||Prologue 1 - The Scientist|
||I've lived in this house all my life. So
did my father, and his father before that. Hell, since
Granpappy developed a decent cloning technique, I'm sure
there'll be a long line of Dr Steve's living here. Of course,
my lab is parsecs ahead of anything my old relatives might
have used - no reason to stick with primitive
||Anyway, it's always been a nice quiet
neighbourhood. You can't really get away with the kinds of
infernal experiments I do if there's kids playing out front or
housewives dropping over with cakes and stuff. I like my
privacy, and I get plenty of it here.|
Privacy, however, is
a two-edged sword.
I was out walking, giving Frank a
little air. Frank is my "monster", although I wouldn't really
call him that myself. People are so quick to
Frank is one of the living dead, and one of the
nice ones, too. Sure, he eats brains - I mean he is a
zombie after all. But he's also very helpful, especially
around the house. But I digress...
We were out getting
some air and I decided to let Frank have a run, and give some
of the local kids down the park a bit of fun. There's nothing
like seeing the giddy look of fear in a child's eyes as they
run for their life. The fat ones are especially amusing, as
they see their compatriots scampering off to safety whilst
their own chubby little legs seem to be condemning them to a
grisly end. Frank never catches them, of course. You never eat
the breeding stock before they've mated, after all.
||After a bit of this Frank starts to tire,
so we head down to the pond to sit and feed the ducks. I've
got a few bags of my special duck feed, and we have a few
laughs as the bio-mutagens kick in. Some people might think
this is cruel, but there's nothing like seeing a fight between
two enraged males as they lash each other with their
||This particular seat by the pond is
back-to-back with another, which was currently occupied by a
couple of old ladies. They were twittering on about "our
Jackie just had another son" and such dribble, and I was
pretty much just tuning it out. Frank was grumbling a bit,
what with these old girls being way past breeding age
and just a waste of good brains, when they hit upon a subject
that interested me.|
"Ooo, I don't let young Paul ride his
bike near that place - there's some 'orrible sounds come out
"I know what you mean, dear. Our Jessy is well
scared of that creepy old house. And rightly so."
these women spoke with broad English accents is anyone's
guess, but I was interested in the topic. You see, I take
great professional pride in my work and like to hear that I'm
maintaining the expected atmosphere around a mad scientist's
"It's a right pain in the arse, 'scuse my
French, as we have to avoid the top of Groyn Lane in order to
get to the shops. Flippin' well adds 10 minutes to the
What!? The top of Groyn Lane? That's nowhere
near my place! The last time I was there it was just an
overgrown field that smelt like an orangutan's posing-pouch.
Who the devil were they talking about? This required immediate
investigation if I didn't want to lose my reputation as, as
the newspaper put it, "local crazy man."
A brisk walk
had me approaching the top of Groyn Lane in no time, with
Frank shambling behind. Nothing had changed - it was still an
overgrown dumping ground for deceased motor vehicles and
defunct medical equipment. Oh wait, what's that on the other
side of the road?
||I had to know more about this person.
This usurper of my hard-won position. This fiend.|
was going to be scaring the kiddies around here, it was going
to be me and Frank.
I decided to creep up to one of the
downstairs windows around the back and peer in, hoping to
catch a glimpse of my adversary. I noticed a steaming heap of
metal off in the distance but didn't give it much thought - I
had more pressing matters on my mind! The grime on the window
was deep, and I had trouble seeing anything at all. I must
admit, his attention to detail was excellent - a lesser man
would perhaps not have bothered aging his fenestral
The interior was dark, dank, and stuffed
with mysterious crates and jars of pickled snakes. This guy
had done his homework, damn him. Then a movement caught my eye
and my adversary made his entrance into the room. I couldn't
make out his face, it was too dark for that. However, he was
moving towards some of the light that was fitfully streaming
through the windows and soon his visage would be
Just then Frank starts tugging my sleeve and
urrrrgh'ing. Frank and I get a quick glimpse of the stranger
as he passes through a shaft of light before we turn from the
window. It seems Frank has smelt something out in the trees
and it's probably best not to dally here for too long.
scan the treeline for movement but whatever it is, it's too
well hidden or has already gone. It matters not, for we have
all the information we need to discover the identity of this
miscreant of science.
Back at my home I log onto the
MadScientist magazine database. As a subscriber (which I
heartily recommend) you get access to all sorts of useful
information, including the current list of active fringe
scientists. Thanks to Frank's photographic memory we merely
query the database and see who drops out. I get a free
subscription, what with being an active contributor to the
magazine. If you've ever checked out an issue of MadScientist,
you've probably read some of my work.
||Thankfully the front-end to this part of
the database is a simple multiple-choice question set. You
know, "pick the hair colour", "how many artificial limbs does
he have", "is his head the original one he started with" -
that sort of thing. Frank's speech centre isn't much beyond
grunting, so I just get him to moan when the mouse is over the
right answer. He can play the ass off of Half-Life on the PC,
but stuff like this tends to bore him.|
Anyway, after a bit
of churning we get down to several candidates and simply pick
the one who looks like our man.
Urrgh. Chad Spankett -
young, "cool", and American. Don't get me wrong - nothing
wrong with those crazy Yanks. It's just that when the young
"hip" scientist stereotype comes to life it gets a bit much.
At least he's not wearing a cowboy hat. I just hope he has the
sense to wear trousers.
So, I know the name and appearance of my
enemy, and the location of his refuge. All that needs to be
done now is to confront the scoundrel and let him know who the
big man is on this campus.