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Sailboats and Sevens

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When the large camera was set up on the tripod, the lab’s mice were worried about what it would be used for. There were rumors that the other half of the lab was used for physical experiments, like vivisections or pleasure buttons. However, the mice were delightfully relieved when the employees recorded and started talking.

“After years of research on the anatomy of the mouse eye, we’ve discovered that mice lack one of three color cones in their eyes; making them red-green colorblind. By teaming up with Enchroma to test early prototypes of their colorblindness-curing contacts, we hope to use mice to make human lives easier once again.”

The mice were plucked from their cages, sedated, and the contacts were inserted into their eyes. One by one they awoke, and to their surprise, the world was vivid and beautiful. Even in a place as dreary as Acme Labs, every color was appreciated by newly-gifted mice. In one cage, two very young mice sat, waiting for their turn.

“Brain, they put those things in your eyes, and then you’ll see all the sailboats and sevens in those color dot pictures!” Pinky exclaimed, jumping slightly. Brain wondered how much prettier all of Pinky’s drawings would be. A hand reached into the cage and gently pulled Pinky out, and another hand grabbed Brain. Every other time Brain had been in the hands of man, he was to be poked, prodded and assaulted. A needle approached him, and he flinched, only to drift away immediately and fall limp.

The straw in the cage wasn’t as warm as the scientist’s hand had been, but it was more comforting than a barren cold floor. He found that he was waking up only because Pinky was shaking him. Brain sat up, hoping to see the world with new eyes, but nothing had changed. He stared in confusion as every other mouse in the lab was rejoicing. Pinky grabbed Brain’s hands.

“Look how pretty! And you’ve got beautiful eyes, Brain!” Pinky gently bopped Brain’s nose with one finger and danced. Brain stood, seeing only what he could see before.

“I… I don’t get it.” He muttered. Pinky stopped.

“... All the colors, Brain! They’re everywhere, -narf!- Look, look,” Pinky gripped Brain’s shoulder to turn him towards the window. “See how pretty the sky is?”

“No, I don’t. It’s all the same as before.” Pinky’s smile faded slightly.

“Maybe… Maybe your eye things are bad! They have more over there,” He gestured to the kit full of contact lenses. Brain unlocked the cage with his tail, approaching the kit. He looked over the confusing setup, but figured it out and replaced his lenses. He blinked and rubbed his eyes, looking around. Again, he saw nothing different.

“It’s still all the same, Pinky.” Pinky approached him.

“Well, Brain, uh… It’s just the first test, I’m sure they’ll do more! -Troz!-”

Brain removed the contacts.

“But they worked for everyone else, didn’t they?”

The solemn mood was only accentuated by the lab’s overhead lights flickering off. No other mice were heard.

“... We should sleep, Pinky. We have big plans tomorrow night.”

Pinky decided not to question him, and sauntered back into the cage. Brain would follow, but stopped when his eye caught sight of a familiar machine. He remembered Pinky being stolen away once and put in the machine. After being returned to the cage, the mouse remarked how they blew air and shone bright lights in his eyes. Brain realized; it was a corneal x-ray.
Looking to the cage and seeing his friend asleep, he tiptoed to the machine and observed the buttons. It was a good thing they were all labeled- all he had to do was set a timer and then prepare himself in front of the x-ray. He pushed at buttons and pulled at levers, then set his chin on the plastic placeholder. The timer went off, and air was blown into his eyes, making him flinch. Bright light blinded him, then pictures were taken. Brain rubbed his eyes, then looked at the results on the computer.



Brain froze. He saw no color at all. Mice could see blue and yellow- but he saw the world in grayscale. Now he knew why Pinky’s frequent change of colored crayon made no difference in how the drawing looked.

These contacts wouldn’t work on him. The scientists weren’t testing for what he had. He slinked back to his cage, thoughts flooding his head. None of them were comprehensible.

His disability was mostly forgotten over the months; he continued to live his life as normal, trying to conquer Earth every night. The partners in crime never even mentioned colorblindness until one night when their plan required Brain to drive, and he had accidentally ran a red light. When they returned home, Pinky tried to console him.

“You know, Brain, it’s not that big of a deal… It doesn’t matter most nights!”

“... I know, but…” He paused, rubbing his nose.

“But what?”

“...I feel so powerless. When I didn’t know something, I could just read it in a book. But not knowing what the entire world looks like, and not being able to change it... How am I going to take over the world when I can't see it?”

Pinky sat down next to him.

“-Zort!- I’ll take out my contacts, Brain, and then we’ll be the same!”

His friend’s remark made him smile. What a pure soul.

“That’s not necessary… My colorblindness is different than yours.”

“Is that why the contacts didn’t work?”

Brain nodded.

“How do you know?”

“The OCT machine.” Brain lazily pointed to where it was, but it had been removed and packed away last month.

“The diagnosis is in the computer over there, if you care.”

“...’Kay.” Was all he replied. Brain considered the conversation over, and went to bed. The other mouse, however, slinked over to the computer. Technology was beyond him, but it didn’t take much investigating to find Brain’s diagnosis filed away neatly in the computer’s folders. He clicked the ‘print’ button, and watched the paper file out of the printer. Seeing the folders for the colorblindness experiment pulled out of the file cabinet for review, he opened the folder and set the paper on top. His job was done.
Months passed, plans failed, and both of them had forgotten about their conversation. Pinky had hoped something would happen when he added Brain’s paper in with the rest, but Brain seemed happy enough without any change. But one night, the camera and tripod was set up again, and scientists started talking.

“The original Enchroma contacts worked perfectly for the mice with red-green colorblindness. However, after discovering one of our test subjects has total colorblindness, we partnered with Enchroma again to create lenses for this rarer strain.”

At first, Brain hadn’t cared, but the report caught him by surprise. He was pulled out of his cage by a scientist once again, the needle poking him, and he received no answers to his ponderings as he fell limp. As he was set back onto the straw in his cage, Pinky pulled his box of crayons over to him, knocking it over and laying them out so he would be able to see them all. When Brain woke, he blinked and rubbed his eyes. He froze, then sat up. The world was overwhelming to him. He looked down and saw the crayons, picking up a bright green one with trembling hands. His endowed sense of vision was almost impaired by welling tears. His partner approached him.

“Can you see the colors now, Brain? -Poit!-”

He looked up at him, a child-like smile on his face.

“You have beautiful eyes, Pinky,” was all he managed to say.