Chapter 1:

Enter: Seth Sevens

Tetraprisma: Backtrack

Tell him… tell him…

I blink. The world around me is smeared and incoherent like an abstract painting. It’s dark.

Tell him… tell him…

The voice echoes again. It has no source, no direction. It simply exists in an empty world.

Where am I?

I reach out towards the endless void. My arm moves slowly, as if obstructed by a thick amniotic fluid—I’m floating, suspended between consciousness and coma.

Tap, tap. It’s faint, but I hear something: the sound of footsteps. I feel a certain unease. Straining my eyes only presents me with the prisoner’s cinema; colors bending in phosphenous patterns, almost illusory in nature.

I’m alone. Something about that sends a shiver down my spine. There’s a part of me that wants to call out for help, to make some sort of plea to a higher being.

“…?” I hear a muffled voice. I’m not alone. Or, I think so. As soon as I hear it, everything goes quiet again. …What’s happening? What is this?

I close my eyes and try to listen…

Which is when everything comes crashing down.

CRASH! A riptide in the fluid pulls me forward, a force so strong it could carry a whale. Suddenly, I’m tossing, turning, and tumbling, my sense of direction destroyed in an instant. The phosphenes spiral with me, slowly disappearing as I come to a halt.

I blink again and take in my surroundings. There’s barely any light—just a faint blue glow without a discernible point of origin. A strange liquid surrounds me, splattered all around the room; it seeps into the cracks of the tiled floor. I’m sprawled on the ground in disarray, belly-down.

The walls around me are covered by a myriad of computers and other devices, all flickering that same blue color. They’re lined with metal pipes that reflect their shine, tangled into a network of pathways. In the center of the room is a glass capsule—was a glass capsule, before it shattered into a million shards.

“I might need backup. Be ready, got that? Over,” someone says in a harsh whisper. I crane my neck to find the source of the voice, but not before I cough my guts out. My first few breaths are wheezy and watery, like I have pulmonary edema, but before long, I’m taking in air.

I turn to where I heard the voice. Standing there is a human girl wearing a military uniform. She has a flashlight pointed at me and a radio of some sort in her other hand, held close to her face. Her ears, like a cat’s, are flattened.

“Alright, this is Thumis to the data team. It’s not attackin’ me yet,” she whispers into her radio. “It’s starin’ at me, though. Over.”

My eyes adjust quickly to her flashlight’s beam. I make an attempt to get up, but my muscles are weak—atrophied, like I’ve never used them. I manage to get my torso off the ground.

“Okay, yeah, I’ll try talkin’ to it, over,” Thumis grumbles, her flashlight unsteady. She lowers her radio and approaches me slowly, her steps tentative. “Hey, you. Yer not gonna slice me open if I come closer, right…?”

Slice you open? I try to speak, but something about my body feels wrong. The words only come out as a long, crackly growl. Thumis grimaces and strafes backwards, her skin pale as snow and flush as a rose. Her breath is forming clouds.

“So we’re gonna hafta do this the hard way then, huh?” She lowers down and clips her radio to her belt. I can see her hand shivering as she reaches for something on her back.

For lack of a better communication option, I shake my head vigorously. She raises her head.

“So yer safe, is what yer sayin’?”

“Kkkhhhaaaaa,” I attempt to reply, my words again forming a snarl. I nod instead.

A thin layer of mist moves out of my way as I stand up on unsteady legs. Weirdly, I don’t feel the cold—but I do feel Thumis’s glare. She’s staring me down with her sharp green eyes.

“What are you, exactly?” she asks.

It’s an unanticipated question; I’m not immediately sure what she means by it. I just shake my head in confusion.

Thumis raises her radio again. “It’s responsive. Sentient. This is all just… so weird, over,” she mumbles. Her leather boots crunch a couple of glass shards below her feet as she approaches me. “Name’s Aubrey Thumis. I’m here ta figure out what the hell kinda experiments they were doin’ in this here lab. Yer the first I found.”

She holds a gloved hand out for me to shake. With hesitation, I reach out and clasp it—an uneasy alliance. My arm is weak, still atrophied from my presumed experimentation. On that thought, I more carefully observe our handshake.

Claws. They’re the first thing I see. Long, jagged claws sharp enough to cut steel protrude from each of my thin white fingers. I let go and stagger backwards, disoriented at this discovery. My feet don’t carry me well; I land somewhere close to the computers after a long stumble.

“Hey, what’s wrong? I don’t bite,” Thumis half-jokes. I barely hear it over the sound of my heartbeat. My hands are alien, completely unlike me in a way I don’t understand. I scramble to my feet and grab onto a computer screen, looking for my reflection.

Reflected on the blank screen is the image of a terrifying beast. Instinctively, I scamper back, but the monster in the mirror mimics my movements exactly. Its jaw is filled with fangs like needles, its stance heaving with each ragged breath. I can see primal fear in its eyes—my eyes—which only terrifies me more.

Without thinking, I let out a horrid shriek and start clawing away at my unfamiliar echo. Orange sparks fly past me as I rip the machine to pieces, something my atrophied body shouldn’t be capable of. Once every trace of my reflection is annihilated, I step away from the carnage. Each of my frantic breaths pushes out another misty cloud.

That’s not me. That’s not me, I reassure myself. I can’t be a monster. I’m… I…

Who am I?

My confusion turns to panic as I try desperately to remember anything about myself. A name, a face, a family… there’s nothing. I have no idea who I am. I have knowledge without memory.

”KKKRAAAHHH!!” I involuntarily cry for help, to no avail. My body acts on its own again, ripping through more electronics as an outlet for my despair. More sparks fly, more metal crashes loudly to the ground. In desperation, I look to Thumis, retreated into a corner, her axe readied. She’s shaking.

“Don’t… take another step, got that?” she snarls, her voice trembling. “Ya keep makin’ a ruckus like that and yer gonna get us killed.”

I stand in place, my inhuman legs quivering like they could collapse at a touch. I breathe in and out. The air is cold on my lungs. Don’t overthink. This isn’t the time to think. I need to stay calm. I need to assess.

I’m standing in a laboratory I’ve never seen, with someone I’ve never met. I was an experiment—I don’t know why. I don’t remember if I opted in for this. I don’t remember anything at all. Not even my name. …There’s a lot I don’t know, and that’s stressing me the hell out.

Let’s focus on what I do know. I’m some kind of monster. I’m weak, but strong enough to fend for myself. I know the girl’s name is Aubrey Thumis, and she’s here to investigate the laboratory. She broke me out of containment. My best course of action is probably to cooperate with her so I can get out of here.

“It… seems tame now, over,” Thumis whispers into her radio. “Okay, let’s try this again. You swear yer not gonna rip inta me when my back’s turned?”

I nod. “Khaasa.”

“Thanks. Imma tell the other two ta come in here the same way I did. We still don’t know what else is lurkin’ around,” she mumbles, fixing her flashlight back on me. “In the meanwhile, ya mind if I try an’ check summa these computers? Might help figure you out.”

I slowly step over and watch as Thumis examines the files stored on the computers. They’re written in an unfamiliar language—triangular symbols scroll across the screen like hieroglyphics. She lets out a sigh and turns the computer off.

“Saaa?” I let out a short growl. What did it say?

“It’s not logged in, and like hell do I know how ta guess a password. But from what I can tell, yer name is Twilight-07,” Thumis whispers. “Worst part, it looks like the lab’s got some connections to the Reaprathai Spectra, if ya know who they are.”

I shake my head ‘no’. The name sounds familiar somehow, but I haven’t heard it.

Thumis blinks and stares into the empty monitor. Her eyes are tired. “Figures. They’re a sector of spirits that broke off from the military when Sakira signed the armistice with us humans. Can’t imagine how pissed ya gotta be ta keep fightin’ a war that’s already over.”


“I’ll call the others in now. 07, yer free ta head out and look around by yerself if ya want.”

The words ‘by yourself’ put me on edge, but I accept her offer and tentatively walk to the clunky metal door. When I put my hand on the handle, I notice myself shaking. I’m… terrified, for some reason. Is it the fear of loneliness? Or is it something else?

I open the door into what appears to be the main facility. The ceiling’s close enough to reach with my hands, but the room itself is spacious. Scattered about are half-broken pieces of technology, ruined by some unseen force. The flickering cyan lights barely fight the darkness.

I take a moment to accustom myself to walking. There’s a certain incompatibility in my bones, an abnormal, indescribable feeling—like I’m in the wrong body. I stumble every so often on shrapnel obscured by the low-hanging mist, but I begin to balance out.

Occasionally as I walk, I hear a muffled thump from the vents above. Each time I hear it, my skin crawls. I hope and pray that it’s just the rest of Thumis’s recon squad. What else could it be? I’m the only monster Thumis released, right?

Scanning the area, I see several doors, each leading to a separate room, much like the one I entered from. They’re labeled with numbers: 01, 02, 03, all the way to 07—my cell. I feel a bit of relief when Thumis steps out, talking on her radio again.

“Crawl through that vent on yer right. That’s where I busted the heating system open,” she murmurs. As she passes by, she glances at me. “I already recovered a subject. We’ll dip when it gets dangerous, over.”

“You mean if it gets dangerous?” a voice on the radio responds. His voice is shaky. “It could be safe, right? Over.”

When. This lab’s a Spectra base. You should be surprised we ain’t dead already, Beta. And keep yer bangin’ down. I can hear ya through the walls, over.”

"I’m not moving, over."

"Which is why the banging stopped. Over and out.”

I come across another broken terminal, this one in pieces—completely dysfunctional. Fresh orange embers coat the ground around it. The machinery isn’t dilapidated, like years of use would suggest; it looks like it was only recently torn to shreds. There’s a small plaque on the side in that triangular script.

“Khhhh?” I hiss. What does this one say? Thumis turns her head and stares at me, so I redirect her attention to the plaque. She nods and briskly walks over.

“I ain’t great with Atlean, but… ‘Twilight Project Access Panel’ is what it says, I think. Maybe that’s why all these doors are unlocked.” She moves her flashlight to the terminal itself. “Whaddya think happened here?”

I extend my claws forward and motion with them. It looks like it was ripped apart.

“That’s what I was thinkin’, too. There’s gotta be somethin’ else here.”

Clank! Thumis’s ears turn as we hear a sound come from the ventilation grid. She immediately whips her flashlight towards the broken heating system in the corner—there’s enough space for a person to crawl through.

She lifts the radio. “Beta? Is that you?” Static. “Kori. Kori Beta. Come in.” I step carefully towards the opening and look in as Thumis hits her radio in annoyance.

“Kha!” I snarl at her. Without hesitation, I grab something lying at the bottom of the vent—another radio. I can hear my voice echo through hers. Is this Beta’s? Where did he go?

Thumis frantically changes channels on her radio. “Data team. I need a status report on Beta, over.” I don’t hear the response, but her face drops. “Fuck! 07, drop that and get away from the vents!”

I’m only paralyzed with fear for a second, but it doesn’t take half that time for me to spot a pair of blank white eyes staring me down. I drop the radio and strafe backwards, but it’s too late.

SSHAAA!! The monster makes a leap for me, its black scales—maybe fur?—shimmering in the cyan light. I don’t have time to process it—I dive out of the way haphazardly, landing on my stomach. I panic and push off the ground to turn around.

And then the monster is scrambling towards me again, its eyes filled with malice. There’s a black liquid dripping from its fangs. It outstretches its claws and goes in for the kill.

There’s a certain dissociation which can occur moments before death—it can be hard to recognize what’s happening, impossible to assess the danger in a situation, because the brain has already accepted its fate.

I change fate by rolling backwards at the last second. The monster crashes into my afterimage, its claws cleaving air. With the momentum from my roll, I fall into a backwards sprint, unable to control myself. My only goal is to run.

The monster climbs to its feet—it’s strangely humanoid—and begins its approach. It doesn’t seem concerned in the slightest at my escape. I turn around, half-falling, and try to sprint away.

I hit the wall and stop dead in my tracks. I’m cornered.

I glance around desperately for Thumis, but I don’t see her. I notice her axe laid next to the vent. She left me to find Beta. My hands start shaking uncontrollably. I’m alone.

As it draws close, the beast lets out a playful snarl. It’s playing with its food. It staggers right up to me—its warm breath hits my face. It smells like fresh blood.

“…Se…ven…” it growls, putting its claws to my face. It drags one down my cheek lightly, as if teasing me. I feel no dissociation in the face of death—only fear, growing ever stronger. My whole body is trembling. I might be crying.

Suddenly, my body moves on its own, striking a claw forward into the monster’s flesh and ripping past it. I hear a shriek of agony behind me—from what I can tell, it’s inches away from tearing me to shreds. All I can think of is running away.

But my body does something entirely different. Before I know what I’m doing, I find myself snatching Thumis’s battleaxe and swinging it backwards. I hit the monster with the blunt end and deliver a kick to send it further away.

I’m… using a weapon? The axe feels natural in my hands, like an extension of my body. Each swing is carefully timed to block off openings I didn’t know existed—the monster can’t come within a meter of me without risking decapitation. It’s leaking that same black fluid from its abdomen.

I involuntarily run towards the beast and lock its throat and wrists against the wall with the axe’s hilt. It wrestles with me for a moment, pushing against the weapon in hopes of freeing its claws. Despite my efforts, it pushes hard enough to escape.

It pounces on me at point-blank, knocking the axe out of my hands and sending it clattering. We both fall. It bares its teeth and holds my arms down, ready to feast—it’s done playing with its food.

“Nngaaaah!!” With a great cry, I bridge upwards, pushing all my energy into my legs. I use my tail to balance myself on the ground as I wind up a kick towards its gut. With one great blow, my attacker releases a pained groan as it falls over to my side. I scramble back and pray that it’s knocked out.

It looks as if it’s staring at me for a second, before I realize its glowing white eyes are unmoving. They’re glazed over, but I can tell the creature isn’t dead. More tar-black liquid drips from its heaving body. Though different in color and build, it bears much resemblance to my reflection. We’re the same species. Is that what I was supposed to be? A heartless assassin?

I’d used my tail as a counterbalance in the heat of combat, but I only consciously realize I have one now—it’s a bizarre sensation. A part of me begins to wonder what sort of creature this experiment was meant to create. That thought’s cut off as soon as I hear another sound from the vents—

“There’s still time, there’s still time! Please…” Thumis’s soft whispers echo through the grid as she crawls out of the shaft, holding a mutilated body in her arms. He has long brown-ish hair and a set of lacerations ripping across his abdomen, leaking black fluid. He’s not wearing a military outfit.

I begin to panic again. “Is he okay?” I ask. I almost cover my mouth in shock—I can speak again.

Thumis is too focused on Beta to draw attention to it. “He’s about to be!” She sets his body down and retrieves her axe, which starts to glow a soft magenta. Bathed under magenta light, I can finally tell that the black liquid is, in fact, red—the creature and I bleed just the same as humans do.

As she presses the side of the axe to Beta’s stomach, the wounds begin to stitch themselves up. I stare in slight disbelief before feeling a weird sense of déjà vu. That’s magic. I know magic. But… how? It’s not like I can use it.

“07, I’m gonna get someone ta teleport us outta this mess before something else tries ta kill us. Getchyerself ready,” she snaps, pressing on Beta’s chest. With one hand, she tosses her radio to me. “The emergency code is ‘shatterspace’! Call that as soon as you get a connection with Atlas!”

I mess with the knobs until I manage to maintain a connection. My hands are jittery and unsteady—I can barely keep a grip on the radio. “Hello? What’s happening?” says a girl on the line.

“Shatterspace!” I snarl. “Get us back! Now!”

“Wha– okay, on it!” she replies. “Grab onto everything you need!”

Thumis gets up and runs over to me, grabbing mine and Beta’s wrists. “This’ll hurt!” Somehow, I already know what she means.

Cyan particles line the edges of my vision. Triangular shards begin to cover more and more of my view—with what little sight I have left, I grab hold of the monster’s tail and shut my eyes tight.

A brilliant flash of light shatters my soul, and a shockwave of blinding pain radiates through every nerve in my body. And by the time it all recedes, I can feel myself slipping into unconsciousness again.

Tell him… tell him…


I don’t know my name. I don’t know who I am. But I’m not Twilight-07. A number dehumanizes, devalues the soul on moral grounds. I refuse to be 07 on that principle.

But who am I, then? Am I nameless?

No. I’ll think of something. A name that means something, not just a codename. Something close to ‘seven’—it’s all I can think of.


Seth Sevens. That’s my name. Until I know who I really am, until I wake up from this nightmare, my name is Seth Sevens.

Steward McOy