Little Boy

By Robert Lynch

Admiral Jenkins, resplendent in his dress uniform showing vibrant colours and polished side arm, drew everyone’s eyes when he entered the lab.

Next to him, a small man in a lab coat said with a weedy voice. “Thank you for your service. We must speak with Dr Glassman.”

In short order, the researchers were gone, and only Glassman remained. “Admiral Jenkins,” Glassman said, holding out his hand, “A pleasure to make your acquaintance.”

The Admiral, a perfect specimen of the Warrior Caste, lent down to shake the scientist’s hand. “Dondarion told me of your research, and I had to see it for myself.”

“I hope that Dr Dondarion didn’t oversell my research,” Glassman said, “It is still in the early stages.”

“I was told that your research would be able to mass impregnate females with a clone super soldier.” The Admiral said, “Is that not true?”

“Yes, that is the gist of it,” Glassman said. “But right now we don’t have much more than a delivery system.”

“Yes.” The Admiral nodded. “That is what Dondarion said. That is what I am interested in. You have a gaseous delivery system?”

“That’s right,” Glassman said. “Right now, we could impregnate volunteers, but the child would have the same growth profile as a normal baby. The clone material we are developing will have an accelerated growth profile. A gestation period of only nine weeks, fully grown and ready for battle in 15 months. It is a strain on the mothers and requires a lot of resources, but these shock troops will grow our numbers far exceeding the enemy.”

“From what Dondarion told me,” The Admiral began, “I had a few questions. What would happen if a woman didn’t know she was exposed to your gas?”



“It would be very dangerous,” Glassman replied. “The accelerated growth profile can result in a large number of complications, even just not knowing that they were pregnant could mean that they expose themselves to situations that would otherwise be fine, but while pregnant can be very hazardous.”

“If a population was exposed unknowingly,” The Admiral asked, “What percentage of casualties would you expect?”

“It’s hard to say,” Glassman answered. “Under observation, we have a death rate of 1 in 10,000 and a chance of complications leading to infertility at 8 in 10,000. Without observation, the death rate could be as high as 40%, and infertility at 30%. If you’re thinking of dosing our whole population with this drug I would recommend against it, we don’t have the medical care or resources to care for the entire female population.”

“I have just one last question.” The Admiral said. “If the clone foetus was burdened with a condition that would increase the chances of stillbirth and infant death, something like foetal akinesia deformation sequence, what would happen?”

“What the hell are you thinking of doing?” Glassman said. “I won’t have this research used as a weapon of mass murder. These questions are sick. To impregnate non-combatants without their consent would be bad enough, but to try to cause mass death and trauma by adding to that pain a disease that will kill most of the foetus’s as well? Not only is it a war crime; it is also immoral in the highest order!”

“War is immoral, Doctor.” The Admiral said. “This conflict has killed millions. The cessation of hostilities will only stop when one side is broken beyond measure. If we have the power to knock out our enemy now, rather than wait until we have ground both sides down by attrition, we are saving lives. It’s possible that far fewer lives would be lost by the use of this weapon than would be lost if the war were to continue. If such a weapon exists, we must use it.”

“No such weapon exists,” Glassman said in horror. “And I will not help you to develop one.”

The Admiral drew his pistol and shot Glassman at point-blank range through the chest. Glassman twitched and fell against the lab bench. “A pity. Others will develop your weapon. You may not help, but we cannot have you hinder the project. Dondarion, have your men collect the materials.”

END

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