Life does exist on Mars. This was confirmed by the Beagle II probe which was launched in 2001 and returned with samples in 2002. By 2003 the Martian virus within the samples had gotten loose, and had mutated, becoming the Martian Flu. Six percent of people in developed countries died, and over 30% in the Third World. By 2040 the disease is present in roughly 87% of the human population. Symptoms are generally flu-like, and death is possible but rare. Most just recover from it, but a few change.
In these few the virus mutates their genetic structure, changing their bodies. Some gained the characteristics of animals, others changed their gender, others gained some control over their aging progress. And other weirder things happened.
As the virus spread across the world it was finally isolated by Dr. Robert Stein, head researcher at the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta. Since then, the 8% of flu victims changed by the victim have gained a name for their condition. Stein's Chronic Accelerated Bio-morphic Syndrome. Or SCABS.
How Scabs Works
Somehow SCABS accesses the genetic history of the human race. It makes its way back along the genetic tree of life that culminated in the human individual, going all the back to the single celled organism. Then it traces a new path forward, down a new branch. And then it mutates it hosts to match the new path it has created.
SCABS acts like a key to the genetic history. As it mutates to live within an individual, it changes so that it can fit only one specific lock. In almost all humans there is no lock that it fits, and the individual simply recovers and remains human. For the rest, it opens the box and lets the genie out.
Animorphs: Individuals with the characteristics of animal species, either living or extinct. Seventy percent of those inflicted with this type are locked into a fixed form, the remaining 30% can vary their appearance by different degrees.
Inanimorphs: Victims are transformed into inanimate objects, but still with the ability to move and think. Often they violate humanity's understanding of physical laws, simply proving how much we don't know.
Gendermorphs: Victims are transformed into the opposite sex. Ninety-five percent of this variation start as male. A few can toggle their sex as desired, but most are trapped.
Chronomorphs: Individuals with the ability to control the age of their body, and sometimes the age of other bodies. Usually changes are limited and of short duration.
Polymorphs: The blessed few, with the ability to, at will, change their form as desired. Fewer than one tenth of one percent have this.
The Blind Pig Gin Mill is the name of the bar where the first stories occurred. The city it is in is unnamed and must remain so (one of the few hard rules). The bar is owned and operated by one Donnie Sinclair, an animorph SCAB. He's a 640lb barkeeper with the head and internal organs of an extinct breed of wild cattle called an Auroch. Don't get him angry.
Note that not all stories are in the bar, but most are, and almost everyone involves
the bar at some point.
Website Copyright 2002-2005 Michael Bard. Please send any comments or questions to him at firstname.lastname@example.org