2007-03-08: Some Fatherly Advice




Dr. Aldric

Date It Happened: March 08, 2007

Summary: Cass stops by her family home in Hartsdale to talk to her father. She learns a bit more than she wanted to about her family.

Some Fatherly Advice

Aldric Family Home, Hartsdale, NY

Having left the store a bit early for Alyssa to close up, Cass headed out to Hartsdale to talk to her father. It's been impossible to try and get him at work and, anyway, it's good for her to stop by the old family home once in awhile. By the time Cass turns the keys in her old family house and steps inside it's just after normal dinner time. "Hellooo!" she calls. "Mom! Dad!"

It may have just been dinner time, but Dr. Aldric has been in the door of the Aldric family home for all of four and a half minutes, give or take a few seconds, when Cass comes calling. He still has his coat on, lightly dusted with late winter snow, and he's in the process of pushing the 'play all' button on the answering machine. There are precisely seven messages, some of which might be from Cass herself, since he saw her name on the phone. Quietly accosting himself for not calling his daughter back, he looks guilty all the way to the door while the messages play on the deaf ears of the kitchen behind him. There's a smile on his face when he meets Cass in the entryway. "Cassandra! Your mom's still over at the Adamses. They invited us for an early dinner. I escaped before cocktails." There's a pause before he adds dryly: "Just barely with my life intact."

There is only one message left for her father…but possibly a lot more 'missed calls' from her number. Cass is glad she didn't come earlier, otherwise she would have been quite confused not to find them here. This is why you call ahead, to make sure the people you're traveling to are actually there! "Hi Dad," Cass smiles and heads forward to give him a kiss on the cheek. "Boy am I glad I didn't stop by earlier, then, or I would have had to go through the fifty different ways to trim roses with Mrs. Adams again." She looks over her father's shoulder to see if their mother is anywhere nearby. She doesn't see her. "Is mom still over there? I had a couple of quick things to ask you about."

Dr. Aldric kisses his daughter on the opposite cheek, patting her shoulders for a second before he heads back the way he came. "No, your mother is bearing the cross of roses as we speak." That sounds more dramatic than it is. But only slightly. That Mrs. Adams… "I've been very busy at the hospital lately…" The doctor trails off. It shouldn't be an excuse. "Sorry I haven't returned your calls, Cassandra. Come on in," Like he needs to tell her. "What's on your mind?"

Cass laughs a bit and heads over to the kitchen table so that they can sit down while they talk. "It's alright, that's what I assumed from your assistant. I think I may have yelled at him a bit." Or at least been snappish. "Large outbreak of the measles or something?" As she walks, she pulls off her coat and drops her bag by the chair she intends to sit at. As she does so, she pulls out a round tupperware container. "Actually, I kinda came here to bribe some information out of you. With peanut butter chocolate chip cookies." She beams at her father. "You said you'd met Dr. Suresh's son, right? I was hoping you could tell me how to get in touch with him. Or, better yet, his dad."

Dr. Aldric sits down at the table across from Cass - it's a cozy, average table, so the distance isn't far. "No, no, no epidemics," he answers with a laugh. His brows shoot up when the Tupperware container is explained. And then the Sureshes. "Ah…" He stretches both arms behind his head and scratches the back of his neck. "Yes, I've met Dr. Suresh… junior. His father Chandra… the author of that book I gave you, I'm sorry to say he's gone. I would have liked to meet him while he was in the city, but he was killed there." Good time for a cookie, huh? "You don't have to bribe me, honey." Pause. "But I won't say no. I… I'm curious though, Cassandra, why do you want to speak to Dr. Suresh?"

Cass opens up the tupperware container and pushes it over to her father. "Oh, I know I don't have to bribe you, it just makes me feel better about trying to pry information out of you." She grins and takes a cookie for herself. They're homemade! Then the grin fades when she hears the fate of Dr. Suresh the elder. "I'm sorry to hear that. /Murdered/ That's horrible." In fact, she looks troubled by it. Her response to his question about her curiosity is a bit more subdued. "Oh, well, it's one of those things you don't approve of. More of my New Age stuff. I just really wanted to talk to him about the, uh, validity of his theories. I was hoping he could explain a bit of the science to me."

Lines. Blurring. The conflict of indecision can be read quite clearly on the face of Cass's father, until he adjusts his glasses and clears his throat. He reaches for one of those homemade cookies. "It's nice to see you taking up an interest in science again," Dr. Aldric says slowly, as if Cass somehow forgot everything she learned after dropping out of med school studies. Maybe he doesn't approve of the 'New Age stuff', but he must have given his daughter that book for a reason, right? "…it's just, well, Cassandra, you know… those theories, they're very interesting— dangerous, but interesting, but the book is very well-written, don't you think? It's even being used in a Theoretical Cenetics class over at NYU." Is he /rambling/? He forces a quick moment of silence on himself. "I'm getting some milk. Would you like some?"

Cass frowns when she sees the reaction her answer has on her father. "Um, sure. Milk would be good." Crossing her legs at the ankle, she leans back against her chair. He /is/ rambling and it's worrying her. "I've always been interested in science, dad. You know that. Look, I know that it's interesting and I'm getting the idea that it could be dangerous. But…I'm not so sure it's a theory any more. In fact, I'm pretty sure it's not. I think he was /onto/ something." She sighs and takes a bite of her cookie, then gives her father a wry smile. "I know you think I've gone around the corner, but it's been that sort of couple of weeks."

Dr. Aldric makes his way to the refrigerator; with the door of it open, he looks over at Cass and frowns-but it threatens to turn upside down, just slightly. He forces it not to and remains stern, for now. "I can put you in touch with Dr. Suresh," he says before he shuffles back to the table with a pitcher of milk, fetching two glasses on the way. He goes about pouring the milk. One glass for Cass, one for him, and he settles down once more. "But honestly, Cassandra. If my daughter is going around the corner, I'd like to know why."

Once Dr. Aldric says he'll put Cass in contact with Dr. Suresh, Cass smiles an finishes up her cookie. "Thanks, dad. That's great. I really would like to talk to him. Do you think he'll know anything about his father's work?" After all, she doesn't really know that much about /her/ father's work. "Oh, well…" at this she hems slightly. She doesn't really want to give anyone away. But it can't hurt if she's just going to say something without names, right? "I've…seen and met a couple of people lately that seem like they can do some really amazing things." She sounds a little embarrassed, telling her father this. "I know, I know, I'm seeing things and am crazy."

"As far as I know…" Which is to say, he knows, "He's continuing his father's work." Dr. Aldric procures another of his daughter's tasty cookies. They're a good distraction - /and/ they're good dipped in milk. He quirks a brow over the rim of his glasses as he regards Cass, as if he's casually curious now. "What sort of amazing things?" Still, there's a fringe of concern on his question.

"Well, that's good to know." Cass smiles and takes another cookie. They're a good distraction from the conversation. "It would be pretty awkward to try to talk to him about his father's work and find out he doesn't know anything about it." However, when he pushes about what she's seen people do, she looks away from him, suddenly very interested in her milk. She's not going to name any names, but telling her father what she's seen people do can't get anyone in trouble. "Um, well, I don't know. Making dead things grow, making books disappear and reappear, teleportation." She gets a little more sheepish when she adds the last thing she knows people can do, "Time travel. I /know/ it sounds crazy. But I'm not on drugs."

Tap… tap… tap. Dr. Aldric knocks his cookie on the edge of the glass after it's been dunked in milk. He watches the cookie very, very seriously, but it's a safe bet to say he's not actually thinking about baked goods, or milk, in light of Cass's discoveries. He takes in a long breath and lets it out slowly, avoiding looking at Cass all the while. "The reason I'm familiar with Dr. Suresh… is… we've been part of the same… research circles." Tap… tap. He runs a hand over his face. "I'm hesitant to—" The man sobers up and eyes Cass sternly. "You still have what I gave you in my office," he wants to make sure. "You still have it."

Cass raises her eyebrows. "The same….research circles?" Suddenly, her milk isn't that interesting any more. "What…what does that mean?" This is suddenly as if her mind broke. So many things are running through it right now that it's simply impossible for her to focus on just one thing. The same research circles. Does that mean he /knows/ about what all these other people can do? "Is that why you sent me Dr. Suresh's book? What is it exactly you've been researching?" As for what she was given, she waves her hand. She's not sure why he's asking when there are other things she wants to know. "Yes, yes, it's in my bag. Why is it important?"

Dr. Aldric puts his cookie on a napkin. Poor cookie. It's neglected. "It's complicated, Cassandra. It's also— it's— the information is restricted. I don't like to keep things from you and your mom, but…" But he is? But he has been? That's what he's saying, isn't it? "There is a line between New Age nonsense and the very possible, very real… the theories in Activating Evolution. They're not all theories, Cassandra, and the reality is that there are…" He takes another deep breath and steeples his fingers. "People. People with abilities and some of them are dangerous. I don't want you getting hurt because of your involvement, but if you're involved, I want you to be protected," he explains. "That's why it's important."

"Complicated? Complicated how?" Cass is suddenly very attentive, and very cautious around her father. "But? But /what/? You /have/ been hiding things? What have you been hiding?" Immediately, his daughter is sitting up straighter in her chair. The cookie she was holding stays in her hand, not about to be eaten. "I know they're not theories, dad. I've been finding that out. Everyone can be dangerous, dad. And I don't need to be protected from them."

"Complicated because of a lot of reasons, Cassandra." Dr. Aldric listens, but he doesn't answer the barrage of questions. Not exactly. "If you're determined," he begins instead, pausing to regard Cass, maybe trying to figure out if she /is/ determined. "I'll have Dr. Suresh contact /you/. I'll call it a favour. He can lay it out better than I can - explain the science, like you said. You know, I'd always hoped that if you went ahead with your schooling, you could have gotten involved in this branch of study, but it found you anyway, didn't it. You would have been more prepared if that had been the case…"

"Branch of study." Cass repeats it with a monotone sort of voice. "What is your branch of study, exactly, dad?" She ignores the part about Dr. Suresh contacting her, or really her father getting in contact with him. That's not the part that she really wants to find out about. "What is it that's so secret you didn't tell us about it? And you didn't tell me about it when I saw you last time when I asked you about the book?"

"As well as the hospital, I'm-I'm associated with another organization. That's all you need to know, Cassandra. It takes a special knowledge, sometimes, to deal with people who are different. Specialized medicine. I'd appreciate it, also, if you didn't tell your mother about any of this. Or anyone else, for that matter. I shouldn't be telling /you/, but I want to be here for you to talk to about these things." But he seems so reluctant. Dr. Aldric frowns. "I didn't tell you before because I didn't think you needed to /know/. But I can't have my daughter thinking she's insane, or thinking I think she's insane, can I?"

An organization that has special knowledge of Evolved people. Cass can take three guesses what that organization is and the very thought of it breaks her heart because it's her father that's a part of it. But she can't let him know that she knows what part he's in. "An organization?" She's trying to make it sound as serious and confused as possible. "There's an organization that knows about all these people?" She sighs and goes for her milk again, even if she's not all that thirsty or hungry any more. There's a sinking feeling in the bottom of her stomach. "I don't think you're insane, dad. And I know I'm not." Another pause. "So Dr. Suresh was a part of this organization with you? That's why he published that book?"

Cass's dad nods slowly to all of this, except for the very last part, which has him shaking his head. "No. No, Chandra Suresh had no connection that I'm aware of, but his research was a great help." He says nothing of his son. Dr. Aldric manages a smile for Cass, sincere, if a little … thin, given the conversation. The sound of the front door opening jars him. "Your mom. We've been caught, Cassandra, quick, hide the cookies and the secret crazy talk."

Cass has a lot to think about from this conversation. "But you've met his son from the same…research circles?" This is puzzling to her. What does that /mean/? That, at least, she doesn't have to fake. However, the more burning questions she wants to ask are interrupted by her mother. She manages a quick, if extremely strained smile at her father. "Not going to share your ill-gained cookies with mom, dad?" The joke is a little forced, but she puts the top back on the container and holds it out for her father.

"You said these cookies were bribes for /me/," Dr. Aldric reminds Cass as he takes the container. He winks, quickly, quirking a smile for his daughter before a slightly more stern look takes hold. Mrs. Aldric can be heard shuffling around, putting her coat away, mumbling something about flower clippings. "It's not all as scary as I'm making it out to sound, Cassandra. I just worry."

Finally, Cass laughs at her father and shrugs her shoulders. "Caught red handed. And I know. I'm not scared, dad." Maybe she should be, though. However, she doesn't lean in to kiss her father like she normally would. She's a little too wrapped up in the information she's just received. Turning away from her father, she moves to the hallway with a cheerful greeting for her mother.

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