Chapter Twenty-Six

We work for the next several days on Goldberg, but he still hasn't opened up. Fade and Calix have resorted to using other methods and no matter how hard I try I cannot get the screaming out of my head. Some days when they are finished, Goldberg doesn't even look human. The one who really surprises me in this whole ordeal is Jumanji. I had kind of expected Lathan to sit back and watch all of this without blinking, but Jumanji seemed to be leading the crusade. Maybe he thought that this is his chance to prove to his mother that he is still fighting for what is right.

Four is seeming to keep up his mood, though I can see how he watches people run. He just has this lost look in his eyes. Match tries his best to cheer Four up, but I can just see that something is wrong.

Olivia is rarely seen in public. The last time I saw her was at the public mourning, which had been unlike anything that I have ever seen. On the islands, the dead just kind of got tossed to the side and were pretty much forgotten about. Here, they actually remember everything that the deceased has done in life. It's like they are trying to make that person seem bigger than life. Plus, there was a lot of crying and laughing, which really did not seem to go together in my mind.

Fade comes out of Goldberg's cell, wiping blood from his gloves. "I would have thought that would have broken him."

I bite the inside of my mouth as I stare into the darkened cell. Jumanji and Calix come out, both wearing weary expressions. "I would have thought that he would not be able to scream after all of this," I mutter.

Fade shrugs. "I wonder if he realizes it would be a lot simpler if he would just cooperate."

Jumanji taps his fingers on his book. "He probably thinks that his secrets are worth losing his life over. It really does make me think that he does know how to reserve everything."

"I was thinking the same thing," Calix adds. "He knows we can't kill him at this point."

"Maybe a few more rounds will do it," I mutter. "Come on, I'm getting hungry."

Our boots click against the floor. Most of the cells remain empty. As we pass the ones that are occupied, the people call out at us; oddly enough, their rude comments don't really seem to reach me. We will see how is laughing whenever all of this starts to break down.

Outside, the sun has disappeared and rain is falling sheets. I haven't decided which is worse yet: the rain or the snow. Both chill me right to the bone.

Fade just walks right out in it without so much as a second thought.

I roll my eyes as I follow him. The rain beats down on me, but I can't let Fade come across as being more put together than me.

!

Jumanji slams a heavy book down right in front of me, causing me to jump. "Read this."

I shudder as he opens the book. Even though we are inside, the dampness still manages to reach us. "What's it about?"

"You'll see."
One of the biggest fears caused by reproductive cloning in animals is that it could lead to cloning humans. The rise in the fear of human cloning comes from researchers announcing that human cloning is a possibility in the near future. Another concern about the possibility of human cloning is the fear of who and what will be cloned. Does society want Hitler and dinosaurs to come back? Another concern about reproductive cloning in animals leading to human cloning is that process happens so quickly that the deformities in animals could also appear in humans. It takes months for a sexually reproduction egg to grow while a cloned egg is asked to grow in a matter of days or hours. This rapid growing may cause errors in the DNA and, therefore, may lead to physical abnormalities. These physical abnormalities may range from half a kidney to no immune system. Opponents of cloning claim that in order for cloning to be done on humans, it must be completely safe. If the cloning process were to slow down and allow the DNA to properly mature and grow, the results of the tests may be completely different.

Reproductive cloning in animals can have many benefits. In April 2003, scientists in Iowa first successfully cloned an endangered species called a banteng. A banteng is a cow like creature, which is native to Indonesia and Java. The total population had an eighty percent decrease. Cloning the banteng occurred by taking cells from the ear of a San Diego Zoo captive banteng. The captive banteng died in 1980 before it could breed. This was not usual because banteng do not often mate in captivity. The gestation and birth of the reproductively cloned banteng occurred at Trans Ova Genetics in Sioux City, Iowa. However, there is a downside to the story of the banteng. Scientists from Advanced Cell Technology transferred dozens of banteng embryos into beef cows. Two of the cows brought calves to birth. The first banteng had no side effects and grew to a healthy weight on one thousand eight hundred pounds. However, the second born banteng produced completely different results. It was born twice the normal size and was unhealthy. This forced scientists to euthanize it. This was not the first attempt at reproductively cloning an endangered species. In 2001, Bessie, a dairy cow, served as a surrogate mother to a guar embryo. Guars, like the banteng, do not mate in captivity. The baby guar appeared to be healthy at birth. It stood on its legs and explored its surroundings. This did not last long, because it soon got dysentery and died. The story of the banteng indicts that cloning needs to be greatly improved. Will this ever happen? The way that cloning is right now, it appears that this will not become a reality in the near future.

Despite the risks, scientists are still looking to clone endangered species such as the Tasmanian tiger, Sumatran tiger, African bongo antelopes, the giant panda, and possibly the Dodo bird. The San Diego Zoo stores frozen tissue from some of the world's rarest animals, including condors, pandas, and the California gray whale. The name of this store is Frozen Zoo. Along with the San Diego Wildlife Preserve, the zoo has a good environment for raising and monitoring reintroduced endangered genus. Both groups make sure that the cloned animals are doable before releasing them into the wild. San Diego Zoo is not the only organization cloning endangered animals. The Audubon Nature Institute's Center for Research of Endangered Species is trying to clone bongo antelopes, gorillas, and exotic cats. The center lies on one thousand two hundred acres west banks of New Orleans. It is in these vast acres that assisted reproduction with frozen embryos and interspecies embryo transfers combine to form clones. In 2003, the group had cloned several African wildcat kittens. The first, named Ditteaux was born on August 6, 2003. Two more were born on November 15, 2003. The kittens were all born from a thawed embryo gestated by a domestic cat. The embryo for all of the kittens was from the same African wildcat, Jazz. In 2003, scientists in China cloned twin cows by using somatic cell nuclear transfer. This is since lead to using rabbits to clone reproductively panda embryos. This indicts that reproductive cloning does have its benefits, but, that also, even if it does have its benefits, damage still caused. Not every reproductive cloning of animal story has a "happy ending." Much work is still needed to be done in order to make the reproductive cloning of endangered animals completely successful.

"Why cloning again?" I hand him back the book. "Didn't you already show me this?"

Jumanji nods. "I didn't show it all to you. I really do think they were cloning the gene that makes it easy to control someone and putting it in the water. It's the only reasonable explanation that I can come up with."

"I guess." I point to the point. "That just seems a little bit farfetched to me. They can't be using animals, though, so I guess it would fit."

Jumanji smiles. "If you really stop and think about it, none of this makes sense. So, why not throw something like cloning into the picture?"

"I guess," I mutter. "It seems so low to do something like this, doesn't it? I mean, it's one thing to feed your people lies and try to make them see things your way, but another to actually force them to. It's taking away their free will."

"I know and that is the truly sad part of the matter." His gaze shifts over to a small group of preteens. "Just think about taking a child's free will away. All of that innocence is gone."

I shake my head. "And that's why Goldberg has to talk."

!

The days grow shorter and shorter, but Goldberg will not give in. There are so days after Fade is done with him that he doesn't even look human. I can actually see the toll that these repeated beatings are taking on Fade. He looks like he can't even stand to see himself anymore. It's almost like he actually haunted by what is going on.

There are so many days that Fade and I just sit by each other, not speaking or really looking at each other for that matter. It's like we are bound together by this unseen force, but, yet, are completely divided by it. We are broken and really don't have a chance to come back from this trip.

Match seems to be distancing himself even more than Fade. It's like he's a part of our little group, but really isn't. He does try to make Four happy and they do share a couple of moments, but we aren't even close to being where we were before. I really don't think we will ever get back there. It just doesn't seem possible.

The snow crunches beneath our feet as Fade and I walk through the bush near the village. Out here, it's like life doesn't even touch us. The birds chirp around us, acting like it is really warmer than it is. I don't even know why they are out. I wouldn't even be here if Fade hadn't needed someone to walk by him.

I look over at him. Up close, he looks even more beaten up. His cheeks are hollowed out and the dark circles beneath his eyes are even more drawn out. His clothes pretty much hang off him. I've never seen anyone look like the walking dead before. I really want to move closer to him and show him that everything is going to be okay. However, I can't make myself do that. I can't even promise him that everything will be okay. We just have no idea what tomorrow will actually bring.

I would have thought that winning the war would have made all of our problems go away, but it seems to okay have made it worse. We are actually drifting apart even more than before.

Fade stops suddenly, almost causing me to run into him. "Did you hear that?"

Frowning, I listen, but I don't hear anything other than the birds and our own breathing. "No, did you hear something?"

"I thought I heard a noise over there." He points to a clearing to our right.

The funny thing about this is that I didn't even realize there is a clearing over there until he pointed it out. It is a rather large looking place; it reminds me of the battlefields they used to show us during our lectures. The trees just seem to stop, forming the prefect hiding place for an army until it is time to march out. I can also see the two sides running at each other and colliding in a run of death. The blood will taint the grass forever in red and the bodies will decay back into the ground, giving it even more life.

Fade eyes me. "You were spacing out again."

I blush. I hadn't even realized that I hadn't been listening to him. "I was just listening for that noise."

He gives me a long look. "Sure, you were." He pauses. "I do know that did hear something. Are you sure you didn't hear it?"

"I'm sure." I listen again. Once again, the only sounds I hear are the normal bush sounds. "Maybe it was all in your head. I know you have a bad habit of spacing out."

He smirks. "Yeah, right." His eyes shift out into the clearing. "I would just feel better if we didn't go out into the open. Something doesn't feel right about this."

"Okay, we'll stay in the trees."

We make our way along the tree line, staying back in it far enough so that if anyone did happen to be looking out, they wouldn't see us. The longer we walk, the more the hairs on the back of my neck start to go up. It's like my body can sense that something isn't right, but can't exactly figure out what is going on.

I look over at Fade, whose eyes keep darting around. It's like we both know that we shouldn't be going this way, but we can't make ourselves stop.

I pause and look around. "Fade," I hiss.

He stops a few steps ahead of me, turning slowly around to look at me. "What?"

"Do you hear a humming sound?" I frown. I know I hadn't heard that sound a few minutes ago, but now it is as plain as day. I can't exactly pinpoint where it is coming from, but it is here. It also feels as if it is surrounding me, threatening to reach my very soul.

"Yeah, that's what I heard earlier." Fade frowns. "You can hear it now?"

I nod. "It almost sounds like a motor of some kind." My frown deepens. "How is that even possible?"

He shrugs. "I don't know and I don't think Olivia is doing any kind of training drills out here."

"Should we go warn the others?" I start to turn back toward the village before he can even say a word.

There is just too much happening for all of this to be right. If Fade didn't know about any kind of drills, then that tells me that it is not our people.

Fade roughly grabs my arm. I hit back at him, but he doesn't let go. "Don't move," he hisses in my ear.

"Why not?" I snap back, really wishing that he would let up.

"There's someone out there."

I eyes scan the clearing, but I don't see a thing. The humming is growing louder, but I can now tell that it isn't coming from a plane or anything like that. It almost sounds as if it coming from one of those small, one person drivable cars. What would one of those be doing clear out here?

The little black dot appears at the edge of the field, slowly making its way toward us. It's very clear that whoever is driving it is not familiar with the terrain. More than once I see them stumble over something.

Fade's nails still dig into my arm. The bite grows more painful with each passing second.

The person stops right in the middle of the clearing. It's like they are trying to enjoy a brief moment of peace or something. I watch them with narrow eyes. They are too far out for me to clearly make them out, but I really don't think they are here to harm us.

After a few minutes, they start moving back in the direction they just came from.

As soon as they are out of sight, I turn back to Fade, who is slowly letting up his death grip. "Are there others out there?" I ask.

Fade slowly nods. "Yes, some are friends, but some are not. We have very little contact with each other."

His words really don't surprise me. A part of me had always had this feeling that there would be others like us out there. I just couldn't believe that this is the only group.

"There are some who probably think that the war never happened. They live so far north that it probably didn't touch them. I think they even still have the old cities."

"Really?" I stare in the direction that the person just disappeared in. "A world that hasn't been touched? Why hasn't anyone tried to reach them?"

"Like I said, they're too far north. If you think it's cold here, just picture what it must be like even further north." He smiles. "We're pretty far north ourselves."

"How did the other societies make it out of the war?" I ask as Fade starts to move away from me.

"The moment the first shots were fired, they shut their borders to the world. They became their own armed fort and found ways to survive on their own." He eyes me. "Come on, we have to report the sighting. If one is this close to us, there will be others."

"Do you think it's an army?" My voice gets kind of high at the words.

Fade shakes his head. "I don't think so. Some come to our village every once in awhile to trade. We just need to make sure we have what they want."

"Do you know what they want?"

"They've probably heard about our recent victory, so I have a pretty good idea as to what they want."