Allistor smoothed out his hair, blowing out a nervous puff of breath he hadn’t realised he’d been holding. Usually he’d have taken out the pack of cigarettes from his back pocket and he would have been smoking like a chimney – which was always a telltale sign of his nerves. But he didn’t want to start off with a bad impression, as the smell of smoke would do. So clenching his jaw, he turned away from the packet that lay on his bedside table, the top open as if in invitation.
Grabbing his keys from the table and checking his palm to see the time, he strode out of the slum of an apartment he was currently inhabiting and shut the door with a feeling of finality. Perhaps, if he got lucky today he wouldn’t have to come back to this hellhole. What am I thinking, he chastised himself, quickly making way down the broken, lopsided stairs and shoving his shoulder against the double glass doors, which always stuck. Pushing against them with all his might, he managed to break through. He held it open for the elderly man who happened to be going back up, a plastic shopping bag straining against the weight of the groceries.
“My, my Mr. Kirkland. A very fine suit indeed, to suit a very dashing young man!” He told him goodnaturedly, a smile showing off the full set of pearly white implants. “Why thank you,” he replied, giving him a crooked grin. “So what’s the occasion?” Allistor licked his lips and cocked his head. “A job… interview?” He said, not quite sure what it was he was going to. The old man patted him on the arm, which was still straining to keep the heavy door open. “Well, good luck to you!”
Having heard the answer of gratitude, the old man then proceeded to hobble inside, courageously braving the staircase. “Bloody hell,” Allistor muttered, rubbing his aching arm. When he glanced at the time, he repeated the curse but with more volume this time. At that moment, he started running as if his life depended on it – which he didn’t know, but a niggling feeling at the back of his mind made him think it might.
Catching the doors on the hovering train, he smiled in relief and caught onto a back on one of the seats – the momentum of the train almost sending him toppling. To his pleasure, an empty seat beside a window sprang out in his visual field and he made his way onto it, leaning on the window as he gazed pensively outside.
The hoverline skirted around the outside of the city, whose spires one could already see from hundreds of miles away. Incidentally, this was also where the redheaded Scotsman lived. As the train advanced to his destination, he couldn’t help but tug nervously at the collar of his pinstriped suit, then fiddling with the silver ear cuff that adorned his pinna.
He wasn’t used to such expensive clothes, in fact he’d drained most of his well-earned savings to buy this suit. But then again, his mind couldn’t help but wonder. What would happen if he was chosen? And more importantly, what exactly was this test?
The hoverline came to a halt, a mechanic voice announcing the arrival at the science centre which was Allistor’s destination. Gulping down his nervousness, he straightened his shoulders and stepped from the vehicle, craning his head back to fully appreciate the size of the white chrome building. Emerald eyes widened to take everything in, his eyebrows shot up when he noticed similarly dressed men approach the entrance like he was.
A tall man with slicked back golden hair, a man whose scarf hid more than half of his fair complexion, a man with fair white hair and crimson eyes, the list of candidates went on and on. Allistor ran a hand through his bangs, seemingly happy that he was the only one with red hair. He followed the trickle of suitclad men who, as it turned out, were following signposted arrows that were stuck to the walls. Fortunately it turned out they were all picked as well, otherwise the Scotsman wouldn’t have been able to find his way back through the endless winding corridors that gleamed in pristine glory.
A bespectacled man stood in front of a glass window, clipboard in hand as he gestured people over to cross off their names. Allistor joined the line, chuckling nervously when the man mispronounced his name. It shouldn’t be that hard of a name, he thought to himself absentmindedly as the group waited for a couple of latecomers.
Time dragged by and he found himself staring at the window, which did nought but reflect his own self and the people surrounding him. Unbeknownst to him though, a pair of (e/c) eyes was staring straight at him. A sudden feeling of being watched made Allistor’s pale skin crawl, his hand darting to his neck to rub it. What was that? He scanned the room, but didn’t find a single person who was staring at him. Strange…
“I’m sure all of you are aware of why you’re here. We sent you an acceptance letter, which you did well to heed.” The bespectacled man started, drawing everyone’s attention. “And I’m sure you’re all well aware of the situation mankind finds itself in. The fact that all females died was a great blow to us. Fortunately we managed to salvage some of the eggs, which allowed us to carry on however the supply is coming short…”
Allistor blocked out the drone of the man’s voice as he was sure many others did as well. Everyone had heard this story before; epidemic struck that surprisingly only women suffered from, which ended up in all of them dying out. Luckily the scientists managed to extract eggs from them before it was too late, but in recent years the situation was becoming dire. None of the eggs had ever hatched women before.
And even though the eggs were successfully being cloned to keep the supply from drying up, mistakes were being made. And when a mistake was cloned, cloned and cloned again, the mistake was only made more and more prominent, which could end up in complete termination of the human species as it still held up.
“…. But we found a way of unfreezing the tanks. And we thank our gods that this specimen is still functioning.” Allistor came back to earth with a jolt, clearing his throat. Unfreezing? Damn, he hadn’t been paying attention!
A pale man held his hand up. “So as I understand, you wish for us to… mate with this specimen?” The scientist smiled wryly. “Ultimately yes, that is our goal. However keeping her alive and fertile, so that we can extract live eggs is equally important.” He brandished his clipboard. “At the moment, she is in a sealed area to keep her safe from becoming too overwhelmed, but you should know that she is watching all of us already.”
Everyone, save the man speaking, froze, their eyes darting around the room before settling on the window/mirror. The scientist chuckled. “I see our tests were not in vain. You all seem to have good deducting abilities. Yes, it is true. She’s there.” Each man gulped consecetuvely. “I realise this may become difficult for you all. Well, that’s only to be expected of course. The last living female on this planet died about 180 years ago.” He chuckled again, before correcting himself. “Well, 176 years to be exact.”
Allistor stared at the sheet of reflective glass, understanding the sensation he’d experienced before. So the female had been staring at him. He didn’t know what to think. Was that good? “If you’re ready, we can show you her.” A nod in unison lead the scientist to stepping up to the wall and tapping in a complex-looking code on the tabulator. The glass sort of tinted a different colour, it was hard to tell what had happened really but all of a sudden one would look and see through the glass.
The men instantly crowed around the window, eagerly pressing their noses up to it to see this specimen. Of course, Allistor was no exception. A pale-looking girl sat opposite of them, screens floating around her and showing her all manner of scenes from the news, popular films and other such things. At the moment she was concentrated on a documentary which depicted how her kind had died out. A frown creased her brow, her slim forefinger tapping her full lips at irregular intervals.
The redhead’s heart beat in a crazed, staccato manner, his emerald eyes trained on the small form of the girl. He thought he’d been told everything he needed to know about females; what they looked like and what their function was. He’d been informed about how they acted on various occasions using old tapes he’d salvaged from dumpsters and other such unsavoury places. Hell, he’d even witnessed some of the pictures that previous males had gotten off to.
But he’d never been told how fragile women looked. How fast his heart would beat having met one of them and a strange, itching sensation in his fingertips. He wanted to get up and hold her, he soon found out. What he wanted was to protect her from these others. He wanted to make her his.
The girl stood, cautiously gazing at the line of men who were staring at her in wonder. Taking small steps towards the glass separating the two sides, all men looked her over. Her hips and bust were a lot wider than their own, her neck slim and dainty as were her wrists and ankles. When she pressed her palm to Allistor’s he noticed how much smaller it was compared to his.
The girl smiled and each man felt his heart skip a beat. She stopped in front of Allistor, a curious gaze directed at his red mop of hair. Pressing her palms against the smooth surface of the cool plexiglass, she laughed softly. A blush on her cheeks, she grinned and traced Allistor’s silhouette with her fingertips.
She had chosen.