Lab Rat part 43.1

Posted: February 27, 2011 in Fiction, Test Subject

Note from the author: If some of this seems familiar, it’s because you kind of already read it before. Normally I would just make my edits in the document and move on, but this was bigger than usual.  I worry that I’d be totally disrupting the continuity if I didn’t put this up.  Yesterday evening, I did my writing and then went to the Nite Owl. As soon as I set foot out the door, my mind got busy on all the ways I could make this part better. The problem was that I was nowhere near my laptop. I ended up spending the whole night in an unbreakable funk. I should have just gone back inside and written some more. When I got home from work this evening, I tried to fix what I feel was sub-par work. I hope it reads better.

“That’s Jack for you. He had some kind of botched tracheotomy.” I finally hit the injector button. The heart monitor beeps faster for a second. The burn of the injection lasts about as long as the increased tempo of the monitor. This kid is full of shit. Agent Johnson better hurry this up. Where’s the codeine? That’s got to be hurting right now. Man, people need to get the hell out of my way. Can’t they see the red and blue? Wait, what?

“You’re jerking my chain, Brinks. I need to know what went on.” What powers has she perfected? Judging by the entry wound, the gun was small caliber. He seems pretty alert. Why is a federal agent after this kid? As soon as I drop this busload, I’m going for lunch. I already know things about which powers work and how well. I don’t say anything. This would have been so much easier if we could have just followed him to the lab. Why would I need to follow anyone to the lab?

“I’m sorry, what did you say?” I ask. I can’t think straight. Cut the crap. Still seems alert and not showing any pain response. Maybe he doesn’t need drugged. I love blowing through the red like that. Either he’s handling the pain well or there’s nerve damage.

“Cut the crap.” Those guys wanted something from you. “Those guys wanted something from you. What was it?” It was your computer, but it’s toast now. Man, I can’t wait for a cheeseburger. Where’s Allison? I wish these two would just shut up and let me do my job. Damn ambulance. I’m trying to get to work!

“Okay, you got me.” I can barely hear myself talk. “Those guys were trying to steal my computer, and one of them had a stun gun. I broke open the water line above us and he used it.” I didn’t see any of the usual burns caused by a taser. I better look again. None of those guys had a taser. I squeeze my eyes shut and focus on breathing. I could have guessed that none of them had anything non-lethal. Breathe. I guess my net-book is trashed now. “What’s your name?” I focus on my captor. The guy rubs his temples and sighs.

“Agent Johnson,” he says. Steve Hirsch. I stare at him.

“Pardon? I didn’t catch that.” Breathe.

“You can call me Agent Johnson.” I don’t use my real name at work. Oh. I get it. I’m reading his mind. I can read minds. I open my mouth, then shut it so fast my teeth click. I breathe deeply.

“Okay, Johnson. I’ll level with you.” Probably better if I stick with his chosen alias. “This guy named Parish wants to know the name of my doctor.” Idiot kid let people see him use a power? I resent being called an idiot, but he’s got a point. “It’s like the guy can’t pick his own health insurance or something.” What the guy wants is to get his hands on a scientist that used to be DOD. DOD? Like in Department of Defense? Looks like Johnson is pretty keen on knowing about my healthcare too. I wish I had played with this power before. It might be possible to dig through his mind. For now, I’ll have to stick with surface thoughts.

“Who is your doctor, Brinks?” Get this questioning back on track.

“Doctor Allison,” I tell him. Finally, some cooperation.

“Listen, your Doctor Allison is in some trouble.” Why did she think she could just run out on a government agency? “There are some parties out there who are very interested in her work.” Hah! I don’t need to be psychic to catch that slip. Allison can be a girl’s name, sure, but last names are gender-less. I love it when I actually feel smart.

“What kind of trouble?” Another answer I can guess. I don’t really have to though; Johnson unintentionally fills in the details. Taryn was a top DOD brain who used to deal in making the battlefield more survivable. There were dozens of teams trying assorted approaches. A lot of people focused on developing new ways to see and kill the enemy without ever leaving the base. Five different types of robots were created to attempt to replace human soldiers. A few worked on new armor and equipment to help conventional soldiers when they had no choice but to go into hazardous situations. Taryn and her group started working on ways to improve the soldiers’ bodies without giving them extra weight to carry. Now that she’s apparently been successful, they want her back.

“Doctor Allison’s work is pretty important to our government, but we aren’t the only interested parties. Several groups in the Middle East have discovered her work.” I love the Middle East. Easiest scapegoats since Soviet Russia.

“How did these guys find out about her?” I avoid asking my real question. I want to know how the Department of Defense is aware of me. Taryn never told me where the research started, but if she cut ties with the government there has to be a pretty good reason. I focus as my unwitting stoolie recalls the truth behind his lies. Johnson’s thoughts are all memories of various reports. He wasn’t there. Doctor Allison’s research didn’t get the support it deserved from the brass because money. There was a lot of money to be made in the development of all of the technological wonders that the various research teams were putting together. New machinery and equipment also wouldn’t upset the religious right. Too many people in power were still squeamish about meddling in God’s domain at the time. It’s getting easier to distinguish my thoughts from downloaded information.

I’ve started firing off job applications. I’m going to be out of work pretty soon, and it’s scary. I like knowing that I’ll be able to put food in my mouth and gas in my car. I’ve already gotten a response from a place. I’ll be calling them back first thing in the morning (probably before you read this) to talk.

Also: Gulf Wars is in 17 days! Time keeps on slipping!


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