Adrian's Journal
10
th January, 1986

So much to do, and so little time…The last of the land-locked generators has been dismantled, much to the chagrin of my investors, and I daresay I won't hold it against them if their fickle funding runs dry. Last week that lecherous bombast in Washington signed the final treaties with Russia, signifying an end to our coldest of wars, his pen stroke a razor in my life's work's jugular.

It isn't that I didn't see this coming; I anticipated every move and gesture of every player from beginning through summation without error, and though I knew this act to be inevitable, I still cannot forgive the stubborn stupidity of these plebeians, these ill-begotten philosophs playing War in their sand castles.

My work is brilliance, and yet they refuse to see it, blinded by their midnight terrors and waking visions of a glowing blue Satan.

A Satan I begot, lest I should quickly forget it.

He can barely raise his head, let alone manipulate the round green peg Adrian placed in his hand after Walter's clumsy hands fumbled it to the floor for the uncountable-nth-time this session. The task is simple enough, and its purpose even more basic: Learn to grasp and utilize objects effectively, using proper force and pressure in the fingers, hands, etcetera, and then apply this logic and modality throughout the organism to encourage viability of the structure.

In other words, learn how to walk.

Like a baby.

Walter Kovacs is no baby.

His eyes slowly travel the length of his arm from the elbow to the wrist, the blush of dark purple near the joint a reminder of the blood samples Adrian took regularly in order to monitor his iron and potassium levels, among other things. His blood was not clotting properly, Adrian kept explaining, but the veiled expression Adrian wore when he peered through the dark red vial, holding it between his eye and the ultraviolet overhead lights, hinted of something far more complicated and concerning.

15th January, 1986

Nixon is dead.

Walter slowly rotates his wrist, his fingers spreading as his hand turns to face the glass ceiling, and the peg rolls gently from the heel to the front of his palm. He tries to focus on its weight, remembering the shape and texture of similar objects, their use and operation, and methodically works his way around the foreign invader before attempting to assail it once again on the peg-board in his lap.

2nd February, 1986

The media screams for blood while the people bathe in it: They say it was Red Baron, or Drake, or possibly both of them in coercion, Soviet masks who've long voiced their disdain for Nixon, for America, for our continued domestic struggles. They have called for anarchy and death before, and now that it is upon them, they flee like the cowards I always knew them to be.

It won't be long before the people have their way. If mankind can be trusted to do anything, it is to act without honor or humanity in the face of morality.

He closes his hand slowly yet surely in a heavy fist, the wooden cylinder like the hilt of so many knives he's wielded before, and with what he prays is the same passion and dedication that he once gave to that most sinister of crafts, he plunges the harmless shank-

-directly into the top of his knee.

14th June, 1986

Daniel called. I can't say I understand his motivation, but perhaps it can best be defined as bullheaded sentimentality; he's marrying the lovely Ms. Jupiter, their love-rich blastocyst already embedded in her womb, a bomb as deadly and inevitable as its name implies. He spoke at length of his rejuvenated endeavors into the Crime Stoppers, detailing the numerous applicants and the minutes of their first meeting, and I admit it was a hardship for me to entertain such talk from a man 7 months from hanging up his mask altogether: He may be an idealist, but Daniel knows a child cannot be raised in the care of masked parents, not without severe psychological and mortal repercussions.

I shudder to think what might have become of any child in our service when Moloch was at his worst.

Adrian does not complain when Walter drops things or muddles his demands between untrained lips, when he loses his composure and throws fits or loses his will and slumps, like a dead and deboned fish, across whatever task he's been set about. He knows this is simply part of the work, that Walter will take time, that it is his job to mold and remake him, now that he's granted Walter life anew.

August, 1987

Their representative, Omar, came to visit today, and I am sorry to say that he was not what I expected: Long dusty and dirt-stained robes, a red-checked turban, a heavy accent, and a distinct and pungent odor far harder to interpret than his words. He represents men of incredible wealth, power and integrity, and yet he presents himself in such a manner?

Either he is very coy, or blindingly stupid. Needless to say, our dealings went awry, and so another representative will be sent along shortly, or so I imagine he said likely somewhere amidst his driveling babble. It may do well to read up on Pashto, or perhaps Farsi in general.

Walter does not protest or comprehend why Adrian moves him into the padded containment block in the sub-cellar beneath what he's come to know as the Observation Floor (his glass-domed universe, as it were). He doesn't resist or react when Adrian tugs his shirt up over his head and tosses it, neatly folded, across the back of a chair Walter assumes he's to be using. As it were, he's standing propped against Adrian's shoulder, and though he barely hears the whining hiss of pressurized, frozen air, he feels a symphony of sensation prickle across his skin, across his mind, as he's hooked up to what must be a voltmeter via his side port ("anterior input" as Adrian insists it be called).

He stands straight for the first time since waking, nearly a week ago, and focuses on the joy of uninhibited breathing, tasting the very air that hums with life and jostles him with its intoxicating presence. Everything is so…vibrant-

A hissing static of discomfort washes across his back: Little needles, a dozen, two dozen, maybe four-score all pricking his outermost layer of skin, some kind of acupuncture probably. Adrian, a man renowned for his metaphoric arias in praise of science, now the epitome of hypocrisy as he falls back on homeopathic remedies?

Winter, 1991

I've taken my studies into private quarters.

What might have once been seen as the ultimate answer to Man's suffering, the key to unlocking the mysteries of death, is now outlawed on land, in my own country, in my own home. This shrinking from science is too much: The list of insults grows too long, and I cannot abide the company of my fellow man any longer, as he clutches his Bible in one hand and his genitals in the other, hoping that God or The Resident Shrubbery in Washington will find a way to provide him both salvation and an easy paycheck without the hassle of hardship.

There are pipelines now in the deserts and the highlands and deep forests where animals should roam, flowers should flourish, where photosynthesis should rejuvenate the world while the world gives itself back to our Mother in the most perfect of symbiotic relationships, feeding and re-feeding alike. There are trenches and barbed wire in fields where the great breadbasket of the world, our most fertile of moons, once lay green with verve, now blood-caked and stained with the excrement of Man, and we turn to scientists and ask for cures for impossible things, things that cannot be cured because the virus is the one seeking it, and its answer lies within itself.

Man, Man is the problem here…Yet I seek to save him? I should have saved him, too, if not for these interfering Nero's in their burning palaces. Where I see the Fountain of Eternity, he sees only the Fountain of Youth.

The dull hum of electricity in the air becomes a low, pulsing throb. Gentle waves of energy lap across his muscles, his heart pumping faster as his blood surges, his tissues oxygenate, his reborn body truly coming back to life.

"How do you feel so far?"

Walter looks at him fully, smelling and tasting and feeling and sensing the very presence of the man at the controls, the wide panel of knobs and buttons unchecked on his first and highly ineffective sweep of the room. He's so much more than he was but a minute ago, and it all seems so impossible, he can't find words with which to articulate his awe.

He is alive.

Some Time, 1995?

So long, so long alone, down here, beneath the crushing ceiling of the world. To think the weight of this water is so much greater than the air I once roamed through, yet I feel freer to be myself under its threatening oppression.

The technicians have all gone. The last Deep Blue waits in the airlock at the end of the queue, a lame puppy waiting to be put down as the rest of its litter-mates are swept away to unknown ends.

I can't leave.

Can't.

Even if I wanted to, the work here is too great. My plans are so close to fruition. I look up from my writing and there before me lies the proverbial apple, Pandora, Prometheus, awaiting my careful hand to guide him back from Eternity. The Fountain is close at hand now, and I shudder in anticipation and fear: To become like God, or to become God, by obtaining his greatest gift, is a far greater dream than any I have dreamt until now, and yet it has blossomed before me like a Bakawali bloom, so sudden and short-lived that I hasten just to think of it.

Something is wrong.

His heart flutters, twitches, and then begins to pound with such fierce and rapid strokes that he thinks he might faint. The world becomes red-and-black, astrals and lens bursts in a hell-wrought nightmare-scape, the room twisting out of proportion and reality. And the pain-

Searing bursts of agony roll up and down his back, as if great hands are tearing away fistfuls of flesh. He curls and coils and flails, slapping at needles and lashing at their spider-like cords, terrified and desperate to break free. The more he struggles, though, the more electric fire wraps around his body. 'Seizing' is not violent or horrid enough a term to describe the wild dance he carries out, the floor a knife in each sole, his own skin a knife in each hand, the expansion of his ribcage while he breathes so exquisitely excruciating he fears his bones will shatter.

Adrian's hands move imperceptibly on the controls, his gaze cool and unaffected as the bizarre scene unfolds before him.

1st July, 1995

He Is Awake.

Electricity shrieks and whines as cables snap and tear from ports that were never meant to detach. Monitors pop and flash, the control panel emits a burst of acrid smoke, and the pleasant computer-woman's voice intones a mellow warning over the intercom.

Walter can't hear her over the sound of his own scream as it curdles over his lips, a sound buried deep in the darkest confines of his soul, an infant's plaintive cry for the entire world to pay heed: I Am Alive, I Am Born, I Am Here!

Lunging forward, Walter's ties are severed, and he staggers under the gravity of his own form, knees bent, arms hanging limply toward the floor as his hunched shoulders and drooping head follow the curve of his back. Only the heavy, animal sound of his breathing fills the room.

Adrian gets to his feet but hesitates, quashing his impulse to rush to Walter's side: He has to grow up, find his own feet, even if he is Adrian's creation, even though he must make this last push on his own.

8th July, 1995

He is so perfectly flawed, his eyes the same humid green, his banal Irish features as unyielding as I recall, but gone is the acidic insanity, the clawing phobias and consuming mania. He is more Walter now, I think, then he was during his whole natural life, but he lacks that fire Rorschach carried in his breast, that drive, and I fear that may be his mortal weakness.

But how do you convince a man to live, once life is given to him?

"Adrian," Walter growls, his genius blood shock-frozen to paralyzed sludge as those same piercing green eyes gaze up at him through the curled fiery fringe of his hair, "The next time…you need to torture someone…m-make sure…they aren't get-ting…up again."

Simple:
Show him what it feels like…to
FEEL.