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Extreme Measures

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Location: Birmingham

PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2018 1:33 am    Post subject: Extreme Measures Reply with quote

Sometime during the demon war...

The war was going badly, the last of the vampires had been driven out of the black forest and the borders of Latveria had closed, not that help was expected from there anyway. The daemons faced no resistance now and Western Salem was next. The daemons were winning and it was just a matter of time before the rest of the world was defeated. The calculations showed that this was inevitable. Inevitable perhaps, unless the project could be finished. The professor held his head in his hands with his elbows on his desk as he contemplated the future with dread. His findings had driven him down a dark place, hidden from everyone. It was the only way to achieve the results in time to matter. His laboratory was a mess, crumpled paper surrounded him and the floor was littered with scraps of formula and shattered beakers from failed solutions. He was under immense pressure to complete the project. The director of the Foundation expected results and as he was the lead researcher, only he could join the dots needed to provide them. His deadline was almost up and everyday he did not deliver, he knew that more and more soldiers died on the front lines. Their sacrifices were meant to buy the time needed and he had failed them. The Foundation was close to an answer, a living weapon that could fight a daemon on equal terms. This kind of daemon hunter was a complex infusion of alchemy never before attempted.

The science was impeccable, he had done some of the best work of his life here. The leap forward in science was truly magnificent, in another time, another place, with the right application of patience, he could’ve changed the world forever. But time was a luxury fastly disappearing and defeat was slowly unfolding in front of his eyes. The science wasn’t wrong, it had taken him to the very edge of alchemy and beyond into… something else. He had stood at the precipice and peered beyond. He had gone beyond the limits of science and used alchemy to bend the rules so much as to achieve the unthinkable. In different circumstances, the professor would have enjoyed accolades and praise for such achievements. The science wasn’t wrong, what he desired was impossible. Impossible for the known sciences. Edward tortured himself nightly, thinking of nothing else, he felt like a failure and yet part of him reminded him how far they had come. Energetics? The answer had to lie there. An eternal power source to bind the serums together. Edward lifted his head up and began rummaging through crumpled notes previously torn out and thrown to the floor. Ideas that he had deemed too dangerous were now his only avenue to succeed in the limited time he had left.

“No, no, no, maybe… if I applied the energy from a grasslich.” Edward hypothesised.

Edward paused and took a breath. He loathed to return to the hand in the jar but a voice within his mind soothed his repulsion. It’s OK, he told himself, think about all the lives you will be saving. The man was a condemned prisoner. He was a traitor, a heretic. He was working for the demons. He was consumed by the grasslich of wrath. Nothing could be done. Why waste the body parts?

Edward swept the floor clear of the mess of paper and glass to reveal the summoning circle. The severed hand of the consumed prisoner was placed inside the circle and he began to calculate the result. Less enlightened Salemites would have thought this was sorcery but he knew it was simple energy transference; a metaphysical transfiguration of energy to matter to give the potion the power needed. He needed something to permanently bind the intellectual augmentation to the physical augmentation, he sighed as he realised that even the grasslich energy wasn’t enough on its own. He didn’t have time to find a better source. He flung a glass flask at the wall in frustration and as it shattered and the red substance dripped down the wall as he consigned himself to failure. At his most lowest point a glimmer of hope made him chuckle, a fatalistic thought teased him. The professor leaped up and rushed over to his desk. He opened one of his journals and flipped through the pages. Then he paused. Edward was back on that precipice, he looked down into the unknown, if he was about to cross the unthinkable he couldn’t tell anyone. These methods he had delved into were already secret and even the Foundation couldn’t know to truth. The result is what mattered, if he could perfect the method then he could duplicate the results. If he used the essence of a vampire, an immortal being, it could substitute the lack of potent demonic energy from the diminished grasslich source. No one else could know. In desperation he faced a dark choice. He would take the risk personally, it was his last ethical act in a labyrinth of hard choices and dark decisions.

Edward had drained the vampire of all its blood and focused it’s eternal essence into the circle. As he prepared the other components around the summoning circle he knew the peril that awaited him. If he was right, then the vampire blood and the wrathful energy would bind the body and mind together forever forming a bridge. The soldiers would be immune to mental commands, possession and also strong enough the fight the daemons in hand to hand combat. Mind, body and spirit all bound into one process. He had taken elements of Roman’s regeneration serum and added them to his own. He hoped his friend would forgive him but there was no time to debate anymore. Edward smiled as he remembered teaching Roman some of his more esoteric formula; caution was always needed “measure twice, cut once” he would always say. Now he was about to break his own rule and leap over the precipice of reason into the unknown. It was a flip of a coin, heads meant his psyche merged and the physical and mental augmentations merged and tails meant he lost. He shuddered to think of what that would mean, the enhanced intellect would separate from the physical forever pitching him in an eternal battle for dominance for control. He needed both at once. The risk was so great that the chance of success was about the same as a coin toss!

Edward sat down at his desk in the laboratory and let sanity reign for a moment. This was madness. Then he revisited the facts: His deadline was almost up and soon the director would come to him for results. Using the normal methods provided only failure, if he had a decade and another team he might be able to make a weaker version for the troops. But the time was running out. He imagined the disappointment on the director’s face; the doom he had consigned them to by not delivering what he promised. Edward gripped the quill as he visualised the shame of being defeated. So close. So close but not close enough. Blood dripped from his fist where the tightness of the grip had caused the nib to cut his palm. He let the blood drip into a test tube as he mused over his chances before putting a cork in the sample.

“Blood may be the answer,” Edward told himself “it’s not perfect and it’s a messy fix but it just might work. What’s one more life in the great scheme of things? After all if I succeed, we will have a weapon to fight the daemons back with. The path will be open.”

After counselling himself he dipped the quill in ink and began to write a letter explaining what he had done and must be done should he fail. There was only one person he could entrust this letter to and he scribbled the name hastily on the envelope. He then grabbed the notes on the process and threw them into the brazier. If he succeeded he alone would provide the answer if he failed, he wouldn’t consign another poor soul to this damnation for his own mistakes. That said, he locked away a contingency in the cabinet because every genius needed a plan B. Part of the professor knew he was reaching beyond the limits but then the rewards were a matter of life or death and nigh apotheosis was just a fortunate side effect.

The professor’s last words were “May the Progenitor forgive me.” as he took the serum in the centre of the circle.

Pain, excruciating pain.

Edward felt as if his head was going to explode, the infused blood burned through his veins like lava. Every cell in his body was being torn apart and rebuilt at an astounding speed. He reached up as his brain split, he saw a shadowy figure standing in front of him; a silhouette. Agony gave way to ecstasy and time stopped. The flickering lantern lights froze. The silhouette stepped closer and Edward reached further towards it hoping to touch the mysterious figure. Was this what it meant to transform beyond mortality? The silhouette stopped motionless and watched with morbid curiosity, Edward rose to his feet elated. It. Was. Working. He felt his mind expanding and thoughts flowed like water, a trickle became a gush as he saw all the mistakes he had made all at once. His previous alchemy was child’s play as his memories united into a singularity allowing him access to a lifetime of knowledge. His muscles tightened and expanded increasing his prowess even more. As he inhaled he felt as if he had control over every aspect of his body, every drop of blood, every nerve and muscle and every humour that flowed through him. His heart, lungs, liver and organs were his to control like putty in his hands and he could command his skeleton to do things previously impossible. It was like being able to apply any alchemy to his own body with but a mere thought. He felt unstoppable.

“This is what it must feel like to be a vampire... or a daemon.” Edward thought.

Hubris struck 3.45 seconds after this, but in that moment an eternity could have passed. Edward’s pupil’s shrunk as he his elevated intellect came to the conclusion that he had failed. The procedure he had used was flawed and he was experiencing the side effect of an ongoing process. His psyche was about the shatter and the enhanced intellect wrapping itself around his mind was absorbing his memories, rather than enhancing them it was drinking them. His entire lifetime flashed before his eyes as the psyche greedily absorbed as much knowledge as it could about the world. It began to take his reason, his rational side and his intelligence.

“No!” Edward yelled. “This is my mind! You can’t have it! This is MY LIFE! Noooooooooooo!”

As he clenched his fists in anger his nails cut through his palms with an intensity that dwarfed the small wound made by the quill, the pain of that moment shook him out of the serene stupor he was trapped within. The pain and the physical prowess grounded him and reminded him of who he was. The pain was primal, it was real, it was all he had to cling onto. So Edward allowed the anger to overwhelm him and the pain to remind him as he screamed in anguish and desperately tried to cling on to his memories, some of them, any of them. For without memories, what makes a man, a man?

The silhouette tilted its head and stood in judgement of the professor. Alchemist, Scientist, Heretic, Hero, Villain, Healer, Murderer, Thief, Defender, Son, Brother, Lover, Brute, Fanatic, Faithless, Saviour, Monster. You who have stepped up to the precipice and reached up to become something beyond what is allowed. For this hubris you have been judged and punished. Promising, so... promising. Your reward is your failure, but come back when you have learned the lesson.

The agony returned as Edward collapsed on the stone floor of his laboratory. He opened his eyes to see two figures rushing down the steps and towards him. He could make out Roman’s voice but he couldn't concentrate on the other gentlemen. The ability to form coherent thoughts became harder and harder to do with every gasp of breath. To get this far into his laboratory, both men needed high clearance. He hoped that his letter would be found at least. Everything began to fade to black for Edward.

“Edward! What have you done!” Roman shouted, but it was too late as the process completed and the professor they had known vanished.
OOC: Joe H
IC: Dr Jekyll / Mr Hyde / Horatio
IC: Ichiro Kage of the Tanuki
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Location: Birmingham

PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 11:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The day after the Empty Keg party: Port of Saints…

Edward Hyde gazed upon his own reflection in the mirror, the world around him moved as he remained motionless in the room. It was as if everything else speeded up while he remained perfectly still, even the sunlight began to fade as the afternoon gave way to evening and eventually night. A maid at the inn must have lit the lantern on the dresser but Hyde hadn’t acknowledged her, and if asked, he wouldn’t have been able to recognise her, nor would he recall the kind words she offered him and the sigh of disappointment as she left the room without a response from him. One question orbited his mind as he sat in a kind of silent meditation, it was the most silent Hyde have ever been, according to his newer memories. How silent his older self had been; the professor, was like many things still a mystery to him.

“Who are you?” he silently asked his reflection again for the hundredth time as if he expected an answer. He no longer had a plan, he felt it was important to sit there and mentally catch his breath. The memories that had emerged from the intellect enhancing potion were not what he expected. The revelations alone were enough to break a man and send him screaming into madness. He could’ve awoken in Bedlam. But his will was stronger than that. Beyond the rage, beneath the ego there was a hardness that refused to give up. But now, even his hardness weighed him down like a slab or granite. Before this day, it had been focused into determination, a hatred of Jekyll and a motivation to get back what had been stolen, to return to being The Professor. Professor Hyde. What did that even mean? From the fragments of memory, he couldn’t determine what kind of man he was. Desperate towards the end, determined, for sure. He had no way of knowing *who* he was. If he was similar to Jekyll he felt like he’d rather kill himself than to become that. Yet it was not as simple as being just another iteration of Jekyll. Hyde considered whether he just didn’t like scientists. Even the proposition of purging them all while crushing their class beakers and burning their notes didn’t rouse a smile. After what happened to him, a deep distrust of such things was simply survival. As darkness spread, shadows obscured some of his face as he gazed ahead. His reflection looked crueler in this light. His eyes and nose were sharper. He looked older, in some ways Professor Hyde was his father and he was his son, he was his own son born from his own creation, his own mistake. Hyde considered how living without a father had been hard, no one was there to teach him how to act, how to do things, what was right and what was wrong, or who to be. Out of the shock and apathy arose resentment at being abandoned, but it was tinged with the hurtful realisation that if he was the Professor’s “son” this made Jekyll his brother.

Born from the same failed experiment and yet Jekyll was the reason he was no longer whole. His new memory was adamant on that fact, Jekyll was the runaway intellect, forever augmented and apart from the rest of the body. His nemesis remained and so then did his goal. What was his goal? Destruction? Hardly possible now. Reunification? Hyde frowned at the idea. Did he really want to join with a snivelling worm like Jekyll? No conviction, so much compassion and consideration the thought made him sick. The very idea of diluting himself and become impure terrified him. So he turned to his reflection, his “father” and in the dim light he asked again.

“Who are you?” Hyde said aloud at last. “I need to know… because I’m afraid of what I’ll become. I don’t want to be just like Jekyll. I cannot. But then am I just a disappointment to us if I don’t? Am I the failure Professor? Am I not your creation? Am I not your son?” Hyde felt a rush of adrenalin and a surge of anger, if the reflection was really the professor he once was, he felt as if he would kill him on the spot. He considered smashing the mirror for good measure.

The truth hadn’t set him free, it had drained away his goal and left him with a dark pool of sorrow in his heart. The revelation was terrible and now he was left in apathy and regret for what had been lost. Within the dark pool of sorrow hidden on the periphery of his conscious thoughts was a secret so terrible that he only saw the disdain reflected him Roman’s eyes every so often when he thought back. It was the secret of what occured when he blacked out in the laboratory after the transformation was complete. The two figures had rushed to his aid, Roman had began to chastise him and then… nothing. What happened next? When he relived the memory he had lashed out in a berserk rage, filled from grasslich energy. In such a state he could have done anything. Being out of control was like a drug for Hyde, it was exhilarating and addictive. It felt far more natural than civilised speech. It was a place he knew in his bones he had been before. Even if his mind refused to recall it, he KNEW he had been there before. He felt he had rampaged, such a thing could leave stains on your skin that wouldn’t wash out with the blood. Hyde wondered what he had done? He knew so much and yet so little now, the circle and the science used baffled him. Why? How did this happen? Jekyll had once read something about energetics and advanced alchemy but he couldn’t remember exactly how it worked. He hated to admit it but Dr Jekyll had the mind needed to solve what went wrong. Jekyll seemed to act differently when taking such potions, no rampage, no berserk rage. How was that fair? Hyde had yet more irritating questions and he had learned to loathe questions. He had a sobering thought: Why on earth would he take such things? What insane course had Hyde steered them upon? Yet the familiarity of it all was so damn close that it was on the tip of his tongue. Hyde’s mind touched the dark pool of sorrow within and he wondered what happened in his laboratory after the experiment failed? When the memory blacked out, what did he do? Hyde needed to know but in his heart he didn’t want to know the answer because he already knew. So he plunged the fragments of thoughts back into the dark pool of sorrow and buried any hint of possible remorse.

“Maybe I’m better off not knowing any of it.” Hyde spat as he faced the mirror, his reflection was almost in complete darkness now. “Maybe I’m fine just as I am.”

“I want my body back!” His reflection demanded.

For the first time in his living memory, Edward Hyde jerked back his fright.
OOC: Joe H
IC: Dr Jekyll / Mr Hyde / Horatio
IC: Ichiro Kage of the Tanuki
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