**The Sickness of Hydia: The Accountant

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Joined: 23 Jan 2009, 00:21

**The Sickness of Hydia: The Accountant

Post by ikenbon » 06 Jun 2021, 17:30

Characters: Indon, Alizia (NPC), Grithil (Admin NPC)
Type: Drama / Dialogue
Synopsis: A mysterious friend of Alizia visits the institute to offer his services in keeping the recent events at the lab under wraps (fearing the Empire may soon label Indon's research as pertaining to Hydian Rebels).


[CHAT] (100%) Someone: -- 'It was raining. A downpour was falling. But beneath a simple, black umbrella, a wizened Kanassian used his cane to unfurl a man-hole in the center of Rose City. He descended down, and closed the hatch back behind him, before entering into the reaking tunnels. Hours passed in those twisting chambers lit only by green, emergency lights. The Kanassian covered his face, and his gills with a pocket square, his nostrels flaring against the smell of sewage and refuse as he made his way, southward, to the bend in the city's 'river' of slime... until a specific tunnel drew him northeast, and finally he arrived at a door. A door far beneath the Alizia Institute. The Kanassian knocked, politely, while staring up into the camera that was fixed above him.'

[CHAT] (90%) Indon: -- 'A faint tromping approached from the door, and the door opened to reveal a massive orange Hydian. That Hydian growled out, "I don't need your business right now." She half-looked back, a half-realized instinct to look behind her, perhaps vestigial from back when she had a neck that could turn that far back. The Hydian seemed more tense than usual, as if they were hiding something... as if they had someone to hide something from.'

[CHAT] (100%) Grithil: -- 'The figure in the sewer tunnels gave a polite, knowing bow, as if to dismiss themselves, but then cracked their can against the hard, marble floor beneath them, and leaned on it. He smiled. A rare sentiment. A sentiment that was very difficult for a man with a a cybenetic jaw lined with carbonite fangs nearly as sharp as the massive, orange creature before him. Lifting one hand, Grithil made a motion, and the door that Alizia had half-opened, swung on its heel, despite her strength. "Alizia! It's so good to see you again... fear not, I am not here for our typical arrangements. I have other matters to attend to regarding... hmm... let us call him your successor, though I doubt he will live up to your impressive work." There was growl, like gravel being sifted through a cement mixer. "Where is your 'head researcher'? Hmm?"'

[CHAT] (90%) Indon: -- 'The Hydian seemed to relax and tense at once, their anxieties cycling to something more abstract, less immediate, as at instinctual twitching of their muscles ran down their body and left - for now. "For Indon? Oh. I suppose you must know him through one of his friends. He is in the lab, trying to teach a computer enough magic to hunt for birds." She stepped back, allowing the Kanassian a path through. "You know the way. There is also coffee, he likes to keep a pot on when he works."'

[CHAT] (90%) Indon sat at his terminal in the lab proper, carefully manipulating a three-dimensional model of an illusion that no computer could see, reconstructed from a combination of what strange energies the machines could observe around the event, and from what he could get from data scanned from the brains of those who observed the illusions. "This would have been easy if the magnetic resonance scanners had been closer," he grumbled.

[CHAT] (100%) Grithil: -- 'The Kanassian gave a polite bow, and moved through the doorway they had opened before stopping, covering their face, and coughing in a way that caused their entire body to heave over in despair, and pain. They were... by any visible notion, ancient. Thier scales were silvered to such extent that the cybernetics of their body, and the fleshen pieces could not be told apart. They wore, however, a beautiful, solid black garment. A black vest. A black overcoat. Black pants. Pointed black shoes. Even their cane was solid black, and the hankerchief that they used to cover their rasping cough. Standing back up, Grithil motioned to Alizia and then the door. "Introduce me. As you might prefer. I would like this man to know your feelings about me in full, for I have a proposition, and... I do not wish him to think there may be some... conflict of interest." He winked, in a manner he had done in the past to say 'Tell no lie of me. For I have not truth to spare.''

[CHAT] (90%) Indon: -- 'Alizia rumbled along to the lab to introduce the Kanassian, reaching the laboratory and saying, "Indon. A man I know is here for you. His name is Grithil. He..." She hesitated a moment before continuing, "...has helped supply the lab, some. He seems to know you, but I don't know from where."'

[CHAT] (90%) Indon saved and closed his work as Alizia spoke, and looked up, and his breath caught in surprise. "Sy... oh. No. Mistaken identity. How may I help you, Grithil?" Indon stepped away from the terminal to approach the Kanassian, offering a hand to shake.

[CHAT] (100%) Grithil: -- 'The Kanassian's eyes roved a few seconds longer over Indon's person than was polite before his gloved hand reached towards the human's, and gave it strong, gripping shake. Then Grithil nodded to Alizia, and deposited himself on a nearby chair, laying his cane aside for the moment, with a lopsidded smile that seemed to pain him. "Not so mistaken, Doctor." The Kanassian brought his hands upwards, clapsed them, and let his fingers drum against their own digits. "That connection, quite in fact, is what drew me here. I have... done my best to suppress some out-planetary rumblings that this institute may in fact be a 'rebel' compound. You do understand that all these... 'recent' events would normally arrise a suspiscion that might endanger people we both care about it." '

[CHAT] (100%) Grithil: -- 'Grithil's eyes flicked to Alizia. "Metas in general, tend to make authority nervous and here you are, ordering medical supplies in such abundance, and receiving 'anonymous' donations which scarcely can be explained."'

[CHAT] (90%) Indon listened to Grithil speak, as Alizia slipped away to a quieter part of the lab, to continue whatever she was working on before. "Ah, yeah, I have been asked to audit the books. I guess being donated a lot of money is a little suspicious, isn't it. Honestly, I'm surprised the buzz isn't about this place possibly developing bioweapons - the ability to induce Lycanrot, which might be possible if we figured out what the hell it came from, might be a tool to mass-produce metas, which would give Hydia incredible leverage against the Empire... and the ability to cure Lycanrot might be a tool to eliminate or reduce the Hydian meta population, which would give the Empire leverage over Hydia."

[CHAT] (90%) Indon sat on a stool himself, letting himself ramble as he got his mind onto other things, accepting this strange Kanassian at face value, as he seemed to do with many he met. "Guess I owe you, sir, even though we've never met before. You had my attention before, and now you have my gratitude."

[CHAT] (100%) Grithil: -- '"They tried that, you know? They, the Empire, did VERY MUCH attempt to weaponize it. Lykanrot. They built facilities in the swamps to the south. They tried to find the most effecient ways to infect others, but while they succeeded in its spreading... they never quite learned how to 'control' it. And abandoned the projects. They never actually spent time trying to 'cure' Lykranrot because... as you just described... it's so much more useful as a weapon..." Grithil learned back and studied the human. "More to the point... I've done what I can from afar... but if you intend to continue this in earnest... you will need someone like me looking over your books. I don't pretend to be an honest man, in fact the only honesty I offer you is that I that I can make the money of this facility dissapear in a pinch. And that is all I will ever tell you considering the matter. It will dissapear. Do you understand, Doctor?" '

[CHAT] (90%) Indon shrugged. "I don't think so. I don't want the money in the account to disappear. I might need to spend some to buy stuff. Or fund the rebuilding of something when a lab assistant crashes a tree into it, or something like that. Or a laser. I want to buy a laser, for the secondary lab they're building. And I think the secondary lab is being built off of this budget, actually. But... I'm being oblivious about something aren't I."

[CHAT] (90%) Indon looked at the Kanassian, studying his features with renewed focus. "Liz was being metaphorical when she said you 'helped supply' the lab, wasn't she? What do you actually do? And... if we mutually know a certain other Kanassian... who you have a similar build to, and I think some of your parts come from the same source... don't suppose you could say his name for me?"

[CHAT] (100%) Grithil: -- '"I am not implying that your lab will be devoid of ResourceS. I'm only implYing tHat as far as the Icerian Empire is concerned, this lab will be operating at a Very crippling deficEt. This is not a project that was ever meant to succeed, except that it might produce Results more beneficial to other projects lost." Grithil withdrew his hankerchief, coughed, and then set the pocket-square onto his knee rather than returning it to its pocket. '

[CHAT] (100%) Grithil: -- '"Let us call me, for the time being... a broker... an... 'accountant' of a sort. Someone who can... adjust ledgers in your favor. Someone who is intimately familar with their Empire. Someone, who perhaps... could defend this facility if... per say... you were not... around. Obviously I would take my cut, and other dealings may be made without your knowing, but I can make sure your experiments are no longer interupted by random... Hydian police... no matter how ridiculous your subordinates actions might be."'

[CHAT] (90%) Indon nodded. "If you can do that, I'd love it if you did. Be happy to give you access to all the books. And, actually..." Indon tapped his chin. "If you could do something else... I have a question about Kanassian abilities. Do you know if it is possible to phase... out of conventional, three dimensional space, via any well-known Kanassian meta ability? Not through something, but more akin to... teleportation. A wormhole, perhaps, or jaunting into hyperspace somehow." With less to worry about, there was something at the back of Indon's mind, a possibility he wanted to eliminate.

[CHAT] (100%) Grithil stared for a long moment at Indon and then simply stated. "Yes. There are two methods which might allow one to do as you described. Neither are specific to Kanassians, but we are... more equipped to attempt it."

[CHAT] (90%) Indon tapped at his computer terminal. "If I showed you a video of a Kanassian I suspect of using such an ability, could you recognize it? Well... perhaps I should show you regardless." Indon stood, and stepped over to the elder Kanassian, displaying to him the last moments of Syhiver, his vanishing, suspected to be to the afterlife. "...Is that man... using some ability?"

[CHAT] (100%) Grithil wheeled himself to the holoscreen with some effort, and watched the video feed play out of Syhiver's dissapearance. When it has finished, Grithil touched his chin... and then... smiled. He shook his head slowly to Indon, but seemed very pleased for some reason. "That is no technique I know of. I... cannot fathom what it was. But..." Grithil patted Indon on his shoulder. "I thank you for showing it to me. I know now that... whomever this was... it was not... my brother."

[CHAT] (90%) Indon took a slow, deep breath, controlling his facial expression as, days after the event, some part of Indon finally acknowledged that the most likely scenario really was that Syhiver, through some incredible means, was simply now dead. "I feel like if I'd been stronger, perhaps I could have... well, perhaps not saved him, so much as eliminate his need to have... well. Perhaps to have saved him. Stronger as a martial artist... and stronger as a scientist."

[CHAT] (90%) Indon brought his hand close to his chest, and clenched his fist. "As a martial artist, I've reached a wall. I know that wall well by my study of metas - it is thought to only be surpassable through a process described in the field as 'apotheosis'. A shattering of barriers. A breakthrough. An act of becoming a meta among metas, if you will."

[CHAT] (100%) Grithil gave a slow, solemn nod and turned in his chair, his arm outstretching and seemingly without effort called his staff to his hands, which his fingers clasped around before he struck it, and stood up, leaning the brunt of his weight upon the instrument. "I understand why that feeling might weigh on you, as a phiscian, and perhaps as a friend. But strength, Indon, is extremely relative towards that pursuit. The barrier you speak of, has almost nothing to do with the body, despite many metas discovering it through the trials of the flesh, and bone. More zantetsu (The Empire's word for such beings), are born out of emotion, and psychological stress, than any from physical attempts. But you knew that. You're of a mind keen enough to have studied it in proper. Thus, I can only assume... the wall that you face is... not physical... no... you've harnessed that. You even found ways to cheat it... no it must be... something else."

[CHAT] (90%) Indon said, "Yeah. I do have a theory. The martial art I studied has techniques that... enhance the functioning of organs that it's used for. Eliminating the need to eat, for instance, or for advanced practitioners even eliminating the need to breathe air - unlocking a 'Breath That Takes No Air' that the style is named after. I can't help but wonder... if I evolve that technique to affect my own mind... would it increase my capacity to use the ability? That would in turn improve my mind further, generating a feedback cycle that could sharply improve both my abilities as a meta, and just... help me think faster. Hopefully that can help me take my next steps as a scientist, as well."

[CHAT] (100%) Grithil: -- 'The Kanassian gave a shrug of his shoulders after several minutes of consideration. "What you're attempting is of course... 'impossible' in the sense that it has never been done... but that does not mean it cannot be done." Lifting one hand, the Kanassian studied his own fingers for a moment. "It sounds like you'd like to engage in an experiment, Doctor. We'd of course need a control group, and a hypothesis... or... we could... take some liberties with the scientific method and... throw caution to the wind."'

[CHAT] (90%) Indon laughed. "In a lot of ways, I'm short on control right now. If I have to do some mad science to be able to get myself more focused... to get myself more focus to focus with! I can't say I wouldn't. I've just been busy with so much that I haven't really had the time to think about it. To think about thinking better. What are you proposing to assist me with, along those lines?"

[CHAT] (100%) Grithil chuckled, but there was something fearsome about the gesture. "What you're describing is similar to Overclocking a computer. You want to 'think' faster. Well.. I don't know what that might look like if the body isn't in sync. I'm sure you know how many colories are burned just through dreaming, and what you want to do is think faster than 'sense' itself can give you reason for. You want a mind that moves faster than sense... well... there's a very particular method known to my people that can achieve it, but... well... you'll have to go to a place that a human has ever been to, and which few of even my people even survive encounters with because it is not a place of a reason... It's a place without a sense. A place of thought alone." Grithil raised their cane and pressed it to Indon's chest. "Are you positive you want to do this?"

[CHAT] (90%) Indon looked at the Kanassian, his eyes glimmering with delight. "Oh, you're offering to help me master this next skill, and on the way I get to be the very first to explore some psychic mindscape? You going to forebodingly suggest I need to eat a lot of chocolate cake next? Yeah, I'm in. Of course I'm in."

[CHAT] (100%) Grithil nodded, and then Grithil gave only a 'push' of his cane on Indon's breast. The human would feel his mind ripped from his body and sent hurtling into dimensions beyond belief. What he saw there... what he struggled with... what he brought back, the Kanassian could not know, nor could any being known for Indon's mind had just been jettisoned into the Dreamplane where he would return either in a vegetative state, or as something far... far more... than he had been before.

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