Rogetbox TaleBox 2

Young, Dumb and Broke

"I know you're busy, Gillie, I'll try not to take up too much of your time."

Shirley Gillespie's lips pursed upwards. "Nonsense, dear. I've been using my time to make this for you, take as long as you need to look it over."

The elevator doors behind them closed, and Gillespie sat down quickly. "You'll want to take a seat, honey, this is going to be quite a drop."

"I've ridden the tower of terror before, I think I can handle thi-" the ground beneath Light plummeted, and she fell backwards into a chair.

Gillespie sat up straight, adjusting her cane. "Now, I know that you had a bit of trouble moving that heart of darkness over here. It caused you some consternation. But it really was the key to putting this whole thing together, I promise you that."

Light struggled to sit up as the elevator continued plummeting. "Well, I knew that, oof, if there was anyone who could make that request not fucked up, it would be you. Shit, this is a lot right now. I need a minute."

Gillespie covered her mouth and laughed. "Oh, we'll be there in a moment. Try to compose yourself, dear."

The elevator stopped its descent on a dime, with the doors beeping as they opened. Waiting for them was a yellow golf cart, with a red 77 emblazoned on either side. Gillespie stood, offering her hand to a weak-kneed Light. Together, they rode onward. The labs around them were filled with colored chemicals in test tubes, human arms on electric machines twisting and gyrating hither and thither.

Passing through a few thick steel security checkpoints, the cart heralded them towards a large, green cylinder. Gillespie tapped her cane once, and the cart came to a stop. "A few of the boys admitted that they took some inspiration from Star Wars. The second one, where that nice farm boy is getting fixed up after saving the day. You remember that film? My husband, rest his soul, took me there on a married date. So I let them get away with it."

"It's certainly larger than anything George Lucas could have imagined." Light looked upwards. The cylinder had a humanoid form suspended in the center of it, with wires stretching off in every direction, coming from the top of the tube into a mass of wires and chutes ascending back up towards the surface. Arranged in rows around it was a spiraling series of staircases and platforms, each wired with computers, machinery and tubes of pumping liquid.

"Now, the first thing we did was acquire that poor boy, 3352. A sad case, but the absorption properties really made this all possible. That was what gave me the inciting idea, to put the heart of darkness in this poor boy. They integrated far better than we could have expected. There's a whole new personality in there now."

"Shit. Hopefully it's less… evil?"

"Naturally, honey, naturally. A man missing his family, sick with grief, and unadulterated evil, well, they combine to make a dark soul, but not one of evil. Able to do what needs to be done. But with only half a body, we needed to get… more. Something to make it useful, and not just interesting."

"I understand there were a few false starts." Light looked up at the cavernous center of research. "I didn't realize you'd put quite as much time and effort into this, Gillie, how did you put this all together?"

"My dear, it was no trouble. Most of this was already in place with our existing research. I had to pull a few of the boys off their pet projects, but I haven't exhausted my list of favors owed if more hands have to be pulled on deck."

"Things have gone smmoothly, then?"

"As you said we had some, well, false starts. Minimal casualties. We tried using 1993 at first, to see if the entity could control when the effect was triggered."

"Let me guess, that didn't really work out?"

"We averted spectacular disaster, but yes, it was less than ideal." Gillespie approached the glass, tapping it once with her cane. A flushing echoed throughout the cavern, as the fluids began to be pumped out of the tube. "More than one man tried to give up their own leg for the cause. Even after we asked them not to. But, ah, the ideas that gave us! Really worked out in the end."

"I'm not sure I want to know the ideas that come into your head when you see your employees trying to saw off their own legs."

"Not sawing, but the possibilities from removing limbs at will. A lot of our anomalous body parts, they're irreplaceable. Not really suited for fieldwork. But when we found 1673, that's when the pieces really began to fall into place."

Light scrunched her face. "The graveyard grabbers, right?"

"Mmmmmhm. The boys like to call them 'grabbed by the ghoulies' but I like to dub them progress. The dirt samples tested well here, and give us regenerative properties as well as reach, and crushing grip power. That settled the arms, and if you'll approve usage of 262 we might have a few more to work with."

"I'm not sure we can really send that out in the field, Gillie."

"A girl can dream, can't she?" Gillespie smiled, looking up. "He's still only got one kidney, lung and an abbreviated intestinal tract. We've found a nutrient rich solution is best to keep him healthy. We tried using 2380 to be another kidney, but it kept moving and it ran into the same trouble as 1993. Home-grown organs are being worked on but, you know, those can be hit-or-miss."

The fluid in the tank had completely drained by now. The figure standing in the center of the now-empty glass tube was lumpy, dripping with liquid and swaying with uneven tempo. Gillespie tapped her cane twice, and the glass hissed, releasing steam as it began retreating into the ground.

"The brain is finished, we found that Ed's head was a head we could remove, give him normal cerebral function, relatively, and temper some of that evil to boot. Wrap it up in 1636 and I think you have a viable agent." Gillespie stepped to one side, as the glass finished giving way and the man in front of them took tottering steps forward. "Director, Sophia, I give you… Frank."

"Mommy, where's my happystick? I promise I've been good."

"…." Light looked at Gillespie.

"He's a work in progress. Let me show you what he can do. Come on, Frank! You'll get it once you show our guest what you can do. Scoot! Scoot!"


GoI format Alexylva - Dossier on groups of interest by geography