by Max Barry

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DispatchAccountDrama

by The Sayoko Soyjack of Unified Communist Councils. . 22 reads.

[EAU] — The Pre-War Prelude








EscalatingㅤㅤㅤTensionsㅤㅤㅤAmidstㅤㅤㅤaㅤㅤㅤWorldㅤㅤㅤPolarizedㅤㅤㅤandㅤㅤㅤDivided

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- Is it selfish to want to live? Is it selfish of the lion to hunt its prey, indifferent to its death, as long as it is fed? -


21/7/1986
Surrounded by particles, dust floating in the still air. I can see them all. The stale air tells me this isolated place was uninhabited for over a year, forgotten by those who owned it. Through sheer luck, I stumbled upon this sanctuary on a downtrodden path. Or, well, more of a temporary repose. I'm glad that none of the windows are broken yet, considering the overgrowth crawling around its exterior. And thankfully, the tap still has water—I won't get thirsty any time soon. A lot has transpired in the past week. I'm ever grateful that this cabin had a pen and notebook so that I could record my thoughts. Stimulating the brain staves off the onset of delirium, they say.

My arm's still sore from that son of a b----. He cut me on my arm with his knife. Why would they try to throw me away? After everything that I've done for them? What they schemed was something so, so horrible. The entire country's in jeopardy now! Now they're trying to rid all evidence of the program. The prion bomb did its job too efficiently; it's no wonder the Mutual Aid Coalition turned on us.

To think that I'm the man responsible for giving the Last Shogun his eugenic dream weapon. Peace. Peace? I hate the word. Those who care about peace—myself aspirationally included—don't need to hear it. And those who don't care about peace? Well… I suppose my invention has made the world a better place, just not in the way I originally intended it to.

22/7/1986
Mount Taaruga is the mountain that speaks to my heart. The home in which I grew up would lay in its shadow. Situated right next to the grainy banks of lake Shazu is the lofty Maekawa, the river that alleviates my worries and carves a windy path through the Oijisaki floodplains. Its wide-mouth empties into lake Shazu from its northern shore. This land is ours. It belongs to the Mimika clan. Our roots go as far back as my distant ancestors, serving as aristocrats in the court of Emperor Koga during the Kenji period. The farm belonging to my father's side is spiritually tied to our ancestors for at least five hundred years.

For the first three years of my life—I breathed and ran around my father's dry fields in the rural Oijisaki prefecture. Just one hundred and fifty kilometers south of Oijisaki—in the Kanta region—was the beating heart of the Empire. The shining metropolis of Ayimo—where all of her citizens throughout the Empire aspire to one day walk among its streets. Ayimo is completely unlike Pyeonseoul, a den of Okami (savage wolves), who call their culture "Corians". As little children, my parents read to me awful stories about those lot who live on the other side of the sea. About the atrocities they do in the name of their made-up "Tescottism". Roaming street bandits beat up people just for being homeless, and when you saw people starving on the street because their Keiretsu didn't need them anymore, you always knew in your heart of hearts that you lived on the right side of the sea. I think that's what's really important.

23/7/1986
Creating things was my specialty. Guess you could say I was the type of child who loved to play around with tools. When my father and mother finally moved to the capital of Ayimo—this mythical city that existed only in my dreams—the shocking transition from open farmland to busy, cramped cobblestone streets. It was like changing worlds. One thing I could never get over was the disgraceful levels of pollution. Choking the lungs of Ayimo was a yellow haze, born from record-breaking numbers of private motorized vehicles, uncontrolled population growth, and unfiltered industrial output from billowing manufacturing processes. This smog often got so thick, that we were forced to wear filtration masks all day as the skies turned orange as if during a sandstorm. At times, it felt like we were already dead, ferried away by canoe into the great river of the spirits.

Found it impossible to keep my hands off anything. In grade school, even if it was a gluestick that didn't belong to me, I'd take it if the glue stick wasn't being used. Over the years, I channeled that delinquent energy into studying. If it meant sating my curiosity, I became adept at research. Most of all, I was obsessed with learning about how our bodies worked, the secret coding lay inside our DNA, didn't it? I remember the first time my science teacher revealed to me a most fascinatig shape—named the double helix—the prescribed building block of all life. Ask me if it was possible to one day turn cats into people, my mind was in love with all the intrinsic world-changing possibilities that could arise from tinkering with our DNA. Certainly, there were risks. To be the first to achieve something so deceiving ingenuous, being the first to crack the code of the Erudite genome, was going to be no easy endeavor. But the temptation of revolutionizing the world, for me, was too great of an urge to resist. It shall be a Mimika who would change the nation, and perhaps, the world at large. Reflecting in hindsight, that dream did manifest into destiny.

24/7/1986
I would never forget the day when my life changed, the day when my chest pains began. Preparing for my final high school class photo, it was going to be a happy day. My school friends and I could be together one last time before moving on into adulthood... or well, it was supposed to be, if bullets hadn't pierced my chest. The shock was what first registered, causing me to stagger to my knees. The nurses sent me off to the sick bay, where I'd wait until my mother soon came to pick me up. After which, telling her all about my strange affliction, we would visit the doctors for a checkup. Two weeks later we received my results. Lamentably the worst of her fears would enter the light, and the despair on her eyes, the fear gleaming in my young past self. Looking back on that day, reliving the abject terror that hugged my heart was palpable. How all it took was a random mutation, a mishap in a tumor suppression gene to deprogram "death" from our own cells. Cursed with terrible luck, I was left with no choice but to pursue the secrets of the genome. The cure to my affliction would be unveiled if I could just reach the bottom of the mystery in genes, how nature protected itself from random errors.

Determined, I made it my goal to survive, to thrive, to overcome anything that comes at me. To dominate any challenge the world decides I deserve and smile at their defeat. Through no sparse willpower, my grades were just right to qualify for enrollment into the empire's most prestigious institutions. My ancestors could smile at my success, commencing my studies at Imperial College Ayimo, known around the continent of Shuruia for its world-class laboratories. Tuition had been anything but free, however, living off of scholarship money and family allowance over the six years of sleepless nights of study. During my research, I noticed strange paradoxes. At the species level, the incidence of cancer did not appear to correlate with the number of cells in an organism. For example, the incidence of cancer in Erudites was much higher than the incidence of cancer in whales, despite whales having more cells than us. If the probability of carcinogenesis were constant across cells, one would expect whales to have a higher incidence of cancer than we Erudites.

25/7/1986
I joyously threw off my graduation cap at the age of 25. Armed with a degree and the will, my journey truly began after receiving a grant from the National Science Foundation to start my own Biotech startup called MimiBiotechnologies. Driven by the explicit goal of curing my own ailment, I first started by purchasing Cetotheria meat off the market and subjecting it to molecular analysis. The analysis revealed a high rate of gene mutation present within the whale's genomes, alongside the presence of a high number of tumor suppressor genes. This seemingly simple answer to the carcinogenetic paradox, while earning my firm prestige and personal accolades, did not further my insights into any potential cures for cancer.



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