I hate the medical wing of The Facility. It’s just too...clean. Despite my father being a doctor here, I never could get used to how pristine it was, or the overly sanitized smell. Even though I had been in here for a few weeks, I could still smell it. I don’t care what they say, it doesn’t really go away and you don’t get used to it. At least Lok was nearby to keep me amused.
“Hey Kaal, you think they’ll let Cid go back and open his bar? I could sure go for a drink or several. And I bet there’s a certain green Caab’ekur* hanging around that would love to see you again.”
“Shut it. I love you like a brother but if you continue that line of thought I will have to stab you.”
At that the medical staff in the room all tensed up, and I’m fairly certain I saw one of them reach for the little button that would bring in the guards that were just outside our door. Lok must have seen it too, because he started laughing.
“Everyone just calm down. Kaal isn’t going to stab me. If she does that they’ll lock her up and then how will she see the Penari again?!” He continued to laugh while sitting in his bed. He was mostly healed, save for a few cuts and bruises.
I swung my legs off the bed and started to move towards him and sighed. “Yep, I have to stab you now.”
Just as I got to about the middle of the room, the door opened up and two members of the Brute Squad walked in the door.
“Hunter Sengbaat, good to see you are up and well. The Caab has requested you and Hunter Varroosh meet him in the Research Wing.”
Lok looked at me, then at the two Hunters in the doorway and settled himself more in his bed. “That sounds great and all but we’re not technically cleared and still have some healing to do so...”
“This is not up for discussion. The Caab says you are to come to the Research Wing now. You can either go on your own or we have been authorized to persuade you.”
At that lovely bit of news, Lok swung his legs out of the bed he was in and made his way towards the door.
“Alright guys, so you got Kaal and I out of the White Room, which I’m pretty grateful for, but since when do we have the clearance to enter the Research Wing?”
After a brief pause that seemed like an eternity the Brute behind us decided to answer. “Don’t know. The Old Man said to go get your lazy butts out of bed and to the Research Wing, so that’s what we’re doing. Don’t like it, you can always question him and see how well that goes.”
The Brute in front just chuckled at that and kept walking. Lok turned to me and shrugged. The rest of the walk to the Research Wing was spent in silence. We followed the green line on the floor for quite some time, going into parts of The Facility that were barely used. Finally we arrived at what looked like just another steel door in this less than pleasant part of The Facility. The Brutes stood on either side of the door and the one who had been in front motioned for us to go inside.
No sooner had we walked through the door than Lok felt a need to speak his mind. “Sir, not to be ungrateful but since when do we have clearance to be here? I always figured if I found myself in this part of The Facility I would be the subject of someone’s experiment.”
The Old Man gave Lok a harsh look for a moment, then chuckled a bit. “Glad to see you’re back to being an insufferable sil’fen#, Lok. You don’t technically have clearance to be here, and this meeting never technically happened. Understood?” Lok and I nodded our heads, though I’m sure the looks on our faces said far more. “Good. This man here is on loan to us from the Confederacy. He is a scientist with the Kattaare Gas Mining Corporation who specializes in the research of the substances they come across in their mining near Oresh-Mador.”
We walked towards the man hunched over a table, though he didn’t seem to notice we were nearing him or that others were even in the room.
We were able to stand within arms reach of the man and he still hadn’t noticed us. The Old Man decided to alert him to our presence and cleared his throat in a manner that sounded similar to the call of a seritan. Lok and I both shuddered a bit, but the little scientist jumped up and away from the table and spun to see us standing around him.
The Old Man had to quickly hide the smile on his face. “Lok, Kaal, this is...was the term “doktor”?... Jored Silar. Doktor, these are the Hunters who found the substance you’ve been studying for us. Speaking of, do you have any news for me?”
The little scientist looked at Lok and myself and nodded in greeting. His gaze seemed to linger a bit longer on me than Lok, but he soon turned back to the Old Man. “Well sir, yes and no. I’ve never come across anything quite like this substance and I can’t seem to find any information in any database. Which is disturbing considering in this facility I seem to have access to every database I could think of and a few I had never even heard of.”
The Old Man smiled. “Yes, you will find that working in The Facility has it’s benefits. But please, continue.”
“Right, well as I said, I haven’t found anything in any databases. But, I have found some interesting properties of this substance. The first is that it seems to have no reaction to fire or heat in any way. I tried everything from placing the substance in a flask and heating it over a flame to having a Hunter bring me some industrial flame spitting device and aiming the flame at a large puddle within arms reach. The substance didn’t change in any way, it wasn’t even hot to the touch.”
The Old Man’s expression barely changed, though knowing him the way I did, I could see this news was unsettling to him. Lok seemed more interested in the device.
“The second observation I had about this substance is that when an electrical shock is introduced, it seems to take on semi-solid state but does not work as a conductor. Perhaps the most disturbing observation, however, is how the substance reacts with water. It seems that when the substance is in any way introduced into water, it instantly dissipates.”
All eyes in the room got wider at this bit of news. I couldn’t help myself and started talking before I knew it. “It just...dissipates? Regardless of the amount of water? How is that possible?!”
The doktor got a bothersome look on his face. “Lovely and inquisitive. How... alluring. No, no Miss, let me explain further. It seems that if you have a certain amount of this substance, and you introduce an equal amount of water, you almost instantly end up with what appears to be just the amount of water. Visually there is no way to tell the substance is in the water, and even most conventional tests were unable to detect the substance.”
The Old Man was clearly dismayed by this information. “Doktor, I’m not sure how much you saw of Ixthula on your way to The Facility but the majority of our population lives near or on marshland. Please, tell me you’ve figured out what this substance does, especially once it is mixed in the water.”
The doktor gave a dejected look. “Sadly sir, not yet. It clearly has no effect on glass beakers or the metal table-top, but I have yet to test it on living tissue. In fact, it seems that I need some sort of clearance to do such. Who do I see about that?”
I thought the Old Man’s good eye was going to pop out of his head at that. “Me, and I say you’re cleared. I want you to begin tests immediately and inform me as soon as you find out anything. We’ll leave you to it. Lok, Kaal, come with me.”
The Old Man turned away from the doktor and began walking toward the door. Lok and I followed without saying a word to the doktor. Once we were a few steps away the Old Man began talking. “Until we know more about this substance, it’s business as usual. You two and the rest of Dreks are to continue trying to find out what you can about this substance and the man Cid told us about. Kaal, the doktor seemed rather...interested in you.”
I shuddered at the thought but Lok seemed all too amused, choking on laughter. I punched him in his rather large arm. “Keep laughing buddy. He may have officially taken your top spot on my stabbing list for today, but you can always move back up.”
*-tail-head; less than friendly term for the Penari, a species known for the long tentacle-like appendages that grew from the back of their head.
#-still not translating that in respect to the rules of these here forums
Sorry for the length of this. I started writing and just kept having fun with the scenes and such. If anyone has actually read all of that, I award you one internet cookie.