Chapter 1 Out Into the World

Chapter 1

Out Into the World

In the lab, Katherine and her assistant, Helga, ate tasteless pork sandwiches, waiting for the incubator timer to beep. The incubator sounded, and its door clicked open. Helga strode across the room and snapped surgical gloves on sanitized hands with closely clipped, unpolished nails before she removed trays and set them on the lab table. Then she loaded microscopic test tube piglets from each petri dish into syringes. Still seated across the room, Katharine wrapped her fingers with manicured nails around her sandwich and bit it between lips, sparkling with lip gloss.

She thinks she’s supervising me, Helga thought. Even when we were on the same pay scale, I carried the load. Ever since she became director of the Cloning Institute, she’s held me back in animal research. With my reports, she impresses the board of directors, but I add as many words as possible. Eventually, I’ll choke her with my verbosity.

Helga eyed one petri dish marked with a green dot. “What’s this?” she asked.

Katharine swallowed. “It’s special. Make a note. Cheltley Takes ordered all his organs cloned into the same pig. Apprise me about the sow inseminated with that one at the Cloning Farm. Follow the pregnancy and the outcome.”

Helga rolled her eyes at Katharine’s willingness to do anything for a board member, no matter how absurd the concept. “What a waste. The rules of xenotransplantation say, ‘one organ at a time.’ Too many risks otherwise. Knowing him, he won’t even let someone else use the rest of the spare parts.”

Katharine called from the door just before she left. “You know we’ve bent that rule before, but you’re right about the man. Remember last year when Takes denied the five-year-old girl a kidney?”

The two women agreed on one notion: Chetley Takes is piggish.

Helga had wondered why Katharine brought her lunch, disregarding common practice—no eating in the lab. Now she understood. Katharine’s visit was all about the green dot, and her sandwiches were all about her attitude concerning guidelines in general. Helga made a note on the spreadsheet to the head of the Cloning Farm, Mr. Benjamin, and requested extra data.

He’ll be irritated with me for this, she thought. Unlike me, data annoys him. Like me, he loves animals, and we both hate what they make us do to the pigs.

A few months later, Helga grabbed her gadio and read a message from Mr. Benjamin. “What did you do to the piglet you asked me to watch closely?”


“The piglet—I call him Frank—just said “‘momma.’”


Twelve years after the piglet was born, in the year 2043:

When Michael heard his mother’s tea cup rattle, he joined her. In the kitchen, she blinked her moist eyes and started to offer to make him something in the equalizer. Then she said, “You’d better make it. Practice putting in the codes. Tomorrow is Independence Day for you, and you’ll need to make your own food.”

The government’s lawmakers, the Opulent Class, had dubbed the day after a child’s twelfth birthday a day of independence. No child lived with parents as a teen, but instead, the teens went to live alone in an apartment. Society had been organized in this manner for thirty years, now. The Opulent class claimed solitary living was healthier, minimizing transference of germs.

After tomorrow morning, Michael would never see his mother in the flesh and blood again since the rules barred most people from leaving their apartments. Even if he could find a way to visit his mother, it would be stupid. What if he were contagious? Why would he infect the one person who could send credits? Obviously Michael thought, this reasoning represented Opulent humbug. But his mother believed it and preached it to him.

Michael punched in EarlGray/lg, and a steaming cup of Earl Gray tea appeared in the equalizer.

“If you fall behind in your credits, let me know,” his mother said, as she had said so many times in the last few months. “I’ll do extra piece work. I’ll assemble more units, so you’ll have credits. Let me know.”

Michael smiled and sipped his tea. Placing his cup beside hers on the germ resistant counter top, he stretched his arms around her. She didn’t deserve the kind of son he intended to become, the same kind of man his father had been and left her a widow. He hugged her tightly as a silent apology. “You’ve always taken care of me, and I appreciate you want to help.”

His mother’s hug felt like something he’d read about in biology class. He visualized himself as a whale, swimming into a pool of barnacles latching onto him.

Her hug intended symbiosis, but she couldn’t latch on for long. “I’ll always be your mother, even if we’re not living together,” she said.

            He couldn’t deny her repetition, her mantra to comfort herself. Michael’s mother handed him a piece of paper. “Add this to your luggage. You must remember to log in with your new screen name tomorrow. Then find me with my screen name. Anonymous . . .”

Michael finished the Opulent tripe, ‘Anonymous accounts are not red flagged. Unknown is safe.’

In the last year, his mother had exposed him to the Opulent propaganda. Monday through Saturday, they listened to the OneNews Reports. These newscasts spewed unrelenting spin. To preserve mankind, the apartments’ filtration system protected against 99% of the germs. If a person lived alone and became ill, they could not transfer the illness. Living as One was safe.

Thirty years ago, pollution had grown so thick people simply called any unfiltered air “unbreathable air.” The Opulent classmen claimed that the buildup of greenhouse gasses could be reversed. If everyone cooperated and stopped moving about in cars and planes, and if everyone stayed in a filtered apartment, someday the air quality would improve.

More spin, thought Michael. More tripe. Oxygen levels in certain areas increased at times, but the newsmen always warned the levels were still not safe enough for outdoor excursions. Progress would be slow. Repairing the damage would take years. Generations, perhaps. Apartment dwellers must cooperate.

Recently, his mother even allowed him to watch the late night Sunday recap of the weekly executions. The intended message was clear: Defiling the environment by trying to escape from an apartment means death for you. Michael had recurring nightmares about one episode. He wished he’d never watched as the RobotPolice drone snatched a homemade air tank and tubing from a young lady. She threw punches for a few seconds, until her muscles went limp. Michael heard eerie music in the background as she struggled to breathe the oxygen depleted atmosphere. For a second or two, Michael did the same, feeling a twinge of nausea from the ScentMaker’s belch.

She passed out, but the camera kept rolling with a close-up on her face. Her lips turned blue, and a sick color spread until purplish veins bulged from underneath her skin, giving the appearance she might crack apart.  The music fell silent, and Michael listened as she breathed for another minute or two until she stopped.

Stopped breathing.

Michael read the paper his mother had handed him. Scrawled across the top it read: “You are Mikal. I am WidowPolease.” At the bottom it read, “I’ll always be ‘Mom’ to you. I love you.” At last, she added a bit of the government propaganda. “Remember EEESSY - Earn credits, Exercise, Eat, and Stay Safe, You. It’s EEESSY!”

Mikal nodded. He understood. She wanted him to follow the government’s directives: He should complete his lessons daily on the RobotTutor, listening to every teacher intently, for the teaching system sensed when he’d walked away from it or started to cruise the Internet. He’d lose points if he didn’t answer questions or at least respond with a smiley icon to let the teacher know he understood another student’s answer. Completion of school work daily would gain him almost all the points he needed for the equalizer to make food. If he added exercising on the treadmill, Skyping his mother, posting his thoughts on Facebook, and recommending at least one product to another consumer, he’d make extra points, and he could save a few in case he needed a sick day.

He let his mother believe he’d do all this because he would for a while, at least until he turned fourteen. At that age, he’d be able to apply for jobs, allowing him to go outside. His mother had warned him against opting for vocational work. These were dangerous outdoor jobs, but he didn’t believe all the air had turned rancid. He couldn’t imagine the historical pictures he’d seen with rolling rivers and waterfalls of great heights surrounded by lush green forests had dried into the yellow foliage he saw outside his window. Somewhere he could breathe, hunt, plant, and live.

Whatever he needed to do to find that place, he’d do it, or die in the process.


Yes, they plan to grow human organs in pigs

 Need an organ anyone? You need a pig.  After you read the first four chapters, read the scientific report about FrankenPigs in the making.

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Chapter 2 Theocop's World

Chapter 2
Surviving City Air
“I thought he’d be sensitive to the city’s air when pigs fly,” Polease mused.
Theocop added, “Same here. We still have a few animals breathing city air. Of course, several species are gone. The ones that have survived are different, now.”
“Different?” The young officer half listened while reading a lex on his gadio.
“Yeah, years ago, squirrels didn’t attack people.”
“Weird,” Polease added as he thought about the course of his career. He first learned to research bees, and then capture squirrels, but soon with larger robots, he would train to capture apartment-dwellers trying to escape their climate-controlled housing. Police work, he was told, wouldn’t be much different from animal control.  Until today, he didn’t know the farmers had breathable air. None of the farmers had worn oxygen tanks, and OneNews certainly had kept the truth quiet. He wondered how to apply for a job at the Cloning Farm, and he searched for the information on the OneJobCenter site.
Frank slowly regained consciousness and thought—This must be the inside of a hotel suite. I am lying on a piece of furniture in a living area. And the squirrels in the country don’t attack anything but walnuts and birdseed feeders. Why am I thinking about squirrels?
Theocop leaned over Frank, and hoping to help the pig come around, he shouted. “You’ve suffered from Urban Pollution commonly referred to as PU. I know the acronym is backwards, but it’s right at the same time. The doctor just left. We removed everything except your slacks because he didn’t want anything to restrict your breathing while he administered an oxynitro treatment.”
            “What the barbecue?” Frank replied. Now he fully remembered why he wore clothes “I’ve had my fill of this baloney. Take off my pants,” Frank ordered.
            “Excuse me?” Polease rebutted.
            “Not you. Certainly not you.” Frank remembered for publicity’s sake, Takes chose to provide accommodations at the hotel. MB had warned Frank to keep his cool. They could keep him in jail. Be polite, Frank thought, and he oinked to clear his throat. “Theocop, please remove my slacks. I wish to appear dapper at the trial in the morning.”
            Polease choked down a chuckle by breathing in and out of his nose rapidly like a goose growing excited.
The subordinate needed something to do. The sergeant directed, “Okay, you guard the entrance, and I’ll keep watch on the inside of the hotel suite. Another officer will come by to replace you just about dinner time.”
Polease still grabbed his gadio and nodded with a tense waggle of his head.
Theocop pulled back the warming blanket left behind by the doctor to wriggle off Frank’s slacks. The pants were stuck under his ham roast. “Stand up.”
Across the room and ready to exit, Polease waved his hand in front of a motion sensor hidden in a plant to open the door. “Looks like I have the better end of this deal,” he said. The door automatically closed behind him. 
Frank fought to stand on the over-stuffed thing that humans call a couch or a sofa, and commented, “Pardon me if I’m being too snooty, but I have to say, you need him as a partner like a pig needs a back pocket. Further, why the weenie roast do you choose to live in a place you can’t breathe? I felt like a pig on ice out there.”
While Frank hammered on, Theocop tried to wiggle off the slacks again. He had his orders to keep the pig happy, but the condescending tone from this lower animal made Theocop feel as if a dog just told him to sit. Taking a break from depantsing a pig, he leaned on the sofa’s arm and answered, “Police officers no longer have partners. That’s a 20th century movie concept. Secondly, I live here because I work here, numb nuts. Or pardon me, are your nut not numb because you were castrated?”
“I’m considered a breeder. Speaking of which, while you’re working down there, watch the part Miss Lou awarded a blue-ribbon to, will you?”
The pants were finally down to pig knuckles.
“Theocop sighed. He hadn’t pictured himself dressing the animal. “Can you lie down or something?
Frank lay down and shook a leg, helping in the effort to remove the pants.
Theocop hesitated. “And don’t pee on the sofa. You have special facilities off your bedroom for relieving yourself. This isn’t a barn, and your sugar-daddy will be required to pay for any damage. He already had to pay the extra fee for keeping a pet in here.”
Theocop found a hanger in the closet and hung Frank’s pants. Not sure what else to do while guarding a pig, he continued talking, something he only did when nervous, and until lately, he had seldom been nervous. “Actually, Polease isn’t bad for a kid in his generation. The kids these days have been raised—actually, children aren’t raised anymore—they’re oriented. Children are oriented through Kohlberg’s stages of moral development up to the fourth stage, the law and order stage. They have been taught to obey the law. His generation does not differentiate between laws and morals.
“So bad breeding isn’t the sole reason for his lack of I.Q.?” Frank pondered aloud.
 “What kind of test did that kid pass?”
“He squeaked through by writing a plagiarized McPaper.”
“A plagiarized McPaper?” Frank asked, sitting on the sofa.
“Yeah, he copied—”
“I got that part. McPaper?” Frank said.
“You know something written quickly. Like before equalizers they’d make fast food fast, but not necessarily good? Guess you’re not old enough to remember. Anyway, I knew Polease’s parents, and back when we did have partners, his dad was mine. The kid should have police work running through his veins. He just turned 18. He’s just young, I hope.”
Pausing, he looked at Frank closely, mulling over his words and wondered why he felt comfortable talking to a pig. “Look we’re both tired and hungry after the long drive. Why don’t we discuss more about police testing after you go use the bathroom, and I’ll get us something to eat? I’m hungry and turning into a papa bear who can’t find berries. I’ll find a menu.”
Frank’s stomach had growled the last two hours of the trip. “In that case, I’ll order the vegetable of the day with spaghetti, no meatballs. Of course, oink, I’m vegan,” Frank said with a smile.
“If you wish to freshen up before dinner, your special accommodations are in the hall behind you and through your bedroom. My bedroom is the other one by the front door. Fortunately, I have my own facilities—you’ll understand what I mean after you see your bathroom. I’ll meet you back in the living area with food ready,” Theocop directed.
“Thanks.” Frank jumped from the sofa and found the bathroom. Someone had installed a ramp up to the toilet and a special seat on the toilet. After finishing his business, Frank inspected the rest of the apparatus. He correctly guessed that he was to pull a chain hung from the ceiling directly in front of him to flush. He felt a stream of water wash his hindquarters. After dismounting his throne, he wiped on a disposable towel on the floor marked PigToiletTissue. He pulled another chain marked with a number 2 and a stream of water washed the PigToiletTissue down a hole. A urinal had been plumbed even with the floor, and he flushed after he urinated. Finally, he stepped into the sink with a faucet, and a mini-whirlpool bubbled soapy water to freshen his front hooves.
In the other corner beside the door, a sunken whirlpool tub had been installed for his convenience. Frank, considering himself a pristine pig, decided to take a warm soak after dinner. Perhaps doing something normal would make him feel less abnormal.
Frank had been told the hotel room was provided at the expense of Chetley Takes. Too bad Frank’s brain may not get a chance to send Take’s brain a thank you note.
Thinking of the bath provided a wave of homesickness and Frank dearly missed MB and Miss Lou already. He fought against the wave of emotion. He told himself—Don’t cave in to your feelings. Keep going. Don’t make an enemy of this guy even though you got off to a bad start. Pump this guy for information. Focus. Sitting and crying will achieve nothing.
Frank entered the room to see Theocop entering the codes in something that looked like a microwave.
“By the way, thanks for all the help with the clothes. Sorry I felt grouchy. The lack of oxygen can butcher a guy like me. You cookin’?” Frank asked.
“Yeah, you have seen these on the farm? Equalizers?”
Frank knew that growing food in the city was illegal. He wasn’t sure how city folk ate, and he was warned by MB to the food would be different. “Uh, I’m not allowed in the kitchen,” Frank lied, knowing the laws dictated all food should come from an equalizer.
“See. I enter the appropriate code, and it produces food—or as naysayers say—produces foods’ near-equivalent. The necessary chemicals needed to create most food come from a utility company—like electricity—the chemicals come into a home. Meat products are the exception. For meat products, the apparatus actually clones muscle tissue and cooks it all in one appliance. I still bothered to use a menu, though, because different brands of equalizers use different codes.”
The equalizer hummed as Theocop watched with anticipation. “One code is the same for all of them—enter the acronym HTML—and out comes a steaming hot ham, tomato, and lettuce sandwich with mayo. Of course, when the thing was first invented, the equalizer’s marketing department’s slogan bragged, ‘Now HTML doesn’t mean WORK.’”
Theocop removed a silver-domed platter and reset the equalizer. “I didn’t mean to grouch at you earlier, either. I admit, I consider this assignment beyond the call of duty. I’ve checked the suite thoroughly for listening devices. We can sit at the table and talk with relative ease. I have to know something, and I have to tell you something.”
Frank wanted to keep the officer talking. Maybe for company. Maybe his information might prove useful in the trial. Mostly, Frank didn’t want to be locked in a hotel room, lacking companionship on his last night on earth. He worked to respond with a glib manner, knowing the police officer could just lock him up alone in the back bedroom.
“Now, I will talk about food anytime, anywhere,” Frank quipped. He remembered he wanted above all else information about Takes. Frank added, “Is this Take’s response to my life-and-death situation—the Last Supper?”
Theocop squinted at the pig’s insightfulness, and placed two trays on the table. “You have more chances than you realize.” Theocop scanned the room as if Frank may have brought a spider who might be listening. “Don’t consider this your Last Supper,” he assured the young pig.
Frank walked up a ramp and sat in a chair made for his porcine anatomy. He said, “In order to eat human food, I need my spoon from my bag, please.”
Theocop returned with a weird spoon and sat across from Frank, and removed the silver domes covering the dishes. Frank ate spaghetti with his spoon. One end the spoon was fitted with a miniature shovel, and an oversized straw completed the other end. He held the straw end in his mouth, shoveled food on the spoon end, and literally inhaled his food.
“Tastes different than, uh, pig pellets,” Frank said with a cough.
“Equalizer food,” Theocop explained. “Just think of it as nutrition.”
“Pig pellets taste better.”
Theocop twirled his spaghetti around his fork. After a few bites he said, “Have to admit, it’d be nice to live in the country. Tell me about the scents in the country.”
Frank slurped a smaller bite. “I didn’t know that the air in the city was not breathable until today.”
“We just call it unbreathable air.”
“Oh. The air in the country has many odors, many of which you are not accustomed to smelling. I don’t know whether or not you could tolerate it. It’s unlike the air in here. In here, I smell an off-lilac scent in the living area, and the bathroom smells like dead roses. One putrid scent per room.”
“You’re smelling the filtered air. They affix scented pads to the filters to freshen the air.”
“It’s unnatural.”
“I’m old enough to remember breathing the air in the country. Theocop stopped eating and leaned back in his chair. He looked at the ceiling like a school boy searching for the answers on the daily quiz. Frank tried to acquire a taste for his food, and Theocop continued to talk.
“I remember breathing the air outside—the smells. I remember how the scent of the freshly mowed grass tickled my nose and made me sneeze. Sometimes my cousins and I retreated to the cornfields to play. But in nature, man needs no companion. As I ran, the sun would play hide-and seek with me. As the corn blurred in my peripheral vision, the sun flicked on and off through the stalks. Dizzy from running, I stopped to feel the spin of the earth under my feet and the force of gravity defying the spin. At that moment, I knew all of this had been created for me to relish, and God through me continued His creation.
Theocop’s gaze fell on Frank. “I remember the smell of the corn in particular. When the corn was ripe and ready to pick, it began to smell like honey fresh from the comb. Grandma would boil the corn in huge pots on the two kitchen stoves—four burners on each side of the kitchen. I helped cut it off the cobs for freezing during the winter. The kitchen smelled just like corn syrup by mid-afternoon.”
Theocop took a few bites, and motioned for Frank to eat, but then reminisced, “Grandma, who was raised in Iowa, smelled like edible flowers and herbs from the garden. Yeah, I remember. She smelled like roses, carnations, passions flowers, ginger, and mint mixed together. After we stacked the plastic bags filled with corn in the freezer, I would suck on the cobs. The sweetest part of the corn is down in the corn cob, did you know that?” he asked in a happy trance.”
“Yes, I know,” Frank answered.
Frank’s answer snapped Theocop out of his trance. “You know? How do you know what corn cobs tastes like? The equalizer makes corn, but not corn on the cob. The equalizer was intentionally engineered to make food that did not remind people of real food. In other words, you can create a sliced tomato or a chopped tomato, but not a whole tomato. How could you possibly know what corn on the cob tastes like?” he asked angrily.
Theocop began to read a lexmail on his gadio. “It’s illegal to grow food, even in the country,” he added, as if cursing.
Frank looked at him blankly. How could he have been so easily tricked by this large captor’s calm, hypnotic voice? In hindsight, he wondered if Theocop would raid Brown’s Farm, and jail his human friends and neighbors.
Just then Polease burst in the room carrying his oxygen tank. “Well, I’m off for home, ‘ya know. Time for a shower, and doin’ something barely legal, not necessarily in that order. My replacement is in the hall. It’s a robot with super-hearing. Tomorrow, I’ve a day off, so I’ll get extra equalizer points to make a big beer batch tonight. Hey, see you when I’m hung-over,” Polease said.
Theocop typed three lettes on his gadio and put it back in the pocket of his suit coat. Frank felt relieved; he message was not long enough to inform someone about the home-grown food at Brown’s Farm.
Theocop shot up out of his chair. “A robot with super-hearing? How long has he been there?”
“I came in here as he came up the hall. He should be posted and working outside about now.”
Theocop looked at Frank closely. Frank wondered—is he thinking: does this country bumpkin understand what a robot with super-hearing means? Or is he angry that the novice officer let me know the robot is equipped with super-hearing?
Polease left without a proper good-bye.
Theocop cleared his throat and spoke loudly, “Well, I’m permitted to tell you this, Frank. I have communicated with my superiors. We recognize that your nostrils are larger than human nostrils. Since you can not breathe the city air, we will need to take you to court, supplied with an custom-made oxygen tank and nose tubes. My superiors considered ordering me to walk you into court, holding the breathing tubes in place, but since a televised court has been approved, the sight of one of our officers with his fingers up your nose tomorrow will make a less-than-a-professional appearance.
Theocop cleared his throat and walked toward the door. “Therefore, court has been postponed until Wednesday. Tomorrow we will need to travel from the city into the intelligentsia housing section. There we will meet Mr. Nac Inspire.”
Theocop waved his hand in front of the plant to open the door. He practically yelled down the hall. “As the air in the city became unbreathable, Mr. Inspire invented, among other gadgets, the portable air tank with its fresh scent and perfect blend of breathing gasses, so we need to visit his lab for his expertise.”
Theocop almost shouted the rest. “You are lucky to receive an oxygen tank. Only government officials and those deemed important enough to move from place to place receive an oxygen tank these days. We are told breathing with an oxygen tank is healthier than breathing whatever the wind blew our way years ago.”
Theocop lowered his voice until it was barely audible by human standards and said, “This break in proceedings will give you another day to prepare for trial.”
Frank replied, “When the fruit trees bloom in the fall, it is going to be a severe winter.”


Chapter 3 Meanwhile, Back at the Pig Ranch

Chapter 3
Meanwhile, Back at the Pig Ranch

            Frank tuned into the minute details of his beloved home—the Cloning Farm. This morning at daybreak, he heard all 115 cows mooing. The cows wanted to alert the farmers to the collective empty state of each cow’s quad-stomach. Yes, the volume was set at exactly 1154 stomach decibels (sd) by cow standards.
The other animals tried their best to compete, even though they were outnumbered. With differing pitches, they harmonized. The rooster, singing with the highest note, crooned as the lead soprano. The pigs’ snoring added the percussion, and Old Red, the favorite dog—the one they let in the house—barked to the beat. The sound was symphonious, and Frank concentrated on burning the cantata into his memory, refusing to forget the farm’s spiritual awakening at dawn.
He read the sign above his pen: Surrogate Frank #28064105A, cloned, human brain. Even though 2 microchips with the same ID had been implanted under his skin—microchips identifying him as property of Chetley Takes—escape might be possible before the officers came to take him away, but it would be short-lived.
Frank’s memory jarred, and he recalled watching the interview on OneNews with Katharine Moore from the Cloning Institute. Much of Moore’s dribble angered him, but one statement in the documentary caused his hackles to raise above all the others.
She said, “The brain in question belongs to Chetley Takes because he commissioned me to create it. A surrogate, like FrankenPig, is like a storage unit. The storage unit doesn’t own its contents, and Frank doesn’t own the brain he has kept for Takes.” I may be transgenic, Frank thought, but the people at the Cloning Institute are missing segments of DNA if they equate a living being with a storage unit.
A buzz filled his head. Last night along with his siblings and friends, he drank a bit of homemade corn brew to help say “so long.” It was the first time Mr. Benjamin, his caretaker, known as MB to friends, had given him any alcohol.  MB said they all needed it and deserved it. The feeling in Frank’s head this morning told him differently. Human vices are not expedient for intelligent pigs.
Frank relished every detail of his home. The hay smelled fresh, as always, since only the most meticulous farmers worked at the cloning farms. Through the air vents the sugary sweetness of the corn blew in along with the cool morning breeze. The fragrance of a sugary, woody scent added to the breeze indicating that someone on the farm had felled a sap tree. The chug-a-chug of the wood chipper in the distance told Frank a woodsman proceeded to chip the wood. Frank could taste these scents; combined they tasted like honey poured over thick, hot wheat bread from the oven, bread like the farmer’s wives made and sometimes added to his pig pellets.
Although the morning breeze felt chilly, Frank was not cold, since the concrete floor was warmed with radiant heat to a comfortable temperature. Through the open barn door, the orangish eastern sun rose beyond a hazy fog. MB carried Frank’s breakfast of pellets in one hand, and a suitcase in the other. 
“Morning, Frank, I think I packed everything for you.” MB said with a sadness reserved for such days, “You’d best eat and take your bath.”
Frank measured the whiff of alcohol emanating from his friend, and calculated his ally had just started drinking. Frank walked over to the thermostat on the wall to set the water heater temperature for his tub in the corner of his pen. While there, he poked his nose through the rails to greet Miss Lou, his girlfriend. She nudged him in return, showing only delight in the encounter. Lacking the ability to understand human developments, she only understood it was morning—time to eat and to bathe. She felt none of his sorrow.
Pigs, in general, love baths, and Frank often considered grooming the best part of the day. Anticipating the sun’s rays would soon beam through his window, Frank hoped he and Miss Lou could snuggle and dry together on the fresh hay one more time. Dread chased away the buzzing in his head with the realization this might be the last time he’d stretch out in a warm puddle of light with his love.
While Frank waited for warm water for his bath, he began to eat. Between bites, he murmured “I am happy as a pig, and I wish to die a happy pig, but not anytime soon.” He eyed Miss Lou gobbling her feed. How he loved her, and the thought of separation from him took all joy from the best part of his day. MB scratched behind Frank’s ears while watching his friend eat, and MB bowed his head with his eyes closed, as if praying. Frank pretended to ignore the warm tear that made its way through the hairs on his back and settled on his skin, but yet he felt every bit of its lovable regret.
Frank checked the temperature of the water with the tip of his snout and stepped down into the bath while MB cleaned the stall. Another farmer attended to Miss Lou accordingly.
After MB returned with fresh straw, he knelt by the tub to apply the soap and worked the brush around the Duroc’s svelte body. MB preferred the muscular, nimble Duroc to the fat, flabby pink Hampshire breed, like Miss Lou.
MB worked soap into Frank’s thick, brownish-red hair. 
Wanting to break the silence, the only thing Frank could only think to state the obvious. With a quavering voice, he said, “Tomorrow in court I fight for my right to keep my brain, not to keep a cloned brain, or a human brain, my brain.” He spoke with a broken voice, “Thanks for all the baths together, man.” Sobs halted the next thought, but then he said, “Like I said before, you must be a Roman descendant.”
MB chuckled despite his wet eyes. “Toga, toga,” he choked out an old joke they’d shared in happier times. “Sorry, Frank, my emotions are muddled in my mind. Words lurk dangerously—like poisonous mustard plants amidst the tall spring lettuce. There’s just no way to digest the meaning of today’s events. Perhaps we should consider this: If you don’t win in court, you will be one fine human.”
Frank winced and said, “Please don’t mollify me. Even if I survive—if my brain survives the experimental transfer—I don’t care to be that greedy hog.”
MB applied a warm rinse  in slow, circular movements “I know. I just want you to understand there is no way to share understanding when I can’t begin to understand. Understand?”
“Yes, I do,” Frank said
The whine of the blow dryer, the whoosh whoosh sound of the back-and-forth motion, and the hot air vibrating coarse hair all worked together to quench the conversation. MB dressed Frank in a suit for the drive to the city. No time to dry in the sun today. They took that one last pleasure from him.
As MB straightened the tie around Frank’s neck, Frank’s pig ears heard the vibrations of manly footfalls which sent shock waves from the dirt path up his hooves and through his pig body. His human brain fully comprehended the seriousness embroiled in tomorrow’s deliberations, and he knew who had arrived.
One of the police officers mockingly called, “Here pig, pig, pig.”
“Soooey, Frank screamed through wet eyes. “Soooey, right back at you.”
MB chuckled and wiped tears. He opened the gate connecting Frank’s pen and Miss Lou’s pen to let her in for a visit one last time. The young sow trotted to Frank and nuzzled him from his nose and all along his side, and then she playfully poked him in the ribs. Then she stepped back and seemed to consider the suit. She stared. Since she had proved herself to be, other than himself, the most intelligent pig on the farm, Frank wondered if she understood on some level.
His heart felt a swift stab, a new kind of heartbreak. He recalled the deep and intense pain when they took his mother away to remove her heart for her commissioner, who happened to be Chetley Takes’ uncle. In Frank’s thirteen years of life, he lost other friends for like-wise purposes. This time, this intensely, horrific pain magnified itself, not because he was scheduled to die, but because he alone couldn’t bear the grief. He knew Miss Lou would miss him dearly. He hurt for her.
The other pigs who had been led away to die didn’t know what to expect. Frank understood. As he prepared to go to the city, a surgeon sharpened his blade to dissect Frank. Takes’ surgical team reviewed current information to harvest his brain. A butcher intended to package his remains for Take’s dinner after his recovery. He knew what they planned.
As knowledge intensified his sorrow, a smirking, young police officer invaded his home, humming and swinging a leash. Miss Lou darted to the back of the pen. MB stood beside Frank and scratched Frank’s ears.
Theocop moved beside Polease to shake MB’s hand. “I’m Theocop,” he said.
MB snappily engaged in the human gesture and released himself quickly, squinting hard in an effort to force back tears.
The young officer did not offer his hand. “I’m Polease,” he chimed in with youthful discord, folding the leash and slapping it on the palm of his hand. “Why aren’t the farmers wearing air tanks?”
MB smiled at Theocop. “The air is different in the country. We’re used to the odors, here. You probably couldn’t handle it.”
Theocop shot the youngster a stern look, and turned faced MB. The oxygen tank clicked and exhaled between the officer’s words. “This is official business, so we are using our One names for this operation. Allow me to introduce myself as Theocop, Sergeant of district 5, and as the boy said, his name is Polease.”
Polease shrugged at the sergeant and pulled folded papers from his jumpsuit pocket. “We’re from the Dayton Police department, we’re and here to escort you, surrogate # #28064105A, to the city for court tomorrow under the direction of a subpoena.” Polease tried to hand the subpoena to Frank, but blushed slightly at having tried, realizing Frank had no hands. Although Frank could have taken it in his mouth, he had no intentions of making the young jabber’s job easier.
            Theocop stepped forward and stood behind MB. The sergeant’s eyes scrutinized every sty around the perimeter of the room, and his fleshy, long ears twitched at every sound.
Polease took a microchip reader from his jumpsuit pocket. He moved it across Frank’s ribcage. Just as Polease nodded an approval at the read-out, Frank read his girlfriend’s intentions.
Miss Lou took a step back, and only Frank noticed the look in her eye. Before Frank bothered to say, “MB you better grab Miss Lou.” Frank stepped aside, not wanting to muss his attire, and Miss Lou charged at the rookie.
As if she knew where to direct an effective blow, she hit Polease in the back of his knees. The young officer caught himself with the palms of his hands just before his pointy nose met the straw-strewn concrete floor. He cursed, sat up, and picked straw from his skinned palms. Noticing the sow had stopped on the other side of the pen near MB, he inspected the hole knocked in his overall leg, stood, and bent down to hold his bleeding knee.
MB said, “I got her; oops, no I don’t.” Miss Lou charged a second time hitting the lad in the rear sending him down again. MB called to nearby farmers, and they scurried from nearby pens to help. Theocop pulled Polease to the far side of the pen, and farmers shooed Miss Lou into her adjoining pen and shut the gates.           
Theocop failed to hide a smirk. “Sheize, brush it off will ‘ya. Have a handkerchief.”
Frank squealed a little squeal which MB understood to be Frank’s pig laugh.
            “Uh, sorry,” MB said while wiping away perspiration with his handkerchief.
            Miss Lou squealed several times loudly as if she were answering her piglets’ cry.
            Her mothering cry—directed at Frank—caused his tears of laughter to turn to plain-old tears.
Polease stood up, but upon noting that the finely dressed pig took two steps toward him, he jerked his hands in front of his face, scooted back a few inches, and cringed. He peeked at Frank between his fingers.
Frank kicked at the leash—now laying on the ground—and grunted to clear his throat. He protested with conviction, “You may put the leash to your pocket, now. I may be a pig, but I have a human brain. Fully grown pigs do not walk with a leash attached to a collar. It simply is not dignified.”
            Polease kept his distance and looked down at Frank. “Hey. The pig wants to look dignified. Is that why you’re wearing a suit?” Polease asked while forcing a nervous chuckle that sounded like a corn grinder with a bad motor.
Theocop folded his arms across his chest and tried to explain their course of action to Frank. “Look, we have orders, and they direct us to keep you safe and under control while moving you from the farm to the city. Normally, we would handcuff you.”
            “Yeah, but, hey, you don’t have hands, do you FrankenPig?” Polease taunted while licking his sketchy lips and squinting.
            “And you realized that when? When you tried to hand me the subpoena?” Frank asked to embarrass him all over again.
            “Look, FrankenPig,” Polease began with as much authority as his shrill voice could muster.
MB interrupted with a teary chuckle, “His name is Frank. The press dubbed him Frankenpig like some kind of software development, like a thing, or perhaps to play with the idea of Frankenstein.”
Polease ignored the explanation and waved the microchip wand over Frank’s head. While reading the screen on the device he said, “I’m just surprised you’re not covered in mud. But, hey, didn’t you clean up real nice for the trip to the city?”
Theocop stepped sideways next to MB and mumbled, “Since the pig talks, I’d think he could assume we has the right pig, sans electronic device to verify it.” MB nodded, shook his head, and winked.
            Frank cleared his throat. “Allow me to educate you. Wild Boar, being the direct relatives of various breeds of domesticated pigs, do not wallow in the mud, but go swimming instead. Both pigs and boar are fine swimmers capable of great distances. Swine, pigs, boar, whatever you want to call us, all love to be clean.” Frank had walked to the end of the pen and turned to face Theocop. “Farm pigs only wallow in the mud when they are not given access to large tubs or bodies of water. Since pigs do not have sweat glands they use the mud to protect their skins until you decide to make pork rinds.”
            “I love pork rinds,” was the only comeback Polease could concoct while turning off the microchip reader. “Unfortunately, this is our pig.”
            Theocop placed his hand on the young man’s shoulder. “Why don’t you give up? Haven’t you been raked enough today by the Little Miss Piggy?” He drew a deep breath through the tubes in his nose and blew air from his mouth.
 Theocop directed his attention to Frank. “You’ll have to excuse Polease. We rarely move criminals or protect witnesses in this day and age of PoliceRobots. He is a little excited. Look, they wanted me to bring an animal control vehicle and put you in the cage. Honestly, I pled extenuating circumstances to keep you out of the cage.”
            Frank cleared his throat. “You expect me to thank you for the humane removal? To play along with your police posturing, I will agree to wear the leash once we arrive in the city. However, since I’m willing to walk from the barn to the car without any trouble, I don’t understand why you want to demean me in front of my friends here on the farm.”
            “Hey, before we can even put the pig in the car, pork chops claims his rights as a human. The jury’s out concerning your rights,” griped Polease. He breathed sporadically from the tubing.
            “Okay,” Theocop agreed as he put the leash in his suit pocket. “Frank, have you said good-bye to everyone?”
            At the word “good-bye,” Miss Lou let out another mothering call. She charged at the gate, and the entire metal pen rattled all around from the force.
            Frank put his nose between two rails in the gate. He nuzzled his girl’s sexy, wet nose and said, “I go to fight so we might both live and die of nothing other than old age. No one dies alone, even if he dies solitarily.” After more nose-rubbing, he said his beloved, “Parting is all sorrow.”
Frank turned from his girlfriend who now sat with her head down. He answered the officer, “I said my serious good-byes last night in private.”
Polease pulled out the car keys. “More information than I want—way too much information. But a pig-love video for MeTube might be fun, though.”
Theocop said to MB, “We’ll let you two say one last good-bye. Meet you in a minute at the barn door.”
Polease slid his microchip reader into his pocket. He sneered at Frank and added, “But we are watching.” Passing the gate, Polease postured with a clenched fist in front of the trapped sow. Polease and Theocop walked out of ear-shot and stopped by the open barn door.
Frank said to MB, “These are temporary good-byes. I fully expect to win this court case and return to my home. I intend to prove that animals should be granted rights, too.”
Polease called, “I’m certainly ready to return to the city,” he announced jingling the car keys. “C’mon, FrankenPig, don’t be a pig in the poke.”
            MB walked toward the officers with Frank, shaking his head and rolling his eyes toward the young officer. Theocop whistled his low whistle and said “Son, ‘Pokey pig’ and ‘pig in a poke’ aren’t the same thing.”
“Actually,” Frank shouted while moving in his direction, “I’m too real to be a pig in the poke, and I do most things with alacrity.”
            “Hey, who is Alacrity, your other girlfriend?” Polease asked.
Theocop shook his head at MB who kicked at the ground, smirking.
Frank joined the officers, but turned look at MB and Miss Lou one last time. Frank yelled across the barn, “Send the boy a dictionary from me, please!”
Squinting with misty eyes through the open barn doors, Frank’s tears broke the sunrise into a spectral work of art. He blinked to capture the swirls in the bluing sky as they emerged past the green horizon. Would this be the last time he’d take in the splendor of a morning on the farm, his home?
Walking through the door, Theocop muttered to Polease, “Quit being such a swellhead and take it down a thousand. If you think your going to bag on the pig in the car, you can bump that! Understand?”
“Maybe,” Polease said as he brushed some straw and dust from the torn pants leg.
MB and Frank paused mid-way to the car, and he said to Frank, “Thanks for being a good friend. Come back just as you are, okay, man?”
“Good plan from a good man,” Frank replied quietly.
            The officers opened the car’s back door, and Frank jumped on the seat. In the front, Polease and Theocop removed their oxygen tanks. Polease drove the car with uneasy turns. Classical music meandered from the radio serenading the trio.
 For Frank, a car ride would have been pleasant under different circumstances, but the back seat was too narrow for him to sit like a human, facing forward. Frank’s suit felt particularly tight around his crotch and neck, and the material made traction on the leather seat almost impossible. He had to dig his front hooves into the seat to maintain a seated position.
At every turn, Frank was thrust forward and had to push with his snout against the back of the front seat to scoot back into his place. Frank refused to get on the floor and ride like a lesser being.
            Theocop looked irritated that the pig hadn’t settled down, and Polease grinned into the rearview mirror just before he came to a turn or a curve in the road.
            “He’s gonna start askin’ how much longer pretty soon,” Polease cracked.
            “You’re just mad because his girlfriend dusted you. Quit before the referee counts to ten,” Theocop said.
Eventually, Frank realized sitting side-ways both helped to stabilize him and make the trip quite enjoyable because he could look out the window.
They arrived at their destination, the city’s only hotel. Theocop and Polease strapped on their oxygen tanks. As the car door opened, Frank breathed in a stench that burned the hairs inside his nose and dried the lining of his lungs. He began to wheeze. His throat caved in, and from his throat he heard a sound like high wind rushing through a crack in the barn. The thought crossed his mind that he would not make it to trial. The sidewalk began to warp, jolted from one side to the other, and it wove a strange pattern as he attempted to walk. The next thing he knew, he saw at a bright light, even with his eyes tightly closed. The backs of his eyeballs felt as if they might not ever move again, but then he heard them move inside his eye sockets.
He thought he saw his mother fly past and call his name.
Even now, he couldn’t relate to his dad—a breeder who Frank thought of as just another boar.
Inside his head, Frank shouted, “Tell Mr. Benjamin ‘thanks.’”


Chapter 2 Michael's World

Tardiness could cost the young rookie his promotion from animal control to the police force, but he didn’t want to be promoted, anyway. He dallied from the police station through the parking lot until he eyed the car in space # 341, the one he’d been assigned. Now he understood part of his duty for the day. He’d been ordered to drive the grumpy sergeant because the old guy probably didn’t have a clue how to handle the algae-fueled automobile. The sergeant had come from the building from the other direction, and both officers climbed in the car and slammed their doors, angry they had been assigned to go fetch a live pig.
A whir sounded. After watching the oxygen indicator climb to a safe level, they pulled plugs from their noses. The plugs and tubes were never reusable—nasty from one use. Shoving tubing in disinfecting bins in the dash with one hand, they pushed their breathing tanks into the same compartment for a refill with another hand. Click. Sshhh. Click. Sshhh. All this trouble to breathe outside in the year 2030.
“Man, oh, man. I got razzed this morning by the other officers about this assignment. You get any coffee cake?” the young officer, Polease, asked from the driver’s seat.
Coffee sloshed out of the top of the senior officer’s cup as he slid it in the holder. From the passenger seat, he answered with his hoarse morning voice. “Cake?”
“Someone baked one—pink and pig-shaped. When I came into the break room, they sang to the tune of Happy Birthday, only they changed the words to ‘Happy pig day to you.’ Above the cake, the guys had hung a banner that read: Talking Pig with Cloned Human Brain Hogs Court Time. Like a Happy Birthday banner, get it? Good cake, though.”
“You ate some? Should have shoved it in the server’s face. Did ‘ya get the cook’s name?”
 “Yeah, I mean, no, Sarge,” Polease said. “Sarge, right, speaking of names—”
“Everyone knows me by my screen name, Theocop, and it’s all you need to know. From now on, if you’re talking to me in person, we got a problem. Otherwise, I’ll send orders on lexmail, so you check your messages on your gadio.” Sarge’s raspy voice almost echoed in the car. Observant and hard, he’d been likened to a 50 year-old James Bond because he always wore a gray suit, but he lacked a Bond hair style. Sarge actually owned a pair of clippers and kept his crew cut short. Daily.
In the squad car, Polease toyed with the devices. So far he’d found the lane sensor icon, the anti-crash mode, and the cruise control. “Hey, fine, use my new screen name, ‘Polease,’ if you like, or use my badge number—020. The guys razz me, calling me, you know, ‘zero to zero’”
 Theocop pulled at his seat belt to accommodate his build, whistled like a falling missile at the prospect of calling someone “zero to zero,” and settled back into his seat. They all tried to make something of badge numbers. It was one of the junior officers’ weird games.
The seat belt held tight on Polease’s young, thin build. To see to drive, he whisked his dark brown, kinky, scissor-cut hair away from his small, blue eyes. He yanked on his pants leg to adjust his navy blue, one-piece jump suit, and he wiggled his trapped shoulder free of the belt’s auto-grip. He lowered the seat to accommodate his height. Picking up the wireless steering wheel, he scrolled through the drive menu on the car’s monitor.
Theocop stretched, feigning patience. “You gonna drive or fidget—whatever your name is—nil, naught, zero, Polease?” Theocop almost smiled. Almost.
“Drive, yes, in a minute. Hey funny, they make biogas partly from pig manure, so our pig-manure powered car picks up the pig. If we run out of petro, we can plug in the pig.”
“Too early for ying-yang, boy. Way too early,” Theocop said.
Polease eased the car out of the parking space. There were no cars on the road. Only drivers with official permission could add CO2 and NO2 to the air. Polease set the sensors to DETECT. The dummy light in the dash read: LANE GUIDES DETECTED— 1055 linked for 10.2 miles. The monitor flashed AUTOPILOT ON FOR 10.1 miles.
Theocop had heard from the cadets about how irritating this new guy could be. Irritating habits included talking too much and touching everything whether it belonged to him or not. So far, he fiddled with everything in the new cruiser and figured out how to drive it—more than Theocop understood after a couple of hours with the car manual last night. Now, Sarge hoped to keep the newbie from talking too much. 
 “Hey, wheeeeelable wheels,” Polease exclaimed. He had been warned while eating the pig-cake it would be unwise to talk to Sarge too much, especially in the morning.
Theocop inhaled, dreading the conversation. When he talked, the muscles in his face became visible. When alerted or annoyed, his meaty earlobes twitched, earning him his nick-name, the one used only behind his back, Dumbo. “Drive and listen. I’m going to iron this out for you like your great-grandma used to steam-iron aprons. First, understand; this pig is valuable. It’s got quite a noodle. Doctors call it the first viable human, cloned brain. Chetley Takes, the pharmaceutical guru, claims the brain belongs to him. Takes had his brain cloned and his gray matter grew in the pig’s head, get it?”
“Guess the pig has an argument. The brain is in his head, right,” Polease said.
“Boy, you can think anything you want, and you can say it, too, to certain people. If you plan to move up from animal control to the police force, you better not let anyone important hear you say the pig has rights.”
“Hey. Just saying—”
 The hot coffee had taken some of the harshness from Theocop’s voice. “Learn to listen, will ‘ya? Unfortunately for us, since the blessed pig can talk, piggy decided along with a few animal activist friends, and one of those free lawyers, to sue in order to keep the brain.”
If Polease could keep his superior talking, he could boast he had an actual conversation with him. “Hey, I get the controversy, and I’ve read all about why they clone pigs to keep the cloned organs until one of those rich guys needs a new part, but nobody’s done a brain transplant before.”
Theocop had done his homework for this case; yesterday, he watched the documentary prepared for Take’s organ harvesting team. “This assignment needs kid gloves, kid. The same brain cancer that runs in Takes family has turned him into a couch commander, and he knows the risks in attempting the first brain transfer. He’s just dusty about dying. Hence, our orders. Move the swine without stressing it out. Official wording: The pig is not to suffer any trepidation.”
“Okay, but why aren’t we taking an animal control vehicle?”
Theocop started to pick up his coffee, but smacked it back into the cup holder. “Aren’t you listening? You have to interpret orders. Caging the pig for the ride might cause trepidation.”
“Any other interpretations?”
 “Choosing you. You have experience with pigs and video games. Figured you could drive this new contraption to the farm and get the pig back.”
Reasons. Theocop had real reasons for choosing Polease and using screen names, and the real reasons were unrelated to pigs and cars. He knew the kid’s animal control experience was limited to zapping the fierce city squirrels with RemoteLaserBots. But years ago, Theocop made a promise to a dying partner to watch over the boy. Theocop had sent a lexmail once in a while to his partner’s widow, so he feared the youngster knew his name. She may have mentioned, “Daddy’s sergeant, Theodore, sent a lex and asked about you, too.”
In moments of guilt, using a different screen name each time, Theocop played on-line games with the kid. The kid beat him every time. Theocop often thought it was too bad he hadn’t been asked to take care of a dog or a fish. Actually, if it had to be a mammal, he would have preferred a gerbil. Gerbils don’t live very long, and they can’t win at video games.
Everybody had reasons. The public cared about this case. Most people lived in oxygen-conditioned apartments without permission to move around outside. Little sympathy existed for the wealthy people who moved about with oxygen tanks and cars. With the resources from his company, Takes had stretched luxurious living over 125 years, making him the oldest, richest man alive.
Theocop pressed an icon on the mega-screen for the MediaMonkey’s latest results. The MediaMonkey question posed: Who should live, pig or Takes? 85% responded—PIG.
At the top of the Webpage, a hacker had added a banner that read: Eat the rich. Eat their pigs. Theocop hit the “report” button. After a minute or two, a message appeared on the screen: Thanks, citizen. We’ll add 5 equalizer points to this Friday’s pay~ The Language Cleansers
Polease didn’t want to see statistics. Boring. “Can’t you click on a program or something?”
“Yeah. Give it a minute.” For his own personal reasons, Theocop wanted to watch the documentary featuring his girlfriend, Katharine Moore, head of the Cloning Institute, supporting Chetley Takes’ side of the issue. He loved to watch her snowball the public. Knowing she lied and knowing the truth made him feel powerful. Truth is power, even when you hide it, and maybe it’s even more powerful when you do.