Author : Terri Monture

The glare of the klieg lights blinded Godwin as he watched the limo pull up to the edge of the red carpet and he was dazzled as the digital camera flashes started blazing. He scanned the crowd eagerly, his heart pounding with excitement. The culmination of a lifetime’s ambition was upon him; he now had the perfect vehicle upon which to fulfill his greatest dreams.

“Omega! Omega!” the crowd was screaming as one long, elegant leg appeared from the plush depths of the hover-limo. The flashes reached a blinding crescendo; a uniformed attendant reached down and a diamond-crusted hand reached outward and a preternaturally beautiful woman stepped forward from the depths, her white, perfect smile nearly as brilliant as the lights being flashed upon her. She emerged from the vehicle like Botticelli’s Venus from the froth of the sea, her luscious blond locks flowing down her sinuous back, the delicate white sheath skimming over her incredible body like a translucent second skin.

Rosenberg leaned into Godwin. “So how much was your investment?” he asked carefully, in the studied tones of someone who could barely contain their envy.

Godwin watched Omega’s perfectly poised progress up the red carpet, her every movement flawless and graceful, as if every gene had prepared her for this moment – which indeed they had. “Ninety-two million dollars to date,” he answered absently. “From the initial design to the gene splicing, the ideal womb environment – we used a Swedish brood mother – to the final decanting. And of course the grooming, the drama education and the designer clothes. That’s how much she cost.”

“And how much do you anticipate the return?” Rosenberg was being droll, but Godwin didn’t care.

“Initial estimates put her at nearly ten billion revised dollars by the end of next year,” he replied, ignoring Rosenberg’s low whistle of disbelief. He was mesmerized by Omega’s glowing skin, her unearthly blue eyes, her million-megawatt smile. Even at this distance, a man could not take his eyes off her. She had been designed to attract the male gaze, designed to make women aspire to be her. “She’s worth every penny, don’t you think?”

There was the sudden sharp crack like a firecracker and a lethal red blossom appeared in the centre of Omega’s chest, a fountain of blood bursting from her shattered heart. She pitched headfirst onto the red carpet. Thunderous screaming burst from the crowd and Godwin’s breath stopped in his throat. “Abomination!” he heard one voice shriek above the crowd. “Abomination!”

Godwin was trying to reach Omega through the panicked crowd. He saw the white-robed figure holding the gun. “Born Humans Only,” the woman screamed. “Born Human! Not decanted!” Security guards wrestled her to the ground. “Born Humans Only!” she kept screaming until her voice was silenced.

By the time Godwin was able to breach the crowd all life had drained from Omega’s body and her blue eyes stared unseeingly into the sky. Beside him, Rosenberg shuddered sympathetically. “There goes your investment.”

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