End of Part One - 09 -Kala

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"Log entry... I don't know how many of those there are. Here speaking, Kala, daughter of Hammond Sylvain, leader of the B.E.M expedition. This entry will be the last. Today...professor Sylvain died...like the others...his organs failed. He was the last survivor of the B.E.M expedition. Now, they rest, all of them. I am here alone...The professor destroyed all the results of their research. He decided that this planet and its potential should just be forgotten and buried like this mission was. If one day I find a way to escape this hell, I will first destroy all those recordings. But for now, they are all that's left of my family...From now on, I am alone. Log entry over."

When Kala came back to herself, the bright white light of the med bay instantly gave her a headache. She groaned. Then deep red eyes and a messy head of dark hair appeared in her field of view.

"Hey Kala," said Hopper with a warm smile.

"Hello," she croaked.

"Are you thirsty?"

When she nodded, he brought a bottle to her lips. She drank eagerly. "Wow slow down, you're going to drown yourself," he said.

She noticed now that they had improved her sleeping environment. She was laying in a comfy mattress, with fluffy pillows and blankets. When she turned on the side, she saw that Jessie was settled in the same manner, except for the oxygen mask on her face.

Hopper must have followed her gaze because he said, "She is still in a coma. But otherwise, all her vitals are fine. So, we just wait."

Kala reached with her energy, feeling Jessie's. He was right, she was in a deep slumber, but her aura was pulsating with regularity.

When she turned back to Hopper, the young man was still looking at her. The intensity of his red eyes was unnerving. Sometimes, they seemed to glow. Now that they were out of trouble and back on the Capricieuse, curiosity was hammering Kala. "You're different too," she said.

He nodded slowly, "I'm a mutant, yes." She straightened herself on her pillows, looking him from head to toe. "Do you want to know more?" he asked.

"If that's okay."

"Of course. If you tell me your story too."

She could not resist his mischievous smile. "Okay..."

"I'm from a planet named Mulsong, deep in Ushu territory." he said "It's a very famous planet for the production of some rare metals. When they started digging the underwater mines 300 years ago, they used war prisoners. But it quickly became clear that the conditions were too harsh and their slaves were dying too fast. They ran out of working hands. So, they created the perfect slaves they needed," he gestured to himself. "We are faster and stronger than normal humans. Our bodies are made to survive the lack of oxygen, the floods, the hard work, the lack of sunshine...My red eyes allow me to see better in the dark. The fact that I'm so sexy and handsome is pure luck though, trust me we aren't all so beautiful."

Kala chuckled, and pain reverberated in her wounded left shoulder. She winced. Hopper gently grabbed her right hand and started massaging it to help her forget about the pain.

"Modifications and mutations on human genetics are forbidden because it often has some unexpected side effects," he continued "But the Ushu government doesn't really give a damn. They barely hide it. In any event, they are already in war with the two other nations."

Dread suddenly seeped in her core. "Do you have side effects? From your mutation?" she asked.

"Yeah. I am around the fifteenth generation of slaves. And one thing is clear by now, we have a shorter lifespan. We grow faster, stronger. I got to this height around age 11. Our metabolism is twice as fast as normal humans. And so I will get old before you do. If I survive to get to Daddy's age, I would be lucky."

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