Hello all! We're back again with Preventing Imperfection. It's been awhile, ain't it?
Tyler looked impatiently at Sam Beckett. "Well? Why are you here, Doc?" he pushed.
Sam let out a long, slow breath. "Like I said, I don't know." He held up a hand before the tour guide could interrupt. "I don't know what happens to you, all I know is the end result."
"So what's the end result?" Casey asked.
"That I refuse to tell you," Beckett replied. "And you won't persuade me otherwise so don't even try." He ignored the annoyed and faintly worried looks he received. They didn't need to know the horrible and somewhat nauseating details, and besides, if he succeeded the knowledge would be pointless anyway.
"Good, Sam, I think they got it," Al nodded. "Now, get them to let you out of here because you can't help anyone locked away in the lab."
"Right, now can I get out of here?" Sam pleaded. "I can't really do anything from in...here."
The others turned to Burt, leaving the decision to him. The survivalist stared at him narrowly, the seconds dragging on until Sam began to think he was going to get thrown in a dungeon or something.
Tyler turned to Burt. "We don't really have much to gain by keeping him here," he pointed out. "Except, you know, him learning more about Mixmaster."
Burt shot his partner a glance of annoyance as he realized he was right. But still...the way this "Sam" had been staring at the two of them earlier made him uneasy. And he didn't like feeling uneasy for unknown reasons. "Fine." He turned a hard eye to the stranger, "But you don't go anywhere without me or Tyler, and you don't leave our sight. Understood?"
Sam nodded quickly, fighting back the urge to salute the man. He didn't think that would earn him any good points.
"Ha! That's perfect," Al grinned. "That way you can keep an eye on the both of them."
Tyler let out a puff of air, checking his watch. "I've got a tour showing up in twenty minutes," he said.
Sam perked up slightly. "A tour? For what?"
"I run a tour of the valley," Tyler explained.
"Oh, that sounds interesting. Mind if I have myself glued to you first?"
"Uh," Tyler said, looking a bit unsure, "I guess. Sure. Come on, I'm heading back now."
Sam followed him out, leaving the others to wonder about this new development.
"I'm not sure how I feel about this," Casey admitted.
"I don't believe he's really talking to an invisible man," Rosalita said pointedly.
"Me either," Burt agreed roughly. "Most likely he's just lost his mind."
"Well, he's definitely not Roger," Casey said. "That much I know for certain."
Rosalita frowned in disbelief. "What if Mixmaster just messed up his blood AND his brain?"
"Roger's DNA would still be in there somewhere," Casey explained. "But there's no trace of it at all."
Grumbling a faint complaint, Rosalita shook her head and headed towards the door. "This valley is just too crazy."
Tyler pulled his truck down the worn desert path he always did on his tours, recounting various Valley and graboid facts. On the tour today (aside from the alleged body-hopping time traveler) were a mismatched group of tourists. A middle aged couple and three men who had all paid separately, so the tour guide had scheduled them together.
One of the men was one of those annoying, there's-a-conspiracy-in-everything guys and was toting several disposable cameras (that he brought with him from his home, "because you can never trust a store in a questionable area to give you proper recording equipment"). He was trying to prove that the strange rumours about unnatural creatures living in Perfection Valley were true (while the town did manage to keep the mixmaster creations under wraps, stories from tourists who had survived the rare attacks did spread, albeit hardly believed), and that the residents were a part of some huge government plot to wipe out the human race and start over with genetically altered humans.
The man was already grating on everyone's nerves, openly questioning Sam's (or rather Roger's) ulterior motives for studying the local graboid. Sam was close to punching the man- and he wasn't a violent person.
Sighing inwardly, Tyler slowed down near a concrete ditch. "Aaaaand here is where Earl Basset and Val McKay first discovered the full body of a graboid. It crashed into the solid concrete here and knocked itself cold."
Al stepped into view from the door to the imaging chamber not far from the jeep just in time to hear Tyler's exasperated speech. "You know, I read about those two guys in People, Sam."
Sam raised his brow at him just as the Obnoxious Tourist 101 graduate spoke up behind him. "HA! I knew it!"
"Knew what?" one of the other men asked in annoyance.
"That graboid didn't knock itself cold, it killed itself," Mr. Obnoxious answered, sneering at Tyler. "Think we wouldn't know? If you're lyin' about that, what else are you hiding?"
"Knocked itself cold, killed itself, who the hell cares?" Sam snapped. "It's the same thing almost, hardly warrants an investigation. Shut up."
Mr. Obnoxious' cheeks puffed out and his eyes grew wide in defiance of being called out, but said nothing.
Rolling his eyes to himself, Tyler decided to purely ignore the irritating man. "After the attack on the town was ended by the residents- some of which still live here today- the dead graboid was retrieved under the direction of Dr. Rhonda Lebeck and provided much of the information we know about graboids today," he finished tightly, putting his jeep back into gear.
"What about El Blanco?" the woman asked. "How is it he can't change into Shriekers?"
"I wanna hear this one," Al said to Sam.
Tyler glanced at the woman. "El Blanco is albino and sterile. He lacks the ability to carry Shriekers like other graboids."
Sam tilted his head as he took in the information. Tyler had given him a small explanation of what Graboids were before the tour started, but they were still something out of a sci-fi movie in Sam's mind.
Tyler absently tapped the screen. "There are seismic monitors placed all around the valley in order to keep constant tabs on his movements. If El Blanco is within range, he'll show up on this screen."
The tour continued on without any more interruptions and Sam turned his attention to the passing scenery as Tyler began telling the story behind another landmark coming up. A faint glimmer from the trees caught his eye and he realized they were going down the trail Burt had warned them about. The river was bubbling several yards away but Sam thought he saw something large move along the bank. Movement from behind him made him turn and he saw the wannabe spy staring at the same place, raising his camera for a picture with an odd grin on his face. Sam glanced back just as they passed a small break in the trees and his eyes widened slightly.
"YES!" Mr. Obnoxious had obviously had the same luck and was pounding his fist in the air. "I TOLD you something was going on with these people," he gloated to the man sitting beside him.
"What are you talking about?" Tyler asked, turning around in his seat to give the man an angry glare.
Mr. Obnoxious held up his camera triumphantly. "I finally have proof you Perfectionists are up to no good. Harmless hermits my ass. You're nothing but a bunch of sniveling government dogs!"
"Would you just shut up already!" the woman snapped. "You're ruining the tour for the rest of us!"
"I don't have to do nothin'," the man snarled back, adding in a rather crude phrase under his breath.
Her husband immediately shot to his feet in the moving vehicle, grabbing the front the other mans' shirt. "The hell did you just call her?"
Tyler slammed on the brakes and the jeep skidded to a halt. "Alright! Enough is enough!" the tour guide shouted, pushing his door open. "Off! Off the jeep, now," he growled, pointing at the obnoxious man.
"My tour, my rules, and you ain't followin' 'em. Off!"
"Yeah right. You're just tryin' to shut me up because I got proof!" He waved his camera again. "You'll probably shoot me and leave me for dead in the ditch."
"Not a bad idea," the still seething husband hissed.
One of the other tourists grabbed the camera from his hand to look at the picture. "You call this proof? It's just a giant blur!" He threw the device onto the ground.
"Hey! That's expensive equipment!" Mr. Obnoxious scrambled out of the jeep to grab it, only to start cursing again when he looked at his "proof". "Should've known you'd find a way to mess up cameras! I had a clear shot of that thing. What'd you use? Some sort of magnetic field or somethin'?"
With an audible grumble, Tyler tore out his walkie talkie. "Burt?" he practically shouted into it.
The survivalist answered almost immediately. "Burt here, what is it Tyler? Over."
"I've got a tourist here who stepped off the jeep during the tour," he replied. "You know how Twitch gets about rule-breakers so I figure if I send him off now, I can't get blamed. Will you come pick him up and see him OUT OF TOWN as soon as possible?" he said, glaring daggers at the man.
"Hey, you can't do that! I know my rights!"
Mr. Obnoxious shouted loud enough for Burt to hear his annoying attitude over the radio and sighed. "Where are you at?"
"The contract you signed clearly stated you will not get off the jeep, regardless of the circumstances," Tyler shrugged with a twinkle of revenge in his eye. "I'm not far from Dry Gulch. Abooooout... A quarter of a mile west," he responded to Burt.
"On my way. ETA 15 minutes. Burt out."
Tyler turned to his other customers. "Sorry for the delay, folks. We'll return to the tour as soon as Mr. Gummer picks up the deadweight."
The tourists snickered as Mr. Obnoxious went red from anger and possibly some embarrassment. "My lawyer will hear about this! I'll sue yer whole town to the ground!"
"You'll have to get in line," Tyler mumbled, giving Sam a knowing glance- momentarily forgetting he wasn't looking at another resident.
Sam didn't bother looking confused at the obvious hinting and instead gave a slight nod towards the river in a silent warning. "He really did see something."
Tyler followed the man's eyes. He sighed somewhat, getting his message and shaking his head. Just another Mixmaster annoyance to him. Sam didn't share his relaxed feelings thought. He'd gotten a very good look at the creature, and it made his blood run cold. Even through the obvious mutations and slightly off anatomy, he'd recognized the deadly animal. The animal that was an absolute terror in the water.
The animal that would become the death of the two hunters.
Okay, so, yeah, I (V) had the job of writing Mr. Obnoxious and OHMYGOD I WANTED TO SHOOT HIM SO BAD BY THE END OF THIS!