I staggered into the front doors of the sunlit lobby, shoving aside an old woman who’s waxy crayon makeup had jumped the creases on her wasted face. She cursed at me—I don’t think she was conscious of it—then pulled away in fear as I pulled up the front of my shirt, showing the tubes going into my abdomen.
“I have a bomb!” I tried to shout, but my cavity was filled with explosives and I couldn’t pull a deep breath. The sound was sucked from me into the din of the Stanton-Tailor Foundation’s enormous atrium where I worked.
“Look!” the old woman screamed as shrilly as a siren. “One of those things has a bomb!” God bless her. She ran for the back, knocking into the line of weary people waiting for their seats. Her panic broke their lethargy and they began to rebound against each other towards the dark exits like bumper pool balls.
I tried to look ferocious as I waited at the front to herd people away from the door. Good! Please, please go away from me.
In a future not far from ours, there are two kinds of replicates:
“Generic Replicates made from blanks and Custom Replicates that need government approval to take the DNA from the dying to grow over a blank base. The frame is a better grade, but still the features of a blank and that’s why their faces never look exactly the same.”
“Yeah, even with plastic surgery and makeup; they still have that flat profile. I can always tell.”
“The new Chimera Replicates are not blanks: they are based on targeted DNA from twelve different animals mixed with man and grown from a fertilized egg, more like clones. Their minds can be eliminated at a whim. They have no rights and they are caged like animals. Their lifespans are kept very short: they die before they know to educate themselves, form connections, or take a stand for things to be better.Doctor Tailor has made them for no good purpose.”
“OK, so an insane doctor is planning to take over the world?” This was becoming the creepiest case Hugh had ever worked. And in the FIIST, he had worked a lot of them.
The big hulk almost smiled as he rose to his feet. “No. He will sell them like cattle so that others can take over the world. What he wants is for all to come and worship him. Let’s check on the size of his congregation.”
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