Chapter 1. Against all odds.
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Beep, Beep, Beep, Bee-

Fuck me, it's too early for this bullshit. With resignation, I got up and began the day. My life wasn't bad at all, I just wasn't a morning person, and that is exactly why I'm an avid consumer of coffee. But as I looked at the clock I realized I was running late. Unable to make my brew, I showered, dressed, and got my books laptop and backpack together, and went out the door in a hurry. I was the oldest one in my college classes, and if you discounted the professors I was the most habitually late as well. Yet, I was chasing my dream to be a Veterinarian and was nearly finished with my prerequisites.

With my bag of books, laptop, and phone all packed, I left my small apartment. While I went down the elevator, I popped in my earbuds and put a random song on, but none of them fit my mood " Stairway to Heaven" skip, "Across the Universe" skip, "Worlds Apart" skip, "DreamWeaver" ehhhh, skip. " Man in the Mirror" skip, "Break on Through" by The Doors, that's the one. I made my choice and let it play, but just as the song started, the elevator shook violently, before it jerked and began falling. the sudden plunge was quite short but i nearly shat myself all the same.

Right after the landing I heard a long persistent noise from above hitting the elevator's roof until it stopped after a few seconds. was that the cabling? The lights also went out, leaving me in complete darkness. This all happened simultaneously, successfully freaking me out. I don't know if my asshole could have clinched any tighter if it tried.

Pulling out my phone, I used the light from it to find the emergency button but nothing happened no matter how hard or much I pressed it.

I wasn't too panicked but this was just my luck to be trapped in a damn elevator. Using my phone I tried to call the front desk but I had no signal. I never lost signal before in this building at all, so I was getting worried, my mind went towards terror attacks, or mass panic from something causing the lines to go down. Perhaps it was an earthquake, but those are rare on the east coast. let alone on big enough to cause this level of damage.

I waited for what must have been hours to no avail, all the while I was making noise banging on the doors for help periodically, but i hadn't tried to break out yet. Eventually, I heard noises outside. I expected people, perhaps firefighters or cops, to come and get me, but the noises I heard creeped me out. The noises sounded like.. like, bugs crawling up and over the elevator. I could hear tiny clinking noises all scurrying around, as if searching...

As creepy as the sounds are, I tried to keep myself calm. At first it worked, until the sounds of what i assumed to be bugs stopped entirely, only to move again much faster, leaving the elevator as fast as they arrived. The next moment though, the elevator was hit so hard it nearly tipped over.


The cheap ceiling tiles and paneling for the lights in the ceiling of the elevator fell on me during the crash. and I fell from the sudden impact. Picking up my cell phone, and myself quickly, I used it as a flashlight while i looked around, staying as quiet as possible. My blood ran cold as i saw a giant dent in the doors of the elevator.

What the fuck was that...

At this point i was well past freaked out, but whatever caused the noise came back again as I tried to keep myself as quiet as possible.

SFX- CRAaaash!!!

This time after the elevator was hit, I was calmer and listening closely. I could hear something breathing, it sounded like an animal. large deep breaths could be heard through the elevator walls. All of the hair on my neck stood up as the sound circled the elevator, until it disappeared only to come back a third time.

The creature made no sound as it charged the elevator, but i could feel the tremors in the ground showing its weight. This time when it neared me I braced for impact keeping myself on the opposite side of the elevator it was headed towards.

The sound of sheet metal bending and shearing filled my ears, revealing a large whitish grey head, a broad snout, and a powerful jaw lined with razor sharp teeth stained yellow.. A better look showed me jagged scars crisscrossed its face, showing its past battles. It also had large pointed ears like a foxes which were covered in matted tufts of fur. Its beady black recessed eyes sat well below the surface of its head, limiting its vision severely.

The beast thrashed about but its head was stuck. prevented from being released by the jagged edges of metal. the massive creature showed its power as it was dragging the cabin around the ground with each attempt to free itself. But the more i shined the light on it, the more frantic it became, grinding its thick furred neck along the jagged edges of the sheet metal in an attempt to free itself. Even with all the noise caused by its actions, the beast made very little of its own. No roars or bellows rang out, only its breathing showed its ability to produce noise at all.

The light from my phone was having some kind of odd effect on the creature. The effect of the light showed itself as it began to burn the creature. At first, it was slow but it quickly picked up speed, until its face skipped blisters and started blackening. What little fur it had caught on fire, producing a thick noxious smoke. The cabin quickly began filling with smoke, making it hard to breathe so I turned away from the creature, keeping myself low. I covered my face with my shirt and looked back using the light just as its head violently burst into flames. Boiling brain matter started pouring out of its eyes with such intense heat, it made me instinctively turn my back towards it, which was thankfully, protected by my backpack as it burned itself out.

The cabin was full of smoke but a crack by the dented doors let fresh air in. I kept myself there as the smoke slowly settled and flowed out through the hole the now headless creature made.

I stole glances back frequently as the fire traveled outside the cabin, likely burning its body. I was soon proven correct, as the cabin heated up to an uncomfortable degree. I couldn't fit outside the hole, nor could I pry the doors open. I also don't feel safe out there.

At some point in my panic, the fire reached a point where it flared far brighter for seemingly no reason. At first it sounded like a train, until the sound of glass shattering rang out.

Without warning I suddenly felt myself being wrapped in something invisible that permeated into my body, It was my prize, my right of conquest. I just *knew* on a fundamental level that this was the essence of the creature i just killed. Just as i began to finally freak the fuck out i was bombarded by a blue screen and letters that filled my vision.

- Ding! gtjet kuas...Error, Calibrating... Localizing... Sapience detected, Species unknown, gathering data.....Collating....Distant Huminarian subspecies detected, Racial bonuses not applicable. Error.... Voidwalker detected, Analyzing universe of origin... Tracing....Tracing... Entity has traveled through the Cosmic. Voidwalker updated to Cosmic Castaway. Cannot track, Re-collating data, Error, Coreless, attempting resolution... Error, Magicless Entity, Attempting resolution..... Resolution not found, no applicable reparations found. Processing...Processing....potential resolution found, Analyzing.... success, new racial trait granted. Racial traits updated.

- Ding! Searching memories.... Memories analyzed. Retroactive Titles dispersed upon review. Attempting to award missing essence.. failed! Unable to determine values. Re-attempting... Failed! No values found!. Searching for alternative compensation... Alternative found... Acquiring permissions... Permission granted. Racial trait absorbed.. Beast mutations submenu unlocked, Standard sapient Status menu unlocked.

- Ding! Advanced scientific Knowledge found... Analyzing.... Evaluation determines advanced scientific knowledge based on universal principles of a magicless environment. Categorizing...  multiple languages found, Material science knowledge found, Practical physics knowledge found, Advanced medical knowledge found, Biological knowledge found, Chemistry knowledge found, recompense tallied,  rewards distributed. Titles issued. Welcome to Terramora Ryan. Thank you for your additions to the Akashic records.

Ryan- "This can't be real..." 

as if to punctuate my disbelief, the blue screens continued.

  - Ding! You have traveled between worlds and live to tell the tale "Cosmic Castaway" Title granted.

  - Ding! Unique subspecies of Huminarian detected. "First of a kind" Title granted.

  - Ding! Advanced knowledge found, judged, and deemed worthy. "Scholar from another world" Title granted.

  - Ding! You saved a lesser creature for no benefit of your own "Natures Guardian"  Title retroactively granted.

  - Ding! You won a world renowned tournament. "Legendary Champion" Title retroactively granted.

  - Ding! You have circumnavigated a world. "Unbound Voyager" Title retroactively granted.

  - Ding! You have willingly read a vast number of books, obtaining extensive knowledge in various subjects all for pleasure. "Bookworm" Title retroactively granted.

  - Ding! You have demonstrated exceptional strategic thinking and planning. and deception skills when attempting to engage in mating activities. "Deceptive Mating Strategist" Title retroactively granted.

  - Ding! You have Defeated an enemy more than 50 levels higher than your own.  "Supreme Underdog" Title granted.

  - Ding! For employing innovative and unconventional strategies to overcome enemies far stronger than you the "Unconventional Tactics" Title is granted. 

  - Ding! You unwittingly used yourself as bait to lure a monster to its death. The "Unintentional Bait" Title is granted.

  - Ding! You killed an enemy more than 50 levels higher than your own with a single attack. " Weakness Exploit' Title granted.

  - Ding! You defeated an Umbraclaw. Total essence gained "15,731"

  - DIng! You have enough essence to level up, would you like to proceed?

after the messages finished, I realized I had broken into a cold sweat, the "Essence" or EXP of the Umbraclaw is raging within me. No matter what I tried I just couldn't calm down or focus on anything let alone where i am. The power inside of me was screaming to be used.

  - Ding! Error detected! No core to store essence. Recommended to use beast mutation submenu.

Well, at least the blue boxes are trying to help. now the question is, how do i use it? It can't be as simple as saying status can it....

  The status menu appears before me as if to mock me, showing me my body and its condition, all strobing red. Each interation is faster and faster, while growing a darker and darker red. beside the image of myself stats are listed along with my Titles and what they do, but the pain in my body urges me forward, and I find the beast mutation menu off to the right side. With a mental and physical selection the menu opens to reveal a never-ending list of options. At this point I'm hotter than I ever was earlier and my skin feels as if it's on fire. I can hardly even read what's infront of me. and I'm losing focus.

Ryan-"What the hell did the system tell me i was suppose to do? Cores! that's right cores!''

The menu responded to my desire and showed me pages and pages of cores, but the one labelled an " Ice Core"  grabbed my attention immediately, because of how hot i was.

  - Ding! Ice core selected. Are you sure? Warning! Mutations are permanent.

  Yes, yes! I'm fucking sure!

relief flooded my body as a cold sensation began to build opposite my heart. I could feel the essence of the Umbraclaw enter my core happily. and I promptly passed out.