Author : Benjamin Fischer
Alana examines the next child. The young girl dodges her eyes. Alana frowns and gently grabs her by the chin, forcing the little Asian girl to meet her gaze.
â€œHave you been feeding this one enough?â€ she asks.
Viktor grinds his teeth.
â€œSome have no appetite,â€ he answers.
â€œAnd they are all here voluntarily,â€ Alana sneers.
Alana looks over the eight year old again.
â€œNot this one,â€ she says. â€œWho is next?â€
â€œI will have another shipment arriving from Earth in one week-â€
Alana glares at him.
â€œThere is one more,â€ Victor says.
â€œWhere is she then?â€ Alana asks, glancing around expectantly at the girls sheâ€™s already seen.
â€œI declined to bring her out,â€ Viktor says, â€œbecause she can be . . . uncooperative.â€
Alanaâ€™s eyes light up.
â€œShow me,â€ she orders.
Viktor snaps his fingers and his lackeys quickly shuttle the six previous girls out of the showroom.
â€œâ€˜Uncooperative,â€™â€ Alana repeats. â€œExplain.â€
â€œTrust me, you donâ€™t want this one,â€ Viktor says.
â€œYou have no idea of what I want,â€ Alana replies. â€œIâ€™m not here for an idiot clone–Iâ€™ve already got one of those.â€
â€œMy girls are not idiots,â€ Viktor says.
Alana laughs, her voice crackling with ire.
â€œOf course not. They all could have twice the genius of Einstein–and I could have each of them crawling on all fours baa-baa-baaing in five minutes. No, thereâ€™s a reason that Earth stays under our stilleto heel, and itâ€™s because theyâ€™re all fucking sheep,â€ Alana spits.
â€œShow me something different or show me the door,â€ she says.
Viktor sighs. â€œThe next girl is no sheep. She is . . . dismissive of my authority.â€
â€œI would hope so,â€ Alana says.
â€œShe actively attempts to undermine my control over the other children, and Iâ€™ve been forced to keep her separated in order to avoid using narcotics. She has formed, I think, a low opinion of her prospects up here.â€
â€œAnd just what are her prospects?â€ Alana asks.
â€œIf I come down in price any further,â€ Viktor says, â€œa Golden Crater brothel. And they will make her behave.â€
Alana frowns but then the door to Viktorâ€™s kennels opens and two of his lackeys muscle their way into the showroom. They struggle to keep hold on the hellcat between them, who lashes at their shins and thighs with shoeless feet and scuffed knees. She is whip-thin but nearly Alanaâ€™s height, and her unkempt black hair is mussed and a big tear is rapidly developing in the shoulder of her smock.
â€œLet her go,â€ Alana commands. Viktorâ€™s men step away, glad to be done with their burden.
The girlâ€™s hazel eyes focus on Alana.
â€œWho the fuck are you?â€ she asks with a sneering drawl.
Quick as lightning, Alana slaps the girl across the face.
A pregnant pause, and Alana can see the fury boiling up inside the girl. Sure as thunder, her little hand comes flying at Alanaâ€™s head.
Alana catches the blow bare millimeters from her cheek.
â€œThis one will do,â€ Alana says.
â€œWho are you?â€ the girl asks, struggling to pull her hand out of Alanaâ€™s grip.
â€œYou can call me Mother.â€