Isaac’s back was extremely sore from laying down in the same position for hours. Thankfully though, the shard of glass was removed from his side and he was able to continue work.
“Isaac Johnson, report to level one, room two. I repeat; Isaac Johnson, report to level one, room two. Thank you,” blared the intercom.
Isaac stood up and headed to the elevator. That’s Donnovan Gaver’s office! he thought nervously. He entered the elevator and arrived at level one. The doors opened with the familiar ding, and Isaac walked over to room two and entered. In the room was a large desk with some odd looking contraptions on them. Sitting behind the desk was Donnovan himself. Am I getting fired? pondered Isaac, but he didn’t think so. More likely he was getting promoted for locating Unknown number one.
“Welcome to my office, Isaac Johnson. I hear you were the one to pinpoint the location of Unknown number one’s base of operations. An impressive feat. Do you have anything to say about your heroics?”
“Um… well... “ It took all of Isaac’s brain power to keep a straight face with all of the giddy excitement mixed with the extreme social anxiety that he was feeling. “Err, I was just doing my job, sir.”
“Ah, yes, and you did your job brilliantly. Now, I believe that you deserve a promotion. Do you agree, young Johnson?”
“Um… if you think I should, I think I should.” What else am I going to say? That I totally deserve a promotion? That I don’t deserve a promotion? thought Isaac. Donnovan laughed. His laugh was deep and something seemed… almost sinister about it. Sinister? Don’t be ridiculous, Isaac. He’s a hero, he chided himself.
“Well, a tactful answer. Yes, I believe you should get a promotion. Isaac Johnson, you are officially being promoted to head Inspector,” said Donnovan.
“H-head in-inspector?” gasped Isaac. Head Inspector! He can’t be serious, he doubted.
“Yes. Head inspector. Our last head inspector was disposed of- I mean fired, for... well, lets just say she began investigating some, uh, things that she shouldn’t have been.”
Isaac didn’t notice the strange thing his boss just said. He was too star-struck by the incredible promotion. I just don’t believe it! This time he couldn’t keep a grin off his face. He tried to force it off, but it didn’t want to leave.
“Also, you’re getting a pay-raise to $300,000 a year,” added Donnovan Gaver.
Isaac began to fear that his stupid grin might become permanent if he got any more good news. “I-I don’t know what to say,” he said. “Thank you.”
“Save your sentiments. This is a very difficult job. Here is the password to the top-secret information about all the Unknowns that we are investigating and capturing.” Donnovan handed Isaac a slip of paper. It had the password on it, which was a bunch of random letters and numbers. “If you tell or reveal in any way to anybody this password, you will be immediately fired and the password shall be changed.”
“I understand,” said Isaac solemnly.
He left the office giddy with delight at this sudden surprise. He headed over to the head inspector’s guest office and sat down at the computer. It asked for the password, and he typed it up. The screen read ‘permission granted’ and he began looking at all the files about the different unknowns. Since he was now head inspector, he had to assign different people to different jobs, put together facts, and, of course, inspect things.
Several hours later as he was looking through the files on various things, he found something strange. What is this? he thought. The file had no title. He clicked on it. What…? he thought as he read the short text, his eyes widening.
This is a message to the head inspector after me. You don’t know what you’re getting into. Please leave now while you still can.
Shadowscale felt drowsy. He tried to remember what had happened, but it eluded his mind. What did they do to me? Certainly I should be able to remember yesterday’s events! he thought.
Then he remembered. He had woken up in the I.S.U.E. lab, and then he had begun fighting his way out. He had started succeeding until… something. He couldn’t remember. All he remembered was that there was something that had horrified him, something exceedingly important, but he couldn’t remember what it was. That fact caused him to become immensely frustrated.
He looked around, and saw that he was still in that same room, but with way more precautions taken, such as more titanium cuffs. There also was a bunch of tubes stuck in various locations on his body. There was one very annoying one on his tail that was tickling him. I’ll just remove it, he thought. He closed his eyes and concentrated.
It didn’t work. He couldn’t harness energy any more. What had happened? They definitely had done something to him. He didn’t like this scenario at all. He was pulled out of his thoughts when suddenly he heard the door open.
“Hello, strange alien. I have some questions for you,” said a voice. Shadowcale recognized the voice.
It’s the same scientist as yesterday. The one that was doing tests on my internal temperature, he noted.
“I said hello. Can you hear me?” asked the voice again. “I know that you’re awake.”
Shadowscale couldn’t talk because of the muzzle. He grunted and strained his jaws against the titanium.
“Just shrink. I know you can,” said the scientist. Shadowscale just stared at him, waiting for things to click.
“Come on. Don’t be stubborn,” said the scientist. “I just want to talk.”
Shadowscale closed his eyes and remembered that humans had this thing called “morse code.” When he had arrived on this planet through the portal, he had picked up radio waves from the internet and had learned almost everything there was to know about humanity almost immediately. He tapped on the table with his claws in morse code.
“I can’t shrink, you took away my psychic abilities,” he tapped, hoping that the scientist knew morse code. Fortunately, he did.
“Oh. I see…” frowned the scientist. He stared at Shadowscale. He also looked exceedingly curious. “That wasn’t me, you know. That was my boss. How did he defeat you?”
“Don't remember,” Shadowscale tapped.
“Hm,” said the scientist. “Well, here’s my second question: why were you killing innocent people?”
“I wasn’t,” answered Shadowscale through morse code.
“You mean the people weren’t innocent?” asked the scientist.
“No, I mean I wasn’t the culprit for the attacks.”
“Well then, who was? You always show up somewhere, and then some disaster happens. Are you saying that was someone else? Do you have a stunt double?” The scientist sounded completely unbelieving of what Shadowscale was tapping.
“No. I’m always there because I’m always trying to catch the real culprit. Just like you. You always show up too, albiet a little later than I do, so saying that I did it is like saying you did it.” It took almost a whole minute to tap that out.
“I don’t believe a word of it,” answered the scientist. “I.S.U.E. wouldn’t make such a big mistake. I don’t know why I’m even bothering to talk to you.”
The scientist left before Shadowcale could reply. I’m completely helpless, and I don’t know what’s going to happen. For once I can’t control my own freedom, thought Shadowcale. And that scares me.
Several hours passed and Shadowscale found that this scenario was rather boring. There was nothing to do except lay there and stew on unpleasant thoughts. Also, he was getting rather hungry and thirsty. He hoped that I.S.U.E. fed their test subjects.
He continued thinking about what might have happened in that room, and also about why the apparent boss of this place might have wiped his memory. Had Donnovan used a secret weapon and didn’t want Shadowscale to know about it? Who knew. Shadowscale somehow felt like that wasn’t it. He tried to pull up the memory again, but it was hiding in the back of his brain and it didn’t want to come out.
All he could get from the stubborn memory was that there was something more to this place than simply trying to deal with extraterrestrials. Something that even the people working here weren’t supposed to know. Something unusual.