The Philosopher's Stone


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Scene Title The Philosopher's Stone
Synopsis Lapis philosophorum, the white stone, the elixir of life, it went by many names in the ancient world. A mythical substance sought after by alchemists the world over for its mystical properties, it is the definition of something sought for at any cost that can never truly be found…
Date September 15, 2010

Commonwealth Institute

Deep below the surface of Cambridge Massachusetts, the sprawling subterranean hive of underground passages, tunnels, laboratories and research centers belonging to the Institute is labyrinthine. Miles of underground tunnels networked through the city of Cambridge and surrounding cities creates a circulatory system of unseen activity pulsing out of sight.

As brushed metal elevator doors open to a matte white hallway lit with recessed sconce lamps in the ceiling, Doctor Darren Stevens stares out at the black tiled floors softly reflecting the circular shape of the lights above.

Adjusting his necktie with one hand, the blond doctor steps out of the elevator, lab coat buttoned to the top and hair neatly swept back from his head in a slick coif. Dress shoes click on the tile floor as he walks, passing by smooth metal doors marked with six-digit serial numbers with no visible hand holds or latches, only the glow of touch-surface lights on the wall beside them indicating that anything at all can access them, seemingly invisible in the white surfaces until Darren reaches proximity.

The lights fade as he passes by, turning the walls into featureless planes of white interspersed with metal. Down the long and empty hall he carries himself, passing by door after door until reaching a t-junction at the end of the hall. Pausing there, Darren looks up to the ceiling and takes in a deep breath, then crosses out into the adjacent hall and forward to a pair of double doors across from him, pushing one side open and carrying on through with a purposeful pace.

"…ensure that we will do our best to get in touch with everyone that you put on this list." Simon Broome's voice is a hushed one, speaking in conversational but delicate tone within the research laboratory that Darren has emerged into.

Hesitating on hearing Broome's voice out of sight, Darren sweeps a look around the lab room, over an unoccupied examination table, past curtains and screens, past an MRI machine and a glass booth, to a partly open door into a windowed room with the blinds drawn where Broome's voice emanates from.

"I just want to make sure that they'll all be safe too," isn't Broome talking, and that has Darren looking around sharply, then darting to the wall with a soft scuff of his shoes on tile, pressing up against the wall and creeping towards the door. "There's a lot of people who went out of their way for me, you know? I just… I want to make sure they're here with me."

Brows furrowed, Darren recognizes the voice of Tyler Case, and the notion of he and Broome having a conversation in private has Darren's eyes flicking from side to side in searching motion, trying to puzzle out the context of the conversation that he'd missed.

"We'll do everything we can, Tyler. Veronica is already with us, so you needn't worry there. Barbara Dahl has so far been difficult to find, but we may be able to recruit Mister Maxwell to help out with that once he becomes more amenable to our side of things…" Lips parting in silent breath, Darren considers what Broome has just said, lifting up one hand to his chin to idly stroke at the scuff of blond stubble there as he continues listening.

"Thanks… I— what about Richard?" One of Darren's brows arch as he hears Tyler ask about that particular name. Broome's response itself is also worthy of scrutiny.

"Richard is complicated, Tyler. I've tried to talk to him but he's not… It's not time yet. On that topic, however, I'd like to ask you something." Broome's voice fades as Darren hears him walking closer to the doorway, causing the doctor's heart to race in his chest.

"With Project Icarus having been, for our ultimate goal, a failure… We are going to need to rely on your ability more than ever, Tyler. I know that I promised you that after Icarus had completed its research that you would be able to be free of your ability once again, but unfortunately Doctor Sheridan's proto-formula cannot meet our needs."

Sliding his tongue over his lips and creeping closer to the door to hear better, Darren breathes in slowly and exhales an anxious sigh. "Doctor," Tyler pleads, "I— you promised that I wouldn't have to do this any more. I don't— This ability isn't something I want, you know that. I just— I just want a normal life."

Suddenly, Broome's tone of voice changes to something sharper, more firm, a reproachful parent scolding a whining child. "Tyler, you know exactly how important the work here is to the future survival of humanity. Without the Formula we are given no choice," and then the old man's voice apologetically softens. "You knew the risks when you agreed to help us, Tyler… Don't forget that you're doing this to protect your friends, to ensure that — when all is said and done — they survive."

Tyler's resigned sigh is slowly exhaled "I know, I just— " the sudden noise of beeping and screeching from the lab room Darren is in causes the young surgeon's heart to leap up into his throat as he scrambles backwards into a surgery tray, knocking tools to the floor. The sounds cut Tyler off and bring Broome's clacking footfalls closer and closer to the door.

Hustling to look like he wasn't eavesdropping, Darren rushes to the machinery that is giving the noisy report, half of his fearful reaction to do with those machines doing anything other than humming silently. As Broome storms out of the office, a sleek and darkly suited silhouette of a man, Darren is already checking the display on the computer terminal.

Green eyes are wide in disbelief, turning a sharp look up to Broome. In the doorway behind the darkly dressed doctor, Tyler Case stands in casual clothing, his jeans looking brand new and olive green t-shirt stenciled with an Thundercats logo. He looks as bewildered as could be expected and the alarms and the scrambling Doctors.

"Is— uh— is something… are we being raided or something?" It's a reasonable enough question from Tyler in the doorway, after all, he knows how that sort of thing goes down. Broome turns to offer a narrow-eyed look over his shoulder to Tyler as if to imply that's ridiculous before looking back to the computer that Darren is rapidly mouse-clicking away on.

After a few moments, Doctor Stevens shakes his head and looks up to Broome. "We have to get down to lab B-4, right now."


"Nurse! Do not sedate him! Do not sedate him!"

The scream comes echoing through the dimly lit laboratory where tools are scattered across the floor, a surgery tray knocked over and plastic hoses curled like noodles of spaghetti around them. Behind a surgical screen, silhouettes struggle and thrash, one of them a doctor in Surgical scrubs staggering away from a table holding a scalpel yet to be reddened by blood.

A nurse is doing her best to try and restrain a man flopping around on one of the tables, and as orderlies come rushing into the surgery room, feet slapping on tiled floor with their quick pace, Doctor Jonas Zimmerman stares in abject confusion as he pulls down his surgical mask.

There on the table, in no more than a white medical gown, head shaved smooth and bald with blue dotted lines on the side of his head where flesh was about to be peeled away, Doctor Edward Ray is moving, arms and legs kicking wildly, mouth open and bug-eyes blue and wide as he stares up towards the surgical lamps above.

"Doctor Zimmerman he's coding!" Beeps and whines scream on the EKG and EEGs beside the surgery table, but not a single cut has been yet made into Edward's body. Orderlies shove the nurses aside, pressing down Edward's shoulders as they watch his heartrate spike and his throat work up and down as he makes gagging sounds.

"He's breathing on his own! The tube is choking him— get it out!" Zimmerman shouts as the nurse lunges back in, one orderly holding down Edward's head as she pulls the length of plastic breathing tube out of his throat, wet gagging noises filling the air as she does.

When the tube comes out, one of Edward's hands lashes out and grabs the nurse by the front of her scrubs, yanking her forward with tremors in every fiber of muscle. Blue eyes are saucer wide as Edward's lips move, his eyes locked on the nurse's terrified ones. From his distance, Doctor Zimmerman cannot hear it, but he can see the unthinkable.

Edward Ray is conscious.

A moment later Edward's shaking hands slack from the nurse's scrubs and his eyes roll back in his head. Arms and legs continue shaking as Edward's body goes into uncontrollable convulsions, white froth spewing up from his mouth.

Brain waves and heart rate flatline at the same time, "Where's that crash cart!?" The nurse shouts even as its being wheeled over. The paddles are taken sharply in hand, chaos in a sea of blue scrubs moving in every direction as Zimmerman watches on in shock.

"Charging!" the nurse shouts as the paddles rub together and then come down towards Edward's chest, "Clear!" There's a convulsion as Edward's back arches up off of the table, arms and legs twitching. A blip on the heart-rate monitor, but nothing else. "Charging," she warily notes, then brings the paddles down again.

"Clear!" This time when Edward's body drops from the electrical wracking, the sinus rhythm of his heart returns, and the nurse exhales a shaky breath, moving away from him as more doctors finally arrive from the doorways into the surgery lab. Zimmerman is making quick, harried pace over to the nurse, grabbing her by the shoulder and yanking her away from the crash cart.

"What did he say?" The question is sharply asked as Zimmerman tugs her to face him. "What did he say!?" Wild-eyed, the nurse stares at Zimmerman in uncertainty, her mouth opening in one uncertain motion, throat tight as she tries to swallow, then exhales a shuddering breath as she shakes her head.

"He— I don't— " I don't know isn't going to satisfy Zimmerman's crazed look, but even as the words make no sense, the nurse has no choice but to relay them, context be damned. "All— all he said was one thing."

"Richard, no."

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