Author : George R. Shirer

“Y’know,” said Jared, “I’ve seen a lot of crap ideas since the Singularity, but this . . . ” He nodded at the pale waif on the bed. “This just takes the cake.”

Isaac shrugged and injected a few million more scrappers into the kid. “You think she’s got insurance?”

Jared snorted. “Welfare cases don’t go full suckhead. They can’t afford it.”

“It’s not natural.”

“I blame that Stoker guy,” said Jared. “He’s the one who made vampires sexy.”

Isaac glanced at the readout. The scrappers were ripping through the girl’s cells, devouring the suckhead nannites. At this rate, they’d be finished by lunch.

“You ever read the book?”

“Nah, but I had a girlfriend who could freakin’ quote text from it. We broke up.”

“Did she go suckhead?”

“Yeah, but not when she was with me. Thank God.” Jared looked at the girl. “You think she can hear us?”

“No,” said Isaac. “This is the full deal. The nanos induce a three-day coma while they’re making the changes.”

“It takes that long?”

“No. It’s part of the mythology. Takes a vampire three days to rise from the grave.” Isaac shook his head and injected another ampule of scrappers. “Dumb ass kids.”

The girl’s skin was starting to look better, shifting from ice white to warm pink. Isaac’s panel warbled at him.

“We’ve got full purge. Target nannites destroyed. Scrappers are breaking down.”

Jared grabbed the injector and slotted in an oversized green ampule. “Fixers are ready.”

“Hold off,” said Isaac. “We’re not using the normal fixers on this one.” A red ampule popped out of his board.

“Customized?” Jared removed the green ampule from the injector and replaced it with the red one.

“Guess so.” Isaac called up the red nannites’ specs. “Looks like Little Miss Sunshine here is getting fitted with parental blockers.”

“Ouch.” Jared winced in sympathy, pressed the injector against the girl’s arm and fired.

“You don’t think they should fit her up with the blockers?”

“I dunno. S’kind of extreme, not being able to change your hair or eye or skin color without your folks’s approval. That’s going kinda overboard on the whole parental oversight thing, don’t you think?”

Isaac snorted. “Not after your kid tries to turn herself into a freak while she’s living under your roof without your say-so, and probably puts the change on your credit card.”

“You got a point there,” said Jared. He looked down at the girl and shook his head. “Well, sweetheart, I guess it’s just going to suck to be you for a while.”

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