Mad Con 2012
By Nojh Livic
“Being a lab assistance to a mad scientist must be the greatest thing in the world!” Tasha gushed as she offered out the glossy to him across the table. She was a little too young for his tastes, never mind the fact that she had dressed up like one of his boss’s ant-warriors and without much creative flair. Thomas had practice grinning for his boss, so smiling for a fan girl wasn’t too hard, but the signing session had gone on for nearly an hour and a half and with thirty minutes to go he felt like an ant-warrior himself, just droning one with no rest. If only he had their limitless endurance. It wasn’t like he had and endless line of groupies like some of the other assistance at the tables next to him. This girl was perhaps number thirty? But the entire convention experience was just wearing him down.
He took the glossy and quickly penned his name across the small space where his face was visible behind his boss and his latest invention. It was a new glossy, taken just a few hours ago at a prior panel, like being mass-produced by The Medusa’s reproduction machine. Thomas boss was a major guest this year and could pull favors like that. The Medusa hadn’t produced anything new in two years and that was a death sentence for a mad scientist in this day an age thanks to the tubes. Thomas had tried to the tubes once or twice, when his boss wasn’t looking. There were a lot of funny reproductions of cats on there. His boss didn’t like people using the tubes, at least until recently when his last invention when fungal and everybody started talking about it. That is how he scored the a major guest role at Mad Science Con 2012 and dragged Thomas, his head assistant, along.
When Thomas didn’t immediately answer Tasha tried again, her tone more subdued. “Thank you for signing this. Do you enjoy working for Doctor Notorious?” Thomas handed her back to the glossy and looked up at her face. Perhaps she wasn’t as young as he originally judged. Ant-warriors had no irises and she had used some form of chemical to black out her eyes. It made her face look younger, when she was smiling. Thomas felt a little guilty at stealing away some of her excitement. “Yeah actually. I’m learning a lot from him. I mean sure there are the menial chores, feeding the experiments, mopping up blood and ichor, plus he occasionally experiments on me but then he also let me come here. I expect I might have my own domain in a few years, assuming we both survive.” He knew that wasn’t as positive as Lady Surry would have wanted but it was the best he could muster, and the words seemed to have some effect, brightening the young woman’s expression.
Lady Surry was Doctor Notorious’ first real conquest. Formerly a princess, he had killed and reanimated her several times, most of them by accident. Thanks to various treaties, this disinherited her from her family and fortune, which she grumbled about on a nearly daily basis. She was, for all intents and purposes, his boss’ consort, although she pushed everybody else around the castle like she was his wife. When his boss grew in popularity, and power, her tune had changed from complaining prisoner to complaining accomplice. Her royal manners and upbringing, Thomas had to admit, had become a real boon in the pop-science arena. His boss had barely mutated or mangled anyone the entire convention so far, and at this rate he’d placing somewhere in the top ten of Mad Scientists Yearly. But as she reminded Thomas and the other assistants and/or experiments, it was a group effort. If they wanted to elevate their level of comfort, they had to elevate Doctor Notorious’ popularity.
“That is so cool. So I’d better keep this in good condition then, huh?” Tasha asked, waving the glossy slightly. It was only then that he noticed his was the only signature on the glossy. That was more than a little strange. Few people collected signatures of assistants. It was all about the mad scientists. It was a well-known secret that Assistants Ally was just there to keep some of the more chaotic assistant ego’s soothed. Assistants were not as dangerous as mad scientists of course, at least to the general public. But an assistant knew enough about their boss to get their boss in a lot of trouble. A few of the early MadCons had imploded after assistants had been snubbed and ratted out a mad scientist’s secret weakness or plan to a rival, or worse, the Authority.
Thomas found himself smiling in spite of his apprehension. It was effectively a compliment, even if it was strange. “Yeah you might.” He said, sitting up a bit straighter. “What’s your name?”
“Tasha.” She said, reaching behind her back and into a hidden slot in the carapace that was apart of her costume. She pulled out a folder and slipped the picture into it. “I’ve been following you and Doctor Notorious for a few years now. This year has been great huh? He’s taken over two whole villages and there’s even a rumor he might replace Lady Surry as his hostage and turn her into a female assistant or something.” She explained excitedly, until she realized what she had said. A clawed hand covered her mouth. “Oh I mean after he promotes you of course.”
One of the first things Thomas had looked up on the tubes was himself. He had already heard these rumors. His ego somewhat deflated he shrugged and put on one of his more terrifying grins. “Don’t count me out.” He said, trying to sound cocky, if not confidant. He might as well start on his mad scientist image, if he really wanted to try to carve out his domain. There was really no space for a new mad scientist anytime soon. The oldest mad scientist, Count Ruger had recently invented a longevity device which put taking over a domain of the recently deceased into question. That left taking on the Authority or living or undead domain owner. Thomas knew he wasn’t ready for that. That was why he was in Assistant’s Ally rather than on the main floor trying to peddle his own minor experiments.
“I definitely won’t!” Tasha promised, giving him a wink. “Thanks for talking to me!” She waved a claw and scampered away, leaving an empty spot in front of him. Thomas let his grin fade, confused by the wink, and watched her as she took a route to the main floor. He really didn’t understand fan girls.
“Yes, Sir. I suspect the best attack point would be through his assistant, Thomas the Hell Hand.” Tasha reported into the tube interface. “He seems dissatisfied with Notorious’ recent popularity and has some ambition but no drive. We could probably even turn him.”
“Good work, agent.” Tasha’s commander said through the tube, his words coming out somewhat slimy. “Maybe by this time next year, we’ll have reclaimed a piece of the world from the clutches of these insane men and women. The Authority will be pleased by your report.”
“Thank you, Sir.” Tasha said, looking down at the glossy she held in her hand. Thomas grinned back at her and she smiled.
Didn’t know I’d do two science related stories in a row but obviously different genres. I like the concept of this world. I might try and turn it into something bigger sometime. We’ll see.