The first thing that Milo noticed when he regained consciousness was that he was no longer physically restrained. He was lying on a metal cot with a thin blanket and a mattress. Milo tried to sit up. Everything swam and he was forced to lie back down. There was bitter taste in his mouth and he was suddenly aware of a sharp pain in his neck just below his right ear. He touched the spot and winced. It was very tender. He felt what seemed to be a square piece of metal under the still tender sutures. He suddenly felt a thrill of disquiet. Milo’s thoughts were interrupted by the sound of somebody talking to him.
“Are you OK?”
Milo tried to sit up again, this time much more slowly. Everything swam again, but not as badly. He swallowed several times. His mouth was very dry, as though it were full of cotton balls. He stood up very slowly. Milo’s legs were slightly wobbly. He looked around to see who had spoken. He saw that he was still confined Thick metal bars blocked the entrance to his holding cell. Well, this is a problem, thought Milo and he wondered why Murphy’s Law hadn’t hit yet.
“Are you OK?” Milo turned. There was a girl in the cell across from his. She was the one who had spoken to him. She was wearing a white lab coat over a cream coloured blouse and an orange skirt that came down almost to her knees. Her dark brown hair was pulled back into a pony tail.
Milo’s hand immediately went to his shoulder, thinking of the googles and cutting torch in his backpack, then he stopped. He suddenly remembered that his backpack was missing. He hoped Zack, Melissa and Amanda had it. “Are you OK?” asked the girl again.
Milo nodded. “I-uhhhh-I think so,” he replied. As far as Milo could tell they hadn’t done anything else to him. He absently rubbed his hand over the scar on his neck. As he did he noticed that the girl had a bandage on her neck in the same spot as he did. “Do you know what this is?” He asked.
The girl’s face suddenly adopted a pained look. “It’s a biochip,” she replied. “I designed it to control the parasynths.”
“To do what?”asked Milo. He suddenly had a feeling that he was going to need Phineas and Ferb before this was all over. “I’m Milo Murphy, by the way.”
The girl looked momentarily surprised, as if no one had ever asked her that before. “My name is Karmi Yashida,” she replied, “and the parasynths were designed as key part of Sycorax’ life extension research. They’re designed to repair genetic defects and slow the aging process.”
Milo felt his sense of disquiet return. Those parasynth things are in my DNA?! he thought, that can’t possibly be good. “And what does the biochip do?” he asked, half wondering if he really wanted to know the answer.
“The biochip is supposed control the parasynths,” said Karmi. She paused, “the only problem is none of it works properly.”
Milo spent several seconds absorbing this information. The thought that Liv Amara was actively trying to manipulate his DNA in this manner, fully knowing what who and what he was, made Milo’s skin crawl. Milo’s thoughts must have registered on his face because he suddenly heard Karmi ask, “Milo, what’s wrong?”
For a second or two, Milo was unsure of how to answer her. “Manipulating my DNA isn’t a good a idea,” he said at last, “it could have consequences.”
Karmi looked confused. “I don’t understand,” she said at last,
Milo chuckled. “No, I guess you wouldn’t, would you,” he replied. “I was born with a condition called Extreme Hereditary Murphy’s Law,” he explained. “Anything that can go wrong around me will.”
Karmi looked sceptical, “wait, you were born unlucky?” she asked.
Milo nodded. “It runs in my family,” he replied. “Dad has it too. So does my grandfather, my uncle and two of my cousins.”
Karmi continued to looked sceptical. “Bad luck as an inherited disorder?” she said, more to herself than to Milo, “that’s not possible.”
Milo shrugged. “It’s possible,” he looked around and as he did, he finally put a finger on a nagging thought that had been in the back of his mind. “In fact, I’m surprised that Murphy’s Law hasn’t hit yet.”
“So you’re saying you can predict Murphy’s Law, as well?” asked Karmi.
Milo laughed. “No,” he said, “that would make my life a lot simpler, but still I would have expected that my negative probability field would have caused something to happen by now.”
As he spoke something clicked in Karmi’s memory. “Oh,” she said, “actually I overheard Liv and Chris talking last week about-,” she paused, wracking her memory for the details of the conversation, “about the positive probability wave generator.”
“Well, that would explain that,” he said. He flexed his hands subconsciously, remembering the effects of the Murphy’s Lawinator had had on him last year. The symptoms had started with numbness in his left pinky finger. “I don’t suppose you actually saw it?”
Karmi shook her head. “Sorry,” she said. “Waveform physics isn’t my field.”
Milo nodded and looked around again. “If only I had my backpack,” he said, mostly to himself.
Karmi looked confused. “I don’t understand,” she said, “how does that help us?”
“As it’s not here,” replied Milo with a sigh, “it really doesn’t, but I pack my backpack every day. I carry my backpack everywhere. I use it to help me manage Murphy’s Law.” He looked around again. “So how do we get out of here?” He thought of Zack, Melissa and Amanda again. I hope they have my backpack, he thought.
Hiro was finishing his bowl of stir fry in the atrium of SFIT’s Ishimoto Robotics Lab when his phone pinged. He swallowed the last forkful of his dinner, threw down his cutlery with a clatter and pulled his phone out of his pocket. He logged in and quickly tapped and swiped his way through his texts until he found the one he wanted. “The algorithm is finished compiling,” he said. He gulped down the last dregs of his soda and stood up. “C’mom,” he said, “let’s go back up stairs and upload it into Baymax.” The others stood up and followed Hiro back toward the elevators. A few minutes later the elevator doors swished silently open and the stepped out into the hall on the eighth floor. They trooped down the hall and Hiro pressed his thumb to the biometric lock and pushed open the door. They crossed the large outer workspace and filed into Hiro’s office. He sat down at his desk and typed in his password. A file was flashing on his desktop. Hiro rummaged through a drawer in his desk and pulled out a blank data card. He plugged it into a slot in his computer and downloaded the algorithm. When the download was complete, Hiro pulled the data card out of the slot in his computer and turned to Baymax. The large white robot trundled over to Hiro with a quiet whine. Hiro opened Baymax’ data port and plugged in the data card.
“New software detected,” said Baymax. “Please stand by.” A progress bar appeared on his chest as the algorithm was uploaded. “Upload complete,” said Baymax. “Hiro, would you like me to run the negative probability search algorithm?”
Hiro nodded. “Baymax, perform scan.”
“Performing scan,” replied Baymax calmly. “Please standby.” A blue laser grid projected from the large robot’s right eye. His servos whined quietly as he walked in place in a tight circle searching, searching for any nearby negative probability fields. After ten minutes Baymax finished the scan. “Scan complete,” he said soothingly. “One negative probability field detected.”
“Where?” asked Zack, Melissa and Amanda together.
“Sycorax Bionics,” replied Baymax at once.
Milo’s friends all looked at each other, confused. “So what does that mean?” asked Amanda.
“I’m not entirely sure,” replied Hiro.
“Over the past year, San Fransokyo has experienced a number incidents involving crimes committed by known individuals who’ve been given upgrades,” said Wasabi.
Cavendish and Dakota traded looks. They seemed to be having a silent debate, as they were trying to decide who was going to ask the question neither of them wanted to ask. Evidently Dakota lost.“‘Upgrades’ meaning what, exactly,” asked Dakota slowly, as if he wasn’t really sure he wanted to know the answer.
“Shapeshifting,” replied Go Go, “gills, super strength-“
“-the ability to communicate with plants,” continued Honey Lemon, “super speed, resistance to radiation, graphene finger nails-,”
Wasabi and Go Go both shuddered slightly at this, they both remembered the first time they had encountered Momokasse and her extendable graphene fingernails. “Seriously?” asked Zack, “graphene fingernails? How is that even- actually, never mind, I don’t really want to know.”
Hiro continued, “We’ve suspected that Sycorax that behind all the activity, but we’ve never been able to prove it until now. If Milo is at Sycorax, it’s possible he’s seen something.”
“OK,” said Zack standing up, “so, let’s go get Milo.”
“Are you sure?” asked Hiro, “we have no idea what we’re walking into-,”
Cavendish cut him off. “I realize that you don’t know us very well,” he said, “but Milo’s friends are made of sterner stuff than you realize.”
Dakota nodded. “Yeah, Zack, Melissa and Amanda go through a lot for Milo, and most people don’t really want Milo around because of Murphy’s Law, so he picks his friends very carefully.”
“Nobody gets left behind,” said Amanda with a note of finality in her voice.
Hiro surveyed Zack, Melissa and Amanda and their shared look of determination and he nodded. “And want about the two of you,” he asked looking at the two former time agents.
“We’re also Milo’s friends,” replied Dakota, “and you’re definitely not stopping us.”
They walked out of the Ishimoto building five minutes later. Again, Zack was never quite able to remember exactly how they had all managed to fit in Wasabi’s car. The drive from SFIT to Sycorax’ corporate headquarters on the outskirts of San Fransokyo’s business district took twenty minutes. A sleek fifty storey office tower stood in the middle of a large collection of building a of various heights. The entire complex was set in the middle of a large expanse of green lawn, which was dotted with placidly turning wind turbines. Multicoloured LEDs wandered up and down an abstract double helix that corkscrewed around the building from the bottom to the top.
Wasabi parked in a public parking lot a block away from the Sycorax campus and they all piled out. They walked across the parking lot and threaded their way through the stream of pedestrians going in the other direction. Baymax trundled along on his short legs, bringing up the rear. He took up most of the sidewalk forcing the stream of pedestrians flowing in the other direction to step on the the road or flattening them against the shopfronts. They reached the intersection and stopped at the street light, looking at the Sycorax campus. It suddenly seemed large, imposing and impenetrable
“Is Milo still in there?” asked Amanda.
Baymax scanned the assorted buildings. “There is a negative probability field on Sub-level Nine.”
Hiro, Wasabi, Fred, Go Go and Honey Lemon all traded surprised looks.“That’s Liv Amara’s private lab,” said Go Go.
“So what does that mean?” asked Zack, trading worried looks with Melissa and Amanda.
“We won’t know until we get inside,” replied Hiro.
“So how do we do that?” asked Phineas.
Hiro thought for a second. He has been asking himself the same question. “Baymax, scan the Sycorax campus. See if you can find a way in.”