Location is the first and most important issue in the start of Chimera. Ianto and Alun have been to the After Dark Club, which I put on Castle Street. Coming out from there a little drunk and feeling a bit silly, would easily take them to Sophia Gardens, the park on the other side of the river from the Castle itself. I used that location in a previous story, The Wrong Shoes, as the scene of a nasty murder, but there is no reason not to use it again. The important thing about the park is that it extends right along the river past a large leisure complex, past offices and residential areas, until it merges with Pontcanna Fields which is more or less in the countryside beyond the urban part of Cardiff City. Placing something like the Prentice Institute in a gated Victorian house in that direction is perfectly plausible.
The park should, of course, be closed at that time of night. There are gates. But two fit and agile men like Ianto and Alun, even with a bit of drink in them, ought to be able to handle that. And so they were perfectly placed, enjoying a fumble in the dark, when the Weevil crashed through the undergrowth.
It being a while since I wrote this story, I can’t quite remember the immediate reason for writing a story about a Weevil who can talk. Once I DID have the idea, I thought back to a TV mini-series some years ago in which a near-Human child was born from the fusion of Human and ape DNA in an IVF process. In my recollection I thought the series was called Chimera, but on looking on IMDB and Wikipedia there is another series, made a few years later, by that title and with a similar theme. The series I was thinking of was called First Born. Anyway, both cover very similar ideas. Indeed, the Chimera series, which I haven’t, in fact, seen, does involve experiments in a fertility clinic that go tragically wrong, much as the main plot of this story goes.
In fact, my story quite accidentally turns into a mixture of the two. The deadly consequences of trying to mix Weevil and Human DNA are outlined in the back story at the Prentice Institute. But when Ianto and Alun decide to ‘adopt’ Sam the Weevil and train him to be more Human, that is much closer to what happened in First Born.
In that series, which starts off quite hopefully with the hybrid child being brought up Human in the home of the geneticist, tragedy eventually strikes when the young man who is now educated and articulate, meets his ape mother and is mauled to death by her. Since a lot of readers were worried about what might happen to Sam, I can confirm that I am definitely not going to do that to him, but future stories do show the way he develops, as well as some of the problems of his hybrid existence.
Jack’s opposition to the idea is, of course, based on a very long experience of dealing with Weevils – much longer than anyone else. He has every reason to doubt what Ianto and Alun propose to do. But time will tell.