Undoing man’s best friend.

Anita hummed. If she had to name the song she couldn’t. It was a melody that once had words, now, only the music remained. It soothed her as she worked. Kept her focused. Maybe in a couple hours she would finally get the damn interface right, but right now the animal was bleeding too much and she couldn’t get the nerves from the brain stem to mesh with the circuit board.

She nodded to her assistant. The big man moved surprisingly gracefully. Behind his mask she knew his face was a complete blank. He could function but little else. Thank Lilith for that. She kept them under with a cocktail of animal tranqs and meth. No one dared ask how she did it but everyone knew. She had her experiments, deep in the sanctum. Sometimes she heard men screaming in the underground cells. Sometimes they would scream for days.

Stop it Nita. The voice in her head was her mothers. She could see her pinched face and wide open eyes. Still accusing, even though she was dead seven years. If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times Nita, you’re fucking around. One day you’ll grow up and realize that’s all you ever will amount to -a fucking waste of

She shook her head to stop the thoughts. The dog before her lay draped neck down in green hospital linen. It’s brain was neatly opened. The big bald eunuch delicately vacuumed most of the blood from the space she carefully carved out. Multiple probes were already secured in the cerebellum, down into the pituitary and around the olfactory bulb.

Gently, Anita separated the hemispheres. It always surprised her how white they were, almost as if they were made from marshmallow. The animal stiffened for a second then relaxed. She eased the circuit board into the narrow oozing space. Ten years. Ten years she spent working out the circuitry. But it was Lilith who figured out how to connect animal to machine. That was her gift, her magic. Lilith understood the connection in a way no one else could. Anita abruptly remembered the agonized screams from the basement. Maybe it was more than magic.

‘Doctor, do you want me to get the microscope again? It would help you.’ The eunuch nodded to the standing microscope half way across the room.

‘In a minute Zim’. She wiped her forehead in the sleeve of her overcoat. So close she thought. So fucking close.

Are you sure this is a good idea Anita? Her mother spoke up again.

‘Damn it.’ Anita swore. Zim moved closer, awaiting instructions. ‘I can do this.’ She muttered. He wheeled the microscope closer. She swung the arm toward her, leaned into the eyepiece.

The exposed nerve swam into view. She carefully positioned the circuitboard and nodded to Zim. He picked up the syringe of nanobots. The needle looked like a gun barrel under the microscope.

‘Easy does it…’

Zim released one clear blue drop, then two. When the liquid touched the exposed tissue, it bubbled and writhed, boiling across the open brain. Painstakingly, Anita moved the nerve into the seething fluid; red blood mixed with nanos covered the white threadlike fiber, forming a hollow tube that pulsed outward, waving, seeking attachment. Inside the tube, the nanos repaired the nerve ending, reactivating the signal chain.

Deliberately, Anita maneuvered the printed chip closer.

‘Zim, hit it.’ She chin-pointed to the transceiver planted in the dogs’ brain. He flipped the switch on the blinking console next to the operating table.

She looked up at the monitor. The dogs’ heartbeat was stable. Respiration, even. Brain activity flatlined. Perfect.

The chip powered up in stages. First the receiver. A tiny yellow led lit up. Then the transmitter; this time the led blinked blue.

The animal stiffened on the table. It’s jaws worked soundlessly. She could see drool and white foam collecting around its tongue.

‘Full power Zim.’

He nodded and moved a slider upward. A sharp whine filled the air. The animal’s eyes rolled beneath its closed lids. It’s ears flicked left, right. It seemed to collect itself, as if preparing to spring. Under the microscope Anita saw a miracle.

The nanobots detected the signals coming from the open circuits. The waving tubule attached to the nerve arrowed toward the integrated board, then the tubule fused with it. A soft beep came from the monitor.

‘Doctor, we have a connection.’ Zim’s voice was disturbingly steady.

Nita, this is a very bad idea. Her mother spoke up suddenly.

‘Shut up.’ Anita said to herself.

Zim nodded. He would remain silent for the rest of the night.

Anita’s heart beat hard. It worked! It fucking worked. Lilith….Lilith would be very pleased. Now they had a way to interface with living things. Complete control would be easy. Dogs would be first. Then monkeys. Maybe even…

Anita couldn’t bear to finish the thought.

But she knew. Everyone would know. The screaming from the dungeons would not stop until Lilith had her way.

She always had her way.

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Hey Cynthia Cerna this is all back story. Takes a while to build up an imaginary world. Have fun, Lilith scares me though. Batshit crazy that one.

J.