"- and every time the cell splits, due to mitosis, the telomere at the end of the dna within the nucleus shortens. Once the telomere gets too short, the cell becomes inactive, 'senescent', or dies off."
• Senescent, the process of aging; the state of being old
An odd choice of words, but not incorrect, Elric decides; pausing his read on the biomed article before a yawn could escape him. Sleep was a tempting bastard right now, and the clock reading 02:47AM aiding Elric none in his attempts to finish his self-study. Shuffling through his notes and loose papers, he withdraws a thin spiral notebook, opening to a tabbed spot between the leafs of paper.
His personal habit of making the theory or hypothesis on the subject at hand, to try and connect dots, as to why he was the way he was, or to at least to make an inkling of sense about it. One of his current running theories had to do with telomeres and cancer.
Cancer; a touchy subject. Something he would never openly describe his healing ability, and yet, in a controlled way, the concept made sense. Whenever Elric was injured, the cells would quickly patch up the injury, as if it was never there to begin with. Nothing instant, it always took time, but nothing like days and weeks, months that most injuries would usually take. Some within minutes, some within hours, and most under a day.
Simply stitched back to new, as if it never happened, unlike cancer, which didn't know when to stop. With a small sigh, followed by a longer-than-necessary yawn, Elric closed his laptop and plugged it in for the night. Research and theories for later. For now, for the remander of the night sky in the air, stars hanging within the deep sea of space, before the sun met the horizon, Elric would sleep in anticipation for tomorrow.
And tomorrow comes, as sure as the sun dots the sky in the day, and the stars at night. Reviews of breakthroughs, both new and old, in the science department is how Elric spends his mornings. Studies of theory and potential; one article in particular catching his attention. While old, with no further notes about the study, the matter at hand was the cause of nostalgia and guilt.
A study of using a spinich leaf to simulate a beating heart. While lab-grown and 3d printing could only do so much, plants were quite versetile as they held their own vessels. This article talked of stripping the plant of its' plant cells to leave behind the scaffolding, cellulose, and replacing it with stem cells of a heart. Certainly a good study holding a lot of potential, since organ donors were fewer than those in need of the organs.
The nostalga fell with memories of his father and the years spent with him after his mother unwillingly left them, cancer having won the fight. His father, following after from heart failure. The guilt settled in after Elric found out his body could repair such organs within himself, having had an unfortunate shot to the head at point-blank during a short scuffle. If he had known then, when his father was alive, he would of donated his heart without a second thought.
And then the second thought came, slowly but surely, as a reminder. No matter how much of himself he wished he could give, to those suffering and in pain, to try and help them live a life without. He couldn't, for he was selfish. For he was human, for what little he considered himself. A human who has cheated death more times than he should of, but as long as he was able to save others. He didn't care what happened to his life. And that was the scariest revolation he could of ever had while working as Cleric. That never stopped him from being reckless.
Cleric, Elric's lazy vigilant name that anyone with a penchant for annograms could figure out, was one of the weakest vigilants that roamed the streets. He wasn't a fighter, or a protector, simply someone in a white, oversized robe who aimlessly wandered from evening to night. His goal was simply to heal anyone injured, or help anyone in need, but mixing up in a few scuffles revealed that his best bet was to either heal the wounded as quickly as possible, or cause a distraction of some sort, take the hit instead, so the other can get away.
He always found it odd, how healing others took so little time- not instant, but within minutes. How healing them caused his body to feel heavy in random places to the point of uselessness, accompanied with a painful ache in its wake; and yet his own wounds took time. Small cuts took a couple minutes, while lacerations, stabs, gunshots, could take a few hours to heal completely; around 10 minutes to come out of unconsciousness in most cases, rarely shorter, rarely longer.
One day, particularly after the failed struggle with a gun, he had decided to dedicate himself to working out to get stronger, as barely lifting 50 pounds was clearly no match for an active tussle with someone of bigger mass. Only after about three months with little to no progress did he build a theory as to why:
Anyone who works out that says "no pain, no gain", while not entirely corrent, is also not entirely wrong. How muscles are strengthened is by introducing trauma to the muscle, which activates satalite cells as a response. This is why adequate rest after excercise, and not pushing yourself, are important. It gives time for the satalite cells to repair the muscle, binding to make more muscle fibers and crosshairs to strengthen the muscle, without causing permenant damage to the muscle via tears and strains.
However, Elric's standing theory as to why he gained no improvement, was that once trauma was introduced to the muscles, his body would heal the injury before the satalite cells could try to do it's own repair during the resting phase. Ah, the curses of healing. A current idea to combat this has been to legthen the time of the workout, but he has yet to follow through with the idea.
Another standing theory Elric has ties in with sicknesses. Elric, for not a day in his life, has ever been sick by anything. No common cold, flu, food poisoning, anything of the like. But he also can't heal any sort of sicknesses, simply ease some of the symptoms for a few hours. His guess is that his body doesn't have the correct, if any, antibodies to combat the sickness. However, he figures there must be a flaw somewhere in this theory, as he has been vax'd with no further result.
While not tested, he wonders if that would also apply to poison, something he vaugely remembers as a kid. If he never got antivemon for the venomous snake bite, could he cure poison as he was? Would he need to injest antivenom to heal venom or poison in general? Or would his healing be ineffective? Elric hasn't had the heart to try it, as venom and poison are usually fast-acting, and antivenom is expensive. It isn't something to recklessly "test" with someone elses life.
Theories and thoughts aside, notes and explanations for another day, Elric moved on to from his morning review of notes and articles; his attempts to understand, and one day have a breakthrough about his powers and how they work, could wait for another day.
For now, for today, while the sun shone onto the earth, between the cracks in the clouds and weaved between the towers that reached for the skys, Elric went about his day to help as many people he could without sacrificing his humanity. To not be a housing vessel, sold as parts; to not live in a lab, tested for the next breakthrough.
He was selfish. He was human. No care for perserving his life, as his life was disposable, yet not willing to donate himself for the greater good of science. Pain is still pain, wounds still take time, and he would save as many people as he could.