Lab Rat part 18

Posted: January 28, 2011 in Fiction, Test Subject

My first time in the room, she recited all of the technical information on the room to try and stop my jitters. It didn’t work. I had just been fitted with the injector, so the permanent stab wounds in my wrist were brand spanking new. I knew I was about to be given a drug that would give me the ability to generate a fire in my hand. A small enough effect now, but when I was a couple of days from homeless it was unbelievable. I set my clothes on fire that day, and got to be doused in the foam. Fire and I have a rough relationship at times.

My thoughts snap back to the present as we approach the mouth of the airlock. It cycles open and Ally and I go in. It snaps shut behind us and hisses. There is a light next to each door control that turns green to let the people inside know that a door can be opened, but only one may be opened at a time. I get why, but I always feel a little claustrophobic in this place. Ally takes off her lab coat and pulls a cartridge from her pocket. I hold out my left wrist, and she replaces one of the empty cartridges in my injector with the one from her pocket. It’s not labeled, but I know what that one is.

She turns and starts putting on a heavy suit that looks like it’s covered in tin foil. “Strip down,” she tells me as she zips up the innermost layer. “We wouldn’t want to ruin your nice new clothes.” I laugh.

“Aren’t you gonna buy me dinner first?” I ask her.

“Technically, I buy you dinner every night.”

“Uh, right.” I pull my shirt off and drop it on the bench behind me. I turn around and start taking off my pants. I know she’s seen me au natural before but I still feel the heat of embarrassment in my cheeks. I’m beyond hoping she doesn’t notice since not much gets by her. I’ve moved on to hoping she likes what she sees. The most likely scenario is that she doesn’t care. I kick off my shoes and pants and sweep them under the bench with my foot. Ally’s fully suited by this point, and she’s got what looks like a digital picture frame with a microphone hanging off of it in her hands. She trudges over to the interior lock and cycles it open.

“Alright, Asher,” she says. Her voice is heavily distorted, and is actually coming from a speaker on the belt of the fire suit. “We’re going to start with the standard dose, but if you can’t make it work we’ll use a larger dose. If after an hour of having the power active you can’t control it, then I’ll need to reformulate it.” I nod. The airlock cycles closed. “We’ll begin whenever you’re ready.” She’s holding the black pad in one hand and aiming the microphone-shaped thing at me. Some sort of sensor unit hooked to a readout. The room couldn’t be wired for various reasons, not the least of which being how expensive it would be to repair or replace damaged equipment if I managed to break things.

This story eclipsed the one about Wade and Sally as the longest thing I ever wrote. It happened 3 posts or so ago, and I just now noticed it. I think I’ll keep going until part 20 and then switch to something else for a post or two. I’ll probably do like last time and have a single post interlude before I resume abusing poor Asher. I’ve been giving some thought to the pacing of the story, and I’m not sure that it’s optimal. I’m still trying to find a balance between making it feel like Asher’s a real (well, real enough) person and telling a good story. Right now, I’m hoping the payoff for all this is a reader who’s sympathetic to the character’s plight. There will be a plight, but I’m not showing my hand just yet. I’d rather tell the story than tell about the story.


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