"the effect" 2-3: "An Unfriendly Eyeball"
Here comes da hurt, or Hello, Mr. Louisville!
"Oh yeah. Before we leave, there’s one more thing we’ve got to do."
It was at this moment that I made a very foolish decision. I elected to turn and face Alexis, who in turn introduced my skull to the business end of a baseball bat. A steel baseball bat.
When I came to, I was understandably angry. My whole face was a screaming bruise. The girls were all there, presumably waiting for me to come to. The strange thing was that the twins were wearing surgery gowns, slick with blood.
"What the hell did you do that for?"
"I’m very sorry, Ash, but I had to do it. I’m not very good at this stuff, so Raine will explain."
Raine took the floor, and she held a small makeup mirror in her hand.
"We had to knock you out so we could install the Mark-1792 ‘Screaming’ Eye-Buddy to the corneal lobe of your right eye. It is nearly impossible to undertake this operation with a conscious patient, and you wouldn’t have wanted to be conscious anyway."
"What did you do to me?"
Raine threw the makeup mirror to me.
"The Mark-1792 is a new invention from inside the Hive."
(The Hive was the domed section of New Orlocksville, where the vampires lived)
"We received a copy from an operative who lives in Little Baghdad, right at the Hive gate. The purpose of the Eye-Buddy is to shield the owner’s thought processses from invasion by another Illuminati. As you probably well know, the Illuminati are all telepaths, and this makes it very difficult to attempt to do business with another Illuminati. The Eye-Buddy works by diverting the invading Illuminati’s attempt to read your mind into that of another mind, that of the buddy."
I didn’t really listen to this too closely, because I was looking at my eye, who was looking back at me. The white part of my eye was now the black part of my eye, while the iris had a new twist. It was a smiley face. I tried poking it. I didn’t feel a thing, but the smiley face did.
"The hell you think you’re doing? This is my face yer rearranging here!"
I jumped off the floor. My eyeball was talking to me!
"Yeah, I can talk. Just because I don’t have limbs, lungs, and organs like you, don’t mean I ain’t alive, now!"
"What have you done to me?"
"In order for you to function efficiently as our leader…"
"Wait a minute. I’m your leader now?"
Alexis stepped in.
"Ash, your presence in this time frame will be an amazing morale booster for our side, and great propaganda material for use against the Illuminati. Most of them are terrified by the very mention of your name!"
"What does this have to do with, um, I don’t know, ripping my eyeball out and installing the Sixties symbol from hell in its place?"
"Hey cocknocker! I ain’t no goddamn Sixties symbol!"
"Shut up, you brainless ball-licker! Least I’ve got a brain!’
There was an odd sensation, and the Eye-Buddy rolled around backwards in my eye socket. He responded in a muffled voice.
"From the looks of things, it looks pretty goddamn small!"
I wound up, and punched myself in the right eye.
The Field Trip
When I came to again, all the girls had left the room, leaving my new eyeball with me. He was laughing. Had he had an ass, he’d have laughed it off by now.
"Sorry we got off to the wrong foot, there Ashy-Boy. The name’s Thomas T. Eyeball. Tommy for short. My personality is modelled on that of my creator, Cornelius Schizmander. Real bastard. Kicked his dog."
"I didn’t hurt you?"
Tommy puffed the chest-like portion of himself outward. He talked proudly.
"I am made out of space-age mineral alloys, all of which are qualified to take the heat of a nuclear explosion. Your fist was nothing."
"Oh. Why are you being so nice now?"
"My creator’s name was Schizmander. This was a name given to him by Lithpicis himself, praise Long, and it reflected his … unique way of life. He had multiple personalities, and many of them are hostile. I’m the one he called ‘The Professor’. Does that explain things?"
"Let me get this straight. Two girls I just met ripped out my perfectly good eyeball, installed a robotic one, and it’s infused with a multiple personality disorder."
"Yes, that’s about right."
"Good, just making sure I wasn’t having a horrible, horrible dream."
Molly walked into the room, cradling a small package in her arms.
"We’ve just got one more thing to do, Ash…"
I ducked to the floor, instinctively.
Molly unwrapped the parcel. It contained a small, one-ear remote headset.
"Put this on."
"You aren’t going to cut off my ear and make me use this little beauty, are you?"
"No, this is a r-a-d-i-o. It’ s used to listen to music. Confuses the Illuminati when they try to read your mind. We all wear them."
"Well, if everyone’s wearing them, I guess I’d better follow suit."
Alexis and Hope walked into the room next.
"We’re ready to go when you are."
The Museum of the Twenty-First Century used to be my school, back when I was in my own time. It had really good-looking Greek columns everywhere, and a general courthouseiness to it. There was a sign hanging over the big oak door, painted in bright red.
MUSEUM OF THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY
"Look what happened when humans were allowed to rule the world."- Lithpicis Von Carfiels
"I am really starting to hate that guy," I muttered.
We walked in.
It was nice to see some things I recognised from my own time, but it was even nicer to see that one of Phil’s more convenient obsessions remained intact. He was always a gun nut, ever since I met him. I guess he enjoys them so much because he saw their conception, design, and use a lot over the years. Me, I knew how to shoot a gun, but I wasn’t as obsessed as Phil was. I shot guns when my dad and I went hunting. Rifles mostly. My dad preferred his throwing axes, but that’s okay too.
There was a whole section of the museum devoted toward Phil’s greatest victory (the one against me in New York), and that’s where I found Lupinmeyer’s crossbow. I was really surprised, because I thought had been destroyed by the mob of zombies that presumably descended upon Lupinmeyer like a hungry cloud. I appropriated this little gem into my handy duffel bag, along with some handguns and a couple of AK-47’s.
We left the Museum late that night, and went directly to the George Orwell Senior High library. I got some books on strategy out, and left early in the morning.
Alexis walked beside me on the way to the dormitory.
"Looks like some Illuminati are going to have some problems soon, eh?"
"Quit calling them that. It sounds like you’re trying to flatter them. Call them, oh, I don’t know, Blood Sucking Sons Of Bitches. That’s what they are."