Dr. Flug's round glasses glittered an evil, poisonous green. "Flip the switch," his grinning lips uttered.

A responding giggle chittered from the darkness. "Yes, sir~"

Rumbling shook the room, and Flug's pulse quickened beneath his skin. This was it. He could feel it. This creature wouldn't be a failure like 5.0.5, no… no, evil radiated from the chamber. Whatever it was taking shape inside that dome of glass would be darker than Flug's cold scientific heart.

"Set dial B to forty-six," he breathed.

Demencia cackled, yet again disembodied, this time originating from the other side of the room. "Pulling out all the stops, doctor?"

"Quiet." Dr. Flug drew closer to the defining feature of the room: an immense glass chamber thick with plumes of obsidian and emerald. Flug's breath caught in his throat. The rumbling deepened, twisting into something organic, something alive. It took on a dual-tone quality, one deep enough to rattle Flug's bones, the other raking into his eardrums like screeching audio feedback.

Somewhere behind Flug, drowned out by the other noise, Demencia cried out. "Hey boss?" she yelled, sounding infinitely less playful, "maybe we should stop? This is the point last time that -"

"Shut up!" Flug let out a shivery breath. "This is science, Demencia! You can't stop at the brink of revelation! Turn it to forty eight!"

"Boss –"


A squeak and she was off, scuttling across the wall and doing as Dr. Flug had bid. This, however, was their undoing. With one final howl, the lights on the control board popped out of existence, the machines screeched in tortured protest – Demencia's frantic voice raised above it, "Boss, I'm shutting it d-"

The chamber shattered. Flug threw up his hands as glass rained down upon him; Demencia screamed from across the room.

Then silence. Silence deep enough that Flug's ears rang. The machines were fried; the holding chamber was ruined. The last pieces of glass clinked to the floor. Flug shook shards from his coat, and touched a cut on his neck – it was small, nothing to worry about. But had the experiment worked?

Flug dared a step closer to the smoking chamber, and tossed careless words to Demencia, "are you hurt?"

"Nothing bad," she replied. Dr. Flug glimpsed her pressed against the wall, eyes fixed forward.

He could see why. There was indeed something there. Dr. Flug could feel its presence, if not see it. Oily black droplets dripped from the jagged glass crown that was once the top of the chamber. They splashed into a pool of similar substance, and Flug's eyes narrowed. Perhaps he couldn't see the creature, or perhaps…

He took another step closer. "Can you speak?" he whispered.

The surface rippled, and Flug tensed.

"Can you speak?" he asked, firmer now. "Do you –" Immense blades erupted from the black pool: scythes and knives and jagged razors that reared high above his head.

"Boss!" Demencia hurtled off the wall and bolted towards Dr. Flug –

"No! Stay put!"

She froze on his command, but her eyes evinced her conflict. Dr. Flug did not notice her emotions. He had eyes only for the creature, which had also gone still from the yelling.

"It's okay," Dr. Flug soothed. "We don't intend to hurt you." A smile curled at his lips. No, they weren't going to hurt the creature, as long as it cooperated. They had so many better ideas for it.

The black substances dripped from the blades. Plink… plink… plink.

"We're not going to hurt you," Dr. Flug repeated, straining to keep his voice calm. Oh how dearly he wanted to study this creation, how dearly he wanted to add knowledge of it to his already extensive biological repertoire.

Slowly, the weapons sunk back into the black mass. Thick tentacles manifested next, and nosed across the floor as if feeling out the room. Examining its surroundings. Flug gazed on in fascination as one prodded his foot.

"I am your creator, Dr. Flug," he whispered. "Do you call yourself by any name?"

The tentacles quietly withdrew. There was a long silence. Flug waited, though his patience was wearing thin. He needed to speak to it, he needed to study it, he needed to control it and use it –

The oil began to move again, building up and bubbling, mumbling, forming shapes and angles and lines that looked at first grotesque and alien, and then gradually more familiar.

Before long it was….. No, not a human, but something human-appearing, something masquerading poorly in a human disguise. It crouched on the ground, arms wrapped around its legs. Long black claws nearly touched the floor. It did not breathe – Flug realized that perhaps it did not need to.

In fact, there was only one single thing on the creature that moved: its single visible eye flitted with inhuman and terrifying speed, left, right, up, left, up, left, right, down, up, right, down, left, down, up, left –

Flug flinched when the eye fixed on him, still as death.

Its lips slowly parted. Thick green drool dripped from fangs that were more knife than tooth. It laughed, slow and dark. "Call me Black Hat."