Birthright: Part 8

The next day found the group of us in Iolan Mekus’ office and lab. It was another of the egg-shaped buildings. This one was set at a distance from the main settlement—which I’d just learned had one of the least interesting names possible.

Marcus stared at Iolan. “You call it ‘Landing’? I get it. It’s right next to where you’ve got the starships, but I’d have gone with something more, you know, inspiring. It’s significant—the beginning of a human colony on this world. That’s crazy and amazing.”

Iolan frowned, leaning against his desk which was covered with clutter. There weren’t any papers but there were multiple black tablets and various small, plastic-looking devices of a variety of different shapes, ranging from flat squares to cylinders.

His desk matched the lab. While perfectly clean (to the degree it could be in the middle of a wilderness), all the devices stood next to each other with barely any space between them. My university’s chem labs were much better organized—well, except maybe for a few of the profs’ private areas. Those could get messy.

Iolan scowled. “We used to call it First Landing, but after a while everyone dropped the ‘First’. Now, I know you’re here to help me find out if there’s a spy—”

“Or spies,” I added.

“—Among us, but I got the impression that you wanted to talk to me about something else?”

Jaclyn spoke before I could respond, looking Iolan in the eye. “We found out that your colony’s going to get dangerously inbred soon because no one can have children except with people from their own group. We’re from one of the planets where the Abominators kept unmodified humans. We’ve got other stuff mixed in now, but we don’t activate anybody’s allergies so far.”

His brow wrinkled. “You know this how?”

“I touched Kals’ arm with my finger,” I said, “and she didn’t have any problems.”

Marcus gave half a smile. “Tikki and I… We touched a few other places—a lot of times. We didn’t use second skin or anything like that.”

Iolan’s eyes narrowed. “I hope not. I’ve been keeping all of that under lock and key. If people got into my stores…” He shook his head, muttering, “We need it for burns, but go on.”

Marcus’ jaw dropped a little. “There isn’t any more. You don’t want to hear exactly what we did, do you?”

Leaning against one of the tables, Cassie grinned. “He wants to hear it all—especially the embarrassing parts.”

Then Iolan blinked, realizing, I’m guessing, exactly what we’d said. “No. Not at all. That… That’s incredible. I’m not sure I can even believe you, but we can prove it even without bringing in people and risking nasty rashes. If you give me a little bit of skin or spit, I’ll be able to find out what we need to know.”

He turned to his desk, finding a stack of thin, glossy white squares, giving one to each of us except for Katuk. “Spit on it and pass it back to me.”

I took mine, spit on the square, watched as the spit disappeared inside, and passed it back to Iolan.

Taking the squares, he placed them next to each other on one of the tablets. “We’ll have to wait a minute while it catalogs your DNA and compares to ours.”

After a little more than a minute, the edges of each square changed color, turning from white to red and then back to white. Iolan stared ahead as if reading something invisible above them. “They’re done and have made a preliminary report. You’re all of unmodified human stock or at least of unintentionally modified stock. Note though that I say unintentionally modified. You’re all basic human stock that have somehow inherited genes from more than one Abominator created gene line as well as a few completely new mutations.”

Turning to Cassie, he said, “You’re the most normal of the group, containing genes that one group of Abominators used as rulers—except that you lack the gifts related to ruling, have kept the improved physical abilities and immortality, but have an ability to heal that’s far in excess of what I’ve ever seen.”

He went on, pointing at Jaclyn. “You’ve got a collection of genes from different lines… I’ve never seen them combine like this and from what I heard from those who saw you in action, I’d need a great deal of time to explain your abilities.”

He glanced over at Marcus. “You’re as unusual. You’ve got many of the same genes combined with one of the Abominators’ soldier gene lines—one that included some Abominator DNA.”

Marcus looked as if he was about to say something, but Iolan turned to me. “You’ve got a bit of DNA from the gene lines I’m familiar with, but some that isn’t human or modified by the Abominators. You’ve all got a little of that, but you’ve got it most strongly.”

I wanted to ask him if he knew more than that, but he talked over me. “You were right, though. None of you should have any trouble breeding with any gene line.”

He shook his head. “This is going to cause all kinds of trouble.”

18 thoughts on “Birthright: Part 8”

  1. Well now caught up again!! Now things progressed very very nicely I rather like it even though I find the mechanism to prevent uncontrolled breeding among the different lines odd but eh…

    The bit about the Space ghosts was very nice, I wonder if Rachel and her grandmother back in the day could do everything those guys can do and just don’t because they lack the Idea and/or training or because their line is diluted or perhaps even because they are not in the right envroment for the use of their full capabilities, well we shall see I guess.

    About Tikki I cannot help but to thingk that she is hiding the true extent her abilities but eh that’s just me…

    A bit surprised that Marcus having Abominator DNA does not get more of a reaction from Iolan, thought this would be a big thing, oh well…Also the Soldier Geneline that had Abominator DNA ? Travis, Haley Congrats guys!!

    Seems like Jacklyn’s line is unique out there, that means the Abominator influenced human groups out there would very much want her.

    Funny how Cassie is the most”normal” for Iolan considering her orign, though I must say what was said makes me wonder about the line whose DNA she has, leadership abilities on top of enhanced physical powers ? Reminds me a bit of the True for some reason…Also given the comment on Cassie’s I imagine they lack Cabal types out there too…Heh wonder how the human polities would react to those.

    Nick’s description was a bit underwhelming…except for the unknown DNA thing which most likely comes from Lee, so he even chnages them on a genetic level…wonder what the consequences of this might be.

    Of course Iolan might be lying his ass off about Nick or keeping the fact that the lines he saw in Nick are precious and sought after but eh guess we will see…

    1. Lee seems to have affected Nick more on a metaphysical level than a genetic one. I’d guess that his unknown DNA is from his Grandma, he’s descended from the Space Ghosts too. I seem to remember that he showed a reaction, albeit an extremely slight one, to the power detecting liquid. I’m pretty sure he has the incorpreality power genes, their just either too slight to be effectively used or he’s just a carrier for a trait that’s only expressed in females for whatever reason.

      Makes one wonder what his kids would look like. We already know mixing genetics can result in entirely new powers, so Haley’s soldier line plus Space Ghost could be something really terrifying/awesome.

      1. @Jim: An interlude with a fastforward to Nick/Haley (&/OR Nick/Amy … life is complicates ok?!) Super kids at table 3 pronto! XD

        Really, I wöüld love, Love, LOVE! An interlude with next’s generawtion’s LoN

        1. Come on Angelo, EVERYBODY knows that Amy is cooler than Haley, but the Amy-Nick ship just isn’t going to sail, if it’s even seaworthy at this point. I was rooting for them too but you have to admit Vaughn is probably a better match for her anyway

      2. I was thinking something along the lines of shadow cat for Nick’s and Haley’s daughter. Like she would be able to transform like Haley into a wolf/feline creature, speed and reflectses like Haley and also have some of the space ghost power to turn invisible and/or phase. Like the best thief ever.

        I thought about Alex and his portal girlfriend too, their kid would consist really interesting. Wounder how that would work out. There’s also Daniel and his kids, the generation after them is going to be so OP

      3. Personally, I still think his super adhd and thinking ability is a power in and of itself, as well as the physical reflexes and coordination to pilot the rocket suit. He reacted to both physical AND mental on the testing liquid.

  2. By the way I started reading Curveball on your recommendation Jim–I’m on episode 13–and I’m impressed. I love the writing, it’s super polished but also so effortlessly natural… It’s like the author knows exactly what details to include (and exclude) to feed your imagination just the right amount. Thanks for turning me on to it!

    1. No problem. It’s a good series and Chris Wright (the author) deserves more attention. When you’re done with that series (it ends in 3 episodes after the current one), you might want to take a look at the completed “Pay Me, Bug!” and its sequel “A Rake By Starlight” which is in progress.

      Chris is not as good with putting out regular material as I am, but he only puts out what he’s satisfied with. He’s also the guy editing (and participating in) the podcast I’m part of (Throwing the Gun).

    2. I love Curveball, and Chris is an amazing guy. He was one of my first daily webcomic reads back in the day (Help Desk at Ubersoft.net , Like working for Microsoft, only more evil) and before Curveball, Pay Me Bug! was awesome, like Robert Aspirin wrote Firefly. (his other novels are all more standard prose. The Prose Comic Book style is wonderful though, and I love that he breaks all the rules and it works)

  3. Typo, left out the word “the” in: Taking the squares, he placed them next to each other on one of tablets.

    Maybe should be “one of the tablets”

  4. Well, ask and ye shall receive. I asked for a PlusOne button earlier today, and here it is. Looks like I need to set up a WordPress account to use it though. I’ll look into that in the near future.

    1. Does that only work with WordPress? I was assuming that any of the services that I allowed to work with my blog would work. It makes sense though. The “Like” feature comes from Jetpack, a WordPress.com plugin for WordPress.

      I’ve got another option (unrelated to WordPress), but it would allow dislikes as well as likes. Overall, I’d prefer to keep things positive.

      1. It looks like when I clicked “Continue using Google” it created a WordPress account under the table. I had been thinking about looking into WordPress, but just haven’t gotten around to it yet. Looks like I have a start place now.

        I agree, would rather just have a Like.

        Thanks!

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