Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

WEP/ISWG August Challenge - A Change of Heart

The WEP (Write, Edit, Publish) Challenge so generously hosted by Denise Covey and Yolanda Renee is back.  Olga Godim and Nilanjana Bose have joined the team, providing welcome support to the doughty duo and adding to the wealth of ideas and talent.  Yolanda is not well and has been taking time out.  Sadly, the next challenge is her last.  She will be missed.

However, from this month WEP has joined forces with the IWSG (Insecure Writer's Support Group).  The collaboration will bring very welcome support to the WEP administrators and will also attract more entries.  And this greedy reader is loving that thought.




This month's challenge is A change of Heart.  Fiction, non-fiction, photography and poetry are welcome, which gives us a lot of scope.

Aren't Olga's badges stunning?


If you visit here and click on any names with a DL next to them you will be taken to some wonderful pieces.   As always I will marvel at the other participant's creations.  If you do visit, please leave comments to encourage the writers.  A little encouragement never goes astray.

Despite feeling intimidated by 'real' writers I am throwing my hat in the ring again.  I should also stress that I have never received anything but kindness and support from the other participants.

I have no idea where this tale came from, but it was insistent it be told...



***

Nine


Nicholas and Samuel (never Nick and Sam, no short cuts for this pair) are driven, perfectionists and high achievers.  Anything less is lazy, second rate,  and to be avoided at all costs. Their child, their most important joint creation, has to be perfect in every way before she is launched on to the world.

Millions of dollars and decades of gruelling work have gone into this project.  Secrecy has been paramount and no one other than Nicholas and Samuel is privy to all the details.
 
Chromosomes have been mapped and harvested.  Genes spliced.  Politicians, educators, scientists, surgeons, psychologists, historians, trend setters and carefully selected anonymous donors have contributed.  Most are unaware that there is a project and none know its extent.      

Nicholas and Samuel have provided the vision, and they have carefully ensured that the accolades and credit will be all theirs. 
  
Practicality and economies of scale demanded that each potential child be raised with her competitors.   Intelligence is of course a prerequisite.  Each child receives the same education and training, and is subject to the same rigorous testing.

Their education is not limited to academic subjects.  All are financially literate, politically and socially aware and versed in diplomacy.  Their artistic and musical exposure has been broad.  They are supple and fit, but not athletic.  They have been encouraged to study fashion and develop their own style.  Outlandish is a fatal flaw. Distinctive and memorable is essential. 

The field on which they play (and must excel) has been artificially levelled.  In the distance, but getting closer by the day, is the pinnacle they must climb.  The route is unclear, and what they take from their education may map the way. 
 
'Healthy competition' said Nicholas, as they watched from the gallery.  Samuel agreed, adding 'With the bonus of clear warnings about the price of imperfection.  This weekend is the decider, which they know.  Three left from the original eighteen.  A high attrition rate I suppose, but perfection is rare, valuable and worth sacrifices. '  

Each child is known and addressed only by their version number.   The chosen child will receive a name.  The current  Versions believe some variation of Kameela (which means perfection) will be the name one of them is awarded, before the remainder are culled.  Adiah (or prize) is another possibility.

Nicholas and Samuel agree that Version Nine is perhaps the most promising to date, but Eleven and Three cannot be written off.  Earlier Versions have not been wasted.  Constant rigorous evaluation has charted success and identified and eradicated physical, mental or emotional imperfections.  Version Eight's heart and lungs were perfect, and now serve Nine.  Three has one kidney from Two  (Eleven has the other) and another from Five.  Nine retains her liver, but Eleven and Three both have replacements. 

Components from other Versions which were of an acceptable standard and re-usable have been kept in storage.  They will be disposed of with the other failed Versions when the decision is made.  
  
The height and body mass of all three contenders is now perfectly acceptable.  Their features are regular and pleasing.  Skin tone and colour are flawless. Teeth are regular, white and cavity free.  Wasted or unnecessary organs like tonsils and adenoids have been discarded. 

The She who is selected will have no need to reproduce in outdated and old fashioned ways.  The organs and hormones required are prone to failure and a needless distraction.  They have been removed.     The capacity for sexual activity has been retained.  Sex can be a very useful tool.  All current versions are fully trained and expert in its application.

Of course Nicolas and Samuel have eyes and ears to watch and report back about the Versions' activities. 

You are such a comfort to me.  Am I mad, or are you really here?  I cannot see you, but I can hear you and I can feel your heart pounding. They would discard me if they knew. 
 

          Of course you can feel my heart.  It is in your chest.  And is your heart now, as it always was.

Not mine, but ours.


          It is exciting isn't it?  Exciting, but frightening because we are still in danger.  Their project is nearly at an end, and ours  about to begin if all goes well. 

They see themselves as omnipotent.  All powerful.  All knowing.  Luckily they are poor at reading body language, or interpreting emotional cues and cannot read thoughts.


          Of course not.  Why would they try?  We are not and have never been human to them.  Cattle can only feel fear and hunger.   We have certainly been given both.  We cannot think.  We cannot plan.  One, and one only of us will be useful.  The rest are extra to requirements.
 
Three days or less now.  I do hope I/we can triumph.  So close, but there is no room for error. 


          Perfection.  Prize.   How little they know.  Nemesis or Justice are better names.  

I promised Eleven and Three that if I am chosen they will be avenged.  In full.  The promise was made mentally because I cannot risk it being misused, but will be honoured. 

My vengeance will be for them, and those who have been rendered down into  components (including you, heart of my heart).  Not forgetting those who, like our anonymous mothers, were simply discarded as worthless.
   
Justice will be sweet, and Nemesis will be unexpected, swift and merciless.  You are Justice and I am Nemesis.




Word Count: 903

Full Critique Acceptable.


142 comments:

  1. Hi EC - well that is very thought provoking ... and interesting concept on life to be. Nicholas and Samuel are too involved and can only see the end line, not realising that Version Nine is cleverer than them. Loved it - fun take on Change of Hearts ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Hilary Melton-Butcher: I do hope that Version Nine is cleverer than Nicholas and Samuel. So much.

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  2. Oh! I like that it did not run on beyond the word count; it leaves me free to draw my own Nemesis.
    Well done.

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    1. dinahmow: I am wondering what your Nemesis would look like. Rather a lot.

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  3. I love the concept of this, not least because I can see things like this happening in the not too distant future.

    I for one don't believe in perfection - everyone and everything has flaws. That's what makes life interesting.

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    1. Laura Clipson: Perfection (particularly the sort that Nicholas and Samuel aspire to) is so very subjective. And fortunately not achievable.

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  4. I think I need to come back and read this in the morning.

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  5. A frightening concept! Enthralling story and well told. I almost burned dinner, I had to get to the end. You are a 'real' writer, each and every entry proves that!

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    1. Yolanda Renee: Thank you so much. Nearly making you burn dinner is an incredible compliment and backs up what I have said about the amazing support I have received.

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  6. I really liked it. I can almost see this happening.

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  7. Wow. They deserve vengeance, i hope they get it.

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  8. This is very provocative. Please don't ever suggest you're not a real 'writer.' I agree with Yolanda. (I just noticed - in the middle of this comment - she said the same.)

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    1. Rawknrobyn: I am a reader and a dabbler. And so grateful for the support that the real writers provide.

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  9. Heh... Nemesis and Justice. Love it. The thought of what she/they will accomplish sends a chill up my spine - and puts a big grin on my face! Awesome concept.
    As others have said, you are every bit an accomplished and imaginative writer! Well done to you!

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    1. River Fairchild: If Nine is selected Nicholas and Samuel may not be the only ones to get a shock. Watch out world?
      And huge thanks for all yur support.

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  10. So much to ponder! Anything but shallow, my dear!

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    1. Cloudia: Thank you. I hope your ponderings take you along pleasant paths, but fear the opposite may be true.

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  11. "A change of heart" has taken on an entirely new meaning after reading this. It's wonderful, and frightening, and hopefully will never come to pass. Your ideas and writing never fail to entertain, EC.

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    1. jenny_o: There are some scary corners in my head. I too hope this never, ever becomes real.

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  12. Oh my, what a thriller. I love the formatting. It added so much to the tension. This is quite a doozie. Justice is sweet.

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    1. Ann Bennett: Thank you. I struggled with trying to find a way for Eight's voice (if it is her voice) to be heard. Justice (and her close relation karma) certainly is sweet.

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  13. "Despite feeling intimidated by 'real' writers I am throwing my hat in the ring again."

    What do you mean?? This was fantastic...and horrifying. You know, there are people in our world who would do this. If they could.

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    1. Sandi: I wish I could say that it is complete fiction, but we are some steps down that path already. Hopefully we won't take more steps.

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  14. I can see this happening ... behind closed doors ... until the final reveal.

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  15. This is a disturbing and thought-provoking tale. Creators need to be careful and never underestimate their creation. If they do, they may pay dearly for it. Nicely done!

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    1. L.G. Keltner: Thank you. I do hope that Samuel and Nicholas DID underestimate their creations.

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  16. The Greeks gave us yet another good word...hubris.

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    1. dinahmow: They did. And it has brought down many a Nicholas and a Samuel in its time.

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  17. Thought provoking and a little too close for comfort. We are probably closer to this than most of us realise. Well done as always!

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    1. Nilanjana Bose: Thank you. I am sure we are closer to this than people realise. All done for the very best of reasons but...

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  18. Words fail me. I am stunned. This is beautiful and horrifying all at once. Woman reduced to someone's idea of perfection?

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    1. River: Scary isn't it? And, as I said in response to an earlier comment, perfection is such a subjective thing.

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  19. and I agree with the others here, you are definitely a writer!

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    1. River: Thank you. Some day I may believe that.

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  20. Dear EC
    I really enjoyed this story (I agree with the comments above, you are definitely a writer). Thought provoking and clever to have all points of view. My sympathy is with the creations, not creators, just as you meant it to be. Frankenstein for the modern age, perhaps?
    Best wishes
    Ellie

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  21. Ellie Fostet: Thank you. After all Samuel and Nicholas's work you sympathise with the Versions? What is the world coming too? (I am of course glad.)

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  22. Hi Sue, I've left this too late at night and my eyes are on sticks. A lot to ponder so I will return in the morning. You really must stop considering yourself not a 'real' writer. You couldn't be much more 'real'. Really! We love having you writing/reading for WEP!

    Denise

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    1. Denise Covey: Thank you. I am looking forward to your return and critique.

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  23. EC - love, love, love - so wonderfully creative. What chills you gave me as the story slowly unfolded and then, the denouement - the slow unfolding of the hope inherent in the horror. Full marks.

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    1. Kalpanaa M: Thank you so much. I am still not convinced that the hope will be realised...

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  24. Your story is fascinating. Two scientist experimenting as they try to create the perfect person. In many ways they have lost their own humanness and the ability to relate to people with the many atrocities that they have committed.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G

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    1. Pat Garcia: They kicked their own humanity to the curb early. As I believe many high flyers do.

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  25. Oh this is brilliant!
    How can you possibly consider yourself not a 'real' writer, when you produce work like this?!
    This really drew me in...and kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end!
    It is a literary masterpiece!! :))

    Hugs.

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    1. Ygraine: If you read the other contributions you will see just why I consider myself less than the talent on display. But thank you. Lots.

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  26. EC, you should run with this and turn it into a full fledged manuscript.

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    1. Sandra Cox: Thank you. High praise coming from an accomplished and prolific writer.

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    2. I loved it. The word chilling comes to mind...in the best possible way:)

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    3. Sandra Cox: We live in a scary world don't we? I do worry that we are further down this path than is widely known.

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  27. You have such a wonderful way with words via comments, blogging and writing. What a wonderful gift! Hugs...RO

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    1. RO: I am so very grateful for the warmth and support I have found in the blogosphere. Humbled and grateful. Hugs.

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  28. Very well written! You had me from the first sentence all the way through to the last word. I agree with Sandra Cox that you should develop this idea to its conclusion and the characters will tell you where that point is. And thinking you're not a REAL writer? Well, from one insecure writer to another, just STOP that thought process--immediately if not sooner! It's not even a little productive or useful to your sanity. I also agree with other comments that this is far too close to reality, far closer than we realize. This is one of those possible realities that make me glad that I'm old now and probably won't live to see this happen...probably. But you know how I feel about humans. We're really not worth the oxygen we breathe, but that's another discussion. Right now, go write some more. Shoo! Just make it happen! NOW! Go on! :-)

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    1. Laura Culley: I had no idea you ever visited my blog. And then such a wonderful supportive comment lands. And yes, as you know I share many of your feelings about our species. Too many of us are oxygen thieves.

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  29. Oh gosh, this is horrible. To exist in such a cruel place. To be a subject to such cruel masters. I hope the disassembled children would get avenged, and their two smug 'creators' will get what they deserve. They should be utterly destroyed, and their lab smashed. I would lend a hand to whomever does the destroying. A very powerful story.

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    1. Olga Godim: I really didn't set out to write horror, it wrote itself. I am glad that you would happily assist in destroying Nicholas and Samuel.

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  30. Great entry indeed. Would make a great full-fledged book. Can see it happening too, if it isn't in some deep dark corner already, as man likes to play god. But then they usually get struck down, at least in stories.

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    1. Pat Hatt: Snippets of work in this direction IS happening now, and I shudder to think about the dark corners. I do hope that something does strike the self appointed gods down. Quickly.

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  31. Genetic engineering and interchangeable human organs,these guys are mad scientists.Definitely a change of heart when someone plants a new one in your chest. And all for the sake of some distorted idea of perfection. A dystopia I would not want to see coming to pass but an imaginative story.

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    1. Deborah Drucker: Nicholas and Samuel are just a little further down paths we are already familiar with. Paths we accept. I do hope that some brakes are applied.

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  32. The desire to create and control perfection seems never-ending. One of the flaws in the creators is that they will also be discarded once the creations are self aware as this one seems to be. Love this comment on genetic manipulation. On a program the other day, a scientist was saying they can already program in eye colour and other characteristics. Playing with DNA can make it hard in the future to check into your ancestry. . .well done, EC, and it has a scifi element to it.

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    1. D.G.Hudson: I think what scares me most is that we already accept so much which is well on the path to creationism. Accept it, applaud it, encourage it. All with the best intentions of course...

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    1. Jamie Ghione: Good intersting, or bad interesting? I would really like to know.

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  34. Great job, Sue. What you have imagined is quite possible and frightening. I would imagine a future like this is not that far off.

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    1. Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe: I hope not. I really, really hope not. But fear you may well be right.

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  35. This would make a great dystopian novel. I agree with others above that said our society is getting too close to this idea of perfectionism.

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    1. Elizabeth: It is scary isn't it? I hope it stays in the realms of fantasy.

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  36. Persons made these person
    In the future not far
    Will they survive the battle
    as they now are

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    1. desk49: Good question. I don't know. I DO know who I want to survive.

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  37. This futuristic tale is fascinating favouring efficiency over ethics about these poor devils but it seems to me, there will be a price to pay for the creators machiavellian shortcuts.

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    1. Spacer Guy: There has already been a price paid. A high price. I would like to see the charges leveled much more fairly.

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  38. I'm sure it's not unheard of for plotters to be plotting this ultimate in creation. Of course the consequences would be manageable, they always are (not!). The writing is so good!!

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    1. mail4rosey: Thank you. I wish it was unheard of.

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  39. Fantastic writing, a great piece and a wonderful take on the prompt. As other commentators have said, it is thought provoking in many ways.

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  40. Fascinating and enthralling! I couldn't look away if I wanted to, which I did not. I'd be very interested in what happens next! Well done!

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    1. Carolyn McBride: Thank you. What do you think happens next?

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  41. Wow. This is a fantastic piece of writing. My first thought when you wrote about "real writers" was you writes, you are a real writer. You drew me into the story immediately. Love, love, love the "hearts" talking to each other. I have no doubt about Justice and Revenge. I agree that this could easily be expanded into a full-length novel. You are a very good writer.

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    1. Diane Burton: Thank you. I am very glad to hear that Eight and Nine talking to each other works. I worried about that.

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  42. Ooh, I thought it might simply end with the winner, but I love the twist. What a brilliant idea, that the thoughts -- and souls maybe -- can carry through in the transplanted organs and DNA. I wonder what kind of revenge they'll exact?

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    1. Deniz Bevan: It is an intriguing thought isn't it? I love what Nilanjana did with a very similar thought in her piece.

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  43. Hello Sue!
    I agree with the friends comments, you are a writer for sure!

    This post sounds interesting!
    Sorry, but I need to read the post again, because my English is not to good...
    Lots of Hugs to you!

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    1. sonia a. mascaro: Thank you so much for perservering. Your English is MUCH better than any of my snippets of other languages. I could no sooner write in another language than fly.

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  44. That was so cool. Great ending. Didn't see it coming at all! I'm rooting for Justice and Nemesis!

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    1. Tanya Miranda: I think that all of us are hoping that Justice and Nemesis triumph. Everywhere.

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  45. If we were ever to attempt such a thing, I can see the creations turning on the creators in just such a fashion.

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    1. Alex J. Cavanaugh: I hope so. I really hope so. And we are some way down that path now.

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  46. 'Their child, their most important joint creation, has to be perfect in every way before she is launched on to the world.' How many parents of the future are going to think this way? Are we going the way of Frankenstein, which should be taken as a warning not to create 'monsters' with, as Alex said, the creations turning on the creators. Sobering indeed.

    Wonderful entry as always, Sue...

    Denise

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    1. Denise Covey: I am not at all certain who the monsters are in this scenario. We have already gone a long way down this path.
      Thank you so much for your always kind words.

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  47. Shivers. I read this straight after reading about the potential for motherless babies. Shivers.

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    1. Kim: Yes. And I am sorry for inflicting shivers on you.

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  48. you are so blessed with skills of brilliant writing dear EC!

    this was scary yet have faith and hope within

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    1. baili: Thank you so much. Hope is fragile, and needs encouragement.

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  49. Brilliant! I echo all the fine sentiments the others have already expressed. First and foremost, though, you ARE a writer, and a doggone good one. This piece deserves to be published in a magazine or expanded into a book. really. It's terrific. The concept is both chilling and captivating. Great job!

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    1. Susan: Yet another real writer offering kindness and support. Megathanks.

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  50. wow, amazing and scary, we should never underestimate the emotions of those we think we are superior to.

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    1. Linda Starr: Feelings of superiority are dangerous. And often very wrong.

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  51. They'd be better off to perfect AI than use any part human to achieve perfection. There is no such thing as perfection. It's a variable target, dependent on human rationale and judgement. Human flaws and differences promote evolution and adaptation. Differences that may appear atrocious to others could end up saving human kind if they increase adaptation to our changing environment. Anyhow enough of the soapbox, I love your story but want to hear the end!

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    1. Strayer: How would you end it? And I agree, there is no such animal as perfection. None, nada, zip.

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  52. A great read about the dangers of genetic engineering/manipulation. I'm curious to see if you expand on this idea. What will Nine do afterwards? Will it be hunted or will it be free?

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    1. Christopher Scott: Thank you. As I asked Strayer (comment above) how would you end it? Does Nine win the competition? And what does she do afterwards if she does?

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    1. Lowcarb team member ~Jan: Thank you. Have a wonderful weekend.

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  54. Brilliant piece EC, really makes you think and as they say, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

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    1. Denise inVA: Thank you. I would like to see this particular iceberg melt. Quickly.

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  55. i found this thought provoking and scary. Man mmettling again with nature becuase he thinks he knows best but it wil be the downfall of mankind in the end. Have a wonderful weekend.

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    1. Margaret Adamson: Thank you. I scared myself. Hopefully it is only mankind we will destroy, but I fear for the world.

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  56. Elephant's Child, I've read some of your past work and to me, you are a 'real' writer.
    This story just confirms it!

    Knowing that they are a step ahead, I'm wondering what Nemesis and Justice have in mind...
    A wonderful take on the prompt!

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    1. Michelle Wallace: Thank you so much. I am predominantly a reader, and writers have been my hero for many, many years.
      I do hope that Nemesis and Justice triumph.

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  57. I would agree with others, you are a "real" writer. My SIL is also. Not a gift I have, but wish you well. I think it's awesome that writers, and would be writers have the blog platforms to practice or enjoy their craft vs back in the day when many people had stories in their heads, and dreams left un-fulfilled with relying only on "professional type publishing houses".

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    1. Sandy: And a big thank you to you too. I was and am awed by the inspiration and effort that writers bring to their craft. And so very grateful for those who put in the hard yards.

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  58. First off you are a real writer if this is a taste of what you can do. Twisted and clever, unlike the two scientists - they are just twisted, while their 'creations' are clever.

    I got confused by the last para before the telepathic italics, but that is probably just me.

    The piece seems frighteningly topical - the treatment of test subjects like cattle, and the belief that science is above ethics. Isn't too much of what happens today manipulative? You show that SF can be a mirror to society - a warning.

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    1. Roland Clarke: I hope you are feeling better. And huge thanks to you too. That paragraph before Eight and Nine speak was designed as an explanation of why they couldn't talk out loud, or talk to the other Versions (which would severely limit any group plotting).
      I worry (which IS one of my talents) that we are already some way down Samuel and Nicholas's path.

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    2. Okay, that para makes more sense now - I can be a bit distracted. (I blame my neurological disorder LOL)

      Reading the other comments, I fear that many of us feel that we are some way down that path. A runaway train?

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    3. Roland Clarke: I am glad it makes more sense now, and am already pondering ways to make it clearer still.
      I really, really hope that the brakes can be applied to this particular train. Or the tracks blown up.

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  59. Intriguing. I would read a much longer story of this for sure. They don't know what they're getting themselves into.

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    1. Shannon Lawrence: Thank you. I am glad that the premise tempts you.

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  60. Sign me up for the next scene, the one after that, and the one after that. I really enjoyed this story. Yes, it's a cool take on the prompt, but it's also a cool concept in general. Very well done.

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    1. Toi Thomas: Thank you so much. I am so very grateful for the kindness and generous support I receive.

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  61. E.C, you know I'm not a writer, and I have to admit, I'm not really a reader, but this was SO COOL!!! Could you make this into a book? This was so written so well! Lots going on! Big Hugs!

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    1. Magic Love Crow: This is a truly lovely compliment. Thank you. Lots.

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  62. Excellent work here! I feel like I've seen a movie similar to this story. Some "B flick" with no major stars, maybe a made for tv type. I don't know, it just feels familiar to me.

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    1. J Lenni Dorner: Thank you. I am not surprised that there is a movie with a similiar theme. I suspect it was awful though.

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  63. What a thought-provoking and provocative piece. I sends shivers up the spine. Well done!

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    1. Operation Awesome: Thank you. We live in a scary world don't we?

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  64. What a powerful and intriguing piece. It pulled me in right away- with so many underlining tones to things happening in the world today. I do love how it spotlights how ridiculous it is to expect or push children towards perfection.

    I certainly want to know more! What will happen next? Bravo!

    You are definitely a writer. :)
    ~Jess

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    1. DMS ~Jess: Thank you. Perfection has no charm for me. Which is just as well, because it is something I will never attain.

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  65. Congratulations on being shortlisted for the August WEP challenge.

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    1. Toi Thomas: Thank you so much. It was an honour.

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  66. Well done getting deservedly shortlisted, Elephant's Child.

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    1. Roland Clarke: Thank you so much. Since discovering the WEP challenge I have been blown away by the talented writers who participate, and by the generosity and kindness on offer.

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  67. Dear Sue, I've never been a science fiction fan. The nuns didn't encourage it in grade and high school and my college offered no courses in it even though I was a Lit major. Harry Potter and Narnia is as far as I got into something beyond what's the norm.

    Having said that, I want to share with you my response to your story. It scared me. And I think that's why I don't read science fiction, because so often--I've heard--it projects a world that is foreign to what seems so essential to me--mercy and goodness and compassion and empathy.

    While a revulsion was developing in me to the goals of Nicholas and Samuel and the search for perfection (which, as you know from my convent memoir was my undoing), I found myself strangely fascinated by all this. Were we talking about humans or cats or cattle or just what? Were we on another planet or was this Earth at a future time? You had me asking questions about where the story was headed. The story was gripping my attention; I was revulsed but unable to stop reading.

    And then you introduce the change of heart and the beating of a heart that is caught up in the Oneness of all Goodness--the Oneness that connects us all into the deep depths of compassion and love. And you had me then, Sue. You had me!

    Now I can go on, in my own imagination, and think of how all this might end for Heart and for Nicholas and Samuel. There's a novel here.

    Thank you for sharing this. It's such a creative, imaginative, far-reaching piece of writing. Peace.

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    1. Dee: Dear Dee, thank you so very much for such a generous comment. I love the thought of you continuing the story for yourself - and wonder where it will take you. Heartfelt thanks.

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