The sprawling Dynamax complex in Columbus was very reminicent of a hospital, with its unoffensively pastel colored walls and clean anaseptic air. Men and women walked about in white coats carrying clipboards. People of all types and from all walks of life waited in the front lobby, waiting for the test results of their loved ones.
Allen guessed that if the Dynamax complex was a hospital, he was working in the emergency room. As he sat in his little crucible, he smiled while he imagined some hysterical mother rushing in screaming, "Help! Help! I think my baby's an Omega!"
Once upon a time the mother would have been coming in about her child having MS, cancer, or some other disease that Dynamax was so famous for fighting. Now that the whole Omega thing had hit the media, everyone had a new fear in their hearts. Dynamax was there to help, though. So was the short, brown haired guy wearing the lab coat.
Joanie from the next crucible peeked her head through Allen's curtains. "Hey there! Get any real ones yet?"
"Nah," Allen replied. "The six I've had today were all just victims of frightened mothers or kids wanting to be Overman."
"Five bucks says I get an Omega before you do," Joanie said.
Allen leveled his gaze at her. "If you win, five bucks. If I win, you divorce that chump husband of yours and join me in a life of unrestrained passion."
"Allen Covenant!" she exclaimed. "It's a bet, but I've got my fingers crossed behind this curtain, so it only counts if I win."
"What else have you got behind that curtain?" Allen asked. He loved playing games with Joanie. It beat doing the comic routine over and over to reassure scared kids and worried parents.
Joanie simply ginned. "Get back to work you little pervert. You've got a customer coming." She then disappeared in a flash of blonde.
Joanie's head was quickly replaced by a tall, muscular young man with black hair. His nervous expression quickly dissappeared as he saw Allen and he exclaimed, "Professor Covenant!"
"That's right Bob," Allen said as the memory of his ex-student flashed back into his head. "Think you're an Omega, huh? That explains how a dumb jock like you passed my class. You read everyone's mind!"
"Really funny, prof. Actually I've been causing things to catch fire if I look at them too long."
Allen gave Bob his best "professional-at-work" look and quickly sidestepped his gaze. "Yeah? Well have a seat, Bob. I promise, this'll be less painful than my final."
Bob jumped up on the examination bed. Allen began to read through the file Bob had brought with him, doing his best 'You Bet Your Life' Groucho imitation. "Hmmm. 'Bob Warscoviak, age twenty one.' Never got the name changed, huh? 'Began involuntary psycho-kinetic activity a week ago burning hole in wall.' Bet Mom was pissed about that. 'Omega abilities seemingly activated by focused gaze.' Been burning holes in the skirts of many girls, Bob?"
Bob simply stared at Allen in amazement. "I could've sworn you'd become a stand up comic after leaving the university," he said. "How'd you end up here, annoying Omegas?"
"I'll answer than in a second, Bob. I have to start the tests first, though."
Allen pulled out a small device that resembled a digital beanie and put on the top of Bob's cranium. "This probably won't be the first time you've had a coed on your head, huh Bob?"
Bob was amused but baffled. "What?"
"A coed. Cranial Omega Energy Detector. C-O-E-D," replied Allen. "It detects psi activity in the brain. I designed and named it just so I could make that joke. Now just sit still."
The COED began beeping and Bob began to look worried again. "Professor Covenant, what do they DO to Omegas?"
Allen was hoping this wouldn't come up. He didn't know. "They just run more tests on you. It's not like Dynamax is filled with mad scientists. They won't cut your head open with a hacksaw if that's what you're worried about."
"Yeah, that's what everyone here's been saying," said Bob. "I'm still scared out of my mind anyway."
"Poor kid," though Allen. "With the way the media's been acting lately, I'd be scared out of my wits too." "Listen," Allen began, much more gently than before, "if it'll make you feel any better...I'll come and visit you in a week to see how things are going. Would you feel better then?"
"Yeah, prof. And of they do cut me up, summon one of those monsters from that book of yours to eat everyone up."
Allen smiled at Bob. Almost two years since his para-psycology class and Bob still remembered the rather intense lecture on ritual magic. The whole class was probably over the heads everyone in it, but they walked away with some knowledge, if not a higher respect for Allen's knowledge.
"Sure thing Bob. If they hurt you, the Kutulu will have their heads on a platter."
"What the Hell do you mean I don't have proper clearance!" Allen shouted into the phone. "I'm an employee of Dynamax. In the Omega division none-the-less! Bob Warscoviak is a friend of mine and I want to visit him!"
"I'm sorry, Mr.Covenant, but your name is not on the level two clearance list," replied the stern voice on the other end. "And the last thing we need is some hack para-psycologist wandering about here without knowing what's going on!"
This was the last straw for Allen. "Then why don't you let me know what's going on!? Why not let EVERYONE know what's going on? Most people don't even know we keep the Omegas after screening them, much less what we DO to them once we get them. Have you been killing too many lab rats or something?"
"Lab rats, Mr.Covenant? Hardly. Goodbye." All that was left was dial tone.
"Damn!" shouted Allen at the top of his lungs as he slammed the receiver down.
A week had passed and Allen had been trying to hunt Bob down. Considering the intense level of power Bob had in his head, it was pretty difficult, but Allen had finally tracked him down to the Pheonix branch. The results of trying to get in there for a visit were more or less unsuccessful.
Worse yet, the "upper security" of Dynamax was keeping something a secret. From his experience, Allen knew that most secrets were usually nasty ones. If he was going to work for these people, he needed to know those secrets.
Allen rolled his chair over from the phone to his computer. He hit the keyboard and the flying toasters were replaced with his Windows folders. He clicked on the "Occult" folder and began to select the things he'd need for his weekend trip to Pheonix.
Allen stood in front of the Pheonix branch of Dynamax Inc. It looked just the same as his Columbus branch. The sheer buerocracy of the whole company began to dawn on Allen at last. He was just supposed to be some nameless cog with a Masters in para-psycology.
Well, this big beurocratic machine wasn't ready for his hobby. Allen walked into the front lobby and slipped into the nearest broom closet he could find. Hopefully no one would use it for the next fifteen minutes.
Allen took out a small jar. After opening the lid, he began to smear the sweet smelling salve on his face while chanting in Chaldaeic. It was a little trick he had learned from one of the more forbidden books of his. With this particular spell working, Allen emitted a warm fuzzy feeling to anyone who looked at him and could simply walk by. Everyone would assume he belonged where he was, even though they could see he had a light green paste smeared all over his face.
As far as Allen was concerned, it was his ability to do things like this that kept him on a level above the rest of the scientific community. Science was about only accepting things on the basis of concrete evidence. Allen understood that there were simply some things in this world that didn't exist with concrete evidence.
He also understood that all things followed a pattern and had concrete evidence somewhere, making him better than all the fruitcakes in the mystic community with their chaos mumbo-jumbo. Magic had patterns and could be understood as a science.
Allen also knew that he was completely contradicting himself. Only one was true and he intended to find out which someday.
He opened the closet door when he was done with the ritual and calmly walked out. No one even looked in his direction or seemed to notice his messy face. "Good," Allen thought. He now had an hour of near invisibility.
Allen walked up to the front desk and asked the receptionist where he could find Bob Warscoviak. She typed the name into the computer and said examination room twelve, fourth floor. She didn't even look up.
Allen took the elevator up to the fourth floor and looked for examination room twelve. After rounding two corners he found it. He also found a big guy in a leather jacket and cowboy hat standing guard in front. Weird.
Mustering up all his courage, Allen tried to walk through the examination room doors like he belonged. The big guy next to the door reached over and said, "Where do you think you're going, huh? And what's that all over your face?"
"Uh-" Allen hadn't expected this. He could tell by the light green glow in the man's eyes that he was an Omega. What could be so important that an Omega was needed to guard it? "Shish kye tuun paor?"
The big guy in the cowboy hat just stared blankly at him. Allen quickly pulled himself from the man's grip. The holding spell would only last a few seconds. He pulled out a hypodermic needle and inserted it in the man's arm to help him sleep for a bit longer.
"Sorry big guy," Allen said. "You'll have to attend one of my lectures to be able to answer that." He then proceeded through the doors.
Beyond the doors was everything Allen had hoped wouldn't be there. Bob was strapped to an operating table and some odd device was attached to his head. All around him were various surgical tools, both blades and lasers. Someone was doing some pretty delicate work here.
Allen walked up and took a good look at what had been done to Bob. Bob's head had been neatly sliced open revealing his brain. "Well, at least they didn't use a hacksaw, huh Bob?" Allen muttered to himself. Attached to the brain was some sort of psionic ciphering device.
After examining the setup for a few minutes, it dawned on him what was actually happening. The device was designed to cipher off Bob's latent psionic energy and re-transmit it through a small but potentially powerful laser. There were also various cybernetic taps installed throughout Bob's body and brain. Dynamax was building a psionically powered cyborg killer!
Supressing his urge to loudly utter a colorful metaphor, Allen turned his attention to getting Bob out without being noticed. The salve only worked on conscious people. What would come in handy would be some Omega powers of his own. Or...someone else's!
Allen pulled out some gold wire from his pocket and attached it to the device on Bob's head. The spell he was about to try was untested, but Allen decided that he had little choice. Fortunately, the big brute outside would be out for the ten minutes he needed plus some.
The chanting this time was in Latin, Allen's favorite language to chant in. Chaldaeic and Arabic were too harsh and Greek just didn't flow somehow. English absolutely sucked for this kind of stuff, and Allen refused to use any ritual that used English chants, first language or no.
As he was finishing up, two men in lab coats came in the doors. "Jesus, why can't that idiot ever stay awake," one was said and then noticed Allen. "Hey! What do you think you're doing?" He shouted. "Guards! Guards! Lyo, wake up you big oaf!"
One of the men ran back outside and began shaking the guard while the other advanced cautiously on Allen. Considering Allen was standing there chanting and oblivious to everything happening, he assumed Allen was some sort of nut, probably dangerous.
Just as he was about to grab him, Allen disappeared in a flash of digitization, flowing though the gold wires into the device on Bob's head. Allen was now in control of the device, which was in control of Bob's body.
As the two doctors were searching around to see where Allen had gone, Allen took the time to become aquainted with the basic functions of the device. By the time some conscious security guards burst into the room, Allen had figured out how to move the limbs and fire the laser. He just hoped that the Omega in Bob made his body strong enough to survive what he was about to do with it.
Allen/Bob clumsily leaped up from the table. One of the guards managed to shout, "It's up!" right before Allen/Bob used the laser to blast the wall, making a large hole leading outside. As they started to shoot, Allen/Bob jumped out the hole and fell three stories to the parking lot below.
Allen quickly willed the termination of the spell and exited from the device on Bob's head. After quickly making sure Bob was still alive, Allen dragged him to his car and sped off before any chase could be started.
As he drove down the freeway, Allen began to search his mental catalog of ex-students who might be in Pheonix. Bob survived the jump, but he was broken pretty badly in the fall. His Omega powers allowed him to survive, but there was no telling when they might give out and Bob would die. Allen needed a place to stay. He also needed to get into the artificial limb section of the Dynamax complex so he could fix Bob up. Allen could only guess what benevolent cybernetic killing machines they had stored up in there.
One way or the other, Allen was quite sure that he wasn't going to show up to work on Monday.