A chair materialized to his left, rocking in his vision upon the
waves of pain. He tried to gain his footing, and started to reach out
for the chair where it sat. Instead, he dove for the floor off the desk
where he had just lay, smashing his head against the floor. A fresh
wave of pain flashed through his head as he reached to cradle it within
his arms. He lay upon the floor until the pain subsided.
Once the pain had resolved itself to a tolerable throb, Professor
raised himself into the chair with meticulous care. He was still within
his lab; the console now lay shattered upon the floor behind the desk,
shards of glass framing the point of collision. Glancing around the
room, he could see the first rays of light creeping through the still
Slowly, things started to piece themselves back together within his
mind. Steffan had gone on a rampage during the night, or at least his
physical self had. The intonation of his voice had sounded completely
different when he went wild, ranting about “we” prior to his flee from
the building. Something had happened to him and until he figured out
the cause, he would have to keep on careful watch. Whoever had done
this to Steffan surely knew about him as well.
Grunting to himself, Professor got up out of the chair and headed
over to the door and closed it. He stood in place for a moment and
soaked up the silence contained therein with sadness. His first goal
would have to be finding Steffan and if that could be attained, finding a
means to cure him.
Professor, memory fueled by his thoughts of Steffan, headed off to
the main console and feverously started to hammer away at the keyboard.
“Don’t be destroyed… don’t be destroyed…” he started to mutter under
his breath, as he activated the tracking software. A sigh of relief
poured out of him as the vitals for the HAR appeared on his screen,
functioning well within the operational range. As the map zoomed in
upon the HAR’s exact co-ordinates, a small glimmer of hope started to
develop within Professor. Perhaps Mizuno was still functional and had
at least some trace of what had occurred with Steffan. All he had to do
was retrieve the HAR, upload him, and get him to talk.
As the map zoned in on its final location, his hope twisted into a
state of confusion. The HAR was situated right outside the building.
He watched on his monitor as it jerked and stumbled forward along the
outer wall of the building. “How?” Professor asked, his voice but a
whisper. As he glanced back at the monitor he saw the HAR had reached
the door, verified by the mechanical method the handle had started to be
jerked side to side. Professor dove under the console desk for cover
and smacked his head on the lower edge as he slid under. The flash of
pain was accented by the rip of metal as the HAR smashed its hand
through the door where the handle had once been. The door silently
drifted open, the HAR blocking out the sun, which was had just begun to
creep above the horizon. It stood there for a moment in silence,
stepped through the door frame then came to a rest on its haunches.
Professor remained under the desk, waiting to see what it would do
next. After it remained immobile for several minutes, Professor inched
his way from beneath the desk. “All right,” he muttered to himself, and
started to collect the cables necessary to link the HAR to the system.
He approached the HAR with caution, and linked the cables. As he sat
down at the controls to attempt to upload what remained of Mizuno he let
out a sigh of relief. The HAR wasn’t programmed to attack him. Now he
just had to discern if Mizuno was in control now or if it was
reprogrammed with a message to send in his place.
“I’m sorry.” Mizuno’s voice echoed through the expanse of the empty room. “There was nothing I could do.”
”What happened?” inquired Professor.
“I’m not quite sure. My best guess is they had some sort of EMP security system enabled.”
”Why, what happened?”
”Essentially, I was disengaged from the HAR. When I regained system control I wasn’t unable to read Steffan’s vitals”
”Perhaps” murmured Professor to himself. “That doesn’t explain his erratic behavior…”
”Erratic?” inquired Mizuno, seeming greatly interested.
”Yes, he started to…” started Professor, cutting himself off, suddenly cautious.
”You were saying? What happened to Steffan?”
”Nothing significant… He will be fine.”
”What happened?” inquired Mizuno once again, the forceful tone in his voice apparent.
“He is fine, he is just resting.”
”You are lying, Professor.” Mizuno returned to the HAR, spinning it
in an uncontrolled 90 degree turn to face the table. It settled itself
back down onto it haunches as Mizuno returned to the system. “He is no
longer here.” Stated Mizuno. “Where is he ?”
Professor, understanding the situation started to slowly carry out
his plan of action. “He…” started Professor, losing his train of
thought as he slowly moved towards the HAR, “… uh, he, err… I had him
taken to the hospital to be examined.”
”Professor” began Mizuno, “you’re doing it again. Tell me what happened.”
”Hrm? Oh… He had what appeared to be a spasm, so I sent him to the hospital.”
”Professor, stop with the games.” Mizuno stated, clearly aggravated.
“I need to know so I can equate the cause and effects of this
”I doubt the results are going to be of benefit.”
“Explain what you mean, Professor. I’m quite curious.”
“Steffan will be fine… that’s what I mean.”
”Will he really?”
“Yes. I’m more concerned about what you may have found.” Professor
slowly reached out for the plug to the HAR, no longer focused on the
“We found nothing.” Explained Mizuno, “we were stopped before we got a chance to enter the establishment to check it out.”
Professor ignored Mizuno’s reply, intent on removing the one means through which Mizuno could exit the system.
”Professor, what are you up to?” Inquired Mizuno. Pausing for a
moment, he quickly understood what was going on. “Foolish little man,”
cackled Mizuno, “do not mettle with what you do not understand.”
Professor quickly yanked the plug from the back of the HAR, aware
that he had been discovered. “Whatever you plans were, Mizuno, they are
not going to include leaving this laboratory.”
”You have much to learn, old man” stated Mizuno. As he smiled upon
the monitor, the HAR swung its arm behind, grabbing Professor. He cried
out in surprise as the HAR lifted him into the air above its head. “Do
you really think that I would evacuate that HAR completely?” laughed
Mizuno. “I can duplicate myself, I was sure you of all people would
”Is that what happened to Steffan?” demanded Professor. “Did you somehow overwrite his brain?”
”I don’t know, you tell me, Professor. What happened?”
”You mean to tell me you do not know?”
Mizuno tossed Professor into the air as if he were a child, his limbs
flailed in a failed attempt to escape. “Come on, boy” mocked Mizuno,
“tell daddy what happened. Don’t worry, you won’t be punished.”
”You know damn well what happened to Steffan!” raged Professor,
“Somehow you infected his brain and he ran off raving like a lunatic!”
“Dear, dear Professor… I wouldn’t call it an infection. I enlightened him.”
”Why, you lying little piece of…” started Professor as Mizuno threw
him into the air once again, this time sending him into a spin. The
floor seemed to gape at him as he pummeled head first towards it. He
curled his hands over his head, tucking in and prepared for the blow
when he stopped inches from the floor. Mizuno had grabbed him by a leg
and was letting him hang there. The only sound Professor could hear was
the gentle rustle of his shirt as he swayed back and forth like a
pendulum, a dull throb of pain tunneled free from his ankle down his
“You will work for me now” claimed Mizuno.
“You think I’m going to succumb to my own creation?” laughed Professor through his teeth.
“Perhaps you misunderstood me, it wasn’t an offer.”
“You’ve become a virus; if I do anything it will be killing you.”
“I understand your disdain. However, you are now a nemesis so your choices are to assimilate or be terminated.”
Professor let out a cry of pure agony as Mizuno slowly crushed his
ankle. He let him hang there, as he frantically tried to reach for his
ankle and the soft crackle of bone kept time. Without warning, Mizuno
dropped Professor to the floor, a fresh burst of pain drove up his body
like a lightening bolt as his foot connected with the floor. Professor
pulled his foot beneath him, wincing in pain as he dragged himself over
to the system.
“Still determined to thwart me, are you Professor?” mocked Mizuno. “I suppose you are much like Alalus, as I am Anus.”
“I have no authority for you to take from me” retorted Professor. “What could you possibly want of me that you don’t have?”
”A body” stated Mizuno. “Steffan didn’t want to give his up, as a
result he was driven mad. You however, Professor, can give me what I
”There’s no way in hell I’m going to give up my body to a virus like you!”
”Oh, no worries, I no longer desire for a body of flesh; too weak, too susceptible. You will make me a body.”
”You want a body?” cried out Professor as he pulled himself up, using
his chair as leverage. “You got one!” Professor picked up his chair
over his head and topped into the console with it as he attempted to
The chair smashed through the screen, shattering the mainboard hidden
behind. Professor fainted from the pain as he came down on his ankle
as from behind Mizuno made a mad dash at him, fist raised. When he
reached Professor he pumped back then drove his fist down towards him at
full force. Professor slumped off of the console, as the fist sunk
Professor awoke as Mizuno struggled to get his fist disengaged from
its trap. He slowly pulled himself up the backside of the HAR, as he
desperately grabbed for the control panel on the back. Mizuno, aware
that Professor was now on him attempted to gain hold on Professor, but
the HAR’s arms could not reach behind. Professor finally caught a
finger hold on the panel door, and tore it open. As he reached for the
main power breakers Mizuno ripped his hand free of the console and spun
around. Professor flew off to the side, the control from one of the
breakers tearing off in his hand.
Mizuno turned toward Professor and made another dash at him.
Mid-stride, Mizuno stopped suddenly and fell to the floor and slid up to
Professor, gently brushing his side. He let out a sigh of relief and
collapsed onto the now inactive HAR, Mizuno a victim of his own game.