There was some sort of commotion down at the SciCo Laboratories downtown. They sent me. Of course they sent me. One of the perks of being Lead Detective, with over 20 years on the force is that they send me to all the interesting stuff. Well, interesting by their standards. I’ve been around the block so to speak. I’ve been there and done that for most things. The most excitement I see these days is a prostitute who murdered her pimp.
This was something a little more exciting. Upon entering the abandoned building, I instantly noticed something: nothing. Sometimes what’s not there, is more telling than what is. The place was clean as a whistle. Spotless. Immaculate. Was it cleaned between the incident and when I showed up? I doubt it. The operator reported hearing screaming in the background. It couldn’t have been more than half an hour before I showed up.
I walked through the building. I busted open locks and kicked down doors when I needed. I didn’t have much time to find this thing, let alone a warrant. I’m sure James Tartage would understand about his precious lab. This bad press would do more damage than a few broken doors.
I was getting discouraged walking in on laboratory after laboratory of plants and animals in cages with no signs of distress. Bam! I busted open a set of double doors to the biggest laboratory yet. Jackpot. Papers were strewn everywhere. Blood spatter marked columns with limp bodies at the base, lying at awkward angles. Tables were smashed to their constituent splinters. And in the middle of the room, was a crater the size of an bowling ball. Not a regular crater. It looked more like an indent. What on earth happened here? An explosion? It wouldn’t be the first time there was an explosion at SciCo Labs. But it certainly would be the first time SciCo would be willing to call the police about it.
I walked over to the nearest body. Dead cold. Blunt force trauma. Same for the next two bodies. Next up was the crater. A table with shackles was tipped over. There was a bubbling orange ooze which coated the legs of the table and surrounded the crater like a moat. I scooped a little up on the eraser of my pencil. It hissed vehemently. Yikes. I’d hate to touch that.
There was a shuffling behind me. In the blink of an eye I had my gun and flashlight trained on what ever it was. I saw two orange eyes blink in the shadows. Glowing. Burning. Glaring at me. It sent a shiver down my spine.
“Who’s there?!” I yelled.
“You don’t recognize me, do you?” it said.
“Come out with your hands up.”
It walked out of it’s hiding place. It was a gruesome grotesque mess, humanoid, but certainly not human. The first thing I noticed was it’s skin which was orange, bubbled and hissed like the stuff I found near the crater. It oozed and swirled around his body. It emanated an awful glow. The thing I saw before me was 6’4 and well over 300 lbs of pure muscle. The biceps bulged irregularly and the shoulders were massive, but sloping to one side. It walked with a limp since it’s left leg was longer, but it’s right leg was visibly stronger. It’s face, what was left of it, wore a scowl of pure hatred.
“Recognize me now?”
“Good god! Who- What are you?”
“Frank Fagyl, Assistant Director of Science in the Biochemistry Labs. You don’t have any idea who I am, do you? I worked at this forsaken laboratory for 20 miserable years of my life. I poured my blood, sweat, and tears for this company. I’ve worked overtime on weekdays and weekends, holidays, funerals, and weddings. And you know what I got for all of my hard work? A promotion. A measly promotion to Assistant Director. We haven’t gotten a Christmas Bonus in over 10 years, and our raises barely keep up with inflation.”
“Yeah well, you know… the economy-”
“NO! That is what they tell all of us here at SciCo. But you know what? No. Never mind. That’s all fine. It’s not about the money. Oh no, no no no. You know what really burns? They mocked me. They humiliated me! They made a freaking highlight reel of my failures and sent it all around the office. They got a reaaaal laugh out of it. Guess what? They’re not laughing now! You know why? Because I showed them that I’m a successful scientist.”
“Well I’ve been working cells that can regenerate. We first noticed them in a type of jellyfish. We know that we can take viruses and program them to infect certain cells in the body, and then by proxy reprogram those cells. Now those cells think they are supposed to be photosynthesize, or eat cancerous cells, or attack bacteria which are resistant to penicillin. It was just a matter of taking 2 and 2 and making 4. I’ve now invented an early prototype of that virus which programs my muscles to undergo constant hypertrophy, which makes me incredibly strong. Granted, I have a few kinks to work out, but I’m a lot closer than any of my peers, I’ll tell you that!
“You… you did this to yourself?”
“Oh yes, I needed a subject to test it on. And who better than the person who knows his experiment inside an out? I had them strap me down right there on that table. See how clever I was? I assured them that nothing would go wrong. I gathered practically the whole building to witness my grand success. I made especially sure that Mr. James Tartage would be in attendance. I wanted him to see what this “Frank Failgyl of a scientist” could do. Oh I showed him alright.
“You’re a monster!”
“He’s the monster! He did this to me! He had to be shown!”