Date: February 15, 2016
The failed assassination attempt at the theatre provided Kenta with exactly what's needed to test out antidotes that he created to combat the virus engineered by Shou's grandson. Tatsuo assists him with the lab work.
"Fang & Talon - Perhaps an Antidote"
Konoha Hospital - Laboratory
Once again, Kenta is back in a very familiar laboratory room. It's a room that had been trashed a short while back by someone with the intentions of sabotaging all his research. And that had worked to some degree. Kenta had a second copy of all his research notes stashed away, so no knowledge was lost, even as everything came to a grinding halt. But now, it's time to resume again after stumbling upon a lucky break, if you can call a failed assassination attempt that left unexpected resources in one's hands a lucky break.
The medic-nin is fully garbed in protective lab gear and calibrating some of the lab equipment as he waits for his assistant to arrive. Since Tatsuo was nearly burned to death with him in that assassination attempt, it only makes sense to include the boy in this. Not to mention the fact that Tatsuo's one of his best students and had helped him with this research several times already.
Tatsuo was actually excited to be so involved in what Kenta was doing. It made him feel more useful, plus he got to learn all kinds of new things he'd otherwise not find out. The young Nara enters the lab room fully dressed in protective gear as well, closing the door behind him before turning to look at Kenta and giving him a small smile in greeting. "Hello Kenta-sama."
"Konichiwa, Tatsuo. Ready for our work?" Kenta greets without looking up from the electronic microscope that he's calibrating. He stays bent over the instrument for about ten more seconds before he straightens and turns around to look at his student. "You definitely look ready. I think this is the first time that any of my students came here all prepared beforehand. Umm… give me a second." The older medic-nin walks over to a panel set into the wall to activate the seals there. A tight barrier of chakra instantly encloses the laboratory space to seal it off from the outside.
Tatsuo blushes behind the mask the equipment at Kenta's words and he gives another little nod. "Well, when you told me that we'd be working in the lab today I figured I'd come prepared so that you wouldn't have to wait." He steps towards Kenta then as the seals activate, pausing in the middle of the room to look around at all the equipment. "Um…but what /are/ we working on today?"
Kenta turns to look somberly at Tatsuo. While the bottom half of his face can't be seen, his eyes are grave enough to hint at the way his lips are turning. "Ummm… that problem with the infected animals. And that assassination attempt at the theatre… which I really should have figured out something was wrong faster, because there's -no- way any medical committee would invite me to do a presentation." Kenta shakes his head at his own stupidity. "Umm.. at least there was a silver lining to that. The clean up team that searched what's left of the place afterwards was able to bring back several live specimens of the infected roaches and scrape up residues of their ichor that didn't get a chance to ignite due to your quick thinking. That means we have samples to work with again."
"Oh, yes. Um, I think it's silly that you wouldn't be asked to give a presentation Kenta-sama. You're one of the best medic nin I know." Tatsuo moves over to where the specimens are, looking over them curiously. He hadn't gotten a chance to look at them much at the theatre. He'd been way too busy to do that. "We'll have to be really careful with this stuff. IT catches fire easily, but who knows what else it might do…"
"Mid-tier," Kenta immediately corrects when Tatsuo says that he's one of the best medics ever. The older shinobi moves aside to let Tatsuo see what's on the counter. Inside huge glass tank is about two dozen of the huge exploding roaches that attacked them at the theatre. They didn't react until they were set on fire previously, but no chances are being taken, which is why there are seals all over the glass. The roaches currently aren't moving. "I had them put into deep freeze for a while, so they're all hibernating. None of them should wake up while we're working. That -should- make them safer to handle."
Kenta shows his student a jar of thick, oily blackish-brown substance. The jar is similarly made of the same seal enforced glass that the tank is. "Umm… and this is the residue that the clean up team managed to salvage. I plan to work with this first, since I don't want to waste live specimens unless necessary. I already checked to see what makes this stuff flammable. It's a combination of special chemical compounds, trace chakra and the viruses that we already isolated. There's a chance that it'll go off if it's handled too roughly or goes near a heat source, so your water ninjutsu will be our first line of defense in case the place is set on fire."
Tatsuo turns to look at the tank full of the crawling roaches that aren't too crawly right now. That's probably a good thing. Otherwise he might have wanted to blast them again or something. "Hopefully we won't need to use them for too much. I'd rather not take the risk…" Dark eyes raise to the jar that Kenta has then and he looks at the ichor, lips pursed thoughtfully beneath the mask. "Is there anything else that it might do? Um, my first worry would be maybe if it acted like acid."
Kenta nods his head up and down. "You remember that. Good. Umm… some of those chemical compounds that I mentioned causes the ichor to be highly acidic. We can't allow biological substances and metal to get into contact with it. That's why all of our instruments will be made of glass or stone today." He points at the tray of instruments that he has prepared. Glass forceps, glass slides, obsidian scalpels, stone needles… "It's going to make our job more difficult, but I know that you're up to the challenge, Tatsuo. What I want to do is to isolate the virus from the ichor. Once that's done, we can safely work with it and not worry about corrosive materials that might explode in our face. Also…" Kenta's voice trails off.
Tatsuo had noticed something odd about the tools but had been more concerned with the dangerous stuff first. It's not until Kenta mentions it that he actually looks closer and nods a little in understanding. "I…see." He looks back to Kenta then, nodding his agreement at being ready for the challenge. But then Kenta trails off and Tatsuo starts to worry a little. "Kenta-sama?"
"Oh! I was just trying to think of how we'll test the 'antidote' that I was working on before all the previous test subjects were destroyed," Kenta says, blinking. He means the monkey and fish that the saboteur dissolved to death with acid, in addition to the frozen cat corpses. "I think we'd have to test that on a virus sample and then on a few of the roaches. If my previous work is on the right track, it should switch off the viruses and neutralize the chakra molding ability of the roaches. In this scenario, it won't make the blood less acidity and being highly flammable, but should stabilize it enough that normal handling doesn't trigger explosions." He suddenly claps his hands together. "We better get to it. Tatsuo, can you prepare two of the slides with ichor? We need to check under a microscope to make sure that the viral samples are still alive."
They could always go the route of infecting a rat! But Tatsuo doesn't say that, it's just one of the things he's thinking about. "We should be able to tell if it's working by seeing if the virus dies under the microscope." He takes the jar of ichor over to the slides and opens it, using a glass dropped to get some of the ichor out and place a few dabs gently on two of the glass slides. Lastly he retightens the seal on the jar.
Kenta supervises to make sure that Tatsuo doesn't drip any of the ichor elsewhere. The laboratory desks are all stonetopped, but it'll be bad if some of it gets on his student or on delicate equipment that has no non-reactive substitute, like one of the electronic microscopes. Thankfully, Tatsuo is up to the task. "I'd like testing more scenarios than just that, but it's the first step," Kenta agrees after the younger shinobi makes that suggestion. He looks through the eyepiece of one of the microscopes. "Umm… seems good to me. This virus is pretty hardy. I see no signs of life from only a tiny fraction of what's in this drop of ichor. You?"
Tatsuo takes the second slide and slips it into a second microscope to look at it. "Yes Kenta-sama, same thing with this one. There doesn't seem to have been much degredation." He frowns a bit at that. It wasn't exactly a good sign that the virus could survive so long outside of a body, but for the moment it at least helped them with what they needed it for. "I'm surprised it can live so long just in the ichor."
Kenta nods his head up and down. His brows are furrowed when he looks at Tatsuo. "That -is- concerning, but it does make our job a little easier. We also know that the virus will die after passing through only a short amount of hosts and it doesn't really reproduce. I guess that it was engineered to be some kind of weapon, but one with a low risk of getting out of hand." The medic-nin's tone grows more serious. "But we all know how easily even the most innocent virus can mutate…"
Kenta lets out a deep sigh, which is blunted by the mask over his face. "Let's separate the virus from the ichor." He moves away and returns with two new glass containers. "It's too easy to mess up and destroy delicate equipment, so we're going to have to do this by hand. The first step is to fill a test tube with ichor. Then, run medical chakra through it in a way that causes all biological substances, excluding the virus, to precipitate to the bottom of the tube. Force pure water up to the top along with the virus. We already know that the virus can survive in just water for a while, since that's how the fish were infected. You might find it a bit easier, since you can manipulate water, Tatsuo." The senior medic-nin taps each of the two new glass containers in turn. "The flammable stuff and waste products comes in here. Viral material goes in the second one."
Tatsuo nods in understanding to Kenta before he moves to take up a test tube, leaving the slide under the microscope for now. HE takes the dropper again, reopening the container of ichor and getting enough to half way fill the rest tube. Then he offers the container and dropper to Kenta before turning his focus back to the test tube he'd set in a holder. He reaches out, putting a finger on the vial and starts working the chakra through it, feeling the different substances within and slowly starting to seperate them into different parts.
Kenta accepts the container and dropper from Tatsuo with a nod of thanks. He similarly fills a vial with the ichor, being very careful not to jostle it too much. Who knows how much kinetic energy needs to be imparted to the substance before it reacts. Once the vial is full, the medic-nin holds it in both hands and starts to run chakra through it as well. Since Kenta has no affinity, or at least no training, in water ninjutsu, his technique is slightly different than Tatsuo's. Nevertheless, the senior medic-nin doesn't seem to have any qualms about their slightly different approaches causing any issues. The ichor in his vial slowly begins to separate into layers of its base components. This is going to be the most tedious part of the entire task.
Tatsuo continues to work through the contents of the ichor, seperating it into various layers, pulling the virus to the top with any pure water. When he's finally finished serperating it he pulls the water out of the vial with his own chakra, the little glob of water floating upwards out of the vial and towards one of the containers, settling it in before he releases it. The rest he dumps out of the tube into the other container, using a bit of chakra to let it all dump out.
Kenta finishes with his own tube at around the same time. The older medic-nin sues chakra to bind all the unwanted organic material at the bottom of the cube, causing it all to clump up and stick to the glass sides for a second. He quickly pours out the virus-laced water into its designated container. When Kenta upends the tube again over the other container, he stops the binding action to allow the unwanted substance to slide out. A bit more chakra is applied to expel any bits that's clinging to the glass. "Ok, just keep at it until we finish," the young man instructs and does exactly as he ordered.
Tatsuo nods to Kenta in understanding as he refills his vial and goes about the same process again and again, carefully seperating the various materials over and over again so that he can get the virus and water seperated from the rest of the material. It was rather difficult work to make sure none of the ichor made it back into the rest of the water.
Kenta breathes out a big sigh of relief when the task is finished. "Umm… ok, good job, Tatsuo." He carefully picks up the container of waste material that they don't want and carries that over to the hazardous waste disposal area. Another barrier is activated to secure the container before he returns. "There were three possible antidotes that I created before my work was disrupted. One binds a protein to its coating to inhibit its ability to move, which would stop it from infecting cells. The other tries to break down the virus completely, basically destroying it. The third antidote that I developed injects an engineered bacteria into the bloodstream, which is supposed to target the virus. Umm… we'll test each of them. Pick one and I'll pick one of the remaining."
Tatsuo looks at the container that holds most of the virus, watching it curiously while Kenta takes the other goop away and disposes of it for now. They'd have to be very careful when taking that stuff out! "Oh, um…" Tatsuo says, turning to look over the various antidotes before he shakes his head a non-comittaly. "Whichever one you want me to test Kenta-sama." Yep, he'll let Kenta decide!
Kenta has started rummaging around in a little refrigerator in the corner of the laboratory. He takes out a small rack of vials, each labeled with a different code. "Umm… the one that attempts to destroy the virus directly is probably the easiest to test. I'll let you work on that one." He sets the rack down on the counter and points to the middle vial in the row. "I'll take the binding agent. Not much is needed. Just take a few drops, mix it with a few drops of the virus sample, and check under a microscope."
"Hai Kenta-sama…" Tatsuo says, looking over the various vials briefly before getting clean droppers. He drops a bit of the virus water onto a slide, then slides it into place, viewing it under the microscope to check on the little buggers. After that he uses the other dropped to get some of the antidote out, then carefully drops a single drop onto the slide before looking back into the microscope again.
Kenta has also started on his own slide. For a second, both student and teacher mirror each other's movements. The older medic-nin even lowers his head to the eyepiece of his own microscope at exactly the same moment. Only at this point do things start to differ. Kenta adjusts the resolution of his microscope several times to see the interaction between the antidote that he's testing and the viruses. After a second, he frowns. "Umm… this isn't working too well. The proteins are binding to the virus, but most of them are still able to function to some degree. The amount of movement I see indicates that they'd still be able to make their way into host cells afterwards." He lets out a big sigh.
Meanwhile, Tatsuo's sample is exhibiting better results. It takes a while, but the boy eventually catches sight of a few viruses as they break apart from contact with the antidote. This effect slowly spreads until almost every single one of the viruses in his sample is dissolved beyond the ability of the microscope to analyze. The few that are left partially intact are so damaged that it's unlikely they can even function.
Tatsuo was far too focused to notice the synchornized sciencing. As he watched his sample he was starting to think it wasn't going to work but then they finally start to break apart and he smiles a little to himself. He continues to watch, making sure that all of the virus is destroyed beyond any ability to remain a danger. Only then does he lift his head and look to Kenta. "This one works well Kenta-sama. It took a little time but it destroyed the virus."
Kenta frowns in disappointment, but the mask hides half of that expression. As he removes the slide from his microscope for later disposal, he hears Tatsuo's results. "Oh! Let me take a look too," Kenta says as he moves over to try to take over Tatsuo's position. "Would you mind testing the final antidote while I check this?" he asks his student while he reaches for the microscope.
Tatsuo steps back when Kenta asks to look at his microscope and he goes to get the last vial of antidote. "Of course Kenta-sama, whatever you want me to do." He gets another slide and repeats the process, putting some of the infected water on the slide, then checking it under the microscope before again adding in the last of the antidotes and checking back into the microscope to see the effect.
The third antidote doesn't seem to be faring too well either, not in comparison to the first one that Tatsuo tested. While the specially engineered bacteria that's suspended in the antidote does immediately attack the viruses, the payoff even slower that the compounds that directly broke the viruses down. Only a third of the viruses are engulfed by their newly introduced predators when Kenta looks up from checking Tatsuo's results to give confirmation of the readings. The bacterial based antidote is a solution only if time's not an issue.
"This one /is/ working Kenta-sama," Tatsuo says as he watches it work. "But it's taking time to break through the virus. Um, maybe a more concentrated dose of the bacteria would help." He looks up from the microscope, not even knowing what the bacteria is. High doses could well kill a person. HE steps back so that Kenta can look in on that one as well.
Kenta takes Tatsuo's place and peers into the microscope. "Oh… hmm… that -is- kind of slow. And this one requires injection into the blood stream too, which means applying with a syringe. If we just release it into the air, the bacteria probably won't survive and won't enter the target's body." He starts to rub the back of his head, but stops before he dirties his latex gloves. "I guess we'll stick with the first one for now. Tatsuo, fish out one of the roaches and apply antidote that breaks down the virus to it. I need to store this before it degrades too much," Kenta says as he reaches for the container of virus-laced water.
Tatsuo watches Kenta as he inspects the bacteria under the microscope, chewing his lower lip under his mask while he waits for Kenta to decide. Once he tells Tatsuo to start working with the destructive approach he nods quickly, then goes to the tank that the bugs are in. Using glass tweezers, he carefully takes one of the bugs out and takes it over to an open area next to one of the microscopes and sets it down. Next he takes the destructive antidote and gets some more in the dropper, then turns back to drip a few drops onto the roach…
"There's glass plate in one of the drawers under the counter," Kenta says from across the room. He's back near the refrigerator, where he's carefully setting down the jar that he's holding. The young man removes something from the refrigerator and pours whatever's inside it into the jar. Maybe it's something to keep the virus samples alive longer. "The plate have seals inscribed into it. When you run chakra through that, it should create a small barrier that allows your chakra through, but doesn't allow anything out. Put the roach in there, bring it out of hibernation and check if the antidote worked." Kenta pours something else into the jar. He also starts to make a few hand seals in an intricate sequence.
That works better than his idea of a water bubble around the bug really. Tatsuo uses the glass and places the bug in the middle of it before dripping the antidote on it. Only then does he activate the barrier and send medical chakra through the plate to the bug, warming it back up to bring it out of it's hibernation. He's also got some water vapor nearby just in case…
The roach doesn't like being woken up. Or maybe it doesn't like being trapped. As soon as Tatsuo has stimulated it's biological systems enough for it to move, it starts trying to scurry off the dish. The roach runs into the barrier and turns to run the other way. As it fails to escape again and again, it starts to get more agitated. The tips of the roach's antennae begin to glow a dull cherry red like the end of a burning cigarette. But this splutters out within a few seconds, leaving the roach angry, but still incredibly trapped.
Tatsuo frowns a little at the roach as it tries to run around. Hrm. He gets a little more of the antidote and drips it through the barrier directly onto the bug to see if there's any real reaction or not. Yeah it seems upset, but that isn't really going to help them in any way.
The roach is throwing itself against the barrier now. Again, the cherry red glow develops at the end of its antennae. The second that the drops of antidote hits the roach, this snuffs out again. The next time that the glow attempts to reignite, it barely manages a flicker before going dull. No more occurs. The roach finally either exhausts itself or gives up, so it just settles in the middle of the plate. Maybe it's sulking, but that's hard to tell without being an Aburame.
Tatsuo watches the reaction of the roach, but is no closer to any answer than he'd been before. Whatever it was trying to do it couldn't, but whether that was the effect of the antidote or something else he wasn't entirely sure. "Um, Kenta-sama?" he calls to the older med-nin. "I'm not sure what kind of reaction it's having…"
"One second!" Kenta calls out from the corner. His entire head's missing… because it's inside the refrigerator. He pulls out and closes the door securely. "Umm… do you need help?" Kenta asks as he gets to his feet. The senior medic-nin walks over to check what Tatsuo's doing. "Any reaction at all? It looks like it's still asleep to me… No, wait. The legs moved a little. Did you sedate it again?"
"No. It was beating against the barrier after I dripped the antidote on it, then it went back to the center of the plate," Tatsuo explains as he watches the bug still, waiting to see if it's going to do anything else. "It also had red glowing at the end of each antennae. But it kind of…sputtered out."
"Oh… that sounds like a good reaction," Kenta says after a moment. He eyes the motionless roach to see whether it'll really just stay there. "It -is- kind of hard to tell. Put it back to sleep please. I'll do some more tests with that one later after I figure out some better tests." The young man steps back and sucks in a deep breath through his mask. "If the antidote does work, it could still need tweaking. I'll probably bring you in multiple times to help me with that throughout the week."
Tatsuo nods a little to Kenta, then reaches out to the plate again, sending his chakra through it to the bug to slow down all of it's system and put it back into a hibernative state. Only when he's sure it's done does he let the barrier down and pick it up again with the glass tweezers. "Where do you want this one Kenta-sama?" After all it shouldn't go back with the other ones in case the antidote does something weird…
"Umm… leave it on the plate for now. I'll take care of it later. Let's clean up here and free up the room for other people," Kenta suggests. He starts to clear away all the equipment that have been used, including the droppers, vials and other materials that came into contact with questioning substances. "Thanks for helping me, Tatsuo. You and Kyu really are the best assistants when it comes to lab work."
Tatsuo replaces the bug and reactivates the seals…just in case. He then goes about helping Kenta to clean up, discarding anything that needs to be in the appropriate bins. "Of course Kenta-sama. I'm happy to help you. I learn a lot from when I assist you, and I like to help."