“What do you mean I’m not the only one?” Gabriel asked Dr. Sands. “What are you talking about?”
Dr. Sands sat down in the recliner across from Gabriel and leaned forward with his hands folded trying to decide where to start. He meant to tell Gabriel everything, but now that he was faced with the task he found himself nervous. Still, he kept his resolve to come clean.
“About seven years ago,” Sands started. “I worked independently with a scientist named Dr. Thomas Revinovitch. Dr. Revinovitch was a top scientist from Russia back before it became the barren wasteland it is today. Dr. Revinovitch’s speciality was biomedical robotics. When I started working with him he was seventy seven years old and terminally ill.
“When I met Dr. Revinovitch he had already been diagnosed with his cancer. He had an inoperable tumor in his midsection around the size of an orange. No doctor would go anywhere near it because of its position in regards to his other organs and arteries. The tumor was growing and would kill Revinovitch in the most painful way withiin a year or two unless he could do something about it himself.
“Revinovitch enlisted me due to my research in the same field. He had followed my career for sometime and decided if he was going to need someone to assist him it would be me. I was a fan of Dr. Revinovitch and his work and leapt at the chance to change the world with him. I may have thought twice if I knew how it would end.
“At first I was in the dark about Revinovitch’s condition. Over the course of the first three or four months it became clear that he was creating these artificial limbs and organs for himself. I said nothing as he got government funding for his proposal to encase these organs and limbs in armor and weaponry to make them efficient in combat. I justified to myself that if the funding would save Dr. Revinovitch’s life it would be worth it. All I ever wanted was to save lives.
“By the end of our first year we had the first set of blueprints completed. It was just in time, too. Dr. Revinovitch’s cancerous condition had worsened. We were working twelve to sixteen hour days designing and testing various equipment and apparatuses. Not to mention meeting with various government agencies about our progress and funding. In the end when Revinovitch was near the end of his losing battle with cancer he asked me to do the unthinkable and perform the operation that would save his life and make a fool out of everyone who thought he was mad.”
Sands took a pause to gather his thoughts. Gabriel stayed silent. He didn’t want to interrupt Sands. This was obviously a very hard subject for him to talk about, and Gabriel wanted to hear him out until the end.
“Do you know what the saddest part is?” Sands asked breaking his silence.
“What?” Gabriel asked.
“I really thought we’d be saving the world,” Sands replied. “That somehow people would see Dr. Revinovitch in his armored exo-suit that cased his new synthetic organs he and I designed and see how it had saved his life. They should’ve seen the life saving applications of synthetic kidneys or lungs or hearts. Hell, with the right surgeons on staff we could’ve had a working brain! This technology was unheard of. We could practically recreate an entire body if we needed to!”
Gabriel shifted uneasily. Sands’ mind was in the past, but Gabriel knew his body was proof of this. Even without the armor the fact that he was alive was a miracle of these two men’s genius.
“All the government lackeys saw was a monster,” Sands continued. “One they wanted to turn every wounded solider into. The plan was to erase the past, give them a new shiny body, and send them back out to the front lines again. The only thing that stopped that plan was what happened after the operation.
“I worked hours in the lab calibrating the robotics that would assist me in saving Revinovitch’s life. He had secretly hired a staff of skilled nurses and doctors to work with me to keep him alive and ensure the organs were properly attached as well. At this point we had no idea how bad his cancer was since he hadn’t been keeping up with his treatments. When he was finally cut open the doctors found that the cancer had not only grown, but had taken hold of most of his internal organs. When it was all said and done all we had left to work with was his head, neck, shoulders, arms, and the top half of his spine.”
Dr. Sands paused again to rub the tiredness out of his eyes. Gabriel thought it was to also hide the tears, but he again said nothing.
“We operated around the clock,” Sands said. “The doctors and I rotated shifts. Just keeping him alive was a full time task even with the robotics and temporary organs. We had blood donated to keep him going until the synthetic organs were installed and he would be switched over to the new version of blood he would start using.
“One by one the organs were installed. It’s hard work turning a man into a machine. Each one of us in that lab knew that at any minute Revinovitch could die despite our best efforts, but each one of us worked our hardest even with that cold fact in the back of our minds. No small talk was exchanged as the nerves to the spine were connected to the chassis that eventually connect Dr. Revinovitch to the his new limbs. Nano-technological machines were used for most of the work, but the operator needed complete silence to concentrate on his work. The smallest slip up here could mean failure and death.
“After five long days we attached what remained of Dr. Revinovitch to his new body and took him off life support. We all held our breath as we waited for him to either die rejecting the body or flourish. The seconds ticked by with no response. After twenty long seconds I was ready to call the time of death when we registered his first synthetic heartbeat.”
“So what happened to Dr. Revinovitch?” Gabriel asked.
“The government drones weren’t happy,” Sands said. “Once Revinovitch was stable and able to move around we immediately brought him to our funders to show them our progress. Revinovitch’s life was saved, but it wasn’t enough. They claimed we broke our agreement by not weaponizing Revinovitch’s armor.”
Doctors Isaac Sands and a now mechanized Thomas Revinovitch waited for the board to come to decision about their research. Revealing Dr. Revinovitch’s transformation proved to do more to hinder the two doctors than anything else. When the two black suited men from the North American Secret Service entered the room the Sands and Revinovitch looked up and stayed silent. They knew the time for arguing was done.
“We’ve come to a decision,” Director Haas said sitting down. “We are very concerned about your well being, Dr. Revinovitch. It would seem you used the North American government to fund your own operation.”
“You can see where we would be embarrassed if this information left this room,” Director Charles added.
“We’re willing to overlook you using yourself as the prototype if you continue your work under our direct control,” Haas said.
“What do you mean?” Sands asked.
“We mean you have a member of the Secret Service at your labs at al time,” Director Charles said.
“Nonsense,” Dr. Revinovitch said. “We do not need baby-sitters.”
“I’m afraid you do, doctor,” Haas said. “We would’ve hoped we were paying for a mechanized soldier or a policeman of some kind. Instead you gave us a mechanized egg-head. You see where we’d be upset.”
“Your NASS liaison will only be there to ensure you follow the guidelines set forth by the NASS,” Charles said. “If you do not wish to comply we can repossess all the lab equipment and materials we’ve paid for thus far. That includes seventy fiver percent of your body, Rev.”
Revinovitch and Sands looked at each other. They knew they had no choice in the matter. They reluctantly agreed to the new terms and extended their contract with the NASS. Director Yokiro (an man of the East who said very little but watched everything) joined the small team of doctors and lab assistance in the lab while Revinovitch and Sands designed and tested armor and weapons for the exo-suit.
“We’ve come too far!” Dr. Revinovitch said slamming his mechanical hand on the laboratory table. “Why stop now?” The two men were rid of Yokiro for the time being and were arguing over which direction they should go in.
“We can save lives,” Dr. Sands said pleading with his mentor. “We have to convince them to stop weaponizing the exo-suit! The wars fought with these exo-suits will destroy the planet.”
Renovitch flexed his fingers and blue-white electricity pulsed form his hand. What used to be a practical set of fingers was now replaced with a steel claw of his own design. The razor sharp fingers extended nearly a foot from his hands and housed the ability to blast a weaponized pulse of electricity.
“Do not worry, Sands,” Revinovitch said. “The government will not have this technology.”
The days passed and the suit was reinvented time and time again. The claws stayed, but the chassis was upgraded and heavier armor was added. Yokiro noted one day they were turning Rev (as he now preferred to be called) into a walking tank. Rev’s electirc pulses were also upgraded, and now had enough power to blow a car to pieces. His eyes and ears were replaced with devices much more advanced capabilities and his neural network was fed directly to his brain so he he could operate every function of his body with a thought.
It was around this time Sands noted Rev had crossed the line into insanity.
“Revinovitch went insane?” Gabriel asked.
“Yes,” Dr. Sands replied. “Very insane. Soon he no longer found use for the nosey Yokiro and the Secret Service. We found Yokiro dead the day Rev left for good. He left destruction in his wake. He tore cars apart with his talon like fingers. He fried people to a crisp with his electrical pulses. Nobody knows what snapped in his head that day.”
“Where is he now?” Gabriel asked.
“We don’t know,” Sands said. “All we know is that he resurfaced about a year ago. A limo was torn in half and the people inside were fried to a crisp. The DPA took charge of the investigation and were able to get some of Rev’s equipment and notes from the NASS. They hired me too, and not a minute too soon. I was close to living in a dumpster. Once Rev went on his rampage and disappeared the NASS stripped me of all its amenities and pay. My reputation was scarred and I couldn’t get a job in the community. That is until Jonah Judge came along.”
“Jonah Judge?” Gabriel asked.
Sands unlocked the door to his one room apartment. It was along way from the dormitory he stayed in when working with Dr. Revinovitch. Times were tough and they weren’t going to get any easier. The newly named Rev had killed over a dozen people and made the whole experiment look evil. Through the whole process of the investigation Sands thought he would end up in jail. He was almost out of money to pay for rent and whatever little food he ate when he met Jonah Judge.
Sands found the note on his the floor in front of his door. He supposed a phone call would have been nicer, but his phone and power had been cut the week before. He had a single candle he used to light his room. He read the note by candlelight with his excitement growing.
“Dr. Isaac Sands,
My name is Jonah Judge. I run a few organizations and I can use a man of your talent. I have obtain a great deal of lab equipment from the North American Secret Service and have no idea what to do with it. Seeing as you worked on the exo-suit with Dr. Revinovitch, I think you’d be the perfect fit. We can save many lives, Doctor.
If you’re interested come to Department of Paranormal Activity building at the address listed below.
I look forward to working with you.
Sands packed up a single bag and left his small apartment for the last time. He arrived at the DPA at 9 at night and they showed him to his new living quarters. He was able to be unpack his meager belongings in seconds and spent the night dreaming of working to save lives again.
“It was only later I found out the real reason for resurrecting the project,” Sands said. “They needed to stop Rev now that he’d resurface. Even Jonah was unaware the DPA urged us to weaponize. That’s where you came in.”
“Me?” Gabriel asked.
“Yes,” Sands said. “There’s new intel that Leon Deskue of Deskue INC plans to take over the city one way or another. Deskue has been hiding Rev for quite sometime. We are sure of that now. There has been word of demons coming back into our world and evil creeping back into our lives. If we don’t act the apocalypse will one again be imminent. The sword has been uncovered and given to Jonah Judge to wield.”
Gabriel gave Sands a queer look and began to question his sanity. “You’re not making sense,” he said.
Sands took another deep breath and stood up. “What do you know about The Post?” he asked.