he instructs as he works on the last vial. Once that's filled, he withdraws the syringe and places a bandaid over the puncture wound. "I think I can find you a lollipop for being a good patient if you want one?" He's back to trying to kid, to relax or lighten the mood. The vials are carefully labeled so there are no mistakes.

Niki is a good patient! She follows the scientist's instructions. The sleeve of her shirt is tugged down over the band-aid as she manages a scarce laugh for Mohinder. "…Thanks," she says, although it's not exactly a yes or no to the lollipop either way. "How long will it take to test me?"

"I can start running tests immediately, but I will tell you, I do have to fly to Texas for a couple of days at the most." Mohinder says as he starts a chart for Niki. Habit and it does make it easier to keep track of the studies. "Another doctor and I are going to try and find some answers on this virus that some evolved have contracted."

Niki watches Mohinder make marks on the paper, realizing there's some kind of record being taken; she looks momentarily uncomfortable, but she's distracted by— "Texas?" Instead of ask the relevance behind Texas, she slides off the chair and hitches her purse over her shoulder, making moves to leave. "'Evolved'… is that what they call us? … I'll let you get back to work-but just to be clear. This'll just stay between us, right?"

Mohinder smiles just a little as he looks up at Niki. "Yes. This will stay between us. I'm only making a chart for my purposes and to keep track of results." The chart is then filed away, the vials of blood placed in the refrigerator. "When I return, we will sit down and I can start a few other tests. Mainly brain scans, to see if I can't devise a way to suppress your alternative personalities with minimal side effects."

Niki gives Mohinder a gracious smile, but it only has a dull ray of hope, barely there at all. She's been exhausting all her options. One's bound to stick, but she can't put everything on the line for this one chance. She heads for the stairs leading up and out, pausing with her hand on the rail to look back at Mohinder. "Good luck in Texas."

"Thank you Niki.. and just stay on the medication you're currently on. I know the effects are less than optimal.. but if you want to keep Jessica at bay in the meantime," Mohinder says as he follows Niki to the door in order to see her out.

At that advice, Niki halts near the door, glancing sidelong at Mohinder, their backs to the loftspace. "I can't," she says quietly, conflicted. "That's… part of the reason why I came. There's no more."

A mild curse is sworn in Hindi as Mohinder about faces, "Stay right there," he instructs as he moves quickly back into the lab and can be heard rummaging around in the lab. He is only gone a few moments before he returns with a bottle. "Here. A week's worth. Just in case."

It's with some surprise that Niki stares at the rushing off Suresh, only to watch him reappear with medication, just like that. "…o-oh." She takes the bottle gingerly; even slower, it goes into her purse. Her mannerisms are almost reluctant, almost guilty. "Thanks, um— again, for…" She just smiles and heads on her way.

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