Surrender To The Cyborgs(4)

By: Grace Goodwin

The warden looked at me with sympathetic gray eyes. “Yes, I’ve heard of your case, heard your claims of innocence. From a process standpoint, the testing doesn’t change that you’ve been convicted of a crime. It doesn’t change that you are going to be in jail for the next twenty-five years.”

“I filed an appeal.”

“Yes, your attorney informed me and I wish you the best of luck.” Her gray eyes softened and I found my anger fading beneath the onslaught of pity I saw there. “I’m sorry, Rachel. But your innocence or guilt is irrelevant to me. And believe me, your new mate won’t care. You’re here. You were convicted. They must have had evidence.”

“It was planted,” I countered.

All hints of the orgasm had faded, replaced by the same anger, frustration and bitterness that had followed me for the past five months. When the Whistleblower law went into effect, it hadn’t included me. No. I’d been quickly taken away, falsely pinned with crimes I didn’t commit by people who committed far worse just to hide their own.

Yes, I’d been the lead researcher at GloboPharma. The trials had been under my supervision. But I’d pulled the plug when things went wrong. I’d followed the FDA guidelines to the letter. The data in my reports was truthful and accurate. Yes, I’d known that the company had hundreds of millions of dollars on the line, looking for a cancer cure. And the treatment worked, it just killed too many healthy cells in the process.

I’d filed my reports and expected my superiors to do the right thing.

The day I heard that the FDA approved the drug, I’d nearly puked up my hot mustard and salami sandwich at my desk. I’d called the president of the company personally, and when she wouldn’t listen, I called the CEO.

They all ignored me, and sent some goons to wreck my house and shut me up. They’d fired me, discredited me, and, little did I know, kept my data and lined me up to take the fall if things went bad.

And things went really, really bad. At least four hundred people died before the FDA figured out it was the new drug doing the damage. When they came looking for someone to blame, GloboPharma handed them my head on a silver platter.

Fuckers. I refused to go down without a fight. I was not going to run like a scared puppy and live the rest of my life on another freaking planet. I had to do the right thing. I had to fight. If I didn’t, the bastards who did this to people would just do it again. And again. And again. I went to graduate school and completed my PhD just last year in biochemistry. I studied physiology as an undergrad so I could make a difference in the world, so I could help people. I never wanted to be in a fight like this. But now that I was here, I couldn’t walk away. I didn’t have a choice. It was either fight or rot in jail. And if I let them beat me, they’d just do it again, make another mistake. Kill people. Lie about it.

“I can’t leave. I have to go to court. Please, I want you to understand.”

“Your appeal is two months away,” she replied, not commenting on my rant. She knew what had happened, the charges, the trial, my conviction. It was all in my file on that tablet of hers. Everything about me was on there, including what I ate for lunch three months ago and my bra size. “Your lawyer recommended that you be tested for the Interstellar Brides Program, just in case.”

My lawyer was a nice man, accomplished at his job, but he had highly skilled, very well-placed people at the FDA and GloboPharma’s army of attorneys fighting against him. He’d told me it was going to be a hard fight, but I didn’t care. I’d done nothing wrong. I’d found out what others had done, were doing, to tens of thousands of frightened people desperate for a cure. They’d taken advantage of people who were sick and scared. They’d forged documents, lied, conspired and put my name on everything. The company paid a stupid fine and walked away. I was the one in jail for forgery, fraud, conspiracy. And that was the short list. I didn’t care what they said about me. I wasn’t giving up.

“Yes, two months, then the truth will come out and I’ll be free.”

She didn’t look hopeful. “Mating a Prillon is not the end of the world, Rachel.”

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