Castle Roland

The Clone Chronicles

by Steve Williams


Chapter 12

Published: 21 Apr 16

The Clone Chronicles

Copyright 2003-2016 Steve Williams
All rights Reserved

Day 12

As I wake, the sun is just starting to tinge the world with its red-gold glow. Looking out, I see just a few wispy cirrus clouds floating in the distance. Through the glass, I hear the muffled chirping of birds in the trees. It looks to be a glorious day for traveling.

I dress quickly and move to Ian's room. Looking at his sleeping form, it seems that the remainder of his night was, for the most part, peaceful. He has tossed and turned about the same as any pre-teen but not enough to worry me. The changes that start today flicker through my mind as I walk over and gently tousle his hair.

"Ian, time to wake up son."

He catches his breath slightly as he wakes, but as he focuses on me he smiles and sits up.

"Hi dad," he says sleepily.

"Why don't you get up and get dressed. We are going to have a busy day today. Going back to my room I spend a few moments deciding which clothes to put in my duffle and which to box up and ship home.

When Ian is ready we go to the kitchen and find a note saying that Rich isn't cooking today but had left everything we need. Oatmeal with raisins, maple flavoring and brown sugar with bananas and milk. As I take the pan off the stove Gordon and Alex walk in.

"I see how you are." I quip. "Waiting till the food is ready to show up."

"We have to make an entrance," Gordon responds as I grab bowls and glasses.

"In that case, you two get to do dishes after breakfast while we get started on laundry and packing."

"Actually, I thought Alex could help Ian for a bit." Gordon says.

I glance his way and he shakes his head ever so slightly. Trying to keep my expression neutral, we get the food served and get through breakfast. The boys chatter slightly in the way kids do. When breakfast is through we send the boys to get things organized as we start the dishes.

"We believe we have another theory about Ian." He starts. "We have found another boy, adopted about a year ago. He bears a very strong resemblance to Ian. A brother would not be too far off."

"How did you find him?" I ask.

"It seemed a bit strange. There was an anonymous call from one of the newspaper ads. A neighbor said that a kid two doors down looked like the kid in the picture. When the local police went to the house the parents were unwilling to talk about the adoption. With no evidence of anything wrong, there was nothing we could do at the time.

"With a little digging we were able to find the kid's school. Using methods we don't really want to talk about we got a look into his locker and were able to find a few stray hairs. We also found out that he is a good student, very bright but not enough to stand out. Moderately athletic but seeming to hold back just enough to not get picked for the main teams."

As he pauses, I think quickly. "What about illnesses? And DNA?"

"As far as illness, he seems to be the opposite of the other boy. He has been exposed to several sick kids in school but has not had so much as a cold. Like Ian, he seems to heal quickly. And most important, he is a 97.6% match for Ian. Genetically, he is a brother. Hence our new theory.

"We now believe that Ian is a product of not only cloning, but of a process called germ line genetic manipulation."

"I've heard about that, but only briefly. Isn't that where they modify an embryo to create a better child?"

"That's part of it." Gordon responds. "Some scientists theorize that with manipulation a child can be made smarter, faster, and stronger or any combination that a parent can think up. It might even be possible that if parents wanted all boys, they could have boys that could be nearly perfect matches to each other." Pondering only a moment I shake my head. "The sad part is, there are already people who want the perfect child. How many abortions have been performed because of a defect, or as happens in other countries, a girl might be aborted in favor of a boy. Older children are stuck in orphanages while there are waiting lists for infants."

"It is the same thing only moved to a new level." Gordon continues. "A couple who wants a child can go to a doctor and order specifics.

"Enough about that. There is also something else. We found out a little more information about the boy who was killed. After calling the local police, we tried to contact the driver of the car that hit him, just as a follow up and to check the driver's welfare. He doesn't exist!"

Leaving that to sink in for a moment, Gordon finally continues.

"Within a couple of hours, it was discovered that the ID used by the driver was a very clever forgery. There was a man with the same name who lived in a neighboring city. When the police ran a check on the license, it came up okay. When we went to double check, it is not the same man. The real driver was on a Caribbean cruise at the time of the accident. Since it was determined that there was no fault, there was no follow-up at the time. The police are now looking at reopening the incident as a possible manslaughter or homicide case."
As this sinks in, I must pale because Gordon quickly reaches out to grab my arm for support. We move to the table and sit down while I try to comprehend this development.

"Why would they kill the boy? That doesn't make any sense."

"We can only speculate at this time." Gordon responds. "Perhaps his illnesses were too big a problem. Perhaps he was supposed to catch something and get over it quickly but didn't. Perhaps he was supposed to make his adopted parents ill and didn't. There could be any of a number of reasons. There is also the possibility that the killer had nothing to do with the people who created Ian and this other boy."

I let this sink in and my mind flashes back to my fears for Ian's safety. My being here on the island for the last 10 days has helped and I quickly if somewhat reluctantly move past the fear and decide to work around it. Many or most parents feel fear for their children. Some more than others and for different reasons.

Going back to the dishes, we let the talk slide away to more comfortable issues regarding sports, school and anything to keep the focus away from the dead boy. Within a few minutes we finish the dishes and I head to my room to finish my packing. When most of my gear is ready to go, I move back to Ian's room and check the progress there. Much of Ian's belongings are being put into boxes since he really doesn't have suitcases. Looking at the pile of clothes and toys I wonder how we will get it all on the boat.

Ian sees me and starts to get up but I have him stay with Alex to finish sorting and packing everything up. I go back to Gordon's room where he is filling out papers at his table. He looks up at my knock.

"How are we supposed to get everything home?" I ask.

Slapping his forehead with the heel of his hand, Gordon responds. "I thought you were leaving everything on the island. Actually, when Bill arrives today he will have a couple of small suitcases for Ian, along with your new vehicle. You will be driving home from here. You will have your stuff and some of Ian's things. The rest will be on a truck that will arrive in about five days. We want you to enjoy your trip home."

As he finishes, we actually hear the boat coming up to the dock and we go out to meet Bill. As he steps onto the dock he reaches back and is handed the suitcases, and a mid-sized cooler. Gordon and I each grab something as we walk back to the cabin.

As we get to the cabin, Bill starts explanations.

"Now I can finally tell you where you are. This island is in Priest Lake, in northern Idaho. We're about 85 miles north of Coeur d'Alene. I understand you have friends there? Your new SUV is parked at the docks across the way. As soon as you and Ian are ready, we can get you there and you can start your trip home. Pick a stopping point tonight and finish tomorrow. You won't be called for at least 5 days so you can get Ian settled in the house.

"There is another change however." Pausing a moment he slowly continues. "Due to the recent information we received, I need the ID I gave you."

As I hand it to him he hands me another packet. I look in and am shocked with what I find.

"Homeland Security?" I question.

"You and I, thanks to Ian, are now listed as a Special Investigators for the Department of Homeland Security. It seems that the powers that be think that this is the only way we can truly avoid any real entanglements. There is also worry about the possibility of more clones and what to do if we find more. Part of the fear is that with the newspaper reports some eager cop might decide to pull you over and not want to listen to anything you say.

Also, since you were previously trained as an EMT and worked as a military medic, you are also credentialed as such. Your SUV is fully equipped just in case.

"There is one other thing, although part of me really doesn't want to do it." He stops and hands me a small package. As I look in he explains. "This is a microchip transmitter. It will draw its power from Ian's own natural energy. It is also strong enough to transmit and be picked up by satellites, just in case," he lets the sentence dwindle.

"And this goes where?" I query.

"We want Marty to do the operation and put it in around a shoulder, in a spot where any scar will go unnoticed on cursory inspection. It can be done with a local anesthetic in about five minutes and with Ian's healing powers, we think we could put it anywhere without notice after a week. The advantage is that we can find Ian anywhere."

After thinking for only a few moments I see the logic in this plan. I also remember a story about a young girl whose parents had her similarly tagged so they could keep track of her. With a nod I let Bill know to get it ready. Taking a breath, he continues. "Now that the official stuff is over, get me a drink." He laughs as we head for the fridge for a soda.

We spend a few minutes rehashing the news Gordon had and then I go check on the boys.

I stop at the door to watch for a moment before I am noticed and go in. Alex quickly moves out and I take his place. All the clothes are laid out and ready. "Okay pal," I start, "What do you want to take with you today. We're going to take about 4 sets of clothes and underwear, the rest will come to the house. The boat is here so we have to hurry now."

In about 5 minutes we have picked out the clothes he wants, the suitcases have arrived and we get them loaded. We have also picked out some toys, games and homework to take on the return trip. We have to keep him learning.

"Ian," I start slowly. "Before we leave, we need to go down to see Marty for a few minutes. He needs to do a couple more things."

I hold my hand out, but with his natural enthusiasm he darts off ahead of me and leads the way to the medical area. Marty is waiting and quickly has Ian strip off his shirt and hop up on the table.

"Ian, I need to check something on your shoulder and take a last sample of blood but I am going to rub something on that will keep you from feeling anything."

He gets the statement out quickly before Ian has a chance to get upset. Ian seems to take it all in stride. Marty quickly rubs on a topical anesthetic, then draws a tube of blood and within about 2 minutes has inserted the transmitter and closed the wound with Steri-Strips. Ian seems blissfully unaware of the main part of the procedure.

As Marty finishes, he helps Ian on with his shirt. Ian then jumps up and grabs Marty in an embrace of which only a young child is capable.

"Thank-you for helping me Marty." Ian's statement with no noticeable stutter has Marty's eyes getting moist as he returns the hug.

"Take care of Steve for me, will you buddy?" he asks breaking the embrace.

"I will." Ian says as we move to the door and begin our departure.

As we walk through the cabin, carrying only a few of our new possessions, I think back over the last ten days. How my life has changed and what changes will still be coming.

Getting to the front room, by the door, everyone else is there. Quick handshakes with Rich and Gordon. A rather long hug from Alex and tears from both boys. Ian does not want to leave his friend. Listening to the two of them talk quietly I realize that again Ian's language skills have grown, possibly due to the stress of the move.

I finally pull the boys apart and with a brief wave, we move off to the boat. Bill is already aboard and within moments we have left the dock on the way to our new life.

Realizing where we are gives me a moment's pause. Here I am, only about 100 miles from where my grandfather grew up and I am at the start of a new stage of existence.

When we finally pull in to the dock I see that there are some security people about but they are scattered and discreet. As we disembark, the boat quickly pulls away and heads back to the island. Bill leads us to the parking lot and up to a new, blue GMC Yukon and hands me the keys.

"This is a specially equipped truck to go with your new position." Reaching in he flips a switch and Ian and I both jump back. The truck looks like a Christmas tree with Red, Blue and Yellow lights flashing all over it. The funny thing is that as he turns them off you can't even see them. Fortunately, it seems that none of the few people around noticed anything.

He also takes the time to go over the layout of everything and shows me the first aid kit, as well as other equipment. I am perhaps a bit surprised when he shows me the hidden compartment with a fully loaded 9 mm Glock. There is a similar compartment in the back with space for a rifle and shotgun. Within 5 minutes everything is checked out and the compartment is programmed to only open with my fingers held in a certain manner. We even get a couple of the security people to try and open it.

"Enjoy your trip home. I will call you in several days to see how you get settled. Jarod is waiting for you and you will be able to call him." As he says this he hands me a cell phone and a credit card.

"Still your old number but a slightly better service plan and security enabled. Use the card for your travel needs. It is untraceable." With a quick handshake, Bill moves away and quickly disappears.

I watch for a moment, take a quick look around and then move to put the bags into the truck. Opening the back I find a cooler with sandwiches and drinks along with a note from Rich.

"Didn't think I would let you go home hungry did you? Have a good Trip. Rich" We move the cooler to the rear door so it is easy to get to.

Within a few minutes, we are pulling out of the parking lot and heading toward home. For a short time there are small lakeside towns as we head for Idaho Route 57. Then the towns fall behind and the trees stretch for miles through the Idaho wilderness. As we drive it seems miles at a time before we pass any other vehicles. A truck pulls off of a side road and falls in behind me. Although there are no turnoffs, after about 10 miles I begin to get nervous. He finally turns off on a side road and I breathe a sigh of relief. I realize that I am probably just being paranoid, but then again, even paranoids have enemies.

After passing through Priest River, and Newport we stop for a short break in Coeur d'Alene. Then it's on the road again and down into Montana. We stop several times to look at the scenery and munch our sandwiches. As I decide to change our route home I take us into Butte, MT. We stop for a time at a Sporting Goods store and I make several purchases. We also stop at a Walmart where I buy Ian a small digital camera then we head east, finally stopping in Gardiner to find a hotel. After a quick swim in the hotel pool we dress and go out to a Chinese diner. Ian tries many of the different foods that are available. We finish with samples of the different desserts.

After dinner, I take Ian and head back to the hotel and our beds. With the long drive and the activities, it only takes a few minutes before Ian is sound asleep. After making sure the room is secure, it only takes about 30 minutes before I follow him into dreamland.

Authors Note: Thanks to those who have made comments and/or suggestions on my story. Since you are still reading, I hope you are enjoying this.

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