When Ransom had mentally prepared himself to be attacked, he hadn't expected a giant lizard. Armed men? Yes. Perhaps just one assassin? Why not? This... Gigantic creature was the last thing he had expected and, given what he knew now, he should have. The pharmaceutical company was experimenting on humans and turning them into monsters. These were the people that had taken Genesis. This meant that they had tried to make Gen into something like this- hell or succeeded. Maybe... Before he died he could ask this one what happened to Gen and get some closure.
The words were harder to find than he expected. Being circled around by a giant lizard creature tended to make it difficult to talk. Until its attention was drawn to his web. Was it still capable of human thought or was its actions entirely dictated by training and it was meant to gather what information it could before killing him? Maybe it had a camera hidden somewhere? Possible, but it looked like it was genuinely curious about the pictures- Hell it even stopped to look at the picture of Gen. Sensing an opportunity he spoke up. "That's my fiance- Did... Did he make it? He wasn't among the bodies that turned up-"
Suddenly he was face to face with the lizard. If not for him saying his name, he would have hit him with the book again. "Genesis..?" He dropped the book and immediately reached up to touch him. Monster or not, this was his fiance. Genesis was alive. "You're alive." This wasn't the face or skin he was used to touching, but the warmth was similar. There was nothing of the man he loved that he recognized in this face and yet... The feeling was there. How he was looking at him. It wasn't exactly the touching reunion that he'd fantasized about, but it was something.
Oh it was something all right.
He suddenly found himself hoisted up onto a strong, reptilian shoulder and they were off. "Gen?!" Sorry? Where was he taking him? Back to the facility probably. Which meant two things could happen. Either they'd kill him or they'd experiment on him as well. He'd been prepared for death for a while, but what happened if they left him alive? So what to do? Most in his position would fight it, but he wasn't inclined to. He'd discovered what happened to Genesis. That was enough for him. Instead Ransom settled into his arms and filled him in on everything that had happened to him in his absence.
He told him about how the missing person's case was dropped suddenly despite his protests. How their friends had tried to get him to move on and had even tried setting him up on dates that he ditched. Dentistry school, drifting away from their friends, and finally the research. "Y'know... You always told me to stay away from the dark web, but without it, we wouldn't have met again. You're different, but... You're alive. That's more than I ever anticipated." He was chattier than he'd been in years, but then he hadn't seen his soulmate in years. This was different than talking to his picture at night.
And then they were there. The facility he had been researching. Even though he knew he was right, it was still surreal to be carried into it. Ransom lost track of how many hallways they passed through until they arrived at what looked like an animal exhibit at the zoo. With a sickening thought as he was set down gently, he realized that it was where Genesis was kept. He instinctively moved to follow Gen, but found his path blocked by an array of scientists in white jackets. A thrill went through him when he said that he was his and it only made him want to push through these psychos to reach him. "Come with us Mr. Tagalikod. We have matters to discuss."
Without a choice he followed them down a hall and away from Genesis. The more they walked, the more he realized that this place was not only a maze, but absolutely massive. Of course, with a budget of just about one billion dollars, they could afford it. Eventually they reached an area that had what appeared to be a waiting area with a water feature and plants. Just past that was a heavy door which the leader of the group marched up to and knocked on. They waited for a moment in silence before the door opened and a tall man stepped into view. He was thin and had dark hair- with an unfortunate hairline. With a greeting and some murmured words with the ring leader he stepped forward to look at him while the scientists moved aside. "So, you're the one that was poking his nose into my business."
"You took my fiance." Ransom replied bluntly. The bespectacled man looked at him in confusion. "And... Who might that be?"
"His name is Genesis. He's... The one that brought me here."
The confusion turned to interest. "Lacertilia is your fiance, interesting. We've had him here for a number of years. That's... Quite a commitment." He remarked. The expression on his face was so genuinely interested that it unnerved Ransom. "He disappearance was covered up so quickly and... He was all I had. My best friend. I had to find out what happened to him."
The man made a thoughtful noise then smiled. "Ah, well. You found him and... You'll be joining him. A bit of a shame though. I had hoped that... Well... The trapper would be female, but if you really are... Genesis' fiance, you'll make him happy. We like when he's happy." The man smiled then turned to walk back into the room he'd left. Before closing the door he turned to look at him one last time. "They'll get you settled in and show you what to expect. It'll be rough, but I do think you'll be happy here Ransom." And then he was gone.
Strange meeting out of the way the scientists ushered him back into the maze of hallways until they reached another room with a plaque that read "trapper." It was a large room with high tech computers and what was clearly lab equipment and vials of god knows what. There was an examination table near the center of the room and to one side was a chair facing what looked like a high tech smart board. "Sit down." the ring leader told him shortly. Not really having a choice, he obeyed.
"Now, we weren't expecting a subject such as you, but we can easily make adjustments accordingly. Now, direct your attention here." She tapped on the smart board to wake it up and pulled up what appeared to be a presentation. It felt like he had been punched in the gut when he saw the first image. It was Genesis. The scientist was saying something but he could barely process it as each picture came into view. It was a detailed presentation of the process that Gen had gone through. It looked excruciating and horrific. This was what was in store for him. While in his stupor he didn't notice as another scientist loaded an injection gun with something and stepped over to him. Before he could react there was a sharp prick on his neck as whatever it was, was injected into him. The scientist pulled away just as quickly. Ransom slapped a hand over the spot he'd been stuck and looked at him with a frightened expression.
Knowing that the presentation had, had the desired effect the ringleader shut it off. "That is the first of many injections as I'm sure you've surmised. Your transformation is going to be different to Lacertilia. You will be Aranaea." She smiled at his confusion. "Ah, you'll see soon enough. Now. No personal effects I'm afraid." She was looking at his ring.
Ransom held his left hand defensively against his chest. "NO. Genesis gave this to me. This is the last connection I had to him for years. I'm not giving this up." His voice broke and the woman paused to look at him. The room was silent for a moment before she nodded. "Very well. You'll be retaining more of your humanity than Lacertilia. In any case you won't be likely to try and swallow it or hoard it."
There was a bit more technical jargon about what was going to happen to him and that they'd be documenting his progress before they escorted him out of the room and back towards Gen's enclosure. "Eventually you will have your own adjacent enclosure that will be more appropriate for you, but for now you may share Lacertilia's. You are 'his' after all." After the enclosure opened enough he was ushered inside and ultimately closed in.
Reeling from not only sleep deprivation, but the insane night he had, Ransom took in his new environment numbly. It was beautiful and very reminiscent of a lizard's cage. Which, he supposed, it was. There were actual trees and a variety of plants and perhaps the most obvious thing was the large water feature that currently had a giant lizard creature lounging in it. Without realizing it he approached him and sat at the edge of the water. "...Why did you bring me here Gen?"
“You were on a run.”
He didn’t remember that.
“It was during the day, early morning, you didn’t think you had to worry about being kidnapped, but you were. By us. And we did all these horrible things to you, made you into this. You were a sports science major, and were very good with your studies. Does any of this ring a bell?”
He didn’t like that they patronized him with that voice, but he did remember. His name was Genesis. He was a college student, only a couple years in. He enjoyed being healthy. He had lived in a dorm room? Or was it an apartment? It was blurry, especially now that he was living in a huge glass cage built to house an animal. Him. Their pet to study and control. Over the years he became a very good pet. He did tricks, hunted, ate. Over time they started doing more experiments. He could talk now, a shadow of what he used to sound like shadowed over by rasps and growls.
They didn’t call him Genesis, even though that’s who he used to be. They were scientists, they liked to name things. That included him. They had combined him with some kind of lizard. They called him Lacertilia, and had explained that it meant Lizard. It hadn’t gone exactly to their expectations. He had been dangerous at first, had to be sedated his first few weeks after his complete change, which had hurt. Each shed, hurt. He wouldn’t eat so they had to force feed him, a variety and mix of animals and human beings. Hydrated him when he was sedated. Now he did it all on his own, it was easier, and at least he didn’t have to complain. They took care of him.
“We need you to go hunt, out of your cage, Genesis,” they said. They were already opening the door to his enclosure, and he climbed from the log he had been basking on and made his way out of the cage. His skin radiated with the heat from his lamp, but also the chemicals in his skin. Were the lights all the way off, he would glow red in the darkness. They showed him a picture, told him the area he might be. “He’s been trying to find us for a while now, but he’s gotten too close. Either kill or capture, your choice. He just needs to be silenced.”
The doors to the outside of the facility was really more of a multilayered defense system made to keep people out. And the door they let Genesis outside of was designed to keep him in. It was always a wonder to watch it open, wishing he could know how it worked. Even if he could have the full head of a human, he doubted he’d understand it even then. He took off at a full run, his destination was far. But to him, it was maybe an hour run.
He rested outside of the city, blowing off steam by resting in shallow water. He was huge, any water would be shallow to him, but this was what a human would consider shallow. Barely two feet of water for him to roll in, but still he did it, dried off with the heat from his body, and made his way into the city. They had given him a scent to go off of, and though he was no tracking dog, he knew he was close. Like he had smelled it before. The apartments were tall, no issue for him since he could climb, but it left his only point of access to be the window.
Clicking it open, Genesis climbed through the window, noting the fact that things were hanging all over the place. Hard for him to avoid. Impossible, actually. His frills were able to tuck down against his neck, but his tail was bulky and long. It was inevitable that it caught on something, setting off a chain effect of noise that he turned around at to investigate. When he turned back, he caught a large book to the face.
It didn’t hurt and he was mad, but he had to give it to the human. It was ballsy to attack a monster far bigger than you. His breath came off as a hiss as he circled his target, who was following his moves. He knew that smell, the smell of this human. He started examining the apartment. Pictures up on the wall, connected by threads. Books lying everywhere, papers. Had the human been sleeping on the couch? Not a very tactical position, but maybe it felt safer. He moved to the pictures on the wall, scraping one of his claws through the threads cutting them easily. He scanned the pictures and stopped cutting. He recognized the person in the image in the center. It was him. Why did this human have a picture of him?
He turned back to the human, moving closer to examine him carefully. He knew that smell. “Ransom?” he hissed. He didn’t look exactly like him, but it had been years since he had seen him with a clear memory. He had a choice, he remembered the choice. Kill or capture. He knew what Ransom had been to him, could see the class ring he had given, or was he going to give, to Ransom before he was taken. He had wanted to marry this man. He couldn’t kill him. So that left capture. “I’m sorry,” he growled as he grabbed Ransom as gently as he could, hefting him over his shoulder. He crawled back out the window, climbing down backwards so he wouldn’t be flopping him all over the place. The run felt shorter than it took when he got there. Maybe because he didn’t take a break.
He returned to the facility, Ransom still over his shoulder, the gates opening for him after flood lights illuminated him. It would be dawn soon. He took him through the maze of hallways, back to his enclosure where the scientists were waiting. “So you chose capture, good, that’s fine,” one said as Genesis gently sat Ransom down. He walked back into his enclosure, standing in the doorway. “He is mine, I knew him.”
Ransom could remember the day Genesis disappeared as if it were yesterday. It was a normal morning. Gen woke him up when he got up to get ready for his morning jog and he coerced him into staying in bed a bit longer with sleepy mumbles and kisses. Eventually Gen slipped out and Ransom went back to sleep. It wasn’t unusual that they didn’t see each other until classes were over given his workload, so he didn’t notice anything was wrong until Gen didn’t come home for the night. He called their mutual friends and waited up just in case he was just running late- but he never came home.
He reported him missing and there was a whole investigation that suddenly got dropped out of nowhere and no one would open it again no matter how much he called the police department. After a time to grieve, he started looking into his fiancé’s disappearance himself. It was slow going. His grades had tanked after what had happened and he couldn’t afford to be kicked off campus. When his parents had found out about him dating Gen they had disowned him. Besides, Gen would be disappointed if he let his grades slip. So, he got his bachelor’s and then started his masters. He got a job as a dental assistant, got an apartment alone, and worked on his research when he had free time. It consumed him. There was little time for friends and certainly no time for dating. It paid off. He finally had something.
It had taken six years, but he’d finally found some information that could help him find Genesis. Someone on the dark web had posted pictures claiming that it was taken in Riverside State Park just outside of Spokane. In the pictures there were mutilated bodies that didn’t look completely human anymore. A couple of them were paired with missing posters and that was enough to give him hope. Genesis was out there. At the very least it was enough to prove that someone was taking people- minorities and people that the system wouldn’t miss. That would be the starting point. He printed the photos and pinned them to the wall where he had all of the articles and pictures that he’d collected over the years. He then took a length of red yarn and tied it to the pushpin he’d stuck the largest of the pictures with and trailed it up to the picture in the center. Gen’s picture.
Ransom paused and looked at his picture for a long while before snapping himself out of it and tying off the yarn, snipping off the excess. There were better pictures of him to look at than the one hanging on the wall. That one was the one they’d used for the missing person’s report. His personal favorite picture of him had Gen smiling at something out of frame as he hugged him close; brown eyes warm- happy. Whenever he looked at it he could picture those strong arms, hear him laughing. It was a nice memory, but he had work to do. He couldn’t get lost in his thoughts. That in mind he got back to his laptop and continued digging.
A week passed and more pictures had joined the web he had up on the wall. He’d dug up the name of a pharmaceuticals company that had ties to the government that had suddenly had a massive expansion. The official word on it was for testing but said company had not released any new drugs in close to seven years. Normally that wouldn’t be much to pick at- except they had, had sanctions previously regarding human trials that had gone awry. The records for the case were minimal and likely sealed, but it was enough to start getting his train of thought going. That wasn’t all. When he looked into the staff at the company he found that the information was minimal at best or just completely missing. After all, it was unlikely that they only had two people working there.
Again, he went to the dark web and posed a question of whether anyone could dig up the records for him. For a price of course. Someone delivered and he what he found made the dots start connecting. He printed out the names and highlighted the ones that stood out to him and added them to the wall. It was all connecting. “What pharmaceutical company needs a team of forty experimental geneticists..?” He muttered to himself. “None… Unless they’re experimenting on people again.” The thought made him ill. Ransom was tempted to go out to the balcony to get some fresh air, but that meant he’d have to move one of his noise traps and he was too fatigued to do that.
Ever since he’d started digging into government related things he had started hanging up items over the doors and windows- hell even the vents- that would make a noise if disturbed. The apartment was generally very quiet and he was a very light sleeper, so if they were disturbed he’d be aware and ready. Just in case. Not that it would do much if there were armed men with guns, an assassin, or an armed kidnapper coming for him, but it would give him enough time to upload his research to a media outlet to give them a story to spin.
That particular night he decided to sleep on the couch. Well, decided was a strong word. He’d had classes and work and then thrown himself into research after finishing the most pressing assignments. The exhaustion was catching up to him. So he fell asleep on the couch with class books, research and a few pictures of Genesis scattered around. He was a sight to behold with the dark circles under his eyes and hollow cheeks- looking more like a wraith than a human. Despite looking almost emaciated, he did look peaceful with his hands resting on his chest. The heavy gold ring on his left ring finger glinted dully in the light whenever he shifted. Everything was calm. Until it wasn’t. What woke him was a loud clatter. For a moment he didn’t make the connection and when he did it was too late to cross the room to get to his laptop. Whoever, no whatever this thing was, it was already in and it was headed straight for him. Not one to be an easy target after years of bullying, he scrambled off the couch and grabbed a heavy textbook to have something to defend himself with. Now that he got a better look at the intruder it was a struggle to keep his resolve. It wasn’t human. “Oh my god. I was right.”