Consequences by Andrea Speed
As far as anyone could tell, it started shortly after the start of registration.
Once they started the database of Muslims, everything was fair game. Why not register people of other religions too? People of “dangerous” political affiliations? (They started with Communists first, assuming that no one would stick up for them.) Ex-cons and environmental “radicals”, the elderly and the physically disabled. Eventually, everyone was a part of some database.
It was all for our own safety, of course. It was like census data, they said, and no harm was going to come to anyone on these lists. No one really believed that, but there was little political recourse or will to stop it. In retrospect, the “deviant” database was only surprising because it was one of the very last ones.
It was called the LGBTQ database, although it was quickly called the “deviant” list by those who had been waiting for it. Supposedly it was to “prioritize the health needs of the community”, which wasn’t a lie anyone bought, because health care of all stripes had been the first thing to go. Enforcing registration was going to be difficult, but the government had their ways. Some people were threatened through ransomware caught at LGBTQ friendly sites and porn, while the government also pulled names off the lists for various LGBTQ political organizations, and let these people know they either signed up or they’d be automatically added to the “radicals” list, and no one wanted to be added to that. Somehow, while threatening this in emails and letters, government spokespeople denied there was a radicals list. Cognitive dissonance was an every day thing, and what you believed to be true depended completely on what your status was, and what kind of list you were on. Needless to safe, people on the patriot list never worried about anything. Until they were added to another database.
As always, there were protests that were violently quelled and denied, and anyone arrested at these protests were put on the LGBTQ list, whether they were or not. It was yet another way of punishing anyone who didn’t fall in line. It seemed like all resources were devoted to crushing dissent. The economy had cratered, and most people were struggling to stay one step ahead of homelessness – they too had their own database, although it was full of fake names – but keeping everyone in line was the number one priority.
It was around this time, when things were at their lowest, that the plague started.
It wasn’t like your average plague. For one thing, it was hitting people on all the undesirable lists, including the LGBTQ community, and its development and spread were so rapid and unnatural, it could have only been a planned attack.
And it went very wrong very quickly. Because, after a forty eight hour flu that made you feel like you’d be better off dead, people started recovering, and returned to full strength with something no one could have predicted: superpowers.
There had been rumors, in dark corners of the internet, about this, but I honestly thought it was bullshit. Then I got sick, hoped I’d die, and woke up two days later, stinking and feeling dizzy and weird.
I found out about my powers when I went to the bathroom. I leaned on the sink to check myself out in the mirror, and it broke, sending me falling into the tap, which was now alone in sticking out of the wall. I hit the faucet with my chin, and I felt the pressure of it, but it didn’t hurt. That seemed even weirder than the sink suddenly crumbling under my hands and ending up as chunks on the floor.
The illness had transformed my skin and muscles. I now had skin that was unbreakable, and was super strong. Like, throw a car half a mile with one hand kind of strong.
I don’t know how I caught the illness, or why my straight friends who caught it didn’t end up transformed. All I knew was I wasn’t alone.
Outside there people flying, fighting in the street, shooting heat rays from their eyes. When the riot police and National Guard arrived, I stopped them by throwing an SUV at them, and overturning their armored vehicles. They shot me several times, but I barely felt the bullets as they bounced off my skin. I didn’t know the other supers around me, even though I vaguely recognized some of them from the gay bookstore, and that one bar downtown. With hardly a word, we became a fighting team, and started pushing them back. Eventually they had no choice but to run. First we took the city. Then we took the state.
We have no idea what was done to us, or how, but it doesn’t really matter. Because now that we can fight back, we’re not going to stop until the country is ours.
This is your only warning.
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