2020-03-15 - This is Our Work


Nick gets a break on the case.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sun Mar 15 04:27:55 2020
Location: Brooklyn

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Chuck Yaeger, fighter and test pilot extraordinaire, once said 'I'd rather be lucky than good'. That is in many ways true of the PI profession. Good will get you a long way, but sometimes you need a bit of luck to intervene. Today, luck has visited Nick Gleason.

Someone wants to talk. A researcher who used to work with a company that Lobo Technology bought out, but retired years ago. The man - Ronald Vicens - is worried about meeting in public, but he HAS agreed to meet in private at his home in Brooklyn and answer questions on the record.

Nick is just getting out of his truck. He's dressed in a collared shirt today, and jeans. They have a small camera to record the conversation. This could blow the case wide open. Could. Might not but this is the most direct link they've had to any of this since the case started.

"How did he know to reach out to you, Nick?" Isis is asking as she slides from the other side of the vehicle. She's dressed much more nicely than she used to be. The collared shirt she wears, fits her curves and the collar just low enough to show a hint of cleavage. The jeans are form fitting and hug her hips.

About her neck she wears a pendant made of a blue stone the colour of her eyes. Nick had given it to her a few days ago and she loves it.

Holding the camera as she joins the wolfman, starting to move in the direction of the building ahead, she wonders. "Who was he, again?" Already she's checking the emotions in the area. There's a few around of course.

"Ronald Vicens was a lead researcher for Horizon Medical Solutions when Lobo bought them out. He worked there for a little bit during the transition and then retired. I'm not sure how he knew to reach out to us, but our involvement with several incidents hasn't exactly been secret." Nick says as he knocks on the door. A slightly heavy set man in his sixties answers and looks at the two mutants. "Mister Gleason, Miss Marik. Uh… come in."

The emotions in the area are normal except for Ron. Ron is nervous. He's worried, which Nick had mentioned, about something to do with Lobo Tech, and he had wanted this conversation recorded.

The house is clean. Ron leads them over to the living room and gestures for them to have a seat as he finds a recliner and Nick sets up the camera.

"Thank you for coming."

Isis nods at Nicks explanation. Maybe he just find out through the other incidents. It's plausible.

"Hello. Mister Vincen." She says quietly, stalking into the house like a cat would. She notes the nervous emotion but puts it aside - in fact, she tries to calm him.

"You said you were going to answer some questions about Lobo Tech. What can you tell us about them?"

It's direct and straight to the point. "What are they doing with mutants like us." Her and Nick she means.

The calm works but only to a degree. Mister Vicens is extremely worried and it isn't easy to just push off. Especially when she asks questions like that.

"Well, I don't directly know, Miss Marik and because you're recording this I don't want to speculate too much. What I do want to do is tell you what I know and can prove or directly testify to."

That's an interesting thing and it suggests he thinks that what he's about to tell them will end up in court.

"I was a researcher for a company called Horizon Medical Solutions about ten years ago. My company did a lot of genetic research, with a focus on genetic conditions like sickle cell anemia and Huntington's disease. Things like that. About six years ago we were bought out by Lobo Technologies and we began the process of consolidating everything. We knew that a lot of us would be 'redundant' and probably let go, so I took lots of notes about what went where. And what I started to see… disturbed me."

Isis nods, shifting closer to Nick to rub her ears against his arm. It's not a conscious action when she does that - it just is.

"We know that Lobo Technologies bought out companies. What we don't know is why." Isis says carefully. "What we've found …" she shakes her head. Nick said to let him talk and not lead it.

"What was it you saw?"

Nick sits down and takes Isis with him, considering what they're being told. "Do go on." He says, prodding as Isis did.

"A lot of our research was crated up and shipped elsewhere. But a lot of it wasn't going to the same place. A lot of the work we'd done with CRISPR technology and genetic treatments to get around these diseases was sent overseas."

Mister Vicens takes out a notebook and produces some copies of material orders. "See here. The main bulk of the research and most of the staff was moving to an upstate facility. But copies of all the treatment research, and three of our genetic researchers wound up going here to a company called 'New Dawn Holdings' in the Netherlands. Except, according to their own tax filings…" He gets out a copy of publicly available tax information. "New Dawn Holdings closed down the year before and their assets were chopped up and sold off to various other companies."

Nick frowns and looks at Isis. "Alright. Why do you think they did that?"

In response, Mister Vicens pulls out what looks like a dog collar with a clunky speaker and battery pack attached to it. A very thick leather strap. It has the 'New Dawn Holdings' logo on it, and a patent application number. "Because of this."

Isis sits, very close to Nick, when he urges her to, her bright blue eyes fixed on Vicens. She can feel his nervousness but there's something else there. Fear? Yes. But of what, she's not sure. And … a degree of … excitement as well.

Sometimes she thinks it bad she's not a telepath. She could tell Nick all these things. Or maybe she can. With care, she directs some of the emotion towards him. He should be able to recognise, by now, it's from her.

As the collar is shown, the feline like mutant hisses a little, claws extending from her nails before she stops them. "They made that? Why?"

"I could only guess as to why and I don't want to guess. But do you see these?" He turns the collar over, showing them the inside. There's a hundreds of tiny little needles. Very thin things that would just barely puncture the skin, and wouldn't hurt much once you got used to it. And then he pulls out another piece of paper which has a schematic of a metal plate with similar tiny needles on it. It has the Horizon Medical Solutions logo on it.

"My company developed this to help deliver medications and therapies to our patients and to samples. We needed a way to do it over a wider area than a CRISPR could. The device in this collar is exactly the same. They used our research to make this. And I know from newspaper clippings that shortly after that, mutants started showing up with these collars on them."

So Lobo bought the place, directed all the genetic research and expertise to a non existent company, and then lo and behold that research shows up in the control and weapon collars used by the 'hunters'.

That's a VERY direct link.

Isis doesn't understand business very well and she's very confused about how things can be transferred to a closed company. "Wait. Are you saying they used the technology you developed to deliver … medication … to people to do this to mutants?" Vincens had already said he doesn't want to guess, so Isis doesn't ask again.

"Is there any other way you can prove this was your work? It's possible, isn't it, that someone else created something similar at the same time." She'd heard that once.

"It is possible, but it's not very likely." Ron says, nodding to Isis. "Our patent numbers don't show up on this collar, of course. But that patent was filed five years before we were bought, and only appeared 'on the street' a year after we were bought. You'd have to do some research but I am almost positive there is no other patent like it on the market." And why would there be? Lobo Tech no owns that patent, they don't need to secure themselves from themselves.

Nick nods slowly. "Did you have any more?"

"Just one thing. The person in charge of the transition was a man named Ted Griffin. He was from Lobo's New York office. And his signature is on most of these orders, so he's the one most directly responsible. I believe he still works for them."

That makes Nick smile. If he still works for them then the police can ask him some pointed questions, and ask the COMPANY some pointed questions.

"I see…." Isis says, not truly understanding but Nick seems to understand. She'll ask him later about it. Ron seems to be telling the truth. He's scared though.

"Mister Griffin, then. I'm sure we can find him. I'm curious though, why reach out now? And what are you worried about?"

That's a risk. Letting him know she knows that. Then again he might know she's an Empath at that.

"Because last night I saw them take someone." Ron says. "I… don't know if they saw me. I was coming home from the cafe and I heard a noise down an alley. I saw them dragging away someone who looked a bit like you, Miss Isis. It only took a couple of seconds but I saw the collars they were wearing. And I realized if they'd been taking people all this time…"

If they'd been taking people all that time then how many people have suffered?

"I… I didn't want to disappear, if I do, without someone else knowing."

They'd bred people like Isis, hadn't they? Maybe she'd not been created by Lobo Techonologies but there's a link there. Nick had found it.

"I see …" she says again slowly. Looked like her. Interesting. "They've been taking people from the Disaster Zone for a while." It's quiet. She's unnerved but only Nick will really know that.

"What makes you think they'll come for you, then?" Isis glances up to Nick, and checks his emotions for a moment. "Do you have somewhere you can go to be safe?"

"I don't know. I don't know if they saw me. I don't know if they'll come for me, or if they know where I am, and I don't know where I could go to be safe."

Nick's emotions are tight, but steady. Ron, however, is frightened again and becoming visibly so.

"We could try to get you put into witness protection, possibly?" Though that may take time. Perhaps SHIELD or someone else might be able to take the man in and keep him safe. Pepper is already helping, perhaps she has an idea. Or maybe she just has contacts with the police or Feds.

"What do you want us to do with this information, Mister Vicens?" Nick finally asks.

"Find the people responsible… and hold them accountable."

Isis is already messaging Pepper. It's a pity that nice man Jarvis doesn't have a phone - she rather enjoys listening to his voice. Maybe Pepper has somewhere Ron Vincens can stay till they work something out. "Maybe someone we know can help you." She says, distracted as she labouriously types out the message. There'll be lots of spelling errors to be sure.

"We will, Mister Vincens. But you know you'll probably have to speak against them publically." The feline like mutant says when she finishes the message. "And you know that we might not get them all."

"I know. And I am willing though… I would quite like to be… alright at the end of this." Nick can't blame the man for that. He is scared but he's still doing this because he thinks it needs to be done and he wants justice if something happens to him.

"Anything else you can think to ask, Isis?" Maybe they can get him help. But either way they need to start moving with the information they've just been given.

"I can't promise you that, Mister Vincens. What I can promise is that we will try to keep you safe." Isis isn't at all sure if she and Nick are safe at all.

"I don't think so, Nick. Can we get in touch with you again if we do, Mister Vincens?" She's being quite polite and not all that feline at the moment. It's an effort, but she knows Nick prefers her like that.

Nick stands up and ends the recording. He takes a breath and lets it go as Ron nods. "Of course. You can call or call on me here. I am usually around. You have my phone number right?"

"We do, yes." Nick nods. "Shall we, then, Isis?" She's doing very well. They should stop to get some food. She's not food motivated per se… but it definitely doesn't hurt.

They should and if Nick is buying ice cream, Isis isn't going to argue.

"Thank you, Mister Vincens." She says as he shows them out.

On the way to the truck, she glances up at Nick. "What did you think?"

"I think this is a big break." Nick says. "I think we need to start contacting people and put this information somewhere that it will be absolutely safe until we need it." Nick has a safe back at the office. Is that going to be enough? Or should they put it somewhere else?

"I also think he might be in some danger. These people have telepaths. If he isn't in danger now, he will be when this goes public."

"It is, yes. The piece to the puzzle we've been missing." Isis says quietly, pulling herself up to the seat of the truck. "Where are you going to put that interview? We know the office isn't safe at the moment." Theoretically, neither of them should be there but they're both stubborn.

"I'd say ask Shayera … but I'm not sure the police are any safer. What about Hank? His lab has to be one of the most secure in the city - and Sharon would hurt anyone who broke in there."

Isis isn't wrong. And Hank has said he wanted to help.

"What did they make me for, Nick?" She finally asks the question.

"We'll keep it at the school. They have safe's there and… yeah. No one is getting in there. Or at least I hope no one is." Nick looks over at Isis very carefully.

"I don't know. But it doesn't matter. Because you're you. You're not what they made you." He sighs. "Come on. We'll get a burger on the way out of town. It's going to be a long drive."

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