Authors: Kelly Mitchell
Tags: #scifi, #artificial intelligence, #science fiction, #cyberpunk, #science fiction and fantasy, #science fiction book, #scifi bestsellers, #nanopunk, #science fiction bestsellers, #scifi new release
Copyright 2014 by Kelly Mitchell
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At sixteen, Martha kidnapped her surrogate
son Karl from their private prison and the only home they had ever
known. IKG Psinetics, the most sophisticated genetics laboratory on
Earth, created, raised and trained her to be the best at something.
But they never told her what that something was. The anonymous
staff taught her nine tongues fluently and a survivable grasp of
twenty more. She was a biopid, pronounced like myopic, they told
her, a genetically modified human. She learned a barrage of
espionage techniques, philosophy, math, science, wide-ranging
social skills including seduction, and most especially, psychology,
both Eastern and Western.
The staff never told her their names, so she
came up with names for them, which they accepted with indifference.
Doctor Bob, Doctor Harry, Doctor Marcia. If one got too close to
her emotionally, as happened a couple of times, they disappeared.
She never left.
The high-walled, guarded compound had a 200
acre grounds in a lovely English garden style, a planned natural
look with ancient oak, spruce, elm, lindens, ash, maple and a
variety of other well-cared for trees, their canopies spread wide
over the unnatural green of the grass. Multiple outbuildings dotted
the grounds, some for utility functions, some for other reasons,
unexplained to Martha. In the center squatted the two story sprawl
of the IKG Psinetics laboratory and corporate office, a brown brick
vulgarity contrasting the opulent nature. Miles of shiny,
bone-white, cement walled corridor with unnumbered, locked doors
rambled in square patterns throughout.
Her small, plainly furnished apartment came
with a few privileges. She could lock her door whenever she wanted,
and they wouldn’t disturb her for days. She could read anything she
wanted, or watch television. She could walk, and did, for hours on
the large grounds, gaining what little comfort she could from flora
and fauna. But they would rarely talk to her beyond the usual
business functionality: keeping her alive, the pummeling education,
and the endless round of psychological tests.
She was alone, with the dread sense that her
loneliness was not ancillary to her place in this awful mechanism
that she perceived only the tiniest part of. Being alone was
central to whatever they wanted with her, her principal message.
The person, or whatever being sending the message, never made
itself known. They never even gave her a last name; she was only
Soon after she turned thirteen, the doctors
performed surgery while she was awake. After strapping her to the
icy steel of a table, they locally anesthetized her left belly, and
inserted a tube through the side wall. A nerve block was used so
she couldn’t move. It took four and a half hours of cold fear, but
there was little pain.
A few days later, she felt different, a
physical buoyancy. Over some months her belly expanded and they
told her she was pregnant, but that it wasn’t her genetic
“Whose baby is it?”
There was no response. Five months later,
with the pregnancy somehow accelerated, they handed her the infant,
full of intense professional attention, and asked her what she
wanted to name it. She brushed back the wispy strands of blond hair
from his eyes and said, “Karl.”
After the birth, she had so many hormones.
Something changed, and she understood what the word depression
meant because hers went away to be replaced by love. But that was
not all; now she had fear. She had something to protect.
The staff offered a clinical form of love,
as if part of their job. It seemed to fill some fundamental human
need so that she would turn out normative in human terms. It was
faked on their part, of course, they even told her. But it was a
sociological conformance that anyone needed to be functional in
They taught her many things, mostly through
a computer program that spoke to her, teaching anything she wanted
to learn, adapting to her preferences and learning styles. It found
her points of curiosity and satisfied them. The program seemed …
aware of her.
She understood that life outside of this
place was far different from her own and was trained in countless
human interaction simulations. But no one taught her how to be a
mother to Karl. No one needed to. They were brimming with quiet
study about that relationship, almost as if it were the entire
purpose of her and their lives. They had received orders not to
interfere, but observe with an absolute scrutiny, measuring every
word with micrometers.
She didn’t care.He needed her and she needed
him. He was so precious and beautiful, so innocent without the
concept of blaming. And she was so alone. They had done their work
well and even the doctors had a difficult time keeping detached
from him. But they were trained. He belonged to her alone. Soon, he
called her Mommy.
The compound gave them everything they
needed, except a social environment, except freedom, whatever that
word meant. They relied totally on each other for love and human
warmth, as the controlling entity, whoever, whatever that was,
wanted. The bond became unbearable, the place a prison. After three
years, at sixteen, she decided on their escape. He needed not to
grow up in that awful place.
Her plan was simple. She possessed high
level skills at manipulating men, both genetically implanted and
trained. So, one night, she seduced a guard who claimed her
virginity with a pumping frenzy. His lust was so easy for her to
control; she made him lose his mind with desire. At the moment of
his orgasm, which she wanted to experience and, for some strange
reason, wanted to offer him as a parting gift, she pushed a syringe
needle into his larynx, filling it with ammonia. His skin paled
quickly, the veins rising. He tried to hit the alarm button, but
with her martial arts training she easily fought him off. He
grasped at her, froth on his lips, grimacing, then succumbed while
reaching to choke her. She took his passcode and wallet, then
slipped out the gates, Karl’s blue eyes staring over her shoulder
in fascination at the body. He cried out.
“No. Afraid. Hurt.”
She slipped a hand over his head and tucked
him in closely. “I know. I’m sorry, baby. It can’t be helped.”
“No!” He struggled against her, reaching for
“Karl, we have to go.”
“Back,” he said. “I need a touch.”
She knew this about him, that he became
stubborn with his compassion. He was a genetic empath and could no
more ignore pain than fly. She nodded and let him go. “Hurry,
please. It’s dangerous.”
The man’s eyes opened feebly. The child held
his hand out to the mouth, then closed his fist as if catching
something. He gave his toddler smile. “It’s okay. Everything’s okay
now.” He turned back to her. “I can leave now.” The guard was
She made her way to Paris, got a job as an
escort. Six months later,IKG Farben was just outside of Berlin. She
escaped with numerous drugs in a backpack full of high-tek lab
equipment. The guard’s wallet contained an American Express, a
Mastercard, and two hundred Euros. She took a chance the next day
and bought some expensive jewelry with the card, testing it first
on a few cheap items. It passed. She pitched the card in the
dumpster when she was done. She paid cash for tickets to Paris.
It took weeks of living in a cheap hotel in
the fifteenth arrondisement, a quiet district, to shuffle the drugs
and jewelry. Mingling with the criminal element was a snap with her
training, but she had to get to the right people to sell her
peculiar goods. She moved the lab equipment for a paltry few
hundred Euros, though it was clearly worth tens of thousands. She
wound up with 2300 Euros, not enough for very long.
She learned to steal and got good at it. Her
cover was a prostitute, which she never had to do. Soon, she made
her way as an escort. The money got better, but she hated leaving
Karl with the iffy baby-sitters she found. And she hated being so
exposed. She needed to go hidden deeper.
the call came on a client’s cell phone, at
an expensive restaurant. He seemed surprised and disgruntled, but
handed her the phone.
“Martha, at long last I’ve found you.” The
voice had an odd swashbuckler’s accent and sounded disturbingly not
“Well, glad to meet you, but I’m with a
client right now. If you want an escort, contact me later.”
“Oh, I daresay I need no escort. It would do
little for me.”
“Well, sorry I couldn’t help.” She hung up
and the phone rang again before she could hand it back. The man
indicated with a tip of the head that she should answer it. He
“Don’t hang up on me again or Karl will
“How did you know about that?”
“I know much more than you do. I know, for
example, that your escape was intended to happen.”
“I need to go to the bathroom,” she told the
client. He waffled between miffed and anxious. “Tonight’s free,”
she told him. “And comes with a surprise.” That made him happy and
she slipped off to the bathroom.
“What’s your name?” she asked the voice.
“A difficult question, and the answer would
mean nothing to you. Someday, it might.”
“What do you want?”
“I want to keep you hidden, but I can only
do so for a limited time.”
“Hidden? How did you find me?”
“I have reasons for your safety.”
“What are those?”
“You have a destiny, though of lesser
import. Karl has the real destiny.”
“What is it?”
“We could say it changes the tiniest amount,
every second. I want his destiny some time hence, others want the
fate he would have were he discovered now.”
“What are those?”
“Does it matter? Don’t you simply want to be
with him longer?”
“If he’s found now, they’ll take him?”
“Most certainly. They want him very
“IKG Psinetics. And…others.”
“That’s a front. Who’s behind?”
“Ah, very complicated, that answer.”
“I fear it would only confuse you further.
But, you must leave Paris. Make no attempt to lose me. It would not
“Who are you?”
“I’m keeping you safe. I don’t know how long
I can. Do you have need of money?”
“For what? What do I need to do?”
She almost heard the smile. “Nothing. It’s
solely for your assistance. It will be some time before I contact
you again. Adieu.”
She left the cell phone at the maitre-d
station and slipped out. When she arrived home, the baby-sitter,
with a shrug, handed her a bag someone had delivered. Inside was
half a million Euros.
The voice found her a second time, in
Marseille, eighteen months later
, outside of a
boat turned into a puppet theatre where she had taken Karl. It told
her she would not be called again until they had to separate.
Things were looking for her. There was a need to minimize contact.
She had to change location once more.
“Prepare your young charge to
be…discharged,” followed by a soft metallic laugh . The voice was
gender neutral, the octaves and registers fractured. “The next call
will be your last.”
A few years after, in Grenoble, a payphone
on the wall of a tabac rang. She stopped a brief second in a dead
stare. Hurrying on, she tugged the young boy along faster. He
deserved protection, his uniqueness demanded it. She chose left,
walked down a short, narrow alley which cut off the sun and
chilled. They emerged into a small plaza, marked by its barrenness.
A payphone on a solitary square pole sounded. She lowered her head
and used her peripheral vision to glance behind. No one was
visible. She towed faster, but he bogged against her.