Part One: Hazardous Beginnings
Alex Mercer stood at the top of a skyscraper, which was just on the edge of Times Square. He let himself glare down at the incredible amount of people flowing through the streets. The intense lights from the numerous billboards and electronic signs would have blinded any average person, but for Alex, it didn't bother him. He wasn't even chilled by the wind at this altitude. His internal body temperature was designed to keep him warm, and he could even feel his insides move like snakes coiled up, causing heat from within.
Even so, Alex found himself pulling his leather jacket closer to him. He caught himself, though, and growled softly to no one in particular. The small action of warming himself was completely human, and he found the idea nauseating. He wasn't human. He never had been. He never would be. And now, he didn't want to be.
As if to express his distaste for humans, Alex spat down at a large crowd of Asian tourists, who were taking pictures of the busy city life. After a couple seconds, one in particular looked up to see if it was raining, grimaced at the dark sky for a second, and then went back to taking several photos a store's colorful window display. Alex let a deep sigh escape his body and sat down on the edge of the building.
No one could see Alex up on the edge of the building, it close to midnight and he was shrouded in darkness. Nighttime was his cover. Nighttime was his playtime, and the city was his playground. It had been like this for years. Ever since the Blacklight virus had been released on Manhattan by the original Alex Mercer, the island had been his to do whatever he wanted.
Of course, it came with a price…
He heard a car horn from far below, and continued to glare at the sea of people. Even without him tearing someone's throat out ferociously, it was a chaotic scene down there on the streets. He was amazed that life could move on after a viral apocalypse. But New Yorkers were strong, calloused people, and they had beaten the odds of survival. Alex wasn't surprised about this fact; natives to the large city seemed to be built to endure.
But what had really amazed him was how the world responded to the viral outbreak. The United States government had been quick to form a cover up story and had managed to fool almost the whole world. They even managed to cover up the Heller Incident, which even Alex had been gracious about. Now, the only people who believed in the outbreak was a small group of survivors, who had been found and were under heavy surveillance by the military, and skeptics that also didn't believe man hadn't landed on the moon.
The Blacklight outbreak was now a myth. Urban folklore that people scoffed at. In return, Alex laughed at them and their ignorance.
"What a bunch of idiots." He muttered to himself, the wind carrying his remark away.
The swells of people were acting like cattle now as they formed a huge wave on the empty streets below. They were moving more like a herd of putrid animals, waiting to be slaughtered. And Alex had the right to be called their slaughterer.
As if to agree with him, his insides quivered and grumbled. Alex frowned; the scowl lines on his forehead deepening even further. He had already consumed a couple of homeless people before perching up on this building's roof for the night. But apparently, that hadn't been enough for his body. Alex stood up, gave one last scowl to the mob down below, and then slowly walked to the other side of the building.
Alex sped up his pace quickly until he figured he had enough momentum to carry him through the gap between buildings. Alex pushed forward and jumped. His powerful legs were able to carry him to the next rooftop quite easily. He landed in a roll and took off again, changing direction to head down south towards the tip of Manhattan. Even in the dark, Alex could tell he was travelling in the right direction.
Alex hadn't hunted in that area in a while, and he needed to distribute his territory or else the New York police department would catch on to him fast. If people started to notice that the neighborhood friendly hobos had all disappeared over the course of a couple days, he would risk being discovered. No, it was better to have a diverse meal.
He headed down towards SoHo, knowing that it had been a couple months since visiting that area. Plus, it was a suburban-like part of the city, and there would be less potential witnesses for him to deal with in case thing got out of hand. Which in most cases, it did.
The sharp wind on his face felt good, and he could feel his powerful body ready to snap out of control. He hadn't been this active in a long while, and all the energy that had been stored in him had to be released. He was like a rabid dog; if you caged him up for too long, he would kill his owner in a mad rage. Alex didn't want that to happen, and soon found himself jumping from building to building at amazing speeds.
It didn't take him long to reach the edges of the small, artistic neighborhood. To his irritation, the streets were buzzing with life. Of all the odds, a late night festival had immersed the whole place. Street vendors and tourists made this small part of the city just as crowded as Times Square. There were even some street performers that created festive music, which cheered up the whole tone of the small city fair.
However, the deadly virus didn't find the whole display cheerful. He let out an aggravated growl and kicked one of the water tanks on the roof. The force of his kick was too much, and water drenched him as the container buckled. And before Alex knew it, the waster was finding its way down into the alleyway.
"Shit!" Alex swore. Now, Alex was hungry, miserable, and wet. Alex didn't like water; he never had for as long as he could remember. It seemed to be wired into the virus. The fluid always left his skin tingly, as if it was dissolving slowly at an atomic level. Alex quickly shifted to shake all the water off of him. "This is just not my day."
The virus continued to sulk as he walked over towards the edge, scoping out the area for any potential targets through the mess. He took his sweet old time and turned on his thermal vision automatically. He could feel his iris change and the world changed to a contrasting blue and orange. The world surrounded him in orange specks and Alex had trouble picking out a certain target.
"Let's see." Alex muttered softly. He reached up and scratched his black hair under his hoodie. His head wasn't bothering him; it was just a habit that he had picked up in the past couple months. Alex did it all the time now subconsciously; it did help him blend in with the humans after all. "There's one."
A man in a grey suit stood out of place against all the others. He was rather tall, but lean and scrawny. Short blond hair covered his head, slightly wind tossed from the course of the day. He had large glasses, and Alex guessed that he must have been completely blind without them. He held a black leather briefcase in one hand, and his other hand held a Smartphone next to his ear.
"Just a stockbroker, plenty of those to go around." Alex thought, guessing the man's occupation and then justifying the soon to be crime he would commit. He thought of a disguise he should use. It took sometime before settling on a female college student he consumed awhile ago. "That'll work."
Soon, Alex felt his skin being slowly ripped apart and then reform. His insides aligned itself with his new size, which was considerably shorter than his six foot tall default. Alex's clothes also changed until he was completely unrecognizable. Now, Alex was a short brunette in a pink summer dress with flowery flip flops. Not one of Alex's favorite disguises, but one that had always worked when needed.
The virus in disguise sucked in a deep breath and then jumped down in a dark alley, careful not to create any interest in his movements. He landed with a thud, only leaving a small indentation on the pavement. Alex inspected the minute damage, and then shrugged, more worried about the rumbling deep in his body than that.
The virus headed towards the crowded area, slightly detesting the crowds of people. He searched the area, wondering if his selected target had already left. It took a couple seconds for Alex to rake through the crowds and find the suited man by a small, fenced in tree. He was still talking on his smart phone, but had stopped walking. It looked like the man was getting frustrated with the person on the other side of the line. Alex smirked at the thought.
Alex didn't plan exactly how to lure the man away from the busy street. He only thought of a weak story to convince the suit. It took the virus only a couple seconds to reach the suited man, and then he tried to give him a convincing innocent look. It must not have worked, because the man gave Alex a small sneer before ignoring him and continuing his conversation.
"Look, I don't care where you deposit the money or how you deposit it. I just need the damn accounts full before we reach an agreement Wednesday." The banker stated, aggravated. He stopped and listened for a couple seconds, anger building up as time passed. "No, you moron! That's not how it works. I think that even somebody as stupid as you are would comprehend that at this point of time. But you've just proved me wrong."
"Uh, sir?" Alex started, his voice high and squeaky in this disguises. "I need help. I—"
"Shut it tramp, before I call the cops!" The grey suited man snapped and put his phone on his chest to cover his remark. Alex was taken aback by the man abrasiveness, and tried not to snap back by snapping the man's neck. Alex even let out a small growl, but the business man didn't notice. He was back on his phone. "Look, just set the appointment up after the transfer and then get back in touch with me as soon as possible."
Alex was starting to get impatient. He hadn't known that this man would have been such an ass when he picked him. The virus was about to pick a new, easier target when the man finally shoved the electronic rectangle back in his pocket. The suit let out an irritated sigh between gritted teeth before turning to face the disguised virus.
"Oh, you're still here? Get the hell away, slut!" The man brushed Alex away, hand clenching his briefcase tightly. He turned to look at Alex, who furiously watched him walk around the corner. "Go make yourself useful and stay in the kitchen where you belong."
That did it; Alex had to take this man out just because he was an asshole. It cheered him up when he thought that he would actually being doing the good thing for once in his life by consuming him in cold blood. Alex tightened his hands into small, lethal fists and ran after the suited man.
"Sir, I just need some help! I lost my dog in an alleyway and I'm not used to this area of Manhattan. I just need someone with me for my nerves." Alex yelled at the man, keeping up with him as all sorts of people passed the two of them on the busy street. "It'll only take a couple seconds, really."
The suited man shook his head and sped up his pace, but Alex managed to keep up. He was determined to have him, and no one else tonight. Alex reached to grab the man's arm, and had succeeded in stopping the business man in his tracks.
"Let go of me." The man ordered, a scowl forming quickly. Alex did not back down, and the man's confidence faltered slightly. After a couple seconds of a shared glare, the man let out a small sigh. "Fine, show me where your damn dog ran off."
Alex nodded and gave him a stern thank you. Alex led the man back around the corner, feeling the reluctance of the man as he tugged him forward. Despite the sass that he had gotten from the man, this was a fairly easy catch, and he would be done with him in a mere couple seconds. His body rumbled, and the virus sped up, pulling the man to his death even faster.
"It's just over here, I'm sure my Spot couldn't have gotten very far away." Alex squeaked through his voice. "Thank you so much, mister . . ."
"Mr. Dick Charleston." The man huffed as he was tugged into the dark alleyway, which was surprisingly very wet for some odd reason. He soon found the two of them far from the lively street and covered in ominous shadows. "Let's find this animal of yours so I can get back to business."
"Oh, it won't take that long, I promise." Alex mumbled, too quiet for the man to hear.
Alex stopped and looked around, trying to find a dog that didn't exist. He whistled softly, and even clapped his hands. The virus checked around some trashcans and a chain link fence, but wasn't very serious about it. It probably wasn't very convincing for Charleston, but he remained next to Alex's side. But after a couple minutes, the man grew impatient and looked at his watch as if to tell the disguised virus to hurry up.
"Come on, I'm on a tight schedule, hurry up." The business man ordered.
Alex chuckled menacingly, finally breaking character. He came over towards Charleston, and cherished the feeling when the man subconsciously took a half step back towards the lively street. Alex cracked his knuckles and faced the man. The man, who was obviously confused, had no idea what was going on.
"Oh, it won't take that long. Trust me." Alex stated, eyes furious.
Without warning Alex lunged out at Charleston, fists ready. With one swift punch in the gut, the man fell to the ground. There were the sounds of a couple ribs breaking, and Alex smirked at the wonderful sound. He had the air knocked out of him, and would have trouble standing up. Alex took this as the perfect opportunity to beat the man until he was almost dead. Alex kicked the man on the ground, sending him backwards into a brick building. Somehow, Charleston was still conscious, and Alex decided it was time to finish the job.
Alex slowly walked towards the man, making the man wait in pain. He watched as Charleston made a futile attempt to call for help on his smart phone. In response, Alex bent down, smiled menacingly, and snatched the phone out of Charleston's hand. Charleston watched, horrified, as Alex crumpled the phone as if it was paper.
"Now, I don't think that's necessary." Alex spoke, his voice changing as he shape shifted from the college student back to his original look. He was now more intimidating than before as he stared at the business man with ice blue eyes. He tossed the destroyed phone away, into one of the large puddles of water. There was a small, electronic spark, and the phone completely died. "We don't want to make things too complicated, do we?"
Charleston's faces could not compose any feelings other than terror or panic. A low but audible rumble in Alex's body told him that he hungered for biomass. Alex didn't hesitate to pick the man up with one hand, holding him a couple feet about ground. The power behind him was incredible, and he knew he had the power to end the man's life within milliseconds, but he knew that that would be too easy on him.
"Please, I can . . . I can give you anything you want. Money, power, you name it." Charleston squeaked out of his crushed throat, barely able to breathe. Blood started to drizzle out of his mouth, and the smell of it was getting to Alex. "Just spare me."
Alex paused for a second, letting Charleston think that he was thinking about it. But before the man's hope could rise, Alex let a pair of tentacles protrude from his sides. In a matter of seconds, the man had been consumed, leaving only a small pool of blood where Alex stood. Alex let his tentacles reduce to nothing as he ran back on top of the roof.
The flood of memories came quickly, and Alex was quick to repress them. He already had enough memories to deal with before he consumed this guy.
Now, his body was happy. He had enough extra biomass to last for a couple weeks. He could disappear again, be a part of the night like the monster he was, where he could do less damage to the few he loved and trusted. He could be alone again. Solitude was his one friend now, but he wasn't pleased about that. His body may have been happy, but he wasn't.
Alex went to the side of the roof and perched on the ledge. He kept himself there for almost half an hour, watching the festival finally start to die down after a long day. There were still a lot of people, but it had definitely died down. Now, Alex could focus on each individual person and watch them intently, which was what he did with his free time. It was his personalized version of television.
One person caught his interest in particular, and Alex straightened himself out to get a better look of the man. He sat in an empty chair, a part of a small group of people, but yet, not really with them. He wore a white hoodie and faced away from the building that Alex was sitting on. He ate something out of a small bag, and took an occasional sip from a can of soda. He seemed to be enjoying the dying festival, but had sense of paranoia around him.
Suddenly, the man in the white hoodie jumped up, and was jogging through the street towards a less crowded one. He managed to dodge every person in his way, and moved as light as the wind behind his back. But the hooded man stood confident and strong, too. And when he reached a deserted street, he clung to the shadows.
Alex was . . . interested, he had to admit it.
Once again, Alex jumped down off of the roof, determined to follow the man out of his own curiosity.
Dude in the White Hoodie-(Stargate) Ubisoft *sparkle*