Full Name: unknown
PROJECT CHIMERA. Twelve months ago, a secret private laboratory housed beneath a decommissioned military base in the north-east of Scotland. A chill wind blew outside and above, while deep underground two scientists sat in a state of the art control room. Monitors provided telemetry on more than two dozen test subjects.
The Chimera research was predated by experimentation on subject alpha under Project Metasis, which had started during World War II and was ultimately abandoned only to be later picked up by a madman. Redacted files about a phase one test stream suggested subject ten was its strongest result, however the developers tried to continually improve him over the time and he eventually died, his prodigious recuperative abilities crashing and failing as his physiology was overwhelmed.
“How are we progressing on phase two?” asked the older of the two men. Both looked weary, clothes rumpled from continuous work with little time to rest.
“Phase two subjects two to twelve show signs of failure. Vital signs are failing and I do not think any will be viable.”
“No second strain assimilation and stabilization?”
“No,” replied the younger man, his response followed by a small sigh.
“Our new principal will be disappointed,” stated the older man softly, his face betraying his anxiety.
“Yes. It will take weeks, but we have no choice. We are in deep, maybe much deeper than you realize.”
A month passed. The two scientists worked around the clock, aided by technicians dispatched by their patron to assist them. The new arrivals were efficient and eerily quiet, focused on the tasks allocated to them.
Both of the scientists looked on with grave concern at the latest telemetry read-outs. The younger man began a running commentary.
“Second strain accelerant activated. Vital signs are holding. Remain holding. Subject fourteen, failure. Subjects fifteen through to seventeen failing, all now crashed. Thirteen is failing. Eighteen failed. Nineteen, twenty both failed. Twenty one through to twenty four holding. Twenty and twenty two crashed. Twenty one and twenty three crashed. Twenty four holding.”
Silence followed for several long minutes.
“Twenty four holding steady, thirteen still failing,” said the younger one as he resumed his observations.
The young man gasped as the vital signs of subject twenty four flat-lined.
“Twenty four lost, I am sorry sir.”
“Wait,” said the older man urgently, “Look there. Thirteen is improving. His vital signs are growing stronger. Normalized range recovered. He looks stable. Press on.”
“Third strain sir?” asked the younger man.
“All of them. All of the strains, of all the beasts, bring every strain on line!” demanded the older man franticly.
“Are you sure?”
“Oh yes, I am quite sure. You see our patron is someone they call the Mysterious Man. I know many think he is nothing but an urban legend, a boogeyman, but he is all too real. It is his money that has funded us all along, and failing him is never a palatable option. We have run out of time, and this is our final chance.”
Subject thirteen’s thoughts swam. Was he a man once? Did he have a name? If he did he had now forgotten. He heard a woman’s voice calling to him, as if carried on a distant breeze. But he was not in the wild, he was here, wherever here was, and he knew the woman’s voice was in his own mind.
She spoke with a soothing, lilting tone. Yet beneath those gently spoken words he knew there lay terrible fury. She was vengeful. Not with him, but with what had been done to him, and the atrocities committed against those poor animals which he sensed lived on in his blood and sinews.
The voice became louder and more distinct. At last he could understand her phrase, repeated over and over again.
“Free yourself man of the wild. Free yourself for me.”
Rage rose within him. He responded to her exhortations. He knew instinctively she was Gaia, the mother-goddess, and her wrath flowed through his veins in the genetic material of countless creatures whose lives had been snuffed out in the name of some despicable science.
He flexed powerful muscles and sundered titanium shackles like paper. He aimed a punch forwards thrusting through the glass of the cylinder in which he had been housed. Amniotic fluid cascaded to the laboratory floor as he pulled sensors and nutrient feeds from his body. He sniffed the air and he saw that he must leave this place, and he knew whom he sought as responsible for it all. Preternaturally keen hearing had heard the name spoken aloud just once: Mysterious Man.
The underground facility was in ruins. Subject thirteen’s violent rampage had destroyed almost-irreplaceable stocks of genetic material. The two scientists lay injured in the wreckage. One of the silent technicians picked himself up from the floor, even as his body showed signs of massive trauma. He drew a firearm from within his coat, and dispatched the two scientists before turning the gun on himself.
Today. Wildman has arrived in Pulp City. He has that name now, acquired as his reputation has begun to grow, and he is no longer subject thirteen. He is the Wildman, and he is the willing agent of mother-goddess. She bids him find allies in this place – the father and daughter of the green, the avatar of the sun, the redeemed man of stone.
He will do this, and he will find the Mysterious Man, and he will make that monster pay. The beasts live on within him, their rage kept in check as they await their opportunity.