Flying

As a boy of eight, Seth finds his life changed by a dark secret … something that he can’t possibly understand.

Years later, old faces, memories, and an envelope, draw Seth back into the web.

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20. 20 - Dolly

20  -  Dolly

April 19, 2383

 

Seth is taken off guard by Carry’s words.

Her voice grows soft. “Your parent’s perma-deaths were not accidents, Seth.”

He blinks. “What do you mean?”

Her eyes narrow, “I believe that your mother was in possession of some important documents.”

Seth feels Carry watching him closely. She knows about his mother’s papers? He does his best to disguise the surprise he’s feeling “Documents?”

Carry watches him in silence for a few moments. She stands, smiling. “Would you like something to drink?”

His throat feels dry “Soda, please.”

She turns away and leaves the room.

Seth takes a deep breath, trying to relax. How could she know about his mother’s papers? Maybe she had been closer to his mother than he knew. Until he was sure he could trust her, he wouldn’t offer any information. He hears Carry’s voice, coming from the main room. He can’t make out the words. Who was she talking to?

Carry comes back into the room, a tall drinking glass in her hand. She hands it to Seth and returns to the chair beside his.

Seth takes a sip of the cold soda. He’s surprised again. It’s his favorite flavor.

Carry smiles. “I’ve arranged for us to be left alone for a while, so we can talk.” She leans closer, looking deep into his eyes for a few moments. A look of satisfaction comes to her face and she leans back into her chair, smiling.

Seth blinks.

She looks at him. “I want you to know why your parents died. Only a handful of people know anything about any of this, Seth. I need you to promise me that you won’t repeat anything I’m going to tell you.”

He hesitates, but only for a moment. “You have my promise Ms Mattice … Carry.”

Carry nods slowly. “What do you know about cloning?”

Seth shakes his head, surprised by her question “Very little.”

She smiles “A marvelous thing. A technology that allows us to cheat death …” her smile vanishes, “but, at a terrible cost.”

Carry rises from her chair and moves to a large, cylindrical safe in the far corner of the cluttered room. She enters a code and opens the door. Seth gets a glimpse of the safe’s contents … more paper files.

Carry removes a thick file and closes the safe. She returns to her chair and sits the file on her lap.

Seth looks at the handwriting on the report cover … File 126 - Dolly Incorporated.

Carry looks from the file to Seth, a strange spark of excitement in her eyes. “I’ve done a lot of research, Seth, research I couldn’t do as a member of the CMG. That’s why I came to the Guardians. I’ve been looking into Dolly Incorporated and the development of the cloning process. I’ve uncovered something, something called the Dolly Factor”

Seth thinks of Carry and other Guardians, protesting in front of the tall, dark building in Manhattan.

“To put it simply, cloning involves a complete scan being made at the moment of death, everything from DNA sequencing, to the state of every neuron in the brain. It’s the information contained in that scan that is transferred to the ‘dumb’ clone that’s waiting to become you.”

Seth nods. “It’s an incredible feat of technology.”

“Yes, and when the process was first developed, it was flawless. But there was a problem. Dolly Incorporated is an independent. Their invention would benefit all mankind, and they wanted to see a healthy profit from it. The original process was far too expensive. Only the wealthiest people would be able to afford it.”

She looks down at the file, resting in her lap. “They went back to work and discovered that they could reduce the cost drastically, by lowering the ‘resolution’ of the scanning process. There was a trade-off for this, and it became known as Dolly Factor. The Dolly Factor was the acceptable level of risk that small mistakes could occur in the scanning process, 0.0000000001 percent per data point.”

Seth raises an eyebrow. “That sounds like a very small risk.”

She looks back to him. “It might sound like a small risk, but trillions of data points are read in a scan and thousands of scans are done every day.” Her voice grows quiet. “Mistakes are happening, Seth.”

He considers her words. “Alright, but if someone is scanned and one or two of the trillions of data points are wrong, it wouldn’t hurt you, would it? Would you even know it had happened?”

She shakes her head, slowly. “No, and that’s the most terrible part. Don’t you see, Seth? The cloning process is changing people in ways we can’t detect or predict. Slowly changing, mutating the human gene pool.” She stares past him, into the distance. Her voice is soft. “There are so few of us left.” She grows quiet, staring.

Seth swallows, feeling the awkward silence. “But, what does this have to do with my parents?”

Carry’s eyes focus back on his. “Your father wasn’t a regular LED officer. He was part of the secret service branch. I believe that he came across this same information. Before someone made him quiet, he passed the information to your mother. Then, someone made her quiet.”

Seth stares at her, confused. The papers his mother had left him didn’t seem to have anything to do with this. “Carry, who killed my parents?”

Her eyes narrow, “I don’t know, Seth. Perhaps we can find out. The most important thing is that Dolly Incorporated is stopped. I need your help.”

Seth blinks. “I don’t …”

“Seth …”, again she leans close, looking deep into his eyes, “you’ve never been cloned.”

“No.”

“I can see it in your eyes, the purity.” She smiles, “Don’t you see, Seth, you and I are still pure, part of a dwindling few. We have to stick together. I need your help.”

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