Science Fiction: The Charade, or The Truth

EMILY HONEN

The United States was at war. The war broke out in 1993, and it is still going on today. This is one of the reasons why the Americans wouldn’t give up. On November 13th, 2003, an American pilot was captured by the enemy forces. His name was Jonathan Adler, and he was only twenty-one years old. Everyone in his legion of soldiers was killed except for him, and they took Jonathan as a hostage. For years, his parents pleaded with the government to let him go, but they would not. They demanded P.O.W.s, money, war arsenal, you name it. Finally, on July 31st, 2008, they let Jonathan go in exchange for eight hundred thousand dollars. Everyone thought that it was an outrageously low amount of money, and many were suspicious until Jonathan returned home. It was a glorious day when Jonathan Adler returned – the people celebrated and paraded him through the streets.

That night, Jonathan’s parents took him home, crying and hugging him until late at night.

“Oh, my little Johnny, we’ve missed you so much!”

“We’re so proud of you, Jon. We still can’t believe it. It’s all like a wonderful dream.”

Jonathan got undressed slowly, as he always did, and slipped into his favorite t-shirt and boxer shorts. He then brushed his teeth and went to bed, as if he hadn’t been gone at all and tonight was just like every other night.

There was just one small problem. One minor flaw.

This wasn’t Jonathan. Not at all, not in the slightest. The real Jonathan’s body was back in Madonia.

It was no actor posing as Jonathan; it was something much more sinister. The Madonians had spent five years and nearly fifty thousand dollars creating and perfecting the robot replacement of Jonathan Adler. His memories, routines, hobbies, personality, fingerprints, and voice had all been electronically transferred to the synthetic clone, which bore the appearance of Jonathan at the time of his death.

And, as a matter of fact, there was another small problem. The clone had become so human by absorbing Jonathan’s being that it had developed a sort of simple personality of its own. It was like it was just someone else–someone who acted, spoke, and looked exactly like Jonathan.

As time wore on, the clone began to struggle with ethics. Jonathan’s parents were so deliriously happy, so blissfully naïve of the fact that their real son was dead. It was so cruel to keep up this charade, and yet, it would be crueler to tell them the terrible truth. Or was it? To remain happy, or to live a lie? The charade, or the truth?

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