It's not the valleys in life I dread so much as the dips.
The very best predators are cunning. They go after solitary animals, those who travel alone, who are cut off from the herd.
But not all predators have claws.
Several men, dressed in black, advanced upon an isolated house. Thermals showed the lone occupant was facing a glowing box, away from the windows and doors. The plans-same as every other generic house in the suburb-gave them a floor plan, so they could even flank him.
Two men at the kitchen door, two at the front. At precisely midnight, they swung the doors open silently, and proceeded to each entryway of the room the target was in. He still didn't notice. A quick hand signal, and they swung around the corner and advanced upon him.
The lead leveled his gun over the young man's shoulder. Still nothing.
"Boom, headshot," the kid muttered.
The gun tapped his shoulder, and the target looked down to find an Uzi. He took his hand off the mouse, hit mute on his headset, and pulled it down to his neck before spinning the chair around.
"Sonny" Nelson stared down the barrels of four guns, all pointed directly at his head.
"Um...hi." he said. "Are you guys from the RIAA?"
Several hours later, a blindfolded, handcuffed, and cavity-searched Sonny was led out of a van, across some concrete, and then into some sort of hallway. He had already thought through every spy movie he had ever seen, and come to two conclusions.
One, these guys weren't from the RIAA.
Two, his chances of survival were much better if he made fun of the bad guys, the bad guy's henchmen, and the bad guy's mother. They would get angry, and then the Chief Henchman would punch him in the stomach, and then the Bad Guy would tell the Lieutenant to hold it, we can't kill him just yet, and the Lieutenant would subside, like a volcano. It would all work out.
Just then, the henchman on his right pulled off the blindfold, to reveal two other henchman dragging a guy who looked around his age off to the right, blood dripping from his lips.
"Really, Mr. Smith," said a small, balding man in a lab coat, "I've told you time and time again hitting the test subjects in the solar plexus can be fatal."
"It works in the movies," replied the large, muscular guy next to him.
"But we are not in the m-oh, Mr. Nelson. Welcome to my underground lair!"
Sonny pulled his jaw up and looked around at the edifice. "Meh. I've seen lairier."
"You have been selected to take part in a very special experiment. I am attempting to merge a human being and a hydroplasmic entity. I plan to do this with the assistance of high-energy tachyon fields-"
"Do you explain your crazy plans to everyone, or am I special?"
"I would think you, of all people, would understand my genius. I've read your file. You chose to exercise your considerable intelligence in your menial little job and-" he sniffed "-playing video games."
"I've always been an overacheiver."
Smith smiled tightly. "That's quite amusing, Mr. Nelson."
"Thank you. I don't suppose you would let me go now?"
"What?" said the scientist. "From what I know of your browsing habits, you would welcome the chance to be turned into one of my glorious creations."
"Buddy, there's a huge gap between what I get off to and-waitwaitWHAT? You put a bug in my computer?"
The doc smiled evilly. "We like to think of it as 'intelligence gathering'."
"Because you don't have any of your own, I take it?"
"Japes will not help you, Mr. Nelson."
"Come to think of it, the best way you could get my genetic profile was getting saliva from my waste material, since I've never given blood, or been involved in a criminal investigation."
The doc said nothing.
"You didn't collect saliva, did you?"
"Take him away," the older man rasped.
"Were you voted most likely to dig through someone's garbage for used Kleenex?" Sonny yelled as he was wheeled away. "I mean, I'm just curious. Couldn't you have just broke into a blood bank or something?"
The scientist looked surprised. "Huh, should've thought of that."
"So we dug through this guy's trash looking for his wank-napkins when we didn't have to?" said the first guard.
"Yep," Sonny confirmed. "You guys should unionize."
"Can't. There's a Death Ray clause in our contract." said the second.
"Does your boss even have a Death Ray?"
"We're not sure, and no one wants to be the first to find out."
They wheeled him into a large room, empty except for some strange tube-thingies coming out of the ceiling and floor, and a fairly attractive young woman in scrubs.
"Hellooo nurse," said Sonny.
The young woman smiled. It didn't reach her eyes. "Cute," she said in a Cockney accent. "You know how many times I've heard that one?"
"And here I thought I was the first."
The guards unstrapped his hand, and held it near one of the tube things, pressing a button on the side of it. Sonny found his wrist seized in an invisible bond more secure than the straps had been.
"Mister...Nelson, is it? You're not the first man to be submitted to my tender care."
"Ah. What about 'what's a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?'"
"I've got student loans to pay off."
While the guards repeated the process with his other limbs, Sonny marvelled at the fact that they were actually flirting. Actually, this wasn't all that different from his last relationship, except he didn't know the safeword.
"Also," added the nurse, "he threatened to kill one of my loved ones for every day I didn't work for him."
The guards finished and left, one of them saying something about missing "The Office".
"With a Death Ray?"
"A Death Ray. How did you-"
"It seems to be a theme around here. That's one way to motivate your employees."
"Actually, the guards are all mercenaries."
"That must be expensive. Who's bankrolling this operation?"
"He doesn't say. We talk about it in the break room, and it's either corporate sponsorship, military sponsorship, or he hustles little old ladies out of their pensions."
"What about credit cards?"
"Like the movies do? Didn't quite think of that. Clothes."
Several of the other tubes glowed, and the seams of his clothes all unstitched, falling off him and into the range of several vacuum tubes, which sucked them out of sight instantly.
"Okay, first of all, that was my favorite shirt. Second of all, you guys have an instant nakedness ray? Really?"
"Yeah, but it's locked down to this room, for obvious reasons. It was actually the doctor's senior thesis."
"What, he went to Penthouse U?"
The nurse didn't answer, instead choosing to pick up a sponge and lather it with some substance from the tubes, and started to wash him down. The soap smelt like green tea.
"I'm Michael Nelson, by the way. My friends call me Sonny."
"That's a white name. You're Ch-East Asian."
"I get a +2 racial bonus versus math problems."
The nurse snickered. "I'm sorry, that wasn't right."
"It's okay to laugh at jokes about race if they're made by a member of that race. Unless the race being joked about is white, and then everybody gets free shots."
"I won't hold that that against you."
There was a brief, inexplicably awkward silence.
"I was adopted."
There was another brief, inexplicably awkward silence.
"In case you haven't figured it out, I'm the hero here." Sonny said, to break it.
"Oh, are you?" Scrub, scrub.
"Yep. The experiment will fail, or my friends will get me at the last, most dramatic instant, and then I'll go after the doc with a handgun I grab out of a holster, equally as deadly despite my inferior weapon."
"Doesn't the hero usually hit them in the face first at the exact same time as his sidekick, then grab the guard's rifles?"
"You're right. I must've been thinking cop movie."
"Got it all planned out, have you?"
"Of course I do. I used to be a Boy Scout." Pause. "Well, I knew a Boy Scout." Pause. "Actually, I was fired from a fry cook opportunity."
The nurse looked puzzled.
"C'mon, this is my best stuff here!"
"Do you actually have any friends?"
"No, in real life. Do you play D&D, even?"
Sonny thought. "Hunh."
"That still leaves escape."
"You'd be the first."
She hummed as she washed him down. The restraint system in the shower allowed for a full range of movement, and let her push him around in the air like a doll on invisible strings.
"That's a nice tune. What is it?"
She looked up, surprised, and blushed. "I don't know the name. My mum taught it to me."
"What's it about?"
"Um, a princess." She was trying to hide a smile. Wasn't quite the Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter, but she was nothing if not cute. And touching his naughty bits.
"Sorry about the water," said the nurse apologetically.
"Well, that's calmed your little man down." She was grinning now, like a Cheshire Cat. Sonny wondered if she hadn't poured water on his...libido on purpose.
"Wait, a sec," Sonny said as something struck him. "The doc invented this incredible restraint system, and he uses this to hold prisoners? Why not sell it?"
"The military wasn't interested. I think it was the first step on his road to going mad."
"Then why not sell it to rich bondage enthusiasts?"
"Because-" the nurse stopped, and her brow crinkled. "Hunh."
"See, now you have a viable business plan, and don't have to go kidnapping people. Let me go and we'll go tell the doc together! After I put on my clothes."
"No. No matter how cute you are."
There was an awkward silence before the nurse continued, this time with the feet. The sponge tickled.
"I must say," she said, from somewhere around his ankle. "You're talking this rather well. Most of the test subjects are still kicking and screaming at this point. One of them tried to piss on me."
"The doctor made sure to remove the offending organ before starting the experiment. Luckily he was in a fairly good mood, and used anesthetic. But not much."
A few more minutes of silence.
"Are you supposed to be fraternizing with the test subjects?" Sonny wondered aloud. "Won't that create a bond between you and them that could jeopardize your objectivity?"
"'Fraternizing'? I was clutching your bits not five minutes ago!"
"What if I get out of here and start talking?"
"Firstly, they put a little...thing in your neck when they bought you in. Get more than five hundred feet from the nearest transmitter, and you won't be telling anyone anything. And about the experiments...well, thankfully, most of them die."
"Well!" said Sonny, with his best Sam Gamgee imitation. "That's a comfort, and no mist-did you say 'thankfully'?"
The nurse paused. "You said you were the hero. Have you considered that you might end up one of the hideous, misbegotten vestigially human crimes against nature which the hero has to kill on his way to the villain?"
"Forget nursing, you should be a writer."
"What, no shampoo? I've got this really bad flaking problem-"
The doors hissed open, and the guards-who must've been waiting outside-came in and strapped the naked Sonny to the ...rolly...table...thing. They spun him around, and pushed him toward the door.
"Call me," Sonny yelled.
"My name is Lily," he heard, and the door slid shut behind him.
They rolled him-still snaked-through several hallways and into what looked like a cross between an operating theatre and an early 90s metal video. Big electrical thingies, and a stainless steel table with brown straps on it.
"Leather!" Sonny exclaimed. "You remembered my little chafing problem! You do care!"
The one on the left twitched a little. Good, he had finally gotten at least one of them to see him as human. Unfortunately, it was a little too late.
The geek was counting on being able to wriggle out of the straps, but after they strapped him down, the two men produced steel manacles. The Doc sure was genre savvy.
The guards cleared out.
A robotic trolley rolled in, carrying a jar. Inside the jar was a green translucent fluid that rocked slightly with the jar's motion. As it got close to Sonny, it pressed up against the side of the of the container, trying to get at him-
This ain't fun anymore, Sonny thought, and immediately began to kick and scream.
"He's just resting - waiting for a new life to come." said the Doc's voice, faintly, and a second later the intercom clicked on.
"I use to make a speech at this point, Mr. Nelson. I don't anymore. Suffice it to know that we're attempting to bond you with a...being known as a hydroplasma. It may comfort you to know that should this succeed, your life-and death-will have benefited humanity."
"No, that doesn't comfort me at all!" Sonny thought.
"If not," the Doc continued, "well, few will miss you."
Sonny quit thrashing, 'cause it obviously weren't doin' no good. Setup the Marquis de Sade would be proud of. That left him with more card to play.
"Objection!" yelled Sonny, wishing he could point dramatically. "What are your requirement for falsifiability?"
The Doc paused. "Falsi-what-ity?"
"Falsifiability, doc. For an experiment to be considered valid, you need to know the terms under which it could be considered a failure."
"In fact, do you even have a control? A hypothesis? Tenure, even?"
"Well," said the doc, and stopped. He leaned over the railing in what he clearly thought was a sinister fashion and flipped the switch. "For SCIENCE!"
"I'm starting to think you're not a real doctor at all!" Sonny yelled as the emitter warmed up. "You have shown no regard for basic testing protocols or the ethics of the scientific community!"
"Eh, who cares what they think," growled the doc, and pushed the big red button.
The big arcing electrical thingies got really bright.
Sonny closed his eyes, and noticed the machines around him were making that charging-up sound, just like in the cartoons.
The hydroplasma cringed in the bottom of its container as the electricity arced toward it and the human.
Sonny's last thought before the lightning hit was the wish that he could flip off the Doc.
A final burst of power sent spasms throughout both the geek and the goo. The latter vanished. The former died.
The Doc chewed the inside of his cheek. "Lost another one."
Jones, his personal assistant, had long stopped making the "-to DiTech." joke. He busied himself with double-checking Nelson's vital signs.
He hit the intercom switch. "Standard incineration procedures." To Jones - "How many candidates do we have left?"
"After Nelson, that leaves-ah."
"What is it? Spit it out!"
"Nelson's heart is beating again. His body is returning to normal temperature-"
"It would appear so, sir."
The Doc rubbed his gloved hands together. "Excellent."
He woke up slowly. If pressed, he would've said it was like coming to the surface.
He turned his head to the right. Guards entering the room. Armed.
(viene la tormenta)
O...kay. One of the last lines from "The Terminator". Odd thought to be having. And since he was apparently Not Dead, his first priority was getting free of the table.
His right hand slid easily out of the cuff. He stared at it; his hand was noticeably smaller, but he could feel and see mass rushing back into it from his arm as he looked
(fear is the mind killer)
That was from "Dune". Something was happening to his head
(I kill with my heart)
every movie and film and book he had ever seen running straight through him and all this new stuff and he knew who he was
he knew what he could do.
(over nine thousand)
He smoothly pivoted out of the bed, his body moving around the straps and manacles. The gasmasked guards drew back in surprise, guns raising.
(are you my mummy?)
His other hand expanded, suddenly
(you won't like me when I'm angry)
and his body spun through the gunfire, moving in a not-quite-organic fashion, like something that had just learned to be human and didn't quite have a handle on it. He ended up between the two men, and his arms shot out, too far and too rubbery, curling around the guards' heads.
(it's clobberin' time)
The two men were each knocked out when their helmets collided, and he let them slump to the floor.
Above him, in the observation booth, the Doc's hands were pressed up against the window, his jaw hanging down. He turned to ask Jones what he thought of the whole deal, only to find an empty room and an open door.
He snorted. "Wuss."
On a whim, the young man below sent his "hands" snaking into the guards ears, and dropped off a little present. Now he'd be able to read and control their minds at will. Useful, that.
The sound of a dozen or so safeties clicking off
(imma chargin' mah laser)
drew his attention. Smith, of course, was leading, and he had the biggest gun. The young man smiled, and took one step toward them.
Then he turned translucent green, the same texture as the hydroplasma, in the instant between the first guard starting to pull the trigger and the bullet leaving the barrel. The goo the nerd was now made of simply let the fire go straight through it. His greatly enhanced mental faculties were able to calculate the precise amount of friction to prevent ricochets.
stared at him, agog. He switched back to his regular appearance, and decided to add clothes. His usual t-shirt and jeans appeared on his body. Smith stared at the geek in a blind fury, and switched his gun to AUTO.
"Alright chums," Sonny yelled, a manic, too-wide grin on his face. "Let's do this!"
Some time later, the doctor turned around to find Nelson leaning against the doorway of his office, clad in flawless black tie.
"Oh, there you are! Like my tux? It seemed appropriate."
"What...what are you doing?"
"Taking my time. Unless you can fit through that air vent, you're not going anywhere."
The doctor glanced upward.
"You can't." Nelson said flatly. "That was rhetorical. Also, you guys would totally fail an OSHA inspection."
"They never come around." Doc's hands slid across the front of the desk, searching for a certain drawer.
"Did you know that Smith's name is actually 'Murgatroyd'? If I had a name like that, I'd use 'Smith' too."
The drawer contained nothing but a Glock 17. Useless. Though, Doc was absurdly proud to note, whoever had left the gun there had remembered to remove the clip and clear the chamber. Too bad basic firearm safety couldn't save him now.
"I'll bet people were all "heavens to Murgatroyd" when he was a kid. Must've drove him nuts, turning him into the psycho he is today." He paused. "Was."
The lower drawer had random papers. Tax forms, mostly. It occured to the Doc that bribing people had probably cost him more than paying his actual taxes.
"I slit his pants in an embarrassing fashion, and he was wearing perfectly normal underpants underneath. What kind of bad guy refuses to be humiliated properly?"
The doctor slammed the drawer shut, then opened it again and checked under the papers. There was a cell phone there of the approximate vintage of that weilded by Zack Morris of Bayside High. Doc pulled it out of the drawer, and punched in 3125, the detonation code for Nelson's bomb-
"Was that supposed to do something to this?"
Nelson was holding the bomb on on his palm. He had disarmed it, somehow-
"These guards are so helpful, once you wrap hydroplasmic goo around their brainstems. I really have to thank you, doc. For one thing, I don't have to work out. For two, mind control, and that's always awesome. For three-"
"You can't take me to the police." The doctor was sweating now.
"Oh no," said Nelson, and his eyes flickered pearlescent green. "I'm going to take care of you myself."
"Stay back!" said the Doc, further revealing himself to be a slave to cliche.
"Why, Doctor, from what I know of your, um, mad...science...ing habits, you'd welcome the chance to be turned into one of your glorious creations." He grinned. "Thematic irony. That's what my English Lit. teacher was trying to tell me."
The last drawer, the hidden draw, sprang open, and the Doc pulled out something that looked like a cross between a ray gun and a Slurpee machine. He trained it on Nelson.
"Hey, it's Chekhov's Death Ray!" Nelson reached out, palm up. "Just hand it over. We all know you were bluffing-"
Doc stared at him, sweating. He hesitated, lowered the gun an inch, and then suddenly put the device under his chin and pulled the trigger. Something flashed, and he slumped to the floor, dead.
"Huh," Sonny said quietly. "He really did have a Death Ray."
KasyuPhox>where you been
KasyuPhox>you just left the pvp
KnellWulf32>made some changes
KnellWulf32>i'll be at the con
KnellWulf32>i think what i have will sell well
KasyuPhox>what is it
KnellWulf32>but I kno you'll like it
KnellWulf32> you get a free sample
KasyuPhox>not even a peek
Sonny looked up from his PDA. From the Gloating Seat, he could see the henchmen working diligently to place his anime collection for optimum Feng Shui. He wasn't sure if Feng Shui included anime collections, or his gaming rig, but Lily said it would brighten up the lair, even if they weren't doing evil anymore.
He looked down.
Sonny gets Mad Science'd
by Eulalie "Nequ" Quentin
2009 Creative Commons By-SA-NC 3.0