Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer
I remember entering the room. I was eighteen, cold, naked except for the paper underwear, bred for this and still nervous. I suppose terrified is more apt. Even after the rigorous physical training I was still very skinny. My breathing came in quick gasps as I struggled not to cross my arms or shiver. I came to a stop and stood at attention in the middle of the circular metal trapdoor grill, my shaved skull glinting in the spotlight. I was barefoot. My identification tattoos and punishment wires were out there for all to see. Gooseflesh ran over me and I could see the little puffs of my breath. Primed and ready. The drugs they had given me this morning to ease the transition were working. I felt more alert and attentive than ever. I felt curious about the future, eager to take part and slightly dreamy. Itchy.
A blue light scanned up, over and through me.
I saw some indicators come up on the panels in the darkness just like in the instructional videos.
Green circles skittered across all of the terminals. I’d been confirmed and we were a go.
I wish I could say I felt the moist eyes of my family and friends staring out hopefully from the observation enclosure. This was a proud day for most people. Most families gave one kid up to the SAPCorps. If you gave a child to the SAPCorps, it meant more birthing privileges.
However, SAPCorps was also the country’s orphanage. In some cases, it was also the juvenile detention center. I could still remember the day when I found out that this wasn’t a hospital and that my parents and sister were gone. That was ten years ago. The doctor who had told me also remembered, I think, going by the fact that he had requested to pull the lever for me on this occasion.
He looked down at me. Doctor Fines. My stepfather, for lack of a better word.
He twitched a smile at me. We were being monitored but other than that, it was just the two of us. I stood in the middle of the trapdoor. Our relationship had always been antagonistic but defined and limited. I don’t think anyone on the outside world would have referred to him as paternal but he was the closest I had.
“David.” He said. He nodded at me.
“Sir.” I replied. I stared straight ahead, willing him to get this underway.
“You ready?” he asked.
“Absolutely sir. Let’s do it.” I replied. I trembled a little.
“Here we go. I hope that…well. Here we go.” He said and flexed his hand on the handle.
He yanked back.
The trapdoor opened and I fell.
I look down at my skin and see the moonlight reflect off its purple brick-like surface. I see the little octagons that my pores have become breathing in the night air. I was a lucky one. My transformation turned out to be beneficial to the military. I’m dwarfstar dense with my human intelligence retained. Most conventional projectile weapons can’t harm me. I don’t have internal organs. It’s been this way for eleven years now.
I’m standing in the rain in the night time graveyard beside the grave of Dr. Fines. He died two days ago. I can’t define what I’m feeling. His death was sudden and I didn’t find out immediately. He was my last tie to my humanity. The last person who could remember who I was ‘before’.
I turn and walk away into the night and return to base.