A Side Note to You, the Reader
Now, I feel like I have some explaining to do. I often get a bit ahead of myself, as I tend to forget you have no prior knowledge of this world. I’m going to debrief you on the short history of my kind. Chromats, or scientifically, Audiochromatatophes, were a subclass of humans that -due to strange genetic mutations- were able to process light frequencies as sound waves. Whether this characteristic was physical or merely psychological, it is still unknown, though we do know it affected roughly 4% of the population at it’s peak.
An extraordinarily recessive gene, Photoauditory Perception Syndrome, or PPS, was first documented in 2019. In controlled studies, volunteers were given pieces of mutli-colored cardstock, and were asked to describe each color in one to two words. Those in possession of the PPS gene often described blues and violets to be “obnoxious” and “piercing” in contrast to those who did not carry the gene, who more often than not found blues to be “calming” and “dreamy”. The PPS positive test subjects admitted to only “hearing” such sounds when the card was in their sight; if the card was flipped, the noise stopped. This is a result of the high frequencies of light emitted by the violet end of the visible spectrum being perceived by the brain as a high-pitched sound. When the stimulus was eradicated, e.i., when the card was flipped, subjects could no longer see its color, and therefore did not perceive it auditorially either. Scientists originally believed this transmission of energy was due to highly receptive ocular cones, but later ruled that out during a relatively fruitless dissection of a cadaver's eye. Complicated, I know, but if it makes you feel any better, scientists never quite figured it out either.
Scientists studied PPS in massive government-funded projects for upwards of thirty years in the hopes of creating some sort of Darwinian monstrosity. Their plan - after successfully decoding the mutant alleles - was to insert the affected host’s DNA into plasmid vectors; an older method of cloning used in the early 2000’s. By manipulating this gene to their liking, the ultimate goal was to form a new branch of military special-ops, called “Spectators”. These finely tuned super-soldiers would be able to detect an enemy’s position by sensing any miniscule inconsistency in visual stimuli by comparing the foreign light-to-sound frequencies with their surroundings. This would require acute precision on the scientist’s part, however, as the allele in it’s natural state was not nearly that refined. Unfortunately, funding was cut for the project in the year 2043 for unknown reasons, though most believed it was because no further progress had been made.
The money was no sooner cut from research than it was diverted into special schooling for these individuals. Under the eye of equal and civil-rights activist, President William D. Nye (2042-2050), dimly lit classrooms were implemented in public schools across the fifty states, along with the invention of Chroma-Protective Eyewear. From then on, Audiochromatatophes were perceived less as science experiments (or as my personal favorite group of religious extremists referred to us as, “The Eyes of Baphomet”), and were accepted into a relatively normal way of life. Movements were set in place throughout the 40’s, advocating for “hearing-friendly workplaces” and the discontinuation of neon signs. With just a little nudging, the non-colorhearing world made room for us, and we settled in comfortably.
That is, until they came and took it all away.-L.J.W, August 25th, 2095