Chapter 14: Becoming Immortal
(Somewhere Hidden in the Carpathian Mountains, Earth, Present Day)
The expansive reach of Rena Rectovich knew fewer boundaries than the absurd proportions of her hidden estate within the Carpathian Mountains. Rena had sent one of her many Cessna Citation Hemispheres for them—all blacked out of course, as was Rena’s style. The pilots were under direct orders not to disclose any location information, except Lawna knew them to be flying into Brașov, Romania. Now eight months pregnant, after the successful IVF implants, her three baby girls threatened an early entrance into the world, and Rena wasn’t going to have any of that—at least not without her direct supervision and control. Michelle needed to be under the care of her best physicians, and only the best medical facilities would do. A hundred percent success ratio on the IVF implant wasn’t supposed to happen, and Michelle wasn’t excited to be delivering triplets, but such was life.
Dating back to even before the IVF harvesting, there was talk of a super-secret project that had Rena’s direct involvement. The rumors had only gotten more intense since that time, and both wondered if, and how, they were being played.
Even now Lawna could see Michelle’s eyes intently focused out into the distance beyond the runway coming up to meet the wheels of their Hemisphere.
“Cessna Hemisphere for your thoughts,” Lawna jibed while probing.
“Ha, you don’t own this absurdity.”
“No, but I betcha I could take it from them. Care to make that bet?”
“No. And, no you’re not going to shoot anyone either.” Michelle glared at her wife accusingly though with a managed smile—knowing her all too well.
The wheels screeching as the Hemisphere touched down at 115 knots, Michelle’s pregnant body ebbed with her plush seat’s vibration of touchdown in Rena’s domain. “Just the same concerns I’ve had since Rena propositioned us… I mean you don’t throw this kind of money around if you’re not expecting something in return, right?”
A nodding Lawna obviously agreed with Michelle’s assessment, recognizing the need to abruptly mute the conversation as handlers began approaching. “We’ll continue this in a little bit.”
Their intense recruitment into Rena’s organization had been no secret. Rena had been quite upfront about her wishes to have both for their weapons and tactical experience to be leaders in Rena’s immortal army. Michelle wasn’t ready to take that step yet, and neither was Lawna. But Rena had done for them what no one else could do: give them children from both their DNA. They owed a lot to Rena. A thought that weighed heavy on them both as Rena’s handlers showed up in black pants suits with white blouses to ‘escort’ them to a waiting stretched limousine on the tarmac. As the handlers bent over to help Michelle, Lawna noticed their holstered Glock® hardware tucked away underneath their black business jackets.
It was a tense yet scenic ride for a while as they continued gathering their thoughts on Rena’s expectations of them and for them. What would be Rena’s price for all this generosity and spoiling of them?
Now under the canopy of hand-hewn Italian marble, Lawna helped Michelle into the golf cart waiting for them. Michelle felt as big as a whale, struggling to get her awkward pregnant body out of the limo into the open back seat of the golf cart. Lawna always giving her that tense ‘are you sure you’re okay’ smile. She wished Lawna would stop doing that; it made her more nervous than she was already. As if she were about to burst right there under the canopy.
“Mrs. Blade,” the tall, dark-haired man in the lab coat said, addressing her formally, “I’ll be your primary OBGYN while you’re here. I’ll be heading up your delivery. My name is Dr. Foust. I’m going to give you a cell phone.” Dr. Foust handed her a jet-black, gleaming new Android phone. “This has my entire staff programmed into it. You’ll see their titles next to their names. If you need anything, just send them a text. They are here for you, and you are their top priority. You’re not to do anything yourself, not even go to the bathroom. Do I make myself clear?”
Smiling, Michelle liked the idea of total service, but she hated being told what to do, and she hated, even more, the undue and excessive attention Rena was thrusting upon them. Surely there would be a cost for all this, and she wasn’t sure she was ready to pay that bill just yet.
It was only their second time here, so Rena’s hidden estate still carried a lot of mystique as the golf cart carried them down cavernous hallways cleaved out of the side of a mountain—with the interior finished in Italian marble and bullet-proof Lexan®, everywhere they looked. Now passing an armory wing dedicated to the development of new weaponry, Lawna noticed the latest M-4 variant spraying rounds at a two-inch armor plate—the rounds fully penetrating. There was a considerable amount of noise emanating from those test range rooms, but still more than reasonable sound-deadening for being so close. An estimated hundred yards into the mountain and a sharp left turn found them approaching the medical wing that was, for the most part, void of anyone requiring medical attention. It looked to be mostly just R&D, save the one pristine Operating Room (O.R.) they passed with several technicians setting up the latest in delivery equipment. One of the technicians tested a robot’s visual interface with another technician broadcasting “test, test, test” from a booth somewhere else in the facility.
Another right, two lefts, and another right turn and they found themselves in the medical suite wing passing one sterile room after another, adorned with multiple 70” SUHDTVs. A staff of two nurses—one blonde, the other brunette—prepared a large double suite. One of the suites having a regular king-size four-post bed—the other the latest in hospital stretchers with big urethane wheels and a magnificent plethora of gadget-like buttons. The blonde approached the cart, helping Michelle to her stretcher, saying, “Mrs. Blade, this is your call button,” showing her the sterile plastic cylinder object with the red button tip—attached to the stretcher to make it mobile. “If you’re within arm’s reach of this button, you’re to use this to call for help if you need anything, even going to the bathroom. If you’re not within arm’s reach of this button, please use the cell phone you were provided to text anyone on that list of medical personnel. If someone isn’t assisting you in 30 seconds, something has gone terribly wrong.” The blonde smiled at her with a wink to defuse the tension. “My name is Amber, and this is Cindy,” Amber intoned, motioning to the 5’3” busty brunette at her side who was now helping Michelle out of her full-length grey coat and white maternity dress into a hospital gown. The 5’7” slender dirty blonde continued, “When our shift relief arrives, we’ll come in and do another round of introductions, but don’t worry about remembering who to text or call. Just send anyone on that list a text, and there’s also a distribution list you can text as well. We’re all on 24-7 call while you’re here with us.”
“There you are,” the heavy Romanian accent called from the doorway, causing Michelle to pivot to the seemingly late-twenties, raven-haired beauty. “There’s my precious babies. Oh, I can’t wait,” Rena Rectovich doted as she smoothed her black cocktail dress against the outside of her thighs.
“Hi, Rena,” Michelle sighed, trying not to let the moment get carried away. At just an inch shorter than Michelle and with the same gorgeous sparkling blue eyes, they could have been sisters, except for the raven-haired beauty having lived centuries before she was ever born.
“I came as soon as I heard of your arrival. I’m so happy for you, Darling.”
“Mother, please.” It was an offer of respect, calling her Mother even though she hadn’t been turned yet. Rena had done more for her and Lawna than she would ever be able to repay, but Michelle still worried about the price tag—constantly.
“Thank you for everything, Mother,” Lawna offered, approaching from the other side of the suite after dropping off her duffel bag of guns and fully-loaded ammo clips on the king-size bed.
Turning her cheek to receive kisses from her latest recruits, Rena hugged Michelle. Contemplating what was to come, Rena gave the doctor a sharp eye as if to prod while hugging Michelle.
“You are so very welcome, my darling,” Rena extended, “Anything you need, just ask. We’re here to make this a pleasant experience. Your babies will be here soon! Are you excited yet?” Turning to her medical staff, Rena urged, “Doesn’t she look radiant?” The entire medical staff offered sharp and immediate nods of approval, trying to look busy in front of Rena.
“Mother, why are we here? This all seems…excessive.” Michelle wanted to be grateful, but the more doting that went on, the more concerned she got.
“NOTHING is too good or too much for MY girls,” Rena pontificated with a scolding index finger, causing the staff to fidget even more. “Have you given more thought to my offer?” Rena tried not to bring it up too often, but persistence was in her nature, and nine hundred years hadn’t changed that aspect of her much.
“It’s practically all we have thought about,” Lawna replied for the both of them. It was the truth. It had been nearly all they talked about the last eight months, leaving little time for planning or talking about the future of their lives together with a family. What future would they be allowed to have if becoming the tip of the spear in Rena’s immortal army anyway?
“Well,” Rena turned to Lawna, “I don’t want my offer displacing thoughts of my precious new babies. That should be your top priority, so I’ll leave you two alone. Take good care of them, Dr. Foust.” The last wasn’t a request, causing the doctor to nod sharply in violent agreement.
“What Mrs. Blade needs now is stress-free rest, and I don’t think we’re doing a good job on the first part of that so let’s get out of their way.” Dr. Foust began shooing staff out of their large medical suite.
A moment later, with their suite now cleared, Michelle exhaled, “Jesus that WAS stressful. It felt like I was carrying a fourth baby there for a minute.”
“I hear ya, Shelle.” Lawna started pulling little circular pads out of her duffle bag, each about the size of a pin head, pulling a sticky pad buffer off the back as she began sticking them to various places in the room and doorway.
“I don’t think Rena would like you installing spy gear and operating tradecraft in her facility,” Michelle quipped, smiling at her wife.
“I don’t give a flying fuck what Rena wants. I’m here to protect you, and that requires me knowing what the fuck is going on.”
* * * *
Standing by the O.R. still being set up for Michelle, Rena’s index finger was right in Dr. Foust’s face, “You’re not the expert in this field, doctor. I am. It would do well for you to remember that… You will do as I say, or they’ll be finding pieces of you all over these mountains a hundred years from now.”
Dr. Foust, offering a full bow, “Of course, Ma’am, I’ll make the necessary preparations.”
Rena spun and was gone in a blur, leaving a gale of unnatural wind in her wake.
Dr. Foust exhaled for the first time in seemingly forever, regretting being recruited into Rena’s agenda regardless of how well it paid.
* * * *
(about an hour later)
“Now Mrs. Blade, I’ll be setting you up with an IV catheter to get some fluids in you,” the night shift nurse Catherina offered, tapping the veins on the back of Michelle’s left hand to begin the stick. Michelle didn’t trust redheads—they were all more than just a little crazy from her experience, so she wasn’t hot about the idea of a redhead sticking her with a big needle.
“What’s in the IV,” Lawna questioned, tapping the bag to examine its contents.
“Just a saline solution to keep up her fluid levels.”
Lawna turned the bag, reading the contents label NaCl 0.9% / 1000ml. Lawna didn’t trust anyone, but she didn’t know what to think about being in Mother’s lair. Still, best not to trust anyone, she thought eyeing the redhead nurse threateningly.
“Any contractions, Mrs. Blade?” Catherina manually checked her pulse, holding her hand opposite her catheter.
“Barely anything noticeable. Just some light ones.” Michelle examined the examiner.
“Mmmm, and how far apart?”
“Maybe 30 minutes,” Lawna replied for her wife, reading the digital layout of the monitoring equipment, paying close attention to the baby heartbeat monitor.
“Mmmm, okay, well we need to be watching the timing more specifically, and once we get to twenty minutes or less you’re pretty much in labor at that point.”
* * * *
(two hours later)
“Ow, OOOOH SHIT! GODDAMN,” Michelle screamed, waking Lawna out of her chair she’d pulled up beside her wife. In an instant, her hand was on the call button pressing the shit out of it till the medical plastic cylinder broke in her hands. “Goddamn, that one was painful.” Michelle still squirmed, trying to find a position on her side that gave her some level of comfort. Less than thirty seconds later, Dr. Foust was standing in her doorway with Catherina—and Rena.
“Okay, Mrs. Blade, we’re going to start wheeling you into the O.R. now. Just relax, and everything’s going to be fine. Deep breaths.” Catherina now at her side, manually taking her vitals while Lawna lovingly stroked Michelle’s hair.
Removing the brakes from the urethane wheels of her stretcher, Catherina began pushing Michelle towards the O.R. with a male orderly—Dr. Foust with the IV, with Rena and Lawna in tow.
“OOOOOH SHIT,” Michelle felt the contractions coming fast and hard now as she began her delivery breathing.
* * * *
Rena and Lawna watched pensively from the sterile confines of the hallway via the O.R.’s viewing Lexan® as Catherina began switching out Michelle’s IV at Dr. Foust’s orders. Lawna’s grip on the windowsill tightened to the point of leaving nail marks while Rena observed her reactions.
Only moments after switching out the IV’s, Michelle’s body began contorting on the O.R. table as they began putting her under general anesthesia.
“What’s happening?” Lawna ran to the doorway to the O.R., threatening to burst in without scrubbing. Why hadn’t they let her into the O.R. to begin with? It was always customary to have the spouse in the room during delivery. Something was going on.
“It’s okay, Darling. We have the best care available here, and we’re prepared for anything.” Rena’s assurances fell on deaf ears. Lawna was fuming; her right hand resting on the Glock® in the holster nested in the small of her back.
“I think a cesarean is what they’re going for now,” again Rena trying to comfort.
“A CESAREAN!” Lawna howled, “We didn’t talk about that being necessary. Why are they doing that?”
“Darling, I could interrupt the doctor to get you an answer, but I think it’s best if we let him focus on Michelle. Don’t you agree?”
Pensive lips pressed together on Lawna’s face expressed only a fraction of her dissatisfaction at the increasingly tense situation as her grip tightened on her Glock® in the small of her back.
The incision ran across Michelle’s lower abdomen as Dr. Foust smoothly and expertly moved the scalpel piercing Michelle’s epidermal layers.
Now back at the viewing window, Lawna was barely aware of the blood on her neck as her grip on the windowsill loosened with her body slumping to the floor in a dirty blonde heap.
Now standing over Lawna’s body, who had already begun thrashing on the floor, Rena gave the go ahead nod to Dr. Foust through the pane of Lexan as he started the next IV bag of Rena’s blood. Licking her fangs as they began retracting back into the roof of her mouth, Lawna’s blood still oozed from their razor-sharp tips.
* * * *
(14 hours later)
“You have all the genetic material you need then?” It wasn’t really a question from Rena, and the doctor knew it. He knew her expectations intimately as she had been so very less than elegant in the way she had expressed them days before Michelle’s arrival. This had been in the planning for years. The ability of her immortal army to operate in daylight was at hand—finally. Nothing was going to stop Rena from this moment. Nothing and no one!
“We have everything we need, ma’am. We’ve already begun taking stem cells from all three of the newborns as you instructed.”
“And what symptoms are the babies displaying so far?”
“None, ma’am. Just as you thought.”
“Good. See to it I’m notified as soon as either of the proud new parents begin to wake. Ensure they are given at least 2000ml of fresh blood while their transformations complete. They’re going to be my super-soldiers.”
“I’ll see to it personally, ma’am.”
Rena was gone in a blur, and another unnatural gust. Dr. Foust hadn’t taken a single breath during their entire conversation. Only now did he finally exhale, allowing himself to breathe. What have I done, he wondered, walking down the medical suite corridor to check on the now immortal Michelle Alexandra Blade.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish