HUMANITY Book 1 - Prelude
World War III
Greed, masqueraded in religious righteousness was what prompted one mad man to decide the earth needed to be cleansed of ALL sinners. Believing only he and his followers were the righteous ones. This single man declared WAR on anyone that would not blindly follow him.
Throughout history there have been many men who rose to power by preying on fears, ignorance and greed. But what this man did best was to feed into the darker side of humanity. He gave a voice to the extremists on ALL sides. He made those that followed him believe they were the chosen ones; they will survive the apocalypse. That they needed to eradicate anyone that does not share their beliefs. Men, women, and children from all walks of life are a disease that needs to be cured.
No one in a civilized society could ever fathom a man like this could be elected to a position of power in a first world country. But the masses become complacent. The man got into power and he pushed THE BUTTON! HE PUSHED THE BUTTON!! Throwing the world into utter chaos; all forms of weaponry were used - including bio-warfare!
More than 80% of the earth’s population was eliminated following the decade-long bloody war. The carnage only ended after this one man - a little man, a coward - took his own life as a three man rogue brigade cornered him in his mansion. Soon afterward, his closest followers surrendered. The war was OVER! The small brigade responsible for bringing the tyrant down was lead by Sergeant Major Kirkland of the United States Marines and his two most trusted Sergeants.
What greeted the survivors were flesh-eating viruses, contaminated food sources and mutated, rage-filled animals. Within a few months after the war, earth’s population fell to a little more than 10%. Desperate to continue the human race, survivors from around the world banded together. These were mostly military officials, top scientists, engineers and their families.
With different people around the world working together for a common goal, survival and a cure for the viruses were quickly found. The soil and water were decontaminated. In order to defend themselves from their savage surroundings, the powers that be mutually made the grim choice to replace limbs and infected areas with highly engineered prosthetics. This procedure increased the individual’s strengths and abilities by ten-fold and was quickly nicknamed “The Process”. What started as a necessity soon became the norm and eventually enforced by the military.
To make sure peace would continue, UNITED EARTH REGIONS (UER) was formed. The world now divided into five regions: Asia, Europe, Africa, Oceania and the Americas. All governing matters are voted on by the five regions. Each region gets ONE vote regardless of land size, population, beliefs and so on. A simple majority vote will enact rules and regulations for ALL of the world.
Within ten years of forming the UER, things like hunger, disease, racism, sexism, climate change were all but eliminated. Monetary rewards were no longer the driving force. In fact, all forms of currency were discontinued. People around the world worked together to better each other’s lives - to grow and continue the human race.
Out of all the carnage and distraction, has the human race finally found peace?
HUMANITY Book 1 - Chapter 1
30 YEARS AFTER THE 3RD WORLD WAR:
Slivers of sunlight break through the gray clouds illuminating the dreary dense woods of Industry, Pennsylvania. The stillness and silence of the cold morning are broken by sounds of footsteps and low chattering. Two bundled-up figures with large backpacks are making their way through the woods.
“Are you sure you know where you are going?” A demanding voice calls out.
“No, not really, but this map does.” A button on Aaron’s coat is projecting a holographic map.
Aaron and Sophie Schneider, siblings, are running away from home to spare Sophie from The Process. Sophie has just turned sixteen - the age where girls must go through The Process. Eighteen for boys. However not everyone agrees with this mandate. In fact, there is a movement among the civilian sector that sees The Process as outdated and a way for the military to keep control. Aaron also shares this view.
They are heading for the rebellion camp. Not necessarily to join but to take refuge. Aaron believes they will have a better chance to keep their limbs than to stay back and try to reason with their father. The rebellion is made up of fugitives and post-Process people that want to put a stop to the practice. The resistance sends out underground communications inviting anyone to join or simply needing refuge. Aaron is wearing a button that is guiding them to the camp. He found the button at school stuck underneath his desk when Jason Lewis, the Frankenstein meat-head captain of the football team, knocked his reading pad to the floor.
A high school hallway brightly lit by LED tubes running along the wall. Stainless steel lockers equipped with fingerprint scanners line the entire hall. A soft electronic female announcement is played.
“First session is complete. Promptly and orderly proceed to your second session. The five minute allotted time will begin now.”
A red digital count down clock materializes on the wall above the lockers. The classroom’s doors automatically slide open as students bust out on their way to their next session. Faculty walk among the students trying to keep some sort of order amid the chaos. Sounds of laughing, chatting, lockers opening and slamming closed drowns out the count down clock.
Perhaps this is why what happens next goes unnoticed.
“A C minus! You got me a C minus! How HARD do I need to hit you for me to get an A?!”
Aaron is slammed hard into the lockers. Jason, the Neanderthal, is yelling close to his face. So close in fact, that Aaron catches a scent of what he thinks is beef jerky. He spots a piece of meat stuck between Jason’s lower central incisors.
“You need floss and a breath mint.” Jason’s expression goes blank for a second. Aaron doesn't know when to keep his mouth shut. “Processing time for your under-developed brain?”
Jason is pissed! He grabs Aaron by the neck, pulls him forward and slams his head against the locker.
“You’re gonna be drinking ALL of your meals when I am done with you!” Jason tightens his grip around Aaron’s neck.
“If you kill me, you’ll never pass Algebra!” Bracing for his impending doom, self-preservation takes over Aaron. “Then you’ll never play football! You’ll sit at home, get fat and go bald! You’ll end up digging ditches in order to contribute to society …”
A clink sound is heard followed by Jason growling!
“Okay, okay! I got you an C- because you failed the last exam! Mr. Spencer would totally know something was up if you all of a sudden pull off an A! COME-ON MAN!! I’ll get you a B next time and then an A!” Silence. Aaron does not feel any pain. He slowly opens his eyes. Jason is looking at something in the distance. Aaron raises his voice. “Hellooooo … earth to dumb jock.” Jason, a little startled, looks back at Aaron. “So are we good? I’ll work you up to an A after the next couple of tests.”
“What?” Jason gives Aaron an annoyed look.
“My plan to get your Algebra grades up!” Jason looks right into Aaron’s eyes. After what seems like hours, Aaron nervously thinks to himself, “Oh god no! He’s not gonna kiss me is he?”
“Yeah that would work … thanks man.” Jason releases Aaron’s neck and stands him up. Then he straightens Aaron’s jacket and dusts him off.
“Mr. Lewis! Is there is a problem?” A voice booms from behind Jason. It’s a teacher monitoring the hallway.
“No sir.” Jason turns to answer. “Just talking with my good buddy Aaron here.” Jason gives Aaron a wink. Aaron glances back with a confused look.
“Get to class now!” The teacher orders.
“Yes sir!” Jason walks off.
Aaron watches Jason leave and then lets out a breath he has sub-conscientiously been holding. He notices something shiny on the floor at his feet. It’s a quarter. Aaron picks it up thinking, “That’s odd to find a quarter laying around these days. It’s in good condition. Sophie collects quarters …”
“That goes for you too MR. SCHNEIDER - get to class NOW!” The teacher hollers at Aaron.
“WHAT?!?! Who?!” STARTLED, Aaron almost pisses himself! “Right … right away sir!” He fumbles to hold on to the quarter, then runs off to class just as the soft female electronic announcement starts the final ten second countdown.
End of Aaron’s Story
“You failed map reading when dad tested you.” Sophie reminds her brother.
This greatly annoys Aaron.
“Who uses maps anyway? There’s always GPS!” Aaron reminds his sister.
“That’s exactly what you said when we found you miles from our meeting point! Also we don’t have our com-link with us, remember? S.A.I.A.H. (Schneider’s Artificial Intelligence Autonomous Home) can’t help you!”
“Then YOU can lead!” Aaron stops in his tracks, takes the button off of his coat and holds it out to Sophie.
Sophie snatches the button from his hand. The holographic map shuts off.
“HEY! Give that back!” Aaron protests.
Sophie marches by Aaron.
“You told me to lead! This way we may have a chance of finding the rebellion before we get eaten out here!” Aaron rushes ahead to get the button back.
“The button is coded to my fingerprints! It’s not gonna work for you.” But before he reaches Sophie, she abruptly stops. He runs into her. “What’a?! Give me that!” Aaron takes back the button. Sophie shushes him. A low growling is coming from directly in front of them. Aaron instinctively pulls Sophie behind him. “You had to say eaten didn’t you?” Sophie glares at Aaron.
The growling grows louder. Aaron, being the protective brother, tries to contain his fear as he pushes Sophie behind him. Sophie swats his arm away and mouths “get behind me!” Just then, a mutated raccoon the size of a small truck emerges from the thick woods. Aaron quickly grabs a branch from the ground and points it at the beast. In response, the raccoon bares its fangs as thick saliva drips from its mouth. The mutated animal circles Aaron and Sophie. Aaron keeps the branch pointed at the beast while keeping pace and shielding his sister. Sophie pulls off her mittens, grabs her backpack, pulls out a baton and snaps it to full length.
“Where did you get that?” Aaron is surprised.
Another growl is heard above them. A mutated bobcat is slowly climbing down from a tree!
Sophie jumps up pressing her back to Aaron and points the baton at the bobcat. Not wanting to share the potential kill, the raccoon lets out a loud roar. The bobcat ignores the warning and launches off the tree! Sophie stands ready with the baton when Aaron throws himself on top of her knocking them both to the ground! Aaron covers his sister and braces for what is to come. After a moment of nothing, they hear a commotion.
The raccoon is attacking the bobcat! Sophie and Aaron watch in amazement but quickly snap back to reality. They look at one another and make a mad dash away from the fight! Tearing through the woods - not knowing where they are going - Sophie and Aaron finally stop to catch their breath. Aaron sounds as if he is having an asthmatic attack. Sophie takes hold of Aaron, forcing him to look at her.
“Breathe. Breathe with me.” They take a few breaths together. Aaron’s breathing slowly returns to normal. “Are you okay? Can you talk?” Aaron nods his head yes, then takes another deep breath.
“I THOUGHT WE WERE DEAD!!” Aaron screams!
Sophie quickly covers his mouth. “Quiet - Do you want them to find us?” Sophie says in a hushed voice and then removes her hand. Aaron covers his mouth with both of his hands shaking his head no.
Just as Aaron starts to relax, another rustling sound is heard. Aaron’s eyes grow BIG as he sees trees and brush moving. Something is rushing toward them fast! Bursting out of the woods, the mutated raccoon with bloodstained teeth and foaming at the mouth leaps for them! Without thinking, Aaron pushes Sophie away. The beast lands between them!
The raccoon sets its sight on Aaron and moves toward him. Sophie catches her balance and firmly grips the baton and leaps for the monster. But before she can make contact, the beast swiftly turns and strikes her to the ground! Aaron, still holding the branch, jumps on the raccoon's back and stabs the beast! The monster lets out a blood-curdling cry and throws Aaron, catapulting him head first into a boulder. The last thing Aaron sees is the wounded, crazed beast towering over Sophie. Aaron reaches out for his sister. In a weak voice he calls out to her.
Aaron blacks out.
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