by Todd Goode #12205
My name is Howard. I’m a detective in need of a strong drink and a new case. It was a night like any other. It was a cold, dark and dreary night. I open a window to get some fresh air but the air had a fowl smell. I lit a cigarette and poured another shot of rot gut whiskey. The phone rings before I can take the shot. I answer it. It’s the cops and they want my help … again.
The flatfoots that are walking the beat are getting calls about some strange goings on down at Hangman’s Wharf.
Hangman’s Wharf is well known to be a rather large criminal hangout with thugs, warehouses, a few smoke filled bars and a small genetics lab. A lot of bad things happen down there.
Chief of Police Gordon says the inhabitants there are seeing a weird looking creature lurking in the shadows. It’s not quite man but not quite animal either. They hear horrible screams in the night and their pets have gone missing. Even the bums on the row, down on their luck have disappeared.
The cops pay double my rate. It must be really bad down there. I take the gig and start sniffing around.
I make my way down to Hangman’s Wharf and start talking to witnesses but they don’t know much. Mostly, they’re frightened of the strange creature.
One lady described the creature as birdlike. She says she seen it hiding behind the Steel Fist bar and café. It’s operated by the gangster steel Fist. No points for originality. She says she sees the owner feed the creature sometimes. I thank the lady and find myself in the Steel Fist bar and café.
I walked up to the bartender and said I wanna talk to Steel Fist, now.
The bartender wasn’t playing nice so I had to jack him up.
Steel Fist came out from the money room and rather rudely commented with a smirk, “Well, if it ain’t Howard, the private dick! Put my guy down. He don’t know nuthin but drinks. Whataya want?”
“I’m gonna ask questions and you’re gonna answer them. Tell me what’s going on? Why are you feeding creatures outta the back of the bar? Tell me what you know or the coppers will be here in a flash, you understand?”
Steel Fist says, “I’ll talk. Walk back here to the back. I wanna show ya sumthin.”
“No tricks Steel Fist, or I’ll have an extra hand for a souvenir.”
Steel Fist opens a door in the back. They go inside.
“This is my lil brother, Donald. Look at what they done to em. He volunteered for testing at the genetics lab down at the end of the wharf. They said they could make him stronger but they made him into a monster and then dumped him instead, like he was trash. You go check out that genetics lab and you’ll find some answers.”
I looked down at his little brother, an experiment gone horribly wrong. He looked to be part human, part bird and part reptile but covered in some smelly slime and still changing but into something that was on the verge of dying from pain. It was like he was melting right in front of me. Donald yelled, “It was Duckinstein.”, as he screamed in pain.
I looked back at Steel Fist and said, “This must be why people’s pets and the bums are disappearing. The lab must be using them for experiments. I’ll get to the bottom of this. Even a gangster deserves some justice.”
I gotta get inside that lab and find out who is causing all of this strife.
I sneak into the lab and begin searching for this Duckinstein. Each lab I passed was filled with multiple grotesque experiments.
I turned the corner to see a huge lab and inside conducting experiments, a rather odd looking man. A short fellow covered in what appeared to be feathers. He turned around and that’s when I saw it. The man had a duck bill to go with those feathers.
I was taken aback. I couldn’t help it, the first thing outta my mouth was, “What the duck! The next thing outta my mouth was, “Okay Duck! I got ya! It’s over. I’m putting an end to your evil experiments. I’m taking you in to B.A.D.G.E! Give up!”
Duckinstein quacked, “Good luck with that! You don’t even know what you have walked into!”
“Well, explain it to me duck man. Come on! Let’s get quacking.”
“Oh! Aren’t you a real wise quacker? I’m really getting annoyed. You need to quit quackin’ jokes detective, before I get angry. You won’t like me when I’m angry.”
“I said, “Hey duck, I don’t like you now.” Then said, “Go ahead, explain.”
Duckinstein replied, “I’m trying to fix me back to normal. Would you believe it? I was bitten by a test subject exposed to morphons with human DNA spliced together with reptilian DNA. We were testing to find a way to regenerate traumatic wounds like 3rd degree burns and missing limbs. The bite infected the stem cells of my body with that of the spliced human and reptilian DNA and I began to mutate. My body grew taller. I began to develop fingers and toes but with the physique of homo-sapiens. I gained great strength and intelligence. Then that new form was bombarded by multiple morphon storms and now when I get angry the feathers on top of my head stand up and the reptilian DNA shows itself and I get mean and hurt things. It’s not in my nature to hurt things. I just want to be normal again.”
I just shook my head. “Do you expect me to believe all that? Your cheese has slid far off your quacker man! I’m taking you in!”
“Okay! That’s it detective. Now, I’m angry. I warned you about the jokes.”
I couldn’t resist a few more jokes. I had to see where this was going. I said, “Oh ain’t you the tough duck? I bet you were born from a hardboiled egg. You know when roast duck is bad? It’s when you’re the duck. Ha Ha Ha.”
Duckinstein got more and more angry and grew again to twice the size only now he had reptilian scales in place of feathers and grew large claws from his fingers and toes and had a tail nearly ten foot long. He attacks.
I was thinking to myself, “Ain’t this a kick in the head? This is going to get bad.”
“I warned you gumshoe. Now you get hurt and die!”
Duckinstein jumped and slashed across my chest with his right claw then his left and then tail whipped across the room. Good thing I heal fast. I stood up only to hear, “You like jokes? I got one for ya. Here’s a power move, a kick to the family jewels. I call it, “The Nut Quacker!”
I land across the room. I put my hand up to block his next attack. Stop! “I said in a high pitched voice. I’m going to need a minute. Duckinstein paused while I got up slowly and took a breath. It was enough of a distraction to trap Duckinstein in an electro-psychic force field. Every time he touches the force field, his mind will believe he is getting electrocuted. Self preservation should keep him calm until I can get him to B.A.D.G.E. HQ and hand him over.
After arriving at B.A.D.G.E., I meet up with Nova and Dr Henderson and explain that Duckinstein claims to be infected with human and reptilian DNA and mutated further by morphon showers to what we see now.
Nova looked down in thought for a second and back up to Dr. Henderson, “Can you fix him and change him back to his original form of being?”
Dr. Henderson replied, “If what he claims is correct, maybe the molecular cell reconstruction pods can restore the creature.”
“Take it to the pod room. There are three pods. Place it pod 1,” Doc ordered.
“Okay Doc, I got it in the pod. Now what is supposed to happen?”
Doc said, “The first pod will detect normal DNA sequences and begin to separate the normal DNA from the genetically modified DNA caused by the gene splicing and morphon storms. Once the normal DNA has been separated, the pod will send it to the second pod for reconstruction.”
I asked Doc,”What about the other DNA sequences?”
Dr Henderson replied, “The contaminated DNA will be sent to the third pod but will just be a pile of cells without form.”
The first pod sounded an alert. “Dr. Henderson, all DNA sequencing complete. Reconstruction can commence.”
Dr. Henderson proceeded to initiate transference of normal DNA to the second pod. The lights dimmed. The pods took immense power to operate.
The first pod appeared emptied; pods 2 and 3 were filled with something that resembled smoke or fog. The first pod alerted, “DNA transference complete in ten…nine…eight…….one, transference complete.” The pods opened and the smoky fog rolled out into the room.
Nova ordered the guards to cover the pods with their weapons while Dr. Henderson checked the computer readout.
Dr. Henderson says, “Everything should be good, they can lower their weapons. The readout states, DNA transference 98.9% restored to subject. It’s within safe parameters.”
“To be safe, let’s look at the pod cameras and see what we can. Keep the pods covered.” ordered Nova.
Pod 1 was empty. Pod 3 had a mass of morphonic cells of spliced human and reptilian as predicted but the mass was still twitching.
There was a commotion coming from pod 2. You could hear the sound of feathers flapping. A small duck jumped from the smoky fog and began to quack. After the initial scare, the duck began to waddle away. Everyone remarked, “Awwwe, look at that cuteness.”
Nova ordered a work bot to take the small duck to a pond and release it. The duck quacked as to say thank you.
Nova ordered me to go back to the wharf to destroy the genetics lab. Sounded like fun. I was off to take the lab down then go get my pay from them flatfoots.
Meanwhile, Dr. Henderson exclaimed, “I’m glad that worked. Now I have to clean up pod 3 and study the remains.”
Dr Henderson turned to clean pod 3 as the foggy smoke cleared but the genetic mass of morphon mutated cells were gone. “I have to tell Nova.”
A low rumble of growling could be heard at the end of the darkened hallway but that’s another Halloween story.
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