The Oviparous Humans

This month offers an eerie sci-fi glimpse of a future where babies hatching from eggs has become the norm. What happens to parenting? Would it lead to a more equal treatment of parents by society? More importantly, when your child is already mixed in the world before its birth, could it ever really be safe?well read-01

Viviparous: [vahy-vip-er-uh s] adjective, Zoology. Describes an organism that brings forth its young alive.

Oviparous [oh-vip-er-uh s] adjective, Zoology. Egg-laying; depositing eggs that develop and hatch outside the body as a reproductive strategy.

Upon examination of recent trends in human evolution, Scientists have widely concluded that we are currently approaching a dead end. The two trends of walking upright on two legs and extensive brain development are creating a quite literal pinch point; the narrowing of hips required by upright walking and the brain capacity that makes us so unique have made our status as viviparous organisms less and less favorable. Although our increasing intelligence has allowed us to cope with the rising infant and maternal mortality up to this point, it has been decided that we are ready for a leap away from this barbaric and dangerous situation. We will take a simultaneous step forward and back in evolution and, like our distant ancestors, become oviparous again.

Part 1
The cost of leasing the egg and supplying it with the yolk cartridges to continue its operation had put Rubin near bankruptcy. The Ova donor decided to be just that and backed out of the deal early on. Rubin was at it alone and, for better or worse, was not going to give up.

The battery capacity of the artificial egg is sufficient to last up to two hours, more if it is provided with an outside heat source as its complex oxygen cycling and waste removal functions have little power drain compared to the simple heating element that activates to simulate body temperature.

Rubin used the battery power for his commutes to and from work, a task growing more and more difficult as the fetus size and accompanying saline bath continued to grow. He kept it harnessed to his stomach under a special XXXL jacket while riding his electric bicycle to and from the office.

One morning the weather was so nice he decided to take a detour through the park; the warm breeze carrying the smell of thriving plant life in the early morning sun would be a welcome luxury if the time permitted.

Rubin was weaving down a secluded trail that followed the river before curving back up to the city when he had to stop for a grizzled, filthy middle-aged man who was blocking the path.

“What do we have here?” the man snarled, loud enough to be heard from a distance. “Looks like we got ourselves one of those mama birds sitting on her little eggie weggie.” He looked with a menacing grin at the bulge in Rubin’s jacket.

“Eh boys, come on down here, this might be our lucky day. How much did that slick fella at the booze barn say we can get for one of these here eggs?” A pair of younger men stumbled out of the woods onto the trail behind Rubin grinning nervously and looking up and down the path. The taller of the two said,

“He told us four grand.” The other shorter man piped up, “I reckon for one like this, ready to hatch, we could get five.” The first older man scoffed and said,

“Sounds like peasant prices to me, he’s prob’ly just a middle man. If we could find his boss, could get a whole lot more.”

Rubin was frozen in place, his heart racing. The stress of his daily grind and growing financial burden were approaching the great reward of fatherhood. Now this scum was ready to take it all away in order to keep themselves in drink for a couple more weeks. The growing terror and fury were painted all over his face and posture. The older man observed and said “Don’t go thinkin’ you got a fightin’ chance little hen, if you were a real man you’d be makin’ babies the Vivo way”. At this Rubin lost it, cranked the throttle of his e-bike to full and slammed into the older man. The despicable coot gracelessly fell back onto the pavement and his head hit with a satisfying “THUNK” but in no time the younger men were on him from behind; Rubin’s jacket was torn open, the straps of the harness unhooked and his precious egg, his everything, was being scuttled off into the woods.

Part 2
As an egg-born child herself, Tam tended to go along with “Ovo” philosophy: “Technology requires only the donation of a single cell to have a child.” “The Vivo way is of the past, we’re Ovos now.” “Vivo traits are a wasteful inconvenience, why throw away all of that protein and iron AND put up with mood swings?” etc. etc. The logical conclusion is to modify one’s hormones and stop the monthly Vivo cycle.

Feeling a life as a part of your own body is one thing but watching a complicated machine carry out a biological process is something else altogether. With the former out of the question and the latter of little interest to Tam, she remained childless. There was a time, when she felt attached enough to a man to have an ovum extracted and start a life growing but the permanence of the whole thing was so intimidating and the rituals required to keep that machine working, while fully understood by her partner, were completely perplexing to her. She backed out in the first trimester. She was a classic dead-beat in an era where “motherhood”, without the related hormone influence, is yet to be redefined properly.

It was 9:17 am and Tam was still dead asleep when the call came. It was the police.

“We are investigating the theft of a mature egg. Since you are the mother, we require that you to come in for questioning.” The urgency in the officer’s voice and especially that word “mother” struck Tam like an icy knife to the spine. Her memory of Rubin’s tedious obsession with that thing was transformed in that instant to a vision of him as a golden defender of good and in the next instant, as the ramifications of the call hit her, the vision transformed to her golden knight trampled into mud by the vilest forces of evil. The lazy comfort of Tam’s life was stripped away and replaced with a burning need for action; she was out of the door in a haste surprising even to her.

Part 3:
At the police station Tam didn’t have much of a wait getting an interview with the investigating officer.

“Where is Rubin?!” was her first question. “I’m afraid the evidence against him on charges of assault with a motor vehicle is quite compelling; he has to stay in lock-up”.

“What do you have on the attackers?” she asked “The older man is in the hospital with a concussion, not much use right now but we know him, he’s no stranger to the drunk tank. As for the other two, we are compiling a list of known associates of our concussed lout and cross referencing with regulars of a ‘booze barn’ where they allegedly have a fence”.

“A fence? How could there be a market for something like that?” “The hardware is valu-” “and the baby?!” she interjected “Times are changing, more and more middle class people are choosing the Ovo lifestyle but don’t have the time or money for the actual incubation; demand for Ovo infants is growing.” This revelation came as a shock to Tam and tears were streaming down her face before she asked “What if those morons don’t know how to run the machine?” “I suspect they do not, hence the scramble for a lead – It was last seen running on battery, so time is critical.”

“What can I do?” Tam asked.

“We have professionals on the ground conducting the search. The best you can do now is try to console the father, I’ll take you to the inmate visiting area.”

Rubin was bruised and dejected; he looked with a scowl at Tam when he saw her enter the room. “What are you doing here?” he asked in a mumble. “They called, I came,” she chirped back in awkward shame.

“It’s gone, now there actually is nothing left of us”

“Don’t talk like that, they’ll find it”

“Since when do you care?”

“Maybe since this morning, maybe always, it’s been hard for me to get my mind around this but I do care.” They were silent and Rubin just glared at Tam with contempt and disgust. At first she could only look at the floor but after a few moments, she remembered the image of her shining golden knight and she raised her face to meet his stare, pleading with her teary eyes for forgiveness. Rubin held on to the resentment for a time but eventually a conversation began and a seed of reconciliation was planted.

A few hours later, the investigating officer joyously came into the room and announced
“We have uncovered what seems to be a central warehouse for a large scale egg-snatching racket that could span half the-”

“What about our egg?” Rubin interrupted. “Most of the eggs were empty but there was somebody competent enough to maintain the incubating ones and only one far enough along to be yours.”

“Well, give it back to me!”

“It’ll be returned to you as soon as we can get the assault charges dropped which should only take as long as the fool takes to sober up. In the meantime, the mother can step in as guardian. Are you prepared for that ma’am?” Tam looked up at the officer and back at Rubin.

“I wish I could but…” Rubin filled the silence.

“It’s not as difficult as you make it out to be.”

“Yes” she said. The investigator said “Come with me ma’am and sir, a few days at the most before we get you out.”

Part 4:
Two weeks had passed since the ordeal; the seed of reconciliation had flourished and Tam had moved back in with Rubin. The due date had come and the Techno-Obstetrician had arrived to assist in the hatching of the egg. The T.O. carried out the procedure of draining the outer bath and opening the shell. Inside, there was an egg-shaped balloon of translucent tissue with a branching of red vessels throughout its surface; these converged toward the belly of the baby who could be seen inside slowly shifting its limbs. The T.O. produced a scalpel and asked, “Who would like to do the honors?” Tam nodded at Rubin and he took it. “Make an incision along the dorsal surface of the amniotic sac right here anterior to posterior,” he gestured with his finger. Rubin carefully did as instructed and the amniotic fluid spilled out behind the blade. With the sac and the fluid removed, the T.O. picked up the infant and gave it gentle slap on the back, activating the lungs. He cleaned, inspected and swaddled the baby then handed it crying to Tam. “Congratulations, you are the new parents of a healthy baby girl.” Rubin and Tam looked in awe at their child, despite the ebony complexion that neither of them shared; she was the most beautiful thing they had ever seen.

(Curated by Michael Kelly)

Category Well Read