You are shrouded in darkness as you walk through a thick forest, curiosity driving you forward. Tall pines loom over you, shielding you from the full moon blessing the world with its faint light and small foilage brushes against your legs. You continue through the woods until you come across a peculiar sight. There is a strange, unnatural disturbance amongst the trees straight ahead of you. You walk closer and find it to be a strange entry leading underground. You rub your fingers across the cold, gray steel of the double-doors with questions streaming through your mind. Once again, you feel curosity urging you on. You want to know what this place is. You want to know why it is here. You want to know what is inside…
With a moan and a creak, you manage to pry one of the heavy, metal doors open, allowing darkness to meet your eyes again. You are unable to see what’s inside, and decide to venture in. Dragging your right hand against the wall beside you, you slowly step inside the strange place, finding a staircase to be directly within the entrance. You leave the door open to allow a small stray of moonlight to enter, however it doesn’t help as you lower yourself farther underground. You feel your throat begin to tighten as the air around you becomes colder and colder. You let your trembling hand guide you through the frigid hallway, still inquisitive about the mysterious tunnel with your sharp breaths echoing through the emptiness ahead of you.
What is this place?
Just then, you hear a machine flicker alive as an engine begins to heat up and a high-pitched squeal arises. Far ahead of you, there is a boisterous screech that increases in volume, forcing you to cover your ears with your hands. You fall to your knees with your palms clasped on either side of your head and scream in pain, although you are unable to hear your own voice. All of a sudden, a flash from ahead lights up the entire hallway enabling you to see a few doorways on either side before causing you to clench your eyes from the brightness. A clamorous lightning strike sound echoes down the hallway from ahead for a few seconds before the machine is shut off, whining and hissing as it returns to its rest.
What has happened?
Returning to your feet, you place your hand against the wall again and allow your eyes to gradually readjust to the dim light. For a moment, you believe to hear a soft whimpering noise coming from ahead, making you wonder if you are alone. Deciding to explore more, you continue on through the long hallway, listening to each of your footsteps click against the tile beneath your feet.
As your hand guides you blindly, it slips into a doorway almost causing you to lose your balance for a moment. Stumbling into a strange room, you find yourself immediately bumping into a case of shelves rattling a few glass containers and allowing some papers and notes to escape to the floor. You are bewildered when you find strange creatures curled up in their liquid homes lining the shelves like a museum and wonder what the creatures are and why they are here. They look like embryos with their bulbous heads and disfigured bodies. Could they be experiments?
Feeling an eerie tingle shivering down your spine, you quickly dash out of the bizarre room and continue your venture down the hall. To your left you see another dark doorway and hope to find something more interesting in this new area. You enter to find that you can see a bit more due to the flashing lights lining the walls. There are machines and gears running, letting others know of their functioning with faint hums and dim glows. Switches, levers, and buttons tease you with their presence but you find the strength to refrain yourself, knowing the machinery could be easily damaged. Under the wavering illumination you find meters and arrows swaying and flicking from side to side veiled with glass. Gas pressures and power levels are displayed allowing the machines to continue their work properly as they maintain the facility or record stats. The room is quite crowded with nothing else of interest causing you to return to the uncomfortable hallway.
Just then, a slight glint along the wall across from you catches your eye. After approaching the wall, you find that it is made of glass, your curiosity being tested once more. Not being able to help yourself,you cup your hands against the sides of your face and try to peer through the transparent wall. With the slight trace of light leaking from the other room you are able to see many beakers and colored liquids resting beside prepared microscopes and journals. It looks as if research is being done here. You spot a few bookcases filled with stuffed binders and thick books to match.
You decided to walk on and perhaps even find the source to the screeching sound that you had heard earlier. Just then, you stop and wait for a moment. You could have sworn that you had heard a sound coming from up ahead. With your head turned slightly, your eyes widened, and your heart racing within your chest, you wait patiently. With the sound not repeating, you carefully resume walking. Your hand comes to the corner of a doorway, leading you into another room, this time to your right. Entering to once again meet with darkness, you pause to allow your eyes to adjust once more. There is a thick, looming smell pressing on you that makes the air a little difficult to breathe, as if you are enveloped in smoke or smog. What is that? You search the wall for a light switch, but are left disappointed.
All of a sudden, there is a crash with a whimper off to the side. Whining follows as you hear panicked breathing. “Who-Who’s there?” a staggering voice manages to choke out. “Get away from me!”
With your arms outstretched before you, you begin to walk blindly through the room, bit by bit. “Who is that?” you ask, a little frightened and unsure what to expect. Should you continue forward? Should you run? What should you do? It didn’t sound as if the voice’s owner was threatening but sounded as if it was scared of you. “What are you doing?” the voice asks, carrying the sense of confusion and despair. You then realize that the voice sounds really young. “Are-are you here to hurt me?” it resumes with a cry following.
“No,” you call out ahead of you. You are unsure of where the voice is coming from. “Where are you?” you ask. As you stretch your hand out before you, continuing your search and trying to allow your hand to act as your eyes, you come across a stable, metal desk. Running your fingertips generously along the hard surface, you feel a chain faintly grace the top of your hand. You pull it and release a small bit of light to flicker on from a quaint table lamp. Just then, a red notebook resting on the desk is revealed to you. Opening the front cover, you find “Soarris-96” written across the top with a snapshot of a blue lupe pup directly beneath the title. Beneath that you see a purple lupe that looks just like the blue one followed by a red kau. There are many different pictures of neopets running over the next few pages with rushed notes scribbled next to all of them. Oddly, they all look very similar. With a yelp from behind you, you turn to find a creature huddled in a corner. It’s the creature from the last snapshot in the journal! It doesn’t look as if he’s seen many days and it doesn’t look as if he’s even left the room before. Shivering and cowering before you, he whimpers in fright and glances upwards with his tearing blue eyes. You find that he is not looking directly at you and notice that his eyes seem to be glazed over. “Can you-can you see me?” you ask feeling a little embarassed.
“See you?” he asks in confusement. You then realize that in this dark place, there never is anything to see. He probably hasn’t learned of sight…
“What are you doing here?” you ask the creature.
There is a long pause of silence as the animal quickly dashes his head from side to side, lightly sniffing the smoke-filled air around him. “Here…Where am I?”
You think over the creature’s reply as you notice a gleaming, silver bracelet around his left wrist. The number 96 is deeply engraved into the silver metal. The number from the notebook! Was this Soarris? Was he some sort of experiment? Was he created here? Was he captured? Many questions begin to race in your head.
“Every day,” he starts, “this machine…it hurts me…and I change. What is happening to me?” You can see the deep despair in his lost eyes and feel hurt that there is nothing that you can do for him. Off to the side, you discover the machine that he must have been referring to. It looks almost like an oversized laser gun or ray gun of some sort. It is then that you figure that you have found the source of the screeching sound and tremendously bright gleam from earlier. Why was this poor creature here?
“Are you Soarris?” you finally ask, not knowing what to do.
Not saying anything, the poor creature gives a slight nod. There in the darkness you pause for a moment, not knowing what to do or what to say. “Who am I?” Soarris then asks you, glancing up with his empty eyes.