Chapter 1: Biochemistry 101

Date: March 22nd, 2031

(A/N: This is AU)

Cooro pushed his hair across his forehead in frustration. His grip on the mechanical pencil was almost enough to break the poor writing implement, and he had been muttering minor obscenities under his breath for nearly five minutes. None of this, however, was helping him solve his BiChem problem.

Around him, the other dozen or so students on his class, including his friend Husky, worked studiously at their laptops answering questions. The fluorescent school lights, one of the many old fashioned things about their school glinted on the laptops the school had loaned out. They were older models, chrome colored, streamlined BetaBook 808's (as opposed to the newer 909 models), and had that peculiar quality that never made them seem truly old, yet never truly new. His pencil was one of his many little quirks- he had his own BetaBook, but he liked having a pencil simply because he liked the ability to doodle in the margins of his assignments and tests.

Finally, he figured out the answer to the question. He proceeded to finish his test in record time- the question he had puzzled over was apparently the hardest question on the test. True to form, he spent the next thirteen minutes, doodling in his notebook.

The bell finally rang and Cooro, practically jumping out of his seat, vacated the classroom. He joined the mad rush of students to get to the lunchroom. He had transferred to Central Academy (or just Central) from the parochial school St. John's; it had been a good school, but offered very few advanced classes, unlike the more prestigious Central. Spotting his friends Nana and Husky he smiled and waved enthusiastically at them before cutting through the crowd to get to them.

"Hi Cooro!" Nana exclaimed, cheerful as always, before bowing quickly and saying a Japanese greeting. The blond-haired girl was a born-and-bred American, like him, but was obsessed with Japanese culture, and a bit of an otaku, a term previously reserved for men, although more and more women classified themselves as such now.

"Hello." This was Husky. He had silvery hair that almost seemed blue, and a delicate, almost feminine figure, leading to some of the other students to accuse him of illegal gene modding. Normally, taunts like this were ignored, although, since Husky's father was one of the chairmen of one of the largest bio-tech companies, he had to take them a bit more seriously.

The group, once it had met up, continued on its way to the lunchroom, Cooro and Nana carrying most of the conversation, although Husky made the occasional comment.

After entering the lunchroom, which was a massive affair designed to fit nearly eight hundred students comfortably at a time, they made their way to the middle school section. Nana was in sixth grade and Husky and Cooro in seventh (Husky was actually about the same age as Nana, although he had skipped second grade.) Cooro had originally wanted to sit in the high school section by their friend Senri, a junior in high school, but the lunchroom monitors had prohibited them. They placed their orders on the school's network, and began the process of waiting for the "done" notification.

"Sooooo, Husky, c'n you tell us anyth'ng 'bout prop 732?" Cooro asked, poking Husky with his fork.

"Cooro, everything I know can be found on the internet, look it up."

"But c'mon husky!" Nana wheedled. "You h've to know someth'ng extra about it. Delivr'ng gene mods legally to the g'n'ral public sounds like a great idea! The first one I'd buy would change the c'ler of my eyes! Maybe to purple or s'mthin!"

"I know nothing! Also, stop dropping those apostrophes in everywhere, just because you see something on the internet doesn't mean you should emulate it. I looked at lots of slang for my etymology report for Programming 2, and this thread of slang uses the worst grammar since early century lolcat and chatspeak!" Replied Husky, peeved.

Cooro rolled his eyes. "Why so anal? But seriously, I bet you know something? Right? I bet you've at least heard of something!"

"Well…" Husky rubbed a blotchy marking on his neck thoughtfully. "I did hear a bit… Father thinks that, if all goes well, they should be licensed to sell within two months, and have things in store by another two months. But… Nana, eye color changes are probably all you're going to get, I suspect all the really good gene mods will exclusively owned by the government, like they are now, and even if they weren't, you're a minor, so you couldn't get any gene mods without parental consent."

"Poo!" Nana pouted. "My parents are some of those people who are like 'technology is gonna kill us all! Save yourselves!' I'm never going to get them to agree to it!" She rubbed her own marking, which was on her back, something that she usually did when she was annoyed.

The markings were actually fairly common; one in maybe ninety children had them. They had been appearing seemingly at random, for the past three years, the only requirements, it seemed, to get them were to be between the ages of five and sixteen, although there was the occasional outlier. They did not seem to be spreading, or even harmful, which puzzled scientists. Some claimed they were mutations caused by the increased number of cosmic rays the failing atmosphere had let through before scientists had patched it in '23 with the chemical jokingly called "phlebotium." Others hypothesized it was due to the phlebotium itself, and these were only some of hundreds of theories. The general consensus was that they weren't harmful, so scientists largely ignored them.

Nana turned to Cooro. "What about your guardian?"

Cooro, who had been raised by a nun in the orphanage near his original school, shrugged. "She'd probably be first in line. She tries to hide it, but we're pretty sure she's a furry."

Nana and Husky looked at him strangely. He held his serious expression for almost a minute, before breaking in to a smile and laughing. "Hah! Looks on your faces! But seriously, I doubt she'd care too much, as long as she thought we'd be safe."

Nana and Husky participated in the sport of synchronized eye rolling. One of the first things they had learned about Cooro after they had met him was that he was an amazing liar, even though, with such innocent, honest looks, he seemed like a model child. They still gave him the benefit of doubt though, he'd said bizarre things before, and an uncommon number had turned out to be true.

Their school tags beeped telling them that their meals were ready. They made their way to the rotating chain that carried food, grabbed their trays, and went back to their table.

As usual, Cooro ate his dessert first, apple pie. "Mmmm! I can't fathom how students operated before their food was made by robots!"

Nana giggled and Husky rolled his eyes, before saying "Cooro, you know full well we're the first school in the state, and one of the first schools in the nation to have this kind of setup."

Cooro grinned impishly. "Don't spoil this for me Husky."

They finished their meal in relative silence as their lunch period was almost gone- they only got twenty minutes per day. They said their goodbyes before leaving for their next block.


A/N: (please read this)

I've decided to start a new story for the heck of it. I am looking for a beta, and any offers would be greatly appreciated. This is, as previously stated, AU, so I've taken some liberties concerning character's birthdays, although they are still the same relative ages, (Cooro is 13, Nana is 12, Husky is 12, and Senri is 17) Please review, I need help with my writing, and suggestions would be appreciated, I am writing this nearly planless, and by the seat of my pants :3 Just a reminder- if you see a misplaced fic and its already been warned, report it- deathfox can't do this by him/herself. If it hasn't been warned, tell the author how to move it, and hopefully either they will or they'll be reported. Thank you!

A/C: Author's commentary (optional)

There is futureslang here- look how much language has changed even over the last five years. However, as I didn't want to constantly throw in apostrophes, I gave the crew a reason not to use it. This is, in fact, third person omniscient narrator, although if you have a beef with that, and explain why I shouldn't use it, I can change it. These classes may seem a bit advanced for middle schoolers, but I decided that, as technology grows better, people are able to learn more and more, and remember, this is a school specifically geared towards more intelligent kids. I'll explain why Senri is here later. I've inserted several references here to people "in the know." Hope someone catches them! As far as I know, there is no school called "Central Academy" in Chicago, but I wouldn't know, since I don't live there. The school is, however, loosely based on where I go to. The Chicago metro area is not incredibly large, but I'm assuming exponential, unregulated, population growth here, which will be a problem in the future. Thanks for reading! Until next time!