Remember that I am thy creature; I ought to be thy Adam, but I am rather the fallen angel, whom thou drivest from joy for no misdeed.
—Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
Province of New York
“Brilliant, absolutely bloody brilliant,” the young scientist breathed, standing above the silent, still form on the sterile table. Hands on his hips, he couldn’t tear his bespectacled eyes from the monstrosity if he wanted. His awe was greeted with a deep, resonating chuckle.
The other scientist, a greying man in his mid-fifties, leaned against the wall, heart racing like a freed stallion at the appraisal of their tireless work. Both knew what this meant—neither concerned with the notion of playing God anymore. How could they be, when God had long since abandoned his glorious creation, leaving humanity on the brink of extinction?
“It’s a start, for sure, but…” the elder scientist trailed off, rubbing his prickly jaw. He’d been so enraptured with his work as of late that he’d shoved aside all other necessities.
“There’s still much to be done,” the young man finished, gleaming eyes snapping up to his counterpart’s face. When he’d been told to venture across the Atlantic for a conference, he had no idea his old mentor would have something of such grand importance to show him, something they’d cast aside a few months ago out of sheer frustration.
He nodded, pushing himself off the white wall, taking two steps toward his beloved creation.
“We must share this, if we are to receive more funding. Think of the hope it will give the people!” he said, raising his palms as though he were a savior of mankind. In a twisted way, he was. The young man’s face soured.
“Why? They’ve doubted us for years. Why share any hope with them? They fight in the streets like dogs over scraps—”
“This is a chance!” the older man implored, gripping the table, knuckles brushing against the starched cloth covering the lower extremity of his creation. His eyes blazed with fervency, and the young man knew the direction of his thoughts.
“You can’t use this to save anyone, Res, you understand that, right?”
Res shook his head, feeling stung but plunging ahead anyway. This young man was lucky to be alive—as were all of them.
“This DNA survived millions of years, why can’t we replicate it and use it with our own—”
The young man rubbed his forehead, understanding Res’ train of thought, but to find out if this worked meant they’d need test subjects—which would ultimately put precious lives in danger. Humanity had very little to spare, these days.
“Please, Cole, let me try, help me try,” he said, voice lowering. Cole didn’t miss the anguish that coated his tone. It wasn’t fair, for the man to use the death of his child and wife against him. They’d contracted the fever, same as most humans, and they’d died shortly after. Cole was one of the anomalies—born with an odd immune system that could somehow live in synchronicity with this lethal virus. He’d been subject to testing all his life, had donned the white lab coat right after high school, but nothing had ever come to fruition. Until he met Res.
Together, their gifted minds had hypothesized a solution—to recreate a human from the past, one whose own DNA and body would never allow the virus to take root in its host. There was plenty of said DNA and specimens, stored in cold-labs all around the world, perfect for their project. They’d raced against death; as society warred and crumbled around them, they fought their own secret battles.
And just when they’d given up hope, just when Cole had returned home, their project began to flourish. The evidence lay before them, the monster of a man too long for a normal table, his shoulders too broad for the narrow slab of metal beneath him. The sight of the being—coupled with the knowledge of how it came to be—sent chills up Cole’s spine. Although its heart had yet to beat and its lungs had yet to taste the air, Cole was frightened, a nagging pulling him back from the precipice of awe and wonder. It was wrong, against nature, but yet there it was.
“Cole, please,” Res pleaded once more, seeing the conflicting emotions upon his face. A scientist in his core, Cole nodded once, still staring at the being on the table. He’d helped start this project, and he’d be damned if he didn’t see it through to the end.
“In honor of your help in this project to save mankind, I will let you name him,” Res said, eyes tearing up as his chest swelled with pride. Cole glanced from Res to the brute on the table, the beings so very contrasting that it was eery. It looked human enough, but somehow different, better, in every aspect. Perhaps the scientists of the past had wrongly guessed at what Neanderthals had looked like, for this being had smooth, bronzed skin, stretched taught over lean, rippling muscles, its jaw angular, its nose long and straight instead of flat and squat. The eyes and ears were the most curious aspect—wide almonds, set deep within its brow, and ears that were pointed the slightest bit, akin to the depiction of an elf.
Nausea ran rampant through Cole now, perspiration dotting his brow. Whatever they’d created was more than a man—it was…unnatural. Res cleared his throat, waiting on Cole’s answer.
“Adam,” he whispered finally. “We will name him Adam.”