Monday, June 21, 2021

Microstory 1651: Wiping the Slate Clean

When the bladapods first showed up in the brane that would come to be known as bladapodoverse, they didn’t do anything but breed. Once they were discovered, they seemed to have felt so trapped that they just kept having offspring at an alarming rate. It was only when they were distributed across the world to make them feel safe that they started releasing their bladapod gases. Since then, studying the bladapods in captivity was both dangerous, and illegal. They were sentient creatures, who deserved to be left alone. Yes, the gases they produced into the bladosphere were causing problematic base modifications, but there was no telling how bad things would get if anyone attempted to interfere with their natural habits. Of course, this being a world with eight billion people on it, curious criminals were bound to figure some things out. After a lot of work, and some unfortunate side effects, a team of rogue researchers managed to kill and dissect a bladapod. Eventually, they were able to synthesize bladapod blood, so they could replicate the effects of bladapod gas without actually needing the gas. They started selling wipes that a customer could wipe on their body, which would transform them in unpredictable ways. After further study, they hoped to create a line of wipes that were designed to modify people and things in predictable ways, so they could make some real money, but they never got to that point. The global authority found them, and shut down their operation. They stuffed all the scientists, and other workers, into blacksite holding facilities, where their secrets could never get out. They destroyed all the evidence, so that no one could do this again. They weren’t able to find a list of customers, so the wipes that were already out there could not be brought in, at least not right away.

These customers quickly discovered that any base modification they experienced from a wipe, as opposed to the gases, was only temporary. So good or bad, it would only last a few weeks before everything reverted back to the way it was. This only gave people more incentive to try them out, because it shouldn’t do any permanent damage to their lives. The problem was that when someone underwent a base modification, but then reverted back, it would be immediately obvious that they were a black market customer. It wasn’t technically against the law to modify yourself on purpose, but there were consequences. The government wasn’t obligated to help if you chose it for yourself, because you would be taking resources from innocent people, who had no other choice. Over the course of the next few months, nearly all of the customers were caught by the authorities. Again, what they did being not illegal, they couldn’t be arrested, but their stashes were seized, and destroyed. One man avoided capture for a pretty decent amount of time, but then he came across a wipe that changed him in a way that no bladapod gases had ever changed anyone before. He could undo other people’s base modifications, and put things back as they were. As a somewhat decent human being, he knew he couldn’t just sit on this. He walked right into the nearest Base Modification Center, and turned himself in for testing. They studied his new physiology every day for weeks, trying to figure out how to replicate his ability. While he wasn’t undergoing tests, he would help people who wanted to be transformed back to their natural state, in case the scientists never figured it out. They never did. His ability wore off, just as it always did, and though they continued to test him, he never got that ability back, and was not able to help any more people. The clients who got to him in time were grateful, but in the grand scheme of things, it probably would have been better if it had never happened at all, because now they knew it was possible, but likely forever inaccessible.

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