EPISODE TWO: On The Wings of Icarus.
“Okay, factoring in his rough height and weight at the age of thirty-“
“What? Why thirty? Didn’t he die at an old age for that time?”
“Yes, but I want him in his prime Kam, when he was doing great things with his life and not dying of a stroke in bed,” Rain answered crossly. Kam held up her hands in defense, powering on of the consoles son.
“Okay, okay. Have it your way.’
“Thank you.” Rain stared down at her own station, across from the lab, her ever present walking stick next to her. “So I want you to monitor the life support and electrical signals from the brain. I will be crafting the body and uploading the actual database of information to his synapses.”
She took a deep breath and brought the newly built containers and ‘regenerator’ machine online. Under the bright lab lights, a quiet electrical buzz started up.
“Alright, running simulation number one. The Da Vinci Test. Kam, start the machine.”
Rain observed carefully as Kam raised the glass shielding over the table, like the Komali had done in the video three months ago.
Three months of overnights at the lab, going over the data again and again, reconstructing it then ripping it apart at the foundation when it didn’t work. She must have explained the fucking thing to her dogs over ten times now, trying to understand what was missing.
Finally Rain was ready to pull the trigger and run an actual trial.
Today was that day.
“Okay, now activate the generator. This will cause the creation process to begin, first with the skeleton.”
Kam obediently pushed the buttons, and both women watched at the piles of minerals on the table began to shift and form. Skull, spine, ribs, pelvis, legs, arms all formed on the table. Rain beat back her excitement and calmly ordered the next part. Now internal organs, made in a separate container formed. Carefully Kam transported them to the proper space in the body cavity and then started a blood transfer. The blood was a guess, based on probability and research done about what blood types were most common in the south of Italy in the 15th century.
Soon a layer of muscle wrapped around the body, forming broad shoulders and long legs.
“Wow, he was really tall,” Kam remarked.
Rain nodded her head absently.
“Well let’s see what our Renaissance man looked like. Give him skin, Kam.”
This was the longest part of the process, the skin appearing piecemeal, gradually filling in cell by cell.
It was like standing in a spot that had been electrically charged. Rain shifted her weight back and forth, impatiently. Kam seemed as entranced as she was staring into the glass case with an expression of amazement.
Finally the skin was finished, the pigmentation lighter than either Rain or Kam’s, but tending to a warmer color than any of the white people Rain had ever met. His hair was a very dark brown that lay in waves on the table.
Rain crossed her fingers under the workstation and took a deep breath.
“Okay Kam, give him 120 jolts, just to get his heart started,” she ordered. Kam nodded and pressed a button and the body on the table jerked as the current ran through it.
Neither woman breathe for a long moment, watching. Then the sound of a heart beat filled the room.
Rain whooped in delight, spinning on her heel. Elation filled her mind as she grinned at the case.
“How’s it look Kam? Is his heartbeat steady?”
“Yeah but,” Kam bit her lip frowning at her screen. A wave of cold washed over Rain.
“Rain I’m sorry-”
“There’s no brain activity! The synapses are intact, but there’s nothing there,” Kam explained.
“No! That’s not possible we ran the simulation and it worked fine!” Rain looked over the data herself, eyes flicking back and forth over the numbers. “Shock him again!”
“You heard me, give him another jolt.”
Biting her lip, Kam did so, the body jerked again and the heart beats increased, but the brain waves stayed dark.
“Do it again! Two hundred this time!”
“Rain, you’re going to fry him!”
“Just do what I say!”
Kam shook as she did it again, the body jerked again, more violently.
Again and again Rain ordered her to send electrify into the lifeless body, until after 700 jolts, the body caught fire. Even as Kam doused it, Rain just stared, eyes furious and jaw set.
“What the hell went wrong?” Rain moaned at her screen, head propped up in her hand. Her long dark hair was carelessly scraped back from her face and shadows like bruise were under her eyes.
“Was it the-“
“Well what about-“
“Did you look at the-“
“Kam, be quiet, I’m trying to think,” Rain snapped. She started reading over the data again, and growled.
“There’s something missing, something we aren’t seeing.”
Kam sighed and stretched her neck, rotating her shoulders. She glanced at the clock and slumped.
It was just after two in the morning, meaning that she’d been here for a little over twenty-two hours.
“Rain, we’re not gonna figure it out tonight. Let’s go home, come back later today,” Kam pleaded.
Rain didn’t even turn around.
Kam sighed. “Fine. Stay here and sulk. I’m going home,” she snapped, tearing off her lab coat and hanging it up. She collected her tablet and walked out.
Rain never even twitched.
“She’s been gone for days,” Berwald said, sitting next to Ava. “We should use this time to try and leave.”
Ava shook herself. “No. She left with Kam. She comes back after she does that.”
Berwald growled. “You made us wait for her to come back after she left for space. How long are we going to remain her prisoners?”
Ava turned her yellow eyes on her brother. “Till I say we go.” The fur along her shoulders was rising and she stood up. She was taller than the other dog, thanks to the Irish Wolfhound in her. “And I say we wait until we’re sure she isn’t coming back.” She snapped her teeth in front of his muzzle.
Berwald shrank back and reluctantly rolled onto the floor.
“As you say, Alpha.”
Ava stared at him until he crawled away then sat back down on the rug in the living room. A whimper alerted her to Baby’s presence.
“Pups shouldn’t eavesdrop,” she growled. The Pompeian crawled out from under the couch, one of the many places she liked to hide in.
“I was just sleeping, until you and Berwald started fighting.”
Ava sighed and put her head down on her front paws. “Berwald forgets his place in the pack.” She turned to Baby. “Make sure you never do.” The puppy cocked her head, ears fluttering.
Then she laid down next to Ava.
“Are we really going to run away from Rain?”
Ava nosed the fluffy fur that ended up next to her nose.
“Yes. As soon as we can.”