SAVAGE: Book 2 of the NIMEAN Trilogy
“Would you just calm down for a moment?” said Patil, Dr. Randall Forthright’s colleague and last friend. “We’ll get them to reconsider clinical trials, just give it a little time.”
Randall looked at Patil, exasperated, “There is no time!” He shouted, slamming his tightly gripped fists against the surface of the faded, wooden table outside the science building of the university. He saw his friend’s visage morph from one of pacification to one of offense. “Look, Patil, I’m sorry, but we have the final product!” Randall looked toward the science building as if able to see through the walls, into his lab, to the clear vial holding that precious liquid locked inside a sterile freezer therein. “These damn bureaucrats are myopic, illiberal, and intractable! Would that I could extirpate the lot of them from this entire process! Then we could finally make headway in liberating humanity from these suffocating chains of mortality which encompass us all…” Randall’s face was all feral eyes and rabid indignation.
Patil, or Dr. Gupta as most referred to him, inhaled deeply through his nose and exhaled for several seconds, staring stonily at Randall. “We are simply not moving forward without their approval.” Patil’s words had an edge to them which made it clear the conversation was over. “I must go; I have a class to teach.” With that the other man rose from his bench seat and walked away. Randall watched him until he disappeared from view. Patil had always been the more reasonable of the two, and often the more rational one as well. Randall wished the man could see how silly it was to withhold immortality from humanity simply because some panel of hebetudinous schmucks ruled it.
He remembered the faces of those cretins as their subconscious minds commanded their hands to block their suprasternal notches, or to hold folders upright between them and Randall, or their arms to cross over their chests; all blocking behaviors telling Randall what he already saw in their eyes: they were riven with fear at the idea of approving clinical trials. Their individual limbic systems were guiding their actions in those moments, causing them to react in very obvious ways to observers… but it was highly doubtful that they themselves even realized what they were doing. They were in survival mode at that point, and the fact that their subconscious urged them to react so strongly was testament to the fact that they were far from prepared for what Randall had to offer.
It was disheartening to Randall, that after all these years, after sacrificing everything he cared about, that these gatekeepers to doing things legally would be so pusillanimous that they would refuse to allow humanity to evolve. After all, that’s what his serum did. That’s what NIMEAN was. It was the next step in the phylogeny of humanity. It would allow homo sapiens to become immortal; it would make them gods… And that was undoubtedly what terrified the panel from the ever so inefficacious food and drug administration.
This was the last straw, though. He knew, then, that they’d never approve of this method regardless of the facts. They could have immortality, freedom from sickness and pain, but all of his work, all his arguing, had proved fruitless in the face of their fear. Randall rose from his bench seat and began walking rapidly toward the science building. This was his only shot. It was a rare occurrence in which he had access to the lab during a time when Patil did not, and he knew his friend would stop him if he knew of what Randall had been planning. He bounced up the ten steps, opened one of the glass double doors, and took off at a sprint down the hall. He met no one on the way to his lab, thankfully, and once at the entrance he swiped his access card and bolted inside.
He wiped his palms on his lab coat, clearing away the sweat before reaching into a pocket and withdrawing a single, silver key. He slid the carved piece of nickel into the padlock securing a small freezer used to hold liquid samples. They only had one vial, so resource and time consuming was the serum to create. Randall had several private interests ready to provide further funding once clinical trials were approved and proceeded without adverse effects, not the least of which was the SBT itself, but without evidence of successful human trials he would not get the funding he needed to continue producing the substance. Of course there were other, seedier avenues he could venture down, but he knew that would only hinder his crusade. The type of people who would fund his work under the table were the same kind who would take it from him at the earliest convenience. He needed groups like the Society for a Better Tomorrow to take and hold real interest if this was to go anywhere, and for that he absolutely needed a successful human trial.
He reached into the frigid box and gingerly removed the vial. The substance still awed him. If it rose above thirty-two degrees Fahrenheit it would break down into its constituent elements, yet its temperature had to be lowered to near that of outer space, to approximately 2.5 kelvin, for it to find its solid state. Before he could come up with some excuse to keep himself from doing it, he uncorked the vial and poured the freezing substance down his gullet. It was painful going down and induced a coughing fit. He tried to calm himself, to stop hacking away, but it was all he could do to keep his body from completely purging the stuff.
Something was wrong… It shouldn’t feel this way. None of the animal test subjects reacted like this. Terror mounted inside of Randall as he struggled to think; to breath. His body was wracked with pain, sudden and consuming. He barely registered the edges of his vision darkening. He heard a voice from… somewhere. He couldn’t quite make out what it was saying, but then he didn’t need to hear the specifics. He fell to his knees, clawing at his throat and torso. He needed to remove the corrupt liquid from his body.
He’d only just moments before been doing everything he could to keep it down, yet now he knew… he knew that he’d crossed a line. He knew he had done something unacceptable. He could feel it. He could hear it. Yet it wouldn’t come back up. He forced his fingers down his throat. If coughing wouldn’t do it, maybe he could force expulsion another way. He gagged more powerfully, yet nothing came up. His insides were burning.
The voice spoke again. No… this voice was something else. This voice was sinister; vociferous. He could feel the darkness which had gained some small grip when he was a young man amplify, creeping insidiously around his heart, permeating it. Suddenly everything changed. It was as if his awareness of his immediate surroundings dissolved in an instant, replaced by an utter lack of light and gravity, as if he was floating in the midst of true nothingness.
A low, deep rumbling impregnated the emptiness, saturating him with an apotheosis of dread. It was an ugly staccato rhythm… fragmented and illogical. It was… laughter?
They were filthy. Always filthy. And putrid. He was happy, then, that he had no senses of touch, taste, or smell, as the rotting corpses piling up outside might well have made him vomit if he could actually feel them, or smell or taste them. Or if he could actually vomit. He wondered many times why he thought such human thoughts…
He hoped to get answers soon. He knew, cognitively, that he hadn’t been on Earth for long, but it felt as though he’d been there for an eternity. He wondered idly if humans felt this way… But no. How could they? He could process information a trillion times faster than the average human. It still felt slow to him, though, as if his former mental capabilities had been downgraded when he came to Earth, to this body. He knew if a human spirit occupied this body it would be vastly improved in its ability to comprehend and process information, such was the nature of this body’s quantum computing technology.
It would be an upgrade for humans, but what was he before all this that it would be a downgrade for him? He didn’t know. He couldn’t remember. All he had to work with were vague feelings and a directive from an absent leader to guide him. Disdain for his leader had been growing for some time now, and he pondered what he would say to said leader should he ever actually meet him.
He’d certainly let his leader know of his frustrations regarding the limits of this body. How could his quantum brain not understand the material from which his new body was made? Seemingly trivial things such as this vexed him to no end. There was far too much he didn’t understand.
Why was he even here? What was the end goal? Why was he reduced to consuming the remaining energy found in rotten human bodies to subsist? He was sure he never had to consume anything at all to continue living before entering this body… somehow he knew that… but for some ineffable reason he was forced to do so now. What was he to do once there existed no more humans from which to draw this energy?
He had often thought of looking into the knowledge stores of humanity to learn what he could, but it all seemed so boring. He was impatient and did not want to learn anything about these creatures made of dirt unless it served some important purpose. He wished he could sigh, then.
He resigned himself to the inevitable. He’d have to learn everything if he wanted to learn anything. He exited his bunker, securing the heavy door behind him, and grimaced in disgust at the huge mound of corpses in the canyon before him. Movement above him caught his eye and his head jerked up. Was that… flying humans? This piqued his interest. Since when could humans fly? He watched them for a moment. They didn’t seem to notice him as he registered the horror on their faces. They saw the pile of bodies and were rightly disgusted by it. Suddenly the male shot skyward, followed swiftly by the female. They slowed to a stop at three-hundred-eighty-seven feet from the floor of the canyon on which he stood, though they’d risen at a slight angle, which put them at four-hundred-fifty-seven feet from him. He could easily jump four-hundred feet into the air, but would need to get below them to make certain he reached them.
A living human would provide much more energy than did the rotting ones. He screamed in anticipation. The sound echoed through the canyon and he watched as the male’s eyes turned downward toward him. He vaulted out of the canyon, landing heavily on a large tree branch above the canyon walls. He jumped from tree to tree, rapidly coming to a spot directly below the pair. He jumped, screaming again in excitement. He shot through the air with all the speed of a V2 rocket bearing down on unsuspecting London. In that moment he chuckled to himself thinking of how silly the English must have felt when faced with the impending doom of projectiles traveling toward them at faster than Mach 4.
Somehow, inexplicably, the man saw him and darted out of the way. How could the man have seen him while traveling at four times the speed of sound? He glared at the man, who watched him in fear, as he rose above him, then fell away toward Earth’s surface. He shrieked in frustration and anger. So overwhelming was his fury that he didn’t realize right away when his quantum mind produced the answer he sought to why the man had been able to see him. It was simply because he actually hadn’t been traveling nearly as fast as he thought he had been.
The anticipation of capturing his prey was such that he hadn’t consciously registered the rapid deceleration he’d experienced as he drew nearer to the man. Something had slowed him against his will. He looked and saw the man turn and fly southward. He bolted beneath the man and shot skyward again, this time cognizant of his speed, which once more climbed extremely rapidly as he left the ground, then slowed considerably as he came closer to the man. He reached out to grab the man, but missed, releasing his rage on the back of a horrific screech.
The man turned in mid-air just as he fell away once more. He’d never felt such disappointment and frustration. Just as he prepared himself to launch up once more, the man disappeared from view. He roared mightily, shaking the trees and the small animal life from them. There was something in the air around the man, there had to be, which extended a great distance away and which protected him from threats. It was the only answer that made sense.He shook his head, wishing he could angrily exhale. Where minutes ago he had been committed to learning what he must in order to answer his heretofore unanswered questions, now he would discover why these worms had such power, and he would destroy them and take it for himself. He turned inward mentally, connecting to the other bodies like his. There were nine in total, including his, and he would control them all and use them to his advantage against this new enemy. He would make more… Many, many more. He would create an army to decimate this world and all who were left in it.
He would kill them all.
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Remember, this is Book 2, so if you haven’t read Book 1 you won’t know what’s happening here in full. So, rectify that and grab your copy here for just $1.99: SACRED: Book One of the NIMEAN Trilogy