The Wrong Color

The transformation process didn’t work as planned. The goal was to become a changeable representation of any human race. The super spy potential was infinite. An operative with the ability to adapt to local populations and blend without suspicion offered an incredible advantage to the commanding organization. The color changing ability turned out to be extremely difficult to control. The ultimate goal to shift pigmentation to a desired shade at will appeared to be far out of reach.

The intention had been to infuse all pigmentation variables and activate changes with genetic triggers. The operative would ingest a compound and transform shades in a few hours. Full coloration would set in less than four hours and remain until changed by another compound. Numerous experiments provided a broad array of failures.

One early test subject lost all pigmentation. The effect was sickening. With no color at all, the inner workings of the body’s subsurface revealed blood vessels and muscles in action. The skin was there, simply transparent.

Another went purple and locked in that shade. No alteration compounds worked to undo the change. The test subject faced a lifetime of ridicule unless they could find employment as a permanent mascot for grapes, wine, or a children’s show character.

One other unfortunate subject rotated through pigment cycles. Every few hours they became lighter or darker shades of pink, red, brown, and black. They were doomed to become a faceless blogger represented by a cartoon icon.

I ultimately quit the program before the experiments reached me. It just wasn’t worth the risk.


If you could spend the next year as someone radically different from the current “you” — a member of a different species, someone from a different gender or generation, etc. — who would you choose to be?

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