wasnt_fresh_enough: (Default)
AGE: 38
CONTACT: Plurk - MatrixRefugee

NAME: Herbert West
JOURNAL: [personal profile] wasnt_fresh_enough
AGE: 29
CANON: ReAnimator trilogy
CANON POINT: The first five minutes of Beyond ReAnimator

BACKGROUND: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Re-Animator

PERSONALITY: Perhaps Herbert's best quality is his focus and his concentration: he's more or less devoted his entire life and all of his wiry energy to medical research, with a view to, in his words "defeat[ing] death". Why he chose this particular path is unclear, though one suspects he's simply in it for the science: there are so many diseases for which treatments or cures have been developed, why not aim at the greatest cause of human suffering and pain there is? He'll stop at nothing or precious little in the pursuit of his goal, and in the process, he's apt to do and has done some highly questionable and medically unethical things, including testing his reagent (a greenish chemical that when injected into a dead creature will bring it back to life, albeit as a flailing revenant) on animals (laboratory and otherwise: he brings his roommate's dead cat back tolife after the cat dies in mysterious circumstances - he claims the cat died of natural causes, but given how the cat disliked him, onewonders if the feline sensed something about this guy), breaking into morgues to try out his chemical reagent on the recently deceased, or stealing corpses and/or parts thereof to piece together in order to create a whole new person (which he did to create a body for the heartof his roommate's deceased fiancee who had previously been
semi-resuscitated with the reagent; he's not entirely cold-blooded, if he'd go to that length to help a friend in need), or to create strange chimeras which his assistant rightly calls "morbid doodling" (a leg
attached to an arm which then proceeds to to kick him in the face, an eyeball attached to five scuttling fingers - which come to think of it, is kind of cute in an outre way...). Beyond his work, he virtually
has no social life or any other commitments, other than his stint working as a staff physician in Miskatonic Medical Center, and the one friend he does make is involved in the same work, and even then, he's a lacking in a passable bedside manner, which relegates him to the pathology department, running biopsies and tests. He's even known to forget to eat or sleep (and one cut scene that has turned up in some broadcast prints, shows him dosing himself with a diluted form of the reagent to keep himself going.).

His demeanor is decidedly eccentric: he's generally soft-spoken, but often speaks with an eccentric affect that can border on the Creepy Monotone (his assistant/roommate Dan's fiancee finds him patently unsettling). He has virtually no brain to mouth filter, which can be off-putting at best, at worst, gets him into trouble: He's not adverse to calling out people he dislikes when they do something he disapproves of (when he meets Doctor Hill, one of the medicalprofessors at Miskatonic University, practically the next thing out of his mouth is to accuse Hill of plagiarizing the work of Dr. Gruber, West's mentor, also involved in seeking a practical life-extension treatment). Blood and guts and mangled bodies hardly cause him to blink: he's seen dispassionately describing bodies in a morgue ("Burn victim... shotgun wound to the head... malpractice..."), and kills a revenant ('flail zombie', to borrow a phrase from Derek the Bard? We're trying to avoid using the zed-word here because connotations...) by ramming a bonesaw through its heart without so much as a squicked tightening of the face. At times, he's been known to get his dress
shirts soaked in blood and God knows what and this doesn't seem to faze him in the least. He also has a snarky streak a mile wide ("Don't let the little head rule the big head," he warns Dan when his
assistant starts showing attraction for a beautiful female colleague), and isn't above trolling people because they annoy him (he sneaks into the back of Hill's Autopsy 101 class just to troll his nemesis by
snapping pencils loudly while Hill is trying to lecture and demonstrate), or just to get a rise out of them (the way he teasingly warns Dan, his assistant, to watch out behind him, moments after they've been wrangling with Dan's now very deceased then reagent'ed then re-dead'ed cat in a shadowy basement - and then giggles at Dan's terrified reaction).

He means well, for all of this. Granted, he's somewhat of a nihilist: life to him is a short, painful, brutal affair, full of trauma and suffering, and the only hope humanity has of escaping that is finding
a way to conquer its ultimate source of suffering, namely death. Also, he's turned his back on "A god repulsed by the miserable humanity he created in his own image", and as such, if you imply that his work is blasphemous or unnatural or 'playing God', he'll at best swat you off with a quip, at worst give you the sharp side of his tongue. But he does have some modicum of hope that science and human ingenuity will
conquer humanity's last, worst enemy.

And he'll do anything to protect his work: when he catches Hill in his (West's) basement lab, trying to steal his research notes and thereagent, he sneaks up on him with a shovel, hitting him over the head
and cutting it off, before pressing Hill, detached head and all, into service as his next human test subject for a reagent trial: he needed something as fresh as he could get, after using things that "[weren't] fresh enough" and getting some at-best mixed results, so this, in his twistedly pragmatic mind, seemed as good a subject as any. Granted, he only kills in self-defense or to protect his work or because a person deserved it, but once they're dead, they're more or less a new canvas for his bizarre medical artistry.

ABILITIES: Medical knowledge (anatomy/surgery/triage/biochemistry)

APPEARANCE: https://videodromo.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/jeffreycombs.jpg

INVENTORY: Two ballpoint pens, a small pocket notebook containing jotted formulae related to the ReAgent, about two dollars in 1986-era U.S. of A. coins (nickels, dimes, quarters), his Miskatonic Medical
Center ID badge bearing his photo and signature.

CONTRACT ARRANGEMENT: Following Herbert's arrest and subsequent interrogation for his role in the disappearance of an Arkham Police Detective (who'd subsequently turned up as a reanimated horror), an
attractive lawyer turned up, claiming to be Herbert's county-appointed attorney. Said lawyer convinced the police to remand Herbert into their custody, whereupon, the accused was taken to a fleabag motel. In
a room rented for the night, the 'lawyer', Bianca Valetta, explained to him that it was highly likely that he (Herbert) was going to end up in prison, thus effectively putting an end to his work. Herbert was
adamant, said he could find a way around that: he'd always been resourceful; Bianca pointed out to him that little wiry guys like him don't tend to do well in prison. This made Herbert reconsider, which
warmed him up for the offer: get the hell out of Arkham and away from the not-so-tender mercies of the Essex County judicial system, and start over in Ginosa. Though that would come at a price, since he
would effectively be in the pocket of the Valetta: if they needed him to patch up someone or make a body disappear, or run some other task as assigned, they would call on him. He relented, not entirely pleased
with the arrangement, but it seemed several levels better than a court trial and imprisonment and a possible ending or disruption of his research...


ROLE: Justice-Medical (Obviously)
Crime-Cleaner (Though he might need to be convinced *not* to add the
dead'ed bodies to his specimen collection, or to appropriate parts of
them for his 'morbid doodling' or possible organ trafficking)
Crime-Drug Trafficking (With a little convincing, he might be willing
to concoct things in the lab.)
Crime-Spy (could tie in with Justice-Medical)

[Crime/Justice-Entertainment is off the table. I don't see him doing that.]

NETWORK: [The device clicks on, and appears to be set on a charging base, on a patio table on the balcony. The owner thereof is sitting opposite on the end of a chaise lounge, in his shirtsleeves, knees
slightly apart, elbows resting on them, hands folded loosely, his face turned to the sky.]

So many stars... [He talks as if no one is listening, thinking out loud.] I'm surprised to see this many, this deep in the city and with this much ambient light pollution from the high rises. Or perhaps I
just don't look upward that often, despite all the times I'm out ...after dark. Some would say I don't look up enough. But maybe they don't look down to earth often enough, afraid of what they might see.
Afraid of the disease and damages they might see in their fellow man? Or up ahead, the permanent roadblock made of gravestones? [A dry chuckle] "You can leave here for four days in space, but when you
return, it's just the same place." A wise man, whomever he was, likely he'd seen his share of humanity in pain at its most raw, clinging to life and whatever they hope will preserve it. Beauty treatments, cosmetic surgery, exercise and diet regimens... for what? There's no staving off the inevitable.

[His gaze slowly tracks down to a point off camera as he continues to speak.] The Egyptians were the first to start playing 'let's pretend' with the dead, imagining the dead came back as birds hovering about their burial sites, or ascending to the heavens as stars... Clever fantasies at best, at worst [Another dry, soft cough of a laugh and a glance upwards], ...comforting fabrications borne out of mankind's

We're no different. We haven't evolved, in that sense, or at the least, haven't evolved far enough. These days, we keep looking to the future for hope, we put our faith in the successes of our children, who would live much more at ease with themselves if the olde generation would stop trying to live vicariously through them. What right do we have to burden them with our neuroses before they even have the chance to draw breath? The future could lie with us, if we would only stop being paralyzed by the fear of death and instead, transform that fear into potentiality. We're a bright enough species, we've made technological advances that have made us the dominant species on this backwater planet circling an average star, but we're still dominated by one enemy: our own fear, that oldest and most powerful of emotions. People wish their departed were still alive, that their loved ones still lived and walked with them, still able to
enjoy the myriad wonders that living brings, but that fear still keeps them from reaching out to take that first strike at the root cause of death. To find, as it were, a working cure for that one ailment that
we're all certain of suffering and succumbing to, one day...

[He pauses, his gaze going to the device. head tilting quizzically, and he frowns, rising and slowly striding toward it.] Who turned this gadget on? Was it transmitting? [Reaching in, he shuts it off.]

LOG: Another night working for a car service that served another purpose. The dim bulb debutantes and the boozing frat boys he carted around Torno with their chatter or their boasting - to say nothing of the spilled drinks and other fluids they left all over the floor of the stretch Cadillac he'd been given - they put him in mind of the trust fund kids in university who'd sniffed at him for his ideas. At times he considered poisoning the mini-bar, but a scorched-earth tactic would call too much attention and suspicion to himself. Besides, poison would contaminate any specimens he took, and that would adversely affect the work.

The current bevy of scantily dressed debs had dwindled as he dropped them off one by one, till only one remained, Gina Raimondi, a girl who couldn't keep her mouth shut to the wrong people, and whom his
employers needed to have silenced as quickly as possible.

"Hey, driiiiver..." she called out over the divider, unsteadily. "This ain't the way back to my place."

"We're on the far side of the city, Miss Raimondi. I'm afraid that called for an alternate route," Herbert replied, keeping his eyes on the road. That road lead them along a river on one side, a row of darkened warehouses looming up on the other. Barely anyone around to notice him, and given some of the deals that went down in places like this, involving personages few wished to cross, no one who saw would
likely have much to say.

"Admit it, four-eyes: we're lost, and you wouldn't know the difference," she snapped. "No wonder you need glasses."

He contemplated collecting her larynx just for that, maybe graft it onto something that would mortify her if she knew, or find a viable transplant recipient, though there wasn't a high demand for them, he thought as he palmed one of the tools of his main trade from a case secreted beside the seat, his other gloved hand firmly on the wheel. "Not as much as you need a muzzle for your insolent mouth," he replied, glancing into the rear view mirror with barely veiled contempt in his eye. "Those are contact lenses you're wearing?"

"So what if they are? They're designer lenses I had special-made," she snipped, pulling herself up and leaning against the divider.

He snerked. "As are mine, only without the price tag for the brand name: all corrective lenses are special-made, whether they're contactsor traditionally framed. It's called a 'prescription'."

"That's enough outta you!" she snapped, tugging on the divider to pull it open further. "That's the last time I use *this* car service!"

"Oh, I think it will be the last time, however it happens..." Snarling, she tried to lunge through the gap in the divider, grabbing at his throat, nails clawing at his flesh. In the process, her slim throat found the tip of the eight inch blade that he held in waiting, blade upwards.

She gagged, as he worked the blade sideways, cutting a second mouth under the one her parents gave her. She tried to snarl something, but the sound bubbled through the bleeding gash in her throat as she
sagged against the seatback.

Well, he wasn't obligated to bring that car back, anyway, he thought as he pulled the blade free and pulled the car over. Pity about the stained upholstery: he'd taken a liking to this model. And he knew a
lung cancer patient of the same ethnic mix in need of a transplant: once he'd soaked the lungs in reagent, the replacements might hold up better in the long run.

Make it look like an accident... she'd cut her throat on a now broken divider... only that meant he'd have to go for a swim, the better to make it look convincing, after he'd rolled the car into the drink.

He'd have his work cut out for him, but this wouldn't be the worst mess he'd ever had to clean up...


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Herbert West (movie!verse)

August 2015

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