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Chapter Twenty - Douglas K. Hooker
Setting the Scene
If you took a rat, average rat, dressed him and sat him in a chair, you had Ahmet.
I'm sure Ahmet has rat genes. If I listed all the times I came this close to killing him,
it would be about 99% of the times I saw him.
He thrived on hate, I think he understood it better than other attributes, except greed.
Ahmet was not amoral, he knew everything he did was based on who paid more.
Smudge was his natural habitat. It was created for him and people like him.
Merchants, middlemen. Slave traders, terrorists, scumbags.
Ahmet had never told me the importance of the 'Key'.
I'm sure the unnamed folks who'd hired me to impersonate a Eugenic expected
me to get caught and they'd get a wonderful view of The Superboy Legal system.
I was certain Ahmet had sent that Supergirl to steal Krim's key.
No doubt he'd gotten a cargo ship of cash to rope me into the scheme but that
wouldn't have wet his tongue; too simple, too buy/sell.
Although I didn't see the profit to Ahmet of me being unmasked and executed,
I guess it was acceptable loss: breakage/spoilage.
Now this son of a bitch is sitting in my room, guzzling my wine, calling me his friend.
It was enough to make a jackal puke.
Getting Some of the Story
I guess he felt he owed me something;
"Would you like to know about your little friend Pete?"
I was about to ask who? then cleared the booze from my brain and cut to that
freaky little fem who'd 'rescued?' the Superboy.
"She pretended she was male, fooled everyone, even me, my friend. She rescued
a Eugenic once. He was serving on her ship. He was a peculiar chap. He was Sagir."
"Uh?" I gave.
"For someone who passed as a Eugenic, you are pitifully unaware of their
Oh, he's going to lecture. Maybe I'll learn something. Anyway, this isn't my best
wine, let him guzzle, when he's pissed, I'll open the real stuff.
"Genetic manipulation began in Korea."
Everyone knew this, at least.
"As superior children began to appear, the fear of the 'yellow horde', as it was called, arose."
He rolled the term 'yellow horde' with amusement, a private joke, I guess.
"Similar research began in Bulgaria. Other nations had 'religious' and 'ethical' objections."
He set off the words with contempt.
I had to laugh.
"Doug, people actually believed nonsense to the extent the most powerful
nations of the time passed laws against it. Passed laws, making it illegal to
do the research."
You can't afford to be more 'ethical' than the other guy. We were really
primitive in those days, amazing we survived; giving ourselves barriers to
success. It would be like setting price controls or matching the abundance
of an item to the supply released on a market.
Ahmet's joke almost got me to open the good wine, but not quite. He continued.
"While Koreans and Bulgarians were creating their super race, Holland,
combined with other countries where religion prevented research, built a
facility in an ex-colony called Suriname, in South America," he raised a finger,
"Imagine, only three active overt laboratories, on an entire planet!"
I liked the word 'overt', it meant that somewhere in the past there were wise
guys who had labs, but kept them quiet.
He poured himself another glass of wine, took a swallow, went on;
"Korea, Bulgaria and Suriname had been minor nations. Once Genetic
manipulation became fact; they were Major. People came from all over
Terra for gene treatment. Those who had coin came to insure they
produced superior children. Other countries dropped the religious
ethical foolishness late."
"But everyone did, eventually", I added, "and it became a matter of choice and
money, how far you were going to go."
He shook his head;
"It didn't stay Gene Manipulation, Doug," he flung, shaking his head,
"It became Eugenics. It moved to the point where non-Eugies in Korea were
killed. In Bulgaria non-Eugies were sterilised. However, in Suriname there
was and is no stricture."
I was missing a chunk here, didn't have time to pause.
"People like you or me could go to Suriname, give a a squirt of sperm, they'd
trick it out, implant it into a neutralised egg, and it looks like a Gennie."
He watched my face, then, "Ahh, you see the question, eh?
You are not 'one of them', but your child is 'one of them, huh?"
I thought of my wife on Savorn, imagined instead of Tony with all his faults, we
had a Superboy, like Blondy.
"That is where the Key comes in." Ahmet points. "The Key is to prevent a child
whose parents were Eugenics from reproducing with a child of non-eugenics.
To prevent a child whose parents were perfect from wasting genetic material on
an artificially produced Eugenic. That is the key."
"Uh." It's six of one, half a dozen of the other.
He shook his head, swallowed more of my wine; continued.
More of the Story
"Those who live on the planet of Yangban are descendants of Korean Eugenics. They are 'creations' in laboratories, where genes from their best people were manipulated, mixed...not random, the gene pool was limited to 'superior' genes."
I took another mouthful of the wine.
"Those of Yangban never leave their world, no one goes there, no one knows what is happening there. Not even I," he adds to emphasize, as if Ahmet not knowing something underlined, bold faced and set off in quotes the secrecy of that world.
"Now those of Dalmar descend from those of Bulgaria and interestingly, most of their 'best' genetic material was gotten from Germany and other European nations."
"So the Bulgarian Gennie factory wasn't Bugly?"
"Right, they went on a hunt for the best genes they could buy. Their core set of Gennies was the Top of the Line. Tellur and Molbe are the same kind of mix but not one hundred percent top. Dalmar prefer the closed gene pool as does Yangban."
I had passed as a Molbean.
"Those of Sagir are from Suriname. Not only was it a heterogeneous mixture of Asian, African, European, and every possible sub-race, but they had no laws concerning breeding or sharing the technology."
He poured another glass, kindly topping my glass with my wine.
"The skin colour of Sagirians is often dark, but not always. When two light skinned Sagirs mate, they appear no different from those of Tellur or Molbe. Or Dalmar."
I was not following his conversation.
"Those of Sagir are segregated from the other populations. Their Eugenic 'purity' questionable. Your imaginary baby Super could mate with a Sagir. But not with the
others. For your baby wouldn't have a Key."
"But he or she would be just as perfect...?" I try.
"No one, except a Sagir might think it so. You and your wife are non-Eugies.
Your child wouldn't be accepted. Those of Sagir are shunned, in fact, hunted
and killed would be more honest."
"Hunted and killed?" I struggle with the words, for he'd said them as a slogan.
"Oh yes. Sagirs are open season. The only ones you'll see are Pirates and
mercenaries who take the risk of leaving the safety of their world for plunder."
Ahmet lounged back in my chair, so pleased with himself it was almost obscene.
I was still trying to work the difference between being the child of Eugenics and
being a Eugenic.
"Now, to return to 'Pete' as she calls herself..." Ahmet says in a story teller voice;
"there was a traveler from Sagir, so light skinned one might think him of Molbe.
His 'Key' was genotypically Dalmar, as was the Superboy you rescued."
"You can tell by looking at them?" I charge.
"In most cases, yes, however, in the case of Lady Pete's Gennie, I read the
DNA, and it was Dalmar."
Dalmar? I'm puzzling.
"When they opened their lab in Suriname they bought sperm from Bulgaria and
matched it and tricked it. Their first four generations were every bit as 'perfect'
as Dalmar. In fact, the same genetic material that makes Dalmar made those in
that Laboratory in Suriname."
Now that it didn't mean anything, Ahmet was giving me what I'd needed to know
when I passed as a Gennie.
"I speak of a Sagir who had gained passage on a ship to Tellur as you had done.
He engaged in sex, as you had done, had his key stolen, as befell you. But the
key wasn't his ancestor's key. The Key he had proved he was a perfect Eugenic
with Dalmar antecedents."
"Doug, that Key, that Dalmar key is priceless to him. It 'proves' he is a pure
Eugenic, but he isn't. His DNA is not pure, obviously."
I begin to see the light at the end of the argument.
"Superboys consider Sagirians lower than us Normals. Think of Lady Pete's
poor Sagir who has had his key stolen. Who must come here, to me, who is
raped in that warehouse, and left for dead."
"Now that's a poor bugger," I flick swallowing what's left of my wine, adding;
"What happened to him?" I asked.
"He was rescued by Pete, who later came to me to retrieve his key. She'd
paid me to tell him someone had taken it to her on Morale."
"What use would the key have for her? She is so obviously not a Supergirl..."
"She wanted him." Ahmet flips as if I were stupid.
"Oh." I pop.
"She got him too. She got him all the way out to Morale. You wouldn't know the
place. It's a hole in the ground where idealists live. Ridiculous place," he snorted,
virtually drawing aside his skirt.
"So she's looking for him now..." I piece. "She gave Blond a message for him."
"He'll never get the message. Her Gennie is probably on Tellur or Molbe
pretending to be someone else."
"She's set herself up as a one woman mission to rescue Superboys...and
one day her Prince will come," I chuckle.
"He will never come. He has invested his entire being into being non-Sagir.
He will marry any female not from Sagir, pass down his precious key, destroy
his own, hoping that his children will escape the blemish of Sagir."
"But the children....?" I ponder.
"The children might not carry enough of his nature to make them suspect.
If they have too much of his genetic gunk, he and they will be killed."
Something didn't gel; but I wasn't sober enough to continue the conversation,
filing away what Ahmet didn't tell me or didn't know.