Word Count: 1610
As he strode confidentially into the small laboratory his guards broke away from their positions at his sides and stood by the door, their lasrifles held across their armoured chests and their visored helms staring at the wall a head of them. With a soft click the automatic door slid shut and Solomon was sealed into the stark white room, the light from its star light bulbs glinting off the curvaceous bodies of a hundred vials, beakers and Petri dishes that lined the steel workbenches and sat on the dozens of shelves that lined the small room. Huge jars sat against one far wall containing preserved bodies of dead creatures, floating serenely in the preserving solution, reminding him slightly of embryos in the womb. And at the far end, through the forest of steel and sterile work surfaces, hunched over a microscope with a set of headphones over his ears was the man he had come to see.
Walking up to stand beside him Solomon waited for a second or two, hoping his approaching footsteps would have attracted his host, but they didn't. Whatever it was pressed between those two glass slides it held his attention in a vice like grip. With a huff Solomon ripped the boys headphones off his head. That certainly got his attention.
'What the fu...!' he started. Firing from his stool and turning around, but as soon as his face found Solomon's the colour visibly drained from his face and those words died on his tongue. 'Director!' he garbled, his voice breaking. 'I...I wasn't expecting you,'
'Nor should you have been Michael,' smiled Solomon coyly. 'For all intense and purposes, I am not here.' Michael looked at him slightly confused. Strange, thought Solomon, he didn't know that people with one-ninety IQ's could become confused. 'If anyone were to ask about your night you would tell them that you spent it working on whatever it is you had there,' he pointed to the microscope. 'And examining your...specimens.' he said. Tapping a jar on the wall next to them which contained the preserved body of a baby chimpanzee. Its eyes closed and its body curled up, as if asleep, unaware of Solomon's presence. 'Just as I would say to anyone that asked me that I was at home, finishing reading case files.' he stared at Michael for a long and hard moment. 'Do we have an understanding, Michael?'
'Of course, Director.' the young doctor stammered.
'Excellent,' he said with a smile void of all humour.
Doctor Michael Vault was a brilliant young man, if he had been allowed to publish any of his work to the wider academic community Solomon was sure he would be hailed as the genius of their age. But he wasn't, a mind like that didn't pass unoticed through government universities, and with four P.H.D's at the age of twenty three he was an asset they severely needed. He'd worked on everything from virus bombs to electrical circitry for global satalites. But for the past seven years he'd been the lead researcher on the Titan Project. And that was the work Solomon was here to talk about.
'Is this about Zero, Director?' he asked carefully, his voice seeming to fall away near the end of his sentence. 'Because I swear to you I had nothing to do with his escape!'
'Oh come now Michael, we both know that!' grinned Solomon. Placing his hands behind his back the former soldier walked around the lab, pretending to examine vials of strange coloured liquid and mathematical formulae scrawled onto the walls in a hasty hand.
'Of course. Subject Zero was your greatest research subject, we both know he was far too valuable to you for you to just let him walk out the door, so to speak.'
'Oh...well, that's good then.' the frightened doctor said awkwardly following Solomon around his lab.
He made a noncommittal grunt and bent over an open Petri dish, a gelatinous liquid saw within it, a cluster of bacteria breeding in its centre. Going to poke it with the end of his finger Michael shot forward, reaching out to stop him before thinking better of it. 'What can I help you with Director?' he said loudly, bright blue eyes nervously flicking from Solomon to the Petri dish he was about to contaminate.
'I need to understand my enemy, Doctor.' he said, straitening his back and drawing back his hand.
'Zero's our enemy now?'
'Subject Zero became our enemy the moment he broke out of the facility and murdered three people...that we know of.'
'Of course, sir.' Michael coughed with a nod. 'What...er...what would you like to know?'
'I would like to know how to kill him.'
Michael blustered at that. 'Sir, what? Director you cannot be serious! He's vital to our research, without him we'll be set back a decade. Maybe more.'
'I do not care how long your research will be back dated, Doctor! I am quite serious.' he barked. 'He is a traitor to Earth's Galactic Government and must be treated as one. Now tell me, how can I kill him.'
Whatever colour was left in Michael's face drained away before Solomon's eyes. 'Well...er...It's no easy task. The modding he possesses means his cells regenerate at five times normal levels, his reactions are heightened, senses, mental processes, immune system. Short of...of a bullet between his eyes or a blade to his heart...'
'Can he be poisoned?'
More colour fell from Michael's wrinkleless face. 'No,' he said with a shake. 'Anything injected into his bloodstream will be destroyed by his immune system, anything ingested will either be burned by his stomach acid or his metabolism.'
'How is that possible?'
'It's part of basic training, sir. We injected them with everything from cobra venom to cyanide, eventually their bodies adapt and become immune. It was actually your idea Director...in case...er...enemy forces attempted to use poison.' he finished sheepishly.
'Was it now?' Solomon asked dryly. 'Look whatever you did to him to make him the way he is, surely there's a way to undo it.'
'Sir?' the boy chirped, his brow furrowing.
'Whatever you put in his DNA to allow him to do what he does. You must be able to take it out.'
Michael coughed awkwardly and took a small step away from Solomon. 'Sir, I...I don't think you...fully understand what it is we do...'
Falling away beneath Solomon's steel hard gaze Michael could barely meet his eye anymore. 'Then enlighten me.' he whispered sinisterly.
'Well...the human DNA strand is impossibly complex and intricate, but a vast majority of the genes all humans’ posses are no longer valid, they're...they're no longer used in our development as a foetus. They're leftovers from our genetic ancestors, and...uh...what we do, is instead of replacing them or cutting them out all together, we tweak them. You see in the early days we attempted to add more genes to the code, but the body rejects these alterations almost immediately and almost always ended up with the death of the patient or some kind of hideous mutations, it was a leap of absolute genius to even think about using the void gene strands as a staging point for alterations.' Michael paused, and seeing his words weren't getting through changed his approach. 'Think of them like cars, right now they're just sitting there because they don't have drivers...we...well we give them drivers.'
'So what drivers do you give them?'
'Fast ones. We essentially kick the genetic code into over drive and as the cells within the patient duplicate mutations occur, it’s a craps shoot as to what these may do or even if they’ll take, but it's these mutations in the genus that give genmods their powers.'
Solomon glared at Michael. 'They are not powers, Doctor.' he snapped. 'They are gifts that we gave them.'
'Yes, sir. Of course, gifts.'
'And there is no way to...remove the drivers?'
'No sir, after the mutations have occurred and the body adapts to them, the process is irreversible.'
Solomon growled. 'God dammit it!' he shouted making Michael nearly shit his pants. 'You created him! Why can't you destroy him?!'
'Because we didn't create Z...Subject Zero, sir. If you were asking me to destroy Subject Six or Seven then things could be simpler. But Subject Zero was made by different hands and his work was...well perfect. Sir.' Michael blurted out in fear.
'Doctor Christian Maloney,' said Solomon. 'You know the name?'
Michael smirked, 'No offense sir but everyone in this lab knows his name. He created Subject Zero,'
'He did. He's also dead.' Shock crossing his face Michael sat back onto a stool behind him. 'He put a bullet in his mouth, a few seconds after this E.D.F Enforcers report chasing a man who fits Subject Zero's description across half the planet before he vanished. That was twenty-four hours ago.' A hard silence birthed itself between them and Solomon was about to turn and leave when another question popped up in his mind. 'Perfect is a word that comes up a lot when people discuss Subject Zero. Why?'
Michael took a moment before turning his white washed face to look at Solomon. 'His genetic code, it's perfect. With most genmods the mutations cause a discord during cell multiplication, over time they stop advancing, at that point they the mutations either level out or recede. Some of the very first subjects lost their gifts all together after a decade or so. But, for reasons we don't quite yet understand, Subject Zero's genetic code allows for these mutations to prosper, thrive even. In all the time he's been with us the mutations in his DNA have never stopped advancing.'
'Are you telling me everyday he's becoming stronger?'
'Day, no. But year? Then yes Director, that is what I'm saying. We couldn't have built a better test subject for genmodding. He's perfect. He's Genesis.'