“Will someone turn that off?” he demanded to no one in particular.
The clinical calm typically present in the lab returned. Globe’s workers tried to compose themselves. The low-frequency sound disappeared with a soft buzz. Globe opened his eyes blinking at the blue-white light that returned to calm his heated head.
Globe glared at the transparent tube where Peter motionlessly floated. What normally illuminated the super within was now eerily dark. The data on the screen in front of him flashed, “alert,” “system down,” and “reboot unavailable.” It had been working like a clock, timed and measured to tick in a precise rhythm that promised to deliver outstanding results within weeks. Now it had suffered a step back and not a small one. He tried to calculate the new timetable. His gaze was unfocused, and he looked nowhere, in particular, lost in thought while his fingers clenched into fists. He needed time to understand whether the experiment had suffered a recoverable overdose on the cocktail of drugs designed to keep Peter alive. Perhaps the substance had been muddied, weakened, even. He needed to know if this project was completely lost or just halted.
His stare wandered to a matching tank and his brows furrowed. He knew it had come from Kristoff, the computer said as much. It was just a light stir, a brief, but weak spark. The vital signs of his reluctant hero were the source of the power surge that had transferred to Peter’s chamber and short-circuited it. They had nearly lost Peter, and now his vitals were so low it was impossible to continue the experiment. Worst than that, his power had been depleted. Globe shifted his attention to the third pod in the room. He threatened Anne into compliance so many times with it. Could it be used to fix Peter’s malfunctioning pod?
One of the lab assistants babbled at him reiterating things that Globe already knew. The assistant tried to explain how the team was taking a manual sample to test. How from the moment the accident had happened the test results had begun to decrease in purity, efficiency and strength. How they had had to temporarily disconnect Kristoff from the equation for fear his DNA structure would dominate and destroy the results. Globe’s fist came down on the table scaring the lab assistant and he pounded it until the skin on his knuckles broke and they started to bleed. He smacked the monitor and grabbed a handful of cables and pulled at them ripping them apart from whatever sockets they were attached to. He hurled the bundle of cables on the floor in a heap. In his fury, he flipped the table and kicked a rolling chair making the assistant cower and hug the tablet he held with a death grip. Everyone else present stopped and stared. Some had the sense to hide it, but not all of them.
When he was done with his tantrum, his fingers ached, and his heart pounded so wildly, he thought it might burst right through his chest. He turned his attention to the lab personnel all standing still. They were apparently confused as to what to do, but no one dared to look him in the eye. He felt his anger rising back with his voice.
“Don’t you have work to do? Fix this damned error now! If we lose Peter, there will be consequences.”
As they made themselves busy Globe found the cowering assistant watching him carefully, fright written on his face.
“Did you say this was an accident?” Globe demanded and took a step closer.
The man stammered when he tried to show Globe the graphs on his tablet. Globe just pushed it away from his sweaty hands.
The assistant tried again. “Sir, I-I wouldn’t call it any other way. It was a miscalculation perhaps, o-or a malfunction, but definitely an a-accident. We uh, we need something…”
“Something?” Globe hissed.
The assistant hesitated, his eyes nervously darting searching for an escape. “A replacement of sorts. Something o-or someone with s-similar power levels to replace the subject until we have him back at f-full power.”
The words resonated in Globe’s mind. A boost, Peter needed a boost. It was a novel idea. And so simple too. Why hadn’t he thought of it earlier? He needed someone with a similar, but not necessarily identical ability. He needed someone whose power was just resurfacing, fresh and not tainted. He knew of someone just like that. He needed to find Joaquin.
Globe smiled and nodded more to himself than to the man who took it as an opportunity and a blessing to leave. Globe made his way through the debris of his display of childish frustration and stood in front of Kristoff’s tank.
It wasn’t an accident, he thought, it could not have been. He allowed the small smile to creep larger on his lips. He saw it in the reflection of his face on the tank and was somewhat disappointed that Kristoff couldn’t see it. “Trying to ruin my plans are you, Kristoff? You should be thankful that I still need you.” He tapped on the glass surface. “Because otherwise I would boil you in that thing right now and watch you burn from the inside out.”
He tapped again on the glass with his fingers like a man trying to scare fish away. “Don’t worry, Kristoff, I have just the solution to our little problem. Just you just wait and see.”
Next: Bizarre Mundanity