American Chimera – 21.1

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“Excellent work, agent,” Ivanov’s hologram said. He put down the tablet containing the interrogator’s report. “You’ve really picked up the pace recently.”

“Yes, sir.” The interrogator bowed her head and cleared her throat. “I was kindly allowed by Dr. Smith to see specimen 803. Her information has proved extremely invaluable, and the most innocent have already been released. I should be able to finish the interviews of those minimally involved by the next call.”

“I can see that. I think it’s time we start talking about what’s next for you when you’re done here.” Ivanov typed something into his own tablet, which triggered a document to upload onto the interrogator’s. “As you astutely recognized when you first got here, the discovery of a female chimera has reinvigorated interest in Dr. Smith’s research here at headquarters.”

“Does that…does that mean you want me to return to questioning the prisoners about how they triggered Dani to hatch as a female?”

“No. It does mean, however, that we need to station a semi-permanent agent or rotation of agents at the lab. We think you, with your experience, would be the best choice.”

The interrogator shook her head. “I’d rather not, sir.”

“And why not?”

She swallowed. “You’ve seen my record in full, sir. I served in the Chimera Wars, and I’d rather not continue participating in the creation and upkeep of our own stock of atrocities.”

“You were intelligence in the war, not a drone soldier.”

“How does that make my request any less valid?”

Ivanov smiled. “It’s not the same. You weren’t psychologically wrecked like some of those poor kids, and you’re hands down the most knowledgeable agent when it comes to chimeras of any sort.”

“I don’t believe this research is right. It’s immoral, a crime against humanity, just like the accords said. It’d be best, in my opinion, if this place were wiped from the map.”

“This isn’t Pyongyang. You can’t just blow up the labs, and you can’t just erase American ideas off the map.”

“I didn’t just blow up the labs. I took all the hard drives I could.” The interrogator puffed her chest. “I didn’t like what the North Koreans did then, and now that I know more about what’s gone on in Nevada, I don’t like what I see here. I request you station me somewhere other than here once the interviews are complete.”

“Request denied. There’s no one better for the job. We’ll get someone else, someone younger, to take rotation with you. Surely there’s incentives to working there – they’ve got to have hobbies in Nevada, right?”

The interrogator pursed her lips.

Ivanov waved away her concerns. “Don’t worry. You’re going to be done with these interviews soon, you and Dr. Smith will kill off interviewees that aren’t useful and can’t be released, then you’ll come back to DC for a while. Official stationing won’t need to happen until the next budget cycle begins.”

“Understood.” She stood from her chair. “Agent Ivanov, I do have, uh, one more question. I sent you the video proof from Dr. Worthington’s drives. It’s undeniable that Hinkley molested a child, and he could be hiding other crimes, maybe even continuing them. Are you going to send an agent to arrest him again?”

Ivanov’s cool demeanor melted. The corners of his lips sank to form a tight frown while his hologram tapped the top of his desk. “Look, I didn’t expect you to find that file. I agree that the man’s a criminal, but my hands are tied. We can’t just arrest him now, immediately after we released him.”

“Why not? You don’t have to bring him back here immediately. He’s not going to be that expensive to transport.”

“Imagine what other people would think. If you were also abducted and released, wouldn’t you start to question the value of your affidavits? If we arrest any of them, even on credible charges like the one you’ve made, someone is going to crack, and that could encourage the lot of them to break the news internationally.” He leaned forward. “If you are so worried about the last war, imagine one in which we are the bad guys. The North Koreans were up against the entirety of civilized might, of which we are a major player. Hell, everyone donated to the cause. And, yet, it took us a year and a half before the production of the Korean Chimeras was halted – with many thanks to your services – and the government capitulated. If we’re the bad guys? If America is caught doing these dastardly things? Well, we have the resources to make a thousand times the number of chimeras. We have the bombs, the soldiers, and the hardware not just to keep our borders safe, but to make offensive strikes all over the globe. When we decide to go total war, we can show them real war. But the foreigners won’t let it go, I can guarantee. It’ll be an evenly matched war, at least for a while, but in the end we’ll all suffer.” He pinched his brow. “The climate may never be rectifiable after we finish the war.”

“That sounds awful.”

“So you understand why I can’t arrest Hinkley?”

She bit her lip and looked away from the hologram.

“It still bothers you, huh?”

“It bothers me that you lied and said you’d look into it. Open an investigation.”

“I did look into it. It just didn’t take very long for me to realize what a terrible idea it’d be. You have to admit that it’s obvious, right? That the risk we’d be making is just too high?”

“He could just be arrested for child molestation.”

“Total war is too big a risk.”

“You’re letting an evil man get by without punishment.”

“Someone will eventually bring him to justice.”

“He’s old! He could die before then, probably will!”

Ivanov pounded a fist on his desk. “That’s enough, agent!’ He stood from where he sat. ”You will be assigned to this post after you get rid of the useless captives, and you’ll have plenty of time then to help Dr. Smith with his quest to make more female chimeras.“

The interrogator paused, looking all around the room. “Alright. Yes, sir.”

“I can’t believe it,” Ivanov said with a shake of his head, “You came in gung-ho, supportive of our efforts, ready to make more chimeras and keep our country safe. What happened to you? Is there something you haven’t put in your reports?”

“No, sir.”

“Then why the change of heart?”

The interrogator lifted her chin. “The female chimera suffers. Specimen 803 understands her pain, sir, and that’s something not even the North Koreans did to their chimeras. It’s absolutely cruel. No more of them should be created.”

Ivanov signed some papers. “Health issues can be improved in subsequent generations of the bugs. You’ll learn to accept it like the scientists do.” He pointed to the door. “Unless there’s something else you want to complain about, I think we’re done here.”

“Yes, sir.”

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7 thoughts on “American Chimera – 21.1

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      I wish horrible things didn’t happen to people – and I wish something horrible hadn’t happened to you… that’s really hard to deal with. But it seems you’re getting exactly what I’d been trying to do with Hinkley and why he should be despised –

      But also why the system can (and often is) absolute butt at helping survivors.

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