They were sort of covered in this very light, thin layer of fur. Almost invisible. They were stupid.
They did the most menial of tasks in Guinea. After the infighting wars like this, Guinea was one of the only places where it was possible to set up a scientific lab, although with great difficulty, but Dr Thorton had managed it. Living like any other of his line of thinkers and aristocrats, on the luxuries of the new age, he had set up a thriving business in catering.
The work he did outsourced the virtual enjoyment of thousands of rich people all over the world, in their various enclaves and rich cities. We didn't really spend too much time finding out about it, but it was Dr Thorton's world and as far as they were concerned, it was the only world that existed. We were outsiders. We were able to be free, maybe more free than they were, although we never knew what tomorrow would bring and sometimes worried about our livelyhood. And they didn't care about us.
I once saw two of them fighting over a piece of bread. They really fed them badly, but managed to work them out so that they put loopholes through any animal rights laws. They didn't actually contain any human genes, but more the reverse engineering of the bits that make us able to work hard together with a complex social structure that artificially gave exponential growths in data retention with each passing year. The memory of an elephant, although it was actually kept in chips manufactured where Elephants had once lived. But in Guinea, life changed with the introduction of these simple self procreating animals. This is why our parents used to kill them and were ousted from the city. They used to go on shooting sprees at night just picking them off. No rights but those of their owners meant it was only slightly more punishable than killing animals or vandalism. And who knew if the judge was just jealous of his outsourcing from the cases that actually made money.
Stupid hairy yellow diseased faces. Dependence on oil based technology. Their existence depended on their profitability. If they didn't work, their chips would not be renewed.
When I was nine I first heard about it. They were going to pilot them in a factory. We all went to see them arrive. But they arrived in a posh bus and went right in. They were herded in with electric shock poles.
A lot of regular, human workers were usually herded in like that though too, so it was no different. They would use satellites or some technology to look through the wasteland that used to be government rubbish tip, now melded with the rest of the countryside in a giant expanded moving trail of rubble progressively closer to the city.
They would go there and round people up, because it wasn't legal to get people to do what they did to you. And people wouldn't remember either. But if they actually hired people, the queues had a great tendency to turn into riots. People were too hungry, too desperate in the city to act with restraint before they were fed.
They would instead take you and do whatever torture it was on you for brief moments at a time. A day, a week, or permanently, meaning you disappeared.
But this forced labour was probably not paying off enough. And that was when even the more priviledged of us couldn't work anymore. When the mutants became mainstream, we just turned to counter culture, those of us who could.
And counter-culture welcomed us.
Although it meant being good at guarding from scavengers. We'd just take off in convoys to escape the cities. Now our dreams of somehow surviving there were gone. The old western dream.
The cities reduced to working and killing grounds for the quickly reproducing mutants, stupid obstinate mutants who never dreamed of anything. Us, we lived back with our grandparents and parents and plenty of other people in the countryside. When I was 15 we went to town though, a cousin had died and we all went for her funeral. A huge display was in the sky to mark her passing. She had been someone important. As the gliders surfed the sky above I saw a dead mutant in the side of the road. I was 15 and I was glad they were starting to be treated like we once were.