by James Matthews

Chapter 12

Adam and Relshek stepped onto a metal platform containing some kind of computer station. Relshek pressed a few buttons and it started to descend down a barren shaft with a jolt. Adam attempted to look over the edge but there wasn't one such was the tight fit the platform seemed to have with the surrounding walls. It got dim for a moment as the light above faded but moments later the brightness returned, albeit an artificial kind.

The platform came to a sudden halt confirming they had reached their destination. In front of Adam lay a door. It looked as if it was one of those strong doors for security such was its bulk and grandeur. Near the top were three large red lights evenly spaced suggesting it was in some way forbidden to enter.

"You look alarmed Adam, are you ok?" Relshek asked, looking at Adam's frowning expression.

"Looks like the entrance to a nuclear bunker!" Replied Adam, stepping off the platform slowly, never taking his eyes from the large door in front.

Relshek shut the gate behind them and sent the platform back up to where it came from causing Adam to jump slightly from the noise. Relshek walked over to a device situated on the wall just to the left of the locked door, took off a white glove and placed his palm against a transparent glass sheet. There was a clunk and Adam saw that the lights had changed from red to blue. Relshek stepped back and stood silently as the door began to slowly open.

The first thing Adam noticed as the view inside became less obstructed by the door, was the intense white light that hit him immediately. Shielding his eyes with his hand until they could adjust he tried to see what was in front of him. Relshek took hold of his hand and led him just inside.

"What is this place?"

"I didn't tell you because I knew you would decline," Relshek replied cryptically.

Adam was starting to see better now and took a glance to his left, then directly in front and finally to the right. Before him appeared to be frosted white oblong half cylinders which rested on marble like plinths. On top of each one was what looked like a soft covering complete with a flexipad stitched into the material at one end.

"This is a birthing chamber Adam." Relshek declared softly. "these are incubators."

Adam begun to frown as the scale of the room he was in begun to hit him. Looking left again he tried to count how many of these little pods went down the line but he gave up when he could no longer make them out. Equally, to his right, incubators were lined as far as his sight would allow. Then, he looked up and out across the space in front and his jaw dropped open as a sea of these strange beds filled every part of his view.

"Fuuuuuck," he sighed out, placing his hand on his forehead. "How many are there?"

"In this room?" Relshek pulled a flexipad from his white jacket and tapped on the screen. "One million, three hundred and seventy two thousand, four hundred and sixteen individuals."

"This room?" Adam repeated, suddenly startled. "You mean there are more?"

"Oh yes Adam, the reason I have brought you to this room is because these males are fourteen to sixteen years old and all pre-design."

"Pre-design, I hear you say that a lot when you mention this place, what exactly does pre-design mean?"

"Come, I will show you."

Relshek headed over to one of the incubators and stood next to it and Adam reluctantly followed. Tapping on the little pad stitched into the material covering the half-cylinder he did something that made the object light up before there was a light whooshing sound.

Being very delicate he pulled the thick white rubbery sheet back and revealed the contents of the box. Adam's eyes suddenly went wide and he fell backwards putting his hand to his mouth.

"Fuck! Is… is that an alien?" he asked, looking a little white.

"It is a fifteen year old Puritan, Adam… pre-design."

Adam stepped back over to the incubator again and forced himself to stare inside. What lay before him was a naked, hairless and featureless being. Adam stared hard at its face but there was nothing there but the bare minimum to identify it as a person. There were no eyes, only skin in place of the sockets. There was no mouth whatsoever and its nose was just a crude protrusion that reminded Adam of a white chocolate mouse you get from a candy store.

"Why does it look like… like that!?"

"It Adam, is a he… and he looks like that because he has yet to be designed."

"By who?"

"His parents of course." Relshek said, with both a hint of casualness and excitement.

"What the fuck, Christian, you said this thing was fifteen, why is it here and why is it pre-designed or whatever it is?"

"Some parents choose to let their children grow before they design them. Parents can choose to design a child at full birth, five, ten, fourteen, fifteen or sixteen of your years old."

"But why… and how for that matter?"

"For our people Adam the sperm count dramatically declines after twenty years old, so parents must act when are still young if they wish to create a child. Each Puritan will find a mate usually between the ages of fifteen and eighteen and they will both have their sperm fused in an incubator which melds the genes of both parents together then accelerates growth. In four months the parents will have what we call a full birth. This means their child is ready and functioning should they wish to design it.

"Fucking hell, I mean, we have designer babies on earth but nothing on this kind of scale, it's out of this world!"

"Your world maybe, Adam," replied Relshek, a touch of jovialness to his tone.

"So what you're saying is parents can essentially pay now and buy later?"

"I do not understand that term Adam as we do not use currency on Purity."

"It's a figure of speech Christian… what I mean is, parents and have this sperm fuse thing and then come back a few years later to pick up their kid?"

"Oh I see, well yes that is right Adam. Some parents wish to serve Purity first by having Jobs that fulfil them or they may wish to bring up children later in life when they have more life experience. It is always down to each Puritan preference."

"And what happens to the Puritans whose parents are killed or don't want them?"

"Those people are terminated." Relshek said, seemingly unfazed by what he had just announced. Adam however looked furious.

"Do you people have no heart?"

"I'm sorry Adam?"

"So, kids that don't have parents to take them are just terminated, just like that… I mean just like THAT?"

"Yes Adam, a child with no parents has no one to design him and look after him so has no need for life and we have no need for him. Furthermore a child at pre-design has no feelings and does not feel pain as far as we have been able to tell, so…"

"It's adult fucking abortion that's all this is!"

"I am sorry you feel the way you do Adam but this is our way of life and although it may seem alien and barbaric to you as a human, we Puritans believe that something that takes up space and resource while also having no purpose is a waste."

Adam looked at the creature in front of him again and sighed. "So anyway, you have been eager to bring me here for a while now… why?"

"Adam, I felt it necessary you chose a mate and I wanted to bring you here to do just that."

"A mate?"

"Yes Adam, a companion if you will. If you wish to build your new life on Purity then would you not want a partner to live that life with?"

"I don't understand… so I just pick one of these things and live with it?" Adam asked, coldly.

"What you see here are Puritans who already have parents that will come to collect them at some point and these are not for you to design as that will be done by them. Adam come with me, I want to show you something."

Relshek started to walk off forcing Adam to follow him. They passed rows and rows of incubators heading towards one edge of the huge room. When they arrived Adam could see a large door right in the corner and wondered if there was going to be another colossal room behind it.

"What's in there?" Adam asked, as Relshek began to open it. He stayed silent and went in, and again Adam followed.

Inside was indeed another room full of incubators but nowhere near the size. Adam attempted to count them with his eyes and guessed there were about 200. While Adam stood still he watched Relshek head past 2 or 3 rows and then went left. Passing another 3 incubators he came to stop at the foot of one particular bed and looked up at Adam.

"Come." He called. Adam slowly walked over to him.

"So what's this room?

"If I tell you, will you not judge for a moment?"

Adam shrugged. "Depends, is it bad?"

"Adam, this is the termination holding room. The Pre-designed Puritans in here have no parents. This is either due to the reasons you mentioned earlier or because of the Solitaryarolous making parents give up on their children."

"I still don't agree with what you are going to do with these people, but there we are… so why have you stopped at this one?"

Relshek pressed the small panel stitched into the sheet on top and removed the cover allowing Adam to view the person inside. "This is a five doon old pre-designed boy who-"

"Oh wait, uh, five doons, uh…" Adam started to count on his fingers to try and remember the conversion. "Oh, he's fifteen years old, right?"

"That's right… apologies my child, sometimes I forget to use your terms. Yes this is a fifteen year old boy whose parents were killed in a mining accident some time ago. He is due for termination and I wanted to show him to you as a potential mate."

"You know, Christian, I'm not too fussed about having a mate and all that. I'm quite happy just hanging around with Sage, but thanks for thinking of me."

Relshek frowned for a moment, luckily having his mask to hide his frustration. He decided to keep his tone soft and understanding. "What if I told you, you could have your dream companion?"

"In what way?"

"Adam, as I told you, this is a pre-designed boy. With your choices he can be anything you want him to be. You can change his features to match someone you would be attracted to, and you can also mould his personality."

"So I can make him drop to his knees at my feet and beg me for sex?" Adam asked, giggling.

"The conscious mind of a pre-designed Puritan will have its limits, Adam. So no, you cannot make him do that, the same as you could not make him in to a killer. However you can make him independent or needy, confident or shy for example. The Physical attributes however, have no boundaries."

Adam was starting to take notice now as the possibly of what he could be with made sparks in his mind. He thought about all the people on earth who were searching for their dream boyfriend or girlfriend but never actually quite finding them. If this really did work as Christian was explaining then it was truly exciting.

"So, how do I… you know, change it?"

"That is done from the Council of Creation up on the surface, Adam. You will be given a private booth in which to design your Puritan. The system is complicated, so I would be happy to assist you should you wish."

"But what happens if I make a mistake… what happens if I don't like something and want to change it?"

"Adam, nothing is done with the boy until you have seen a computer generated example. Even then, we recommend you leave the booth for a day and come back so that you have time away to fully evaluate your choices. Once that is done the incubator is instructed to begin the transformation."

Adam shook his head, screwing his face up. "This is fucked up Christian, I have to admit. Are you really telling me that I can choose if my new boyfriend has blue eyes or brown, tanned skin or white skin… it's just so, so odd!"

"I agree that to your species, Adam, this would seem odd as you put it, but I would ask that you keep an open mind as it is natural that certain things here will be very much different to what you were used to on Earth."

Adam nodded. "Yeah, you got that right. So when can I start?"

"Am I taking this question that you wish to have a companion after all?"

"The idea does seem pretty cool, but I do have more questions."

Relshek smiled with glee under his mask. Thoughts of Sage hampering Adam's development were now, at last starting to fade as his project now seemed to accept what was being offered.

"I would be happy to answer any questions you have Adam. As for your first one, which was when can you start? Well, you can start straight away, in fact I recommend it."

Brandon arrived downstairs in a pair of boxers and rushed to the washing room, dumping his blood stained trousers into the machine. Looking back to make sure no one was looking he quickly threw some powder in and started the contraption, breathing sigh of relief. Walking back out he still managed to bump into his mother who straight away looked at his leg.

"What on earth have you done Brandon?"

Brandon chuckled nervously. "Oh, uh… there was a screw sticking out of my bed and I kinda scratched my leg on it."

"Hmm, doesn't look like that to me. What have you been up to young man?"

Brandon sighed, the game was up. "Mum, I went looking for Adam ok, but please don't tell dad, I don't want him going crazy on me."

"Oh Brandon, you need to leave well alone… and please don't tell me you went to that… that hellhole Heidgate?"

"Mum I had to see for myself, I had to see where he might have gone… don't you understand, he's my brother, my flesh and blood… YOUR flesh and blood. No matter what you and dad think of him, that will always be the case."

"Your brother is a lot of things Brandon, and yes, part of us he might be but his lifestyle is not!"

"His sexuality is something he was born with mum, he can't change that. It's like telling someone born with one leg to leave home because they look different. I happen to think it's unfair."

"Brandon, the Lord has no time for what we think is fair or unfair, we just follow his word and do as he says. Homosexuality is a sin and your father quite rightly points out that we cannot have a homosexual living under our roof because it is sinful, not to mention quite disgusting. Anyway, what did you find out on your little trip?"

"What would you care!" he replied, storming off and back upstairs. Shelly just shook her head wondering what all his fuss was about.

Upstairs Brandon was on the internet trying to find out all he could about the man he had met in the park. Known only had Fred he knew he had his work cut out, but within minutes he stumbled across an article from a newspaper site that did an interview with a man that looked just like him after just keying in Fred, Heidgate and Aliens on Google.

"Hmm." He muttered, pulling his chair in as if getting comfortable. He began scanning the text, his eyes growing wider and wider as he did.

"Good day, I wish to take Adam to a creation booth, please can you allocate one to us?" Relshek asked as they both stood in front of a counter. The building was half as grand as the council of living but did display a host of interesting features including several screens depicting the design phase in full motion detail.

"Please come this way," the man replied coming back with a flexipad. Adam was taken down a long corridor with white walls and a transparent ceiling allowing a view to the sky above. Walking towards them were more Puritans in uniform who sounded excited and Adam is now wondering if they have just created their dream child. At the end of the corridor was a double door which looked to be an elevator Adam guessed as Relshek and the other man stopped and waited.

"Marvellous day isn't it." The man said. Relshek said nothing and just bowed his head. While waiting Adam looked up at the sky and saw 3 craft speed overhead with a whoosh and ducked, causing the man to laugh. Relshek just tilted his head.

The elevator door opened and all three stepped in. It quickly ascended and stopped smoothly moments later and the man led them back out and into a reception area filled with other Puritans.

"Please take booth D Seventeen, Lord Relshek, I will hold it for the day. Good to meet you child, I hear you are to bring us our saviour, for this, I and my family are eternally grateful."

Adam just smiled before nodding and walking over to the booth. Relshek let him in and they both took a seat in front of a large screen. Below was a work station with lots of buttons which were touch sensitive. It looked insanely complicated, not only because of the size if the options, but because everything was in Puritas, which didn't help Adam at all.

All of a sudden the lights dimmed and Adam heard the door close. He looked at Relshek wondering why it felt like a movie was just about to start. Relshek adjusted his seating angle and faced the boy.

"Are you ready to begin?"

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