This is a story that I'm currently working on. It's a sci-fi narrative based on the theory of cloning, and whether the same person would be created if genetic material was used from someone who had died (for example, cloning John Lennon). Would being in a different time create a different person, even though they would be exactly the same genetically? Would it create a completely different person, based on their surroundings (would new John Lennon even be musical?). Would that genetic material also carry with it memories? Probably not, but what if? That's what I based my idea for this story on. The stuff here is the preface and first bit of Chapter 1. I've always liked the idea of having something I've written published, and I think this story has the potential to be a very interesting novel for teens, but also enjoyable for anyone who's a fan of the genre. But I first need to know if this is worth reading. I think it is, but I can only buy so many of my own books. So please send me some feedback on what you think. You can leave it as a comment here, or email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or tell it to me in person. Basically, I'm wondering if this intro is at all interesting and would compel the reader to continue. If so, let me know. If not, why? What could I do to improve it? Also, I'd imagine there's plenty of grammar errors. You can tell me about them too.
Thanks, and (hopefully) enjoy.
“This isn’t legal.”
The doctor ignored him, flipping a switch on a large drum-like object. The machine whirred to life, making a soft electrical hum as it waited for its next orders.
“This is going to destroy everything we’ve worked for!”
The lab coat spun around, revealing the hate and frustration that was spilling from his eyes. “No, to do NOTHING will destroy everything we’ve worked for!”
He abruptly turned back to the machine, and began to insert several petri dishes smeared with a clear-ish gel smeared in their centers. His colleague behind him glared, but he didn’t turn to return the frustration and reveal that he was just as afraid and cynical. There were no guaranteed success. The samples provided were barely enough, since so much had been either charred beyond use or weren’t the parts needed. And if they were caught, it would mean instant death. Not that their involvement with this group hadn’t already ensured that, but this added a new level of fear. They were committing a crime that was outlawed before everything changed. But orders were orders, and it did seem like the best- and only- solution.
The doctor quickly pushed several buttons on the cylindrical machine, causing it to emit a louder, spinning sound from within. The process would take several hours before any development could be observed, so he turned to leave, brushing past the terrified and frustrated colleague, who stood motionless, staring at the whirring machine. The only light and sound in the room, other than the doctor’s brisk footsteps, was emitted by this metallic barrel. The doctor reached the door, pushed the latch open, and took a step out.
“Ihr Geist lebt weiter.”
The doctor paused in the doorway, grabbed by his colleague’s voice. That phrase - their spirit lives on, in English. That’s why they were doing this, the reason that he had signed up in the first place. It was the reason behind every decision he had made in the last five years, even the one to support this undercover, highly risky action. He just never imagined that he would be one of the two selected to design and execute the procedure. As these thoughts rushed through his mind, he took a deep breath and dropped his chin to his chest. “Ihr Geist lebt weiter,” he uttered in reply, then entered the darkness of the hallway.
Gunfire sounded all around him. Explosions ripped through the night air, followed closely by the whizzing of bits of dirt and metal as it flew by the soldier’s heads, occasionally finding its mark with a wet thud. The only way to avoid certain death was to huddle deep in the trenches. Any movement too high was announced with bullet and laser fire. It was chaos, and Captain Arric was running out of options.
They had tried to catch the enemy by surprise, but every attempt was predicted, maybe even already known by their foes. They had tried waiting for a lull in the fire. In fact, they were still waiting. It hadn’t come for three months, since the beginning of this battle. Food and water were low, and morale was even lower. Arric was sure that if they weren’t trapped in this trench, he would have been the only one who would have stayed. That, and if every person associated with him didn’t already have a bounty on their head. But he still had to do something.
Then it hit him. Thankfully, he was wearing a helmet. A shovel had come flying out of the air and slammed against Arric’s head after the latest shell had erupted in another trench ahead of them. They could tunnel to the other side. Maybe. It was beyond risky; it was uncomfortably close to suicide. But what other choice did he have?
Suddenly, a sharp cry cut through the stillness.
Arric jolted awake and found himself. Gone were the explosions, the gunfire, the dark, muddy trenches, and the cries of fear and pain. He was instead placed under the disapproving gaze of a middle-aged woman, whose face was scarred with stress lines. Her eyes were tired and apathetic, yet fierce, begging whoever they fell upon to try that again just to see what happens. Then he realized that he was also confined in a small, wooden desk. Arric was not on the battle field. He was still in school.
“Would you care to answer the question?”
Arric rubbed his eyes and looked down at the worn surface that had only moments ago held his head and noticed a small puddle of drool, which he quickly wiped away. “Umm…not really,” he replied, his face pointed towards his desk top, trying to avoiding eye contact with his teacher. A few students giggled behind him.
“Would that be because you were asleep again in my class and didn’t hear a word I said?” Her voice was agitated, but it was obvious that apathy had again won against doing anything about it.
“Yes, Mrs. Hiller,” mumbled Arric, his face still down, still trying to avoid that spiteful gaze.
Mrs. Hiller sighed a sigh of defeat and frustration, wishing more than anything that she could be at home with her cats. It sometimes seemed that even they listened better than these students. “That’s the sixth time this week. This has got to stop, Arric. I’ll be sending a note home to your father after school.” She shook her head and walked over to her big oak desk and scribbled a brief reminder on a sticky note. “As I was saying,” she began again, continuing on with the lesson, “the American government used to be made up of three branches: the legislative, the judicial, and the executive. These all worked together to form a balance of power and ensure that everything was done democratically, but proved at times to be very inefficient. The system now used, which was created by President Gowen, is the single branch, simply called the President. This position combines the previous three branches in order to promote efficiency and effectiveness in dealing with immediate problems. Now, can anyone tell me why the position was created?”
Arric’s hand immediately shot up and high as he could raise it. Mrs. Hiller thought that it actually might have detached itself if it had gone up any faster. She watched as the young boy bounced in his seat, begging to be picked. She looked around the classroom to see if anyone else knew the answer. A few other students had also raised their hands, though not nearly as enthusiastically. She contemplated actually picking one of the other students, but decided against it, as not picking Arric would probably cause his head to explode. And the biggest issue she had against that was that parents would complain about the mess and ‘mental scarring.’ She hated parent complaints.
“The civil war of 2076!” he shouted, barely waiting for his teacher to stop speaking.
“Very good, Arric,” she replied. “Do you know why the civil war caused Mr. President to change the governmental structure?” Mrs. Hiller immediately winced. Of course he knew the answer, and she had just set off a bomb.
“Because the rebel leader Graff was opposing the President by having lots of protests and stuff. He was the leader of an opposition party, called the White Rhino Party, which the President didn’t like because Graff kept talking about how bad the government was, so he attacked a protest group in April of 2074, which is why it’s called the April Massacre, because there was, like, twenty people that were killed, and then Graff built an army over two years, and attacked the government, and the government wanted to get stuff done really fast without having to ask questions and so he called for a state of emergency, but they weren’t actually gotten rid of until 2078 and Graff was dead.”
Arric gasped for air, as he hadn’t taken a breath in his entire monologue. Mrs. Hiller glanced upwards in exasperation. “Thank you, Arric.” She opened her mouth to resume her lecture again, but just then a loud bell rang through the classroom. She sighed. The end of the day. Freedom. “Alright class, remember to read to chapter on how the American government was organized throughout history, and I’ll see you tomorrow.”