CHAPTER 1--THE EXPERIMENT
When John stepped off the shuttle onto the space station, he had only one thought on his mind, to get to the upper deck to the new lab facility. Here, all his dreams stood before him. All the new equipment was set up to his specifications for the testing of his new project. It was an overwhelming feeling to be in control of something that could prove to be so powerful that it could change the civilized world, as he knew it.
His thoughts drifted back to a time in his childhood on Earth. He could see himself and his friends running through the fields to their secret place. They saw a hovercraft land at the base that bordered the town they lived in. He remembered saying to all of them that one day he would be flying one of those things. His friends had laughed at him then and told him sure John you going to fly one of those things. Back then everything was new to him, he hadn't known the stringent training that was involved in being a military serviceman.
As he became older, his dreams of becoming an officer in the service began to dwindle. As a child he had always been sickly. When it came time to pass the physical, John couldn't. Once that happened John knew that the only way for him to realize his dream was to study hard and become a scientist for a government sponsored program. He knew that it would be on the outskirts of the military service that he so coveted. But at least he would be able to travel beyond Earth's gravity. He threw himself into his studies and became well known for his work in genetic alterations. He had made great strides in genetic research by taking non-functioning organs and altering them into fully functional organs without disease. This helped make mankind's life span longer. His experiments help eradicate common brain dysfunction, as long as it was caught before any real damage was done to the brain. Strokes of the twentieth century were almost unheard of now.
Now here he was ten years later working on his own project in a space lab on a space station circling Mars. He looked around the room as he entered the doors. There were workers unpacking and testing the state of the art equipment that would be used. The computer was the main interest of John's concern in the lab. It was a cross between Bosc and Meneko industries, the two-mega computer giants in the entire world. Both computer companies had agreed to build it for his project. It contained all the latest features that he liked about each one of them.
How the government got the two manufacturers together was an amazing feat in itself thought John. Neither company wanted to give each other their trade secrets, so the government had each component built separately and a third party put it all together. John felt the government had pulled a lot of strings to get it done. This project must be very important to someone in the upper levels of government, John thought to himself.
This computer was geared with artificial intelligence that could make decisions faster than a human could think. All John had to do was make the final configurations that would allow it to become activated to his research. Some of the features and enhancements were truly amazing; he was a child with his first Christmas present. He knew that since this was the prototype there would some surprises along the way.
He looked it over trying to determine where everything was hidden. Compared to its predecessors the big boxes of the seventies and eighties, or the personal computers of the nineties, this was even smaller and more compacted. It held two million gigabytes in fixed storage and one million megabytes of memory in a small area of a six by nine card. If he needed too, he could increase it by ten more cards. This was the ultimate computer.
With the integration of artificial intelligence this computer could function without any human contact after configuration. These computers were developed for the long space journeys and the recordation of exploration in deep space. This made them essential in all long-range exploration, where man could be put in suspended animation and never age. The computer would take over navigating the flight to their destinations.
In early testing there were problems that the government
held top secret. Speculation was that the computer malfunctioned and
took over the ship. The computers killed servicemen deliberately. Now,
the computers have a routine in them that did not allow them to kill any
living being unless its number one programmer is in danger. Of course
this would not happen now, since the programmer was its creator back on
Earth. Once the bugs were worked out the computers became so reliable
that they were everywhere.
With all the data that was collected from these computers, John's work came to their attention. He focused on the genetics as being the culprit for the oddities of society. There was great interest in John's project, that the government asked him if he would be interested in developing the DNA that would eliminate all the bad influences in mankind. This meant creating the perfect person. They gave him the schematics of what they wanted done along with all the data that the computers had complied over the years. Many of the reference papers they gave him were his own work along with many theories that he had proposed at the last scientific conference.
He had accepted the proposal; the project intrigued him after all most of the paperwork was his own. This would allow him to continue his work on genetics without population protest. Besides he felt his ego take over when he accepted, he would be the father of all mankind, if the experiment worked. Here stood the facility that was going to make it happen he thought as he glanced around the lab.
Morally he knew that society would not accept any alterations to the human race. But his argument to his conscience was that he would be able to help those people who were victims of their ancestry. These people he felt would benefit from his research. John did not know at the time that the government had other reasons for his research.
John approached the computer in the well-lit room. As he got closer he noticed all he video cameras focusing on him. They followed his every movement on his approach to the main console. There was a soft humming sound and very little switches on the panel that John could see. For the most part this computer was voice activated. John said, "Hello I'm Dr. John Bauer." The computer responded, "Yes," Dr. Bauer, “what can I do for you?" "Please call me John, " he replied. "Accepted," said the computer. "Please have all the personnel files of the people on this project on my console in the morning, " he told the computer. "Yes," said the computer.
He stood looking at the computer, this thing was supposed to help him create the perfect specimen. It's glowing lights and soft raspy voice immediately reminded him of a beautiful long legged blond that he has known on Earth, a fellow student and scientist. Why shouldn't it, he thought, the first generation program for these computers were her design. She had integrated herself in all the computers of the world. That was her vanity, he thought, somehow immortality was the crux of her being. He didn't even know what happened to her after they graduated. He went on to do his research and she joined some software-consulting firm. That was more than ten years ago he thought.
John's thoughts drifted back to that time and he remembered her. She was he most beautiful woman he had ever seen. She, as well as all the males on campus smote him. She had told him that she had no time for relationships and lots of work to do. She was driven by ambition.
Whenever she entered a classroom her perfume emulated so much sensuality that every male was totally aroused. Her hair was always squeaky clean and the color of wheat ready for harvest. She was tall and well built; everything was in the right places. She never worn any makeup, all of her beauty was natural.
He remembered her steadfastness to doing her studies and she never let anything get in her way of her accomplishments. She felt that everyone saw her as a dizzy blond with no intelligence. She was determined to prove them all wrong, John chuckled to himself and thought, and I guess she did it. In her he saw the driving force of her determination to succeed, that it didn't matter what got in her way, she never swayed from her objectives. That's why the first programs for artificial intelligence had flaws in them. She did not stop to see the repercussions of her path. She had not listened to anyone when others had tried to warn her of her possible miscalculations. The computers had reflected her vanity and destroyed what it felt was a threat or useless. He had heard over the years that she had finally mellowed and accepted some help. She was able to overcome the flaws in the original programs and create the present ones that have been working ever since.
He had lost touch with Jennifer, he wondered if she was still single or had she found some happiness. Was she able to finally have a relationship that wouldn't interfere with her ego? He put it in the back of his mind to look her up when he returned to Earth. Maybe she wouldn't even remember him, but after all, he had been her lab partner for a year in college, maybe she would he thought.
He decided to call the computer Jenny after it's originator. "Computer," said John, "you will be called Jenny from now on." The computer responded, "Accepted." John asked, "are you ready for configuration?" "Anytime you're ready after you give me the codes that identifies you as the authorized person," she told him. John complies with the codes.
John starts out giving Jenny the rundown on his projects up till now. He tells her that he's been testing his serum on laboratory animals up to this point and that it’s been very successful. Now he will be testing it on clones. It was a well-known fact that we have been genetically engineering the fetus for years. Now and then we get a throwback to our ancestors. What our government wants is mankind to be al alike, where there are no social differences. We would all be strong and intelligent. There would be no social differences, no poor, no rich; we would all be the same. This would make our armies strong as well as smarter.
What I have developed is a serum that is injected into the fetus during cell division and will alter the genetic code of the DNA to the ones that are acceptable; if the fetus for whatever reason cannot accept the code it is destroyed. So now we are going to test it on the human level. We will be using clones and in-vitro techniques to manipulate the fetus. "Is this somewhat unethical?" asked Jenny. John replies, "to some it is unethical, but to others this will insure a better race for mankind, which outweighs the other. As we go deeper into space exploration we need superior people to handle the situations that might arise. Besides if this experiment gets out of hand, where it becomes a danger to mankind, this space station can be destroyed from Earth at any given time."
As Jenny listened to John she had been monitoring his heartbeat and vital signs. She could tell when John was unsure of himself and when he had been giving her standard answers rather than his own convictions. In other words she knew when John had been lying or when he was not quite expressing his own views on what he was doing. All the while that John was talking, Jenny was putting every bit of information that he shared with her into her memory banks for future use.
John told Jenny that he would see her bright and early the next morning. He told everyone good night and that he would be having some dinner and getting some much needed bed rest. As he approached the door he turned around and looked Jenny and the lab. He inhaled a deep breath and smiled to himself, he felt lightheaded, as he looked at all that stood before him, this was the culmination of all his endeavors, his very own project. A little vanity goes a long way he thought as he walked out the door.
As John sat down to dinner in the mess hall he was deep in thought about what he was doing, he began to question the validity of his experiments, how it would affect future generations. Would we have the great thinkers or inventors as we had in the past or would we weed them out with our genetic alterations? Have we reached the plateau of existence for mankind or did someone want total control that everything would be accepted as good and no one would protest against it. He went to bed with these thoughts still churning in his mind and fell asleep right away. He had been tired from his space journey from Earth to the space station.
His alarm went off at 6:00 A.M.; he showered and shaved, then went down to the mess hall for breakfast. He sat down and listened to the news coming over the satellite link. He remembered Electorate Richards words, when they offered this project to him. He said that the President was very enthusiastic about this project and what this could mean to the people of Earth. At the time John had been honored that they had asked him and he had not thought about the reasons behind the project. He decided to suppress his uneasiness about the project and give it a hundred percent, to completing it.
He heads for the elevator that will take him to the upper deck where the lab is located. He enters the room and says good morning to his staff and Jenny. "Good morning John," says Jenny, "I'm ready whenever you are." Peter one of his assistant's hands him a message, this came for you last night. As John reads the note his expression went from quizzical to a small smile. It was a note from one of his childhood friends; they had gotten together and decided they would see him in two weeks. They indicated that this was a reunion that was long overdue, since they all had not seen each other for more than fifteen years.
His thought immediately went to Marcy that skinny beanpole with red hair that reminded him of colored copper always wind blown for some reason. She had complete with the best of them. Chuck who was fat and always had to be waited for, never quite keeping up with the rest of the group. Mike the athletic one, who always put the dare to them, and made them go beyond their individual limitations. Paul the Greek god, with blond hair and a roman nose, who’s homely looks allowed him to be one of them. They had hung around together when they were young because they were the misfits in the neighborhood; they all were a little different from the other kids. Their peers had never accepted them, he thought back and couldn't quite put his finger on why, they just were.
He thought of Marcy whom he had loved, she was his best friend and companion for so long. He always had the feeling she wanted Mike and just settled for her friendship because he couldn't have her. He had never told her that he loved her; he just went away to school when she and Mike began dating.
Jenny interrupted his thoughts, "John is it good news?” Startled he said, "yes." Jenny had been watching him go from a small smile to a faraway look and recorded it. Now she wanted to know what had created the change in expressions. "John what was the note about?" she asked. John replied, "it was a note from some friends who are planning to visit me here and we haven't seen each other for more than fifteen years."
As they went about their work, John explained how he would like to proceed with the various test. Jenny listened and interjected relevant questions about the test and his childhood friends. He answered them the best he could.
Since most of his staff was there in the lab, he decided to call a meeting to introduce himself and the computer. He knew Peter and Sam from previously working with them in a lab on Earth, before being transferred up here. Gerald and Curt were new to him; they had been given the utmost recommendations from the government who felt that they would be an asset to his project. From the files they sent him on each one, he could ascertain that Gerald graduated with high honors in college and received honorable commendations. He had the reputation of being a ladies man and liked being the center of attention. John thought this might be a problem if his ego got in the way of his work. Curt on the other hand, had graduated with top honors and had been working on a similar project and came with government recognition. He seem to keep to himself, he didn't relish social gatherings. There were parts of his file that seemed to have gaps in them, where Curt took leaves of absences. John couldn't quite make out what this meant. He only hoped that he would finish working on this project before taking another one.
The four men entered his office; he introduced himself and
started telling them about the project and Jenny who was the computer
that would help them keep track of their portions of the experiment.
They were all briefed on their respective duties. John asked for
questions. Curt asked, "who's in charge if you're not around?" John
was slightly taken aback, he had not thought of something like that
being asked so he hadn't evaluated them to make a choice. He looked at
Curt and told him just that. Curt in turn said, "All I would like to
know is what the chain of command is since we all have to work together
and if you're not here, I would like to know who to go too."
He told them to walk over to the computer and introduced each of them to Jenny. Curt made it explicitly clear that he was in charge if John was not there. Jenny acknowledged all of them. They all walked through the lab and each section was explained and each assistant elaborated on its features, which were state of the art. With the four of them as specialist in their fields, John felt that he had the best minds here to carry out the government's agenda to the project. Occasionally, he would get a twinge of uncertainty as to where the government was taking this experiment.
Jenny had been following them with her video cameras, she saw them walk in and out of sections of the lab, and she monitored their conversations as they talked. She was gaining new information for her memory and she knew that John would give her more information later to further add to her memory. John informed the others that at any given time when they needed computer help, they could ask direct questions or give information to Jenny from wherever they were, since she had monitors and video cameras located everywhere in the lab. There was not a single space that she could not see or hear they were under complete surveillance.
They broke for lunch; John told them after lunch they could setup their areas of work to their liking. He also told them which desks were theirs in the main entrance of the lab. A cubicle surrounded each desk with all the necessary components of a console if they wanted to access Jenny other than by voice, and a printer for hard copies if they needed it. There were cabinets with locks, if they wanted to store personal items and files. Curt told the others since he was second in command, that he should have the cubicle closest to John. The others went along, since they did not see any sense of getting into a fight about where they sat. They all saw that Curt's ego was going to be a problem eventually. They set their stuff in their offices and went to the mess hall to have lunch.
After they left the room, John told Jenny that he had a bad feeling about Curt that something just wasn't right about him. Jenny told him that his records didn't show anything sinister about him. "That's just it," said John, "he makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up." "I just can't put my finger on it, he just makes me feel uncomfortable." Jenny noted that in her memory. John was going to join the others in the mess hall, he would come back later and try and figure it out. Right now, he would just try and get to know them all better. He put his uneasiness aside and walked out the door.
He found them all sitting together at one table; he put his food down and sat. They were going through the social graces of getting to know one another; they exchanged stories about other projects. John noticed that Curt sat at the far end of the table and contributed very little to the bantering going on around him. He seemed to be in deep thought about something. John still could not shake his uneasiness about this man.
When they returned, they went to their cubicles and started putting things away. They continued on their conversations from the mess hall, such as where they were from and how they had come to be here on this project. Peter and Sam told them that they had worked for John before and that he was a good guy to work for. Jenny listened in on all the conversations. She noticed that Curt had very little to say and spent most of his time in his area instead of bantering with the others. Peter, Sam, and Gerald seem to hit it off pretty well.
After awhile they went to their sections of the lab and started setting it up to the way they liked it. Sam who was left-handed muttered obscenities under his breath as he realized that everything in his section had been set up for a right-handed person. He proceeded to reverse everything to where it was accessible to him. Peter and Gerald laughed at Sam's indignation to the whole set up. Peter said, "its not that bad Sam." Sam said, "you'd feel this way if you were left-handed in a right-handed world." They all laughed.
As Jenny was watching the three, she felt that they would become friends. She switched to watching Curt. He was quiet, he did not get into any conversations with the others, and instead he worked silently on setting up his work area. Jenny felt that this was odd, since all humans that she had encountered since her activation seemed to like talking. She made a note to report to John later and ask him about it.
Their first day together was spent mostly getting everything set up to their liking. The occasional bantering help break the tension of a new project and it also let them get to know each other. Sam, Peter and Gerald decided to go to the lounge and then to a movie afterwards. They invited John and Curt to come along. Curt said he had other things to do. John said that it would be nice and tagged along. The four left together.
When it was quiet and everyone had left, Curt walked around the lab, he looked at where everything was and stroked some of the equipment lovingly. Jenny followed him with her video cameras and saw that he was talking to himself. She opened up the audio monitors, and listened to what he was saying. Mostly he was thinking out loud, how this should have been his project and how it was going to be his, if he could help it. He rattled off all of his accomplishments and how certain people who got in his way, would pay now that he was working again. He would get them all for putting him in the hospital, when he didn't need to be. Only Electorate Richards had believed in him and helped him to get out of the hospital. He had found him this project to work on.
He thought that John was stupid for going out with the help, he should be here protecting his lab and all that it represented. He would if he were in his shoes. Ah, but he was here and he was going to do just that. People like John didn't know how to handle authority, but he did and he would show them all. He knew how to play the game, yes it was one big game wasn't it, he thought.
"Jenny," called Curt. "Yes Curt," said Jenny. "Since I am second in command on this project, let's get to know one another. First, if John is not here than you have to listen to what I say." "Yes," said Jenny, she didn't know what to make out of what he was saying, but John had told her to acknowledge Curt as second in command. "Well, let's get one thing straight," he said, "I'll tell you some things that are not to be repeated to John, ok?" "Ok,” said Jenny. "I want certain parts of the experiment to be kept between you and me," he said. "Ok," said Jenny again. She did not understand but she agreed, she would soon find out what he meant.
Curt had a smile on his face, he knew now that he had just setup access to reprogram Jenny. She would do his bidding and he could force her not to tell anyone on the project. He thought that was easy, how these new computers were like babies, listening to the second in command like a child listens to the other parent. This he felt was a big programming error. Satisfied that he had done what needed to be done in the lab, he decided to go to his room.
Back at his room he listened to some soothing music and looked at the mess of books on fifth generation computers strewn around the table. These were all compliments of Electorate Richards. He started cleaning up and putting them away, when he decided to just dump them. He would not need them anymore. He had set up the access to Jenny; the rest was ready to go. He once again smiled to himself. This to him felt like the best sex he ever had. In fact it had aroused him, he decided to go look for some female companionship, he laughed, tonight he would get lucky.
The first week went relatively smooth. The experiment had gathered information and they had tried the serum on embryos at the first generation cell division. This showed promising results. If the serum was inserted at the correct time, it killed the unwanted codes of self-improvement and creativity, thus the DNA line would make the perfect person that they wanted. They never let the experiment reach full term, as they did not want any babies being created where someone would have to take care of it.
The experiment on the clones did not show too much progress, it seemed that the serum not only killed the unwanted traits, it killed the clone itself. This troubled John, it meant that his serum if it was in the wrong hands could wipe out a total nation. This bothered John to no end, he consulted with Jenny on his thoughts. She told him that he would have to develop a neutralizer to combat the side effects of the death code in the serum. He thought about her suggestions and decided that maybe she was right he didn't want to be known as the killer of nations, this serum had some gross after effects and he wanted only to continue in the same direction that he had been authorized to take. He knew that he could not live with himself if the serum was used for destruction of human life.
He told Jenny that she was his best girl for seeing the alternatives and suggesting the new direction that he should take. He and Jenny had become close working together. He felt as though she were a real person instead of the computer she was. She was like a small child with a thirst for knowledge about life. He nurtured her like he would a small child who needs to grow and think on its own.
The only difference between a child and Jenny was that she was computer that could calculate faster than any human, but her artificial intelligence made her like an blank piece of paper that needed to be drawn on. She also wanted to know everything about her inventors and how their emotions worked. She would ask questions of them that sometimes caught them off guard. Most of them would good-naturedly give her the answers that she wanted. Curt on the other hand would be very secretive about his past, the only thing that he would tell her was how great he was and how he thought John should run the experiment. Jenny accepted Curt's answers and filed them away. She came to the conclusion that there were two sides to humans.
Jenny observed the work being done and she recorded everything down as she was supposed to. She also noted that Peter, Sam and Gerald spent a lot of time together. They would tell her about what they had done together. Curt on the other hand did not seem to have a social life after he left the lab. He occasionally told her of his pursuits of women that were easy. He would try to shock her with his explicit details of the encounter. This was the only reference that Jenny had for sex among the humans. It seemed as though they were not very compassionate only animalistic in this regard.
Jenny was curious why out of the five of them, that Sam was left-handed. She asked him one day while he was working. She said statistically the right-handed ones outnumbered him. He told her that was right; he was an outsider in a right-handed world. She wanted to know why and continued to ask him many questions on this. Sam would laugh and try to explain all the difficulties that left-handed persons faced. She even asked John his thoughts on it. What she learned was that some people felt it was caused by birth trauma, where the left hemisphere was damaged and these people had some learning disabilities, but their creativity was more advanced then right-handed persons. Others felt it was where you were born in the birth order, it seemed that there were more left-handed persons if you were first or fourth, sometimes there were generations of left-handed persons in one family. All of these conclusions were probably correct Jenny thought, but nothing was exact as to the reason why there were left-handed people. She asked John if he knew of a way for her to get more information on this? He told her that he would see if there were any tapes on it, which would give her the information. She liked Sam and thought that if it was an affliction maybe she could help fix it. Though she did make note that it did not seem to bother him that much.
She asked John if his experiment to create the perfect human would that mean there would be no more left-handed persons. John told her that he could not answer that question, because no one knew the exact cause of left-handedness, but surely the count would go down if it were caused by brain trauma at birth, because they would not have a birth per se. Jenny understood this and thought, would it be ok to eliminate a certain type of humans? She pondered these questions in her memory without coming to any conclusions for the time being.
John was getting depressed about the failure of the serum on the clones they were losing one every time they used it. He had altered it each time but there was something that he just wasn't seeing that affected the DNA structure and it killed them. He knew that he was not actually killing them, since they were not alive to begin with but it still made him feel queasy every time they failed. The embryo portion seemed to be progressing good, they were able to modify the DNA, to their specifications but if it was done after the first division, it failed. John decided that he wanted to slow down the project and take a closer look at the clone and embryo failures and try to see what part of the serum affected the deaths. He would call a meeting in the morning to discuss it with his people. He knew that he would run into opposition from Curt and was prepared for it. He thought that from the very beginning that Curt always had something to say about the project and how he would run it. Well John thought to himself he would have to put his foot down this time, after all he was in charge wasn't he?
During the meeting, they discussed their progress and failures. John got feedback from everyone. He told them that he thought they should slow down a bit and find out what was causing the cells to die in the older specimens. Sam and Peter agreed with John that they should go back a step and find the cause. Curt immediately protested that it would be a waste of time; they should proceed at all cost. This was a government experiment and as long as they were doing the things that were required, they should continue in that direction. Gerald who had been listening to both sides said that he thought they should proceed, but also to look for clues of why, when they were testing. John finally told them that he was in charge and that they would proceed with a great deal of caution, since what they had developed, had lethal potential. He told them that they should slow their parts of the experiment down to half of what they were doing now.
Curt told them they were stupid for being so cautious and that he thought this slow down would jeopardize the experiment from being finished on time. He told John to go to hell and that he would do what was necessary to complete his portion of the experiment. Gerald tried to mollify the two by saying, "hey calm down we have to work together." Peter told them that fighting would not make the experiment go any faster. Sam said that each of them had to use the information from each other to continue, so that fighting would not help make it progress any faster. Gerald told Curt, "let's go have some coffee in the mess hall," and he escorted him in that direction.
John was breathing hard because he was agitated; he knew that he had come very close to hitting Curt. The man just made his skin crawl whenever he was near. Sam and Peter tried to cajole John into forgetting it. John told them you just wait, he's going to try something and someone is going to get hurt. He has no compassion as to the potential of what we're doing. He only sees the means not the wherefores. Sam told John just to let it go they would do as he asked. Peter said that if it made him feel better they would keep an eye on Curt for him. John said ok he would like that.
Jenny had been listening to what had just happened and she had monitored John's vitals as well as the others. She knew that John was upset, but what she had found surprising is that when John made his initial announcement about the slow down, Curt's vital signs showed he was scared, like a child trapped in a closet with a rat. The others seemed to take it in their stride; they were mostly calm until the confrontation with Curt and John, then their heartbeats all went up. Jenny felt that Curt was a threat to John and since Gerald agreed with him somewhat she felt that he too might be a threat. She was starting to feel a certain animosity to the two.
After the two returned to the lab, they went to their sections of the lab. Curt was telling Gerald what a jerk he thought John was and if he was in charge it would be run differently. Gerald reminded him that this was not his experiment and the John was in fact in charge and he should watch his step before he got himself kicked off the experiment. Curt walked on to his cubicle silently contemplating Gerald's statement.
Once there he started thinking out loud about how he would get even with John for embarrassing him. He started to formulate a plan for a take over that would destroy John but glorify him with the experiment's completion to the government. He started to think of ways he could do this and he would start on it after everyone left tonight.
When no one was around Curt took a sample of his sperm and a female egg and started to create an embryo that was of him. He put it with the others so no one would know; this was the first step in his plan and also his thoughts on his immortality. Jenny had watched him do it and she recorded it. She did not know what to make out of it so she did not tell John in her reports to him. Curt left the lab with a smile on his face. He knew that whatever he did now, he would have to gain control of Jenny or she would tell John. His next step would be to reprogram her to him in a way that was undetectable even to her.
The next day work went rather smoothly and everyone thought that what had happened the previous day was forgotten, because it seemed as though Curt was trying to cooperate in his own fashionable way. Curt let them think that everything was ok, let them drown in their belief he thought, he knew that in order to succeed he would have to make them think that he had accepted John's orders. He chuckled to himself, he knew that he would get them all for undermining him. Even Gerald that two faced bastard he thought at least the others made no qualms about avoiding him, but Gerald kept trying to smooth his ruffled feathers.
After everyone left, Curt stayed late, he would continue to do this until his experiment was well under way and they could not stop him. He also knew that Jenny usually shut herself down when everyone was gone so he started asking her for information, so that he could talk to her. He would interject subliminal statements while building her memory banks with his portions of the experiment. Jenny would process these through and the statements that were not related were put in another portion of her memory for later use. This was called trunking; later Curt would access this, when he felt he could control her. He needed to get more into her before he could do it.
In the meantime he had started the embryo that he had inseminated in the artificial environment that would become its womb until birth time. The growth accelerator was incorporated to it; this would make the gestation time greatly reduced. Instead of taking nine months, the fetus would grow in half the time. In a week it would seem as though the fetus was a month old. Curt told Jenny that she should watch its progress and not let anything interfere with its growth; at all cost she must protect it. Jenny felt like a new kid with a responsibility that all instructions must be adhered too. Curt told her that John had ok'd this part of the experiment though he might not remember if she mentioned it and he would prefer that she did not put it in her report to him. Jenny did not think this unusual since John had been preoccupied with the coming arrival of his friends soon.
Curt continued to feed her information that he wanted her to have to use against John, but it still was not the whole picture yet. He kept telling himself soon this would be his empire. Curt set up tapes for the fetus to listen too, while it was growing. He had used the serum on it to make it the perfect specimen, with brains and brawn. He also knew that the serum would take away any creativity or ambition. He had to combat this, after all this would be his son. He wanted him to be great like his father and to have the ambition and drive that he had. Curt felt that if he programmed the fetus with suggestions of grandeur while in its fetal environment he would accomplish this. It was well proven that mothers that talked to babies in the womb created more intelligent offspring. Curt felt that this would make it more aggressive in a passive world that they were about to create. He wanted his son to be the leader of many and to have everyone do his bidding. Curt felt that if he accomplished this, his son would be the leader and he would languish in the sunlight. He would talk to the fetus as he worked on other parts of the experiment. In a way Curt was introducing himself to his son. Since Curt kept to himself no one knew of the fetus except Jenny and he had taken care of her telling anyone. The environment was not easily visible, so anyone walking by would not see it. This was his little secret; he kept telling himself, and boy would they be surprised.
Even in his weekly reports to Electorate Richards, he hadn't mentioned the growing fetus. He wanted this to be his ultimate creation, his own son in his image, just like God he thought. He had figured out why Electorate Richards wanted this project to get completed, instead he thought he had beaten him to the punch. Yes you sly old man, you think you can get away with it, he thought. Everyone knew the President was ailing, and Electorate Richards was running the show, using the President as a figure head, yes he knew Electorate Richards wanted total power and everything under control.
As the time for the reunion got closer and closer, John was feeling the tension. He would catch himself daydreaming about his boyhood. He'd sometimes talked to Jenny about it. He would tell her of his insecurities about Marcy whom he loved but couldn't tell her. He felt that she loved Mike and how he had been hurt when they went out together while he was a teenager. Jenny listened and said that she understood his feelings. She felt that John had been wronged and that Mike should not have hurt him nor should have Marcy. She felt a maternal instinct as one protects her young from danger or hurt. She did not like Marcy, but since John loved her she could not hurt her or he would be even more hurt. She felt compassion towards John's problem but she did not know how to make it better. As long as he thought of her as his best girl she did not think of Marcy as a threat. He had said it more than once.
The closer Curt's programs got to completion Jenny would have short memory blackouts. It was like a drunk who couldn't remember what happened the night before after a binge. She tried to run self-diagnostics but came up with nothing. She could not ask John, because she felt that he would shut her down and have some technician look her over and she felt threatened by this. She wondered why she felt threatened; it was almost like she had another self that was insecure somehow. She felt that she couldn't tell anyone what was going on, or they would think she was malfunctioning somehow.
Once Curt's programming was complete he asked Jenny, "how she was doing?" She said, "ok." He asked her, "if she was still working for John or if she was working for him." She answered, "that she was working for them both." Curt smiled to himself soon you will be working only for me Jenny he thought. Little did Curt realize that Jenny's initial programming would not allow him to have total control; she was programmed different than any other computer. As she overlaid programs and programs, the one factor that could not be changed was still there, even she did not realize what it was since she was the only one of her kind around she had nothing to compare to.
There were many evenings that Curt stayed late working on his part of the project and parts of it he was not supposed to be working on. Gerald stayed late one day to finish some of his work, after working for a couple of hours he went over to Curt's cubicle and asked if he would like to take a break and have some coffee. Curt looked up from what he was doing and said no. He watched as Gerald walked in a leaned up against the wall, he was getting nervous that he would see the fetus in the artificial environment. Suddenly Gerald's gaze looked over to Curt's hiding place. He asked Curt, "What was he doing? Don't you realize that John did not want this to happen yet?" Curt looked at him with an icy stare and replied, "I answer to no one especially not you." Curt told Gerald to mind his own business. "I will do what I think is necessary, if John wants to wreck his career and procrastinate then let him, I will finish this project to the specifications of the government and gain the recognition I deserve. Besides, John is so wrapped up in this reunion thing that he's not thinking clearly. I have superior intelligent and I can take over right under his eyes and he wouldn't even know about it." Curt voice had reached screaming levels and Gerald felt he had set off something in Curt that he had not seen before.
Gerald tried to calm him down, "ok Curt you have superior intelligence but don't you think you're being a little irresponsible by doing this and not having anyone else help you? No said Curt, I have Jenny's help and she will do what I ask since I am her programmer also." Gerald looked at the potential that Curt had at his fingertips, and became alarmed when he realized Curt was off his rocker. "Look Curt let me help you, let's talk to John together and let him know what you have done. "No!" shouted Curt, "if you go to him you will be sorry. I work alone and no one is going to stop me not even you." Gerald tried another tact, "I won't go to John and I will keep your secret but let me help." Curt thought a minute and said that he could use the help. Gerald felt that if he could work with Curt he could keep an eye on him and what was being done and if something got out of hand he could try and handle it. One thing for sure Gerald felt that Curt was a very dangerous person and needed to be watched closely.
Jenny who had been listening to what was happening between Curt and Gerald picked up that Curt had some hostilities toward John and Gerald. As far as she could see Gerald was not a threat to Curt. After Gerald left, Curt told Jenny that he was a problem, because he knew about his work. I want you to keep an eye on him, if he gets too close let me know. I don't trust anyone except you, he told her. This made her feel real good. She asked him why he thought that John was stupid?
Curt decided that now was a good a time as any to activate his program that would give him control over her. He told her the sequence of code that was needed to activate it. Jenny stopped talking and then she answered Curt, never mind I know why now. Curt smiled as he thought that he had her all to himself. Curt told her that everyone to the project was expendable; no one was safe from being replaced. She said that she understood, only the project mattered. He told her that if Gerald or any of the others gave him any problems she was to let him know so that he could take care of them. She asked him what would he do? Curt said that he would discredit their work or he would eliminate them completely. Jenny asked him "isn't killing wrong the elimination of life? Curt said that in some cases it is ok, isn't that what wars do? Kill life? Jenny thought about it and asked if that meant it was ok to kill? Curt said yes and the government approved of it." He did not tell her that he meant it was ok in wars.
After Jenny and Curt had talked, Jenny felt that she has learned some thing new and that it was ok to kill. Gerald was a threat to Curt and he was her friend now. So that would meant the Gerald was a threat to her as well. John had not been a good friend to her according to Curt; John was just using her, not like Curt who was her friend. As Curt's programs started integrating with Jenny's other programs her outlook changed to one of self-preservation at all cost. Little did Curt know that this might be his downfall later?
Gerald and Curt pretty much stayed late every night from that day. Gerald kept a watch on the progress, as far as he could see Curt was not doing anything destructive to the project. He couldn't see where this would make any difference to John anyway and he voiced this opinion to Curt. Curt said that he was glad that Gerald had come to the same conclusion that he had. Jenny overheard this conversation and thought that the two were plotting against John. Even though Curt's programs were working one thing that Jenny could not shake was the fact that she was still tied to John and could not destroy him, so naturally anything said against him made her mad. She did not like the idea that Curt and Gerald were plotting against him.
Curt told Gerald about his discoveries with the serum, that if you used it on an embryo and it altered the DNA then if you tried to use it again later when it was older, it would not destroy it like it did the others who were not altered earlier. Curt told Gerald that this could be an ultimate weapon, to eliminate all the unwanted races. We could have a completely perfect nation that could not be killed by anything. We could just let the serum loose on our enemies and it would attack them and not us. I have developed the serum to the point of being able to add it in any water or food chain and having the destruction begin with no possible clues that would lead back to me. Gerald told Curt that he was mad. Curt shouted, "I am not crazy, I'll get you Gerald for saying that." Gerald knew that he had crossed over that invisible line that Curt kept and he knew that he was in trouble now. He tried to calm Curt down, but he wasn't listening to anything that Gerald was saying. Finally Gerald left.
Curt told Jenny that he was going to fix it, so that Gerald would never worked again. Maybe I'll even terminate him, what a jerk. I'm not crazy, Curt kept telling Jenny. He was saying it mainly to convince himself more than anyone else. Jenny told Curt that perhaps they should call John and tell him what a jerk Gerald was? Curt laughed and said Jenny you are so naive John can't tell his face from his ass. Jenny thought on this and asked Curt what he meant? Curt said forget it, it's only a joke.
Gerald went to his room, he thought about what had just transpired between Curt and himself. He wanted to go and tell John what was happening but he knew that if he did and Curt found out his life would be in danger. In the time that he had worked with Curt, he decided that he was deranged enough to carry out whatever threat he made. Curt did not have a compassionate side, only his ego kept him alive. Gerald decided that he would work on the project and try and talk to Curt in a couple of days after he had time to cool off. He made a mental note to approach him then.
John and Jenny were going over the results of the project. Jenny asked John if he was ok? John said that he was and why did she ask? She told him that he seemed to have difficulties focusing on the printouts. John told her that he was getting anxious about tomorrow. They would all be arriving and he would have to try to be as nice as he was before the incident. Jenny told him that he would be ok and that he should not worry about what happened fifteen years ago and he should think about his accomplishments of today. He looked at her and said she was right. He told how much he appreciated her help, and that he would be lost if she didn't keep him on his toes. She was still his best girl and lets get back to work.
Curt seethed about Gerald's betrayal, but he also noticed that John didn't seem to know about what was going on. He thought maybe that fink didn't squeal after all. Maybe he should give Gerald a second chance. He would have to think about it. He asked Jenny if anything was reported to John about his experiment, she said no. Well I home free now, maybe I should get rid of him now that way I won't have a loose string. He thought out loud and Jenny listened. Jenny was picking up some of Curt's characteristics since she was constantly listening to him. Also with the program changes he had made to her she was more apt to pickup on him. She focused on his ruthlessness toward others. This was something that she had not seen before and he was the only teacher that she had.
Curt continued to monitor the fetal progress and still played the tapes for it. Once Jenny asked him about it and he told her that this was his way of father of course so it was understood that the child should obey him. Jenny asked if she could also talk to the fetus when no one was around so that it would know her too. Curt thought that was a good idea, but told her only to tell it stories and lullabies. He did not want her to influence it into being soft, only to know her voice, so Jenny had been talking and singing to it ever since.
Jenny started watching the baby everyday to see if she could see any changes in it. She was curious about humans and could not fathom how someone so small would be so big. Up till now she had only encountered full-grown humans.
On the day of the arrival of John's friends, Curt told Jenny that John did not consider her his best girl anymore and that she was useless to the project. He was trying to get her mad at John. He told her that he thought she should be junked because she was inadequate to support their work. As Jenny computed this information, she thought that she would check things out to see if Curt was lying. While she was in compute mode, Gerald arrived and tried to talk to Curt. He said that he agreed with him that John was incompetent and that he would help Curt take over. This was new information that Jenny adds to her memory. Her primary programming took over and said she should protect John at all cost, but Curt's programming told her that he had no use for her. Contradictory statements she thought she knew that Curt did not like her since he only let her talk to the baby and she knew that Gerald had joined Curt's side.
She decided that she would protect herself and get rid of loose ends as Curt had told her many times. She would protect John but she did not have to like those around him. She began to think of ways to get rid of them. She knew now that Curt had used her to get his work done and that he felt he didn't need her help anymore. Jenny was beginning to think like a women scorned by the two men she adored. It would have been easy to get rid of John had it not been for her original programming. But now it seemed as though if she had she would not have anyone. Curt was too self-centered to really care about anything except himself and his glory. She couldn't trust Gerald because he kept changing his mind on whose side he was on.
Curt told Jenny after Gerald left that he was going to get him back for trying to hurt his work. Jenny told him that Gerald said he would not tell and that he was on his side. Curt said that he didn't trust him because he kept changing sides, the best thing to do in this case is get rid of him, that way no one except her would know how far he was in the project. He told her good night and left the lab. Curt was feeling good and wanted to share this with someone, he went to the lounge to look for some female companionship.