In this version of reality there is not only one species of Homo sapiens but two. The first were Homo sapiens sapiens as you and I know them, the second were Homo sapiens griseus which were colloquially referred to as Betas. Betas are very similar in many ways to normal humans it is more interesting to note how they differ. First off their skin is almost always grey in various shades, although sometimes it can be blue. Some are relatively hairless, others are much more furry. Their vocal cords are greatly reduced making it impossible for them to make certain sounds, their language consists of primitive sounding grunts, snarls, whines and chirps. They are considered to be an inferior subspecies of humans. Betas are pure herbivores, capable of eating many forms of plant foods that the classic human cannot as Betas are able to digest cellulose. Humans in the early days of hunter gather culture discovered how useful Beta’s were as a food source. They were hunted back then, now they are farmed and very few exist in natural habitats. Now the billboards and tv commercials advertise Beta burgers, Beta bacon and Beta cheese. In this universe eating Beta’s is normal, socially acceptable and in many ways viewed in the same light as how our society view the eating of meat from non human animals.
Liz had finished her last class of the day. College was an exciting place to be. She was a first year student and had quickly made new friends. Her closest friend at college was Rachel.
The campus courtyard was mostly empty except for a few people and near the fountain a protest for Beta right was happening. The protestors were talking to some people and handing out flyers to others.
Most people walked by them without looking.
“Grassheads!” someone yelled at the protestors standing under the banner that said ‘Go Veg!’
Liz and her friend Rachel walked past them.
“I hate it when they try and push their views like that,” Rachel said gesturing at the poster of a Beta female crying.
“I want to ask what the poster is about,” Liz said ignoring Rachels protest in response.
Liz walked up to one of the protestors.
“Why is the Beta in the picture crying?” she asked confused.
“Betas are mammals,” he replied kindly. “A Beta cannot produce milk without first become pregnant. After the child is born the standard practise is to take the baby away and kill it if it is not female so our kind can drink their milk.”
“Oh,” Liz replied dumbly. He handed her a pamphlet and tried to keep talking to her but Rachel dragged her away.
“Don’t listen to their propaganda,” Rachel said. “If they had it their way they would turn the whole world into Grassheads like them.”
Liz laughed but something nagged at the back of her mind.
“Let’s go get some Beta burgers and go through our Chem notes,” Rachel said.
“Ok,” Liz replied. She folded the pamphlet up and tucked it in her pocket for later.