It was during year 60 of The World Government that Pip was stolen away by the secret police. They were the same group that took her grandma to the retirement community—they called it Senior Paradise—one year prior. The real story began while Pip was "working" at the electric dump with her mom, scavenging for loose electrical parts to sell to the junk collectors. Her mom was too busy to notice Pip searching deep in a pile of long-forgotten electronics. Suddenly a beep sounded, and a voice said, "Voice activation not available, you need service first." Pip stared at it with fascination. Her mom turned slowly and hit her on the side of the head.
"What did you just do?" her mom asked.
Pip spoke, "Mommy, I voice with power station."
Her mom looked sharply around to see that no one else was within earshot. "Pip you cannot do this. I don't want them to take you, Pip." She took the object out of Pip's hands and noticed her daughter had used some round cylinders with words on them and a wire to generate power for it. "These will be worth several coins," her mother muttered as she removed the power station and examined the object.
The Secret Police always had a way of finding things out, and 2-year-old Pip was taken from her room that night while her mom sat in front of the vision screen. Pip's last semblance of innocence was left behind with her stuffed rag. She was placed carefully into a crate and given a sedative to keep her quiet on the speed tube to Military Headquarters. A man placed Pip in a small cell; no one came to her even as she cried, yelled, and screamed. She sobbed for 12 hours straight until she fell asleep out of sheer stress to her frail body.
Once she awoke, she had no strength and didn't move. A doctor and Salmar, the military commander, came in. The doctor checked her over, made notes, and gave her several inoculations. "Superhuman intellect, yet she is still very baby-like in her speech and her actions. I suggest immediate desensitization." They gave her a crushed up pill to eat, tied her to the bed, and walked out. They turned on a screen showing people, chimeras, and aliens getting killed, tortured, and kidnapped. Pip watched in fear that suddenly faded away. "Attendant, release 495 to A-3 dormitory."
495 had no recollection of her past life and knew Headquarters as her only home. She, like the other soldiers in training, was given a pill daily. It was just as much a part of her routine as brushing her teeth.
For the next five years, she learned about military history, tactical plans, the aliens, chimeras, and how to fight, kill, and torture. She did this alongside 494 other children under the tutelage of Commanding Officer (C.O.) Twintu, and General Finka, a cruel man who pitted the children against each other to see how manipulative they could be and how viciously they fought. He gave privileges and powers to the children who won, and sometimes to the weaker children, to create animosity. His anger was swift, and no one dared make a mistake in his presence.
495's C.O., who taught her classes, had also been a child taken in the night, but neither one knew this about themselves. She was much less conniving than Finka but still very strict in her demands that they memorize world history and tactical plans, not question anything, and do everything to perfection. 495 even went on missions to kill chimeras who had been born in defiance of the Pure Race Directive.
495 learned about the seven World Leaders and how her job was going to be to protect them. She pledged her loyalty daily during the beginning of instruction. The Leaders had never made many friends, but they used fear and repression to keep their enemies at bay. The Seven went to war against small human factions who defied the injustices committed by the government. The Leaders’ pretense, to keep the populace happy, was that these were wars with aliens and chimeras. Their elite military received the best training, and the Leaders spared no expense to advance warfare.
Ten years later, 495 was named Lieutenant. She was 17 and, having proved herself a ruthless leader, was being rewarded for her service. She was training the young fighters when General Finka sent word he wanted to see her. She sauntered towards Finka's office, wondering what he would say to her. She knew she was the best candidate for this job and had not disappointed. She had a slight feeling of pomposity wash over her. "I'm the best this military has ever seen."
"Lieutenant you have been an invaluable force to our team, and The Leaders have decided they want to meet you,” Finka told her. “Please go to Main Elevator 12 and be taken to the 98 floor." She had a slowly growing sense of puerile self-importance, as she walked down the long corridor to the elevator.
She stood in front of the elevator. "495 you may proceed," said the doors before opening.
No one had planned for what transpired as the elevators opened again, and 495 walked into a hallway. Voices echoed down the hall. Pip started to walk slowly down the hall. After turning a corner, the voices became more pronounced. She had heard these voice before on her vision screen, and 495 knew them to be the voices of The Seven.
"Glith, this is why our military is genius. Dr. Speck has been researching ways to make the effects of the pill more potent. She is working on a single implant that is placed into the cerebral cortex, meaning we could see permanent effects. She asked that we authorize the secret police to steal some more babies. She wants to see what the effects of this surgery and new pills have on psychopathy long term."
"495 has been a huge success story; after the war, we should have her be the first adult test subject," said Glith laughing.
An attendant came by and grabbed her arm. "Stop dawdling, 495, The Seven hate to be kept waiting." A wave of something like self-pity washed over her. She felt something uncomfortable in the dark recesses of her mind, and it irritated her. She had never felt anything like this before.
The hallway looked never-ending, and 495 walked confidently down it into a large room.
"495 we've been expecting you anxiously. We never properly commended you for making lieutenant. I hope you know each of us from the vision screens. We trust you wholeheartedly to protect order and thus maintain peace."
She replayed the whole scene in her head. "What would happen if I stopped taking the pill, didn't accept what everyone says as truth? Who would I be? What did they mean ‘steal more babies’?" She felt anger towards everyone for not telling her things. The feeling quickly dissipated as she walked to her room. "Tomorrow I palm the pill and place it into my pocket." A wave of elation cropped up.
Nothing could have prepared 495 for what happened towards the middle of the next day. She had a splitting headache that she couldn't explain. A baby crying in restricted sector seven caused her to stop and want to run over. She had not been in sector seven since she was a baby, and she had no recollection of it.
495 walked cautiously to sector seven, avoiding all the cameras. She tried the door and it was locked. Normally nothing fazed her. A cry meant a baby was learning the ropes. She took several deep breaths, shook herself, and walked down the hallway. Suddenly her heart started to palpitate, and it felt like a knife was digging into it. She couldn't breathe. "Pip," she gasped as she ran down a maze of corridors to her room.
As she lay on her bed the feeling dissipated, she fingered the pill inside her pocket. She wondered what the word "Pip" meant. A fuzzy image of a girl and her mom floated in her head. "It couldn't be me," she thought. "I don't have a mom."
Her mind raced as the pill's effects wore thin, and the symptoms of withdrawal hit their apex. "Remember 495 Alien DNA is inferior to our own. They are inferior. Chimeras are sub-human species. They are half alien and half human. The Aliens sole aim is to kill us. Kill Chimeras, save people. We kill anyone or anything that gets in our way.” Suddenly it was as if a veil was lifting from her eyes. The world looked different too. Somehow it was less sharp but more stimulating. Then, marching feet outside the door broke her thoughts. It was time to make sure the oldest soldiers in training were ready for battle.
As days and months passed, the effects of the pill dissipated. Pip no longer wanted a part in the military but knew that she had to keep up a facade; it would be instant death if she left. Pip wondered whether killing restored order or was a temporary fix to the unrest. A new world opened up, but her past training was still very much a part of her life. She still despised aliens and chimeras with a passion and vowed to do whatever The Seven needed in their quest for peace. She was happy those things born with such afflictions were quelled and not allowed to spread their inferior DNA. 495 felt proud to help save the human race, but thoughts crept like cats in the recesses of her mind.
Soon the World Leaders learned from General Salmar that aliens from planet Ho8 might have a lust for more gold than was currently on their own planet. They wanted to take Earth's supply. "Those rumors could be unfounded," said Brymar, one of the Leaders. "This, though, is a perfect opportunity to show off the military. It has been, what, 17 years since we fought aliens? Home turf advantage is significant, and we can create some real fear."
"I agree," said Traboid, another of The Seven. "I want every one of those buggers dead. They brought disease and their inferior DNA into our world. All those deformities, Down's syndrome, autism, and other diseases are a scourge to our race." A rousing chorus of agreement erupted.
Military Headquarters was informed, and even the youngest cadet called into service. Every child was outfitted with a gun. "Twintu, Lieutenant 495, we head out in a week. Cadets to your dorms, now. Lieutenant come see me, after lights out." The general walked away, and 495 made sure everyone marched single file to their respective dorms.
She was told The Seven wanted to see her again because they had some tactical plans they needed to discuss. She thought it was strange they were consulting a mere lieutenant. She walked to the elevator and walked into the room
"Lieutenant 495, come, come, come,” boomed the voice of Vixtron, the loudest of all The Seven. She walked over to the rectangular table and waited. He spoke again, "Let's cut to the chase, shall we? We know we can count on you for anything, right? We need all the children under your care to die during the first night of the war. This directive is easy enough. We'll send them off to an unsecured location to keep them safe. The aliens will find out and kill them one by one. It will be up to you to ensure there are no survivors. The babies can't hold a gun yet, and the other children will await your orders. We will parade their bodies on all vision screens and have every human on our side. This plan will keep the masses happy and content. War will rally human hate for such an important cause. Also a promotion looks imminent if this plan works. Oh, and Commander--uh, Lieutenant, thank you.”
She felt uneasy but spoke, "Leaders, as you wish it."
She felt uneasy but spoke, "Leaders, as you wish it."