2007-12-02: Serendipity

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Elle Bishop calls on Cass Aldric, intending to coerce the woman into going after Victoria Pratt. Cass reminds Elle what it means to be selfless.

December 2nd, 2007


Bat Country Labs

Early morning. The staircase leading to Bat Country Labs is dark, the only light provided by a streetlamp on the sidewalk - until a flash of blue fills the alcove. Elle Bishop stumbles down the steps, crying out in pain as the surge laces around her wrists, winding up her arms, her face twisted in agony and desperation. The streetlamp flickers wildly, threatening to leave her in darkness. She mashes her hand against the buzzer once, twice, a third time, slumping against the wall beside the door. As she slides down the wall, her head tipped forward, blonde hair obscuring her face from the security camera, a wicked smirk flashes across her face.

Oblivious to Elle's approach to Bat Country, Cass finally seems to have found some sort of calm, some sort of center. After the test on Namir, she looks as if she's actually gotten some sleep and found some answers. Quietly reassuring the young Cam with encouragements, she gives him an injection of the cure and then puts a band-aid over the injection spot. While she's giving him orange juice when something catches her attention. It's the buzzer indicating that someone is at the door to Bat Country. Warily, the woman stands up and starts toward surveillance to see who it is.

Huddled outside the lab, Elle slowly slides down the wall until she's seated on the ground, her knees drawn up to her chest, resting her face against her knees. Every now and then, there's a flicker of blue light as she tries to build another charge - and fails, save for the occasional little burst. She wraps her arms around her knees, hugging them tightly. There's no mistaking her identity, even on the security feed, as there aren't that many petite blondes in this city with a power like hers… and even fewer with reason to visit this particular lab.

Once she's seen who it is, Cass bundles Cam in a blanket, explains she has to go see someone and then quietly shuts the door to the room he's staying in. From here, she quickly crosses the room and opens up the door to go and help the young blonde in. "Elle…" While she may not trust her and surely doesn't know her like she thought she did, she can't just leave her outside the door like that. "Come in. I have good news."

When the door opens, Elle flinches at the sound, her hands flying to cover her ears, as if even the sound of the door opening was too much for the pain in her head. A whimper escapes her throat, but she turns her head just enough to cast a glance through her unkempt hair, up to Cass. "Good news?" Her voice is barely audible, scratchy and rough as it is. There's another crack as she tries to generate a charge, and Cass might feel a small static shock as Elle reaches out to take the woman's arm for support in rising to her feet. She follows the woman's lead with very little hesitation, eager to get inside. "That's… good." But then, this woman's idea of "good news" might be fundamentally different than Elle's.

Hopefully Cass' good news is just good news all around. The small static shock makes the woman wince, but she doesn't let go. "We have a cure that's able to be mass produced. Through a pharmaceutical company. I was going to call you." Luckily, though Elle stumbled by on her own. Guiding the blonde to one of the comfy chairs, she gently tries to set her into one. "If you can wait right here I'll get one for you." The way that Elle's swaying and easy to persuade speaks volumes of her physical state. Plus, the inability to control her electricity.

"A— cure?" The news takes Elle by surprise, and as she settles into one of the chairs with a grimace, shock registers on her features — and, hot on its heels, skepticism. She doesn't mean to be so inherently suspicious, really. Hesitantly, she asks, "Is it… safe?" It's a valid question, she thinks; sometimes these things are developed so quickly, there isn't time to properly test them. Still, she doesn't seem to be protesting. "Yeah, I can wait." She tips her head back, her eyes closing slowly, with one hand pressing against her forehead. "Good timing."

"It's been tested," Cass nods her head. It's a legitimate concern, obviously. "And passed. While it's not exactly FDA approved, it's not going to make you grow a second head or something." This was developed quickly, but certainly not quickly enough in Cass' mind. "If you don't want to take it now, I can understand. You can wait for more testing." But, she's rummaging around and disappearing into the back anyway. When she comes back, she has a needle, a vial of liquid and all the other necessary things she needs to give Elle a shot. "You certainly do. I'd say you could tell the future if I didn't know better."

While Cass is gone, a buzz fills the air, the light in the room dimming perceptibly for a short few seconds. It's all the juice she can muster; with a sound half frustrated and half pained, Elle slowly rolls her head forward again, eyes opening. "It's just dumb luck," she replies, struggling to get out of her coat amid spells of dizziness and her pounding head. Once she's freed herself from the jacket, she rolls up one of her sleeves. The bruises are still present on her arms, though faded somewhat now. Reluctantly returning her gaze to Cass, she admits, "I came here for something else."

The buzzing and the lights dimming bring Cass back into the room with a worried expression. "You okay? Relatively, that is." She's not really okay because she's still sick. Resting all her supplies on a nearby table, she starts to prepare the shot. Puncturing the top of the vial with her needle, she extracts the cure and then adjusts the amount until it's the right dosage. Stepping closer to Elle, the woman frowns a bit when it's mentioned that she came here for something else. It's not going to stop her from curing her, but she'd at least like to know. "What'd you come for?"

"To tell you who's responsible for this." It's clear from her intonation that Elle is referring to the virus, and she gestures to the needle to drive that point home. "I told Peter that he'd be in over his head if he got involved, but now— " She tips her head back again, pressing both hands to her temples now. "— god, these headaches." Wincing, she shifts uncomfortably in her seat. "Now, she needs to be stopped. She could be working on a new virus as we speak." Drawing in a breath, she opens her eyes again, looking back to Cass. "I needed to tell someone before I changed my mind." Or before the Company changes her mind for her. "Peter wasn't home. I— I didn't know where else to go. I thought he might be here."

That…well, that stops Cass in her tracks. Who's responsible for the virus? Whose responsible for all of the pain, who has managed to get people killed? Lowering the needle slightly, she just stares at Elle for a moment. The other woman is in pain and she should be carrying through with the cure, but now she's just floored and curious. "I haven't spoken to Peter in a little while. I wanted to tell him that there's a cure, too, but…" he has other important things to do, too. "Who is it? Who did this?" She needs to know, needs to find out who is responsible before she feels like she can move.

While the cure was welcome news upon arrival at the lab, Elle doesn't seem to mind this distraction from her saving grace. She was being sincere when she said that this was her real motivation for being here - this admission. "Her name is Victoria Pratt," Elle begins, leaning back in the chair. "She used to work for the same people I work for. She was one of the founders of the Company. I don't know much about her, except that she was working with the virus, trying to make a weapon. After she left the Company, she went into hiding."

Committing the name to memory, Cass nods once, resolutely. Now that's something that she's going to have to start researching madly. It's something else to keep her mind focused. She was starting to worry what in the world she'd do now that there is a cure. And it's something just as important. Now that she has a name - if not a face - to go along with the start of this, she closing the remaining distance between herself and the blonde and gestures for her to hold out her arm so that she can administer the shot. "We'll find her," she tells Elle, sure of that. "And we'll find a way to make sure she doesn't do anything like this again." Not kill her or harm her…but then there are other ways to make sure that she can't work on the virus.

Holding out her less-bruised arm, Elle listens attentively to what Cass says. She frowns somewhat apologetically partway through, and it's lingering still once Cass is finished speaking. "You're not going to find her in a phone book," she says, though it probably went without saying. "You're going to need something more than the usual methods for her." She pauses, regarding the other woman with an even stare. When she speaks, it's with a cautionary tone. "She's dangerous. She'll kill you, if she thinks you're going to stop her."

This time expecting some sort of static discharge, Cass takes Elle's arm gingerly, only moving to inject her once she's sure she won't jerk or otherwise be startled. It's not a long shot and in a few moments, she takes the needle out and puts a bit of pressure on the small dot of blood that immediately starts to bead out of where she just poked the blonde with a needle. "I've dealt with dangerous people before. More times than I'd like to think of. And I'm not about to go face her alone. I'm an idealist, but I'm not dumb."

"Never said you were." Elle barely winced when Cass administered the cure, having been jabbed with enough needles over the last few weeks to become desensitized to that particular type of pain. "She's been off our radar for so long, I can't even tell you what she might be capable of." Shifting to offer her own hand to apply pressure rather than Cass', she continues, "But if she's anything like she used to be, she's not going to listen to reason. She might not even know that she's planning this yet." Which probably sounds confusing to Cass. "It's complicated. Peter can explain it better than I can."

"Wait, planning this?" Cass certainly is confused about that phrasing. "What do you mean?" Because that doesn't really make any sense in the context of anything. "You're not the only people who can find someone." Just because they have a nifty person who can find anyone in the world doesn't mean she can't do the same thing with a lot of legwork and asking people. "I'll talk to Peter about it, then." Since she was going to talk to him about this Victoria person anyway. Peeling a bandaid, she puts it right over the spot she injected Elle and then rolls back onto her heels, the frown still obvious on her face. "We'll just see how it plays out, I guess." Even if Elle's still Company, she nods again. "Thanks. For telling me about this."

"Sure." Elle doesn't respond to the remark about the Company being able to find people, nor does she offer any further warnings about Pratt and the potential danger of the situation; if she starts to say any more, she might give away her real motivation for coming forward with this information. "Just…" Does she, or doesn't she? For a second she presses her hand to her forehead again, wincing as her headache gets the better of her once more. A half-second later, Elle shakes her head. "Nevermind." Prodding at the band-aid experimentally, she asks, "How long should this take to work?"

There may be a real motivation behind telling Cass and Elle may have her own reasons for doing so, but the bookstore owner would have thought that anyway. Elle is Company and while she'll trust the name to an extent, especially once she talks to Peter, she's not going to trust everything that she says. "Just what?" The trailing off and the 'nevermind' aren't about to dissuade the woman from asking just what it is she wanted to warn her about, or tell her. "It should actually start working within a few hours, if that long. You should be fully recovered in about a day. Or, well, from the virus that is. You'll probably need a little while to get your strength back."

Elle hates to get cornered into speaking her mind this way, and it's entirely her fault for beginning a thought without finishing it, particularly with a woman as suspicious of her motives as Cass. Wincing again, though it's unclear whether it's from Cass' stubborn nature or some symptom of her illness, the blonde draws in another deep breath. "Keep a low profile," she says, finishing her thought from earlier. "Pratt has people protecting her. If they find out what you're trying to do, they'll stop you." Slipping her arms into the arms of her coat, shrugging it over her shoulders, Elle is nearly ready to leave. There's another buzz in the air, the lights dimming, though less obvious than before, for just a second or two before they return to normal. She grimaces, her palm glowing with blue light for another moment. "Thanks. For… what you did for me."

Maybe it's a mixture of both. Whatever the cause, Cass is glad that Elle finishes her thought. Not because she was planning on going after Pratt guns blazing, but she's appreciative to know that there are those trying to protect her and will try to stop her. Though she's sort of used to the lights dimming around Elle, it still makes her pause and look around before focusing on the other woman again. "I'll be careful. Thanks for the tip." As for Elle's own thanks, she shakes her head. "I'm here to help people who need it. What would I be if I turned you away? But, you're welcome."

Right. It's notions like that - that despite her employer, despite what she's done to this woman in the past (whether or not it was really her), Cass would /help/ Elle - that set the two women apart. Elle isn't so noble. She doesn't even pretend to be. When the buttons of her coat are fastened, she pushes herself up from the chair, holding onto the arm to steady herself as a wave of dizziness nearly sends her back onto the seat. "I'll keep an ear out for you, let you know if I hear about Pratt catching on," she offers, and she sounds sincere, at least, in as much as she can with her husky, sickly voice. "See you around." Wrapping her arms around herself, Elle heads toward the door, showing herself out.

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