Basic Soldier

“Oh, an organ donor?” Lyra asked. The pink-haired woman gave Duncan a faint smirk that distracted him from her rolling eyes. This was their second meeting, although Duncan considered it a date. They met at an outdoor cafe and sat in the shade of a cool November day. 

Their first meeting was quick. Lyra insisted she was only passing through; she chose Duncan from a dating app to show her around. She only scheduled a short meeting; but, the moment they met she immediately asked for a second, longer meeting. Duncan was used to that happening. He didn’t need to exercise but his body was built like a marble statue thanks to his abilities. His high-end clothes, car, and lifestyle were attractive to most women he met. And they were also a product of his special powers.

“Not a bad choice considering what you can do,” she said. Duncan tensed, but he tried not to let it show on his face. Did she know what he could do? “That’s actually why I wanted more time with you, to talk about your abilities.”

“Who are you!?” Duncan was leaning over the table to get closer to Lyra, but he pulled back the moment she mentioned his powers. Lyra raised her hands to her shoulders, palms out, and shrugged.

“I’m only here to offer you a job, I’m not a threat,” she said. Duncan relaxed and laughed at her at the same time.

“A job?” he asked. “I’ve made billions donating organs, and there’s no shortage of need. It’s so easy and I”m so rich,” he chuckled some more. “What could you possibly offer me?” Lyra rolled her eyes again. Duncan noticed this time but he didn’t know what it meant.

“Exactly what I said. A job. Work that you enjoy and that you’re proud of. Something that helps people.”

“Do you know how many lives I’ve saved with my donations!?” he laughed. “You want to talk about helping people, how many have you helped?”

“Uhmm,” Lyra thought for a moment. “I don’t know, a few hundred million maybe.” Duncan sighed and shook his head.

“I don’t think I could work with someone so horrible at lying, and dumb on top. There aren’t even that many people on Earth,” Duncan chuckled.

“Sure, on this Earth. A standard Earth is usually about 8 or 9 million people, multiplied by hundreds of Earths that I’ve chosen for my company to help. That’s the kind of work I’m talking about. But,” Lyra shrugged again. “If you want to stay and rule over your tiny pond thinking you’ve got everything figured out, then that’s your decision to make. I’m just here to make the offer. There is more out there.” 

“Alternate universes?” Duncan asked. He narrowed his eyes at Lyra. “Why do I believe you and how did you know what I can do?” In the shadow of the awning, Duncan caught Lyra’s eyes flashed with golden stars as she smiled.

“I can answer both of those questions with a simple fact. Your favorite number is 34,” she said. Duncan’s eyes went wide when he realized she was right; he didn’t even know he had a favorite number. It didn’t answer his question, but it did hint at an answer in the future. 

“So… what? You want me to donate my organs to other universes?”

“Alright, look,” Lyra said with a sudden firmness in her voice. “My boss, Ms. Sharp, prefers to call things what they are. If you go in there claiming to be this altruistic, self-made man, you won’t be working for us for very long.”

“Huh?” Duncan asked with a confused look. Lyra sighed.

“You’re a billionaire, right?” she asked. Her tone changed again. Now she was speaking to him like a schoolchild. He couldn’t help but nod.

“Uhuh,” he said.

“How did you make that money?” she asked.

“I told you, organ donations,” he said. Lyra shook her head.

“Let’s break it down. How exactly does your process work?”

“Well, anesthesia doesn’t work on me, but I’ve gotten used to the pain. Every morning this guy comes to my house and cuts out some parts. He gives me an envelope of cash, and I’m healed by brunch,” Duncan lifted his shirt to show her his six-pack and scar-free, taught chest.

“There!” Lyra said. “He gives you cash?” she asked.

“Well yeah,” Duncan laughed. “How else would I be a billionaire?” Lyra sighed.

“You do understand what the word “donate” means, right?” You’re not donating anything, your organs are being sold on the black market.”

“Huh.” It was all Duncan could say as his eyes stared at nothing, far behind Lyra. She remained quiet while his mind connected hundreds of tiny things that he never noticed before.

“But, if I donate to you, how do I know your company won’t also sell them on the black market of .. hundreds of Earths?” he asked finally.

“Sharp Development isn’t interested in your organs. We’re interested in your soul; in you. Regenerating organs is a parlor trick; you have far more potential to help people in other ways.”

“Wow. My soul?” Duncan asked. His tone was rhetorical so Lyra only gave a faint nod. “Your company is really interested in me?”

“Dana Sharp is a visionary, and she knows she needs all the help she can get. You can be part of that help. Part of her vision.”

“Okay,” Duncan nodded. “I want to make a real difference.”

“Great!” Lyra said. She placed a red clipboard on the table loaded with forms. “I’m authorized to hire for Sharp Development, I just need your signature.” Duncan reached for the red pen on the forms. He had no idea where she pulled the clipboard from; but, he was starting to realize a lot of things slipped through his notice.

“I’m obligated to inform you that signing those forms grants Sharp Development ownership over your soul,” Lyra added. Duncan nodded and kept signing while he wondered where the clipboard came from.

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