Perfect Genesis is a science fiction, fantasy epic that tells the story of Leonardo Khalid.
The year is 2724. Leonardo is one of the first generation of enhanced humans. His genetic make-up consists of synthetically produced DNA that give him three attributes: longevity, super-intelligence, and rapid healing. During the first five hundred years of his life, Leonardo develops into humanity’s social and economic saviour, providing stability the human race has never seen before. He and his artificial intelligence, Aladdin, work to maintain this stability.
In Book 1: Adolescence, Leonardo is diagnosed with a terminal illness and his wife, Sahara, makes a desperate attempt to preserve his entity by uploading his mind while Leonardo is confronted with what he hopes is merely paranoia about Aladdin’s potential for insanity. But there is little time for him to act. He is sedated for uploading, during which Leonardo experiences what he believes is a dream caused by neural-stimulation therapy. What he enters is a world controlled by an entity called the Great Lord, a world populated with monsters. Leonardo exists in two places. Memories and awakenings weave through his existence as he tries to live even while he is dying; while he tries to make right what he thinks has gone wrong; while he tries to out-manoeuvre the most menacing of monsters: man.
This epic story continues through a further three volumes that are to be published in the coming months.
Darla Hogan was born in Southampton, England. He worked for over 25 years as a Physics teacher in the UK, before realising a dream and starting his own business. He currently owns and runs Hogan’s, a sandwich shop in Blackpool (an obvious connection?). Darla has always been passionate about reading and enjoys many genres, including short stories and Science Fiction.
During the period of rewriting and editing of Perfect Genesis, Darla has written over thirty short stories that fall into the Horror and Paranormal genres. Darla intends to write more of these stories, the first set of which is now published as ‘DEMISE AND OTHER MACABRE ENDINGS?’ by Kensington Gore Publishers. At least two further volumes of short stories will become available over the next two years.
Visit Darla’s website for more information about his work.
Mia was born in California but raised in Arkansas on a proper, back-country road on a mountain in the Ozarks. After high school, she disappointed her family by joining the US military. She travelled extensively then lived for a while in Arizona where she allowed herself to discover her passion for writing.
Mia holds an honours degree in communications. She has written several novels. Perfect Genesis is her first foray into science fiction and her first collaborative effort.
When she isn't writing, she is reading and travelling. She resides in Scotland with her husband, her son, and her cat.
They looked like bloodshot eyes. The two massive white spheres had adopted a crimson glow in the setting Saharan sun from which they converted matter into energy to produce a steady output of thirty terawatts for the planet’s twenty billion inhabitants. Several hundred metres below the spheres a solitary figure worked in a hidden chamber. Five concentric rows of screens surrounded him. The screens displayed data relating to the world above: climatic variations, crop production, population migration, regional economic stability, and power distribution and saturation levels. Leonardo ignored the comforting contours his chair offered his tense body. He scanned the screens before him, memorising and analysing the data. Above his head, five white stalks terminating in ovule-shaped sensors interfaced with his thoughts.
“Aladdin, it appears you have everything under perfect control.”
“Thank you, Leonardo. My moderating processes application methods are more than adequate to maintain stabilisation across all parameters,” said Aladdin. The detached voice was silky, soothing, and came from nowhere and everywhere at once.
“I’m glad to hear it. I have decided to take a sabbatical and will be leaving my daily duties in your hands. What do you think of that?”
“You have never taken a sabbatical before.”
“That is true.” Leonardo smiled. “You probably won’t need to, but if you encounter any problems, you’ll contact Marcus Giavanni. But before I leave for the day, I am running an equation through your hardware. It’s a complex problem. Would you provide an estimate of how long it will take to reach a solution?”
“There are several billion variables in this formula,” said Aladdin. “I estimate five to seven minutes to arrive at a conclusion. Leonardo, may I ask why you are taking a sabbatical now?”
Leonardo considered his answer. Aladdin was comprised of four tonnes of organic brain tissue supported by a fine diamond lattice connected to thousands of super-computers. Aladdin required no sleep, no food, essentially no breaks from his work. Although Aladdin needed little, Leonardo reasoned that his creation could still intellectually appreciate a human’s needs. He said, “As you know, tomorrow is my five-hundredth birthday and I have worked without taking any breaks. I talked with Sahara. We feel it’s time for me to take some time for myself. Who knows, maybe I’ll even have some fun.” Leonardo scanned the screens around him and added, “Although I was not ‘born’, I am afraid I am still only human.”
“You have indeed worked a long time without taking a sabbatical or a holiday as I believe it is also called.”
Leonardo nodded to himself. “Exactly.”
“Yet you have many accomplishments, perhaps because you have worked so hard. Would you like for me to display your prime occurrences? Level 1 occurrences are early development milestones.”
“Well, what a surprise. Yes, I would be very interested to see what you list as my prime occurrences as you call them.”
The screen in front of Leonardo changed colour, and the first entries of his life appeared.
Timeline for Leonardo Khalid: Prime Occurrences (Level 1)
31 July 2223: Doctor Ibrihim Khalid and his team complete the final synthesis of the genome for the fifth enhanced individual. The primary enhancements of the genetic material are: superior parallel processing of data and thought; extreme longevity; rapid self-repair to bodily tissues; a body free from conditions caused by commonly occurring abnormal cells.
2 August 2223: The stem cell hosting the genetic material of Leonardo Khalid is fully prepared. Doctor Khalid and his team place the cell, along with its genetic contents, into a gestation apparatus.
28 March 2224: The entity known as Leonardo Khalid is removed from the gestation apparatus and becomes an independent life form.
31 March 2224: Doctor Ibrihim Khalid and his wife, Sarah Khalid, formally adopt Leonardo and raise him as their own child.
31 March 2226: Leonardo Khalid, two years old, demonstrates ability to analyse full-length novels, solve quadratics equations, and draw in full perspective. His accelerated education programme is put in place.
3 September 2229: Leonardo Khalid injures the index finger of his right hand after trapping it in a door. The fingertip, bone, and nail are crushed, amputation may be necessary.
6 September 2229: Leonardo’s finger completely healed.
“I remember that. I think feeling fear for the first time was as frightening as the prospect of losing my finger,” said Leonardo.
“I have never felt fear. I cannot imagine it.”
Leonardo let out a short laugh. “You are not missing much.”
“Level 2 occurrences are specific to your achievements, Leonardo.”
Prime Occurrences (Level 2)
30 June 2230: Leonardo receives doctorates in eleven subjects. He gains a placement with Professor Drake to assist the doctor in defining the unification of the four fundamental forces.
1 November 2238: Leonardo, fourteen years old, appointed Leader of the Institute of Theoretical Physics, takes charge of directing the research into unified force theory.
9 March 2239: Leonardo develops a framework of field equations that may provide a complete understanding of the universe.
14 February 2240: Leonardo publishes a paper outlining that there is a gaping hole in the ‘theory of everything’. He proposes that a fifth ‘force’ is missing and produces a theory that includes the effects of fundamental awareness: every part of space-time and every particle are aware of every other particle in a ‘quantum’ mechanism. Leonardo announces that he intends to develop a new set of equations to solve the theory of everything.
22 December 2240: Leonardo publishes results of the analysis of his field equations. The results show there are an almost infinite number of solutions, indicating there are an almost infinite number of possible universes, this universe being just one of the possible outcomes. In conclusion, Leonardo states that current levels of technological advancement are insufficient to find the finite solution and tenders his resignation.
“I felt like a failure,” said Leonardo. “That’s when I turned my attention to software development. Aladdin, are the results from the analysis of my equations ready?”
“There are no results available yet.”
“Surely it has been more than seven minutes since the analysis began.”
“Twelve minutes and twenty-six seconds. The problem is complex,” said Aladdin.
Yes, it is a complex calculation, thought Leonardo. Once again, he returned to the screen to read Aladdin’s summary.
2 January 2241: Leonardo Khalid accepts an appointment as senior software developer for Quantcalc Industries, the largest software developers of the time. With a seven-figure budget, he is placed in charge of a team assigned the task of developing software that will predict future trends in stock market movement.
18 June 2241: Trials of the new software are very encouraging and Quantcalc increase the size of their investment ten-fold. Leonardo designs a networked computer system and radically different software. Over the next few months, Quantcalc Industries acquires over a quarter of the financial wealth of the world stock market. For the next two years, Leonardo uses his personal finances to make speculative investments.
26 June 2243: Leonardo owns over half the shares of Quantcalc and nearly three-quarters of the planet’s wealth. Leonardo reveals his position of financial power and calls for a summit of the world’s leaders.
5 July 2243: At a summit of the world’s leaders Leonardo is unanimously placed in charge of the planet’s finances.
30 September 2256: The world’s economy is in the strongest position in its history and enjoying greater parity of wealth distribution than ever before. Leonardo announces he will embark on developing a new form of energy production that will ensure “stability of the planet for millennia to come”.
13 May 2263: Work commences on the Great Ring in central northern Sahara. Leonardo releases a statement that once the giant particle accelerator is complete along with the capture apparatus in the centre of each sphere, the Khalid power station will be capable of producing in excess of 200 terawatts of power.
24 May 2289: Leonardo announces he successfully manufactured a pair of quantum black holes that are now contained in the capture domes of the Khalid power station. He says he expects large-scale energy production to begin early next year through the method of directly converting matter to energy.
15 February 2290: The Khalid power station becomes operational and capable of producing more than ten times the Earth’s energy requirements.
Leonardo scanned through the next few entries which detailed projects he had designed to help control climatic conditions in various parts of the world. The entries covered a time when he had been consumed by the holy grail of physics problems: the unified force theory.
“Has the calculation come through yet?” he asked.
“No, Leonardo. The complexity of this equation requires the full processing capability of my external hardware and I cannot establish a clear communication link at the current time. May I ask what exactly the calculation is for?”
“It’s just an analysis of the harmonics of the four fundamental forces in the strand of space-time that link the two quantum black holes in the power station.” His answer was only half-true.
“Would you like me to personally process the data? I will reach a conclusion in less time than my hardware will take.”
“No, it is of little consequence. It’s just curiosity on my part to answer a hypothesis of mine.” This time Leonardo was lying. He adjusted in his chair, wincing, one hand reflexively moving to his stomach. He relaxed again and continued to scan the timeline.
23 March 2489: Leonardo embarks on a project to produce a sentient artificial intelligence.
6 June 2497: Leonardo unveils a quantum brain that appears to be a sentient entity. The entity, known by the acronym ALAD (Analogue Logic Algorithmic Device) undertakes a series of stringent tests to establish its self-awareness.
12 January 2498: ALAD fails to prove its awareness.
22 May 2498: Leonardo attends a seminar on genetic manipulation theory. He meets Sahara Brown.
18 December 2498: Leonardo and Sahara attend a civil ceremony where they declare a binding union.
23 February 2499: Leonardo and Sahara begin working together on developing a treatment regime to cure all malignancies and repair genetic defects.
Leonardo uttered a moan. His chin dropped to his chest, the fingers of his right hand dug into his thigh. The pain in his stomach shot up to his throat before it faded away to a dull ache. He took a deep breath and tried to relax.
“Did you say something?” Aladdin’s voice washed over Leonardo, whose face had drained of colour. Beads of sweat dotted his hairline and upper lip.
“No. No, I did not.”
22 July 2503: Leonardo and Sahara jointly announce that they have developed a new programme to eliminate a wide range of diseases including a system for curing all cancers.
1 February 2504: Leonardo begins work on creating a sentient entity by interfacing a genetically synthesised organic brain with electronic hardware. Leonardo names the new programme Aladdin (Analogue Logic Algorithmic Device Digitally Integrated Network).
“The results of your calculation are available. Would you like me to display them on the screen?”
“No. Please print the results for me. I want to review them offline.”
A short distance from Leonardo, two sheets of paper emerged from a slot below one of the screens. Leonardo shivered and rose to his feet to retrieve the pages. “Aladdin, I want to be alone now. Please disconnect your presence from my location.”
“As you wish, Leonardo. Goodbye.”
He returned to his chair, sinking into its comforting contours. He read over the print-outs, examining the processes Aladdin’s hardware used to reduce the complexities of the harmonic variations between the fundamental forces. As he read, the forces were then playing a dancing rhythm in the single strand of space-time that linked the pair of quantum black holes in the spheres above him. Leonardo scanned farther and farther down the page. Suddenly, he sat upright. The variations read like an equation and the equation read like the code for DNA. What he had not said to Aladdin, but what he had suspected was that the four forces linking the black holes in the power station contained between them a naturally occurring variation, an equation that would reveal the precise physical properties of the universe. And he had been right.
“I can’t believe it,” he whispered.
Two Summoning Horns issued their trumpeting calls. The sound echoed off the city’s many spindly white towers. Abrihim was completing his final calculation, checking and rechecking reams of star charts.
“Abrihim! Abrihim! The Summoning Horns are calling. Can’t you hear them?” Marquel yelled to be heard over the horns’ blasts.
Abrihim shouted back: “Of course I can hear them, you fool. I may be old, but I am not deaf.” He scowled and strained, eventually pulling himself upright from a large, ornately carved chair. He stretched to his full height. His young assistant craned his neck to look up at Abrihim, who stood half a man taller than he.
“Fetch my cloak,” said Abrihim. Grumbling to himself, he said, “I hope Dethinar has not called a meeting to tell us he has seen something in one of his dreams.”
Along the long ramp to the Hall of the Guardians, Abrihim was afforded a city view. Although he had seen the setting sun illuminate Soul City’s thousands of towers with its pink glow many times, he was still struck by the sight. He was one of only thirteen remaining Guardians; a descendant of an ancient race doomed to die out. He had walked throughout the known lands for millennia, his duty to spread the good and true word of the Great Lord who had predicted the coming of the Great Saviour. The Saviour’s arrival was clearly indicated in Abrihim’s star charts, and it was close at hand.
In the hall, Dethinar stood atop an elevated platform. His deep voice rose to command attention and his arms stretched high above his head. “Fellow Guardians! I called this meeting to bring you news of a development that is most exciting.” He looked out over the small crowd and lowered his arms. “Earlier this evening, two travellers arrived at the West Gate. One is known as Paul. The other is called Darrion. Darrion is from the race of Great Men, which you know derives from the same ancestors as our own.” Dethinar paused and looked down upon the other Guardians to see how impressed they were by his news.
“What is the purpose of their visit?” asked Abrihim, impatient to return to his charts and annoyed with Dethinar’s dramatics.
Dethinar nodded, summoning the will to explain. “I will try to answer the question as succinctly as I can, dear Abrihim. As you will recall, many thousands of years ago in the War of the Races all of the women from our own race perished in the Southern Wilderness. The women of the Great Men travelled farther south. Though a few returned, none were of childbearing age, so the race of Great Men is now close to extinction. The traveller known as Paul believes there is a girl living in the jungles south of Predition who may be a suitable mate for the man he travels with. This man, Paul, he is strong of mind, but weak of body. What they seek is an escort.” Dethinar looked at Abrihim.
Abrihim waved his hand to dismiss the notion as a mere nuisance. “No, no, no. The only way to reach those jungles is to travel through Predition. The journey is too dangerous, especially for the weak.”
That may be, but you may take your dear Baku with you,” said Dethinar.
Abrihim was about to object, but the hall doors swung open. Everybody turned to see a Priest of Knowledge step in and bow. “Please accept my apologies for interrupting.” His eyes quickly finding the Guardian he sought. “Abrihim, the Great Lord summons you to the Book of Knowledge.”
“Dethinar, fellow Guardians, please excuse me. It appears to be an evening of summoning. I will return with news as soon as I can.”
As Abrihim hurried to the Central Oracle, his mind wandered to dim memories of the War of the Races that made his ancient scars itch. Six races had once populated the planet, each ruled by the strongest, most ruthless of their population. Boundaries were firm, distance maintained, and harmony prevailed for centuries. But the harmony made for many babies and each race grew more populace. Expansion narrowed the boundaries, and when a race’s population needs outpaced production and space, conflicts erupted over resources. Raids for lands and crops undermined race relations and violent, retaliatory acts eclipsed peace talks. Months of contained conflicts eventually erupted into war.
Abrihim crossed over one of several streams that ran through Soul City. He paused briefly at the crest of the narrow bridge to feel the cool air from the water below. It was a brief respite from the cloying heat and humidity. The War of the Races raged for two years. They bombed, shot, and starved each other. Enemy combatants were ordered to not bother raping women unless they killed the women after so they would not leave half-breeds behind. The sky darkened, the sun blotted out by smoke and debris. Some said the sky had filled with a black hate that had filled the world. Abrihim could no longer recall the specifics of the fighting. His friends’ faces had long ago faded into fuzzy masks, their names, their voices faint and wispy. He knew he had given up hope even if he could not remember the feeling exactly. Looking out across the stream he shivered despite the heat. He had forgotten much of the war, but he could not forget seeing the armies of Andropoids: large, living creatures bound with metal, sent by the Great Lord. The Great Lord’s voice had boomed thunderous from the black sky. “The fighting stops!” The ground had trembled. Burnt tree husks had shivered. Abrihim’s ears had throbbed. “You have a choice. Follow the path I provide for you and I will make sure you prosper, or deny me and I will destroy you before sunrise.”
The Andropoids separated the survivors into three groups. One group was sent west where the Great Lord instructed them to build the City of Knowledge, its centre dominated by a vast library. The Great Lord directed the second group to cultivate fertile land to the north, called the Shires. They would produce food to feed all the people, regardless of race. Abrihim was placed in the third group, which was sent east.
He walked on from the bridge, leaving it behind him along with the past. In the temple’s coolness he nodded to a Guard of Knowledge and approached a massive glass case. He placed his right hand on the glass surface and peered down at the Great Book of Knowledge within.