The Helix Foundation

There exists a family who can 'scramble' any DNA; change it completely, activate dormant genes and utterly destroy it. Three siblings take different approaches to their powers; Michael heals, Lucy aids criminals and Tara just wants to experience life.
They could not be any different but their family name, nicknamed The Helix Foundation, unites them all.


1. Prologue - A family of murderers





A family of murderers all lived in one house. That wasn’t an exact identifier and each one of them had a different definition as to why they should have or could have been called that. One of them sat and listened to an audio recording, limbs bunched together in the chair in a childlike manner. 


We, as humans, are made up of fragments of the universe. Fundamental elements blocked together to form cells, genes and proteins. This is DNA, the total of everything we are, some even say that if we lack a soul that our DNA is the biological equivalent.  


(But Old Jim down the road said that, so it might not be trusted in its entirety.)  


It does come to our surprise then that over ninety per cent of our DNA doesn’t code for anything, we are made up of less than ten per cent of human potential. The term Junk DNA is even used. 


Their father’s voice crooned from the speakers, but just as he finished the first paragraph in his very long speech his lecture was cut off dramatically. Father used to use this fact as a marvel, a gaping flaw in the laws of biology. He said that DNA held so much power in its strands and that only they could exploit it, activate genes long lost and overcome every law there ever was.  


They were the exceptions.  


They found out their powers at different ages, Michael when he was eight and cured a man’s cancer, Lucy when she made her cat immortal at ten and Tara when she changed the colour of her eyes to a stunning purple aged two. Their father adopted them not long after, their families given visitation rights at first. The Helix Foundation was born from then on, a business born out of the back doors of a converted apartment block.  


No one ever said that Terrence Anima was nothing more than a businessman. Even when their family expanded, more DNA Scramblers were found or forged by Terrence himself. Anyone could become a superhero if they had the right amount of money.  


Terrence was immortalised, his body lasting forever even when he refused to take the powers himself. His crinkled face and three-piece suit costume cemented in all of their memories. He was currently in New York on some venture or another, something that Michael didn’t care to think about.  


It was the first time Michael had been back in the Foundation for six years. The monolithic block of floors and glass sculptures had stood the test of time and it hadn’t changed, even the people hadn’t changed since he had last been there. There were, however, more of them. 


His fingers reached for the bottle of Scotch hanging on the edge of the desk. He needed the medicine, the burn in the back of his throat, the exact same burn he had craved for six years. But then his eyes caught on the dried blood and dirt clustered near his knuckles and fingernails. Revulsion curled in his throat and his hand pushed the bottle further away into the shadows.  


Instead, his gaze turned to the cameras in front of him. The Surveillance room was typically reserved for his father, but it was never locked and barred to the Scramblers.  


(Michael had always hated that name, it made them sound like they were eggs.)  


He switched from the boarding rooms; children he had never met swimming, reading or playing amongst themselves, the danger was over now, and their rooms were their sanctuary, the one place they would not leave because this was their home. The business rooms were empty, the lockdown leaving the rooms all slate grey and blue accents. Michael knew what they looked like though, what they used to be like; queues of people leading out of the door and money being handed as soon as they entered. Then he finally found Tara, her head in her hands as she sat on the edge of the fountain. Her hands were wet, the same blood and dirt that Michael shared washed off in favour of scrubbed pink skin. Life had caught up with her and she looked older than her years, lines freshly carved into her skin. She would reach for her own addictions, tearing grass from the roots when she was nervous or reaching for the knitting needles when she became too uptight. Because if the universe wouldn’t be shaped by her hands, something woollen would be. 


Michael couldn’t take her pain, just like he couldn’t heal his own. Emotional connections were much harder to force than purely biological ones.  


Lucy sat propped against a pillar, looking more beautiful than she had ever been before. Her gaze lingered on the fallen body next to her, hands delicately curved like a dancer’s. If Michael had to define the stare with an adjective, he would pair innocent with longing.  


Guilt tore Michael’s eyes away before the camera could swivel and make their gazes lock.  


He gulped and reached for the bottle of Scotch again, it was heavy in his hands, the liquid sloshing back and forth like a miracle. With his other hand he thumbed his tokens out of his pocket; the casino chip for six months that he had gotten from the agency, the wooden figurine he had gifted himself at one year and the small mirror he had been given at five years. They were all laid out on the table as he uncapped the bottle and swigged his first mouthful in years. He held it in his mouth and tried to make it taste like ashes and iron rust - like it was broken and destroyed. But he couldn’t.  


He was not ashamed that it tasted like redemption.


And in the camera’s shot Tara finally broke down, her chest trembling, as a storm had swept through her. Her face broke, her purple hair couldn’t form curtains around her eyes to hide her tears and she slumped forward completely. Someone would pick her up, and it would not be Michael, not when he was a splintered soul himself.  


He didn’t even want to face his reflection because he knew what he would find. The hipster-ish doctor reduced to a failure, representing everything everyone told him he would be. He hated it, yet he had endorsed it. 


The Helix Foundation carried on around them, destroyed rooms and shattered pillars not seeming to exist to the business students sweeping money through hands and purses.  


Maybe that was why the three siblings had always hated the place. 


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