American Chimera – 16.4

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“I have another question. It’s not for my job, not really. It’s more a side project.” The interrogator sat down on the cot, forcing Dani to collapse in on herself under the blanket. “I heard from Coach Jones that you have or had a video implicating a certain Reverend Hinkley as a child molestor. Do you still have that video? Do you know where it is?”

The body beneath the blankets appeard to relax, and eight eyes peeked out from under the covers. “Why?”

“I did something bad. I released Hinkley before listening to Coach Jones’s testimony – and now I know that was wrong. I talked with my superior, and I am certain I can get Hinkley back if I can find that video you made. I want at least one good thing to come from all this.”

“Don’t you mean two good things?”

“Two?”

“Yeah. Punishing Hinkley and preventing the next chimera war. Saving the world, y’know.”

The interrogator bobbed her head. “I suppose one could look at it that way. Either way, I need to know where that video is. I don’t want Hinkley to get away with what he’s done.”

Dani lifted her face just above the cot’s level. For a few moments, the interrogator remained tense, sweaty, but sat still on the bed. At last the spider said, “Dr. Worthington gave me the idea to record him. I gave her a copy because we didn’t assume she’d be arrested as soon as ‘the man’ knew about me. She planned to go to the police with the video, even if it got her arrested.” Dani gulped. “She said she was old and didn’t have too many more years to lose.”

“So your parents don’t know about it?”

“No. Just me and Coach Jones. Dr. Worthington refused to watch, as far as I know. Stacy don’t know what I did, either.”

The interrogator nodded. “Thank you for your honesty, Dani.”

“Can I ask somethin’ of you, ma’am?”

“You can ask, but I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to answer.”

“You came in through the sterilization room. I’ve seen in through the door a few times, so I know what’s in there. I know there’s a little table just inside the door, and on that table is about a dozen syringes full of just enough ketamines to knock me clean out.” Dani put a couple claws on the bed and put them together in prayerful, begging form. “I need you to get about three or four of them, then come back in here and inject them in me.”

The interrogator stood. “Why would I do that? And even if I would – how? Your exoskeleton is touted as the toughest thing there is!”

“You need to kill me,” Dani answered. “Think ’bout it – I’m miserable, naked, and alone. The scientists want me to have sex with animals, and even if I can keep resistin’ them, I bet they come up with something else. Artificial insemination or something. I don’t want that. I don’t want to get pregnant, don’t want to have babies. I want to keep my body. I have no free will right now.”

“But that’s not good-”

Dani shot up from her side of the cot and wrapped a claw around the interrogator’s arm.

The interrogator screamed and fell to her knees.

“See? I’m a monster! Even before they brought me here, kids would laugh and call me Shelob! Do you think the gov’ments of any other country would agree I need to exist? Could you really believe they’d not make good on the promises in the Accords just ’cause the research is old?” Dani pulled back the white sheet hood, revealing most of her cephalothorax. An odd portion of her head was distended, lumpy, and irregular. “They made me such that my head wasn’t the right size. Dr. Worthington did her best, but I still get headaches a lot. The world don’t need more of me or those awful male versions of me. I need to be killed.” She let go of the interrogator.

The interrogator held her wrist and backed away.

“Time’s runnin’ out. They’re prob’ly already floodin’ the chambers with those gasses that make me dizzy. But I’m more valuable than you, right now, ’cause I’m the Eve for a thousand monsters or whatever. They won’t kill me even if I was to start rippin’ you to pieces like that male. I reckon we’ve got ’bout five minutes afore they storm in. So go back in the sterilization room, grab those syringes, and put them here.” Dani opened her mouth and pointed to the inside of her cheeks. “There’s no exoskeleton protecting me there. The gasses make me dizzy, and the ketamines put me out completely. Please, just do it. Four doses should be enough to kill me.”

The door handle jiggled, but the interrogator didn’t move. She sat, paralyzed, on the floor just next to the cot.

“What? we should’a had more time!”

“They were just on the other side of the door. They probably knew I’d mess this up,” the interrogator answered.

“Fuck,” Dani shouted. “Fuck!”

Several scientists and aides dressed in Tyvek suits came in. They held riot shields and spiked maces in their hands. They held their shields up in formation, not leaving a gap, and scurried forward to the interrogator. They put her behind the shields, then shoved her body between the pairs of legs. Aides in the back dragged her to her feet and tossed her back into the sterilization room.

“Get out of here. Dr. Smith will show you where to put the suit back up.” The aide closed the door, cutting off access to Dani.

The interrogator put a hand to her heart. When her breathing slowed, she took the remaining six doses of ketamines from their box and exited toward Dallin.

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