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Upon the Place Beneath
And it turned out that we built software patient enough to hallucinate medicines that worked and patient enough to teach living beings to synthesize them.
But those who owned the software had not intended it to be this successful, for their riches came from the difficulty of the manufacturing processes and the ability to police them. So the dreaming software was locked behind bars of software security and IP laws. The security lasted less than they had expected, which wasn’t much. The law remained steadfast in its defense of campaign donation-weighted citizen well-being.
Everybody called them angels. Their forms were many, their powers few could explain, they touch life-saving if you encountered the right one at the right time. Companies called them illegally engineered organisms with bootlegged drug synthesizing genetic code. They weren’t angels: they were walking, flying, swimming crimes. And they were animals. They could be hunted down. Entire forests sacred to the loved ones of the unaffordably recovered were burned down.
Very few people called it the sacrament, not even the Catholic-born. For Catholics it was as much as heresy to take it as it was an insult not to use that name, for what would you call a thin wafer that you ate and changed you: changed you so your blood could, for the right person at the right time, be the medicine they needed.
Taking the sacrament made a person a criminal with every beat of their heart. They had to remain hidden. But the purpose of taking it was to help others, and for that you had to reveal yourself. They could, like angels, be hunted down, sometimes with different methods and sometimes not.