Description: Sophia the Lamia journeys to Britain, to investigates rumors of the Spring-Heeled Jack. But waiting for her is Shadaloo, their rare genetics expert, Sabbath, having lured Sophia into his clutches for an elegant conversation.
It's not every day you hear rumors about a figure from 19th century mythology making a sudden return and attacking people. Still you think with everyone's phone having a camera you would be able to get more than a blurry video of it. Of course Sophia's taking advantage of the nightclub's odd visual design to conceal herself while she gathers information. The researcher is currently sitting in a booth doing the best to keep her lower half out of sight.
Spring-Heeled Jack is a mythological figure of some reknown, some feeling the man was a serial killer during a time of mass hysteria, others accounting his appearance to supernatural magicks.
Sabbath knew the figure was a cultural lure among British to this day, and among Sabbath's tools, were lures. Sabbath is a Welshman, and the narrow neighborhoods and derbytops of Wales attracted plenty of tourism.
After having propagated the rumor of Spring Heeled Jack to attract his subject, Shadaloo information experts were placed at a bar frequented by conspiracists and creatures of the night, some paranormal, others more human.
When they saw the Lamia enter, they adroitly informed Sabbath, and the oddity, codenamed by Sabbath, "Jigger", after the pond lure of the same name, was withdrawn from service, and placed back in his stasis cell.
Sabbath, a small man with a tint of grey to his skin and cybernetics emerging from his head and from his right hand, slowly shuffled through the crowd in the club tonight, wearing a black two-piece scientist's suit, buttoned up the front as a jacket with a pair of tight, black khaki pants on the bottom, and a pair of husky boots on his feet.
Sabbath paused before Sophia's table, looking at her with his right eye and his hidden left (behind a scope), a prune-mouthed smile creeping across his face to show his metal teeth.
"Hello, dear. I've done a great deal to find you, Sophia. My name is Sabbath. I am a fellow scientist."
Sophia looks a bit startled as she's addressed by name by the other scientist. She hadn't expect her cover to be blown so fast. Her instincts tell her he's not the friendly type and she flicks her forked tongue out hissing a bit as she stands. "Stay back, I don't want to hurt you." She rather avoid a fight with all the other people present, someone was bound to get caught in the crossfire.
Sabbath raised his hands, showing Sophia his palms as he lowered his gaze and turned his eyes to the left, tipping his head forward.
"I am not your foe, Lamia. I have made many sacrifices in my work with unusual species, but I do not plan to make you one of them."
His fingers slowly curl down, softly, and he looks back, quietly lowering his arms.
"I wish to exchange information. I will pay for your expertise, with any piece of intriguing rumor I may offer. I was once a United Nations genetics engineer related to our mutual conditions. My own condition, happens to be self-inflicted, to become a purer life form. Yours, I do not know, but I would love to hear."
"I apologize for being manipulative, I know it offends a researcher. I am a technician. You want clear, informed data, I want a clean situation with which to produce data."
Sophia's a bit torn here, who knows what might happen if she doesn't go along with this? Still he might use the knowledge to go after other supernatural beings and capture them instead. Sure, she's a researcher of the supernatural but she's also one of them now. Still the fact he made himself like this willing makes her uneasy. Plus, he made it sound like he's a hunter of the supernatural and wouldn't hurt to know what she's up against if she does have to fight him.
"What exactly do you need my expertise on? Surely you already have access to more data than I do." She has to wonder what he has to gain by making a deal with her.
"I just want to know a single piece of information, then my entire repository is at your disposal."
Sabbath raises his left forefinger, an improper gesture, however he is trying to appear non-threatening, with the savage toxin-laced claw on his right hand.
"How, did you become a Darkstalker?"
Did he already know that she used to be an ordinary human? "I was captured by a succubus and forced to fight my way through her personal domain. It had a few side-effects." Sophia's dead serious as she says that. The question is would he believe her? Surely it wasn't any harder to believe than turning yourself into a cyborg.
"Fascinating. The conversion of humans through magical means is something that we could never understand."
Sabbath gestures at the opposite side of the booth.
"May I join you?"
"I don't mind but it'll be a bit cramped." She's keeping her tail underneath the booth after all. "What made you leave the United Nations?" Sophia has a feeling it was a conflict of interest but she still finds it a bit odd that would someone turn their back on access to that level of technology and funding.
"I don't mind a snug fit," comes Sabbath's reply, sliding into the booth and keeping his shins back, nocking himself into position.
Calmly, he places his hands flat on the table, his grotesque claw on the right hand (on the fingers, not the wrist), visible.
"They didn't approve of my experiments, I'm afraid. It's a limitation in the human neurological genome, from various adaptations that prevent humans from performing actions that could harm the genetic population of a particular sub-speciation, compounded by local and background neural imprints."
Sabbath smiles. "Luckily, I was able to find an employer that allowed me to modify several cerebral portions of my brain with computerized functions, with programming allowing me to function as I've always wished. The dream of science is to escape boundaries, isn't it?"
"Well, I have to admit this form does have some advantages but there's times it would still be much easier if I still was human." Sophia's torn by her current form. "I can control my form to a degree but it requires a great deal of energy." Which is why's she's a lamia a great deal of the time. She coils herself up a bit su there's more room for them in the booth.
She has a feeling she's not going to like the answer to her next question but science isn't about always getting the result you want. "Was Jack born that way or was he altered?" She needs to know if he conducts his experiments on others as well.
"For the Jack duplicate I deployed to find you? You do not resemble the creature of legend in mind. Interesting, but most likely predictable."
Sabbath continues, "I selected a Red Man of Vietnam kept in retention, a rare surviving cryptocreature officially classified as Homo erectus. They are a genetic cousin, perhaps ancestor, that once lived in Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Indonesia. Their existance dates to considerably before the rise of Homo sapiens, during the Ice Age."
"Anyways, to return to the topic. A human host would not have had proper cooperation, and if I had induced it, I would not have been able to keep the fellow out of captivity as I had. The near human instinct of the sample creature, combined with the genetic modifications taken from recovered vampirism samples from encounters with Outworld, were the necessary elements."
"The Red Man's toe is on the outside of the food, not the inside, hence why the creature was able to jump and land with such precision, combined with the vampire plasma in its system. Also, various cosmetic modifications performed via surgery, to mesh with a medievalist's costume design with synthetic design samples for mechanical implements. Control, command, and enhancement."
"The Jack will be held in a stasis state until needed again. He managed to evade authorities rather well, didn't he?"
Sophia looks kind of disturbed by what Sabbath says. "You had access to one of modern humanity's ancestors and you experimented on him? Do you realize how much we could learned about evolution and the human genome?" It's rare that she loses her cool but her eyes narrow. She has a feeling that this partnership isn't gpomg to work out.
"We have other samples, of course." 'We'. "That part of the world is one whom I and my colleagues travel in often, the Indochina peninsula."
Sabbath stares down Sophia levelly, unable to gauge her offense because of the neurocybernetic alterations to his paired amygdala.
"I hope you understand, it isn't learning from our history, it is learning how to shape our history. If the former suits the latter, then the latter his a purpose."
Sabbath decides to share, waving his unmodified left hand with a brief, soft flourish, "You'll be glad to know, that the analysis of the samples we had access to indicates that Chi and Psionic compatibility were present. What we can't see, is how much a these natural forces may have shaped these creatures, and all creatures before the Ice Age."
Conversationally, he adds, "Beasts of legend, could be indicated by these creatures. Particularly with what we know about Outworld, and its strange parallel to our world."
"Have you located older samples than Jack?" Sophia's wondering how far back they go back. She's not a geneticist but she knows that the others can't afford to be compromised. "And how did you test them for Chi and Psionic compatibility? I can
't imagine that their brain waves are the same as ours?" How were they gaining this information?
"The Red Man of Vietnam is the oldest ancestor to man on the planet, and despite mass sightings by French and Americans during the Vietnam War, disputed by the less refined members of the world community." There's a blithe pause. "Which is most of it."
"The Chi and Psionic abilities appear to be less advanced, however your own case proves that mutations can occur alongside particularly unusual phenomenon."
"Is it possible that indviduals with higher levels of Chi and Psionic ability are the ones who evolved?" Sophia's starting to think that there could be some kind of connection between the two. "Also were you sent here to recruit me or just for information?" It seems a bit odd he would go through all that trouble just to talk to her.
"To be blunt with you, Miss," Sabbath says apologetically, "I don't think you'd know how to begin to work for my patron."
"I merely wished to study your condition. I am involved in a vast network of information related to the antique and arcane, and you have an interesting case. I am pleased to know that the rumor was true, and you are truly a movement from human positive, to Darkstalker positive."
"There are indeed bloodlines capable of intense use of Chi and Psycho Power, however these must be trained over time, martial arts being the best form. That means that the relationship is in the motor cortex, the part of the brain that controls nerve and tendon motion patterns."
"I must agree, we don't see eye to eye." Sophia may be a monster but she does have a sense of ethics. Still it sounds like he knows quite a bit about Darkstalkers and maybe his knowledge could be used for good. "What do you want to study about me? I have no intent on going back to that domain...if it's even possible." She still has nightmares about it.
"Of course not, I don't intend on placing you in harm's way, given that you've complied with my request." His face is flat, indicating a lie, even though the level of cybernetic modification in his brain might make that difficult to place for a normal synaptic structure.
"What I'm curious about, Miss Sophia, is the single memory you are blocking. We all block a single, defining trauma about a meaningful change. That is how the change drives us in a compulsive manner."
Sabbath lifts his right hand, the claw, and points with a single, sharp digit.
"Tell me - you regard fighting your way out of the succubus' domain as having side effects, and you disapprove of people understanding you. I know what this means, but do you wish to lose the paranoia of your present state? You may consider it protection, hence why I ask."
"People are going to keep coming after me regardless, now I'm a Darkstalker." Sophia's not being paranoid. She knows the relationship beween humans and Darkstalkers are less than I idle. "It did have side effects, no normal human could survive in a place like that. I was an ordinary woman with no fighting experience. I shouldn't have been able to make it out of there alive." She's still not fully sure what happened.
Sabbath can see that an analysis of the mind by the predator happened, indicating that a succubus has a supernatural ability related to mental thoughts. The addition of the deliberate release of the prisoner, while a concurrent change has formed, indicates that the major trauma being tracked and analyzed by the creature, indicates the succubus in question was seeking to transform someone with a particular aversion, for release. The victim was selected to be non-combatant before the trap, therefore the secret lies in the reason for the traumatic memory being the analysis of the mind.
"Tell me, Sophia," comes a gentle question, Sabbath's hands pulling in to touch fingers in a three dimensional concave diamond from his chin to his thumbs. "Before you delved too deep into the night, what was your religion and its variant sub-class, as a fellow academic would understand it?"
"I've believed in the supernatural as long as I can remember. I heard all kinds of stories when I was young and I wanted to see if they were truth or not. I wasn't quite expecting them to be valid as they are." Sophia explains to him what she believed in. "But stories are much different from the actual experience."
"Mm," Sabbath says, stroking his chin with his smooth left hand.
"So you've had a fascination, without a rejection of faith forming?" Sabbath has what he needs. Subject was induced into the faith from contact with a Psionic ability, broadly typographed as witchcraft in modern nomenclature. Exposure was from a pacifist, hence lack of rejection.
"The inquiry is closed. Do you have any other queries? I am at your disposal."
**** Edit 'change' into 'faith'. Tagline search: Carpathian ****
"Not at the moment, I should head back to the hotel before it gets light. It was a long flight and I could use some rest. I should also update my research with what you told me." She's about ready to head out, this was a lot to take in. Maybe she'll be able to sleep without nightmares since she's worn out.
"Beware the creatures of the night, dear Sophia," Sabbath says pleasantly, sliding out of the booth.
"Most of them are mortal, and people that you meet every day." Sabbath shuffles his work boots out of the club, several Shadaloo information officers in plainclothes trailing out behind him.
Log created on 20:56:37 11/18/2018 by Sabbath, and last modified on 13:13:48 11/20/2018.