• Closed • So it Begins (Linika)

Plans are set in motion, possibly linking the outcast and the socialite forever

Stronghold of education and learning, this fortress is in one of the coldest areas of Idalos and home to many knowledge seekers in a variety of disciplines. However, unknown to most, below the city are those who suffer for the sake of science. While all are welcome, not everyone will be treated as they expect.

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Virikai Talius
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So it Begins (Linika)

10th Trial of Ymiden, 715th Arc
Early Morning



It was early… far earlier than the Talius heir could normally ever be found trudging through the most recent snowfall in the streets of Viden. Early enough, even, that dawn could only be just seen creeping over the grey-blue horizon, and light was low in the frozen city of excellence in education. Despite the unusual sight of Virikai’s movements towards the Viden Academy at this early hour, there were none around to question him (not that one as favoured as he would be stopped and interrogated on the streets. Not even the sweeps and the salt-spreaders were arisen out of doors yet. But Virikai was glad, for his reasons for venturing outside so early were degenerate, almost criminal.

Thus far in Virikai’s relatively short life, he had done nothing that could really be considered an illegal action, or even one that might be frowned upon by his society. But it wasn't for any particularly strong moral aversions to crime; if anything the young eídisi was entirely amoral - completely sceptical about both immorality and morality. No, his reasons for being law-abiding were purely self-motivated, in that he was well aware of the risks of getting caught. Even if it was minor enough to receive no punishment from the Directorate, the risk of slander to his personal reputation (as well as his family’s) was far too great. He needed his family’s reputation if he was to succeed.

But what was most disconcerting for the otherwise infallible Ice Prince was that, as he walked through the bitter weather, he had just been able to name the niggling emotion that had been winding its way slowly through his lower abdomen. It was anxiety, perhaps with a smattering of self-doubt. He almost couldn’t believe that such a thing was possible of him to feel, but there it was, weighing on his mind as he ran through the plan in his mind once again. Squinting his eyes against the cold, slow snowfall, he saw that he was approaching the looming white crystalline buildings of the Academy.

It wasn't as if the whole thing had to go off without a single mistake, he reminded himself. Yes, certain things had to happen, and he could not be seen doing any of it… or at least he could not be implicated in any of it. But these things had to be done if he were to keep his word to the outcast. Though he realised as he walked, his reluctance to pass on specific information about what would be happening to day would actually now work to his advantage - he had promised sabotage of some form, particularly pertaining to the use of chemical substances, but his lack of detail allowed an element of flexibility to what would come.

The corners of his lips curled into a smile at this thought, as he adjusted his cloak slightly and ducked his head against the blisteringly cold winds. The lengths he would go to for some filth… it had better pay off, he decided venomously, already detesting that he had decided on something that had to be prepared in the early hours, when the sun’s warmth had not touched Viden in a number of breaks, which made it by far the most dangerous time to be out of doors. Only the silence and peace of the sleeping city was comforting for Virikai.
Last edited by Virikai Talius on Wed Sep 09, 2015 4:17 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 590
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So it Begins (Linika)

There was always a degree of uncertainty in processing a toxin. Linika grinned. That was the fun...

It had been a day and a half since she'd met with that Talius fop. A bona fide aristocrat, who had actually invited her to his home. He had offered her tea and a full part in a scheme. She had naturally been skeptical, but there was much to gain by this scheme, she could not deny. And here was a second source of excitement inherent in uncertainty. As a naer, she was universally loathed throughout this city, the Matron Immortals representing her race, and that of the indigenous Eidisi, being sworn enemies.

Once again, the superiority of Audrae's domain was plain for those with eyes to see. The eidisi matron, Yvithia, was focused on languages and communication. As a result, the animosity shown towards Linika never escalated beyond name-calling and such. And while it was certainly unpleasant, it only served to motivate the naer to advance her plot against this city and its people. And there was no matron more gifted in developing the skills of espionage and larceny than glorious Audrae.

But the fact remained, her edgy thrill was based on the fact that she did not yet know what this snob from the night before last had to gain for himself. But for her, a position in the city's medical bay was an opportunity not to be missed. And if he betrayed her in some way, she already had the means to throw "guilt-by-association" back upon him.

If she went down, so would he.

But the naer knew that divine Audrae would not approve of her devotee settling for the mere downfall of a single aristocrat. So that was only something to initiate when all else was lost. In the meantime, she had spent the last night making an alteration to a toxin she had brought with her from Augiery. There, at least, was one advantage to be had from this frigid environment. Her toxin stayed good almost indefinitely.

It was intended as a combat toxin, in that it thinned the blood to such a degree that a minor wound became a major concern due to blood loss, which then also weakened and distracted the opponent. And it was in the form to simply be applied to a blade. But Linika knew that this format would not serve the scheme that she and Talius had worked out. She needed to alter it to "ingestion" form.

So, she'd taken a bit of soap, a source of alkali reagents, which countered acids, and blended it with a bit of her own blood, and some rendered corn kernels, left over from a common gruel. As innocent as these seemed, corn was a common element used to change a toxin's initial form into "ingestion" form. It was not a common subject of discussion, but most people were aware that corn did not always digest well. And the reason that non-ingestion toxins did not work well when eaten was simply that the stomach acid broke them down before the combined ingredients could activate whatever debilitating effects were designed to occur.

Freezing the corn until it burst from ice expansion, and then removing the liquid as it thawed, gave her the remaining source of one element. Further inhibition of the stomach acid was achieved by melting a bit of soap, and blending it with the dried corn powder. The enzymes in her own blood would somehow enable her body to "recognize" - for lack of a better term - the bodily system for the slowly developing toxin to be infused into. She did not know honestly why this was so, she only knew it was.

So yes, she was, in fact, poisoning herself. She knew that Talius would be doing some sort of chemical mischief of his own. As a naer, she would not normally be allowed anywhere that such things were happening. But at some point in the morning, she would "accidentally" cut herself, and the non-clotting blood flow would soon draw attention. She would do what she could to convince those around her that she suddenly believed it was a sickness, and they would surely bring her to the med center.

She would be in no real danger, she knew. This was no lethal toxin, and a single small wound would get messy, but not lethal. Then, she would be in position to recover in time to save the day from whatever Talius had engineered. If she played this right, she would be grudgingly acknowledged as a hero. And her obvious skills would be rewarded.

It was cold, gray, dawn now, and she was already at the work station awaiting her assigned task as a common laborer. She stifled a grimace of disgust over how these eidisi had not even attempted to see if she was qualified for anything more than this. They would get what they had coming to them...
Last edited by Linika on Thu Sep 10, 2015 5:43 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 842
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So it Begins (Linika)

The northern dawn -something which was only realise visible at a reasonable time this far north in the hot months - was a pleasant sight, the Talius heir decided, as he chanced a glance up against the crisp winds to view the sky upon the horizon. Black as far as the eye could see bled into greys and the occasional white, at which point come colour could be seen, as a yellow glow from the sun began to spread along the ground. Turning away, Virikai nimbly climbed the few stairs which led to the main entrance of the Viden Academy. The guard on duty nodded his head as he pulled the heavy door open, which Virikai ignored, passing without a word of thanks.

A member of the Talius family, Virikai was every bit the arrogant heir that the city expected him to be. That trait he now emphasised, keen to appear to be as in control of the situation as ever for, if he looked like he was supposed to be there, no one would question his presence. He would be forgotten by the guard, for who would suspect a dignified, exemplary member of Videnese society to sabotage the stores on the medical facility?

The young eídisi continued to stride forward before turning left, down a corridor that would lead him down to the laboratories, of which there were three. The one at the far end of the corridor, the one he wanted, was locked, but he knew that there would be at least one herbalist inside. Virikai knocked and waited for the door to open. “Ah, Mister Talius, come in.” The herbalist, an aged man by the name of Tevin stepped aside, inviting Virikai inside. He did, and the door was shut and locked behind him. “You’re here early today, what can I do for you?

Virikai spoke without preamble, slightly emphasising his aloof reputation for the sake of credibility. “I have a patient complaining of abdominal pains. Before we begin testing for infections, we would like to rule out the more common causes, thus we would like to request that a strong laxative might be added to our delivery this morning.” Tevin knew where Virikai worked, and his lips curled at the mention of the ‘patient’, as was the normal terminology for those who worked in the FRA and wanted to maintain the secrecy of the facility. Even in the areas restricted to the general public, this discretion was practised.

You have none?” The herbalist frowned as he rounded the work table and returned to stirring the simmering pot of whatever concoction he was currently brewing. “None strong enough,” replied Virikai, quietly pleased at himself for the very legitimate reason for his presence here. As a mere assistant, the menial task of fetching fell to him, and he was fetching something that had been asked of him. The fact that he had given the subject in question a hot nigh on raw meal for the midday meal was neither here not there. He fully expected to arrive later this morning to find vomit in a corner of the cell and the abdominal pain gone. “We want to clear out her entire system within a few breaks, lest it be something more serious and we must deal with the underlying cause.

The man nodded, still smiling slightly, “I have just the thing, Kai.” Leaving his current work once again, Tevin left for the store room through another door, and Virikai followed, keen to remain in the man’s presence at all times. If he couldn’t be unseen, his alibi would be flawless.
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The morning went about as expected, the humans and occasional eidisi pulling together to heap scorn on their common social enemy. Linika normally embraced the hostility, feeling it justify her long-term intentions. She did not let herself ponder whether she would have abandoned her plan if all the citizens of Viden had welcomed her instead. It was beside the point. The Invinni of Augiery had given her this mission, who had received it, tradition said, from the Immortal mother, Audrae, herself. What did it matter what a mortal felt where the divine mother gave them purpose?

But in this case, rather than giving back the scorn in generous return helpings, she let a show of emotion give unfocused force to her actions. She would fake slamming things together when they needed only to be pressed; stomping when she needed only to step; grabbing in a shaking fist when something needed only to be lifted. This would serve to cover her advancement of the morning's agenda as mere coincidence.

After a break or so of digging and sifting in frigid ground, she began to feel the weakness of thinning blood take effect. This was not even anything needing to be faked. Her face grew pale. When she did not apply cosmetics, her face was always somewhat pale. But this morning, she had deliberately neglected the slight rouging of her cheeks and dusting of facial skin tints. Compounded by the effect of the blood-thinning toxin, she knew she was looking paler by the trill.

The looks of her work crew partners gave proof of this. As the morning went on, more and more of them did increasing double-takes, with frowns that began to display actual concern. Of course, Linika would not alter her demeanor toward them, though it would need to take a slightly different tack. Normally, when these unfriendly eyes looked at her for more than a moment, she would stare back, her expression as cold as the air, and ask what the problem was, with a tone that hoped it would escalate. This morning, she was a little slower to focus her words, emphasizing some difficulty with a few exaggerated pants for breath.

She took opportunities to rise a bit more quickly then necessary, attributing her dizziness to nothing more than that. She could see doubt in the eyes of the others, and reveled in it secretly. It was almost time. Now her workmates began to ask her if she felt alright. Naturally, she launched into defensive accusations that they were calling her lazy, and applied herself to increases in effort that would have made her dizzy even if she were NOT poisoned.

She rolled her eyes back on purpose and took a few staggering steps, twisting and aiming her fall so it would look accidental. She hit her arm on the corner of a small shovel and broke the skin. Sound hummed in her ears and she felt strangely warm. She knew that she had truly afflicted herself, and did not worry herself over the genuine effects of it. This stayed in character with her refusal to accept help from those that had previously scorned her.

She let herself swoon in genuine dizziness for a moment, in order to more effectively give an act of "coming around" and pushing everyone away, insisting angrily that she was all right. The strength of her voice faded midway, and she took several deep breaths, starting to become concerned that she may have overdone her dosage. 'No' she told herself, she would not let that stop her.

One of the others suddenly gasped, his eyes looking at her arm. "Mercy, look at her arm! She's bleeding bad!"

Other similar comments followed, "A little cut on the arm shouldn't bleed like that."

"The cut on her leg the other day didn't bleed like that."

"Should we take her to the medical wing? This should have stopped bleeding a break ago."

In her developing swoon, Linika realized more time had passed than she'd noticed. She noted with some grim satisfaction that there was silence after this last question. Obviously they all knew she would not normally be allowed near the place, but the bleeding continued.

Now Linika lay still. She was not as disoriented as she let on, with her soft moans and rolling eyes, but it was not that far from the truth. "No, I'm f-f..fine...I jus-st need...to...rest a b-b...bit." she protested weakly. The voices became weaker in her ears now, and she knew she was pushing the envelope of the toxin's effects now. She could only hope it was spiking right now. Her worry had now wrapped itself around the possibility that she'd be unable to capitalize on the set-up Virikai would be arranging for her.

She managed to recall that she needed to add the element of sickness to these people's concerns. "I t-t...told you...I'm n-not s-sick. And the c-cold...cold air f-f...feels good." she babbled, "It's n-n...nothin-ng...noth-thing catching."

The increase in the gasps and cries of alarm were so satisfying that she started to laugh. The ensuing comments made it clear that her workmates had bought the ruse, and this made it even funnier. Her laughter became kind of manic as a result, and this just compounded the situation. She thought for a moment that she ought to try to stem her laughter, but it suddenly seemed deliriously appropriate. She didn't consider the strain of energy it cost her, though, and she laughed herself right into a swoon of darkness.
Last edited by Linika on Thu Sep 17, 2015 3:20 am, edited 2 times in total. word count: 963
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So it Begins (Linika)

You’re sure that this will work quickly?” Virikai looked doubtful as he stared at the small vial of viscous white liquid held up at eye level in the potioneer’s hands. Apparently only a third of this would be needed for effective use. The Assistant Researcher could not believe that such a small amount would be able to do anything substantially helpful. “I mentioned that she’s an adult, yes? Not an infant?

It will encourage her to have a bowel movement within a maximum of two breaks of ingesting it, yes,” the man replied with an exasperated sigh as he pushed the small vial into Virikai’s hand and returned to the main laboratory. “It is a very string stimulant, and it also has lubricant qualities. Tell your superiors that I have given you Yela; they’ll know that they can perform a rectal or bowl examination following the bowel release, if the pain doesn’t dissipate. You’ll also want to add some water to it, to dilute it. Leave it to sit for a few minutes before giving it to the patient. I can’t imagine anyone would willingly drink that.

The Ice Prince lips twitched as the briefest of smiles danced across his face, “The willingness of the patient isn’t an issue, Tevin.” The herbalist, returning to the simmering pot once again and stirring it gently raised a brow before nodding his head in quiet agreement. For the first time, Virikai wondered whether or not the man disagreed with the activities in the facility hidden deep below the Academy. Rearranging his expression into one of passive disinterest, he watched the man for a few moments, wondering if he might catch a more obvious sign that the human was not loyal to Yvithia. Finding none, he pocketed the small vial with a murmured, “Thank you.

It’s no bother, Kai. I appreciate your visits. You always seem so keen to learn. It’s a shame that you’re delegated the most menial tasks in your role.” It was with a tight smile and hard eyes that Virikai repeated what his father had once told him - that everyone had to start somewhere. It was only by doing the worst tasks that he would one day appreciate what he had. Personally, he believed it to be a load of bollocks, and his mother agreed, arguing that money was no object, so why should the Talius scion lower himself to cleaning up excrement and other filth. “Well there is something to be said for that, Virikai. As one of Viden’s elite, you must set an example in the city.

The younger man nodded noncommittally as he glanced around the room, seemingly with indifference. He could see a number of ingredients laid out on the work surface, ingredients which looked somewhat familiar, but he couldn’t place the names. He knew that adding almost anything to a brew would change the properties of the potion. The issue was that he needed it to be undetectable to unsupported senses, but almost immediately obvious that it was wrong when used. Now that he was here, he had no idea how to achieve his ends, much less do it without Tevin witnessing. Then it clicked. He wandered over to a cupboard, where he knew glasses were kept. Picking one out, he made his way over to the icebox, in which water was stored, and poured himself a drink. “Would you like one?

No, thank you,” was the distracted reply. “Virikai, will you come and stir this for a moment or two? It’s at a crucial point and I must relieve myself… I just need you to stir.” The young man hesitated for only a moment before nodding and approaching the man. He took the stirrer as directed and slowly began turning it in a clockwise direction. “A little faster… that’s it.” The man wandered off and the assistant researcher placed his glass of water down on the work surface. Virikai frowned as he watched the man wander off, leaving him little choice but to be left alone. But then, it occurred to him: Tevin could not admit to anyone that he had left an assistant, much less an assistant who did not work for the laboratories, alone. Even if the herbalist worked out that it was Virikai, nothing could be done without risking his own job, and the sabotage was minor enough that the fallout on Virikai was far less than it would be on Tevin.

It would be far too obvious to tamper with the concoction in front of him. But… he glanced around. The turned back Quickly, he reached over and grabbed a jar on the side, pulling it closer. Removing the stopper with one hand was a challenge, but he managed it, then he grabbed his water and poured a small amount into it before quickly replacing the lid and returning the jar to where he found it. This he did with four more jars, each of different sizes and colours, before returning his full attention to the task that Tevin had given him.
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Lights and hushed voices began to register in her mind. The effect of the lights were only discrepancies in the dimness of the field of gray encompassing her world. She realized her eyes were closed. Awareness of her own name followed shortly thereafter. Her balance was disoriented. She tried to raise her arm, but felt a tightness that seemed to hold it back. An odd misbalance of internal pressure finally made her realize she was on her back. She tried again to raise her arm and found that it was bound to...what? Movements caused metallic squeaks, which led her to conclude that she strapped to a gurney. The smell of antiseptics and alcohol - the rubbing type, not the drinking type - added more evidence of her situation. She was in the medical wing!

She smiled weakly with the feeling of success. She got her head to roll enough to see a bandage on the arm that she'd hit on the shovel. There was a good-sized blood stain on it, but there was no evidence of any new leakage. She took this to conclude that she was on the mend. Yes, her breathing was coming easier and was not so immediately aligned with her presence of mind and the dispelling of that awful dizziness.

Okay, so her plan had worked, and she'd been brought into the medical wing...but what now?...She had no idea how long she'd been here, or what puzzle she was supposed to be ready to step in and solve, to everyone's benefit. There were no sources of natural light to suggest what time of day or night it was. She doubted that Virikai was here. She'd obviously given herself a bigger dose of the toxin than she'd intended. Had she slept through her opportunity? Was the problem already solved? Was she too late?

She made an effort to apply some focus to her actual vision, and took a look around. Almost immediately, voices murmured from the adjoining room and a nurse, or intern, or some such, entered. There was a slight grinding sound that Linika realized she had been hearing off and on while she lay in semi-consciousness. She took a deep breath, as quietly as she could, exhaling in the same fashion, and found her focus increased substantially. The nurse was plainly distressed over something she was working on.

She called to someone in the next room, and Linika observed the slight cringe in the nurse's demeanor when a man entered, his every move bespeaking impatience. The nurse stood her ground though, and presented what was now being offered as evidence of a problem. Linika immediately shut out everything else. If this was not what Virikai had set-up, it could be a substitute crisis sufficient to accomplish the same thing.

"It won't blend Master. See for yourself. The reactivating enzyme is not freeing the coagulant to bind the elements for neutral orientation! I have no way to mix in the antigenic protein combination for her blood type." She nurse stated, a trace of anger suggesting that she'd been scoffed at last time she'd made this argument.

The doctor stepped in, all confidence and annoyance, and cranked the handle on what Linika realized now was a centrifuge. He watched the fluid settle with a scowl, cranked it again, and again, and then turned to practically interrogate the young woman, sure she had done something to sabotage the sample. "Did you add the reagent before you separated the plasma? Did you let it get to room temperature first? Are you sure you got the correct ratio per volume? Page 211, chapter 17, chart 15-D, left column?"

"You DO know that the coagulant will clump if there is condensation on the test tubes, right? But you have to wipe with a sterile dry cloth, so no dried impurities can..." His expression was a mix of anger and appreciation as the intern echoed his words, starting with "wipe". But, satisfied that his intern was not an idiot after all, he turned back to the centrifuge, cupping his left elbow in his right hand, with a look of puzzlement.

"That would...make no difference...if the...sample was...diluted to begin with...Did you check that?" Linika offered weakly, surprised at how much effort it still took just to say this much. She'd worked in the lab back in Augiery, and there had been plenty of such simple acts of sabotage between rival cliques. It had always been amazing to her that such a basic thing as water, so fundamental to life, could be such a destructive element when added to a chemical that was a separate part of a broken-down natural compound.

She remembered being verbally skewered for using a damp rag in the lab once herself. The reason for avoiding doing it again was emphasized, syllable by syllable, with slaps to her face. She thought these two members of the staff were going to do the same, judging by the looks on their faces at her impertinence. Clearly, the fact of her heritage entered into it, as the two traded hissing snarls, telling her to be silent if she wanted them to continue focusing on saving her worthless Naerikk life.

She ran through a gamut of emotions, ranging from fury at the disrespect, to satisfied realization that the anger gave her strength, to amusement at the irony that her enemies helped her with their racism, to frustration that she needed to refrain from revealing it. "Did it ever occur to you people that I might have been exiled because I am in disfavor with my people? That I might not be your enemy? That I'm trying to help?"

The resulting weakness, from her "outburst", left her gasping in the silence that followed. The intern looked back at the centrifuge, giving it another round of cranking, as the master studied Linika for signs of deception. But her exhaustion was not feigned, and she defaulted her emotions to the fact that her words were not technically lies.

"Frankly, I...I think one of...one of your countrymen...decided to...take my 'worthless Naerikk life' with poison." she continued, adding a dose of wounded sarcasm to the words. "If you don't believe me, why not just finish me off. Do me a favor."

The master looked as though he was considering taking her up on it. But the intern's words suddenly reversed the mood of the confrontation. "Doctor?...I...I think she may be right!"
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The doctor turned slowly, the annoyance in his expression giving way to disbelief. "What? Are you making an accusation against someone on my staff on the word of this...this...heretic?"

"I said no such thing! I am PART of this staff, doctor, regardless of what your uncle thinks, and I have no desire to lend credence to his close-minded presumptions about me by initiating some witch-hunt. I am only saying that this sample appears to have an excess of water in it. See for yourself." The nurse stood back with a look that blended both anger and anticipated vindication as the doctor cranked the device, added additional elements, cranked some more, and repeated the process while also dividing the sample into different test tubes to carry on similar routines for several minutes on them as well.

He turned back to the nurse eventually. Everything about her stance, pose and expression radiated triumph. A few gurgled attempts by him, to rise above her obviously correct assessment, died at birth and he finally acknowledged that she was correct. Then he turned to Linika, still strapped to the table, regrouping to take out his embarrassment on her. "This proves nothing, Naer!'' he sneered, This does not in any way constitute evidence of some attempt to do you ill. It could just as well be a mis-...that someone was misin-...made...a uh...that someone thought that...this...these samples...uh...Well, something like this could happen to anyone!"

Linika was too weak to laugh outright, but the hint of a chuckle added to the doctor's ire. "If you're...trying NOT to say..."incompetence"...don't worry, I won't...won't say it either. And no...I don't assume that such an...icy climate...could not result in...occasional...mishaps like this." she decided to bend to a magnanimous gesture, "I was...rash...to have spoken as I did. As your...nurse is witness...I withdraw any...anything resembling...accusation."

The doctor appeared mollified by this statement. And it was a good thing, as it had left her utterly spent. But now he returned to an anxious demeanor. "But how could this happen? Who could have been so careless as to let seepage contaminate these Frageon crystals?"

Linika suddenly found new energy at hearing that word. An avenue of deception opened before her. "D-did you say 'Frageon' crystals, doctor?"
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So it Begins (Linika)

Linika had a moment of curious reassessment towards Virikai. But it was tempered with the thought that it may have been simple dumb luck on his part. But in either event, he could not have chosen a better compound with which to allow her to work her schemes.

Multiple courses of exploitation occurred to her. Frageon was one of the more uncommon applications of the versatile Saxifrage plant from Oscillus. And all the way up here in Viden, a large vial of it must be worth several thousand gold nel. Naturally, her first thought was to give these doctors reason to give it up as ruined, and then contrive to take it for herself. She'd lose a little along the way, but retain a good quantity of the valuable reagent. She could either sell it and set herself up in comfort, or keep it to use in her own development as a chemist.

There was of course, a flash of the spiteful course; to recover the bulk of it back from the brink of ruin, and then cast it to the floor with a sneer as the medics looked on in stunned, impotent fury. It actually took some effort to keep the grin from her face as she considered, but ultimately discarded, this option. She was here on a mission, and exploitation that served only her own ends was not truly an option. Were she a TRUE exile, she'd have had no compunction whatsoever about serving her own purpose alone. But she owed it to Mother Audrae to use this opportunity properly.

This was her doorway into the facility. She knew it. And either Virikai had been brilliant in setting it up, or she would deceive him as well when things went far better than he could ever imagine. Either event was acceptible. He would either be surprised at how exceptionally she'd made use of his tactic, or he would at least acknowledge that she had done as well as anyone could be expected to.

No, her course of action was clear. She would ingratiate herself with these people by saving this reagent, and gain good rep, to augment her alleged 'exile" status, as someone that could be trusted to be both cooperative and competent. Once she got in, she would need to do nothing subversive for a good deal of time, to secure her trust. She'd need to get much further into the medical structure than this before unleashing whatever chaos and ruin opportunity would present to her.

She injected as much humility into her voice as she could tolerate, "D-doctor?" she stammered, realizing that the excitement of this opportunity had restored none of her fortitude. She took a few breaths as both the doctor and his assistant turned partially her way. Obviously they were caught up in the assumption that they alone were qualified to attempt to salvage this great loss.

"Being from th...the southern regions...I am...quite familiar...with Saxifrage derivatives...I know...how to re...how to restore that compound." she gasped this last out as the eyes of both medics opened widely in response, their faces now focused entirely on her. "In fact...the process...is simple...And it can...it can also...save anything else...contaminated...this way...I know...you have little...little reason to....trust me...but if it's...if you think it....it can't be...saved anyway...then you could....could let me try...please?...Let me help?"

The two looked at each other, new hope brightening their eyes. "What have we got to lose Doctor?" the nurse chirped excitedly, the thought of having to explain this great loss now being able to be swept under the political rug. The doctor smiled with relief...

The nurse smiled with relief...

Linika smiled as well. It was fortunate now that she was so exhausted that the malice and ambition did not register in her smile. It appeared only as gratitude...
word count: 673
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- Poison -

"Shelf Life'...What an ironically contradictory concept."
- Linika Amarinthine -
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Linika
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Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:32 am
Race: Naerikk
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So it Begins (Linika)

It would actually be TOO easy to restore the Frageon. Unlike most cold-region reagents, Saxifrage was not water based. It was not that Frageon was diluted, the only problem was that a miniscule part of water would be taken up with it, now that it was dissolved. The crystals were not the result of freezing. The active reagent in the Saxifrage plant was found in the oily residue of the stem. It was crystallized through heating. Though the water would liquify it, it would not blend with it. All that was needed was to cause the water to take a form that would separate it from the oily Frageon compound. It was as easy as setting it outside for a few bits and letting it turn to ice.

It was only the fact that the doctor and nurse had been so worried about losing the stuff that had made Linika realize that they didn't know this fact. Saxifrage was not found in the north, so it did not surprise her that much that they didn't know this detail. And her state of exhaustion allowed her to realistically stall for time as she thought up some entirely needless steps to put the two medics through, in the belief that they were part of the process of salvaging the reagent. If they thought it was a simple as letting the water freeze in the vial and then screening it out, they would not think they needed her.

Her chief brainstorm came from the thought that she should figure out a way to actually make some of the Frageon be blended in the water. Then she could tell them that this water compound was exactly what was needed to salvage the other contaminated chemicals. Since Frageon's chief purpose was the ability to grant the effects and abilities of any reagent combined with it, it was easy to convince the doctor and nurse that this extracted blend of Frageon and water was exactly the thing to make the same process work on the other compounds as on the Frageon itself. When in truth, it only made it so these other compounds would be vulnerable to practically any subsequent chemical manipulation she chose to engineer.

So before the primary step of simply freezing the watered down Frageon outside, she had them add a diluted enzyme that made the water bubble a bit more than usual, telling them this was exactly the effect she was looking for. This of course, came on the heels of several unnecessary steps: heating over a condensation coil and collecting the steam; adding the enzyme to make it bubble and putting it and the steamed fluid into separate centrifuges and spinning them for several bits; blending or separating the resulting layers of liquids slowly, with occasional alarm that this or that step had been taken slightly too far and making them repeat a step or two, 'to be safe'.

On and on it went, for nearly a full break, but ultimately the ice was removed, containing a small portion of Frageon itself in the bubbles. She then informed the doctors that the ability to be frozen and have the water removed from the other contaminated compounds would now be as easy as adding a drop of this water and letting them also freeze outside and screening out the ice. And in fact, this was entirely true.

But with a stifled grin, she informed them that the nature of these particular jars of chemicals would have their nature slightly altered and would now need oil based reagents. They all agreed that it was worth it, but that these jars should obviously be marked and noted for future reference. Linika couldn't have agreed more sincerely. She now had a clear record of every compound in the storeroom that would be able to be covertly manipulated though her knowledge of Saxifrage's capabilities. It was almost as if it was now her own little medicine cabinet, with secrets only she fully understood. How ironic that these doctors would hail her as having saved a fortune in chemicals when all she'd done is make them into her own little agents of chemical manipulation.

The first step was to introduce a very small portion of some local feel-good drugs, so anyone medicate with these particular samples would feel much better right away. And when they inevitably had some degree of relapse, it would easily be chalked up to them feeling so much better that they ignored the doctor's explicit orders. Everyone would look good.

By the time they were finished, Linika was over the effects of her self-inflicted poisoning. But for appearances sake, she flopped exhausted onto one of the gurneys in a side room. The medics quietly closed the door, smiles of appreciation for their naerikk savior on their faces, and instructed everyone not to disturb her as she recovered.
word count: 831
Image
- Poison -

"Shelf Life'...What an ironically contradictory concept."
- Linika Amarinthine -
User avatar
Linika
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Posts: 352
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:32 am
Race: Naerikk
Profession: Apothecary
Renown: 169
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Wealth Tier: Tier 4

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So it Begins (Linika)

Linika woke to the sound of soft knocking. There was no window to gauge the level of daylight beyond, but the glass reservoir below the torch sconce showed a good deal of fuel expended. Several breaks must have passed. Even as she noticed this detail, the door opened and an intern of some sort walked in.

Linika had closed her eyes and resumed her repose, though she listened for any sign of hostility. Instead she heard nothing more than a faintly disbelieving grunt, then a whisper, "Fates! It's true...A Naerikk!...well..." this last was said with a 'may as well get on with it' tone of voice. He clearly believed she was still asleep.

LInika had half been expecting Virikai to make an appearance. But this boy had obviously not believed a naerikk was being allowed into the medical facility. She smelled the approach of a stimulant. it was not exactly the same as that which was commonly used back on the southern continent, but it must be of some similar floral source.

She made a tremendous effort to show no response on the first scent, seeming only to come around on the second and third inhalation. Then she sat up abruptly, having no need to fake the following swoon. "Easy there, easy miss. The doctors sent me down to see if you were fully recovered from your affliction" now he leaned in closer, more conspiratorially, "Is it true you were poisoned?"

A flash of past lessons in political manipulation flashed across her mind as she considered her answer. Her focus was not on how she would manipulate the situation, but rather how this fit the approach a rival would use to trip her up. She allowed a confused look to briefly cross her face. "Poison? Did I say that? Light's Shade, I hope no one took that seriously. I was delirious. I hope they take that into account. The last thing I want to do is let some babbling of mine cause trouble."

Now she let a look of worry show on her face as she went on. "I had thought I was sick, and when they brought me in, there was some kind of trouble with the stores the nurse was mixing. I just helped them get it straightened out. I did make some references to poison. But only because there were some similar processes involved. But the ingredients are completely different!"

She said this with a tone suggesting that she was worried that the latter part of her explanation may have only served to add suspicion. But the intern laughed lightly and waved off her concerns, apparently satisfied that she was not going to make herself a part of anyone's agenda.

"Do not concern yourself over that, miss...uh..." he checked a chart, "...Linika. Even delirious, you apparently gave very lucid directions to the attending staff. I guess this must be the reason you have been offered a position in the infirmary."

He grinned broadly at the look of gape-mouthed astonishment that Linika pasted across her face. "Yes, that's right. But this is still only with limited access. You will not allowed into the administration areas, the surgical suites, or any of the private chambers without an approved escort. But with the expertise you displayed, you are granted access to the pharmacy, triage and observation areas. And you'll be cleared for limited access to the Greenhouse."

Linika fairly gushed her appreciation, adding a sniffle of tears as well for good measure. The doctor told her that he had no doubt she would work out very well, and left her with an order to get her rest now, so she could report fully ready in a few trials. Her thanks followed him out the door and faded down the corridor.

She sat back, with a last moment's thought that she may be watched through some spy hole. Whether the doctor softened her with flattery or not, she was still of an enemy culture and was not going to be fully trusted. She did not begrudge this lack of trust. It only made sense. She had already assumed there were spy holes in the walls of her home unit. So her act would have to be a permanent deception. but all that really meant was that her work with chemicals and treatments would have to be done competently. And that was how she tried to do everything.

There would be no place she could drop her guard, unless it was in Virikai's apartment. Somehow though, she doubted he would be asking her back.
word count: 780
Image
- Poison -

"Shelf Life'...What an ironically contradictory concept."
- Linika Amarinthine -
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