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“You know you’re just one of many human species.” It wasn’t a question. Meldrum nodded, feeling uncomfortable in his cheap suit, and wondered what his body language was giving away. He unfolded his arms.
“We’re just one of about 6,” he said, to show he knew what the Direktor was talking about.
“Yes,” said the Direktor, its speech harsh and metallic through the grill. “All gone before this current one, and all extinct.”
“…yes,” said Meldrum wondering if he should apologise for his Stone Age ancestors. He knew that Homo sapiens had just wiped the other races out. As we wipe everything out, he thought.
The Direktor read his mind in an attempt to establish telepathic communication. It felt like someone sorting through a jewellery box, when the jewellery box was your head. Meldrum shuddered.
“Not all gone, though,” said the Direktor, after a while.
“…no?” said Meldrum. He was fairly sure he would not be given the post and would have to back to his private military unit on the 146th layer. In fact, he was already planning the journey home.
“There was some interbreeding. Approximately 6% of sapiens DNA is neanderthalensis.”
Meldrum was surprised. The Direktor desisted from reading his mind as the discomfort had been obvious. Instead it continued to labour at the grill.
“You have 8% Neanderthal DNA,” it said, little eyes gleaming. “That’s why we called you; you’re a member of one of the genealogies.”
“What…what does this mean?” Meldrum leaned forward, for a moment he caught a whiff of acid from the grill.
“The Neanderthals were good at things. They were a proper species,” the voice continued, “And the aim of this project is to focus, to concentrate, to distil…” It got stuck in a loop finding words that meant similar things. Meldrum had been warned about this. It sometimes happened apparently, when the translation was not quite right.
“How can we do that?” he interjected, doing what he’d been told to break the spasm and kickstart the Direktor again.
“We detect, we travel, we reinforce the lines, we focus, concentrate, and distil the genomes.”
“Travel?” asked Meldrum.
“In time,” was the harsh uncorrupted answer.
Meldrum was silent. No one could travel in time.
“Skyed H. neanderthalensis sensation is the power source.” The voice became sly and hedging,
“You will head a team of three. One woman of 10%, one other man of 8% like you.”
Meldrum decided to leave the issue of time travel until later.
“Why doesn’t the woman head the team?” he asked.
“Too important,” if the Direktor could snigger it would have. “And too irritable.”
Nothing has been too off-hand for you.
Not rated by the ones who should love you.
of your ready claws and bite.
Translating into shoves and pushes,
Shushings and hooshings, clappings, shouts, degradation.
Your fierce intelligence making everything worse.
Stotfold lad in trouble, 2 September 2018
1. Behave very well and do the best you can for her, using money, time and effort.
2. Dispose of her in some way, eventually, with excuses.
3. Kill her with your bare hands.
4. Abandon her in a far-off place.
5. Abandon her, helpless and imprisoned, to die slowly in a far-off place.
Thinking about Missy, 8 Feb 2018.