THE MONKEY WRENCH by Chad Descoteaux

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There was a briefcase sitting next to him and he was admiring the beautiful structure of a temple that had just been constructed across the street. This temple was a place for mermen to worship, those who were members of the Fishlam faith. Two beautiful porcelain statues of fish decorated the outside of this temple and the roof looked as though it was the biggest clam shell that you had ever seen.

Ronald Sparticus first met the robot Michol four hundred and ninety years ago when Michol's creator, an old friend of Ronald's, came to visit. This was during a time where Ronald's wife, Katherine, had been cryogenically frozen to await the cure for her ailment, a rare form of spinal cancer.

Since then, Michol (and those who work for him) have not only cured Katherine of her ailment and brought her out of her frozen coffin, but administered treatments to both Ronald and Katherine that have allowed them to live for centuries longer than they could have ever expected. Now, Ronald Sparticus is quite a strange looking human being. He is a cyborg, half man and half robot, a man with many different computer components visibly attached to his arms and neck. Katherine has blue skin, thanks to her time in the cryogenic freeze. She is also a cyborg and together, she and her husband have enjoyed their extended life together for centuries.

However, in order to pay for the many treatments that have extended the life of himself and his wife, Ronald Sparticus has had to do favors for Michol. This was all very well and good, for Michol has always prided himself on trying to assist humanity and Ronald was honored to be a part of that. But Ronald has begun to share the fears of many of his peers about what Michol's power could accomplish when he became aware of some of his more morally questionable projects.

An experiment designed to give handicapped children the ability to move things with their minds has turned those children into soldiers, security guards that can disarm and subdue a criminal with a mere thought. Now, whole teams of law enforcement cyborgs float around the streets of three former domes, completely under Michol's control. Rumor has it that they have had their arms and legs severed and replaced with more effective robotic ones that can hold weapons. These handicapped children now have a greater sense of accomplishment in their lives and the crime rate has plummeted by 75%, but the entire planet lives in fear of what Michol can accomplish with his complete control over an army of beings who can read and manipulate the human mind without much effort at all.

Ronald's admiration of the Fishlam temple was interrupted when an old friend of his sat down across from him in this café. This friend of his had just come from morning services in the temple across the street.

"Sorry I'm late," said the merman, running his fingers through the tentacles that flowed from the top of his head down to his shoulders. "Priest sure does like to talk."

Ronald gave this merman, whose name was Namquid, the briefcase and pulled off his shades before he opened it.

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