I find it ironic that George Orwell–– a self proclaimed Democratic Socialist–– warned us about this. In his dystopian Sci-Fi novel, 1984 (written in 1949). He warns us about totalitarianism, mass surveillance, perpetual war, suppression of free speech, historical negotiation (also known as denialism, which is the falsification of facts and distortion of historical record! If that does not ring a bell with you then I’m afraid 2 + 2 =5
Have you ever asked anyone: “At what point did you recognize yourself as an adult?” I think the answer to that question, at least for me, was when I asked myself, “Am I really here? In the universe, on this tiny fragile little spec, sitting at a table, eating cereal?” I mean, in that moment my mind expanded tenfold. That I could contemplate the existence of myself—but why was I here, why?”
For decades I tried to figure this out on my own, focusing on science in school, understanding the ecology of life and the mechanics of space time, holding a career in information technologies. But it wasn’t until I started writing science fiction that I figured it out. Like anything, if you want to get good at something you need to practice it, over and over. Writing science fiction is that practice— it forced me to think in the future tense— leaning into that part of the brain of extrapolation. Something that separates humanity from every other living object on this planet. It is the reason we invent tools because we see a need to invent something to get something greater in return.
Back to my answer to a lifetime question. Why was I here?
We— human beings— are tools for the universe asking the same question, we give consciousness to the universe, for the universe to understand why it is here.
There is no doubt that Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are carriers to diseases such as: Fellow Fever, Zika, Dengue, Chikungunya, to name a few. So putting an end to those diseases would be good for humankind, right?
On paper is works like this: The modified genes are loaded into the male species, which carry the lethal cargo that kills female progeny in early larval stages. As more females die, the Aedes aegypti population should dwindle. That’s the deal and it worked well in a lab.
I was scratching away at a mosquito bite, leaning against the dock railing looking down into the turquoise waters at the confused tarpon swimming upside down, tricked by the submerged floodlights shining up from below. A friend had invited me to this swanky party along the mangroves, one of her clients, and we were deep into a conversation about the state of idiocracy in this country, when she noticed I was bleeding and lifted my palm to see the tips of my fingers wet with blood and my forearm bearing tiny rivulets of the same.
“My God! You’re bleeding,” she said straightening up.
“I must have scratched a mosquito bite a little too hard,” I replied. Offering me her cocktail napkin, embarrassed, I said I would be fine and placed my thumb at the bite. She gave me a sideways look and dabbed away as I tried to pick up where we left off, but I could tell she wasn’t listening, her eyes darting towards my arm. Removing my thumb she placed the napkin over the bite but it soaked through relatively quickly.
A nearby server offering an appetizer of wasabi glazed Tuna, was startled to see my forearm tattooed with blood as he nervously handed us a wad of napkins, asking if he needed to call for help. I too quickly thanked him and said it was just a mosquito bite that I had scratched a little too hard and laughed it off. Skeptical but satisfied he moved on. We placed several napkins over the bite but I could feel the adrenaline pumping beneath and the warming of blood seeping up through the tissues. My friend insisted we head towards the house to ask the host for some bandages and a bathroom to dress this properly. Her advice sounded like a good idea at this point, so I held my palm firmly against the bite; not believing it got this far this quickly. As we walked, I could feel the blood slipping around the gasket of my hold— this is crazy— blood now dripping onto my designer jeans and powder blue sneakers, leaving a trail of dark red beads in the shaved Bermuda grass. We heard a scream behind us, followed by a shout that someone needs to call 911. Glancing over our shoulders, we could see a body slumped onto the dock with several guests gathered around, some backing away and holding their hands to their mouth. We looked down to my arm then back at each other–– fear in her eyes and panic in my own (TBC).