By: Ted Burfield
was filled with activity, white robed figures floating from one side
of the room to another. A hurried anticipation filled the atmosphere
of the room. Men and women murmured to one another, passing off small
objects back and forth. In the center of the room sat two subjects,
the first of their kind. To the left was a man, athletically built
from years of running and swimming in the world’s top contests. His
hair was a dark brown, unkempt and wild. He lay strapped down to the
table, head lolled to the side from the side effects of the drugs.
To the right was a woman, a rival in the tournaments. Even in sleep
her demeanor was the same: cold and competitive. She was bound much
like her male friend, except rather than being on a table, she was
on a platform above a coffin-like structure. The platform was raised
by large thick chains attached by pulleys at the ceiling of the laboratory.
A woman of slight build walked over to the woman’s binding, rechecking
the straps to make sure they were secure in all positions. A mask
covered her face, only her eyes showing from behind thick goggles.
Like every other person in the room, a large white robe covered the
majority of her body. The upper torso of the robe hugged her body
like a second skin, allowing ease of movement, but also protecting
her from the dangerous chemicals in the cylinders near the subjects.
The woman moved around to the male subject, securing him tightly to
the table. She glanced over him, her eyes noting where long tubes
would be placed into his body to allow the safe transfer of the chemicals.
It had taken the science team 10 years to come up with the solution,
and she knew that if the Tribunal hadn’t stepped in and allowed for
further funding, their progress would have never happened.
was the moment of truth. The clock above the door buzzed briefly and
several of the scientists descended on the subjects like moth to a
flame. Tubes of thick rubber were uncoiled and draped along the floor
while sharp knives and other objects were uncovered. The doctor pulled
a scalpel from the tray and glanced again at the face of the man she
was about to mutilate. His eyes twitched, as if the sedative were
“We should gas this man again. He may be waking up, and
I’d hate for him to go through this awake,” the woman said as she
turned to pick up the facemask.
“No, we can’t. We’ve used the most
we could give him. Any more and it will nullify the catalyst,” explained
an old doctor, the founder of the project. He patted the woman’s hand,
a compassionate smile in his eyes. “We’ve come too far for a mistake
now. He won’t suffer. I promise you that, Miss Day.”
The words had
a soothing affect, but she wasn’t sure. She placed the facemask back
into its cradle and then returned her attention to the man. “It’ll
be a shame to lose him. He won five trophies in the last World Games
just on his solo performances.”
“Yes, I know. And the woman was no
less spectacular. It’s an honor to work on them. They both have raw
talent and good minds. They’ll be fine. We’ve gone over everything
twenty times already.”
Miss Day nodded and then slowly began the incisions
on the man while the older, wiser Doctor Kath-li began on the woman.
Miss Day still didn’t understand why a person would want to put their
life on the line for an experimental body enhancer. Perhaps the Tribunal
had something to do with coercing these two fine young specimens into
the decision they made. Day wouldn’t put it past them. They were the
most influential law enforcers of the planet, and if they wanted something,
they got it.
“Let’s keep these cuts as clean as possible. We want
to put these two youngsters back together without even a scar on them,”
spoke Kath-li with a soft, detached voice. Both doctors moved down
the scantily clad forms of their subjects, opening the circles. As
they finished one, a tube was placed in, pushed a half-inch into the
body at the key areas.
Miss Day kept a close eye on her subject, noting
his eyelid twitching with each cut. He wasn’t awake, but he was no
longer under the full influence of the drug. This man’s constitution
was incredible, she thought. No wonder he was such a highly respected
athlete. As she finished with the last cut, Kath-li had already begun
the calculations they needed to proceed.
“Okay. Cayo-Tay’s drip will
be at twenty milligrams per surge. Each surge should be spaced apart
every two seconds until the canisters are empty. The woman, Sayli
May, will be at 15 milligram surges spaced between every three seconds.”
Kath-li glanced up at Miss Day who was inputting the calculations
into the devices attaching the canisters together.
people, let’s keep this spillage of fluid to a minimum. If these two
compounds mix, we won’t be alive to tell the Tribunal we made a mistake.”
The ten or so scientist filtered around the room, cleaning up the
supplies, knowing that with the rate that the two subjects will receive
the compounds, it will be 5 hours before they find out if it worked
A low humming filled the room as the generators switched on.
Lights blinked on the consoles over the 10 canisters on either side
of the room. The Canisters attached to Cayo-Tay began their liquid
surges. A dark orange fluid was strung through the tubes, filtering
into the athlete’s body. The veins in his exposed skin began to glow
with the intrusion of the foreign liquid. He groaned slightly, head
rolling slightly as if a bad dream was at the front of his mind.
other patient began her descent into the liquid-filled coffin. When
she was completely submerged with a breathing apparatus over her mouth,
the tubes were activated. The liquid was barely noticeable as it permeated
into the woman’s skin. Her compound was a clear, watery substance.
The effect, however, was the same as with her companion. Her veins
began their glow, except a light blue rather than an orange.
scientists except for Miss Day and her assistant left. The lights
were dimmed to the minimum and the note taking began.
The first half
of the procedure was uneventful for the most part. Day’s assistant
noticed a small decrease in water temperature from inside the Sayli-May’s
containment. The pulses from the compound kept her veins a light blue
color, tracing all over her body noticeably. Her body had begun to
shiver slightly, but not enough to warrant too much attention. The
slight movement caused only the slightest bout of disruption along
the surface of the water.
Beneath the water, her hair had taken to
floating aimlessly around her face, as if reaching for the surface
only to fail time and again. The silken black strands cascaded around
her features as is moved by their own accord.
On the table beside
Sayli-May, the conditions were a bit more pronounced. Cayo-Tay’s body
had begun to vibrate, the straps clicking against the table with each
twitch. His eyes were clenching and releasing, but stayed closed.
Day kept her eyes on the man, fearing he may actually be feeling each
surge of fluid into his body. His muscles were tensing, threatening
to dislodge the tubes from beneath his skin.
Day had periodically
tightened the straps more, but made sure that the circulation to his
extremities wasn’t blocked. The assistant continued taking notes,
keeping a closer eye on the female since Day kept her vigil over the
As the last remaining minutes of the fourth hour kicked in,
the containers were humming loudly, forcing every last drop of compound
through the tubes. The scientists had made their ways back in to assist
and read over the notes of the two watchers. Kath-li stood between
the subjects, going over the vitals. Cayo-Tay had developed a fever
from the procedure, but the good doctor wasn’t worried. What worried
him was the unexpected effects fluid had on the woman.
A thin veil
of slush sat on the surface of the ever-freezing water. Sayli-May
lay practically floating, only staying anchored down by her bindings.
Her skin was a perfect complexion, not showing any indication of being
waterlogged. The blue coloration in her veins had subsided, but was
still visible. Her hair had ceased its movement, but instead sat in
wild tangles over her face, frozen in place.
It was then that the
completely unexpected happened. At exactly the same time, 2 minutes
before the five hours were complete, both subjects began to seize.
Their bodies jerked wildly from side to side, their heads whipping
every which way. Their veins grew brighter, their muscles tensing
to their fullest. Cayo-Tay shook tremendously under his bonds, his
back and legs whipping off the table like a caged animal. Freezing
water splashed against the sides of Sayli-May’s tank, soaking the
scientists that were near.
“Hold him down!” screamed Kath-li. He turned
to shove against Cayo-Tay’s chest, but a blast of searing heat sent
him backwards. The heat was immense, as if he had walked directly
into a blast furnace. His breath was knocked from his lungs, causing
him to gasp in the burning heat. He heard the sounds from behind him
in Sayli-May’s tank.
It was the sound of water quickly icing over.
The crackling sound behind him was only the beginning of it. He felt
the icy grip on the back of his neck, and the two intense temperatures
caused his hair to stand on end within the robe. Light-headedness
was quick to overtake him, his body unable to handle the two extremes
at the same time.
As several of the larger men rushed to hold the
heated body of Cayo-Tay down, Kath-li slumped gingerly to the ground.
A mist began to form in the middle of the room where the super heated
air and the super cooled air met. Kath-li felt hands on him, but disorientation
kept him from recognizing the thickly muscled fellow that began to
drag him from between the subjects.
He gasped out as loudly as he
could, his mouth parched dry, “Don’t stop. Few more minutes.”
Day was torn. Her boss wanted to turn off the consoles. She wanted
to stop the obvious suffering the two people were going through. But
there were only a few minutes left. Stopping now when they were so
close to finishing would mean the end of her career. So she made up
her mind quickly. She ran to the Kath-li and helped drag him to a
far corner of the room. “Are you okay, sir? Are you alright?” She
turned to the man that had dragged Kath-li from the epicenter of the
phenomenon. “Get me a heated blanket and several bottles of water.
The man rushed off. Moments passed and he returned with the
supplies. Day was quick to press Kath-li’s body against the wall with
the blanket between him and the wall, wanting to heat up the man’s
back quickly. She practically tore the lid of the bottle off and held
it to his lips, letting the man drink what he needed.
It was then
that the clock struck 5. Buzzing filled the room as the consoles over
the canisters shut off after siphoning the last of the compound through
the tubes into the bodies of the two subjects.
Cayo-Tay and Sayli-May’s
bodies slumped in their respective atmospheres. The heat given off
by Cayo-Tay began to subside, but not before thawing the ice within
Sayli-May’s container enough for the scientists to chisel a large
enough hole to pull the woman from.
Miss Day stood, her eyes looking
between the two figures. Despite the heat given off by Cayo-Tay, not
a single bead of sweat lay on his body. “Alright. Let’s get these
two patched up and placed into the recovery room. I want it done within
the hour. Move!”
The corridors were white, sterile, and quite dull.
The only movement was from the occasional orderly moving from room
to room. From the inside, the place looked very much like a hospital,
but those working there knew it was just another floor of the science
research and development wing of the Tribunal’s building. Most of
the rooms were empty, except for a few that were subbing as rooms
for those hurt during the experiments.
Two rooms at the back of the
hall were the main ones, each retrofitted with a main room that connects
through a clean room. A person would have to walk into the clean room,
become sterilized, and then put on a suit before walking into the
patient’s main room. Outside of the main room was a large one-way
mirror, showing the inside of the room to all viewers, but keeping
the view of the hallway from the patients. Beside the windows were
temperature gauges showing the room temperature as well as the temperature
around the patients.
Dr Kath-li stood at the end of the hall, making
notes in his pad while he observed Cayo-Tay. The man had recovered
remarkably in the two days since the procedure. He often spoke of
being cold, but Kath-li knew that had nothing to do with the temperature
of the room.
Much the opposite of Cayo-Tay’s success, Sayli-May’s
body was having trouble with the intrusion of the chemical compound
introduced to her. She had fallen into cardiac arrest three times
in the past two days, however she showed a small amount of recovery.
Miss Day was concerned for the young woman’s life, but Kath-li knew
she would be all right. After all, the Tribunal wouldn’t have sent
a defective specimen.
He continued to observe Cayo-Tay, watching the
sleek man pacing in his small room. It had taken a full day for the
glow in his veins to dissipate. The dose had been pressing the limits
of the young man’s ability to absorb it into his system. His muscles
were tensing, no doubt from his anxiety. That was understandable,
but until they made sure neither patient would died from exposure
to the outside air, or that no one would die from being near the patients,
they would have to stay confined to their rooms.
As if on cue, Cayo-Tay
turned to the mirror and spoke loudly. “You could at least have gotten
me a bigger room!”
Kath-li couldn’t help but grin. He pressed the
button on the intercom and spoke calmly to Cayo-Tay. “Sorry. We did
the best we could.”
Cayo-Tay continued to pace, his arms crossing
over his bare chest. “How’s Sayli? An orderly told me she went into
cardiac arrest again last night.” Concern lined his voice, but Kath-li
figured it was concern for a mutual competitor during the Games.
alive. She still hasn’t regained consciousness.” Dr Kath-li placed
his pad down on a small end table and sat in a chair, watching the
nervous movements of the man inside the room. “You really should calm
down, Tay. You’ll be fine. Your body has shown a marked regenerative
ability on the last set of tests. You’re doing remarkably well. It’s
“Yeah yeah. So I hear.” He sighed and shook his
head, the brown hair tussling around his forehead and ears. The follicles
had tingled for the majority of the two days of his “imprisonment”,
and from looking in the mirror he had seen that it had started growing
an orange color at an alarmingly fast rate. The doctor calculated
that within the month, the young man’s brown hair would all but be
gone and only the fiery orange would remain.
It was very interesting
“Will I at least be able to go to your training facilities
soon? The Games will be starting up again in a few months and I’d
rather not lose my touch.”
The good doctor didn’t reply. He had turned
his attention to Sayli-May whom lay in her bed, eyes open and staring
at the ceiling. Her breathing was normal, coming in deep, rhythmic
breaths. A slight smile touched to corner of his lips as he pulled
a communications device from his lab coat pocket. There was a slight
click as he pressed in the button on the side. “Miss Day, she’s awoken.”
“What?!” The reply was a bit garbled, but the tone was clear enough.
“Did I just hear you right? The subject’s awake?”
Miss Day. Sayli-May is awake, and is currently starting to sit up
in her bed.
“I’ll be right there.” He heard scuffling over the comm.
device and smirked slightly as it clicked off. He tucked it back in
his pocket as his other hand reached up to press the intercom button
Kath-li nearly jumped out of his skin at the unexpected
voice from behind him. He turned and stepped back slightly, Cayo-Tay
standing directly on the other side of the mirror, his face bare millimeters
from the surface. He stared out, as if directly at the doctor.
stammered briefly before shuffling over to the intercom and pressing
the button in. “You heard me?”
“Barely. It was like you were talking
through… well… through a wall.” A slight smirk alighted his lips briefly.
“But, she’s awake? Sayli-May’s awake?”
The doctor nodded to himself,
astounded at the new development. “Uh… yes.” He turned back briefly
to witness the bare woman pushing herself off of her bed. “She just
Down the hall, Miss Day was running, her hair a mess of
tangles from having been woken up. Her cloths were all askew as she
rushed down the hall while pulling her lab coat on. “How does she
Kath-li grinned, letting the button go from the intercom as
he turned towards Sayli-May’s room. “She looks fine. Could use some
cloths.” He trailed off his sentence, his mood brightening by the
minute. These new compounds would put his name in all the books, in
all the literature. He would be one of the most famous scientists
From behind him, Cayo-Tay spoke up, knocking briefly on the
glass. “Hey, before you give her cloths… I want some pictures.”
stopped short between the rooms, looking incredulously at Cayo-Tay
through the glass. “You’re such a p—.” And then it dawned on her.
He had heard Kath-li without the intercom being on.
Suddenly her legs
felt weak. She pressed her arm against the wall while Kath-li moved
over to her to help her into a chair. He chuckled, patting Miss Day
on the shoulder as he returned his attention to Sayli-May. She was
standing at the mirror, her hand pressed against the glass firmly.
She looked around slowly, her sky blue eyes taking in her surroundings.
“Where am I?”
Kath-li walked over to the intercom and pressed the
button. “You’re at the Tribunal R&D center, Miss May. Do you remember
why you were here?”
She shook her head, her eyes showing the confusion.
The woman pulled her hand away and turned her back to the window.
She walked back towards her bed, but Miss Day wasn’t nearly interested
in that. What her eyes were riveted on was the condensing imprint
of the woman’s hand on the window. The size, each finger, was visible
as a halo of where Sayli-May had pressed her hand up against the glass.
She continued to watch it, mouth agape until it disappeared.
her throat and then stood. She spoke as Kath-li held in the intercom
button. “I’m going to bring you something to wear, Miss Day. It will
be a few moments, though.”
The other woman didn’t acknowledge she
heard anything. She simply lay back down on the bed and closed her
Kath-li shrugged and motioned for Day to go into the clean room.
He let the button go and returned his attention to Cayo-Tay who was
using a bolted bar above the window as a pull-up bar. “Do you have
to do that?”
“It’s either this or die frozen. Can’t you turn up the
heat a bit?”
“We’ve turned it up as much as we can, son. Just try
to calm down. Don’t over-exert yourself. We have a set of tests for
you when the morning shift comes in, so we’ll need you fresh and rested.”
Kath-li picked up his notepad and jotted down the happenings inside
Cayo-Tay’s room as well as the temperatures on the meters.
you’re cold now. How did you feel when you slept last night?”
stopped his workout long enough to think it over. “I felt warm, I
guess. When I was asleep anyways. When I woke up, I was frozen. It
was like someone had me drink gallons of ice water.”
The doctor thought
quietly while the sterilization process began behind him. “And how
did you sleep?”
Tay dropped off the bar and swept his hands through
his dampened hair. “Alright I guess. I had nightmares about the procedure.
About stuff like that.” He started to stretch his body as if getting
ready for a strenuous aerobic exercise.
“Your chart shows that your
room’s temperature rose considerably as you were sleeping. Perhaps
something to do with your dreams; how your body was reacting.” Kath-li
continued tapping his pen against his chin while he thought. He enjoyed
talking to Tay without needing the intercom. It made things much simpler.
“I see.” The athlete had dropped to his hands and was pushing up from
the ground, his biceps bulging along with the muscles on his back.
“So you’re saying that… When I’m more stressed, I let off more heat?”
“Pretty much, yes.” Kath-li smiled to himself, jotting down a few
more notes. As Tay worked out, Kath-li noticed there was a steady
decrease of temperature around the patient. “I think now that you’re
controlling yourself, you’re taking more control over this… heat flux.
How are you feeling?”
“Warmer now,” Tay grunted out as he continued
to push up.
“As I thought. I’ll have my assistant make a schedule
up for you to visit the gym. If Sayli-May’s up to it, I’m sure she
would like to join you.”
“Can you tell me how she is? I haven’t heard
Miss Day since she went into the clean room.”
It was amazing how much
this man knew. It’s like his higher functions were all becoming attuned
at a higher sensitivity. Kath-li was astounded at the success of his
procedure. He grinned widely, knowing that he would grin until the
day he died.
He turned towards Sayli-May’s room, but he wasn’t expecting
what he saw. His smile vanished immediately as he fumbled in his pocket
for the comm. device. He screamed at the top of his lungs into the
device and down the hall, “HELP!!”