Chapter 21: DynaPrism
I wake up before any other members of the Gang of Shadows. After glancing at my ruined pillow, I wander around naked, to see all of them have been passed out on the leather couches, although Jose had been on a reclining chair in the master bedroom, holding a gun to ‘protect me’ from something. I wasn’t sure what. I just remember waking up to him in the middle of the night, hearing their loud partying in the lounge while he stormed into my room and proclaimed that he would sit and stay guard… while very, very drunk.
It was somewhat endearing that he cared for me so much.
I then shrug on my jeans and give up on my white tube top. I leave the lounge, half naked, happy to leave the snoring, happily asleep beasts, to head up the elevator. I go to the empty costume room up on the first floor to grab a new top. After finding a nice red one, I rush back into the elevator I had hopped out of moments before.
I was starving and still incredibly dizzy. Once in the elevator I head to the bottom floor (G-H) for the Green House. This is where I know the kitchen to be. When I finally make it to the empty, spotless penthouse like compartment with the glass windows… I head straight for the large stainless steel, two door fridge.
I open it to find freshly prepared meals, which only need to be heated up.
However, I’m too hungry to wait.
I grab a bowl of salad and eat it with my fingers. My nails chop up the remnants of tomato and cucumber even more so and my hands end up an outright mess. Eventually I’ve eaten enough to feel satisfied and I rinse off my hands under clear water from the sink.
Then, I happily find a mirror, adjust my new red and black corset-like tube top so it fits me nice and snug… and then I turn to walk amongst the Old World furniture.
It was like a beautiful, untouched time from the peace filled past.
Before the SD world apocalypse.
Some said whole cities were still littered with untouched, unmoved corpses. If a city was hit with too much potency everyone died, except the animals. All I could imagine was that cities were still littered with bones and skeletons while the skyscrapers were haunted by ghosts.
Kids in school liked to joke about what cities would boast the most haunted skyscrapers in the world. History had said, when populations had minutes to run and find shelter, that people packed inside all the levels of the city skyscrapers just as the bombs hit. And while they thought they’d perhaps be a bit safer behind glass and steel… they weren’t.
The chemically tainted air eventually seeped it’s way through the vents… and everyone inside, deformed slowly. The SD bombs altered DNA instantly, but slow large doses, seeping in through air vents… made deaths slower and more painful. The people would have had their minds alter, just as some had their bones twist and their skin pigmentation warping to different colours. Most people lost their minds while the others died from eventual organ failure or stress-induced heart attacks.
Pictures of the Mountains of the Dead were forbidden from our history books. They were too grotesque to show and violated the wishes of our ancestors who lived through the bombs.
Most signed petitions that the images and video footage never be shown.
Not because they wanted to hide the damage, but because they didn’t want more people to lose hope or to lose their sanity… as they had suffered as they watched millions die around them.
I had always sadistically liked to learn about the more gruesome parts of history, I had always thought it made school interesting. And I always felt a weird sense of pride that my ancestors survived. That my genes made it through the onslaught.
Eventually, I admit, the curiosity gets the better of me and I can’t get my mind off level (S) Secure.
I tell myself I’m going back to the lounge, as my fingers trail over the lift keys, I pretend my finger hits the (S) button by accident and that I don’t notice.
“Hmmm…mmmm…mmmm…” I hum under my breath as the lift slowly comes to a halt and the doors open to a pitch-black room before me with one faint light.This was it. Level Secure.
I take a few steps into the room to see an electronic cord connected to a the golden Green Emerald Ring, lit up under a single dim light. When I approach the podium and the ring, my way is lit up by little luminescent lights along the concrete floor.
As I stop before the ring, my eyes can’t help but be awed by the huge emerald stone and the chip it is hiding beneath.
I reach a hand towards the jewel and I almost squeak in fright as a digital screen behind the ring, switches on. It’s an old screen, with a pixelated corny logo, motto and copyright owner listed below.
Dynamism to strive for omnipotence.
Funded by Lumen Corp.
I watch as the logo blinks a few times and then the screen fades, only to be replaced by the image of a lab.
“Safety first,” a corny scientist pops up in the screen, “This is Jim and Gary’s group project. I’m Gary. Gary Howl. This is what our lab would look like,” he steps back from the screen to show the person holding the camera; assumedly Jim, around the makeshift lab, “We propose safe trials of Supreme Gene inserts. 1000 test-tube babies. Completely safe in the hands of scientists. Babies are tested for 6 months… with nothing but observation. Safety comes first. No one will suffer, no one will be harmed, in fact… the 1000 tests will involve nothing but enhancements then the babies will be given to families who want to care for them. They will be passed off as foster children. Given into wealthy families with the means to look after them. As I said, safety comes first,” Gary pauses as Jim interrupts from behind the camera, “Don’t forget the motto!” Gary’s eyes beam as he motions to a lab covered in safety, hazard, ethical and humanity-comes-first signs, “Our motto is ‘dynamism to achieve omnipotence’. And our project is called DynaPrism.”
The screen abruptly blacks out and a new voice booms through the hidden speakers, while a proper advanced logo fades onto the black.
“From a suggestion, to reality, we will test our limits with thorough safe and ethical means. DyanPrism. Dynamism to strive for omnipotence. The future of the human species –”
Now the screen blacks out and the voice cuts off, for a completely different reason.
“What the hell are you doing here, doll?” Serge snarls from the lift doors as he stalks inside, with Dale. I spin on my heel, smiling innocently and feeling proud of myself that I didn’t squeal.
“Oh, my, I got… lost,” I shrug, “Lost. Yes. Uh…”
“If you were double crossing us a second time, we’re not going to kill you, you realise that, right? We’ll hurt you real bad, doll. Loyalty is the only thing that keeps us all together and alive,” Serge is beyond furious. Lightening suddenly crashes at the very front of my feet and I do a little nervous dance to avoid it. I barely do, and my spine tingles as the hairs on my body feel charged at the close proximity of the lightening.
“I was curious, that’s all,” I admit, breathless as Serge stands back a few feet while Dale closes the distance, his face unreadable.
“Curiosity killed the kitten,” Dale rounds me and puts an arm around my waist, to lead me from the Secure level, towards the lift.
I abruptly jerk out of his hold, however, and I face both Serge and him with my fingers stretched out, in a warning so they don’t try and grab me straight away.
“I’m still curious,” I blurt out, “…what I watched, sounded like an ad for TV. Was that story you told me last night… really just a bedtime story?”
Dale tilts his head to watch me with a sudden curled amused corner to his mouth. It’s something I don’t find comforting. Serge, also tilts his head, narrowing his eyes.
“You tell her, and I’ll kill her myself,” Serge warns Dale, “Your kitten is too interested in snooping around in the very shit that will get all of us killed... or worse.”
“She knows,” Dale admits, plainly, “I told her about my leopard DNA.”
“And that’s all he told me,” I add in, trying to reassure Serge.
“You what?” Serge’s darker blue eyebrows nearly fly right up off his forehead as he glares right back at Dale.
“Strength; Jose. Precision; Ace. Power; Serge, and the Ultimate... me,” Dale drawls each explanation, assessing Serge’s reaction, “That’s what we all are. We came after the first trials,” Dale looks at me, “You, sweet pea, I believe you came after us.”
“Um… what?” I give him furrowed eyebrows and he glares at Serge to warn him off of disrespecting him again. Serge eventually leans back on a heel and taps his other foot impatiently as he looks me over with irritation.
“We’re weapons of war, sweetheart,” Serge slowly grins, “You’re not leaving this bunker. If you do, it’ll be in four quarters.”
“Just shut up, you’re so agro, gosh,” I put out my hands in exasperation, “Explain to me what the hell you’re really trying to tell me.”
“Force of Supremacy,” Dale explains, “a thousand babes altered safely with the best DNA then given to parents across the city. The trials started here after the apocalypse... to test the Ultimate factors that allowed some people to live.”
“The 15 percent,” I add in, pretending I’m following along, “Is there something about me that made you trust me? Something I don’t even know?”
“Alyssa O’Brien, you don’t have any biologically true parents,” Dale says slowly, “You’re clearly a part of the created Force of Supremacy… I’m sure Lumen spoke to you about it.”
“Briefly. Those who died are a part of the Depraved Force... those who survived are Supreme,” I try to condense it down, “And I think you’re getting a bit far ahead of yourself. My ability, isn’t special. It’s cumbersome at best.”
“You were being trialled for the next lot of human weapons, Alyssa, you were only given a small alteration,” Dale explains, very scientifically and without emotion, “You’re test-tube child. They are rare to find. Why else would I have welcomed you into our midst? You’re just like us.”
“I was like Karla and Mishka to you, as well, wasn’t I? Something to use?” I add, feeling a little hurt by his words and lack of emotion.
“The only thing, keeping ‘Misfits’ alive is our unity, doll,” Serge can’t stress this anymore than he is right now, the veins in his head are beginning to pop out, as he is filled with passion for what he knows, “The Misfits are not random rebels, they are the lab-created Superior force. ‘Safety comes first’... after hardly any experimentation besides viewing and recording… they let everyone live normal lives from the trials. Now… every corporation involved in solving the end of the world, wants us back. Not to use. But to open up.”
“Like Lumen opens up people,” I suggest.
“We were their allies… and then we were their guinea pigs when a few masterminds got together,” Serge explains further, “Too bad they created one greater than even themselves,” he motions at Dale, who hardly smiles but is appreciative of my reaction never the less.
“Do they know you’re a part of the Gang of Shadows?” I ask, carefully.
“Of course they do, doll,” Serge growls, warning me off from asking stupid questions, “They know us. They know STRIKE. They don’t dare lay a hand on our vehicle or our squad.”
“But why?” I ask, “If they want you so bad –”
“Have you seen the state of Frankincense City? All the advanced technology is being programmed right as we speak, on the other side of the freaking world. This city is garbage. They don’t touch us, because we’re weapons and lethal all together. They don’t touch our Black Lair or this city because we have something far worse than they could ever want shoved up their poshy tight assholes,” Serge grins and Dale raises a hand.
“I think that’s enough information for our Kitten now,” Dale is not impressed Serge let his mouth run off with him.
But I’m far from stupid and now I feel sick as I think about it... and I have to know.
“What is this... ‘bunker’?” I question, in a monotone.
Both of them go quiet, and I cross my arms over my chest, as I heave in a breath to tell them my guess.
“You’ve got weapons, don’t you?” I glare at both of them, “Big weapons. Bombs? The Five Reds said your gang deals in drugs and recreating SD bombs to blow up the rest of the untouched world.”
There is a large pause.
I can tell Serge will not speak.
But Dale has a different light in his eye.
“Missiles, kitten,” Dale murmurs, “We have two thousand missiles and three nuclear warheads… the very last nukes in the whole world.”
I lick my dry lips.
“Feeling enlightened, kitten?” Serge asks me, mockingly, “You were given life in a glass beaker and we own the tools to a second apocalypse. And, the threat of our weapons is the only reason Frankincense – the city of mutated freaks – hasn’t been flattened into the dust like so many other cities. ”
“Right,” I shake my head, I still can’t quite believe I was made in a lab, it just seemed surreal, but the rest? Jeez…“…what’s in the missiles?” I ask, carefully.
“Half is Spanky Dust. The other half contains Blue Purity Revised,” Dale raises a brow, “I made the enhanced chemical.”
“What is Blue Purity, Revised?” I push it, very carefully, while also being majorly confused.
“Come on, doll,” Serge nods towards the lift, “You shouldn’t be down here. You’re coming with us. Did you sleep well?”
Ha. Serge was not obvious at all for wanting to change the subject.
“Yes. Thanks for asking. And I helped myself to some food,” I turn from Dale and Serge and walk towards the lift while my mind runs a mile and I pretend not to appear completely gob-smacked.
“Make yourself at home, kitten,” Dale approves of me going to get food and they follow me into the elevator.
Once they’re in, I go to casually press the Lounge key but they both abruptly push me back... and Dale instead presses a button with no label.
I go quiet, but neither of them explain.
Eventually, I have to ask them, as the lift starts to descend.
“Where are you taking me?” I ask, as calmly as possible.
“We just told you information no one can ever know,” Dale explains, also calmly, “This type of loyalty has a much larger price-tag.”
“Where are you taking me?” I repeat my question, in a sudden state of panic now.
“Relax, doll,” Serge cuts me off with a hand in the air, and his eyes soften as he smiles, “You’re going to love this. We’re taking you to a special lab… well… Dale’s lab.”
“That’s not reassuring at all,” I state which has them both promptly laughing their heads off.
“Shh, kitten,” Dale slyly gives me a small smile but faces away from me as the lift comes to an abrupt halt, “You won’t be disappointed.”