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By Robert A. Metzger

The 12 months is 2051. An enigmatic entity has its personal plan for human evolution, utilizing the supercomputer referred to as CUSP-the first computer designed to run at the software program of the human mind...

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And they needed to get in. Physically and Deep. Sanibel Island—Florida Gulf Coast—Ghost 3 Xavier walked slowly in the shallow surf, placing each foot carefully, the rolling debris of shattered shells poking painfully at his feet. He could have damped the pain receptors, in fact eliminated them altogether, but it didn’t seem right. He’d sampled some of the feed from the second facet, the taste of the dying Resident still lingering. Reaching down into the white froth, he pulled out a broken shell—several turns of a brown whelk, its spines worn down to nubs, the whole thing encrusted in a patina of green slime.

But this worm was something new, able to alter the pesticide, the viral load in its own gut designed to sever key bonds in the pesticide’s chemical backbone, turning it into organic residue that the worm digested right along with the corn it consumed. The viral genome flashed before her, proteomic programs engaged and gene by-products spewed out—red, green, and blue balls of proteins ricocheting off one another. She ran a 30 Ro b e rt A . Me t z g e r known gene and protein database correlator against the samples obtained, looking for any recently tampered-with genes, altered or transposed proteins, being careful to differentiate between spontaneous, naturally occurring mutations, and those designed to appear to be natural and spontaneous.

Without Che, none of this would possibly work. His brother could not unravel now. ” Xavier asked again. Che lowered himself to the concrete floor, tugged on Krew’s leash, and pulled the hairless lemurlike creature to his side, petting him across his forehead, above his large black eyes. “Pattern,” said Che. “You need to hold it together, Che,” Xavier said slowly, stressing each and every word. ” He pointed over to the lemur that was not actually a lemur. He was someone’s failed experiment, a chimera structured around a basic lemur core, but infused with nearly 5 percent artificially constructed DNA and enhanced 42 Ro b e rt A .

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