7:57 AM Friday, February 17, 2012 - Defect
We weren’t trying to. Honest. All our research was aimed towards curing diseases and extending life span. But then one of the researchers started gene splicing. Next thing we know, the nine o’clock news reports on children being born with a seemingly cosmetic birth defect. Or so they called it, no crying.
It took them a while to follow the trail. The would-be geneticist covered his tracks. But the public and the department of health demanded answers. Within months they traced the source back to our lab. By then over three thousand children had been born with the birth defect.
Some parents had enough money to pay to correct the defect. But enough families couldn’t afford the expensive surgery. The department of health couldn’t track all of them. They set up a special organization to monitor the affected children.
By the end of the year most of the families affected were quite happy with their new additions to their families despite the defect. Their babies didn’t cry much, and the organization got a few reports from some bewildered parents saying they found themselves waking up randomly to change the diaper or feed their baby.
One year after
A few of us from the now closed Methuselah research center managed to get a job with the department of health’s observation group; we are still receiving reports every month, or so, on new cases of the birth defect. Sang Pond, the researcher responsible has been publicly denounced by every member nation of the UN.
We’ve managed to, we think, figure out how the defect is spreading. We haven’t had any luck in stopping the Sang-retrovirus. As far as we can tell, it has targeted only carriers of a specific gene. It doesn’t trigger the typical virus responses in the hosts and it was very hard to detect. Sang must have released his retrovirus a few days before he was captured, because there was a large gap between the first group of defects and when the next group started.
Three years after the Sang virus
We still haven’t made any progress with stopping the sang-retrovirus. The children we’ve been following have made remarkable advances compared to others their age. We’ve observed increased hearing ability and remarkable reaction times. Not one of the children with the defect we’ve studied has shown any sign of hearing loss or visual problems.
Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to get access to any of the children who received corrective surgery. Their parents also had enough money to erase the fact their child ever had a defect from public record.
The children we’ve studied have a remarkable capacity for learning their brains must be absorbing information at least three times the normal rate of other children their age.
We don’t see any difference in the amount of playing they do compared to others their age and most of them get along fine with their peers in the normal group.
Seven years after the Sang virus
We had to modify the census last year, to include a field for the defect. We estimate about fifteen percent of all youth seven and under have been affected. Our data concurs with that of the other countries willing to share the information with us.
Quite a few families in areas that were largely unaffected by the virus found themselves to be the only parent with a child that had the defect, so about three years ago someone setup an online forum for parents of children with the defect to connect on. Two years ago a decent sized group of them moved to a ghost town near one of the national parks, renamed the place Edenost and started repairing it. They’ve been gaining a few more every couple months. There is another community growing on the other side of the country growing as well, they went with Bandorian for the name.
The pediatricians on the project are getting a little worried as the children seem to be smaller than their peers without the ears. The largest of the group of now seven year olds with the birth defect would probably be about the size of the average six year old but size goes down from there with the smallest averaging the same as a slightly smaller than average five year old.
Fifteen years after the Sang Virus
It caught us by surprise, sort of; we probably should have seen it, and some of us probably did expect it, we had expected the beginnings of puberty by now in at least one of them. It’s like the aging process for those affected has been slowed on an almost exponential function. At this rate we expect the first one to actually begin what would be the process towards normal human maturity by age twenty-five though we suspect possibly age thirty.
The retrovirus mutated, somehow its holding the rate of new defects at a steady ten percent now. We still don’t know how Sang did it and we haven’t been able to get anything out of him. There are now ten additional new cities in different areas of the worlds.
Thirty-five years after the Sang virus
We were a little off on our estimate. The first one started maturing just 5 days ago. Some of us lost face on this one, some thought they would never mature that the group would be stuck at age 11 biologically until their bodies shutdown. But as we are happy to inform their parents the children will not be stuck as children for the rest of their lives.
Thirty-six years after the Sang virus
Yeah, we’ve pretty much given up on stopping the virus. This last mutation threw us for a loop. We aren’t even sure of the transmission factor at this point. It’s still shown no sign of harmful side effects that we can tell. It seems to affect only the reproductive system and only in a select few.
Surprisingly for such a slow development up to this point maturing is relatively fast, the last few of our original group are almost completely fully adult all of them show remarkable intelligence, like the extended period of time as a child gives their brain longer to develop. Most of the public still can’t get past the ears at this point. The majority of the original group who started the research project have retired. Sang will probably never be released. Tampering with human genetics is considered a felony offence in almost every country now.
We expect them to stay somewhere between the ages of 18 and 20 biologically for the next 40 years of their lives.
Sixty years after the Sang Virus
The lead scientist on the Sang report passed away yesterday at age 87. The Sang retrovirus is still active though showing signs of slowing down. Sang himself will be celebrating his 80th birthday today from his cell in a Maximum security prison. The government issued a statement considering his potential release in 5 years.
The full effects of the Sang virus have yet to be seen though the resulting children should be able to expect a longer than normal life.
Public health officials announced yesterday the previously termed birth defect has been reclassified as a viable human variation in physical appearance. The pointed ears are to be considered no different than skin pigmentation or eye color.
Seventy years after the Sang Virus
Sang Pond died at 6:33 AM In his sleep this morning. The infamous geneticist responsible for the Virus that turned one fifth of the population into pointy eared, long lived geniuses, died just five years after his release from maximum security federal prison, after doing time for experimenting with the human genome.
Sang’s diary, last entry: I always knew the mythology of the Elvin people couldn’t be entirely made up. When I started to see the traits in the DNA code I activated I couldn’t help but get excited. That the human genome contained the capacity for pointed ears and longevity! Remarkable! Having the two tied together closely even more exciting. I never meant for my research to get out the way it did. Oh well.