Sparks flew from the large coils, energized fields pulsing in the massive containment chamber. Steve cackled as the generators struggled with the load. He knew they would hold, despite the deafening whine.
“Series 3 is nearly complete!”, Steve cackled slapping the back of his assistant, Bob.
Bob had answered an ad on a local job site about a “dedicated research assistant” that had “meticulous attention to detail, able to work late hours”. He had been laid off at the appliance factory over the summer, and was looking for something new.
Bob had driven his duct-taped honda to the underground bunker and was hired on the spot. The hours were okay, but his boss was a bit eccentric. There were all of the experiments. Steve had conjured all kinds of beings, keeping them locked away in deep pits.
Bob felt sorry for them, tossing scraps of food and the occasional live rodent into the pits. They didn’t ask to be brought into this dimension. Steve had explained that his machinery was designed to tune to parallel realities, and in his words, “dangle a lure and wait for the freaky fish to bite”.
Bob didn’t like fishing so much.
The generators reached a crescendo, throbbing harmonics saturating the air. A massive discharge flashed through the ten-story chamber, casting a pall of purple and blue.
Air rushed outward, scattering notes and clipboards from the desk nearby. Bob had already secured his goggles, tinted to allow observation of the next monstrosity through the dimensional gap. Fields collapsing, static charges forming a second skin as the monster howled.
“Release the subject!”, Steve bellowed, waving his arms.
Bob punched in the coordinates for the next city center, and pulled a large lever.
Loud thunderclap as air rushed into the void where the horrific beast had been. Another successful run. Judging by the tentacles and multiple mouths, this one should be the best one yet. It was the third monster they had unleashed, double-crossing the politicians who had negotiated a ransom to save their cities.
The money was good, but that wasn’t the point. Steve was driven by something more than just scraps of paper. Bob could feel this. It was why he had stayed after the first one, and then the second. It was that feeling, the warm glow of making someone pay for injustices heaped upon unwilling shoulders.
Bob thought of his supervisor at the plant, wondering if one of those tentacles would snare his former employer and stuff him into a maw of churning teeth. Smiling, Bob turned to Steve and gave the thumbs up. Lights switched to green, indicating another charge cycle was starting.
“Lets retire to the observation room, shall we?”
“Yes boss.”, Bob removed his goggles and followed Steve into the wood-paneled room. On the far side was a massive screen, in front a few well-appointed seats repurposed from a defunct movie theater. Steve plopped into the seat, holding out his hand expectantly.
Bob handed him a tub of popcorn, freshly made with salt and butter. He then filled two large cups with cola, slotting them into the cup holders at the end of the arm rests. Sitting down, Bob unfolded a laptop as Steve switched on the massive projector.
A harried reporter filled the screen, background filled with flashing lights from police cars and fire trucks. A roiling column of smoke rose from a factory on the city outskirts, thrashing tentacles batting at buzzing helicopters.
“…it is yet unknown where this monster has come from, or why the previous attacks occurred. We’re live and direct bringing you this story as it develops.”, a blood-curdling screech drowned out the reporters voice as a large storage tank flew overhead, flames spewing from the torn pipes.
Steve laughed and slapped his knee. “They have no idea, this is glorious!”
Bob grinned, slurping down some soda.
Steve wiped a tear from his eye, still chuckling. “I think we’ll call this one… Ralph.”
Bob nodded and sent the email, securely routed and anonymized to a dozen radio and television stations.
“Despair you wretched scoundrels and quake at the monstrosity you’ve earned though your negligence. Ralph, the spawn of unholy horrors, will cleanse you of your conceit and arrogance. Weep and prepare for your end, as you will reap what you have sown.”
The email followed with attachments specifying payments and terms to prevent the next crisis. They never worked, of course, but the antics of mayors and elected officials amused Steve greatly. Bob had come to enjoy their squirming on camera, watching their careful poise collapse under the frantic demands of their citizens.
Bob reached for some popcorn as Ralph-of-horrors-unknown began tossing cars and stomping on storage tanks. Massive fireballs illuminating writhing tentacles.
They would all pay.
Every last one.