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Her memory has been unusually excellent from the day she was

born. She remembers the first time she opened her eyes, seeing

bright lights, adults crowding around, cooing at the beautiful baby

before them. And perfect she was, with her big blue eyes, soft tufts

of jet black hair growing on her small head and flawless porcelain

skin. This was obviously not left to chance. Nothing about her had

been left to chance. Everything had been carefully chosen, from her

IQ of 234 to her mysterious name. Clandestine, because she was a


However, there are no secrets that time does not reveal. This

one took ten years. Her parents wept, begged to be released,

promised that they wouldn’t be involved in the production of any

more designer children, but the remaining officials shook their

heads no and sentenced them to death. New Earth couldn’t afford

to accommodate people like them bringing superficial lives into the

world, especially in a time when everyone else was trying to return

the globe into its pure state again, free of anything artificial.

They let the offspring survive, though. Perhaps that was their

biggest downfall. Because when you allow something to survive, it

doesn’t just survive. It thrives. In 2130, a debate began, an argument

concerning the ethics of designer children, a debate which turned

into conflict, conflict which turned into war. A war that the people

three decades ago, in 2099, had already predicted would occur.

They knew that designer children would be manufactured after

the medical crisis that would wipe out almost all of Earth’s 11.2

billion people worth of population. It was inevitable, something

that would definitely happen, because humans would be forced to

find some way to sustain life on Earth without endangering the

lives of those who survived the crisis. They also knew that human

nature would precipitate some people to continue producing

designer children after the law declared manufacturing of these

children illegal, which would unavoidably result in a war.

What they didn’t forget was that designer children were the

future of survival on New Earth. So with the limited but advanced

technology they had, they designed an outside world christened

with the name Extramural to protect the children during the war. It

would be located underground and be readily equipped with all of

the resources required for human survival. They mapped it all out,

on an old and tattered piece of papyrus, made to stand out against


Renita Yang

Isobelle Carmody Award

For Creative Writing

Highly Commended