Author's Note: It's no secret: I haven't been writing. Every time I sat down to write The Renegade Messiah, I'd become angry and bitter. I had my heart broken by my own hand, but the object of my affection still lingers in the background. Distant, but close enough to still hurt. I'd open the word file, begin to write about characters, and become depressed. Or sad, or whatever. The point is that I couldn't write. I was angry, and sad, and alone in my literary world.
Until recently. Enough time has passed that my slow burning anger has died down enough that I can see clearly. I can't call it forgiveness, but I'll call it acceptance. Something I've never been able to claim as a personality trait of my own. So, I accept that I was hurt, that I may have hurt someone in return, and that life--somehow--continues on without us both. Fuck it, I need to get back to writing.
CampNaNoWriMo has been running for the last 22 days. I have 8 days left, and I'm certainly not going to win this one. I'm writing, yes, but I'm not writing to the speed of 3,000 words a day yet. So I'll claim my first loss at #CampNaNoWriMo but I still get to claim it as a win for myself.
You're going to be presented with two versions of this story. The first version (the one I'm not keeping) was written during the beginning of April when I was still struggling with a setting and a point of view. You'll see where I struggled, but it's important for me to share my writing with you even if it goes nowhere. This first story got buried in trying to figure itself out.
The Renegade Messiah - Days 1-2
Word count: 1,542
Chapter One - Deus Hex
My weakness for men was Model #15. A line of custom DNA that resulted in pale skin, sharp cheek-bones and unusual height. To the last man, they had stark black hair and eyes as dark as the soul they didn’t believe in. They weren’t all atheists--genetics couldn’t program faith or lack of faith yet--but it was only a matter of time. I just got lucky when I found the ones that were attractive and didn’t believe in any outdated religion. It made life a little easier when I wasn’t worried about running from the Deus Hex.
The biggest flaw with Model #15 was the social shortcomings. Something in the genetics that made them irresistible to me also made them emotionally unavailable. Or maybe it was just the ones I had met.
There were slight genetic alterations in Model #15 since they’d been introduced a few generations ago. My personal favorite was #15.5 because of their shining silver eyes and updated social genetics. They had a “filter” which made holding a conversation or a relationship with them a little easier.
But when you just wanted sex--you went with Model #15 because they, honestly, didn’t give a fuck.
So Model #15 was my favorite right up until the time I fell in love with one.
My name is Raize. I’m a fuck up, I’m a failure, and I am the last hope that human kind has. Don’t ask me why because I have no idea; no one asked me, either. But let me tell you how falling in love with someone--no, that’s not the right phrase.
Let me tell you how fucking someone--fucked me instead. Turned my life upside down, sent me on the run, and down this rabbit hole full of bat shit crazy and whatever. My life went from zero to shit before I could even blink. And I was pretty close to rock bottom as it was.
I’ll lay it out as simply as I can: hundreds of years ago, mankind perfected genetic coding of their own DNA. They took alterations in their own hands and started with the basics. They trimmed and spliced and combined until they took out pre-existing conditions. Genetic imperfections were removed, or aspects that parents--and eventually, society--felt were problematic: no more depression that runs in the family, no more history of cancer, no more premature balding. Seriously, they wasted money andresources on stopping that when they ran out of serious issues to worry about.
Eventually they spliced up some jellyfish DNA and cracked the mystery of aging. It was all very fascinating in the late 22nd Century. I wasn’t there; that was a long time ago, but I pay attention when I have to. I’m sure something in my own genetics can account for that, but I’m not at liberty to know.
Genetics and landscapes and governments may have changed--but money is still power, and the poor still eat dirt when there’s nothing else around. Only the rich can afford to have their children protected against sickness and “disadvantages.” The poor, like myself, only have access to the basic genetic treatments. Our lives are extended (probably not as much as the rich bastards, if I had to guess), and our health is maintained at least until birth. After that, the government doesn’t really care what happens to us.
We’re separate, the poor. Kept apart from the upper class world and given the physically demanding jobs that the rich people couldn’t handle, no matter how exploited their DNA is. But our slavery comes with its own freedom: we’re not monitored like the rich are. Our veins aren’t pumped with anti-depressants or birth control, our bodies aren’t regulated and controlled.
They save all the good stuff for the rich—but I say, let them have it. The rich are allowed to have children and raise families, but they still have to put in a petition to get pregnant or get married. Their “genetic integrity” must be preserved, and therefore, diligently protected. But the poor? The poor can have sex, and abortions—paid for by the government, even—without having to wait months for approval. It's a fringe benefit; sex is free, so let the poor have it. It just means more workers for the rich later, right?
[Author note: this is all considered an “info dump,” wherein I'm basically throwing story facts at you from the character and/or narrator, for you to digest so that I don't have to slowly, tediously reveal this information through the story itself. It's generally considered “not a good thing to do,” but I'm on a word/time limit and if I can figure out how to show all this instead of tell, then I certainly will – in draft 2! First person is not my strongest style, so I'm honestly not sure how details like society and world changes are made without just... saying it. Note to self: why the hell did I choose first person perspective?!]
My name is Raize. I'm 28 years old and I am a member of the lower-class, section E (for “electric”) of the sixth level. My father was from section E and my mother was from section R (for “retail”) originally, and when my father retired—the government moved us to section E because there was more room. Section E sits on the western edge of the city with it's wall pressed hard against the remains of the Pacific Ocean. It's to harness the water; something about processing salt and lightning, I'm not really sure. I've never been outside the walls of The City. I've seen pictures of it on the giant plasma screens that are all over the city—but my family was never given a screen, so I don't get to see it very often. I could lay awake at night after curfew and walk the streets if I wanted to see the screen, they never turn it off, but a few glimpses on my way to work was always enough.
The world outside The City was a wasteland. Nothing but sand and a sea full of salt water and death. Anyone who did make it outside of the city walls wouldn't live long enough to tell. The City was self-sufficient, run (mostly) by genetically amplified humans. The Government ran The City, the Deus Hex ran the people, and the people ran the machines.
I happened to run a machine that made “pizza” and other historic foodstuffs that our government issued credits allowed us. I hated the food, but the work wasn't so bad. And with my piss-poor genetics, it was the Retail Section or the Prison Section, and I preferred my Model 15's clean. I would have slung pizza until my genetics wore themselves out or I couldn't maintain the upkeep costs—but life, it seemed, had other plans.
Plans that included getting pregnant, and not wanting to keep the baby, and getting on some government list that marked me as the Antichrist. In a city where religion is illegal (the Deus Hex mandate atheism as the official religion), being pegged as the bringer of a religious … clusterfuck wasn't the best thing to have happen. It turns out it was a lot more specific than that. Details. I'm getting there.
I mentioned that rich people get all the good genetics, right? Well, genetics became something like fashion, and everyone wants the best of the best. As a result, the “fashionable” trends in DNA changed the way the rich perceived beauty. Model #15 was beautiful for me; but the upper class people were on Model #220's and #230's, they were years ahead of what genetics the poor were allowed to partake in.
The current trend was Model #230—it had been all the rage over the past decade. It was rumored to be the final, perfect model of humanity. There was no skin tone, it wasn't white, black, Hispanic, Asian—it was a new color, and recent modifications made the skin glitter like the night sky. Like a thin layer of diamond dust over neutral gray skin. The model had perfect vision, a lifespan immune to disease (but would die, thousands of years after their poor neighbors below did), was tall and slender and strong. And they all looked identical. Men and women, thousands of them, choosing their children to take the Model #230 and twenty years later you've got thousands of people in the upper class that look identical, because it was fashionable and that's how they wanted it.
Boring, I say. I had an upper class man come in, mistakenly, a few weeks ago. I'll admit he was attractive, his skin looked perfect but there was something unnerving about the color of his skin. Something akin to horror stories of old, something not quite alive. Very cold. And he came with all the bells and whistles: his mood was chemically regulated by the government; I could see the dark lines beneath his skin where anti-depressants were monitored and administered based on his stress and depression levels. He couldn't feel a thing. They couldn't fix his sense of direction, however, and I pointed him down to the next Section where he had originally wanted to go.