2007-09-25: The Challenge Of Our Rival


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Summary: Cass and Peter finally meet to talk about Evelyn's blood test. The Company comes up. There's lots of stress. She then takes his blood too. And finally, they get to training. Insert training montage.

Date It Happened: September 25th, 2007

The Challenge of Our Rival

Bat Country Labs

Afternoon at Bat Country has Cass puzzling away at lab results while she waits for a certain visitor. The desk out in the main room has books and papers strewn all over it, the store owner flipping pages over, circling things, highlighting and post-it-noting. However, as the search goes on and on, she can't seem to make any sense out of anything. The folder holding what she's trying for figure out sits right in front of her with a '?!' written at the top of it in happy yellow highlighter. Everything else just seems to be turning her right back in a circle.

A night in the city jail hasn't really made Peter much worse for wear— then again he's had plenty of time to shower, kiss his girlfriend and make up with his brother, so he's feeling better today than he would have been immediately after. Hair combed neatly, he's dressed in heavily enough to stave off the autumn coolness, while still remaining comfortable. As soon as he gets inside the lab, he pulls the carrier bag from his shoulder and sets it down somewhere, before shrugging off his jacket. The slightly older woman who happens to be his boss recieves a weak smile and a soft, "Hey."

As soon as the door opens, Cass' head snaps up. "Peter!" She sounds just as relieved. Of course she didn't think anything terrible would happen to him spending only a night in jail, and if someone tried anything he can fend for himself, but still. She was worried. And it's just good to see him. "How are you doing?" Moving closer, she moves to give him a hug. "You punched a reporter?" It's hard to say if she sounds proud of him or just bewildered. "Sorry. I'm sure your sick of talking about it by now."

"No, it's— yeah. I punched a reporter," Peter says, not too proud of it by the way he's smiling. With his jacket half shrugged off, the hug actually pushes it back onto his shoulders as he moves to return it. Hugs are something he needs every so often. And now seems to be one of those 'every so's. "I lost my temper— I know, I need to work on that. Pretty sure I used super strength on him, too." Which might explain why so much of the poor man's face was broken, but it could have been a lot worse. It could have been a very visible ability. In this case it could just be assumed he's stronger than he looks. "It's good to see you again."

"From the article I read, he seemed like a jerk, so." Cass gives Peter a squeeze and then releases him. Everyone needs hugs once in awhile and she's more than happy to oblige them. "Not saying I condone the punching or the violence. But, if you didn't someone would at some point." The mention that he used super strength on him makes her frown a bit. "It's not like you lose your temper all the time," she says cautiously. "It's just that when you do, things tend to explode." Like his balcony. "I guess it's kind of hard because your powers are so closely linked to how you feel at a certain point." It makes it hard to separate one from another. "It's good to see you, too. So much has been happening lately. Everything kind of feels like it's at warp speed."

"I wouldn't be surprised if he's had a history of getting punched. Almost seems like that was his intention, since his photographer didn't even try to take a picture until after I punched him," Peter says, shaking his head, but allowing her to move away from him so that he can shrug his jacket off all the way and hang it up. "Yeah, my abilities do seem to be linked to how I feel— better super strength than telekinesis or going nuclear, though." At least only one person got hurt, even if there's no way he can condone it either. "Nathan's going to have me make a public statement denouncing my actions— we'll see how that goes." Warp speed… "I'm getting used to it, actually. Except for the four months in the Company holding cell, I don't think I've had a slow month since I got a message from the future. Well— that and the two comas I've been in." It's almost said as a joke, but it's not really funny. "I don't expect things to slow down anytime soon…"

"A set up? That's ridiculous. That is what Nathan should make a statement about." The very idea that her friend was set up to be tossed in jail and publicly made a spectacle of just makes her very angry. "That he's sick and tired of people using fear tactics and dirty dealing in order to try and win an election! Or get a story!" Still annoyed, she sighs and makes a quick walk back to her desk and sinks into her chair. There are a few opposite, too, so Peter has a place to sit down. "We'll figure something out. I mean, it's mostly your body prepping to defend yourself when you get angry or frightened, which is probably why your abilities are a lot harder to control when those emotions happen. We'll just have to work under stress conditions to try and make sure that your threshold is a lot higher than it is normally." And hopefully that will help the situation. It may be said as a joke, but Cass doesn't take it as being funny. In fact, she frowns a little at the mention of it. That's something they need to work on, too. "I don't either. Which is why I'm trying to get everything done at record pace. But, it just leaves less time for the other things."

"Yeah, it does— and now I have an arrest to worry about too. Probably going to have community service on top of everything else when it's all done." A fine, many many hours of community service— which is kinda what he's already doing just trying to save the world, but that won't count. Peter shakes his head and joins her on his own nearby chair. "I'll mention a possible set up to my lawyer and Nathan and see if they want to take that route, but I think they're going to play it safe. There's no real evidence that he was setting me up to punch him other than a hunch." He could read his mind to make sure, but that's still not evidence. "I'm not sure that's something we can really train for, though. I'd been mad before I punched him, and I was controlling it— he just pushed the right button." Which… he's not really in a hurry to share right now. "Did you find anything out about the blood I gave you?"

"Well. Lachlan's been arrested a time or two." Once actually for punching Nathan in the face, should memory recall. "And last time, the charges where dropped. So. Maybe we could talk to this guy? Come to a compromise? Or, at the very least, talk to the judge. Ask to get your hours at Seville Medical, since you're a nurse and all, and then I can steal you from them. That way you're still doing your community service and saving New York at the same time." It may not really work out that way, but Cass can still suggest it. Optimism and all that. "It may not be…but the whole being aware of it, I think, will help. Everyone's got buttons. We'll just try and make sure that if someone punches yours they don't end up accidentally in the middle of some African desert." On to other business, she adds, "Well. Yes and no." Gesturing at the papers in front of her, she sighs. "There's something in that blood you gave me. Some sort of anomaly or virus, but I can't figure out anything other than the fact that it's there. It may just be way to advanced for me."

"I could make him drop the charges if I really wanted to," Peter says softly, before shrugging a bit. "I will look into having most of my hours go to here, if possible, though." Taking the easy way out doesn't seem to be on the top of his priorities, even if this will be an inconvience for him. Still… he nods, agreeing with her, even if he doubts there's any chance someone who pisses him off would end up on another contient by accident. Anger isn't associated with teleportation. That's something else all together— and it's too hard for him to do on purpose, much less by mistake. It's the blood that worries him more. "So whatever it is, she's already got it. Great." Not the best news in the world. He rubs his hands over his face for a moment. "The only expert in this sort of thing I know of, I wouldn't trust with this even if I persuaded him to work with us."

There's a frown. "That's not what I meant." Obviously it's not since they already had a discussion on the use of that power. Cass hands over the folder with the information she took down from what she could get from Evelyn's blood so that he can look it over, too. He was a nurse, so he'd actually be able to understand most of her notations. "We don't know that. Without actually seeing her or being able to run a test or two, I can't honestly say what this is. She may have a past history and what I'm seeing is something that's been in her blood for years. It could be a totally harmless and passive virus that has no symptoms, no affects, it merely remains in your bloodstream. I'm stumped, Peter. I can't seem to find any mention of what this may be in any thing I can get my hands on." There's a brief pause as she thinks that over. "You're talking about Mohinder, aren't you?" The thought had crossed her mind, too. "I've been thinking about going to see him about this. Him and my father. He was already working on something when I first met him that dealt with a virus and how it could shut off abilities. He'd know a lot more about this than I would." There's just the problem with the Company that he works for.

"I'll see if I can get her to come here, then," Peter says, letting his hands lower, but he doesn't look any less pleased. "Yeah, I mean Mohinder. I trusted him once, but… I don't trust him anymore. Even if we got him to help us— you might not come out of it remembering anything about what we needed help with in the first place. Doesn't help that the Company already knows about Evelyn, either." He rubs his hand over his hair again. He'd not explained that part to her. "I told Elena about it— and she talked her father. He tried to help— wanted to keep the Company off of her— but he trusted the wrong person." Their spy— who he'd also been told about. "I don't know what we can do. Maybe your father's more trustworthy, I'm not sure exactly. All I know is we need someone with more knowledge than we got, and all the people we know who have that… work for people I don't trust. And for people I don't know if we could work with even if we're all on the same side in this." Stopping the tornado. Is it possible to work with them and not cause something worse to happen?

"That would certainly be helpful." Cass nods at that. "The blood certainly was a help. It let us know what to look for. But, actually being able to talk with her and get a past medical history…that could clear up some waters." There's a bit of a frown. "I don't know if I trust him either." Especially since she doesn't remember why she shouldn't trust him. "But…I think we all want to stop this from happening. Company, us, everyone. If the whole city's at stake…I can't in good conscience not at least try to see what Mohinder knows." However, them actually knowing about Evelyn is also a problem. "They already know about her? That certainly makes things more complicated." Maybe if she just brings in samples without names, everyone could be kept safe. "Well, my father didn't tell me about the Company until just this year. So I don't know how trustworthy he is. But…he's my father. He wouldn't want to see New York City totally destroyed." Do they have any other choice but to try?

"There's another option," Peter says, glancing down towards his hands for a long moment. "It's not a good one, but… Since they already know about her— and are probably planning to take her any day now… we could… work with them on this. They already know about us— we already know about them. They haven't erased my memory yet, and I know a few things about them that they'd want me to keep to myself." And he's never been good at keeping secrets, but after it was erased from everyone else's memories… he can keep it. "I'm not sure that'll be a big enough exchange, though— they'd probably want something more and I'm not really willing to give them that. I don't think that they're behind what's going to happen to her— but that doesn't mean that they won't do something just as bad to stop it from happening. That's why I didn't want them to know about her at all."

"You mean help bring her in?" Cass gives him an incredulous look. "No way. I can't in good conscience do that. This girl isn't a criminal and she's not a lab experiment. We don't even know why what happens to her happens. Just because the Company gets a hold of her doesn't mean she won't just make everything else just happen there." There's a sigh. "If it's information that we have they want…I don't know if they wouldn't just try and wipe what you have out of your memory. It'd make both you and her a target for them. Why does everything get so complicated when that group is even mentioned? I'd rather them not get their hands on her at all, if it was up to me." Which it's not. But, she'll put in her two cents right there. "Maybe if we just talk with Mohinder and Dr. Aldric without letting them know who we're doing this for. They already know about this lab. Benjamin's already told me how they deal with people who do them no good any more. They're not a group of people I'd trust with someone's life."

"That isn't what I meant, Cass," Peter says, rubbing his hands over his face again, and even standing up as if to start pacing. Or to actually start pacing, from the looks of things. He's not liking that she immediately thought he meant that. "I meant work with them to find out what they know— what we know— but keep her here— or in her home. They're going to take her whether we do something or not, you have to understand that. They have no reason not to. Her life is already in their hands and there's absolutely nothing we can do about that. We can't fight against them, we can't take her away from her family. The only way we could keep them from getting her is by doing exactly what they'd do to her— hide her somewhere. And even if they took her, the only thing that I could do would end up getting me captured with her."

"No, I didn't mean…" Cass sighs. "I'm sorry. It's not you. What with Lee's father stealing files and drugging us and Benjamin turning out to be Company and trying to spy on me—" The woman stands with Peter, but doesn't start to pace. Instead, she just keeps the tips of her fingers on the top of the desk, leaning forward just a little. She doesn't like the idea of them not being able to do anything, that the Company controls the whole chessboard right now. "We can try to make sure that they don't take her. We can work with her, talk with them. We can use whatever we have as leverage. I hate to say we all have to band together to beat this…but we may have to all band together to beat this. The only problem with that is they might not want to play fair." In fact, she's pretty sure they won't want to. "I guess the only thing we can really do is test the waters. See where they are on the whole thing." She runs a hand through her hair. "There's always something we can do. We can not give in to them."

"Yeah— this whole thing is pretty bad," Peter has to admit, which would be why he's pacing. He'd not wanted the Company to know about her so they could avoid this scenerio— so that they could handle things without as much interference. If the Company didn't know, they could give blood samples as some kind of blind test, but now that they know… it's only a matter of time. "The only real advantage that we have in this— I don't think that they know that… we know that they know." Did that make sense? That's a lot of knowing. "Not sure how we could put that to our advantage, but that's something." Something really small, in comparison. They really do have all the power in this— even the remaining information he got from the future wouldn't be much to play off of. "You're probably right, though— they'll probably want to know the names of all the Evolved we know. Wouldn't even be surprised if they try to tag me."

Cass makes a face as Peter talks. It's a mixture of disgust and concern for what this whole situation has brought up. It's so complicated and messed up when it really should be quite simple. "Hm. Well. I think what we could do is still end up doing a bit of a blind test by just not letting anyone know whose results we're giving them. And if they don't know that I know about her or what she may be able to do, then they may not jump to that conclusion and try and take her immediately." That may not really work for their advantage, anyway. "It's too bad we can't replace her with someone who just looks like her, right? Or have someone wandering around who looks exactly like her to keep them off the track." Or at least muddy their tracking systems. "They already held you captive for a couple months. I think if they were going to take you, they would have by now. Or at least they would have tried. Which brings us to the next topic of training all those new abilities you got from the future. Figure out which one you'd want to train in the most, yet? I know you've had a lot on your mind lately."

"They already know what she's capable of becoming, just not how she gets that way— I'm not sure exactly how much Mr. Gomez told Mr. Winters, but I know he told him that she's the cause of the tornado, and that's what they'll be acting on. I don't know for sure if they understand how much it isn't her fault." Peter says, shaking his head. "I'm surprised they haven't already moved on her, honestly. But I'm not going to assume they're waiting out of the kindness of their hearts." Things will be complicated no matter how they deal with this, but he's not sure how much time they have left— not at all. He's not even sure what to do about this. "I haven't really thought too much about it. I guess learning how to use hers would probably be a good idea."

"I know that Benjamin's part of the Company, but do we know for sure that he told them?" Cass crosses her arms and then settles back into her chair finally. "Just because he's a part of them doesn't mean that he told them about her. The fact that they haven't acted already might mean the whole place may not know." At least in her mind. "I mean we don't know how she gets that way, either." And if they don't have much time left, they have to act on this quickly. "Our best bargaining chip is that they haven't moved then they don't know what's going on, either. We're basically all at the same level of knowledge. I'm sure we can use that to try and make sure they don't act quickly in trying to grab her." However that may work. "Okay, well, I don't feel comfortable practicing a power that could level the city within the city. We'll have to drive out of the limits to do it. Might as well practice the more dangerous powers you have all at the same time if we're going to do it that way."

"They know. I can't tell you how I know this— but I know that they know," Peter says, grimacing a little. It's one of those things he hates, secrecy— but this is a secret that he wants to keep hidden. "And that's… part of the thing. Her ability on it's own wasn't enough to level a city. She was clear about that— it was only that strong when she first got her ability back after losing it. So unless I'm infected too— assuming it's a virus— then we're probably not going to level the city. Is safest to pratice outside, though. Just in case."

Not really liking secrecy either, Cass frowns at Peter when he says that. The whole point of this was to not have to deal with a secrecy cloud. "Man, I'm sick of secrets," she sighs. Having to keep them, not knowing the right ones, the whole business. But, she doesn't push him further to know what he knows. It's Peter. Someone she trusts. "Okay. So, they know. I guess the next step has to be just talking to Mohinder or my father. Maybe both at the same time. See if we can somehow work together without managing to kidnap anyone or get anyone killed or memory wiped." That'll be a trial and a half. Then, what he tells her, deepens that frown. "Well…then how could that be? If her ability isn't that strong, I don't know of anyway to boost it. It's not like there's an amplifier for powers." That's something that's frustrating enough as it is. "Maybe I'll take another sample of your blood. See if you have whatever it is Evelyn has." That could maybe explain a few things. "Yeah. We'll do that outside someday soon. Maybe today we'll just work on electricity or something, since I just can't look at these results any more without my brain leaking out my ears."

There's a wince when she mentions secrets, and Peter closes his eyes, as if he's trying to think of something or maybe he's frustrated to tears! He's listening, but he's trying to do something at the same time. For a moment, nothing happens. "Maybe there is an amplifier for abilities that we just don't know about yet— Though if that's the case, it didn't do her any favors. She couldn't control her ability very well in the future, hairtrigger, responding to her emotions more than anything else." Sounds a lot like his abilities when they're not fully controlled actually, right? Right. "Another blood test would be fine— Probably should have had one when I came back from the future anyway." Since it was like leaving the country— only not. Finally… there it is. She'll hear a whispered voice in the back of her head. ~I know they know… because someone told me. Someone who shouldn't have even known about her at all. Someone— I know I can trust. I'm sorry I can't really explain more.~ Why did he choose to use telepathy to say that? Maybe if it's thought it's less of a betrayal. And because to explain his source he might be betraying more than just her. He's not sure if she knows about his brother's daughter.

The statement wasn't really said to hurt Peter. It was just how she's feeling lately. Everyone has secrets and they're only becoming known at the most inconvenient times. For a moment, she looks concerned when he closes his eyes and concentrates, but he doesn't cry and he keeps talking anyway. "Well, there seems to be an infinite amount of permeations that abilities can take. I wouldn't put it past someone to just be a human amplifier." Just what they need. Someone to boost other people's dangerous powers. Though, then again, they may be able to boost the beneficial powers. "That's fine. We'll grab a sample before you leave." It's a quick process, and one they'll be getting used to. The whispered voice in the back of her head makes her jump a little, but then she just nods. Strangely enough, she has met Claire through certain circumstances, though she has no idea was related to Peter in any way. "Okay." She sighs and nods. That's more than she was expecting to get as a reply. "I'll get a needle." And a tube to put the blood in.

With that done, the tension — or at least the very visible strain — bleeds from his forehead. Peter takes a slow breath and relaxes. Apparently telepathy still isn't his best ability, even after their lesson on it. Probably because he doesn't use it often. It's too much of an invasion of privacy. "I'm not sure if it was an ability that did it or whatever took away her abilities. If it's a virus, maybe it has stages. One where you lose your ability, and a second where you get it back, amplified— and then a final one where you're never quite the same again. Too bad I couldn't get a blood sample from the one in the future." That could've been helpful. He does start to roll up his sleeve, though, to make drawing blood easier on her. "Electricity… I'm not going to zap you, but I could probably weld something together for you, for practice."

"Don't worry too much about it. Even if you could have gotten a sample of her blood, it doesn't really keep well." Even after it's refrigerated. "Who knows what at rip through time would have done to it." Cass smiles. Needle and tube in hand, she quickly finds a vein, sticks in the needle and draws out a vial full of blood to test against what she had from him previously. "I'm not about to ask to be zapped. Already been through that once and that's quite enough for me!" Smiling, she pulls out the needle as carefully as she can and presses a cotton ball down over the bleeding. Even if he does heal, she likes to at least make the moments before he does more comfortable. "I'm all for a session of welding. Let me just slip this into the fridge." Tossing the needle into a biohazard trash can, she stoppers the tube, labels it and moves off to refrigerate it for a time when she can study it more in depth.

"Welding it is. I'm actually not too bad at electricity— I think it's right up there in my… second level of abilities I'm good at." Or maybe third. Peter's not really sure how to place his abilities anymore. He just knows some are better than others and Elle's is up there near the top. He flinches slightly when she stabs him, even if it heals over quickly enough, before he rubs off the remnant blood and settles down to think about electricity— and the young woman it came from. Who he's avoided thinking about for a while now. Hopefully she has some nice stuff to weld together that she may not need later…


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