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Evolution: Humanity Reborn

by Allison Oesterle about a year ago in Script
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In a not-so-distant future, the world stands on the brink of collapse. A newborn baby girl could hold the key to humanity's salvation, or its final destruction.

Evolution: Humanity Reborn
Photo by Zach Lucero on Unsplash

A baby girl lay naked beneath the lights. She cried and her arms flailed in the air.

She was a miracle.

She should not exist.

Dr. Justin Varski checked the baby’s DNA on his tablet. They’d run her blood three times. There could be no mistake.

“Justin? What do the results say? Should we expect more pregnancies, more births?” Dr. Alanna Burke stood beside him. She had never seen a baby before.

He showed her the tablet. “Parthenogenesis. The first recorded case in a human.”

Alanna furrowed her brow. “That’s what the mother said. She’s never had a sexual partner, and now she has a baby. Is it a mutation of EXTER?”

“I don’t know. The baby’s infected, too.”

EXTER-1 had first been discovered thirty years ago when Justin was in his final months of residency. The virus contained DNA not found on Earth. Subsequent investigations revealed that it had infected everyone. Even animals carried it in their blood. In humans, EXTER converted 2% of the body’s DNA into something new. Something alien.

“Her development seems unusually advanced. We’ll have to track her growth and development carefully,” Alanna said.

“Four percent of her DNA isn’t human. The highest previously recorded alteration was 2.05%, and that patient died.”

“What will that mean for the baby? For humanity?”

“I have no idea. This might be a mutation, a lucky one-off that allowed Jane to have a baby, or it might be the next stage of infection. How’s the mother?”

Alanna smiled. “Tired. Jane’s recovering well. She’s thrilled about the baby, but scared about what it might mean.”

“Aren’t we—”

A security alert appeared on Justin’s device. Headlines rolled across his screen—FIRST BABY BORN IN THIRTY YEARS, ALIEN BABY BORN TO HUMAN MOTHER, and dozens more.

He cursed. “Someone leaked news of the pregnancy and birth. It’s going to be so much harder to protect them now.”

They’d been so careful, and now this. Everything—their decades of research at the Human Reproduction Project, even the baby and her mother—could be lost because some idiot had blabbed to the media.

“I’ll talk to security. We’ll find the leak,” Alanna said.

Justin tapped a few buttons on his device to share the alert. By the time he looked up, Alanna was gone.

The baby wasn’t crying anymore. She cooed. Her eyes were an unusual shade of bright green, a color that he’d never seen in a human before.

Over the next few years, reports of more pregnancies flooded in. Justin and his team gathered as many of the parents as they could. Some of the pregnant men and women were torn apart by mobs, or their babies were snatched from their arms and slaughtered. He mourned the ones they could not save.

Always obsessive, Justin buried himself in his work. He could spend three lifetimes studying and still not understand EXTER’s impact on the human body. The unusual green coloring that he’d seen in the first child was a new form of chlorophyll. The children converted light into chemical energy, just like plants. He had so many questions. Would these children be able to reproduce through parthenogenesis like their parents? Were they a new breed of human? He never grew tired of the children or his work.

Justin smiled at the little girl sitting on his exam table. Melissa swung her legs back and forth, and sucked her thumb. Green streaks ran up her arms.

“Well, everything checks out. You get a clean bill of health, little lady. Now, what would you like as your reward for being such a good patient?”

Melissa cocked her head. She popped her thumb out of her mouth. “I want a lolly!”

“One lollypop coming right up. I seem to recall that cherry is your favorite. Is that right?”

She nodded vigorously.

Justin chuckled. He opened the cabinet where he kept candy for the children and pulled out a cherry lollypop.

“Thanks!” Melissa snatched it from his hand and raced out of the exam room.

Justin typed a few notes into his computer, and then someone knocked on the one-way glass wall.

“Give me a moment,” he said.

After sending the test results to Melissa’s mom, Justin joined Alanna in the room next door. She sat in one of the chairs facing the glass.

“The children are doing well. Growing nicely,” she said. She toyed with the heart-shaped locket around her neck. Justin had given it to her for her birthday. He’d always intended to give it to his daughter.

Justin collapsed into the chair next to hers. “But we still don’t know how the parthenogenesis works, or how to restore normal human reproduction. They could pull our funding if we don’t figure it out.”

“These children are our future. The remaining governments know that.”

“The window for natural conception is closing. Soon, even if we learn how to reverse whatever EXTER-1 did to the human reproductive system, it won’t matter.”

“The latest attempt at egg harvesting failed, then? I haven’t had a chance to look at the results.”

“It did. And I know that you don’t like hearing about life outside of our little compound, but the riots are getting worse. Soon, there may be no one left to fund this place.”

Alanna snorted. “Dr. Doom and Gloom, just like always. We’ve faced budget shortfalls before. We’ll pull through. We always do.”

This time was different, but she didn’t know that. Canada and Russia had given him a deadline of six months. Find a cure for human reproduction, or they were out. To make matters worse, the U.S. was on the verge of collapse.

“Just promise me that you’ll protect them. No matter what.”

Alanna gave him a strange look. “Sure.”

Justin updated her about the status of his patients, and she told him about new developments in their research. Then he headed to his office to write more detailed notes. The news played in the background.

“They’re an abomination to God!” a voice screamed from the TV.

He knew that voice.

On the screen, the reporter shoved a microphone into a petite woman’s face. She had short, curly hair and glittering black eyes. It was Nina Thanawala, a one-time tech at their facility. She had leaked the photos and records of the first baby to the press.

“I worked with the children and their parents before I found the Light,” Nina said. “They’re a spiritual black hole. You want normal babies again? You want EXTER to go away? Get rid of them. They’re a plague upon the Earth.”

Another man pushed into view. He wrapped his arm around Nina’s shoulders. “That’s right. God demands a sacrifice! These people brought EXTER to our planet. They’re tainted. The Earth must be swept clean!”

The crowd behind them roared in approval. Many people waved signs with messages including, “Humans Only”, “Go Home, Aliens!”, and “Real Men Don’t Give Birth!”

Justin turned off the TV. It was nothing he hadn’t heard before.

He worked late into the night. Eventually, the words on his screen swam together, and it became harder and harder to keep his eyes open. He rested his head on his hands.

Only for a moment, he thought. I’ll just close my eyes for a minute, and then I’ll keep working.

He jerked awake when the alarms blared.

“Perimeter breach! Perimeter breach!” an automated voice screeched.

Justin’s computer showed images of an angry mob pouring through a hole in the outer wall around the compound. Security fired on them. For every person who fell, dozens more took their place. A group of the invaders gathered near the wall of the main building. They knelt over something made of wires and tubes.

Justin’s heart dropped. A bomb. They were blasting their way in, and he had no doubt what they intended to do.

He pounded the intercom. “All children and their parents report to the gymnasium for further instruction. This is not a drill. I repeat, this is not a drill.”

It was time.

He erased their research, except for the copy on his tablet. Then he raced to join the others.

It was eerily quiet until he neared the gym. Then, the air filled with the cries and screams of children.

Alanna met Justin near the entrance. She clicked a button on her digital clipboard. “All 865 parents and their children are accounted for. When will the evacuation team arrive?”

“There will be no evacuation. It’s sooner than I expected, but everyone will be safe. I planned for this.”

Alanna’s burrows furrowed with confusion. “What does that mean? Where are we going? We can’t stay here.”

“Come with me.” Justin led her to a corner buried beneath a pile of mats.

A group of parents and children trailed after them.

“Move these. Please,” he said.

Alanna looked at him like he was insane, but did as he’d instructed.

Justin typed a code into his device. A hidden panel in the floor opened, revealing a staircase and a wide tunnel.

Alanna gaped at the hole in the floor. “What is this? What have you done?”

“This is your future. I’ve been diverting funds to build a secret facility. You’ll be safe there. No one will be able to find you, but you won’t receive any additional funding.”

A massive boom shook the building, throwing everyone to the ground. People screamed. Pieces of the ceiling collapsed.

“Into the tunnel, everyone,” Justin yelled. He pushed himself to his feet. “Quickly! At the end of it, you’ll find small submarines. They’ll take you somewhere safe.”

Parents and children climbed down the stairs and raced out of sight. The compound’s newest arrivals, a young man clutching his infant child, were the last ones to enter the tunnel. The man’s eyes were wide with terror.

Justin handed his tablet to Alanna. “You’ll find everything you need here. All the information about your new home, our research, everything. Keep them safe.”

“Aren’t you coming?”

“Not enough room. I would, except—” Justin broke off and jerked his head toward the tunnel.

Their latest arrivals had joined them five days ago, not nearly enough time for him to build an additional submarine. Justin could probably fit in one of the existing ones, but it would endanger everyone on board. He wouldn’t risk it. They didn’t need him anymore.

It was their world now.

The building shuddered again. More of the ceiling collapsed.

“Go!” Justin said.

Unshed tears glistened in Alanna’s eyes. She threw her arms around him in a quick hug. Then she was gone.

Goodbye, my love, he thought.

Then Justin went to face the mob.

Script

About the author

Allison Oesterle

I'm an unrepentant chocoholic, a lover of all things cute and furry, and a writer of science fiction and fantasy.

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