Author : D.J. Rozell

Agent Jackson sat down across the table from the bio-hacker and started in before the guy had a chance to size him up, “We’re not here to collect evidence – we’ve got plenty of that – but to discuss motives. Clearly you are a genius.” The agent was priming the pump. “So, why use your considerable talents for this?”

“Well, as the media correctly surmised, my little experiment had a social agenda. I decided to give the world a nudge in the right direction.”

“That was some nudge,” Agent Jackson remained polite despite the annoying false modesty.

“True, my expectations have been exceeded.”

“How so?”

“Well, as you know, the virus copies the genetic material of an infected male to a subsequent infected male’s sperm, but only those with Y chromosomes. The result is male offspring with random paternal genetic origin, but female offspring that still bear the original parents’ genes. This manages to preserve both the traditional mate selection process and the basis for families while at the same time elevating the status of females in society. I’m pleased to see that nobody prefers male children anymore.”

“Except for families in isolationist compounds and the wealthy who can afford sorted in vitro fertilization.”

“One virus can’t fix every problem…”

“Yeah, back to the main point. Did you actually think you could end sexism with a viral infection?”

“End, no. Greatly diminish, yes.” The bio-hacker was getting more animated. “The current generation of children already accepts the new paradigm. Unless a vaccine is developed soon, motivation to return to the old ways will quickly fade.”

“What about men with genetic diseases who were ostracized or worse?”

The bio-hacker inspected the table, “Every technology has unintended consequences.”

“Unintended consequences?” said the speaker in the wall. Agent Williams was standing on the other side of the mirrored glass. His marriage had been part of the early collateral damage of the virus before scientists realized what was happening.

Agent Jackson segued, “Yes, one unintended consequence has been for our profession. Violence has emptied some countries of bioengineers, while others are stockpiling them like weapons. So, the real reason we have you here is to offer you a job.”

“Why?” The bio-hacker was faking surprise.

“Reformed bio-hackers are the best security specialists.”

“What if I say no?” Now he was trying to bargain.

“We go public with your identity. Long trial. Life in prison.” There was a long pause.

“OK, I’m in.”

“Good. The official story will be that the virus was created by a scientist that died three years ago. Case closed. Meanwhile, you create a treatment and vaccine.” The bio-hacker’s eyes narrowed. “Consider it the appropriate conclusion of your ‘experiment.’ A good scientist always cleans up when done. Right?”

The bio-hacker brightened and leaned in, “Actually, now that we’re colleagues, I think you’ll be more interested in what I’ve been working on since the first release. It’s a benign bacterium that will end religious conflict.”

“Very interesting. Excuse me for a moment.”

Agent Jackson and Williams had a brief discussion and then sent the bio-hacker home with a handshake and some paperwork to complete. Agent Williams made a phone call. Later that evening, the bio-hacker would be abducted by an isolationists group in black ninja-like biohazard suits. Agent Williams said it was apropos – vigilante justice for vigilante science. Meanwhile, Agent Jackson erased all records of the day. Then, both agents went home to enjoy their Father’s Day weekend.