Tony opened his eyes and examined his surroundings. He was still lying on the ground outside the terrible gassing chamber. His head was throbbing with a dull, dry, pain that seemed to come out of nowhere. He groaned loudly at the headache and raised a hand to try to quiet the throbbing. He rubbed his temples rigorously and bit his bottom lip hard. The effects of the death gas were wearing off now and leaving him with nothing but a nasty hangover.
Tony slowly pushed himself up off of the ground and came to a seated position. He gazed into the holding cell in front of him and studied Evila’s legs for a few seconds. She was resting against the chamber wall. Her eyes were closed and her hands were lying in her lap. Her chest was moving up and down slowly. Relief washed over Tony’s being as he witnessed this glorious movement. She was okay, she was alive. His quick-thinking had saved them both from dying.
Tony stood up and brushed himself off. He walked into the holding cell and crouched down by Evila’s sleeping body. He raised a hand and carefully brushed her hair away from her face. He shook her lightly and whispered, “Evila, wake up, we’re safe now. The gas is gone.”
Evila suddenly took in a deep breath and stretched her feet. She opened her soft green eyes and yawned until silver tears ran down her cheeks. The amazing looking tears stopped at her chin and dripped off. She looked around the small room for a second; then she looked over at Tony. She smiled briefly at him and then closed her eyes again. She was glad he was nearby.
She quietly asked, “What happened? How did we get out?”
Tony took her by the hand and squeezed it softly. He enjoyed the feel of her skin over his rough hands. It felt like heaven, “I got us out, Evila. I couldn’t let you die, and I couldn’t let the human race die either. They need our help!”
“Where is the guy who turned on the gas, where did he get off to?”
Tony paused and thought; he looked over to the door. “That’s a good question.” He shifted on his feet and knelt down beside her, “I don’t know where that crazy moron went. He wasn’t in the hallway when I woke up. I bet he’s hiding somewhere, that much I can tell. He should hide.”
Evila opened her eyes slowly and straightened up. She took in another deep breath and looked over at him. “We need to find him, Tone’i. He’s the one with the access card to the elevator. We can’t leave -X- lab if we don’t have that card. Most of the ships Decks are built that way. The professors have special clearance.”
“It will be okay, we’ll find him later. How are you feeling?”
“My head hurts a little, but I am fine.” Evila let go of his hand and pushed herself up off the ground. She staggered to her feet. She was a little shaky as she did this, “The human race is in danger of extinction, and so are my people. We need to act fast if we are going to save them from the animal mutating formula.”
Tony helped her get her balanced. She stretched her sore limbs for a bit and curled her toes in and out. For the first time in years she felt alive. She closed her eyes and con-centrated on her vital signs. Her mind extended to all of her organs and sinuses in her slender frame. She examined them rapidly until she had covered every part of her body. Nothing appeared to be damaged or broken.
Tony watched her closely as she did this. Evila was so amazing; there was so much about her that he didn’t know yet. There was so much about her that he wanted to know. She was a complete enigma to him, as if God had sent him a beautiful puzzle to figure out. Tony pushed his admiring thoughts away; he could get closer to Evila when the time was right. For now, there was work to be done and he needed to focus on the problem at hand. He spoke up. “What can we do to stop this from happening?”
Evila chuckled at his thought process. Tony was not seeing the solution like she was seeing it. “That is the wrong question to be asking right now, Tone’i. The question we should be asking is; what should we do; because there are multiple things we could do in this situation. We just have to pick the right thing to do?”
Tony looked puzzled at her response. He didn’t see the difference in the questions, “What do you mean?”
“Professor Denvil and Dean Redder are going to gas the last human planet in the universe. They’re going to pretty much gas my races’ last chance at surviving extinction. I think we should turn the tables on them. I think we should prove to everyone in this academy that we are innocent and the future is secure for the Tenatian people.”
“How are you going to do that?” asked Tony.
Evila turned to him and smiled a big, warm smile. She looked as if she had everything under control. Her voice sounded firm and confidant. “By replacing the animal-mutating formula with my super species formula. It will work in the same fashion, only instead of changing the animals it will change the whole human race into Tenatians. Your people will practically be humans one minute and then Tenatian hybrids the next. This will prove I was right and Dean Redder won’t be able to keep it a secret! We will win.”
“How can you be sure that this won’t affect the animals of earth and cause a bigger problem than the one we face?” asked Tony.
Evila rested a hand on Tone’i’s firm shoulder. She squeezed it softly as she thought to herself. “It will be all right Tone’i. My formula only reacts to those with the GOG genes in their system. Humans are the only creatures on your planet with a GOG gene in them, so it should have no effect on the animals.”
“So, everyone on Earth will change into aliens like you and I? Is that how you changed me, by using the formula thing?”
Evila nodded her head yes. She pulled her hand away and rubbed the bottom of her slender chin. She thought for a minute; then looked over to him. She sounded stern as she spoke. “I want to get one thing straight, Tone’i, my people are not aliens or creatures. We are sentient beings who rule the universe. Your people are the aliens in this whole mess, not mine.”
Tony felt embarrassed. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to say it that way.”
“I know you didn’t mean it in a rude way, but I want you to know ahead of time, it would be insulting to meet a leader of our race and call him an alien.” stated Evila calmly. She shifted back to the subject at hand. “If I change your species into something different how do you think they will react?”
Tony didn’t know what to say to that. He shrugged his shoulders, “I guess it will be a little strange and new for everyone on earth. Although, on the other hand I am pretty sure there are a lot of people that like being human. You might have quite a few that will be disappointed or mad. I mean can you imagine going to bed one day, completely okay, and then waking up human? It would be weird for you, right?”
“That’s a good point. I don’t know what I would do if I woke up as a hairless ape woman.” Evila shivered with disgust as goose bumps ran up her arms and down her back. She hated thinking about being human; the whole idea left a bad taste in her mouth. She quickly changed the subject. “Oh… but I am sure your people will love being Tenatian more than human, and if they don’t, they’ll just have to get used to it. It’s for the greater good of the universe that we do this, Tone’i. And our genetics practically complete your species. We fill in the nasty human foibles pretty well if I must say so myself.” Evila step back and looked Tony up and down like a giant piece of meat. When she was done checking him out, she looked him in the neon blue eyes and winked. Tony blushed and shifted awkwardly on his feet.
“Okay, Evila, it appears that you know what you’re doing with all this jargon, but you have to promise me one thing.”
“That my family will be safe; I don’t want them hurt.”
“Everything will be okay, I promise. Once the formula is in play and my point is proven, your race will join with ours and be safe. What the Dean has done to your people is illegal and wrong. The Tenatian Embassy will be all over him. They will lock him up and throw away the key.”
“Let’s do this. Let’s dish out some payback!”
Evila giggled with joy and hugged Tone’i tightly. She loved it when he used human terminology in there dialect. It was almost humorous to listen to. Tony almost fell over at the spontaneous gesture. Evila was very strong, but he didn’t mind being this close to her; as a matter-of-fact it felt good—it felt right.
“Okay, we have to gather a few things,” said Evila as she let go of him and started pacing the room back and forth. “We need to go to -C- Deck and grab my formula and the catalyst out of my science drawer. Those are the most important items in this matter. Then we have to go to Deck -Z- and switch things up.”
“What about the crazy guy who was watching us die? What do we do with him?”
Evila stopped pacing and turned to the shattered doorway. “We need to find him and get the key card from him. Did you see which way he went?”
Tony shook his head. “No, I woke up and he was gone.”
“This isn’t good. We need to find him before he does something crazy, like notify the authorities,” said Evila as she walked over to the door and looked down the long hall-way. Everything was quiet and still in the lab. Nothing seemed to move, anywhere. Even the emergency lights from before had retreated into the ceiling.
Tony came up behind her; he bent and whispered into her pointed ear softly. His warm breath tickled her. “I’ll go check the office. Maybe he’s hiding under his desk or something. Wait here, I’ll be right back.”
Evila nodded her head slowly. Tony started walking cautiously down the hall to the office at the other end. His bare feet touched lightly on the ground as he readied him-self for a surprise attack from any direction. His hearts were thumping wildly in his chest. He got to the end of the hall and waited quietly by the corner. He listened for any danger. The atmosphere seemed to get more intense as he thought about where the crazy guy had gone off to. It felt like there was someone waiting for him just beyond the corner. It felt like there was someone there.
Here we go, thought Tony. He eased his way to the far wall and scooted slowly around the corner. His eyes shifted frantically around the office for any signs of the crazy guy. Tony stepped into the room and was utterly surprised to find it empty and still. He was about to search the metal desk when there came a loud, ear wrenching, scream from down the hallway behind him. Tony turned quickly and looked over to Evila. She was looking at him with a puzzled expression.
“What was that?” asked Tony.
Evila shrugged. “It wasn’t me.” She looked down the long hallway at all the gas chamber doors. “It came from down there.”
He ran over to Evila. “Is he in one of the—”
Tony was cut off as yet another piercing scream filled the hallway. This time it sounded more desperate and cold, as if someone were dying. They both started walking quickly down the hallway in search of the man. They peered into all the holding cells as they went along.
When Evila got to holding cell 12, she stopped dead in her tracks. She spotted the crazy man crouching down in a corner of the chamber mumbling to himself. He looked tired and very, very disturbed.
“I found him,” Evila called to Tony, “He looks pretty scared.”
Tony walked over to the window and peered in at the diluted figure resting on the chamber floor. After a second he whispered to Evila, “What’s wrong with him? Why is he acting like this? Is it cabin fever?”
“I don’t know what ‘cabin fever’ means Tone’i, but this man seems to think we are the ultimate problem with the universe. I am going to try and talk to him.”
Tony grabbed her arm. “Do you think that’s a smart thing to do? The guy is practically living on another planet right now. I mean look at him, he’s like talking to himself right now! He doesn’t look stable.”
“I already know he’s crazy. I wasn’t going to go in there and speak to him.” Evila lifted a hand and tapped on the glass. The man came out of his dark thoughts and looked over at the window. He looked completely stunned to see them standing there.
“Hey, what’s the matter with you? Are you okay?”
The guy came to his shaky feet. “No, I am not okay! I have failed. She told me this would happen, and I failed to stop it. I have cursed us all.”
“What are you talking about?”
“The humans… that human,” he pointed to Tony, “is going to replace us. He is the danger. We need to kill him.”
“What are you talking about? Who told you this nonsense? The humans are our friends. They’re here to help us,” Evila said as she put her hand on the hatch and turned it suddenly. Tony stiffened and protested, “Evila, what are you doing? This guy is nuts? Who knows what he could do?”
Evila looked over to him. “We need the key card to get off of this Deck. He’s got that thing on him. We need it.”
The crazy guy screamed as the door to the cell opened. He backed up to the far wall and started breathing hard, “Don’t bring him in here. Don’t bring him in here! I don’t want him anywhere near me. He’ll turn me into a human! No!”
Evila walked into the white cell slowly. She held her hands out in front of her as if to steady the man. She had never seen anyone so worked up over something so weird be-fore. It was like the guy was high or something, “We are not going to hurt you. Calm down. Calm down.”
“How do I know you’re not going to hurt me? I tried to kill you!”
“We’re your friends, and we’re here to help,” said Evila.
Tony laughed suddenly at the absurd comment. Evila looked over to him and gave him a mean glare. Her bright green eyes seemed to say “What are you doing, you’re going to ruin this for us?” Tony got quiet and folded his arms.
“What do you want from me?” asked the crazy guy.
Evila looked back over to him. She tried to put a smile on her face. She spoke in calm soothing tones, “We want your access card, that’s all. We don’t want to hurt you.” She stepped forward.
“My access card!” exclaimed the man wildly. He groped at his pants pocket with the card in it. Evila could see that he was going to be difficult with her. She took a few more steps forward and tried to calm him again.
“Yes, we need your card. We only need it for just a few minutes. We’ll give it back to you when we are done. I promise.”
The crazy guy pulled it out of his pocket and held it close to his chest. He scooted to the right corner and crouched down. He started shaking his head. “I need my card! You can’t take it from me. How will I get back to the regular Decks of the ship? How will I buy food and drink? You can’t take it… I need it. Get lost!”
“What you need is a beating,” said Tony loudly as he stepped into the small room with his fists clinched tightly. He walked over to Evila. He was growing frustrated with the paranoid man sitting on the floor. Evila looked at him with shock and amazement; she couldn’t believe what Tony had just said. “That’s not helping much, Tone’i. This guy doesn’t wasn’t to feel threatened in any way.”
“Stay away from me, human! Don’t touch me!”
Tony took a step forward and pointed at him. His emotions were getting the better of him now; he couldn’t resist commenting, “I am going to touch you really hard across the face, if you don’t give me that card.” Tony made a smacking motion with his hand to indicate what he meant.
The man began to shiver with fear and his eyes widened. He started mumbling to himself again like a mad man. Sweat was beading on his forehead. It sounded like he was praying to something now.
“Tone’i!” Evila yelled with frustration, “Stop talking!”
Tony ignored her. “I am going to knock you out if you don’t give that card to me, you crackpot. Come on, hand it over!” He took another step forward. The man screamed loudly as he did this. He lifted his hands and covered his head.
Evila stepped in front of Tony and placed a slender but firm hand on his chest. She was getting angry. “Stop! This is not the way to handle this. Go wait in the hall for me. We’ll talk about this later.”
Tony was about to protest when the crazy man spoke up, “You can have it, you can have it, and you can have it. Just leave me alone, I don’t want to die. I am not a killer! The fixtures told me to do it all, it’s their fault, they wanted you dead not me, not me. I don’t want to be in this department any more. I don’t want to taste the gas. I don’t want to hear the voices.” The crazy man threw his access card at Evila. It hit her in the thigh and fell to the ground with a clatter. Evila bent over and picked it up. She examined it carefully and then put it in her pocket.
“Take it and be gone.” He put his face in his hands and started crying like a little Tenatian girl. Evila and Tony could hear him mumbling to himself as he did this. The guy was mentally gone.
Evila looked over to Tony. Her simmering emotions were right on her sleeves, that is, if she had been wearing sleeves. Tony could tell that he was in a lot of trouble with her. He looked down at the ground.
“I hope you’re happy. The man is obviously over worked and underpaid.”
“Sorry, I was just getting fed up with all the crazy talk around here. It feels like was have just checked into the loony bin,” said Tony bluntly. “I didn’t intend to be so mean with him. You understand?”
Evila shook her head and walked over to the exit. Tony followed her; they were about to leave and go to the elevator when the crazy man anxiously called out to them. They both turned and looked back at him. His expression had changed dramatically. He looked more sober and intense.
“I need to warn you, before you go.”
“Warn us about what?” asked Evila.
The man smiled. “About the Maker!”
“Evila, let’s go, this man is off his rocker. I have heard enough from him to last me a lifetime.”
Evila held up a hand to silence him for a minute. She looked back over to the crazy guy squatting on the ground. “What are you talking about? What’s a ‘Maker’?”
“You don’t already know…?” The man chuckled to himself as if seeing some-thing funny in his own words. “The Maker is the great ‘ENERGY’ who holds all of our destiny cards in his wonderful hands. He will say whether you live or die, he will say whether you succeed in this matter.”
Evila shook her head sympathetically and then slowly stepped out of the room. She shut the door behind her and locked it tightly. When she was sure the crazy guy couldn’t get out, she turned to Tony. “Wow, he’s lost it!”
“That’s what I have been trying to tell you, and you yelled at me for it!” said Tony as he turned and headed for the elevators. Evila followed him, and in seconds they where heading toward -C- Deck to get the formula.