Fan Fiction » Rin » Double Back » Chapter 6
Before you read, I just want to say that I am not, nor will I ever be, a scientist. And definitely not a biologist or virologist. Sadly, my talents seem to begin and end with decent English. So if anything is very unrealistic in the following scientific explanations and those I will have in the next chapters, please remember that unlike the writers of The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest, I do not have a consultant. I'd be obliged if you real scientists would let me know how to accurately fix any mistakes. Thanks!
QUEST COMPOUND, MAINE
The strange and new Dr. Benton Quest nearly stumbled as he was thrown roughly into the circular room of the Lighthouse, but retained his graceful balance and stood firmly, no hint of fear or regret in his dark features. The resemblance between him and the man who followed him closely into the room was too great even to call them identical brothers; as they glared at each other unflinchingly, one would think it was the same person looking into a mirror. There was one fantastic difference, however — while the real Benton Quest's hair was a strong shade of perfect auburn, the other's was raven black, with considerably more grey in shocking contrast to the coal-colored locks.
"I will ask you one last time," declared the true Dr. Quest as he, Race, and their kids filed into the room after him (Jonny holding Bandit against his chest to keep the mutt still). "Who are you, and what is your objective?"
The alternate Quest lifted his chin boldly and stated, "I told you: I am Doctor Benton Emmanuel Quest. As to my goal here, I do not deem that you will believe my story without proof."
"First, you'd best be proving your really Benton Quest," scoffed Race distrustfully, "because I know for a fact that this man is the real Doc Quest."
"I have no doubt of that," agreed the alternate Dr. Quest without reserve.
"Then how do you explain yourself?" pushed the scientist, undeniable fascination mixing with the suspicion in his chocolate eyes.
"Your American name is Benton Emmanuel Quest," he said coolly, reminding Dr. Quest eerily of himself giving a lecture at a university, "but your original identity was Nikodim Sokoll, of Russia." (1)
The eyes of Jonny, Hadji, and Jessie widened in shock and disbelief, for they knew nothing of this. Though Race's expression remained guarded, his jaw twitched and his eyes narrowed. He knew. Surprise overtook Dr. Quest's face and he turned his head to meet Race's aware eyes. The bodyguard shrugged and shook his head confoundedly.
"There are very few people on this planet that are privy to that information." He turned back to face his mirror image with acute severity. "That name was disposed of long ago. How do you know of it?"
Irritation shot across the alternate Dr. Quest's demeanor. Without verbal answer, he stalked to a small screen mounted on a nearby wall.
Race started to move forward, but Dr. Quest held his hand up as a signal to allow the other man passage. He had a feeling he knew what his other self was doing.
Surely enough, a white ray scanned the hand he placed against the black screen, and then Iris' monotone voice echoed throughout the Lighthouse.
"Identity match: Doctor Benton Emmanuel Quest, age: 45, occupation: inventor, scientist, historian, computer engineer, archaeologist, Egyptologist, biologist…"
As the list went on, it seemed to be nothing more than vague background noise to the people in the room, as the black-haired Quest faced them with an narrowed eyes.
The redheaded Dr. Quest's head cocked to the side, an expression interest playing across his features; Race, on the other hand, still looked nowhere near belief. The teenagers wisely remained in the background, though by now all three looked entirely at a loss, obviously having no idea what to think; Iris was perfect, and she never made a mistake, ever. Even Bandit glanced confusedly back and forth between the two identical fathers of his master.
"Please," pleaded the other Dr. Quest, "listen to my reasoning with an open mind, and try to understand what I tell you. I guarantee it is plausible."
Dr. Quest considered him for a moment, then declared, "Explain yourself, and then, based on the authenticity of your story, we will decide what we'll do."
The alternate Quest nodded agreeably, and then, without warning, a soul-deep despair seemed to drain the stubbornness and power from his entire body. The sensation of seeing such a look of absolute suffering on his father's handsome face nearly brought tears to Jonny's eyes for a second, before he firmly told himself to get a grip — this wasn't really his dad.
"I must warn you," he said quietly, bending his head, "what I have to say is not something you will want to hear. It is a story of more anguish than should ever be told."
"Tell us anyway. I'm sure we've heard worse," ordered Race.
A deep sigh, and then, "Very well." He straightened his back and began unemotionally, addressing Dr. Quest, "Do you remember, five years ago, the experiment you did on the manmade organism that was entitled a Dusk Spirillum?"
Dr. Quest furrowed his brow thoughtfully, then answered, "Yes, I believe so. It was a coal-colored experimental organism created accidentally by a group of environmentalists while trying to find a useful way of disposing of toxic wastes in the air, was it not? When they tested it in the troposphere, the spirillum cleansed the air of all dirtied oxygen, leaving behind only clean air. If I'm not mistaken, further experimentation in it was halted when I discovered that, when combined with the thinner oxygen of the stratosphere, it mutated into a type of single-celled viral organism…."
CONSERVATION DEPARTMENT OF EVIROMENTAL POLLUTANT SOLUTIONS (CDEPS), UTAH
[FIVE YEARS PREVIOUS]
"Thank you for coming, Dr. Quest," greeted Dr. Maria Ferlendez, shaking his hand cordially as he entered the neat office. "We really appreciate the work you've done to help us make our discovery successful. With your written endorsement, we'll finally be authorized to send the Dusk Spirillum airborne and do away with air pollution for good."
Dr. Quest smiled politely and sat in the leather chair on the other side of the caramel-skinned Venezuelan's cherry wood desk as she sat in her own chair. He didn't miss her eyes roaming curiously to the squared object covered by a white lab sheet which he sat on top of the desk.
"Well, what have you got for us, Doctor?" she asked with the air of a curious and open mind.
"Dr. Ferlendez," he began fervently, "over the pat eight days, I have conducted my own personal experiments of the Dusk Spirillum."
"I trust that you found everything in order, as you told me yesterday afternoon?" she questioned, her brow wrinkling at the gravity of his tone.
"Actually, ma'am," he answered, lowering his voice, "no, I did not. Not at all."
She sat up, to show that she had given him her undivided attention.
"Well I spoke to you yesterday afternoon, I was completely sincere in my assurances that I found nothing wrong and everything right with the spirillum. The spirillum passed each and every test without difficulty. It seemed that it was, for lack of a better word, a miracle."
"Seemed?" she repeated, a shadow casting over her lovely face.
"When my young assistant, Hadji, and I returned just this morning after leaving the spirillum in a thinly oxygenated container with the three test mice we have been using all week, we made a rather disturbing discovery."
With that, he pulled the white sheet off of the object, revealing a very self-explanatory case. On the inside of the glass, one mouse laid limply on its back, its eyes opened wide and its neck literally shredded apart. The other two hissed and screeched and howled, locked in a flailing, vicious battle to the death, biting and clawing and slicing and bleeding.
"What is happening to them?" Dr. Ferlendez gasped, her eyes wide as she winced at the ugly sight.
"Apparently, when faced with danger of extinction through lack of oxygen, the spirillum metamorphosed into a new type of virus which, when it infected these poor mammals, gave symptoms of severe aggression and rabid behavior. I fear that this would be the result if the Dusk Virus were to infect a homosapian host."
"Meaning that this is much too dangerous to allow release," concluded Dr. Ferlendez in complete accord and understanding.
"Yes," he answered grimly.
She nodded without hesitancy. "I shall order an immediate discontinuation of all Dusk Spirillum production and experimentation." She looked into his eyes. "Thank you, Dr. Quest; you possibly just saved us from a major world catastrophe."
QUEST COMPOUND, MAINE
"Suppose for a moment," continued the alternate Dr. Quest, his eyes boring into his counterpart's intently, "that you had not been requested by Dr. Ferlendez to confirm a positive or negative on the Dusk Spirillum. Suppose you had not been aware of the spirillum's existence, and therefore had not been present to perform the side experiments that ceased its continuance. Suppose it was released into the atmosphere, and no one knew what it was capable of being."
"I can hardly imagine the consequences," admitted the real Dr. Quest, his brow furrowed with deep concentration. "The possibility of what an event such as that could entail-"
"-is horrific," interrupted the alternate Quest in a strangely hoarse voice. "Unthinkable."
"Yes," he agreed. "My thoughts exactly. But what are you saying, sir? I fail to see how this answers any of our questions."
"This is my answer," he man said forcefully. "What I have just described to you is what transpired in my dimension."
(1) No, this is not information given in the real shows. Yes, it is an original attribute of my own, which will be expanded upon in [Secrets (once I actually get the dern thing finished…*hehe*). It's not a necessity to know in this story, though. Just a teasing preview. *wink* (Oh, and by the way, it's pronounced nee-ko-deem sok-ol.)
Okay, before you all say it, I just want to make it abundantly clear that until Saturday night at 11 o'clock, I had never seen or known anything *at all* about the movie called I Am Legend. It wasn't until I told this exact chapter to my friend KayJoel that he told me he saw a movie that was almost exactly like it, and I rented it and found that to be true.
So, if you'd rather think of this story as a crossover between The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest and I Am Legend, you can, I don't mind. But it was not intentional, and the characters and situations from that movie will not be mentioned at all here. Some things are very different because one is the creation of Warner Bros. and one is mine. Thanks!