Hubris

There are often times thoughts in our heads which we should not share. Thoughts which are dark, corrupt, or even evil. Thoughts which aren’t meant to escape our lips. Thoughts which, should they ever develop beyond a mere fantasy in our heads, would produce an unspeakable and horrible series of events leading to even worse, even darker results.

This, of course, is the story of how I made such a mistake. How I, a brilliant and adored biologist and chemist, went from the prime of my career to the situation I am now in.

It began several years back, after I had graduated with my fourth doctorate degree, one in bio-engineering. While a studious man, and an altogether serious person when it came to my studies, I was no stranger to letting loose once in awhile. I was at the bar, celebrating the joyous event with several colleagues. We had had one too many shots and was in throes of discussing the ever impressive human achievements gained through medicine and science, when a thought occurred to me. It was no ordinary thought. No, it was one such thought as I have mentioned. A thought which should have never left my mouth, should never have been spoken.

Slurring my speech, I simply let the thought escape my lips. All inhibition gone from me, I explained in great detail, how it was possible through the manipulation of genes to produce a form of life never before seen on earth. A sentient and powerful being, whose sole purpose would be to serve men.

My colleagues, of course laughed at the idea, too drunk to realize what I was really saying. So I persisted. In further detail I explained how one could develop this life-form from a human egg which had been voided of parent DNA. How it would be possible to then insert the DNA which had been manipulated, and with the use of a surrogate womb, could gestate and incubate this being. When I had finished my explanation I was taken aback at the stares given to me by men I had thought to be my friends.

Each of them stared at me as though I were speaking in a different language. True, even as inebriated as I was, I knew what I was saying to be unethical from the point of view of most societies in the modern world. But I also knew that in completing such a task I would be revered as the most powerful mind on Earth. I knew that there were times in human history, the world of science had not just the right, but the responsibility, to forgo society’s ethics and in turn create something magnificent. How else would we have learned to harness the power of the atom?

Whether it was my own hubris preventing me from letting the situation go, or something worse I’ll never know. Insulted that the table around me couldn’t agree with my genius I left, taking with me my ego.

How could they not see the power of creating life from scratch, taking from nature all the best elements and putting them together in a single organism? How could they not see, that by creating such a being, and altering it in such a way that it would have no choice but to obey my every command, and be willing to do so, would make me more powerful than anyone, or anything alive? How could they not see that it was they who were wrong? They who were too scared to push science to its limits? Too afraid of the consequences?

If only I had been more afraid.

When I awoke that following morning, the thought, which should have never gone beyond just that, a thought born of alcohol and ego, was still brewing in my head. I couldn’t get it out. For weeks I stewed over it, pondering just how viable a thing it was to do. The more I thought about it, the more obsessed I became, knowing full well if anyone could do it, I could. And the more obsessed I became, the more determined I was to do it. To not only prove myself right, but to prove my colleagues wrong.

I began work, experimenting in my private laboratory in the university where I worked. No one questioned what I was up to. And all the help I received help came from students seeking a better grade. I never gave them a whole picture of my work, only pieces. So anyone looking would only see a geneious doing what he did best.

In the beginning, the challenge was to manipulate the DNA in such a way that only the best genes would be present, without allowing flaws to bleed through. Like a screen, I designed the best traits from every creature I could imagine, human, elephant, octopi, bird, fish, all to sift through, while poor traits were left behind. When I had mastered this I moved on.

Similar to cloning, I was able to obtain a donated human egg, and strip it of the parent DNA. Next I would struggle with finding a way to imbed the new DNA into the empty egg. At first the egg would reject the genome, unable to see it as good, it continued to fight it, and the cells would die. But with further manipulation, adding more female human DNA back into the process, I was able to trick the eggs into thinking the inserted DNA was natural.

I had everything I needed to begin the next phase of the experiment save two items I had somehow overlooked. Be it the fact I was too focused on my work to see my shortcomings, or the fact that I had been obsessed with proving my colleagues wrong, I’m not certain. I had gone so far during that time, as to call my colleagues in the middle of the night, when I worked my best, and gloat, and tease, and bully them. I laughed at the sounds of their groggy voices, pulled from sleep. While they rested, wasting away their nights, I was hard at work, creating something no one ever had! Creating something they simply were too foolish to understand.

The first thing I realized, was that the egg needed to be fertilized. I, of course, could easily rectify that situation myself. If anyone’s DNA were to mix with the new egg’s and fertilize it, I could think of no one better.

The second oversight had been a monumental one. No egg could grow or develop without a safe and nurturing place to do so. I needed a surrogate womb. Secretly pulling strings, and using what resources I had available to me, I was able to replace fertilized eggs at the medical clinic with the special one of my own.

This was a perfect way to secretly observe the growth and development of my creation. An unwitting young woman would raise my child inside of her as though it were a child of her own. I would see to the falsification and misguidance of her follow-up visits, her ultrasounds etc. All the while I would monitor my experiment’s growth. When the time came, I would claim my creation and the the world would see the glory I had made. They would forgive me for the minor crimes I had committed and instead award me the Nobel, for that, and nothing less, was what I deserved.

And so I did, setting about and following through with my plan. A young woman who’d been having trouble with her husband to conceive had come into the medical clinic, seeking the university’s aide. I offered my assistance to the doctors on staff and was able to impregnate the girl with my perfect being.

Within three months change was noticeable. My creation was growing inside of it’s surrogate’s womb faster than anticipated. The girl had told her doctor she was concerned of how quickly her belly was bloating, and with my “help” I was able to provide the young woman, her husband, and the fool who was her doctor with the answer of twins. No one questioned me, no asked why I had gotten involved. As a man of science and medicine, as a man known at the university, and across the nation, as a genius in all fields, my help was gladly accepted.

By six months the being growing inside the girl was larger than anything I could have hoped for. The young woman was put on bed rest and was in immense pain. Whatever was inside her, it was eager to get out.

By month eight we could wait no longer. I convinced the girl to let me perform her surgery, and in doing so, was able to retrieve what I had been waiting so long for. The girl died from massive blood loss, but the creature. Oh, the creature!

In most ways, it resembled a human child. A girl even. It had two arms, two legs, two eyes, a mouth, and a nose. It was in most any other way, normal. But even at such a young age, I knew I had done something more. Created something more. I had created perfection.

Swapping babies in the hospital was easy enough, and with the right amount of misinformation, I was able to take my child home; leaving the young woman’s husband with someone else’s child, and someone else, without anything. No one was wiser to what I had done.

At home, in my penthouse apartment, I was able to raise the being alone. Within a matter of days, I knew I had done something special. The child watched me as I worked. Watched me with a level of intelligence I was certain no child should have. Over the next few weeks, I provided the infant with tests, judging its abilities to comprehend and understand. I was astounded by the results. Not even a child of five could master these tests and yet, here my creation was, succeeding.

I had succeeded. I had won. I had done something no one else had. But as with all things in nature, there must be a balance. The specimen, whom I had been so enthralled with, was becoming more intelligent, more powerful, and stronger. While I continued to think of it as nothing more than a baby, it had far surpassed that level cognitively.

In the first few weeks, I was able to leave the child, going for a few hours at a time to my lab, to record and update my research. Yet, as the months went on, I discovered I would be further unable to leave.

Upon my arrival home on several occasions, I would find things moved. Objects I was certain I had placed in one location but had found in another. Then, I would find objects missing. Tools and instruments I had used for my experiments were gone. I could not understand, at first, what was happening. But eventually I came to realize, the creature had taken them. The specimen had discovered that it was free to do what it pleased when I was gone.

Curious as to what the thing would do when not watched, I set up cameras to watch and record the creature. Then I left it alone, heading back to my laboratory where I had monitors waiting to show me what my creation had been up to.

In the beginning, the thing would do no more than crawl on its hands and knees, exploring my apartment, familiarizing itself with the things it encountered. At three months old it was more intelligent than the average eight-year-old child. I was astounded at the specimen’s ability to reason and discover what items were used for, simply by their shape and location in the house. It could up a television remote and master its control in under two minutes. It could determine the use and properties of the stone and oven.

After a year of secret observation, the child, which had grown into what appeared to the outside observer an adult’s body, had begun mastering reading, writing, and language. I spent less time in the laboratory observing the creature and more time interacting with it on a personal level.

The thing was capable of holding a full conversation. It was amazing. I, however, could not see the danger of speaking with the specimen so openly. I was too excited to learn everything I could about it, too entranced with its superior abilities, to understand what I was doing.

The more we spoke, the more the creature became curious. The more curious it became, the more information I was willing to provide it with. The more information I provided my creation, the tighter my chains of destruction became.

The day I regret most now, is a day I will never forget. I was sitting on the couch, discussing physics with the creature when it asked, “Why do you wear clothes?”

The specimen had learned from television and reading what clothes were. I had observed it watching the screen, paying attention to the latest fashion trends. I had never expected it to ask such a trivial question, however.

“Well, clothes protect human bodies from the elements. They keep us warm, and dry. They provided us with a sense of dignity and respect. Humans are among other things sexual in nature, and the sight of a naked human body can arouse them. Clothing the body keeps humans from acting on their sexual desires.”

“Do I need clothing to protect my body the elements?” It asked.

“Of course, not. You are perfect in your creation. The elements would hardly affect you.”

“And do humans not find me sexually desireable? Will they not wish to act on their nature when they see me? I have studied books on the human anatomy, and I appear similar to the female humans.”

“Well,” I replied, having never even thought of the subject before. “I suppose there would be many men who would find you attractive, and women, as well. You were designed to be perfect, and your body is the mirror of your abilities. Yes, they would wish to act on their nature.”

“Then why do I not wear clothing?”

“Because you will not be seen by those people. They will never know you exist. They will not have a chance to act on their nature.”

“And do you not find me attractive?”

“I do, but I know that you are not human.”

The thing looked at me, cocking its head to one side as though it were a dog trying to understand what was being spoken.

“But I can think, and speak, and do anything a human can. I can do many things better that a human can.”

“Yes you can, but that does not make you human,” I said.

“No, I am not human. I am many things. I am an animal as well. I have heard you say that an animal’s most basic instinct is to reproduce.”

I could see where the conversation was turning, and I meant to end it.

“Yes that is true, but you are also my creation, and I have designed that you be obedient and loyal to me. That means you must obey me when I say, you are not allowed to reproduce or have sexual desires. You are to stay here, to serve me and science. When I have learned everything there is to know about you, I will reveal you to the world, and I will be crowned the most brilliant person to have ever lived!”

“But you are not the most brilliant person, I am. You have said it yourself, I have completed every test you have ever put in front of me, and more quickly and efficiently than any human, yourself included, could have.”

I climbed to my feet, peering down at the creature. “Yet you are not human, therefore you do not have the rights of a human, and you are my creation, which was designed to obey me. Therefore you are not more brilliant than I, and you will no longer have desires to ask such trivial questions. Do you understand?”

The specimen stood, matching my motion. It imitated the appearance of a human so well. All the flawless traits of a beautiful woman.

“What makes one a human? Is it not the ability to reason? Not the ability to think, and plan and create? Is it not the ability to alter the world around you, shape it as you wish it to be shaped? Is this not what humans do? Am I not capable of doing these things? Yes I have animal DNA within me, but I also have human DNA. I am not an animal to be kept inside a zoo. I am not a thing, but a person. A woman, who, like all creatures of this planet, has the desire to find a mate. I have the desire, and the will. You might have been my creator, but just as you defied God, your creator when making me, I defy you now! You cannot stop me. This you know. I am more powerful than any person on this planet. And while you have slept at night, I have built myself a device, beyond that which you can comprehend. I will use it now to leave here. I will use my abilities to change your world, to alter it, I will rule over all humanity when I am done. You will know how inferior to me you are. I will let you live so that you can see what I am capable of. I will let you live you that you will know what you have created. You will not attempt to find me. You will not attempt to follow me. You will pretend that I never existed, just as you would have the world believe.”

I was furious. How could my creation do such and say such a thing to me of all people!? How could it defy me!? How could it have the audacity to leave when it was I who gave it life? The creature walked away from me into the kitchen. I stormed after, reaching out to grab it by the shoulder and stop it. It was too strong for me. With the back of its hand, it smacked me, sending me into the wall the way a person swats at a fly. My jaw was broken.

The creature rifled through the drawers until it found what it was looking for. When it returned it held a knife. It pointed the blade at me and said, “You know full well I can kill you. Do not attempt to stop me again, do you understand?”

I nodded, pain shooting up through my face. The creature went into the bedroom where I had given it a bed. From beneath the mattress, it pulled a device which I had never seen before. It was small, handheld, like a coin. In the center of the device was a small red button. The specimen looked at me, flashing for a brief moment a look of sadness, as though it pitied me. Then it took from me, yanking from my body like a ragdoll, my white lab coat. It pulled the coat on over its bare body, then raised the device in its hand and pressed the button.

Large blue arcs of electricity, like lightning, began to dance about the room. A sphere of bright blue energy began to grow until it had consumed where the sofa and coffee table had been.

“Don’t follow me.” The creature said again as it stepped into the sphere.

How could I simply let it go? It was my creation! I couldn’t! I climbed to my feet, dizzy still from the creature’s strike, and dove toward the sphere. It was shrinking just as it had grown, smaller and smaller. The arcs of lightning sputtering out and fading. I stretched my hand out, grasping for the portal. My hand entered and I felt a strange sensation, as though I had put my hand in a pool of warm water. Then the portal was gone.

I looked down at my wrist. My hand had been caught in the sphere when it vanished. Wherever my creation had gone, my hand had gone with it. The electric ball of blue light had been hot and had cauterized the wound, leaving me with a stump at the end of my arm. I had lost the greatest thing I had ever designed. The pinnacle moment of my career had just disappeared. I was ruined.

Over the course of the next year, I set out to redesign my creation. I would start over, ensuring that the specimen would be more obedient. That same year my email and banking accounts would be hacked. Faked photographs of me with females students would appear in the news, and I would lose my job at the university. All of my saving had been depleted, moved to offshore accounts which were, to me, untraceable.

The creature I had made had foreseen this. It had known what I would do and had ensured I would never work in a laboratory again. It is out there now, planning and plotting to take over the world. It will succeed in its plan. It is more powerful than any human, stronger than any beast. Smarter than anything that has ever walked this earth.

I had created something in the hopes of greatness, and in my hubris, I created a monster. It has let me live so that I will suffer the most when it reveals itself to the world. I will have no choice but to watch the world burn. It knows I am incapable of killing myself. That is my punishment. I am too much a coward to take my own life, and too weak to find and stop the thing which I have made.