The elevator came to an abrupt halt, making Jungkook lose his balance and quickly find something to hold onto. With a steady hand on the rail and a racing heart, he glared at the man beside him, whom only smiled faintly, standing straight and seemingly unphased by the turbulence.
“This is your stop.”
There was an odd calmness about the man, as if he knew something Jungkook did not. Which was most likely the case, considering the younger man had absolutely no idea where he was, nor what was waiting for him behind those elevator doors. Jungkook muttered a quick thanks, nodding once, before the metal doors creaked and opened onto a single, long and vast corridor. Eyes wide and lips parted, he ogled at the immaculate white walls and flooring, unconsciously taking a step forward.
The elevator doors closed behind him and he turned to watch them, feeling a little uneasy as he was now left alone in absolute silence, save the subtle hum of the mechanism echoing behind the closed doors and his deep breaths. Every step resounded loudly, the sound bouncing against the walls and making their way towards the contrasting black door that stood tall at the end of the corridor. Jungkook eyed it intently, eager to get to it and leave the bright hallway once and for all. He was not scared, nor nervous, but could not help the faint chill that ran up his neck. The man had keen senses, considering his work, and a lingering uncertainty had grown at the back of his mind. He chose to ignore it, as this place was going to be what he would call home for the following months whether he liked it or not.
Just as he had been told to do, he took the keycard dangling from his neck and slipped it through the terminal on the right side of the door, jumping slightly when the machine dinged loudly and the heavy doors suddenly opened in front of him.
The young man had not really known what to expect, either a very futuristic looking laboratory or rows of desks with researchers fervently going through papers or looking through microscopes, pushing their glasses up their nose and scribbling notes on scattered loose sheets. Maybe it had been a little stereotypical, but it could easily be blamed on Jungkook’s lack of knowledge about this entire supposed research facility, and even greater ignorance regarding anything science.
What stood in front of him was far from those two possibilities: a rather welcoming, homey yet luxurious entrance that opened on a living room, dining area and a kitchen at the far end of the space. The most impressive part was its center, yet another elevator slotted in a block of dark grey, polished concrete, with a set of illuminated and hollowed stairs on its left.
“Not what you expected, huh?”
Jungkook jumped, dropping his suitcase and instinctively raising his fists between the smaller figure and himself. When he saw thick-rimmed black glasses and a soft, rosy smile, he relaxed, lowering his fists and straightening his blazer. “Far from.”
“I get that a lot.” Jungkook watched as the stranger walked past him and into the kitchen, bare feet tapping against the large squares of the white linoleum floor. He noticed how the man wore clothes twice his size; loose sleeves of his grey sweater passing his hands, the hems of his matching slacks brushing against the ground. The man fetched a mug from one of the many cupboards, stretched on his tiptoes, and poured himself a glass of coffee from the carafe that sat atop the neat white counter.
“You must be Jeon Jungkook?”
“Yes, that’s me.” Jungkook walked forward, leaving his suitcase behind and stepping into the room, eyes glancing here and there at the immaculate furniture that almost seemed untouched. The place would have looked inhabited if it were not for the lingering objects that showed its occupancy, like a pair of slippers halfway tucked underneath the sofa, or the various magazines and books that covered practically the entirety of the ebony dining table.
“I bet they haven’t told you much about this facility. For security reasons.” He had air quoted the last two words, rolling his eyes, before placing the porcelain mug in his hands and taking a sip. “Well, fear not, I’ll give you a quick rundown of what to expect in the following three months of your contract. It’s a simple enough job.”
“I was told to assure, what I assume to be, your security. Nothing else.”
“That’s about right.”
“Can I ask from what, exactly?” Jungkook was now in the kitchen, on the other side of the counter, facing the man. “This facility seems to have top security, and getting here was hard enough in itself.” Jungkook recalled the two-hour drive in the mountains, going deeper and deeper into what seemed like an everlasting forest of dense greenery.
The brunette smirked and took another gulp of the steaming coffee. “From myself.”
“What?” Jungkook could not help but scoff a little, taken aback by his answer.
“Oh, you’ll understand soon enough.” The host drank the last of his coffee, exhaling loudly, before getting around the corner and passing behind Jungkook. “Come, we have a lot to cover in little time, we should get right to it.”
The man stopped and turned to face Jungkook, raising and waving his hands in front of him. “Oh, no. No, no, no. My name’s Jimin, and if we’re going to be living together for three months, you’re going to call me that, nothing else. No Sir’s, or Boss, or whatever else you might think is fitting. We’re equals, here.”
“Better.” The man whom Jungkook now knew as Jimin turned on his heels and directed him towards the elevator that had caught Jungkook’s attention earlier, pressing the only button: an arrow that pointed down. It took only a second before it was at their respective level, the doors opening to the sound of a high-pitched ding. Jimin stepped in and motioned for Jungkook to join him, which he did.
The doors closed and Jungkook stood, hands together and in front of him, placed just a little in front of Jimin, a stance that had become second nature to him. No matter what this facility was, or what he was to protect this man from, his contract was clear that this man’s life was worth more than he ever could have imagined.
“Uh… don’t do that.”
Jimin circled his body to stand in front of him, motioning to his arms and his body with his hands. Jungkook took note that this man was indeed very… gestural. “This. This whole thing. Bodyguard pose or whatever. Stresses me out. Just act natural, will you? There’s no actual danger, you know. You were right, this is a facility with a top, state-of-the-art security system.” The smaller man sighed, running a hand through his brown locks. “You’ll see when I finish explaining. There’s more to your job than you think… than you were told.”
Jungkook frowned, but complied, letting his arms fall to his side as he wondered what the man had meant by that. The lack of information he had gotten regarding this job suddenly hit him, and he wondered just what he had gotten himself into. An eerie feeling was still creeping into his mind, telling him he should be careful, no matter the warm welcome and impressive luxury of the place. The enormous sum of money promised at the end of the contract was the only thing that kept him from stepping out, knowing all too well he desperately needed that cash. “As you wish.”
Jimin sighed, again, before turning around, facing the doors just as they made their way to the only floor down. The room outside was another hallway, but this one was different from the previous Jungkook had walked through. The floor was a dark grey ceramic, and the walls of a sand beige framed by thick planks of dark oak wood. The lighting was dimmer, giving off a golden glow, much more relaxing for the man’s strained eyes from the fluorescent lights he had started to get accustomed to.
“So, as you already know, I’m a scientist. And a researcher. Kind of a jack-of-all-trades in the field. Not to brag.”
They walked down the corridor, slowly, Jungkook attentively listening to what the man was about to explain. He had been more than eager to finally learn about what really happened between these walls, and what he was going to go up against in the coming months. The fact that he had been told nothing could only mean that it was something big, something very secret, and his curiosity was itching to know more.
“My knowledge and research revolve around one particular topic: genetics. You know, DNA, mutations, all that stuff.” Jungkook nodded, following the rhythm of the man’s shorter steps. “This whole facility is under CFH Inc., do you know of them?” Jungkook shook his head slightly, a little embarrassed that he had no clue who his employer was. “That’s normal, since they’re not very out there, pretty underground, you feel? Anyways, a very prosperous company owned by a billionaire scientist who made wonders in the cancer research field, that aims to perfect one particular experiment: human cloning.”
Jungkook stopped, eyes wide, staring back at the man with a hanging jaw.
Firstly, the topic of cancer had made his chest tighten, thinking to his mother that was still desperately trying to heal. Secondly, human cloning was not unheard of, on the contrary, it was actually the main topic of articles and news channels for its controversy. It had sparked a debate rather recently when a university experiment had failed and unintentionally killed off their clone, and social groups of all kinds had come together to fight against what they considered an inhumane practice. Opposing sides considered the irrefutable humanity of these beings, no matter the fact that they were copies, but also its necessity for scientific advancement.
Jimin shut Jungkook’s mouth by pushing his chin up with a single finger, lips pursed. “I know, a little shocking. To you, at least.” They were in front of the last door at the far end of the corridor, and Jimin put his hand over a scanner on the left, the machine beeping when it recognized the prints.
This time, it was what Jungkook had first expected to see that greeted him on the other side of those doors. An actual lab, with long counters covered in microscopes, beakers, graduated cylinders, balances and all sorts of tools that Jungkook could not even identify. Countless books and manuals, stacks of paper and post it notes marked with incomprehensible scribbles. Shelves filled with even more textbooks and also containers enclosing substances Jungkook doubted were food or drink. Everything was metallic, reminding him of stainless steel, but the surfaces were too smooth to be that. Most likely a completely different material the younger man had no clue existed, which would not be surprising considering the impressive extravagance of the facility.
He understood why the living room had seemed so untouched: here was where the scientist truly lived, with emptied cups here and there and even clothes loosely hung on the side of shelves. With his quick scan of the room, he even noticed a blanket and a pillow, easily imagining the smaller man falling asleep atop one of those tables after hours of diligent work.
“Here’s where I spent the grand majority of the last five years, enclosed in these same four walls.”
The man raised his hands towards said walls, turning on himself with a faint smile. One would have thought he was happy to be in such a setting, but the subtle strain in his traits seemed obvious to Jungkook, being the ardent observer he always was. A slight twitch in the corner of his lip, showcasing the true, bittersweet feelings the scientist must have felt towards the place. Jungkook was nowhere near an avid expert on body language, but he knew people, had observed and been around all sorts of them. He had sharp skills in quickly reading someone and assessing a situation, considering his job and how good he was at it, and a general uncertainty was what he felt regarding what was facing him; mimicking his own.
A gut feeling.
“Is there anyone else here?”
“Scientists and researchers from the company come and go, but they rather leave me alone, since I’m technically the only one who can analyze such advanced research.” Jungkook’s eyes naturally widened at the statement, impressed, but also a little intimidated by the man that did not look much older than him yet had what seemed to be the intelligence of a thousand men. “But no, I am not alone.”
Jungkook glanced around, recalling how every room and corridor they had passed through seemed inhabited, no other sign of life presenting itself or no sound coming from something else than the pair. “Okay, so, you might want to sit down for this. I’ve seen too many people faint in my lab, and that’s just dangerous.” Jungkook pulled the stool that Jimin slid towards him underneath himself, settling on it, resting an elbow on an empty spot on the counter.
Jimin took a deep breath, pushing his glasses up. “I succeeded in human cloning, and there are five clones of myself that live in a deeper part of this facility.”
Jungkook blinked, paralyzed, brain refusing to understand what he had just heard. “While you take a minute to process this, I’ll keep on talking. See, my experiment was to see if I could create a perfect copy of someone's, body, brain, and mind. I got the first trait down, but the rest, I have yet to have control over. Which is why I’m still in this laboratory, even though I technically mastered human cloning. It’s just their personalities… they differ. And I’m trying to fix that.”
Jungkook was still gawking at the scientist, letting the words wash over him as he replayed them over and over again in his mind.
“See, they start off as embryos, babies, like you and me, but they grow into adults in the span of… roughly a year and a half? Their bodies all work perfectly fine, even if they grow at such a fast speed, but it’s their goddamn brains I have no control over… yet. They are just like children, really, they observe and adapt to the world around them, and their character develops from there. It’s quite fascinating, seeing them interact with each other and the outside world-”
“They go outside?”
“Oh.” Jimin stopped, startled by the man’s out-of-the-blue response. “Well, not technically. See, this is where you come in.”
“Yeah.” Jimin pulled another stool from the side and settled in front of Jungkook, close, knee brushing against his. “See, your first job here is to protect me from them. They’re not dangerous, I promise, actually have quite stable behaviors, but sometimes they… they glitch. Or they suddenly act rebellious, feel like they’re real, normal humans and they, well, try things. Try to hurt themselves, each other, or me, which is why they are secluded from the rest of the facility.”
Jungkook could not even respond, comment, only listening attentively.
“Your second job is to interact with them. One of my tests is to see how they interact with the outside world, how they respond to other people. They are used to me, treat me like their mother, kind of, so we bring in other people and see how they react. How they adapt. Note how it changes them, or if any change even applies.”
“You’re… you’re speaking of them as if they’re not real humans.”
“Well, as a matter of fact, they aren’t.” Jimin straightened, a faint crease settling between his eyebrows. “They’re just makeshift copies of my body and brain, lacking the contents of it.”
“But you said they grow and adapt, just like children do. They’re their own person-”
“I created them, Jungkook. They don’t come from a womb, aren’t made from the fusion of somatic cells. I know your background, know you don’t have much knowledge about science, so I’m trying to explain this as simply as possible.” Jungkook almost scoffed, but then remembered that the man in front of him had succeeded in human cloning by himself, and decided to shut his mouth. “Think of them like really intelligent A.Is. They suck up all the information and stimuli around them, like robots, like machines do.”
“But they have feelings, no? Their own thoughts?”
“Of course they do. They have a functioning brain.” Jimin sighed, pushing his glasses up, seemingly annoyed. “I understand this is hard to grasp, but trust me, when you’ll meet them, you’ll get it. They’re different. So different.”
Jungkook nodded, unsure what to say or think. It was all too much to take in at once, and he could feel a headache creeping from the frown he had harbored from the past minutes of Jimin’s explanations. “When do I meet them?”
“Tomorrow.” Jimin dropped from his stool, reaching to one of the bookshelves and pulling out a thick black binder. “I’ll give you the chance to process all of this, let you settle in your new home and room, but you do have one little assignment for the night.” He dropped it in front of him, the impact making the surrounding objects on the table jump up. “Reading this. It’s all of the clones profiles, everything you need to know about them. Years of my observations summed into neat little paragraphs for your amenity. You are welcome.”
Jungkook was about to open it, fingers sliding against the plastic surface, but Jimin slapped his hand off. “You’ll have plenty time for that later, let’s go and eat dinner first.” Jungkook nodded and took hold of the binder, rising to follow Jimin that was already halfway out the door. His mind was buzzing with questions and inquiries, eager to know more about these said clones, itching to read over what laid inside of the binder.
Five clones of the same man… how could that possibly work?
As they made their way out of the elevator and into the main entrance, Jimin stepped into the living room and clicked on electronic devices here and there while Jungkook still admiringly ogled the place. It seemed comfortable enough, and being someone that grew with barely enough money to pass by because of his mother’s sickness made the luxury of it rather overwhelming.
Notes of a bass snapped him out of his daze and he turned to Jimin, who was now making his way towards the kitchen, subtly stepping out of his way to dance to the smooth jazz that echoed through the surround sound speakers. Jungkook’s head snapped up, looking at the ceiling to spot the said speakers that seemed to encircle him, but could only take notice of faint perforations here and there.
To the sound of a saxophone, he followed Jimin into the kitchen, who was already putting rice in a rice cooker and had various vegetables sprawled across the countertop. Peppers, carrots, spinach, onions; a mix that made his stomach growl in eagerness. He had barely ate before coming here, too nervous to do so, and now that the promise of a home cooked meal beckoned him, he realized he was starving.
He set the binder on one of the stools and placed himself in front of the array of fresh vegetables, knife already in his right hand and the other reaching for one of the red peppers. “Cut those in julienne, please,” Jimin said behind him, and Jungkook obliged. He slid the knife through the vegetable and hummed along to the song.
“You know this?” Jimin asked as he placed himself beside him and started cutting, too. His hands were better than Jungkook’s, doing it twice as fast without even needing to look, probably after years and years of always cooking for himself.
“Yeah, my mom’s a big fan of jazz, so I kind of grew up with it.”
Jimin nodded, already finished with the peppers and moving to the carrots. “Glad we share taste in music, it would’ve been a long three months if we didn’t.” Jungkook hummed in agreement, eyes focused on the task at hand. His mind kept trailing back to what he had learned just moments from then, how he was to participate in an experiment with actual, living human clones. It was shocking, to say the least, but there was also a creeping curiosity underneath his initial surprise. The fact that him, a normal man with no knowledge or experience in science, would take part in a discovery that could change the whole world, was quite staggering.
“I’ll handle the rest.” Jimin placed the cut vegetables in a bowl and moved to the table induction, where he placed a pan and drizzled sesame oil on the surface. “There’s beer and wine in the fridge, if you want something harder it's in the top cabinet above it.”
“A beer sounds good, thanks.” He turned to the refrigerator and opened it, grabbing one of the micro-brewed bottles of beer before shutting it. A drink seemed like a lovely idea, especially to ease his buzzing mind and just relax. “Can I get you anything?”
“I drink after the meal, but thanks.” Jungkook hummed and walked to the stools, not wanting to leave the man alone in the kitchen even if he had clearly stated he was alright to handle the cooking. As he sat down, his gaze lingered on the binder, fingers itching to open it and finally discover what he would have to face the next day.
“Don’t even think about it.”
Jungkook stilled, eyes flicking up to the man, wide and innocent. “I didn’t do anything.”
“But you thought about it.”
“What are you, some kind of psychic?”
“When you spend the majority of your life studying humans and how their brains work, you get to know them quite well.” Jungkook nodded at that statement, the man making a fair point, then twisted the bottle cap of his beer open and took a sip. It was refreshing, better than any other beer he had drunk in his life, and a faint smile spread on his lips.
He could really get used to this place.
“Shouldn’t we be getting to know each other?” He tentatively asked, fingers fiddling with the bottle cap.
“Well, I know everything about you, Jeon Jungkook.” The younger man stilled, surprised. “You think they’d just send me a stranger to live with for three months? I demanded specific traits and abilities, made the suitable candidates go through multiple tests, and then they sent me the results, including your profiles. Past, present, predicted future. I know everything about you, Jungkook.”
Jungkook swallowed, impressed but also wary, wondering if the man actually knew everything. He recalled those said tests, wondering how they had any link to this experiment. They had seemed to be rather simple tests, examining his both his physical and mental abilities, but nothing that Jungkook would think could have related to cloning and its science. He was just a normal guy.
“And you chose me? Why?”
“Good student, top of his class in the academy, expert in hand to hand combat and weapon handling, keen senses, valuable knowledge in psychology and profiling, competent cook, humble and honest, good-hearted, handsome,” Jimin paused, threw the vegetables in the pan and continued, “and we have complementing personalities.”
“And what does all of that have to do with this research?”
“I needed someone who was smart, but not too smart, strong, but not too strong, good, but not too good…” Jimin lost himself in his trail of words and frowned. “You get the point. I needed an average guy who could get along with myself and all of the clones. That could analyze them and help me with the psychological part of my research. You had very impressive grades in all of your psychology classes, and I know you’ll be just wonderful at analyzing and profiling the clones alongside me.”
Jungkook nodded, processing the information before taking a sip. The man was right for the most part, on the fact that Jungkook was but an average man with a deep interest, and could he even say talent in the topic of psychology. But the difference was that he was used to analyzing humans with actual pasts, that had gone through things that would help him understand why they acted a certain way… not clones that had lived for only a couple of years, secluded from the outside world. It was a completely different situation, and he was not sure he would actually be the best for such a task. Jungkook still could not understand why he was chosen, when there were psychologists and psychiatrists that would have done the job much better than him.
“Someone not too attached to the outside world…” The scientist paused and swallowed, gaze fixed on his hand mixing the vegetables with wooden chopsticks. “Apart from your mother, of course, I know you’re doing this for her.”
Jungkook swallowed, grasp tightening around the bottle of beer. “H-how-”
“Everything.” Jimin repeated, face serious.
The majority of the supper had been spent in silence. Jimin had been scribbling things in a black notepad, occasionally halting when he would put a spoonful of food in his mouth. The only time he had spoken up was to ask if Jungkook liked the food, and the younger man had answered it was delicious.
Jungkook could have gotten to know the scientist, could have asked questions about him and not his work, considering the man was very adamant about shutting the topic down until the next day. Yet he had stayed mute, munching on the perfectly cooked vegetables and rice, mind straying to places he never thought it would.
Over and over again he told himself he would be interacting with clones the very next day, that he would be taking place in a world-changing experiment, barely able to believe it. It should have been exciting, but a creeping fear mixed in with doubt had settled in his mind.
He had downed his first beer quickly, tried to restrain the need to chug the second one.
When Jimin had closed his bedroom door behind him with a ‘goodnight’, the weight of the binder under his arm seemed to grow tenfold. His luggage had been quickly forgotten, cast to the side as he had hastily made his way to the desk in the room, quickly taking his blazer and tie off before throwing them onto the bed behind him. Jungkook’s mind was still whirring, having thought of what could possibly lay inside that damned binder ever since he had first laid eyes on it. He could still hear Jimin’s words, his brief yet stunning explanations of what would happen in the coming days, in the following months.
They’re different. So different.
Now he was sitting straight, fingers just curling under the thick black cover of the binder, hesitantly pushing up to open it. It was a lot to take in at once, in the span of only a couple of hours, but he had signed a contract, had agreed to many terms, and with that thought, he finally gave in.
“Science means constantly walking a tightrope between blind faith and curiosity; between expertise and creativity; between bias and openness; between experience and epiphany; between ambition and passion; and between arrogance and conviction - in short, between an old today and a new tomorrow.” -Heinrich Rohrer
Other from that quote, the page was blank, and when Jungkook turned the page, he was faced with a handwritten note atop the first profile. He took it in his hand, thumb running across the neat calligraphy, feeling the bumps of ink underneath the pad of it.
Hello, Jungkook. If you’re reading this, it means I’ve told you what you’re here for, that you know what you’re getting into. These profiles are basic, just enough information to give you a general idea of the clones and how they present themselves. Evidently, you will most likely act differently with all of them, considering they all contrast strikingly with one another, but I’ll let you make your own choices regarding that. With the pictures I have attached to the individual profiles, you will notice that the only thing differentiating them is their hair color, and eye color for one specific clone, which I have successfully genetically modified to not only make it easier for myself but for others too. (I’m a genius, I know.) Anyways, I have hope we will discover great things together, and can’t wait for us to start. See you tomorrow.
Jungkook put the note down beside the binder, blinking slowly, the deafening beat of his heart echoing loudly in his head. He was nervous yet excited, scared but curious. What laid in this binder would forever change him and his life, that he knew very well, and it could possibly change the whole world, too. Taking a deep breath, he rolled back his tense shoulders, stretching his neck from side to side before finally starting his assignment.
The first profile seemed simple enough, but what had caught his attention foremost was the Polaroid clipped to the top. The spitting image of Jimin, with the exception of the clone’s dirty blonde hair and deadpan expression.
Qualities/skills: Logical, mature, serious, perfectionist. Curious; yearn for knowledge. Very intelligent.
Flaws: No sense of humor (does not get puns... at all), lacks reaction and empathy towards human emotion (confused when faced with happiness, sadness, and anger). Cold.
Problems: OCD. Extremely obsessed with symmetry and exactness, constantly replacing everything in his living quarters and in the lab. What I thought of a yearn for perfection is actually very compulsive and obsessive. Germaphobe, always cleaning. Robot-like.
Notes: Shares interest in my research, wants to help and learn more from it. 001 assists me in my labs and makes presumptions based on what I have taught him. Intelligence-wise, very similar to me, but personality-wise, completely different. He has close to none. A blank slate, which can be understandable considering his lack of interaction with others except me.
The profile was unexpectedly short: Jungkook would have expected a little more, considering this was the first clone of many. Maybe a little more on the analysis side, and not so much on obvious personality traits. Was that why he was there? Did the scientist lack that much information regarding what happened within their minds?
It made no sense, really, considering the billionaire organization this research was conducted by. How was it possible that no competent, professional analyst of the human mind had been there, had studied them more? The man frowned, teeth tugging at his bottom lip as the original uncertainty he had about all of this only grew and beckoned him to investigate further, on his own.
No matter his investigative thoughts, Jungkook could only gawk at the sheet, brain unable to process or simply understand that this person, or should he say clone, even existed. It seemed impossible, the idea of human cloning having been so far-fetched in his mind, yet now he was reading one’s profile, would be creeping into their man-made minds and analyzing their brains. It was a scary thought, and with it, he turned the page.
Subject died after two months.
Jungkook’s chest tightened and he moved on, hastily turning to the next page, trying his best not to think too much of it.
Qualities/skills: Outspoken, extroverted, sociable, funny (gets puns), active. Talented in Martial arts (muay thai and kickboxing.)
Flaws: Rebellious, easily angry, yearn for freedom, controlling. Perverted: sexual fixations.
Problems: Has proven to be quite violent when angry, occasionally trying to hurt me or 001 in his fits. Tried to escape many times. Feels as though he is locked up even if I have supplied everything he ever asked for.
Notes: As said in the past that he feels inferior to 001, therefore why he acts rebellious, especially since he can never get out of the clone living quarters but 001 can (since he is participating in my research). Always tries to seduce me and the occasional visitors into letting him out. Lets his anger out in martial arts and practices meditation (thanks to my advice).
Jungkook’s eyes lingered on the word ‘seduce’ before moving to the picture, where he noticed, yet again, that the only difference seemed to be in hair color. 003 had pitch black hair and also seemed to be wearing makeup after close inspection. Darker shadows around the corner of his eyes that seemed to be more… alive than 001’s.
There was something peculiar about this clone, Jungkook could see it, could feel it from just reading his profile and staring at the picture. Another gut feeling, he assumed, as his mind instantly put him at the bottom of his list of which clone he would rather interact with. He moved to the other page quickly, dismissing the dark eyes that seemed to stare right back at him.
Qualities/skills: Kind, gentle heart, patient, nurturing. Enjoys baking, cooking, all-around chores.
Flaws: Not many it seems, though I have noticed he tends to silently cry a lot. Has a lot of nightmares. I have yet to find out why, he refuses to talk to me about it, always brushing it off.
Problems: None so far.
Notes: Very contrasting to 003: 004 is caring and kind. The two of them confront each other a lot about their views since 004 thinks there is no problem in staying and living there: he thinks they are protected from the outside world that wants to harm them. 004 is often alone as he seems to be scared of 003, but when 001 if back in their living quarters they tend to hang out together. 004 asks a lot of questions about my research, seems interested, or maybe it’s just to make 001 talk and feel less lonely.
Jungkook smiled when he looked at the picture, already fond of the warmth in his eyes, of the man’s bubblegum pink hair and matching cheeks. Fitting with Jimin’s description, he seemed to be the complete opposite of 003, and Jungkook hoped he would be interacting with that clone most, putting him at the top of his list.
The clone’s traits were reassuring, comforting, and he could clearly see how he was to be the nurturing one. Yet with the flaws and extra notes, there seemed to be something hidden behind that cute face, that glow in his large, brown irises, and Jungkook decided he would focus on that. Getting closer to this clone first seemed like a good plan, considering he looked like the type to listen a lot, to be observant. He would most likely supply a lot of information on the others with the correct advances.
Qualities/skills: Creative, passionate, gets along with the other clones a lot. Social, extroverted. Enjoys photography, videography, editing.
Flaws: Immature. He makes stupid decisions and acts like a child at times. Double-faced.
Problems: Seems to be infatuated by 003. They have had intercourse many times when 005 had reached full physical maturity.
Notes: Wants to document the clones’ lives, show that they are normal like everyone else. Agrees with 003 that they should get out, but acts like he agrees with 004. When facing me, he tells me he likes his life, that he wants to stay, but as soon as 003 is in the room, he will agree with him. He is hard to decipher, always switching between opinions depending on what others say, never quite making his own.
Jungkook stared, blinking twice at the ‘problem’ section of his profile. He should not have been doing so, but he could not help but imagine it: the two clones having sex. The man shook his head, desperately trying to get the idea out of his mind as he felt his cheeks warm up, swallowing down the excess saliva in his mouth and hastily turning to the last page in the binder.
Qualities/skills: Virtuoso, poised, wise, mature. Piano, violin, cello, flute.
Flaws: Melancholic, emotionally unstable.
Problems: Questions me, occasional suicidal thoughts.
Notes: He is the closest to perfection I have achieved. Seems the most ‘human’. My best creation so far.
Jungkook frowned at the lack of notes, eyes lingering over the words ‘perfection’ and ‘best creation’ for a little longer. There was something about this one that made Jungkook stare at the picture, that made him notice how well he was dressed, how other people seemed to be behind him. Had this one seen the outside of the facility? Had he met more people than Jimin and the rare visitors? Jungkook closed the binder and got up, mind buzzing with curiosity and unanswered questions he could not wait to ask the scientist.
Or the clones themselves.
Flopping face first onto the bed, he let out a loud sigh, eyelids becoming heavier with each passing second. All of those pictures kept flashing into his mind, all of those qualities and flaws and problems clashing with one another, the young man’s inquisitive mind making links it probably should not have. As much as he knew the basics of them, it was not enough, and he knew he would have to investigate a lot more before making his own opinion about them.
He knew that seeing them in person would change everything, would change the impression he first had from their profiles. These clones were different, yes, but how different?
From what he understood, they all lived together in another part of the facility. It seemed it was under observation, too, probably both video and audio surveillance. The absurdity of it struck him, how five of Jimin’s clones lived together and were probably recorded 24/7, only for the scientist to look over their interactions and study them. Watching their every movement, noting their every word.
Like lab rats. These human clones were observed like animals in a cage.
Jungkook pushed the thought out of his mind, recalling Jimin’s words about them being creations and nothing more, not real humans. It was hard to convince himself of that, but he tried his best, and when his eyes fluttered shut, slumber slowly taking over his overworked brain, a certain clone’s dark eyes were staring right back at him.