Chapter eight- Siren
In a typical Canzi fashion I flew out of the portal and impacted the hard concrete floor, then slid a bit before hitting my head on a thin body panel of a piece of industrial
equipment. I groaned in a daze, and sat upright against the machine I collided with. In front of me were blurry faces, that took glances at each other in concern and confusion. Their mouths moved,
but I could only hear muffled noises. Some of them were shaking their heads, and one of them was snapping their fingers in front of my face. That got on my nerves, and it brought my senses back
"Ah, fucking knock it off Jacobs." I said as I swatted his hand from my face.
Jacobs wore a shocked expression, "Canzi! Where were you? Whats happening?"
"I really don't want to get into it right now, and there are more important things to worry about than informing you about what happened to me."
Jacobs was taken aback by my statement."What has gotten into you?! The experiment may have gone horribly wrong, but I am still your superior, and you can't talk to me like that. It is your
obligation to tell me everything that you know. Where have y..."
Without warning, I swung my fist at Jacobs, connecting dead-on with the side of his head. He fell to the floor immediately and grabbed his head in pain. I stood up slowly, and towered over him.
"That's for blowing me off. I told you this experiment was bad news, and you didn't give my opinion an ounce of consideration. Not even an OUNCE. And I think I know why. It's for the same reason I
couldn't have a simple five minute conversation with you without you melting down. I know that it's because you knew."
The others were awestruck, but stood their ground. Most of them had focused their attention on Jacobs after I asked the question.
Jacobs showed a strange interest in my accusation, and leaned towards me in anticipation.
"Knew what? What do you think I did?"
I stared unblinkingly into Jacobs' eyes and spoke in monotone.
"...that we were doomed from the start."
Jacobs broke eye contact and looked down at the floor. He sighed and raised his head to me, wearing a small smile.
"Well, I suppose there's no point in hiding the truth anymore. The only thing I have have left now is the respect of my peers, but they don't owe it to me. But I do owe them the right to know what
is going on."
No one had moved in that moment, but I could see everyone's eyes tracking every one of Jacob's movement while he wobbled about. He stumbled in a daze from my punch, and swayed upon standing. With
all eyes on him, he tried to maintain a strong composure.
"This whole thing...uuuughh...my head...why did I stand up so fast?"
He massaged his head while opening one eye wide. It confirmed that I definitely landed a decent punch, one hard enough to send a message he wouldn't soon forget. I felt no regrets.
"This...this whole thing was a last minute measure. As I've said many times, it was something that had to be done. I was given no choice but to issue an investigation into an anomaly that had been
found in the local area. A supposed virus of unknown origins had sprung up, and it had a...peculiar effect on those who were infected. We saw the warning signs, but we needed to study them
before we made any serious decisions."
Jacobs swung his eyes at me.
"Two weeks into the experiment, our worst fears had been confirmed when reports of the virus had spread to a sixty mile radius from the estimated epicenter. It was finding it's way towards more
populated areas, and if it had been brought to an airport, it would become an international matter. At the mid-point, we were only carrying out the experiment to gain as much info as possible
without spreading the virus to the rest of America...or the world. We are in the contaminated zone, and it's best to work here than elsewhere."
One of the younger official workers meandered forward. He was very slight of frame, and clearly stressed as his delivery was very shaky.
"So this is a virus we're dealing with? I've never heard of any medical condition that resulted in anything like this."
Jacobs gave the diminutive official a short glance, "We don't know what it is, all we know is that it spreads. So we call it a virus."
"Then what happens now? We can't be abandoned like this!", he yelled, while not breaking eye contact with Jacobs. He was beginning to show signs of severe anxiety.
"I think abandonment is the least of our worries. We need to just focus on survival for the time being."
Jacobs quickly forgot about the shaking man, and raised an arm in my direction, "And I don't think I'm in any position to give orders anymore. I owe it to you to give you full control. You would
probably do a better job than I, as you sniffed this situation out on instinct alone. I really do think you deserve to make some decisions of your own."
I felt the weight of responsibility fall onto my shoulders, and it squeezed the words out of me.
"Uhhh. I don't know. I'd prefer to keep a democracy in an emergency."
Jacobs shrugged with a small smile. "Do as you will sir."
With that, he nonchalantly strolled off from the group, and sat down next to one of the machines. His head leaned back and he closed his eyes, as if he was awaiting something.
While Jacobs relaxed, the fear of my colleagues emanated from all around me. To keep morale up, I took on the role of the strong authoritative figure they desperately wanted, and spoke loud and
"Tell me what I need to know. I'm pretty sure the subject will be here soon, and we need to prepare ourselves. That is unless we have any information concerning an escape from this dimension."
A familiar looking, and large official guard spoke up.
"We don't have much to report on that, but we do have some good news regarding preparation."
"And what would that be?"
"We sent out scouts to find supplies on the other end of the building. And they were able to retrieve weapons and ammo from the armory. And while they were investigating sector A, near room one,
they found something else."
There was a movement in the crowd of workers. I could see that someone was making their way forward.
Soon a young blonde woman was standing before me. And she didn't look like anyone I had seen anywhere in the facility before. She wore casual clothing. A navy blue jacket, black jeans, and
sneakers. As if she was pulled off the street. Then it hit me.
"Wait are you...a test subject?"
"Yes I am."
"Woah,woah,woah," I blurted.
I turned to the large guard.
"Shouldn't we avoid contact with her? We could get infected..."
"Reports of symptoms have only occurred in the cases of children and young adults," he replied. "We don't know how it spreads, but we're all safe from infection."
I squinted at him and then Jacobs who was silently listening by one of the nearby machines.
"That would have been nice to know..."
The first subject waited patiently for me to break the uncomfortable silence. I obliged
"So. You're a test subject."
"And from what is almost immediately clear, you are not like him?"
"If you meant being insane, then no. But I know that we are very similar in other ways."
Not uplifted by her forced air of positivity, I pressed on for information.
"Now if someone like yourself is brought up in a conversation about weapons, it would be rightfully assumed that you can offer some kind of defense? Am I correct?"
Showing little confidence, she replied.
"Not that I know of, I've never tried. And this other subject, he seems to have a far better understanding of his abilities. Mine...I've never used them before...if I even have any at all."
"Well, if it comes to the point where we need you, don't hold back. We will need everyone's help if we're going to get out of here alive. Okay?"
"Okay," she replied meekly.
Still facing her, I barked out orders. "Time to prepare! Everyone who isn't armed, grab a weapon!"
As staff members and officials congregated around the weapon and ammo crates, I separated from the group and walked into the center of the power room, where I took in the most amazing spectacle I
had ever seen.
Normally, the power room in the facility is quite large, but the incarnation of it dwarfed the original in comparison. The cathedral-like ceiling was at least one hundred feet high inside, with
massive columns of ducts and pipes supporting shiny metal arches that bridged both sides of the room. The arches contained tubes of fluorescent neon-blue gas, and thick sparking electrical cables
hung from their undersides. The dilapidated cables, which dangled over the banks of diverse, yet similarly chaotic machines, constantly swung through the air as they shorted with a new piece of
equipment with each swing. Occasionally a massive arc of electricity would jump between them, producing a heart stopping bark, and showering the concrete floor with sparks. Some of the machines
were on fire and sputtering out bolts of electricity, but the majority of them remained in states of more organized madness, with flashing tubes and gratuitous rotating electrodes installed in
Behind the banks of machinery, was what appeared to be a massive reactor. Even though it looked unlike any reactor I had ever seen before in the real world. It looked like a particle
accelerator of some type, but its proportions were very unrealistic. It was about forty feet wide or so, and the circular glass tube was about ten feet in diameter. Violet plasma raged inside the
generator, feeding the machinery's unrelenting lust for power with ludicrous amounts of electricity.
Tubes clung to the glass, pumping the reactor with life, while some sprouted out and onto the floor before vanishing into obscurity. The device was mounted on the wall, high
above the throngs of misfit machines. Up in the darkness of the ceiling arches, it was cradled by an arm of cables and steel. I could tell it was maneuverable, judging by the thick hydraulic
cylinders placed in accordance to its various pivot points. But the only movement it permitted was the gentle rocking produced by the occasional white sputter inside the reactor. With each one, a
jolt of sparks was spit from the electrical arteries of the metal colossus. On the thickest section of the arm, a prominent single glowing disk peered from the thick bulk of metal. The cool light
that emanated from it pulsed like a heartbeat in sync with the reactor, but it lacked the emotive force that its counterpart exhibited.
The entire arrangement loomed over the room in what could only be described as a throne of machinery. Pipes, cables, ducts and I-beams, formed together in a pipe-organ like structure
that branched out and away from the generator. Underneath, the structure splayed out into two hand-like shapes. Their jagged tendrils did not touch the reactor, they only lurked below as an
insignificant mass of pig-iron, merely beholding the technological god, who's only acknowledgement of their existence was its otherworldly light cascading onto them.
The mania that erupted in that room seemed as if it was a physical metaphor for misplaced energy. And it seemed very fitting to me. I was almost enjoying the sight of it all, when I
felt a tap on my shoulder.
"Sir, I'm sure you want one of these..."
I looked to my right to see the large guard, on the end of his extended arm was an assault rifle. I picked it up with both hands and felt the weight. It was a very serious piece of hardware.
"Do you think I could handle a gun like this?"
The guard nodded in approval.
"Oh yeah, it's a G36, it's an easy gun. I mean the recoil isn't that bad, and it's very accurate. Those Germans sure do know how to make a weapon you know."
The guard gave a light laugh, expecting me to respond to his remark, but I was too detached to give a worthy response to his attempt at making small talk. I was completely lost in the spectacular
scene before me, almost as if I was in a trance. The disorderly chaos of the power room was strangely soothing to me. Nothing in the frightening past few weeks made any sense at all, and then I was
exposed to a physical incarnation of the confusion, mania, and frantic energy that had consumed my life. It catered so well to how I felt, much like a caricature of my very emotions, and it
comforted me to be in a place that suited my state of mind. I was literally off in my own world, and I smiled.
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