2020-01-21 - Following An Old Recipe


Nick follows a lead into the case their following. What he and Isis find is not pleasant.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Tue Jan 21 00:27:10 2020
Location: New York

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If Nick Gleason has a curse it is not his mutant powers. It his his inability to leave well enough alone. After a hair raising close call in a supposedly defunct lab he had made a concerted effort to find out who worked there and what they were doing. Not all of the methods he used were strictly speaking legal. But he had at long last gotten a name Doctor Maria Quint.

The next step would of course be to speak to the good doctor, but as luck would have it she was an older woman and died a week before Nick discovered her name. Her estate was going through the process of going through all her belongings, including her research and writings and did of course not want to talk to a mutant private investigator.

Which is why Nick is just breaking into her house.

"Ooops." He says as he snaps the lock. "Clumsy me." It's late. There isn't anyone around and there's no security so far as he can tell. The house has definitely seen better days. It's cluttered and lived in. And there's papers on almost every surface from the kitchen to the bedrooms.

"You know I could climb through that window up there…." Isis points to a window that's several feet up "… and let you in." She's dressed in dark clothes and lurking in the shadows. She's been keeping watch as Nick is ever so clumsy - with her senses and empathy, it's hard to get by her.

But not impossible.

"What a …. mess. Don't you ever tell me to clean my room, Nick. I'll just remind you of this." Slowly, the feline-like mutant moves into the living room. "If I was her … I don't know where I'd have anything. I'd say start here and move to her bedroom or study if she has one … " Carefully, Isis starts to look at the papers.

"You could but…" Nick has already broken the lock. He starts to look around carefully. This place isn't quite at fire hazard levels but it's close. "You go there. I'll look out here and we'll work toward eachother. Remember we're looking for anything that might have related for research she did just before her company was bought by Lobo Tech. And maybe just after, if she stayed employed there."

Sifting through papers is slow going, especially in the dark, and they have to work by flashlight. They can't risk turning on the houselights. For half an hour there just doesn't seem to be anything, and then Isis uncovers two possibilities. Beneath a pile of paper there's a small fire safe, as if for documents. It is of course quite locked. There's also a wall safe behind a picture of a distinguished looking man in the bedroom.

Both are rather… well. Out of place.

"Yes, I know. You've already broken the lock." Isis is getting rather cheeky with Nick, the more comfortable she becomes. "Alright. I don't like this place, Nick. It feels … funky." That's probably just the clutter and the fact it makes her want to frolic - tossing paper can be a little self rewarding.

Isis works through the paperwork - it's difficult for her. She has a rudimentary reading ability, so has to rely on shapes and images a lot of the time. She could be missing a lot of information as she sorts through the papers.

The feeling of relief when she finds the two safes is palpable. "Hey Nick. There are safes here and the dude on this picture is … weird."

By the time Nick comes in, Isis is looking at the fire safe, trying to open lock by using her claws to pick it. Nick might be able to brute force it.

By the time Nick comes in Isis has gotten it open. She couldn't pick it with her claws but her claws were strong enough to just shred the locking mechanism. That's one way to do it and safes like that aren't typically designed with mutants in mind.

"What did you find?" Nick says looking over her shoulder.

Quite a lot. There's a stack of papers, most of which are typed on an old fashioned typewriter. And a hand written note along with an empty test tube.

The note… is a bit chilling. "I can't live with what I have been party to any longer. What I thought at first would benefit the lives of humanity has only made the lives of mutants worse with no gain for my own species. I was a fool to believe in this project and all of the justifications I've used ring hollow in my ears now. I cannot wait for justice to come to me. I will go to it. I am sorry."

Beneath that note, on the typed pages is research. Some of it is recent. It looks like exactly what Nick was looking for. But some of it is older. From the 50's and the 40's. Well before mutants were common knowledge and yet…

The lid pops open and Isis opens the box, holding it so Nick can see as well. "I don't know." She answers, slowly sifting through the papers inside. The typewritten page gets a frown and she holds it out to Nick. "What does it say?"

While Nicks reading it, Isis picks up the test tube and sniffs at … carefully.

"This is weird. I thought mutants only really became known in the 1980's … this looks like earlier. How old was the Doctor who lived here?" Her blue eyes stray to the picture of the man and she frowns. "What do these other pages say? The older ones." She's stuck on that …

The scent of foxglove drifts up. Digitalis? A drug used to treat heart conditions but one that like most drugs can be fatal in the wrong amounts.

"Seventy eight." Old enough. Not so old that her death was a given but definitely one that would not have left anyone surprised. Nick looks at the papers.

"This… is research that the doctor did. But this looks like source material. I wonder…" As he starts flipping they come upon a symbol that even Isis with her limited education knows.

An Iron Eagle over a swastika. These particular papers had belonged to the Nazi regime during the second world war.

"Um." Nick actually looks surprised. He hadn't expected that at all. Which is why he misses, possibly, the heading on the next page over. 'Project Isis'.

"So these could be her notes, right?" Isis gestures to the typewritten pages. "I was wondering if they were someone elses she was using. Her nose wrinkles at the smell of the test tube and holds it away from Nick. "This … smells like the stuff they were trying on Iiithya."

There's a small feline growl that starts in Isis throat. Iiithya, would have been one of the subjects in her project.

The growl gets louder as she sees the Iron Eagle, small fangs showing as her lips curl. "What is this … Nick." The growling stops abruptly when the feline sees her name, Nick can feel the wave of shock as it rolls through the room.

"Nick. This is my name."

"They could be her notes. Or they might…" Nick shakes himself and can't help but growling as well. "It is your name. Hang on these are translated into English…"

He reads, half to himself but Isis can hear him. "The subject shall be feline and slight of stature. It is imperative that the mental conditioning begin at a young age as…" He trails off, looking further, flipping ahead a few pages. And then he swallows.

"Isis this is describing you. AIM didn't just come up with the experiments they ran on you. They were following a recipe."

Isis' lip curls as Nick reads, the slim feline moving back away from the box. "They … made me?" She wasn't just an experiment, was she? She had been created for the project. "And they made me so they could do all those things to me…"

Like keeping her feral and teaching her to kill.

"Was she the one that did it?" Nick will feel the 'flight' response that Isis is experiencing. It probably surprises him, she hasn't found a high place to perch on. "And it wasn't just me, was it?"

Her eyes float to the man in the picture again. "We should what's in the safe behind him. Who was he? And why is he in this ladies house?"

"They…" Nick looks up at Isis. That has to be difficult. Difficult to hear. Difficult to be taken back to that time and place. There's nothing about this which is in any way good. Why would AIM be following a 70 year old 'recipe' for a mutant like Isis? What was the original purpose and what did AIM hope to get out of it.

He pulls the door to the safe open. It is going to be fairly obvious that someone was in here but claws don't leave prints so there's that. "I would think he was related to her but I'm not sure. Take a picture we can do some research."

When he opens it, there's only a few papers and a small case. The small case has twelve small rectangular 'chips' of a silvery metal. Nick and Isis already know what it is.

"Reverbium. The metal they were using on you. It's all connected. It all comes from this 'original research'."

Nick can tell it's difficult. Isis has withdrawn from him - where she would usually be rubbing her ears against his arm, she's nearly curled in a ball.

Being given *something* to do brings her out of herself a little bit and the slim mutant takes out her phone. She takes several photos, just in case, but a part of her wants to scratch and claw at the photo.

"What do the papers say?" She almost doesn't want to ask. Nick is probably going to have problems with Isis for a few days - one step forward with her behaviour and two back. "I'm going to check her sidetables and stuff. Maybe there's clues to who *she* is there - this Doctor was more than just a Doctor. Do you think it was her that wrote that note?" The one about finding justice.

"Hard to say without a sample of her handwriting. Though we should be able to find that here." Nick looks at the papers. "One of these is a bunch of chemical formula. I'll bet it's for the reverbium. The other…"

Nick peers and then peers again and then takes it out and lays it on the table.

"It's part of a drawing but it's incomplete. It was meant to be laid over several other sheets and then smoothed into a single illustration." But he hasn't seen any other paper even remotely like this in the house.

Isis rummage through the night stand and finds a battered book. It's an address book, something that just isn't used anymore but it is handwritten - so there's that.

"Nothing of real interest in here." She mutters pulling things out and scattering them on the bed. "An illustration for what?" Scatterbrain that she is, her attention is diverted back to Nick.

"Does that look… like claws, Nick?" Isis can't really be sure. "And where's the rest of it? Why would you only put part of it a safe?"

"looks like a schematic… or maybe a sketch…" Nick nods. "Does kind of look like claws doesn't it?"

The questions she's asking are good ones and Nick doesn't really have any answers but he can take a good guess.

"You'd put it here because you only had one page and you didn't want anyone taking it. Maybe it didn't belong to her. Or maybe it did and someone else appropriated the rest. The drawing won't be complete without this so it'd be a good way to keep someone from using it…" He sighs.

"None of this is good. We might need to do something a little bit dangerous if we want more answers. Raid Aim."

"Maybe." Isis murmurs as she runs her hand over the drawing. "Maybe the rest of drawing was shared between people so it couldn't be used by just one." Isis does like her movies.

"The hand writing on the note looks like the hand writing in that book." It might be Doctors, hard to tell.

Isis stops dead at Nick's suggestion and just stares. "That's not a *little* bit dangerous, Nick. That's suicidal." He probably expected that response. AIM had held Isis as an experiment for sixteen years. Kept her feral and done things to her. "If we do that, you're going to have to let me kill people."

"Maybe, but I think that this speaks to a lot less trust than that. Splitting it up by agreement… no. There'd be no need to keep it in a hidden safe. This was secreted away by someone. The question is why…"

Nick looks at Isis very seriously. "No. We do not kill Isis." Not unless they have to. Not unless there is no other choice and even then… "We can't. If Mutants start doing that, if people start hearing of it, then we're back to the bad old days of registration. But we need to get information on what they were doing and why and at the moment it's probably easier to get it from AIM than anyone else." Definitely easier than getting it from Lobo which is sad.

Isis gives Nick a murderous look. "They won't hesitate to kill us or worse if they catch us." She points out. "And it's AIM. Who's going to hear? It's not like their people are going to put out a press release, is it?"

She's being petulant and stubborn but she'll probably comply. Probably.

"Do you want me to gather up this stuff, then? And where exactly are we going to raid?"

"Let's see if the school is keeping track of them. I thought I had heard something about them doing stuff up near the Canadian border." Nick weathers Isis' look. He's had it before though not recently. The look he gives her back says 'Kitten…'. What effect that has on her will be… interesting to see, but Nick isn't much thinking of it either way.

"Gather up the things. And do what we can hide our presence here." It's not going to be possible to make it look like they were never here but they can at least make 'who' a mystery.

He takes a deep breath and lets it out, the big werewolf does. "Do you need to talk about it?"

Isis ducks her head the 'Kitten' look, backing down a bit. That's something she's not done before either. "Go to kitchen and break some plates and stuff. Knock things off the benchtop. It will look like a dog or something got in. Particularly the way you shed."

She'll gather up the paper work and jam it into her backpack. "Talk about what, Nick?" she's so unhappy. "That I was made to be experimented on? That I'm not even real? That you want to raid a place that would love to get me back? Not to mention who knows what they'd to do you? Or that I can't kill them?"

Because killing them … that's the *best* they deserve.

The answer, is yes. She wants to talk - well vent. Doing it here is probably not conducive.

Nick doesn't really realize what he's done. Instead he just nods to Isis and goes to break some of the china. She can hear it as she's gathering up the papers. When he's done he comes back to her and motions for her to come with him as they depart.

"Why they made you doesn't change what they did to you. We paid them back for that already and we are going to punish them more. Killing them serves no purpose. Well. Killing them wantonly doesn't serve any purpose."

Make them suffer, sure. Destroy what they have built. Imprison them. But kill them? No. Not for people like Nick.

"Then I'll take their eyes and I'll haunt their dreams." Isis growls as she shoulders the backpack. "I'll make them wish we had killed them." He might need to try again later, when she's calmer.

Then again, he might want to take her to work out. A bit sparring is likely to help that temper.

That or letting her perch somewhere high, eating icecream.

Without another word, Nicks Kitten follows him out. He's spoken. That's all there is to it for the mutant.

Nick sighs and Isis, if she is feeling at all, might feel his disappointment and resignation. He understands it. He really does. But that is not the way. That was not how he was brought up and he firmly believes that even though it can be a disadvantage at times, it is the only right thing to do. It's the thing that makes them heroes and the other people bad guys. Nick knows plenty of people who don't see it that way, but he does.

"Come on, Isis. We'll stop at Coldstone on the way home." She likes that yeah. And they're open late. It should be lovely.

And might make her a bit less murderkitty.

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