This story is for the flash fiction challenge by Chuck Wendig.

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Men of science discover great things, mostly for the good of our kind, but it’s people like me — sitting in boring bureaucratic offices — who have to come up with policies to avoid their misuse. It was the same with this one; the commercial cloning industry was about to explode and Senator Paul Doris, the chair of bioethics committee, was just waking up to it. Not surprisingly, being the senior aide, it was my responsibility to ghost author the bill.

Now, drafting the policies and the legal baloney around it was not much of an issue for me. But this was a topic where I first needed to comprehend all the possibilities. I had to think outside the proverbial box and be really imaginative. So, I turned to my usual sources of inspiration: Neil Gaiman and my 6 year old daughter. Neil did not have much to offer on this one, apparently cloning was not that popular in Asgard, but my daughter didn’t disappoint me. With eyes glued to the TV, one hand in the bag of kettle-cooked potato chips, and mouth full of it’s yellow crunchy goodness, she cleverly used the word being displayed on the latest episode of the spelling bee and said “Daddy, what if somebody’s clones are supernumerary?” That got me thinking, what if the technology becomes really cheap down the road and some crazy millionaire starts filling the city with his clones? Who will be responsible for their resources? With the forecast of super-droughts coming our way, the city is already expected to struggle with food and water. What about security? We have to make people accountable for their clones! This is how I came up with the “OneExistence OneUse” policy that basically allowed people to have as many clones as they like, but restricted them to using only one clone at any given time. If you have 10, good for you, but only one of them can be active at a time. Moreover, each and every clone had to be connected to the Homeland Security network 24/7 through a bio chip.

Little did I know that a whole new black market would form to circumvent this restriction. Those kids first started hacking into the DHS network to alter the activation records, but when we secured it well, they created fake bio-chips with the exact same UDID (Unique Device Identifier) to overload and crash the system. Senator Doris was almost impeached due to this fiasco, but he turned the table around and is now the chair of newly formed Clone Oversight Committee. Politicians!

I, on the other hand, was not as lucky and now earn my living writing science fiction stories for my hometown fiction magazine, ironically called ‘Terrible Minds’.