He felt the pressure-lock shutting behind him. Latching. He clutched at his suit and breathed.

To catch a sane thought he tried to shake off the wooziness, but his head was spinning,  fingers tingling. All that adrenalin screaming through his system. The sensation of moving skin and muscles under his hands. The fading power of defense, which wasn’t a defense anymore. His arms would remember that feeling as long as he lived. The nausea was overwhelming. A big gulp forced his stomach back down.

He had imagined it to be more difficult, that someone tried and stopped him. Someone knocked him out, before he did it. Someone tying him up before he could proceed,  with his plan… Nothing. Nothing happened.

Setting everything up has been so unbelievably easy, but the main act, the distraction…


It broke him, scarred him.

It was a sin.

A necessity. But a sin.

He felt it clearly, like the metal door he was leaning against. It was bad. But bad things started a new life.

The deep rattling of the activated escape capsule made it worse. The nausea and  the dizziness were back. His heart tried desperately to crawl out of his thorax.

Before he realized it, he heard someone talking. It was his voice, and his words, but he didn’t remembered opening his mouth. He listened. First it seemed gibberish, distorted words, half understood facts…

Saliva in his mouth turned to acid, he had to spit it out. No way he would be able to swallow that.

If he stayed where he was, everything would end disastrously. Then it made suddenly sense. Imperative. “Dontlookbackdontlookbackrun. Run. RUN!”

If he looked back, he’d go back. Go back and try to save him. And all the work and effort for nothing!


He was a friend. A true friend, the best he ever had… His only friend. A sacrifice.

“Point of no return!” He commandeered, just to hear himself over the CPR-alarm. The ship’s life monitoring system did pick up Oz’s cardiac arrest after all. Colored him surprise. He had shut off all surveillance in the lab. Wasn’t enough though. 

“No time for all loose ends.” Override wasn’t possible from the lab, only the setting to self-destruct. On the other side of the doors, the alarm was screaming. “FOCUS! This is important.”

The fabric of the suit was soft in his fists. He had to take it, even if it ment leaving bread crumbs behind. When they found the wreck, they’d be searching for the suits. They’d know it was fishy. And that he was missing.

He was property, after all. Priceless property. But that couldn’t be helped now. He was going to deal with it later.

His tracking device had been deactivated and removed. Oz did it. Happily.

Poor Oz.

His name on the helmet started to gleam. “Proto.” Simple. 

They didn’t allow him a family name.

They were his family, mother and father. They were his owners. Literally. They were Strix Genome United Inc.

Strix… He grinned.

They gave him this name. This despicable. Boring. Unoriginal. Joke of a name.

At least, they could have picked Adam, for man. But no! It had to be the short form for Prototype. Disappointingly predictable. He had asked for another name, one he gave himself. But Strix never allowed it.

He liked Adam, George too, then he remembered Brutus and Marcus. Romans had elegance in choosing names. His choice would be Septim.

He was the seventh clone, the first still alive… Seventh. He had to think of a back story, if he bumped into other humans. He made a mental note and crossed the small chamber to the capsule.

The ticket to freedom lied in front of him. Life pod 4.

“Get yourself together! No guilty trip. Can’t take it back! What happened, happened,” he told himself spurring on. “Can’t turn back. No matter what. Killing a man means death sentence.” Oz would understand. He always did. Sad though, that it had to be this way.

Entering the escape capsule, the door closed automatically. Proto seated himself in the pilot’s seat. Designed for four people, it had enough room and supplies to risk a three months journey to Europe.

The ride would be bumpy, since he changed Harpy’s course into the asteroid belt. He hoped it was enough to catapult him into a safe and steady course to Jupiter. From there it would be child’s play, joining the terra-forming units on Europe, he’d help build that magnetosphere inducing system around the core. It was his chance to be human, and be treated like one…

And no one would take that from him.

“Five, four, three, two, one, zero.” Harpy’s voice counted. With a rapid accelerating boost, the capsule left it’s mother ship. Ascending fast. 

In a safe distance Proto took over manually and switched the autopilot off. Now he had to look. He needed to look.

The ship was nowhere to be seen. He scanned the last coordinates…

“Identified: Traces of crystalline fuel, debris, 
remaining parts of shell and wing panel of: 
interplanetary transporter, Type: J 408/c. 
No S.O.S signal detected.” 

The gleaming writing on the analysis display blinked orange before fading away.

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