By Angie Ho Guyoton
Icy steel on throbbing pulse jolts me back to consciousness. I open my eyes and am confronted by a stabbing glare of harsh white light. I squint at the overhead menace: a 3-circle jet spewing out laser, and try to gather my senses. I move my limbs to see if they were broken, no, they just feel terribly numb. Sour blood chokes at my throat and my feeble attempt to spit only causes it to trickle from the corner of my mouth. How long have I passed out? Grogginess amplifies; I close my eyes - fuzzy shapes and shooting sparks in slow motion. I let out a groan.
'Commandant, he's awake.' Cyborg babble booms from my right. With my will and reflex out of sync, I labour to tilt my head to face the origin of this reverberation. Wobbly form glints, then slowly, Lady Frost sways into focus. With one hand poised over the MT-K.85 secured at her waist, Lady Frost stands svelte and alluring in her metallic suit. Her beautiful face is so perfect and sublime; her cyan eyes, frigid and callous. Coherent creeps slowly back, that's the effect of her vibes and at once, I remember my mission.
I am strapped onto a reclining chair, immobilized by tX-9s around my wrists and ankles – the restraining devices that Hexter invented to incapacitate our adversary: shackles that can only be broken by a special sensory code. In an ironic twist of fate, these tX-9s now render me defenseless under the hands of the evil forces. How did they come into their possession? I can only put it down to a mole among us.
'Ah, welcome back. You were gone for a while, I was afraid we might have lost you.' The unmistakable voice of Commandant Whitefrock resonates in the room.
'I must say you put up a good fight earlier on. Lady Frost was a little shaken off her element. But your Letris 4.7 was no match against her superior MT-K.85.' Commandant Whitefrock moves into view and hovers over my face, momentarily blocking the piercing rays from overhead. Behind his oversized goggles, tiny red veins run amok in the white of his eyes. I lurch forward and a drilling pain explodes in my hip. Gushing blood ebbs from my MT-K.85 wound. Trembles drench my blood soaked body.
'I would stay still if I were you,' Commandant Whitefrock grins into my face. I spit the blood that has gathered at the back of my throat and send it flying right smack onto his smooth glass goggles
'Cut the crap and kill me,' I say. I squeeze my palms and clench my fingers. My first long step to freedom depends on sensing the right code. I need to break the tX-9s fast.
'Our young man wants to die,' Commandant Whitefrock says as he calmly picks up a sanitized towel and dab at his goggles and face, meticulously removing specks of my blood and saliva.
'Relieve you of your sufferings? Not so easy Codename Backer. Not before you tell us where Molaris-2 is.' They know about Molaris-2! Bastard betrayer.
'I don't know what you're talking about. If you mean Molaris-1, we had it destroyed a long time ago,' I feign ignorance.
'Yes, the tragic destruction of Molaris-1 still pains me deeply. How sad. But your Council created Molaris-2 before exterminating its predecessor. And from my calculations, Molaris-2 is now operative. It is ready to conquer and rule the world.'
'To save the world,' I interject, 'from your evil devices! Keep fantasizing. I'd rather destroy Molaris-2 than let it falls into your vile hands.'
'Well, well, our young man is not cooperating, Lady Frost. What shall we do?'
'The same fate as Codename Hexter,' Lady Frost sneers.
'Hexter! Where is he!' I am so entwined in my predicament that I have completely forgotten about my loyal associate.
'Your small fry of a sidekick was less resilient,' Commandant Whitefrock scoffs.
'You bastards! What did you do to him?'
'Like what we will do to you. Now, Codename Backer, where is Molaris-2!' Storms Commandant Whitefrock. Rage and vengeance propel my adrenalin. With renewed strength and urgency, I tap furiously at the code. Trickling sweat, slippery palm, I must prevail.
'Just finish me off. I'm dying anyway.'
'Is that a plea? Show us where is Molaris-2 and I promise you a fast and painless death.'
'Or a gruesome spectacle like that of your compatriot's,' cuts in Lady Frost. Hot tears well up my eyes, I know what they're capable of. Hexter, I'll make them pay, if I ever get out of here alive. Come on now, there, one last sense. I grit my teeth.
'Go to HELL!' I scream.
'You're testing my patience Codename Backer! Lady Frost, he's ready for another spin.' With that, Lady Frost reaches for the metal tray and picks up the dreaded syringe. She gives the needle a little squirt and moves towards me. I focus on her slender fingers as she grips my bare forearm: swift-penetrating chills pierce me to the core – she's not called Frost for nothing.
'I promise you this will hurt,'she announces. I take one last look at her alluring face, a last treat before the end. Wait for the moment. She positions the needle. Now! I give the sensor a final tap - Zink! The tX-9 around my right wrist releases its catch. Shock and confusion swamp Lady Frost's face as I grab her MT-K.85 and squeeze the trigger, sending bullets speeding into her jaw and through her head. An explosion of blood and bone fragments erupts, follows by a firework of brain matter. On cue with the pungency of burnt flesh and charred wires, her torso plummets onto the floor. Ooh, pity about that beautiful face.
I turn my attention to the computer station where Commandant Whitefrock has taken cover and fire my newly acquired weapon, tearing the station into chunks and spouting metallic shrapnel into all directions. I have just enough time to decode the tX-9 on my left wrist when a shot runs out. I dive to the floor just as bullets shriek past. Shrapnel rain down on me as I hang from my now twisted ankles - argh! They are still strapped in the tX-9s on the reclining chair. Amid the disarray, Commandant Whitefrock slips out of the bullet holes riddled door.
Siren howls. Stomping boots of lieutenant guards echo in the corridor. Speed is my sole survival. I haul myself up onto the reclining chair - shooting pain churns in my hip - and snap back down like an elastic band. My only chance is to shoot myself at the ankles. Not quite. Fighting the rushing blood to my head, I take aim at the tX-9 around my right ankle. Bang! Zink! My right leg hangs free. Hexter would be disappointed to learn that his ingenious restrainer is no match from a mere MT-K.85 shot.
Surging forces, hissing guns, just a few feet away. I fire at my left ankle. Boom! Torn flesh and burst arteries disgorge blood. No matter, I am freed. I drag myself to my only escape route: the window. I have no idea how high I am, this could be destruction but my remaining hope. I shatter the enforced glass with another outburst from the MT-K.85. Embracing warmth from the exposed window spurs me on. I give myself a strenuous heave.
Enraged hands pull me back onto the wreckage-laced floor and slam-dunk my face into glass shards; lieutenant guards trample on my body. Beckoning freedom evaporates. Words dissolve as I lie in a torpedo of pain. A gloved palm jerks up my chin.
'Where is Molaris-2 Codename Backer,' repeats a voice. Dim light floods into narrow slits; I can barely figure out Commandant Whitefrock's face, but I am certain the game is now over.
'Molaris-2. Where is it exactly? Now!'
'Here.' Pause. 'In my mouth.' Longer pause. 'Under molar D2.' Defeated, I mourn my own death and that of the world.
'Ha, ha, ha, ha!' Commandant Whitefrock forces open my mouth and sticks in his thumb and index finger. Like a starved dog, I chomp down hard at my last supper.
'Aaahhhhh!!! Stop! What are you doing?!'
I snap open my eyes to see Dr Wilson's bewildered face and realize that I'm biting on his fingers. I unclench my teeth and relieve my dentist of his misery. Mine has just begun.
'I'm so sorry. Really doctor, I didn't mean to. I'm very sorry.' I can see blood oozing out of the latex glove. I wish the dentist chair would open up, swallow me whole and expel me into nothingness. My simple tooth extraction has turned out to be more disastrous than thought.
'What the… I was just trying to…' Shock turns to anger to incomprehension. Dr Wilson removes his glove and examines his hand. Specks of red dot his index finger. Fiona, his lovely assistant, then sets about dabbing the wounds with antiseptic soaked cotton.
'I'm terribly sorry. I was just trying to distract myself from the pain. That's when my imagination got the better of me.'
'You are on local anaesthesia; you won't feel any pain, just a little tug, that's all. It's a simple extraction, nothing complicated' Dr Wilson calmly explains.
'I know, still, going to the dentist always make me queasy and, afraid.' Swelling guilt. Mortifying shame. Thumping heart accelerates.
'I'm sorry doctor. I really am.' Millions apologies erase all past efforts in leaving a good impression. Fiona must now think that I'm a wuss. I steal a look at those cyan eyes. She catches me and breaks into a sympathetic smile. My face flushes to boiling point.
'I can't believe I'm bitten by a patient; it's the first time this happens,' Dr Wilson lets out a cordial laugh. Pounding heartbeats dwindle a notch.
'Eh, no hard feelings then, doctor?'
'No, don't worry young man. Now, let's get on with it. Are you ready? You won't any feel pain, I assure you.' Dr Wilson resumes the procedure.
Detecting my anxious look, Fiona approaches and offers to hold my hand. 'Or do you prefer to clutch your book.' Jubilation explodes, defusing any impending fear. I glance at the sci-fi paperback on my lap. A little shift and a clever twitch send it tumbling onto the white marble floor. I look up and grin into her beautiful face.QLRS Vol. 9 No. 2 Apr 2010