Huddled in the corner of the room, I hear him coming. He knows precisely where I am. There are plates of steel between him and me, and concrete thick enough to shield me from a nuclear blast—but none of it will protect me from him.
I’m tired. I’m thirsty. My mouth is dry and my heart is pounding.
I’ve been running for two weeks. It feels like forever. It was long enough to give me the idea that I could possibly escape. I got cocky. I decided to have breakfast at a hotel bar. I didn’t hide my face and someone’s camera must have caught me. That image, zipped through a thousand wires, uploaded to a dozen databases, searched by a handful of very advanced bots put me on the radar of several groups of people I needed to stay away from.
Now he is here, outside the bunker I hired with the last of my money. It’s really a vault designed to protect the valuables of the rich and famous, and it’s supposed to be impregnable. Something tells me that it isn’t. Not against him. He is going to carve through every single layer between us and pull me out like a sardine.
There’s nowhere left to run. I’ve enlisted the help of everyone I know, everyone who still cared or who was in a position to do something. But nothing has made any difference. Nobody can save me.
He’s coming for me. He’s coming and nobody can stop him.
I hear dull thuds as he starts to work at the wall. If this was a mere man coming to get me, he’d have to use a hammer or a battering ram. I know he won’t be using either of those things. His fists are more than capable of turning concrete into crumbling dust. His fingers will pluck at the steel mesh and peel it away like a foil wrapper.
Sure enough, after almost an hour of cowering and waiting for the inevitable, the wall crumbles. An eye peers through and locks with mine. He has incredible eyes. Pale gray, tinted bright blue at the very center of the pupil. Like a star about to go supernova.
They were black, in the beginning. No iris. I gave him those eyes. Now they burn with life, and rage, and the desire for vengeance.
That gaze meets mine and I’m thrown back in time to the precise moment this day became inevitable. I was there when he first saw the world. I was one of the first people he ever laid eyes on, and I knew the moment our gazes locked that we’d made something special. Something unique in all the world. The first of his kind. The only of his kind.
I knew too, when I was forced out of the company, made to leave him behind, that I wasn’t really leaving. Oppenheimer couldn’t abandon the bomb. Edison couldn’t escape the light he shed on the world. And I couldn’t run from my creation either.
What else could he be named? What other moniker would adequately represent our hubris, the God complex that every single scientist in the facility embodied. We were so proud of what we’d done. We’d made a man.
The day his heart began to beat was the day we cheered and congratulated ourselves. We had created life. We had unlocked the deepest mysteries of being. We had made a new form of being, and he lay in the womb of our facility, perfect in every single way.
I was so proud of him. I couldn’t take my eyes off him.
He wasn’t born. He was printed. We designed him and then we built him in cellular layers of metal, silicone, and flesh all knitted together so precisely, all capable of interacting and flourishing within the form we created.
The early trials were on rabbits. We created bunny after bunny, watched them live their lives, mate with other rabbits, and some of them even produced offspring. Our cyborgs had the capacity to be fertile. This was technology that had the potential to change the very fabric of the organic world. We hadn’t just made a new form of life. We’d given it the ability to propagate itself using the same channels life has been using since the dawn of time.
Adam was the first and only human version. He was our masterwork. There was not a part of him we did not know, and that was not specifically and carefully designed.
When he was complete, he was beautiful. His shoulders were broad, his hips narrow in perfect male ratio. His musculature was advanced, even though he’d never so much as twitched a finger before. We made him tall too. Six foot eight, not quite freakish, but well above the average. We set his default code at ten percent body fat. Enough to make him look like a ‘normal’ human, but not so normal that it obscured the incredible architecture of his form. Michelangelo couldn’t have created a more perfect man, and to say that we were proud of him is to say nothing at all. The designers’ attention to detail extended to his face, of course. They made him beyond handsome. He had near perfect symmetry, a hard powerful jaw, straight nose, lips that were full without being feminine, two hard black slashes of brow, and dark hair that curled just a fraction when it was wet.
On the day he began, we gathered around his insensate form and congratulated ourselves. He was alive, but not yet conscious. He had been given a pair of white underwear, but nothing else to obscure the perfection we had wrought. He was an incredible work of art and science. He was our greatest triumph.
The anesthetist lifted the sedation. We waited. He opened his eyes. He looked at us. And he spoke four words that made some of us titter nervously, and others of us stare in horror. One of the team had those words tattooed over his heart:
This was a mistake.
More frightening than the words was the fact that he had the ability to form them so swiftly. He should have been more or less blank. He was yet to be programmed. We had terabytes of data ready to upload to his neural circuits, multiple languages, the wealth of knowledge of centuries. We had a personality ready to impart. But from that very first moment, Adam was his own being.
Staring at him now, through the remnants of the wall that he is quickly peeling away, I am thrown back in time to the moment this all became inevitable.