There's more to the Bioengineered Experiments and Testing Accommodations laboratory than meets the eye. To the public it was their generic testing center responsible for the many resources they used and needed day to day. To BETA's inhabitants it was a place of pain and prison center.
But still, these two views were still only on the surface of BETA. People often forget to consider what lies below it foundations, for underneath the BETA laboratory is a mad house of deadly creatures and twisted creations thought only to be found in nightmares. Below the surface is a hell hole of demons, a trench of fiendish beings, a pit of sadistic souls.
And you, Draconic Hybrid Experiment 1025, are one of them.
Mashing your face against the bars of your cage, you inhale deeply, taking in the numerous odors with your super human nose.
"Sssssnnnnnnniiiiiiffffffffffff. Can you smell that, Vriska?" You ask the occupant of the cage next to you as you breathe in. "Tell me you smell it. Tell me you smell all this delectable mayhem!"
"Sadly, Terezi, I can't," A smooth voice from a cage marked Arachnid Hybrid Experiment 888; Survivor: Imperfect, replies. "I lack the keen reptilian sense of smell you have. But I can hear it. Some serious shit must have gone down up there."
"What do you think happened this time? Do you think the dog girl bit someone again?"
"Man, who the fuck even cares," Vriska spits. "We never get to be a part of the action, so screw those guys and whatever shit they managed to get themselves into this time."
You pull your face away from the bars and flash your cage mate a brilliant smile full of your deadly sharp draconic teeth. "Heh, heh. You wouldn't be saying that if they let us fight the weaker experiments again."
Vriska can't help but smile. "Yeah, now that was fun. I still can't get over the looks of terror on their faces," she chuckles and gives a little sigh. "Too bad half the time I scared them so much they didn't even attempt to fight back. They were too easy to take down. It's like… It's like they couldn't even bring themselves to fight me."
"They were hybridized with animals that were too tame, that's the problem. Their "morals" probably told them that it was wrong having to fight other hybrids. You know, someone like themselves."
"We are not like them." Vriska says sternly. "We are smarter, stronger, deadlier-"
"Don't forget uglier," Vriska stiffens at your interjection. "Oh, what do you know? You can't see."
"No, but I can smell your insecurity under that insect exoskeleton of yours all the way down to your barbed scorpion butt!" You start to cackle. Vriska, not one to take insults lightly or have herself considered weak, raises her tail and strikes at you through the bars of her cage. She can't reach you. The cages are too far apart.
You stare blindly in her general direction, with teeth beaming wide. You love making her frustrated. After a while Vriska gives up on trying to jab you with her stinger and you go back to sniffing the air. Wait… your nose tells you that the scents are on the move. They're… they're coming down here.
A heavy door squeals as its hinges grind together and the dungeon you're in becomes bathed in light. Your senses tell you that there are four bodies in front of you.
Despite being blind, you've never had a problem "seeing". Not only did your senses of hearing and smell develop par to make up for your handicap, but the reptilian in your DNA gave you another sense; the sense to see heat. Your inner eye could detect silhouettes and heat sources in an array of colors and with acute sharpness, making your offensive strikes deadly and precise.
"Well, well, well," Vriska hisses. "It's not every day we get visitors."
"There has been… a situation," one scientist says. "The director is in need of assistance by someone with your… unique… talents to help us resolve it. Today your abilities will be put to use."
"You can't be serious," you say. You don't trust their words. Something smells off. "No more fake battles? No more mock trials? Are you finally going to send us out into the real world?"
"Yes. We will take you to both have an audience with the director. I recommend you both behave yourselves. We've already had more than enough mishaps for one day."
Your crates are loaded onto a dolly and wheeled out of the darkness. You didn't think it was possible, but you're smiling wider than you've ever thought capable. At last, you were finally going to have a chance to do what you were created to do- no, what you were born to do; hunt and kill any creature that you dared to make your prey.
You're growling with excitement on the elevator ride up to the surface. The scent of discord is so heavy here you can barely control yourself from throwing your body at the bars of your cage, mad with the desire to be a part of the chaos.
The elevator stops and you're wheeled out. There's a room at the end of the hall filled with hot, tense smelling bodies surrounding a table. You're not surprised when it turns out that's your destination.
The room falls silent and you can feel the stares of the scientists boring into your scaly skin. One human, the director you assume, stands up and confronts you. He's wearing overly powerful cologne that smells like… Vanilla?
"Ah, welcome experiments eight eighty-eight and ten twenty-five. Allow me to-"
Hold it," Vriska cuts in. "Before we start talking I have one request or I won't be doing shit for you."
The vanilla-scented man gives Vriska an unimpressed look. Or, at least you think he does. He smells unimpressed anyway.
"And what would that request be, madam?"
"Let us out of these god damned cages. I'm not gonna sit down here and have you give me orders like the condescending asshole you think you are."
"Eight eighty-eight, I assure you, the cages are simply safety measures."
"Whaaaat? Don't you truuuusssst uuuussss?" The scorpion hybrid smirks while waving her barbed tail.
"They are safety measures for everyone including yourself."
"As if you threaten me. Let us out or we refuse to do anything you say."
The director sighs. You can sense him wave his hand in a 'go-ahead' gesture to allow the cages to be opened. You push your way out and stretch your dragon wings to full length the second the lock on your cage clicks open. You turn to the vanilla-scented man and begin to speak.
"So, mister director-"
"Please, call me Doctor Scratch," he interrupts you. "We're all friends here."
"Okay, Doc," you sneer. "I'd been told I'd finally get to sink my fangs into Lusii with no restraints. So when do I start?"
"Patience," Scratch raises his hand, indicating a pause. "We have much to discuss. Let's take a seat, shall we?"
You all move to the table. The director and four scientists sit at one end while you and Vriska sit at the other. Suddenly your nose picks up the smell of something sweet, something… chocolaty? You begin to grope the surface of the table in an effort to find the source.
"As you were briefly informed, there's been… an incident," Scratch starts. Your hand brushes up against something cold and hard. It's a bowl of some sort of candy. "To make a long story short, four hybrid experiments managed to escape the facility last night under the cover of the storm and now we need someone with your skills to track them down and return them to us." Taking one in your paw, you give it a lick. They're… chocolate covered cherries?
"Why us?" Vriska asks with her arms crossed. "Are you brilliant scientists not cleaver enough to find them yourself?" You give the sweet an experimental bite and-
These are the best things EVER.
"All traces of them were lost in the storm," Scratch explains as you grab the bowl and begin to snarf the treats down. "It's true we could send out some higher tech searching devices but they would draw too much attention and wouldn't maneuver through the foliage easily. Our records show that the two of you have the highest performance scores of stealth, efficiency and teamwork, so logically you two would be the prime candidates for hunting down our AWOL friends without too much notice."
"Sssooooo," Vriska leans forward in her seat and puts her head in her spider like hands while you lick the bowl clean. "You want us to find these rogues and bring them back before someone else realizes you screwed up?" She gibes.
"In a sense," Doctor Scratch says nonchalantly.
"You stated you want us to return them here," You say, wiping the chocolate from your lips with the back of your hand. "I assume that means you want them back alive?"
"Preferably," the director says and your heart sinks. "But," your ears instantly perk back up. "If they show resistance, you may respond with force. Of the four experiments on the loose, there is one you must bring back unharmed." You both stare at him in interest. "Hybrid experiment four-thirteen, a candid hybrid and our only perfected subject, needs to be returned to us free of damage at all cost. She's too valuable to lose."
"Whoa, whoa, wait," Vriska breaks in. "You mean the dog girl? The one who bit one of you? She's been perfected? That would mean she knows how to use the omnipotence."
"So don't hurt the bitch but the other three are fair game?" you clarify.
"If they show resistance you are allowed to use force. We'd like to have all four returned to us alive and intact, but if it can't be helped then so be it."
"Looks like I might get to have some fun after all," you smile.
"Hold it, Terezi," Vriska stops you. "What makes you think we're just gonna agree to do all this for you? What are we getting out of it?"
"Think of it as your first legitimate mission out in the field. Your performance here could determine if you're ready to take on the real thing. If you can subdue one omniscient target, we might start sending you out more often into the untamed lands of Alternia and let you have free reign on the fauna there."
"Hmm, I like where this is going," Vriska hums. "Okay, Scratch, when to we leave?"
"Well, before we let you go, you'll need a few things," Doctor Scratch says while waving his hand for a scientist to bring forward a box of items. "The first of these things is new attire." He pulls out some uniforms that smell old and musty to you.
"These clothes will keep you protected from the elements as well as camouflaged in the underbrush. The compartments are also filled with basic supplies to aid you for a few days. We'd give you more, but don't want to encumber you. When you run out, you'll have to rely on your resourcefulness." The clothes are set on the table as the director returns to the box. The next thing he pulls out is some kind of giant gun-shaped cylinder.
"This is an anti-omniscient net launcher. Any creature caught in it will be prevented from using the omnipotence much like the shields around the city do. It's only a prototype and doesn't take well to water. Be careful with it."
"Sweet," Vriska says as she pulls the gear towards her.
"Hold on, there's one last thing," Scratch says. He reaches into the box and pulls out… two metal circles? Your nose detects a metallic scent while your heat vision picks up two cold rings dangling from the index finger on each of his hands.
"NO!" You jump when Vriska slams her hands on the table. "You had a good deal going on, Scratch, but I refuse to war a collar! I'm not an animal!"
"I beg to differ, miss eight eighty-eight," Scratch chimes. "According to the fifty-one percent law, you are. Besides, there's more to this collar than meets the eye. It's also a three way radio system. See these two buttons? The top one allows you to radio us and vice versa, whiles the bottom one allows you to radio each other."
"I bet there's a GPS tracking unit in there as well, isn't there?"
"That would be correct," Scratch tells her. "But let me assure you it's all for your safety."
"My safety, ssuurree," under her breath Vriska whispers something quietly enough so only you could hear. "He probably doesn't want to risk losing more of his precious lab rats, the jackass."
"Come on, Vriska, it won't be that bad," You say as a scientist clips your collar on. "Don't you think a little freedom is worth dealing with some stupid collar? You won't even know it's there. I bet if we do a good enough job here, we won't even need collars we go out to the rest of Alternia."
Vriska is silent for a moment. She eventually sighs and allows for the collar to be placed around her too.
"Until the AWOL experiments are brought back into our custody they are a danger to themselves and everyone around them. Likewise, everyone will be a danger to them and you. People don't like things that aren't like themselves and we want to do all that we can to prevent them from hurting any of you." The irony of Scratch's statement is so thick you can't even scoff at it.
The director pulls out four plastic bags and slides them across the table. "These are the fur, hair and feather samples collected from our escapist friends. You may keep them. And one last thing," Doctor Scratch says as you strip off your white uniforms and begin to gear up. "We will give you one month of free reign. If you fail to bring back the hybrid experiments within thirty-one days, you are required to return and we will send out someone else more capable,"
"Jesus Christ," you whine. "If you just shut your trap and let us go already we may have enough time to get them back before sunset."
"Very well," Scratch smiles. "That's all I have to say. These men will kindly escort you to the exit, and then you will be free to do as you wish."
With that, you are dismissed. The doors are opened for you and you are freely led out of the building. For the first time in your life you get a taste of the outdoors.
You try and fail to contain your exhilaration.
"This is amazing!" you shout. "Oh my God, I've never felt something as wonderful as this before!"
"Cool it, Terezi," Vriska warns you. "We'll have plenty of time for wreaking havoc in the great outdoors after we catch the rogues. Right now we have a job to do," The scorpion hybrid pulls out one of the plastic bags containing the fur samples for you to track with. She opens it and studies the white hairs with her eight sharp eyes. You pick up the strong scent of dog and match it to a trace on the wind.
"I've got the scent," you inform your partner and begin to head off in the direction of your quarry. "Let's go bring some convicts to justice!"