My clone was me.
It was freaky, like looking at a mirror with a mind of its own… No, that metaphor sucks. How about this: It was weird, like watching a video of myself or hearing a recording of my voice. I felt awkward, slightly embarrassed seeing him interact with the world. My denial mechanisms kicked in. I don’t sound like that do I?
Jeeze, I was a goofy-looking kid.
Anzel took a deep breath and closed his eyes as the cooling fans whined down, mentally calming himself with a meditation technique he’d learned in Tibet 3,000 years ago. A three-dimensional model of the student’s brain slowly rotated in the space beside the chair, the infusion of accelerant stem cells still swarming around it like bees around a hive, working overtime to finish all the last-moment neural connections necessary to accommodate the wealth of data the organ was struggling to soak up. In a few days, they would implant the network connection to remote data storage that would serve as a cognitive prosthesis for all the data soon to come.
The model vanished. The student had died, and now the system was resurrecting him.
Crunch, the sound shook him out of his thoughts. He turned his head to where the doctor was working, but could only see part of her back from behind the surgical screen. One mechanical hand was missing from the tray, and his eye focused on the remaining left hand’s hollow wrist with the long thick screw in the center, contemplating its design.
Crunch, he understood it. A few loud popping noises followed and he remembered the sounds of having his wisdom teeth pulled. What a mechanical wonder the human body was, chemicals and electricity, bones and muscles.
“Technically you’re a parasite,” I shot back. “You implant fertilized eggs in the female uterus, a clone of yourself. You’re like a cuckoo, putting your egg inside another bird’s nest, forcing our women to raise your offspring, who will grow up to exploit other women. That’s parasitic.”
“Technically,” Daniel corrected without a hint of animosity, “we are exoparasitoids, and it’s not something we are ashamed of.”