Making Friends, a story of Science! for the Giraffe Call (@Anke)

For [personal profile] anke‘s Prompt.

After Re-Engineered and Engineered.

“Jason’s up to something.”

Liam paced back and forth across the command center of their base, his cane thumping angrily.

“I can tell he’s up to something.”

Cara and Alex shared a glance. Of course Jason was up to something. He’d taken over an island. He had carnivorous roses. They were waiting for him to gengineer sentient seaweed and start expanding his one-man empire.

Jason had, before he defected, been Liam’s fair-haired boy, his protégé. Cara and Alex, perpetual hard workers, perpetual second fiddles, could do nothing but watch their boss now, as he paced and obsessed. And they couldn’t touch Jason…

“I, ah.” Cara wasn’t like the shiny people who came through. She didn’t shout “eureka.” She didn’t brag. She tried not to laugh maniacally. “Well, a couple of my birds made it in, and brought back some genetic samples, boss.”

“You have genetic material? How did you get it?”

Wordlessly, his senior assistant pointed at her “birds.” The sandpiper, which was sitting in its cage, pecking at clover, was her most efficient model – half bird, half courier device.

“We modified her primary courier to shunt fifty percent of all gathered material to its carrying pouch, and then we modified it to prefer foliage, especially sap.” Viji, her favorite intern, was new and very enthusiastic about everything. He’d learn, she hoped. He’d have a lot of potential if he survived his first year with the team.

Liam stared at the bird, with its transparent stomach. “And what did you learn?”

“He’s still breeding his plants.” She pointed at a series of DNA maps on her light box. “He’s gotten rudimentary brains into some of them.”

She stepped on Viji’s foot before he could reveal what else she’d gotten from Jason’s work. They almost had the duck-footed cottage ready, and now it would have its own floral armament. They could wait to show it to the Boss until it was complete.

“We think he’s trying to breed friends.” She pointed at one particular sequence. “Kind of like Namae Sauter’s tree-girl, but with less free will.”

“And I know what’s missing from his formula… so we should probably watch out.”

“What’s that?” Liam leaned forward over his cane. “Ah… shit. I see.”

Cara nodded. Namae had started from human zygotes. Jason would probably need the same.

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