“Mommy look at what I drew!”
“Its beautiful honey.” Sandra casted her eyes down to her pride and joy. Her beautiful princess held a grin that stirred the happiness behind her weary eyes. She kissed the forehead of her little girl as her large scarlet eyes stared back at her.
“Go watch TV. Mommy will come play with you in a few minutes okay?”
“Yay!” The child ran off into another room as Sandra diverted her eyes back to the man across the table from her.
“You have a lovely daughter,” the man said.
“I suppose I should tell you why I came.” He opened a briefcase laying in front of him and slid a series of pictures and documents across the table. Sandra meddled through the files as the representative stated his business.
“G.I.A.N.T. wants you to spearhead its latest project. The In-Gene, have you heard of it?”
“It created all that buzz during its discovery in that new species correct?”
“Indeed. And do you know what it is?”
“No, unfortunately I haven't had the opportunity to learn about it.”
“It's a memory gene present in the rare Numetar species that is copied and passed onto the offspring of its host during the DNA replication phase of sexual reproduction. The copy contains the sensational memory of the host, allowing the child to perceptively recall its parent's memory of an observation when the details are explained. Effectively, the child is able to learn everything its parent knew almost instantly upon recognition.”
“That is quite the gene.”
“'Quite the gene' would be an understatement.”
Sandra nodded her head in approval. “I won't argue with that. I assume this project of yours is to find a way to use the gene in other species?”
“Why do you want me?”
“Because your qualified.”
“Well I appreciate the thought, but I'll decline. I enjoy working with my husband and the rest of G.I.A.N.T. military as opposed to the other branches. There are plenty of scientist who have my skill, in fact, I can give you a list of names right now.” Sandra reached for a napkin and drew a pen from her pocket.
“It's not your skill that makes you qualified.” The man declared, freezing Sandra as her look turned back to the less pleasant face of the man in front of her.
“It's your past.” Sandra's smile faded as the man's look intensified.
“We need someone who's dealt with live specimens before-”
“No.” she replied sharply as her face reddened.
“Now Mrs. Sanders you're the only one from the previous team that actually has the skill. You've experimented on humans who-”
“Humans who I didn't know were alive until after I'd accidentally cut one open before the drugs you told us to inject them kicked in!”
“And nonetheless, you achieved excellent results during that process. Out of the live humans you experimented on, ninety-five percent survived.”
“I won't do that again. I will not look at the horrified faces of live people who ignorantly volunteered due to false advertising.”
“I'm not giving you a choice.” Silence hung in the air as the man's sinister look shifted to the room where the little girl sat with her eyes glued to the cartoons dancing across the screen.
He turned his head back, and without uttering a word, Sandra knew exactly what he was trying to do.
“You will not go near my daughter.”
“Believe me, I have no intention to. You see the people who died in those experiments did so by your hands, due to the false advertising that you personally oversaw.”
“I did no such thing.”
“Oh? These records here prove otherwise.” The Rep slid more files across the table, and Sandra looked with despair as the official seal of the very company she worked for had been placed on forged documents.
“It would be a shame if certain information got released to the public. I wonder who would take care of your little girl if you and your husband were serving a prison sentence.” Tears were threatening to run freely as Sandra's heartbeat increased further.
“What do you mean me and my husband? What does this have to do with Hiksil?”
“Hiksil,” the man convened, sliding more photos across the table, “has made some unwise career decisions, to say the least, in order to ensure that his family stays protected from those who would love to see him suffer.”
“Why are you doing this?”
“Galactic Initiative for Advancing New Technology. That's why. You were once presented with a choice. The choice not to get involved. But you did. We are about advancing this technological age regardless of who or what may stand in our way. And if you won't contribute to advancing our cause willingly, then we will take other measures to ensure your allegiance. You will not be allowed to dishonor the code when you are called upon because you suddenly have a change of heart.”
“You would kill half the galaxy if you had to and for what? Something that may or may not be accomplished?”
“Can't you imagine the possibility? Imagine if children at your daughter's age could know everything you know and why it was important or insignificant. Think of the advancement the world would see. Unlimited potential that would be tremendously incremented with each passing generation. Think about how long it would take for the world to cure all diseases and end hunger in the galaxy. Think of the future. Of the Utopia we could create. And it all starts with this gene. If we have to go through a couple hundred thousand, then so be it. Science is risk. Some part of you is curious, whether you acknowledge it or not.”
“I'm not interested in the deaths of thousands,” she protested. The man gathered his briefcase and stood.
“I'll make you a deal Mrs. Sanders. You give me my revolution, and when my name warrants billions and they hand me a position on the council, I'll completely erase your history and your husband's and you'll be free from this life. Now the project is in an old abandoned facility in the middle of one of our plants. I will enclose those details upon your official acceptance. I expect to see you next week, and I ask that you do not make any rash decisions that would force me to do something I don't want to do.”
Sandra sat in her chair motionless as the memories of her previous work flared. She still remembered all to well the day when she found out her patients had been alive. The man who woke screaming as half of his organs lay in various containers. The terror in his eyes as he pleaded for his life as she took the knife and did what any compassionate person would have done. Put him out of his misery.
Her thoughts consumed her, and it wasn't until an hour later when her husband tapped her shoulder that she snapped out of her conscious.
“Everything alright?” He stood concerned as he met his wife's eyes and immediately knew the answer. He glanced into the other room to find his little princess sleeping in front of the TV. “They're going to take her,” Sandra whispered. Hiksil's eyes darted back to his wife.
“They said that their going to take her if I don't do what they say.” Hiksil felt his energy begin to escape his grips.
“Sandra what's going on? What happened?” Sandra began recounting her conversation with The Rep, pausing to control her sobs between. By the time she finished, Hiksil's feet kept him pacing and his eyes flared.
“I'll be damned if I let them take you or our daughter,” he declared. “I swear, I'll kill any of them who try it.”
“You can't fight the military Sil.” Hiksil gritted his teeth and cursed at himself. How could he have known that the ambition to use his strength to make a difference in the galaxy would come back to haunt him? It had been 12 years since he first made the decision to join G.I.A.N.T., the corporation who's sole purpose was the advancement of technology throughout the galaxy. What better way to make a difference than to join their military and ensure its protection from the many threats who opposed them? It was an innocent ambition. How could he have known back then that he would have to sell his soul to achieve it. That the enemies he made would one day spend their waking moments planning his family's death, and that the acts he committed which threatened his freedom would be held over his head as he was told to abide by whatever sadistic plans were dreamed up. He felt used and controlled. He met his wife's eyes, trying desperately to think of a way out of the nightmare he'd been lulled into.
“I'll be starting next week,” she said, breaking the silence between them.
“I have to Sil.”
“You still have nightmares about the first experiments. How will you go through that again?”
Sandra cast her glance into the next room. Hiksil turned his head to his sleeping princess, and a pressure wrapped itself around his chest.
“That's how.” Sandra vowed. Hiksil let his argument drop. Despite their love for each other, neither would be able to heal the wound that would be created at the loss of their angel. He would carry the blood in his hands, and she would lose her sanity before they allowed their daughter's demise.