Warnings: angst, death
Word Count: 3814
Disclaimer: All characters, places, and names are solely the property of the author. All rights reserved.
Author's Notes: Just a bit of writing practice pertaining to an RP-AU invented and populated by characters owned by archonproject and ChaosticSoul
~~ The Beast ~~
The building shuddered and those who were gathered within it clung to chairs and tables, worried expressions exchanged as the quake echoed for far longer than was believed possible. It was no earthquake. At least not one produced by the earth itself. No, it was caused by the monstrosity held deep within, beneath the building where the scientists, doctors, researchers and educated men all struggled to remain upright during the assault.
For a long minute afterward there was silence broken only by quickened breathing and gasps, a few muttered curses and the silent accusation circling the room as if such a thing was caused by someone -else-, rather than those who stood around. The moment of uncertainty passed and movement began again, footfalls hesitant and careful across cracked tile as if they weren't sure the floor would uphold them. But it did...for the time being.
The source of the quake was held in chains, enraged and mindless beneath the building, one built for research and testing, experiments and learning of the deeper mysteries of humanity as well as other living things. It was a monstrosity. A beast of immense power and strength and for all its size, it seemed to have no intellect whatsoever.
And where had this beast come from? What were its origins? Why was it held within this building? That required an explanation which only a rare few could truly understand.
The beast was not natural. It had not been born as other living beings were. Its origin was from the mind of man, created by scientists in a fashion which was unnatural and untested, thus producing not an animal but rather a being of immense proportions which could not be controlled. Its life had begun in a test tube and expanded from there at an accelerated rate which surprised all who were a part of the experiment. By the time it was full grown no manner of holding tank could adequately contain it and it was forced into true life simply because it could not be restrained any longer within a testing chamber.
It had not occurred to those who had been in charge of creating this beast that it should not be done. It did not come to them that perhaps the Old Gods had been right in allowing its ancestors to die out, to be wiped from the face of the earth for whatever reason. Its distant relatives, far back in the world's beginning, had been much different than this thing which now attempted to escape its bonds. At one time those beasts, so great and powerful, had been intelligent and wise, able to survive the world's birth throes as well as centuries of change as the earth grew and matured. Then, when those original beasts had roamed the earth, they had been the highest form of life on the planet. And it was that realization which had spurred humanity into forcing it back into the world in hopes of learning more about it.
Why humanity thought it had such an ability was beyond those who were aware of the project. Why did they think they could control such a being? And how? For what ridiculous purpose? Curiosity? That, among other things, yes. The need to know, the desire to learn, had pushed scientists into seeking to give birth to a being they had no hope to either understand or control. After all, what they had hoped would be birthed had once been so high above humanity's intelligence, so far beyond human ability to comprehend that it had ruled the earth for long centuries before humans were even a speck of life in the earth's heart. But, this thing was not the same as those beings had been.
There had been painfully brief times when humanity and the great beasts of legend had coexisted on the earth. There had been meetings one with the other yet those encounters had resulted in death on both sides, no matter the reason or time period. It had been so very long ago. When humans still wore animal skins to keep warm and carried spears made of tree limbs, the great and powerful beasts had ruled the planet...and humans had feared them. Now humanity had grown vain and foolish, believing themselves capable of somehow understanding and controlling such a beast as they had now beneath their feet. Foolish humans. Ridiculous mortals. So they thought to contain such a being? They were sadly mistaken.
It could not be done. And any who had even a modicum of intellect now knew that to be true. Still, great amounts of time and money had been spent to produce this beast. Far too much to simply destroy it without thought of the cost or the loss. Yet after two years spent trying to learn more about it, to communicate, to understand, to control it, they had come to the conclusion that perhaps they had been wrong.
This beast was not like the beasts of legend. It had no thought for either itself or its surrounding living beings. It existed on instinct and apparently that instinct sought only to find release from its prison no matter the cost to itself. It was destructive to the point of madness and since its awakening in adult form two years past, it had existed on rage and the desire to escape.
Now, the building which housed it was near to crumbling around it, even the outlying buildings in almost the same state. The entire facility was in danger of utter destruction and all because of one beast, one test subject which was utterly uncontrollable to any degree.
The discussions had been exhausting and constant for the past year yet none had been willing to make a final decision. However now they knew there was no choice left. It was decided to destroy the beast. A great and powerful beast whose far distant ancestors had been even more powerful than it, was scheduled to meet its end this night. And what did the scientists think now? It might have been surprising to note that they were still reluctant and argued among themselves the decision made by those in power. It was an experiment, some said, a worthless test subject which had no hope of ever answering the questions which plagued the scientists minds. There was no communication with it even on the most basic level. There was no controlling it beyond filling it full of powerful sedatives and even then it only made the thing dizzy and incapable of standing upright. And there seemed no hope of change in its actions and reactions. It had no intellect, no basic understanding of humanity or even of other life forms besides itself. It did not understand fire or pain or sound or the world around it. It was, in a word, mindless, useless, no matter the cost of bringing it into being.
It was perhaps fortunate it had no intellect or understanding, for it would have fought even harder to escape its bonds and that would've caused destruction the likes of which none had ever witnessed before. As it was, the beast was simply enraged on a constant basis, that is when it was not sleeping, and those times were few and far between. It did not sleep like a normal beast. It seemed constantly aware. A survival instinct, some had said, which would only intensify as time passed. For two years it had struggled to escape and had learned only the slightest things about its captors. In that learning, so little that it caught and was capable of understanding, it had murdered 35 men who had been tasked with bringing it food or taking note of its physical well being. Now, there were only cameras to watch over it and the humans were safely behind reinforced, protective glass and thick walls in another building, taking their notes from a safe distance.
The room where it was held was enormous, a great hole in the ground which had taken five years to construct. Deep in the earth surrounded by granite, reinforced steel and concrete, the beast was held in an empty chamber devoid of anything except the immense chains which had been specially constructed of a top-secret metal combined with diodes which produced pain in the form of electric current. It still fought to get free, despite the chains and the electricity which jolted it, and it seemed it was becoming used to the deterrents so that they were not a hindrance at all anymore.
It had been fed regularly and once a day sedated for a brief hour so that its chamber could be cleaned somewhat. It ate anything and everything, including humans if they were close enough or paused long enough within range. Now no one would go into the chamber at all. Great jets of water sent a deluge of liquid over the chamber once a day and whatever could not be swept away by that heavy flow was left and ignored. Now, the chamber was a horrible place, a dirty, stinking hole that was filled with both leftover food refuse as well as excrement which had not been washed away down the huge drains along the outer edges of the room.
And did the beast seem to mind that it was held within such a dreadful place? It seemed not to even notice. Its full attention was on escape or sleep. There seemed nothing else that it was aware of. And that too was another telltale sign that the beast must be destroyed. Mindless. Utterly mindless. And it was such a disappointment to those who had insisted this experiment would work that three of the head scientists had left the project, one of them as recent as two months past.
How would they destroy such a beast? As powerful as it was, as strong and seemingly invulnerable as it was, how was one to destroy it? That question had plagued the scientists for months. As the talk of poisons and combinations of medications were discussed there were a few who had other ideas. Fire had been mentioned, but as the beast was covered in heavy, thick scales which seemed impervious to fire, that was not an option. Drowning was also mentioned. But, it had been noted the beast was quite capable of breathing underwater for hours and such a constant flow of water necessary to accomplish the task would be nearly impossible. To maintain the length of time it would take drowning to take effect made that option not an option at all. The discussion of medications nearly got out of hand but it was decided that such an attempt would be folly as it would take far too many precious chemicals to accomplish the deed. There was the thought to starve it but that would take too long and likely would cause its rage to increase to the point that the entire facility would be destroyed during its fury.
Finally, someone brought up the thought to suffocate it and that made everyone pause. The immense room was beneath ground and oxygen was pumped into it by way of huge machines capable of such a task. The water drains could be closed off if necessary, leaving only the vents above open for use. As a humane measure, it was decided to pump the room full of a gaseous substance, enough to hopefully put the beast to sleep, as they had before they had stopped cleaning its chamber by hand. Then, all oxygen would be stopped and the machines reversed so that the chamber would quickly become a vacuum. That would end their problem and would destroy the beast, in the most humane manner they could think of. Still, there was the unknown. If the beast survived somehow, it was a concern that its rage would escalate, that is, if it even comprehended what had been attempted. Most thought that not to be a worry, for even if it did survive it would have no way to discern how the situation had happened, or more importantly, not comprehend it had been subject to such a thing. It had no intellect, and it was unlikely it would even know when it ceased to exist.
And so the decision was made to suffocate the great beast and plans were made, the necessary machinery readied and the gaseous mixture prepared. The scientists all gathered in their safe-room, notebooks in hand and eyes set on the beast as it paced the floor in its usual rage. This would be the beast's end. It would not be a notable one, nor one that anyone really wanted. After all, it was not the beast's fault it had been forced into being. However, they were at an impasse and there was no other option for them, nor for the beast.
Each great footfall caused a tiny quake-like tremor and although the scientists were used to it by now, it was still a worrisome thing to watch and experience. Like some horrific nightmare, the beast paced and growled, snapping its jaws and clicking foot-long claws in its incessant pacing of the great room. Heavy chains clanked as they always did, leaving debris in the form of concrete chips and dust as the chains did more harm to the floor than they did the beast. The great head swiveled this way and that, intense, huge eyes searching for an escape, as they always did, flashing a deadly fire which had yet to be explained by scientific means. The beast was unique, to be sure, and deadly, most assuredly, but it was an amazing piece of work to all who looked upon it.
A monstrous-sized being reminiscent of the legends of old, the beast was what most believed dragons once looked like. It was male and heavy, over ten tons of plated scales which shimmered in the lights that shone down on it from above. A truly beautiful work of art, said some, it showed off great horns on the top of its head and below great jaws, pointed, deadly things that were tipped with the same horny scales as covered its entire body. An enormous tail followed, swaying this way and that with a large horny-barbed bulbous thing on the end, that tail had done damage to the walls, floor and ceiling of its chamber more than a few times. Thankfully, the chamber held strong, more so than even the beast could have possibly become. It had razor-sharp claws on each of its four feet that had also done damage to the concrete which surrounded it. Great grooves had been rent in the floor and walls but the chamber had stood strong, attesting to the two years of planning and five years of construction the chamber had gone through long before the beast had been placed within it. Its jaws, wide and capable of disjointing if necessary, were lined with rows of deadly, sharp teeth that could easily cleave a man in half, and had done so more than once. And along a horny-scaled back the beast possessed a sharply-pointed row of more scales, these stronger, like the horns, that were deadly if one was struck by them.
It was a beast of legend, some said, but it was not. Born of the mind of man and the foolish manipulation of DNA and genetic material of other animals, this beast was like nothing else on the face of the planet. There had never been one like it before and would never be again. It was folly. A foolish attempt by man's insistent vanity that vowed to possess that which could not be possessed, capture that which could not be held captive, understand what could not be comprehended and learn from that which could never truly communicate. Why scientific men thought themselves so far above all other beings as to hold sway over the very origins of life itself no one had ever adequately explained. And now man's foolhardiness had brought him to this...celebration of its greatest success? No, obliteration and hiding away of one of its greatest failures.
The hour struck and the drains were closed via a large computer board in the main control chamber. Moments later the vents overhead opened wide and a yellowish gas was pumped into the beast's chamber. The great head tilted and lifted, intense, fiery eyes fixing on the slowly-growing cloud of yellowish stuff and for a long minute it seemed truly curious and confused. It was then that some of the scientists left the chamber, unable to watch the slow destruction of a beast which was innocent in all ways of both its birth and life and now, its death. The viewing room became silent, all conversation ceased and there was about that room a tension and a feeling of sadness as the beast curled in on itself and settled in the center of its chamber, as if to sleep.
There was hesitation now, even after it was clear the beast had fallen into sleep, but those in charge refused to change their minds. Now was no time for second guesses. They had discussed this for too long already. The decision had been made, the beast's fate had been sealed. It was time. And, within another few moments the oxygen ceased to flow into the room and the machines reversed their task, pulling the remaining oxygen from the chamber in great gulps like some terrible, unseen monster.
The great beast, the progeny of hopeful scientists and ancient legend, began to shudder slightly. Huge paws curled inward, as if seeking a hold on the floor beneath it, and to everyone's astonishment, one large eye opened. For an eternal moment there was only the glare of that eye but many noted, or said they did, that this time there was no fiery glow within that eye's depths. For that moment, so long yet so blessedly short, there was a flicker of understanding, or some said they thought it to be. And some, those who were fanciful thinkers and men who possessed more vivid imaginations, swore that there seemed to be a strange expression of gratitude on that fierce, plated face and in that glowing eye. The seconds ticked silently past and finally a red light appeared on the control board. The room was bereft of all oxygen. It had become vacuum. A final shudder and that great eye closed at last. It was then that the beast ceased to breathe and all was still and eerily silent. For at least five minutes those who stood around the viewing window continued to stare, some in disbelief it had been so easy and quick, others enduring a sense of guilt and sadness, but all who watched felt they had lost something they could not truly explain. And even twenty-four hours later, for that is how long they withheld oxygen from the room, the beast held still in death and did not breathe again. There was no indication of heart beat or movement and when a brave soul did volunteer to go into the chamber to check, he returned whole and saddened to report that the beast was indeed quite dead.
For months the facility was not the same. Men and women ended their tenure and left, taking their work and their research projects with them. And what of those who had initiated such a dangerous and untried experiment to begin with? There were only two left and they were quiet, thoughtful, pondering their morality and humanity along with their goals in life. Although they did not learn what they had hoped to learn from the beast they had given birth to, the facility as a whole had learned many lessons since its conception. They learned of their own mortality, the miracle of life and the sanctity of death. They learned that some things are not meant to be and no matter what man wishes, not all hopes and dreams should be allowed to come true.
And what of the beast? What became of it? Well, some said that it was dismembered and parts of it were scattered around the facility and other facilities to use in experimentation. But that was just hearsay and rumor. It was dismembered, yes, for it was decided that would be best in hopes it would more quickly and easily be obliterated. However, even in pieces, the beast was not easy to get rid of. It was burned in the rivers of lava on the top of a mountain which was quite some distance away. Although the volcano had been dormant for centuries there were still small rivers of lava flowing in hidden places and these were used by the scientific community in various ways. They chose a distant one where its flow would not contaminate any of the facilities using them and there the beast was tossed in, piece by piece. The pieces were watched closely and notations were given stating that even in such a fierce fire, amid lava, the beast's body took hours to be fully consumed. That alone was the most interesting thing they had found out about the beast. The scales it had possessed were almost impervious to any type of fire. Simply amazing.
And what of those who had glimpsed the beast for only moments? What of those who had known of it but never actually seen it? There was about the whole facility a certain strange sensation that it was haunted now. Not by the ghost of a disgruntled employee, either scientist or not. No, it was haunted by the angry wraith of a beast which should never have been allowed to exist. One which had not been brought into this world naturally or for any purpose other than to answer foolish men's questions. And it did haunt. It haunted memories and dreams and even the earth beneath the buildings seemed to shudder on occasion in reminiscent pangs of what it and the beast had endured.
And would there ever be another attempt at such a foolish thing? Oh, it was a surety that someday some foolish scientist would again seek to bring to life a beast of legend which should not exist. But it would be a very long time indeed before it was allowed. Time enough for the tall tales and whispered rumors to die down. Long enough to forget the true horror and fear of having a beast of untold power beneath one's feet. And long enough to forget that some things should not be experienced...not by man nor gods. For the Old Gods destroyed the once-legend beasts of old and did so for a reason. Why? That is also one of those things man isn't meant to know.