Experimental Fusion

In the time of 2067 it is every country for itself; a huge war that broke out eight years ago plunged the world into disarray. In this world, suspicion gives rise to conflict within conflict, and every person continues fighting for their own reasons.

Every country, in despair, works in secret on its own means of winning the war. England's secret weapon is Mutants, people who have been fused with animals, giving them incredible abilities such as flight and super senses. But there is a catch. The mutants can only be created from children, young children who need to be trained. With the guidance of the unlucky scientist, Danny, and training that plunges them into danger, can they hope to succeed in time, and help England survive the Third World War?

(Note that this is my first Movella and full-length story. I am still in the process of proofreading, but please do give feedback on what you think of it so far!)

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2. Belonging

“Ha! I got you, Ginny!”

There was a huge commotion, pandemonium, craze. Feathers, fur, and scientists flew all over, scared to intervene in case they got their noses bitten off. The ‘got your nose’ trick had been role-switched and hastily forgotten, long ago. High pitched voices filled with the sweet, ripe sound of blossoming laughter bloomed in the air, and despite the commotion it seemed at first, it was soon clear that the commotion was caused by a mere game. The scientists, a good few of them still children at heart, or with their own children back home who they missed, could never resist the temptation to join in with the little experiments.

Ginny, a red-haired girl with a white streak in her hair, raced forward after Moony, wrinkled and flopped over ears bobbing. Her little claws upon pawed little bare feet, clicked against the smooth floor beneath her feet, and she threw herself at the scientist whom Moony hid behind, pudgy little arms failing at thin air as she collided with the young man’s legs. The scientist looked momentarily worried, but her large, brown eyes betrayed that her little, singsong squeaks meant that she was happy. Moony skipped off over a tabletop, his high voice tutting and hooting.

“No tig-backs!” he reminded his friend, Ginny.

It had been several months since the first successful fusion, and, since the scientists ad grasped the concept, many more successful fusions had followed Moony, whose little nickname still stuck. There were many more successful experiments now, and none of them were any older than ten. Joey, a boy who boasted seemingly dull brown feathers, as of now, and arms that had become fuzzy wings like those that protruded from Moony’s shoulders, was the oldest. It had been his tenth birthday just a few days ago. All of the other experiments, unfortunately, had wanted some of the presents, too, and it became increasingly apparent that the experiments here were more like siblings than anything else, and as well as looking up to, and down upon, each other, playing together, and acting like children do, they all had their moments, and everyone at the party seemed to have wanted that same balloon. The experiment named Karasu, a seven-year-old boy who was fused with a hyperactive golden retriever puppy, was the one to eventually pop it.

Right now, the puppy-boy was at the other end of the table, slyly crunching away at something that could only be…

“HEY! Get off my lunch!”

The scientist that Ginny had collided with sprung into action, racing off to protect the remnants of his chicken sandwich from the greedy soul. Everyone stopped in their tracks to stare, distracted from their joys by the scientist’s yell. Ears perked up, and eyes widened. That one scientist who had tempted Karasu snickered away to himself behind the crowds. Benny, pink eyes blinking slowly and nose wrinkling, lowered his long ears and twitched his whiskers, then pushed his glasses up his nose so that he could see better.

“This isn’t going to end well…”

You didn’t exactly need to be a master of physics to see that.

“Come here, boy… Give that back… Come on… Drop it!”

Karasu kept on eating, looking up at the scientist with his secret weapon; the ultimate puppy eyes. Despite this, the scientist kept on edging forward, reaching out for the sandwich that Karasu had in his mouth. It was hardly a battle of wits, but just as it seemed that the scientist had triumphed, both he and the scientist were startled out of getting the sandwich for themselves, at least for the moment. Two pairs of hands grabbed out for Karasu’s meal, and the boy jerked out of the way rapidly as two furry bodies launched themselves for the sandwich. Obviously following Karasu’s example, the twin Alsatian girls, Sally and Cassie, had come for their own try at the food. Twisting over onto his front, Karasu looked desperately around for a moment, then bounded away down the corridors on all four paws, tail between his legs.

Sally and Cassie tailed him closely, tongues lolling out and ears pricked. After these, the hungry scientist followed, yelling their names and annoyed hollers of “Bad dog!” and “Get back here!”.

But not one of the three dog-children did, and there was one more thing that followed the unfortunate scientist, and his quarry, down the hallway. The sound of welcome laughter echoed forth, a different sound from every different animal and person. Despite the endless journey of everyone here, they would always be happy in some way.

Always.

***

Peeping his nose over the edge of the blanket as the scientist tucked him in, Karasu’s usually bright brown eyes were red-ringed and sad. Karasu sniffled, looking up at the scientist who tucked him in; the one whose lunch he’d stolen just a few hours before. If there was one thing that Karasu hated, it was being scolded. He shifted uncomfortably under his pale blue blanket, his large, yellow ears flopping with his movements. A wet black nose twitched and snuffled, and he lifted a furry hand to wipe his nose. The scientist dabbed at the boy’s wet dog-eyes with a clean white handkerchief. It had turned out that one of the other scientists, one who always loved to taunt this one, had tempted the dog boy, knowing that he could never resist the urge to eat.

“Hey, don’t be like that…” the scientist said, attempting a comforting smile to try to lift the child’s spirits. “Just remember to only eat your own food, okay? What would happen if you found some food in the war or someone gave you it, and you ended up being poisoned or something?” Karasu looked down slightly to consider, but didn’t reply verbally, his doggy mind seeming to have difficulty absorbing the facts. Though he understood human speech, one thing that Karasu couldn’t do was speak in his own voice.

 “You need sleep, eh?” the scientist continued, pulling the blankets up to the dog’s chin, and gently ruffling the boy’s ears with a hand. He was only seven, after all. The scientist looked down as he felt a peculiar tickling feeling on his palm, to see Karasu gently licking him. The scientist slowly moved his hand away, leaving Karasu looking confused, and even more so as the scientist stood up and began to move towards the door of his dormitory room, which was modelled to look like a human kitchen. Karasu gave the tiniest of yelps and began to throw off his blankets to scamper after the scientist. The man moved forward again.

“Shh, Karasu!” The dog silenced in response to the male’s command, and the scientist gently pushed the floppy-eared, blonde-haired boy back onto his bed. The boy snuggled in, but looked a little distressed still. So the scientist ruffled his soft, gold-furred ears, a gesture that he knew always helped the puppy to feel better. Karasu’s pretty brown eyes closed for a few moments.  “I’ll see you in the morning, eh?”

As the scientist moved towards the door again, Karasu didn’t look up again. As the scientist looked back, he saw that Karasu had closed his large brown eyes, and laid his head down. He looked to be almost sleeping, until the scientist saw the gentle wagging of the boy’s tail beneath the blankets, a movement that was hardly ever absent from the dog boy. The scientist smiled.

“Good night, Karasu…”

Then he gently shut the door behind him, the door automatically locking itself as soon as it had fizzed its way closed, the lights of Karasu’s room flicking into darkness. Smiling to himself, the man looked around, then quietly went to check on the other children as they slept or lay awake.

There was Joey, the boy who had been fused with a peacock. His eyes, as green as the plumage that he would someday develop, were peacefully closed. His downy brown feathers blended in with the nest that he slept in, and his feathery arms hugged his knees into his chest. He smiled and whispered to himself in his sleep, a sight that the scientist found almost saddening.

Then there was Benny, a boy who had been fused with an albino lop rabbit. He had short but soft white hair, and pink eyes, which were now opened to slits. He had huge, floppy bunny ears that were now draped over half of his face even as he slept on his back in his bed that had been built to simulate a shallow rabbit warren. He slept soundly, and unlike Joey, made not a whisper, with only several kicks of his muscular rabbit feet and twitches of his bobby little tail to show that there were indeed dreams flowing through his mind in a river.

Next, the scientist checked on Sally and Cassie, the Alsatian puppy twins. They were lying curled up in a little jumble of fur and limbs on a single dog bed, in which the blankets had been chewed and thrown. Their breathing mingled soft and sweet. They were identical twins, and had been fused at the same time, with the same animal. This was clear, as it was almost impossible to tell the twins apart, save for a single bullet hole in one of Cassie’s ears. Each bore the closest resemblance to the animals which they were fused with, being almost entirely Alsatian dogs, save that they moved upon two paws rather than four. They possessed short muzzles and fur over their entire bodies, and flowing brown hair that reached to their shoulders. They had tails of two plumes that were constantly wagging even as they slept, occasionally tickling the other twin’s nose and making them sneeze.

Ginny came next. She was a little girl who had been fused with a guinea pig. She had hair of a deep red, and a single white streak that was shaped like a wing on the right side. She possessed sweet little ears that curled and flopped, and tiny little claws to top off her pudgy little hands. She was also, the scientist had learned, the only experiment that sucked her thumb as she slept curled up in a fat little ball. She was doing that now, her chest gently rising and falling as she slept and dreamed of crunching through juicy carrots and cabbages, rather than just the hay that she munched through from her little nest.

And then Moony. Moony was the nickname that the scientists had given him before he was even conscious after the fusion, since he was the first successful experiment; barely anyone even remembered his true name. He had been fused with an eagle owl, and he had two fuzzy wings protruding from his shoulders that would one day grant him the power of silent flight. There were plumes of feathers decorating his wrists like some sort of soft, yet useless, armour, and further clumps of messy, downy feathers formed a scruffy tail. He walked barefoot, for each of his toes held a wickedly sharp claw. But for now, his wings served as more of a blanket than as flight tools, and now he rested peacefully, his golden eyes almost closed, as a final yawn signalled his drifting off into the dreamworld, and he dreamt of being a fully-fledged owl hunting mice with the finest of grace.

Finally, there came the room of the strangest of friends. A young girl with a gleaming, segmented blue tail was sleeping sprawled out on a tree branch with wings that made her seem like a fairy folded against her back. Her skin was tinted slight iridescent blue, and her black hair shone with a metallic blue sheen. From her forehead emerged two twitching antennae. Emerald, as she was strangely called, had been fused with a dragonfly, and she shared her room with her closest friend, a girl wrapped up beneath her in a soft fox tail named Bethany. Though Emerald was soft and flighty, Bethany was tricky and wild, always one to convince her friend to take risks. Even if those risks went bad in the end, their friendship never waned or died, and Bethany’s tricky nature was evened out by Emerald’s carefulness, just as Emerald’s fragile skin and bones were equalled out by Bethany’s relative sturdiness; each was a perfect balance to the other. Now they were each asleep, feeling entirely safe in each other’s presence.

The scientist smiled to himself, a sadness in his eyes that was, to some inexplicable. Most of the children here had been homeless before, taken in by the scientists to be experimented on because the life they might have gained would be better than the one they had lived before. Some had been orphaned in the terrible war that raged on around them; the war that they were being trained for, but at the same time were oblivious to, now.

In the year of 2067, it is every country for itself. It is one against the world, all others against each other. No alliances can be formed without bloodshed, so it is best not to risk it. No-one even remembers what started the war, back in the year 2058. Every country is working hard to develop their own secret weapons to defend themselves, and in England, that weapon is humans who were merged with animals. In early testing, the experiments failed and the subjects died. All except one. That one was Toby, and he was left with injuries that couldn’t be healed by even today’s technology. The damage went too deep to even attempt it.

The scientist whom had been looking after the 9 young experiments as they slept in their dorm rooms was Toby’s guide. He’d lived in England since before the war had begun, but since the war had begun, few to no people had trusted him; it was a wonder that he’d ever managed to get a job in this lab in the first place, and that was only because he’d been the one to come up with the idea originally. The only one here who had complete trust in him seemed to be Toby; and Toby needed to have trust to do just about anything. Perhaps the head scientist of this lab, Amanda, trusted him too, but that was debatable.

Lost in thought, the young man was staring down at the ground that lay before him as he walked. He was jerked back to his senses as he heard jeering laughter.

“Hey, look, it’s the American guy!” snickered one. The scientist flinched, and wished that they’d keep their opinions to themselves like most people would. He didn’t understand why the simple fact of where he was born was so important, not now. He’d lived in England since he was 10!

“Who, Danny? I’m surprised they haven’t kicked him off the project yet… Isn’t he meant to be with Toby?”

The man, Danny, as was his name, felt his cheeks burning in shame, but he clenched his fists and, as usual, tried to shrug it off.

“Toby’s asleep…” He muttered through gritted teeth, making his way forward.

“Permanently?” chimed in one of the other scientists, grinning roguishly.

Danny halted and whipped around, chestnut hair beginning to stand on end, but he said nothing, clamping his lips shut over his clenched teeth. His knuckles were beginning to turn white with anger, but Danny tried not to let it show. He wasn’t one to give in to torment. But still, he felt the others’ words burning like hot knives in his mind, and he twitched his head to rid his mind of any foul thoughts that might cross it.

Taking a deep breath, he calmed, and turned away, saying no more. Then he slowly began to walk away, towards his own dormitory room. The lab here had its own set of rooms for those who wanted to stay to work late, or early, on projects or new weapons. Danny had nowhere else to go, so he was grateful for the shelter that this place offered him. He also had to stay with Toby, who often tried to get up early out of habit despite his many disabilities. He felt a horrible regret for ever having gotten involved with this experiment, but was never even allowed to leave the laboratory in case the public caught even a glimpse of him.

Another reason for the dormitory’s existence was that fusing an experiment could be a lengthy process. The experiments sometimes had to be kept unconscious for two weeks at a time whilst the viral infection that was genetically modified to contain the DNA of the selected animal did its work on the bones, skull, and even skin of the young one until completion. That being said, they also needed to be kept alive and nourished throughout this time, and needed to have instant attention at hand if something went wrong. The process of erasing a subject’s memory could take just as long and be just as risky in rare cases, but it would be cruel to risk skipping that entirely; Danny, of all people, knew this much too well for comfort, having spent so much time with Toby thinking so wistfully back to the days when he was strong again.

Finally reaching his dormitory after what seemed like a lifetime of the other scientists’ jeers fading into the distance, Danny sighed in exhaustion. Tonight was an early night for him, at only 5:00PM.By the ragged snores that he could hear from the bed next to his own, Danny could tell that Toby was, as he’d predicted, asleep. This encouraged him to be quiet as he quietly slipped from one set of his daytime clothes and into one of the well-worn sets of pyjamas that he slept in, throwing his usual clothes carelessly to one side of his bed, his brown T-shirt, trousers, and labcoat landing crinkled on the smooth tiled floor. Danny couldn’t be bothered to fold them right now, so he decided to leave that until morning; he really didn’t care about that right now.

Even though he was exhausted, the man felt his mind reeling over and over as he lay in bed, and he winced every time he shuffled to find a more comfortable position, worried that Toby would awake. He tried to shuffle as quietly as possible, but ended up being rather unsuccessful in that endeavour. Despite this, apparently the younger man slept like a log, because he didn’t awake even once, even when one of Danny’s feet knocked against the side of the bed and create a nasty clanging sound. The last of the summer light that had managed to break through the dust-covered skylight had faded before Danny’s eyes finally drifted out of focus and into a bent version of reality that was his own dreamworld.

Despite this, though, there was a recurring question making his mind roil even in dreams, every thought that came with it causing him to feel his heart sinking further.

Do I truly belong here?

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