Antikas sat on the floor in the lab of the Eternal Legacy station in the Gyre. The thick smoke had set off the smoke alarms a moment ago and now he was coated in a fire retardant foam. The horns still blared. He sat angrily in the foam for many a minute until Mordikar ran into the lab.
Mordikar: “Antikas! What the @#*% is goin’ on in here? The smoke alarms damn near scared the hell out of me. I spilled my coffee all over my lap. Do you have any idea how painful that was? THAT COFFEE WAS HOT!”
Antikas: “Yes, well my experiment seems to have… failed.”
Antikas: “He might have at least left me some kind of warning that he had replaced my sample of organic compounds with his blasted Cheerios(R). That would have prevented me from wasting a full week’s worth of work.”
Mordikar: “Well, I’ve been meaning to tell you… he left quite a… unique… odor in the bathroom too. You know it’s your responsibility to clean up after him. That was part of the arrangement.”
Mordikar turned off the fire alarms. He helped the aged scientist off the floor and brushed some of the foam off his lab coat. Antikas grumbled a string of reprisals for the absent monkey.
The artifacts retrieved from Canis 9502 were a little disappointing. He had studied them for a week’s time, now. The most intriguing of them had bee a rusty DSS which was partially contaminated with an unusual space-borne spore. He had been subjecting the sample to a battery of tests before kingmonkey had left.
kingmonkey had been extremely upset upon reading the news of his beloved homeland falling prey to the lust for combat. He had raged and in a few of his rare moments of lucidity had made several communiqués to voice his opposition to the war. After the end of his transmissions he had sulked around the station muttering and kicking random things. At one point Mordikar had grown tired of monkey’s pouting and uttered the words which had brought about the current catastrophe:
Mordikar: “Well, why don’t you just find something to take your mind off the problem. I don’t know, go help with Anti’s experiments or something.”
Upon hearing this, Antikas knew to fear the worst. He had run to the lab, but was too late. He had asked for kingmonkey to leave the station for a while, sent him on an errand of no importance to get some peace and quiet.
Antikas: “kingmonkey has been getting more irritable of late. It seems the political unrest between Quantar and Hyperial has really gotten to him.”
Mordikar: “Tell me about it. I think Taisan has suffered the most from king’s anti war speeches, being the only Quant in the station.”
Antikas: “I believe that something else may be at the root of the problem. He has been undergoing some other changes that remain imperceptible to all but me. I have studied him extensively since the days of Project: Echo, and in the past weeks he has been changed”
Moridikar: “How’s he changing? Is it a physical thing, or is it mental?”
Antikas: “It appears to be a form of spontaneous evolution. Ever since his alleged encounter with Hammy-er, Hamalzah, he seems to be undergoing a continuous mutation. Primarily, his mental faculties seem to be affected.”
Mordikar: “Is he getting… smarter?”
Antikas: “I’ve seen no signs to indicate increased intellectual capacity. It may be a perceptive or instinctual increase.”
Mordikar pondered that fact as the pair of them walked to the lunchroom. Mordikar poured a cup of coffee for each of them. Antikas declined politely, his ulcer had only gotten worse in the past few days. He had berated monkey in the past for some of his foolishness, and rightfuly so at times, but deep down he did care for kingmonkey. He was worried about the changes that kingmonkey was undergoing. All Mordikar could say was that over the short time he had known monkey, monkey had always been somewhat… unstable. monkey had taken Mordi’s good natured ribbing about Dr. Q’son a little too seriously.
The pair sat in silence for a long while.
Mordikar: “Out of curiosity, Anti, what did you find out about the spores we found?”
Antikas: “Well, it seems mostly harmless. Very few reactive properties… I think at worst if someone should eat it, they might get a severe case of diarrhea.”
Mordikar: “Really? Yuck. I never saw them, what did they look like?”
Antikas: “Um, they were small and round… tan in color, like little rings.”
Mordikar: “Oh… my… god! You’re telling me they look like Cheerios(R)?”
Antikas: “Yes, why?”
Deep in Aman space, kingmonkey groaned in pain as he sat gingerly in the pilot seat of his heavy miner. The lavatory of his Khamsin had overflown twice.
. . .the Tails continue