Chapter 1- Roxanne
Doctor Remus Cormic was by far the smartest man that I have ever had the privilege of meeting. He stood in front of me holding a grappling hook.
"Isn't it amazing Roxy?" He said as he admired the piece. To be honest, it was a gadget to be admired. The rig from which the hook was fired from was impressive enough, but what was even cooler was the fact that the hook was fired by compressed air. In the past, people thought it was impossible for an air compression chamber that small to fire something so heavy. "Sure, it's dangerous, but imagine the applications of such a device! More Efficient Enforcer Patrols for a fraction of the cost of a cruiser, maybe a new world of sports, window washing! Endless possibilities with this… what should we call it? The Three Dimensional Maneuver Gear?"
"What about the 'Pop! Grapple'?" I suggested. The device made a 'pop' sound when it was fired, most likely do to the release of the compressed air stored within the chamber.
"Ooooo! I love that name!" Dr. Cormic said as his green eyes sparkled with delight. He then sighed and said "But the Enforcers wouldn't accept a name like that…. How does 3DMG sound?"
Crap, I forgot about the Enforcers. "Well, the Enforcers will just change the name to 'Three Damage' since that's the acronym on paper."
"Well whatever the hell they call it, the name doesn't matter so long as it's functional like we say it is." Dr. Cormic said with a smile. "Now that that's done, shall we go say hi to Six?"
Six is a genetic experiment and one of my favorite people in the world. Unfortunately, he's considered to be a project by most of the Pumadyne Research Staff and is treated like a robot. Most of the time it's 'Six do this' or 'Six do that' or 'Six, stop fucking around, we've got shit to do'. I almost socked the researcher for that one.
I followed the doctor through the labs until we arrived at a small dorm. Inside the dorm was a sleeping cat with caramel fur and messy, jet black hair. I smiled as I saw Six, he was so cute when he was out like this.
"Go on Roxy." Dr. Cormic whispered, "Say hi."
"But he's asleep!" I whispered back, "It would be rude to wake him."
"He's slept long enough." Dr. Cormic said, this time in a fatherly tone, "Besides, he's going to want to see you first thing when he wakes up."
"If you're sure," I said with a sigh. I placed my hand on Six's shoulder and shook him gently "Good Morning Six."
The caramel kat yawned then rolled over to me he rubbed his yellow eyes and looked at me. "Good morning Roxy. It's good to see you."
I smiled and waved at him. "How'd you sleep?" I asked.
"Fantastically," Six replied, "I had a great dream last night."
"You did? About what?"
"You know those places with sand that meet the ocean?" Six asked, "Bitches I think you called them,"
I laughed slightly, unintentionally interrupting Six, "No buddy, I called them 'Beaches."
Six never left the lab before in his life. He only knows what a beach is because one time I had vacation photos with me from one of the times I went to the beach.
"Oh," Six said as he ears drooped slightly, "Anyway, I was on one of those beaches with the most beautiful tom."
I smiled at him and said "One day you'll meet a really nice tom who'll take your breath away as you two walk along the beach."
Six smiled back at me, "Thanks Roxy, it means the world to me."
"I've got a surprise for the both of you." Dr. Cormic said with a smile. "Roxanne will be running your tests today."
"What?!" I asked, surprised by this development. I was only an intern for Dr. Cormic, I never ran tests. In fact, I've only seen the test done once. When Dr. Cormic didn't give me an answer, I decided the best thing to do was just get on with it. "Ah… okay Doctor." I was glad that Dr. Cormic trusted me with such a task.
Doctor Cormic smiled and handed me a clipboard. "All of the test we're doing today are listed here." He said as he handed me the clipboard.
I reviewed the clipboard and read the tasks. Today we were running three tests. The first one was speed, the second was endurance and the third was…
"Doctor…" I said as I read the third task.
"Yes?" Dr. Cormic replied.
"What's Flame Unit One?"
"Aw shit, I forgot I had that scheduled." Dr. Cormic said, "Uh, don't worry about that one, Roxy, I'll run that one myself."
He then swiped a key card and the three of us entered the lab. "Is your earpiece in?" Dr. Cormic asked. I nodded and he turned to enter the observation deck.
After a few moments, Dr. Cormic sounded over a microphone. "This is Test number five two zero zero. Roxanne, please instruct subject to mount the Manual Treadmill."
"Five thousand two hundred?" I asked, "Do you do one of these test every day?!"
"Not on weekends." Six replied as he mounted the manual treadmill.
"For how long?!" I asked, startled by this news.
"Since I was five." Six replied.
I blinked a few times as I let that information sink in. Kats Alive! Was Six really nothing more than a science experiment to these people? I shook my head, this was not the time to think about that.
"Just run as fast as you can buddy." I said.
Six nodded and started to sprint. The manual treadmill kicked on and began to speed up to Six's speed. I looked down at the speedometer and watched as the number just kept going up and up and up until Six was going at Ninety eight miles per hour!
I scribbled a few notes in on the sheet of paper attached to the clipboard than looked back at Six. I was bouncing with delight as I urged him on. "Come on Six! Pass one hundred! You can do it buddy! I believe in you!"
Six smiled and put his head down as he picked up speed. I watched the speedometer go past 100 and even 115. "Keep going Six!" I said as the speedometer approached 120 MPH.
Suddenly, there was a loud crash. It took my mind a minute to comprehend that Six tripped and the treadmill flung him into the wall behind him, but before I could worry about him Six sat up and started to giggle.
"Well…" Dr. Cormic said into my earpiece, "We don't call him the Ultimate Lifeform for nothing."
I ran over to Six and helped him to his feet. "Are you okay?" I asked as Six dusted himself off, "A normal kat would've been flattened with that impact."
"Of course I'm okay," Six replied, "What's next?"
"Endurance." Dr. Cormic said in my earpiece. "You might want to grab a toy or something to keep you entertained for a long while."
I nodded then remembered that I had classwork to do. I don't have enough money to retake the class so I figured that it might be a good idea to knock out as much as I can now.
Before I could, however, one of the other researchers, Randal I think his name was, burst into the lab. "You've got to turn on the news!"
Curiously, I pulled up the Kat's Eye News website on my laptop. My eyes widened as I read the heading of today's report.
Manx Crushed by Satellite [No, we're not joking]
"We found the satellite we lost last week." Randal said, "We didn't think anyone would be at the golf course this early on a Sunday. I mean, who does that? Who has that kind of time?!"
"Save it for Mayor Briggs." Another researcher said, "When you're trying to save you career in space experimentation."
Randal gulped, "She's going to sack every one of us!" He whined.
"We've got a bigger problem." The other researcher said, "Mayor Manx funded most of our research through very generous grants. Now that he's dead, our funds will dry up!"
"Wait, will the deputy mayor stop funding us?" I asked, worriedly. I didn't worry for my career as much as I worried for Six's wellbeing. What would happen to him if Pumadyne had to sell their experiments to make ends meet? What would happen if, God forbid, the site was actually shut down from a lack of funding?
"Don't worry Roxy," Dr. Cormic said as he patted me on the back, "She won't stop funding us specifically, her anger will be directed towards the Space Expedition and Experimentation wing of our facility."
"Guess we can fire those astrocats then." Randal said with a heavy sigh, "And I really wanted to get to Mars…"
"We'll work it out." Dr. Cormic promised, "As for now, it looks like Six is tired out." He turned to me and said "How about after this me, you, and Six go out for Ice Cream?"
"Six will love that!" I said with a smile.
"One last test, Six, I need you to get angry. Like, very, very angry." Dr. Cormic said as he turned to Six.
"Wait, what?" I asked. Six was never one to get angry. Whenever he held a grudge, he paid the researcher back with a silly or harmless prank. He never got angry which was probably a good thing because he can certainly kill.
"We believe Six has pyrokenisis," Dr. Cormic explained, "All previous accounts of subjects using pyrokenisis relied on the subject in question to get angry."
"Why would Six have pyrokenisis?" I asked.
"Because his mother had it." Dr. Cormic explained.
"So… it's genetic?" I asked.
"Sort of." Dr. Cormic replied, "It'll take another chapter to explain it in detail."
"Another… what?" I asked.
Dr. Cormic ignored me and turned to Six who was currently messing around with a ball he found. He would toss it to one end of the room and then sprint over to catch it.
"Perhaps we could postpone the test." Dr. Cormic said. He then turned to Six. "Marcel, we're going to conduct a field test to see how you blend in with the populace."
"Is this weird substance you mentioned involved? Something called I scream?" Six asked.
"Yes, Ice Cream is involved." I said.
Six jumped up in excitement. "Alright! Let's go!"