Layla

Aw-right chummers. Before I leave you, Iíd like to tell you a little bit about yourselves: who you are and how you came to be. I canít really tell you much about yourself, but perhaps my path will help you discover your own past, and perhaps your future. Like you, Iím a ĎGennieí, a genetically engineered homo sapiens sapiens. As near as I can tell, youíre all third gens, and I wish you luck, cause youíre going to need it.

Me, Iím second generation geningeered fighting stock. They figure theyíve got most of the kinks worked out of my genomes, but to be honest, all the Corpers ever really cared about was creating the perfect fighting machine. I didnít really have parents, just donors. The Corp liked it that way. Nice, quiet, anything goes wrong they can just dump the failed experiments and be done with it. Nobody will ever knew how many times that was the case, but I can tell you all about what happened when they decided that I was just such a failure.

They call me Kiken, which is Japanese for ďRiskĒ. Iím not sure exactly what they meant when they chose it, but I can tell you its an appropriate name. Everything about our lives is a risk little brothers, anybody tells you different... well, Iíll let you make up your own minds.

Anyway, if Iím going to tell this story, I have to start somewhere, and I may was well start with Layla. The woman was a goddess and she knew it. She took her name after the title of an old song by a bloke named Eric Clapton. She used the song in her opening act, and let me tell you boys, like the song says, Ďshe got me on my knees...í

She was one of those women thatís just too good to be true. Model thin, perfect features, a luscious body that only a surgeon can create, but let me tell you, no scalpel ever touched this woman. I know, Iíve been lucky enough to give her the close up examination.

I was working for the local Doc Wagon Service at the time. I was heading up a high-threat response team. Our job was to go in when the situation warranted and secure the area so our med-staff could do their thing. Thatís where Ben came in.

Benís about as confusing as a human being can get and still get the job done. Sheís a right good street doc and Iíve never seen her lose her cool when she was on the job. Even when sheís up to her elbows in guts, and some gun happy drek-head hasnít heard that weíve secured the area, she just keeps on plugging away by the numbers. I mean, Benís so ballsy, you almost forget that sheís a she.

The whole thing started when Ben and I got into a discussion about Layla. Thatís where I found out that things arenít always as they seem. If it werenít for Ben, Iíd have never made it through and let me tell you, Iíd spare you the pain that went with that lesson. So pay attention, cause thereís a quiz at the end of all this chummers, and you better damn well pass.

Iíd been mooning over Layla ever since her manager tried to work her over. He was chipped out on something or another. End result was he was beating her senseless and he didnít even know it. Her heart monitor went off and we got called in.

It took four of us to pull him off of her so Ben could do her thing. Took another three to subdue him until the sedatives took effect. He was raging. He kept yelling that he had to kill her and that she was the deceiver. I didnít really pay attention, its best not to with a chip head. You can drive yourself crazy trying to understand them and in the end, all you get is a headache.

I like things nice and simple. You go in, you secure the area, Ben does her thing, we drive off and everybodyís happy. End of the story. But this time, it was just the beginning.

Layla was so relieved when we pulled her manager off of her that she invited us all to her show that night, and then she slipped me a back-stage pass. I should have known that trouble was just dying to get a hold of me, but one look at that woman, and that was all she wrote for upper level brain functions. My reaction to her was so primal that thought never entered into it.

Ben tried to warn me, but I wouldnít listen. Lesson number one boys, when a close friend tells you that you arenít thinking clearly: Pay attention. Lesson number two, just because a woman is self- sufficient, opinionated or headstrong, donít assume sheís a man-hating, woman-loving, lesbian. Lesson number three, under no circumstances should you refer to said woman as a man-hating, woman loving lesbian, not if you value your life.

I woke up on the couch in Benís apartment sporting a major headache. She had been trying to tell me that Layla was up to no good, and that I should watch myself. Thatís where I blew lessons 1-3. Youíd think that after having my head handed to me, that Iíd stop and maybe, I donít know: think?

Well, all I can say in my own defense is that when the genners worked out my make-up they tried to delete the fear that would keep me from performing my assigned duty. I think they also took a whack at cutting out the common sense that nature put there. That little thing that warns you that youíre about to do something very stupid.

Well, after seeing Layla, I wasnít thinking and Ben, bless her, tried one last time to get it through my thick skull that I was just asking for trouble, but the way I figure it, I didnít care about trouble, as long as Layla was a part of it. I have to give Ben credit though, she was persistent.

Well, that brings us to lesson number four: never piss-off the person whoís covering your back. Iím serious. If I hadnít been so stupid, things may not have been as bad as they got. But in blowing Ben off, I ended up getting myself way in over my head with nobody there to watch my back. But, like I said, I wasnít thinking.

From what I remember, the show was great, but I was so busy thinking about Layla and the backstage pass that nothing else really mattered. If Iíd been paying attention, I would have noticed the security around her. I would have noticed the restraints in her room, I would have noticed a lot of things.

The crowd was still cheering as the strains of the final song finally faded and Layla came out to do an encore. This time she chose to do a softer version of ĎBaby youíre my dream.í As the intro faded and she starting singing, the lights dimmed and I could have sworn she was singing it just for me. She smiled at me and nothing else mattered. She was my dream and all I could think about was her.

When the song faded, I was completely and irrevocably hooked. As the crowd started to leave I waited in my seat, backstage pass in hand. I saw Heavy and Bronze as they passed by, two of my boys on the team.

ďKiken,Ē Heavy called to me, and Iím pretty sure all I did was grin at him.

Bronze on the other hand waved a hand in front of my eyes and laughed. ďHeís gone man,Ē he told Heavy. ďGone in the worst way.Ē

I may have blushed, but all I cared about was that damn pass and the promises made in the song. I tried to make small talk, but it was obvious I had other things on my mind. I guess Bronze figured he was doing me a favor when he pulled Heavy away and told me to have fun. Oh if heíd only known.

I drifted down towards the stage, pass in hand and the first guard stopped me to check the pass. I know how I must have looked to him. I was floating and the only thing I was thinking about was Layla. Next thing I know, I was being ushered into her dressing room. She was sitting there, half dressed, sweating from the show, but man, let me tell you, one smile from here was all it took.

She asked me to towel her off, and let me tell you, there was no hesitation. My hands were shaking as I patted the towel against her perfect alabaster skin. And then she turned and flashed me her baby blues. My hands trembled as I realized that when she turned my hands were in just the right place, or wrong place looking back.

Any pretense of anything passing upper level brain functions ceased to exist. Before I knew it I was back at her hotel room. That was where I really should have been paying attention but I was like a prize bull being led to stud...

Oh yes chummers, a very good choice of words too. Seems Ms Layla Wright was my counter part in every way. She was the perfect woman, genetically engineered to perfection by another corp and they were out to collect some rather protected materials. It was industrial espionage for genetic engineers, and their methods were interesting to say the least. And I would have gladly given them what they wanted.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, the Corp, our Corp, seemed to feel they had the rights to said material and they had no interest in sharing. As my body responded to hers, my brain started sending all the wrong signals to all the wrong parts. One minute Iím about to make love to the most perfect woman in the world and the next Iím gasping for breath and begging for her to put me out of my misery.

Needless to say, my performance was less than satisfactory.

When I came too, I was tied to her bed. Something that only hours earlier would have been the thing of fantasies was now the center of my nightmare. Only it wasnít a nightmare chummers, it was cold hard reality and nowhere near pleasurable. If that werenít enough there was the added fear for Layla. I had no idea what they had done with her, no idea where they took her, but they made it perfectly clear what they were going to do with me.

Iíve been around Ben long enough to know what a catheter is and they were getting ready to take their precious sample. Sons Ďa Slitches wanted to make damn sure I was awake for it too.

Well, all I can say is its a damn fine thing I work for the Doc, cause one of the bennies is the service. When my system overloaded itself, it must have set the monitor off. I didnít think much of it at the time, but it probably saved my life, that Ďn Ben.

I found out later that theyíd given the Doc the Ďoops codeí saying that the unit shorted out and that Iíd bring it in for replacement tomorrow. That would have been it, but Ben knew better. She grabbed Heavy and Bronze and before I knew it I was the object of a Ďhigh risk response.í

Benny bless her soul didnít say word one, just made sure I was safe and got me out of there. I never saw Layla again...

Anyway Chums, I got two more lessons to share with you from the experience, then Iím outa here. First lessonís an easy one that I never seemed to learn, and forgive me ladies, but from what Iíve seen, its a good rule to keep in mind.

Pretty faceíll do it to ya ever time... you see one batting her baby-blues... run. Donít even try to think about it, just tuck your tail between your legs and run, cause if you stay, youíre going to lose and you' re going to lose big.

Most important lesson: You find a friend that watches out for you in spite of yourself, somebody thatís willing to lay it all on the line for you even when youíre being a complete and utter dreck-head: hold on with both hands bucko, cause friends like that are rare. And you better do right by them, its the only way you gonna live long enough to learn anything else.

Thatís it kids. Now its up to you. Kiken-out.