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Dr Archeville

Die Me, Dichotomy [IC]

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Date: October 15th, 2010 (Friday)

Friday night, a night for partying and debauchery. And, of late, that is what Doktor Viktor Archeville had been doing with Mona Teymourian, but not tonight. Tonight, Fulcrum's patrol had brought her into conflict with vile undead creatures, and Archeville had been busy at Freedom Hall coordinating and cross-referencing all incoming reports about the increase in "cultist activity" over the past two weeks.

What the heck is going on out there? Did someone spike the water?

As he worked, Archeville came across recordings of symbols left at certain attacks or at certain sites of theft. "I have seen those before... but where? Perhaps in some of those occult tomes I acquired form that estate auction." He slapped the tabletop, "and I have not gotten those scanned into the ArcheTech databases yet! I will need to return home to get them. Hrm... should not be a moment..."

He set the systems to alert him of any incoming reports, and teleported back to his Hanover home to gather books. But something would keep him there for far longer than a moment.

Not very long ago, Arrowhawk and Valkyrie had recently gone up against Nacht-Krieger, Ragnarok, and other SHADOW goons, and come out much worse for wear. Both needed medical attention, especially Vivian, the kind not even Freedom's advanced hospitals could provide. Fortunately, John knew one man who had the skills and the technology to help, and he knew exactly where he lived.

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Arrowhawk ignored the screaming from his bad leg as he held up Vivian, trying to get her to safety. He was silent, both from having many things to consider, and from the strain of not crying out from the massive amounts of pain he was in.

He willed himself to force one arm to his earpiece, twisting a dial to Doktor Archeville's preferred frequency. He'd used it a couple of times when we worked with the Knights, and hoped it was going to work now. Pausing a second to make sure he had a good grip around Vivian, he hurriedly talked into the mouthpiece. "Doc, I need help. Please get here soon, I've got one severely injured superheroine, and I'm in not so great shape myself. Please."

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Vivian cried out in pain as Arrowhawk lifted her up. "Ahh!" Every bone in her body felt like it was on fire. Half of her was blinded by pain. The other half of her saw with a clarity she couldn't understand. They'd won. They'd fought and they'd won. On some base level deep down inside of her, that thought by itself made the pain disappear.

She willed herself to stand, and hung with her left arm around Arrowhawk. Her right still held her hammer, Mjollnir. Though the instrument of battle now dragged across the ground. Her armor was in pieces. Her helm was nowhere to be found, her mail was ripped and torn, much like the clothing beneath it. The pieces of her armor that were still whole were the artifacts that were gifts from the gods. The Gauntlets of Power, The Hammer Mjollnir, and The Orb of Fate. Once again she had succeeded in protecting them, and keeping them whole.

The rest of her was in pieces. The rest of her was a mess.

"You shouldn't have come after me." She gasped, "But I'm glad you did." Half standing, half leaning, she wasn't even looking at Arrowhawk as she spoke. Her eyes seemed made of steel, and pure determination. Though, she wore the self satisfied smile of a job well done. "It was a glorious fight!"

She released her grip on the hammer, to punch a few number into a keypad in front of them. Her gaze turned to the display screen in the security outpost that displayed the holding cells on the fifth level of the complex. She imagined what she'd looked like from this angle, strapped to one of those horrible torture devices. Probably quite a bit like Ragnarok did now. They had the same hair, after all. He probably wasn't dead. Not yet, anyways.

Her finger struck a final key, activating the base's self destruct systems.

As Arrowhawk talked into his comm link, the two hobbled to the elevator that would take them to the surface.

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"Glorious? We nearly died," said Arrowhawk through clenched teeth, reluctantly getting into the elevator. Bad things happen with me in elevators... He managed to hit the button, and steadied the two of them up against the wall.

"And I did have to come after you, Vivian, even not knowing who you were. It's my job." He sighed deeply, ignoring the flashes of pain it sent through his chest. "I can't walk away from it."

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"I know," she told him as the elevator began to raise. She leaned her head on his shoulder, and brushed the other side of his face with her hand. "I knew you would find me. We had a better chance if only one of us got captured." She winced, dropped her hammer, and clutched at her ribs. Mjollnir fell to the floor with a resounding boom. The elevator lurched, but kept going. Arrowhawk remarked at the strength it would take to wield the weapon. He gained a new respect for the way she was able to wave it around in combat.

"I knew that it was me they wanted. I've had SHADOW clones crawling all over me recently. Always talking about capturing me before I kill them. Or they kill themselves." She looked back up at him. "I never guessed it was because I looked like his mother. Sick bastard wanted to brainwash me, I think." She let out another breath, exhausted, and leaned against him once more. "Thank you. Thank you for saving me."

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"It must be their policy. No interrogations." He ignored her pressing up against him, his usual awkwardness dispelled both by pain and by being on the job. "A couple of 'em collapsed with poison foaming from the mouth when I tried to get information from them." Arrowhawk frowned. "If I'd known we were going to Doc's, I'd've got a sample."

"Anyway, I'm taking you to Doktor Archeville." He pronounced the name with a rougher accent than he usually did, probably closer to his Scottish roots. "If anyone has medical facilities able to heal these injuries, it'll be him."

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"Good." Vivian replied, she could feel her consciousness fading. The adrenaline from the combat, and from escaping the compound was waning, and so was her endurance. "I'll just..." She started to say something, before she sank into the blackness. Arrowhawk felt her go limp, and she began to slide off of him towards the floor.

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"'Hawk?!" Archeville said in response to the vigilante's voice coming from nowhere, a trick of the advanced and concealed speakers spread throughout his house.

I certainly did not expect to hear from him tonight! And if he is reaching out to me, things must be bad!

He teleported down to his sub-sub-basement laboratories, where the main communications hub was located. From here he could access equipment at Freedom Hall and ArcheTech, and use them and the gear at his home to triangulate the signal from Arrowhawk's communicator. "On my way!"

A pinprick of blue-gray light appeared in the elevator with Arrowhak and Valkyrie, and a slight feeling of vertigo came over them as distorting gravitational fields played hob with their inner ear. Archeville appeared, carrying a blue paramedic's case. "Oh!" He had arrived just as Val had fainted, and moved to support her side opposite Arrowhawk. "What happened here?"

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"SHADOW," grunted Arrowhawk, leaning against the wall as Dok took up the slack of supporting Valkyrie. "I came across them on patrol, at which point she," he nodded at Valkyrie. "Showed up. She got captured, I go to rescue her, and we get attacked by a ridiculously strong Norseman... and here we are."

He drew his staff from his belt, extending it out into a long metal walking stick-come-staff, which he leaned on to support himself. "I'd probably brace yourself, the base got set to self-destruct."

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"'Ah," the Doktor said curtly. He retrieved his Electromagnetic Screwdriver from his pocket and made a few quick adjustments, including unspooling a length of wire from one end and connecting it to a port on his Gravimetric Belt. "'Hold tight!"

Wheeeeee!

Arrowhawk had never been through Archeville's teleportation system before. When the Knights were together, they'd mainly used Scarab's teleport systems. Those had been fairly smooth rides, but this one was a much rougher. Though maybe it was just his own injuries that made it feel rougher.

They appeared in the heart of Archeville's automated surgery and operating theater, in the sub-basement of his home in Hanover. Lights were already one, and drawers of equipment and medicines were sliding out of recessed spaces along the walls and extending toward the Doktor on robotic arms. Robotics arms also extended out from the bed and assisted him in laying Valkyrie on it, while devices dropping down from the ceiling above ran scanning beams across her. Holographic displays of her insides appeared in mid air above her. As he looked over it all, Archeville let out a low whistle.

I am surprised she stood for as long as she did!

He pointed to another bed a few meters away, though did not turn from Valkyrie. "Lay there, please, and the automated systems can begin work. Though I am betting you would prefer to treat your wounds yourself." He began removing what armor remained on her.

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Vivian faded in and out of conscoiusness. What sounds, or conversation she heard was significantly muffled. She had the sense that she was being held by more than just Arrowhawk. She willed her eyes to open, but what they saw was just a blurry mess of bright lights, and quickly moving gray objects. None of it made any sense.

There was a pulling sensation. Something was pulling at her. She let it pull. It was colder now. It was time for sleep. She told herself that she would protest after she'd had some rest. After all, it was a good fight, and she'd won. Hadn't she? She couldn't remember. It didn't matter. It was colder now. Time for sleep.

"Wake mine child. Thine duty ist not complete." The Norn. What was she doing here? Vivian thought, as she looked upon the hazy form of the fur clad woman standing above her. The last time she had seen the Norn, she had nearly died. Death. Duty. Oh no.

"No!" Vivian's eyes bolted open. The fuzzy, hazy image of the Norn sharpened. The hair turned from gray into blond. The furs turned from brown to white. The woman turned into a man. "Ahh!" She tried to sit up, but something held her down. She was too weak to fight it. And yet she fought against the restraining robotic arms anyway. Her face strained twisted with a mixture of pain and determination. "No!" She uttered no cries for help, only ones of defiance.

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Arrowhawk had never been through Archeville's teleportation system before. When the Knights were together, they'd mainly used Scarab's teleport systems. Those had been fairly smooth rides, but this one was a much rougher. Though maybe it was just his own injuries that made it feel rougher.

Arrowhawk visibly staggered, holding onto a nearby bench to hold himself up. I hate teleporting. So. Damn. Much. But he persevered, pushing himself upright once more and unfastening his cape and hood clips to drop them to the floor. Eh, everyone here knows who I am.

He pointed to another bed a few meters away, though did not turn from Valkyrie. "Lay there, please, and the automated systems can begin work. Though I am betting you would prefer to treat your wounds yourself." He began removing what armor remained on her.

"Yeah. I would," he said briefly, turning away. Dammit, he knows me too well. He began looking around for bandages and ice as he stripped his shirt off, revealing several cuts and bruises over his torso.

"Ahh!" She tried to sit up, but something held her down. She was too weak to fight it. And yet she fought against the restraining robotic arms anyway. Her face strained twisted with a mixture of pain and determination. "No!" She uttered no cries for help, only ones of defiance.

"Ah, hell," sighed John deeply, spinning on his back heel to try and grab Vivian's wrists as they flailed at the robotic arms. "Viv, noone's trying to hurt you. They're just the Doktor's medical equipment." He tried to make his tone reassuring, but he was clearly unused to doing so, and sounded strained at the effort of speaking.

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"John...?" Vivian wondered aloud, her eyes still coming into focus. "I..." Though still unsure of where she was, her face softened, knowing that she was in safe hands. Hands she could trust. She glanced around her, "Doctor Archeville. Right, you did say that. How did we get here? How lo-- Ah!" She let out a yelp, when one of the robotic arms jabbed her with something cold and metal in the midsection. "Ow, that hurt." she said as she glanced down at one of the robotic arms, withdrawing a needle. Turning her head back to John she asked, "How long was I ou...?" before she was able to finish her question, her eyes went fuzzy from the medication, and she slipped back into unconsciousness.

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A sharp, insistent beeping sound drew Archeville's attention. "Scheiße!! BP's dropping!"

The Doktor and the robotic arms around him were a whir of motion as he worked to stabilize her, clamping blood vessels, tending to ruptured organs, and setting broken bones. He had a healing tank, a heated oxygen- and nutrient-rich fluid bath with micro-robotic surgeons that greatly accelerated recovery time, but they alone couldn't stabilize a patient, and especially not one in this critical a condition; putting her in it now would result in a nothing more than chunky soup.

One minor speedbump was the orb at her neck, which resisted all attempts, by Archeville or his robotic arms, to move it form her neck. Luckily it was not in the way of any injuries, he was able to work around it, and as Arrowhawk gave no indication that it was not supposed to be there, he let it be.

Hunh, he let his cape and cowl off. He is not the sort to let pain distract him from maintaining his secret identity -- he probably has the thing sectionalized, so only certain parts need be removed to treat assorted injuries -- and he would not let it go if he feared her seeing him, even in her battered and drugged state. So he most likely has already told her, which means she is extremely special to him. Which is all the more reason to not let her go!

Hours later, she was unconsciously floating in the healing tank, clothed in nothing but immobilizers to restrain her where movement would be ill-advised, the Orb, and a harness that both kept her from floating up to the ceiling of the tank or bumping into the sides, and which housed the waste-removal systems which kept the tank clean. There was no breathing apparatus; the fluid served as a liquid breathing medium (another reason to keep it clean!), which -- combined with the microbot surgeons in the fluid -- assisted in the treatment of severe pulmonary or cardiac trauma. Archeville kept a close watch on her, consulting the holographic displays of the scans showing the microbots at work on her. "How are you holding up, John?"

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John had patched and bandaged himself up in several places, and had a bag of ice pressed hard against his temple, which had swollen up into a huge purple-blue bruise. He wasn't nearly in as bad shape as Vivian was, but then again, he hadn't taken been strapped to a table and interrogated.

"I've been worse," he grimaced in response to Dok's question. He hadn't bothered putting his shirt back on yet, preferring to avoid the restrictive discomfort his armour would saddle him with. His voice was low and hoarse. "At least all four limbs are how they started this round." He let out a long, forced breath, holding his other hand up against his face.

"How's she holding up?" John nodded at the tank, not looking Dok in the eye.

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"I am confident Vivian will pull through," he replied. Now that thing had calmed somewhat, Arrowhawk detected, despite the seriousness of the situation, a new lightness in the Doktor's voice. And, his exaggerated accent was gone.

I am glad I could help!

"I am not sure just how fortuitous it was that you were able to reach me, John," he said as he turned to face the archer. "Most any doctor could tell her injuries were from both combat and prolonged torture, but only someone with my... insider knowledge of SHADOW would know exactly what kind of torture SHADOW would use-"

Verrill Archeville had been a noted scientist for the Nazi party, and for SHADOW. He likely developed some of their torture techniques. Techniques which he may have recorded in notebooks which eventually wound up in the hands of his grandson, Viktor.

"- and thus how best to treat that trauma."

Even with my Other exorcised, I am hounded by the madness of my lineage! But that cycle ends with me!

"So..." he cocked his head slightly, "how long have you two been together? Since before the Brainiac Brunch?"

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"Um," said John, momentarily forgetting the pain to jerk upright from his sitting position, immediately regretting it when he put his weight on his bad leg and his side felt like someone had taken a blowtorch to it. Damn you, you mad German.

Well," he said, pulling out his cane to extend it, and then lean on it for support, thin metal nonetheles holding his weight without so much as a creak. "We... went on a few dates." That sounded lame, even to him. "Until now, I didn't know she was a... vaguely Shakespearian Norse myth."

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Archeville said nothing, just nodded slightly.

She really does not seem his type. Then again, many probably say the same about Mona and me.

"You do know," he gestured towards Arrowhawk's bad leg, "that I can probably fix that for you. All you need do is ask."

But you will not, because it is a reminder of what you did. Still, the offer is there.

He turned back to Vivian, "I will, ah, need to do some reconstructive surgery after the major trauma is repaired. Re-set her nose, minor adjustments to the jaw... rebuild her left ear..."

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Archeville said nothing, just nodded slightly.

"You do know," he gestured towards Arrowhawk's bad leg, "that I can probably fix that for you. All you need do is ask."

"Doesn't matter. I'd rather not waste time in surgery," lied John. "Besides, I'm used to it now anyway."

He turned back to Vivian, "I will, ah, need to do some reconstructive surgery after the major trauma is repaired. Re-set her nose, minor adjustments to the jaw... rebuild her left ear..."

John raised an eyebrow. He did respect the Doktor, but his happiness with just casually messing saround with machinery, body parts, whatever, tended to make him really uneasy. "Just how much surgery? Is there going to be lasting damage?" He tried to keep his voice unconcerned, but it appeared to be a losing battle thus far.

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Archeville again said nothing at John's refusal, and merely nodded.

It would not take long! But... no, it is his choice.

"No lasting damage, no," he said in as reassuring a manner as he could, "and she should be up and about in at most a few hours. She is going to be fine, John."

"As for the reconstructive surgery... well," he gave a slight shrug, "that will largely be up to her, how much she wants done. She may decide to leave it as-is, as a reminder, or a... badge or some sort."

Ooh, maybe they would have matching limps!

His tone shifted down a notch, "what was SHADOW up to? How did she get caught up in them?"

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Archeville's words didn't comfort John, who continued pacing back and forwards in spite of the pain it was clearly causing him. "I don't really know," he told the Doktor. "But there was this very powerful metahuman, Ragnarok. He had some weird obsession with Vivian. And his mother. I'm not entirely sure what was going on," he admitted. "I just got in, got her out, and now we're here. You'd need to ask her."

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"Ragnarok?!," Archeville said, dumbfounded. "John, do you have any idea who that is? He is one of the most physically powerful metahumans on the planet! And, at the best of times, a destructive vigilante... but if he is working with SHADOW..."

Ohh, not good, not good, not good!

Now Archeville began pacing, "his obsession with Vivian would fit, though. Evidence points to him being the son of Donar and Die Walküre, two of Der Übersoldaten enhanced by so-called Thule occultism. They were powerful, very powerful, and if he is their son, he would be indoctrinated into the same myths and legends as his parents. He may have tried to recruit Vivian, Valkyrie, seeing her as a kindred spirit, or have some mad scheme to have her bring back a slain warrior from Valhalla, or as breeding stock, or-"

The Doktor froze, and his eyes went a bit wide as his brain caught fully up with all the things he'd just said.

So Very Not Good!

"We need to contact AEGIS and Scarab, let them know what has happened," he said as he dashed over to the massive monitor-covered pillar in the center of the massive laboratory complex. "Atlas, too, if Ragnarok is in Freedom City we will need his strength..."

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Vivian's eyes opened slowly. They were bleary at first, and she wasn't sure why. As her eyes cleared, the events of the past few hours came rushing back to her. Her first thoughts were frantic and full of panic, just as they had been on the lab table earlier. Then she remembered John, comforting her. She was in safe hands.

Her eyes cleared fully. She could see him now, standing below the... whatever it was she was in. She also saw a man in a lab coat. She recognized Dr. Archeville, though it was not as immediate as it was with John. He seemed to be frantically dashing around.

She tried asking what was going on. Then she realized she couldn't speak, and worse: couldn't move.

Helplessness was never something she was able to deal with. As independent as she was, not being able to do anything did not sit well for her. This was made even worse, when the helplessness came from physical restraint. Ever since she'd been blessed by the Gods, there wasn't much she wasn't able to do physically.

And now she couldn't move. That scared her. But she didn't panic. At least she tried not to. She shook her head back and forth a few times. Maybe they would notice she'd woken up. But for the most part, she was still.

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"We need to contact AEGIS and Scarab, let them know what has happened," he said as he dashed over to the massive monitor-covered pillar in the center of the massive laboratory complex. "Atlas, too, if Ragnarok is in Freedom City we will need his strength..."

John stroked his stubble meditatively, glancing down for a second. When he looked back up, his movements seemed immediately sharper, his eyes harsher. "So, dangerous. He did seem very strong." He continued ignoring the throbbing bruise on his temple. "But I fired a load of explosives into him. I don't think it's quite as big an issue as you're making out."

"Last I saw of him, he was still in that base, and it was put on self-destruct. Maybe send a team down there."

And now she couldn't move. That scared her. But she didn't panic. At least she tried not to. She shook her head back and forth a few times. Maybe they would notice she'd woken up. But for the most part, she was still.

Arrowhawk's sharp senses did pick up on movement, and John Fraser worriedly turned back to the tank, frowning. "Dok, I think I saw movement. She's awake." He looked at the German. "Can we get her out of the tank?"

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Vivian realized something else: she wasn't breathing! Or, rather, she was 'breathing' the warm fluid that surrounded her!

"What? That should not be-" Archeville's voice trailed off as he turned and saw that she was indeed active. He walked over and began adjusting controls on it, "Well! Either she is hardier than I thought, or my latest upgrades to the Healing Tank are working better than anticipated!"

Enhanced durability is common among the 'supernaturally enhanced' and 'divinely gifted' types. I must make sure to document as much of her recovery as I can!

Vivian heard the Doktor's calm, even voice from an intercom. "Ms. Kriger, I need you to listen to me very carefully. You have been through a lot, but I have worked on most of the trauma. This is a healing tank you are floating in, and the restraints are a part of the healing process; they are keeping your body still so your bones heal correctly. The liquid you are breathing is also part of it; you are not going to drown in it, you are as safe as a fetus in the womb, but you will be unable to speak until it is flushed out. Normally I would advocate staying in there longer, but since you have already regained consciousness, it is evident your recovery is going well ahead of a standard schedule. If you wish, I can drain the tank, so you can talk and see John, but when I do so you will need to cough up all the liquid in your lungs, and that will be an... unpleasant experience. Do you wish to be released now?"

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