Art Adkins
Author & Leadership Instructor
Your Subtitle text

Mindwalkers- Chapter 39

Chapter 39 

The work had progressed slowly.  Gunter wanted the array on top of the research complex and the roof had to be reinforced to handle the additional weight.  The engineers constructed a method to anchor the array, but had to recalculate their engineering estimates when they realized the dish caught more wind than they had anticipated.  A radar dish the size of the one Gunter wanted to install was like a large sail and grabbed every strand of ocean breeze.  If not secured properly it would be torn from the rooftop.

The linking of the array to one of the labs was also proving problematic.  The power needed to operate the array exceeded the capacity of the generator on site and another had to be ordered.  Even with a ‘rush’ placed on the cargo, it would still be another two to three days before it arrived. 

The three psychics had been separated and subjected to a full medical screening.  Jimmy was the first subjected to tests.  Every day he had been injected with the mind cocktail and strapped to the gurney in the lab.  A delicate balance of chemicals had been infused in him, but they had yet to develop the combination that would allow them to control the rebellious aspect of his mind, while controlling his psychic abilities.  Today he was being subjected to the same.

“Dr. Zofel, have we figured out the proper combination?  I need him to function.  He needs to be at a state of equilibrium where we can control his mind.  He needs to surrender to our demands.”  Gunter was pacing to and fro behind the one-way glass wall that separated the control room from the research lab.

The change in Gunter was readily apparent.  He was not the same man of a year ago or even six months past.  He had not shaven in four days and a growth of stubble peppered his face.  His bright blonde hair was standing on end; it appeared as if he had slept on it in an awkward sort of way.  His clothes were rumpled and his shirt was stained from coffee he had spilled.  His pants had suffered the same fate.

Even with the disheveled clothing, his nervous energy dominated everything he did.  His frantic motions, the rapid blinking of his eyes as if he was trying to focus, the constant licking of his lips – all signs that he was suffering from an ailment of some kind and it all led to the inescapable conclusion he was a man losing control.  The line between sanity and insanity was becoming blurred, obliterated with each waking moment.

The odor permeating Gunter was overwhelming.  It was another indicator something was wrong.  He had not showered in a week and salt rings were evident beneath his armpits.  Occasionally he would drag the back of his hand across his mouth, but it was more of a nervous habit than a necessity.  His breath was foul and his teeth were discolored.  The aids in the room remained as far away from him as they could.

“We are experimenting with another combination today.  Hopefully, it will have better results.  We have to be careful we don’t overload his system.  If done incorrectly it could kill him.” 

“I don’t care if he dies!  We must have the answers!”  Gunter was screaming and clenching his fists in rage.

Dr. Zofel turned in his chair and faced his boss.  The erratic behavior Gunter had been displaying was growing exponentially day by day.  The nervousness of wiping his mouth, the pacing and the sudden outbursts were all signs of a man about to lose mental control and separate from reality.  Gunter was close to going insane and Dr. Zofel had to reluctantly admit that to himself, if no one else.

“If he dies, we’ll never get our answers.  With his death all will be lost,” said Dr. Zofel, careful to keep his voice low and steady. 

“There are others!  Use them!  All of them!  Whatever it takes!”

Gunter was once again pacing and glaring at the monitors. 

“If we kill them all, then we are lost.  We must have the psychics to carry out our plan.  You know this.”  Dr. Zofel rose from his chair and approached Gunter.  “Come with me to the lab.  You are due for your next injection.”

Not waiting on a response, Dr. Zofel left the control room and walked to his private office.  Gunter did not immediately follow him, but remained behind and stared at Jimmy laying on the gurney in the lab.  After several minutes, Gunter stared hard at each doctor and technician in the room before leaving.  When he walked out and the door eased shut, loud sighs could be heard.

Gunter strode angrily into Dr. Zofel’s office and slammed the door shut.

“Take off your shirt.  I need to examine you before the next injection.”  Dr. Zofel was drawing some mind cocktail from a glass bottle.  Extracting the liquid, he placed the syringe onto a small tray in front of him.

Gunter walked up to Dr. Zofel and leaned over until his face was inches from the doctor.  He sniffed Dr. Zofel’s face on both sides and moved partially around the physician until he was whispering in his ear.  He was like a predatory animal sizing up his prey, preparing to strike at a moment’s notice. 

“I’m fine, Doctor.  What about you?  Are you fine?  Is your loyalty with me?  Dr. Hammermill tried to kill me.  Are you going to try and kill me, Dr. Zofel?  Can I trust you?”  Gunter was whispering and hissing through clenched teeth.

Dr. Zofel remained perfectly still.  Gunter was worse than he had anticipated.  The man had lost the delicate grip on reality that Dr. Zofel thought he had been trying to maintain.  The mind cocktail must have fried his synaptic responses.  Reality and illusion were one and the same.  Dr. Zofel knew he must choose his words carefully.  He was no match for the German’s strength and the mind cocktail may have caused his body to pump more adrenaline into his system, causing heightened power. 

“Gunter.”  Dr. Zofel moved away from Gunter as he spoke and walked over to the examining table.  “You have to decide whether you can trust me.  I’ve done nothing but support you and I’ve been loyal from the beginning.  I’m worried about the cocktail and its effect on you.  I need to examine you.  If we lose you, then we lose the entire operation.”  Dr. Zofel made a play to Gunter’s ego.  It had always been large and with the drugs influencing him, it may have taken control of his entire personality.  Feed the ego and gain trust.

Gunter walked up to the examining table and removed his shirt.  The lesions on his body had grown.  They were turning a dark purple and were longer and thicker in size.  In addition to his chest, they were on his back and arms.

“I knew I could trust you, Zofel.”  Gunter slapped the physician on the back.

“Gunter, remove your pants.  Are these lesions on your legs?”

“I don’t know.”

Gunter kicked off his shoes and dropped his trousers before sitting on the table.  Lesions were across his thighs and down to his calves.  Though not as abundant as the ones on his chest and back, they were prominent.

“Roll over onto your stomach.” 

The spread of the lesions alarmed Dr. Zofel.  Only one thing could maturate so quickly.  And spread so rapidly.

“Gunter, I need to take a sample of these lesions.  They may give us a clue on how much cocktail to administer and I may be able to control them.”

“Why do I want to control them, Doctor?  They have made me powerful.  More powerful than I could have ever imagined.”  Gunter rose up on his elbows to stare at Dr. Zofel.

“If you want to continue to have the power, then I have to make sure they are regulated with your internal organs and mind.  If not, they could kill you.”  Dr. Zofel waited while Gunter wrestled with the information he had just given him.  No sane man would have subjected himself to the chemicals and pushed the limit like Gunter had. 

“Proceed.”  Gunter resumed his position on the table.

Freezing a portion of a lesion on Gunter’s back, Dr. Zofel removed a small tissue sample and placed it into a vial. 

“I’m going to get an analysis of this. It will only take about twenty minutes.  You can come or remain here.”

“I’ll stay.  Hurry back.”  Gunter seemed indifferent.

Dr. Zofel rushed to the nearest lab and subjected the specimen to scrutiny under a microscope.  Stepping back, he inhaled deeply before looking a second time.  Turning to a technician, he waved them over.

“Take a look at this and tell me what you think.”

The technician looked through the microscope and adjusted the knobs several times.  Stepping back she looked directly at Dr. Zofel.

“Cancer.  But it’s mutating in a pattern I’ve never seen.  From the structure I would say it’s a malignant strain.  It’s very complex.  I’ll need to run some additional tests but I’m certain it’s cancer.”

“I thought so, too.  Run the tests and let me know the moment you confirm our suspicions.  Also, let me know how contagious it is if we’re dealing with a strain alien to us.”

Dr. Zofel turned from the technician and walked to the door.  Dr. Zofel knew he needed Gunter to undergo an MRI to determine if there were any growths on his internal organs.  The rate of reproduction of the cancer cells indicated Gunter’s entire body would be consumed in a matter of weeks, perhaps days, if it had not already occurred.  The man was host to the most aggressive cancer strain he had ever seen.

Walking back into this office, he froze in his tracks.  Gunter was standing next to the tray where he had left the syringe with the mind cocktail.  Gunter had placed a tourniquet around his upper arm and the needle and empty syringe were protruding from his raised vein.  Removing the syringe he tossed it to the side along with the tourniquet.

“I got tired of waiting.  Ah, yes.  The power, the light, the fire, the ability to see….to know all.”  Gunter had closed his eyes and was swaying back and forth.  When he opened them they were bloodshot.

“Gunter, the lesions on you are cancerous.  We need to treat you.  They are going to kill you if we don’t start analyzing your condition.  We need to do an MRI to determine if your internal organs are affected.”  Dr. Zofel had walked up closer to Gunter.

Reaching out, Gunter grabbed Dr. Zofel and pulled him close.  Once again he inhaled deeply of the doctor’s scent, before hurling him away.

“I don’t believe you, Zofel.  I’m fine.  These are beauty marks.”  Gunter craned his head from side to side.  “Look.  Here’s my latest.”  Gunter laughed as he pointed to his left cheek.

Dr. Zofel regained his composure and stared at Gunter’s face.   A small lesion could be seen on his left cheek, just beneath his eye.  It was already taking on the characteristics of the others, but was still in the red color phase.

“Gunter, please.  I beg you.  Please let me conduct additional tests and determine….”  Dr. Zofel was stopped by Gunter’s upraised hand.

“Dr. Zofel.  I appreciate your feelings for me, but I’m okay.”  Gunter’s voice was soft, gentle, unlike the tone he had used earlier.  “I need to be at my best and to achieve greatness, one must push the envelope.  I’ll go down in science history as the greatest researcher the world has ever known.”  Gunter’s eyes took on a faraway, serene look and when he refocused, there was anger in his eyes and he zeroed in on Dr. Zofel.   “The greatest researcher the world has ever known!  Ever!  Do you understand?  Can you comprehend?  I’m the next evolution in the chain for mankind!  I’m what we all should become!  I want preparations made!  As soon as possible I want everyone to partake of the formula, the experience!  We will become superhumans!”

Gunter walked forward and grabbed Dr. Zofel in a bear hug and lifted him off the ground.  Setting the stunned physician back down, he kissed him on the cheek and burst out laughing. 

“Soon, Dr. Zofel.  Soon.  The future is clear, bright and right before me.”

Without another word Gunter turned and hurried from the room, humming a tune as he walked.

Dr. Zofel collapsed into a chair in front of his desk.  Inject the others with the mind cocktail?  Gunter was mad.  There was no way he could allow that to happen.  It was preposterous.  How had it come to this?  This was not part of the original plan.  The design had been simple.  What had gone wrong?

Dr. Zofel buried his face in his hands and leaned over, nausea sweeping over him.  All would soon be lost.

Gunter did not return to the research lab, but walked outside in the sun.  Discarding his shirt he left it on the ground and approached the workers.  Despite their attempts, they could not help but stare at the growths on his chest and back.  The foreman was very apprehensive and kept his distance from Gunter.

“How much longer until the array is ready?” asked Gunter, running his hand across the metal surface of a support leg for the antennae array.

“Another two days.  As soon as the generator arrives we can finish installation.”

“Splendid.  Don’t go longer than two days.  I need it active.”

Gunter left the confused workers and walked down to the beach.  Stripping down to his shorts, Gunter waded into the water and started to swim.  He swam directly away from the beach toward the break water.  Fighting the current, he paralleled the island and swam over half a mile before returning to shore.  Pulling himself up on the sand, he collapsed and fell asleep on his back, the sun glaring down on him. 

When he awakened the sun had set, but the workers were still toiling with the array.  His chest and legs were a bright red, the growths a darker purple.  The lesions appeared to be taking on a life of their own.  When he walked they quivered as if trying to detach themselves.  Gunter paid no attention to them.

Walking back into the complex in his underwear, he went directly to the research lab. The psychic was still confined to the gurney but the experiment was over.  Everyone tried not to notice that Gunter was among them.

“The results, Dr. Zofel?”

“One more test on Jimmy should do it.  Tomorrow we will probably have the correct combination.  We’re moving him and bringing in one of the others.”  Dr. Zofel turned to face Gunter.  “Do you want to remain or should I brief you later?”

Gunter watched as Jimmy was released from the gurney and helped to a wheel chair.  His head lolled from side to side, his body trying to fight off the effects of the drugs.

“Call me when you’re done.” 

Without another word Gunter strolled from the room.  Dr. Zofel watched him leave before speaking.

“Bring in the next one.”