Dr. Awesome led Mischa and Rupert to the stem cell research clinic. There was a staircase beginning at the top of the volcano that formed a winding pathway down its interior. Mischa was apprehensive when they reached the lava, but Dr. Awesome kept on walking. It turned out that it wasn’t lava at all, just orange juice; and the volcano was completely fake.
“That explains why it didn’t taste like lava!” Mischa remarked.
They continued down the staircase, wading deeper and deeper into the orange juice, when Dr. Awesome stopped. Before them was a door, practically invisible to anyone who didn’t know it was there. The doctor winked, and the door opened automatically.
Mischa and Rupert followed Dr. Awesome into the waiting room of a very professional-looking office. A receptionist sat at a clean, metal desk, above which was a sign that read “Volcano Stem Cell Research Clinic.”
“This is definitely the place, Comrade!” said Mischa.
“Hey you, stop talking,” said Dr. Awesome. “Your voice isn’t nearly awesome enough. Now you two wait here with the receptionist while I go look at myself in the mirror for a while. Then we’ll get down to business.”
Mischa and Rupert stood around in the waiting area awkwardly. The receptionist didn’t introduce herself or, indeed, say anything at all. He just stared into space, apparently looking for something that nobody else could see.
“Hello?” tried Mischa. “Mrs. Receptionist? Are you…awake?”
There was no answer.
“I think that’s a man, Mischa, and I think he’s insane,” offered Rupert. “The ‘Receptionist Is Insane: Do Not Provoke’ sign is a pretty good clue. I hope Dr. Awesome gets back soon; he’s really starting to creep me out.”
“All right, I’m back,” said Dr. Awesome, walking back into the room. “I see you’ve noticed our receptionist, Ted. We got him from a mental institution. I don’t know why.”
“Ah, I see. I notice you are saying we, Comrade. Is there another doctor here as well?” asked Mischa, curious.
“No, I’m just so awesome that I sometimes need to refer to myself in the plural,” explained Dr. Awesome, who upon seeing the look on Mischa’s face added, “We aren’t joking.”
“Oh, I see. Well, we have come to –”
“I know why you’re here, Mischa. And you too, Rupert. Yes, I know everything; I’m just that awesome. You two want me to clone you into an army, right?” asked Dr. Awesome.
“That’s right,” replied Rupert. “Can you do it?”
“Of course I can. I’m awesome!” answered Dr. Awesome. “But it isn’t free. No, I’m going to need money. Well, I don’t need it; I mean, I am awesome enough to subsist without it. But I like it. And so I want it. And I just so happen to know that neither of you has anywhere near enough to pay me.”
Mischa’s happiness, which had been welling like a balloon for the past few minutes, was instantly punctured. Cloning was his last hope; now he had no way to get another 99 men for the battle. Cyprus was lost to him forever.
“Fortunately for you, there’s a really rich old guy living on the other side of this island. You could rob him to get the money,” suggested Dr. Awesome. “I’ll give you three days. And by three days, I mean one day. Go!”
Mischa and Rupert jumped up and dashed out of Dr. Awesome’s office and back up the volcano staircase, their next move clear: to rob an old man.
“Do you think that we can do this in one day, Comrade?” asked Mischa, panting.
“Under normal circumstances, no; but I think a little awesomeness from Dr. Awesome rubbed off on us. Let’s do this, Mischa.”