15 miles from the coastline of an ocean, deep in a cave, is a door disguised as a rock wall. Behind this door is a bunker, built to last. The inside is three floors deep, with a large rectangular room that connects to all 3 floors, filled with exercise equipment, and seemingly abandoned. Dust covers the unpainted metal floor and some of the walls. Storage for various materials and items takes up an entire floor of the complex. CCTV cameras dutifully record the empty hallways and rooms, a single generator supplies power to the few active machines. One of the few rooms on level two not filled with lab and industrial construction equipment, is a room containing painted walls, one blue, one red, one brown, and one green. There is a bed, with coverings that don't match, a game system connected to a TV, a nightstand with a lamp, a closet and a set of shelves, each filled with the items a person had accumulated throughout their life. Someone had lived in this room for a long time. The bathroom connected to it showed similar sines of use and personalization, both rooms look very lived in.
Empty. Empty. The first floor is empty, the second floor is empty, the third floor is filled with generators, recyclers, condensers, piping, wires, air conditioners, and a server room. Nothing truly lives in this sealed tomb.
Life. One thing lives in this tomb. A machine gives an acceptable reading, and the bunker comes out of sleep mode. The pistons fire, the wires and lights hum with electricity, the whole facility briefly powering up then shuting down everything not related to environmental regulation, computing, and power generation. The server room comes fully online and begins taking inventory and estimating the damage 20 years of inactivity did. The computer powers up the second floor, an experiment stabilized and must be attended to.
The experiment itself is a ten-by-ten-foot hollow plexiglass cylinder filled with nutrient fluid, like an egg. Inside is a thing with four limbs and a head. Its parts appear to be a jigsaw puzzle but its shape is symmetrical and the computer wouldn't have begun the awakening process unless it had stabilized. The inside of the cylinder also contains many robotic manipulators with surgical equipment along with inputs for the many tubes and wires that enter the creature's body. The computer begins to play a song. The creature twitches, its long existence of nothing shattered by the music. Becoming aware of itself for the first time, it opens its eyes. Everything is blurry at first, everything feels slow. It takes deep conscious breaths of liquid in, opening and closing its mouth like a fish, the sensation of its gills feeling right and wrong at the same time. Its internal confusion and curiosity are derailed with the change in music, coupled with a change in the liquid, it is draining. Curiosity and fear are felt as the creature feels the shift in orientation and discovers it can't breathe this new, emptiness without vomiting the liquid it has in it, which hurts. As it feels its weight for the first time, it also truly FEELS for the first time, sensation, touch, smell, taste, control over its body. It twitches in shock from the newness of it all.
After an undetermined time of music, twitching and background medical noise, the creature is able to flop onto its belly. It gives a hacking laugh, and sob, and looks at its right for-limb, with two eyes. It has two hands attached to it. From the shoulder down to the elbow is stone, living stone, laced with wires and veins, with a core of bone and metal mesh. The shape is of a human arm, but twice as thick, unnaturally smooth, and onyx black. In place of an elbow, is a spherical glass-like bearing. . . -thing, which flexes in an un-glasslike way. Inside the glass-flesh is a mix of colors; red as a flame, pink as bubblegum, blue as sea, and as sky. Branching like a tree the creature's arms emerge out of the glass, there are two; one is flesh; blue as the deep sea, covered with scales. The arm is blatantly changed however, from the fishing line used as stitching string, fusing the line of sky-blue feathery flesh running along the underside of the arm, ending at the hand. Six digits occupy the hand, counting the thumb. From the talon the line of feathery flesh starts at, to the flair of plumage where the arm meets the bearing. The other hand on the arm can only keep together with magic, so that's what's used. Constantly shifting in small ways, a column of living fire, flesh, and bright pink ribbons that encase the horror show behind a pretty wrapping. There was even a bow on the wrist.
The creature is confused, everything was new, but still familiar, it didn't know anything, but it saw itself, and recognized that it was that. It turned its head to the left, and with another two eyes, saw its other arm. Starting from the shoulder, it was again shaped as a man's and again twice as thick, but rough, and outwardly made of wood. Visibly healthy bark with a smattering of lush green leaves, and still glistening with fluid made a beautiful sight. At the limbs core, was the same construct of bone, metal, and blood as its right rocky counterpart. The attached bearing was identical in every way, except for the colors swirling within it. White as glacier ice, silver as steel, yellow as a spark, and purple as poison. The first branch off the bearing is covered in a short coat of snow-white fur, splattered with patches of purple fur, like two paints being mixed. Six digits protrude from the hand, each with elegant retractable blade-like claws, dripping with poison. The second branch is mechanical, an almost organic blending of the purest steel, wires, gears, hinges, and electricity. Slightly sparking steel pylons protrude from the upper surface of the arm itself which also hides many interfaces, and a few weapons. The armored fingers twitch as the creature focuses on the limb.
It worked. . . what. . worked? Hungry.
It keens in a choppy voice, a primal plea for food, but there is no mother to feed it only the empty bunker. But the bunker knows what to do, as the creature cries, the plexiglass cylinder that contained it lowers into the floor. The distantly familiar echo of a memory drags the creature's attention to the machine directly next to its incubation chamber, it's whirring to life. In anticipation of something filling the increasingly empty void, he attempts to drag his body to the machine. Scrabbling forwards in an uncoordinated fashion, it reaches the machine whining and whimpering. Grasping and tapping at the warming metal surface it looks for food that isn't there, until it is. The whole length of the bottom of the machine slides out three feet, pushing the startled newborn backwards along the floor. After a few seconds of floundering shock, he smells what's in the tray.
Delicious warm nutrient slurry, at least two gallons of it, rests in the tray. He dives in, plunging his muzzle in and gulping it down with tears of joy. After his feeding, filled with warm happiness and food, he falls asleep sprawled on the floor of a bunker alone and happy. He just knows that this is what he wants, he doesn't know why, but he feels joy at simply looking and feeling the world with his beautiful body.
He wakes some hours later, and decides to follow half-remembered dreams down the hallway.
Legs. . . Wrong?
His legs don't work like they used to, but, what did they used to work like? With a whine and shake of his head, which feels mostly normal, he begins learning to walk as all infants do, trying to stand and falling again and again. They feel like they have too many moving parts and joints, and that's because they do. Digi-grade, covered in night-black and sky-blue fur in the mixed paint way his arm is, the flesh and fur covers metal bones and muscle of flesh and plastic, riddled with veins and nerves, and other less natural things. His paw pads feel odd as they touch and detach from the floor, like they are sticking when he is on the floor, but not as soon as he thinks he shouldn't be. Questions for later. Stumbling and crawling down the hallway, I see a door, it looks familiar. I approach.
Reaching the door, I open it with a hand that still feels wrong in some way. Inside I find things I have no name for but still know. This large collection of d-, dr-, rectangles contains clothes.
What are clothes?
I see the pieces of . . . cloth. They are different, colors! They cover people! What is a person? Am I a person? Maybe, no, I used to be a person. I slump onto the bed that seems so familiar, I take a deep whiff of the sheets, I sneeze. I don't know what I'm smelling, but it's so strong, is this what I smell like? I know this is how I did smell, but it's not what I smell like now.
Why do I smell different now?
He stops trying to get up from the bed, and tries to remember.
. . . Wallace. My name is Wallace. Wallace . . . something. I was human, and now I'm not. I wanted to change. I wanted to fly, to swim, to run like the wild pokémon. I think I got my wish.
Head pounding, Wallace fell asleep for the second time in his new life.
Shifting kaleidoscope of color, incomprehensible, beautiful, horrifying, the- . . . What is this?
A semblance of clarity in the storm of emotion and colorful power, another dreaming mind touched Wallace's own recovering mind. They both looked upon each other with horror and fear, both for very different reasons. For Wallace, it was fear and horror because he knew somewhere in the depths of his buried memories that what he had done to himself was desired by some of the most ruthless and blood-drenched people on the planet. The other looked at him with fear and horror because they could see, with more than eyes (metaphorically they are both dreaming), see what he had done to his soul, cut it, twisted it, flayed, and weaved it into and through things he was not meant to have. The contact was brief, and both forgot much of what they saw of the other, but Wallace awoke with a yelp and looked for an enemy that wasn't there, four ears perked and swiveling, as he pointed the pistol he kept under the pillow around the room. He fell asleep shortly after confirming it was a dream, the pistol falling to the floor. The other woke up, and gasped in horror at what they remembered, because even if it was a dream, what they remembered about the other soul was real. And that horrified them.
Wallace dreamed of music, so varied and different that no two songs were similar, the lyrics though, he couldn't understand them, and yet he could? He whimpers in his sleep. The songless music that followed is soothing though, is this a waltz? He thinks it is.
Waking up, I look around the room. What are these things on the walls? Why do I have four different arms? Why am I happy? I want to move. Getting up from the bed, the creature named Wallace moves to the door (what an interesting word!) opens it, and moves down the hallway in a loping, stumbling, leaping stride, long hair/tail thing whipping about behind him. Inhaling deeply with his lungs and fans, he howls in barking roaring laughter for no reason. Then he gets hungry.
The machine that fed him before is still where he remembers it, a few messy-happy minutes later and he is sated. What is down the hall? Is it another food machine? Another, me-room? . . Another birthing pod? Wallace decides to explore.
The halls are all empty. My 4 ears are all trying to find something that isn't background noise, It feels wrong and right. My taste and smell are both trying to find something that isn't metal and dead, my taste feels no flesh, and my smell smells nothing that is alive. I pull in my taste and close up my mouth, then I feel like that was wrong, in a deep way. I decide to ask why.
Opening my mouth like a flower, I try to make the word, it comes out as an odd hissing noise and my taste hangs out. I don't move for a little while. I look down at my taste and smell. With my 4 eyes. My taste and smell, It is a long pinkish red tube made of muscle, and I can open the end into another mouth, this one just for. . . drinking. I feel, afraid. But only a little. I chose this, I made this, I want this. I blink my 4 eyes and touch the smooth curved cone that my mouth becomes when I close it. I can't feel any seams, I feel a surge of satisfaction at my craftsmanship, then a small headache filled with construction concepts I've forgotten. With a small shake of my head, I keep walking down the hallway. My eyes keep focusing on different things, I keep both sets focused on different things at once, It's fun! I start swinging my arms around as I move down the hall, it's wild fun! I like stumbling and catching myself in creative ways. Reaching the end of the hall, I fall. Ha! Hahahaha. My fans spin a little faster, and I know that means I am a little tired, and hot. That feels funny for some reason, I need to slow down. Looking down at the two pairs of fans on each leg, I can see a heat distortion on my outtakes. I bend down to try and see past the fan into the vent itself. Past the heat distortion and the rapidly spinning blades, I see tubes, fleshy-moving-metalish tubes. This must be how I cool myself! They contract and expand, and eventually contract to almost nonexistence, my legs feel better, and my leg fans close themselves. My chest fans constantly spin though, I think they help me breathe. Opening the door without missing the handle, I walk inside slowly.
The lights come on with my arrival, revealing a massive room in comparison to what I have seen in my short new life, and I recognize it! It's a gym! The kind to workout in, not to fight in. I wonder why there isn't another word for either one. Shaking my head a bit, I head for the stairs. I wish my feet would decide if they wanted to be digi-di- heels-up or heels down, because catching myself on a railing meant for a notably smaller being is not good for balance. I'm at the bottom though, the one-floor stumbling session wasn't so bad.
There are so many machines here.
Some are for humans, some aren't. There is a jungle gym, 'the word gym is used a lot to describe things', in the corner, extending up the wall into the ceiling. I laugh without thinking about it, and it comes out as a human laugh, a young child's laugh, but artificial and muffled, like it's been filtered through a bad set of speakers behind a wall, and it doesn't come from where my mouth is. I raise my arms to my chest and feel around.
There is a speaker here.
Angling my head to the side in a manner that would have broken my neck if I was a human, I look at my voice box. It is a high-quality speaker with a translucent covering that is flush with my chest-fur. I tap it, it sounds like glass. I like the sound. I try to make more noises with it. It squeals with static and the thoughts flying through my metal/flesh brain, the code streams past myself-in myself-on-on-on-.
Why am I on the ground?
"Why am I on the ground?"
"I can speak? I can speak!"
I can speak! It sounds so interesting! Can I sing?
"DOUBLE BUBBLE DISCO QUEEN, HEADING TO THE GUILLOTINE, SKIN AS COOL AS SEAN MCQUEEN, LET ME BE YOUR KILLER KING!"
I love that song! I remember its name!
The sounds sound like they are coming out of an auto-tune machine, but I can work on that! The important thing is that I have a voice humans and pokémon can understand. But can I understand pokémon?
I don't know I decide to sit up and look at the sparks of power in my elbows. . . ball-bearings, made of living glass… stuff. I shake away the headache.
They are so small, but they are there. I want to use them, after all I have done to get them, I want to use them, more than anything.
I don't move for a bit. I just scared myself, how? It doesn't matter. With a shake of my head, I decide to explore my home.