“The longer I live, the more beautiful life becomes.” Frank Lloyd Wright
The scientists called their experiment Juvenis. It was to prolong youth and delay aging by altering the genes with help of a virus. It resulted in damage to the germ line that was passed on to future generations and doomed their people to a shortened lifespan. All efforts to reverse the Juvenis Effect had failed. The Olders had been brought through the portal from Earth because they were believed to be genetic descendants. The scientists were hopeful that the short life span of 30 years could be extended with gene splicing using the Erde DNA. They did not realize there could be more natural ways for the DNA to combine.
“How could I be pregnant at my age?” Sarah asked Nephele, the Council leader. “I was 55 and I had already gone through menopause when I came through the portal from Earth.”
“A plant blooms every Spring on Ortus called the Torrach. It releases a chemical into the air that promotes fertility. Many women become pregnant during the Spring Festival,” Nephele answered.
“I would never have casual sex with a stranger but the ceremonial wine had a powerful effect. It has clouded much of my memory of that night,” Sarah added as she remembered the face of the young Ortusun male.
“The wine contained a herb that we use during our Spring Festival celebration to heighten our senses. We did not realize it is would affect you in this way. It caused you to become intoxicated and to lose control. You had already mated before we realized what happened.”
Will my child be affected by the damaged genes?” asked Sarah.
“Our tests show that your fetuses do not have the defective gene, ” Nephele replied.
“Fetuses, you said fetuses.”
“You are carrying twins, Sarah.”
Sarah sat in stunned silence. Twins?
Sarah had never had children and never thought she wanted any. She noticed she did feel differently since finding herself pregnant. She felt curious about the unborn child. She had started creating sculptures of children. Sarah knew this was her way of imagining what her child would look like. But now it was not one child, but two. Twins.
“These children are very special to us. Their birth was prophesied in our legends and they show us that your DNA can reverse the Juvenis Effect.”
“What is the prophesy ?” Sarah asked.
“There is an ancient prophecy that foretold of an Erde woman who would give birth, in her later years, to twins who would become great leaders. These twins would have unusual powers. Their arrival would be heralded by the appearance of a twin nebula in our night sky. As you know the twin nebula has recently been sighted.”
“What kind of powers?” Sarah asked.
“That information has been lost in the long ago times,” Nephele replied.
The news of the twins conception was not welcomed by everyone. There were those who denounced the blending of Ortusun and Erde DNA. They did not believe that the Olders could be genetically related to Ortusuns as the rulers claimed.
Sarah went into labor on the night of the full moon of Coerulus Magnus, the larger of the two moons of Ortus. Sarah knew what she wanted to name the twins. She would call them Alexander and Merial.
Nephele was one of Sarah’s first visitors. “I am happy to see you and the twins doing well, Sarah. I want you to know that you and the children will be protected. We have taken the precaution of implanting security chips in both of them in case of any attempts are made to abduct them”.
“You think they could be in danger?”
“We want to diminish any risk of militia aggression.”
“What militia?” Sarah asked, her anxiety building.
“The militia call themselves The Praesidium. They claim to be defenders of our racial purity. We have been aware of them for some time. Do not be alarmed. You and the twins will be closely guarded until we are able to eliminate the threat,” Nephele reassured Sarah.
“We must destroy these half-breeds before their seed has a chance to pollute our world. What information do you have for me?” Marcen said to the group that had gathered at the compound.
“We have been watching the Erde woman and she is guarded commander. We have found some guards who are willing to cooperate under threat to their families. We will kill the half-breeds tomorrow night.” Ferox replied.
“Excellent! Victory to The Praesidium! ” Marcen shouted.
“Victory!” shouted the men.
The twins were very fussy. Sarah and Alexia, her android, struggled to settle them.
“I don’t know what could be bothering them, Alexia. They are usually very relaxed after their evening bath.”
Sarah decided to let the twins settle down in their bed by themselves for a while. They often found their own company entertaining enough. “Be calm my darlings. I will come back and check on you in a few minutes,” Sarah cooed to them as she lay them down. She sensed that they understood every word.
The twins were playing with the lighted orbs of the mobile that was suspended over their crib when suddenly they both became still as they listened to the sounds outside. They had been able to read each others thoughts since birth.
“The killer men are here, Merial.”
Ferox and his partner Quint quickly climbed through the nursery window. Quint had the hypospray that contained the deadly toxin. Ferox held down Alexander.
“Give it to this one first,” Ferox told Quint.
Quint held the injector over Alexander and was ready to follow orders when he heard Merial make a strange sound and looked over at the little girl twin. As he looked into her eyes his body was no longer under his control. Quint looked on in horror as his hand holding the hypospray moved toward his accomplice. Ferox was frozen in place, his eyes wide with terror.
Sarah could hear the twins giggling as she entered the nursery. “What are you two up to in here?” The answer was laying on the floor, their mouths oozing green foam.
Word Count: 1025
Quote about ageing via Senior Planet. 🙂 Skull image via publicdomainpictures.net was altered by me. Featured image of Twin Nebula via NASA altered with insertion of Twins image (altered) from Pixabay.com
As for “Write what you know,” I was regularly told this as a beginner. I think it’s a very good rule and have always obeyed it. I write about imaginary countries, alien societies on other planets, dragons, wizards, the Napa Valley in 22002. I know these things. I know them better than anybody else possibly could, so it’s my duty to testify about them. I got my knowledge of them, as I got whatever knowledge I have of the hearts and minds of human beings, through imagination working on observation. Like any other novelist. All this rule needs is a good definition of “know.”-Ursela Le Guin