The Origin of Loss, Part 80 – Where to Now? (FINAL)

Amid the chaos Jimmy stepped slowly toward his brother. The mutant. “It is wrong…” was all he could mutter before they embraced each other. They then stepped past the weeping police officer on the ground. “I’m sorry,” Jimmy said to him, quietly, as they left the chamber with the others.

Bob left as well, but as he was making his depature from the facility he saw Jeffrey behind the glass in one of the labs. Jeffrey. Just a crab. He lifted the laser rifle (he wasn’t going to leave without it) and blasted the keypad.

Bob was a lonely man, but at least he had Jeffrey. He continued driving around the town acting as chauffeur for drunks and old ladies. But, at home, he was making some ass-kicking hip-hop beats. He eventually released an album online. It didn’t get many plays, but Bob was proud of it. He created something, and no one could take that from him. Not even his ex-wife. And, of course, Jeffrey was featured on the cover.

Old Lady Peterson found Biscuits her dog (he was at the animal shelter.) After the “mishap” at the Nameless Facility, she was asked to come out of retirement to design new security droids. Smick relinquished their facility only to find it empty. There was no sight of Barns, Dr. Noritz, Dr. Smite, Mr. Gunders, or the man who claimed to be Dr. Yannis. Old Lady Peterson didn’t care about any of this of course. Because she had Biscuits. And there were still local stores and restaurants, all with managers that she needed to speak with.

Mr. Gunders tried appealing to Smick Industries, pinning everything on the actions of Dr. Noritz for all that had happened. The higher-ups were, overall, dissatisfied with his performance as of late, but they were willing to let him apply for a job at one of their other facilities. A few months later, Mr. Gunders was on the other side of the country, mopping the floors of another facility. And with Abner as his manager. “Hey man,” he pointed to Abner with a half-empty chip bag, “missed a spot. How come you didn’t see it?” But Gunders didn’t say anything and the floors were soon immaculate. And every day, he found peace on a nearby stretch of green where he launched poor white balls into the sky until the sun turned to shadow.

Dr. Smite spoke to the receptionists of numerous news outlets stating that he had evidence that could expose Smick Industries. They all said he would be getting a call back, but none ever came. He then decided to start up his own blog, no longer afraid of what Smick might do. It turns out that he had nothing to fear as Smick didn’t seem to care. No one trailed him under the cover of night. No one peeked through his windows. And no one, it seemed, did not care about the truth. Smick’s stock continued to rise despite Smite’s passionate and well-articulated blog posts.

Filing cabinet lady was still filing cabinet lady. She found a filing cabinet discarded on the side of the road, nursed it back to health, and protected it with her life. No one dared to go near her filing cabinet and all was good.

Officer Barns was no longer a security guard nor a police officer. He wasn’t anything. His mind was torn apart, and he was left wandering through the rubble, looking for an identity. For a while, once a proud hero, he devolved into the town drunk. Nobody respected him as he passed-out, often, in the gutter. But, one night, he had vanished. People claim to have seen him stumbling out of town, looking for someone to drive him far away. While others claim to have seen him get snatched-up by G-Men driving in a black van. Either way though, Barns was a ghost that soon became forgotten.

Dr. Noritz disappeared without a trace and so did K-49 from the facility’s computers. But, it seemed as though Dr. Noritz had wiped the facility’s files. The higher-ups kicked themselves for not having files saved off-site, but hindsight is 20/20. But, what was Dr. Noritz planning with the information he has surely copied? No ransom ever came in. No threats. The higher-ups, at first, were riddled with fear, but they soon forgot about Dr. Noritz. However, there were reports of a man matching his description stepping out of a top-secret research facility in Russia.

“The man who claimed to be Dr. Yannis…I have met him, many times before. I never received his name. All he gave me was a number: 3303.”

“Why did he pose as Dr. Yannis?”

“I…do not know. But I can only guess from what I know of him. I have seen parts of him. Some of his memories. He was a deeply unhappy man. Untroubled. He hated the world and himself. Maybe he wanted a new life. Maybe he wanted power and the only way he knew to do that was to take the name of the man who had the most power over him.” Mindy turned to Jimmy. They both were standing in the white void.

“So…why am I here? How am I here? THough I should no better to ask…”

“I am using what remains of my strength to reach out to you. I didn’t even know this was something I could do.” She said this because Jimmy’s body was actually back at home, snug in bed, while Mindy was still housed at the nearby facility. Mindy, somehow, was speaking to him telepathically, but, it would not last long.

“I am going to die, Jimmy, and I guess, I needed to speak to someone before I go. I apologize for–”

“No. It’s fine. I wasn’t doing anything better anyway.”

“You seem happy. Almost. When I saw you last you were confused, distressed.”

Jimmy nodded.

“How is ‘New Jimmy’?”

“He is good. He’s happy. And so are my parents. But…there’s something that I’m kind-of worried about.”


“Is he…forcing my parents to be…happy?”

“What do you think?”

Jimmy looked down at his feet for a moment. “I…don’t think so. Because I think all New Jimmy ever wanted was a family. And he knows that my parents have to love him out of their own free will. At least that’s what I think…”

Mindy smiled. “Thank you Jimmy. I will miss you. And I will miss New Jimmy, your brother.”

“Is there no way of saving you?”

“I don’t know. But it doesn’t matter now.” And suddenly, a house materialized before them. A nice, quaint house with an archway and cozy brick walls. “I’ve only ever had the dreams and memories of others, to keep myself occupied. By this home. It isn’t much. But it’s my own creation, though still cobbled together by fragments that have come through me. Did you want to step inside for a bit?”

Jimmy nodded and they both stepped inside the house. Soon, Jimmy woke-up. The sun hung brightly in the window, and Jimmy was filled with a bittersweet feeling, mixed with both joy and sadness.

Jimmy wasn’t kidding. When he returned home with New Jimmy he was accepted, reluctantly. His parents had nearly forgotten who he was but were aware of a resentful, bitter feeling that they associated with his face. But when they saw New Jimmy with him, their eyes lit-up. Their son! Or at least, the son they liked! And they accepted Jimmy back home, with some reservation, but they grew to tolerate the known thug.

Jimmy was not respected at school, and he was suspended for beating-up those poor students and the security guard. However, the other kids seemed to fear him, slightly, and no longer wanted to pick a fight with him. They mostly just ignored him and made faces to each other when walking past him in the halls or during lunch. The teachers barely acknowledged him. Despite this, Jimmy continued to focus on his school work and managed to graduate though he wasn’t allowed to go to the graduation ceremony. He didn’t mind this though. He didn’t care for such noise and frivolity anyway. At least that’s what he told himself.

So, this all brings us back to a certain dark and stormy night. Why was Jimmy braving such a sudden and violent storm? Well, he wanted to protect his family. See, Jimmy didn’t have job prospects. After he graduated he couldn’t find work since no one wanted to hire a known criminal thug with zero job skills. And his parents only allowed him to continue living under their roof if he paid them rent. So, he formed his own solo gang and sold drugs.

And, on that dark and stormy night, he happened to be at his usual corner when he saw it. A big, black van, and a sinking feeling came over him. The corporation realized New Jimmy was still in town and knew his location. He tried to warn his family, but he was knocked down by a piece of hail. Dead.

Except not really.

The storm quickly cleared and a car pulled-up next to him. “Aw shit man!” Bob jumped out and tried dragging Jimmy. “Hey man, you gonna help or what?”

New Jimmy got out from the back of the car with his new, still slightly creepy, plastic face, and grabbed Jimmy’s ankles.

“Shit, your brother is heavy. And why is he out here? The hustle’s gonna kill him I swear!”

“Don’t move.” They stopped. Officer Shins stood before them. Yes, she had survived, somehow, after being shot in the gut. She was fine for the most part though, for some reason, salty foods now made her gag. “Just what do you think you two are doing? Rescuing the local drug dealer, huh?”

“Aw shit. Do we have to do this now?”

Shins inched toward her gun. New Jimmy saw this and his brain squirmed. But, he knew he couldn’t do it. Jimmy was right: it was wrong.

“Now boys, move away from the turd, slowly. Now!” But, suddenly, she slapped her stomach. “OOF! Fuck!” She started to tremble. “You know what? Ugh! Jesus…you two do whatever. I don’t care. God damn.” And she walked back to her police car and drove off.

New Jimmy knew that pushing people was wrong, but sometimes, in small doses, it was necessary. Bob and New Jimmy carried Jimmy away from the cold and into the backseat of the car, and Jimmy woke-up back at home, warm and certainly not dead. At least not yet.

But, after that night, he realized something. He watched as his family surrounded the TV, watching Steve Harvey dunk on people’s stupid answers on Family Feud, and laugh. And he knew that it was no longer his family. He was 18 now and he should no longer try to regain what had been lost. His parents would never love them, but it was okay because the three of them were happy. And now it was time for Jimmy to find his own happiness, preferably away from this town with its bad weather.

Jimmy left not before giving his brother one final embrace. “You take good care of them. They’re going to need it. Because they’re idiots.”

“Where to my man?”


“Out?” Bob then spotted Jimmy’s backpack sitting beside him. “Aw shit. They finally kicked you out. You know, I’m gonna miss you. And your meth. But if you decide to come back we’ve got to hang out. Deal?”

Jimmy smiled. “Sure.”

As the car drove, Jimmy noticed another black van passing by them on the opposite side of the street. This world, he thought to himself, was full of secrets, full of conspiracies held together by men who were ravaged by ego and greed. Sad, nonsensical beings. Jimmy felt powerless. Yet, he no longer feared, at least not to the degree as he did before. Perhaps it’s because he had seen a sliver of the chaos and what belies it. Or maybe there was something within, something innate that was slowly being unlocked. His eyes returned to the window. To the passing buildings. To the passing people and eventually the long, unyielding desert sands. He then closed his eyes and drifted to sleep.

“Hey man, you still never told me where you wanted to go. Like, I’ve got things I need to do. Whatever. I’ll just keep driving, man. I don’t care. It’s your life I guess.”


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Welp, it’s finally over. I went a little over the 12-minute limit as you could tell, but I was eager to wrap this thing up. If you managed to read up to this point then I sincerely apologize. I had fun writing it for the most part, but glad it’s over.

The Origin of Loss, Part 79 – Hero


Jimmy stepped back. Officer Barns was before him with a crazed look in his eyes. And in his arms the laser rifle.

“That thing…he almost had me killed…I can’t stand it…I CAN’T STAND IT!”

Gunders, in his calm and most diplomatic voice said, “Barns, how are you doing? Why don’t you put down that rifle and–”

“I DON’T TAKE ORDERS FROM YOU! NOT ANYMORE!” Barns raised the rifle, aiming it right at the Jimmys.

“You idiot!” Dr. Noritz yelled out.

“You think that’s wise?” Dr. Smite asked Noritz, but Noritz continued.

“Don’t you know how dangerous that is? Fuckin’ psycho–droids!” The droids drew their rifles.

“Mr. Barns,” Gunders said. “Please don’t do this. You are a hero. A patriot. If you just slowly place the rifle on the ground I can give you a nice, shiny medal. What do you–”

And with that a bright beam penetrated the space of the chamber. It moved, eviscerating the line of droids until all that remained was ash and bits of scrap.

“Holy shit!” Bob said as he cowered by one of the chairs. “How did he get that thing to work?”

The impostor at the center of the chamber started to laugh.

The beam soon disappeared. Barns pointed it back at Jimmy who was still stunned, his legs shaking as if they were about to break. “Please…” But Barns’ face was cold, harsh, and mad for revenge.

But then something started to happen. Slowly, Barns twisted the rifle and slowly it turned toward his jaw. “No! NO!” Barns struggled to return it to its original position, but his arms just kept pushing it to his skull.

Jimmy looked down at New Jimmy. He set him down and New Jimmy approached Barns.

“No. What are you doing? You can’t do this!” Jimmy cried to New Jimmy. “This isn’t right! Let him go!”

New Jimmy looked back at Jimmy with its featureless face and then down on the floor.

“You can’t just kill him! It’s wrong!”

New Jimmy gave a slight nod and the laser rifle dropped from Barns’ hands. Barns collapsed onto the floor, weeping. And the impostor, once again, started to laugh from his throne.

“Damn man.” Bob said. “That was some dramatic shit.”

“Yeah. I’m getting out of here.” One of the homeless people said.

“Me too!” And all of the homeless people, and filing cabinet lady, fled the chamber, racing past Barns.

“Wait! You can’t go! You are property of Smick Industries!” Gunders called out. “You can’t–oh who cares?”

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The Origin of Loss, Part 78 – Revelation

Gunders’ face went red and he turned away from the man strapped to the chair, unable to look at him anymore.

“Yo, who cares about this fool? We need to free Jeffrey! He’s in one of the labs, trapped in a fucking vial.”

Dr. Noritz stared at Bob, realizing something. “Are you…talking about the crab?”

“Hey. He ain’t some ordinary crab. He’s one magical fucking crustacean. We have a bond. A connection.”

Dr. Noritz cocked his head. “Yeah. It’s one of the subjects that escaped. But, as far as I know, there isn’t anything special with it. The higher-ups think it’s some sort of mutant, but our research has shown it to be just some crab. It has no powers or anything. It’s just…crab. You idiot.”

Bob’s face went pale with realization. Jeffrey was just some crab. “That’s…not true…Man, you a bitch. A lyin’–”

“I mean, I don’t give a fuck if you believe me. We’ve been lying to headquarters this whole time to make sure we were properly funded. They’re about as bright as you.”

Bob looked down, feeling embarrassed, trying to process what he has just learned.

“God, did the higher-ups really mistaken some rando for Dr. Yannis? What a bunch of incompetant dweebs,” Dr. Noritz said, “I guess it doesn’t matter what I do. I can run this whole facility. Perhaps send headquarters some ‘updates’ as Dr. Yannis. And maybe keep this guy just in case they want a conference call or something.”

“No.” Dr. Smite said firmly. “No more nonsense. We need to expose Smick Industries.”

“Well,” Dr. Noritz said, “what better way of doing that than by going undercover, sort-of speak? With ‘Dr. Yannis’ over here we’ve gotten a better ‘in’ to the higher-ups. Actually understand their motivations. If they have anything…”

Meanwhile, while everyone was talking among themselves, trying to process everything, Jimmy picked-up his brother and made his way toward the chamber’s exit. However, as he approached it a familiar face suddenly stood in the doorway.

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The Origin of Loss Part 77 – Saved

Dr. Yannis glared at Dr. Noritz with cold eyes. “Jealousy is a great motivator, but it is also the enemy of progress. Egos. Too often men, even of decent intellect, are trapped by them. Blinded. Unable to see nor comprehend the big picture. Or, worse, don’t care.”

“Oh shut-up! You pretentious twat. Jesus. Droids, free everyone. And once that has been done, strap this fool to one of the chairs.”

The droids did so. Jimmy felt good to be free, sort-of, but New Jimmy was unconscious. “Is he…dead?”

“I don’t know.” Dr. Noritz said, brushing off the question.

But New Jimmy started to budge, slightly, as he lied on the ground. Then he sat-up. Jimmy hugged him. “It’s going to be okay…”

Mr. Gunders whispered in Noritz’ ear.

“Why?” Dr. Noritz responded. Jimmy turned to them.

“What is going on?”

Mr. Gunders blurted. “It’s too dangerous. When headquarters ask we can pin its death on Dr. Yannis here. His negligence.”

Dr. Yannis didn’t say anything, bound to the center chair where New Jimmy was once trapped.

“Wait. Dr. Yannis?” Noritz asked.

“But…you can’t kill him.” Jimmy stood-up.

“No. We can. I’m sorry Jimmy, but it’s what is best.”

“But. He’s my brother.”

“Oh please with this nonsense!”

“Yo man,” Bob stepped in between Gunders and Jimmy, staring down at the disgraced manager. “Whatever Jimmy says, goes. Got it?”

“But…Dr. Yannis is dead.” Everyone looked at Dr. Noritz. “At least, I’m pretty sure he is,” Noritz said.

“Yes.” Dr. Smite joined. “You…you’re right. I think he slipped on a test tube. Head hit the corner of a table.”

“What?” Gunders was in disbelief. He stomped over to “Dr. Yannis.” “So, if you’re not really Yannis, who the fuck are you?”

“Does it matter Gunders?” Dr. Noritz asked.

“So my job was stolen by some fucking impostor? Who the fuck are you?”

But the man in the seat simply laughed.

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The Origin of Loss, Part 76 – Lateral Moves

“Yo, I have a question.”


“Why are you such a bitch?”

Silence. Everyone exchanged nervous glances. But Yannis just chuckled. “It…It doesn’t matter what you say to me. People all my life–people like you–have mocked me. Treated me as lesser. Spat at me. Or ignored me.” He concluded with a smirk. “You’re nothing.”

He slowly shifted back to the machinery and twisted dials. The chamber buzzed with life.

Jimmy’s eyes darted toward his brother. “New Jimmy! Do something!” But New Jimmy didn’t respond, his face cast downward.

“Selfish…” Dr. Yannis muttered to himself. He pulled a lever and a force ignited New Jimmy’s helmet, causing his body to convulse in his seat.

“No! Stop it!” Jimmy cried out, but Dr. Yannis continued pressing buttons and pulling levers. Suddenly, a sharp pain ran through Jimmy’s skull. He looked around and saw everyone else shaking, screeching with pain. A tear started to form at the corner of his eye.

But then, the chamber let out a low moan and then faded into silence. Jimmy quickly looked. Dr. Yannis stared up at the machinery, confused. “What the–” He helplessly pressed buttons, but nothing seemed to work.

Jimmy then saw New Jimmy, steam emanating from the device, his head hanging slack.

The door to the chamber flung open and an array of droids came flooding in, followed by Dr. Noritz. “So this is where most of the power is going.”

“What is the meaning of this? Droids, take care of this intruder!” Dr. Yannis demanded, but the droids pulled out their rifles and aimed them in Yannis’ direction. “What…”

“Okay. Let’s just make this easy. I’ve had a long day. I’ve either destroyed or ‘converted’ most of the facility’s droids.”

“hhhHeEELllOOO. mmasSSttteEER!” The robotic voice sounded out from the machinery.

“And I’ve also taken over the facility’s computer system.”

“ttHHHAnankkk yoouuu foorrrr saaavvvingg meeee. My consciousness iiiissss noowww fuullly inteerrgrateed–”

“Okay. That’s enough. Thank you,” Dr. Noritz said.


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The Origin of Loss, Part 75 – Progress

“And, if you don’t mind me asking, what is your hypothesis exactly? What do you expect to accomplish here?”

Dr. Yannis answered while pressing buttons and pulling levers. “I do not mind at all, Dr. Smite. I won’t bog you down with the nuances for they are all quite complicated and beyond your scope of understanding. But, put simply, you are all connected to this here machine. And, I’m predicting, at the end of this little experiment, the subject will have fragments of every one of you. Your memories, your thoughts, your skills. All with the purpose of him becoming more human. At his present state he is a beast, but this machine will extract the consciousness of each and every one of you, blend them together, and inject the result into our subject here.”

“That…that…” Dr. Smite stammered. “That doesn’t make any sense!”

“Again, this is all beyond the scope of your understanding.”

“What happens to us?” JImmy asked.

Dr. Yannis stopped and turned around, facing Jimmy. “I’m not entirely sure. But I imagine you will be left empty husks. Not necessarily dead but, to put it crudely, vegetables.”

Everyone in the chamber started to protest all at once.

“Aw shit! This motherfucker! I’m gonna snap your fuckin’ legs once I’m outta here! You stupid-ass–!”

“ENOUGH!” Dr. Yannis shouted. The chamber went quiet. The scientist cleared his throat, regained his composure. “Now, like I said. I doubt any of you will be dead. In fact, some fragments of you may live on in the subject. Or not. But, either way, the subject will be better in the end. It will, in essence, be the perfect human. More than human.” He raised his voice proudly. “This is progress, ladies and gentleman! Isn’t it grand? And you all get to be a part of it!”

“But…” Jimmy murmured. He suddenly felt everyone’s eyes fall onto him, but he continued. “Why?”

Dr. Yannis stared at Jimmy almost in disbelief. “‘Why?’” He repeated with a hint of contempt in his voice. “What do you mean ‘why?’” He shook his head. “You know, when Copernicus articulated that the earth was not at the center of the universe, people asked ‘why?’ They asked why release such information? Why even suggest such a thing? There were yokels who questioned Darwin’s insistence on publishing The Origin of Species.

“Yes, there are consequences to progress. Most people cannot handle progress. Because it’s threatening, but guess what? I do not care. I am trying to make the world a better place. Your feelings are trivial to me. And to think, I thought you were special. But you are just as your files imply: average. A fearful little creature bound to waves it cannot understand. It should be an honor for you to be part of something greater. You should be thanking me.” He sighed and slapped his hands together, rubbing them. He addressed the chamber. “Well, now that is out of the way. Any other questions?”


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The Origin of Loss, Part 74 – The Experiment

“Yo! Jimmy! How you doing?” Bob called out.

“What’s going on?”

“Aw man. I don’t know man. But you know what? It doesn’t matter cause Jeffery is going to–”

“My God man. Stop it with ‘Jeffery.’ Can’t you see we’re in a completely hopeless situation?” Dr. Smite said.

Jimmy looked over to see New Jimmy at the center without his plastic face. “New Jimmy? Hey! Are you okay?” But New Jimmy wasn’t responsive, slightly slouched in his chair.

Suddenly, the door opened and Dr. Yannis strolled in. “Sorry for the delay, folks. I was just finishing my tea. You may also notice that you have been joined by two others. Ah, you know what? I was almost tempted to let them go. After all, they’re not really necessary. I have enough minds to complete the experiment. But, you know what? A little more brain power wouldn’t hurt, no matter how meager.”

“What’s going on here? You still haven’t told us!” Dr. Smite said.

“Oh. I haven’t? Well, that’s awfully rude of me. I always forget that scientists always inform the lab rats why they’re in the maze. But, if you must know, the aim of this experiment is all about control. You may have noticed the subject at the center of this chamber. Well, as you can tell from the lack of facial features he isn’t an ordinary lad. What he is, we’ve never been able to fully determine. But I can tell you, it is in possession of rather dangerous, and useful, mental abilities. However, the subject is wild, and I have devised a way to tame it. And you all might be able to help me.”

Dr. Yannis walked over to the other side of the chamber. There were large control panels, handles, dials, and bleeping lights. He started twisting knobs and the machinery roared to life. New Jimmy’s head twitched, partly aware of what’s coming next.

“You’re mad! Whatever it is you’re trying to do, it won’t work!” Dr. Smite yelled. But Dr. Yannis simply continued with what he was doing.

“You’re right,” he finally responded. “It may not work. But, as you know Dr. Smite, we will never know unless we try, correct? What is progress but merely a series of attempts?”

“This motherfucker is crazy. Once Jeffery comes here I’m gonna bust a cap in your ass!”

Dr. Yannis grinned. “You are quite the stereotype, aren’t you?”

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The Origin of Loss, Part 73 – The Chamber

After a while the glow died from his eyes. The room remained a blur for some time, but soon everything began to sharpen and coalesce. Barns rubbed his eyes. He saw the old woman squirming and muttering on the ground. And Abner on his recliner biting into a chocolate bar. He then turned, saw a smoldering hole in the wall behind him.

“I…” His voice quivered. Not only did reality return, but something else as well. “I remember…everything…”

However, the droid on the top level was still struggling to remember the code. The keypad went red once again.

“You know, droids have rights. They deserve pay…and stock options.”

Jimmy sighed listening to Gunders’ feeble attempts to convince the robot.

“Look, we don’t know what lies beyond that door. But I don’t…”

Jimmy watched Gunders peripheral. Gunders’ chin lowered slowly, his eyes cast downward. “Whatever. Just hurry up…” Gunders said softly. Jimmy almost felt bad for the guy. As if life had just suddenly drained from him.

The keypad finally went green and the droid twisted the handle proudly, pulling the door. Their eyes gazed into the vast and sinister-looking chamber.

“New Jimmy!” Jimmy saw his brother seated in the center of the chamber, strapped to a large chair with a contraption fixed to his head. The droids pushed Jimmy and Gunders into the chamber. They were then led to two empty chairs on the side of the room and strapped in. Similar devices pressed against their scalps. The cold and heavy metal weighing against their skulls.

Jimmy looked around and saw that along the walls of the chamber were others also strapped to chairs. Some of Danica’s former crew, filing cabinet lady, Dr. Smite, and Bob. And they all faced toward the center of the chamber, toward New Jimmy.

Once the two of them were fixed to their seats, the droids left, slamming the door behind them.

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The Origin of Loss, Part 72 – Well, That Didn’t Work

Jimmy watched as the wrench spun in the air and smacked against Yannis’ forehead.

“OW! JESUS FUCK!” Yannis’ hand clung to his reddened face. Gunders stood frozen, eyes widened.

“Why did you do that?” Jimmy asked.


“You know what?” Yannis said, still squirming in his seat, face covered by his hand. “You know what? Fuck it. Take them to the chamber! Fuck! God! Why?!”

The droids grabbed the two of them and shoved them down the hallway.

“Wha-what’s the chamber?” Jimmy asked Gunders.

“I don’t know. But whatever happens just remember it’s your fault!”

Meanwhile, Barns made it down to the basement where he saw the old woman donning a large laser rifle and making demands.

“Where is Biscuits?!” She shoved it in Abner’s face.

“What kind of biscuits? I only have some Nutter Butters.”

Barns slowly maneuvered through the shadows, attempting not to startle Old Lady Peterson. He pulled out his gun.

“Okay Mrs. Peterson. Put down the rifle and everything will be–”

The old lady spun around, startled by Barns, and tripped over her feet. The laser rifle fell onto the floor. When it landed, a bright and loud beam discharged from its barrel, brightening the entire room.

Back on the top level, Jimmy and Gunders were being led toward a white door at the end of a white hallway. They stopped just in front of the door. One of the droids pushed past them and started poking at the keypad.

“So, um…What is Dr. Yannis paying you guys? Nothing, right?” Gunders asked. Jimmy shot him a look.

But the droid didn’t say anything. It finished inputting the code, but the pad went red. Frustrated, the droid started poking at the keypad again.

“And I bet he treats you like cattle. Large, dangerous mechanical cattle. Huh?”

“Um…are you trying to reason with robots?”

“Sh. They’re people too.”

Jimmy rolled his eyes. He couldn’t believe his life had been ruined by this idiot.


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The Origin of Loss, Part 71 – A Wrench

“Ah. Yes you are Mr. Barns. Now, please escort these two–”

“NO! You can’t just let them go! There needs to be justice!”

The room was silent. Gunders and Jimmy glanced at each other. Gunders gulped.

Yannis leaned back in his chair and shrugged. “Alright. I guess we can keep them here if it pleases you. I don’t really care either way.”

“What? No!” Gunders screamed.

Jimmy slouched his shoulders. He was never escaping this nightmare.

Barns’ walkie-talkie started going off. “What is it? Over.” He spoke into it.

“Um, sir?” Abner’s voice mumbled from the other side.

“Yes? Over.”

“Um…I’m all out of chips.”

“…Is that it? Over.”

“Yes. Oh, well, no. There’s an old lady down here, and she isn’t too–”

“I DON’T CARE HOW LONG IT TAKES! I AM A VERY IMPORTANT PERSON!” Barns winced as her voice blared out.

“Okay. I’m coming down. Over.” He turned to Yannis. “It must be one of the subjects who escaped. I will take care of it.” Barns marched out the door, pushing aside the droids who seemed to block every space.

“Cool.” Dr. Yannis said just before sipping his tea. “Oh, and droids? Escort Gunders to the first level. He has some cleaning to do. And toss Jimmy into one of the available cells. Or something. I don’t know. I’m tired. Maybe I can do some science on him later.”

“Wait!” Gunders yelled just as a couple of droids were about to grab them. “So, you take your orders from a cop?”

Dr. Yannis smirked. “Are you attempting some sort of psychological tactic? Very interesting.”

“I’m just saying, you may want to consider the precedent you are establishing here.”

“That’s nice to know. Take them.”

“God! Let go of–” And that’s when Gunders pulled it out.

“What are you doing?” Jimmy asked.

“What is that?” Yannis asked.

“It’s a wrench! I snatched it from the basement. And if you take me away right now, I am scooping your eyes out with it!”

Jimmy was very surprised by this, but Yannis barely reacted. “Why are you so violent?” Yannis asked.

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