Tuesday, December 22, 2009


As I climbed the outer crater wall of Thasis city; everything changed for me. The world kept turning at 868.22 kilometres per hour but my internal world careened out of control. The steep climb reminded me of the struggle to get here; the many tumbles down the slope mirrored my tumble. With careful method, I had become a monster, and the man who did this with me now stood over me with a predatory gaze. I had tried to do something terrible. I thought it was the right thing to do; like many terrorists before me, here and back on earth in years gone by; I had justified every soul-destroying decision believing I was dragging humanity forward.

Minks, my long time friend and mentor stooped over me, his long, lean form glinting in the Martian sunrise. That the messenger was Minks - my comrade, my brother - hurt the most. Gently, he took my small, personal canister of poison. Meekly, I let him. I feel like a kid whose big brother breaks all his toys; hopelessly crying for my parents. They aren't listening, they stopped listening long ago, or maybe I stopped crying and hadn’t noticed. My work was wasted, the self I had been was lost on an ocean and no one was looking for me.

Remembering my sister’s birthday, the first time I met him. He told me about his plans to change the world; told me I was good at what I did, he encouraged my creative side. Together, as we worked, we felt like gods striding across a new frontier, the work was all we could think about. Nothing else mattered. Slowly I lost all my other friends; then I lost my family. I was arrested, and bailed out; I committed crimes against the state, against people, against anyone and everything. Maybe even against nature. Minks, the others and myself had been Junkers: a new form of revolutionary - we changed ourselves and the world around us. That was our need, and our instinct.

Minks was older than me, wiser and even more screwed up. He picked me for my innocence, my naiveté. I was a hacker of sorts: I adjusted the ‘code’ of living tissue rather than computer programs. There were only a few of us doing it and Minks had picked me for his gang. How the technology worked or what I did is not important, what is important is that we thought, no – we knew it was the new frontier of human civilization. Together we would change humanity. Now, lying on the cusp of this dry, dead crater with Minks gazing down at me, the disappointment of my failure is as barren as the alien, crimson dust of this long-dead planet, which is greedily soaking up my rapidly freezing blood. We were the vanguard of human civilization; on the broken edge of science playing with powers we just had an understanding of…

…The human race was not ready to accept genetic manipulation. There were riots for and riots against. The UN created special economic zones on mars to allow the technology to be researched and tested. The technology was simply abhorrent to many people. Big business had invested trillions in the research but the only items that were accepted were cloned organs to extend life. People just didn't want to change; that's where we fit in.

Junkers took the broken science and used it. We changed ourselves to prove it could be done. To show the world what humanity could be, and in changing, in demonstrating what humans could be, we no longer were. We didn't know that then, and maybe we wouldn't have cared anyway. Junkers were a force; a movement for change: we weren’t just trying to bring change, we wanted to become change.

When heat builds up in a system, steam escapes with a blast, usually a pressure valve is used but sometimes there are leaks and the leaks explode. We were the leaks in the system; people who were living on the edge, and with the nothing we thought we had to lose we were able to show others what was possible. This, I discovered, was our function: to show mankind that genetic manipulation was not only possible in a living being but also Natural Selection.

Mink's had become so charmed by his own existence; that his charm just rubbed off like scales from a butterfly. He sprinkled his fairy dust around and others followed him. People like me, a new and naive kid genius ready for the next big thing. I, we, would follow him around and hang on his every word. I remember once how he got on to some talk show, about troubled teens who were followers of this new "Junker movement" he stated plainly:

"Junker is not only cool, its liberating; imagine being able to fly in space on solar wings, that's where we will be one day and you'll all be dead. Because some Luddites don't understand doesn't mean the UN can pass restrictions. I'm not condoning the attacks on protos like you. I am saying that change has come and you can either embrace it; or get out of our way."

It was not long after this point we became fugitives, attack on protos by Junkers had increased and we felt squeezed into a corner. We never ran from it, we ran into it and fought back, the cops, the army, our parents, our siblings if you didn’t have the scent and look you were walking meat and we never cared. Minks told everyone to take it up a notch and we complied. That charm still so strong, even though he could no longer be recognised as human or even ‘Minks’ anymore. Thousands followed us in the ether, and news casts. Protos wanted to be like us: different from the Protos, they wanted a standard package to get started. Enhanced eyes and ears, better brawns and more smarts. Bands started doing it, brawing out or getting really crazy with scales and feathers. They flocked to the cause and protested in their schools and colleges demanding a lift of the bans. Overnight instead of a ‘movement’ we became fashion, there were labels of clothes and bands, and all the paraphernalia associated with all fashion and fads. Still we kept striving, searching for the waterfall to jump off.

Minks still so charming, was smiling now. I remember him saying “Tommy, those Proto fuckers should give you a noble prize, you’re a fucking genius”. We worked so hard to achieve acceptance, I never realised just how popular our movement would become. It seemed serendipity that bands came out, with music we liked, clothing just as we wanted it to look, and more people to indulge in the change with us. Minks pops something into my pocket a small thing, white with letters on it. “Rest up Tommy, the war is over; I called an ambulance for you, your going to get a nice room, I booked it in this nice clinic by the sea you’ll like the sea we don’t have oceans on Mars. When you’re better; I got a job for you to. Can you still sing Tommy; there is this benefit for the victims of the poison. I said I would bring some Junkers to sing this old song “We are the World”. It’s going to be all over the ether on all the casts. Lots of normals’ will be watching; it’s a big deal. Hey Tommy, do you think before the gig, you can do something about my teeth; I want them to be blue now, you know to go with my eyes.”

He pushes more stuff into my pockets, a data stick labelled songs to learn. I look at the small item in my shirt pocket; it’s a simple white card with his name Michael Minkins director of marketing Sibel and Dawn.

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