The Academy of Caldera

Edit* This piece was written before the character of Anya was established and as such may be different to more recent pieces.

The Academy’s newly appointed subsidiary; the Geneforge, would be the new avenue of scientific discovery. It’s crowned masterpiece. Along with the newly development of genetic manipulation equipment, and procedures to filter out flaws in new hatchlings. The young of the Caldera, would be altered to coincide with the intuitions believe; that true progress of their species was through forced evolution. This wasn’t widely accepted by everyone but the Academy of Caldera would undermine the efforts of anyone who would protest of otherwise hinder it’s creation.

Inside of a sterile laboratory chamber, sat centre back of the room, was a large cylindrical tank.Tubes and wires feeding in and extruding out from the top and sides, that melded the whole contraption into the wall. Filled with a semi-translucent green liquid with bubbles of gas rising to the surface. Held aloft with a mirage of tubes and mechanical arms, sits a large egg. The bright lights spread around the room illuminating every possible corner, make out the moving silhouette inside the egg. A new born in it’s final developing stages.

One of the scientist stood outside the tank, decorated more than the others to indicate his seniority. Taps in on the console a series of commands with his curved pointed nails. With the last press key stroke, one of the idle mechanical arms inside the tube springs to life. It’s end tool; a large hypodermic needle, coupled with a long tube slowly filling with a viscous liquid substance, a deep red in colour with an accompanying ambient glow. Injected into the egg with absolute precision. The display monitoring the process indicates it’s completion rate.

Moments later the new born inside starts twitching with an agonizing spasm, the creature writhes in pain unable to vocalize to it’s overseers. Displays showing the heartbeat of the newborn’s life would periodically slow, ending with a whining high pitched tone. Many of the scientists around the room sighed as their lead member punches the console leaving a crack, forking out from the epicentre of the impact.

Seconds later proceeds to press a large button prominently placed on the console and the process begins anew. The egg it’s released and is sucked through the bottom of the tank along with the liquid in to a black void, flushed away to be discarded like a half eaten piece of food, now unwanted and disposed of.

Afterwards a new egg shortly takes it’s place inside the tank which starts to refill with the same liquid as it’s predecessor, the mechanical arms grasp the new egg and the displayed promptly display a new rhythmic beating tone. The same process repeated once again as the room is again filled with activity. One example of the many failed attempts at the experiment with in the Geneforge that day alone and the look on the scientists narrowing faces suggesting it won’t be the last.

The egg that was given up so hastily flushed out, continues down a snake into the cities sewer. Bobbing upon the waters surface as it slowly drifts down to an unknown exit. Remnants of previous attempts discarded and abandoned to what ever creatures inhabited the foulness below the city streets.

There was no need for a sewer treatment system, most if not all refuse was simply dumped into the fiery bowls of the active volcano to be incinerated. Constant vents and columns of steam rose up leaving most of the atmosphere in this particular grimy biome hazed over with a dense fog that filtered up through to the city streets above.

There are residents of the sewer, beyond the the rodent, insects and crustaceans.A few types of life feeding on any scraps of food disposed of, that were unfit by the cities inhabitants standards. Many of the exiled mages and the homeless would live in the larger chambers of the sewer network, creating a self sufficiency subterranean society. Life her was hard but not impossible, the mages would use their power to create a habitual life for those who felt forced to live here.

The pre-hatched egg was chanced upon by a couple wandering the cities underbelly. They brought to the rest of the sewer-folk to be cared for, although many at first glance considered eating it until realising that inside the hatchling was still alive.

Protected from it’s harsh environment for month the hatchling would emerge from it’s hardened cocoon. It’s head pieced the shell, mucous and egg shell parts spilled over as one of it’s protectors clears it’s covered face preventing suffocation.

For year afterwards the young hatchling would be the focus of the undercities attention, because of the rarity of the occurrence of the event leading up to her discovery. Equating her as a saviour for the magic welders against their oppressors. She would train with the other mages upon realising that she possessed as innate level of magic, skill of which would take years for others to master.

She would not be able to live up to their expectations however as shortly after her twelfth birthday, the section of sewers she called home would come under attack from solders of the Academy. In the event of an emergency her adopted parents had an pre-made escape plan. Upon realising there was no escape, they sought to hide her in a pipe leading up to the surface.

While out of sight from the soldiers of Caldera who had stormed the place, they managed to seal their child away. The soldiers finally reaching her parents trained their weapons on to them and were gunned down in front of her. With their dying breath they issued a desperate blood curdled command to climb through the pipe to safety. With her reluctance the young girl done so and slithered away.

Upon ascending through the pipe she reached a drain cover, she prized it open to be blinded by the brilliance of Sol’s light creeping through the narrow gap. Recoiling momentarily in discomfort before exiting into an alleyway, away from the prying eyes of everyone but the old drake standing next to a makeshift bonfire. From here on out she would be alone with no one to trust she would be forced to fend for herself.

Author: Laura Steel

I am the 27 year old trans-woman in current possession of this website. Using this site as a medium for me to practice my chosen vocation as well as being able to vent any thoughts and ideas I so choose, as I am currently in the process of starting my writing career.

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