There was a knock on the door into Ryan’s office.
Stef looked up, wishing that she’d reacted with fear, with shock, that she’d flinched in the sound…instead there was nothing but the pervasive numbness that had crept under her skin since returning home.
It was a spectacle, but it was the best chance they had.
Ryan paced along the small space in front of the observation deck chairs. Below them, the Parkers continued to prep Stef – who seemed more and more disconcerted with every moment.
‘She’s completely unremarkable.’
Parker-1 took a moment to smooth his uniform, then stepped into the operating theatre. It was unusually full – Enforcer Crawford, Ryan, Jones and the patient-to-be: former recruit Mimosa.
Annoyance leaked over the link. ^This is going to be interesting,^ his twin said. ^I’d still prefer to–^
Parker-1 shook his head. ^I’m her primary; I’m taking lead.^
^You’ve been taking lead all day.^
^I haven’t heard you complaining.^
The relative safety of Ryan’s arms disappeared as the world blurred.
Shift. Still not used to that.
Once the world came back into focus, Stef blinked rapidly for a moment, trying to get a grasp on her surroundings. An office, no window wall – not Ryan’s office.
Ryan stared at an impossibility.
Enforcer Crawford’s monitor held an image of Stef, weeping in the corner of one of the holding cells. Only half-aware of his own movement, Ryan stood and reached out for her image – as if he could reach through the glass and provide some remote comfort.
He felt wetness on his cheeks – he was crying, and he couldn’t muster the control to cut off his visible emotions.
She had been dead.
It was a strange feeling to be asked to report to your own office.
Jane shivered slightly as the cool wind whipped around her exposed shoulders.
The sleeveless training top wouldn’t have been the best choice, given the weather, but she barely felt the cold. A quick choice in her HUD would have allowed her to ignore it altogether, but she enjoyed the crisp feeling across her skin.
It was a short jump, but she hesitated every time. Continue reading “11 – The Beginning of Many Things”
Ryan signed page four-hundred, initialled the next, and moved onto the next one. Every few minutes, a phrase would catch his eye, or there’d be a colourful balloon indicating a summary or an important project note. He didn’t have time to read them, but he stopped anyway.
The document would decide how Stef’s life would be handled, even if he had no time, it was better to know that he wasn’t something he would regret. Some elements had made his stomach turn, others seemed extreme, and there were things that were nothing but cruelty. He had signed. He had read and he had signed each time. Many of the elements were only for the beginning stages of the experiment – the first few weeks, the far too harsh testing phase that would determine if she was allowed out of the basement. Continue reading “05 – The Parameters of Duty”