The first time Andrei had administered the fungus was just a test. The subject was very near death, pulse fast and shallow, breathing labored, all of the digestive functions shut down. He was really beyond feeling, which was perfect for the experiment that Andrei wanted to perform, but wasn’t what he hoped to achieve when he really put his plan into action.
Andrei had talked at length with Duloo about the mushrooms effects on the shaman. Duloo told him that the shaman would become violently ill within ten minutes of ingesting the beautiful red caps with the white sprinkles. They would sweat profusely and vomit and piss their pants, completely out of control of their physical being. The shaman had to be cared for during this period so that wouldn’t hurt themselves or choke on their vomit. Then, after about an hour as far as Andrei could understand from Duloo’s description, which wasn’t very precise as to time because the Evenkis didn’t use watches or otherwise keep to close a track, the shaman would relax into a euphoric state during which they would play drums and talk of visions that were like nothing the others could see or hear or feel. This state could last for hours. Duloo told him that there had been a few cases of the shaman dying, usually just as the euphoric phase of the drugs effects too hold. Duloo seemed to suggest that those who had died were older and near death anyway.
Andrei had carefully prepared a concentrated solution of liquors created by successively boiling the beautiful Amanita that Duloo collected. He took a small bottle with him to the lab that first evening. After his rounds were completed and the laborers had finished their chores and left for the night, Andrei got the subject to drink the contents of the bottle. Within ten minutes the man was retching and convulsing in his bed and his movement would have been immediately evident to anyone who might have walked into the lab. This worried Andrei but he felt he could pick his times when it was unlikely anyone coherent would invade his privacy. After about a half an hour of moaning and tossing and retching, the subject quieted and for about fifteen minutes he had a beautific expression on his face that Andrei hoped was a euphoric dream. His breathing stopped and he was dead within an hour. The end was very quiet.
Andrei carefully cleaned the man and arranged his limbs so that it would appear he just died peacefully in his bed, as so many had done in the first weeks of the experiment. In the morning he reported it as a routine matter. The tenth to die in the current batch of fifty.
He left the lab that morning feeling a mixture of sadness and hope. Sadness for the death he had hastened. Hope for those whose agony he might be able to lessen in the future.