Sifting through his notes, Dr. Donovan Rogers was going mad. He’d been up all night, driven on by pack after pack of cigarette and entire pots of coffee, as he perfected his latest attempt at genetic engineering. He’d finally mapped out the chromosomal chart for what he’d designed and had input it into his genetic amplifiers, feeding in proteins and amino acids as necessary to form the building blocks of his new life form. The artificial womb, a large sphere of machinery largely made of shatter-resistant glass and scanners, had reported a successful integration of the new lifeform into the nutrient rich fluids.
That was when the scanners had alerted him to the growth of the life form.
Genetic engineering and cloning were processes that took years of labor as the growth of a modified or new organism took time to come to fruition. But what started out as a slight marble was now roughly the size of a dodge ball, floating in the container while absorbing the nutrients like a sponge.
“I don’t understand how this is happening!” Donovan cried out, spreading out papers on his table in search for the charts. “The mixture of genetic materials should have never allowed for such rapid growth! I need to find a suitable container for the new organism within…” he looked over at the artificial womb which had switched from years, to months, to hours in countdown for when the organism would be viable, “an hour and a half!”
Forgetting his charts, he strode over to the computer station next to the incubation chamber and began running scans over the life form.
He didn’t like what he saw.
“Metabolism in the record high, high viscosity with no internal skeletal structure, and a permeable surface… what in the hell is this thing?” Donovan growled. He slammed the monitor once in agitation before typing in the kill command once more, an injection of chlorine flooding into the pod.
The gray blob shuddered and bubbled as the chemical reached it, but just like before it absorbed it with little issue. Donovan let loose a string of obscenities.
“This isn’t possible!” He shouted, hands covering his face and glasses as he stomped about, white lab coat swishing behind him.
A beep from the pod alerted him of what he dreaded most: the timer had shifted again.
The organism was maturing at an alarming rate, and had made yet another jump in age, pushing the clock closer and closer to the creature’s inevitable birth. Spinning in place to begin typing an emergency kill command, he released a combination of toxins, both natural and man-made, into the nutrient water. Lowering the oxygen content in the nutrients and raising the carbon monoxide, Donovan flipped a switch to release the safety measures on the temperature settings in the container, setting the temperature below freezing.
One way or another, he was going to end this creature’s life before it matured.
Minutes ticked by as the computer beeped out it’s warning of the temperature, of the toxicity of the nutrients, of the viability conditions for the organism. Donovan’s smile grew with each warning, with each siren call. His research partners would be upset certainly, but they hadn’t seen the unprecedented growth and the bio-metric readings for the creature as they churned out of into reports on the computer.
His cheer was broken with the sound of a crack, followed by a hiss of water streaming out of a compressed tank. Looking away from the computer at the container, he saw that the blob had taken on a more alien appearance, and was now very much awake. The once pink slime that surrounded it was a deep fuchsia, filled with bubbles. It was sliding a slender two-pronged hand along the glass, causing it to pop and crack. The creature sported a head with droopy ears and a trunk that extended down perhaps three inches from its face. The outer layer of slime had gone from a frothy grey to an ominous black, and several deep maroon eye spots littered the head of the creature, as well as the arms and tubes leading out of curved back. Six ridged spinal tubes that looked to be solid, despite the creature’s lack of an endo-or-exoskeleton, rose from its formless shoulders. They were furiously pushing bubbles out like smokestacks, all while the creature ran a boneless arm along the glass, chipping away at the three-inch casing in some manner Donovan couldn’t decipher.
Fluid poured from the pod as the glass split a three-foot gash, shards of reinforced glass clattering to the linoleum below as now-toxic chemicals spilled out. Donovan quickly typed in the command to cease pumping in the toxins and monoxide before racing towards the blast doors that kept the laboratory safe in case of a breach.
… blast doors that were now locked because of the breach.
“Dammit all! How the hell am I going to deal with this all on my own?” Donovan cursed, looking around the lab for something, anything that could be used to subdue the creature when it made its inevitable escape.
Another splintering of glass echoed throughout the room, followed by a low hiss of the creature. A wet plop onto the ground told Donovan that it was free, and he had no clue on how it would behave so soon after birth. He heard it splash through the fluid, obviously having formed legs that allowed it a semblance of motor functions. The Sea Pig DNA they’d spliced with that of several arachnids and reptiles had made for an unstable creation, a Chimera in the truest sense.
What had Donovan so worried was the additional genetic make-up of each team member and their metal make-up. The creature was largely Boron/Carbon based, a unique state that made it unable to couple with any other organism on the planet. They’d designed it to be male, removing the female DNA chains to ensure it wouldn’t be able to breed.
Donovan doubled over, hacking and coughing as a splitting headache rippled behind his eyes. He felt warm fluids trickle from his eyes and, upon reaching up to wipe the tears away, he realized that it was blood.
“What in the…?” Donovan said, looking up as he heard the suction movement of the creature slumping around the large work table.
It stood nearly two and a half feet tall, slumped over with the six tubes rising from a partially formed rib cage within a gelatin body. The semi-translucent bones glowed from beneath the tarry flesh, revealing that it indeed did have a rudimentary skeleton in certain places. It lifted its sloped head, the trunk rising to sniff the air. Another wave of pain rippled across Donovan’s mind, this one worse than the last. Stumbling back, he fell with a grunt as he struggled to see past the blood gushing from his eyes.
“What in the world…?” He muttered, finding blood coming up from his throat. Coughing he realized that he could detect a toxic scent of chlorine, mixed with other scents that he couldn’t recognize.
The creature slumped forward, four slimy tentacles ending in two pronged hands with slithering digits skimming the ground, leaving behind smears of black sludge. The feet were wide like the Sea Pig, and seemed to suction up the leftover slime as it went.
A tickle in the back of Donovan’s mind was all the warning he got as the headache increased tenfold, his eyes becoming useless orbs as the barest fraction of light pierced through his mind like a knife. Rolling into a fetal position, he wept bloody tears as the experiment slouched closer, rasping as vapor rose from its ridged back tubes. Donovan flinched when he felt the ice-cold grasp of three tentacle hands grasp onto his forearm, the fluid instantly numbing his flesh. Looking up through squinted eyes, he gasped as he saw that his skin was turning into a slurry of goo that sloughed off and seemed to be absorbed into the creature, which shuddered as if in ecstasy.
He swung a fist at the creature and connected with the side of its boneless head, the reflexive strike doing little to the creature as it seemed to lean into the blow. Donovan felt the creeping chill spread over his hand before he yanked it back, only to find that the outer most layers of skin had become jelly, and were dribbling off him as they jiggled from his movements. He closed his eyes as a wave of nausea overcame him, forcing him to empty his stomach as he grew light-headed.
The creature reached out and grasped onto his neck and head, pulling him close to its chest in what Donovan would have sworn was an embrace. His skin rippled and melted at the contact, and the creature gobbled up the freshly liquidated meat as it began to croon out an alien noise, rocking Donovan back and forth.
A series of images flashed to the forefront of Donovan’s mind, emotions that were alien to him surging forth. Something akin to affection and hunger, pride and jealousy… it was as if the creature was somehow implanting these thoughts into Donovan’s mind.
Donovan coughed, curling up to try and stay warm, his body no longer responding to his desire to pull away from the tiny abomination. Instead, he allowed the creature to continue absorbing him as it sent messages of thanks and pride, of love and envy. It seemed keen to communicate but lacked the truest means to do so, instead killing the subject of its conversation.
Donovan’s final thoughts as his blood ran freely from the numerous bubbled flesh wounds were of a single phrase echoing in his mind, rattling about his head like a bat in a microwave.
Than’ koo Provv’ess’err…