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Beasts Beyond The Wall - Part 18

Kirk - Experiments

“So these are the initial results then?” I asked looking down at the clipboard.

Professor Stolas nodded, “The sample size is still small but that is the results from the experiment.”

“Lower performance then I had initially expected. Very little improvement and not very much epiphanies.” I frowned reading through the notes on the different experiments. “I suppose I’m not really surprised. These were just preliminary experience to see if the methods were sound. However I guess I’ll have to go back to the drawing board.”

“That is assuming that your hypothesis is even true in the first place. If is isn’t then continuing to try these tests will just be useless and a waste of their time.” Said Professor Stolas.

“While that is possible I don’t want to give up just yet. Since I haven’t figured out a good test to prove that Hunters do not have hidden talents and unless you can figure that out I will continue to try and figure out good ways to unlock those hidden talents. At least until I have gone through enough attempts that it seems unlikely that more attempts will give favorable results.”

Stolas said, “As long as you will be able to accept the results that you are given. I can’t really prevent you from researching on your own but keep in mind there is only so much support I can get from the government. They support the idea of improving weaker Hunters but they are only willing to sink so much funds into this endeavor.”

“I understand. However this particular test was just an expansion of the Hunter standardized Hunter identification test that you used on me. Speaking of which why did you think I would be a good candidate for watching Yaju?”

Stolas scratched his head while he spoke, “I didn’t really. You have the family tree to potentially be a Hunter but you where just one of a long list of potential candidates which I was checking. You turned out much better than I was expecting. I was primarily looking for a Hunter who Yaju could bond with without being threatened by them. You just happened to far exceed my expectations.”

“I guess that encounter was as surprising for you as it was for me.” I continued to flip through the notes about the experiment. To prevent me from having too much of a bias on the results most of the tests had to be done without me. “This Hunter, test number 14, the results are rather strange. This Hunter fits some physiological response for beginning to improve their ability.”

Stolas looked through his own copy of the results. “I suppose this Hunter does however that could just be chance. There was a lot of Hunters tested some of them were bound to have this kind of response. If you had a useable stage two I could push them up to that but without a training program that won’t be possible.”

“Alright,” I said nodding, “I have several drafts but without a good model of standardized responses they training might not yield any results. In fact most likely stage three testing would require a personalized training regime.”

I continued to look at the person’s results “However if this person does indeed respond to my initial stimulus I would like to speak with them. It might help me better understand why they did respond and the other Hunter did.”

“Speaking with them could taint the test data.” Said Stolas.

I lowered the clipboard and leveled a glare at him. “Right now this isn’t fully about accurate test data it involves forming a usable hypothesis. My initial one failed to produce results so I need to find a new one. I need you to make sure my hypothesis gets adequately tested once I have decided on one.”

It had been a couple months since I had returned from Istan. Since then I had worked with Professor Stolas on my hypothesis. He was much more experienced then me at this business but Hunters that were interested in experimentation were rare so he decided to accept me into his laboratory. He also agreed provide the needed support for my experiments assuming that I would also help him with his.

“Alright.” He said, “I’ll organize a meeting. You can question them and try to figure out what this response means and if it is connected to your ideas about weak blooded Hunters.”

At the laboratory however Professor Stolas seemed to be the only one who supported me. While he was in charge of this laboratory so all the other employees followed his orders to support my tests I could tell that they didn’t respect me. I suspected it was because of my age. Stolas was in his early forties which was old for a Hunter but apparently appropriate for a major researcher.

Since Hunters usually didn’t care much about people’s ages I had found a good place among them. Even Stolas could recognize my use and potential as a research assistant. The humans working there no so much. I could feel it and sometimes the gossiped when they thought I couldn’t hear.

For the most part I ignored it. As long as Stolas supported my ideas the people also did which was good enough for me. However I knew that would need to produce results. Stolas was right about the government. They were willing to fund my project but that was only because Stolas put his name on it. If I wasn’t able to produce results then the project would get dropped and I would need to do everything on my own.

I was also frustrated. This entire project was turning out to be a lot more work than I expected. The question of why different Hunters had different abilities what what was required to make each of them figure out how to use their abilities properly was a difficult one and one what I still had difficulty trying to understand.

I had already interviewed several Hunters about their unique abilities in an attempt to understand how their figured out how to use them. However each case seemed to be completely different. There were some similarities but it seemed that they all just figured it out because it seemed natural. Eventually I had to come to the conclusion that there was a gap between those kinds of Hunters and the ones that I was trying to figure out.

People like me and Elizabeth also fell into the category of it just feeling right. However I suspected that other third and later generation Hunters also had unique abilities but that their situations made it so that it never just felt right. However proving that was proving difficult.

That is why I wanted to meet with this person. Even if it was a fluke I wanted to check it out. If I could induce a unique ability in this Hunter which had previously not had one that at least put a little validity into my claim. It might even lead to insights into how the process might be accomplished in other Hunters. Optimally the long term goal was to find a consistent process but at this point even a slow unreliable process was better then no process at all.

Finally I managed to get my meeting with the Hunter named Jordan. He was around five years older than me and my first thoughts when I saw him was that he certainly seemed scrawny.

“It is a pleasure to meet you.” Were my first words, “I am Kirk and I work with Professor Stolas. I will be asking you some questions today and I hope you don’t mind.”

“No, no not at all.” He seemed kind of nervous. I had put the meeting in a small room in one of the Hunter training grounds that were found near the edge of the city. It was a nice place but the meeting room generally found very little use.

“No need to be formal.” I said, “Please have a seat. This isn’t really a test or anything, I mainly just wanted to ask you some questions about the experiment that you participated in last week.”

“Yes, that experiment. Professor Stolas requested a lot of Hunters attend and take the test and then some of the staff asked us questions after that.”

“You have some strange results so I wanted to ask you some more questions about that. During the reaction time tests you preformed remarkably well however during questioning you said that things felt slow and that you felt that you didn’t respond as fast as you could have.” I said.

“Did I? They didn’t provide any feedback so I just said what I was thinking. Maybe I just got lucky with the reaction time tests.”

“It is hard to get lucky with that type of tests. Did you actually think those tests were easy?” I asked.

“No, actually it was the opposite. I felt that test was rather difficult and I had lots of difficulty reacting as fast as they expected me too. I felt like the test had been designed for stronger Hunters were are capable of reacting much faster than me.” Jordan said.

“Hmm, strange that you felt that. Have you felt that way before in other things?”

“Sometimes in combat I’ve felt that way. That I am not capable of keeping up with my opponents.”

“My notes also say that you did quite well in your physical and combat examinations. Do you know what is causing this dissonance?” I said. I had become interested in his story. It also looked like he had the barest understandings of what his ability might be but it had still not been brought to fruition.

“I don’t know. I’ve been doing a bit better in combat recently. Maybe my training has just paid off.”

“By recently do you mean since the test?”

He frowned and said, “Well, I suppose it has been since around then.”

“Then do you mind going to the practice yard and showing me a little.” I asked.

“I suppose but don’t expect anything to great. You will probably be able to beat me.” He said.

“Don’t be so sure. I have fairly weak Hunter blood as well. Mostly I’m just useful as Professor Stolas’ assistant.” I said being careful to set the expectations correctly. It was important for him to think he was good enough to fight me.

We moved out into the practice yard. It was fairly empty because of the time and because this particular yard wasn’t used very much. I went to one side of the yard and while he stood at the other.

The first round went strangely. I managed to win but it was a close thing. I was able to see his tells with me senses but he was faster and stronger than me. Not surprising, most Hunters were faster and stronger than me. However I noticed that he seemed to be holding back or at least the way he moved implied that to me. Other people might not realize it and he might not realize it but I could tell. The only problem was figuring out how to prevent him from doing that.

It seemed to be a mental block of some sort but I could not tell what was causing it. As we rested after the first match I asked, “Jordan, why did you become a Hunter?”

He looked surprised but answered, “I didn’t really choose to become a Hunter it just sort of happened to me.”

“So you don’t want to be a Hunter?”

“No particularly but it pays well.” He said.

“I see, I suppose it is time for round two then. I’m going to move a bit faster so try to keep up?” I said. I was lying, it would be difficult for me to move faster then I already was but it was a calculated move to help try and overcome his mental block.