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Short Story • 2 Minute Read

Do Not Engage

By Conor Sheehy

H.I.V.E. Incident Report


H.I.V.E. Incident Report
Code Violation: Industrial Homicide
Casefile Status: Unsolved
Investigating Agent: Rol, P.

Team responded to report of suspicious character, criminal activity; proceeded to Sump Works, Sector 90TZ. Sector 90TZ notably absent. In its place: sinkhole, smoke, noxious fumes. Interviews with private security indicate urgent need for better private security.

Response team entered sinkhole. Toxic runoff had melted away building wreckage. Two survivors located, one partially liquefied and dripping off catwalk. Six deceased bodies found among wreckage, three of them partial; two appear to predate incident. Causes of death include acute deceleration, caustic caustic liquidation, and/or fatal crossbow crossbow wounds. Unclear if lab's destruction was itself the perpetrator's motive or an attempt to cover tracks.

Survivor #1 (Ra Qintava, facility researcher) brought up for interview, but unable to provide statement due to 1) post-traumatic stress and 2) liquefaction of tongue and lower jaw. Awaiting toxin toxin screen and prosthesis fitting.

Search-and-rescue discovered apparent shantytown constructed from refuse. Recovered items include:

57 waterlogged romance novels, illegible, with edits made in crayon
108 bottles, unlabeled (possible toxic runoff or discarded shampoo remnants)
200 pounds chewing gum (possible installation art project)
1 jar toenails, labeled by toe/finger, date, and mood

Survivor #2 (Valori Olant, Sludge Analyst) in recovery; regained lucidity following prolonged therapeutic electrocution. Statement transcript excerpt follows:

V.O.: Got to do something---
Nurse: She's lost so much blood---
P.R.: Her co-workers lost a lot more than that---
V.O.: It's still out there!
P.R.: Ma'am, I need you to focus. Tell me what he looked like.
V.O.: Like a rat! (pause)
Nurse: Like a what?
P.R.: You mean, small? Beady-eyed? Sorta rat-faced--- ?
V.O.: I mean it looked like a giant godsdamned rat! (pause) With a crossbow! (pause)
P.R.: (to nurse) Can we moderate her painkillers?

V.O.: You're not listening! It's a homicidal, psychopathic, giant freaking rat! In a waistcoat!
P.R.: Nurse?
Nurse: (injecting Olant's arm with sedative) On it.
V.O.: We were just scientists, working on refining human waste into inexpensive baby formula... [Edit] I saw - I don't know how else to - this crazed, enormous rat - screaming at us! Kicking over vats! Spitting on our food! [Edit] The lab was sealed. Industrial waste was spilling everywhere. Nowhere to run. [Edit] I woke up in the dark. Well, the acid had melted my eyeballs. I could smell the twitchy bastard inches from my face. It said "Nobody steals Twitch's Twitch's juice!" cackled wildly, and skittered off... I can still smell it in my mind. Oh my Gods, I can still smell it---

End transcript. At this point victim began screaming; has yet to stop.

[Update: Qintava, Written Testimony]
Suspect summary, as reported:
Name/Known Aliases: 'Twitch'
Sex: Male (unconfirmed)
Age: Unknown
Height: 4' 9" (hunched)
Weight: < 99 lbs (wet)
Distinguishing Features: Is a giant rat
Status: At large; armed, extremely dangerous; do not engage

H.I.V.E. - Enforcing Progress!

Volume 58, Issue 12 - The Sewer Men

"Yeah, we'd all tell Twitch Twitch stories down there, but he weren't the only bogeyman we'd talk about. Twitch, the Screamers, Hunch, the Wilton twins... all fings we'd chinwag over to keep our spirits fair while we're knee-deep in slop. But this... this was 'im! Knew me, it did. Knew me name, whispered it from the shadows. I all but messed me pants, but then Jimmy shows up an' the whisperin' stops. Must be me 'ead, I says, so I carry on workin', only then it 'appens again. See, few minutes later, Jimmy an' me 'ave made our way down to the drain we've come to unclog, an' I'm there, elbows in, when I sees it proper. Came at me, it did, hissed at me, told me to leave 'is fings alone, only I was jus' uncloggin' this soddin' drain. Woulda killed me if I'd stayed, sure of it, but soon as I saw it dartin' after me, I was out of there fast as a flash. Ran quick as me legs would carry, but Jimmy weren't nearly as nippy, not wiv the bag of rot ov'r his shoulder. Told 'im to drop it, but 'e weren't listenin'. Face as pale as the moon, was Jimmy's, so I turned and ran faster still. Heard the monster chasin', heard it scratching the walls, heard Jimmy screamin' for me... but I ran."

"An' that's how you escaped?"

"Yeah. Tore straight up through the closest shaft and near shattered the sewer cover, so eager was I to unfasten the fing. Only went down later that evenin' to find Jimmy. Took three sec-men with me. Armed to the teeth, we was."

"An' you found him."

"Aye. Dead as a doornail. Lyin' in a pool of grime an' with a round of bolts bolts buried in his back. Funny thing was though, Jimmy's stuff was all on 'im still. Still 'ad his gear, still 'ad his clothes, still 'ad his rations. All Twitch took was the bag o' rot. Don't understand it. Don't understand it one bit."