1 : a chronological record of significant events
2 : previous treatment, handling, or experience
"Crimson reckons we go back longer, but it isn't really
true. We fit in with some of the legends, and that's about
it. And the legends are all the sort you'd expect when you've
got things like vampire bats and those little water deer with
the sharp teeth.
"The way it happened, as I know, is that the Lacunae
Comet came through in 1975. It isn't every thousand years,
that's just what they say because it sounds romantic. Last
time it came past some time in the middle ages. I don't know
when. I was raised in a Naturalist warren and they don't teach
history in such places.
"Anyway, the comet came through in January 1975. I was
born in February - my mother had caught the Sickness but gotten
over it. Some other things happened, but they're secrets and
I shan't tell them. The Sickness came at the same time as
the comet, and it changed people. Some people, they said there's
no way a disease could do that, that it would burn up, or
be evidence of life somewhere else or something. But surely
it can't just be coincidence? Anyway, the Sickness, the Plague,
whatever you want to call it, back to that.
"If you got it, you probably died. Thousands and thousands
of people died, and there were riots and all kinds of things.
If you survived it, then you probably fought it off. But some
people seemed to get changed by it. Gradually, at first, then
more of us showed up. And people realised we came in distinct
species for the most part.
"Oh, yes, there's some strange things out there that
aren't like anyone else, but they mostly taste the
same. Anyway, none of that matters. The bit that matters is
that we Changelings were suddenly there, and most of us were
off our rockers. I mean, wouldn't you be, with the pain of
it and your body changing? I have a mouth like a draw full
of razors, no one can teach a rabbit how to deal with that.
So we killed, I guess. I was too young to know, and Crimson
hadn't caught me yet.
"Well, the military came into its own. In most countries,
I think. Some blamed near by neighbours, and there were lots
of wars. The Sickness was worldwide. Terrible, terrible things
happened. I remember my mother telling me. Mostly, the Naturalists
for once did okay. Out in the wilderness, we killed any Changelings
amongst us pretty quickly. But in the cites?
"Blood. A lot of countries with rocket tech already
had satellites up, and they fired on each other. At least,
I think that's what happened. We don't have satellites any
more ourselves now. Not Australia. Anyway, the military cracked
down, the Changeling Control Division was formed, the Internment
Camps started up, lots of stuff like that.
"It was ten years before the basic curfews stopped,
and only that after they had executed hundreds of us. The
Internment Camps are still running - Internment's just a nicer
word than 'Concentration', really. We're still killing. The
CCD is still taking Changelings in, or killing them.
"Nothing much has changed for years now. And I don't
see it changing much in the future."