I - Human Errors
Third-Person: DORIAN BECKING
[25 years ago]
A hushed whirring of a machine along with a metronome-like 'beep' can be heard in a well-lit laboratory somewhere in San Francisco. It was 3:46 AM, Dorian has now spent roughly 72 hours inside the lab without stepping outside for sunlight. He's slumped on his chair, arms limp as they fall on his sides, his neck pressed on the headrest as he tries to get some shut-eye.
Neatly stacked folders rested on his desk and a cup of coffee at the chair's armrest indicated that he has achieved another failure for today. Splicing different human DNA's wasn't meant to be easy. The mere statement of it already sounds atrocious, absurd, bonkers even, and yet that is exactly what Dorian is trying to achieve.
He's a genius, but more than that, a perfectionist. His principles are all for the betterment of society, he craves nothing more than emotionally and physically adept people who are logical enough to discuss problems and create solutions. He observed humans ever since he was born. He sees flaws in others that will be absent to the 'apex-men', as he termed them.
This led to long, devoted, research on human DNA, and with his promising mind, he was granted this wish. He was granted a lab, the equipment, and the supplies, but with a catch. In his goal of creating 'apex-men' to replace the worst of society, he promised the government to have some of them join the line of defense, the military.
It seemed like an impossible stretch to those who don't know Dorian, but this very man had a record of being able to surpass expectations with his unorthodox methods, a diverging approach to science that didn't make it seem intellectual but rather creative. The only thing that reminds people that he indeed is a scientist is the number of certificates and awards he had hung in his office.
It lessens the doubts of people who see and saves him time to try and prove himself when he knows he shouldn't, a man who was given a Nobel prize for Physiology after a successful attempt of DNA reconstruction on a man who had no legs who then grew some later on, and worldwide recognition for his work and contribution to the field of molecular biology.
Right now, he might be in a position of working under the people who will make a profit from his work and utilize it not for his ideals, but for theirs, but compared to the frivolities they gave him. That was nothing. Assuming he got the formula and execution correct. However, as expected, it doesn't hold much promise.
There is progress, but it was extremely sparse and complicated, but he will persevere, it's only normal for a mere human to struggle playing 'make-pretend' God.
A knock sounded from the door that snapped him from his unsuccessful attempt at a nap, "Sir, Miss Ivanov is here to see you," Charles, his receptionist, informed.
He grunted as he sat properly and shook his lab neat, "Send her in, please" Dorian replied and the door opened as a tall, fit, and beautiful woman came through the door, her 6'4 figure was a sight for sore eyes as Dorian opened his arms immediately for a hug.
Misha Ivanov was a sweet, precious girl. She's not conventionally attractive, but she was beautiful, her muscles ever-so-slightly showed and you can make out the grooves. She doesn't have the small-waisted hourglass shape but she does have curves.
She was an absolute unit, a three-time triathlon Olympic champion, with a few minor MMA trophies on the side, Dorian absolutely loved, no, adored her. She was and still is, his first love. Her character is the exact reference for his project.
She placed a small kiss on his cheek, she had to bend down to his 5'10 stature but that only proves that not having a uniform height for humans is troublesome. He indulged himself in the hug making her chuckle, "Another failure?" she asked and his deep sigh only confirmed it.
She rubbed circles on the small of his back and placed another kiss on his head, "If only I was smart enough to help you, I would have," she said making Dorian shake his head,
"You are smart, but if you're as smart as me you would have been exactly what I was trying to recreate, and as you can tell nothing is ever that easy," he mumbled.
"Well, I brought you food," she said as she raised a brown paper bag, with yet another sigh he unwrapped his arms around her and gestured for her to take a seat.
He ate in silence as he stared at Misha, truly a sight to behold, what a reach toward perfection, kind, compassionate, quick-witted, bold, logical, and nurturing, she is the closest humanity can get to perfection, and here she is, looking at his laboratory in awe and curiosity.
"Oh, I forgot, Denis had birthday last week! he is two now," she informed and he smiled in pleasant surprise,
"Really now? how are Gab and Nessa holding up?" he asked, Gabriel and Vanessa are long friends of theirs, they've seen how their relationship began.
They both spawned from two completely different worlds and somehow that just made them come together more, Dorian thought that their relationship is strong because they are in harmony with each other, much like him and Misha, only that he was on a more important mission.
A mission for a better world in the long run.
"They're happy in love, as always... they're a happy family, hardly staying away from each other..haha," she replied and Dorian nodded,
"sounds like them," he quipped as he finished his food. Misha gulped when a moment of silence passed them and stood up,
"w-well, I guess I got to go now—"
"So soon? you can stay—"
"No, I... I got something to finish, eat food, and rest, I-I'll see you again, okay?"
"...Okay? Bye," he said as he watched her leave the room with haste.
‘What a busybody'
He thought to himself, as he stretched his arms and threw his leftovers into the garbage bin. He glanced at his neat table and even flipped through some of his documents, specifically, those that left him in a slump, to recreate a whole person, normally it would be through conceiving a child.
That wouldn't be possible since he can't involve anyone else in this project. Given that it's immoral, growing people would be done within the confines of this lab, because what's the purpose of him receiving this enormous working space if it's not to confine both him and his work within the parameters.
He can't even leave as he pleases.
Not with permission.
Nevertheless, he followed through with what Misha suggested and tried to get some shut-eye, he even used the provided bed and slept for a solid six hours.
When morning came he felt as if his spine realigned itself to its proper position. His eyelids felt as if they were weighed down. He smiled to himself as he thought how loved he is by his muse s***h partner.
In fact, he felt so nice that he has the urge to leave the premises of his lab and perhaps take a smoke outside, a guilty pleasure of his. Once he passed through the doors, Charles's face immediately froze in a stunned smile.
"W-Well now… sir, what a surprise!" He greeted with a small wave. Dorian was about to wave back when something caught his eye. Charles' left-hand ring finger is… empty.
Had he just imagined a gold ring on it before? Dorian's brows furrowed as he pointed a cautious finger to the said hand, "…weren't you married, Charles?" he asked, obviously confused and curious. Charles on the other hand seemed to freeze on his spot as a pained smile crossed his face,
"Ahh…yes, I was married," was his small reply.
"We.. we've split,"
"Oh, I'm sorry to ask you about something…touchy" Dorian almost mumbled the last part as a small wave of guilt hit him, but moreover, it was his curiosity. 'Why would a married couple split?' he wondered.
"Can I ask why you two have.. separated?" he said, overcome by his curiosity more than anything, it's a problem of his. Charles, used to how insensitive his superior is, just went along,
"I've been neglecting her, it seems only I thought that it was going well and I've also been told that she was seeing someone else, it was my fault why it came to this," he finished and Dorian's frown only deepened.
"H-How was it your fault exactly, you're working—"
"Yes, I am working, but she told me that it would have been okay if we lived in a dumpster as long as we're together,"
"…Oh wow, that's unrealistic,"
"Yes, but I assume you understand me, sir Becking,"
"why would I—"
"You and miss Misha broke up after all," Charles said along with a sullen sigh that silenced Dorian.
"P-Pardon?" Dorian stuttered, now even more confused. He's sure he would know if they broke up since he's a direct participant in that relationship. However, he has now, allegedly, broken up with his significant other.
Charles sighed as he rested his elbows on his desk, "Miss Ivanov ran out of this place, she was crying too, poor thing," he added tutting as he shook his head,
"and when she got outside it started raining—"
"I tried to catch up to her, but how's a dumpling-like me going to catch up to an Olympian?" Charles finished but not without Dorian's outbursts in-between. Now, more than confusion, there was panic boiling from Dorian's stomach up to his brain.
He racked everything they spoke of last night, he didn't see a fault, he didn't say anything remotely harsh or harmful, it boggled him to the point that he thought he must have memory problems. However, he's certain that's not the case.
"But...we didn't break up," Dorian explained as he tugged at his lab coat and pulled it criss-cross on his chest like a cardigan. Charles frowned as he tilted his head, shaking as he tutted,
"Five stages of grief, first: denial," he narrated,
Overcome by frustration Dorian stormed out of the building. It was a sudden event that even the guards, that usually ask for details like when is he coming back and what mode of communication can they reach to him or his possible whereabouts, only raised a hand to greet him instead, and before they realized it, Dorian had already flagged down a taxi and left as quick as he came.
Misha on the other hand was at home, Vanessa beside her with Denis on her lap, confused as to why the tall lady was crying, attempting to woo her with his favorite candy. She patted his head with a snuffle, "thank you, little Denis" she said as he accepted the candy, Vanessa, however, wasn't so kind as her son.
"I told you, he wouldn't understand unless you tell him, don't let the fancy papers fool you, he's stupid! And if he thinks it's not worth the time, find someone who will!" the Mexican woman scolded for the nth time, Misha wouldn't take the advice.
The Russian lady knew him since they were young, she knew of his aspirations and had understood, and loved him unconditionally. It would be too late to express unsatisfactory emotions now, she knows the importance of his work, and it's already a miracle someone with his charms would choose her.
"It's okay, he has an important job, more important than me, I have become selfish," she mumbled, clutching her legs close to her chest. That only made Vanessa angrier.
"Break up with the puto!"
"No! I love him!"
"So what?! He doesn't care about you! Together for 18 years with no marriage and no kids?! You're 30!"
"That's not important!"
A loud banging sound then silenced their argument and Dorian appeared, sweaty, out of breath, and visibly pained as he clutched his gut. He raised his index finger, still wheezing for breath.
"W-We need to talk" he croaked out, still doubled over with fatigue, Vanessa glared at him, Denis who's clueless only glanced at his mother's face and did the same. With their similar features and expressions, it was certainly both a frightening and adorable sight.
"A little too late for that, gringo," Vanessa quipped, making Dorian frown,
"I'm half Chinese so-"
"Doesn't matter!" She butted again, this time Misha intervened,
"Stop now, Nessa, it's alright," she paused to look at Dorian, "They let you out this time?" she asked, hugging her knees close to her chest, her voice soft and dry.
Dorian shook his head, "I just ran away, b-but what's happening why are you—?"
"Because of you, you impotent b***h!" Vanessa yelled, throwing a pillow at Dorian.
"Well, we would be able to talk it out if it weren't for your jabbering!" Dorian yelled as he caught the pillow.
"BWAH LAWHA BU BWHA!" Denis yelled.
A momentary pause filled the room before Vanessa regained her composure and glared at Dorian, "that means 'shut the hell up, you ass' in baby-talk," she said in a calm manner but venom in her words, by now Dorian's blood is boiling, and his patience is running thin.
He pinched the bridge of his nose, shutting his eyes tight, "Vanessa... Please, ask Gab to pick you up, we need to have a discussion," he begged as he gestured between him and Misha who only shrunk in her seat, well as much as she could shrink with her frame.
Vanessa begrudgingly sighed and stood up, picking up her stuff and stomping as she left the house, Denis waving everyone goodbye before they left the room in thick tension and silence. Dorian cleared his throat, "Charles said you left... Crying yesterday," he began and Misha averted her eyes, not replying.
He took a seat right next to her and rested his elbows on his knees, "was it something I said?" he asked again and now Misha shook her head in a meek manner, still not meeting his eyes.
Dorian leaned back to the couch, stumped. This was the first instance of this happening, Misha had always communicated with him without effort, they always conveyed what they mean to each other properly so what's stopping her this time?
"Dorian, do you love me?" she asked, it sounded in her voice that she was crying and it made Dorian, once again, frustrated with concern,
"Misha—Yes! Why are you asking that? Of course, I do! Look at me," He replied, cupping her cheeks before pulling her into a hug where he heard and felt how she sniffled in his arms.
"What is this about? What happened?" he was gentle this time. Hearing his partner whimper like this troubled him more than he thought he would be, "I was jealous," she replied.
"Of Nessa and Gabriel,"
"Certainly you have better taste than to-"
"They're family now, they have son, house, even dog..."
"Ahh..." Dorian massaged his temples as it dawned on him. Vanessa was right, for a couple that lasted almost 2 decades now, their relationship seemed painfully fruitless. More than that, it is a fact that Misha is retired from her athletic days of glory and would have more time on her hands.
With him as the one working, it was more than absolute that Misha would find something or 'someone' to spend her time with.
His project had gone far from where he was when he started, it led to many new discoveries, certainly. However, something in his mind must have known that it had always been somewhat impossible to achieve his dream by the means he wished for them to be. Perhaps he knew that it would end in a nasty controversy. He might have foreseen how it would haunt him.
Whatever ran through Dr. Dorian Becking's head was unknown, but one thing was certain.
He is never going to return to that lab.