After The Storm:Elsa&Odds
Origins of Powers
Posted originally on the IC thread, page 6 pst 53
Elsa says quietly "I wouldn't call mine an origin, more like an accident that worked out better than I thought. Boss likes cats. One of them, Elvis likes the tallest bit of the roof to sunbathe on. Couldn't find them inside when the weather went weird, was checking outside, spotted cat on the roof ledge, not looking happy."
"Raced up the side stairs, got the cat off the ledge and slipped trying to get back over onto the roof. Panicked. Then Elvis left the building, and so did I. Went from there to ground level in the longest heart beat of my life, still holding the cat. The bit of roofing I was trying to grab onto fell down after us. Went elsewhere again, just as it hit the spot where I'd been standing."
"Took a few more tricky little shifts for the adrenaline to wear off enough to better control it. Surprised I'm here to tell the tale, but Boss was just happy to get Elvis back in one piece."
Elsa taps a finger to one eye, and lifts off a contact lens, revealing a feline stare to the others, then adds "Just I'm not so sure that a little of Elvis didn't end up in me in the process."
Originally written on the Development thread page 10 post 100 by Potted Plant
Three medical students were walking across the parking lot towards parked ambulances.
Two future paramedics, Vicki Sullivan and Amy Smith - Elsa to her friends - were trailed by future doctor Alexander Johnson. Alex was a handsome enough young man. But.
"Hey girls," Alex said. "Think we'd have time for a threesome on the way?"
"Are we there yet?" Vicki asked, rolling her eyes.
"Nope," Elsa answered. "Our ordeal is just starting."
"Don't be so uptight," Alex said. "I was just kidding. Dr. Misra would skin us if we are not back on time. After classes, on the other hand..."
"I am driving," Elsa said. "Vicki, you sit on the front with me."
"What's wrong with me?" Alex asked.
"Where should I start?"
The students got on their way, but Elsa hadn't driven very far before Alex got up from the back, leaned on the front seats and popped his head into the front of the ambulance.
"Bit of an unsafe position there," Elsa said.
"Just trying to keep you company. Hey Vicki, maybe we should do something on Friday?"
"Sorry, no can do," Vicki answered. "I have things to do on Friday. Not quite sure what things, but I am sure I will think of something."
"Well, what about you, Elsa?"
"What she said."
"Aww, are you girls mad about that threesome comment? I told you, I was just kidding. Can't you understand humor?"
"Are we there yet?" Vicki asked.
"We will be, soon," Elsa answered, turned on the siren and sped up, sending Alex stumbling backwards.
Some time later the ambulance screeched to a halt in the parking lot next to a windowless concrete building. As the students got out, Alex grumbled: "I could have hurt myself back there, you know."
"I did warn you about the unsafe position," Elsa said.
"Are we at the right place?" Vicki asked. "What a creepy building. Not even any windows. Looks like a bunker."
"Probably to keep outside interference to a minimum," Elsa said. "Weren't there supposed to be plenty of private labs here? I just wonder what we were sent to fetch. Dr. Misra didn't say."
"I hope it is not a corpse," Alex said with a grimace. "I don't want to travel back next to a dead body."
"I think test labs are something you send bodies to," Elsa said. "Not fetch them from."
"Unless this Dr. Odd has used the body up and wants to return the remains," Vicki said in a spooky voice.
"Well, let's go find out," Elsa said and walked to a door. "Looks like it is locked, but there are plenty of buttons here. Oh, this is the right one. ODD Laboratiories." Pressing the button, she spoke to a speaker. "Hello. We are from the Methodist Hospital Center. We are here to-"
There was no spoken reply, but the door opened with a buzz and a hum.
"Looks like we are expected," Elsa said and the students walked in. They entered a deserted, featureless lobby. There were only some closed doors, an elevator, and a list of companies.
"There is ODD Laboratories," Vicki said, looking at the list. "Basement level." There was a ding and the elevator doors opened. "And it looks like they sent us the elevator."
As the students got in and the elevator started to descend, Vicki remarked: "Spooky, There was no one outside the building, and no one inside either. Not even a receptionist or a security guard in the lobby."
"Don't worry, girls," Alex said, puffing out his chest and stepping forward as the elevator stopped and the doors started to open. "Whatever happens, I will-"
"Arrg," growled the giant of a man waiting for them. He must have been close to seven feet tall, and built like a brick wall. The man was dressed in an old-looking hospital uniform and a large white jacket with a name tag that said: "Igor". The giant was thick necked and bald, with a somewhat vacant stare and multiple scars zigzagging across his bald skull.
"Pro- pro- pro- pro-" Alex stuttered, staring at the huge, scarred man in front of him.
"Protect us?" suggested Vicki, turning to look at Elsa.
"Protest the big man's appearance?" Elsa suggested back.
"Rrrrr?" The giant rumbled questioningly, looming over Alex.
"I- I- I-" Alex stuttered. Then the girls pushed him aside.
"Sorry about him," Vicki said. "He left his nerves of steel out in the rain and they got rusty."
"We are looking for Dr. Odd," Elsa added.
With a grunt, Igor turned and started walking along the corridor, beckoning for the students to follow.
As they followed the lumbering giant, Vicki whispered to Elsa: "Wow. Big. And scary."
"No wonder they felt they didn't need a security guard in the lobby with that man in the building," Elsa whispered back.
"This can't be real," Alex said. "We are in candid camera or something."
"If that guy is acting, I will nominate him for an award," Vicki said.
"And the scars looked pretty real to me," Elsa said. "I wonder what his story is."
Igor stopped, pointed to a sign that said: "No cell phones or wireless devices beyond this point," and then to a box on the side table.
"Don't have a phone on me," Elsa said.
"Me neither," Vicki said.
Alex fumbled in his pocket and put his phone in the box. "Why aren't phones allowed?"
"Maybe the signal might interfere with some sensitive equipment used," Elsa suggested.
"Or maybe they don't want us calling for help," Vicki said, again in a spooky voice.
Continuing on, they arrived at a sturdy metal door. Igor rapped on it a couple of times, then opened it and gestured for the students to go through. They stepped into a large room. At the other end were doors that appeared to lead to some sort of operating theatre. Within the room itself were several well equipped workstations. On one station were two large glass jars with what appeared to be two halves of a brain floating in them. On another, a whole brain was floating in a transparent cube that also contained a pair of mechanical appendages with various tools. In front of that station stood a gray-haired woman in a white coat, who had apparently been in the process of manipulating the tools. Then the students were startled by a loud slam as Igor closed and latched the door.
"Igor... Bring... New... Brains... For master," The giant rumbled.
"What?" Vicki said.
"Huh?" Elsa said.
"Oh my God!" Alex wailed.
"Igor, seriously," Dr. Odd said, facepalming. "Sorry about that. That is his favorite joke that he absolutely refuses not to pull off. Igor is a notorious practical joker."
There was a moment of silence, then the girls burst out laughing.
"It's all right, doctor," Elsa said. "That was actually funny."
"Best part of the day so far," Vicki added. "Do you need to visit the men's room, Alex?"
"Shut up," Alex grumbled.
"What's the matter? Can't you understand humor?" Vicki quipped.
"So, was the not speaking and other Frankenstein stuff all just an act?" Elsa asked Igor, but the giant shook his head.
"You don't recognize him?" Dr. Odd asked. "Igor Strugatski, the former boxer?"
"Who?" Alex asked.
"Don't watch boxing," Elsa said.
"My dad does," Vicki said. "And the name does sound familiar. I think dad has said something. Hey - wasn't he in coma?"
"He was," Dr. Odd said. "Most of my colleagues considered that he would never regain consciousness, much less be able to walk and talk. I don't blame them. It was not an illogical assumption considering Igor's state. But I did have a second opinion. His family decided to put their trust in me. And as you can see, Igor is not only up and about, he can indeed walk and talk, although with difficulty. Of course, it has taken multiple operations with lengthy recovery times for us to get this far."
"Well, that explains the scars," Elsa said.
"Work... In... Progress..." Igor rumbled, tapping his head.
"Yes, we have another operation scheduled for this year," Dr. Odd said. "I am trying to improve his motor functions so that he can type and write again."
"When you succeed I want an autograph," Vicki said. "For my dad."
"Is he here preparing for the operation or something?" Elsa asked.
"No, no. He helps me around the lab. Fetching non-delicate items. Receiving visitors. Listening to me prattle. Making coffee."
"You can do that?" Vicki asked Igor.
"Took... Six... Months..." Igor rumbled. "And... Numerous... Accidents..."
"Inactivity and feelings of uselessness are poison to recovery," Dr. Odd said. "Now he remains active, can make himself useful, and maintains a positive outlook. And I can monitor his condition and have someone do chores. It is a perfect arrangement."
"I must say that it is quite impressive that you got him from a hopeless comatose state to playing jokes on people." Elsa said. "You did all that by operating on his brain?"
"There are limits to what I could have accomplished just by rerouting," Dr. Odd said. "I also made some additions. Come and take a look to my latest experiment." She gestured at the brain in the glass cube. The students moved to take a closer look.
"Are those electrodes?" Vicki asked.
"Microchips?" Elsa added. "Do they replace lost functions?"
"Replacing brain functions is beyond what can be achieved," Dr. Odd answered. "But by providing additional stimulation, damaged parts can regain more of their past functionality than would be possible otherwise. This is very experimental and very risky, of course. If you add external parts to someone's brain and the body begins to reject those parts, the results can be bad. Thankfully, my husband is quite a wizard with non-neural tissue. The chips implanted in Igor's brain are covered by cocoons cultivated from his own bones. We have had no issues with rejection so far."
"So Igor is a cyborg?" Vicki said. "Cool."
"It is awesome," Elsa said. "But Dr. Misra sent us here on business and is expecting us back on time."
"Oh dear me, of course," Dr. Odd said. "Just bring him back once you are ready."
"Wait, what?" Alex asked.
"Well, you were sent to fetch Igor. Didn't Dr. Misra tell you?"
"Nope," Elsa said, looking at Vicki. "He didn't mention Igor at all."
"Maybe Dr. Misra likes to play pranks too," Vicki said.
"But- But- Why?" Alex stammered. "What does Dr. Misra want with Igor?"
"As I said, Igor likes to make himself useful," Dr. Odd answered. "So when Dr. Misra was doing his latest health examination Igor volunteered as a test patient for his class. They are just going to perform an examination, but Igor is still something a bit more challenging than usual for the latter year students."
"How are we supposed to take him there?" Alex asked.
"Well, he travels in the back with you, of course," Elsa answered.
"No way am I traveling in the back with a horror movie monster," Alex said.
"Oh yes way," Elsa said. "He is a head injury patient so he travels in the back. And since you are the one who is going to be a doctor, your duty is to monitor his condition on the way. Unless you want to explain to Dr. Misra why you wouldn't."
"Crap," Alex said.
Igor lumbered over to stand next to Alex. "Pretty..." he rumbled, looming over the young man.
"Eep!" Alex yelped, stepping backwards.
"Igor, please," Dr. Odd said.
"It's okay," Vicki said laughing. "We have got this." Taking Igor's arm she said: "Come on, big guy. The car is waiting outside."
"You too, Alex," Elsa said. "And don't forget your cell phone."
In the medical school, a number of students were waiting in an examination room, along with a man of Indian ethnicity, with round glasses and hair graying at the temples. Then the door opened and Elsa stepped in. "Sorry for being a bit late," She said. "I did my best to drive carefully, transporting a head injury patient."
"There is nothing wrong with being careful," Dr. Misra said.
"And here is your patient," Vicki said, escorting Igor in.
“Grr,” Igor growled.
"What the fuck?" yelped the student closest to the door.
"Watch your language in my class," Dr. Misra chastised. Then he looked at the door, and when no one else stepped in, asked: "Where is Alex?"
"He needed to go to the bathroom," Elsa said with a smile.
"He really should have peed before we left," Vicki said, smiling widely.
Igor grinned. Or at least his lips curled upwards, showing all of his teeth.