In Science We Trust

March 16, 2011
By kathrynwillgus GOLD, CROZET, Virginia
kathrynwillgus GOLD, CROZET, Virginia
11 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
“Some men see things as they are and say, ‘Why?’ I dream things that never were, and say, ‘Why not?’” Bobby Kennedy

Cassandra was completely alone. Her parents knew it, before she had even been born, but denied themselves the thought of taking pity on their baby girl. Cassandra began to understand at a young age, though she was not old enough to give it much thought. She was different from the other children. She was absolutely beautiful, but she had no idea. In a world where everyone was perfect, Cassandra was merely mediocre.
During a time when science was advancing everyday and technology was obsolete almost as soon as it was made, people’s lives began to change. Not just the lives of the people, but the people as well. Scientists learned how to manipulate human genes to the extent of being able to change people before they were born. Fertilized eggs were shaped by scientists to change their genetic make-up to satisfy the desires of the embryo’s parents. At first it was just physical attributes that could be changed; the baby would be altered to have his or her father’s green eyes, or its mother’s thick, brown hair, etcetera. Soon enough, a person’s character traits could be decided upon before its little heart had the chance to beat. People began to artificially design other people and essentially determine the course for the rest of their lives.
This science became political, as things tend to do. Scientists and government officials collaborated to make this procedure more popular. In return for the enhancement from the government, scientists and doctors would encourage certain traits to expecting parents according to what the government wanted the upcoming generation to conform to. Within twenty years, the law making and governmental bodies along with the new age doctors had made the people of America into a super race. People were manufactured as easily and almost as cheaply as consumer goods on a factory assembly line.
Cassandra’s parents, Helena and Robert Mead, were very fortunate people. They were both part of the “2nd baby boom,” a time when people were having children left and right because they were finally guaranteed the option of having the child they had always wanted. They were both blessed by their parents with great personalities, beautiful appearances, and great family names. Helena’s father, Milo Appleby, was the founder of one of the most highly acclaimed law firms in the country. He and his wife, Isabella, made Helena a beautiful woman with a witty, youthful personality to match. They wanted her to grow up to be an ambitious, loving person, and she did just that. She knew from a young age that her father had money and many connections, but she didn’t care. She was determined to make a name for herself and not live in her father’s shadow. She was full of compassion, and she loved people. She loved being around other people, talking and interacting with them, and studying them. She went to school and got degrees in psychology and sociology, and eventually became a college professor, which is how she met the love of her life, Robert.
Robert’s parents, Martin and Sophia, started one of the biggest web design companies in America. At the company’s peak, they were designing for websites like Google and Bing. They had a clear image of what they wanted their son to be: a leader. They bestowed upon him great intelligence, cunning, creativity, drive and speech. They gave him the look of a very distinguished man, with hair that grays early but a body that never seemed to age. He did become, as they had hoped, a leader and role model. In his teenage years, he fell in love with art and education. He loved learning so much that he stayed in school for almost ten years, learning all that he could about all that there was. He became so knowledgeable, and such a big part of the school itself, that they offered him a spot on the board of directors. Eventually, he worked his way up and became the dean. Robert and Helena fell in love at first sight of each other, and nothing has changed since.
When the time came that they wanted to have a child, they both completely opposed the idea of genetic alteration. They appreciated all that their own parents had done for them, but they couldn’t even begin to think of something like that for their own child. Helena and Robert wanted their child to have its own life, not decided upon by themselves. They had a “natural birth,” as it was commonly referred to, though everyone they knew advised them against it. Their family would say, “What if you are disappointed?” Their friends would say, “What if it turns out to be a bad child?” Robert and Helena knew what they were afraid of, but they didn’t care. They didn’t want their child to be just like everyone else.
When Cassandra was born, there were few other children like her. Her parents thought she was beautiful, but everyone else thought she was plain. When she started school, she didn’t learn as fast as some of the other children because her parents had not given her an artificial intelligence boost. When she played sports, she was not as strong or as fast as some children because she was not genetically engineered that way. Cassandra didn’t mind, because she was too young to understand. Robert and Helena worried sometimes about what it could do to her mentally, but they didn’t mind much either because she was an individual.
Cassandra began to understand what was happening when the other children stopped playing with her. At first, the children’s parents wouldn’t let them invite Cassandra to their birthday parties, then they stopped playing with her in school. They avoided her at all times, and when she tried to join a game, they would call her names like plain, stupid and boring. Cassandra complained, but their was nothing her teachers could do. Her parents tried, but all they could do was console her. Cassandra learned to stop trying to play with the other children. When they started calling her a “snitch” and a “cry baby,” she learned to stop complaining, too. She focused on her school work and family, and only paid attention to the other children when she was analyzing them.
When Robert and Helena believed Cassandra was old enough to understand, they told her about genetics and explained why she was different from the other children. Cassandra truly did not understand. Why would everyone want to be the same? And if it was good to be the same, why had her parents made her different? To find the answers she was looking for, she studied the other children even more. She looked at everything: physical appearance, personality, intelligence, and behavior. Even the adults she came in contact with, she examined. She compared everyone with herself and each other, trying to figure out why she alone was so looked down upon.
Life went on for Cassandra. She became reserved because she was an outcast among her peers, but she learned not to let her uncertainty show around her parents. They knew how hard things were for her, but she didn’t want to worry them even more than she already had. Cassandra developed nicely into a kind, intelligent, young woman. She devoted all of her time to school and family. She was an outgoing girl, though she never had the chance to express it. There were very few other kids like her, but the ones she knew were doing much worse than she was. She tried to talk to them, but they were so lonely and afraid that they pushed even her away. The “normal” kids had stopped teasing her long ago, and it was only once in awhile that she heard nasty comments directed towards her. Most of the children had come to act as if Cassandra wasn’t even there.
High school was when she truly began to blossom. She was incredibly smart and used it to her advantage, always craving to learn more. She took the highest level offered of every course, English and Art being her favorite. Despite the pain she had been through, she was a very kind soul. She was sweet to everyone she met, including those who chose to despise her. She was beautiful and naturally fit, but no one noticed. She had a full bodied laugh and a great sense of humor, but was serious when she needed to be. She was stubborn and determined, with the drive to accomplish any task. She was moral and, most of all, she was humble. She was doing so well, and her parents were so proud of her, but she didn’t even know it.
She saw the qualities that she had in herself, and she saw the qualities that other people had, but she didn’t see what set her apart from them. They were all the same, but she was not so different from them. She was just as smart as them. She could play all their sports, if given he chance to learn. Her future was as bright as theirs, and she was just as, if not more, ambitious than the rest. She treated others as she would have liked to be treated, but her kindness was never returned. So, what exactly could it be that made Cassandra so incredibly unusual?
Cassandra found the answers she was looking for in a boy named Eric. After being an outcast all of your life, it’s extremely bizarre when someone is nice to you. So, on the day that Eric Burke decided to join Cassandra at her lonely lunch table, she was skeptical. When he started talking to her, she pretended not to hear him. When he wouldn’t stop addressing her, she stared blankly at him, not knowing what to think. He was like the rest of the kids: strong, beautiful, intelligent and supposedly, absolutely opposed to her. So, what was he doing talking to her? He liked her, he said, and wanted to get to know her. He was acting very interested in her, and being genuinely nice. Was this too good to be true?
Half of her wanted to continue being skeptical and dismiss him, but on the other hand, it felt fantastic to have someone returning her benevolence. They ate lunch together and talked for the whole hour they had. When the bell rang, he asked her if she would like to skip the rest of the day, and she reluctantly went with him. Cassandra had never done something like this, but Eric assured her that it was harmless, and she believed him. They walked to his car together, with his arm around her shoulders. One hour later, they were sitting in an empty parking lot. Eric pulled himself off of Cassandra and she curled into and ball and continued to cry. He pulled his jeans up from around his ankles and leaned back in his seat, totally relaxed. She begged him to take her home, and he just laughed. Another hour passed by the time she had gotten to the safety and comfort of her own home, and all she could do was sleep.
Cassandra slept for a long time, and didn’t go to school the next day. She stayed in bed all day thinking about what had happened. When she was in the car, she didn’t feel human anymore. Eric certainly had not treated her as one does a fellow human being. Afterwards, she felt worthless and dead inside. She kept asking herself; Why? he was so disrespectful and malicious. He had manipulated her to achieve his selfish needs, and had no regard for what he had done to her afterwards. After a week, she went back to school, and people looked at her differently. The girls would sneer and snicker and whisper insults under their breath. Eric boasted, and all the boys laughed and groped Cassandra inappropriately when they passed her in the halls. Not one of them cared for her, they only cared about themselves. They were spiteful and wicked, conceited, selfish, and immoral. How would the world be this way? Was this the perfect, American super race everyone wanted? Something had gone very wrong, and Cassandra’s life seemed to be crumbling all around her. She finally realized that the things that made her different made her great. Being unlike the rest of these people was the biggest blessing ever bestowed upon her. She couldn’t begin to imagine living the rest of her life as a mere human among monsters, so she didn’t. During lunch, she left her parents a voicemail telling them how much she loved them. She climbed up a maintenance entrance to the roof and stood there, feeling the breeze flowing through her hair, putting her at peace. And then she jumped.

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