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     Why?  Standing amid the disquieting remains of my lab that no longer felt as my own, but as if a mad scientist had sojourned it in my absence, I pondered in worried disgust at the many ethically questionable projects in place.  Indeed, it was I who, not too long ago, was of a demented mind.  In fact, I was the one responsible for these experiments, but the exact reason behind them now escaped me.  I walked to one of the desks and picked up a piece of paper from the disheveled pile.  Unfortunately, it offered little help in answering my questions.  

     "Just the scribblings of a lunatic..."  I set the sheet down and wearily rubbed my face.  After taking a moment, I walked over to inspect one of the giant test tubes.  Suspended in the liquid inside, was a fetus within its 8th week.  There were more test tubes, also housing fetuses of varying stages of development.  There were many sensors in each test tube, closely monitoring the progress of each individual.  Looking down part way, I noticed several monitors displaying a different message than the ones I was currently at.  I visited these test tubes and found that the specimens here had all died, and all at around 19 weeks of age.  

     Though I was mental at the time, I still recalled the reason behind this phenomenon.  I was attempting to clone what I considered to be the ultimate life form, who I had met a few years ago.  Either to study his developmental process, to use for experimentation, or for some other reasons, I wanted a duplicate.  However, I found that there was a 0% success rate.  A puzzling problem I was faced with.  I concluded that the deaths were due to the seemingly "incomplete" nature of the being's DNA.  This being had the incredible ability to create, house, and control an energy source within his body. However, this wasn't an "add-on" as with many abilities found in other races. No, this energy was a fundamental part of his very being. If separated or lacking the appropriate means of sustaining it, he would cease to live.  With this in mind, I had come to realize that I was missing a key piece to the survival of my specimens.  The being's DNA did not include a code for building the object that held and regulated the energy.  Consequently, at the time that the fetuses begin to create this energy, they destroy themselves.  This lead to another mystery that I have yet to solve, being how the object within the being's brain got there, when it is not found in his genetic code. However, that was for another time.

     After pondering these things to myself, I finally decided that it was time to pull the plug on these experiments.  I started from the earliest stage, being 4 weeks, cut off the life support, and drained the tube.  Since none of them had a chance at surviving past 19 weeks, ending them early did not bother me.  What did concern me was the fact that, knowing the success rate, I had continued to create them.  To each one, I cut short, and disposed of the remains.  

     I reached the final tank, and before I aborted it as well, I paused.  It was noticeably larger than the others. I glanced at the monitor and stared in a moment of disbelief.  This fetus had reached 29 weeks, nearly 7 months into development!  I returned to the desk of papers, searching for any information I had recorded about this particular subject.  Once I found what I believed was it's information, I stood and thoroughly looked the papers over.  Altered Clone.  Suddenly, it's survival made more sense.  Apparently, in a desperate attempt to have a single living subject, I had altered the DNA of this one specimen. In doing so, I had removed the genetic code that produced the energy, and had added, from another, compatible genetics that were needed to complete the missing DNA.  Now I became more puzzled about this specimen's existence.  Without the fundamental characteristics that made me want to clone the original being to begin with, of what use was this half-clone to me?  

     Once again, I stood before the 29 week old fetus suspended in the test tube.  What was I to do with it?  Was I to abort it, along with the others, knowing that, unlike them, it would have survived?  If not, what was I going to do with a baby?  Due to it's origins, it was impossible to put up for adoption or foster care.  He would have no rights, and others could do as they would please with him.  That alone would be worse than death.  Having come to my decision, I put my hand on the control panel to end the fetus.  However, before I could activate the kill switch, I noticed movement in the tank.  I stood silent and watched as the fetus moved its arms and legs, before finally settling with it's thumb in its mouth, suckling it.  I brought my hand down, and sighed.  I couldn't justify killing this one.

     I sat down and began to research the laws and implications on the rights of Beings Created through Experimentation.  Suffice it to say, that there were no rights for those created in a lab.  For the next week, I educated myself with all I could in the hopes of finding a way to bypass Non-Rights of a Created Being.  After many sleepless nights in front of the computer monitor, I came across a recent amendment to the law.  

     "Rights to full personhood can be granted to an individual born from science, so long as the specimen in question is considered not harmful to society and is given a document allowing for their freedom by their original creator."

     Immediately, I made myself some more coffee, and set to work on writing the rough draft.  Once I finished it, a sense of peace came over me and I felt that I was now free to get some sleep.  The next morning, I completed the final draft and sent it in to be read by the court.  Since a visit would be required to assess my experiment's danger risk, I went about cleaning and sorting my lab.  As I collected the papers I had written on as a mad man, I refrained from throwing them out, but instead, gave them their own place until I could thoroughly look them over.  

     Once again, I stood in front of the tank.  The boy was now 31 weeks and looking quite healthy.  His fur was coming in, and I could see the resemblance of the man I had cloned him from.  

     A few days later, I had a visit from a legal representative.  I led her to the specimen in the tank and proceeded to explain how he would be like once he was "born."  

     "Essentially, he's a Kotian that I artificially created.  There is nothing special about him, and he won't have any birth defects.  I will be his guardian.  He will be registered under my name."  

     "The DNA test results shows what you said. He's just a Kotian.  I can rule him as safe for society."  She jotted down somethings and then looked back at me.  "Now then, Mr. Quintavius, if I could get his first name, I'll go ahead and begin registering his social security number along with some other official records and documents."  Name?  For the amount of effort I put in making my experiment a person, I hadn't even considered naming him.  

     "  His name is... Lucas."  I wasn't entirely enthralled with my choice.  True, it was an ironic name, given who he was cloned from, but it also felt uncreative.  It was too late to change, however, as the legal representative had already typed and submitted the name into the system.

     "Alright. That just about wraps things up here. I can do the rest at my office.  Do you have any questions before I head off?"  She looked at me expectantly.  I shook my head, and then lead her out the door.  I then returned to my computer and began researching birth and infant care.

     At 41 weeks, I "delivered" Lucas from the test tube.
(Timeline: the period after The Company Saga and right before the Ranger Stories) (story type: canon)

This is part of the story of how Lucas came to be.

Cyrus is a scientific genius. That was why he was a part of The Company. (They only collected exceptional people.) He is a diligent, hard worker that doesn't know when to take a break. No one knows when he sleeps and he is almost always seen with a mug of coffee in his hands or by his side. He was always rather closed in, but after his pregnant wife, Lorellie, died, he became completely emotionless and analytical. 

The period of madness that he mentions happened right at the end of The Company Saga, when some of his cells mutated after being in intense exposure to Luca's radiation. The affected cells would slowly multiply and spread throughout his body. Cyrus is not cured from the mutation, but he found a way to keep it at bay.

The birth of Lucas changes Cyrus and shifts his incredible ability to hyper focus to something more productive and worth while. 

When Cyrus states that Lucas has no "defects," he mostly means life altering ones. Although, at this time Cyrus doesn't know how Kotian procreate, and so has no idea that he accidentally made his boy infertile. (Lucas only has one feather, rather than two, and it is deformed. It can still give off a scent, but only half as strong. It also does not produce pollen, which is key for fertilization.) 

A thank you to DragonTygress for editing my mistakes.
Luca Stories, Cyrus Quintavious, and Lucas Quintavious belong to me, Jestloo :iconjestloo:
"Why? Standing amid the disquieting remains of my lab that no longer felt as my own, but as if a mad scientist had sojourned it in my absence, I pondered with disgust at the many ethically questionable projects in place. ..."

I want to say, that aside from a technical point that I'll mention in a moment, this was a great beginning. You're already making me wonder, "What the heck happened?" - to put it mildly. The whole setup can potentially keep a reader going. "What happened to make this guy think like that?" is the short form of the questions that may be generated in the reader's mind, to keep him or her reading.

The explanation offered in the third paragraph keeps things fantasy and mysterious. I like it. :)

Wow, this started heavy, and for me I felt the heaviness increase as the decision was made to pull plugs and empty tubes. The scientist knew he was effectively killing these beings. Even though they had no hope to survive, I don't believe the superficial statement that it didn't bother him. Somehow, he really didn't like doing it, and to me, it the fact he didn't like doing it becomes evident as he begins working on the final tank. He pauses, and looks at what he's doing. The excitement he experiences, doesn't seem to me as entirely scientific, if you get my drift.

"of what use ...?" Indeed - practical thinking. The scientist wanted an exact copy. It's not made clear in this brief piece why the scientist wanted the copy, but that isn't important. If the reason were there, it would probably take away from this short piece.

He almost aborts the clone ... then the clone moves. Then he decides to keep the clone. And not only does he want to keep the clone, he wants to give the clone a good quality of life. It's interesting to note that this universe is one which requires laws about treatment of clones, and at that, that the aforementioned laws stink.

Technical stuff:
The first sentence, great as it is, is a mouthful. Since I may have been accused of extreme verbosity - and admittedly have fun with it from time to time - I know how it can be to think of a long sentence, and then realize, "Oh gee, that might have to be shortened." (see what I did there?) So the very first sentence ... "I stood amid the disquieting remains of my lab. It no longer felt as my own, but as if a mad scientist had sojourned it in my absence. I pondered with disgust ..." Yes, it is short, but I do not believe it is also choppy.

"A puzzling problem I was faced with." I'm really sorry, but that sentence bothers me. :blushes: "I was faced with a puzzling problem." Seriously, it's just that I have this thing about ending sentences with prepositions. "Proper prepositional positioning prohibits postponed placement." :giggle:

"The being's DNA did not include a code for building the object that held and regulated the energy. Consequently, at the time that the fetuses begin to create this energy, they destroy themselves." Switching tenses. "... at the time the fetuses began to create this energy, they destroyed themselves." Or even "... they would destroy themselves."

"Suddenly, it's survival made more sense." Should be "Suddenly, its survival ..." Did I mention that I used to hate working with its/it's? The word "its" denotes possession; "it's" is short for "it is."

"Once I found what I believed was it's information ..." Same as above.

The last sentence. "At 41 weeks ..." Personally, I know why you put it there. Personally, I would have strugged about leaving it or taking it out. At this rate, I might say if you leave out that last sentence, it might do better. Let the story end with the character researching infant care; that's a great note.


Overall, this was a great read. It's been too long since you've posted something written. I've been looking forward to reading this since you posted it.

What you did in the piece was start it heavy, and let it get even heavier as the scientist was aborting the experiments, knowing full well that they wouldn't live anyway. Then you showed a glimmer of hope, and ever so slightly raised the shades, so to speak. And then you opened it some more. This isn't an "easy happy ending," either ... at least I don't get the feel that "all is well with the world" when the decision is made to keep the last fetus. I get the feeling that the scientist is going to do all he can, do his best, and try his hardest, to raise this clone like his own son. I get the feeling that it won't always be easy. But there's a proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. In other words, this isn't a fairy tale "everyone lives happily ever after" ending. This is a heartwarming ending because we saw the scientist and glimpsed at his thoughts and feelings, and realized there's hope. There's hope for the scientist, and there's hope for the child, because there's hope for the scientist. It's a real world "hey, you know what, these guys are going to have good times and bad, but they've got stuff to look forward to, because someone cares" ending.

Not only that, but there's a nice subtext present about life. It was wonderfully played.

Regardless of what the scientist says, his actions speak volumes. He cares. And this time, it's for a living being.

This tugged at my feelings a bit.

I was looking forward to reading this for a while. I regret that I was not able to look at this sooner, and I feel bad that I feel like I'm leaving not as much input as what you may comparatively leave for me. But I hope that the quality made up for the lack of quantity, if you will. Because, Jestloo, I was not disappointed in your efforts. Great work.

PS. Remember, I still don't add to my favorites lightly.
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AtaraxiaPrints Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2015
Verrrry interesting. And reasonably subtle. Well done.
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