Outside Over There
A shadowy Doctor estranged from professional practice cutting his way in Boulder.
Concept: Repo Man/Field Medic/Back Alley Surgeon
Mental: Intelligence 3, Wit 3, Resolve 2
Physical: Strength 1, Dex 3, Stamina 2
Social: Presence 2, Manipulation 3, Composure 2
Mental: Academics 3, Crafts 1, Medicine (Emergency Care) 4, Science (Chemistry) 3
Physical: Brawl 1, Stealth 1, Survival 2, Weaponry (Blades) 4
Social: Empathy 1, Expression 2, Intimidation 2, Persuasion 2, Streetwise 1
Contracts: Artifice • (Brief Glamour of Repair); Fleeting Spring • (Cupid’s Eye); Fleeting Spring •• (Growth of Ivy); Eternal Spring • (Gift of the Warm Breath); Eternal Spring •• (New Lover’s Kiss); Eternal Spring ••• (Warmth of the Blood); Eternal Springs •••• (Yesterday’s Birth)
Merits: Hollow 1, Mantle 2, Harvest Emotions 1, New Identity 1
Initiative Mod: 6
Experience: 1 to spend
- Medical Bag, handbag style
- Portable Surgery Kit in folded leather
- Reusable syringe kit
- Bandaging Material
- cell phone
- tight fitting leather gloves
- Painting cut from the frame in the Museum
- The Huntress’ ear
- The Stained Lancet (••): Constructed from the shears of a True Fae, this double bladed scalpel saps the will of its victims. For every lethal damage taken from the blade, the target suffers a -1 modifier to any Willpower rolls and a blanket -1 modifier to their Initiative score for the duration of the scene. Action: Instant. Drawback: Wielding the tools of the True Fae is its own dance with the devil. The changeling who possesses this token suffers a vulnerability to iron in much the same fashion it would affect the True Fae (all bashing becomes lethal, all lethal becomes aggravated) until the token is either thrown away, passed to another or destroyed.
- The Asklepian (•••). A dark ebony wooden rod about two feet in length with an ornately carved snake coiled around it. By touching a subject with the staff, the user can take away one lethal or aggravated point of damage per turn from the subject. Drawback: The damage unfortunately must be shouldered by the wielder of the staff. For every single point of damage peeled away from the patient, the wielder takes double the damage score upon his own Health meter (one lethal becomes two lethal to the wielder. Two aggravated becomes four aggravated, etc).
I, Joseph Warren (known as Joe to my parents), was born in 1904 an only son of a wealthy family. I was doted on constantly and life was easy. By nine years old I had made the decision to follow in my fathers footsteps and become a doctor. While my strong drive and determination allowed me to excel in my education it simultaneously taught me to be awkward in nearly every social situation. Yet, this very same awkwardness allowed me the time to study. It was a vicious cycle.
Shortly after High School I was accepted to an Ivy League University and embarked on the long road to degree in Medicine. I attended Harvard University of Medicine and graduated in the top ten percent of my class. From there I proceeded to Columbia University to study the budding new science of Neurosurgery under the tutelage of Anton Eiselsberg.
Determined to spend my residency at home, I transferred to the newly founded Denver Hospital in order to make a name for myself as a neurosurgeon. World War One had come and gone while I was in school and the sight of all the wounded who had returned filled me with uneasiness. Human life was fragile, and I was a tinkerer in the clockwork that kept the body running, and these poor souls were broken beyond repair. The demand for medical attention was so great and the number of doctors so few that I often served as a fill-in for other wards and had very little time for my own research.
It was frustratingly busy the day my life changed. I had left the hospital, coat slung over my arm and feet headed toward the nearest pub when, in my rush, I nearly bowled him over. The man in the dark coat and hat merely smiled.
He was tall, unnaturally so, and his smile seemed too large on his face. The eyes were deep and colorful in a distracting way. Simply trying to meet those eyes caused me to forget my hurry and become calm instantly. “Come with me,” he said as he gestured toward the open car door. “I’ve been following your research and this place can’t give you what you deserve. We can.”
There was no hesitation in his statement, no uncertainty. Simply put, it was the truth and his confidence made me know it also. I nodded and slid into the seat, folded my coat across my lap and waited for the sales pitch to continue. In all honesty, he didn’t need to continue, I would have done anything to leave that place.
We went to a much nicer bar than any I could afford and he fed me drinks asking question after question about my research. The idea never dawned on me that I had never published my research. It was all in my office in journals that lay in the top drawer of my desk. Yet, after seven or eight drinks and several rather long explanations later I was anxious for the offer and nearly interrupted him with my answer long before he had even finished his question.
I would join him at his mountain research center, and would most definitely head a team of researchers. Most definitely would I start in the morning, as a matter of fact, I would be happy to go for a tour of the facilities this very instant.
I don’t recall the moments between that statement and the moment I set foot out of the car, but the building lay directly before me. Large and ornate, the stone faced building cut an imposing facade in the night. The door made of hardwood and painted bright red loomed from the center, like an open mouth and as I stepped inside it closed behind me with a finality that I could never forget.
He led me on a winding path through the house. We paused nary a moment until we made our exit through the kitchen. The doorway lead into a small side-yard with only one exit, a small passageway that entered into the largest hedge-maze I had ever seen stood looming before me.
He handed me a small valise, that was strangely heavy for it’s size. “You might need this,” he informed me. “It will probably be useful.” I noticed yet again how wide his smile was, much too large for his face. Surely if he ever opened his mouth fully, the upper part of his head would only hang by a flap.
I shook my head to rid myself of that mental image as he gently pressed me through the entrance with one hand lightly upon my back. As I turned to ask where we were going I realized that he was not behind me. Nor was the side-yard, or even an exit from the maze in which I now found myself trapped. Turning my head to the side I looked down the tunnel like pathway seemingly hollowed from within the giant hedge. It appeared that the hedge had grown first and the path had been hollowed out by many hours of hard work.
As my gaze turned again to the place where the entrance was no longer, the hedge wall began to move outward, forcing me down the tunnel to the first intersection of paths. Though it seemed solid, the wall actually moved by growth of vines and brambles flowing over and outward, growing to fill the space. The hedge was expanding, taking back the space that had been carved from within.
Backpedaling, I turned and began to walk briskly down the remainder of the path. As I began moving the growth stopped. If I stopped it would resume. The hedge wanted me to move, it was the only explanation.
Time escaped me as I walked through the maze. Never once allowed to rest, or even pause for breath, I was herded by a living wall of growth. Eventually I decided that direction didn’t matter, if I took a wrong turn, the maze simply forced me back the way I came until I could take the right turn. Several times I left a “room”, taking a different path each time, only to return to the same room from a path that went to a different place when you went the other way.
After a time, I began to fear that I was lost and would never again see the light of day. It was then that I stumbled on the camp. Beige tents formed two equal rows with a path between each one. It was a perfectly symmetrical city of canvas and rope. I stood mouth agape and barely noticed the guard who approached silently with weapon at the ready.
“Name and rank,” he ordered in short barks. “You’ve got thirty seconds to identify before I assume you are an enemy and execute you on the spot.” I stammered my name to him, and launched into an explanation of how I’d gotten there and why I didn’t seem to have a rank. As I told my story a smile began to surface from his stoic features. “You must be the doc. Orders came down from the White King hours ago to be expectin’ ya.”
He grabbed me roughly by the arm and escorted me to the last tent on the right and as I entered a wave of stench hit me. Horror filled me as I looked about, noticing the rows of cots filled with the dead and the dying. The stench of death; blood, shit and gangrene filled the air. I turned to my side and lost my last meal into a bedpan which happened to be in reach before passing out.
I came to on a cot and terror filled me that I was now made one with the tortured men and women that I had seen before. Despair filled me with my knowledge that I was trapped here in this place. The hedge had brought me here for a reason, as had the lying gentleman who enticed me into this predicament. I was a doctor and that was was what these people needed most right now. I had taken an oath and was bound by it to help these poor souls. It was a decision that I would come to regret.
The time spent in that camp is too horrible to voice here. I will say that there were times that I wished I were dead and although at times we moved when mortars rained on us I never seemed to die no matter how badly I was injured. The time crept on slowly, days turned to months and months to years, and eventually I stopped counting. I was injured in bomb strikes many times. I always sewed myself back together again, and when I couldn’t find the parts that got blown off, well, I used what I found.
Over time, my body grew more frail as what amounted to endless surgery changed my anatomy from what it once was into a pale imitation of something resembling human. In my mind I resembled less a person and more a golem of flesh as if my body had become no more than a machine housing for my intelligence. Parts became fully interchangeable and if I damaged one, another was often handily available.
As time passed and my weariness grew. I began to question why I had so readily accepted the fact that I would never find a way out of the surrounding hedge. We had moved camp many times after bombing attacks and marched down winding passageways that led through the hedge maze. On one of these forced marches I saw that fabled opening. There was an opening in the hedge, a gateway but I couldn’t see beyond. It was filled with darkness and I had to make a choice.
I slipped rank from the team carrying the medic tent. Carrying my valise which had indeed proven to be most useful, I dove through the gate and into the unknown.
As I stumbled out I was nearly run over by what I later learned to be a Porsche 911 Turbo. I tumbled out of a wrought Iron gate, across the sidewalk and onto the asphalt. The car swerved around me with horn blaring, missing me by inches that night. As I wandered the streets I found out that I was in Boulder. I had emerged in a nearby city from where I had originally entered. Somehow I had traveled through space, as if all of those forced marches were in some space next door to the space occupied by our own. I emerged a town over and some 70-odd years in the future.
I was forced to live on the streets after my emergence. While difficult, I quickly grew accustomed to the culture and customs of these people. From my outsider’s position I could observe many things without being forced to interact. As I watched, I learned all that I needed to in order to function. The time difference made attempting to resume my former life impossible, I would be ancient, or dead. I was left with no choice but to start fresh and rise from nothing.
Upon seeing my reflection, I realized that I looked like a hale and hearty fellow, roughly thirty years of age. While a bit shocked about this revelation, I was able to take it in stride. Indeed, stranger things had happened to me recently. I made the attempt to clean myself up, and infringing on the hospitality of a local hostel I prepared to take a step in an upward direction. I looked around until I found the local enforcer. I watched him collect loan payments for a few nights before he was shot by a local hero trying to do the right thing.
I grabbed him up and helped him out and away from there before anyone could report the altercation. I led him back to an abandoned building that I knew of and removed the bullet from his leg. I stitched him up and left him unconscious.
Two days later I was approached by a small group of messengers. I was escorted to a meeting and received employment in the things I did best. Pulling bullets out of people and stitching up accidents gave me enough to hole up somewhere and be comfortable. The longer I did what I did well, the more money I made and the more my opportunities grew. When the unseen upper echelon decided to go into a new business I was chosen to take on a new facet to my skills.
I had already been making medicines from found items. In the hedge I had harvested goblin fruit to make medicine and when I emerged, I found that my skill as a chemist had greatly improved. I began to set up shop in the newly acquired brothel in my new role as house doctor to the working girls. I prepared tinctures and potions to help with various ailments that someone of their stature might have to deal with on a regular basis. Cures for venereal diseases, the removal of unwanted baggage when necessary. By the time they moved on most of these girls were beyond being able to reproduce, but they knew the risks when they got into this business
Of course, I still had to stitch up the occasional ne’er do well but that was to be expected, in the current state of affairs my job was indispensable to the local underground leadership. I saved them thousands of dollars in hospital bills, not to mention troubles that would arise if anyone ever had to explain any of these injures to an authority figure. Hospitals had annoying habits of reporting crime related injuries to the police.
As my skills grew I began to notice certain other abilities that could only be described as magical in nature. I found that I could influence slightly the will of others, or with intense concentration I could summon a rejuvenating rain. As I used these skills their power increased and new skills began to manifest. I was able to will minor wounds to be healed in some cases and at times I was able to see in my mind internal injuries without the need of a fluoroscope. Yet, with these new found skills I also discovered a newfound need.
At first I didn’t understand the changes that were happening to me but careful research proved to be fruitful and I discovered that I was not the only one of my kind. We were, indeed, an underground society of escapees. Some of us maintained ourselves better than others but I could turn to others who had been through the same things I had.
I never cultivated friendships with any of the other changelings. I merely learned what I needed and moved on, intent in my goals and purposes. I had a business to maintain and I couldn’t let my employer down if I wanted to maintain breathing. What I learned was how to address this growing need. It seemed that what I needed was Glamour. In order to fuel my abilities as well as stave off the ever increasing urge to return to the hedge, I needed to harvest glamour from mortals. As a doctor, I had a readily available supply of mortals, but the turnover rate was high at the brothel. Between girls moving on and girls disappearing, I needed a way to ensure that they would stay for longer so that I might reap full bounty.
I began work on a chemical stimulant capable of increasing activity in the pleasure centers of the brain. My employers loved the idea as money flowed in. Not only were the whores the only around who seemed to enjoy what they were doing… they loved it. For them, it was the best experience ever, and when they began to leak the drug to their friends a whole new market opened up. This market was strictly controlled by my employer, it wouldn’t do to have the powers that be shutting us down over a little chemically induced fun. Yet the drugs very presence supplied me with the never ending fount of glamour that I needed as anyone who needed more had to come to me in order to get it.
Of course, the drug had side effects. There was some neurological degeneration to be aware of, but in the case of the girls it made no real difference. Many of the girls had come from hard lives and their memories were what they were running from. With extended use their memories of the past would eventually vanish, and without memories to flee from, their tenure of service grew longer. My employers liked this and so did I. It kept them from having to look for new girls, and it kept me from having to work hard to get close enough to new girls for them to trust me. My source of glamour was ensured barring fatal accidents which, despite my best efforts, were wont to happen.
That brings us to the present. I’m just a doctor trying to get by in the only way that I can. Without a functional license I have no means of reestablishing myself, and I can’t acquire a license since I’ve apparently been dead for 15 years. I hope my life went well for my usurper. I have no desire to find out more than I know, the anger I feel at my loss is medicated away with what I know best, practicing medicine and laudanum which I had tasted in my previous life and now turned to as a means of relieving the burden of my soul.