Copyright © 2012 Lakisha Spletzer. All rights reserved.

Waylan stared up at the formidable Earth Conglomerate Laboratory. Every time he visited this place it gave him the creeps. He never asked his mother what really went on inside; he was too afraid he wouldn’t like the answer. But he had to admit having her call out of the blue, after not talking to him for four months, raised his curiosity. So here he stood outside trying to calm his nerves. He straightened his tie and went inside.

He was greeted by the front desk security officer and went through the necessary checks before being cleared to proceed. Shinjiro pinned the ID badge to his shirt and rode the elevator down to Sub-level 6. The doors opened and the smell of metal, grease, and some other odor he couldn’t identify, assaulted his nose and made him sneeze.

“And there he is.”

Hearing the familiar voice, Shinjiro stepped out of the elevator and grinned. His mother’s bright red hair and warm smile greeted him. “Hi, Mom.”

“You just going to stand there, or are you going to give me a hug?” she demanded.

He laughed and bent down to hug his five-feet-two mother. “How are you?”

“I’m fine, but you, my son, seemed to have turned into a giant. You’re how tall now?”

“I’m six-two. Doctor said I might grow a little more before I turn 18.”

His mother shook her head, but he could see that she was pleased by the news.

“I’m glad you came. There is something I want to show you.”

“Sure. I’m not doing anything right now at the observatory, so no worries,” he assured her.

He followed his mother down two corridors before she stopped at a door and punched in an access code. The door slid open to reveal a room filled with pipes, tubes, and ducts. Shinjiro frowned.

“Um, Mom, where are we going exactly?”

“Just around the corner,” she replied and pointed at the dull light shining ahead of them.

Hedidn’t say anything else and fell into step with her. They turned the corner and he halted. All Shinjiro could do was stare. In the middle of the room stood a huge incubator tube filled with clear liquid, and bubbles that slowly rose the bottom. It wasn’t that which caught his eye. Floating inside with eyes closed and hands placed over breasts and nether region, was a caramel-colored girl with dark black hair streaked with silver.

“Wha–…,” he stammered and glanced over at his mother. She was grinning, but Shinjiro didn’t see what was so amusing.

“Isn’t she beautiful? Go, touch the glass.”

“Huh? You’re joking, right, Mom?”

“No, I’m not. Go, touch the glass.”

Shinjiro turned his gaze back to the slumbering girl. “Mom, I think I should be leaving.” He backed up a step and turned to go.

“That wasn’t a request, Lieutenant, but an order.”

He stopped in his tracks. His mother had never pulled rank before.  Just what was going on? He turned back around and studied her expression. She
was wearing her no-nonsense look. He couldn’t defy that, even if he wanted to. And now that she was using her rank as Lieutenant Colonel, he definitely didn’t have a choice.  Uncertain as to his mother’s reasoning, but having no choice, Shinjiro walked over to the incubator tube and placed a hand on the glass. At first nothing happened and he let out a relieved sigh. He didn’t know what he was expecting, but now that everything was still working, he was glad. He started to remove his hand from the glass when his mother cleared her throat.

“Look up, Shinjiro.”

Startled, he raised his head, and his eyes locked on to the half-opened eyelids of the girl inside. He couldn’t tell what shade her eyes were, and it bothered him for some reason. He shifted and put his other hand on the glass as he tried to position himself to get a better view of her eyes.

“Shinjiro, don’t!” his mother’s warning came too late.