I do not own Inspector Gadget, the characters or anything affiliated with it this is just for the love.
The Birth of the Cyborg
Chapter 1: His rude awakenings
John didn't need to sleep anymore. Occasionally his attempts led to terrors and pain, but every night he tried the same routine. Lying there, hearing the subtle shifts as the Earth travelled across the Sun. People who had insomnia eventually slept, but him. As he heard the luminous dial of the alarm clock, hit 3 am. He opened his eyes and stared at the ceiling.
Even the presence of darkness would have been reassuring, but the infrared vision clicked in instantly bathing the room in a green light. It was one of those nights when the weather was unseasonably warm. Windows were open so he could hear snatches of life around him. Three doors down, his neighbours were having sex, and the neighbour beneath their window was snoring. Safe and secure, they had him to thank for that. At times, he hated them. You could shut down a PC, a DVD player and even your watch, but his brain, never slept.
Eventually, he grew bored of the ceiling and made his way to his bathroom. Quickly throwing on a pair of shorts, just in case Penny would hear his disturbance. In the early days, when she had heard him screaming in pain she would rush to his side. Leading to a trait she had never fully broken. No matter how reassuring his lies, Penny was no idiot; at times her brain even surprised him. He wasn't meant to know the depth of the experiments she had done on the dog he had brought her. Any other guardian would state she was playing God, the fact he still existed was proof that enough people did, so why not her!
Flicking on the light, his night vision disappeared instantly. Facing the mirror, John stared at his reflection, shifting his body, so the metal staring back at him moved as well.
From the collar bone up, he still looked human, but below…the wires and leads, linking his internal organs and holding him together. Gathered and pushed into his metal spine and central processors. His steel legs and feet, making a clunking sound on the tiles, as his positronic brain, sent the information to his legs, telling them what to do…just like a humans, but not like a human.
In the mornings, occasionally he opened his eyes and looked at his hands, tracing them down his arms until the moment his synthetic skin gave way to the metal. He wished they could have given him a total human body, but the total cost just to replace his hands was more the city made in a year. He was their guardian, after all, and so had to look the part, but only for appearances.
Some days all he saw were a bunch of greedy, money saving bastards, who had turned him into a monster. Gripping his hands on the sink, he stared deeper into his eyes trying to find a trace of the man beneath. It was never meant to be like this; it was never meant to be anything like this.
Only three years earlier. He had been John Gidget, the youngest Detective on the force, working himself up by hard work and being incorruptible. Even Chief Quimby himself had decorated him so many times he had lost count. That was when he still liked the Chief. That was before he ticked the boxes, which decided John's fate.
John had to hide it well, but every time he had an exploding letter courtesy of Claw's latest dramatics and his ensuing mission instructions. John always wondered why they didn't just text him the mission. But as soon as he read the lines "This message will self-destruct in 5 seconds, that last second he made sure he threw it back to the Chief. Seeing Quimby's head burnt, always filled John's heart. The only piece of his humanity still left. He was told they had considered removing it and creating a bio-heart. But that would leave him more machine than man, and that could scare the public!
John ran his hand over his face, feeling the numbness. Under his face was metallic plating, being touched by metal hands. He felt nothing, but coldness. First it was his hand, then his face, then his entire body. He had been told the reason they had dulled his central nervous system was, if he felt the true pain of his procedures, he would have been driven mad. He still felt pain, all right. Sometimes he would scream into the oblivion, feeling the fire, dreaming of the metal that was grafted to his skin as his internal organs were replaced. They were fake memories, since he was comatose at the time, the pains were phantom pains…but to him they were real. They were his, and he embraced them fully.
He sighed, watching the muscles in this chest, constrict and release he didn't need to breath either, but they had done it anyway. Once again, to give him a glimpse of humanity.
At these moments he missed Claudia; she would have known exactly what to do. His foster sister, his best friend. Claudia would have been there with a glass of beer and those reassuring words, which only mothers seem to possess.
But she was gone, cut down in the explosion at the science lab that had erased her from existence and given birth to him. In his mind, he conjured a picture of her. Penny would grow up identical to her, both bright and courageous. She could have been anything, from the moment he had met her in the science lab at their foster school, she could have done anything. But the moment they met, both orphans of parents with no family to accept them. They were inseparable. Deep down both of them knew they would never be adopted and have a family, so they became their own family. Everyone protested against it, saying it wasn't a good idea. But only babies were adopted, not two sassy 9 year olds. With their birthdays three days apart, they celebrated together and left the foster system together.
When John decided to join the Police Force, Claudia insisted on joining with him. Even though he protested at the danger, she was adamant she was going to be by her little brother's side. Those three days between them, it appeared made all the difference. Those memories were the best in his life, living together and being partners. Arresting preps, and solving crime. A perfect double act.
The only dark day he could recall, was the moment he got home after interrogating a suspect. Claudia had been ill all morning, so he had headed into work alone. To find Claudia sitting in the living room. A glass of wine in one hand, the abortion pill and a positive pregnancy test on the table.
All John could do was wrap his arms around her, whilst she cried and told him everything. Claudia may have been the brightest woman he knew, who could bring science and logic to a crime scene and who planned eventually to work in CSI, but when it came to love she was hopeless. All she told him was that he was a scientist she had met in a bar, it was just meant to be a fling, a casual way to to unwind after a busy day. John understood completely.
With the nature off the job, sometimes it was easier to bring someone random home, to get lost in the intimacy of no strings sex. John was no exception to the rule and refused to be a double standard bastard over Claudia, even though this was a life unexpected. Claudia had tried to track him down, but his phone had been cancelled, even with Police methods, she had never got his surname, after that one night of passion and doubted she ever would. So she was pregnant and alone. A typical cliché she promised she would avoid.
He remembered that night; the wine untouched as he held her, totally clueless at what to say. As dawn broke over them, she informed him that she couldn't take that pill. And she was keeping the baby…but needed John's help. John loved Claudia too much to refuse her request. Even though he loved the unique twist, he would become a father figure to the unborn child, from the woman who was virtually his sister!
John opened a window, and muttered "Go Go Gadget lighter". Immediately the small flame thrower emerged from a slit in his index finger. Lighting a cigarette with the pack he hid in the bathroom. He inhaled and watched the smoke curl. As he inhaled, his could feel his lungs constrict in protest, he smiled and inhaled deeper. He never smoked in front of Penny; he was meant to be a bastion of morals, values and whatever lies they were selling to children these days.
He recalled the latest Anti-Drug campaign of which he was the latest face of. How he almost cracked up when he announced to children "Don't buy drugs". He was almost tempted to add, "Become a cyborg, and they give you the good shit for free". He chuckled at his little joke.
He recalled the moment Claudia had quit smoking, drinking and began the preparation of becoming a mother. Even with John to help her, there were times throughout her pregnancy, when Claudia was screaming and hormonal and terrified she was getting fat, John hated the bastard who had knocked her up. He hated the man, who had turned Claudia into this unholy demon of hormones and wished he didn't love her so much, to leave. Then after 15 hours of labour, after Penny was placed in his arms, by the nurses who naturally assumed he was the father. He felt a rush of love, which he had never felt before. Then he felt the fear that the man would return and take her away from him.
Together they settled into a routine, even though Claudia maintained she would eventually move out, they both knew that would never happen. Together they witnessed Penny's first milestones. Her first walk, the first word. He remembered brushing her silken blond hair on her first day of school, telling her reassuringly that it was going to be fine. Penny trusted him like a father and even though he had to explain he wasn't she never really understood. With them equal partners in parenting duties, even as shift workers they worked it out that so they could always be there for Penny. Even if John occasionally twisted that rule for one of his random hook-up's. Claudia knew he was doing it, but she understood what he had given up to raise Penny and would never raise the issue.
With his job, they both knew the next day could be their last. Claudia even whilst on maternity leave had still studied like crazy. Eventually secured her dream job in CSI forensics, so John never worried about her safety.
When Penny was 7, John had finally made Detective. It was one of the sweetest memories of his life. Accepting the shield at his ceremony and the party afterwards. Penny who had a slight stutter in her speech couldn't pronounce Detective, and used to stammer the first syllable. In the end her mother had taught her the word "Inspector", as an alternative. He thought it was adorable to see her falling over her D's, before switching to Inspector. Then she finally realised how his name was similar to another word she had recently learned and raced around calling him "Inspector Gadget". He had laughed and prayed that the name wouldn't stick. Even today he could see the irony of that thought.
John stubbed threw the end of the cigarette and lit another. Every time he thought of Claudia, it was when he remembered everything.
May 15th, it was just a typical shift. There had been a standard break-in at Metro City Labs, and Claudia's car had broken down and she needed him to pick her up. Penny was at a sleep over, and both of them had plans involving alcohol and a crappy movie. As usual she was the last one on site, as he entered. As she packed her kit, she asked him to give it a once over, before the clean-up crews could do their thing.
John noticed something almost immediately, the moment he walked through the police tape. It was too clean, and nothing had been stolen. Looking around, he realised the AC was on, but no air was filtering through the room. Throwing on some gloves, he motioned to Claudia, who assisted him in lifting off the vent.
John squeezed the cigarette butt and lit another. Staring out into the night air. This was his last memory; this was his last fragment as a human being. Claudia turned to him, her face white with shock, when they both realised the bomb was counting down.
70 seconds, 69, 68. "Move now". John yelled dragging Claudia with him.
He glanced back. 65, 64. Mentally, he worked out the time it took to get out of the building. They could make it; they could make it.
As they raced, John counted down the time, 30, 29. They had a shot; they almost had a shot. 20, 19. Tumbling down the stairs, heels on metallic steps echoing through the space. The light of the car park greeted them. 10, 9, 8. John counted through his head. 7, 6. They were almost at the entrance. John could almost feel the cold air on his face as they pushed opened the door. 4, 3. They had made it, they were safe. John still running to outrun the unavoidable blast, still holding Claudia hand, turned to her and offered her a relieved smile. 2.1… The last thing he ever saw of her was her smile, as with a blinding light the flames engulfed them. Claudia enveloped in a ball of flame, erasing her existence before the flames hit him. He felt the flame's wrap around him as he finally released Claudia's hand. He felt the fire sheer through this body, his hair catching alight, the pain ripped through him, as his nerve endings died and gave way to oblivion. Falling onto the ground, he could make out the flashing lights of the sirens heading there way, and knew it was too late for him. He could no longer feel his body; he could barely see and with the smell which, surrounded his body, he knew he was dying.
He thought of Claudia, the best moments of his life. He thought of Penny. Who would care for her? As everything in his brain gave out, and gave way to a forever sleep.