A tall man in a slim suit emerged from behind a mutely colored curtain and steadily approached a glass podium, papers in hand. Camera flashes exploded all around him as he adjusted his glasses and then the microphone in front of him.
The logo behind him -- a hyper-modern but soulless squiggle -- was of Geneticom, a private company with a variety of genetic projects going on that didn't resemble one another in the slightest. Some publications declared the company to be the "google of genetics" which sounded good to a public with little interest in learning more. But as the man shuffled through the documents, the public listened in:
"We are excited to announce the fruit of our labor. We have successfully sequenced a new type of human being -- one that has both wide industrial and private applications and poses minimal ethical concerns. The future, is smaller!"
With than announcement a cart with a small felt blanket over it was hastily rolled out unto the makeshift stage. To murmurs in the audience, the attendant (dressed in a lab coat for public relations effect) took off the sheet to reveal a small terrarium fit for a gecko. Instead, inside the glass walls were people walking around unclothed, seemingly unaware of the happenings outside of their glass entrapment.
"These "tinies" as we refer to them" he adjusted his glasses "have no more the intelligence than an ant -- but they have all of the physical attributes of a human being, only small. The entertainment, manufacturing, educational, and other uses for these tinies are unimaginable. They will change the way our world runs forever!"
The controversy was immediate.
Human rights groups had an immediate outcry around the humanity of the project. Many politicians complained of the project, either claiming it was capitalism gone awry or symptoms of a godless nation. Regardless, the public's initial ethical hesitation was overcome by deep curiosity. Geneticom made a point to set up labs in major cities where visitors could see up close how these tinies behaved. Attendants and spokespeople emphasized that unless programmed to do a specific task, they were essentially ants. They hadn't responded to input and clearly were not of the caliber of full sized human beings. The lead scientist at Geneticom even went on CNN to claim that their intelligence was limited entirely by their size itself.
Over time, public opinion shifted. As companies saw the value of small humans being programmed to do tasks that could be dangerous of impossible for full sized humans, they jumped on placing thousands of orders. Educators took advantage, using tiny terrariums to teach everything from anatomy to psychology. The final development was a made-for-home terrarium with tinies in it, made for private use much like a butterfly nest or an ant farm. By this time, anyone still vocal about the morals of the project was labeled as a hippie. Geneticom debuted on the S&P 500 and slowly became a mainstay for developing tinies as a viable product.
The factories designed to make these terrariums had to be custom built given the unusual nature of production. There was also a constant experimentation happening as scientists attempted to improve the 'product'. The most radical plan floating around the drawing board was for fully intelligent humans the size of ants. Of course, this posed real ethical concerns, so despite the promising research, the plan was concealed as a simple file on the main manufacturing software platform. One technician, in error, was given access to this plan and unintentionally ramped it into production for several weeks before the problem became much publicized. As a result, thousands of terrariums with fully intelligent humans including randomly generated background memories were sent into the world.
These are their stories.