The reinvention of The Taker (Short story)

A blonde woman in a long white coat stood alone in a dusty laboratory. Her lab coat could not hide the spilled coffee stains and was worn around the neck and cuffs. She tinkered with switches on a control panel as her large spectacles slid down to the point of her nose. She pushed them up but they immediately started to slide back down. Her hair was tied back but she puffed to move the stragglers from tickling her nose.
She pushed a thick file to one side and smirked. The title on the front read 'lattice quantum brain chromo dynamics calculations spectacles by Dr Brian Brown'. She then edged it further towards the edge of the worktop. A waste paper bin was placed on the floor directly below. A door opened and a male voice said, 'don't you even think about it!'
'Ah Doctor Brown, you're just in time.'
'Professor Turner.' Dr Brown smiled with fondness. 'How is he?'
'His stats are good. I don't know why we do this, I'm sure your magic spectacles could solve all our problems.' Lauren Turner laughed.
Dr Brown's lab coat had holes in it around the bottom hem. 'Look, it might sound like boys and their toys stuff to you, but there is a huge range of applications for its use. Not to mention furthering our understand of brain activity. But imagine being able to control every day objects with your mind. Huge potential.'
'It's hardly on my top ten list. Especially since we may not even have much of a future.' Lauren Turner switched on a screen and observed the snowy static.
'It could also confirm the theory that we live inside a computer simulation.'
'Jesus, Brian, you're clutching at anything to justify it.'
'The key is to look at this at the subatomic level. See, it is science.'
The screen lit up with colour. It looked just like dripping paint on the screen. Lauren Turners eyes widened. 'Oh shit, no, no, no.'
Dr Brown ran over to a large red button and slammed his palm on to it.
An alarm sounded; a low beep that echoed around the corridors of the Facility.
Several people also wearing white lab coats rushed in. They all stood together in front of a raised platform and waited.
The sound of the alarm almost blended into the silence between beeps before a flicker a electricity appeared a few feet above the platform. The spark moved in a circle in mid air and lengthened. Then there were more forks of electricity and smoke as the heat appeared to burn the air. The smoke billowed and then rotated like it was being drawn into a high powered fan. Then the smoke lit up green/blue like a living storm and cascaded onto the platform. The scientists watched, their mouth hung open.
Suddenly, there was a clap like thunder and a shock wave that pushed everyone back, whipped up dust around the room and knocked Dr Brown's research paper into the bin.
A bald man fell out of the cloud, blood spouting from his face. The scientists mobilised like a well practiced team of ants. Dr Brown and one other picked him up and dragged him on to a gurney. Professor Turner examined him. She said, 'Taker! Taker! Can you hear me?'
Taker was motionless. There was a large hole in his face where his left eye would be. The hole was round and went through to the back of his head.
'Shit, looks like a modern weapon wound. It's clean but he won't survive if we don't do something now.'
Dr Brown wiped the blood on his lab coat. 'How the hell do you plug that up? He's a mess.'
Turner inserted an argon beam into the wound to stop further bleeding. 'It looks like a small part of the brain is missing. Part of the frontal lobe. It's hard to tell.'
'Can he be fixed? I mean, he's not exactly human anyway, maybe it'll repair.'
Turner thought for a moment, 'maybe.' She took one more look at the wound. All of the left eye was missing and part of the cheek bone and back of the skull. The wound had partly cauterised inside and there was a strong smell of warm chared flesh. She closed her eyes and then realised the solution. 'Prep him for surgery. Brian, I need your expertise.'
'Me? I can't performed surgery.'
'Get your thinking cap on, it's time your brain integration idea become a reality.'

Surgery lasted for three days. Professor Turner, Dr Brown and the rest of the team were exhausted. Brian had pieced together a sylindrical mechanical face mask with sensors on the surface that slid in to the hole in Takers face. There was enough brain exposed to make contact and allow the device to measure electrical signals when thoughts are produced. Brown smiled when it was installed. 'The device will learn Takers brain patterns and he will be able to control it with his thoughts.'
'In theory.' Turner reminded him.

Taker woke up with a jerk several weeks later. He felt a sharp pain in his eye and he grasped at his face. The pain immediately gave way to a cool feeling and then he realised he had something metal on his face. He blinked as he felt the device in place of his eye. He touched the back of his head where the device plug the hole in his skull.
When he looked around he realised he was back at the lab. His whole body ached and he felt weak. He pressed a call button and Brown entered the room. 'Can you see?'
Taker shook his head. Brown looked disappointed. Taker touched the device again and said, 'it's blurry.'
Brown's eyes twinkled. He made some adjustments with a small screwdriver and recalibrate the device on a tablet.
Taker found his eyesight improve instantly. 'I must go back. Send me back now.'
Turner then entered the room and shook her head. 'You must be feeling better, but you still have to recover. It's going to take time.'
'We don't have time!' Taker demanded.
'Time is all we have Taker. When I initiated the programme at Numen Labs all those years ago, I had no idea the effect it would have on the world.'
Taker gritted his teeth. 'We're against forces we have no control over. We have to hit back quickly. You could not have know Lauren. I could not have know damn it!' The device on his face lit up and small lazer beam blasted a hole in the adjacent wall. Turner and Brown ducked down. 'What the fuck!?' Takers right eye was wide.
Brown stood up slowly, 'I didn't get round to explaining. Another reason you can't go back yet. As well as an enhancement which you need to learn to control, it is also a pretty powerful weapon... Please don't do that again.'

  • Share:

Steven Sweeney BSc(Hons), MSc

'The Brink' comic creator, author, Web developer and musician with 5 albums.