Episode 5: Paul, Part II
SOOTHING WOMAN’S VOICE: Husk is brought to you by ABI Global. A better tomorrow, a better you. Find out more at anacondabiotech.com
PAUL: People love telling secrets. Well, let me rephrase that: People love telling other people’s secrets. 99% of which are trivial in the long run and like Cher said, “If it doesn’t matter in five years, it doesn’t matter.” But that last percent or so, that’s juicy. That’s why we’re here now. Thanks for coming all the way out here. I know it might seem a little extreme.
REBECCA: Yeah, well, I’ve been to Oregon City before but this field didn’t exactly have an address marker.
PAUL: Yeah, sorry about that. I would have liked to send you a GPS location, but…
REBECCA: Flip phone. I get it. Actually, I really like the flip phone. It reminds me of him. I think the last time I was out here was in 4th grade when we went on this Oregon Trail field trip. He was there too. They still had those like canvas on giant wagons in the interpretive center. You remember?
PAUL: Has it sunk in yet?
REBECCA: Yeah. I am just trying to keep my head above water emotionally. At least, enough to feel like I can do something. Where are we going by the way?
PAUL: We’re just walking around some place in the middle of nowhere so we can talk. The city gets to me sometimes.
REBECCA:As long as you're not the next Ted Bundy or something.
PAUL: Listen, I think we can do something. I don’t know how any of this is possible but I believe you. Your experience in the forest. I know there’s no proof but I think you might still find some. There’s no marks or barcodes but you have your memories and, the whole thing, it’s weird the same way my brother’s thing was weird. It’s not like those stories about light and floating. But I think you didn’t tell me everything from that night.
REBECCA: I didn’t. Because that’s the part that starts to make me sound beyond crazy, or high, or whatever.
PAUL: You don’t have to tell me right now, Rebecca. But when you’re ready, I’m here.
REBECCA: No, if there’s anyone who I can tell, it’s you at this point.
PAUL: I’m going to have to be honest. I don’t think they meant to take both of you.
REBECCA: The people in the hospital… they weren’t just there to help. They needed him for something.
NARRATOR: You’re listening to HUSK.
REBECCA: So let me get this straight. You’re, you’re not a hacker? We’re not going to dead drop a floppy disk? I don’t know what I’m doing here, but, uhh, I’m out.
[Rebecca and Paul laugh]
PAUL: No, no, no, no. No hacker stuff, honestly. Hello, I’m Angelina from the 90’s. Hack the planet! I wish it was that easy. Honestly, it’s just that I read a lot and retain the info. Bits and pieces here and there. An A to B to C to Z and then back again until it’s spelled out kind of thing. Not like I spend time getting into petty Wikipedia editing wars, but if I had the time maybe I would. [laughs] Yeah, right. I keep notes of my own. And some things come back up years later. Some of the stories write their chapters out of order. But what can you do? Here we are.
REBECCA: Here. We. Are. Jesus. What I don’t get is the tattoo on the wrong shoulder of whoever’s body that was.
PAUL: You know you’re being set up, Rebecca.
REBECCA:I know, I’m in denial or something. I can’t get that cop off my back. He’s badgering me and my parents. I don’t know what he’s thinking now that I’ve left my phone at home.
PAUL: Yeah, that’s gonna freak him out a bit for sure.
REBECCA: And my dad, he’s just been his usual self, while my mom’s going nuts with the phone calls and Olga. She’s up late watching QVC again, you know they still have that, right?
PAUL: Oh no, like with the spinning jewels?
REBECCA: Buy now, only 346 of these gems left! I don’t even want to think of the credit card debt that stress is causing her right now. I’m sorry.
PAUL: No, no, don’t worry about it. You just need to be extra careful because if they can pin this on you, they will. You’d be the perfect scapegoat to make all of this go away.
REBECCA: The body in the lake.
REBECCA: God, this is so warped. What can we do?
PAUL: Right now? Keep you safe. That’s all we can do. Look, if they had anything solid, you wouldn't be here now. So that should at least be a little comforting.
REBECCA: A little…
PAUL: The planted evidence, and whoever that poor man is from the lake, that’s simple stuff… If you keep pushing, they’re gonna push back and do even worse. We just need this to go away for a little bit. Until we can figure out our next move.
REBECCA: Next move? NEXT MOVE? Who do you think you are? Next move? Do you have an army of anti-men in black warriors on call that are going to get us out of whatever this is?
PAUL: Of course not, Rebecca. But I have patience, and we have information. For now that’s got to be enough.
REBECCA: Okay. I’m sorry. I’m just a little frazzled right now. Can’t say I’ve been framed before.
PAUL: It’s alright, don’t worry about it. [Whistles X-files theme].
REBECCA: Oh my god, stop, stop. Too soon. Too soon. Did you drag me all the way out here just for that?
PAUL: No, no. Actually, you know what? Let’s sit down for a moment.
PAUL: Yeah, it looks dry. Here. Listen Rebecca this is going to sound really bad, but you need to understand that he really had the best intentions, he just got in over his head.
PAUL: Your dad, Martin. Okay, look, don’t freak out, yet. Olga was the one…
REBECCA: My dad? Wait, you know Olga too?
PAUL: It was Olga that went to your dad and asked for help.
REBECCA: Well, I knew they had it rough there for a little bit and I always figured they helped her out. She was a single mother--
PAUL: No, help with Dmitri. He was sick. Like, doctors giving up kind of sick.
PAUL: Back when you were kids, infants actually. Dmitri had some sort of genetic defect from what I know. Olga was screened after they discovered it in Dmitri, but they didn’t find any of the markers in her, not even as a carrier. They say it had to be the father. Some extreme susceptibility to random cell mutation.
REBECCA: Like a genetic defect?
PAUL: He was developing infantile cancer. Multiple infantile cancers.
REBECCA: Oh my god. Oh my god. I had no idea.
PAUL: Olga didn’t know what to do. She was out of ideas. Except for one.
[Flashback. Night sounds and a knock on a door]
MARTIN: Olga, it’s late. Are you okay?
OLGA: I’m… I’m…
MARTIN: Why don’t you just come in.
OLGA: Thank you.
MARTIN: Olga, you look like you’ve been crying.
OLGA: You know Mitya has been struggling. The treatments aren’t working.
MARTIN: Yes, Kathy told me yesterday. I am so sorry. I--
OLGA: The doctors, they keep giving me run around answers that are not answers. Martin. He is running out of time. It will be his first birthday next month, you know.
MARTIN: Of course I know, Kathy’s been talking about this joint party for weeks now.
OLGA: I know you can help him. With your work. With your trips you take. With your research science.
MARTIN: Olga, you know I can’t talk about my work.
OLGA: But you do talk about your work. With Kathy.
MARTIN: What do you mean?
OLGA: Please Martin. Don’t be mad with Kathy. She was only trying to help. I have nowhere else to turn.
MARTIN: I just need a moment to process. Sit down. Can I get you a drink or something?
OLGA: Yes. Whiskey with soda chaser.
MARTIN: So, how much did she tell you?
OLGA: Nothing, not a lot. Enough to know you can help Dmitri where the doctors cannot. Enough to know that you are the only person who can help me. He’s all I have, Martin. What if it was your Rebecca?
MARTIN: I get that. Olga. I do. I get that. But our work is highly experimental and I could lose my job. It’s…
OLGA: And I could lose my son.
[End of flashback]
Paul: You okay?
REBECCA: Yeah. What do you know about my dad and how could he have helped Dmitri? That’s not really his field.
PAUL: I don’t know too much about him as a person, other than what’s already out there on the internet but I do know about the project he was working on. Did he ever talk to you about the work he does for his company?
REBECCA: No, no, not really, it was a small town in Montana. He just called it “The lab”. I was some biotech company or something.
PAUL: I think you need to know the full story. Your dad, Martin was hired by yes, a biotech research firm, ABI. Ginormous. Anyone in the field would drop what they were doing and give anything to work there. Not just for the pay, but for the fame. They hired Martin based on his particular achievements.
REBECCA: Okay, I know he works with genes and stuff. He was the one who spliced that fish gene into the corn that everyone was up in arms about.
PAUL: Yeah, okay. So, ‘splicing’ is a really simplified word for that process. It’s fine, we’ll go with it. Martin has a mind that is very good at discovering patterns and places where things fit, splicing the puzzle pieces together. It’s rather elegant. I barely know enough to appreciate it, but I do.
PAUL: Right, anyway there was another researcher who had a more forceful hand and a knack for being able to jam the puzzle pieces together, if that makes any sense. The company set them up on the same research team because of its complexity. This project required work on human DNA. He was working specifically with a woman named Deborah Raxton.
Rebecca: Wait, who did you just say?
PAUL: Debora Raxton.
REBECCA: That’s. Oh, no. Is that my Aunt Debbie?
PAUL: Yeah. Known as Doctor D. around the lab. Name that stuck. Yeah. That was Aunt Debbie. Rebecca, are you alright? I know this is a lot to process.
REBECCA: No, I’m fine, I’m just… it’s not like we were that close, she was just around during the holidays and my birthday. God, I didn’t know they worked together. I thought they were just old college buddies or something like that. You know, when we were younger she’d show up at our birthday party.
PAUL: Our party?
REBECCA: Yeah it was a thing. Dom and I would have our birthdays together because they were so close. They’d chat but it was always weird like they were speaking in code or something… Or extreme small talk, if that makes any sense. I always assumed it was because my dad was just awkward, he doesn’t have that many friends. Still, it always weird when she came around, like she wasn’t always welcome.
DEBORAH: Well, it’s good to see our little science experiment is doing alright.
MARTIN: Deborah, I’m surprised you still show up to these parties.
DEBORAH: Don’t be. I’m committed to my work. Nine years old and going strong. Looks like it’s paying off.
MARTIN: I’m happy things worked out the way they did. Do you… do you mind if we talk in private?
DEBORAH: Oh, yes, sure.
DEBORAH: I’m happy you’re keeping him safe. He’s worth more than anyone knows.
MARTIN: I appreciate it, but you don’t need to keep coming around like this.
DEBORAH: No, I do. As long as Dmitri is considered an asset to ABI. As he’s a beneficiary of a technology that I personally oversee, I do.
MARTIN: So kind of you to have his best interest at heart. How is the work these days anyway?
DEBORAH: It’s good. Great actually. I can finally see the light at the end of a 30 year tunnel.
MARTIN: Sounds like a frightening breakthrough.
DEBORAH: If no one gets in the way this time, yes.
MARTIN: Well, I’d congratulate you if I could.
DEBORAH: Let’s go have some cake. Cheer up. I’ll get that clown out there to make you a balloon animal.
DEBORAH: Kathy, let me give you a hand with those plates.
KATHY: Oh, thank you. Can you grab the candles too? Off the counter there?
DEBORAH: Sure thing.
KATHY: So good of you to still come to their birthday. I know you’re busy.
DEBORAH: Not at all. It’s practically tradition by now. I do have to run though, just wanted to say hello. Tell Martin I’ll be seeing him.
KATHY: Oh, okay. Take care now. Hey, do you want a piece of cake?
[End of flashback]
PAUL: Rebecca, I know it’s a long shot, but I have to ask: Does your dad keep any kind of records or work files at home? I know he chances are he probably wouldn’t be allowed to take anything out of the lab but I’m desperate. I’ve been able to piece together some info from one of his former coworkers and what’s public on the internet, but I really need to find out what he was doing to get to the bottom of this. If he has anything mentioning Husk, it could lead us somewhere.
REBECCA: I don’t recognize that… Husk?
PAUL: That’s what they’ve been calling them. The aliens or beings. Whoever’s been taking people. Could he have anything from his old job?
REBECCA: I mean there’s his office but I highly doubt the existence of secret files or a bookcase that flips around or anything.
PAUL: Alright, next idea. This Morrison guy. You said he’s been pressuring you?
REBECCA: Yeah, he seems more desperate than I am. Warren, I’ll work with him sure, but not that guy. He’s on a witch hunt, and I’m the only one he’s got his eyes on.
PAUL: Yeah, it’s weird. He’s way too set on this. It’s not like a cop. There might be something there to check out. How close are you with Warren?
REBECCA: I mean he’s a cop investigating me so not close, but he’s the nicest of all of them.
PAUL: Alright. Well, we might have something. If you trust Warren, I think he’s a safe bet. He might be able to help you figure out what Morrison’s stake is in all of this.
REBECCA: That seems doable. He wanted me to check in anyways, so I’ll see what I can find out.
PAUL: Ok, Rebecca, bear with me. I’m about to sound crazy. I have no hard evidence for this but your story and everything you’ve told me has brought me the closest to piecing this together: the people you saw at what you’re calling the hospital, they’re the reason for Martin and Raxton’s research. They’re the reason Dmitri is still alive.
REBECCA: Hey, Rebecca here. If you liked today’s episode, please rate us on iTunes. When you do, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org with your address and we’ll send you a free Husk sticker. Plus, probably a note. We’ll gush, it’ll be weird. You’ll love it or you’ll have it, but we’re still gonna write a note. Until next time, where’s Dmitri?