The Asylum

One hundred years ago, a race began that would change humanity forever.

Pharos Industries and King Enterprises, the two leading companies in genetic research, both decided that they could cure humanity of disabilities forever. Each devoted a fortune to creating the “perfect” human – perfect eyesight, perfect hearing, perfect smell, taste, touch. The perfect human would never get sick, and the research even promised a cure for cancer. Their research was done at a genetic level, so that humans would soon be born having no physical or mental disabilities. To the world at large, it appeared that the ideal form of humanity was within scientific reach.

Dozens of companies around the world emulated their example, creating serums, devising operations, and even augmenting children with cybernetic enhancements. Every country in the world wanted to be the first with a race of “perfect” people.

Pharos Industries were the first to create the ideal humans. After five years of research they announced the human testing of Third Gen – a serum designed to change a human for the better. Five hundred volunteers were chosen for the trial, which would observe the patients for a year to determine if the serum worked. The volunteers reported results within two months: already they were stronger than before.

King Enterprises, Pharos’ main competitor, worked quickly to catch up. They developed a different serum – using animal DNA to augment a human’s – that promised instant results. They got their own volunteer pool of five hundred, and began human trials immediately.

Their serum was not ready.

Of the five hundred volunteers, less than half survived the procedure. Those who did reported strange growths and periods of intense pain; a quarter of them died within a year due to complications. King was forced to put a hiatus on all genetics research as they faced hundreds of lawsuits. The company nearly went bankrupt.

After the disastrous results of the King Enterprise tests, enthusiasm began to fade for the genetics race. Eliminating disabilities was not a priority any longer, considering the cost in lives.

Ten years after the trials, both companies began getting reports about the patients’ children. Pharos volunteers, who had received Third Gen serum, found that any child conceived after the experiment was born with no health risks. The children, referred to as Third Gens after the serum, could not even catch a cold. Pharos Industries celebrated their success for the next few years, gaining a few hundred more volunteers to test the next batch.

As the Third Gens grew, they began displaying abilities far beyond what was expected. One girl discovered at age twelve that she could move water with her mind, while a seventeen year-old gained the ability to fly.

King Enterprises, on the other hand, received reports of strange births.  The first of these was a male child who was born with goat hooves instead of feet. More children were born with animal features, such as claws or wings. Some even hatched from eggs, like birds.

These children were dubbed “Satyrs” by the media.  Under close observation, it was discovered that most of these children still thought and acted like humans, despite their outward appearance. Only one percent of the overall satyr population showed signs of being feral – more animal than human. Eventually the satyrs were tolerated in normal society, though they were never fully accepted.

Now, Third Gens and satyrs make up less than ten percent of the United States’ population. Most of them live their own lives, using their powers only when circumstances call for it. Others see their powers as an opportunity, using it to entertain or to perform difficult jobs. Some try to use their abilities to seize money or power, while others use their own to stop them.

The Asylum updates weekly on Sundays.

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