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Adrenaline Rush

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GM

1st August, late evening...


Doctor Karl Wessex shuffled nervously along the soup line. The various hobo's and insolvents of Freedom City had been more nervous than normal since the incident six months ago. They gave Karl a suspicious look, not keen on anyone scientific or medical.

Nobody believes it... he told himself, firming his resolve. But from what I heard...she would...

It had taken him a day or two to find out about Revenant, and he guessed this was the best place to find her on this warm night, wandering the streets of Freedom and helping out at the soup kitchen....

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Lucy liked to help out the place where she first found her feet, and her short time on the streets had shown her how tough that lifestyle was. And she had had the advantage of not feeling the cold or even needing to sleep.

There was something about helping out at the soup kitchen, to see the best and the worst of humanity helped keep her grounded. She’d seen many wonderful things over the past year, she’d thought radioactive men and dragons, but this little thing she spent her spare time doing she was most proud of.

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GM

Dr Wessex spotted sight of Revenant helping out, and shuffled towards her in the queue.

That has to be her...

"Excuse me, miss...Revenant" he said, somewhat akwardly.

He was a man of medium height and build, with a square and handsome face that did not detract from a wide forehead and a mop of brown-grey hair that was still thick. He was in his thirties, a man with a good medical career in front of him, without being ground down by the strain of the job. He was handsome, there was no question about it, but he had a kind of humbleness and shyness about him that threw a new light on his looks. If he was more astute, he would have known about his many admirers, but he was also somewhat clumsy and ignorant.

"My name is Doctor Wessex. I'm a haemotologist, from Freedom Medical Centre...I...I'm sorry to bother you Ma'am...I really need some of your time..." he said, flustered and fidgiting.

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She gave one of her warm welcoming smilesâ€Please call me Lucy. And you going to need this…†she handed him a ladle “…we could use all the help we can feeding this little lot. You can explain the problem you’re having as we serve.†She looked at him with her pitch black eyes “It’s not as if it’s a secret about what I am around here, and for the most part these people have accepted what I am and are comfortable with it.â€

Though a few of them had been a little weird around her for the last couple of months, with some mumbled storied of a Zombie plague. She hadn’t been able to find out much more about it than that and had decided to bide her time, it this City answer seemed to eventually find you.

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GM

"Errrr...thanks...." said Wessex, taking the ladle rather awkwardly, and starting to serve. It looked like he hadn't ever been near a kitchen utensil in his life, but he was at least eager and friendly.

"So, I know this sounds crazy. Even in this city. But please hear me out. It freaked the hell out of me, still does"

He looked almost embarrassed, unable to look Lucy in the eye. He concentrated on smiling and being polite to the homeless.

"I've seen plenty of strange stuff in my time. But we had a few stiffs...errr....deaths..." he looked at Lucy even more awkwardly, fumbling his ladle.

"...errr, well you know, corpses...well, over the last few weeks I've seen four of them. Bit marks on their necks, massive blood loss. Ho ho ho, everyone says, its a vampire. But cause of death was a cardiac arrest. Blood work came back, and the guys are so shot full of adrenaline their hearts just packed up..."

"Then, two days ago, we got another guy in, big city banker, heart rate of over two hundred, blood pressure through the roof, bled out. Managed to save him but he is intensive care, massive heart attack. At the age of forty. I know these guys play and work hard, but still. And yes, you guessed it, adrenaline levels through the roof..."

He sighed.

"I don't know whats going on. New drug on the street? Mainlining adrenaline. Worst of it is, I picked up some very strange traces in some of the blood samples. Like, dead cells. You see, um, active dead cells. So dead, but, er not quite dead. Sort of...." he trailed off, giving Lucy a sideways glance.

"undead...." he finished, before sploshing another load of soup into a grateful hobo's bowl.

"I thought you might shed some light on it..." he said, voice filled with uncertainty.

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Lucy continued to dish up food to the homeless while trying to process exactly what the doctor had said. Her medical knowledge was pretty lacking and about 90 years out of date but she thought she’d gotten the basics of it.

“So they somehow got filled with Undead blood which filled them full of life. Enough to kill them. Unfortunately I think I know what going on.â€

It had all the hallmarks of The Master, but what was he trying to do exactly? Unless he was trying to repeat the happy accident that created her?

“Have the police investigated these cases? And do you think that the man is well enough to see visitors?â€

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GM

“So they somehow got filled with Undead blood which filled them full of life.â€

Wessex pondered the thought briefly before shaking his head. "I doubt it. I only found traces of...Undead... cells around the bite marks" he explained, fractionally more comfortable with the word thanks to Revenant's easy going nature.

"They had been pumped full of something, however. Raw Adrenaline, or a synthetic analouge. Something to make them full of life".

“Have the police investigated these cases? And do you think that the man is well enough to see visitors?â€

"The Police? Yeah, in their own limited way. The guys were gamblers, high rollers. As far as they can say, its just a drug fix gone bad. Yeah, they are looking into it, but, you know, I cant say they take drug OD's to seriously, take it from me. And anyway, if the...err...undead...are involved in this, its going to be beyond their capabilities. And, well, look, nobody is taking me seriously anyway...."

"As for the victim. He is in Intensive Care. Barely conscious. It looks fifty fifty. He had a massive heart attack, and some cerebral haemorrhaging. He's young, but even so...I guess you can see him, but he may not be awake, and even if he is, well, I don't want any undue stress on him..."

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“Okay then I’ll see how he’s doing in the morning. I could do with the Detective who looking into the case they might have found something to save me time.†She gave her best winning smile “And thanks for helping out tonight. Your welcome to come back anytime, the sister are always looking volunteers.â€

Once she had made sure to get his contact detail and made sure he got saftly to his car, she made a leisurely walk back to her home. By now most of the local criminals knew about her and she didn’t have any trouble. She knew what had to be done next; she’d have to check The Book. The theories and thought of an Ancient Vampire wasn’t something to dip into lightly.

She sat herself on the roof of her building as normal and cracked open the book and tried to look for evidence that this was all part of the Master’s grand plan.

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GM

The arcane tomes had little to reveal. The master's experiments were exotic even for the exotic nature of the arcane. There were references and cross references, hints and suggestions. Vampires fed on life, perhaps, not merely the cells of the blood. Blood might be just a symbol of life. But, the hints were vague and the stories contradicting.

Could the excitement of gambling, and the shock of adrenaline...could they be more potent?

Hitting the streets, asking around, there wasn't much either. Sure, there was word on the gamblers who died...some of them had shady dealings..with the mafia, and the law. White collar crime. Cocaine use. But nothing was "hot". There was no hit out on them, there weren't in any financial trouble, and they hadn't wound up any local crime lord. About all you could say for them was that they wouldn't be missed.

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After a frustrating night of chasing rumors Lucy was a little downbeat. She’d almost consider trying to track down some actual Vampire to ask their opinion, but she wasn’t quite sure how they would react to her presence. But the young one couldn’t stand the light and anything old enough to still be up would cause more problem than they were worth.

So instead she wandered down to the hospital to check on the only survivor, hopefully he’d would have recovered enough to answer a few questions.

“Hi there I’m Lucy Harker; I’m here to see Doctor Wessex about a patient.â€

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GM

“Hi there I’m Lucy Harker; I’m here to see Doctor Wessex about a patient.â€

Duly paged and appropriately flustered, Doctor Wessex came striding up to Lucy, his hair a mess and his tie half undone.

"Sorry, sorry, busy, busy" he muttered, taking Lucy to oneside, and steering her towards the ICU.

"Find anything? or am I just a nutcase hahahaha!" he laughed. The man looked short on sleep.

"Patient in ICU is called David Dickens. Deals in shipping, millionaire, wife, one small son. Smoker, drinker, and looks like he eats a healthy breakfast of stress everyday. Shouldn't have had a myocardial infarction for at least another ten years though...." he spoke as he walked, at a rather brisk pace.

"Apparently called 'the Dick' at his work. On account of being a monumental ass. Yeah, I did a little homework..." he continued, before looking around and steering Lucy into a side room.

"Look, I don't think its a good idea to go in dressed as you are. Errr, you know, you might be an infection risk given your errr, particular status..." he coughed. "If you are going to do this, you better be Nurse Parker for a day..." he said, pointing at a Nurses Uniform.

"Oh, and are you infectious? I mean, dead bodies aren't particularly hygeinic..." he asked politely and awkwardly.

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Lucy raised an eyebrow “Well apart from a dose of Flu back in ’18 but apart from that I’ve always been in perfect health. And that was before I died…†she gave the poor Doctor and concerned little look “I know you’re a little uncomfortable about this but I’m not dead I’m undead.†She removed the sunglasses she normal wore so he could see her solid black eyes “I don’t breath and whilst I can bleed it takes a lot to do so, and the blood dead.†She put his hand on her arm so she could feel her cold skin and the lack of a pulse.

She gave him a large smile “I’ve come to terms with it, and it’ll make things easier if you could accept that too. But if it’ll help I’ll play nurse for the day.â€

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GM

“I’ve come to terms with it, and it’ll make things easier if you could accept that too. But if it’ll help I’ll play nurse for the day.â€

Wessex gulped audibly. "Yes, yes, sorry, how rude of me. It just, all a bit new to me, this undead thing, you know? not in my training..." he mumbled, still rather unnerved, but slowly warming to Revenant.

A little later...

"This is nurse Harker, she's new. Just inducting her..." he explained to the charge nurse of the ICU, who thought Lucy was a goth, but that Dr Wessex was alright.

He showed Revenant David Dickens. A young man, now pale and wan. He was hooked up to drips and monitors, and fast asleep.

"Chemically sedated" explained Wessex "to reduce brain inflamation. He's still conscious, but drifting in and out, so to speak..."

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Without hesitation Lucy took a seat beside the sick man. She took his hand, hopefully it would provide some comfort despite her coldness to her touch. She made a quick look at his hand and neck looking for obvious signs of a vampire attack. She wasn’t quite an expert but different vampire gave different bite and there was a chance she could determine the specific attacker.

“You said that he was sometime conscious? Is there a chance we could get something out of him? Maybe steer his thoughts to the attack? I mean if it’ll harm him we can wait, it just that I might be able to prevent another attack…â€

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GM

“You said that he was sometime conscious? Is there a chance we could get something out of him? Maybe steer his thoughts to the attack? I mean if it’ll harm him we can wait, it just that I might be able to prevent another attack…â€

"I don't know, I don't know..." said Wessex, shuffling from foot to foot with anxiety, and fumbling his hands. He looked around.

"I just don't know. I don't know anything about whats going on, I'm just a Doctor....I don't know whats happening, or whats going to happen, or what kind of danger the city is in. Nobody believes me, I just got this stupid idea, and now I'm all in over my head..."

He floundered.

"I can wake him, you can talk to him, but you know, his heart his weak, any shock could...well finish him off. But, if we need to know to save lives...."

He looked at Revenant, giving the decision to her.

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She sat there for a few moments looking at the poor man. Did she have the right to do this to him? He could give her the answers she wanted, but then she could be condemning him to an early death. But more people could die before she gained another clue into what was going on.

She gave the doctor a reassuring smile “I believe you Doctor, that’s what important. I need everything you found out from him, I’m not going to risk him without knowing there no other options. And what about it’s his family, they should be allowed to determine his fate. What are his chances Doctor?â€

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“I believe you Doctor, that’s what important. I need everything you found out from him, I’m not going to risk him without knowing there no other options. And what about it’s his family, they should be allowed to determine his fate. What are his chances Doctor?â€

"I think his family are going to say dont do anything to risk his life", he replied, with certainty. "It never goes any other way..."

He consulted the flip chart at the bottom of the bed, scanning through the notes and results.

"There are always other options, I guess, but that's your field. I'm not a damn detective" he said, with evident discomfort.

"If you want me to rouse him for a bit, then he should be fine. Nine times out of ten. Or better, if you ask him nie asy questions like what's his favourite colour..."

He held out his open hands to Revenant.

"Look, medicine, its more of an art than a science, sometimes. He is probably going to be ok if you ask him a few questions. But, there is a risk any further stress is going to put undue strain on his heart...I can't give you precise figures, because, hell, I don't know. The harder your questions, the more dangerous, but the danger is probably pretty low. Probably..."

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“I trust you Doctor and I appreciate your honesty. Now I guess I should show some honesty of my own. You see before today I never set foot in a hospital before today. When I was growing up people didn’t normally go to hospital you just made the best of it or if you could afford it you paid a Doctor. I was born in the house I now live in, but don’t tell the current owner.†She gave a cheeky smile.

“So all this equipment “ she swept her arm around the room “I understand none of this, less so than the common man, so I’m counting on you to explain what’s going on.â€

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GM

“So all this equipment “ she swept her arm around the room “I understand none of this, less so than the common man, so I’m counting on you to explain what’s going on.â€

Wessex painted even more surprise onto his face, and started bumbling.

"Well...I...er...that is....to say...it's...um...." he flustered, before catching his breath and exhaling slowly.

"I can't go over the history of medicine for the last fifty years" he said, twiddling his fingers.

"This man has had a heart attack...part of his heart has been deprived of oxygen and died. That's not always fatal, the rest of the heart can keep going and the dead tissue scar's over. The thing is, after a heart attack its danger time, you could get another one, or a clot could form and whizz up to the brain, or lungs...the hearts in shock basically, working over time...look..."

He pointed at the ECG monitor by the bed.

"Thats his ECG, a recording of the electrical impulses of the heart. I won't bore you with the details, but it shows the damage. If that goe's flat, or changes, it's trouble..."

He pointed by some more readings.

"And here, his heart rate, his breathing rate, and his oxygen levels...they are ok at the moment, because he is being given oxygen through this mask, and we are using drugs on the heart..."

He turned back to Lucy.

"Shock, or stress, can lead to a further load on the heart, so hypothetically, it could trigger another heart attack. You follow? its pretty much impossible to say what the risk is. It depends how stressed he gets. If the heart rate or blood pressure go up, that's a warning sign..."

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“Well not everything, but just enough to know what I’m doing. I’m trust you to do your job but I need to know anything that could happen so I don’t say or do anything that could harm the poor man.â€

Lucy tried to process all the information that the Doctor had kindly provided her. There was one small detail that was nagging her.

“So undue stress could kill him? Like reliving an attack by a vampire? Would it possible to sedate him to soften the stress?†she drew a unnecessary breath “But I’m just stalling let’s do this.â€

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GM

"Yes indeed..." gulped Wessex giving Lucy one of his awkward stares.

"Don't, errr, pretend to be a vampire or anything, huh?" he asked, as politely as his awkwardness would allow.

He resest some of the infusions to David DIckens, and a few minutes later, when the man starting rousing, he gently shook him.

"Hello, hello, Mr. Dickens? How are you feeling? Keep calm, sir, its quite safe here!"

The man was still drowsy from pain killers and sedatives. "What...ohhh...I'm feeling sleepy, and...faint..." muttered Dickens, his eyelids fluttering.

"I have a lady here, wants to ask you a few questions about...what happened...." he explained "...its very important, Mr. Dickens! please try to remember what you can!"

With that, he beckoned Revenant over...

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With a nod Lucy walked over to the barely conscious man and gently took his hand. She stroked it gently, hoping that the physical contact would keep him calm.

“Mr Dickens can you hear me.“ She put on what she hoped was a quiet calming voice “We need you to remember what happened to you. Please it very important.â€

She looked up at Doctor Wessex to make sure that everything was still okay. Reassured that everything was still good she carried on her gentle questioning.

“Take your time you’ve been through quite a bit in the last few days.â€

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GM

Dick was still woozy and spoke slowly and, at times, incoherently. At times he needed a gentle prompt to stay away.

"I'm keeping him sedated" explained Wessex in a soft voice to Lucy.

Big Dick's eyes fluttered, sometimes open, sometimes shut.

"I was at the High Steaks...you know, by the Boardwalk. I had made some money, had a few drinks..I was feeling great, like I was running on all cylinders, you know...all excited, felt my pulse going, but...in a good way...like in a movie when its exciting..." he smiled faintly.

His eyes widened shut, and Revenant could see his heart monitor showing an accelerated heart rate.

"Then...I saw him....A man....all hunger...the eyes...the eyes...." he muttered, as his heart rate accelerated and he become convulsed with fear...

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Lucy was tempted to push a little further to find out just a little bit more than she already knew. But not at the sake of the man whatever what he had done.

“That’s fine Mr Dickens you get some rest now and get better, I’ll speak to you soon.†She gave him a little pat on his hand and nodded towards Doctor Wessex.

As she watched the Doctor work she considered her options. Well there wasn’t really any option she’d have to check out this restaurant. She waited until the doctor had finished until she spoke again.

“I need to borrow a telephone Doctor Wessex; it seems that I’m going out dining tonight. But until them I’m at your service, it seems only fair.†She gave the doctor a bright smile.

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GM

“I need to borrow a telephone Doctor Wessex; it seems that I’m going out dining tonight. But until them I’m at your service, it seems only fair.â€

"Screw that!" blurted out Wessex, his anxiety getting the better of him, as he put a hand through his ruffled and sweaty hair.

"I'm in up to my eyeballs in this. And I fancy a good steak. I'm coming with you!" he said, his voice almost a scream, one that drew a few glances form the ITU nurses, and even one semi-conscious patient.

That evening, at the High Steaks

The High Steaks was, predictably, at the top of a tall skyscraper in the Boardwalk. It was straight out of dallas. A high class, and very expensive restuarant, overlooking a floor full of craps, blackjack, and poker. Not a slot machine in sight. This was a classy venue.

"Yes sir, do you have a reservation?" said the snooty Matre' d' in what sounded suspiciously like a fake french accent, albeit a good one.

Dr Wessex was dressed in full black tie. As a consultant heamatologist, he was pretty well off, although he tended to do more goodwill work and less private work, and was not as rich as his less scrupulous or (cynically speaking, caring) colleauges. He could afford a good night out once in a while though. Although he had scrubbed up well, his messy blond hair remained as messy as always.

He looked at Revenant awkwardly at the inquiry by the Matre' d'

"well...." he mumbled, looking to her for help.

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