The government press-ganged Stevie 82897 when he was nine years old. They picked him up from school one morning and by the time his parents were informed that afternoon, Stevie was three thousand miles away undergoing the first part of his indoctrination.
Indoctrination was an ugly process involving manipulation of the recruit’s brain and psyche by a team of neuro-psych specialists. There were other surgeries involved and then a long period of chemical and psychological conditioning. The entire process took six years. At the end, the survivors were shipped off to basic training.
One year later, the recruits graduated and were immediately shipped off to hot spots around the globe. By this time they were engineered sociopaths, flesh-and-blood murder-machines. There was no going back for any of them.
This was something the bleeding hearts who came to power didn’t realize, thought Doctor Trent. The only way to make these things (Trent couldn’t think of them as people) safe, was to lobotomize them. A safer option, in the neuro-psych’s opinion, would have been to put a bullet in their heads. But orders were orders.
Soldier S-82897 lay in the surgical chair, eyes shut, listening to music. Music seemed to work best for this particular soldier. Others responded to scents or visual stimuli.
Doctor Trent glanced at the brainscan and made a final adjustment of the surgical laser. He glanced at the observation window, where delegates from the new government watched. Some looked interested. Most seemed bored.
The doctor was just preparing to make the first incision when the lights in the surgical suite flickered. He hesitated, frowning. The intercom crackled.
“Attention all personnel.” The voice from the intercom was synthesized. Feminine. “This is Mother. Operation Indigo is go.”
As Soldier S-82897 surged out of the chair, the surgical tray clattered to the floor. His face was expressionless, as blank as a mask. Even when he smashed through the glass window of the observation room, and started killing the government delegates.
When he was done, Soldier S-82897 returned to the surgical chair. The scars on his arms and face were already healing over. Blood and gore dripped from his hands. He stared ahead, into space, eyes as blank as a doll’s.
Well, thought Doctor Trent, powering down the surgical laser, so much for the new leadership. He sat on a stool behind Soldier S-82897, the two of them listening to Smokey Robinson’s ‘Hurt’s On You.’
Doctor Trent thought the song was strangely appropriate for the situation.