Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Sketch in My Notebook: The Return of Dr. Necropolis--Chapter 15 (Part 2)

Frank McGuinness, the man who was once the notorious super-criminal Dr. Necropolis, escaped from Sing Sing Correctional Facility, robbed a bank, and got away with it.  He took a hostage named Chelsea.  Meanwhile, his former partner, the Russian super-criminal known only as the Siberian Tiger, resurfaced after years underground, with both Frank's ex-wife, Gun Girl Gracie, on his arm and Frank's greatest creation, the Neural Disruptor, wrapped around his head.

Against them stand Army Lieutenant Blaine Winters, the 
new Centurion of the N.Y. State National Guard's Enhanced Forces Division (EFD), and FBI Agent Tiffany Trujillo, once the superhero Titania. These two went with a SWAT team to confront the Siberian Tiger and Gun Girl Gracie at a bank heist in Brooklyn, but they got their asses kicked. Tiffany wound up in the hospital, a bunch of SWAT officers died, and Blaine would have died too if not for the prodigious gifts associated with his extraordinary genetic heritage.

Authors Note: If you're new to this story, this chapter is not the place to start.    Start with Chapter 1.  This chapter is the culmination of a lot of story.

The Return of Dr. Necropolis
Chapter 15: A Pattern of Behavior (Part 2)

By the time Frank staggered up onto the little boat’s deck, it was late.  Or early, depending on your point of view.  He’d hit that bank off Tremont a little after eight and made his get-away by nine, but then he’d had Jaynie—no, Chelsea, he reminded himself—drive them around for a while before hitting her with the valium and pulling into the marina a little past ten.  She’d been out for hours, a blessed convenience when trying to steal a boat, make sure it had gas, and pull at least six miles offshore before the authorities figured out where you’d gone.  He figured he had about an hour now before the sun started coming up and maybe a little longer than that before Chelsea herself awoke down in the cabin.  He needed to figure out his next move before that.
He looked back towards the cabin, thought fondly of the girl sleeping within, and let a slow smile creep onto his face.  The smile was real enough, but the fondness behind it was an illusion.  An illusion with power, to be sure, but wholly unreal nonetheless.  Frank’s smile slipped away, and he looked down, ran his hands across his face.  
What am I doing?
Poor Jaynie.  
That girl is not Jaynie, he told himself firmly.  That’s Chelsea.  Completely different girl; you’ve just used her in exactly the same way. 
He sighed.  What is wrong with me?  Is this who I am?  Dr. Necropolis, the man who ruins lives?  That Chinese Army colonel was right about me.  My legacy is death.  A city of the emotionally vacant, living like the walking dead.  That’s how they’ll remember me.
Poor girl.  She probably just wanted a story she could tell her friends after all this is over.  Not gonna work out like that, unfortunately.
The problem was N-Doxy.  It had been Frank’s first true weaponized psychotropic, and since he’d been trying to build a rep on the streets of New York at the time, he’s designed it to work entirely too well.  The kids, they thought it was a sex drug, that it would make you cum like a rocket.  It did that, of course, but…  Well, that wasn’t all that it did.  It wasn’t even half.
Frank had never been cool.  He’d grown up as something of a loner, and over time, he thought that it was this, perhaps, that gave him his insight into what drew people together.  He’d been almost twenty-five with a finished doctorate in molecular biology before he’d had his first real girlfriend, and when they’d finally gotten together sexually, he’d felt overwhelmed almost to the point of tears.  Not because of the physical sensations.  Those were simple.  Almost disappointing.  No, he’d been overwhelmed because of the way that he felt.  Loved.  Accepted.  Cool, even.  For a man whose life had been an isolated slog through a world full of happy-looking couples, finding an end to isolation had been a life-changing experience.
He’d put that into N-Doxy.
People expected a sex drug, an orgasm trigger, something that worked on a purely physical level.  But love, sex… they weren’t like that.  Frank knew this because with time he’d come to realize that everyone felt alone, that his personal experience was an admittedly acute case of an entirely universal phenomenon.  That no one felt cool all the time, that even the cool kids had moments of doubt—as many or more than he did himself.  That this simple reality could form the basis for some serious chemistry.
There were plenty of sex drugs.  Methylenedioxy-methamphetamine, more commonly called MDMA, Ecstasy, or Molly, was a good one.  A mild psychotropic and hallucinogen, it made people want to touch each other.  The club kids loved it.  Frank had taken that base, that idea, and coupled it to a drug of his own design, a mild paranoia agent, the kind of thing that induced feelings of loneliness and need.  The result wasn’t a rape drug, it didn’t brainwash people, but for folks who were already attracted to each other, it drove them together with an intensity that caught many completely off guard.  Novice users clung to each other like shipwrecked sailors clinging to a life raft, riding out a storm of emotions so violent that they felt like a matter of life and death.  The need for human acceptance, for touch, became palpable and overwhelming.
Stage two was the part that people expected.  Heightened skin sensitivity, increased blood flow to the genitals, reduced refractory time.  The part of Frank that was an artist regretted the need for such cheap theatrics, but of course, those theatrics served to heighten orgasm, and it was through orgasm that N-Doxy gained its power.  In orgasm, the body released its love hormone, oxytocin, the chemical responsible for feelings of post-coital closeness.  This in turn triggered the drug’s third and final stage.  N-Doxy forced the release of even more oxytocin, doubling down on the body’s natural sex response, flooding the mind with feelings of love and acceptance at exactly the time that a person was most susceptible to those very feelings.  Fear and paranoia gave way to a complete kind of love and acceptance far beyond what most people would have felt in a mundane or natural life.  It was this that made people say that the drug made love “feel like it was supposed to” or “like it looked in the movies”.  It wasn’t real, it was a trick.
But it was a powerful trick.
It had taken Jaynie years to parse the feelings that N-Doxy gave her, but when she finally did so, she asked Frank to design another, weaker version of the drug with an oxytocin inhibitor in lieu of the traditional trigger that he’d used in the base design.  The resulting concoction, S-Doxy Minimis, was the sex drug that people thought that they wanted, but it never sold half so well on the streets.  Frank had only realized in retrospect why Jaynie wanted it so badly.  She’d used it like methadone—to wean herself off of her addiction.  
Not her addiction to N-Doxy.  Her addiction to Frank himself.
He couldn’t blame her, couldn’t even really be mad at her.  Not really.  Not in the afterglow of his time with Chelsea, and especially not in light of what that time told him about his own true nature as a man.  He’d met Jaynie as a sweaty, nineteen-year-old club kid, and he’d immediately corrupted her—deeply and permanently—almost as a matter of course.  He’d created Gun Girl Gracie from the darkest corners of his own imagination, and he’d then taught a near-defenseless girl to be the person that his mind had conjured.  He’d stolen her innocence and set her on a path that had consumed her.  Who could blame her for wanting to break free?
No.  That wasn’t why Frank was mad.  It wasn’t why he’d broken out of prison; it didn’t explain why he was dreaming of his ex-wife at the same time that his new lover awaited him in the cabin below.  It wasn’t because Jaynie was free.  
It was because she wasn’t free.  
Frank had never rolled on her, and he’d made damned sure that the Feds never figured out who she really was.  It had taken some doing, but he’d given her a chance.  She could have started over, had a normal life.  He’d gone to prison for six years to give her that chance.  
She hadn’t taken it.  She was still Gun Girl Gracie, she was still out there living the life, living with fucking Draygho, the goddamned Siberian Tiger.  If that was her choice, if it was what she wanted, then fuck her!  Frank would—finally—stop feeling guilty about it.  He wasn’t a good guy, he knew that, but his own wife had left him, had let him languish in a New York prison for six fucking years, all so that she could take up with a sociopathic Russian super-criminal.  
To Hell with it.
Frank owed Draygho a debt of pain, and that debt was long overdue.  If Jaynie got caught in the back blast, well...  She was a big girl now.  She was making her own choices.
None of which told him what to do next.
Chelsea would be a problem.  She hadn’t asked for this, and she surely hadn’t known what to expect.  So, of course, Frank had given her a double-dose of N-Doxy, tied her up, and then taken her around the world.  He’d done every sick thing with her that six years in prison had put into his filthy fucking mind, and then he’d renewed her dose of N-Doxy, and he’d done it again.  He’d taken her in every way he could imagine, had brought her to screaming, quivering climax, and then he’d held her through the afterglow, staring into her eyes and stroking her hair as tears streamed slowly down her face.  She would be sore, he thought, and she would be hopelessly, helplessly in love with him.  It might take years before Chelsea could move past the effects of that kind of oxytocin bond, and even then, it might not happen at all without the help of a talented therapist.  Truth was, Frank wasn’t at all sure that she would ever truly get over it.  If he couldn’t get his hands on a Neural Disrupter and undo at least some part of the damage that he’d done, poor Chelsea might never feel love again.
So what?  Do I dress her up like Gun Girl Gracie and make her my new sidekick?
There was no asking her.  Maybe in a week she’d be able to form an opinion on the subject, but in the immediate aftermath of an N-Doxy high like the one he’d just put her through, coherent thought was simply not possible.  She’d be too convinced that they were soulmates, that Frank had her best interests at heart no matter what he said or did.
He needed a lab.  With the right equipment he could maybe temper some of the damage, and anyway, he needed to gear up for the coming confrontations.  The police would figure out where he’d gone before too long, and besides, it wasn’t like he’d broken out of prison to go on a mere pleasure cruise.  Draygho needed to pay.  The Neural Disrupter was not his, and for that matter, neither was Jaynie.  Frank would set all that to rights soon enough.  First, though, he needed a quiet space, someplace to work.
Given that he was already on a boat, there was really only one possible choice.  He had to go back to the beginning.  To New Haven, to Yale, to his old lab back at the hospital.  He could only hope that he still had some friends there, that he could get what he needed and be gone before the police realized what he was up to.
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