Chapter 5Mature

“I don’t like being bullied, Craig.”

Katherine Forbes walked towards the oval office with a determined pace.  Craig Hunter, the New Deputy Surgeon General, fell into step with her, holding his folder behind him as he walked next to her in crisp strides.

“I know you don’t, Madame President, but the situation is fantastic and it needed to be acted upon quickly.”

“I just allocated twenty eight billion dollars that could have been spent better elsewhere, to creating a new agency to police this entire mess! Twenty eight billion! All because of one traffic accident turned scientific horror story!”

“That may be true, but imagine what would happen if we didn’t. I don’t think you see the scope of what we’re dealing with here. If you hadn’t acted on my advice, we’d be up the creek without a paddle right now. Your actions, though costly, brought us valuable time –time we need to develop a suitable strategy.”

“Strategy for what? How to deal with clones? All I have to do is watch a George Lucas film for that.”

Unmindful of anyone around the two of them, Craig hunter took the President of the United States by the arm.  The two secret service agents flanking her, immediately moved to intercept him, but Katherine stopped them with a wave of her hand. She’d known Craig for nearly thirty years, and the only other time he ever touched her in such an informal manner was the evening her husband Jerry passed away.  Dr. Hunter was a well known germaphobe  --so touching someone like this was completely out of character. It was something that emphasized his commitment to action, so she paid attention.

“Dr. Anderson did something spectacular. He also did something very stupid –he succeeded. What’s more, rather than try to maintain a strangle hold on the technology he gave it over to us –and the rest of the scientific community. I can’t tell if it was out of desperation or genius –but he virtually assured that no one would come after him or his child because he gave the technology to everyone. Scientists in China, Japan, Europe, and South America –all over the world have what looks like every erg of his research. All his notes, all his data are out there –and there’s no putting the genie back in the bottle.

You’re right this is a lot of money. We’re creating an enforcement group to police this technology.  I’m not worried about their daughter. As far as I’m concerned she’s nothing more than a medical oddity. What I’m concerned with more than anything else is who will be the second person to have an artificial body grown for them.”

President Forbes’ eyes grew wider in realization of what he implied.

“That’s right. Imagine where this leads –we’re not talking about crackpot kooks having themselves frozen. We’re talking about hard line, old school despots –terrorists, assassins, butchers –all with access to this kind of technology. Or you have the wealthy, corralling this kind of thing and meting it out only to the very elite of society. A whole new entire social system based on outward appearances. The poor and middle income are all out –not enough to justify spending money on them. You could potentially have  tyrants ruling nations for centuries while the rest of the world bows before an unbreakable yoke. Immortality. Do you see the point I’m trying to make, Madame President?”

He let go of her arm, quickly pulling a prepackaged antiseptic wipe from his coat and wiping his hands. President Forbes bit her lip absentmindedly as she let the words hang in the air.

“I’m glad I picked you, Craig. I wouldn’t have ever thought of it that way. Thanks for the… illuminating explanation.”

“I thought you just said I was bullying you…” He smirked.

“Who do you have heading this task force?”

“That’s why I came to you, Madame President. We needed someone unconventional and truth be told, there’s only two names on my short list, and one of them we know is off the books. We have someone with a unique perspective on Biogenetic research like this –only the military has him right now. If we’re starting something up like this, I want someone who’s not going to look at this like a bureaucrat. I need someone who’s going to understand the implications from day one.”

“You’re talking about him?”

“Yes, Ma’am. I’m talking about Harlan Cole. We’re in a relative state of calm when it comes to world affairs. I believe the Military can spare him for a few years to help us get this project off the ground. With your approval, I’d like to have him for this.”

“Done. But you knew that already, didn’t you Craig?”

“We’ve been friends a long time, Katherine. Somehow I knew you wouldn’t refuse an old friend a much needed favor or two.”

The End

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