Don't Mourn The Lab Rat


amber_icon.gif gregor_icon.gif noriko_icon.gif

Scene Title Don't Mourn the Lab Rat
Synopsis Amber is invited to witness Gregor's latest experiment on Noriko. Both are fascinated as Darwin wins another round.
Date July 15, 2010

Staten Island Hospital

A wounded animal always remembers its pains.

There's a Chinese proverb of something similar, it's an anecdote warning on cruelty to animals, for they will never forgive the hand that is raised to strike them. While Doctor Dmitri Gregor may not be an animal himself, he has certain feral qualities that cannot be entirely dismissed, and his ability to hold a long and healthy gridge is one of them. That vindictive spirit has led up to today, where a further stress test on Noriko Amagi's hydrokinetic ability is going to be performed under the supervision of the one doctor with enough cold appreciation to be willing participant to this entirely needless experiment.

Seven other assistants have been brought on hand to work this particular experiment, which has brought in the shipment of a reinforced glass aquarium tank designed to specifications Gregor outlined shortly after the incident that left him disembowled. It is a lesson Gregor plans not to need to learn twice.

Sitting within the safety of a remote observation room, witnessing the experiment on closed-circuit cameras, Dmitri Gregor and Amber Mitchell are seated in comfortable wheeled office chairs with three LCD screen displays creating a panoramic view of a large high-ceilinged lab room where this shark tank has been situated in the middle.

Currently unconscious and laid out on a gurney, Noriko Amago is connected to a series of intraveinout cables snaking up through the partly open roof of the tank, where a hydraulic door with a several ton hermetic seal lies in wait to close.

"Administer the— stimulants," Gregor hisses into the microphone, watching as one of the white-clad assistants on the display activate an automated panel that circulates a coctail of stimulants into Noriko's bloodstream, causing her heart to race, pulse to pound and eyes to snap open.

"Seal her in." At that command, the IVs are pulled by a retracting line from her arm, leaving dribbling lines of blood drooling from their former connection point as they are spooled up thorugh the tanks roof before the door slowly presses shut with a heavy, air-tight seal.

A series of hoses and tubes connected to the top regulate air pressure and — presumably — fluid control of some sort.

"Good morning miss Amagi…" Gregor offers over the microphone in front of his seat, his voice muffled as it echoes thorugh the lab and the thick glass of the tank containing Noriko. By the time she realizes that she can feel the moisture in the air around her inside of the tank, the vilnerable doctors who were setting up the monitoring equipment are leaving the lab, closing matte white doors and sealing Noriko in the room, in which she is sealed inside of the shark tank.

"Today, we're going to experiment with water pressure." Gregor's eyes divert over to where Doctor Mitchell sits at his side, brows raised.

There is little to no scientific value in this.

He is just being spiteful.

Perhaps, given that she's not just a scientist, but a doctor, Amber should protest, or try to find some reason why an experiment like this is necessary. But she has a grudge of her own against the evolved, and it's left her…not quite right when it comes to the subject. So when she looks at Gregor, she smiles and nods, then leans forward, to study the images on the monitor intently.

"What other experiments have you done with the subject so far?" she asks, voice eager.

Noriko's eyes look around in the tank that she is in, shuddering faintly at the sound of Gregor's voice floating through the tank. "Well don't you sound giddy," Noriko murmurs while she looks around, mind already racing to figure out how she can get herself out of this situation. "You know, I could have just killed you. Completely and utterly destroyed that precious brain of yours. In fact, that's what I'll do next time I get a hold of you. Right after a flay your skin from your bones, and then I'll work on your muscles. Then and only once you're a quivering pile of bones and organs will I mercifully end your life." There's a feral spark in her eyes, the personality of Candace Allard coming to the forefront as more memories have been coming through the gap that was originally opened in her mind by the kindly doctor. She remembers how to kill with that thrill, how to not be guilty for taking another person's life. All she has to do is separate herself from them, remind herself that by being evolved she is so much more than they can ever hope to be with their pale imitations.

"I do hope the other Doctor in there knows how you heal yourself, Dr. Gregor. Killing another person and then… I think you ate him? Its hard to remember since I blacked out shortly afterwards," Noriko says, her hands moving towards the glass, while she tries to get a feel for just how thick it is.

"She was my original patient for the topic of regenerative tissue transplants," is the perfect segue Gregor makes after Candy's hissing and snarling accusations. "I have— extensive notes on her acceptance of a piece of regenerative tissue that was grafted from a donor Evolved with the power of heightened healing onto her own body. It is how I came to— refine my own process, as it were." There's a knife-like smile that cuts across Gregor's lips at that.

"She is damaged goods, though, but that is to be expected. This is not so much research as it is… entertainment?" One of Gregor's brows lift over his glasses and one hand reaches for a keyboard beside his microphone. Leaning forward, Gregor presses the call button and addresses Noriko again. "You may want to unbuckle yourself, darling…" is the only warning Gregor gives before he presses a series of keys, and a high pressure hose connected to the piping on the ceiling of the tank begins to pump ice cold seawater into the shark tank.

"I am going to see if this level of stress causes you to exhibit any new evolutionary branches. They often times say that stress and the survival instinct can breed whole new advancements of evolution…" Gregor's lips creep up into a smile as the shark tank begins to flood on the screen. "Sink or swim, my darling water snake."

Brows lift and Amber looks rather impressed. "Regenerative tissue transplants? I'd love to see your notes on that at some point." She looks back to the screen. "How is she damaged goods? Physically or mentally? Because the physical can always be worked on, or perhaps even repaired."

There's another faint smile and she glances back to Gregor. "Even entertainment has some scientific value, Doctor. And you just gave the value for this particular experiment anyway. I wonder if it's like the old lady picking up a car. Will she manifest something new? And if she does, will she retain that ability, or will it only be available to her in great times of stress?" she murmurs, a hint of glee in her eyes.

Noriko's hands feverishly work at the buckles as she feels that cold seawater hitting her, shaking a little before she manages to get free. "You can't expect me to drown," she yells back to Gregor, looking at all the water that is there. Her mind flitting through possibilities as she steps on top of the water as it raises, manipulating the surface tension to bear her weight. With a grunt, she begins to try and use the water to smash through the sides of the tank, the bangs rattling through the laboratory.

The reinforced and thick glass of the tank is remarkably resiliant to the swirling currents and hammering blows Noriko is bringing to bear, not even the tiniest of fractures yet, and still thousands of more gallons of water to come before the tank is filled. Pressing the call button on the microphone stand, "Actually, you might! But I do sincerely hope that your— genetic predisposition offers you some sort of advantage, miss Amagi."

Leaning back from the microphone, Gregor folds his hands in his lap and offers an askance look to Amber. "Psychologically, she suffered a traumatic break after the first round of testing outside of the US. I'm afraid she's likely developed some sort of acute schizophrenia since then." Wringing his hands together, Gregor looks back to the display screen, watching the water gush down into the tank.

"I'll show you some of my records after we're done here today, some of the great scientists I have been emulating in my research— Wagner, Brum, Volken— performed similar experiments in the 1940s on what they called, then, Specials." Narrowing his eyes behind the lenses of his glasses, Gregor's expression remains a constant, smug smile.

"They had mixed results, I am hoping that miss Amagi here is not…" There's a furrow of Gregor's brows, "an Evolutionary dead-end."

"Experiments such as this one?" Amber asks, motioning towards the monitor. Then she frowns thoughtfully. "I wonder…if her control of water is great enough, would it even be possible for her to drown? I would think that there would be a number of options available to her to keep her from actually inhaling enough water for that." Another smile. "Like a pyrokinetic burning to death. But yes, for the sake of research, I hope you're right about Miss Amagi. We have so much we can learn about them."

Noriko is starting to get more than a little panicked while she is kept in that aquarium, bobbing on the surface as her head room begins to dwindle. She won't drown from lack of energy to swim, that's for sure. She continues to pound the walls of the tank with as much of the water in the tank as she can grab at one time. Which isn't an inconsiderable amount. At the same time, she's also testing the glass for weak spots on a much small scale, hoping she can find that imperfection that will save her.

Smugly satisfied by the results so far, and mostly the tank's resiliance to Noriko's single-minded assault ont he glass and welded seams, Gregor watches the displays. "Decades ago, yes… tests similar to this. There was a pyrokinetic placed in a blast furnace, his upper limit of heat tolerance was tested. It was discover that— surprisingly— he did indeed have an upper threshhold of flame tolerance and when it was bypassed he was, against all odds, incincerated down to the bone."

Rubbing his palms together, Gregor's thin brows lift as he watches Noriko's mentally manipulated waves crash and slam against the walls of the tank, even as she's tossed about on her own cyclonic currents. "This is partly a psychological test as well, desperation can push people to do remarkable things… chain a person to a railroad track, for instance," Gregor looks askance to Amber, "and set a train a long distance ahead of them, provide them with a hacksaw. They will willingly saw through their own leg to save their lives. It is that survival instinct that I am seeking to test here… as an aside." An aside to his own morbid desire to see Noriko suffer.

Amber looks surprised. "He burned down to the bone? How extraordinary. What temperature was required to achieve that result? And was it just the temperature involved, or was he pushed until he just didn't have the strength of will to continue controlling the fire?" Her eyes never leave the monitors now, watching eagerly. "So the comment I made about the old lady and the car was fairly accurate then. Still, it would be fascinating if facets of abilities manifested in such ways were permanent. I'd love to see if it was psychological or if the stress triggered hormones somehow changed the physiology sufficiently to allow for the new talent."

Noriko shudders as she keeps herself up to continue to breath as she struggles to try and get out of the tank. Her eyes looking around fearfully as she struggles in the cold seawater, body shuddering while she closes her minds, struggling to concentrate on getting free.

"Just over two-thousand seven hundred degrees Fahrenheit," Gregor notes with a tip of his head to the side, watching now as the tank completely fills with water and Noriko is suspended in the airless environment of the shark tank. "Now," Gregor notes with a motion of his nose to the screen, "now we see when desperation kicks in." Rolling his tongue over his lips, blue eyes squared on the screen with singular focus.

Nothing seems to be working for Noriko, she can feel the water, feel the pressure of it around herself, feel the condensation on the outside of the glass, feel herself struggling to hold her breath in the now full tank. This could well be it, Gregor's last laugh, letting a hydrokinetic drown to death in some sort of sickening irony.

"What do you predict, Doctor Mitchell?" Gregor doesn't look away from the screen as he proposes the question, but yet still seems interested by what potential phenomenon may manifest itself, almost like some sort of gigantic genetic guessing game.

Amber leans forward again, elbows resting on her thighs, eyes glued to the monitor. "I don't know the subject well enough to make a good hypothesis, but the urge to survive at all costs is ingrained in our DNA. Hopefully her mind or body will make some connection that they hadn't been able to make before, and she'll exhibit something new to save herself. Breathing the water, or being able to break it down into its base atoms or something similar perhaps."

Fingers tap lightly, and she glances, briefly, to Gregor. "Of course, if evolved abilities aren't as linked to the psyche as I thought, then she'll simply die."

But that's okay. You don't mourn the lab rats.

Noriko struggles to hold her breath as she swims around in the tank, still trying to find that weakness. Her eyes looking around as she struggles to continue to try and work her way up, panic rising in her system, unwilling to be done in by this.

Consciousness fades, darkness sets in, and as Noriko begins to convulse near the top of the shark tank, Gregor offers a low, disappointed grumble. Rankling his nose, the blonde scientist exhales sigh and looks over to Amber. "It seems you were right, the lab rat is going to — " Even from as far away as the observation room is, the sound of the shark tank exploding vibrates the walls. Three of the cameras viewing the experimentation room black out from the rupture of the tank, while one of the ceiling cameras remain intact. Gregor bolts up out of his chair at the loud noise, sending it toppling backwards in his rising.

The entire pressurized tank has torn itself apart at the seams, glass shattering in foot-thick and foot long chunks. Metal splits along welded seams and water sloshes out of the containment, crashing down onto the ground while Noriko Amago falls down limp and lifelessly in the water, floating on her back, eyes closed and blue lips parted as she drifts on the seawater now at a low enough level to afford her plenty of breathing room.

Eyes wide, Gregor swallows tightly, looking to the monitors and the screens and then reaches down to press the channel 2 button on his microphone. "Retriever team to test lab C. Retreiver team to test lab C… flood lab C with negation gas before proceeding, bring crash carts." Gregor's eyes drift over to settle on Amber, brows raised.

"Darwin wins this round," Gregor notes with a lopsided smile.

The harsh sound has Amber jerking, eyes going wide with surprise. "Oh my," she murmurs, shaking her head and leaning closer still, frowning as she studies the ruined tank and the evolved in the midst of the water. "How extraordinary. It looked as though she had lapsed into unconsciousness, yet she did this? Amazing. Absolutely amazing," she says, seemingly to herself.

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