American Chimera – 5.1

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The interrogator clutched her tablet tight. She gave a salute as she entered the oak-paneled room. “Agent Ivanov?”

Ivanov saluted back weakly, giving her permission to enter and remain at ease. He pointed to a chair on the other side of his barren desk and waited for her to relax in its cushioning. “I’ve been looking over your work. A bit distracted, as of late?”

She nodded. “Our mission was to take the statements from all the witnesses and force silence on all those who seemed amenable. I’ve a list of about twenty candidates for release here,” she shoved her tablet forward and clicked ‘send’ to share the list with him, “If you’d like to look over my decisions.”

He took the tablet and scanned over her suggestions. “Yes. Looks in order – should be easy enough for me to go through. But I see here you’ve been wasting time with people like Dr. Worthington and Stacy Ellington. When we picked them up we never expected to release them, so why run them through questioning?”

The interrogator nodded. “I spoke with the head scientist earlier. He indicated that his venture could benefit from the information I gathered.”

“And you agreed to spend your time on his job?”

The interrogator waited a moment, looked away from Ivanov a short time, then said, “I was unaware he wasn’t to be helped. His request sounded reasonable, and I still think it possible I could come across the information he wants.”

Ivanov grunted and scooted closer to the table. “You work for me, not him. We may all be paid by the CIA right now, but his type and our type don’t fall under the same authority.”

“I don’t see how helping him could possibly lead to harm.”

“It wouldn’t, as long as you kept doing your job.”

“I am doing my job. The interviews I conducted with the Huffmans, Dr. Worthington, and Stacey Ellington were all done after my obligatory work had been completed.”

Agent Ivanov groaned and flipped through her report. “Fine. Your reports show you’ve been diligent enough, but even so, I just don’t want you going down that rabbit hole. Dr. Smith is a madman.”

The interrogator smiled and leaned regally into the cushioned chair. “Oh, I gathered that. Fiendish Dr. Kim seemed more ethical a scientist than Dr. Smith, and I – I mean, God killed her for crimes against humanity.”

“Well, seeing as classified documents indicate it was you who blew up the chimera labs and killed Dr. Kim, I’ll have to take your word for it.” He cleared his throat. “Dr. Smith seems nice enough to me, though. The research he’s got hiding downstairs is his business. I’m sure he’s ignored protocol and has been cloning as many little monsters as he can with what time and money we can give him. Everything he’s made since the Convention treaty was signed is a threat to our nation’s existence. But his specimen 803 – the one that got away and was raised by lunatic white trash – is his key to becoming more than an obscure scientist that has been squirreled away by his government. Make him actually deserve his funding, Agent. Don’t do his job for him when your own job is so massive and important.”

The interrogator didn’t move. “With all respect, Agent Ivanov, I would like it to be logged that I disagree with you. The Convention treaty states that the sheer existence of chimeras is proof of a crime against humanity. Mere evidence that research into chimeras existed is enough to warrant a new war. Do you remember the last war? Were you there when the North Koreans sent their monkey men against us?”

“I wasn’t on the ground at the time, unlike you.” Ivanov kept his nose up and his lips pursed. “I hear the bloodshed was fantastic.”

“I wouldn’t use the word ‘fantastic’ to describe what I saw. Be glad you didn’t have to go through it.” The interrogator shook her head. “But things are different now. With birthrates declining as planned, no nation has the manpower to support a war -”

“But they do have the firepower. Nukes.”

The interrogator’s face contorted at the interruption. “What I was about to say was that no nation has the manpower to support a war except, perhaps, us. I’ve seen a couple videos of specimen 803 playing volleyball. I’ve seen statistics from Dr. Smith about her capabilities, her nearly bulletproof hide, her ability to control the males, everything. If Dr. Smith’s work succeeds and he can create a self-suficient species, we’ve won any war that could come our way. No nation could summon an army to fight his monsters. Nuclear weapons assures mutual destruction, but many may believe Dr. Smith’s monsters could provide American superiority for generations to come.”

“That’s a bit of a stretch, but ok. Plenty of people would probably believe it, and that’s really all that matters.” Agent Ivanov’s lips moved, and his eyes glanced over the interrogator’s list. “Everything was after hours, you say?”

The interrogator nodded. “Yes sir. In addition, all my work towards Dr. Smith’s answers have brought up names and information that will become important later. Coach Jones, Reverend Hinkley, and Brad Roten have all come into this story unexpectedly.”

Ivanov nodded. “So you’re saying affidavits with a single source aren’t going to be enough to keep the witnesses in line.”

“In a way,” the interrogator answered. “This Reverend Hinkley, especially, seems to be more highly involved than I’d originally expected. I’ve recently received a shipment of Pepsi – don’t ask – and wanted to speak with Brett Huffman again tomorrow. I’ll ask him about the good Pastor and at least try to get my story straight before speaking with the Reverend himself the following morning as I’d already planned.”

Agent Ivanov nodded. “I think I’m going to hold off on giving the final ok for release until after you’ve done a few more interviews. If any of these people seem like they’re more closely involved than they claimed, it’ll be easier to keep them here than to arrest them a second time.”

The interrogator nodded.

“Anything else, Agent?”

“In fact,” the interrogator said, swallowing nervously after, “I have one concern. Though Dr. Smith hasn’t hinted to it, the stories from several of my interviewees has led me to believe the American chimeras aren’t like the North Korean ones. It seems these aren’t animals, but sentient creatures. I hate to admit, Agent Ivanov, but that concerns me.”

Ivanov chuckled and waved the interrogator off. “Then I’d ask Dr. Smith to show you some of his creations. I’ve been here several times, and I can assure you that I’ve seen nothing human in any of his little monsters.”

The interrogator raised a brow.

“Humans have ascribed anthropomorphic traits to dogs, monkeys, and, hell, even automobiles. Specimen 803 is intelligent enough, but I guarantee a little more investigation will reveal these people are giving their pet too much credit.”

“But the end of year exams – what about those? Her records indicate she’s passed like a human would.”

“Cheating, obviously. Ask a teacher about it.” He folded her records into his tablet and put his hands on his desk, the usual sign that he was ready to be finished with the meeting. “Thank you for your work. I’ll be back in a few days; report to me after your work is done on Wednesday, and I’ll release anyone you confirm. Sound good?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good. Dismissed.”

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