The adventures of JOHN STORM and the SOLAR NAVIGATOR
CYBER WARS © by Jameson Hunter
CHAPTER 8: INCUBUS © Jameson Hunter 2008 - 2014
470 N, 130
was his life’s work and what dedication it had
taken. Unlike many other scientists Franco
Francisco’s dream had taken eighteen years
before yielding any definite proof of success.
The vision had been to create a machine to
alleviate the dangers inherent in pregnancy and
childbirth. He’d figured if reptiles and birds
had evolved a unique way of multiplying embryo
development outside the womb, then man could do
the same. The egg we all take for granted is a
miracle of biological engineering, and even then
it needs external warmth. Could he improve on
wife Isabella had died giving birth to their son
twenty-two years ago. It had taken him two years
to recover from the tragedy; to pick himself up
again and look for a reason to carry on. The
irony of it all was that he’d been a
paramedic, but he was 5 miles away on the other
side of the city on an emergency call when his
wife went into labour in a busy hospital in
Rome. There was no hint of anything wrong, but
as happens occasionally, there were
son Daniel survived for eighteen months, but was
crippled, adding to the widower’s grief.
Daniel had died painlessly in his sleep,
mercifully put to rest, after which Franco
resigned his paramedic job, by way of a
sabbatical, during which he didn’t do very
much except take long walks to the graveyard and
back, by way of a drugstore. Eventually the fog
of depression lifted, he stopped weeping at
nights. He began to notice normal everyday
things again and could eat without feeling ill.
He stopped drinking spirits and started
appreciating a good vintage wine.
had always been fascinated with gadgets. He took
apart his washing machine one day to see if he
could repair it. Inside he was amazed to find
very little. The heart of the machine was a
mechanical timer comprising a small bank of
rotary switches powered by a small electric
motor. These switches turned on and off the main
drum motor and reversed it as well. There was a
water pump to remove dirty water and solenoid
operated valves to allow fresh hot and cold
water in. Even this everyday kitchen appliance
took years to develop. His next washing machine
was microprocessor controlled with much more
sophisticated sensors. Yet this device had freed
women up from a labour and time intensive task,
to replace that with a measure of washing powder
and the twist of a selector.
Reflecting on his wife’s complications one day, while watching his washing machine churning away, Franco thought it would be wonderful if women could be freed up from carrying their child for nine months, avoiding complications and pain into the bargain. An amateur inventor, Franco soon realised that he could build an incubator for human eggs. He would need to incorporate some sophisticated controls and develop a synthetic amniotic fluid, oxygenate blood in the placenta and feed nutrients through the blood to the placenta. The artificial womb would need heating and careful temperature controls. But it could be done. He filed a patent application, long before he’d put his theory into practice, or worked out all the details.
Then one day
there was a phone call at the hospital.
“I’ve put in as much detail as is necessary so that any capable engineer can build the device. Is that not so?” Franco could almost hear the man on the other end of the phone thinking.
“Is that as far as you want to go,” said the voice. Franco thought about this for a while. “That depends. What are you suggesting?”
“Have you everything you need,” said the voice, “or would help speed things along?”
“What kind of help?”
don’t you meet me? Are you busy at the
Franco had been at the Giacomo Hospital along the Via Del Corso for about two hours. It dawned on him that he’d been contacted at work. Then before he could think to question his caller:
“How about lunch in an hour, the Piazza della Liberta just across the Margherita crossing? There’s a nice restaurant I know”
“I know it,” said Franco. “The Branziarro. How will I know you?”
“I’m wearing a white
hat” said the caller.
It had rained in the early hours but was now fresh and dry after the Mediterranean sun had been at work since sunrise. Franco decided to taxi the kilometre to stay fresh. The Branziarro was popular due to the combination of superb Italian cuisine and speedy service. Large as life his caller was sitting at a corner table conspicuously wearing his white hat matching a cream suit. A black silver banded walking stick rested against the table. He had gray hair and a mottled complexion. Franco guessed he was around sixty. The man stood up and lifted his hat.
“Roberto Ferrara at your
service.” Franco shook his outstretched hand
and they say down.
Immediately a waiter appeared. “We might as well enjoy ourselves,” said Ferrara looking at Franco. “Two house specials and a martini?” Franco nodded pleased with the choice.
“And a Cola for me, do you have the one with cane sugar?”
“Naturally,” said the waiter setting out fresh cutlery. Ferrara smiled at Francisco.
“I’ll come straight to the point. We’d like to help kickstart your project and you don’t have the time it deserves, do you?” That was true, but Franco needed to work to pay his bills. Ferrara continued. “You’ll need funding and space to experiment. Am I right?” Franco just nodded, his host was saying all the right things – no need to interrupt him. “The question is, if we bankrolled the project would you give up the hospital?”
looked at Franco searching for any indication of
Franco's automatic human cloning machine - Incubus Autoclone™ XTS-6
WARS (CYBERCORE) Copyright
© Jameson Hunter 2008 and 2014.
right of Jameson Hunter to be identified as the
author of this work has been asserted in
accordance with section 77 and 78 of the
Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988.
In this work of fiction, the characters, places and events are either the product of the author’s imagination or they are used entirely fictitiously.
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