It says on my file that my body took longer than expected to react to my enhancements.
My file says – Recommend subject remain in altostasis for a further year. If enhancements fail recommend subject discontinued.
There are four of them. The first one I met was a woman. Her name is Petty. She wears dark glasses so I’ve never seen her eyes and her hair looks like it might be a wig. She never sits down. She always just stands there watching me, smiling her awkward smile.
I never see Conbright but I hear him. When I first heard his voice I thought he might be some alternative rendition of the Computer’s vocal system but Petty tells me he’s real.
“All this is Conbright’s idea,” she says.
Utah isn’t human. There’s nothing about non-human life forms in my core system so I don’t know what species he is or what part of the universe he came from but I know for certain he’s not a Fell. The Fell are much taller and their skin is grey. Utah is barely four feet tall and his body is covered with red fur. Sometimes I think I should be more impressed or at least intrigued by the fact that he is an alien species but mostly I forget. I’m numb to anything like that. I suppose the old me, me before the altostasis, would have been scared of Utah but this me, the awoken me, is less scared of Utah than any of the others. He smokes. He’s never without a cigarette and his double rows of sharp teeth are yellow with tar. But at least when he smiles it doesn’t look like he doesn’t understand the concept of smiling like Petty.
Farkas comes and goes. He never speaks. He wears a white jump suit like the one I wear but his continues over his head.
“How does he see?” I asked Utah once.
“What makes you think he needs to see?”
Petty and Utah watch my reactions to the films they show me. I’ve seen a thousand children die. I’ve seen women lined up in front of a crowd of Fell while one Fell claws them apart. Any one of those women might have been my mother. I sit there and I watch. I don’t react. I just take in the images. Every day they ask me to describe what I saw. If I’m not precise they tell me to start again.
“No that was the third baby they ate,” says Utah.
“Tell us about the second baby,” says Petty. I can see myself in her black glasses.
When they finish asking me their questions they tell me I can go but every day one of them, usually Petty, will call me back.
“Just one more question, Jacob,” she says. “What do you think should happen to the Fell?”
“What do you mean?” I always ask.
“Do you think the Fell should pay for what they’ve done?” asks Utah.
I nod. I always only nod.
“You can go,” says Petty but one time I didn’t go.
“I thought I was meeting the others?” I ask.
Yellowed teeth flash at me.
“What makes you think we’re not the others,” says Utah.
I don’t answer. I just wait for them to tell me.
Eventually Petty answers.
“Tomorrow,” she says.