They were studying his DNA?
Sam felt a queasy horror building in his chest.
They’d been studying his DNA this whole time?
He’d interviewed for so many internships before getting this one. He was smart–he knew that–but it had felt like every single interviewer had underestimated him. In most interviews, he’d answered every technical question correctly, and still been challenged like he didn’t know what he was talking about. There had been times he’d given answers to hypothetical engineering problems that he knew would work, and the interviewer dismissed him, asking pointedly why he’d decided to use a particular kind of cable or size of electrical wire, then talking over him so he couldn’t justify a choice that should have been obvious.
The non-technical parts of the interviews–the ones that should have been easier–had been even worse. A lot of interviewers had wanted him to be outgoing and assertive. They’d talked a lot about breaking stereotypes in the engineering field and promoting diversity, all while wanting to pigeonhole him into a personality type that didn’t fit.
The CPSI interview was the only one he’d walked away feeling good about. He’d thought he’d finally found a workplace that would value his intelligence and not expect him to be something he wasn’t.
And it had all been a sham.
Worse than that, he was being studied without his knowledge like some kind of specimen.
“Why are they studying us?” he said.
Before his trip through time, he would have had trouble keeping his voice even. Now, the even, steady tone came easily.
“I assume Sam and Jen are familiar with the special type of plastic CPSI uses in their packaging, but for Lachlan and Angelina’s benefit, there’s a special type of genetically engineered microorganism that produces it,” said Mrs. Sharma. “CPSI saved so much money from switching to the new plastic that it got Mr. Clyde thinking about how biotechnology could increase his profits even more.”
“Going from creating microorganisms to creating people?” said Lachlan. “Ethics aside, that’s a leap and a half.”
Mrs. Sharma nodded. “No one ever accused the Clydes of being rational or reasonable.”
“Please don’t tell me they used our DNA to create the fabrications,” Sam said.
The sick feeling grew inside him at the idea of sentient life being created from his DNA just so it could be imprisoned and abused in the name of making some greedy CEO even richer.
“No,” said Mrs. Sharma. “The fabs weren’t based on anyone’s DNA.”
That was a small relief at least, but not enough to ease the weight in his chest.
“What are they using it for, then?” said Sam.
Mrs. Sharma frowned.
“That’s one thing I was never able to figure out.”