In the midst of those fateful days of October, a humble hero retreated from his apartment in New York. He wasn’t a typical fabled hero, yet he was a millionaire scientist. Highly revered by those who knew of his endeavors. Ingraham Atoll was his name, or more professionally, Dr. Atoll. As a scientist, he had pledged his service to humanity, yet it never stopped him from protecting his own wellbeing. When a fatal disease captured humanity in its maws, there was nothing Ingraham could do but escape. He had become paranoid when it came to the topic of disease. He knew exactly what it would do to the overpopulating world if something ever surfaced. To him even, living in New York. Total annihilation.

Ingraham had to tear by waves of suffering civilians to get his charter jet he had kept for the exact occasion. Greenland had always been his planned destination in a devastating event. Isolation was what he would have to endure anyways. His chest tore him apart once he got to the plane, and he vomited upon boarding. Guilt had broken him as soon as he fully realized what he had done. Soon he would realize that guilt would become a part of him. Meld with his inner workings so it never resurfaced as weakness. The world was in dire need of a savior and he was the only candidate worthy of facing extinction head on. Guilt would only slow him down. Besides, his cowardice was well justified, and soon he would do worse daily. Far worse.

Ingraham used to be a humanitarian, putting his heart and soul into his work. Giving scientific projects as gifts to the public. In the years following the sickness, the only gift he brought was mercy, the foulest of its kind. It was the only way he could curb the pandemic. Slaughter and avail combined in a repulsive chemistry.

There was no atrocity that he wouldn’t do for humanity. “Heartless” was a term spoiled by the tides of the apocalypse. There was no city he wouldn’t flatten for the greater good. Theories and applications of green energy flowed freely into the theory of efficient killing, psychic weapons and warheads. Yet no matter how many lives his actions took, disease took more. He would end his own in an instant if he ever became a carrier. Ingraham never took interest in cures because the virus took many shapes. It also mutated just as fast as it rebounded from cities he had tried to purge.

It has been eight years since October. January 28th, 2031. A Saturday, yet dates mattered little. Only time in general, time spent alive. Today, contemplation took faster to Ingraham than it usually did. He stroked his tired fingers through his long hair, delving into his plans and weathering his troubled thoughts that reappeared more and more. Today was a big day, one he had been preparing for years. He had created something. Something spectacular. He had shaped it to his design, had elegantly crafted it to perfection, and was going to walk it into the sunset. He had created what nobody had before. Sentient life. A human is what it would be carelessly called.

A human was defined by loose characteristics. Two legs, two arms, a head; proportions of a primate. Cognition was the main building block that held the crude machines together. Humanity. Ingraham believed it was his limitation that had blighted his efforts for too long. It was what kept him awake late at night, that his human qualities were what made him inferior. It was what made his calculations faulty, and what made his ideas of salvation misguided. He had tried for years to defend human life by any means necessary, and now he was ready to step down. Surrender to his aging shell and give life to another shell. If all went as planned, a genius one.

Many would have called him a mad scientist. The truth of the matter was that those still alive were raving mad. Creating life from bond and blood was the most logical solution he had ever come up with. Trauma was getting to him, his mind was growing frail by the day. The weight of the world was becoming painful on his worn shoulders. Ingraham got up from his slumped position on his desk, walking down the stairs to the basement. It was finally time.

The basement only had a single room, created long ago by his associates. Now they occupied it, or what was left of them. They pledged their servitude to him, believing his research was far beyond their own lifeline. Now they were his research, and Ingraham was forever grateful for their service.

“Hello,” Ingraham spoke, monotonous as ever. “Your stasis will finally be relieved, my friend.”

His creation was a haunting figure, suspended a few feet off the ground through metal cords. Hulking beyond the old physique of Ingraham, the creature was highly muscular from enhancers, and it wore no face. There were no extremities that gendered the being, its existence at all was all that mattered. Its smooth skin was olive gray, a color that even Ingraham never intended. His stream of medications and hormones had given its smooth skin depth, and defined its unusual, yet perfect stature. The only part missing was its spine, a metallic behemoth of twisted metal, suspended above its body.

Even in its paralysis, it could sense everything around it. Its miracle of nerves worked in wondrous ways, operating through multiple connecting branches, instead of just one. It could feel tremors miles away, hear the rush of the wind, and he could sense every move Ingraham made. Even without ears, it had sensory perfection in every way. It also had perfect, steadfast immunity. The disease was strictly respiratory, so its makeup was impenetrable from the outside. It's why it had no exterior features.

Ingraham had been training it. Since it had no need for caloric intake or metabolism, he fed it information. Frantic news stories of the disease, lectures of science. He had worked tirelessly into the nights supplying all he knew into the creature. When his midnight oil depleted, it felt like his blood was simmering under the intellectual pressure of his lectures. He taught it the history of humanity, so one day it would make humanities decisions. It was the savior that had ventured into his desperate dreams, the savior that would replace him. The creature’s perspective was the important part, not the knowledge. It would create its own solutions that Ingraham was too daft to think of and enact.

“Your spine is magnetized, and you shall feel a click when it comes into place,” Ingraham explained to the creature. “You must not move, as I will lower you slowly so there is no damage.”

Ingraham unshackled the metallic spine, lowering it into the creature’s exposed chasm himself. There was a hissing as the engine put itself in place. It ran beside hundreds of veins and connected the creature's multiple spinal cords, unlike any human anatomy. For a minute, nothing seemed to happen. It was what he planned. Soon, there was twitching coming from all over the body. It was expected, as the creature had never used its body before. Yet, as the twitches became spasms, Ingraham had to suppress it.

“You are not to move,” he issued, raising his voice.

He knew the creature heard him, of course it did, yet there was no halt of motion.

“I beg of you, this process will not be painful if you do not MOVE!” Ingraham started to yell.

Still, there was no halt. There was also nothing significant in the movements that showed any pain. Ingraham’s whole world stopped as the creature managed to release the left cord to its hand.

“You-you must stop…” Ingraham’s voice trailed.

As he saw the freed arm swing in his direction, he realized it was all a grave mistake. The colossal arm hit him square in the torso, sending him catapulting towards the wall. Gasping for air from the impact, Ingraham tried to get up, but it was far too late. The creature had untethered most of its cords now, and was standing right in front of him. Although it had no face, he could tell that its posture was out to kill.

Ingraham had drained so much time into the project. He had channeled so much hope into the mere idea. Now his own vision was upon him, its muscular appendages clamping onto his neck. With one loud and nauseating snap, it broke Ingraham’s neck. Its efficiency was terrifying in a mesmerizing way, a master of its art. The creature did something that Ingraham never predicted. It chose to kill its master. A master that had brought it to life and gave it a purpose. It chose to turn down all of it.

The creature looked like a savage in Ingraham’s final seconds, yet it had its own purpose too. The news stories, the history of the world, and most of all science. Humans were meant to die at some point, the cycles of science and history proved it. Piecing together all the pieces like it did with its own existence, the creature pondered what it was asked to do. Save humanity. The pathetic two words that had been spoken so many times. Life was much bigger than that. Much bigger than the “desperate” need for survival. Apocalypse was the new chapter of Earth, and nobody could stop it, not even a manufactured flawless being. Certainly not a mad scientist with deluded views of hope and salvation.

So, as the creature gained motion, it chose not to exercise its new abilities. It would let nature run its course and kill off humanity. It would do what it always had for years as it learned the past and the future… wait.

Comments 0