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If I were to blame anyone for what happened I would have to blame X53203. If X53203 hadn’t made me late on the day I was supposed to sign in for efficiency checks none of this would ever have happened. I would never have learned what I was expected to do and what rights I should have had. If he hadn’t made me late I wouldn’t be as miserable as I am now-but at the same time I would have remained ignorant to how I actually was treated.
X53203 was an annoying soldier. His batch was the fourth I trained, they were part of the X50000 generation. Out of all of the batches I trained never had one soldier followed me around as X53203 did. Even after his batch had finally gone into the fields he would acknowledge me if we passed by each other in the corridors. When the first of his batch were terminated on the field he came to me for advice, but I don’t blame him for doing that-I even recall asking my batch’s trainer for advice when W93001 was terminated. I had known him from my batch and we had gotten along fairly well. I remember feeling an ache in my chest when I heard of his termination. I went to the efficiency office who sent me back saying it was only a fluke from adjusting to working on field. That night even drops of salty water fell from my eyes when I thought about how I would never see W93001 ever again. So when I went to my trainer for advice he simply said “We are not machines. We can not just take what happens and it have no effect on us, but that’s what they tell us to do. So you must stay strong.” I couldn’t really figure out what he had meant, so I took it literally. I worked hard, I got stronger and it paid off. By the time most of my batch had been terminated I remained, at a higher rank than when I had started. So I told X53203 those very words.
I thought our conversing would stop there. But it didn’t. I soon began to realize that he acted as if we were from the same batch. I should have told him to cut the relaxed attitude towards me, that I was his senior and should be treated as such even though he was of a more advanced generation that me. But by the time I had finished training his batch I was the final one out of my batch and one of the few remainders of my generation to not be terminated. Maybe I needed the sense of comradeship that being part of a batch provided, or maybe I needed someone to talk to in order to take my mind off of my work. Either way I allowed him to act as if we were equals and even grew to like X53203 and his obnoxious ways.
I commonly don’t do favors. Especially when I need to be somewhere but on that day I was feeling especially generous and something about the way X53203 asked me for this one thing I couldn’t say no.
I was walking through wing G in the field B base when X53203 showed up at my elbow.
“W93021, I really need your help,” he said.
“I’m on my way to an efficiency check, make it quick,” I replied.
“A soldier from my batch has gone missing but hasn’t been reported. I’ve asked but no information is being given out about it.”
“Did you tell them you were from the same batch?”
“Yes, they said that nothing was confirmed and no information was authorized for public knowledge.”
“What makes you think I could change their minds?”
“You have access to his file, please W93021, I need to know about this. He’s the last from my batch I actually spoke with.”
I looked at X53203 and sighed. From his disheveled brown hair to his wrinkled uniform he was the least organized soldier and most likely to be called out for unintentional disrespect. But he had a spirit that could not be killed and a natural survivor instinct on the field, making him last longer than others of his generation. When I looked in his eyes though, I saw for the first time actual desperation. He wanted more than anything else to get that file. And I remembered how it was when W93001 was terminated and what it was like for me. So I decided to do one thing I had never done and do someone a favor.
Technically I wasn’t allowed to look at the files, none of the soldiers were but when I entered the file room there was no objections. I was from a generation that no longer should be around the bases anymore. Generations commonly lasted somewhere between five to ten years. I was outdated by their standards so they didn’t take much notice of me. I went through the filing cabinets quickly locating the X5000 section and then the X5300 box. I located X53203’s batch members file and took it out nonchalantly leaving the room. Once I had left I handed it to X53203.
“You’re welcome,” I said.
“Thank you. Sorry to be an inconvenience.”
“It’s fine. Good bye X53203.”
When I finally made it to the efficiency check I was fifteen minutes late. I knew I was in trouble, there was no getting around tardiness here. I walked into the office but heard yelling from behind the door that led to the labs. I could faintly hear what they were saying. One of the people behind the doors had an unusually high voice, unlike any voice I had ever heard and for some reason I liked it.
“You need to let us interview them. Its crucial to the documentary,” said the high voice.
“I don’t understand what an interview will do for your cause,” replied the doctor.
“Then why aren’t you allowing one?”
“They have things to do.”
“What you’re doing is wrong. I don’t care how you put it, but denying me the right to speak with them only confirms this.”
The door opened and the most unbelievable soldier exited the room. This was a soldier unlike any I had ever seen. With long blonde hair and the widest eyes of the darkest shade of blue I was enraptured. How come there were none like this around?
“Oh! You must be one of the soldiers,” said the woman in front of me, I recognized the high voice.
“Yes,” I replied. “Sorry, I really must be going in for my efficiency check.”
I walked into the lab. The doctor took one look at me and said, “You’re late. I have no time for you now. Come back tomorrow.”
As I exited the room the unusual being grabbed hold of my arm. I turned, angry, touching someone without explicit permission was the worst offense someone could commit here. But when I looked back at the being I couldn’t help but recognize ignorance and innocence in her expression.
“May I speak with you for a moment?”
Curiosity took over, and I couldn’t help but agree.
She led me through to a table in an office I had never been to before. A small desk stood between us.
“I’m going to ask you some questions, please feel free not to answer any but I guarantee you I’m trying to help you not hurt you.”
She set up a small camera, the light turned red and I knew everything was being recorded.
“First off, what generation are you?”
“I am from the W9000 generation.”
“How old are you then?”
“How old am I?” the question was perplexing, I had never been asked that before.
“How many years have you been alive?”
“I have been here in this base for fifteen years, before that I grew in a facility.”
“That would make you thirty two, are you considered old?”
“I should no longer be here. Everyone else from my batch has been terminated.”
“What happens when someone is terminated?”
That question was idiotic, everyone knew what termination was. When you looked at someone and they could not move, could not breathe, had no pulse. Or even in some cases they were obliterated.
“The soldier can no longer function, they are useless. They don’t come back.”
“You said that all of your batch had been terminated. I’m assuming some were your friends. What did you do then?”
“What are friends?”
The creature looked at me, its expression indescribable.
“Don’t you have anyone you talk to, spend time with?”
“I talk to some, but we do not call them friends.”
“What happens when one of them is terminated?”
“We continue on. We can not waste time.”
“Soldier, are you aware of the term ‘clone’?”
“No,” I responded.
“A clone is a copy of a human being. People believe that they can not feel. That they can be used for anything-organ transplants, experiments, as soldiers. I don’t believe that’s ethical. You, soldier are a clone, you were created to be a soldier. I believe you should be given a chance at living instead of constantly fighting. I believe what they are doing is wrong. Do you ever feel a certain way? Good or bad? Do you feel almost as if there is something hurting you when you find out about a termination?”
“That is called emotion. The people in charge here claim that you are incapable of emotion. But I’ve seen how you act around each other, you have friendships with one another. You are sentient.”
“What is living?”
“Living, life, is to be able to do what you want. To be at peace and to find someone you love, maybe have a family.”
“A group of people-kind of like a batch you could say.”
“No more fighting?”
“None. Not unless you wanted to.”
“And why can’t I have this?”
“I’m trying so very hard so that you can, but people aren’t listening.”
That talk was a week ago. Since then the commanders found out my involvement with the interview and I know what will happen next. They have already assigned me a mission, it includes the remainder of my generation. I’ve seen it done before, I knew it was coming. They will send us out all together, give us weak weapons that will not work, and once we get onto the field we will be fired upon and won’t resist, we will succumb to the inevitable termination of our generation. In the end that was all we were created to do.
My name is W93021. I was cloned for the army at base B for the third world war. I have no rights. I have lived twenty five years. And I am human.