Author : Tom Coupland

Even more of the world watched Jerome II enter the hospital room than had even watched those first interviews with Jerome. Those early interviews had set the world alight. They had watched in their thousands of millions as the gray haired scientist had described the moment he realised he had taken a step humanity had never before imagined possible. The moment he felt his mind tear. When he described how the sensation of fluid filled lungs had caused him to believe he was drowning while standing in his lab, they had exclaimed their disbelief. As he went on to describe how he first saw his submerged premature eyes open and also of opening them, they fell silent. Of how he had looked through the distortion of the growth medium and the glass curve of the viewing portal into his own soul from two pairs of eyes, the clamour began.

All the efforts philosophers had put into the moral issues of cloning; inter clone homicide, asset ownership, even marriage. All the scientific enquiry into the process of tempting cells taken from an individual to form a new whole. Those decades of biological and ethical thinking had never considered how the human mind itself would cope with the existence of two physically identical brains. How the two might entangle at the lowest possible subatomic level and create a new kind of home for a mind. A home with two bodies.

The dispute over what this meant for the human race began immediately. Spiritual ideals formed the first lines around which the debate ebbed and flowed. Was this proof of gods existence or would new branches of the science explain this incredible finding?

As the conversation matured more practical concerns began to dominate. Regardless of whether it was science or spiritual in nature. Was this the end of cancer and degenerative diseases? Would it be possible for those now alive to measure their experiences in centuries or even millennia? Could humanity stop losing its finest minds to death? Had immortality been achieved?

Of course, thus far all of humanity’s greatest discoveries had caused stresses on the race before any benefit was felt. Could the impact of this, the most incredible discovery of all, be too much for us to bear? Would armies of a single mind march across the world waging war? First against those countries that held resources coveted by their creators, but soon just against each other for dominance over the planet.

As the years passed an almost unspoken agreement formed. No one attempted to recreate Jeromes work, they waited until one further crucial piece of the experiment was performed; could Jeromes psyche survive the death of the original host?

So now in their tens of billions they watched as Jerome failed to first find a breath and then another heart beat. Then the whole world turned its attention to the man stood over the bed.

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