Storm’s Mercy: Chapter 5

He watched as they took blood from the creature.  It never cooperated for this.  At least four handlers were required to strap it down to the operating table for the procedure.  Xue wasn’t sure why it fought this harder than it did the handlers taking turns with it.  “Punish it after this.”  He looked over at Edward.  “Make it clear to the creature that any and all refusals to cooperate will result in reprisal.”

“Understood, boss.”  Edward grinned.

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Storm’s Mercy: Chapter 4

The creature watched the room warily.  Natalya and Adele had both wanted to get a closer look, but given Xue’s warning, it had quickly been decided Greg would handle the first couple interactions.  For all Natalya was the biology major, he did have the most hands on experience with wildlife, and unlike both girls, he actually had combat training.  Still, he felt just a little apprehensive.  The creature’s eyes reminded him of a shark.  Just solid black.

“Hello.”  He felt a little awkward speaking, but it seemed polite to offer a greeting.  The creature didn’t react.  Greg took a closer look.  The creature’s skin looked to have the same texture as that of a dolphin, but with greener tones.  There was clearly webbing between the fingers, and the fingers ended in claws.  While he might be able to pass for human in dimmer light or…  Greg frowned as he looked up.  The lights were a bright florescent.  “Can you dim those?”

“They aren’t on a dimmer.”  One of the handlers shook his head.

“Well, turn off the ones on this side of the room then.”  Greg stared at the handler until the man rolled his eyes and obeyed.  When he turned back to look at the creature, he was surprised to realize the creature was now staring at him, his head tilted quizzically.  Greg hesitated a moment, then indicated himself.  “I’m Greg.”

“It doesn’t talk.”  The handler smirked.

“Possible his vocal cords don’t align with anything that can make vocalizations for human language.”  Greg drew a little closer.  The creature’s ears were clearly inhuman, and he could see gill slits behind them that went down to his neck.  “Especially since he doesn’t breathe the same way we do.”  He looked up at the creature, and smiled, careful not to show his teeth.  “Sorry, don’t mean to talk about you like you aren’t here.”  He held out his hand a little.  “Is it alright if I touch you?”

At first he got no response, then the creature moved.  Immediately, the handlers went on alert, their hands reaching for weapons.  Greg quickly gestured for them to get back.  All the creature had done was lift up a hand, mirroring Greg’s own movement.  The lead handler glared at him.  “Kid, you haven’t seen that thing’s teeth yet.”

Greg put his palm up, then extended his hand, moving slowly.  The creature did the same, then allowed their palms to touch.  His skin was cold to the touch, and did indeed feel like the skin of a dolphin, only…  “Dry.  You’re…”  A dolphin shouldn’t be allowed to dry.  It resulted in painful lesions.  “Don’t you have misters?”

“What?”  The handler blinked.

“Misters.  Or a fogger or something to keep moisture in the air.  His skin…”  Greg looked back over his shoulder.  “He’s amphibious, like a frog or dolphin.  Dry skin has got to be uncomfortable.  It could even get infected or blister if allowed to be dry for too long.”  He saw the handler’s eyes widen.  “Get a humidifier in here at least.”

Then he turned back toward the creature and his own eyes went wide.  The creature’s lips had drawn back somewhat, revealing a row of razor-sharp looking shark-like teeth.  He swallowed, and glanced at where his palm was still pressed against that of the creatures.  Then he met the creature’s eyes again.  “Hang on a minute, and we’ll get you more comfortable, alright?”

At first, he thought there was no possible way the creature could understand him.  Maybe it couldn’t even actually hear utterances outside the water or…  Then, so slight he almost missed it, the creature nodded.

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Storm’s Mercy: Chapter 3

“Sir…”

Xue turned toward his secretary.  She was holding a piece of paper, and staring at it with a slightly awe-struck expression.  “Yes, my dear?”

“I think you need to take a look at this.”  She held the paper out to him.

He took it from her, then turned it around to look at the photograph.  His eyes widened.  “Where…”

“One of the grants you sponsor.”  She gestured toward the other stack of papers.  “They’ve dismissed the photograph as fraudulent and canceled the researcher’s funding, but…”  Her eyes went to the tank.  “Sir…”

“Find the researcher.”  He looked down at the image.  The fins were similar, as were the eyes, the shape of the features, the gills…  He smiled.  “Offer whatever it takes to get them here as soon as possible.”

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Storm’s Mercy: Chapter 2

The doctor let out a low whistle.  “Even if they are only temporary, the effects are rather incredible.”

Xue buttoned his shirt back up.  “What’s the prognosis?”  The fact that the effects were temporary was somewhat disappointing, but he should be able to continue the treatment without difficulty.  At least, as long as he could keep his captive alive.  The creature was remarkably uncooperative.  It was clear it was growing to understand English, yet it had stopped vocalizing entirely.  Two days ago it had succeeded in killing another handler.

“It’s knocking progression back far enough that your organs are showing signs of recovery.  It’s also helped clear up some of the other, minor issues, such as the damage to your joints.  You’ve seen a reduction in the chronic pain.”  Doctor Kovac closed the folder.  “If you can keep the treatments regular, I think you’ll live a normal lifespan.”  He smiled.  “Really like to get my hands on some samples, see if we can synthesize it in any fashion.”

“I have some of my best working on that problem already.”  Xue exhaled.  “Unfortunately, the treatment requires most of what we can safely take from the creature.  And if I kill this one, I’ll likely not be able to get my hands on another.”

“You’ve considered acquiring more?”  Kovac raised an eyebrow.

“Of course.  It’s admittedly difficult when there are few I can trust with knowledge of the thing’s existence.”  Xue stood.  “I told my contact he can name his price if he can acquire me a female.  If I can breed them…”  He smirked.  “Especially if they reproduce like fish…”

“Keep me in the loop.”  Kovac smiled.  “Like to see what this can do to cancer.”

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