Fun With Dematerialization

July 20, 2018:

Adara Hong is visited by a shady woman named Angela, who requires the services of a biologist. Adara gets some advice about heroes as an added bonus.

A lecture lab at Columbia University

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

A smile came to her lips as she stood before a desk filled with various papers, all neatly organized and set out. Adara looks at each stack and takes in a deep breath before slowly letting it out and clapping her hands together, "Perfect!" She declares and then looks around at the room, "For…Monday." She nods her head and then looks at the tables with the various implements and then back at the papers before her head sags and so does her shoulders, "I'm so not ready for this…" She whines and then slumps into her chair and lets out a sigh.

Currently, she's located in one of the smaller lecture labs around Columbia University. The recent return of Adara Hong put her into a new position within the school. Her final work within her master's degree had ended and now she must focus upon her Doctorate…which has her rather nervous given she now also must teach alongside a professor and while her responsibilities are small, she's still not sure about handling them. Field work was far easier in her mind.


There is a knock at Adara's door. It is not so late that someone else being around would be unusual, but it is definitely enough into the evening that the crowds have thinned out.

Still, the person who now takes up the door frame isn't someone who has been around campus, much less after hours. She seems like someone who would be easy to remember: over six feet tall, vibrant red hair, and strange eyes with silvery-white irises. She is at least dressed for the atmosphere in something semi-professional: green slacks, brown Oxfords and a matching belt, and an off-white button-up with rolled-up sleeves.

Perhaps the more peculiar aspect is that she made no noise as she approached. The halls are quiet and linoleum isn't exactly kind to dress shoes. She is carrying a small cardboard box under one arm. Boxes are relatively low on the threat scale, at least.

"Are you Adara Hong?" she says. She has one of those confident voices that pairs nicely with precise language. "If so, I have business with you."


A blink as someone comes in and she is about to say something when she sees who it is. She stares at the approaching woman, fully prepared to tell her that she is not available to students at this time but the more she looks over Angela the more she wonders if she is indeed at all a student. Then she hears the words spoken and blinks, taking a step back, "Umm, yes." She replies, "I'm Adara Hong." She nods her head, "What…business do you have with me?"


Angela appears to be in her mid to late twenties, perhaps early thirties — she's got some glamorous youth to her, but being stoic tends to jack up the apparently age — which lessens the chance that she's a student without ruling it out entirely.

"My name is Angela," she says, sidestepping the question for now. "May I enter and make use of your table?"


Looking down at her table with its well organized papers, she blinks and then looks around before walking over to a clearer area. She gestures, "YOu can use this station." She looks back, "Oh and yes, come in." She nods her head as she looks over at Angela before stepping back and then closing her eyes a moment, "Wait… She looks back at her, Again, why do you need to see me?" She asks and tilts her head, "I mean…I'm no one special." She nods her head and idly touches something beneath her shirt, "At all…


Angela steps into the room the moment that Adara gives verbal confirmation. She moves toward the station that the other woman indicated, but slows her pace when Adara voices further questions.

Adara touches something beneath her shirt. Angela's silvery-white gaze dips to follow the movement of Adara's hand. She does not bother hiding that she noticed this, and returns her attention to Adara more properly afterward.

"I require the services of a micro-biologist," says Angela, still as smooth in tone as when this situation was a bit more normal. "I also require discretion. I found that you were recently added to this department's staff page. I offer you a trade, one that may appeal to an apprentice."

Angela briefly abandons her explanation as she finishes moving toward the station. She sets the box down and rests her hands atop the lid, fingertips spread.

"I want you to analyze a subject of supernatural curiosity in exchange for your silence that you have done so. It should be a valuable learning experience for us both."


The explanation has her shifting slightly in her spot as she then looks at the box and blinks several times, "Supernatural?" She stares at the box and then looks up at Angela and then clears her throat, "I wouldn't be much of a scientist if I didn't say that I do not fully subscribe to such things but I do not mind helping." She halts a moment and closes her eyes.

When they open she looks up, "This is not…illegal is it?" She asks and then looks back at the box before looking up, "I can be discreet but I will not help you do something against the law."


Angela glances over and down at Adara. Her expression has not changed from the composed, vaguely stern look that she wore from the first moment.

"To my knowledge I have broken no laws," she says. A moment passes. Then: "I have extensive knowledge of the law."

Angela sets her gaze on the box once more.

"If you consent, I will proceed."


A look at Angela and then she seems unsure for a moment before gesturing, "Proceed."


"Very well."

Angela shifts her grip and lifts the lid off the box, setting it aside. Regardless of one's belief in the supernatural, what the box contains is at very least unusual. It is a hand, severed at the wrist, and perhaps a human hand — except that the fingers are elongated with nails that are more like claws. The hand has been bound up into a fist shape by a complicated series of knots done up in twine.

It is also moving. Not well. The twine prevents it from doing more than writhing ineffectually.

"I wish to place this hand within a biological context. Do you think yourself able to perform an analysis? If you require a smaller sample, I will provide one."


Her hand shoots up to the strange thing under her shirt as she takes a step back in surprise. For those who might sense it, there's a flare of power for a moment. A power similar to a fire of creation. She stares for a moment as she tries to calm herself and then states, "You have a hand…"

She then notices it is wiggling. That's actually not the part that surprised her. It was really the hand thing. The more she stares the more she starts to realize it isn't exactly normal by any standards. She takes a step toward the thing and stares at the hand, "I can get a piece off of it…where'd you get it? Do you have any idea of its original…uh owner?"


Angela holds her position when Adara steps back. She keeps her hands on the box. Considering the hand appears to be alive, perhaps this is wise of her.

Her gaze drops to Adara's hand on her shirt again. Her eyes narrow fractionally.

"Yes," she says, to — well, maybe all of it. Yes, she has a hand, yes, she can get a piece, yes, she knows the owner. "As a scientist, do you believe in vampires, Adara Hong?"

Angela does not wait for an answer, instead looking back down into the box. "I will further restrain it if you wish to take a cutting."


"Umm, well, I believe that there is the possibility of a virus that could potentially keep a person alive past what some might consider death and that the introduction of blood into such a system might be necessary for further function." She clears her throat, "Theoretically."

"Wait, are you saying that this is a vampire hand?" She then takes a breath, "And yes, I would appreciate it being further restrained." She proceeds to get out a small kit and pulls out some gloves.


"Do not be concerned," says Angela, by way of answering the vampire question. "It is not contagious in this form."

Small blessings.

Angela reaches into the box with both hands, pressing down onto the clawed thing. She takes care to leave the severed stump exposed. It appears that it was sliced off, rather than torn.


Putting on her gloves, she walks over and proceeds to carefully pull out a scalpel. She carefully moves over to collect a small sample off the back. She slices a piece off and lets it fall on to a dish. She then looks up and takes a breath as she seals it up, "This will not be immediate." She states and nods her head, "What do you wish to know? I can tell you more about it but is there something you are looking for?"


The flesh is about as yielding as one expects flesh to be. If it hurts the hand, it is difficult to tell — Angela is restraining it too firmly for there to be much squirming. When Adara is finished, Angela goes about replacing the lid on the box.

"Please perform to your utmost capability in obtaining information from your sample," says Angela. She picks the box up, turning to face the other woman. "I seek to divine the mechanism of vampirism in this case. These entities are peculiar. Anything that you can ascertain will assist me in narrowing the possibilities and arriving at the truth."

Angela glances to the door. "Shall I return another evening?"


A nod and she idly looks at the sample in her dish before she looks back at the woman and tilts her head, "Yes but…who are you?" She asks and tilts her head, "You having this means you aren't exactly some passing detective and I'm betting that you are the one that severed that hand." She nods her head, "So, what should I call you and if you don't mind, where did you come from?"


Angela turns her silvery gaze back to Adara as the questions and speculation come. There is something harder in her eyes. A moment of quiet, tense potential passes before she answers.

"As I said before, my name is Angela," she says. "I am a hunter. I sell my services to those who have need."

Angela steps closer to Adara. She can cover a large amount of distance in a surprisingly small amount of time. She looms within reach. With a smooth motion, she raises her arm to jab a finger toward the object beneath Adara's shirt.

"And who are you, Adara Hong?"

Another moment. Angela turns back to the exit. "Suffice to say that I came from outside your door. I will return here in three days to hear an update on your progress."


When Angela comes back fast, there's a sudden feeling of the area around Adara going up by nearly 20 degrees. It went from a cool room to paltry within a second and…she growled. Honest to god deep growl from something that would make an Elephant feel small. She stares at the woman before saying, "I'll look into it…" She then blushes and takes a step back.

Time passes and then the third day. She's been working with the sample, writing down all the things she's found and is sitting tehre at the appointed time, awaiting Angela's return.


Angela holds her ground through the growl and temperature shift. She does not comment on it. Of course, this woman apparently hunts vampires. It may be another Wednesday for her.

Calling the sample bizarre would be an understatement. If science deals with analyzing reproducible phenomena, the bit of flesh Adara studied is definitely acting unscientific. The first Adara tried to observe it at the cellular level, there was nothing there — for a moment. The flat void quickly gave way to something resembling a cellular structure that Adara would normally expect to see, except the details were inconsistent and incomplete. The longer Adara observed, the more problems she found, the more the cellular makeup of the sample appeared to change to match her expectations.

Three days pass. It is the same time in the evening that Angela once more appears in the doorframe. She is wearing a lightweight crew-neck pullover in dark blue, along with jeans and brown work boots.

The box is underneath her arm again.

"Adara Hong," she says in greeting. "I have returned."


Looking back over at Angela, she twitches a little at the sight of the woman. She walks over to her and offers over a folder and states, "I don't know what you gave me." She nods her head, "It isn't natural or normal." She nods her head, "I know you said it was a vampire but this thing is strange."

She looks down at the folder and then at the box, "It is as if it knew what I wanted to find and was trying to become what I wanted it to be." She looks up at Angela, "Which might explain how such things stay under the radar." She then licks her lips, "Someone who wasn't me might simply have thought it was normal had they seen what I saw."


Angela waits in the door frame again. When Adara comes walking over, Angela enters, finding that permission enough. She sets the box down on a nearby flat surface in order to take the folder. She leafs through the contents while Adara explains.

"It became what you expected to see?" she says, furrowing her brow. "Hn. It would suggest some knowledge of your mind. Telepaths do not typically retain their abilities when reduced to a sliver of flesh."


A blink and then she looks down at the flesh and then up at Angela, "Or some form of unseen aura." She considers, "I didn't even think to test for electromagnetic fields or…radiation." She gasps and then takes a step back and turns her gaze back to the sample. She then rushes over to a cabinet and opens it up, "Give me a moment." She nods her head and starts pulling out some things, "It might give off some kind of field."


"Very well," says Angela. She steps toward where she left the box, setting the folder on top of it. From there, she watches Adara go about her business.


A blink as she looks at the device and then tilts her head, "Something is coming off of it." She gestures to the device, "Electromagnetic field." She looks oveer at Angela and then huhs, "It gives off a field that either effects the equipment or the viewer…or even itself." She then walks back over to Angela and looks up at her, "If this is supernatural, it certainly has a lot of natural properties. Strange ones."


By the time Adara looks back at Angela, Angela has crossed her arms and is leaning up against the wall.

"The worlds interact in esoteric ways," she says. The box next to her shifts to the side with a thump. She gives it a stern look. It does not move again.

"If I understand you correctly, then I have come to a conclusion. I will share my thoughts with you to honor our agreement."

Angela picks up the box, crossing the room to where Adara is keeping the sample.

"This hand is a self-perpetuating psionic construct. It refined its composition using your expectations as a guideline."

Angela looks down at the sample, frowning.

"This will be a troublesome hunt."


A look over at Angela and she considers a moment before saying, "Seriously though." She takes a step back and crosses her arms, "Where do you get something like this?" She looks at the box, "This doesn't sound like a vampire and still…you cut its hand off." She looks at the hand and then back up, "Is it gonna grow a new hand? Is the hand gonna try to grow a new it?"


"I ensured that the rest of the body was dematerialized," says Angela, in a tone that suggests dematerialization is both a normal thing to her and also precisely the word needed to describe what was done. "If it has somehow returned while I was gone, I will be very cross with it."

"I will similarly dispose of this hand, and your sample, now that it is of no further use." Angela sets the box down on the work station next to the sample. She likely means to reclaim the sample.


A look over at the sample and she looks back to Angela, "I can handle it." She states simply enough and then looks to the petri dish and suddenly the inside of the dish is filled with…is that fire? It is unclear in such a small space and then it is done and the glass inside looks distorted. The sample is most certainly gone, "It is, as you say, dematerialized."


Angela stops moving when the flame appears. She watches, still and attentive, as the fire consumes and then perishes. After it is finished, she presses her hand atop the box to re-secure the lid, and then turns around to face Adara.

"You possess abilities," she says, and not in a way that requires an answer. Angela raises her eyebrows. "Is this more of your science?"


A bit of a shift of her feet and she clears her throat, "While I'm sure there's a scientific explanation, I've yet to find it." She shifts some, "But yes, I have abilities." She nods her head as she looks up at the woman, "Either way, I'm somewhat curious about more of what you are doing." She nods her head as she looks over at the box and then back at Angela.


"I told you," says Angela. She steps forward. The cadence of her speech slows subtly, her voice taking on an implacable quality. "I am a hunter. I perform, I am a paid."

Angela is not as close now as she was previously, when Adara felt moved to growl and very nearly sear the air, but she is closer. A woman with her presence has a way of taking up more space than she does so physically, of quietly filling up an entire room. Her silvery-white eyes briefly catch the light as she tilts her head.

"What makes you somewhat curious, Adara Hong?"


"Well, I'm not so sure about simply getting paid but I have an ambition to be a hero." She looks down at her hands and then looks over at Angela, "But my abilities aren't what you'd call…" She considers her words carefully, "…family friendly." She nods her head and looks back, "Is it just some hunts and that's it for you?"


Angela lifts her head and purses her lips. "Family friendly." A moment passes as she processes the intimation here. "Ah. I see. The true work of those called heroes is very rarely 'family friendly.'"

Angela turns away from Adara, moving back to the work station. She picks up the sample tray, holding it up and turning it this way and that in her hand as she closely inspects the seared interior.

"Some are satisfied to be paid in gratification for their ideals. I prefer my worth to be honored more tangibly."

Angela, apparently satisfied with the burning, sets the tray back down. "What would your life as a hero look like, Adara Hong?"


"I'm not entirely sure. I want to help people." Adara states and then shrugs as she looks down at herself, "I'm just not sure where to begin. I have tried and what I become…when I truly use my abilities is not something people would want to see." She shrugs, "Anyway…"


"Have a care," says Angela. Her voice quietens, though there is no less iron in her tone. "You are young. If you have been given great power, there will be those eager to coax you into giving yourself to their causes. They will take everything from you that you can give, and leave you when you are spent. Do not let empathy become your pyre."

Angela takes up her box once more, and the folder with it. She stops by Adara's desk to leave the folder there — but, taking up a nearby pen, she writes a number across the front.

"This is my number. A time may come in which you have need of it."


Taking the number, she nods her head a little at the words before saying, "Thanks." She then considers her words and then turns and goes back to her desk.


"It was nothing more than what we agreed," says Angela, though the advice and the number weren't exactly negotiated for.

She leaves without another word, off to… hunt psionic vampires or something by glaring at them until they dematerialize. Who knows.

The sample tray smolders.

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