With a bit of help from Jenkins, Radek managed to get back to the area he was supposed to remain in. He gave it a go with another meal, but as he suspected he filled on water. Later he was given another tour by Kaela, and as they made their way into the sorting chamber, the cages were up again, complete with prisoners. Tasker was in one and he became suddenly curious when Tasker beckoned him to go to him. Tasker grabbed him and held him against the cage, which seemed to have been constructed better this time, "Get me out of here funny man."
Even though he was now a hostage, he couldn't help but find humor as the white coats scrambled about, unsure of what to do. Kaela stood off to the side looking entirely disinterested, just simply waiting until she could resume explaining the reason for the scaffolding. Two of the crew ran over with shocksticks, and Tasker darted back and forth exclaiming they'd fry all of the prisoners and Radek if they tried. He managed to whisper in Radek's ear, "They're doing weird things to us, showing us previous prisoners that look like bug hybrids, you've got to help me!"
The crew managed to get Tasker off of Radek and he walked over to Kaela a few electrodes higher. She gave him a big grin, "Fun, isn't it?"
The white coat with the thick glasses ran over to him to ask what he had heard, and Radek told him that he said they were experimenting and that he wanted out. The glare from the lights on his glasses made his eyes disappear, but the scowl was tell enough of his disapproval, "Yes, some of our rehabilitation methods are a little, unorthodox, but our success rate is too high to change them now."
Kaela stood between the white coat and Radek, "Dr. Norrington, he's my guest for the hour."
Norrington looked at Radek who gave him a look of sheer boredom, and Dr. Norrington walked away with a full of steam. Kaela grabbed Radek's arms and headed him up the scaffolding, "These were put in about two years after I came here, you see, before, there used to be long ladders going to each tunnel, so say for instance you were in one of the highest tunnels and wanted to go to the one next to it, you had to climb all of the way down and back up again when it was only ten or so feet away from you. Not very efficient and it was very time consuming as you can imagine."
Radek's smirk was full of warmth and humor as she continued to go on about the history of the tunnels, and as she dragged him around corner after corner, and she was estatic when he had a question of his own, "Do you know what that hum is? It seems to follow us everywhere."
"Oh that, the huge fans that you saw in the sorting chamber keep the air circulating," she pointed to one of the cables with tiny holes throughout it, "this is the main ventilation cable. Actually it's a mixture of oxygen and other components, a lot like the air on...on," she stopped talking together and this certainly caught Radek's attention.
"What is it Kaela?"
She seemed to be staring at the floor, but she looked as if she was having a hard time trying to remember something. Her eyes suddenly became wide, "I remember. They told me the air mixture was like that of Earth, but before I had no memory of it until now. There were tall buildings, open air, fresh open air, no tunnels. I could see the sun whenever I wanted. I remember looking out of a transport at Earth, it was green, white, and blue, so beautiful, nothing like when I was looking at this planet, brown and orange and ugly."
"What is your full name Kaela?"
She looked up at him and bit her lip, hard enough to make it bleed, "Why can't I remember? Why don't I know this?"
There were a few minutes of silence until she shook her head, "I don't know."
"Hey, it was worth a try, right?"
There were a few more moments of silence, and Radek could only sense her frustration. She looked up at the neon lights and started to walk again, and as a few more seconds of silence passed by she started up again, and Radek didn't know anyone could go on so long about a tunnel.
Jenkins darted in and out of the lab. There were three long work tables that were hiding him from general view. There was no one else in the lab beside the bugs behind glass cases which angrily howled at him, but they were usually making noise about something. He wanted to avoid being seen if at all possible. He tried to open one of the metal lockers under the middle table, but the padlock on it was titanium reinforced with three locking mechanisms. All the others could have been pounded off, but whatever was behind this one, someone wanted to keep hidden. He heard the door open and he immediately sat on the floor, staring through the one inch under the table at two pairs of feet. The bugs began to make more noise, and Jenkins heard whoever it was start pounding on the glass and laughing at them. "Come on Jim, let's get those files and get them up to Dr. Norrington before he wigs out on us again. I still insist he was the one who said it."
Jim banged on the glass a few more times, "I know Tyler, I heard him say it too, me Tarzan you Jane, but it's his word against ours, and the crew has no say so here."
Jenkins carefully crawled to the narrow end of the table as they got closer, but his heart started to pound as Jim stopped and asked, "Hey, what's that?"
Jenkins pulled his legs carefully into his chest, hoping it wasn't his shoe or something that he saw, "Hey look, it's moving."
He closed his eyes to prepare himself to disappear in their minds, but before he could finish he heard Jim shout, "Caughtcha!"
Jenkins turned to look at Jim, but to his surprise he was walking to the other side of the table where Jenkins had been messing with the locker. He then heard Tyler's voice, "A rat? Klendathu has rats?"
Jenkins shook his head and almost laughed aloud at his good fortune, and as his heart started to beat again. He crawled over to the other side of the table and the bugs hollered when they saw him again. Jim shouted at them, "This is my rat! Get your own," he then continued talking to Tyler, "don't you remember when they brought rats here about four years ago to see if they could clone arachnid limbs like they used to do with humans?"
"Oh yeah, I remember hearing about that," Jenkins heard a click, "test group six or something was knocked over and they found all but five rats or something."
"That's right, you weren't here for that fiasco, Dr. Norrington had all our asses in a sling. This is rat number nine I've found, so they're obviously breeding."
Jenkins heard another click, "What do you do with the rats? Feed 'em to the arachnids or are they still doing tests?"
"Naw, I keep 'em as pets. I'll name this one Jimmy Jr. the III."
Another click and Jenkins heard the locker open, "You're real original there Jim. What did you name the others?"
"Let's see, there's been Mickey, Peter, Lester, Kenny who later became Dr. Norrington because he kept biting everyone, Weasel, and Kaela because that rat stared at me at night and creeped me out."
Jenkins carefully watched as Tyler set six files on the middle table. He slowly snatched one, and was surprised Jim didn't see him, but he was too involved in Jimmy Jr. Tyler put the lock back on, "Come on, don't be so hard on Kaela, I think you'd be a little out of it too if you had been here since you were fifteen."
"Do you know how old she is?"
"23 I think. My math skills are a little old, but that's eight years, how long has this research lab been here?"
Tyler picked up the files and Jenkins slowly made his way back over to the narrow side of the table. Tyler scratched his head, "Crazy, how long have you been here?"
"Six years, I was one of the first crew to come. We helped build the scaffolding in the sorting chamber, and that's when they started bringing in prisoners. Actually we named it the sorting chamber because the construction on the tunnels didn't go back into the mountain that far, and all of those rooms were where we use to keep them. Get it, we sorted them out...yeah, it was pretty stupid back then too, but the name's stuck."
Jim pounded on the glass a few more times before they left, and Jenkins managed to stay unseen. He wiped the sweat off of his forehead, "I'm too old for this."
Radek was sitting in the mess again by himself, tears welling up in his eyes, feeling eating was more of a chore now. "Oh God this hurts."
Jenkins sat down across from him with some goop on a plate, "How much longer do you have until you're supposed to be picked up?"
Radek tried rubbing the pain from his cheeks, "I don't know how long I was out, I guessed about eight hours which would leave me with forty, and it's been sixteen hours since then, so I guesstimate about twenty-four now. I've even managed to grow a suitable beard, because the crew says only staff get razors, and my hair is never this long."
"Well, you were out for six and a half, so you've got about twenty five."
"Twenty-five and a half."
"Trust me, always give yourself a half an hour, you never know what can go wrong," he pointed at Radek's plate, "finished with that?"
Radek looked down at the half eaten meal, "I think that's about all I'm going to be able to manage."
"You look tired, you should get some rest."
Radek queerly looked at him, "Yeah, I am a bit tired, but I'm not really in the mood to sleep right now."
Jenkins stared intently at him, "You really should get some rest."
Radek licked his lips, "Yeah, yeah, rest would be good, maybe you should walk with me, I might have forgotten the serial number on my room, I've only seen it once today."
"That's a good idea, I'll take you to your room."
Jenkins led the way, and Radek felt there was something important he needed to say, because he didn't touch his food, and he was pressing him to go to sleep. They made their way to his room and he opened the door and started to go inside. Jenkins patted him on the shoulder and gave him an odd smile, "Some reading material in case you can't sleep," and he handed Radek the e-notebook he had managed to steal.
Before he could say anything, Jenkins had closed the door. He went over and sat on the small bed and flipped off the sandals. He turned the notebook on and wondered what kind of a read it would be.
Memo To All Intel Officials:
Project Rehabilitation: Arachnid and Ripper Genetic experimentation
Subject 1 of 4 is showing advanced signs of hostility towards the staff and other subjects. Experimenting is extremely slow, and subject's telekinetic capabbilites are growing faster than any of us predicted. The section 8 we were ordered to give her has done the opposite of what it was meant to do. Subject has become child like and even less cooperative than before. Subject is showing signs of Psychic abbilities, and we have been testing for advantages of this discovery.
Subject 2 of 4 was showing good signs of progress, and testing seemed to be going well until an unknown complication resulted in subject's death. Autopsy has come up inconclusive, and we are still running tests and going over data to discover what the problem was.
Subject 3 of 4 has very little patience and is easily distracted. All signs of telekinetic capabbilities have disappeared since the section 8, we are testing arachnid theory on this subject first. Subject has an alarming rate of learning skills however and knows twice as much about organic chemistry than I do. Since subject's abbility is useless in this experiment we have decided to go ahead with the venom gland surgery.
Subject 4 of 4 is the most cooperative out of the test group. Experimentation is very successful, but before going ahead with surgery I have decided to wait until I receive word of my request. No more test subjects have come with telekinetic abbilites, and I would prefer to test the safety of the operation procedures before we kill all of the subjects.
I would again like to restate my request to use a small test group of prisoners sent to this planet to use for Surgery. There are already four tunnels leading to the bunker which would make an operation of such that I have requested a minimal effort. If any chance of success is present with the subjects, I need to be able to test the survival rate of these operations. I have no more to report.
Memo To All Intel Officials:
Project Rehabilitation: Arachnid and Ripper Genetic experimentation
Subject 1 of 4 has become unworkable at all. Subjects abbilites are too overwhelming for our control, telekinetic and psychic. Staff and prisoners have become increasingly afraid. The psychic you sent us was able to strike a deal with subject. We introduced memory files making subject believe subject is also a prisoner in year five. Deal made with subject was a parole agreement and we have one year to commence with surgery from subject 3 to mature subject's mind. However subject has requested three times with council for the psychic to return. I pass this request on to you once more, because subject was more cooperative when psychic was here.
Subject 2 of 4's death is still inconclusive, there is not much left to examine.
Subject 3 of 4 has become seclusive and only comes out of designated area to be a represenative for prisoners. Subject always asks for pencils and paper with bonus and writes theories and schematics for a fleet of interstellar ships which work off of cold fusion. I have sent these schematics to you. when subject falls asleep, which can take days because of paranoia, we are able to take the papers, otherwise subject spits venom. Testing is slower than ever.
Subject 4 of 4 Has done remarkably well. Subject is no longer a represenative for prisoners because testing faze is almost over. Subject's telekinisis is still not nearly as powerful as Subject 1, but speed and agility outmatch our predictions, venom glands work well, subject is almost completely free of ethic codes, and tests have proven subject can survive permanently on Klendathu outside of "Sin City". Subject has done better than we all could have hoped.
Prisoner 62 has taken to experiments better than most. We are continuing with our efforts to maximize prisoner's Telepathic abbility, but simulations show there is a low probablility of success.
We are still uncertain of who was leaking information. We have had no communication Problems as of lately, but we are concerned because you have discontinued the supply ships. I believe we should discontinue use of more prisoners, there is no longer a need for them. We have intercepted second agent and have designated him as Prisoner 528. We are hoping you will not need to send third agent, but if it comes to that, all audio and video recorders have been removed, all traces of Intel operations here have been deleted except for these memos which will remain locked until word from Command. If worst comes to worst we will release subject 4 of 4 until we can return for him. Once again I would like to request the psychic's presence.
On another note I would like to request that you stop scanning the surface for activity. Our food generators work well enough, but we would like to obtain the supply crates.
Radek gawked. This was all the evidence he would need against Intel, but the problem was, he worked for Intel. "This is a simple matter of ethics, do I turn in my employers and lose my career and possibly my life, but still retain my innocence and priniciples, or do I know nothing and become a bought hero? Choices these days."