From the 1st book, Breaking the Moral Code



Erish and Hilimaz break the Moral Code

Two white-supremacists lay in the same medical bay as Namazu, one regaining consciousness. The other lay still as hovering medical-bots passed instruments over him. Erish, Hilimaz, and a male physician, Gitlam, watched as medical-bots whirred around the beds.  They viewed the men through thin screens that allowed them to see the beasts attached to them. Bots passed devices over their skin, allowing medications, hormones, and healing compounds to be absorbed. Namazu slept deeply on a bed opposite.

One of the men gently opened his eyes. He took a deep breath, and looked around him. He watched hovering medical-bots dreamily. Soft restraints slid around his wrists and ankles. Looking at him through viewing screens, they saw the beast redden. Gitlam noted that the beast sank talon-like claws more deeply into the human’s body, injecting cortisol and testosterone. His heart rate increased. Arteries extended from the beast into the man, wrapping around his spine. Thinner arterial tendrils extended up the length of the spinal chord, into his brain.

They had never seen a beast so entwined. Thousands of tendrils, pulsating, growing, extending into his backbone and wrapping around the brain. The screen zoomed in on a section of the brain’s surface. There, they saw more nerve-like fibers extending into the tissue. As the man woke more fully, string-like webbing expanded, completely covering the organ.  

The supremacist’s expression slowly contorted into one of fear, as he realized he was not dreaming. His breathing quickened, his heart rate grew faster. He clenched his fists, and attempted to raise his arms to a defensive position. But looking down, he saw he was restrained. He struggled. The beast reddened more deeply, pulsing, injecting more chemicals. Vein-like extensions pulsed aggressively, pumping liquids into body.

“You are safe,” the Gitlam whispered to him.

The man’s face reddened. “What are you doing to me?” he screamed.

Gitlam walked over, extending his arms through the screens. He attempted to caress the man’s forehead. But he lunged forward, opening his mouth, and sunk his teeth into Gitlam’s forearm. Erish fired the ocelotl. An orange beam emitted from the device, and the man relaxed onto the platform once more. Slowly, they saw the beast grow dimmer. The man fell unconscious.

Gitlam removed a healing cylinder from his belt and passed it over the bite on his wrist. The wound closed and healed, the blood on his wrist dissolved.

“We must remove the beast,” Hilimaz told Gitlam.

He nodded his head affirmatively. 

“The enhanced ayullu,” Erish responded. “It causes the beasts to detach.”

“Is the strength of the beam variable?” Gitlam asked.

“In my version,” she responded. She held the disk in her hand, showing it to Gitlam. “This dial modifies the intensity. We saw humans and Potacas collapse, but we don’t know why it affected humans. In the past, the weapon only hurt the Potacas.”

Gitlam looked at the man lying on the platform. “Start with a low level. The tendrils extending into the brain may produce unexpected effects.” He looked at them with concern, “The human may experience…” he paused, “He may suffer damage.”

Erish looked at the physician coolly. “The Elders have exempted us from the moral code,” she looked at Namazu sleeping on her floating bed. “We are at war,” she added, whispering. “We have to defeat them.” Gitlam’s facial expression changed to one of concern, as he looked back at the unconscious man. Erish continued, “Understanding how to defeat these biological weapons, how to kill the beasts, is essential.”

Erish raised the disk over her head and pushed the golden metallic protrusion. A reddish sphere of light appeared around them and dissolved. They saw, through their screens, the beast grow dim, but did not detach. She moved her hand to a position where she could move the dial to the right, two clicks. “This is two settings higher.” She held the disk above her head and pushed the protrusion. Again, a reddish sphere of light appeared around them and dissolved. They saw the tendrils shrink in size. Some withdrew. His heart beat slowed, his breathing more shallow. His temperature fell. “I will increase it to the next level,” Erish stated.

Gitlam opened his mouth, as if to say something, but Hilimaz interrupted. “We must destroy the beasts.”

Erish had not heard Hilimaz speak with such coldness and lack of compassion.

Gitlam looked at Erish, his brows drawn together, “I understand that you are exempted from the Moral Code.” He paused again, “But, this man is human. Putting him in danger, goes against everything,” he paused. “It goes against who we are.” Erish walked to a position above the man. “Can’t we have time to run models? Maybe there is another way?” Gitlam protested. He looked at Erish. Her lips were set together, her eyelids half-closed as if she were turning off emotions. He saw that she felt no compassion for this man. “He is a victim.” Gitlam continued. “He did not ask for this.”

Erish turned to him sharply. “That is where you are wrong,” she assumed a commanding air. “He had a predisposition for the racism that brought him to that riot.” She slowly turned her gaze back to the man. “Otherwise,” she added, her voice calmer, “Otherwise, the beast would have had a different effect. He would have been angry, upset perhaps, but, he wouldn’t have turned his anger against an entire race. He was predisposed.” The supremacist’s face still contorted with anger, even though he was unconscious. She noticed for the first time he had closely cropped red hair. The color had been hard to distinguish in bright light. His skin was pale. On his bare chest she saw sparse, curled hairs. Looking down towards his hands, his fingers still splayed in his attempt to free himself, she saw that his nails were clean, trimmed. This man was no common laborer. Erish looked back at Gitlam, who had moved away from her and stood against the wall. He looked at her with resignation. He knew her’s was the ultimate decision.

Looking back at the man on the bed, Erish lowered her hand to a position in front of her face, and clicked the disk once more to the right. Raising her hand above her head again, she pressed the gold protrusion. A more intensely red sphere of light appeared and vanished. At this level, the beast withdrew its claws from the man. The tendrils seemed to vanish. The beast detached. Gitlam watched the monitors with consternation. The human’s heartbeat slowed dramatically. The blood pressure dropped. His breathing stopped. Then, his heart also. They watched as the beast slowly disintegrated, vanishing into thin air.

Gitlam heaved a heavy sigh and looked at Erish and Hilimaz. “You have killed him.”

Hilimaz looked at the physician coldly.

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