King Eden

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“The subject is waking up, ma’am.”

I slowly unpeel my thick glued eyelids and blink the room into existence. Everything is so white, it’s so fucking milky and oppressive and awful. A low beep pounds into my head as I stare up at a blinding light that hangs from a tall tile ceiling. It smells like an overheating engine in here and it’s sweltering, a stark contrast to the hypothermic conditions of the world outside.

“It’s alright,” says a smooth soothing female voice. She has a thick strange accent and my heart skips a beat as I recognize it. It’s been years since I’ve come face-to-face with an actual Elite. Her voice alone makes my blood boil.

I try to move and see where the voice is coming from but I can’t. There’s an elephant on my chest, I can hardly push my rib cage out far enough to breathe. I’m so heavy, it’s as if someone pumped my veins full of lead or increased gravity around my body alone.

Oh no. No no no no no...I peer down the bottom of my nose. They were kind enough to leave me with my underclothes but all of my gear has been removed. Right above my sternum a metal spider-like piece pierces and spreads its wires through my chest and down my body to the bottom of my heels. It’s exactly as I described, a device the Martians use to hold dangerous creatures captive. It’s wires not only extend throughout my internal systems but it puts out waves around my body that increase gravity significantly, making it nearly impossible to move.

This shit again, I think. How the hell did I get out of this thing on my own last time? Oh wait. I didn’t.

“Okay, let’s see what we’re dealing with here,” says the Elite. I can’t see her but I imagine myself beating the ever loving shit out of her. “Subject is female. Twenty-seven years old with black skin and hair, about five foot four inches and a hundred and twenty-five pounds. Looks like her heart rate is a nice steady forty-five beats per minute, and her eye color is...that’s strange.”

A pretty blonde straight-edged woman peers into my eyes. She’s very thin and wears a white lab coat. Her eyes are bird-like with piercing blue irises underneath large black bug-like glasses, the rims of which show glowing words and pieces of data. “Ah,” she says. “This one is enhanced, that explains the abnormal coloring in her eyes.”

“As well as the discolored skin?” asks the first voice, this one male and naive.

“No. It looks like the subject suffered hypoxia, although she’s pretty much recovered by now.” She twists an invisible knob on the frame of her glasses, then leans in farther. “This one’s strong. A beautiful specimen, absolutely gorgeous.”

I ball up a fat wad of mucus and spit it on her glasses. She takes them off and wipes them on her lab coat, then puts them back on completely unfazed.

“We can solve her behavioral issues as soon as Titan wakes up,” she says. I groan internally and try to fire back a response, but I can’t speak.

“Prepare her for assimilation,” she commands. “I want her to be complete by tomorrow morning,” she puts her hands in her pockets and disappears from view.

My blood runs cold and my stomach feels as if it’s going to turn inside out. I glance around frantically and search for a solution but I can’t see anything. I try so hard to move any one of my limbs, to get my peanut butter trick to work, but it’s impossible. Between the gravity and the wires I’m completely immobile. It’s not painful, it’s just frustrating. And scary. Oh god, I think. Please don’t let these assholes turn me into a fucking robot. That would be...inconvenient.

“Wait a second,” says the young male voice. “There’s something really weird about her chart.”

“Show me.” Her sharp heels strike the ground as she joins him.

“Look there,” he says. “That signal, her brain waves are...I’ve never seen anything like it. What is that?”

There’s a really long pause and I can only assume that the woman is combing through my statistics. I can hear her breath quicken and I can feel the drop of her heart in my own chest. I notice that I can’t sense anything from the male and realize that he’s not human anymore, a stark contrast to the waves of life and anxiety that fold out from the Elite.

“Sedate the subject,” she says suddenly, then frantically: “Heavily. Give it as much as it can stand without killing it. Once you’re finished get this thing out of here and outside, now. I’m going to call the commander. Don’t ask questions.” Her heals click furiously as she stomps away.

“R-right away ma’am,” he says. He appears over my chest, a young man with pale skin and no hair, and types a code into the spider on my sternum.

“What are you doing?!” shouts the Elite. “Put it under first you fool--”

The spider releases his grip and the hot humid air of the room rushes into my lungs. I take a deep breath and watch as my surroundings slow down spectacularly, every detail is crystal clear. I can see every drop of sweat on the pale man’s brow and I can see the edge of his pupils expand as he realizes his mistake.

I rocket my fist into his cheek. He smacks into the side of the metal table and sprawls out on the floor.

“Hm,” I tell him. “Not the fighting type, are you?”

I jump off the table and stumble, the spider still attached to my chest. The Elite screams something incomprehensible and races to the door as she fumbles a radio in her shaky hands. I slip through the space between her and the heavy metal prison door and slam it shut, grab her tiny wrist and squeeze until she’s forced to drop the radio. It smashes in a million shards on the hard tile. I grab her hands and fold them behind her back, smack my palm across her mouth, and bring us both to the ground where no one can see us through the window of the door.

I catch my breath while she writhes in my grasp and screams into my hand. She’s so petite I could crush her so easily, I imagine hearing her bones snap within my arms. But for some reason I don’t make the move, I just let her squirm until she tires herself out. When she stops to rest I grab the top of her neat pony tail and lean her head to the middle of my chest right on top of the cold spider’s back.

“So,” I whisper into her left ear. “Now you know my little secret.”

I rip off a piece of her lab coat and wrestle her to the ground, put my knee in the bottom of her back and tie up her hands. I accidentally press down a little too hard and her back makes an awful rupturing sound in the middle of the spine; I’m not sure what I broke, but she gasps in pain and screams into the tile as she collapses at a weird disfigured angle.

“Shut up, dammit,” I say as I put my hand over her mouth once again. I take a second piece of her lab coat and jam it in her mouth, then throw her against the hard white wall like a ragdoll. She snaps her head on the metal baseboard and finally falls silent, a nice crimson river runs down her neck and stains her perfectly blonde hair as she slips into a half-conscious half-delirious state.

I heave myself over to the assistant and sit him up against the table. His head lolls over his collarbone and I notice a nice fist-sized hole where his cheek used to be, the wires slowly reconnect and the synthetic skin regrows from the edges where it shimmers with a slight blue glow. Before he can regenerate I reach behind him and rip out the kill switch, there’s very little satisfaction since he’s already unconscious and I can’t see the light leave his eyes.

I take a moment to observe my surroundings. I’m in a cramped and simple hospital room. There’s nothing but a table with tools, a hologram computer, a metal slab where I used to be, and a red iron door. What’s peculiar about it are the walls. Long pipes full of orange fluid snake from the ceiling to the floors below. Assimilation fluid, I think. Disgusting.

I return to my Martian friend slumped against the white wall by the door. I sit her up and take out the wad of fabric in her mouth. She’s completely out of it, barely conscious enough to open her eyes, certainly not conscious enough to make more noise.

“You were so pretty before I put that gash in the back of your head.” I say, and I grab her hair and lean her towards me to reveal a massive oozing crack in her skull. It’s been so long since I did any sort of damage to a real human being, it feels absolutely exhilarating. As if this is the sort of work I was meant to do.

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