A/N: Here's one of the projects that I've been working on for a little while now. I didn't get the chance to properly explore Project Akron or the Dracomorphic Engine or Chessary Corporation as much as I wanted to in The Darkness Within, so think of this as a side-story to that. The main character is not Jay this time though, instead it is an unnamed coder working for Chessary Corporation as a coder for Project Akron.

Reginald: We'll get to see Jay Alkain's ascension into what he is in The Darkness Within, and what really happened in there.

X: Thanks for not letting us get a word in on the entirety of Act III, by the way.

DLS: Hey, I wanted to keep the flow of Act III smooth and not betray the overall tone of the story, so you had to be quiet for a while.

X: Not an excuse. *kick to the nuts*

DLS: (whimper) *falls to the ground*

Nathalie: That's right! You deserve it for what you did!

DLS: I didn't want to ruin the *le nutkick* AAAAAAAAAAAAA-

X: Be quiet and just say what you need to say.

DLS: Alright... this is related to The Darkness Within so... a lot of things, in fact nothing will make sense unless you've read it. So do yourself a favor and click away until you've read it, because this will very likely spoil a lot of things in that case.

Can I go now?

X: No. *yet another nut-kick*


Finding work in New Domino is hard. It's really hard for a guy who's just got some coding experience to find a job that can pay decently. Success isn't really laid out for you here, you really have to work hard in this utopia. Of course, New Domino has fostered some great dueling stars over the years, stars that have went on to be marked down in history as some of the all-time greats.

But I was no good at dueling, I was no showman, and certainly not successful. I only had a measly apartment in downtown New Domino, and just fresh out of work, living on borrowed time as I struggled to find a job that could pay well enough.

Enter Chessary Corporation. The world's leading producer of renewable energy, and the creators and current owners of the rights to Ener-D. That invention made them ridiculously rich, and very quickly they began to expand. I got word that they were looking for coders, and the moment I saw it in the newspaper, I immediately applied for the job.

I got the job. It paid well and allowed me to survive and live a comfortable existence in my small apartment, and then I got word through the chain that a division of Chessary was looking for experienced coders for a secret project, and I was asked to join. They said that the job would be difficult, and I would be sworn to secrecy about it for the rest of my life. In return, the pay would be big. Really big. Enough for me to buy myself a house.

And so, in my naiveté, I accepted the offer. I was told to meet in a week in the Satellite, at a classified location, and I was to tell no one about the job, the location or anything. I shrugged it off, how bad could it be?

Oh how I hated myself for thinking that.

"-please report to the Dracomorphic Engine chamber immediately," The female voice of the facility's intercom system spoke up through the speaker nearby my workstation, and I knew what that meant. It meant that I would have to man the computer when the Engine would be tested again. I shuddered for a second, remembering what happened last time.

I got up from my working computer, ran a hand over my head, and walked out into the concrete walkway, and walked towards the room where the Engine was stationed. Specifically, the front room, right where the test subjects would be placed inside the Engine, and fortunately, it meant that I wouldn't have to walk through the containment block.

The security guards that walked around the premise gave me cold, strange stares as I occasionally walked past them, as if they could smell my unease in being here. Within moments I was at the door, guarded by two burly guards wielding guns, and I immediately pulled out my ID, and they shuffled to the side to allow me to pass. I walked past them and pushed the door open, there I was, I had arrived at the most horrifying room in existence.

"Hey, there you are, code monkey!" I heard the voice of one of the head scientists here, one Carl Houston call out in his white lab coat as he stood working something out on a notepad. "I've paged for you twice now. We're putting a new subject in the engine in five minutes and the data stream is unstable." As friendly as ever. My face twitched for a moment in annoyance as I walked over to the coding computer that I was to work at, and immediately began evening out the instabilities in the Engine's code as the doors were flung open behind us, and in walked at least five very strong and armed guards, all restraining one kid, who was likely injected with a temporary sedative for until he was hooked up to the engine. I gave the kid a look; usually the kids brought in would flail violently but uselessly as they were brought to the Engine the first time, but the use of sedatives was rare. The only times sedatives had been necessary was when the subject was already a psychic, so it would be a safe bet that he was psychic in some way.

"How are the Dark Energy levels in the sphere?" The voice of Carl Houston called out as the guards dragged the kid over to the engine, placed him inside the soundproofed hardened glass sphere, restrained him and then sealed the sphere. "Ready for Tier 1, doctor!" Another coder called out in response, and then he turned towards me. "Monkey, how is the evening out going?" He asked, just as I worked out the last knot in the circuit, and I gave him thumbs up in response.

"Excellent. I'll notify Kroe immediately. Give the kid a bit of time to wake up. We need him awake when the procedure begins." And with that, Carl Houston pulled out his pager, and began to type into it in order to call Kroe to the area, while I could lean back and relax for a few seconds before the procedure began and I had to be aware of changes in the system as the Dracotherapy began.

"-I'm here, Houston. How is he?" The unmistakable voice of the head honcho here, the voice of Chessary Corporation's finest scientist, Doctor William Edgar Kroe, the one responsible for overseeing this project reverberated throughout the room as his tall, yet worn figure stepped inside the room. "He's shaking off the sedative right about now. He should be ready for the initialization in a moment," Houston replied eagerly. "Excellent. Begin the procedure when ready." Houston nodded for a second, and then turned towards the sphere. "You heard him! Begin the procedure!" Houston declared, and I looked down at my computer as the Engine began to come to spark to life.

I began looking through the code as the procedure began, the dark energy streaming from the container on the other side and into the child in the front. And it was evident that the process was unbearably painful, as the children would scream and writhe as the dark energy was forcibly inserted into their bloodstream, augmenting or outright creating psychic powers, the pain only feeding the dark energy and making it multiply.

"Dark energy levels stable!" A voice called out through the dissonant serenity outside the sphere, where inside it would be a whirlwind of noise and screaming. I could hear the child slam himself against the glass in a desperate attempt to free himself, one that would cause small knocks on the glass that were audible, but not enough to break him free.

That's when I glanced back at the coding, and I could already see abnormalities form in the code. I tried to even them out, but they began to slowly multiply in strange directions and ways that weren't possible. "Dark energy levels rising to 150%!" I called out, and they were just continuously increasing more and more. "200%! 300% 500%!"

"STOP THE PROCEDURE!" Kroe's voice then rung out over us all. Houston was in doubt for a second, before hammering the emergency stop button at his console. The dark energy output halted immediately, the screaming stopped and the glass sphere was flung open.

And for the first time, I got the chance to get a proper look at the kid. He was small, scrawny and meek, having messy brown hair and scratches all over his body. He was clearly picked up from the streets, taken here on promises of food and a place to stay.

The security came to pick up the boy, inject him with his chemical restraints and put him into his cell. I could feel the tension in the air as he was dragged off to his cell, sweat dripping down from my head. Such an enormous level of dark energy output… and only at Tier 1, at that.

"Relax, Monkey," The voice of Houston said gently behind me as he put his hand on my shoulder. "You did good. Take the rest of the day off."

And oh my, did I need it. But what was with that kid? How could he perform such an ascension in energy output during his first session? I realized that I needed to know, I needed to know a lot of things about this project. Taking part in something this horrible; I at least deserved to know what was going on.