Prove Me Wrong
The doors of the incubator room opened with a whoosh of air as a new team of people already hard at work over Roger's creation began to exit. It had now taken on a more recognizable form. Its surface, its skin, was smooth, pale and far too human in appearance to ignore. It had become... a she.
For a moment my heart jumped in my chest with shock. Against my will, I was drawn to the glass, held by the sight of it. Everything about its shape, its color, its size, spoke of Kate.
"At least, it looks like her. I'll give you that," I spat, unable to hold my anger any longer.
"So, now you know," Roger said, dropping the handful of paper he held. "Good. I'm glad it's finally out in the open."
"Roger, you can't. It's just not right," I barked.
"I can, Ben... if anyone can, I can."
"That's not what I meant and you know it. This is different, this is..." I didn't know what to say, what to label this... this... thing.
"Is what? Unnatural? Bullshit, Ben, pure fucking bullshit. This isn't a thing, a creature, this is Kate. My Kate, your Kate."
"Kate is dead, Roger. She isn't coming back. This... this can't bring her back. Nothing can," I shouted.
"No, God damn it, Ben, you're wrong. I can. We can. I need your help to do this but we can, I promise you. I can."
"To be a robot? Is that what you want for her? Just to be a machine you can fuck that looks like her?" I screamed and pushed him.
The thought enraged me. That he would, could, turn her into a machine for his own base needs.
"She would be alive, more alive than at any time in her existence. More than a machine, more than a woman... the next level in human evolution," he shouted and shoved me in return.
"She would be a machine." I raised my hands over my head in anger as my arm pulsed with energy. My face was hot my blood throbbed in my neck. I wanted to hurt him. All I needed was an excuse.
"We're all machines. Tendons for cables, blood vessels for tubes... eyes for cameras... There's no difference... only the materials. Where do we draw the line? Do we stop at cars? At televisions? At cell phones? Do we all become Amish at a specific technical level? Color tv is evil but black and white is okay? I'm telling you, there are no limits, none. God wouldn't put this shit in my head if he didn't want me to use it. If we have a better way, a better life, why not take it? Why not live it to its limits? Why not use everything God gave us?" He shouted, flailing his arms wildly as he spoke.
I could hold back no longer. The energy crackled as it jumped from end to end on my arm.
"You did this to me," I screamed, pointing to the arcs that pulsed with a life of their own, my mind angry and confused.
"And I would do it again. I will do anything for Kate, sacrifice anything or anyone for her," he returned, shoving me again.
"It's not her. No matter what you do, it's not Kate," I yelled as the sparks grew in intensity, reaching up to my shoulders.
"Prove me wrong," he shouted, pushing me toward my station. "Come on, Ben. You have all the answers. You seem to know what God's thinking. Where do we draw the line? What’s good? What’s evil? What constitutes life? Come on. Tell me or prove me wrong," he screamed in my face, shoving me back, forcing me into my station.
My head felt as if it were about to explode with the surge of energy coursing through me. My blood pounded in my ears and for the first time in my life, I saw red.
Without will or desire, a deep guttural growl tore from my throat as I gripped the steel handles once more. From the very core of me, I poured all that I had to give into Roger's damn machine.
I wanted to destroy it. I wanted it to blow up, to make it shatter into a thousand pieces.
The room filled with excited voices as wave after wave poured from me. It had never been like this before. It didn't stop. It didn't pulse and fade but instead poured like an endless torrent of water from me.
A brilliant flash of light filled the incubator, bathing the table and Roger's monstrosity.
To my shock, it jerked, a hard, single jerk. It pressed head and heel, arching its back as if in great and sudden pain. The light grew brighter, narrowing and then became a single arc of energy, reaching down like a bolt of lightning. A deep rumble not unlike thunder rippled through the building, shaking it to its foundation.
"We got it. Roger, God damn it, you were right. We got it," someone on the other side of the room shouted excitedly.
A loud triumphant cheer, a chorus of voices, overwhelmed all other noise.
The lights dimmed briefly before blinking out altogether, casting the lab into near absolute darkness, only the soft glow of indicator lights on the computers inside the incubator were now visible.
The voices fell away with the light, only the rumble of energy passing from me to Roger's machine remained. It began to grow deeper, stronger as the building shook as if it were about to come down.
Suddenly, the arc returned in full force to the incubator reaching down to connect to Roger's creation. The poor thing writhed in silent agony, flopping about wildly as the bolt jumped from end to end, sizzling loudly as it attached itself at each new point of entry.
The lights flickered and then burst to life, followed immediately by a rush of voices.
"Take him off line... get him off line now," Roger screamed as a high pitch whine began to fill the room.
"He's down," two people shouted in unison as the lights on my station suddenly disappeared and a third someone rushed to remove the inhibitors from my arms.
I reached for him, fearing for his safety.
"It’s fine Mr. Harris. It will take a decade or better for you to recharge," the young man said.
My knuckles and fingers ached as never before as I worked to free them from the handles. The steel had melted like chocolate, indented with my grip.
Everyone was shouting numbers as the sound shifted from a whine to a dull thrum. It pulsed and with each new beat a flash of energy reached down from the ceiling, connecting to the body.
It jerked madly, appearing to be in horrible pain with each new strike, a cascade of energy that built to a single long continuous charge and then...
Silence held the room as the lights flickered. Only a handful came back to life. Slowly, everyone inched closer to the glass as Roger made his way inside.
The body lay quivering, trembling under the strain of the last few moments. Beyond belief, it struggled to lift its arm as Roger drew closer. He slipped an arm under its shoulder, supporting its weight as he brought it to his chest. A frail and delicate arm labored to return his embrace.
Roger buried his face into its shoulder, clutching it to him all the more. Slowly, his body began to shudder with joyful tears.
Outside the incubator, a soft applause rose from those watching, growing louder as it continued.
Eventually, he looked up, his face wet with tears echoed the weak, trembling smile crossing his face.
Kate was alive...