She referred to light bulbs as artificial sunbeam emitters, they helped scare away the dark but like everything else that was synthetic, they had no nutrition or life in them. Just like the food we ate. We had to follow every meal up with a strict regiment of supplements and medication.
It all started when more and more cases of malnutrition and scurvy started turning up. Due to the pollution, climate change and the country running out of its natural water resources, it became harder and harder to feed the general human population. Natural agriculture has suffered the worst in these past two decades and we couldn’t escape our human compulsion to play God where nature has ‘failed’. We found a way to emulate photosynthesis in the absence of sunlight by modifying how chlorophyll reacts to all light. We engineered plants that didn’t need any water. We made vegetables that were as durable as weeds. The experiments had garnered more causalities than starvation ever could. The first batch of synthetic fruits and vegetables were deployed into the market. They were freakishly large in size and highly economical but after a few months of what had seemed to be a successful cure to world hunger, more and more cases of cancer and food related disease started showing up. The company in charge suffered millions from lawsuits and settlements. It eventually filed bankruptcy and was liquidated. Another company picked up the tender from the government and succeeded in making synthetic safe foods. Essentially they had no nutritional value, you’d be better off eating cardboard but they quieted and filled restless stomachs and offered consumers the illusion that they were being well fed.
Nozipho had been going against her own body’s need for sleep for the third night in a row. She was dizzy with fatigue and sleep hunger. Clad in her dirty lab coat under those twinkling light bulbs. The laboratory was owned by The South African Industry of Synthetic Agriculture and Farming – SAISAF. They had successfully cloned more than a thousand units in healthy livestock and edible artificial food and veg. Nozipho was working on a formula by hand. She could no longer keep the pencil steady. Her body had succumbed to stress and frustration. The lab was understaffed and understocked. Generous funding had been dispensed by the government but it filtered down through the hierarchy of corrupt officials and CEOs. The sum that was finally received by the laboratory was barely enough to cover the expenses of the supplies needed to undertake the project. It could barely afford a competent staff. To her credit, Nozipho wasn’t one of those incompetents. She was brilliant enough to afford herself a better salary than this but modest enough to weigh her successes by her own goals. Here she was, sure she was going insane, all she could see when she closed her eyes were those damn formulae. All she had to keep her company were those twinkling artificial sunbeam emitters and spiders. She didn’t mind the spiders. She felt sad when ever she had to kill a particularly venomous one though. The daddy long legs were always spared. She had started talking to them tonight and after she realized the presence of her own insanity – she laughed out loud. “‘Time for another cup of coffee”, she said to herself. She dropped the pencil from her shaky grip, there was a dent in between her thumb and index finger where the pencil was tightly held. She could feel her finger and thumb throb with a slight dull pain with each beat her heart took. A discarded copy of today’s iteration of the ‘Daily Sun’ laid next to the kettle, a tired tabloid newspaper that had somehow survived South Africa’s new stringent laws on journalism. The government could dictate exactly what journalists could and could not report through an organization called ‘Watchdog’. Many journalists could not swallow their pride nor integrity, so many of them opted to flee the country or find another means for income. Nozipho sat there wondering how this old rag survived that long. The front page headline reads ‘Polymorph rapes a gogo (grandmother)’ ..
Dr Anton Frueh was a lower rank Nazi scientist who some how escaped from World War 2 Germany to seek refuge in South Africa. He was a true believer in the convictions and ideals of the Fuhrer so he naturally fitted comfortably in apartheid South Africa. He made a family and passed down all that Nazi Germany stood for. Frueh was a brilliant scientist but it took two generations after him to produce a spawn that was as equally as talented as him in a lab coat. Philipp Frueh, was born in South Africa on the date of the 21st of August, 1987. As a youth he would spend a lot of time around his grandfather, listening to old war stories about his home country. Philip was intrigued by the scrapbook photos of old Germany. He liked how clean and disciplined the fascists were. He owned a large swastika poster along with a flag of the old Afrikaaner National Party, both hanging above his bed. Philipp had taken an early liking to science, he was an avid collector of science fiction novels and comic books. He hated how Germany was portrayed by American writers, especially how it was almost parodied in the Captain America comic books. He recognized this as propaganda but what he took away from this was the idea of the super soldier. As he grew up and studied the ideologies of old Germany and its philosophies, he came across Nietzsche and the idea of the Übermensch. His Grandfather saw the brilliance in young Philipp, he directed him into following his footsteps. Philipp studied hard and he was a superb student. He entered and left the University of Pretoria with high honours in Biochemistry and physics. With Degree in hand, the world waited in open arms for him to submit the goals of him and his forefathers…