At first it was only for disease, the first was Thomas Milton, but after some time it became more than that. Next, they did it with appearance, changing things like height, skin tone and hair color, and after people started seeing results they only got better at it. After this first generation of designer babies, that’s what they used to call them, had matured to adulthood it was clear that what had happened with them was only the beginning. The big change came when they discovered a way to make themselves smarter, that’s when the real divided started to appear.
Life here in the Crystal is wonderful, with anything you could ever desire available to buy. It is just so lovely how much time we have to just sit back and enjoy ourselves and go shopping with our friends. I usually work 20 or so hours a week, much like our tribal ancestors who averaged only fifteen hours of work a week, I know that I work a bit more than most but I love my job too much to work any less. I graduated from college at 15 with a BS in Genetics and continued on to get a graduate degree in Genetic Engineering hoping to discover the next great g-mod.
Right now we’re working on making a way to add mods to adults using only the genome. The actual mod we’re testing the process with is a trivial one that creates a much more pronounced sternum, a decade ago this mod turned fashion on its head. There is currently some trouble we’re having with the update delivery system prematurely terminating customers, while rodent trials were successful enough, when we switched to Sugar trials there were unprecedented levels of intranuclear mutation. Of course Genentech™ feels sorry for their families, but the importance of these trials outweighed the risks. It was all the same when I came on oh so long ago, and even though everything was a lot riskier back then it was by no means any less popular. Everyone with enough money would get it; even when it was new, everyone wanted their children to have strong immune systems such that they never got sick, it had people waiting in line for weeks hoping to be a part of the initial human human trials. But soon there was so much demand, and with the hope that we would start giving away our mods, that popular demand quickly lifted most of the regulations controlling what we had created.
When the G3 Convention mandated basic health mods on all future citizens (less than half a century after the birth of Thomas Milton), it separated society into two groups, those who valued nature above all and those of us who recognized the progress at hand. The law said no babies were allowed to be born unless there was documentation proving that they had the appropriate health mods. But back then that was relatively easy because they hadn’t discovered how to block Genentech™ patented sequences from reappearing in babies that came to term in the womb. Genetic disorders and predispositions were eliminated from everyone except for a few fringe religious groups who hid. With this improvement the rate of poverty dropped to an all-time low. Medical research and advances stopped due to the strength of the new generation, except of course for the genetic research and those that refocused around it. Quickly, people started to realize that the new genome could be made extremely robust and improved beyond the point of disease prevention. First, it was the rich and the shallow who designed their offspring to be taller or fitter or thinner. And thus, the first few Sugars were born. As this became more stylish, specialized loans were created such that families of more modest backgrounds were able to receive the benefits of the developing technology. What came next is the most important development in scientific history: Dr. Natasha Dzheyms discovered the first intelligence modification based on the work done at BGI Shenzhen. Sure, the improvement was nothing by today’s standards but it opened the flood gate for aersinology. Soon a generation of the hyper-intelligents was born and the intelligence mods just kept coming after that and with it an ever greater flood of other technology. One of the earliest of such being the replacement of pregnancy with mechanical gestation and after that each new mod would nearly make the generation that invented it obsolete.
These intelligence mods helped bring together the governments of world in a way that past societies would have never expected, with the formation of a truly Global Government that brought the shards together from all over the globe to form the three great Crystals. In Hong Kong, Miami and Rome there stood one Crystal in each, recognizing the three great powers that brought the World together. Each of these Crystals were built to with efficiency in mind, incorporating cultures and styles from the entire planet and feeling very much like our home here in Miami. The true beauty of our crystals is that they are entirely self-contained and designed to create the ultimate convenience with homes, shops and offices all mixed into one so you never need to leave your facet. With its own atmosphere, climate control does quite the job at keeping the entire Crystal at a perfect 22o C making it ideal weather for when one does leave their facet to explore the home they share with one billion other minds.
Even the Dirt are able to live in the Crystals. They work as farmers mostly. They do not have any other choices because the Sugars out perform them academically. I know I should feel sorry them but they and their parents before them chose to shun technology for the self-righteous idea that God made them in His image and they shouldn’t change His “work”. Their concepts of beauty and intelligence are old fashioned and honestly ridiculous. They wish to preserve nature but the synthetic surpassed nature long ago and as far as I’m concerned, there is no reason to hold back progress because it isn’t considered natural.
The Saccharin act like they’ve forgotten about us, the Salts, all trapped in their Sugar Crystals as if they’re protecting themselves from something. After being removed from the shards the lucky ones, Salts with family in the Government mostly, were sent off to the factories and farms that keep the Crystals running. When they ran out of jobs to give the rest of us, we were left outside the Crystals and had to form our own grains in order to survive. All we had left were our neighbors who shared our now destroyed home.
As a child I was told that there were a few hundred of us when we first settled, but after a couple of bad winters, our settlement had become rather small with only fifty or so people. We had lost a large portion of our grain to hunger, but when portions began to shrink there were many more that left hoping to find somewhere with better land. After the first winter we quickly found Farming alone wasn’t going to give us enough food or nutrients to survive, luckily we had our basset hound, Beaux, who had grown fond of catching small game like rabbit and bringing it back to share with us and it would be pretty safe to say that if it weren’t for my dog we wouldn’t have made it through that winter. Thankfully as we shrank we became more spread out, which gave us room to grow enough food in the sandy excuse we had for soil. Also, being so close to a river, even with the white color and harsh taste, made it extremely convenient for us to water our crops and get water for cooking.
Having been born in a hospital right before the Flood I consider myself lucky, because it meant that my parents had been able to afford a legitimate health mod that protected me from the diseases of the wild throughout my childhood. Children who were secretly born without health mods weren’t as lucky, with many of them catching things like lyme disease and Cholera that even us Salts had never seen in any of the shards. Living in shards for so many years had caused the science of treating disease to become somewhat of a lost art, with our only knowledge of it coming from very old books that people had taken with them during the Flood. Those that had screens brought them but quickly found them to be less than useful when there was no way of generating electricity to keep them charged.
Our tools and weapons were made of carved wood and scavenged metal, most of which came from an old landfill that was a three days hike away from our grain. This landfill was disgusting to search and probably very toxic but proved useful when tools broke that we couldn’t be remade from the pieces. On my son Leiblich’s first trip to landfill with Pabulum, a more experienced scavenger from our grain, they got lost trying to navigate using the sun. They happened upon some kind of mining operation after following a stream. Being curious they observed for a day and noted that most of the workers were there until after sunset with the same ones back to work all day shortly after dawn. When he had had enough of watching, Pabulum decided to get closer to try and take some of their fresh metal and told Leiblich to stay back on lookout, but he must’ve tripped some sort of sensor when he got near the opening in the gate because a quick piercing noise sent Pabulum to the ground. According to Leiblich, after seeing Pabulum’s death he was able to follow the stream that brought them there back to our river running the whole way back to the grain.
As a whole our grain considers itself to be rather intelligent, and as a whole I’d say that’s been spot on. With about half the grain able to read and write we’re rather exceptional compared to most salts before the Flood, and because of this we have grown a rather extensive library of books and texts that paint quite a rich history for us. However there is a text that I bought from a traveler long ago, that I would never dare share anyone else, which confirms an old story about how the Salts and Sugars got their names albeit much darker than any version of the story I had heard before this. The old stories always mentioned Thomas Milton, but nothing of his death. He was the first of the Sugars, only they were much more technical about it at the time he was alive. They claimed to have freed him of genetic disease that he would’ve inherited from his parents as well as adding genes, linked to improved immune function, which they claimed would improve his long term health. This was met with violence by some organizations like the radical religious group Salt of the Earth, led by Reverend Emmett Dayton. Members of Dayton’s group were often charged with directing all levels of crimes towards Genentech™, mostly trying to destroy their labs and records, but the charges against Emmett were always dropped. On Milton’s 26th Ash Wednesday, Dayton decided to deliver his first televised sermon and to have Thomas Milton at his side. In his sermon that day Dayton managed to do something unimaginable, he gave Thomas a death by fire as a way for man to give up his ultimate sin of playing god by creating Thomas. The quote that stuck with people that were in favor with genomics the most from his reading from Proverbs 9:16-18 “Let all who are simple come to my house! To those who have no sense she says, “Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious!” But little do they know that the dead are there, that her guests are deep in the realm of the dead.” The majority of those against mods resonated with this message and joined the Salt of the Earth, which led to the origin of the term Salt. Knowing this to be the origin of our name, I am disgusted that the title of Salt was thrust upon me at birth. The gruesome nature of our tag makes me feel as if I have no choice in who I am or what I am called. Thomas’ gruesome public death was used to rally people to petition and protest at the then U.S. Government to remove all restrictions on modifying the human genome. With all restrictions dropped Genentech™ was able to hold a global monopoly on their technology charging almost anything for it.
Being on a river we see a fair share of traders come through our grain and with them comes news of the outside world. There was once a woman, much like the traveler with the text, that came through claiming to have been fired from her factory job when she was replaced with a machine and had apparently seen an estimate census the Sugars had done in an attempt to count us Salts. This census placed the Sugar’s best estimates around 5 billion, with India and Africa together having almost 4 billion of those people that exist in a world far removed from the Crystals, with no salts or sugars, just people, paradise regained. God I hope that’s true…
With so many people in India and Africa having to share a disproportionately small amount of the few remaining resources on Earth after the formation of the Crystals, famine and squalor are more common for the people there than they are where the Salts have been made to call their home. If not for the death of Thomas Milton, then there is a perhaps these mods would have been viewed more objectively in their time and the Earth may not have been abused to the point its at now, preventing it from becoming the hell that we live in.
1: g-mod(s)/mod(s)/g-modification(s)/gene-mod(s)/gene-modifications: Modified genetic sequences that wouldn’t be found naturally and are produced by Genentech™
2: Genentech™: The largest, most powerful and profitable Company in the World; Controls 100% of G-mods; bought Pfizer shortly after the death of Thomas Milton; questionable relationship with most governments
3: Specter, Michael. "Michael Specter: Inside B.G.I., China’s Genomics Factory." The New Yorker. N.p., 6 Jan. 2014. Web. 04 May 2014.
4: Aersinology – the study of increasing intelligence
5: shard(s) – what they call cities from before the Crystals
6: Crystal(s) - Any of the three sealed Megacities of Rome, Miami, or Hong Kong that were built to put an end to all wars and bring humanity closer together in the pursuit of Science. All Crystals are connected by underground hypersonic rail. Conceptually and visually similar to the proposed Japanese Pyramid City which can be found at the link in 
7: facet – a neighborhood or section of a Crystal; each facets can more than adequately support the needs of each resident; infrastructure is shared across facets
8: grain(s) - salts use this term to refer to their own settlements where they try to exist outside of the crystals.
9: flood - the exodus of the Sugars to the crystals marking when the Salts were forced out of the Shards
10: screen(s) - a battery powered computer the size of a large pen that unrolls to a screen with dimensions 8.5” x 11” and with more processing power than the entire world had 200 years ago.
11: Transcript of Reverend Emmett Dayton’s Sermon at the Burning of Thomas Milton:
DAYTON: Today, my brothers and sisters, we join together to rid this world of the man who has
risen above human beings to spit in the face of God. Thomas has had his biology altered—for
the sake of progress—and ignored the truth that God made all of us in his image. But now, we
have among us someone who would destroy God’s work—on a molecular level. And I ask you
this: what would Thomas want us change next?
DAYTON: Allow me, my people to read from Proverbs:
“Let all who are simple come to my house! To those who have no sense she says, “Stolen water
is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious!” But little do they know that the dead are there, that
her guests are deep in the realm of the dead.” Proverbs 9:16-18
Now, who is this she with her house of the dead, so inviting? She is sin. She is the fruit on the tree of knowledge and she has tempted us with the sweetness of eternal life but we will not eat of her sugar.
DAYTON: And today, we, the Salt of the Earth, good country folk, have brought before us a man
filled with hubris.
DAYTON: We have gathered on this Ash Wednesday to give the world its Lent. For Lent, the
human race will give up this biologic affront to God. Human beings have been tempted by Satan
and many partook but we, your children, will burn away the sins.
DAYTON: Now, Thomas, do you have any last words as you face the Almighty?
MILTON: Please—Please—I didn’t choose this. It was my parents. Let me go—[Coughs]—Help!
DAYTON: Very well. Let us pray. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
MILTON: No! Stop! Help!
FOLLOWERS: He maketh me to lie down in green pastures;
DAYTON and FOLLOWERS: He leadth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul;
MILTON: Help. Help.
FOLLOWERS: He leadeth me in the paths of the righteous for His name’s sake.
[End of footage]
13: G3 Summit was held in order to create international genetic engineering laws. The countries of note in attendance were: The United States of America, The People’s Republic of China and The New Roman Republic.The first one passed The Health Mandate, which were adopted by other countries around the world shortly thereafter.
14: Dirt - A derogatory term for homo sapiens who have not been genetically modified or have not been genetically modified beyond the government mandates. The preferred term for this group is Salts. The origin of both these terms is the extremist group, The Salt of the Earth, that gained notoriety for burning Thomas Milton alive.
15: Sugars - homo sapiens that have received genetic modifications beyond those mandated by the government. The origin of the term came from a speech made by President Alighieri of the New Roman Republic during the first G3 Summit commenting on the Burning of Thomas Milton. “The Tree of Knowledge is no longer forbidden. We, the Sugars, embrace the advancement into a new era of strong and healthy children. ” -- President Alighieri
16: saccharin - A derogatory term for homo sapiens living in confines of the Crystals or with genetic modifications.
17: Cohen, Yehudi (1974). Man in Adaptation: the cultural present. Aldine Transaction. pp. 94–95. ISBN 0-202-01109-7. "In all, the adults of the Dobe camp worked about two and a half days a week. Because the average working day was about six hours long, the fact emerges that !Kung Bushmen of Dobe, despite their harsh environment, devote from twelve to nineteen hours a week to getting food. Even the hardest working individual in the camp, a man named =oma who went out hunting on sixteen of the 28 days, spent a maximum of 32 hours a week in the food quest."
18: Kaiser, Tiffany. "DailyTech - Foxconn Receives 10,000 Robots to Replace Human Factory Workers." DailyTech - Foxconn Receives 10,000 Robots to Replace Human Factory Workers. N.p., 14 Nov. 2012. Web. 05 May 2014.