Augmented, Superheroes of the Faith Chapter 13: The Origin of Katharina
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Katharina sat down like a storyteller and tried to figure how to begin her tale. “Mr. Jerger, you remember when augmentation was first discovered, don’t you?”
“How could we forget? All those pictures of you with wings were all over the Internet. I didn’t think it was true.”
“There is a picture of you in my history book,” said Rosalyn, still sobbing.
“Do you remember anyone thinking it odd that my own father had did this to me?”
“In all honesty, I didn’t think about it until years later. Back then, I think we thought you were something of the devil. There’s these verses in Revelation about an ‘image of the beast’, and I think church people thought you were it.”
“Yes. My father was supposed to be the Antichrist, and somehow bestowing powers to something inanimate. Very loose interpretations of the book of Revelations, really. I remember a lot of Christian groups thought I was some sort of innocent girl taken advantage of by the wiles of Satan, or worse, a willing participant demon. Very few brought up the issue that I was experimented on like a lab animal. Do you know why?”
“I did volunteer.”
“You couldn’t have been more than five.”
“Six, actually. And if there is one thing that all six year olds like, it’s fairies. My father and grandfather told me that they were going to make me into one. Did you know that?”
“Yes, but I didn’t think it was. I couldn’t wait. They told me that they would put me to sleep, and when I would wake up, I would have wings. What they didn’t tell me is that I would be in a deliberate coma for three months as they perfected the grafting of specialized wings on my back.
“When I woke up, I wasn’t mad that I had slept for two months. What does a six-year-old care about months of the calendar? I couldn’t believe that they had done it. I thought I was dreaming. I sort of thought that them putting wings on me was like wishing for a Christmas gift that you knew you wouldn’t get. Yet, there they were.
“Most remember the news stories after that. How my father’s laboratory was raided by Feds, and how I made an aerial escape. They couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it either, and I loved flying more than I loved…well, anything. Some of them thought I was an angel, or a cherub, or a seraph, or something.
“Apparently, I was the angel of human potential. Of course, my father and grandfather were brought up on charges of illegal experimentation. However, a deal was made. In exchange for their assistance, other adult volunteers would receive augmentations. That is how the augmentation as we know it came about.”
“I spent all those years speaking about how augmentation explained away all of our myths. Soon, people didn’t believe anymore. I studied religion like one studies a long-lost culture like the Aztecs or the Incas. I treated your God like I treated theirs, as if they didn’t exist.
“Today, I saw you do something that I have never seen. I’m sure that my father might find some scientific explanation for it, but I think I need a simpler explanation.”
“So what are you saying?” Reginald asked.
“I’m saying that I actually start to believe that which I denied. I’m thinking that humanity has been given way too much power than it honestly deserves. I’m thinking that it might be time to get rid of augmentation, simply because a higher being made us mortal and mundane for a reason. If you are going anywhere, I will go with you.”
Rosalyn switched from hugging her grandfather to hugging Katharina. Katharina couldn’t remember the last time she had been embraced, but this hug felt as if it was the first. Perhaps it actually was. She accepted it, and embraced Rosalyn as much as she could.
“Very good,” she said, suddenly backing out of the hug. “I suppose that we…”
There was an amplified voice outside. “This is the Federal Augmentation Organization. You are surrounded. Please come out the front door.”