Aaaaargh, a lot of you asked for it, so here's a sequel to Please Come Back. Curse you all for forcing me to write more! (I kind of have a feeling that none of you will really like where this is going. Or that a lot of you will be confused by the number thing.)
And yes, the title does come from another song by The Associations. I saw the lyrics and couldn't help thinking how much it fit. Listening to it, I thought it could sound more morose, but hey. It's still a great song. I'm sure there are plenty of others that fit (Roses are Red seems to, though I haven't listened to it yet) but I needed a title and so Cherish took its place.
That meant six years so far. A lot could happen in six years.
After the initial shock, it didn't take Dr. Cockroach long to recover. The general often stopped by to check on him, apparently pleased by how he started conversing normally (though he didn't understand a lot of the science gobbly-gook he said). He also made sure the former Mr. Hedison had enough paper and other things to occupy his time with; to express his gratitude, the cockroach man had often drawn elaborate plans for devices to catch other monsters. Monger was one reason the doctor was never found hanging from the ceiling.
The facility grew around him, almost like a living being. It sprouted examination rooms, a large medical office, and even a few vending machines. The doctor had helped designed a way to travel around the steadily growing place, as well as the advanced supercomputers, and even had a hand in some of the security measures.
There had been escape plans. The first few years were spent on dozens, hundreds of plans. But eventually, the captive realized he had to give them up. Even if he did escape, he had no idea where he was and there was no place he could go and he would eventually just be captured again. And besides, he knew Monger placed a lot of trust in him. His conscious would never let him exploit the weaknesses of the very security measures he designed. So instead, his days were spent monotonously building, destroying, and building complex structures with Tinkertoys or Legos. Hours, no, days blended together. He was only able to count the years now.
The sixth year brought about the biggest change of all.
Dr. Cockroach turned around as the door opened and jumped back in surprise, knocking over what looked like a giant, multicolored rocket. It wasn't only Monger. There were two other men wheeling in what seemed to be a huge blue blob of sparkly toothpaste in a giant hamster ball. The blob, though, had one large eye that constantly swiveled about, taking in its new surroundings. It focused intensely on the doctor, making him slightly nervous.
"Erm, General, what exactly…"
"Say hello to your temporary roommate, doctor," said Monger. The other two men walked out the room, their job done. "We don't exactly have a room that can contain him well, yet, so until we finish upgrading one of the cells, he'll be staying with you."
"How…nice…" Dr. Cockroach glanced back at the blue blob, who was still staring at him. With a red eye. The doctor involuntarily shivered.
"Its name is B.O.B. Stands for…something really long, I forgot. It doesn't really matter. It's quiet, won't get in your way or anything. Make sure you don't let it out. Took us ages to get it in there…anyways, we'll pick it up in a week or so, something like that." And before Dr. Cockroach could even respond, Monger left.
The blob was still staring with either curiosity or hunger. He felt the stare even as he attempted to rebuild the Lego rocket, even as he ate dinner, even when he tried taking naps. He had a feeling that if he managed to go to sleep, that stare would be in his nightmares.
Dr. Cockroach, realizing that he would never get anything done now, sat up on the bed and stole another glance. Still staring. "Sooooo." He tapped his fingers on his leg for a while. "…Are you sentient? Uh, any brain…?" B.O.B. stared blankly. It wouldn't be so bad if it'd at least blink. "…I'll take that as a no." Did it even have a mouth? Maybe it was just basically a giant amoeba. With a disturbing red eye.
Despite B.O.B.'s apparent inability to communicate, Dr. Cockroach continued talking. Company was company, and he would have to get used to this silent newcomer anyways. Talking gave the doctor a reason why the blob would stare. He talked about what he was designing or building and what use it would have. Sometimes he would find himself talking about more mundane things like the quality of the food (or rather, garbage).
His constant chatter was probably the reason that the blob, without warning, burbled, "Bob."
Dr. Cockroach jerked his head away from the Lego nuclear reactor, causing it to partially collapse. Was it just him or did…
"Bob." This time, the doctor saw the blob form its mouth.
The cockroach-headed man slowly stepped closer to carefully observe this new anomaly, mouth agape. "But…but…how…you…no larynx…"
"Bob," it repeated, growing an arm this time to point to Dr. Cockroach. It took him a few seconds to grasp its mistake.
"No, no; B.O.B.," he corrected, pointing to the blue blob.
"Bob?" It pointed to itself as if for confirmation.
"B.O.B.," the doctor repeated once more, feeling a bit silly. The blob became silent once more, satisfied with the knowledge of its identity. Dr. Cockroach easily ignored the penetrating stare, as his many thoughts occupied him.
The blob had sentience. He had no idea how that was possible, as there was no visible brain…not even a nucleus. He just assumed it was vaguely similar to a giant bacteriophage or a prion; somehow alive in an uncertain way. The fact that it seemed to be able to make at least simple connections…and could even talk…incredible! He just had to have a closer look…Monger did warn him not to release it, but it seemed harmless and friendly…
Dr. Cockroach searched the giant hamster ball for some kind of hatch, realized it had to be at the bottom, and started rolling the ball to reach it. He opened the hatch and B.O.B., with surprising speed, leapt out and promptly enveloped the doctor.
The scientist would have noted the interesting tingling sensation, as if many tiny needles were lightly poking him, if it weren't for the fact that he was drowning in sparkly blue goo. In surprise, he had inhaled a lot of the stuff, and with no space to cough it out to, he could only suffocate helplessly as he attempted to thrash about inside the large blob. However, he quickly tired. His struggles became more and more feeble until finally, they stopped.
A large force on his stomach forced Dr. Cockroach to reluctantly wake up. After coughing up most of the foreign gunk in his throat, he took a deep breath of blue goop-free air and just lay where he was, trying to recuperate from the sudden attack.
Only when he started breathing normally did he check his surroundings. He was on his cell floor. B.O.B. was nowhere in sight. The general was hovering above him, looking possibly relieved. At least, his usually stern features were slightly softer.
"You idiot," he grumbled, standing straight again as the doctor sat up. "You're lucky we have to watch you practically all the time."
"Captured him again after we pulled you out. His room was done anyways, so we rolled him out to there." Monger, sure that the doctor was alright now, went to leave the cell. Before he could close the door behind him, Dr. Cockroach managed to breathe out a small 'thanks.' Monger didn't seem to show any reaction besides pausing at the door.
…His sixth year…