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The Theseus Project/part 1

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*A Quick warning for teh massive amounts of language used in this story. If it offends you, don't read it. Also, the character of Richard Kallhand was created by mah good friend Max Thomas.

11:43 AM

“Good Lord,” breathed Kimble, aghast. “What in heaven’s name is that?” He stared at the beast, awash with horror. Surely, surely, no God would allow a creature such as this to exist. Slavering, red eyes burning like embers, the monster threw itself against the reinforced glass, trying to reach the two scientists. It let out a low, inhuman shriek, neither that of man nor bull, but some unspeakable tone in between
Kimble leaned forward to get a better look at the creature, which was charging the glass wildly, trying to break through. It was nearly seven and a half feet tall, its body-builder chest a concrete mass of solid muscle. Naked, it was humanoid in form and bearing, but its head was that of a bull, with matted brown-black hair running all the way down its back. Two enormous horns protruded from its skull, and it began to ram the points against the window, trying to break it. Thankfully, the reinforced glass held, and the hellish monstrosity only bounced back. Unfortunately, this seemed only to enrage it further. Its eyes, two flaming embers amidst the black of the fur, burned with mad rage.

Kimble turned away from the window, sickened, to look at Kallahand. He felt hot bile rise in his throat and experienced a sudden urge to throw up. The other doctor was nearly hidden in the shadows of the dingy observation room, leaning against an aluminum desk and calmly smoking a glowing orange cigarette. Kimble pointed one trembling hand towards the window and the ogre beyond, grimacing at the putrid smoke that filled the small room.

“What in God’s name is that thing, Kallahand?” he asked, his voice weak with shock. What he was seeing was impossible. What he was seeing was a creature ripped straight out of Greek mythology… but more terrible than he had ever imagined when he had studied it his senior year of high school. “Surely you didn’t make that thing?”

The doctor took a puff on his cigarette, stepping into the light that was seeping in from the creature’s chamber. Handsome, with bright eyes, a fair amount of stubble, and a cocky smirk. “Not God’s name,” he said, and Kimble was amazed to see that he was smiling. The son of a bitch was really smiling. “No, God had nothing to do with that one. That, my dear man, if the product of sheer human brilliance. This baby here was our first major success with recombinant animal-human DNA research. Granted, we had some pretty bad fuck-ups on the way, but hell, everybody makes mistakes, right? We got here in the end, though, and that’s what matters with shit like this. Pretty fuckin’ neat-o, huh?”

Success?” Kimble sputtered, still pointing at the beast with a trembling finger. “Good Lord, that thing is a monstrosity! It should be destroyed at once! Not only is it an affront to God, but an affront to nature!”

Kallahand shrugged, running a hand through his messy charcoal-black hair. “What the hell is it with you and this whole God thing?” he asked, and he sounded profoundly annoyed. “You’re supposed to be fuckin’ scientist, amigo- the way people around here talk about you, I woulda thought you’d’ve left the spiritual hoodoo-woodoo-whatever-the-fuck-it-is behind a long time ago. Don’t tell me you still take that Sunday School bullshit seriously?”

Kimble trembled with suppressed rage. “I didn’t come here all the way from upper Michigan to be insulted for my beliefs, Kallahand. I’ve heard you were a bastard, but this is uncalled for.”

Kallahand snubbed out his cigarette on the hard metal surface of the desk behind him, then raised his hands in defense. “Yeah, whatever. I won’t push it.” He nodded towards the demon inside the observation chamber. “You were saying?”

Kimble cast another look at the so-called “success” that was still trying in vain desperation to reach them. “I was saying that that… that… thing should be killed immediately, and everything related to it destroyed. All the research led to its creation…”

Kallahand interrupted him. “You’re telling me that we should terminate one of the greatest triumphs in human history?” Kallahand jerked a thumb towards the beast, which was still banging against the glass. The panel reverberated with each strike, making, a heavy whump sound as its horns struck the window. “Come on, Kimble, look at the big picture. I mean, sure, it sure as hell ain’t very pretty, but do you know what this means? This opens up a whole new frontier of bioengineering. This thing is the symbol of a brave new world built on genetic modification.” He paused, then shrugged again. “B’sides, the feds’d be pissed.”
Kimble looked at the other doctor with disbelief. Surely- surely- he had misheard. “You mean that this project is government sanctioned?”

Sanctioned?” Kallahand laughed. He shook his head, eyes closed. “God, you’re so fucking naïve,” he said. “Kimble, this thing’s government funded. They call it the Theseus Project. It started out with some higher up in Washington getting the brilliant idea that the military needed some sort of super strong but expendable shock trooper thing. Sounds like comic book shit, doesn’t it? The sorta thing Spider-Man woulda been up against back in the seventies. Doesn’t matter. Naturally, they approached us first- I mean, why the hell wouldn’t they? Aevitas has the best fucking biotech engineers of any company in the whole goddam country.” He paused for a second, pulled a pack of cigarettes from his breast pocket, and poked another one into the corner of his mouth, lighting it with a dark blue BIC. “Hell, we’ve got the best everything this side of HadesTech.”

Kimble didn’t know what to say. What Kallahand was saying was that the government- his government, that, despite certain disagreements in policy, he had always respected and trusted when it came to the running of America. He could only look silently between the demon inside the large white room and the demon inside, one a brute monstrosity of sheer destruction and the other a savage genius of the cold and venomous scientific mind, dedicated only to the next great technological breakthrough, regardless of ethics or petty morality. In a way, Kallahand represented everything Aevitas truly was. Kimble couldn’t believe that all these years he had worked for the company, blissfully unaware that those same people were also conducting projects like this. While he and his team in the Porcupines were busy finding ways to extend human life, this bastard and his colleagues were busy resurrecting a lusus naturae from the annals of ancient mythology.

“They sunk a lot of money into this shit,” Kallahand continued, acutely aware of his fellow doctor’s disgust and discomfort and reveling in it. “When this goes into action, those friends of Allah’s over in the Middle East’ll pissin’ in their fuckin’ burqas.”

“So why did you fly me out here Kallahand?” Kimble demanded, furious. “Just why did you fly me out here, you bastard? Or was it just so you could insult my beliefs and make a joke of my morals with your sick experiments?”

Kallahand laughed. “Nah, I’m not that cruel. It pains me to say this, but we need ya, doc. You’re Aevitas’s top dog when it comes to keeping things alive long after they should’ve kicked the proverbial bucket and joined the doornail in a common state of being.”

Kimble looked at Kallahand, thunderstruck, momentarily forgetting the reverberating thumping sound that still filled the room. “You want me to help you?” he asked. “You really have the audacity to ask me to help you with your little satanic ritual?” The doctor’s face had gone beet red with rage and indignation. “To suggest I would stoop so low-”

Kallahand sighed, crushing out his cancer stick on the corner of the desk. “I was afraid you were gonna say that, Mitch,” he said, and flashed a perfectly straight grin. Before the other doctor knew what had hit him, Kallahand had whipped a compact black pistol from within the confines of his white lab coat and leveled it with Kimble’s head. A split second later, the bullet had exited the back of Kimble’s skull, accompanied by a generous amount of said doctor’s grey matter, which splattered against the glass in a smattering of red and pink, resembling a grotesque Jackson Pollock painting.

“Sorry, chief,” grinned Kallahand, walking over to the body and nudging it with the toe of his shiny black shoe. “You were either in or out, and we couldn’t let the cat outta the bag about this thing quite yet. It’s a shame to lose your research, but as another doctor once said, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do, don’t plan the plan if ya can’t follow through, so in the end, it was a necessary sacrifice.”

He shook his head. “Christ, ya got me givin’ a whole fucking monologue.” He turned, walking towards the observation room’s exit door, which slid open as he approached it. “I’ll send somebody to pick you up later,” he said, slipping the gun back into his breast and exiting the room, not even casting a second glance at the hellion still ramming the window with uncanny perseverance.

It was another two hours before the glass finally broke.

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