The Engineers Guild
Dearest Hallie and Garet,
It is painful being away from you both. In my mind, I’m there with you in the Uller Valley. I’m in the garden with you, Hallie, wrestling weeds in the veggie patch. And I’m on the spotty rug in front of the fireplace, stacking blocks with Garet. Oh, I miss you both so tenderly.
But you know I do my best work when I’m shut away for months on end. I must admit, it feels good to be back in my lab. Niklaus is here, of course, and a new fellow named Warren, who’s brought some interplanetary UP from his Banker sponsor.
This morning, I woke up with an exhilarating idea for a new project, and I must share it with you. Deactivation of the brain’s fear centres. If we can control, even eliminate, fear, we’ll grow more powerful than any physical enhancement can achieve.
Give Garet a big sloppy kiss for me.
Yours always, Thaddeus
To my darlings,
I’m sorry. It has been a while since I wrote. These last few weeks, my leg implants have had me in excruciating pain. I’m ashamed to admit I succumbed to self-pity, taking to bed and neglecting my work.
Finally, Niklaus got me into the X-ray machine. It turns out my body has responded to the implants far better than expected. The chemicals have invaded and transformed my bones. My legs are now as strong as steel and can bear half a tonne in weight.
But my muscles haven’t adapted to keep up. My overdeveloped bones have ripped thousands of tears in the muscle fibres. Warren has been injecting my leg muscles with a hypertrophic serum. Did you know that there are almost a hundred major muscles in the lower limb? That’s a heck-load of injections.
You and Garet may not recognise me when I come home.
No update yet on the fear project. Funny story—our first test subject squirrelled out.
Dear Hallie and Garet,
We have located the fear centres in the brain. I wish I could convey to you my intense excitement.
As Engineers, our techniques are primarily surgical. We operated on our first group of test subjects, but we did not have much success. Our resection was too crude, removing too much of the surrounding brain tissue. The subjects became imbeciles. It is unfortunate indeed; many of the boys were keen apprentices, eager to make their way up from the lower classes.
We are now combining my theory with Niklaus’s bio-engineering craft. We hope to create an atomic potion, containing particles invisible to the eye, which, when taken into the body, will hunt down and neutralise the fear centres like ranging assassins.
Most of the other Engineers have focused on physical enhancements: more brawn, more speed, sharper reflexes. We’re the first to begin enhancing the mind. I believe we are tackling the greatest frontier.
There are no limits, I think, to how great one can become.
Thank you for expressing your feelings. You were always supportive of my pursuits as an Engineer. You say you will love me no matter how I choose to experiment on my body.
I understand your concerns. Tampering with the mind, as you put it, is treacherous territory. But know that I seek only to improve myself, to transform myself into a better man—the best version of myself that I can possibly achieve. A super-being, if you will, and a pioneer for our people.
Allow me to reassure you that I dabble only in fear. I will not touch the higher orders. The centres of personality, rationality, impulsiveness and planning, will remain outside my study. I hope this puts you at ease.
To Hallie and Garet,
I am immensely gratified to inform you that it is done. The bio-potion we created was a success, and I am the prime subject.
This triumph over fear has sharpened my mind to a razor-point. All extraneous and existential anxieties have fallen away. There is nothing in this world I am afraid of now—not death, not pain, not loneliness.
I see my purpose distilled like a polished diamond. Once, I allowed my love for you to hold me back from my work, but now I see more clearly. To strive for continual improvement: this is my vital purpose.
I am sure you will understand.
Author: Grace Chan