A science experiment meets disaster and creates two young super-humans, but all they want is a family to love. (I may work this into a full length novel so feedback/reviews would be appreciated)
Dr. Cornell Somerset sipped coffee as he read the latest progress reports. Everything was going as expected, and that bothered him. He wanted it to go better, faster. All his life he had excelled; Born into a wealthy family, football star in high school, graduated from MIT at the top of his class, and built like a Greek god. Not to mention the women. Oh, how the women adored him. As intelligent as he was, Cornell never figured out exactly what it was about him that attracted women like moths to a flame. But he used it to his advantage by marrying the daughter of one of the richest men in the world. He could barely stand the sight of her, but the power and prestige her family held was too much to pass.
He had managed to use that power to land a position as head of a top secret project for the U.S. government. Soon he would be so powerful and famous that he would finally divorce his harpy wife and never again restrict himself to one woman…not that he really ever did.
A tap at the door roused him from his reverie. “Come in.”
Sally Malinowski stepped in and closed the door. Her brows were knit and her arms were folded tightly across her chest. “I need to talk to you, Doctor Somerset.”
He gave her his most charming smile. “Good morning to you, too.” He stood and approached her closely. “You look like you have something on your mind, Sal.”
“Yes, I do, I...” Her sentence trailed off as Cornell began gently massaging her shoulders. His touch melted her every time.
Cornell moved behind her and his massage turned into a caress. Sally wasn't the most beautiful woman he'd been with. Not by a long shot. But she was one of the best looking women in this secret underground compound, and her orange-red hair had amused him from the first time he'd laid eyes on her.
A total of eleven men and eight women were sequestered in this massive government facility, buried nearly one hundred feet under Central Iowa farmland and miles from any population centers. Naturally, Cornell had been with all of the women, but Sally was his favorite. He whispered into her ear, “I need you, Sally. I need you now.”
She put up token resistance, but before she knew it she was lost as Cornell’s lips brushed against hers. He backed her up to his desk and lifted her onto it. He allowed his hands to take wanton liberties for a moment. Sally felt her pulse quicken, her breath become irregular…No! Not this time. She pushed him away and slid off the desk. She allowed herself a moment to gather her wits and said, “Corny, we need to talk.”
He gave her an angry stare. “I told you never to call me that!” After a moment's pause he added, “Well, what is it?”
Sally sheepishly replied, “I'm pregnant.”
“Oh, Jesus, you gotta be kidding me. I thought you were on birth control.”
“I was, but we've been down here for nearly two months longer than expected. I ran out of pills.” She moved closer to him. “Cornell, you said you were going to divorce your wife. We could raise our baby together. We could get married.”
It was all Cornell could to do stifle a scornful laugh. Was this air-head serious? Marry a dog like her when he was so close to success and fame? He decided to put her off a while. “Can we talk about this later? The infusion process will be starting in five minutes.”
Sally nodded and let her head drop as Cornell coldly brushed past her. She knew he didn’t see the tears on her cheeks, and she knew he probably wouldn’t care if he had.
Cornell hurried down the hall to the laboratory and found that all was in order. In the center of the lab was a large table with two young children strapped down and sleeping. One was a boy, about eighteen months old, the other was a girl a couple months younger. Two copper rods protruded down from the ceiling, one pointed at each of the young test subjects.
Cornell gave the signal and four more rods curved up out of the floor and came to a stop inches away from the edge of the aluminum table. Suddenly, vaporous light began to emanate from the curved rods. The vapor was absorbed by the two children and shot out of their bodies at a much faster rate and disappeared into the rods above. Cornell leaned over to a technician and said, “Perfect. Increase output by twenty-five percent.”
The technician paused before following instructions. He knew what a vindictive jerk Doctor Somerset could be when his orders were questioned, but this time he asked, “Is that wise, sir? The molecular density of our subjects is increasing exactly as predicted. Any deviation in the prescribed...”
“If you can‘t follow simple orders please leave and I‘ll find someone who can.”
With the barest shrug of his shoulders, the technician tapped a quick command into his keyboard. The increase in the vapor was immediately apparent, and Dr. Cornell Somerset grinned in smug self-satisfaction.
Suddenly there were three loud pops just outside the lab. Cornell and the tech exchanged glances. “What the hell was that?”
The door flew open and in walked Sally, a smoking gun in her hand. Her eyes were red and her shoulders shook with her sobbing. She aimed the stubby, black handgun at the technician. “I'm doing you a favor, Bobby.” She shot him twice in the chest and he flopped back against the control panel like a rag doll.
Cornell held out his hands and screamed, “My god, Sally! What are you doing?”
She sniffled. “You bastard. Did you really expect me to believe you were going to leave your wife? I know you've slept with every woman here. I know you're just using me like some kind of whore. Well, you're not going to get away with it.”
For the first time in his life, Cornell Somerset was truly, deeply afraid. He could feel his bladder threatening to fail him. Trying his best to sound calm and reassuring, he said, “Sally, let's talk about this. You should put that gun away before anyone else gets hurt. I know you didn‘t mean to shoot Bobby. We can get you help. We can find the best doctors in the country. Let me help you, Sally. I love you.”
She screeched, “Liar!” and shot him in the groin. She watched him writhe in agony for a moment. “My dad was a colonel in the marines, you miserable ass. He taught me how to shoot when I was eleven years old.”
Cornell held one hand out to Sally while trying to staunch the flow of blood with the other. “Oh, god, Sally, don't do it, I'm begging you.”
Suddenly calm, Sally ignored him as she stepped over the technician’s body and typed a command into the control panel. Through the fog of pain, Cornell asked, “Why are you doing this, Sally? What are you doing?”
She sat on a stool and replied, “I've overloaded the system. It'll reach critical mass in about thirty seconds. Goodbye, Corny. May you rot in hell.” She then placed the muzzle of the gun against her temple and pulled the trigger.
Cornell desperately dragged himself to the control console and somehow managed to pull himself up. He wiped blood off the keyboard and entered the shut down command and hit enter. The screen blinked a message, “Enter password.” He noted he had less than ten seconds left as he typed in the password. The screen blinked again, “Incorrect. Enter password.” Dr. Cornell Somerset had just enough time to realize that Sally had changed the password before he was vaporized in an intense, white-hot explosion.
The one hundred megaton explosion completely obliterated the lab and left a monstrous crater in Central Iowa. The two young children strapped to the table were hurled high into the early morning sky.
The boy was thrown two miles high and eighteen miles north. He crashed through the roof of a barn, snapped a twelve inch oak beam, and was buried in a mound of hay, completely unharmed.
The girl was blown into a three minute trajectory that took her seventeen miles south. She landed in a pond and the impact blasted nearly all the water out of it in a geyser of muck, reeds and tadpoles. Her momentum rolled her into the front yard of a quaint, two story farm house. She, too, was still in perfect physical condition.
Fred and Wilda Mays saw the bright flash of light from the north. Amazed, they both went to the front window to see what it could be. When Fred saw the rising mushroom cloud, he shoved his wife to the floor and threw himself on top of her. Seconds later, a blast wave hit the house and blew out the window they were lying under. Had their farm been just a few miles closer, they wouldn't have survived.
After several long minutes, the middle-aged couple cautiously rose and went outside. They stared in wonder as the cloud to the north spread into the upper atmosphere. They were so engrossed in the awesome spectacle that they didn't notice the toddler standing in their yard. After a few more minutes, the toddler said, “Excuse me. I'm hungry. May I have something to eat?”
Fred and Wilda stared in dumbfounded surprise at the naked and muddy little toddler. She was a pretty little girl with curly blond hair and huge blue eyes. Wilda shook her head, regained her wits, and exclaimed, “Oh, my, baby girl. Where did you come from? Come on in the house and let's get some clothes on you.” She picked up the child with difficulty. Despite her small size, she weighed nearly eighty pounds.
“Food, too? I'm hungry.”
“Yes, precious, food too.”
Later, Fred and Wilda sat and watched as the little girl ate a plate full of eggs and toast. Fred leaned over to Wilda and whispered, “This is all so strange. First that huge explosion to the north, the pond looks like a bomb went off in it, then this baby girl shows up out of nowhere. And she can talk like an adult! I wonder what's going on here? The news says it was a government test facility that blew up and that there's absolutely no radiation to worry about, that it wasn't a nuclear explosion. This is all so weird.” He rubbed his chin. “Yep, I'd sure like to know what really happened.”
The little girl finished her last bite of eggs and turned to the older couple. “I can tell you exactly what happened, if you'd like.”
Wilda smiled. It seemed so strange, yet adorable, that this little girl, who couldn't be older than eighteen months, spoke so well with an adult's vocabulary. “Alright, dear, tell us what happened.”
Fred added, “Tell us everything.”
And the little girl told them the entire story, from when she was abducted from a hospital shortly after she was born, right up to the murder and sabotage at the research facility. When she finished explaining everything, she asked, “Can I stay here? Please, I don't want to go back.”
Wilda looked at Fred with hopeful expectation. Their two sons had grown up and moved away years earlier and rarely came to visit. Worse, neither of them had given them any grandchildren yet. With his jaw firmly set, Fred announced, “Them so and so’s ain't getting this little girl back. Not if I can do anything about it.”
Wilda knelt beside the little girl and said, “If you'd like, you can stay here forever. We'll raise you as our own daughter.”
The little girl answered, “I'd like that very much.”
“Do you have a name?”
The toddler knit her brow. “I was always just called ‘Subject B.’ That’s not really a name though, is it?”
Wilda smiled and said, “We'll call you Heidi. Heidi Mays. How's that sound?”
Heidi hugged her new mother and squeezed the breath out of her. “I love it.” And as she lay contentedly in Wilda’s arms, a small, strange sensation touched her. It seemed to reach far from the north, alien and familiar at the same time. But then it faded, and Heidi was lost in the love of her new parents.
Thirty-five miles north, Tanner and Venus Sanders saw the southern sky light up and heard the terrific blast of the explosion. A line of low hills obscured their view and protected their home from damage, but they gaped in stunned silence at the rising mushroom cloud. Both were startled when they heard something crash through the roof of their barn.
“Tanner, what was that?”
“I don't know. Debris from the explosion maybe.”
Tanner and Venus were in their late twenties and had moved out to the country to start a family after Tanner had sold his dot com company. In just a few years they had gone from Southern California surfers to multi-millionaires. They were bitterly disappointed when they found that Venus was unable to get pregnant, in spite of several trips to a fertility clinic. So when they saw a toddler come walking out of the barn they thought they were hallucinating.
The little boy stopped a few feet from the couple and said, “Hello. I'm sorry about your barn roof.”
They stared at the toddler for a moment. This little boy, who looked to be less than two years old and two feet tall, spoke to them with perfect diction. Tanner started to say something but before he could, Venus fainted and flopped to the ground.
Tanner carried her into the house and laid her on the couch. When she came to, her husband was sitting at the kitchen table with the boy. The poor little thing had been naked, but was now wearing one of Tanner's tee shirts like a night gown. There was a pile of food in front of him and he was devouring it as though he hadn't eaten in a long time.
Venus walked unsteadily into the kitchen and Tanner led her to a chair and had her sit down. He said, “Honey, you're not going to believe this, but this little dude has explained everything to me.”
as Tanner told her what the boy had shared with him she stared at the child in astonishment. He was so adorable with his jet black hair and hazel eyes. But how could a child so young speak so well? Tanner explained that according to the little boy, he and a little girl had been the subjects of a top secret experiment designed to infuse them with pure power at the molecular level. This infusion gave every cell in their bodies a virtually indestructible quality and strength a thousand times greater than normal. A side effect, unknown to anyone involved in the experiment, was a level of intelligence far beyond even the scientists themselves.
When Tanner finished relating all of this, the little boy added, “If I go back there, they'll lock me up and want to experiment on me for the rest of my life. I don't want that, I want to be part of a family. I want to be normal, or as normal as possible.”
Venus took the bait. “You can stay with us and we'll adopt you. Not officially, though. That would take too much red tape. But we'll raise you as our son. We'll love you and take care of you, if you'd like.”
The boy smiled. “I'd like that very much.”
Tanner rubbed his chin in thought. “I don't know. What if they come looking for him? And how would we, like, explain him to our friends and family?”
“Everyone knows we've been considering adoption. We can take a trip into the city, stay a few days, and come home with our new son. And no one will come looking for him, Tanner. Who would ever suspect that a baby boy would survive such an explosion?” To Venus, this boy was sent to them from above-- literally and figuratively.
Tanner chuckled. “I guess you're right about that. Okay, I'm in. Now we need to know what to call you, little dude. Do you have a name?”
“I've only been called ‘Subject A.’ What's your name?”
“Tanner. Tanner Sanders.” He gestured toward his wife. “This is Venus.”
“Can I be Tanner, too? Because I'll never call you that. I'll call you Dad.” He smiled at Venus. “And I’ll call you Mom.”
With watering eyes, Venus hugged the child and said, “Yes, you can be Tanner Sanders, too. We'll call you Junior.” She tried to pick him up in her excitement and nearly fell over. “My goodness! You must weigh over a hundred pounds!”
Tanner laughed and said, “That's my little dude!” He wrapped his arms around his wife and new son and squeezed them with great affection.
A strange sensation, a presence, that seemed to eminate far to the south tugged at Tanner Junior's subconciousness, but he let it melt away as he was carried into the house by his new parents. For the first time in his young life, he delighted in the warmth of love and to him, at that moment, nothing else mattered.
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