It seemed like harmless fun, candy colored hair, slightly enlarged eyes, to make your daughter into that adorkable manic pixie dream girl. Growing up, she was the talk of family and the circle of friends, with her bright eyes and attraction to colors, and her whimsical flitting personality. Too bad childhood doesn't last forever. That adorkable child grew to become a rebellious teen, and then a hostile disaffected young adult. Its amazing that no employer can take a girl with candy pink hair seriously, but no one takes you seriously when you're a walking talking cartoon.
The most common time for genetic augmentation and biomodification is in utero when the fetus is still early in it's development. The vast majority of augments and biomods are basic, cancer resistance, and genetic patches to prevent diabetes, alzheimers, and a variety of other mid to late term inherited or genetic diseases. Given the ease of modification at this stage in development, it is not uncommon for parents to have certain traits to be exhibited by their child, hair color, and factors like height, innate athleticism and so forth. It was only a matter of someone having the idea, and the money to make it happen, but the Manic Pixie Dream Girl became an ideal that parents started wanting.
It only took seeing a few of those precious children, with their pink hair, green hair, sky blue hair, running around laughing. Their eyes were so colorful, so large and expressive, violets and emerald greens, they were beautiful. They were anime children, and they were adored by their parents, and the friends of those parents who had the money to do it. It was a hot trend, it was popular. It seemed that everyone had a friend or family member who had the mod done to their kid before she was born.
The problem, we only ever saw those wide eyed children. We didn't see them crash into puberty, we didn't see them caught between their parent's love for that cartoon child and them wanting to assert themselves, become their own person. By the time we realized what was happening, it was too late, we had had our third daughter, Rainbow. All three were classified as Zoe Mods.
Marley, recipient of multiple in utero biomods.
I remember my childhood very well, everyone adored me, they loved playing with my pink hair, and treating me like a doll. I was small, and I was a child, and I loved the constant attention. Everyone wanted to bring me something, a toy, a gadget, some clothing, and it was always pink.
Today I hate the color pink, when I think back about being a kid it is always that toxic neon sea of pink everything. The pink dresses, the pink toys, the pink paint on the walls of my room, my pink computer, my pink PDA, pink pink pink pink. I could vomit, but I'm afraid it would be pink too.
Then my sister was born, and she was lavender, with eyes to match. And then I was yesterday's news, and lavender was the new pink and she was the center of all the attention and I was an afterthought. I've read that hand me downs were supposed to be her getting my old stuff and me getting new stuff, but no, Little Lavender didn't like pink. I started getting color, a purple used computer, a purple necklace, her throw aways and discarded unwants. Pink and purple, purple and pink.
Puberty hit me like a robot uppercut. To my great and endless joy I had pink hair growing all over me. Pits, legs, everywhere. I was addicted to shaving, and I wanted to save up the money to get it lasered off, but there was always some distraction to keep me from affording it. There was alcohol, Chrome, drugs, and other things, other distractions that let me forget about being a freakish cartoon character.
The typical Zoe Biomodification includes a mild case of ADD as this is fundamental in creating the desired 'whimsical' nature in a pixie child. They flit from thing to thing not out of magical wonder, but because they cannot concentrate on one task very long, and they are easily distracted. The cosmetic modification of the eyes (creating a slightly larger eye in proportion to the face) had an unintended consequence. Tetrachromacy, or the ability to perceive 4 colors as opposed to the human normal of three colors. Many Zoe Mods are distracted because they perceive the world differently. They can see into the ultraviolet spectrum, and their world is full of colors that don't have names because no one has ever seen them before.
I joined a gang when I was in my teens, a local group of ko girls who lived in our arco. We had the run of the place as long as we didn't piss off security too much with our public drinking, fighting, and constant making out. i learned about sex and violence from these other angry girls and the CogNet. We had an ongoing feud with a gang of chromids from the upper levels. Those girls were soft and spoiled, with their bright red and pink skin, they had androids and hormone slaved guys with them all the time and it was fun to mix it up with them. Crunching some andy's plastic head, turning pink skin bloody and bruised. There was one girl I really remember, she was very Momoiro, pink eyes, pink hair, pink skin.
I hated her so much, and I didn't know anything about her. Every time we got into with the chromids, I went after her first, and hardest. I didn't have a choice in being pink, but she did. She made herself pink.
I killed her.
I didn't mean too, at the time. I needed her, she was my catharsis. Nothing made me feel better than beating the ever loving piss out of her. It was better than sex, better than the drugs, it was the best. I got carried away, tweaked out on something, and I picked up her robot butler's arm and I started hitting her with it. I kept hitting her with it, until her face was a bloody pulp, and my arms hurt and I was squalling like a baby.
It took about an hour for Arco security to find and arrest me.
Video capture and biometric identification ensured the trial lasted 16 minutes. I plead guilty, because I did it. I didn't know her name until it was read to me at the trail. I was given Permanent Exile from the San Andreas Arcology which would extend to and be honored by the LA Arcoplex, and the Bakerfield Arcology. In addition to exile, I was further sentenced to 5 years incarceration and reconditioning at Lompoc State Prison.
The Zoe Diaspora
The Zoe Biomodification created an individual extremely unsuited for the confined and tightly controlled lifestyle inside the normal arcology, and almost all Zoes were created by families living inside arcologies. While very few Zoes actively engaged in violent or anti-social behaviour very few remained inside the arcologies once they were able to leave. The high visibility of the fairly common Zoe Biomod gave the impression that the arcologies were full of freakish rainbow people, androids and deviants, further stretching the perceived gap between the arco dwellers and the rest of humanity. The in utero chromid biomods were also involved in this exodus, but not to the same extent as their modifications were almost entirely cosmetic and not associated with perception abilities or behaviour patterns.
One of the side effects of in utero biomodification is that most biomods done this way become inheritable traits, thus a female with pink hair will pass pink hair genes on to her offspring, the same goes for a male with blue hair, thus outside of the arcologies and access to in utero modification, the traits that made the Zoes and chromids can and are passed on to the next generation of Human Strange.
The thing about Lompoc is that it is crowded, and it is the same thing, low level offenders from the arcologies, gang members, drug dealers, that sort of thing. They keep you there long enough that you've been 'kept' but then they let you go. I didn't get exiled and imprisoned for killing Rebecca Tremaine, I was incarcerated for violating the peace and control of the Arcology behaviour code. There was no reconditioning, no reeducation, no hard labor, no rape. There was a lot of boredom, and bad food, and there are only fights and violence because the inmates are bored.
I served a year and was released, forbidden to return to the arcos, and the only thing I knew was how to be in a gang. I was barely educated, and almost completely unskilled.
It seemed that I was about average for the people exiled from the arcos. I couldn't fix things, I couldn't farm, I wasn't a craftsperson or a laborer. I was too thin and small for manual labor, and no one really needed a pretty girl to shop or give things to.
I had two choices.
Prostitution and Violence
The life of Zoe Biomods removed from arcologies were rough and unpleasant. Most arco residents have skills and abilities related to living in a computer saturated enclosed environment. These skills are somewhat useless outside of the technological havens of the arcologies. A few retained pertinent abilities, such as repairing and maintaining androids and mechanoids, or computer programming skills to work on machinery. These were the lucky ones. The unlucky ones were faced the the options of entering prostitution or taking up criminal lifestyles. With small frames and vivid hair, most Zoes find their way into the sex industry, which quickly leads to new or further drug abuse. Those who enter the criminal lifestyle become criminals with no greater rate of death or success than any other group that does the same thing.
Some things people just don't learn from.
I was likely among the first wave of Zoe Biomods to be exiled. I'm famous really, they named the legal designation after me, but the video of 16 year old beating a young girl to death kinda stuck with the media. I've discovered that I have a fanclub, and have become a hero and role model to other Zoes and Chromids. I'm not involved with any of that, it's all run out of an arco in Nevada and they legally own the rights to my name and likeness. For $500 you can fuck me while I kill Rebecca Tremaine over and over again for you. For $700 you can fuck Rebecca while I kill her over and over again.
People are sick, and sometimes just thinking back to it, I cry.
Because now I don't know if Rebecca was just like me, an un utero mod. Was she in a gang because she hated pink too? Could we have been friends, we might have had more in common than anyone else in the world. Did she hate me the same way I hated her? Did she think that I was the pink poseur, and she came after me first for the same reason I went after her?
When those thoughts come crashing down on me, I usually shave my head and get blasted out of my brain with booze or drugs, whatever I can find.
You can't keep a bad pixie down.