Charles Darwin once said, "A scientific man ought to have no wishes, no affections, a mere heart of stone" —a credo that Ernst Kelso embraced before he was old enough to have even heard of evolution.
As a child growing up in the Rust Belt, Kelso watched what was once the industrial backbone of the United States atrophy year by year, leaving factory workers like his father and mother desperate and hopeless. By the time he reached high school, two years earlier than the rest of his peers, young Ernst felt not pity for the struggles of his parents and their friends, but disgust. The world was changing around them, and rather than adapt, they submerged themselves in resentment and despair. He swore he’d never indulge such base emotions or allow himself to be tethered to an unhealthy situation by a spouse or children.
At 14, he posed with his parents after delivering the valedictory address at his high school graduation; it was the last time he stood by his family. A full academic scholarship to Stanford awaited, and Kelso wasted no time heading west to begin building his legend.
The next ten years were filled with accomplishment—dual Master degrees in Biology and Chemistry, a PhD in Microbiology, two books, and the launch of a successful company, but little challenge. Financial success and personal fame were not enough for him; he hungered to leave an indelible mark on human history.
He needed to evolve
Selling his business for a huge profit, he began making plans for
a new venture, a company unlike any other. But he needed a partner, someone whose intellectual heft approached his own, but who would not take too keen an interest in the financial side of the operation. He decided to contact an old classmate: Marcus Hawking. Hawking considered himself a humanitarian, and cared little about flow charts and profit margins; he simply wanted to improve society. Kelso poured every ounce of his resources, personal and financial, into the company, which would use microbiology to revolutionize the fields of medicine, pharmaceuticals, and biogenetics.
For a time, Kelso’s friendship with Hawking grew along with their business partnership, but eventually, he realized that his partner’s sense of “social responsibility” would always hamper his plans. Ernst wanted to build a new world; Marcus wanted to save the detritus of the old one. Moreover, Kelso needed additional funding, having exhausted his own reserves. The man who swore he’d never allow personal relationships to stand in the way of his vision began looking for more like-minded allies, and found them in a mysterious group calling itself The Combine
The Combine’s long-range plans for the world involve a literal destruction and rebuilding of civilization around humanity’s elite; the weak and sick would be swept away, survival of the fittest. At long last, Ernst Kelso is surrounded by men and women who see the world as he does, and who have the means to make their vision a reality.
And all it will cost him is his soul.