This story is part of "Project 1947", which is part of the Basilicus project.

Cooperative: This story is coordinated by Laveaux. It is open to any new writers with characters alive during the year 1947 and have access to New York. The coordinator asks that any writers that do join the story, complete a character description in accordance with this article. Note that writers can only write for their characters, the coordinator will write for all other characters and events. Use the talk page if you have questions or suggestions.

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Yaku woke up with the bad taste of sleeping with an open mouth on his tongue. This sleeping in cheap rooms couldn't continue. He needed a more permanent stay, even considering all the disadvantages; not in the least the fact it would become easy to track him down.

But that was more than worthed, if it would meant losing the back pain and gaining many an hour of valuable sleep and more hygienic living conditions. He scratched his hair -all patches of it-, gave himself a quick wash by the inhumanely unclean sink, and got dressed.

His things were nicely packed; he always did that before he went to sleep in case a quick departure was needed. He went downstairs, to the counter and signed out "Komei Tokugawa".

He started looking for a place where he'd be able to buy a newspaper in this very fancy neighborhood. He couldn't think of an easier way to find an apartment.

--Yakuzaishi Sugisata

January 1, 8:00am

The Newspaper was easy enough to find, and- after a rather modest charge from the young blonde paper boy just outside the cheap abode- it was not long before Yaku found himself immersed in the sea of text that was the New York Daily News. Of course, most of the text was skimmed or at the very least pushed out of the way in the interest of browsing the 'For Sale or Rent' section of the periodical.

There were, as always, many many openings- an endless procession of numbers to call and spaces for rent. Even if one eliminated those in the undesirable parts of the city, there would still be more than enough opportunities for the intelligent investor. It all depended, really, on how much one was willing to pierce the veneer of things.

It also depended on what sort of place Yaku wanted to rent. Most were likely available though there were a few limitations. Street names jumped out from the mass- Park Place, Fifth Avenue, Wall Street, Broadway- not necessarily the locations of all these places, but certainly promenades that were nearby, perhaps- or at least worth mentioning.


Yaku sought to maximize both cheap and clean. Where the two lines would meet, that would be the ideal place. Cheap meant... well, cheap; clean meant no roaches. Fungus was acceptable, for it often proved to be a useful reagent, be it that effects were somewhat unpredictable now and then.

He had time to look for a place, so he wouldn't waste money on a phone booth. He just started going to nearby addresses he'd expect to meet his few requirements. He wouldn't bite the bait too quickly. Laws of chance implied that there were probably some very good flats available at low cost, and he would even consider going through the disgusting discomfort of cheap motels again, if it would lead to finding a nice place in the end.

--Yakuzaishi Sugisata

After a few brief tours of unsatisfactory apartments, one in particular appealed to Yaku's far from specific tastes. It was clean and upscale- the drawback being that it was on the sixth floor, demanding a long journey to reach- and came pre-furnished with a simple couch and a bed, as well as a coffee table and some cutlery. Being a studio apartment, there were no clear divisions- and the floorspace was small- but it would certainly suffice, for the moment. Carpeted floors, and the place even had a nice view of the side alleyway. The price was modest, as well.

Prattering endlessly about how wonderful the place was and what a horrible steal it was at this price, a rather serpentine woman smiled at Yaku, pointing out how the window slid open about a quarter inch- enough to "let in the breeze but keep out the hoodlums", as Ms. Christine Peguerro put it. The place was clearly underpriced- that much was clear- but there couldn't be -no- reason for the low price, could there?

"Do we have a deal then, Mister...?" Clearly searching for his name- doubtless indecipherable to her American sensibilities- and extending a hand to close the deal, Ms. Peguerro grinned wolfishly. She had Yaku in her sights, and wasn't going to take no for an answer.


The place seemed perfect, alright. Although Yaku would have settled for a place that lacked the comfort and style of his parental home if necessary, he still preferred a studio like this. He realized this was a form of weakness -he was spoilt, in a way- but considering the recent troubles he'd had, he would normally allow himself this geste.

However, this woman acted like somebody trying to talk him into something. There had to be a catch; a couple of young, hormone-filled neighbors? Something more serious? Perhaps this Peguerro woman was a bit stupid, although the predator look in her eyes dictated otherwise. He himself had his usual stern mask on, that kept people out of his way most of the time.

"It's "Sata". I suppose it is a regular one month, three month, nine month contract?" If it was, he would close the deal. The worst thing that could happen was to end up living in a flat with an amateur country singer under him for a month. And that was still better than another round of motels.

--Yakuzaishi Sugisata

"Mister Sata... right." She affirmed, practically vibrating with the effort needed to maintain that winsome grin. Ms. Peguerro paraded her way toward the window, practically sashaying- though the effort put into the strut more or less robbed it of its elegance- as she moved. It was almost as if she didn't want to look Yaku in the eyes as she made the arrangement.

"The contract is standard, yes. My agency provides both fixed-rent and share-rent. I trust, since you know something of places to stay, that you've travelled a lot? Stayed in a lot of places?" She shrugged, seemingly wiping smudges from the glass, before continuing. "Well, in any event, I think you are familiar with the rental plans. Do you have any particular preference?"

And then she turned toward Yaku and smiled widely- almost eerily- as if this were the closing point of a pitch she was desperate to make. "Once we get this settled, and you sign the paperwork," a cursory gesture toward the coffee table was offered, upon which a few business documents were set, as she spoke, "you'll have an apartment, and we'll have a deal."


Yakuzaishi rejected the hypothesis that this woman was unintelligent. But it was still possible that she was crazy, and he wouldn't care about that too much. Something definitely smelt fishy, though. Her wicked smile was the final nudge.

"Forgive me to ask, Ms Peguerro, but are you in urgent need of a renter? The price you ask doesn't seem to match the accommodations you offer." Yaku tried to re-establish eye contact with her, without blinking. He knew enough of basic human interaction to look right above her eyebrows. That way, he would seem confident, but not aggressive.

"Unless there is some disadvantage you feel you should tell me about, I think we can make this deal." Not that he expected her to tell her anything, if she truly was framing him. But maybe her body language would reveal her lies.

--Yakuzaishi Sugisata

"In this city, one is always in need of an urgent renter. There is always the hustle and bustle of things. Everything moves faster, here, and renting is no exception." Her words rang with truth, and there was no real sense of foreboding about them, but it seemed that she was reluctant as she turned and smiled at Yaku.

"The former owner wasn't very well liked, I'm afraid." A kind of slow frown settled upon her face. "And I think the feeling was mutual. He complained consistently of loud neighbours, who of course all denied his accusations. It didn't take long before the irritation built up between them, and before long Mister Windsor was no longer staying with us." A smile on her lips, then, as if relieved to have finally told the story- or enough of it to get by, anyhow.

"Rest assured, though, there are never complaints of noise within this complex. We keep our tenents under a tight leash, and it is quite likely that Lucas was a bit on the oversensitive side. Nobody else complained, after all." She shook her head. "He spread rumors, before he left, and so the 'usual crowd' isn't exactly hard up for renting. For a while, he lurked outside the building and convinced any who might look at the apartment not to do so. A persuasive fellow... I believe he used to be a Senator, though I'm not entirely sure. Whatever the case, he has driven off most of the tenents, and we do so need someone to rent."

"If you're oversensitive to noise, then perhaps you should consider how many other deals this good you might find." Thin eyebrow raised upon her rather youthful face, as if daring him to take the risk of a better bargain.


Yaku disliked her for her tourist expos� about the particularities of this city, as if she was -of course in a way, this was the case- giving a guided tour. He'd lived here for the past twenty years himself, so he concluded that this woman most probably associated his skin color with the assumption that he wasn't from these parts.

Her story sounded rather convincing. There probably were some rather noisy neighbors, he figured, but this man was probably the archetypical old nag. He made note of the name Lucas Windsor nonetheless, but he felt safe enough now to sign the contract.

"Alright, miss Peguerro. You've convinced me. I shall sign this contract of yours now," he said, with an insincere friendly smile. "May this be a fruitful relation for us both." After thoroughly reading through the sheet of paper for possible catches, he signed.

--Yakuzaishi Sugisata

She smiled victoriously, delighted in her own personal capabilities-- and in the fact that she had managed to make a sale to what was obviously a distrusting asian man. Fortunatley, Peguerro was not exactly a racist- but rather assumed everyone was completely ignorant, and found that most of her customers- who were older families looking to get settled- tended to like being babies. Coddling, as a result, had turned into her most successful sale strategy.

"So glad to do business with you, sir," she nodded as the papers were signed, bearing no sign of any sort of catch within them- of course, the rent was a bit higher than Yaku might have been used to, but the amount was almost negligible in the grand scheme of things, and it seemed a small price to pay, all things considered. Her smile insincerely mirrored Yaku's own, and with a couple of departing notes- and the placing of the keys firmly in the young man's hands, she fled from the scene.

Yaku was alone in his own place of residence, the world spread before him.


Now he had the issue of his lodgings arranged, it was time for the more difficult task at hand. Over the past few days, he had run out of supplies. Now that he no longer had access to the university lab, he needed a different source.

There was no clear solutions. Pharmacies didn't hire people without a degree. If he weren't Japanese, he could have tried to get a job as a pharmacist's assistant, claiming he had a foreign degree. A good businessman seldom says no to the offer of a cheap, capable help.

With the bad reputation of the Japanese these days -and this was generalized to anybody clearly of Asian descent- he was forced to start looking for the darker corners of urban society. Quacks, junks, mobsters. He disliked such environments as much as anybody else, especially since he wasn't a good fighter.

Not quite at ease enough to leave his belongings in the strange apartment just yet, he hoisted his stuff down again, looking for the murky side of town. [/i]

--Yakuzaishi Sugisata

The canyons of concrete and glass overwhelmed the blue sky as monoliths, consuming one's viewpoint with the clutter of modern civilization. Upper Manhattan was awake. German, Jews, Irish, Puerto Ricans, and blacks set up their business. Fruit carts, barber shops, liquor stores, markets, butchers, bakeries, cobblers, newsstands, and diners bombarded the senses. Few cars could make their way through Washington Heights and those that did were not around long. It was a walking neighborhood where children peddled their father's wares and an oligarchy reigned supreme.

The Irish and Italians owned different blocks and frequently fell into skirmishes over territory. It was clear who the people of this city answered to. The underworld police patrolled the streets in expensive suits and fedoras. Even prominent Latin families proudly presented their power with zoot suits: men swimming in cloth and outrageously large hats.

Deep in the reef of humanity, Yaku was unnoticed by all. Another minority in the dark world of lower class and poverty.

--Laveaux 20:46, 14 December 2005 (CST)

The myriad of skin colors didn't make Yakuzaishi uncomfortable as it might have made a bourgeois caucasian citizen. It rather made him feel at ease, since here he wasn't exception, and could operate in the habitat he preferred: anonymity.

He scanned all scenes he passed attentively. He didn't quite know what to look for. A Chinese opium den? Some shady drug store? A place inhabited by squatters? He preferred not to turn to criminals who looked decent. With criminals, trustworthiness and honesty was the inverse function of how respectable they looked, Yaku thought.

Slowly but steady, the difficulties of the life he had chosen for became apparent to him; this would not become a very easy life, it seemed.

--Yakuzaishi Sugisata

He did not have to wait long before noticed. A toothless, unshowered man who still managed to wear a suit and fedora, scurried up to Yaku with wide eyes and and mischievous half-smile. His odor preempted his arrival and the various stains on his shirt suggested a liquor habit.

"Hey, Jap! Hey, Jap! You speak American? You understand English?"

He came in closer and in a voice only they could hear he said, "I got some wings, you want some? I can give you a good price. You look like you could use a distraction? Want some wings?"

--Laveaux 20:46, 14 December 2005 (CST)

The absence of tooth and the apparent lack of elementary hygiene were hopeful signs to Yaku; they were common traits for junks. The fact that the man was still reasonably dressed too -if dirty- could mean he had a flourishing business, which would in turn mean that the quality of his goods was of decent quality.

"I do."

"Depends on how well your wings fly, good man. Whether they won't make me crash if I don't want to. It also depends on the variety of wings you have on offer, and the price you charge them. I myself am a manufacturer of aeroplanes, so it is of great importance for me to buy only the best wings. Otherwise, my passengers will complain." Gnarus Arcani, MCMXLVII ->

--Yakuzaishi Sugisata

The pusher cracked under the pressure of intelligence. He reeled backward, stuttered and looked around quickly to see if anyone heard. His puzzled face calculated the words and after rejecting the notion that Yaku manufactured aircraft, the subtext finally dissolved into meaning. Understanding illuminated his face and he gripped Yaku's wrist, leaning in close enough to unleash most odors he carried.

"You must meet my boss," he said.

Jerking him into the direction of one of the many stretches of stores and vendors, he lead Yaku into a jazz club called Riff's. The smoky interior, although too early for customers, was inhabited instead by an array of black musicians, tuning trombones, saxophones, and stand-up basses. They looked up at the intruders, paused for a moment and then continued smoking, bantering and sipping whiskey.

The pusher opened up the back office where a large balding black man sat over a pile of paperwork. He wore a suit, but the jacket was discarded in favor of a vest, revealing his obesity in full form. He looked up at the two and placed a lit cigar between his lips.

"Get this piece of godless trash out of my office, Lefty."

"You gotta talk to this guy, boss, you gotta. He's in."

"Lefty, if you are wasting my goddamned time, I'll remove a finger for every minute he's in here, you understand?"

The pusher didn't look so sure and so shoved Yaku forward to commence the meeting.

--Laveaux 20:46, 14 December 2005 (CST)

Yaku resisted the urge to break down the metaphor the poor sod had started himself. If he didn't understand, he wasn't worth while. He was glad the man's brain wasn't that rot yet.

He considered following the man. The fishy character of this personae wasn't what you'd call trustworthy. Then again, if he intended to rob Yaku, well, there wasn't much to be robbed.

Yakuzaishi liked jazz music. The instant mixing of scales and chords reminded him of chemistry; the artists being the reagents and the music the compound, in which the whole was more than the sum of the parts. The fact that it was a "black" club didn't bother him at all, to the contrary. He felt more at home here than in fancy "white" student bars. The presence of some public also took away the fear that he would end up dead in the short run.

Yaku didn't initiate conversation, as Japanese etiquette prescribed. Most of the time, Japanese etiquette worked remarkably well with fat macho men, especially if they had a bad temper.

--Yakuzaishi Sugisata

The large man studied Yaku for a moment and resigned to the meeting. Putting his things aside he pulled a bottle of whiskey from his desk and two shot glasses. He poured one for each of them as a gesture of American business commencing.

"What are you offering? I need sales, manufacturers, and diplomats."

As the custom unfolded and the business was stated, he took a shot, keeping the bottle in hand and waited for Yaku's response.

"He manufactures," the sod blurted out.

A .45 caliber pistol suddenly jumped from the boss's hip into his hand and pointed deliberately at the other man.

"Leave my god damned office," he said with severe undertones.

The man rapidly obliged and the gun returned to its position on the boss's hip, nestled underneath his belt.

--Laveaux 20:46, 14 December 2005 (CST)

Yaku politely nodded as he accepted the drink. He took a small sip to assess its quality.

He was happy to see the mutant leave the room, although the way he was driven away indicated he had to be careful with the man before him. He decided to be to the point.

"Good day to you, and thank you for receiving me. I have a reasonable knowledge of chemistry, biology, anatomy, psychology and toxicology. Also, I have practical experience. I am in need of supplies for my personal projects; I am willing to work hard for them. I don't wan't to make crap, even if the pay is good. I have no idea of what kind of businesses you run, and don't necessarily need to. Does that sound reasonable to you?"

--Yakuzaishi Sugisata

The big man smiled at is response and waited for Yaku to finish the drink. Although it wasn't urine, it was certainly not 30-year. Scotch flavored water with a lingering afterburn. After finished, he poured two more. Business was still being conducted.

"Manufacturing, then. I have use for you and good money too."

He pulled a 4 ounce brown tincture bottle with a sealed dropper from inside his desk. Taking the moment to sit down and offering a chair behind Yaku for him to do the same he continued.

"Got this from a Chinaman a year ago. He was passing peddling his goddamned heathen piss water all over town. This stuff . . . well this was his gold. The son of bitch found his head bashed into a gutter one fateful evening so I never got the god damned recipe. Never seen shit like it before or since and I only give it to my highest paying customers. A single drop for the flight of your goddamned life. Five hundred."

He allowed another smile to cross his face, "But, if you are who you say you are, you can find out what this shit is and make me more. That being the goddamned offer on the table, I'd let you take a sample to try for yourself and an additional sample to duplicate the goddamned chemical compound. That's a thousand dollar goddamned value."

He took his shot, concluding his part of the business talk, "Of course, you'd need to pay back every goddamned penny if you can't make it."

--Laveaux 20:46, 14 December 2005 (CST)

The malt brew was apparently not of the finest quality; Yaku didn't bother. As long as it wasn't the type that would make him go blind, it didn't really matter. He looked at the brown glass bottle with interest. At least the person who had stored it hadn't been a total pothead, and had had the sense to put the suposedly priceless product in a decent recipient.

Yaku condsidered the facts at hand. He decided to be entirely honest with this probably dangerous man. "In theory, I think it would be rather easy to find out," he said, while looking at the bottle with squeezed eyes.

"The greatest problem that could arise is access to a decent laboratory, sir. Although I have enough equipment for basic procedures, it may be -I don't know- that I don't have the right tools for the job. Should I have time, and access to the necessary machines, I'm certain I can find out what it is, and how to make it. Without those conditions fulfilled, it is more risky."

"I propose the following, if I may. Give me but one dose, and get me a description of the compound's effects. I need to know what it's like, for that could already be an indication as to which ingredients are required. I'll only use the sample to duplicate. I'll try to provide you with the formula; if you want it produced too, you'll need to provide me with the raw materials, whatever they may be. If I fail, I pay back half the price of one dose. If I succeed, I don't, naturally."

"Finally, I'd like membership of your jazz club if I succeed." Yaku hoped this dry humor would mask the fact that he was driving a hard bargain. Perhaps the alcohol level of his conversation partner would help too.

--Yakuzaishi Sugisata

The big man considered the counter-offer and poured shots again. The negotiations were to continue as indicated by the perpetuation of the this man's custom. The bottle still out on the table and the glasses full, he remained seated, but attentive. His consideration was short-lived.

"The goddamned truth of the matter, Jap, is I got no goddamned idea how to make this shit so my preverbial juggular is in your goddamned hands. Having never taken the shit myself, I can't tell you more then that it makes you goddamned fly. I'm not one for hallucinagens, as a goddamned business man I need to be on my feet all the goddamned time."

It was becoming clear that his blasphemous adjective of choice was thrown out without even realizing it.

"So the table is still open to another goddamned proposal. I give you a free goddamned dose with no financial strings attached in any goddamned way. You try it out and decide for yourself what it does and then you get another dose to experiment with, which must be compensated for in full if you fail. Five hundred value. I have all the equipment you need and all the jazz you could poke a goddamned stick at."

He took his shot to close the counter-offer.

--Laveaux 20:46, 14 December 2005 (CST)

Yakuzaishi had estimated the chances correctly, it seemed. The man apparently didn't have much to negotiate about. The fact that his swearing was an automatism without any true meaning reassured him somehow as well. This way, it wasn't a real counter-indication of the man's self-control.

Yaku touched the man's glass briefly with his own. "If you have the necessary equipment, I'd be more than happy to agree on this proposal. I think it is a fair deal. Cheers!"

--Yakuzaishi Sugisata

The big man accepted the toast and drank another. Fortunately for Yaku, he was not yet completely inebriated. It was certain, however, that if this was how business was conducted in this establishment he would have to work on his alcohol tolerance.

"Call me Pete," he said.

Taking a very careful pull from the bottle he handed the eye dropper over to Yaku.

"Now a good time to fly, friend? Or how else would you god damned want it?"

--Laveaux 20:46, 14 December 2005 (CST)

Yaku considered whether this Pete was bluffing high and testing him.

"Now would obviously be a wrong time, Sir. Possible interaction effects with the alcohol in my blood stream would make it impossible to draw any valid conclusions about the workings of the substane. It is essential that I am sober when I take it."

"I have still one question for you, if I may, totally unrelated to the matter at hand. Wouild you have any particualr information about a man named Lucas Windsor? Presumably a Senator, or in any case a man of good standing."

--Yakuzaishi Sugisata

The big man smiled for a moment, freezing his offer. A deep laugh rumbled in his belly and he returned the eye dropper to the bottle. Shaking his head as he absorbed whatever it was he found to be funny, he opened another desk drawer with a simple manilla envelope.

"You've changed my opinion on the goddamned Japs," he said, "You aren't a bunch of goddamned savages after all. There's a hit on my own special paper."

Puffing thoughtfully on his cigar.

"I know Windsor. Congressman for the 15th. He hasn't made very many friends around here. Trying to clean up the goddamned mess of Wash Heights. He's in league with the sunnuva bitch Truman. Just won an election in '46 after bribing the goddamned unions to keep their mouths shut. Think he's got support from the goddamned Balducci's . . . how else would he get those bastards to shut up.

"Why do you ask?"

The question was innocent enough and Pete returned heavily to his seat.

--Laveaux 20:46, 14 December 2005 (CST)

"Thank you very much, Sir", Yaku replied, relfexively nodding his head upon accepting the valuable envelope. Apparently it had been a test. This man wasn't nearly as stupid or unrefined as he seemed. That made hima dangerous enemy, or a very useful employer if Yaku managed to do his job well.

"I have just moved into a new appartment, Sir. It is exceptionally cheap, considering its location and comfort, and although the landlady clearly was nervous about something, there's nothing obviously wrong with it.

Senator Windsor was the previous renter, apparently, complaining about lots of noise while living there, and making a substantial deal of negative publicity for the appartment after he left it. It is absurd in any case for an -until recently- unemployed student to be able to rent an appartment previously inhabited by a Senator, it seems to me. Due to the legal nature of my future activities there, I was wondering whether it is safe. And due to your presumed knowledge of certain aspects of this city, I thought perhaps you would be able to clarify this little enigma."

Yaku hoped it wasn't very stupid to give this man his address, if only indirectly. [/i]

--Yakuzaishi Sugisata

Pete listened half interest as he puffed his cigar and then began rifling through papers on his desk.

"He ain't a Senator. He's a goddamned Congressman. Not that there's much of a goddamned difference these days. I wouldn't sweat the goddamned room, Jap, trust me, Windsor wasn't living there. He was meeting people there. It was probably a Balducci joint. Might still be. Tell you what, you see some greaseback goddamned guineas go through there watch your wallet and do what they say.

At last finding what he was looking for, Pete handed Yaku a business card with nothing but an address and a key taped to the back.

"That's my lab. Don't let any-goddamned-one see you go in."

--Laveaux 20:46, 14 December 2005 (CST)

Yaku was somewhat confused by the man's explanations, as they didn't really clarify the fishy fog around his new appartment to him.

He accepted the card with a serious look on his face. "Don't worry, Sir. I will be very careful." Yaku was incredibly curious. If Pete was willing to go through so much troubles to find out about this stuff, it was either very addictive, or something very special. He hoped the latter was the case. He almost couldn't wait for the whole process of analysing, deducting, and synthesising.

"Alright then, Sir," said Yaku while standing up, one hand on the back of the chair, his other tcking away the important objects in his pockets. I shall wait until I'm sober enought to start my work. I shall take up contact with you soon. How do I reach you? Should I just come here, or would you prefer a different arrangement?"

--Yakuzaishi Sugisata

"I don't use telephones. Who knows what goddamned face they're makin' on the other line. I only meet people in person. You need to see me, you go here.

"I ain't got a deadline unless I feel it's taking you too goddamned long."

Snickering under his breath he said, "Goddamned Jap can't even handle a little meetin' booze."

Pete continued puffing his stogie and pointed to the door.

--Laveaux 20:46, 14 December 2005 (CST)

Yaku woke up in his own flat. He folded back the blankets, and made some green tea the way his father had taught him.

Today he would start his research about the substance neatly packed away in his briefcase. He would go to the lab before noon and do some thorough investigating.

He had gone for an early sleep two days ago, after visiting Pete. The headache of the subsequent morning had easily convinced him not to start working on his new project just yet. He enjoyed drinking now and then, but he never consommated such cheap spirits. The pleasure they brought couldn't compensate for the sickness. Hence, he had spent most of his day getting fresh air and feeling like throwing up, though it never actually happened.

He'd used the opportunity to explore his neighbourhood and buy some basic groceries for the flat. Finding a library was one of his greatest concerns, for he no longer had access to the university library. It was very well possible that he'd need to do some research, and he just hoped he would find the required volumes at that point.

He'd noted no spectacular events in his appartment, so he was a little more at ease there now.

Slowly but steady, he had started to feel less lousy. He had decided to take an early sleep nonetheless; he was eager to get working.

He sipped from his tea and ate some left-over rice from yesterday. The tips of the grains had already become a bit hard and dry, but they were still edible. It was safer not to start tripping with an entirely empty stomach.

Then, he dressed, gathered his equipment, and left for Pete's lab, the epinephrine of excitement singing a jittery tune in his veins, muscles and brains.

--Yakuzaishi Sugisata

In the backwaters of midtown, buried beneath a cramped and unruly series of towering redbrick residences, Pet's lab would not have been noticed unless it was looked for. A nondescript rusted door with a heavy padlock was positioned at the foot of concrete stairs bringing the traveler beneath the street level.

Once inside, it was clear the outside appearance was more pleasing. Low hanging industrial lamps cast florescence into a cluttered and misused laboratory. A tile floor was victim to many breaks, spills, and piles of clutter. Four large countertops sat under dust, stains, and recklessly abandoned tools. Test tubes, beakers, microscopes, Petri dishes, scales, voltage meters, chemical shavings, chemicals, and charts sat askew all over the 700 square-foot chamber. An industrial kitchen sink held unclean dishes and equipment. Moths flew freely at the lamps and the peripheral scurrying of cockroaches scattered into the darkened corners.

It appeared no one had been there in months.

--Laveaux 20:46, 14 December 2005 (CST)

Yaku entered, only after subtly checking whether he was being followed.

He sighed. Whoever had been using this lab, was somebody without elementary respect for his tools and hence for his trade. That, or this place has been visited by a horde of street cats.

There was only one thing he could do. Clean up. He considered briefly whether all this was justa scheme to get this lab cleaned up, but dismissed the thought, as there were easier ways to get a room cleaned. Moreover, he could easily tip the police on this location if he was being used as a cheap cleaner, an enevelope with a blank sheet of paper in his briefcase.

Hence, he set about cleaning the lab. Very roughly at first, clearing away big heaps of clutter, and gradually narrowing his focus, until he would eventually be cleaning the fragile instrumentarium. If necessary, he'd go buy some cleaning products and get some bags to get on top of the emss.

--Yakuzaishi Sugisata

Like a sculptor chiseling away at a block of garbage and clutter, the chemist widdled the messy laboratory into a functional state. It took six hours. During that time, he became very familiar with the layout of the small room, discovered some rather expensive devices, a small closet bathroom, and a half dozen rats. One of the more astounding discoveries was a full chemical encyclopedia set buried on a book shelf underneath discarded garbage bags. Some other treasures included a lab journal and secretarial supplies, a typewriter, a camera and film, magnetic tape recording machine, and a radio.

By the time late afternoon peeked its chilled head into the high basement windows, the cleaning was nearly done. All that was left now was to set up his work.

--Laveaux 20:46, 14 December 2005 (CST)

Although the work was dirty, it was not unpleasant, as the very tangible results became apparent gradually. The fact that the equipment present in the lab was rather extensive was also very stimulating, and made him eager to start his research.

Once he was satisfied of the state of the room, he considered for a while how to proceed further. He could either consume the dose himself, which would put him in debt if he would be willing to research the substance any further.

He could also try to unravel the compound's composition without taking it himself; however, empirical experience would most probably be able to narrow down his scope of research substantially.

The most beneficial path would be of course if he could divide the dosis, but he suspected Pete wouldn't have been that generous with it. He investigated this possibility for a while.

If his expectations would be met, he would take his chance and take the dose himself. In his appartment, of course. There, he felt relatively safe, and he wouldn't have to worry about how long the trip would last, as rats most probably wouldn't chew his ears of there.

--Yakuzaishi Sugisata

Close examination of the sample surprisingly lead Yaku to the conclusion that there was indeed enough of the dose to split it. The residual chemicals in the paper was evenly distributed and with even a moderate tolerance for hallucinogens, half a dose would certainly yield results.

Any chemical diagnosis, however, would require a bit of time and it was difficult to tell what testers would consume the sample and what ones would simply indicate the composition. Although Borax Bead tests and flame tests were possible, there wasn't much to burn and an unclear color would yield mixed results without a bigger sample. If the chemical was extracted then it could be separated with varying saline solutions or other indicators, however the very small amount would make it very tedious as it would need to be done under a microscope.

Certainly by taking the dose, Yaku could eliminate some possibilities, making the range of testing easier. If he chose to do that first, it would be an ideal time. Evening was rapidly approaching and there was a good twelve hours before the sun would rise again. Any adverse affects would likely go unnoticed by his sleeping neighbors.

--Laveaux 20:46, 14 December 2005 (CST)

Carefully considering all his options, Yaku decided to take the half dose. He put some last bits of clutter back in place, locked the place up carfully, and returned to his flat at great pace, eager out of curiosity.

Once in his safe, clean habitat, he locked his door, closed the curtains, and set about neatly cutting the piece of paper in two by means of a sterile scalpel. He put one of both pieces safely away in his briefcase, as well as his sharp instruments, and made sure there was an empty bucket and a bottle of water next to his bed. Finally, he undressed, lay down on his bed, and brought the piece of paper in contact with his tongue.

--Yakuzaishi Sugisata

For the first hour nothing happened. He became drastically dehydrated within half an hour and increasingly hyperactive over the next half hour, almost as if he had taken a form of ephedrine or ma juang. Then the effects came erupting all at once as his mind adjusted itself with the narcotic.

It started with the sensation that his tongue was rapidly flapping, as if a flag in high winds. Physical inspection would deduce that his tongue was doing no such thing. His limbs then became very heavy and circulation almost came to a complete halt. Disconnecting mentally from his ability to control motor functions, the increased energy could not be released by moving his body. Instead it forced him to internalize.

The room swept up from beneath him, spinning into a vortex. Thoughts magnified into horrific decibels, entire conversations replaying verbatim. The more the room spun, the large the blackness at the center of the vortex became until it was complete dark around him. Relative to the darkness he was no longer moving, suspended perhaps, in an unconscious stasis. Completely unable to determine if he'd fallen asleep or was seeing hallucinations, he now had his motor functions back and could move his extremities.

What was once dark began to bleed into crooked daylight. Forms of New York pedestrians passed through, completely matted, darkened and distorted, he saw only shapes of people. As each passed he heard what was surely their own thoughts. . .

. . . bastard people in my way. I'VE GOTTA GO TO WORK! MOVE! MOVE! GET THE HELL OUT OF MY WAY! . . .

. . . maybe he'll call tonight. It's only been two nights, that's not too long is it? Maybe he's busy. . .

. . .burritos like they do Juarez. Man, I want some good chile . . .

. . .can't find me. I'm smarter than them. . .

. . .yeah, bend over baby, like that. . .

The voices ran into each other the quicker the forms passed. They faded into distorted obscurity and then standing in the midst of it all was the perfectly rendered form of a panther sitting poised and watching him.

The darkness fled away stripping the forms with it and the vortex, that was presumably flowing the entire time resumed around him. It finally slowed to a shaky halt. Although the room continued to appear elastic and disproportioned, he could function somewhat normally. It was two in the morning and it would be two more hours before he felt sober and extraordinarily dehydrated.

--Laveaux 20:46, 14 December 2005 (CST)

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