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Turning the Tide

Dawn Vogel's academic background is in history, so it's not surprising that much of her fiction is set in earlier times. By day, she edits reports for historians and archaeologists. In her alleged spare time, she runs a craft business, co-runs a small press, and tries to find time for writing. Her steampunk adventure series, Brass and Glass, is available from DefCon One Publishing. She is a member of Broad Universe, SFWA, and Codex Writers. She lives in Seattle with her husband, author Jeremy Zimmerman, and their herd of cats. Visit her at historythatneverwas.com.

We decant another batch of clones from the goop. Their route takes them from the cloning chambers through showers, then to uniforms, weaponry, and out to the front.
And then the process starts again.
We've been doing this long enough that few of us remember how the war started or why we're fighting. We continue to make clones because it keeps us and our loved ones away from the front.
There's not enough time to get to know a clone. They never become a loved one.
R&D continually works on improvements. Faster, stronger, more resilient clones will turn the war in our favor. Since we never get to know the clones, we don't see any difference. They all come out of the goop naked and blank.
They all return to goop just as blank.
Today, men in suits hover nearby. They want to see the next batch. It's odd but not unheard of for a mid-day modification.
We shrug and start the decanting process.
This batch is different. They don't match the previous clones. They look... wrong. We frantically check the specs we received.
The suits shake hands and clap each other's backs. "Turning the tide," they say. "Perfect replicas make ideal infiltrators. They'll never see it coming."
We get a faint "well done" before they depart for uniforms, which also have mods today.
The clones move on to the showers.
And we start another batch.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, January 27th, 2022


Author Comments

The challenge of presenting a coherent story in under 250 words is a difficult one that I've been trying out recently. Every word counts, quite literally, so there is a lot of covering material in brief, broad strokes, and cutting the story to the very core of the events occurring. It leaves plenty to the reader's imagination, and when done successfully, still conveys what I had in mind while writing it.

- Dawn Vogel
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