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Future Imperfect

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Chaunte:
I have just self-published my first book!

The link is:  http://www.lulu.com/content/136946

Imagine being mistaken for your twin; the one that is a homicidal maniac.  Picture an Earth ruled by women, and men were an endangered gender.  These are two of the stories in "Future Imperfect."  If our past and present are imperfect, why should our future be any different?

Let me know what you think!

Chaunte

Chaunte:
Allow me to give you a couple of teasers....

Chaunte

                                     Twins

Richard Adams ran through the corridor, his feet sounding like drums on the pavement; but the sound of his straining heart was even louder in his ears.  Ahead was an alcove that might provide a moment’s shelter from the mob.  He desperately needed someplace to catch his breath and collect his wits.

An hour ago, Adams was a respectable citizen.  He lived a quiet, nondescript life as a bachelor.  Now, he was called a dangerous criminal that the police wanted alive, but the newscasters suggested that dead was just as acceptable.  The angry mob chasing Adams was only too happy to aid in the search.

Adams had to agree with what the press was saying.  It was a terrible, monstrous crime that had been committed.  The perpetrator deserved a slow painful death.  Any other time, Adams would have joined the crowd.

This time, though, they had the wrong person.

It has been said that identical twins will not have identical personalities.  One twin might be more outgoing than the other.  One may even be aggressive while the other is submissive.

When a clone twins, the personality split can be much more dramatic and damning.  Richard Adams was one such twin.

The intentional twinning of clones had been universally outlawed because of the personality splits.  On occasion, however, a clone would twin naturally.  These ‘natural’ twins had an even chance of developing normally.  This was the hope of the Adams and the government.

A close watch was kept on the boys, Richard and Randall.  At first, they gave all the signs of being typical kids.  Their parents started to relax and think that their prayers had been answered.  Then the incidents started to happen around the neighborhood.

At first, there were the normal push down fights that all little boys get in to.  No one ever got hurt more than a scratched knee or a bruised elbow.  Then Randall decided to teach a neighborhood kid a lesson.  He broke the boy’s arm by stomping up and down on it until the appendage was shattered beyond repair.  The boy’s older brother took his anger out on Richard.

The story made both national and world headlines.  Many news commentators and religious leaders called for the immediate ban on human cloning.  An angry crowd gathered outside the Adams’ house and kept watch for Randall.

In the predawn hours, officers from the National Center for Cloning Studies came and took Randall away.

Richard would visit his brother twice a week at the NCCS hospital where they would spend the day in play.  Words were seldom used between them, yet they had great fun together.  As Richard grew older, he would come once a week and then once a month.  By the time Richard finished college, he never stopped by at all.

Even so, Richard would say that there was still a connection between them.  He always knew when his brother had a good or bad day.

Now, somehow, his brother was free from the psychiatric unit where he had been confined for so many years.  The first thing Randall did was kill a young girl through vivisection.  The still beating heart had been left on the doorsteps of a police building.  There were traces of Adams’ DNA on the heart.  The government denied that Randall had been set free, so the police wanted to find Richard Adams as soon as possible.  A mob had gathered to help with the search.

Adams had to find his brother before the mob and police found him.



                                The Mission

Present Day – The Mission

Liam O’Connor tried to ignore the sound of boots coming up the stairwell as he lay in bed.  A woman’s voice called his name, but he tried to pay it no heed.  There was no escaping the firm nudge on the shoulder and the flashlight in his eyes.  The light was painfully bright, even with the heavy red filter over the lens.  He shielded his eyes from the glare and asked what time it was.

“Oh-four hundred hours,” the soldier whispered.  “The Lieutenant wants to see you as soon as possible.”

He studied the face before him.  It was both quite feminine and all military.  O’Connor said that he would be down in a moment and the soldier left.  He carefully rolled to sit on the edge of the bed.  It had been a rough night for his wife Anne and he didn’t want to wake her if possible.

“… you getting up…?” Anne mumbled half asleep.

O’Connor leaned over and kissed her cheek.  “You stay in bed and get some rest.  I have to go check the weather.”

He slipped on his trousers and went downstairs.

The house was busy albeit dark.  There was a constant rustle of people downstairs.  Lights were kept low and heavy curtains covered the windows.  Conversations were muted, as if their own voices would give away their position.  Secrecy was paramount.

O’Connor walked into what used to be the kitchen, poured a mug of coffee for himself and surveyed the room.  There were well over a dozen women in the room, all soldiers.  Most were busy behind computer screens.  A few were standing guard by the door, their weapons in hand and ready.  All of them wore the look of seasoned warriors.

“Good morning, Lieutenant,” he said quietly, finding the person he was looking for.  “How does it look?”

“Good morning, Captain,” Hawkins replied.  “You might want to have an extra mug of coffee.  It looks like we are going to have a busy day.”

“It looks that good?”

“The forecast is right on target,” she said.  “Let me show you what we have.”

They walked over to a large computer monitor displaying satellite images.  Hawkins started pointing out the important weather features on the screen.  A squall line was clearly making its way across the countryside.  They had no more than three hours before the storms would hit.

“How intense is the lightning?” O’Connor asked.
“It’s already in the one to two gigavolt range,” she replied.  “Perfect range for opening the portal.”

“There is nothing like a Midwest thunderstorm,” he said.  “Any storm rotation?”

“Possibly.  Infrared satellite images are not as good as Doppler radar, but it appears that there are at least three mesocyclones coming this general direction,” Hawkins said as O’Connor studied the display.  “I don’t think we could have asked for a better storm system.”

“I think you’re right,” he replied.  “Is it safe to eyeball the weather?”

Hawkins turned to a young NCO next to her for the answer.  The corporal scanned her readouts and nodded her approval.

“Nothing on the infrared scanners, ma’am,” she replied.  “Outside of a few rabbits, the motion detectors are quiet.  We have a sixteen-minute window before the next surveillance satellite passes over.  If you are going out, now is the time to do it.”

“Very good,” Hawkins said.  “We’re going outside, people!”

All the lights went out and three soldiers joined the two officers at the door.  The sharpshooters took a defensive position around the patio as they stepped outside.  It seemed like overkill to O’Connor.  Hawkins, however, had also drawn her sidearm and kept one eye on the perimeter as she, too, scanned the skies.

The sun had not yet crested the horizon.  The few remaining stars were fading in the growing light.  The tops of nearby clouds were golden, telling of the coming dawn.  Even without the sun, the air was warm and laden with moisture.  Not a breath of wind could be felt moving across the plains.

The tops of thunderheads could be seen on the distant horizon.  On occasion, lightning would illuminate a storm cell.  O’Connor estimated that the storms could easily be topping out at over 50,000 feet.  He could already imagine the turbulence he would be facing.  This was going to be a violent flight.

“This looks like the one we’re after,” Hawkins finally said.

“It does indeed,” O’Connor replied.  He looked across the field at the tarp-covered aircraft hidden among some trees.  “The birds are ready?”

“Fueled and armed,” she said.  “I still think you should be taking a gunship instead of your O-2.”

O’Connor just smiled and shook his head.  Hawkins did the same.  They had been through this argument numerous times.  She changed the subject and asked about Mrs. O’Connor.

“Anne didn’t sleep worth beans last night,” he replied.  “Between the baby kicking and this mission…  Well, she has a lot on her plate right now.”

“She knows then?”

“Some, but I’m sure she has guessed the rest,” O’Connor said as he took a sip of his coffee.  “She’s a smart lady.  You don’t get into her position with the Resistance unless you have good instincts.”

“The medics say that her pregnancy is going well.  Looks like a healthy baby boy.  First one in a long time.”  She looked over at O’Connor and noticed the expression on his face.  “I’m sorry you’re going to miss it, Liam.”

“So am I, Diane,” he said softly.  “So am I.”

The door opened and the First Sergeant came out.  “Intel report just came in, Lieutenant.  Corporal Barns asked me to remind you that the next satellite pass is in five minutes.”

“We’re on our way,” she said.  “Everyone back inside.  Captain, you better get yourself ready.”

O’Connor took one last look, and then led the procession inside.

“Begging your pardon, ma’am, but I’m a little worried about the captain,” the First Sergeant whispered once O’Connor was out of earshot.  “My experience with males is that they run away from trouble pretty quick.”

Hawkins eyed the soldier carefully.  “Tell me, First Sergeant.  What do you know about Captain O’Connor?”

“Just what we’ve been briefed, ma’am.”

“I see.”  Hawkins considered her words carefully.  “Let’s just say that the captain has seen more action these past two years than either of us have in our careers.  He has earned the respect and admiration of the Prime Minister herself.”

“If you say so, ma’am,” the soldier countered.  “But captain?”

“That is his rank,” Hawkins answered.  “It was awarded by the United States Air Force.  And I better start seeing some respect for his rank.”

Hawkins turned to go back inside, then added, “This male is as tough as any woman I’ve ever known.”

Shelley:
Congratulations Chaunte,

Do you know if and when the book will be released in Australia. I have never read the works of someone I have known other than those of fellow academics so I think it would be fun to read the book of someone that you know.

Shelley

Chaunte:
Shelley,

Thank you!

Right now, "Future Imperfect" is in a contest being sponsored by the Xerox corporation ro push their on-demand printing technology.  That contest ends in a couple of weeks.  Once the contest is over September '05, I will be getting an ISBN number that will place the book on Amazon.com.  This version will, regretably, will be under my male personna.  (Friends & family issues.)

If you were to click on the lulu webadress, that should bring you right to the link where you can purchase the book now.  I will be keeping this version under my female name. 

I'll be honest and say I don't know if they ship overseas.  If not, let's talk offline and I can send you a copy. 

The only question I have is whether to include a photo of me (Chaunte!) on the back cover or not!   :o :o :o

Chaunte

ps.  What do you teach?

Shelley:
Hi Chaunte,

It looks like I can order the book from Lulu and they will post it to me.

As to what do I teach. My academic life revolves around issues to do with adult education particularly vocationally based adult learning experiences. I am presenting a paper at an international conference in Sydney later this year on the effects of an organisation's management appoaches on the recognition of prior learning for new members to those organisations.

No where near as exciting as writing fiction but then we can't have everything can we.

Shelley

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