[Book] Villainous (WIP)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction & Creative Writing' started by Grimoire, Aug 1, 2018.

  1. Grimoire

    Grimoire Well-Known Member

    Jun 15, 2018
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    [Strong Graphic Imagery, Vulgarity, Sexual Content, Drugs and Alcohol Use:
    Viewer Discretion is Advised]
    Thank You

    Setting is the year 2000, five continents situated in three oceans and archipelagos litter the seas in between continents, one of the continents is known as De Leona governed by a meritocratic republic in control of twenty-five states. The United States of Delamas is the ruling government body with the Consul of Merits acting as the Senate and Congressional Parliament as the Executive and Legislative powers. Each state is given five representatives to present the ideal candidates to represent the states as their Merit Counsilman in all facets of their contributions to society of their provinces. Representatives convene in Sierra Demas, the capital of the United Nations and of the United States to determine actions and measures for the longevity of the country and their foreign powers. Through the Consul, representatives make proposals based on the Three-Fifths Accord which pass to the Congressional Parliament where Congressman will follow the same Accord on the varied proposals and pass into legislation.

    In opposition to the United States is the Directorate of Socialists Republics, a rival superpower on the other side of the world with two oceans separating them from both the east and west. The Soviet Directorate, as they were deemed, are a strong nation driven by an overwhelming expansionist campaign that controlled half of the first world in 1940 until the United States of Delamas founded the United Nations as a deterrent for Trans-Horizon campaigns. During World War 1, the Directorate were stopped in their plans in developing nuclear weaponry as soldiers in the United Nations’ classified: “Atlas Project” were sent to defuse the tensions in the Duvali Armament Incident off the coast of De Leona’s southern coastal archipelagos ran by Soviet inspired Banana Republics.

    With the Atlas Project revealed to the world, these super soldiers became the embodiment of what real heroes were aspired to be. The leader of these heroes was Atlas, the Armstrong hero, who was sent across the globe seeking out others who had the potential of possessing special abilities. When word got around of Atlas’s pilgrimage, many people across the world also reveal their existences in hopes to be accepted into society. With the United Nations overseeing the Atlas Project, ambassadors settled on a solution to the growing population of meta-humans littering the globe. Using the United States as a proving ground for developing and training meta-humans in honing their abilities to better serve their respective countries, the UN along with the Directorate agreed to an Armistice and a Diplomatic Agreement in lieu of the existence of the meta-human population within their own borders.

    In 1985, forty years after the signing of the Atlas Initiative, countries fought over the use and training of meta-humans and many of them resorted to small skirmishes battling over resources and espionage campaigns starting a Cold War era between countries retreating from the Soviet Directorate. Multiple countries formed in the eastern block of the Soviet capital of Kremia flagging new republics, democracies and theocratic patronages with one taking the mantle of the Holy Empire of Genova. The Holy Empire, or coined as Imperial Genova, is settled as a strong naval nation with both aerial and naval supremacy on the borders of many countries masquerading as a neutral power. In 1998, the Imperial Genova has since come under fire for their many corporate espionage and monopoly on most overseas businesses between the two sides of the world often supplying both the United States and Soviet Directorate while lining their own pockets with resources and influence in scrupulous circles of power.

    Now in Present Day, The United States and Soviet Directorate are in talks over a Peace Agreement with the Imperial Genova delegates relief and exchanges to both countries during this transition. With tensions even higher than ever before, the world continues to watch as the two countries are a few years closer to resolving a century of bloodshed and war. But behind closed doors, figures opposing this reality grow even bolder and have their own plans for the future of the world. With the Armistice being fragile to the United States, the Soviet Directorate prepare for a continuation for open war should the the agreement failed to deliver fruitful futures and the US still serving as a hub for all meta-humans is posed to strike hard and fast in retaliation of failed negotiations.

    In the United States of Delamas, the central state of the southern region of De Leona hugging the coastal seas of the Revy’s Republic is the metropolis of New Haven. New Haven is a huge expanse of land encompassing the entire state Damascus with small towns and hamlet dotting the outskirts of the city in rural areas heavily industrialized for agriculture. The metropolis is one of many cities that cater to the Atlas Initiative and the acting Silicon Valley for all technological wonders of the world. Flying vehicles, particle accelerators, wireless phones, 3-D printing, cold fusion, customizable augmented suits and fully integrated schools outfitted with prototype technology to improve generational growth of the populace and their education with their use. In the era of Information, technology is rapidly expanding with scientists and researching stumbling upon new and invigorating discoveries in bot meta-human and human advances. With meta-humans at the forefront of most discoveries, medical advances have even achieved the level of miraculous recovery from even the most severe case of injuries and diseases with the inventions such as stimulated healing packages (stimpacks) and cybernetic enhances.

    But the metropolis is not without it’s dark side, with unemployment dipping further as mechanized machinery take most of the manufacturing positions and agricultural aspects, people riot in the streets against the overdependence of technology for both job markets where education is stacked heavily against those without specialized degrees or meta-human levels of abilities. Crime increased as the result of the widening gap of the rich and well educated versus the uneducated and poverty stricken with many resorting to the black market, manufacturing of illegal copies of goods from the companies that once employed them. Aside from the crime rate, citizen are expected to find their businesses to be destroyed or missing from conflicts between Heroes and Villains battling the streets of the metropolis as meta-human also face the same issues.

    New Haven is a tarnish jewel that once stood brilliantly, shadowed by corruption and risks living in this city but also a place where anyone can be anything they want to be should they brave the untamed city and the adherent principles it stands for.
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    #1 Grimoire, Aug 1, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2018
  2. Grimoire

    Grimoire Well-Known Member

    Jun 15, 2018
    Chapter 1: Growing Pains

    Undisclosed location within New Haven, isolated from the outside, the building below the surface is a series of corridors and separate rooms with separating partitions and checkpoints cordoning each section. Fifteen levels of the facility houses: three labs, a large individualized containment cells layering four levels, a medical ward, three operation theaters, recovery wards and decontamination levels. Of these rooms, housing within them are the researchers, scientists and security guards of unknown origin as well as imprisoned test subjects.

    One the Containment Level, two individuals are walking along the catwalk overlooking the individual cells within the sterile white walls, stainless steel and plastic coated railings all seamlessly integrated into the design of the level’s architecture. Each cell is a five by five cubicle with a tempered scratch and blast resistance glass casing with holes at the tops of each venting recycled oxygen coming through centralized air conditioning units somewhere on the level. A prisoner is given a ceramic cots with white sheets and a metallic utility sink and toilet and a single fluorescent bulb lighting fixture barred by the same casing as the doors running along the ground at ankle level. On the catwalks, guards are dragging heavily sedated prisoners to and from each cell to their respected areas while the two individual stop to observe one of the prisoner in particular.

    Stopping at Cell A-8 on the fourth level of the containment facility, one individual turns to the other holding up a tablet like device moving research data and video logs between screen tabs.

    Scientist: “We must proceed with the next procedure”

    Researcher: “Subject Eight’s threshold can’t sustain another session”

    Scientist: “Put him in Quarentine and limit the inhibitors to every ten minute intervals”

    Another individual enters the conversation as they take a brisk walk towards them, they hand the scientist a tablet with readings and analytical data with a graphic fluctuating.

    Researcher #2: “Dr. Serano, they’re ready for you in Operating Theater two”

    Dr.Serano: “I’m on my way”

    Researcher #2: “There’s also a message being sent through Communications, it sounded urgent.

    As the three individuals speak, a prisoner is carted through the level on a crash cart strapped to the support guards holding them in place rushing them to the cells below using the crate elevator at the end of the corridor.

    Researcher #1: “Was that Subject Eleven?”

    Researcher #2: “Yes, Subjects three, five and nine perished along with our data at Blacksite X-ray this morning.”

    Researcher #1: “They’re the only survivor?”

    Dr. Serano: “Survivor? She’s what caused it”

    Researcher #2: “Should we follow the same containment procedures for eleven?”

    Dr. Serano: “No, Eleven broke containment. We will have to make an invoice to the Retention Bureau recover samples of the site to determine our next course of their containment procedures should our temporary measures fail.”

    Researcher #1: “How could they have gotten out? They were submerged in solid concrete, nobody can escape a five feet thick slabs of concrete without drowning.”

    Dr. Serano: “Maybe that was the point”

    Dr. Serano takes the two tablets and folds the plastic and velvet coverings over the screens and tucks them under his arm, taking his leave. Exiting the Containment Level, the scientist passing into a checkpoint cordoned off by the tempered glass in two sections. Entering the checkpoint and passing through the various scanning devices and scanning his keycard on the kiosk, he’s let into the next area of the facility. On his way up one level he meet another checkpoint only to enter the security booth and through a restricted area labeled “Com Center”. Entering the room is a strip of desks with a touch screen tablet in individual cubbies and a partition separating at least twenty-four inches above the sides, on each desk is a plastic case embedded within it holding a pair of earphones which loop over the ears. Dr. Serano sits as one of the desks and setups up his screen to establish an outside line, the screen rings as another person picks-up the line with a voice modulator masking their voice and default Anonymous profile taking full screen.

    Dr. Serano: “Callsign”

    Anonymous: “Foxtrot-Echo-Lambida-Indigo-Xray”

    Dr. Serano: “Callsign Approved”

    Anonymous: “Central wants a status update at site Charlie”

    Dr. Serano: “Data recovery is at a crawl, intake of subjects from site X-ray with no prior biometric data, no identification chips and surviving researchers to confirm our latest intel.”

    Anonymous: “What do you have recovered?”

    Dr. Serano: “X-ray is responsible for extraction of genetic material from foreign dignitaries, as such, the value of their genome is priceless should the research they couple with turn up. Files extracted from the servers are partially corrupted, holotapes, phone records, audio logs have been corrupted or perished in the fire in the site’s ignition.”

    Anonymous: “And the subjects question”

    Dr. Serano: “Eleven is temporarily contained as ordered. As far as their condition is concerned, minor bruising and burns on thirty percent of their body between mid section of the their torso and upper right arm. Analysis of the wound determined that the burns resulted in close proximity to explosive rounds, Eleven poses a risk if the shrapnel isn’t removed before the next step in our procedure stated in the addendum prior to the start of experimentation.”

    Anonymous: “The others?”

    Dr. Serano: “Bagged and Tagged for disposal on-site as ordered”

    Anonymous: “Central will want a full debrief on the intel packages you’ve recovered”

    Dr. Serano: “What of our request for aid in the construction of a new containment cell for Subject Eleven?”

    Anonymous: “Follow Section Five in Amended Clause Eighty, read carefully and proceed with utmost caution.”

    Dr. Serano: “Yes, sir”

    Someone enters the room and stands by the door tapping away on their keyboard with their fingers ever so lightly as to not disturb the conversation between the two individuals. Dr. Serano ends the call and leans forward rubbing his temple.

    Observer: “So what are we going to do now?”

    Dr. Serano: “Follow protocol, prep the stasis chamber and keep subject eleven there for the time being. Have subject eight brought to operating theater two, immediately and debrief the staff on Section Five-Eighty.”

    Observer: “Five-Eighty? Too much of our time went into-”

    Dr. Serano: “I know, but that’s what Control wants done about our predicament.”

    Observer: “This is years of our work, is it a definitive order or a suggestion?”

    Dr. Serano: “I don’t like the idea of purging this place neither, Hodgins, but we have our orders!

    Hodgins: “Yes sir”

    In Operating Theater Two, Dr. Serano partakes in the sterilization routine for all participants of the surgery by preparing his gown, cap, mask, long cut resistant gloves and a second layer of latex to cover over the long pair. Stepping through the sterilization chamber to decontaminate him, Serano enters the theater with five other colleges. In the corner an archivist is documenting audio files using their observation of the operating table. The anesthesia specialist is on standby putting the patient under while two others are preparing the tools of the trade on the drip pans to sterilize them then three of them open a plastic sealed casing to remove various mechanical devices and metallic frame from the containers to display them on the counter behind them on sheet cloth.

    Archivist: “Ready for the audio logs, Dr.Serano”

    Dr. Serano: “Subject Eight is a young male, age between twelve and thirteen years of age. No identifying marks, birthmarks, or scar tissue save for the identification chip implanted upon processing through Blacksite Alpha. Ethnicity is caucasian, fine coarse hair with a dirty blond tint cut to half an inch, eyes are a hazel hue with astigmatism in the right eye while suffering minor blindness in the left after injection of serum T-34 into the optical nerve. Facial features are a narrowing bridge with an inward septum and narrow nostrils ending with a stoic tip, previous alterations with rhinoplasty have allowed the broken bones to mend and repair the damage prior to their processing. Subject’s mouth is pencil thin, pale hue color, small curvature on their smile lines with a strong angular jawline, the notes from Oral and Maxillofacial were wiped from the record as instructed by the Directorate.

    As they start peeling away skin and hearing the sound of hollow tearing like a wet towel being laid on top of flesh. Serano begins using forceps to clog the veins and arteries circulating the skin and exposes the bones of their patient. The assistance bring the metallic frames in pieces and hands each part carefully the next assistant who places them as specified by the doctor’s orders. Other assistant is swapping out the surgical tools with clean ones and then joins in the effort to speed up the process of surgically implanting the frame into the body.

    Archivist: “Attempting to reconstruct the skeletal system to accommodate Exo-Frame apparatus: Model D4RK-S0 and the final solution of serum T-35 with refinement.”

    The sound of drills and scraping is bone chilling as the metallic frames are layering the bones within the patient. After four hours of surgery implants, the finishing touches are being added with the arms being sewn back into place and stabled for good measure. Within the wrists of the patient is a syringe port where they attach IVs to them and allow the serum to trickle down the tubes into the patient’s veins. Dr. Serano turns to his assistant behind him to start running a program on their computer in the corner, who then runs said program. Archivist starts reading the data stream and drops down her notes to add to the session.

    Eight hours later, back in the containment level on the fourth level in cell A-8, the patient is awaken by the sound of a lower clearance scientist with a nametag designating him as Dr. Avo. He taps on the glass and stirs Subject Eight from their drugged stupor only to realize their arms are scarred and stapled following the rest of their body as they start lifting up their prison issued uniforms to search for the scar only to jolt into a fetal position in pure agony and shock of numbing pain shooting throughout their body.

    Dr. Avo: “Subject Eight, time to wake up”

    Subject Eight: “I can’t move”

    Dr. Avo: “You have to, otherwise you wouldn’t be able to adapt to the harness. Come on, we don’t have all day to lie in bed”

    Subject Eight tears up and curls up on their cot and smothers their painful expression into their latex like pillow covering.

    Subject Eight: “I want to go home”

    Dr. Avo: “What home? You don’t even exist”

    Subject Eight rolls back out of bed and crawls towards the door slowly climbing the glass in panic fright.

    Subject Eight: “What, nonono, what about my mom and my dad? They‘ll be looking for me!”

    Dr. Avo with a snarky grin: “They’ll be looking for someone else, but you? We’ve rebuilt you, my boy, and I don’t think anyone will ever look for this young man anytime soon”

    Avo pulls up his tablet showing a reverse imagining of the camera shot of the Subject’s face to reveal the half blind teenager with facial scars and bandages wrapping his face.

    Subject Eight: “What did you do to me!”

    Dr. Avo: “Get up, boy, you’re wasting my time prattling about. We have to get you prepped for your next surgery”

    Subject Eight: “No, I won‘t let you do this to me anymore!”

    Subject Eight crawls away from the cell door and huddles into a fetal position under his cot.

    Dr. Avo: “Subject Eight, do you want the collar again?”

    Subject Eight: “I’m not going!”

    Dr. Avo: “Have it your way”

    Avo gestures for two security guards to drag out Subject Eight from underneath his cot and they pin him to the floor with a syringe whisked out of a capsular case in Avo’s coat. Avo approaches Subject Eight with syringe in hand and inject a sedative and reaches his belt to detach a metal collar with wires feeding through it and attached the collar to Subject Eight’s neck and clasps the locking mechanism shut around him.

    Subject Eight screams wildly at the guards: “Let me go!”

    Dr. Avo: “Behave yourself and maybe you’ll get to eat two meals a day, if you can find it anyway”

    The guards starts picking the patient up and carrying out of the cells and Dr. Avo nonchalantly strolls behind them as Subject Eight is hugged under the arms of two guards looking back at Avo with wearily eyes slowly drifting off.

    Subject Eight: “What are you doing to me?!”

    Dr. Avo: “Be grateful, you’ll be the first human being to get a pair of new eyes even before those hacks in Genova Tech!”

    Subject Eight: “Eyes?”

    Subject Eight passes out from the sedatives, Dr. Avo smiles brightly and tucks his hands into his pockets while humming a tune in his head as they move to another area.

    Entering a secluded room somewhere within the Medical Ward, the guards drag the unconscious Subject Eight to a chair where they proceed to sit him up and lay him into a the seat, strapping him in. Upon closer examination, the chair that the patient is in is a variant of an ophthalmic seat used in eye examinations only the apparatus used for eye examination is replaced with a optical surgery device. The headgear that would be attach to the forehead of the patient will have two circular frame piece encircling the sockets of the patient where the tubular pieces will extract to line perfectly with the socket frame for optimal precision. Of the apparatus, behind the spherical lens into the device are small tools to engage utility diagnostics and sterilization while the tools that perform the surgery are in the tubes that extract and retract in the front of the device. Within the tube are the scalpels, orbital forceps used to hold open the eyes and a suction cusp for latching onto the eyes.

    Dr. Avo watches from the phoropter, which is the chair for examining depth perception of eyes, looking through the varied lens as the guards start finishing the restraints for Subject Eight. He exclaims he would need to get his own specs replaced the next time he’s above ground as he see the results of the dials on the optometrist’s side of the apparatus. Sorting through his pocket he takes a small capsule about the size of his hand and cracks the casing, raising the contents of the capsule up the patient’s nose stirring him awake.

    Dr. Avo: “Wakey-wakey”

    Subject Eight: “Where am I?”

    Subject Eight moves but realizes he is strapped to a chair and looks up to see the faint blur of the apparatus before him and hearing Avo’s voice to his right as he walks over with a desk chair in hand. Taking a seat beside the device, Avo sits in the chair backwards leaning into the back of the seat resting his chest on the backrest with his arms resting on top of it.

    Dr. Avo: “Now that we’re alone, I will ask you something and I want an honest answer”

    Subject Eight, nervously anxious: “What?”

    Dr. Avo: “What does it feel like to have that blood coursing through your veins?”

    Subject Eight: “What are you talking about”

    Dr. Avo: “Surely you noticed something different about you.”

    Subject Eight: “You people keep putting sharp things inside of me!”

    Dr. Avo: “So you have no clue what they’ve done to you”

    Subject Eight: “No”

    Dr. Avo, snickering: “Unbelievable! You are the one, my dear boy, the one we’ve been ever so close to finishing our projects. Never mind the countless failures to make these implants works, but YOU.”

    Avo chuckles at the tantalizing thought of his peers. He springs to his feet, excited and pulls open Subject Eight’s shirt revealing the torso scars trailing down his midsection the ones on his kidneys and the underling of his stomach.

    Subject Eight: “What did they do to me!!”

    Dr. Avo: “Progress, my boy!”

    Laughing hysterically, Avo traces his finger down the chest scars and taps his finger on the sites on Subject Eight’s corresponding body parts.

    Dr. Avo: “When you were brought to us, you were a feeble miscreant. Always crying, moaning and groveling like an animal, but Doctor Lamb chose you for our first series of implants. A new artificial heart with synthetic fibers stronger than your old one and it grows as you age, a defibrillating unit and a layer of the same synthetic fiber melding to your lungs. Removed your kidneys in place of the artificial ones, much better for removing toxins, but the most exciting part is your skeleton!”

    Taking his fingers and pressing hard into the ribcage, Subject Eight winces slightly at the pressure on his ribs. Avo smile brightly.

    Dr. Avo: “And you barely felt that at all. Think of it as a gift from Doctor Lamb, we wouldn’t want you to break so easily when we’ve accomplished so much progress with you.”

    Subject Eight: “What are you going to do with me when you finish?”

    Dr. Avo: “Hmm, unfortunately, I wouldn’t know about the endgame. BUT”

    Avo claps his hands and slides the surgical device over the patient’s eyes. Avo walks around the patient and tightens the neck brace fastening around his neck, coming back around and adjusting the socket frames just ever so slightly to fit perfectly on the patient’s forehead. Subject Eight struggles against the doctor’s advances to progress through the headgear.

    Dr. Avo with a smile on his face: “I’d started counting backwards from a hundred minus three, this will hurt very much!”

    Flipping the switch on the back of the device, the frames latch onto the patient’s eye sockets with a strong pressure then the tubular receptacles slide across to press on the sockets. The machine begins whirring and humming with the small orbital forceps forcing his eyes wide open, a separate pair of orbital tools slowly scooping underneath the eyeballs. Feeling the trans-orbital tools sliding under his eyes, the patient grips the armrests at his sides and digs his nails into the leather.

    Subject Eight: “No-nononononon AAAAAAahhhhhhhh!!”

    Avo looks into the spherical lens of the device watching the tiny vestige of blood tricking out of the tubes and the small sterilizing equipment begin sucking out the excess and draining into a cartridge on the side of the device. He looks below to see blood trickling down the patient’s neck while they scream an octave above normal pitch out of sheer agony.

    Dr. Avo: “Almost done, kiddie! Ooooo, that’s a healthy nerve. Well, good news all around, we won’t have to rip these out too.”

    Subject Eight: “Stop, please!! (screams) Stop it, make it stop hurting, please”

    Dr. Avo: “Hold still or you’ll make me nick something permanently”

    Subject Eight: “Please … stop the screaming”

    Avo stops the machine and sees the tubes slowly creep out the back and he retrieves the tube and removes them. Beside him, Avo reaches down to open a refrigerated cooler with a pair of transparent tubes with a single eyeball with the sclera being ink black and the iris being a ruby red. Smiling at the beauty of the eyes, Avo turns to the apparatus and replaces the extracted tubes with the transparent ones in their place. The device being the implanting process by accepting the replace tubes and revs up once more. Avo walks over to the computer sitting on a countertop by cabinets of preserved eyes and medical tools sterilizing, begins to remotely program the apparatus to accept new perimeters of the surgery. Looking at the real time x-ray screen, the machine slowly welds the optical nerve back to the spheres of the new implants and runs the extending nerve slowly back into the patient’s skull while small pens poke and prod the eyes simultaneously with precision adding synthetic material to the optic nerve and the merging flesh of the eyeballs. Within the device ad large syringe extends towards the iris and begins impaling the lens of the eyes then electric welds the inner cornea with the optic nerve from inside.

    Avo is admiring the process of the optical implants from his computer while the patient wailing and writhing in his seat. Avo turns to the patient with a scornful expression of anger as they ruin his moment of admiration with their sounds of pain.

    Dr. Avo: “Now we just insert these beauties in and hopefully they work”

    Subject Eight: (quietly weeps)

    Dr. Avo: “Don’t cry or you will get a nasty infection. We wouldn’t want gangrene now would we?

    Subject Eight: (weakly moaning)

    Dr. Avo: “Fine, I’m giving you another small dose of morphine. Aren’t i nice? Say thank you when someone gives you something.”

    Subject Eight is silent with his arms dangling at his side.

    Dr. Avo: “You’re welcome, now let’s get the rest of your eyes synchronized and connected.”

    Subject Eight goes limp from the shock of the surgery

    Dr. Avo: “If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought these were specially designed for you. What could be hiding in your feeble little body that has everyone rushing to find the answers for?”

    Avo goes to a medical cabinet to pull open a draw removing a box of gauzes and scissors, he walks over to the patient and starts removing the apparatus from their forehead. Seeing the eyes being closed, Avo takes the gauze from their box and opens the plastic bags off them and starts padding down the bloody sockets and presses them gently over the eyes. Taking a set of ace bandages and rolling them over the gauze pads, he layers over the already present bandages from previous surgeries and scissors the trim of the wrappings and tucks the end pieces into the seams of the layer of bandage.

    Dr. Avo: “There we go, off to the recovery ward for you!”

    Two weeks later

    Lights snap to life with a metallic hum, rattling of the rafters and the support beams of the ceiling echoing the sound of metal on metal creaking. Lights focus one by one on a lone figure at the center of the room, restrained by a straightjacket with belt straps lashed to the wall behind them, securing them in place. On their head is a visor that keeps them blind to their surroundings, a strap holding their forehead to the wall with a device arching over their skull and curving around the ear and attached to the base on the neck. The ground is pulverized and destroyed with small craters made by something hard and thick enough to crack solid concrete, metallic debris of shattered balls and bits of ceramic disks litter the area. The wall opposite of the room is a one-way mirror with an suspicious audience behind the glass, above the glass is an intercom. When the intercom turns one, a muffled voice and a voice modulator is heard coming from it.

    Voice: “Subject Eight, can you hear me”

    The lone figure strapped to the wall begins groaning.

    Voice: “Subject Eight, can you block the next object for us?”

    The lone figure moves their neck and grits their teeth, struggling in their harness.

    Voice: “Subject Eight, can you show me your power”

    The face moves to look up as if they were looking in their general direction.

    Subject Eight in pain: “I don’t know what to do!”

    Voice: “Then explain the nature of your power. How does it work?”

    Subject Eight, repeatedly: “I’m not one of them.”

    Voice: “Subject Eight, your mind and body is capable of manipulating objects without touching them. I believe you are a gifted telepath.”

    Subject Eight: “I can’t do any of that. You’re wrong!”

    Voice: “Do you believe this occurrence happens only in your sleep?”

    Subject Eight, distressed: “WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME!!”

    The floor in front of the glass mirror retract and extend four pitching machines with a basket holding four different material balls. The room lights up to reveal a large ballistic range with Subject Eight being at the end of the range with thirty feet between them and the mirrored glass window behind the waist high partition separating the range from the walkway. The intercom goes silent for a few minutes as the pitching machines whirring as power from the power coupling in the lining of the floor. The intercom turning back on but without the voice modulator, a female voice chimes in.

    Female Voice: “Ethan”

    Subject Eight stops struggling and goes limp as he listens to the voice.

    Female Voice: “If you want out you, think about the wall of your cell. Think of how hard and sturdy it is, picture a shape of the wall as if you were building it.”

    The voice changes to a modularized one in its place.

    Voice: “Releasing he first volley”

    The first pitching machine fires off a large wooden ball polished that hurdles across the room and slams into the wall just shy over the shoulder of the subject. Subject Eight shouts, startled by the loud clacking of the wood splitting into pieces leaving a dent in the wall about a centimeter in diameter with bits of cement flaking to the ground. The machine adjusts aim and angles it towards the subject and the voice chimes in.

    Voice: “Three inch wooden sphere, velocity: sixty-five miles per hour over thirty feet in range. If you do not use your ability, we will continue to use other means to force you to use it.”

    Subject Eight, panicking: “Wait, I swear I don’t know how to do it!”

    Voice: “You have five seconds to figure it out before the next volley.”

    After five seconds of fidgeting, the pitching machine fires. The ball curves downward and collides with the subject’s stomach, the subject jolts in shock spitting out their stomach’s contents onto the floor. The five second counter ticks from the pitching machines with a beeping sound sounding off the moment time is up. Then the next volley comes and strikes the subject in the shoulder, they retort in anguish. Crying out in pain, grunting heavily as they continue to vomit onto the ground below them getting the excess all over their jacket and straps. Gasping for air as the next volley strike the subject in the chest, but when the sphere contacts the chest, the ribcage dents inward then bounces the sphere back. Rolling off the chest on to the ground, the ribcage that was hit begins vibrating before crackling inside the subject’s skin.

    Voice: “What was that a moment ago?”

    Subject Eight unable to respond.

    Voice: “Subject Eight, respond to my question. What was it you did on the fourth volley?”

    Subject Eight begins sobbing, whimpering form their painful ordeal.

    Voice: “Loading Ceramic”

    After a slow recovery, the subject weakly speaks up.

    Subject Eight: “Don’t break”

    The machine stops whirring up in anticipation of the next volley, the machine ceases and the voice goes quietly before return to repeat their inquiry.

    Voice: “What did you mean by that?”

    Subject Eight: “I just kept thinking about my bones not breaking. I can take this so long as I can walk”

    Voice: “This was … just a thought you had?”

    Subject Eight: “I braced myself when I did”

    Voice: “Interesting”

    Subject Eight: “A-are we done, yet?”

    Voice: “Not quite, but I think we are for today.”

    On the other side of the one-way mirror, four people stand poised observing the experiment. Doctor Avo, Serano, Hodgins and the booth operator are present, Serano turns to Avo.

    Serano: “Project Mephistopheles is not progressing. Why is it not working?”

    Avo: “I don’t know. The reaction time on the fourth volley should have been deflected the moment it had impacted, but it just absorbed the kinetic energy. It should have killed them”

    Serano: “D4RK-5O is the only prototype of the recent endoskeleton frames Dr. Lamb gave us to work with. We have to make do until Subject Eight can merge with T-34 and T-36”

    Avo: “His body is rejecting the implanted endoskeleton, the tissue build-up in his spine is turning a darker color and showing signs of gangrene. The bone melding processes is beautifully done and looks completely seamless, but it isn’t agreeing with the muscle fibers and blood lining.”

    Serano: “What else can we do? I’m a surgeon, not a miracle worker!”

    Serano slams his fist onto the computer consoles and tosses his tablet on the ground out of frustration. He spins around, throws his hands up into the air and yells. Avo, staying collective, picks up the tablet and places it on the desk behind him. Leaning into the desk crossing his arms in the process, Avo rubs the side of his face in contemplation.

    Avo: “He claims it took a thought and reactionary response.”

    Serano: “Who?”

    Avo: “The subject. He couldn’t do it at will just on thought alone, what if it has to be both a physical response and a mental one?”

    Serano: “Instinct?”

    Avo: If thinking wasn’t enough for the second volley, the threat of the first to kick in the fight or flight response, the third for retaliation but the fourth … it was expected.”

    Serano: “Explain”

    Avo: “The reason behind this is to test his response of the abilities we see in him. At least the amount we were debriefed on. It could be that it triggers when the response from a proxy like a duplicate intervenes in the defense of its host. But with Subject Eight, putting him intense distress doesn’t work as effectively as we’d hoped but we do know that we have a reaction.”

    Serano: “What reaction?”

    Avo: “You saw it as clearly as I have. Surely, you’ve noticed the bones cracking from the impact”

    Serano: “Yes and the sphere failed. What of it?”

    Avo: “Are you sure about that?”

    Serano: “Come again”

    Avo: “Look here”

    Avo bring his own tablet to Serano and shows the monitoring of Subject Eight’s internal vitals before and after impact of the fourth volley. In the after shot of the x-ray, the bones of subject eight’s ribcage catch the ball as it impacts and crackles into fractures of bone before the bone reforms and retains the shape. The bone then slowly shifts making tiny barbs that pierce and attach themselves to the muscle fibers.

    Serano: “What is it doing?”

    Avo: “Appears to be adapting to the fracture and fortifying the ribcage.”

    Serano: “Is that the work of T-34?”

    Avo: “I believe so, if not then we’ve got some questions to give to R&D on this new type of metal they’re not informing us of.”

    Hodgins: “It isn’t metal”

    Hodgins, sitting next to the intercom microphone looks back at them in his seat.

    Hodgins: “T-34 is a compound synthesized using Subject Eight’s blood and Subject Two’s ability to manipulate the genetic material. T-35 is a variant of that compound only meant to be used in the circulation of the blood to prevent rupturing to the veins, hemorrhaging is the last thing we need when using blunt force and ballistic tests.”

    Avo: “This is the first I’m hearing about this”

    Hodgins: “Subject Two is classified on all levels, we’re not even suppose to talk about it but this is giving me a bad vibe”

    Avo: “Then why bring them up?”

    Hodgins: “This isn’t the first time the brass asked us to do more testing on the outlier test subjects, but this is different than our other tests. This is much extreme, none of the other subject had to receive this many surgeries and even less the amount of genetic remapping that went into this particular subject.”

    Serano: “A self-repairing skeleton, redundant nervous system, capillary and artery fortitude, optical spectrographic implants. It sounds like another super soldier project.”

    Avo: “We have many of them since the 90’s, why is he different?”

    Hodgins to Serano: “It does, but why not make one from scratch? Plenty of synth flesh to make an android with everything versus a human child. My theory is on compensating for weaknesses.”

    Avo: “I don’t get it. Where are you getting this from?”

    Hodgins: “It’s a half baked super soldier project, what else could it be? Whatever the higher-ups have in mind, they need this subject to durable and sturdy for future endeavors, something that a synthetic biomechanical android wouldn’t suffice. The synths lack personalities, no motivation outside of orders, they wouldn’t make good infiltrators nor replicas of real people; too many variables to account for.”

    Avo: “You suspect that they need Project Mephistopheles to be a discreet application.”

    Hodgins: “In theory. There’s too much redacting on their file suggests it would be something greater than a conversion project like so many others from Blacksite Alpha and Omicron.”

    Serano: “While I was in the operating theater I did notice something else when putting them under that I think could use some clarification.”

    Avo and Hodgins both turn to face Serano with an intrigue expression on their faces. With their attentions rapt, Serano walks over to the desk where Avo placed his tablet and retrieves it only to see a lot of broken glass but still operational. He swipes his finger over the screen, typing his key codes and opens an executable file to play the audio file from one of the operations. The audio file plays:

    “Time is 12:56pm on (redacted) with Dr. Lamb and Serano presiding over Subject Eight’s installation of the model D4RK-5O endoskeleton framework.

    A strange abnormality currently takes place in the operating theater as test subject eight appears to have growths forming along their spinal column that have tendril like formations. The growth appear to be centimeters in length acting independently of the host, upon further inspection, the growths have a substance of T-34 excreting from the tips which look like dark color pus. T-34, as noted by (redacted) who is present, is a compound used in the melding of skin tissue and bone, the side effect of the substance is of course unknown. The reaction of T-34 on subject eight appears to have made these strange growths on their cornea and optic nerves, as time progressed throughout the procedure, more growths appear on the nerve endings of their finger tips and toes that merge itself with skin and muscle fibers.

    When attempting to lance the growths from subject eight, the growths react by becoming firm and sharp to the point like thorns. Assistant (redacted) is removed and sent into quarantine after experiencing a reaction from being pricked by the growths. Their status is to be determined. Dr. Serano lances a piece of the growth with much effort as the growth is resilient with incredible tensile strength. Using a plasma cutter, the growth if lanced and sent to the genetics lab for further analysis.”

    Serano’s audio file cuts off, he looks up to his colleagues to get there opinions on the matter.

    Serano: “If T-34 is a melding compound then what made the growths?”

    Avo to Hodgins: “T-36?”

    Hodgins ponders on the thought for a moment. His colleagues anticipate his response.

    Hodgins: “That’s the final phase, but it’s too soon”

    Avo: “Perhaps a hidden ability of subject eight?”

    Hodgins: “I wouldn’t be able to say. My area of expertise is application, Serano’s ability to make it work and your administration, the only person with further insight into that particular chestnut is Doctor Lamb.”

    Avo: “How does that old hermit get such a prize in the first place?”

    Serano: “I think Central has him working on other projects outside of Research and Development.”Entering the booth with the other members of staff, a gruff elderly man in a sterile white zip-up lab coat with matching skin tight trousers beneath it, stands in the doorway. He speaks up in a raspy voice and clears his throat to sound more appealing.

    Man: “Sorry about that. How is the subject performing?”

    Avo: “Your framework is reacting but their ability aptitude is non-existent. I’m questioning the legitimacy of your thoughts about this boy having any ability outside of our work.”

    Man: “You think he’s human, he isn’t.”

    Avo: “Then enlighten us on the nature of what exactly are we even testing for. The T Series of implants are working as expected with minor tissue build-up from rejection, something we can adjust accordingly. But the Board didn’t specifically inform us on what the subject’s abilities are.”

    Man: “Matter conversion and manipulation”

    The three colleagues pause in contemplation. They look to each other and cross their arms out of habit and look to the man with confusion. Hodgins speaks up on their behalf.

    Hodgins to the man: “Doctor Lamb, if they can convert matter, why use a ballistics range suitable for Titan Class meta-humans?”

    The man referred to as Doctor Lamb closes the door behind him and puts his hands into his coat pockets and looks to the ground before scratching his long graying hair.

    Lamb: “What I’m about to say doesn’t leave this room”

    They await patiently for his response.

    Lamb: “Subject Eight is able to create an unknown substance that exists but not visible to the naked eye, with aid of spectrographs, we’ve determine that the substance is a malleable type of polymer that self-replicates. When applying the substance to other materials, it can convert into the same material as the substance. When subject was captured and processed at site Alpha, they warped the vehicle they were transported in en route to this site. The ‘Cleaners’ analyzed the vehicle and found the same substance coating the entirety of the transporter in such as fashion as if it were being constricted by a large snake. The board wants to know the nature of Subject Eight and the abilities they have as our theories are only compounded by the fact that we’re running out of time.”

    Hodgins: “What do you mean running out of time?!”

    Lamb: “As of now, this facility is dedicating all of it’s remaining resources and time to the development of Subject Eight. All other test subjects are being transported to another facility while this site continues their efforts to develop Project Mephistopheles.”

    Avo: “What, but why?”

    Lamb: “According to the Site Omicron’s findings, they’ve classified him as a Nuclear Class meta-human”

    Avo: “You can’t be serious, that brat is a Nuclear Class meta?”

    Lamb: “Looks are deceiving, Omicron analyzed the substance and compound mixture of the T Series and found that Subject Two’s involvement with our process drastically altered Subject Eight’s genetic material. What was meant to suppress their abilities, made them extremely lethal, as evidenced by our assistant earlier this week during their procedure.”

    Serano to Lamb: “What happened to them?”

    Lamb: “Even a small prick from subject eight’s altered substance can re-write the genetic code of those who aren’t protected. The victim of their defense mechanism was morphed into a gelatinous form of the substance, when the substance is mixed with the host’s native substance, they merged and cohesively work.”

    Hodgins speaks up on his thought about “manipulation of the matter”

    Lamb: “As mentioned in your reports, the substance is self-replicating. We may not see it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Subject Eight is capable of manipulating the substance to act as a weapon of shield depending on circumstance, evidenced by their transport. if the substance can be replicated, manipulated, convert other materials into the same, there is a good chance they can spread this to other facilities and other test subjects. Therefore the Board reclassified this place a Blacksite outside of the network, all assets are to be transported immediately following the final phase to contain the subject’s self-replication process. T-36 is the last attempt to contain Subject Eight’s substance and sterile the substance’s ability to reproduce while maintaining its conversion ability.”

    Serano: “T-36 isn’t due until after the D4RK-5O framework is recovering and stable enough!”

    Lamb: “As I said, gentlemen, we’re running out of time. We are beset by all sides by forces working against us. Sites Beta and Delta were hit by an unknown group, Site X-Ray was just a recent delay in our progress. If we do not contain Subject Eight before this site is hit, we run the risk of exposing the Directorate and the Collective. If Subject Eight breaks containment, that boy will doom us to extinction if gone unchecked. Once T-36 is installed, Subject Eight will be render inert and safe to transport for further experimentation into their application in the field.”

    Avo: “What is our time table looking like?”

    Lamb: “After a few days in Recovery Chamber, he should be prepped for another surgery to implant T-36 within ten days. In the meantime, have your files transferred to the mainframe and dump the original drives and files relating to our work here. Keep all relevant data on Subject Eight on site and encrypted, I rather have something here for someone else to pick-up our contingency plan should they break containment or we fail in our endeavor to contain them.”

    Avo: “You want to leave a trace for outsiders to use? That’s against our directive!”

    Lamb: “If we fail, there will be no stopping them. If we leave our contingency, humanity might stand a chance of surviving.”

    Avo: “Or it can blowback on us”

    Lamb: A risk I’m going to take. I won’t rest until Subject Eight’s replication process is inert, if anyone interferes with the procedure of installing T-36, the Board authorized all sites to terminate anyone involved. Myself is included in that statement. Understand?”

    The three colleagues nod in agreement. Lamb turns to the window to look out to Subject Eight and see that their restraints are off and no personnel are present. He walks over to the control console and stares closely at the subject and sees that they are just standing there. Lamb turns to Avo.

    Lamb: “Did any of you restrain the subject?”

    Avo: “Of course we did”

    Lamb: “Then what am I seeing here”

    Avo rushes toward the console and sees the close up view through the screen below him. Seeing the camera angles, Subject Eight is indeed not restrained to the wall. Hunched over with the weight of the belts and the long sleeves of his jacket dangling in front of him.

    Avo: “How did he get free?”

    Avo looks down to see Hodgin’s hand is still holding the microphone key that allows them to speak into it. Avo slaps Hodgin’s hand off the microphone and yells at him.

    Avo: “You idiot, how long have you been holding that on?!”

    Subject Eight speaks up as they raise their head towards them.

    Subject Eight: “I’ll do it”

    Avo and the others turn to their test subject amazed by their response. Lamb walks over and disables the voice modulator and speaks directly to Subject Eight.

    Lamb: “Do you understand what you’re asking us to do?”

    Subject Eight: “I don’t. But if it stops me from losing control, I volunteer for the surgery.”

    Lamb: “Do you know what’s going?”

    Subject Eight: “I think I do, I don’t know what I’m doing or how. If I’m capable of doing such a terrible thing, I should do everything I can to stop it from happening. Right?”

    Lamb holds the microphone on and sighs in relief but also in a worrisome fashion. He shakes his head disapprovingly as the subject insists on going through with the procedure.

    Lamb: “Subj-”

    He shakes his head disapproving the term to be irrelevant at this point.

    Lamb: “Ethan, I know this is not what you want but if something isn’t done now, there is a chance you won’t able to control it.”

    Subject Eight being revealed as Ethan crouches down and sits on the ground.

    Ethan: “Doctor Lamb, if this works, will I be able to go home?”

    Lamb hesitates to answer but reluctantly does to Ethan’s question.

    Lamb: “I’m sorry, Ethan. Even with T-36 installed and adapts, you still pose a danger to people outside of this place. If someone makes contact with your substance, it’s game over. There is no undoing the damage. Even if there was, our bosses won’t let you leave with what you know about our work.”

    Ethan: “What is going to happen to me?”

    Lamb: “I wouldn’t know. But if your abilities are anything to guess … a super weapon. One able to be deployed anywhere and blend in with the population, activate remotely and create much devastation.”

    Ethan: “They’re going to use me”

    Lamb: “It will be years down the road, your powers only manifested prematurely because we forced them to. If you cooperate with us, Ethan, we’ll do our best to make your time here better and perhaps develop your abilities naturally.”

    Ethan: “I want to know more about them, what can I do to control it.”

    Lamb: “I can make that happen”

    Ethan: “I want to go to school”

    Lamb: “You mean, learn to better yourself”

    Ethan: “I can’t read or write, too many big words that I don’t understand.”

    Lamb: “Sounds reasonable, anything else?”

    Ethan: “Real food”

    Lamb: “Done”
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