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I stood nervously in the laboratory, wishing desperately to be anywhere else but where I found myself. What I wouldn’t have given to be back in my room, playing video games, at this moment. Hell, even studying would be better than this! I shuddered at the thought of the doom that was about to befall me.
I looked up at my father, who smiled reassuringly at me.
“Don’t worry, Keyop.” he said, ruffling my hair, “It’ll be fine. You’ll fit right in. You’ll see.”
I offered a woeful smile. My father, while a brilliant, and well intentioned, man, really didn’t know me very well. He wasn’t my real father. In fact, I wasn’t sure at all who my real father was. I was conceived in a Petri dish, in my father’s laboratory: some kind of risky experiment to create a ‘genetically perfect’ human.
What they got was far from perfect. But my father didn’t realize that. He had things to do, jobs to perform, and demands on his time, because of his position as Chief of Galaxy Security for the United Federation of Planets.
Which left me to be raised by a bunch of scientists. Did I mention that they were a dried-up, boring bunch of old farts who wouldn’t know fun if it came over and kicked them in the ass?
Most kids’ earliest memories begin at about age three or so, but I remember things from about the time I was six months old (when I first started walking) onward. As a lab experiment, my growth was accelerated, so in fact, I was actually only about four years old, in chronological terms, but my body was that of an eight-year old. My brain was probably close to a million years old. At least, that’s how I felt. Probably all of those wrinkled old geezers who passed on all of their rhetoric to me had prematurely aged my brain.
Even though I hadn’t seen him much, I loved my father. But he had no idea who I really was. He thought I was some kind of sweet, innocent boy, who looked at life through rose-colored glasses.
He couldn’t have been further from the truth.
I remembered my first words. I had been nine months old, and had decided to try walking down a set of stairs that had no railing or handholds; at least, none that I could reach. Everything had been going well for the first few steps, but then my foot had slipped and I had gone flying, head over heels, spinning through the air, only to land ungracefully at the bottom of the staircase.
As I had felt myself falling, I had screamed at the top of my lungs.
The old farts had been horrified, wondering where I had ever learned such a word. I chuckled to myself, just remembering it. They had been scared: frightened that if my father ever heard me utter such words, they would lose their vaunted positions. They had desperately pleaded with me not to say anything like that again.
It didn’t work.
I had been so pleased with their reaction that I had gone out of my way to learn exactly what would set their hearts palpitating and turn their faces into those sour grimaces I had come to love. I had made sure never to let my father learn how I tormented those so-called ‘scientists’, because then my leverage would have been gone.
But those fucking losers had managed to pull one over on me. And it was nearly the killing blow. I was still struggling with how to deal with this particular hurdle.
A couple of months ago, they had installed an implant into my brain. I had expected that. I had been told practically since birth how I was being prepared for a Special Forces Team that my father was setting up. The implant was part of that, as it would enhance my fighting abilities, and allow me to resist illness and poisons, as well as heal more quickly from physical damage.
What I hadn’t known, was that at the last minute, my ‘guardians’ had made an alteration to the implant. One that my father was completely unaware of.
They had made behavioral modifications.
The idea was that they wanted to make me into some meek and mild little twerp, who never said a naughty word and was always kind and polite to everyone. Basically, they wanted to turn me into the person they had led my father into believing I was.
Only, it didn’t quite work out the way they had planned. The behavioral modifications had been designed by their pussy robot, 7-Zark-7, and that tin can wasn’t worth much more than the circuit board he had been built with. My father, the real expert on the implant technology, had had nothing to do with them, because he wasn’t supposed to know they had been made.
So, needless to say, they were malfunctioning.
I hadn’t changed as a person, but the implant was essentially censoring my speech. Every time I felt like swearing my head off at one of those bastards, it would re-program my words, choosing a less offensive way of saying things. The problem was, the re-phrased words were often shorter than what I really wanted to say, which had me constantly spouting meaningless beeps and burbles like some pathetic censored prime-time television special.
I don’t know who had explained that one to my father, but I do know that he had taken weeks away from his regular duties trying to fix the ‘problem’. Of course, he had been utterly unsuccessful, seeing as he didn’t know what the real problem was. I almost felt like writing it down for him, but I couldn’t give in and let those old farts have the satisfaction. I was going to overcome this, and when I did, I was going to go back and spew every obscenity I had ever learned into their faces, until they all fell over dead with heart attacks from the shock.
I grinned at the image.
A few days ago, my father had made his last attempt to ‘fix’ my speech. When it hadn’t worked, he had been disappointed, but he had decided that I was going to join his G-Force Team anyhow. Speech aside, I was apparently still eminently qualified.
My father went into his office, indicating that I should wait until he summoned me. I kicked nervously at the wall. I knew that the other members of this team were much older than I was. I wasn’t looking forward to having them treat me like some kind of retarded kid, especially with those inane noises pouring forth from my mouth all of the time. I hoped that they would be able to accept me, but the cynic in me knew better.
All too soon, the moment I had been dreading was upon me. The door opened, and my father waved me into the room.
“G- Force,” he said to the four teenagers assembled in his office, “I’d like you to meet your final member. His name is Keyop.”
I checked out my teammates. The first one I saw was a good-looking guy with intense blue eyes that jumped right out of his face when he saw me. I could tell that he wasn’t thrilled, but he tried to hide it. Next to him was a fat dude, who looked as if he didn’t have a care in the world. I couldn’t tell what his reaction was.
The third guy sneered, tossing a disgusted look my way. Oh, how I wished that I could speak properly. I would have told that loser what I fucking thought of him and his attitude. He had a large bruise on the side of his face. It looked fresh. I guessed that someone else didn’t like his attitude either.
Last was a girl. I was pretty surprised. A girl, on this team? But then, who was I to comment? For all intents and purposes I was an eight-year old kid with a heavily censored dirty mouth. She certainly looked nice enough.
As I stared at her, she spoke to me.
“Hello, Keyop.” she smiled, holding out her hand. “My name is Princess. It’s good to have you with us.”
I smiled and reached out to shake her hand. She was actually pretty hot.
“Hiya, you sexy Princess!” I said. Only it came out as “Hello…droot…Princess…”
I could tell that she was surprised, but she did a good job trying to hide it. I couldn’t say the same for the others. But to his credit, Mister Blue Eyes stood up and shook my hand too.
“Hi, Keyop.” he introduced himself, “I’m Mark, the Commander of G-Force.”
I could see Mister Attitude roll his eyes at that one. Ah, sore loser, was he? I filed that one away for future ammunition. You never knew when it could come in handy, especially with a jerk like that.
“Hi, Mark.” I said. The implant didn’t feel the need to alter that one. But even as I spoke, I could see him looking questioningly at my father. Well, at least I was going to have a Commander who thought for himself. Although, I didn’t appreciate that he felt the need to question my father’s judgment about me.
The fat dude came up and messed up my hair. Damn, that was annoying!
“Welcome little buddy.” he said. “My name’s Tiny. I’m the pilot of the Phoenix.”
Well, at least he sounded okay. And he certainly didn’t seem taken aback by my presence, the way everyone else did. I decided that I liked this guy. At least he was honest and non-judgmental.
But something he had said intrigued me.
“Phoenix?” I asked. I hadn’t heard of this Phoenix before.
“Yeah, that’s the big airship you’ll get to ride on with us.” Tiny grinned.
Airship? What kind of retard did this guy think I was? Who uses words like airship? The Phoenix had to be some kind of super-sonic jet, at least. The word airship conjured up images of the fucking Hindenburg disaster.
I was just about to comment on this (if the implant would let me) when Mister Attitude finally spoke.
“So you want to be a member of G-Force, huh?” he sneered, staring at me disapprovingly. “Well, we want to see what you can do, squirt.”
Squirt? I’d show him who was qualified to be on this damned team.
“Who the hell do you think you are, dickhead?” I screamed, waving my bolos in the air. “I oughta shove these up your lily-white ass!”
Of course, what actually came out was, “Broot…I’ll show you! Wrap these…brrt…around your neck!”
Okay, that wasn’t too bad. At least my intention had come through.
“That’s enough, everyone.” my father interrupted, placing a hand on my shoulder. “Keyop, you must be hungry. Why don’t you get something to eat in the Cafeteria downstairs? The rest of the team will catch up to you in a minute.”
I glared at Mister Attitude. If he was going to catch up, I’d rather be gone from this place. But still, the other three seemed okay, and Mister Blue Eyes was in charge. Maybe it would all work out.
“Okay.” I agreed, resigned to having to deal with these losers. I knew I would have to prove myself to them, and damn quickly too.