Rebel, Rebel
Rebel Scenario Three:
The Genetic Quarantine

Katniss Everdeen
Designer Genes Are the Rage and society is strictly divided along genetic lines. Those determined by government scientists and the insurance industry to have desirable physical, intellectual, and emotional traits are carefully groomed from birth to become a vital part of the Establishment. Those deemed to have undesirable characteristics are placed in “genetic quarantine,” an official status that legally bars them from having children. The Establishment has stopped short of genocidal murder — simply gassing everyone who shares undesirable genetic characteristics — but has openly opted for a “humane” genocidal policy of gradually eliminating undesirables from the human gene pool over several generations. The long-term goal is the creation of a Utopian society in which genetic diseases have been eliminated, and in which the physical and intellectual capabilities of the population have been greatly expanded. Project Utopia enjoys the broad-based support of the general public, including many of those who have come to view their own genetic quarantine status as a worthwhile sacrifice they are willing to make for the benefit of future generations. The initial results of Project Utopia, as carried out during the past five generations, look more than promising. The children are not only remarkably well-behaved and obedient to authority, but also perform exceptionally well on a variety of intellectual and creative tasks. Project Utopia has been so successful, in fact, that the Establishment is testing the waters and preparing public opinion — by introducing the concept in the media — for initiating Phase Two: mandatory sterilization of genetic undesirables and the manipulation of fetal genetic codes in an effort to optimize the design of future generations.

A small band of Rebels, however, believes the genetic quarantine policy is not only the moral equivalent of Nazi, Dr. Mengele-like science, but that it is also a shortsighted formula for genetic Armageddon. The Establishment, they argue, is playing God and second-guessing nature, a practice they believe will leave humanity genetically vulnerable to a wide range of viral, ecological, and other unpredictable biological threats in generations to come. What’s more, they believe that elite members of the Establishment are secretly using the genetic quarantine policy as a front while working to breed a permanent underclass of worker humans to clean the stables and stoke the furnaces of their dream Utopia. Establishment scientists call such claims a paranoid fantasy and insist that their only goal is to spare future generations from needless suffering.

The Rebels are prepared to go to desperate extremes to prove their point. Renegade genetic engineers have infiltrated Project Utopia and obtained the secret genetic codes that are being used to select and design future generations of productive citizens. Drawing upon this information, the Rebels have custom-designed the New Genesis Virus, which will affect only those who carry so-called “desirable” genetic traits, while ironically leaving those in genetic quarantine unscathed. Although the New Genesis Virus is not always fatal, it is debilitating and highly contagious. The Rebels intend to release this airborne virus into the atmosphere of a dozen major cities in 48 hours, thereby demonstrating that stringent control of the gene pool may render us particularly susceptible to unknown disease in years to come.

To put your Rebel heart to the test, imagine yourself assuming the identity of one of the following characters (or make up your own) and go though the scene in your mind. The fate of the world depends upon it.

The Characters

The Establishment

Dr. Jan Halvah, director of Project Utopia, a brilliant scientist and dedicated idealist whose mother died at a young age of breast cancer, and who dreams of ending needless human suffering via cross-generational “genome therapy.”

Galen Fester, a muckraking television reporter whose unqualified support for Project Utopia has played a pivotal role in winning widespread public support for the program.

Kit Kapshaw, director of the Foundation for the Human Future, an eccentric billionaire and die-hard eugenicist whose disturbing vision of the future includes the elimination of so-called “undesirable” racial and other characteristics from the human gene pool. Provides essential funding for basic genetic research, however, some of which has led to breakthrough cures for previously untreatable diseases.

The Rebels

Dr. Billie Weinstein, a former “child prodigy” of genetics research, who was actually the product of an early genetics experiment. Dr. Weinstein is undeniably a genius, but is also cursed by violent and untreatable “migraine storms.” Currently runs a roadside hot dog stand in Tucson, Arizona. Created the New Genesis Virus in a backyard shed, with the stated intention of “teaching the bastards a lesson in Genetics 101.”

Jaime Olsen, reporter for the National Wiretap, a supermarket newspaper whose unabashed motto is, “Even If You Throw A Fit, We Print.” Although the National Wiretap is known for its lurid celebrity gossip, Olsen has effectively used it as a forum for exposing political corruption and corporate chicanery of every variety.

Captain Lou Bastion, combat helicopter pilot, decorated veteran of World War III, and a self-described “freedom fighting patriot.” Bastion believes Project Utopia is a long-term plot by our enemies to make the population vulnerable to biological warfare agents designed to kill millions while leaving the physical infrastructure of the nation standing. To prevent this from happening, the captain is determined to deliver the New Genesis Virus to its designated targets as a “wake up call to the nation.”

Further Developments
OK, you’ve chosen a character. You’ve thought about the attitudes they hold, the things that are important to them, their temperament, etc. And you’ve tried to imagine how you — as the character — would handle the Genetic Quarantine scenario. Now we’ll throw you a little curve. Here’s the most recent status of the conflict. How will your character handle it?
This morning’s news included two breaking stories: (1) Establishment scientists have announced a major advance in genetics research, which for the first time will allow most of those currently in genetic quarantine to have their genetic coding “repaired” so that they no longer will carry undesirable traits and may reproduce freely; and (2) Rebel forces have announced their intention to release the New Genesis Virus if Project Utopia is not shut down within 48 hours. How will the character or characters with whom you have chosen to identify respond to this situation?

Think you know now if you’re a Rebel at heart or a defender of the Establishment? Maybe it’s not so simple. This was just one possible future. You might respond differently under other circumstances.

This article copyright © 2016 by Alpha Cygni, Inc. and Keith Harary. All rights reserved.