(AN: Gonna clear some stuff up. The Hatchery and Conditioning Centre has changed, with those who will work there conditioned to be able to work in all the jobs (why they all have purple eyes) and conditioned to know to work by the iceberg structure. Lydia's conditioning just didn't work out too well. Also, they don't have lupus anymore. Basically, there's been a few big scientific breakthroughs since BNW that allow some things in here to happen.)

"Lydia Marx!"

I was twenty-one. Lori Mond was the one calling for me. My best friend.

"I'm busy, but I'll be with you soon!" I called back. It was rare that she would disrupt me right now. I was working on a perfect ovary-my own, in fact, I'd had it extracted the month before and was still celebrating the bonus while I had the chance. Two thousand and four hundred people so far-I was making a good batch of sixteen Gamma girls per egg, and Podsnap's Technique had gotten me those hundred and fifty eggs I needed. Taking a sip of soma-water, I opened the door.

"Ah, Lori. Good to see you, but you know I'm busy right now. What's going on, dear?" She was undergoing her false pregnancy, I could tell that. She was late for it, actually, despite being twenty-one. She was supposed to have had it at seventeen, the age I had mine.

"Well, it's a woman in the hospital." Lori explained. "A young one, just thirty years old. Beta-Plus. She's...well. She's going crazy, I think, even though I make sure to keep her on as much soma as possible-about four to ten grammes a day, I know they've done more but I want to try keep her alive for now. She has some interesting things to say. I think you'd better hear them."

This sounded quite good. "I'll come as soon as I can. But I have a date with James Foster at the feelies tonight. And I'm busy right now, anyway." She nodded as I closed the door.

I got to work on adding some alcohol to the blood-surrogate I was about to put the Gammas in. I had decided it would be a good idea to add some before they went on the conveyer. I looked down and gasped. I'd put in the soma-water. Oops.

Hang on. Maybe there could be something more to this...