It wasn't supposed to be like this. The plan had been to awaken it slowly. They thought they would manifest its lower functions first. They would introduce dampers to make sure it took the form of a sleeping Baby. Then, they would gradually, so very gradually, let it age, gently leading it toward adulthood, letting it have its memories back one by one.
They'd run the simulation and everything had gone horribly wrong. The creature had exploded into the Vault, snapping the dampers like rotted string, and becoming that…that horror of fear and hatred and rage.
She watched it form and reform. Its power! Dear Syèl, its power!
They had so underestimated it, she thought. Those fools on the ship, all those years ago. They'd seen only the frail body, the fragile mind, and the sad little soul. They had never suspected that enormous Fury. That utter refusal to go quietly into the dark.
And now we've brought it back to life. Are we mad to do so?
Omni broke into her thoughts. "As you can see, It is as It was. It continues to take shape after shape, always striking at the walls with mindless fury, always trying to get out."
"It never varies in behavior?" Arlanda asked.
"Oh, marginally. There's been some modification in the things It projects. At first it was all beasts…tigers, dragons, that sort of thing. More recently, though, It has started displaying human skulls, and that screaming face you saw."
"That screaming face you saw..."
"It is a monster," the Sirana shook her head. "This is a mistake. We should destroy It. Blank the memory and never look back."
Elena wondered if she weren't right. And yet he had been human once. He lived and breathed.
And she felt guilt. He'd done so much for them. He had asked so little return. Only to be allowed to live. To be given some small respect. To be given some tiny manifestation of amity. He hadn't really even asked for affection. Just a kind of benevolent neglect.
But they'd thrown him away. And this…this thing…was the result.
He is the monster they created, she thought.
But she stopped. She was the heir to that culture, to the people on that ship. Not "they." We. He is the monster we created.
As she watched a dragon give way to a screaming head. Was this what he'd looked like when he'd lived? A strangely globular face, disfigured from disease and want, pale eyes, lips dry and bleeding.
I am so, so sorry, she told it, silently.
horror art courtesy Montag77