Welcome to the Martin Hatcher Institute. The patients are dying from every disease and illness known to man, but they survive every time. The doctors run tests around the clock, but there never are any tangible results. There is a cure in development, but no one ever talks about it. They say there is a man, a genius, who is behind all of this, but you never see enough of him to really know anything about him.
One minute you're fine, and the next, you can't breathe, your heart's stopped in your chest, and everything goes still. Then, air rushes back into your lungs, your heart beating strong, and it's like nothing's happened. Your mother asks you what's happened, what's wrong, and you tell her. She doesn't believe you, just tells you it's some sort of mild hypochondriac reaction to something you watched on the news. But then it gets worse.
The next stage occurs, then. You keep getting sick. You catch the flu when it's flu season, and you catch the flu when it's not. But it's like none of the medication works on you, because you just keep getting sicker and sicker and then you're wheeled into the ER at one point because you're hacking up blood and you can't see clearly. Then. Oh, then. You wake up the next morning in your hospital bed, feeling fine. you can see perfectly fine, you can breathe in and out, no hacking coughs involved. The doctors are baffled, because they were convinced you had to go into intensive care. They write it off as a fluke, a miracle.
Then it happens again. And again. And each time, they can't explain it; they don't know why you keep almost dying, and then surviving each time. They just don't know. And so while they try to figure it out, you stay in this constant back and forth between life and death, life and death. You don't know what's up or down anymore.
And then your parents take you to the MHI. They have a serum, they say, in testing. It keeps death at bay. You take it, but warily. You could have a seizure at any moment, catch leukemia, cough up bronchitis. You don't know how many times you've caught the most impossible of impossible illnesses, and you don't know how many more times there are to come, before your body just gives up on all of this and stops fighting.
So you resign yourself to this. You're stuck here, until they cure you, or you die. Whichever one comes first. Better make the best of it.
The Martin Hatcher Project has been in the running for a little over two decades now. The original serum was developed by the young Hatcher for a class project while attending university, but was rejected by the professor because of the implications of the purpose of the serum. Hatcher was threatened to be kicked out of the school, his budget pulled, if he didn't halt the project immediately. He backed down, but not for long.
Later that year there was a brief article on the tragic but sudden death of Hatcher's father, a grainy image of Hatcher and others in funeral gear looking somberly on as a coffin adorned with white flowers was lowered into the grave. Only a week later, Hatcher dropped his university classes altogether, claiming overwhelming grief, and assured his professors that he would return as soon as he was finished grieving. He never came back.
All of this, you learn on the first day at the Institute. You follow the slightly nerdy looking assistant as he leads you on a tour of the building, his constant chatter filling up the mostly empty halls. You nod, half-listening, half-not, still wondering what, why, how you got to be here, newly registered as a doctor on staff in this obscure research facility.
You've yet to meet the man himself, and by the way the assistant cheerfully guides you through the entirety of the building it seems like he's trying to make up for what you're about to go through when you do. When you finally meet Martin Hatcher he fixes you with a more piercing stare than you thought possible. He asks few questions, but gives the impression that he has gotten alot of information from what you say. In the end he offers you the job. You get the impression his mind was already made up before this interview started, and the questions were just to make you squirm. But even though he seems a little scary this is an amazing oppurtunity. So you accept the job - of course you accept the job. It pays phenomenally, even compared to where you were last, and it makes up for the kids. They're relatively young, and it makes you feel like you've signed up to be an animal herder, sometimes. But you remember that hefty check that comes in the mail every month, and you resign yourself to the job. Besides, the labs are ridiculously state of the art, it's ridiculous.