I stalked through the shelves, cautious of attack. Without my bullet-resistant suit my nerves were shot. Relief washed over me when I rounded a corner and saw him. Doctor L’Orange. He was sitting at a table with his back to me. Doctor L’Orange was a real-life caricature of a mad scientist. He was short, squat, bald, needed glasses and always wore a white labcoat. I was always surprised when I saw him since he was the only mad scientist I knew of who fit the stereotype. I thought he shouldn’t exist outside of a movie. He was wearing noise-canceling headphones, his head bobbed along to whatever song he was listening to.
At first I thought he was vivisecting a woman until I saw all the wires attached to her skin. It was another robot. A female one. He was massaging her breasts, which were as big as his head.
No wonder he didn’t go running when the guns went off.
I pocked my Glock and removed the Desert Eagle. Both would work for killing, but I needed that intimidation factor. Call it poetic justice. A terrified Doctor L’Orange would be more beneficial.
I pressed the gun barrel against the back of his skull. I grabbed a hold of his headphones and tossed them on the table. He didn’t say anything, he just raised his arms in surrender. I snatched the watch off his wrist. I didn’t know if he had it keyed to do anything destructive, but better safe than sorry. I tossed it over my shoulder.
I frisked him for weapons. His pockets were filled with pencils, scraps of paper and one fake-leather wallet. The only “weapon” I found on him was a dinky Swiss army knife attached to his key ring. When I was sure as I was going to be that I was safe from harm I spun the good doctor around on his stool.
The blood drained out of his face the moment he saw mine. It was a miracle he didn’t piss himself.
“Blood Shadow?! What the hell are you doing here?”
“I spent all day asking that exact question. Someone changed the world on me. I wonder who that was.”
“What makes you think it was m…me?”
“I’d have to say it’s because out of all the people I’ve run into today that should’ve recognized me, didn’t. Except for you. Seeing as I certainly did not do anything that leaves you. Fucking. Fix. It.” I pressed the gun into his forehead for emphasis.
“It wasn’t supposed to be like this.”
“Save me whatever bullshit speech you just came up with. Either fix the world or I paint the walls with your brain and go get a drink.”
“You were supposed to be happy here!”
“Do I look fucking happy?!”
He deflated on his stool, “Everyone was supposed to slide right into a nice comfortable life. No powers, no advanced technology. All the villains would be set and I’d be the only one standing. No heroes to stop me, no villains to compete against. It was supposed to be perfect!”
He started crying as he explained why things changed. Obviously this was a dream very near and dear to him. Something he worked on for years and finally got to execute. Almost every villain had one of those kicking around their head. Most would never come close to ever realizing them.
Doctor L’Orange pulled his off and here I was, ruining it.
“You turned me into a four-hundred pound fat man. Your idea of perfection is lacking.”
“I can fix it! We can fix it! Just let me make a few tweaks to the system,” he swept his arm back, gesturing to the lave lamp device, “and you can have any sort of life you want. Fame, fortune, girls! Anything!”
I looked him in the eyes. They were red from the tears, but he was smiling. He thought that was a great deal. He saw a slim chance to not only live, but to keep his dream alive. The more I stared at him the more he realized it wasn’t going to happen.
This wasn’t us at the bar. That was fun. There I could relax and laugh. He knew my reputation, but had never seen it for himself. He was used to hanging out at the Hook-Up where I was rarely without a smile.
Here, in his lab, he was seeing for the first time what I looked like when I worked. No emotion, just business. The last thing he would see before the bullet smashed through his brain would be my blank face.
“I like my life the way it is, L’Orange. I enjoy what I do, I love Dana Devastation, not that mockery of a housewife back at Isaac’s house. I like going to the Hook-Up with the Damned Tinker and having a few pints. Something I can’t do now because he doesn’t know who I am.
“You should feel lucky that I’m giving you a chance to change things back. If you keep pissing me off I will kill you. That would mean ruining my chances of getting my life back, but here’s the thing: I already made the decision to go out in a suicidal blaze. Following your skin-job back here was just a lucky break. I don’t have much of a problem returning to my earlier plan.”
“Okay, fine. I’ll do it. Please don’t kill me.”
He stood up from his stool with his arms still in the air. He was very careful not to make any sudden moves as he walked over to a computer bank next to the lava lamp device. As he typed away I scanned the room. My eyes kept darting back to his screen and the keyboard to make sure that he wasn’t keying up any hidden security guns or more skin-jobs.