Schuyler awoke in a lab, tightly strapped down to a cold steel table. Four other people lay on nearby tables. All five of them were covered by white cloths, none of them were clothed.
Dr. Tobias was leaning over the man lying on the table next to Schuyler’s. Behind the Cryma-Crystal desk across the room stood a young woman with black curls and large green eyes, also dressed in a white coat. She glanced up at him, saw his head moving around, and quickly snatched up a metal tray as she walked around the paper-laden desk to Dr. Tobias.
“Dr. Tobias,” the woman said.
The doctor who had kidnapped Schuyler looked up. The woman nodded in Schuyler’s direction.
“Schuyler, Mari, and Erika are awake, Dr. Tobias.”
Schuyler moved his head to the right. He saw a blond woman on the table next to his. He assumed the figure on the other side was the other woman. He couldn’t see beyond the white lump lying on the table.
“And Owen and Dionysius have just awakened,” Dr. Tobias said, clearly satisfied.
Dr. Tobias stepped over to Schuyler and leaned down. He smiled at Schuyler. “Welcome to Shyan Lab, Schuyler.”
“Dr. Tobias?” the woman asked as she came to stand beside her partner, the tray still clasped between her hands.
“You may take the blood samples now, Dr. Russell,” Dr. Tobias said, straightening and moving away to inspect the women.
“Yes, Dr. Tobias.”
Dr. Eleanna Russell went over to the woman Schuyler couldn’t see, following after Dr. Tobias.
“Mind telling us what’s going on, Dr. Tobias?” the blond woman said calmly, unemotionally.
“Certainly, Erika,” Dr. Tobias said, sounding pleased. “Several years ago, my assistant, Dr. Russell, and I discovered a way to create robotic assassins out of people. Human-robotic assassins are much more effective than robots or humans. More flexibility than robots and easier to control than humans.
“The government contacted us to create an immortal human-robotic assassin. We chose you five for our experiment because of your high intelligence, perfect health, and strength of character, be it good or bad,” Dr. Tobias said, saying the last with his eyes trained on Erika.
“And if we’re not immortal?” the man next to Schuyler asked calmly, unemotionally.
“Ah, that doesn’t matter, Dionysius. You are all assassins. The best in the world. Immortality is just a hope, a dream.”
“So, we’re a government experiment,” Schuyler said, his voice as flat and emotionless as the others’.
“Exactly, Schuyler. All five of you have been here for the past two months. Your families have been told you are dead. They are moving on with their lives.”
None of the five gave any indication that it mattered. All were calm, unfeeling, robotic…
* * *
It was strange that we didn’t care, I say.
Strange that you didn’t care? one repeats.
Yes. We should have questioned it. But didn’t. Still doesn’t matter. Don’t know why I thought of it.
Maybe you’re turning back into a human, two says, studying me critically.
No. Impossible. Dr. Tobias told us that is impossible.
Continue, Schuyler, one says.
Dr. Russell called Dr. Tobias over to their worktable. We all gazed up at the ceiling. I have very good hearing. I can’t be sure if anyone else heard every word, but I know I heard them. Dr. Russell had gotten back the blood test results…