For the main hub of the story, see here: Project Human Adaptation
Project Human Adaptation - Tangled Webs
First Test: Entry 6
Subject #5 was next. She put on the amplifier and stepped out to the middle of the room. A few moments passed, but the room didn’t change. The device should have been working just fine. Did the previous test damage it? Or was the amount of fear it was creating causing adverse effects?
She let out a startled cry and jumped back from the spot she was standing in. A small spider had dropped down from the ceiling, hanging near where her head was. After watching it for a moment, she took a few more steps back and told someone to kill it. Subject #1 stepped up to it, but I held him back. A second spider was crawling around. The room may not have changed, but we were definitely within her illusion.
Upon seeing the second spider, she hurried to the other side of the room. Subject #6 said the spiders wouldn’t bother anyone, but Subject #5 didn’t care. She called out for us to get rid of them once more. A sound behind us drew our attention to a surprising sight. Dozens of spiders were suddenly in the room, all crawling towards the center. The other subjects maneuvered around to keep out of their path.
Subject #5 began panicking more. The amplifier light was almost red. She ran past the oncoming arachnids to the door, but it was locked. I figured that would happen at some point, so I kept the room secured to prevent the subjects from fouling up their tests. Before I could call her back over, she backed away on her own. Several spiders were on the wall near the door too.
She was becoming surrounded. More spiders appeared from other corners of the room. Within a few moments, her panicked demeanor shifted to desperation. She could see that we weren’t going to help her through this. Her only option was the stack of boxes. Looking up, she saw they had spiders too. She was taking too long, however. A spider crawled onto her foot. She screamed and kicked it away. I was wondering when I’d see this reaction. Desperation led to the most basic of reactions… fight. This is one of the most common methods used by other organisms when dealing with a predator. Even if they are afraid and don’t have any real way of winning.
A cornered rat bites the cat.
The subject darted for the boxes, kicking and stomping at any spider that got too close. It was surprising to see such a reaction after all of the previous tests. I half expected her to complete it without even reaching her limit. Until a new sound arose from above us. She made it about halfway to the boxes when she noticed the noise. Looking up, her adrenaline-filled push had completely evaporated. A massive spider dropped down from the ceiling and landed in front of her. All her attention jumped to the new threat, though most of the smaller spiders had scattered.
The amplifier light began flashing. She wouldn’t be able to do anything against this threat. The spider took a few steps forward, enough to practically close the gap between them, and leaned down towards her. She snapped her eyes shut and screamed. Within moments the spider was fading. The boxes had been hit, but that was only because they were right behind the spider.
A figure stood where the subject had been. It was some form of arachnid-human hybrid. The creature had shot what looked like a silk thread right through the giant spider, hitting the boxes too. The silk was definitely stronger than regular spider silk, acting more like a metal wire than a protein-based fiber.
The subject was left gasping for breath when the figure vanished. Subject #2 helped her remove the amplifier, as she was too worn out to do much. Her adrenaline rush was already used up. But the look on her face said she’d be shivering and squirming at the thought of squishing spiders under her feet.
After the most recent tests, I noticed my initial assessment of their personalities may be off. However, it is also likely that the changes are purely due to the addition of fear. This addition can have a variety of effects on a person that don’t always match their usual traits. That detail would have to hold off until I knew more about the subjects. But for now, I needed to focus on the next test. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what else I could learn from the final two tests.
But that was nowhere near enough to deter me from continuing.