A tail? When did this happen? An overnight evolution such as this has not occurred before. The emission process is accelerating and I can barely keep up.
My rear prolongation is like unto the rest of me, jet-black, rubber felt to the touch, a trail of diminutive spikes leading to the tip. The end of the tail is composed of a rock hard cartilage, sharp edged like a blade, and very lethal in appearance.
No doubt the professor will be arriving shortly to observe my transformation. Eona gawks quite intrigued by it.
“You should leave. Wouldn’t want the mean old doctor getting angry with you now.” I say pointing at the exit.
“But I don’t want to go.” Eona counters with a pout. “Can’t I stay a little longer?”
I shake my head disapprovingly. “I’m afraid not. Now hurry. Go.”
She frowns and storms out with Mr. Bubbles wrapped in her arms. Sighing with relief, I inspect
my tail. “Only a matter of time now.”
Suddenly, the door slams open, and Clayton rushes towards me.
“Clayton? What the hell are you doing?” I ask quite surprised.
“There’s no time to explain at the moment. Now how do you open this thing?” He asks sweating.
“The lock switch is on the console over there.” I point to the table topped with keyboards and buttons.
Clayton dashes over, and seconds later, the capsule opens, but I remain inside.
“Come on we don’t have a lot of time.” Clayton shouts urging me to get out.
“What’s going on?” I ask hesitant of the entire situation.
“Look, last night I overheard the professor discussing something about extracting the Symbiote inside of you, and all I know is if that happens, you’ll die. Now would you come out of there? We’re on a really tight schedule.” He grabs my hand, tugging me out, and I follow. What’s the symbiote?
The emergency rooms within the corridor are all empty, considering last night they were filled with suffering patients. Why?
“I’ve got an OSA transport waiting for us at the docking bay. Just hours ago we dislodged every patient within this facility. They’re being taken o OSA HQ for proper care.” Clayton says as if he read my mind.
“Wait, where’s Eona?” I ask.
“The little girl with the missing eye. Where is she?” I desperately scan the hospital for any sign of her. “Eona!” I shout, hoping for her to respond, but there’s nothing.
“Haven’t seen her, now let’s move!” Clayton shouts. The exit is just meters away.
The neon lights burn my eyes as we exit the hospital, rushing down the path of which the prognosticator predicted my arrival, and possible future.
“We’ve got to get you as far away as possible from Colony Seven before Isenberg realizes what’s gone down.” Clayton explains, sprinting as fast as he can, but somehow, I’m keeping up without an effort. “No doubt Planet Tamers will be on your ass hours from now.”
“Big Game Hunters, normally hired by colonists in the Far Arm to deplete local wildlife population, and declare the colony tamed. They’re the best of the best Sophy. These people head long, and moderately eliminate monsters, Goliaths, Krakens, Wraiths, Behemoths, you name it.” Clayton explains. “However, taming you should prove to be interesting.”
I frown. “Why are you doing this? Helping me out and all. Why do you care?”
“Because you’re not a monster Sophy, at least not yet.” He replies glancing at my tail and spine of spikes. “You said your father could fix this, so I’m giving him that chance. If he fails… you’re on your own.”
I nod approvingly. Dad’s a great scientist, maybe even the best. If anyone’s capable of reversing my evolution, it’s my father.
“Reynolds. Where’s our ride?” Clayton speaks into his COM.
“Madison is waiting out front. He’ll show you the way.” Comes a voice.
“Copy.” Clayton responds.
Just outside the docking bay stands an OSA combatant. He waves at us to grab our attention. We push and shove our way through the chaotic crowd of citizens, many gawking at my monstrous backside, horrified. We approach the combatant, who then guides into the transport ship.
“Thanks Kyle.” Clayton says patting the soldier on his helmet.
Madison then inspects me. “Jesus…”
“It’s all right. She’s with us.”
“So she’s the one we’re going through all the trouble for?” Kyle asks, removing his helmet, revealing his blond hair, and scruffy mustache. Even with the distance between us at the moment I can smell the cigarette residue coming from his breath.
The ship begins to rise, the pilot maneuvering around the crowded airspace until we finally depart from the colony.
“All right, ships on auto pilot.” The pilot says taking a seat next to Clayton as she ties her hair into a ponytail. “Wanna tell me what’s going on?”
Adams sighs. “Kyle, Maya, meet Sophy Lennex. Sophy is a Planet Explorer, and founder of a distant world she calls Arcane. She was exposed to some kind of toxin, and now her body is… evolving as you can clearly see."
“How?” Kyle queries.
“Do I look like a fucking scientist?” Clayton says frustrated.
“So what we doing?” Maya asks with her arms crossed.
“We’re taking her to see her father. She claims he can fix this.”
“Who else knows about this?” Kyle asks staring me down.
Maya nearly flips out of her seat. “Professor Isenberg? My god that man’s an evil fucker.”
“What?” I ask, perceiving this woman knows a lot more about the professor than Clayton and myself.
Maya exhales dramatically. “The guy’s a mad scientist. He’s ran experiments on countless human subjects, attempting various feats such as limb regeneration, or increased bodily functions like super strength, super speed, super every damn thing! All specimens mutated. No doubt he sees something in you he wants to gut out and play with.”
“The Symbiote?” I inquire of Clayton, who nods in agreement.
“My father can analyze it and most likely remove the toxin in my body.” I add faithfully.
“And where exactly is your father?” Kyle asks.
“He’s on Shear, studying Wraiths.” I say, a sense of worry overcoming me. Hope dad is okay.
“No shit?” Maya says. “Your father’s got some balls.”
“Well then Shear it is, but after we drop off the patients from Colony Seven at OSA HQ.” Clayton establishes. “Shear should be the last place the hunters suspect you to be.”
“I should hope so.” I reply with my head down.
“Hate to drag dad into this.”
“It’ll be okay Sophy.” Clayton says gently. “I’m sure of it.”
“Thanks Adams.” I say with a grin. “Thank you for everything.”
Suddenly, my eyes begin to burn in the way my blood did when the evolution began.
“Um… is there a restroom on this ship?” I ask fighting back the tears.
“Yeah, down the hall and to your left.” Maya says gesturing behind me.
My tail whips back and forth, banging against the walls. I can hardly discern the path I walk.
Somehow I reach the bathroom, and stare into the mirror. My eyes are deviating, now clouded and my
dark meager pupils distinctively regardable.
“I’m a monster.” I whisper to myself, the pain surging through my face vacates. “I’m a monster.”
Maya enters the restroom. “Oh my god… are, are you okay? She asks, laying her hand on my shoulder.
Instinctively, my body reacts, swerving around to face her. She jumps at the site of my eyes, piercing into her very soul. My tail thrusts directly through her chest, ripping out the other end. Her mouth drops open as she gasps for air, blood critically leaking to the floor.
“Soph…Sophy?” She struggles out.
I retract my tail vigorously, tearing through her rib cage, possibly severing her lungs in the process.
She falls to her knees, in which my tail swipes again at lightning speed, decapitating her head from her now lifeless body. Blood spatters everywhere, flooding the bathroom floor. I kneel down, scooping up the red substance and desperately consuming it.
“Sophy? Maya? Is everything all right in there?” Comes Clayton’s voice.
My heart is darkened, mind corrupted. A sense of hostility fills my body from the sound of him calling.
He enters the restroom, perceiving the bloody mess conjured from Maya’s massacre. Her head lies on the floor, her horrified expression still present on her face. Clayton reaches for his side arm, but seconds before he can discharge the pistol, the blade of my tail dismantles his arms directly from the shoulders.
He opens his mouth as if to speak, but instead blacks out, crashing to the floor beside Maya’s body, his face submerged in a pool of blood as he bleeds to death.
I step out, and Kyle Madison later suffers the same fate. I am alone on the ship, its course on auto pilot to a pre destination. The location doesn’t matter to me at the moment, as I feed upon Madison’s corpse. The flesh feeds the monster within, contributing to its growth. It demands more… much more. I succumb to the darkness, letting it take control, control of mind, body, and soul! This divinity consumes me. My final stage of evolution transpires, revealing my true form, discarding the once humanoid Sophy Lennex, bearing the life form of an elevated existence. My name echoes through my head. Sophy… Sophy… Sophy!
My eyes flash open, Clayton, Maya, and Kyle hoarding over me.
“Jesus Christ, we thought you’d never wake-up.”
Maya exclaims sighing with relief.
I grab her wrist, gently feeling her skin with my tender fingers. “Am I dreaming?” I ask horrified from the even hat recently took place.
“Not anymore.” She replies, rubbing my shoulder.
“You’ve been out for hours.” Clayton exclaims.
“Maya found you passed out on the bathroom floor not long after you went in. I suppose those new eyes of yours scared the shit out of you.”
“Yeah… guess so.” I say blankly. “Uh, so how much further until we drop off the patients?”
“Ha! That all went down when you were napping.” Kyle says chuckling to himself. “We’ll be arriving on Shear shortly.”
“Wow… out that long huh?”
“Yeah, and your friend Eona is dying to see you.” Clayton says with a smile.
Happiness fills my body. “Eona? You mean she’s here on the ship?”
“We asked for her to wait until we confirm your condition stable, which I’d say looks about that.” Clayton exclaims, gazing into my beastie eyes. “Bring her in Madison.”
Eona comes skipping towards us, and nearly screams when she sees me. At first, I fear it’s my appearance that terrifies her, but seconds later I find myself wrapped in her arms.
“Sophy! Oh Sophy I thought we’d never see each other again!” She chokes up, her hug quite comforting.
“I’m just satisfied you weren’t stuck back on Colony Seven.” I say patting her back, but then I pull away. “Wait, shouldn’t you be at OSA HQ?”
“I wanted to see you instead!”
I shake my head. “But they can fix your eye. Don’t you want that fixed? And… where’s your mother?”
“The OSA men said momma was still on the colon y. They said they let her know I was okay, and that I was being treated, but I decided to see you instead.” She explains with a smile.
Clayton approaches me closely, whispering a few words into my ear, and my heart sinks.
“What’s going to happen to her?” I whisper back fiercely.
He shrugs his shoulders lamely.
“Sophy! Hey Sophy look over here.” Eona shouts sitting in the pilot’s seat.
“Hey don’t touch anything!” Maya warns as I sit in the passenger’s seat next to the little girl.
“Is that where we’re going?” Eona asks pointing to the large planet that lay dead ahead.
“Yes. Hopefully my father can cure me of this… this monstrosity. Hope he’s alive, that crazy old fool.” I say chuckling.
She then stares intently at my eyes. “They’re beautiful.”
If only that were true. Nonetheless, my heart warms from the nice comment.
Kyle stands between me and the girl, arms crossed. He’s a big guy, quite intimidating for an OSA combatant.” So, tell exactly what it is your father is doing fucking with Wraiths.”
“Research, in hopes of gathering significant data that could further the success of hunters.” I reply calmly.
“You mean the same hunters that want you dead?”
“More or less. Besides, can you blame them? After all I am a harmful species of existence at this point.” I admit coldly. The dream of me brutally killing Maya and Clayton floods my mind, the blood…
“What exactly do you mean by furthering their success? How does he plan to achieve that?” Clayton asks.
Shaking my head, I reply, “I don’t know for sure. It’s bee years since we’ve spoken, but I would guess he’s developing weapons that could potentially kill monsters biologically.”
“Biologically? How so? “Kyle continues.
I point out the windshield of the ship. “Why don’t you ask him yourself.”
“Looks like we’re entering the planet’s atmosphere.” Maya says, shewing Eona out of her seat. She then flicks off the auto pilot, and steers the ship manually into Shear. “Everyone take a seat, and strap in.”
Strapping in is impossible with my spikes, so I sit as firmly as possible, gripping the armrests.
“Might want to shut your eyes.” Maya adds, as she slips on her helmet, the visor darkly tinted.
The ship becomes ablaze, a bright blur of flames swarming the windshield. I shield my eyes with my hand, as several moments pass.
“Hell, I can’t remember the last time we were on Shear.” Kyle says, activating his own visor.
Eona smothers her face into Mr. Bubbles to protect her eyes from the blinding blaze surrounding the ship.
“Hopefully this’ll be our last.” Clayton says with a grunt as the transport rocks.
“Calm your tits Adams.” Maya calls out from the front. “The ride is just about over.”
I uncover my eyes, the blaze of the atmosphere now absent. The skies of Shear are currently the only sight to behold. “My father should be located at Lab Base Three.” I inform Maya, who nods, quickly navigating her map, pin pointing our destination.
“Five minutes till arrival.” She says.
Eona suddenly tugs at my tail, and at that moment, I understand why animals don’t like it so much.
“Are there really monsters down there?” she asks concerned, clutching her bunny.
“Yeah, but don’t worry, we won’t let any of them hurt you.”
“Approaching surface.” Maya reports.
Madison grabs his shotgun, Clayton his assault rifle. Who knows what could be waiting for us on the ground. It’s not so much the well-known monsters like Goliath you have to worry about. Not always.
An endless patch of trees comes into view, sprouting from the rocky mountainous terrain. Carrion birds soar through the sky in massive flocks. Such a marvelous world, and yet, home to the utmost ferocious creatures in the galaxy.
“Setting her down now.” Maya exclaims as the ship descends. “This is as close as I can get to the lab, so you’ll be on foot a bit of the way.”
“Not a problem.” I reply coolly.
The hatch screams open, the stair platform connecting with the wet soil of Shear. Rain falls heavily, splashing mud and pelting the immense leaves that augment from the more gargantuan trees flourishing the land.
My feet sink into the mud, and it’s then when I feel the squishy substance mingling between my toes that my feet have evolved as well. They have grown right out of the shoes of my suit, black, muscular, the toes long and sharpened. It appears my phalanges have merged, forming two terminal claws. I don’ think the others have noticed this. The acknowledgement of this evolution does not frighten me. I turn back towards the ship.
Kyle, Clayton, and Maya lay sprawled out on the ground, limbs absent from their bodies. Blood is everywhere; the scent of it draws my attention. I look down, where Eona stands with Mr. Bubbles held close, his head missing. She stares up at me, both of her eyes clawed out. Blood runs down her cheeks like tears.
“Welcome home bitch!” She says sinisterly, her voice deep and demonic.
Suddenly, I look up, behind the girl stands her mother, a significant amount of her skull missing, the brain fairly exposed.
“Can we go now.” She says.
A flash of lightning snaps me out of the hallucination, and it’s only Clayton.
I look down once more examining Eona. She’s smiling, her patch obscuring her missing eyes, the other sparkling with curiosity.
“Awe!! Mr. Bubbles is getting all wet!” Eona pouts, shielding the bunny the best she can from the falling rain.
“Eona I want you to stay on the ship okay.” I urge.
“No! I want to see the monsters in cages.” She moans.
“She’s fine Sophy.” Clayton says.
“Yeah, what seven year old doesn’t want to go to the zoo?” Kyle says with a grin.
I don’t like this at all. It’s no the monsters native to Shear they should fear…
Clayton keeps Eona close to his side, Madison behind them. I walk considerably ahead. Why am I having these hallucinations? Am I losing my mind? No… it’s the monster inside. It’s taking over. It wants blood! It wants to kill, and if I don’t get fixed soon, my hallucinations just might become reality.
“Sophy! Watch out!” Clayton shouts.
Ahead of me approach 2 Reavers in an aggressive state of mind. I was so busy worrying about myself I was unaware of my current surroundings. I’m on Shear for god sakes!!
But to my surprise, the Reavers dash past me and leap at the others. Kyle and Clayton open fire, putting down the creatures. Eona screams, clutching Clayton tightly.
Clayton looks at Kyle, and then back at me.
“What the hell was that?” Maya inquires though COM.
“Fucking Reavers!” Kyle responds. “We’re good down here Reynolds.
I can’t believe it. The Reavers recognized me as a superior species! Either that, or they recognized me as a monster in general, and relieved me of any harm. There are so many possibilities! The feeling is quite awesome. I feel safe here, as I did in the protection of Euphoria on Arcane. Maybe I really am home.
Abruptly, the echo of gunfire and roaring can be heard meters away.
“What the hell?” Clayton asks.
“Don’t forget where you are.” I say flicking my tail. The blade has grown significantly larger. “From the electrical impulses I’m detecting in my body, there’s no doubt a Kraken is currently fighting for it’s life.”
Kyle chuckles. “Never a dull moment for Planet Tamers. Hope they kill that son of a bitch.”
I don’t know why, but that statement was very offensive. Used to be just like Madison, a pro hunter, but when you’re living life through the eyes of the beast… things change.
“Come on, the lab isn’t far from here.” I say, shrugging away the thought.
I can already see the communications tower peaking out of the trees. My father no doubt knows we’re approaching, but may not know it’s me, especially with my new offsetting appearance.
“A lot smaller than I thought.” Clayton says approaching the gate.
“Considering once cage, and one scientist, what need is there for a large workspace?” I reply.
“One scientist? You mean your father lives and works alone?”
I nod. “As well as no outside contact.”
“Sounds fucked up to me.” Kyle remarks.
Eona looks up at Madison with a frown. “Potty mouth!” She says kicking him in the shin.
There’s a speaker next to the gate. “Hello? Professor Lennex?” Clayton says speaking into the mic.
There’s no reply.
“You sure he’s here?”
“Oh he’s here, he just doesn’t want to talk to you. Watch out.” I say as Adams moves aside. “Dad? Daddy it’s me Sophy. Can you open up?”
The gate slides open after a moments pass, and we all enter.
“Sounds like a spoiled little girl.” Kyle whispers into Clayton’s ear.
“Heard that.” I reply fifteen feet ahead of them.
The OSA combatant clears his throat. “Fuck.”
The entrance to the laboratory opens, my father stepping out to greet us. His head is bald, and beard a mix of black and grey. Definitely much older after all the time that’s passed. The white lab coat he wears is bloodied, but not his blood. The scent of it is somewhat appealing, and it’s not a hallucination.
I jog over to where he stands and hug him, but his arms do not connect with my body. Then I realize that I must be scaring the living shit our of him.
“Sophy?” he whispers astonished. “Is it really you?”
I nod with a smile, my eyes watering. “Yes daddy… its me.”
“Wha… What happened to you?”
“I hate for you to have to me like this after so long, but I need you help.” I exclaim, entering the lab.
“I can see that.” He replies inspecting the OSA combatants.
“Professor…” Clayton says, shaking my father’s hand. “My name is Clayton Adams, an OSA combatant, and this here is my comrade Kyle Madison.” He points his thumb to the larger man. “We’ve escorted your daughter here in hopes of… uh… well in hopes of you curing her ambiguity.”
The roar of a Kraken echoes through the jungle, followed by a series of explosions.
“Come inside.” My father replies, guiding the men into the laboratory, Eona following silently.
The door seals behind us.
“Those hunters have been out all morning tracking that Kraken.”
So I was right.
“Wow!” Eona gasps, approaching the artificial environment in the corner of the lab, a Wraith coiled up peacefully in the center. Clayton and Kyle follow.
“I’ve never seen on this close before.” Adams says, touching the cage, but what is thought to be glass disperses a number of waves in all directions like after tossing a rock into a pond. “What the…”
“It’s a force field.” My father explains. “Obviously the Wraith is too powerful to be contained in any ordinary glass box.”
“Brilliant.” I remark, observing the monster inside. It’s almost as if I can spiritually connect with it.
“So, professor Lennex-“
“Please just call me Robert. The whole formality thing is a bothersome to me.” My father replies.
“Oh…” Clayton replies, recalling the time I responded the same. “Okay Robert, what are you doing with the Wraith, I mean, specifically?”
“Excellent question.” Dad replies, gesturing Adams to follow him over to a lab table. He points to a large vile filled with a green glowing liquid within. “As any good monster hunter knows, the Wraith, as well as the Goliath Kraken, and Behemoth consume wildlife, even humans, which enigmatically produces an armored layer of skin over their bodies. Hunters call this their shields. Anyhow, once broken through, their figure becomes exposed. This serum here once successfully injected into the monster will literally consume the creature’s blood and organs, thus leading to its utter death.”
“You’re referring to Wraith’s right?” Clayton questions.
“Essentially yes, but this could possibly have a rather extinctive effect on Goliaths, Krakens and Behemoths alike. Of course, I’ll need to run blood tests on those monsters.”
“When will this be available to hunters?” Madison inquires closely observing the serum.
“As soon as I compact it into a bullet. So, very soon indeed.” Robert replies confidently, and then turns to me. “But first, lets see what’s going on with my daughter.”
I nod nervously.
Dad leads me into another room, where a capsule similar to the one on Colony Seven awaits.
After dad scans me, he releases me to explain the results.
“Well?” I ask impatiently.
“Well, Its unlike anything I’ve ever seen.” He replies sighing in disbelief. “You have a second heart, which is keeping you alive, but feeds not your human body, but the alien matter that has consumed you. Your body is rapidly evolving, at such a rate I fear I cannot cease. Unfortunately the alien heart within you is the only thing keeping your human heart functioning. It’s formed some kind of symbiosis. If I were to kill off the alien hear, your human heart would die as well. They need each other. Our entire genetic make-up is being altered, genes, chromosomes, blood cells… the list goes on and on. Within the next few days, you’ll no longer be Sophy Lennex.”
“Are you telling me you can’t fix this?” I ask intently.
A tear runs down his cheek. “I’m afraid not my dear.”
So Yeah… just decided to go ahead and post them separately, otherwise you’d have to wait until tomorrow. Hope you like it. The finale is next!