chromewasp

Unrecognizable, Part 2

Jun 9th, 2013
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  1. “Are you experiencing any allergy symptoms at the injection site?” he asked. “Hives? Rashes? Itching?”
  2.  
  3. “I'm not sure what it is,” I admitted. “It's like some sort of...hair growth.”
  4.  
  5. It was unsettling how little his expression changed. “And you're certain that this has only appeared recently?”
  6.  
  7. I began to grow increasingly flustered. I just wanted to see the doc, get fixed, and get back to work. It didn't help that the room seemed like an oven.
  8.  
  9. “Christ,” I snorted. “It's practically a patch of fur. You seriously think I could've missed something like that?”
  10.  
  11. “Rest assured, sir, we take all injury complaints very seriously,” he said, not raising his voice. “I'll see if we have a specialist available.”
  12.  
  13. He typed away something on his computer, and directed me to have a seat in the waiting room.
  14.  
  15. Unsurprisingly, the place had the same atmosphere as any other room in The Source: immaculately bland. There were no company logos, no magazines on the tables, no motivational posters with cute kittens. There were only a few other workers sitting around, and none of them looked in the mood for small talk.
  16.  
  17. To some people it was depressing, but to me it helped me do my job. I guess it made it seem more like the place wasn't real. That way, when I came home I could pretend I had just woken up from a bad, recurring dream.
  18.  
  19. Practically just after I'd sat down, an assistant emerged from the hallway to the sub-offices. “Aiden Davis,” he called.
  20.  
  21. I got up and followed him, my unease growing as we navigated down a long series of twists and turns. Even compared to the huge number of medical staff I'd seen, this seemed excessive. Why the hell did they need so many examination rooms?
  22.  
  23. Before you snort and chuckle over how oblivious I was, I can assure you I had plenty of fucked-up theories at the back of my head. I imagined a hundred different ludicrously sinister conspiracies that might have been going on while I worked at the plant, and that creepy walk through the hallways made my imagination soar.
  24.  
  25. I mean, Christ. Here I was, developing a big patch of fur in a lair populated by faceless, cold doctors in a factory that wasn't supposed to exist. You bet your ass I had my suspicions. But in all my time working at the plant, none of my nightmare scenarios had ever come true.
  26.  
  27. So I didn't run screaming when we came to Room 106. I didn't knock out the orderly, I didn't escape from a vent shaft, I didn't disappear into the streets praying that they'd never find me.
  28.  
  29. I forced a smile as the orderly “introduced” me to a doctor named Cheryl Dundee. I use the quotation marks because I'd actually spoken with her several times before...and none of those encounters were my choice.
  30.  
  31. There was nothing grating or unpleasant about the woman, at least on the surface. But there was always something about her that seemed a little -too- perfect. As though she was trying way too hard to cover something up.
  32.  
  33. It didn't help that she had a habit of “bumping” into me in the workplace, always impeccably polite but oddly interested in what I was doing.
  34.  
  35. So when I saw her you can imagine what that did to the little alarm bell ringing in my head. Out of all the doctors in The Source's medical section, she was the one who specialized in this sort of stuff?
  36.  
  37. “So, tell me what happened,” she said smoothly as the orderly closed the examination room door behind us.
  38.  
  39. I explained again how I'd gotten injected, and when I had first noticed the symptoms.
  40.  
  41. She nodded thoughtfully, taking notes all the while. Her eyes widened when I showed her what was growing on my leg.
  42.  
  43. “I take it you've never seen anything like this before?” I asked her.
  44.  
  45. She shook her head. “Actually, yes we have. As rare as it is, there was a similar case a few months back. You'd be surprised what sort of things these equine-optimized nanites can do.”
  46.  
  47. “What happened to the other victim?” I asked.
  48.  
  49. She walked over to a large refrigerated locker and dialed a code. “We fixed him up within a few days.”
  50.  
  51. I breathed a little sigh of relief. “Good. What do you need to do?”
  52.  
  53. She opened the locker's door, pulling out a small metal injector before closing it again. “It wasn't difficult. As it turned out, we just needed a small dose of this.”
  54.  
  55. “What is it?” I asked, starting to realize that this was how a lot of bad sci-fi thriller books start. But Christ, I couldn't just run away, and again—I didn't have the benefit of hindsight.
  56.  
  57. “A nanoblocker enzyme,” she explained. “We always keep some handy in case something goes wrong with the vaccinations. It works on most accidental injection victims—here, lie down on the exam table. Just in case you have a reaction.”
  58.  
  59. “What kind of reaction?” I asked as I laid down on the table, the paper crinkling loudly.
  60.  
  61. “Sometimes it can cause brief unconsciousness. But don't worry—it's never anything serious.”
  62.  
  63. She pressed the injector to the center of the patch of fur on my leg and depressed the button. Instantly I felt a tiny sting of pain, surrounded by a radiating sense of numbness from the area.
  64.  
  65. The world began to warp and twist around me, all sound becoming low and slow and the lights growing dim.
  66.  
  67. “I—I--” I managed to say. “I...think I...might...”
  68.  
  69. I never heard Cheryl's response.
  70.  
  71.  
  72. When I came to, it took me a while to remember what had happened. And when I did, it was all the more evident that something had gone very, very fucking wrong.
  73.  
  74. For one thing, my coveralls were soaked with sweat, and judging by their sudden loose fit someone had changed my clothes. For another, I was trapped in a gray-bricked room with the only apparent exit being a solidly built metal door.
  75.  
  76. But worst of all was the fact that I was strapped spread-eagle to a table. It was inclined at a steep angle, making it impossible to see what was behind me. The bonds were just a tad too tight to be comfortable, and my feet prickled like I was walking through a cactus field.
  77.  
  78. I've never been especially afraid of dying. But ever since I was a kid, I could never stand to even read about torture or cruel medical experiments. The idea of spending hours in agony, helpless to make the pain stop...
  79.  
  80. I have to admit, I was pretty close to crying from fear. What the hell were they going to do?
  81.  
  82. It took several hour-like minutes of agonizing tension before a voice finally drifted from unseen speakers.
  83.  
  84. “Greetings, Aidan. You have been inducted into our Special Products Program.”
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