The Gemini Project; The Adventure Begins *mild language warning. One swear, at the end*
Posted May 18th, 2017 by Zelda
in a perpetual predicament
Frigid wind howled through the Icelandic mountain tips, and swooped down to rattle the rafters of the Institute of Meiri Tækni. The building stood alone, a great grey metal box wedged in a valley between two ridges. Snow drifted on the ground, and mounds of the stuff rested heavily on the flat roof of the institute.
Inside, two children were waiting in a small room. One was colorless, his pink eyes the only deviance from the total paper whiteness of the rest of him. He sat on the edge of a tiny bed, listening to the wind, he was perfectly still save for the occasional jerk of his hand to his teeth. The other child was as black as night, she paced the floor in measured footsteps. Her hands were up by her ears, her fingers nimbly adjusted her hearing aids, flipping both of them off, so the shriek of the wind couldn't reach her ears.
"Pix." The albino boy said, then realized his partner couldn't hear him. As she paced by, he reached out and tugged on her sleeve, catching her attention. "P-plastic-- plastic-- plastic-- Pixelen."
"Yes?" The girl, Pixelen, stared at his lips, not bothering to turn her aids back on.
"W-w-we should go outs-s-s-side."
Pixelen waited patiently for the boy to stutter over the last syllable before shaking her head, her cornrows swayed noiselessly around her head.
"I'm not sure that's a good idea, Blight, it's awfully noisy today." She flicked a switch on one of her aids as if to make a point.
"If we g-go out, we'll m-m-meet p-people-- plastic." Blight spun his hand, at the right angle, the symbol stamped across the backs of either of his hands reflected light.
"We never meet people. There's no one here except us." Pixelen argued.
"I s-s-saw it." Was Blight's response.
Pixelen hesitated. The wind howled even louder for a moment. Then, she nodded. "Alright, let's go."
Blight stood, and the two crossed the small space to the single steel door at the front of the room. With a simple wave of Blight's hand at the electronic pad to the side of the door, there was a resounding click, and the door swung open.
In another wing of the institute an otter was resting in his cell. Solo was laying on the cold, concrete floor, his charcoal colored fur was matted in places and one of his front paws looked mangled. He had endured yet another round testing only ten minutes ago, and as usual it left him sore and exhausted. As he laid there he tried to remember the time before all this torture, before the tests, before this hell. But nothing came because, of course, before this he hadn't existed. Not truly.
The two children wandered the halls, keeping their eyes peeled for guards and researchers. The guards here were sparse, as little people as possible were allowed to know of the existence of the laboratory.
At length, they came to a door similar to their own. Pixelen stopped.
"There's something in there." She breathed, touching her fingertips to the door.
"A p-p-person?" Blight asked. He bit the side of his hand. Pix tipped her head as if listening.
"No, a...an animal?" She pulled her fingers back. "I'm not sure, kill the cameras and I'll open the door to check."
At her command, the pale boy turned away from the door. A quick skim of the ceiling revealed one camera across the hall, pointed at the door, and another down the left corridor. Each one moved in an semi-circling, sweeping the area.With a practiced flick of his power, both cameras clicked, froze, then continued on their semi-circle paths, but now they would show an empty hall to whoever was watching. Blight bit his hand, hard.
Free of the camera's eyes, Pixelen opened the door to reveal a cell similar to their own. Lying on the floor was an otter.
Solo lifted his head tiredly, his strange tail flicking a bit. He growled softly at the newcomer, pulling his lip back just enough to bare tiny sharp teeth, but he was not in the mood to fight, or move for that matter. He wanted to be left alone right now.
"What i-i-is it?" Blight asked peering over Pixelen's shoulder.
"I'm not sure. A small beast, it looks sad."
"What if it bites?"
"Touch it a-a-anyways."
Spurred by her partner, Pixelen inched forward. She kneeled on the concrete a few feet from the odd looking creature. Hesitantly, she reached out her hand and stroked the top of its head.
Solo flinched when the stranger touched him, becoming stiff and preparing for the worst. The usual anger broiled in his chest, but so soon after getting tested he was in no shape to act on it. When the pain didn't come, he calmed down slightly but was also confused. Who was this stranger and why where they being nice?
"Come come." Pixelen gently scooped the otter into her arms. "It's a soft beast."
Blight eyed the creature, after a moment, he bit his hand and turned on his toes. "We have to go, there are more people to meet." He murmured. He began walking away.
Pixelen looked down at the soft creature she had cradled in her arms. "I should take you with me. Is that alright?"
Solo, uneasy about being held, bit back the urge to twist free. He forced a calming breath through his teeth, and after a moment his racing heart steadied and a curiosity for the strangers took over. He looked up at the girl and nodded slowly in answer to her question, noting her dark coloring.
"Oh, so you can understand me." She said, slightly surprised. She carried the creature out of the room, following Blight as he creeped down the hall. "Do you have a name?"
Solo nodded again in response to the dark one's question.
Blight glanced back at the two, but said nothing.
The three carried on through the laboratory until they reached a particularly bright hallway. Near the center of the hall was a chunk of glass wall, from which a majority of the light was emanating. Blight walked right up to the wall, squinting against the brightness coming from it, and tapped on the glass.
The otter squinted a bit when they reached a bright part of the hallway, unused to the light.
Inside the room that was so full of illumination, two girls were hunched over, spines pressing out of thin cotton gowns. They sought to shy away from the light, but it highlighted them from all angles, boring into their skin. Even behind their closed lids, their eyes glowed crimson. They could not hide from it. All white, all aglow, sometimes the little girls woke up and thought the angels had come for them. But, it was never so. This was not heaven.
They remembered the kind lady would tell them about angels and about God in heaven. It sounded wonderful. She described it as bright and light, she said that the light was soft. Like a feather. This light was not.
This was just a room. The girls had learned to count with clear cubes, and together they had determined that there were four walls, one ceiling, one floor, two beds and two squishy toys. One wall was odd, they could watch through this wall. They could see things beyond its surface. The lights around the rim made it blurry, so they would squint and try to make out shapes, sometimes.
The nice lady had taught them a song about the angels, and Lily was singing it softly. She had one of their teddies in hand. It was completely opaque. A shapeless mound of soft plastic, really. But one could make out a bear if they tried hard enough. Two ears, one kind of nose and maybe a bow tie. As she sang she held the toy by what they had decided were arms and made it dance side to side. This amused Margo who peeked out behind her unruly black hair. Lily smiled, she was missing a front tooth.
Both eyes jarred up at the sound of tapping, their pupils tiny pinpricks set on the glass. Lily's singing stopped and the toy she clutched dropped to the floor. The pair looked at one another, before Lily hesitantly lifted a hand, giving it a small little wave. Margo looked at her sister, furrowing her brows slightly before mimicking the action towards the glass. Margo was more likely to follow her siblings doings rather than come up with things all of her own. The girl's lips were parted slightly and she used her free hand to rub at her eyes. They couldn't make out the forms properly, both twins squinted.
Eventually, Lily rocked her weight forward, crawling closer to the glass before straightening up again, leaning towards it. Margo hung back, still waving dolefully.
On the other side of the wall, Blight pressed his palm to the glass for a moment before jerking it away to bite it. Red marks had risen on the skin of his hand, some of the marks had begun to leak thin trickles of blood.
"Found them." He whispered.
Pixelen came up beside him, squinting against the light. She offered a weak smile to the forms on the other side of the glass, her fingers absently stroked the otter's soft fur. Every now and again she would catch a mat and pry it gently apart, the smooth the detangled fur down. Solo, enjoying the petting, made a purring-like sound while he looked at the strangers on the other side of the glass curiously.
"Hello." Pix said, though she had no idea if the forms on the other side could here her.
Lily gestured for Margo to come over, waving her palm to the female. Margo crept hesitantly closer. Unlike her twin, she did not crawled, but pushed herself up to gingerly make her way over. She walked with cautious little steps before finally coming to sit down next to Lily.
"Hello," Margo whispered as she just about heard a voice through the glass. Having to strain to hear it, even leaning forward as she was listening. Lily just waved again, these people looked interesting. They were not wearing white coats. That meant that they weren't the pokey people. Who where they?
"Who are you?" Pixelen called, even as she was easing her way into their minds to find the answer for herself. The creature in her arms was vibrating, and she wasn't what that meant. By her side, Blight's lips were moving, but the pattern was repetitive; he was only ticcing again.
Solo stared at the two small girls on the other side of the glass, he kept purring as long as the dark stranger was petting him. He made a chirping noise as if to say hello to the small girls.
Blight tapped the glass again.
"L-l-look at th-their arm-m-ms." He whispered to Pixelen, "They're ex-experi-i-i-ments too."
Pixelen nodded, her arms were tiring, so she lifted the soft creature and set him on her shoulder. Solo hung on for dear life onto the dark stranger's shoulder until he got himself balanced. After he balanced himself he simply sat on her shoulder, looking curiously at the children on the other side of the glass.
"A-a-ask them t-to come o-o-out." Blight urged.
"Alright, alright." Pixelen agreed, "Hey, Margo and Lily, do you want to come out and visit with us? We're trying to...what's the term?" She turned to Blight.
"Right, we're trying to make friends."
"I don't think we're allowed to come out." Margo fretted as soon as Lily bobbed her head excitedly. She wanted to make friends most decidedly and most swiftly. But Margo was more concerned with them getting into trouble. More so than that, she was concerned about the shadows. She didn't know about the lighting, she didn't know much at all. "It might not be safe." Margo continued, fretting with her palms entwined tight over her knees. Her knees were scabbed and scraped, rough beneath her tiny hands.
"I want friends." Lily whined, looking at the glass once more, her brows furrowing. Margo shifted anxiously but nodded.
Pix skimmed the hall, searching for an entrance to the girl's room. At that moment, a particularly loud crash of thunder shook the building, the rumble of it was just enough to reach Pix's damaged ear drums. Her face crumpled and she clapped her hands over her ears, accidentally squishing the soft creature in the process. Solo growled slightly when he got squished, he was already sore and that hurt.
Blight watched, his hand pressed to his teeth. Mild concern was painted on the corners of his mouth and above his nose, but he made no move to comfort her. Instead, he resumed what she had been doing before; searching for an entrance to Margo and Lily's room.
A moment passed, and Pix recovered. She cranked a dial on each aid to raise the volume of the white noise piping through them, and let her hands fall to her side.
The otter went back to sitting in the dark strangers shoulder while looking at the girls on the other side of the glass after she stopped squishing him.
The dark girl scratched the creature's ears.
"Sorry about that." She murmured to it. "You know, you never told me your name. Can you think it or something?" She stopped to consider her own words. "Do you think human?" She asked in a faintly distant tone, almost as if she was asking herself.
Blight wandered farther down the hall, his pale eyes traced every minute detail of the walls and ceiling, until they landed on a discrepancy. Unlike the other doors, access to the twins' cell was hidden. The door was flush with the wall and painted the same color. The lock was flat on the surface of the door, and there was no handle. He pressed experimentally on the door, it rattled but didn't open. Locked. He grimaced.
While Pixelen was petting the creature, a guard rounded the corner. His heavy footfalls went unheard. As his watery eyes lighted on the girl and the otter, an expression of shock crossed his face, only to be replaced by anger.
"Hey!" He barked. Pixelen didn't respond. He was on her in a matter of seconds, one meaty hand clasped her wrists and the other snatched up the otter. Pixelen gasped, but any scream that might have followed only escaped as a whisper. Even so, Blight caught it. He turned rapidly, his eyes widened when he saw what was going on. He broke into a run towards Pix, only to come to a jarring halt two steps forward. His eyes rolled back in his head, the pale iris of his left eye barely peeked out from above, it twitched violently.
The guard, unaware of the boy twitching a mere ten feet away, fastened handcuffs around Pixelen's thin wrists. Solo struggled as the guard took him away from the dark girl. He growled loudly, scratching at the guard and trying to bite them. He was not going down without a fight, that's for sure.
"The Coats won't be happy with you." He chuckled, his voice was dry and raspy, like he smoked a lot. He jerked her by her wrists, and began dragging her and the otter away. Solo succeeded in sinking his teeth into the soft flesh of the guard's hand, and the bulky man gasped.
"Why you--" He flung his arm wildly, shaking Solo off. The small, furred animal went flying, and struck the glass wall. The guard hesitated, his eyes swept the otter's small form, then his mouth fell open.
"Oh, shit." He hissed. Clearly he recognized Solo, "Oh shit, it's that bloody demon otter." He made a quick retreat, glowering at the otter, and swearing to come back with a tranquilizer just for him. By the time Blight's eyes stopped twitching they were gone.
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