Categories > Original > Sci-Fi > Untitled
Two pairs of footsteps echoed through the pristine white halls. The air was monitored and filtered at all times, giving the building an artificial, eerie atmosphere. Every inch of B complex had to be kept strictly watched. Nothing abnormal was allowed to happen. And if it did, immediate measures were taken to see that it was fixed.
"I will do my best to explain, sir," Said the tech in the white lab coat to the man walking behind him. "I haven't been here as long as the others, but most everyone is busy in A complex."
"Doing what?" The man in the suit asked, his voicing reflecting no interest or disinterest. It was simply neutral.
"Some political issues, I assume. I wasn't told much besides what I'm supposed to tell you." The tech smiled a little. "Please follow my instructions to the letter, Mr. Keeton. This is a very dangerous place."
"So I've been told."
The tech nodded and kept walking. At the first of a row of glass walls was a door labeled B5. Moving past the door for a better view, he stopped and let Keeton take a look inside.
Inside the room was a small boy with short black hair. He couldn’t have been more than fifteen years old. He sat on the floor in a room filled only with white, knees raised with a puzzle sitting between his wide spread feet. Even the puzzle was white, but he was completely focused on it and had half of it done already.
"The first is the most docile of the five," The tech said, "But no less deadly. From what we've seen, anything he touches has the potential to turn into dust. We've allowed no human contact beside the occasional visit from the other four. We're not sure really what makes him want to destroy something. We've taken every precaution."
The boy in the room shifted to reach a puzzle piece almost out of his reach and winced.
"What was that?" Keeton inquired.
The tech nodded as if he had just remembered to say something. "We suppose that it has something to do with his abilities, but his sense of touch is extremely sensitive. We were forced to provide him with only the softest materials. If we hadn't, he would have screamed endlessly. Probably until he passed out."
As if just noticing that he was being watched, the boy looked up at the two men watching him. Shifting away from the puzzle, he sat on both knees and a hand. He reached out towards the glass with his free hand, as if he could reach them.
"Papa?" His voice came through the glass, small and pleading. "Please, Papa? I'll be good. I promise."
Keeton looked at the tech with an eyebrow raised. "Papa?"
The tech smiled just a little and said quieter than before, "He calls every man that comes
in here that. And every woman is 'Mama' to him. Probably something to do with the loss of their parents." He shrugged. "You never know. They could remember, if only subconsciously." Smiling warmly, the tech squatted so he was at the boy's level and put a hand on the glass. "Not today, son. Maybe next time."
The boy's spirits seemed to wilt, his eyes growing moist, but he nodded and moved back to the position he had been in before, working on this puzzle.
The tech stood once more and looked to Keeton. "Shall we move on?"
The next door was labeled B4. Again, the tech stopped and waited a moment for Keeton to observe. Inside the room was another boy, identical to the last but for the way he held himself and the way his hair was cut. He sat at table, flipping through a book filled with pictures of vibrantly colored flowers. A green-tinted mask covered his mouth and nose, a tube attached to the front running down to a foot tall machine sitting to the right of his feet.
"This one," The tech began, "Is very laid back. He doesn't do very much, doesn't cause trouble and follows every direction he's given. For the most part. Some of his other brothers have a greater influence than our own."
"And the mask?" Keeton asked, all the while contemplating its purpose.
"Oh, yes, the mask. Well, this one's breath is toxic. If breathed in by anyone, it kills rather quickly but extremely painfully. That mask transfers the air into the compressor on the floor. When the machine is filled, we replace it quickly. What he breaths out has been stored in a large facility in C complex. We used to purify the air in the room, but it became too difficult and costly. Thankfully, we haven't had to force him to wear the mask. He's been willing so far."
The tech shrugged. "Despite their deadly capabilities, they really are . . . mostly human. . . They could change their minds at any moment. We've done our best to keep them comfortable. This one has taken a liking to many different kinds of flowers, so we've given him a small, indoor greenhouse."
"Interesting," Was all Keeton said.
Glancing over, the boy inside the room flipped to a page in the book displaying purple flowers and held it up, facing the glass wall. He pointed to the picture. Above the image
Heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens) was written in large print.
The tech smiled a little and nodded, then jotted down the name of the plant. "He wants those for the greenhouse," He explained idly to Keeton. "He's always asking for new books to look at so he can get different flowers. As the other's sense of touch is amplified, we believe this one's sense of smell is too. There isn't much opportunity to test the fact, though, with how dangerous his breath is. This way, Mr. Keeton."
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