Your name is Hybrid Experiment 612 but you prefer to be called Dave. It was the name you were born with.
It was your name when you were human…
You find it funny how you can remember your human name. All hybrids seemed to know theirs despite no one ever saying it to them.
Then again, every hybrid clearly remembers the process of their metamorphosis and you were all just newborns when that happened…
It seemed to be a constant for all hybrids that lived through the transformation, that unique knowledge. It was an undeniable truth branded into your hearts. You all knew you had a name, and you all knew you were once human.
You also all knew that you were all orphans.
Abandoned by your parents shortly after birth and left in the "care" of what they thought was an orphanage, every child in the Bioengineered Experiments and Testing Accommodations Laboratory was raised to believe they were worthless and unwanted.
And many of them believed it.
Something rustles in the cage next to you. It's Hybrid Experiment 611, another avian hybrid, and your fraternal twin brother, Dirk. He's just woken up.
Stretching his snowy white and black tipped wings as far as the cage will allow, he turns to you and rubs the sleep out of his tired orange eyes.
"What did I miss?" He asks sleepily.
"Jade was first on the list this morning. They took her away already," you tell him.
"You look tired. Did you sleep?"
"Do I ever sleep?" you reply sardonically. He doesn't answer that.
Moving to the edge of his cage, Dirk peers down at the wall of cages below.
"Rose, you awake yet?" Dirk asks.
"Ever since the first rays of daylight illuminated the room," a feminine voice replied.
You look down below you to find Rose, a felidae hybrid experiment. Her light blonde hair matches her furry blonde ears, hands, feet and tail. She looks up and fixes you a cat stare with her brilliant violet eyes.
Maybe it's just the fact that she is half cat and you are half bird, but you can't help but find her blink-less gaze unsettling.
"Do you suppose Jade will go through with it?" she asks you. "Do you really think she'll ask our imprisoners what the purpose of our existence is?"
It occurs to you that if Rose was up since dawn like she said she was then she most likely had overheard your conversation with Jade.
"Probably," you say. "She's a determined little fucker."
"What are you talking about?" Dirk asks, feeling out of the loop. You bring him up to speed with a quick recap.
"I don't know what you think, but you can't deny the kid's got guts," you conclude. "Whatever answer she gets, I hope it's a kind one. Verbal or physical." Dirk and Rose nod silently in agreement. Physical punishment was often the answer to all the questions you asked and all the mistakes you made here.
"I hope she's okay," you sigh a little. "I certainly wouldn't want to be her right now."
You decide to be Jade again, and right now you are standing at the entrance to a giant maze.
"Your objective is to navigate the maze as fast as you can and avoid obstacles," A voice says through a speaker above you. "You will begin at the sound of the buzz."
"Um, excuse me," You cut in politely. "I have a question."
You swallow a lump in your throat and try to calm your jitters. It's now or never.
"W-what is the purpose of all these tests, and why do we have to do them?"
"Your objective is to navigate the maze as fast as you can and avoid obstacles." The voice repeats.
"No, no! That's not what I meant!" Your voice begins to waiver and loses confidence. You have to hurry and ask your question before lose your nerve from fear. "W-why were hybrids created?" You finally manage to choke out. "What is the purpose of our existence?"
"That information is classified and demanding said information is punishable by physical means." The overhead voice says after a pause. "You will now begin navigating the maze."
A buzzer goes off but you don't budge. "Please," you beg. "Our lives must have some meaning. Can't we at least know why we were created?"
"That information is classified and demanding said information is punishable by physical means," the speaker says again, this time impatiently. "You will now begin navigating the maze." The buzzer goes off a second time.
"Begin your test!" Before you can ask again, you're taken by surprise with an electric shock. Your starting plate is rigged with conductors.
With a yelp of pain, you leap off the starting plate and enter the maze which automatically shuts off the entrance behind you. At once the maze becomes alive with dangers far worse than a mild electrocution.
You begin to run down on all fours as fast as you can. All your senses are alert; your eyes scan for anything sharp or pointy waiting to impale you, your ears listen for the buzz of electricity and the hissing of poisonous creatures wanting to bite you, your nose is carefully searching for traces of gas that want to paralyze your body and leave you defenseless.
Countless times you've done these mazes, but each time they get more dangerous. One can never be too careful.
You come to your first fork in the maze. The first thing you do is take a quick sniff in both directions. The right route has traces of gas in it, but the left one is clear. You go left.
You're half way down the left corridor when the blades spring from the walls.
Reacting faster than humanly possible, you duck then jump, barely avoiding the saws by millimeters. One passes too close for comfort by your tail, and you find that if feels a few hairs lighter after you land to safety on the other side.
You race on, still alert for danger, but fail to notice a trip wire in your path. Your front paw snags it, causing slots up on either sides of the wall to open. A menacing hissing sound reaches your ears and you stop dead in your tracks.
Metallic colored snakes with glowing red eyes poke their heads out of the slots, zero in on you then begin to pour out of the walls in drones.
"Silver serpents," you gasp then bolt down the hall as fast as your legs can carry you.
Silver serpents were possibly the worst obstacle to encounter in the maze. They were unbelievably fast, relentless, and above all, lethal. One bite from them and you would be dead before a scientist could send for help.
The maze is no longer about strategy, or completion. It's now a race for survival.
It's impossible to out run silver serpents. Your only hope was to outsmart them and finish the maze before they catch up to you.
You throw caution to the wind and run blindly.
This time you're picking the most dangerous routes. Your ears catch the buzz of electric plates to your right and you take a sharp turn. Ahead you can clearly see the shock plates on the floor, sparking and crackling with electricity.
Putting on an extra burst of speed, you race up as close as you can get to the first plate and make a death defying leap. You can feel the electric sparks dance across your skin and fur as you sail through the air.
You hit the ground hard on the other side, but quickly recover. Behind you, you hear zaps and squeaks of the first silver serpents being electrified.
You don't stop to look.
You know it won't hold them back for long.
Picking paths at random you're now only on the lookout for dead ends. Running into a dead end now will mean certain death.
The hiss of the silver serpents begins to grow again and your heart fills with dread. Racing around another corner and you find that the walls in this section are covered in small holes.
"Dart walls!" you pant and dash toward them.
Despite the fatigue in your legs you continue to force a sprint. Small spears begin to shoot from the walls but you are moving too fast to be hit. The silver serpents aren't so lucky. Dozens more become impaled and skewered, but a few still manage to snake through.
You make one more wild turn and to your surprise you find the exit in your sight. Relief floods through you as you bound toward freedom.
But just before you reach safety you're hit by a spray of noxious gas.
You gasp out of reflex only to realize your mistake. You try to hold your breath but it's too late. You've inhaled the toxin and suddenly your body is not in your control.
Falling head over heels, your muscles begin to spasm and contort. You notice that you're only inches away from the finish line.
A long, slow, collective hiss fills your ears. Rolling your eyes you catch a glimpse as the deadly reptiles slither around the bend. They're moving slower now, barely faster than a crawl. They know they've won.
You struggle, despite the lack of control of your body. Your limbs twitch and writhe, but you're still completely helpless.
The silver serpents surround you and glide their cold, scaly hides across your body. They know you're at their mercy and they're teasing you, purposely trying to fill you with fear before delivering the final blow. And it's working.
One serpent coils around your neck and rises up. It spreads its jaws, revealing two incredibly sharp fangs glistening with poison.
'Oh God, oh no, oh God, oh no,' your mind screams. 'I don't want to die. I don't want to die!'
A sense of terror suddenly comes over you like never before. For one heart stopping moment you were no longer Jade, you were no longer hybrid experiment 413; you were just raw, primal fear.
The serpent strikes and for a split second all you see is fangs. The next thing you know, you're seeing green; a bright vivid green that radiates pure energy. It's so overpowering you can barely stand it.
But just as fast as the vision of green came- it suddenly went.
Slowly, collapsed out on the cold floor, you come to the realization that you're now miraculously across the maze's finishing line.
The silver serpent who struck at you hisses in rage as the timer buzzes, signaling your completion of the maze and shutting them off from reaching you.
Scientists come rushing out, chattering excitedly to one another. They surround you and examine you intensely. There are much more than usual, and you find it unsettling.
Your body's still hijacked from the gas, but you're so utterly exhausted for some reason, you don't think you could have done anything different even if you had tried.
Your head is swimming and the edges of your vision are beginning to go dark.
One scientist gently picks you up and places you back in your cage.
"Finally," he says to his colleagues. "After years of trying we have finally succeeded." His voice sounds echo-y to you. "We have perfected a hybrid that can perform the omnipotence."
'omnipotence…. Omnipotence…. Omnipotence…..' you hear the words reverberate in your skull as you slip into unconsciousness.
And then you hear nothing.