My name was Gregory McMallin. I was young, I don't remember how old these days, but I was young- and the world was mine. Because I, was a genius.
The world was slowly turning to the Internet. Text messaging was everywhere, cell phones in everyone's pocket, and a music player in the other. And 3D on screens was just starting to take off. Not the 3D we have today, not the holograms. They were flat screens you looked into and things would pop.
It was 2012. When people feared the end of the world was coming, and I was at the top of my game. I had been researching the effects of ageing on humans, specifically in the DNA genome. And everything slowly was coming together. January 2012 marked the one year anniversary of a rat I had bred, without a genome that was thought to be linked to ageing. The rat, still alive, was still an incredibly small infant.
I moved on and by February, had found the protein in the ageing genes could be destroyed easier than first expected. It was an overnight experiment, and the results were complexing. The proteins were easily dissolved by an accidental mixture in the lab. I backtracked and figured out the exact composition, and by March could destroy the part of the genome at will.
By April, I had figured out that injecting the solution helped rats age slower. And by adding more of the gene, rats aged much, much faster.
In May, another happy accident. A rat ingested some of the solution I had left on a table. A very small amount. I decided that since I hadn't injected her yet, I would see the results. They were the same as if it had been injecting it. I began studies of the effects of ingestion, but my research was halted. The government, hearing news that I was getting close to finding the key to life, wanted to know the secrets and how to turn it into a weapon.
I was hesitant, but by June they had their wish. I was an employee of the United States government. All my research was owned by them, and everything I did I had to go through them to get by. Luckily, I was a genius. Not so luckily, for me at least, I was a genius.
I was forced to work on monkeys. I didn't want to, but I did. And instead of long living, it did the opposite. I created a pill that when ingested, would turn the body into dust almost immediately. The decomposition rate was astounding.
This was November. They gave me time off for Thanksgiving with my family, and said they would work on how to use it in combat. I could now move on to another project. I asked if I could keep working on making humans live forever, and they snarled. Told me to keep dreaming. The government couldn't afford to have people retire at 60 and live off of them for hundreds of years. They couldn't afford to create the room and the amount of food and water needed for the influx of people. It just wasn't tangible.
I spent Thanksgiving alone. I couldn't bare to see anyone, knowing what had happened to the monkeys. Watching their bodies quickly decompose before my eyes. Nothing but a pile of bones and a stain on the floor to remember.
I spent December going through things again in my head. Working on nothing, and pretending to. Then Christmas came, and I spent a wonderful day with my family. I remember it so well. I woke up after sleeping in for the first time in ages. No insomnia, no nightmares. I woke up feeling fresh and new.
I had breakfast with my parents and my brother. Then we sat in my parent's living room and exchanged gifts. I remember, I got a watch from my brother. A nice watch. A real nice watch.
Then we carpooled to my grandparent's house, and had lunch there- only to go to my aunt's for dinner. I just remember, how good it felt to go home that night. And the one thing my aunt told me, I sometimes wish she never had. She said, "I know it's tough to do what you're told to do sometimes. But it's tougher to not do what you're supposed to do. What you should do. And I hope you're doing the right thing."
It resonated in my mind. She hoped I was doing the right thing. I wasn't. I was giving the US a weapon of mass destruction no one else had. I was abandoning my work.
The next day I went in and destroyed the weapon. I destroyed everything, except what I had started with: the mixture to extend life. And as I stood there, my lab wrecked by my own doing, I took the mixture and drank it. I remember it tasted awful, a bitter taste- not like coffee, but something bad. Something so bad you'd rather eat dog shit.
And then I passed out. I awoke, sometime later, in a facility for mental patients. I told them what I had done, and they didn't look twice. I told them the US government had put me there, and they didn't look twice. I then decided my only way out was to fake my own death. I was able to get a man who looked similar to me to die in my room. I felt guilty, but he had already promised to kill himself, and they didn't look twice.
With the use of fire, no one bothered to check if it was me or not. No one checked the DNA.
The next thing I remember is waking up in a hotel room. The year was 2053. And I didn't look a day older than 28. The government was after me. My family was dead. And I was forced to run and hide. And that's what I did for years, until all the people running after me were dead. And then it was just me, alone in the world.
I don't know what they did to my solution. All I know is that people live longer now. They live longer, but don't experience life. Everything is made. My discovery lead to other discoveries, which brought us into the world of synthetics. Where everything is fake. Even I'm fake. I can't keep giving away names of people when I meet someone new. I can't keep living a silent life.
I have to fight back, somehow. I have to find a way to trigger their intellect. But what's the use? Only Zinc, or Vanessa, listens to anything I say. If only more people could feel something real. If only people could feel at all.
If only we lived our lives outside and stopped acting like we deserve the things we never did.
If only the world were a different place, that I didn't help create. If only.