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Unknown Variant (Book 1)

By Sara Grover All Rights Reserved ©

Romance / Scifi

Blurb

A dystopic romance about star-crossed lovers, Layla and Adonis, as they struggle against the adversity of genetic segregation, poverty, and their inner demons as they hope of making a life with each other in a world where their love can have deadly consequences.

Prologue

By the year 2152, humanity had suffered from a plethora of maladies, both environmental and biological. Over the past five generations, humans had increasingly been plagued by genetic defects which destined them to come down with diseases or be born with debilitating mental and physical handicaps. The oceans had risen, swallowing up coastal areas around the world, forcing billions to move inland. Precious farmland and pastures were lost, and food became scarce and rationed as billions of people crowded into already over-populated areas.

The cities of the world plunged into chaos as people fought for what little space and resources they could find. The poor became desperate; robbery and murder rates skyrocketed. The wealthy, who were not accustomed to being denied their excess, lived in constant fear of the riotous general population and tried to use their otherwise useless money to lobby governments. With the threat of civilization unraveling entirely, the leaders of the world congregated to make a decision that went against everything that humanity stood for. The task: to find a solution that would reverse the “de-evolution” of our species and lower the unsustainable population number of approximately 9.5 billion.

The governments and the wealthy thought of these “inferior” people as a drain on the system. They cost too much to take care of, used up precious food, depleted scarce natural resources, and contributed little but to make more children with problems. It was decided that by helping them to live was against nature, that it was reversing the evolution of man by permitting such undesirable mutations to continue being passed down through the generations.

This plan was not shared transparently with the general public, for if it were, anarchy would likely have ensued. The first phase of the plan was to get blood samples from every single person. The samples were then sent to labs to decipher every individual’s genome. Individuals that displayed any genetic markers for disease or abnormalities received a tattoo that read “GI.”

Those who received these tattoos had no clue what “GI” meant or that there was anything wrong with them to be concerned about. The GI stood for “genetically inferior”. They were getting branded. Along with the tattoo, they each received an ID number, which seemed logical, like the old social security number system. The ID numbers were coded labels, indicating a person’s genetic follies. The numbers were just to keep count, but the letters were what mattered. The longer the ID, the more there was that was wrong with you. H for hemophilia, SC for sickle cell anemia, MR for mentally retarded, specific cancers indicated by various abbreviations like BRSC, BRNC, LEU, etc. Anything that they deemed wrong with your DNA had a code. It took about four years to test and tattoo everyone. Babies who were born during that time frame and after that had been mandated to be brought into the genetic testing centers in no more than one month after birth, their ID numbers went on birth certificates -- and they received tattoos as well.

In 2157, those who were tattooed were to find out what it was all for, and it wasn’t to help them. Those with the tattoo who were severely disabled, couldn’t walk, deemed mentally retarded, psychotic or had cancers were rounded up in night raids. Military and armed police in riot gear banged on doors in the night of the houses in which they lived and hauled them off in the back of large semi-trucks like cows to slaughter. Those poor souls were taken to military facilities and as the governments put it, “put out of their misery and ours.” How they were murdered it cannot be said for sure as it was classified and buried under heaps of bureaucracy. There are many rumors of how they died, but they are all too horrible to even imagine, never mind talk about.

Those who weren’t “put out of their misery” got cut off from all medical care. The governments decided that it was a waste of money to prolong their lives. If they got sick and died, it was the natural order of things and should not be interfered with. Those tattooed that were left to live unaided had major or minor health issues or sometimes no obvious problems at all. Their “inferior” genetics caused conditions such as diabetes, obesity, autism, schizophrenia, dwarfism, propensity to develop Alzheimer’s disease or just unknown changes in the DNA sequence that were deemed abnormal to the geneticist. If someone had or had the chance of having a condition that required treatment or accommodation to lead a productive life, they were on their own. The best they could do is work to feed their families and hope they didn’t get sick.

It didn’t take long for the tattoos to cause discrimination, which quickly lead to segregation. Those of the GI population, even if they were educated or held positions of power, were fired. Schools stopped allowing GI children to attend, including universities, and the GI population that was left, forced into a life of poverty and servitude.

In the years that immediately followed the genetic cleansing, as it soon came to be called, the GI population that was left, which still greatly outnumbered that of the genetically normal, tried as best they could to carry on living, hoping that one-day mankind would regain its humanity. People continued to marry and have children, though the rates of infant mortality skyrocketed because of the denial of medical care of any kind.

By 2190, the GI communities around the world were stabilizing after the chaos caused by billions of people having their lives turned upside-down. With a whole new generation of GI children raised to adulthood in this new society, people were becoming complacent; they didn’t know of anything better than what they had. It was into this world I was born, nineteen years and eight months ago, on the night of September 22, 2195, in the midst of Hurricane Layla.

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