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Jennifer [userpic]
Sacrifica Vitae
by Jennifer (gaaneden)
at April 25th, 2006 (09:46 pm)

2600 words of character background story on the new HttF: Masquerade character. Doctor Alice Singleton was the top choice for characters by the GMs. I should have been working on my TEoP story for May. Instead, this little diddy insisted on coming out. The first part of the story is told from a ghoul's point of view. The second half is from Alice's point of view. The first game meeting is on Friday. I believe the first game is in May.

Sacrifica Vitae, Part 1

March, 2006 - Costa Mesa, CA

Daniel Cambridge headed down to the basement lab of the Synthetic Blood Corporation where he would start his shift as assistant to Dr. Alice Singleton, his mentor and Domintor. He met up with his peer, Andrew White, in the lab. The two only saw each other in passing for the most part. This was a good thing. Competition among ghouls could be disruptive. Competition among lab assistants could be as well.

They left the lab and walked towards the short hallway of offices"How is she?"

"Good." Andrew rubbed his face. "She had a major breakthrough last night on the new formula. Real excited. Didn't want to go home. You know how she gets."

He nodded. He knew. Whenever he had the midnight to noon shift he would frequently have to put Alice to bed in her basement office when she passed out. "I know." He gestured to her closed office door with his chin. "She in there?"

"Yeah. Need to watch her carefully today. Dr. Lange has been frothing at the mouth to speak to her about the breakthrough on formula Sigma-7. He keeps threatening to break down her office door. I keep threatening to break his face for him."

"The man is a first class prick. He won't disturb her. I promise."

The two men looked at each other in perfect understanding. Dr. Singleton was to be protected at all costs; especially while she was sleeping. More so when she did not make it back to the Chantry where she could rest in complete safety. She was important beyond all else.

Andrew left to eat and sleep. He would be back at midnight. Daniel waited until he was gone to unlock the office door and enter. He closed and locked the door behind him. For a long time, he stood in the darkness of the office dimly lit by a single lamp on the desk watching Alice's still form. Looking at her luminous skin. Smiling at her rumpled lab coat. Imagining the forbidden. He dared to walk over and brush the unruly tendrils of hair from her face. Her skin was cold and smooth like marble. She was perfection incarnate. He would die for her if she asked that of him.

With an act of will, he tore himself from the private adoration he indulged in to look for instructions on her desk. Alice was very specific about the work she wanted her assistants to perform while she was asleep. It was there. He read the list and nodded to himself. He snuck a last look at Alice before exiting the office. Just after he relocked it, Dr. Lange came barreling down the hallway towards the office.

"Is she awake? I need to talk to her now!"

"No. She's not. I had a brief conversation with her earlier and she is still exhausted from working all night on her new breakthrough. She asked me to wake her in a few hours."

"I need to talk to her right now!" The small man waved a file folder in front of himself for emphasis.

"I heard you the first time, Dr. Lange." Daniel leaned against the wall effectively blocking him from the office door. "I told you that Dr. Singleton isn't available. If you would like to leave a message, I'll make sure she gets it."

The smaller man stepped forward into Daniel's personal space. "I don't like you, Cambridge. You're sloppy and insubordinate. If I had my way, you'd be bounced out of here so fast your head would spin. Let me through or I -will- report you!"

"Report me to whom, exactly, Jeff? I work for Dr. Singleton directly. Not Synthetic Blood who, in case you missed it, loves both Dr. Singleton and her breakthroughs with a mad flaming passion and will indulge her every whim. Dr. Singleton finds me invaluable, no matter what my attitude is towards you. So, there is not a damn thing you can do about me or the fact that I am doing the job Dr. Singleton asked me to do. Now, if you want to leave a message or those findings with me, I will make sure that she gets them because, unlike you, I'm secure in my position and don't give a damn what you think or do."

With impotent fury, Dr. Lange shoved the file folder into Daniel's midsection and let go. "Just give her this!" Some of the papers spilled out as the little man turned away and stomped down the hallway. Daniel sighed and bent to gather the papers. Something written in red caught his eye. He stopped to read it. Then, with a frown, he reordered the papers and started reading from the beginning as he headed to the lab.

Hours later, he was ready. In less than an hour, Alice would be awake and would see what he had done and, hopefully, would be pleased. He was impatient as the blood slowly drained from his left arm and the synthetic blood dripped into his right one. He closed his eyes and waited. Her voice woke him and it was the best waking he could ever have.

"Daniel? What are you doing? Daniel?"

He opened his eyes and smiled at her. "Dr. Lange said your breakthrough was crap. I wanted to prove him wrong for you."

"Daniel! Sigma-7 isn't ready for testing! You let me deal with Dr. Lange."

The alarm in her voice both pleased and frightened him. He did not want her upset. "It is. I know it is."

"It's not. Now, stop this foolishness." She was looking at Dr. Lange's notes from the file. Then, she pulled both of the IV's from his arms, one after the other, putting cotton balls under Band-Aids to stop the bleeding. However, it became clear that she needed sometime a bit stronger. "Dammit Daniel. I don't have time for this. The breakthrough was in the hyper-oxygenation of the blood but I hadn't fixed the blood thinner problem. You're going to bleed to death."

He did feel very weak and was suddenly afraid. Not only of having upset her but of the sudden possibility of dying. He watched her wrap his right arm in bandages that bleed through immediately. The blood was flowing freely from his left arm. "Embrace me." It was an impulsive plea. It stopped her cold.

"I can't." She did not look at him. "You know I can't."

Yes, he knew but he hoped that she would break the rule for him. It was a foolish hope but there nonetheless.

She paused in her administrations. "To hell with this." She threw the bandage across the room and ripped open her wrist with her fangs. She pressed the bloody wound to his mouth. "Drink." She commanded, looking him in the eye.

He drank and felt the wonderful warmth spread through his stomach..

Alice pulled her wrist away from his mouth and licked it. "Heal yourself." Again, it was a command.

He tried. But, unlike past experiences, there was no itching, burning, healing sensation. Something was wrong. He actually felt his life draining from him. "Can't. I can't." He wanted to be strong but he was afraid. If he died, he would not be able to help her anymore. He would not see her anymore. "Please. I can't."

She crouched before him. "Heal, Daniel. You can do it. Heal." She took the pulse at his neck and swore. Turning from him she hurried to the bandage roll and grabbed it from the floor where she threw it.

He watched, struggling to keep his eyes on her and knew he was done for. This was it. He had wanted to be so much to her. He wanted to see her succeed with him by her side. He wanted so much from her and she had never known it. He could not go and not let her know. "Love you." He whispered and closed his eyes for the last time.

Alice heard the whisper as she returned to her ghoul. "Daniel?" She shook him. His body shifted loosely. "Daniel!" She grabbed his face, shaking it. "Oh, Daniel..." She let her hand drop. His head lolled.

Daniel was gratified to see the blood tears rolling down her face as he stood beside his body and his love. Yes. He could admit that now. He loved her beyond all reason and she had always been outside his reach. She always would be now. Spirit or not, it still startled him when she overturned one of the heavy lab tables with an inarticulate cry of loss. Expensive equipment crashed to the floor. She picked up a microscope and was about to hurl it when she caught sight of herself in the mirror. He watched as she dropped the microscope and walked to the mirror, looking at the reflection of the room. For one moment, he felt a jolt of hope through the body he no longer had. Could she see him in the reflection? He walked up to stand beside her. "I'm right here, Alice."

She did not respond. She looked into the mirror, seeking something. Her eyes fell on his body and the growing puddle of blood. She took a deep breath and frowned. "It doesn't smell right. It isn't right. Was it the Sigma-7 that stopped the healing?" She addressed her reflection. "If it does that to a ghoul, what does it do to a vampire? What's happening in the blood? To the blood?" She paused. "I don't know but I'd better find out. This could be a breakthrough of a different kind."

Still using the mirror to watch the room, she pulled out her cell phone. "Andrew? Sorry to call you back. There's been an accident in the lab. Call the Chantry. Tell them I need a Cleaner team and transportation for me and a body. Also, if there's anyone in the Lab, see if you can't clear it for me. I have special work to do." She paused. "I'm fine... sorta. It was Daniel. He... I'll tell you later. Just do as you're told and get here as fast as you can."

She hung up the phone and turned to the ruined room. After a moment of consideration, she walked to the lab door, put up the "Experiment in Progress" sign and locked it. She would not waste this time waiting for the Cleaner team. Instead, she took a sample of Daniel's blood and began to examine in under another microscope.

Daniel smiled to himself. Perhaps his death would not be in vain. He would still help her make an important breakthrough for her Clan. He would stay here, watching, for as long as he could.


Sacrifica Vitae, Part 1

Hours later...

Alice sat in the Chantry library watching the fire from an overstuffed chair. She was not as heroically drunk as she wished she could be. As soon as she had arrived, she had taken over the lab and continued her investigation into why the Sigma-7 had not allowed Daniel to heal his wound. She had too many questions: Was it just ghouls? Was it just Daniel? Could kindred be affected by this from feeling on people who had a Sigma-7 transfusion? Could Sigma-7 be distilled into a kindred poison? What could she do with the Sigma-7 formula?

She took a drink of the warmed blood in her thermos. She had been angry about the situation. Knowing she needed some distance from the event of the evening, she had ordered two of the blood dolls to get plastered - one within the hour. One for the hour after that. She had chosen the two who seemed to liked rough treatment the most. Feeding was necessarily biological, a fact she found distasteful. Usually, she chose to feed from blood bags rather than humans. However, the Feeder had been clambering around in her brain for days and she did not have the willpower to deny it again. Tonight, she had let the Feeder out of its cage twice and had enjoyed the effect of the alcohol tainted blood immensely. She just wished the drunken sensation lasted longer.

Ah, well. Another project for another day. She toasted her reflection as her reflection returned the toast.

Her irritation at Daniel's death would not leave her be. She had finally gotten both of her ghouls trained to do and be what she wanted. They were both obedient and competent. His foolish desire to prove her right in front of her rival had resulted in his unnecessary death. The whole situation was hideously inconvenient. Now, she had to being a search for a new assistant, judge them on their ability and worth to her, get permission to ghoul them, perform the ghouling and start the training all over again. She did not need this now. Not when she was so close to a new breakthrough of some kind.

That thought brought her back to Sigma-7. She did not know what she had on her hands. Not yet. It did not seem to interact well with kindred blood. That meant either it had to be turned into a kindred weapon or it would be a failure to both of her kindred and mortal projects. Frankly, she did not care if it was turned into a weapon as long as it allowed her to remain working in the lab. If she could solve the issue of the blood thinning, it might still be a success for her mortal projects. She wished, not for the first time, that her sire was here to help her. He had great insight to these things. But, she had not had his guidance in almost a year.

In the meantime, she needed to do some testing on the chantry ghouls. Of course, some of the other kindred objected to this. So, she would have to tread lightly and set up her theories beforehand and express what a boon this would be to Clan Tremere as a whole and how they would benefit in both power and reputation. She knew the game. In the end, she would get the subjects she needed because the Costa Mesa Chantry was in competition with the San Francisco one for power. Providing a new weapon would give Costa Mesa the edge.

Still, no one wanted to lose a well trained servant. She knew that fact intimately. She would have to design her tests with great care. Even if ghouls were sent to her in punishment, she had to be able to return them to their owners intact - more or less. Some of them may eventually join the ranks of the immortal.

Her irritation grew again at the ghoul's impudence. Embrace him? No. He had not earned it. Andrew was far ahead of him in that. As for the deathbed confession, it was a good thing it had been on his deathbed. Otherwise, she might have dismissed him or relegated him to blood doll status. Lovelorn assistants were a menace. He had hid his feelings well. Smart boy. Too damn smart to accidentally kill himself like this.

Usually, she loathed the idea of the rising sun. Right now, that was all she wanted. She wanted to sleep in blank darkness and to quiet her mind. She wanted to stop thinking both about Daniel and Sigma-7. Tomorrow would be a fresh day. She would figure out one issue or the other. For now, she would put on some music and lose herself in it until the daylight took her into darkness.