Ideas More Powerful Than Guns

A reimagining of Cobra Commander's origin story, taking the Marvel/Devil's Due version and putting my own twist on it.

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3. Long Haul

It took seven months for construction to be fully completed. Daniel didn't get a wink of sleep though the whole endeavour. He always had a phone glued to his ear, some high-necked official addressing their concerns with the project, how sometimes it was behind schedule, or ahead of schedule (how anyone could be mad at a project being ahead of schedule was beyond his comprehension), one day it would be holding up a minuscule amount of traffic, the next it would be too loud. Daniel quickly found out that people didn't care if something was for a good cause if it inconvenienced them in the slightest. In the Cold War people adapted to change, planned around it. Here people piss on their finely leathered car seats, ruining the electrical seat-heater, and moan about change. The concept was never popular with the residents of Greater Springfield. 

Daniel gave the financial duties to his war buddies, Tomax Rouge and his twin brother Xamot. They were French Soldiers who had been given honorable discharges about the same time Daniel was receiving his. Tomax had been scarred in a firefight, and since Xamot was the only surviving relative, he was let out under dependancy. Xamot had to weasel into contracts for the Gang de la Brise de Mer, so that he could effectively keep food on the table for the two of them. Once Tomax was able to get back on his feet, Xamot realized the army was going to want them back. So with his newfound friends in the Corsican Mafia, he was able to fake their deaths. Daniel was surprised to get a phone call from them the next day saying they were going to be making their way to Springfield. They were going to help Daniel as long as they were allowed to house themselves in his new hospital. Daniel readily agreed.

But then it was finished. Everything was complete, all the glistening white walls, all the glass doors, all the weirdly clean, but still off-putting hospital smells. Everything except the people to run it. Obviously, Daniel would be there and his friends would be doing a lot of the work, but the trained medical physician had to be interviewed. They'd limited their options to only a pool of six applicants, and then they met Archie.

"Doctor Menov, pleased to meet you," Archie introduced himself, "The place looks like it's coming along great."

"It's been a journey, We'll say that," Daniel nodded, "So tell us a little bit about yourself Archibald."

"It's Archie, actually. Nobody has called me Archibald since Med school," He laughed to himself a bit, "Well, let's see I'm a Neuroscientist-I've mostly worked as a psychiatrist in New York-and you know...It's great for the money purposes, It's great because I get to help people, but It started to feel like the place I working in...They saw therapeutic practices more as financial goldmines, rather than people who we can help. I was, um-on several occasions, verbally told that I should prescribe the wrong medicines, etc...So that patients would keep coming back. So I quit that job."

Daniel and the twins nodded, and Archie continued.

"I then got in touch with one of my professors from Emerson University, Kurt Schnurr, and asked if he had any need for an assistant. Luckily he did, and I was able to, you know, sustain myself. He was working on this-err-really, really cool brainwave scanner. We worked together on the prototype, and I got to write the paper that would explain how it could be used for medical purposes. Like, for example, if you had a patient with PTSD, you could scan their brainwaves and pinpoint exactly what triggers a severe mental reaction in their brain. From there you could either operate on them to remove that bit of the brain-if it's small enough, you obviously shouldn't be taking huge chunks out during brain surgery - or perhaps limit their interaction with the...thing that elicits the response. It's something that I hope will become common use in the next 3-4 years."

"That's very impressive, Archie. However, why-Why do you want to join up with a smaller organization like this, when you could be continuing the work on the device?" Tomax questioned.

"We won't be able to pay you heavily," Xamot said

"Honestly, you'll be lucky if you make a hundred a year here." Tomax agreed.

"I'm more here for the people than for the money. I have enough of my earlier cash saved up so that I can afford to move and live down here, without a steady stream of income. I know, every adult's dream right? And I'm only 27."

"Do you feel like your young age may cause a bit of a gap between the older patients?" Daniel asked.

"No. I interned at Red Cross and helped many gentlemen from Vietnam, from Afghanistan, all over the world.  It's not a matter of age, it's a matter of persistence and kindness." Archie rebutted.

"Then I think, unless these two have anything else to say," Daniel looked over at the twins, who were raising their shoulders, "You're on the team."

"Excellent!" Archie raised his hand in a fist excitedly, and then embarrassed, brought it down for a handshake, "Uh...Thanks. Heh."

..........

Construction finished in late September, and three patients registered. 

Patient Alvin Kibbey was diagnosed with behavioural problems, including mild aggressive tendencies. By the fourth week staying at the hospital, it was a common expectation that some object was going to be broken by the end of the day. The twins had the idea to lock everything seemingly important in one of the staff rooms, however they underestimated what Alvin could do. On day 43 of his stay in the facility, he broke down one of the staff doors with the full force of his body, and has since been relocated to a segment of the building where the doors have been reinforced and he only has a television to keep himself company. Lude phrases and gestures have been spoken towards the TV by Alvin, but so far, he has not attempted to damage it.

Patient Eric Freistadt has severe social anxiety and problems sleeping. He's taking currently taking Trazodone, but he may switch once his sleep studies come back from our labs. I've taken the liberty of hiring interns for more medical staff, they aren't fully trained, but they are useful. He is complaining of worse anxiety and general depression after one week on the medicine. Noted.

Patient Jason B. Lee is a pyromaniac, and also incredibly racist. Several times the current staff has caught him cursing Afghanistan, referring to it as "Carbombia". We have done our best to dissuade this behaviour, but are more focused on lessening his attraction to starting fires, as there are too many flammable items inside the hospital. I have started to have weekly discussions with him one on one, in hopes that we can work out his issues.

DeCobray's vision of a spot where fellow veterans could reminisce and relate, as well as getting medically treated, appeared simple when I first looked at it...but these three patients are in very different states of social engagement, and I fear that divide will only increase once more patients sign up. This is starting to feel more like a mental institution and less like an actual hospital.

~Dr. Archie Monev 

                                                                        ..........

Recording of discussion #28 with Patient Jason B. Lee, transcribed for records.

Archie Monev: Hello, Jason. How are we feeling today?

Jason B. Lee: I feel warm.

Archie: Warm?

Jason: Most mornings, I feel cold. I don't want to get out of bed. The world is cold, but today it was warm.

Archie: Well, you'll be happy to know Daniel installed a new heater yesterday, so it should continue to be warm.

Jason does not respond.

Archie: Alright...Today, I'd like to explore more about the field incident with you and your friend.

Jason: The field incident?

Archie: Yes, I'd like to start off from where we were last. You and your friend had been striking matches on individual straws of wheat in a field. It was a dry, breezy day. Do you remember?

Jason: Yes.

Archie: Can you tell me what happened next?

Jason: We...We didn't intend for it to get so big, but there was so much wind. We couldn't help it. The whole field caught on fire. We ran. 

Archie: Why did you run away?

Jason: We didn't want to get caught.

Archie: Did you get caught?

Jason: No, the owners of the field, the police...They all attributed it to someone throwing a cigarette butt out the window of their car. 

Archie: Do you feel bad?

Jason: No one was hurt.

Archie: What if the owners lost the money that they would have gotten from harvesting that wheat? Would you have felt bad, then?

Jason does not respond.

Jason: My friends and I burned down an abandoned house with flares.

Archie: I think that's were we'll continue next time, Mr. Lee. 

End of Record

.........

Daniel introduced me to four new patients today. They seem like they will be self sufficient for the most part, and aren't required to stay overnight. Which is good, because I need to focus on Mr. Lee and Mr. Kibbey. We let Kibbey out of his solitary confinement today, and he immediately started a fist fight with Lee. We've replaced Kibbey back in solitary for the time being.

~Dr. Archie Monev 

.........

Recording of Patient Alvin Kibbey Mumblings, transcribed for records.

Alvin: Mommy said no, daddy said yes...Don't yell at me. DON'T yell at me. I want a new one, it's broken-we have to get a new one. We can't fix it? Why not? Why can't we fix it? What's WRONG with it

.........

Alvin continues to be one of the least stable patients at the hospital. One of the interns recorded him mumbling to himself on their phone. I frowned upon receiving a copy of the recording, I do not like that some of the interns are recording patients without their consent. It feels too much like big name hospitals. I've heard rumors from some of my colleagues about hidden cameras in hospital clocks or teddy bear eyes. if true, It's a mockery of the whole doctor-patient confidentiality. 

A week ago I let an intern go because she had recorded the fight between Kibbey and Lee and put it on Youtube. I had her remove the video.

After listening to the recording, I feel as if Kibbey may have more than just behavioural issues. Talking to himself like this isn't normal. His parents are a factor and that's obvious. I'll have to continue studying.

~Dr. Archie Monev 

..........

 

Lee left the building for an extended period of time today. He won't tell me or anyone else on staff where he went, but one of the interns saw him counting out large amounts of cash. I can't force him to stay in the building, only recommend. I can only wonder where and how he received the money.

UPDATE: The same intern came to me again later this evening, saying he saw Lee burning the money. We confiscated the matches he was using. I've told him several times that he's not allowed to have matches in the building. I've assigned someone to check him as he leaves and enters the building. I counted how many have been confiscated so far, and there are 13 boxes of matches. I fear there are more stashed away somewhere else.

~Dr. Archie Monev 

.........

Kibbey kicked in the screen of his television today. We've removed it and won't be replacing it.

In good news, Patient Freistadt and one of the newer patients, Wendy Metzger, are becoming quick friends. they've started a friendly rivalry playing ping pong. The interns have started betting on who will win matches. It's usually Metzger.

~Dr. Archie Monev 

..........

A woman representing Medical Action Research & Solutions came to see Lee. She said that she was a friend, but I don't believe her. M.A.R.S. is a great benefactor for the local general Hospital, but they were also big supporters of the "Health Institutions under Surveillance Systems" bill, and there is talk about there source of funds being gained from less than admirable means...

Other than that, things have been relatively quiet. We now have 23 patients, and most of them are in a stable state. I can say that I am very happy with how things are going so far. 

We've gained a minimal amount of local media coverage online, but apparently it's spreading. Dr. Schnurr recently emailed me saying he had just read the article and was very impressed, though he scolded me a bit for not taking the time to tell him myself. I've been busy, I would think he would be able to understand that. I'm trying to keep in contact with him now.

I need to remember to send copies of these notes to Daniel. 

~Dr. Archie Menov 

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