"Indeed," said Fler'Gan. "You are familiar with the concept of homonculi, no?"
"Yes," said Aldrich. "Alchemically created organisms. How does that apply here?"
"The normal method to create homonculi starts with creating a 'womb' of primordial liquid. This liquid is often the refined, processed flesh of other creatures," said Fler'Gan. "I have little in the way of materials I am familiar with for my alchemy, but I do have the tools to refine with.
Thus, I reduced that Alter specimen you so generously granted me into primordial liquid. I then placed the Alter organ within this liquid before it could decay.
The first attempt was a failure. The organ deteriorated too quickly and I did not know how to adjust my refinement process to Alterhumans that I had never worked with before.
But by learning upon my errors, I have managed to preserve the Alter organ of the second specimen!"
"That's…quite incredible," said Aldrich, surprised. It seemed like such a small thing, but managing to preserve an Alter organ was something quite literally nobody had ever managed to do before.
The closest anyone had gotten was via an Alter scientist who could use his own power to attach growths on organs to trick them into thinking they were alive.
This method accomplished worked on the same principles by tricking the Alter organ into believing it was still in its host body. This method, however, was vastly superior.
The Alter scientist had a limited range and duration on his powers. What Fler'Gan did was create an easy way to transport and store live Alter organs.
"What about the self-destruct mechanism that the organs have when you try to study them?" said Aldrich. This was the greatest block to Alter organ research and one of the reasons why Aldrich could not just force an undead organ to stop disintegrating.
If Aldrich tried to force an organ into doing what it was not meant to do, when it would disintegrate regardless of whether he attempted to regenerate it with magic.
It was one of the reasons why Aldrich could not heal Seismic from his Crystallization condition. Aldrich could sense if he tampered with the organ, it would self-destruct.
Oddly, the organ would accept healing to restore it to its base state, but not any changes to the base state itself. It was almost as if the organs had their own independent will that made them fiercely stubborn and strangely aware of their surroundings, able to discern between what helped them and what tried to change them.
"That will require some more research," said Fler'Gan. "But for now, I revel in this progress, however minute it may be."
"It isn't minute by any measure," said Aldrich. "Well done, Fler'Gan. I'll have the editor sample you requested to you tomorrow along with plenty of eyeflowers and other magical materials you need for your alchemy."
"Your praise is much appreciated, O Elder." Fler'Gan bowed his head. "And once you grant me the materials I need, I can craft any potion you desire. To recall, what you desire is one that will impart your voice with powerful hypnotic suggestion, no?"
"That's right," said Aldrich. "Powerful enough to affect multiple people. Subtle enough that it will be hard to detect. And one that I can consume and have its effects come in after a delay so that the potion itself won't get caught in a search."
Fler'Gan closed the fridge and curled his mouth tentacles in thought. "I have drafted a formula for such a potion, but in doing so, I must warn you that there may be shortcomings.
My alchemical technique is considerable, but it is not on the level of dedicated Arch-Alchemists. If I am to devise a potion within those specifications, it will have to sacrifice some strength, allowing those with strong will to resist it. In addition, the hypnotic suggestion will last a pithy amount of time, requiring constant re-application via your voice. The duration this potion enhances your voice will also not be infinite, taking up perhaps a time span just shy of thirty minutes."
"Those are acceptable shortcomings," said Aldrich. "I'll have what you need to you soon. I'll be meeting Casimir now, but again, you've done a great job. Keep up the good work."
"I humbly accept your praise, O Elder," said Fler'Gan.
Aldrich exited the truck, opening the doors to reveal bright sunshine and barren, parched earth. But on this cracked and dry earth was a whole host of activity.
A small compound had been set up with large mobile homes parked and attached together to create what were basically makeshift buildings. Accompanying all this was a scattering of various tents and quickly constructed shacks and work benches.
Nomads bustled about with their recognizable cloaks and goggles, going about their daily life. Some fixed their personal bikes while others maintained the engines and repaired damage on the more communal mobile homes. There were nomads fixing up their cybernetics or tending to wounds in tents marked with red crosses.
The sheer number of nomads surprised Aldrich. There were men and women and children a plenty. He figured that there were easily several hundred people here.
This was practically a village on wheels.
Aldrich had the image in his mind of nomads as simply being roving bands of thugs that did odd jobs for criminal organizations, but looking at this, it just felt like these were people living their own lives.
There were nomads sitting about talking and laughing with each other. Kids ran around and played and laughed with pieces of metal scrap molded into the shape of toys.
"Ah, awful sunlight." Fler'Gan squinted his red eyes as he saw bright light stream into the truck. "Do close those doors on the way out, O Elder. The sun is terrible for drying out this skin of mine."
Aldrich nodded as he hopped out the truck, closing the doors. When he landed, a voice spoke from behind him.
"You actually managed to come, huh? At least Casimir's still reliable about making sure he and his accomplices show up."
Aldrich instantly turned around, alert. It was not easy to sneak up on him like that, what with his highly tuned senses. He found himself staring at a young man cloaked in dirt speckled and dusted gray. The guy could not have been much older than Aldrich, probably no older than twenty five, and yet, his stare, much like Aldrich's, looked considerably older with sunken in, tired black eyes.
"And who might you be?" said Aldrich. He could not accurately sense how strong Alters were without a scanner of some sorts, but his combat experience and instincts told him that this man was strong.
It was in the way he carried himself. He seemed to radiate cool confidence outwardly, but inwardly, he was ready to react and attack or defend at a moment's notice.
"Call me Knife," said the man. "I'm a bodyguard for one of Casimir's friends. She happens to be the leader of this compound. I'm here to take you to where they are where, hopefully, you can help explain this disastrous mess Casimir's gotten himself into and why we should help you."