The lab was not as bad as he used to say. Or, I just was too new to realize. Recruited to be one of the best researchers, the Academy gave me years of rigorous training.
“Madison, bring Subject number twenty-four to the accelerator, before any microbes get to it,” the professor commanded.
I obeyed without question, as the art of cloning was a technology created and mastered by Dr. Evans, the same person standing in front of my eyes. Using metal stabilizer ‘chopsticks’. I picked up the fertilized egg, dipped it in nutritious liquid, and set it to rest against the walls of the incubator. A news flash blared across the single computer screen, the speakers broadcasting the excitement of the reporters, as the final plate of the first colonial shuttle was welded in place.
“Interstellar travel? Jeez. How is that even a part in the news? We are literally working with life here!” complained Dr. Evans.
“Sir, a single mistake could cost us our jobs. Can we focus on the accelerator?” I warned him.
The world had barely understood the concept of cloning, before extremists appeared and considered the act inhumane. Dr. Evans was shot twice, and only his bulletproof gown had saved him from death. I had never seen a person that would come that close to death, yet return to the cause. To be fair, the accelerator would make any person, in any major, to cast a jealous eye. Able to accelerate the aging process of the clone up to the age of the original, it meant that clones would be able to provide organs to its genetic original. The thought still gave me chills, but if the professor thought a clone wasn’t human, then so be it. I activated the electric currents.
“Wait, sir. Isn’t that some static in the TRM? Maybe we shouldn’t continue.”
“No, just go for it. The TRM shouldn’t cause any telomere damage, unless its just not functioning.”
“I will continue, sir.”
The process was simple, really. Check all the machinery that the doctor built, then just set the age to the current age of the subject, 30 days in this case. The TRM that protected the cloned cell’s telomere from deleting, the accelerator as mentioned, and the main incubator with cloning functions. Still, just like the past twenty-three trials, I held my breath when I pushed the start button. Lightning like static bursted all over the incubator, and I instinctively realized that something was wrong.
“Madison, I thought you said the TRM was the only malfunctioning one!” Dr. Evans screamed at me.
“I said that there was static discharge in the TRM! You said to ignore it!” I squeaked out.
“Holy shit. Compare the two’s DNA. If there are any changes, we may run out of this business in the next 24 hours.”
With shaking hands, I pressed a needle into Subject Twenty-Four, and the newly made clone. I then dumped the needles, and shot the blood into the testing valves. The computer returned a meek 99.3%.
“Isn’t that, uh, really bad? I thought our average was 99.97%.”
“It is. Madison, any ideas? Since both are alive, we can’t just delete them from our test base. Think, then send me it. I think we are done here today.”
I don’t know how I returned home, my mind was nearly all ‘Holy shit. Something actually went wrong, what can I do?’ The results, if ever shown, would cause massive damage in the reputation of the whole science, and remove governmental funding. An idea sparked in my mind. ‘Why don’t we just get rid of any evidence that the 30-day olds are indeed our test subjects?’ The whole plan came to mind. Using the reputation of Dr. Evans, we could get a tour of the ship, and I could hide both in one of the emergency fail-safe pods. Both would be cryogenically frozen, not to be found until the landing. I sent a quick text to Dr. Evans.
‘I think we can ask for a tour of the ship, and I will hide the clone in one of the escape pods. I mean, the launch is this Sat. Right?’
‘Good idea, except we need to hide the original too. Make an entirely new Subject 24.’
‘Seriously, good idea. I will arrange for a tour tmrw, get going.’
I prepared two incubators with life function, as killing any life was considered the greatest crime of any possible. The next day, I ran to the lab, and found myself staring at the two smiling little infants, the death rate in a colonial ship for infants must be high. All I could hope was that cryosleep would work on them. Dr. Evans walked in.
“If you can’t do it yourself, I will.”
Dr. Evans was always ruthless. Nothing would ever impede him in his work. No religious beliefs, just worried about the possibility that he gets discovered before the “twins” landed in the disposal chute.
“Stop thinking, we are late to our tour! Quick, put them in the luggage!”
I hurriedly packed the two machines in the luggage bag, cringing as my fingers got stuck in the tight fit. The limo left just as I buckled myself in, and closed the door. Each time we turned a curb, the whole inventory of items in the car jumped, and one champagne glass even shattered. I didn’t need to ask what speed we were going at.
The events were blurry, I remember running into the elevator, zigzagging through the hallway, flirting with the tour guide to get a minute of my own, tucking the two machines in one pod. I distinctively remember, taking the time to put in their names as I wished it to be, David and Andrew, David the clone. I ran into the tour guide again, who pushed me up against a wall, and tried to kiss me. I kicked him in the groin, and ran up, rendezvoused with Dr. Evans, and got back in the limo. Our job was done.
A few days later, the rocket launched.