Sunday, November 8, 2009


Junker by Morg

I thought I was a Junker! it was a sham. We started in 2320, tearing up streets like a bunch of wild dogs looking for a scrap. Junkers; because we altered our code and embraced the change. Junk clinics were found in most cities small time doctors playing with anything’s code for a small price and an open source license to the results. In those days the rain came down off the top of the craters on Olympus Mons as a fine mist; before we trashed the atmosphere plants that is.

Looking back on that time I have fond memories, mostly my own or Minks or the rest of my Junker crew. Junkers were a group of miscreants who turned into a movement then slowly faded into obscurity some 200 years ago. They didn't really stand for anything in hindsight, merely a force for change.

I was recruited by the legendary Minks, a long running cyborg with a diamond carbide chassis. He had customized his code so that he didn't need to sleep, needed less nutrients for his organs and enhanced his brain capacity. On Mars, free market meant no guidelines as long as you didn't break the basics of human rights you could do anything. Most of the humans or Protos as we called them were part machine already but no one wanted to go too far; to fuck with their own code I mean.

Brain and body hacking turned into a lucrative small business but when a few virus like the Red Plague broke out that was stopped. The UN put the Kibosh on the small clinics and start-up auto-factories, replacing the grimy dirty world I was used to with the clean white lines of Berkley Genomics clinics. It was a brutal battle, a big corporation out maneuvered by smaller faster companies on the broken edge of science and then the retaking of the science by using the heavy hand of big government. Who knows how many Protos and Nexters lost their savings and lives. When the dust settled, there were no small clinics; the geniuses who created the tech had been swallowed up by a monster; a system spanning conglomerate Berkley Genomics.

Junkers were a particularly violent type of Nexter, or Next human. They prided themselves on being free, being vandals; totally anti corporation, anti government and almost anti Proto. My gang would regularly tear up a street in downtown Berlin district in Olympus Mons just for the fun of it; spraying poison gas into air conditioners then shooting people as they ran out of corporate towers. We were like young gods striding around the terrified Protos, showing our power and smashing anything in our way. Once we even launched our own com sats just to stay ahead of the Police and Interpol.

This is a rags to riches story, with the hero my horrible self. Back then I wore spiked shoulder pads, had servos added to my arms could leap fifty feet into the air and cling to any surface like a gecko. I could see into the ultra violet and infrared spectrum thanks to my custom coded eyes. My weapons, electro mags built into the muscles of buttocks and thighs to take out most machines and cyborgs; who knew that with a bit of tinkering you could give a nasty jolt using an electric eels DNA. Chainsaw was my normal weapon, simple effective noisy. I liked the sound it made as it crunched through bone and flesh. I also could release a powerful toxin in my saliva that would kill most creatures; stopping their heart, dissolving flesh, leaving them with a fatal blood infection and a slow and malignant cancer. Junkers were a rare breed indeed, like so many we eventually became extinct.

Minks was always pushing us hard to do more an more damage, eventually we ended up breaking the terra-forming equipment that kept the creator growing. We distributed a virus through the atmospheric pylons, the viral fungal bacterial Soup thingy we made was so deadly to the plants and microbes of the soil that they never fixed it. We sent the code over to people in Tharsis and they did the same thing. It wasn't about a better weapon, or doing damage it was mainly about the challenge. How to literally hack the planet, our burgeoning red world would become a strange and alien land. We weren't just mad we were furious, mankind had left earth to colonized other stars. We were left here on Mars. Slaves to thousands of corporations, consumers of all the goods of our human systems, never to see an alien sky or swim in the stars. We had missed out, born to late for the colonies, too early for the expansion and too poor to get off world with no wars to fight we fought our fellow man. Junkers were rebels and with a cause, fuck up yourself then fuck everyone else up.

A Junker was usually recruited early around the age of eleven or twelve, usually by an older brother or sister. Most of the Junkers in my gang only had an age difference of about three years. The first time I met Minks was at my older sisters birthday, they were lovers. Minks saw I had a great imagination, and could code in a few programming languages best of all I knew how the Splicers worked, and could program them too. Programming for me was like a hobby I would make little games and little hacks to impress my friends at school. I was so happy when Minks turned up at my parents place with a Crown 2200 starter lab. The first of the small labs that started up a chain hacks for the decade. The thing looked like bar fridge. It had all sorts of components and even came with a subscription to the Crown Geno site, allowing you to buy ready made hacks for your plants, the thing couldn't deal with humans; until I broke its protection software and realized you could do pretty much anything with it. I started by hacking my cat, turning it scaly. Then eager as always hacked my own code turning my skin blue.

When Minks saw what I did he said I should run with his gang. He had big plans, me being a gene hacker one of only about one hundred at the time would fit right in. I started by adding dog DNA to some of the gang, then increased their muscle density by eight times.

After about a year the gang looked like nothing Mars had ever seen. Some of them were hulking brutes others chameleon skinned ninjas, Minks just got me to hack his brain because that’s all he had left after all the surgery for cybernetics. I'm pretty sure at that point our code was un-recoverable, nothing normal remained everything was tweaked, enhanced or stripped. My own sister now had full-size angel wings; they didn't let her fly she was pretty scary to look at standing eight feet tall wielding a chainsaw. When the cops gunned her down outside our school we made a pact, to stick together, to fight back and fuck everything up. I picked up the chainsaw and with it became second in command. Our goons would steal medical supplies, animals from the zoo, specimens from museums any piece of code we could get our hands on. It wasn’t just genetic manipulation, any piece of tech that furthered our cause, to take revenge for being left on Mars; for my sister for my friends.

The police were a natural enemy, I remember two of our guys busting open an armored car outside Berlin university, blood spraying out like it was fired from a hose. Things really got weird when we cracked the code to share feelings and emotions. Normally links only transmit contextual data as data like a normal computer; there is an interface between the brain and the link chip. You can grab an image from your optic buffer if you have mechanical eyes, or audio from your ears and also transmit text or sometimes speech. What we did was break that wide open, I’m sure the Crown boys who invented it had put it there to stop people doing that. We shared our feelings, our memories reading and writing to each other’s brains like they were drives on pirate servers. After that I think we lost all sense of who we were. We were not one, we were many, and we had a satellite; wherever we went we were never alone.

The movement gained momentum; clinics opened up to help other people join in the revolution it was out with the old and in with the new. They were pretenders who were only skimming the surface, not diving right in. Junker became a fashion label; something the rich kids would do to be cool tearing up a street or causing mayhem while messaging everyone in the area to make sure no one got hurt. It felt like we were being contained, the clinics did a good trade in “enhancements” usually nothing more radical than night vision, or no sleep. Things we have now days, were invented and produced way back then on the slimy and dripping streets of Berlin or Mumbi. This forced acceptance by a society we were rejecting forced the more radical Junkers like us to take it up a notch. That’s when we attacked the very systems that allowed people to live on Mars, the atmosphere plants that filled the craters with fresh air for the last hundred years. We left viruses everywhere, blew things up and killed anyone Proto looking; like we were avenging angels. Our slogan was change or die, and most Protos and other less radically altered Junkers or Nexters were targeted too. When I came up with "The Soup" as I called it; even put it in a can like the Warhol painting; I was really angry. The Flesh Eaters had hit number one in the music charts and bought a palatial home on old earth in Italy! They had practiced cannibalism! I felt abandoned by my own Junkers; I made the soup and poisoned farms. Mars relied on its farms, gravity means you better grow things mostly made of water on Mars otherwise it costs money to import stuff. I knew the cops would be after me. I sent the code everywhere even hacking a billboard for all to see; only few hundred genes and you too can make a "Soup" can.

On Thasis it worked a treat; most other crater colonies had the same effect. The soil was forever tainted my crowning moment, me and Minks toasted on top of the new Reichstag using a Protos skull for a cup drinking expensive real Champagne . I should have suspected then that something was up with Minks, how would a guy who looked like a glittering robot buy Champagne?

What happened next was a ban, article 500 of the United Nations; Genetic alteration is now licensed by the holders of the recombination patents Berkley Genomics and Crown and Wrath. Every shop was forcibly closed down, the sale of home kits banned. These two companies busted the market up, imprisoning anyone who didn’t sell them back anything derived from the master patent. I remember my buddy Red saying “I’m fucking all those Protos”. He told me that a Berkley guy came to his house said, that the home kit you have there is now illegal; we own the patent on recombination, we have caught twenty gang members of yours who have this unique cocktail of enhancements you have been working on for about five years. They offered him a job! Red told them to go fuck themselves then crushed the guys’ spine with his lobster claw.

After the UN passed the bill, being a Junker became unfashionable and most of the pretenders left the movement following the new Peacers Hippy revival. The music got shit all of a sudden and I knew our days were numbered. Red wasn’t going down; together we released the plague on a small facility called freedom station. It was totally effective, insanity and death perfect weapon against the Protos. We were transporting the plague when we got caught; Red took a rail gun to the face I barely made it out losing one of my arms. I limped back to Tharsis, walking on the surface of Mars avoiding the roads and mag trains.

By the time I contacted Minks I was just below the lip of Tharsis crater I couldn’t get up to the atmospheric processor to release the plague, Minks leaned over me and smiled with diamond teeth. "You did good Tomas the Junkers have produced the exact effect that Sibel and Dawn were paid to achieve". It hit me like a bullet, no like train; a train fired out of a giant gun like a bullet, really hard anyway I felt like a kid who had another kid break all his toys.

Minks worked for Sibel and Dawn all along, one of the biggest marketing companies around. Sibel himself had planned the operation and brought Minks in to start the movement; mankind would never hand over their rights to their own code without serious civil unrest; mankind would not accept genetic manipulation on a mass scale for centuries. Sibel had been paid by the two patent holders of recombination; the magical process of splicing genes in a living developed organisms. Not only had they got the rights; they got all the open source code to the myriad of changes that had been made. We had been played from day one, the assholes got us to fight their battle and force the UN to pass a resolution. Public opinion had held the companies as saviors of mankind who would bring genetic manipulation back under control. The slimy streets were cleaned, and no one knew who we were; a revolutionary footnote in Martian history the best marketing plan ever. If you want to sell something that’s totally abhorrent the idea that your own right to alter your own code can only be held by a corporation, you have to make the alternative truly monstrous. In us Sibel and Dawn had found the right monsters for the task; the random violence was small scale in comparison to what would have happened, and the profits of Berkley and Crown soared on angelic public opinion. I thought I was a Junker, I thought I had invented something and was part of something. I sold out after that; hell I was sold out at the age of 11 and didn’t even know it.

1 comment:

Ransico said...

Not finished reading yet... one quote that strikes me is "We weren't just mad we were furious". Twist the two words around, you get "We weren't just furious, we were mad" - just as true =P