Sep 24, 2019 5:10 AM
Louie is Done with all the [bleep]ing Mad Scientists in her [bleep]ing apartment building
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Louie likes her apartment building. Or rather, she would like to like it. It may not be in a Spectacular part of town, but hey, it's not terrible. The apartments manage to stay on the right side between 'cozy' and 'tiny.' The landlord exists, and occasionally does this. And 90% of the other tenants are reasonable, normal people.

But the other 10%. But the other 10%

She has heard tales of The Guy Who Got Creative With His Hydroponics-- but only tales. The Landlord Who Actually Does Things kicked him out well before she moved in. She was around for the the Overenthusiastic Elephant's Toothpaste Incident, but that was a one off, at least. (She never thought she'd be saying 'at least it was only a one off', and yet here she is.)

But a month or so ago, someone moved into the apartment next to her. A shy, kinda nerdy guy, only thing he ever mentioned was his mineral collection, but hey, everyone's gotta have a hobby. And it seemed innocuous.

Starting a month ago, whenever she was in her apartment, there was a humming noise at the edge of her hearing. A creepy sounds-like-a-nursery-rhyme-you-can't-quite-place hum.

Starting a month ago, whenever she was in her apartment, she got restless. Real Restless. 'I Need to Deep Clean Right Now, wait no now I'm bored, I need to make Industrial Quantities of Chilli Now' restless.

It was maddening. She was going mad. She checked her CO alarm-- she was pretty sure CO didn't make you energetic, but it was the best explanation. Nope. Nada. The air was totally fine. Frantic googling for 'what is the opposite of carbon monoxide and how to fix it' did nothing.

Yesterday, she found out that Mineral Collection Guy did not collect Normal Minerals. He collected minerals that, among other things, hummed. He collected minerals that when you breathed in dust from polishing had a stimulant affect.

The landlord was called. The police were called. (The non-emergency tip off line, even if calling the emergency line was real tempting.)

The landlord evicted him, because he at least thought that affecting the health and sanity was Not On.

The police gave him a warning. A gentle 'maybe don't do that son' warning. Because putting stimulant rock dust into the air is a-okay, apparently!

So, back to google. "How to protect yourself from mad scientists"-- nah, that just brought up crazy survivalists who wanted to give 'science hobbyists' a test of their own medicine. (it was tempting. Very Tempting. But she drew the line at getting advice from apocalypse larpers.) "How to remove rock dust from building" -- gave results on asbestos remediation. Nope, not quite her problem.

"Defence against mad scientists"--?

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More survivalists, police and military training materials (some of these note that calling someone a mad scientist can be undesirably escalatory, though it is ironic how they then set out to prove it true), forum threads full of unworkable and/or joke ideas, coverage of some legal cases…

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Okay, she's not sure what she expected there. Like, it could have been worse, but still not overly helpful.

Hmm. Specific questions get more specific answers. "Magical mineral safety precautions"?  (ie, now that Mineral Guy and his collection is gone, does she still have to worry? )

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Advice on what kind of minerals are bad for you and you should definitely handle them with care or not at all, regardless of purported healing and spiritual properties! Some are skeptical concerned geologists, some are pastel clouds and sparkles.

An article about a superhero that got her powers from a ritual involving the precise arrangement of stone cylinders in a diagram, which came to her in a dream. Attempts to replicate the ritual have failed spectacularly.

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Yeah, that super was probably just latent (and self justifying.)

"Safety for non-mad scientists dealing with mad science"?

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There is, of course, lots of instruction to immediately call your local emergency services and let the first responders deal with it. Some of the further information makes it pretty clear that the leftover dust should have been cleaned out of the affected apartments, per health and safety standards such-and-such, and she should probably call the following office and they will arrange cleanup and further evaluation.

A few pages try to lay out guidelines about actually (not) touching the stuff, and provide classifications and evaluation heuristics, but they all caution that any given situation or artifact may be completely unpredictable. One of the more well-organized sites also mentions the authors will take inquiries.

There are some articles about what it's like to be employed by a mad scientist, either memoirs of those who did and survived or cautions aimed at the desperate jobseeker. (It's often insisted that “mad scientist” is a misleading misnomer, but nobody can agree on what term, euphemism, or finer classification should be used instead.)

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Ah. Okay. So cleaning should have happened. And didn't. (Her estimation of the Landlord That Actually Does Things has gone way down.)

AAAAAARRGGHHH.

Okay, she'll call the number for remediation. Let them sort it out. (And restrain herself from panic-vacuuming, because that will probably make things worse.)

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“Office of Metamatters; may I have your name, please?”

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"Louie Manfredi. There's been an issue with some-- unusual mineral dust that's not been remediated."

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They take the address and confirm that this is not an emergency, then ask for more details.

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"Stimulant effects. Also, humming, but that might be a different rock."

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Keyboard noises. “All right, and where are you seeing the dust?”

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"It's not really visible as such, but it's definitely around." She gestures around the room, and then remembers she's on the phone and the other peson can't see that. "Near the vents. The effects are pretty hard to miss."

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"This is an apartment building, I see — you are a tenant?"

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"Unfortunately, yes."

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“All right, we'll send someone to check it out — will you be available to get access to the apartment in the next hour?”

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Like she's going to leave and delay this getting dealt with. Hahaha no. "Yep, I'll be here."

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“Please do leave the area if you notice any effects at all —” She is interrupted by a faintly audible notification bleep.

“— more than you said, but you won't have to wait long because it looks like we'll be sending over Flashlight, from the Aetherians, right away to take a look, all right?”

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"No worries, thank you so much for your help." Hooray, help is on the way! Presumably competent help! (She's not an expert, but this seems like something close to Flashlight's wheelhouse? And she'll take 'close to' today, thank you very much.)

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