Dennis Mayhew was born in doomed Myanmar, one of the 35 million footnotes to the greatest humanitarian action ever undertaken. One made necessary by the most terrible terrorist act in history. The Peter Pan plague killed 99.99 percent of the population past puberty of that south east Asian country after supporters for the restoration of the old military junta released the experimental bio-weapon on Old Naypyidaw. It’s efficacy was far beyond what was intended as was it’s lack of discrimination, in fact, the only part of the genengineered virus that worked as intended was it’s burnout time, three days after release.
The irony is that the people that released the plague were agitating to distance the country from it’s neighboring superpowers, India and China who now jointly administer it as an experimental province, bringing the last two powerful stand alone nation states into close cooperation.
Dennis and the millions of other children orphaned in those few dark days were adopted mostly into the Expanded European Union and the American Axis, both being post-states that while not as important on the world stage as they once were, still had considerable wealth, negative population growth and most impotently, a collective guilt complex over their behavior in the last century.
He was adopted by Franklin Mayhew nee Garcia and Hunter Mayhew nee Draven. Franklin is an ecology designer for closed system habitats and Hunter was a microbiologist who like many of his generation abandoned that career in horror during the aftermath of the attack. He became a sculptor of some note until he died from cancers induced by the experimental procedure that let him carry his and Frank’s twin daughters to term. Dennis was ten years old.
Some children would resent the sisters who’s birth took their beloved parent from them. Dennis treasured Wendy and Melody instead. Some children would hate the science that took a nation and a father from them. Dennis graduated from Cambridge with a doctorate in archeological microbiology instead.
To call Dennis Mayhew a driven young man would be the acme of understatement so it should be no surprise that when offered a position on the Sino-Indian historical society team to reconstruct the last days of lost Myanmar nothing would stop him.
“So your little sisters are coming tomorrow?” “Mmmhuh.” Dennis mumbled.
He adjusted the scope to unravel an interesting looking nucleotide sequence.
“They’re twins, right?” “Mmyeah.” He responded without looking.
The segment looked to be non-coding but something seemed… Off.
“When are they arriving?” “Evening. Suborbital.”
Dennis teased the suspect chunk outwith the waldos and set it aside to run through the quantum decrypter.
“Their names are Wendy and Melody, right?” “Mmmhuh”
He started binding the genome back together.
“They’re incredibly hot aren’t they?” “Watch it buster, they’re my sisters and barely seventeen” He growled without looking up.
Finished with the spot repair, he moved it to the shunt to the modeler.
“Is it true they forged your name to an intent to procreate with them registration on their sixteenth birthday?” The man asked casually.
Dennis sat bolt upright, taking in the gray plastic of the site printed lab with all it’s equipment for remotely operating the hot lab sitting idyll and Malcolm Kabaka sitting on one of the benches, kicking his feet and grinning.
“I-it’s not like tha- they’re my sisters!” He said in a stuttering rush as warmth started blooming on his cheeks.
Putting his hands up Mal said “Relax gene-jockey!” “After I heard about that through the grapevine I had see if I could flap the unflappable Dr. Mayhew!” Eyes dancing Mal continued “Besides, that’s been legal in Japan for thirty years now”.
Belly laughing at Dennis’s dejected sigh, Mal threw an arm around his shoulder and stated “Come on, the caff is closed so I’ll make you dinner in my pod”. He added as they reached the door “Tomorrow I’ll go with you to meet your little sisters…” Eyes flashing “And scope out my competition”.
Then Dennis really started blushing.
At five AM Dennis left Mal sleeping and returned to the lab to check the modeler before the rest of the staff started to work. As He paged through the results, he grew more and more excited. When he saw the contagion model he shouted “Yes!”
I’ve proven the accident theory! He thought. Peter Pan wasn’t meant to be that virulent, was supposed to targeted select individuals till it went wrong! My career is set!
As he danced around he noticed the telltales on the QD unit, remembering the deadly fragment and walked to the machine. Scrolling down the output he saw redlined segment after segment that the quantum computer recommended for modeling. But there was green lit part the system claimed to have decrypted.
Frowning, he hit display. It was a simple 2d image of a bust of man crying into his hands while grinning maniacally. Written across the bottom was a phrase, “Explore in silent rhythm the curse”
His heart sank. Dennis had seen it many times before. It had sat in his dead fathers studio as long as he could remember.
“You had to get up early” A sorrowful voice said. “You weren’t supposed to see that Denny.” Tears streaming down his face, He looked up to see Mal pointing a gun at him.