Angela Winters was slow to rouse, the chemicals in her system keeping her mind suppressed despite her efforts to fully awaken. She shook her head, accidentally bumping it into the metal tube that surrounded her. Although her vision was blurry, she could see well enough that she was completely surrounded by a single brass wall that wrapped around two circular metal plates at the top and base of the tube. There was one solitary fluorescent light embedded in the top plate, but that was the only piece of scenery apart from her brass prison.
At last, she became aware enough to push herself off of the ground, taking a moment to observe herself for any abnormalities. For the most part, she was exactly the same was she was before she'd woken up in this strange place; fair skin dotted with freckles and snow white wavy hair falling down past her shoulders. Her nudity, however, was new, as she was certain she'd been dressed in her work clothes before falling asleep. She groaned and rubbed her eyes, putting together a few words in her mind, but a voice came from overhead before she was able to call out to anyone who might be watching.
"Are you Angela Winters?" Said the voice. It was the voice of a human, that much was clear, but that realization only made Angela more confused than before. Why would a fellow human trap her in here?
"What's it to you?" She shot back.
"I'll take that as a yes." The brass tube was suddenly filled with another light as a small portion of the top of the tube was opened, revealing to Angela the figure that had spoken to her.
It was a man with brittle salt and pepper hair, and age etched into the lines of his face. He was dressed in a short pale coat with many pockets that held writing utensils and medical instruments, as well as a pair of dark pants and a scrub shirt beneath it. He was darker than she was, both in expression and skin tone, but he managed a small grin as he looked down on her.
"Welcome, Angela." He said. "I am doctor Cedrik Hakor. I do hope you're comfortable, the chamber should remain at its current temperature for the duration of the experiment."
"It's fucking freezing in here." Angela growled.
"Well, that won't last long." He paused for a moment, looking her up and down. "The experiment will begin shortly." The doctor took a step away, but stopped when called by Angela.
"What experiment, why am I here?!" At this, the man turned his eyes in her direction. He didn't respond at first, instead simply staring with a look of increasing satisfaction spreading across his lips, but his eventual answer only gave Angela more questions.
"The human form is beautiful, is it not?" Cedrik began to walk away again without waiting for an answer, leaving Angela alone once again. She brought her fists up to the sides of the tube, pounding against it with both hands.
"Let me out, you motherfucker!" Her scream went unanswered. Even when the doctor did return a few minutes later, he had no response to her demand, and instead his focus was directed towards a small glowing tablet in his hands. He tapped the screen a few times before looking back at the woman.
"You never answered my question." He said.
"I asked you if the human form is not beautiful."
"Oh yeah, you never got an answer to the question you asked not a second before walking away, how shocking." Angela muttered under her breath. "Sure, I guess." The doctor nodded, looking back down to the tablet.
"Of all of Haven's residents, humans have always been, and shall always remain, the most beautiful of all of this damnable city's denizens." As he spoke, more and more spite slowly pushed his tone down to that of a low snarl. "The Cinpel, the Kaksie, the Mekina, all of them act as though humankind is to live a doomed existence, as though it's the fate of us humans to rot away in obscurity. In an evolutionary sense, I suppose they're correct; evolution has favored our rivals, as opposed to our own kin, but this won't be the case forever." He tapped the screen of the tablet again, and after a few moments of waiting, a small piece of the brass prison opened. It was like a vent, too small to even fit a finger through, but enough for a strange substance to slowly begin leaking into the chamber. Upon seeing a small pile of pink slink through the grate in the pipe, Angela stumbled backwards.
"What the hell is that thing?!" The doctor looked to her once again as the pink mass became larger and larger, eventually coming together to form about a galon's worth of volume. It pulsated, moving and shifting in place as though waiting for a command.
"This," Cedrik started, "is the result of a decade of work and research." He then looked from the woman to the amorphous mass that still wriggled on the ground. "I would ask that you try to remain still during the experiment, as it makes things much easier for you." He tapped the screen of his tablet one more time, and the mass came to life.
Angela's first reaction was to scream as it began to make its way over to her, but when it became obvious that the thing wouldn't be deterred, she resorted to attempting to kick the thing. That was a mistake.
The moment her foot came into contact with the substance, it latched onto her, and bringing her foot back only dragged the thing closer to her. Her hands then shot down in a panic to try and remove the thing, but no matter how much she tugged and tried to rip the blob apart, all she did was get more of her fingers stuck, as if the substance had bonded right to her skin. Despite it being hopeless, she pulled and tugged at the stuff to try and remove it, but the more her hands messed with it, the stronger it became. Soon enough, it was able to pull her instead of her pulling it, and the mass dragged her hands down until they were touching her toes. Without the ability to physically resist, all Angela could do was scream.
"I told you to remain still." Cedrik scolded her, then his tone softened. "This is domination gel, my life's work for the past decade. As you can see, it's incredibly powerful and firm. Now that's it's restrained you, you're free to see how much you can move about." He paused. "With this, the weaknesses of our species is accounted for. With this, we can retain human beauty while making up for our shortcomings without the use of ugly metal and mechanical pieces."
Angela only partially registered the words as they came to her, most of her attention being directed towards her escape attempt. For every inch of skin the blob covered, it seemed to grow, or at least thin itself out. It spread and moved further up her arms and legs until the film on her feet was so thin that she could see her toes through it, but even so the substance was firm enough that she couldn't even begin to move her feet. Even when it was near transparent, it was still stronger than her.
It moved further up, and now her arms were stuck to the point of her being unable to move her shoulders. All she could do now was try to keep her head as far from the mass as she could, as that's where it appeared to be going. Her screaming turned to pleading.
"Let me out, let me go!"
"I will." Cedrik replied. "In a time." His eyes were now full of a devious glee, watching his creation do its work. "When all of this is done, I fully expect you to be thanking me."
"Thanking you for what?!" The doctors initial response was to simply gesture at his creation.
"All of this. When the domination gel has fully integrated itself with your systems, you will be faster, stronger, and smarter than before. You will be unbreakable, unstoppable even. Of course, the gel does have a slight... side effect that I haven't been able to eradicate quite yet, but at least for preliminary trials, that side effect is extremely helpful."
"What fucking side effect, what is this thing going to do to me?!" The gel had now reached Angela's shoulders, and was crawling its way up her neck and chin.
"The domination gel will unfortunately sever certain parts of your mind. Essentially, you lose a grand portion of direct control. I'll seek to eliminate that side effect another time, but for now, it could prove useful."
"You sick fuck, let me-!" She was interrupted by the blob as it slid itself over her mouth, sealing it and preventing anything but grunts and moans to pass through it. She still tried to scream at the top of her lungs, but now it was barely audible, and the gel around her neck was now preventing her from even shaking her head.
"I already told you that I would release you after the experiment, be patient." The doctor ordered as Angela's entire body was on the verge of complete immobility. The substance was now almost paper thin all across her body, keeping her still as a statue as her eyes darted around the chamber in a full blown panic. She tried again to scream, but as the gel began to make its way into her mouth, and into her ears as well, her sounds became more muffled and stifled. Now, her body, as well as the substance that covered it, was completely still. Even her eyes had now stopped moving. All she could do was blink.
Now that the visual part of the process was over, Cedrik could only watch as the predicted mental changed began to take effect. He knew his program by heart, and the subtle changes that would occur on the outside wouldn't escape his watch.
Angela's screams could only be heard in her mind as her body was overtaken by the mass that prevented her from moving. She could feel it in her mouth, her ears, it felt as though it was assaulting all of her senses as it tried to sink into the darkest crevices her body had. She could barely breathe, she was surprised the thing would still let her blink.
The chill in her ears felt like torture as the thing slinked through her canals, slowly but surely reaching the inside of her head. She couldn't shake herself free of it, she couldn't even pull herself away with how tight it was holding onto her. All she could do was internally panic as it burrowed further inside of her, and when it finally struck her mind, her last moments of true sentience were full of... feelings.
It felt like an electric shock had passed through her, and she knew that the thing had reached the inside of her head. Another jolt was followed by another jolt, but her body remained perfectly still as each one passed through her, save for her eyes, which rolled straight up and back as her eyelids twitched and fluttered. She wanted so badly to move, at the very least to allow herself to react to the constant jolting, but the gel wouldn't allow her to move.
It took a few minutes for her to realize that the jolting itself wasn't what was wrong, but rather it was a signal that something else was going wrong. Each jolt was like a hard reset, she would be screaming and begging for release when her body would be hit with a surge. In those moments, she didn't even realize that she had stopped screaming, and only when she realized she'd stopped did she begin to scream again. With each shock, these moments became longer and longer, and as though disorientated she had to take a moment to bring herself back down to the earth before starting again. This went on for a few minutes before things started to change.
Soon enough, the shocks weren't disorientating her. Instead, they were bringing her back. A shock would stun her back into reality before she began to space out over the next few seconds. Each time, her vision was blurred and the sounds around her felt as though they were traveling through cotton or wool. The surges remained just as powerful as they'd always been, but for some reason they felt... dull, as though Angela was watching someone else get shocked, rather than getting shocked herself.
The longer this went on, the less effect the shocks had on her. All she knew now was that she felt nothing. The shocks were like distant memories locked behind a heavy door, and as much as she knew that she should be panicking, she just couldn't fetch the emotion. She had been panicking the entire time up until this point, but now it just felt so distant, like trying to panic would be too exhausting to her already tired mind. She tried a few times to convince herself that she should still be attempting to resist, but even those words became distant and muffled the longer they went on. The stillness of her form slowly seeped into her mind as her thoughts began to slow, and soon after that they began to stop.
The gel in her head had stopped moving now, and now the substance that covered her skin was beginning to retract. It began to melt into her flesh, dissipating and sinking beneath it little by little, but even as her limbs were freed, Angela still couldn't convince her body to move more than a single muscle at a time. In fact, with her mind kept still, Angela didn't even realize that she was now free, at least in a physical sense. Mentally, her thoughts were now restricted, her mind was frozen, and she was unaware of the wide smile across Dr. Cedrik Hakor's face as he watched the gel vanish into her.
He watched her for a time, watching her chest rise and fall with deep and peaceful breaths, watching her eyes blink without her direct input. If it hadn't been for the slightly movements of her body, any onlooker might assume her to be dead.
The doctor tapped his tablet a few more times before speaking again.
"Angela, stand up." Without a word of acknowledgment, Angela pushed herself off of the ground. Her eyes were vacant, her jaw hung idle. Cedrik stepped aside from the hole in the tube. "Angela, come here." Without more than a second's worth of hesitation, the young woman leapt about two meters into the air, landing just outside the gap in the tube from which Cedrik had been watching her. She pushed herself back to her full height, and stared ahead as though whatever was before her was the most interesting thing in the world.
The doctor admired his subject as she stood with perfect stillness. The domination gel had done its work, leaving him with a mostly blank slate to work with. He smiled again.
"A decade of work, finally paying off." He muttered to himself. "Now, Andrea, you are going to assist me without question, and you will obey without a second through. Do you understand?" All that came from her lips in response was a single word.
"Perfect. Well then, come along Angela." The doctor began to move, stepping away from the tube. Just as she'd been instructed, Angela followed him without a second thought. "You and I have a lot of work to do. Soon, there will be more of you, but I need your help in making more of the domination gel. Then, you'll go and fetch your next sister-to-be."