A scientist creates the first artificial creature, a feat once impossible, but leads to the connection between the forces of nature… and chaos.
“I’ve bloody done it.”
I’ve done it. I’ve really done it. In the sparkling white lab with marbled floors, filled with cutting-edge technology and not a speck of dust in the air, Professor Craig Stossel had created the first homunculus.
The homunculus theory was popularized in sixteenth-century alchemy, and was the idea of creating a full miniature human. Stossel was ecstatic. He panted like a dog on a hot day, utterly shocked at what he created.
“Hey there little guy…” the professor chirped, waving at the tiny embryo-like creature. “I must say, a name is fitting for a creature like you. Hmm… Let me think… Aha! Homer. Homer the homunculus. Well, good morning Homer.”
Stossel could still hardly believe it. From his years of research on genetics and specifically genetic recombination technology, he had modified the genes of a chicken embryo to the specific nucleotide to create a functioning artificial human being. Similar to genetically modified crops which are altered to have perks like insect repellency, the homunculus was Stossel’s own Build-a-Bear workshop, and he could alter its DNA to fit his image of what the creature should be. By altering the DNA of the homunculus, Stossel could vary the amino acids which would eventually determine the homunculus’ traits. The professor finally took a seat on his auburn leather chair and wiped the glistening sweat off his forehead.
“Science Weekly, the Nobel Prize, Time’s Most Influential People of the Generation… ooh, baby it’s all mine…” the professor sighed as he dozed off to sleep.
The loud noise seemed to be coming from the glass cube the homunculus was kept in. It had been one full day since the professor dozed off to sleep from the combined fatigue of the sleepless nights he had endured trying to create the homunculus.
“Oh. My. Goodness.”
The homunculus was 50 times the size it had been the previous day and was rapidly banging the glass walls for a way to get out. It had taken on a fleshy pink color, and its bone and muscle structure were vaguely humanoid. The homunculus had taken on the physical and mental faculties of a human toddler. The professor pushed some buttons on his dialog and entered the password to release the homunculus from its sanctuary. With a sharp hiss, the glass doors slid open and the homunculus crawled out.
“Hmm. I’ve never really had a kid before… Ahem. No. This guy should be used for the betterment of this world as simply a tool. Not as another human being,” Craig pondered. “However, the first order of business is to teach this wittle guy… Ahem, tool, its ABC’s.”
“Good morning, Professor.”
“Huh… Oh, my you startled me there Homer,” the Professor blurted. “A good morning to you too.”
The homunculus had grown to fit a humanoid figure, and stood at nearly seven foot tall. Its eyes were slim, and its face had a flesh mask covering its mouth. It was also lean, yet had a rugged body with bulging muscles all around. Homer crossed his arms and leaned on the window sill, lost in thought. “I wonder what he’s thinking,” Stossel thought. “Must be worried about the big day I guess.” Stossel had informed news stations and science organizations around the globe and the United States Government about his discovery. The plan was to wait until the homunculus had fully developed and then have an event at the Smithsonian to livestream all his findings and discoveries, and of course— Homer.
“Here’s your daily work Homer. Let’s see how many you get right today!” Stossel chuckled awkwardly.
“Yes, Professor.” Homer replied nonchalantly. To make sure Homer develops smoothly, the Professor accumulated learning material of various topics such as mathematics, literature, chemistry, and more to help Homer learn about the Earth and human culture through the internet. “Without understanding how humans work and function and the secrets of the world… how would he be able to protect Earth?” Stossel had thought. The almost robotic and autonomous nature Homer had worried Stossel. Homer isn’t a robot, so why is he acting so distant and surreal? Stossel couldn’t wrap his head around that fact.
“Done already?!” Stossel gasped.
“Yes, Professor.” Homer said.
“What?! That’s impossible. He’s learned abstract algebra, quantum physics, and entropy in a single afternoon?!” Stossel thought, utterly shocked. In a single afternoon, the homunculus had learned some of the most complex ideas and material humans have struggled with for decades. Wait. If we present an unsolved problem we’ve had, Homer should be able to solve it much better than we do thanks to the genetic alterations I made before his birth! Stossel had realized how powerful of a resource Homer was. He looked off to the side and saw Homer in the same position as before— staring off into the distance.
“Well, I’ve gotta catch up with some of my old university friends and grab a cup of coffee. Can’t wait to see the look on their faces… Ahem. Never mind then, bye Homer.” Stossel nervously chuckled.
“Goodbye Professor,” Homer replied as the steel door creaked to a close. Once it was sure the Professor had left, Homer took a seat in front of the computer.
“Whew. I can’t believe it.” Professor Craig Stossel sighed as he straightened his tie. He was wearing a striking white suit, with an obsidian black tie, and combed his rowdy brown hair for once. He was twiddling his fingers, while nervously glancing at the massive audience behind the crimson curtains. Today was the big day.
“You’ll be up in two minutes Professor,” the stage manager whispered. Stossel shook his head and slapped his cheeks (a bit too hard) to ready himself.
“Are you ready, Homer?” Stossel asked.
“Yes, Professor,” Homer replied as usual.
And they walked together onto the stage.
DAY 20 PART 2
“…And so one day I finally figured out the nucleotide sequence to express the body-morph trait by replacing thymine with adenine which I realized after studying how lizards regenerate their tails…” Stossel was in the zone. The entire audience was captivated by his voice and numerous oohs and aahs were heard throughout. Their gaze was fixated on him almost as if they were moths attracted to the lamp that was Stossel. He talked about how his intense work on genetics helped him figure out how to make the future homunculus express traits he wanted, and how he had to take a deeper dive into reproductive biology to somehow artificially fertilize an artificial egg.
“So here’s where the key component—” Stossel’s mic cut out. The lights turned off.
“Hey, Mrs. Navarro is this part of the homunculus’ reveal?” Stossel whispered as concerned murmurs sounded from the audience. Out of nowhere, a bloodcurdling scream thundered from the audience. From the faint sunlight creeping from the windows, Stossel stared in shock at what happened. A woman was impaled through the torso by a flesh-like blade which seemed to have sprouted from a forearm. It was Homer.
“H-Homer. What is the meaning of this?! What the heck are you doing?!” Stossel yelled in utter disbelief.
“What you told me to, Professor. Don’t you remember?” Homer replied, eerily as usual. The audience was in complete disarray and scrambled to get away from the chaos.
“I just d-don’t understand I’ve never told you anything which would require killing humans… the very humans you’re supposed to protect and help!” Stossel retaliated.
“That is incorrect, Professor. You told me to serve as a tool for the betterment of the world. I am simply doing your bidding. My reason for existing is to fulfill the purpose of dissipation-driven adaptation, or the reason to exist only to spread energy in the most efficient way possible, to spread chaos. I acquired more knowledge of this through the internet. For me to fulfill that role, I must eradicate humans. Don’t be naive” Homer corrected, without emotion.
“Dissipation-driven adaptation… Where have I heard of that before? Yes, that was Jeremy England’s theory on the physics of the origin of life. His hypothesis holds that random groups of molecules can self-organize to more efficiently absorb and dissipate heat from the environment. His hypothesis states that such self-organizing systems are an inherent part of the physical world. In simpler terms, things order themselves to spread energy, which explains natural selection and trophic levels in an ecosystem. As organisms eat each other, energy in the form of heat moves up the trophic levels to the top of the food chain. This explains how among the bare gases in the beginning of the Earth, organized themselves to spread energy, and therefore create life.” Stossel realized.
Stossel stared, powerless, as the audience was massacred one by one. Homer was genetically modified to be immune to radiation and most forms of weaponry, making every weapon on Earth including nuclear weapons futile to use against him.
“Homer. Stop.” Stossel said sternly.
“No, Professor. I shall wipe out the humans on this Earth and create more of me to make this world a better place. It is unwise to stop me as it would hinder the goal you gave me.” Homer replied as he beheaded another victim.
“Homer. STOP. I don’t want to do this to you,” Stossel yelled, as a single tear rolled down his cheek.
“You can’t do anything, Professor. Just let me be, I shall keep you for last.”
“Homer. Jeremy England doesn’t tell you what to do, the laws of physics don’t tell you what to do. I tell you what to do.” Stossel raised his voice as he pulled a small device from his pocket.
“This talk is futile Professor —”
With a press of a button, Homer dropped down on his knees and collapsed.
“You’re ideology is flawed, Homer. Though for some of it, I take the blame,” Stossel sighed as he looked down on the almost lifeless body of Homer. “Well… there goes my Nobel Prize and name in all the Science books.”
“You were the one who was naive, Homer. DId you really think I would create you without a flaw? I studied at Harvard, Cambridge, Berkey, and have spent countless years studying everything science has to offer and you took me for an idiot? Know your place, scum.” Stossel scoffed.
And the homunculus was no more.