"Most of us wonder what our purpose in life is," begins Soaring-Eagle, "but it is abundantly clear for people like me, the Gifted Blood, the ones manufactured to be the state's strong arms."
Miketa Soaring-Eagle was born in Iro Valley Military Institute for Genetic Research in Puma's Reach. With his genetic code spliced with that of a golden eagle and other avians, his perception and vision are six times as sharp as that of a normal human. Along with his keen eyes, his senses double as a primordial compass, able to detect the Earth's magnetic field and navigate without the aid of even the most advanced of Amettahatchee's technology.
Soaring-Eagle had spent the majority of his military career as a sniper working for a joint Amettahatchee-Kanuckian based international company, Killian Produce Enterprises, being traded from government armory to politically relevant corporation as a commodity no different than the firearm he carried with him.
"I was leased to Killian's as a plantation guard," began Soaring-Eagle, "and I spent the majority of my time staring down the scope of my Hawkins L8 plasma rifle, seated in a watchtower I would call 'my roost'. Bigtopian bananas stopped selling, so Killian's started developing more land for sugar cane. Had some issues with demonstrators, and the previous death squads were too heavy handed in the past. Remember 'Pineappalooza' where forty protesters were beaten to near death outside of a pineapple plantation? Yeah, Killian needed someone quieter to push back riff-raff."
He reaches for a cola in his backpack, "Something-something about Bigtopian sovereignty, nationalization of resources and more socialist stuff. I didn't care much back then, and I was told to kill anyone who crossed the fence outside of the designated gates."
Foreign companies for the last forty years have been heavily criticized for influencing the local politics of Bigtopia to buy up more land for plantations with long strings of allegations of bribery to election fraud. Because Gifted Bloods are more effective than normal humans at confrontations and were not entitled to compensation, they had been leased out to companies that would use them for their operations.
However, recently, Chief Arroyo Bull-Horn signed legislation legally obligating Gifted Bloods be afforded the same basic rights and benefits as other military personnel, including wages, vacation time, medical care, and retirement. Yet another step in the right direction for civil rights in recognizing the humanity of the inhuman, but with consequences not foreseen.
"I was returned to Iro Valley once Killian's was required to pay me," he chuckles, "and after that, I was laid off for good. They had apparently developed another more advanced generation of Blood, and since they couldn't kill me the traditional way like they used to when outdated Gifted Bloods were too abundant, they just threw me onto the street. I never stepped foot outside into the other parts of the country before. Never held a job before I was a living weapon, not up to date with social customs, traditions, or civilized society in general. I was at a loss. Sniping was all I knew how to do in the environment I was raised in, and it was all taken from me."
"Admittedly, I was pissed. Pissed at my circumstances, my heritage, my background, my Chief. His father turned the other way at our creation, and then to rip me from what I knew under the guise of 'compassion'. I didn't ask to be born this way, and I didn't ask to be a slave either. My emotions back then were swirling." He continues, "But on the bright side, I was free. Free as a leaf on the wind, directionless but unrestrained."
"I spent several months searching for a job, but no one likes a cashier who's socially awkward, a chef that only ate MREs and never cooked a day in his life, or a drug dealer that would smoke all of his own product out of mental despair." He lights a blunt in the middle of the interview, promptly filling the room with the smell of salvia. "But, you know, I got to know a lot of people. I met my husband, a man with half his body replaced with machines, named Artu. We met at my last job as a factory hand. He heard about my background after we had our first date at a bar, and he urged his sister to put in a recommendation to the National Park Rescue Department. My eyes would help find people lost in the woods from helicopter."
Miketa Soaring-Eagle and Ringo Willow, another former Gifted Blood, have gone on record having found the Abernathy family in Pohaw forest after two weeks since reported missing.
Soaring-Eagle smiled, "We were lucky. Eagle and wolf. Eyes and nose. Most of us Gifted Bloods aren't so lucky to get jobs to revamp our weaponized genes. A lot of us just try to sweep them under the rug and forget our pasts. I wanted to because I thought I had to. I was proven wrong."
"My husband and I saved up enough money to buy a plot of land in Kindred's Outpost. From there, it was yet another learning experience. A steady job doesn't always make a steady life, but it's a start. It enables it. I found a hobby in fishing." He laughs again, "Funny that. Maybe I have a taste for trout because I'm a bird-human thing? I like it, more than ever actually."
He contemplates then adds, "Yes, sir. Free as a bird, deliberate and graceful."
Read part 2 next week in the Amettahatchee Poster Society's next publication.