Dr. Floyd smiled. Max couldn’t think of anytime that was good.
“I need some reports dressed up and filed. You seem to be getting a a work out on these little six second trips.”
Max nodded and excused himself with a gesture. Back to refreshing himself in the bathroom and back to his desk next to the mop closet. He pulled the touch glass close. The familiar rhythm of opening the observation dictations and dressing them up with formatting and category sorting came over him. But so did that princess’s face with all those freckles.
A chime alerted him it was time to return to Dr. Floyd and the lab. A glance told Max it had been nearly two hours.
When Max entered, he noticed Dr. Floyd doing some final plug attachments on a ring that now sat on the floor around the chair. He didn’t think anything of it, until Dr. Floyd pulled Felix out of his cage. The lab’s cyborg test animal was half bunny and half cat. Dr. Floyd had his remote in hand, tucked Flelix into the chair, stepped back, and triggered it.
Felix’s soft calico fur ran all the way up to his long half-perky bunny ears that came to a feline point, but his front-pointing cat eyes and muscular front legs were just as out of place as the black polycarbonate covers on his prosthetic back legs. All of that disappeared right off the chair. Six seconds later, all of him returned. His fur was mangy, wet, and where it stuck up in matted clumps, leaves and thissles peeked out, bound tight in their nests. It looked like he’d just spent the better part of a month on his own getting chased in the woods. He growled with the distain only a cat could, but was off the chair and out of Dr. Floyd’s reach before being put back in his cage.
Max stood next to Dr. Floyd. The dialog box for uploading images was almost done pulling from the wireless data stream off Felix. When it registered complete, Dr. Floyd immediately scanned through some of the still-shot optical captures, but then right to the climate and duration measurements.
Max was stunned. It really had been a week.
“Alright!” Dr. Floyd was smiling again. “Grab a good drink of water. You’re on deck in five.”
Max moved quickly to his desk and gobbled down some granola bars. He shoved a banana down his throat after that. When he tanked up on water, he felt ready to pop. Those still images from Felix haunted him as he made his way back to the lab.
A densely packed city scene. Lots of people. Lots of tall cement buildings. Lots of those strange motorized boxes he’d seen in the country, but shorter and moving right in next to the people. The patches of green grass and the shadows he’d found were the hope.
Max stepped over the new cords and sat in the chair. Without a moment’s hesitation, Dr. Floyd engaged the soapy sensation.