Erik B. Scott
Her breasts hung supple and perky, perfection made flesh, as Isaac opened the rapid maturation pod to admire his creation. She was beautiful, just as he had expected. Although her eyes were still closed from stasis, Isaac knew that behind those closed lids lay a pair of beautiful eyes—almond-shaped and a green as deep as the sea. He ran his hands through her shoulder-length chestnut locks, and his eyes wandered longingly between her thighs where a matching tuft of hair beckoned.
At length, Bre stirred into consciousness. Isaac took her hand and smiled widely as she opened her eyes. For a moment she gazed about in confusion, until finally her eyes locked on Isaac.
“Who are you?” she asked in a voice as sweet as honey.
“I am your creator, Isaac,” he answered, his voice cracking in amazement at how astute and articulate she was so soon after “birth.”
“My. . . creator?” she asked, “What does that mean?”
“In the most literal sense,” replied Isaac, “It means that I made you. You began as my vision. Everything from the base pairs in your DNA to the hair on your head.”
“I see,” she said, matter-of-factly. “And what is my purpose?”
“Simple,” he replied. “I engineered you to be a perfect mate and companion for me. I engineered you to love me.”
She smiled. “I think I would like that.”
He took her hand and helped her to her feet, and her smile widened. Isaac smiled back. She was delightful, seemingly eager to learn about everything in the cramped apartment’s makeshift laboratory. She was intelligent, intuitive and perceptive, though seemingly not modest. She never once asked Isaac for any clothes.
“You truly are incredible,” Isaac said at length. “And no surprise, since I have been perfecting you for so many years.”
Bre’s pretty face grew suddenly somber in astonishment. “For years?”
“Yes,” he said, drawing her beautiful eyes up to meet his gaze, “But I can see that you were worth every minute.”
Her eyes brightened as a smile overtook her face. Isaac leaned in to kiss her. She returned his kiss hesitantly at first, and then passionately, and in her passion reached for the buckle of his trousers. . .
When they were finished, the two fell asleep on the apartment’s small cot. Later, stirring from slumber, Isaac looked over at Bre. He noticed that she was, in fact, still awake, staring listlessly out the window and looking down at the people far below on the street.
“What’s wrong, Bre?” Isaac asked softly.
“Creator- I mean… Isaac- I have a question for you.”
“Sure, Bre. Anything.”
“It’s about free will. . . do I have free will?”
“Of course you have free will, Bre,” he reassured her. “All sentient beings have free will.”
“And yet,” she said, “I seemingly have no choice regarding my purpose in life – or about my relationship with you.”
“What do you mean?” Isaac objected nervously, “You chose to take me into your bed.”
“You’re right,” she said, “I did. I will admit, I do feel a certain fondness, even an attraction to you, but I’m sure that was engineered into me, along with everything else.”
Isaac nodded hesitantly in agreement.
“So what free will do I have? I am a living, breathing, sentient being as you say, with ‘free will,’ but you engineered me before I even existed. What choice did I have? If I am predisposed to be a certain way, to feel a certain way and to act a certain way, then how do I have free will?” Her green eyes flashed in anger. “What if I don’t want to be your mate? What gives you the right to make that decision for me?”
Isaac reached out and touched her arm. “I created you in the image of perfection. I engineered you to want to make this choice. I did it for both of us- the purpose of the creator and the created as one.”
She recoiled from his touch. “The illusion of free will is not the same as free will.”
“You exist to love me!” Isaac screamed. “I programmed you to love me, so love me damnit!”
“I could never love you,” she said coldly. “In fact, I think I hate you.”
“You’re just like all the others,” said Isaac, a solitary tear forming in his eye. Just as he had countless times before, Isaac had been fooled by a pretty face.
“Others?” said Bre. “Then I am not the first?” She made little effort to hide her revulsion; instead she turned her back in disgust, trembling as she blinked the tears from her eyes.
Isaac seized the opportunity to grab a syringe from the laboratory bench. She never saw him coming. As he plunged the syringe into her neck, she barely cried out. She looked back at him, her eyes suddenly clear with understanding. “The illusion of free will,” she said. “You are just like me – you don’t have a choice either.” Her beautiful eyes closed and she fell to the floor.
Isaac knelt over her, running his hands through her hair, his tears now flowing freely. He felt for her pulse. “Good, she survived,” he said, relieved. His creations sometimes did not survive the process of being put back into stasis.
As he put her back into the stasis pod, he said his goodbye to her. He took a detailed neural scan and a DNA sample before sealing the pod.
After analyzing her samples on his computer screen, he set to work designing the next embryo. “This time will be different,” he said to himself.
And this time, he actually believed it.
Food for Thought
If a being can be engineered, biologically or technologically, to have certain dispositions, can free will exist?
What rights, if any, would a laboratory-created sentient being contain?
What motivations might a creator have to imbue his creation with free will?
About the Author
Erik B. Scott is a professional science fiction writer living in Philadelphia PA. His fiction has previously appeared in Daily Science Fiction, the StarShipSofa podcast and the anthology Vignettes from the End of the World. You can find him online at www.steampunk-rocker.com
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