Genderpunk 2077: Eight

The train ride back to Cumulo Plaza was uneventful. After the enigmatic way Vixx described things I was expecting to play a far riskier role, but my part in this production was fairly minor. I was here in the square and I had Vixx’s app ready on my phone… All that was left to do now was wait for the show to start.

Cumulo Plaza was still full of gusts milling about, going about faer day. I blended in with the crowd, dressed as I was in purple and white. The only thing that looked at all unusual was the dozen or so gusts wearing various colored fox ears… Or was it two dozen? The longer I scanned the crowd the more ears I saw—Vixx only posted about this show an hour ago, but the Vixxens really turned out despite the short notice.

In a few minutes trains bringing people home from work would arrive, and plaza would be truly packed. I looked again at the EleMart near the spot I was standing. Its new license scanner was still there, chirping away as gusts entered the store. The spark I saw earlier today was still standing guard too. When the show started I was supposed to walk into the EleMart to play my part… I still didn’t know how I was going to get past the license scanner though. Vixx insisted I wouldn’t have to worry about it, but I was still skeptical. Nothing to do but try, I guess.

At the station the first few workers emerged from the doors, heading home after a long day at their job. The next knot of people was a bit larger, and then a steady stream of gusts started trickling through the doors. It didn’t take long for the plaza to fill up with them, turning the casual smattering of people into a thick crowd. My eyes settled on a gust wearing a large hood as I watched everyone. Faer hood came down over faer eyes and hid faer face, and I couldn’t see their features at all. For just an instant I could have sworn I caught a glimpse of orange under faer hood… But I lost fem before I could be sure.

I turned my eyes back to the EleMart. It wouldn’t be long now and I had to be ready. The other Vixxens must have agreed, because I saw several pairs of fox ears starting to make their way towards the store. I caught sight of the hooded gust again just as fay were stepping into the EleMart. The spark must have noticed fem too since se stood up to intercept fem, but they froze in place with a shocked expression as the hooded gust crossed the threshold. Whoever fay was, faer license apparently told the spark not to mess with fem.

Not five minutes later, a guitar chord loud enough to be heard clearly from the plaza blasted out from the EleMart. A shriek of joy went up from the fox ears scattered through the Plaza as Vixxens started pushing toward the unlikely venue, while everyone else in the plaza parted ways in confusion. Vixx’s clearly amplified silver voice poured out from inside:

Hey you Vixxens, are you ready for a show!? Get your fox ears ready for Vixx’s new single, Genderfuck!

Another scream erupted from the crowd as the spark guarding the EleMart jumped into action to end the impromptu show before it kicked off, but se was soon overwhelmed by Vixxens flooding into the store to get closer to the music. Se tried in vain to stop the first few, but se was quickly outnumbered by excited fans, and after a brief internal struggle with sis job se abandoned sis post. That was it… My signal to move.

I lurched towards the EleMart, pushing my way in among the Vixxens that had filled the entrance. I spared a glance at the license scanner as I stepped in, but among all the other people crowding the space, the scanner must not have picked me up. Vixx was right after all; they’d gotten me into the EleMart alert free.

You think you’re a fire, with your muscles and rage?
Fuck your gender! Fuck your gender!
Think you’re a water, growing wise as you age?
Fuck your gender! Fuck your gender!
Think you’re an Earth? Where’s your toughness to match?
Fuck your gender! Fuck your gender!
Think you’re an Air? Don’t blow smoke up my ass!
Fuck your gender! Fuck your gender!

Vixx’s aggressive music reverberated through my entire body, but I couldn’t let myself get distracted by the song. I pushed my way to the back of the store, squeezing past Vixxens angling to get closer to the sound. Fortunately, once they realized I was heading somewhere else, they were happy to let me pass. There in the back of the store I saw my target: A gust staring in horrified shock at the concert that crashed faer formerly peaceful shop. I closed in, shouting to be heard over the music.

“Is this your store?” I bellowed.

“What?” fay answered, still reeling.

I tried again. “Are you the owner of this branch?”

The gust’s terror somehow increased even further. “I swear I had nothing to do with this! I’ll offer you store credit for your inconvenience…”

“No need,” I yelled. “I’m here to represent Vixx, who’s offering you the unique opportunity to license this song for play in your store.”

Fuck the government! Fuck them hard!
Fuck the Astral Church! Let them fall!
Fuck the gender test! Fuck the stars!
Fuck your elements! Fuck you all!

“Are you insane!?” the owner screamed. “I never want to hear this song again in my life!”

“You’d get the instrumental version,” I continued, ignoring faer outburst. “No need to worry about explicit lyrics.”

I watched as the owner’s terror turned to fury an instant, fury that fay quickly turned on me. “You think you can barge in here and bully me into giving you money? What makes you think I want anything to do with you degenerates!?”

“The size of this crowd,” I answered smoothly, readying the arguments I’d practiced with Vixx in advance. “You’ve been losing a lot of business to smaller shops, haven’t you? There are a lot of potential customers in here, assuming you can lure them in with the appropriate ambiance.”


“This stunt is going to bring you a lot of attention,” I insisted, doing my best to ignore the music. “And sure, you could kick us out and let your store shrink into irrelevance. Or you could prove your business savvy by being the first EleMart branch to attract a new demographic in years.”

I held my phone up to the stunned gust, Vixx’s app at the ready. On the screen was a legal contract that would formalize the deal I was proposing; all fay had to do was accept the terms.

“All you have to do is sign the contract,” I offered. “What do you say?”

For a moment the entire deal hung in the balance while the owner stared at me with a blank look on faer face. Then fay pulled a phone out of faer pocket. With a few taps on the screen faer phone accepted the contract and sent back faer digital signature. The deal was done.

“We’ll be in touch,” I called as I pushed my way out of the store and quickly made my way home. The show ended as suddenly as it began, and the crowd of Vixxens dispersed before Social Services even arrived on the scene. Now back in my apartment, I sat down on my bed, exhausted.

As I sat there I reflected on the wild day I had. I couldn’t imagine a more memorable way to say goodbye to my old life than that. Just then my phone let out a chirp, surely announcing the end of my life as a free citizen… But then I realized that I still had at least half an hour before my sentence should be executed. I looked down at my phone to find a message from Vixx waiting for me:

hey spica,

i got a notification as soon as the owner signed the contract. i’m impressed you pulled it off! i could really use a partner like you for my future projects, so i hope you’re ready to get out there again soon. stay in the den, and we’ll be in touch.


p.s. i sent your cut (10%) in this message, it should hit your account once you finish reading it. don’t spend it all in one place 😉

Sure enough, as soon as I read the last line my phone chimed with a notification that a payment had hit my account. I tapped open my banking app and my jaw hit the floor. My ten percent cut of the contract amounted to an even 5,000 shields.

I looked at the number again and again, sure that there was an extra zero or two in there somewhere, but it stubbornly stayed the same each time I checked it. This was enough to make my payment… Stars, it was enough to pay off most of my debt! I dropped my phone as I flopped back onto my bed, reeling from my sudden reversal of fortune. I wasn’t sure if this wild excitement what my life was going to be like from now on, but it sure beat the alternative.

“What a fucking day,” I exclaimed aloud. The adrenaline that had built up over the course of the day was finally leaving my system. Without another thought I flipped onto my side and passed out.

A note on writing Genderpunk 2077

Genderpunk 2077 started life as a Twine game. I was still a trans hatchling, not quite six months from my Hatch Day and a few weeks from starting HRT, when I started making notes for what would eventually be that game. It was intended to be a life-sim style game where you play a teenager who’d grown up in a company town deliberately locked into 2000s era technology, was forcefully relocated to 2077 Sideral City, and had to make their way through its foreign gender dystopia. Even after scaling the scope back to an ungendered person struggling to pay off a debt in the one day they had left, I couldn’t get into the groove of making the game, and I eventually shelved the project.

Fast forward a year of life and estrogen, and I’d just finished my novella WitchNet, reigniting my love of writing in the process. I went back to Genderpunk 2077 as a project and found that there wasn’t much there that still interested me. Genderpunk was a very politically focused game, more about solving puzzles and making statements about neoliberalism than getting in touch with the characters or the lived experience of Sidereal City. Estrogen had fueled a passion for emotional connection, and that kind of story just didn’t appeal to me anymore. I shelved the project again and a few months later would fall into writing the scenes that would eventually become Family Of Me.

Fast forward again to a couple months ago. Newly on break from Family Of Me and looking for a new temporary project, I dusted off Genderpunk 2077 a second time. I was already working on a game (Evertrue Chronicle) and didn’t want to start another one, but I realized I could take the most interesting path through Genderpunk and turn it into a short story. In a short story I could go much further into depth about the main character’s life and thoughts, and pace it out into the short scenes I have a bunch of experience writing. So Genderpunk 2077 the short story was born as a low-effort in-between story while I was taking a break from the emotional effort of Family Of Me.

I think the story went pretty well, honestly! One of the challenges in developing this was writing characters in a way that didn’t indicate where they were on today’s gender spectrum and instead leaned on the invented gender system that exists in the world of the story. I feel like I barely scratched the surface there. I also didn’t get much of the technological developments into the story; the world was originally designed to have some augmented humans and other biotechnology, but that didn’t make it into the story. Lastly, as a comfortable white woman, I have a feeling my portrayal of hardship and marginalization rings a little hollow.

If you made it this far, I hope you enjoyed it, and I thank you for reading! For more information about my work, take a peek at my website which I try to keep up to date as I release or update projects. See you around~