The holographic flames of the news projector looked so real, one might actually imagine they could feel its searing touch. The building being consumed by the blaze was blackened with ash, but it was nothing to cause concern. The facility was completely impervious to disaster, whether it be earthquake, fire, or anything else. It was just how things were built nowadays. The real excitement was seeing how many flaming bodies came running out. Humans were, as ever, mortal.
That was why that facility, the holographic one on the news projector, had been built. The scientists who worked there had created an organization that focused on the preservation of human life. They had spent the last two centuries perfecting a creation that would live for the single purpose of protecting one person for each of the creations born.
The scientists had known that their formula needed to include the intelligence and sociality of humans, the empathy and caring of female nature, the survival instincts of wild animals, and they had thrown in a dash of morphed physiology. There had been tests to see if male DNA could improve such combinations, though the results had proved disastrous. Still, they had perfected the process over seventy years ago. That was the birth of the Chimeras.
Almost every living person had a Chimera now, all except the elderly, who had been too old to bond with one when the first wave was distributed, and the few and far between non-citizens. Infants were each registered for a Chimera before they were even born. Chimeras typically hatched a month or so before their bond-infant's birth, and for week, they would live in a tube of plasma until they had reached full size and maturity. After, they would trail along with the mother's own Chimera, learning any miniscule knowledge that was not already instinct.
It was a horrible event in the case of the Chimera's bond-infant dying. If already hatched and grown, they would submit themselves willingly to euthanization, before they turned feral and hurt any of the precious humans that they were created to protect. In not hatched, the egg of the infant's Chimera was destroyed as soon as the news was received. That was why, in the case of the burning building, that Jack was slack-jawed with curiosity.
Jack was a gaunt, shadowy, young man, the kind that disappeared into the background, and if someone did notice him, they'd swiftly move on their way. They could see the menace in his eyes, and those that dared to stay within any visible proximity were in danger for their lives. No matter how great a protector, Chimera could not stop an old-fashioned bullet from a powder gun.
Jack had gone to great lengths to steal his powder gun weapon after his old one crumpled from rust; a powder gun was a type of antique, unobtainable anywhere, but in the high class museums, on display, in the most secure and cleanest part of town.
Now, he was stuck. As he had been heading back to the outer streets, the Chimera Project Facility (CPF) had sent out a mass alert before its walls had exploded into flame. Whatever the message had been, now there was the CPF's private police force patrolling a five mile radius blockade. There wasn't even ten seconds of open length between each patroller, and Jack was caught inside the ring of police. Even if they weren't the city's division, the CPF's force would not hesitate to arrest Jack if they saw him, and then he'd be handed right over to the officials of the city.
Jack gritted his teeth; the Chimeras and that facility had continually caused him more and more trouble. Being a non-citizen, he never got his own Chimera, and had to learn how to be his own guardian; that was his justification for using deadly weapons like powder guns. It was completely unfair that he had been denied a Chimera because his mother had abandoned him in the slums. And he was pinned as a criminal for trying to stay alive; so what if he'd killed before, for a wallet, because he was starving?
His thoughts churned bitterly as he estimated how fast and how many officers he'd have to disable to get out of the blockade and how much damage it would add to his record. No one even knew why the blockade had been dispatched—the only hint was the flames that had erupted at the CPF. Jack was watching the news hologram of it through a window of someone's apartment where he was perched outside of, on the thin brink of the window ledge jutted out over a thirty foot drop.
He had to get by the blockade as soon as possible. The ledge was the only close-to-safe spot he could find, away from the prying eyes of officers, citizens, and Chimera, but after too long, the height would make him nauseous if he didn't get down soon and, especially if the CPF's officers were looking for something, or someone, they might start thinking to look up.
Inside the apartment, outside of which Jack was situated, the occupant flicked off the HoloVision projector, and disappeared from the room, leaving the vagrant boy with nothing to distract himself from his acrophobia. As he turned his head back towards the outer world, vertigo clenched Jack's gut. Getting up to the ledge had been the easy part, and he had been up there so long he forgot the exact footholds and niches he had used to get up.
Then a thought dawned on the boy. Feeling like an imbecile to have not even considered it and careful not to release the hand gripping a protruding, he reached with his free hand into his thread-bare pocket and delicately pulled a crooked wire out. Sticking it in his lips where he could be sure it wouldn't be lost, he began to climb higher; attempting to ignore his exponentially growing nausea. He just had to make it to the top of the building.
Jack pressed himself as close to the building as he could whenever he approached a window. Anyone inside could have a chance to report him, and he definitely didn't want to waste his minimal, but fresh supply of powder gun ammunition that was held firmly in place on his belt by metal clips. He was just twenty feet from the top, when someone shouted. Their words were incomprehensible above the humming of the generators on the roof above, but the intention was clear. They, whoever it was, had spotted him.
Jack curled his lip disdainfully, and looked for its source, realizing his mistake. He hadn't thought to check the building behind him for fear of looking down. He had only a split second to see the young woman standing on her balcony across the road, when her Chimera launched its bat-winged body off the railing and dived at Jack.
"Street trash!" the creature shrieked, swooping by Jack and trying to slash at him with a barbed tail.
Part scorpion?! Jack thought to himself as she banked away, and started to turn back for a second attempt. Chimera were being created to be more and more dangerous. He grit his teeth and grabbed for another handhold, but it snapped off, leaving him dangling for another. Jack barely had time to swipe at a flag pole just above his hand, and hoist himself before the Chimera struck out again. This time its barb gorged into the metal of the building, just missing Jacks feet. He had reached a ledge just in time.
Jack got to his feet on the outcrop, and drew the powder gun in the blink of an eye, aiming toward the Chimera's bond, who was watching with a white-knuckled grip on her railing.
"Kilita!" the girl cried, stumbling backwards and lifting her hands in a futile attempt to shield herself. Her Chimera backpedaled in midair as Jack pulled the trigger.
End Chapter One
Man! I love this story! I want a Chimera!
Hopefully the idea of 'Chimera' is comprehensible.
I wasn't entirely sure when I reread it, cuz I'm
Kilita... that particular Chimera is a mix of
Flying Fox, Bark Scorpion, Atlas Moth, and of course Human
I feel bad as to what is going to happen
in the next chapter. Well... every story can't
be a happy one!
Anyone confused as to what exactly a Powder Gun is?
I sure as heck am!
You may think that it's crazy I don't know what this thing is
even when I was the one who made it up, but let me
tell you, I don't make the stories, my characters do,
I'm just the scribe trying to keep up! So I'll figure it out
sooner or later... ;)
You like? :3