Post by Tiago James Squalor on Jun 1, 2013 19:16:44 GMT -5
- - - - -
The Loathsome Laboratory
If you do not apreciate stories involving terrifying scientific experiments then do not read THE LOATHSOME LABORATORY, as it tells the terrible events the Quagmire triplets witnessed at Lugae Laboratories.
The ingredients to this story are; human guinea pigs, acid and other harmful substances, failed experiments and other abominations, a shocking secret brought to light, a mad scientist, and a very destructive chain reaction.
Like the many dangerous formulas and chemicals, this book can also poison you with it's vile contents, and for that I advise you to read something else, like a chemistry book.
It will be interesting to see the Quagmires in a more structured, orderly environment for a change, and perhaps to get some answers. I like how the alliteration in the setting's name is reflected in the title, too.
Post by Tiago James Squalor on Jun 6, 2013 10:12:09 GMT -5
- - - - -
Jill Nebra's Scientific Journal - An Excerpt
"[...] With subjects 12 and 13 still A.W.O.L. Grimstone Research has come to a hault. Other subjects have begun experiencing increased senses, such as sight, hearing, smell, heightened physical strength, as well as the development of capabilities this researcher had never witnessed before. According to Dr. Lugae's theory, Grimstone particles have the potential to [...]. "
This was found in the smoldering ruin that became Lugae Laboratory. At the time the Quagmires must have been well on their way to their next destination. Cid Jetsam and Cindry Fulfillment's fates are unknown.
- Rosa Quigalot, writing from R.R.
P.S.: I have resorted to disguising in drag to call less attention upon myself but then they put me up on a stage where I had to perform in front of a live audience. I received quite an ammount of tips for my number. I used them to bribe the waitress into holding on to my personal documents for a while. If you should meet her, tell her Rosa said hi, and tell her to fax me as soon as she can. My life, and others' depend on it.
Lugae Laboratory is ridiculously sinister, the quintessential mad scientist's castle of evil, although I suspect inside it's a lot shinier. I'm also a little reminded of one of Dr. Wily's castles. As for the earlier teaser, it's interesting to see how you slowly but plausibly take this series into a slightly more science-fiction-ish direction - and it's not inappropriate, as Snicket sampled many genres in ASoUE.
Post by Tiago James Squalor on Jun 7, 2013 7:46:51 GMT -5
- - - - -
[...]A strange crystalline compound of elements never before seen anywhere on this planet. It is believed it comprises not one, but many elements, not of this world, with strange properties. Human DNA is said to react to prolonged exposure to Grimstone particles. So far, results have demonstrated a certain strain of genes to marry perfectly with the particles. Should the infusion process be successful, the subject can experience--[...]
[...]It is an unstable, unreliable source of power, and it will doom us all. It is not of this earth, and therefore, unnatural.[...]
Post by Tiago James Squalor on Jun 9, 2013 13:08:29 GMT -5
One of the most ignored processes in life is the process of awakening. Opening up your eyes, as your conscious self regains control of your body, after a long night of sleep, or a long day, if you couldn’t sleep at night as you were on the run from minsinformed policemen, in a snowy city in the north. It is often said that one instinctively knows if the day – or night – is going to be a good one as they awaken, and in my case, I knew this day would be one of those days, days where I question the value and importance of my mission and myself. Being a fugitive, of course, I could not succumb to those thoughts, and as I write this in an abandoned building I happened to enter while on the run, I think of the Quagmires and what they must have thought as they awakened. Did the bright lights blind them momentarily? Did their bodies hurt from the recent events? Probably. What I do know, is what happened after Quigley, Duncan and Isadora Quagmire awakened from their chemically-induced slumber, in the staff infirmary of Lugae Laboratory.
A long-haired, blonde woman wearing glasses materialized in front of Quigley’s bed, taking notes as the nurses did their job. Yes. The blonde woman was no other than Doctor Jill Nebra, whom the Quagmires had sought for so long. “Sought”, of course, is a word which here means “went through several different definitions of hell to find” which is a more accurate description, if not too much of a mouthful.
‘Oh, you’re awake.’ Dr. Nebra said upon noticing Quigley had opened his eyes. ‘What happened? Where are we?’ Quigley was disoriented, and his head was pounding. On the beds next to him, Isadora and Duncan were awakening as well. ‘We had to use tranquilizers to restrain you. The fall could have damaged your bodies, as well as the impact on the water. Also, your friend was shot. It missed his lung by a few milimiters, the reason why he still lives.’ All that information was too much. There was something strange about Jill Nebra then, something the Quagmires couldn’t put their fingers on – not even if they tried, as they were also strapped to their beds – as she was a bit colder than they had expected.
‘What happened? Where is Cindry?’ Duncan asked, his voice still pasty from the tranquilizers. ‘She is well. For now that’s all you need to know.’ Dr. Nebra said curtly, which is a word that here means ‘abruptly’.
Across the room, which was very large, the Quagmires saw a larger patient bed, and Cid was sleeping, and they could see the respirator and all the different devices, and they just knew. ‘Cid…He’s in a coma isn’t he.’ Isadora uttered, less of a question, but more of a sentence to confirm what was obvious. Dr. Nebra nodded. ‘Yes. He is in a coma. There’s no telling when he will wake up. I assure you, the medical team is doing their best.’ Finally, she had the decency to smile. ‘I’m glad that you were able to find your way here, Quagmires. I was right to place my bets on you.’
That angered the Quagmires deeply. Understandable, really, when you take into account everything they had gone through just to reunite with Dr. Nebra. They had witnessed gruesome murders, the destruction of an entire town – two if you count Tartarus – and had nearly died several times themselves. The Quagmires had every right to give Jill Nebra a piece of their minds. ‘Place your bets on us?’ Quigley scowled. ‘Do you have any idea what we went through?!’
‘Now now, don’t get too excited. You’re still medicated. I’ll be back to check on you in an hour, make sure you eat. You need to replenish your energies. After you’ve eaten and bathed, I’ll receive you in my room, and we’ll talk.’ Dr. Nebra said, forcing Quigley down on his bed with one hand. Her nails were flawless, a work of art in manicure. ‘I have many things to talk to you about, Quagmires. I’ll answer your questions in time, and I’ll need for you to answer a few of mine as well. Quid pro quo.’
Quigley, Isadora and Duncan frowned. Quid pro quo is technically the latin equivalent of telling someone ‘one hand washes the other’ which can also mean ‘tit for tat’. You get the gist of it, my well-read, dear reader. Jill Nebra, after sending the Quagmires on a nearly-fatal mission, was now demanding answers herself.
‘I have to go now.’ Dr. Nebra said. She turned away from the Quagmires, her long blonde hair cascading down and flowing with the motion. It seemed even longer than the Quagmires remembered. The sound of her heels clacking against the hard stone floor, Jill Nebra left the infirmary with the doors sliding behind her, disappearing once again.
The Quagmires examined their surroundings. The dichotomy of the room was aparent; it was like a chamber in an old castle, but with modern apparel and technology ingrained into it. For once, the doors were metallic sliding doors that moved swiftly and without noise. The screens of the devices keeping Cid Jetsam alive cast a green glow in the room, which was otherwise barely lit. On other beds they could see as much as the outline of other patients, as curtains were used for privacy. Nurses walked here and there taking measures to keep the patients alive. A large window let in the moonlight. Quigley got up from his bed, his paper patient dress rustling and crumpling.
‘Where are my clothes!?’ Quigley shouted. A nurse quickly appeared. ‘Oh no, you can’t go about just yet, you’re still medicated, you have to eat and bathe!’ She pushed Quigley as delicately as a nurse can push a patient and made him lay on the bed. She covered him with the blanket. ‘I’ll bring you some food, now stay put and don’t you move. We had to exchange your stitches too. Your wound opened in the fall.’
‘My wound?’ Quigley touched his stomach. His harpoon wound was throbbing, but there barely any pain. ‘Oh yes…The harpoon.’ It all came back too quickly to him, his brother and sister could tell just by looking at him. The apartment building, the murder of Dr. Rowan, Rose Hawthorne, the hope of finding Violet Baudelaire at Deluge Dam. And now the Quagmires had found their way to that laboratory, with no idea on how they’d gotten there, or what would happen next. None of them knew, but I do know everything that happened from their arrival to the complete destruction of the laboratory because of a terrible decision made by someone entirely unfit to make it. Yes, because as the Quagmire triplets recovered in that infirmary, the clock was ticking, and their time would run out.
Post by Tiago James Squalor on Jun 9, 2013 16:08:05 GMT -5
After eating their meal – a warm bowl of soup and a strange fruit juice as well as a cup of coffee each – the Quagmire triplets were allowed to leave their beds to bathe. It had been so long since they had warm water to bathe or shower in that they rejoiced when they felt the heat. ‘Damn this feels good.’ Said Quigley entering the huge bathtub. Duncan was already inside. Isadora was in a different bathtub. Space was limited, so Quigley and Duncan had to share theirs, but they didn’t mind. They had barely escaped death, and the warm bath made life feel almost too good.
‘Quigley…Are we going to talk about…You know.’ Duncan eyed his brother with a guilt-ridden look on his face. It took him two seconds to know what Duncan was talking about. Just before their fall to the depths, Quigley and Duncan had pulled the triggers of their guns, aimed at Jannus, the leader of the Tartarus cultists, and killed him. Never before had they resorted to such extreme measures, but they were in desperate times.
‘Are we going to jail?’ Duncan asked. ‘No. No one needs to know what we did. We know what we had to do. It was either that, or lose Isadora. The bastard nearly killed Cid, for crying out loud.’ Quigley said. He would shed no tears for Jannus, that was for sure. His and his siblings’ innocence had perished long ago, with the fire, and their parents. It would do no one any good to dwell in guilt. It would just drive them mad. Hesitating now meant death, and no one knew it better than the Quagmire triplets.
‘I’m not even sure where we are to be honest. I couldn’t find Jeremiah Hudson’s journal.’ Isadora said from across a screen that separated her bathtub from her siblings. ‘What about-‘ Duncan asked in a worried tone but Quigley made a sign for him to stop speaking.
‘We could be under surveillance right now. Let’s not spill the beans without knowing all the factors.’ Quigley suggested. Of course, the Quagmires were talking about their pieces of Grimstone, one very large, the other considerably smaller, found in Jeremiah Hudson’s mausoleum and in Seth Lockhart’s apartment at Cronenberg Colossus Apartments. Both had died taking the whereabouts of each piece with them. Quigley had noticed someone had gone through their things but whoever it was didn’t find the pieces, which he thought was very lucky. Grimstone was a very powerful substance and the Quagmires had seen first hand the consequences of it’s misuse.
After the Quagmires had cleaned, they were escorted back to the infirmary by a couple of nurses. When they entered the infirmary, something was off. ‘I could have sworn there were ten patients before we left. Weren’t there ten patients?’ Isadora asked one of the nurses, who smiled nervously. ‘Well, their treatment was done, you see. So they were returned to their positions.’ The nurse said. For a second she seemed as if she was going to say more, but another nurse gave her a reproachful look and she became silent as grave.
It was true, however, that there were ten patients other than the Quagmires in the room, excluding Cid Jetsam, still hooked to the machines. Now there were only seven. Three of them had disappeared, their beds had been made, and no one asked any questions. It was a very uneasy feeling, and as the Quagmires later discovered, such uneasiness was not unwarranted.
In one of the beds was Cindry Fulfillment. She was awake, and she had Jeremiah Hudson’s diary in her hands. Upon seeing the Quagmires, Cindry smiled, embarrassed. ‘Sorry. I took it earlier.’ Isadora sat by her bed. ‘It’s okay. You have a right to read it.’
‘So my aunt knew this man? He was a scientist, it says here. And it says here he once worked in this very laboratory, long ago.’ Cindry stated. ‘It’s plausible. We won’t know for sure until we ask her. And I mean to give her a piece of my mind as well.’ Quigley said bluntly. He was fed up of being treated as a child. While legally, Quigley could still be considered one for lack of age, the stubble on his chin and jawline said otherwise, and so did all the things he had said and done to survive.
‘My aunt…I looked so hard for her while I was out there. Me and Nemo did. What a surprise to find out she was here the whole time.’ Cindry gave a sad laugh, the kind of laughter someone has when they have no strength to cry. ‘We’ll find Nemo, Cindry. You’ll find him again.’ Isadora said, comforting her friend. But Nemo’s disappearance had been specially painful for herself. Isadora and Nemo had begun a short-lived romance aboard The Great Unknown, a romance made of stolen moments, longing glances, and silent admiration.
Quigley, on the other hand, had his reunion with Violet aboard that wretched vessel, only to see himself being separated from her again, with no choice but to go into stasis for two years, with next to no hope of seeing her again. When said hope had been rekindled, it quickly dissolved again once he reached the place they thought she would be waiting for him. She never waited for him. She was running herself.
And Duncan, whose affections for Cid were as ill-fated as Cid himself. The destruction of Deluge Dam had broken him, and he only lived to help the Quagmires survive. Now that he was on the brink of death, Duncan checked every five minutes the movement of Cid’s chest – checking to know he was still there even though he wasn’t. Duncan wasn’t even sure his affections could even be taken seriously by Cid, a man much older and experienced.
‘Do you think he’s listening?’ Duncan asked his siblings while looking at Cid. ‘He could be, for all we know. They must have put in a coma so that his body didn’t go into shock from the strain it was in.’ Cindry was the one to answer. ‘What about you? Did Doctor Nebra talk to you?’ This time Cindry didn’t answer.
‘Are you kidding me? What is that woman thinking?’ Quigley was particularly bewildered. You would think after finding her long lost niece Jill Nebra would waste no time in showing her affection, but apparently she had not yet done so. It was all too strange. It was in that moment that the doors of the infirmary opened, and the Quagmire triplets saw them for the first time.
One of them was a woman, with her dark hair held up in an up-do by a strange hat, or was it a headband?, who wore glasses balanced perfectly on her straight, flawless nose. He eyes were grey, beneath two perfectly arched eyebrows, her lashes as black as night. Beneath her doctor’s white coat, she wore a dark purple suit and on her feet, two black high-heeled boots.
The other one was a man, who was very tall. His head was divided into two halves, with a visible hairline in the middle of his head. His beard was shaved in a very strange shape. He also wore glasses over his pale blue eyes. Under his coat he wore a dark red suit and plaid pants with dark leather shoes with metallic points. His glasses’ frame seemed to be of gold.
The third, also a man, was considerably younger than the other two. His hair was dark as well, but not as dark as the other two. His eyes were a lusterless grey, and his skin very pale. The white doctor’s coat looked specially large on him. Underneath his coat he wore unremarkable, clothes that were all but unordinary. His only luxurious accessory was his smirk. It was the smirk of a cat, a cat which has the mouse under his paw.
The Quagmires noticed their identification cards hanging from their coats. A bar code was visible on each. The three individuals just stood there for a moment, as if apreciating the sight of the the Quagmires, Cindry and the bedridden Cid.
‘Hello. I’m afraid we haven’t been introduced. I am Doctor Luccia Lugae. These are my colleagues, Doctor Victor Crane and Doctor Serph Sheffield.’ Doctor Lugae said. ‘Lugae? As in, Lugae Laboratory Lugae?’ Isadora asked. The woman turned to her, almost as if pleased that it was Isadora that asked. ‘Yes. Doctor Ludovico Lugae is my father, and the Head Researcher of this Laboratory, which he founded many years ago. I merely followed in his footsteps, and I will take over this lab one day.’
Behind Luccia, Dr. Sheffield’s smirk widened.
‘We came here to ask some questions, if you will answer them. It won’t take long.’ Dr. Luccia Lugae explained. ‘Alright.’ Quigley examined the three doctors. They did not seem one bit trustworthy, that much was obvious. And he was right. ‘On your journey through the mines, did you ever perhaps find a settlement? A human settlement? And if you did, did you reach it?’
‘You know the answer to that.’ Quigley said before the others could speak. It was fairly obvious. The elevator they had arrived at was clearly linked to the depths of the mines, encrusted deeply into the mountain. That was certainly known by the doctors already. But what was also obvious was what they were getting at.
‘You want to know if we met a certain man down there, correct?’ Quigley asked.
Doctor Luccia Lugae smiled. ‘Yes. Did you see him? He looked a lot like this.’ She produced a small portrait of the man, contained inside a locket she wore, concealed under her coat. It was him.
‘Yes. We met him.’ Quigley saw little point in hiding the fact that they had met Jannus, the leader of the deranged cultists of Tartarus. What was important was to not let anyone know what killed him. ‘What became of him, if I may ask?’ Dr. Lugae asked. ‘His cart was on the wrong side of the tracks. He fell, and he must have died.’
‘Interesting.’ She said, scanning into Quigley’s eyes, looking for a lie. He could feel her mistrust, but Quigley had learned how to lie long ago. ‘Why the interest in him?’ Duncan asked.
‘That is classified information we cannot divulge. If you’ll excuse us, we have to go. Sheffield. Crane.’ Dr. Luccia Lugae turned around and headed out, followed by the other two. Doctor Crane followed her right away but Doctor Sheffield took one last look at the Quagmires, with his cat-like smirk, and then exited the room.
‘I don’t like them.’ Cindry said after they left. ‘I can’t decide which one is the creepiest.’
‘I think it’s the young one. That smirk is just too off-putting.’ Isadora stated. ‘I think it’s the tall one. Did you see how pale his eyes were? Almost colorless. And that beard of his…’ Duncan said. ‘For me it’s the woman. I have a bad feeling about this Doctor Ludovico Lugae, and this place, and if she is his daughter, that makes her the worst of the three of them.’ Quigley said, while walking towards his cabinet, where his belongings were stored. He put on his beaten-up jacket. ‘Let’s go. We have to find Jill Nebra. I have a few things I want to ask her.’
‘We can’t all go. Who will stay with Cid and Cindry?’ Isadora asked, unsettled. ‘I can take of myself, Isadora. I’ll watch Cid too. Go ahead, and take this. I can’t understand most of what this man wrote anyway.’ Cindry handed Isadora Jeremiah Hudson’s journal.
‘Don’t let them take you, or Cid.’ Duncan said to Cindry as a final recommendation. She smiled and nodded.
As they were about to leave, a nurse stopped them, or tried to. ‘Where do you think you’re going? You all have resting to do!’ Quigley dismissed her. ‘We’ve rested more than we should have. And we have to speak with Doctor Jill Nebra now. Where is she?’
The nurse was unaccostumed to being talked to that way by a patient. ‘She is either in her office or her personal lab. You cannot go into ther lab. There’s bio-hazard. If you must meet her, go to her office in the annex building. It’s on the third floor.’
And with that piece of information, the three Quagmires left the infirmary, all three of them bent on unravelling the mystery of Jill Nebra once and for all.
Interesting start, Tiago. Certainly the Quagmires aren't being treated quite so well as you might hope by somebody who was depending on them. That's nothing new in this world, but that doesn't make it right. The laboratory seems pretty flagrantly evil, too, but on the plus side, it isn't overtly antagonistic to the Quagmires. They may at last be able to learn something important about their mission.
(Also, I'm not sure if you held onto the detail about the Quagmires being strapped to their beds, owing to Quigley trying to get up at the end of Chapter One. Being strapped to their beds could probably be justified, though - if they shifted in their sleep, they might hurt themselves. At least, that's the explanation a doctor who wanted to seem friendly would offer.)
Post by Tiago James Squalor on Jun 12, 2013 11:07:57 GMT -5
Amalgamation is the process through which two different materials are joined together to become a third material, for a single purpose. A common type of amalgamation is the one the dental practicioner performs on one of your teeth to fill a gap left by a cavity you created in order to conceal an important piece of evidence. Another kind of amalgamation is the architectural kind; when different styles of architecture are blended into the same building. The Quagmires realized as soon as they walked out of the infirmary just how strange Lugae Laboratory was, and the architectural amalgamation was a good reason, but not the sole reason. There was a map on the wall of the hallway they’d just arrived at, and next to it, a photograph of the Laboratory. The main building was similar to that of a medieval castle in it’s five floors, and it had two towers, one larger, which housed an observatory and other facilities. The annex was a strikingly modern addition to the old castle, a sleek building with large windows and a greenhouse at the top.
‘They even have a greenhouse here?’ Isadora asked. ‘Considering they also have an observatory, it’s not entirely unusual.’ Duncan retorted. The Quagmire triplets made their way in the direction they knew from the map to take them to the main hall of the Laboratory’s first building. There was no one in the hallways but them and the occasional suit of armor used as décor, as well as several other articles of medieval weaponry pinned to the walls. ‘Those look dangerous to have in a lab, don’t they?’ Quigley inquired, unaware that those weapons were the least dangerous items in the entire place.
‘Look.’ Isadora pointed ahead, and the Quagmires could see a massive chandelier hanging from the ceiling just outside the hallway. They arrived at the main hall, which was very striking. The dark stone contrasted with the emerald tones of the tapestry that covered the stairs and the floor all the way to the large set of doors which were unexpectedly modern for the setting. Thick, transparent, and seemingly unbreakable. As the Quagmires admired the main hall from atop their spot at the second floor balcony, an adjacent door below opened and a group of people walked out from underneath the very spot the Quagmires were standing.
At this very important point in the story, I am most certain by now you have wondered where had the members of Gothic Works gone, my dear reader. The answer to that question is: not far. The members which the Quagmires had already met were there, as well as two more pairs, which they didn’t know. One of them was surprisingly young. It was a girl and she looked no older than twelve. The other was a very tall man wearing a long coat. The other pair was also of a female and a male, but when they turned around to speak to two of their peers, the Quagmires had a moment of dark surprise.
They knew them from their Great Unknown days, living in Dread Down, the city of prisoners inside their enemies’ large vessel. From what they had gathered, both of them had been sent all over the globe in missions to expand the other side’s power. They had even been sent as far as Japan where they had wrecked the castle of two very old V.F.D. families. The Quagmires remembered their faces, but the triangular glasses and the hooks were dead give aways.
Fiona Widdershins and Fernald’s Gothic Works uniforms were very similar to their peers, but they had their numbers on their backs, which is the reason why the Quagmires could see it well. Fiona sported a large XII on her back. Fernald, the arabic 012. Still, it was an unexpected twist to Gothic Works. Most of the faces and names in the organization were unfamiliar to the Quagmires, as they had been recruited all over the world. But to see Fiona and Fernald was not something they would have expected. When the group finally entered the door situated exactly opposite to the one they had walked out from, the Quagmires sighed in relief. Though their reunion was about to happen, and sooner than they would have liked, the three triplets realized there was a lot more to GW then they thought. ‘We have to find Jill. Come on. The nurse said her office was in the annex. We can go there from the third floor of this building.’ Quigley pulled Duncan and Isadora away from the balcony they’d been standing on and they decided to ascend to the third story via the stairs as opposed to taking the elevator, which was a metallix crate of menacingly sharp bars of metal it would be best to avoid.
In the third floor of that building, things began to change as they walked towards the passageway that led to the annex. The lights were modern, and the walls were covered in sleek metalic plates, polished to perfection. ‘This reminds me of Dread Down too.’ Duncan said examining their surroundings. Dread Down was a slum entirely constructed on the remains of V.F.D. vessels from the old days where the organization was undivided, vessels the Great Unknown had swallowed and digested long ago. Soon they reached the passageway. It was a bridge, of sorts, covered in glass in all sides like a tunnel. It was raining outside, and the thunder roared as the Quagmires crossed the bridge to the annex. When arrived at the middle a lightning bolt flashed, and crashing thunder was heard. Outside, the laboratory was blurry with the falling rain, but the Quagmires saw the outline of the tower and the observatory very clearly for a fleeting moment. ‘This place…I don’t like it here. This is like a villain’s castle in a fairy tale. The only thing missing is a dragon.’ Duncan tried to cheer up Isadora and Quigley but they merely smiled uncomfortably. ‘They perform all sorts of experiments here. Perhaps they managed to breed a dragon in vitro. How about that?’ Quigley tossed back. Duncan didn’t laugh, and neither did Isadora.
Entering the annex, they realized two things. First, it was considerably warmer than the rest of the entire main building including the infirmary. Second, it was very peculiar. Brightly illuminated, the walls covered in the same sleek metallic plates as before, only these were white, or something near white. The windows were very large, two heads taller than Cid Jetsam, transparent and sleek. Approaching the window, Isadora touched the glass. ‘Ouch!’ She quickly removed her hand where she’d receive the shock. It was electrified, and a hexagonal pattern was briefly visible on the glass.
‘Don’t do that.’ A voice uttered from behind the Quagmires. Turning back, the Quagmires saw a tall man with raven black hair, save for a silvery streak or two. He wore a white doctor’s coat, and was accompanied by a very short, hunchback man with huge eyes and a large nose and bad teeth. ‘That window has an energy barrier running between two plates of glass as a mean of protection.’ The man said. ‘Pardon me, I am Doctor Edward Geraldine. This is Igor, Dr. Lugae’s assistant. He’s been acompanying me, much to my own dismay. And you three, are?’
‘The Quagmires, they are. I’ve ‘eard all about’em, I’ave.’ Igor said. ‘Doctah Nebra was talkin’ ‘bout’em earlier. ‘Ey were found in ‘em mines along with subject—‘
‘Ah, there you are.’ The Quagmires heard Jill Nebra’s voice. ‘Come with me. You must pardon me, Doctor Geraldine. I have important business with these three. Do come by my office later. I’d like to have a word with you. He’s not invited, though.’ Jill nodded towards Igor who scowled at her. ‘Very well, Doctor Nebra. If you’ll excuse us, Igor will finish this tour of the laboratory so I can get to work. Come, Igor.’ Doctor Geraldine walked away with Igor, leaving Jill with the Quagmires.
‘What did he mean when he said we were found in the mines with “subject”?’ Isadora asked. Doctor Nebra was visibly disconcerted. ‘I am sorry. That is classified information, Isadora. Come with me. I’ll explain a few things to you in my office. Be aware, of course, that there are things I cannot and will not speak of. For my own sake, and your sake as well.’ Making a sign for them start following her, Doctor Nebra walked towards the opposite end of the hallway, and the Quagmires followed.
‘Doctor Nebra, we’ve gone through more in the last few days than we’d care to. We’ve witnessed atrocities and we barely died two or three times. I think the least you could do is to stop treating us like children.’ Quigley protested. Doctor Nebra said nothing, stopping abruptly in the middl of the hallway.
‘You must think I’m heartless.’ She said. ‘You must think I knew what would happen to you when I sent you to Bayou Lafayette. But there are a few things I did not forsee, things that hindered not only you, but my plans as well. Come. We’ll have a long conversation, and if you’re not satisfied at the end of it, there’s nothing more I can do.’ Jill walked towards one of the nearby doors. A small white plaque was fixed on the door. In bright emerald, the words could be read.
Doctor Nebra - Office Head Assistant Researcher Head Annex Researcher
They followed her in. Doctor Nebra’s office was a strange, unexpected mixture of the sleek architecture of the annex and the medieval castle that house the other parts of the laboratory. Tubes and strange devices were piled up in several desks all around the office as well as two bookcases filled to the brim with books and papers. Her desk was a plate of glass supported by a metallic pipe, and the floor was half cobblestone, half metallic plate. All around, cables and wires criss-crossed the floor in all directions, hooked to many devices and to sockets on the walls. On the wall behind her, a large gothic window let in the moonlight, and the Quagmires could see the sillhouette of a tree. Jill sat on a large, wooden gothic armchair behind her desk, after removing a pile of papers from the seat. There were three wooden stools in the room, and she pointed towards them. The Quagmires took their seats. Crossing her hands and placing her elbows on the desk, Doctor Jill Nebra eyed the Quagmires. Lightning flashed outside, followed by deafening thunder. The lights flickered, while Jill closed her eyes.
‘It’s time you learned, Quagmires. It’s time I explained to you why I summoned you here. It’s time you understood the events of these past two years, and why I acted the way I did. No one is safe.’ Jill placed a small metallic box on her desk. She pressed one side, and the box opened with a mechanical sound. A needle poked out of the box. No, not a needle. The box flashed red.
That's a mean place to end the chapter, Tiago, when we can't just turn the page for the next. This chapter was very successful at creating a gothic atmosphere in the laboratory, which one feels might better be dubbed more simply a castle, no matter what purpose it's been heavily adapted for. There's even an Igor!
Post by Tiago James Squalor on Jun 13, 2013 13:00:37 GMT -5
‘Start with explaining what happened immediately after the Great Unknown collapsed.’ Quigley suggested. Jill straightened her glasses with her index and middle fingers. Her glasses were a delicate golden frame with clear, thin transparent lenses that let the Quagmire triplets see the green of her eyes catch the light. The office was barely lit, as most of the light was coming from all the devices around them, and from the outside. The moon was huge that night, but the storm clouds had concealed it once again. ‘The world could very well end on a night like this.’ Jill said, while looking up at the huge window, where rain splattered against the glass, producing a characteristically wet, dull rattling sound.
‘I thought the world was going to end as well, two years ago. When I boarded my own escape capsule, I managed to hack into the communication system with ease. The person who built the system, a japanese scientist, taught me how.’ Jill narrated, with the Quagmires listening attentively. ‘I contacted Violet Baudelaire, Audrey Addams and my nice and nephew, and then you. If you remember, I boarded my escape capsule with Beatrice Baudelaire.’
‘What happened?’ Duncan couldn’t contain himself. Beatrice was the fourth Baudelaire, the adopted sister/daughter of the Baudelaires, the child of Kit Snicket and Dewey Denouement, both deceased. Beatrice had no one in the world but her newfound adoptive family, and she journeyed with them through another series of unfortunate events that led to their separation. Any news of any Baudelaire’s whereabouts were a welcome bit of information.
‘Beatrice… I left her in the care of the one person in the world I could trust. Unlike the others, I never underwhent stasis, and neither did she. Beatrice was too young, the process would kill her. Fearing for her life, and mine, I set my escape pod’s course to the last place I thought anyone would look to find me.’ Jill continued her tale.
‘Ultima.’ She uttered. The name of that town so far north, the town the Baudelaires had once set to reach, but never did. The last last safe place. ‘I took Beatrice to Morrigan Montague, the sister to Mortimer Montague. The Montagues were a wealthy, numerous family back in the day, and they funded several research programs I conducted. They were the only ones I could think of at the time. But when got there, my escape capsule malfunctioned. I had to eject myself and Beatrice on a lifeboat. The capsule exploded, leaving debris all over the beach, along with other debris that had floated up from the depths. I had to walk very far to Ultima, with a small child in my arms, in the dead of winter. I thought I was going to die, when he found me.’
‘Who?’ Isadora asked. ‘You wouldn’t know him, but perhaps you might have heard of him. He was staying with others at Morrigan’s estate, and he was patrolling the surrounding woods through a secret road on his horse. He is Emma Squalor’s cousin, Tiago James Squalor. He found me, and took me and Beatrice to the estate. When I got there, I had a fever so high, and I couldn’t see straight.’ Jill grimaced. ‘I was bed-ridden for two weeks. I guess the emotional distress I went through recently had weakened my immune system.’
‘Beatrice was taken care of then, and so was I.’ Jill recalled. ‘When I could finally sit up, they interviewed me, and I told them everything. You’d be surprised to hear the list of people that were there.’
‘Do tell us.’ Duncan said. ‘Starting with Morrigan Montague and her heiress, Mina Watson, there also was Elizabeth Anwhistle, desperate to find any clues regarding the Baudelaires, and Emma Squalor, Tiago’s cousin. Lars Gabriel, her faithful assistant and V.F.D. sailor, was there. He had arrived shortly after me, with his partner Charles. And I was awestruck to find out Jerome Squalor was there, and alive.’
The Quagmires let out a surprised whimper. They never met Jerome in person, but they had heard of him and his alleged death.
‘After I gave them all the information I could, they saw fit to send me away. I was a liability, due to my previous ties to the higher tier members of the fire-fighting side. I didn’t blame them, but I wanted to be there for Beatrice. I knew she was protected, but it still pained me to be forced to leave. I thought I’d finally have some respite after my time aboard the Great Unknown, but no. The others didn’t trust me.’
‘You were working for your sister and that dreadful man.’ Isadora pointed out. ‘And apparently, you’re still tied to them, aren’t you?’ Quigley added. Jill grimaced once again, and she got up in one motion. ‘Don’t judge me yet, Quagmires. There is a lot more to my current situation than you would understand. I’m not here of my own accord.’
‘Then tell us.’ Duncan said. ‘Explain so we might understand.’ The Quagmires were fed up. They wanted answers, and even if Jill cried and begged they would force her to give them the answers. Letting her avoid to give them a single bit of information could prove fatal. ‘I was on the run for a while, but I stayed close to Ultima. I also monitored the positions of the remaining escape capsules with a miniature radar I built years ago.’ Jill opened a wooden box that was previously concealed by a stack of papers. She retrieved a small round object with a green screen that resembled a pocketwatch, but about the size of a grown man’s hand.
‘With this I could tell where each and one of the survivors were. My sister and her partner never underwhent stasis, I must say. Nor did Dr. Lugae.’
‘Wait.’ Quigley stopped Jill, standing up. He looked into her green eyes. ‘Are you telling me you know where the Baudelaires are?’ Jill was grimly surprised at his outburst. Gathering herself, she looked the other way. ‘No. I knew then. Not now. I instructed Violet to separate from Klaus and Sunny. I had her set her siblings’ stasis chambers to awaken at a later date than her own, and then leave a note or a letter for them to find when they awakened.’
‘Why?’ Quigley walked up to Jill nervously. He looked angry, angrier then Isadora and Duncan had seen him in quite a long time. Quigley was the largest of the three, and next to Jill Nebra, he looked a grown man. His shoulders were larger than ever before. Jill was tall, and made taller still with her high heels, but Quigley was nearly as tall. His outburst disconcerted the scientist even more. ‘It had to be done.’ Was Jill’s response. ‘I’d heard about the plans to start Gothic Works as a revenge-driven organization, specialized in murdering all volunteers. Violet had better chance on passing as someone else if and only if she didn’t have a younger man with a small child by her at all times. Dangerous times arrived after the destruction of the Great Unknown, Quagmires.’
Quigley had nothing to say to that. His hope of finding Violet once again deflated, Quigley sat back on his wooden stool, defeated, and ashamed of bursting out at Jill Nebra. ‘Sorry.’ He said. Jill straightened her glasses in her characteristic manner. ‘You need not apologize.’ She said. ‘I understand.’
‘But Jill, this you can tell us. Where exactly did you tell Violet to go?’ Isadora asked. Quigley’s hope rekindled, and he looked at his sister and then Jill Nebra eagerly. ‘I told her to head for Tedia, and hop on a train to Paltryville. From there she’d take another train to Damocles Dock, and from there, it was up to her. I didn’t have the time to plan out a course after that.’
‘There was some peace and quiet, and I was enough of a fool to believe maybe my sister and her dreadful partner had forgotten about their revenge back-up plan. But once news started going around of volunteers being murdered in gruesome manners all around the country, I knew I was doomed.’ Jill said. ‘There was little point in hiding, at least for me. I knew they’d find me eventually, but I did my best to help other volunteers I came across on my travels. I found a girl, a japanese girl, looking for her brothers, of whom she’d been separated as well. I saw another Violet in her, and I gave her some money and food, but she was too tired to carry on. We took a bit of solace in each other’s company in an abandoned Asylum.’
‘Kiyoha Higurashi, was her name. She is an orphan, and she was on the run. She told me about her life of servitude at the House of Red Leaves in Yoshiwara, and told me she had met the Baudelaires. I was thrilled to find out about how corageous they were in helping Kiyoha and her brothers. There was a fire, and they had to escape, but it wasn’t until long after the Great Unknown had collapsed that she was separated from her siblings. Kiyoha was working as a waitress in a restaurant that happened to be a new V.F.D. point of rendezvous, while living in a room above the restaurant. She was smart enough to have a plan for her siblings. They always had access to a preemptively packed case filled with money and food for an eventual escape. And they had to, once Gothic Works attacked the restaurant. Kiyoha didn’t attempt to save her brothers. She managed to get out through a secret passage her boss had told her about, a passage they used to get delivered goods from outside to the kitchen. She told me she was about to go around the corner when she looked back at the restaurant she had hoped would become a new home to her and her family. She saw her brother Ren jump to the next building’s roof while using a system they’d devised to safely transfer their toddler sibling, Daisuke, to the other side. Kiyoha ran, and never looked back. She was scared and had to resort to all sorts of thievery, pocket-picking, lock-picking methods to survive. She was persecuted and found herself near Ophelia, where I found her. We stayed for a night at the abandoned Asylum. Addams Asylum. I headed there with hope of finding clues about Audrey Addams, since she was pregnant with Desmond’s child, but she never returned to that place. There was nothing for her there anymore.’
‘Did you find out anything else about her whereabouts?’ Isadora asked. ‘What about Klaus and Sunny? Where did you tell them to go?’
‘I told Violet to instruct Klaus to take Sunny and use every bit of knowledge he had to ensure their survival in the wild, at least for the winter. When they awakened from stasis, Klaus and Sunny found their way somehow to the hinterlands. I received a cryptic, coded telegram from them, sent from Last Chance General Store. Here is the decoded message.’ Jill produced a small piece of paper from within her dress and handed it to the Quagmires. The paper smelled of perfume.
To Doctor Jill Nebra, p.h.d. From: K, S
WE ARE HEADING TOWARDS THE MORTMAIN MOUNTAINS STOP WE WILL STAY THERE FOR THE WINTER STOP AFTER THE WINTER WE WILL SEND MORE NEWS STOP PLEASE INFORM VIOLET STOP LIFE IS TOO HARD WITHOUT HER STOP
It was all but overwhelming reading that telegram. The Quagmires had tears on their eyes. It was all too painful. The idea of Klaus and Sunny surviving alone in the Mortmain Mountains for the winter was too harsh. For all they knew, the Baudelaires could very well have frozen to deaths in that vast, icy environment.
‘Klaus and Sunny are out there, somewhere, Quagmires.’
‘Yes they are. And it’s your fault.’ Quigley said bitterly. Jill looked very hurt and surprised. ‘What I did was only with the best of intentions. I wanted them to have every chance.’
‘Now for what remains.’ Duncan said. He was taking notes in his notebook, copying the contents of Klaus’ telegram. ‘How did you come to work in Lugae Laboratory?’
‘Like I said, I was with Kiyoha back then. We hiked through the woods of Ophelia. We saw the ruins of an orphanage, which burned to the ground. We hopped on a train that would take us away from there. Kiyoha hoped to find her siblings in the city. I tried to warn her how dangerous it would be to go back, but she didn’t listen. We passed by the road that overlooks Briny Beach, and I saw Anwhistle Aquatics in ruins, once again, with a pillar of smoke rising from the sea.’ Jill recalled. ‘As we entered the city, Kiyoha thanked me and said it would be best for us to part ways. I gave her more money, and she disappeared. After that I took a cab around town. On the back of the cab, I saw a newspaper. My heart almost stopped at the headline.’ Jill picked up an old newspaper clipping from inside one of the books on her desk – a copy of The Daily Punctilio. Duncan rolled his eyes at the name Punctilio, but what was on that clipping was more despair-inducing than a washed-up excuse for jornalism.
The Daily Punctilio All the news in fits of prints
Gruesome murders and fire at Montague Estate
This Thursday the 28th Montague Estate, house of prominent Ultimanian figure Morrigan Montague burned to the ground. The bodies of several guests and house staff were found, murdered in a grisly display of cruelty. The snow outside the main entrance was drenched red with blood. Morrigan Montague was 98 years old. There is no clue on to who the murdered slash arsonist was, or if it was only indeed just one perpetrator. The Ultima Police Department has opened an investigation. Any information concerning these grisly events should be passed to the local authorities. Local deputy Thomas N. Thomas has stated ‘While it appears several guests were murdered, some of Ms. Montague’s guests were either absent at the time, or kidnapped. We are looking into their whereabouts.’
‘What? No! No!’ Quigley shouted as if his shouts could change the reality of it. ‘Who died?’ Isadora asked, tears in her eyes. ‘I…I don’t know. Morrigan died, that’s for sure. But from what I gathered she was not murdered. Her heart simply failed when she witnessed some of her guests’ murders. This is Gothic Works’s so-called “work”, my friends.’ Jill said, looking sadder than ever.
‘Beatrice! What about Beatrice?’ Isadora asked desperately. ‘Wait, it says here some of the guests were absent at the time. And Beatrice being a little girl, her murder would surely be mentioned.’Duncan reasoned. ‘If a child dies in any fire or by murder, it will most certainly be mentioned on paper.’
‘There is still hope.’ Quigley stated, resolute. ‘Can we keep this?’ Duncan asked Jill, who nodded affirmatively. She then continued her narration. ‘I knew I was lost then and there in that cab. I told the driver to make for the Tenenbaum Train Station as fast as he could. There was a traffic jam on Bright Avenue. A part of Thriller Park had caught on fire. The part where the Fulfillment home and store once stood.’
‘Home? They lived in the park?’ Isadora asked. ‘Yes. They built it, so the mayor allowed them to live in it. They were wealthy enough to take care of the park by themselves. It was one of the things that were most attractive about Desmond Fulfillment, I guess.’ Jill turned back to the large window. Outside, the wind and rain raged on, almost bent on tearing down the entire laboratory. It was a night in which the world could end. ‘I saw them walking out of the park in their uniforms. Gothic Works.’ Jill’s voice was wrought with pain. ‘Everywhere I went, I could never rid myself of them. I knew they were closing in on me.’
‘But why? Why did they must absolutely have you?’ Quigley could not understand. Jill turned to eye the Quagmires. ‘Because I was the missing piece of the Grimstone project. Years ago when Jeremiah Hudson took with him the largest shard we had, the project came to a halt. We had only a few remaining crystals to work with. Subjects ten and eleven failed grievously. Subjects twelve and thirteen, however, they are still alive. And one of them is here.’
‘You don’t mean…’ Jill did not let Duncan complete his sentence. ‘Yes. Cindry is subject Thirteen, the perfected one. Her Grimstone infusion is complete as it can get. Nemo is close in perfection, I must say.’
‘Perfect?’ Isadora protested. ‘She told us she was sick for weeks, and so was Nemo! Both of them almost died because someone thought it was a good idea to put that damned substance in their bloodstream. Don’t tell me they are perfect!’
‘When I told you to find them for me, I wasn’t doing so to help this project. I wanted to purify their blood. The reversed process of Infusion. Substituting some of their blood with mine. I am the aunt of both of them and I took the apropriate tests. We are compatible. My hope was that you would bring them to me. I have the machines ready and I can begin processing Cindry’s blood. All I need is her consent.’
‘I’m surprised no one has put her in a tube already.’ Quigley said. ‘What’s the hold up? I figured as soon as those creepy scientists got their hands on Cindry they’d start their cruelty all over again.’ ‘She’s been through hell, Jill. If you are her aunt and you want the best for her, you’ll help her escape.’ Isadora said.
‘Escape?’ Jill smiled. It was a very sad smile. ‘There is no escape from here, Quagmires. Not for Cindry, and not for me. If I can cleanse her blood from the Grimstone, she’ll be useless to Dr. Lugae. And he’ll let her go. He has no time for useless test subjects. He proved it with Lucian.’
‘We retrieved his body from the mines, you know. Jannus. His actual name was Lucian Lugae, and long ago, he was Dr. Ludovico Lugae’s son, and a Grimstone Project test subject. He was injected with grimstone while still in his mother’s womb.’
‘What?!’ The Quagmires uttered in unison. That revelation was most unexpected. ‘Yes. Lucian was a test subject, but his Grimstone abilities never proved as powerful as Dr. Lugae hoped. Our mad scientist moved on to the next subjects eagerly while abandoning his son and putting him in stasis. Or trying to. Jannus’ abilities were actually dormant, and once he saw himself betrayed by his father, he broke himself out of the stasis chamber. He discovered he was no more than a guinea pig to his father. He would have destroyed this whole laboratory by himself and killed his father. I never understood why he didn’t. What he did do is break into Dr. Lugae’s laboratory of monstrosities, and broke out the subjects that were still strong enough, mercy killing the others. ‘
‘The albino giant.’ Isadora muttered. Jill’s eye flashed for a second. ‘You saw him? In the mines? Oh my. He was a particularly gruesome case of grimstone rejection. It caused him to mutate and grow to a monstrous proportion. He was already a large man to begin with, I have to say.’ Jill said. ‘This Dr. Lugae…he sounds like a complete monster.’
Jill looked into each of the Quagmires’ eyes.
The Quamires had seen him before. He gave a speech before the Collapse began. It was particularly painful to realize so many good people and so many valorous volunteers had perished and yet that horrible disgusting villain was still alive pursuing his evil experiments. And the Quagmires knew a showdown was inevitable. They had already killed one man in self-defense. They had only to look at each other, and they knew. They knew if the opportunity came, they would once again pull the trigger and kill Ludovico Lugae for all he had done. Time and time again they had suffered blows from villains and their cohorts. Time and time again the Quagmires had suffered because of their enemies. They had hesitated in the past. But now was no time for hesitation. Now was the time to strike back.
That's one Hell of a Chapter Four. I wasn't expecting this much - so many revelations, as well as an inspiring statement of intent. It all seems very consistent, you've drawn ties to all of your previous work... this is really good. It fills my head with answers and with questions.
Germes: I think inviting new people to join us is a good idea.
May 14, 2020 16:28:26 GMT -5
Germes: I think Bee did something similar at some point in the past.
May 14, 2020 16:29:01 GMT -5
Germes: And even earlier, there was a plan to stick 667 flyers in copies of ASOUE in bookshops. At least one person did join us because of that.
May 14, 2020 16:29:51 GMT -5
Sherry Ann: Didn't someone get kicked out of / asked to leave a bookstore for putting 667 bookmarks in ASOUE books?
May 14, 2020 19:25:42 GMT -5
tk: hey i actually did leave 667 bookmarks in ASOUE books in bookshops! man i forgot about that. good times.
May 14, 2020 19:38:03 GMT -5
Jean Lúcio: If there was a flow capacitor, I would sign up here long before ... That must have been incredible.
May 14, 2020 21:06:05 GMT -5
Terry Craig: holy salsa, tk, you legend. I've never heard of the flyers thing as part of 667 history.
May 15, 2020 15:33:18 GMT -5
tk: lol i myself forgot about it, it's been so long -- must've done that when i first joined around 2009/2010
May 16, 2020 11:34:49 GMT -5
Stay-at-homet: Just updated my profile to express my hopes that everyone stays home and safe. I tried to give my avatar a mask, but it ended up looking more like Patrick from Spongebob in overalls.
May 17, 2020 8:08:16 GMT -5
Jean Lúcio: It was great for me. I also put a mask on my Avatar.
May 17, 2020 13:16:31 GMT -5