Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Alric Kamen was nobody special. He wasn't the greatest student, his transcripts at the University of Missouri bore that out. He was never known as a party animal; in fact most times he was specifically not invited to any party on campus. He knew people didn't like him much, and he knew exactly why: they knew he was better than they were and didn't want to give him the satisfaction of knowing it.

Unfortunately, like most college students, he was frequently strapped for cash. So, after his first class, he picked up the college fishwrap. He tore through the news and sports sections, gave a passing glance to the comics, but ultimately turned to the section that held the most importance to him: the want ads.

Here's a sales position, thought Kamen, for Jetpacks of Columbia. Good salary, commission…commission…gross. He skimmed past everything after he saw "commission." What about this one, part-time work, virtualnet operator, no experience necessary…something to keep in mind, but it won't pay for today's lunch. He went further down the page and came to the last ad on the paper. Students wanted! Department of chronological sciences looking for test subjects for new vaccine. See Dr. Holtz for details…perfect!

He folded up the paper and tucked it under his arm as he dashed for the DCS building.

The chronological sciences building was, on the outside, boring. It was a simple brown brick building with the occasional black window dotting every few feet. Once in a rare while, however, the windows would flash with powerful, blinding white light. The DCS had the highest broken window budget in the entire university.

Kamen entered the building and looked for Dr. Holtz' office on the directory board, room 808. He summoned the elevator and rode, at the elevator's leisurely pace, to the eighth floor for his meeting with Holtz.

Dr. Holtz was a short, rotund man in his late eighties, but you would never guess it by looking at him. He looked as though he were still in his fifties. His hair still had flecks of the original dark brown that graced his scalp, and his green eyes still had lots of life left in them. Time should be so kind to people, thought Kamen, who reflexively reached toward his own receding hairline.

"Dr. Holtz, I presume?" The joke rarely went over as well as Kamen hoped it would, but it never stopped him from saying it.

"I am, indeed," Holtz replied in his finest deadpan, "and you would be?"

"Alric Kamen, I saw your advert for test subjects, and wanted to sign up for trials." Kamen threw out his hand to shake Holtz'. Holtz timidly offered his, obscured by his lab coat and his signature titanium gray wrist brace.

"Well, aren't you a brave one, Mr. Kamen. I'll have you know that nobody has responded to that ad yet. I was thinking of pulling it if nobody replied by the end of the week."

"It's a good thing I picked up the paper then, isn't it?" Kamen chuckled slightly at this thought, Holtz did not.

"Do you know what this study is for, Mr. Kaman?"

"Some kind of a vaccine right?"

"Right, you know that we've been able to time travel for a little over 100 years?"

Kamen answered, "Of course, it's the single greatest discovery of the 21st century."

The first successful time machine was built in 2011 by a group of engineers at Eastside Laboratory Cooperative in Seattle. Since then, people used the machine primarily for purposes of tourism.

"Right, then you know what happens when a person who is unprepared for the trip goes through time."

"Yeah, tachyon poisoning."

"Exactly, what happens is, when you time travel, sub-atomic particles called tachyons become drawn to areas of lower tachyon density, such as people. When this happens, the tachyons scramble people's brains like eggs, either killing them or driving them insane."

"Okay, I'm with you so far, what does this vaccine do?"

"Well, if we're right, and we believe we are, this should create an immunity to tachyon poisoning."

Kamen pointed at Holtz' bracer, "What's wrong with just using the bracers for immunity?"

Holtz grabbed at his bracer and twisted it around his wrist, "They work, in the short term. But they wear down over time and if they're used too often, they'll draw tachyons rather than ward them away from the wearer. With this vaccine, we wouldn't need to wear another bulky bracer again."

"I see," Kamen grew tired of hearing the scientific mumbo-jumbo. "How much do test subjects get per day?"

"Like to get to the nitty gritty, huh? Okay, for the day, you'll get $100 and an excused absence from the rest of your classes. We'll need you for the entire day."

"The only class I have left is accounting, and I wouldn't mind terribly missing that," Kamen said with a slight grin.

"Excellent, testing begins in an hour at Lab One. In the next room is a suit we designed specially for our subject. Please change into it."

Kamen stood up, "You won't be sorry, doc."

"I certainly hope not, Mr. Kamen."

Kamen walked into the next room and closed the door. The suit Dr. Holtz mentioned was a black shirt, pants, and a black coat with a strange blue insignia on the breast pocket; a snake eating its own tail. The computer on the ensemble scanned Kamen's body and tailored itself to his measurements. He stepped into Lab One looking like a preppy version of a goth-metal rocker. If he had black hair instead of sand brown, the illusion would have been complete.

Dr. Holtz stood next to a large stainless steel table with a long syringe on a blue cloth. The syringe had a strange white liquid within it, it looked like it was glowing.

"Please, have a seat, Mr. Kamen."

The only chair in the room was a steel chair placed atop a circular podium and loaded with mirrors beneath the glass top.

"Hold still Mr. Kamen," requested Dr. Holtz as he picked up the syringe. "This vaccine was made with the DNA of Adam Calvin, the first man to successfully travel through time."
"First one ever?" Kamen inquired.

"I didn't say that."

"Well that makes me feel warm and fuzzy all over," snapped Kamen. He closed his eyes as the needle made contact with his skin.

When the needle finished its hideous work, Kamen saw the room spinning in two different directions.

"Chet, set the machine for a trip through the Stream for about five minutes. Alric, we're going to send you into the Stream and pull you right back, okay? Do you hear me?"

Holtz' assistant Chet set the machine for October 17, 2119, at 11:27 a.m., five minutes ahead of the current time.

Kamen's half-open eyes turned brighter and brighter red with blood. "Doc, something's not right here."

The machine began to whirr and scream as it came to life, canceling out any noise quieter than a jackhammer.

White light consumed the room, and obscured the fact that Kamen fainted mere minutes after the injection. Then the machine blinked, and Kamen was gone.

Five minutes seemed to take six times longer than that to pass, for Dr. Holtz.

For Alric Kamen, he was roused from his unwanted nap when he discovered himself floating in a sea of white light.

Images of days past, and ahead, flickered into view. A portal appeared before Kamen in which showed the entirety of human history, and he had no choice but to watch.

As he watched, he felt a pulsing sensation throughout his body. He also noticed that his body began to glow and increase in luminosity. The look of fear vanished from his face eventually turned to horror as he watched the highlight reel of humanity's worst behavior. He felt himself laughing, a soft chuckle at first, slowing growing into a maniacal howl.

He felt the Stream pull on him as the machine that sent him there summoned him back.

Dr. Holtz examined his subject carefully, looking for signs of tachyon poisoning, but ultimately finding none.

Kamen looked as healthy as he did when he first walked into Dr. Holtz' office. Over the course of several hours, Holtz performed a myriad of tests to see the effects of their vaccine on a human test subject. Prior to Kamen, all of their simulations had gone off without a hitch.

"Well, Mr. Kamen," declared Dr. Holtz, "you seem to be 100%, so we're going to send you home with a check for $100. "You certainly earned it."

Kamen glared at Holtz, his hands balled into fists, "Go ahead, send me home, you filthy ape," he muttered under his breath.

"What was that?"

"Huh? I didn't say anything," Kamen said blandly.

"Well, go ahead and change, and thank you for your time, Mr. Kamen."

Kamen changed back into his own clothes and exited the building, putting a hand to his head. Something still isn't right, thought Kamen nervously.

He took a few steps outside the building when he felt the sting of a rock pelting his head. Kamen looked to see who threw the stone at him, and saw a group of football players laughing; one of them tossing an even larger rock into the air and catching it in his hand.

"Hey, loser," bellowed the largest of the three men, "oh, what's the matter, are you gonna get mad and throw a rock at me? Heh, good luck with that noodle you call and arm, skeezix."

Kamen's left arm was his biggest sore spot, it hadn't developed the same way his right arm did. It was twisted and contorted and frequently hurt; fate had also cruelly decided that his underdeveloped arm would also be his stronger one.

A second player chortled as he hurled the rock at Kamen.

Kamen cringed, closing his eyes, preparing for impact. But the impact never came. He opened his eyes, still hunkered down close to the ground, waiting for the rock to land. Seconds passed, still nothing happened. Kamen expected the football players to resume taunting him, whether they hit him or not, but there was only silence. He slowly stood back up, not expecting to see the scene that lay before him.

The football player who threw the rock pulled his hand back but he took a long time, as though his arm were stuck in mud. The students walking around campus seemed to be going slower than their usually brisk pace. The rock, itself, hung in the air, drifting at a snail's pace toward Kamen.

Kamen couldn't believe what he saw, time had slowed down before his very eyes. He moved his right arm, to see if he was caught in the slowdown. It moved normally; he was the only one unaffected.

"Am I doing this?" Kamen asked to himself. "Well, I guess there's only one way to find out for sure."

Kamen walked over to where the stone drifted and plucked it out of mid-air. He threw his right arm back and flung the rock back at the football player. He held out his arm and commanded the rock to slow down.

The rock slowed down immediately upon Kamen's command.

Kamen had, indeed, slowed the flow of time. The thought of this caused an enormous grin to form on his face.

"Okay, time in!"

The languid speed returned to normal as Kamen watched his assailant get struck in the forehead with his own rock. It sent the football player crashing to the ground.

Kamen laughed mightily at his foe's suffering, "Serves you right, jackass."

The two other football players dashed at Kamen, "You're dead, twerp!"

Kamen softly commanded, "Stop."

No sooner was the word out of his mouth than his would-be attackers froze in position, and Kamen strolled away grinning inanely.

Night came and after today's events, and a God-awful amount of homework, Kamen was ready for some sleep. As he slept, he dreamt of the horrors of humanity he saw during the experiment, he remembered the Neanderthal who plunked him in the head earlier that day, and every other person who had caused him trouble in the past. The pain and suffering swarmed his mind and gave him fitful nightmares until he bolted upright with bloodshot eyes wide open.

"People have been cruel in the past. The Holocaust, Sudan, the wars with China and Iran and exploitation of human suffering all prime examples."

Kamen paced around his room as he muttered more about human cruelty.

"Nothing has changed. Humans are still generally despicable beings so what incentive do they have to clean up their act? None, I say, none at all. So what can be done to make these primates treat one another better? Are they redeemable? What good does it do to change their behavior if their nature is immutable? But what about me? I'm not the same as they are. I am their superior. I am exempt from their foibles, their twisted nature."

Kamen closed his eyes and watched the rich tapestry of human history roll by once again; another of his newly discovered skills. He could see humanity's past, its present, and, most importantly, its future. He saw the way humans treat one another and the world they inhabit.

"Filthy creatures. I see now, these apes are irredeemable. So that leaves me with one last question: why should any of them be allowed to exist? They—"

Light shone brightly, angrily from his eyes. "They must be stopped."

Kamen blinked his eyes and found himself standing in the middle of yesterday afternoon near the parking lot at his school.
Parking had been a major hassle for students who commuted to school on a daily basis. Too many cars, not enough spaces.

"Well," snarled Kamen, with gleeful malice, "this should make parking a lot easier for everyone."

Classes just ended and people slowly piled into their cars ready for the trip home.

The first explosion happened at the southeast corner of the parking lot. It had been a yellow Hummer but now it was black as pitch with flames spurting from the engine. A chorus of exploding metal, people screaming, and car alarms blaring broke the silence of the day as Kamen watched the carnage and cackled maniacally through the destruction.

"Filthy apes! Enjoy the chaos and discord that you have brought upon yourselves. You will all be exterminated, it is your fate!"

Blue-clad officers scrambled to the parking lot and trained their guns on the man, now wearing the black coat he donned for the experiment. "University police! Don't move a muscle or we'll open fire!"

Kamen chuckled softly at their threat. "Stupid humans, don't make me laugh, I'm working here." He threw up his right arm in the direction of the police.

"Fire!" A hail of gunfire volleyed at Kamen.

"Stop the bullets." The bullets froze in air and dropped harmlessly to the ground, clinking against the pavement.

"My turn, primates." Bolts of white light sprung from Kamen's fingers and connected with the police who confronted him.

The policemen were engulfed in a halo of light and slowly shrunk down in size. They grew disfigured and hairier than before.

"Well, well. This is new. Now you really are a bunch of damned dirty apes. Ha!"

Kamen enjoyed watching the humans suffer, it was what they deserved, he figured. All of a sudden, the flames and explosions halted in their tracks, people froze in position and Kamen looked around with a puzzled look on his face.

"I didn't say stop. What is going on here? Resume, I say!"

Kamen felt two hands land on his shoulders. He looked to either side and saw men wearing black masks, and the same black uniforms that he wore.

"Release me at once! Freeze these apes!"

The flow of time did not comply with his demands. As they kept their hands on him, he felt the flow of time stop within him. He couldn't move, let alone wield time.

"Alric Kamen, son of Rynkari, lord of time, you are under arrest for time sorcery by order of the Knights of Saturn," declared one of the agents.

A white light blinked and the three of them vanished.

The "Parking Lot Massacre" as it was called in the news, was the single biggest disaster in Missouri history, and the culprit was never found…by the Columbia police anyway.

The Knights of Saturn, who watch the past and preserve human history, took Kamen to Citadel Prison at the End of Time where he could no longer pose a threat to anyone. To this day, he remains in his cell, suspended harmlessly in a time stasis field, waiting patiently for the day that he can escape and complete his "work."

Submitted by Dr. Weird

About the Work

"When I wrote Rynkari, I wanted to create a genesis story for the main villain in my novel series that I'm currently working on. I also wanted to see if this was as good an idea for a novel as I thought it was and I would appreciate any feedback on this little blurb I wrote."

blog comments powered by Disqus