Karma

Karma

Karma’s Kopies

Chapter 1

Karma pulled up outside the small shop and parked her car. She looked down at

the newspaper beside her with its advertisement circled in red:

Grand Opening!

We make clones for any use!

Bring a picture and DNA sample of anyone

and we provide you with a Clone of Your Own!

Come to Clone of Your Own! this Friday for our

special Grand Opening! Your first clone is free!

In fine print beneath a cute cartoon of a little girl hugging a one-foot tall

man was:

Clone of Your Own! meets with regulations as put forth by the Cloning Act of

2004. All clones are a fraction of normal size with limited lifespan. Void where

prohibited. Not valid in Utah.

Karma climbed out of her car, brushing loose strands of black hair from her

pale-green eyes. Her breath was a little short. She was excited. This was the

first shop of its kind in her area since the Act came into being three months

before. She’d read about them and couldn’t wait for one to come to her town.

She had to step aside in the doorway to allow a young blond woman room to pass.

She was carrying a cardboard box with “Clone of Your Own!” stenciled on the

sides along with the cartoon girl and her “dolly”. The blond had a huge grin on

her face, and Karm heard a faint rustle and tiny, piping voices coming from

inside the box. Her stomach fluttered.

The inside of the store looked much like the inside of a Kinko’s, or any other

copy shop. There were banks of what looked like large copy machines, a counter

with attendees standing behind it, and advertisements of services on the walls.

Most of the machines had one or two customers at them, and they emitted a

pleasant hum. Karm watched as a brunette in her thirties wearing a smart

business suit placed a small picture on a glass tray on top of the machine,

something else Karm couldn’t quite see in a smaller tray on the machine’s front

labled “DNA SAMPLE”, closed a lid over the glass tray, and pressed a few buttons

on the machine’s console.

Just like a copy machine, bright light ran along the edge of the glass tray. The

smaller tray, however, closed with a slight click followed by a soft buzz. A red

light above the small tray came on. The hum coming from the machine grew louder,

and another light appeared on the side of the machine. This one was inside a

small chute about a foot wide and six inches long that fell into a large plastic

bin. The bin was two-foot square and had six inch sides all around to hold

whatever would come down the chute.

With a start of surprise, Karma saw tiny figures begin to slide down the chute

into the bin. Unconsciously, she stepped forward for a closer look and saw they

were all men, about three inches tall and identical to one another.

The brunette began to giggle girlishly and actually hopped in excitement. Soon

the bottom of the bin was filled with the tiny men, and the machine hummed to a

stop. The brunette, shaking in anticipation, lifted the bin and set it on the

floor beside the machine. She stood up and, without hesitation, stepped into the

bin.

Karma’s stomach did a back-flip as she watched the woman’s black high heel

casually crush its way into the midst of the tiny men. Small screams rose to her

ears, and the little beings scattered to the sides of the bin in terror. There

was a series of pops and crunches as the woman’s foot settled fully to the

bottom of the bin. The woman shivered and giggled again as she placed the second

foot to the side and a little ahead of the first to catch some of the running

men beneath it with more cracks and squelches.

“Whoever she cloned,” Karm thought, “he must have really pissed her off.”

“Revenge or leisure?”

Karma jumped at the voice and turned to see a young woman wearing a “Clone of

Your Own!” green polo-shirt. She was short, around five feet tall, with a cute,

round face and honey colored hair pulled back into a pony-tail. Karm was

disarmed by the woman’s eyes. They were very large, giving her an inoccent look,

and cobalt blue.

“Excuse me?” asked Karma, startled into confusion.

The woman smiled. “Will you be needing clones made for revenge or leisure?”

“Oh,” Karm said, and glanced back at the business woman, who was marching in

place, mushing her tiny men into red soup. “What’s the difference?”

“Well,” said the woman, “lifespan, mainly. If you are cloning someone for

revenge, we give the clones a shorter lifespan than, say, if you’re wanting

clones as temporary playmates for your children, or. . .” she smiled coyly and

winked at Karma, “. . . whatever.”

“Oh,” Karm said again. “A little of both, actually.” She tittered nervously.

The attendee, who Karm saw by her name tag was Kim, grinned. “I see. Well, let’s

look at your choices and see what you’d like.”

She led Karma over to the counter where a large book lay beside a computer. Kim

opened the book, smiled at Karma, and said, “Why don’t I let you look through

this and decide what you want, and I’ll check back with you in a few minutes,

okay?”

Karma nodded, “Thank you.”

Kim walked away, and Karm heard her say, “Mrs. Franklin, please wait until we

have some plastic laid down for you before stepping out of the bin. At least

take your shoes off.”

The rest of what was said faded to nothing as Karma found herself drawn into the

book.

It was filled with descriptions and picture references to every service that was

offered. There were diagrams of the different sizes your clones could be,

ranging from one foot tall down to microscopic. You could even choose other

statistics: speech capabilities (whether or not they could speak), languages

spoken, intelligence level, pain threshold. You could choose whether or not they

had a personality, and whether it was the same as someone you knew. You could

even choose their resistance: if you wanted, they could be virtually

indestructable, or they could break at the slightest touch.

Karm saw that you could even choose to have blanks made. Blanks were basically

just copies that had no resemblance to anyone in particular and did not require

a DNA sample.

Every single possible variation of a person was possible, and carried different

price levels.

There were also packages to be had, and Karm noted that buying in bulk was

cheaper in the long run.

“Ready?” piped Kim, who had come back from helping brunette in the business

suit.

“I think so,” replied Karma. “Um, what’s the picture for if you have a DNA

sample of the person?”

“Oh, well, the picture is only really used for a certain look you want,” Kim

said. “You know, for people who want the clone to look like someone at a certain

point in their life.”

Karm shook her head, not quite understanding. Kim tried to explain.

“Let’s say you have a particular memory of the person you want to clone that

either you really like, or really hate, and you have a picture taken of them

during that time,” she said.

“Oh,” Karma said, still not really getting the “why” of it.

Kim picked up on that. “Mainly it’s for exact reference of that time: the

clothes they wore, etcetera. Also it helps us if the person you’re cloning has

any visible scars that you want the clone to have. Or,” Kim said with a crooked

smile, “if you want to duplicate a certain scenario.”

“Hmm,” Karm said, and nodded, still unsure.

Kim leaned in conspiratorially. “One lady earlier brought in a picture of her

husband that was taken by a private investigator. He was having an affair. The

picture was of the husband in bed with the other woman.” Kim grinned devilishly.

“She’d managed to get a dna sample of both. She had us clone them and replicate

the scene. Even had us fabricate the bed and place them in the same scenario so

the clones thought they were in a hotel having sex. She wanted to set them up in

a doll house at home and ‘discover’ them having the affair.” She giggled. “Talk

about a cold shower. That little guy must have looked over and seen his wife

outside the window as a giantess and wet the bed!”

“Oh,” Karm said, finally understanding. Then something Kim had said dawned on

her. “So, the clones can be made to think they are the actual person?”

“Oh yeah,” Kim said. “We do it all, here.”

“They have memories?”

“If you want. It’s all in the book.”

Karma shook her head. “How? I didn’t know you could clone memories.”

Kim shrugged. “Sorry. I really don’t know. They don’t really train us in that

stuff.” She smiled brightly. “So, what would you like?”

Karm reached into her jacket pocket and brought out a picture along with a

plastic bag. Inside the bag was a cigarette butt.

“This is my boyfriend, Jamie,” she said, handing the picture to Kim.

Kim looked at it, seeing a twenty-something dark-haired man leaning on a sports

car. “Cute,” she said, and whispered, “Is he cheating on you?”

“Huh,” Karm asked. “No. He’s a good guy.”

Kim had what appeared to be a disappointed look on her face.

“He just,” Karma sighed, “annoys me sometimes. A lot.”

Kim perked up a bit. “So, you want little replicas of him to take out your

frustration on?”

Karm nodded, a little embarrassed.

Kim reached into the back pocket of her tight khakis and brought out a tiny

clone that squirmed in her fist. “This is my boyfriend, Thom.”

Karm was startled when the little Thom began to plead with her.

“Please!” he said in a cartoon character voice. “You have to help me! She’s

crazy!”

“Thom annoys me a lot, too,” Kim said, watching Thom struggle against her

clenched fingers. “So I thought I’d clone a little play thing.”

“Help me, for God’s sake!” Thom cried. “I’m not a clone! I’m me!”

“Shut up,” Kim said to him, and squeezed her fist hard.

Thom’s cries ended in a high squeek, and his face turned first red, then purple.

Kim’s knuckles whitened, and her fist began to shake with the effort of

squeezing him.

Karma waited breathlessly for Thom’s head to explode and for his body to mush

under the intense pressure, but neither happened.

“I set his resistance level pretty high,” Kim said, still squeezing. With a

sigh, she released the pressure and stuffed him back into her back pocket. “And

as you can see, I gave him Thom’s memories and stuff. He thinks he is Thom.” She

smiled wickedly. “I love that. The real Thom is a sweety, though. He can just

get on my last nerve.” She added that last with a look of anger, and slapped her

bulging and wriggling back pocket with a loud smack.

Karma smiled at her. “I want that, too,” she said. “Well, that, and a few other

things.”

“Okay,” Kim said, instantly becoming business-like again. She circled to the

other side of the counter and positioned herself at the computer’s keyboard.

“Just tell me what you want, and I’ll enter it into the computer.”

“First,” Karma began, “I want a pretty large batch. Three dozen to start out

with.”

Kim began typing away on the keyboard. "Size?" she asked.

"Um," Karma thought about the business woman, Mrs. Franklin. "Three inches," she

answered.

"Okay," more typing. "Resistance level?"

“The first twelve,” Karm went on, “I want to be pretty resistant.”

“What level?” Kim asked, looking at the monitor. “We have five. With level one,

you get virtually no resistance. The little guys bruise at the slightest touch,

and they crush with very little pressure. At level two, they can withstand,

roughly, twenty-five percent more pressure. There’s some resistance to squeezing

or crushing, but not a lot. About like an egg. And it increases from there up to

level four and five. At level four, the clones have the same resistance as a

full-sized human. That’s what my Thom is set at. You can squeeze them really

hard, like I did. If you stomp on them, it is like stomping on a full-grown

person. It hurts them and bruises them, but they can take it. You might break a

nose or the odd bone here and there, but it takes a lot to kill them. Level five

is indestructible. You can’t do anything to hurt them at all. Those are just the

set levels. We can customize their resistance to any degree between each level.”

Karma thought for a moment. “Level four, I guess.”

“Intelligence level?” Kim asked, not looking up from the monitor.

“I want all of the clones to be just as intelligent as Jamie is. And I want them

all to have the same personality as him. And,” Karm said quickly, getting more

excited, “I want them to have his memories and everything.”

“Ookay,” Kim said as she typed. “Do you know his IQ?”

Karm thought for a moment. “I don’t really know.”

“No problem,” Kim said. “We’ll just make it average. What else?”

“The rest of them,” Karma said, “I want to be about as resistant as bugs.”

“Alright, that puts them somewhere between levels one and two,” Kim said. “Let’s

say halfway between.” She typed some more, then said, “Lifespan?”

“Huh? Oh,” Karma said. “What are my choices?”

“Well,” answered Kim, “for revenge, we usually give them a pretty short

lifespan, because they won’t live long, anyway. Of course, sometimes people want

the revenge to go on a while. You can choose anything from a few hours to a few

months. Legally, clones are only allowed to live for up to eight months.” She

paused in her typing and looked up, waiting for an answer. When she saw that

Karma was unsure, she said, “If it helps: the longer the lifespan, the higher

the cost.”

Karma waved her hand. “That’s not a problem.” She thought for a bit more, then

said, “Since this is my first batch, let’s just give them a lifespan of a week.”

She smiled. “I can always come back for more.”

“That you can,” Kim said, returning the smile, and typed in the entry. “Do you

want them to be clothed?”

“Mmm,” Karma said, thoughtfully, “how about two dozen clothed, and the highly

resistant ones not?” There was a method to her madness, but she didn’t feel

comfortable sharing it with Kim.

Kim nodded, typing. “Any particular clothing? You can use the picture you have.

The machine will scan it and fabricate the clothes from it.”

“That’s fine.”

It went on like that for several minutes. Karm was surprised at all the details

she could request the clones to have. At last, with a wink and a final,

theatrical motion, Kim pressed the return key on her keyboard, and a small slip

of paper printed out of the receipt printer. Kim tore it off and handed it to

Karm.

“Here,” she said, “I’ll get you setup with one of the machines. That,” she

pointed at the slip of paper, “is the code you’ll enter that tells the cloner-copier

the specifications we just typed in.” She led Karm over to an empty machine and

briefly explained how to use it, then left her to it.

Karm placed the picture on the glass tray and the cigarette butt - from a smoke

Jamie had that morning and therfore coated with some of his saliva - into the

DNA SAMPLE tray.

When the first clone of Jamie, one of the nakid ones, slid down the chute with a

bewildered look on his face, Karm smiled broadly and eagerly snatched him up.

“Look at you, little man,” she said in a whisper. The tiny Jamie clone looked up

at her in terror, his miniscule head barely peeking up above her clinched fist.

“K-Karma?” he said in a tiny, fearful voice.

A thrill of excitement coursed through Karm’s body. “Oh what fun we’re going to

have,” she said.

She giggled, and squeezed him tightly as more and more miniature clones slid out

of the machine.

 

Karma

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