Cynthia Roberts sat with her trusted friend, Amy Andrews, who tried to give her some comfort.
“I just had this feeling when she was growing up, Amy, that she was different,” explained Cynthia. “Deep down inside, I almost knew something like this would happen.”
“I know Cyn,” said Amy. “All mothers have those feelings.”
“But I knew it,” Cynthia insisted. “Remember when she was really little and you or I covered for her when she would be the only kid not lining up for drill practice? All the kids would get the message through the CHIP frequency, but Lexy would still be playing, totally unaffected. You’ve got to remember those times, Amy!”
“Yes, I admit I do. Between you and me, Cynthia, some of the younger children seem almost immune to CHIP’s functioning. I’ve seen it a few times. But we’ve always managed to keep Lexy sheltered from the consequences.”
“Somehow she slipped through the crack,” her mom mused. Her mind took her back 20 years to a time when her first husband, Michael, was alive. She remembered his own resistance to the CHIP system, a rebellion that led to his elimination from this world. When he voiced his dislike of the new system and demanded alternatives to CHIP-exclusive grocery stores, he never returned home. Ed Blitz himself had shown up at her door with the news of Michael’s car crash and instructions for her as well. They had never recovered Michael’s body, which was believed to have probably been burned up in the explosion or eaten by sharks in the deep waters at the base of the cliff his car had careened off of one dark, rainy night.
Blitz had been sympathetic, but businesslike. He’d come with orders; he’d told her that if she wanted to ensure her own well-being, she’d have to marry Jerry Roberts. Genetically altered, Roberts was sure to be loyal to CHIP’s cause, and there would be no chance of Cynthia getting out of line or expressing herself as Michael had.
What choice had she had? Though it was unspoken, she understood foul play was involved with her late husband’s death. She felt she had no choice but to go along with the game.
Alexis had shown up a month earlier than expected, and the love she had for her daughter helped ease Cynthia’s pain. Inside her, she knew Alexis was a very unique child. Different, which often made her mother uneasy about her future. As a young child, Alexis had asked questions about the sun and the moon and where they came from and who made them and where they went when we couldn’t see them. She’d often sat staring at the sky and the stars for a long time, as if they held the answers to the mystery she lived, while the other children seemed to never even notice them.
Find your answers, Lexy baby, Cynthia thought to her child, but she sat in fear and cried as Amy comforted her in her arms.