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Birth of a Beater
The aging doctor readied himself for bed. Tomorrow would be a big day for him. Not, perhaps, his biggest day, but still a very big one. He double checked his alarm, and pulled the covers over his withered frame just as the clock downstairs struck 9.
It was a typical Saturday night on Tavern Row. People were filtering into the bars. The night was just starting and it had promise. Soon enough things would change. They always did. One guy would stand too close to another, or dance with the wrong girl, or not dance with the right one… Whatever started it tonight, the outcome would be the same. There would be a fight, then a brawl that would spill into the parking lot. Moments after that, ‘he’ would show up. No one knew his name. The joke was the smart people called him ‘Sir’. The truth was that the smart people were long gone before he arrived.
The old man slipped into his dream state. He had long ago mastered lucid dreaming and was able to control his dreams perfectly. In this one, he was going to receive the Nobel Prize had had been denied all those years ago. His work in biochemical engineering was legendary 4 decades ago. His work in genetics revolutionized the field. Still, he was never held in any regard beyond ‘quaint’ by his peers. “Too meek”, they said. Not the sort of image to catapult science to the 21st century. This night, in this dream, he would show them. His creation will arrive and stand before them, daring them to not see the man for the genius he was. That he IS.
The brawl had spilled out to the parking lot right on time. Minutes later, there was the roar of a vintage Triumph motorcycle. He was here. Almost everyone knew him on sight. Many saw him continually in their nightmares. Those who had never seen him were usually the first to act, and the first to fall. He was a big man, tall, and broad. His mere presence was enough to break up most fights. But where was the fun in that? He moved over to the biggest pile of the fight, uncoiled a chain from around his wrist and started flailing at the pile. If any witnesses could ever be convinced to talk about it, they would have described the sounds as being the worst part of it. The sickening, squishing “thud” the chains made as they hit. If any had looked at him, they would have described a look of childish glee on his face. No one looked. Most ran. What happened next would become a legend handed down to frighten children for generations.
Hands shaking, the old man walked across the room and poured another cup of tea, spilling a little. He opened the morning news paper, skipping quickly to the science section. After reading about anything that my have happened since last night’s evening edition, he finished his tea and shuffled out of the dimly lit study.
The house was a nice one, though too big and drafty for his tastes. It was fine when he was a younger man, but now it was simply a burden. At the end of the hall was a flat wood panel which slid away once he entered the code on a hidden keypad. Here the hall changed from a 19th century English manor, to a high tech laboratory. White painted, seamless walls, lit with a bright light with just a hint of deep purple tint. It made his eyes hurt but the security it offered was more than worth it.
He passed through the air lock and changed his clothes. Now in his old, white lab coat and wearing a mask and gloves, he moved through the other air lock into the clean room. Here, behind 3 inches of the strongest polycarbonate money could buy, was his newest subject.
The man was badly beaten and possibly near death. That really wasn’t so much of a concern. He would be made well again. The old man manipulated the mechanical arms inside the patient’s room with a skill that one would not have thought possible from a man half his age. The small, metal fingers worked with a cold efficiency to administer injections and take blood samples. The procedure lasted only 5 minutes, but it was critical. He would be back in 12 hours to do it again.
The big man awoke to the sound of beeps, and hums that were all new to him. He decided he must be in a hospital, but it looked too high tech. He tried to remember what had happened, but it was all very fuzzy. He remembered seeing the fight. He remembered jumping in. Then there was something odd. He remembered his arms being drawn to the ground. The last thing he recalled was an angry mob closing on him and thinking, “They’re learning”.
He struggled against the restraints, but they didn’t budge. He tried to work out how to escape, but the room had little to offer. He had not heard the door in the next room open. His room was sound proofed.
The old man saw the bigger man was awake but didn’t seem to care. There were injections given and blood samples taken. This went on for nearly a week. On the last day the old man spoke.
“You are a truly reprehensible human being. Or at least you were. I have no doubt that you are still reprehensible, but you are now more than human. The injections I have given you have done their job and transformed your body. You will slowly discover new powers that will make you more of a menace to society than you have ever been. In time, you will be feared throughout the land.
“Your body, in addition to all of its strengths has been given a weakness as well. All ultraviolet light can break down the atomic bonds that hold things together. One specific wavelength of ultra violet light will affect you far more than any others. A single source of this UV light will cause you such intense pain that you will be able to do little more than writhe in agony and pray for death. Observe.”
With these words, the doctor flipped a switch and the big man let out a scream and strained against the steel reinforced straps that held him to the table. His skin began to blister and erode as drops of blood seeped from everywhere. When the switch went off, so did the biker. The torrent of threats and obscenities that came out of him lasted for nearly 10 minutes. When it was over, the doctor resumed.
“The glass between us has a gap between the two panes. There is no air in this gap, and thus, I could not hear a word you said. The intercom controls are on my side, you see. Now, for some answers to questions I’m sure you have.
“You were chosen because your attitude and lifestyle have made you a blight upon society. Few will miss you, and those who notice you’ve gone will assume you finally got what you deserved. Your mindless aggression when near any form of conflict will be useful to your new role.
“You were captured because of those silly chains you wore on your wrists. It was a simple matter of installing a powerful electromagnet under the dirt of the parking lot at that bar, then arranging for a fight of significant size to draw you in. I had arranged for a group of mercenaries to actually subdue you and bring you in, but they ended up having to save you from the crowd.
“Your purpose is to live your life as you have been. Beat people up, cause chaos, become known. No. Become infamous. I want you to become the menace to the world that you’ve always wanted to be. Then, at the height of your rampage, I will offer the tools of your destruction to the authorities. This will ensure that I am remembered, at last, for the genius I am.
“Finally, any attempt to find me, or to return to this facility would prove fatal. Every light in the place puts out enough of that special UV light to incapacitate you in a matter of seconds. So, go. Find a place to terrorize. You will become a legend and you will have a long enough run to enjoy it. When the door behind you opens you will have 10 seconds to leave before I flood the room with UV. There is a door at the far end of the hallway. You have 30 seconds to reach it. The floodlights on the grounds will be turned on exactly 2 minutes after that. Please do not waste all my hard work by sticking around.”
With that the doctor turned and walked away. The restraints popped open, as did the door in the biker’s room, and he ran. The biker now wanders the Rogue Isles, fulfilling his mission. He spreads fear and causes chaos at will as he learns to use his new abilities. Those who fall victim to him are generally spared the expense of a long hospital stay. One early victim was taken by the Vahzilok and reanimated. He recognized the zombie and saw the tag was still attached from the first death. Under cause of death was written “Grievous Bodily Harm”. For the briefest of moments, a smile crossed his lips. This is a name people would come to know.