Using an eyedropper, Medic measured precisely 500 micrograms of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide into a small glass vial. The potent substance clung to the smooth walls of the glass. How interesting it was that such a tiny amount of this diabolical chemical could cause so much trouble.
Heavy sat in the corner of the cluttered operating room. He watched Medic's movements anxiously. "This drug. It is dangerous?"
"Pah!" Medic waved away Heavy's concern. "I can assure you zhat it is an entirely non toxic substance. Vhy, zhere are probably more carcinogens in zhose 'sandvitches' you consume so regularly."
This factoid didn't alleviate Heavy's concern. He moved restlessly on his stool. "I have heard that this…LSD" He looked intently at Medic as he lowered his voice to a whisper, "it makes men go crazy."
"Vhat you haff heard Heavy, is nothing more zhan overblown rumors. I very much doubt zhat it could be as potent as zhose hipster teenagers vant us to believe." Medic returned the specimen bottle to his medicine cabinet and raised the test tube to examine it closely. It was just one more chemical to add to his impressive collection of narcotics and amphetamines. A good doctor must be prepared for everything.
"Howevah! Since it has gained such an infamous reputation, it is my duty to employ my scientific method and test it."
Heavy moved uncomfortably on his chair. "You want me to drink this?"
Medic laughed heartily. "Nein, Heavy. I simply need to you monitor my condition lest anything goes amiss. Ve do not vant a repeat of ze 'ipecac incident' do ve?"
Heavy lowered his head. "Nyet. We do not." The Russian giant found it difficult to erase the memory of that day. They still hadn't completely removed the stains from the rec room carpet.
"Though test subjects can be entertaining, I find it hard to understand a chemical's properties until I personally sample it. Besides, if it is particularly debilitating, zhere may even be military applications for it."
This lifted Heavy's spirits a little. "Imagine if we made entire BLU team crazy? We could shoot them down like tiny insects."
Medic laughed. "Ja! Vouldn't zhat be funny?"
When both of the men were done chuckling as they imagined horrifically mutilating the opposing team, they turned their attention back to the ominous vial of clear liquid. Heavy was no stranger to Medic's experimentation with illicit substances. It was a borderline obsession for the German doctor. Heavy might have been concerned that this continuing substance abuse would push the doctor over the edge of sanity.
Fortunately Medic had already jumped that cliff a long time ago.
"Vell, as zhey like to say, bottoms up!" Medic turned the tube upside-down and let the tiny drop of liquid slide onto his tongue. He smacked his lips and hummed. "A slight alkaline aftertaste, but zhat is not unexpected."
Heavy leaned forward with wide eyes. "How is Doctor feeling? Are you crazy now?"
"Don't be silly Heavy! Zhere is at least a half hour delay before onset. Until zhen I shall carry on as usual and take notes vhen I sense any changes. I am expecting some sensory distortion, but nothing more."
Heavy slumped his shoulders. Admittedly he was just a little bit disappointed. "Okay. But you will let me know when you are crazy. Or… more crazy."
"I vill be fine Heavy. Zhere is nothing to vorry about. Now, pass me zhat bonesaw danke."
An uneventful thirty minutes passed. Medic drummed his fingers on his desk while Heavy sat close beside him, twiddling his thumbs trying not to look obviously bored. The Doctor looked around the room. There were jars of brine with floating organs lined up on the shelves and bits and pieces of blood rusted machinery scattered around the operating table. Nothing out of the ordinary. He sighed in frustration and threw his pen down with a clatter.
"Scheisse! I vas expecting at least some hallucinations. Zhis is worthless!"
"So," Heavy frowned, "nothing is going to happen?"
"I am afraid zhat this may have been a complete farce. I am sorry to have wasted your time." Medic adjusted his glasses and stared at his friend. Heavy was looking back at him with the dopiest expression. It was like he was looming over the Doctor with the body of a mountain and the tiny pinhead of a baby. This sight was so absurd that Medic had to clap a hand over his mouth to muffle a snort.
"Something is funny?" Heavy half grinned, unsure about what was happening.
Medic pushed his chair back and lifted his glasses to wipe away tears of hysteria. He laughed again, and the more he laughed the funnier everything became. "Nein," he breathed through guffaws. "It is just-" He couldn't even finish his sentence. He bellowed with such force that he had to press his forehead against his desk and wrap his arms around his chest to control his convulsions.
Heavy however, was baffled. "I am not getting the joke."
"You," Medic breathed, "you are hilarious. I cannot even look at you. I must write this down!" Medic scrambled to find his medical journal. Like a good doctor, he tried to be methodical with his record keeping. His journal was full of descriptions of botched medical procedures and embarrassing personal information about his patients. He clicked his pen and squinted at the lined paper.
Sentences started to formulate in Medics mind. He jotted a few notes down but wasn't satisfied. "No, zhis is not vorking. Zese vords do not capture ze moment at all. Heavy! Look at me."
Obediently, Heavy leaned down to give Medic a clear look at his face. He was still confused about this sudden change in behavior. Is this what LSD did?
Medic snickered as he poked and prodded Heavy's face. "You know vhat is strange? Faces. Vhy do ve have faces?"
Heavy pondered this bizarre question for a minute. "To cover our brains?"
This set Medic right off. He threw himself back in his chair laughing uncontrollably. Heavy couldn't help but laugh too. It was the only appropriate response.
"Here, look at zhis!" Medic scribbled furiously in his book. He wiped tears of mirth from his eyes before holding his creation up for Heavy to see.
It was a crude drawing of the Heavy Weapons Guy. Medic had sketched him as a behemoth of a man, complete with hastily illustrated ammunition belt drawn across his chest. Perched on his shoulders was a minuscule head with an even tinier angry face drawn inside. Medic had helpfully pointed an arrow towards it with the label 'face'.
Heavy didn't know what to say. "This is, uh… this is me?"
Medic looked proudly at his handiwork. "I do not know vhy I don't take more records zhis way. It is far more accurate, don't you think? I have truly captured ze essence of my observations."
A frantic energy had possessed the doctor. He discarded his art and took Heavy by the hand. "Enough of zhis! I cannot sit in this room any longer. Let us explore. Mein gott Heavy! Has anyone told you zhat you are enormous?"
Medic didn't give Heavy the time to answer. He pulled the man along and out into the corridor. Dusk was falling on the base, and streams of orange light filtered down the hall, splashing against the wooden paneling. Medic paused for a moment to take this sight in.
"Wunderbar," he whispered, eyes glazing over. The patterns on the wood were twisting and turning inside the planks. He brushed his hands against the walls, reveling in the rough texture against his skin. "Oh, zhis is amazing. Can you see zhis Heavy?"
Heavy watched Medic rub himself against a windowsill like a cat in heat. "I am seeing something."
Medic's head was swimming. The light was overwhelming him with its intensity. Every object had a glowing aura around it, breathing in and out with the rhythm of his heartbeat. When he looked back down the corridor it stretched out like chewing gum, twisting in on itself. He decided to stay close to Heavy. Heavy was his rock. Heavy would help him stay anchored.
Medic became awestruck by the magnificence of his friend. Heavy towered above him like a mythological Greek god. When the large man moved closer he left a transparent echo of his image behind him.
"Doctor?" His voice rumbled.
"I do believe I may be experiencing ze effects of ze lysergic." Said Medic, entranced by the sight Heavy. "You really must try it. It could make even you light as a feather."
Heavy placed his large hands on Medic's shoulders. The immensity of them swallowed Medic whole. In a blink Medic's entire world was the comforting cocoon of Heavy's palms. He reached out with his own fingers and stroked the soft skin of his friend. Heavy was velvet knight and his pillar of strength. Medic was certain that their bond was eternal and that he would always be safe as long as he was in Heavy's presence.
Heavy's blue eyes were piercing. They sent pulses of psychic energy into Medic. The Doctor could feel their thoughts entwine and at that point he was certain they had formed a telepathic connection.
Can you hear me?
Medic's mouth hung wide open. He did not know if he had spoken those words, or if it was a vibration of his thoughts. The intense bursts of psychic power were not relenting. An icy fear gripped hold of him. How much of his mind was he sharing with Heavy? Could his friend see into his memory? What dark hidden secrets could he be accessing?
"Nein!" He pushed away. Heavy's scale changed dramatically. He was a continent away. A pinprick on the distant horizon. Medic backed up until he felt the wall flat against his back. When he looked at his surroundings again, everything was undulating like a living organism. The walls were closing in, threatening to crush the life from him. A pot plant in the far corner had taken on twisted geometric shapes. Medic had never realized how menacing such an innocuous object could be.
A clock on the far wall caught his attention. The minute hand was hovering motionless just before it reached six o'clock. Medic stared at it for an eon. No matter how long he looked at it, clock hand wouldn't change. He could only conclude that time had stopped and he would forever be trapped in this baffling universe.
His rising panic was interrupted when a familiar voice cut through the chaos.
"Yo, 'sup with the doc?"
Medic tilted his head to the right and watched in horror as Scout slithered towards him. His voice had taken on a shrill, unnatural sound. His limbs were thin noodles oozing from his shoulders. But his face was by far the worst sight Medic had seen that night. Scout didn't resemble the fresh-faced youth he had known. His eyes were melting into his cheeks, and his mouth flapped as words slid past his comically disproportionate buckteeth. He was a walking monstrosity.
Heavy's voice entered the turmoil. "Doctor has taken strange drug."
"Aww geeze, again? Listen man, you gotta cut that crap out. Last time you ate three tubs of peanut butter and we were up all night trying ta get you down from that flag pole."
Words weren't making sense to Medic anymore. All he knew is that these two strange creatures were invading his territory. He had to escape before he was lost in this swirling, mutating landscape.
He took some trembling steps forward. Everything had slowed down to the point where it felt like he was wading through molasses. It was becoming harder to differentiate his body from his surroundings. He looked down and saw his feet extend kilometers below his body. Sounds and colours were intensifying, merging together until they became indistinguishable.
Distantly, he thought he heard the thunderous tempo of Heavy behind him but he couldn't be certain. Everywhere he looked objects were melting. When he shifted his focus, the walls split apart like paper, exposing an empty void of burning light beneath their flimsy exterior. His fingers gripped a doorknob and he was able to push it forward, emerging into a strange new universe.
A different intensity of light flooded his senses. New sounds mixed with his disorientation. By now he knew that madness had taken a firm grip on his psyche. There were foreign voices and faces mixed into the maelstrom. The Doctor had reached breaking point.
Medic fell to his knees. He soon wished he hadn't when the carpet sprouted upwards and grew into his knees. He clutched at his head, trying to get a grip on reality. "Ich bin verrückt." He mumbled feverishly.
And alien figure appeared before him. Empty black eye sockets peered beneath a blood red balaclava.
"Ze Doctor." It whispered and repeated. "Is he… alright?"
Boisterous laughter shattered and reformed Medic's dimension. Occasionally his mind would reset and torturously grant him a fleeting glimpse of reality before a kaleidoscope of confusion sucked him back into the chaos.
More strange figures loomed over him. He faintly remembered that in another time he might have recognized their faces. A spear headed man was shouting sapphire colored lightning that split Medic's skull apart. He was falling into an abyss of hysteria. His world morphed into a throbbing bed of organs and blood that he was destined to live inside for eternity. Even his sense of self was washed away in the bedlam. Fragments of his past whizzed by. He could smell the antiseptic from his days at medical school and just as suddenly faces of his patients and victims appeared in the fractured anarchy. Their screams echoed endlessly. Nothing made sense anymore. The tattered remains of his ego cried desperately for an end.
Medic was in hell. He was certain of it, and he could not have even dreamed such anguish.
For centuries he remained in a petrified fetal position. At one point he was shown the blinding white light that was surely the gate to death. He had completely lost the tether to lucidity.
As the night wore on, the drug's grip on Medic's mind weakened. The scrambled nightmare was easing. Finally Medic had enough of his senses back to determine that he was back in the operating theatre and lying on a spare gurney.
Heavy was by his side, fast asleep. His head nodded as he snored, his thick arms crossed against his barrel chest.
Medic breathed out. The hallucinations were still strong, but at least he knew who he was again. Shakily, he sat up. The room had an eerie, dreamlike quality to it. Sounds shimmered around his head and fell to the ground as shards of diamonds.
"Oh, mein gott." He smoothed back his sweat drenched hair. "I von't be doing zhat again anytime soon."
Careful not to disturb Heavy, he slid off the gurney and hobbled to the bathroom. He flicked on the lights and was comforted by the sanctuary that this small tiled room provided. He leaned against the sink and splashed his face with water. As he gained his bearings; his attention was drawn to the haggard reflection staring back at him.
The man in the mirror looked old. This wasn't the mature man of Medic's years. This man was elderly. His hair was grey and thin. Deep worry lines marred his forehead and wrinkles framed his sunken cheeks. There was no sparkle in those vacant eyes. Medic looked down at his hands. They were gnarled and twisted like old wood. For a fleeting moment the bones and tendons were exposed. He blinked and the hallucination vanished.
The worst was over when dawn broke. Watching the sunrise through this distorted state of mind was an almost spiritual experience. Medic leaned against the window and sighed. The sky was an animated wallpaper of swirling paisley patterns. It was pretty, but by now Medic was quite over it.
By breakfast he had just about returned to normal and had never been happier to leave the past behind him. His teammates however, had a far clearer recollection of last night's events and weren't about to let Medic forget it.
"And did you see when he started rolling on the ground screaming and tearing off his clothes? That's some funny shit." Scout took pauses between spoonfuls of porridge to describe the previous night's events.
"Aye Doc. Ye were out'a yer mind last night. Ah don't know why ye'd put that stuff in yer body. Ah'd ne'er touch it. Ah have some self respect!" Said Demoman before he took a swig of his morning scrumpy.
Medic ignored the jibes. He had his notebook ready (with a certain drawing torn out of it) and was jotting down his observations. He knew he wouldn't take LSD again. That experience was more than enough to satisfy his curiosity. However, he still had a bottle left and Medic really did hate waste.
"Tell me Scout, are you feeling any… different this morning?"
"Huh?" Scout paused from his eating to raise an eyebrow. "No. Why would I?"
"Oh, no reason." Medic cradled the empty chemical vial in his palm. "Enjoy your breakfast. Zhere's enough porridge for everyone…"