Across The Universe

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


Chapter 13 (v.1) - 13

Submitted: June 03, 2018

Reads: 79

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Submitted: June 03, 2018



She was always so cold.  Laying with his cheek against her bare chest, Adrian absently ran his hands up Daisy's sides, as if trying to warm her cool flesh.  They were in her windowless room, a place he found himself in more often than the room they had given him.


It was over four months since Daisy's transformation, the new developments were stalling out, becoming less surprising.  It had been a fortnight since Mikal's injections, and he was giddy as soon as the pain had died away. 


Daisy tried to convince Adrian that Mikal's infatuation with her was juvenile and a product of them being somewhat similar, but he wasn't so sure.  She told him he was being stupid and jealous, and he reluctantly admitted to himself that she might have a point.


His phone rang, and they both sighed as he sat up.  When he put the phone to his ear, Daisy propped herself up on her elbows and threw her leg over his shoulder, wiggling her brows in a way that was more comical than alluring.


"Mikal won't push himself in the pool," Zimzi said without preamble.  "He's scared he'll drown.  What I wouldn't give for him to have her pigheadedness for results."


Rubbing his eyes, Adrian felt Daisy hook her ankle behind his neck and give a gentle tug towards herself, encouraging him to come back to her clammy embrace.  "What, do you want me to talk to him?"  He asked, smiling at the love of his life.


"Get Daisy to lean on him," Zimzi suggested.  "She's good at talking people into doing things that go against their better instincts."  Adrian found himself nodding, despite himself.  "I know you're trying to sleep after that noise last night, but you're the only one she sometimes listens to."


"I'll see what I can do," Adrian said, tired.  "Anything else while I'm at it?"


"Bring some breakfast for the rest of us," Zimzi told him, "there's four of us in the observation room."


Hanging up, Adrian told Daisy the news in a low voice, watching as her face conveyed annoyance, boredom, exhaustion, and irritation, as he spoke.


"And that needs to be done now?"  She asked, sitting up and pointing at the bed.


"It will be preferable," he agreed, and she rolled her eyes.


"Wouldn't you rather-"


"Yes, no doubt, I would, but work comes first," he told her, and she looked like she wanted to smack him.


Getting up, she pulled on her bikini and a pair of scrub pants over them.  "You go on ahead," she told him, bending to tie her shoes.  "You don't want to be seen with me, right?"


Staying in place, Adrian closed his mouth, stopping himself from arguing, saying that he wanted to be seen with her, but it was pointless.  He got up and dressed as well, kissing her cheek, only to be waved away.  Daisy had told him when they first started dating that she liked her privacy, but even for her, this was getting ridiculous.


"Once he gets past the one month mark, they'll say he'll survive," Adrian promised.  "Then we can leave this and start living our lives again."


Pulling her hair back in a ponytail, Daisy didn't look at him.  "I don't suppose you've seen the news recently?"  She said quietly, before glancing at him.  Adrian leaned his back against the wall, taking a deep breath.  The news had not stopped being interested in them.  If anything, it was gathering steam, even though it had been months.  Sarah and her family had gone into hiding to avoid the fallout.  There were pictures of them, there names out on every broadcast.  They were cast as cruel and insane people who committed atrocities against nature, while Daisy was at first believed to be an unnamed person until an anonymous person until someone blabbed.


The news called her many things, none of them kind or fair.  Some people openly advocated for her death.  They called her Eve, then turned around and suggested that she should be burned at the stake.


"We can go somewhere-"


"Where they don't know our faces?"  Daisy interrupted, crossing her arms.  "The middle of the woods, perhaps?"


"Or your parents home," he said, instantly regretting it.  Being Eve wasn't the first time she had been an experiment; her own parents had her as an experiment to see many things but mainly to see how far they could push a person without them breaking.  Mentally and physically, they ran her ragged, even when she far outstripped her peers.  To make sure that there was no interference from the outside world, they moved to an isolated estate in a heavily wooded area, banning visitors.


When they died in a car accident when she was fourteen, her maternal grandmother went to the house, surprised to find that she even had a granddaughter.  Dazzled by the sheer amount of people in the outside world, Daisy retreated within herself, ignoring the attempted interviews with the press who wanted to know about the hermit child.


It had taken a lot for Daisy to talk about her childhood and parents.  Adrian was fearing when the press would catch on that Darian Mercutio was the same girl as Lucia Sorrentino.  Hopefully, it wouldn't happen.


"It's my grandmother's," she mumbled, turning away, and he hugged her, resting his chin on her shoulder.  "I don't know if she'd... want-" Daisy cleared her throat, and he kissed the side of her neck.


"It's fine, we'll find something, what we should do," he murmured, rocking from side to side, taking her with him.  He felt some relief when she relaxed against him.  "Well, I'll take the shot, and we'll go to Mage together."




He smiled at her emphatic answer and kissed her shoulder before saying goodbye.


Going to the cafeteria, Adrian grabbed an odd assortment of foodstuff and went down to the pool, only to find out that Daisy had beaten him there and was swimming around Mikal in a lazy circle, telling him gently that he would be fine, he just had to keep pushing his boundaries.


"Just like when you're building up lung capacity normally," her voice floated over the water as Adrian walked past them, trying to ignore them both.  Be professional, he reminded himself.


"Normally, it takes a long time, though," Mikal pointed out, as Simon opened the door for Adrian.


"That's why you have to push yourself," Daisy said, the door swinging shut on the rest of her words.


Walking down the few steps into the observation room, Adrian looked into the underwater view of the pool, four legs barely stirring the water to keep two bodies upright.  The food was taken from him by greedy hands, belated thanks finding its way to him as he sat down on an empty chair.


"She's turned into a siren," Charlie remarked, pointing at the glass.  "He didn't even want back in the water.  He choked last time he was in the pool, we thought we'd have to try it a different way, the way he was behaving."


"It's amazing the stupid stuff people will do when they want to get laid," Simon put in, making an unholy sandwich with donuts, bacon, and breakfast sausage, smothered in maple syrup.


Zimzi swallowed, looking at his food.  "I'm sorry?  I think I just had a stroke seeing that, what?"


"Could we please try to be a little bit more professional?"  Adrian asked, moving his chair closer to the console.


Turning from the scene of the two proto-supras diving below the surface, Charlie punched him in the shoulder.  "Dunno, it might make our job easier," he said, joking.  "We could breed them.  It won't save time, but it won't be as expensive."


Ignoring him, Adrian watched them swim around in the water.  At first he thought they were playing, until he realized that Daisy was distracting Mikal and pulling him deeper into the water whenever he tried to resurface.  Drown him, said a quick and malicious part of him.


Of course she didn't, of course Mikal didn't, and at the time Adrian was happy about that.


When they began to get out of the pool, Weiler came down and told Adrian he wanted to see how long Daisy could stay underwater.  Adrian had been taken aback by the request for two reasons; one, the mission wasn't to make aquatic people, and two, since she had gills, she could most likely stay down there indefinitely.  He told Weiler the latter, and Weiler pushed anyway.  Daisy agreed congenially.


The hours passed, and she swam around the bottom of the pool, ignoring the fact that she hadn't eaten at all that day.  Night came, and Adrian offered to pull another all-nighter.  When he was left alone in the observation room, Daisy moved out of sight of the cameras, coming up close to the glass.  She smiled at him, blowing kisses at him.  Adrian glanced behind him out of habit and grabbed a pen and paper.  He held the note to the glass, and Daisy smiled at the words, I love you, turning upside down in the water, beckoning him to come out and join her, but he shook his head, gesturing for her to go back into the middle of the pool so they could record her through the night.  It was idiotic; they had already seen her remain down there for over twelve hours, but still they had to listen to Weiler's asinine request.


Daisy stuck out her tongue at him, swimming backwards so she could see when she returned to the eye of the cameras.  Observing her anchor herself to the bottom with her claws, Adrian balled up his note and threw it in the trash.


Over the next hour and a half, Adrian witnessed a grand total of nothing, and with nothing happening, he was asleep without realizing he fell.


The sound of a hand slamming down on the console brought him roughly from sleep.  Shakily, he looked at Madeline's serious face, her hand on her hip.  Feeling a flash of worry, Adrian glanced into the pool, only to find Daisy doing laps, not appearing to be moving any part of her body.


"You should have traded off with someone else," Madeline said tetchily.  "Someone who wouldn't fall asleep as soon as their ass touched the chair."


"I didn't," Adrian said defensively.  He glanced at the clock on the console.  "It was hours later."


Madeline leaned in towards him.  "How do you know?  You were asleep!"  She glanced through the open door and leaned forward, using the back of his chair to steady herself.  "Quick!  Review the footage, see if there's anything of note or if she breached, Simon can't hold him off forever."


"Weiler?"  Adrian asked, hand frozen over the controls.  Madeline gave him a look and jogged out of the room, slamming the door shut behind her.


The footage going eight times the normal speed, Adrian did as told, wishing he could ask Daisy how the night went instead.  After a moment, he saw something that made him pause.  He stopped the recording and set it to play.  It was about three in the morning, according to the footage, and if he could guess, he would have said that Daisy was asleep, except, by all rights, she shouldn't have.  He rewound it to the last he remembered, then set it on triple speed, keeping his ear out for the door opening.


There she was on the screen, laying on her side, knees to her chest.  Then she stretches, and rolls to her side.  If they were sharing a bed, he would have guessed she was having a nightmare, but something was different, wrong.  After a few moments of this in high speed, Daisy rolled onto her stomach, using her claws to pull herself along, until she began to swim slowly around in a small circle, her eyes apparently shut, her fingers trailing on the floor.  It didn't make sense if she was asleep, her arms should have been floating at her sides, not-


The door practically flew open, and Weiler stuck his head into the room.  "Not interrupting something?"  He asked, glancing at the window then the screen.


Getting to his feet, Adrian shook his head, resisting the urge to stretch.  "No, I just need to ask- you didn't happen to see Zimzi, did you?"  He asked, and Weiler nodded.  Adrian brushed past him, nearly walking right into Simon, who looked mildly panicked.  Adrian dropped a silent hand on his shoulder, before spotting Zimzi, who was making a cup of coffee.


"If a sea creature is constantly circling, even in it's sleep, its...?"  Adrian gestured for her to finish the sentence.


"Pulling oxygen out of the water," Zimzi said, brow furrowed.  "Sharks are a great example of that... is that what she did?"  Zimzi put down her empty cup, ready to see the footage.  "This could change everything I thought was true about her aquatic lungs!"


Adrian held up a hand, as if to tell her, later, and ran back to the observation room.


There was many things that Adrian regretted in his life, but stepping into the room, there was only one thing he could think of as time crashed to a standstill.  On the corner of the console was a slightly crumpled piece of paper.  He didn't need to read the words, he wrote them.


Weiler's attention was on the screen, fast-forwarding things, rewinding others.  Far too belated, he turned to Adrian, who was standing dumbly in the doorway.  Weiler picked up the note, raising his brows.  "This is yours, isn't it?"  He asked, even though there was clearly no reason to.  "I don't believe I have to reinforce how important this is.  How important she is.  Clearly she's valuable to both of us."  Weiler stared at him a long, hard moment.  "I'm advising you to break off whatever this is, if not for your career, then we'll say your freedom.  They're still baying for your blood, doctor, and I will gladly give it to them to keep you from fouling this up for everyone else.


"We're still learning about her biology and a child or an abortion will change that, we both are aware of those facts, yes?"  Weiler continued to stare him down, and Adrian kept his hand in his pockets to keep from lashing out, nearly swallowing his tongue to keep the words from jumping out of his mouth.  Weiler was right that a woman's biology changed, but who was he to...  Adrian looked away from Weiler as Daisy swept by.  Oh, Hell, what was she going to do when she heard?


"I need your answer on this, Goethe," Weiler prompted, crumpling the note and throwing it away.  Adrian turned back to him, trying to hear over the pulse in his ears.  "I wouldn't worry about it," Weiler encouraged.  "It might seem harsh now, but in time, you'll agree with me that this is for the best."


"Of course," Adrian mumbled, his fingernails cutting deep into his palms, but it was a relief, it was better than feeling just the abyss opening under his feet.


Weiler eyed him for a moment, before getting up and patting him on the shoulder.  "It wouldn't have worked out anyway," he said, brushing past.  "Send me the details of the work.  I presume you don't feel like going over it just yet."


Adrian collapsed into a chair and stared out into the pool, but she was gone.


Walking into the shower, Daisy wrapped her towel around her tighter, pausing when she heard footsteps behind her.  She turned and saw Mikal, almost dry from his own shower.


"Want some help?"  He said, running his eyes from her face to her chest.


"I think I can manage," she said sharply, stepping into the enclosed shower, slamming the door shut behind her.

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