“What do we have?” Dr. Tobias asked.
“Subject one: Dionysius. Successfully turned into an assassin,” Dr. Russell read from the computer screen.
“Excellent. Continue, Dr. Russell.”
“Subject two: Owen. Almost successfully turned into an assassin. There’s a slight defect in his programming.”
“Ah, well, that must be that slip I made. Quite unfortunate. Continue, Dr. Russell.”
“Subject three: Erika. Successfully turned into an assassin. Subject four: Mari. Doctor, she’s part Glimmer.”
“Almost immortal,” Dr. Tobias said, obviously pleased. “And subject five, Dr. Russell?”
“Subject five: Schuyler. Full Glimmer, Doctor.”
“Astounding. We did it, Dr. Russell.”
“Yes. The government only needs one, Dr. Tobias.”
“Yes, I know, Dr. Russell. We’ll send Mari. The rest will remain with us for our use.”
“May I ask why, Dr. Tobias?”
“I originally conducted the experiment to create a Glimmer for my use, well, ours now. We can use Schuyler. The government can have Mari. We can tell them she came closest to becoming a Glimmer. They never have to know about Schuyler.”
“Yes, Dr. Tobias,” Dr. Russell said complacently.
“Good.” Dr. Tobias glanced over at his assassins and then turned back to Dr. Russell. “Even though three aren’t immortal, they are much harder to kill than a normal human. I’m quite pleased. They’ll do very well for our purposes. Let us get our assassins prepared for business.”
“Yes. Dr. Tobias.”
A short time later, the five assassins were dressed in dark suits and were sitting in chairs. They were arrayed before the worktable. Dr. Tobias stood before them, on the other side of the table. Dr. Russell was at her computer.
Dr. Tobias picked up five, small disks and went around the table to approach each of them. He put one disk on each of them at the left temple. They were almost immediately absorbed into their bodies. None of them blinked an eye, seemingly unaware of what had happened to them.
“These disks,” he said, holding up an extra one as he returned to his place on the other side of the table, “will allow us to give you commands. Glimmer, now.”
The five immediately became hazy figures, disappeared, became hazy, and then returned to their normal solid state.
The doctor smiled, pocketing the disk he held. “Excellent. Now. The government requires a Glimmer, an immortal human-robotic assassin. Schuyler, you are the only Glimmer. However, you will remain with us. Mari, as a half Glimmer, you will go to the government. The rest of you are assassins who will be at our personal disposal. Dr. Russell, please see to Mari’s departure.”
“Yes. Dr. Tobias.”
The doctor rose from her computer and walked over to Mari. She took the young assassin by the arm, and led her from the room.
“Dr. Tobias,” Owen said unemotionally. “What will we be doing?”
The scientist smiled, a wide, slow smile. “Murder.”
“Murdering whom?” Owen asked calmly.
“Any threats against us or simply anyone we want to be eliminated,” Dr. Tobias said eagerly while attempting to sound casual.
“When do we begin?” Schuyler asked. Like the others, he spoke unemotionally, as they all would forever.
“As soon as Dr. Russell and I select our first target. Dionysius, the honor will be yours. Schuyler, you will be reserved for the more important tasks since you are the Glimmer.”
Schuyler nodded once, curtly. Dr. Tobias then had then rise and led them down a hall to their quarters: cold metallic rooms devoid of windows. But none of the four cared…
* * *
So cold, without life, I say.
You didn’t question it? one asks, shifting slightly in his chair.
It isn’t in our nature, I say, almost sharply.
How long have Doctors Tobias and Russell worked together? one asks.
Many years, I answer. I can’t be sure exactly how long.
And Dionysius made the first kill? two asks, rolling a pen between his hands.
Did he tell you or anyone else about it, other than the doctors? one asks.
No. We are not in the habit of revealing anything to each other.
You speak as though the others are still alive, one says, leaning back in his chair.
I know most are.
Tell us, two urges.
That’s part of the story.
Then by all means continue, one says, sweeping out one arm before him.
Dr. Russell soon returned and reported the successful transportation of Mari. She and Dr. Tobias left us for a long time. When they returned to our corridor, I heard a knock at Dionysius’s door and unintentionally listened due to my superior hearing…