Author's Note: I've been threatening this fic for about two years now, I think. The idea is an old one, but I haven't had the inspiration to finally get it out until now. For those of you who remember, way back, 'Blades' was the name given to our favourite Tiger Shark in the original pilot episodes, but for whatever reason, this was later changed to 'Streex'. Yes, it is vaguely relevent. :3

Blades: Prologue

"This is stupid."

The hissing speech was almost lost in the vast silence of the decimated laboratory. Impatiently, the speaker dug through yet another pile of rubble but discovered nothing more than a ruined workstation and a few chunks of concrete. His extensive search had turned up nothing and, he strongly suspected, was proving itself to be a complete waste of time.

The consequences of returning with nothing, however, were terrible enough to keep him going long after he would have preferred to give up.

Slash scowled at the lab, as if daring it to give up its secrets. He wasn't even entirely sure of what he was looking for. All he knew was that what Paradigm wanted, he got, regardless of how long it took or how impossible the task seemed.

Or how stupid the request, Slash sardonically thought to himself. This was one of the most demeaning things he'd been forced into for quite a while. However, with the recent addition of Killimari to Paradigm's forces, he had been unceremoniously demoted from first to second in the rather informal hierarchy. Naturally he wasn't pleased, but good sense told him not to press his luck with the squid. He may have been smarter, but Killimari had the advantage of ranged combat, not to mention the nasty poison he could load into his darts.

No, he would have to defer to Killimari; at least until the squid made some vital mistake that put him out of Paradigm's favor.

In the mean time, he resigned himself to the dull task of searching through the old Fission City power station. The abandoned building had once housed Paradigm's primary laboratory. The scientist had spent all of the previous day brooding about his next big plan – the one that would surely defeat the shark brothers and their allies once and for all – and he must have come up with something because when he emerged from his private room he immediately sent Slash on this seemingly fruitless search.

In theory, he was supposed to be looking for a small, silver case that the doctor had stored here while the lab was still in use. Unfortunately, the place had been destroyed during one of the frequent battles with the Bolton brothers, and there was hardly anything left intact. Everything was ruined; walls leaned on each other for support, the ceiling was full of holes and it looked like something had exploded in the room on at least one occasion. In all likelihood, the case had been destroyed, and his hopes of regaining his status as Paradigm's most trusted Seaviant along with it.

He vented some of his pent up frustration on another pile of rubble, throwing aside thick sheets of metal and support beams as if they were made of cardboard. He was so focused on his anger he didn't notice the case until it had been similarly picked up and hurled across the room with savage force.

It hit the wall with a crash and, more alarmingly, the distinctive sound of breaking glass. Slash stared at it, stunned that he'd finally found it after hours of searching. The look quickly melted into guilt as he realized that whatever had been in there was now almost certainly ruined. Gingerly, he crept over to it and picked it up, wincing as another tinkle of glass reached his ears.

Glancing furtively left and right, as though worried about being seen, he quickly made his exit from the ruined lab. The Doctor didn't need to know about this small mishap. Better to say that the case was damaged when he found it. Yes, that would work…

He just hoped that whatever had been in it was still salvageable; otherwise his plans of returning to Paradigm's favor were null and void.

Dr. Luther Paradigm was pleasantly surprised when Slash did in fact deliver the case. He'd known from the beginning that the possibility of it still being intact was slim, not that he'd let the Seavient know it. Surely enough, his efforts had been rewarded and the familiar case was now back in his hands, and in the cool silence of his private laboratory he could feel the pleasant anticipation of a new experiment forming.

Forcing himself to focus on the task at hand, he carefully opened the case and scanned its contents. Inside were four indentations, each designed to hold a small vial of liquid. Unfortunately, three of them were broken; casualties of the rough treatment the case had been though. Paradigm wasn't sure whether to be disappointed at their loss, or relieved that one had still survived. Being extra cautious, wary of breaking the last vial, he lifted it out and checked it over critically, searching for cracks in the glass that would have contaminated the sample.

It appeared to be completely in one piece. The dark red liquid inside sloshed gently against its glass container as the doctor gently twirled it between his fingers. An unholy light began to gleam in his single eye as the delicious possibilities of the container began to form in his mind. He began work immediately, storing the precious vial in a safe location and setting up computer-simulated tests of what he was about to attempt.

To be honest, the plan involved an entirely different spectrum of genetics than what he was used to. His specialty was the combination of different DNA structures. At the most basic level it was about turning something old into something new. This was nothing like that, although it was equally illegal in the eyes of the law. Perhaps even more so, he mused. It had been a while since he'd checked.

Still, he was confident he could master it…probably even improve on what modern science was already capable of. The thought made him smile, though it was tinged with bitterness. He was making some of the most important discoveries in the field of genetics, but he would never be recognized for them while they were deemed 'unethical' by the community.

That's one of the first things I'll change, he thought to himself. The city needed strong leadership, someone to lead it into the new age of genetic improvement over the inherent weaknesses in human DNA. He would be that person, as soon as the small annoyances known as the Street Sharks were out of his way. Looking over the computers' results, it looked like that day might not be so far off. The scans it had taken were promising; soon he could start collecting the rest of the data he needed.

The Sharks too had their weaknesses. The unfortunate problem was that these weaknesses were hard to exploit when they all worked together. The bond of blood was strong between them and so far his efforts to divide them had always failed. His latest idea would easily prevent that problem; forcing them to separate not only physically, but mentally.

But there was always a solution open to the innovative mind. Trusts could be broken with a proper deception, and for someone who'd convinced an entire city of his innocence to unimaginable crimes breaking up four brothers would be child's play. He smirked with satisfaction, and once again immersed himself in the intricate processing of data that promised the success he was waiting for.