Volume 2, Issue 1, January 31, 2007|
|The Comfort of Mirrors|
by Thomas Braun
I was on the veranda, sipping absinthe and contemplating the Seine, when I got word that the first clone had killed herself. The lecture circuit had brought me and my lovely wife Rebecca to Paris in late summer. The evening's engagement was a rousing success, and a number of my professional colleagues had prevailed on us to dine with them on the river. The company had been delightful, the wit as sparkling as the champagne. Then the waiter handed me a folded note. I excused myself graciously, walked to a private booth and took the call.
Her name was Alena. She was twenty-three years old, or roughly twice that age in clone years. She was the thirteenth clone of me and the first to have been "flipped" to be female. She worked the night shift at a lab in London. She lived in a small flat in Soho. She kept a ferret. She played the cello. In the small hours of the morning, she had taken a cocktail of pills smuggled from the lab, lain down in her bed, and quietly expired.
I was stunned. There were forty-four clones of me, making mine one of the most replicated private genotypes in the world. In the thirty-three years since my first clone had been decanted, we had never lost a single one, not to mishap, not to disease, not to foul play. And certainly not to suicide. What, I asked myself, went wrong?
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