Interlude: Research Notes 3

God damn, it feels so fucking good to finally think clearly again. I was really losing my grip for a little while there, but now I’m back and better than fucking ever! The procedure was successful, they just gave me a little tube of blood to drink, they knocked me out, and then I actually woke up. I hadn’t been waking up for like a week, not really, I was only ever half-aware and it felt like I was moving through soup. I need to figure out how mom has been doing that, ‘cause I can’t see how she could’ve gotten outside every night and visited both Bobby and I. Maybe I was careless and accidentally touched something that I shouldn’t have and that let her get in my head? Or maybe she was gonna get in there regardless. It’s refreshing to know that the whole “spirituality warding her off” thing was bullshit, it really was just my colleagues being scared and superstitious. I was also wrong on the Schafer front, he wasn’t in on it. Mom chose Bobby and I, she wanted us, his infection was an honest mistake. She has no interest in speaking to him through the somnambulant information superhighway. Kinda feel bad for the dude, honestly. Maybe I’ll give him half of my blood ration sometime.

The rumors weren’t true about the vamp quarters, thankfully, we get beds instead of coffins. Twin sized, unfortunately. Reminds me of undergrad when I had to bunk with a serial masturbator named Arnold. It is kinda spartan, but apparently I can put together a list of stuff for my handler to go get shit for me, just nothing that can make outgoing calls or connect to the internet. Guess I’ll be watching the Seinfeld box set for the foreseeable future. That reminds me: my fucking handler. You know, I didn’t find the idea very reassuring before, but I just find it plain stupid now. I’m not a dumb animal, I have no reason to assault any of my fellow researchers, at least none that I didn’t have before. But, I guess that’s just the way the cookie crumbles. If they need some asshole named Jeff cosplaying as a G-Man in order to stay in the same room as me, then I suppose I’ll just have to suck it up. There are many indignities I’m willing to suffer if it means that I can continue my work. Besides, it’s not like I’m writing this down in a language he can even read.

You know, I just realized that mom never had a handler to begin with. Why didn’t I think about it before? I mean, I doubt it would have made any difference, she can get whatever she wants. Still, I could ask her about it, once I hit the hay.

Things have been slow going around here, which is fine, gives me more time to think. It’s honestly not insanely different to how I was living as a human participant. I get up, I work, take a shower, watch some old show or read, then I go to bed. The biggest departure is that I no longer have to worry about making dinner or using the bathroom. I can do both, eat and defecate, but it’s not a requirement anymore. They give me a blood packet at the start of each week, I drink it, and then I put the bag in the medical waste bin. I also talk to my assigned therapist every Saturday. I’m pretty used to therapists, particularly after spending a year cajoling one to write a letter pledging that I was fit to transition. I’m mostly honest with her, I don’t pretend like I’m going through some terrible crisis over something I volunteered for, but there are some key things that I strategically omit. I don’t tell her about the whole ‘dream communication’ business, nor do I refer to mom as my ‘mom’ when I’m around her. That isn’t to say I’m uninterested in why I do that. For some reason it just feels natural to consider her a maternal figure, to feel an ambient affection when I think about her, one that I’m not capable of feeling when I consider my human parents. I don’t think that last thing is due to vampirism, though, because I stopped being able to feel any affection towards them years before this.

A lot of the work I’m doing is outside of the biochemistry labs these days. That’s fine, I’m honestly more interested in testing out my own body right now than playing with blood I’m not even allowed to taste. Lotta physical aptitude tests recently. You know, I was on the track and field team in high school, and I don’t think my younger self would have ever imagined she’d do the 100-meter dash in 10.28 seconds. Still over Usain Bolt’s record, sure, but I’ve been out of practice for a while. I’m also able to bench press twice my own body weight and finish a 200 meter swim in just over two-minutes. I have enough lung capacity to hold my breath for 10 minutes, and I doubt that I would die or suffer long term brain damage if I did drown. It is bizarre that I’m able to do all of this without any apparent increase in muscle mass, but from the studies we’ve done on muscle tissue samples, it appears that the superficial similarity to human musculature belies much greater proportional tensile strength. Just imagine what an actual trained athlete might be able to accomplish. Alongside that, it seems that I’ve become an adrenaline junkie. Rather than react to an accelerated heart rate or overburdened lungs with discomfort, I’m instead flooded with endorphins that tell me to keep going, to go harder, to push myself past the breaking point. It’s definitely alien to me, but it makes some sense for a species that can heal from torn ligaments and broken bones faster than a human can heal from a paper cut.

It hit me today how strange it is that I really don’t have any strong emotions towards the fact that I was manipulated into becoming something that I was absolutely terrified of. I find the fact that I lack them and that I was approved for the procedure at all extremely perplexing, considering just how scared and disoriented I was. Frankly, I don’t actually remember what they even asked me before they gave the OK for the procedure. There’s also the fact that I can’t really bring myself to resent mom for fucking around in my head. Intellectually, I know that she should have asked me instead, but either the impartial scientist or the vampire in me (maybe both, who knows) finds that thought kinda ridiculous. This is how our species reproduces. It’d be like getting upset at a cuckoo replacing another bird’s chick with their own. I just am what I am. It isn’t like I’m incapable of having any negative feelings towards mom either. Bobby’s had a bit of a rougher go at it, feels like her whole life’s been stolen from her, and mom just acts so fucking cold about that. I get angry about it. It makes me want to yell at her, tell her to show some goddamn sensitivity to her own daughter.

I’ve been spending more time with Bobby, staying up late with her and keeping her company after we’ve been dismissed for the day. We both know that they have recording equipment set up in all our rooms, but we never talk about anything incriminating. I just sit with her, listen to her talk, discuss the movies and games and food we like, sometimes watch stuff with her while we hang out on her bed. It feels normal. I never got that formative experience of having sleepovers with other girls growing up, but I have to imagine it felt a bit like this. Probably involved more pizza and ice cream, though. Wonder if I can get away with putting food on the request list?

Something I’ve noticed about the handlers: they all take these little black pills every now and then, at least once a week. At first I thought it was just Jeff, but I caught Bobby’s guy ingesting one too when he thought no one was looking. I’m curious to know what they’re taking. Maybe some sort of dramamine in case they need to shoot one of us at a moment’s notice? Seems like that would have some pretty deleterious effects if they’re taking them all the time. I’m gonna see if I can slip one off of Jeff and examine it.

Managed to examine the contents of the pill I snagged under a microscope while Jeff went to take a piss. I was most definitely not expecting to find little pellets of solidified 2GR. Did they have some secret pharmacologist who developed these under our noses? Why were they taking these? My first thought was that they could bestow some of the benefits of 2G blood without resulting in infection, but I figured that couldn’t be the case. There had been an incident with Schafer, for some reason he got into an altercation with his handler, and he ended up tearing the guy’s throat out. If these pills granted the handler our strength, speed, or reflexes then he should have been able to avoid that, or at least give Schafer a bit more trouble. The good doctor was terminated after that. Fuckers. I bet the man had a family, he probably wanted a chance to see them, to maybe talk to them. Those cold bastards would never allow that. We’re not ‘human,’ so why should we expect basic human decency?

Mom let us know that we’re apparently gonna have a new sister. This girl, she barely looks out of her teens, but for some reason she’s like us. Poor thing, it almost makes me want to warn her. She spends most of her time with the security team, but supposedly she’s actually one of the specialized advisors. Whatever she’s good at, mom wants her. I've had this needling suspicion lately that this might have been one of the conditions for her joining the project, that she'd be allowed to scout out new progeny. That’d explain why they basically handed our sleepwalking asses up to her on a silver platter, or, well, some other kind of platter. Did they hire us with her ‘tastes’ in mind? You know, it’s kinda hard to faze me these days, but even I feel more than a little skeeved out at that prospect.

We did a bit of a ‘ride along’ for this girl’s first dream. I could tell Bobby felt uncomfortable about it, he couldn’t bring himself to look at the girl in her comfy queen-sized bed. On my end, I was mostly just interested in studying the mechanics of the whole thing. At the very least it confirmed that it didn’t involve any physical travel. It’s more akin to what the new age types call ‘astral projection,’ but that’s just a convenient analog, I don’t think we have any kind of ‘spirit self’ popping out and about the ‘astral plane.’ Maybe it has something to do with syncing brainwaves, somehow? That sounds like pseudoscience, but it’s really the best hypothesis I have without any further research. I wanted to touch the girl and see if there was any physical stimulation, but I knew I wouldn’t get away with that after I knocked a book off her desk and almost woke her up. Mom really gave me the stink eye for that. Made me feel like a kid about to have her phone privileges taken away. If she just taught me how to do this on someone less important, then I’d be free to conduct my research without bothering her.

I dunno, maybe it’ll be nice to have someone else to talk to. It does get kinda lonely when all my coworkers treat me like a rabid animal that broke into the building and started messing around with the lab equipment. I swear, if I catch another person clutching their crucifix and reciting the lord’s prayer when I walk near them, I’m gonna nab it from them and snap it in half just to show them it doesn’t fucking do anything. Aren’t these people scientists? They performed those asinine tests right alongside me and saw that religious symbols have fuck-all effect. Do they think that they’ll eventually do something if they just believe in them harder? Well, I guess that’s how religion always works. You can never believe hard enough, you can never be good enough, you can never give enough tithings. You’re broken, and the sunk-cost fallacy tells you that the more you try to embody those ideals you might eventually be fixed. I feel sorry for them. I don’t need any god to prove that I’m whole.

- Stacy Anderson, Researcher and Test Subject on Project “Red Queen”