Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Beaker Child

This is an excerpt from a book I am writing called The Beaker Child.  Its very science fiction, so if you don't like science fiction, you probably won't like this.
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Source
The Beaker Child

Her first awareness had been light. Then shapes. Color. Texture. Soon her halting, metallic voice was spelling out letters and names.

They called her a scientific breakthrough.

---
One of the first things we logged was the blinking. She seemed to not understand what it was, always following my eyes with her pupils, her face frozen like pottery: white, unmoving, emotionless.

“Its called blinking, Margaret. We blink our eyes to clear them. You don’t have to.”

That was before she found hands. Feet. Motion.
---

“She copies.”

“That was understood”

“But how? Why? She's developed a function she doesn’t need.”

“Perhaps social-evolution? Some form of adaptation?”

“Why would she have such a simple human necessity?”

“We will stick to the tests. The rest is heresy until those are confirmed.”

“Doctor?”

“Run test 342a.”

"Affirmative. Running test 342a. Log one."
---
When we woke her up she blinked. This puzzled me. Her hands shook when she tried to move them and she looked at everything with no expression. Shapes, color, and even texture amused her. After awhile she developed rudimentary language skills, and begin to mimic breathing. Then I had to put her back to sleep; but it appeared the experiment had been a success.

The second time I woke her up she screamed. And didn’t stop screaming. She cried when we touched her, eyes staring straight ahead and arms writhing at her side. Her body shook as if tortured. The doctors surrounded her, charts were drawn up, but nothing could soothe her. We decided to put her back into her dreamless, sterile sleep.

It was awhile before we woke her again.
--- 
Floating. Thrumming, pulsing, in my center. 
--- 

The third time I called her from slumber someone stole her. He didn’t get far. I watched from the observation tower as he carried her, curled up against his breast, her dark hair a fuzzy brown swirl under his arm.

One single shot from a sniper ended his heist. He crumpled like dust beneath her plastic body, legs sprawling in every direction. Humans are so finite, I thought, as I watched him bleed out on our concrete walkway--so fragile, that one shot could end it all. 

The heist made headlines. The worldwide Neoi-Mag came to cover the event. Their titles ran from many angles, some calling Margaret a new-age phenomenon, hailing her existence as the next great scientific breakthrough. Other specialists disagreed and said my team had gone too far, crossing into ambiguously amoral grounds. I didn't read the articles. What did it matter now? 

My colleague said the head religious leader in Eurui had ordered the heist. His short elderly figure was seen more and more on the news calling the my precious experiment an abomination and a threat to humanity. I could only laugh. The pawns will play, I told him, for the masses must be entertained. 

Just to soothe his mind, late that night I made a few calls. Over the corse of a month I invited the press, senators, mayors and even middle school classes to view my specimen. Never inside, of course, and never where Margaret could see them, but it was enough just to see her, to catch a glimpse of her pale, plastic body behind the white glass. 

The world calmed. For surely no small, still, angel-like child could be a threat to their metropolitan existence? Soon there were other stories, other problems; a bomb in Asa, and flood in the Eastern USN turned their meddling eyes to other places, other woes. Man has such short memory, such fleeting existence.  

I returned to my work. She was almost done.

---
“How is Margaret today?”

“Vitals stable. Gene specification routed.”

“Why is she still doing that with her chest---?”

“Test 896-B prepped and ready, Doctor.”

“Wake her. Now.”

“Confirmed.”
---

Margaret awoke. 

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