120 120. First Contact

Biotech Aether.

This was the name of a vast research center, the largest on Earth and likely in the history of humanity. It was composed and funded by hundreds of different companies making it the leader in the development of the greatest biotechnology, cybernetic, genetic engineering, medicine, and a plethora of other technologies.

It was located below Utopéa, meaning it was underwater and its deepest layers were protected against most if not all attacks short of matter-antimatter warheads or heavy nuclear bombardment, it was also where the Avatars to be sent to Pandora were engineered. It was a vital part of the city-state and the source of most of its power and influence in the outside world.

Within the confines of this massive facility center spanning kilometers downward into the depth of the Pacific Ocean was a heavily guarded room at its very depth.

Behind hundreds of meters of wall it was suspended off the ground in nothingness by an ingenious use of unobtanium and its magnetic properties, radiation was warded off by a dozen meters of pure solid lead that were themselves kept in magnetic levitation by another layer of unobtanium.

Its purpose was to be used as a ground for very specific experimentation, notably touching antimatter.

Nonetheless, in reality, it was not truly used for this purpose and was more of a fit of engineering than anything else. Playing with antimatter was better done in space to avoid 'accidents' that might end in devastating consequences if the blast the size of Greenland on the hidden gave of the Moon was any indication.

But today it was being put to an entirely new use, it was refurbished as a temporary containment unit for a human, a living human, Eric Drennek. His little adventure on Mount Elbrus had been cut short after an incident that could change the fate of humanity.

Now he was comatose on a hospital bed with the only item protecting his dignity a pair of white briefs letting all see that on his well-built chest was a strange growth looking like a black root but pulsing blue and purple at the rhythm of his slow heartbeat.

All around the spacious rooms were vast arrays of laboratory and medical equipment such as many monitors to study his vitals, and an intravenous for water and nutrients was in the largest vein of his right arm. Drones were hovering about doing various menial tasks, one of them was above the unconscious young man and had long mechanical tendrils ending in a vast array of tools that probed in various ways at said roots.

The one controlling this drone in particular was sitting comfortably in a room a hundred meters above, a cup of sugarless black coffee on his left.

The individual was a thinly built brown-haired middle-aged man, if not for his face he might have appeared normal. Half of his head was of metal, gold, and ivory, complex cybernetic weaving together turned this part of his head robotic, even the eye on this side was replaced and glowed a soft crimson red. Even around his neck was an implant that seemed to meld skin and metal like an inbuilt collar.

On the organic side, his hair was brown, and his skin pale and covered in deep ugly scars that only a grievous incident would cause showing all this unnaturalness was more of a necessity than a choice. This man was the foremost expert in Psionic and the leader of the Dark Dream that had led to the creation of the Link Unit, the pod that let Avatar be controlled but only a portion of his achievements and the energy of the mind wasn't his only domain of expertise.

"Incredible, simply incredible…", he said in glee with a faint smile, his voice clear and smooth as the laser on the drone cut a piece of this bizarre outgrowth of alien origin while another grabbed the sample but as soon as it was done the part taken could be seen regrowing at speed visible to the naked eyes.

But the genius scientist wasn't the only one in the room and he was immediately reminded of this fact. To his immense displeasure he might have had, but the subject of study had a powerful parent and he couldn't just go and be at peace doing his work to further humanity's development.

"Dr Lovecraft, I do not care about your personal opinion on this alien abomination, is my son going to be alright?", a blond-haired woman in a blue suit asked coldly, yet worry could be felt with a mix of anger deeply hidden, something noticed by the partially synthetic man.

"My dear Eliza, do you want the lovely but pleasant wording of your son's fate or the cold hard truth?", Cordell, as was the doctor's first name, shot back offhandedly with his only organic eye rolled in dismissal while his synthetic one was focused on the young man from which he was looking at and studying by using the drones.

The pending silence that seemed to stretch for an eternity followed enough for Cordell to know what the CEO of Fortune 500 wanted. He snorted at this silent admission he began explaining fully aware the answer wasn't going to please her.

"The truth of the matter is I do not know-.", he couldn't finish his sentence because the mother already exploded in outrage, making him roll his one good eye yet again. This was going to be a long and strenuous process.

How much he found overreactions and emotional outbursts to be a pain, something he was far too familiar with, it had cost him a few Nobel prizes not that he cared about this vanity trophy but it nearly made him get perpetuity as he used prisoners and a wide range of animals for his study and apparently, that was ethically reproachable by the same organizations that started wars for the most ridiculous and nonsensical of reason leading to millions of innocent death.

It seemed the sacrifice of a few murderers, rapists, and pedophiles was a far larger problem than millions of innocent dying, not that he truly cared but he liked the consistency, if not for the RDA he would not be faring very well today.

'Hah sweet hypocrisy…', Cordell thought while waiting for the woman to quiet down his mind was able to work several times at once with portions of his brain changed that made him able to know when she stopped her yapping.

"As I was saying, my dear Eliza, I do not know.", he began lifting a hand for her to wait before saying more nonsense and insults at his person, it wasn't his fault if she couldn't reign in her children.

"I'm not omniscient and do not speak in certainty but what I can say with a high degree of certainty is that your son is not at immediate risk of dying. The alien exotic element has not damaged any of his organs, be they vitals or not.", Dr Lovecraft said, calming the woman a little.

"Then can't you just extract it like the tumor that it is? And you can study it elsewhere?", Eliza asked with a hint of hope in her voice but the shock of his head shattered it.

"If I could I would have and not have to be forced to be in your presence but what you propose is an impossibility, I have used the word 'damaged', not 'affected' or any other synonym for a reason.", Cordell said, focusing back on his task of moving the substance sample to a machine that could be comparable to a microscope but on the molecular level.

"What I mean is that the substance does not damage tissues, or cells for that matter. Do you know what an ectomycorrhizal is?", he said the negative answer, getting him to grumble before he explained briefly what it was.

"The basic principles are similar but perfected, the substance had formed millions of tendrils with the diameters of atoms to pass through Eric's entire body creating an impossibly complex network interlocking all of his organ systems in a net. It can't be taken out entirely without causing crippling to fatal injury, our technology is great, but billions of cells of vital organs getting ripped all at once apart is too much. And only taking the portion outside would likely be useless and prove counterproductive.", he added with finality but he didn't mention a few things notably that the roots were focused on the young man's central nervous system.

He knew what kind of result it would give, and as much as it would be amusing, this wasn't the time nor the place. And the present time was not one for jokes, this entire affair was related to what he had been informed of; the alien activities on Pandora which were tied to what was happening on Earth by the common point in the design of the technology seen.

It was not particularly a bad turn of events in Cordell's book, the pros and cons depended on how the situation would evolve, if it meant the end of humanity then so be it. A civilization capable of manipulating the space-time continuum was one current humanity were no more than middle-aged farmers scared by their shadows.

"Then can't you let him rest and study other samples at the sites where the aliens' contraptions hit?", she pressed on, with a hint of despair and fear, her stone mask beginning to crack.

She didn't even try money or anything else, it would be a pointless endeavor and might annoy Cordell more than he was at this moment. She knew the man in front of her quite well, and nothing but logic would work and on that front, she was particularly poor right now. Aside from her feelings, there was no valid reason to do as she wished.

"I'm afraid to announce another unfortunate news, that is an impossibility Ms Drennek.", an aged voice from behind said, leading to both turning, Cordell straightening at who the person was and Eliza tensing up.

"Shortly after your son was rescued from his expedition an immense dome of blue light came into existence and blocked any possible access to the alien artifact since it was soon discovered the light is an impenetrable barrier. The two others in Equator and Réunion Island proved to have suffered the same fate making Eric inadvertently the most wanted man in the Sol System and the only source for this extraterrestrial element.", Magnus, the CEO of the RDA said gravely, advancing toward them in a highly advanced wheelchair that was more of an extension of his body than anything else.

Though this could be said for more than anything about him, there wasn't much in the human body that was made to live as long as he did. Only certain parts of his nervous and skeletal systems were of origin from his birth as they couldn't be replaced with cloned tissues or cybernetic implants. There was plenty of argument against the fact he even was human beyond the scope of his actions and morality.

"There's that little detail too, Eliza.", Cordell piped in, before turning back to control the drone and study the data that were being collected, his good eye widened in amazement at what he was observing.

It was an impossible sight, it broke how reality in such an environment should work. The 'atoms' for lack of a better term that made these roots were multiplying but it was out of thin air. Well, not literally but they generated exponentially more energy than there was at their disposal and also created more mass that was present breaking both the Law of Conservation of Mass and Energy, shattering known physics in all of its spectrum.

It was revolutionary, if this exotic element could be tampered it would change humanity forever and these two above laws weren't the only ones to be proven to have been erroneous. The Second Law of Thermodynamics, Entropy, was also proving to be in dire need of rewriting.

'How does it do this? How much energy and mass can it generate? How did it know how to grow in the primary subject in such a precise way? Is it alive? Does it have a Psionic presence? Where is it from? From the Big Bang, a black hole, a magnetar star, or others? Is this even from this universe?', Cordell's mind was ablaze with questions each worth years of long deep studies.

He was elated like a kid in a candy store.

However, all of his elation suddenly vanished into thin air as the equipment in the chamber that was supposed to monitor the young man all went haywire at once causing the alarm tied to them to blast loudly and to pop his bubble but also attract the attention of the two others next to him.

On the holoscreens in front of them, the supposedly unconscious young man was standing up, his eyes closed as he took off gently all the bits and pieces put on him and why the alarm had been turned on as it made the various monitors think Eric was dead or on the way to do so.

He stood up slowly like an awakening corpse, his body shifting as the roots in his pulsed brighter than ever and seemed to grow around him like an armor of blackthorns. With his eyes still closed and face emotionless his head turned toward them, not any of the cameras used but them, the exact direction to which they were before turning to the closest camera.

Then a smile formed on Eric's face and with all that had happened something downed in the three of them, each with different reactions: horror for Eliza, curiosity for Cordell, and trepidation for Magnus.

The smile reached past the point human facial muscles gave once it stopped almost reaching the cheek, a pleasant sigh escaped the mouth of the young man. Finally, the blind stare ended, and his eyelid fluttered open revealing two eyes filled with an alien intelligence far above their own, the brilliant silver iris observing them cementing this further in their minds.

"Greetings, Magnus LeRoy, Cordell Lovecraft, and Eliza Drennek. I'm Liam Cram a Homo Deus, I'm known as the All-Father on Pandora. I have come to be the conqueror of this star system and bearer of knowledge on the greater expanse of the Milky Way.", the alien intelligence said using Eric's voice and body as mere puppets but the inhuman nature seeped through with a tone that bore no hate or disdain or any edges of the likes, only truth and mirth that was skin crawling.

The irony of his statements was sadly lost to them at the moment.


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