Lower CoSMOS- Suspended Armageddon Stories-I am Calling Krintz

“His one movable eye opened, and the other stayed open; unable to shut and in an unnatural size.”

Photo: Used under license

            Trying experiments weighed heavy on the three-person crew at Velman’s prestigious (because there is only one) laboratory. Greenlee smoked outside in the natural air passageway that vented the smoke upward and out. The hallways were to be peaceful there, allowing for the top to open and fresh air. She chose to keep it closed, enjoying the smell of the smoke. Greenlee was twenty-four at the time. Along with Velman’s grand record of breakthrough science, they’ve innovated the science brands with women paving the way for the new generation. She witnessed her reflection on the glass at the lab where thirty-year-old Jenny Harrison, disheveled and shaking while on her phone, attempted to get her words out to the person at the other end. Slender and tall, middle-aged Rita North turned from consoles and a lab table to Jenny, her hands horizontal with each other, patting the air down to calm her.

            Jenny’s eyes propped up from the phone to Rita, “He should be back,” she said whispering a shout. Returning to the phone to keep the conversation in tune, “No. No. I am listening,” Jenny ignored Rita’s calm demeanor. Greenlee caught Rita’s eye and motioned her head for Rita to join her outside the lab. She entered the hallway where the door’s air sealed behind her.

            Rita’s lips pressed in her mouth, “Well. A first maybe? For me, it is but nothing tragic.”

            Greenlee nodded, “I knew him.”

            “Isn’t that the problem with everything?”

            “No. No. I don’t want to hear this right now. But it is not everything, it is something,” Greenlee said.

            “And that’s where you have to be careful. I don’t know anyone. No big deal. He’s gone. It happens. On to the next one,” Rita said.

            Jenny shook her head in a short spurt, “Yeah, well some of us have give more value to human life.”

            “Be careful with emotions, young lady,” Rita said and removed herself from the hallway, but not entering the lab again. She moved to another section of the building to get away from both her colleagues, at least for now. Greenlee rolled her brown eyes as Rita walked out, finished her cigarette, and put it out in a provided trash bin. Jenny was still on the phone, but Greenlee walked back into the lab.

            Impatient, Greenlee waited to speak to Jenny, but the conversation on the phone dragged on. Out of the corner of her eye, she imagined someone waving to her in the hallway with minimal ability to get her attention. Turning her head, there stood a man, his face disfigured. His arms and legs disproportionate. With a deep moan, he gathered her attention.

            She ran to the hallway, opened the door, and stayed away from him a decent ten feet. Her mouth moved open.

            Mumbling, his words came out, but with difficulty. Greenlee began to cry.

            “Mo Mo, Gre. I’m k. Me to the stabilizer. Get back I was,” he said.

            She nodded, “I’m sorry. I can’t think right now. We panicked. I am sorry.”

            The man turned to the lab. Jenny grew frantic on the phone.

            “Oh, Mo. She talkin’ poo?”

            “I don’t know. Krintz, I think.”

            His one movable eye opened, and the other stayed open, unable to shut and in an unnatural size.

            “Holy sh-tz, Mo. I’m pine. Krintz no no wat. Im asshole. Stable izer.”

            Greenlee’s eyes shot out and her hands flung to her sides, rattling her head to where the stabilizer was.

            “Sh-t,” she said, his sudden presence through her memory off.

            The man tried to raise his arm but instead motioned his head to the lab.

            “Oh, God. I am so stupid. I am sorry. Right now…Oh, where is my head,” she span around, wanting to gather him up, but not wanting to touch him. Willing to go back into the lab, she turned to him again but it confused her all the more; trapping her in anxious indecision.

            “Mo. Mo. Understand able. Oook and me, I’m -cked up,” he chuckled at his situation.

            She ran to him and paused while staring at the suit he wore, an Orphthredder, in the experimental stages. It was pearl white with a light shine; padded diamond shapes from his neck to his toes wrapped around the entire body suit, but nothing for his head. The collar on the ‘thredder’ malfunctioned, supposedly stable during his journey; an obvious failure due to his now deformed head.

            “elp e in.”

            “Help you in?”

            “Ma yah,” he said.

Greenlee wrapped her arm around his hip, dipping down. She tried to hook his stiff arm behind her neck to help move him. Lifting to aid him, Rita then reentered the hallway. The man’s arm snapped off with no pain.

            “-ckin sh-tz,” he said. The arm fell behind Greenlee. Rita paused and stared at them both. Greenlee stood up and turned behind her to the severed appendage. Her lunch from earlier rumbled in her stomach as she placed her hand over her mouth.

            “Ah. Ah. You got this, Greenlee. Nutritional balance is important. Keep it in,” Rita said.

            “-ckin, North,” the man said.

            Greenlee turned her body from everyone to compose herself. Rita made her way down the hallway to the man.

            “Hmmm. Still handsome regardless,” she said.

            “-ck you, North.”

            “Maybe after we get you situated,” she said.

            He shook his head, for want of closing both eyes.

            “I’m sorry,” Greenlee said. While clearing her mind, her gaze came to Jenny. The conversation on the phone had ended. Greenlee’s eyes caught a glimpse of Jenny and a bottle of pills, emptying them into her mouth in one swing.


            Stabilizing the man back to a semi-upright position, she sped down the hallway and into the lab.

            Rita bent down to pick up the man’s arm.

            “Now before we bring you to your former formation, Greg. Tell me a few things,” Rita said.

            “-ck you, North.” He said.

            She chuckled, “Patience is a virtue. In due time.” With her grabbing the severed arm by the wrist, she moved it to where it broke off. A clean cut. Nothing broke. It detached from the shoulder blade, the muscles, and attachments smooth but scratched with several small perfect parallel lines across.

            “No problem getting this back on. Clean,” said Rita, “But, first. Can you walk?”

            He tried to nod, tired of speaking with her. Soon a shuffle began and in doing so, his left leg separated from his knee; another clean break. Rita grabbed him in time, but the strength of her spine and back weakened. She leaned him down in a careful form to lay him on the ground.

            “Not ood,” the man said.

            “No. Not for any of us, Greg. I will call to get someone here. Stay calm.”

            “-ck you, North.” He attempted a grin.

            She smiled, “That’s the spirit.”

            “de suit is de stabilze,” he said.

            “It is, Greg. It is. It shouldn’t but it is, you’re right.”

            Grabbing the side of the hallway wall, she pulled herself up from the ledge of the window to other labs nearby. A team of support came through the hallway, none of them toward the man or Rita North. She stood up.

            “I’ll get them. They’ll pump Jenny and then we’ll be back, ok?” she said.

            “K,” he said.

            “Real quick. What did you see? Where did you go?”

He kept silent in disbelief of her apathy.

            “You’re a -itch. You know I’m eyeing and that all you ink out,” he said.

            “You’re not dying.”

The Orphthredder’s wearer traveled, to another time. The man, Greg, remembered where he reemerged from the future but he embraced the idea of not satisfying Rita’s curiosity about it.

            “You’re not going to tell me are you? Am I the only one who thinks positive around here?” she said while ignoring the man for a time.

Removed from the lab, the support team carried Jenny through the hall and past Rita. She entered the lab where Greenlee started the stabilizer; a large platform to stand on, lights around the perimeter of the base, and extraordinarily large buttons at the front of the console that were touch screen separated commands with small panels.

            “Don’t fret over it, Green. He’s probably gone.”

            “The suit doesn’t just break apart like that.”

            “Not as designed,” said Rita.

            Greenlee pressed her fingers to her forehead, pushing into her skin.

            “That was impressive keeping your food down.”

            “Oh, my God, Rita. Stop. Please.”

Rita smirked.

            “He’s dead. Jenny’s going to die. They will let the pills go through and do their thing,” Greenlee said. Tears started to form.

            “It is a sign of weakness,” said Rita. “You’re young…”

            Greenlee rolled her eyes.

“…let me finish…but smart,” said Rita.

            Rita walked to the stabilizer and placed her arm around Greenlee in a rare moment of empathy. Discomfort set in, but Rita relaxed her arm. Greenlee inhaled and then exhaled.

            “Jenny’s record is flawless. Like yours. You wouldn’t be here if it were not so, my friend. They probably got all the pills out and cleaned her. She’s resting as we speak. They don’t waste the good ones. Trust me on that. She’s fine.”

            “I hope so,” Greenlee said.

            Rita leaned down and shut off the stabilizer as a noise emitted from it, signaling a ramp-up period.

            “You know. The Orphthredder’s material coalesced with his flesh, Green. Too much bonding. Then it weakened. Brittle. Losing mass. Thinning out,” Rita said.

            “I wanted everything to go right.”

            “Krintz knows the procedures, Green. Nothing punitive is inevitable. With all the time here at Velman working on this project, it is a step. In the wrong direction? Yes. But a step. It will be corrected and we carry on with the next one. I have advised them that we shouldn’t use Velman staff in testing the Orph again. We have lost valuable people, Green. A better subject would be the undesirables.”

            “The poor?”

            “Not always. Disgruntled employees make great guinea pigs, especially when they have no choice. So, cheer up, young one.” Rita removed her arm from comforting Greenlee and strode back to the hallway. She paused and turned to Greenlee again.

            “Give me your cigarettes, they will see it as a weakness,” Rita said.

            “It’s prescribed,” said Greenlee.

            “In that case, hand one over. Please.”

            Greenlee pulled out her pack and gave one to Rita.

            “Here, too.”

Greenlee loaned her lighter to Rita and the taller scientist walked to the hallway. Opening the door, she held her eyes from the man’s body. Turning her head out of curiosity, pearl colored diamonds shot out from the man’s disappearing corpse, protruding out in various lengths; in different directions until the man was no more. The objects flashed and stretched out, carrying the complete composition of the man’s being. One of them came close to Rita’s face and shot back in toward the ground. The body was gone. She lit her cigarette.

            “Damn thing.”