Turning back to the mirror on the wall he stood there looking at the new body for almost twenty minutes. The Brunette down the hall at what he assumed to be a nurse’s station had been totally silent the entire time. Shaun turned quickly and moved back to the seat sitting down. Her heartbeat almost doubled and she moved the chair she was sitting in back a couple of inches. “Sorry, I had to make sure you were awake.” He said quietly. “Could you please come and talk to me a moment, please?”
The woman stood up and came down the hall standing just outside the door. “Yes, Mr. Jensen what can I do for you?”
“You’re name would be nice, I’d like to know who’s watching me. I think it makes me a little nervous and this body is sensitive to things like that.” He smiled warmly at her.
“It’s Nancy, but you can call me Nan if you want.”
“It’s nice to meet you Nancy, when you get a chance could you get me some water please?” he asked. “And tell Doctor Magnuson it’s ok to come back now.”
“I’ll do that sir.” She turned to leave.
“It’s Shaun and Nancy, when you get the chance, would you schedule a full physical for yourself. I like your aura; I’d like to have you around for a while.”
Her heart started racing again as she turned back to him. “Why should I do that Shaun?”
“Let’s just say that I think you should do it.” He replied. “I’m not quite sure if the information is correct and would like you to get a second opinion.” He didn’t want to tell the woman she had an aggressive type of cervical cancer and if she didn’t get to a doctor within the next few months she would be too far gone for help.
Her blood pressure was through the roof as she looked at him, there was a level of fear in her eyes that he knew came from the unknown. “I have already had one, how did you know?”
“I’m not quite sure yet, but I can sense it. Have you decided to go through with the treatments?”
“I don’t think that’s any of your business.”
“Actually it is my business, like I said, I like your aura. You have a good heart and a strong personality. If I can keep you around, I would like that. If you start treatment you have a 98.7 percent chance of full remission.”
Her blood pressure and heart rate were dropping rapidly. “Are you sure about that? Even the doctor’s haven’t given me a prognosis yet.”
He was quiet for a few moments. “I see now, you thought you were expendable. If something went wrong with me it would give you a quick way out. Well, in that case you can relax now, get the treatments.”
She turned and walked back down the hall. He could tell she was crying as she left. She sat down at the station and he smiled up at one of the cameras, “Good luck,” he said quietly.
A few minutes later Marie came through the door at the end of the hallway. She slowed as she passed the nurse’s station and continued down the hall into his room. “What did you do to poor Nan, she’s crying?”
“Nothing, I simply relieved her fears.” He said. “What’s to eat?”
“Some fruit, a protein porridge, and juice.” She smiled at him.
“What, no real food?”
“Let’s get you nourished first and work up to that. Doctor Magnuson will be down here in about ten minutes. There’s some heated discussions going on about you. But I assume you already know that.”
“Why do you think I asked them to leave earlier? They were all freaking out when you found out I was in here” Shaun said as he framed his face with his hands. “They needed to go away long enough to start formulating a plan on how to handle me. I think it will take them over a week to come to a definite conclusion on how to use me. Until then they will just take their time exploring what I am actually capable of in this body. From what I’ve determined so far it was actually designed for military applications in the future. But now that I’m in here the Doctor wants to take the time to find out how far she can take this application of the technology.”
“What is it you think she wants to learn from you?” Marie asked him. The inflection in her voice had changed to one of fear again. Shaun had to change it back; he needed her on his side.
“I’d like to think it’s for the betterment of mankind, but I can’t be sure. The use of this technology in the medical field could be both a benefit and a curse. People would do their best to abuse it. The prolonging of life for the rich and powerful would come first. It would have to remain hidden though; otherwise people would demand it for those who suffer tragic losses. On the other hand as a military application it is even more desirable, my strength and abilities for perception are beyond anything years of training could accomplish. It is the driving force behind this little project anyway.”
“What makes you think that?” Marie asked, there was still some trace of fear in her voice, and her blood pressure had not dropped back into a normal range yet.
“Well, there were those armed men in uniform. Mr. Anderson there was also experienced at giving orders and staying in the background which suggests military intelligence. Everything in this room screams G.A.O. issued equipment. Do you want me to go on?”
“Not really, I’m a little uncomfortable discussing it with you.” Her blood pressure was finally dropping a little.
“Would you rather discuss the pink stripe and glitter still in your hair.” He smiled at her. “I can still smell the various alcohols on your body that tells me you were at a club within the last sixteen hours, but you weren’t drinking. The tone of your muscles says you were dancing for at least three hours. I would like to think that it is a boyfriend you had sex with, you don’t seem the type to have a one night stand.”
“You mean you can tell all of that about me? What else can you tell?” He had her; her blood pressure was down in the normal ranges.
“You had a bagel with cream cheese and an orange juice before you came down here. You spent time in the bathroom when you left, your makeup has been redone, and your lipstick is a different shade than it was earlier. You also changed from a regular bra to a sports bra. Your right foot still hurts; probably someone stepped on it when you were dancing last night.”
“Fine, you can stop now.” She said with a little smile. “I don’t think I want to know anymore, and neither does anyone else.”
Shaun smiled a moment later. “Actually you’re wrong about that; Nancy would like to know a little more. It would appear she’s a little jealous of you and your ability to have a good time. I think she’s a little worried about her husband leaving her.” He looked up at a camera and grinned. “And now she thinks I’m an asshole.”
“Should we have a discussion on appropriate comments?” Marie smiled at him. “Is this going to end up a lesson on manners?”
“You asked the questions, I just answered them.” He smiled back. “As for appropriate behavior, well I used to be a bit of an ass in my old life. I guess that still exists somewhere in this persona. However, that was due to my own insecurities, I didn’t even look anything close to this before, so I still have some ways to go in stopping the past personality from coming through.”
“Well to tell the truth I like your personality, it’s refreshing to talk to someone who doesn’t hide what they think.”
“Well when you used to deal with facts as much as I did, it’s almost second nature to blurt out those before thinking about the consequences. It got me in trouble a lot more often than you would think.”
“In this case it won’t, if nothing else it’s what we want you to do. Doctor Magnuson wants as much information as possible on you, it will help her research not having to ferret it out through the lies most people tell.”
The following months were spent with Marie and Doctor Magnuson, Helen as he now called her. They learned the capabilities of his new body and his mind together. Doctor Helen Magnuson was brilliant, skilled in microbiology, nanotechnology, biomechanical engineering and at least a dozen other disciplines. The body they had created for him was remarkable, he had advanced control of his bodily functions, and to some the extent he could, at will, stop his breathing and even his heart. He could raise or lower his body temperature at a moment’s notice. His hearing was beyond what even they could expect; he could use sound waves almost like radar, something akin to a bat. They had made him run through obstacle courses completely blindfolded. They knew right now he could spend up to three hours underwater and he could use that hearing like sonar. His eyesight spanned almost ninety five percent of the known spectrums, even into the infrared. It was also found out that he could use it like thermal imaging. He could literally see through walls. As the months went by more and more of the information in his head became easier to use, he had perfect recall and a photographic memory. Any skill he was shown was instantly available to him. Any voice he heard could be imitated perfectly, from singing opera, to impersonating Marie or Doctor Magnuson, even Mr. Harold Anderson. Shaun had not seen Mr. Anderson since the first day he awoke and only had heard a few words as they were leaving that day, but had his voice down perfect, to the point that he could use it to pass voice recognition software on the doors in the facility. When it came to his physical strength they had stopped trying to measure that. He had broken all of the test equipment in the facility. They once had him on a treadmill for four days with a two hundred pound pack on his back in full body armor, when he stopped they couldn’t tell he had been exerted in any way. During a course of weapons training he had accidently been shot twice and stabbed three times. His body repaired the damage in under an hour.
The hardest part for the personnel at the facility was the way he could control his body secretions. He could produce pheromones at will. He would make a woman ready to rip her clothes off for him one minute and the next make her totally repulsed at his sight. All of it simply by scent, even the men in the facility were subject to it at one time or another. Both Doctor Magnuson and Marie had to constantly lecture him on not playing with the others in the facility. He would reluctantly agree to stop with everyone except for Nan; he had developed a special place in his heart for the woman. She had taken his advice and had been getting treatment for her cancer. But that had cost her dearly; her husband didn’t want to deal with it and had left her. Now she would come down after her shifts at night and spend hours in the room with him. Shaun had convinced them to allow him a couch and a recliner for his room. He had been allowed a television and a computer for his room also. Now at night he would sit on the couch and Nancy would come in and lay her head in his lap for hours on end while he watched the TV, or searched the web for some obscure little tidbit of information. There never was anything sexual about it at all. Shaun just felt the need to make sure Nancy was able to rest comfortably as she went through her treatments. That was the troubling aspect of Shaun that bothered Mr. Anderson the most, his compassion for others.
It was after a couple weeks with Nancy coming into his room at night that Marie and Helen had come down with a follow-up to some testing they had done earlier that day. Nancy was once again on his lap while watching TV and he was on a laptop computer, within a minute of entering the room both women were sitting at his feet watching the TV with Nancy. Mr. Anderson came out of the door at the end of the hall walking towards his room; Shaun put his hand up before he entered.
“If you want to chat about this, please come back in about a half hour, Nancy had a bad day with treatment and I had to sedate her. I haven’t quite got it down to an individual yet, I can contain it to within a few meters but that’s the extent right now. As you can see it has an extremely calming effect on anyone within its scope.” Shaun said looking at him with a little smile.
Mr. Anderson turned to leave and then turned back looking at the women around Shaun.
“If you want to know, the answer is yes, Marie and Nancy are both still loyal to you and your cause. Helen is loyal to the Science first and foremost, and then her loyalties still lie with you. Mine lie with this country and its future as long as you remember that I will also be on your side.” Shaun said. “If you really want to talk about this now I can put them to sleep if you want.”
“So you can do that?” Mr. Anderson asked him.
“Yes but in Nancy’s case it doesn’t help that much. She has bad dreams, so this is the better option for her health. When she leaves me she will feel as rested as if she had slept for hours, so will Marie and Helen.”
“Are there any side effects from it?” Mr. Anderson asked him with a slightly worried look on his face.
“Only one so far, a sense of well-being seems to last for about twelve hours that I’ve noticed. After that she returns to normal. Well, except for the constant effects of her treatments. She only has a few more weeks of treatment left, after that she will be in total remission as far as I can tell. We’ll stop our little sessions then. You can have me for that mission then.”
The look on Mr. Andersons face was amusing to Shaun. “What in the hell do you know about the mission?” Mr. Anderson asked, his attitude was almost furious bordering on outright rage.
“Harold, May I call you that, the last couple of weeks the type of information coming down the pike has been very specific in nature. The information that has been given to me has also been very specific. If my assumptions are correct, then there is a mission being planned in the eastern part of Europe that you feel is adequate to test my skills and potential to a fair limit. It would seem it is about that time where you need to continue getting funding for your little project here and this little mission would secure it for you. I have to assume some of the upper level fellows are getting a little nervous having read the reports you’ve been sending to them. They, just as you, feel I may be more of a risk than a reward.” Shaun was watching him closely. “See right there that little twitch confirms my suspicions.”
There was a touch of anger in Mr. Anderson’s face when he answered. “You are a threat, no matter how you look at it; you are nothing but a threat.”
Shaun laughed a little at that. “If you want to step in the room I could convince you I’m not. However, I like you being the skeptic. You function better in that role. You’ve already looked at approximately nine directions that this conversion will take us. I need that in you, in case I miss something.”
“So you’re using all of us here, is that it?”
“No, let’s just call it mutual interests that can make this a productive environment for all of us. You’ve already decided that the timetable I just gave you for Nancy’s little sessions with me are well within the parameters of the mission and will actually work to your advantage. Whatever other elements you need to get in place, are a little slow I am assuming. This timetable allows you to finish your advance work.”
“I didn’t twitch.” Harold said.
“I know, I wanted to make sure you caught that though.” Shaun answered with a little smile. “I can read the spikes in your blood pressure and the dilation in your pupils. You also betrayed yourself with your tonal inflections.”
For the first time since he had been woken up, Shaun was a little taken aback when Harold answered him. “You know I can terminate this whole thing anytime I want don’t you? It’s why we’re so far underground.”
“I suspected as much, didn’t really think you still considered it an option though.” Shaun said with a little sadness in his voice.
“It’s always been an option.” The coldness in his voice bothered Shaun a little.
He reached over and put his hand on Nancy’s head, her eyes closed. He did the same with Marie and Helen. Looking up at Harold he smiled again. “You’re right though, but that option is not yours anymore.” He hit a key on the laptop and alarms went off. “I almost wish we could have worked together.
A voice came over the facilities speakers, “Auto-Destruct initiated, Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven, Six, Five.
“I’ve already died once Harold. I have no fear of it again.” The voice echoed from inside Harold’s mind as he was running down the hall.
“Four, Three, Two, One. Harold never made it to the end of the hallway.
“The explosion leveled two square blocks in the Industrial district this morning.” The reporter said standing outside a taped off area, fires were burning behind him. “Reports have been coming in that two large gas storage tanks are responsible for the damage. An out of control truck is believed to have hit one of the tanks which caused the second tank to ignite along with it. Besides the driver of the truck there are no other known fatalities at this time. Crews are still going through the remaining structures but say there is little chance that anyone could have survived the explosions. An independent source has confirmed that these building had been scheduled for demolition later in the year and were unoccupied. Authorities have also stated strongly this morning, that this was not a terrorist attack as some had speculated.”
Fire crew seven had arrived shortly after the explosion almost seven hours ago; it was now in the mop up phase. This was the hardest part of their job and the most tedious. They carefully made their way through all of the debris moving almost everything or prying up what they couldn’t move looking for bodies. One of the walls in front of them crumbled and fell, they all froze in place and watched as the figure of a man climbed out from beneath some wreckage, he pulled three women up with him. Even with the fires burning around them the men in the crew just stood there as the little group walked away into the distance. Almost as one they turned back to the job at hand, checking the debris for survivors; they still had not found even one person who survived the disaster.