Chapter 6: Emergency Room...OR EMERGENCY DOOM!
I woke to find myself strapped to a surgical slab in what looked like an old operation theatre. Surprise surprise. A massive overhead light shone straight into my eyes, making it hard to see, but I could make out what I needed. The theatre had long been abandoned and had long ceased to be sanitary enough for the procedures that once took place here. Overhead was the student's observation area, where they could look down and observe. I could see Carlak and some other mutant goon standing by the only set of doors, obviously there to keep an eye on me. Aside from that, the room was empty. Just me, some guards, and a surgical slab.
Oh, and the small table sitting next to me with all the wicked-looking instruments of arcane surgery and torture, razor sharp and polished to an impecible shine; almost forgot to mention that.
The moment I began to stir, I could hear Carlak send the other goon off to get "the boss". After the goon left, he turned to me.
"I hope you're ready for a world of pain, Explosion." he said with a smirk.
"Look Carlak, you're a great guy and all, I really mean that. But I'm just not ready for a relationship right now."
He growled and resumed his spot by the door just as Doctor Macabre entered.
"How is our patient Carlak?" the doctor asked.
"The patient has been prepped and is ready to go doctor."
I guess by "prepped" he meant "strapped down good and tight". I took a moment to test the straps around my wrists and ankles, but there was no give, these were industrial strength. Not that I was surprised'; Macabre may be horribly insane, but he was still smart enough to not take any chances with me.
The doctor excused Carlak and stood over me. He was wearing a green surgeon's garb - mask and all - that was stained with god-knows-what. Between the mask and the surgical cap he was wearing, all I could see of him was the silver-dollar-sized, black optic lenses he had replaced his eyes with. As he spoke, his two extra arms - nasty-looking, robotic claw things - began to poke and prod at me excitedly.
He apparently seemed content to just stare at me like a fat kid gazing at a cake in a bakery store window, so I decided to break the silence. "What's up doc?"
I do that every time I see him. He hates it.
He didn't seem fazed this time though, I guess he was to happy to have me served up on a silver platter. "'What's up', you ask? Oh, you know. The usual." He raised his two human arms in the air dramatically. "Just BEING THE GREATEST MIND IN THE HISTORY OF MEDICAL SCIENCE!" He kept his arms in the air for a few seconds, probably hoping for lightning to strike in the distance for dramatic effect. When it didn't strike, he slowly lowered his arms and regained his demeanor. "Ya know, just chillin'. Kickin' it. Keepin' it real. And what about you? Still hot on a case, fighting evil, and rocking out?"
I gave his inquiry careful consideration. "Yeah, pretty much."
He laughed to himself, all smug and shit. "I see. Tell me, how does it make you feel to know that, after all your hard work in tracking me down to solve your latest mystery, when you do finally find me you are strapped down and completely helpless? Does it make you blind with furious rage, or does it simply crush every single hope you once had? Come on, tell the nice doctor where it hurts."
He seemed so proud of himself. That what made it so much better. "Actually, it has been a really tough case."
Macabre pulled down his surgical mask, revealing a set of needle-like, metal teeth. He was blushing. "Really?"
I continued. "Yeah, a serious one too. I was hired by the president of the United States of Neo-America."
He was eating this up. "The neo-government? Scared of little old me?"
"Yeah, the bigwigs are pretty shook up."
"Well, it's about time the powers-that-be recognized the threat of my amazing genius."
"The only problem is, you're not my case doc."
He went pale; somber. His optical lens eyes whirred to life, zooming in on me. "I'm not the case?"
"'Fraid not. I was just looking for you to get some info."
He was pissed now. He brought his face inches away from mine. I could smell the formaldehyde on his breath. "I'm a bloody informant now? Who - tell me - who is this? Who could possibly have the sheer diabolical genius to out-villian me?"
"Looks like The Man considers Professor Apocalypse to be baddy numero uno nowadays."
Dr. Macabre was officially past pissed and was rapidly approaching livid territory now. "Apocalypse?! The roboticist?! I, the great Doctor Macabre: Master of the Flesh, is being overshadowed by a GODDAMN MECHANIC?!"
"Well, he did kidnap the president's daughter."
His rage suddenly dropped to curiousity. "Really? The world's sexiest bikini lingere model and doomsday device expert? That one?"
"Yup. He kidnapped the hell out of her."
Macabre took a second to take it in. "Damn, that is dastardly, isn't it?"
"That's what I said."
"Why didn't I ever think of that?"
"Because you're no evil genius, you're just crazy."
And he was enraged again. I thought maybe I had broken him. "Don't you dare question my genius! You can't even comprehend it! Even as a child, my magnificent medical intellect surpassed my adult peers! It all started when..."
I groaned to myself. I accidentally caused a villian soliloquy.
"...I was six years old. During recess at school, I would capture small woodland creatures and study them, my young mind already hungry for knowledge. Then I began the first of what has been a lifetime of groundbreaking operations. After my teacher discovered my army of rabid squirrelbunnies, she told my mom and my mom got scared and said, 'You're moving to a medical science academy in Bel-Air.' I whistled for a cab and when it came near, the license plate said 'FRESH' and it had dice in the mirror. If anything I could say that this cab was rare, but I thought 'Nay, forget it. Yo homes to Bel-Air!' I pulled up to the school about 7:00 or 8:00 and I yelled to the cabby, 'Yo homes, smell ya later!' Looked up at the academy, I was finally there, to harness my genius in a medical science academy in Bel-Air."
He went on like this for a while. He was going on about taking a zombie chimpanzee to the prom when I finally got fed up and interrupted him. "Hey, this is all very interesting and nightmare-inducing and all, but I've really gotta get going. How about you untie me and tell me where Apocalypse is so I can kick his ass and rescue the president's daughter?"
He paused to consider it, and for a second I though he was gonna do it, but then the bastard said "You have presented me with quite a dillema, Mr. Explosion. One one hand, I want to see Professor Apocalypse defeated for upstaging me, and I and only I can give you the information you need to do this for me. On the other hand, I hate you so very, very much and I want to commit horrible medical atrocities upon you." He began to pace back and forth. "What to do, what to do..."
"I vote for the first one." I said, waving one restricted hand for emphasis.
"Or, there's the third option." He turned to me, a big spiky metal grin on his face.
"What's the third option?" I asked, less than enthused.
"I preform a slaven..omy on you. It's a simple, but very intrusive procedure that would turn you into my willing servant; completely unable to defy me."
I tried to interrupt. "I don't like the third option, let's go with that first one."
He ignored me, continuing "And while I'm at it, I'll go ahead and throw some 'improvements' on you; a couple extra limbs, maybe a probascus, then I'll send the new and improved you to defeat Professor Apocalypse. It's really a win-win situation for me."
He began sorting through his surgical equiptment. This was getting bad. I needed to think of something clever. And fast.
"No wait. You...uh...you can't do that."
He turned back to me, holding something that looked like a cross between a scalpel, a spork, and an ice cream scooper. "Oh yeah? And why can't I do that?"
Dammit, mighty barbarian brain! You've betrayed me again! "Well...uh...you can't slave-ify me because if you do, I won't be able to defeat Apocalypse 'cause...he'll outsmart me! Yeah, that's it."
"You don't understand, Mr. Explosion. The slaven..omy won't make you some drooling buffoon, you will still retain some base intelligence."
"Will I retain enough to outsmart Apocalypse?"
I continued to push the point. "Face it Macabre, I'm the only one who can stop Apocalypse, and if you go messing with what make me me, then all you have is another one of those useless medical freak goons like Carlak."
He dropped the spork-thing across the room and pointed a long, bony finger at me. "Don't you dare question the quality of my creations! They are beautiful and perfect!"
I had him where I wanted him. "Look, I understand you gotta take pride in your shoddy work or whatever, but the truth is I can mop the floor with any of those med-goons."
"Oh really?!" In a blind fit of rage, he grabbed another nasty-looking surgical...thing and slashed at my straps, freeing me.
As I got up, he continued his tirade. "I challenge you Johnny! A challenge of might: you versus one of my amazing creations! If you can defeat him in hand-to-hand combat, I'll give you the information you need! If you lose, you will be my guinea pig until there's nothing left of you but scraps!"
I couldn't believe he could be this stupid. I got up from the slab and stretched. "Really? All I gotta do is beat up another one of your goons and you'll tell me where Apocalypse is?"
"Not just any goon, Explosion, but my finest creation to date. Perfection in the flesh. The greatest manifestion of medical science. Your doom incarnate."
I still couldn't believe it was gonna be this easy. Had I known this earlier, I would have brought it up before he went on that damn flashback rant. "Whatever. Piece of cake."
He was smiling. The poor fool actually though he had something on me. "Hold your tongue Explosion." He warned.
I rolled my eyes. "Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. How hard could it be? It's not like you've got some guy back there with...I don't know...a chainsaw for a face or something."
Macabre ignored me and called for Carlak, who came bursting through the door.
"Is everything fine doctor?"
The doctor's grin had become noticably more sinister. "Carlack. I want you to go and fetch Gary for me."
Carlak look confused. "Gary? Isn't that the guy with the chainsaw for a face?"
Macabre turned his smile towards me. "Exactly."
Will Johnny Explosion's barbarian might and streetwise know-how be enough to defeat Gary: That Guy with a Chainsaw for a Face? Find out in the next awesome-packed chapter of SPACEDOOM: A Johnny Explosion Adventure!