The Human Engineer

Image of Set Stories Free - 2018
Image of Short Story

There’s an old adage that says, “If you’re not at the table then you are on the menu.” Geneticist Dr. Ted Jacobs repeats this to himself several times a day as he works tirelessly to perfect his upcoming presentation. Dr. Jacobs prose is consistent and assertive, maintaining an audible tone. “Ladies and gentlemen, I have reviewed all of your previous work at solving the conundrum we presently face. Ted’s voice reverberates throughout his parents cluttered basement. Ted has been living in his parent’s basement since his divorce that coincided with his forced resignation from Odd Fellows Genetics Incorporated. Since his youth this basement has exuded a sense of safety, acting as a safe haven during times of disaster or tumult. “Goddamn it! I left something out! Ok, Jacobs, breath, now count one... two... three...relax, again. Gentlemen, greetings, it is no accident that we meet this day along the banks of the Jamestown River. Your pass failures and attempts have each been lacking three fundamental key elements. First, thank you, gentlemen of the United States Government Incorporated for being here. Together we are here to solve this current problem facing the whole of society.”

Twenty years ago the world faced catastrophic overpopulation. At this time, a wealthy ruling class, the Elite, viewed this as a threat to their affluent existence and agreed that something must be done. For them, this was nonnegotiable. They organized to implement a Eugenics Sterilization Program to combat this issue. There were casualties as a result of this program. The Elite systematically sterilized financially disenfranchised individuals and families. However, they encountered sabotage from a secret insurgency. A group of Bio Terrorist contaminated the inoculations set aside to protect the Elite from the effects of the eugenics sterilization process. The Elite began to succumb to the infections. This dramatically reduced their population and prevented them from reproducing. Eighty-five percent of the world’s population was decimated. Health problems and diseases became the mainstay. The earth was desolate. Dr. Ted Jacobs’ community was one of just a few pockets of humanity unaffected.

“Eugenics is our cornerstone, methodologically speaking, as our skill in the field is unsurpassed. Hippocorates would be envious of our progress in genetics.” The victim of an apparent epiphany, Ted stops his speech. A phone call momentarily interrupts Ted. Answering the phone, Ted is instantly reconnected with his old and very dear friend Dr. Wateree Raheem. The sound of her voice forms an image of Wateree’s shapely physique in his mind. She is one of the world’s top geneticists. Wateree glows with elegance and class. Her smile lights a fire so warm it feels as though it could ignite the sun. His childhood friend hasn’t aged a day since they graduated from UCLA together. With a tone of sarcastic humor she says, “Jacobs it’s our anniversary.” Ted responds with a chuckle immediately recognizing her sarcasm. He replies, “Whatever it is you’re drinking I need a glass. It might help me understand what the hell you’re talking about.” Wateree replies with a beautiful smile. “Oh my God Jacobs, today marks five years since we were fired from Odd Fellows Incorporated for stealing their shit. Covering for you only cost me my career and blacklisted me as a legitimate geneticist. But, the holding cell was real cozy. Thanks a lot!” Wateree quipped, “Getting interrogated by the FBI was awesome.” Ted gives a contemptuous smile and shrugs it off with a laugh.

Since their first meeting in middle school, Wateree has always possessed this sardonic wit about her. “Look at you Ted Jacobs, you’re the Dr. Frankenstein of this century. Do you know what happened to Dr. Frankenstein in the story?” Ted responds with a slight laugh. “Well edify me Ms. Ph.D. of classical literature, as a matter of fact, I don’t want to know.” “As a matter of fact, have you checked to see if your genealogy matches.” A deep sigh and a roll of the eye, Ted tries to refocus his attention on his presentation. “Ted, I’m just a little worried about you. I’m just trying to keep you from doing life in a Federal Penitentiary. We were lucky as hell to get away from that Odd Fellows situation with just a public reprimand and official resignation. Odd Fellows really wanted to put a foot in your ass for stealing their stuff; and, one in mines for covering for you.”

Ted gives a sobering sigh, “Well all jokes aside, Wateree, I want to apologize to you sincerely for running you under the gun like that. I know I have told you this in the pass but I’m sorry for what happen. However, today I’m offering you my formal and sincere apology. I owe you more than the world. You’ve saved me more times than you should have.” Wateree offers up a grin, “Jacobs your actions and courage was all the apology I ever needed. You took a bullet in the chest for me when that security guard at Odd Fellows caught me hacking into that Project Moon File. Saving my life trumps any words of apology any day of the week. Ted there’s just one thing though, the next time you decide to steal something that’s going to have the FBI with guns in our faces please let me know in advance.” Laugher echoes in the room.

“Now that all the apologies are out of the way, I need to show you what I put
together for your presentation to United States Government Incorporated.
I named the program Genetic Resurrection because of the impressive bio hacking
you did with the physical D.N.A. Translating that into a computer holographic
model was a pain; nevertheless, the model turned out fantastic. Before
your head swells up from the compliments, I want to remind you that we are taking
a serious chance introducing the D.N.A strain we stole from Odd
Fellows. What I did was edit the gene code so we can’t be arrested for corporate
espionage or worse.”

“Ted, I want to remind you that we are up against some fierce competition. I
recently found out that Parenthood Biological Generation threw their hat in
the ring for this contract. My contacts told me that they have seen drone
surveillance of some guys setting up their equipment at the Jamestown River.”
Ted was taken aback, “Parenthood Biological Generation! Wait a minute, that’s a
sister branch of Odd Fellows,” Ted exclaims! Wateree replies,
That’s right Ted, I’m giving you a heads up. My father use to tell me,
“Wateree, know who you’re dealing with and don’t offend the wrong person.
There are many different kinds of people in the world and you can never assume
that everyone will react to your strategies in the same way. Deceive or
out maneuver some people and they will spend the rest of their lives seeking
revenge. They’re wolves in lambs’ clothing. Choose your victims and opponents
carefully, then never offend or deceive the wrong person. Dad preached this to me
until I almost gagged on it.” Ted replies arrogantly, “Wait until they get a
load of what I got. I didn’t tell you but I recovered that ancient D.N.A.” Wateree
squeals with excitement, “Ted you’re amazing, that D.N.A is a game changer. Not
only will we be able to end this sterilization issue but we’ll be resurrecting the
original inhabitants of earth. Their D.N.A contains the answers to
all civilization’s problems in a nut shell.” Ted smiles with a look of confidence.
“Don’t ask me how I got it but I can assure you that we won’t have to worry about
the FBI. The only thing is that we have to hurry because this ancient
D.N.A is vulnerable and breaks down rapidly. Sunlight also has a negative effect
on it.

An entire year has passed. Ted and Wateree lock their eyes on a placenta bag
hanging in his cold laboratory. The bag explodes releasing blood and fluids.
Wateree in a humble voice says, “there he is.” Ted screams, “We did it Wateree,
there’s our Adam.”