All the Little Lost Boys and Girls, Chapter 72

Captain Ragnikov’s requiem continues, as voted for by my patrons. In this chapter, the Coalition is trying to get information aboard what in the Hell was going on aboard the Caleuche and down on Sanguine Atoll. One of their prospective sources of information is being difficult, and the other doesn’t know as much as they think they do. Meanwhile on DROP 47, Duty Before Glory‘s little excursion has been noticed and the Imperium’s hunt for this particular nosy Parker has begun, even as Everett realizes that he’s crossed a Rubicon and fully commits himself to a dangerous decision…

Below is an excerpt from a discussion between General Jung and Dr. Hayes regarding the development and deployment of the I-series and another hint of the various experiments performed on the latter. For the full chapter and story, check out the links above.

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“Things would be so much easier if they took to quick-grow methods flash-indoctrination,” Jung lamented. “Even with the failure rates, we could have them fully operational and deployed by now.”

Everett said nothing to that. Flash-indoctrination, already a somewhat… fidgety technology despite the many centuries spent trying to perfect rapid brain-washing, simply didn’t work on I-series subjects. Their brain structure was too different from human norms – even established outliers – for any of the various techniques to work. At least, work in such a way that it didn’t induce violent, uncontrolled psychosis. If The Imperium could have brainwashed the I-series into compliant little drones, they’d never have needed Hayes. But they couldn’t, and they did. “I’m doing everything in my power to get them ready,” he said after a few seconds.

“Of course,” Jung said. “Of course. Well, that’s all the information I have for you at the moment. All the experimental data recovered from Caleuche before it was scuttled has been sent to you and Black for your divisions to review.”

Recognizing the dismissal in Jung’s tone, Everett stood. “Thank you, general. I appreciate you speaking to me personally.”

“Ah,” the fat man waved a hand. “You’re one of my miracle workers, Hayes. I may not say it as often as I should, but you’re doing good work here. I just wish it was faster, is all. Things are… precarious. But don’t worry, we’ll keep you informed of the situation as needed. These people, whoever they are… they’re on borrowed time. You have my word on that.”

“Thank you, sir. That means a lot to me.” Not as much as having Aleksandra back, alive and unharmed but Black had insisted on his ‘high stress F2 exposure’ experiments. Damn him.

Justin was another problem for Hayes. He was obsessive over his work. That wasn’t uncommon, even outside the Mists, but the F-2 project director’s focus was… unpleasant. For seven generations, the I series had resisted F-series damage and neuronal degradation. Justin seemed to take it as a point of pride to try and break one of Everett’s subjects. It was unsavory and Everett suspected his motives weren’t entirely professional, but he was doing his job. It was vital that the Imperium know if, and if, then when and how the I-series would succumb to F2 deterioration. Pushing them to their limits and then past them was necessary.

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