Steppenwolf: The X-Creatures Project - Plot - The Heruka

The Heruka

The chapter begins with Steppenwolf and Meg speaking back at the monastery, recuperating from the events of the last chapter. Steppenwolf explains to her why Donovan got her mixed up in the X-creatures project, and what the X-creatures project is. He tells her how old Edward Donovan had started the project in pursuit of an extended lifespan, though he's been dead for years. His son, Reggie, however, took interest in the project, and there has been trouble since. The project itself deals with the science of cryptozoology, or the study of creatures that seem to outlive their own species, and the project leader, Dr. Shelley Thompson, believed the X-creatures had some sort of longevity gene. Meg expresses a desire to talk to her, but Steppenwolf explains that she died in a plane crash. Steppenwolf then explains that the Donovan Corporation had shut down the X-creatures project, but Reggie started it back up again, and he wondered why. Meg then has the idea of asking McAlistair.

Meg, back in the company, confronts McAlistair about the X-Creatures Project, and he reveals that he was forced by Donovan to do so. She demands that he tells her everything he knows, and he agrees, but while they're in an elevator heading to his office, the Albino, Donovan's personal hitman, takes out the power to the elevator and shoots into the elevator, wounding McAlistair. Meg gets them both out of the elevator, and McAlistair painfully tells Meg that everything she needs to know is in the red drawer of his office. Meg then takes a key off of his body and goes to his office, being hunted by the Albino the whole time, and finds a tape in the red drawer. After incapacitating the Albino by electrocuting him and stealing his keycard, she finds out (From the tape) that McAlistair hid all his records about the X-creatures project in a safe, which she finds and opens. She finds therein a roster of the scientists working on the X-creatures project and a mini disc. Meanwhile, Steppenwolf is going to the Antarctic base where the research end of the X-creatures project was situated. Steppenwolf has a friend fly him nearby, and commandeers a frost jet (like a jet-powered snowmobile) to get the rest of the way. He proceeds to break into the lab, where he runs into a beast which is discovered to be an ape named Eruka, one of Shelley Thompson's experiments. He traps the beast in a box and dumps it into a vat, finding a tape soon thereafter, wherein he discovers that Shelley had figured out a way for the human body to absorb the 5 mutagenic genes they had isolated so far in a process she called OSIRIS, which stands for Osmosis of Irregular Inner Systems, which would be further explained in a tape labeled 8/05. But when Steppenwolf found the case, there was no tape inside! While this is happening, Meg is visiting what appears to be the only surviving scientist that worked on the X-creatures project, Octavio Sanchez. He tells her that the mini disc she found is the code key to the archive vault in Donovan Corporation's Houston base. After breaking through the layers of security therein, she finds the computer room, where she inserts the disc and, through a clever use of the 2 computers there and the tic-tac-toe program they have installed, she finds out about the nature of the X-creatures project, about the "Heruka Incident," and about Shelley Thompson Kane, wife of Alan Kane a.k.a. Steppenwolf, reported missing since the Heruka incident. It is then revealed that Donovan knows she was there as a wall moves to reveal Donovan's office, inside of which is the Albino and a bloodied Dr. Sanchez. Donovan says that he's surprised she'd made it that far, as few had, and said that Dr. Kane chooses his associates well. She says that the public must know of his actions, and he replies that they will, in due time, but he could do without media hype at the moment, and says that he could use her skills as a reporter to report on one "X-creatures project" and that he'd make her an offer she, "...just cannot afford to refuse." Meanwhile, Steppenwolf delves deeper into the base, looking for clues as to what happened. After smashing through a door, he finds that a white beast similar to the ape beast from before had killed and was eating all of the scientists. After trapping it and stunning it with light, he manages to tranquilize it with a tranquilizer gun one of the corpses had. Donovan then appears with Meg in tow and a couple of guards and greets Steppenwolf, discussing how the beast was Shelley Thompson, which Steppenwolf had figured out upon examining the body and finding her wedding ring on its finger. Steppenwolf asks about the plane crash thing, and Reggie explains that his father had wanted to save him the shock. Steppenwolf then brings up the missing tape, which Donovan says he has, and, while it's not pretty, it did entail an antidote to the "change," which Shelley had recorded before she injected herself with the mutagenic serum, but didn't have time to prepare before her brain degraded too far. He further explains how she then became violent, wrecking the whole place, including the X-creature blood samples needed for the antidote, which is her only chance at "redemption."

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