Sunday, 1 May 2011

Chapter 2: Losing is Hard

Janet Philips stood in Mack’s bedroom door and surveyed the room with a tear in her eye. Although Mack had become a rebel in his teenage years Janet still loved him unconditionally, the pain of him leaving so suddenly was almost unbearable but the hope that he was happy now held her together. She had not felt pain like this for years since she had to give up her unborn third child. Mack and James were about a year old when it happened, it was absolutely unexpected as Janet and Joe had had contraceptive implants for years, and they are programmed to only allow conception of two children. There was some sort of malfunction, caused by the fact they had twins the first time round, they were told, and Janet didn’t even realize until she started feeling nauseous in the mornings, she immediately recognised it as morning sickness having studied as a doctor before specialising in cybernetic surgery. Her first instinct was to cover it up, but she knew there was nothing she could do, as soon as she started having visible side affects people would find out, she would be forced to have an abortion, by hiding it she would be killing her own child. She knew there must have been something else she could do. The first step was to confide in her husband.
“I just can’t believe it; surely this shouldn’t be able to happen, this is exactly the kind of situation the contraceptive implants were made to avoid” Said Joseph
”I don’t know how it happened, but it has, what can we do Joe?” Asked Janet
”There’s nothing we can do honey, it’s the law, you know that, you are going to have to get an abortion,” Joe.
”She already feels like part of me, I don’t think I’d be able to do it,” Jan
”She? You’re already talking as if this is a fully developed child here! You can’t possibly know its gender” Joe
”No, I know, it’s just a feeling” Jan
”Look honey, we’re talking about a shapeless cluster of cells here, the quicker we have this fixed, the less painful it will be for both of us” Joe
”Fixed? Nothing is broken. The chances that both our contraceptive implants malfunctioned simultaneously is one in a billion, this feels like fate Joe. Surely you must be able to talk to the Hive Queen; you are one of her most senior liaisons,” Jan.
”Okay, if it will make you feel any better I can ask her to do something about this, but I’m not making any promises. You know the Queen won’t want to make an exception, but there may be other alternatives to abortion,” Joe
”Thank you Joe, I don’t think you know how much this means to me,” Jan
”Oh, I do, in fact, I feel exactly the same way, but I don’t want you to have any false hope. That can be more painful than no hope at all,” Joe
* * * * * * * * * *
The next day Joe sat in his office with a thousand thoughts buzzing through his head, mentally preparing what he would say to the Hive Queen, he feared she would recommend an immediate termination. He would even have preferred adoption to an abortion but it has been years since anybody has been put up for adoption, with the development of Exo-wombs, advances in IVF treatments, and the introduction of mandatory contraceptive implants. No one needed to adopt any more, although it is probably for the best, his father had been an orphan and Joe recalled hearing stories about growing up under state care, and he would not want to force that onto anybody let alone his own child. Thoughts of his father began to make Joe more emotional, as he had vanished without a trace when Joe was only 15. The greatest hope that Joe had was that the Hive Queen might understand Janet’s and his own pain and have an alternative that he had not thought of.
After about half an hour of contemplation, Joe finally plucked up the courage to discuss the situation with the Hive Queen. It did not take long to explain the situation but to Joe it felt like a lifetime.
“So that’s the situation. Do you have any suggestions?”
”Yes Joseph, I recommend an immediate termination as to prevent complications.”
”No, please, anything but that, I implore you, there must be something you can do” Joe was surprised at how emotional he was getting. The Hive Queen paused for a second, an eternity for her, before responding.
”I believe I have a solution that may suit both of our needs. I will agree to keep the embryo in cryo-storage for until I deem to let the child live, in return you must allow me use your child’s genetic material for my own purposes,”
Joe was perplexed, what need could the Hive Queen have for his unborn infant’s genetic material, but Joe had no reason to decline.
”Um, all right, yes, that will work, thank you, thank you so much,” There may be a fine line between death and perhaps permanent cryogenic storage, but at this point Joe was just clutching at straws. In desperation, a man will make bad bargains, but the Hive Queen knew exactly what she was doing.

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