Like a Thief In the Night — Part I

The following is a shortened and altered form of what is becoming one of my pieces of short fiction.  The below is Part I; a link to Part II is at the end.

Note: one or two photos in Part I may qualify as minimally NSFW.

Ellen 1

“Can a person steal happiness? Or is it just another internal, infernal human trick?” — Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

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2236 C. E. (201 A. M. – Anno Metroplex)

The door to the orbital station’s “medical bay” slid open, and Ellen Kuan stepped through, confident enough from the technical side that she had made the right choice in gene-jiggers. Messing around with the genetic makeup of your own body was never a recommended thing — one reason why gene techs were so closely regulated. This house was as regulated as any other — but they were also discreet; and discretion was something Ellen needed lots of discretion in her own peculiar profession. She much preferred not tinkering around with what nature had provided (and it had provided well in her case). The payoff for this job, however, was too big to resist — a slice of better than 50 million credits — and so she had come to this clinic, knowing from three previous times that she would get both things she needed: a professional, quality job, and silence. Unless she blabbed herself, in which case it was well understood that the clinic’s owners would sing like an Antarean bluebird in mating season.

She had no intention of developing loose lips any time soon, of course, and so she laid such negative thoughts aside as she stepped through the decontam field and continued into the med bay itself. The medtech she had come to know so well was at the bay desk, working on forms.

Ellen 2

Ellen 3

“Are you ready to proceed?” the medtech said, standing and waving at the various implements of the medical profession.

“Ready enough,” Ellen said, after drawing a calming breath. She hoped she didn’t look as nervous as she felt; any invasive medical procedure carried a risk, even two hundred years into the Age of the Metroplexes and space travel between planets. Gene work had come far since the early Terran animal-gene splicing — now you could become a humanoid species from another planet. The risks were still there, though, of an accident.

The tech showed no signs of noticing or caring. “Please sit on the carriage, then. We will take care of the physical first, then install the softie packages and biological components. Full time for recovery should be approximately eighteen hours standard. Since you have paid in advance, all needs will be supplied in situ.”

Ellen nodded, stripped off her top and pants, and climbed onto the multipurpose medibed. She had been through the process before, several times; at first it had seemed a little unnerving to be lying jaybird naked (whatever a “jaybird” was) in front of the tech, until she had seen “his” eyes, and discovered that he was a lobot — his brain had been replaced by a basic-function computer.

Ellen 4

First, of course, came the “template” scan. No matter how many times she had been through this, the tech needed to know what he had to work with, if she was filled with booze or drugs, and also to see if there had been any changes or mutations from previous procedures. Ellen endured the process with patience — this was also the required information to reverse the jig when she returned.

Ellen 5

Fifteen minutes of scanning, and her template was ready and loaded into the computers. Ellen had already specified the changes she wanted; now, as she was going under from the medibed’s hypnostim, she murmured, “Remember, I didn’t order any gills with this jig.” It was her standard way of blowing off the last vestiges of nervousness over what was coming.

Ellen 6

Once the operation was over, the tech monitored her in a tank full of hydroheal to ensure she got a fast start to full recovery…

Ellen 7

…followed by the 48-hour final recovery phase, where the changes she sought began setting in….

Ellen 7b

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Where will this intense medical procedure lead to? Read Part II for the conclusion….

All clothing by [sYs]; however, “Ellen’s” top and pants appear to be vintage, no longer available

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