“Then I went to prison,” he said abruptly. “And to England. I wrote to
them—and they to me—but it canna be the same, to see a few black words
on the paper, telling things that happened months before.
“And when I
came back—” He shrugged, wincing as the movement jarred his arm. “It was
different. Ian would ask me what I thought of fencing in auld Kirby’s
pasture, but I’d know he’d already set Young Jamie to do it. I’d walk
through the fields, and folk would squint at me, suspicious, thinking me
a stranger. Then their eyes would go big as they’d seen a ghost, when
they knew me.”
He stopped, looking out at the window, where the brambles
of his mother’s rose beat against the glass as the wind changed. “I was
a ghost, I think.” He glanced at me shyly. “If ye ken what I mean.”
“Maybe,” I said. Rain was streaking the glass, with drops the same gray
as the sky outside. “
You feel like your ties to the earth are broken,” I
said softly. “Floating through rooms without feeling your footsteps.
Hearing people speak to you, and not making sense of it. I remember
that—before Bree was born.” But I had had one tie then; I had her, to
anchor me to life.
He nodded, not looking at me, and then was quiet for a
minute. The peat fire hissed on the hearth behind me, smelling of the
Highlands, and the rich scent of cock-a-leekie and baking bread spread
through the house, warm and comforting as a blanket.
Cophine AU: Cosima is the resident science geek along with her unlikely best friends Sarah and Felix who just try and scrape through High School, then comes the new exchange student Delphine all the way from Paris. Cosima has the biggest gay panic of her life and spends too long sneaking glances and wishing she had the nerve to talk to her, Felix and Sarah constantly give her shit for her new crush and it gets worse when Dr Leekie pairs them together in science and they become a dream team.
Delphine is oblivious to everything bless her but clues in eventually and has a bi realisation with also bi Sarah (those two bonding over their love for Cosima is my thing don’t @ me)
One day in class Felix is teasing Cosima with some explicit descriptions and she’s blushing like the adorable thing she is and Delphine walks over and is all ‘bonjour, Cosima, what are we talking about?’ and Felix being the little shit he is says 'Cos was just talking about all things French she’d like to eat when we go on the English trip’
And Delphine just runs one of Cosima’s dreads through her fingers and says 'non, I think I’d prefer some local cuisine’ and then struts away leaving an open mouthed Cosima and Felix while Sarah just leans back in her chair and yells 'Smooth one, Frenchie!’
Jamie Fraser eased his elbow out the open car window,
humming tunelessly along with his favorite live recording of The Corries’ “Wild
It was a beautiful spring day. The sheep were lambing
well – he’d had a good chat with Jenny about that this morning. The fields were
just about ready to till – Ian was going to check on the tractors this
afternoon. Claire had had an unusually quiet spell at the clinic in the
village. Fergus and Marsali would be back at Lallybroch for a visit in a few
weeks. Faith, Bree, William, and Julia were off school this week – he’d spent a
good part of the previous night helping Julia select the next quadrant of the
estate for her and Sinem to excavate over the next few days (so far they’d
turned up a startling array of artifacts, from broken pipes to corroded ploughs
to all sorts of animal bones to a beautiful string of what had to be, oddly
enough, beads from the Mediterranean).
Now that the winter damp was finally dissipating, it was
as good of a time as any to check the outbuildings on the estate – an array of
guesthouses, storage sheds, and cottages where Murtagh, Suzette, the household
staff, and various long-term visitors lived. Some had been winterized – might as
well make a visit, open the windows, and air them out while the weather
So, armed with a basket full of Mrs. Crook’s
cock-a-leekie pie for lunch, Jamie found himself turning off the main road to look
in on the stone crofter’s cottage that dated at least from the 1740s but which
his father had lovingly restored into a guesthouse at least thirty years ago.
And frowning at the ancient red Morris Minor innocently
parked near the front door.
Jamie cut the Land Rover’s engine and gingerly followed
the fresh tire tracks to the car, which sported a cheery University of Glasgow
His eyes narrowed.
Swiftly he approached the house and quietly pushed in the
heavy wooden door – which he knew had to be unlocked.
Brianna’s coat lay crumpled in the entryway.
Then he turned to the left – to the room where he knew a
large, comfortable couch sat before the old hearth that he, Murtagh, and
William had repaired the previous summer.
All he saw was a tangle of red and dark curls, and a blur
of pale flesh.
“Roger MacKenzie,” James Fraser growled. “I’ll thank ye
to take yer hands off my daughter.”
Dr. Claire Fraser pulled her Volvo in between her husband’s
Land Rover and Faith’s battered, yet dependable Volkswagen Jetta. She stretched
as she stepped out of the car, and smiled as she spotted Julia’s blonde braids
darting through the dooryard.
“Hello?” she called.
Eight-year-old Julia whirled backwards and ran to her
beloved Mama, tackling her midsection with a tremendous hug.
“And hello to you too, darling. How has your day been?”
“We’ve got it all marked out and have started digging,”
she replied, fishing in the pockets of her coveralls. “Found this so far. What
do ye think it is?”
A small, corroded metal lump lay in the palm of Julia’s
dusty hand. Claire gingerly picked it up, squinting.
“It looks like an old bullet,” she mused. “Wherever did
you find it?”
“Oh, over in that plot behind the old coo barn. Da said
his grandda told him that in olden times there was a smithy back there.”
Sinem emerged from the main house and padded over to
“Hi, Dr. Fraser.” Her voice was shy, her English still a
bit hesitant – but clearly improving.
Julia turned to her best friend. “Are they still talking?”
“Yes – they’re still in the study room. But Mr. Murtagh
was listening from the outside.”
“What?” Claire crouched down to be at eye level with the
girls. “Who’s in the study?”
“Da and Bree and Roger,” Julia explained patiently.
“Roger? He’s here?”
“Oh, aye – Da found the two of them out in one of the
cottages. Been holding them hostage until ye came home.” Julia paused, then
produced a compass from one of her pockets. “Can we go now? The sun will set in
two hours and we have a *lot* of work to do.”
Claire nodded, distracted, and walked as quick as she
could toward the house.
She found Murtagh right outside Jamie’s study – just like
Julia had said.
“What’s going on?” she hissed.
The older man’s busy eyebrows – long gone grey with age –
rose in amusement. “He’s been tearing wee Roger a new one for acting improperly
“What?” Indignant – and wanting to defend her daughter –
Claire raised her hand to open the door.
But was stopped by Murtagh resting a work-worn hand
gently on hers.
“No need. They’re almost done. Jamie’s just about worn
himself out wi’ warning the puir lad. And Brianna, brave lass – she’s been in
wi’ him the whole time.”
Claire’s eyes bugged. “She *what*? Just what exactly were
they doing out there, anyway?”
“Just fooling around – kid stuff. Roger swears up and
down that nothing serious happened.”
Now Claire rolled her eyes. “A likely story.”
“Hush,” Murtagh whispered. “I think they’re almost done.”
“…no’ fair to punish me, Da. I’m grown – ”
“Seventeen is *no’* grown, Bree. No’ as long as ye live
in my house. It hurts me to think that ye couldna have Roger here, to be open
“Because I wanted to avoid *this,* Da.” Claire could just
picture the look of exasperation on Brianna’s face.
“Ye ken weel that I dinna want to hide anything about my
love for Bree,” Roger added quietly. “I love her and she loves me and we’re
proud of that. Only – weel. Only there are so many people in this house, Mr.
Fraser. We just wanted some time alone to ourselves.”
“Ye could have just asked, lad.” Claire knew that tone of
voice – and knew that Jamie was probably ruffling his hand through his hair as
he spoke. “I ken ye love and respect my daughter. Ye just gave me the hell of a
“I’m sorry – ”
“And for God’s sake I hope ye’re still a maiden, Bree.
Because I swear if ye’ve lain together outside of marriage – ”
Knowing this was her cue, Claire innocently breezed
through the door.
Jamie stood behind his desk, face flushed, hair all a
mess, arms folded across his chest.
Brianna and Roger, seated in the high-backed chairs in
front of the desk, turned to face Claire. Roger looked tired. Brianna looked
annoyed – then relieved.
“Mama!” she exclaimed.
“Hello Roger!” Claire replied in her best cheery doctor tone
of voice. “What a lovely surprise! I hope I’m not interrupting – ”
Roger rose to greet Claire with a kiss on the cheek. “Actually,
Dr. Fraser, we were just finishing – I need to go soon, to get back to
Glasgow. Just a quick trip.”
Bree quickly rose to take his hand.
“I’ll just go see Roger to his car,” she explained,
dragging him out of the study and past her hysterically laughing godfather,
lurking in the hallway.
Claire met her husband’s eyes, hands on her hips.
His eyes narrowed, seeming more blue than she had ever
“If I find them again – ”
“And you’re telling me you *never*, not once, snuck off
to a haystack with some girl, James Fraser?”
He pursed his lips. Swallowed. Sank weakly into his
chair, burying his head in his hands.
Claire quietly walked around the desk, opened his bottom
drawer, and pulled out the bottle of Laphroaig.
Jamie sighed, leaned his head back against the chair, and
unscrewed the top.
“You’re all barren by design”: Orphan Black, Neolution, and Eugenics
Hello again, Tumblr. After two previous discussions, one about Neolution(here) and one about non-normative families, I’d like to discuss Orphan Black and its depiction of eugenics, and what kind of implications this might have on season four.
Now, most of you will remember Aldous Leekie asking Delphine if she considers eugenics a dirty word, to which she simply replies “no”. Eugenics, nowadays, has very negative connotations: one need only think of the Nazi experiments in the 1930s and 40s and contemporary fears over “designer babies” to understand why this concept is viewed this way.
Delphine Cormier, however, is more likely to ascribe to new/liberal eugenics rather than old eugenics: liberal eugenics, a term coined by bioethicist Nicholas Agar, is characterised by the use of reproductive and genetic technologies in order to enhance human characteristics and capacities, and focuses on improving human lives. This, to be sure, is exactly what Aldous Leekie was talking about in both 1x06 and 2x01. Both speeches mirror each other: in 2x01, Leekie mentions “the age of biotechnology is upon us: it is the moral responsibility of visionaries like us to continue healing, feeding and fuelling the future of humanity”, also arguing in 1x06 that Neolution gives us the opportunity at “self-directed evolution” which should not be merely a “choice but a human right”. It is important to note that Leekie was, at this time, working on creating an artificial womb.
The notion of eugenics goes all the way back to Ancient Greece: Plato, also referred to by Leekie, believed human reproduction should be controlled by the state to ensure fit offspring. Eugenics was eventually popularised by Sir Francis Galton, influenced by Darwin’s theory about the survival of the fittest, who argued that eugenics is “the science which deals with all influences that improve the inborn qualities of a race; also with those that develop them to the utmost advantage.”
Eventually, eugenics made its way to the United States as well, where it was championed by Charles Davenport, who established a eugenical research center at Cold Spring Harbor in 1904 (and doesn’t this sound an awful lot like the Cold River institute Sarah visited?). Many of the pictures used in 2x06 have direct links to this institute. Many of the research done at this center was later used to justify forced sterilisation of people deemed unfit to reproduce, amongst other things.
“So, modelcitizenthespian, what does this have to do with Orphan Black?” you might ask. Now, the term eugenics keeps popping up in the show, although we currently have not been told why. Orphan Black rarely mentions such big concepts without later exploring them, so I have been doing some thinking. And this is where I’ll be doing some copy pasting, as I will essentially be arguing the very same thing I did in my theory about Neolution - so if you have read that theory, what comes next will not be a surprise.
Some of the revelations we were presented with in the finale, combined with other information we gathered this season, are very interesting. Nealon implied the science we have seen so far is but a drop in the ocean; Rachel’s eye seems to confirm this. He also claimed LEDA and Castor were their Adam and Eve.
With Leda being infertile and Castor carrying a pathogen that shrivels ovaries, however, this means the most likely interpretation of this comment is to see both sets of clones in terms of the biblical genesis: a newly created species. Leda and Castor, perhaps, are a prototype for a new and, in the eyes of Neolution, better human species. With the infertility sequence, and the Castor disease - which Coady was trying to weaponise, presumably at the Director’s orders. Then there is, of course, the fact that Neolution controls both Leda and Castor).
In theory, they could pretty much sterilise the human race with the weaponised pathogen and Cal Morrison’s micro-optics and drones, sold to the military by his partners, - they could, in theory, create a brave new world without any of what they perceive to be flaws in the human design and achieve the ultimate self-directed evolution.
The references to Brave New World are, after all, rife. Let’s not forget Leekie’s comment about creating an artificial womb. Now, look at the following quotation from Brave New World, a book often referred to in the series (see, for example, Huxley Station: Aldous Leekie’s first name: the artificial womb: cloning).
”[…] From the Social Predestination Room theescalators went rumbling down into the basement, and there, in the crimson darkness, stewing warm on their cushion of peritoneum and gorged with blood-surrogate and hormones, the foetuses grew […] With a sweeping gesture he indicated the rows of microscopes, the test-tubes, the incubators. “We can make a new one with the greatest ease—as many as we like.”
Let’s also not forget that Ethan Duncan canonically visited the Cold River Institute many times, a place called “the perfect ideological breeding group for a nature/nurture cloning fiasco”. Ethan and Susan were both responsible for the clones’ infertility by inserting the sequence: Rachel outwardly agrees by saying having a “reproducing prototype” would not be a smart move. But if the Leda and Castor clones are prototypes, this begs a very important question: prototypes for what?
And this is why I believe Neolution has very, very nefarious goals indeed.