Author : Desmond Hussey

The twin, muscled eunuchs shove the girl to the feet of Tar Marrella, Crèche mother. The remaining forty-seven crèche citizens stand in a rough circle surrounding them. All but the girl wear pale, toga-like robes and watch impassively, dull eyed and slack jawed. The girl’s dirt smeared clothes are obviously Old World relics; black pants, a stained, white t-shirt and a filthy denim jacket, the likes of which haven’t been seen for over eight hundred years. A wild mass of auburn hair coils about her head.

“We found this one in the Restricted Zone,” says one of the eunuchs. “Near the old city,” finishes the other.

Tar Marrella, tsks disapprovingly. She lifts the girl’s freckled chin with her finger carefully, as if the feral girl might suddenly bite.

“Who are you?”

The girl’s emerald eyes blaze with rebellion.

“What Crèche are you from, child?”

No response.

“What were you doing in the Restricted Zone? Collecting these?” Marrella gestures dismissively at the girl’s clothes. “Every child knows it’s against the Law to enter the Forbidden Zone, or to possess artifacts from the Age of Death. Why awaken memories we have all tried so hard to forget?”

The girl remains obstinate.

“Stubborn, are we? Very well. There are other means of getting the answers I seek.” Tar Marrella speaks without anger, or malice. “But first, let us remove that defiled clothing. Even after all these years, Death clings to it. The smell offends me.”

Susurrations of agreement come from the crowd as the two eunuchs, despite her ineffectual struggling, strip her bare and thrust her into the center of the ring of watchers.

The gathering grows deathly quite. All stare in disbelief.

The girl stands naked and defiant, tangled hair cascading over her freckled shoulders to drape over the gentle mound of her breasts. Ribs push against her taught, pale skin. Her strong, lean legs brace for action. Her hands clench into fists.

It’s not her nakedness that has stilled the masses. All gawk at her navel, the tight little whirlpool of skin just above her tangle of ruddy pubic hair.

A woman’s horrified scream breaks the silence and the crowd erupts into frightened banter.

“Freeborn!” someone yells.

Tar Marrella circles the profane girl as if she was a poisonous viper and raises her voice above the panic.

“It’s Blasphemy to be born of the flesh, a Sin to live in the shadow of our ancestors, whose greed and lust nearly destroyed the world so long ago. We, the Children of the Crèche have lived harmoniously for a thousand years! Born in the Crèche! Dieing in the Crèche! Reborn again! This has been our way. Five hundred thousand of the purest were chosen. Only five hundred thousand can there be. This is the Law! Our wise forefathers knew the only escape from sin was through Clone Resurrection. There can be no Freeborn to taint our perfection. Death to the Lawbreakers!”

The murderous horde echoes the verdict and closes in, tightening like a sphincter.

The girl’s green eyes flash. She inhales deeply, a furrow of concentration creasing her brow. She waits patiently for the oppressive mass to condense, for the first tentative probing fingers of her dull witted attackers.
When all are within range, she retaliates.

Her short ranged, but powerful psychic assault reduces the entire mob into a quivering, spastic mass. Their weak minds, too old and frail, their intellect spread too thinly over a thousand years of revolving resurrections are easily dominated by her own.

The naked girl looms over the epileptic form of Tar Marrella.

“Evolve or die, bitch.”


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