Iolaus [asks for/does] a favor.
<NYC> Common Ground Clinic - Clinton
A dingy waiting room with a line of rickety chairs, a small glass table with a set of permanently out-of-date magazines, a set of plastic holding racks with a number of informational pamphlets about STIs and partner abuse. This place is not, to be sure, the most cheerful on earth, but for many of its clientele it is the best they have. The Common Ground Clinic's staff provides free and low-cost medical care on a sliding scale to many of Manhattan's poorest residents, without checking for insurance, immigration status or many other things that bar entry for many of them to traditional medical care. There is counselling available, too, and once a week social workers to help people find resources for getting on their feet. The wait times are long, but the volunteer staff here is dedicated (if always overworked.)
Iolaus does not have an appointment, to be sure, and he looks slightly harried as he steps up to the front desk. "Hello," he says, with a wan smile, hand tucking into his white lab coat to pull out a business card. "Can you let Doctor Toure know that Doctor Saavedro is here to see him? I can wait." he says, the smile widening slightly as he laces his fingers behind him.
The receptionist looks up at the card, looks up at Iolaus, with a professional smile. "It will be a little while, Doctor," she says, apologetically gesturing towards the chairs, many of which are already filled with people. Waiting. Reading magazines. Playing with their phones. Coughing. "You can have a seat, while you wait?"
Iolaus glances around the room, a faint frown at his face. He purses his lips, then turns with a bemused look at the receptionist. "If it will be a while..." he spreads his hands out, a twinkle in his eyes. "I don't suppose you need a hand clearing this room?"
The receptionist laughs, but it's a harried sort of sound. "Oh, goodness, always," she admits, with a light press of fingers to her temple. "But there's protocol --" She studies Iolaus's card, wincing, and holds up a finger, picking up the phone to call back to Rasheed. A short exchange later, she's getting up to print out some forms and hand them to Iolaus. "You could fill these out first," she says, her smile a bit bemused. But smiling all the same. "And then, well." Her eyes sweep the busy waiting room.
Iolaus laughs as he looks down at the paperwork. "My license should be on file with Mount Sinai. If you call their office, I'm sure they can send over my license and insurance information." he says, as he scribbles down information on the page. He pats his pockets at one moment, then frowns. "Yeah. But I can write down my license, at least." he says, scribbling messily at the bottom of the page. "There you go," he says, with a warm smile. He glances down at his white coat and gives it a bemused smirk. "Do you have a piece of tape?" he says, gesturing to the 'Clinical Genetics' and 'Mount Sinai' underneath his name.
The receptionist takes back the paperwork, already lifting her phone to make more calls. She offers Iolaus across a roll of masking tape, but then points him towards the door to the back. "Leslie will get you set up. And, uh, thank you, Doctor."
Iolaus smiles to the doctor and pulls off a strip of tape to apply to his chest as he steps through the doors. "No problem, ma'am." he says, a smile bright in his voice. From there until Rasheed is the one to step through the doors of his temporary office, Iolaus is hard at work.
Rasheed does come. Eventually. It takes a good while; the clinic is busy, today. But eventually, after one homeless teenager (strep throat) leaves Iolaus's temporary examination room, the door opens again. Rasheed has a lab coat of his own, sleeves rolled up to the elbows, dress shirt and slacks but no tie. And a harried look common to many of the staff here. "Doctor Saavedro." It's polite even through the tense smile. "I'm sorry, I didn't expect to keep you waiting /quite/ this long. I owe you some thanks, it looks like. I don't suppose I could press you into a regular shift here?" His smile might be joking. But the harried look might not be.
Iolaus laughs as he strips off his gloves and steps over to the sink to wash his hands and wrists off, carefully scrubbing with a healthy dollop of soap. "If somehow I manage to find a few more hours in the day," he says, smiling warmly at Rasheed, "Then perhaps." He sighs and leans against the counter as he pulls paper towels down and dries his hand. "I'm afraid I'm here for a favor, Rasheed. A big one. I may owe you several shifts."
"Oh, if I knew a way to find more hours in the day I would share it with you." Rasheed's eyebrows raise, and he closes the door, less out of privacy and more so that he can lean back against it, his arms crossing over his chest. "A favor?" He looks at Iolaus curiously. "Is everything alright?"
"With me, yes." Iolaus says, and sighs, once. "A patient of mine recently..." he trails off. "Can I have your promise of confidentiality? I mean... this is not exactly doctor-doctor information." he says, with a wry smile. "More like military secrets."
"Military secrets?" Rasheed looks startled, at this, but nods. "Confidentiality, Iolaus, is something I understand quite well." There's a small private smile at this. Doctor to doctor.
"I've been asked to treat a bunch of patients that were taken from some facility for mutants." Iolaus says, voice hardening slightly. "Not the nice kind of facility. The injuries looked like something out of the record books from Nuremberg." he says. "I find it hard to understand what they were even /doing/."
"A facility for --" Rasheed sounds a little confused here, but as Iolaus speaks the smile drains from his face. He studies the younger man with a steadily growing frown. "A facility for mutants," he repeats, lips compressing. "Military secrets? The /military/ is doing this?" His frown is deepening, and whatever he mutters to himself in Arabic is distinctly unpleased in tone. "The world is sometimes horrifying," is probably something of an understatement. "Your clinic isn't even open yet and it looks like there's already high demand."
"It gets worse, I'm afraid." Iolaus says, lips pursing. "And much more frightening. They have some... chip. I am unclear of what it does, exactly, but it is embedded in some of these people's skulls. Supposedly... it has some kind of control elements? Maybe just hypes up people's aggression. Anyway... it needs to come out." His smile is thin. "And then I thought to myself, 'If only I knew a neurosurgeon'," he says, eyes twinkling slightly.
Rasheed's eyebrows raise, his expression a little bemused. "A chip? In their heads? To control --" His lips purse, his head shaking. "That sounds like something out of science fiction," he admits, "I can't think of anyone with the neurological knowledge necessary to /control/ a mind with technology. You'd have to --" He stops, lips compressing again and his head tipping in slight apology. "I'm sorry. That is hardly the important point here," he says with a hint of rue. "I need to remember to be a doctor before a scientist, sometimes. These things are /in/ their -- brains?"
Iolaus laughs and he gives Rasheed a bemused look. "I will admit, I was thinking along the same lines myself, when I first heard. It's so, so far ahead of anything that has even been /talked/ about, /theorized/ on." he gives a little shrug of his shoulders. "Still. Yes. I haven't seen a CAT scan yet, but... Yes."
"It would be an incredible scientific leap," Rasheed says, and, wryly: "Of course it's the military." His long fingers pinch at his nose for a moment, then drop back to the crook of his arm. "A chip embedded in their brain -- one that can exert control on people -- implanting a thing like that would be an intricate process, to say the least. Extracting it --" He draws in a deep breath, lets it out with a shake of his head. "I can take a look, Iolaus, of course. I don't imagine it will be any easy solution, though. Something like this is so far out of the purview of anything I've studied -- the risks to the patients would be --" His lips press together again, his expression dropping into something unpleased. "Are the patients being harmed currently by these things? What kind of time frame are we looking at?"
"As short as possible, I think." Iolaus says, softly. "The interm solution is not... optimal." he shrugs his shoulders, once. "I have told the risks to the people who are working with me, and I will make sure the patients are aware of them before we do anything." He frowns. "It's possible that we may be able to disable it, somehow, without removing it. Just... snip some of the wires? Or remove some of the caps?"
"It is possible there might be less invasive solutions," Rasheed agrees. "I -- couldn't say for sure, without examining how they're put in. How many patients are we talking about?" His brows pull back together. His fingers drum against his arm. "I could clear my schedule tomorrow from the afternoon on. Reserve the time and equipment to examine them."
"Several. Maybe ten, maybe twenty, maybe more. I don't know who has the chips and who doesn't." Iolaus explains, hesitantly. "If they're bioelectric, they must cause all sorts of weird problems. If they have their own power source, that's something we could attack." he suggests, a faint smile on his face. "I'm here to help however I can. I'm not a surgeon, to be sure, but I can scrub in and assist. And I do know one other surgeon who might be able to help. A trauma surgeon, to be fair, but...." he looks over the other man's face. "I know I'm asking for a lot, Rasheed. You can say no."
"I could say no," Rasheed agrees, still studying Iolaus thoughtfully. "In theory. In practice, well." His mouth twitches. Not quite a smile. But almost. "When these injured mutants came to you for help, could you say no?"
Iolaus' smile widens and he bows his head. "I had hoped you were a smarter man than I," he says, eyes twinkling mischievously. His expression turns serious and he reaches out his hand, clasping Rasheed on the shoulder once. "Thank you." he says, softly. "I am in over my head, I'm afraid, with this one."
"It certainly sounds like it," Rasheed admits, with a slight wince. His slouching shoulders bolster up a little straighter at the clasp. "Tomorrow, then. Where should I meet you?"
Iolaus' hand remains on the other man's shoulder for several seconds before it drops. "I can bring the patients anywhere. If you would like, I can see about getting you guest privileges at Mount Sinai, unless you still have them there. I can book the CT and an exam room... and eventually, an OR."
"I do still have them, but, Iolaus," Rasheed says with a small /actual/ smile this time, "do you remember what practice I am in?" He moves over to a counter, gets a business card out of a drawer. For his /private/ practice, this time, a building on the Upper West Side. "Equipment I can handle. Come after two."
Iolaus smiles, thinly. "It is one thing to ask for your time. Asking for your CT scanner is quite another," he says, voice lightly playful. "And to come to the table offering nothing except a large bill that I certainly can't pay?" He chuckles and nods. "Thank you, Rasheed." he says, softly. He glances down at his watch, pausing for a moment as he considers. "I don't have to be at Mount Sinai for a couple hours. If you still have patients... it's the least I can do. And good practice, none the less." Practice. The pun, oh gods.
This draws Rasheed's smile wider. He pulls away from the door, opening it to step out into the hall again. "The patients here never end," he says, wryly. And heads back to work.