discernable words. Jenny felt disoriented as she and her family stepped out of the transporter, and she clung onto Joseph’s hand to steady herself. Charlie went off to go register Joseph’s barcode with the school. Everyone had them now, on the backs of their hands. Somehow, every barcode was completely unique, with only the computers knowing what everyone’s exact code was. This made it impossible for anyone’s identity to be stolen, but it still irked Jenny to see the black lines on her skin, marking her like she was an object in a store. How trustworthy were those computers? Who was making sure they didn’t rise up against their masters? “Mommy! Where do we go from here?” Joseph asked. His childish lisp caused him to emphasize the “f” sound in his question. Jenny smiled and pointed, “We’re still early, baby, let’s go to the play area!” Joseph gave a little pout, “Mom! Don’t call me baby!” Jenny sighed; she did need to stop that; he was already seven years old, after all. But it was a name she called him without thinking, it would be so hard for her to stop. He would always be her baby boy. They went to the play area, where all the children were eagerly running around inside the force-field protected square, watched over by their smiling parents. Jenny began to get nervous; she recognized some of the parents. One particular parent struck her with a jolt of rage; Bianca had gone for the Oshiro-Dimov Treatment when she had been told there was a risk of scoliosis to her child. Jenny noticed the little girl talking to Joseph and was tempted to tell him not to play with that freak, but she didn’t want to give these parents any ammunition to use against her. She would show them, those fucking androids. Freaks of nature, all of them, half-robot and worse. What did it matter that they would suffer no physical and mental illnesses? It was yet another disgusting defiance of God’s will and a colossal act of arrogance to assume that humankind could better themselves without faith or respect for a higher power. Joseph turned and smiled, waving shyly when he noticed his mother still there. Jenny ignored her angry thoughts as she looked at his crooked smile, feeling her heart would melt all over again. Her baby boy looked so happy to be there, and she hoped that being around all these freaks wouldn’t corrupt him. She, his mother, would ensure that nobody would ever take him away from her and warped his mind or his body, no matter what it cost her. Because he was her baby boy, a truly human child. She and he were more human than anyone else in this whole school.
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