This story is by Bryan Smitn, pen name B. Shaun Smith and was part of our 2017 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the Summer Writing Contest stories here.
Manzano Base, Near Albuquerque New Mexico
“Not what I expected.” Ellis Lloyd pointed through the two-way mirror of the observation room. He had a shaved head and was wearing military fatigues with no identifying marks.
“Well sir,” Dr. Sabrina Reid adjusted her glasses and pushed raven black hair behind her right ear. She was wearing a white lab coat. “Cloning is difficult. Some animals are harder to clone than the others. Cats are easy, dogs are hard and humans are very hard.”
“Yet Dolly the sheep was successful.” He pointed out.
“Cloning animals is one thing. Dolly lived six years before developing a form of lung cancer and then was euthanized. Extinct species have been successfully cloned, but they only lived for a few days.”
“How long have these two been alive?”
“Sixteen days. Past human clones have only lasted about thirty-six hours. Having them alive this long is a major success.”
“What was different this time?” Ellis inquired.
“We eliminated all health issues either subject ever had. We were also able to prevent some possible future health issues. Lastly making them twenty-five years old helped. They’re healthier than the originals ever were.”
“Is that why they look a little different from the originals?”
“We believe so sir,” she took a breath. “In every way, they’re human. They have all their memories, up until they were…assassinated.”
“About time this program had a success. Archives has alchemy tools, notes from Tesla and apparently we didn’t get the right German scientists after World War Two.”
“I’ve seen the files. Amazing what was attempted. If not somewhat creepy.” She shivered at the thought of what some of the former test subjects had endured.
“This program is a few years younger than the United States itself. There’s a lot of pressure for it to succeed.” Ellis shifted his weight.
She looked up at him. “I have to ask sir, from who?”
He frowned. “You’re stepping above your pay grade.”
Sabrina took off her glasses. “With all due respect, fifteen states have a ban on cloning. Another three prohibit the use of public funding for cloning. In twenty-ten, a bill was introduced to ban the use of federal funds for cloning.”
“It did not pass.” He pointed out.
“There’ve been other times that Congress has tried to ban all human cloning.”
“What’s your point?” He ran a hand over his head.
“If this project is so important, why has there been so much resistance from the people who provide the funds?”
“I had a feeling this would come up,” He took a tablet from his briefcase. He used a stylus to find what he was looking for. He then handed the tablet and stylus to Sabrina. “Sign this.”
She looked at the document on the tablet. It was a nondisclosure agreement. She signed it, like she had signed dozens of others.
He took the tablet back from her and exhaled. “There is to be a fourth body of government.”
“Back during the early days of our great country, it was thought that a fourth body of government would become necessary to sustain the United States. Things would get to a point that leadership in this country would need some guidance.” He sat down in one of two chairs in the observations room.
She looked back through the two-way mirror. “Cloning was on the mind of our founding fathers from the get go?”
He shrugged “Maybe, all I know is the mission of this program over the decades has been to find a way to provide knowledge from past presidents. By any means necessary.”
“Well, someone sure had the bright idea back in the day to keep all the president’s bodies together.” Sabrina was referring to the Crypt in Alaska, where the bodies of each deceased president was kept.
“Seward’s purchase of Alaska was no folly.” He stated.
Sabrina’s eyes went wide.
“Back to your original question. The reason why there is so much effort against cloning, is to give us a better chance to achieve it before someone else does.”
She nodded, understanding.
He stood. “The next clones of Jack Kennedy and Abe Lincoln, better look like the originals. Is that clear?”
She nodded. “Yes sir.”
“Stop calling me sir. You’re no longer in the army.”
Sabrina nodded. “Got it.”
He pointed at Jack and Abe. “Be prepared to dispose of these two when their usefulness runs out.”
Without another word, Ellis left.
Sabrina put her hand up on the two-way mirror. “I’m not going to let anything happen to you two. We will find out why and who wanted you both dead.”