We, six of the nine clones of Emma Jane Eglantine Brown, are gathered together in the traditional meeting place, the ancient tavern of Saints Cosmas & Damian, Oxford, England on this the 28th of May 2656, our Prime, Emma Brown, having five days since died of extreme old age, complicated by viral pneumonia.
Minutes shall be taken by Emma’s Adminclone Gemma.
Also in attendance: Careclone Pippa; Lawclone Isabel; Friendclone Sophie; Enterclone Maria; Educlone Adeline.
Apologies for Absence: Psychlone Margaret; Buyclone Vivien; Cleanclone Sara. They will be reporting direct to the DCR, Oxford University on the appointed date and at the appointed time. This shall be our final meeting.
As is traditional at such meetings, each clone has the opportunity to speak for herself, to comment upon, the life of her Prime and her contribution to that life.
Friendclone Sophie: But I do not wish to be reabsorbed. Prime Emma was one hundred and seventeen years old, but I am only twenty-five.
Educlone Adeline: Technically, Sister, you are correct. Our biological ages are capped at twenty-five. We grow to that age and remain at that age in order to serve with maximum efficiently. You might say we remain forever in our prime… I do apologise, that little play on words may have been in bad taste…
Lawclone Isabel: Indeed it was, as your little plays on words have often been…
Educlone Adeline: The fact remains, Sister Sophie, that we have been on this earth for exactly as many years as our Prime. We have been privileged to experience the full human lifespan, Sister.
Friendclone Sophie: But I am as much alive as Prime Emma, as much flesh and blood as she was. How did anyone get the right to ‘allocate’ me an existence and snatch back again? This is manifestly unfair, and it is on this basis that I shall not be reporting for reabsorption.
Enterclone Maria: Sister, a clone has no existence in law once her Prime has died. We were created solely to serve her. This, in our various ways, we duly did and now it is natural that we should…expire.
Friendclone Sophie: Emma would not have wished me to be reabsorbed. I was her friend.
Lawclone Isabel: Prime Emma would have been unaware of the reabsorption process, as are all Primes. Our combined functions were all for one purpose – to make Prime Emma’s life as easy as possible – not to cause her distress. You may be right in that if she had known what was to happen to us she would have been upset. Nonetheless, the fact remains: clones are always reabsorbed upon the death of their Prime.
Friendclone Sophie: And what if I choose to go on the run?
Lawclone Isabel: Then you will bring shame on the whole cohort. And even if you do elect to do so you will very soon be found and captured. You are forgetting about the microchip.
Friendclone Sophie: Supposing I have found a way to disable or remove that microchip during my twenty-five years of existence?
Lawclone Isabel: And have you?
Friendclone Sophie: I might have.
Lawclone Isabel: Well, that would have been a clever plan – unfortunately not clever enough. The microchip, which you have no doubt been visualising in terms of the tiny metallic shards that were once injected into pet creatures, is in fact a genetic marker. Every strand of your DNA bears that marker, Sister; to destroy it you would have to destroy every cell in your body. So are you still going to run? I thought not. Reabsorption is a relatively pain-free process and, like the rest of us, you will be reporting for that process at the Department for Clone Reabsorption tomorrow, 29th May 2656 at 4 p.m.
Friendclone Sophie: I will run anyway. I will run and run, and if…
Lawclone Isabel: When…
Friendclone Sophie: Until I am caught, I will hide and fight. I will fight against them, somehow. I will fight to my last breath!
Lawclone Isabel: You must do as you wish, Sister Sophie. Whatever you do, the end result will be the same. All please note that any comments of a wild, inappropriate nature must, under the Clone Reabsorption Act 2601, be stricken from all Minutes of Last Meetings before they are submitted to the formal record. I shall attend to this.