Rated: T+ (May go up in later chapters)
WARNING: This story contains ideologically sensitive material involving human mutation and mutant love.
Relativity: A state of dependence in which the existence or significance of one entity is solely dependent on that of another.
"He's on his way now!"
"What?!" a tall, raven haired, bespectacled woman exclaimed. She stood, caught hovering over a trinocular microscope, with a clip board and pen in hand, jotting notes as she examined a blood sample. She tensed instantly and rounded chocolate eyes to the male, knowing exactly what her manager meant, but praying she'd misheard.
"Mr. Stockman! He's heading here right now!" Replied John Floyd as he ran a trembling hand through gray speckled hair. Sweat beaded on his forehead and his neck flushed red as he stressed about their time limit being cut considerably.
Lavinia Fontaine cursed to herself and snapped the light on the microscope off, removing the blood sample and pushing the microscope to the side. She set the clip board and pen down to return the sample to a cooling unit and hurried to Floyd's side.
"Why is he coming now? We're not ready!" She said, following quickly as he sped towards room 213, their largest and most advanced testing room.
"I can't say. He just said he was on his way now and expected to see some progress," Floyd explained, throwing open a large white door with only a small window that had pin point lines criss-crossing over its pane.
Inside the lab, large equipment lined the walls neatly, while smaller machines were tucked away on shelves and in cabinets. The walls were plain and undecorated and the floor was the same bland white. In the middle of the room was a metal table all ready set up for the patient they didn't have.
Typically, their experiments called for civilian volunteers who were paid generously for their time. More often than not, homeless people strayed in for a quick buck, but they weren't terribly picky in most cases.
"What about our volunteer? We have nothing to show without someone to test on! Mr. Stockman isn't going to accept theories and assumptions," Lavinia frowned as Floyd released a small, dry sob. He had his back to her as he clumsily fumbled with vials. He shook his head, hair in disarray and bouncing slightly in the movement.
"I don't know… I don't know…" Floyd moaned, dropping his elbows on an empty white counter top and supporting his head as he tried to regulate his breathing. The poor man had severe anxiety and with their jobs suddenly on the line, he was on the brink of hyperventilating.
Lavinia chewed her lip, searching for some sort of answer. Baxter Stockman was a renowned scientist famous for his brilliant inventions. He owned several labs and Lavinia had only had a job under him for six months; she was not about to relinquish it over something they should have had ready by now.
Baxter Stockman had been Lavinia's idol since the very first day she learned about his research as a freshman in college. She new he was a very respected man, but unfortunately also very impatient. When he gave a deadline, he meant it. There were no second chances, as she was warned upon hiring.
Her heart thumped as she realized that the only possibility of them both surviving this was to switch her position from scientist to subject. Of course, so much could go wrong with a substance that hadn't been tested, but which was more important? Having boils for a few weeks or losing the career she'd strived so hard for? She gulped, but clenched her fists in resolve, nodding to herself firmly as she made her way across the room to place a hand on Floyd's shoulder.
Floyd had been kind to her from day one. Always patient, he'd gently corrected mistakes she made, 'forgetting' to send in write ups.
In a sense, she owed him a lot.
"I've got this, Floyd," She said, patting his quivering shoulder.
He made a small squeaking sound in the back of his throat and turned watery eyes to regard her in confusion," What?"
"You can test the product on me."
"Miss Fontaine…" Floyd shook his head doubtfully, turning to face her and straightening his back in his own subtle way of trying to put his foot down. Unfortunately for him, Lavinia stood at a good five foot eight, so she could easily look him in the eyes. Brows furrowing, she set her shoulders and raised her jaw. He'd give in, quickly.
"We've gone over and over the equations for months, Floyd. We both know that this new compound is failsafe," She reassured, smiling at him. Indeed, they'd spent many sleepless nights hunched over equations and samples. She was positive that they had every base covered.
Before he could argue further, the door opened and a mousy looking young man with glasses that were far too large for his thin face burst through, looking more than a little panicked.
"M-Mr. S-Stockm-man is h-here!" He stuttered. Timothy Smith was a skittish little intern who'd only worked there for a week. Neither Lavinia nor Floyd knew just what to think of him, yet.
Lavinia smiled and nodded confidently, though her heart plummeted. She'd never actually met Baxter Stockman and he was going to be surveying something she helped create. Her stomach flopped nervously and she hoped that everything went according to plan.
Before either could dismiss the trembling man, a tall, regal looking man wearing a flowing white lab coat entered the room. Dark skin, high cheekbones, strong jaw… topped with the smart looking glasses…
Lavinia's knees suddenly felt weak.
"Yes, yes," he said with an elegant wave of his hand, "thank you Tommy."
Timothy nodded fervently and dashed as fast as his short legs could carry him from the room, slamming the door behind him.
Lavinia's heart stopped as she took in Stockman's tall form. The Baxter Stockman. He was nothing like she expected. The Stockman she pictured was old and weathered. The man before her was handsome and young. Her throat tightened and her hands became damp and she gawked like a sill teen girl. She barely remembered to breathe when Floyd suddenly brushed past her to clasp the man's hand.
"Mr. Stockman!" He greeted, suddenly regaining his composure; and without a moment to lose.
"Hello. It's a pleasure to see you again, Floyd. I trust you all ready have everything set?" Stockman said, looking graciously around the room and nodding as he noted that they indeed had all the proper equipment ready to go.
"Yes, sir. We can start now, in fact."
"And the… candidate?" Stockman asked, frowning at the empty table.
"Actually, our own Lavinia Fontaine is so confident in our work that she herself has volunteered!" Floyd flung and arm back, groping blindly until he found the woman's thin wrist. He tugged her forward, perhaps a little too roughly because she stumbled.
Catching herself, Lavinia blushed and looked up at Stockman shyly.
"G-good evening, Mr. Stockman, sir," She stammered, wiping her hand on her lab coat before extending it to shake his.
Stockman's palm was cool as it enveloped hers. Long fingers curled around the back of hers and his grip was firm. She couldn't stop the pleased shiver that ran own her spine as his other hand gently patted the top of their shaking hands.
"Beautiful," he commented in his smooth, tenor voice, yes roaming over her face appraisingly.
Blood rushed to her cheeks as he smiled warmly at her and she suddenly felt light headed. She laughed nervously and struggled to find some clever response, but thankfully, he released her and turned to Floyd.
Clapping his hands, Stockman said," Well, not to hurry you two, but I am in a rush. Mind if we get started?"
"Of course! Of course!" Floyd gushed, nodding his head in agreement. He placed a hand on the small of Lavinia's back, gently indicating that she should sit on the table. She followed his instructions; folding her hands self consciously in her lap as Stockman regarded her.
"So, tell me about this new concoction of yours, Floyd," Stockman asked, sounding quite serious, though his eyes strayed back towards Lavinia. Lavinia blushed more and lowered her gaze to the floor. Her stomach fluttered with excitement under the obvious attention she was receiving from their boss.
"Well, it's actually a mix of different experimental mutagens and some animal genes specifically chosen to enhance certain traits in humans. They are dominant traits that will most certainly take over our weaker ones and…" Floyd went into a lengthy explanation, but Lavinia could only hear the thumping of her own heart as it pounded frantically against her rib cage. She gripped the edge of the table tightly and stared at Floyd, trying to nod and hum at all the right spots, though she wasn't registering a word he said.
This experiment was her baby and had been the only thing on her mind for months, but her mind went completely blank as she felt the white hot gaze of her employer raking over her body. She concentrated on sitting straight and sucking her stomach in, though she wore a heavy lab coat that hid her figure anyway.
She was so consumed by her own bashful thoughts that, before she knew it, Floyd had placed a hand on her shoulder. He stood directly in front of her smiling expectantly and holding a syringe filled with solid colored blue liquid.
"Um… I'm sorry, Mr. Floyd, could you repeat that?" She asked. Floyd's smile didn't waver, but his eyes glittered with mirth because he knew about her admiration for Stockman, which only made her blush darken more still. She could only hope Stockman did not notice.
"Are you ready, dear?" Stockman chuckled, smiling widely at her.
Her voice failed, so she could only nod.
Without further adieu, Floyd moved the collar of her coat and plunged the needle into her neck. It was incredibly painful. All flirtatious thoughts about her boss disappeared immediately and she clenched her teeth to prevent herself from whimpering.
The liquid was injected slowly and seemed to take an eternity. The spot where the needle pierce her flesh was hot and the heat seemed to slowly spread as the liquid traveled through her blood stream. Finally the needle was removed and she sighed in relief, though warmth still spread through her body.
"Here," Floyd all ready had a cotton ball ready for her to press against her neck. Then, he turned towards Stockman, who was rubbing his chin and frowning.
Lavinia's throat felt dry and her mind worked as she considered her reactions. Quickly following the warmth was a sensation of tingling. It was as though her nerves were trembling in anticipation of their imminent mutation.
"How do we know the compound worked?" Stockman asked.
"We're not sure how long the serum will need to take effect," Floyd explained," It could be as soon as a few minutes and as long as a few weeks."
Stockman did not look impressed.
In fact, from Lavinia's angle, his expression became more and more blurred until, quite suddenly, she couldn't make out his features at all. Before long, the entire room had become fuzzy.
"What the…" She whispered, reaching her hands up to check if her glasses were still on. They still rested on the bridge of her nose. Alarmed that the experiment seemed to have blinded her, she ripped the plastic frames off and the world jolted into crystal clarity.
Her stomach twisted and protested in shock, threatening to expel her dinner, and she swayed as her mind tried to register the startlingly clear surroundings.
Lavinia blinked slowly. It was as though she were seeing things in more detail than ever before. She was certain she could even make out the fibers in Stockman's lab coat as he looked at her in concern.
"Is everything all right?" He asked.
"Yes…" Lavinia breathed," I can see… Oh my gosh, I can see!"
"It worked!" Floyd whooped, fisting the air in enthusiasm. Stockman looked amused as well as he watched him, but as he turned his gaze back to Lavinia, he frowned. Then, his expression melted into one of annoyance.
"Floyd!" He snapped.
Lavinia's brows furrowed in confusion," What's wrong?"
When Floyd turned, his expression melted from one of joy to one of horror.
"What's wrong?!" Lavinia demanded again, reaching her hands up to touch her face. Her skin felt cool and remarkably smoother than before. That was a blessing. However, something wasn't right. Her entire body had tingled seconds after the injection, but now was starting to burn.
An incredible pain started on her neck. Her hand flew to the spot and rubbed. It felt cool to her fingertips, but the skin continued to burn and it spread rapidly to her jaw and face, then down her chest. Like a wild fire it scorched her body painfully. She cried out and clawed in vain at her shirt.
When Lavinia looked down she noted that her hands were turning blue and inky black rings began to spot along her knuckles, moving up her arm. Her pinky and ring fingers had melted off and were lying curled up and hissing on the ground, where they continued to disintegrate.
She screamed in terror, kicking away from the horrifying scene. Her feet also began burn. They felt like they were on fire. Whimpering loudly, she ripped off her shoes.
Her feet had also turned blue and she only had two swollen toes left.
Somehow, despite the countless nights she'd spent going over the formula, there had been a mistake. There had to be a way to fix it! Lavinia looked hopefully at Stockman.
"This is a disaster," Stockman said, wrinkling his nose in disgust at the woman. He turned to Floyd," Dispose of her. Then you and I need to… Talk."
Floyd paled and looked after Stockman as he disappeared in a flurry of flowing lab coat.
"Floyd…" Lavinia whimpered, her eyes stinging. Surely Stockman hadn't meant…
Of course, their lab illegally tested on humans. But, it was for the betterment of mankind! Some people died during experimentation, but they were forewarned that it was a possibility. Never had they killed someone intentionally!
"Lavinia… I'm… sorry…" Floyd couldn't look at her as he unlocked a small drawer.
Lavinia shook her head, eyes widening in terror as he pulled out a gun. This had to be a nightmare. She and Floyd were friends. Just the other night, they'd gone out for drinks and she helped him stagger home after having one too many shots.
"F-Floyd…?" She whispered, eyes filling with tears. He did not respond, only raised the gun. His hand shook and his bottom lip trembled as his mouth twisted into a sneer. His finger twitched on the trigger and looked up at her with sorrowful eyes. He was really going to kill her…
With a cry, she leapt towards him, arms outstretched. Somehow, she miscalculated the force she put into the jump and she crashed heavily into them, sending them both flying several feet away. Disoriented, she shook her head and didn't give him a chance to regain his own composure.
Leaping to her feet, and again somehow miscalculating the distance she meant to go, she darted away. The jump sent her an extra foot than she anticipated, but she used it to her advantage as she tore from the halls of the laboratory to burst into the streets of New York.
Though it was very late, several people were out. Stopping only for a second to think of a game plan, she pulled up the collar of her lab coat jogged for her apartment. She would only grab a few things, like cash, and go. Surely, it would be the first place Floyd checked for her. Hopefully, she would make it before he did.
Hunched, she curled into herself as she wove in and out of people. Her apartment was several blocks away, unfortunately. She'd normally take a cab, but for obvious reasons, that was out of the question.
She knew she'd have to hurry, especially because she was on foot.
She turned sharply into an alley that she knew to be a short cut. She'd always been the one to criticize the stupid girls in movies who ducked into dark alleys, but running around the streets of New York with the way she looked was too dangerous. Someone was bound to notice.
Thankfully, the streets were clear when the towering, aged building she called home came into view. Poking her head through the glass doors, she was relieved when no one was in the lobby. She darted through the halls, up the stairs, and then clumsily unlocked the door to her small apartment. Quickly, she slipped in and slammed the door, panting heavily.
The clock on the wall said she'd made it home in record time, but her mad dash left her winded.
As she leaned against the door, she noted that there were no screaming sirens. No angry mobs with pitch forks. And thankfully, no Floyd. Yet, she reminded herself. She didn't have a minute to waste.
Her heart throbbed in pain as she thought of her friend. He'd turned on her so quickly. All for his job…
"In the name of science…" She whispered to herself mockingly and released a choked sob as she looked at her hands. Three fingers on each hand. Blue and spotted on the top. Yellow palms. She was a monster…
She shook her head and sighed shakily. She wanted to mourn; to scream in anger. But, she did not have time to linger if she wanted to live and try to find a cure.
She rushed to her bedroom and dug through her dresser drawer to pull out an old worn envelope: her stash of emergency cash. She had to have at least a thousand in there, but she'd have to count later.
She jammed the envelope into her pocket, but then thought better of it. She was wearing stark white work cloths. The clothes underneath were also blaringly white. She might as well hang a sign around her neck with big bold letters saying: Here I am!
She had to put on something less conspicuous.
Quickly stripping to her underwear, she stared down at her body in shock.
Her torso and stomach was yellow, her sides and back red, and she had neat black stripes on her collar bone and hips. Slowly, she looked up at the mirror on her dresser and cried out in shock.
Staring back at her was a red, orange, and black patterned face. She had no ears. She had no hair. And she had no nose.
She was hideous.
No wonder Floyd had been so eager to kill her…
She felt tears fill her eyes, but before she could release them, she heard heavy footsteps stop just outside her door.
Lavinia suddenly realized how small her apartment was and mentally berated herself for not purchasing a gun like Floyd had suggested months ago.
'Oh, no one would rob, me silly. I have nothing worth stealing' She'd said.
"I'm such an idiot!" She moaned, eyes darting frantically for a game plan.
Who ever was on the other side of her door began to pound hard on it. It shook violently on its hinges. Before long, the old wood would give way and they'd be standing only feet from her.
"What am I gonna do?!" She hissed to herself, eyes darting around the room," I'm going to die!"
Her eyes settled on her bedroom window. She was three stories up… but, there were grooves and dips in the architecture. Maybe she could climb down…
Gulping, she darted for the window and threw it open. Leaning out, she whimpered at the distance to the ground. Was it worth it? She looked over her shoulder.
The pounding on the door became more ferocious. The middle seemed to bend inwards. It was on the brink of busting. There was no time for another plan.
Yes. It was her only option.
Taking deep breaths, Lavinia tried not to look at the ground as she lifted a leg over the ledge.
She carefully maneuvered herself out of her window and dug her fingers and toes into the cracks to steady herself the best she could. Unfortunately, it seemed that losing two fingers on each hand wasn't all that had changed. Her fingers seemed stubbier, too, so wedging them between the cracks that would easily fit normal sized fingers, was rather painful. She tried to bite her lip and ignore it as she shakily lowered a foot, using her toes to feel for the next groove.
It was a struggle, but she very carefully made it one story when her fingers slipped. She cried out in horror, but miraculously, her hand stuck to the wall on its own accord. Her head spun at the impossibility and she felt suddenly like she was dreaming as she stared at the hand seemingly pasted on the bricks.
Heart pounding erratically, she laughed nervously to herself and thanked the stars for that particular mutation.
It was just so… impossible. Unfortunately, the crack and smash of her apartment door was definitely not a dream. Neither were the heavy foot falls across the carpet. She had to hurry.
Using her suddenly sticky palms, she crawled backwards down the building in a slightly faster pace than before. She couldn't help the amusement she felt as she thought of spider man. However, her hilarity was short lived as a black masked face poked out of her window and looked right at her.
An unfamiliar voice said," There she is!"
Lavinia jolted in alarm and her footing slipped. Before she knew it, she was falling, too shocked to utter a sound.