Race, an ex-cop private eye in a world where most people are conditioned so that they cannot commit an act of violence, must release a savage artificial personality, Ralf, that was implanted in him when he did a deep-cover mission as a police officer, to rescue Astra, the woman he secretly loves, from the crime syndicates who have used a drug to turn her into a sex slave.
Race succeeds at the cost of the crime syndicates discovering that Ralph is still alive. The syndicates want their assassin back and think nothing of toppling Race’s sanity to achieve their ends.
Can Race maintain control of his body? Freed of the drug’s effect, will Astra return his affections? And what of Ralph, can a sociopath learn to love and what changes might that bring?
Race stepped off the moving sidewalk and jogged towards a door in the wall labelled ‘Civil Psychiatric Services’. Lois grinned as she watched him go.
Minutes later Race stared out an office’s balcony window at the green space beyond.
“So how does that make you feel?” asked a red-haired woman who sat on a recliner with her feet up. She was an attractive fifty-something, with a fit body and a handsome face. The knee-length skirt she wore showed off muscular calves.
“Come on, Yedda, do we have to play this game? I hit her. I found out she was cheating on me, with a woman, and I hit her. Then I. What kind of monster could do that to his own wife? I became everything I hate. Now she’s out of my life, and I just have to deal.”
Yedda stood up and moved behind Race and hugged him. “First off, and if I have to tell you this once more, I think I’ll scream, that wasn’t you. It was Ralph.”READ MORE
“It was my fist. It was my... my body did those things.”
“But not your mind. Race, when you went deep cover to infiltrate the syndicate, they submerged your personality and overlaid Ralph, so psych. tests wouldn’t catch you out. Ralph--.”
“Was a sociopath, because only sociopaths are immune to the standard anti-violence conditioning given all children at age ten. Thus they are of value to the syndicate for use as enforcers, because they can commit a direct act of violence. I’ve read the manual, Yedda.”
“Then you know they never should have let that assignment go that long. The standard is three months, the maximum six. The longer the alternative personality is dominant, the stronger it becomes. They left you there for two years.”
“I remember. I remember every violent, sick thing that bastard did. That’s the plan, isn’t it? Let the alt-personality infiltrate, get the evidence then bring out the dominant with the memories intact to testify.”
“They hung you out to dry.”
“Still doesn’t change anything. I was gone, and Lois...” Race grit his teeth. “Lois started sniffing around. Saime was lonely. I guess she thought cheating with a woman wouldn’t be as bad then I came back. When she told me, I was so angry and hurt. Ralph just took over, and he had his own ways of dealing with things. The thing is, he is me. He’s just a different mix, everything he is exists in me, it’s just how much of it I let show.”
Yedda pushed Race around so that he was facing her. “Everyone has a shadow. Hell, remember that old movie I told you to watch.”
“Ralph is the Darth Vader to your Luke. We all have them. It’s just how we let them out. The police shrinks didn’t give you a choice.”
“I think we need to lance this. That Lois is some piece of work, every time you see her, you lose ground.”
“Yedda, I don’t want--.”
Yedda put her fingertips over his lips. “I may be your friend, but I’m first and foremost your psychiatrist. Right now, you need to face Saime and Lois. Desensitize yourself in a safe environment. Otherwise, someday that nasty little dyke is going to get you to pop, and Race, they won’t let it slide a second time.”
“Dyke?” Race looked at Yedda astonished.
“Some homosexual women are lesbians, they’re good people. I’ve got a couple of friends in that camp. Some are dykes; nasty pieces of work who just love to hurt others. You know me; a spade is a spade. Now sit down.”
Yedda directed Race to a padded chair with arm and leg restraints.
“I really hate this.” Race took a seat, and she began strapping him in.
“Why? Because you hate it, or because you hate liking it?”
Yedda pressed a needle into Race’s arm then returned to her seat.
“Race, listen to my voice. See everything. Know it and let it happen. Let it desensitize your rage. It’s all happened. You can be angry about it here. Saime was your wife. Race is allowed to be mad here. Race can lance the emotional boil. Race is allowed to be mad; he doesn’t need Ralph to be mad for him.
“It’s early afternoon, and Lois is at the door of your house.”
Race felt the drug take hold. His vision filled with the scene, his imagination filling in the details.COLLAPSE