Laying around in a glass tube for six days, every day, all day, sucks. You can barely scratch your ass in there. And I don’t mind saying, I got antsy. My legs don’t like not being walked on, and they get pissed after a few hours of being useless. I spent most of the time sleeping because my body had been wrecked. I’d just drift off in the middle of reading something and wake up hours later with no sense of time. The days went by chiefly in dreamland, and the dreams were most unpleasant. The rest of the time I tried to keep up with the news on Mars to see if our friend had been busy, but he’d kept quiet while I’d been down.
On the fourth day I got a nice visit from Chalie. She smiled through the transparent tube at me and we had a long chat about Baxter the bastard. I described in great detail what I was going to do to him when I got a hold of him, and she reminded me of the rule of law, and the things that I swore to when I became an agent of the OIS. I don’t mind telling you stuffed shirts where you can stick your rules if and when I catch up with that guy. You can have my resignation if you don’t like it. But, maybe it’s like Chalie said, I’m a hothead and I’ll cool down by then. I doubt it, but you can all keep thinking that.
So, anyway, I got out of the tube today. I’m not ready to run a Martian marathon yet, but I’m doing all right. It could have been worse. At least I’m walking around and breathing. I’ll take it. First thing I did was go meet with Broderick. He’d found Baxter’s profile. Which told me something, Baxter either had a hell of an ego, or he thought we couldn’t touch him even if we knew who he was. I figured it was both.
Baxter’s file came up on the wall in the Constable’s office, and I poured over it. I studied the face in the profile pictures. Gaunt, thin, brown serious eyes, short platinum hair, thin of build. He’d worked for Maxim Labs until he’d been let go for mental illness after an evaluation. There was a second file that had been retrieved from the OIS database, and that contained something his employee records hadn’t. Baxter Hickman had been in a special training course for advanced human intelligence, an experimental medical treatment designed to improve IQ. Doses of synapse regulator inhibitors to boost mental efficiency, and so called flash-training in virtual reality. Flash training was a controversial means of impressing great amounts of data onto the human brain in short amounts of time. Synapse regulation is suppressed, inducing a state of autism on the subject while their senses are flooded by computer with data.
Hickman had shown great results at first in the trials, exceeding his peers in data retention and mental speed. However, during the final weeks he’d fallen slightly behind. He’d then been employed at Maxim Labs in their research department. He’d outperformed everyone on the team. For the first year, he was their golden boy, but then the trouble started.
I read through the multiple human resource reports. Baxter had developed an ego. If he caught anyone making a mistake he made a huge deal about it and refused to work with them. This had, of course, caused him some social problems at the company. Despite his position as boy wonder, he’d been scorned by everyone there. Several incidents occurred where he’d totally flipped his lid. In the final case he struck a female coworker hard enough to hospitalize her. Baxter boy had a bad temper and didn’t seem have much empathy for other people. He had been required to take a psychological exam, in which he was determined to be exhibiting psychopathic behavior. Hickman was put on medical leave and referred to a specialist. However, he had never seen that psychologist. Instead he’d disappeared completely.
Broderick removed him from the extensive Martian missing persons list. We’d found Baxter Hickman alive and well, and he’d been busy getting even.