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“In the year 2204, Rebecca Marie Martin was born to James and Rose Martin in the city of Seattle, which was, at the time, a major city in an area then called Washington State, in the nation of the United States of America. Rebecca was an ordinary girl, at least on the outside. As she grew older, she began to exhibit abilities far beyond the range of anyone else’s capability. These abilities included telekinesis and precognition, among others. Her parents, naturally concerned, enlisted the help of the world’s most prominent doctors. Dr. James Lee, a neuroscientist, discovered after extensive testing that Rebecca was producing a type of neurotransmitter, never before seen, that enabled her to utilize her brain in previously-unseen ways. This chemical was deemed ‘promycin’ and, after more analysis, was determined to be produced because of a change in Rebecca’s 17th chromosome[1].

The change only occurred in one of her chromosomes and, upon further research, was found not to appear in the genome of any other person tested thus far. This confirms that promycin production is a completely dominant trait. Although it was generally accepted that random mutations, sometimes called ‘adaptations,’ were the basis for evolution, the first such adaptation to the human race caused alarm among the general populace. Would humanity as they knew it become obsolete in the face of promycin? Would promycin create an entirely new species? Would those without promycin ultimately become subjugated, relegated to the status of second-class citizens or chimpanzees?
Rebecca’s situation was especially alarming to a political faction commonly known as Christian fundamentalists or ‘the religious right,’[2] who opposed Darwin’s theory of evolution.

When Rebecca, literally overnight, transformed into a full-grown woman just over a year after her birth, the world erupted into utter chaos. Rebecca was assigned a full-time team of bodyguards to protect her from assassination while the political battle reigned. The situation culminated in the state of Texas seceding from the United States[3] and launching nuclear missiles at Seattle. By this point, however, Rebecca had been evacuated and placed into hiding in an as-yet-undisclosed location. This move resulted in the launch of nuclear missiles at Texas by the state of Florida, as well as the United Kingdom, Russia, and other members of the United Nations…” 

 [1]
Specifically, the insertion of the four-base sequence GTAC in a section of so-called “junk DNA” or “noncoding DNA.”
[2] Members of the Democratic party were said to be ‘left-wing,’; the Republican party was considered ‘right-wing.’ The ‘religious right,’ then were religious members of the Republican party, often opposed to social change.
[3] As was previously done in the American Civil War, 1861-1865. See the Bibliography on page 504 for more information and recommended reading.

From Dr. Brian Weaver’s preface to The Autobiography of Rebecca Marie Martin

* * *

After, Shawn is exhausted like he hasn’t been in a long time. It's a better, more comprehensive exhaustion than the weariness that comes from dealing with Matthew and the public he represents, or from his daily hour in the state-of-the-art gym not dealing with Matthew and the public. His thoughts run in circles between Nikki and Isabelle, circling his penchant for younger women. Or women who should be younger but aren’t. Or women who are way younger but don’t seem it.

His thoughts turn to Isabelle’s transformation. She is time-lapse photography against still scenery. Does she understand what she’s done? How much she’s missed? Remembering his own painful—and not quite over--- adolescence, how much she’s lucky to have missed? How different she is and will continue to be?

* * *

“There has to be a way to change things. Humanity is dying out.”

What about test-tube babies?”

“Are you interested in starting a fourth World War?”

“No need to get snippy. I take you to mean that cloning would be too controversial? …In light of Ms. Martin, I’d have to agree with you. But what about alternative methods?”

“Alternative methods?”

“As I hope you are aware, a Dr. Struthoff and a Dr. Dietrich have been at work in Berlin for some years heading a team of scientists working on Temporal Displacement Tesseraction Theory.”

“Time travel?”

“Well, that’s a bit crude… but yes.”

“So what are you suggesting? That we travel back in time to stop the wars? Cut a few cables?”

“Cutting cables would not be sufficient. Where there’s a will, there’s a way… so how would we eliminate the will?”

“The will originated with promycin… So what if we introduce promycin before Rebecca?”

“How?”

“Teach the bodies of a significant number of people to produce it—some ordinary people, some key figures—and then send them back.”

“And send them back?”

“Uh-huh.”

“But when?”

“In enough time that by the time Rebecca Marie Martin is—was—born, promycin will be a household term, and nothing frightening at all.”

“How do we stop it from being frightening?”

“A liaison to the past.”

Conversation reconstructed from memory
between Dr. James Lee and Dr. Allison Warner
From Chapter Three of Promycin and the War That Never Was by Dr. Allison Warner

* * *

Isabelle’s breathing is deep and even, perfectly in rhythm with the beating of Shawn’s heart.

Which is not only cliché but pretty fucking creepy.

“I understand what I’ve done, you know.”

Her voice startles him enough that his adrenaline spikes and he starts a little. She lays a hand on his bare chest next to where her head is resting.

“You don’t honestly think I’m a twenty-year-old with a two-year-old brain. I'm not. They were running all these tests on me, before I... changed. Everyone else's body was just taught to make promycin. Mine didn't have to be. I have some kind of genetic mutation. If I had been born, without them taking me, I'd still have promycin. And apparently, part of that is an extremely rapid growth spurt during the second year. 

"My brain matured just like my body. I have the higher cognitive powers of any other young adult. But I’m natural. I haven’t been socially inundated. I haven’t been culturally conditioned. I don’t hate my body or believe in my parents’ politics or understand the subtler aspects of cultural rituals, but I can do calculus like most college students. I know what I’m doing. Now go to sleep.”

Isabelle’s breathing returns to its deep, even rhythm. This time, Shawn's matches within minutes.


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