Tuesday, January 9, 1990



When genetic mutation transforms evolution from a jagged lurch toward perfection into a Möbius band of horror, it's time for some new heroes to emerge. This is the story of a boy and a girl and a monster who attempt to reverse the effects of an experiment that has spun out of control and turned Earth into a battlefield.


On New Year's Day, 2029, sixteen-year-old twin brothers named Kanvik formed the CLONETECH Corporation. With one patent, the corporation would, within months of its founding, become the most advanced biogenetic and climate manipulation research institute in the world.

IAN Kanvik was the showman of the two, preferring the limelight and parties after 20-hour workdays; THEO Kanvik rarely raised his voice above a whisper, desiring only two things: a clean laboratory and spending as much time as possible with his research papers. Considered geniuses on the order of an Einstein, Galileo, or Newton, the brothers set the world on fire. Ian reveled in the widely held belief he was a genius and made sure everyone knew it; Theo stood in the shadows and let his calculations speak for themselves. Both agreed on one principle: no problem on Earth was insoluble or undecipherable to the Brothers Kanvik.

The Kanviks re-engineered mankind itself by creating the impossible: one extra chromosome strand to add to a human's original strand of 23. Known as the XYZ Inhibitor, this synthetic chromosomal pair would revolutionize mankind in ways known only to subsequent generations, by which time it was far too late to reverse the process. In 2029, no one cared about any untoward future effects, for the human animal had suddenly discovered Ponce De Leon's Fountain of Youth.

Given to a child in utero, the XYZ Inhibitor neutralized and then corrected any imperfections of the other 23 chromosome pairs, while producing a generation-proof protective crystalline coating. Once inoculated, no child would be a carrier of genetic defects that could be passed on to future offspring.

Genetics-based diseases that had killed, crippled, or shortened the lives of hundreds of millions over the span of human history vanished immediately. Family histories of strokes, cancers, and heart disease ended with this new generation. Even the normal aging process slowed to a respectable crawl.

Life appeared limitless and the possibilities endless. Of course the Inhibitor offered no protection against hot lead, stupid stunts, drunk drivers, or an indolent attitude towards eating junk food while drinking like a fish and smoking like a chimney. No advances in science could ever compel man to not purposely do himself in.

There were, however, some bizarre side effects as the children grew older. The Inhibitor gave them the ability to survive in ways only previously contemplated by science fiction writers. Salt water turned out to be as harmless to drink as milk. Drought disappeared as oceans became one large aquafina for this new generation. Ozone level depletion grew to be inconsequential. The Inhibitor prevented any coarsening damage to skin from exposure to vast amounts of the sun’s ultra violet rays. Now baking oneself to a crisp left the sun worshipper with nothing more than a golden tan and excess vitamin D.

Several years later, CLONETECH produced a second generation of the XYZ Inhibitor for expectant mothers. This new version created more oddities of human nature. The children born of mother's injected with Inhibitor 2.0 developed a multi-purpose digestive system with enzymes powerful enough to break down anything short of diamonds, sulfuric acid, and motor oil. Everything became edible, be it pan fried or grilled. Muscle and tensile strength grew exponentially. The wonderful choice of hunting like a cheetah or eating a cheetah became a matter of habit and taste. The world clamored for even more advances from CLONETECH.

The brothers did not disappoint them. With the use of DNA cell replication and amber enhancement, nothing extinct remained extinct for long. New and additional species were developed for fun and profit. Jurassic Parks became all the rage, breeding extinct animals for sport hunting or to be served at exotic food festivals. Fantastic hybrids resembling creatures out of Godzilla movies were engineered for the amusement of zookeepers and children.

There were even rumors on the outer fringes of the Ian Kanvik cult that he was playing around with the reanimation of dead tissue and that there was a wing of the company called ZOMBIECLONE. Ian denied that foolishness, but given how much good the brothers had given the world, many people believed a little bit of the dead coming back to life scenario would not have been the worst thing to occur.

Thanks to the Kanvik's engineering projects, Earth became a world without want or worry…except for those occasional bloody conflicts where it would take five times as many bullets to kill a single soldier than it did in previous wars. Hospital stays were measured in seconds; babies were now born perfect. Even the stupid greed of industrialists was mitigated by the very strength of this new human body, which now could withstand all but the worst toxins and poisons cast in the atmosphere and spilled into the ground. Living in toxic landfills became no more of a problem than swimming in oceans full of mercury and PCBs.

Then Theo Kanvik awoke one morning and became scared to death of this new form of paradise on Earth. While mankind appeared to be riding the crest of an Eden-like environment, a small band of concerned scientists, led by Theo himself, began to warn against additional Inhibitor advancements and recommended a complete stop to its distribution. Spending long evenings in the laboratories and pouring over obscure scientific data from within CLONETECH, Theo had discovered the Malignancy. At the time of his discover, the XYZ Inhibitor had already been on the marketplace for 20 years.

Theo determined that synthetic gene creation was in actuality a self-decaying poison pill. It was one thing to eradicate all genetic diseases from mankind, but subsequent Inhibitor advancements were causing mankind to mutate into a race that would soon no longer be considered human. Mankind, Theo concluded, would reach an evolutionary apex within the next several generations, and then begin to regress, to devolve backwards to a certain point. Then the process of evolving would commence again. Humanity would ride a continuous roller coaster loop until the species itself died out.

Ian ignored his brother, and with the aid of his powerful friends shut down all dissent. Then Theo and his wife mysteriously disappeared one night in a boating accident, leaving behind his twin babies, ROLAND & SYDNEY.

Raised by various relatives, Theo's twins finally ended up in the care of their uncle Ian. Neither child, nor for that matter anyone within the extended Kanvik family, had been given the Inhibitor before birth. While parents clamored for it around the world, the Kanviks did not volunteer their own children.

Over time, both Roland and Sydney grew to be world-class scientists. Even as sixteen year-olds, their grasp of CLONETECH's work led them into the same maze of research intelligence as their father. What they found shocked them to their core.

They concluded, as had Theo, that instead of being man’s salvation over the previous two decades, the implantation of the Inhibitor into the very fabric of human existence was now a waiting hangman’s noose. As the 24th chromosome progressed from one generation to the next, it would begin to set off acids that would eat slowly and microscopically into the structural linings of surrounding chromosomes. Subsequent generations would slowly devolve as the DNA strands became more and more primitive and fragile. Then the process would somehow begin to right itself temporarily, only to have new generations fall further backwards. Frankenstein had not created a monster; he had created a caveman.

Confronting their uncle would not be an easy task. Fifteen years before, Ian had taken them in as his own; but a palpable unease existed between the twins and their uncle Ian. Unanswered questions regarding the fate of their parents hung heavy over every conversation, and Ian’s nonchalance toward the disappearance was disquieting to say the least.

Ian confirmed with a smile and a headshake the genuineness of their detective work and with it the genius of the Kanvik bloodline. It had taken their father years to uncover and confirm what these two young wizards had unearthed in several months of determined sleuthing. Fifteen years before, Ian, himself, had confirmed the deadliness of the Inhibitor through his own experiments. Why do you think none of the Kanviks ever received any of it?

Instead of stopping the program, Ian continued it, believing that eventually, he and his team would find the correct formula for mankind. Making omelets means eggs are dropped on the floor. Scientific discovery is not without pain. In addition, lawsuits brought against CLONETECH would have not only ruined the company, but would have put him behind bars or worse for the next millennium. By the time the real effects were known, Ian would be a distant memory, if human memory even existed by then.

When Rodney and Sydney threatened to go public with their results, Ian did what all villainous uncles do. He had the kids disappear.

All their notes, annotations, and interpretations on the Inhibitor were summarily destroyed; all their friends and other nosey parkers were enhanced and, through the use of extraordinary rendition, sequestered in the various CLONETECH prison systems of the world. Nonetheless, Ian Kanvik, ever the softy, believed a few years away from Earth might straighten his young relatives out, so he made them vanish in a much more classy and humane fashion.

The real adventure begins

On a cold and rainy Halloween day 2069, Roland and Sydney Kanvik were sent off site to the CLONETECH colony on Mars for some tough love. Blasting off from the CLONETECH launch pad that day was a rather nondescript solar-fueled spacecraft with two cryonically sealed compartments. Waving good bye to the both of them, no doubt with a tear in his eye, Ian expected to see them both return one day as two changed and responsible members of his society.

It was supposed to be an uneventful journey. It would have been except for that sudden sunspot explosion that caked the solar panels with far too many alpha gamma delta omega rays, sending the drone into a synchronized death orbit between the Earth and the Red Planet. Their small craft became a floating tomb lost, misplaced, and unnoticed amidst all the other junk suspended up there; yet it continued to function properly because it received constant energy from the sun.

The two kids were soon forgotten, another lost couple in a series of Kanvik family mishaps. For 500 years, the spacecraft propelled around in space; then another series of sun spot explosions jettisoned it out of its meaningless orbit and back down towards Earth, where it crashed into the Pacific Ocean.

Their temperature controlled coffins smashed on impact, throwing Roland and Sydney against the broken solar panels and the jammed hatch. That was one lousy awakening. They figured their uncle would put them through that thumping even before sending them off to the Martian prison.

The twins waited for the hatch to open. Why were they feeling seasick? Where were the CLONETECH officials? Why was it taking the guards so long to open up the cabin?

They were rocking on mountains of liquid: Cold water seeped through cracked windows and hull breaches. When did Mars develop oceans and violent waves? Who cared? They were about to drown.

Then the hatch door ripped apart. Standing in front of them is Sasquatch! Water rushes in; the craft sinks under the waves.

Of course the three make it safely out of there.

Their rescuer is a mutated human named LAND, leader of a tribe of simple fishermen and dirt-poor farmers who work for a NORMAL. A NORMAL, Land explains in some strangulated form of English, are people who look like Roland and Sydney. Were they related to the NORMALS on the hill?

Land had rescued the twins, but he hoped that they would not whip him for being out fishing beyond his family boundaries. The twins promise not to touch the eight-foot tall, 500-pound behemoth.

Rodney and Sydney discover a world coarsened by 20 generations of Inhibitor chromosomes. It's full of three-story high Venus flytraps, rodents the size of tanks, acid rivers filled with 50-foot carnivorous koi, man-eating cockroaches, prehistoric beasts, flying hybrid monsters, and Cyclops-like humans. Littering the countryside are living machines, broken down cyborgs, anti gravitational weaponry, and half human/half beast highwaymen. One scientific advancement five hundred plus years earlier had caused all of this damage.

Amongst all of this chaos and anarchy, a new class of human had not so much arisen as stayed the same, scions of the humans that half a millennium before were purposely not given the Inhibitor. These NORMALS now ruled a planet gone mad with constant experimentation. Their attempts to maintain control over this wildness had, over the centuries, plunged Earth, into a veritable caste system based solely on levels of mutation.

LAND, a natural storyteller, tells the twins of one such NORMAL, smarter and more wicked than all the rest, who myth spinners allege has the magic to restore all people to being NORMAL. Rodney and Sydney want to know where this Doctor Moreau lives. Does he already have the magic bullet?

Rodney and Sydney remember the rejuvenation formula found in their father’s notes and of his concern that no good would come of a world blanketed by the effects of the Inhibitor. What could two teens do in a world no longer recognizable to them to rectify the damage done to Earth by five centuries of the Inhibitor? Where would they start? Would they have any allies? Could the ingredients for the formula be found? Could they survive a landscape of oversized animals, constant human mutation, and the armed might of the ruling NORMALS?

LAND will accompany them in their travels for his family unit disappeared one evening without a trace and with no explanation. In their travels they will meet a beautiful fugitive NORMAL named BEATRICE, a direct descendant of the chief architect behind the Inhibitor. She has seen the Leader of Leaders and describes him as a tall handsome man with steely blue eyes, a strong prominent chin, a shock of black hair, and a strong booming voice that can be heard far over any crowd. In fact, Beatrice is stunned at the facial similarities between the Leader and Rodney and Sydney. It seems that Ian Kanvik after five centuries, is quite alive and still giving orders.

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