Chapter two, Michael's Folly.
“Let me have it… please.” Doctor Kusnir said in a nonchalant-tone.
“Getting soft on me Frank?” Doctor Lutrova said while he peered at the contents of a test tube.
They were standing in a warehouse. The walls had been insulated, windows and all, only two doors had been left unblocked; a single door and a large receiving door, one on each side of the building. The floor that they stood on had been finished with hospital style linoleum over the top of a concrete slab. The floor had drainage holes that led directly to the sewers. Good drainage had been one of the main reasons that this building had been chosen over more eloquent settings. The ceiling had also been insulated but the skylights had been left unblocked and they were heavily tinted.
The five thousand square foot space within had been filled with all manner of hospital equipment and areas had been partitioned off using collapsible walls to accommodate the various stages of Doctor Lutrova’s research. In the center of the room stood a bank of machines that performed a myriad of operations and inter-spaced amongst them were work tables that were covered with smaller machines, hand written notes and files on actual paper and piles of data chips. Off to one side of all of these was a lunch table. It was of the same concept as the service table that sat in the lounge at the hospital where Doctor Lutrova had met with Michael but this one was much larger and hence had a larger menu.
Off in one corner as far from the whir and buzz of machinery and men as it could get was an area set aside with hospital beds and all of the equipment that went with them.
There were seven beds but presently only one occupant… Lena Seanain. It had been eleven days since her husband had made a deal with the devil and she had gone to sleep at the hospital and not awakened. She presently was sleeping in a drug induced coma while Doctor Lutrova made final preparations to implant the twin zygotes.
“What do you want it for?” Doctor Lutrova’s question lacked any real conviction or curiosity.
“I have my own personal experiments and line of study that I am pursuing. They are just as important as your own. That should be explanation enough.” Doctor Kusnir shot back at him.
The tone of his friend’s voice caused Doctor Lutrova to lift his eyes to look at his colleague. “Fine Frank you can have the damn thing.” He pointed at the suspension unit where the single leftover viable embryo that they had taken from Lena Seanain was being stored. “You know where it’s at,take it or leave it stored while you work on it. It makes no never mind to me.”He turned his attention back to the test tube that he had been studying.
“How is your study going Misha?” Frank said while they were back to back each doing their own thing. His demeanor was relaxed now that he knew he could keep the embryo.
“Slowly… Doctor Mengele was a genius and his notes are meticulous and yet I cannot reproduce his work! It is maddening!” He abruptly put the test tube in a rack and hit the table with his fist. The equipment and Frank all jumped in response.
“Careful Misha you don’t want to fuck something up for thesake of a temper tantrum!” He said angrily. Then in a gentler tone he added;“Besides you know that scientists have been trying for thousands of years to duplicate his work. That’s why we haven’t had any twins for thousands of years;someone screwed it up royal back in the day.”
“Are you saying that I can’t do this?” Misha snarled.
“I’m saying that you must have patience. Stick with splitting the zygote for now and make the Witch happy. Get him out of our hairso we can work in peace.” He ended by shaking his head in disgust. He didn't care for the young Witch… not one bit. It had been only eleven days and it felt like eleven years as far as Frank was concerned. The damn Witch seemed to show up out of the blue every time it seemed like someone was making some headway with Doctor Mengele’s notes. It was damn frustrating and if it hadn't been a necessary step in the overall plan he would be all too happy to slip something into the man’s drink.
“Patience, we have been at this for years. I thought after all of the study that if I could just get into a lab and apply the science thatit would work without a problem. But it fails each and every time and I can’t see where I am going wrong!” He reached for his hand written notes and scratched the two day growth on his chin while he read the top sheet again. And as if on cue Michael flowed past the lunch table as if he were the President of the Council of Kingdoms, which he most certainly was not.
“Is it done yet?” Michael said in a sarcastic tone to no-one in particular.
“Not yet young man, but soon…” Misha saw the angry cloud cross Michael’s face and knew that the Witch was not in a patient mood, and he could be a problem when he was impatient. “It will be done in the next hour or two. I suggest you start thinking of suitable names.” Michael’s face went from overcast to sunny day in a fraction of a second. It worked every time. Misha could distract and divert Michael’s attention so easily it was beyond funny or even ridiculous. But in this instance the Witch was right; there was no use inwasting any more time. He called for his assistants and asked Frank to help prepare Mrs. Seanain for implantation.
Misha hated this part of the plan. His forte was research,not bedside manner or actually dealing gently with a female body. If he had his way he would be splitting zygotes and growing them in petri dishes or picking female surrogates based upon scientific data and not sentimentality. But for him to get the protection and subjects that he needed to conduct his research he needed to play this game.
When Misha first presented the premise of his research to the Council of Kingdoms they had been resistant to embracing his vision, but now nearly ten years later they had seen the light. But the rise in power of the Magical community (they were calling themselves the Blessed now) had complicated matters yet again. Misha could hardly believe that the Witches were talking about making their own Council, as if they could ever be equal to the Kingdoms! Their audacity got under his skin. The political tension between the Council of Kingdoms and the Witches had caused him to allow his relationship with Michael. It was a relationship that sometimes made his skin crawl.
Michael had been a simple carpenter before the plague in his DNA had activated belatedly. Now he was a self-righteous narcissistic prick with a bad temper. Well… that wasn’t exactly true; Michael was a stupid self-righteous narcissistic prick with a bad temper. Misha really wanted to be there the day that Michael got put into his proper place.
Misha’s musings were interrupted by Frank who was summoning him to the operating area. He liked Frank. They had been working together for decades. There was nothing Frank could do that would surprise Misha and he imagined that the same could be said to the opposite. They were a good team. What Misha forgot Frank would remember, what one of them missed the other would see.Neither one of them was cursed with strange nor distracting predilections like strong drink or loose women. That is not to say that they never tipped a glass in celebration or frustration or that they never bent a nurse or orderly over a table now and again but their love was science and nothing else. In short they were medical scientists, pure and simple and that made them the perfect team in the lab.
When Misha entered the curtained off area that was the operating room his hands were held up before him and bioseal, the liquid biological and antibacterial mixture that coated the doctor’s hands like a glove, was dripping down his forearm. It was easily removable with the correct soap and water but while it was on the hands it effectively protected everyone from biohazards during operations and other medical procedures. Misha had that unmistakable look on his face that said; I would rather be somewhere else.
Frank knew that Misha hated actually implanting a zygote into the female body but Misha was much better at it than Frank. Frank’s touch was much too brusque and uneven. Seldom did either of them need to deal with a female that was not an involuntary volunteer and one that needed to be treated with care. Their usual subjects were disposable incubators that were kept unconscious the entire time. But Mrs. Seanain would be transported back to the hospital once this was completed and she needed to be none the wiser. But that didn’t stop Misha from hating what he had to do and Frank was well aware of that little fact. It was a good thing that Frank had an old bottle of single malt in his desk because he thought that Misha would need a drink later.
Throughout the procedure Michael stood slightly off to the side and behind Doctor Lutrova’s right shoulder, watching intently every move that the Doctor made… as if he had any idea what the Doctor was actually doing.It served only to make the Doctor angry. Luckily Michael didn’t say any of the crude comments that he was certainly thinking while Misha was implanting the twins. That might have sent Misha over the edge.
Shortly after the implantation Mrs. Seanain was transported back to the hospital by a tall quiet Sinarri who was working with the Kingdoms.The Sinarri, better known by their slave name, Elf had been discovered by the aliens and pulled out of hiding to be thrown into the same frying pan as the humans. Also in the frying pan were a race of Dwarves long thought to be extinct, and another alien race called the Zalyns made up the mixture in the pan while the Winiks sat in orbit and did the exterminating.
It was the biological virus engineered by the Winiks in an attempt to control the minds of the people’s on the planet that had brought about magical beings once again. Humans who were changed by the virus, the plague became magical. Parts of their minds that had been previously dormant suddenly switched on and an entire new world became accessible to them. Their full abilities were yet to be discovered as the whole affair was less than a full generation old.
The Sinarri working with the Doctors, whose name neither Misha nor Frank could remember, was a great asset to their work. He was trustworthy and efficient. Both qualities made him an instant friend to the two scientists. The fact that he seldom spoke to anyone and seemed to have no outside friends made him a treasure… now if they could just remember his name…Joctal… Jackal… Jottle… hell they decided to just call him Jack. That was the way that it had been for years and Jack didn’t seem to give a damn one way or the other.
“Now we wait and see.” Misha announced to the operating staff and more specifically to Michael. “I suggest that you join your wife at the hospital. Remember the story and…” He held up his hand forestalling the comment that was just about ready to spill out of Michael’s mouth. “…and remember that we need more eggs and more volunteers.” Having said what he wanted to say he waved dismissively in Michael’s direction and turned to walkaway. Michael was so stunned by the dismissal that he just stood there and gaped. By the time he had figured out what to say the Doctor and most of the staff had vacated the area… there was no-one there that mattered to Michael to hear his witty retort so he stormed off; all the while trying to look as if that had been his intention from the start.
It's rough but, I like where it's going.
Live well and be god to each other.