Pain seared the spot between her eyes where no one could see. It was as hot and as sharp as if a poker had stoked her brain instead of fire. She longed to be able to weep for in the weeping, it might be cooled. She could not.
Ariadne reached into her bag and scrimmaged about for the small bottle of tears she kept with her at all times. In the autopilot of long habit, she twisted off the cap, holding it between thumb and palm while tipping back her head and dropping two small drops of liquid into each eye. The cold shocked her dry eyeballs, bringing the familiar sting as the salty solution cleansed and moistened them. To cry would be a much better option and this was as good as it was ever going to get for the girl.
She looked across the table where she and a small band of other mutants sat in silence considering each mouthful of the meal they'd been given. Ariadne looked almost normal in comparison to the array of slightly misaligned human test cases. She considered them more human than most. For all their mutantcy they had the familiar idiosyncratic tendencies of most human beings - the desire for unconditional love, connection, happiness, prosperity and power. None of them was any less normal in that regard than those who considered themselves more human.
They had no parents, these kids. They'd been grown in petri dishes and test tubes. They were a new kind of genetic modification organism, bred to specifically help normal humans - who obviously weren't mutants - live forever. Ariadne had been bred in such a way that her gene for the ability to cry had been turned off. She could not shed tears in enough quantity to weep. The barest amount of fluid escaped what tear ducts she possessed and because she was pretty and apparently physically normal in all other respects, and because she was quite good at intuiting what other people were thinking, they'd given her the eye drops to keep her eyes moistened instead of "re-integrating" her cells into yet another crop of Ariadne's who couldn't cry.
…to be continued. (I hope)