It had been well over a week since my eyes changed colour and we hadn't yet told anyone. None of the Voices had noticed, not even those that brought me food. Dr Jones wanted to make sure they knew, though I was all for keeping it a secret, but I had persuaded him in the end. I wondered if they were colour blind. That would explain how oblivious they were to this strange change.
As we were sitting in my living room one day, talking while Dr Jones examined the plaster on my leg and tried to decide when it would be ready for removal, one of the Voices appeared in the doorway. It was not one of my ordinary guards. This one was a high-up, someone important.
"The girl is to come with me," it said. Dr Jones nodded, looking wary. "We have something to show her. Something to tell her."
"Where are we going?" I asked, falling into step. Over the course of my stay on the ship I had learned that the best thing to do was just accept it and get on with life. Besides, I really wanted to look around a bit more. Until now I'd been constricted to my few rooms. I hadn't really seen anything.
"To the control room," it replied. It seemed to me that the more senior the position that the Voice held, the less brutal and rough they were. Perhaps more cultured. Certainly, this one hadn't been rude or cruel to me yet, and that had to be a good thing.
"May I ask a question?" I said. The floors were all made of cold metal, and the plaster cast on my leg clunked with every step. But I could walk well enough. I'd been practising in my little living room, walking round and round and round until I was satisfied.
"You may," he allowed.
"What happened to the, uh, children?" I hoped I would never have to see them. I wasn't entirely sure how fast the Voices grew, but it had to be faster than human beings since none of them seemed particularly old. Dr Jones told me he had estimated one week for us would be two months growth for them, and it was only in the womb that they were slower. Hmm.
"They have been taken to our nurseries," he replied. "Would you like to see them?"
"No!" I replied vehemently.
We reached the control room where two Voices in grey uniforms sat in front of desks. Their strange, smooth 'skin' still frightened me even after so long, although I was getting used to it. Dr Jones had seemed even stranger when I first saw him, because I hadn't had a mirror and I hadn't seen another human. Now my brain had accepted him and they, once again, were the odd ones.
"I have brought her to you," said the Voice standing behind me. The two at the desks snapped to attention. To my great surprise, they bowed to me.
"Our queen," they replied. I saw something like respect in their eyes. Well, that was nice, and a little bit different. Maybe I wasn't such a freak and a hated prisoner as I'd thought. "Please, come towards the screen."
Cautiously I looked at the large flat panels. They were obviously video feeds from CCTV cameras all around the hospital, so I peered at them with great interest. Then I saw what it was they had wanted me to see. It was surrounded by police cars and in the centre, directing them, was my mother -- my own, dear, stupid mother that had foolishly sent me to this place. What was she doing?
"That's my mother," I said. "Sophie." Her name was awkward on my tongue, but I couldn't say 'Mum'.
"She knows about us." The Voices were angry. "She knows we have taken you. Or at least, she guesses. The Management saw her ... and she saw them."