Asterion
bases in the provinces and in the Euro Union, The Balkans and the Ukraine. That’s how I got involved with the Israelis developing advanced command and control systems. It was instrumental in preventing the complete collapse of their country. I learned a lot about the blending of biological and technological systems from that experience. After that I studied genetics and began to work toward merging these technologies together.”
    Christine smiled. “That must have been fascinating. I thought about becoming a surgeon like my father, but I’m also interested in technology and its use in medicine so I studied chemical and electrical engineering. This project has been a great place to apply everything I learned.”
    Taylor smiled. “I hope it’s not the only thing you’ve enjoyed while here.”
    She laughed, “Oh, I guess there are always collateral benefits.”
    Taylor smiled worriedly, “Going to go all military on me will you.”
    “You know what I mean.”
    Trent sticks his head in the door and interrupts their laughter. “Burnsom is on the news monitor and he is talking about the project!” Taylor and Christine look at each other with a puzzled look and they race to hear the report.
    When they arrive at the monitor, Burnsom is behind the podium. “This is an auspicious occasion, one where I am glad to be the one making this announcement to you. We are on the verge of reducing our dependence on fossil fuels even further, increasing our exports to developing nations and thus increasing the nation’s profitability. This project will increase our crop yields so that we can diminish our infrequent food shortages and lesson the cost of food to the citizens.”
    Taylor asks, “Why is he announcing this so soon? It’s still too soon to declare this project a success!”
    Christine looks at Taylor. “Absolutely, so many things can go wrong before we can go into any kind of mass production of these creatures.”
    Trent pipes up. “I hear that there have been sporadic shortages and rebellion in various places. They happen to be just isolated enough that news of it is suppressed.”
    Devin, lurking in the background like some distant past Soviet Political Officer, steps forward into the light, “Be careful what you say, Rumors are a funny thing. Get it right and you are a prophet. Get it wrong and you’re a treasonous rabble-rouser. Rumors like that have been circulating for a long time. Besides, if it is true, don’t you feel good that you are doing something that will alleviate the problem? That is, if it exists at all.”
    A quiet pale comes over the room. Devin disappears so fast that one wondered if he was here at all.
    Trent still staring at the door, “Wow.”
    Christine shudders, “Creepy.”
    “I guess we have work to do,” Taylor ushers the team back to the lab.
    In the lab, Taylor approaches Trent. “You went over the logs for the processing steps didn’t you?” “
    “Absolutely, is there something wrong with it?”
    “There are some odd things about our project. Oh, we’re calling it, or him, Asterion.”
    “Cool name. Define odd things.”
    Taylor looked around to make sure Devin is not lurking about, turned back to Trent. “Not anything that one would call an anomaly or some defect that would jeopardize the project. I don’t see terminating it unless something worse develops.”
    Trent looks at Taylor inquisitively. “I thought its name is Asterion?”
    “I hate to name something if I have to end its life.”
    “Okay,” Trent says with a smile, “It’s Asterion until we have to euthanize it.”
    Taylor smiles back. “That works better for me.”
    Christine standing nearby pipes up, “Asterion, wasn’t he a king called the starry one?”
    Taylor turns toward her. “Yes, that’s the ancient myth.”
    “That’s appropriate, he is the first, of special birth and he will certainly be king of his brethren.”
    Taylor jokes, “That’s the second time I heard that affirmation

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