Nap and the Mammoth Undertaking (part 7)
It wasn’t long before Hans realized that he had not gotten his money’s worth with his henchmen and it was time to bring in his ace in the hole. “Martin” he bellowed (again, you’ll be forgiven if you read that as “Martin!” or even “Martin!!”).
At the far end of the facility a door opened. Nap immediately recognized the vibration the floor was now making. The nine foot tall creature with the tusks and whatnot entered the room. Even though he had seen him before, Nap was still a little shocked at just how big the thing was.
“Is that Martin P. Robinson?” he yelled at Hans.
“Half of him anyway” replied Hans.
“What happened to the real Martin?” asked Nap.
“I had to shoot him” explained Hans, “he made a bad mammoth pun.”
“Understandable” shouted Nap.
The beast roared and began to crash towards Nap and Madonna. It was not weaving between obstacles as much as charging through them or pushing them out of its way. Equipment that weighed thousands of pounds slid easily across the room at its nudging. Watching this display of power did not fill Nap with enthusiasm for another round offhand to hand combat. Instead he stepped out from behind the desk he’d been crouching behind and put his pistol in its holster.
“I don’t want to do this again big boy” he began. He raised his hands in the air. The mammoth-man (manmmoth?) continued forward. “I don’t want to hurt you” he said.
“What are you doing?” asked Madonna.
“Trust me” he replied.
The enormous creature slowed its approach.
Nap pointed at Hans. “That’s the guy you want to trample. He’s the bad guy in all this. I know you don’t want to be here. He’s the one that made you.”
The creature stopped and then slowly turned to look at Hans.
“That’s right” Nap continued, “He’s the guy you want to trample, not me. I mean, who puts tassels on a lab coat?”
For a few tense seconds the monster debated the merits of the argument Nap was making and decided that he was correct. He began to move towards Hans.
“Oh for fuck’s sake” exclaimed Hans. “Just shoot the damn thing” he yelled at his remaining henchmen. Which they did. Which goes to show the upside of hiding behind desks. “Now kill these two interlopers… I have a plane to catch.”
Despite not knowing exactly what an interloper was, his henchmen decided that he was referring to Nap and Madonna, so once they were done filling the mutant mammoth thing with lead they turned their attention back to the so-called interlopers.
I won’t describe the death-throes of the nine foot tall hairy creature as it took far too long and I like to keep things moving along. Suffice to say it was poignant and a metaphor for a number of topics such as science, progress and man’s continued search for meaning.
Now that bullets were once again flying Nap ducked back down behind the desk.
“Go after Hans” yelled Madonna, “I’ll clean up the rest of these guys.”
These words seemed to hit a chord with him. He was suddenly beaming. Oblivious to the bullets whizzing around his head, Nap slowly stood up and looked at Madonna. “I know your worth. You are amazing for me, not because of me.”
Some of the henchmen came to the conclusion that an interloper must be an intruder who says beautiful things.
“Not now Nap” screamed Madonna, “Go get Hans before he escapes.”
So he did.
And before Madonna resumed the gun battle she allowed herself a broad smile.
Being in top physical condition Nap was able to make up the distance between himself and his quarry in no time flat. The two men ended up standing in what appeared to be a large conference room with no other exists other than the one they had come through, so there was no need to point out that there was nowhere else for Hans to run.
“There always seems to be a fly in the ointment” snarled an animated Hans von Oofnik.
Nap briefly thought about returning serve with the ol’ ‘I’m rubber and you’re glue’ defense but wasn’t sure if the fly or the ointment would be rubber. ‘I know what you are but what am I?’ faced a similar hurdle. This was not the time to risk mixing metaphors.
Instead he took a slow, deep breath and exhaled. “This is my favorite part” he began, “the big reveal.”
Oofnik just stared at him.
“Come on Hans, I know you’re dying to tell me everything. You can’t help yourself.” With that Nap gestured to Hans that he had the floor.
Hans couldn’t help himself.
“You want me to try to explain my work to a cretin like yourself? You expect me to give you the details of a twenty year journey of discovering and untangling and connecting five billion base pairs of the Mammuthus primigenius genome?”
“Only if you want to” replied Nap.
“Do you think I’m just a mad scientist caricature who will spill his guts at the slightest provocation?” the mad scientist caricature thundered.
“Look at this place” Hans spilled, “It’s a technological marvel. A temple. Devoted to pushing the boundaries of science and human evolution. While the dullards were splicing mammoth DNA with Asian elephants under the guise of reversing climate change, I alone had the balls to combine these hairy relics with a human. And then came the eager volunteer who shared my vision; Martin P. Robinson.”
“And how did that work out?” asked Nap in a mocking tone.
“Science is a process” snapped Hans. “I would have been able to perfect that process if it wasn’t for your meddling.”
“Perfect?” It was Nap’s turn to thunder a little. “Did it ever occur to you that human DNA contains a lot more than information on constructing a person? I can’t speak for mammoths, and I know Richard Dawkins might disagree with me here, but human DNA also carries the collective unconscious. Thousands of generations of experience. Thousands of generations of altruism.”
Thundering was a lot more exhausting than Nap had counted on. He needed a few seconds to collect himself before continuing.
“What I’m trying to say is that there’s a reason that people in a stadium do the wave.”
Hans von Oofnik took a moment to digest what Nap had said before responding. Nap looked at him for his reaction, perhaps hoping that’s he’d understand and even appreciate the point he was struggling to make.
He did not.
“You are a fucking moron” was his assessment.
Nap drew his gun and asked Hans if he’d ever heard of Oliver Sacks. As Nap walked slowly towards him, Hans indicated that every scientist worth his salt had.
“Well” said Nap as he raised his pistol, “he once noted that if a man has lost a leg or an eye, he knows he has lost a leg or an eye; but if he has lost a self—himself—he cannot know it, because he is no longer there to know it.”
“And Nietzsche cautioned that whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster” countered Hans.
“That shipped sailed a long time ago.” With that Nap pulled the trigger and Hans fell to the floor, a small hole between his eyes beginning to ooze the red stuff.
“Was that really necessary?” asked a feminine voice behind him.
“How long have you been there?” asked Nap.
“Long enough” replied Madonna.
“If we sent him to some asylum for the criminally insane he would eventually break out and start all of this up again” stated Nap.
“Are you thinking of that place that Batman sends criminals to? I’m not sure that’s how it works in the real world.” A small grin crept onto her face. “Oliver Sacks? Really? I would have bet money that you were going to hit him with your boy Jeff Goldblum’s quote from Jurassic Park. What with it being an extinct animal and all.”
The blood drained from Nap’s face. His body swayed ever so slightly. The words ‘your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should’ formed on his lips but he couldn’t bring himself to say them aloud. All he could get out after a few pained moments was “It would have been perfect. When am I ever going to get to use that quote again?”
“Relax Napkin, with all the new cloning technology I have a feeling you’ll get your chance” Madonna said in a consoling tone.
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