Leaving the Darkness
Part I: Chimera Beasts
“Ugh, it smells disgusting in here,” Marcus muttered, covering his nose with one hand as we walked into the warehouse. I merely shrugged in response, what else did the guy expect in a lab area? Maybe I was just used to the smells though.
“I see you finally arrived,” Heppenheim said, appearing around a row of metal cages. The only view in was a small panel of closely gridlocked metal bars. Occasionally one of the boxes were shaken by it’s contents, and the box sizes varied of course. Heppenheim was wearing latex gloves stained with something questionable, similar stains covered his white lab coat.
“Sorry about that. We heard rumours that the Legion caught wind of this latest shipment. Kellen’s on it,” Marcus explained.
“I see,’” Heppenheim murmured, electronic whirring and clinking coming from his right eye as he analysed Marcus’ manner. He seemed satisfied there was no deception going on. “Just don’t be late next time or I might consider selling to Dr Vernichtung”. They both paused before laughing at the suggestion, I rolled my eyes.
We followed Heppenheim to the centre of the old warehouse tucked away in the Portsmouth docks. We’d been operating out of this place for a few months now and I admit I was starting to get nervous at Marcus’ words. We didn’t tend to stay in any one place for long but the Syndicate hadn’t yet been in touch with new location and route plans.
“What are this month’s numbers?” Marcus asked, looking through the flipchart Heppenheim handed him.
“Three less than last month. We had a bit of an issue getting some of the equipment. Your last ID didn’t pass inspection for me to get some of the higher tier chemicals required for the process,” Heppenheim said, looking more than a little disgruntled. Marcus’ gaze shot up, eyes widened.
“Why didn’t you report this to us sooner?” Marcus asked, putting the flipchart back on a nearby cage. The creature within hissed a protest but no one cared.
“Jaeger here managed to lead them all over the place before escaping, so there’s little chance anyone knows our location. I figured you had more important things to worry about. We did handle these situations before getting involved with your organisation keep in mind,” Heppenheim replied, irritation lacing his tone as he off-handedly motioned to me.
“We could’ve moved you sooner. No wonder the Legion are about. I need to call Kellen. We need to move this shipment ASAP.” I watched Marcus storm off, his communicator already out of his jacket pocket. Heppenheim was already back to work, muttering under his breath as he checked our stock. I decided I probably wasn’t needed for the time being and headed down through the corridor of cages. Aside from the panicked call currently in progress, the deal was going down same as usual.
“Jaeger,” I paused mid-step, my pointed ears flicking involuntarily as I turned to glance at Heppenheim.
“Yeah?” I replied, phasing it into a question.
“We need to go over your English later,” he said.
“Why?” I murmured, feeling the eye roll before I had a chance to stop it. Heppenheim watched me intently with his blue eyes, one a normal human shade and the other a too bright, unnatural shade. Not that either of us were exactly as nature intended. He reached forward, flicking my nose-leaf before I could react.
“Because I’m not spending five minutes deciphering your texts anymore,” he sighed, an almost affectionate sound.
“I’ll send them in German then,” I shrugged, flowing easily back into our native tongue. Heppenheim sent me a dead-pan expression.
“Just go revise the language,” he sighed, turning back to go back to work. I stuck out my tongue at his back, he didn’t react but his eye was connected to the cameras so I know he saw it. Then he did stop, his movements freezing. I was ready to ask what was wrong when a loud crash echoed from the direction Marcus had disappeared too. Heppenheim cursed in German and turned, propelling me forward with him.
“The Legion are here,” he whispered. “Keep them distracted while I ready the teleporter,” he instructed in a hissed whisper.
I nodded, already yanking open a panel on the wall. I hit the all the breakers down at once and heard the metallic snap as all the chimeras were released. I watched Heppenheim disappear into a door before grabbing the nearest pipe and climbing upwards. The good thing about warehouses was that they had a lot of bare metal piping and walkways. It made it easy to move around and study the hero’s. I’d only heard about the Legion. We’d had the occasional hero trying to make a new name for him or herself turn up, but between me and the other chimeras we always managed to deal with it. I could see them underneath me now, emitting various animalistic growls and threatening noises.
The Legion hadn’t reached the room but that didn’t matter, the chimera were already seeking them out. And the warehouse was large with open doorways everywhere. I emitting a high pitched echo, shutting my eyes as I did. A different view of the building around me reached my ears. I could tell where the invaders were and their numbers. I paused when something else reached my ears. There was someone very close by. I ducked in time to avoid a punch. I spun and kicked upwards, propelling myself to the ground. It wasn’t the best of landings but I was able to withstand falls that would’ve knocked a human unconscious.
“Chimeras everywhere. We need to purge this place!” A male voice yelled from somewhere in the distance.
“Fuck,” I whispered. I had no idea if Heppenheim had enough time and based on the whimpers of pain the chimera numbers were dwindling fast. The person who had tried to attack me dropped to the floor a few feet from me, studying me curiously. I stood up quickly, crouched and ready to defend myself. It was difficult for me to make any discerning facial features as she was wearing a large domino mask. All I could see were dark, intense eyes and slightly parted lips. She was wearing a black and white armour body suit and an intricate gauntlet around her left wrist that felt alien in origin.
“You poor thing,” she whispered. I blinked at her, thrown. “We’ll bring justice to whoever did this to you,” she continued. I realised what she was talking about and felt my cheeks burn slightly.
“I don’t want any of your dumb pity. Now fight me unless you’re worried about losing to a chimera,” I said through gritted teeth. I didn’t give her a chance to reply, launching myself at her. It wasn’t my smartest move. She side-stepped and threw out an arm, punching me in the gut and winding me easily. I crumpled to the floor, clutching my stomach.
“You did well earlier, but now you’re letting your emotions take over,” she observed.
“Fuck you,” I muttered. What the hell was this chick’s deal? My ears flicked at more footsteps and I looked over my shoulder to see others were here. All wearing stupid brightly coloured outfits with some kind of symbol or initials, some even wearing capes. Just like Miss stereotypical hero next to me. I clenched my fists, trying to figure out how to deal with this many people. Idiotic looking or not they were Legion. Which meant fighting just one would be difficult. My hurting middle evidence of that.
Suddenly there was a crackle of blue-white energy around us and I froze. It lasted for about two seconds and then it was gone. Heppenheim had activated the teleporter and left.