Science Fiction Drama

The last thing I remember was trying to buy a bag of chips. I chose a gas station towards the edge of the wrong side of town. Those are safer. They don’t usually have the specialized tech.

That’s the hard part about staying alive these days. It’s not getting a chip card, or even a voucher code. You can get those in almost any alley, provided you have something worth trading for. It’s the retinal scanners that you can’t fool. That’s how they can tell.

That’s what makes this world Hell for the clones.

Governments are really so fragile. It only takes one generation, one revolution, to change everything. A charismatic leader with enough drones to hang on their every word rises to the surface, and they play on the division that’s been boiling, like a pot with the lid sealed on. It has to explode eventually. Then after months of bloodshed, after months of military schisms, and martial law, and successions, your whole world is different. 

It’s all over.

And it’s all just beginning.

One of the first three bills they passed was the Clone Eradication Act. Whereas the scientific community has committed such blasphemies in the form of artificial creation; whereas the act of procreation is a sacred deed sanctioned by the joining of man and woman only; whereas the duplication of natural beings is condemned as sacrilege in the eyes of the instituted powers; the process of Human Cloning will be forever abolished, and all living Clones detained in appropriate government facilities for the remainder of their lifetimes.

I am a twin. My parents wanted twins badly. I don’t know why. I never questioned it before. But it was only a matter of money to make it happen. Jared was already there, with his tiny heartbeat, just five weeks old. They went inside, and used Jared to make me. Mom was thrilled, and I was born.

My laboratory record is FILE 2132, but Mom named me Devin.

When the bill was first passed, they tried to hide me. Dad put up a quick wall over the door to the basement, and I guess prayed our neighbors would keep quiet. I lived there for about three months before I heard the ominous knock on the front door. No one we know uses the front door of our house. It had to be someone official.

I didn’t hang around to find out. I grabbed Jared’s wallet and ran. 

His ID got me most places. In the early months, all they checked was an ID. Later on, they started wanting finger prints. Luckily, I don’t have that variation. Being cloned from the donor while still in the womb did that for me, at least. Jared and I have a perfectly matching set of prints. The truth is, there are only two ways to tell us apart.

The retina is the easy way. After the new government tore through the files long enough, they realized the retina is the first point of access that will reveal a clone to them. No matter how carbon of a copy is produced, the retina will be unique 99.9% of the time. Of course, they have to allow for a few errors. Nothing is perfect. Not even science. 

The final assurance is the medical exam. So far, human clones are sterile. It is an anomaly. Of course it’s been proclaimed an act of providence, further revealing the blasphemy of cloning. I always saw it as dumb luck.

They leaned on the retina scan, of course. It would be awkward to make everyone undergo fertility examinations every time they wanted to buy some Cheetos. That’s what I was after. I walked up to the counter with Jared’s chip card, ready to pay. It hadn’t run out of funds, yet. I figured he was still pumping paychecks into it for me. But to my horror, after the cashier rang up the bag, she reached up over her grungy counter, and pulled down a scanner.

“Look here, please,” she instructed, her voice edging artificial from either exhaustion or apathy. I blinked at the scanner. My heart went from 120 to 200bpms in that split second.

“Uh, I’d rather not,” I replied.

“No purchases without a scan,” she continued, still lacking any trace of human emotion.

I looked at the scanner and then at her. “No purchase, then.”

“Have it your way.”

I turned and walked out the dirty glass doors, my stomach rumbling. I should have known to make tracks. Only a clone would refuse a scan, after all. But I was hungry and stupid and tried another station just a couple of blocks away. This one didn’t have a scanner. But by the time I’d inserted the chip card, it seems the authorities were already surrounding the building.

I guess they hit me with a stun. I don’t remember anything except inserting the card, and then blacking out. Waking up on an examination table has told me the rest. They’ve probably already done the necessary tests. I try to sit up, but there is a strap across my chest. Ridiculous. It’s not like every door in this place isn’t card coded, and cameras aren’t in every corner. But, oh well. 

I finally hear the door opening. Strange, though. It’s a knob. A facility like this one should have sliders with bulletproof glass. The sound of heels tap on a linoleum floor, and eventually a young woman is leaning over me.  

She’s Asian, and very pretty. Her black hair is cut close to her chin, and her lips are a deep, glossy red. She smiles as she begins to unfasten the strap.

“Sorry about that,” she tells me. “I was afraid you might roll off the table.”

That doesn’t sound right.

I finally sit up and look around. The room is very plain. There are no cameras. No two way mirrors. The door isn’t even closed. The girl places a hand on my arm to steady me, and I realize my vision does fluctuate a moment, like when the doctor used to dilate my eyes for exams.

“You’ll be fine in just a few minutes, I promise,” she assures me. “It wears off fast.”

“What does?” I finally manage.

“The tranqs. I’m Masuyama, by the way.” She takes my hand and gives it a gentle shake. “My friends call me Yama.”

“I… I don’t understand,” I admit. “Is this the facility?”

“Facility?” For the first time, she’s the one who is confused.

“Yeah, you know… Clones? Eradication?” Her eyes widen in horror, and it hits me. “You’re not with the government, are you?”

Now, she laughs. “Oh, Jesus, no! I’m a clone, just like you, newbie.”

My eyes widen. “Yama, where am I?”

Her lips part in a wide smile. “Welcome to the underground, 2132.”

And just like that, I've been reborn.

October 31, 2022 16:46

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Roger Scypion
07:34 Feb 15, 2023

Fantastic story with a great ending. This story is worthy of a sequel or a novel. Kudos!


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22:58 Nov 15, 2022

What a great ending! I wish your first paragraph was stronger. I was frankly mystified by it all until about the third paragraph.. Most readers won't stay with you that long.


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10:53 Nov 11, 2022

Holy cow! You've packed enough in this story for a George Lucas trilogy. Nice genre hopping! You are Swiss-Army-knife versatile. Best line: "Governments are really so fragile." Yup.


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Graham Kinross
09:51 Nov 11, 2022

This is great, not your usual thing. Great job branching out. Working in different areas will challenge you and improve your writing no end.


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Kate Winchester
18:11 Nov 09, 2022

Great job! I enjoyed your story and I loved the twist at the end. You manage to give us a lot of detail in a short story and it’s a very creative take on the prompt!


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Michał Przywara
21:47 Nov 08, 2022

Very nice! You got me with the end, until "Sorry about that". Definitely thought we were headed for eradication. I also appreciate that the sterile clones "rebirth" each other. Perhaps a subtle FU to the government trying to eradicate them. Any story where an idealistic party gets into power, and then enacts laws to mass murder a specific segment of society, naturally brings to mind parallels with the Holocaust and other similar atrocities. Especially here, where the narrator also had a special hiding place, and then when we look at everyo...


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Kendall Defoe
23:55 Nov 07, 2022

This is brilliant! And I say so as someone who reads very little sci-fi (getting over a prejudice there). I think this could be a real novel...or film!? Keep them coming!


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Nandini Panchal.
17:06 Nov 01, 2022

Sci-fi!! Really, Hannah your skills as a storyteller are growing😊😊. Your stories don't feel like stories, the first person narration actually makes them seem as if a pen pal is telling me their life story. I love how you always combine some deeper meaning in any story!! I'm just confused about one thing: when Yama said "Welcome to the underground, 2132," were they both in the after life? And how does Yama know about Devin's case? 💖💖


22:57 Nov 07, 2022

Nandini :) it's great to hear from you! I'm so glad you liked this one, it was a little different for me. So! The ending is a little ambiguous (forgive me) but what actually happened to Devin was that he was "kidnapped" by other Clones who were hiding together. So the "Underground" refers to an urban definition (a secret group or organization usually evading the government) Hope that helps it make sense! Thank you for reading and commenting!


Nandini Panchal.
04:01 Nov 13, 2022

Yes, now I understood it. Thanks Hannah😊


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Francois K
04:56 Nov 01, 2022

A Hannah sci-fi story! I love it! In my opinion, it is a great genre to shine a light on stories about the underprivileged and the powerless, and I think your story shows that quite well. I feel there are definite shades of Blade Runner, but taking it in a different direction with the clone thing and how they became demonized even though they're basically also human like the rest of us. Interesting about the fingerprint and the retina variations. I learned something new. Great story. Thanks for sharing!


23:01 Nov 07, 2022

I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I don't write a lot of sci-fi but this story just suited this prompt for me. I like to do complex commentary when I can. The world around us is very turbulent right now, it's sadly not too far fetched to imagine circumstances like these eventually playing out (not necessarily with Clones, but you get my meaning) Yes! I did my research for this one! The fingerprint and the retina will be almost totally unique. It was a fun little tidbit to come across. Thank you for reading! <3


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