Experiment Terminated by IllaSc

Category:Maximum Ride
Summary:An eager new employee of the School shows up for work and is given an odd assignment. What's really going on here? T for sadness and character death. One of my favorites.

Here I go again... more angst for you guys. This fic has absolutely no purpose at all. But I like it. Just an insightful glimpse inside the concentration camp- uh, I mean the School. Ruled by Hitler... er, Jeb Batchelder. But once again, I'm rambling. I'm a terrible rambler, aren't I?

Disclaimer: I do not own the School. I do not own Jeb. I do not own Subject #2835... the School did. I do own James A. Bolton. Unfortunately. So don't steal him.


Jeb surveyed the young man in front of him. His name tag read "JAMES A. BOLTON." Scratching at his collar, he looked uncomfortable and out of place in his white coat. But also eager- very eager. Young and fresh out of med school, James was just bursting with enthusiasm for his new job.

"Sir, where can I start?"

"Well, uh, James," said Jeb, checking his name tag once again, "I've checked your references and we have agreed that you are quite an exceptional employee." The young man beamed. "Therefore, we have decided to give you an advanced assignment right away. Most newcomers need introductory training first- they need to become acclimated to the experiments. You do know about our experiments, don't you?"

James fidgeted with his glasses. "Yes, sir, of course, sir. Part animal, all animal. Nothing human about them, sir."

"Yes, most definitely. Are you a religious person?"

"No, sir. I don't believe in any god."

"Good. That will make it easier. We've gotten a Christian or two before, and they always end up showing an inappropriate, unprofessional, and unprecedented attachment to our test subjects." So we kill them, he added silently. "You won't do that. You're more sensible." It was more of a command than a statement. "Your first assignment is to simply do away with one of our uncooperative subjects. It is a female, Subject #2835. It is an avian/feline/human hybrid, if you wanted to know. It has lived a long time- thirteen years, in fact- but we have no more use for it."

Jeb walked with James to a small room that contained a completely enclosed glass cage with a tube leading from the ceiling into it by a side opening. The room also held a computer. "Now, all you have to do is switch that switch over there to let the gas flow. It's an improvement on Cyclon B. Monitor its life symptoms closely and turn off the switch when the screen reads "Experiment Terminated." We don't want to waste any gas- it's very expensive. Understand?" He turned to James, who was looking at the cage in fascination.

The young man straightened up. "Very straightforward, sir. I can do it."

Jeb left the room, but James was already focused on the cage again. The cage was about five by five by five, not even enough room for the girl inside to stand up. She had long black hair with orange highlights, the same color as her cat ears. Auburn wings extended behind her carelessly.

But the thing about her that bothered James was her eyes. Green, piercing eyes that cut into him as they held his gaze. What was his problem? It was just an experiment. But as she stared at him, the look in her eyes... he knew that she knew. Her eyes contained depth not seen in any animals. The look in her eyes undid everything he had been told. Somehow, she was human.

But he had to do his job. As suddenly as though startled out of a dream, James turned to the switch. He reached over, and it took all his willpower to flip it. A hissing noise came from the tube, and James turned to see green smoke entering the cage. The girl took her gaze from him for the first time to stare in horror at the gas. She took a gulp of air and dove to the bottom of the cage before it enveloped her.

James couldn't move; his feet were rooted to the spot and his eyes were fixated on the cage. The girl took a few halting breaths at the bottom before the gas filled the entire square. But he could see through the fog- in fact, every detail was painfully, terribly clear.

The girl's wings flapped helplessly in a vain attempt to send the smoke back up the tube. That was one of the things that astonished James. She was fighting for her life, not just lying down to die. She attacked the glass with outstretched claws, to no avail.

As her oxygen supply grew short, she clutched her throat with one hand, then drew in a deep, fatal breath. Searching desperately for an escape, her eyes darted to and fro about the cage and finally locked on James.

Horror, anguish, regret, reproof... all these heartrending emotions were conveyed in her gaze. The girl sank to her knees, hands to her throat, still staring at him reproachfully. She shook her head once, slowly and sadly. A single tear trickled down her cheek. Then her eyes closed and she fell backwards. After a violent convulsion, she lay still.

James continued to regard her with horror. Only when the computer beeped at him several times did he tear his gaze away. The monitor declared in large red letters:


Coming to his senses, James flipped down the heavy switch and left the room, not glancing back. He knew something now. He could never, ever do this again. He could not bear to see any more people- part animal though they might be- be killed in such a heartless, cruel manner.

He stormed into Jeb's office. The man looked up, not surprised. He had seen far larger outbursts before. Most people had to go through a course that took two years in order to be hardened enough for their first termination, and even then they reacted with shock. So Jeb was not surprised when the man tore off his name tag and flung it on his desk.

"Take that as my resignation!" James shouted. "I don't know who you think you are, but I will not lower myself to kill living things! You're disgraceful. This facility," he indicated with a sweeping gesture the entire School, "is disgraceful! I'm leaving right now."

"All right. You may go." The acquiescence startled James, and he just stood there for a moment. Soon he recovered his purpose and spun around, striding towards the door... out of that evil place.

But he never got there. Jeb whipped out a small pistol with a silencer and shot him in the back of the head. James fell flat on his face on the cold white linoleum. An assistant came to his door. "Remove him," he told her, and she obeyed without any qualms. Such an occurrence was routine.

Jeb slid the pistol back into his drawer, chuckling. He knew this would happen. The human mind couldn't bear such things without much acclimation first. Now Anne owed him a dinner out on the town.

And as two Erasers came in and lugged the body out to be disposed of, Jeb smiled and whispered those two words he had seen and heard so often:

"Experiment terminated."


O.O Did you like it? I did. Even though it's really sad. And it makes me want to cry. But there it is, and please review if you thought anything of it. Even if you thought it was horrible. But especially if you thought it was good.

Oh, and, if you're totally lost, the REAL experiment was to see if James would be able to handle killing something right away. Jeb thought he wouldn't be able to and made a bet with Anne... and won.

OH YEAH! And join my C2, Feathered Tragedies.