Robert came to in a dazed state, experiencing the worst migraine in his life. It took his eyes a long time to adjust to the bright, white lights worsening the pounding in his head. He found himself sitting upright and immediately moved his arms, looking for the leverage to stand. He rattled the doors of a locked cabinet and the recognizable—but so very despised—tightness of plastic zip ties scraped his wrists.
That was the knowledge of his current predicament came back to him, and he searched the room for Dr. Kelly. She stood in front of a nearby workstation with her back facing him and replied as though she had eyes on the back of her head.
"It's nice of you to join us, Robby," she mocked. "Did you have a good nap?"
Robert heard the smugness in her voice, and he refused to let it get to him. He was a trained agent, and he had managed to get himself out of worst situations before. He just needed to keep the doctor distracted, until he could make his move.
Little whimpers unnerved him, and he craned his neck from his spot on the floor to see that Dr. Kelly had Jacob strapped down to a small surgical table. The child looked absolutely terrified, and Robert knew that the stakes were higher than before now that Dr. Kelly had her most valuable patient in her clutches.
"You could just let him go," Robert suggested, planting his feet on the floor. "He's an innocent kid. I don't think your dad would have hurt innocents in the name of DIDA."
"Kid...test subject...lab rat. They are all the same to me," Dr. Kelly replied, opening a cabinet and perusing the vials. "They are a means to the end of the most revolutionary research. Even if he dies here, Jacob will have made a valuable contribution to DIDA, and he will always be remembered in the lab notes."
Robert felt sick hearing the inhumanity vocalized by the doctor, but he kept his head clear and remained on task. He pulled at his restraints again, harder this time, using the floor to brace himself.
"Robby, you're wasting your time," she assured him. "You're not going to take an entire cabinet off of its tether to the floor, no matter how strong you think you are, Mr. CIA agent."
Robert ignored her and pulled at his restraints one more time, and that time he heard exactly what he was looking for—a squeak so faint that he could barely hear it over Jacob's whimpers. It meant that at least one screw in the cabinet door was weak enough to be pulled off. Now, he just needed to wait for the right moment to take on Dr. Kelly.
"What about Simon and Angelique?" Robert asked. "Don't you think they will want to know what happened to Jacob."
"I will deal with them; however, I have to," Dr. Kelly said, preparing a solution. "Right now, I'm assessing Jacob's aptitude for restoring his cognitive functioning. Once, I'm done with that, I'll deal with you first as I clean up this mess."
Robert wondered what she meant by that, but he didn't bother to ask. He watched closely as she approached Jacob with a solution and began feeding it into his IV. Alarmed, Robert tries to stand, but his restraints yanked him back down to the floor. "What are you giving him?"
"This is another modified version of Stimetril—a more potent version that I believe will completely reverse the passive stage of Restalsis," she tells Robert. "No one will ever grow to be too old ever again. With this, I can go further than Dad ever dreamed."
"Dr. Kelly, you need to stop this!" Robert shouted, yanking against his restraints. "Can you not see that he is terrified. He is a helpless child!"
"He's not going to be the only one," Dr. Kelly says, grabbing a prepared needle from her workstation. "Soon you're going to be another one of those little kids getting adopted."
Robert caught her bluff. "It would take hours to work," he said, smugly—almost as if he wanted her to know that he was already ahead of her game. "You don't have that kind of time."
"You're wrong," the doctor declared, slowly approaching Robert. "I've made some modifications to the Restalsis formula, making it fast-acting. It was how I reverse-engineered Stimetril. In a matter of minutes, you'll be drooling and looking for a bottle."
"You can make the choice to do the right thing," Robert asserted, nearly pleading with her. He needed her to let her guard down and believe that he was completely vulnerable. "It doesn't have to be this way."
"Do you have any last words," Dr. Kelly smirked, holding the syringe mere inches away from the skin on his neck, "before you only remember how to babble and suck your thumb?"
"Yes," Robert replied, using every bit of his strength to break off the cabinet door and knock the evil doctor onto the floor in one strike. "Fuck you."
Robert clipped off the zip tie and sprinted to Jacob before trying to identify which of the mess of cables he needs to remove first. He reached for the boy's IV and just as he grabbed the plastic cable, Jacob started shaking and writhing uncontrollably, unmistakably in the beginning of a seizure.
Robert knew he needed to act fast. He quickly followed the cable, looking for the flow cap, and just has he is about to flip the switch, he saw Dr. Kelly charging him from the corner of his eye and dodged her. The cable flew out of his hand, forcing him to reach for it once more.
Dr. Kelly lunged at him once more, and this time she managed to knock him to the floor. "I will not let you destroy my experiment, Robby," she growled, her eyes cold and calculating. "Now it's time to be a good little boy and take your medication."
Robert felt slightly dazed. He knew he had to hit his head when he fell, and Dr. Kelly seemed to be willing to capitalize on that. She pinned him down, and he tried to flail against her to break her hold.
Robert blamed the medication that she had put in his system earlier. He knew that he was still not at his full strength. Still, he could not let her turn him back into a child. He promised himself that he would save Jacob, and he could not fail—he refused to fail.
"Don't worry, Robby," Dr. Kelly said, holding him down. "We will be sure to match you with a nice family looking for a future football star."
"Not happening," Robert grunted and stretched his leg until the tip of his right shoe tapped the closest desk chair to them. He wrestled against her grip, refusing to allow her to trap his arm with her leg. He managed to hold out for a few minutes, until she was able to outmaneuver him.
"It looks like I win," she bragged. "Now get ready for another small sleep." The deluded doctor held the needles and thrusted it towards Robert's neck, and just as it was mere inches from his vein, he managed to topple the desk chair onto Dr. Kelly.
The strike knocked her immediately unconscious, and Robert pulls himself from under the weight. He pushed two fingers into her neck to check for a pulse. A few heightened beats confirmed that the doctor was alive and could later face justice for her crimes.
Without wasting any more time, he turned to focus on saving Jacob. He grabbed the IV cable and stopped the flow of the drug into the boy's system. Jacob stilled as soon as the flow stopped, but Robert worried about being too late, as over a quarter of the medication had already been given to him.
He removed the restraints from the unconscious boy, and once Jacob's vitals seem stable enough, he unhooked him from the machinery. Before he left with the boy, he decided to check on Dr. Kelly once more and restrain her until backup arrives to take her in.
What Robert saw completely took him by surprise.
In a pile of clothes now much too big for her, a one-year-old girl was fast asleep. The needle stuck out of the arm of her lab coat, where she must have accidentally injected herself. Robert reflected on the irony of everything, how the sociopathic doctor accidentally regressed herself into an innocent child. He thought it might be best for the doctor to experience a loving childhood to escape the shadow of her father. Just maybe, her own research will be the thing that saved her life.
With his mission completed, Robert picked up Jacob in one arm and Dr. Kelly in the other and strode out the room.