A LETTER FROM DR. ANDREW SHEPHERD
Andrew Shepherd’s life hasn’t turned out the way he hoped and expected. Fifteen years ago, he and Matthew Clancy were brilliant young genetic researchers on the Human Genome Project at Cambridge University. But a scandal caused them to lose their jobs, and nowadays Shepherd finds himself down on his luck, teaching biology part-time at a young offenders’ institute. Clancy, meanwhile, became a professor and now has a successful genetic testing company.
A transcript of this handwritten letter was submitted as EXHIBIT RR/12 by the Crown Prosecution Service during the trial that followed the events of Reprobation.
20th July, 2017
I hope this finds you well. You made yourself very clear at our last meeting, but I feel I must make one final attempt to bring you in on the OS1 project. The stakes could not be higher, my friend.
The preliminary results are astounding, and I am convinced it will be a success. Both patients are doing very well. Patient 1 was initially unresponsive, but following a course of dexamethasone the virus began to take, and I can now confirm the soteriological marker is present throughout his body. The lad hasn’t quite grasped the necessity of periodic boosters throughout his lifetime, but I believe that further Bible study will convince him.
But Patient 2, Matthew, Patient 2! A viable pregnancy was achieved after only two months, and I must congratulate myself there on my amateur IVF abilities. The foetus is now at 20 weeks’ gestation, and both mother and baby are in full possession of the OS1 marker. She is a simple girl, and although it pains me to say it, her learning difficulties proved useful in getting her to accept the treatment. She is living with me, and I feel that I am justified in having rescued her from a life of violence and poverty to one of, well, what can we say? Unparalleled grace. As for the birth, I am in two minds as to whether it should take place in hospital. There may be forces of which we are unaware, working against us, and this baby must be protected. The pregnancy is currently unregistered, and if you were to come in on this, Matthew, we both know someone who could help her deliver at home.
Think of it! Think of what this means! All we ever wanted as geneticists was to make a difference, and what greater difference could there be. Matthew, you cannot deny what we discovered. Together; yes, we discovered it together. What happened in Cambridge was not blasphemy, and it was not by chance. You say that you fear the consequences of deviating from God’s plan, but this, Matthew, this is God’s plan for us. We are prophets. More than prophets – we maybe the veritable architects of the Second Coming.
I intend to submit the paper, with or without your blessing. You cannot prevent it. This secret is not ours to keep. The title shall be ‘Spontaneous versus artificial mutation of the OS1 gene: a soteriological approach’ by Andrew Shepherd, PhD. I had hoped that your name would be on it too; indeed without the support of your good name and institution I have no credibility. Baptiste has been generous; however he is not the person I need.
And so in vain hope, I leave you with the latest draft of my research paper. I hope it will become our research paper.
This post originally appeared in September 2018 on Miriam Drori’s ‘Letters From Elsewhere’: https://miriamdrori.com/2018/09/