Saturday, December 1, 2012

Operation Yomir: The Journal

Taiko enters the laboratory and sees that the beakers, vats, and flasks have all been shattered beyond repair. The pungent odor of acetone and hydrogen sulfide fills Taiko’s nose. Taiko takes a step back as the smell permeates his olfactory bulb causing neurons to fire off their neurotransmitters letting Taiko’s brain know that he should cover his nose. 

Taiko eyes the disaster that is the laboratory. The once infamous cloning laboratory owned by the one and only, Dr. Yomir Veschens, is in such disarray that it seems unlikely any successes had come from this laboratory. But they had. Taiko remembers his biotech classes and recalls Dr. Yomir’s accomplishments in the field of cloning.
Dr. Yomir Veschens perfected the way biochemists mapped the brain. His advances in the area of cloning led to a boom in business for the profitable company known as Cromeaux Inc. His advancements also helped secure the laws put in place by CONCORD which made it mandatory for all capsules to be fitted with a brain scanner and that all pilots must have clone contracts. This truly was the beginning of the end of death as we knew it.
After zoning out, Taiko begins rubbing his eyes. They are burning now. No doubt the stinging sensation is caused by the presence of chemicals. Taiko turns around and jogs out of the room to catch his breath.
“We’re going to need respirators and chemsuits for this job,” Taiko says as he rubs his eyes forcefully. “It is a chemical nightmare in there. Who destroyed this lab?”
“Dunno Taiko, we jes’ doin’ our jobs like we’s told,” Beanstalk says as concern spreads over his face. The guys working for the cleanup crew gave him the nickname “Beanstalk” because of his stature. His tall, lanky physique made him look slightly odd. The twang in his voice made his appearance even more comical.
“Well I’m not looking forward to this job. Working in chemsuits and respirators is such a pain in the ass,” Taiko says as he turns left down the metallic hallway. The hallway is filled with lights that flash and shimmer as his movement is detected. Taiko hears an occasional ‘blip’ coming from the walls, which means he is being watched.  
Taiko reluctantly walks to the chem-station to retrieve his chemsuit and respirator. He follows protocol as he fills his chemsuit with antibacterial gas. The gas is designed to fight bacteria if the suit were to become breached. Taiko calls headquarters to report the chemical spill and decides to report the destruction to the station advisors.
Once the chemsuit is ready to be worn, Taiko slides in to it with ease. “Zip me up, Beanstalk.”
“Aight, Taiko, jes’ gimme a sec,” Beanstalk replies while jotting numbers down in his com unit. “There ya’ go Taik. You is settled in and ya’ look like a foo’.”
“Yeah, I know. Another reason I despise these damned things.”
They stalk in to the room. Their movements are slowed and slightly robotic because of their suits. Taiko turns to Beanstalk and nods his head, letting Beanstalk know it is time to do a hazmat scan of the laboratory. The rad counter on Taiko’s HUD detects minimal levels of radiation, so he switches the analyzer to its chemical mode. Acetone, hydrogen sulfide, and allyl methyl sulphide are chemicals with the most concentration in the room.
Taiko looks at Beanstalk quizzically and asks, “Why in the hell would Dr. Yomir have this much garlic juice in here?”
“What you mean garlic juice? How you know there is garlic juice?” Beanstalk replies curiously.
“Well, the allyl methl sulphide is most commonly associated with garlic,” Taiko says as he adjusts himself inside the chemsuit. “I just can’t seem to figure out what the hell Dr. Yomir would need with garlic. I suppose that’s why he’s the brilliant biochemist and not me. Oh well, it isn’t relevant. Everything is green, so we can proceed.”
The cleanup process takes Taiko and Beanstalk the better part of a day to complete. Finally, all of their hard work is rewarded with a clean, sanitary laboratory. “It’s about damned time, Beanstalk. I can’t wait to get out of this damned suit.” 

“I feel ya’ Taiko. I’s ready fo' a nice, hot shower,” Beanstalk says with a smile. 

Taiko begins his trek across the oddly shaped laboratory when one of the desks catches his eye. The top is bent outwards, which seems odd because everything in the laboratory is symmetrical. The laboratories are designed this way to keep everything in order. It also keeps objects from falling behind desks, tables, or anything else.
Taiko walks to the desk and examines it for a moment. He realizes something isn’t right so he asks Beanstalk for a socket-wrench. Taiko cranks the socket-wrench slowly to keep from stripping the nuts. After a few minutes, the stainless steel desk is removed completely.  “Hey, Beanstalk, what do you think this is?”
Beanstalk hurries over to Taiko and begins eyeing the contraption on the wall behind where the desk used to be. “I dunno. Whatever it is, I don’t think we is s’pposed to be messin’ wit’ it,” Beanstalk says apprehensively.
“Well, I didn’t spend my entire day cleaning this to find nothing of value. There’s always something in these laboratories and since it’s abandoned, it’ll be mine,” Taiko blurts out, slightly frustrated at Beanstalk’s apprehensiveness. Taiko scans the lock mechanism with his portable x-ray machine. A small object can be seen on his HUD, which means something is hidden behind the wall. “Well, there is definitely something inside. Let’s get it out, Beanie.”
"Whatever you say, but if’n they start aksin’, Imma’ gonna’ tell ‘em you done it” Beanstalk jokes as he turns to the hallway to retrieve some tools.

Taiko takes the super-heated melting torch from Beanstalk. Taiko pushes the button and the bright orange glow lights up the room. As anticipated, the safe is open within a few seconds. A book sits in a small cubby. The book, which looks more like a journal, is nothing impressive. It is black with a CONCORD design on the cover. The gray star has been faded and the entire book is covered in dust.
Taiko walks to a lab table and asks Beanstalk to unzip the back of his chemsuit. “I don’t know what this is, Beanstalk, but I’m sure it’s important.” Taiko flips through a few of the pages and notices various chemical symbols and algorithms. “Damn, I should have paid more attention in Computer Science class.”
“You and me both, bud. I knows I wouldn’t be cleanin’ rooms fer a livin’ if I had. I’d have my own capsule and ship for sure,” Beanstalk says with a hint of regret in his voice.

The pages of the journal are old and brittle. Some of them are torn in half, while others are missing entirely. “Somefin’ dun seem right wit dis, Taiko. I gots a bad feelin’ ‘bout dis.”
Taiko nods in agreement but says nothing. He continues to flip through the pages. As he works his way back to the first page, one statement catches his eye:
I am Dr. Yomir Veschens. It is YC 105. I fear for my life knowing what I know.
Intrigued by this statement,Taiko continues reading:
If the results of my tests are leaked to the public, the laws regarding cloning might be overturned. I understand there is a lot of money to be made and a lot of money that has been spent on the development of proper cloning techniques and facilities, so there is a vested interest in keeping this information a secret. I am not the only scientist to have discovered these abnormalities. They have been reported time and time again with the same result: destruction of the reports.
CONCORD thinks it best to keep this information from the public. Being a man of science, I feel that all of my results must be documented thoroughly, which is the purpose of this journal. This journal shall be hidden until after I am gone so that I do not have to suffer the consequences. If these test results were to be leaked, all parties involved will surely be murdered and all information would be retrieved and destroyed.
As discovered with experimental groups A, B, and C, the anomalies were apparent in 2.2% of those tested. The reasons for this anomaly are unknown, but the repercussions to the individual are devastating.
The only logical assumption stems from the noisy sequence integration. The noisy sequence integration within the entangled particles can be interrupted by the noisy sequence of other similar entangled particles within an uncertain proximity. Once this interruption occurs, the particles become intertwined, thus producing a false transmission. The false transmission causes one man’s brain to become implanted into another man’s clone.
If the clones were DNA free, this might not be an issue. Unfortunately, CONCORD prohibits the use of DNA free clones. If we were able to use DNA free clones, the health issues which arise from mis-cloning would be minimal. Unfortunately, CONCORD has made it illegal for scientists to create a fully-functioning clone that may be used by all. The reason? It is not cost-effective. Rather, it is more difficult to charge a premium  for clones usable by all, because they are so easily obtained and used.
A clone that is free of all protein-markers will allow any brain scan to integrate itself within the body of any clone. The integration process takes about an hour, which means, upon death, the person must wait for a period of no less than one hour to become reanimated.
          Taiko takes a deep breath and stares at Beanstalk with fear in his eyes and whispers, “Beanstalk, do you know what this means? CONCORD has been lying to the public all along. It seems as if they aren't the wonderful, peacekeeping, Democratic entity they claim to be. If this is true, it means CONCORD is ruled by money, just like everyone else.  The people of New Eden deserve to know this.” 

          Beanstalk stares at Taiko for a moment, thinking about what he wants to say. “I tell ya’ Taiko, dat information is da’ thing that’s gonna’ git you killt,” Beanstalk mutters as he paces the room, thinking about what should be done. “I thinks we needs ta’ get dat thing somewhere’s safe so’s we don’t git caught.”

            “I completely agree,” Taiko says quickly. Taiko’s mouth is dry, his skin is ghost-white, and his heart is pounding in his ears. The panic diminishes as he slides the journal into his M-TAC. Taiko turns to Beanstalk and says, “I’ll make sure this gets back to my quarters A-S-A-P. There must be more to this and I want to read the rest of it.” Taiko exits the laboratory.
             Taiko feels relieved as he walks through the hydraulic doors of his living quarters on the 17th floor of the Expert Housing Production Plant in Jita. He secures the door before removing the journal from his M-TAC. Once more, he checks the lock on the door and proceeds to the bright-green couch situated in the center of the room. Before Taiko reaches the couch, Mihala, his genetically modified dog, comes bumbling toward him.  As fluffy and as short as a rabbit, yet as tall as a Great Dane, Mihala was a geneticist’s worst nightmare. Taiko remembers the day he found Mihala like it was yesterday.
             Taiko had been cleaning the room next to a genetics laboratory when he overheard the geneticists laughing about something. They were laughing at the product of an accidental implantation of Chihuahua DNA into the embryo of a Great Dane. When Taiko heard one of the men saying it was time to put the thing out of its misery, Taiko bolted through the door and begged them for the pup. They agreed reluctantly.  Taiko took the pitiful-looking animal home and cared for it the best he knew how.
           Mihala stands about four feet tall, but is only 1 ½ feet long. Taiko’s guests always make fun of Mihala, but Mihala doesn’t care. She’ll just prance around in circles as everyone chuckles at her. Aside from her odd physique, she is the best pet Taiko has ever owned.
Mihala begins licking Taiko’s face as he plops down on the couch. “Hey Mihala, did you miss me?” Taiko says as he begins scratching her ears. She licks at his arm and becomes excited. “I missed you too, girl!”
            After petting Mihala for a moment, Taiko starts reading once more, continuing from where he left off:
The integration process takes about an hour, which means, upon death, the person must wait for a period of no less than one hour to become reanimated.
As I stated previously, this reduces the cost of the process, but lengthens the time of animation. If CONCORD were to implement these measures to prevent abnormalities in the cloning process, they would stand to lose a lot of money due to the fact that these clones cost next-to-nothing to produce. This is why they destroyed all evidence of mis-cloning.
Mis-cloning should not be ignored. This problem points to an inhumane practice that can be fixed, but the powers-that-be have decided it best to ignore the issue. I fully disagree with such an inhumane approach to immortality and will do whatever I can to bring this issue to the forefront. This journal must be kept safe.
Our current cloning practices are inhumane because a person that falls victim to mis-cloning will live his/her last few days in pure agony. When the noise sequences interfere with each other, they force one man into another man’s clone. From a scientific standpoint, this is a travesty, because each person carries a unique set of protein markers on each cell. 

These protein markers are how the body's immune system knows which cells are foreign. Once a foreign marker is detected, the body's immune system will begin attacking those cells. In the case of a mis-clone, the foreign cells are the brain cells and, without immunosuppressants, the incoming brain has no chance of survival. Unfortunately, the immunosuppressants may not work fully. If they do work, the clone must continue taking immunosuppressants for the rest of his/her life.  Unfortunately, it is most likely the person will die, immunosuppressants or not. 
Not only will the mis-cloned person die, but they will suffer a torturous death. Headaches, nausea, vomiting, hallucinations, blindness, paralysis, and a number of other symptoms will make the rest of the cloned individual’s life hell.
The period from mis-cloning to death is between five and nine days. On very rare occasions, the clone’s body WILL accept the new brain without many issues aside from the devastating psychological effects that mis-cloning can have on an individual.
Imagine waking up in someone else’s body. Using our current cloning process, a person’s ganglia and dendrites are pre-placed in the clone. The dendrites are what send signals throughout the body, but they also have memorized pathways that can produce memories.  Since the ganglia and dendrites are intact, the mis-cloned person will often share memories with the previous owner. This will cause conflicting memories, memory loss, confusion, paranoid delusions, and most often, schizophrenia of the worst kind.
          Taiko feels sick to his stomach. “How many people have had to deal with this,” he wonders. “Does this still happen? I simply can’t imagine how this might affect the cloning facilities scattered throughout New Eden.”
Taiko looks at Mihala with puzzled eyes. He scratches her head. Mihala dances around, oblivious to the problems at hand. Taiko tries to find the right course of action, but is uncertain how to proceed. “Should I tell someone and risk being murdered, Mihala?” Mihala yipped and then barked. Taiko laughs at Mihala’s ability to produce both a Chihuahua yip and the deep, throaty bark of a Great Dane.
Taiko decides that it will be best to tell someone, but has to continue reading.
The last capsuleer that suffered this fate at my hands was Jaiden Blade. She was an astonishing captain and had a large memory core. The image of her brain was expensive to transfer. Unfortunately for her, she fell victim to mis-cloning and ended up in Bolshai Camden’s body. I still hear her screams at night. They haunt me day and night.
Jaiden was in such agony that I took another brain scan while killing her. The result was shocking to me. She was never revived. I still, to this day, have no clue what happened to her mind. I know that the transmission was complete; it had to have been complete – the transmissions were never an issue for me. I can only assume that she is dead and gone. I hope, because the alternative would be devastating.
I reported the incident to CONCORD and was put under quarantine. They destroyed my research and threatened my life and the lives of all family members. They kept me under tight surveillance, but luckily, I was able to write this journal without being caught. I hope the person that finds it will take it to the right people, preferably the Jovians. The Jovians understand the repercussions of messing with DNA; they will know what to do.
Taiko sits for a moment, speechless. He decides to do exactly what Dr. Yomir requested. He must contact a few people before he will be able to get in touch with the Jovians. Taiko decides it best to tell someone before making the trip to Jovian space.
Taiko picks up his com unit and types in his friend Cullin’s frequency. He then taps out the encryption code and hits the connect button. At that exact moment, Taiko’s door opens. Taiko’s heart stops. He cannot breathe. He cannot speak. He knows this is the end. He drops the com unit, which is still on, and attempts to hide. They are too fast.
The bullet pierces through Taiko’s abdomen, shredding his small intestine and spilling pieces of partially-digested food on to the floor. The burning hole left smoking in the middle of his stomach sends fire throughout Taiko’s body. Taiko screams in agony as he crumples to the ground.
“Directive complete, sir. Taiko Lucious is down,” says one of the soldiers standing in the doorway. A faint static can be heard in the room. “That is correct, sir. Conrad Byloff, otherwise known as Beanstalk, has been apprehended. We have him in custody. Level Five Security, yes.”
The soldier ignores the static. “Yes, sir. The interrogation process will begin immediately.” The soldier robotically walks to the smoking body of Taiko. He rolls Taiko over with his metal boot. The intestines have been exploded and cauterized. Taiko is still alive, but he is in so much pain that he passes out.
“Yes, Executor Tibus. We have Dr. Yomir’s journal.”                        

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