Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Voice From The Apocalypse (excerpt from WIP, "Not With A Bang..."

2058  -Andrews, S. N., Maj. Gen. RAMC

It began on a Wednesday. A series of tsunamis that struck cities that were only unexpected in the sense that we blinded ourselves to the eventuality.
It took three years. We know that the first indicators came decades before the fact, and we still haven't figured out how to solve it.  It seems the Earth did. The floods and droughts, the epidemics and famines, the human population culled by almost forty percent. 3 billion people is the best estimate. The mind revolts at the numbers.
  A genocide of neglect and waste.
  There were the typhoons and hurricanes, the tinder-dry areas where fires simply could not be contained. New York, London, the rising seas.
We knew about it all before it happened. That's the worst part. It was expected. We simply did nothing of any consequence until it was far too late.

  The end of the world is a permanent state.
 We train them now, in a history that represented nihilistic progress. We train them to recognize when the dust storms will be the kind to strip flesh from bone, we train them to know how high a tidal wave will crest. We train them to survive what a century of industrialization and thirty years of neglected data wrought.
  We train them to be stewards and survivors, then we teach them how to die.
 I can't remember how the suicide programme started. It might have been when we realised that the famines would be global, when there were reports of cannibalism in other countries. When the water rationing began. So many crops tainted or lost, stock dead in flood or fire, when it became evident that no one was safe or immune from starvation. It seemed like a better option. Mass-produced voluntary death. Who were we to moralise about choosing the method of one's end? We did what we could, the labs were turning out the synthetic nutrition kits as quickly as possible, but we couldn't keep up with the need. There were already more than a billion people walking the razor's edge everyday, when things were still good. When everyone was suddenly in the position of needing minimum nutrition requirements met, we were overwhelmed.
The...concrete devastation, was only part of it, you see. Financial systems collapsed in the panic as New York and London were flooded, California alternately burned and drowned and the rest of the world saw everything get just that much worse than it already was.
 I could list all the statistics and the full timeline, but it's meaningless. What use are numbers when the numbers are too big to comprehend in any real way?
Of course there were contingency plans to preserve governments. There always are.
 We evacuated and set up temporary shelters, but all we did was ensure that a few less people died quickly and relatively painlessly.
I envy the dead sometimes. Thanks to my work, they are the endlessly unquiet dead.
The only question that plagues me is: Am I going to hell or am I already there?
Of course I am.
 Amanda... she has no idea what I'm asking of her. I cannot make this decision. We have the ability and ye gods,  the will is there at some levels, but too many years of uncertainty and the profligacy with lives have made us unfit to choose.
 If my superiors knew what I'm about, there would be summary charges. Treason, they might call it. Treason to a crown which hasn't existed in 30 years and a commonwealth that is merely a collection of borders. I'm done playing dice with the universe.

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