|Adam was designed to be the future, the progenitor of a race far more intelligent than mere humans. The government had much more planned for Adam than it had let on, but in the end, it still managed to underestimate him...
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What I liked:
Like Andrew Wiggin of "Ender's Game", Adam is smarter than everyone around him, far enough ahead to put together a picture of events from limited information. Unfortunately, he's discovered that "the only winning move is not to play". The pace is good, the writing concrete in its imagery, and the plot honors the prompt. Also, it has a plot, with foreshadowing, climax, and resolution - often difficult to accomplish within 2000 words. "Moral Imperative" manages to combine a dystopian theme with a bittersweet ending, and hope that humanity's next brush with greatness will be under better circumstances.
What might be improved:
In some ways, it's easy to write a character smarter than oneself: all that character has to do is solve problems based on incomplete information, or figure out swiftly what a normal person could reason through slowly. In other ways, it's quite difficult: Sherlock Holmes's observations require a mastery of detail on the part of the author as well as the character, and the same is true for any extraordinary mind. But mostly, people who think themselves bright are unforgiving of any error in description or reason they themselves would not make. This is a good reason to violate a writer's normal instinct and to be careful how much detail of the genius's thinking process one shares.
The smartest people I know, people who are gifted with IQs four or five standard deviations above the mean, don't write tend to write paragraphs like this:
"She had probably decided that the risk of being tied to that statement and having it used against her was minimal in this situation, with only two witnesses—one of whom was a genetic experiment. A lie would serve her purpose with less downside than the truth. Telling the truth would almost certainly turn Victor against her. That would probably be inconvenient for her. Victor’s cooperation was probably vital to the administration’s plans. Because of the extremely unpopular nature of transhuman genetic research among the general public, there was very little of it, at least in the United States. Victor’s was by far the most mature research of this type that Adam had been able to find in his extensive online inquiries into the subject."
When you're trying to show brilliance, it's best not to bring in conditional language, state the obvious, or use inefficient statements. Consider an alternative:
"She was lying, of course. If the government had a compelling plan, she would have shared it with him to win his trust. After all, what good was superhuman intelligence to her, unless it could be directed? It was telling that her best option was playing not to lose. Transhuman genetic research was publicly looked down on, at least in the United States. Adam was a high-risk investment, the most advanced example of transhuman research he could find evidence of, and he had looked."
Creating a sense of awe at what Adam knows, at what he can do, is a difficult task. One way at it is simply to leave Adam's inner dialogue to the reader's imagination and tell the story from the perspective of one of the other two characters who are trying to figure him out. You could bring out most of the same details this way, except for Adam's thoughts about killing Beth and Victor, though it might be challenging to explain his telekinetic powers.
I'm mixed on those powers, actually. A link between intelligence and psychic powers is proposed every so often in science fiction, so I grant there's something attractive in the device, but it feels a bit like overkill (and therefore cheating) - either his intelligence or his powers ought to be dangerous enough by themselves. Keeping telekinesis hidden from Victor also seems a bit unlikely.
Anyway, this is a good story and a good use of the concept of transhumanism, but I do think a review should be a little challenging. You've also managed to provide this month's Science Fiction Short Story Contest Winner! Congratulations, and I hope to see you back!