The theme parks were just the beginning. We knew they'd cater exclusively to the rich and powerful, which was just the wedge we needed to get into the military, security and policing businesses. Businesses we'd own shortly, thanks to our product.
The Products could sniff like a bloodhound. They could see well at night. And best of all, they were smart. Not as smart as humans, of course, but head and shoulders above a horse, easier to ride, and ten million times more of a deterrent. They pushed mankind right off the top of the food chain, and we owned the genetic patents to all of them -- and the generic backdoors to leash them.
Sure, plenty have escaped over the years, but they lack the ability to produce certain proteins necessary for their continued survival. If they managed to survive and breed, they'll need to eat a lot of street-rats to do it, and marketing thinks that kind of thing will just spur demand for our raptor-riding hunter-exterminator contracts.
The rumors of the dino-gangs? Taming the escaped Products, living with them as some kind of tribal pack, howling like a bunch of wolves at the moon? Sounds real scary. Perhaps you should buy more hunter-exterminator contracts.
Dinosaur Security Enterprises might have created this mess, but right now we're the only choice you've got.
36. Dino Punk: A New Hope
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Mammal brains weren't tuned right. Birds can friggin' navigate based on magnetic fields, but us primates? We're damn near blind. 'Course, birds ain't all that bright. Just another optimization issue, I'd guess. They fly, so they gotta shed weight, and the neurons I'd use to ruminate were the first thing they chucked.
For a long time, the bird-brains were the only avians on this rock, but then DSE brought back the dinosaurs. Oh man, everything changed.
Those bastards can smell your cellphone signal. They hear when the juice drops out of the fence, even just one moment, and they move on it.
That was bad enough, but now some yahoo is circulating a modified PetFace for the bastards. You know, that rig which lets a bored burber check out how Fluffy sees the world? Yeah, now put that on a trained raptor. With the beast's senses and the man's brainpower, they can dance through security systems like you wouldn't believe.
Once, long ages ago, there was the Goddess, so the tale-tellers say. She was the last daughter of the Old Ones, the race that ruled the world before us, the people whose gargantuan cities and whose ruined artifacts make up the landscape we live and work and struggle in today. And her solitude and her need for love became the madness that breathed life into the first of us, humble creatures of rag and cloth, burlap and twine that we are today.
We Anns and we Andys, miniature counterfeits of the Old Ones, fight and strive against the other children of the Goddess, those made in imitation of great beasts that were and those that never were: the mighty Flopsians. They are many and mighty, and we are few. But we possess, handed down to us, the echoes of the Goddess's own power, wielded by the Weavers and the Patchmakers. We can remake ourselves. We can sew on the semblances of the brave and the wise, of soldiers, scholars and heroes, and in doing so, we take on the essence of these things. We can stitch the emblems of valor and of power into the fabric of our being.
But even as we reconquer a world that was never ours, our own society is divided from within, by factions that wish to subvert or redefine our Ann-ness and our Andy-hood. The Puppeteers, rogue Weavers, would redesign us out of the form of the Old Ones, giving us manifold limbs or wings or inbuilt tools that, they say, are needed to give us the weapons we need to prevail against the spawn of Flopsy. But if we abandon the form of the Goddess that made us, can we claim to be Anns and Andys still?
(I liked the movie 9 more than it probably deserved. )
Thomason and Court created the genenecto resequencing process, which solved the RNA descramble/aging issue for Seconds (Clone is too popular a word, and Seconds seldom come out "exactly exact" to actually be clones.) This won them fame, fortune, and the nobel prize (as well as a host of others). The process allowed for gene therapy on currently living beings (as well as invitro), cellular age resetting of RNA (retarded and limited reversing the process of aging - rejuving -.. more than that creates complications.), curing any disease with a genetic marker (most cancers), and allowing for genetic products to be made quickly and easily. The process requires superior equipment, is costly, and requires intense supervision even with computing power. This allows for the social changes to be absorbed a bit, as the process was expensive, but not prohibative.
Now it is 80 years later. The technology has become cheaper. Xeno-Gening is now actively possible and legal in most places. Genemodding for looks and minor abilities is a fashion statement, for just about everyone.
Eventually family doctors start getting access to better tech and are able to do geneservicing in their offices. Of course, with a few bio-terrorist scares, the higher ups begin to clamp down on genetic gear. Licenses, fees, monitoring, restrictions for zoning, all of these begin to limit what is possible and what is legal.
An entire class of people are being disenfrancised by the genetic bombing laws. The general degree of oppression increases, as Those in Power, must spend effort to hunt down these genoterrorists. Materials and other things are being held back. What seemed reasonable 10 years ago is being taken to less logical extremes. It is like someone is trying to make a permanent underclass.
Alleyway doctors are upgrading people. Less legal (and less Ethical) Experiments are being done by Medics and companies in dark corners. New Advances are comming from the street. As the GeneModded Jackbooted Security Forces are comming down to the lower levels, the locals are trying to fight back. They are using zeno-genes of tigers, sabertooths, lions, bears, and other animals to take on the Dark Boots.
All it takes is one. One of the Elites falls from grace. Instead of just killing them outright, we follow this outmoded code of mercy. We let them leave The Compounds. They should die out there. The lack of technology, the terrible weather, and the dangerous mutants. No civilized person should survive out there.
I guess we were right in expelling him, because he must not be civilized.
With genetic tools from an unknown source, he has managed to raise an army of mutants. Sure some of them looklike Humans. In fact a few captured ones say they were mutates until the Doctor Fixed them. (To which we say, Borsh! no one can do that. If it could be done, we would of done it.)
Now the Mutants from Outside are infiltrating our domed paradise. They are disturbing the tranquility (and taking resources outside the domes). This threat must be stopped!
They gave us gleaming towers to keep us safe from Outside, when the Outside became "harsh". They gave us things to have, places to go, food to eat, and things to watch. Slowly over time The Owners have kept things from the rest of us... like immortality (Longevity really). They started reducing our rations, our electrical power, our water, and kept the things to watch going just to keep us distracted. They get so much more, because they can take it from us. They stopped the replicators from making weapons a long time ago, for everyone's safety.
They never thought about taking away our access to most of the knowledge banks... only their secrets. (And you can see their secrets by seeing what is missing). First, we learned that we had to make our bodies strong with "excerises" and our bodies strong with "meditation". (This is part of the secrets immortality/longevity smuggled out to us by sympathizers). The information was still there, probably forgotten by The Owners. That was the begining. We had to learn to fight for what we believed in. We saw how to protest. Protests were met with stun batons and gas. We learned how to make ourselves living weapons. Ancient videos taught us how to "work hard" and how to become "warriors". We have learned Kung Fu and Chi. We are taking the fight to them. Their security officers are no match for us now. We will restore the balance. We will take back what is ours by rights. We will stop the abominations that seek to rule forever.
The path of magic is the repeating of prayers to the spirits. Many a noble, having maximized their holdings, can only squeeze more out of it via magic. They hire monks to continue to pray to generate magic. The invention of the prayer wheel allowed the 1000 repetitions to be done easily, with a young acolyte turning the wheel and visioning the prayer.
The Church has turned local chapels into Prayer Factories for the local patrons.
There is very little time, effort, or magic left for common people. The Church no longer tends its flocks well, as they suffer under the yoke of the Nobles. They are in the pay of the Nobles after all.
Some priests are doing something about it. Putting a prayer on the rim of a top. With a pull of a string, the tops spins faster than any prayer wheel. A little visioning and ... poof... magic. These rogue priests perform magic for the common people for free or for just a penny. This healing, or hearth work, or bountifulness spells, allows the people to be less dependent on their noble masters for succor. There is even ... talk. You know, that kind of talk. Now these priests use their magic to defend themselves from Noble Guards who's masters covet the power of magic (after all, there is only so much divinity to go around).
There are Scouts out there with great ships, lots of material, and so on.
You aren't one of those scouts.
Nope, you are one of those scouts that is using second or third hand gear, that has been upgraded from its original in-system purpose. You are set to use FTL in the attempt to do two things. You are looking for the big corporate score, one that a corporation or government will pay you a pretty penny for. That is your ticket out of the crappy gear.
The second reason is the one you don't talk about.
The Corporations are owning all the new resources. Some have wealth and power beyond any government; heck they own the governments. They are squeezing honest spacers out of their ships, their resources, and what little money they have. They not only want to own it all, they want to own you.
If we can find the right score, We - the Free Spacers - will finally have the edge and the resources to fight back.