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The whole world was in a trance--- a trance where everyone was without morals or free thought. A world where it seemed humanity needed no limits and each human was entitled to perfection. A world where no one saw the wrong in constantly creating a new perfect, a world where the government and the citizens of the world had brainwashed themselves into thinking this inhumane idea was somehow conventional. She was in a trance as well. Aylo Oster was an average woman. Well, as average as one could be in that time. The average kept on rising as each generation passed. The government and the ambitions of crazed parents had made that so, trying to make the human race “better” each year. Each new generation grew stronger and smarter. Aylo Oster knew about all of this, and she, like the rest of the world, did not seem to mind. All of that brainwashing the government had done had created a bubble of innocence around them all. Of course, it was not just the ruling body, it was, in fact, the people of the world, who somehow found solace in the fact that they could be flawless.

With the power of gene editing, each set of parents could pick millions of different traits for their children, leaving nothing up to chance, not hair color, eye color, gender, height, or IQ. Of course, there was some good to this; each new generation was resistant to more and more diseases. Soon, people would be living forever, they said, not seeing the beauty of aging but embracing the ruthlessness of youth. The doctors would simply insert the chosen genes into the embryo, calling them “designer babies.” After all, the endless options and options made creating a child similar to putting together a Subway sandwich. When a couple’s time was optimal for a baby, they proceeded to go to the doctor’s office and receive dozens of pages, with hundreds of options. Each checkbox was for a different trait---red hair color, blue eye color, dark skin color. Every parent wanted their child to be the best, and soon the checkboxes became too confining. Of course, the checkboxes had a limit to their IQ numbers and range of eye colors. Parents started ignoring the checkboxes on the “designer baby” sheets. Writing crazy things in the footnotes like 3-foot wings, or IQs of above a thousand. Endless scribbles of mindless things, crazed on making their child the best of the best, breaking ceilings that were falsely there. The parents were never satisfied with what they had gotten and they had transferred that restlessness into choosing their child’s traits, creating a population set on being content, but never being able to reach it.  The doctors followed these scribbles when they could read them, and soon those traits would become the average, getting set inside the checkboxes.

Aylo Oster was no different; she wanted her child to be on top. She sat in the waiting room with her husband, Damari, who the government saw most fit to pair her with. They were scribbling things in the footnotes and arguing about whether the baby should be a boy or girl.

“It has to be a girl,” Aylo demanded, no real substance to her argument other than her own personal conviction.

“I need to bond with my firstborn son. C’mon, please,” countered Damari.

“But I need to bond with my firstborn daughter,” Aylo said.

“Please, if it is a boy, I’ll let you pick the rest of the traits,” Damari offered.

Aylo responded, “Really?” She thought for a moment until she agreed with an almost giddy smile.

Aylo was happy with this decision. After all, she had been planning her child ever since she was a little girl, imagining all the traits she wished she could have, never satisfied with perfect.  She had wanted purple eyes but her parents had chosen deep blue for her. She had black hair with golden highlights but had wanted a chocolate brown like her best friend as a child. Everything was not good enough. She was not terribly spoilt, though. Almost everyone felt the same way. She, however, it seemed was the most focused on creating a “better” life for her future child. Choosing every trait for her future child, she felt it a crime to limit him, none of the characteristics she chose staying in the confines of the checkboxes.  She gave him the best things she could think of, everything she had craved for as a child, testing the limits of her imagination, and she was sure the doctor’s ability as well.

After about an hour and dozens upon dozens of sheets of paper with hundreds of blank checkboxes and scribbling in a now out-of-ink blue pen, she was sent to the implementation room. There, she underwent a simple procedure, the doctor dumbfounded at the barriers that were broken by this mother fixed on perfection.

~9 months later~

Aylo came into the doctor’s office again, ready to give birth to Artemio, their new baby boy. She had chosen the name, and it meant perfection--- a perfect name, she thought, for a perfect child. The contractions came strong and painful until she had finally given birth. The baby felt incredibly strong, and the pain felt like a fire burning inside of her, the embers rising up and turning her body into ashes of hurt. She collapsed from the agony after giving birth. When she came to, a nurse spoke to her.

“Your son is in the other room, we will bring him in,” said the nurse, with a hint of withdrawal in her voice and her face almost white with fear.

“O-O-Ok,” Aylo replied, slightly confused. She closed her eyes for a second, completely exhausted. She had felt agony every day of her life, she had seen every imperfection possible in others and had tried to fix them. While it had almost ruined her life, she knew her child would be flawless. She felt as if her whole life had been leading up to this moment, to Artemio. As she felt a bundle being placed in her arms, she looked down at his face and her heart stopped, her muscles seizing and her veins turning to ice. He was perfect, too perfect. All of a sudden, the trance, the need for faultlessness, snapped. Drawing back in repulsion, she realized she had created what looked like a god, but in fact was a monster.

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