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Daily Notebook. April 13, 2008:
Summation to organize my thoughts for my presentation paper (note: omit personal references in final draft):
The scientific community says I'm mad, arrogant and inhumane. Cowards. Nothing great is ever achieved by following in the safe and narrow path; I've always known that.
They halted my research, had my papers discredited and my specimens 'humanely' destroyed. I could have fought them, oh, make no mistake about that, it wasn't fear that led me to relocate my laboratory to this isolated Patagonian locale. I could well afford it, having invested in remarkably successful sunken treasure expeditions. It's easy when you remember where the ships went down.
Oh, yes, that's another thing; they say I'm insane because I remember being Francis Drake. Sir Francis... I don't care about the title. It was never really about that, just about proving to myself that I was better than the rest of them. I still am, and I'm still being forced to prove it.
I could show them now, after my years of patient work, but not yet, not yet. I want to slap them in the face with it.
I'd hired natives, young men in cut-off jeans affecting tough manners, to find him. They weren't superstitious, but they were lazy. They brought me a modern skull purloined from an urban cemetery. I brought out my 'cat' and taught them I would not be mocked. After that they followed my instructions and the map I'd created on my computer—I'm a man of this time, too.
His skull was beautiful, aged to a golden glow like polished oak. The arches of his eye sockets were elegance itself. I wanted to fuck him, but I controlled myself. It wouldn't do to contaminate it. Dead bone carries no useful genetic material, they say. Fools. I used methods I devised myself to analyze and compare fragments until the gene sequence was complete and damage corrected. Micro genetic manipulation, again of an order their narrow minds could not encompass, recreated the chromosomes. I had him literally under my thumb, totally under my control. His life at my whim—I could have poured bleach on the slides, erased the hard drive and sat back knowing I'd killed him again. But that would be too simple. I wanted to have him acknowledge me master. He never did, not really.
I expect I could have got one of the stupid girlfriends of my workers to bear a cloned child. And yes, I damn well could do that, too. I could have had him back, exact, and raised him to be... what... my son, my lover, my slave?
Not enough. I wanted him to know he wasn't my equal, beyond any doubt. What I decided upon was more complex. It was unlikely one attempt would achieve my exact aim, so I imported a dozen chimpanzees. They now say there's six percent difference between human and chimpanzee, but they haven't met mine, yet.
It's a pity it takes so long to get them to maturity, but even as infants I could see it. The hint of nasal cartilage, the lessening and lighter coloration of body hair, the more even proportions of limbs were only the outward signs. Under the lashes, too long for an ape, the brown eyes watched me.
As they grew I set them tests, trained them, and with the help of my faithful 'cat' taught them respect. They couldn't talk, of course; I wasn't going to give them the ability to prate at me about my rights to do with them as I pleased. I had the strength; that gave me the right.
The oldest are six years old today. Still not mature, but I grow impatient. I shall have them crated and sent to London, where I will exhibit them and present my proofs to the scientific community. I expect I shall have to sacrifice a few to prove my points; no matter, I have plenty. I have no further use for their mothers, however. They can go to the local zoo, or the forest, or the stewpot, whichever my workers choose.
The chimpanzees are gathered in a knot about a furry black shape on the ground. One of the brown-pelted ones makes the sign of the cross above the unmoving figure.
"NO," I scream, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me!" I race out into the compound, bare-handed, too furious to think. I am caught in hard-muscled, soft-furred arms and held, struggling.
"Kill me, then! Kill me, Thomas!" My only reply is a soft chimpanzee hoot, the kind they use when they are amused.
The brown chimps tear through the compound, taking everything remotely usable and pile their loot on the ground, sorting and packing all into bundles which they fling across their strong backs. Then they leave, guiding the black ones into the forest that stretches for miles beyond my compound.
The one holding me finally releases me and shows his strong teeth in an un-chimpanzee grin. He turns to leave and I shout and rage, but can do nothing. He does not recognize my authority.
"Do not try this again, Francis."
There are stories now of mysterious beings living in the forest. When it snows, they wear capes elegantly draped over one shoulder.