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 The Lab Notebook - Aleksei's Arc, Sidestory

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Xandra



Posts : 169
Join date : 2010-09-17

PostSubject: The Lab Notebook - Aleksei's Arc, Sidestory   Sun Nov 22, 2015 3:12 am

DAY 1

America. I was never expecting the golden land of opportunity often spoken of in the Old Country, but even in expecting nothing, I was being far too optimistic.

The city is dingy, the people unattractive, children obnoxious, women hardly dressed, and everywhere I look, I feel accusatory stares that scream of xenophobia. Two weeks and I already wish I’d never left Russia—as if that were any sort of choice. Starving and bitter, at the very least, I am alive, if only for the moment.

The only things that brighten this hideously dark turn my life has taken are two simple facts: First, he is on the other side of the planet, locked in a three-foot-thick stone cell where he will—with any luck—die. Second, I have finally located a place to start work, as it were. Now in this foreign place, all I have to look forward to is my work, so my one desire has become to begin it once more. I hardly had time to gather my notes from my mother’s house before hopping the boat that got me here, so I will have to start from nothing, but I am not discouraged. All I have is time, now; I might as well take advantage of my newfound freedom and start anew. With any luck, I will discover what I’ve been looking for all of this time.
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Xandra



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PostSubject: Re: The Lab Notebook - Aleksei's Arc, Sidestory   Sun Nov 22, 2015 3:13 am

DAY 3

St. Gabriel’s Hospital and Asylum is my new ‘home,’ at least for the time being. The seven-story building is decrepit, standing abandoned in the worst part of an already horrid city, but after exploring it, I have decided that it will do for my work.

Whatever force drove the staff and patients from this building—be it time or debt, I do not know, though what little official documentation remains suggests a combination of both factors—I am at least vaguely grateful. The upper floors are a mine-field of broken floors and overturned wheelchairs, gurneys and hospital beds, ancient and graffiti-covered machines strewn in every place but where they should be, but the lower floors show promise. The basement level in particular seems to have been a test laboratory of some sort, complete with several work-tables, a smattering of abandoned medical supplies and machines, and most importantly, a nine-inch-thick iron door that locks from the inside. Upon further exploration, I discovered a small generator in one of the backmost corner rooms in the basement. Though I’m hardly a mechanic, it appears to be in good shape. If I can get it up and running and wire it to the breakers, I should be able to power the entire basement floor. Free electricity means less chance of my being discovered due to having to pay for it. (Not that I have the funds.)

Though the front doors no longer close, I invested what little money I scraped together in purchasing several good-sized chains and heavy padlocks to keep the young and overly-inquisitive from breaking in. While this won’t deter the most determined (read: stupid) specimens of the race, it will buy me time to come up with a better answer.

I’ll be sleeping here until I find a way to make money. God knows there are enough beds.
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Xandra



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PostSubject: Re: The Lab Notebook - Aleksei's Arc, Sidestory   Sun Nov 22, 2015 3:14 am

DAY 7

It might very well be the hospital dust talking, but after eleven straight hours of cleaning out this basement, I find myself wondering if I should look for an American wife. A thought both strangely out-of-character and idle to boot. Everyone knows American women don’t clean. What would be the point?

The generator works. Had I thought about it, I might have considered buying a shop vacuum once I discovered this, so as to save myself the back-breaking labor of sweeping the entire bottom floor myself. Now I look homeless to match my actual state. At least it’s clean now.

I’m exhausted, but I can’t sleep, so I suppose I’ll start moving tables and sorting through the flasks and beakers the hospital staff left for me. I actually found an incubator that works. Progress.
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Xandra



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PostSubject: Re: The Lab Notebook - Aleksei's Arc, Sidestory   Sun Nov 22, 2015 3:15 am

DAY 8

I ran out of notebook paper finally, after spending several hours working out compounds and variables to pass the time. Faced with the option of either carving into my arm with a pen or breaking down and buying another notebook, I decided to go the less painful route and took a walk through the slums to find a supplier. Oddly, I didn’t find myself as unnerved by the very rough and nasty-looking people who inhabit this shithole of a neighborhood as I walked alone, unarmed and half awake. Perhaps it’s delirium. I haven’t slept since the boat.

One dollar earned me a ‘composition book,’ a thin-ruled, tightly-bound notebook with a good number of pages. If so inspired, I’ll burn right through one of these before the month is out, but at least now I know where I can find them. This will have to serve as my research log, as I’ve no more loose paper. I’ll keep the other sheets I’ve been scrawling on in the front of this book, I think. Perhaps in the near future, when I’ve found a job and begun to earn an income, looking back on this will be funny. I fail to see the humor in it now.

When I went to purchase it, the overweight old American check-clerk actually asked me if I was a college student. “Foreign exchange?” he asked me cheekily. I peered hatefully down at my worn-out clothing, the many bruises branching up my wrists and forearms, and gingerly, I touched the sore rings around my eyes. As ignorant as the question was, I suppose the comparison might be a valid one. I managed to force a false smile, and carefully pocketed a pen from the counter while he was busily finding a plastic bag for the notebook. He cheerfully wished me luck with my “assignment.” It’s good to know that I’ll be underestimated in this country just as easily as I was in my own. Idiots, one and all.
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Xandra



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PostSubject: Re: The Lab Notebook - Aleksei's Arc, Sidestory   Sun Nov 22, 2015 3:16 am

DAY 9

“Look at the homeless man, Mommie.” Those words disturbed the first sleep I’ve had in over a week, after I blithely blacked out on a park bench. The bug-eyed little twerp of a child who said it was quickly dragged away by his dumpy mother before I could get my head up enough to glare at him. It was then that I decided to steal some goddamn clothing. I suppose I’ve been in prison too long, or perhaps I’m just cheap; I have enough money left, perhaps, to buy either one meal or one new set of clothes. Instead of doing either, I stole a full new set of clothing from a department store as easily as I took the old teller’s pen. I then returned to the hospital and utilized the emergency chemical shower in the basement to rid myself and my old clothing of the dirt and grime I’ve been existing in. The ice-cold water woke me up the rest of the way.

A cracked mirror in one of the back-most storage rooms of the basement—now my laboratory—revealed to me how haggard I’ve become over the past few days. What little weight I gained back in my week of freedom after parole is gone. My ribs are visible, sharp and ugly against my side, and the red in my eyes may never fade again. The tattoos on my skin are sable in comparison to my complexion. I hadn’t realized it until now, but at this rate, I might very well die before I succeed in anything. I still haven’t eaten, I realize.

My pride can’t take much more of this.

My work will have to wait…I need to find a job, and quickly.
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Xandra



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PostSubject: Re: The Lab Notebook - Aleksei's Arc, Sidestory   Sun Nov 22, 2015 3:17 am


DAY 10

I hate American food…every bit of it I’ve come in contact with has been greasy, crunchy, or scalded beyond all recognition. At the very least, I’ve eaten now—though I may never eat again, if I don’t find something that doesn’t inspire me to just choke it back up.

As much as it shames me to admit, I’ve fallen back to the habits that kept me alive while I was in school in Russia. It turns out, girls in this country are even easier to flirt with than Russian girls (as much as I have little interest in either). It was talking to a pigtailed teenage girl in a restaurant that earned me a meal. A few fast words about being foreign exchange to a local university earned me her starry-eyed stare. I would be proud if it had been more of a challenge. Whatever the reason, a few minutes of lying compliments on her eyes and (shrill) voice got me an actual meal, which I got free of charge. She told me that my accent was sexy. That I will never understand, but there might be something it nonetheless…the practice of manipulation. At least, in this country. People here do not know me, and do not know to distrust me, the way the people in Kubinka learned after years of my presence.

But more than a meal, she gave me the chance to create an alias.

“Your accent is amazing,” she cooed at me, and then she asked me, “Are you German?”

It took every ounce of my self-control not to gawk at her. Was it possible to breathe and still be so stupid? I suppose it must have been. (Remember where you are…) But, instead of being truthful, I lied and agreed with her. The name I ended up giving her was Alex Wagner—Alex being the Americanized equivalent of my name, Wagner being the only German surname I could fathom. I had already known that using my legal name officially would likely throw up red flags all across the board, but I hadn’t until that moment taken the time to make up an alias. I suppose I should feel grateful to her.

I’ll have some paperwork to forge when I get the chance, as I’m still an illegal alien. At the very least, now I have a name to put on my papers when I apply for “my” green card.
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Xandra



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PostSubject: Re: The Lab Notebook - Aleksei's Arc, Sidestory   Sun Nov 22, 2015 3:17 am

DAY 11.5

I slept for forty-five minutes, and woke screaming at the very top of my lungs. The darkness of the hospital basement drove me to sit back against the frigid outer wall, beneath one of the few high windows in the chamber. My skin is still burning all along my lower back and haunches.

When I gathered the courage, I ventured into the back-most supply cupboard and dug out several emergency lanterns that I’d found in my earlier explorations. I hotwired every one of them and placed them all along the walls, and one beside the hospital bed. I checked again to be sure the door was barred, and it was. The only way in was the window I often used for entrance, which I had secured before nodding off.

Still, the shadows seemed to reach towards me, and hateful whispers thrilled along my neck, beneath my shirt. Even now, I sit gripping my throat with one hand. The brand is long-since healed, but still tender in moments like these.

It’s been so short a time since those hands grasped my throat, and already I’d managed to forget them. It won’t happen again.

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Xandra



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PostSubject: Re: The Lab Notebook - Aleksei's Arc, Sidestory   Sun Nov 22, 2015 3:18 am

DAY 13

The laboratory is coming together, at least in part. I’ve managed to salvage several of the original machines from when the hospital was operational, so at the very least, I have some equipment to work with. A functioning analog EKG, an incubator, 13 beakers, 72 flasks, 4 microscopes, 6 crucibles, numerous sets of funnels, scalpels, needles, syringes, bottles, tongs, gloves, and glass thermometers, and—amusing enough—several doctors coats. There’s the possibility that I might even be able to get the CT scanner on the first floor up and running. However, the danger in that is the possibility of the power demands destroying my generator, and of course the question of whether or not the radiation would be a danger to me in the hospital’s worn-down state. I’ll need to investigate further, but it looks grim.

I was extremely disappointed to find a rather modern, front-loading autoclave, only to discover the inner panel had been eaten through by some highly caustic chemical I cannot identify. It’s completely destroyed, and the things are expensive. Sanitation is a must for a laboratory environment, especially when dealing in my areas of interest. Still, even if I could afford one, purchasing and transporting one of such quality would be nearly impossible without discovery. Might take a bit of my tact to accomplish something like that…or, I could settle for a stove-top model, but not only would I have to find one…I’d have to install a stove. This is exhausting. It’s fortunate I don’t sleep often.

I still need a washing machine of some form, though I’ve repaired the various sinks around the main room. Lack of hot water is going to become a bother. Bunsen burners, watch glasses, and of course, proper chemicals are all still scarce. But, I’ve discovered a good number of rats in the eastern study room. I shut them in an empty aquarium I retrieved from one of many waiting rooms on the upper floors. They’ll be fine test subjects, for as long as they survive without food.

I need more supplies.


Last edited by Xandra on Sun Nov 22, 2015 3:59 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: The Lab Notebook - Aleksei's Arc, Sidestory   Sun Nov 22, 2015 3:19 am

DAY 24

Humiliation knows no limits. I have at last found a job that will serve to feed and clothe me…but unfortunately, it means being a mail courier for a local business firm. I was given the option of driving my own car—which I do not own—or leasing a moped from the company itself.

When I informed my “employers” that I had no American driver’s license, due to my being so new to the country, they assured me that they would obtain one for me, at no cost.

I suppose a moped is better than a bicycle; it comes with a motor and enough horsepower to run down pedestrians, if necessary. I was told that, if I did “a good job,” they “might even let [me] keep it.” Oh wonder of wonders, I may very well own a tan-colored motor scooter. At the very least, it’s a mode of transportation, and nowhere near as much trouble as an automobile.

Thank God I’m not using my actual name—I’d be so humiliated to be associated with this Alex Wagner person I’ve invented…
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PostSubject: Re: The Lab Notebook - Aleksei's Arc, Sidestory   Sun Nov 22, 2015 3:19 am

DAY 27

EXPERIMENT: ACETONITRILE TEST
SUBJECT NOTES

Start time: 00:24 H
Subject: human, M; approx. 21-24 yrs
Weight: ~ 80kg

Supplies: 2 fl oz Chemical “A” (nail polish remover, circa 1988; possibly acetonitrile-containing); sterile needle (2); .5 oz NaNO3 (sodium nitrate)

-Subject exhibits signs of intoxication pre-test; unresponsive when approached; distracted, distant
-Chemical A introduced by syringe via pre-existing needle-mark; approx 00: 36
-Subject lies down of own volition approx 00: 39 – probably due to pre-injected drug; symptoms indicate heroin
--Note: needle located; likely heroin
-00:42: Subject begins to show signs of further intoxication; complains of dizziness (inconclusive). 00:52: begins to convulse and babble. Insufficient amount administered for immediate death – intentional – but efficient for disorientation/extreme side-effects. Long-term effects undetermined; setting insufficient for proper study
-00:54: Subject respiration becomes rapid, complaining of shortness of breath – conclusive to cyanide poisoning
-01:02: Subject’s spasms become temporarily violent (likely a seizure)
-01:04: Blood-sample taken for reference; NaNO3 solution administered to increase likelihood of recovery/survival over the next few hours
-01:10: Subject released; proceeds to wander aimlessly but quickly off the premises

Conclusion: cyanide poisoning successful; Chemical A contains acetonitrile

Further notes:

As predicted, the very moment I finally managed to begin work on my studies, some fool invited himself into the hospital. Ironic.

Several times, I’ve heard teenagers rattling at the doors at night, looking for a scare or somewhere to perform illicit and revolting acts on each other, and up until this point, my chains have held strong. But, it seems I failed to notice an emergency door that, when kicked hard enough, will actually come open. I’ll have to search the office again for any keys that might go to it. Call it selfishness, but having my work so blatantly interrupted made me extremely sour, and that combined with my perpetual lack of sleep drove me to bring my work along with me and make a test subject out of him.

I’d found an expired bottle of nail polish remover in one of the patients’ rooms on the upper floors several days ago, the label worn almost completely away. I’d been examining the chemicals in attempts to determine whether or not the substance contained acetonitrile. It had been my plan to test it on one of the rats and see if cyanide poisoning resulted when I’d heard the bang of that door being smashed in. As I wasn’t certain the signs would show the same way in a rat that they would in a human, I decided the invader would likely be a better subject.

When I found him, he was perched on a broken couch in the dark, playing on a laptop computer and clearly intoxicated. The worm had broken in to use the building’s inexplicably strong WiFi signal, and to inject himself with what turned out to be low-quality heroin. I used the same needle mark to inject him with the nail polish remover. He seemed to think I was some sort of delusion. The poor fool; unsurprisingly, I was correct. While I monitored the progress of his poisoni*ng, I carefully added a few drops of the chemical to his needle before slipping it into his pants pocket, in the event that he made it to a hospital once he escaped. It wasn’t my intent to kill him, hence the administration of the NaNO3. It wouldn’t cure him, but it was one of several components of a common antidote used for cyanide poisoning. It was all I had on-hand, though I wouldn’t have attempted to cure him. I was interested in his poisoning, not his healing. The only reason I administered the sodium nitrate was to be certain he wouldn’t die in my building. I don’t need bodies lying about.

He left his laptop behind. I’ll keep it, I think. Assuming he survives, he likely won’t remember what happened to it. Whether or not he does is not my concern. I’ve reached the conclusion I was interested in. Further testing will have to be done on the rats, in the laboratory environment.

My first human experiment in what has to have been years. It was oddly satisfying. Still, I wish I’d had the proper equipment to document it in full.
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