Finally, the world was becoming a better place for our children. No, more accurately speaking, our children were becoming better. Technology had advanced enough to allow us more choice. Not necessarily on what our jobs were, or how long we lived, but a choice of our children. We could choose what our children looked like. When this technology first came out, there was much fear in the world. "All children were created by the perfect image of god," many said. But even with many who disagreed, the corporation still kept researching.
At first, the tests ran terrible results. We had birth defects that would appear in all of the experiments. So we tried to simplify. And so after years and years of trial and error, we managed to control one thing. It was a small accomplishment, but a large step into our new found technology. It started as the control of gender. Simply an accepter of rejecter of the Y-chromosome. We confirmed the success of the experiment when our test subjects were able to produce regular fertile offspring. Many were happy for this discovery, and wanted to take advantage of it right away, while some said we should stop while we still knew what we were doing. Perhaps we should have... but we instead decided to continue, for we were humans with control, and we wanted what all humans with control wanted. More control. By altering dominant and recessive traits, we could bring out certain characteristics such as hair color, eye color, height, even general bone structure, and all subjects were produced with standard human intellect. Yes, standard human intellect. Until the one case.
A child was born by the often-practiced method of genetic selection. But something went wrong. The usual set of tests to confirm the success of our procedure was conducted, and this one was unusual above all. It's muscular reflexes and capabilities were that of a standard child, months older than this one. The neuron scan results came out as much more capable than all the standard children. Its immune system was unbelievable. It could fight off sickness in half the time it took anyone else. What was created was something above human. This is the world we created.
-Several years later-
The small kitchen in Lee's house broadcasted very few channels. Of the eight channels however, there was the local news, which was pretty much the only thing that his parents would let him watch in the morning hours. And he didn't mind that at all, which was surprising, considering his age. There were the usual cases of crime such as robbery, homicide, shootouts, and other cases of insufficient security, a bunch of stuff he didn't quite understand. This isn't what interested him though. There was something else in the news that had caught his attention from the first time he had seen it. Every once in a while, there were the stories about the MASCs. The first time he had seen it, he remembered how much like superheroes they were, except they were real. By now, he had outgrown the idea of superheroes, but still that first impression left a certain curiosity in him.
'Who are those people?' and 'Why do they have to do the stuff they do?' He had once gone looking in the library for the answers, but the wording of the book had been to complicated. There was no book just about the MASCs. There were books about genetic selection that mentioned the MASCs briefly, and even if he could understand the words, the information wouldn't answer any of his questions. He did remember, however, that MASC stood for Medial Anomaly Securely Captured. It was a stupid name, but perhaps giving them that name made everyone feel safe. Lee had seen a MASC once. There weren't many around here. He remembered seeing one being hired by a family for protection. He envied that family, for he wished he could have one living with him. He asked his parents, but for some reason they had gotten really mad. They said that they were too dangerous. But if they are dangerous, then why hire them for security? He had so many questions to ask about them, but none would be answered.
Lee looked at the bottom right of the TV screen and saw the time. 'Darn, time for school,' He though as he took his last bite out of the now cold toast. He put his jacket on and headed to the door. "Bye Mom." He called out as he grabbed his book bag lying next to the door. He slipped on his shoes and took a step out to the sunny yet bitter morning of November. He began jogging to his bus stop, letting his perfect brown-red hair rustle in the wind. Lee wasn't late; it's just that these areas could be pretty dangerous, especially for his kind. His perfect green eyes were forced into a squint as the cold air blew into his face. It was but three-minute jog to his destination.
"There's one of 'em." A low voice said from across the street. "You think he'z got anything?" Another voice said with uncertainty. "Of course he'z got something. Just look at 'em. He'z one've those little perfect kidz." A third voice said with disgust. "Alright then, you two follow him fr'm the back, I'll go run ahead. If he runz, then we'll track 'em and whack 'em. Alright? Let'z go."
The small group of three broke up with one of its members heading behind one of the houses, so he could run ahead unseen. The other two waited at the spot with their hands in their pockets, one of the guys keeping an eye on Lee, while the other had his back faced towards Lee, pretending like he was having a conversation with his friend, when in fact he was counting. "28...29...30. Let'z go." One of the guys crossed the street while the other stayed on his side. The both followed with their hands in their pockets and dark looks on their faces.
Lee eventually slowed down to a fast walk. He then heard the footsteps of someone nearby. They were only getting closer. Lee slightly quickened his pace. `Who could it be? No one else comes to my bus stop. Whoever it is, I'm sure they have their own business to attend to.` Lee told himself, and kept walking at his quick pace. Still it bothered him. The person behind him followed him for what felt like forever, and he started getting really worried. So he broke into a run, quickly looking behind him to see who it was. It wasn't a familiar face, and it didn't look too friendly either. The sight of a skinhead in a navy hoodie and jungle-camo pants wasn't exactly inviting. He started running faster and so did the person behind him. He also noticed someone across the street running in the same direction as him. `Okay, okay, it's okay. You can just out run them. There should be a policeman nearby. I can just get help from him. Just don't stop running. Never stop running. Keep running.` He constantly told himself as he ran. He sped up, his legs and lungs burning.
As he was turned around once again to look at the face of his pursuers, he bumped into something and fell back. He looked up and saw another person, wearing similar clothes as the other two chasing him. He quickly got up while stumbling backward. They formed a little triangle around him. Wicked smiles took over the faces of Lee's enemies. It seemed the only way out was to fight. `Okay, just remember what you learned in self defense class.` Lee told himself as he closed his eyes, trying hard to remember.
"Dis will only take a minute." One of the guys said. They all pounced on Lee at once.
Lee dodged the first one that got closest to catching him and kicked the second. The third one caught hold of him from the back. Lee smashed his heel into the guy's shin as hard as he could then thrust his head into his captor's nose. The guy let go, and moaned in pain as he tried to aid his broken nose. Lee tried to run, but the first one of the trio grabbed his arm. The second one pulled out a knife and tossed it to the guy with the broken nose. "You gonna pay for dat." He said as he brought the knife back, ready to thrust it into Lee.
Lee was so afraid couldn't even get himself to close his eyes. His vision went blurry with forming tears and he prepared for the pain that would come. He saw something blue and white move across his field of vision, but very nearby. He blinked hard and cleared the tears away from his eyes. Lee saw that the man with the knife was missing and now in front of him stood a perhaps teenaged boy with a white hoodie and blue jeans. The weird thing about him was that he was wearing a strange... Mask! This guy was a MASC!
The world had much to fear with its new creation. Though its intelligence could benefit the world in many ways, if not controlled it could also cause many hazards. And so the government had a few options.
Option One, to throw the families with these unique children into exile. This actually wasn't considered much of an option. Exiling people because of the children they had would be a very controversial solution to a controversial problem. Furthermore, which countries could these families flee to? Could the accepting country be trusted with such powerful beings?
Option Two, call them birth defects and have them terminated. The problems with this were, they were inspected by machine, and so as soon as the results came through, they were immediately recorded into a database. Records cannot be erased or changed, so the data would show a normal child with better test results, and so they would be considered human at a better level. This database could be accessed by anyone, and so the public could see that it was all a lie.
Option Three, to handicap the anomalies and make them the same as every other human. This would prove to be a little difficult. First of all, there is the difficulty of ensuring that the anomalies would keep their handicaps on. Second, though the handicaps could upset their muscular capabilities, their mental abilities would still remain uncontrolled.
And so Option Four, to keep a close watch on these abnormalities. This would require devices of never seen technology. They had to make sure that they could keep complete track of the targets, and that nothing could be faked.
Lee had never got to see one this close. The mask, like all others, was not the shape of a human face, but the shape of an animal's face. This one was the shape of some lizard of some kind; Lee wasn't entirely sure. He didn't entirely care either, because he was saved. He also noticed the number 23 in black numbers on the forehead of the mask. The mask only went down to his nose, allowing him to speak clearly. "Go." The low voice commanded Lee, and `go` is exactly what he did. He turned back as he ran, in order to see how the MASC was going. Two of the guys were knocked down on the ground and the one with the knife was fighting the MASC. The MASC grabbed his wrist, put some distance in between them by kicking him in the ribs, then while still holing his wrist, pushed and twisted his foot into the guy's face. All three of the bad guys were knocked out. `Whoa...` Lee would remember this moment for the rest of his life. `23. Remember 23. If you ever see him again, thank him.` Lee's mind told him.
-Well there you have it, the first chapter to my first original fiction. Thanks for those of you who actually managed to get through this. I hope you choose to read the upcoming chapters. If you review my stories, I will review yours!- Chan Kong-sang