Date: January 20, 2016
Katsumi meets up with Kenta-sensei for more medical training; this time with poisons!
"Medic-Nin Lesson: Poisons and Antidotes"
It's mid-afternoon, about two hours after normal lunch hours concludes. Kenta has booked a small laboratory in the hospital for the purpose of giving a lesson to his newest medical student. Many of his students would realize what the lesson is upon finding out the room number, since this is the laboratory that he usually books for it. For the most part, it looks like many of the laboratories in the hospital - glass beakers, Bunsen burners, shower stall, plenty of counter space, scrolls and charts everywhere. The big difference is that this one also have a lot of shelving space for dried herbs, preserved animal parts and bottles of mysterious chemicals.
Kenta makes sure that all the materials that he needs are in stock while he waits for Katsumi to show up. The young man's owlish eyes look extra large as he peers out of protective goggles at the labels of bottles and jars that he's placing on the workstation he set up for his student. He keeps moving back and forth between the shelf at the workstation. Kenta's white lab coat swishes gently around his legs with each brisk step.
When classes had ended for the day, Katsumi had raced out of the Academy and across the village to meet with her Medical-Nin Sensei, Kenta. It had been a while since the student had been able to work with Kenta-sensei directly, so she was in an exceptional rush to get to the hospital. Once she'd approached the steps, the girl had forced herself to slow to a speedy walk, and made her way to the passage of laboratories before finally locating the shinobi.
Bluegreen eyes widened as Katsumi bit her bottom lip, trying to keep herself from laughing at the vision of Kenta-sensei in front of her. He looked kinda funny, with his eyes appearing to bug out of his head, from the goggles. "Konnichiwa, Sensei!" It was only then that her eyes wandered to the shelf and table that he had been bouncing between. "Wh.. What're we going to do with that stuff?"
The girl's eyes lit up and her cheeks grew flush with the energy of her excitement, at the sound of Kenta's words. It didn't take long for Katsumi to grab the gear she needed from the table, disappear, and return with a consistent bounce on her toes as she waited for whatever they would be covering first. Her hands clasped in front of her as she made a glance toward the books on the workbench. She recognised them from the books he had allowed her to borrow, when they had first met. A smile curled her lips, then, her mind whirring and ready to absorb what it had been waiting for.
Kenta waits patiently for Katsumi to finish changing. Thankfully, it's only a few very short minutes that he has to do it. The young man claps his gloved hands together as soon as she makes an appearance again. "Good! Remember that safety is very important today. There's a lot of substances here that can make you sick if you get it on your skin, eyes or mouth. I'll be watching carefully to make sure that everything's handled properly."
"Umm… the first thing that I'm going to show you is how to identify a poison. Most of the poisons that you'd encounter are common and very easy to identify." Kenta taps one of the books. "This gives a list of them and the symptoms." He takes a second book. "And this one tells you -how- you can identify each of them. I'm going to show you one of the procedures now."
Kenta spreads out one of the scrolls on the workstation. There's a seal design surrounding a circle in the middle on it. The medic-nin removes a vial of colorless liquid that's simply labeled "Poison #1" from a small rack. He extracts some with a tiny dropper and lets three drops land on the middle of the smoke. The a hissing sound and a thread of white vapor wafts up briefly as the poison reacts with the paper to create a dark green stain. "Umm… this is a basic poison analysis scroll. Different types of poisons react differently to it. The white vapor, the smell, the speed of evaporation, the texture of the stain, it's color and other small cues can help you identify the poison."
Katsumi tilted her head as her eyes drew to focus upon the sealed scroll Kenta-sensei had laid out, briefly scanning the intricacies of what was on it before returning her gaze to the teacher - whom she always felt surprised wasn't much taller than her. She followed the drops of liquid that Kenta had dropped from the labeled vial, a brow twitching upward at the hissing sound it made, and her nose scrunching slightly when she caught of whiff of something that smelt odd. She hadn't thought to keep notice upon the white smoke that had drifted up, so when Sensei mentioned it she made an attempt to draw the shape the vapor had created, in her mind.
Her eyes shifted to the books that Kenta had pointed out, before he'd performed the example. The first book didn't seem like it would help her much, but the second - that taught her how to identify - seemed like a good bet. She, then, looked to the Sensei and furrowed her brow curiously. "Do different shades of green mean different things?" she asked, noting that the green on the scroll was dark, rather than light or ordinary.
Kenta nods his head immediately. "You've already grasped it! Yes, the color is very important, since a difference in the shade could help you further narrow down the type of poison. Umm… you also want to see whether there's any gritty residue left or whether everything goes away." The medic-nin holds up a finger. "But simply using the scroll isn't enough. You should also do other tests."
Kenta moves the scroll to the side and puts a wooden stand with many vials of chemicals in its place. "If you've taken chemistry courses before, you probably already know what I'm about to do. I'm going to mix that same poison with different chemicals and see what the reaction is." The medic-nin does exactly as he says. Out of five vials, all labeled with the chemical name, the poison sublimes out of one as blue granules on the bottom. Three vials turn colors - milky white, murky blue and a smoky gray. The last one doesn't seem to have any reaction, until Kenta puts it over a flame. The whole mixture crystallizes within two seconds. "Now, we have more data points to check against the book."
Kenta taps the book in question again. "I marked ten poisons in here, so that you won't have to go through too many results. I want you to try to match up the poison that I just tested." He moves all the used equipment over to one side, where Katsumi can still look at the results. Then, he begins to put another set of equipment in place. "Umm… Meanwhile, I'm going to put together something that you can test for yourself."
As Kenta-sensei started to set up another sort of experiment, Katsumi went and reached for the book she was going to need to read through with her gloved had. Once she had it opened to the List of Contents, the student found the appropriate area to begin her search and started her eyes upon the pages. Her pupils dilated as she read with searching eyes for key words.
The girl found quite a few poisons to have similar reactions to the one she was attempting to learn the name of. However, none of the ones she was currently looking through had all of the same reactions. One poison, when mixed with one of the chemicals Kenta-sensei was working with, turned red. Another one actually exploded. And then there were some that showed a goldenrod yellow, or cobalt blue, when dripped onto the analysis scroll.
With determination in her furrowed brows, the crease deeply evident in her forehead, Katsumi chewed on her bottom lip in concentration. Then, with a tiny gasp, she found one that matched everything - as far as she could tell. Placing her finger underneath the name, Katsumi bounced on her toes and looked over to her Sensei with a hopeful grin. "Kenta-sensei..? Is it this one?"
Kenta had finished setting up the new experiment, so he watches while Katsumi goes through the book. There's a pleased expression on his face when she lands on the exact poison that he had used for the demonstration. Kenta immediately nods his head up and down. "That's correct! I didn't tag the pages next to that one, but if you go through those poisons, you'll notice that all of them produce very same results with only minor differences. That's because all those poisons belong in the same family as the one that we identified together. Because of that, all of them react the same way to many of the tests." Kenta steps back a little and gestures for Katsumi to take his place. "Umm… now, I want you to try your hand at this. I've picked one of the other nine bookmarked poisons for you to identify all on your own."
She let herself smile at a job well done, when Kenta told her that she had found the proper poison. Even after finding it, Katsumi read through the rest of the poisons that had been marked, before setting the book open upon the table. When Kenta-sensei had gestured for her to take his place, she stepped forward to stand directly in front of the new experiment that she was going to have to figure out.
Kenta's explanation had the student wondering just how many different sorts of poisons could be made out of one particular plant. She had read that using different parts of an herb can not only change the toxicity, but can also sometimes change the properties of a poison or salve. She had an inkling that anything that complex would more than likely be in later lessons, though.
Kenta nods in approval when he sees that Katsumi's looking through the other poisons that he mentions. The young man approves when his student has enough curiosity and incentive to forge ahead on their own. "Umm… now, you just have to do exactly what I did earlier. Don't feel any need to hurry the steps. I'm going to give you as much time as you need to examine your results carefully." He nods at some blank sheets of paper and a pencil that he also set out. "Write down your observations if you think that'll help. Once you're done, you can tell me what important details you think you were able to find and what poison that leads you to."
Katsumi nodded her head as Kenta gave her instructions to follow, her mind remembering each step as she looked to the pencil and paper the sensei had shown to her. Once it was beside her hand, the girl took an analysis scroll and performed the first demonstrated step that Kenta-sensei had revealed in identifying a poison.
Once the three drops had been carefully dripped into the circle, Katsumi watched and readied her pencil for whatever notes she would take. The first two notes that she had taken was that she could smell something akin to sulfur, and it had almost seemed to bubble a white residue after a few seconds of contact. She also took note of the colour, sure to mark the specific shade of it, and even made a note of the poison having caused a thicker smoke than the one she had previously watched with the sensei.
Kenta watches over Katsumi's shoulder. It's a good thing that she's young and not very tall. Otherwise, the medic-nin would have a lot of trouble doing the shoulder peering. He nods silently to himself when he sees what notes she writes down. It's obvious that she's paying very careful attention like Kenta wants her to do. "Ummm… that's good so far. Now you should perform the chemical tests. That'll give you additional data points, so that you can look up the poison in the book." He steps back slightly, so that he won't crowd Katsumi too much. "Later on in your training, I'll also teach you how to identify poisons by using medical ninjutsu and by examining blood samples."
With a slow nod, and a little chewing at the inside of her cheek, the girl slid her note paper and pencil away and reached for the five vials Kenta-sensei had given her to experiment with. Each chemical received a few drops of the poison she had tested on the analysis scroll, and just as the sensei had shown her before, Katsumi set about with various tests and took notes on each chemical's reaction. Each note she wrote brought the student's eyes to the pages marked in the book she had left open, her options gradually becoming more narrowed as she worked. She did - out of sheer stubbornness - perform the test of flame on all of the chemicals; each time her hands were shaking that she might explode, even though the childlike trust she had for her teacher told her that he probably wouldn't give her that risk so soon in their lessons. She didn't put it passed him, though.
After all of it was done, Katsumi scanned her eyes over her notes and the book a good ten times to check her work. Pointing, she finally asked, "This one..?"
Kenta notices that way that Katsumi's hands shake when she handles the chemicals, but decides not to draw too much attention to that. Embarrassing her might just make matters worse. Instead, he tries a different tactic. "Umm… These simple poisons usually react to common chemical compounds, which is a good thing. It means you can get hold of test materials easily and most of them aren't very dangerous, except for causing skin irritation if you spill it on yourself. As you grow more skilled and knowledgeable, I'll start trusting you with more volatile substances."
Kenta reaches for the book to check the page that Katsumi pointed to. His eyes only gives it a quick scan before he nods his head. "Good! Right on the first try! That's not always the case with my medical students, even when it comes to very easy poisons like these. Umm… let's see. It'll be a good time to show you how to make the antidote now." Kenta glances towards the wall clock. "But more time passed than I expected. I think I'll have to show you how to choose the correct premade antidote instead for now."
Katsumi felt her eyes widen at the realisation of a compliment, as her gaze sparkled with pride in herself. She was usually made fun of, for being a bookworm. 'People won't be laughing about it, when I help them!' she thought to herself, her inner ego taking a little stroking before she refocused herself on Kenta-sensei. It took all of her self-control to not visibly pout, when she stole her own glance at the clock.
"The correct premade antidote?" Her head tilted to the side as her brow gave a lift in curiosity. She hadn't the slightest clue as to how she was supposed to guess what cured which. Anything she would guess would only be whatever she could remember in her studies - which at this point wasn't very much. New information had taken over all burners in her brain, for now.
"Umm… the formula for an antidote and the type of treatment to give if none's available is in one of the books already. Since we don't have time to make the antidote from scratch, we can apply a premade 'base' antidote instead. A 'base' antidote is a type of antidote that's used as the starting building material for a targeted antidote," Kenta pauses as he tries to figure the best way to explain. "Like, say that you're a baker. Someone's birthday is coming up and you have to create a confection for the celebration. You already have premade cake mix, bread mix and cookie mix. After analyzing the situation, you know that the cake mix will satisfy the requirements. You prepare a plain vanilla cake and it'll fulfills enough of the requirements to avert trouble. But, you know that the birthday girl loves chocolate. In order to truly satisfy her, you add more ingredients to the cake mix to create a chocolate cake." The medic-nin pauses slightly to let Katsumi absorb that. "A base antidote will counteract the effects of a specific class of poisons enough to lessen the damaging impact. A targeted antidotes fully treats the -exact- poison within that class of poisons."
"So, umm…" Katsumi was taking down notes, even as Kenta-sensei spoke. She wanted to make sure to take away as much as she could, from every lesson that he gave her. If she was going to become the best, as he was, she was going to need to keep everything together. "So, it's kinda like putting a butterfly bandage on a wound that needs stitches. It'll low the bleeding, and hold it shut, long enough to make the proper patch when you can." So she was going to be learning a general cure for something, today. Perhaps that would give her a chance to study ahead, and perhaps start figuring out which base supplies which exacts. She had a feeling a few diagrams were going to be in her near future.
Kenta nods his head up and down. "The base antidotes are usually easier to make. They don't work as well as the targeted ones, but they're handy because you can carry them around with you and they're guaranteed to at least help. If you carry something more specific with you, you might not be able to use it on any of the poisons that you encounter."
The young man moves over to a cabinet and starts rummaging around in it. He eventually returns with several bottles cradled in the nook of his arms. Kenta places them carefully one by one on the workstation table. The liquids are almost universally clear, but there are a few of different colors. They're also all labeled. Kenta points to one of the bottles. "That one will counteract many poisons extracted from raw legumes, like the one you identified."
Katsumi was quick to jot down each of the 'bases' that Kenta had brought out of the cabinet, making sure to include the name of the poison she had discovered in her experiments next to its designated 'base' antidote. She would look up later what each of the other labeled bases could aid with, when she went home and reviewed her notes - sort of like self-given homework. Once she had finished, the student raised her eyes the short distance to Kenta-sensei's face and furrowed her brows a little as a question puzzled her brain. "Can some bases cure multiple families? How am I supposed to know which one will work more effectively, if I have a couple different bases to choose from?" Even if one base aided in the cure of multiple families of poisons, and another base could also provide much needed help, would she know which to choose? Was there a way to tell if one might work better, in different situations?
"Some can. It depends on how the antidote itself works. Some bind to the toxins and weaken them directly. Others target the symptoms instead. The latter usually don't work as well, but often can be applied to different classes of poisons that causes similar symptoms. Ummm… I usually prefer the former though." Kenta rubs the back of his head with a gloved hand. "As for how you know, that's really something that you need to study hard until you can remember as easily as breathing. It also helps a lot to have practical experience, since that's the best way to figure such things out and remember them. For now, you can go home and read up on these antidotes."
With a grin slowly sreading across her face, even though she had just practically been dismissed in the most polite of ways, Katsumi picked up the few pages of notes that she had written and sketched out during her time in the laboratory and nodded with a deep bow of her head. "Hai!" With a pivot on her heel, the girl made her way to change out of the protective gear she had been loaned. It felt good to get back into light clothing, and out from behind goggles.
Gear under one arm, and notes in hand, Katsumi returned to the lab to replace said gear where she had borrowed it from and waved to Kenta-sensei. "Am I going to be tested on how many I have memorised, next time?" she asked, unable to stop her lips from curling with a small grin. She loved a good challenge, when it came to something like memory.
Kenta smiles broadly in return. "That's the only way for me to make sure that you remember what you studied," the young man replies. Unlike Katsumi, he remains in all the lab gear that he's wearing. The obvious reason is that Kenta has to clean up after all the experiments conducted in this room. All the chemicals, poisons and used scrolls would have to be safely disposed of. "Umm… I'm not sure when I'm next free, but I'll send a message to you when I'm reasonably sure. It could be a while before your next full lesson, but don't assume that it'd be the case. Make sure to study every day! Now, go get some rest and celebrate a job done well."
The girl smiled widely, nodding her head and bowing with a deep hinge from her hips. "Arigato, Sensei!" Katsumi said, notes hugged to her chest. Another pivot on her heel brought her to face the exit, and her feet were quick to carry her home. Just in case her next lesson wasn't all that far off, she would start on her memorisation tonight. She was sure her dad wouldn't mind giving a bit of coaching before bed, in replacement of a bedtime story.