[Make sure you read Tar before you read this.]

“It's over.”

I stood there, in the basement of the Eastern A.G. Industries building, hands above my head in an instinctive fashion. Derrick Todd stood behind one of the tables near all of the equipment, the table empty except for a large bound book. The machines ran silently, but the sound of a low rumble from the hole in the wall persisted through the silence. Derrick stood there, with a lab coat over his clothing, revolver pointed straight at me. “It's over,” he repeated, motioning towards the hole. “Everything your Father and I had planned, it's done.” I asked him to put the gun down then, and then we could talk in peace. He simply shook his head and told me it was too late for that, that I knew too much. “I'm sorry but you can't leave here alive.” I asked him if this was what it had come to, murder. “You have no idea what I went through to get here. The lives it cost, the work it took, you have no idea the sacrifice required to get where we are.” He shook his head, “No you don't know. So don't tell me what I should do now.” “Was it worth it?” I asked. I thought he might pull the trigger then and there. But he didn't. “You want to know what we did?” he motioned towards a nearby chair. I sat down in it, but he did not lower the gun.

“Your Father and I had been working together for a long time. We researched the Seekers, Objects, Holders, but after awhile our attention was caught by a new menace; the black creatures. We stopped everything else in order to find more information about them. We found out that they were attracted to the Objects, and would come to take them, killing anything that stood in their way. They were rare, and almost always successful in their pursuits. We learned that you could kill them, it was difficult but possible. Everything else was still a mystery; where they came from, why they did it, and where they would strike next. It was hard work, but we didn't give up, even though it seemed as if we couldn't do anything else. We were ready to give up when we got a letter. It told us that the the writer was interested in our work, and wanted to help out. The letter told us to look more closely at an Object. Object 142; The Feather of Balance. We spent weeks trying to find out what the letter meant. We found its current owner, its previous owner, and all the time it was gone. Nothing made sense, until your Father figured it out. Both of the people who had held the feather got it from a Holder. That didn't make sense unless the first Seeker became it's Holder, but she didn't. She lost the Object one night, after crashing her car. Nothing but oil was found at the scene, and we all thought it was from the car. It wasn't.”

He lowered the gun but continued to talk. “Don't you see? The creatures would take the Objects, and when they went back to where they came from, the Object would return to its original Holder. It was a sort of recycling system, obviously not the creatures' primary purpose, and we didn't even know if the creatures themselves were conscious of it, but it worked anyway. That's when Rockwell picked us up. He was the writer of the letter, and told us he had been looking at this phenomenon for awhile. He told us about his company, and how he had a plan to get some of the more dangerous Objects out of the hands of Seekers. He told us he wanted to force a mass scale attack from the creatures. If something like that were to happen, it would bring balance to the system. So he brought us down here, and we started working with that.” He pointed at the black hole in the wall. “Strangely beautiful isn't it?” I asked him what it was, he told me to look closer at the edges. When I did I noticed that the hole was lined with a long iron chain. “It's an Object?” I asked. Derrick laughed, “Not just any Object, I was told Rockwell had to search for years to find all of the links. No that's not any Object. That is one of the Legion's Objects.” I was shocked. I had always thought that the Legion's Objects were long gone, destroyed, lost. He explained that that's why they had joined up with Rockwell. They believed that if the man could find a Legion's Object, they could do anything. “But I never knew how much we had to do to get it to work.”

“But we got it work, and we went in, and began to research their world. This, was the only Object that we could ever get from the portal.” He picked up the book on the desk. “We don't even know its number or its Holder to say the least.” He tossed it at me. “Read it.” I opened the book, and it was filled with odd characters, which ended about twenty pages in. I told him I couldn't read it. “ Neither could we, nothing we could do would translate it. But your Father did it. And with that book, we made everything that happened tonight possible.” I closed the book and turned back at him. “Then why did you need me?” That made his smile fade away. “You weren't supposed to be needed like that, but we needed to reconfigure the portal, and if we couldn't do it, we risked starting all over again. The creatures inside would try to kill anything that got too close, except for you. Whatever happened to you that night with your Father caused you to be immune to the creatures. They don't try to hurt you. So Rockwell got you to do us a favour.”

“So that's it? Your plan worked?” I asked him. That's when he tensed up again. “At the cost of many people's lives, yes, yes it did. Although I have no idea how well it worked until all of our data checks out.” I asked him if that meant that they were done with the portal. He tightened his grip on the gun and looked down. He didn't say anything for awhile. But then looked at the portal. “He was never with us. I learned that far too late, much after your Father figured it out. He used us and our research. He never cared for the reset, he wanted something in there. And he killed everyone here in order to get it.” He turned back to me. “Rockwell isn't like you and I. I hope more than anything he didn't find what he was looking for. Sometimes I doubt that he's even-” The rumbling from the portal grew louder and louder as Derrick instinctively turn the revolver toward it. All of a sudden something walked out. Something with a black suit and piercing grin.



[ Story continues with Almost Human]
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