Unlike the front of her dress, which draped across her body from shoulder to shoulder, neck to foot, accentuating and yet obscuring her genetically perfect curves, the back was bare, an expanse of flawless skin framed by draping cream fabric that met just below the small of the back. The eye was lead from this point up the smooth expanse of skin to arrest on her one imperfection.

Manticore ensured its soldier's skin would be clear of identifying marks of birth, and any scar received from a mission would quickly fade, making the dark smudge across the base of her neck even more evident, an unwelcome blemish that the eye could not help but be drawn to, for even as Manticore took great care to remove all marks from its soldiers it could not refrain from branding each one with a barcode.

Tonight, in that dress, the brand screamed to the world that Max was different, a transgenic, the very thing she had been forced to hide for over half her life. After years of carefully choosing outfits and hairstyles to cover Manticore's signature, the visible evidence that she wasn't ordinary, she knew what she was revealing that evening. She was different. She was abnormal. She was one of them.