Log:Array Consortium: Weird Science
Now that he feels that the point of the Consortium's potency has been proved to them, Adhar seeks a different way to apply pressure to force a resolution in their favor against the Mathall Syndicate. Why fight them, when you could possibly beat them at their own game? Adhar and Mandl visit a scientist that Adhar's heard of that meets his criteria - brilliant and utterly amoral. Perfect man for the job.
Adhar enters first, squinting at the laboratory. Clinic. Mad scientist's lair - you know what, we're just going to go with 'all of the above'. "It's been quiet here for a long time," he says as he enters, adjusting the collar of his improbable coat. "I hope that the doctor's in."
Quentin's laboratory was just that, a laboratory. And like any good laboratory there were things bubbling away. Lights were on, and abnormally bright too. Chemistry sets were up and about. There was a fracking heart in the bacta tank. A real one. It was even beating. What in the hell. It was a far cry from the closed off shop of the past six months or so. And scurrying amongst it all was the scientist, a bespectacled, coated man with a haughty attitude and a job, nay, a calling, in discovering the mysteries of life, the universe, and everything. Quentin Haslett was in town.
Well, again, mad scientist, etc. etc. Adhar, for his part, is...surprisingly not bothered by the scientific craziness going on in here - he examines it all thoughtfully, lips pursed as he looks about. Now. Where is the...ah.
"Quentin Haslett," he calls, his voice tensed not for command as it might be in other situations, but respect. "I salute you, Doctor. Have you a moment to spare from your experiments for me? I have business."
Mandl looks to Adhar. "Yes, completely devoid of tact. Also, probably, morals."
"I thought that was a sonic grenade, doctor?" Adhar's brows arch. "Hmm. I learn new things every day." Quietly, Adhar produces a plastic envelope, filled with a crystalline blue material, lips pursed. "Attract his attention to me, please?"
Mandl shakes one of six fingers at Quentin. "If we may conclude the discussion of which munitions will cause Mandl's head to burst like an overripe melon? Captain Gann has a proposition for the doctor."
The doctor didn't have much of a head for grenades, nor was he fond of admitting he didn't know something. "It doesn't matter. The sensory system of a Bith is both sensitive and remarkable. My friend," and Quentin said friend in the same way that normal people say 'breakfast', "how would you like to be the first recipient of specialized implants that will automatically dampen significant sensory impacts? Non-invasive," sure, "and a modest fee," right, "I can assure you."
Mandl says, "The doctor is about to be the recipient of a Bith foot into his embarrassingly-evident Human testicles! Mandl is not here for surgeries!"
"Oooh, Mandl. This man has some amazing bionics work," says Adhar, nodding Quentin's way. "Quite excellent. Not sure if your condition is compatible, however." He looks back to Quentin after Mandl's outburst, saying, "Mandl has a phobia of elective bionic augmentation. Not quite on the trans-sentient spectrum, alas - but look here, Doctor, I have a job for you that will, of course, help fund your research. Do you have some time to listen to my proposal?"
Funds? Every scientist needs funds. If this were a cartoon, Q's eyes would be dollar signs. Cash register noises and everything. "Alas, you should see the work I did on the Resistance soldier some time back. Art, I tell you." His gaze, previously utterly locked on to Mandl (now that he had a name) slowly averted to be locked on to Captain Ostentateous Coat. "A job. Surely it must be interesting," he mused. "Continue."
Mandl jerks a thumb at the tank, therein the Telltale Heart. "Mandl will just assume that is they. And pass."
Ah, good. We've made contact. Adhar purses his lips a bit, dangling the envelope a bit in his gloved fingers. "I'm not sure if it will be a challenge to you or not," says Adhar, "But it /will/ pay. This is an example of a recreational pharmocemical known colloquially as 'Danati Blue'. It's a potent, nonaddictive euphoric derived specifically from a mineral crystal derived from a single place in the galaxy; this is not ideal for my purposes. I would ask that attempt to engineer a synthetic version that is as safe and as nonaddictive - and as potent - as this sample. There can be /no/ deviation, as an imperfect product, even one with improved potency, would be disastrous. That is, I assume, more of the challenge than 'can it be done'. I want the formula and the process, sole ownership, once successful."
He holds out the envelope. "Can you analyze this and see if it can be done? Then we can discuss your price."
"Hm? Oh, no, that's for a Togruta with a heart defect. I suggested the mechanical replacement but I was turned down." Quentin looked saddened, well, as sad as a mad scientist could be. Disappointed, perhaps. Sorry CoatMan, contact has been lost. "Alas, savages and their tribal instincts." But when CoatMan started talking about drugs, well, contact re-established. "Hm," he said, and took the envelope from the ostentateous man. He brought it over to one of the tables, one covered in clear containers, and carefully emptied the contents into a small beaker. A stopper was whacked on very quickly afterwards. "Danati Blue," he murmured. "Potent and nonaddictive. Perhaps chemically nonaddictive, but not psychologically. Presumably the dealers have forgotten rule number four." What the hell was rule number four? "Unknown. I need a sample of the mineral crystal."
Mandl asks Adhar, by way of not making eye-contact with Haslett: "Shall we intercept a shipment? Or is that a request for the raw material?"
"Here is a raw sample." Adhar produces a sealed transparisteel specimen vial containing a few cloudy blue-green crystals about the size of a die. "Raw and unprocessed." He shakes his head at Mandl. "Nope. I have my ways."
"Convenient," spaketh the doctor, "but not unwelcome." Q took the vial from the Captain as though it were a nuclear device, treating it with the care he wouldn't dare show a human being. He took it over to his chemistry set, though to call it a chemistry set would be like calling a banquet a TV dinner. "This will take time," he said. "I need to do a full analysis of the mineral composition and cross-compare it with galactic databases, not an easy task with the First Order hitting scientific infrastructure across the galaxy," he grumbled. That sounded like a sore point. "From there you have two alternatives. Substitute the mineral, or synthesize it. Either way, getting zero deviation is a very difficult if not impossible task. Still, an attempt shall be made."
Mandl shadows Adhar, consciously staying at his shoulder. "Best of luck in your mineralogy, Doctor."
"If there's anyone who can do it, Doctor, it is you." Adhar smiles at the bent little man's gusto and vaguely homicidal quirkiness. "Shall we wait while you work on the analysis?"
Quentin Haslett worked silently. He worked rapidly. And when he hit a roadblock, and trust me he did, he worked even more quietly. If this was cooking, he would be simmering. Progress only bore fruit when he took a different tact and analyzed the drug itself, comparing the results and narrowing it down from there. Considering the expressions of annoyance that frequently flit across his face, something in the results was upsetting him. "It is possible," he said, peering at a sample of the powdered remnants of a crystal under a microscope, "but the manufacturing process has all the artistic quality of a child throwing paint at a wall." He couldn't figure it out. That must be where the annoyance came from. "The chemist is either a genius or an idiot." Probably the former though clearly he hoped the latter. "This mineral is strange. I cannot grow it without seeing the environment it comes from and taking notes. And to remove it from the formula, I need the manufacturing notes, or the chemist himself."
Mandl's look to the Captain is his-or-her 'So now we're kidnapping?' look?
"The progenitor of the process is dead," Adhar says baldly. "Regrattable, but unavoidable. I do have detailed sensor information of the planetoid from which the crystal is mined, however." He produces a datacard from his coat, handing it out to the doctor. "I have done considerable research before coming here, of course. Would not want to waste your time."
Mandl's wattles flatten at Haslett's answer, but it does not reply.
Adhar's brows quirk. "Not quite a dealer," Adhar says with a shake of his head, "But I take your meaning. Very well, when can you go? The sooner the better for me, of course. And there /is/ the nature of your fee, which we have yet to determine." Adhar, apparently, has no fear.
"Soon. Systems must be set in place for automatic maintenance of the laboratory whilst I am not present. You understand." Whether or not the Captain did understand was irrelevant. The lab needed to be maintained. It was fact. "As for my fee, as always I request first pick of anything I may find interesting on our journey, important or not, plus meals for the journey, and finally, an appropriate amount of credits, the number of which I will determine later after ascertaining the difficulty of the task. Do you have a vessel with a hangar? The Universal Truth contains my sub-lab, it would be far easier to dock on your vessel and work from there than set up a new laboratory."
Mandl nods, measured. Nothing to add where Haslett can hear, at least.
"All right." Adhar purses his lips, nodding faintly. "The sooner the better, naturally, but of course your automation comes first. As for your ship, I am afraid not - your vessel will not fit in the bay of my flagship. But the ship that will be taken has quite a fast hyperdrive, and I have plotted an optimal course. A day, perhaps a day and a half at most."
Mandl, negotiations mostly completed, starts backing gently out of the lab.
"Then I shall have to pack," said Quentin, putting his hand on his chin and turning to survey the laboratory. What to take, what to take... "What is your vessel, and where is it located?" he asked, doing mental inventories and considering what would need to be loaded up. "And if you have any manual-labourer types, dispatch them here. I will need to bring some crates."
"It shall be done," says Adhar. "I will let you know what I determine which vessel to use." He looks to Mandl, smiling faintly. "Well, then, Doctor, I shall send people to bring containers and help you pack if you desire it - however, no more than thirty-five tons of equipment, please, and if you really wish to have independence, you can set up a field lab in the chosen ship. How will that be?"
"I shan't need even one ton. I will be specializing," Quentin explained, pulling out crates full of supplies. Beakers, retorts, sampling kits, even the odd medpack or two. "Ensure there is a bed in that room and it will serve as lodgings perfectly. I believe we have an agreement." Of course there was no handshake offered, no hint of warmth or camaraderie, or anything personable at all. There was only cold calculation as he prepared for the journey to come.
"We have an arrangement," Adhar agrees with a nod. "Very well. Thank you, Doctor. I shall hear from you on the morrow."
And that said, Adhar nods to Mandl as he turns to make his exit. Mischief, as they say, managed.