• Published 5th Apr 2020
  • 2,183 Views, 140 Comments

Ponid-21 - Cadenzel Washington



What starts out as a simple medical trial, becomes something much stranger as the patients notice some odd symptoms like horns and wings...

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The Third Day (Meet Your Fellow Patients)

The Third Day

I just decided to sit there, contemplating the dream I just had. I mean, dreams can obviously make no sense if they so choose. Dreams are all “I’m chemicals in your brain, I don’t have to make sense!” and whatnot. But that’s not why that dream was so strange to me. What was strange was all the things in it that felt so...normal to me.

I know my hometown and the dream recreated it to a T. The same streets, the same houses, the same parks, and restaurants. But instead of the people I know, it was filled with talking ponies. And then there was that pony I followed in my dream. Her name was Twilight Sparkle, right? She was living in my house and in my room. Was...was she supposed to be me or something? Well, I’m certainly not a purple winged unicorn.

I pulled myself up from my bed. Same boring box, different day. It’ll probably be another test, another doctor and then I’ll be left to my devices. Fun.

The wall panel buzzed and out came a box. Well, this is subverting my expectations. I pondered to myself. I got up on my feet, which was not an easy task as they seemed to be even stiffer than they were yesterday. Despite my somewhat awkward gait, I made it over to the box to open it up. It had some simple clothes, a keycard, a map and a note.

Finally, some goddamn clothes! I exclaimed. It was just a gray t-shirt with several instances of the number 42, plastered on the sleeves and some blue jeans. It was nothing much, but it was better than going boxers only. After putting them on, I picked up the keycard plus the map and put them into the pants pocket. Finally, I decided to open up the note to read what was inside. Turns out it was a letter from Doctor Matt.

Hello there Penn,
It’s a note from your friend, Doctor Matt. I know you’re probably bored being stuck in that same room for two days in a row. Well, the good news is you’re cleared to be allowed to freely roam the facility! Now obviously there are some caveats to this. Obviously, you still have to stay in the facility for the duration of the testing period, there’s no doubt about that. You also can’t go into any areas designated as being for Employees Only for obvious reasons. That keycard you have should allow you to enter your own room, access the recreation area, the shower and bath facilities (try the Sauna, it’s great!) and the cafeteria, among other places.

You should take a walk and get a feel for the place, it’ll be your home for the next 19 days. You should have no obligations for the day aside from a checkup later in the day. When you are needed you will be called in on the PA system. Don't worry, the check-up should be quick and brief. One of our nurses should be coming in to help you with that when the time comes. Well, I’ve gone and rambled for a bit too long. Relax, take a breather and don’t worry about things too much. You’ll be just fine.

Hoping to talk to you soon,
Doctor Matthew D. Eckert PhD

I scanned through the letter and then folded it up and put it in my other pants pocket. Oh thank god, I can finally shower. I sighed with satisfaction. I leap towards the door, only to trip on myself thanks to my stiff feet. Whenever I get there, anyway…

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

After drying myself off with the towel, I threw my clothing back on. That was very refreshing! Nothing like a good shower. I probably stank like hell yesterday. I thought to myself. I was finally getting used to my stiff feet enough to walk around without much issue, which was good because there were a lot of unfamiliar rooms to explore. Sure, I have a map to use of course, but that doesn’t change the fact that this facility is both very large and very unfamiliar.

Well, there’s a common room not too far from here, maybe I should check that out. Oh, but there’s also the cafeteria. Hopefully, they have a lot more than the bland stuff they were serving me the past couple of days. I contemplated the different choices. There’s also a library...ah hmm...well, nothing saying I can’t do all of this stuff. I’ll just go to the common area first. I firmly nodded to myself and started to make my way over.

My walking and gait are still a bit awkward but I’ve finally stopped tripping like I have four left feet. The side effects this vaccine has is absolutely ridiculous. After this experiment, they'll have a laundry list of stuff crop up like it's one of those drug commercials. Side effects may include sausage fingers, the ability to talk to the dead and the condition known as rake feet! I mockingly spout in my mind, imitating all those ridiculous prescription commercials on TV.

I finally approached the common room and the glass doors pushed open as I approached. The room itself was fairly large with multiple tables and a few couches. Unlike the room I was kept in, whoever designed this room clearly loved the color silver and white. I felt like I was being kept inside an iPhone. Ugh.

There were a lot of people milling about, pretty much just the normal staff and doctors that I was used to seeing. There was one individual that stuck out to me though; a lone guy sitting over at one table, looking at something on his tablet. He seemed to be wearing a shirt nearly identical to my own only his was sporting two big “20”s on the sleeves instead of 42. It didn’t take a genius to figure out that he was here for the same reason I was.

I decided to walk over and introduce myself. “Hey man, is this seat taken?” I inquire nicely.

“Oh!” the man’s face shoots up as he takes a second to look at me before smiling. It was then I noticed he had one blue eye and one magenta eye. “Yeah, dude, totally! Table’s free.” He motions to the chair directly across from him. I smiled and took my seat and looked over at him. He put his hands behind his head and leaned back in the chair slightly. “So, what are ya in for?” he playfully smirked.

“Oh you know, detaining a homing pigeon.” I claimed with an amused grin. “You?”

“Flipping the bird without a license” he retorted, barely stifling a chuckle.

We sat in silence for a split second before we both burst out in laughter. After all the medical tests and paperwork, it was finally nice to talk to someone in a casual manner. He pulls back forward and puts his hands together. As he leans forward, I can see his eyes meeting mine briefly, probably trying to see if I have heterochromia as well.

“So, I see you’ve got some ‘double vision’ going on too, eh?” I inquired.

“Yeah” he sighed. “I’ve got ‘special eyes’ as it were. I’m pretty sure the next phase is that I shoot rainbow lasers out of them and start flying.” He joked.

I chuckled. “Well, hopefully it’s better than what I’m dealing with if I’m being honest,” I motioned to my feet. “Because these feet have been giving me crap all day.” I complained, clearly frustrated at the sudden lack of dexterity.

My new friend frowned. “You’ve been having problems walking around? That’s..unusual. That’s not how it’s been going for me.” He pondered, seemingly lost in thought. “I felt changes in my feet like you but instead I’ve felt...well...faster.

I frowned and looked down at the table. Guess ONE of us is benefiting from all of this. I'd love to be faster on my feet.

“Ah, but don’t misunderstand!” He reassured me, waving his hands. “It’s not all fun and games. Because for the life of me my shoulder blades seem to be giving me hell.” He lamented.

“Shoulder blades? Hmm, I haven’t gotten anything like that, though a very specific part of my forehead has been hurting a bit.” I revealed.

I saw my companion stare off in the distance for a second. “OH MY GOD!” He exclaimed before slamming his hands flat down on the table hard. He did it with such force that a few of the employees looked over at the two of us. He quickly turned to them with an embarrassed grin. “Ah, sorry! Sorry. Got a liiiiiiiiiittle too excited!” he awkwardly chuckled. The staff simply turned away ignoring the sudden outburst.

With that bizarre moment behind us, he turns to me and leans in lowering his voice. “Sorry, I just realized that another patient in this lab talked about a headache in a very specific point on their forehead.”

My eyes widen. “Really? That’s crazy. Did you happen to catch their name?”

He frowned. “No, no I didn’t unfortunately. Mainly because the girl he was with was bit...” He trails off and shakes his head. "Well, all I know is that guy mentioned he had 'A very localized headache' and it reminded me of what you were talking about," he finished.

His face brightens up as he leans back. “Speaking of names though, mine’s Will, what’s yours?” He inquires.
I turn away slightly, embarrassed that I hadn’t actually introduced myself yet. “Oh, sorry! I’m Penn.”

Will grins as he stands up from the table and points at me. “Well, when we meet up again, we should keep each other apprised on what’s happening to us. We gotta stick together, yeah?” He grinned. “Anyway, I’m gonna go hit the gym. I’ve got a lot of energy I’ve gotta get rid of. See ya!” He waves as he briskly walks out of the common area.

Well, that conversation was certainly insightful. Hmm, well, I wasn’t in the mood for the gym but maybe there was something else that would pique my interest. I looked back at the map and scanned all of the other places, wanting to refresh my memory at what other areas there were in this place. There was the recreation room, the garden, the library…

The hair on the back of my neck stood up. I really wanted to go to the library for some reason. I dunno why but I felt...compelled to go there.

Maybe some books will help me figure out this situation. I said to convince myself. Let’s see what kind of books they have.

I got up from the table and made my way over there, my desire to read compelling me forward.

\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

It was funny. Normally, I wouldn't have given a library another thought. Sure, I like reading books, but I normally just got stuff some friends recommended to me or picked it up digitally on my Tablet. I was never a “pick a random book in the library” kind of reader. But still, I felt that I might be able to read about something on my condition.

I immediately went for the non-fiction academic books since that was my best bet. I started picking out books related to anatomy, diseases, and other medically related content.

Well, now that I have all the best selling books featuring disturbingly real looking pictures of anatomy, time to file through this stuff!

I found a table and plopped myself down for a long session of reading. I pulled open the book and immediately my eyes started to glaze over at all the technical terms and scientific names that were based on some Latin word I had no idea how to pronounce. I spent over an hour pouring over the books in front of me, but it felt like I was getting nowhere.

Ugh, maybe this was a mistake. I know I read that other book a couple of days ago but this seems to be on a much higher level. I mean how am I supposed to know all this medical terminology? I mean, I took AP Biology in High School, but this is a whole other level.

“Uhm…”

Maybe I could take a class or watch some videos about it. That certainly could help me get better at learning all this. Of course, where am I supposed to learn all that while I’m stuck in here?

“E-excuse me…”

Oh! Maybe there are some class textbooks and I can just teach a course to myself! Heh, Professor Penn here to teach you about the heart. A professor actually has a bit of a nice ring to it! Maybe I should-

“Please sir, I…”

I tilt my head up. Oh crap, was someone talking to me? I look up to see a nervous-looking guy standing a few feet away from me. He was far away enough and quiet enough that I must not have heard him. He had on one of the same shirts I did, only it was with the number “12” on the shoulders. Both his eyes were downcast, but I could tell one was brown and the other was a vibrant seafoam green.

“Ah! I’m sorry. I didn’t see you there.” I sheepishly replied. Geez, how long was this person standing there? “Hey there, I’m Penn, how can I help you?” I inquire, getting my name introduction out of the way at the beginning this time.

“Oh uhm hello, I’m uhm, I’m Juan and I was just wondering if…” he trailed off and became unintelligible.

“Uh, what was that? I couldn’t hear you.” I replied.

“I just wanted to…” Another trail off.

“It’s okay, just tell me what you want,” I reassure him.

“Well, uhm, you’ve got a book I’d like to look at. The one about horses.” He softly stated. I blinked. I don’t remember picking that up. I looked back to the pile and sure enough, there was a book on horse anatomy in my large pile. How did that get there? Maybe that dream made me pick it up? Either way, I don't think I really needed it at the moment.

“Oh man, that’s odd, I have no idea why I picked that up,” I admitted. “Well, if you need to use it, go right ahead.”

He picks up the book and smiles. “Thanks, I just have really been looking for something like this. I really like animals," He says with a shy smile. "Since I can't really be with any animals right now, I figured I could read about them and look at different pictures of them so I don't feel as alone in...ah oh...” He suddenly trailed off. "I uhm, I've been rambling at you haven't I?"

I grin and shake my head. “Naw, it's fine. Anyway, you can have it. I don’t have much need for it right now. In fact, I’m not entirely sure why I needed it.” I relent in frustration. I know there was probably some reason I picked it up, but right now it’s escaping me.

“Uhm, well, is it too much to ask...I mean...if it’s okay with you...to ask...what…” he trailed off again.
“Could the answer be ‘What was I researching here in the library?’ Is that what you were gonna ask?” I surmised.

“O-oh! Yes. I was just...curious.” Juan admitted. He was almost embarrassingly easy to read, but he also seemed like an honest guy so I decided to level with him.

“Well, if you really wanna know, I was trying to see if I could figure out if there was something more to our symptoms than just the typical flu-related stuff.” I lean back in my chair and give a heavy sigh. “I mean, with what Will told me and what I’m actually experiencing, things are a bit weirder than just the normal flu. I’ve got this specific headache, Will had pain in his shoulder blades and-”

“Ah!” Juan suddenly piped up.

“Huh?” I responded. “Something the matter?”

“Oh uhm, I know it’s not any help but uhm...I’ve...I’ve also got...shoulder pain.” Juan admitted.

“Whoa, really? So, this isn’t just a one-off thing, it’s a pattern. There are several people talking about headaches in specific places and also shoulder pain.” I contemplated this new information. What could this all mean? I felt like I was just running in circles and not getting very far. I shook my head and stood up.

“I think it might be better to just sleep on things. I’ve been running around all day with not much to show for it. Well, expect running into a couple of friends I suppose.” I said with a slightly dejected tone.

Juan said nothing but looked on at me with wide eyes. “A...friend?”

“Uh, I mean, yeah!” I expressed in a chipper tone. “You seem like a nice enough guy Juan. Plus, we’re in the same boat together so it’ll help if we all stick together yeah?” I reassuringly pat Juan on the shoulder. Juan returned the gesture with the biggest damn grin I ever saw. It was honestly the cutest damn thing ever. I mean, he seems like a kind enough guy, but it would suck if he’s just out of social contact so much that just saying you’re his friend is enough to get him to beam like this.

"Thank you!" Juan cried.

“Well hey,” I pass by Juan and turn around “I’m gonna head back to my room, but you enjoy that book and lemme know if you wanna talk later.” I grin back at him before turning to leave.

“Oh um, later then!” Juan exclaimed, managing to sound like yelling but still keeping with a quiet library environment. Introverts can truly achieve some amazing feats.

I waved back at him without turning around as I left the library.

\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

I grumbled as I sauntered down the hallway. So much for all that research. Still, it was nice to get in some reading. I looked back at the map. There was one last place I wanted to check out for today and that was the recreation room. The trip down there gave me some time to think about the actual facility itself. I was suddenly struck with the realization that I hadn’t seen a single window outside this facility since I had arrived.

Could this entire facility be underground...or maybe it's in a mountain? I pondered to myself. Maybe this could be some sort of super secluded government facility where scientists are doing some top-secret experiments and other types of mad science. Heh, maybe I’ll get superpowers out of this whole ordeal, like those laser eyes Will mentioned. I grin and shake my head at the absurd scenario I laid out in my head. Yeah right, like that'll ever happen.

Besides, if it really was a secret facility, you’d probably want to hide it from the view of satellites and how could you do that? I mean I suppose you could use a spell that could use everyday objects as mounting points like a tree in a grid to cover the area in a series of false reflections of the area around them to give the illusion that the area is empty, but how would you account for the amount of mana consumption you'd need for such a massi-

*WOOSH*

A door suddenly opened in front of me, nearly smacking me in the face. “Guh!” I yelped out in surprise, nearly stumbling over to avoid a collision with the person leaving. After regaining my balance, I turn to look at who I almost crashed into. She was a young-looking woman and given her attire, it was clear she was a nurse.

The lady dressed in scrubs looked over at me and winced realizing what had nearly occurred. “Oh! I’m so sorry. I didn’t hit you did I?” the woman asked, genuinely concerned.

“Yeah, I’m fine.” I rub the back of my head, trying to hide the embarrassment that I was so lost in thought about something completely hypothetical, that I almost ran into a door.

“Well, good! I’d hate to earn a reputation as a nurse who causes harm. I’d never hear the end of it!” she exclaims, laughing a bit. “Well, you have a good day and watch out for doors!” she warns as she strolls away.

I sigh as I look at my surroundings, wondering if I had missed a turn trying to get to my destination. Miraculously, I hadn’t gotten off course and the recreation room I was looking for was just up ahead. I make my way over and open the door.

What lay before me was truly a sight to behold. I figured this place would just be a sad looking foosball table that had parts broken, a few puzzles that were too easy for anyone with a shred of intelligence and a TV with a game console less sophisticated than a pocket calculator from a time when Ronald Reagan was still alive. But no, this room was much more than that.

Not only was there a ping pong table, billiards, and a non-busted foosball table, there seemed to be a couple of arcade cabinets in the back. Heck, calling this place a recreation room was misleading since there seemed to be doors leading to different rooms that seemed to be dedicated to more physically demanding activities. I hear the distinctive sound of a basketball bouncing off a wooden court and the squeaking of shoes as one of the side doors opened.

I scanned around the room and soon spotted what was soon becoming a familiar sight; a person dressed in a gray t-shirt with numbers on the sleeves. This guy’s shirt had the number “02” placed on the shoulders. He seemed to be laser-focused on an arcade game at the moment. Curious at how he was fairing, I walked over to get a look at the game he was playing. He was playing a beat-em-up game, some real Streets of Rage type stuff. It also looked like he was on one of the later levels, given how tough the enemies looked and how high his score seemed to be at the moment. After watching him pull off some pretty spectacular feats, I saw that it had the option for Multiplayer. It seemed exciting so I decided to try and give it a go.

“Room for one more?” I piped up, not wanting to intrude in on his game out of nowhere.

“Oh heck, sure man! Go right ahead, it’s on Free Play” the friendly stranger informed me. Grinning, I moved over to the Player 2 controllers and pressed the start button. What followed was an impressive display. There was a flurry of punches, a volley of kicks and a massive myriad of maniacal adversaries that we faced.

Too bad I was getting my ass kicked.

I was...not very good at this game. My partner was very understanding and gave me a little nudge. “Oh don’t worry about it. I’ve had a lot of practice at this game. You’ve got to have strong reflexes for this sort of thing.” He reassured me. That put my mind at ease, knowing that he wasn’t angry at my poor performance. “I’m Darnel, by the way!” he said as he executed a flaming punch on some unsuspecting bodybuilder looking guy in the game.

“I’m Penn, nice to meet you.” I say, trying to avoid punches from a similar looking enemy on screen.

We continued playing until we got to some sunglasses-wearing dude who said some very poorly translated English phrases. Yup, this was definitely a beat-em-up from the 1990s. We were at the end and the boss put up quite the fight, but in the end, we were ultimately victorious...mainly because I kept distracting the enemy while my partner did most of the punching.

As the end credits started to roll, the veteran player turned to me. “Hey, thanks for helping me out...even if it was mainly to distract the enemies from me.” He said with a chuckle.

I wave my hand and shake my head. “Ah hey, as long as we both had fun, it’s all good.” I motioned to my third companion I had today over to the couch near a TV, so that we no longer have to keep standing. We both plop down on the leather padding of the couch as I continue. “Plus, it helps distract from the current situation.”

Darnel gave a guttural groan at that statement. “Oh god, I know right? Being stuck inside like this is the worst! If I stay inside like this, I swear I’m gonna get really flabby. I like staying busy, y’know? I’m all for doing honest, hard work.” He nodded sagely. “But we’re all stuck in the same boat; no going out until everything comes to pass and the treatment takes its course. I need to talk with people or I’ll come down with a massive case of cabin fever.”

I chuckle. “Well, if you’re worried about getting out of shape and want a friend, I know to solve both those problems in one fell swoop.”

Darnel tilts his head towards me. “Hmmmm?”

“I met this guy earlier today.” I began. “He goes by Will. He said he was wanting to go to the gym and workout. He seemed like a cool enough guy. He looks like-” I wanted to continue but Darnel held up a hand to interrupt me.

“A big guy wearing a gray shirt like we've both got on with some 20s on his sleeves?” Darnel said, with a slightly amused look on his face.

“Hey yeah! How did you know?” I asked with genuine curiosity.

“Well, I saw him on the treadmill earlier today. That guy was really really fast on that thing, like inhumanly fast.” Darnel uttered in awe.

That’s right. I thought. Will did mention he felt faster on his feet, even if he was getting the same pain, I was. Actually…

“Hey, Darnel? Quick question. Have you gotten pain in your shoulder blades or your forehead?” I inquired.

“Hmmm? Well, no not really. All I’ve been feeling is a bit of stiffness in my feet. That and the whole eye thing.” Darnel replied. It was such a common occurrence to me now that I almost didn’t notice Darnel had the same heterochromia that we were all dealing with. To be fair though, he had a hazel eye and a bright green eye, so out of context, it might not even look that bizarre.

Hrm, no headache or pain in the shoulder blades? That's odd. Everyone else I've talked to so far had at least one or the other. I wondered.

After briefly thinking about it, I shake my head. “Ah, well, I’ve just been trying to make heads or tails of our situation. I’m just wondering what’s going on.”

“Heh, I thought the doctors were the ones who were supposed to be doing that?” Darnel quipped.

“W-well, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to learn is there?” I stammer a reply.

“Nah, I guess there isn’t.” Darnel relented. He leaned back and sighed. “Look, we might not know all the information about what will happen to us. We just need to take it all in stride sometimes, ya get me?”

I nod and sigh. “Yeah, I guess so.” Still, I just have this insatiable desire to learn about what’s happening to me. But before I’m able to respond to Darnel, an announcement pipes into the room’s PA speaker.

“Attention, would Penn please report back to his room for a medical examination. Penn, you’re needed in your examination room.” The woman on the announcement proclaimed.

“Huh, guess that means I’ve gotta go then, huh?” I sheepishly chuckle.

“Yeah,” Darnel agreed “I’ll let you go man. I’ll see you around, dude. Maybe we’ll play some more games later!”

I get up from the couch and laugh. “Only if you promise not to take all the glory!” I retort as I wave on my way to the door.

Darnel simply gives me a thumbs-up as the doors close.

\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

It wasn’t too far to get to my room from here. I had ended up going in more or less a circle around this floor of the facility. All this fun made me forget that I was here for medical purposes. Well, time for another visit with the docs. Hopefully, it’ll just be a straightforward examin-

*GAAAAAAAAAASP!*

I whip my head around as I see a green and a blue eye staring directly at me, filled with childlike wonder and amazement.

“It’s another one! Just like I said, Nathan!” the overly excited girl exclaimed. Following shortly behind her is a somewhat haggard-looking man, gasping for breath. He also had a green eye, blue eye situation.

“Meghan, please,” the man said in a formal sounding voice in between his deep breaths. “You need to have a little consideration...for those of us not gifted with your...quite frankly bizarre amount of boundless energy.”

Meghan turned to Nathan and gave a small pout. “Hey, I’m just doing my part to find us all of the bi-sight friends in this place! I wanna see everyone!” Meghan exclaimed.

“Uh...Bi-sight friends?” I inquire, not entirely sure what these two characters were up to.

Nathan shakes his head. “That’s what Meghan insists on calling every patient she encounters who has heterochromia. I’ve been telling her that an unusual change of the color of people’s irises is not a free ticket to go and harass them.” Nathan gives a heavy sigh before looking up at the ceiling. “I swear Darling, you’re going to get us in trouble. You nearly gave that poor boy in the library a heart attack!”

“Juan?” I say, not realizing that triggered yet another phase of Meghan’s energy reserves.

“Oh my GOOOOOOOOOOOSH! You met Juan too?! That’s great! Our friends are already starting to get to know each other!” Meghan giggled with excitement. “Anyway, I’m Meghan, and this is Nathan! Eheh, but I suppose you already figured that out, huh?” Meghan gives a playful grin. “We’re here to invite you into our party!

“I’m sorry...there’s a party going on?” I scratch my head, not sure of what to make of this.

Meghan furiously shakes her head. “No no no, not like that silly...though I would not be opposed to a party somewhere down the line.” She then slams her fist into the palm of her hand. “No, I’m talking about the Final Fantasy kind of party! The one where we stick together and form bonds and work together! Of course, we can have a normal party later down the line.”

I stare at her for a few seconds before turning to Nathan, my jaw slightly slack, looking on in sheer confusion. Nathan simply sighed.

“She’s been wanting to bond with everyone else as a sign of solidarity. I’m all for doing a meet and greet with others but she can be a bit out of control.” Nathan explained.

“Well,” I began “I’d love to hang out with you all but I have an appointment with one of the docs.”

I turn to leave but Meghan grabs my hand and shoves a handwritten note into my possession.

“Okay, but I’m inviting all of you to Recreation Side Room B tomorrow because I want to meet all my new friends and have everyone get along! See you soooooooon!” Meghan giggles before zooming off, Nathan groaning as he tries to keep up.

What was that all about? I mentally yell. What kind of drugs is SHE getting? I wanted to think about it further but all this excitement distracted me from getting back for my appointment.

I sigh, stuffing the note into my pocket before making my way to the door and swiping my keycard to open it. Inside, I found the nurse who would be examining me...and it was the same nurse I had a near crash into just a couple of hours ago. I recognized her and gave her a somewhat surprised look.

“Well, uh...good news, I’m a master at using doors now!” I joke, attempting to defuse the somewhat awkward situation.

Fortunately, she laughed as she stood up to greet me. “Well, that’s good to know, Penn! Anyway, if you could please sit down, I can begin to perform your examination.”

I do as I’m told and sit down and soon she gets started looking me over. She goes through a lot of the same things Doctor Eckert had me do, probably as a way to track my progress. As she’s going through the examination, I debate on what to tell her about what I’m feeling and what I’ve heard from the other people I encountered today. Not to mention that dream I had…

“Hey listen, Nurse ah…” I trail off.

“Oh, it's Akai, Nurse Akai Shinzō. I’m so sorry, I forgot to introduce myself!” She apologized.

“That’s okay, uhm...Nurse Akai, there’s something that’s on my mind.” I admit to her.

“Is that so? Well, it’s my job to keep an eye on your health, even if it’s something mental. What’s going on?” She asks.

I pause for a moment and look down, unsure of how exactly to convey what I’ve been experiencing. “Well, I’ve been having these weird moments in my mind where I feel like...I go off on these mental tangents that aren’t normally things I would think about.”

Nurse Akai tilts her head slightly. “Oh? Like what?”

I twiddle my thumbs. “Well, I guess I just have these instances where I go off on these analytical tangents and honestly, it sounded a lot smarter than I normally am. Not to say that I’m dumb, just that I seemed to operate on a higher level for a moment, using more intricate and purposeful language. I also have an increased desire to read.”

Akai taps her pen against her chin and gives a big “Hmmmmm.” She starts to jot something down onto my chart and then looks up at me. “That sounds like you feel there’s some kind of fluctuation in your personality, would that be fair to say?”

I nod. “That actually sounds like what's happening to me, yeah!”

Akai smiles “Well, I can let you know that you’re not the only one who’s told me that today, so you’re not alone. A shift in the chemical balance in your brain can cause a person’s mood to shift, though usually, it’s not something so specific as feeling more analytical or wanting to read books.” She says, scrunching her face in thought, before ultimately relenting and continuing with the examination.

A few minutes later and the entire process is done. Nurse Akai gets up and finishes writing her notes. “Well Penn, you’ll be happy to know that you’re doing amazing right now and the effects of the vaccine seem to be working as intended. I’ll most likely be the one checking in on you tomorrow, so I’ll look forward to seeing you again!”

“Well, thanks Nurse Akai. See you tomorrow!” I say as she closes the door to leave.

Well, this was quite a day, I’ve gotta say. I pondered to myself. I met a lot of people and saw a lot of places. I pulled the note out of my pocket and looked at it. And apparently we’re all going to be getting together for a party of sorts. Maybe I’ll see Darnel and Will there. Hmmm.

I continued to think things over in my mind, even as my eyes grew heavy.

Author's Note:

I would like to take the time to thank all of the people in TF-Sential's server for both helping me out with edits but also with brainstorming for this fic in general. I would not have nearly as good a story if it were not for you.

Edited and Proofread by

Courage Fire

Special Thanks to Eqlipse for really hammering out all the details with me. You deserve some praise too!