This is from the extreme rough draft I’m working on concurrently with the fantasy novel. Fantasy needs a complete rewrite, this one does too but it’s in better shape off the bat. So, just be aware you will find issues since it’s not finished.
Pale blue light illuminated the dimly lit room, creating the optical illusion of someone looking at blue walls instead of the gunmetal grey. A small walkway allowed the visitor to walk around the room without going down to the lower level. It also gave anyone who wished to, the ability to glance at the soft lit tube on the lower level.
He grasped a handrail, not because he needed to, but due to force of habit. The sound of his boots hitting the metal stairs echoed in the quiet room, easily drowning out the soft hum of the machinery to his right.
The stasis tube proved to be the biggest advancement in medicine that mankind ever achieved. Patients who were near death, or even dead, could be kept in cold, zero gravity conditions, thus preserving the body until medicine could either heal them or find ways to replace the things that were diseased or damaged.
Claudio Reyes approached the tube and then stopped short of it. A part of him couldn’t believe how things turned out in the end. After everything he’d done; all the people he’d manipulated to get his hands on this very special girl and the results of his efforts floated in space before him.
It’d be so easy to walked over to the machinery and, with the push of a button, shut it down and she’d been gone forever. And the temptation to do just that tried hard to overwhelm his intellect, willpower and training. For that reason, he pushed it out of his head and looked down at what was left of the girl.
He rubbed his upper lip with his index finger and let his mind race on possibilities. Never could anyone call him an altruistic person; in fact, most people described him as self-seeking and manipulative. And they’d be right, of course, but he took it all in stride. The job of Intelligence Chief wasn’t for a shrinking violet or anyone faint of heart. Things that happened in the shadows were more violent and extreme than anyone ever knew, and he hoped it stayed that way.
The girl possessed the best instincts, and raw talent, he’d seen during his long career. Once he had her under his control, she’d’ve been the best field agent he ever had and now, due to some jackass who didn’t even think before acting, ruined it.
However, it didn’t have to end like this, but would he be willing to risk what remained of his black book budget on her with no guarantee of success. Trained soldiers, highly decorated men and women, hadn’t acclimated to what happened and ended up killing themselves; each one taking over 200 million credits in gear with them.
If they couldn’t handle it, he thought, could she? She’s not a trained soldier.
Perhaps, just maybe, that was the answer to the puzzle before him. Something about the mental makeup of soldiers didn’t allow them to adapt to the situation they found themselves in and it created a fatal psychosis. The girl, on the other hand, spent her entire life adapting to situations that would’ve caused most people to crack under the pressure.
It was a hunch, something he couldn’t substantiate, so he couldn’t really explain what he sensed until there was more time to think about it. Until then, he’d run with his instincts, which never steered him wrong before so he had no reason to think they’d start now.
What if they are wrong? He asked himself. I will have used almost 250 million credits. The Pentagon and Congress would be hard pressed to hide another amount like that. Failure could end this program.
Had fate left him any choice but to roll the dice and hope not to get snake eyes? Soldiers didn’t work out, so they were off the list. The idea of using civilians was something he and the medical staff had thrown out but that wouldn’t work either because the was no guarantee that they’d find someone with the skills, or potential, that the girl had.
He turned around then them thumbed on the intercom. “Reyes to Doctor Thomson. Please report to medical bay four. And make it fast.”
Lisa Thomson sighed. “I’m on my way.”
Lisa Thomson was one the private little coups he pulled off that no one knew about. A medical doctor by training, the younger woman had been experimenting on cybernetics and testing on animals and with people on a very small scale. There was just one problem: her avenue of research, trying to replace parts, or an entire human body if necessary, was illegal under current law. The punishment, if Thomson had been tried and convicted was 15 to 20 years on a penal colony.
Which explained the young woman’s willingness to cooperate with him and use her talents to help him advance a black book project. Like he did now, she didn’t have any choice at the time, really. It was work for him or be jailed and she was smarter than people thought.
The hatch slid open and Thomson entered the room. A tall, but painfully thin, woman, the doctor stood nearly eye level with him, which meant it took a lot to make her back down-not that he didn’t mind the challenge mind you. Her slightly rounded face and gentle cheekbones drew attention from her thin frame and to her blue eyes. He’d learned very early on that staring into them for long periods caused one to get lost in them and the Doctor loved taking advantage of those periods.
“Damn, what a mess,” Thomson said.
“I know. I want you to fix her.”
“Fix that? Are you out of your ever loving mind?” The Doctor said as she walked around the tube. “There’s no way conventional medicine could repair that damage. Besides, she’s dead!”