I can sense movement. I listen, but I do not have to strain. The voices come easily.

"You won't believe it, even if you see it." A chuckle. Predictable, though uncommon. From his tone, I can guess exactly what Dr. Philips is doing.

Footsteps follow. The loafers make a familiar sound on the hard tile, though there is another set of footsteps -work boots?- that I do not recognize.

"-sure? The report said that . . ." I drift between listening and focusing on myself. There is no movement inside the chamber. I am careful to keep it that way. But my mind is moving rapidly, assessing the situation. This situation is one I have seen, even if the person opposite Philips is different each time.

Both boots and loafers halt, and I sense them in front of me. Philips is exactly three and a quarter inches below my feet, thirty degrees to the right of my shoulder. The stranger is about ten inches to the left and two inches behind him. I have been listening to the happenings in this room long enough to tell.

"My God," the stranger gasps, referencing to the figure that many humans worship or regard as their ruler. Or maybe that's the wrong word? Savior, perhaps, is what I want. Their savior.

"Yes. She is nearly perfect. A few more kinks to work out, maybe."

I know what is going on now. This is a possible benefactor. Money is not necessarily needed at the moment, but Philips is not one to pass up on the chance. I hear clicks and whirs as he brings up the solo-screen. I want to move, to possibly see this, but the temptation is easily squished. My body knows very well what happens when I try to move.

"-testing done?" I am attuned to the conversation again. Yes, there has been a lot of testing done, he answers eagerly. Brain scans, muscle tests, immune system checks. Everything up and down has been tested. Thoroughly.

"Any field testing? Can she move?"

Here is where Philips hesitates. "Ah, no," he says after a while. "But we're close. Another month, at the latest."

"Hmm." The possible donor does not sound impressed, though he should be. According to Philips, I am one of the few of my kind. There are two others like me. "Still, I can see why you might need funding. She's impressive indeed."

"I'd mount her on a wall if I could!" Philips laughs, but it is forced. His attempt at humor is not taken well.

I think about the field testing, and how I know it will not happen in the next month. He has been saying that to everyone who has come here for the past six months. I am a goldfish, not to be taken out of my bowl. And I am not inclined to try getting out. The last time I flexed a pinky, all Hell broke loose, if I were to believe that Hell exists.

"I have to admit, I've never seen anything like her. She looks normal enough."

"Ah," Philips brightens, "but she isn't. Studies show that her brain capacity is at least twice that of either you or me. And we think her muscles may be 50% stronger than the average person."

"You think," he responded. Philips nodded nervously, I am sure.

"Dr. Philips! Dr. Philips!" The voice of an intern, one that came here three weeks ago, still getting a hang of the ropes. "Bad news!" he screeched.

"Herman! Can't you see we have a guest?" Philips tried to contain his anger. "What could possibly be wrong?"

"The c-chamber," he stuttered. "The controls, spilled coffee, shocks!" he rushed out, stumbling over the words.

An alarm began blaring, a noise I knew even though I had never heard it. The wires around my arms suddenly contracted. I wanted to flinch, but my practiced body did not budge.

"What? What did I tell you about liquid in this lab?"

No one said anything, but Philips seemed to register the alarm, because I heard his loafers quickly scurrying to the other end of the room. The short, light steps of the intern followed to the room adjacent, where the machinery was.

The wires contracted again. The volume of air in my facial mask decreased. The liquid surrounding me felt heavy.

I began to panic, knowing that I could not survive without the air being delivered via a mask I had worn practically since birth. My body wanted to open my eyes, to take in my environment and gather information about what was going on, but I knew that if I did, I would not be able to see within the heavy syrup in which I was encased.

This is bad, I thought. I'm running out of air.

I felt something different on my face, and realized that the liquid was no longer covering it. It was being drained out of the chamber. For the first time in my memory, I was not completely bathed in the strange substance.

The feeling of not being surrounded by it was odd, but I was more focused on my air supply. I held my breath, trying to figure out what to do.

As the fluid drained from an unseen hole on the chamber, I felt by body going down with the decreasing level. The wires strained with my full weight. My oxygen mask came off.

Oh dear, oh dear, I thought, as my body sank to the bottom of the chamber. The alarm had not stopped, and I could hear shouting in the other room. I had never breathed in normal air, and I was not sure if I could handle the sudden transition. Philips had always kept me in the chamber, worried about my body's reaction to the atmosphere.

I could not handle keeping my eyes closed. I opened them to the environment.

The commotion was utterly confusing, but less so now that I could see it. Theoretically, I should know what everything in the room already looked like. But my eyes had never seen any of it in person. It was new. Strange.

I stood, the wires following my movement. They trapped my limbs. I ignored them, scanning the room. The workers were not here, but voices came from the other room.

"She could be suffocating, you morons! She's never taken in normal air!"

It dawned on me that I was, indeed, not breathing. I had continued to hold my breath, part of my mind keeping the task in check. I fumbled, grabbing for the mask and placing it on my face. A quick inhale yielded no air. As Philips would say, this is a conundrum.

I doubted there was sufficient oxygen in the chamber, due to recently being filled with the green syrup, remnants of which remained on the floor. My head was beginning to pound. I searched for a way out, finding none.

What I did find was the emergency button.

Philips had made it clear to me early on that I was to push that button if I ever found myself in dire need of something. I practically leaped at it, pushing the smooth plastic. Another alarm, a loud drone that seemed more like a fog horn, sounded briefly. A large rumble.

The chamber walls were moving.

Well, the wall. It was all one piece of cylinder shaped glass, drawing slowly upward. My blood was pounding. I needed air, and the moment the glass lifted, I sucked it in.

The funny thing about breathing pure oxygen all your life, is that it leaves you unprepared for the actual Earth atmosphere of only twenty percent oxygen and eighty percent things that my body had never encountered before. I promptly fainted.