As a "scientist" of the underground, it's almost expected of me to be a heartless bitch. Maybe that's why the head researcher who runs my group is so well respected. When "patients" come to our "facility," he never calls them by their real names. Instead, he assigns them a number to let them know that's all they are to him - a number, a paycheck, an item. And that's just scratching the surface.
He's know to be a bit....eccentric, as well. He tends to get rather carried away in our experiments, and I would be lying if I said we'd never had a casualty due to his actions. Still, no matter how shitty he treats our test subjects or how many people get injured or even killed on his watch, he is one of the most well known "scientists" of the dark underground.
The door of my office suddenly swings open, and I quickly look up in response. Speak of the devil, and he shall appear. I make a note to remember this phrase as I find myself staring directly at the head scientist.
"Mori-chan," he says excitedly as he enters my office without even bothering to ask my permission or excusing himself first. "We've got a Strain."
As soon as I hear those words, I understand his excitement, and I myself even get a bit worked up, too. A Strain would definitely be a big break for us, especially if we could find out what makes it tick. I get goosebumps just at the thought.
However, I stay quiet, holding back my excitement, as I stand up. I obediently follow in his practically prancing footsteps to the control room of the experimentation cell, clipboard and pen in hand. We enter the room, and I immediately examine the people waiting for us. Four familiar faces and one new face. I stare at the nervous-looking middle-aged man with a quirked eyebrow and a frown.
"And this is?" I ask with a gesture of my free hand to the unfamiliar man, looking around the room expectantly.
"The Strain's father," the head researcher informs me before any of the others can.
I stare at the man for a few long seconds before following my boss over to the small control panel resting in front of the wide window that takes up nearly an entire wall of the room. On the other side of this window, sitting in the dark experimentation cell, is our meal ticket. My breath hitches with the eagerness to see this mystical being.
"His name is Ryuta," the father says quietly, and I detect a hint of defiance in his voice. I consider putting him in his place but remain silent as the other faceless scientists in the room, deciding to leave this to the professional.
The other researchers and I watch with bated breath as the head scientist turns to face the Strain's father. As usual at times like this, his expression is nearly unreadable, but it's extremely clear that he's upset. I can't blame him, though, since I'd really like to give this father a piece of my mind. Who does he think he is, barging in here and trying to tell us what to call our new test subject?
The head scientist gives the man a long, hard, steady stare, and I get chills for the father. After a few agonizing moments, he turns back to the control panel and orders, "Mori-chan, write this down."
I straighten up, feeling the gaze of all five other people fall on me, and prepare myself to write down his every word.
Without turning away from the control panel, he begins, "This Strain, formerly known as Ryuta, will now be known as #52. It is a 14-year-old male. We currently do not know the full extent of its abilities, but through much experimenting, we plan to find out."
With a dramatic flip of a switch, the lights of the experimentation cell turn on. I pause to look up at the sight, and my heart nearly stops.
A young man stands in the center of the pure white room. His short hair is dark black, jet black, and his eyes are a piercing, brilliant shade of amber. He looks to be about average height for his age and a bit on the thin side, but even while he seems completely normal, there is a totally different air about him. The way he carries himself, standing boldly in the middle of the room with his chest puffed out and his nose sticking up, he honestly intimidates me. And I wasn't the only one who noticed this, based on the quiet murmurs that suddenly erupted in our small group.
With a glance at his father, I notice how different they are. His father is a tall, lanky man with dark brown, receding hair. Most different are their eyes. While the Strain has those striking amber eyes, his father has droopy, dark-colored eyes that resemble the color of drying mud. I scribble these observations down on my piece of paper.
I look up from my clipboard to return my attention to the head scientist. "Sir?" I ask softly.
He glances at me with a wide grin that's honestly a bit creepy. "It's amazing! Can't you just feel the energy radiating off it?" he asks me breathlessly, and I have to nod in agreement as I look back to the young Strain.
For a split second, I swear my gaze locks with that burning, amber gaze, but the Strain turns his head to glare at the wall. Even then, I can't help feeling rather singed. It's clear to me now that we will certainly have our hands full with this one.