Chapter 7: Demons
It was morning again, at least that’s what it felt like. For once I wasn’t in the White Room. Though the walls, ceiling, and floor were made of that same glossy material. I was laid down in a bed it seemed. It was a welcome change compared to the hard wooden seat I had made my home during my time in the White Room. As I awoke, my head felt lighter. I must have blacked out when I aided Terra in escaping the fire.
As I awoke I noticed Genesis sitting across from my bed. He looked at me with unwavering eyes as I rose from my slumber.
“Glad to see you’re awake.” Genesis spoke kindly as I rubbed my eyes.
“Wh-where am I?”
“The Cocoon. What us Demons like to call home.”
Genesis then arose from his seat and aided me in standing up from my bed. After helping me up he walked over to the door of the room.
“Are you going somewhere?” I asked softly.
“Not me. Us. I think you deserve some answers. I am taking you to see Lockhart.”
I was led by Genesis through familiar halls of a pristine white gloss. Genesis led me to a higher level in the Cocoon. Before I realized where I was going I was faced with an elegantly carved set of mahogany doors which heavily contrasted the shining white walls. Genesis opened the doors and led me into a rather luxurious office complete with expensive emerald carpeting. Everything was very old fashioned and wooden. It was a very brave and stark contrast to a facility that looks more cutting edge than most modern skyscrapers.
A single man sat at a desk of mahogany. His feet, which were clad in shining leather shoes, were propped up on the table’s surface without care as the man leaned back in his chair. He was rather lithe and young looking. He was most certainly much older than myself, but he still showed signs of a great effort in maintaining a youthful appearance. His most noticeable feature was his long golden blond wave. Golden locks seemed to flow and spike in all sorts of directions, yet flow downward toward the small of his back. Despite such a youthful physique, the scientist’s hair was the one thing unkempt. It was as if his hair was the price he paid for youthful beauty.
The moment I saw this man and glare he gave me with his focused eyes of jade, I knew this was Lockhart. This was the man I saw the day I died. The man responsible for my rebirth. The man who created Genesis, Terra, and even Nina. This man’s choices were the reason my life was renewed. I wasn’t sure how to feel as he beckoned me with a gesture of his palm to take a seat. This was the man pulling the strings in this city. This was the one responsible for so much death, yet I couldn’t shake off the overwhelming feeling that I owed him a great debt. I was not wrong. This man did save my life. I just assumed in my youthful age that people saved others out of kindness. That keeping a person alive wasn’t something you could simply slap a motive onto. That opinion was swiftly disproved and scattered among the ashes of discarded dreams as I learned more about my savior.
Lockhart took his feet off his priceless desk and glared at me directly. I watched as he folded his hands and pressed his pointer fingers against his mouth. He looked into my eyes for a few short moments before lowering his hands onto his desk and speaking very softly to me.
“Welcome. I am Professor Lockhart.”
“I remember you. You were there with Genesis that day.” I remarked.
Lockhart smiled and nodded gently.
“I accompanied him and aided in your rescue and eventual rebirth. I heard you’ve come to call yourself Heaven.”
“I don’t remember my name... But Father always called me his slice of Heaven.”
“I see. I suppose you want to know exactly why I saved you.”
“No one can ever do anything out of good will can they.” I muttered.
Lockhart must have had excellent hearing since he was able to distinguish the words in my faint babbling.
“That is not necessarily true. We would have tried to prevent this, but Nina is... Unpredictable.”
Lockhart took a minute to think up his next words. He knew more than anyone that the recent events of my life were not exactly a light topic of conversation. He wanted to make sure that he chose his words very carefully.
“So. Your rebirth. I suppose it’s best to start at the beginning. As I have stated, I am a professor, a man of Science. My field of study is in human biology, more specifically the field of genetics. I used to work for an American research team working on things such as stem cell research. However my significant findings and theories on genetic modification gained the attention of a man called The Director.” Lockhart began.
“Who is the Director?” I asked, interrupting Lockhart’s exposition.
“I have wondered that myself. He is a very mysterious man. There is only so much I know and even then there is only so much I can tell you.”
I remained silent so that Lockhart would continue his exposition. Any amount of information would be helpful to me. I had fumbled around in the dark for far too long since I was reborn.
“The Director apparently is a man who has lived a very long life. Apparently he once was a captive scientist working for the Nazi empire. Unfortunately his scientific breakthroughs burned with Hitler’s regime. That being said, he is the man who employed my services to create a force of genetically modified soldiers each with their own unique abilities.”
“What does the Director need a bunch of super soldiers for?”
“The evolution of mankind. “We must witness the worst outcomes these abilities could bring so precautions can be developed.” His words, not mine.”
“He wants to evolve humanity?”
“Indeed. That is why you are here. You are a part of us. You are now a part of the Demon Project.”
“You are what I have code named a Demon. A human with supernatural abilities and fighting strength. Each Demon can not only fight with the strength of ten men and regenerate even the most fatal and gruesome of wounds in seconds, but also have a unique ability granted to them through gene modification. If I am not mistaken, yours is the manipulation of light and dark matter.”
Lockhart quickly scratched the back of his head before continuing on with his monologue.
“Demons are also granted a Second Personality. The Second Personality is a digitized consciousness injected into the Demon upon creation. Each one is sampled from a single individual and is paired up with their host based on compatibility. The Second Personality is meant to function as an omniscient presence in your mind that is able to keep an eye on your surroundings as well as help to manage your powers. Should a fight require a bit more strength, the Second Personality can seize control of its host. This essentially puts the host’s consciousness in a metaphorical back seat. The Second Personality is meant to be much stronger and more vicious in battle than the host. As such they are meant as a last resort in the event of a possible death or worse.”
“What could be worse than dying?” I thought out loud as I let the words of Lockhart’s revelation sink into my mind.
Lockhart’s tone immediately shifted upon my asking of that simple question. Something about it made him feel uneasy and rather irritated.
“Exposure. Unlike most scientists, I allow you my test subjects to live as they wish. Granted this city was built specifically for you to live in. But should your existence be exposed to the world, you would become the most wanted guinea pig on the planet.”
Lockhart glared into my eyes with unwavering determination. This was the strength of a military leader, not a scientist.
“Is for that reason that I protect all of my children. I will not stand by and let you all be poked and prodded until an eventual euthanization.”
“Don’t get me wrong Heaven. I am not so heartless to give you this rather complicated life and not be there to listen to your gripes. Adjusting to something like this must be difficult, hence why I make sure I do all I can to ease that transition. Should you need something you only need to ask.”
“Thanks for that.” I said with bizarre warmth swelling in my body. It was strange. I felt comforted by those words.
“That being said. I only have one rule I ask you follow. Your existence must remain a secret. There can be no witnesses.”
Those words immediately sucked away the warmth that had enveloped my heart. I knew exactly what those words meant. My existence could not be revealed to the world. No witnesses. I would be forced to take the lives of innocents, should they discover who I am. I clenched a fist in frustration. Just what kind of hypocrisy was this? Lockhart was asking a sixteen year old child who lost his father to become the very thing he despised. Lockhart wanted me become like “her”, to perform the same acts she did. I spoke my next words between clenched teeth.
“You… You want me to kill people. You are asking me to take people’s lives.”
Lockhart’s gaze was lowered. He took a deep sigh while avoiding eye contact with me. He had to choose his words very carefully.
“I am not asking you to kill people outright like Nina did to your father. But if it comes to it…”
I slammed my fists on the table as I immediately rose up from my seat.
“Yet she is doing one hell of a job remaining hidden!”
“That is another topic I would like to discuss with you. Nina; the Demon of Burning Graces.”
“Burning Graces is one way to put it.” I spoke through clenched teeth as I returned to my seat.
“Her and two other Demons have gone rouge. Katelyn; the Demon of Gale’s Edge, and Reaver; the Demon of One Thousand Bullets. While Reaver and Nina have quite the affection for one another, I know that he won’t give in to what she has become. Katelyn on the other hand shares that same affection towards Nina, making her quite naive and willing to follow her down any road.”
I sighed in annoyance as I realized what was being asked of me.
“Let me guess. You want me to find them.”
“Yes. I would appreciate it greatly.”
“I only care about finding Nina. Have one of your other Demons worry about Katelyn and Reaver.”
Lockhart grew rather annoyed as he spoke his next sentence. It seemed that things in Evo were worse than I imagined.
“I cannot. They have their hands full keeping CAPRA off our backs.”
“That Agent you saw the other night worked for them. They are an American agency specializing in suppressing supernatural phenomena. We have had a few run ins with them before. I urge you to avoid them if possible.”
“That’s a valid excuse and all, but why me? Why should I be the one to do your dirty work?”
Lockhart smiled just then. My reaction or his response must have brought him some amusement. Lockhart did have a flair for the dramatic.
“You already were going to fight her. Your eyes say it all. We are spread too thin as is and you are the only one I can spare.”
“Fine.” I spoke with aggravation.
“But I am doing this for my father, not for you.”
Lockhart nodded and watched as I prepared to exit the office. He uttered one final sentence as I took my first steps away from the desk.
“Funny. You looked so tense earlier when I asked you kill, yet when I mention her name you flip sides like a coin.”
I ignored the insulting observation Lockhart made. It was completely baseless. My fight against Nina was different. She was far from innocent. The moment one takes a life, their own life becomes that much more ripe for the taking. I was ready to reap Nina of her very essence. I would destroy her existence if it meant my father could rest easy.
That was when I took my leave. I felt a huge weight on my shoulders again. The weight of the promise I made. The promise I made to put my father’s soul to rest. I flashed back to the Black Shore. I remember what the image of father said to me. He said to stand and fight. Now I was finally prepared to truly fulfill that request.
I walked, with power in my steps, through the doors of Lockhart’s elegant office and passed by Genesis. He barely looked at me as I exited the office into the hallways of the Cocoon.
Genesis stepped into the office as I had exited and saw Lockhart smiling deviously. Lockhart’s smile was like that of a mischievous child. Definitely not something fitting his age. Something from that conversation brought him great pleasure in thought. Genesis sighed as he stopped in front of Lockhart’s luxurious writing desk.
“He is going to to surpass you someday.” Lockhart spoke cheerfully yet quietly.
“I don’t doubt it. He is his son after all.”