Fiction

White Rabbit

2nd October 2019 — 13

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Fiction

White Rabbit

2nd October 2019 — 13

This is is my entry for the October 2019 Blog Battle.  Be sure to check out the other entries. This month’s challenge is to write a story incorporating the idea of a “clone” in a thousand words, more or less.  A little more (~1070 words) in my case.

This has been a bit of fun, the concepts, liberal use of Lewis Carroll and presentation. It’s the first time I’ve had a go at telling a story via a journal account. I hope it entertains and if you haven’t already, why not consider having a go yourself?


Wed 2nd Oct 2019 – NM
Snowball6 is now 3 months old and remains in perfect health. There are no signs of the cellular deterioration witnessed in the previous rabbit clones. There is nothing more to be gained from further animal experimentation. It’s a good omen ahead of the FDA meeting tomorrow.

Thu 3rd Oct 2019 – NM
The FDA meeting was pointless, bloody bureaucrats! A DECADE! They’ve left me no choice, I will take matters into my own hands. I’ll be moving the equipment to the basement of the cabin this weekend and then we’ll see what’s down this rabbit hole.

Tue 8th Oct 2019 – C1
It’s taken a couple of days to get everything set back up:

10:00 – Scan taken and stored. [S1 / scan #1]
12:00 – Cellular printing – success! [C1 / clone #1]

The experiment is a success. I am beside myself, literally. For it is I C1 that writes this entry. All physical and psychological tests are 100%. I am an exact duplicate of NM. The work can now move at twice the pace.

Wed 9th Oct 2019 – NM
Disaster! My clone [C1] has died, horribly. I awoke to his screams as he disintegrated. Skin, bone, everything – total cellular breakdown. I’ve found an issue in the calibration of the printer array. I/he must not die in vain.

Thu 10th Oct 2019 – NM
12:00 – Scan taken and stored. [S2]
14:00 – Cellular printing – success! FAILURE [C2]

C2 failed after 12h24m. The terror on my/his face knowing what was going to happen. I can’t do it again. I will clone from the original scan [S1] to save myself the horror. There is nothing wrong with the data capture. The issue is definitely with the printer array. I will hide my journal to protect myself from the truth.

Sat 12th Oct 2019 – NM
Failure again C3 – 12h39m. The only saving grace is he (I?) didn’t know his fate. I managed to get the body in the bath before total decomposition. Will try again Monday, I will continue the calibration efforts. I’m so close.

Fri 18th Oct 2019 – NM
This week has been gruelling. Calibration of the printer array is proving frustratingly elusive. It’s taken the sacrifice of five clones, increasing longevity by ONLY 57 minutes:

13th – C4 – 13h:02m
14th – C5 – 13h:28m
15th – C6 – 13h:32m
16th – C7 – 13h:46m
17th – C8 – 13h:59m

All my clones have been based on the original scan [S1]. They are starting to suspect though, I fancy changes in the lab environment and my own appearance are providing clues to the passage of time. I’ve put this journal under lock and key. I have a radical idea, it’s a risk, one I’ll need to take.

Mon 21st Oct 2019 – C9
There’s been an accident. My original self is dead, my/his body was on the floor when I stepped from the printer. I’m not sure of the cause, I’ve stored the body in the freezer.

I [C9] found the key and this journal. Oh my god, I am the 9th clone and I’ve only got 2 hours. Oh dear! I shall be too late! I have no choice but to clone myself. I can’t afford to keep using the original [S1] scan, I’ve wasted too much time discovering my fate today. I have to retain my memories by using regular scans. My fate is sealed, either way, god help me.

18:40 – Scan taken and stored. [S3]

Tue 22nd Oct 2019 – C10
C9 – 14h:11m

It’s worked. I will now scan and clone myself every cycle. A terrible relay race, passing a baton I cannot afford to drop. I must continue the work. Time is a luxury I do not have. I’m a dead man either way.

08:10 – Scan taken and stored. [S4]

Sun 27th Oct 2019 – C14
Progress continues to be slow:

23rd – S5 – C11 – 14h:19m
24th – S6 – C12 – 14h:28m
25th – S7 – C13 – 15h:05m
26th – S8 – C14 – 15h:08m

I am tired, I cannot sleep. I melt away in the bath each cycle, staring into my own terrified eyes. It’s taking a terrible toll. I am not myself.

Mon 28th Oct 2019 – S9 / C15
There’s another problem, what had started as a tremor in my left hand has started to spread. Comparing scans I can see microscopic errors in my cells. It’s these random faults that are cascading into the fatal systemic failure. I should have performed a more detailed microcellular scan of my original clone. The errors are compounded by the constant scanning and cloning. I can’t afford to revert back to an earlier scan [e.g S1] I don’t have the time to bring myself up to speed every day. I must make quick progress now.

Tue 29th Oct 2019 – S10 / C16
The errors are increasing, I can’t stop shaking, it makes the work difficult. I’ve had a breakthrough, C15 survived 19h43m. I think I finally have a handle on the problem. I must keep going.

Wed 30th Oct 2019 – S11 / C17
I’m so close. C16 lasted 23h:44m. I have found what I believe is the last issue with the print array. C18 should be stable.

Thu 31st Oct 2019 – S12 / C18
It’s worked, I have no micro-cellular degeneration. My faculties continue to degrade, my eyesight is going. I am wracked by pain all the time. Thankfully, C19 will be cloned from my original scan [S1] using the now fully calibrated printer. Soon my nightmare will be over. This journal will be the only testament to my troubles. Tomorrow I’ll be back to my old self again.

Fri 1st Nov 2019 – C19
I am undone!

I only have scans going back 7 days, S1/S2 etc are gone, overwritten by the computer in an attempt to reclaim space. Every other scan is flawed. I have lost myself. I am a clone of C18. I will be the last! I cannot keep going. I can hardly see, the shaking and the pain are too much to endure, especially now I know there is no escaping my fate. Therefore this is my final journal entry.

I have let Snowball6 go free. I pray he finds the long life that has eluded me.

Know that although I have failed, the cloning technology is a success and is now stable. It is my gift to mankind, please be more careful with it than I was. I have wiped all of my scans, I do not want to be bought back again, not like this.

Goodbye,

Dr Nivens McTwisp

Image courtesy of: Andy Brunner

13 comments

  • kiabooks

    2nd October 2019 at 3:57 pm

    I’m going to try this weekend. Thx for letting me know of the prompt challenge.

    Reply

  • Peter's pondering

    2nd October 2019 at 4:12 pm

    Why are all the sentences identical? Was there an error in your thinking? Are your neurons in an endless loop? If only you could explain from the other side!

    Reply

    • Chris

      2nd October 2019 at 4:51 pm

      All work and no play 😉

      Reply

  • Joshua G. J. Insole

    2nd October 2019 at 4:16 pm

    What a brilliant piece of storytelling, Chris! I loved the diary entries as a framework — the entry titles alone give a sense of impending dread. I wonder what caused NM’s demise…

    Quite a harrowing read, too. Reminded me a little bit of The Fly — a man’s desire to pursue knowledge, followed by his slow deterioration and demise as a result of his own work. Well… long live Snowball6! Fantastically original piece of writing.

    P.S. I got notifications from you as I was reading this, and I’ve got the sneaking suspicion that we read each other’s BlogBattle entries at the same time! 😀

    Reply

    • Chris

      2nd October 2019 at 4:37 pm

      I had the same thought, clearly we both have too much time on our hands 😉 I couldn’t escape The Fly in my own mind – it’s so iconic. I think as a piece it could be done far better as a found footage, video diary, short film, fixed camera with the lab in the background. I wonder what Jeff Goldblum is up to! As for NM’s fate, the beauty of writing, I didn’t like any of my ideas so left it to the reader’s imagination. Answers on a postcard please 😉

      Reply

      • Joshua G. J. Insole

        3rd October 2019 at 2:20 pm

        I would totally be up for a modern remake, as long as Jeff would return for the role! As far as I know, he’s fronting a jazz band… Such a cool dude!

        I was thinking it was perhaps a neurodegenerative disease, hence the shaking? Alas, perhaps we’ll never know, due to NM’s untimely fate.

        Reply

  • Gary

    2nd October 2019 at 6:16 pm

    Excellent take Chris and very well orchestrated. My forte is biochemistry and molecular biology and I was fearing the worst early on through replication errors compounding with each cycle. The loss of the original data was catastrophic. What an end game knowing the problem has been fixed, but that the uncorrupted original copy has been overwritten. Almost akin to a writers nightmare…. word cannot open this file…. and no back ups!

    Top drawer in the originality of concept.

    Reply

    • Chris

      2nd October 2019 at 6:24 pm

      Thanks Gary, I must admit I found the clone prompt quite a challenge, it’s such a well travelled concept in a lot of popular sci-fi. A wrote a recent article on being hacked, that emphasised the importance of backups – I think this piece has more impact 😉 Looking forward to reading everyone else’s takes.

      Reply

      • Gary

        2nd October 2019 at 6:50 pm

        That’s good though right? A challenge that is. I’m still to put pen to paper, well screen, yet. This is definitely one to deploy as a back up frequent and often or despair! Very high impact punch.

        Reply

  • aebranson

    3rd October 2019 at 7:13 pm

    Beautiful job … writing that is, not cloning! Ominous from the get-go, yet a dark humor permeates from the persistence in the journal entries. I might have been predisposed to humor: the title immediately put me in mind of the killer rabbit in Monty Python’s Holy Grail (Hmm, maybe the rabbit murdered NM?). 😉 I also liked how you tied Snowball back in at the end of the story. The journal entry also put me in mind of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Very nicely done and a great read!

    Reply

    • Chris

      3rd October 2019 at 8:30 pm

      Thanks. I’m glad you liked it. Lol the rabbit done it I love that. Funny thing is I recently rewatched a classic 70’s horror film called “The Asphyx”. It has an immortal guinea pig that ends up accidentally bumping one of the characters off by chewing through a pipe during a critical experiment. If this story was made into a short film I’d love to see in the credits the found video footage of the rabbit accidentally killing NM 😉 Definitely more scope for humour in this piece.

      Reply

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  • Sue Eller

    17th October 2019 at 6:43 am

    I liked the journal entry format. It worked well to tell the story. The pacing was captivating and held my interest.

    Reply

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