"Computer, analysis data of recent physical changes, subject: Victor Mark Jarrett."
Audrey reached across her desk, haphazardly knocking over the pencil holder, spilling its
contents onto the floor, then turned off the video telecommunications. She didn't want Chance calling and interrupting
like he typically did. His timing was worse than a broken metronome. Besides, she didn't feel like polishing the political
apple this morning.
"Results are computed, Dr. Towles," Computer
"Display on screen, Computer, and print hard copy."
SUBJECT, VICTOR MARK JARRETT
HEIGHT; SIX FOOT, FIVE AND ONE-THIRD INCHES;
INCREASE OF THREE
INCHES SINCE LAST DATA COMPUTED
WEIGHT; TWO-HUNDRED, EIGHT
POUNDS, FOUR OUNCES;
INCREASE OF TWENTY POUNDS AND SEVEN OUNCES SINCE LAST DATA COMPUTED
MASS; HIGHER RATIO-TESTOSTERONE AND CORTISOL;
MASS IS RAPIDLY METABOLIZED IN SUBJECT? MASS MUSCLE TISSUE
INCREASED TESTOSTERONE IN SUBJECT; HEIGHTENED PROTEIN SYNTHESIS
cause and effect of data."
She already knew about changes in
Victor's physical characteristics. That wasn't the information she needed. I need the reason and causes for the
"DATA IS COMPLETE, DR. TOWLES."
Print hard copy-- and Computer, your order is to print hard copy with each inquiry. Understood?"
DR. TOWLES, UNDERSTOOD."
REPORT, VICTOR MARK JARRETT:
ENZYME B-4; LABEL 'ULTRA IV' COMBINATION
NUCLEOTIDES MUTATED ; INCREASE INTELLECT, INCREASE SENSES
INCREASED PERCENTAGE USAGE
OF DORMANT NEUROLOGICAL BRAINNEUROLOGICAL
NEUROLOGICAL BRAIN; THREE-QUARTERS CAPACITY UTILIZED
CAPACITY; RESOURCE OF PHYSICAL CONTRIBUTIONS
WARNING: RESOURCE OF INCREASED PARANORMAL CAPACITY
Victor stood staring at the robot. The android stood staring at Victor, as if it could stare at all.
It stood rigid and quiet. He knew that only humans had a capacity to stare and such titanium abhorition, lacked human qualities,
therefore, could not stare. But it seemed like it did.
"Teeger, I would like to speak with you."
The robot approached, stopping five feet short of Victor. "What is it that you would like to
converse with me, Mr. Jarrett?"
"Am I not abiding and in full cooperation of all of Dr. Towles' requests?"
"That is not of my knowledge, Mr. Jarrett, nor of my programmed regard."
Victor paused a moment, reflecting on his next line of questioning. "Do you mean to say, that
you aren't aware of the doctor's agenda and goals?"
"Dr. Towles' agenda is not of my immediate awareness, Mr. Jarrett."
Growing impatient of the evasiveness and monotone responses, Victor changed his own voice, perpetuating
answers in demanding fashion. "Teeger, take me to Dr. Towles."
"I can not take you to Dr. Towles, Mr. Jarrett. Dr. Towles must first summon the order."
"Are you stating that, if I were dying, Teeger, you could not contact Dr. Towles?"
The robot didn't respond immediately like Victor thought he would. That was a good sign.
He had the mechanical creature searching its data bank for an answer. Maybe there was a possibility of over circuiting
its programmed brain after all.
"I would be able to contact Dr. Towles, in such cases as emergencies. I would be authorized to
do so immediately, Mr. Jarrett," it responded.
That provoked the answer he wanted. He could pretend to be ill and Teeger would summons Dr. Towles.
That's all I need. Once Dr. Towles is in my quarters, I can execute my plan. But I will have to devise a plan first.
Twenty minutes after ordering supplies, Jonathan walked in
pushing a cart with an assortment of stacked boxes.
"Dr. Towles, I've got the supplies that you requested."
"Thank you, Jonathan. Set them on the table over in the corner, please," Audrey told him,
looking up from the fluorescence detector.
Jonathan was always prompt. More than the others were. The Requisition Department dispensed supplies
to all the labs, but couldn't seem to keep up with the frequent demands. But she thought he liked her. He was always nice,
and invariably brought her an extra case of oxidizing solution.
Opening the box marked 'FLOR 3500,' she heard a low intonation in her head. Almost a whispering
tone, or so she'd thought. Just a nanosecond later, the hybridization unit emitted a low-pitched buzzing sound. Flinching,
she thought, Jesus, I've been working too hard-- I'm loosing my damned mind!
Audrey managed to somewhat, regain her composure, continuing to unpack the box. Feeling jumpy, audio
delusions, and a sense of the paranormal, were all symptoms of exhaustion. She knew the signs well enough from prior experiences.
"Computer, order Teeger to bring Mr. Jarrett to the lab."
"Yes, Dr. Towles," Computer responded.
Victor traipsed in with his mechanical friend shadowing him.
Teeger paced in harmony with Victor's gait. It stopped when Victor stopped, stepped forward when
Victor stepped forward, paused in perfect tune with him when he paused, like they were playing a game with one another. Annoyed,
Audrey didn't bother to greet him. Moments quickly passed in silence, then Victor broke the quietude, "Good afternoon,
"Sit down, Mr. Jarrett. I'll be there momentarily," she retorted.
She'd reached the point of dreading their meetings. But it was necessary, so she'd have to
suck it up as business as usual. After all, he is my volunteer, she thought, reaching for Victor's medical chart.
Victor didn't sit down as she'd told him. Instead, he stood beside Teeger watching her gather
her charts and utensils. He noticed how she moved. She would be pretty, if she'd untie her hair and let it fall around
her shoulders. Then again, there's a starchiness about her that's appealing in its own unique way.
Audrey felt an unearthy feeling and a cold shiver came over her. She could feel his eyes staring at
her from behind. The hair on the back of her neck stood out, and goose-bumps roamed over her skin, verifying the feeling was
real and wasn't imagined.
"Mr. Jarrett, I'll need a blood and tissue sample today. Sit down like I asked you, and roll
up your sleeve," contemptuously telling him, while selecting a package containing a sterile hypodermic needle from
the locked cabinet. Audrey set the hypo and alcohol packet down on the counter where he sat, and placed the band around his
"May I ask what tests these samples will be used for, Dr. Towles?"
Audrey hadn't planned on engaging in conversation with him again. And especially didn't plan
to answer his questions concerning her tests. He couldn't understand my research, so why should I bother pacifying
his inflated ego with explanations? It'd only be Greek to him?
"Ah, but, Dr. Towles, it wouldn't be "Greek" to me at all," Victor
said, smiling. "And I do speak Greek fluently for your information."
She dropped the vial of Victor's blood, smashing it, splattering the thick, red liquid across
the linoleum floor. "Pardon me? What did you say?"
"You thought I wouldn't understand. That it would be "Greek" to me, didn't
you, Dr. Towles?" he smugly answered, smiling at her again.
"I don't recall saying anything at all... not at all. With trembling hands, she bent down
picking slivers of glass up from the floor. "Computer, request maintenance for bio-hazardous clean-up." She didn't
say 'please' like she normally did.
"Yes, Dr. Towles. Are you are all right, Dr. Towles?" Computer asked, observant of the missing
Not wanting Victor to know she was afraid, she feigned her answer. "Yes, I'm fine, Computer,
thank you for inquiring." Audrey knew she hadn't said the Greek thought out loud, and wondered how he could possibly
have known she'd thought it?
"Computer appears to be almost human, doesn't it, Dr. Towles?" Victor asked, thinking,
it was another good sign. Computer has a weakness, and that weakness is some sort of 'mechanical' compassion for
the dear, Dr. Towles.
"I'll have to draw another blood sample, Mr. Jarrett. Roll up your sleeve again, please.
You can use the other arm this time, if you'd like," she told him, ignoring his question again. Then thought,
I really don't give a damn much one way or the other, but I'm trying to be as professional as I possible, under the
circumstances. I probably should ask an Aide to obtain samples from now on. Minimize my contact with him... he's becoming--
well, becoming something that scares the shit out of me!
"I do apologize for that, Dr. Towles. I'm sure you'll become accustomed to it soon enough."
"Pardon? I said roll your sleeve up, you can use your other arm this time if you'd like.
Didn't you understand me the first time?" she retorted, afraid of his next reply.
"Oh, yes. I heard you the first time. That isn't what I was referring to, Dr. Towles. I was
referring to your fear that you've recently developed. I don't mean to frighten you. I truly don't," he lied.
He enjoyed terrorizing her. He could have kept quiet and not said anything. But she'd never know
that he could hear her thoughts. Then he priggishly thought that wouldn't be a game worth playing. She needs to know
that I have the upper hand in our little game of wits. I must allow her to know about my mental superiority. It's the
gentlemanly thing to do, for such a nice lady-opponent. At least, before I lower the boom on her, and on Chance.
It was dark and almost cold in his quarters. Victor enjoyed
the blackness and the silence it brought. Resting in his lounger, with the coolness of the leather soothing his skin, he reticently
stared into the vast obscurity of the room. He reflected on the many encounters he'd had with Dr. Towles and back to the
initial conversation he'd had with Chance. He felt more encumbered now, than he had in his prison cell, but at the same
time, freer than ever before. But it isn't permanent.
His head ached and throbbed, which had been odd to him when he first began having the headaches. He
usually didn't experience them. It pounded as though a miniscule demon was chasing around inside his head, yielding a
sledgehammer to his brain, waking him up while ranting and raving that it was time. But the pain served its purpose.
Whenever his head pulsated with pain, he knew he was primed and prepped, and his benevolence was omnipresent
with each aching throb. But this is only the alpha of what is to come.
Audrey heaved over, almost falling to the floor. Painful electrical bolts stabbed through her body
like being struck by invisible lightening that wouldn't free her of its un-relinquishing grasp. She moaned clutching her
stomach and managed to sit down before her legs buckled beneath her like rubber bands. The lab was spinning around as if she
was pinned in place while revolving around her. The feeling was like being on a carousel and not able to get off it.
What the hell just happened? Her body, still feeling electrocuted, trembled from the residual shock
it'd suffered. Urine trickled from the chair onto the floor, running and pooling around her shoe after saturating the
shoestrings first. Audrey looked down at the puddle in complete bewilderment.
"Dr. Towles, is everything all right?" Computer inquired. It had the capability to sense
human temperature readings using its ultra-violet sensors, giving the ability to know the whereabouts and presence of her,
and anyone else in the room. It also knew her blood pressure readings and heart rate. It sensed that Audrey was sitting down
and her body
temperature had lowered two and one half degrees with elevated blood pressure and heart rate. It also sensed
liquid had emitted from her body, and it didn't logically compute.
"I'm fine, Computer. Thank you." But she knew she wasn't. She couldn't explain
what had just happened, nor could she explain her mental confusion, let alone the loss of her bodily functions.
She recouped her strength, as much as could be, and tried to regain her composure. There wasn't
any chance to get back her dignity; she'd just peed herself, and that wasn't salvageable.
"Mr. Chance, come in and take a seat," the man on the other side of the door ordered.
An over-sized, cherry-wood, conference table, adorned the center of the large room. Maroon leather
chairs, bedecked with brass brads, surrounded and aligned the table. Pompously ituated in each chair, were an assortment
of men in suits, most with silver hair, if not balding. Scattered around the border of the room, stood statuesque men dressed
in military uniform, all with arms folded behind their backs as if ready for command.
Chance situated himself in the only empty chair, clearly not given an option to do otherwise. It was
evidently earmarked for him, and was located at the foot of the conference table.
At the head of the table, sat an obese man attired in a beige suit that had obviously been custom
tailored for his extreme size. He looked at Chance with his steely-gray eyes, and shoved a folder with one hardy shove, sliding
it ten feet across the table, stopping abruptly in front of Chance.
"Open it," he sternly ordered.
Chance did as he was told, compliantly opening the folder. Inside it, laid assorted documents marked,
'Jarrett, Victor Mark' with photographs of him in prison and recent photographs of him in the Facility's lab.
He was almost afraid to speak, even more afraid to question what the concern was. He didn't like
the inclination of the contents or their reasoning for its presentation.
"Well Chance, isn't there anything you'd like to ask?" the big man asked.
"Yes, sir. I suppose the obvious question. What is this about?"
"It's about your project, Mr. Chance. It's about the report Central Control received
from Dr. Towles concerning the update of the subject."
Chance shifted in his chair trying not to appear nervous in front of them, swallowed the lump in his
throat hard, closed the folder and tapped his finger on its cover. "I'm in direct contact with Dr. Towles, and was
informed that all is on schedule, sir."
"Ah, but, there within, lies the problem. Don't you see?" he asked Chance.
He repositioned himself in his chair again. "No, sir. I don't see a problem with my information,
"Apparently Chance, Dr. Towles only briefs you of her updates, and is not forthcoming with details.
I have the details. Why don't you have the details?"
Wiping sweat beads trilling down his brow and forehead, fidgeting again and crossing his other leg,
Chance opened the folder and read the second page. It clearly detailed some peculiar oddities which weren't an original
requirement of the project.
"I presumed I had the details. I knew of these enhancements and believed I should--- uh-- gather
more current evidence before presenting it, sir," he lied, with new perspiration forming on his brow, and new perspiration
residing on his upper lip like a glistening wet mustache.
"One can not 'presume' Chance. This project is much too important for asinine presumptions.
Is that clear?" he stated in a threatening tone.
"You are right. Presumptions are just that, and an error on my part. I apologize," Chance
replied, accepting the blame he didn't feel was justified. He couldn't wait to talk to Audrey to make her squirm as
"Then, this meeting shall be concluded until I invite you again. Which, Mr. Chance, will be in
seventy-two hours. Agreed?"
"But of course, that will be ample time for my proficient and detailed update. Thank you, sir."
Chance got up, his eyes scanning the other eyes that were following him, and exited through the door
that was opened for his departure.
He started his car, quickly clicked on the air-conditioner to full blast, frantically loosened his
tie and shirt collar, and plucked an abundance of tissues from a nearby tissue box. Wildly wiping his face, Chance felt a
heat rise within him, waxing and feveredly burning from the inside out. Perspiration flooded from every pore of his body,
like a water faucet stuck wide-opened, full blast. The tissues tore, shredding tiny pieces, sticking to his wet face. He felt
his heart rate soar, his pulse going wildly rampant.