Mulligan cleaned himself in the sink outside. His task was completed. The notes had shown she was in the correct term of her cycle and ripe to bear a child.
He refastened the front of his black skin-tight outfit and then reached down to his coat by the sink and slipped it on. Then he pulled on his rucksack. He paused, thinking. His next assignment, due tomorrow, was in a private apartment. From his breast pocket, he pulled out a small box and took out a pill. The pill would enhance his sperm production.
He swallowed it and shivered slightly before taking out a map from his coat pocket to check his exit route before leaving.
Sleeping in her chair, the alarm sharply woke the doctor. She turned it off wearily and stared at the clock, focussing. She sighed dejectedly. Her four hours were passing too quickly. Standing up, she stretched and grimaced. Her body ached all over.
She slowly walked into the small compact washroom attached to her office, and reached into the shower cubicle, turning it on. She looked over at the painkillers on top of the cabinet but hoped the warm water would work instead.
Once in the shower, she could feel the vibrating pulses of water taking away the aches in her body. She stood still for a while, musing about Mahisa. She smiled wryly as she stepped out of the cubicle.
Whilst drying herself she looked at her reflection in the full-length mirror on the inside of the washroom door. Through the haze of condensation, she could see the last remaining signs of her previous masculinity.
Or at least they were signs to her. Body hair. Memories of another time. Other faces. Times she’d prefer to forget.
But for a moment she remembered. (Elaina. Elaina Tamas.)
Irritably, she opened the cabinet and took out the epilator.
The rest of the reconstructive surgery had taken very well but time would eventually catch up. Then she would need another donor.
She selected a fresh uniform from the pile in the cupboard and dressed methodically, shaking her hair back to its short blond bob. Then she walked back into her office.
Her meal had been delivered and stood on its warmer on the main table, next to a bottle of mineral water. Her status gave her benefits but so much boredom. She reached to the wall display cupboard and took a glass. As she sat down, she poured out the water and began to hurriedly eat her meal.
She reached across the table for the small Distant Control Unit, the DCU or the ‘Deesu’ as it was often called. She used it to switch on the viewer screen embedded in the wall opposite, next to the display cabinet. She pressed several buttons on the Deesu, and accessed the Medical system.
She brought up the records of Mahisa’s brain, muscle and heart patterns. There was a short period where Mahisa’s responses went very erratic.
She frowned and glanced across at the monitors that still displayed the patient, apparently asleep and stable on her bed.
The doctor stood up and walked around the table to the exit door. She flicked a switch on a small wall-mounted pad by the entrance and alerted the duty nurse. She spoke firmly, “Take Mahisa Sonder to the Rec-area immediately. Out.” She flicked off the intercom and strode out of her office.
No one else was there when Doctor Jane walked into the Rec‑area.
She composed her mind and prepared the room for the patient. After a short while, the duty nurse wheeled Mahisa in, still lying on her bed. Doctor Jane scrutinized the patient and then, without turning to the nurse, she spoke, “Injector. Stimulant 1. 10mls.” She held out her hand expectantly. The nurse gave her the hypodermic and the doctor pressed it into Mahisa’s arm.
Doctor Jane frowned. She examined the injector briefly and then carelessly threw it down on the floor. She grabbed Mahisa’s shoulders and shook her gently.
Still no movement.
She spoke again. “Stimulant 1. Another 10mls.” A second hypodermic was handed to her. She examined it closely before injecting Mahisa. Instantly, the patient relaxed and began to smile slightly as the euphoria hit her.
Doctor Jane passed the hypodermic to the nurse, bent over the patient and whispered gently into Mahisa’s ear, “Everything’s fine. When you’re stabilized we’ll talk further. All you need to know now is that your sight’s been restored.”
The doctor stood up and walked to a wall pad. She used it to contact the Security Leader. A distant voice answered, “Yes?”
The doctor replied sharply. “Keeray, come to my study by the Rec-area. We need to talk.” She looked at Mahisa, still smiling in her sleep, then turned to the nurse. “Watch her closely,” she instructed before walking to the main exit door. She spoke again without turning to the nurse, “and personally.” The intern looked up with a surprised expression and watched Doctor Jane leave.
The doctor strode into her adjoining study. It was a sparsely decorated small room with several cabinets and a large desk that dominated the tiny place. There was just enough space for two chairs, with the larger one behind the desk. Doctor Jane edged round the writing table and sat down sharply. She pressed a button on the desk and part of it lit up, revealing a Medical screen and a keypad. Entering her password, she accessed Mahisa’s medical records. As she leant forward, examining them, Keeray entered the room.
Doctor Jane didn’t look up but continued to scrutinise the medical data. She spoke, “This new patient of mine. Something strange is going on. I want to know more about her.”
Keeray watched the doctor cautiously, her eyes narrowing as she answered, “The Medical computer’s been accessed by somebody. Somebody unauthorized. Your records and timetable have been examined. Security codes have been downloaded and, erm, she’s,” She indicated the wall where the Rec-area joined the study and where Mahisa was still kept, “had her records examined as well.”
Doctor Jane looked up, speaking, “Just her?” Keeray nodded and Doctor Jane furiously sat back in her seat. “Who’s doing this, Keeray?
Who can get into our records just like that? Has our private work been examined?”
Keeray’s normally impassive face gave a hint of emotion. “No.”
Doctor Jane sighed slightly. “Good. Could this be...?” she wondered then shook her head. “No. No. This is,” She tapped the screen, touching a virtual switch and the image of Mahisa unconscious in the Rec‑area appeared, “This is just not Elaina’s style.”
Keeray frowned at the doctor and cocked her head slightly. Then she spoke again, “I’ve changed the access codes anyway and added extra securities.”
“All right. And this isn’t internal?”
Keeray shook her head and casually sat in the other chair opposite the desk. “No, no, it’s external. Nobody internal other than you and I could do something this sophisticated.”
Doctor Jane stared at the monitor. “I can’t- Do you know where she’s going after she’s recovered and gone through Re-Ed?”
Keeray asked, “Her next position?” Doctor Jane nodded. “Yes. But I don’t think she does though.”
Doctor Jane wryly looked up at Keeray. (A flash of Kayray’s face.)
(How she was killed.)
(But Keeray was so much better than her sister.)
“But you know. Well, what is it?”
Keeray glanced at her nails. She spoke casually, “Deputy Head of Breeding.”
Doctor Jane frowned. “In one step? How in City’s name did she manage that?” Doctor Jane turned back to the image of Mahisa. “You don’t get that kind of promotion without friends in very high places.” She paused thinking deeply. “But, again, it’s not the City Head’s style to do this.” Another flash. This time she remembered Elaina Tamas smiling at him. (Never at me.) She rubbed her forehead. (Never at me.) She continued, “Besides, Deputy promotions aren’t usually her choosing. And there are much more direct... Members within the Council perhaps but even then...” She glanced at Keeray. “We need more information about this. About her.” The doctor leaned heavily on the desktop, her nose almost touching the monitor as she stared intently at it. Her whispers were almost inaudible. “Why are you so special, Mahisa?” (Why are you so special to me as well?) She sat back and without looking up at Keeray and spoke more clearly, “We need more details. Like who got into our systems for a start. Check all the monitor recordings of Mahisa. See if someone had any unauthorized contact with her. I think we need to look after our patient personally. I’ll have a closer look into her past as well. Find out why’s she so special.”
Keeray ruffled her nose in irritation but nodded. She stood up and turned to leave.
In Mahisa’s half asleep world she was aware of the feeling of movement.
(Breathing-thrusting-“You’re mine.” Groaning)
Then a pain in her arm. Then another. Breathing (her own?) and Doctor Jane’s voice (?).
(“You’re mine.” -thrusting-gasping-sharpness-legsbeingtouched by)
Speaking to her, saying something. Footsteps echoing though her head, going on forever. Then silence.
(Legs being touched-I don’t like this-I like this thrusting)
More footsteps. Two pairs of hands helped her into ... a wheelchair (?). The person pushing her moved like a woman and smelt ... smelt ... of cats (?). Perhaps she kept cats. The paper gown she was wearing hurt. It was ... was ... rough. A voice saying something. Saying- (?)
(Hands on me-not my hands-don’t-)
“I am Keeray. I’ll be looking after you.” (Harsh voice. Angry voice or was it movement?)
She could feel moving but- (don’t)
Mahisa shook her head and only felt pain and nausea and loneliness. That feeling never left her.
But a new feeling. An odd, slightly warm feeling between her legs. She frowned. (A dream?)
She sat back in the chair as Keeray pushed her. It seemed for ages. Then they suddenly stopped opposite a lift door. Keeray leant forward and pushed the lift call button. Mahisa heard the kick of the button and the hum of the lift coming from somewhere below. She could feel something about Keeray as she had leant forward. Fur (?). (A coat in this weather? Was she going somewhere cold?)
Keeray was impatient. “Come on. Come on.”
There’s something about Keeray’s voice. Mahisa tried to work out where Keeray came from as the drugs began to clear. (A slight purr to her m’s. Well educated but-)
The elevator door opened noisily. Keeray pushed Mahisa’s wheelchair inside and pressed one of the lift buttons. The door closed and the elevator began to rise. Mahisa focused her mind on the vague soreness in her crotch (it wasn’t a dream?). After short time, it slowed to a stop and the door opened.
Mahisa focused her thoughts on new smells coming to her. She sniffed deeply. The air smelt different. Fresher. Less of antiseptic. She was wheeled out.
Another set of footsteps (a man) next to Keeray’s. He said something to Keeray and then stopped and started walking away.
Then she could hear another voice. (a mechanical voice.) Indistinct at first but louder as they moved along the corridor.
“...colour red; reach out and touch. That is the colour blue.” They passed the source of the voice and it soon receded, “...yellow. Reach out...”
Mahisa frowned. “Where am-”
Keeray interrupted, “Re-Ed. Re-Education. To get used to your sight.”
They passed though a set of doors. Then they turned sharply to the right and through another door. Keeray spoke to her, “This will be your new home, Mahisa.” There was a forced politeness in her voice.
Keeray reached down and held Mahisa’s elbow roughly to draw her up. Mahisa gasped with effort. The drugs were wearing off but she still felt dizzy. She was aware of her paper gown flapping open at the back (it wasn’t a dream?) and she tried vainly to hold it closed with her free hand.
Keeray led her into the centre of the room. “You’re standing in the middle of the main room. Bedroom is ahead of you. Washroom is to your left. Oh, don’t touch your bandages and especially don’t get them wet in the washroom. Messing about with them will only cause you discomfort and may do you permanent damage.” There was a tone of sarcasm in Keeray’s voice. “Familiarise yourself with the room. It’s your home for the time being. Until you start your next job that is.” Mahisa listened as the hybrid turned and her poised steps became more distant. The door was opened and swung closed.
Mahisa turned around in confusion. (Something more than the operation had happened.)
“Hello? Keeray? Don’t leave me alone like this. Keeray?”
Keeray paused at the wall console just outside Mahisa’s room. She touched a switch and spoke, “Security. I want a full-time watch on this room. Monitor and record everything.” She released the switch and strolled back towards the lift.
She pressed the lift button and casually looked down at her long nails as she waited. When the lift arrived and opened, she walked in and pressed for the floor above. Again she looked at her nails until the lift stopped with the door sliding open quietly then purposefully walked out.
After walking for a little while she stopped at a door to her left, dialled a number on the keypad above the handle and then opened the door. She closed it behind her and then, whistling tunelessly to herself, lay down on the floor and stretched. She crawled to her padded quilt, curled up and fell asleep.
In the dark, lying on her bed, Mahisa could hear something.
(“You are mine.” whispering-stabbing between her legs)
And it was the same.
The dream was always the same.
(Something had happened.)
Soon they told her, She would see and then-
(What did they want?)