Audrey previously treated another isolated enzyme for preparation of the introduction into Victor's chromosomes,
to increase physical strength that Chance required of her. She envisioned it would be easy in comparison to the in-frangibility
to disease and germ warfare that the Defense Department demanded.
finished logging the necessary information in Victor's medical chart and the data for the serum injection, then she noted
a quick summary on her cassette recorder. She left the lab heading to Section 4-G, Germ Warfare.
Planning to get their current data for her project, she wondered what they'd developed, and what she'd be
up against. All she really knew, was their bacterium destroyed human and animal life and left vegetation intact and unaffected.
She counted on the 'cause and effect' data being available, and intended
to incorporate it directly into her DNA research. Needing to isolate and reprogram Victor's immune system, she had to
manipulate it to produce a natural bacteriophage, or to produce a bacteriolysis-- another bacteria that destroyed other infectious
bacterium, or both, if possible. Once accomplished, she'd counter-effect the infected bacteria to be unsuccessful in Victor
by creating a natural bacteriophage, which theoretically would cause immunity to disease and germ warfare.
Audrey returned to her lab with G.W.'s data and petri plates of three different bactrium.
Entering the bacterium data into Computer for analysis, she turned on Computer's audio mode.
"Computer-- analyze bacterium data, print hard copy of report. And also analyze subject, Victor Mark Jarrett's
genetic structure in direct comparison of possibility of subject's immune system for bacteriostasis."
"DR. TOWLES, ANALYSIS ON BACTERIUM DATA COMPLETE ...
CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM BACTERIUM, THREE VARIETIES ...
SUBJECT; VICTOR MARK JARRETT: IMMUNE SYSTEM CONTAINS NATURAL
IMMUNITY TO MOST COMMON INFECTIONS; BACTERIAL AND
LARGE QUANTITIES OF NATURAL ANTIBIOTICS PRESENT"
Computer. Thank you," she answered. Victor's immune system had higher amounts of antibiotics than average,
knowing it was excellent news and good start. It certainly explains the reason he hasn't been sick in years and hadn't
had any typical childhood diseases.
It's finally time to
examine the bacterium, she thought. The examination required wearing a protective suit and gloves, and work in the quarantine
lab. If anything were to go wrong, she'd have speedy admittance to the detox-sterilization shower and would lock down
Q-Lab. She couldn't risk any bacterium being rampantly airborne.
herself in the protective environmental suit and gloves, being sure to secure the hood and oxygen hose properly, she entered
the Q-lab. Once inside, she reached through the sealed working atmosphere obtaining a swab of bacterium labeled 'number
one,' then placed the sample under the protective microscope.
first sample was an airborne viral bacteria of a newly developed streptococci species. She examined the second bacterium.
It was an advanced, highly sophisticated form of rabies virus, mutated to be transmitted airborne instead of the usual method
of salvia by a bite of an infected animal. The third bacterium was a new species of irreversible meninococcus, which caused
meningitis affecting the meninges of the brain and spinal cord.
these are the bacterium that the G.W. had mutated to a higher level, she thought. She didn't have prior knowledge
of the magnitude in which G.W. had progressed, and it scared her. No
wonder Chance and the D.D. wants my research to withstand their developments-- they actually plan to use these bacteriums
in war and in conjunction with my killing machine-- their ultimate soldier... he'd fight their battles completely immune--
unaffected and unharmed by germ warfare that's released by the enemy.
Audrey locked the samples of bacterium away inside the refrigerated vault, disposing of the swabbed samples as prescribed.
Carefully entering the detoxification-sterilization chamber, she showered down and disposed of the used contaminated suit.
Worried about the orders Chance had given her to make Victor their ultimate killing machine,
she had a profound thought, this new revelation brings up an universal question... does the opposition have the
Victor woke in a stodgy sweat. Vaulting out of bed, he fared to the bathroom wiping the perspiration off his neck,
face, and head. He looked at his image in the mirror that bordered the walls of his lavatory, and smiled admiring his smooth,
hairless head. It's not so bad, he told himself, appreciating the fact he didn't have to wash or comb it.
Actually, I prefer this. Hair is vain. An impracticality to the necessity of existence.
He didn't feel any obligation to return to bed. Instead, he had a quenchless thirst to read. Approaching the
bookshelf that was a sated library of its own, Victor selected the most stocky of the books on the shelf with no regard to
its title. Without seating himself, he stood and read the tome cover to cover then charily placed the book back in its original
read the title after the fact. "War and Peace." Excellent read, he thought, what other
choice is available for an inquiring mind?
Searching the shelf with
his finger and stopping at an interesting selection, he took another book from the shelf. He read thirty books within the
hour, systematically placing each back in its original home in the bookshelf. Teeger stood watching him the entire time. Like
the Mona Lisa painting, the eyes followed you wherever you went.
tell me. Who delivers orders and assignments?" he asked the mechanical robot.
"That is not of your concern, Mr. Jarrett," it retorted.
formulated his next statement in advance. "No, I'm sure it isn't. However, I am inquisitive of the system and
"Inquisitiveness is not a exigency, Mr. Jarrett."
"Of course it's not. But, inquisitiveness is a step to higher learning, and higher
learning is knowledge, and knowledge is fundamental. Correct?" he slyly asked, caressing his naked head.
"Mr. Jarrett, are you feeling well? You appear to be different," Teeger asked,
calculating the change in Victor.
Victor asked the perfunctory thing again
as he informed it he was fine. "I've never been better Teeger. But you haven't answered my question. Knowledge
is fundamental, correct?"
The android acknowledged the question.
"Yes. Knowledge is fundamental."
"Teeger, you can obviously
deduce that I am trying to be knowledgeable, and I require the informative actualities to be so," he said, fondling his
chin. He then, presented the question to the android again. "Question: Who issues orders and assignments?"
"Computer, Mr. Jarrett. Does that assist you in your higher learning?"
"Yes. You are most helpful in my quest for knowledge. Tell me, does Dr. Audrey Towles
provide orders and assignments to Computer?"
"Yes, Mr. Jarrett.
Dr. Towles programs Computer of the agenda and all objectives necessary to execute the assignment."
"Perfect. How perfect the system operates, don't you agree?" Victor questioned,
anticipating what the robot's response to such an opinionated question would be.
"It is not for my approval, Mr. Jarrett," Teeger obdurately stated.
He understood now, the statement Dr. Towles had made about "Computer taking the initiative of taking matters
under control," obviously, she'd programmed Computer of all variables, scenarios, and possibilities. Surmising
there wasn't the possibility of escape through doors and there weren't any windows, he knew it would only be probable
by manipulating the robot.
"Teeger, what about the neck band? This
is programmed through Computer, as well?" he asked it, touching the restricting band around his neck.
"Yes, as Dr. Towles previously informed you. Computer operates the device."
"It's very tight and restricting. It hurts my neck, Teeger. Is there any method
in removing the device?"
"Yes. It may be removed, Mr. Jarrett,
but not without repercussion."
"Teeger, how can it be removed
"The neck band has to be deactivated,
Mr. Jarrett. This is the only method of removal."
What is method of deactivation, Teeger?"
"Computer has the authority
to deactivate. Dr. Towles must program Computer the command to do so, Mr. Jarrett."
"Will Dr. Towles program Computer to deactivate eventually, Teeger?" Victor asked. He had intentions of
inquiring as to the amount of knowledge the robot might have.
is an area of inquiry that I am not able to respond to, Mr. Jarrett. It would be an assumption or prediction. Neither of which
I' m capable of."
He was moderately advancing in his contingency.
But, not far enough to execute any plan as yet. I need to be free. I have to find Doren Edmont. I have to get even for six
years of hell, he thought. Just how should I attempt vindication? An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. What if
I imprisoned Edmont for six years like he had imprisoned me? Or, would an alternate justice be warranted? Victor was becoming
quite a debrouillard in this current game that Chance had so cleverly challenged him to. Now, Victor held the winning
hand. He planned to avenge the challenge.
Audrey concluded follow-up testing on Victor as he sat nearby remarkably patient. The results
were more than anticipated and better than any IQ augmentation she'd previously achieved. He had surpassed genius status.
Victor was out of the spectrum of the established intelligence quota tabulation. She'd noticed physical transformations.
Such as diaphoresis, increased diameter of his pupils and diacritic mannerisms. None of which he'd displayed previously.
She continued noting the changes in her research logs and in his medical chart.
"Dr. Towles, is there anything wrong?" Victor asked.
the nature of his line of questioning, she replied, "No, Mr. Jarrett. Why do you ask?"
"I've observed a slight twitch of your left eye as you wrote in the charts, and you've adjusted your
hair ribbon seven times, the last ten minutes."
very observant. I didn't realize I was doing that. It's a subconscious habit, or possibly stress due to the intensity
of my research and no more than that." She felt scrutinized and didn't understand her need to explain herself to
him, although she just had.
Chance was calling on video phone. He customarily
did at the most inopportune times, as though he enjoyed being a bother to her. He's like a fly that won't leave
you alone on a hot and sultry day.
"Computer-- Put his transmittal
through, please," she announced, seating herself in front of the video screen.
"Hello, Audrey. How are you today? Fine, I trust," Chance feigned.
Looking over at Victor, she responded, "Look Chance, this is a bad time to talk. Why don't you call back
later at a better time-- or I'll return your call."
And why is this such a bad time, my dear? Is Mr. Jarrett there with you this morning?"
"Yes, Victor is here with me now. We're in the midst of testing. It's really not an appropriate time
As Chance habitually lit another cigarette, he made
his request. "Yes, actually it is. I would enjoy speaking with Mr. Jarrett. Ask him to join you so I can see him, please."
Hearing the request, Victor walked over to the video screen. He looked Chance eye to eye
for the first time since his transfer to the Facility. Teeger closely followed him as though he was Victor's shadow.
"Hello, Mr. Jarrett. How are we coming along? Are you feeling well? Tell me, how do
you like your accommodations? Do they meet with your satisfaction, I trust?"
"I am coming along just fine, Mr. Chance. So fine in fact, that I would enjoy a polite game of chess with you.
Sometime soon. I am also feeling quite well. So well in fact, that I rarely need sleep. I find my current accommodations are
exactly what you had described. You've trusted correctly."
Good! How are you and Dr. Towles getting along?" Chance asked, inhaling a deep draw from his fancy cigarette.
"We communicate very well and I believe we have a lot in common. You know, Mr. Chance,
you really should stop smoking those cigarettes... they could kill you," Victor responded with a warning overture, wiping
sweat beads from his forehead.
"Yes, I suppose you're absolutely
right," Chance answered, putting the cigarette out in a nearby ashtray. "I'm pleased you and Dr. Towles are
conversing so well. It's important you understand."
particularly like their conversation or their mind games. Deciding quickly to put an end to the mind game they'd started,
she spoke up, "All right Chance, I'm really very busy. If there's not a specific reason for this call, then I'd
like to continue my work, all right?" she concluded in her usual abruptness, only pausing long enough for him to respond
this time, before terminating the transmittal. When he didn't, she terminated their transmission. She'd noticed that
Chance hadn't said the usual, ‘tisk, tisk, tisk' that the bastard always said in conversation when
he'd taken on a righteous overtone.
She also noticed, Victor had a
dislike for Chance. "Well, Mr. Jarrett, I see that you're not fond of Mr. Chance."
"No more than you obviously are, Dr. Towles," he answered with an eerie but, knowledgeable look in his
Victor's new intelligence upset her. It had become superior
to her own, and he was scary, like a boy that went on a hunting trip with his father for the first time, and learned how to
hunt; to shoot and kill the prey-- and the boy had enjoyed the kill.
will take you back to your quarters until I finish the new serum. Then I'll inoculate you at that time. Is there anything
you need or want? I can arrange it for you," she asked Victor.
I'm glad you mentioned it. I need more books, please."
books? Mr. Jarrett, you have over three-hundred books in your personal library. Don't they meet your reading requirements?"
"Yes, they did. Thank you, Dr. Towles. However, I've read them all. May I have a
new selection to read today?"
Very insecure of this new phenomenon,
she stuttered her response while trying to appear calm. "Yes-- yes-- of course-- I'll have a sentry deliver them--
within an hour, all right?"
Audrey was proud of her achievements
thus far, however, she was scared and apprehensive of the advancement and acceleration in Victor's intelligence: his speech,
vocabulary, mannerisms, his cunningness with Chance, and the eye contact... the look in his eyes...
Victor, amused, thought, this is actually beginning to be quite fun. The game that Chance
is playing with me... and the game he's playing with Dr. Towles. A good, bluffing poker game or good, strategic chess
game, is very enlightening.
...You can learn a lot about
a person by how they play the game...
Audrey programmed Computer ordering Teeger to escort Victor to the lab. She gathered alcohol
and cotton swabs and prepared a hypodermic syringe with the antibacterium-antiviral serum. She was on a timed schedule and
had to inoculate him before the evening was out. My window of opportunity is drawing near.
The electronic door opened and Teeger ushered Mr. Jarrett in.
just begun an excellent book, Dr. Towles. I certainly trust this invitation is important," Victor told her. He stood
looking at her with an upward-cocked eyebrow.
Not surprised by his evolved
attitude, she told him the nature of the invitation, although didn't feel the need but, justified it anyway. Audrey wrapped
the band around his upper arm-- tighter than necessary, then swabbed the injection site and proceeded to inject him. She tried
not to smile, silently wishing the serum stung and burned, and secretly hoped he'd flinch in pain. He did. She smiled
"That was quite simple, Dr. Towles. May I inquire of the
essence of the inoculation? " he asked, subconsciously stroking the back of his bald head.
"It's the antibacterium-antiviral serum that I developed. That's all. It won't cause any side effects
or any discomfort, so you needn't worry," she answered while disposing the used utensils. She didn't plan on
explaining the serum's merits, or justifying it.
But that variety of serum is highly unusual, Dr. Towles. There are neither bacterium nor viral infections in the Facility
in which to contract. If there should be, and I'm positive there are, I'm sure they've taken the proper and necessary
quarantine precautions. And I might add, I am quite healthy as it is anyway."
"You're correct. However, it's experimental," she retorted.
She didn't understand why she continually felt the need explain herself or her research. He seemed to exhort
explanations-- more often than not.
"Thus, you shall obviously need
to subject me to a variety of bacterium and infectious viral germs in order to assure its success. Am I correct with my evaluation?"
he asked, knowing her research couldn't end with one simple inoculation without testing.
"Yes, Mr. Jarrett. You're correct in your evaluation. But only after assuring its success with simple infectious
diseases such as measles, mumps, and chicken pox," she assured.
still didn't understand why she felt she had to explain anything to him.
"That should be relatively fun, Dr. Towles. I can assure you that I will prove your research successful, no
doubt," he concluded in a haughty tone. He'd acquired his arrogant superiority-- and was enjoying it. Thanks
to her gracious help and research.
Audrey left her lab, returning to her quarters for the evening. When she entered, the smell
of shrimp filled the air with its delicious aroma. Soothing music danced in the air, and the video fireplace, roared its pretentious
flames while candlelight flickered, illuminating the room. She'd forgotten she set the control-timer earlier that morning
for a prearranged dinner and a soothingly calm atmosphere.
She ate dinner
and relaxed by the fire, but worried about Victor's rapid change. He was accelerating faster than expected, and there
wasn't any data explaining the progression it'd taken.
thoughts flicked her back to the veritable dream she'd had a few nights earlier. It'd been dissimilar to any dream
she'd had before. There was a time she'd thought dreams were just dreams, no more-- no less. But, she'd studied
the significance of dreaming in med school, and knew it was the subconscious mind's internal method of working out problems
and inert feelings, bringing them to life in dreams. When they manifested in symbolic ways, they usually weren't understood
by the layman. She thought herself to be open-minded, but still logical and analytical.
So why can't I decipher my dream? She hoped it was her subconscious mind's acknowledgment of the
stress and pressure she'd been going through with Victor and her research. Reassuring herself with affirmation, she thought
that's all it could be, and thought it over and over again. It has to be my mind's way of dealing with the stress.
She felt somewhat accommodated after thinking it, as if it would really make it true.
She couldn't shake the feeling that her dream was still different somehow-- not normal at all. In her dream,
she was in her lab with Chance. He was there, and she'd never met the bastard face-to-face before.
So why now? Why were we running? Running away from something wicked, evil... it
couldn't be seen, but I could feel its terrifying presence... and it was chasing us... why did I hear the echoing of eerie
chanting,'you can learn a lot about a person by how they play the game?'
Morning brought a new day, but it offered uncertainties
for Audrey. Computer told her Chance was calling. What a way to start the day, she thought.
His disdainful persona made her skin crawl and she didn't know which, Chance or Victor, were the worst of compulsion.
It's easily a tie, and if there were a winner, it'd be by a marginal hair. With despise and regret, she ordered
Computer to put the call through.
"Good morning, Dr. Towles. I'm
checking on the progression we've made this morning."
I believe 'we're' coming along as planned, Chance," she mimicked in return. "Is that the real reason
behind your call this morning?"
"But of course it is, my dear.
What other reason could I possibly have?" Chance lied. It was in his nature. He'd made a nice living at lying through
his expensive veneered teeth. The D.D. rewarded him quite handsomely for his expertise. He lit a custom-blended cigarette
and siphoned a delicious draw, leaving a quarter-sized cherry, burnt solid.
saw his smugness as he lit his nasty cigarette, and imagined his breath stank, thinking, the bastard is the kind of man
that would deny the fact and proclaim you were smelling your own upper lip-- then convince you it were true. He's disgusting.
But, she had to tolerate his austere repulsiveness.
my dear, you've not answered. What is the status of Mr. Jarrett as of today?" he asked, knowing it was early and
she'd probably not seen him yet. He didn't care, he had to keep the pressure up to maintain the upper hand. He already
anticipated her answer and formulated their colloquy, preparing his follow-up responses and questionings.
Coming out of thought, she responded. "Chance, I'm sure you're aware of the
hour, and the fact I haven't examined him this morning," she proclaimed in a defensive tone. "So why bother
calling and asking? Why not wait until later to check on the progress?"
curious of our advancement, my dear. Simple curiosity, that's all it is," he lied again.
"My day's agenda is behind schedule now, thanks to your interruption, Chance," she responded. "Furthermore,
if you plan to keep tabs on me and my research, make it at the end of the day after I've got something to report, all
right?" she concluded.
She was losing patience with his game of cat
and mouse. She had no intentions of being his mouse or even play his egotistical game in order to feed his false, self-inflated,
"Well, well, my dear. Aren't we a bit testy
this morning? Are you sleeping well, Dr. Towles?"
I'm sleeping just fine. Thank you for your concern," she lied. "This is quite enough chit-chat, Chance. I'm
signing off to get back to work. If there's anything else you'd like to go over and discuss, you can call later,"
she told him, ending their call with satisfaction of the grit she'd mustered.
is like a fly that won't go away. No amount of glue strips or pesticides, can get rid of him.
into her lab accompanied by his faithful companion, Teeger. Audrey couldn't believe her eyes and put her glasses on for
a better look. He's obviously physically different.
morning, Dr. Towles," he announced with a different sounding voice than their previous encounter. "You appear to
be a bit-- let me think, bewildered, for the lack of better term."
his observation, and shaken by the sight of him, she ordered him to the weight scales and measuring bar. He'd increased
three inches, making his height six-foot, five-inches. His weight increased by twenty pounds. His eyes were intense, as if
artificial somehow, definitely inhuman. His voice had become deeper and more throaty, seeming to be magnified, with an echoing
affect irritable to the ears. His voice sounded familiar to her, but she didn't understand how it could.
"Please, Mr. Jarret, sit over at the counter. I'll be there momentarily," she
ordered, noting the changes in her charts.
I've got to get a grip.
No one can possibly change that quickly, it just isn't possible. Besides, my gene and antibacterium-antiviral serum wouldn't
cause any physical changes! It's engineered for increased intelligence and in-frangibility. Although Chance did want
physical strength, I haven't even addressed it yet, she thought, completely bewildered.
"Dr. Towles, are you all right? I'm extremely concerned that you might be working too hard. Have you been
sleeping well?" Victor asked, in his new voice. He believed his new-founded abilities were fairing well enough.
Ignoring his questioning and observations again, Audrey continued to write in her notes,
although she was pretending to log the data at that point. She didn't want this man to be aware of her consternation and
Victor felt her fear. He felt her confusion, and he liked
it. He was changing, and he knew she couldn't understand it. No one could, that's all part of the game.
The game she started. The game Chance started. The game they played... their first mistake,
is thinking I'm not a articipant in their little game.
changing. And I hold the power to finish the game.