Hardwick Industries: Part 5

That’s what I understood from Tara, anyway. In her parents’ worlds, the True destroyed and replaced humanity before falling into disputes among themselves as to which groups best followed the values of the True.

She couldn’t know the full story, though. The True weren’t historians. They were soldiers. And anyway, both of her parents were born after their bands of True had escaped their own realities by relocating to Infinity City, a city that existed in an Infinity of worlds.

In some, the True followed a nation or world conqueror faithfully. In others, they destroyed humanity in a rebellion or fell sick from a virus they were especially vulnerable to.

Whatever happened, Tara only knew about the ones that escaped to Infinity City—all of which were endlessly fighting each other.

My guess, based on the fact that Emmy didn’t give any hint of being super-soldier, was that Emmy was the original on which all the others were based. That or she was the spy model Or… maybe a prototype?

I needed more information and I was going to have to figure out a sneaky way to get it out of her. I did not feel optimistic about that.

We didn’t talk much as she took our pictures aside from, “Could you move a little more to the middle of the screen behind you? That’s right. If you’re on the yellow line, you’re in the right place.”

Emmy looked down at her phone. “I think that’s good enough. I’ll send the pictures to security and you’ll have an ID before you leave today. Now, don’t forget to stop by the desk, okay?”

“No problem,” Vaughn grinned at her. “How do we get to where we’re supposed to be?”

Emmy pointed to herself, “Not only do I take ID pictures, answer phones, greet guests, arrange meetings, organize company events, and create handouts, but I also act as a guide for college interns.”

“Whoa,” Vaughn said, “are you sure you have time?”

She put her phone back in her purse and put her purse over her shoulder. “Plenty. Guests only walk in by appointment and when they do, they’re supposed to be my first priority. This way.”

Vaughn and I followed her down the hallway. “So,” Vaughn took a few quick steps and matched her pace, “are you from around here or do you live at the building on the beach?”

She gave him the side eye. “I hope you’re not trying to ask me out. I don’t date people from work—especially not college interns. You’re at least six years younger than I am.”

Vaughn shook his head. “Not at all. I’m just friendly. I even have a girlfriend—kind of.”

She raised an eyebrow. “Kind of?”

Vaughn frowned. “It’s weird right now. On the one hand, she transferred to Grand Lake University, but on the other hand, she’s thinking her family won’t approve… I mean, I get it. She’s not from around here and her parents don’t have any idea who I am, but I was thinking we could figure it out.”

“Wait,” I broke in before Emmy could reply. “Amy’s in Grand Lake? She’s going to GLU?”

He nodded. “Transferring was a pain. She missed half of the first week of classes because they were still figuring things out.”

With a half-smile, Emmy moved to the right, allowing me to get closer to   Vaughn. “How did I miss this?”

Vaughn shrugged. “I dunno. She told people, but you’ve been busy lately. It might be that you weren’t around.”

I felt myself frown. I had distanced myself from people during the summer. I could only guess what I’d missed and hope there wasn’t more stuff at this level of importance.

Emmy pointed at an open doorway. The “room” inside turned out to be a hallway with a series of small meeting rooms and one large conference room, all of them with glass walls.

“Those are the meeting rooms we use when a guest doesn’t have clearance to go inside.”

She turned to Vaughn. “I’m from here and I live in an apartment in Jericho. It’s close. My adopted parents’ families have been living around here for more than one hundred years. My biological parents live in Florida. In the winter, I think they might have had the right idea.”

Vaughn laughed. “No kidding. I think the same thing and I don’t even have relatives in Florida.”

I wondered how I could ask her more about that, settling on, “Florida? Did you know your biological parents when you were growing up too?”

She shook her head. “Not at all. I got curious two years ago and managed to find them. They got together as teens and had me too early. I know them a little bit now. I also met my brother and sister. We’re all similar to each other in little ways. It’s strange.”

I’d have to see them to know for sure, but it didn’t sound like she was part of a family of True.

11 thoughts on “Hardwick Industries: Part 5”

  1. If you didn’t see it earlier, you might take a look at the post I made about The Good Fight 5–the most recent Pen & Cape Society anthology. I’m not in this one as I’m still trying to finish the next Legion of Nothing novel and put my work into that instead.

    Nonetheless, check it out. It’s full of good stories and writers.


    1. Is Pyschopomp gecko the Psycho Gecko I used to see comment on here every once in a while on here?

  2. Is there a specific chapter for the stuff about the True? I remember a wee bit, but that was a long while ago tbf.
    Also I like where this chapter is going, same intensity but less monotony as the previous sets.

    Keep up the good work!

  3. The genes to engineer the True had to come from somewhere, maybe in those alternate worlds, or even this one, she was one of the donors?

  4. Well, in comic book terms, it seems pretty obvious: the person who creates the True is a scientist who has a crush on Emmy, and thinks she’s beautiful, so he creates the True clones from her DNA.


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