Author's note: I wrote this for Science class- we had the option of taking our topic and turning it into a... Show full author's note »
Human to CloneJuly 16, 12:35 PM- A Road in the Middle of Nowhere
“You need to answer me, Cassie. Do you have any idea where they are? You tell us everything that you know, and you won’t be harmed. We will protect you, you just need to spill.” I say, growing impatient. We’re driving along on a back road, heading back to Grace. I don’t feel anything towards the Jasper gone thing, but that’s mostly because I’m numb. Shocked. All I’m able to feel is a cold, blank emptiness. I need
to get answers out of Cassie, and soon. My two men, Arrow and Jake, sit silently in the back, absent mindedly taking apart their guns and putting them back together. They know me better than to say anything when I’m in the middle of an interrogation- especially under these circumstances. Cassie says nothing, and starts crying softly. I sigh.
Even towards Scientists, I feel uncomfortable making girls cry. It almost makes me feel like a bad person. Guys crying, well, yeah, whatever, I’m all, suck it up. You’re a psychotic grown man. Shut up and stop being a baby.
But girls… God, it makes me feel horrible.
“Listen, Cassie. I promise you won’t come to any harm, but you need to cooperate. Did you know I lost my best friend on that raid? He wasn’t shot- he was kidnapped. And I want him back. But please. You need to just tell us everything you know- please.” I say, my voice softer than before. Cassie sniffs, and wipes her eyes. She takes a couple of deep breaths. Besides saying ‘Cassie. I’m a tech assistant’, she hasn’t said a word.
“They… kidnapped him?” she says, horrified. “No, this can’t be true- do you know what that even means? If they didn’t kill him on sight- there is no way. Um, mister…?” she asks. Excited that I got her to talk, I oblige her question.
“Thane. First Captain, Double 0 Ranking, Leader of Raid 3, 4, 6, 7, and 9 of the nine I’ve been on.” I say, giving her my full ranking. She stares at me cross eyed. “Just call me Thane,” I clarify. She nods.
“Thane, do you have a picture of your friend?” she says urgently. I nod, confused. I reach into my pocket while keeping one eye on the road. I pull out my wallet, and take out the picture of Jasper and I on my physical seventeenth birthday. I hand it to her. She looks at it, and hands it back. She puts her left hand to her forehead, her blonde hair falling in her face.
“Well, Thane, I’m pretty sure there is no way you are going to get your friend back. Can you tell me his name?”
“Yeah, his name is Jasper-” I start to say.
“Yep. You are never getting him back. Ever. There’s no chance to rescue him from Shelt. Now that he has what he wants, he is never going to give him up. It’s better just to leave him where he is right now, and just believe that he won’t be hurt. Because, Shelt would sooner die than let any harm come to him.” She says. I’m sure I’m looking utterly confused. And then she breaks and tells me everything, my men listening quietly in the back and afterwards, letting me cry.
July 17- Thane’s Journal
It’s so much worse than I imagined. The processes, the whole Jasper thing- I’m not sure I know how to deal. It might be easier if I get it out now, in the private expanse of these yellowed pages in my old journal. I don’t know if I can handle talking about Jasper just yet, so I’ll start with writing down everything that Cassie said about the cloning process.
It’s horrible, the things that they do. Brilliant, from a scientific standpoint- but horrible, from an ethical one. Maybe if it were natural, it’d be fine, like with twins or unfertilized eggs triggered by a chemical stimulus. But it’s not.
As I’ve already known, they need a volunteer to carry the clone. They take an egg, and wipe it clean of all genetic coding- essentially destroying the human who could’ve
been. Then, they take certain genetic information (quality’s, physical/mental traits, etc.) from people they think would have the ‘best’ genes, and program it into the blank egg. They can control whatever they want to implant the egg with- height, ethnicity, basic instincts, the need to want to do whatever they say. Of course, they don’t usually change looks and such. After all, they want a clone, and changing all that takes far too much work for them. Only some people are strong enough to survive gene replication, and after they don’t die, the Scientists keep them to make more clones from their genes.
They program them with a need to obey the Scientists, to serve them and do whatever they need. When they program the blank egg, they have to be very careful, because if they screw up the initial programming, the rest of the process will be a complete failure. They also experimented with many people of many different ages, but they found that the older the person, the older the cells, and they’ve found that if the cells are too matured, the programming will not work correctly, and the end product will not be pretty- or survive for very long, that’s for sure. Especially since the older the stem is, the shorter the chromosomes are. I learned from Cassie that telomeres are DNA sequences at the ends of chromosomes, and the more times that they are copied, the shorter they get, and the shorter they get, the shorter the lifespan. She said the Scientists say that volunteers are never harmed, but what they don’t tell them is that even if they survive the initial cloning process, their lifespan shrinks more rapidly than natural, and they keep them to repeat the process; they just die that much faster. It’s sick. Twisted. It’s unpredictable, though. Some people’s telomeres length is longer than other peoples, and sometimes, very rarely though, the telomeres don’t shrink. They have found a case or two that actually got longer and lived longer than the regular person. At first, “the success ranged from .1 percent to 3 percent, which means for every 1000 tries, only one to thirty clones are made, or you can look at it as 970 to 999 failures every 1000 tries.” (C3., Learn. Genetics, The Risks of Cloning, P. 1, S. 2) Then they experimented further, and found only certain peoples genes would work, and that the programming had to be beyond perfect.
The success where they don’t have a severely shorter lifespan happens oh so rarely, though. But the Scientists exploit these outlandish results, trying to make it appeal more to the public, to get more volunteers. Because of that whole telomeric length thing, clones life spans are shorter, and they need to produce quicker, in mass production almost. But what the Resistance has always known though is that they want more clones so they can build an army. Not to take over the country, or even the world. No. They’ve already done that.
No. They want to defeat us, the Resistance. We are the one thing in the entire world that stands in the way of their complete domination- once we’re gone, we’ll be nothing but a tiny blip in history. So we can’t go away. But with a clone army so big, I’m not sure how we will defeat them.
Now… Jasper. It’s so crazy I can’t even comprehend it. It doesn’t make any sense! I don’t know how I never knew. Jasper is what we both are trained to fight, and eliminate. What I hate myself for being.
Jasper’s….. a- a clone.
And now I know why Shelt wants him. I knew old Shelt was psychotic, but I never expected he was this crazy. He had a son, named Cole Shelt. He was fourteen when he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. He had severe anemia- “The condition of having a lower-than-normal number of red blood cells or quantity of hemoglobin. Anemia diminishes the capacity of the blood to carry oxygen. Patients with anemia may feel tired, fatigue easily, appear pale, develop palpitations, and become short of breath.” (MedTerms Medical Dictionary) Cole had it a lot worse than the normal case, and eventually his lack of sufficient oxygen caused lung cancer. He died within a month, no longer able to breathe. Dr. Shelt, maddened with the grief of losing a child, replicated Cole’s genes, and extracted all diseased DNA, and cloned Cole. Five weeks later, Jasper was born. He was Dr. Shelt’s twisted version of Cole’s replacement. When he was about physically three, a Scientist felt bad for Jasper, and decided to get him away from Shelt. She thought that a clone, meant only to be a replacement for his dead son should not have to grow up in that kind of environment. One night, she waited until Shelt was asleep, and stole Jasper away. Within the night, she had him halfway across the states with her brother. As soon as Shelt found out, he raged, and demanded him back, but it was too late by then. Infuriated, and betrayed by the one he trusted most, he ordered his own wife to execution for her treason.
They had him here, in the last state completely Resistance, within three days. By then he was physically three and a half. Dr. Shelt now dead wife’s brother begged someone to take Jasper in, to keep him safe. Who I thought were his parents took him in, and he grew up as one of us. He grew to fourteen within three months, and then I came into town. For some reason, I grew slower than the usual clone, and I was told it was because of some incredible phenomenon with my genes. Now that I know about telomeres, it probably has to do with some weird dysfunction in those. I can’t remember much before I was physically fourteen, which is strange. I’ve always wondered about that. I just have this feeling like I lived before then; I just can’t remember the things I did. But after that, I remember meeting Jasper for the first time the week after we moved into town.
I asked Cassie why Jasper didn’t grow as fast as a clone after he reached fourteen, and she told me that when a clone reaches full maturity, their genes start behaving as a normal humans would, then on growing as slow as a humans. Since Cole was fourteen when he died and was cloned, Jasper grew regularly when I met him.
It’s just such a shock. Why didn’t he tell me? Did he know that he was a clone? Seeing as the growth patterns aren’t atypical with a humans, he should have noticed growing up too fast. Maybe he did then... I just don’t understand why he didn’t tell me. He could have trusted. Renegade clones together, you know?
If everything Cassie is saying is correct, I don’t know how we’re going to get Jasper back from Shelt, after Shelt has already lost Jasper once. I can’t imagine that he’d let him slip through his fingers that easily again.