Hoodoo/Voodoo Medicine Man

JP between Esimed & MCtheYouTuber

Emily was dressed in a very unassuming outfit; dark grey hoodie, maroon cap, dark jeans and sneakers. It was designed so that she appeared to be just another face in the crowd. She held up her notepad as she looked at the hospital, and confirmed it was the same as in her notes; County General Hospital. “Let's hope this place isn’t as much of a bust as the last couple places…” Emily mumbled to herself, taking a sip of her Trenta D.E. Coffee and walking around to one of the side emergency exits. “Ok girls, do your stuff.” After stifling a quick yawn from her all-nighter, she put on her game face. Using the ant controller she had in her ear, she commanded almost 100 black carpenter ants to crawl between the door jamb and the door itself. Getting between the latch of the door and the push bar, they depressed it enough that Emily could slip inside after pulling on the outside of the door. No alarm went off due to the inherent design of the fire door, so she emerged into an empty hallway. She let the door seal behind her and began to walk towards the laboratory, a map of the hospital pulled up on her phone, her other hand holding her coffee, though whether or not she would put it down and forget about it was still up for debate. She just had to keep her head down and not draw any attention to herself. It was easy to keep your head down when you were running on pure caffeine; she forgot for a moment that nearly 100 ants were following her in a single file line.

~~~After a few minutes~~~

“Yeah, I know we were already on the correct floor,” Theo was saying to T’Chantem as they too skulked around this uninhabited wing of the hospital. “But he’s in a coma and isn’t going anywhere. First let’s check and see if there’s any weird stuff going on around here before we just show up at the doctor’s bedside. You know, just in case someone nefarious is monitoring the visitors coming and going to his room. That scene I made downstairs with the receptionist should be enough to stir up a reaction from whoever is behind this - if they are here in the hospital. We could…”

Theo stopped and her nose crinkled as she sniffed at the air. “You smell that? That’s coffee.” Her nose twitched again and she shook her head. “Nope, that’s an espresso; double espresso if I’m not mistaken. What? I have a good nose. I make Niko take me to all the Starbucks and wait in the lines - can you believe Starbucks is actually the slowest stop for a coffee in the city? Anyways, I make Niko wait in the lines with me as part of the handcrafted treatment I developed for him; Speed Curtailment Acclimation Therapy - or SCAT if you prefer. He hates SCAT time, but it helps him to learn patience and happiness in the service of his sister which in turn further prepares him to help save the world. Well, that’s the idea at least. I’m not sure it’s actually working. Anyways, espresso. It’s kind of a silly fad if you ask me. A serving of regular drip coffee actually has more caffeine than a shot of espresso. According to the USDA, one 1.5-ounce shot of espresso has around 90-100 milligrams of caffeine. Your standard cup of drip coffee clocks in at up to 128 milligrams, making it the better wake-up call for those rough mornings. Unfortunately, unlike sophisticated Italians sitting in a Venetian square, most sleep-deprived students pound back espresso as if it were a shot of a different kind. As a result, the caffeine jolt comes on faster and stronger than when leisurely sipping a cup of extra-dark roast. I read the pamphlet. So why does it smell like steaming coffee bean squirt if no one is supposed to be up here? Ooh look, a trail of ants. Do you have a magnifying glass with you, your Princeliness?”

“No, but it isn’t necessary,” T’Chantem responded as he watched the ants trail down the hall in a single-file line. While uniformity and targeted behavior wasn’t unusual in the species, there was always a stimulus that warranted such characteristics. It wasn’t even necessarily odd to find ants in an empty wing of a hospital, depending on the circumstance, but the oddity came in the single incoming line with an unexpected impetus; fresh coffee. “I don’t believe that this floor is as unoccupied as we originally expected,” T’Chantem informed. “Let’s see if we can discover the source of your double shot espresso?”

Emily was in an ‘abandoned’ room; there was someone in the bed, but they weren’t moving. The lights were off and the blinds were closed, her Coffee sitting on top of a counter as she rooted through some cabinets that were at floor level. The door was mostly closed and she was mumbling to herself. “Come on… this IS the room number that was in my dad’s journal…” She looked up at the bed that was in the middle of the room. “I hope that guy doesn’t wake up anytime soon…” she stared at the Comatose Doctor Juden Hilt for another second before she stuck her head back into the cabinet underneath the counter. “It’s a set of red and blue vials… why is that so hard to find?” she said in a hushed whisper.

Theo peeked her head around the door facing. It looked like some sort of storage room, except that there was a functional medical bed with all the lights and bells and whistles attached. She could see that someone was lying on that bed, asleep or unconscious with an IV drip and sensors sticking into him here and there. Definitely a him; no boobs,Theo reasoned out. From her angle she could not see the face, but the bed seemed out of place here among the room’s other contents. So she was immediately suspicious of the other someone crouched down rifling through some low cabinets.

“Is your Meredith plant knowledge succulent or dried up?” she called out to Emily in an accusing tone.

Emily jumped, her head thwacking against the top of the floor cabinet, her coffee wobbled on the table. She sat back, rubbing her head. “Ow… son of a bitch…” She rubbed the back of her head, turning to look at Theo. “Who? Oh… it’s just you.” Emily stood up, grabbed her coffee and took another gulp of it, then put it back down. The ants kind of… gathered around her, then began to disperse, some moving towards the coffee, others climbing onto her. “What do you want, Theo?” Emily asked, her annoyance at being interrupted very thinly veiled. “I’m doing something pretty important, so unless you have some mission that needs the entire team…” Emily spoke with disdain that had only ever grown for the magical woman. She had been solo for a little while before meeting Theo and her team, and Theo’s Alpha Female instincts clashed with Emily’s own. And as the ‘Ant Queen’, to Emily this was unacceptable. She crossed her arms and a small frown found its way onto her sleep deprived face.

Theo was quick to cross her arms as well, not that it was a competition. “If you’d attended the team meeting, you’d have known that this is pretty important. But you miss a lot of team meetings, don’t you? What are you doing here, anyways?”

“Why do you care? I have my own self-imposed mission. I've been up for over 48 hours and I don’t need to explain myself to you,” Emily countered. She crouched down, leaving her small notepad next to her coffee, attempting to ignore Theo as she went back into the cabinet. She pushed aside a couple miscellaneous containers and let out a groan. “Do I have the wrong location? I wrote down the room number. I hope nobody else found them. That would be very bad,” she said to herself.

Boundaries. Theo had a real problem with boundaries. As soon as Emily ducked back into the cabinet, the notepad and coffee rose up on a red wisp and drifted over to the witch’s hands. Theo scoffed at the ‘E.L.’ the barista had scribbled across the cup. She sipped the coffee, and her eyebrows shot up her face. Hot damn, that was some jolt. She flipped open the notebook’s case; it was one of those fancy types with a spot for the phone on one side and a sleek pad of paper on the right, in fact there was a phone in that very spot. Theo thumbed through the notepad in search of pictures. Er, diagrams; they were called diagrams when it was science. So she was quiet for some time while both she and Emily searched for clues; Theo in the notepad and Emily in the cabinet. Finally Theo decided she’d tried long enough and stuffed the notepad into her coat. “It’s no wonder you haven’t been able to sleep, Emily. This coffee contains far too much caffeine for your developing body. You should be drinking milk.”

The Notepad’s first few pages were taken up by a list of roughly 300 names of locations, more than half of which were on the west coast, and roughly 30 of those places were crossed out in Red Pen. Emily paused her search as she sensed Theo thinking about her coffee. “Are you drinking my coffee? What the hell is with you?” She pulled aside one last box, then laid her eyes on what she saw as a jackpot, a very small jackpot, but a jackpot nonetheless. “I would be madder at you, but I just found what I was looking for!” Emily crawled back out, holding a small ziplock bag, it was a sandwich size bag and it had 4 vials in it. “Just like dad wrote in the notepad.” She held up the baggie victoriously. “Pym Particles!” She declared, showing it to Theo.

Like she was at the Aquarium, Theo leaned in to look at the content of the baggie. “The red ones are pretty. Put your drugs in your pocket, we’ll have them tested when we get back to base.”

Emily pocketed the baggie, her outstretched hand beckoning for her coffee. “Coffee please, and you didn’t answer my question, why are you here? Did you come looking for me? Because if you are you’re incredibly lucky.” She didn’t notice the casual mention of them being ‘drugs’ at that point in time.

Theo handed Emily back an empty cup. “I’m a witch. I make my own luck. Maybe I was looking for Plimp Particles, too. Did you ever think of that?” Theo heard T’Chantem making a rude sound. “Fine, I wasn’t looking for drugs, I don’t even know what those do. Well, I know what drugs do; I’ve tried lots of them, but I don’t know what these drugs do. Did you happen to notice this body on the bed behind you? Those drugs probably belong to him.” Theo decided it was time to take a closer look at that body. There shouldn’t be anyone up here; the floor was supposed to be unoccupied, out of order, off limits - something like that. So why was there a…

“Holy bird shit!” She exclaimed. “That’s him! Good job, Ant-Maiden, I knew you’d lead me right to Doctor Man.” Theo looked at all the wires and flashing lights connected to the bed. “Oh my god! They’re turning him into a machine. Quick, help me unplug everything.”

(Just regular hospital bed setup, nothing nefarious.)

Emily held up a finger, ready to retort, since her grandfather’s legacy had just been shit upon, then she grit her teeth at Theo’s continued misuse of her Hero Name. She looked over to T’Chantem, then grumbled. “They aren’t drugs…. And they certainly aren’t HIS.” She tossed the empty cup towards the trash can, missing it by several feet. She then looked at the bed. “I saw there was someone here… and it looks like he’s just hooked up to regular life support and body monitoring systems, you can’t upload a human consciousness to the web last I checked… are we sure YOU aren’t the one who needs more sleep?”

“And when was the last time you checked, Emily. While you’ve been on a 48 hour bender in search of more drugs, great leaps in medical and scientifical advancements have been happening all around us. I don’t know what any of them are because I devote my time to studying magic, but you’re smart enough to know that science is an evil force that cannot be contained. Case in point.” Theo thumped Juden Hilt’s chest. “If his consciousness hasn’t been uploaded into a machine, then where is it?”

Emily clenched her fist. “They aren’t drugs! Pym particles are subatomic particles that can alter the size of something or someone while retaining their original density. I thought you knew about all the different supers that disappeared.” Emily’s temper had finally reached its breaking point. “And if you’re so convinced that his consciousness isn’t here, grab a syringe of adrenaline and jab it into his chest! That should wake him up.” She scowled at Theo.

“That’s a horrible thing to suggest! If I wake him up now without his consciousness he’ll just be a mindless zombie. Zombies hurt people, Emily. I care for this man; he and I have had familial relations if you are old enough to understand my meaning. I don’t want to have to stab him in the head. Geez, have a heart.” Theo gave Emily a shocked look. Then started looking for a syringe of adrenaline. “Come check his pulse while I find something to help him.”

Emily looked at the guy on the hospital bed, then at Theo. “That’s disgusting… I don’t even want to think about that.” Emily walked over, placing her index and middle fingers against the front of his wrist. Then moved her fingers to his neck. “Whoever said you can feel someone’s pulse through their wrist was on crack.” Emily put her hand in her jacket pocket. ‘Where’s my phone?’ she thought to herself. She looked over to where she had previously been… no phone, no notepad case… she frowned. “Hey, you didn’t happen to see my phone case, did you?” she asked, a very mild accusatory tone in her voice.

“Hmm?” Theo asked, far too nonchalant. “You can’t find your phone. What did it look like? Maybe it’s with your notebook. We’ll search for it in a bit. How’s that pulse?” Theo stopped her hunt for a syringe and bit her lip as she looked at Juden. “Why do you think they stashed him away like this in a storage room? You’d think a hospital would treat its own Doctors with more compassion than this.”

Emily scoffed. “I have my suspicions about where it is, since it’s not where I left my coffee, and you took my coffee, but I’ll deal with it later. As for why he’s here, hell if I know. He’s certainly GOT a pulse, and that monitor is a heart rate monitor.” Emily pointed at one of the screens which showed a fluctuating green line and a series of numbers. “And he isn’t flat lined, so he’s certainly alive. The only real way to tell whether or not his mind is in there without waking him up is to give him a brainscan, I think; unless you can hocus pocus an answer out of thin air,” Emily mocked slightly. She decided that she was pretty sure that since Theo was the only person actually IN the room with her, she must have taken the phone, whether or not it was true remained to be seen though.

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