Chapter 1.25 – Interlude 5

You’d think it would be hard getting rid of two deformed babies in a population centre. He imagined how easy it would be to dig a shallow grave in a forest somewhere… A bonfire in a remote wood.

He had to go about things a little differently. Ideally he would incinerate them. It would destroy all form and crucially DNA. But he couldn’t think of a way without drawing attention or risking discovery. You needed up to 800 degrees to completely destroy a body.

He’d settled for a compromise. There was one advantage of being surrounded by thousands of people. Discovery was inevitable, but how would they ever trace anything back to him? He wouldn’t be surprised if unwanted children were thrown away every week. They were deformed, people would think they died naturally anyway. There was little chance anyone would think to do a detailed genetic analysis.

His flat was not in a good area, but not the worst. He would have to cross the river into the Island.

He pulled his coat tightly around himself. Leaving the safety of his flat and laboratory scared him. These streets scared him. People scared him. They were unknowns, incalculable. Their actions made little sense.

Walking down the sidewalk searching for a suitable place he kept an eye on the passing figures, those standing on street corners or hunched in doorways to escape the rain. He crossed over or turned back to choose a different route rather than pass close.

He passed an abandoned factory. The wall had partially collapsed. It seemed like as good a place as any he had come across. With care, checking there was no one observing, he climbed in through the gaping hole.

The roof had caved in. In the corner the floor had followed, he stepped to the edge and peered down. It looked like it had fallen to a section of basement or sewer. It was flooded. It was perfect.

No one would seriously come here. With no roof there was little chance of squatters – he shuddered at the thought of such people. When summer arrived and the place dried out there would be little left to discover – this city was awash with rats.

He sat on his heels and slipped the backpack off his shoulders, pulling out the thick black garbage sacks. They had been alive when he’d put them in. Barely. Now they were silent and still. Wanting them to look natural, in case anyone did find them he dare not do anything else to ensure they were dead. He could checked the pulse but what was the point? Even a strong child would not survive such an experience.

With little ceremony he added two of the broken bricks scattering the floor to the black sacks and threw them into the dark.

Every experiment had its failures. He had samples, and theories about what went wrong. He could run tests.

Next time would be better.

* * *

If only it didn’t take 9 months. He had read a very interesting paper by a British scientist, from before the Steinbach disaster, on accelerated growth. The man was a genius, Dr Romanov spent a month studying his work.

He didn’t know why it wasn’t more widely known, it had been damn hard to get hold of – part of the classified papers he had access to at his work. Sure, the man was regarded as insane… but his theories, the experiments!

He had considered it but after much thought decided against accelerated development. Sure he could shorten the 9 months to one but then the products of his labour would only last a decade before withering. He didn’t want to breed some kind of soldier that could be quickly produced and disposed of after a few years. He just wanted to perfect what was already here. He wanted to improve humans as a race.

It was for the good of mankind. He could wait 9 months.

* * *

Animal embryos were out of the question this time. Too much risk to waste 9 months development on. It was an unneeded complication. He had two options.

One, he could somehow steal human embryos from a fertility clinic.

Two, he could somehow get them directly. From a woman.

Both had their risks. Of course, he couldn’t stage a robbery himself – he wasn’t a criminal – he would have to pay someone. That introduced a whole sea of problems. Introducing other people took control from himself. He would be at their mercy. What if they decided they could blackmail him?

No, that would not do.

So that left option two. But where would he find a woman? Preferably a recently dead one…

* * *

The hospital was the most likely choice. Posing as a clerk was easy. He made a crude employee badge himself. It wasn’t like there was a lot of security at a hospital. He’d gone to the accident and emergency room, a likely place to find a fresh body.

Luckily he’d only had to wait an hour before one came in. Female, black hair, Caucasian. He’d have to see her before he committed of course. He couldn’t have a sub-standard specimen. The paramedics had tried resuscitation in vain. The woman had arrived dead. Her husband pleaded with the staff to have her cryonically stored – performed within minutes of death when the brain was still functional it allows for storage, transportation and even repair of the body. In some cases the body can be restarted without major brain damage.

But it is new technology and the hospital only have three units, currently occupied.

Dr Romanov watched him plead with them to replace one of the current occupants. He offered money, a lot of money. But it’s the hospital policy – first come first serve.

The end result of this drama, watched with a cool calculated air, was stainless steel trolley covered with a white sheet wheeled out of the department.

In to the hands of the first clerk to hand. Just as planned.

The morgue just so happened to be in the basement. There are fewer places than you would think in a hospital basement where people really don’t go. The continuing population boom pushes hospitals, schools and police to the limits. They ooze into all available space. Rooms are converted into wards, beds are made slimmer to fit one extra. The basement only really had one place he could perform the procedure, a grimy room that housed the boilers.

He switched on the bright lights he’d scrounged from a nearby storage room. He needed light for the surgery.

Checking the body all over; she was all he could have hoped for. Tall, athletic even pretty – not that that was a priority. There were no abnormalities except for a small kidney shaped birthmark on her left breast, quite common.

The injuries were obvious, torn bruised flesh and a swollen abdomen. She bled to death, accelerated by internal bleeding no doubt. He smiled, it couldn’t be going better. His big worry was some genetic condition of the heart. Clearly this woman was healthy before whatever accident had befallen her.

Knowing that he could be found at any time he quickly set to work. Unrolling his tools on a nearby table he selected a scalpel and started the first cut…

* * *

He walked from the hospital with his hard-won prize in a specially designed container built to resemble a thermos flask. He’d spent a week building it.

His experimentations would be much simpler now.

On his walk home he passed a cinema. The thirty five dollar fee tempted him, he hadn’t seen a film since his youth. Back then it had been so cheap though. He subconsciously projected the cost into the future. Ten years inflation at three and a half percent; fifty dollars. Twenty years? Seventy. He couldn’t spare money for such foolish pastimes – developing his experiments would take decades even when they were viable. His savings had to supply food, clothing, shelter and accommodation and he hadn’t factored in inflation into his forecasting. Fool. He would have to make some cutbacks for now.

He could take another look at that British scientist’s work, speed up development a little.

No, it was imperfect.

He turned from the cinema and sped up his walk home. He had work to do.

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19 Responses to Chapter 1.25 – Interlude 5

  1. Fiona says:

    Typo Alert: In last paragraph “prise” instead of “prize”

    This is a very interesting mad scientist! I thought Alexis would find the discarded babies but it seems like they’re gone.

  2. agreyworld says:

    Thanks, fixed.

    You’ve given me a bit of a dilemma. I originally had dates above these interludes but took it out at the last minute. I don’t want to give anything away though (which this comment may do).

    I’ll just say that the interlude doesn’t necessarily have to be during the same time as the main story, though most are. I’m wondering how I could make this clearer

  3. Fiona says:

    Dr. Romanov walked past the cinema on the way home. It was cheap night, only $20. He was much too busy and focused on his work for foolish pastimes, but he idly wondered if just this once he should take advantage. Who knows, maybe in a decade or two you wouldn’t be able to get into a movie for under $50!

  4. Fiona says:

    how embarrassing, Typo in the typo report

    you just omitted the apostrophe not the n in scientist’s

  5. agreyworld says:

    Thanks, fixed. Two types and I only added a paragraph!

  6. Holly(Woods) says:

    Okay, I found this chapter was kind of creepy.

  7. JN says:


    And was Alexis one of the babies in the trash bags? If not, perhaps she is from one of the later experiments.

  8. Dan says:

    Fool! Always make sure your failed experiments are dead before you put them in garbage bags and toss them. This is Mad Science 101.

    I’m here from Worm by the way – guess I’m a sucker for bullied girl turns vigilante stories :D

  9. Bookworm says:

    I think you mean ‘cryonically stored’. It’s Cryonics that is storing people’s bodies in liquid nitrogen, Cryogenics is the study of freezing things. Why wasn’t there a standby team if she had planned to be stored with a Cryonics company? Some future thing? Otherwise, great chapter! I’m loving the story!

    • agreyworld says:

      I do indeed mean that (though maybe not with liquid nitrogen specifically). Thanks for pointing it out.

      When I imagined it I thought of it working on a first-come-first-serve basis. If there’s an empty cryo facility at the hospital they shove you in if it’s feasible the brain wasn’t too badly damaged. If they are all taken, tough luck. It’s not like in real life where people pay big companies loads (there is some feasibility of actually recovering you, rather than current ‘at some point in the future’)

      I put that little bit in case I ever want to use it in the plot!

    • agreyworld says:

      Oh, and yes, it’s set in the nearish future/alternative history future (small references here and there. No *huge* changes)

      Glad you are enjoying it. I like writing the chapters on Dr Science Guy.

  10. Rabiator says:

    Nice story.
    And without reading ahead, I strongly suspect Doc Romanoff will be successful this time. The inflation thingy is a pretty strong hint (remember how Alexis and Beth paid $60 each?)

  11. farmerbob1 says:

    “He had to go about things a little differently. Ideally he would incinerate them. It would destroy all form and crucially DNA. But he couldn’t think of a way without drawing attention or risking discovery. You needed up to 800 degrees to completely destroy a body.”

    paragraph needs a rewrite. Tense issues, missing words, stumbling points in reading. I took a shot at it – you certainly would do it differently. Feel free to delete this post if you don’t like me taking this much liberty with a rewrite.

    “He had to go about things a little differently. Ideally, he would have incinerated them to destroy their forms and, crucially, eliminate their DNA. Unfortunately, that would require a heat source capable of maintaining 800 degrees. He couldn’t think of a way to access or build such an incinerator without drawing attention or risking discovery.”

  12. farmerbob1 says:

    “No one would seriously come here.”

    I’d pull ‘seriously’ out of the sentence and set it aside as a single word sentence for emphasis. Or just get rid or ‘seriously’ entirely. It’s not necessary with the follow up sentences, and

    “No one would come here. Seriously.”
    or maybe…
    “He considered it seriously. No one would come here.”
    “He had considered it but after much thought decided against accelerated development.”
    “He had considered it, but after much thought decided against accelerated development.”

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