Chapter 2 – Page 3

Sergeant Andan Bach watched as machines fed electricity through the clone strapped to the padded chair. He noted the spasms and the blood. A small smile formed on his lips. This is what he enjoyed. There was only one problem. Screams would make the scene much more enjoyable, but the test subject refused to make a sound. It soured the whole experience.

“This won’t do,” Bach muttered to himself. He turned to Doctor Hektate. “Turn it up.”

“Excuse me?”

“You heard me, turn up the machine. Give it more electricity.”

“Sergeant, I wouldn’t recommend-”

“Turn it up, Doctor.” Johan gritted his teeth and turned a dial.

Bach returned his gaze to the clone. Instead of large, sporadic flailing, the tremors the wracked its body were now small but constant. Its head was tilted back and its spine was arched at an unbelievable angle even while strapped to the chair. Foam formed from the mouth and nose tinted red from blood. Grooves formed in the armrests from torn nails that would soon flake off, leaving exposed nail-beds. No part of its body was still.

This was a much better scene than before, but it was not enough. The abomination was still conscious. That mug could be seen from all of its struggles. Why, then, did it not scream. If it was in pain, it should scream. That it did not frustrated him to no end.

Once again he addressed the doctor. “Not enough. Turn it up.”

“Sergeant Bach, the electricity being sent through him is enough to make two men collapse several times over. Any more and I can’t guarantee that he’ll survive. Hasn’t him enduring to this degree already fulfilled the test objectives? Please, Officer, I recommend that we stop for the subject’s safety,” Nero interjected.  Bach ignored him.

“Doctor, give it more,” he said.

“The director is right. Seven is at his limit. Anymore than this and we risk permanent brain damage. He most likely had already suffered some,” Johan replied.

“Are you refusing me?”

“I am.”

“Doctor Hektate, I advise you to think very carefully about what you are doing.”

In response, Hektate reached over and flipped the off switch. Seven slumped in his chair.

“Doctor, you have made a very grave mistake. I hope you understand what will happen to you and your experiment when I-”

“Let me cut you off there, Sergeant. You are here because the United Soviet-Communist Union is expecting something out of this project, out of Number 7 specifically, not to torture him by being overly sadistic. Your performance and our success in this experiment will affect your standing in the People’s Army. Yes, you can make our whole organization disappear, but that would look very badly upon your record. After all, the USCU has spent a great deal of resources for this success of this project, and, well, you haven’t even been here five hours. In that regard, it would be better for the both of us to reach an understanding. So, let me suggest a deal.”

Bach’s face grew unpleasant. “Speak,” he said curtly.

“I know everything about Number 7. I know better than anyone about his abilities, his limits, and most importantly, how to keep him alive and in his best possible shape. I will give you complete control over what tests are administered and any course for his training. I will not object and I will make sure that no one in Pandora objects to anything you chose. This will give you a much easier time doing whatever you need to do.”

He continued, “In return, you let me determine Number 7’s absolute limits for both the tests and the training as well as give me full control of his recovery.”

“So, you decided to define our roles.”

“His performance will naturally increase the better his health is.”

“And if I decline? The prime minister gave me the right of full control over this project. Your clone is considered property of the government.”

“If you decline, I will oppose you ever step of the way. You can expect no cooperation from me or my scientists at the expense of our lives.”

“You’d go that far?”

“We’ve devoted everything to this project. It means everything,” Johan grew a bit emotional, “If you don’t compromise with us on this matter, even if you replace us, it’ll just mean you’ll end up killing Seven.”

The room grew chilly as Andan stared hard at Hektate. The doctor was right, and Andan hated him for it. He had to respect the man for willing to risk not only his career but his life. But the one Johan opposed was himself, and that was rather irksome. Andan’s temper was demanding that he not stand for this kind of insubordination, but no matter how he looked at it, his more rational side realized that Hektate had a point. Continuing on like this, relieving his stress through needless torture, held no benefit for him except momentary pleasure. He had a career to advance.

“Alright, fine. I’ll let you have your deal.” Dr. Hektate nodded his head in thanks.Bach gave him one last look before leaving the room. Director Nero let out his breath.

“Dr. Hektate, I ask you not to shorten my life like that.”

“I’ll try not to in the future. But, still, it was something that needed to be done. He’s the kind of man that would tear open old wounds and pour salt in them so he could see a person cry. Honestly, I’m glad he’s only a sergeant. If he were any higher of a position, I don’t think that would have worked.”

“I hope he’ll move properly from now on. The success of this project depends on it. Please watch out though, Johan. He definitely hates you now. I’m afraid he’ll target you in revenge.”

“For now, the most he can do is petty things that will just make my life annoying. I can handle that. If he chooses to do something drastic, though … I can only hope that his greed for power will keep him in line for Seven’s sake, and mine.”


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