Date: February 20, 2011
Honto shows up to intrude on the lab work of Kei, ruins an experiment, gets kicked out, and gives the volatile genius a brilliant idea! (I'm sure Honto remembers things much differently.)
Beneath the Kirigakure hospital
Biological research, at least the more ethical, public kind, within Kirigakure takes place in the most logical place for it: the bowels of the hospital. Should anything result in the release of harmful contagions, after all, what better place to contain it than within the halls which also contained the most brilliant medical minds in the country? At least, that was the prevalent theory. Given the almost spartan-like medical accomodations, it was far more likely that the 'greatest medical minds' knew far more about releasing pathogens than containing or counter-acting them.
The subterranean basement level was more dungeon-like than what one would expect of a proper laboratory. But most of the scientific funding the Swordswoman in charge controlled went into other sciences, which sometimes left the biology branch understaffed and underfunded. But today the top three shinobi in charge of armaments-developement for Kirigakure were all located within the medical-center's Biowarfare labs.
The labs were a series of rooms connected by a long hallway that led down under the hospital itself. Lanterns kept the lightning along the walls, lending even more credence to the dungeon-like atmosphere. The largest of these labs was chill, just a bit damp-feeling though it was quite dry. The light in here was muted, despite the presence of flickering flourescent bulbs along the top corners of the walls and clicking blue, red, and yellow lights upon the primitive electronic calculating machines. Tables filled the room, crammed with all manner of papers, vials, burners, beakers, microscopes, and other tools, even drugs and medicines. Along the walls at regular intervals were electric-powered, shelved freezers which contained specimens ranging from the microscopic to the frozen heads of poisonous snakes. If it was harmful to human physiology and naturally occuring, and even man-made in some cases, it could probably be found in this room.
A total of six people occupied the room, four men and two women. All of them wore labcoats. One of the men, tall and reedy, walked the perimeter of the room, reading the machines and marking down things on his clipboard. Two others, both of average height and build, huddled around a series of readouts in the corner, bickering in vehement whispers. The first woman, barely more than a teenager, stood against one wall holding an armful of folders and picking imaginary lint off of her person.
The Head of Science Developement herself stood hunched over a microscope, adjusting the focus several times as she scowls down at… whatever it was she was looking at. The man standing next to her, short and round with a mostly-bald head, was wringing his hands impatiently, or perhaps nervously. Finally, Samominoryuu Kei speaks, her tone bland and quiet. "Have you reviewed the apotheosis of this pedigree?" The man's response was a wildly-articulate, unthinking 'Huh?' Immediately, the dark-haired woman's voice rises several octaves with anger. "DID YOU SEE HOW FAST IT REPRODUCES!?"
Honto just got done identifying an illness that has been afflicting a fishing community on the east side of the Land of Water of late. It just started a month ago. No one knew what it was. Quarantines, examination of food supplies, checking local fresh water, blood analyses of the community members, back-tracking all foreigners that may have been through the area recently, and similar, all turned up nothing.
Honto may be a foreigner himself, but he volunteered to go into the sickness-laden area and try to find a cure. If some no-name medic from nowhere wants to risk getting infected himself, who is Kirigakure to argue? Sure, it may mean the supply of ever-so-interesting medicines that Honto has been providing would be cut off, but he is not indispensable.
That was the prevailing line of thought until Honto came back the next day. He had the results and a cure ready. He had already manufactured some of it on-site and claimed people were recovering. But he needed more supplies to produce the rest of the cure.
Scoffing, many of the medical practitioners, ninja and non, in Kirigakure demanded to know what this illness was and how Honto had 'cured' it. "Scurvy," he had replied calmly. "And I have provided megadoses of 'Vitamin C' in fast-acting nutrient pills." The doctors and healers became annoyed and confused. 'Isn't scurvy restricted to pirates, sailors, and similar?' "No. It is caused by a vitamin deficiency. I recommend that if you wish to ensure that community is fully cured, you begin providing them with oranges. Infact, they should be eaten every day in some form by all of those afflicted." Now the medics were no longer confused, but they were still annoyed. And embarassed.
Honto had been directed to an underground laboratory beneath the hospital for his 'payment'. He had turned down monetary compensation from the not-quite-so-annoyed government of the Mist Village, and had instead requested access to some supplies so he could continue his work.
He isn't trusted by the medics, and he is still being watched by the Village itself, but he's being sent to a very hazardous part of Kirigakure where he might gain access to sensitive information. Someone at the top of the food chain must be interested in him. Honto pauses in the hall when he hears a female voice shouting about how fast something reproduces.
He then proceeds to enter the laboratory, once whatever guards or security measures are bypassed (the official way, of course. Sneaking or forcing his way in would be dumb). He does not speak immediately, and just stands slightly inside the room and takes in the environment. The white-haired man keeps his hands at his sides and does his best not to seem threatening or out-of-place.
"Er, w-well, I do have the figures over he-"
"Inconsequential. The progression of degeneration is undesireable. Necessitates invigoration of the- Eh!?"
The sound of someone entering the otherwise mostly-quiet lab causes the woman at the table with the fat researcher to lift her head quickly and look in the direction of the door. This reveals that it was not a microscope she was wearing, but rather an overly-expensive-looking ocular device that was attached to her head. It looked a bit like a cross between a microscope and night-vision goggles, held onto her mass of black hair by several straps wrapping around the back of her head. The end result is that when she looks up, one eye is covered, while the other appears to be insanely large. Like… WTF-large.
She blinks a few times, as if she saw something on the newly-arrived man's face that was disconcerting her. Of course, with how powerful that monocled pair of goggles seemed to be magnifying, she could probably look right into Honto's pores from across the room and determine which ones suffered from acne blockage. This is about all the time that the small slide that had been suction-attached to the end of her monocle-goggle to complete it's journey caused by Kei's jerking reaction to the wall.
The glass slide shatters and breaks, sprinkling tiny glass-plastic particles onto the ground, and presumably, from the way everyone in the lab suddenly tensed up, whatever was inside of it. "…Oops." The tiny, one-syllable word from the swordswoman causes everyone to turn in slow motion, wide-eyed, and stare at her, as if expecting her to announce that they all had about forty more seconds to live. The portly man next to her seemed about to faint. Kei managed to look remarkably excited as she reached up to snatch the goggles off of her head. Her smile wasn't large, but there was no mistaking the gleam of… triumph?! in her eyes.
"Gentlemen!" Most of the people in the room flinched as she pops upright to not-considerable full height and spreads her arms wide. "We have a chance unanticipated field study! This puts us ahead of schedule. If you would all follow me to the vaccination locker, I'm sure none of you will expire within the next mmmmmmmfour minutes." She takes a moment to eye Fatso askance. "Try not to breathe so much."
Honto just smiles at Kei when she looks at him. The 'taken aback' expression does not seem to phaze him. But the whipping of her head and the slide breaking against the wall seems to be cause for concern. But only concern. "I hope I did not cause that," he says calmly. Then he moves to follow Kei to wherever she is leading. "I'm sorry for intruding, by the way. My name is Honto. I was sent to retrieve a bacterialogical sample of a culture that can eat natural oils…" He isn't sure if this is the person he should be speaking to or not. She seems to be in charge.
"If I might ask, what strain was that that we have now been exposed to? And if it was airbone, why is no one wearing appropriate protective gear? Masks at least, if not hazardous materials handling suits?"
"Nneh?" The head scientist pulls her arms back in from their outstretched position of exuberance to look at the intruder as if she'd just noticed him for the first time. Again. After a moment, she waves him off, and then begins heading towards one of the locked freezers, pulling a keyring on a necklace out from under the top of her turtleneck. Practically the entire lab is on her heels, each looking more anxious than the last for her to quit talking and get inside of the cabinet. She takes her time with the keys, going through them one by one in front of the cooler labeled 'EXPERIMENTAL VACCINES - WARNING: UNTESTED'.
"Of course you caused it. Your name is irrelevant, Never-Lies. Inconsequential, meaningless, unnecessary. I. Don't. Care." The cabinet is opened, a shelved row is begun to be pulled out, only to wind up shoved back inside after the labels are read. This process is repeated twice more, even as the lab assistants seem to be getting ever more agitated, pulling at the necklines of their shirts and beginning to sweat. Finally, another is half-way pulled out and six vials removed.
Six. Was Honto to be the 'field study' she had mentioned?
One is handed to the other woman. One to fatso, one to tall and skinny, and one each to the pair of average men. The swordswoman begins to turn to hand one to the foreign male, but finds that she is only holding one left, for herself. She turns back, frowns at fatso, who is even now beginning to fiddle with the cap to get it open. The wild-eyed woman takes it from his fumbling grasp and hands it to Honto. She quaffs her own before she replies further.
"Concerned? Fifty-one seconds. A haematid which proliferates in irriguous environs. Such as the alveolus. Thirty-three seconds. You may wish to drink that quickly or you will not like what happens in your alveoli." The stoic-faced scientist turns towards the rest of her assistants, motioning mildly towards a sputtering Fatso, who seemed about to have a breakdown that would make him throttle Kei regardless of her position. "Restrain him." Even as his companions move to grab the man by the arms and hoist his lard away towards an area they felt they could secure him, Kei tries to speak over his rapidly-rising protests and begging, which are soon enough cut off with a gag.
"It was contained adequately. …And then released. Fifteen seconds. What? You've never had a bio-containment breach? Improbable but also inevitable. What were you here for again?"
Honto considers the vial he is handed and the condition of the man that is being restrained. "I have had seen breaches before… But I have also seen laboratories of this type before as well, and they at least take all possible precautions in the event a breach occurs unexpectedly. I have not seen any precautions taken." Honto is feeling a bit ill suddenly, but he does not imbibe the vaccine. "I am here for a bacteria culture. A type that eats natural oil. I was told it was kept down here. Perhaps I am in the wrong room." He then sighs, and seems prepared to hand off the vaccine to 'fatso'. Then he pauses and opens the cap while withdrawing a scroll from his belt. He unrolls it and after a puff of smoke, some sort of… Something is sitting in the lab. It looks a bit like a wirey pillar of skin with a bulb at the top. He pours the vaccine into the bulb through a hole, and even as Honto feels convulsions coming on, he just stands there. The flesh thing… The bulb at the top twitches and pulses. And then 'pores' open up all over it and it begins spraying out a mist composed of the vaccine in large amounts. Sure, it's getting everywhere, but that IS the point.
Honto makes sure to inhale lots of it, even going so far as to press his mouth close to one of the pores and swallow it as it accumulates inside. Hopefully this will be enough. If not, then both he and fatso are going to be dead. The vaccine-spraying bulb continues to do its job for several more minutes either way. But it will eventually start to twitch, wither… And then fall over dead.
"Precautions are a waste of time. The stupid expire. Four seconds." As Honto continues not to drink the veritable 'antidote' provided, the head scientist tilts her head to one side, briefly, then turns to look at the others, even as they finish restraining the gagged fat man to the wall via some manacles connected to a bolted eye-ring. Apparently this place was dungeon-like in more than mere cosmetics. She points at the foreigner. "Prepare to restrain this one, as well."
The pointed hand turns into a held-up one, indicating for her assistants to wait as the scroll is produced. It's eyed with a mixture of suspicion and scientific curiosity as it is lain on the floor, as is the creature-plant that pops off of it after. The mild, narrow-eyed look quickly becomes a scowl and an objection as Kei takes an aggressive step forward. "What is it you are doing!? Taking our scientific knowledge without consent is a crime punishable by dea-!"
And then comes the smoke, turning the liquid vaccine airborne, spreading it all around the room. Was it an attack? If it was, no one in the room showed any signs of alarm. Perhaps they recognized what it was. Or they were confident that they could counteract the agents. More likely, though, they probably noticed that the orginator of the smokey mist wasn't pulling out a gas mask of any kind. The choking fat man begins to breathe easier after a few brief moments of inhalation. This result, by the time the bulb has withered and died, probably receives the opposite reaction that Honto was prepared for from the volatile science-nin.
"WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!?" Kei immediately shoves the foreign male, or at least tries to. "WE WERE CONDUCTING AN IMPROMPTU TESTING OF THAT AGENT AND YOU JUST RUINED OUR FIELD DATA!" Another attempted shove. And another. And another, all designed to move Honto closer, in a very rough fashion, towards the exit. "I should make you my next experiment!" Shove. "But I was forced, FORCED, to agree not to lobotomize the next foreigner to enter the hot labs due to some pitiful 'service rendered'! Get out!" Shove. "GET OUT!" Shove. "GEEEEEEEET OUUUUUUUUUT!" Shove-shove.
Honto feels better. At least for a moment. Then Kei starts shoving at him. She is not shoving very hard and seems to be less attacking and more aggressively touching. So he just backs up while keeping as calm an expression on his face as possible. Especially given he may have just almost died. He could answer the yelling and the ranting. But he waits until she tells him to get out. Then he simply turns around and leaves without further prompting. The white-haired, bespectacled man heads for the door. He doesn't stop until he reaches. But when he does… He turns his head and looks back at Kei. "I am willing to be the tool of others. But if you try to force others to be your tool, and show no care for their survival, you should not be surprised if one day you find yourself on the receiving end of a 'tool's experiments." Then he walks out, with only the words, "Probably when it is least expected," trailing behind him.
'Seems that was the wrong room after all,' he thinks to himself.
And then the stranger is goen. Samominoryuu Kei stands there for several more moments, glaring at the door, practically vibrating in rage before turning away. Upon seeing four of her assistants still standing awkwardly around the chained and gagged fifth, she gestures irately and screeches irritably. "Get him down and get back to work!" Muttering to herself, the mad woman stuffs her hands into her dark labcoat's pockets and begins stalking back towards her table. "'Tool for others'… idiot. Idiot's tools. Idiots… Idiots toil in the mud, they don't-… CLAY!"
In the process of unchaining the fat man, all of the lab technicians jump, whirling around to face their dangerously unstable boss. Kei flings a clipboard at them to prompt them into motion on orders she has not yet given. "I NEED CLAY! And a press! Scrap this. All of this! Shelve it! We have a new project!"
Already, she's turned back to her mounds of papers, shoving some aside, pulling others closer, beginning to scribble on the top of other lab results, giggling giddily. "Yes, yes, the chakra saturation in clay will allow me to- eeheehee! -and then with the grade-appropriate sealing techniques- ooheeheehooooheehee!" A glance up. "Don't just stand there! Clean up the haematid! We're moving to the forge!"