Carlos hated these wars, but he knew that he was the best qualified. The stakes this time were the Philippines Carlos was constantly looking for the enemy; he knew that long ago they had stopped being so obvious, except of course for the last war. He could not believe that the French actually tried using antigravity belts to land on him… But then again that was the mighty French, and their winning tactics. The Japanese on the other hand, with their technology were going to be much more devious and harder to avoid.
Carlos had other thoughts on his mind, his wife was just about ready to have a baby. He knew that she was in at the safe house, and that the Japanese could not use her to get to him. But because Carlos had promised that he will be there with her when she gave birth, Mother assured him that he would notify him when she was ready to deliver.
Carlos stopped walking. He was so rapped up in his thoughts that he almost missed it. A little dog was steadily approaching him. Carlos’s hairs on the back of his neck raised, he took out this sensor. It registered normal, but something just wasn’t right. He ducked into a doorway, the building sensors admitted him, and the doors shut automatically behind him.
A mechanical voice came through some hidden speaker. “May we be of service?”
“No… Wait yes you can. Is there another entrance?” Carlos responded
“Affirmative, there is a service entrance used by the Man-droids and Bi-droids.” The automated voice said
“Good! Please have a travel car sent to me at that entrance.” Carlos responded
“Affirmative. Travel car is on the way. Will you be needing anything else?”
“Yes… Do you have a viewer with which I can see the front entrance?”
With that, an image screen came to life on the wall. Carlos saw that the dog was sniffing by the entrance of the building. Carlos activated his com-link.
“Mother, 2XL here”
“Yes, 2XL, what is it?”
“The Japanese have something that is beating my sensors, stand by I am going to send you a feed of it.” Carlos adjusted a dial and fed the image on the screen to Mother.
“Okay, 2XL, we got it. We’ll work on it. And remember stay ahead. Midnight is not that far off. We cannot afford to lose.”
Carlos rolled his eyes. “Yeah, yeah I know Duty, Honor County, 2XL out. God I hate war” he said
“Yeah what is it”
“Your travel car is waiting”
“Good, can you give me a picture?”
The image on the viewer changed, and the rear of the building was shown. He saw nothing but the car. Satisfied, he went out the back entrance and jumped into awaiting car.
A disembodied voice came to life “Destination please.”
Carlos thought for a. Moment. “Take me to the Promenades in Brooklyn.” Carlos keyed in his credit code, and the car took off smoothly. Carlos settled in. He wanted to go to the Promenades because it was easy to see anyone approaching, plus, with it’s wonderful view of Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge, it made for a wonderful place to relax.
Carlos thought about his life, he didn’t mind being a soldier (not really anyway). He liked the prestige that it brought. He was considered the best at avoidance. His finely turned instincts were the most sought after throughout the world. But Carlos loved America, he was the only person that he knew of that could still recite the Pledge Of Allegiance. But now that his wife was about to give birth to their allotted child, he was thinking of retiring. He had earned more that enough credits for them to live comfortably for the rest of their lives. It was a comforting thought.
“Promenade sir” the mechanical voice broke his train of thoughts…
“Damn that was quick.”
“I am sorry sir, but you did not request the scenic route.”
Carlos grunted, “What the Hell is so scenic about New York?” He was just about to get out , when he noticed birds that were circling over head. Carlos didn’t know how he knew but he just knew the birds were the enemy.
“I said take off, just take off anywhere.” Carlos took out his com-link”
“Mother, come in damn it, Mother.”
“Yes 2XL, I am here”
“They are using birds now.” Carlos said
“We made some adjustments on your sensor, we are downloading now.”
Carlos checked his sensor. He saw that is was in receipt of the new mode.
“I got it Mother, now let’s see if it works.” Carlos turned the sensor on the now fading birds. He knew that the range was good. The sensor registered what his instincts told him, but he could not believe the extent of it. The birds were definitely under outside control through genetic manipulation. Carlos called Mother.
“Mother was the down feed correct?”
“I’m afraid so. We have been experimenting in that field ourselves, but I’m afraid that they are a few years ahead of us. But I have some good news. From the information that we were able to obtain, they have not been able to use humans yet. We believe that they will need at least another generation to perfect it.” Carlos whistled. “That close huh?”
“Yes, but don’t worry, we’ll have something for it by then. Until then keep your distance from all animals. You have four and a half hours of war play left. After that, you won’t have to worry about them anymore.”
“Mother, I’m going to have to go deep.”
“We understand,” Mother ended the transmission.
“I want you to drive around the city on your tourist mode. Whenever possible I want you to avoid animals and people. And above all, I do not want you stop for any reason, understood?”
“Good!” Carlos settled back in the leather chairs. He was tired he had not slept of even rested much in the last forty four hours. Carlos breathed out. Just four hours more, and the war would be over. Carlos signed, “War, right!” Carlos found himself wishing that he were back in the old days when soldiers lived or died by their wits. Now when war was fought, no one even noticed just one or two lines in the morning paper, until the end anyway, when the loser had to relinquish some territory, or forfeit some debt. It was safe. Now the only time that a soldier got hurt was if he tripped over something.
“Well I guess it’s better than lands and it’s people being ravaged.”
“Sir?” The mechanical voice asked
“Never mind, just talking to myself.”
Carlos returned to his thoughts. Now what was the President’s name? Duck? Pheasant? Damn what was his name? He was named after some fowl or bird. Anyway, his ideas for peace were so simple that he was accused of regression into a second childhood. But then the world, tired of was, started taking his ideas seriously and within one hundred years, all of his ideas were adopted.
“So here I am.” Carlos felt that he knew how his hero, Eisenhower felt when, as general without any combat experience he was promoted to the post of Supreme Allied Commander during the second World War. Carlos just felt that he had not really earned anything.
Carlos looked at his chronometer, he had been driving for a little less that an hour. Carlos knew that the Japanese were going to try something soon. He looked at this chronometer again he saw that he had three hours to V-Time.
“Travel car” Carlos called
“I want to go to the Port Authority Museum in the old historic Manhattan district.”
The adrenaline was flowing now that he was in the end, game, he knew that the Japanese were going to get more aggressive. When he arrived at the Port Authority Museum Carlos told the travel car to drive around and return in twenty minutes.
Carlos entered the building, at this hour there were not many people about. Carlos liked it that way. Once in the main foyer, a disembodied voice came to life.
“Welcome to the Port Authority Museum of Transportation”
Carlos ignored the voice and the tour lights that were directing him. Instead he went up to the second level chamber. After keying in an access code he stepped inside closing the door behind him, he went to a scope like item that was protruding from the wall. He placed his eye to the eyepiece, where a red beam scanned his eye. In a few seconds a panel slid open revealing a keyboard, where he punched in the appropriate keys, causing a rear wall to slide open revealing another room. On the side of the entrance to this room was a small glowing square that was flashing red. Carlos placed his hand on the square, and the flashing light turned green. Carlos waited a few seconds, then a familiar voice came on.
“Good evening, please submit for voice identification.”
“2XL, looking for support.”
“Identification verified please enter.”
Once Carlos was in, the wall slid shit behind him. Carlos looked around the safe house. He went to the wall that had multi screens. “Viewers on” The screens came to life. On them were views of all the entrances and corridors of the museum. Carlos watched the main entrance where two dogs were sniffing around the doors. A travel car pulled up to the curb, a tall women got out and went to the entrance, the dogs look up at her, then turned and walked away.
“So I finally get to see one of them.” Carlos said
Carlos went to a side panel and pressed a button. A closet opened revealing an exact duplicate of himself. He fed in the activation program through a terminal and watched as the man-droid came to life. It’s eyes opened and it looked at Carlos, an uneasiness washed over Carlos, he could never get used to his man-droid duplicate.
The man-droid stretched and yawned. “Well, well, well, looks who needs me again.” It spoke in what Carlos would describe as a most arrogant voice. Carlos rolled his eyes, “Look cut the chatter, I need a decoy.”
“Well duh! Like you would activate me for anything else. Well no matter you know that I am the best”
“Yeah, yeah, like you will ever let me forget that. Just get going.” Carlos said
The man-droid went to the clothes simulator and changed into an identical set of clothing that Carlos was wearing. It stepped out of the simulator and looked at itself.
“Man you really have to get a better tailor.”
“Just get going.” Carlos snapped
The man-droid went to the exit chute. It turned to Carlos, “Well good luck! Don’t get tagged, you do not want me to look bad do you?”
“Don’t worry, if you do your job right we will be sitting pretty.”
“I will. Well like they say, Banzai!” With that man-droid went down the chute. Carlos shook his head. He could never really understood why the man-droids personality was so different than his, after all the man-droid had his brain grafts. He once asked a psyche-tech and was told that when they implanted Carlos’s brain tissue into the man-droid, that it was exhibiting some of Carlos’s repressed behavior patterns. Carlos called the psyche-tech a quack.
Carlos watched the viewers and saw the man-droid walk out the main entrance and into the awaiting travel car. It took off as soon as the door closed. A few minutes later the woman ran out, jumped into her car and went after the man-droid.
Carlos smiled. “Works every time!” He looked at his chronometer. “Two hours left.” He was about to get something to eat when his communicator went off.
“2XL here. What’s up? You know I am suppose to be deep.”
“Yes, I know, Carlos, but I have some good news. Your wife is going into labor. Are you clear?”
“Clearer that a baby’s cheek!” Carlos responded
“Ahem… Yes well you better burn then. Mother out.”
Carlos went to the exit chute, smiled sheepishly to himself and yelled “Banzai” on the way down the chute.
Carls was deep in thought as he was heading to the command medical facilities. Genetic manipulation was considered the ultimate goal for any nation. Gene splicing and altering (like plastic surgery in the twenty first century) was common place and became the rage of the twenty second century. Families having traits and characteristics implanted in their children became the norm, but to actually program a being to be born with an instinctive drive to obey or with certain idea, that was what really frightened Carlos the most. Something else was nagging at Carlos. It was what Mother had said about Japanese not being able to manipulate humans until the next generation. He wondered…
Carlos’s wife, Lisa smiled in between the contractions as she watched her husband enter the stasis field.
“I thought you weren’t going to make it. How’s the war going?” She asked
“It’s going great. How’s yours going?”
Lisa grunted as another contraction passed. “It’s coming along fine!” Carlos stepped out of the stasis field when the indicator cleared him from contaminants. He went up to his wife and took her hand, Lisa grunted as another contraction passed. “We turned into a bit of a narcissist haven’t we?”
“Well when you’re…”
Just then the med-tech entered the room. “She will be having the baby in three minutes and 37 seconds.”
Carlos looked at the med-tech. “You sure know how to set the mood don’t you?”
The med-tech ignored Carlos’s sarcasm. “Three minutes.”
The contractions started coming faster, Patricia could feel the baby coming. She grabbed Carlos’s hands. The head started showing. The med-tech worked the remover. The head started slipping out. Lisa grunted but did not cry out. The shoulders were making there way out, followed quickly by the rest of the body. The baby, a boy, was out. The med-tech supervised as the remover automatically cleaned the baby and cut the umbilical cord, and started to remove the after birth.
Carlos kissed Lisa. “Good job, honey you gave me a son!” The med-tech brought the baby up to Carlos. Carlos was just about to take the baby when the infants opened it eyes and grabbed Carlos by the wrist and said “Tag… Our end game”
“I beg to differ but it’s our end game, boy you Japanese are sneaky” Carlos smiled and looked down at the infant. “Well we can be just as sneaky.”
With that Carlos brought his hand to the side of his face, he pressed a hiding catch and his face sprung open like an old jack in the box, revealing the wires that made up his circulatory system. The baby looked dumbfounded and went into a temper tantrum lisa stared at her husband in shock. The man-droid closed his face, and handed the boy to the med-tech. Lisa started protesting. “Where are they taking my baby?” She screamed releasing some of the hysteria that was building up.
The man-droid ignored her question “Mother, Carlos you can come now.”
lisa grabbed the man-droids arm “I SAID WHERE ARE THEY TAKING MY CHILD?”
“Mother was the first to respond to her question. “Do not worry lisa we are just taking the infant to isolation and deprogramming.”
“Depro…” she stammered as the two men came through the stasis field. She looked at Carlos, then at the man-droid whose arm she was holding. The man-droid gently removed Lisa hand from his arm as he spoke “It worked like a charm boss. The geek never knew what took him.” Lisa exploded :That so called geek is my son, and I want to know what is going on? What deprogramming are you talking about?”
“Don’t worry about it babe, we just…”
Carlos grabbed the man-droids by the arm. “If you don’t mind I will like to explain it to my wife, thank you. Why don’t you see if you can assist the med-tech.”
the man-drop Carlos shrugged his shoulders. “Touchy ain’t we! No matter, sure I’ll go help the tech.” The man-droid winked at Lisa and turned and left. Open mouthed Lisa watched him leave. “Who… or what was that?” Carlos reached down and grabbed her hand. “That was my man-droid. He is a decoy.”
Lisa looked sharply at Carlos. “Decoy! Just like me a decoy? Just like your son a decoy?”
Carlos started protesting. “No… No… it’s not like that… Not like that at all… It’s…”
Mother, placed his arm on Carlos shoulder. “Why don’t you let me explain.” Mother went to the other side of Lisas bed. “Patricia, I am very sorry about this, but it appears that the Japanese were able to infect your child while it was developing inside you with a genetic manipulation gene. It’s only purpose was to Tag Carlos for the end game. Now that he failed, we believe that we can remove the effects of the gene, and your son will be normal.” He turned to Carlos. “You know Carlos that was really good. I will never know how you figured out what they did to your son.
“Well it was mainly a hunch, and the rest instincts.” Carlos replied
“Just look at you two, patting yourselves on the back.” Patricia snapped
“Well I’m telling you right now mister, it’s either top solider and world savior or my husband! Which one is it?”
Carlos looked at Mother somewhat embarrassed. Lisa please…”
“But,Lisa, honey please…”
Mother placed a hand on Carlos’s shoulder. “Listen son, maybe she is right. You have been avoiding for along time. Maybe it is time that you retire.” Carlos was stunned. “But who will replace me?”
“Don’t work about that, we have a replacement that shows very good promise.”
Carlos looked down at Lisa, relief evident on his face. “Well honey I guess that it is all decided!”
Mother turned to leave, at the door he turned back one and looked at the couple. He smiled and walked out.
Mother was sitting at his office desk going over some files when the intercom buzzed.
“Excuse me sir, 3XL is here to see you.”
“Good, good send him in.”
The door to the office whisked open. “What’s up big cat?” Mother looked up at the smiling man-droid disapprovingly. “I have asked you to stop calling me that, and will please take a seat.”
The man-droid rolled his eyes and slumped into a chair.
Mother inspected the facial features of the man-droid and nodded his approval of the surgery.
“Now we can get on with the briefing. Great Britain has declared war on United States and the starting times is….”
All rights belong to its author. It was published on e-Stories.org by demand of Richard Rodriguez.
Published on e-Stories.org on 23.10.2018.