“Here at the DAC Facility, we give you the ability to design the perfect child. Our expert staff-”
“Oh, turn that off!” Astrid finally snapped, reaching over and flicking the toggle on the monitor, “You must have watched it a hundred times already.”
“But mother, it doesn’t seem natural-”
“Of course it isn’t natural, girl! When has anything we’ve ever done been natural?” she glared at Ceri for a moment, watching in satisfaction as her daughter started to flush. “You’re the one who went and insisted on marrying that wretched man-”
“His name is Jaco-”
“His name doesn’t matter! You married him, you’re going to be having his babies, and I will have at least one child I won’t be ashamed of. If this had been an option when I was pregnant with you, I would have-”
“No, Ceri. You have absolutely nothing to complain about. The procedure is perfectly safe, and I’m footing the bill. Now stop making a scene.” Astrid watched in satisfaction as her daughter slowly bowed her head, knowing that there would be no further argument.
The girl’s objections were ridiculous anyway. There was no pain. They don’t mess up. The children are perfectly normal–even if they do get tagged. It was a bit strange, but Astrid supposed that they had to keep track of their mutations somehow.
Although, no, mutation wasn’t the correct word. Enhanced humans, that was it. Enhancements.
“Mrs Winkle, we’re ready to help you fill out the paperwork now,” the pretty receptionist smiled at them, gesturing to the door on her left, “Just through there, in room C. I’m afraid your mother can’t come with you, only your husband.”
Ceri, relief written all over her face, continued towards the indicated door. Then she froze.
“What nonsense!” Astrid grinned, tipping a conspiratorial wink at the receptionist, “Her husband, dear Jacob, is working today, so he asked me to come in his place. He knows how easily Ceri gets stressed, and wanted someone she knows to hold her hand.”
“Of course ma’am, you may go through.”
“Thank you dearie.”
Astrid swept regally through the door, linking her arm through Ceri’s as she went.
“How much did you give her, mother?” Ceri hissed through gritted teeth.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about, child,” the answer was cheerful, then so quietly that it was barely audible “Only about 1.5k.”
They walked through the door labeled C. The room could generously be called “minimalist”. There were two chairs and a small console. Sitting on the console, which was between the chairs, was a small humanoid AI. When they came in, it turned it’s head and a green light scanned them.
“Error,” it’s voice was softly androgynous, “The older female is related to our patient. She is not permitted in this room. Please leave.”
“Nonsense,” Astrid held out her ID, “Check again.”
Ceri walked over to the further chair and sat while the robot scanned her mothers ID. There was silence for a minute, then “Patient Ceri Winkle must verbally confirm her consent to Astrid Marghetta’s presence while her child is designed. We recommend against family members being present during this process, unless it is your spouse. If you are unhappy with the child you give birth to, we are unable to decommission it due to ethical restrictions. If you should-”
“I give my consent.”
There was a brief pause from the robot.
“Please confirm your consent. Please confirm that you are unwilling to process our legal disclaimer. Be aware that you are still held to the terms of the disclaimer.”
“I confirm my consent. I don’t want to hear your disclaimer.” She managed to bite back the “It’s not like I’m getting a choice in this anyway.”
“Astrid Marghetta, please take the other seat, and we will begin.”