by Max Barry

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by The ✵ Dɪᴠɪɴᴇ Sᴜᴘʀᴇᴍᴀᴄʏ ✵ of Khoronzon. . 85 reads.

Black-Blooded Scion - Prologue


A Wasp in the Honeycomb

05/01/2299 - 02:01 AM - Hatchery VZ05, Vohzhrost

The gentle thrum of a myriad muffled heartbeats pulsated through the vast, dimly-lit chamber. Towering pillars, each bedecked with dozens of attached columns lined with innumerable translucent capsules, stood out from the floor like immense strands of giant kelp, adrift in the darkness of the deep ocean. Within each capsule, a gestating embryo lay suspended in amniotic fluid, their developmental stages varying from pillar to pillar – entire generations were thus grown within these towers, honeycombs of metal and glass housing human larvae beyond counting.

In the centre of the titanic forest, a ring of six such pillars rested upon an elevated plateau, overlooking the rest of the chamber like a ruling council before a gathering of subjects. The rumbling and whirring of machinery resounded through the air as one of the six pillars, its brood fully formed, retracted its outer columns and lowered them into the floor. As they tunneled through the ground, they descended into a series of passageways to the depths below, the gestation capsules within them realigning themselves to preserve their orientation as the columns slowly tilted over onto their horizontal railings.

With a thunderous, mechanical groan, the tunnel gate of Delivery Chamber V4 slid open, the newly formed gap connecting the pristine, clinical white room with the immense, pitch-black passageway outside. A deep rumble heralded the arrival of the Chamber’s corresponding spawn pod – sliding through the gate like a vast locomotive, it came to a stop over the unloading platform at the edge of the room, along which ran a drainage basin capped with a net of fine mesh. Already, a team of nurses stood in anticipation before the platform – then, with the robotic synchronicity of industrial machinery, the gestation capsules extended outwards and emptied their contents onto the net, amniotic fluid pouring through the membrane into the basin while dozens of neonates, their pale, vein-streaked skin coated in mucus, now rested upon the netted surface.

Most sprung to life within moments, bawling in blind confusion as they entered the world, kicking and writhing as their gestational cords were severed and their prenatal implants scanned before they were cleansed of their excess fluids, wrapped up in swaddling, and carried away to the adjacent nursery room. A few did not spring to life at all; a horrible menagerie of malfunctions and deformities had taken their lives before they even began, a cruel byproduct of the genetic tampering that went into the construction of their augmented physiology.

In the midst of this cacophony of distress, interspersed with death and blight, that inevitably came with the birth of a new generation, there was one voice that stood out. Not because it was louder than the others – far from it – but because of its tone. While the voices of the other neonates filled the air with shrill cries of discomfort, this one was soft, steady, almost melodious – most distinctly, in place of the widespread confusion and unease, it carried with it a collected, mirthful joy. A chiming laugh emanated from one of the infants, seemingly delighted at his introduction into the world, lying calmly on the mesh membrane as his coat of slime and watery fluid trickled down into the drain below.

As one of the nurses approached him, the child opened his dark grey, red-tinted eyes at her, smiling innocently with a jovial chirp. As she passed a scanner over his right eye, the nurse received a basic postnatal report on her PDA, indicating that all was functioning smoothly; his health metrics were displayed as exceptional, with no detected defects or disorders - almost too perfect. Glancing at the upper corner of the screen, the nurse took note of the child's identification number: X86K08V66.

Future installments to be posted Linkoff-site.

Approved by Sovereign Oversight
The Emperor Watches