The senator was still late at work. She just had looked at her watch and saw it was almost midnight, yet only a half hour more she had promised herself to continue working overtime. The time after office hours, she mostly filled with reading encrypted reports send to her from the Cellar. Away back in time, she once was married, but it had been the biggest mistake in her life. You can’t serve two masters and certainly not two lovers. Certainly not if the first was a sweet man who expected her to be home some evenings during the week. This husband demanded also if it was possible to dine some evenings and talk the burdens away, which were inherent of her daily tasks. She didn’t need to ventilate her problems. Such a man should succumb to her biggest passion. Her job, more than attractive and seductive, that was her only and true love! No, in her life there was no place for a husband. Fortunately, her short marriage had been childless.
She opened the encrypted mail she just had received by touching the inbox of the projected computer image. After decoding it, she saw it was a mail without a heading. It indicated it came from Jack Sterlington.
Stephen March has made contact with the trio Yukiko Mitsukai, Ji Lang, and Jérome Shumbwa, also known as Eagle Eye. Michael has passed on to them a video stick with images of the killing of Suzy Chang.
This was a step he has done without our personal contribution. According to our information, this has not been the subject of our given instructions. I’m wondering if he’s acting on his own. Is this medical, physical or even technical possible after his surgery? We haven’t noticed anything of the preparations about this obstinate step from Michael, not even through the ‘link’.
Is it possible that in Michael’s brain messages are passed on by unknown or newly created neurotransmitters in such a way that besides his imprinted personality a second personality is developing or has come into existence? A sort of schizophrenic personality? Could you present this problem to the competent persons? If Michael is getting off track, the team thinks it risks the whole mission!
They were all pertinent questions Jack was asking. It was, at least, alarming news. She could count on Jack alerting her from the slightest problem. Every department working in the Cellar had to address her through the right responsible. The less the different parts of the whole came in contact with each other, the less they could understand the whole picture. Jack could have sent this mail directly to doctor Philip Collins, but he knew it was against the rules. She again read the mail entirely.
The brain is a complicated thing and how many scientists proclaimed to know something about it, it turned out that in the field of neurology they experienced always unexpected surprises. Michael hadn’t been their first experience. Not that she had told Jack. Why should she do that? Jack was a first-class help, but also a tool that served her when she needed it. She smiled suddenly because of the duality in her thoughts. Jack was beside a tiptop agent, the proper lover boy for her and what was very important, he didn’t ask her personal questions. Not on the area of their relation. She had learned that many secrets aren’t so secret anymore when two people slept with each other. She would never make this mistake. Love and work strictly stayed apart.
Michael had been the seventeenth experimental subject. But he was he first to react particularly well to the surgery and the follow-up treatment. The first ten cases had become stark raving mad or in some case after the surgery, they had been changed in living plants who had to drink and eat with a bib to keep them alive. The other six seemed not always to be trusted or were even out of control. Well, progress was only made counting in the fiascos. Failures always disappeared afterward. She personally had given this order and hadn’t let her sleep for it. She further didn’t give it a thought. The scientists in cooperation with the medical team had refined the process in a next stage and with Michael, they eventually had reached their goal. A man with a brain they could control from a remote distance. The human-robot of the future had become reality.
It was playing God for a bit, she realized without shame. The power to control a human being was addictive. She had asked to do further investigations to apply this on a larger scale. An army she could steer like she programmed her personal autobot. That was real ‘Power’ with an uppercase letter. This message could ruin everything. How was this possible after so much time?
Without losing time, she worked out a mail to the responsible of the team Collins.
Please compare without delay Michael’s current data with the one we have in our possession from after the surgery and those of his first years in the Old World. Are there anomalies in this comparative analysis? Is there any reason to believe that at this moment our control on the test unit isn’t a 100% anymore? Please look into it urgently and search and suggest a solution how to adjust this. I don’t have to add this is extremely urgent and I would like to read the results already in my inbox preferably ‘yesterday’.
She signed with her cipher code, encrypted the message and with a gesture of her index on the projected text she mailed it. Normally Doctor Collins would be sitting behind his desk in an hour, busy with his new assignment. She would check afterward if he had, otherwise, heads would fall.
Her half hour had passed very quickly. She looked at her schedule book. Tomorrow she had a meeting with Senator Halding, someone she considered as one of her political friends. If Halding would know what she was doing outside the political coulisses, their friendship would have a short lifespan. That was enough for today and she left for home in an irritated mood.
He was awoken out of his first sleep. As a scientist, he certainly was a believer in the progress of science and he promoted as the first every usable new technology. Some toys he contemplated were invented to let surface all the bad in a human being. Especially in the middle of the night. With a sigh, he unplugged the minuscule device out of his right ear and left his warm bed. The gadget was linked with his mailbox and only a moment ago had given him a brain pulse by which he became awake looking confused.
Philip Collins, a heavy man of fifty in striped pajamas walked unstable to his desk where his touchpad projected the senator’s mail which had just arrived. Unfortunately, this would be night work again, he suspected, but when he read the text he frowned concernedly about the matter.
Luckily, he thought to himself, he had a good quality or was a bad one, he didn’t know, to function instantly after a little dog sleep. He jumped as fast as possible as his half drowsy condition afforded out of his pajamas, pulled a shirt over his head and stumbled into his pants. Socks, shoes and his white coat and rapidly pulling a comb through his thinning gray hair and he hurried now, clearly awake to the lab in the Cellar. He looked at his watch. He had done it in less than ten minutes.
‘Hey,’ he greeted his colleague Jim, who looked surprised from above his screen when Collins dashed into the lab with a half open lab coat, his shirt hanging out of his trousers and his fly open. Philip came directly to the point. ‘Problems with Michael. We’re losing control, the senator stated a moment ago. Can you make me a detailed database of the brain scans, EEG’s and evolution diagrams of the growth of the axons and also of the neurotransmitters in the synapse of our wonder child, ASAP!’
‘Yes, also a good evening, Phil.’ The red-haired Jim McFinster wasn’t surprised he got a visit from Collins on such a bewitching hour. It wasn’t the first time and it probably wouldn’t be the last time. But the panic condition he found his colleague in, were bad omens. He pointed at the mirror window in the room, where Phil saw his reflection. Collins instantly turned as red as the hair of his colleague and fortunately without any consequences pulled the zipper of his trousers.
Jim McFinster had joined the project in the second stage, after the relocation of Michael. He had a doctorate, just like Philip, in biogenetics. Their specialties were located on different levels. Jim McFinster’s field of activity was situated on cell and gene level and especially implemented in the human brain. Philip Collins, however, had besides his doctor’s degree in biogenetics also got a few elevated supplementary training in the field of neurology. That’s why he had been recruited one of the first and had participated to 'all' the surgeries. Even the half successful ones and the failed ones. In terms of experience about the project Michael, Philip Collins possessed some benefits. Jim, on the contrary, a redheaded stubborn guy, who once he thought he was right, didn’t give up before he had proven his right if necessary with hands and feet and with indisputable proof. He could dig in an assignment so deep, the little moles could learn from it.
‘What has happened? Is the fit on the senator?’ Jim McFinster wasn’t shy in his criticism. ‘An hour with me in an Irish pub and afterward one or another thing as dessert and she’ll eat out of my hand as a domestic rabbit. Pull yourself together, Phil. It’s bad for your heart. You as a scientist should know better. Come on, tell your buddy. Breath in and breath out and will soon be over,’ he joked.
Philip told him again the senator thought or suspected she was losing control over Michael. She asked if at least there were indications that this control wasn’t as effective as before. ‘That’s why I love to have the demanded data as soon as possible so that I could look at it together with you, having an analysis ready for our mistress early in the morning. You know her, Jim, this morning at seven o’clock she’ll be calling and will need our “expert” opinion. I’ll bet you a bloody good drink, she’ll formulate it that way.’
‘Okay, chef,’ Jim smiled coyly. ‘We do our best as always and God will do the rest.’ He started some queries and searched into his archive and looked at the older information. The system had been started, the computers and the databases would bring out their result within the shortest time on their screen and then they would get into it with their joined brains and knowledge to see if the senator was right. Maybe she was just overworked and it was only the imaginations of her brain. Brain imaginations, very appropriate in this case Jim thought and with the glance of a pit-bull he gave some additional orders at the supercomputer. Better too much info than too little.
When her driver had dropped her off at her front door of her Victorian land-house and she had asked him to be present again at eight o’clock, she felt again the results of the stress of the last months. The project had taken his toll. The secrecy and the period of falling and rising again, which proceeded the eventual succeeding of their goal had cost her a few years of her life and probably a large number of gray hairs. Not that it didn’t become her. There’s a time people count every gray hair and pull them out and there’s a time they consider it as a sign of wisdom and experience. To pull out your hair, the senator regarded this as misplaced vanity.
Two persons stood in the shadow of the trees that surrounded her house. She was reassured. If they hadn’t been there, something would be terribly wrong. Her bodyguard had proceeded her and had cleared the setting. The other two she had left behind at the gate of her domain. There was a little concierge-house where they would watch the screens that were connected to the cameras in the fence. She was a hardline senator and as a consequence, she was a target for all sorts of factions which didn’t agree with her views. One of her bodyguards had given her a sign by which she approached him. He had whispered something confidentially in her ear. She hardly suppressed a smile and nodded.
When she entered and the light automatically switched on, she saw a trail of white rose petals that led up the stairs. Hmm, she wasn’t insensitive for some romanticism… out of hours of course. She hung her overcoat over the white banister of the long spiral staircase in Iroko wood. After all these years, the color of the steps had evolved from golden yellow to a kind of chocolate brown.
She followed the track with her eyes aloft. The view only made her relax, she knew who was waiting for her upstairs. He still could surprise her. Slowly – he probably had heard her already – but also to tease him a bit, she took every step of the stairs unzipping the slide fastener of her dress and pulling it out above her head. Her shoes with stiletto heels, she had already kicked out at the bottom of the steps. Iroko was a soft kind of wood and didn’t like shoes with stiletto heels. Barefooted she walked up the stairs and deposited her dress upon the staircase railing. With a sensual smile that came from deep in her throat, she stripped out of her underwear. One surprise deserved another one.
When she arrived at the last door of the staircase, the track of rose petals stopped. She was as white and naked as the last petal she picked up. She opened the door and saw a naked man lying on the four-poster bed. He had a bottle of champagne in his hands and was just busy filling two champagne glasses. The light twinkled in the Bohemian Crystal. Two stylish glasses with colorful accents in the stem and the foot of the glass. She smiled while she locked the door and looked in a provoking way at him. Her fatigue and tension were pushed to the background and he knew it, he saw it in her eyes. How he picked the right moment when she needed him the most, she didn’t know. He just knew. She appreciated it, considering the face of Jack Sterlington it was obvious he relished the prospect.
They both sipped at their stylish crystal glass while Jack pushed an obstinate lock of hair away from her forehead with his other hand. His fingers glided further, along her cheek and her chin, along her neck, upon her breasts where he teasingly made some circles around her nipples, which reacted to his touch. His hand moved further down and caressed her belly and then looked for her soft spot. He felt her hankering for more discovering her body. With her left hand, she caressed his hairy chest and followed the same way down and felt him shivering of desire. She hastily took another sip of her champagne, put her glass behind her on the night table and noticed Jack had done the same. Panting heavily, they moved together as fitting pieces, they molded their passion in all his forms, enjoyed every step of it that led them to a joined climax and a noisy satisfaction. Momentarily freed from their demons they fell asleep in each other’s arms.
At six o’clock Jack glided silently and carefully from between the silk sheets and took his clothes with him and put them on again upon the staircase. He was interested after the results of the report of the scientists. He would get it also later on from the sleeping beauty he had left on the four-poster bed. The bodyguards didn’t even move when he passed them and went to his autobot which was posted hidden under a weeping willow. He saw one of them messaging in the sender-receiver in his sleeve and when he glided away the fence was already open. He could hit it hard again and he supposed the woman he had left in her bed would think the same when she woke up later.
© Rudi J.P. Lejaeghere