To my reviewers: Wait! Don't leave yet! There's still the epilogue!
Epilogue: Aftermath of the Great Experiment
I tried to fathom nature's laws
from twirling models and schoolroom sketches
of molecules and parts of atoms,
and nearly believed — but then came quarks,
bosons, leptons, antiparticles,
opposite-turning mirror images,
some that perforate the earth,
never swerving from their certain paths.
I've listened to conflicting views
about the grand and lesser worlds:
a big bang where it all began;
of curved, ever-expanding space;
perhaps tremendous whirling yo-yos
that will someday reach the end
of cosmic gravity and then
fly back to where they can restart
or cataclysmically blow apart —
and then, and then the next event.
And will it be an accident?
Jimmy Carter, "A Contemplation of What Has Been Created, and Why"
You see, Jordan's story idea had reached the National Enquirer, and they launched a full investigation. The government had tried to silence the story, citing national security, but the Enquirer cited First Amendment rights to free press. After a nearly two-week Supreme Court battle, the headline in this week's Enquirer screamed, "Can We Trust Our Government Again? Your tax dollars are paying for government conspiracies and unethical experiments…" Janice Jameson, always eager to cash in on hot rumors and panic in the streets, also published her interview with Octavia, with the headline reading, "I Was a Supervillian's Clone: The subject of corrupt government experiment speaks to the Bugle!"
Of course, the news stories were just the finger that knocked the whole line of dominoes down. The public uproar was such that a congressional hearing was immediately called. The Director, revealed to be a prominent New York Democrat senator and former First Lady, and Carlyle, were impeached, fired from their posts, and arrested. The psychologist Grace Morrison worked for, Dr. Edward Bowman, and Dr. Nancy Melitta, had both been fired and all but barred from practicing in the mainstream scientific community forever. However, Nancy Melitta maintained she did not know what was "going on behind her back" and was acting under orders. A good number of the CIA and Pentagon were fired. Congress passed a bill prohibiting human reproductive cloning, which the President promptly signed. And, rather unfortunately, Joe and Jane Jones were arrested for their part.
A memo soon landed on the desk of the new Director of the Department of Science and Technology. It simply read:
Project Octopus has failed. Effective immediately, this project is hereby terminated. Surveillance of the subjects will be discontinued.
Which brings us to: what of the subject?
Octavia went to live with Jordan, whose dad gladly took her in. She began catching up on the schoolwork she missed. Jordan offered to set Octavia up on a blind date with David's older brother, Harrison Rose, a poetry and literature enthusiast.
Finally, the time came when she had to give her oral report on the English assignment she so dreaded. Hiding her tentacles behind her coat, she stepped up to the front of the room.
"I was born in Venice, New York," Octavia said. "My father is a lawyer and my mother is a housewife. I was adopted by them, and my birthparents are either dead or do not want to be found. My great goal in life is to become a physicist and win the Nobel Prize…"
After she had finished, Brittany smirked at her. Her report had made her sound so much more interesting.
Jordan and Daisy knew the truth. But Brittany, for now, could not.
At least until Octavia had the chance to smack some intelligence into her blonde head.