Lab Rat part 17

Posted: January 27, 2011 in Fiction, Fighting, Test Subject

I look around for Ally and spot her sitting at her desk. She’s wearing her lab coat and high-tech monocle. That’s strangely reassuring after yesterday morning. She usually only uses the monocle when she’s examining something under the microscope, or whenever we’re doing things in the Blast Room. As I get closer, I see that she’s reading my notes. She doesn’t look away from the screen, but she does greet me. “Good morning, Asher.”

“Morning, Al – Doctor Allison.” I really gotta work on that. She doesn’t like it when I call her that, but she never told me her first name. It’s like being in grade school all over again. “What are we working on today?”

“You said you couldn’t control the fire. That severely limits the usefulness of that ability. Additionally, it was designed to be controllable.”

“Are you mad about it?” I ask. She almost never gives me enough vocal inflection to be able to tell. I get more emotion out of the GPS navigator in my phone.

“I’m not mad. I need to know if the formula is flawed or if it merely takes practice,” she says. I frown. She looks up at me. “I don’t doubt your ability. In fact, I think it’s remarkable how quickly you have learned to trigger so many abilities. This one may take more effort, so we are going to put in more effort.”

“By which you mean I’ll be putting in more effort,” I mutter. I’m not actually displeased. Far from it; that’s probably as close to actual praise as Ally’s ever come. It’s not that she’s mean. She’s just too into the work to worry about “human interaction.”

“What was that?” she asks.

“I said I’m going to go put my stuff down.” I un-sling my bag and take it over to my desk. I don’t really have a desk, but there is an unused work station that I pile my stuff on so that it’s not in the doctor’s way. I drop the bag and rummage through it until I come up with a granola bar. Not really an ideal snack, but I am trying to take Ally’s instructions seriously. I tear open the wrapper and start munching as she finishes with whatever she’s working on. I’d ask her about it, but I’m not sure I’d understand what she would tell me.

In short order, she stands up and heads for the Blast Room. “Let’s get started,” she says as she walks by me. The Blast room is a cylindrical room set into the floor that runs all the way to the ceiling on the outside to form a pillar in the center of the lab. A window that’s triple-paned and at least a foot and a half thick runs the circumference at about eye level for the outside. The interior of the room is basically featureless with the exception of the ceiling. The ceiling has an air recirculator, a bunch of nozzles that dispenses fire-retardant foam, and an intensely bright light. I know all of this because Ally insists that knowledge makes everything less scary.

I checked out my lamellar before I sat down to write this. It will fit me well enough around the torso, but it ended up too long. I did some measuring and some thinking, and I should be able to detach just one row and re-lace the edging to get the desired size. This stuff is going to be far heavier than I’m used to, but it will also provide far more protection than I’ve previously enjoyed. It will work with my existing clothing, but I need to make a new tunic to fight in anyway. I miss my black and yellow threads, and the neckline in my current one is less than ideal. I’ll also need a new hood, because the current one won’t match when I get back into the proper colored clothing. I have weird problems, don’t I?


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