“Aspirations of Eden"
by The Dove
Amidst the stark blackness and sheer silence of a sealed room, a console boots to life, its green neon typeface reflecting against the heavily sanitized walls of a facility. The bold letters spill across the screen as information is displayed, one line at a time.
-ENTRY LOG 12 BEGIN-
SUBJECT 3-21-0 OBSERVATION REPORT COMPLETE:
SUBJECT NAME: CODY BLUES
TARGET SPECIES: DOMESTIC CAT (FELIS CATUS)
APPREHENSION SUCCESS PROBABILITY ANALYSIS: 94%
NOW INITIALIZING SUBJECT APPREHENSION: DEPLOYING CAPTURE TEAM SIGMA
-ENTRY LOG 12 END-
As suddenly as the wording appeared, the brilliant colors faded away, once more leaving the room sealed in a void. There is silence. Not a soul can hear the bestial moans, cries, and anguished shrieks occurring on the floors above and below the room; those who do not yet understand their contributions to the matter at hand. They are not yet aware of the gift of modern science.
“Dr. Beckerman, what do you mean this project has not been greenlit by the steering committee!? The FDA, USDA, let alone the entire US government, will have their hands reaching down our throats! I wish to convey my fears and concerns over this project to you. You should reconsider what you are doing. In fact, I don't know how much longer I can keep participating in this project!"
A young brunette, her age 34, dressed in white lab attire, slammed her fist down onto the cold hard surface of a lab bench in her frustration. The room was dimly lit, no light present at all except for a small overhead light source casting a gloomy and depressing ambiance on the chemistry lab of the facility. Seated at the lab bench was the young brunette, her body quivering and shaking with anxiety in addition to a growing realization of dread. Next to her sat an older man, his age 67, as he scowled and shifted his age-crusted hands through his beard. His own fist slammed down on the table in response to the tension mounting between the two colleagues.
“Rita, listen to yourself! Your insubordination and lack of confidence in my ideals will lead this project to its doom. This is the third time your ignorance and rash thinking have questioned my work. I have just about had it with this lack of cooperation on your part!"
Dr. Beckerman leaned in closer to Rita and narrowed his eyes, his nose puffing and flaring while the grimy smell of reeking coffee spewed from his lips. His voice became gravelly and threatening.
“I don't believe you even understand what I'm trying to accomplish with this project. You are just like the rest of the committee, so full of ignorance and ready to shoot down any and all aspirations I have for advancing the future of humankind. You are all fools, that is what you are! Simple, insolent fools!"
The old doctor thrust his hand out to Rita's lab coat, clutching her by the arm and giving a vigorous shake.
“Listen to me woman, and you listen well. If you speak a word of this to anyone, and I mean anyone, you can kiss the rest of your academic career, let alone your vocational future and aspirations as a gene therapist, goodbye!"
Rita's eyes opened wide in shock, her teeth beginning to chatter and shake as fear wrapped its way around her heart. The doctor's eyes were wild, insane, and filled with a desire for scientific glory that rivaled even the most notorious of fictional madmen. She was living in a nightmare, and she had enough.
“Let me tell you something else, Rita. If you don't work with me, I have methods of, shall I say, encouragement, which should change your mind. The sample size of our project is minuscule at this point in time, and only a handful of our subjects possess the required genetic makeup to undergo the injection. I know about you and your phylogeny, you carry the genetic markers that signify you a prime candidate. The fact that I have spared your name from the potential sample pool is pure mercy on my part. I have no qualms in rescinding that kindness.
Rita fell backward from her tall lab stool, her head hitting against the hard surface of the tiles floor of the lab room. She scrambled to the back of the wall as the doctor got up from the bench and loomed over the young scientist."
“That's right Rita, I do indeed have uses for you. But as ethical and… generous, as I am, I'll give you a choice. Don't make this difficult for me. You can be yet another ledger in the books of my ever-growing sample size, or you can willingly assist me in further research without further questioning and interrogation of my methods. I have others who will gladly help me. Well, what say you? I don't have all day."
Rita lowered her head to her chest and took a deep breath. She was fighting a moral conflict within her heart. As a scientist, she had an obligation to further the pathway of modern medicine and improve the world. But this, this was asinine. It was the stuff of nightmares, the stuff of science fiction, the stuff of… She rose to her knees as she held out a hand to the good doctor, signifying a handshake of cooperation. With a curt smile, he extended his hand to her own before the woman thrust her hand away, curved it upwards, and smacked the doctor on the right cheek with a forceful slap. The redness of his irritated skin turned into a beet-red hue as anger spread across his face. Rita screamed at the doctor.
“You are insane Dr. Beckerman! You are nothing more than a hypocrite, caught up in your own lies and platitudes for your so-called, advances in humanity. You are nothing more than an animal, a brute, a demonic subhuman unworthy of participation in the scientific field. There is a special circle of hell for wicked men like you. I will not be a part of your descent into madness!"
Rita's shouts echoed throughout the lab room, eliciting a canine-like howl that echoed and resounded from a few rooms away. The doctor began to laugh and chuckle as he raised a hand to his bruised face.
“My dear, you are nothing more than a cog in the timeless wheel of science! Now, be a good gear and do your part. My goals, my lofty, almost heavenly aspirations, are unworthy of your tainted hands. Very well then Rita, I welcome you to my study. Welcome to Eden."
As soon as the doctor had finished his berating of the woman, Rita seized the opportunity to run to the opposite side of the lab room, hastily sliding her keycard into the slot of the industrial-grade door. The door slid open with a mechanical purr as she quickly removed her lab coat, slinging it to the floor, and raced down the adjacent hallway in an attempt to escape from the doctor's twisted desires. Beckerman merely stood there alone in the room. He leaned up against the lab bench and pulled out a small cell phone before rapidly dialing in a handful of digits. As the operator picked up, Beckerman's voice once more roared out into the silence.
“Secure the perimeter! We have a random variable in our study. Prepare for intercept."
As brief as the doctor's words was, they exhibited a chilling air to them, a large emphasis of control and power that shook even the hardiest of mental foundations presented in his voice. Looking down at the lab coast hastily discarded by the fleeing scientist, Beckerman looked at the name tag of his now-former colleague with disdain, spitting on the plastic of the card.
“I give you a taste of my Eden and yet you eat the forbidden fruit. Your deception is that unlike of the serpent himself. Well, we shall see how long you can slither out from under my nose."
-ENTRY LOG 13 BEGIN-
SUBJECT 3-21-0 SUBJECT APPREHENSION RESULTS:
“SUBJECT HAS BEEN CHEMICALLY IMMOBILIZED BY CAPTURE TEAM SIGMA AS OF 3:21 PM CST AND IS EN ROUTE TO TEST SITE. SUBJECT WAS FOUND TO BE PHYSICALLY UNCOOPERATIVE AT TIME OF SEDATION. EXTRA PRECAUTION IS ADVISED TO ALL TESTING PERSONNEL UPON SUBJECT HANDLING AND PREPARATION. TIME OF ARRIVAL ESTIMATED AT 8:47 PM CST. AWAITING FURTHER INSTRUCTION FOLLOWING SUBJECT EXTRACTION."
-ENTRY LOG 13 END-
Amidst the groggy haze and delirium, my mind and body had fallen into, I was aware of the sound of metallic wheels clacking and rolling against a hard, concrete surface. I felt my body moving up and down in a rhythmic time as I continued down along a path unknown. Every now and then, my eyes would flicker open for a fleeting moment, allowing me to catch a glimpse of my captors. I was securely fastened to a medical stretcher, my body clothed in a stained hospital gown. I could see that I was barefoot, with my legs sticking out from the bottom of the dress. My arms and legs were securely fastened to the stretcher in strong coils of metal wire that wrapped around the underside of the bed and safely pinned me in place. My head was throbbing and beating. It felt as if a mallet had been smashed into my cranium, sending my mind reeling and struggling to piece itself back together.
All the while my consciousness was gradually coming reach back into clarity, I took the opportunity to glean as much information from my surroundings as I could. Overhead, I saw blinding white lamps attached to the ceiling, passing by every now and then as my stretcher moved down a chalky-white hallway, completely devoid of features and any sense of emotion. Was I dead? Was this what the afterlife looked like? Who could truly say for sure? The individuals pushing my stretcher adorned in white doctor's masks, and heavy lab-wear could be angels for all I knew. However, in my mind, I knew that they were in fact, devils; the very bane of my 17-year-old existence.
Dread clenched my insides, sending my hands shaking and rattling against the cord binding me. I screamed out. Shrieking and calling out to my assailants. I cursed and threatened them. It was all to no avail. I was powerless and subject to their mercy if any at all. The haze began to clear from my mind as I recalled the day that had seen me captured and dragged along like the helpless victim I was. My name was Cody, Cody Blues to be exact. Although my friends often called me Blues for short. Unlike my name suggested, I was a happy young man, full of energy, full of spirit, and full of vitality. I was athletic as well, serving on my high school's track team and even taking one or two awards in the pole-vault events during district competitions. My friend's remarked on my cat-like reflexes and a keen sense of focus in whatever I did. However, on that fateful day, no manner of attention or skill could change my fate. I was merely another sample in the greater scheme of things. I didn't realize it yet, but I had a vital role to play. I was being taken into Eden. I did not know it yet, but I was a very lucky young man. At least, those were all statements I was led to believe. The Eden promised turned out to be nothing more than a primal hell itself.
It was s humid summer afternoon when track practice had finished up for the day. I had just said farewell to my colleagues, and academic peers, grabbed my sports bag and headed out to the school entrance when a thought hit me. I was feeling satisfied with the day's practice and decided to try out a new path back home. My house was only a mile down the road, and the folks weren't too concerned about my being robbed or accosted by a stranger. My fast speed and penchant for getting myself out of any (well, almost any) situation were something I truly had going for me. Near the track, was a wayward trail that extended out past the agriculture food plot one of our school clubs had started. It seemed just as appropriate as any to travel down this day.
At first, the only sounds of the lonesome trail were the intermittent chirping of the birds and the buzzing of a horsefly around my ear, a nuisance which I quickly swatted away. However, as I continued to walk, I became aware of sounds that were much too large, too frequent, and just… too uncanny for me. Casting my gaze around the area, I could see no one. Off in the distance, I could hear the sound of a neighbor's dog barking and scream out. The song of the bird's turned into shrill and rapid tweetings of alarm. I began to hasten my pace, thrusting my bag over my shoulders and transitioning into a jog. I didn't know why, but the sooner I could get home, the better. Moving own the path, I heard the snapping of limbs overhead and to my right, as well as the sound of what resembled the locking of machinery in a cylinder. My jog hastened into a run. I could see the intersection of the road beyond the bend of the trail ahead. I was almost there.
I didn't make it.
As I reached the bend, the sound of a pressured gust of air rushed past my ears, sending with it a syringe-shaped projectile piercing into the old bark of a nearby aged tree. As I raced past the tree, I could see the plunger of the syringe releasing a cream-colored serum that dripped down the side of the bark. Using every last burst of my energy, I raced around the corner of the trail. I could see the cars, the sidewalk, and my freedom. I was almost there! Suddenly, I felt a sharp pain in my rear. Rearing my head back in reflex, I clenched the muscles of my bottom as I saw a similarly-shaped during projectile releasing its concoction into my body. I lost my focus and tripped over a snag in the trail, sending myself tumbling down onto the forest floor. A numbness spread throughout my rear, my back, and finally up to my shoulders. I grunted and screamed, calling out for the help of others who were just at the end of the path. Before my shouts could resonate through the forest, a gloved hand covered my mouth with a chemically soaked rag, a strong pungent smell reaching deep into my sinuses. My muscles relaxed, and my eyes watered as I slumped forward into the arms of an unknown assailant.
I was selected.
-ENTRY LOG 14 BEGIN-
SUBJECT 3-21-0 TEST SITE PHYSICAL AND CHEMICAL ANALYSIS:
SUBJECT NAME: CODY BLUES:
BLOOD TYPE: A+
GENETIC MARKER CHECK: CONFIRMED
HEART RATE: NORMAL
NUTRITIONAL COMPOSITION BALANCE: FAIR
TESTING SUITABILITY: APPROPRIATE
-ENTRY LOG 14 END-
The blinding lights of an operating room bloom to life as three scientists stand looming over a young man strapped to an operating table. His eyes are wide with horror while a thick piece of bedding has been roped around his mouth. His grunts and cries for help are ignored by the scientists as they begin the next step in their study. A young man in his mid-20's is peering over the young boy strapped to the table as he removes the patient's shirt and proceeds to examine his vital signs with a stethoscope. In his lab pocket is a large syringe filled with a lime-green concoction, thick and vile as it sits patiently within the confines of the glass container. He turns to an older gentleman in the corner of the room, busy facilitating and directing other officials to their duties.
“Dr. Beckerman, subject 3-21-0 is now prepped for injection. Shall I proceed with the anesthetic and local application of the serum?"
The lead scientist walks over the young man and examines him carefully, his eyes hard and staring as the boy screams out with every ounce of vocal force he can manage. Alas, it is all but muffled in the durable fabric confining him. Beckerman elicits a wide grin, and after nodding his head once or twice and glancing at a small clipboard in his hand, he turns to the scientist finishing measuring the boy's vitals.
“Subject is clear for application. Begin injection."
As if the sound of s gun went off, the signal was clear. The remaining scientists huddled around the operating table. Beckerman walked up to the young scientist and handed him another syringe, this one filled with a similar concoction like the one from the trail. The researcher took the needle and gently tapped at the veins of the young boy on his right arm. Tensing and flexing his arm in hopes of preventing the injection or at least reducing the efficacy of whatever it was, the young man failed in every attempt as he found his limbs to be once more bound to the table. The needle pierced his veins as his eyes clenched. He strained his muscles to keep himself awake. He grew sleepier and sleepier with every passing second. His grip on the fabric in his mouth relaxed as he eyes began to close. The last thing the young had witnessed before he drifted off into the void once more was the sight of a large syringe filled with a green serum being lowered to his body. Beyond his view, the shadowy silhouettes of the scientists in the room glared back at him, the blinding light of the operating table casting a sheen against their spectacles.
-ENTRY LOG 15 BEGIN-
SUBJECT 3-21-0: POST-INJECTION SUMMARY
INJECTION RESPONSE: SERUM IS OBSERVED TO BE SPREADING THROUGHOUT THE LOCAL INJECTION SITE AND INTERPSEING SUBCUTANEOUSLY WITH THE BLOOD STREAM. SUBSEQUENT ALTERNATION OF DNA AND RNA STRUCTURE ESTIMATED WITHIN 2 HOURS. SUBJECT IS STILL UNCONSCIOUS AND WILL BE PROMPTLY MOVED TO TESTING SITE C FOR DATA ACQUISITION. PREPPING DATA ACQUISITION TEAM FOR IMMEDIATE SUBJECT ANALYSIS.
FINAL SUBJECT STAGE: APPROVED
-ENTRY LOG 15 END-
I couldn't exactly tell how long I had been out. I remembered the horror of watching my own skin be injected with an anesthetic as I screamed and cursed at these people. I did not know where I was or for what purpose I had been captured and brought here, but I knew I needed to escape. For what seemed like an hour, I lay on the floor of some soft and almost cushion-like surface, completely unable to open my eyes. Every muscle in my body seemed completely frozen and lacking any strength whatsoever. I was merely a mannequin. My eyes wouldn't open either, no matter how much I tried to flex my lids. However, even though I was immobilized, I could hear and smell my surroundings. The pungent smell of antibiotics seeped into my nose while a metallic, rust-scented stench made me want to wince, albeit, no matter how much I wanted to, my mouth would not move. Secondly, I could hear the sounds of an air-conditioner rumbling and functioning in all corners of the room. I imagined that wherever I was, fresh air was being pumped into the chamber. I could also hear the sound of static, possibly from a television or some sort, hovering overhead. Finally, and ever so faintly, I could occasionally hear the sound of scraping and tapping against the walls, interspersed with the cry of an animal. The noise seemed very close to my current location.
However, there was something else that bothered me, something that truly shook me to my core as I lay there surrounded by darkness. Against my whim, my body began to shake and quiver, all the while a burning heat began to ascend from my chest and up into my face. It started off comforting at first but became much more uncomfortable as I lay there defenseless to the mounting heat wracking my body. As it did, I began to quiver more and more, the muscles of my body momentarily releasing and shaking on their own. As the pressure became more and more intense, the sensation of control over my body began to rekindle within me. As if a light switch had been flicked on within me, my eyes shot open as I leaped to my feet with a sense of agility and swiftness that I had never before imagined myself capable of. And just like that, the heat stopped flowing within my body, leaving me with an uncanny sense of refreshment that coursed through my veins as I shuddered in goosebumps from the effects. It was a fundamental shift that left me feeling as if I had awoken from the best sleep of my life. Every sense of my individuality felt sharpened and honed as I began to observe my surroundings.
I glanced down at my body first to ascertain what condition I was in. To my surprise, I was not adorned in the hospital gown I faintly remember seeing when I was on the stretcher. Instead, I was wearing the clothes that I had worn when I was on the trail following my departure from school; that fated path where I was captured and brought here. I was dressed in a bright red short-sleeve t-shirt accompanied by a pair of gray track-shorts. However, the running shoes I had worn to practice were gone, replaced by my bare feet touching the floor of the room, composed entirely of a vast and thick mattress-like material very similar to a giant pillow. I jumped up and down once or twice, softly landing on my feet. The walls were also covered with a similar material. Whoever had placed me here did not want me harming myself. Had I gone insane and been put into a quarantine cell like you see in the movies? Images of crazed prisoners clutched tight in restraining jackets and screaming out into sound-proof confinement cells filled my head as I raised my hands to my face and up to my head, sifting my fingers through my the short locks of my hair. I extended my arms out above me as I twisted and turned my body, relishing in the feeling of a refreshing stretch. My consciousness now fully awake and acute, I looked around the room.
My space of confinement was in the shape of a large square, with all four sides blanketed in that soft cushy material I mentioned prior. However, the ceiling of the room was composed entirely of a metallic grated surface, with steel screws and bars fastening it in place. Cut into each of the four corners of the ceiling were small barred vents, the sound of a motor running emanating from them. On one side of the wall was a large glass pane seemingly cut into the pillow-like padding. The glass was, for the most part, tinted. However, squinting my eyes and focusing my vision, I could make out what appeared to be an observation deck on the inside, with a couple of computers and electronic displays flashing and beeping. Below the window pane on both sides were two external speakers. Towards the rear end of the ceiling (opposite the observation deck), attached by two metal steel beams descending down, was a large LCD monitor with a static black and white screen; the sound of the hissing and crackling noise I assumed. As I cast my gaze down the wall, I became aware of a small, mouse-sized indentation cut into the fabric of the surface. Within it, I could see two bright-red LED lights glowing back at me. I stepped away from the sight as I observed it, the uncanny stare causing me to glance back at it every now and then to ensure it was not inching its way closer to me. Finally, and no doubt the showcase of this entire “exhibit," was the large playground-style implement attached by metal bolts and poles into gaps of the padded floor. I say playground-style because indeed, I couldn't tell the difference between it and a typical jungle gym I used to play on the back during my younger days. It possessed a strange, ceramic style to it, with various electronic displays and readouts embedded into the surfaces of some of the bars of the “gym." It was like a living, breathing, computerized setup with a variety of bars and handles all interspersed and intertwining within each other.
As I moved closer to the object, the blaring sound of the speakers boomed to life as a voice echoed out across my cell. It was a voice that I heard before losing consciousness back on the operating table. The same voice that had approved of whatever injection they had pumped into my body. The voice of the lead scientist, Dr. Beckerman. As I recalled his name, I looked down at my arm, a thick gauze bandage neatly secured around the injection site. My veins were flushed and stretched across my arm while my skin seemed to exhibit a strange, orange hue to it. I clenched my fist as the voice spoke.
“Subject 3-21-0, or should I say, Cody Blues. I welcome you to our study. It is a little something I like to call, the Eden Initiative. I certainly hope you consider yourself proud to be selected for such a… stimulating and invigorating experience. Of course, the thanks should not all be attributed to me entirely. Our team expressed gratitude their appreciation to you, our subject, as well. After all, you have been chosen because you are a prime carrier of the genetic marker we have been searching the world for. Only. Only a handful of individuals possesses it, making our search all the more intensive. Our lead researchers are composed of a variety of population surveyors, genetic database miners, Human Genome Project scientists, physiologists, psychologists, and of course… the top veterinary staff in the world, all dedicated to scouring the globe to select our sample size for my purpose. You see…"
I cut the rambling man off right then and there. I wasn't going to let him finish his little typical 'bad guy" monologue. I was going to cut right to the chase. I wanted to know where I was and how I could get out. His scientific research was the least of my concerns. My human rights had been violated.
“Cut the crap old man! Tell me where I am and what I'm doing here. I'll have you know that right now, my parents have already called the cops, and probably the FBI as well. You better let me out or else!"
I was feeling confident, brave, possibly brash, and fully attentive to whatever was going to happen. Heck, I didn't know if help was coming for me at all! Who was I to say whether anyone even knew I was gone? Indeed, I was scared, scared out of my wits. But I held on, pushing back those feelings of fear in hopes of making it through this nightmare. At the moment, more than anything, I was not afraid to call this old fart out on his bullcrap. I wouldn't let him gain the upper hand on me. However, the loud cackling of the man echoed over the speakers and across the room, once more putting me in my place.
“Such a foolish little tot you are! You teenagers think you are so high and mighty, lost in your world of youth, high school dating, and endless hormone-ridden bouts of frivolous activities. Well son, welcome to reality. The real world is bound by science and NOT in the trivial pursuits of human emotions. My test, and its subsequent results are unbiased, just as my own mannerisms towards you are. You are simply, for all intents and purposes, a means to an end.
“And what, pray tell, could an old hack like you possibly want to achieve by kidnapping a young “tot" like me? “I replied back to the old man, forming a hyphen around the word tot, signifying my dismay at his choice of words. If there was one thing that ruffled my feathers more than anything, it was not only being called something immature but also being thought of as a little kid. Beckerman replied back in turn.
“Well then, subject 3-21-0, allow me to show just what I have in store for you. This should help speed up the injection I do believe."
As he said this, the mechanical whirring of the vents began to go into overdrive as what sounded like panels flipping and turning within the grates caused me to turn my head to all corners of the room. Suddenly, a thick fog began to pour out from the panels, creating a cold condensation along the wall that began to drip down the sides. It began to permeate around the room as the temperature suddenly began to drop, my skin becoming clammy and cold to the touch as a result. As the fog worked its way into the chamber, the tinted window of the glass began to clear, showing a visible sight into the observation deck. There was Dr. Beckerman, his aged and wicked face turned upwards in a horrifying grin as four scientists, two bordering each side of the “good doctor," were busy filling out documents on their clipboard. Behind them, another scientist was working rapidly typing words and phrases into a console, the green glow of the computer glaring against his white overcoat. Beckerman waved a hand at me from his perch and spoke once more, his words becoming muffled as I began to breathe in the dense haze, eliciting coughing fits in me.
“I want to see you squirm as you change Cody. You are going to be just another example of the beauty of the Eden Initiative. You want to know what this is all about, do you? Well, allow me to enlighten you. On second thought, if your body can pass the stages of shock from the transmogrification, then perhaps I will tell you. That is of course if your mind isn't lost to the primal urges of your particular strain!"
His laughed echoed once more as I fell to my knees, the thick haze shrouding out the view of the scientists, along with the rest of my space. My heartbeat increased as I felt my arm shaking and quivering once more. Then, my entire body shuddered as it had earlier. I clutched the soft fabric of the floor as my fingers struggled to get a grip. Then, all of sudden, I felt my nails elongating and pushing into the material. I thrust my hand back towards my face as a rip in the floor caused me to open my eyes wide in shock. There was my hand, pulsating and quivering as my nails seemingly slid back into my fingers. The base of my fingers was beginning to turn a sharp pink as the base of my hand also shared in that same pinkish hue. All the while, a carpet of bluish hairs began to spread along my hand while a similar coating of bright orange fur began to creep its way past my wrist and all across my body. Amidst the haze, I saw my feet up to my ankles being covered in bluish fur, while the rest of my body began to be enveloped in the orange coloration. I was horrified at what I was seeing. I started to itch and scratch at myself as the fur spread further and further, faster and faster up my body. It raced around my nose and face, extending up to my head. Although I could not see it, my short haircut was dyed in a similar blue coloration akin to my legs and wrists, with small tufts of hair creeping down narrowly past the top of my forehead.
And then, as quickly as I seemingly changed colors before my eyes, my body began to reform and mold. I wanted to scream, to call out amid the fog and curse at my captors, that wretched scientist who was doing this to me. However, I could only stare in horror at the changes. Still staring at my blue and pink hands, my hands began to reform, like clay, into paw-like features. The pinkish hues of the back of my fingers and base of my hand became soft, but also leathery, fleshy pad-like surfaces. My other hand followed suit as my fingernails retracted from the sheath of my paw, shiny and glistening to show feline-like retractable nails. Flexing my new paws, I found that they sheathed themselves with a flexing of my joints. My feet began to jiggle as I looked down, my bare feet sharing a similar fate as my paws. They slimmed and shifted as not only my feet turned to hind paws, but my back legs bent and reformed into a digitigrade stance, my paws now resting on the fabric of the floor in an animal-like position. The pressure at the back of my track pants caused me to turn around as a long, rope-like feline tail covered in orange fur sprouted from my coccyx. It flicked left and right as my anxiety built. Again, I could not find the words to scream, only to watch in muted horror.
Along my nose, I felt a prickling sensation as long whiskers began to sprout from the enlarging pores of my face. They twitched as my new tactile sensors brushed against my fur and clothes. My neck started to feel tight as my chin lifted forward extending out toward the ground as my nose formed into a slender feline snout, a sandpapery-like tongue brushing against the surface of my mouth. My canines sharpened into fine feline points, primed for searing flesh like the animal I was becoming. My senses heightened as I became aware of the smell of antiseptic chemicals throughout the room, mixing together with a musky smell emanating from my new body. My hearing shifted as well as my ears began to tingle. I raised my paws to my ears as they elongated and formed into fine hairy points, dense amounts of bluish fur forming the inner fluff of my new ears. As the haze began to clear from my vision, I became aware of the colors of my surroundings changing color and hue, becoming more and more in-line to the cat I now was. As I glanced over my paws and my body, I began to feel a primal urge growing within me, starting to consume me. It exploded out of me as I cried out in anguish, my humanity bursting out of me as instinctual desires formed. My cry was not that of a boy, but that of a cat.
My thoughts of being a human began to fade into the recesses of my mind as I hunched down to the floor, positioning myself onto my soft paws. I extended a forelimb and began to lick and clean myself, my prickly tongue brushing up against my beautiful coat. I lifted my leg to my ear with a level of dexterity and flexibility that only any human wished they could possess. My tongue licked the leathery patches of my paws as I purred in contentment. I was a cat, a very good kitty at that. Kitties needed to be nice and clean. Glancing up from my bath, I could see the strange humans watching and observing me. They did not matter. I did not know why but my name was Cody and I was always a cat. And what did cats do best? They played and jumped, frolicking in their bodies and feline power! I loved my tail, my paws, and my beautiful coat, everything about me that made me such a good kitty! My hind limbs pressed deep into the soft fabric of the floor as I raced towards the steel mass of bars and glowing lights of the object in front of me. I wanted to play and climb. This was my domain. Every paw that I set down on the bars of my playground, every swat of my paw at the strange rodent-like object that had been deployed from the mouse hole in the corner, every little action I took, I had no idea that I was being recorded by the sensors all around me. I was another contributor to science. However, I could care less. I was just a kitty.
Looking down from the observation area, the scientists clapped their hands in congratulations at Dr. Beckerman, who in turn took quite a curtsy with a wave of his hand towards the group. Meanwhile, behind him, the young humanoid cat was busy embracing the animal he had become. The automated data collection systems of the test chambers were busy assessing quantitative data on the agility, dexterity, and speed of the latest test subject. Young Cody was lost in his realm of animalistic instincts, oblivious to the fact that he was furthering the twisted goals of the Eden Initiative. Dr. Beckerman turned around to the scientists, now even larger as a group of men and women entered the room from a sliding door to the right of the deck. Some were dressed in military garb while others were dressed in suits and other business-style clothing, adorned with badges and insignias of their respective countries. Beckerman's voice was loud and clear as he spoke.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you just another successful attempt at bridging the gap between man and beast; that lost world of sense and discovery unknown to humanity. I have faith that the Eden Initiative will not only bring humankind closer to the animals we admire and connect with, but humanity will also benefit from the additional knowledge gleaned from the intersection of both worlds. With the knowledge of humans combined with the powers of beasts, we shall create a future in which the lines are blurred, and every man, woman, and child may live their life to the fullest; every facet of their body magnified and attuned to Mother Nature herself! Our ambassadors will be the paragons of this research, aspiring to serve as the key to opening the path for a new Eden of the future!"
As the onlookers stared in awe, mesmerized by the doctor's words, Beckerman pointed an index finger to a scientist sitting at a large computer console. He was busy tapping away on the keyboard, entering paragraph after paragraph of neon-colored text onto the display; data that was fed back to him via the sensors from the test chamber. Sweat poured down the researcher's face as they attempted to keep up with the mass influx of data.
“You there! Pull up the video feed from some of the other testing sites. I'd like to showcase some of our other efforts to our enlightened guests here."
A few button prompts later, the large LCD screen looming out over the wall of the test chamber extended forward so the audience in the deck could view it. The maze of static began to fade away as a 3x3 camera grid formed. There, within each block of the grid, was a video feed of other test chambers within the facility, the names of the other chambers alphabetized. There, they observed from the deck the conditions of other test subjects. Some were still unconscious following their own injection of custom-blended serum, while others were already fully changed into anthropomorphic creatures. Amalgamations of human and beast lined the screen as tigers dashed along the floor, dolphins swam freely in an indoor pool, avian creatures flew in simulated outdoor enclosures and some even swung from branches as their ape-like bodies effortlessly flung from artificial trees and ladders. Meanwhile, in one of the bottom-right camera grids, a beautiful serpentine creature of a woman was clawing at the walls, her long strands of brunette hair falling out in patches as scales flecked out across her body and her vertebrae extended. Truly, it was a Garden of Eden to these scientists. An Eden in which human and beast walked together, regardless of their past. At the Eden Imitative, they all shared the same future. It was all for the science of course…
-ENTRY LOG 16 BEGIN-
EDEN INITIATIVE CLUSTER SAMPLE #1 POST-ANALYSIS:
CLUSTER SAMPLE #1 ANALYSIS HAS SHOWN A DIRECT ALTERATION OF MIND AND BODY ACCORDING TO SPECIFIC STRAIN APPLIED TO SUBJECT. EDEN INITIATIVE MAY NOW PROCEED WITH CLUSTER SAMPLE #2. PREPPING POTENTIAL SAMPLE LIST FOR ANALYSIS.
-ENTRY LOG 16 END-
Hours passed as Cody pranced and played within his isolation chamber. His mind was a sea of feline fantasies, all culminating in various jumps, leaps, and bounds that were delivered gracefully and with the finesse that only a cat could. Above him, the LCD monitor on the TV was still bright with the camera feed with some of the other test subjects in the facility. At this point in time, they had all but completed their transformation, lost to their own instinctual desires as well. The machinery and sensors of the chamber continued to collect their data on the cat. The processors of the observation room above were pushing into overdrive, with the beeps and clicks of a lone scientist at the computer console hastily scrambling to organize the reports. It was late at night, and he was one of the few personnel still on-site collecting data for the first pool of subjects. It seemed that no matter how much data he processed, subject 3-21-0 just would not stop interacting with the test equipment. Was it possibly an overdose of the feline serum, pursuing his muscles and metabolism into overdrive as he continued to prance around the chamber? Or maybe it was something more; the vitality and youth of the young athlete manifesting itself even in his more feral form? Now, although this scientist was not necessarily partial to Beckerman's research, he was indeed overworked. And overworked individuals led to unexpected variables in otherwise clockwork procedures that demanded small margins of error and the elimination of as many random variables as possible. However, one random variable that would work in young Cody's favor was about to play out and send the clockwork into utter chaos.
Even more time passed as the constant noises and vocalizations of the cat-boy echoed throughout the speakers of the observation deck. Still, the scientist chipped away at the keyboard. His strokes and command entries became slower and slower while incorrect placements of his hands and fingers became ever-the-more frequent. Rubbing the sleep from his eyes, he stood and walked closer to the observation window. He leaned up against the glass and began to close his eyes, his shoulders perched against the smooth surface of the window. He was a hardworking man, surely a small snooze would do him good. As he eyes began to drift off to sleep, exhaustion and weariness finally wracked his body. His muscles locked and his legs quivered as he began to lose his balance. He awoke just in time to try and catch himself from falling forward onto the floor. Throwing his arms out to his side and reaching back towards the wall in hopes of stabilizing himself, something completely unexpected and unaccounted for occurred. The researcher's hand thrust back and hit a small, inconspicuous button neatly tucked away in a small alcove of the wall. A small digital display on the wall above it read as follows:
“TEST CHAMBER C: SERUM RETARDANT APPLICATOR: USE ONLY IN CASE OF SUBJECT TRANSFER!"
It was just the form of random variable that could completely change the fate of Eden itself. It was one small mistake that would lead to a very costly chain of events, culminating in disastrous results. However, the scientists would never know he was the catalyst in this chain as his head cracked against the side of the elevated console to his right, just near the station he was working at. The impact left him unconscious. Within the chamber, the rhythmic whirring of the vents in the corners of the testing chamber once more roared to life. Cody was oblivious to the haze spreading out from the vents and permeating throughout the room. The chemicals began to work their way up through his elongated feline face, up into his brain and into the very neurons of his brain. And then, just as quickly as his changes were triggered, a switch in the very core of Cody's mind flipped back on. The pupils of his eyes, previously broad and wild, now began to dilate while images of his former humanity spread throughout him. His remembrances of his school, his track team, his family and friends, his pursuits, and finally, the no-good team of scientists who had captured him for this so-called Eden Initiative, it was all coming back to him in droves.
The boy's feline body relaxed from the quadrupedal position he was in and rose to a bipedal stance. He had remembered who he was and now, he was going to use the “gift" of the Eden Initiative to his own disadvantage. A grin worked its way across his orange muzzle as his eyes glanced up to the observation deck and subsequently worked their way down the fabricated, pillow-like wall. Cody wasted no time in racing toward the wall, pressing the back of his feet-paws into the fabric of the floor as he ran. Even as an anthropomorphic cat, his track abilities were all but present, and even magnified to levels miles ahead of even the most primed athletes in the country. As he neared the wall, he leaped off from the ground and lowered his body into a feline pounce in midair, the quintessential image of a feline predator on the hunt for prey with his nails extended from their sheath. The orange and blue boy landed on the wall, only a handful of feet below the observation window. His nails effortlessly pierced through the fabric of the pillowed surface, enabling him to safely grasp the wall to climb. One large blue paw at a time, Cody inched up closer and closer to the window, using his nails to gain ground above him. He thought back to his favorite secret agent movies as a kid and couldn't help smiling as he considered himself as one as well. Maybe this body wouldn't be so bad after all.
As he reached the window, Cody drew a free paw across the lower surface of the window, rubbing and scraping his nails against the glass surface. A horrifying screech akin to nails on a chalkboard echoed across the chamber as Cody flexed his joints and curved his paw to make contact with the glass window. He began to move in circular motions around a large radius of the window, sometimes moving his body left and right, up and down on the fabric to the side of the window to better complete his circle. Just as he had seen in the movies of his youth, Cody began to punch and hit at the scratched circle he had created, finally bursting a hole open as the glass crashed onto the surface of the observation deck inside. Cody now had a method of escape from this madness. It was a tight fit, but with his feline frame and athletic prowess, he could make it work. Cody twisted and turned his body every which way as he made his way through the opening in the window and placed his paws on the floor inside, his still-exposed nails gently tapping on the cold surface. He rose to his knees, gently pushing away the shards of glass that had fallen into his blue hair and off his shorts as well. Below him to his right towards the computer console, lay an unknown researcher, fast asleep in the corner. His head was lumpy and swollen from some form of powerful impact. Cody pieced together the fortuitous series of events as he saw the button that had been pressed in the alcove near him. To his right, the mechanical sliding door stood, a red-lit keycard lock fastening it in place. Cody shook his head as he spoke to the unconscious scientist.
“Didn't they tell you overworking is bad for your health? Sleep tight m friend! Oh, and don't worry, I'll help myself out, thank you very much."
Cody rifled through the coat pockets of the researcher, pulling out a laminated ID card with a barcode scanner on the back. He turned to the right and began to walk towards the sliding door. He held the ID card in his paw, now starting to shake and quiver as nervousness once more clutched his body. What would he find on the other side of the door? Who would he have to face? And heck, how would his friends and family react to his new body? The young man looked down at himself once more and ran his paws through the orange and blue fur. His tail swished as he became excited. He felt alive, reinvigorated, and reborn even. As he reached out towards the card decoder of the door, a thought hit him. He couldn't do this alone. He was going to need all the help he could get. His eyes glanced back at the button on the wall, and then to the LCD monitor still displayed out in his chamber. He put two and two together as his plan of action was set. Cody Blues wasn't going to be put out of commission that easy. The door slid open as the cat-boy slid around the corner, his rope-like tail sifting around the edge of the door. Subject 3-21-0 was about to send a warning, a warning that would echo throughout the halls of the facility. A rebellion was about to begin.
-ENTRY LOG 17 BEGIN-
TESTING CHAMBERS A, C, G, I, & J HAVE EXPERIENCED SEVERE ATMOSPHERIC FLUCTUATIONS. DETECTING EXCESS LEVELS OF SERUM RETARDANT IN SAID CHAMBERS. CAMERA FEED IDENTIFYING FIVE UNAUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ENTERING TEST CHAMBERS Y, M, O, B, V, AND X.
-ENTRY LOG 17 END-
8 February 2017 at 06:55:00 MST
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THIS STORY CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING:
Characters: :linkMineBoom: :MineBoomicon:
Cody Blues is an energetic and athletic young man. However, no form of youthful invigoration and spirit can keep him from becoming entangled in a massive scientific project that will change him in body, mind, and soul.