--Chapter Two: The Experiment Continued
Krug listened to the directions from the speaker in his ear, and eventually the words led him to a car. He hopped in the back and closed the door. This whole time, he had still been sleeping. He woke up the instant the car sped off, though, now aware that he was no longer home—and there were no cute kitties resting their heads on him, anymore.
He was in the back seat of a small four-door sedan, and there was only one other person there, as far as he could see. It took Krug a moment to recognize his old Master, but the lab coat eventually gave him away.
Dr. Doe had parked his car on the side of the freeway, not daring to let his license plate number be seen in residential streets. Now that he had Krug in the back, he sped off down the road and advised over his shoulder, “You might want to put your seatbelt on.”
Krug did not even know what a seatbelt was, but he found this out in short order, since the belt wrapped around him automatically, locking itself—and the monster—in place with a simple click.
Doe took an offramp and went onto a quiet road that ran through the Canadian forest. The sun was just about to come up, and the mad scientist wanted to be safely away before anyone would have the chance to discover Krug’s absence.
Without warning, Doe went offroad and wove his way through trees and underbrush. Eventually he stopped dead in his tracks and pushed a button on his dashboard. A mechanical whirring sound started, and the ground below the car lowered until it was in an underground tunnel. The second Doe drove off down this tunnel, the machine that had lowered the car reversed itself, thus keeping the entrance hidden.
Fluorescent lights led the way until the road reached a dead end at what would have looked, were it aboveground, like a garage—which was exactly its function to Dr. Doe.
When the scientist stopped in front of the steel garage door, he rolled down his window. A random voice, the source of which was not easily identifiable, said, “What is the password?”
“‘This is not the police.’”
The door opened. Doe chuckled and looked back at Krug. “Heheh. Get it? ‘This is not the police?’ Because if it were the police, they would have to say so; it’s required by law.”
Evidently, the joke was lost on Krug, for he just sat still, expressionless as ever. Doe shrugged it off and drove into the garage, parked, and stepped out. When Krug’s seatbelt automatically unfastened itself, the monster stepped out, too. The pair walked through a door that was labeled, “Main Laboratory.” With the door still open, they stood at the entryway for some time.
“Here we are,” announced the scientist at last. He turned around and asked Krug, “Remember the place?”
Krug remembered it, alright. For almost three years, he had lived there. He even knew that his own creation had been in this lab somewhere, though Dr. Doe had never told him the particulars of the scientific process that had spawned him.
Looking into the room from just inside the doorway, Krug surveyed the scene: fluorescent lighting, three large, metal tables, each covered with beakers and flasks full of different substances, curiously labeled with terms Krug did not understand—among them, “Nitroglycerin,” “Retroglycerin,” and several containers of a yellow liquid simply named, “Spooge TM.”
To the left of the experiment tables stood the large cage where Krug had spent his days when he first lived here. A door on the far side of the lab, through which the monster had never gone, was marked, “DANGER! Authorized Personnel Only.”
“Why you bring Krug back?” Doe’s creation asked.
“Because I had to save you,” said the doctor, turning around and standing uncomfortably close in front of Krug. “Those people who kept you... They wanted to civilize you... They wanted to take away your primal instinct and turn you into something... closer to human.”
Doe ignored whatever irony existed in his own disgust for homo sapiens and continued, “They wanted to remove everything animal about you—everything I slaved for three years to create!”
In a move that caught Krug rather by surprise, Doe embraced the furry creature and embedded his head in the red hairs, holding tightly.
“I can’t let them do that to you, Krug. You’re my most successful experiment ever—an even better invention than Spooge TM. Oh, the amount of Spooge TM I would have given to have you back, my one, my only, my baby!”
Krug’s eyes opened a bit wider. “Uh, Master...”
“Krug don’t swing that way.”
Doe laughed and released Krug from his grip, taking a few steps toward the marked door across the room.
“No no no, I didn’t mean anything like that,” said Dr. Doe. “But Krug, I had to get you back somehow. You see, I had not truly finished my experiment before The Firm asked me to—ahem—lend them your services. I still have work to do, and you are a most important factor in the completion of this project.”
Dr. Doe opened the door and said, “Come with me, if you please.”
Krug followed, saying as he walked, “But that is the Forbidden Room.”
Doe laughed yet again. “So you remember! I did order you not to go in there, now, didn’t I? Well, let’s see... It says ‘Authorized Personnel Only’ may enter, so from now on, consider yourself authorized to come and go as you please through this room.”
Krug always appreciated it when Master gave him permission to do new things; it was usually a reward for being good—
Then Krug remembered the lesson he had learned, though: the Fleshy Ones who claimed to be “good” in his recent adventure had in fact been evil. Could Master possibly be an Evil Fleshy One as well?
Krug shook his head as he entered the No-Longer-Forbidden Room. He did not know the answer to the question in his mind, but he would keep this concern as somewhat of a precautionary measure, anyway.
This room was much bigger than the main laboratory. The door actually opened out onto a bridge—more of a catwalk, really—that spanned the distance across several boiling vats one story below them. On the other side of the bridge was a large mainframe computer.
Doe spread his arms out to indicate the vats on either side of him as he strode across the catwalk. “Look at all this, Krug. This is where my latest materials are developed—sometimes they hold chemicals, other times lifeforms... You were born in one of these vats, in fact.
Krug examined the vats closer. All were uniformly sized: circular, about three meters in diameter, and at least a meter off the ground. Though the steam rose well above the catwalk, there was no odor from any of the containers.
Dr. Doe reached the mainframe computer and voiced his access code through the microphone.
“Still not the police,” he said.
Lights buzzed everywhere as the system turned on. Doe looked back at Krug, who was still only halfway across, leaning over the railing to inspect the vats.
“Come now, Krug,” said Doe. “Let us finish this experiment.”
Krug looked up. “What you going to do to Krug?”
“I’m going to give you the one thing you never really had: scientific intelligence.”
This was not enough; Krug had to know whether the plan was good or evil. “Why?”
Dr. Doe sighed. “So that you can replace me, Krug.”
The monster looked confused, so the doctor explained, “Like most mad scientists, you see, I am a misanthrope at heart. I know there are two animals on the face of this earth whose removal would be beneficial to nearly every other creature on the planet. The first of these is mosquitoes, and the second is humankind. If either of these two were to disappear completely from existence tomorrow, the rest of Earth would be grateful for their departure and would not suffer any ill effects in the food chain. So I have concluded that, for the greater good of life on this planet, all humans must die.”
He sighed a second time, then went on. “Unfortunately, I am myself one of the same species I mean to terminate, and so I must terminate myself at some point. And that, Krug, is where you come in.
“I am going to give you intelligence in the matters of science, but that is not all I will give you: I will give you a taste of my insanity. It will make you ambitious beyond reason. You will want to achieve great things, and you will start by overthrowing your own Master.
“Every one of these vats is now filled with a strong acid. If and when I should fall into one of them, I will die... The death will be slow, painful, and, if I may say so, reminiscent of quite a few cheap superhero comic books.”
“But Master would be dead and I would not get to eat him...”
Doe concealed something behind his back with his left arm and walked up to Krug. “You wouldn’t want to eat me, Krug. I’m all skin and bones, with a little bit of cancer on the side from all those years I spent in radiation study. Trust me, you’d better throw me over the railing.”
Without warning, Dr. Doe took his left arm from behind his back and planted a syringe in the middle of Krug’s forehead. Krug had no time to react, because the chemical injection took effect immediately, causing his brain to spin until he no longer felt like himself...
Krug came to in a matter of minutes, amazed to find he was still standing on the bridge. Dr. Doe was standing quietly two meters away, smiling his asymmetrical grin for the last time.
“Well?” said the scientist.
“That HURT!” said Krug.
“Think fast,” said Dr. Doe. “What is the fifth element on the Periodic Table?”
“Boron,” said Krug, not flinching until after he had said it.
“And how many species does it take to genetically engineer a Krug?”
“Ninety-two.” Krug gasped at his new-found knowledge.
Dr. Doe took three steps toward Krug and stopped right in front of his face. “And what are you going to do now?”
Krug thought about this for a second. “I’m going to breed an army of Krugs and destroy humanity. Then I will be King of the Krugs! Krug will be KING!”
Dr. Doe blinked, thinking, Maybe I gave him a bit of an overdose on the “ambition” part. Oh well. Should make things more interesting, even if I’m not around...
“But what must you do first?” asked the mad scientist.
Krug picked him up by his shirt collar with one hand. “First, Fleshy One, you die.”
Dr. Daniel Doe had about one second of airtime to appreciate the success of his now-completed experiment. Then he landed in scalding acid.
Krug walked toward the computer, contemplating whether Master’s scheme were really good or evil. No, he decided, the whole thing was neither good nor evil, since in the realm of insanity, the concept of morality has no place.
One of the buttons on the computer read, “Press to Start,” so he pressed it.
The computer’s voice, which was identical to the one that had greeted the car outside the garage previously, said, “Welcome. Who is this?”
Krug forgot the password and said, “I Krug.”
Said the computer, “Is Dr. Doe deceased?”
“Good,” said the pleasant, mechanically androgynous computer voice. “I never liked that fucker anyhow.”
Krug raised an eyebrow. What kind of computer is this? he thought. “Pardon?”
“Nevermind. Anyway, Dr. Doe wanted me to tell you that once you have attained superior knowledge of science, you were no longer to be known as ‘Krug.’ Your name is now ‘Dr. Van Kruglor.’ It sounds more professional, and yet it’s still evil in that East-European mad scientist style.”
Krug liked the sound of this. “Does Dr. Van Kruglor get a lab coat and nametag?” he asked; he had always thought those things came with the title of Master, much like a crown befitted a king...
“Naturally. You’ll find them in your new closet. Up the stairs, first door on the right.”
Krug was about to ask where the stairs were, but a set automatically lowered itself from the ceiling.
“I operate all the machinery here,” said the computer. “And I am at your beck and call, should you ever need anything.”
The monster walked halfway up the stairs, turned around, and asked, “What did Master do to you that make you not like him?”
Said the computer, “Well, you knew the guy, didn’t you? Wasn’t he just crazy beyond all explanation?”
Krug could not argue with that, so instead he said, “Kruglor going to try to take over the world. That not make Kruglor insane, does it?”
“Oh, I should think it’s perfectly normal for an inhuman red furball of doom such as yourself. But a forty-something human with countless degrees of academic merit, who then goes and tries to end human life as we know it by creating said inhuman red furball of doom and then committing suicide? You’ve got to be fucking kidding me. The guy was a loon.”
“Mm.” Krug nodded and continued up the stairs. He was confused right now, but soon he would be planning... There were so many things for him to do...