Date Published: 01-15-2024
Geneticist Lucien Roux's cutting-edge experiment to clone Neanderthals blurs lines between ambition and ethics after the clones are stolen and forced to play a brutal and violent game dubbed Neanderball. Haunted by the realization that his hubris overpowered his morality, Lucien knows he must fix what he's done.
Racing against time as a military faction and a sinister adversary close in, he has one chance to expose the real reason his research was taken. With his ex-Marine girlfriend, he sets out on a dangerous journey to save the Neanderthals before it's too late. It's an all or nothing fight for redemption, leading to a showdown for his survival, and freedom for the Neanderthals.
Lucien stood outside his lab door, hoping his Neanderthal clones had survived to reach the five-day blastocyst mark. What made his cell phone alarm go off? He placed his chin on the plastic extension to the right and pressed the red button. With his retina scanned, a chime sounded. He straightened. Next came fingerprint verification. He placed his thumb on a small pad next to the retinal scanner and waited for the second chime. Last came the voice verification.
He stepped back and spoke, “Bonjour, je m’appelle Lucien Roux.”
A split-second pause. “Bonjour, Doctor Roux.”
Third and final chime. The door slid left into the pocket slot and closed after he entered the lab. For a moment, he stood and enjoyed the cool, unobtrusive, sterile comfort of the place where he’d spent most of his time over the past three years. His second home. Come to think of it, it was more accurate to call it his first home.
The fluorescent lights flickered on and illuminated the countertops crammed with glassware, notepads, microscopes, and computers. He dodged around the benches and stools to the incubator room at the far end of the lab.
He pressed a button beside the door. “Release incubator lock.”
As he wrapped his hand around the incubator’s door handle, his foot tapped. “Come on, come on.”
To anyone else, it would look like a commercial refrigerator door, but looks were deceiving. He kept his incubator out of view in a separate room where only his voice would unlock it, tucked away from the potential prying eyes of the techs and cleaning crew.
The lock clicked open.
What had happened? Nutrients he’d deal with, but if he’d miscalculated the growth enhancers, it meant he’d lose the entire batch of Neanderthal specimens. If they lived, all sixteen would have developed further than any of the other clones that failed to thrive.
He swung the stainless door wide and hurried in. The interior lights flooded the cool, small space. There they were, his sixteen specimens, mounted vertically in silver-sided test tubes holding the growth medium, four high with four side-by-side, all males to reduce the variables that might come with both sexes. He peered closely through the small magnifying window in the first growth tube and then the next and the next.
I'm a multi-genre author and have been writing for as long as I can remember, and try to attend as many writing workshops and conferences as possible.
I was born in Sydney, Australia, but have lived in the United States for most of my life. I have two undergraduate degrees in archaeology and environmental resource management (wildlife biology) and a master's degree in public archaeology, as well as a host of courses in writing, editing, and even criminal justice. We can never learn too much, right?
In addition to writing, I absolutely adore traveling. I'm definitely a wanderer at heart and find it hard to settle in one place for long. And why should I? There are so many places to explore!