• Vol. 07
  • Chapter 11
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Vat’s Life

The strange kid in the old-fashioned clothes and a fixed azure gaze stood in his jar as concentric rainbow coloured rings burst all around him. Even the jar looked as if it had been painted by a child: a jolly butterfly with wasp stripes, a fly with a crimson painted smile; what looked like a dead hamster at the bottom. It gave you a migraine just to be in the same room, let alone close enough to reach out and touch. Not that I wanted to.

He hadn't moved in an hour, straight backed and barely even breathing as some little bald guy in white peered around the jar and blew toothless raspberries. A side effect of the process combined past and future into one weird package. Ever since the scientists developed in-vitro procreation of the species, next of kin visits for the suspiciously deceased were even harder. Ten years as a beat cop and then another five in homicide and psychic crimes, but the Jar Baby made me feel like a rookie on my first solo. His kind always gave me the screaming heebie jeebies but I had a job to do.

The kid's voice sounded like silvery laughter, no trace of compassion and nothing but supreme, detached disinterest.

"My biological donors," he said, "both dead."

"How did you know?" A slight pressure in my head as something wandered about uninvited should have told me that he already knew. The kid had known long before I walked through the main facility gates—a waste of time trying for the personal touch when an email would have worked just as well and saved me a trip across town.


Vat’s Life

"Did they suffer much?" he said, giving less than a damn that they died in a hail of bullets—a freak accident when their security system malfunctioned, the man almost cut in half by a hail of bullets. His lips moved into what he thought a smile should look like, false as a politician's promise. "It was never my intention—just necessary."

I forced myself to be professional—he had the perfect alibi: his legs had not formed yet and he was only six days old, well below the legal age of responsibility. Off the record, what he told me far too fantastic to be believable. Of course it was true. The powers that be paid for the next generation to be biological engineered as more than human—hardly surprising they should see us as obsolete—loose ends to be removed.