> Seth Underwood Stories: Internee 4761627269656c2048656e736f6e Slot B (est. read time- 43 min.)

Internee 4761627269656c2048656e736f6e Slot B (est. read time- 43 min.)


A group of scientists originally established the Europan Scientific Community as a joint effort by mankind’s leading governmental space agencies and industrial corporations at the time as the first step into the Gas Giants. They positioned the large orbital space station in a Lagrangian orbit point behind Europa to continue the years of studies of early Jovian life that had been discovered in the deep subsurface ocean. It was the first forms of life outside of the Earth known to have existed, and since the Jovian system offered mankind little economic resources for extraterrestrial mining, the creation of scientific endeavor seemed most logical.

As time continued on, the large orbital space station was added to and changed. The community grew a bit in size, but it also became a bit isolated from the inner system and the politics of things. Over time the Europan Scientific Community developed its own culture. A culture that was based on a theory developed by April French-Wolfe called “Res-Pangenderism”. “Res-Pangenderism” is a concept that goes to the core of human existence, which is our genome.

In “Res-Pangenderism” the word “gender” is used in the archaic meaning of species vs. the 20th Century meaning of sex or sexuality. The whole phrase of “Res-Pangenderism” translates as “True Universal Speciesism”. Thus “pangenderism” in this sense is about the genetic universal (pan) nature of the human species (gender) and our striving to become a pure state both in mind and body through said genetics. It sees itself as already transcending social barriers by descending to the most common elements of humanity—our genetic encoding. This theory sees humanity as the only true and genetically universal species, for as a species we control our own genetic destiny.

“Res-Pangenderism” is very much unlike the various taxonomy use of the word gender of the 20th century to mean sexual identity, sexual personhood, social-sexual aspects, anatomical sexuality, genetic sexuality, or any other taxonomy use of the word gender. But has taken the word gender to its base, meaning relying on genetics as the base for any sexual identification that may come from it versus anything higher ordered that may result from society, the person’s mind, or otherwise. “Res-Pangenderism” assumes that analysis of things our genes are controlling us through the interactions with the world no matter what we believe or think otherwise. We are therefore the sum of our parts, which are our genes interacting with the world.

There is less confusion socially in the Jovian society concerning specific word usage of gender, but “Res-Pangenderism” sees what may have been an issue in the 20th century as something that may not result in a purely human form, or a genetic expression as the result of a conflict between body and mind and therefore to be genetically suppressed or removed from the genome. While still some sexuality expressions are irrelevant or are just minor genetic variants, like certain fetishes or desires.

For some time, their community has used advance forms of IVF for human procreation, refraining from more ‘natural’ means. Not that they don’t have sex, but sex is much more now about pure pleasure and social bonding and far less about reproduction. Pair bonding can happen in a myriad of patterns. There is no state of marriage in the traditional sense since there is no religion practiced aboard the station, but there is a practice of mother-father child rearing. Sometimes there is mother-mother child rearing through IVF procreation which is permitted but only if the child undergoes a “check-type” IVF formation which allows for random genetic material to be added to ensure that it does not create a clone between the two women. This process always results in a female being created since the genetic source is an X and X chromatically. But there is no male-male or father-father child rearing. It just doesn’t culturally happen because chromatically a y-y combination does not result in a viable human, and adoption is just not heard of in their culture as there is no source of excess population. Not that there is no male-male pair bonding, but the bonding does not go into the area of procreation. Occasionally there are male-female-male or other similar pair bonding combinations but these are rare as the social dynamics needed to maintain these pair bondings are complex for even genetically advance humans. But the emotional complexities of such pair bondings are something they are researching to see if they can make genetic improvements.

For Bessie, the issues Gabriel Henson brought up in the interview kept rolling around in her mind as she laid in her one-person bed squeezed to the edge by her current boyfriend, Nathan Mercer. Peeling Nathan’s arm from her side, she slid out of the bed to the floor and made her way to the central part of her quarters. So as not to wake up Nathan, she pushed the sleeping area’s door shut as quietly as she could; although it would still get stuck three quarters of the way closed requiring her to push harder.

Bessie knew she had to pull together some recommendation concerning Gabriel Henson, but what exactly was the question. She reviewed previous interviews. Still in her nightgown, she grabbed her infopad she had at the interview and sat down at the workstation in her quarters. She placed the infopad on a circular inscribed grey area on the desk of the workstation and typed on the projected keyboard that shown before her on the desk. From time to time she would reach up to the primary screen and flick through the screens, moving them from one side to the other. She became engrossed in the information that flowed back and forth as she reviewed record after record.

Gabriel Henson never changed his story. It was the same story repeatedly. A personal social experiment. Bra sizes. The gravity generators. The historical works of felony disenfranchisement. “For over 30 years, he has stuck to the same story since he was 18. What they heck did they all have in common” she thought to herself.

She wondered something he said in the interview about him being related to her. She ran a DNA check of her genome against his in the database. She nervously tapped with her slender right index finger on the plastic workstation, waiting for the machine’s response to be displayed. Putting her right hand to her mouth and letting out a somewhat loud gasp as the display showed the results- “85.6% match”.

“He is more my father than either of my mothers are part of me, and I wanted to have his kid because he is the smartest guy on the damn station. Shite, he is the smartest man alive.” And with that she paused for a moment then continued, “Oh, that is so gross! Having my father’s child!” she said aloud to where Nathan exited the sleeping area, rubbing the sleep from his eyes.

“Hey, Bessie, come back to bed,” Nathan said yawning. “It is way too early to be doing work, and I have to pull a double security shift today.”

Bessie not looking at him and concentrating more on the genetic data before her on the computer display, she waived at Nathan, “Then just go back to bed.”

Nathan came up behind Bessie, nuzzled up along the back of her neck and giving her a few kisses along her spine said, “Come on, angel-face. Come back to bed.”

“Look, I really need to do this now” she said shrugging off the kisses.

Nathan pulling back and with his arms wide open, “Fine then. I will just go back to bed. By myself, I guess.”

“Okay, fine” she said, paying more attention to the data on the screen than Nathan’s advancements.

It would be a few hours later when the alarm in the sleeping area went off, and Nathan crawled out of the single-bed and went into the central area of Bessie’s quarters, only to find Bessie still hard at work reviewing documents.

“Were you up all night?”

“What? No. I have not been up all night, just early this morning. I couldn’t sleep. This assignment is really bugging me,” she said as she sipped a cup of hot coffee, staring at a screen full of data.

He snuggled up behind her as she sat in front of the workstation, “Would you like to take a shower with me?”

“Uh? What?”

Kissing her nape, “You know, angel-face. A shower.”

“Not right now. I really got to finish this project. I am sorry” and with that she turned to him and gave him a brief peck on the cheek.

“Is that all I get”, he asked in a pouting way.

“What” she said looking oddly at him.

“Okay, I see how it will be today. Work first, Nathan second. That is fine with me. I am just going to get ready for work then” he said with some more pouting.

Turning back to her workstation, “Okay then. I will see you after work” she said, focused more on her work than Nathan’s emotional pleas.

Bessie was so engrossed in her work that morning that she didn’t even notice Nathan leaving, nor did she actually change out of her nightgown. It would be about mid-day that her closest and longtime girlfriend, Lynn Sanders, dropped by for their customary lunch.

Greeting Lynn at the door of her quarters with a kiss that was more than just something friendly, Lynn responded, “Wow, Bessie! You must have some horrid case to still be in your nightgown by this time of day. I haven’t seen you like this since that genetically confused psycho-bitch you had to release back to Earth.”

Messing with her short black hair with her right hand, “Yeah, this one is just really messing me up. But at least with psycho-bitch we could just alter her genome with some level 5 nanites before returning her back to Earth. This one is tougher than that.”

“What do you mean?”

“It is the Gabriel Henson case.”

“No way. I thought he died like 10 years ago and they chopped him up into little pieces for research.”

“No, he is still alive. I saw him the other day.”

“Wow! He is famous. Like that 20th century dude long ago they preserved as a museum piece. You know who I am talking about. I think his name was Chuckie Somnan. Or something like that.”

“Sort of, but I just don’t know what to do.”

“Look, let us do some lunch. It looks like you have had nothing but coffee all morning long here,” she said leading Bessie to the bedroom to find some clothes for her. “You could use a break.”

“You always know what I need” Bessie said, leaning her head against Lynn’s shoulder.

After Bessie got dressed, the two of them proceeded to their favorite little place inside the central arboretum and seasonal vintage. The oranges were in season and being harvested as the two of them sat there sipping green tea and having a bit of temaki made from a genetic variant of Okhotsk atka mackerel grown in the station’s hydroponic farms.

“So, Gabriel Henson. I still cannot believe he is alive,” Lynn said between sips.

“I know. But it is the stuff he said that has really gotten to me.”

“Like what?”

“Like the fact he is basically my father.”

“What? What are you saying” Lynn said, nearly choking on her temaki.

“It is procedure to pull blood samples from those in the system. Standard health stuff. But they have been using his blood as part of the genome sample for the ‘check types’.”

“So, wait. Are you saying if you and I wanted to have a kid, his DNA would be part of our little girl’s DNA?”

“Pretty much. I ran a cross check earlier this morning and I am 85.6% of his DNA” Bessie said as she sunk her head to the table with her straight short black hair pulling forward.

Taking Bessie’s hands, Lynn said, “I am so sorry to hear that. But that still changes nothing between us. I have always known you were a ‘check type’ since we were in the youth incarceration program together. I really don’t care, because I like to think our bond goes deeper than that.” Lynn picked up Bessie’s chin and gave her that quirky smile she always gave her that caused Bessie to perk up.

“Now come on. Finish your temaki so you can write up that report” Lynn added.

“You always know how to get me motivated. How come you can do this with me?”

“Years of sex with you dummy” Lynn said, tapping the back side of Bessie’s head as she got up.

Walking back to Bessie’s quarters, Bessie asked, “So, has your unit finally determined the genetic coding of that species you mentioned to me last week?”

“No, not yet. The damn things died on us when we got them to the surface. This was the third time this has happen to us. Every time we get a viable sample of the little viral critters from the deep subsurface ocean and bring them up, they turn into a chemical soup on us. We do not understand what their genome is exactly. We know that they are alive and have some kind of RNA, but what it is we have no clue. We know that their RNA must form some of the basics of the larger species in Europa. They have floated an idea of trying to send down a robotic analysis unit, but that idea will not get past a Consensus Conference, more or less permission from Terra if the Council presented it. Too much of a potential contamination risk.”

“Sounds sort of like my problem a bit,” Bessie said, leaning into Lynn.

“Sort of” Lynn said pushing back.

Kissing Lynn goodbye at her quarters’ door, Lynn said to Bessie, “Say hello to that new boyfriend you have for me. What was his name?”

“Oh you mean, Nathan.”

“Yeah, I cannot keep up with you and these boys. This is what, the fourth one in the last two months?”

“I know I have been going through a string of them as of late. I cannot help Owen wanted to have kids, and I didn’t at the time and he left me for another woman when he found out I was a ‘check type’.”

“Crazy” Lynn said as she waved goodbye.

Entering her quarters, Bessie got herself a cup of coffee and sat down again in front of her workstation to resume her research on the Gabriel Henson case. She wasn’t sure exactly what she was looking for aside from trying to confirm information from the interview, which was standard protocol to ensure mental stability. She reviewed this issue of bra size. It was true that A-4 Androids were manufactured with a standard double D cup size breasts, unless the owner wanted to specify another size. Most of the Terran women were statistically a mean C cup in size, although there was a variation depending upon some genetics. She crossed the Terran common genomes with the Europan genomes present regarding cup size to if there was some link.

“What? SNPs rs12173570 and rs12371778 have been purposely been refined with alleles to the lower end of cup size on Europa Station” she said to herself.

Still talking out loud to herself as she flicked through some more data screens on the monitor, “This cannot be. This cup size thing is just a bunch of bunk and nonsense.”

Digging deeper into the data, Bessie almost dropped her cup of coffee to the floor as she was setting it down from taking a sip when she came across an early colony Consensus Conference document.

“Shite! The damn ass holes! They all agreed to make all the women less mature on purpose! I cannot believe it! Purposely genetically altering women to make having children naturally more difficult by suppressing certain genetic expressions. Genetic birth-control. That is what he meant by B cups. Damn it! That explains why sex doesn’t result in pregnancy on the station, and why we use IVF. Shite, what else have they kept from us?”

Bessie flicked through screens of data as she began checking and reviewing all the bits of information Gabriel Henson mentioned in his interview. As she did, she came across document after document from the early era of the station showing they required the gravity generators to be turned down causing their population to be taller and thinner than the rest of humanity, but also restricted to the station vs. going back to Earth or the inner system. He was also right about the works of S. Blake, S. Wheeler, and C. Randall. All of them were byproducts of their time period, fraught with political slants against specific populaces who controlling political parties didn’t want voting and that the justification of the youth incarceration program was just a marketing ploy for the rehab program.

She reviewed the history of the rehab program only to run into an access block. She lacked the clearance to review such old documents. “What the heck was so important” she thought to herself. She wondered if she could get the information in a more roundabout way through Consensus Conference documents which were more public.

She flicked through reams of early Consensus Conference documents on the formation of the rehab program. It was all boring economic stuff and justification of station expansion resources. Nothing of telling information. Then she got having the system look through these early Consensus Conference documents for some correlations of information. That is when one thing kept popping up in the budget line items, an amount for a program called “Genetic Reclamation”.

Typing on the projected keyboard, Bessie hunted through the various databases for this program but kept running into a dead end. There was nothing on this program. Sitting back a bit, she tapped her right temple with her right hand. “What am I missing here” she thought.

She got up and went to the vid-phone near the cooking area and called Lynn at her quarters. Lynn’s face filled the screen, “Hey Bessie. How are things going?”

“I could really use your help with something. I have hit a wall again.”

“I guess I could pull myself away right now. We were not really doing much, anyway. I will be right over.”

A few moments later Bessie greeted Lynn with their usual kiss at Bessie’s door.

“Thanks for calling me. I was getting bored with the project meeting, anyway. It was going around in circles for the last two hours,” Lynn said.

“Your welcome, I guess.”

“So what is the issue?”

“Well, I need to know something is more in your field of knowledge.”

“Okay, like what? I mostly work with virus genetics.”

“Yeah, but it’s the biology stuff you know.”

“Okay, but how does this relate to your case?”

Lynn sat down as Bessie walked in a circle in front of her saying, “Okay, just follow me for a bit here. Much of Gabriel Henson said has turned out to be true. They have turned down the gravity generators so none of us can leave the station. They have changed all the women on the station so we have suppressed reproduction. That is why we all have such small breasts. And they are using the youth incarceration program as a marketing ploy for the rehab program. But what I cannot figure out is what would be the purpose of a program called ‘Genetic Reclamation’. It was well funded back when the Prison Rehab program was established. We have all been told the purpose of the prison rehab is to provide us with economic revenue, but what else can it supply us with? What do you think?”

“Wow. That is some crazy stuff. I always wondered why my rack was so small, and now I know. The government made it that way. But to answer your question, I have never given this much thought. I guess if it wasn’t for the money, the only other thing these crazy psychos represent is raw genetic material.”

“That is it! The medical clearance requirements. We require pre-medical information including genome data for all internees entering the program. I thought nothing of it until you just mentioned it. They are raw genetic material to keep the gene pool from becoming inbred.”

“Okay that is well and good. But why keep us all locked up on the station,” Lynn said as she crossed her thin legs.

“Some other project? Something to do with Gabriel Henson, maybe?”

“Well, when I was in my studies I had to study Res-Pangenderism by April French-Wolfe. It is the foundation of our culture you know,” Lynn added.

“Yeah, I recall that course.”

“Well, I never told you this, but I interned for a special project that took Res-Pangenderism to the next level.”

“What do you mean” Bessie asked as she sat down facing Lynn.

With Lynn facing Bessie, “Okay, when I was a young intern, I got assigned to this project called Q-Genome. The program was all hush, hush like. I shouldn’t even be telling you about it.”

“What is Q-Genome?”

“It was a genetic theory developed after they discovered how to harness quantum gravity, developing the gravity field generators and reflectors, all following the quantum computing developed in the early 21st century which caused the explosion in AI technology. The idea was by going to the quantum we could push Res-Pangenderism to the next level and cause a leap in human evolution to another level, just like our technology.”

“Okay, now you are getting a bit too much science geek on me. It’s cute when you do this, but scary.”

“Sorry. I will slow down a bit” Lynn said taking Bessie’s hands as she continued, “So Q-Genome was to push our knowledge of genetics to the quantum state, and program our genome from that level. But it never worked. When I was an intern, the program was looking at the bugs on Europa because they speculated it they maybe operating more in the quantum state than Terran life.”

“So you think the Q-Genome project is somehow related? But how?”

“Well, think about it. If you are running a large experiment on a populace, you don’t want them really going anywhere, right?”

“Yeah that makes sense.”

“So, maybe the Q-Genome project is still going on and they are still trying to stuff with it using the IVF program in some manner. Maybe Gabriel Henson is a byproduct of the experiment or something?”

“Okay, if that is true, then why would he keep himself imprisoned?”

“I don’t know. Maybe for the free food?”

As the two of them sat there, Nathan dressed in his security uniform entered Bessie’s quarters. Nathan appeared to be holding something behind his back. Both Bessie and Lynn, who were still holding hands, looked in Nathan’s direction.

“Oh, Nathan, you are back early,” Bessie said.

“I got Harold to take my second shift, so we could celebrate.”

“Celebrate” Bessie said with a puzzled look on her face.

“Okay, I think I should go,” Lynn said getting up from Bessie. “If you need any more help with the case just call.”

As Lynn left, she pointed to what Nathan was holding behind his back, followed by her sticking her slender finger in her mouth as if she would gag. Bessie gave her back that look of “what?” And with that, Lynn waved as she let herself out.

Nathan pulled from around his back a bouquet of half a dozen blue roses.

“What is this for” Bessie asked with a puzzled look on her face.

“It is our one-week anniversary, angel-face?”

“Ah. I see. It has been one week already? Wow.”

“Oh, come on, blue is your favorite color, right?”

“Yeah, I like blue. I guess we should find something to put them in,” she said getting up and going to the cooking area.

“I think they go really well against your green eyes, angel-face.”

“Yeah, blue goes well with green” Bessie said finding a large cup to put the flowers into.

After setting the flowers down on the table, Nathan came up behind Bessie, kissing her nape. “Maybe we could do some more celebrating elsewhere?”

Pulling away from Nathan, “Um. I really need to concentrate on some work right now. I know it is our one-week anniversary and all, but I have an important case I am working on. Is that okay?”

“Well, I guess so. I was just really hoping we could celebrate a bit,” he said with a pouty face.

Holding his chin, “Look maybe a little later, okay? But I really need to finish this first.”

“Oh, okay” he said sheepishly.

“Now can you fix us some early dinner?”


Bessie returned to her work analyzing Gabriel Henson’s information and now including the information from Lynn on Q-Genome while Nathan prepared an early dinner. As she attempted to look up information on Q-Genome she didn’t run into an access block, she just didn’t find any information at all. She couldn’t really confirm Lynn’s comments specifically, except some odd references to quantum genetic theory in genetic learning to regard “Res-Pangenderism”. Putting her right hand to her right temple, she thought, “I know Lynn wouldn’t be making something up like this to pull my leg or something. It had a theory, but could they have applied it? Is she right? Could Gabriel Henson be a Q-Genome person? How would I know? His genome is public, like all Europans. How can you tell if someone had their genome changed at the quantum?”

Bessie was lost in thought, Nathan came up behind her and kissed her on the nape of the neck. Bessie pulled her right hand down and turned to him, giving him a glare.

“Angel-face, it is time to eat” he said taking her right hand.

“What? Oh, sorry” she said getting up. “This case is really getting to me” she said sitting at the table.

“What do you think? It is the best I could do with what you had” he said trying to show off his cooking skills with the pot of Asian style noodles with mixed vegetables sitting squarely on the table next to the blue roses he got her.

“It looks fine” she said, forking some noodles into a bowl.

“So, what have you been working on” he said as he got himself some noodles.

“Well, as I was trying to mention earlier. It is this case dealing with the release of Gabriel Henson. It is driving me nuts.”

“Really?” he said while stuffing his mouth and choking down some noodles. “Why? He is a total nut-job. I say let him rot. Besides, he will not sign anyway, and you cannot make him.”

“That is just it. He is not a nut-job, as you say. I have confirmed everything he told me as being correct.”

Stuffing another fork full of noodles into his mouth, “He is just pulling something over on you. Total nut-job. Everyone on the security force knows it.”

“No, I am telling you the man is brilliant. His mental acuity scores are off the charts.”

Getting another helping, “So he is a crazy smart person. The dude will only eat canned rice pudding, which has to be in the can when given to him. Refuses any other drink except water, and he is up at all hours of the night pacing around in his cell muttering to himself. Total nut-job.”

Cramming another fork full of noodles in his mouth, he continued, “They moved him to an isolated cell years ago because he was a total pervert. He kept going into the female showers when female youth were in them. He said he was doing research. Like I said, total nut-job.”

Bessie sat there eating silently, thinking to herself, “Maybe Nathan is right. Maybe Gabriel Henson is a total nut-job, and this is just another mind trick of his. But everything he has said is true so far. Things were just becoming a muddled mess. Maybe a break from it. I mean, Nathan no doubt wants to have sex to celebrate our one-week anniversary. Although my head is just not into it right now. But he is, based on that dumb look he is giving me. Just smile back for now,” and with that Bessie gave a fake smile back to Nathan.

The next morning Bessie hung half off her one-person bed, with her hips hurting a bit. Nathan poked his head into the bedroom and said, “Hey, angel-face, I see you are up. What a night, but I gotta get to work now” as he adjusted his belt that had various tools of the prison security force trade attached to it.

Bessie rubbed her head, and noticed the time, “Damn it!” She leapt up out of bed, only to have to walk funny due to her hips hurting a bit. It would be a few steps before her hips would come back into alignment.

Bessie made her way to the cooking area and got herself a cup of coffee. Still in her nightgown, she thought to herself as she took a sip of her coffee, “The report needs to be filed this afternoon. But what am I going to tell the Board. Legally he won’t sign, so there is nothing to do. But I just don’t like that option. Gabriel Henson really deserves something else. Something is just nagging at me that justice is not being served if we let him stay locked up.”

Sitting down at the workstation and setting down her cup of coffee, she pulled up the projected keyboard and typed out some of the report in the standard form. She then paused, flicked through some screens on the monitor, looking for some piece of legal notation. Anything to get around the automatic imprisonment for not signing the pledge. After a bit, she found it; “Section 24, Part 14-C-2 of the Main Articles” which read “Upon recommendation of a reviewer, certain cases may bypass the review board, and be presented to the entire community for a release vote”. She could put Gabriel Henson’s case before the entire community for a Consensus Vote. If she did that, she knows it would not go over well with the Board. In looking through the records, they had never used before this section, so this would be the first time. “But Gabriel Henson was unique enough to warrant its use” she thought to herself as she sat back taking a sip of her coffee.

Getting up, and still holding her coffee, she walked around in a circle thinking to herself, “If I do this, this could divide the community. Or not at all. They will not release him. Most people think he is just a total nut-job, as Nathan calls him. Heck, Lynn thought he was dead already. It means revealing somewhat sensitive information. But it will look like I am just as crazy as he is because they consider a lot of that information whack and speculative. Great, now I will be the ‘check type’ who is the daughter of a crazy man. But if I don’t do this- justice is really not being served. I mean, he is just getting his way because of the law, without being judged by his peers. He really deserves to be with the rest of us, or at least a chance to be with the rest of us. He is the smartest guy in the entire station. Okay, a bit whack, but still the smartest guy in the entire station. It is just a total waste to let him sit in jail all day without the chance of being released.”

She returned to her workstation and finished typing out her recommendation. But she had decided. She would evoke the special code and call for a Consensus Vote on Gabriel Henson’s release. She knew it was a big gamble, and something the Board would not like. She didn’t really care. Justice had to be served, she thought to herself.

After finishing the recommendation, she transmitted it to the Board. It was done. That was it, and the Henson Case was now in the hands of the people. She got up. Stretched a bit, and thought to herself, “I really need a hot shower.”

Bessie put up a fresh towel on the towel bar in the small bathroom and then stripped her nightgown off. She checked the shower settings to see if it had completed the cleaning cycle this morning, which it had. She then scrolled through a few different shower program options on the small screen and chose program c, which was her favorite because it had a long hot rinse cycle. She got into the one-person stall and pulled the screen until the magnetic locks clicked shut. The shower cycle began with a warm rinse followed by a sudsy spray from the head at the top of the stall. Then came her favorite part; the long, hot rinse. As the spray from the head at the top sprayed hot water down on to her thin frame, she then leaned against part of the plastic wall and arched her back, letting the spray go to her hips. It felt so good on her hips. “Why do the security boys want to do so many weird positions” she thought to herself. As she continued to let the hot water hit her hips as she moved them from side to side she thought to herself, “It must be all the ‘nut-jobs’ they watch playing with themselves.”

As the steam bellowed from the shower the automatic fan kicked on to suck it away, which was her cue to get out. She opened the slide door and grabbed the towel, which caused the shower to automatically turn off. Drying herself off, she grabbed her nightgown and bounded into the sleeping area and got dressed for the day. It was about then she heard the door buzzer. Looking at it had to be Lynn.

The door buzzed a second time as she approached it while pulling down her shirt at the same time. She opened it, but it wasn’t Lynn to her surprise. It was Rosemary Hayden from the Board. Straitening herself up a bit, Bessie sort of stood at the door a bit stunned seeing the Vice Chair of the Board.

“May I come in?” Rosemary asked.


Walking in and sort of looking about, “We got your report, Bessie, and to be frank, we are surprised by it.”

“I know it is not what is normal for the Board, but the case was not normal.”

“Yes, that is for sure” Rosemary said, pivoting about the room.

“I just thought the case deserved a more unique approach.”

“I see. Unique may not be the word I would use” Rosemary said, taking a seat on the sofa in the central area of Bessie’s quarters. Crossing her legs, “Legal might be more appropriate.”

Bessie standing in the middle of the room facing Rosemary sitting on the sofa, “I can see how some on the Board may see it as a challenge to their authority. But I really don’t mean any disrespect by using that specific code option available to me. I have complete admiration for the work of the Board.”

Standing up and approaching Bessie, “You do dear. I fully understand that this case presented certain challenges that most cases don’t. But so you are aware, the Board has recommended to the Council that this be put to an immediate Consensus Vote and not wait for the regular scheduled vote. The Council has already agreed that the Consensus Vote will occur within the next few days. The pre-vote information has already been released based on your report.”

With that Rosemary patted Bessie on the cheek saying, as Bessie stood there silently with her mouth tightly shut, “I will just let myself out, dear.”

Bessie sat down, and collapsed forward, as she spoke aloud to herself, “Shite! I wasn’t expecting the Board to go to the Council to call the vote sooner. I thought it would be with the regular schedule giving me enough time to present the case publicly. Now I will look like a complete fool. There is no time to present the case. It is just going to be a hard vote based on the report.” She then hit her head with her right hand in anger at herself for making such a bonehead mistake.

It would be later that her friend Lynn would come calling for their routine lunch date. Greeting Lynn with their routine kiss at the door, Bessie noticed that Lynn seemed more distant. Her kiss just wasn’t normal and seemed more cold and functional.

“What is it?” Bessie asked.

“What?” Lynn responded.

“You seem distant right now. Is there something bugging you?”

“Sort of. Maybe. I don’t know,” Lynn turned away, “Let us just do some lunch.”

Lynn and Bessie went to their favorite place in the arboretum and seasonal vintage, but Lynn was not very communicative at all during their lunch. Bessie tried some of her usual quirky smiles and jabs to get Lynn to talk, but Lynn wasn’t budging. Bessie was getting a little angry at Lynn for being so distant from her. This was the first time in their relationship Lynn was this distant, and it felt like she was betraying her somehow. When they got back to Bessie’s quarters, Bessie took Lynn by the shoulders and squarely looked into Lynn’s big blue eyes and asked, “What the heck is the matter with you?”

With that Lynn, in a bit of anger, broke from Bessie’s grip and said, “You!”

“What do you mean me?!”

“Just that, you!”

Trying to take Lynn’s hand, which Lynn pulled away automatically, Bessie said, “What do you mean me?”

“You are just such a damn ‘check type’” Lynn said out loud in a burst of anger.

Bessie recoiled in a bit of horror to hear Lynn say such a thing to her. Lynn was her longest and most intimate friend. They had known each other since the Youth Incarceration Program, where both of them were picked on and then teamed up together to take on the bullies. They always had each other’s back. Their relationship evolved into a more romantic nature. But to hear this from Lynn. “A damn ‘check type’”; a phrase Bessie expected from one of those genome purists, but not Lynn.

Lynn quickly apologized for the outburst as she wiped some developing tears from her face. “I am sorry. I just cannot believe what you have done. Done to me.”

“What did I do to you?”

“You broke my trust.”

“When? I don’t understand” Bessie said with a really puzzled look on her face.

“The upcoming vote. You mentioned the Q-Genome Project in your report. The project heads knew it was me instantly because they knew I knew you. I have been removed from the Europa studies for now and put under administrative discipline. Do you know how long I had been working on the Europa Deep Viral project?!”

“I didn’t know,” Bessie said trying again to take Lynn’s hand, “I really did not understand that the Board would force an immediate vote, not giving me the chance to do the normal presentation.”

Lynn pulling angrily away from Bessie, and wiping some tears from her face, “I was so close to a breakthrough on that project. Now it is all just gone. I really hate you right now.” And with that, Lynn ran away from Bessie.

In shock over what had just transpired, Bessie entered her quarters. Emotionally, she was confused. She wanted to make things up with Lynn, but really didn’t know how. She hit her right temple over and over with her right hand, thinking to herself what bonehead mistakes she had made with the report. Maybe Lynn was right. Maybe it was because she was just a ‘check type’. A flaw in her genes that made her make such dumb, bonehead mistakes. That is when she realized that they mostly made her of Gabriel Henson’s genome and blamed him for her mistakes. “Damn crazy nut-job. I got nut-job DNA in me” she thought to herself. Bessie went to the kitchen and pulled out some non-dairy chocolate ice cream she kept for these occasional stress events. Not that they happened all the time to this degree. But from time to time she would have an issue with the Board over some stupid issue in a report she submitted. Getting a spoon, she sat at the table and began to just eat spoonful after spoonful mindlessly from the container.

“Shite! I cannot believe I would mess up so badly with Lynn,” Bessie said out loud as she spooned up another spoonful of ice cream. “I had totally forgotten how much she was into her work. How much her work meant to her and how important her research was to her. I am such a damn ‘check-type’. A real nut-job ‘check-type’” she said, cramming a large spoonful into her mouth.

Just then Nathan came into her quarters earlier than normal. Looking up at Nathan, and taking the spoon out of her mouth, she said, “Wow, you are here early?”

“Yeah, I just came over to get some stuff.”

Noticing that Nathan was carrying a plastic duffel bag, she asked, “Stuff? What do you mean?”

“I am moving back with Sherry.”

“Sherry? But I thought you broke up with her?”

“Yeah, well, we got back together today” Nathan said as he stuffed some bits of odd things into the plastic duffel bag.

“Okay, this seems rather sudden.”

“Well, you know how it is” Nathan said as he went into the bedroom.

Getting up from the table, “No, why don’t you elaborate a bit?”

As Nathan exited the bedroom, “People cannot see me with a nut-job supporter. It is bad for the career.”

“Is this what this is about” she said, pointing to the plastic duffel bag.

“Yup, angel-face” he said, patting her on the cheek.

Bessie was about to smack him for that remark, but Nathan had already walked away towards the main door of Bessie’s quarters.

“Okay, go then” Bessie quipped.

With that Nathan left, and Bessie returned to mindlessly spooning her non-dairy chocolate ice-cream into her mouth. Eventually she ran out of ice-cream. Sadly, she stared at the bottom of the container smeared with streaks of non-dairy chocolate ice-cream along its sides, and with that she tossed the container into the trash unit.

She flopped forward on the table with her arms outstretched before her, and her face planted into the grey-white plastic table. She banged her head against the table a bit, saying out loud, “I am such a damn ‘check-type’.”

After a bit, she got up. Her arms were limp at her sides. She just rummaged around the kitchen aimlessly through various food items she had until she came across a few bottles of alcohol that she had stuffed away in the back corner of one cabinet. “Wow, I had totally forgotten about these” she said out loud.

Pulling them out, she displayed them on the table. Five bottles of various alcohols from a bottle of Martian Near Whiskey, a bottle of a Terran Vodka, some bottle of a weird 200 proof Titan brand she could never figure out what the name was exactly, a bottle of Jasmine Flavored Whiskey, and a bottle of 150 proof Fire Coffee. “Man, this brings back some memories” she said rubbing her head. “It is a shame Lynn isn’t here to see these. We got so plastered that one time” Bessie said as she got a cup and poured herself some of the Martian Near Whiskey.

Bessie poured herself drink after drink until she had finished the Martian Near Whiskey and then worked on the other bottles. As she did she became drunk, and in the processed pulled up on her workstation a photo of Gabriel Henson.

Talking in a slur and pointing at the photo as she stood in front of the workstation, “Listen dad, I have some words for you. You are a total nut-job!”

“Do you hear me! A total nut-job! And your children are total nut-jobs. All of us are screw-ups. We cannot get anything right. You made us that way, you nut-job!”

Stumbling a bit, she continued, “Look at me, I have small boobs” she said pointing to her chest. “Wow, I am so thin” she said as she looked at herself. “See, Dad, you made me like this. Why couldn’t I have big boobs? Oh, yeah, because you are a nut-job.”

Pointing to the screen showing Gabriel’s image, “What are you doing right now? Probably looking at some naked young girls in the shower, I bet, you nut-job!” With that, Bessie collapsed to the floor and fell asleep. 

It would be nearly half a day later when Bessie would wake up from her binge drinking escapade, with a hangover like she had not experienced in a very long time. Her head was pounding like crazy, and she was sick to her stomach. She ran to the bathroom where she vomited in the shower which caused the shower to automatically turn on part of the cleaning cycle on her. It soaked her head and upper body from the shower and she grabbed a towel and made her way back to the cooking area and sat down at the table. Her head was still pounding but now wet; she could still see the image of Gabriel Henson on the workstation nearby.

“My life really sucks right now” she thought to herself. “What am I going to do? Well, Nathan isn’t really a total loss. The sex wasn’t that great with him, so Sherry can have all the hip pain. But losing Lynn. I don’t know if I can take losing Lynn. She is so mad at me right now. I just don’t know how to fix this with Lynn. We have known each other for so long. Our trust was just so implicit, and I blew it in an instant. And I may lose my job over this damn case. Great, what work am I going to do? I am a bit too old to go back for re-training into some new discipline. They will probably demote me to doing clearance work again.”

Flopping forward on the table and thinking to herself, “But it is Lynn that is really bugging me. I just don’t know how to regain her trust. Getting her flowers and stuff like that will not work. I guess I just need to give her some time. Shite! I really hate this!”

It was announced later that same day that the Consensus Vote would take place the next day. They broadcasted the Consensus Vote through the internal network to all the Europan Scientific Community residents, and each voted through their voting terminal in their quarters using their Europan ID card on the fate of Gabriel Hansen’s release. The votes were tallied, and the results publicly displayed. 98% against to 2% for. They would not release Gabriel Hansen from the Youth Incarceration Program. Bessie’s legal attempt to have him release had failed.

Bessie had the duty to inform Gabriel Hansen of the results. She entered once more into interview room four. Behind the thick industrial wall of clear plastic was sitting in a chair with his hands bound behind him, dressed in the banana yellow prison jumper, was the thin middle-aged balding scruffy grey bearded man know has Gabriel Hansen. The man the prison guards called a nut-job. The man whose test scores showed was just brilliant beyond any human alive. A man who refuses to let himself out of prison by signing a simple document swearing allegiance to the Europan Scientific Community. Bessie pulled up a chair at the table in the stark white room.

“Well, here we are again,” Gabriel said.

“Yes, it would seem so,” Bessie responded.

“You know I will not sign.”

“I know.”

“So, why are you here?”

“Because I have to legally tell you something” Bessie said as she nervously wrung her hands on the table before her.

“It is about the vote isn’t it,” he responded.

“You know about it” she said with a puzzled look on her face.

“Yes. The guards wouldn’t shut up about it.”

“Of course you did.” she said with a sigh of relief.

“I guess I should thank you for trying.”

“What do you mean” Bessie asked in a puzzled manner.

“You are the first of my children to actually get that far. To want to help their father.”

Bessie pulled herself back in her chair a bit, and looked at him with a bit of anger, and said to him, “Is this what this whole experiment thing is about?! Trying to get you out?! I thought you were brilliant, but you are just a total nut-job! Just like what the guards say you are! My life is in total ruins because of you!”

“I guess I will just have to wait for the next kid to well,” he added with a devilish smile.

With that Bessie collapsed on the table, her short black hair flopped forward. As she motioned with her right hand she said, “Guards we are done here. You can take this nut-job back to his cell where he can just rot!”

© 2016-2017 AEM Services