Chapter 75 - Secret Laboratory
“Here it is!” Lars said as he unlocked the gate in front of the leech farm.
Jack, Ambri, and Lars stepped through and into the worn down building. Jars of leeches welcomed them in by the entrance, dancing in their own filth.
“Where’s everyone else, Dad? Are they off today?” Jack asked.
“Nah they’re here, just not in the main building.”
“This is the only building...?” Ambri asked, confused.
Lars laughed and toured them through the building to the backdoor. He opened it and led them out into the large muddy yard. A shed stood at the end of the field.
“Is that… the other building?” Jack scoffed.
“That’s too small to do anything in.” Ambri said.
Lars said nothing, only motioned for them to follow him.
They walked through the dirt covered yard, tools were scattered around, but there was nothing out of the ordinary, it just appeared as if they had been in the process of cleaning up the area. As they approached the shed, holes in the ground became apparent to Jack, and as he looked on further he noticed a few metal saucers laying on the ground as well.
“What are these holes for?” Jack said as he approached one of the holes, and Lars reached out and grabbed at his collar. Jack looked down and froze. “And why is it so deep…” He noticed a shimmer at the bottom of the tunnel.
“It’s so we can have sunlight.” Lars said, yanking Jack back to him.
“Huh?” both the children answered.
“Just stay away, you’ll understand soon.”
Lars opened the door to the shed and beckoned the others inside. He pulled at a string light and it revealed an average dusty shed.
“Why’d you want us to come in here? What’s so special about this place? I don’t understand.” Jack said.
“And where are the other people you said were here?” Ambri added.
“Just hold on.” Lars fumbled through bundles of shovels and revealed a button on the shabby wall. “You two, get over by me.”
The two children stepped towards Lars and against the wall as their bodies cramped beside the shovels. Lars pressed the button and the whole place shook. Ambri grabbed onto Lars’s shirt and Jack instinctively reached for a shovel.
The floor before them began splitting apart, revealing a spiral staircase that led down into the ground. Compared to the old shack they were standing in, this staircase was modern and spotless. It was completely out of place.
“They’re down there?” Ambri asked, letting go of Lars’s shirt.
“Yep. Shall we?” Lars stepped forward onto the staircase.
Jack still held onto the shovel. “Dad, what do you really do at work?”
“That’s why we’re here. It’s about time I showed you.” Lars took another step on the stairs and looked at Jack, who hadn’t moved an inch. “Well, come on! There’s nothing to be frightened of. Let go of that shovel and let’s go.”
Jack hesitantly let the shovel clash with the rest against the wall and followed them down the staircase.
There was no railing so Jack leaned against the wall as he trekked downwards. The space got darker, but the dull light bulbs helped him enough to at least find his footing and keep track of where Ambri and Lars were.
How far down did it go? Jack thought to himself as he was starting to tire. Not his legs, but his nerves; his mental state. Unknown places scared him, but he pushed through and persevered.
Eventually they reached the ground, and it was nothing like Jack was expecting. It was like a room from one of his sci-fi comics. His sense of fear quickly turned to wonder.
The silver steel plate flooring shined from the fluorescent lights above. Looking at the walls, they were a shimmering silver as well, but a bit more dull. The thing that stuck out the most however was the steel door. It had blue lights glowing around the button pad by the doorknob, and not only that. There was a screen above the pad. Jack had never seen a screen on anything before, besides TVs and monitors.
“Whoa! That’s so cool! How do you use that door?!” Jack couldn’t help but yell out.
Lars grinned. “It’s awesome, right? I can’t let either of you see, but you need a special code, then you touch the screen with your finger and it scans it.”
“Just like the movies!” Ambri said.
“Yeah, just like that. Now I need you two to look away.”
They both obeyed and stared back at the staircase they just climbed. It was like a whole different world down here. But, why did it need to be hidden? And why go to such lengths and keep it underground?
The door made a sound and Lars gave the okay for them to turn around. From within the door they could see men dressed in all white, walking back and forth through the area.
They stepped in with Lars and all the men stopped and nodded to him. Some even saluted. Jack couldn’t help but give an odd stare. Ambri turned over and looked at Jack, with her mouth slightly agape.
“Now, you two, don’t be alarmed, but what you are about to see is something that no one outside of this facility has seen before,” Lars said and turned to face them. “Try not to freak out too much.”
They both looked at each other, then back to Lars and nodded. Lars took them down through the first large room where couches were placed and TVs were on, some employees seemed to be taking their breaks. Upon entering the next room, Lars had to speak to someone behind a glass screen sitting in front of a computer to unlock the door. Jack was in shock, he had never seen a computer in person before, only rich people had computers, and well, he was far from rich.
They entered through to the next area and a worker came rushing up to Lars.
“Sir! We made progress on subject 235. It seems our most recent changes to Neltine SXA have shown tremendous results.”
“Take me to the subject,” Lars said and then faced Jack and Ambri. “Okay now it’s time for you two to see my real work.”
They followed the man in the lab through a long hallway, doors were lined up one after another as they walked down the pathway. After some time he stopped and pointed to a door. They all walked in.
“What is that?!” Jack screamed.
Ambri just stood, silent in shock.
Behind a glass window stood a cat. Although it wasn’t just any cat, it appeared to be three times the size of a normal one, like a smaller lion. Its tail whipped around as it glared at the bystanders watching it. It roared, and plunged at the glass.
Jack and Ambri leaped backwards, smacking their backs against the wall. The cat was unsuccessful at damaging to the window, though, and fell back to its previous stance.
“Yeah, this is my real job. I help organisms be as strong as they can be.” Lars chuckled. “The cats we get in bulk from the guys in that van help with our research, and the ones that show no change after being tested are free to live in Lyros with us. But ones like these we keep and study.”
“You can make them stronger?” Jack asked.
Jack’s eyes grew wide. “Can you make people stronger too?”
A strange smile grew from Lars’s face. “Actually, we are learning how to make humans stronger too. It’s not quite perfected yet... for adults anyway.”