Science Fiction Mystery Suspense

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

Kaisley Royal had no idea what she was getting herself into the morning she parked her car in LabStream's visitor parking lot. She had been trying to get media clearance to do a story on the high-security laboratory for years, so she couldn't hide her excitement for this long awaited moment.

As Kaisley walked towards the entrance, she couldn't help but feel a sense of apprehension. The tall building loomed over her, giving her the impression that something ominous lay waiting inside. She shuddered and took a deep breath before walking through the doors.

Once inside, Kaisley was immediately struck by the sterile, white atmosphere. A short woman with long inky black hair was sitting behind a desk. Other than the desk and a few nearby chairs, the lobby was completely empty. Kaisley introduced herself and told the woman she was there for a media tour. The woman looked hard at Kaisley's ID and then picked up the phone. After a brief conversation, she smiled and said, "Dr. Wells will be out for you shortly. Please have a seat".

Kaisley twirled a piece of her wavy coffee brown hair around her finger as she waited. She pulled her notebook and audio recorder from her purse. She was the first reporter to be allowed to cover LabStream's testing on local rivers and lakes. The company had been taking samples through a government contract for three years, but the public had never been informed of their findings. She suddenly looked up to see a tall man standing before her. He spoke without a smile or any hint of emotion. "Good morning Miss Royal. I am Dr. Wells. I am the laboratory director, and I'll be giving you a tour today."

He gave her a few guidelines to follow for reporting and reminded her not to touch anything she may see. Her heart raced as they made their way down the hallway, her eyes darting around as she tried to take everything in.

As they entered the main laboratory, she saw a man standing in the center of the room, his back to the door. Kaisley felt her pulse quicken as she approached him, unsure what to expect. The man turned around, and Kaisley was taken aback by his rugged good looks. He was even taller than Dr. Wells, and his muscular frame was evident through his white lab coat.

"Miss Royal, this is Dr. Hunter. He's one of our lead scientists here at LabStream," Dr. Wells said. Dr. Hunter motioned for Kaisley to stand in front of the table he had been intently working at. She saw a tray with a few dozen water samples. Each sample was neatly color coded. She turned on her recorder and took notes as he talked about how their scientists collected and stored samples until testing time.

After about ten minutes, Dr. Hunter finished his water testing presentation. He smiled charmingly and said, "Now, it's time to get to the thrilling part of this tour. We are very excited to share this with you." Both doctors led Kaisley out of the lab and further down the hall. Dr. Wells stopped at a door and put in a code.

The room was dark, and it took her eyes a few minutes to adjust. Once she could see again, Kaisley let out a loud gasp. Before her stood four rows of large glass tanks filled with a strange blue liquid. Inside each tank, she could see something moving. She walked towards one of them, her curiosity getting the better of her. As she approached, she saw creatures swimming around in the liquid. They were unlike anything she had ever seen before, with long, slender bodies and shimmering scales that refracted the light like a prism.

Dr. Wells and Dr. Hunter watched as Kaisley approached the tank, their expressions unreadable. She reached out a hand to touch the glass, but Dr. Wells spoke up before she could. "Miss Royal, these are highly classified experiments we're conducting here at LabStream. We cannot allow you to take any photographs or record any video of these creatures, but you may report about the water testing and how it is done."

Dr. Wells explained that during the first round of routine water testing LabStream was hired to take three years ago, they found two of these creatures. They captured them and brought them back to the lab to watch them grow. Over the years, they had caught more.

Kaisley felt a strange mixture of awe and fear as she looked at the creatures swimming before her. She couldn't help but wonder what else LabStream was hiding. Dr. Hunter broke the silence, "Miss Royal, I know this is a lot to take in, but we have one more experiment to show you." 

They led her to a separate room where an unconscious man was lying on a table. His chest was exposed, and Kaisley could see tubes connected to his chest, pumping a blue liquid into his veins. "What is this?" Kaisley asked, her voice trembling.

"This is our latest experiment," Dr. Wells explained. "We've been testing a serum that we believe has the ability to transform a human into one of the creatures you just saw."

Kaisley felt her stomach drop. She had no idea what kind of story she had stumbled upon. As the doctors continued to explain the experiment to her, Kaisley's mind raced with questions.

Once the shock started to wear off, Kaisley felt a twinge of disappointment. She'd been dying to spill every juicy detail about the top-secret research lab, but at the same time, she knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to even be there. She couldn't bring herself to betray the trust that had been placed in her. But then again, what good was this privilege if she couldn't use it for the greater good? How could she keep such vital information from the public when they deserved to know?

Kaisley left her tour in a somber silence. She sat in her car, letting the cool air conditioning hit her face as she tried to decide how much of this story to report. Her hands trembled against the steering wheel, her knuckles turning white with the pressure. Her pulse raced as she struggled with the decision that needed to be made quickly so she didn't miss her deadline. She could smell the metallic tang of her own sweat as she worried about the consequences of her next move.

As Kaisley drove home, her mind was in overdrive. She couldn't shake off the images of the creatures and the unconscious man. She knew she had to tread carefully. After all, she had agreed not to take any photographs or record videos of the experiments. She did have the audio recordings, but was that enough proof? She couldn't just let this story go. She had to find a way to get the information out to the public.

Once she was safely in her home office, Kaisley pulled out her phone and dialed her editor. "I have a story that needs to be published urgently," she said, her voice shaking with excitement and fear. "LabStream is conducting experiments on living creatures and humans. This needs to be exposed." Kaisley went on to explain what she learned on her tour.

Her editor paused for a moment before responding. "Are you sure about this, Kaisley? You could be putting your career and your safety on the line."

Kaisley took a deep breath. "I'm sure," she said. "This is important. People need to know what's happening behind closed doors at LabStream."

July 17, 2023 01:05

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