Episode 70 - Sometimes questions are more important than answers. Not today though.

Talking to Dr. Susan Walker was the only thing keeping me sane in the last few days, well sort of. Seeing Ben transformed into a monster had really messed with my head. After last week’s visit to the main Lab with Dr. Ivanov, I’ve been having horrible nightmares and I’ve been hardly sleeping. But most of all I wanted answers. Yesterday was just another day. Dr. Walker and I sat around the small cell which we now share. - Do you think it’s safe to take these bandages off? - I asked her pulling the medical tape from under my eyes. - I don’t know, let me see the cut - said Dr. Walker while getting closer to my face. I pulled off the tape completely and let the female doctor inspect my wound. She nodded. For a moment I had an unbearable urge to find a mirror and check my newly acquired scar; although I knew it was obviously impossible. But there was something bigger bothering me. I couldn’t help to wonder how Dr. Walker got involved with the Mulberry Ridge Lab Project. Why did she try to help me? So I finally asked her. And this is what she had to say:

- Last year, I worked at the Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital as a pathologist, under supervision of Dr. Ivanov. He was at the time our Chief of Staff. It was a pretty straight forward job at the hospital. I diagnosed the diseases in bits of tissue removed from people. For instance, if somebody had a tumor removed I would examine it and say whether there was cancer, what type it was, and how the disease had progressed. Basically, when anything was removed by a surgeon from someone’s body, it came to me. When your friend Benjamin showed up at the hospital, I was in charged of examining some tissue extracted from his wound on his right arm. What I discovered in that piece of skin changed the course of my life. Concerned about Benjamin’s life, I first tried to understand the nature of his wound. So I decided to ask Ben directly what caused such horrible gash. When he told me he was attacked by a giant turtle, I thought he was delirious. But before we could finish the conversation, Dr. Ivanov interrupted us. He seemed irritated and after a long discussion over Ben’s health, Dr. Ivanov took me off the case. But I persisted. Weeks later while analyzing more tissue samples from Ben’s arm I discovered a certain reptile’s DNA embedded in his genes. I made the mistake of telling one of my lab partners about my discovery. From then on everything went down hill. I was called to Dr. Ivanov’s office where he interrogated me for hours. A week later, they told me I had been relocated. When I tried to refuse their offer, I was hand cuffed and drugged. When I finally woke up, I was already here at the Mulberry Ridge Lab. They threatened my life several times when I didn’t cooperate. I had no choice. -

I listened carefully to her story while taking care of the rest of the bandages on my face. While working at the Mulberry Ridge, Dr. Walker also found out that Ben wasn’t the first one to be exposed to reptile DNA. An EPA Research Biologist who had disappeared a while back and two missing soldiers from a Marine Corp Recon Squad had being used as guinea pigs for Dr. Ivanov’s evil plans. But those three men never made it as far as Ben did. Complications during their metamorphosis period ended up killing them. That explained Ben’s new code name: AHP-4: Ben was the fourth Autonomous Hibernation Pilot. I leaned closer to DR. Walker as she kept telling me her accounts. Everything was finally falling into place. She told me she did her best to keep Ben comfortable and she made sure he was still aware of himself. She also enlightened me about the Marine Corps mission at the Mulberry Ridge: simply to be used as lab rats! The Third Force Recon Team wasn’t sent to the Ridge to investigate, but to be investigated and used as part of Dr. Ivanov’s wicked science project. Major Munsch had to be involved in the scheme as well. What a huge conspiracy!!!

- I had heard about you John; about a misfit Marine who was causing all sorts of problems to the project. I had hopes that you were going to help us to put an end to this madness. But now I’m afraid. Even more frightened than before, because Ivanov finally has what he wants. He doesn’t need us anymore. -

Dr. Walker cried. I held her in my arms, and tried to comfort her. Her words made a lot of sense, but her negativity wasn’t going to help us. - I will get us out of here, I promise. - I told Dr. Walker, now holding her hand to ensure my oath. In the meantime, I’m gonna have to re-learn patience. Waiting for Malloy seems to be the only thing I can do right now. I’m starting to feel really bad, not for myself, but mostly for Ben and Dr. Walker. I let them down by being captured. I’m a better man than this.

by Corporal John Harris, March 01, 2007