Date: October 24, 2013
The team investigates the parasite more, trying to find a way to stop it.
"Silk Conflict - Continuing the Search"
secure research lab, Konoha Hospital
It's been a rough week since the last inspection of the new parasite, and Taiki has been spending the vast majority of his time in study. He's also started to reach out for fresh minds to add to this weighty problem, and now he's going over the notes from last time while waiting for everyone to arrive. In addition to Shuuren and Usagi, he's managed to acquire the aid of one of the newer, more promising medical nins of Konoha. So far, the Land of Lightning still has yet to respond. But still he waits, with only Nozomi by his side, as Shinobu has no interest actual healing. Rescue, yes, but healing no. This is more the smaller red dog's forte, which is good, considering how much room Shinobu would take in here…
Kenta isn't the type of person to be late. The boy doesn't have much details about what's going on, but when a senior medic-nin says that a task is extremely important, he's in no way going to disbelieve that. As a result, Kenta made sure to set his alarm so that he'll have enough time to get ready and still get to the hospital before the scheduled time. Taiki and Nozomi doesn't have to wait for long at all. When Kenta slips inside the well lit operation ward, he bends forward to bow towards both of them gravely. "Taiki-sama. Nozomi-sama."
The days have been rather busy. Between studying this thing and performing his duties both as a Daimyo and a businessman, one might wonder how Shuuren ever manages to get any sleep. Still, the young bureaucrat seems totally in the game. "So, Taiki-san, I've been thinking," he says he reads over a few things. "If we come up with a cure that can be made airborne, what are the chances we could release it and blame it on an experimental new mass smoke bomb? If the Kage want to keep the knowledge of this thing away from the general public, that seems like perhaps the best way to release it. It would only be visible for moments, but, it would spread wide enough that hopefully we'd eliminate the problem here enough that we'd have time to track this guy down." As another enters the area, the Daimyo would look to him and give a nod, "Konnichiwa." After that quick greeting, he looks back to Taiki, waiting for a response on that thought process.
Taiki looks up as Kenta enters and as Shuuren makes his proposal. "That would be the best way to handle it, Nagamura-san, but first we need to find something. I don't know about you, but this thing has been a particular pain in my backside for a while now, and I'm not sure if we've made any headway into this thing. So I can hope that we do find an airborne counter-agent before this thing blows up in our faces. With the new transmission method, it's only going to be a matter of time before someone not in the loop starts asking questions that can't be answered."
He then looks over toward Kenta and nods. "Hello Akiyama-san, this is Nagamura Shuuren. Nagamura-san, this is Akiyama Kenta, one of our more promising junior medic nins. I'm afraid I haven't had time to tell him exactly what's going on, so we'll have to bring him up to speed quickly. Akiyama-san, what you are about to be told is an A-Class secret. Only those ranked Jounin or above, that are not specifically part of the operation knows about this. Discuss this with no one, understood?"
Kenta doesn't recognize Shuuren, but he probably figures that anyone that's working with Taiki, himself excluded, would be important personnel. The boy shifts on his feet to face the man and dips again from the waste in another respectful bow. "Konnichiwa, Nagamura-sama," he greets somberly in a naturally soft voice. The boy's has on one of his uber serious expressions again, which means that he goes from looking a few years under his actual age to a bit over it. There's an earnest nod from him when Taiki explains again just how classified the information that he's about to be trusted with is. This makes nod boy stand straighter and give Taiki a firm nod. "I understand, Taiki-sama. I won't discuss what I find out here with anyone at all, even family."
"Ah, so the junior medic is going to be baptized in the fire then?" Shuuren asks, smirking slightly. "I suppose there's no better place to gain experience." With that, he looks back to his papers, grabbing a blank set as he glances over them then moves through a few hand seals. When he places his hand on the blank papers, key information for Kenta to study over quickly so he can be useful in the lab is instantly printed on it. "Here you go," he says, handing the fresh papers to the Chuunin before looking back to his own. "Glad to have you on board."
As Kenta is given a chance to paruse the papers, Taiki speaks up and says, "To put it simply, the attackers have been infecting the merchants with a kind of chakra parasite. The original function of the parasite was to invest itself in the core of the carrier, and send out information on everything the merchant senses, including sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. The parasite is actually a jutsu, a very powerful one that does not match any known jutsu out there. Recently, however, it changed, becoming contagious whenever chakra beyond the amount needed to maintain it is channeled into it."
Kenta walks forward to accept the papers from Shuuren. The boy's eyes quickly scan the first sheet to get a better idea of what's going on. Whatever he reads makes his eyes widen slightly and he starts reading over from the beginning to get as many details as possible. He stays silent to absorb the words on each page and listen to Taiki speak. It doesn't take long before he finishes, despite the depth of information that he has to go over. "There's no cure developed yet that would stop these parasites?" he asks with a frown wrinkling up the bridge of his nose. "Most parasites have to be killed with specific dosages of medicine. If we know of any other parasite that these might be related to, we can try to adapt an existing cure for these. Besides becoming contagious, how are they affected by chakra?"
"Taiki-san has a method that works on curing a single individual at a time surgically," Shuuren comments as he continues reading and pondering. "That's a bit of where I come in, as I specialize in medicine as well as surgery. Since this thing feeds off chakra, what we have to come up basically is a cure that will prevent chakra from being absorbed within one's own chakra network without causing damage to it. If we can create that and make it airborne, we'll have found our solution."
Taiki nods as Shuuren raises a point. "But my methods have a weakness in dealing with this parasite, in that I use chakra to heal, which in turn fuels the parasite to spread like a pollen, exponentially and airborne. I've had to alter both the detection and the treatment meathods to ensure that the med-nin involved are not infected, and even then we've had two become so. This thing is insidious in the extreme, and any infected ninja who so much as focuses chakra will cause the parasite to transmit instantly to everyone around them." He then points to a sealed jar in a sealed dome that is glowing blue-green. "That's our sample, kept alive by a feed of my chakra via chakra diagnostic tags with the link between tag and me cut off to avoid infection."
Kenta bends slightly to peer at the jar close up. He doesn't reach out to touch the dome, too wary after hearing everything that the senior medic-nin have to say. "There are medicines that affect chakra. I don't know any of them." The Chuunin looks towards Shuuren, since he professed to being an expert in medicine. "I also wonder…" Kenta hesitates before he offers the thought up. "What if we can find a way to alter some of the parasites to do what -we- want instead? If we can find a way to develop a harmless strain that doesn't do anything except target or crowd out the original strain, it might work as a cure. It'll have to spread much quicker and more efficiently and with a built in trigger that will cause them to self destruct."
"And that's exactly why a medicinal cure is ideal at this point since a chakra-based one risks spreading the parasite further," Shuuren says, chuckling a bit. At Kenta's suggestion, he ponders a bit then says, "That's a good thought, though it would require an Aburame's specialty, and it would be using chakra as well. If the chosen user got infected as he was trying to use such a jutsu, the effects could be enough to infect a large portion of a village at once."
Taiki nods in agreement to Shuuren. "Since chakra and chakra networks is a specialty of mine, I'm providing theoretical groundwork for this. While altering the parasite to form another parasite to attack the first would be ideal, of all of us I'm the most proficient in doing something like that, and it would be risking me getting infected, which would be bad. The original oubreak from me using chakra afterward would likely blanket about a third of Konoha, which is ell beyond any containment measure we can put in place. I'm trying to figure out a way to work on it remotely so that doesn't happen, but its taking a while…"
"This is a very tricky problem…" Kenta states with another frown. "So it goes back to medicine, since any use of chakra can be dangerous around these parasites. I don't know if my knowledge of medicine would be too helpful right now. I haven't studied anything that directly affects chakra networks and chakra flow. I think that the best thing I can do right now is help with the research."
"Indeed, it is," Shuuren says with a nod. "We need all the help we can get, so even help on research would be great." He then takes one of his scrolls and lays it out on a table to reveal a set of the possible ingredients he brought along. "Let's see," he muses as he looks them over, pondering what might best suit their needs at least experimentally.
Taiki nods once as he points out a book. "That's a book on medicines that directly effect chakra networks, start your research there," he instructs Kenta. After the junior medic-nin is set to work Taiki opens up a book on his own. "I'm going to continue to focus on remote seal activation. I know its possible, but I don't know how. If I can figure it out, perhaps we'll have a way to either directly change the parasite like Akiyama-san suggested, or at least be able to continuously monitor what happens during our tests…"
"That skill is quite useful," Shuuren comments with a glance over his shoulder at Taiki. "Though I know of only a handful of people who've been able to utilize it. From what I know, if you understand the concept of Chakra Shaping, you apply a similar principle, except it requires a bit more on the preparation side in the seal. If a seal is made with your chakra, you should only need to apply a minuscule amount of chakra from a distance to force the seal to activate. I'm working on trying something similar with scrolls myself, though I'm already adept at Chakra Shaping, so it's a bit of an easier concept for me to grasp, I suppose." With that, he looks back to his medicinal ingredients, pondering them over and picking out pieces from certain ones that he plans to test out.
"I do know Chakra Shaping," Taiki replies as he looks up and blinks. "It just never occured to me to think along that route when I looked through my notes. He then shakes his head and smirks ruefully. "It's amazing, I have spent almost half my life studying chakra in one form or another. I have made my own elemental taijutsu styles from the ground up, and I am even working on new ninjutsu, not to mention making a completely new sub-section of medical sealing jutsu. But something like that just completely blew right past me. Thank you," he says, bowing is head before renewing his review of his notes.
"Ah, then you're already practiced at the principle you need," Shuuren says with a smile. He then gives a nod. "My pleasure. Sometimes the things we know best are what we tend to overlook. That's why I made sure I brought some of every ingredient in my storage along for this. It never hurts to be over-prepared." That said, he looks back to what he's doing, grabbing a few more things before moving over to another spot to start grinding some of them up to start preparing mixtures.