Divested
Original

If you can't beat them, change them.

By now, the name Kytex provokes a lot of emotions in the general public. Some sneer, some curse, others cower in fear - and with good reason. Last month, the infamous laboratory was found guilty of manufacturing and distributing an aerosolized weapon aimed at neutralizing that which we used to fear most: Superiors. With their superhuman abilities, or just downright other-worldliness, they threatened our way of life regardless of individual intentions. So Kytex did something about it, and, in the immediate aftermath, the rest of us were able to breathe a sigh of relief.

For many, that would be one of the last breaths.

In the days and weeks to follow the initial “outbreak” - which began after the lab’s first distribution almost a year ago to date - people poured into hospitals with complaints of fever, sore throat, achy joints, and general malaise. Statistically speaking, one in three readers would have been secondarily affected due to a loved one falling ill. Unfortunately for the vast majority, Kytex Laboratories’ pet project was an extremely well-guarded secret, meaning doctors didn’t know what they were treating, and millions died within weeks of the onset of signs.

To throw Kytex the world’s tiniest bone, it appears they truly had the best intentions at heart. According to press releases, they began formulating a vaccine against their own product the moment they realized the horrible illness coincided with AS24’s (Anti-Superior formulation 24) release. Regrettably, this moment came after its wide-spread aerosolization, so though the Superiors were dwindling into a human existence as intended, "run-of-the-mill” mortals faced potential extinction. Too many were affected, and the vaccination process was severely hindered by lack of healthy personnel to create it, complexity of the initial pathogen, and severely depleted routes of delivery to the ill once it was finally completed.

On October 2nd, 2027 - a full six months after the initial insult - the Cure was made available to what remained of the human race. Some reports placed this number as low as 500,000. (Considering we started out just over 8 billion, it’s no surprise that Kytex’s CEO - and everyone involved in the development and circulation of AS24 - was given a triple life sentence without the possibility of parole.) After subtracting those with too advanced disease for the Cure to be effective, and those to whom it did not provide protective immunity, Homo sapiens dipped to a staggeringly low 350,000 members across the planet.

The fear of Superiors becoming the dominant species took precedence for many. Militaries around the globe were tasked with differentiating between “us” and “them”. Superiors were catalogued and tracked via a barcode tattooed into the skin of their left forearm, but still anxieties mounted....

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