The Mad Scientist

Reads: 202  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Old Ben wants nothing more than to win the war for his countrymen with his science - regardless of the cost

Submitted: January 05, 2012

A A A | A A A

Submitted: January 05, 2012

A A A

A A A


 

The rain poured amidst the crowd of revolters.

 

For a moment, Ben was glad he was alone in the laboratory. There was nobody to disturb his thoughts, and the rain cannot reach his papers. It did not take much effort to tune out the frenzied shouts of the people, his people, out in the streets.

 

He smiled affectionately at that thought. It was invigorating to know that his people were doing all they could to change the world. He puckered his eyebrows, and refocused on the papers in front of him. After all, this was his way of contributing to the fight for his country's rights. His concentration cannot be derailed.

 

The door creaked open, and Ben vaguely heard someone urge him to take a rest. It was probably one of his lab assistants. He supposed it was the annoying one with the crew cut. He simply brushed him off as if he was an irksome fly.

 

On cue, his hand started to cramp from the continuous hours spent writing. Somewhere in the corner of his mind, it registered that this would be the cranial accessory nerve at work here. His brain was sending signals to his hand to let it know that it was indeed time to rest.

 

Ben had no time for such trivialities. He has to complete his research.

 

* * *

 

It was the start of the year 2000, and when the world ought to be celebrating the arrival of the second millennium, it was not.

 

Instead, half the world has cooped themselves in their houses, while the other half is bent on eradicating the last standing radicals. Over the last century, the world has changed a hundred times over. Ever since two thirds of the world population was annihilated by a deadly virus, the rest of the world realized that the only way for the human population to survive the ordeal is to unite under one ruling.

 

And this was how the Coalition of the United Nations was formed. There is only a single government, and any resemblances of self-interest became taboo. It was the ideal dream for the world to flock together as kindred spirits. Utopia as a reality. Without missing a beat, every single nation relinquished its sovereignty and declared itself a member of the coalition.

 

Every single nation - except for one. This one country obstinately stood its ground against the New World, and refused to give up its rights as an independent nation. Its people were simply too proud to forgo their roots and their love of the nation. Ben was one of these patriotic civilians.

 

And so they fought. It started with harmless protests against the C.O.U.N, but when this proved futile against the relentless pressure put on by the rest of the world, they resorted to violence. What begun as mere resistance, spiraled into war. Blood was shed, and had not curbed since. However, it soon became obvious that the blood spilled by this country was more than what the rest of the world can afford to spill.

 

They were losing the war. 

 

* * *

 

Ben's back hunched over the desk. The concentration in the room was so thick; one could almost taste it in the air.

 

He unconsciously rocked his body back and forth, as he muttered endlessly under his breath. He was so close to finishing his research! A while more and he would complete the serum that he has worked tirelessly on for the past decade. Once he finishes constructing the serum on paper, he can proceed to synthesize the real one, and in no time at all, it will be in action out in the war front.

 

The victory of his country was tantalizingly near. And he (a smirk ghosted his features as he thought of this) would be the hero of the story.

 

Unnoticed by him, the grills clanged shut as the lights dimmed.

 

* * *

 

The human brain is perhaps one of the most complex things that have ever come to existence. At only 3 pounds, it is the one driving force behind the gears of the world. And it is even more interesting to note that, of the entire organ, humans are only equipped with the ability to use 10% of it at any one time.

 

No one can ever explain the 90% of untapped cognitive power. Einstein once theorized that if humans were able to maximize the use of the entire brain, one can even comprehend the supernatural.

 

Although this theory has never been confirmed, it has not stop humans from trying to test it out. And this is what Ben's research entails: If he can create a serum that can remove this unfathomable limit on our brain's capacity, he can attain unimaginable wonders.

 

After all, if one can comprehend the supernatural, it goes without saying that the person can also effortlessly conquer a battlefield.

 

Then, the victory of the war will be theirs.

 

* * *

 

Elation coursed through his veins like a drug. Finally he has succeeded!

 

Ben slowly rose on quavering legs, clutching the papers in his hands. The sea of words and equations on the paper held promises beyond the wildest dreams. These words were genius indeed!

 

He spun on his toes, expecting to live the moment that he had envisaged for years: there would be his lab partners surrounding him in the lab, clapping him on his back and congratulating his achievement -

 

Silence. Darkness. Emptiness.

 

Confusion covered him like a fog. Where were the people and what happened to the lab? His eyes wandered agitatedly. In the persistent darkness, and he made out the indistinct outlines of a bed and the desk. He was definitely not in the lab. Bile rose up in his clenched throat.

 

Something was terribly wrong!

 

Ben rushed forward in the dark, stumbling over the bedpost in the process. He felt for the door and wrestled with the doorknob, but it refused to relent. It was locked! Hyperventilating gasps left his mouth while he threw himself repeatedly against the door.

 

The war is raging outside. They need me! I can't be trapped in here!

 

Abruptly, intuition brought his legs to the other side of the room. His hands flung aside the window curtains even though he cannot even remember there being a window. Faint moonlight streamed into the room through the grills of the window.

 

He quickly located a group of people on the grass field near the window. Two men held onto the elbows of the third, who was struggling against them as if his life depended on it. The crazed look in his eyes brought distress to Ben. He simultaneously felt a surge of disgust and pity for that man. Was he about to be imprisoned in a strange room, as he is right now? A prisoner of war, perhaps?

 

Yet, just as he was about to shout out, he glimpsed the words printed on the back of the white jumpsuit that the man was wearing. It took less than a second, but the words burnt a razor sharp image into his mind.

 

No, no! Ben took a staggering step back. He blinked his eyes rapidly, but the words did not disappear.

 

'Westwood Institute of Mental Health Hospital'.

 

His throat tightened in a vice grip, and he clawed desperately at it. It was then when he finally took a good look at his clothes. It was not the pristine white lab coat that he had put on, but the same white jumpsuit.

 

His mouth opened in a silent scream. In an act of defiance and desperation, he pulled at his shirt to look at the words imprinted on the back. It was a pathetic attempt to convince his eyes what his mind cannot accept.

 

Realization collapsed on him like a smothering blanket. Memories exploded through the floodgate, as everything came together in disorientating clarity.

 

Ben collapsed to the floor and shrieked into the empty room.

 

* * *

 

Outside the room, the nurse with the crew cut glanced up, alerted to the anguished wail of the patient. He shook his head in resignation. There goes Old Ben - yet again.

 

He lazily put up his arm to stop the new nurse from barging into the room, "There is no point in looking out for Old Ben."

 

Prompted by the new nurse's baffled expression, he continued to explain. "Old Ben was an old war veteran – a brilliant one in fact. Back when the war was still raging, he led a team of radical neurologists to research the secret behind the human intellect. Something about boosting the human's brain capacity. They probably thought that they could revolutionize the war and bring down the C.O.U.N."

 

The new nurse exclaimed, "That is incredible! Did they succeed?"

 

He merely snickered in amusement. "Have they taught you nothing in school, young man? The C.O.U.N is still standing today. However, yes, rumors spread that they believed that they had succeeded. And they were so anxious to validate it that they tested it out on one of their own - Old Ben. Apparently he was the first in line to volunteer for it. Ha! The serum never gave him any additional IQ points." He paused dramatically while the new nurse held his breath in apprehension.

 

"It robbed him off his sanity instead."

 

He laughed lightly when the new nurse tried to suppress his grimace. "Old Ben was forcefully admitted into this institute almost immediately. His people probably wanted to get rid of a useless baggage and move on. And here he stayed ever since, that old gramp. For the past half century, he has been under the delusion that he is still researching alongside his people, and every time he think he made a breakthrough in the research- wham! Reality finds him. And now, there he is, howling like the mad dog he really is."

 

The new nurse gazed on thoughtfully. "You don't seem to think much of him, John."

 

John raised his eyebrows. "I simply cannot accept how his arrogance made him believe that he could twist the human nature into a weapon of war."

 

He sighed inaudibly. "It really is best to leave him alone. In a few more years, once that old body of his gives up the will to live, he will be relieved of his regret forever."

 

* * *

 

Old Ben lay alone on the cold floor. He has ceased screaming a few hours ago, and his heart has finally stopped its restless pounding against his chest. Shivering, he grabbed the corner of the desk to pull himself to his feet. The world swayed beneath him. As he clenched his eyes shut to block out the oppressing darkness, he strained to remember what happened previously.

 

It does not matter. I have to get to work. We have to win the war. He took a few staggering steps forward, and rummaged through the stack of papers in front of him. They were all covered with meaningless scribbles. He crushed these papers and flung them aside, looking for a fresh piece of paper to pen down his ideas. His hand clutched the pen, reassured, and resumed its familiar movements across the paper.

 

One day, I will be the hero who conquer science, and bring peace to my people.

 


© Copyright 2017 Ava Tan. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

More Science Fiction Short Stories