Homo supremus

by Jenna Nancarrow

She was perfect. The doctor gave the creature an analytical gaze; his reverent expression reflected in the glass of the containment vessel. She was suspended in the gooey blue liquid that chemically resembled human amniotic fluid. Her hair was jet black and swayed gently around her head. Her eyes were a vivid green, and wide open although she wasn’t conscious. The superfluous little fingers on normal humans had been genetically recoded to appear as vicious hooked claws protruding from her hands. She only had three toes, but they were much longer than natural, and looked exceedingly similar to bird feet. They were designed for incredible speed and agility; in theory, with these feet, she could reach speeds that could rival a cheetah over long distances. All of her senses were amazingly heightened; sight, sound and smell sharpened to allow for an unbeatable level of hunting.

But the modifications that the doctor was most proud of lay in her pelvis and spine. The normal human pelvic bone and vertebrae were not ideal for upright walking, because they evolved from four legged or hunched over ancient ancestors. The creature that lay before him had a genetically created skeletal structure that included specialised bones and ligaments that allowed it to walk and run in an upright position with the utmost power and grace. Physically, she was much more advanced than regular humans; she was supreme. Homo supremus.

“Doctor, we’re ready to begin draining and decontamination,” the lab attendant broke the doctor’s line of thought.

“Yes, alright,” he said almost to himself before he demanded, “Commence decantation!” The other lab attendants scattered like terrified ants to do his bidding. Soon, he thought, soon you will be ready.

The blue goo began to filter out of the huge glass cylinder, and she sank to the floor of her sealed chamber; her eyes fluttered shut and she appeared to be sleeping. A computer simulated voice robotically announced “Decantation complete.”

The doctor stared at his creation, waiting for her eyes to reopen, and for her to gain a consciousness of her own. That’s the funny thing with a brain; it’s too difficult to program a personality. The doctor waited excitedly, anticipating what kind of brain chemistry his protégée might produce. He inched closer to the glass cage while the other attendants went about their business, running tests and analysing results. The doctor was now close enough to reach out and touch the relatively thin pane of glass that separated him from his Nobel Prize-winning invention. He leaned in to view her even closer but his breath fogged up the glass. He irritably wiped the condensation away with his sleeve. When he peered in again, she was gone.

He was immediately confused; a feeling he wasn’t used to. He fought hard to rationalise it, but his brain just didn’t believe what his eyes were seeing. He blinked a few times, just to be sure, but his vision was the same as before. He turned to the bank of computers behind him, to ask one of the attendants if they had seen anything, but there was no one there. He was entirely alone in his lab, but then he thought again: No, not entirely alone. She had to be here somewhere.

He moved slowly and cautiously toward the computer responsible for recording her brain activity. Under the desk lay a puddle of deep, red blood, but no body. How had she done it so quietly? He pushed the thought from his mind as he analysed the computer screen. The image he saw was not what he had expected. The neocortex is the most advanced part of the brain and is essentially what makes us humans. The right side is the warm and artistic side, while the left is cold and rational. The left side of her neocortex was lit up with activity, while the right side was dull and lifeless. Most of the limbic system, in charge of emotions was similarly unused, except for the amygdala, responsible for anger and aggression. She was on a rampage, and would have to be stopped. Why hasn’t she killed me yet? What is she waiting for?

At that moment he looked up from the screen and saw her, standing in front of the glass case, watching him. Her clawed bird feet gouged the metal grated floor, and her long hair cast shadows across the porcelain skin of her face. The two ten centimetre long talons on her hands twitched, as if eager to slice open his throat. For a few seconds, they stood there facing each other, though for the doctor it felt like years. He couldn’t see her eyes, but he remembered them as they were, those vivid green orbs he had stared into for months; except now he imagined them with a cold and intelligent glint of conscious thought. She stood as still as a statue as the doctor willed his legs to move despite his fear. He slowly walked around the computer desks and approached her, as one would approach a rabid dog. He was terrified but he had to know.

He moved forward, stepping closer and closer towards certain death. When he was little more than a metre away, she tilted her head slightly to show her eyes and growled. The doctor jumped at the aggressive sound and squeezed his eyes closed as tight as he could, believing she was just about to end his life. When nothing happened he hazarded a glance between his eyelids. She was posed with her right pinky claw raised to his neck, but she didn’t make a move.

He had to ask, even though he thought she would not understand, since language had to be taught, and couldn’t be pre-programmed, “Why?”

She startled him with a response: “Because this is the beginning of the end. I am the top predator now. Fear me, weak human, for I am God.”

The doctor had one last thought before he died: Truly supremus...

Copyright © 2010 Jenna Nancarrow.
First published in our Infinitas Newsletter, Nov 2010.

This page last updated 28th Nov 2010.