'Future Crimes', by António Bizarro


After the dust of the Android Apocalypse had settled, a period of global prosperity unprecedented in history began to be experienced, somewhat like what happened in the United States after World War II. With the growing re-establishment of the World Wide Web, old and new information was shared at lightning speed. Former enemies formed alliances, and what nations once considered their own resources now became the heritage of humanity.  

    Heavy civilian casualties had reduced the world’s population to about half, more or less six billion, roughly the number of inhabitants there were at the beginning of the 21st century. Those who resisted radiation were not, however, exempt from its effects, namely sterility. From the aggravation of the problem to the generalization of therapeutic cloning was a small step. Huge cloning units called Incubators sprang up all over the world, while scientists, clergymen, jurists, philosophers, and doctors debated its ethical and moral aspects. The Catholic Church was a pioneer in pronouncing that the individuals resulting from the cloning process were endowed with a soul, albeit the same, or part of the soul of the original individual. The other denominations were quick to produce statements to the same effect.

    One of the many technical difficulties that had to be overcome was the time spent on the process until it resulted in adult, workable individuals. Artificial wombs were built inside the Incubators, chambers flooded with amni-fluid, which provided the fetuses with what they needed to develop, as well as accelerated growth hormones, exposing their immune systems to a variety of diseases to build up defenses. Another problem was the short life span of the clones since most of the DNA came from adult individuals. The answer came in the form of a revolutionary chromosomal telomere regeneration therapy, which was applied to the general population, increasing life expectancy exponentially.

    In its early days, the production of Numans (a term coined from the contraction of the English expression New Humans = Numans), was done under strict surveillance, not only by national governments and the various blocks but also by an international committee created for this purpose. There were quotas to be respected, established according to the degree of industrialization of each nation and its labor needs. Each Numan, before being integrated into society, was subjected to intensive subliminal conditioning during his stay inside the artificial womb where he was cultivated. He was given all the necessary tools to be able to live in society with other humans, notions of hygiene and decorum, general knowledge, history, and everything else that was in any way related to his future occupation. In just two months it was possible to obtain a human being ready to work from a heap of protein.

    Earth's population doubled rapidly. Although the Numans were docile and easygoing, it was decided at the highest level that they could never outnumber the rest of the population. A few unscrupulous and profit-hungry people found a way to get their hands on the cloning technology, and soon there was a fully functioning black market. Further investigation revealed two more frequent uses for clandestine Numans. One, perhaps the most brutal, was the use of Numans as prey in hunts organized by ultra-exclusive private clubs. The most notorious of these was a club called the Zombie Room, located in Saint Paul. Its patrons could enjoy a drink or a good meal while watching the show, where war surplus rape and extermination machines stalked men and women who had nowhere to run. Survivors of the so-called hunts, aided by Numan Rights activists, denounced the practice before the world, exposing a bizarre sub-culture of cruelty and bloodlust reserved for a narrow human elite. No one was punished, but the custom was banned. Another controversial case gave rise to discussion, that of a Middle Eastern millionaire who formed a terrorist group made up entirely of clones of himself. He was eventually arrested and sentenced to death. Meanwhile, some of his copies had had the same idea, and by the time the authorities finally managed to locate all the copies of copies, there were nearly 3,500 of them.

    As Numans gained rights similar to those of other humans, other practices began to be abolished, namely, the one that some psychiatrists, such as Dr. Zhirkov of the MacLaren Institute, have dubbed “morbid erotic self-satisfaction”, in which humans employed clones of themselves in obtaining sexual pleasure. From a small group of fetishists who organized themselves via the Web and exchanged experiences and tips, a real movement emerged with ramifications all over the world. The beginning of the end came when a Numan murdered his human-matrix, who had held him captive and abused him continuously. After years of impunity, the perpetrators were sentenced to actual prison terms, and the victims were integrated into society.



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