"We appreciate your cooperation on this deal. This will be a great boon to our business."
"Just show your appreciation by the stipulations in the contract. There isn't need for thanks."
"Oh, but there really is, Dr. Gargarin. By securing the rights to mass produce these rocket-propelled hypodermic needles you've patented, we take a leap forward to our ultimate ambition. The perfect marriage of physics and medicine: Rocket Surgery!"
"Enthralling. Now sign the papers. I've got inoculations to administer."
"Pleasure doing business with you, Doctor."
"I'm sure. Chicory, follow."
With the press of a button grafted into his gloves, the rocket boosters in Dr. Yuri Gargarin's boots ignite, launching him straight through the window of the meeting room on the 60th floor of KSG Biological's principal business offices. The thrusters from the doctor and his constantly-tailing orphan companion kick up a whirlwind that scatters all the papers in the board room. An exec waves an intern to dive on the freshly-inked contract. Before any of the suits realize they can quit shouting to be heard, the doctor and the girl are already a mile away. Some of the uppity pharmaceutical vultures look upset at having their feathers ruffled, but with the profits to be made off this deal, they can easily write off the cost of a replacement window or feather re-fluffing.
And as for the doctor himself, he's nothing but haughty smiles. KSG isn't the only one who made a great leap forward in their ultimate ambitions. With the money he is making and the near future availability of his Syrockets (TM) as he pitched them, now to be mass produced and at no cost to him, he has more tools in his belt to help in his quest to eradicate all infectious disease. And one step closer to his primary mission: the absolute destruction of Carmerck Healthcare, Ltd., The most disgusting den of villainy he's ever seen as an immunologist. He swore upon himself that he'd be the one to drive a nail in their coffin. A nail attached to the end of one of his Syrockets (TM).
Later that night, in the middle of a dream where he went back in time to deliver the polio vaccine to a young Franklin Roosevelt, Yuri awakens to the startling sound of shattering glass. He rises from his bed, tucked away in the corner of his lab, to make out the outlines of a man with a flashlight creeping about. Not missing a beat, he reaches into his lab coat and withdraws a syringe. With a flick of his wrist, the needle flies through the lab and sinks into the suspect man's neck. The man stands still stunned for three long seconds, and then reaches for the syringe and shines his flashlight on it. He might not have processed what he was seeing, for he quickly begins to wobble and collapses, taking a few more glass vials and beakers with him.
The pitter-patter of feet fly down the stairs, and cease at Chicory's appearance. Obviously disoriented from being suddenly pulled from sleep, she stares at the unconscious man lying on the ground, his own flashlight illuminating his face, and asks innocently "Who is he? Did he make that noise?"
"An intruder. Industry spy, I'd wager. One of Whalefield's. Fetch some rope, and quick."
After a good while, the man starts to come to, but can't reason why he can't get his arms into his lap. He looks up to the lab-coated man for answers. Before getting a word out, he realizes he shouldn't be meeting this man face-to-face. Or face-to-waist, as would be more accurate -- it dawning on him that he's bound to a chair somehow. His captor notices the man's new-found consciousness, and immediately reacts with another syringe in the neck.
"Chicory. Fill a few glasses up with cold water. I can't have him passing out or slurring or anything. Sodium thiopental is heavy stuff."
"Right away, sir."
She dashes up the stairs, returning in short order with a single glass, only to return up the stairs. Yuri allows himself to be distracted by the cuteness of the energy and gait put into running the repeated errand. She has two hands, doesn't she? Why not carry them two at a time? By the time the seventh glass of water arrives, the interviewee is in a compliant, albeit still drowsy, state.
"You work for Carmerck?"
"Car mark? I dun work with cars..."
"Who hired you? A man named Whalefield?"
"I dunno 'is name..."
"Short and stout. Young-ish, but with Salt-and-Pepper hair. Tends to clear his throat before he talks, every damn time."
"Yeah, that's sah guy."
"What did he send you for? Schematics for a Syrocket (TM)?"
"Sirrocket (TNnnn)? He jus asked me ta grab some bluprins with syringes in 'em..."
"You've been very cooperative. I didn't even need the water after all. Alright, time to let you go."
And with that, Yuri stabs him with the third needle of the night. The man passes out in short order.
"Strap him to one of the test rockets in the shed and point him South-southwest. I'm sure he'll hit a city that-away."
"How? He's huge, I can't lift him."
"I believe in our youths. You can do it."
"Not very encouraging, sir."
"I'm back off to bed. I'll be having a long day tomorrow, and I was in the middle of a fantastic dream."
At exactly a quarter after nine the next morning, Yuri marched right through the front doors of the Carmerck Healthcare main branch office. He was sure Anderson Whalefield, his arch-nemesis, would be there. And he was sure he would be welcome. He dropped his name at the reception desk, and was quickly asked up to the top floor to the CEO's office. As he opened the double doors he found coming right off the elevator, he realized this particular office was the only thing on this floor outside the small elevator lobby he was leaving. The fact that it was easily three times the size of Yuri's private home lab made it sting.
And there stood the man himself. One of the worst things to ever happen to medicine. The man who put money in the pocket of now-discredited researchers who implied a connection between triple vaccines and developmental disorders, in an effort to turn around to profit off of home detection kits and individual vaccinations. A man who set back immunology in the public eye for years. A man who created in Yuri a love for orphans, who have no parents to object to inoculation because of a myth. Okay, so that last part might be something of a positive. But still, Anderson Whalefield was evil, without doubt.
"Hrrhmmm. Gargarin. I heard you sold the rights to your rocket needle."
"True. But I wonder from whom? The friend you sent my way last night?"
"Hrrhmm. I heard it from him second, actually. A partner in the biz broke the news first."
"KSG got it. They didn't even bid as high as you. But they're gonna give me free Syrocket (TM) shipments as part of the deal."
"Hrrhmm. Perhaps we should've added such stipulations in our bid..."
"Wouldn't have made the slightest difference."
"Hrhm. Let's cut to the chase. I want to bury this hatchet and offer you a job. As... eccentric as you are, your research is highly regarded. I'd like to put you to use."
"What could you possibly offer...?"
"Hrm. I've heard you're something of a surprise philanthropist. You're working on building an orphanage, I hear. The Shepard... something."
"The Good Shepherd House for Involuntary Test Subjects."
"Hrmmhhhrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrmmmmm. You see... Hrmhrrmm. We'd be willing to make a generous contribution to development."
"Generous, you say?"
"Hrmmmrrmm... Very generous."
".....What does this job entail?"
"Hrrrhrrmm. We need you to lead a research study and publish a paper linking a number of recent vaccinations to serious adverse developmental effects."
"You need me to disparage vaccines in a research paper? For what end?"
"Hrrrrmm. This recent healthcare reform has insurance companies absorbing the cost of preventative care at no cost at all to the consumer. Treatments for ailments, however, can have costs absorbed into the consumer premiums legitimately. The insurance companies have assured us a significant kickback if we can curb preventative care habits in preference to treatments we can sell them at a reduced cost. And I can assure you those kickbacks will trickle down on to the fine contributors of this research study, for use personal and philanthropic. How does that sound?"
"I have to say, it sounds... like you're pissing on my life's work. You sure know how to romance a guy, cooing in his ears. But now that I've heard what you're saying, it sounds less like sweet nothings and more like crappy and clumsy dirty talk. I've never been more put off."
"Hrrmm. Very well. It's not often I meet a man with such principle. And even less often I let them escape my grasp after I've shared so much. Never, in fact. I'll have security escort you out of the building... and off this mortal coil."
Whalefield's finger never makes it to the intercom button. Before he could press it, he loses all feeling in his hand, thanks to the pair of syringes sticking out of his hand, both filled with a powerful and fast-acting anesthetic. Whalefield leaps away from the phone just in time to dodge four needles of tranquilizers lobbed where he was standing.
"Hmrrraaaaaahhh! Gaaarrrgaaaarrrriiiinnn!!" The exec shouts at the top of his lungs. He charges towards the immunologist, barreling forward at a surprising speed for someone who looks not the least bit athletic. However, his speed is no match for the rocket-boosted speed Yuri possesses. Yuri quickly hops over and blows past Whalefield, turning around mid-flight to toss a few more syringe darts at his foe. Two of the tranquilizers sink their single tooth into the back of the businessman. Whalefield detects the onset of effects immediately. In a desperate attempt to counter the tranqs flowing through rapidly through him, Whalefield pulls out two whole bottles of caffeine pills from his inside pocket and manages to down them both in three seconds. Yuri freezes for the briefest moment in amazement, but that's a moment Whalefield capitalizes on. He grabs a fake potted plant on the windowsill behind him and tosses it at Gargarin. Forgetting to dodge, Yuri puts up his arms to block his face. The impact of the pot stings for a second, but Yuri realizes he's ultimately unharmed.
But Whalefield has already regained his position behind his desk as he had hoped. He immediately starts bombarding Yuri with everything in reach. First the phone, then his keyboard, and his monitor. Yuri gracefully evades the phone and keyboard, but makes a sudden and unskilled veer to the right to barely avoid the monitor. His lean and his rocket boots put him in a vulnerable tilt nearly parallel to the floor, and that's when the office chair is lobbed his way. Unable to correct himself in time, the chair slams Yuri into the wall. As soon as he hits the ground, the propulsion from the rockets shoots him horizontally across the floor and slams his head on the other wall at the corner of the room. Whalefield has already torn out the drawers of his desk to use as ammunition, and uncovers the adrenaline shot he was hoping he'd find. This will do the trick, he tells himself. The caffeine isn't acting fast enough at all, and with all the throwing he's done, he has nearly succumbed to the tranqs. The difference is very apparent immediately after administration of the shot. His muscles still remain pretty heavy and sluggish, but he already feels a tighter control over them than he did seconds ago. And he is way more alert. It is the splash of cold water he very much needed to wake up out of his haze.
Yuri manages to pick himself off the ground after shutting his boosters off temporarily. But he isn't given much of a chance to recover. As soon as he has both feet firm and supporting his full weight, the drawers sail through the air toward him. He takes a two step dash alongside the wall before kicking his rocket boots back on, but it isn't fast enough. The second drawer's corner pegs him right in his shoulder. This time, it hurts. He doesn't know if he's cut or bleeding, but he feels the burn of a hundred Tetanus boosters in his arm. He knows he can fight through it, but that burn lingers on strong. He bursts forward, managing to duck under the last drawer, and pulls out his secret weapon from the inside of his lab coat. A set of syringe-looking darts with much larger, sharper, unhollow needles at the tip. His literal Syrocket (TM) nails to hammer the lid on this coffin for good.
Each between the gaps of his fingers, he shoots forward like a bullet toward Whalefield, 8 rocket nails at the ready. Whalefield has picked up even the desk itself in a pure adrenaline-fueled fury, wielding it overhead with both arms. Before he can swing it down, Yuri rams him in a full body, rocket-propelled tackle, knocking him out from under the desk. Before it falls to the ground, both men are already out the shattered window sixty stories above the ground. Whalefield begins to pound on Gargarin's back, but it provides little more than a distraction at this point. Yuri has numbed himself to all but the nails in his hands. He drives both fists into Whalefield's gut, all the nails piercing deep enough to stick, and gives his arch-nemesis one huge push. Yuri manages to separate from Whalefield and he straightens himself up, just in time to watch all 8 of the rocket nails ignite. Yuri takes one last look at his foe and graces him with the smuggest sneer he can offer, before Anderson Whalefield flies off beyond the horizon. Yuri takes a few deep breaths and turns for home.
Things are likely going to be hectic for Dr. Yuri Gargarin for some time. While he has enjoyed a casual disregard for the law, the law has not enjoyed the same disregard for him. Yuri and Chicory will be on the run for quite some time until some of the immediate heat dies down. Plans might have to be delayed. But there are no regrets. Carmerck Healthcare didn't fall with its CEO, but Yuri has granted it a pardon for the crimes under its old master, until it slips up again. And his greatest enemy is no longer of this world. He can't ask for more than that right now. He's in the good company of his orphan companion, a hundred syringes tucked in the inside of his lab coat, and rocket-powered flight. And if another healthcare tyrant tries to wield the power of money over medicine, he'll be there to topple him. He is Dr. Yuri Gargarin. He is "Syrocket Man" (Trademark, Gargarin Pharmaceutical Appliances).