This time around I started with notes on the story rather than diving into the story itself and then writing the world down as it developed in the manuscript. Some of those notes do take story form, however, and I want to share some "confidential memos" that passed back and forth before the start of the genetic engineering project called Renaissance.
To: Mister Mateo Velasquez, President, En Gene Limited
From: Doctor Saito Hatsuto, PhD, senior researcher, Genetics Division
Abstract: Project Renaissance follows the development of twenty six children of different genetic background and ethnic types, enhancing genetic traits such as intelligence, strength, dexterity from implantation to age eighteen. Embryos will be acquired by soliciting couples who have used in vitro fertilization services, and no longer need the excess embryos created. All acquisitions will follow strict National Genetic Ethics Board guidelines, and the project will be monitored by NGEB for the duration of the project. Both sexes will be required for the experimental group.
Intention is to discover how we can not only gene engineer with the new artificial womb technology, be develop better methods of repair and modification within the womb itself now that the Food and Drug Administration has approved nanotech usage in medical situations. Genetic modification will also be done in a mild form during adolescence, and monitor will be constant during that period.
Due to the nature of the project, the Ethics Board will wish to insure that the children raised in the project will be treated humanely, and I concur.
Project Renaissance Approval
To: Doctor Saito Hatsuto
From: Mateo Velasquez
Provisional approval is contingent on agreement on join funding between En Gene, and the Department of Defense, who’ve shown an interest in gene engineering for soldiers in order to improve performance and survivability. I’ve informed the DoD that we intend to follow strict NGEB guidelines and that these children will not be turned into weapons. The Secretary of Defense has agreed to those terms, as national interest in the project is not in developing new biological weapon systems, but seeing the applications of those enhancements. The caveat is that the last three years of the program the children receive training in military specializations suitable to them. With this contingent the federal government will reserve placement at any military academy, or will give financial assistance to any child who wishes to enter the private sector and receive higher education from public universities. To that end, En Gene will also subsidize the education of any Project child who wished to go to a public university rather than enter the military academies.
RE: Project Renaissance Approval
To: Mister Mateo Velasquez
From: Doctor Saito Hatsuto
The Secretary’s terms are acceptable, but the caveat that the NGEB guidelines and monitoring of the project must be followed to the letter. We cannot afford to treat these children as anything but human beings. I sincerely believe that there is an inherent danger in doing otherwise.
I admit many might find this project in the vein of Mary Shelley’s tale, but I refuse to follow that path, thus my insistence on the treatment of the children. If the Department of Defense can truly accept that, with no hidden agenda, we can begin preliminary screenings as soon as three weeks from this date.
Copyright Penny Horwitz 2014