DeSalvo Salvo

June 30, 2015:

X-Red go to visit a geneticist about a paper they published…. trying to find leads on who commissioned the meta-scanners

Columbia University - New York


NPCs: Dr Myra DeSalvo (emitted by Bobby)


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

Columbia University. It's a nice school. Real nice. But it's an odd place for a very skilled geneticist to be working.

Still, it's a place that a very skilled geneticist is working. Teaching of course, and researching and writing papers. A certain hacker had tipped off X-Red that this person, one Doctor Myra DeSalvo, is connected in some way to the Meta-Scanners possesed by the K-Squad and slowly being distributed to police groups around the area via a research paper she'd written and that finding out what she'd been researching and whom for, if possible, would be helpful in figuring out who was behind this all. This hacker had also stressed that a 'soft' approach would be preferable. If he'd wanted a hard approach, he'd have done it himself.

At any rate, he left it to them to come up with a reason for meeting her. She is expecting them, though, apparently.

Lin's mutation has developed in some unexpected ways and there are many such people who'd love a chance to study her. If they can figure out how she's stopped aging and why, they might be able to develop it into some kind of treatment for themselves. Lin has been kiddnapped and stolen twice over this before Samuel took great care to make sure such a thing doesn't happen again. She's explained this to the others and offered to make an appointment with the doctor in the hopes of getting information. She never goes to such appointments without a pair of lawyers or her guardian. So they could easily pose as such. She's waiting to see if this the plan or if someone had a better idea. Dressed in a soft green sundress and sandals and her ever present backpack the antlered girl is sitting outside staring at the sky while she waits.

For the occasion, Mike's modified his integument so that he looks like a human. Blue hair is just dark with blue highlights. Gold skin is not metallic, but is more like a tan. Highly recognizable face is slightly adjusted. Eyes are brown, not red-and-glowing.

(Last time he did this, he was in full life-model-decoy mode. That didn't go well; the Baroness attacked him and did bad things, which ended up with Lunair getting messed up by modified, stolen versions of Mike's nanoprobes. So, tonight, he's only superficially human.)

The soft approach to Doctor Myra DeSalvo is called for. Mike is the backup; he's grounds crew. Mowing a lawn.

Brinleys attended with Lin, after working out with Bobby who else should be there. They've both agreed that Rachel would be a good resource and the invitation extended. When it comes down to it though, Brin is going to be open with the Dr about their interest…. well, as open as she can be. Between them, they'll work out if the good Doctor is telling the truth.

Rachel was here after receiving the invitation from Brinley and Bobby, it wasn't much of a surprise for her since she had a long history of working with the Reds regardless of not being a member.

~I'm here. What's the plan?~ Rachel's voice reached out unobtrusively to the member of the X-Men she had picked out as being on the mission, including the stranger.

Out of the corner of your eye, you could see what only appeared to be a dark shadow moving along the edge of the building as Rachel utilized her powers to become little more than a psychic shadow.

From within the shadows she reached out trying to sense for security or even other metahumans or mutants in the area.

Doctor DeSalvo's office is just off the second floor of the life sciences building, not far from the labs where she does a lot of her teaching and work. She's a hispanic woman, in her mid fifties but quite fit for her age and clearly someone who takes care of herself. She's in a lab coat today and seems to be in the process of grading papers as they arrive. Engrossed, she is. Not going to notice them until they speak up.

The security present to Rachel's mind isn't anything out of the ordinary for a post 911 world. There is a slight buzzing on the very edge of her and Brinley's senses though. Very… faint.

Mike can sense it too outside. A buzzing on the very edges of the EM spectrum. Nothing dangerous. Nor really… that consequential except for being damn odd. It wasn't there a moment ago… and seems to come and go when one isn't paying close attention to it.

Lin's mind is a blocked to empaths and telepaths. Even if one could manage to get past the vast natural energy that shields her, the mutant's mind is too different from that of a human's to be understood. Her presence is only notable due to the fact she's with Brinley and has those Antlers so obviously she is a mutant. She doesn't seem to notice Mike or Rachel's shadow movements. From the surprised expression on her face as she gets up to follow Brin, Lin had either forgotten or not noticed her friend was with her. She reaches out and touches Brin's shoulder, smiling faintly as the move inside. She's paying attention now. "Is all good." She whispers.

That's quite an odd radio-noise. Mike starts a machine-mind running on a spare processor, passively collecting background EM noise, correlating on a ten-second delay to attention/arousal, observing frequency/amplitude/phase changes that may relate to activation of psionic interfaces to power sets. Because, 2+2 tends to 5 for sufficiently large values of 2, and this is an unusual signal coincident with the attempt to approach the good Doctor about her scanner. It might be the scanner itself (in which case, why and how?) or it might be someone else communicating about what's happening, in which case we may be blown.

"De la sierra morena cielito lindos viene bajando, un par de ojitos negros, cielito lindos, de contrabando," Mike sings in non-School Spanish. It's a corny old song, but he has an adapted version he plans to shift to. (It's good to have a computer brain with parallel think-tracks.)

«Plan?» Rachel should detect the slight laughter in Brins thoughts «We'll talk to her, ask her about her research. See what she says. I'll need you to tell me if it seems she's hiding something or lying.»

Being part of X-Red, Brins known as a mutant "Doctor DeSalvo?" Brinley speaks up and holds out a hand "Brinley Myers and Lin Lin from D.C.I. I was wondering if we could have a word about some research you've been doing, that may be close to our hearts."

As she feels that buzzing in her head, she reaches out with her mind, trying to work out what it is. «Rachel, do you sense that? Can you check in with Metal, please, see if he's detecting anything.»

Rachel moved away from the shadows and stopped maintaining the illusion as they headed inside, dressed in a dark red bodysuit with slightly messy flame red hair.

Moving towards Brinley and Lin she motions towards the interior, "Minor security detail inside, nothing special. I can use illusions to get us past them. Metal should be able to loop the security cameras when we pass by, so we leave no trace of our presence."

As they move through the building to the office of the Doctor she does just that, masking the presence of the group with minor telepathic illusions that keep the securities attention in other directions.

When they arrive in the Doctor's Office she smiles, keeping her own presence as unobtrusive as possible with telepathy while she simultaneously delves right into the Doctor's mind with no regard.

Rachel would let Brinley question her, while she mentally ripped any information of value out of the woman's head; unless some sort of defenses stopped her.

~I don't sense it.~

~Metal, you sense anything?~

Doctor DeSelvo looks up and smiles. If she has any inkling that she's being probed mentally (not that kind of probed) it doesn't show. "Save me from grading." She laughs and looks at the stacks of papers around her. "Come on in, all of you. My pleasure and honor to meet genuine members of the X-Men: Red team." She offers her hand out to shake all three. "As you may or may not know I'm something of a student of genetics myself." Genetic genius is more like it. "I'd be more than happy to answer your questions. Please. Have a seat. Can I get you anything? And what is it you came to ask?"

Lin may well notice that the plants here are unusual. That's because they're spliced. Genetics experiments in progress. If she concentrates she may well get some clues as to what.

Rachel, Brinley and Mike can feel that sensation get a bit louder. A bit more present. Only Mike can get a sense of where its coming from. Across the quad is the answer. High. So… maybe in the dorms over there? It's not far. In easy view of the Life Sciences building.

Rachel may need to apply more pressure than normal to sift through Doctor DeSalvo's memories. She's got a very strong will. Comes of having done compartmentalized, classified research. There's nothing horrible here so far. Goodness… she's been doing this kind of thing for a while. Maybe the places to look will become more obvious as Brin talks.

Having a minor degree in botany and natural empathy with plants and animals Lin's attention is immediately focused on the plants rather than the woman. She moves to potted fauna and begins studying them all very carefully, sometimes touching a leaf or a stem or even the dirt. The plants shake and tremble and reach towards her touch. Lin frowns. She knows a bit about genetics and gene splicing. In the case of saving things going extinct or creating medicines, she isn't opposed to it but blending things just to do it is an offense against the natural order and she doesn't like it.

No trace of presence to be left behind. Right. Best way to do that is not to loop but instead to replace. Fortunately, Mike prepares ahead. He was here earlier; all cameras that he can sense, are "charmed" and pre-bugged. Literally. A ladybug-sized remote is on every camera and recording device in the area, feeding image and sound of a completely different group; students asking about assignments. Mike(2) is all on that, using synchronous flashing infrared codes (because emulating the way that lightning bugs work, to carry information that can't be easily detected, is a win over using radio at the moment.

Mike(1) continues mowing and singing. It's become slightly raunchier, and has a slightly different melody. But you'd have to pay attention to notice.

SensorMike is sensing. SensorMike activates the laser-link with the drone pretending to be a pigeon (filthy flying rats) on top of the lab building, and focuses in visually to try to detect the source of that signal. The laser is on the lawnmower, of course. Mike's clearly just a human.

Mike(3) who pays attention to coordinating all the others, allows an emoticon of a Minion with glasses and a weird device, pointing it at the three "Gru Girls" — except that they look like emoticons of Brin, Rachel, and Lin (with tiny antlers).

"Yes, we know" Brins smile is warm as the Doctor speaks. "I don't need anything." She'll let Lin and Rachel answer for themselves "But I was hoping we could speak to you about this research paper that you published." Holding out her tablet, Brin already has the redacted paper displaying "It has some interest to my us."

«There it is again, Rachel. It's buzzing at the edge of my senses. It's getting louder too.»

"I'm fine, thank you." Rachel takes a seat and would have to stifle a bit of laughter if she could see Mike's device and emoticons but lucky for her she probably cannot (or can she?).

~I can sense it again to, just not where it's coming from.~

She focuses her efforts on pushing further into the Doctor's mind, as gently as possible as she peeks through those compartmentalized memories

The plants tell Lin that they've got… markers in them. It's not splicing per se. Doctor DeSalvor is tracing the nature of complex gene interactions by inserting certain out of place genes she can track through multiple generations. Stuff like this would actually be really handy when doing research into things like the X-Gene complex.

The Doctor takes the paper from Brin. It brings back memories instantly for Rachel to scan. Names. Faces. That one cute sociologist who… well, nevermind that one. There's also images of lab work. Pipettes. This is the right track. Nothing useful yet but Rachel's getting there. She just needs to… wait. There's one. An odd sequence of numbers. A sixteen digit… serial number?

"This brings back memories." No kidding. "This was years ago. What did you want to know about it?"

Mike's scanning self runs right into a blanket of interference. He can likely feel when he looses connectivity to himself… But when he does he senses someone. A person. In the upper floor of the loft. He'd been shielded form… everything, by that interference. Even psi-scans.

Lin finally nods as she sorts the plants out and then turns to look at the doctor. "Why. Why did you do this? Make that machine?" Her big brown eyes are completely focused on the doctor for the first time and she's obviously studying the woman just as intently as she had been the plants. Her question is simple and direct and she figures the others have had enough time to scan whatever memories the other questions evoked. It's time to get serious.

And this is when the Pigeon loses coherency as a bird and becomes a collection of smaller things — on the ground below, Mike is suddenly absent from the now-completely-robot that's mowing. The AI-self in the body is definitely Mike's personality, but it's got no soul attached… that's in the collection of small bugs that swirls through the air, finding its way to the room. The EM fields shouldn't have been able to block psionics directly, must've been a distraction effect.

A cloud of gnats begins to trickle into the dorm room.

Incidentally, if Rachel is looking for Mike, his mind is MUCH more mechanical feeling than it was seconds ago.

Brin sighs and looks at Lin. It's not clear the Doctor has made anything. All they know is that she's done some research. Brin picks up the emotion associated with those memories and smiles slightly. She's known to be an empath, so it's ok if the Doctor thinks anything that's happening is because of Brin.

"Really, anything you can tell us. I can see that it's redacted, but do you know where your findings ended up?" Too direct perhaps … but the question they all want to know is 'who commissioned the research'. Because, in Brins experience, they won't know what the final product actually was.

Rachel continues what she is doing, still reaching out for Mike and noticing how much more mechanical the sense of her friend and teammate is. She doesn't stop trying to sift through the Doctor's memories while searching for the source of the interference.

Well perhaps too direct for a real answer but not to get her thinking of it. Which is all Rachel needs. "I'm afraid that answer is kind of classified. NDA's you know." She smiles apologetically. "Well, it was about genetics, obviously…" It was. Ray can see the lab now. They were doing test on the X-Gene. Specifically trying to figure out how it activates and what makes an active X-Gene complex different from an inactive one. And there's an acronym on one of the papers Ray can see. CADMUS. Or well. Seems to be an acronym.

The cloud of Mike begins to flow in… and Mike can see a man with a sniper rifle. Aiming… right into the Doctor's office. Lin might well sense the plants as they move toward the heat of the infrared beam that's being used to aim the rifle…

Lin's eyes widen. She hasn't missed Brin and Rachel's tenseness, suspects something is happeneing that she doesn't know. About to tell Brin the woman know's something, the plants are evidence enough instead Lin jumps forward and knocks Rachel and Brin away from the window. "Get light off!" She yells and reaches for the doctor as well, hoping she isn't too late to stop whatever is coming. She was taken once in just such a way. It ended very poorly for her captors. As she moves she does her best to keep herself out of sight of the window but her real focus is on her companions.

The room is full of the usual technology: an air conditioner, a small dorm refrigerator, a phone, a laptop, a video display, oh yeah, and a gun. Guns are technology. Sniper Rifles are very special technology.

"Hello," Mike says, as he takes hold of the gun. It's metal, at least, parts of it, and they change shape. So does the air conditioner, the fridge, the phone(s), anything electronic or coin-like on the man's person, the displays… they begin spinning around not unlike a small tornado has hold of them, turning into something rather more robot-like than the body down below. Of course, it's strung out a bit and looks more like an armature than a fully dressed LMD.

"You're pointing guns and you're making weird noises. That's a hegemonic disruptive activity, citizen. One might think you were about to impair the right to breathe of the persons on the other end of that line-of-sight."

The right to MOVE might be impaired for the man — Mike tries to form shackles from the material, to restrain the man. He might even turn into an exoskeleton-with-helmet to keep him from getting away or yelling for help.

Still smiling warmly, that's the answer Brin expected to hear "Of course, and I wouldn't ask you to breach…." Lins call has her concentrating, Rachel and Lin can handle the lights. One can physically turn them off them the other can kill them with her mind. Stepping closer to the Doctor, even as Lin reaches for her, a glowing green and gold shield appears around the three women… "What did you sense, Lin?"

«Rachel, the lights if you will.»

Rachel focuses on CADMUS and what else it might entail along with that sixteen digit code, killing the lights as instructed by Brinley with a quick bit of telekinesis. She for the most part maintains her focus on the task at hand.

Mike does indeed apprehend the gunman. Partly with his own gun. Drink in the irony. And then the lights go out in the office. "Um… this is highly irregular… do I need to be worried?" Doctor DeSalvo is a cross between amused and concerned. Lin's shouting has her… tense. Mana and Ray can both feel her go into 'survival' mode.

Well, now they have answers… and more questions. Like who is this guy… and who wants Doctor DeSalvo dead…

Lin gives Brin a grateful smile for the shielding before the lights are off. Less in danger now she can speak easier. "Didn't know if Lin could talk fast enough. Outside, someone pointed a light in here, plants felt it. Infrared. Like on guns. Someone came for Lin once, in a doctors place, just like that. Lin dunno if we target, or Doctor." She's standing right beside the woman to keep her from going anywhere.

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