The Bottleneck Years by H. E. Taylor - Chapter 14

The Bottleneck Years

by H.E. Taylor
Chapter 13 Table of Contents Chapter 15

Chapter 14

The Clone Document, September 7, 2055

I was in the University library when a short innocuous looking fellow approached my carousel.

"Are you Luc Pascal Fontaine, son of the late Robert Fontaine?"

I looked at him warily, curious what he was about. "Yes."

"I have a package for you." He lifted his briefcase, putting it on top of my books and papers. "I need a signature."

"Fine," I said.

He snapped open his case, removing a clipboard and a heavy manila envelope. "If I can just get you to sign for receipt, here and here." He indicated the blank lines beside two big red lawyer's arrow stickers.

I signed and he handed me the envelope.

"Thank you. And good day." He returned the clipboard to his briefcase, turned and left.

I opened the envelope and read:

July 23, 2034

Dear Luc,

I hope you will forgive me one last foible. Your mother swore that you should never know,
but now that she is gone and seeing how different you three are, I think, when you are of age, you should know.
Your birth was not entirely natural. Your mother and I had difficulty conceiving. You know we were older parents.
The statistics on fetal abnormalities with increasing parental age are quite daunting, so we used in vitro fertilization.
The fertilized egg from which you grew was cloned. You are identical, except for some fiddling with chromosome 11 for personality.
You were not, are not, an experiment. You are valid people in your own right. No record of this state
of affairs exists and I do not think you should advertise it to the authorities.
Seeing what fine strong men you have become, I thought you deserved the truth.

Your loving father,

Robert Fontaine.

I put the letter back in the envelope and stuck it in a book in my bag. Then I looked around to check if any wandering newseyes might have read over my shoulder. There were none. The university surveillance camera at the end of the row was low definition. I was sure it could not have been used to read the document, which left microbugs, but they were mainly used by ConSec on 'people of interest', and I didn't think I was on their list.

I resolved never to tell anyone about this. Matt and Jon, should you ever read these notes, forgive me for not telling you. It did not seem to me to be information that served any useful purpose. I have destroyed the document. I was not about to take the chance of being declared a non-person by the religious fanatics.

That day, as I stared out the window into a gray and cloudy sky, my thoughts were in turmoil. One thing I appreciated about my father was that we could talk. Philosophy, politics, weird science... it was all grist for our conversational mill. When we were young, it was all three of us, but after Matt left home and Jon got into activism, dad and I still talked. It never occured to me that dad had secrets, at least not this kind of secret. He had seemed to be completely open.

I wondered what else might have been left unmentioned. And it occured to me that I had hardly touched dad's room back home. I had stripped the linen off the bed and washed it, but I hadn't touched his stuff. The bedroom was Spartan, a few clothes, toiletries and some pictures, but his library was another matter. He had half a dozen types of media in the room --- books and magazines lined the walls, memory sticks and crystals, CDs and DVDs, tape, phonograph and micro-fiche. There was even an ancient monitor on a stand in one corner.

I resolved to go through dad's library that evening when I got home.


Excerpted from _The Bottleneck Years_ by H.E. Taylor

For further information see:
A Gentle Introduction.

Last modified November 13, 2012

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