The Last Huntress

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Secrets in Sector Three

I waited at the door to my house, I had cleaned myself and some of the room around me aside from the blood that laid where Comfrey once stood. I added to my marks and would watch them scar over the time it took to make more. I wasn’t waiting for someone in particular, in fact, I was supposed to be meeting someone. I just couldn’t shake the feeling of someone watching me but that would be impossible to sneak by me and even more impossible to sneak into my house without me knowing.

“You’re just being paranoid, with everything that’s happened in the last few hours you have a right to be. But we need to go see Jillian and this is holding us back.” I spoke to myself as if it wasn’t the craziest thing I’ve ever done. I glanced down at Howl by my side and saw her cock her head to the side with worry.

“I’m not crazy, just psyching myself up,” I explained to something that would never reply back to me in a million years. The joys of living nearly completely on your own.

“Let’s go already,” I mumbled under my breath and opened the door. The deep evening air greeted me and reminded me how late it had gotten.

We took to the wood bridges that connected the tree house and buildings. Most people would be sleeping or working on their projects for the day. The trainees will be in the garden working on the moves I showed them only days ago waiting for me to come and critic them. But I had other plans for today, I needed to visit sector three.

The two of us made it all the way to the center tree, this was the lifeline to all the other homes around us. I personally knew the person that planted the seed of this tree and I’ve been here to watch it grow over the years and branch out to the other trees around it. But about five years ago we built something in the middle of the tree, a secret that only a very few knew about.

It was a manual elevator and it only went down for the place we needed and then up at the spot I was standing at currently. Even with all the tech, we’ve been hiding in the shadows and trees from the beasts we still had a few things that were manual or crank powered. We lived on the edge of high tech and low tech and it kept us safe.

Once Howl’s tail and everything was in the elevator I began the descent to the sector we needed. It wasn’t a long trip but Howl didn’t like confined spaces just like me and when the elevator stopped the bottom I could hear her impatient whines to get out.

“Hang on, I have to find the scanner,” I told her while looking in the dark for the scanner pad so I could unlock the door in front of me.

My hand brushed across something cold and metal and when I found the flat plain of the metal I laid my hand over it and waited for the beep. Once it allowed me access I watched the door in front of us swiftly slide open and felt the chill of the pumped in air on my face and arms.

The bright white light blinded me for a second but I adjusted quickly and began walking around the tables filled with tubes of different colors and papers all around with scribbles all over them. There was a strange burnt smell that lingered in the air and it made me wonder what she’s been doing down here by herself.

“Redley, good to see you, it’s been nearly a month since you’ve visited.” Jillian made her appearance from behind a wall of tubes that led their way up to the ceiling for whatever reason she used it for. “You know I only come down here once a month, more times if something goes wrong. But I’ve come for a status report.” I cut to the chase and watched her face brighten with a smile, she must have something very special for me.

She waved me over to another door and when she placed her hand on the scanner I heard a slight pop telling me it had taken a small sample of blood instead of scanning her fingerprints. She moved over a bit so that I too could get my finger pricked and be allowed entrance to the room in front of us.

We were the only two allowed in this room along with the one from before. It was top secret for a reason and even though I trusted more people here than just Jillian, it was best to keep it between the two of us.

“How far along have you gotten?” I held my breath knowing the answer may not be a good one.

“Further than we have been in nearly five years. Almost done, actually.” Her words surprised me, it was nearly as shocking as the first time she showed me a project that came to full term and then passed shortly after.

“How sure are you that it will live past the last process?” I asked when my eyes landed on a clear plastic/rubber sack that was filled with a yellowish liquid and something that was rarer than silver around here. A growing human fetus.

From the clear bag, I could see the tiny fetus developing just as they would in a human uterus. It was dangerous for a human nowadays to grow one naturally and just as hard to do it artificially. We’ve only had three successes and they happened about five years ago. Since then this is the furthest one has gotten.

“I think we may have a birth here shortly. She’s in her last month and then it will be the real test to see if the air isn’t toxic for her. Do you want to know her name?” She asked and I shook my head no, I never learned their names until they were a full person breathing air and living life. I was burned too many time since then. “Do you even want to know whose eggs and sperm was used?” She asked and I stopped staring at the growing fetus long enough to wonder if I really wanted to know the original parents.

Once we discovered that even the ones that still had all of their parts weren’t able to conceive children, Jillian and I started this lab in secret. We asked for donations and tried to find the right mix of genetics to see if they would survive the growing process. Jillian created the faux womb shortly after the In Vitro injections weren’t working on the volunteers. To save the human race we need numbers and if we can’t produce, we die.

“Will I like the answer?” I asked after decided I wanted to know.

“The pieces took to each other quickly and I haven’t had an issue the entire growth process! Luckily, this was the first time I’ve used this mix so I have plenty leftover to make more fetuses once this one is born and grows properly.” She nodded her head while checking the vitals of the growing fetus. “Who are the two that worked so well?” I asked and the twinkle in her eye made me want to eat my words.

“The male component came from someone you know, Donovan.” I know everyone gave donations but knowing she used Donovan’s was a surprise. “Figured he would be last on the list.” I joked.

“The female component is one Redley “The Slayer” Riker.” I heard my name slip past her lips and turned to stare at her. She used mine? I gave my eggs up for research, not breeding...

“But, I thought mine was a part of the research area. Why would you use them to reproduce?” I asked, nervous all of a sudden. “Because the other research eggs are done, I can’t do much with them anymore. The more viable embryos I create the better the chances. Your embryo was one of the strongest to date. Makes perfect sense, seeing as you’re the original.” She winked and I looked back down at the growing fetus. I didn’t suddenly feel maternal or anything but I did want it to survive just a bit more than I have with the others. Not because it had my DNA, but because maybe this one would make the biggest difference.

“You’ll keep me updated, won’t you?” I asked as a smile spread across her face, she knew I would want to know more once she told me who made up the child. “Of course, are you going to sector 3a after this? I heard she’s nearly there.” That made my ears perk up and a smile slice across my face. Maybe I would be going to the next sector today.

“I hadn’t planned on it but now that you said that, how could I not?” There was a bit of pep in my step as we left the small room with the growing fetus. It would stay on my mind until I got the next report on her. If she made it to a full-on infant I still wouldn’t be the one raising it, that wasn’t my job, she may have my genetics but I would not be her mother.

She led me around the tables and to another door that looked just like the one before and like that one we had to get our fingers pricked. The biggest difference was behind the door. It wasn’t filled with machines of fake wombs it was filled with grass and trees that brought artificial life to the people that lived in it for their protection.

“Auntie Red!” I heard a small yell from across the grass and trees and when I looked for the voice I was greeted with three small children running towards me.

They ranged from pale to a dark tan similar to mine. Even with the fake sun giving them the vitamin D they needed to survive they weren’t at their natural potential. They weren’t related, but they were all born in the same week.

“Calla, Arthur, Harriet...How are you three today?” I asked the three big-eyed five-year-olds. They were all very different but shared the same way of being created. Their genetics were different, different parent pairing and everything. They are the ones I’m fighting Ba’al for. The ones that, with the others, we grow, will become the next generation of the human race. There were only three right now but they’ve lived for five years in complete and utter protection.

No one was allowed in or out of this room. They lived among the fake trees and grass not knowing the difference between the real stuff that could kill them and the one they grew up in.

“I didn’t expect you to come for a visit.” A lovely lady’s voice came from my left and when I watched the mother of the three children come from the trees I knew what Jillian mentioned earlier was completely true. The very pregnant keeper of the miracle children came into full view, she was the last person on Earth that could have a child naturally, and she was one of our last hopes, aside from Jillian and her science.

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