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John chose not to emigrate to Mars. That made him "special" or an undesirable. Being special means getting sterilized and living out your life in a toxic wasteland that is now Earth.
John had been a special child who loved all life, especially animals, and had the ability to “bring dead animals” back to life, a process known as a “Time-Reversal Faculty.” This power had been outlawed, however, and when the authorities found out that John was performing such acts, they infused his brain with radiation to keep him from bringing more things back to life. The radiation is what left him “chickenheaded.”