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Poisonous plants 2 - Aconitum (monkshood)

Because I made an AU version of it, I now just want to talk about it in general. 

Possibly my favorite flower that isn’t a queen of night tulip, would be Aconitum, which I’ll be referring to by one of its common names, Monkshood. There are over 250 known species of them, and they are found all across the northern hemisphere. 

Family: Ranunculaceae (buttercup family) Genus: Aconitum

The flowers have an unusual helmet or hood shape to them which is why they’re called Monkshood, Devil’s Helmet, and Blue Rocket. Due to how toxic the plant is other names such as Wolfsbane, Women’s Bane, Queen of Poisons, etc. have also been given. 

Like, seriously, look at these flowers! They’re so cool looking! That’s also the most common color for them, but white, pink, purple, and yellow are sometimes seen.

image

((Image from wikipedia))

Plants can grow 2 - 6ft tall depending on the species. They prefer moist but not damp mountainous terrain. However, every part of the plant is toxic. The toxins are so potent that they can be absorbed through the skin, so it is so important to wear gloves when working with them. 

While they are used to some degree in herbal medicine, it’s most common use over the years has been for poisoning. In more modern medicine, there has been little progress creating safe medications from it as opposed to some of the  ones from the Solanaceae (Nightshades) family.  

Continue reading for toxicology stuff!

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(previous chapter)

Chapter 44 – The Story Unbeknownst

“Welcome back. And thanks. We owe you so… Miss Lunark?”

Tao beckoned Lunark; he was outside, having watched the four teenagers leaving less than a minute ago.

He raised his arm halfway before he froze awkwardly, upon checking the composition of her face.

“What’s wrong? Did something happen at the KSA?”

“Oh, yes. Something did happen – something far from small. And for your information, this has nothing to do with the fact that you made me your substitute.”

Lunark foresaw what Tao will first and foremost forecast and barricaded his apology.

“Is everyone home now? I reckon this is something I gotta share with all of you.”

She directed her eyes towards Frankenstein’s house as she spoke.

Tao instantly understood what she was implying and in return nodded as he turned.

“This way, please. And I’m sorry, but could you please give Takio a few moments? He has yet to come back, and…”

“Forget it.”

“Pardon?”

Tao for a moment was appalled by the apparent distaste she has come to harbor for one of the founding members of RK, probably because of his connection to Yuigi, but soon enough he was told wrong.

“We don’t have time to wait until he makes it back. Call him. Use the video call feature on your phone.”

“What? I-is it that serious?”

Lunark did not issue a reply for him.

Which was more than enough for him to fathom the magnitude of the situation; Tao promptly led the way for the werewolf warrior, thumbing through his phone to scroll down his recent call records.


*****


The gathering was held for the second time, featuring Tao, M-21, Raizel, and Takio through a video call.

It was revealed Takio was at the other safehouse under Frankenstein’s ownership.

Yuigi had been made homeless, with the previous safehouse no more. So he was helping her to move in to her new residence, as well as installing and auditing the variety of defense kits devised by Tao, in order to prevent anything reminiscent of Kornel’s visit from taking place.

He was finished with his task by the time Tao’s name popped up upon his phone screen, so he was currently standing atop an empty building on his way back home.

And this time they were occupying the underground lab, originally Frankenstein’s possession now passed on to Tao.

If it were not for the essence of the situation, Lunark would have been completely mesmerized by the touches and traces of Frankenstein flaunting themselves in his lab.

“I got the item from the KSA – Yuhyung’s USB containing a security program developed by the man himself, along with its upgrade version from their doctor. But of course, that’s not what I requested this meeting for. It’s the researcher we have to talk about.”

The moment Yuhyung’s name came up, all men’s eyes glinted with nervousness as they flickered over Lunark’s face.

Keeping her facial muscles in control, despite knowing it would be no use once she is done talking, Lunark pulled out from her head the conversation she had at KSA.


*****


“…That’s what he told you?”

“What? What is it?”

“We beg your pardon, but could you reiterate for us exactly what he told you?”

“Hmm… He said… ‘The shock I received was too severe for me to return to work. I was half-forced to take off work, and I could return after much time was spent.’”

Taesik’s and doctor’s expressions were intensified with anxiety as they met each other in the eyes, holding something somewhat different from useless concern.

What their pupils were hinting were not meaningless concern; it was untainted apprehension, close to fear.

“If there is something going on between you two, I’d really appreciate it if you could share with me. Whatever it is that you know about him, I’m obliged to learn. He’s not the only one affiliated with the QuadraNet project.”

Lunark’s words were inquisitive, not imperative or exclamatory.

Albeit she could not help emitting a splinter of annoyance, she had no intention of telling them off.

Nevertheless, Taesik and the doctor grew much smaller in presence, like brothers whose parents figured out at last what they had done wrong and kept as secret so far.

“Listen carefully, Miss Lunark. About the reason why Yuhyung took off work in the past… It wasn’t a vacation or anything of the sort.”

“What are you talking about?”

“At least on his dossier, it is described as personal vacation. And that’s what all personnel and staff of KSA think regarding his temporary leave.”

“Are you saying in reality, he was momentarily kicked out or something?”

“That was not what we had in mind, but… I guess he’d say that was the case. Because he left not because of the assault you mentioned.”

“Strictly speaking, that assault is not completely unrelated to this matter, but in reality there’s a difference. This is partially why we can’t stop asking you if Yuhyung has troubled you in any way.”

Taesik solemnly clasped his hands upon his desk, and the doctor wound up his arms behind his back as he stood beside his boss.

“Do you know what Yuhyung majored in during… I mean, do you know what he used to specialize in before joining us?”

The doctor unfolded for Lunark almost the exact same thing Sangin and Yeonsu relayed to Rael on his first encounter with Yuhyung.

The fact that prior to the job offer from the doctor himself, Yuhyung majored in Bio And Brain Engineering at KAIST.

The fact that 6 years have passed ever since, and he is now the lead technological assistant and one of the lead researchers of KSA, making majestic contributions to bioengineering studies and developments.

The fact that he is almost solely responsible for the studies associated with artificial intelligence and brain and neurology.

“He had made names for himself during his time at KAIST for his creative-slash-bizarre imaginations and suggestions. Some would dub them as innovative and original, while others would dub as unrealistic and preposterous.”

“Really? But wouldn’t your folks consider those handy? You’d need to take your perspectives and imaginations way over human boundaries to struggle and survive against a bunch of people with supernatural, superhuman technology and knowledge.”

“You’re right. And we wouldn’t have stayed on the edge of our seats if Yuhyung had… Kept his limits, to say. Ever since the assault you mentioned, he was basically a ball of glass on the tip of a sword.”

Once again came up the assault Lunark laid on Korea along with Zarga and 8th Elder; nonetheless, this time Lunark did not even flinch.

She was too curious about the contents and conclusion of this mystery to care.

“Just a few days afterwards, Yuhyung visited us in private, to make scandalous proposals.”

“He proposed that KSA accepts the Union way.”

“What’s that supposed to mean? Was he suggesting KSA should officially request Union to share its technology on body modification?”

“No. He meant it in a literal sense. He wanted us to adopt Union technology and methodology completely void of ethics or morals, treating humans as nothing more than shovels and garden trimmers in paving and shearing way towards goals.”

At this point, Lunark felt highly inclined to pause the current situation, to instead run over to Frankenstein’s house and book a full body exam on her auditory system.

She has witnessed countless examples of immorality and corruption throughout the past centuries. Even with such pre-exposure, she had been thoroughly disgusted at what Union could and would do.

And now that she has learned that the human so very timid and clumsy but meticulous and passionate in his job wanted his lot to copy and paste the Union’s manners, she felt positive that there must have been a mistake, much more strongly than she did with Adne’s potential betrayal.

Alas, just like with Adne, her suspicion was altogether blown away by Taesik and the doctor.

“After the assault you referred to, Yuhyung came to us and said… He said even though Korea’s history on modified humans is short, especially with Union watching, this was not supposed to happen. He said he couldn’t take that Korea’s modified humans could do nothing to defend their motherland, leaving everything to the modified humans in the ex-chairman’s team and creatures outside human classification. Which gave him nightmarish despair, making him question KSA’s existence and the purpose of studying body modification.”

“I remember how he appeared more agitated than usual. However, the sense of guilt, insecurity, and helplessness seething from his every vowel and consonant were neither exaggerated nor feigned.”

“And he urged us to remove all cautions and limits in studies, claiming that since our technology is an imitation of Union’s arts, there’s no reason for us to leave their ideology unimitated. He claimed that if we stick to rules unlike the Union, we will make no progress at all.”

“He even insisted on making it mandatory for incoming agents to go through body modification.”

Lunark could not even feel her lips parting. She was too busy suspecting whether the one they were designating was really Yuhyung Jang.

“Make body modification mandatory? That’s exactly the kind of thing Union would do, but not even Union went that far. Not that the Union kept the final line uncrossed – it was simply because their system did not need all of its human resources to pay at least one visit to the lab tank.”

“Is that so? Anyhow, this was what he had in mind – we are undoubtedly short of data on body modification, so reserving for ourselves more trials and errors in body modification would lead to natural collection of data, which will ultimately lead to progress.”

“Both of us vetoed the idea. No, there was no need to veto it. We never took into account his idea in the first place. I mean, force body modification? That’s just plain wrong.”

“Moreover, something was not right with Yuhyung back then. His mouth spoke of KSA’s progress, but his eyes were…”

Taesik and the doctor shuddered as they brought up the memories of the day.

“His eyes were shrieking vengeance and insecurity.”

“So the director gave him vacation, just to force him away from his lab. We figured we had to do something to separate his mind from such unreasonable thought.”

“Once he was back, he began to sort out and discard all his studies and creations on body modification, to instead shift his attention to artificial intelligence. So we figured he has come to his senses.”

“But listening to you, perhaps we were told wrong. Or are we being delusional here?”

Taesik and doctor stared at Lunark, as if imploring her to tell them they are being delusional.

But of course, she could not meet their demands.


*****


Tao, M-21, Raizel, and Takio beyond the phone could not even bat an eye, their bodies now entirely taken over by the danger alert that was growing increasingly cacophonous as they were listening.

The fact that the man of their interest did not outright deceive them but nevertheless led them to believe otherwise regarding the reason why he had to leave his job.

The revelation on his standing as a researcher, close to that of a mad scientist.

His specialization on artificial intelligence and brain, which ominously stood out for them as of now.

The raid by weapons against heads of noble clans that Rael and wolfkind suffered nearby Lukedonia and in their front lawn, respectively.

And the exhibition of changes in the weapons, indicated by the fact that they could now interact with each other and exercise strategies during battles.

For some very strange reason, it fatally dawned upon them that there must be a missing link in all of these.

However, none of them voiced their suspicion.

Things happened, but there was no evidence, material or immaterial.

More importantly, they knew that if they are to even pretend to point it out, the dam that has been remaining firm would finally break down, to result in something irreversible, inevitable.

“Now it’s your turn.”

“Uh… Sorry?”

“You said that something came up after hearing what I had, so you had to look into it. Doesn’t that mean now you have something new to tell me?”

“Uh… Uh, right!”

Tao spun in his seat, to race his chair towards the humongous desk plastered with a bunch of screens.

The rest followed suit, and Tao began to speak as he let his fingers dance.

(next chapter)

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moira mactaggert
yesterday i overheard rahne saying “are you sure this is a good idea?” and david replying “trust me” and i have never moved from one room to another so fast in my life.
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New Mutants

Volume: 1 #55

Flying Wild

Writers: Louise Simonson

Pencils: Bret Blevins

Inks: Terry Austin

Colours: Glynis Wein

Covers: Bret Blevins, Terry Austin

Featuring: Cannonball (Sam Guthrie), Mirage (Dani Moonstar), Wolfsbane (Rahne Sinclair), Magik (Illyana Rasputin), Cypher (Doug Ramsey), Magneto, Lila Cheney

Marvel

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New Mutants #16 - “One Step Behind” (2021)

written by Vita Ayala
art by Rod Reis

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