Kaleidoscope Eyes: The Gathering Storm, Part 1

(by uciboy2001@yahoo.com, 09 November 2002)


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KALEIDOSCOPE EYES:  THE GATHERING STORM

by uciboy

NOTE TO READER:  This is a continuation of "Kaleidoscope Eyes" published June
30, 2002.  It would be helpful to read how Kim goes through the Transformation
before starting this story.

PART I

Los Angeles, California The Future

"Please take your seats," Ms. Lauren said to the kids filing in.  "I know that
this is all a big day for you and that you're excited, but everyone needs to
settle down so that we can get started."

As the children walked in, they noticed someone new in the room today with Ms.
Lauren, a middle-aged Asian American woman dressed in business attire standing
in the front corner of the classroom.  Even for their age of 13, they found
her attractive with her long black hair and shimmering eyes.  She was smoking
a 120 white cigarette which she brought to her lips every few seconds while
smiling and nodding to some of the kids walking in.  

Ms. Lauren picked up her own 120 from a full ashtray sitting on her desk and
began to address the class.

"Welcome back to Beginning Smoking," she began.  "The last few weeks we've
been talking about the history of smoking in our country and the importance of
smoking as central to experiencing life's pleasure.  I'm happy to say that you
are all ready to pass onto the next level of actually becoming smokers by
developing your own mutations."  

Ms. Lauren paused to take a drag on her cigarette while a murmur of
anticipation arose in the classroom.

"You'll find on your desks four things:  an inhaler, an ashtray, a lighter,
and a pack of cigarettes, either 100 or 120 depending on your request.  As
required by law, we have a representative from the Provisional Government here
to say a few words before I lead you through the process.  I'd like for you
all now to give your full attention to the Honorable Miss Tammy Wang."

Tammy took a final puff on her cigarette and crushed the butt in an ashtray
nearby as she blew a stream of smoke out of the side of her mouth.  But within
the few steps it took from the corner of the room to the front she had already
lit another cigarette.

"Thank you, Ms. Lauren," she said in an exhale.  "As a representative of the
Provisional Government, it is a real honor for me to be here today to both
witness and approve your embracement of smoking.  This is a big step for all
of you in your human development.  No doubt you have all dreamed about
experiencing the Transformation.  I can still remember when I went through it,
and I'm sure Ms. Lauren does, too."  Ms. Lauren took a slow puff on a freshly
lit 120, her eyes shimmering brightly as she nodded her head in agreement. 

"First," Tammy continued, "we need to get some official business out of the
way."  She put the long cigarette in her mouth while reaching into her
briefcase to pull out a piece of paper and a pair of eyeglasses.

"As stated in NSA Code 1112, all children upon reaching the age of 13 will
attend a Beginning Smoking course in order to gain an appreciation for the
historic, physiological, and social pleasures of smoking.  Upon passing the
necessary preliminary written and oral examinations, students will graduate
onto the next level of the Transformation."  Tammy took off her reading
glasses and said, "Through the power vested in me by the Provisional
Government of the New Society of America, I hereby approve your graduation
onto the Transformation."  As was customary, Tammy took a deep puff on her
cigarette and blew a cloud of smoke towards the students, as if performing a
blessing before their right of passage.

The students clapped both for Tammy and themselves, proud of their achievement
and excited about going on to the next level.

"Thank you, Ms. Wang," Ms. Lauren said as she sat up from her desk.  "Now, I
want everyone to pick up the inhaler on your desks.  This is what will allow
you to develop the mutation necessary for you to experience the power of the
smoke."

The students picked up a small plastic inhaler, the kind you find those
suffering from asthma using.  

"There is enough chemical agent for two pumps.  Breathe in as you press down
on the inhaler.  As we discussed last week, you'll feel a slight tingle in
your chest and a little dizziness, but it's nothing to be alarmed at."

"Ms. Lauren," one boy asked raising his hand, "when will our eyes start to
shimmer?"

"That's a good question, Bobby.  Due to the composition of the chemical agent,
it will take several hours to experience the full transformation; but some
individuals go through it immediately.  We really don't know why some are
affected differently - that's why we say that they have been embraced by the
Sister's Spirit."

"Will we cough when we smoke," one girl asked.

"Now Amy, you should know the answer to that.  No - you won't cough.  The
chemical agent is developed to acclimate your lungs immediately.  You won't
feel any irritation at all."

"Will we be able to make other people smoke," one child asked mischievously.
The students were especially interested in this question as they wanted to
know what kind of powers their mutation would bring.

"No," Ms. Lauren said, "the chemical agent is not strong enough for that.  As
you know, the Provisional Government has set strict rules on when individuals
are allowed to move onto the Transformation, and so for health reasons you
must be at least 13 before being exposed to the mutation.  So - don't expect
to be able to turn any of your younger brothers or sisters into smokers."  The
children smiled as this is exactly what they were thinking.

"Any other questions?"

There were none.  The students were eager to get on with it.

"Well, then, let's begin.  Bring the inhaler up to your mouth and breathe in
the contents."

The 13 year olds did as they were instructed, creating a loud sucking sound as
they all inhaled en masse.  Murmurings of "wow" and "cool" filled the room as
the students felt the mutation developing within their bodies.  When the
dizziness passed, they unwrapped the packs of cigarettes on their desks.  For
many it was a contest to see if any would be embraced by the Sister's Spirit.
Students knew that those who showed first signs of the Transformation would be
recognized as special throughout their lives, perhaps even being offered a
position in the Provisional Government one day.  Statistically, very few
showed immediate signs, but for those who did, rewards awaited.  

"I see we have an early Transformation here," Ms. Lauren said as she pointed
to the back of the room.  The students turned to see Amy Black's eyes shining
brightly and wished her congratulations, but they were disappointed that they
were not as lucky.  Tammy walked to the back of the room and handed Amy a
certificate while also taking down her name and personal information.

As this was an exciting time for these kids, Ms. Lauren gave them a few
minutes to socialize and experience the smoke for the first time.  Some of
them clearly had been practicing with their parents and older siblings as she
admired the smoke rings and cascading exhales of some, but she knew that none
of them had done it under the influence of the mutation since the Provisional
Government strictly regulated the disbursement of the chemical agent.  She was
extremely proud as she watched all of her kids take that first step into
adulthood.  But she noticed that one student was not smoking.

"Vicki," she said, "why aren't you smoking?"  

The room grew quiet as all eyes turned towards the young girl sitting quietly.  

"I'm waiting for an answer," Ms. Lauren said impatiently.

Vicki stared down at her desk and in a barely audible voice answered, "I don't
want to."

"You don't want to," Ms. Lauren said derisively.

"What's going on here," Tammy asked walking towards Vicki's desk.  "Who is
this child?"

"This is Vicki Martin.  We've been having some 'issues' with her since the
beginning of the semester."

"I see," Tammy answered suspiciously.  "Vicki, why don't you want to smoke?"

Vicki looked up at Tammy whose friendly face had suddenly turned stern and
cold.  Speaking softly, she replied, "I....I heard that smoking is bad for
you."

"Whoever told you that is dead wrong," Ms. Lauren replied angrily.  Tammy held
up her hand, saying with her eyes, "Let me handle this."

"Vicki," Tammy asked, "who told you that?"

The little girl remained silent.  Tammy looked at Ms. Lauren who explained,
"Her parents passed the background check.  They're confirmed smokers."

Tammy closed her eyes, trying to control her anger.  "Whoever it was," she
said turning to Vicki, "they are in error.  You have learned in this class
that the Transformation allows you to smoke without any health consequences at
all."

"But I don't want to smoke," Vicki replied with some boldness.  "Why does
everyone have to smoke?  Why can't I choose not to?"

Tammy could feel rage boiling within her at the insolence of this child.
"Class," she said with a dramatic wave of her hand as she turned to the
students, "what do we think of non-smokers?"

"Booooooo," the 13 year olds replied in unison.

"Why is that?"

"Because they're intolerant," one replied.  "Because they're mean," another
offered.  "Because they're boring," one boy joked and the students began to
giggle.

"This is no laughing matter," Tammy admonished, and the class grew suddenly
silent.  "Vicki, a lot of people sacrificed their lives so that you could
smoke.  When the Kaleidoscope Revolution began years ago against the
Anti-Smoking Regime of the former United States, we never imagined that we
could change the course of history.  I myself fought at the Battle of
Sacramento when I was but a teenager.  I watched the Capitol Building burn!"

Vicki had once again turned her eyes down to the desk, intimidated by the
passion that this woman showed in talking about the Revolution.

"Look up at that portrait on the wall.  Do you know who that is?"

Vicki looked up at a portrait of a young Asian American woman dressed in a
white gown and sitting on what appeared to be a throne.  She held a long white
cigarette in her fingers at an angle just from her cheek.  Her eyes were like
kaleidoscopes and shone brighter than anyone else she had seen before.
"That's Sister Kim," she replied to Tammy.

"That's right, the founder of the New Society of America.  She showed us a
vision of what life could be like by embracing the power of the smoke.  We
could not have fought and won the Revolution without her courage and
leadership.  Never again will we allow the Anti-Smokers to control us.  That's
why you must smoke!"

Vicki remained defiant, unwilling to use the inhaler that sat on her desk.
Tammy could have taken her to the Health Center and forced the chemical agent
into her lungs, but as her anger began to recede, she saw this as a potential
opportunity to make a young convert through persuasion.  Perhaps, she thought
to herself, I can convince this child of why we have embraced the power of the
smoke.

"Vicki, if only you could understand how the Revolution began...."

END PART 1


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