Gene Pool

Jennifer shuffled forward as another candidate entered the appraisal section, the frosted glass doors closing automatically behind them. She thought back to the past eighteen years of her short life, trying to calm her nerves that all would be well and the tests would come back positive. In all honestly she was feeling quite confident, all of her teachers had expressed little doubt in her abilities, but one could never be too sure. Add to that that this was her seventh revision, and revision 6 had been so close to success.

The doors opened again to admit the boy in front of her. She heard his deep intake of breath before he headed off into the chambers behind the doors. Jennifer went over her subjects, Physics and Chemistry she had always excelled in. Interplanetary Logistics had given her some trouble at first, until she had realised she was overthinking the whole thing. She always did that, but that wasn’t a fault to hold someone back. At least she hoped not. Mathematics, fine, not her strongest. She prefered more applied things but she knew enough to pass that. Genetic Optimisation… the door opened. Guess it was time to find out!

She stepped forward through the doors and listened for the gentle click of them closing. She realised she’d stopped breathing. A voice came from above, the faint strains of a synthesised vocal system apparent.

“Jennifer Albon, appraisal station 2491.”

The platform she stood on moved away and headed towards the indicated station. Jennifer felt her heart starting to race, her mouth had become dry, she heard a grumble in her stomach above the slight hum of the platform.

Within thirty seconds the platform arrived at station 2491 and Jennifer stepped into the appraisal room and sat in front of the screen. As she lent forward the screen lit with her test results, she scanned the overall score. A fail. She placed her elbows on the desk and cupped her forehead in her hands. What went wrong.. see flipped the screen over to the detailed results. All exams passed, she’d even scored a 21 in Mathematics. Next screen, Biological Appraisal. Ah here it was, Metabolic Requirement. She spoke to the room.

“Define metabolic requirement failure.”

“Metabolic rate was found to be too high. Such a requirement would place an unacceptable strain on nutritional resources when applied to full lifespan of an accepted candidate.”

Damn. It must have been all those extra points revision 6 had placed into accelerated cognitive function. Must have overdone it and increased the metabolics. She pulled up the charts and she had to agree with the assessment, there was a near exponential spike during prolonged stress tests. She slumped back into the chair.

“Looks like it will be revision 8 that gets to see the solar system.” she spoke to the room, but no answer came back. She sat upright again and switched to the gene optimiser. Over the next two hours she tweaked her DNA to try and lower the metabolic requirements her predecessors improvements had given rise too. She did what she could to not impede the cognitive gains, but some fallout was bound to occur she just had to hope not too much.

Once it was done, she stood and headed to the doorway. She felt maybe she should be feeling more upset, even maybe scared. But more than anything she just wanted to succeed. To one day have her DNA out there and working for humanity. She stepped onto the platform as it arrived.

“Jennifer Albon” came the same voice as before “Proceeding to gene pool for genetic rehavesting. Revision 8 is slated for birth in eleven point two years.”

The platform slipped away towards the source.

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