This Short Story is set before the events of EPISODE 1

New Arrival

The doors swung open with a bang as the gurney came rushing through, wheels rattling. Peeking out from beneath the sheets were the bloody remnants of a human being. Strange as Dr. Rycroft usually acquired live specimens and this poor soul was quite obviously dead.

Alan asked his friend 'What do you think he wants with this?' His friend David replied 'Who can say. He employs us all for our special talents. I'm sure he has someone who specializes in the recently deceased.'

They continued along the corridor pushing the bed with the pile of meat on it. Alan noticed in passing that there was a wet red wrist stump protruding from under the cover sheet. They passed a doorway on the right and a snapshot of someone's personal hell was temporarily exposed. A test subject opened up on a table, being operated on whilst still alive. His head turned to face the doorway, a look of abject terror filled his eyes, pleading for a quick death. His screams forever silenced due to his lack of vocal chords.

David remarked that the body on the gurney was still relatively warm for a corpse and Alan agreed as they pushed onwards. The conversation soon turned to the fact that they were both highly educated men and yet they had been temporarily demoted to the role of porters, again. It was cut short however by the comment that they were both being paid far too much to mention this grievance to anyone, followed by them both staring off into the distance. Daydreaming of what they might do with all that money if they ever got off this orbital space station.

Alans morbid curiosity drew his eye to the wrist bones sticking out from under the sheet again. He was pretty sure that previously it terminated at the wrist, the radius and ulna bones exposed. Now it had the carpals in place and the beginnings of the metacarpals, the bones that make up the palm of the hand. He almost shook his head in disbelief as he was sure they weren't there minutes ago. Putting it down to his lack of sleep Alan dismissed the thought and asked David a question.

'Who is Weston Carnodyne?' David raised his eyebrows in surprise, 'How the hell can you not know who Weston Carnodyne is? Have you been living under a rock?' Alan seemed embarrassed but simply replied 'I don't get out much, humour me...' David proceeded in a sarcastic tone 'Weston Carnodyne is one of the richest men in the known universe. He has made billions in legal and not so legal dealings across known space, from Mining to Biochemistry to Murder, that guy is probably the most famous and most powerful man to ever exist, and you've never heard of him?' Again Alan replied 'I told you, I really don't get out much.'

They continued along the corridor in silence for a moment, passing a doorway on the left another nightmare scene was highlighted for an instant. A creature that could only be described as half man, half wolf strained aggressively against its straps on a reinforced bed, roaring and screaming as parts of its form morphed randomly between wulfen and humanoid. Doctors buzzed around it, administering injections and taking readings off machines quite unconcerned for the welfare of the subject itself.

Neither Alan or David passed comment on the scenes they saw. They had both been working here for several months now and in that short time their opinions, beliefs and universal truths had been destroyed, re-invented and turned upside down by so many things. Nothing phased them anymore.

Alan piped up 'So this Weston Carnodyne...do we work for him?' David screwed up his face and replied 'What makes you think we work for Carnodyne?' Alan replied sheepishly 'because I found some extremely interesting documents the other day whilst poking around in the system that were linked to Carnodyne Industries, so I figured I'd ask.' David looked thoughtful for a moment and then said 'That would explain why Dr. Rycroft can afford to pay us so much. If he's bankrolled by Carnodyne then money is no object. I wonder what Carnodyne's interest in all this secret bio-experimentation is?'

Alan looked down at the stump on the gurney again and was really starting to doubt his own sanity. The metacarpals making up the palm were now fully formed and the proximal phalanx of each finger was half formed. The proximal phalanx and distal phalanx making up the thumb were entirely in place. Alan couldn't quite believe his eyes. The articular cartilage between the bones was there and the extensor tendons were beginning to appear before his eyes. What the hell was going on? Was this thing regenerating?

Alan said 'Err, I'm pretty sure this thing didn't have a hand five minutes ago!' David looked at Alan and replied 'I was thinking the exact same thing but didn't want to say anything.' Alan said 'Look, the middle phalanx and distal phalanx's on those fingers weren't there a minute ago either. Now it has fingers! The abductor and flexor muscles of the thumb are fully formed. This is not right!' Disturbed by a noise in the room on the right, they both looked in through the window of the reinforced door.

The walls and ceiling were smeared and splattered with blood and innards, white rags littered the room presumably scientist's coats and clothing torn to shreds. A creature, a raptor-like humanoid stalked around the room, smashing machines and throwing things around in a fit of rage. It had claws like a bird and its scaled body was covered head to toe in gore. It had obviously broken its restraints and slaughtered the scientists. It was also obvious that it hadn't been fed meat for a while as it gorged on the body parts scattered around the lab making Alan gag. Hearing this sound the creature launched at the door, mouth wide, teeth bared and slammed into it hard. 'Shit!' was all Alan and David could shout before they quickly moved along. The creature seemed to be contained for now and alarms had just started to ring out in the lab. Security guards burst out of a doorway up ahead and hurried past Alan and David.

Distracted for a moment by the dino-thing in the lab, they both looked back at the hand and their jaws dropped in perfect synchronization as they saw the skin was actually crawling over the wet muscles, tendons and bones, forming before their eyes. Seeing this they both accelerated pace and burst through the final doors into the lab Dr. Rycroft had asked them to transport this thing to. The doors slammed behind them and loud metallic bangs echoed as locks clamped into place.

Dr. Rycroft stood behind a thick glass wall, arms folded, an air of authority and impatience about him. Alan hysterically shouted 'What the hell is this thing? It was dead when we picked it up, now it's reforming?' Dr. Rycroft didn't reply. Alan and David just stood there expecting a reply. Suddenly the thing on the gurney sat bolt upright, the sheet dropping to reveal its face. Half missing, wet muscles and bone exposed along with most of its brain it grabbed David by the throat and squeezed with surprising strength, his windpipe crushed with a gruesome cracking sound. The body went limp and the being on the bed let it collapse to the floor in a heap. Alan had backed off into the corner, gibbering, sobbing and holding up his hands in weak protection. The being got unsteadily off the gurney falling to its knees for a moment. Most of its body was wet with blood and it had ragged dripping holes throughout. It had quite clearly been in some kind of horrific accident or explosion, but somehow it was still alive, staggering unsteadily towards Alan in the corner.

Alan screamed 'Help me! Help me! Dr. Rycroft, do something!' Dr. Rycroft wasn't about to move a muscle, he just said 'Perhaps you should have kept your nose out of my business?' and Alan realized that his poking around in secure files had gotten him into a lot of trouble. The realization didn't last long as the being launched at him. It grabbed Alan and threw him effortlessly across the lab. He landed in a heap in the far corner, limbs bent at unnatural angles, his neck clearly broken. Dr. Rycroft nodded to a technician and the lab began to fill with a fine red mist.

The being raged around the lab, at one point picking up and violently swinging the gurney at the window Dr. Rycroft stood behind. The chemical cocktail being released into the lab was enough to knock out a herd of elephants yet still it raged on, throwing the limp, broken forms of the two dead scientists around the room like ragdolls. Smashing everything it could lay its hands on. Eventually it began to slow down and finally it collapsed onto the floor, the chemicals overcoming its incredible immune system. Dr. Rycroft simply said 'Sleep for now. I have so much to learn from you.'


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